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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

My First 42.195-Kilometer Marathon!

If you told me six years ago I would run a full 42km marathon someday I would have called you crazy. 
I was in the US, with a then-undiagnosed health concern, searching for answers. My heart desperately longed for solutions and in true Frannie-melodramatic fashion I asked God if that was it. I asked my family for prayers and a sudden turn of events unrelated to the health concern brought me back home. 
I didn't inform friends because I was too run down to want them to see me and I knew I couldn't have taken what would have been pity.

I also had scoliosis since I was a kid, and I was even up for a major surgery for it when I was fourteen. My mom didn't think it was a good idea so we opted for the next best thing: a brace worn for four years and exercise. Six years ago, I still had scoliosis. 
Praise God who has since allowed me to discover a non-drug way of healing which involved changing my eating and sleeping habits and continuing on a path of daily exercise.  Even though I still have health concerns, God enabled me, through the new healthy lifestyle, healing from insomnia (2010), migraines (2010), dry, bloodshot eyes (2010), and anemia (2013). 
Approaching my fifth anniversary of natural healing, I wanted to do something special. My friend and D12 sister, Mich Bastasa, having completed TBR Dream Marathon in 2014, encouraged me to run a marathon shortly after she finished hers. She even suggested I read a certain marathon book. I didn't read it right away though. I wasn't sure I wanted to do one at the time because my longest run had only been 7 kilometers. But the idea came again when the marathon sign-ups approached and I realized they were going to officially open in August 2015, my anniversary for healing!

Applying for The Bull Runner Dream Marathon was an event itself! Hearing that slots got filled within 30 minutes of the announcement of registration, I set my alarm to remind me to wait by my laptop before it happened. It was such an adrenaline rush because my internet was particularly slow that day. I entered
my admissions essay (!) and hoped to get picked. It would take another week before I heard from them, and then there was another round of submissions and a different time slot. 
It sure was exhilarating to see my name in the official list of runners! 

My initial shock after learning how much the fee was was replaced with an appreciation for the kind and amount of support available to us for the full 22 weeks we were to undergo training.

We had Bull Circles discussing training tips, fueling, hydration, sponsor products to try, and also testimonials from TBR alums. A memorable one was from Ernest Carual, who ran with one short leg due to osteomyelitis. When he discovered and fell in love with running, he and his wife Che decided to invest in it rather than nights out and parties and material goods in order to stay healthy to be able to see their son Cody grow up. 

We also had Bull Sessions which were long slow distance runs in BGC and Nuvali that were open to our friends. One Bull Session I'll never forget was on Saturday, December 19. We ran for 2 hours and 40 minutes. In. The. Cold. December. Non-stop. Rain. At 4 a.m.!  

In addition to the circles and sessions, we had an active FB community where we encouraged one another, invited ourselves and others to long slow distance runs, and where I met my Makati-BGC carpool mates Raizza Videña, Jappy Villareal and Jona De La Cruz (in picture: Abi Domingo Bautista also!) 

We thought of ways to prepare ourselves for uphill runs, and we got to meet Team Bulalo members Abby Pacquing and Anne Orquiza for a run in BGC/McKinley. 

We also eventually ran with TBR alum and second-timer Walter de Jesus in UP, 

and other Team Bulalo, TBR 2016, and MARS NFFs. That was memorable too because it was our first run where we yawned as we ran. 
As Sunday, February 21 drew near, I asked family and friends to pray for specific things for the marathon:
Proper hydration and fueling prior to, during and post-marathon
For guidance as to whether I needed a pacer or not
No cramps, no injuries
For God alone to be glorified 
God is super amazing. I was made to feel love beyond measure. I received more than what was prayed for:
  • Before we were allowed to run, I needed to get an ECG, blood test and physical exam. Ever since I started eating healthy, I've been getting good results, but the results I got this year have been my best results thus far!

  • I didn't get any unhealthy cravings. My appetite was for only healthy food beginning January 2016. I mostly followed Kristina Carillo Bucaram's meal planning advice. 
  • My chiropractor gave me such good news it deserves its own blog post (maybe soon when I have more information) 
  • My ultra marathoner cousin Pavel Miranda (known in ultra marathon circles as Simon) recommended a pacer, ultra marathoner Sheryll “She” Quimosing, who interviewed me on send-off party night regarding my fueling/hydration strategy. I recounted to her that during my previous 34km, I drank buko juice before and after the run but only drank water for the duration of the race (and ate three bananas) because I couldn't drink Gatorade. She advised me to bring small bottles of buko juice to be distributed throughout the course (!) I felt so psyched! (For the 42.195km, I also had two bananas and a small amount of sea salt.) 
     She also recommended for me to bring an extra shirt, comb and lipstick for kikay time before crossing the finish line. On marathon day, I changed my shirt in her friend Smiley Foods' car and checked my reflection on her sun glasses as I applied lipstick :)
    -that's my friend Nikki who is also part of my Dgroup who rode her bike into the course and found She and I at around 39 km. From time to time she would update the rest of the gang near the finish line how far we were. Aside from being one of my prayer partners, she was also assigned to remind me to return my timing chip and to stretch after the run. I didn't want to get caught up celebrating and forget. When She overheard this, she volunteered to stretch me. Mich and the gang provided me a shawl. And She did her magic! 

-even though I felt pain in my feet at 30km, I didn't experience cramps. I also didn't have any injuries. For the pain, God helped me remember that foam rollers were available. Thinking that foam rollers were soft and comforting, I asked She if I could try one. We found one of the dream volunteers and he had me brace my legs as he rolled the foam roller on my calves. Sudden realization: those things are painful!!!! And are not soft!!! I wasn't ready for even more pain!!!! After all the yelling though, (I yelled “no” after the volunteer offered to roll the front part of the legs) I found myself able to run again! :)

-by the time we got to the end, seeing Tita Pynky Magsino, Tita Monsy Gomez, Tita Pinky Marilao, Ria Villanueva, Mich Bastasa and NFF Celine Gencianos twice on the road gave me an extra surge of energy to run faster towards the line :) 

Thanks to the D12 for your balloons! 

-the weather was great. Sheryll told me that the previous year's weather was warmer 

I also want to thank everyone who prayed for me, before the day: Shai Bermudez-Hizon, Tasha Lee, Nikki Baqueriza, Mansh Baxani, Patmai de Vera, AC Oca, Auntie Vickie Bunye, Carlo Benavidez, Richard Takechi, Tita Didit Reyes, Rhea Castro, Juliet Santillan, Winnie Mariano Bustamante, Wenn Laohoo, Kate Caparros, Karinna Bim Mauricio, Lucci Javier, Jane Cutab, Rigel de los Santos-Jocson, Punsala Hettiarachchige, Jo Barotilla, Faye Matriano, Jaye Matriano,  Mary Espiritu, Jo Tan, Wendy Casuga, Nica Rodriguez, Patty Rodriguez, and Jen Alimon, and those who kept vigil from 2am-9am. I want to make a particular shoutout to Tito Raul Tapia (ultra marathoner also!) and Mich Bastasa from the Philippines who weren't required to pray at 2am but volunteered to wake up then to pray for me. Everyone else who prayed at 2am were from Australia: Mia Batac and Seattle: Diane Simons, Kim Unrau, Carolyn Besana, and Richard Takechi. 
3am: Suki Wilmot, Tin Latta and Zelda Keckler (PST Seattle Feb 20 11am)
4am: Tin Latta, Tita Anna May Gonzalez, Barbie Mamuyac, and Pia Clarin-Jingco
5am: Regina Bunye (Feb 20 1pm PST Los Angeles) Berni Bague (Feb 20 4pm EST Boston) Ichu Ferguson (Feb 21 10am NZST Auckland) Shenna Aludino-Malinao, Lani Lao, Barbie Mamuyac
5:30 Abi Bantatua 
6am: Ruth Batay-an, Leslie Evangelista, Bernie Bague, Iya Garcia, Kat Carpio
7am: Tito Benj Magsino, Tita Pynky Magsino, Jo Ruñez, Jems Legaspi Alentajan, Ysa Trinidad, AJ Navalta, Ces Ilagan
8am: Tita Monsy Gomez, Auntie Elyza Rivera, Ria Villanueva, Jamie Bayoneta, Pia Clarin-Jingco, Hannah Urbanozo
9am Yolie Cayetano (Feb 20 8pm EST New Jersey) Pia Clarin-Jingco, Dimple Alcantara, Ruth Ramayla, Lindsay Isenhower (Feb 20 5pm Seattle)
9:30am Susan Elizabeth Dudley Turner (Feb 20 8:30pm EST Florida) 
Thanks to Barbie Mamuyac for praying for my recovery! I have since done one recovery brisk walk/sort of jog on Tuesday, February 22, and by Wednesday night, February 23, the tightness in the calves was gone. 
A special thank you to my college roommate Mi Pe-Co who got me into running, and college friend Roma Atabug who ran with me for my first 3k buddy run

Thank you to fruitarian marathoner Tim van Orden of, my ultramarathoner cousin Pavel Miranda and ultramarathoner Sharone Rodriguez from Bangko Sentral who gave me such good advice and encouragement. Thank you to Matthew Frazier of No Meat Athlete for the advice in his book. Thank you to Dennis Gamaya of Team Roadrunners and Banana Runners from Bangko Sentral and the rest of the Banana Runners for training with me for my first 5k and 6k! 
To Ruth Ramayla who lent me her hydration belt and went running shoe/shirt/shorts shopping with me, and educated the salespeople over at New Balance about pronation, thank you! 
To Jaymie Pizarro, Jim Lafferty, Lit Onrubia, Francis Diano, Macel and Mike Janeo, all the organizers! Congratulations!
To Sheryll, for going beyond the call of duty! You were not just pacing me (you knew when to push me and when to hold back) but making sure the experience was memorable! 
Thank you also to all those who assisted Sheryll and I in getting the buko juice to the different hydration stations: Smiley Foods, Allan Enriquez, James Rosca, Japo Ignacio, Gammy Tayao, and Eda Maningat.
To Sheryll's boyfriend Tong Pascua whom She assigned to keep my headlights after sunrise so that I didn't have to have anything heavy on my forehead after 6am. Thank you. 
Thank you also to Smiley Foods for allowing me to change in your car! 
To TBR volunteers who provided sponges and ice water especially for those still running after sunrise, thank you! 
I also want to thank Pa for the encouragement, hydration, fueling and letting me borrow your headlights. Love you and Ma! 
To God, for giving me my health reboot in 2010 and my spiritual reboot in 2006 (woohoo celebrating ten years in October 2016!!!); for allowing me to run 42.195 kilometers despite scoliosis, a slightly longer left leg, an autoimmune disease, and only 7km being my longest distance prior to signing up for the marathon. Thank You for helping me through difficult times such as having to postpone badminton games for six months to avoid injury, to having to say no to hanging out in Boracay in November, and instead sleeping early to run early. 

To You alone be all the glory, and honor and praise! 
Thank You also for my cute chip time: 07:42:07 Jesus' two number 7s sandwiching my 42 :) 

and my gun time: 07:43 'love you' and :34 'you love' for my gun time. I love You because You first loved me, my mathematical God! 

Additional thanks to:
Ria Villanueva, Nikki Baqueriza, Raizza Videña, Vincent Hilario, Anne Orquiza, Walter de Jesus, Jaymie Pizarro for the photos :) 
Thank you to Sabby Ow, my TBR 2016 batchmate, for getting me in touch with Ernest Carual.
Thank you to Walter de Jesus for picking us up from our hotel to the marathon grounds, allowing us to park our stuff in his car, and carrying the ice chest of buko juice! Thank you to his cousin for the ride to Solenad! 

Thank you to #teamlegs for cracking me up the days following the marathon while we were recovering. Looking forward to wearing our medals at the victory party!

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various [a]trials, so that the [b]proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which [c]is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

1 Peter 1:6-7 NASB 

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