Sunday, October 09, 2005

Venus de Milo

Anyone who has not heard of Venus de Milo must have flunked World History in high school. Venus de Milo is a famous artifact of ancient Greek arts and culture. It depicts Aphrodite or Venus, the legendary Greek goddess of love and beauty.

This article has nothing to do with the celebrated Venus or some other vanities, but then this writing somehow relates to, yes, love and beauty. However, it is my love for running and the beauty of the sport that will be the focal points of interest. So how does “de Milo” fit into the picture? OK here it goes. I joined the national finals of the Milo marathon Sunday in Manila. Do you see the connection now? It is the corny Erwin that you’re seeing here. Hahaha.

Seriously, I was among the thousands who trooped Roxas Boulevard for the 29th edition of the Milo marathon. This was my 3rd Milo. I had my debut run 5 years ago during the Subic qualifying where I clocked 54 minutes for a 10K run. The 2003 edition in Manila was a poor showing for me having clocked 68 minutes for the same distance. It was a dismal performance, something that I would not dwell further. Today’s run was my best ever- 49 minutes. It was my first time to breach below the 50-minute mark. Certainly, a wow performance! It even beat my Adidas and New Balance records. I am improving and that is a big wow. A rigid training and a strict diet had finally paid off. You see, I run thrice a week on an average distance of 10K and I do a major one, approximately 2 hours non-stop, on weekends. I am conscious of what I eat because I need to maintain a certain weight (a flyweight!). This is something that I really hate because I just love eating. Well, who was it that said one has to forego some good things in order to achieve greater rewards?

Why running? I just love it! It is something that you do by yourself. You are in control of every situation- you can go anywhere, run faster or stride leisurely. It is an expression of sublime freedom.

Running is a highly competitive sport. Man vs. man. Man vs. nature. You are running abreast with hundreds of able-bodied runners and yet your biggest competitor is yourself. You cannot know what it is going to be like until you hopped your last step.

Sometimes it hurts to a point where you feel you cannot go any further and yet you just keep going until you realize pain does not last. It is immaterial, a fleeting moment, a distraction. Pain is a brief reminder of one’s limitation. You have to go beyond that and push yourself to the limit.

Why running? Runners just do it (that is what Nike says). We run to finish the race (sweet if you do that ahead of the others). We run to cross the end line (even if someone else has reached it first). And ultimately, we run to beat ourselves. What can be more beautiful than that?


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