Tomorrow will be the first day of 2009!!! When you look back at it, 2008 went by fairly quickly. It was a turbulent year --- so many challenges came upon us -- many of these challenges sprouted from excessive greed, religious intolerance and the mind-boggling audacity of politicians to fool the populace. We lost trust in the many institutions that were supposed to be the bastion of stability and protection. We pray that as 2009 comes in, saner heads will prevail and calm will be restored -- we all need it and we all need the hope that things will be brighter next year.
But there are bright spots!! One of them being the sport of running. Whatever the motivation, 2008 saw a tremendous resurgence in running -- as a means for fitness, as a serious sport and as an avenue for sponsors to demonstrate their wares. Month in and month out, week in and week out, we saw races being organized and we saw more and more people joining the ranks of runners.
It was a good year for me. I am grateful that I actually joined the thousands who took the plunge and started running. I'm taking advantage of this last post for 2008 to list down all the blessings that I've gotten from becoming a runner:
- I started blogging -- Never in my wildest dream did I see myself blogging. What started out as a simple attempt to chronicle my steps and missteps in achieving fitness became a work of love that I began sharing with friends and, later on, with new friends who shared a common love -- running. It rekindled a long lost and repressed love for writing. Of course, blogging is also a commitment -- to update on time -- and I'm a bit behind this obligation. That's probably an entry in my New Year's Resolution, which will come after this segment.
- I've rekindled and strengthened old friendships -- Running has allowed me to renew friendships with a number of people I've long lost touched with. They have become part and parcel of my life again through pictures in my blog. But, most of all, I've come to know my running buddies in different and stronger ways. Week in and week out, it was fun running with "Running Ma's" team!! While we knew each other through our professional lives, running together has allowed us to become much closer.
- I've met new friends -- Friends who share the same passion and frustrations. Each person has a unique story to tell and individual goals. Some are elite athletes with extreme passions. Some are ordinary folks like me with simple goals and struggle like me to achieve our goals. Many have decided to also write their stories in blogs. Some have become celebrities and have gotten national and international attention. Some are my neighbors and some are far away. All have bonded together with a common love -- the love of running and of meeting fellow runners.
- I became committed to fitness -- While I admit I'm far from being fit, I've also come a long way from my old ways. Now, fitness is becoming part of the lifestyle -- not just an obligation. It's still a challenge staying on track but I'm hooked and I want to continue on this road as long as I can.
- And, the best part of all, my blood chemistry is now normal!!! While I did admit I'm far from being fit, the initial indication of its return is how the results of key blood elements are now within normal ranges. The usual suspects include cholesterol, triglycerides and uric acid. These have always been problem areas for me -- and that's why I hate going for my executive check-ups, aside from being poked up and down!!! But, this year, with a number of friends in trouble physically or dying early, it was a wake up call -- I had to go for my executive check-up. While I still hated the procedures, I was pleasantly surprised at the results. I hope that I can sustain this pattern -- it's still a challenge considering my "unhealthy" diet but I will surely try.
2009 will be a whole new year and a new point in my road to fitness. As I close 2008, I would like to set some goals for the next year. I remember early on in 2008, as I was talking with a couple of friends, including Jorge, I set my goal in a vague way -- to be the fittest I've ever been at 50. Jorge was the one who said that goals should be measurable and I honestly didn't know what to measure. Now, I'll set down some measurable goals for 2009:
- Reach 190lbs and maintain my weight within plus or minus 2 lbs of this target
- Run my first sub-30 minute 5K
- Run my first sub-60 minute 10K
- Run my first 21K
- Maintain normal readings for my blood chemistry in 2009's Executive Check-up
So, as I wind down the festivities over the last few days of the holidays, I'm looking forward to restarting the training programs to complete the goals above. Sometime in 2009, these goals will now have a time measure. But, until then, I will take it one step, one kilometer at a time.
Here's wishing everyone a Happy, Safe and Healthy 2009. The New Year will present numerous challenges, especially on the economic front. But, let us all maintain our health and fitness to cope with all the stress we are about to experience. With fitness and health, we can overcome what is thrown our way. Besides, running will generate the endorphins which can help us feel better and give us a sense of well being. We'll need all the help we can get -- so, let's all go out and run!!! See you all at the races in 2009!!