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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Pinay Sunset Runner Is Born

Wow.   Running  competitively  was a teenage dream,  and now after decades and decades  -- and me  -- now a mother going past her prime and also with a handsome  teenager as my child  --   I see myself still holding on to that dream. Sometimes dreams  --  no matter how unreachable they may seem – would just  be hibernating at the sidelines. 

But when these dreams  get the chance,  regardless of  how long they have been bottled up,   they unleash the long-kept and suppressed superlatives  and would hurl the pent-up energies with humongous gusto:  throwing caution to the wind and more.   Well, that could be an understatement.

That was sometime in the  80’s ,  when I would run ,  not around the neighborhood ,  but from the  living room to our kitchen’s  refrigerator,  and would be imagining myself breasting the tape at a marathon finish line. I kept my afternoon running inside the house,  scared of the roaming dogs  and possible   askals  running around at dawn.   Living in my  sporty dream world,    I  would hold  the brass lamp shade as my trophy,  thanking the judges for my imaginary marathon victory.  

As a teenager,    grew up with Olivia Newton John  and  John Travolta jiggling away their derrieres  via  “Grease”,  and then there’s Michael Jackson with his fully made-up  prosthetics as the dancing  lead of throngs of  banshees and a battalion of  panda-eyed  zombies via “Thriller”.   Those were  the  times  of   Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits, Sting  and Bob Geldof and Duran Duran  lording it up in the radio  airwaves and  would later join forces for   the cause of  helping alleviate world hunger   via  their fund-raising 
concerts ,  belting away  with  "Do They Know It's Christmas?"

Those were the days  when  Cyndi Lauper and Madonna  were the  music queens of pop culture ,   and Lauper would introduce  rainbow-coloured hair while crooning  "True Colors."

As a teenager,   I  was  playing the  eternal  spectator sport:   but life, as we know it, should not be a spectator sport.    Yes,  I would be watching Filipino women sport athletes and marvel at their strength, their courage, their guts, their athletic pomp and chutzpah.    Back then,  I was  merely  The Watcher.

Dubbed as “Asia’s Sprint Queen”,  Lydia de Vega was the athlete to watch back then, and I would be watching  the government-sponsored sporting events:  as   de Vega  went  on to win  her sprint conquests in Asia,  and then there were other   teenage women sport athletes Christine Jacob  for swimming,  and  Dyan Castillejo  for  tennis.    


Years later,  as  a features writer /journalist writing feature articles in newspapers,  fate would have it that I would be interviewing  these young women athletes who would be carving their niches in other fields: Christine Jacob  went on to become a TV personality,  while Dyan Castillejo  would be a sports journalist for  ABS-CBN News.  It’s only  now that I suddenly remembered that these strong personalities have been dancing on my mind and my subconscious for quite  some time,  and  it has manifested to meeting these personalities in the “real world” after a time.

But I was never sporty at all as a child, even as a teenager. Wearing my  thick eyeglasses as a gangly teenager  through high school at St. Paul College Manila,   I knew deep inside I was  a  tomboy  of the mellow kind  -- no, not a lesbian at all ,  but more of  a  female maverick  who had innate qualities of  going for  more  roughhewn adventures,   settling for  untrodden paths,  and would be shying away from girly stuff like  lacy dresses, pony-tailed tresses and  stuff toys.   As I  grew up and matured into my adult years,  I have slowly discovered that being a woman ain’t that bad after all.  




Fast forward to  year 2014.   It’s New Year’s Eve, and  2014  beckons. While everyone was getting ready for the New Year,  with their firecrackers,  New Year’s Eve parties and festive celebrations,  and last-minute  gift-giving events which were not done during Christmas --  I was   at the office, taking advantage of its sleeping quarters  sleeping away the hours before my dawn schedule shift.   

But  I figured that instead of  sleeping away the time,  why not try  having a breath of fresh air around the plush Bonifacio Global City.  And when  I  sneaked out to see the  wide  deserted business district streets  --  since  the office-goers aren’t in their offices because of the holidays --   I  found so much attraction to the clear roads,  and  decided to do my   New Year’s Eve “baptismal run”.     

 So while everyone wasn’t looking,  I  sneaked out for  my  first jog for the year,   running up and down  31st street,  the  high-rise office towers staring down  at  me with their haughty  devil-may-care pouts  -- reliving and rekindling a teenage dream that I thought have died in me ,  but  has actually been just hibernating all along.  

After that first New Year’s Eve  jog,   I  became a regular habitue of the Track 30th Park,  running along other  fellow running enthusiasts  -- who are regularly  running  and sweating under the  romantic moonlit sky,   romancing the park with their  huffs and puffs ,  and earning admiring glances and stares from  passers-by and  driving  motorists  looking through their car windows for a look-see at  the sexy and athletic  runner throngs.  

Being part of this platoon of running enthusiasts,  I  suddenly felt I belong.

Thus, The Pinay Sunset Runner  is born. :) 


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