“Noelle, your skin is well-rested from the sun. Fair and smooth.”
“Ang puti mo na. Hindi ka na mukhang triathlete.” (You’re so fair now. You no longer look like a triathlete.)
One coach I know once told me, “‘Pag gumaganda ang atleta ibig sabihin hindi nagta-training.” (If an athlete starts looking pretty it means they’re not training.)
These comments are fairly amusing. (See what I did there.) Chalk this up to our cultural norms of what makes a woman beautiful: the fair, smooth skin unmarred by sun exposure, the face that looks well-rested with no traces of labor or lack of sleep. The skin-deep beauty is heavily reliant on leisure, and to be sure I’ve had a lot more rest and less physical work in the past few months. At the same time, it’s been hard to see the golden tan I earned during hours training in the sun and the outward markers of being a triathlete fade away.
But that’s all they are: outward markers.
I’m still training, but rebuilding my general fitness and working within my present circumstances. If these present circumstances mean I need to sleep more and have to exercise indoors, then so be it. I track my progress not by how I look, but by what I can do.
At the beginning of my Nike Training Club strength-building program I had to do this benchmark session where I had to complete a certain number of reps of exercises within a given amount of time. Now, three weeks into it I had to do that same session. If my fitness and strength had improved, I should be able to do it in less time than I took at the beginning.
You know what? Even though the workout sessions I have been doing had left me feeling like a beginner, unfit, and unskilled, the benchmark session showed me definite improvements in whole-body strength. I smashed my previous time by four minutes!
I also got to attend a Brazilian jiujitsu introductory session from UFC Gym taught by its head BJJ director Mark Doze. I’ll have more on that this week but suffice it to say being a newbie at something stretches both my physical capacity and mental patience.
Last week was definitely an eventful one for the country. A botched raid in one city led to Martial Law declared over the whole of Mindanao. Families from Marawi City fled to nearby cities seeking safety, shelter, and aid.
I was glad to get involved in a donation drive for Marawi, where we managed to raise P9,000 during our event at Moonleaf Maginhawa and collect boxloads of in-kind donations.
Come join the #StandWithMarawi donation drive tomorrow May 27, 4pm at Moonleaf Tea Shop Maginhawa <3
#StandwithMarawi open mic
Posted by Kikay Runner on Saturday, 27 May 2017
— Moonleaf Tea Shop (@moonleafteashop) May 25, 2017
For those of us in the peanut gallery, we can still take action and send help where it is needed. Even small drops can add up to an entire bucket.
And that was my take-away lesson for the week.