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Tita Tita: Fit At Any Age—From Track To Zumba

Oye, sabes, I can’t find inspiration on to write.

The weekend was so busy. Tito and I didn’t get to go to El Campo for the break, and we were like headless chickens in Manila between compromisos. On the 14th, we made sure we got home early and just went to the mall and grab a bite at Wholesome Table, which by chance, wasn’t a very Valentine's-esque place to go to. Who wants crunchy granola food on a date that is supposed to get you going? (Un poco bastus).

Pero sabes, I can’t understand why Din Tai Fung is always like a refugee center, or maybe like the passport processing zone at DFA, que barbaridad. But good for the Moment Group!

Now, where was I?

I missed my golf weekend, and walking with the sun out and fresh air. I can say I was athletic. Este, I was really active in high school with GALS, playing volleyball. That’s where I met Tito, and honestly, I really didn’t like him then… otra storia. Ah si, volleyball. I played inter-village, and I can say I was pretty good at my game. I was always a setter; I could not, for the life of me, spike, but I was okay at the serve, and I had good lungs. I can’t do that anymore since I do sneak an occasional smoke now.

We used to practice at the gym, you know, the big dome that looked like a soup tureen! Saturday was a big thing. Also, for most of us, it would be time to see the cute guys. (I was a bit chonga, actually). The girls' track and field team also used to practice at the green school tracks. It was one of those days where the volleyball games and the track teams were all in campus.

A tri meet would down on the field. Between the blues, the greens and, well, us plaids. Apparently our track team was short runners, and they drafted us on the spot—"Tita, you have stamina, come and join, do the mid to long distances," they said. What could I have done? The captain of the track team, a total butch, got me to run.

It was the first time I ever joined a competition and it was a track meet. I ran 400m, actually finished, and from the looks of it, did well. That ended that career, and so I thought that with the inter-village jousting in full swing the coming summer, my brother organized the 5km and 10km runs. Realizing the girls were few in number from our own village, it was my turn to call all my friends to join. Well, I did the run—all 10km of it and I placed first in my category. Oye, who would have thought no? A star was born.

It was the last summer I had before I went off to college. I opted to go to Diliman, and only to exempt myself from having to take PE, I opted to try out for the volleyball team. I went with Marilou, who was really good. We did the tryouts on the first day. I saw the best of the best. I saw these girls during our GALS days, and they were killers. I knew I could handle the game, but I was a weakling at spiking. Marilou, who had the arms of a cargador, made that skilled “kwapak!" I, on the other hand, sounded like a fly swatter. I didn’t bother to go back. Marilou made it.

Not intent on having a career in sports, I let it be. But my barkada from the green school, remembering my 400m debut at the tri-meet, convinced me to head to the track team try-outs. I was actually quite scared. The captain of the university track team was a legendary short distance sprinter from the green school. Gap Legaspi, now PGH director, was the boss. I did the middle distance, and I made it.  I practiced thrice a week behind the Molave by the football field. I was getting good. But we were told we weren’t anything if we didn’t make it to a full-on university meet.

It was easy going through the semester, school, and practice. Two years of it, just to make sure we could get in front of the line during registration. I would see Tito around, and he had a girlfriend who was a bit clingy, and demanding. He is really a good guy, but he can be a bit stupid. We had a few classes together and even became group mates. I never thought I would fall for him. While I was sweating it out, in the heat and rain, his PE was playing bridge at the Engineering cafeteria.

Now, the moment. Capt. Gap said we were going to our first competition at the UAAP. Yes, no miento, the UAAP! They herded us in a bus, and off we went to Rizal Memorial. I was made to run in the 4 x 200m relay, an athletics track event in which teams comprise four runners who each complete 200 meters or half a lap on a standard 400 meter track. We were doing okay, till we were told we would compete against yet another school. As we were getting ready, they said the next school had runners like horses. Well, they were. I stood beside their top runner and her legs were so long, they were the height of my chest. She was Lydia de Vega, and that ended our chances. I kissed my track career goodbye.

I never picked up any sports activity after college. I began work in the media industry, and I guess it was genetics, but I never really got fat. Tito and I married, and I was still petite (he would seesaw), and could wear clothes from ten years prior. I took up golf, and still play to keep Tito company, but nothing else.

Most my other friends and classmates were not like me. They weren’t too active in high school and college, except for skin diving and in-room gymnastics (you know, right?) But when I see them today, it's like they found religion in the latest activities. Dressed in athleisure couture, I catch them either coming or going to Zumba. I did go a few times with Tito to rowing class, but found it boring. And there is the spinning, or cycling, and with another set of outfits I see.

Not to mention pilates, and planaforma. I did run a bit more after college, but it was also consumed by the moment, thanks to Rio dela Cruz that made running chic. What I find so amusing is seeing these women, in the grocery, after a session of whatever, unable to bend down to pick up their groceries, and have their yaya do it for them.

I think 50 is the new 40. I am lucky because I was always around people who see the old adage of "health is wealth" rightly. I am also happy for people who found new ways to get themselves going even at later day. Oh, sabes, like cosmetic surgery, exercise has become the new social event, and it's what keeps people together. People sweat it out for 15 minutes in a 60-minute class because of all the chismes and cuentos. Then they head off to eat, just a little, they say, to keep them going but then take a bite from everyone else.  I love people who want to rejuvenate themselves. But I find it funny that after a class at Flyweight, Electric, Ride Rev or Saddle Row, they will call the driver to bring them 500 meters to their next stop.

But cada loco con su tema. I will always encourage people to find the right regimen for their fitness. I am glad that world is a fitter place now, lululemon and all. No ba? Who cares?  Just sweat it out ,amor. But remember; don’t be fake. Do it for you, not for anyone else. Don’t do it to rekindle love. It’s like a crash diet!

I never gave exercise much thought after college. Neither did I do anything to my face, waist, or chin. I just keep myself active, and so should you, too. Lydia de Vega dashed all my hopes for being a super athlete, but I think as good friend, wife, partner, and amiga, I have done well.

Is it exercise, the outfit or the mindset?

Oye, it doesn’t matter, as long as you what best for you. Pues, time to go okay?

Besos y abrazos, te hecho mucho de menos.

Tita