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Long Runs at the Hill
September 14, 2010Posted by on
I’m quite choosy when it comes to my running environs. Running around our subdivision is an option. But for some reason, I just can’t get into the zone when working out near my home (home equates to a place of rest!) I tried running at the nearby U.P. campus a few years back. The surroundings of the State University just felt alien.
The only place I can stand doing long runs (being the sprint hurdler that I am!) is at the good ole Ateneo campus. I built the foundations of my athletics background on that quiet hill in Loyola. I’ve grown accustomed to its familiar sights and sounds. I practically know every nook and cranny of the place.
Back in my sophomore year in high school (2000), I couldn’t even run 200m without getting a side stitch during those dreaded fitness tests in P.E. class. Everything changed for the better when I started playing basketball. My body toughened up because of the hoops game. Just like any other wide-eyed high school kid, I had dreams of making it big on the court (the UAAP and the PBA!) To build my stamina, I began to ran laps around the high school grass track. From two laps (800m) at the start, I gained enough strength to last 5 to 6 laps (2km to 2.4km) in a few months’ time.
During basketball summer camp, I was exposed to longer distances. For my then 15-year old body, the 6.8km-long “Road Work” course was an excruciating trudge. My best time for the distance was around 35 to 36 minutes. Surprisingly, I performed with distinction during those lung-busting workouts. My basketball coaches even asked if I was a member of the track team (those were the earliest suggestions of a potential track career!). At that time, of course, I was about half a year away from my first-ever track & field meet in 2001.
I have no intention of running 6.8km again in the near future!
After getting cut off from the basketball team, I tried out for Coach Ed Sediego’s champion track & field squad. I was exposed to a different, more enjoyable brand of training. I was especially fond of our campus runs at the start of the season. We usually did 1 lap of 2.5km during the first weeks and progressed to 2 laps (a total of 5km) in the next two weeks. My teammates and I would usually pace ourselves the entire way, gradually jostling for position as the finish line came. At the home stretch, all hell broke lose as around 15 to 20 youngsters sprinted all out to the high school administration building!
I still followed the same route in college, opting to vary it a little bit by circling the college campus (2.9 km).
At the times when I found Moro’s indoor track too stifling, I ran outdoors for my pre-workout warm-up routine, running a relaxed 1 to 1.5km run – depending on the type of training I’m about to do. I also followed the same route – more or less – for my evening cool down runs.
Looking back, it has been a decade since I started running. The experience has been worthwhile. I don’t see myself stopping any time soon.
Note: Thank you to the Scientist Runner’s superb screenshots of various running trails from the world over. Those posts inspired me to write this entry.