ITB Injury

3rd of October, the sunday before Run to the Max 3.  Edward, Richard, and I were planning on running 23km as part of our training.  We decided to park our vehicles at Stephen’s house and run 3 loops of both old and new Mandaue-Mactan Bridges.  I was looking forward to this run all week.  It would be my longest run up to that date and I was very excited and felt ready to blaze thru it.

I was having some bruising on the balls of my feet so I decided to experiment with a new Huarache Sandal that had a thicker sole to give my feet some cushion.

Big mistake.

I bought a flip-flop at SM where the sole was very light and thick enough.

Before the dismantling
Trying not to damage the rubber thongs

I cut it up and plugged it with the cord I used for my other Huaraches and decided to use that.

Finished product!  The hammer in the background was the tool I used to punch the holes.

During the 2nd loop of the run at around the 12th kilometer, I felt something on the lateral part of my left knee.  I continued to run and the “something” developed into full-blown pain and forced me to walk.

Rounded sole, not flat.

When I got home, I researched and found out that my symptoms are consistent with ITBS.  I was really shocked and bewildered that I could be injured with this and the only thing that I could think of that I changed was my sandals.

So I looked back at the pictures I took of it and realized that the sole of the flip-flop I bought was rounded!

Therefore I conclude that because of this characteristic of the sole, I was pronating too much and it just so happened that we were doing loops and my left leg was stretched more than my right leg.  I’m still suffering from this injury until now but I use a home-made ITB Strap on my left leg and I can still run.  I made my own ITB strap because I couldn’t find it anywhere in Cebu.  I had to buy from the US but it will take time to arrive here.

Lesson learned:  I can never wear anything that has too much cushion or anything that will cause my feet to pronate unnaturally.

DIY Foam Roller

Runnr didn’t have stock.  I visited all the sports stores in Ayala and SM – zip, zero!  Not a single foam roller in sight!

So I went home feeling depressed and discouraged.  Then I remembered a friend mentioned that it can be made using PVC pipes and foam so I looked it up in youtube and sure enough, the instructions were there.

I rummaged through all the junk at home and I found the materials I needed.  Saved me from frustration and a lot of money!

Run to the Max 3 : Conquer the Hill

Date: October 10, 2010
Distance: 16Km
Time: 1:30

We started walking when we heard the starting gun fire.  After a few steps, the runners in front of us were stopping.  That was then we realized we were standing too far behind that we were with the 8k runners instead of the 16k!

Photos below were grabbed from the Facebook albums of Sydney delos Reyes and James Go.

Trying to catch up with the pack with Richard close behind.

My mentor and pacer for the race Edward.  Synchronized running!

Richard taking it easy during the whole race.

Going downhill…

I don’t know both photographers Sydney and James but they sure do have top-of-the-line cameras, thanks guys.

7 Days after

A week has past in my journey.  A journey that is similar to a road race but one that has no finish line, yet every “kilometer” is an achievement in itself.

During the past week there were times when the cravings would seem sooooooo unbearable!  Some days it felt like running an easy 5 kilometer training run, some days it’d be what I would imagine running a marathon would feel like.  You don’t want to give in, but some part of your brain keeps on telling you to surrender.

Quoted from a friend who also stopped smoking, “the first 3 weeks feels like torture”.  That’s exactly how I felt the past week.  I would just try to focus my mind to ignore the urges and look for something to keep me occupied.

This is about the hardest thing that I have ever done in my whole life.

Now on my 8th day of being smoke-free, I breathe easier when I run and it seems that my lungs are full of oxygen.  I have more energy even in the busiest and stressful days at work.  I don’t smell like an ashtray anymore.  I’ve started eating fruits and desserts.  A lot of good things are happening all at once.

I don’t want to let my family watch me suffer from a smoking-related disease when I’m old, so it makes me smile thinking that I have done all that I can do to avoid it.

It’s only been a few days but I feel that I have already achieved what I should have done so long ago.

Journey to a fuller life

I picked up my first cigarette when I was 15 and more than 20 years later I’m still smoking.

In my graduating year of high school I smoked even when I was Class President, what an example!  In college I smoked to look cool and be “in”.  When I started working, I smoked to “relieve” stress and relax.  When I got older, I smoked because I was addicted.

I started to exercise in my early twenties by cycling, we were using very old and heavy mountain bikes back then but we enjoyed the feeling on being on the road so we did it again the following weekend and again and again until we got hooked.  I started saving my salary so that I could buy that aerodynamic seat-post or that new model of Rudy Project shades, etc, etc…  On sundays we would ride to Catmon which is approximately 50km away making the total mileage 100km in a day.  When we had more time, we would go beyond Catmon and come back home close to 12 noon.  During our rides, I would look forward to the break we will be having at the turnaround because I could then smoke 1-2 cigarettes before getting back on the bike and ride home.  It affected my breathing a little bit but hey, I was young and I could take the abuse to my lungs.

I continued to smoke despite regularly exercising.

In our bike rides, we met other cyclists who were into triathlons and they invited us to join them.  So we started swimming and running.  Swimming was our weakest discipline, I particularly had a difficult time in learning the proper technique for long distance swimming and was usually the last or second to the last one to come out of the water.  But we at least enjoyed some of the runs.  We ran 10k’s sponsored by Milo and Pharmaton.  I ran my first 21km in the late 90’s, in the Tri-City Run that started at the Lapu-lapu Shrine in Mactan, passed thru Mandaue City Hall and ended at Cebu City Hall.

I participated in triathlons in Mactan, Danao, Balamban, and in Bohol for roughly 2 years and during this time I continued to smoke without slowing down.  I smoked before AND after every training session be it any of the 3 sports.  I even smoked before going to the starting line of each triathlon event!

I felt invincible…..

I stopped joining triathlons because it took too much time to train for 3 sports but continued cycling.  My 2 triathlon buddies Edward and Stephen continued joining triathlons for several years more.


My triathlon buddies Stephen and Edward.  Only Jerome is missing from this photo.

I got back into running last September of 2009 when the Cebu City Marathon was announced.  By this time, I had already tried so many times to quit smoking and I saw this as an opportunity to run my first full marathon and quit smoking at the same time.  But due to TMTS Syndrome, I got injured the very first week of my training and had to rest for 2 months resulting in even more smoking.

By the time I recovered from the injury one month before the CCM and I was already back to a pack a day.  It was too late for me to train for the full marathon so I trained hard for 4 weeks then ran the half and did it in 2:24.  Since then I’ve never stopped running.  Unfortunately, I also didn’t stop smoking.

Now I’m training for the 1st Cebu Ultramarathon, a 50km race that starts in Balamban and ends at the Cebu Provincial Capitol.

My thoughts are if I survive training and finishing this race without quitting smoking, for the rest of my life it would be next to impossible to stop.  It would always be at the back of my mind that I can engage in any sport even if I smoke.

So if there ever was a right time to stop, now would be as good as any.

So after more than 20 years, thousands and thousands of cigarettes, hundreds of lighters, and dozens of failed attempts to quit;

I’ve now stopped smoking.

I know this is my last attempt because this time I’m not going to fail.

I know God will give me the strength.

This is for my family and my friends who have supported and encouraged me.