[Absolute disclaimer : I’m not one of your Facebook friends who lead a picture-perfect life & nail one achievement after another as if they’re buying socks, in fact I’m a certified couch potato, have difficulty hiding my bilbil all the time, stashing chichirya and ice cream from my esposa and eating these when unmonitored at night, and I’m hopeless at sports. I’m just saying this in advance to convince you I’m a real person who’s actually considering doing this. Mabuhay! ]
I’M a witness virtually everyday, and it’s like watching a train wreck, so I can’t avoid it (it’s actually before the news, so I’m a captive audience). It’s nearly the same situation every day.
Australian Deal or No Deal. Less than 6 briefcases left.
Three blue briefcases (anwhere between 50 cents and $750), Two red ($1000 to $20,000), and ONE green ($50,000 or 75 grand or $100,000 or $200,000). Banker offers anything between $18,000 and $25,000, on the high end if the contestant is a girl and/or has a sob story (sick relative, never had a vacay in his/her life or something like that), even higher if the contestant is funny and is in touch with the audience.
That’s 18 to 20 thousand dollars more than whatever you had in your pocket when you woke up this morning, and more money than you’ll ever earn in an hour, the rest of your life, or forever, whichever comes first.
Guess what? Nine times out of ten, the contestant listens to the crowd, ignores the law of averages (c’mon, risking $20,000 on a one-out-of-six odds?) thinks he/she hasn’t been lucky enough (to get chosen as a contestant AND get to that level) and curses to the heavens, “NO DEAL!”
I would shut my eyes and cringe, but I see it every day. Green briefcase gets wiped out, Banker offers less than barya needed for the pamasahe home, contestant has nothing left but fumes, to salvage pride tries the next highest briefcase (which is less than $1000 usually), and has no one to blame but himself herself. Next contestant please.
This I see everyday, of course, there’s the occasional lucky contestant who is smart enough to quit when he/she’s ahead, and goes home with enough cash for a nice vacation. Not a whole lot, but better than barya.
What does this have to do with little old me?
I’ll tell you : I’m turning 50 this year, but I’m (knock-knock) as fit as I’ve ever been my whole adult life. I’ve never been athletic, but neither have I ever been (if memory serves) fat enough to not be able to clip my toenails. A combination of running weather the last few months, healthy eating (Mahal watches nearly everything I eat) and healthy living (sleeping right and moderate drinking) have only improved my situation. 🙂 I may not look the best among my high school contemporaries, but I usually leave a reunion smiling.
Now, why do I need to ruin it all by potentially disappointing myself (in case of failure) by committing to my first-ever half marathon? Here are the reasons.
I’ve never achieved anything noteworthy in sports. I’m terrible in anything involving physical activity. Oh, like every Pinoy I love basketball and always pretended I was Robert Jaworski, sidestepping an opponent with a clever dribble, faking the running shot airborne and passing to Francis Arnaiz or Arnie Tuadles on the wing. But then I always woke up. Even worse with team sports, be it barangay basketball, office volleyball or even The Amazing Race-type event, where I couldn’t finish a challenge if my life depended on it.
In a marathon, you don’t do anything. No skills, no talent, no nothing. It’s just you, the road, and the will to finish. And God’s grace so you don’t pull a muscle, roll an ankle, or slip on a rut and tear your ACL. At the end (if you can afford it) you have a finisher’s T-shirt or $5 medal that sez you’ve done something that can never be taken away from you, and that’s punish yourself on a Sunday morning when everyone else is sleeping in. And if you can’t afford it, there’s the tiktok website where you can always look up your race number and name next to your finishing time. Wow. And that’s why the achievement alone is worth the effort.
Timing and energy. I’m hale and hearty now, full of energy for the day, enough for work and a little left for recreation, but I don’t know how long it will last. Like I told you Precious Reader, I am on the cusp of reaching the half-century mark this year, and though it’s only a number it is a milestone that bespeaks care of the body and safety first before embarking on a major physical activity.
Literally, I’ve done the hard yards. As much as possible, I run everyday, not only to train but to condition my body to both intensity and endurance. To put it simply, I’ve never run a half-marathon in my life. But it’s the same idea that turns me on. I don’t need to emphasize to you, as well, that I may never do this again. Who knows if I’ll have the same motivation and enthusiasm next year?
Bunso on my side. My younger son Bunso has become a bit of a prima donna of late, visiting and expecting a grand time with his cousins in Auckland, and coming back to Wellington expecting to be enrolled in the Wellington Roundthebays, which is the marathon we are running in. But the truth is, he’s worth it. With him as my pacer, running buddy and morale booster, I can’t go wrong. He has that combination of being ultra-fit (well, he is only 19), ultra-focused and ultra-willing to help his dad, who has the willing spirit but not always the flesh to go with it.
He is my secret weapon in the mission to complete the half-marathon, and my only problem is that I may not be able to keep up with him the entire race. I certainly don’t want to hold him back; I want him to finish the 21 kilometers in the fastest time he’s capable of. Hopefully, I can keep up maybe three-quarters of the way before he breaks away. That will be enough, I think, for me to finish even if I’m alone.
After all, I win or lose the race of life with my own two feet. Please pray for me so that the Almighty gives me strength and endurance for the Cigna Wellington roundthebays Sunday the 22nd. Thanks for reading!