Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Race Walking and My Heart Problem

I started my running craze last April 27, 2007 with the primary goal of losing weight (I weight 198 lbs then) and lowering my blood sugar(I inject 10units of insuline glargine a day plus 1500mg of Hydrocloride tablet) which I continued until August of 2008 in which I attained a weight of 148 lbs (-50 lbs) and my sugar count was "controlled" with medication reduced to minimum with NO insuline injecion required. Full details of my distance run can be seen on my 1st blogged subject.

With things settling down to a boring regularity, a much needed drive was needed to pursue the vigor in running. Sometime around end of August 2008, on a Saturday morning while I was doing my daily run/walk at the Ultra Oval and just when I was completing my run, Capt. Ferdinand Espejo approached me and asked if by any chance I am interested in getting serious in what I have been doing and concentrate on Race Walking as he has noticed my regularity at the Ultra Oval then. In his mild and convincing manner he explained to me in detail what is Race Walking and brought out a crazy idea of a 12 Hour race Walk at Putrajaya Kuala Lumpur Malaysia scheduled for 13-14Dec08. We exchanged email addresses and I told him let me think about it.

A week past by and after long solitary thought in my sleeps, I told myself, why not? However, before I do dare to send an email message to Capt. Espejo, I first did my homework to get as much information as possible with regards to Race Walking. This I found in the Internet at by Jeff Savage which provides you with all detailed aspect of Race Walking from basic technique, rules, warm up, cool down, equipment, how to race, training, strength, and others. To those who wish to get into this sport I recommend you visit this website it is complete and detailed to the T.

All pumped-up and after gathering much confidence I finally sent my email intentions to Capt. Espejo whom I found was very encouraging and supportive to an old guy like me trying to get into the field of sport. He gave me the details of Khoo Chong Beng the Director for Race Walkers Association of Malaysia for the necessary entry form and race rules that I started communicating from then on.

With all formalities in place, I now was faced with training to ensure that I would be able to come up with a respectable finish after a 12 Hour Race Walk. It was about the middle of September that I started a daily dedicated race walk at the Ultra. In the beginning for a 5 km the to 10 km and then 15 km per session augmented with 10km entry on road races in Metro Manila allowing myself to run for the first 5 km then do the race walk technique for the final 5 km. In the initial stage I did not dare to attain speed but instead get used to the race walking technique particularly making sure that my forward leg is straight as it hits the ground until my next stride. This was the most difficult pace of the preparation, but, after sometime getting used to the manner of walking, it was then I applied the technique in developing the speed aspect of the sport, the sway of the arms and hips in tempo with the stride of the leg. At the peak of my preparation I could easily logged 105 kilometers a week.

As the 12 Hour Walk in Putrajaya was nearing sometime December 4, 2008 it coincided to my yearly medical check-up at UST Hospital which I readily did and as recommended by my doctor Dr. Rodelio De Sagun who is a relative advised me to include a Thallium Stress Test of which I readily went through the procedure. On December 8, 2008 I received a text message from my doctor’s secretary that Dr. De Sagun wishes to talk to me due to an abnormal finding from my Thallium Stress Test. I saw my doctor and he explained to me that not enough blood was being pumped to my heart than normally should be which gives a suspected blocked blood vessel/s as such he suggested that although of no urgency, I need to subject myself to an angiogram which would confirm the diagnosis and if warranted to undergo an angioplasty with a worst scenario of a by-pass heart procedure. Wow! Shocking and to think my mind is all set for 12 Hour Walk and a total disbelief and doubt was playing in my mind considering I was doing 15 km a day and not feeling anything unusual from my body. What do I do? I talked to Dr. De Sagun and with his wife Dra Rose De Sagun asked them that my only request is that they do not tell my wife, otherwise, she won’t allow me to go to Malaysia for the event. With heavy heart they just have to say yes to me I think as I was the patient and reminded me that my doctor does not have blessing for me to do the 12 Hour Walk but leave matters to my better judgment. I was determine to go ahead as plan. For last minute morale boosting, I asked the assistance of Bald Runner Team headed by Gen. Jovinal Narcise, Capt. Ferdinand Espejo and Coach Salazar for last minute pointers and advise. And the night before I left Manila I was given Physical Therapy by Coach Salazar.

On December 12, 2008 I departed as planned to KL Malaysia and proceeded to the billeted racers designated hotel at Kajang. On the day of the race, December 13, 2008 I left the hotel at 5pm giving enough time to reach Putrajaya before the schedule 8pm start.

Upon reaching Putrajaya, I experience the orderliness and efficiency of the organizers handling over 500 participants male and female of all ages. How I wish this could be the same here in the Philippines. Race bib and computer chips were provided and then at 7:30 pm a general announcement of the rules and regulation was given to all participants.

At 8pm exactly the start of the race was sounded. I initially kept myself on the middle of the pack but after 500meters or so the pace was a little slow for me so I started overtaking people. The first loop (1km) was more or less a getting used to the circuit. After 2 hours, the announcer sounded that participant should they wish can check how much they have already logged for the first 2 hours. I checked mine to be 16km. I continued until I have attained 25km and it was about just past midnight and I decided to enter the cockpit for some leg rest and change of shoes and shirt. I allowed 30 minutes to past by and continued my walk until I logged 35km and it was about 1:30am. Again, I entered the cockpit for a pit stop again allowing myself 30 minutes for rest and change of attire. By 3:00am I have already logged 44km and I now was feeling sore, sleepy and tired. I told myself I need to finish the 50km mark as my initial target which I officially finished in 7h39m37sec wherein I place 10th out of 22 participants officially entered in the 50 km distance. Having completed my 50 km I decided to take matters easy and do not push the issue to much considering my medical findings of which I then took my time for the rest of the 12 hour and finally completing 12 Hour Walk with a distance of 62 kilometers landing 45th place in the men’s division out of 263 finishers and landing 59th place overall out of 438 finishers and 508 starters. Praise God! It was a very respectable finish for a 1st timer and with no pit stop support. Complete details of the race and official results can be seen at if you have time visit the website. And for pictures of the events, this can be seen at They have a saying pictures expresses more than words which I might have not done justice in my writing.

My story does not end here as I still have to inform my wife of my medical findings. On 15Dec08, I arrived Manila and my wife fetch me from the airport at about 6pm and I asked her for a dinner and we went straight to Bonifacio High Street. After placing our order, I told her I have something to confess and ask her not to get angry. I gave her the complete run down of the doctor’s findings and the related story as to the question of WHY. Afterwards she asked me to promise her NEVER to tell a lie again. In all honesty, I did not tell a lie to her, it’s just that I did not volunteer information. As they say there was technicality on the matter which even the Supreme Court can consider.

This is my story on how I got hooked on Race Walking and this coming May 25, 2009 I have already registered myself for LA Marathon under the Race Walker Division. This however, will be subject to my medical procedure which is scheduled sometime last week of January. So all of you out there, I seek your prayers for my health.


  1. This particular post makes me reflect deeper to question myself...with the start of a new year, why can I not motivate myself enough to make a change? Should I start with my way of thinking? Will mental outlook follow physical change, or is is the other way around? Between my father's inability to travel, the untimely death of a beloved uncle and godfather(Tito Themie Lazaro), and my grandfather's prolonged suffering and recent passing, I have sunk a little lower in spirits and cannot seem to shake the doom and gloom. Or am I just using these events as an excuse not to make a change in my own life? Is complacency ultimately just stagnancy?

    Your ongoing quest makes me want to make a change in myself as well.

  2. Roselyn,

    Life is so short and beautiful. And the best thing about life is you are the the captain of your life. If you want to feel happy its because you allow it. If sad or gloom its also you allow it. Do what you want to do and at the end of the day you can say.... Thank you Lord for the experience of Life you have given me.

  3. Great run. congratulation. will see you in the races
    patrick concepcion / runningshield

  4. Patrick,

    Thanks will see you on the races for the coming year.