Black Wall!

29 01 2011

“Man is born with his hands clenched; he dies with them wide open. Entering life, he desires to grasp everything; leaving the world, all he possessed has slipped away.” -Charles Swindoll

 

There are two fixed points in our lives: birth and death. Death is especially unbendable.

In his book  ‘The Last Thing We Talk About‘, Joseph Bayly wrote:

This frustrates us , especially in a time  of scientific breakthrough and exploding knowledge, that we should be able to break  out of earth’s environment and yet be stopped cold  by death’s unyielding mystery.

An electroencephalogram may replace a mirror held before the mouth , autopsies may become sophisticated, cosmetic embalming may take the place of pennies on the eyelids and canvass shrouds, but death continues to confront us with its black wall. Everything changes; death is changeless.

We may postpone it, we may tame its violence, but death is still there waiting for us. Death always waits. The door of the hearse is never closed.

Dairy farmer and sales executive live in death’s shadow, with Nobel prize winner and prostitute, mother, infant, teen, athlete, triathlete, politician, beggar, actress, president and old man.  The hearse stands waiting for the surgeon who transplants a heart as well as the hopeful recipient, for the funeral director as well as the corpse he manipulates. Death spares none.

Ask most people about dying or heaven and you get amazing answers, especially from children. (Source: Good Housekeeping, March 1979)

Alan, age 7

“God doesn’t tell you when you are going to die because He wants it to be a big surprise.”

Aaron, age 8

“The hospital is the place where people go on their way to heaven.”

Raymond, age 10

“A good doctor can help you so you won’t die. A bad doctor sends you to heaven. ”

Stephanie, age 9

“Doctors help you so you won’t die until you pay all your bills.”

Marsha, age 9

“When you die, you don’t have to do homework  in heaven unless your teacher is there too.”

Kevin, age 10, is very courageous

“I’m not afraid to die because I’m a Boy Scout.”

Ralph, age 8

“When birds are ready to die they just fly to heaven.”

 

I shared all of these to commemorate the death of an Ultra-runner, co-hardcore and a triathlete. He will be remembered always.

I will end with this message from Arnold Toynbee…”Man alone has foreknowledge of his coming death and possessing this foreknowledge , has a chance , if he chooses to take it, of pondering over the strangeness of his destiny…(He) has at least a possibility of coping with it, since he is endowed  with the capacity to think about it in advance and…to face it and to deal with it in some way that is worthy of human dignity.”

Someday, all of us will face the ‘black wall’…the question is, “Are we ready?”

God be Praised!

Note: Due to a conflict in work schedule, I cannot attend the BDM test run today from km 102 to km 160, but I am with you in spirit in dedicating that 58k4J!

See you at the road.

“But it is appointed for men to die once and immediately the judgment.” -Hebrew 9:27





Don’t Complain Please!

27 01 2011

“I don’t think I’m really in a situation to complain, because I consider myself to be privileged to be doing what I do.” –David Beckham

Who is exempted from complaining? I think all of us are guilty in doing this kind of bad attitude. We focus on ourselves and magnify our problems resulting to self-pity totally  neglecting  the sad condition of the people  around us.

Let me tell you a short story taken from the book  ‘Light For The Blind’ by Jack Cooper…

Messed up with so many problems in life, a doctor was complaining about his sad fate. One day, a mother and her child walked into his office. They didn’t have an appointment, but certainly they had a sweet spirit. They asked the doctor if he could give them a little bit of help. And he said, “Sure, what can I do?” The mother answered , “Well, my son’s plastic eye needs to be polished. There’s a scratch on it. Could you take care of that?” The doctor said, “Certainly.” He took it to the wheel and cleaned it up, honed it, brought it back. And the mother  said again, “Could I trouble you with just one more request?” “Sure.” “Could you do the other eye as well? It’s also scratched.” And the doctor said, when he went to the backroom, he uttered, “Lord, I’ll never complain again.” He took the polished eye back to the boy, fit it into the eye, and the pair walked away with a cheerful spirit.

Maybe in that story, the doctor was not aware that the boy was totally blind. He was complaining about so many issues of life but here was a boy in front of him who can’t even see and yet he was  happy.

Next time, if you have big problems, look around you. There are so many people out there who are in dire need and you are more blessed than them. Stop complaining.

Let this be our prayer for today…”Lord, I’ll never complain again.”

See you at the road my friend.

God be Praised!





Remarkable Thing…

26 01 2011

“Let each man exercise the art he knows. ” –Aristophanes

We should not put limits on ourselves for we can do great things even in the midst of chaos or personal difficulties.

In his book  ‘A Time For Commitment’, Ted Engstrom tells an amazing  story of  Wendy Stroker. She was 19 at that time, freshman at University of Florida, young athlete, placed 3rd, just 2.5 points from the first place, in the Iowa girl’s state diving championship. She worked 2 hours a day for 4 years just to get there. She’s working twice as hard and has earned the number two position on the varsity diving squad. She’s aiming for the National Finals. Wendy carries full academic load, finds time for bowling and is an accomplished water skier. But perhaps the most remarkable thing about Wendy Stroker is her typing. She bangs out 45 words a minute on her typewriter with her toes! For Wendy was born without arms.

That reminds me too of an elite runner who runs without arms. I salute that guy whenever I see him on road races. Also, Team Logan’s story never fails to excite me.

These people will always inspire me to focus on the best, not the worst in any situation, to believe that with God’s help a person can learn to live with any handicap or any difficulty.

See you at the road my friend.

God be Praised!





Mystery!

25 01 2011

“As I make my slow pilgrimage through the world, a certain sense of beautiful mystery seems to gather and grow. ”  -A. C. Benson

 

A lot of things about life are mysteries. Death is like that. No one has ever come back and told us what it’s about, so it remains a distinct mystery, a riddle, an enigma. So is the sea. It’s strange marriage to the moon that control its tide continue to be in the poet’s mind a great, constant, moving mystery.

So are the spaces above us. Who can fathom the mysterious movement of that masterful piece of time that stays on track continually, 24 hours a day,  365 days a year. If we look enough through a telescope, our eyes bug out against the lens and our mouths drop open as we try  to fathom the mystery of the spaces above us.

Consider also the invisible world around us that can be seen only through the lens of a microscope. Whether it’s telescopic or microscopic. Life seems to be shrouded in mystery. Did you realize that if an electron could be increased in size until it becomes as large as an apple, and if human being could be increased by the same proportion, that person could hold the entire solar system in the palm of his hand and would have to use the magnifying glass  in order to see it?

Not all mysteries are as profound as that. Many are somewhere between  just baffling and humorous.

Take for example the mystery of washing machine. You can put in twelve  perfectly matched pair of socks and in some phenomenal, mysterious manner, you can pull out eight socks, none of which match anything. Try it!

Here is also the  mystery of traffic lanes. The mystery is that every lane you get into slows down. Who can explain it?

Also the mystery of a repairman. Your appliance gives you trouble for two weeks. You finally hurry up one morning to get into him. It runs perfectly as the repairman scratches his head, wondering why you even brought that stuff to him.

The mystery of waking up in the morning. Without any alarm clock, I just told myself that I need to wake up at exactly 7am and it’s done.

In the work place, there’s this mystery called constant caller  before my break time. There’s no call for almost one hour and all of a sudden,  phone rings one   or  two minutes before my break time.

Consider also this mystery: When you have a wound or an injury, it is being hit most of the times.

And in running? Well, irregardless of how tired and lapsed  you are, you have always the strength to run stronger and in good form  when you are about to reach the finish line. Who can explain it?

And there is another mystery as I end my sharing for today. Here it is:

“A woman is always a mystery: one must not be fooled by her face and her hearts inspiration.”

That quotation was written by Edmondo de Amicis.

That’s it for today, friend.

See you at the road.

God be Praised!

 

 





Wrong Direction?

24 01 2011

“If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction. ” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Don’t be surprised if I tell you that many professional athletes spend their leisure time listening to music. So do a lot of us.

William Congreve, an 18th century English dramatist, use these familiar  words, “Music hath charms to soothe the savage beast, to soften rocks, to bend a knotted  oak.”

That’s why sometimes, during my LSD, I listened to music to strengthen and motivate me further.

A phrase I still hear occasionally is  ‘All Shook Up’, a phrase made popular by the late Elvis Presley. In  Aug 29, 1977 issue of Newsweek Magazine, there was an interesting article about this man. It was titled, ‘All Shook Up.’ Elvis was born dirt-poor in a little town in Mississippi, the only child. At the young age of 18, while making $14 a week as a truck driver, he, just on a lark, decided to make a recording. And he became the best paid male entertainer in history of America. At age 23 he lost his mother.

Just before his death at age 42, he wished he could find one week when he could just live a normal life, going up and down the streets of his city without being harassed. He would pay million dollars, for one week of peace.

Pat Boone said of Elvis, “I cared a lot for him.” He said, “He went in the wrong direction. Ironically, we met for the last time when I was going toward  the east and he was on his way  to Las Vegas. He said to me, “Pat, where are you going? And I told him I was going to be involved in some kind of ministry. And he says, “Hey I’m going to Vegas Pat, as long as I’ve known you, you’ve been going in the wrong direction.”  Pat Boone answered, ‘Elvis, that just depends on where you’re coming from and where are you going.’ ”

There comes a time in my life that I’m headed to a wrong direction too. That  path for me  seems right but unknown to me, the end of it is the way of death. I’m glad that the ONE up there rescued me and showed me the right way to go.

I just open my heart to Him and made Him my Lord and Savior.

If you’re in the wrong direction, call Him now. He is more than willing to help you.

God be Praised!

See you in the Condura 42k race on Feb. 6, 2011.





Enough!

21 01 2011

“Fame, like flame, is harmless until you start inhaling it.” -selected

 

Have you noticed? A man never earns enough. A woman is never beautiful enough.  Clothes are never fashionable enough. Cars are never nice enough.  Gadgets are never modern enough. Houses are never furnished enough. Food is never fancy enough. Relationships are never romantic enough. Life is never full enough.

Let me share my own story:

As a jogger then, my ultimate goal was to join a race.

And so I registered for my first race -the 5k in Cabuyao Laguna. At the finish line, I told myself  I’ll try the 10k.

And then a 15k… a 21k…a 25k.

Then came the 42k.

Then a 100K…followed by a 102K.

There was also a 24 hours Run.

And now, the most anticipated 160K.

I already joined almost 90 races in a short span of 4 years.

Enough is never enough.

Always more.

Contentment is out of the question.

To desire for more races is not bad. To train harder is also beneficial.

It is good for you, specially for your health (and bulging tummy.)

However, always keep in mind that MODERATION is the key. Our body needs rest, specially our feet.

In running, we can always strengthen our hearts but be very cautious not to over train our legs (and feet.)

And mind you, even our hearts can falter if you’re running at full speed without listening to your body.

My  friend died during a race some 5 years ago while running way above his heart rate. And there were confirmed fatalities during those recent races in Metro Manila.

Man will always strive to be better even to the point of neglecting their safety.

The rule of the thumb is this -DO ALL THINGS IN MODERATION.

And even if you’re a seasoned Ultra runner, a newbie or just starting your career as a runner -be moderate.

Slowly but surely.

When enough is never enough, be reminded that you can’t have it all at once.

Know your limit and be contented with it.

The good life – the one that truly satisfies – exists only  when we stop wanting a better one. The itch for things , the lust for more -is a virus  draining our souls of contentment.

Yes, I will still join 160K but I will always be contented for my achievements. Not because my peers are doing, then I have to do it too. I follow my own rule and strategy.

Satisfaction comes when we step off  the escalator of desire and say, “This is enough. What I have will do.”

Godliness with contentment is a great gain. Take it from the Master.

God be Praised.





BDM 102…Pride And Glory!

18 01 2011

“I ran and ran and ran every day, and I acquired this sense of determination, this sense of spirit that I would never, never give up, no matter what else happened.” -selected

km 0- km 10

The race started at 12:35am in my timex heart rate monitor watch. I started very slow and in pace with Dennis Enriquez. When we reached the base of the Mountain, I brisked walk every time there was an uphill and occasionally run at downhill. The road was too dark but the presence of galore of convoys made that highway accessible. At km 3, Dennis was lagging behind, I tried to wait for him but it’s too early to taper so I continued.

km 11- km 20

Already conquered the mountain, I’m all alone now. Our convoy was nowhere to be seen. In one place in Cabcaban, seeing a barking dog, I ran as fast as I could and reached two guys, Vinny and Bernabe..they are both professors like me. We have a good pace, 6.30/km and I enjoyed their company. Their convoy was very supportive of them and even gave me some drinks. Feeling hungry, I stopped at km 20 for the first water station and ate bananas, sweet potato and refilled my hydration belt with gatorade. When I looked for Vinny and Bernabe, they are already gone.

km 21- km 30

At this point, I’m approaching the town of Limay going to Orion, again running alone since both of them were running in their own pace, I badly needed to change my sock for I felt that some blisters are beginning to develop, but my convoy was still nowhere. Since Dennis my buddy, was still behind, I decided to ran slower so that Dennis can catch up with me, for my notion that our convoy was with him. I saw a Petron Gasoline, and there I made the first “call of nature” for 12 minutes. Here, I already ran 3 hours and 30 minutes…

km 31- km 40

Dennis catched me up somewhere in Balanga Bataan but the sad news is, the convoy was still out. At this time, my left foot was aching and blisters were now obvious, I needed my petroleum jelly and a new sock very badly.

Near Death Experience:

Dennis and I were running at comfortable pace when Bugobugo overtook us somewhere at this distance. The road was terribly too dark, and Bugobugo chose the left lane of the road, where there was a big Mansion House but unknown to us, there were two vicious giant dogs manning that huge edifice. Those dogs barked vehemently and when we reached that house, those two dogs at the rooftop were trying to jump on us and I at the center. Will I retreat and go back or go ahead and run faster? I chose option no. 2, glad that I did. We survived but if what if those dogs jumped and attacked us? God forbid. That was my first possible death experience, later on I will tell you the second accident..

km 41- km50

We reached the second water station and here we replenished our systems. Some pains were now obvious. We reached km 42 at 5 hours and 15 minutes and I congratulated Dennis, for it’s the first time he conquered this distance.

At Abucay, we reached km 50, arriving there at 7:31 am. At the station, We wanted to eat “lugaw” or rice porridge but there was nothing left so I sipped the noodle soup instead. We were 58th and 59th who arrived here and the staff told us that there were still 18 more runners to come. Our companion Mr. Nama reached this place at 6:31am according to the list on paper.I’m now running straight 7 hours, still…52 kms to go.

km 51- km 60

I now changed my running apparel from adidas short/nike singlet to New Balance Leggings/Adidas Long sleeve for the sun was now beginning to peek on us terribly! I readied also my spf 70 sunblock Hawaian tropic. Reaching Samal, Orani and Hermosa at this point in time, I am blessed to have with me a sponge, dipped in ice cold water and placed it on my head with my cap. This system was the best method to prevent heat stroke, I thought to myself.

Along the road, I saw a free-flow supply of water (pozo style), I wanted to take a plunge but since I’m wearing a leggings, it’s not that easy, I just borrowed a pail from the local villager there and showered my upper extremities. That was the nicest feeling in the world at that time.

km 61-km 70

Approaching Dinalupihan, I made my final strategy to finish this race and I shared it with Dennis. The result? We overtook some runners. How? We ran 5 minutes and walk 2 minutes. We did it over and over again.

Near Death Accident 2:

At km 64, I cheated death once again. I was running when the side mirror of a speeding car hit me on my left shoulder and the impact almost threw me out of the roadside. The car just hit and ran, miraculously, there was only minor scratch…but now it’s painful. Thank God for protection.

At km 68, we overtook Bernabe ,the one I mentioned earlier. I stopped for a while and told him to be with us, but he said he will Quit this race. I encouraged him to continue, but he just sit down and told me to go on with my pace. He faced his wall already!

km 71 -km 80

This was the toughest part of the race, the narrow road of the highway with sharp gravel stones at the roadside not suitable for running! If you’ll run at the asphalt part, you may be hit by speeding vehicles, and your already injured feet may be worsened if you’ll run by the roadside. Here, we walked for there is no place to run, and the heat of the sun was killing us little by little.

Along km 75…Dennis, I and a new friend Richard, whom we overtook but eventually got even with us as we slowed down decided to rest for a while underneath the shadow of a big fence and we analyzed the whole scenario. We’re like wounded soldiers and we’re afraid we can’t make the cut-off time of 18 hours. Still 27 kms to go, and with a situation like this, eventhough we still have 5 more hours to beat the cut-off time, this last 27 kms was different.

After some calculations, we decided to continue. If we can’t finish this race now, when? It’s now or never!!!

km 81-km 90

Reaching Lubao, its road and bridge under construction, worsened the scenario, for the dust I inhaled and the space was limited. To avoid my previous experience, I opted to run slowly at the roadside, avoiding sharp gravel…missing some…hitting some!

Somewhere at this point, Dennis can’t barely run anymore and he told me to continue my pace. I overtook more runners as I’m nearing the 90 kms mark, and Richard was far behind me.

At km 88, I’m running and walking for almost 5 kms now without Dennis, my convoy was not with me anymore. With no more food, drinks and my best weapon, sponge dipped in ice I felt dehydrated and hungry, so I bought soda and a piece of bread at a nearby Sari2x Store, and here Dennis came and was running so fast. I’m trying to stop him so that he could be with me for the last kick, for I’m refilling now for the last 14 kms of the race, but I think he can’t be stopped at that time.

km 91- km 100

At km 91, I have this painful scratch and small wound beside my right underarm. I need to replace my long sleeve to just ordinary singlet. Also at this point, I saw Razon’s halo halo, I wanted to stop and taste their delicacy but I’m worried I could not beat the time target so I decided to continue my slow run.

At km 92, our convoy remembered me, nice to replace my outfit to prevent further damage to my underarm.

at km 93, I overtook Dennis because he was now walking. He admonished me to continue with my pace.

9 kms to go, but my feet were swollen already!

When I reached km 100, I knew I can make it to the finish line, I still have more than 1 hour to complete the last 2 kms. It sounds funny but it’s true, the last 2 kms were the most challenging part, mind over body.

Reaching this point, I was so emotional. I ran 100 kms already!

those were my pride and glory!

this baller was given in the last part of the race, every time I wear it, this will remind me that NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE! Believe in God, and believe also in yourself…that I was able to conquer Bataan 102 kilometers!

-to be continued- next: lessons learned and my assessment for this race.

Note: actual photos taken at the finish line will be available c/o photovendo.

Thank you for all your prayers! God bless us always!

“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” -Mathew 6:33