Sunday, April 29, 2018

Team Umale Runs

Getting started on running is quite easy.  But being able to sustain the passion for running requires rigor and commitment, more so, running together as a family especially in this age of social media when it is just so easy to lose oneself in the digital universe.

Finishing the Silakbo 2018 Run for the benefit
of the Sta. Rosa Laguna Watershed
We got started into joining fun runs in Singapore where we lived for about 2 ½ years. Our first fun run in 2012 was a 5K event with the theme “Daring to Dream” which was sponsored by the company I work for to as a benefit run for charity and to commercialize its sponsorship of the 2012 London Olympic Games.  We did sort of a run-walk sequence but nonetheless, ended to be an enjoyable way to exercise together and we agreed to do it again.

Our first 5K Fun Run in Singapore
P&G Olympic Games Day
This was followed by another charity fun-run, POSB Passion Run for Kids held in picturesque Gardens by the Bay which was on soft-opening that year.  Kyla had a chance to join the Singapore Standard Chartered Marathon’s Kids’ Dash event in 2012 and also raised funds for the Terry Fox Run for cancer research at the Canadian International School, even when she had to run with a broken arm.

POSB Passion Run for Kids at scenic Marina Bay.
We had to stop several times for photo-op.

Kyla finishing the Standard Chartered
Kids' Dash in Singapore

Completing the Terry Fox Run for Cancer Research
even with her broken arm
When we returned home in 2013, Kyla and I continued joining fun runs, limiting ourselves to 3K events which were mostly organized for the benefit of a chosen charity. Run for the Angels, Pink Run for Breast Cancer, SponsoRun and Silakbo Run for Sta. Rosa watershed – to name a few.  We consider this as our mom-daughter bonding time with no pressure of having to run faster and chase record time.  It was simply about running together, having fun and finishing the course.

On the other hand, Kevin and my husband wasn’t into running then.  It was a motor challenge for Kevin because running involves the coordination of feet, arms, body and breathing properly to sustain the effort for a stretch of time.  It was in November 2017 when we decided to sign up for the Hope Run for children with special needs as a family unit.  Alvin knew that Kevin and Kyla need to be properly trained for them to finish it without great difficulty.  And so, we started running together at Nuvali every weekend and holiday mornings.  We decided to continue running as a family after the Hope Run.  That meant pursuing the training even with school days and work days at helm. Some days meant getting up earlier than usual.

Opening the Year 2018 with the CDH Resolution Run 

Our first attempt for a 5K run was at the 2018 Resolution Run at Greenfield City, Laguna where Kevin, Kyla and I ran together while Alvin took his first 10K run. This was followed by the RunRio Trilogy Manila Leg 1 back in SM Mall of Asia upon the encouragement of a family friend (D. Eric Francisco) to try the RunRio races.  This time, it was Alvin’s turn to pace the kids while I ran my first 10K after a seven-year hiatus from mid-distance run from my Singapore running days.  We are so happy that Kevin and Kyla did well and continue to get better in their 5K runs, especially since this was quite an effort for my daughter given her spine condition.  We had to ensure proper training and pacing so that she can finish the run with a healthy heart-rate level.
Asian Hospital's Pink Run for Breast Cancer.
It was a rainy morning run.
Here are a few learnings we can share for families who wish to get started into running, and hopefully, continue the endeavor for a long time…

1.  Set clear, realistic goals for the family.  My husband and I were very clear that we want to run as a family as a part of our bonding time and for our children to have fun in the experience while keeping fit and healthy.  When we were just starting, Alvin spent time researching and testing techniques that will make it easier for Kevin and Kyla to transition into longer running time.  Kevin lost excess weight and baby fats from his daily in-house exercise and this made outdoor running easier because he became lean and lighter.  Even if we started to pursue our individual goals too as a sidelight, we agreed that our children will to continue to be a significant part of those goals. This is the reason why one of us always had to stay behind as a pacer for Kevin and Kyla during running events.  We alternate on pacing duties and carve out time for the week to continue training them.

2. Make running a fun affair.  When we first ran as a family for a weekend training, we probably just clocked in a few hundred meters and were mostly walking, before gradually picking up the pace and finish a 4K tune-up run in preparation for the kids’ first 5K run.  Key is to make it comfortable and repeatable before taking it a notch higher.  Alvin found a way to set up a pace that both Kevin and Kyla can manage, without burning them out.  The highlight of our weekend run is having brunch in any one of our favorite breakfast joints at the Nuvali area.  This is something that our two teenagers look forward to as well.  For Kevin, he can equate running with a healthy dose of reward afterwards (just don’t eat way too much, of course!).  In our last run, Kevin had a big smile on his face when we reached the finish line. He knew, there is a nice breakfast coming his way!  They also get lots of high fives after a good run.  We also set them up with appropriately tested running shoes and gear.
Weekend runs at The Fields of Nuvali

3. Continue investing on fun runs that is commensurate to your family goals and values. We started to run for charitable purposes as we believe it elevates running into a more than just a personal achievement, and these values hopefully stick with them even as they grow older.  As for our family, we still choose to support fun runs with a purpose. The Resolution run is an annual event for the benefit of Calamba Doctors Hospital.  We are on our 2nd year with SiLakBo run which is organized by the City of Sta. Rosa for environmental sustainability.  Our next family fun run will be held for the benefit of children with cancer.  And of course, the annual finale will the Hope Run for children with special needs at the SM Mall of Asia which we dedicate to our son Kevin.
The Hope Run for Children with Special Needs

The RunRio Trilogy Manila Leg 1
See you at Leg 2!

Running is great way to pursue an active lifestyle and at the same time, create a bonding time for the family.  You need to invest time, the patience to train and do it properly, the commitment to help each other become a little bit better every day. And while Alvin and I do have our own personal running goals, running together as a family will always come first.  We pray that this is something we can all do together for a long time!

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