Lean and Fit Penchie

Lean and Fit Penchie

Taken after finishing 21k last July 2011.

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35th Milo Marathon Finals: To Run or Not to Run?

To run or not to run in the 35th Milo Marathon Finals, that is the question.

I have had a quite long hiatus from running. I used to regularly run at least 20k a week either alone or with some friends. However, just last August, I slowed down from my training. Well, I actually stopped altogether. My excuse was, as usual, work schedule.

Last week, I went back to running again. Well, it was not purely running. I ran and walked with 2 of my dear friends, Ash and Sol. We have not seen each other in quite a long while so it was an opportune time for us to catch up with each other (and catch our breaths too!). We managed to cover at least 7k in almost an hour’s time. Not that bad considering that we walked though briskly most of the distance. The 3 of us are running enthusiasts, but due to our work schedules, running has been put aside. I know, I know. There should be no excuse for not training if one intends to run in a race. Being untrained is a recipe for injury, whether one is running a marathon, a half marathon or even a 3k.

As I go back to running again and prepare to run my 5th 21k for this year, I asked myself whether it will be sane for me to run a half marathon with more less than 3 weeks of training? Although I have been a runner for at least 2 years, considering the hiatus of at least 3 months of not running, will I be prepared enough to run such a long distance? That question will be answered when I cross the finish line come December 11.

And so for the question to run or not to run…the answer is: To Run!

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DEATH IS A BUTTERFLY

By Penchie Limbo

Is death to fear or not?
Is it the end or the beginning?
How could we fear something that is inevitable
And beautiful such as death.

I know it sounds so morbid
To even think of death
But death is really like a butterfly.
I know you’ll ask me why.

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Books

Original Composition by Penchie Limbo

Books,
On the makeshift bookshelf on my top deck bed,
Arranged not randomly but neatly, according to author and subject.
I must have too many or was my space just too tiny?
Some of them are lying on the cold, white tiled floor
In neat piles though, now just arranged according to size.

Books,
Most of them I’ve read and enjoyed,
But some remained yet to be explored.
Where did I get them, you might ask.
I picked them from all over
From bookstores far and wide.
Few of them are presents
And some of them are borrowed.

Books,
Some of my few possessions,
Some things that I couldn’t go without.
Books provide with me many things:
Company when I feel alone,
Inspiration when I feel down,
Wisdom and knowledge when I needed one, or
Joy when I feel sad.

Books,
Open the world to me,
Give me insight into myself,
Take me to an adventure without having to leave my place,
Ah…just too many more to write…
I  love my books too much.
My silly book affair.

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Beautiful Sunrise

Original Composition by Penchie Limbo

Outside my office window, I see a beautiful sunrise.
The roofs of the buildings seem to glisten under the morning sun.
I could almost feel the palpable warmth of the sun against my face and arms
Just viewing the sun’s breathtaking loveliness.

This morning the sun rises more brightly than the past few days
It shines so brightly as if to clear the sky like it usually does after a storm.
The clear and cloudless sky makes you think you could see through space
And wonder what it would be like on the other side of this planet.

The sun always amazes me.
It shines to whomever
And whatever it reaches it light.
And it embraces everyone
With its warmth regardless of who you are.

Slowly, the bright yet soft yellow light of the sun
Diffuses into the pale blue, clear and cloudless sky.
A sight that reminds me more of the summer
Rather than the feeling of Christmas morning
In a warm October day.

I looked to observe the sun more closely now
And was lost in its indescribable beauty and loveliness.
All I could do is marvel at the sight.
Bright yet soft and light…and tender.
Suddenly, I realized I no longer see the sun.
I am gazing at God’s beauty and spendor
In this warm October morn.

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The Reason Why I Run

What I Thought I Can’t Do. I am 40 years old and I just got into running 1-1/2 years ago. I have never been the athletic type. In fact, I was never into sports since I was younger. I used to believe that I had bad knees and that I could not do sports. Well, that was my excuse then for not getting into sports. I guess everyone has his or her excuses for not doing something, in my case sports particularly running.

As I have said, I believed that I have bad knees. I do not know where I got that idea from since all my physical exams since I was a kid revealed no evidence that I have weak or bad knees. In fact, I have always been physically healthy and fit to do just about anything, and I think that includes sports. I was active in the dance troupe and ballet since I was younger. Again, that will give you an idea that I have strong knees in contrast to what I self-proclaim and believe about my knees in particular.

Fear Factor. Believe it or not, since I got into running, my life has changed…for the better. However, before that happened, my life was different. I started with a wrong belief about myself, especially with what I can be and can do. Unconsciously, I believe that I am a “weak” person and that the “weak knees” was obviously just an excuse. It was a pretty good excuse for me not to try anything out of the ordinary or not to go out of my comfort zone.

Fear may have been the underlying factor for my aversion to sports or running in particular. Perhaps, it must have been fear for failure, failure of not meeting the high expectations of others, or even myself. Or worse, fear of success. Fear that if I excel, I will have to make a lot of sacrifices to be able to maintain my “status”. As you can see, my being strong or weak or turning out as a failure or a success is just all in the mind.

Be-Do-Have: What I wanted to be, what I needed to do, and what I wanted to have. I wanted to change all my false beliefs about myself. I do not want to live in fear anymore. I wanted to take a grip of my fear and deal with it.

Being a strong person not only means having physical strength. The strength of a person encompasses not only the body, but also the mind and spirit. I wanted to defy the limits that I had imposed on myself.

It was time for me to take charge of my life, time for me to change from being a weak person to becoming a strong person…body, mind and spirit. I know that it is going to take time and a lot of work, so I needed to start small. I started with my “weak knees”.

As I said, I was never the athletic type. Taking the first step was painfully difficult specially when you are 40, sedentary and a little overweight. Now, I am stronger (and faster) than I was more than a year ago. Not only I am able to run 3k’s, but I am able to run 21k’s.  In fact, I was able to run 5 half marathons in my 1-1/2 years into running with the most recent two 21k’s done last July 2011, just a week apart from each other. Hopefully, I will be able to do my first marathon before the year ends. Some people would probably say that getting into running at 40 is too late. It’s not true. It may be difficult at first, but it is possible.

Now, I am not only strong (and fast) physically, I also got rid of my excess weight and got healthier, I have expanded my social network and gained new friends as well. That is nice to know, right?

The reason I run. I got into running because of my desire to change myself, to become a better person bigger than myself, to become a strong, healthy, positive and a well-balanced person. For me running is about defying limits, making the impossible nothing by just doing it.

To put that all together in one sentence why I got into running and why I run is: To be the best that I can be.

I am still a work in progress, and I definitely get better and better everyday.

“What the mind can conceive, the body can achieve.” Napoleon Hill

See you on the road!

PS
Just a few weeks back, my runner friends and I organized a runners club at work. Now, I lead a small group of runners and I run with them at least once every week. It’s feels good to help other people take their first step into running and seeing their progress as the weeks go by. Now, how’s that for becoming bigger than myself? 🙂

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My Answer to the Question How Do I Start Running

Just recently I helped start a runners club at work. The idea of starting a runners club came from the members of the track and field team, which I am part of. We officially launched the club just a few weeks ago.

Running is not a new sport among employees in the company that I work for. In fact, quite a number of people at work have already been running regularly in races. However, for those who are new to running and who are planning of taking up running as a form of exercise or a new sport, the most frequently asked question that we encounter is how do they start running.

I am quite new also in running, having taken the sport just last year. However, I’ve participated in several 3k’s, 5k’s, 10k’s and 21k’s in more than a year of running, but that does not make me an expert in running; however, based on my own experience, I’d like to share the steps that I took when I started into running. I hope they will find the following helpful to get one started.

1.  Prepare your gears. Running is a very simple sport. All one needs to get started are: 1.) a good pair of running shoes, 2.) shorts or jogging pants, 3.) and a shirt or singlet. High technology gadgets are not needed at this point. When I started running, I used my old pair of Nike shoes, jogging pants, and dri-fit shirts that I used working out in a gym. Sometimes, I may need to wear a cap.

2.  Run…or walk and run, if you can’t run continuously. Find a place where you can run. It may be on a treadmill, on the road, around your neighborhood block, or on a track oval. Just find a place where it is convenient and safe for you to run. I run mostly on the road either early morning or early evening, depending on my availability. When I was starting, I could not run continuously. I alternate running and walking until my legs are strong enough to sustain continuous running.

3.  Set a goal to stay motivated. This could be as simple as running 30 minutes continuously without walking, running a 3k race in 2 months or the more ambitious one, running a half marathon in 4-6 months. It is really up to you. Have a regular running schedule and as much as possible stick to it. Initially, my goal was just to run in a 3k race without injuries. Having done that, I leveled up and I set another goal to run 5k’s, then 10k’s and eventually a 21k which I did 6 months after I got into running. My goals kept me motivated to run regularly and train hard.

4.  Find a running buddy. A running buddy can help you stay motivated. I usually run alone; however, I also enjoy running with a friend or with other people especially when I’m doing long distance running. Running with a friend or a loved one can be a good opportunity to catch up with each other or talk about stuff, etc. Lastly,

5.  Keep learning. Research about running. Ask your runner friends about running. Check the Internet. Read articles or blogs about running. The more you learn about running, the more you appreciate the sport and you also learn how to prevent injuries.

Having written all that, what are you waiting for? Get your gears and hit the road! See you on the road guys! Have fun running!

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35th Milo Marathon Elimination…Will I Set A New PR for 21K?

The Milo Marathon, I believe, is the most awaited event in the running community here in the Philippines. Every year, runners of all skills and levels flock to registration sites just to be part of this prestigious running event. Being a runner, I also wanted to be part of the Milo Marathon. I’m quite new to the running community, having debuted into running only last year at the NatGeo Run where I ran (err…walked and ran) 3k.

Last year, my friends and I registered for the 5k distance in the 34th Milo Marathon Eliminations; however, we were not able to really run throughout the race because runners and walkers were all over the road that it was almost impossible to run through the thick crowd of people. In fact, we were not able to finish the race. We got lost in the crowd! We did not know where the finish line was! The race, at least, in the 5k category was a disaster!

This year, I have a reason to be excited about the Milo Marathon, not only because this year marks its 35th year, but Runrio is organizing this event. As the running community knows, Runrio is the best when it comes to organizing running events. I am sure that the race will be well organized and orderly unlike last year. Another reason why I am excited to join this event is because I will be running 21k, not 5k. Since I got into running in April 2010, I already ran at least four 21k’s, the last one being just last Sunday at the Rexona Adventure Run where I clocked 2:39, so far my personal best in the 21k category.

Will I be able to beat the 2:30 cut-off time set for 21k at the 35th Milo Marathon Eliminations and set a new PR? That remains to be seen, but I do hope that I will. I thought it was impossible to shave 20 minutes off my time in last month’s half marathon where I finished in 3 hours, but the race last Sunday proved that it is possible. I did it. I clocked 2:39. With proper pacing, I hope that I will be able to get my 21k finisher’s medal at goal time of 2:30 or even less.

Good luck to me and to all runners who are participating in the 35th Milo Marathon Eliminations!

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Ran the Half…Went Home Full.

July 24, 2011, 5:00 a.m. I ran 21k at the Rexona Adventure Run. It’s not my first time to run this distance. After my first half marathon in October 2010 at the Adidas King of the Road, I lagged on my training. Actually, I sort of stopped training altogether. Finally, after a few months of hiatus, I decided to run again. I got a knee injury when I ran the half marathon last March, the injury I attributed to lack of training and going too fast too soon. The injury this time forced me to stop running (again!). However, after my knee injury got a little better, I decided to go back to training again. Work schedule has always been my problem. However, I thought that there will no more excuses for me this time for not training. I just took it slow. I walked more every day. And as if by miracle, I had the opportunity to run 10k’s in races for free. Those races I consider my “long run.” 🙂 I continued to run slowly and regularly, and after a month or so of doing that, I did 21k last June at the AKTV Run (I got the race kit for free!). I did not do well in that run. I clocked 3:02, my slowest half marathon time.

Last Sunday, I was able to beat that 3:02. I was aiming for 2:30. I only had 1.5 months of training after the injuries, but I have to try. The run was more mental than physical this time. My legs are okay now and my breathing better so I thought there should be no more problem for me in this race. I run at an easy pace. Between the 4k to 5k mark, I happen to run along Banjo, a marathoner from Adination of Alabang (ANR). He was my accidental pacer who ran and paced with me all throughout the race. We stopped every hydration station, walked a little bit going up the flyover, and ran at a relatively maintained paced all throughout finish.

I did it! 2:39!

At the 12k mark, I felt tired, not so tired, but I was really tempted to stop and walk. Told Banjo to go ahead, but he pushed me to go on a little bit further. We did not stop. We just continued running at a maintained pace. Banjo kept telling me, “Kaya pa yan, Pench.” So we ran and ran. We finished strong at 2:39. I shaved 20 minutes off my time from the last 21k that I did just over a month ago. I have a new PR! My heartfelt thanks goes to Banjo who made it possible for me to beat my time.

Tired but happy, I collected my finisher’s kit and loot bag. As usual, the loot bag is full of goodies – canned tuna, sachets of shampoo and conditioner, deodorant sticks, bottle of water and Powerade, etc. Excitedly, I went to meet with Vivs and Idol Red who were waiting for me just outside Fitness First. I found them sitting on the pavement. Proudly, I told them that I finished at 2:39, a few minutes short my goal time, but I could not complain. I did great in that race considering I shaved 20 minutes off my time.

21K Finishers Vivs, me and Idol Red

We took some pictures of ourselves, freshened up a bit, then went to find a place to eat. We ended up at KFC and ate like a glutton! As usual, it was eating and bonding time after the race. A little catching up with each other over hot, spicy, and juicy KFC chicken. We just ran 21k, burned approximately 1666 calories, so we have the right to eat to the max!

I ran the half…then I went home full.

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The Original Dromomaniacs of Healthcare.

excited for our first 3k race ...waiting for the gun start.

It was April 2010 NatGeo Run when new runners were born. Looking back more than a year from that event, I could not believe how far the running bug brought us.  Some of us who took running seriously leveled up from running (and mostly walking!) 3k’s to running a half- or even a full marathon.  I would not be surprised if one or two of these runners in the picture will do an ultramarathon next year.  Motivation got us started, but regular training kept the passion of running alive which led us to run from one race to another, almost every month!

Personally, these people are my inspiration. They exhibited the true image of a runner – the discipline, dedication and passion.   Even though we don’t run together (train together) as often as before, I always look forward to running with you guys either during a race or just an easy run at our favorite Secret Mile.

Good luck to us in all of our upcoming races this July, either the Rexona Run or the Milo Marathon Eliminations.

6 months after our first 3k, we did our first half marathon...so proud to wear those medals!

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