Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Triathlon Training

This morning after celebrating the Mass with the PDDM sisters, I biked to the archbishop's residence where I swam for 20 minutes on the 18-meter pool. Completing one lap was very difficult - I had to rest for a couple of minutes between each lap. And to think that I have to able able to swim non-stop for an equivalent of 56 laps in the open sea to participate in the triathlon (1 km swim, 30 km bike, 7.5 km run). After the swim, I biked for 17 km before returning to the monastery. In the afternoon, I ran for 45 minutes (uphill repeats) in Ladislawa. I then had a 30 minute workout in the gym (back and triceps).

One of my goals this year is to finish the full marathon (42.2 km) in November. I run only 3 times a week (1 long run, 1 speed work, 1 hill repeats) but I also do some cross training (biking on non-running days). Joining a triathlon crossed my mind only recently when I realized that I can easily do the biking and running portions. If I can only learn to swim long distance, then I should be able to finish a triathlon (the sprint or olympic distance but not the ironman). I think I should be able to join the triathlon after running my comeback marathon - either this November late this year or March next year (depending on the progress of my swimming capability).

As I grow older, I am amazed at what I am capable of accomplishing physically. I may not have the speed but I have the endurance and this is what matters. I am more concerned about finishing well rather than winning. Starting this October, I will qualify to compete in the 55-59 age category. There are not too many participants in that category and I should do well and finish near the top. If I can can continue joining marathons and triathlons when I am over 70, I'm sure I can be a winner in my age category. When I am really too old to run (90-95 years old?) I can probably compete in the wheelchair division.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Joy of Running - (How to feel young as you grow older)

I am here in Cebu to attend a gathering of "Senior" Redemptorists which starts tomorrow. Redemptorists who are between 50-64 years old will be attending the conference where we will be discussing about issues and concerns that affect those of us who are entering old age.

Honestly, I don't feel I belong to this group. The word "senior" is often associated with "senior citizens but I really don't feel that old - even if I will qualify to get a "senior citizens" card 5 years from now which will entitle me to 20% discount on food and medicine, etc. There are many things that I can do which many people of my age (or even those much younger) cannot do any more. Take for instance, biking around the country for 2 months or running marathons (which I will be doing this November.)

This morning, I ran up and down the mountain of Busay (as far as Babag). It was raining the whole time yet I was enjoying the run which lasted for 3 hours and 45 minutes. It was a very smooth and relaxed run and I didn't even feel exhausted. It was the same feeling I experienced when I was running this mountain 20 years ago. I expect to be doing this 20 years from now.
I read in the internet about a 20-year study on runners and non-runners. The results show that the runners have less disease and live longer than non-runners. Running is the fountain of youth.

I have 3 more months before the Philippine International Marathon (Run for Pasig River) and my training is on schedule. I am getting leaner and more fit. My pace is getting faster and my runs longer. My waist line has shrunk from 37 inches to 31 inches. And I don't feel old.

Monday, August 10, 2009

9th Day Requiem Mass for President Cory Aquino

At noontime today, after the regular monthly meeting of the priests (Presbyterium) we celebrated the 9th day requiem mass for our beloved President Cory Aquino. The mass was presided by Archbishop Fernando Capalla. Since Sunday of last week each parish had been celebrating requiem masses for Cory. Today, we gathered as a local Church to say goodbye to her. Many of the lay faithful who attended wore yellow dress, shirts or ribbons. All the priests wore a yellow stole, pinned with blue ribbon. The blue ribbon signified our belief that she is now with God in heaven, united with her husband Ninoy.
We don't normally do this for any Philippine president who dies. We did this for Cory and for what she personified.
In his homily Archbishop Capalla preached about the need to look at Cory's life and death through the third eye- the eye of faith, and the third ear - to listen with the heart. He spoke about how Cory has been an instrument of healing and reconciliation.
The prayer of the faithful expressed it all:
"For our country and our people, as we thank God for giving us a president whose faith helped us restore democracy after the people power revolution of 1986, that we may work together for the healing of our people through sincere repentance and mutual forgiveness, without which there is no future for our country, let us pray to the Lord."

Monday, August 03, 2009

In Memoriam, Cory Aquino. (Yellow - the Color of Mourning)

Yesterday during the 4:30 pm mass, I wore a yellow stole over the white chasuble instead of a green stole. It was un-liturgical but I thought it was appropriate since we were remembering Cory Aquino. Archbishop Capalla sent us a fax message last Saturday evening announcing the death of Cory and asking all the churches in the diocese to celebrate requiem mass for her for nine days. Before and after the mass, I wore my yellow t-shirt. I met Archbishop Capalla last night during dinner in Saint Aphonsus' parish and he was also wearing a yellow shirt.
This morning, I went out biking in Samal island wearing my yellow jersey. When I came back I wrote this poem.
Yellow – the Color of Mourning
(In Memoriam – Corazon Aquino)
Fr. Amado Picardal, CSsR
Yellow ribbons fill the trees and posts all over the land.
Many of us wear yellow shirts or arm bands as we wipe the tears in our eyes.
Why is yellow the color of mourning, not black?
What is it that we mourn for?

Like grown up children we mourn for the death of a mother
whom we had forgotten or ignored in her old age.
Her passing away made us realize
how much she had done for us, how she brought out the best in us long time ago.
We remember the widow still in mourning who bravely led us as we peacefully deposed the corrupt dictator that ruled the land.
We were not afraid of the tanks and the soldiers whom we embraced as brothers.
Yellow was the color of our struggle and our victory.
Yes, that was the moment when we were so proud to be Filipinos.
Sadly, that was the last time.
Now we live in shame, seeing what has happened since then.
Driving away the dictator was the easy part.
We failed to build a nation that is truly democratic, just, peaceful
and free from corruption.
What we and she fought against are still with us
even after we drove away another corrupt and abusive president.
Sadly the other woman installed by people power is no better
than the dictator and president that we deposed.
Until the end, the mother that we have forgotten continued to remind us and our leaders what we fought for and what we failed to do.

Gentle, compassionate woman,
beloved president
mother of the nation,
we thank you as we say goodbye.
We do not only mourn at you passing.
We mourn for ourselves and our nation.
As we wear yellow ribbons, armbands or shirts in your memory,
may we be reminded of the unfinished EDSA revolution.