At the gym 

I was doing chest this evening at Gold’s Twin Oaks, doing the usual flat and incline bench presses, flyes, triceps dips, and some other routines whose names escape me now, when a trainer approached me and asked why I haven’t joined a competition yet, perhaps referring to a bodybuilding competition. I replied that I got “no time.” Really I don’t have, but I am more daunted by the fact of appearing in front of a crowd in thongs or board shorts with a body that is less than perfect. 

Haha. I’m kidding about the last sentence, but seriously who wouldn’t be? I’m an aging man whose present concerns do not include joining a bodybuilding contest.

I’m lifting heavy these days. The heaviest I can lift lying down is 230lbs. I can deadlift 300 but can only squat 140. I’m currently weighing 200 with a BMI of 22. My weight hovers between 198 to 202lbs. The heaviest I’ve gotten is 208lbs. That’s during the summer of this year when I did not have to stay up late to prepare for my classes and other work.  I’m doing cardio only when I remember, which means I don’t. My abs appear in the morning, but retract after lunch then reappear before I sleep at night, but they are not as defined as when I was in my early 20s. I know they’re there, only that they’re surrounded by a rather thick layer of adipose tissues that some lovingly call love handles. But I am working on this part, too. 

I’ve reached a point when I workout out of routine and nothing more, not even to look good, because I’m way past the point when I’d still care about what people think of how I look. I’m out of the dating scene for more than six years now. I’ve stopped hooking up, going out on a Saturday night, and checking myself out in mirrors. 

I go to gym in the same way a bald man runs his fingers on that space that used to be occupied by his now gone hair. 

Working out is the closest I can get to that really physical activity that has shaped the male’s anatomy for millennia. I’m sedentary most of the day except at night when I sweat it out, doing routines that do not serve any practical significance except exhaust the body so it can be as exhausted as the mind. 

The run

We were welcomed by a sea of runners wearing yellow and black and some who are in gray jerseys (which I think looked a lot better; had I known I would have chosen to run 10k, but I’d be dead after the race, I think) when we arrived at The Fort five minutes before the race began.

It was our first time to run a race. I do not know with my brother, but as far as I am concerned, I shall join runs like this as often as I can.

I used to find the pretense of running-for-a-cause rather abhorrent, I still do, in fact, but I found myself enjoying the whole thing. This one by the National Geographic channel was a marketing ploy on a massive scale. They’re more than happy to announce that 10,000+ runners joined the race. Still big considering that there was a simultaneous fun run around SM Mall of Asia organized by GMA7’s Kapuso Foundation which I think would have attracted more as Filipinos are dead serious when it comes to their TV and movie stars. This one by Nat Geo which was founded upon a cliched advocacy of saving the environment dubbed  ‘Earth Day Run’ would pale in comparison to the tremendous pull of the roster of up-and-coming starlets of this local TV network.

Surprisingly, the cable channel still was able to attract runners, mostly in their 20s and 30s, to join the race. Organizing a race involving 10,000 plus professionals, enthusiasts, or plain curious, like me, was no easy feat.

However, the race posed a tinge of bitter irony: drinking stations were littered with discarded paper cups. It might have been that the advocacy of the race got lost, or mistranslated, along the way. Sad. But oh, what can one expect from something driven by marketing a cause that is misconstrued, or worse, not taken seriously?

The pretension of it all was sickening, but this will not keeping me from joining the next run in the metro.

National Geographic Earth Day Run 2011

My younger brother, Des Neil, and I are joining the 5k run tomorrow. This is our first run together. I know, I know, it’s just 5k, and it’s like no sweat. But we’re brothers of unhealthy Metro Manilan, so 5k is a great feat in fact.

This race is giving me a good reason to sleep early tonight and save my energy for tomorrow’s run.

Good night for now.