Monday, July 30, 2012

Pikermi or a roller coaster ride?

I feel very tired...but just can't get to sleep. My pikermi this morning is quite different from my previous experiences. It still brings chill to my spine. I felt that things spiraled to something that I have no control. My determination to finish the 21 km distance is already given. It's because the sole reason I ran is for the cause of our highschool batch charity projects. I guess I am fortunate that when this idea was brought up, the discussion is just to finish the race. No expectation to qualify or beat a cut off time.

Early this year I have resolved and accepted the fact that I am semi-retired in the racing scene. I can't train for long distance. I steal training time during lunch break to keep me fit and do away with my maintenance medication.(Which reminds me that I am due for another check up and I haven't seen yet the latest blood sample results.)So to keep it simple, I do run on time frames that does not affect my time with work and the family.

I had eight weeks of preparation for this morning pikermi. Prior to that my lunch training is characterized by love hate relationship. It somehow improved after I professed my commitment to do the distance in exchange of pledges from friends and batch-mates. 

Miscalculated Hurdles

I thought, I was still in the same fitness level or perhaps I am still in denial. My mind decadently believed that there is nothing to lose as long as I run the distance. But as I looked back now, perhaps I was wrong. All the signs to walk out of the deal was there....I kept ignoring it. 
First, I didn't consider that the actual race day could be my day one or two of my monthly cycle. To the uninitiated (sorry boys) my monthly period is like a curse because of endometriosis (I can't help but wish become menopause, it will come in time). This simple fact I overlooked during registration.
Then, four days before race day I had colds the runny nose is faster than my feet. Yuck! But what is left to do? I am committed. People send in their money already. 
Come Saturday night, my daughter got fever. We planned sleeping eight o' clock in the evening so we have enough sleep for the 4:30 AM gun start. Sadly, we didn't make up on what we have in mind. There is a lot of fuss with kids having fever. Then we have to wake up twelve midnight for the round'a clock medication and back to sleep then it seems the time was just gone and we barely had four hours sleep.

Unfaltering determination

My determination didn't falter. When the alarm goes at 2:30 AM,  I stood up. I know going back to sleep is not an option for this race. I cannot DNS (Did not start). I can't help but remind myself....the pledges. So I started grazing the fridge for pre-race meal and some race food. Got myself whole wheat bread and peanut butter, banana and hot water. Racing food were gels and chocolate bar (honestly, this is something questionable as I never had it on my training diet).

Tampon or Maxi pad?

After taking a bath, I was faced with another problem. Tampon or maxi pad? I really don't know. I decided on tampon. The weather is bad and is raining outside. I guess if I had it inserted right, there won't be a problem. But I got curious after taking a pee. Why did I got a feeling I am wearing a catheter. Ooops! I didn't know it was a bad sign.
The twenty minutes ride from home to the race site and I didn't had an issue with tampon. But when I got up, there's a weird feeling inside me.

The first kilometer and the crucifix

Jesus Christ! I was calling all the angels and was a difficult run. I thought somethings gonna burst out....but I was sure the tampon is securely fit. At the first sight of portalet. I immediately removed  it and had a welcome seems to be blocking my flow rather than absorbing it. Good thinking that I carry with me a maxi pad. After that,  I was positive and thought that my perils end there. 
But as I progressed, the pain came shooting from my back to the navel to my crotch. I know this's my dysmenorrhea. I kept telling myself to keep on running so I can benefit with the endorphin. But it was just too stubborn to go. It seems that this pain crept from behind and embraces my lower back and somewhere inside is being pulled and is so determined in trying to pin me down. Should I crawl or cry...then hopelessness came to the other side and I was sandwiched between these negative energy. I kept my mouth shut. I just cannot share this agony with my husband. Without music to distract my thoughts, I am in the devious plans my hormones plotted against me. The best alternative is IGNORE them.

Km 12

My body says it's between km 12 or 13 but I cannot tell, we have just passed two hills (or the so called fly-over).  The kilometer marker of this race gone crazy. I distract myself with these fun facts, as other runners surviving same ordeal mouthed their displeasure. Of course, at 1:38 running in pain I can't be in kilometer seventeen I thought I shouted it but realized it was just my thought.
Then the much anticipated desire to give in walking to ease the pain in my navel and groin. At certain point, I thought I need a poop break. But it was another trick of this stubborn dysmenorrhea. I hated that feeling. It seems that I am breaking apart from the mid-section of my body (hello as in manananggal). This pain is playing all throughout my body as if it's gonna happen and it's for real. I reached the turn around point trying to ignore it and focused on admiring the newly built edifice of belle corporation but still this pain bugs me like crazy. I didn't care anymore about my form, I probably looked bad in this race.  On my way back to the hills, I was slower than ever and I even tried singing climb every mountain saying hello to Julie Andrews. I gone haywire!

The final stretch

The last five kilometers, I was weary. Fighting the emotions...praying in between. Thinking about sick people like Stew....who wanted to do much but is crippled by illness. And perhaps my pain is relatively nothing against what they are going through. I was shooing the negative energy that intends to cut throat my desire to finish. I know I'll reached the finishline on foot and refused the idea being taken away by the ambulance.
And I was less than 3 kilometers when I heard a bell sound, I know I was past the cut-off, reality sync in I didn't make it to cut off time (bruised ego!) It seems I am destined for this at the onset. And it is when I realized what I have done. It's not just the dreaded hormones. But the past few months I have been tweaking my diet, a non-friendly diet for runner that goes distance. 
Yeah! my hormones they never been my ally. I should have known better to never break a truce with these monsters. 
And for the first time in my running life. I felt a chest pain. A difficulty in breathing while running. My first response is to keep quite and try to determine if I am this heart broken having chest pain (told you I gone crazy).
Then I try to breathe again (trying to decipher if its true), I asked myself if it could be the smoke at Baclaran area (I have mild asthma in case you don't know)? 
So I tried to slow down even more...somewhere near my breast plate. I busy myself doing a diagnosis (I should have been a doctor), and my best guess is the acid from 100plus (it's carbonated eh!). I have gulped it in every station after km 12 because of fear of leg cramps. But this far, my legs were strong and alas! despite the rain and soaked shoes, I have no blister....well, I guess at a very slow pace it doesn't come out and boil.
It's the chest pain that bothers me. After a few cycles of inhale and exhalation through the mouth, it becomes bearable.  Surely this is worth reporting to the good doctor. All this thoughts are in my head that I have no clear images of what's ahead. I just kept on running as if I am alone and husband is never beside me, I kept doing it. And before I knew it....the chute's in front of me. 
The lady handed me my loot. No medal, a reminder again of the lost glory, painful ab cramps still persistent....that's what I deserve for the day. It was a crappy race for me and those behind me ....but were  lucky enough to lose some 1000 calories.
But despite all of these, the beauty of this sport is you get to the finish,  if you just keep on going. The mere fact that I believed I can make translated to my reality. I hurry back to the parking lot as there is a need to update my facebook account and  check-in the race details so my benefactor would know that I completed the race.

My  heart warms at the accolades of my friends and batchmate as they supported the fund raising event. It was deliciously heart warming more than the breakfast meal that awaits me.

On bended knees, still struggling with the abdominal pain. Yet, ready to smile for the camera <3
At that moment, I feel so bloated whew!

I had a visit with my doctor today, we reviewed my lab results. Everything is normal. But I must continue with one more maintenance medication and observe for 6 more months. 
I also consulted about the chest pain that happened yesterday. 
Ta-dah! none of my guesses were right. Though, he agreed on a possibility of acid reflux due to 100plus. 
But his best guess is probably a valve tightened due to anemia (since I was on my period).
According to the good doctor it is some kind of a warning. And his recommendation is do not run during my period. Because according to him we need blood when doing an endurance sports (in particular the red blood cells). 
He cited that this is the reason why high altitude training is highly recommended for endurance athlete. In fact, some of them takes erythropoietin  to trigger production of more red blood cells (as ESA to dope blood as performance enhancer).
He eventually cleared me and gives me reassurance that my heart is in best shape. No further test required, but I was asked to rest for the week.

I realized perhaps the title of this post should be...."My first DNF"

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Help Stewart Fight Acute Myeloid Leukemia

The idea of Pikermi for a cause wasn't just mine, it was a consensus with  my batch-mate  last June 12, during our first official meeting as UNC HS Batch 93-Manila Edition. I haven't seen most of them for nearly nineteen years. That's why I was excited to show up and see them again and perhaps make up for the lost time. It happened on the residence of Dovey family. It was the first time I met Stew. A very kind and hospitable person, and a long time partner of my batch mate Shiela, they both have gregarious personality. Their family is so  full of life. The kids are very active in their school and other  endeavors that I find it amusing for Shiela to organize that meeting, given her busy schedule as a working mom.

It was promising start with a lot of idea on the batch charity works. I got update that batch-mates based in Naga City and  UAE are having their dental mission. While we (Manila edition) are pursuing to help the underprivileged children of CamSur dubbed as "Brighter Future Project".  The meeting ended we parted ways. I continue stealing time during lunch break to train for Pikermi. We update each other through facebook and go about life like it used to be.

Then sometime end of June came a shocking news. Stew is suffering from acute leukemia. I am not sure but I guess the other term is the cancer of the blood. Our batch mate Shiela is devastated. It's a very difficult time for her. I am at lost for words, I couldn't figure out how a strong person is suddenly snatched away from his strength.  And through this blog, I am appealing to you dear reader for help. A debilitating disease such as Lukemia requires a lot of resources. Let's help Stew survive. You can help him by donating as little as fifty dollars by following this link.

Thank you very much for your time.

P.S. Pls read  below letter that Stew sent out through Shiela's facebook account early July, this letter breaks my heart. I believe nobody deserve such condition. Lets extend the needed help, let's be thankful that we are in perfect health.

Stew and Shiela before his illness

First of all, Shiela and I would like to thank all of those who have given their time, effort and blood to help us in our time of need. The support has been truly touching and reflects what a tight-knit group of people live and work here in the Philippines – from all countries, including our host nation.
Secondly, we would like to give you a brief update on my condition. I have spent the past two weeks getting my body ready for chemotherapy. This will start today, 9 July.
Because I have leukemia, this chemo is not just aimed at one area of my body, but is placed directly into my blood stream to kill the white blood cells which have gone crazy inside me.
Hopefully, the chemo will kill this massive quantity of mis-performing white blood cells. However, in order to do so, the chemicals basically have to kill off all of the good stuff in my blood and marrow as well as the bad stuff.
This is going to leave me with no immunity for 3-4 weeks initially.
In order to give my body a fighting chance, I am going to require blood transfusions every 1-2 days throughout this period. This is why we have been asking if you, your friends or colleagues can possibly help by donating B+ blood.
If you are not aware, the hospitals here take no responsibility to source blood. The whole responsibility lies with the patient’s family.
All the blood that I have needed so far has been donated by our dear friends or found by Shiela and her family – and then collected from whichever source by them, often driving across Manila in the middle of the night to collect it.
I do have an urgent requirement for blood as soon as tomorrow afternoon. If you or anyone you know is in a position to give B+ blood tomorrow, Monday, or Tuesday, please, please, please contact Shiela as soon as possible to arrange what to do.
That said, we don’t need all donations tomorrow. We don’t even need all donations this week. If you or a colleague or a member of your family is B+, and can give up half a working day any day in the next 4 weeks, please let Shiela know so she can schedule your donation.
Because of the rigorous testing that all blood donations require, the whole process is likely to take about half a day. We know this sounds a long time to give up, but, without the assistance of volunteers, quite simply, I am going to die.
Shiela can be contacted on 623 3329 (landline) or 0918 902 2971 (Smart) or 0917 864 7336 (Globe)
Thanks for reading this. I hope you never suffer this debilitating medical problem (or any other!), and thank you for any help you can give.
Yours truly
Stewart Dovey

Pikermi on Sunday!

Hi There! It's been sometime that I haven't done my blogpost.
And this campaign is quite delayed already, given that my first Pikermi for a cause is happening this coming Sunday Jul 29, 2012 during the Manila Milo Marathon elimination.

I am inspired to run the distance and dream again that I still can do it. Even if early this year, I have settled back on simply running the shorter distances (back to my 5KRUNNER brand). I have modest running goal this year because I have difficulty incorporating training in my life. To train, I steal time....and you have no idea how I do it.
But because of our highschool batch vision to help less fortunate children in CamSur as a way to give back the blessings we have earned.  I decided to sign up for a Pikermi distance. Maybe, it's time to go the distance not for me, but for others. I started circulating below photo as early as June 2012 in facebook.

Everybody is encourage to pledge 1 peso for every kilometer that I cover or a total of 21 pesos, less than half a dollar so we can pool the amount and help less fortunate children of CamSur. I have paid for my registration fee to ensure that all money goes to the "Brighter Future Project". Let us know if your interested to contribute. You can left a comment, or send me an email.

Thank you for your time!