I gave up all hopes of joining this year’s MILO® Marathon because of one HUGE reason—no training! Coming off TNF100 my body was built primarily for endurance, not speed. I was seriously aiming to qualify for the Finals but there wasn’t enough time to train for it, so reluctantly I let that dream go (for this year at least).
The injuries I sustained from my back-to-back ultramarathons BDM102 and TNF100 made it easier to decide to postpone that MILO® dream, but it was never totally discarded. Then as the day of the race neared and more details were furnished I saw one detail that really snapped me back to reconsideration—the finisher’s shirt! I didn’t care for the medal, I WANT THAT SHIRT!
I Saw the Sign
By that time registration was down to the last few days, and my longest run was a 10K trail run. Talk about being ready! By that time I was on a stalemate—42K or bust! Since I cannot decide for myself, I asked for some Divine Guidance (as posted in my Facebook account). In situations like these, by experience, I’ve learned not to push my own will but instead follow His will.
Talk about photo finish, I was signed up for the race (through a friend) on the last day of registration! Registration was actually extended so we were able to sign up on that last day of the extended registration. That’s a foolproof answer I cannot miss! And so with my race packet on my hand I uttered to myself, “this is really it!”
Strange Encounter of the Third Kind
Finally the day of the race has arrived. Due to my remoteness to the starting area I had to leave home very early and to my delight I was with the company of a running family of four on my commute, also off for the race. Dad and Mom have been running MILO® Marathon for years and Mom was a constant placer and Dad doesn’t seem so far behind so it was natural that the kids also pick up the sport.
At that wee hours of the morning only jeepneys are the available option for commute (even taxis are scarce). Fortunately the commute was fast, but also unfortunately the driver decided to cut the trip short (cutting trip, grrrr and I didn’t get a refund of the excess fare!) alighting us in front of Quiapo Church. I’m not that familiar of which jeepney routes to take but Dad (of the running family) told us we should get one bound for the Pier so we’d alight very close to the Starting line.
Initially everything was smooth sailing until at some point of the trip this “person” embarked in our jeep, and sat beside me, on my right.
I’m not used to talking to strangers, except of course when necessary (like asking for directions, being asked for the time, etc.). This person (loudly and proudly of different preferences, for the lack of proper words) asked me if the jeep was bound for Fairview, and I said no. Then he asked something else I didn’t quite understand but I figured he’s probably asking about the event (I was wearing the MILO® singlet) so I said we were bound for the MILO® Marathon. Then he just started acting strange—he kissed my right shoulder! He acted as if the force of the jeepney breaking was the reason his face landed on my shoulder (landing with his lips?). I was s-t-u-n-n-e-d! He didn’t just do that!
Just to set things straight I don’t have anything against gay people and in fact I have a few gay friends (who doesn’t?). But it’s totally different to be taken advantaged of in public! O-M-G! Even men can feel harassed! He kept saying a lot of things (which I won’t bother list as you might think I’m delusional!) that while were boosting my ego to record levels, were also giving me embarrassment in front of all my co-passengers! He was saying a lot of things loudly like a crazy fan talking about with his favorite actor (I felt like a Brazilian model being praised by a diehard fan, I mean seriously) and at the same time staring at my face (so I kept looking elsewhere) and touching me in places (thankfully not in “restricted” areas). He was even cheering “Milo! Milo!” and that his weakness were athletic guys, and so on and so forth. I was ready anytime to snap and punch this guy and it took all my patience to control myself from doing such (no violence in front of the kids!). And when the seat across me emptied he had a reason to move in front of me, putting his hand on my right thigh as he transfers (patience, patience!). That was the longest short trip I ever had!
It was a HUGE relief to finally alight that jeepney at the corner of P. Burgos and Roxas Blvd. As we got off the jeepney my co-passengers were telling me, “na-tsansingan ka nun ah” (he took advantage of you, eh) and I can only respond with a reflex smile. What a trip! Could it be a sign of what to expect with the race to come? (Was it the white shorts that attracted his attention?)