One of Manila’s most recognizable faces in running, Jackie Gutierrez guest blogs her experiences in running, from an overweight running newbie to her present status as an ultra-runner and MILO Apex Team Manager/Trainor.
Here’s her story:
I started running last February of 2011 when a friend of mine invited me to run the Laura Vicuna Foundation Fun Run, an advocacy run for child’s protection at the La Salle Greenhills oval. The day before the race, I attended my Aikido class then went out with friends on a Gimik night out and came home in the wee hours of the morning, just enough time to change to running wear for the 6am start. That time, i really had no idea about running, so i thought running the race without practice will be just fine. I was wearing heavy jogging pants, a cotton shirt, and ordinary rubber shoes. I would be doing a 10k for the first time.
I hardly had any sleep the day before but was determined to finish my first 10k. Well, I did survive the race and finished the distance, but at a price. I just felt terrible after the run, my body felt very ill and gave in to sickness. Very sick in fact that I was bedridden for one whole week!
I wasn’t able to walk, much more run any step and this proved to be a big lesson for me that practice and training should be done prior to joining fun runs or races! I was able to survive that horrible week more determined to redeem myself, learn from my mistakes and actually prepare and train for my next run!
My next race was a 5k Run, the Run for Life held in Raja Solayman, Roxas Blvd. This time, I did prepare for this race and did some short training runs that resulted to a 45 mins finish time. Not really a good time but was satisfied nevertheless and was glad that I didn’t suffer the after effects of my first race. Still, I knew I could run faster if only I could reduce my weight as I felt like a bouncing ball running astray at Roxas Blvd. I was also able to buy real running shoes, a pair of New Balance and felt more stable and comfortable than running in my old rubber sneakers.
I then concentrated in doing shorter races, this time when I registered for the Womens’ Health Athena 3k and finished it in 23mins. I was very happy with this race and as a bonus, was able to have a lot of my pictures taken with movie and TV celebrities! Thereafter, I registered for the Hyundai 5k Run with my friend, Mader Rikki and was happy to chop-off my previous 5k time of 45 mins to 38mins for this race.
Now, I knew I was hooked to running! At every opportunity, I attended free running clinics like Runnr Academy BGC which offerered a 3-month program, Runners World at the Ultra Sports Complex, the BGC Mizuno Running Clinic, the Adination of Runners in BGC, among others because i wanted to immerse myself in the world of running, to gain more knowledge, to lose more weight and improve myself.
The turning point in all these activities is when I enrolled at the MILO Apex Running School. I registered as a 10k beginner, then gradually increasing my level to the 10k advanced group, 21k Beginners and 21k Advance groups. I believed that the Milo Apex program was the most effective for me as they offered Scientific Running Programs for runners who want to become fitter, faster and a smarter runner.
Since then, my races frequented into weekly affairs and my PRs also gradually improved from the 5k to the 21k distances. I knew that if I kept this training up, I would be a better and fitter runner. I really saw the benefits of the Milo Apex program when I lost about 15 lbs in 3 months as I incorporated core work for my upper body 2 or 3 times a week. I really enjoyed being here at the Milo program not just because i learned a lot but i also gained more friends because of the camaraderie of the group.
Because of my consistency in training and being part of the Milo Apex program, running has changed my life. It gave me a reason to strive harder being a single parent to support my 3 kids, developed who I am as a person and continue to be the best of who I can be.
Last year, Milo hired me as a Team Manager/Trainor, in charge of the 10km group which I still do at present. This year, I have also started to enjoy trail running, mountain climbing and running ultra-marathons of 50kms and more. So far I had done 4 full marathons including the Singapore International Marathon last year. My extracurricular activities also include rowing and dragon boat racing.
Hopefully with my continuous teaching at the Milo Apex School, i can inspire more people and motivate them. I want to be a good role model, to beginner runners in particular. If I can inspire others, my mind becomes happy and I would have achieved what God wishes me to share to others.
With Love–Jackie Gutierrez