Friday, October 8, 2010

Reviving My Passion For Running

Oh I felt it, after so many years... I could almost hear the noises from days of old ...  "On your mark, get set, GO!", someone shouts as the gun goes off and we runners sprint as fast as our legs could take us, our whole body and being focuses on that one goal, the end of the 100 meter track.  It's been so long.  I was still in elementary, competing against my schoolmates at Duffy Primary School in Canberra, Australia.  Then selected to be one of the representatives our school and one time getting to be part of the city's inter-district competition.  Walking on that field I could almost feel my heart beat as it felt when I was eleven, twelve - so nervous that it seemed my heart was next to my ears, then feeling the wind blow against my face and the feel of either grass or ashphalt on my bare feet.  I didn't have good running shoes back then and I seemed to run better without shoes, but that ashphalt sure stung my feet.  But oh, the competition, the adrenalin, the feeling of being victorious, some of the time.  Mostly I came in second, our relay team sometimes coming in first.  It was at the city's track and field competition that I was humbled.  I didn't even make it to the championship round.  But it was there that I felt that I got to experience what real track and field was, the modern stadium with the tracks just as modern, with lanes numbered and measured to perfection.

This was different though.  I was brought back to reality.  This was the Philippines and it's almost 30 years later.  The stadium is old, a repaint job the least of their worries.  The tracks, oh the poor tracks.  I felt it and it was far from that rubbery material that I felt in that stadium.  Rough, worn-out.  This was concrete - broken and cracked.  I could imagine how many runners were victimized by these cracks.  But still it served those willing to train in this stadium, for a minimal fee.  Kids with a dream of maybe one day competing in the Olympics.  At the long jump field, some kids were practicing under the heat, jumping higher and longer.  Games, maybe, but some were serious in doing better than their last jump.

I wanted to run on that cracked and worn-out thing they called a track.  But what kept me from running?  I didn't have the right shoes, yes, but that never stopped that once 11-year old from running.  There was a shyness in me, conscious of the stares from the older folks, folks my age, that were watching on the bleachers, scared of looking foolish.

That feeling of wanting to run again hasn't left me.  We will go back to that broken and old track.  Then I will be ready, both with my shoes and with my self-confidence.  It will not be for that ribbon nor trophy any more.  It will be just for me, to find out if my body is still in shape to run, or to start an exercise regimen to make me get in better shape.  I was a runner then and I feel in my veins, even on these worn-out tracks and in this worn-out body, that I am still - a runner.


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