My Way of Living + [training]

Of Running Fevers and Jumbo Liempos :The Ortigas 22k LSD Experience

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Chateau Gingerbread, 6:30 pm

Gingerbreadman rushes inside his house on pins and needles, a late-ending event at his office coupled with the maddening rush of the sundown traffic resulting in twenty minutes worth of tardiness. The helpers are stirred by his spastic entrance, the elder Ginger folk jostled by the abruptness of his appearance. A week-long bout with the chills had the elders admonishing him at the mere mention of a run, urging him to err on the side of caution lest he meet the same fate of the 7 other victims from his alma mater.

Gingerbread Grandpa : Are you crazy? You are sick! Sick I say! You need to rest! And besides, it's raining!

GBM: It's not raining. That's the blender.
Gingerbread Grandma: Just stay home hijo I will make you some Spam and Eggs
GBM : Yum. How healthy. What's your BP again?
Gingerbread Doggie : Woof! Wooooof! Bark! Yelp! (Translation : I could care less if you're sick, but could I have the Spam and Eggs instead?)
GBM: How thoughtful. Now knock it off or I'll have you neutered.
Gingerbread Gal (via SMS) : Please don't go... . you're sick... .. I'll be sooo worried :( Don't go ...
GBM: Aww how sweet. Okay, because you deserve nothing less. I'll... text you when I get home! Xoxo!

Unflinching in his resolve to run despite the chorus of incessant protests received from the immediate brood, GBM nonchalantly went through a whirlwind version of his pre-run ritual. I'll be late for my own freaking run. How embarassing. Oh great the newbie guy texted, he's there already. I don't feel good at all, but what the heck. I'll just run it off. Someone please get the doggie off my leg!

Mcdonald's Pearl Drive, 6:50 pm

20 minutes late and counting . As he rushed into the world's #1 purveyor of high cholesterol, an unfamiliar face was waiting amongst the early dinner throng. Niceties are exchanged. Pio was the name. HR Consultancy was his game. On and off runner since 2005 with a max of 5k in a race. Even as running pals Rico and Bong Yu emerged from the woodwork, GBM could not help but wonder how the newbie could survive the projected 22k route. If he collapses, would that be on me? He looks like he has insurance... Hmmm... . Or better yet I could just blame Rico and Bong... .

GBM was jolted from calculating the ramifications of death via newbie when running buddy/risk manager Rico tapped him on the shoulder, reminding him of unfulfilled promises... .

Rico : Hey, where's my prize? GBM : What prize?Rico : You know, that Levi's Unbuttoned Contest thing you had going... .
GBM : Oh yeah, that!

Rico : I won you know... ..

GBM : Oh... ... .. Yeahhhh... ... . Umm, I left it in the office... ..

Rico : Excuses excuses, is this even a real contest?

GBM: Of course it is!

Rico: Looks like a cheap advertising gimmick to me!

GBM : Nooo... it's true! I just left it in my desk! I prooomisee!

Rico : Is it true that you rigged it so I could win?

GBM: Next question please... .

With everything in order, the group set out on their mission - a 22k LSD that would be the first step in their mileage building process for some, a huge running milestone for another.

And so it begins

Km 1.5 - Gold Loop Ortigas

The group was just getting into the groove along the busy alleyways of the Gold Loop that circumvents Pearl Drive. Along the way, GBM had to endure the hopefully friendly jeers of students reveling in his demystified state, his short shorts the complete antithesis of his formal,barong-clad persona. As they were about to hit the route where a squatters settlement was rumored to be intentionally razed, the foursome met triathlete Javy, of Tri'n Hard fame . On the last legs of his route, the affable road warrior shared a quip or two while traversing a single loop, his preparations for the upcoming Animo Tri nearing its peak. With the next leg beckoning, goodbyes were exchanged as the group was steeling itself for the pounding ahead.

Chillin' with Tri'n Hard

Km 4, Julia Vargas Ave

My name is Bong and I work in One San Miguel. Why I come along to these runs, I have no idea. I'm none too shabby a runner myself, I'm a 57 10k dude. I'm just too modest to tell anyone about it. But I wanna take it to the next level. I want to bring that speed to the longer distances. Maybe that's why I'm here. Boy, Julia Vargas sure is dark at night. Is the newbie still alive? He's nice. If something goes wrong, I'll just blame GBM. He organized the whole thing anyway. Why is he pacing us like a madman? Is he mad at us? Why is he subjecting us to this sort of punishment. Oh yeah, we requested this pace. Me and my big mouth. Ow! He almost got run over. What a psycho. Not the car. GBM! Why does he like running in the middle of the street? And he's taking pictures! Is that part of the training? Psycho.

Julia Vargas is fun at night
Km 6, St. Martin Hills

Pio is the name and HR is my game. Running? Getting there. So why am I here? Hey I'm down for anything. These guys are so fast. What's this tempo thing they're doing. Runner terminology. Ptooey. One day I'll drop one of these on an unsuspecting newbie. But for now I'm the newbie. I'll take my lumps. And... . oh lord what's with these people??? Are we seriously going to climb this hill? I take this on 1st gear with my car!!! What Psychos! Whaa... . *pant* *gasp*

Daunting indeed.

Km 7.5, Motel/Baby Gravy Drive

I'm known in running circles as Sheer Will. You know, the famous (ahem) blogger/ quintessential nice guy/kuya figure ? My closer friends call me Rico. People who make me feel old call me Boss Rico. People who don't know me at all ask me if I'm the basketball player from Ateneo. Yes, my name is Enrico Villanueva. No I am not the basketball player from Ateneo. Yeah, if I was 6"5 I would be dating celebrities and sipping iced tea at Manila Polo instead of killing myself here with these shmucks. If I lose a little more weight, maybe I could go back into my old life as a commercial model and just ditch this running thing altogether. So here we are, Motel Drive. So many happy memories here. Sigh. What? P520 for a room??? Are they insane?? During my time it was just P180! With electric fan and free soap already! Geez! What a ripoff! And they have hand signals now? Whaaa? What debauchery!Hey, these uphills are getting easier by the day. Maybe it's the view. I should train here more often.

Them hand signals are the best thing since Google

Km 12, C5. GBM.

Wow, it's amazing that the guys are still going strong. They asked for a sub-7 pace to get used to the Milo cutoff . We're running a 6:45 right now. Bong and Rico should get used to this in no time. I'm starting to feel woozy. Maybe I should have listened to the old people. Oh lord I tripped. Thank God no one saw me. Wa-poise! Is Pio still alive? Oh he's right behind me. Check! How does he manage? I'm in awe. Is he pulling a Tito Caloy right here? (To you reading this right now - yeah I'm talking to you and breaking the 4th wall right here - FYI Tito Caloy went from a 5k race to a 27k LSD. Just to put things into context.) It should be over soon... . cough. Cough. COUGH.

We should have just stayed in Motel Drive!

Need... replenishment... Sprite ... . Sprite?

Km 14, C5. Pio.

Gasp. I'm tired. But I need to show these kids a thing or two! This is one newbie that doesn't have quit in him! Do you read my singlet? 2005 baby! 2005! Respect! Although I haven't ran another race since. Still! Gasp. We're still fast. I am starting to dislike this Gingerbread character by the minute. I can't breathe! Must.. push ... . on! These guys are nuts!

2009 rendition of Edvard Munch's "The Scream"

Km 15, C5. Just after Eastwood. Rico.

Where the crap are we going? Why aren't we stopping? Where's the @#$% u-turn? I am starting to dislike this Gingerbread character. I'm tiiiiiired!

By Sheer Will he pushes on

Km 16, Turnaround Point. Bong.

Hoy! Malayo pa ba????? ( translation : Are we there yet?? Where the crap are we going??)

Shaider has a new hobby

Km 17, start of C5 turnaround point

The group has persisted on, GBM maintaining a sub 7 pace as they neared the 20 km mark. Traversing the narrow streets of Libis, they could see that their pacer was noticeably slowing down. Maybe it's his positive split thing catching up with him. But upon reaching the Jollibee branch near Acropolis for a much needed rest, they could see his eyes were glassy. He didn't look alright. Something was up. We can cut short the route man. The warm gesture was waved off with no hesitation. We came here with a goal, and we need to meet it. Deciding that the wide open streets bordering Green Meadows were a better alternative to the life-or-death game they were playing in C5, the steely foursome soldiered on.

Km 19, Green Meadows. GBM.

Crap. Now I'm really not feeling well. They will positively roast me when I get home. I can't pace anymore. Heck I can barely run anymore. I'm really dizzy. But to pace and then to quit... . I wouldn't take that. I invited them here, with a goal in mind. We need to meet that. We need to develop that warrior mentality. A fever will not kill me. At least not today.

Km 21, St. Martin Hills, 2nd Loop.

The group was ecstatic. Pio had just successfully completed his first unofficial half-marathon. He had pulled off a Tito Caloy with what seemed to be an effortless run. It's the very thrill of going past one's limits, or helping others get there, that keep runners coming back for more. GBM looked to be in horrid shape. The guy needs to rest. Psycho. A last push up the St. Paul incline and the group called it day. 22 .2 kilometers total. Whew. Longest run for Pio. Longest LSD for Bong as well. Covering GBM's weekly long run route ain't so bad after all.

Who da man? Who da man?

And the Rookie of the Year goes to.. .

Epilogue, Pearl Drive.
The goal met, the group retreated to Chiggy's Pearl Drive for some scrumptious after-run grub. GBM and Bong had Jumbo Liempo. Rico had Bulgoggi. Although completely unnecessary , man of the hour Pio footed the bill, a seeming rite of passage for a guy who had just defied all expectations by doing a Tito Caloy.Friendly banter. Humorous Anecdotes. A life's worth of running memories being built right there.

Yummy Liempo Place

Enjoying some after-run foodies
As the final piece of jumbo (they weren't kidding) liempo was consumed, there was one prevailing sentiment amongst the group.

This was fun... ..

And... ...

We should do it again.