I started my running career with my former trainer, Lawrence Gange, in December 2006. From June to December that year, on Lawrence’s personalized core strength and cardio program, I lost 10lbs and lost a couple of inches off my waist. Then he said, “I’m entering you in the Yakult 5k in December. All you have to do is finish the run.”

My sister Joy, who was working on losing postpartum weight, agreed to be my running buddy. We ran from Star City down Roxas Blvd. all the way to… Pedro Gil? Or was it Padre Faura? Then back to Star City. It was the first time I was able to run continuously without stopping, at my own pace. Joy and I had made a pact – no leaving the other one behind. It was fun, a well-organized run. I finished the race in 52 minutes, receiving a certificate and a Yakult finisher jersey big enough to be a dress if I’d belted it. I was exhilarated. And hungry as hell.

Not too bad for a first-timer, I thought. To think, I was even running while on antibiotics (a wasp bite had gotten infected). I was amazed to feel a second wind kick in, halfway through the race. I was thinking, “So this is what it feels like.” For a moment it was as if the rest of the world had melted away; I felt I could keep on running and running. Alas, during the last 2 kilometers the arch of my left foot started aching and went numb. Since I have flat feet, I run in Nikes with a padded insole. At the time I really couldn’t feel anything in my left foot except pressure, so I just continued to run, filing the experience in my head as something to work on. There were water stations along the route, so I wasn’t too dehydrated.

At the last 500m I could hear Lawrence shouting from the sidewalk, “Go girls!!!” Apart from Joy and myself, he had another client registered in the Yakult 5k. Lawrence had hurt his ankle in a kitchen accident two weeks before. I remember that day, seeing him on the sidewalk propped up on crutches, waving his stopwatch with an infectious grin on his face. I waved and grinned back, and kept running.

We celebrated with breakfast at The Aristocrat. Our entire family showed up for moral support. We have a picture with Lawrence, but I can’t find it yet. Will post it when I do. Lawrence immigrated to Canada with his nurse wife a few months later. And I have continued to run ever since.