Sunday, December 30, 2012

NOT Your Health

Nobody can take your health away from you,
but don't take it for granted either.
Unlike property, nobody can take your health away from you. You don’t owe anybody your body. But you can’t sell or get rid of it either. You own it, imperfections and all.

That being said, you really need to take care of your body’s health. It’s a very important aspect of your life, to say the least. A lot of your daily activities actually revolve around your body’s health. 

Unfortunately, our health is often taken for granted. I was talking to a friend one day who said that he is very busy all day long. He works 8 to 5, then takes the kids to soccer practice, and gets dinner ready when they arrive home. Before he knows it, he’s so wiped out. Sure he knows the importance of health, but who’s got the time to exercise?

Well, remember this – somebody right now who is busier than my friend shall find the time to exercise during the day.

The people who find time to exercise have ranked exercise high on their priority list along with going to work, taking care of the kids, and doing chores at home. The idea is that whatever activity keeps you really occupied, exercise needs to be seen in the same light.

In the New Year 2013, they say that a return in the normal housing market is unlikely. However, it could be better when it comes to your personal home front. This new year, make it happen – put one bright spot in your life this year which you could act actually take charge of…

Here’s what PrayingRunner wants you to do for 2013 –

Put your health higher in the totem pole of your time.  At least, don’t give it as an excuse that you don’t have time to exercise because you’re busy. Your body is yours for your lifetime. Though nobody can foreclose it on you, you do have obligations to take care of it.

Here’s what PrayingRunner can do for you in 2013 –

I shall continue to pray for your special intentions, inspire you, encourage you, give you tips, run for you, and if ever possible, train or run with you.

Have a Blessed New Year 2013 and God speed!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Muddling Through

A verse in the Christmas song, "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," struck a chord in me...
Through the years we all will be together, If the fates allow; Until then we'll have to muddle through somehow; And have yourself a Merry Little Christmas now.
Muddling through was what I pretty much did in the marathon I ran December 2nd this year in Sacramento, CA. It was by far the stormiest running in the 30 years of the race, the California International Marathon (CIM). Gusty winds blowing in every direction and inches of rain pouring down on the course. Broken branches strewn on the soaking pavement of running water and silt. As puddled and mired the course became, I and a whole lot of runners muddled through the race somehow.

T'was just like how I managed this Christmas and the year 2012 that was - a full year without my wife. Although the storms in my life were not as epic as the CIM's storm, some of them were turbulent enough to blow my emotional state to pieces. I just miss her terribly as I learn to live my life without her. And that is all there is to it. Until that day we are reunited in God's eternal place for us, keeping her memory alive in my runs, praying for other people's intentions, and living each moment with love like she did, I will get through for sure!

So next year, my prayer runs will go on and hopefully, more of my "reflections on the road" posted a lot more often. You can help me by "liking" my PrayingRunner Facebook Page, and sharing it on yours.

Thank you and God speed!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Passing A Milestone and Moving On

Every marathon, I run with a pink rose in my
hand in memory of my wife, Jinky
What do you do when half of who you are is gone,
You move on.
You move on with all that’s left of you.
You look up, you look ahead down the road
You see the parade has passed and the crowd is leaving,
You just keep moving  on.
On this Thanksgiving Day 2012, more than a year after Jinky’s passing
I bring her CaringBridge website to a close.
A book is in the works through CaringBridge
So I can keep all memories and your thoughts and prayers.
I want to thank you for being a part of her journey.
Jinky has moved on
And Tim and I are still passing through.
So we keep moving on with faith in our God of hope
Who sees nothing but the whole of me.
Thank you and God bless.
May you have a Happy Day of Giving Thanks!

God speed!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Running, Grieving, and Meaning

It’s been a year and a half since my wife passed away after a long battle with breast cancer, but I’m only recently beginning to realize the fullness of what I’ve lost. Whoever said that the stages of grief come in an orderly progression was wrong. Grieving is not a neat and systematic process at all. It’s totally haphazard. It was much like my training for the Half Moon Bay International Marathon.

Some days were good. Some days were not.  To run was a struggle, but I tried hard to put a run in as often as I could. My skimpy training reflected my own attempt to create a picture of me doing something to move on with my life with my loss.

With a rose in hand, approaching the
finish line at the Half Moon Bay
International Marathon on
Sept. 23, 2012 in California.
I came to the race very guarded; but all that changed right before the start of the race. I was greeted by two runners, Michelle and Stacie with her family, who thanked me for what I do. Then, a few good friends, husband and wife Alvin and Michelle, Myrel, and Ja, who showed up as a surprise, to show their support. During the race, I ran into Chris, who is running to raise awareness for the Prader-Willi Syndrome and in honor of their daughter Grace, and who has been following my journey since he and his wife met me last year at the inaugural race. And also, Alva, who broke to me the sad news of Pete Mingwah’s death only a week ago. Pete, the ultimate and inspirational couch to ultramarathon runner, is like a brother to Alva. Then as the race went on, a few more runners who remembered me from last year and who recognized me as the runner with the rose gave me a shout out on the course. I met a few more runners – Patrick, Rachel, mother and son team Joanna and Paul, and Cynthia, who is race director of a trail and adventure race company, Desert Sky Adventures.  I also like to mention the volunteers and organizers who joyously and eagerly cheered me on throughout the race. The entire race turned out to be a blessing of an experience for me. Instead of feeling my loss, I realized what I had gained.

My run was for my wife. It was also for all the people I prayed for and those who asked for it on their behalf. As much as I remembered my loss during the run, I also recognized the caring, giving, and the affirmation I received from the other runners, volunteers, and organizers I met in the race.

Grieving, like running is not easy.  Grieving is not fun, unlike running.  But grieving and running, in the right direction, can be both nurturing.  There is joy and enlightenment that eventually grow out of them. It doesn't matter if the training was a mess, or if the grieving was disorderly. What matters is that you are at the starting line (again) to face an opportunity to grow, to change, and to be a better person than you were before.

Some excerpts taken from Widower: When Men Are Left Alone by Scott Campbell and Phyllis R. Silverman

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Re-Post. Praying for Families

At Mile 20 of the Annual California International Marathon in Sacramento, CA is an infamous water station decorated with an arch that looks like a solid brick wall. It’s scrupulously tormenting especially when you actually hit the wall when you get this far running.

That’s what happened to me in a marathon seven years ago. At Mile 20, I started to fatigue. I could feel spotty tingling cramping sensations on my calf muscles. My legs were starting to feel heavy instead of the fleet footed strides I did the last 20 miles. I started to worry for I knew I was bonking.

But I had to dig deep. When the body starts to fail, the mind takes over. I remembered what my wife gave to me at the starting line.  She gave me two folded pieces of note inside a Ziploc Bag.  She tucked it inside my fuel belt and told me to read it somewhere around Mile 20.

A note from my son to me
during the San Francisco
Marathon in 2005.
A note from my late wife
to me during the San Francisco
Marathon in 2005.
The first note was from my son. “Dad, you have 6.1 more miles. You can do it! I love you.” The second note was from my wife.  “Dear Love, I wish someday I’ll be able to run 10k easily, then ½ marathon, and then marathon. Thanks for inspiring me. Good job, Dad! Keep running! – Loves.”  Tears started rolling down my cheeks.  I looked up ahead of me and I started running one step after another.  I will finish this marathon with all that I have left for I can't wait a minute longer to see my family.

As you know, my wife was never able to run a 10k easily, nor a half, nor a full marathon with me. She did run a 10k in 2006 but it turned out to be a very difficult one for her. One month after that 10k, her cancer came back and metastasized. My son was 8 years old when he wrote me that note; he is 15 years old now. He is “retired” from running for now and is doing other sports. Even when my wife is not with us anymore, she and my son are still my inspiration to keep me going. Especially when I “hit the wall” in my life’s journey.

On September 23rd, I will be running the Half Moon Bay International Marathon in Half Moon Bay, CA. in prayer for your special intentions, especially for families who have lost a loved one or ones.  Send me your prayer requests by posting it here or on my Facebook Page,  or by sending me an email at

Back page of the same note
written on the hotel pad.
From my wife during the San Jose
Marathon in 2006
Sharing with you another note I found recently that my late wife wrote to me during the San Jose Marathon in 2006. That weekend, she made every effort to go with me and stay with me at the hotel the eve of the marathon, even though she was in pain from her cancer treatments.

She wrote: Dear Love, I'm praying the rosary for you now and I will again tomorrow. I feel thankful for you offering this run to me. I feel very blessed having you do all the sacrifices to take care of me. Thank you so much for still seeing me as the home of your heart even if I don't look attractive and that I can't do most what I could do in the past. But I know I'll get better. I can still be "normal". I'm looking forward to that. I'm glad Tim and I are here with you. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH & SO MUCH. Loves, Jinky.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

What Does It Take To See A Sign?

It was a 5k/10k trail run. The race director reminded the runners to watch out for the sign to indicate the split. I was running the 10k as a recovery run. I just ran a full marathon the week before; so I will just take it easy and not worry about my time.

Indeed I didn’t care about my pace; but I also didn’t pay attention to the sign. At some point in the race, I didn’t see anybody in front of me or behind me. But up ahead I saw what seemed to be a couple of volunteers and they were cheering me on.  “Great job!” “You can do it!” And a volunteer with a stopwatch said to me, “Your time - 21 minutes. 2 miles to go!” Then I went to a screeching halt! What? “Yes, sir! You are the first to reach Mile 4.” No way! I'm running a 5 minute per mile pace? Of course I could not!

And then I realized – I missed the sign. I took a wrong turn and got ahead of the leader by 2 miles.

What does it take to see a sign? Two things.

First, you have to be looking and paying attention.  Then you have to recognize what it means.

Last week, a good friend of mine lost his wife, Chris after a sudden illness.  This week, another family friend lost her husband, Dennis. Dennis was diagnosed of lymphoma last year. When I saw Dennis’s wife at Chris’ funeral, I told myself that I would visit Dennis. But I didn’t follow through. When I learned of his death, I felt bad for putting off visiting him. Looking back, I think Chris’s death was already a sign, but I ignored the meaning.

As a praying runner, I dedicate my runs to those who need prayers, especially to those who are sick. In addition to prayers, I also make an effort to either call them or visit them with the hope of giving them some comfort. Not only I do try to recognize signs, but I also try to be a sign of God’s loving presence.

I feel sorry for not being able to visit Dennis. But I’m taking this event as another sign.  I offered my last run to Dennis in prayer and promised myself to try even harder to be a sign of God’s love and mercy to people I pray for, especially to the sick.

If you have any prayer requests, please email me at, post it here, or in my Facebook page, I am running a marathon in Half Moon Bay, CA on September 23 and I shall offer it in prayer for all your special intentions, especially for those who are sick.

(Reflection points taken from a homily by Fr. Michael Todd, O.P.)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Praying Our Goodbyes

At the airport recently, I saw a young couple perhaps in their mid-twenties, standing just behind the security tape, in a tight embrace. They were both in tears, looking at each other occasionally then kissing; then back in the embrace where their arms were locked around the other. I couldn’t tell which one was leaving but I could tell you none of them wants to let go from that embrace.

The scene reminded me of another couple I saw at the starting line of the San Francisco Marathon. When it was announced one minute to start, the couple smacked on the lips, a quick hug (almost like a chest bump), then the young man walked away and disappeared in the pack.

Two scenes of goodbye said differently. Most of us have been in both kinds of goodbyes. Some goodbyes are easier to say because we know pretty soon we will be reunited with our loved ones. Just like the couple in the race. Some goodbyes are harder perhaps because of the unknown. Just like the couple at the airport.

 But whatever the case may be, goodbyes remind us about a fact of life. At some point in our lives, we would all experience a separation, a loss, a disruption in our “normal” lives. Painful as some of our experience may be, they give us an opportunity to grow, to be renewed, to move forward. And in all ways, goodbyes remind us about God’s presence in our lives. That as we learn to let go, we also learn to let God.

A few days ago, I prayed my goodbye to my nephew at the airport. I prayed for his success in the kind of life he desired. Also last week, I prayed my goodbye to my old workplace. I moved to a new school with a completely different level of students to teach. Today I prayed my goodbye to a dear friend who was laid to rest this morning.

Every time I run, I pray for more faith; and I pray in thanksgiving for all that I have received. I wouldn’t be able to pray my goodbyes if I hadn’t learned how to love more and live life fuller from all the goodbyes I’ve said before.

God speed!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Make Room

When running, especially during a race, I usually take the outer lane to make room for faster runners. I learned this first hand in one of my first fun run many years ago. I collided with a passing runner.  A few runners are courteous enough to alert you about their presence when approaching from behind. But sometimes, they seem to come from nowhere.

A trail runner friend of mine, Christopher was recently struck from behind by a speeding cyclist on a trail. The cyclist claimed that she called out. And my friend said that he actually looked over his shoulder before he crossed the path. He suffered some serious facial and back injuries due to the crash. After learning this, I now make room for both announced and unannounced passing runners and cyclists.

This is also a good practice to take on, not only in running but also in life – to make room for perils on the road. Life’s path is not always safe and predictable. And some hazards are obstructed from your view. Two years ago, when my wife was in and out of the hospital, we lost our house. But wait, there’s more! My computer with all my important documents crashed.

It reminds me about the Story of Job who endured one suffering after another. He became distraught and angry. But Job carried on because he made room. Through a life of prayer, he made room for God. He believed that in spite of the series of setbacks, God still cared about him.

My friend, Christopher also has faith like Job’s. When he was younger, as an Air Force officer, he saw action where he got lost in the vast jungles of Central America. He thought he was going to die but he navigated his way 80 miles in hostile area back to base in 5 days. Before his running accident, he just lost his Mom. He is currently recovering from his injuries and is determined to go back to running again. Christopher’s faith sustains him and his life of prayer allows him to make room to face adversities.

The past few weeks, I was requested to pray for two people who were admitted to the hospital for treatments only to pass away due to complications in the process. Kate was 26 years old and Tina turned 49 the day she died. Also, yesterday, I was on my way to visit Chris L. in a physical rehabilitation facility when I learned that she was back in the ICU again.

Make room. Be prepared at all times for God’s movement. He might just be running right next to you to keep you in pace. Then perhaps to pass you and lead the way. Make room for God.

God speed!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

29 Runners and More

I was the only one still up past the midnight hour. I just came out of the shower after another day of vigil at home. I checked on my wife and saw she was still breathing. She was heavily sedated for the last nine days; it was just a matter of time. A nurse friend had told me that her body was failing rapidly but her will to live was very strong. I bent over and whispered “I love you,” to her.  

After half an hour, I went back to our room to check on her. She had stopped breathing. I just stood there looking at her peaceful state. Trying futilely to be strong, I let tears roll down my cheeks. Then one by one I woke family members up. They all gathered around her crying while I stepped out of the room to be alone.

This scene played in my mind as I was running on the highest peak by the edge of the cliff on the 10th mile of the San Francisco Marathon. I ran in solitude and deep in my own thoughts, looking far away at the overcast view of the beautiful Baker Beach. I was also on the outmost side of the road far apart from other runners who were wisely taking the inner lanes as the road bends.  I knew I was separated from the crowd of runners but I got the solace I needed. But not for long.

A pink rose in my hand, my bib,
and my running shirt during the marathon.
One runner came from behind me and tapped me on the shoulder and said, “God bless you, bro.” I gave him a smile and a high five in the air; “Thanks, man!” I said to him. Before I could get back to my solitary reflection, another runner came up to me again and said, “You’re inspirational. Good job.” Down the road, yet another one. “I love the message on your shirt. Keep it up!”  And there was more to come. I actually started counting the numbers and at least there were 29 runners, including spectators, who gave me some words of affirmation. These were people I never met. But I felt we all had one thing in common – we found ourselves in running.

I actually came to the race for some solitary refuge as I continue to grieve over my wife’s death. Running seemed to complement being lonesome. But I was wrong. Running can connect me with other people even with those who I would never meet. Running also allows me to reach out to others like how the 29 runners and spectators did to me. Sometimes, like John “The Penguin” Bingham said, it isn’t the pace or mileage, but the people who become the most important part in running. 
Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge with
a community of runners

Yesterday I was looking online at my array of official running photos from the race. I usually pick the one with my solo shot; otherwise, I just crop other runners out. But this time, I chose the one with the most runners around me and left the picture as is. I’d be lucky to meet anyone of them but I know in my heart that they’ve been part of my journey.

And so have you, my dear readers. Thank you for being a part of my life – running with me, praying with me, or just even following my blog. Oh yeah, thank you too, to a fellow runner K., who I met in the bus to the Expo, who knew about me through my blog. Thank you for all your support and encouragement.

God speed!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Mindful Running

Did you know that Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan was variably inspired by the last words of convicted killer Gary Gilmore before he was executed by a firing squad in 1977?

It’s a piece of trivia to ignore considering how these three words now move people to action.  I haven’t learned of any catchphrase more compelling than this to propel anybody from 0 to 60 mph. You know what I mean. You want to run but are feeling lazy to get up from bed in the morning, but you just do it! You’re close to the finish line and your legs are burning in pain, but you just do it! You just don’t give yourself a darn second to analyze the situation, you just do it!

It’s a blitzkrieg of the mind that really works when you just want the run done and over with. You think  just do it! But how about a more subtle approach? Instead of a mental short circuit to do a run, how about planning out a more purposeful run? Try this. Before you run, condition your mind to receive some small pleasures along the way. During the run, be attentive and purposefully find something good, even how small, on your running path. Then, after the run, as you cool down, be thankful as you are satisfied, for getting a run in for the day.

Some people call it Mindful Running. It’s an alternative to just do it running. There are a handful of inspirational slogans that suit mindful running. Running is a journey not a destination.  There’s more to life than increasing its speed.  Stop and smell the roses. At least you can say these slogans without thinking of a firing squad.

Last weekend, I had to do a long run. My instinct as an athlete told me to just do it! But instead, I deliberately prepared to be mindful as I run. I planned my long run around other things which are just as worthwhile as covering the mileage I needed to do. Throughout the run, I would smile at every runner and passerby I meet and utter a blessing prayer. (I counted 9 people.) At every turn, I would sing a favorite song aloud as if I was singing in the shower. (Not too many turns this route. Whew!) And I also planned on remembering a number of people who requested prayers. I wrote down their names on my booklet which I tucked in my fuel belt. There were 11 of them to ponder over their prayer intentions and ask for God’s mercy and blessing on their behalf. (A mile for each of them and added one of my own in my list to pray for.)

So if you ask me how my long run was, here’s what I would say. It was awesome! I smiled at 9 strangers, I sang 6 favorite songs, and I prayed for 12 people in my list.

And speaking of prayer list, I am offering my marathon in San Francisco on July 29th for your prayer intentions. You can email me at or post it on my Facebook page or here in my blog. There is nothing more that inspires me to keep going than to remember and pray for other people.

Please pray for me, too, and God speed!

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Do you remember Jim Fixx, the consummate runner who preached about the value of exercise in the 1970's? He wrote a gospel of a running book called "The Complete Book of Running" which popularized running to the masses. Well, he died of a heart attack at the age of 52 while doing his routine run. His death created an irony of sorts which was picked up easily by the pessimist of people: If I'm going to die anyway sometime, why bother to exercise or run?

The Jim Fixx argument, as it was called, lingered in my head for the past few weeks. But thanks to a friend of  mine who helped me bust the creeping defeatist attitude in me. He knew I was struggling to get back to running. So, a few days ago he agreed to run with me. I like his company, even when not running, because he's a bundle of energy and jolliness. Nothing seems to disparage him, even my litany of negativity. He saw beyond my rambling. He encouraged me that I could gradually start over and reminded me about achieving my running goals. It was reassuring to come from somebody who has supported me so many times - when I moved houses three times, when I needed to start a garden at my school where I teach, when my wife was on treatments until the day she died. What struck me most about my friend as we talked was his indomitably positive attitude.

Then there it dawned on me was a counter reasoning to the Jim Fixx argument. Look at the bright side of life.  Be in the moment. Stay optimistic. For all you know, it was because of his exercise and running that Jim Fixx lived a full life until the age of 52.

Praying Runner to run/walk his 27th marathon
in San Francisco, CA on July 29th
Since that day I ran with my friend, I've logged in 32 miles of running. Also, I've been tracking my diet, something which went wayward the last two months, and am trying to be in "performance" shape in time for my 27th marathon in San Francisco in two weeks. My "performance" here will be nowhere close to a personal best, but so what? There comes a time.

I will run San Francisco with an optimistic heart. Set aside the mental strategy. Because in reality, I really have little control over outcomes of events. But I know can always find something good in everything.

To my readers, I still offer this run in prayer for your special intentions. If you have any prayer requests, you can post it here or email me at You can also post it at my Facebook page Feel free to "like" the page or share my page to help me reach more people in need of prayers. And most of all, please pray for me, too. God speed!

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Place of Trust

Many years ago when I first started running, a friend of mine who's an avid cross country and trail runner invited me to run the trails with him. He took me to the outskirts of a regional park just outside of the city where we live. The terrain was undulating and the paths rugged with branching twists and turns. I was trailing my friend closely for the past five miles or so when I started to get winded. I urged him to keep going as I stopped to walk and catch my breath. I turned my back to scan the area behind me to see if anybody else is around. Seeing nobody, I looked forward on the trail to find my friend but he was nowhere in sight. Breathless and unaccustomed to trail running in an unfamiliar area, I suddenly felt deserted.

Panicky and confused, the strait-laced runner in me reacted. I knew it - I shouldn't trust trail runners! I swore I would never give up my reliable routes - the paved roads that I can run on any day with my eyes closed. Before long, my friend appeared up from a distance and summoning me with his arms to come up the hill. I raised my hand in agreement but I actually wanted to wring his neck. I fussily jogged up the rocky and steep hill; but when I reached the top I was instantly transformed. There was a spectacular view of the landscape around us. My friend and I stayed there for awhile to enjoy the view to our heart's content.

It took the beauty of creation to wipe out my weariness after a difficult run. Somehow, beyond the ruggedness of the terrain; past the troughs and crests, was a wondrous sight and a place to rest. It also became a place to restore trust in my friend. He became my running buddy for a many years to come.

Right now, I see myself in a similar situation - running an unfamiliar and disorienting and perhaps lonely trail. Perhaps, we all every now and then are faced with a similar path. But let us not be discouraged because the path eventually leads to a place of trust. It's a place where I believe we are all called to go. To trust.

Where can I run from Your love?
If I climb to the heavens You are there,
If I fly to the sunrise or sail beyond the sea,
Still I find You there.
(From Psalm 139)


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Overcoming Inertia

When Isaac Newton wrote about the Laws of Motion, he was thinking of forces that move our physical world. One law of motion he talked about was the principle of inertia. It's the tendency of an object to stay at rest or in motion unless an external force acts upon it. The use of a seat belt in a moving vehicle is a practical application of the principle of inertia.

Inertia also has another meaning in the human world. Sad to say, I'm currently a good example of being in an inert condition. I've been inactive from running for the past two months. I sit on the couch watching TV for hours, go to bed late, and eat late night snacks. They aren't really the hardest things in the world to do; but, who'd want to do something else?

There lies the problem with inertia. It's a disposition to stay unchanged.

Overcoming inertia in people's ways is not that simple. During this time when I was attached to the couch, I came to realize there is no amount of external force to overcome human inertia. The force has to come from within.

It's called willpower. It's that inner strength to take action in the face of difficulties and resist the temptation to take the easy way out. A strong willpower is deeply anchored in our faith in God. And we strengthen our willpower by striving to live a life of prayer. Praying daily, I am mustering my willpower to move me out of the couch and hit the road again.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Courage to Keep Going

Are you kidding me? I gained weight. I feel slow and out of shape. And worse, I feel alone.

Gaining 15 lbs is no joke; but it's a piece of cake, quite literally. I put it on easily over a period of 2 months. I ran again recently and it felt like carrying two Dell 15-inch laptops in a backpack. I could feel the extra weight pounding along with me.

I also dropped 15% in my age graded running score. Age graded score lets you compare your race times to the standard for your race age and gender. A 15% drop is like getting a grade from a B to a C+. Timewise, my 5k slowed down by 7 minutes.

It's bad enough to realize these figures about me; let alone missing my wife. I continue to contend with my grief over her passing. It's been 15 months; though it's getting better, the intensity still fluctuates. The hardest part is dealing with the aloneness.

I've always shared my running life with my wife. Even when she got too sick to run with me, I kept going because she was still around to appreciate my running highs as well as my lows. Now that she's gone, to the extent that it was true for me, I feel I have no one to share my running experience with any longer.

In a sense, I am grieving over my wife's loss and my decline in running.

But somehow I know that I can overcome my trials. Writing this post after 4 weeks of absence is a first step; and running for a few miles the past few days has been a promising start. I want to thank those of you who have emailed me or posted their support here and on Facebook. Your words of encouragement have been profoundly helpful.

Through all this events, however, my praying has continued. I still receive your prayer intentions and keep them in my heart. I prayed harder for myself, too, especially for an increase in faith and the courage to keep going.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Strength for the Journey

Remembering and honoring my wife on her birthday today...Praying for strength to sustain my ministry in spite of difficulties to get back on my feet and running.

For now, allow me to grieve and reminisce...and heal.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Remembering the Reason

Remembering the reason for Praying Runner...on Mother's Day. Her birthday is also coming up in a few days.

It's been tough lately, missing my wife terribly and longing for her.  It's been a little over a year since she passed away. Sometimes, I have good days, but it's hasn't gotten any easier. But I trust in God's time, I will understand  better.

Here's sharing with you a tribute to her on Mother's Day, and requesting my readers to remember her in your  next prayer run. Please include me as well. Thank you and God speed.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Healing A Running Injury

You've heard about different running injuries or probably even sidelined by one. Sciatica. Plantar fasciitis. Foot tendinitis. Shin splints. Iliotibial Band Syndrome or ITBS. And more. Physical injuries affecting back, feet, legs, and knees. But have you heard about an ailment affecting the mental part of your running?

Yup, there's one. It's called ISBR Syndrome or I Should Be Running-ititis. It's also known by its other name INTGBTR or I Need To Get Back To Running.

Here's a Quickguide to ISBR Syndrome:
Symptom:  Zero mileage ranging from a few weeks to a few months
How it occured:  An unusual event in your life
Likely Treatment: Mix it up, Talk it out, Find your re-start button

Okay. So I may be the first one to be diagnosed of this running injury but many runners have been afflicted at some point or currently suffering from it like me. It is potentially a running life ending injury but it doesn't have to be.

The past 15 days I'm suffering from the ISBR Syndrome. Something I can do for myself, I can't do. Something rewarding I look forward to, I don't bother. Something I like to talk about, I am speechless. All I can say to myself and to my runner friends, "I should be running."

If you find yourself in a similar mental anguish, then you also have the ISBR Syndrome. Symptoms vary from a few weeks, to a few months, sometimes even a year or two. It could also be a recurring injury. Like me, I've seen my running life go up and down like a roller coaster.

To me, the most effective treatment is finding your re-start button. You push the button and it stops the endless loop of rationalizing that you ought to be running. It restores you to your intialized state of running which could very well be a run/walk for a mile.  When you push that restart button, it clears any data of your most superb performance and  you basically tell yourself to simply get out there, enjoy, and be thankful for your health.

However, like most gadgets, our personal restart button is hard to find. It's hard to find because as runners, we are supposed to be mentally tough. We are expected to run in the most challenging conditions. But there are events that could happen to us that are larger than life. They affect not only our running but other aspects of our lives as well.

The good news is that we do have a restart button. It's there. Be kind to yourself. Have courage. Pray. Sometimes, we lose sight of what really matters the most...that God loves us for who we are; and not for what we can do.

So I've not been running for awhile, but I've kept all your intentions in my praying. Thank you, too, for your prayers for me as I continue to heal and recover from ISBR.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Rediscovering Running

Sometimes I wish that I was a Praying Scrapbooker or a Praying Stamp Collector, instead of a Praying Runner. Running is more physically demanding compared to activities like scrapbooking and stamp collecting. It can become daunting  that sometimes I struggle to complete a run and that I don't find it enjoyable anymore. Lately, I was disappointed at myself so much so that I took some time off to rediscover why I run.

I run because I enjoy the feeling of achievement every time I finish a run. I set a goal, work hard, and review my progress. I like to line up my races for the year, record my running mileage, and count my medals.

However, many times, my running life is not that all successful. Recently, I looked at my running log for the past few months and saw that I had long periods of zero running followed by a resurgence of continuous running. For example, 0 miles for 10 days then 360 miles for the next 55 days, then 0 miles for the next 5 days. 

The times I don't run are the times I realize how difficult running can be....and also how difficult life can be. Recently, I told a friend of mine how the grief over the death of my wife doesn't really go away. And just when I actually need to run and pray, I couldn't do it. My friend told me, "For now, just enjoy the love of God for you."

God's love for me! That is it! Why I run is because I experience God's love for me. When the wind is at my back, when I reach the top of the hill, when I run down a hill, that's God's love for me. When I get a second wind, when I swig a drink, when the crowd cheers me on, that's God's love for me. When the homestretch is flat, when I meet a new friend on the course, when I reach the finish line, when I feel the joy of achieving my running goals, that is God's love for me.

Even when life becomes tough and hard to run, and when runs become difficult to do, God's love is there to carry you through. The reason why I get over the slumps in my runs as well as in my life is because God actually picks me up and gets me going again. Yes, running is not easy but I'm willing to do it; so it is with life. So I keep going for I know that God's love will see me through.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


I always complained about running in pain when I start out. Today was one of those painful starts. I told my son about it when I got home and he offered me a quick solution.

“You should loosen up, Dad.”

I should listen to him because he knows what he’s talking about. He’s played all kinds of sports all his life. He also performs with a dance troupe on the side. I think he knows the importance of being flexible by heart.

Unfortunately, I am notorious for my stiffness. I can’t extend my limbs or cross my legs or reach my toes without grimacing. My lack of range of motion shows when I run. My son teases me that I run like a wobbling robot.

Pretty much, my son diagnosed correctly why I run in pain. I force my tight and knotted muscles to flex and extend abruptly when I run. My muscles are still stiff and not ready for strenuous activity. If at rest, I already lack flexibility, then it becomes worse when I try to start moving.

So today I’m embarking on working on my flexibility. I’m actually starting by being more open to change my point of view – that runners rather spend time training than stretching. Hence, starting today I would incorporate a few flexibility exercises into my training.

My pains today remind me of my own rigidity with regard to some of my old ways. I stick to old habits or worn-out notions that may limit my growth opportunities. It’s time to re-think and renew.  Easter time reminds us to be renewed…in a way, to be open to God’s prompting. God wants to give us more freedom of movement and at the same time feel more relaxed. Even when we feel anxious and tense, even more so, God wants us to feel at ease lost in His love and care. Here’s sharing with you a relaxation and awareness prayer (which also could be sung) to help us loosen the knots in our lives:

“Lose yourself in me, 
And you will find yourself. 
Lose yourself in me 
And you will find new life
Lose yourself in me` 
And you will find yourself 
And you will live, 
Yes, you will live in my love."

It's the Second Sunday of Easter. May the risen Christ stay in our hearts and let His peace and love reign in our lives.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Gift of Time

Today is my first day of rest after running for 50 consecutive days -- 2 days before Lent, 40-day Lenten Run, 7 days Holy Week, and 1 day yesterday. I covered 312 miles. That’s a 10k every day for the last 50 days.

A few friends tell me that it’s good that I still have the time to run. But don’t we all get the same amount of time in a day? Nobody gets more than or less than 24 hours in a day, is there?

To tell you the truth, running for 50 days straight wasn’t easy. There were days I didn’t feel like running, like after a long day at work, during a busy weekend, that week when I was fighting a cold, or that time right after running a marathon. But I did.

I made use of the gift of time that was fit for me. I ran late at night after a long day; I ran first thing early morning on a busy weekend; I ran while waiting for my son’s away games to start.

On days that I wasn’t feeling well, I still ran. I told myself I would give
the gift of my time to others. As I ran, I thought about the people who
were sick, who are burdened by personal problems. I also
remembered the people who requested for prayers for their special
intentions. As I ran through pain, I prayed to God to help them and I also gave thanks on their behalf.  Praying for others, I somehow made it through running hurt or sick. It was my gift of time - to honor my commitment to run and pray for others.

50 days of running seem like a huge chunk of time. But actually it’s not. The total amount of time I actually ran is 2 days and 3 hours. It’s about 4% of my time.

I thank God for being able to run the last 50 days. I thank God for the gift of time. I can’t ask for anymore. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

We Are Made To Move

...otherwise, we would have three legs.

Whether it be walking or running, moving with our two legs is part of our human nature. In fact, our first steps is a major milestone in our human development. Our parents remember just about when we started walking or running in the same way we would remember our children's first steps. We are made to move.

And we are made to move towards something. To arrive at a destination or a goal. Perhaps we are creatures of the future. What propels us to move is something that we look forward to.  Like a vacation. Or a promotion. Or perhaps crossing that finish line of a race you trained long and hard for. Something in the future drives us to keep moving on.

As we celebrate Easter today, we are reminded of this future - a share in the resurrection of Jesus. It is the central message of the Easter story. When Peter and the disciple whom Jesus loved first heard about the news from Mary Magdalene, they ran to see the empty tomb.

Also this Easter, we celebrate that we are made to move. Like the disciples, the news that Jesus had risen  drove them to move - as a matter of fact, they ran to verify the news. This news is now the basis of our Easter faith - to look forward to our own resurrection with Jesus.

When life sometimes wear you down. Look ahead. Believe in what you are made for - to keep moving on.

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

I Thirst

(Sharing with you my reflection on the 5th word. Read during "The Seven Last Words" service on Good Friday at Holy Rosary Church in Antioch, CA. The analogy I used in here is something you, runners, can relate to easily. But I used it sparingly in this reflection, taking into consideration my general listening audience.)

“When Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.”  A jar full of sour wine was standing there.  So they put a sponge full of wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth.” (John 19: 28-29)

For Jesus, beaten then crucified and hanging on the cross for a couple of hours, to say “I thirst,” means that He was at the point of death.

Many of us have experienced some kind of thirstiness. For example, after exercising in the gym; after doing some yard work; or after staying out in the hot sun for too long.  We experience some form of mild dehydration.  Our mouth and throat is dry, lips are dry, our muscles feel tired, and we feel thirsty.  Usually drinking a tall glass of water or Gatorade will return your fluid balance back to normal and we’d feel better in no time.

However, when Jesus said “I thirst,” on the cross, he was not mildly dehydrated; he was severely, extremely dehydrated. Every tissue in his body is dehydrated and his whole strength is dried up. Jesus had given it all; and perhaps we can even say,…up to the last drop.

In my life I have been blessed with an opportunity to know somebody who had given it all.  My wife battled breast cancer for a long time.  She suffered and endured the pains of her illness.  During her last few days, her organs started to fail, and she was severely dehydrated. But she was so weak, she couldn’t even say that she was thirsty.  But I could tell she was because every time I would touch her dry mouth with a wet sponge, she would vainly try to follow the sponge with her mouth when I would move it.  I would be moved to tears because I know there is no amount of water I could give her to return her back to health.  Not long afterwards, she passed away in the company of her family and friends at home.  My wife, too, like Jesus, had given it all.

But this is not the end of the story.  There is a message of hope in here.

Before my wife died, she had developed an unquenchable thirst for God.  She lived a life of prayer with a steadfast desire to strengthen her relationship with God. At the very end, in spite of her pain and suffering, she died peacefully.  I think her life on earth had been pleasing to God and God has gifted her with eternal life. 

This is the eternal life, which through Jesus’ death on the cross, had already been prepared for her, for all of us, for each of us.  It is God’s promise to all of us.  It is God’s show of love for all of us. It is Jesus’ message on the cross.  That there is an eternal spring of water waiting for all of us and we will never be thirsty again.

But there is one thing I think that God wants us to do while we walk or run our lives here on earth. God wants us to stay “hydrated” by praying.  Quench your thirst for happiness by praying.  Keep walking in Jesus’ steps, keep following Jesus’ ways and paths, keep moving along, praying and relying upon His promise, even when the roads get rough, the hills too tough to climb, and you may grow weary, give it your all.  Give everything to God.

We are made to thirst for God. He is always there at every point in our lives ready to provide us a drink. And at the point of our death, He will show us that vision of a place with a spring of water where we will never be thirsty again.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


I've never won a race in my running life and I don't think I will ever win one. But I do know what it feels like to be triumphant. Every time I cross that finish line, I feel as victorious as the first place finisher. As I run to the finish line, the cheer starts to get louder and louder. People are pressing on the guard railings lining the finish chute. Cameras are flashing. I step on the mat and raise my hands acknowledging the cheers of the crowd.

Perhaps this is a similar atmosphere when Jesus entered Jerusalem on that day we now celebrate in the Christian world as Palm Sunday. A great crowd of His followers gathered and celebrated His return. Many people waved leafy branches and spread their cloaks on the road. They cried out, "Hosanna!" in praise of Jesus. It was a triumphant entry.

As triumphant as it was, it also sets the stage for His Passion. Today, Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week where we remember Jesus' suffering and death on the cross. After living a successful public ministry and being hailed by the people, Jesus did not end His mission there. But instead, Jesus continued on to prepare Himself for His preordained suffering.

In my races, I may have crossed the finish line but I do not stop there. The lifelong runner in me reminds me that my last step on the finish is my first step to the next race.

Today I completed my 40th day of running, which I offered in prayer for cancer survivors Joyce S, Janet S, Annete M, Clessie, and Aunt Cely. For Ashley C, who is training for a Livestrong marathon but injured her ankle. For Michelle T., who is suffering from several ailments. And for the repose of the soul of William C., father of my co-worker.

I feel triumphant completing my 40-day commitment but I am not stopping just yet. Lent is not over for the Holy Week has just started. So I will keep running (straight for another 7 days until Easter) and make my praying even more fervent remembering how Jesus suffered and died to show God's great love for each of us.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Is There Anything For Which I Can Pray For You?

Oakland Marathon 2012
"Flower man," "flower runner," "rose runner," were just a few of the names I was called during the Oakland Marathon last week. "Is that for me," a female runner asked me. "Don't worry, you'll find her," said a runner who passed me. "Are you selling roses," shouted somebody from the crowd. It definitely made for an interesting run.

But I was there to run and pray for 26 women with breast cancer (27 actually). I stopped at every mile marker to offer a rose for each of them. A lady runner asked, "Hey can I have one of your roses?" I said, "I'd like to but I have each of my roses already named, but I can offer to pray for your special intentions."

The last thing I wanted to happen was to draw attention to the roses, but I definitely wanted others to see the roses as a reminder that God listens to our prayers. That we can show caring for people through prayer.

Carrying a rose in my hand and 26 more
in my backpack
There were a few more cancer survivors' names I received after the race to be prayed for. There were also other special intentions that were requested be prayed for, before and after the run. Please be rest assured that I keep them in my thoughts and prayers, running or not running.

I think my praying and running refines me. Like Jesus' disciple, I am sent, perhaps to make God's love and mercy, more visible to you seeing a praying runner on the road or you seeing a rose on a mile marker. Or perhaps you who just happen to read this post and to which I ask you now, "Is there anything for which I can pray for you today?"

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Actually 27 Pink Roses

The 27th rose is for the .2 miles in loving memory of my wife. I laid her rose down on the finish line. Soon after the race I drove to the cemetery to hang my medal around her, like she always liked it.

It was a fitting culmination to my race praying for the 26 women in my list and offering a rose and a mile of prayer for each of them. I felt blessed to carry the rose with each of their names on it and laying it down on every mile marker. It was a tough run, but it is nothing compared to what these courageous women have to go through to survive. It is truly my honor to run and pray for each of them.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

26 Pink Rose Run

On March 25th, 2012 in the Oakland Marathon in California, I will run 26.2 miles in honor and in prayer for 26 women with breast cancer. I will bring with me 26 pink roses and offer a rose and a mile for each of them in prayer for strength, healing, and thanksgiving.

Show your support by pledging to run/walk and pray for these 26 women of courage. Keep them in your thoughts as you offer your walk or run in prayer. Start by thanking God for your own health, then go for your walk or run reflecting on God's healing compassion. You can also read their names in your prayer.

I am not raising funds; but I am raising prayers. The more people, the greater our voice will be in prayer. So you can also show your support by sharing this page or asking others to pray.

Post here, email me at, or post at Praying Runner Facebook Page your pledge to pray or praying run/walk. "Thus says the Lord...I have heard your prayers and seen your tears. I will heal you." (Isaiah 38:5).

Let Us Pray for 26 Women of Courage

Mile 1 - Remedios D.
Mile 2 - Betty
Mile 3 - Aunt Rose
Mile 4 - Mom of John's daughter
Mile 5 - SW
Mile 6 - Lorie
Mile 7 - Janet R.
Mile 8 - Eleanor R.
Mile 9 - Renee M.
Mile 10 - Cherry M.
Mile 11 - Kristin B.
Mile 12 - Mavel G.
Mile 13 - Lucybel A.
Mile 14 - Shanya S.
Mile 15 - Norma S.
Mile 16 - Diana B.
Mile 17 - Aunt Jaya
Mile 18 - Lovely D.
Mile 19 - Lourdes F.
Mile 20 - Lina T.
Mile 21 - Eleanor L.
Mile 22 - Ilda C.
Mile 23 - Becca A.
Mile 24 - Lourdes L.
Mile 25 - Nelia S.
Mile 26 - Suzette P.

Monday, March 12, 2012


Rest is a part of your training, believe it or not. Your rest day is just as important as your hard day in your training program. It's the time when your body builds new cells to prepare itself for the next level of training. If nothing else, you deserve to take a break from the rigors of running. Sleep in, put your feet up, or take the elevator and not the stairs.

Today is Day 20 of my 40-day Lenten Run. Never before have I directly realized the value of rest until now. After 20 days of consecutive running totalling 161 miles, my leg muscles are screaming to stop and take a rest day. For a running mortal like me, to break my 40-day pledge is such a tempting deal.

So why not listen to my body and take that day of rest?

When I pray as I run, I do not listen to my body as much as I listen to the voice of my heart. I listen to God who is the voice of my heart calling me to rest -- to rest in Him. When I pray as I run, I pray that I may rest in God and nothing else. St. Thomas Aquinas said, "You have have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until it rests in you."

Praying as you run can teach you to feel relaxed even when your body is agitated, to remain peaceful in the midst of chaos, to hear God's call in a noisy world, and to gain strength when you feel weary. Long may you run and pray and find rest in Him.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Praying Through Pain

I have a friend who quit teaching because he doesn't like dealing with difficult students in the classroom.  He said, "I just want want to come to work, to teach, and come home." Then I said, "Then, you really don't want to teach." Having difficult students in a classroom is part of teaching.

Likewise in running, I hear people say that they used to run but quit because their knees hurt too much. But I say that  feeling pain is part of running. When a new stress is exerted, your body fires up the pain sensor in your brain. But your body also actually adapts to the stress, eventually, making you able to withstand the activity.

To improve in running, be ready for pain. Pray not to take away the pain, but pray for strength to get through the pain. Here is a Bible verse, suggested by a runner friend of mine, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Phil 4:13). When pain sets in or the run gets really hard, repeat and ponder on the verse as you keep going. Praying through pain does not only improve your running, it also strengthens you spiritually.

Life has its impending difficulties, too. We face them, feel the pain and hardship, and eventually get through them. Then we find ourselves stronger than before. Let's take it from Bruce Lee, a Legend in Martial Arts, who said, "Do not pray for an easy life; pray for the strength to endure a difficult one."

P.S. My caveat:  Please distinguish good pain from bad pain.  What I wrote above is the good kind of pain. Bad pain? Please see a health professional.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

40-day Lenten Run

What are you giving up for Lent? It's a pretty heavy duty question; but sometimes, it's taken very lightly as a conversation topic.

I think it's a very profound question that if we take our answer seriously, it could make a difference in our lives. "To give up" something could be interpreted in many different levels. One level could mean what are you willing "to stop doing" during Lent. This is where the answers of eating chocolates, swearing, drinking, come up. On another level, the question could be interpreted more profoundly as what are you willing "to devote" yourself completely during Lent.

I chose to answer the question in the second way. I am devoting myself to pray and run for 40 days and through the Holy Week up to Easter Sunday. I receive prayer requests from many people and I take them with me as I run, keeping your prayer intentions in my thoughts in prayer - like a pilgrimage.

I have not run this long in my life. I usually take 2-3 days of rest a week from running. The rest days are really prized time for runners. Like most runners, I look forward to my rest days. However, my first rest day will not  come until after 47 days to be exact.

Please keep sending me your prayer intentions and share my ministry to other people. I can use all the support of prayers and encouragement I can get. Likewise, I also ask for your prayers so I can successfully complete my Lenten Run.

To send your prayer intentions, you can (1) reply to this post  (2) email me at (3) post on my Facebook page (4) "like" me on Facebook to support my Lenten Run. Thank you and Godspeed!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Winds

Just as challenging as running uphill is running into headwinds.  You have to work harder when you're battling a headwind. Not to mention that a headwind, even a gentle breeze (8-12 mph) can slow you down by 8 percent.

Where I run, I usually start facing the wind which can be discouraging right at the start. However, I'd rather run into headwinds while I'm fresh with energy than run on my way back when I'm already tired. And besides, I do look forward to running with the wind on my back on my way home. It's like getting a lift on your legs and feels like sailing on the road, helping me finish strong.

Headwind or tailwind, the wind is a force that's only known by its effects. It's just like the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God in motion, working in our lives and reminding us how much God loves us and how much He wants to give to us - more wisdom, more peace, more love, and more things we can't even think of. And that's the role of the Holy Spirit - to constantly remind us of His loving presence all around us.

That's what I think of when I start feeling the wind whether in my face or at my back. God is with me all the time and helping me move along.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


Most runners dread the hills. Who doesn't?

I've ran some races with famous hills like the Hayes Street Hills of the 12K Bay to Breakers in San Francisco and the Hurricane Point Hills in the Big Sur Marathon; and I can tell you those fearsome hills were true to form. But why is running uphill so difficult?

Running uphill causes you to shorten your strides. Shorter strides mean more steps to cover the same distance.You also push off more to raise your leg higher off the ground.  Hence, your leg muscles work harder in a much shorter range than you're normally used to - which is running on the flats. A lot of runners choose flat races simply because even though they're in good shape to run, they're not prepared for the hills to climb.

How relevant is this in our own lives, too? We're comfortably cruising along life's road until we meet an uphill challenge. If you're not prepared, climbing a hill in life will fatigue you fast and discourage you easily.

Recently, as you know, I've been facing a tough hill in my life grieving over the loss of my wife to breast cancer. Even though I knew her death would come, I could never be totally prepared for my life without her. I was very helpless and weak after her death that I couldn't do my job properly or attend to my son's needs appropriately. But one thing I turned to to regain my strength was prayer.

Runners, though they dread the hills, prepare for hills. They work hill running into their training to condition their bodies to run the hills successfully. Like hill training, incorporate prayer in your daily life even in the most ordinary of things. Pray as you cook; pray as you drive; pray as you play; pray as you run.  And when you run those hills, pray to God to strengthen you even more when you face the hills of life.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Why Run?

I like to keep bragging rights. I ran this and that. I wear this and that. My record is this and that. I read this and that. I've done this and that. But that's the runner in me shop talking with other runners.

The real person behind the runner in me is somebody who has nothing to brag about other than his faith in God. Is my faith as big as a mountain?  Truly not at all.  My faith is more of that a mustard seed. "It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants." (Matthew 13:32a).

My faith is still growing especially as I continue on with my ministry as Praying Runner. My goal is to inspire others in their endeavors in life and make every aspect of their life a prayer...a desire to see God in everything. I want to grow in my faith even more and hopefully inspire others to be Praying Runners, too. "It becomes a large bush, and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches." (Matthew 13:32b).

If you are thinking about starting to run, what are you willing to give up in exchange for a greater benefit. Then, as you make strides in your running goals, think about adding another dimension to your reasons for running - something much larger than you are.

So, so much for bragging rights. Those are the perks of the sport. In your next run, ask yourself, what are your real reasons for running?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Change of Direction

I like races with an out and back course. From the starting line, you run a route out up to the half-way mark, you turn around then run back the same route. In the very scenic Half Moon Bay Marathon by the Pacific Coast in California, the half-way turning point was marked by an ordinary orange cone. But that orange cone was one of the most beautiful and welcoming sight of the course. Half-way done and I'm on my way back home.

Most of my training runs are also out and back. From my house, I run out, turn around at my turning point, then back the same route. My routes have quite a few turns, but to me, the most exhilarating spot is when I reach that turning point to change direction back home.

A change of direction - isn't it something that we all want and need to do?

Today is Ash Wednesday and it marks the start of the Lenten Season.  For Christians all over the world, this is the time for retreat and repentance.  It's a time for a change of heart - a change of direction.

In observance of Lent, I will offer all my runs in prayer for all your special intentions. I will do a prayer run every day for the next 40 days until Holy Week through Easter Sunday. This is my own way of giving up something during Lent - to give up doing it myself, doing it my way; but instead letting God lead the way.

Like seeing that orange cone in the marathon, I welcome a change of direction in my life today.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Run, Pray, Love

Running and remembering my wife on Valentine's Day. She passed away 11 months ago after 11 years of fighting breast cancer. She was also a runner. She is the inspiration for Praying Runner. 

One day a few months before she died, she was looking for me when I came back from a run. I immediately went to her bedside. She smiled when she saw me and asked where I've been. I replied that I ran as I prayed for her. Then she said, the next time you run, "Pray for other people as well."

I always think about her every time I run. Especially in my races, I bring with me a pink rose in her memory. I also bring with me other people's prayer intentions to lift up to God in prayer as I run. This is my ministry, in her honor and memory, to run, pray, and love.

You can send me your prayer requests and intentions through this website or email me at Also, I am running my next marathon on March 25th in Oakland, CA, in prayer, in honor of breast cancer survivors and also in memory of those who fought hard. I will be bringing with me 26 pink roses - one for each mile of the marathon - and one of them I will dedicate to a loved one of yours. You can send me her name (first name only or initials are okay; a picture if you want) and a bit of her story.

God speed!

"I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith."
(2 Timothy 4:7)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How It Feels

All runners experience one of those days. You know, when one routine run seems monumentally hard to complete. The reasons for the difficulty are varied, but sometimes, it's simply just one of those days.

I think my last two runs were one of those days. But it could be also because I was battling a bad cold. On t2 back to back days, I cut short my 10-mile runs to 3 miles - taking breaks in between, sweating hard after the first mile, and exhausted half-way through, unable to find a second wind, and feeling really weak. I really couldn't run through the tiredness which on good days I could mentally trick my body. But the last two days, my mind actually got the better of me to just stop or else.

Was it one of those days? Perhaps. Was I feeling sick? Yes. But the experience made me realize that this is how it feels - what my late wife felt when she was battling metastatic breast cancer. She would do her best to do walking workouts with me while praying the rosary. But every so often, she would complain of tiredness up to a point that she couldn't go on and would request to turn around and go back home. I still vividly remember the last time she went on the treadmill. She walked slow for about 10 minutes then she said she couldn't go any longer.

I bear her pain and the countless of people who are sick and suffering. I pray to be healthy and give thanks for my ability to run. May my runs be a humble offering of prayer that the sick may find consolation, peace, and healing in this time of suffering. To my wife, I love you and thank you for your courage to fight.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Whatever It Takes

You can do it!

One more mile to go!

Dig, dig, dig!

You hear all kinds of cheer and motivation from the crowd to help you get to the finish line with all that you've got.  But sometimes, because of exhaustion, your wit's end gets the better of you; and you think that all these people lining the finish line are being sarcastic. And you start to think - oh yah, why don't you try to run in my shoes!

Oh yes, I've felt the same thing in a lot of my races. I know what it feels to push it and dig deep to reach the finish line - whatever it takes!  The crowd's cheers may not be working for you at that moment; but I'm sure you are also finding a way to finish the race - whatever it takes! Ultimately, one thing, a combination of things, or all of it will bring you to a glorious finish.

Lately I went through a running slump, a praying slump, and a writing slump.  I am not short of the cheers and support by family and friends and readers but I was still having a hard time to get back up.  However, I think all the support and prayers are falling into place.  I resumed running my regular mileage; I'm able to revive my praying, and I'm back to writing posts - this is my first, after 29 days of no writing. 

Whatever it takes.  But what did it take to get me back?  Quite a few.  A few significant facebook posts from friends.  Friends who are running and praying for me.  My son.  And of course, remembering my wife - I believe she is inspiring me to keep on going, to persevere, and to continue with this ministry.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Running To Pray

A reason to run this New Year:  Praying.

There are many ways to define prayer, but my favorite one is from Thomas Merton, a contemporary Trappist monk. He said, “Prayer is the desire to pray.”

You could be walking, driving, cooking, or doing the laundry, and still have a desire to pray as you would when you are kneeling quietly in church in prayer. In the same manner, you could also run and pray at the same time.

Start by having a desire to pray. Yearn for God’s presence  - from the moment you tie your shoes.  Seek to be in communion with Him - as you meet the road or trail (or the treadmill). When you get distracted, this most likely will happen as you run, simply remember your intention every time.

Start with this way of praying when you run. It is called the “prayer of the heart.”

There are other ways to make your runs more prayerful and I will write about them in my succeeding posts. Let me know how this works for you as you start your running resolution.  Carry on and God speed!