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Saturday, May 08, 2010

Philosophy on the Acad Oval

"[Sports] is a laboratory for victory and adversity... [It] offers a richness all its own – it is a metaphor for life." - Manny V. Pangilinan

I have been spending an hour every day, at least four times a week, at the UPD acad oval for the last month.  The exercise feels good - a healthy outlet for all the stress accumulated every single day. So far, it has been able to help me regulate my breathing. I think it is making me more philosophical too. Without music to distract me while I'm making my rounds, not only am I able to better hear the approach of bikers, skaters, and vehicles, I am also able to better ponder on things. One of these is how going through a regular routine of running, biking, or even walking around the oval is an ideal analogy for going through life. Here are some of my observations:

SET YOUR OWN PACE. The first week is always the hardest. There is the constant pressure to do the routine as regularly as you are able to, especially after all the muscle pains have set in. But heck, you can only do as much as you actually can. "Tao ka lang," so forget illusions of superhuman strengths and just do the best that you can every single time.

At first, seeing lots of elderly people go at a faster pace than mine was a challenge  that was hard to ignore. But I reasoned out to myself that it is more embarrassing to be injured just because I tried to do more than what I am currently capable of doing. Now, when other joggers whiz by me, I just let them. I figured I'll decide to overtake them in my own good time.

FOCUS ON THE TASK AT HAND. The acad oval is venue for many interesting scenes, people, and things, i.e. food. It is easy enough to lose focus. I just always keep in mind that I am there to complete two rounds of brisk walking/ jogging. Then I proceed with these steps: The first thing to do is put one foot forward. Follow with the other foot. Increase pace as able. Most importantly, breathe. Listen to your body. Slow down when necessary. Pick up the pace again when you have regained confidence. 

FIND AN INSPIRING FIGURE.  One need not be a celebrity to inspire you while doing your rounds at the oval. He/ she may simply be someone attractive enough (you have to define "attractive" first) to motivate you to do your rounds during your schedule. Or in my case, someone whose age is advanced enough to make me feel so sluggish in comparison. I am referring to an elderly jogger who I never fail to meet 3 times during a single lap around the oval. He may be almost 60 but his pace sure puts my youth to shame. I always say to myself however, that one day soon, I will be able to run as fast as he does.

LEARN FROM OTHERS. Find one inspiring figure whom you can emulate but do not also forget to observe, and learn from others. In the acad oval experience, there's simply so much to see and hear which can spark brilliant ideas - from various types of running shoes to stretching exercises, to gait, to various views being shared spanning the political, academic, health-related topics or even mundane everyday things like the weather.

ENJOY THE VIEW. Sure, the goal is to complete two laps in under an hour. Remember your goal and keep to it but do not also forget to enjoy the experience while you are doing it. To do so is to add value to the time you are spending on attaining the goal.

The gorgeous sunrise or sunset, and the rustling evergreens were not put there by God and the campus planners, respectively, to be ignored. Rather, they are there to heighten your jogging experience and even be bookmarks for certain memories. So look up! Admire the skyscape, feel the breeze, smile at people's faces, and enjoy your every jogging moment.

A set goal must be achieved. At the start of the jog, if you do not feel well enough before setting out, it is prudent to not start at all. It will also keep you from feeling down because you have not been able to achieve your goal for the day.

BE REASONABLE. While it is best to seize every opportunity to advance towards your cause, compromise is also sound when the situation calls for it. So if it the skies seem heavy with rain, it may be wise to just forego your rounds for the day rather than be caught in the drizzle, get sick, and miss a whole week of exercise. 

A LOT LIKE LOVE . So far I have learned that running is quite a lot like love, or at least how almost everyone describes the experience of love as.

It actually just feels like dying every single time. Your breath comes in gasps, your lungs about to burst, every bone and muscle aches, sweat pours... there will come a time when it will feel really unbearable, but in the end, the rewards are all so worth the effort.
kaigachi is a conjugation of the Japanese term "kigaicha" or crazy. It roughly translates as "crazy about something."

"One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light but by making the darkness conscious." - C.Jung

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