Sunday, May 2, 2010

Life Lessons in Jogging

With so much time on my hands this summer I decided to take up running- nothing competitive really, it's more of a mix of jogging, brisk walking, and perhaps a sprint now and then when a dog is chasing me. So every 5:30 am at dawn, without as much as a splash of water on the face, I'd pick up my running shoes and head outside while the house is still in utter silence.

Sometimes I go with a pop song blaring on my headset, but it is equally alright when I enjoy the gentle sounds as the city stirs to life. I have grown fond of the routine: decide my running course, do stretching as I warm up, then off I go! I liken that feel of freedom, as I stomp my way through the concrete streets, to life's journey. When we are young we begin to decide our paths- from high school to college to finding our way through the maze of work opportunities- or the lack of it. We are prepared for the long road by years of training in school, and still oftentimes we run into unexpected places and detours.

We run with other people. Some, like those retirees huffing and puffing as they go, tend to adapt a slower pace and I zoom past them. Sometimes though, a troupe of cadets rush by, and I am left trailing behind. That's okay, I know my limits- I just learn to focus on my goal and move at my own pace.

Yesterday I planned to run from our home in Marasbaras to Burayan in San Jose, then to Cogon, then turn left to Manlurip. This was farther than I've ever gone before and the road is different because it was secluded, with fewer houses along the road- and fewer joggers. I somewhat regretted not following the usual trail- Old Sagkahan road to Magsaysay Boulevard and to Leyte Park, where I can pass through the usual landmarks.

At some point in Manlurip I stopped. Past a certain zone, there were no longer jeepneys I can catch to get a ride back home in case I get tired, and I only had a small bottle of water with me. I had no idea where this trail led, or how far till the next town, but I thought I'll follow it anyway. After running nearly six and a half kilometers, I finally reached a lovely seaside avenue which led to Mc Arthur Park in Baras Palo, Leyte. I collapsed on the grass exhausted, but very happy.

Later than day I had the fortuitous chance of seeing online my old UP comrades at the College of Architecture- those days felt like another lifetime to me. There was a distinct feel of familiarity or even nostalgia as I saw my old professors, I mean these people I met way before my working days at Infonxx or my Nursing studies in Tacloban. I didn't know why it left such a strong impression on me, perhaps because that was the environment that nurtured me during my adolescence and therefore the milieu and culture formed part of my personality. I also got to see my former classmates turn into husbands and wives, and doting parents- a little different from the path I'm following.

But like that crossroad I had encountered yesterday, I knew I had to leave the past to memory, and keep moving forward even though what's ahead is unknown. Life's like that- sometimes you never know what you're going to get- but whatever it is, is definitely better than resisting growth or change and remaining within one's comfort zone.

It doesn't mean I've turned my back to what once was- after all, I've always kept my lessons in tow as I explore new horizons.

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