Running like a pro for Mother Earth (Takbo Para Sa Kalikasan 2009)

Posted on: March 8, 2009

I barely slept two hours and I already had to wake up at the sound of my sister’s voice calling from outside my window at 2:30 in the morning. Right, it was the ‘Takbo Para Sa Kalikasan’ day and we had to be at the Quirino Grandstand by 4 in the morning. Which pissed a little part of me when I learned that the actual run wouldn’t happen until 6am. I should’ve slept more.

And so, a few minutes before 4am, I was already ogling Rizal’s statue at Luneta and having my photo taken at the Kilometer-0 mark. It was still very dark and yet, there were surprisingly some crowd gathering here and there – some families who would probably spend their day in Luneta and some joining the run.

The program started at dusk and while half the world was still probably in slumber, the grandstand was already full of people – about a thousand or so – dancing and prancing to the sound of two (or more) amazingly large boom boxes. The scene reminded me a little of Raon and Recto. I have never seen so many guys in very short running shorts already bordering on skimpy that looking at them actually harrasses me at a certain point. There were all sorts of people – families, friends and peers, the coast guards and the police forces, government officials, and TV personalities (not star struck this time!) such as the likes of vice president Noli De Castro, Cory Quirino and Ted Failon.

A stocky guy… scratch that… gay, led the warm ups which appeared more like dancing-while-on-drugs as it required the shameless thrusting of your hips and of your torso more than the normal stretching. But the runners looked like they were having the time of their lives so, why not? I decided I’ll take photos instead.

The runners were divided into three groups based on the distance that they would be completing – 3 km (up to Pedro Gil and back), 5km (up to Quirino Ave. and back) and 10 km (Cuneta Astrodome and back). Since the start and finishing points were at the grandstand, we just had to go around after reaching the designated marks. My sister registered us at the 5km line and I had the sudden notion that I would be going back in an ambulance. I am not a very sporty person and I haven’t had exercise in a long time. I don’t do morning jogging, I don’t do yoga and I am even too lazy these days to do some stretching and sit ups on my own bed. And so it wasn’t really a surprise that even before we got pass the mighty cow statue, I was running out of breath and my legs felt funny already.

But overwhelmed by the fact that this was my first time to join a marathon, I vowed to finish the course no matter what. And so, I ended up running-slash-brisk walking-slash-plain walking on my own (since my sister stops every ten seconds). By the time I reached the 3km mark, I was almost tempted to cheat and turn around to go back. But I was too eager to prove something to myself and beat the lazy and the weak Thet in me. So despite the growing pain on my side (apendix almost raptured), the leg cramps, the shortness of breath and panting, and the occassional unsolicited side comments from some rowdies who were running alongside of me, I finished the course. Yey! My reward? Two bottles of Mineral water, a bottle of Pocari Sweat (which I didn’t take because it practically tastes like, well, sweat!), a dry hotdog sandwich (from my sister’s team) and a pair of legs which refuse to work & walk normally. I was too hungry and I ache all over (especially my left hip) but I was too happy and pleased with myself. Plus, I ate / drank Taho and at that time, it’s the most delicious food I ever tasted. My sister came after a few minutes looking dead beat tired as hell as me. The marathon and the program ended around 8:30.

Since we were already in Luneta and that was our first time again in years to visit the place, we decided to walk or more like limp around the park. Wow, it surely is chaotic on a Sunday. There were all sorts of people doing all sorts of activities – dance aerobics, taichi, kite flying, picnic, lounging around on the grass (which smells like dog poo), playing badminton, playing chess, people watching, sleeping… seemed like everybody is busy being themselves and it felt nice to see that. We went inside this Chinese Garden which, yea, looked like the hang out place of chairman Mao and Confucius during their time. We walked some more around the fountains, took some more photos despite my protesting camera being almost battery empty, indulged in the beauty of Manila’s morning (and surprisingly clear) skyline, and finally hailed a cab home.

I had fun doing this activity and I am looking forward for more. Probably next time, I’ll go climbing the mountains to plant some trees. =)

More photos here.


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