Why do I run? For one thing I must admit this now to myself, I play badminton rather terribly. However, I don’t want to harp on the cliché that there is a sense of complete freedom one experiences when one run. That is not what is listed in my mind while negotiating 21 kilometers of pavement. Besides, when I begin to tire out and my speed rate plummets down to almost walking, multitude of other runners including elderly ones passes me by, I felt pressured. I then tried to push myself a bit harder until the feeling is nothing akin to what others’ described as freedom and all that jazz.
I run not for that brief moment one can escape from the real world where nothing else matter than crossing the finish arch after romancing with the wind in your face, the sun’s kisses and perspiration hugs the body. It’s not more rather it is something bit mundane than that. I just want to have the job done. Yes, running was at first in my latter life was just to be fit. But for my age of forty, finishing and accomplishing something is more important than anything else.
Back when I was a freshman in my first undergraduate course, I read somewhere that by forty, one must have already in the peak of his career. Probably holding a doctorate degree in business or something, a CEO of a company, millions of bucks must have already earned, settled with kids in a nice suburban village. Nothing of that sort has ever happened to me. Not even close. For one thing I quit my first real job just a couple of months after I got it right after graduating from college only to enroll into another four-years course. After bidding goodbye once again to my alma mater after earning my second degree I landed a job at a government agency. But my feet couldn’t be planted there for too long for I left again and ran back to my alma mater and took up a teaching position. All the while my dream of earning my first million bucks and settling down dissipated.
Looking back further, what I remember more fondly that I can relate to my running is that moment when I was even younger than the previous mentioned above. I was perhaps 10-11 years old and was still residing in Novaliches. I was chasing after a couple of helicopters positioning to disembark paratroopers high above the sky from our house at Foresthills subdivision. A few moments more the paratroopers one by one jumped out of the choppers going towards the direction behind the hills bordering our subdivision from the rest of Fairview. I ran passing by initially the posh looking houses from our subdivision into the thatched and corrugated iron roof houses ensconcing the hill which now a days had been developed into another subdivision. I crossed the hill and was running at the sea of grasses, and sparsely housed Regalado Avenue. Only the chirping of birds and the distant faintly audible sound of traffic from vehicles vying Quirino Highway could be heard beside my rubbershoes hitting the asphalted immaculately white road.
My apparent direction was simply to reach the end of the road closer to the structure with Jacinto Steel logo that was just a blimp when I first started running towards it, now had slowly turning into a humongous vista. I could not explain that feeling I was having. It was like a small spaceship preparing to dock into the mothership in the movie. I turned my head to retrace my journey and all I can see of the hills behind me was a lump of green and brown. I could no longer go back late in this chase. I can only move forward. I thought if I push myself a bit further I might finally see that I am actually nearing SM North EDSA. But I have no inkling that that was farther and the SM I thought I would find lying in the area (as I prophetically dreamt it) is the SM Fairview which will rise there further in the future. After touching down at the Jacinto structure, which lies along Quirino Highway, I walked towards the direction of Sacred Heart Village but I couldn’t find traces where the paratroopers have actually landed. Maybe they were just phantoms and all the while I was really after going to SM North. I think it was already way past 9 o’clock about a quarter to ten. The sun’s heat had turned intense. I decided I should already be heading back home for lunch. I only have a couple of pesos on me barely enough for a cold softdrink at the foot of the hill form the side of our subdivision. I could not spend it on a two-jeepney ride home. I have to endure the long walk. Maybe on my way, I could climb a couple of caimito trees for some treat or collect some ripe kamachile fruit fallen from the thorny trees. Maybe tomorrow or the day after tomorrow I will finally caught up with the paratroopers. Maybe even reach SM North in the process.