Tuesday, September 27, 2005

words from Coach Rex

Friday, September 23, 2005; 9:45am

Dear Runbutans, MHF Board, and Community:

Thank you for the congratulations that have begun to fill my email. I love it. Although a couple of days late, I am writing to share with you the news of our victory in Maui. On September 18, 2005, thirty runners dawned the Runbutan red jerseys to represent the Manilatown Running Collective and our community in the 2005 Maui Marathon. Victory! Victory! Victory! Thirty runners set out for the 26.2 mile marathon and all thirty runners crossed the finish line.

September 18, 2005 will go down as one of the most historic days in the history of the Manilatown Running Collective. The 2005 Team were record setters. Here are the records that they established last Sunday:

a. Sept. 18, 2005 marked the largest number of Runbutans to cross the finish line on race day. THIRTY IN ONE DAY!

b. The 2005 Runbutan Team raised the largest amount ever raised by a single Runbutan Team. They are closing in on $40K (not including a match by the Banatao family). With the Banatao grant, Runbutans have raised over $100,000 in the last three years.

c. The 30 runners on marathon day made Sept. 18, 2005 the largest number of Runbutans to participate at a single marathon.

d. The Maui Marathon 2005, was the hottest most grueling marathon conditions faced by a Runbutan Team. With these hot and humid conditions, they showed the utmost courage, perseverance, and love.

e. The 2005 Runbu-squad was the largest number of Runbutans to complete at least one 20+mile training run. It was the most prepared team for marathon day in the history of the running collective.

f. The 2005 Runbu-coaching team was the largest and most successful coaches team to coach a team to victory. Kudos to Coach Alex, Coach Angie, Coach Cici, Coach Herb, Coach Patrick, and Coach Tiffany.

g. The Runbutan Coaches have a perfect record of 64 out of 64 success rate. 64 runners in the last three years have made it through the 30-week training program to race day, and all 64 who have participated in the marathons have finished. Yes! That is a 100% success rate. The streak continues thanks to all Runbutans over the course of the last 3 years!!! Go Runbutans.

h. The 2005 Marathon was the first time in the running collective's history that no one finished alone. I have never been more proud of a community of people than I was last Sunday. After a mild morning and after the steep hills of the Marathon course, the heat became dangerous and unbearable. The heat and humidity began to engulf the runners at the half marathon mark. If I were to draw an analogy of my experience of watching the team, I felt like the parent of a boxer (perhaps a Mango from Manilatown). As the heat swarmed the runners, I have never seen a group of runners take a beating from the elements as the 2005 runbu-squad endured. The heat was so bad that I would not have wished in on my worst enemy. Unfortunately, the team that I have grown to love over the last 30 weeks took a pummeling like I have never seen before. There were points on the course where like a parent watching their son or daugter getting pummeled in the boxing ring, I cried inside and wanted to toss in the white towel to end their pain.

Yet, amidst the unrelenting heat and humidity, an unbelievable thing happened. The team grew closer in rank. Unlike other marathon teams and runners, the 2005 runbu-squad did not take the route of individualism and a mentality of "every man for himself". Instead, each runner vowed that no one would be left to run alone. The adversity brought them closer. The heat rallied them to dig deep to find the best person within. The pace groups ran as one. No one was left alone. And with the pain and agony, the team withstood the elements and fought back. I have never seen anything more beautiful as the sight of the Runbutan red shirts rolling down the road fighting back the most difficult conditions that I had ever witnessed.

In the most extreme circumstances and adversity, our team found its finest hours. With the adversity, our running collective recalled everything that they learned over the past 30 weeks of training and bonded together like I had never seen. When one runner needed help, the rest of the pace group was there. When a runner needed to step up to help lead, the leadership came. When the heat came to torture the group, the pace groups cooled each other by showing love and caring for one another. No one was ever alone. The team was one. The 2005 Runbu-squad pulled together and fought the elements together.

As I saw the team of runbutan-red rolling down the road at the 26th mile, I broke down in tears. The team took a beating from the heat, but fought back with the unity and ferocity of love that I will never ever forget. The triumph of this 2005 Runbutan Team is not just a marathon victory. Rather, it is the triumph of love and community over adversity. It was a demonstration of the power of the human spirit.

The courage that this team displayed will always be attached to my soul. I have never seen a group honor their families, their community, our struggle, and their ancestors as this team did. I am so honored and privileged to have witnessed their victory. I am so lucky to have coached this extraordinary group of people. They have taught me so much about life.

As our heroes return home, I hope that we take opportunities to hear their individual accounts of their victory. Heroes are not just those who commit unbelievably heroic acts. Heroes are not only those who are heroic but also return home to tell the community of their heroism so that these acts will live forever.

Congratulations to the 2005 Runbutan Team. Thank you for showing me beauty. Thank you for showing me how to be stronger. Thank you for showing me love. As I have been saying for the past 30 weeks, Run..run..RUNBUTANS. Keep running, and don't stop.

Final Thoughts of the 2005 Running Season

The 2005 Runbu-squad is a collective of 30 unbelievable stories. Here are some samples of some of the stories of some of our runners:

We have a runner whose grandmother passed away a week before marathon day. Instead of returning for her grandmothers funeral and with her family's blessing, she ran the marathon with her grandmothers name on her back celebrating the years of life her grandmother graced the earth. In the irony of life, she crossed the finished around the same time her grandmother was being laid to rest in the Philippines.

We had a runner who was a cancer survivor who crossed the finish and ran for an aunt who has category four cancer in the Philippines. She returned to the Philippines the day following the marathon.

We had new and expecting parants. One year old Isagani watched mommy and daddy finish the Maui Marathon. Coach Angie and Ricky Nierva are expecting their first child in November. They shared that they were pregnant mid-way through training. As new and expecting parents, they showed the team why our work in the present is relevant for our future.

We had several runners who recently graduated from college and are transitioning into a new marathon of life after higher education. Their strength and courage show that the next stage of their lives are bound to be full of triumphs and blessings. Our community is in good hands.

We are a running team of heavy hearts. In the last three years, members of our running team lost special people in our lives. As we triumphed to victory, these departed loved ones saw us through.
We had runners who were not Filipino, but like all people of integrity, we share a yearning for social justice and equity for oppressed people. In running for Manilatown, we represented communities that are invicible. Through our running we make the invisible visible. The Manilatown movement has always been an inter-generational and multi-ethnic coalition of people in search for justice. The Runbutans ran in solidarity of this historic past.

We had runners who are currently students. Juggling the grueling academic calendar, they reminded the more senior folks in the group their past and a greater hope for the future. In running together inter-generationally, we are stronger and more wise than we were 30 weeks ago.

We had runners currently in graduate school whose life's academic work will transform and make relevant issues that tell our community story. Through publishing and teaching, they teach us about ourselves.

We are a team of coaches who give selflessly. Last Sunday, the coaches coached, cooked, drove, supported, nursed, provided wake up calls, facilitated community gathering, cleaned, and most importantly demonstrated love.

This is just a brief synopsis of the lives of the heroes/sheroes that make up our team. The marathon that we ran is symbolic of the beautiful journey of life that we continue to travel. Together, we made history. Together, we made our community better. Together, we exemplified what it means to be unified, courageous, loving, and agents of change. I wish our families and our community could have seen the marathon through my eyes because I have never witness anything more dramatic, courageous, and beautiful. It is my hope that as the days go by that the runners tell their stories. It is my hope that just as they embodied and honored the Manilatown/I-Hotel struggle that we continue to build and become stronger.

I will cherish what I witnessed for all of my days. I am so enriched to have been touched by the Runbutans who I have run with in the past three years. As I continue to run and become touched by this growing my team, I become stronger and become more complete. Peace be our journey. "For our bayani (heroes), for the Manilatown/I-Hotel struggle, and for our community, we runbutan!"

Much love and respect,

Coach Rex getting some much-needed and well deserved rest.

Monday, September 26, 2005

the road after Kaanapali

I just got back from what feels like an eternity. Ten days away from home is a long time. I’m enjoying a few days here and will then be on my way to DC for a conference. Life normalizes after October 2nd.

On the plane back to Oakland, I proudly wore my Maui Marathon Finisher’s t-shirt. A woman sitting near me on the plane noticed and started talking to me. She ran Maui with Team-In-Training (this was her second Maui marathon). I told her who we were and she said she saw us at the marathon (the red is hard to miss amidst all that purple). She also noticed us during our training runs at Ocean Beach. In usual fashion, we compared marathon notes. I told her we were among the very last to finish. I also described how most of the tents were gone, so we couldn’t take advantages of the perks like the massages and Starbucks. (I know. I’ll get over the whole Starbucks thing… eventually.)

She was curious about our group and I told her how we run together and finish together. She said, “Oh, Team-In-Training isn’t like that. We eventually run by ourselves and cross by ourselves.” Although I failed to catch her name, I felt bad for her. Here she was, a totally fit, multi-marathon runner who probably made it in time for the perks. And here I was, out of shape (even though I do run), single marathon runner with absolutely no intention of running another one. I was also envious of her feet because I highly doubt her tootsies went through the hell mine went through with all the blistering and such. Anyway… I felt bad because she ran with a HUGE group but eventually crossed alone. To me, marathon running is a team sport. To cross the finish alone makes one the absolute loneliest number.

As I mentioned before, I’m still processing this whole thing. At this point, I have to say that as a runbutan, the victory did not end at the finish line. I don’t think I would have pulled through the recovery without the generous nature of my teammates. Although I didn’t get to know everyone, I cherish what we have all been bound to.

As you may know, I’ve had a blister problem since we hit the 20 mile training. From there, even short runs have been unkind to my feet. After the marathon, I went to bed in agony nursing my monster-sized blisters. I couldn’t walk that day and the ones that followed. Like I already said, the coaches were great. They called to check up on Tzel and I. When they found out we hadn’t eaten yet (it was after 9pm and we came back from the marathon at about 4pm), Alex and Cici came to our room and gave us pizza, leg cream and salonpas to nurse our aching bodies, and made sure we were hydrating properly.

Coach Cici playing with her new ukelele.

The following night was the victory party. Although painful, I made the short journey to be with my fellow runbutans. (I’ll share more about that night in another entry.) I always knew that this team was unique, but hearing about everyone’s journey shed new light for me. Each person was battling something during the run and each person had a unique story to tell. It was great to know that although we had so much and so little in common, we were all comfortable enough to share.

On the plane ride back to the bay area last night, I was reflecting on this whole experience. One thing that came to mind is that I am incredible lucky to have the friends that I have – both new and old. For me, I realized how beautiful and kind everyone is - especially after the race when I was in my recovery state. The small, simple and yet meaningful things that people shared and people did for me were immeasurable.

On the walk back to the condo after the victory party, I was in terrible pain. I had to take off my slippers and walk barefoot on raw feet on the pavement. It was fine until we crossed the driveway, which had small pebbles that I kept stepping on. Camille and Diana were with me and in my breaking point of agony, I sat down on the pavement in tears telling myself how much I hated my feet. Immediately, Diana made her way to the room to carry the things we were bringing back while Camille sat next to me in silence, consoling me in my moments of weakness and pain. When Diana came back, I got back up on my feet to go to the room. She kindly walked in front of me sweeping away the small pebbles so that I could walk on a clear path to the room.

The lovely ladies of D107: Camille, me (the adopted child), Diana, Tina and Maria.

The following day I was set to leave Maui for Honolulu to meet up with my best friend. Again, everyone was kind and friendly. The ladies of D107 provided a place for me to stay, while Ronnie and Jose returned the pots and pans to the front desk for me because I couldn’t walk the walk. Also, a good chunk of the team was at the airport at the same time as I was. With the help of Tina and Maria, I made it to the airport with good company and laughs as we drove my the infamous “team bush.” My luggage was extra heavy and having to wheel that stuff in with bad feet was quite a chore. Coach Herb was kind enough to take over and turn in my luggages o’ goodies.

Tired and sweaty, I was secretly dreading the walk to the terminal. Again, the runbutans came to my rescue and requested a wheelchair for me. Faith was kind enough to wheel me in (as I was nervously thinking, how in the world is this tiny thing going to wheel in my monstrous body through the gates?). In truth, I had fun simulating a roller coaster through the terminals. I’ll never look at that airport the same again. The team stuck around with me as I went through security and made sure I made it to the gate.

Again, as fate would have it, Coach Patrick was on the same flight as me to Honolulu. He took care of me during the last leg of the flight by wheeling me to the plane and carrying my things. In Honolulu, he went on to haul our luggage to the waiting area (as I sat on my lazy injured ass). His sister picked us up from the airport and they took me to have my first official Leonard’s malasadas before taking me to my hotel. Patrick also went the distance by taking me and my best friend Caroline out to dinner the next evening and then spent a day with us around the island on Thursday. We ended the evening by watching a UH women’s volleyball game (something I’ve always wanted to do since I was a little kid). He even called to check up on me and my feet before he headed back to the bay area on Saturday. Yea for caring coaches:)

Coach Patrick lounging at the airport before heading out to Honolulu.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m fiercely independent in nature. It’s from my dad. I’m not used to needing so much help and am even worse at asking for it. It was wonderful being taken care of, but deep down inside I was totally embarrassed and felt like such a weakling. My first night in Honolulu, I sat in my hotel room alone and started crying because so many people were there to witness me at such a terrible low. But even at my lowest point, they managed to carry me and take care of me. They answered my moments of need before I could muster up the courage to ask (they probably knew I wouldn't be able to ask). I see now that this is why in three years, the runbutans have a 100% finish rate.

The team really stuck it out with me by making light of everything. When I was getting wheeled all over the place, Celisse and others kept telling me to be proud because I have battle scars to show my accomplishment. Faith had a ball speeding down the aisles of the terminal. Alex shared is butter mochi, Cici played her ukelele, and Herb kept cracking dirty jokes! After a dismal post-marathon, Tina was her positive and wonderful self. When we parted ways with the folks going back to the bay area, Patrick was actually happy to wheel me in to our terminal because it meant we would get first dibs on our seats. I couldn’t help but be happy on the outside because I was surrounded by nothing but love. That is the beauty of this team. Our unconditional love for each other didn’t end at the finish line. Instead, it carried us beyond that and continues to do so.

Coach Herb demonstrating one of his dirty jokes. (Insert laughter here.)

This is why I felt bad for the Team-In-Training woman. Although she probably crossed with good time and will go far in her running career, she will never have the honor or luxury of being a runbutan. The finish line was her end point. For the runbutans, the finish was just the beginning.

P.S. The day I arrived in Honolulu, I watched the finale of Rockstar INXS. Unfortunately, MiG Ayesa lost. Oh well, it’s not about the finish, it’s about the distance. With that, I’m sure MiG will go far.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

A letter to the coaches

It's a few days after the marathon. Apologies for taking so long to post. I didn't realize how long it would take to process the whole journey. Also, as usual, I got major blisters on my feet. This time they were on the balls of my feet which made recovery a little different. Let's just say that these damn blisters were so big that the nurse in the medical tent (yes, I had to go straight to the medical tent after crossing the finish) had a blast announcing how big and disgusting my blisters were while I was sitting there in pain and defeat. Enough about the lack of professionalism in the medical tent.

I'm writing this entry for the coaches. It's a little winded, but I promise that there's a point to it all. So here it goes...…

In 2000 while I was watching the Olympics, I witnessed the US Men's Volleyball team's disappointing finish. I'm a volleyball fan and one of the standouts on that team was Mike Lambert, a Stanford alum whose career I've been following since he was a Cardinal (boo! hiss!). I remember Lambert's first game as a freshman and thought the Cardinals wasted a perfectly good scholarship on a tall, lanky Hawai`i island boy who couldn't hit the ball over the net to save his life. Here he was, playing in his second Olympic games. In 1996, the US Men's Volleyball team didn't do well either. In 2000, hopes were high and Lambert was supposed to lead the way for the team.

In their final game, they lost and didn't even make it to the medal rounds. In fact, I don't think they even won a single match. It was the most disappointing loss for the team since they medaled in 1984, 1988, and 1992. Meaning, their losing teams were also the teams that Lambert (and some others) were on. I've seen Lambert lose before, but this time around he looked completely defeated. It was like someone totally sucked the life out of him. I felt bad.

The next day I was surfing the net and ran into a letter that announcer Paul Sunderland wrote to Lambert. In the background was a picture of Lambert looking defeated and beat down. In the letter, Sunderland wrote about what it means to be a champion and what it means to win. If I recall correctly, Sunderland wrote that the true sign of a champion has nothing to do with what he wins. Rather, it has more to do with how he loses and the lessons learned when face to face with defeat. He went on to say that he has had the pleasure of watching Lambert's development on and off the court and that he has become a world-class athlete. Losing a series of games does not change the champion you really are.

Team Bullet X Marisigan: Tzel and me.

This story comes to mind because I saw that look of defeat again. Only it was in the face of Coach Rex. On Sunday, the runbutans completed a grueling course and were met at the finish line with no Starbucks Frappuccino, no time clock, no finish line banner, no complimentary massages. Instead, we were met with delays in the medical tent, grumpy workers and volunteers who wanted to go home and were upset we took so damn long to finish, and again, no Starbucks Frappuccino. I was too busy nursing my poor feet that I didn'’t really notice. All that mattered to me was that I finished, survived and completed with the 29 other people on the team.

The next day I went to get a massage with Ricky and Angie. Coach Rex was nice enough to drive us to and from the spa. From the get-go I could tell he was upset about the whole thing. He looked like the Lambert I remember sitting on the floor, head buried in his hands, totally defeated. Like Sunderland, I would like to extend a message to Coach Rex and the rest of the fantastic runbutan coaching team...…

As a member of the runbutan team, I can honestly say that I joined not knowing I would complete the thirty weeks of training. Crossing the finish line was in some ways uneventful. For me, it was uneventful because I couldn't take a picture of the finish line for my thank you cards. Other than that, not having all the frills waiting for me was no big deal. (With the exception of the Starbucks thing - I'm still not over that.) I think Coach Rex felt defeated because for the past thirty weeks, he led the coaches and the runners throughout this process. He was the grand daddy of it all. And like a father, to see any of your children uncared for or not receive any love at the finish has to hurt. Rex was hurting for all thirty of us even when we didn't realize there was any pain to be felt. Rex felt it even before we had a chance to absorb any of it.

Coach Rex videotaping during the victory party.

My message to the coaches is this: there are not enough thank yous in the world to pay you back for the time, dedication and love you all put in to the team. For most of us, this was our first marathon and your guidance throughout this process is what brought the runbutans to the finish. You helped me accomplish something that I never thought would be possible. You helped me test my body, mind and spirit beyond its limits and let me know that anything, including obtaining a Ph.D. is within reach. The night after the marathon, being surrounded by the team also reminded me that we didn't run for the sake of running. We ran because running symbolized different parts of our personal lives and the future of our people. To start together, run together and finish together was a sign of our dedication to ourselves, the people around us and the history that is behind and ahead of us. None of this would have happened without the coaching team. During the marathon, every coach's stop was inspiration to go further and further. Seeing you brought life back into our aching bodies and tired legs. It was your mana and your love that helped us cross the finish line - whatever that finish line was to each of us.

A time clock, a finish banner and even a Starbucks Frappuccino are not signs of a successful finish. No team in that race trained harder or showed the strength and tenacity that we did. For elite athletes, finishing a marathon in two to three hours is easy. Sticking it out with thirty other people through the thick of the Maui heat for over nine hours is something that even the world's best athletes could never do. But the runbutans did it with grace and heart. It is a rite that very few people could claim.

Although I'm sure watching the runbutans take a beating was no easy task, just know that pain is temporary. IT bands will bounce back, blisters will heal, and bodies will be re-hydrated. Coaches, there is no need to bear the burden of the team'’s pains because the victory that you led each and every one of us is so much greater. Salamat and Mahalo for the journey and the many roads that lie ahead.

The 2005 Runbutans.

P.S. In the end, Lambert ended up playing beach volleyball with the legendary Karch Kiraly. Sometimes defeat leads us to legends.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

in the dark of night

I've been obsessed with the show Rockstar: INXS these past few weeks and this Tuesday they finally announce their winner. I'm keeping fingers crossed for Mig Ayesa:) Hence, this should explain the title of this blog. It's a line from their song "By My Side." During tomorrow's run, I'm going to secretly dedicate my run to Mig in hopes that he wins. Filipinos really need their rocker and hopefully by this time next week he'll be the one.

Also, I'm writing you from Maui. In the dark of night. Hours away from the marathon and the start line. We're lounging in the dark of night by the pool to eat our last meal (semi) together. I can't believe we're here and that we've come so far. By this time tomorrow I'll be done with my ice bath and lounging in the room, eating something meaty and beefy, recovering, and looking forward to my 85 minute over-priced massage.

At this point, I can only picture the start and the finish. I'm not sure what's going to happen in the middle. All I know is I came all this way to run and complete this race. Fingers crossed and prayers made, I hope to cross that finish. (Besides, I really want that finishers t-shirt and all the cool complimentary stuff you get like... small samples of Xango mangosteen drink!) I've done all I can do and just hope that lady fate is kind and carries me to the finish. Since we arrived on Thursday, I've been averaging about 4-6 liters of water to keep me hydrated. In the bay area I was averaging about 4 liters. I think I'm good on hydration.

The dark of night in Maui is beautiful. It's midnight black. The sky is clear. The moon is full. Luckily, the heavens have been listening because the weather is not as hot as I was anticipating. There's 40% chance of rain which means that if that does happen, I won't conk out so quickly.

The team is in high spirits and although they're all here, a part of them is missing them. But that's just me. Thinking ahead. The usual pessimist.

But I'm off. To eat my burger and pack my things. I'm off to run this race. Fingers crossed. Prayers made.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

totally freaking out!

The coaches warned us about the butterflies kicking in before marathon day. However, I didn't think they would come so soon.

I leave for Maui in about ten hours and am doing minor last minute touches on the packing. As far as I can tell, it's going well. However, I've suddenly become nervous about this whole thing. My best friend told me to just relax. I'm trying.

I have been trying to take it easy during this taper period. The blisters have all healed and I visited the nice people at Foot Solutions in Fremont. It looks like the blistering is from my orthotic. They're old and don't fit my feet anymore. They're actually forcing my arches to go a little too high and that's what's causing the blistering. They gave me a replacement set which I think fits a lot better. When I'm ready and can afford it, I'm going to have to get custom ones made because my feet are really bad. I'm hoping the rest I've been taking pays off on Sunday.

I'm freaking out and off to pack!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

the rules of dating (over Mexican food)

Yesterday I went to the run, but didn't run. Instead, I took a nice walk with Cici and Celisse while the team ran. Afterwards, we went to La Pinata in Alameda for lunch.

Getting to know the team has been a little difficult because the team is so big. With over 30 runners and coaches, it's hard to keep up with and get to know everyone. So this lunch with about nine people was nice. Over piping hot Mexican food, we got into the age-old discussion of dating. If I'm not mistaken, everyone at the table was currently single, so having a group of 20-30 somethings bitching about dating is always a fun thing. I was glad that my failed dating life was the norm as opposed to the exception. (As great as the conversation was, I still didn't get my question answered: Why are men such complicated creatures?!)

As we were all sharing and getting to know each other, a part of me became sad. The marathon is about two weeks away. The team has been training together for six months now and after the marathon, it will all be over. No more training Saturdays, no more bitching about injuries, not more post-run pigging out. I'm finding that the last few weeks of training are crucial, not just because of the marathon preparation and the injuries we have to nurse, but because we have to treasure each other's company. This is why I'm totally bummed about missing the last run next week (I have to work in order to pay for the trip).

In my pace group, there's just me and Tzel. After the marathon, she's moving to the Philippines for a year. Running with her has been so much fun because considering the amount of hours we spend on the long runs, we always manage to keep conversation going. Tzel amazes me because she's had to battle so much at such a young age. Despite that, she manages to keep her spirits high and is unwilling to compromise who she is in order to accomplish what she wants. Very few people are this gutsy. I'm going to miss the inspiration. I'm also going to miss the silly, girlie conversations with Coach Angie, Coach Cici and Tina. Of course, there's Rickey's sarcastic’ comments, Mark's chanting in his bright red tights, Coach Herb's Pinoy-esque jokes and funny dancing... these are just a few things that come to mind when I think about the group. I don't have to worry about missing Coach Alex and Coach Rex because I always see them and know where to find them.

Although I am frantically preparing for the marathon, I know the more important thing, and the thing that will count in the long run, is remembering these moments with everyone. I'll forget the mileage, the routes we took, the injuries I had to nurse. But the things I will remember are the conversations we had, the silly comments that were made, and all the funny dancing.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

special thanks!

Hello all!

I just wanted to say hello and send out a special thanks to all of you who have supported me throughout this journey. As of today, with your generous donations, I have reached my goal of raising $3000 for the Manilatown Heritage Foundation (insert a standing ovation here and take a bow). In the beginning, I wasn't sure I could reach it, but you all have been so gracious about donating to this wonderful cause.

As our training is winding down, the team's fundraising seems to be at full speed. Although I have reached my goal, please don't let that stop you from sending in your donation (especially if you haven't turned one in yet). The team's goal is to raise $50,000 and right now we're at a little under $30,000. The grand opening of the I-Hotel last Friday truly inspired me and I hope that it inspires more people to donate to this great cause - whether it be time, money, or prayers, every bit helps.

Again, maraming salamat and I'm looking forward to running the Maui marathon with you in spirit!

runbutan survey

Runbu Nickname: Joy, Jo, Jo-jo, "My GSI"
Age: Older than most on the team (29 and still going).
Pace Group: Bullet X Marisigan
Hometown: Dededo, Guam
School: James Logan H.S., UC Santa Barbara, UC Berkeley
Occupation: Graduate Student, Freelance make-up artist/skincare specialist
Favorite Running Location: Crissy Field, the Pier, wherever it's flat.
Favorite Sports Drink: Water with Nuun electrolyte tablets. Endurox Recovery drink.
Favorite Sports Bar/Gel: Can't have them. But I do like soy pretzels and gummies for snacks on the runs.
Running Shoe: Motion Control. Saucony Grid Stabil (but I'm in the market for a new brand).
Running Store Where Bought: Transport in Berkeley.

Why Do You Runbutan? For the health and survival of our community. For the preservation of our history. To encourage future runbu-runners.

Note To Your Supporters/Donors. Thank you for your generosity and support for such a great cause. We wouldn't have made it to the finish without you.

To Whom Do You Dedicate Your Running? To my father who had arthritis and couldn't walk without crutches. To my brother who is recovering from knee surgery. To the people whose memory we run in. To future generations whose world I hope is so much better than ours.

Other Hobbies: Health wise? I spin and weight train at the gym. I also practice a self defense art called krav maga. For leisure, I read, write, and love photography. I'm big on the arts stuff such as good concerts and theater (even though
my budget doesn't allow for much of this). I also make jewelry (if time permits) and other various crafts.

Favorite after-run spot: The nearest burger joint or Hawaiian BBQ place with good company, of course. If it's a LONG run, my bathtub filled with ice.

Running Testimonials: I joined the group because I hated to run and had never run more than three miles at a time. In truth, I still hate running. However, I do it to maintain my health. Filipinos and other people of color are plagued by various chronic diseases such as diabetes and I'm no exception (I have type 2 diabetes). I feel that keeping healthy is the most important thing we can do for our communities. We have to live and survive in order to lead the revolution, right? Besides, I'd like to be around to watch our communities continue to rise.