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My First Running Mentor

As I look back on my childhood days just a few minutes ago while on my "throne" (yeap, our favorite throne when having a stomach upset), my memory flashed-back to my late Uncle Fernando "Nanding" (1945 - 2009). Though I can't remember much of the details of my childhood memories with him, this one thing have carved deeply in my cerebral cortex. Specifically, it was the day when he first held a "running seminar/orientation" to me and to his youngest child (my cousin) while in the influence of alcohol -- his home-made "tuba" or coconut wine.

What I remember most is his enthusiastic way of hosting his "seminar" to his two little, sleepy, irritated, bored and inattentive audience. Though filled with the influence of that sweet tuba, he was full of energy as he maneuvers his feet and hands while describing his topic to us about the proper way of long-distance running. Funny as it is, my Uncle was never a runner. I believe, he had never joined a marathon in his lifetime. And his seminar to us were only based on his experiences from running against his drinking buddies, lol! As to what I know, his forte is fishing, farming, and being a "manunuba" (coconut wine farmer).

A drunken master is the best Master

So before my memory collapse to its dementia state (oh boy, I hope not in my lifetime!), I decided to blog those remaining neuron activities in my head. I was around eleven to twelve years old back then in our province in Masbate. I don't know what was the effect of that tuba to my beloved Uncle that he forgot the time knowing that we all have to wake up as early as 4am the next morning to babysit our goats, horses, cows, pigs and carabaos (or water buffalo). Just to cut the story short, here are some of those funny points that he stressed to us about the proper running form according to his "official" experience.
  1. Run with your toes, not with your heels. (am I suppose to tip-toe in running?).
  2. Run tall, and incline your body. (how can I run tall if I only stand 5'2"?).
  3. Look straight ahead, never look back until your chasers are out of your sight. (how will I know that they are already out of my sight if I don't look back? And what if, I'm the one who's already out of their sight?)
  4. Don't swing your hands too much, or you might punch your face! (pun intended)
  5. Don't breathe with your heartbeat (he means to breathe in regular intervals). Breathe deep, use your mouth to breath in/out.
  6. Keep your chest open, it describes your masculinity (I just added this one, he never told this to us! :p )
During my self-training days when I was still in College, and after my first running event participation, and even up to this time, these pointers have been my ultimate running guide. Well, with some minor corrections though and except for the tip-toe running. I think what my Uncle meant was forefoot running, but what I can only do is a mid-foot since my shin aches too much when on the forefoot form.

As I get to read articles about the running form, I could testify that what my Uncle told to us, though in a different way, is what the proper running form is. And I'm so glad and proud that he was my first running mentor (I have no second mentor yet anyway). To my Uncle, wherever you are right now, I hope you could read my blog. You left a great legacy and inexchangeable gift to me. And I want to dedicate my first running award to you, which will be on my first 3k (hopefully, but please don't expect too much, lol!). We miss you and we love you Uncle Nanding!

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