I Wasn’t Prepared for the QCIM (Part 2)

I wasn’t prepared for…

…the video collage Carina prepared for me with the very appropriate Defying Gravity song from Glee but originally from the play Wicked. I know I did all those things in the video but I didn’t realize how many I did it to.  I forgot a lot of those already.  What I remember was the feeling of being able to help as a support or cheer crew and knowing that you have helped these runner friends.  It felt good then and it felt awesome watching it.


…the Facebook well-wishes that made my wall look like Christmas and New Year all at the same time.

…getting tonsillitis 3 days before the race hence Doc T prescribing a very strong antibiotic.

…not knowing what to wear on race day. Timmy kept asking what I was going to wear so he can find me when he goes back for me.  Hindi ko nga rin alam.  I know I needed to wear a white top and a white cap so the heat wont get to me so much.  But I didn’t like my white top.  If I wear my takbo shirt again, it meant I needed to wear my black top too with the red cap, which would be bad because of the heat and this is all I wear every time! Maiba ka naman!

I wore the black shorts, black top with the black takbo singlet and the red cap.

…PatCon saying good morning to me near the baggage counter and asking how my tonsillitis was. Sweet!

…Doc Roy braiding my hair at Jollibee.

…the calm I was feeling before and pretty much throughout the race.

…the perfect weather. The sun would shine just to smile at us and show us the beauty of the route – La Mesa Ecopark was gorgeous in the heat – UP was magnificent when you look up and see the outline of the leaves in the sun.  But Mr. Sun would hide behind some clouds when he got to be too bright, always at the perfect moments.

…the patience and care of my pacers: Rod, McCoy & Marky. They went far and beyond the call of duty even when there was no duty to be called for to begin with.

McCoy was the most excited to pace me. He was the one who texted to GO GO GO when I said I wasn’t doing it na dapat. My Star Pacer-he paced me on my first 15km, my first 21km and he now was fulfilled his promise to pace me for my first 42km.  Mind you, this halimaw is runner in its truest sense.  He did a splendid job at T2N and he could have gunned for a good time for his first marathon—yes ladies and gents, QCIM was also his first marathon—but he opted to race at my pace, a pace he will do 100x better the next time he does it for himself.  And I will be there. J

Rod. My Rodalicious.  He was the one of PM’d me and encouraged me to still do it.  This guy has always been an inspiration to me.  BDM 102 and his tears of joy at the finish. Near in ages (I had to say it, Im sorry! lol), we have the same issues of hypertension and for whatever else reason, we took a liking to each other.  During the race, at every incline I’d walk, he’d hold my hand and short of pulling me, make sure I won’t fall behind in an uber walking pace.  Unfortunately, when he went ahead of us,  someone told him, he had to ride the ambulance already because he was the last runner.  When he said, no, I still have 3 runner friends back there.  They said, no, they already rode the ambulance.  Cut off na po. He seceded.  *sad*   It was unto his shoulders that I bawled at the finish.

Marky.  Ultramarathoner. I didn’t know Marky was going to pace me.  I knew he was running his first marathon too but to pace me was something that I did not know of.  But he was there, impatient with me but there (lol).  He was my pusher.  But no one can really push an exhausted runner. Sorry, Marky.  But you did awesome with me.  Thanks!

…the patience and care of my bike support: Ronald. Ultramarathoner. Ironman. When I ‘supported’ Ronald at BOTAK 100 years back, I did not know him. I did not know he was doing 100km while I did my 10km. My sister, Iris and I called him Yellow in the pictures because he was wearing a yellow top and that was all we knew of him. When he started his path to becoming an Ironman and was sputtering in the water as he didn’t know how to swim yet in November, I called it…I said, this guy will do awesome on his Ironman.  His swim will be fast.  I was there for his first Ironman and I couldn’t be happier to see him at the finish line.

Ronald was my bike support and whether he liked it or not, he knew he had to see me finish (lol). He was in pain seeing me walk – hahaha.  He even made a halo halo promise if I made it at 1pm. Sorry, no halo halo for me. Hahaha.  He became the official photographer, carrier of all water and hydration and he did such a wonderful job.  Best job he did that day?  He called Neville the organizer when the marshalls, ambulance, motorbiked cops, MMDA’s, were calling me to ride the ambulance already as it was already cut-off and we wouldn’t stop.  He called Neville and made the concession that we should be at UP by 11AM  (we were at Litex at this time).

Bestest job everyone of them  did?  They had the patience to literally be bored to tears as they waited for my 2nd, 3rd, 4th, whatever numbered wind I’d have at nag-kibit balikat na lang nang hindi siya dumating Hahaha. Thank you. Thank you.

…for the number of people who shouted their Go Marga! to and from Commonwealth Avenue.  I had to hug a couple of them and literally shout their names as I was so happy to see them, Gail in particular were we both got teary-eyed.  Unfortunately my pacers made me stop hugging people as it was unnecessary energy to spend when I should be spending it on running. Fine! (lol)

… Bong and Rej of Team Boring to go back for me with cold water and Gatorade and see me to the finish.  Awesome!  These were guys I didn’t know, really. But they walked with me.  Incidentally, they also just finished their first marathon in QCIM, and  going back for me made it another ultramarathon for them. Crazy people! J Marami pong Salamat.

…Timmy, Raf, Sid, Rico, Emil & Erick to be additional bike support. Emil and Erick rode with us to the finish, keeping Ronald company-hehe.  Rico was great as he went back and forth ,bringing  back cold drinks to us with Let’s Goya chocolate for me J .  Seeing Timmy, Raf and Sid was simply refreshing in that heat.

…2 marshalls relieving my pacers their pacer duties at the Eco Park as they encouraged me to run uphill instead of simply walking them.  Bounce lang. Kaya yan.

… the non-water station after La Mesa Ecopark to the finish. Buti na lang my bike support were there.

…at least 10 officers (marshall, cop bike, cop car, MMDA) telling us throughout Eco Park to UP that we should ride na the ambulance as it was already cut-off. They told us this a little before 10AM and through out.  I said cut-off was 11:30.  Marami na daw kaming naaabala sa daan.  Marami na daw nagagalit.  Kami na daw ang last.  These were said  in authoritative voices with people in uniform.  Kinda scary.  I had to tell 2 ambulances beside me, sorry po, pero tatapusin ko to. Hanggang mamaya pa po kayo.  1 said, sigurado kayong ayaw niyong sumakay? Another said, sige po ma’am, takbo lang kayo, experience din po ito para sa amin.

Mga marshalls, mahirap po ang 42km, lakarin or takbuhin man.  Pag nagyayaya po kayong isakay kami sa ambulansya, napakadali pong mag- Oo dahil kami po ay pagod na, mainit, masakit na ang katawan, at oo, nahihiya rin po kami sa mga taong naabala, pero kailangan po naming tapusin eh.  Hindi ko po ma-e-explain pero kailangan ko pong tapusin.  So, next time po, alam ko po na trabaho ninyong i-ascertain kung may maitutulong kayo, pero, mas mainam na maitulong niyo ay ang i-encourage kami.  If you don’t see any dire emergency, we’d appreciate it if you could just encourage us and let us be, but let it not be that the first words out of you mouths be, Sakay na po.

My pacers had a good laugh when we had a good number of hagads as we crossed over to the other side of Commonwealth – 3 ambulances  with wang wangs (sorry, PNoy), 6 motorbikes stopping traffic, 6 more motorbikes behind the ambulance.  Hirits of, Wow, Celebrity. Saan mo pa ma-e experience to na hinahawi ang traffic pa ra sayo? Daig mo pa si PNoy!

McCoy telling me, takbo ka naman, para makita ng mga bus at jeep na hindi ka naglalakad. Tumatakbo naman ako tuwing may audience amidst the pain on soles of my feet.  I am embarrassed by all of these but know that the hagads had no choice but to protect us.

…to trudge on even after the cut-off. But McCoy was telling me, ngayon pa tayo hihinto? Maski walang ng ambulance sa likuran natin, tuloy tayo.  To Finish lang kasi ang goal. Wala na yang time na yan (*sniff).

…for my pacers not telling me the time or give me my cell phone so I won’t be distracted. I couldn’t tell you which kilometre we were at what time.

…me whining at the last 3km at CP Garcia that the soles of my feet were hot and in pain na.  Rej said, o sige, tigil na tayo.  Ayan na ang taxi, parahin na natin.  Sabi ko, I will use all my energies left and push you onto the oncoming traffic!

…not knowing where the turn-around point was at CP Garcia because at this point, there were no markers already.  Buti na lang Rej and Bong has finished the course and knew exactly where it was.  McCoy became my turn-around point like  a game at Christmas with person to turn-around in.

…Ronald telling me sige, sakay ka na ng bus. Tapos pagdating sa Finish, kuha ka ng medal ha?  Hindi ito ang unang beses na nagbike support ako at mangyari to.

…a whole entourage of friends at the curb in the last 900 meters. Teary eyed me. McCoy saying, hindi po to ang finish.  Sa Philcoa pa. Aagawan kita ng eksena sa pag-iyak!  I see Pio running beside me.

…another set of friends waiting for me at the last 400meters. I see two beautiful banners.  I hear people clapping.  I can’t see anymore.  My eyes were blurry.  I felt Jinoe placing the finishers medal around my neck.

McCoy saying, hindi pa ito ang Finish .  Sa Philcoa pa. Ngayon pa ba tayo ma-DNF? (akala mo naman at this point may organizers pa who cared about us. lol) Sprint to the finish Marga. C’Mon!  I ran and I knew everyone of them were running behind me.

I ran even if there was no path to run in because of the bottleneck of jeeps, buses, cabs towards Jolibee.

I know that there was not going to be a Finish Line for me.

I know that I will not step on the timing chip mat.

I know I will not see the Time of my Finish on the clock.

But as I sprinted to that non-existent Finish Line,
I also know that I have finished 42KM in 9 hours.

To a much better Finish Line anybody can ask for –

Into the arms of my friends who waited for me.

Some may say that that was an embarrassing run.  That they could walk the same route and finish way before 9hrs.  And that when you run a marathon, you run it,  not walk it.

But this was a perfect run for me. This was My Perfect Marathon.  Perfect Weather. Perfect Route. Perfect Pacers.  Perfect Support.  Perfect Finish.

I know I am not a marathoner in the athletic sort of way.  I will not break records.  I have no delusions of grandeur  about this.  I do have, though, my whole being put into a personal challenge, that I thought impossible, that I now have conquered.  The banner  said it all: Nothing is impossible.  The impossible just takes longer. (This made me laugh and cry at how apropo it was at that exact moment)

I know my place in the Running Community.  I am the lower bar you set your times against—and this is not a bad thing.  If Doc Pinx is our high bar (she finished 4:24 in SG) and Julie Hotlegs is our middle bar (she finished 5:19 in LV), I am the lower bar.

I love being that bar. If I  finish a marathon and people are inspired to say , ‘if Marga can do it, I can do it too,’ then my work here is done.

The other good thing about being the lower bar?  I have no way to go but up. *smiles*


I Wasn’t Prepared for the QCIM (Part 1)

I wasn’t prepared for

…my first marathon

Sure, I started training first week in April with the last full marathon race in sight for 2010.  It was a choice of QCIM and SCIM.  I would have wanted to do it in SG and share the race with my sister. But the thought of the intense humidity I experienced when I did 21km last year, made me opt to do it in QC.  Home turf and all that, right?

I was doing well in my training.  I needed the extra months to lose weight, hence the early start. I was at the ULTRA Mondays and Fridays.  It was a steady dose that escalates, of 2km warm up, dynamic/static stretching, drills, a choice of interval training, hill training, stairs training; 2km cool down, core exercises and stretching again.

Wednesdays were reserved for BHS, mostly for tempo runs.  These 3 days were with Coach John.  Then I do my long runs every Sunday—doing the Commonwealth route from Batasan to UP and back and at one point, La Mesa Eco Park.

This was also when I didn’t see much of my runner friends, which I thought to be very Ironic.

My training  was a rain or storm type of thing from April to August.  Everyone will be out of the ULTRA oval when it started raining and I would still be at it because running in the rain was the best thing ever!

September onwards was when I would renege on my training days because of a hodgepodge of reasons – work, tired, traffic, rain, hot, lazy, etc. which were all the lamest of lames, I know.  I didn’t know this was also the start of an emotional sadness that I didn’t know could happen to me, but it did and I wasn’t prepared for it as well.

So my 4-day running, with 1 day strength training and 1 day swimming-week turned into 2 day running, 1 day swim, to 1 day run, to 0-run in a week.  My long runs would stop at the 10th km or the 12th, or the 16th km.  It could never progress past that (when I stopped at 26km in August. ) and I was getting scared. Really scared.  I wasn’t in pain. I wasn’t. My brain would just shut off from running and I’d walk.  I tried running with  a group-the UP group that went to Tiendesitas and did 21km.  I think I did 10km there. I tried joining Carina & Raff and do the Galloway method at BHS and even that I failed in.

Tiendesitas Group Run

The eureka moment that I can run began when someone told me that running is primarily  a race in the mind. And arrogant me thought, if I conceive it in thought, I can do it.  I can run.  This was what I was banking on in every race I joined. If you’re reading this and  know me at all, you know my gorgeous body is not made like an athlete.  I already know it would take a lot of mind power to trudge on carrying a me.  So you can imagine my fear when my brain shuts off and decides to stop running, decides it can’t carry me.

Two weeks before the race, I decided a do a make or break run in UP.  It was a Tuesday and I told myself, if I can do 21km as my last long run, then I will run the race.  If not, then I won’t.  I did 8.8km, a strong 8.8km, but I stopped yet again.  Take note, I was not feeling any pain. My lungs were ok naman, my heart was ok too.  My legs and knees were fine. No physical hindrance to stop.  And yet I did.  I went to my car and changed and waited for a friend to finish running. The sadness that enveloped me was in a new level that I’ve ever experienced.  I texted a couple of people and essentially said I wasn’t gonna run on December 5.  The moment I texted it, I cried. This is not new to anyone that I’m a crybaby.  What was new was that I actually threw up. I thought it was just the feeling of light headedness from doing a strong 8.8km.  Then I realize it was my emotional reaction manifested physically. Oh dear God, help.

Wednesday morning in the office someone FB PM’d me and encouraged me to still do it even without a 32km long run.  I got excited yet again (it’s not difficult to get me excited as you can see) with the thought of my first marathon.  What if I don’t finish within the cut-off?  So what? A cut-off is simply an organizer’s cut-off, not a testament to a runner’s endurance.  What if I hit the wall early in the race that I pretty much walk the entire length of the race? You won’t be the first to do it.

What if I embarrass my friends, my pacers for finishing last yet again? (I’ll leave you to answer this question after you finish reading this)

Calling all that is good and holy, I prayed.

I will run it.  As unprepared as I was, I will run it.

angel brigade gratitude drive

It started with a conversation between two friends with the nagging sentiment of : My family woke up today just like any other day—with electricity, food, house intact , with loved ones safe.  Others woke up with nothing. That was September 28, 2009. Typhoon Ondoy hit the Philippines in the gut and got the wind knocked out of everybody. Rich, poor, owners, employees, Tondo, Forbes….it did not matter. It hit and it hit hard. It was a moral imperative to do something…anything.  Not because we were spared, but because it was our responsibility.  Then the angels started working their magic.

Suddenly there was a huge space at the Fort that can accommodate any donations that you can give.  Donations came by the truckloads.  Volunteers walked, rode a bike, a car, the bus  to donate their precious time to pack these care items –  rice, instant noodles, carne norte, sardines, milk, sugar, clothes and so much more.  Suddenly military trucks and airplanes were volunteering  to send out these relief goods to the neediest.  Volunteers learned non-useful skills such as estimating how many bags can fit a 6-wheeler, a 10-wheeler or even a van.

Some ran to the Center. The regular TTH Runs in BHS ended with a packing session at the Angel Brigade Center. And when they did speed training, they sped up the packing at the Center to the point that they can efficiently pack (PR pack) 300 bags in less than an hour.  Takbo.ph  was Angel Brigade’s source of second wind when things got tougher, especially when Typhoon Pepeng hit us as well.  Yes, we had our own friends from takbo who was hit really bad and it will ALWAYS be a given that we take care of our OWN.  But to extend it to strangers in the far flung areas? That needed a PURE heart. And with a heart brimming with love, we gave and gave some more.  Different teams also joined in the giving.  People I did not think I will meet because of their mamaw statures in the running community, I met.  And all we had in common was the NEED to help.

Angel Brigade and takbo.ph went on to do more good things after—a very successful Medical Mission in Rizal,  the Feed and Give in Kalentong and the recent trek to Benguet.

At the core of it all is the spirit of volunteerism in each one of us.  This is the same spirit that will change our world—one helping hand, one step, one leap at a time.

Celebrate our One Year Anniversary with doing more.  Be one with us at Rockwell Mall with an Installation Exhibit and Silent Auction on September 20-26, 2010.  See you there!

The Nightmare that was the SMART Subic International Marathon

After a total of 12 hours of sleep since Monday, I woke up and prepared to leave for Subic.
We get to Subic around 8AM (thanks to Cindy and Gab for organizing our housing). Some moved about, I slept (hahaha) and by 11AM, had lunch and we started our Art class with teacher Carmen. We were making posters for our 42KM runners: Argo, Dhentz, Doc T, Doc Sherwin, Mar, James, EO, Gab, Mark H, Nao, Edu, Cess, Doc Art, Gerard, BongYu, Carmel, Rico, Jet, Doc Roy, Sam, Mary Genie, Wilnar, Chips, Chris, and Team Logan. Aside from their names, we had fun with tags such as:

“Are we there yet?”

“You can do it! Konti na lang!”

“Marry Me!”

“I wanna have you baby!”

“I want nobody, nobody but you!”

Hirap pala maging artist! Carmen was outlining the letters, I was simply pentel-penning it, Julie and Cherry were accessorizing it, si Cindy was in charge of the three-lettered names-hahaha-MAR, GAB, etc.; Si Cherry, ‘c’pecial ang work for Chips. Si Tracy, kina-career yung trabaho! She did GoW Argow in record time-hahahaha! Si Timmy, ang Quality checker. They made me stop doing art because they were re-doing everything I did, kasi chaka! Lol! Kaya I ended up pentel-penning na lang! Lol. We had fun doing this for our runners.

We left by 2:20PM. In our van: 42k runners – Mar, Doc T, Gab, Dhentz, Carmel, James; support team: me, Carmen, Tracy, Tim, Cindy. As we drive towards FloridaBlanca, you can feel the nervous tension in the van. Carmen and I were whispering to each other: OMG, this route looks looooong and scary. Hilly and windy. But we shouted out brave words to our runners: Ang ganda naman ng route. Very scenic. That’s when the nervous jokes and laughter came in the form of Doc Topher and James and Gab. Pinagtawanan na namin, kawawa naman eh. Hahaha.

We were at the start point before 3:30. And boy, was it hot! The Kenyans were there. We saw Team Hardcore. I love their uniforms talaga. And other takbo runners started trickling in: Nao, Mark H, Edu, Doc Art, Cess, Gerard, BongYu, Rico, Jet, Doc Sherwin, Sam, Mary Genie, Wilnar, Chris, Chips, the late Doc Roy (lol), and Team Logan (naku, did I miss anyone?)

Craig prayed with everyone in a circle. (Remember this part of the story). And they were off!

The Support Team stayed a bit to decide what we were to do next: buy stuff for dinner, water and Gatorade and ices chests for the runners, make more banners because we missed some runners, check up on the Nike Human Race Runners. Whew! All we knew was that we had to be back at KM 30 before 9PM.

On the way, we saw the runners and we stuck our heads out screaming for all of them! Their smiles and laughter were wonderful response to us.

I even saw my Bengay Guy smile at us! Naks! (Kailangan i-mention talaga? Oo! Walang pakialamanan, blog ko ito! Lol.)

On the way back, we saw Cherry and Lorie on an uphill. We stopped and Cindy in her sandalled glory, and Tim in his Trail shoes, paced the ladies to the finish. (Amazing!) Carmen, Tracy and I were left to do the mommy duties of grocery shopping and continue the art class. Which we did in record time, I must say. In the middle of it , we grabbed a quick hotdog and fries combo to make sure were okay. I ate dinner because I was of no use in the art class. Hahaha.

By 8PM, we were ready to leave and that’s when Cindy got the call from Gab that they needed the water REALLY bad because the water station ran out. (TOINK!) James had a bad case of ITBS. (Sorry about that, James) We ran out like there was fire behind us! We needed to get to them, fast! All along we were praying, Lord naman, we just want an injury free race. Keep them safe please.

On the way, we opened our van window and stuck our heads out and shouted cheers to the runners. Cindy had to do some minor acrobatics to get to one window inside the van. Lol. We wanted to make sure we can at least throw some water bottles to the runners if need be. It was sooo dark, I can’t make out who was who. We saw Dennis!!! Yey! Go Dennis! (EO was behind him pala, we didn’t see him. Go EO! (late! lol)

We positioned ourselves before the tunnel after the tollgate by the Total gas station, where there was a bit of light. We laid out our banners so it will be easy to pick up when the runner passes by. Since we saw Dennis already, we kept his na. And if Dennis was ahead, we were pretty sure, Wilnar and Chris passed us already (for the unofficial record: Wilnar-3:39; Chris-4:12). Dhang! So tinago na naming banners nila.

Luis with McCoy and tito Caloy came asking for Michelle Logan’s number. Craig collapsed at KM 24 and was coughing out blood. (Insert expletives here!) It was a good thing Rico was behind him and took Justin into his care and asked looked for an ambulance. I was shaking trying to figure out how to get Michelle’s number. Shel! Shel has Michelle’s number! I called her, she dictated it to me. Luis called Michelle and told her which hospital to go to. Rico gave up his race for the Logans (Im crying again. I heart you, Rico!) and we were all praying that Craig be okay. He was the one who prayed for safety earlier on. (Craig is okay. He was in the ER with IV’s on him. Diagnosis: Severe dehydration. He is ok that he was even in the 21km starting point the next day cheering Michelle on. Spell resilience: LOGAN!)

We were hearing horror stories already at this point. No water at km 12. Pitch darkness. Runners throwing what they can to the organizers. Runners riding the bus and getting off and running again (I don’t blame them! But I am ever so proud of our runners who didn’t. Clap . Clap.). No marshalls.
I don’t remember the order of the runners who went to our station, but we saw:

Julius. Sobrang chill pace and no qualms, Orange Julius. He just waited for Ian and Isko (batting my eyelashes. lol) so he’d have someone to talk to in the the last kms. But he technically didn’t need anything from us. He’s a real one, this guy. Congratz!

Mark H woot! Bea texted me asking how he was. He was strong still when we saw him

Sam. Dhang. I was afraid for Sam. He literally passed out a few feet away from us and the support team carried him to our van. Gave him whatever we had. Ambulance asking if he needed them. We didn’t. We have it covered. But Sam was so out of it that he doesn’t remember those minutes from falling to the van

Doc T. This was one runner who didn’t need anything! He didn’t even slow down for us. He just said. Si Gab. Si Gab, pointing at the back. Whoa! I heart you, Doc Topher! You are there na!!!

Gab. Gab was so upset! He rested a bit. And asked in all humility for Cindy to pace him. Our Cindy was ready! (Im crying again! Anubeh!) Amazing, right?!

Edu. Edu also almost didn’t stop. He just saw the poster (Edu, Game ka na ba?) But he ran out of our station like a bat out of hell when he heard about Craig.

Argo. Our Classic Argo. He was teary eyed maybe from exhaustion or from being so touched we had his GoW Argow sign for him. Maybe after pitch darkness, he saw us as the light. Hahaha. (Dont worry, I had an Argo moment too in my own race. That’s another story) This guy is amazing!

Nao. Hali-NAO! Superwoman in the house! She didn’t want to stop but for sheer politeness, she stopped to say thank you for banner. Hahaha. We are so proud of you! Thanks for the thank you text message. Cindy read it to us, Sunday morning.

Gerard. After his 21km in QCIM, this guy did his first FM a week after in Subic. We barely recognized him-ang payat mo na! Lol. Great job, man!

Doc Art & Cess. I have to mention this two together. Their bond is amazing. Doc Art pushing Cess to her limits and all. Cess in sheer fright had a fever minutes before the race. But she was so strong, this girl! She had more in her at km 30 that we didn’t worry that she would finish. Her pacers were awesome! Pepsi, Carina, Earl! Woot!

Carmel. Poor Carmel. His first FM in the Philippines and he had to experience the worse of it. Tsk. Tsk. But he finished it! Yey! And his accented, “Pohthaneynamoh!” to the water station people when they didn’t have water for him is just funny now. Lol.

BongYu. This guys’ attitude is just awesome. Instead of bitching and moaning about the circumstances, he accepted it as is and decided to just finish the race.

MaryGenie. This little woman ran with Jet and BY and we’re proud of her finishing.

Jet. So proud of you. You can look back on this race as a hard fought one and one that you conquered.

Mar. Coach! Back to back? But of course! If anyone can, I know you can! So proud.

Doc Roy. How’s the massage? Hahaha. You and Mar were still upbeat despite the circumstances. Galing! Till the next one.

Doc Sherwin. We didn’t need to worry about this one. Just like OJ, this is an ultrmarathonman! But we are still very much proud of you, Doc S!

To the 42KM Finishers, you fought a damn difficult race, in the worst of circumstances! But in the end you conquered it. Not a lot of people can say that. You ran it with almost no water, in pitch darkness, no route markers, no marshals, volunteers who knew nothing, in a route that was new but overly difficult. You didn’t prepare for an adventure race, but you got one. And you FINISHED it. That is all that matters!

(To the race organizers: this does not in any way shape or form vindicate you or cleanse you from the GROSS mistakes and ill-preparedness of this race. What you did was horrible and dangerous! You could have killed someone in that race and you know it!)

This blog is simply a testament to the kind of runners we at takbo.ph are- resilient, never afraid, supportive, finishers to the end!

Urbanite’s Supercalifragilisticexpialidoseous

I sit here in front of the computer at 2:50AM at a complete loss for
words at what happened at the Urbanite tonight. I have always loved my
takbo family from the very beginning. I don’t know how to feel after
what they did tonight.

Finding out the route on a Monday for a Saturday race was numbing for me. And
realizing it was the dhang hillsssss at McKinley literally got me a 38.5
fever. I was scared! My 13.2km strong run the Sunday before didn’t mean
squat now. I did not train on hills! There were plenty of invites from
the group that I never joined (hindsight is indeed 20-20). I needed
to at least see what I was so afraid of and the only way to do it is to
run the dhang things. Tuesday, when Timmy and BongZ said they were
running, I joined. Buti na lang RJ promised to run at my pace which he
did splendidly. 🙂 I finished the 13km (we couldn’t enter the Cemetery)
in 2:20. I was no longer afraid after that. I resigned myself to walking
(I don’t walk in my races kasi mabagal na nga ako mashadow) at least 2
of the hills and allowed myself to walk those 2 hills on the actual run.

I found out on a Wednesday that I will have 3 talks on August 15.
Perfect! I was supposed to just sleep the whole day Saturday! But it’s
work. I have to do it. IN 3-inch HEELS!!!! That’s the clincher! Hay

Race Night. 7pm. As I saw the takbo peeps, I was greeted with a whole slew
of “Kaya mo yans” and hugs. I appreciated that because as I saw the
Start/Finish Line, I wanted to throw up. They made sure I had my phone
with me so they can call and see where they can start to pace me. They
were running their own race and yet will go back for me to pace me to
the finish. I didn’t get that… At Gun Off, we were off. On the turn, I
see McCoy running beside me, saying he’ll be pacing me. “Huh? From here
to finish?” He said “yes.” I didn’t get it… “Marga, water?” “Yes,
pls” and he would run ahead of me and get water/powerade from the
station. He even got a bottled water so we dont have to rely on water
stations, assuring me of being hyrdrated when I need it and just hold it
for me. “Huh?” He was just patiently at my left. Kawawa naman. I don’t
talk (or walk) in my races because I can’t. I don’t have the energy to
run and talk at the same time. He was just there!*kamot ulo* My arm
(what do you call that?) thingie that houses my mobile fone was chaffing
my arm. He got it from me and wore it (sa left leg nga lang kasi dun
lang kasya.lol) He was doing everything for me! I am dumbfounded until

BongZ finished his race and called us when we were getting out of Heritage.
He said, he’ll pace me as we go into McKinley hills. I said, ok, thanks.
Will call you…But it took me sooo long to get to the bungad of
McKinley Hills that he was walking back to us na nga. 🙂 With Powerades.
*iling ng ulo*

As we were about to get out of the hills, we see Roselle and Gab walking
down to us. Another 2 pacers? Huwat?! I knew Roselle said she will if
she has the energy. But Gab? 🙂 And boy, did the Running Diva have
energy! She sang to me, to us the whole way back!!!! Kung Kaya mong
Isipin, Cadence Song, Tuwing Umuulan, Paraiso, Ice Ice Baby, Hawaii
Five-O. The guys were singing with her and I didn’t realize it, I was
running faster and didn’t mind the hills at all, “What Hills? lol.” The
Diva realized this as well so she really sang the whole time. Maski
imbento na lang with the rhythmic clapping. Amazing!

We see Marky and Dhentz at a corner ready to join me and the pacers.
Anubeh? Overwhelmed na ko. promise. I see Rod running back to us as
well. Wag niyo kong paiyakin!

“Konti na lang. Last 1k. last 600 meters” I see on my left waiting to join
us, a few meters before the turn to the Finish were Cherry, RJ and

“Let’s make a V for Marga” “Sakto, 10 tayo. 5 on her left. 5 on her right.
She’ll be the tip”. Before the turn, they were forming. I didn’t want to
look baka maiyak no ko talaga, but I can hear them moving back. I see
the Finish Line and I did an exhilarating sprint to the Finish as they
were shouting for me, with me. I see 2:25 on the Timex and as I cross
the Finish Line, wala na sila sa likod ko. Ha?

And then I realize, they wanted to make sure that it was MY finish.*sniff*

But I could not have finished that 15km without them! Let’s be fair, I’d
have finished it. At a slower time perhaps and sooo exhausted I won’t be
able to move. But the quality of the Finish makes a huge difference.

And that was a strong and happy finish. I cannot thank you enough. I
loved you guys then, so what do I call this feeling I have for you now
that seems to be expounded a hundred times over? New-found respect for
the kind of people you are? Generous, selfless, men and women of your
word, entertaining,just plain NICE?


Tales at the Milo Support Station

Ang sarap pakinggan/basahin ang walang sawa ninyong pasasalamat sa pagsuporta namin sa inyo. Ang aming sagot mula sa puso: Wala pong anuman!

To witness and share in your triumphs is enough for us. I’m living vicariously through all of you. That is, until I get enough hutzpah to do something as crazy as this. lol.

To the Finalists: Wilnar, Natz, Vener, Jay (di ko kilala si Jay); to the old and new 42km Finishers: Rico, Bongyu, Ziggy, Aries, Dhentz, Doc Roy, Rod, Mar, EO, Chris, Mr. Robert Garcia, Sam, and Steven  (I hope I didn’t forget anyone); to the 21k Finishers: Ellen,Doc Lyndon, Ferdie, Carlo (all the way from Cebu), Argo, Doc Eric, BongZ, Timmy, Team Loagan: Craig, Michelle, Justin, Prince, David V, Ian, Eric A and Emilee A (if I forgot anyone, please add na lang po)—-all of you are such an inspiration to us. Cheers. Clink.

Now for the fun part.  Snippets of fun at the Aid Station on Buendia:

Pat texted by 4:20AM saying he was at the Buendia Station already. By this time, Iris and I were at Buendia/Makati Avenue. Got to Caltex before 4:30, saw red shirts all over, and we thought, “Wow, aga!” Ay, mali, Caltex Pump Boys pala. .

Pat texted saying he’s running after the runners on his bike after Gunning Off.  Gene arrived .Neil and Rachel came in their pick-up, Eire and Bryan in their Fortuner. We were strategizing how to cross the other side of the street to station the station (huh?), made googly-eyes to the men in uniform and yey, they allowed us to set-up. Chugging along the coolers, chairs, food, and all our bags, we crossed the street. Rachel took charge right away : set –up cooler her, trash here, other stash here….Done. Now picture time. Lol. Cherry and Julie arrives, then Shel. Picture ulit. At some point, Francis (Rico’s friend) came and we were set. At siyempre si Carly.  In the middle of things, dumaan din ang mga finishers-Cindy, Doc T, Edu, Vicky, Vic, Tim, Ferds, Neil, Prince. Siyempre the bikers: Julius, Ronald, RJ, & Neil. (again if I forgot anyone, it’s not my fault).

Our weapons: Water Spritzers, Choco Mucho, Banana, Piyaya, Polvoron (yup, we wanted to give this to the kaaways. Who? We don’t know. lol) Water, Gatorade, Vit Water, Powerade, Pompoms, Ice cold towels, Dry towels, Liniment, Alcohol, and of course, my BenGay.

(Please note that Mar and Rico were the men of the hour: preparing, coaching, etc. Thinking of the smallest details such as, stickers, represent takbo.ph well and not be mean to the runners who need aid, and of course the hand signals: 1 (pointy finger) for liquids-water, gatorade, etc; 2 (peace sign) for food; arms crossed means cuddle.)

Incoming! It’s Mar! Go Mar, Go! Clap. Clap. Go! Mar makes the number 1 sign and what do the wonderful people at the aid station do?  ‘Gave him the same sign, and shouts, “Number 1! Number 1!” A few seconds after he passed us, we looked at each other and realized,” Crap! He needed water!!!!” Oh nooooooo! We started laughing, but we all felt so Du-h! We let Mar down….*sniff. Pat to the rescue! As Pat wheels to us, he was signaling that Mar needed water. Hala, lagay ng water and Gatorade sa backpack ni Pat. And he was off! Whew! Possibly being banned from takbo.ph averted.

Si Rico! Clap. Clap. Clap. Go Rico! He was doing the hand signal for drinking water and saying Gatorade, Gatorade. Dhanggit! We were not ready. We had no water or Gatorade on hand. The cooler had something on top of it, hence taking us a few more seconds to open the dheng thing, and by this time, Rico was jogging in place patiently waiting for our clumsiness to subside…Go Rico!!! And off he went. Kahiya!

Anubah? What kind of Supporters are we?! We let down our Masters! Of all the people we needed to make ‘pakitang gilas’ to, we failed on both counts (shame. head bowed). LOL! Bawi. Bawi. We assigned spritzers, water, Gatorade, food, cameras. Hidden behind our backs so we wont inadvertently give our supplies to non takbo peeps.

In my head, it was okay to use the spritzer on non-takbo peeps because it was just water, right? But, nooo. Bryan told me he’d tell on me kay Rico. Ayan. Tinago ko tuloy.  But then I see him, a few minutes later, spritzing anything that moves—us, runners, aba, trigger-happy. Bryan actually has a shot where he’s spritzing someone straight at the runner’s ear. Pasalamat ka, di si BR or else, ma-blog ka! Lol.

Don’t pass our station walking because we will get you to run, or we will get you to run a wee bit faster.  It seems almost comical that the Aid Station had this power, but it’s not comical because we know the runners were just so tired, but because we were cheering them on, they had to move faster. Tsk. Tsk. We were too efficient, I think. Lol.

Some thought the Aid Station was the Finish Line. Oooops, sorry, we’re just an excitable bunch.

“Incoming Orange Sticker!”

“Incoming…ay mali…fuschia pala.



Woohoo! Clap. Clap. Go Runners, Go.

And of course, my favorite part of the day was when my first BenGay  Botak ‘customer’ passed by on the turn-around and blows kisses to me. Itago na lang natin siya sa pangalang, Isko.  (Walang pakialamanan, blog ko to!) Peace!

We’ve joined the Bandwagon yadayadayada :)

Scene: TAKBO.PH Carboloading Party. March 20, The Pavilion, Greenhills

As the gracious hosts were playing the game of “Have You Never…?” as an ice breaker to the hodgepodge of runners – some 5k newbies, some 10k /21k  expert challengers to the ultramarathoners – the question “Have you never ran in the rain?” came up.

Vanessa asked, “Considered ba yung tumakbo ka dahil wala kang payong?”

‘Guess who said it?

  1. A Newbie
  2. The Expert Challenger
  3. An Ultrmarathoner


Save the Whale Sharks…NOT!

Running for me is really psyching yourself up: to finish, finish with a good time, finish with minimal walking. As I got my sister and her friend to run with me and knowing that they were passionate Marine Scientists who do diving clean ups anywhere and everywhere, I thought the “Save the Butanding!” cause might be the extra push to make them join the Condura Run. And they did…but as the race day loomed closer, we heed and hawed if we can actually do the run.

Then we found out that there were time limits to the race: 5k 1 hr 30 mins; 10 k 2 hrs 30 mins; 21k 3hrs and 30.


“Iris, May time limit pala! Lagot!”

The passionate environmentalist/marine biologist says, “ Patayin na lang natin ang mga butanding!”

Blind Item

Scene: Italliani’s at Trinoma, March 19, 2009

Friend: Bakit sa movies, maski isang beses lang, nabubuntis na?

Sarcastic me: At artista ka?!

My First Blog Entry

I never attempted to understand the concept of blogs-on how people share their thoughts and experiences online and have the world read who they are.  I don’t get it. Why would you want to share inane, trivial thoughts to the world? Even at the height of the Gucci gang blog entries, I couldn’t be bothered with reading it but I smile at how this medium has literally become a mass medium.  I was a broadcast graduate – radio and television were the ultimate media for mass communication.

I guess not anymore.

Then I realize, in this age of globalization, as we become citizens of the world (made easier by this medium called the internet), the need to preserve who we are is made more imminent; the need to let others know that ‘I’ exist swiftly holds more meaning.   Or maybe it’s just my age talking – almost mid-lifing I guess (my lolos and lolas’ average life span is 75 yrs and I’m 34); that the need to leave a mark somehow seems more pronounced at this side of 30.   But what kind of mark? I don’t know.  I guess we’ll find out as I write and you read.

You no longer need to carry a PhD to publish, a baritone voice to be heard over the radio, a pretty face and a good reading diction to read the news on tv, or to tour the world to have something to say.

The need to connect with the world is suddenly a click away.

I’m still uneasy in writing one, but I want to try.  I am inspired by friends’ blogs I’ve read – some really laugh out loud, slap in the knee funny, some cute and sweet, some too random thoughts, some too erudite  that I think I actually snored through it, and some, just right-funny  without trying to be, touching that brings tears to the eyes, saying something that you as a reader connects with – an entry that personifies the writer to a ‘T’.

This is my first blog entry. June 7, 2008

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