Panda Girl on the Run

"…if I can't run, I can't eat…"

Running has been good for me, I didn’t realize that I’m overdoing it until my body tells me something is amiss. I’m not one to shy away from running-related pain and discomfort. I mean, it’s all part of running. But for once, I heed someone’s advice to lay off from it until things settle down. A trip back to my home country for a short visit came in handy as a distraction. Although I brought along running clothes, with the hope that I might be able to sneak in a short run. Unfortunately, I find that the hot and humid climate doesn’t agree with me anymore. Needless to say, I didn’t get to run.

Upon my return here, I’m determined to run again. But I kept putting it off. One day, I finally put my foot down and decided to just get on with it. I went for a run. I opted to go down the bay. I figured it’s not that far and I can always go back. But I forgot the uphill part of the road. I was in for a surprise. It felt like I wasn’t moving at all. My legs didn’t seem to move, the way they used to. My breath came in gasps. So, this is how it feels like to start from scratch, again. Terrible. Something tells me I’m way out of shape. My chest seemed to explode with every labored breath I took. I can feel my thighs rubbed against each other, as I walked the last few meters back to the house. I feel nauseated. This is bad.

I haven’t been running for the past two months. I’ve been sidelined with what I think to be plantar faasciitis. I’ve been to see a chiropractor, whom told me my back is out of whack. I did stop running, for all the good it did to me, which is not much. My foot is still sore and I’m miserable.

Anyway, I decided it is high time, I get on with running again. I “baby” my foot long enough, I’m afraid it will eventually become a lame excuse not to get out there. Besides, I miss being on the road. I miss the high that running gives me. And not to mention the “half” that is fast approaching.

Wobble on Panda. :)

Let it go.

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I should have been more mindful of what my body was telling me a few weeks ago. As always, I ignored any sign of discomfort or pain. I attributed it to just being part of running. But as of late, I’ve noticed that it’s not just my left foot that bothers me when I run. My left hip started to bother me too.  I never have problems with this part of my body except for that time I ran a half-marathon but it went away after a few days rest.

Since I started doing more miles every week, my body send out signals for me to back down a bit. But I’m having none of it. I’m on a roll. I mean, I feel fine and all. I’m having a grand time. Besides, its not like I’m training for something or running everyday. An occasional ache or pain is expected. Unfortunately, I was wrong.

Someone told me to stop running until things settle down. “Stop running” is not something I’d like to hear. And so against my better judgment, I went for a run last Monday. I could tell that something was off. I did 5 miles and I had enough. I told myself that I should stop running. Wednesday came and I went for a run again. I did the “loop” because I had plenty of time to stay out longer. After a mile into the run, I had that feeling again, that something was off. This time it was more profound. I could not just ignore it. At one point, I thought about going back to the house and cut my run short. But I was more concern about not embarrassing myself and not finishing what I started, so I plodded on. I could feel that something is not right. I had this weird feeling of my left leg being longer than the right one. And my hip joint being unhinged. I did more walking than running. Eventually, I got back to the house, tired and frustrated. Later on, I had to take Ibuprofen to ease off the pain ( which I think is not really pain, per se ). I’m not too keen about taking medication, unless I have to. The sensation on my left foot is more of,  like a dull ache–something that’s just below the surface and flares up when I start to move my foot, after being still for a certain period. The mornings is another story. I can’t remember anymore when was the last time I jump out of bed, without slipping into my runners first, and pain-free. ( I imagine my sister, rolling her eyes and telling me, “See, I told you so. Running is not good for you.”)

In between icing my foot and stretching it, I’ve decided to stop running for awhile. A decision that was hard to come by. But it’s something I have to do, if I want to run again. I’m almost to my sixth day sans running and I can tell that it doesn’t sit well with me. And what makes it worse is that I have no choice but to wait it out. I know that it’s not the end of the world if I can’t run for a few days or weeks. And I won’t die, physically, that is. But it still makes me angry, especially at myself. Few people, if any, knows the real reason why I run. And it’s not just about so I can eat anything I want. I’m way past that.

For the mean time, I’ll try not to feel envious when I see someone, running down the road. Or look with longing and a bit of guilt, at the pairs of runners, gathering dust on a corner. Or think about what it feels like to be, out there, on the road, alone. ( Except for that time when a huge dog, just appeared from nowhere and barked at me like crazy. )

Wobble on Panda. :)

December came to an end, which meant that another year has pass and a new one has just began. Time to get going and move on. I find it fitting to take stock of all the things I did last year in relation to running. I’ve been fortunate to have the time and the means, not to mention the “craziness” to get out there on my own and run to my heart’s content.

I don’t necessarily call the runs I do as “training”, especially when I have a race coming up. I don’t race anyway, I just run. I learned early on that for me to continue running, I should enjoy it as much as I can. And most of all, have fun.

The year 2013 has been great. I get to do two marathons, a half-marathon and a 27 K scenic route around Shawnigan Lake. Then for the first time, I get to run with someone. To me, it was such a big deal because I’ve always run on my own. I didn’t realize how fun it is to run with a buddy. ( Although, I’m not sure if we are running buddies already, because we just ran for like three times and we haven’t sat down yet and agreed on some sort of schedule. It’s more of like a spur-of-the-moment thing. So, let’s just see. But, it sure is nice if it’d be a regular thing. ) Then I get to run in the dark ( like, it was pitch black and all ) for the first time too and it was awesome. I’m hoping to do it again.

“Some amazing things are in faraway places, some are down the road, and sometimes, the amazing thing is just the road itself.” – Marc Parent

Running has become such a big deal to me since I started doing it. My reasons have changed though. Now, it’s more of being outside and just be in the moment.

I have no way of knowing what this new year holds for me. The sensible thing to do is to continue running and enjoy it.

Here’s to more awesome runs to come. :)

Wobble on Panda. :)

To paraphrase a quote from the movie, “Chariots of Fire”, I believe God made me for a reason or a purpose and He also made me love running. When I run, I imagined Him saying “Go on Crestina and don’t think about how slow you are, just run.” I’m not being religious or anything but this is what I feel every time I go for  a run. And today was no different and was even made more special. Perhaps to some, running on Christmas morning is an overkill, especially to those who don’t run. But for me, it’s my way of saying thanks and not only because its Christmas. I run because I can. To be able to do so and love it as much , is I think one of the best Christmas present I ever had. And I’m grateful. Sure, like everybody else, I want things too, but then, that’s another story.

Today is my first time to run on Christmas morning. I had the chance so I grabbed it. Fortunately, I had a decent sleep last night, although I tried to stay up late to wait for  Santa, but it didn’t happen.  And I didn’t binge on food and drinks so I’m good to go the next morning. After two cups of coffee and a gel, I’m off.

I ran on Christmas morning and I liked it! ;)

I decided to do  the “loop” because I have plenty of time to stay out longer. And so I did that. Practically, I’m the only person on the road, except for an occasional car or two. At one point, I saw a dog, on the other side of the road, ambled towards me. I slowed down to a walk. There’s usually a person walking  the dog and it is rare for one to just wander on the road. In cases like this, I am wary and extra-careful. The dog continued on its way and so I continued on mine. A few times I looked behind me, just to make sure it’s not there.

People who know me would think that I love running so much because I don’t want to get fat or I want to lose weight. I sure do want to lose weight because I know I can run faster when I’m lighter. But if that’s the only reason that I like to run ( I mean, just to lose weight and all. ), I don’t think I’d be running as much as I do now and enjoy it.

I love running for reasons that I can’t articulate enough  and that goes beyond the physical aspect of it. And it doesn’t really matter because I don’t need to explain why. I find that running is an antidote for despair, discontent and any other negative feelings. I read a quote somewhere that says there’s nothing that a long run can’t cure ( or something like that ). I’m not saying that I always have to run a certain X miles for a certain length of time on any given day. To me, running just because, is enough. I run for fun and the “high” it gives me. Hence, my dislike of the word “training”. When I have a race or en event coming up, I don’t “train”,  I run. Quite a few times, I’ve been told I’m crazy but I’m not sure if they meant it as a compliment. Although I wonder how telling someone they’re crazy can be construed as a compliment, I’m curious.

Anyway, I’m so happy that I get to go for a run on Christmas day. I’m way beyond stoked. My left foot is sore and all. You have no idea how tiring a run can be. But then, I never feel so happy and alive when I’m out there on the road, that a little discomfort fails in comparison to the  ”high”, running gives me. Not to mention the wonders it does to my brain.

Running is and will always be awesome, especially the ones you do on Christmas day. I am forever thankful of this gift.

Merry Christmas!!!!

Wobble on Panda. :)

I ran in the dark, yes I did!!!

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Call me crazy or whatever, but lately, I’ve become a bit more of a fanatic with my running. Sometimes, I wonder if it has become an obsession. But I know I’m not “crazy obsessed” about it. I just happen to love running so I think that explains it.  It’s a fun thing to do all by yourself and doesn’t require much to do so.

I haven’t tried running in the dark before, let alone, all by myself. I love my early morning runs and sometimes, the mid-morning ones, but that’s about it. So when a chance came up, I gladly took it.

After I’ve run with Heidi a couple of times, I realized that its nice to run with someone after all. The only thing is, our schedules don’t really allow us to run more often. So one day, I asked her if I can join her if she runs on a Monday. And she said yes. We agreed that she’d pick me up at the house, when she’s on her way home from work and we’ll start our run from her place. So one Monday, we just did that.

Since it was my first time to run in the dark, I’m all for it and excited. I had my flashlight with me but I didn’t use it  the entire time. It took a while for my eyes to adjust.  I find it too dark, I couldn’t see anything. Heidi suggested I turn  my flashlight off and so I did. At first, I see nothing but just black then slowly, my eyes adapted. Besides, the sky was clear. I could even make out the treetops above. I noticed that she didn’t even use her flashlight unless when there’s an oncoming cars, either in front of  us or from behind. For the most part, we ran literally in the dark.  There was no other sound, except  my breathing and the sound of my ’screwed’ Mizunos against the pavement, as I plodded along. Heidi asked me a few times how I’m doing. I assured her I’m fine.

I never realized how liberating and ‘fun’ it is, to run in the dark. And more so, because I run with someone. Everything looked different. We did the loop that we’re both familiar with. At one point, a dog came barking at us, we didn’t noticed it until it was right up close, with only a wire fence between us. Later, Heidi told me that the dog caught her by surprise and she screamed, of which I didn’t even notice. The entire time, I had one walk break and only after she told me that I can if I want to. I tried to keep up with her, which I managed to do, most of the time.

Anyway, I think I did alright with my first night run. Surprisingly, I didn’t feel tired at all, considering the fact that I already ran in the morning, to try out my “screwed” ( just made up this word ) shoes.

Hopefully, we get to run again. Or better yet, I’d be “brave” enough to run in the dark all by myself. Let’s see about that.

Wobble on Panda. :)

“Long-distance runner have to be very strange people. You have to really want to do it. You don’t have to win or beat someone, you just have to get through the thing. That’s the sense of victory. The sense of self-worth.” – Ted Corbitt

I don’t know what it is about procrastinating, but of late, I seem to be doing it a lot and I can’t shake it off. Whenever I sit down and try to write, I draw a blank. And it’s not about for lack of something to write about or time. I can make the time if I want to. Thankfully, it doesn’t extend to my running.

For those who check my blog occasionally, I’m sure you know I write about running. I’m so into it that I came up with this blog. Running has become a big part in my life that sometimes I think that, without it, I’d be lost and done. Scary thought, I bet. But let’s not dwell on that.

The month of October has been remarkable. I did a marathon in Victoria ( my third ) on the Thanksgiving weekend and a half-marathon ( also my third ) in Shawnigan Lake, in just a span of two weeks in between them. I had an amazing experience. And to say that I was way beyond happy and thrilled was an understatement.

The runs I did at least twice a week, could hardly be considered as a proper training. Someone even suggested that I shouldn’t go ahead with the marathon. But as luck would have it, I managed to finish both runs, still “breathing” and happy. Of course, sore, but you get over it eventually.

I love running and cheesecake, among other things. ;)

November rolled around with a promise of more runs to come and excitement. I found myself presented with more opportunities to run during my work week, which I hardly pass up. At one point, I even run in the rain, albeit a short one. Then I get to run again with my new-found running buddy, Heidi. We did a short jaunt in the neighborhood on Remembrance Day. She showed me a new route. Needless to say, I huffed and puffed halfway through it. I stopped when we came upon a hill, she was like, “Why is that. “ Anyway, I had a nice time. I try to pick up my pace to keep up with her but she’s considerate and she let me set the pace.

And I turned 37. I planned to do a 3.7 mile run on the said date but it didn’t pan out. I procrastinated. Good thing, I get to run the next day, which was only right, after I ate more than a few slices of cheesecake, which Rita made especially for my birthday.

Anyway, the weather has been perfect on most days. Although I have to admit that I find it colder now. Two shirts and a jacket paired up with running tights is now my running get-up. To complete the ensemble is a pair of mitts and my reliable running hat. There are days that I can’t get motivated enough to go for a run but for the most part, I try to. One day, while out for a run, as I plodded along and thought about stopping, I though about Heidi, running with me and giving me a look that says, “Don’t even think about it.” I’m amused at how my brain works sometimes.

The past two months has been great and productive for me, so I can’t complain. I have a lot to be thankful for. Despite the occasional aches and pains, I’m fortunate that I’m still able to get out there and run. And with the recent typhoon that greatly affected my family, running helps to ease my mind from worry and frustration. Running helps me to see things in perspective.

Now I’m looking forward to what the next month and the next, will bring. In the mean time, I’ll “keep running.” :)

Wobble on Panda. :)

I did this race a couple of years ago in 2011. At that time, it was raining and damp. And we had an earlier start time. When I decided to sign up for this year, I had no other goal in mind other than to run and finish it. I didn’t realize that it was two weeks after the Victoria Marathon ( which I did too ), so I wasn’t able to run as much as I wanted to because I took a week off from running.

A new addition to my collection. :D

I had a nice turkey dinner and two glass of wine the night before. So I was kind of anxious as to what the next day brings. It didn’t help to calm my nerves because on race morning, I feel like throwing up.

The day turned out be perfect–sunny but not blistering hot. In fact, I find it cold, which I don’t mind because I’d rather like it that way. I chose the early start time and off we went. I set my watch in interval, which really work fine with me. Unfortunately, my Garmin wasn’t able to record the accurate distance and my time because I forgot to delete all the previously recorded data. It run out of storage space. But it’s no big deal because I can always check the event’s website for the official results.

I’m amazed at how other runners just zoomed past me. They’re really fast but in an effortless kind of way. And here I was, moving in somewhat slow motion. I tried not to dwell so much on them because it would only make me miserable. Instead, I take note of my surroundings and enjoy my run. Running on trails is way different compared to running on the pavement.

Running…because saying “No” to a pumpkin pie is out of the question. ;)

A few kilometers towards the finish line, I felt this pain on my left knee that sort of spread upward to my left hip. I’m like, oh..oh. I ignored it and moved on. I can never get used to the feeling of accomplishment and relief once I crossed the finish line. And of course, the weight of the finisher’s medal around my neck. ;)

I have Rita and Dennis to thank, for seeing to it that I get to the race on time and pick me up after. I mean, they both had to go to bed early on a Saturday night and get up early the next day, which wasn’t really fun. But they assured me that they didn’t mind so I took their word for it. I’m lucky, I suppose.

I have no more races coming up for the rest of the year. I trouble enough people already so I thought I give them a break before I start to go crazy again and sign up for another full or half. Go figures.

Wobble on Panda. :)

“When you cross the finish line no matter how slow or how fast, it will change your life forever.” – Dick Beardsley

Four months ago, when I signed up for the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon, it seemed like a good idea. Summer just started and I had time to sneak in a few early morning runs during the week, on top of the ones I normally do on my days off. I haven’t thought about it much since then, until a few days before the race. Well, I was scared of what could happen out there. But I was also excited about the prospect of finishing another marathon.

The Victoria Marathon started four years after I was born. Its amazing, that on its 34th year, I get to run it for the very first time. It was my best run ever in a race so far. The route was great and scenic, with not too many hills. I had a great experience. One of the highlights for me, was to actually watch the sunrise, as I ran along. It was such a magnificent sight to behold.

With my sister, my number one supporter. ;)

I couldn’t ask for a more perfect day to run a marathon. It was sunny but not too hot, which was just right for me. Although at 5:30 in the morning ( an hour before the Early Start ) it was so cold. I wore gloves to keep my hands warm and tried to move around.

From the start of the race, I did the 9:1 interval, which a friend, showed me, a few weeks ago. I think, it’s one of the things that has kept me going for 26.2 miles, without bonking. Then there’s the good weather, ample supply of gels, water and electrolyte drinks at every aid stations. And the cheers and words of encouragement from the volunteers and spectators.

As with my previous two marathons, I didn’t really “train” for this one. The longest run I did before the said event was 11 miles, which was short of 9 miles of the required long run ( 20 miles ) for a marathon. My goal was to have fun ( most of all ) and finish it “alive”. :D I made it in less than 6 hours. I was so happy I kept saying “Yes!” after I crossed the finish line, then a volunteer placed a medal around my neck. I was in cloud nine.

I can’t take all the credit for my successful completion of this event. I always  thought that I can get by with doing things all by myself— that I don’t need to depend on anyone. Sure, I did the miles and endured the pain and discomfort, but without the help of some people, I won’t be able to do it. My sister, for one. When I asked her to come with me to Victoria, she said right away, “You’re scared, are you!”. She knows me, I guess that’s how sisters are. I’m glad she decided to come. She’s not into running ( yet ) and it’s always a big deal for her, when she have to get up early in the morning. But she’s game and she’d been with me in most of the races I’ve signed up for. To see her familiar face at the finish line is a relief. And there’s Rita, who went out of her way to drive us to Victoria the day before the race and pick us up the next day. She made it a lot easier for me. I owe her big time. And a fellow runner, who agreed to run with me, in the last 800 meters toward the finish line. By this time, I was already tired and wanted to get it over with. She made me run the entire 800 meters, without stopping and we both crossed the finish line.

I had my best run in Victoria and maybe, I’ll do it again. Who knows. ;)

Wobble on Panda. :)

A few more sleeps and it’d be Sunday again. And for this particular one, I’ll do another “long run”  because I’m that crazy. Just to be clear, I am okay, I think. But deep inside, I’m a bundle of nerves. Sometimes a wayward thought about the upcoming marathon makes me sick. I am afraid for obvious reasons but I’m also excited, although I try to downplay it. When someone asked me, one day, if I’m excited about the race, my short reply was “Sort of.” And she was like, that’s it. Yes, that’s it. :)

“Courage to me is doing something daring, no matter how afraid, insecure, intimidated, alone, unworthy, incapable, ridiculed or whatever other paralyzing emotion you might feel. Courage is taking action… no matter what. Be afraid. Be scared silly to the point you’re trembling and nauseous, but do it anyway!” – Richelle E. Goodrich

I don’t want to babble on and on about this event, so I thought I’d share here some quotes that I find comforting, at least. I hope, in some ways, it’ll help allay my fears and just let me focus on having fun. And hear my sister say “What took you so long!!” at the finish line.

Wobble on Panda. :)

“When it’s pouring rain and you’re bowling along through the wet, there’s satisfaction in knowing you’re out there and the others aren’t.” – Peter Snell

Neither, to me, anyway. Although I would love to have a hard core. You know, a rock-hard and toned midsection ( or abs ). But it proves too elusive for me, I should say.

I love to run in the rain ( it is much way better than running in the heat ). Last Sunday, heralded the start of fall and as expected, it was a rainy and blustery day. At first, I was reluctant to go outside but in the end, I gathered enough resolve and a little bit of craziness to brave the rain and all. Besides, after a bowl of oatmeal and two cups of coffee, I was well-fed and happy as can be.

I did a longer run than what I normally do because I have to. Well, it was inevitable, I need to do it whether I like it or not. Luckily, for the most part, I like it. ;) There was a light rain when I started out. And I was like, not bad, I can take it. So, I plodded on. I noticed how everything around me was dark and gray. And damp. I donned on my new running vest, which my sister bought for me. To try it out and for visibility.

Anyway, to continue with my tale, after almost four miles, the rain started really coming down hard. I could practically feel it on my face. By this time, I was like, great , bring it on. It was kind of nice actually and refreshing. But deep inside, I also wish I was back in my bedroom, buried under the covers.

Running ( even in the rain )…. because dieting is not an option.” :D

This was the second time I set my Garmin on an interval workout ( 9:1 ), which a friend suggested I should do, after our first run together. It helps me keep my pace in check and refrain from just rushing on ahead and bonking after three minutes. I know it sound like a big deal when you’re out there, running in the rain and cold,  I mean, most people usually stay indoors and enjoy a warm drink. This thought occurred to me as I rounded a bend on the road and noticed the beads of water dripping from my hat. I longed for coffee and a hot shower.  Its funny how the mind can be so tricky at times when you’re tired already and just want to stop.  Still, I had a great time and I didn’t really mind the rain, so it was alright.

I’m glad that I didn’t have any unwanted encounters on the route, like barking dogs that just materialize from somewhere. I’m scared of them. I was alone on the road, except for an occasional car that went by. I had the volume of my mp3 on low so I can still hear the sounds around me. At one point, I heard a rustling sound somewhere near me, I turned around to see if there’s something behind me only to realized that its just the collar of my vest rubbing against my neck. I was paranoid. After more than an hour, I was soaking wet and dripped all over. I would have love to stay out a little longer but I don’t want to catch a cold so I decided to head back home.

Personally, I don’t think running in the rain is hardcore and there’s no point in making a big deal out of it. If you don’t mind getting drench and cold, then you’re good. As for being pathetic, I hardly don’t think of it that way. I find  it rather exhilarating and liberating. And if you enjoy doing it  and is having fun while at it, then why not.

Wobble on Panda. :)