Bumping Into Coach Titus One Fine Sunday Morning

11 March 2012 — Sunday was the perfect day for long run.  My training program indicated that I need to run 25-36 kilometers.   But with the errands and other activities I did the previous day, the half marathon race held the previous Sunday plus feeling a bit exhausted, I chose to run whatever distance I could finish and shouldn’t go lower than 2 hours.  

Went out of my place at past 5AM, walked for 5 minutes as warm up, and maintained a jog pace later up to Ayala Triangle.  Once I reached the corner near Manila Peninsula Hotel in Makati, I started to pick up the pace. Running routes included:  a start near Rockwell area—to Makati Avenue—to Ayala Avenue—crossed EDSA—to McKinley Road—right turn to Lawton Avenue (The Fort)—turned left going to McKinley Hill —back to Lawton Avenue—32nd Street—back to Lawton—McKinley Road—Ayala Avenue—home.  

While I was slowly running along Lawton Avenue, a runner was about to whiz past me.   And when I turned my head to the right, I recognized it was the running coach, Titus Salazar.  Not far behind him are his students or trainees, also called as the Barbie Dolls, or should I say “hard-core runners” just like him.  

I didn’t get to know Coach Titus as a running coach but I’ve heard so much about this guy.  He’s quite popular in the running community as a physiotherapist or “hilot.” The deep tissue massage is one of his skills.  Aside from this, he’s also known as the coach of Team Bald Runner.  

Last time I saw him was two years ago, during the 2010 Condura Skyway Marathon.  Coach Titus, together with the famous singer Leo Valdez, the one he was pacing with throughout the race, prodded me to finish strong and asked me to pace with him in the last 500 meters to the finish line.   It was also during this time when both Coach John Lozada and fellow marathon runner Gab (a.k.a. Dirty Sanchez of Takbo.ph and now a member of Team Boring) paced me and got me to the finish line.  

Not wanting to be left running alone, I once again tried to pick up my pace in tune with Coach Titus’ cadence.  After running McKinley Hill, we only stopped at the convenience store to buy something to drink and eat.  

I don’t talk much during races.   Not much on long runs either.  But this time, I considered it an exemption.  I noticed I could talk now with not much huffing and puffing while running at a six-minute pace.  Coach Titus then said, “When you’re relaxed and your movement just flow, conversing while running is just easy.”  “Indeed,” I said silently to myself.

The long run continued back to Lawton Avenue, passing through Bonifacio Circle, leading to 32nd Street.  It was here I separated from their pack and headed back home following the same route.  When I reached Ayala Triangle Gardens, my mind was not really up to finishing the last 2.5 KMs.  It was already screaming for food, food, and food.   Ended up at the fast-food restaurant instead for the much awaited breakfast, the best part after a good run!

Overall, I was pleased to have had the chance to run with Coach Titus albeit accidentally.  It was truly an excellent (and fast) 16.47-KM run for me.  Whispering I’d say, “But not without a few aches here and there afterwards.”