Sunday, December 18, 2011

Fair Play: Cebu City at night and on foot

(This is the draft of my Sun.Star Cebu column for Dec. 19)
I HAD another good Relatively Long Run the other night, this time for 9.55 kilometers in 1:25:04 from Banawa to Escarrio, Gorordo, down to Lorega and back.

I had to stop for a couple of times to eat because midway to my RLR, I suddenly got so hungry I swear I could have eaten a horse. I clearly still haven’t mastered the science of eating before a run and once,
I also had to cut short a run because of a stomach ache (I was a bit full). I remember too about two weeks after I started running, I had to cut short another session because I got too hungry!

I couldn’t even wait to get to the office from the Cebu City Sports Center because I was THAT hungry!
Though I again thought I ran far more than what Google Earth said, I’m still pleased with my time because just last Feb. 14 (when I started), I couldn’t run one lap at the CCSC oval even if my life depended on it.

I was in pretty good shape as an athlete but to be honest, memories of that time didn’t inspire me since I kept berating myself for getting too out of shape.

But then again, regular sessions at the CCSC have helped. During our tennis session with the Sportswriters Association of Cebu back in June, I managed to play far longer than I used to thanks to the jogging session.

However, when Sir Ricky Ballesteros said he was going to close the oval for the much-needed repairs, I was disappointed because like the thousands who use the oval everyday at 5 p.m., I didn’t want to deal with rush-hour traffic running on the road at 5.

So I stopped for a few weeks before I discovered the pleasure of my RLRs. 

I realized I love running at night, though, sometimes, too much coffee might not be that good for you like the time when a cat---a freakin’ cat—scared the bejeesus out of me in a poorly-lighted area in Imus (I’ll have to talk to John P regarding this coffee and running thing.)

Still, seeing Cebu on foot is nice.

Just the other night, I saw a rather drunk dude—who was biking—almost get hit by a motorcycle because he crossed a red light. And, a few minutes later, I saw the same dude sprawled on the road because he got hit by a car, driven by a foreigner. It was funny how the barangay tanods, and the foreigner (whose English was limited) tried to convince Drunk Biker to get to a hospital.

I saw a lot of high school-age kids, too, having a merry time drinking and smoking in the streets (Dude, you don’t look cool doing that), a hooker haggling with a customer, a foreigner with two girls whose clothes left nothing to the imagination, and another with a girl who looked barely in her teens.

Some folks, too, try to jokingly run with me when I pass by them, while some generally give me a smile. Once, a group of drunk men whistled, “Wheet-wheew” as I passed by them and I had to ask my wife when I got home, “Do I look like a girl in this outfit?”

My favorites are when I get to run in the dimly-lit areas and the couples who make out get a jolt when I pass by.

Of course, I encounter a lot of runners too, and we always managed to exchange a few nods and smiles.
I’m sure they wanted to talk but I’m sure too the look on my face says, “can’t-talk!”

But, of course, like all pedestrians, bikers and folks who run, one of the thing I hate most are smoke-belching vehicles, drivers who don’t give way, and smokers on the streets.

I’m a walking chimney when I walk, but lately, I’ve avoided sharing my poison with pedestrians because it just ain’t nice.

I wonder what it would be like to run on streets that is closed to everyone except fellow runners?

P.S. ON SENDONG. I wanted to write something about the victims of the Typhoon, especially after seeing the picture of a devastated father holding his dead daughter. The guy looked like my childhood buddy.

But in times like this, we all have jobs, and mine is to help provide a little solace for folks who are tired of reading the front-page bad news.

Still, let’s keep our kababayans in our prayers. They need them.

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