About Me

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I am a Bicolano by birth and choice. By any standards, I am a slow runner but I like it that way. I look at running as a healthy and exciting way to make a difference. Together with my fellow runners from our family, school, office and the community, we use running to give back..

February 28, 2015


Blogger's Note:

This is the second in a series which features the stories of 6 First Balfour runners who conquered their first marathons at the Bull Runner Dream Marathon this 2015. This is the story of RJ Santos, young at 30 years old but alredy the head of the  geodetic enegineering team in FB.  From the province of Bulacan and educated in UP Diliman, RJ brought with him  hard-working and smart-
thinking traits to the 6-month marathon journey. His fiancee Ivy was a constant presence in this endeavour. Given this and even when he got sick a few days before race day, there was no doubt in our minds that he would  cross the finish line strong. He is now targeting his  second marathon and first ultra marathon, all within this year.    


It all started 7months ago when I received the result of our Annual Physical Exam. The result said that I was overweight by several kilograms and I was advised to do regular exercise. On the same week, an email circulated between First Balfour (FB) friends about joining The Bull Runner Dream Marathon (TBRDM). At first I hesitated because the longest distance I’ve run that time is only 10K, but the strong motivation to get back in shape led me into joining the marathon.

The training program was a complete stranger to my day-to-day schedule. You really need to practice discipline in order to do the 2x week maintenance and weekend long runs. I have learned to wake up in the morning 1 hour before my usual schedule just to do those maintenance runs, but most of the time my maintenance runs are between 9PM to 1AM. My weekend LSDs (Long Slow Distance) are done in UP Diliman, BGC, Manila Memorial in Sucat, and Nuvali.
Training in UP Diliman...

...and Manila Memorial Park.  

Two of the things that I looked forward to during the 22Week training are the Bull Circles and Bull Sessions. In the Bull Circles, the organizers invited TBRDM Alumni who shared their stories that inspired us. They also invited speakers who teach us the basics of running a marathon, from selecting the right shoe to the right food that we need to eat during the marathon. And I will say the learnings really help us a lot during the race day! The Bull Sessions (LSDs with TBRDM batchmates) are very important because in those Bull Sessions we are able to gauge our progress in the program. Also, it is the chance to meet other runners from different walks of life. I was really thankful that I followed the training program because a week before race day, I became sick. Cough, cold, flu and diarrhea hit me from nowhere. I was not able to do the last two maintenance run and LSD. I even filed a 2day Sick leave and had a medical checkup on that week just to make sure that I will get better come race day.

The race day became one of the most memorable moment of my life. I was very nervous at the starting line doubting myself if I can finish the race because of being sick almost the whole week. Together with  FB TBRDM batchmates Migo, Joram, Emz, Richelle, Alice and FB running Guru, Sir Macky, we decided to join the 2-1 group by Coach Jim Lafferty for the first loop (first 21Km). After the first loop, I decided to go ahead of my fellow FB TBR bacthmates to see my girlfriend, Ivy, and have a change of shirt because it was too cold. At Km28 (the hardest part of the course), I met Tato, Rose, Icar and Delsie (also FB marathoners) and their words of encouragement gave me a new source of motivation. Sir Tato also volunteered to pace me and he stayed with me up to the finish line! He was the one who kept pushing me in times that I was so exhausted and thinking of giving up.
At the starting line with fellow First Balfour dreamers.  

With Tato.

Ready for another 1. 
I will never forget the moment that I crossed the finish line (finish time: 6 hours & 48 mins) . I was so exhausted yet I’m so happy that the 6 months training paid off, and I can’t remember the last time that I pushed myself to my limits. Conquering my first marathon will definitely be the start of a lifetime running journey. I am now planning to register for my second marathon and my goal is to join an Ultramarathon before the end of the year!

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