Monday, August 29, 2011

# 29 21 @ 15

distance and age, kilometers and years

twenty-one kilometers at fifteen. tete conquered her first half-marathon yesterday it was a baptism of fire in the truest sense, an initiation rite fit only for the determined and the bullheaded.  no other route could jolt a first-time half-marathoner to her senses so intensely as yesterday's run.  it was a race meant for the battle-tested road warrior or a university star athlete, definitely not for a fifteen year old recreational runner.  the first half was all about hills - rugged, steep and unfamiliar. i would think that even the seasoned and weathered half-marathoners in yesterday's run had some difficulty in their ascent to and descent from the hills. there was nothing quaint about yesterday's hills. while the people up there were friendly, the stray dogs were not too happy with the early morning intrusion on their territory.  the second half of the route brought a welcome respite from the hills. there was an endless stretch of asphalt ahead but the sun was angry, beating hot and hard on the runners.  it was ferocious in its rage, to say the least.

tete loves to challenge herself. she thrives on doing things that would seem insurmountable for someone her age.  she explores where others fear to tread.  she was hoping to do her first half-marathon over the summer.  she had enough practice then and was conditioned in mind and body. by some stroke of (bad) luck, there was no schedule for a half-marathon when she was on vacation.  schoolwork prevented her from doing the back to back 21k's before yesterday's run.  she knew the odds were against her going into this run. she had no training and no decent mileage but headstrong, she was.

the run was a crusade for the environment. its goal is lofty but the potential of turning it into reality is all there.  participation in the 21k category was minimal as it came closely on the heels of two other half marathons.  a pity as it had all the elements of a perfect run. it would put other less-organized runs to shame.  the marshals were many and visible. they manned every intersection so efficiently and effectively.  half of the main road was closed to traffic. hot-tempered and hostile drivers and smoke-belching vehicles are every runner's nightmare. the club members made sure their runners did not have to contend with this problem yesterday. aid stations did not only have water to offer but cold sports drink, as well. the people who handed out the drinks were friendly and generous with their words of encouragement. the registration fee was affordable. one would wonder why the organizing club was able to do this while other runs with less to offer charge excessive fees.  the singlet material was of good quality. they had a finisher's medal, too. all the elements of a perfect run, i would say again. what more could runners ask for? 

the sun was unforgiving! following her  pacer-daddy with every ounce of energy left, tete trudges on with iron determination that belied her spent form.  with renewed bursts of energy,  she would  at times outpace her daddy.  quitting was never an option for her.  all she wished for was not to finish last.

the club members and support staff at the finish line were awesome. they cheered for tete as she was turning the corner heading for the finish arch.  they clapped and urged her to take the last remaining strides.  tired and fried by the sun, she was close to tears.  the finish line was conquered three hours and nine minutes after she started the race.  the finisher's medal was a joy to behold ! she didn't finish last.

tete was overwhelmed by the sense of fulfillment.   it was more tears of joy than tears of pain.  she gets a comforting hug from her daddy who paced her all the way.  at one point during the race, her daddy suggested a timed run-walk routine.   fast losing steam in the scorching heat, she said - i will run when i want to run and walk when i want to walk.  way to go, tete !!

thank you, talisay city runners' club (TCRC), for making this half-marathon a meaningful experience for our tete.  she will continue to do other half-marathons in the coming years.  her time will improve many times over and PR's will be set. she will most likely complete the full distance but her first half she will always remember with fondness.

thank you, teacher vicki, for kindling the passion for running in all of us. this is as much your success as ours.

kids dream big. when they do, they stop at nothing. their dreams may just be specks on the horizon now but with youth on their side, it will be within their grasp.  isn't that awesome?


  1. Friendly drink givers. Nice, nice. One time, we went to a super market and the guard was so smiley and friendly. I love friendly people!!!!!! Nice te. Nice, nice.

  2. Thank you so much sir/madam... we, the TCRC will always cherished the moment we saw tete. because honestly, we almost cried also when she arrived. as runners ourselves we could relate the pain she underwent and the courage she'd shown was really remarkable... we will always wish for her to embark a new milestone in the coming days, and that is the full mary...Congrats tete...

  3. congrats tete!! i mysefl havent run that far yet, being a part of TCRC team they really have
    the encouraging words to let me do so.. hope to have the same urge with u miss tete... as my co-TCRC would always say, IT IS NOT ABOUT WHO FINISHED FIRST IT IS HOW U ARE DETERMINED TO FINISH THE RACE...NO TIME LIMIT... " NO SPEED LIMIT"..

    thank u soo much for kindling our hearts with much happiness...God Speed=)

  4. Congrats tete, It was one baptism of fire. Finishing it in your time was even great, given the the uphill course of Maghaway. You really conquered it. You did great. As runners ourselves, we felt the same awesome feeling seeing you approach the finish line. Thank you for running w/ us. It's an honor making the event your first 21k. Thanks for your kind words, we really did our best effort to have this run, and made each and every runner special to us.

  5. Giaa (Tete) is one special young lady who I have become very fond of over the years. When I learned that she and her sisiters and cousin were doing some running it made my heart jump for joy. Yes, I do have a love of running and love the fact that others have found the same joy. I can so relate to Giaa upon the finish of her first big run. I too shed tears of joy when I finished my first 42K, mmmmaaahhhnnn what a feeling. I have been hooked ever since and one deay hope to eat some asphalt with Giaa and the new gang of runners in the house :)