Chasing Life

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I love to run. As if you don’t know that by now from all the posts I have about running. But when I say run, I mean an all out run.

When I do my morning run of about 2 to 3 miles, the last 100 to 200 meters, I would break out in an all out dash as if I’m Flash catching a runaway train. This gets my heart pumping, my energy juices flowing, and my head in a daze in some kind of rush. Though it can also makes me wheeze like a beaten down carburetor.

Sprint is my first love before I got hooked on long distance running. Back in my high school and college days, I ran 100 and 200 meters race. I was good enough to win in local club meets and church sportsfest, but not fast enough to make it to school varsity. In college, during our physical education class, I was clocked just a hair over 15 seconds in a 100-meter dash, that is without formal coaching and training. That was probably a stroll though, compared to Usain Bolt who holds the record at 9.58 seconds.

But my fastest sprints were not in the oval track nor was it in a sports competition.

One early morning a long time ago, I was jogging in the streets of Manila when a fierce-looking stray dog decided to chase me. Maybe I smelled like a dog in heat. I ran so fast, I believe I broke the sound barrier! Or maybe it was not my speed but my girl-like scream that broke the sound barrier, and woke up our still slumbering neighborhood.

Then there was this instance after I emigrated and was living in New York City. My wife and I went out for an errand and when we returned in our apartment, there was a stranger inside our apartment. I thought first that he was repairman sent by the superintendent. But upon seeing us he bolted out the door. Without thinking, I ran after him through the building hallways, down three flights of stairs, and across 2 blocks of busy New York streets while shouting “Thief! Thief!”. But I was not fast enough to get him. Or maybe he got lucky, I lost him among the crowd of people. So you thought “akyat-bahay” was only in Manila?

Looking back now, that was really foolish of me of pursuing the burglar. What if he had a weapon or an accomplice waiting? What if I was able to overtake him, he certainly would not just surrender, but probably would fight for his life, right? And I know I was not strong enough nor trained enough to subdue him for he was bigger and more muscular than me. The only Kung Fu I know was watching it on TV. I could have been badly hurt or worse killed. Maybe being not fast enough was a blessing. But I certainly gave him a good chase.

When I was 4 or 5 years of age, my family went to a recreational facility, I believe was Balara Park, which was across UP Diliman and in the heart of Metro Manila. Balara was actually a water filtration plant but also has a park and swimming pools. It was a premiere weekend destination during those days. We had a picnic and spent the day swimming.

When it was time to go home, I continued to play despite of my parents telling me to get ready and help them pack our things in our car. It must have been that I was told to get ready multiple times but I was oblivious to their call. Maybe I don’t want a perfect summer day to end.

The next thing I remember, my family were all inside the car and my father started to drive the car. They were leaving without me! Boy, did I ran! Of course I realize now that my parents were just teaching me a lesson, but in my young mind, I thought they were leaving me for real.

I ran after our car for several yards as fast as my little legs could carry me, while my father drove “slowly” away. Finally the car stopped, or perhaps I overtook it, I don’t really remember now. Perhaps that was the first time my parents found out that I have wings in my feet. It was in an enclosed compound, and there were no speeding cars around, so I was not really in danger – except for the peril of being left behind, at least that’s how I saw it in my naive memory.

I learned my lesson though. Aside from the obvious, of heeding your parent’s call right away, I also learned that if you want something so badly, you chase it down. Run, as if your life depended on it.

It is amazing that now, after 40 years, I am still running. Chasing things that matters to me. My dreams. My family. My faith. And life itself. Perhaps, my legacy too.

I hope that when the time comes, when I have no more spring in my legs for a 100-meter sprint, or barely have strength just to put one foot in front of the other, that I can humbly say: I have run a good run.


  1. This made me remember that way back at PUC now AUP, in my freshman year I finished first and maybe 15 seconds ahead of my classmates running 8 laps or 800 meter dash… it was tiring, heart pumping and you will really feel thirsty under the heat of the sun after the run. Later I was called by our Physical Ed. teacher inviting me to be an athlete citing the school will train me to prepare and compete… I have a cousin then who is an athlete, a hurdles and pole vault record holder in ASEAN games at that time. Knowing an athlete need to devote ample time in training and running I thought about the matter deeply then decided that reading my books, memorizing academic lessons, meeting the deadlines of my assignments and project at school is more than enough for me to chew so I declined and thanked the teacher for the invitation. I ran towards the direction I intended to reach… the run was not smooth, there’s a lot of down more than ups but I’m thankful for the blessings and thankful that I’m still running up to this point…. Nice post… you really did run a good run… keep running and keep the faith.

    1. Now will never know, if you could been a Philippine representative to the ASEAN games. 🙂 But as you said, you chose to run a different race, and I’m sure you’re happy of where you are now. We just keep on running on whatever path we choose to pursue.

  2. i smiled and remember ‘flight or fight response’ in your story when you were chase by a dog. good thing you didn’t described it as rabid. hehe!

    seriously, the post is inspiring, doc!
    i need to run my own run too at my own pace, at my own time. 🙂

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