Looking Back, Moving Forward (12 February 2011)

It has been months since I last trained at the Ateneo High School track oval. It felt great to be back. It was a homecoming of sorts, sans the batch mates. Save for a few baseball-playing kids, the wide expanse of my old teenage haunt was devoid of people.

For a person who’s fed up with cramped training venues, the wide open spaces of the Hill was a refreshing change. The feeling of solitude was rejuvenating. It was conducive for a no-nonsense training session.

I started off with a light tempo run, just to get my juices going. I just love running around the Ateneo campus. I did some running drills afterward, taking advantage of the space! I then proceeded to the football field to do some introductory plyometric exercise (again, taking advantage of the wide open spaces!).  I topped off the workout with anaerobic intervals.

On my way back to the starting line, I couldn’t help but glance at the stretch of the track where I first learned how to three-step in the sprint hurdles. I can still remember that Wednesday afternoon. Coach Ed Sediego and I were having a one-on-one session. He set up the hurdles at the hard, gravel part of the track (by the 50m mark). 8 years since that very moment, I can still feel the excitement and the adrenaline-rush. I was pumped-up and completely in the zone. I could feel the speed oozing in my very veins.

As I assumed the crouch start position, I pictured myself racing against the college team’s top hurdler – whom I saw training a week earlier. I was fearless. I was ready for anything! Coach Ed’s instructions were simple: “Sprint!” And boy did I sprint like a man possessed! I was in my element as my hurdling rhythm kicked in. There and then I knew that I was made for the sprint hurdles.

It’s surreal to think that more than a decade has passed since I first ran laps on the high school oval. I can still remember one particular physical education class. Incidentally, Coach Ed Sediego – my future athletics mentor – handled P.E. during my sophomore year. In one dreaded fitness test, I had side-stitches after a mere 20m of running! Back then, I have yet to discover the joys of sport; hence, my being out of shape!

Almost 11 years later, I’m a far cry from that scrawny, bespectacled lad. I must admit that my outfit yesterday (blue shades, Ateneo tank top, football shorts) were quite dashing that my 2000 self would marvel in awe at the transformation! Nowadays, sport has been ingrained in my mentality. I couldn’t possibly go two weeks without working out. My 16-year old self weighed an atrociously-light 115 lbs! I am proud to say that I am 45 pounds heavier and a tad bit more muscular!

Times of solitude are perfect moments to look back at who we were. In this day and age of cutthroat competition and hard times, we tend to lose ourselves amidst this chase for success. I am, by no means, out of this quarter-life Vision Quest.

Sometimes, looking back 10 years in the past could go a long way plotting the course for the next 10.

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