Pointers to My 20-Year Old Self

Ten years ago today, I was in the hospital recovering from a broken arm sustained in a freak hurdling accident. Despite harboring delusions of competing again in barely two months’ time (Think Mark Crear at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Although I’m fairly certain that my arm injury was far more horrid than his, with all due respect to the Sub-13 sprint hurdler, of course), my season was practically over.

Barely a couple of weeks from my 21st birthday, I was in tip-top shape, running over those hurdles fluidly and without hesitation. Then that fateful moment happened. I was in tatters. As a senior in college, this was my last shot at that elusive 110m hurdles gold.

Hindsight is 20/20, as they say. What was once a matter of great importance seems so much more trivial nowadays – after a decade’s worth of experiences. I am still a work progress (aren’t we all?) Although I have little regrets with the decisions I’ve made in the past, I sure as hell have some tips to offer my 2006 self should I miraculously get hold of a DeLorean or a Hot Tub Time Machine (I prefer the former).

Cut back on the fast food

Dude, your body is your temple. If you eat junk, you will perform like junk. Ditch the fast food and chips for some veggie and fruits!

Drink a little more booze

Bro, there’s little use trying to live like an ascetic here. Even elite Olympians have vices. I’m not telling you to party every week, just learn how to let loose once in a while to polish those social skills (you’ll thank me for this somewhere down the road).

Go out with your teammates more often

You’ll never find a more diverse bunch of folks as the track team. Case in point: co-educational training. Again, go out. Take time to get to know these diverse collection of characters. Get drunk (even during the season. but don’t overdo it, silly!). A little alcohol won’t kill you.

Ask that girl out for coffee

You have to stay calm and not overt think. Take a deep breath, like the ones you take before each hurdling rep. Borrow some money from your folks and muster the courage to say your piece. Keep it friggin’ simple. I’ll even feed you the lines (check your phone).

Try not to brood too much after a bad race

Yeah, I know. Losing is never fun. But don’t let that crappy feeling consume your very person. It’s okay to mope, but don’t let it go beyond a couple of days. Fall seven times, stand up eight, remember?

Polish your sprinting mechanics

I’ll be honest with you. You sprint like crap. You can’t rely on hurdling form alone to win races. Keep this in mind: you only clear hurdles 10 times in a race while sprinting approximately 48 strides.

Pay extra attention to the A-skip and butt-kick drills. Your legs should be flexible enough for the heels to touch that slow-ass of yours when you sprint.

Save some money to start your stock portfolio 

Take up dad’s offer on that part-time job (although heaven knows how you’ll manage to juggle it with school and training).  Or swallow your pride and borrow some dough (payable when you start working). Read up on the fundamentals of the financial markets. And for heaven’s sake, please PLEASE please pay attention in your Money & Banking class.

There is life after athletics

I know how badly you want to win the UAAP gold, but we have to stay true to ourselves here. You probably aren’t good enough to run professional track. Your current PB of 15.65s is an eternity from the Olympic “B” standard (you’re a sensible guy, I’m sure you’ve realized this fact years before). Again, don’t let this goal consume you.

There are far bigger things in life than running over ten, 1.067-meter high barriers at full speed.


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