Beginnings

Just Run

The Editor’s Letter in the August 2015 issue of Runner’s World urges us to, “get someone running” and to share stories using the hashtag: #getsomeonerunning

Motivating others to embark on their running journeys is a passion of mine. I’m blessed to be able to work with the Step Into Running program through Team Run Flagstaff and to write this blog to encourage folks to run. This magazine’s call to reach out to future runners made me think about the people who inspired and helped me to get started. The two people (among others) that always come to mind right away are my friend Courtney, and Glenn. I’m grateful that I went to see Courtney run a 5K in Traverse City, and then to see her run in the Detroit Marathon. We roomed together in college and I don’t ever remember her going for a run (was I too self-centered to notice?)… and then, poof! There she was – running distances I didn’t even realize people ran! Her strength, determination, and ability made me think, “Maybe I could be a runner… I WANT to be a runner!”

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Here is Courtney killing it in the Detroit Marathon (2010). Photo credit: Courtney’s Facebook page (I hope she doesn’t mind that I swiped this picture!)!

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Courtney and I after her finish at the Detroit Marathon (2010). Photo credit: Again, Courtney’s Facebook page!

In those early days – and every step of the way since – Glenn has been a huge champion of my running. We did many of our long runs together while training for our first half marathon and our first full marathon. Without his encouragement and support I’m not sure I would have continued down this road…

621484_435371659843188_635586865_oNow Run Trails

In the Editor’s Note in this month’s copy of Trail Runner Paul Cuno-Booth asks runners to “think of someone who transformed your relationship to the sport.” Thanks to Flagstaff’s summer trail races I was introduced to trail running quickly. That being said, it didn’t occur to me that I might run on trails like those when it wasn’t a race. My “trail running” was limited to the wonderful FUTS trails in town (which I love dearly and run on regularly). I have Ellie to thank for getting me out on single track trails. The loop we run often (and that I could probably run in my sleep at this point) was my first trail run with her. I remember wanting to take breaks – there were so many hills and so many rocks to navigate! My body was sore from the effort even though my pace was slower than it was on the road. Thank God Ellie was in great condition and could do all of the talking because initially I certainly couldn’t contribute anything to the conversation.

Ellie!

Ellie!

Now, more than a year later, I can use those same trails for a weekend long run. I try new trails on my own. I try trails solo that I’ve done with others (hoping I’ll make it home without getting too lost). I’m happy to explore a new path and am not overly concerned about how strenuous the run will be like I was in the past. My fitness has improved immensely after more and more time on my feet and, I believe, extended runs on these trails.

You’ll have to agree that after the views I had yesterday on a run… how could I ever stop?2015-07-29 07.54.13 2015-07-29 07.28.57 2015-07-29 08.07.10 2015-07-29 07.27.10 2015-07-29 08.05.39

 

Who helped you get started with running?

What loop/run is your favorite?

How has running changed your life?

 

Guest Post: My Thoughts on Running (Or My Love-Hate Relationship with My Calves)

This morning I had the pleasure of being tagged in a Facebook “Note” written by a former Step Into Runner and friend, Mavreen Rose. Her thoughts about running moved me and I asked her if I could share them here. We all run for different reasons, at different paces, and with varying levels of how we’d individually define “success.” We have either struggled or know someone who has struggled with body image issues. Mavreen’s words and her wisdom are truly an inspiration. Enjoy!

I think I have always been genetically predisposed to run. I have really muscular calves. (Thanks Lola Terry. Thanks Pops!). Now, I never took great pride in them until lately.

In elementary school and high school, my calves were a source of great insecurity for me. Let me now say this, high school boys can be cruel. I remember vividly how a bunch of 2nd year boys would loiter by the stairs looking at girls’ legs and I overheard this particular group talking about my muscular calves. Now for a freshman, this was particularly distressing. I put on a brave face and ignored it but I can never forget the fact that my calves were a topic of conversation.

Despite being a source of insecurity,  my legs (calves, included) helped me with my gymnastics. My coach Joven Cablas would tell me I had great legs. “Great” – I think he meant – that my legs could take me to the nationals.. And they did.. and even won me a silver medal.

Yet, for all the “nice things” my legs brought me, I was always insecure about them. I remember freshman year in college, the girls in Silliman University were required to wear — of all things — bloomers. I would run as fast as I can from my dorm to the field and back again so I can spend as little time in public wearing those despicable excuse for shorts. I think I left an impression on my classmates when I would remove my shorts underwater rather than before going into the water for our swimming classes. I was THAT insecure.

For the longest time, I think I avoided wearing shorts, skirts or any piece of clothing that would bare my legs. But these days, I now wear a lot of running shorts.

Because I rediscovered a love for running.

I think I have always loved to run. In USC, I was almost always rushing from one place to the other. However, I was told it was “unladylike” to run. So I stopped. I now regret listening to that advice — because I would realize later on that once our bodies get used to inactivity, it will remain at rest. (Newton’s law, right? LOL)

I would run here and there but never really made it a habit. This is now an absolutely horrific memory but in TAMU, in the first not-so-fun run I ever joined, I only bested 2 pregnant women and a woman with her baby in a stroller. If that’s not embarrassing, I do not know what is. Those women were running for 2. I wasn’t.

In 2012, I hit a really low point in my life. I was depressed. I hit rock bottom. My self esteem was zilch. I was overweight. I was ugly. Everything in my life was falling apart. I can hardly recognize myself in the mirror. And now, I wish to confess that I had thought of ending it all. But as I was too cowardly (or maybe brave), I sought help. I went to the doctor. I went to group therapy. I sought counselling. I eventually went home.. to heal myself. And I decided I needed to make changes.

When I went back to Texas, I knew I needed to fix my health issues. I started with the small things. I decided to eat healthy. I started to avoid all meat and I started cooking all my meals. I would portion them and made sure I only ate within my caloric allowance. I went to the gym. I tried the treadmill. Running on the treadmill, I would get bored and would focus on the time or distance and when I get tired I just hit that STOP button and workout is over. So one day I decided I was going to run outdoors. Running outdoors forces you to run till a certain point then run back to where you started.

Now, at this point, I was really horrifically unfit. I was slow. So I decided I was just going to do timed runs. I got a Couch to 5K app. My first run consisted of a 20 minute run/walk combination. I hated every second of it. I can barely breathe. But I finished it and that gave me a bit of confidence to do it again. So I did.

Eventually, I was running 30 minutes a day, then 45 minutes.. I got better at it and I would run a minimum of 3 miles on average every day during the work week. I would then run 6 miles on average on Saturdays and/or Sundays. I wasn’t fast or anything. I just kept at it.

I would eventually move to Flagstaff and I thought I can run as easily as I was able to in Texas. Wrong! At 7500 ft above sea level, I was back to square one. The first time I ran in Flagstaff, I once again felt like my heart was in my throat and that I can hardly breathe at all. I only ran 1 mile that day. Now this put me off from running for a while. I was severely discouraged.

Life then happened, but I was happy. I was happy with my job, with my coworkers, with my students. I felt appreciated and I regained my self confidence. I was happy once again after a very long time. And winter hit.

Now, I can run okay in Texas winters but Flagstaff is a different story. So I took a break.. a really long break.

Let me just say that when summer came, I took out my running shoes again.. and once again went back to square one. I started again. Eventually, in the Fall, I kept running because I had coworkers who were patient with me. Anna Hager, Gered Ryan and Marci Wills would easily chat while running while I struggled to keep up. Yet they were always patient with me.

I would then join Team Run Flagstaff’s Step Into Running Program. Anna invited Kate Stogsdill and I to join. I met some wonderful people there. I felt comfortable running with people from different walks of life and different stages of fitness. I was very impressed and a little bit intimidated at the marathon runners. They were very inspiring.(Stephanie Gray Edgerton, you are still an inspiration!) I put in the work and I was happy to have survived a 5k at 7500 ft above sea level. I didn’t care much for my time but I thought I finished strong.

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Running in Flagstaff was easy logistically. I miss that about the city I lived in for two years. I can just walk out my apartment and explore some urban trails. I am sad I didn’t run more when I lived there.

These days, I am trying to train for a 10K. Someday, I hope to run a marathon (like you Elisha Jayme and Fritz Espinosa!).My dad has been helping me out and this has been a great way to spend time with him. He used to run marathons.

I appreciate my dad’s great intentions yet there are certain challenges that running in my hometown brings : numerous cars that seem intent to end my life and numerous dogs that seem intent to make me their dog treat. Yet there are prime spots too – like Capitol Lagoon,  the Esplanade or the sports complex (when I go to Iloilo) and well, the road in DSB! Lately, I have discovered that running from my house to The District is about a 5K distance.

Now, I still have to answer, WHY DO I RUN?

I run to exercise and feel healthy and strong. I run to enjoy my running music. I run so I can make full use of expensive running gear (On a teacher’s salary – running clothes and shoes are pricy!).

I run to exorcise all my demons. I run to find peace.

I run to talk to friends (Stephanie Skiles, I will always remember you trying to pace me! Annache Hagood, running on that particularly cold winter day was definitely NOT a good idea. LOL).

I run so I don’t have to talk.

I run to think. I run to stop thinking.

I run so I can forgive others. I run so I can forgive myself.

I run to run away from all the stresses that plague me.

I run to fight with my enemies in my head (I sometimes imagine myself as Manny Pacquiao).

I run when I have things weighing me down.

I run when I need to make a decision. I may not always get an answer but I always feel much better after a good run.

HOW DO I RUN?

I try to run in good form – sometimes even trying to run the way my cousin Reggie Tuvilla taught me.

I run till the only thing I can focus on is taking my next breath and putting one foot in front of the other. I wonder if my eyes sweat as well or I am actually crying. But I run till all my sadness, all my heartbreak, all my frustrations, all my desperations, all my anger go away..

I run until I feel myself becoming whole again.

I run like it is a form of meditation or prayer.

I run despite my whole body rebelling until it feels right.

I run in order to be happy.

I run so I can live.

These days, I am really proud of my calves.

Because they are strong. Quite strong that even after the killer workout I was subjected to by my friend Miko Castillo when I was a guest at his gym, I hardly felt any soreness.

Because I am vain. I get compliments of how muscular they are.

But most of all because I have always had them and they are strong and they are mine and they take me places.

Maybe it isn’t even too far fetched to say that my calves saved my life.

And to celebrate them, here’s a photo of me running away from my insecurities and running towards my happiness.

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Photo by: Babelyn Cabalar

If you run, WHY and HOW do you do it?

Adventure Awaits!

Soldiers Trail with Monica…

Monica and I haven’t run together since zero-dark-thirty that wicked-cold morning in early January on Lake Mary Road. When I met her that morning it was about 6:00 AM at my mile 4 and we ran 5 more miles together. While backing out to go and see her I smacked into my in-law’s car. One highlight of our run on Thursday was the fact that the temps were perfect and I didn’t hit any cars before seeing her! It was nice for the two of us to catch up and for her to run a new trail close to where she lives. She’ll be running it next weekend in a race so now she knows the drill. Unfortunately I took a tumble and ended up a little wounded. Thankfully Glenn patched me all up (gotta love those athletic trainers) and I was good to go.

Games with Gabe…

Maybe the day won’t come. Maybe Gabe will always want to “play a game” or “watch a movie” with me. I hope that’s the case. If not, however, I’m taking advantage of many of the times he asks me to play!

Long Run…

I really thought Buffalo Park was further away from my house than it is. There is a hill (not pictured above) with a 12% grade that is affectionately called “Hospital Hill” by Gabe and his old soccer teammates. I did have to make it up that hill and lots of rolling others to get there, but I was only at 4.6 miles at that point. I did 3 loops and then ran home for a 15 mile run. I felt good the whole time (tired at the end, of course, but still felt good) and I’m thankful for that!

Road Trip…

We took advantage of our last weekend before some of us start returning to work and/or school and headed to Show Low, AZ to do a little camping. It’s a relief to share some of the driving with Andrew. We had a good time with one another, however we realized we just might not be a camping family. Hm.

Sunday morning trail run on Blue Ridge Trail in Lakeside, AZ…

I left the campsite this morning at about 6:00 AM for my 8.4 mile trail run on Blue Ridge Trail. Unfortunately the Walmart I planned to use for a bathroom pit-stop wasn’t open 24-hours. The only option I knew would work was 5 miles in the wrong direction! After taking care of that I headed back past the Walmart and out toward the trail. Finding the trail wasn’t as smooth sailing as I would have liked so by the time I got to the trailhead it was already 7:00. Glenn’s phone was dead and so I couldn’t let him know I was getting a late start.

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Can you believe the size and the proximity of the cattle? This group was not at the trailhead when I pulled in to park. I finally got out of my car and started fussing around with my hydration pack and I heard a snort. When I turned around, there they were! They had to be closer than 50 yards away from me. Fascinating. 2015-07-26 08.34.04

This is a picture from early in my run. There were white diamond markers every 0.25 miles throughout the loop so it was easy to stay on track. Whenever I was worried I might be getting lost (thankfully it didn’t happen) I knew I only had to wait a quarter of a mile at the most to find out.2015-07-26 09.07.38-1

This one was taken nearing the end of my run after I had fallen three times (not while snapping photos!). What’s the deal with that? After my third fall I sat on the ground and thought about crying. The other two falls hurt but this one stung even more by comparison. No tears came. I knew that I was behind schedule (late start plus a slower new-to-me-trail pace) and that Glenn and the boys would be getting worried so I ditched the sit-and-cry idea and kept going.
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What a view!2015-07-26 09.01.00

At 8.6 miles I saw this sign and had a few choice words to say about it. I didn’t mind physically running another mile as much as A) it took a lot of concentration trying not to fall again and B) I knew another mile would put me even further behind schedule. Finally, at 9.5 miles I reached the trailhead, stretched briefly, rinsed off my cuts, and hopped in the car to head back to the campsite. Even though it was already late I did stop for coffee because I thought not having any might be what finally brought on the tears.

Though I had a tough run I am thankful I successfully researched trails in a new area, found one I thought would work, rolled out of the tent early in the morning on vacation, and made it happen. Adventure awaits if you look for it!