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Should I be ready for a male runner to smile at me, approach me, and then...

talk to me how was my run, and then eventually, get my number?

I hope so.

Thanks to The BullRunner, she posted this blog about dating girls who run.

Here's the link that will make every runner (male and female) smile:

Geesh, running has never been cool 'til now.

This was my first running shoes.

The brand is Avia.

I bought this right after our new President took his oath.

I bought it weeks before my first 3K run.

I have read somewhere that it is necessary for a runner to test shoes weeks before a run to prevent injuries.

I have used (and abused) this pair up to my running clinic last January. So I could say that it’s been a cool companion as I started my journey in running (literally).

As I wore them, I feel I was a different person.

I am a person who can do anything.

I can go farther than yesterday. And further the next day.

Unfortunately, upon subjecting myself to a foot scan and gait analysis (both in Runnr and A Runner’s Circle), I found out that my Avia is actually a motion control shoe. It does not address the needs of my feet, which is stability. I found out my right foot overpronates.

That explained the pain at my right foot that I experience every time I am done running.

So I had to say good bye to my Avia.

The truth about NOT running

I miss running.

Case in point: The sights of people in CCP up to Baywalk doing their morning runs every day make me cringe.

The last time I joined a race was last November 2010.

I got sidelined because of a lower back pain injury.

I recovered instantly because it was diagnosed before it was too late. I underwent therapy sessions and rested well (and ate well, I guess. What can I do, it’s December?).

2011 came and I was as excited as a kid who saw Santa Claus. New Year means more miles to cover.
A possible race every month and finishing a 10K by second half of the year? Looks promising to me.

I signed up for a running clinic in January to prepare myself for better running days. I even traveled to the unknown territory of Dasmariñas Village in Makati City just to learn from Olympian Jeff Galloway.

Imagine me pumped up – full of enthusiasm and vigor – ready to be unleashed. I’m good to go!

But as soon as I signed up for my first back-to-back runs, I started feeling dizzy.

The EENT discovered the painful truth: I have acute rhinitis that triggered vertigo.

I was advised NOT to run.

I did not make a fuss about it anymore. Above all, I value safety. I don’t think I would get to do jubilation if I continued running and got injured because I thought everyone was spinning except for me.

But I’m going to admit that I got frustrated. All I wanted is to get back to running. How come every time I am about to enter the starting line, something is pulling my leg?

I am a woman trying to be healthy – I have not violated any running rules and I have not done anything bad during a race. Why are the running gods not giving me a nod to dash?

So here I am, about to finish another blog post. I am reminding myself every day that the moment I’m really fully recovered, I’m going to start my 30-minute walk-run.

I still do envy the people CCP up to Baywalk doing their morning runs every day.

But I’ll get to join them soon. I know.

Why, running taught me to wait patiently.

It won’t be long for my turn to cross the finish line.

Two shocking facts about how I got punkd – big time.

For us runners, March 6 was the date of Run United 1, the first of the Runrio Trilogy.

But a week before the race, I was diagnosed with acute rhinitis. The EENT did not allow me to run, as I was having vertigo as well.

But I was not worried or sad; I gave my 5k bib number one of my friends (let’s call her Future Mrs. Michigan Runner because, well, she’ll be THE future of Michigan Runner) the week before the race.

So as I was having wonderful time in the OWWA Repatriation Center last March 6 (I was part of the assigned members that day that will guide our fellow OFWs who arrived from Libya), I was not bothered at all: Future Mrs. Michigan Runner was running my race.

Guess what? Three days after the run, I learned that Michigan Runner – not Future Mrs. - did my 5k.
It was weird. Well, my friend is in Michigan (that’s why I called him, you guessed it, Michigan Runner); how in the world will he get to do Run United 1?

First fact: I was placed under the 5k MALE category. This didn’t really occur to me as I was really just looking at the recorded data posted in the Unilab Active Health website. 27:31 for a 5k! Wow, I told myself, Future Mrs. Michigan Runner (I thought) is really good – way better than me (that’s my time for 3k).

Here's my Run United 1 race result. The highlight in red shows that I was placed in the Male Category for 5K. (

Second fact: There was a picture of a tall guy wearing my bib number in my race profile. I started to wonder if my eyes were making fun of me. I could not clearly see the face because the label of the sponsor covered it. Also, since there was a notice in the website that “not all pictures may have been uploaded yet,” I dismissed my curiosity and logged out from the site.

I was already wondering who this guy was. He's wearing my bib number... Punkd!

What’s funnier was those were already obvious facts; and my naked eye (and my low sense of logic) did not see them.

I’m now imagining the two rolling on the floor laughing.

But it’s okay. After having a headache, one thing made sense: I’m happy because they’re together again. They’ll run more races and beat PRs together.

And probably, more head banging pranks.

Nice one, Michigan Runner.

Welcome back.

Edna Mode and Dash

I have watched "The Incredibles" (Pixar, 2004) again and again. I found it really funny and very family-oriented (well, they're a family of supers).

For years, I have identified myself with Edna Mode - the fashion designer who "used to design for gods" but hates creating capes.
Matter of fact, friends found it cute when they found out that I like her. Aside from loving fashion and runway, well, I think I look like her.

Then, I was introduced to running.

Yesterday, when I got to see the movie again, I was not only able to check on Edna Mode. This time, Dash got preferential attention. 

Thanks to his ability to run faster.

Dash was an energetic kid who wanted to play sports but couldn’t. His parents feared that he would get faster and would give away their identity as supers.

Poor boy. He didn’t have any outlet of his talent.

Then, the chance came in. 

I was able to remember his conversation with his mom, Helen, when they were trying to find their dad, Robert, in an island.

Helen: Dash, if something happens, I want you to run as fast as you can.
Dash: (with beaming eyes) As fast as I can?
Helen: As fast as you can!

And ran he did.

I found him really cute.

Meet my new - and correct - running shoes.

Yep, that's it! My New Balance 760. :)
Finally, after getting to know my feet (thanks to the gait analysis that I took), I got a New Balance 760.

I'm not really particular about the brands. I got New Balance because I got discount cards. It's a great help - it shed few Pesos off the true price. My pocket did not cry as much.

Since I am still in running hiatus, I have only managed to log in five kilometers with the shoes. So far, I'm impressed. I felt hands holding my feet while doing my run-walk-run.

I can't wait for the gun start to run with it.

Mang Rudy was one of our neighbors.

He has seen me as a kid playing in the village street – whether biking, a patotot in patintero (a Filipino street game), or even shouting at playmates when I got pissed off.

He has seen me finished school and got a job.

So literally, he has see me grew up – if I ever did, figuratively.

I will never forget him because he always had nice things to say to people.

He would go out of his way to visit our neighbors to have a chat with them.

He was truly proud of his children. Yet, he never ran out of praises for the people around him.

Including me.

He was happy when I graduated in grade school, high school, and college.

He was happy when I got a job in a good private school and in the government.

He was happy when I became a licensed teacher. There was even a time when he called me “Ma’m.”

Recently, he was all praised every time he saw me running around the village every weekend.

Like how he saw me grew up (if I really did, figuratively), he managed to see me developed from walking to running.

“Bilib ako sa ‘yo, talagang tuwing weekend tumatakbo ka. Maganda ‘yan,” (I'm so impressed; you're really committed to your weekend runs. That's good.) he said.

Three weeks ago, he succumbed to lung cancer.

He fought the battle for two years before finally meeting the Creator.

As I stood in front of his coffin, I told him this:

     I’m sorry that I got the time to run, but never got the time to visit you when you can not get up from the bed anymore.

    You have seen me grew from a brat to a dependable person.

    I know you are now somewhere where cancer cells are non-existing.

    I will miss you for the things you said to us, your neighbors.

    I will miss the times you would go out your way to visit us for a chat.

    But most of all, I will miss how you are proud of me.
   Thanks, Mang Rudy.

The day I finally said YES

Just like how I got my name PeñaRUNzi, the story of how I finally managed to say “yes” to join a run also wasn’t grand.

Nope, it was not like Mr. Right had finally popped the 'will-you-be-my-tax-exemption?' question to me, and with teary eyes, I said “Yes!”

No, not really.

I said yes to running, thanks to the Queen of the Road - and her King.

Queen of the Road is a nurse and a former colleague at work. We shared happy lunches together with our other co-workers, but she never really told us formally about running. She would occasionally mention about it if I see some sports magazines (the King of the Road owns them that’s why I couldn’t get it), and sometimes, she would encouraged us to try it.

One holiday, we were set to meet for lunch together with our other friends. I was already in their car. As we were waiting for another friend, King and Queen of the Road talked about how one of our friends got hooked into running.

“Why don’t you run as well, PeñaRUNzi?” Queen of the Road asked.

“I’m already walking for forty-five minutes. I have just injected running recently. I don’t think I can manage to finish even a 3K,” I said.

“But it’s okay to walk in a fun run,” said the Queen of the Road.

My mind went blank. Walking in a fun run? Why was it called a fun run in the first place?

“It’s REALLY okay to walk?” I hesitantly said.

“Yes, I do that if I’m tired.”

“You DO?”

“Come on and join. There’s a fun run in Alabang in a month’s time. If you’re scared, try a 3K first. You’ll enjoy it,” she said.

The King of the Road, on the other hand, was just smiling and nodding. He was enjoying my about-to-be conversion.

I love this scenario: the King and Queen of the Road were about to give something to their humble subject.

Then I said, “Okay, okay - yes. I’m joining. You’re sure I can walk, eh?”

And that was the day I finally said yes.

Now really, why RUNNING?
I have hyperthyroid.

May 2008. My mother noticed that I lost a lot of weight.

I told her; maybe it was because of the summer training sessions that I conducted on my former work. As the in-charge of the training of all employees during that time, I had to monitor different sessions in many venues. Maybe, due to the many walks and up-and-down on the staircases, I burned many calories.

After two months or so, she still noticed that I have not gained the weight that I lost (the training sessions were not as frequent as last summer). Besides, what she actually observed was not a gradual loss of weight.

I went to an internist (let’s call him Dr. Overtime; he finishes checking his patients up to eight in the evening). As instructed, I underwent tests. Then, while the internist was writing a prescription, he looked at me.

“Your neck is quite outsized. Do you have goiter?” he asked.

I told him that I don’t have goiter. Although I had it checked a few years back because I experienced palpitations. Tests results were normal.

With that, Dr. Overtime instructed me to undergo thyroid ultrasound.

I got bothered with the result: I have a tiny nodule in my right thyroid.

After another series of tests (and doctors), reality set in: the nodule is the one making my thyroid abnormal; thus the loss of weight. Although it is benign, my condition has to be monitored.

Great. This is on top of my occasional bouts of cough and cold (which introduced me to dear friend vertigo), breast nodes (which are also benign) and dysmenorrhea.

Wow. I am going to die young.

Then last year, I created my dream board.

I posted pictures and notes in my cabinet. I posted everything that I want to accomplish in my lifetime.

It included this:

“I will taste the GOOD LIFE. I will eat the right food, exercise, and experience work and life balance.”

As I looked at my work of art, I thought: how will I really exercise?

Then I thought I should try walking.

Yeah, walking. Fifteen minutes. It’s not bad. Then, I could increase five minutes per week.

And so I set the date, and walked.

I loved it.

After a month, I tried running one lap.

My legs ached. I tried two laps anyway after the aching was gone.

I loved it more.

Since then, I wasn’t the same.

So, why running?

Running made me realize that despite my illness, I can emerge healthy.

I want to embrace my life with all its goodness. I will not succumb to more sickness.

If I want to change something in me, I am the only responsible for it.

Not even hyperthyroidism can stop me from crossing the finish line.

"So tell me: why RUNNING?"

This was the question of our coach during the Runner's World Running Clinic. I attended it last January 22 and 23, 2011. We were doing our run as a start of the second day morning session.

Good thing I wasn’t the first one to answer the question. But we were only ten in the group, so I had to compose my answer while trying not to trip. Our rate of exerted pace (REP) was five; meaning, we were capable of talking while running.

As we were running towards front of SM Mall of Asia, I really pondered on the question: WHY RUNNING?

I was a kid who had the privilege of having enough playtime hours. But it didn’t occur to me that I was interested in any sport.

Later in high school, I admitted to be a basketball fan. I watched every game that I got to see on the tube and have memorized the rules of the game. But I never vowed to play it in my lifetime (the last time I tried, I got exhausted).

There was a time when I entered a wellness center. I did aerobics. Since I can dance, I loved every minute of it. The wellness center is located in front of our office, so aerobics was just a few steps away.

I looked forward to Tuesdays and Thursdays because of that. There came a time when I was other colleagues. They also enjoyed it because of the wellness center's proximity. It didn’t even bother me when the president of the company where I worked before (let’s call him the Singing President) saw me perfecting a move during one session.

But then, more work came on the way, and I missed one session. And a week. And a month.

Six months.


I was not really not a fan of any gym equipment. I tried doing that for two weeks (with an interval of every other day) and my muscles immediately did a protest.

“So tell me, PeñaRUNzi: why running?”

I could go on with my story, but since our coach has pressed me the question, I answered: “Because I hate going to gym, using those equipments, and ending up with aching muscles.”

So, why is my name PeñaRUNzi?

Just like man, my name also underwent an evolution.

My pet name, as you may have observed, is a mishmash of my surname, Peñaredondo (my father is from Camarines Sur, Philippines), the verb "run", and the French word “paparazzo.”

It’s not really a long story. There’s nothing grand about it as well.

One Saturday at work, I found my male friends (they are all in the IT Department of the company. They collectively call themselves MISTeam) walking from the cafeteria. They were walking side by side. I saw a vision: they were like boybands of the 90's. At that moment, I told myself that I had to capture that time. So armed with my cellphone camera, I took a shot (with a smirk on my face).

"Hey! Why are you taking our picture?" they said.

With that, I ran away. The smirk became a smile.

When they finally got a hold of me (I strangled. But I surrendered after a few minutes when they promised not to hurt me as long as I will order a pizza for their lunch), they saw the picture. The IT Head (he’s one of them; let's call him Sky) said, “That shot was good. You’re like a paparazzo. I’ll call you Peñarazzi from now on.”

They loved the name, too. That was good; they forgot the pizza.

And so I have used the name every now and then. I even named my occasional article Peñarazzi, with issues released every time I am the one assigned to share about the value of the week (a part of our weekly morning assembly).

Years passed and I continued to hold on to the name (it sounded Hollywood to me).

Then, I found running.

One fine day, one of my runner friends (let’s call him Michigan Runner) sent me an SMS. I forgot what was the SMS all about, but he called me “PeñaRUNzi.”

Wow. The word “run” had been added.

I guess I have too many creative friends.

And you see, it's not really a long grand story.

But it still sounded Hollywood to me.

I was thinking of creating a blog about my new passion.

You see, my new passion is running. All I think about now is running. Even my fingers only know R-U-N - related words.

But I was hesitant. Why another blog? I already have one, I have started to post running experiences there.

Why another RUNNING blog? There are a lot of them in the Internet.

But then, I thought, why suppress telling the world about something that you love? Isn't it that when you think about what you want, the world conspires you to do it?

And why bother about being another running blog? Do I want to compete with others? I don't think so. Just like in the runs that I joined, I do not aim to win. I aim to finish.

So I think I will just have to let go of my hesitations and make a blog about my new passion - running.

And I just did.