Archive of ‘Teach Pray Run’ category

Awesome

Dear Bianca Angela,

This is mommy’s way of saying…don’t just do what makes you happy. Instead, do what brings you great joy no matter how uncomfortable, hard, scary, or even crazy it may seem to others. Remember that you can only become amazing when, with bold faith and purpose, you do something that others won’t even dare to do. So when you find yourself wanting to make a dream happen or to relive a dream again, listen only to yourself. When your heart says YOU CAN and your gut screams DO IT, GO FOR IT! You owe yourself a second (or even third and a fourth) shot at awesome.

Love,

Mommy

For the love of running

I welcomed 2015 with the right attitude…motivated, inspired, and eager to make my dreams come true. I had my eyes set on finishing my first full marathon at that time so I had something to look forward. The image of myself crossing that finish line and earning my first full marathon medal were what psyched me and kept me on my toes. And, run and finish it, I did. It was an exhilirating climb towards that goal, that dream. I knew with all certainty that I would reach it and yet can’t quite believed myself when I actually did.

I thought it was enough to make me love running more but sad to say, it wasn’t the case. Somewhere along my recovery period, I lost it, the heart to run. I didn’t listen to logic and reason. I didn’t give myself enough time to rest. Instead, I pushed myself to the limit. I let the desire and lust for running get the better of me. I hurt myself in the process.

It took awhile before I was able to run again and when I did, it wasn’t the same for me anymore. I was back to square one and after having gone through the struggle, I detest doing it all over again. The mere thought of investing long hours (again) just to get my speed back, just to get my strong back, tired me.

Somewhere along my recovery period, I also lost it, the drive to run. I found many excuses not to. Even fate seemed to agree with me because everytime I think of running, as if on cue, I get sick (or feel sick). I am ashamed to admit it but I let the bed get the better of me as well. Many mornings, I simply ignored that nagging little voice, telling me to get up and run. I didn’t listen to my body crying out for exercise.

I remember it clearly, that one afternoon when I rocked a baby and felt a snap on my hip. I tried to dismissed it as nothing until the pain became persistent. The doctor put me off running for weeks while I was nursing that hip injury. What I hate most about it was, I didn’t have a choice. It was forced on me. I have never felt more weak and sick in my entire life. The thought that I would never run again scared me. Suddenly, I miss everything about the sport, the adrenalin rush, the burn, and that sense of pride and accomplishment after completing even just a short run. At that time I realized, I would give anything just to get back on my feet again.

Simply running, that’s what makes me love the sport more because it is pure, unadulterated bliss to do so. It wasn’t the marathon. It wasn’t race to the finish line. In fact I realized, the competitive spirit of the sport makes me hate it. A steady run on a quiet morning or chilly afternoon…a wild, crazy run while beating the sunrise or chasing the sunset…a long, invogorating run after half-consciously dragging yourself out of bed….a slow, rusty run that ends up in a smooth stride…these are what gives that warm, wonderful feeling of being truly alive and strong. Now, if this isn’t love, I don’t know what is.:)

Maybe it is not running for you. Maybe it is something else like yoga, swimming, or biking. Whatever it is that makes your heart skip a beat, I hope you never take it for granted because every single chance to do so is a gift in itself.

Happy new year! Now, Go out there and, RUN! (or swim…or bike…or yoga…)

CHRISTmas

“This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:12)

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This morning, I went to visit an orphanage with Bianca and there, we found the baby Jesus in the persons of 3-week-old Agnes, and 1-year-old Marge, Margaux, Jason, Ashley, Angelo, Precious, and Krisha. I feel blessed to be in the company of such happy, loving kids and honored, in fact, to feel needed by them even for just a day. It was a joy to breathe in their baby scents, to cradle and wrap them in my arms. A delight to hear them laugh, see them smile, and feel them reach out for my hand. I may not have personally witnessed the Nativity scene or paid tribute to the King of all Kings with gifts of gold, incense, and myrh but this morning, in that small room tucked in the corner of that little orphanage, where dreams of a permanent home hung thick in the air and hope for a family they can call their own lingers, it truly felt like, I did. 😌

Dear Mrs. Dela Cruz

My students love to give me presents. They are a thoughtful bunch. But then, more than the material gifts, it is really their letters that I always look forward in receiving every year. Whenever I begin to question wildly if I am in the right profession or not…when I want to do little else but pull my hair out or throw my hands up in the air in frustration (yes, teaching can do that to you), their letters keep me sober and pull me back. Here are some of my favorite ones, from the most touching to the downright funny and insane…

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imageIn my students’ eyes, I have become a legend….

Chloe

When I took this little girl under my wing a few years ago, I knew right away that she’s totally different. She was grade 2 then. For one thing, she can’t sit still or stay inside the classroom for long. She’s quite something else too. She had no qualms speaking her mind, didn’t care one bit about her classmates or teachers’ opinions, and worst she would cry and beg every morning for me to send her home because she misses her mom. She was like this for 3 straight years.

Her teachers would often find themselves at their wits end trying to figure out a way to make her sit, listen, follow, and focus in class. Her fourth year in school was almost the same minus the crying episode. While the rest seemed to have given up on her, her mom and I never got tired believing that one day, she’ll make a complete turn around. Faith, hope, and love, we gave her a lot of that.

And my dear Chloe, she did not disappoint. On our fifth and last year together as mentor-mentee, and on her final year in grade school, she made it happen. She managed to make herself be what her family and I hoped and prayed for her to be. Clearly not perfect but right enough to make the Lord equally proud and happy too.

My Chloe, she has since moved to high school. I thank the Lord that she made her different than the rest because through her I witnessed yet another one of those amazing miracles that would make me continue to believe that no matter how uncertain things may seem at the start, with faith, hope, and love, all shall be well in the end.

Saturday Reflections

“What we are, is God’s work. He has created us, in Christ Jesus, for the good works he has prepared.”

I remember when I was a kid, I dreamt of becoming big someday. At least that somebody whose very presence is admired and sought by many. I envisioned myself many times conquering the stage, the courtroom, the boardroom. Well, I must say that reality is actually a distorted version of fantasy. One that is really quite funny if you think about it but also a bit enlightening in a way.

One of the things I am proud of in my 37 years of existence is that, I have managed to become that somebody at least to my loved ones. I am Mom to Bianca, Mrs. Dela Cruz to my students, and wife to Nan. I have conquered many places too, the stage as Bianca’s stagemom, the classroom as the funny SS teacher, our home as the former wife of Nan who is now resting in peace with the Lord, the road as the running mama, and the publising world as a writer/contributor for parenting magazines.

I have become sought after too. Kids come knocking at the faculty’s door looking for me when I am running late in class. And my very presence, well, it isn’t lacking in admiration especially among grade school children. A simple dance routine in clubs or an intersting powerpoint presentation in my class are enough to earn me a standing ovation. People, 7-9 year olds to be exact, call out my name, stop to say Hi, and even request for a picture.

When we find ourselves living a life different from what we imagined or taking a path different from the one we originally planned, know that it wasn’t accidental, we didn’t make a wrong turn. This is actually all part of the God’s grand master scheme for our life. We are exactly where God wants us to be right at this moment because He believes that this is the best way we can carry out His mighty plans. So where ever you are, whatever you have become, live out God’s amazing purpose for you.

TBR Dream Marathon: RACE DAY…I Become My Dream

My first TBR Dream marathon was everything I imagined it to be. Hard, painful, but oh so worth it. As I stood waiting for the gun to go off, the scenes of me training for this marathon came racing through my mind—me waking up at the break of dawn, dragging myself off from bed, driving in the dark, running alone in a deserted Memorial Park under the heat of the sun to clock in 2-3 hours of run. Me religiously doing planks, crunches, and weights every night to prepare my body for this grueling excercise. As I stood there waiting for the race to start, I cannot help but think to myself, this is it, this is what I have been working hard and putting all my heart and efforts on.

The first 21 km was a breeze. Adrenalin, excitement, and a fresh burst of energy brought me to the turn around. Since the route was new, I took in all the sights…the unfamiliar places, curves, uphills, downhills, and the TBR tents/water stations. I was completely into the moment as I ran alongside equally psyched up runners and dream chasers who generously shouted words of encouragement. The next 21 km, the second half, on the other hand, was something else. It was a real test of strength, endurance, and spirit for me. It is true what they say about the final 21 km, you run it with your heart. At the 34th kilometer, I hit what runners would call “the wall.” Just after the 2 km never ending uphill. Fatigue and pain in my left knee that took a hard beating on those killer hills began wearing me down. Good thing my friend Jon, a 7 time marathoner and dream chaser, was there to give me the final push. Along the way, we met Abi, who was more disheartened than me. We ran the last 8 km together, with Jon telling us all the “tricks” he knows about running and with me giving Abi all the peptalks and words of encouragement that I can think of. They were what kept my eyes and focus on the goal. They were what kept my heart on the race. Jon and I predicted that I will finish the race at 6:30, 30 minutes over and above my target. But in the end, I finished it at 7:06 because it didn’t feel right to leave Abi behind. When I dreamed of finishing this marathon, I didnt dream of finishing this alone. God in all his goodness, gave me these two great people to celebrate the joy, pains, and fullfillment of reaching the end.

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When we were a few meters closer to the finish line, I decided to slow down and let Abi go first because there’s really nothing like seeing one struggling runner bask in the glory of reaching her goal. I stopped and stood there for a moment to cheer and root for Abi. Heartbeats away from the finish line, I allowed myself to be filled with joy at the sight of her celebrating victory, before I went ahead and claimed mine.

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My family was waiting for me at the finish line complete with a super big banner to congratulate me. Seeing them made my happiness complete.

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Now I can, with all pride, say that I am a runner and a marathoner at that. I never thought I had it in me to run a full marathon. Sometimes you really just have to boldly go out there, make things happen, and become your dream.

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Here’s what I told my daughter after running my first full marathon: My dear Bianca Angela, this race is more for you than for me. I hope this proves to you that mommy isn’t just randomly quoting Disney when I say that dreams do come true. And that in fact, it doesn’t really take a genie or a fairy Godmother to make things happen for you. All it takes is YOU. You with your persistence and determination to succeed. You with your willingness to sacrifice comfort and go through all the pains and troubles to achieve your dream. Always remember that our life is a good story. It does not end with the loss of daddy or with your battle with cancer. They are just significant chapters in our life story that call for us to press forward, rise up in faith, and fullfill our God-given destiny. They connect and propel us to the greater things that God has prepared for our future. A good story always ends in victory and ours is that kind of story.

TBR Dream Marathon: Day 6

Two days into the marathon, here I am feeling under the weather. I woke up this morning with itchy throat, eyes, and nose. It didn’t help that the weather does not seem to cooperate. It has been cold these past to nights making my throat ache painfully. Quite ironic because these past few days I have been sleeping early and trying to get enough rest. I guess my body doesn’t take kindly to rest.

But then again, these might be a classic case of jitters. My body is reacting to the stress in anticipation for the big day. A while ago while I was reading the bible, I came accross Psalms 46:5, it says “God is within her, she will not fail.” Yes I believe so. God has been with me since the moment I conceived this dream in my heart. He was beside me when I was trading an extra hour in bed for a run at the break of dawn. He is with me now that the dream is almost at my fingertips. I will make this happen. We will make this happen. Me and my God. I will get us to the finish line, sans sweat and colds.

TBR Dream Marathon: Day 5

My friend’s text to me this morning was, “Blancs! Did you know that Manila to Malolos is 38kms? Mas malayo pa yun run mo sa Sunday! ? Oh my gosh!” I never really thought of it that way. I never really map out how far 42 km. is. All this time, to me, it is just a number. Four 10 km and an extra two. Sometimes I measure it by time, 6 to 7 hours on the road. But to really see how far it is from the starting to end point, I’ve never really done that. It is because I do not want to start questioning and doubting myself. I don’t want a whole stretch of road. I want to take it by minutes and hours with the Lord. I do not want to focus on the destination but the journey because I know if I do it that way, I will surely get me to the finish line.

TBR Dream Marathon: Day 4

Since it’s Ash Wednesday today, I wholeheartedly did fasting and abstinence as required by the Catholic Church. In fact, I was looking forward to it since I wanted to please the Lord in whatever way I can. I ate light breakfast and snacks, and was really planning my full meal for dinner. But then this afternoon on the way home, I started to feel my body getting weak and I was sweating cold. I was having hypoglycemia attack. I frantically searched for a candy in my bag but didn’t find any. Good thing I was able to drive myself to the nearest convenient store to grab some sweets.

Of course this set the stress button on again. I kept thinking, how can you survive a 42 km run when your body is acting like this? I was asking myself, are you sure you can handle it? It took a while for me to realize that it was fear and self-doubt talking. Of course I will finish the race, I have a good nutritional plan before and during the race day. And no doubt about it, I can handle it because I have trained my body for this rigorous activity for months. I am healthy, I am strong, and I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me.

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