Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Marathon Challenge: Keeping a Promise

When I was a young priest more than 28 years ago, I made a promise to myself that I will be running a marathon every year until my 80th birthday. I was able to keep my promise from 1980 to 1989. Every year I ran the PAL-Manila International Marathon. When I went abroad for further studies I wasn't able to do it every year anymore. I ran the California International Marathon in 1991 and then ran the Rome Marathon in 1995. Since then, I haven't ran any marathon. I shifted to biking and biked for peace around Mindanao and around the Philippines. But I always longed to run the marathon again. I remembered the promise I made to myself. I tried several times to make a comeback but I failed. I thought, maybe, I was just too old to do it.

Several months ago, I took up running again and decided to train for the marathon. I was planning to run the International Philippine Marathon for the Pasig River early this year (March). But my progress has been very slow and I had a problem with my calf muscles in December. I haven't run regularly for the last four weeks until this week when I can run without pain. This morning I was able to run for 30 minutes, so I am back in training again. Instead of running this March, I will run the Quezon City International Marathon this October. After that I will keep running every year until my 80th birthday.

I sometimes doubt if I can still do it at my age. I am overweight -- 173.6 lbs. When I was running marathons, I usuall weighed 130 lbs. I hope that by October, I will be at least 140 lbs. Let's see. I still dream of breaking my personal record of 3:33:15 for the 42 km. This year, I will just aim to finish the race and in the coming years, I will go below 3:30 and maybe break 3 hrs someday. I intend to keep my promise.

Running the marathon is a symbol of the other promises I made in my youth, such as:
remaining a priest and a Redemptorist until I die
keeping my vows of chastity, poverty and obedience
preaching the good news especially to the poor and most abandoned
forming basic ecclesial communities
working for peace, justice and development
praying and meditating regularly
spending time in the mountain of Busay as an occasional hermit
fasting every Friday
bike for a cause around the country

"The woods are lovely, dark and deep
but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep
and mile to go before I sleep." R. Frost


bimbim said...

Mas gwapo na man jud diay ka karon 'dre kay sa imo old pictures cute pa man ka. :-)
Na-inspire pud mi sa imo 'dre to do better with what time we have and to keep our promises while we still can.
Good luck sa October 'dre!
God bless.


Patrick James said...

hello Fr. Picx
long time no hear from you.happy new year sa imo.
wow, you look good in your jogging exercises, as the ilonggo would say "condisyon ka gid kaayo lantawon".
im into jogging also here in bacolod, 10kms every biking every weekends with my group.
last time we had a fun ride to push for a bike lane here in bacolod...