Stepping Back

One of the pitfalls of being a Filipino track & field athlete is the lack of local competitions. For athletes who had used up their collegiate playing years, only the annual National Championships and the poorly organized PATAFA Weekly Relays are open. Most athletics meets in the Philippines are schools-based. I originally planned on competing at the PATAFA Relays, but since I’m taking a one-year certificate course for work, all of my Saturday mornings have been taken up by a three-hour class.

During the early parts of the second macrocycle, I fared well with the prospect of another competition-less season. After all, it’s not like I have much of a choice. As a cash-strapped, quarter-life stricken professional, I could ill-afford to fly abroad to compete. Hence, I had to make do with what I have – a pitifully short athletics calendar. Then the illnesses came, interrupting my training momentum. I tried my utmost best to regain the lost edge, but somehow, the thought of training for training’s sake was etched at the back of my mind.

I lost the motivation, the intrinsic desire to be the best hurdler I can be. In my solitary training routines, I easily lost focus. I brooded and sulked, wanting to train and compete so badly. During those dark days, I felt the urge to simply hang up my spikes, to pursue other more worthwhile pursuits. And regrettably, I considered those options seriously. It seemed as if I was on the verge of quitting with every single solitary session.

I know better than to listen to the hazy thoughts of my tired self. Despite Philippine athletics’ pitiful state (and my equally pitiful 2011 performance standard) the love for the sport still burns fervently. Being an athlete – an amateur, self-coached one at that – requires gargantuan mental toughness. I’ve been training alone for almost two years now. I guess my psychological endurance has reached its limits.

As 2011 winds down, I’ll be staying away from the track as I explore other ways to stay in shape, physically and psychologically, for the battle ahead.

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