With a little help from my friends (16 April 2011)

The past few weeks had been quite hard. The stresses of training alone had been getting into my head. No man is an island. Although solitude is at times, beneficial, there comes a point where the silence becomes too deafening. I was becoming stale as I went through the motions of hurdling and sprinting. There was no intensity. I started to doubt myself and my ability to compete head-to-head with the nation’s best hurdlers.

I was on track to another lackluster workout yesterday afternoon when I bumped into Ninoy  Marayag in Rizal. I haven’t seen the guy in months and, naturally, we talked about all things track & field. I confided my self-doubts. The national level triple jumper was very supportive and prodded me not to scrap my plans of competing.

The mere presence of a friend did wonders to my training session. He was able to spot some deficiencies in my hurdling (trail leg doesn’t snap forward, flailing arm action). Even if he’s a triple jumper, he knew the basics of hurdling. His inputs were very helpful indeed!

Ernie Candelario, the 2003 SEA Games 400m champion, was also there with his family and some national tracksters. After one good run, I saw him clapping and widely grinning. I basked under his praise! I grew up reading about this guy’s exploits. Hell, I idolized his quarter-mile running. To see him clapping at my hurdling was simply flattering.

The slew of frustrating training sessions were stopped, thanks to the mere presence and support of Ninoy and Ernie.

Ninoy shared an Ilonggo saying, which loosely translated into Tagalog: “Hindi pa nagsisimula and laban, panalo ka na.” In English the line means winning in your mind before the start of  the actual competition. It was a wake-up call. I realized how soft I had become in the years I spent away from the track. Self-doubt is the worst thing an athlete can do to himself.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be gradually reaching my peak in time for the National Games in Bacolod. Everything is on target.

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