This morning I went out for an hour's run in a nearby subdivision (Ladislawa). It was a very slow run, mixed with a lot of walking - 6 km in 1 hour! I used to run that in 26 minutes.
I have started my marathon comeback training. I have 8 months to prepare for the Philippine International Marathon which will be held along the long and winding Pasig river in Manila on the last Sunday of February 2009. This is not my first marathon.
As a young priest in the 1980s, I usually ran a marathon every year in Manila. I was able to run the 42.2 km distance in 3 hrs & 33 min. I was the original running priest. I promised myself that I would keep doing it annually up to my old age. When I was sent for higher studies in Berkely, I ran the California International Marathon in 1991. I ran my last marathon in Rome in 1995. Unfortunately, I injured my left knee during the race and had to limp the last 10 km before reaching the finish line in my worst time (5 hrs & 30 minutes).
It has been 13 years since my last marathon. I am 30 pounds over my running weight. I have tried several times to do a comeback, but I have not been successful. My left knee continued to bother me, especially when my training mileage increased. I was not able to keep the promise I made to myself to run every year. This time, I intend to keep that promise. I have to, since I already promised Fr. Robert Reyes - the running priest - that I will run with him next year in Manila.
While reflecting on the readings for tomorrow, these verses from the 2nd reading caught my attention:
"the moment of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished race, I have kept the faith." (2 Tim 4: 6-7)
This was my favorite passage while I was running the marathon over 20 years ago. I even planned to have these verses as epitaph for my tomb when I die.
For me this passage reflects not only my marathon running but my life - a life of fighting the good fight against evil in the world, remaining faithful and persevering until the end.