My mom told me I grew up a competitive child that every time there was a contest in school I’d volunteer myself. I represented my elementary school and high school in different competitions and I would never go home without bagging an award. My mom said I was lazy at studying but I was good at academics and at things I wanted to devote myself to. Mom ended up collecting all the medals and trophies I brought home.
I was good at many things except sports. My parents never allowed me to get myself involved in physical activities because of a childhood trauma they were more scared for me than I was afraid of myself.
I was a victim of a hit and run when I was 5-years-old. I survived but for three months I couldn’t walk. My parents were scared I was gonna grow up a handicap. Prayers and therapy worked out and I learned to use my legs again, but that was also when my dreams of becoming a gymnast ended. From then on, I was strictly prohibited to do any sports that have to do with my legs.
I was naturally stubborn, my mom said. When she found out I secretly joined in track and field sports in high school, she bought me an organ to divert my interest in sports to music. It never worked, so there were times when I ate (bittersweet) reprimands for dinner.
You see, I have always loved running even during those times when running was the last thing my parents wanted me to do.
Back to the present, I turned out to become an ultrarunner, someone who runs beyond the 42KM distance or marathons. No, I’m not an elite athlete or what they call a pro, but I am humbly claiming that I have the discipline and the heart of a badass woman of sports.
Among my priceless collections are my medals and trophies, each of which has its unique story; each of which reminds me of the hard work behind every finish, and each of which brings back good old memories of my moments with the distinguished and awesome people I met through running.
Every time I look at them, I remember the only person who ran with me so I can complete my heart-like finisher pose every time I crossed the finish line; the person who played a guitar to calm me down before a race, the same person who brought me to a Korean buffet for my post-race piggin’ out; the friends-of-a-lifetime who supported my long distance races; the soul sisters who always wait for me at the Finish line; the generous souls who gave me my first ever pairs of running shoes, a handful of running gears and nutrition, among others; the unsung heroes who worked hard behind every race to make sure everyone finishes the races safe and happy; the selfless photographers who turned our pain into smiles; the loved ones who motivate me to keep running; the fellow raramuri souls who have found happiness and freedom in running; and my badass Self who surprises and amazes me everytime.
I guess these are what these medals are made of – not only of metal and brass – but of stories of unconditional love, genuine friendship, little victories over struggles, personal growth, and valuable lessons about how we can fail and succeed in this life all the same, and yet remain hopeful and strong enough to continue to live life to the fullest.
Eleven ultramarathons, 10 finish, one podium finish, and one DNF; 10 marathons, nine finish, and one did not make it within cut off time; 13 half-marathons, one podium finish; one afro-distance; and 22 fun runs, three podium finish. (as of September 2018)
Looking back now, never did I imagine that the girl who once thought she will never have a place in the world of sports will one day find herself running for life.
If you’ve read all the way here, thank you very much for wasting your time with me. I’d love to know about your running story, too.
What do your medals remind you of?
I hope to hear from you either in the comments below or on a personal message via Messanger, whichever you like.
Oh yeah, my mom supports my Warat Runner life now, and she even waited for me at the finish line once. Whenever I go home to visit, she volunteers to go with me to the oval in the neighboring town where I can train and where she can also do some walkathon while waiting for me. My mom can be sweetest like that.