Archive for April, 2013

Faces of Terror

Posted: April 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

So this is what happens to the face of terrorism. Young. Young as a 19-year old, who practically grew up in America with a promising future. It has evolved.

It has evolved from the cliche of a man with a turban or a kufi. Or a beard. Of course, it should not have been to begin with.

I remember how, as a person growing up in a 3rd world, it was hard to come to the US. You have to be smart, moneyed, or just plain lucky.

The visa processing in the Philippines for wanna-be US tourists is a test all its own. It is a process prepared for by many for months and months… It is a tedious process of gathering documents and resources. And by resources, I mean money. Why? Because many Filipinos have been known not or never to go back home to the Philippines after a “tour” in the US, therefore, they need to prove financial ties in the homeland. The crappy economy and the hopeless governance back home just makes its so tempting for anyone who has come to the US and has seen that hard labor does work and lead you somewhere in this land of milk and honey— however cliche that may sound again. So many Filipinos stay here— illegally. Now, don’t question me with some statistics bull because I do not have that. I only have some people I have met to back this statement.

You would be surprised where these people come from. Or who they are. Most of them are well-educated, college-bred individuals, who had given up their comforts back home. Because there is hope here.

Millions, though, are back home, still hoping to come to the US to have their taste of the American Life. Many are not lucky.

Owe that, I guess, to the strict visa screening.

Yet in retrospect or further introspection, it is sad. Because much like the other individuals who come here to work hard so they can feed mouths back home, these are people with noble intentions.

They are not here to drop bombs. Or use guns.

Often, all they have is the motivation to make the lives of those they left comfortable back home… or to have enough funds in the bank so that the kids don’t have to worry about college.

Thus it is sad to think of the irony that monsters who have so easily wrecked the major havocs in this country are individuals who were or are those who possess the legal rights to be here. Yet those who deserve to be here for their honest-to-goodness living are those denied the opportunity.

This should be a lesson. Terrorism no longer has a face.

The Boston Dream

Posted: April 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

“For most of us today, Boston was personal. It is personal.” This, perhaps, sums up the sentiments millions of people have over the tragedy in Boston.

You do not have to be a Bostonian to make it personal to you.

April 15, 2013, I had just returned from my lunch break while working in the ER. It was a Monday, thus, it was chaotic. On my lunch break, I had just viewed over the news how Shalane and Kara ranked 4th and 6th places, respectively. Nothing, however, prepared me for what my coworker would tell me. “Did you hear? There’s bombing in the Boston Marathon,” as she went on to talk a little of how there were “mangled bodies…”

In an instinct, I asked her to watch over our area, as I walked fast to our lounge and exactly saw just that on TV. Spiels from news anchors circulated on how 2 explosions took place. It was hazy at that point. It was a bit of a blur. It was yet to be known whether it was an accident cause by a gas pipe and the like.

But who would not think of the unthinkable? The probability, perhaps, of 2 explosions at one of the most-watched sports event is just too high that one can only think this was an act of terrorism.

At that point, all I could think of are a couple of individuals I know who were either running or watching the marathon. These people, however, I know not personally, but with whom, somehow, I have made connections with through the social media. I call them either by the tag “Instagram-“ or “Facebook-“ friends. But these are people I know— and I feared for them at the time.

And then I feared for people, everyone, who were hurt… much like how everyone feared for people in Boylston Street that day.

It was unthinkable.

I finished worked at 1915 that day and went for my run in the West Side Highway. It is in these moments of silence when your mind starts to work.

You wonder and you ponder. And since that day, I have not stopped thinking about who is or are behind the monstrosity. How could have one committed such convoluted, twisted prank? And how one could have done it in a gathering for a sport that is not even elitist, not even one patronized by the rich alone or by capitalists or by sport icons who have profited millions through their craft.

Since then, each of my time outside work, most of it, has been spent watching CNN or listening to 1010 WINS, monitoring the events in Boston. I would sometimes find myself hold back tears.

Because this is how it is.

I am a new runner… an older person, who just found the love of running through a simple twist of fate. I now consider myself as belonging to a family of runners, having a husband with several marathons and claiming his Ultras.

And running fosters a quasi-, unspoken community of individuals.

There is a spirit that exists among runners.

This, I found when I subscribed to Instagram and actually found a huge group of new friends that I connect with from New Jersey to Michigan to Florida to California to Scotland to Spain to the border of Syria. It is a community. IT is a family.

And an attack such as this is not just an attack against a beautiful community like Boston. It is a pain experienced by those who love running. It is an impalement of an imaginary dagger to the dream of many.

Because this is how it is again.

Boston is hard. Boston Marathon is for the fast. For the fast that when I received text messages and phone calls Monday, asking me if was safe and if I was in Boston, I could only laugh because there is NO WAY I would be in Boston to run that day. Even, perhaps, never.

(For those who do not understand, Boston has time qualifications. It may be “elitist” only for the fact that if you are not running for charity, you need to be among the 10% of the running population, who can move one foot after the other fast enough. You have to have a pretty darn efficient VO2 max.)

Thus, Boston Marathon is a dream. It is a dream for runners who cannot run fast. It is a dream for men and women who can only build up on endurance and not on speed—like me. It is a dream for my husband, who is optimistic to run Boston next year through another marathon in May, where he will need to improve his time via 3 minutes. It is a dream for many, whose only option to get it is through raising funds for charity.

Because Boston Marathon is hard.

So this attack in Boston? It is personal. It is personal because anyone running a marathon—regardless of location—devoted time, sweat, effort, social life, and everything else imaginable in an attempt to cross the finish line. It is months of training that can only be rewarded by the sight of that clock that tells you your finish time.

This attack in Boston? It is an assault to the families who watch from the sidelines… from the finish line. It is punch to the face to the husbands and wives and children and friends who needed to miss a runner at a family gathering or soccer training or drinks after work because he or she had to run a tempo or do fartleks or do long runs.

It is personal. Yes, it is personal.

For some, the bombings may only be viewed as an attack against a beautiful Massachusetts town.

But for a large, unquantifiable community, whose members get out of their beds before the sun rises or skip family dinners to hit the roads, it is a big blow. It is an incursion.

Yet this will not stop this community.

As in the words of the President today: We will run again. You will run again.

Suck It In and Spit!!!

Posted: April 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

            I’ve never been one to get sick. Not even when I am exposed to all sorts of viruses, bacteria, fomites in the ER.

            Nor am I one to spit. To spit while running.

            But I have finally caught on. A habit, which I found and still find utterly disgusting when running. Hopefully, it does not become my own habit. If I do, I will disown myself, if there is even such a thing.

            Yet this was the inevitable when I was finally hit by some nagging illness that wrecked havoc to my days this week.

            Barry, the PA where I work diagnosed me (off-the-books) with Strep Throat, when my rapid strep test came back positive Monday. This was that day when I complained of pain with swallowing. I had woken up feeling unwell that morning. Of course, the scared shitless that I am about calling in, I persisted and went to work that day. (note: I called in sick in March. Before March, I had called-in sick in July.)

            That was my 2nd workday of my 3-day work-week. Of course, I had the strep and got a shot of Bicillin on my right butt cheek. Boy, that hurt and 4 days after that shot, I still feel the lump on my gluts where the shot had gone.

            Of course, too, I thought I had felt better when I came back to work Tuesday. I was not. With much prodding from the husband, I was finally convinced to leave my Philly Marathon 2012 bag at home (that acts as my running bag). I worked and sucked it up.

            All hell broke loose in my body the moment I set out into the cool evening air after my shift and I just started to have chills non-stop. It finally dawned on me: I WAS sick.

            So, thus, began the agony of counting the days when I had not run and could not run.

            Sunday- it rained. Monday- I got the shot of Bicillin and went on a birthday dinner and did not run. Tuesday- the realization, the running bag left home, thus, no run.

            I was sick and it consumed me to the core. I had not run for 4 days, I had counted by Wednesday. And for someone stickler to (some) rules, I knew I had broken Hansons and Humphrey’s “rules.” Of course, if you look deep into the book, they talk of modification. But modification was not an option for me, a person aiming to finish her first 26.2.

            It was all-contemplation on those days. Running friends were supportive enough to say I needed rest. It took me a while to finally come to terms with the fact that if your body says, “pause” you really have to “pause.”

            After four days of hiatus, I was resolved to run again. Despite the husband’s advice to do an easy 5-miler, I secretly went ahead and did a 9-miler tempo.

            It was cruel and gruesome.

            That’s where the spitting came into the picture.

            The first 2 miles, as I managed my way to Hoboken, was a horrible rendition of my running. It was as though my feet were alien and my trunk did not seem to belong to my lower extremities. I know I am not a fast runner but I know I may have looked like a klutz. Adding to the conundrum of syncing these parts of my body together was the fact that I was too confident the weather was mild, I decided to skip 2 puffs of Albuterol, which has been part of my “must-do” prior to a run on colder temps. Big mistake. I was tight and breathing was heavy. I thought for a while my airways would shut down on me.

           With my sinuses still clogged, I could barely hear, too.

            In short, everything was just not flowing accordingly.

            That’s when I started the spitting game.

            Embarrassingly so. I spat from Hoboken and back. Of course, this took a lot of courage for me. Constantly, I had to look around to make sure no one was behind me, because it sure wouldn’t look pretty.

            In fact, it would be just as ugly as that time when I accidentally (or was it purposely) passed gas while on a 16-miler at 9 o’clock at night somewhere near the Edgewater waterway and apparently, a rather-fast male runner had zoomed his way behind me. That wasn’t pretty. And so un-womanly. Or civilized, for that matter.

           So, so did this dilemma about spitting.

            I expectorated and expectorated in the most disgusting matter. Apparently, this helped. And it helped me survive that run. It was then that I, somehow, understood the psychology of spitting while running— for some.

            My point? Not much really. Except that spitting did help. Spitting is disgusting. But at that point in time, it was overriding all logic and sense.

            That it was a matter of survival that day and you need to do and succumb to survival measures when the need arises.

            And in retrospect, resting when you were really supposed to. To pause when your body tells you to. Then the spitting would have been averted.

            I know my 4-day break was not enough. My body is not a hundred percent and I still have to learn to listen to it.

            Maybe in time, I will. For now, let me be a stickler.