Officially, the “R” in her middle name stands for Roset, but, if I were to make buot, that would mean another word: Resilient.
Jovita Polloso is not an elite super-athlete. She’s not 92-lbs. slim like Mary Grace de los Santos nor was she a striker for the high school football squad. Instead, Joy is one of Vis-Min’s top corporate executives and, thus, works long, mall-like hours for a company as familiar to you and I as Coca-Cola or Ford. That’s Ayala-and Joy is the General Manager for the Ayala Malls-Cebu.
Last Sunday, she joined the 100-km. race. When I asked why on earth someone would journey that far, her reply was… “And why not???”
She added: “I’ve tried marathons and have crossed a bit to ultra running when I joined the All-Women 50K in March. I was inspired by the stories of other runners and got excited at the thought of running ultra…”
But 100 kms.? From Pinamungahan to Toledo to Naga to San Fernando to Carcar to Barili to Aloguinsan then back to Pinamungahan?
“I never imagined I’d reach this far in running,” said Joy, who finished in 19 hours and 10 minutes-good enough for 7th place among 15 women. “I’m having fun! Why? Because I look at the training not as a burden but as part of my fitness routine. Hence, I don’t allow myself to be ruled by the demands on mileage and don’t feel guilty when I don’t perform the programs by my coach, Philip Dueñas.”
Joy’s a winner because of her positive mental attitude. She did not think of the agony-instead, like her name, she savored the joys of running.
“I didn’t look at it as enduring pain but thought of how good the feeling is to be able to run all of the 7 municipalities/cities of mid-west Cebu,” she said. “I was thrilled at the thought of how nice Cebu is, as I pass through historical and eco-tourism sites on foot. I was telling myself that if I could do this, then that would be something my children can share later with their own families.”
Prior to last weekend, Joy did eight 42Ks: two in Singapore, one Sundown (Singapore), two in Condura, two in the Cebu City Marathon, and one last April in Nashville, Tennessee called the Country Music Marathon. She also did a 50K last March.
Did you feel like quitting? I asked. “Nope, I just imagined the first 50K like a 21K to a full marathon. All along I was reminded that the real competition is in the last 50K. And I saw it myself when we were reaching the 75K to 90K marks, as I was passing through runners looking exhausted while I still feel strong enough with “emo’ high in my competitive spirit. My visualization included how I would approach the finish line in my whole piece and still smiling.”
Amazingly, during the run, Joy neither got injured nor suffered any blisters. She narrated a few tips: Months earlier, she added core exercises, circuit training and body balance/yoga.
On race day, she wore her pair of “lucky socks;” she applied petroleum jelly every 5 kms. and, at KM 50, she rested and “allowed the feet to breathe.” Plus: plenty of salt intake and solid intake over gel or chocolates. And lots of stretching prior to climbing the hills.
“I also followed my coach’s advise: run first using my flat strike so I don’t tire my calves during the first 20k+ uphill of Toledo going to Naga. Then used my midfoot at certain distances and then heel strikes. I trained using all of the foot strikes,” said Joy.
Plus, an important factor: the support team. Joy’s eldest son, Jasper, was the senior support crew. “My sister and cousins even traveled to Pinamungahan to send me off,” she said.
“More importantly, my attire! Joke but seriously yes, I changed as often as I could so I would have nice photos to keep! My medical kit was complete, my food supply could last me for a week.”
Joy added: “As a person, I am the type that will persevere and give my all-out determination if I want to accomplish something. I make sure I pour my heart into it. In short, I’m such a passionate person and I get excited on events in my life whether I like doing it at the beginning or not.”
Q & A WITH JOY….
Why do the 100K?
“And why not??? I’ve tried several marathons already and have crossed a bit to ultra running when I joined the All-Women 50K in March. But actually, just like a typical runner who is inspired by the stories and experiences of other runners, I also get excited at the thought of running ultra distances. By October of 2011, I was visualizing myself of participating the Singapore Sundown 100K supposedly in June this year. So much so that, when we were getting our race packs for the Singapore Standard Chartered Marathon last Dec. 212 which was my second participation to this event, I was determined to register in the Sundown 100K event, but what they had there was the Sundown 42K of May 2012. A 100K for Singapore by June 2012 was a vision I had crafted for myself. And you know why I love SingaporeJ but it didn’t happen. So when this first 100K ultra event organized by Cebu Ultra runners came about, it opened up for my interest again to pursue my 100K by June of 2012. I was more than excited to imagine on the possibility of my vision getting realized in my homeplace.”
Did you feel like quitting at any time?
“Nope, I just imagined the first 50K as like a 21K to a full marathon. All along I was always reminded by my training coach who gave me the program, that the real competition is in the second half- the last 50K. And I saw it myself when we were reaching the 75K to 90K marks, as I was passing through runners who went ahead of me and looking too tired and exhausted while I still feel strong enough with “emo’ high in my competitive spirit. My visualization included how I would approach in the finish line in my whole piece and still smiling. But ensuring all the time, that I was good and is able to move around after the event. The day after should be taken as resuming to my work schedule, I have my responsibilities in the office to attend to and my family. Joining this event should not have hampered and deprived me from doing my other roles in life. ( I was more concerned of these things over the other matters)”
How did you persevere (what were your thoughts) throughout the run?
“Deducting the number of municipalities/cities that was part of the route. J Actually, I was given a program to cover the 100K race, by my coach. And I did not run alone. I was with a fellow young gentleman runner from Ungo whom I have arranged to run with me all throughout the race before I signed up. I was more thrilled at the thought of how nice Cebu is, as I pass through some historical and eco-tourism sites on foot.”
No blisters and injuries? How did you do it?
“I prepared in my program just the basics, use my proven shoes when it comes to long distance running, the right socks, would you believe I have a pair of “lucky socks” that I always wear every long distance event that I joined in. Applied petroleum jelly consistently every 5KM to all possibly affected parts of my body. When we stopped at KM 50, we took time to rest a bit and allowed our feet to breathe. Salt intake, solid intake over gel or chocolates. Stretching in betweens was as important especially before we move on to an ascending elevation (uphills). I just followed strictly again what my coach advised me, run first using my flat strike so I don’t tire my calves early during the first 20k +++ uphill of Toledo going to Naga. Then used my midfoot at certain distances and then heel strikes. I trained using all of the foot strikes. Aside from my training with coach Philip, my complementing fitness program with my other PT in the gym included core exercises and circuit training to support my muscles used in the run. I went a couple of body balance/yoga type of exercises too.”
How important was your support team?
“Very important. And I didn’t mean only the crew in my support vehicle, I meant the well wishers, my friends and fellow organizers’ moral support counted a lot. My sister and cousins traveled to Pinamungahan to send me off. My eldest son, Jasper was my senior support crew together with our family driver, Froilan and my other personal asst. I wrote everything what to give me at what distance. More importantly, my attire!!! Joke but seriously yes, I changed as often as I could so I would have nice photos to keep. My medical kit was complete, my food supply was something that could last me for a week and hydration schedule. I even brought with me ice bags etc.”
What tips can you give to marathoners/ultramarathoners?
“I made a checklist on what I should have, before I officially registered myself. 1) asked a fellow runner to be my pacer all throughout 2) I went into medical check up and stress test, then asked for a medical clearance 3) spoke wholeheartedly to my coach if I am capable of running a 100K 4) looked into my earned mileage, maybe a bit short with the distance required but hey– my heart and mind were ready to cover up for the difference. 5) prepared my attire from shoes to top gears and blinkers/headlights required 6) asked the program from my coach that I should follow during the race 7) trained as much as I can, if i didn’t run the required distance, I covered it up for cross training, a little of swimming, fitness at the gym and hey Zumba for fun at the Terraces, why not? 7) I always remember my coach telling me, winding down or tapering if closing to the event date, and recovery and conditioning after the event. 8) nutrition plan is as important – for the week when the event is happening, protein intake (carbo deplete) from early days of the week then carbo loading from mid of the week till event date. 10) Get a relaxing body massage at least 2 days before the race. 11) specially added to my list consistently – a visit to an adoration chapel, a prayer intention and mass offered days prior to the race. And lastly, my runner friend Mitch placed one more activity to my check list- for the first time on this 100K — (12.) a few acupuncture visits.”