Photo by Charisma Lico, Edge of Light; Make-up by April Feliciano; Hair by Jannet Saberon. Clothes by Running Skirts and Alii Sport, Shoes by Saucony, and Shoelaces by EZLacecs – all from www.atletaako.com.
“‘Become what inspires you’ is probably the best way to describe my story,” says Twila Manlogon, a 25-year-old ultramarathon and trail runner.
A New Year’s Resolution
At the start of 2011, Twila Manlogon made a decision. “I was pregnant with my son when I took an interest in running. Of course, I still couldn’t back then, but I couldn’t wait to do it once I gave birth and I was good to go.” She took inspiration from the people around her, naming her friends, colleagues, and even her doctor as examples of people who were enjoying the sport she wanted to try. “I was so amazed that they could still train despite their hectic schedules. I wanted to be that kind of woman, too—the modern day alpha female could kick ass, fulfilling her work and familial obligations, and still having some quality time left for herself.”
But Twila had to put her ideal on hold after giving birth, realizing the many changes a single mother had to face. “I tried my best to be everything and do everything at once, and yet it still felt like my life was spinning out of control.” She took a break from work to focus on being a new mother, but this still left her at a loss. “I was able to take care of my son, but I felt useless and miserable because I couldn’t do the things other people could do. I gained even more weight, and my self-esteem was an all-time low,” Twila recalls.
Months passed, and Twila slowly picked herself up. Twila worked the night schedule at a BPO, and she used this to her advantage. “I was already used to being up before the sun was out, and I live less than a kilometer from a mall with an open parking lot. It was the perfect time and place to start.”
As with any new endeavor, Twila met challenges: “I first started jogging, and I could barely complete a lap around the mall’s perimeter. It felt like I was dying every time!” But the early difficulties did not stop Twila. With each day, Twila found herself running longer and longer distances, until the day arrived that she felt that her day wasn’t complete without a run. From the parking lot perimeter, Twila found herself exploring nearby towns, picking up her speed at each kilometer.
“All of these, I did and achieved on my own,” Twila reflects. “No one forced me to get out early, and nobody ran with me all the while. I took comfort in the solitude and got to know myself better. I haven’t stopped running ever since.”
Twila Version 2.0
Twila labels her struggles before running as the “Dark Ages” of her life. From short-distance runs, Twila progressed and took on longer distances—10Ks, half and full marathons, and eventually, ultramarathons. Twila became a boni fade runner, bagging finishes that would land her on the podium, beaming at each instance.
The single mother didn’t just kick start her running career—she also received a promotion at work. She credits the positive changes in her life to running. “Running is the best decision and longest commitment I’ve ever made. It is the fuel that energizes me to become a better mother, a better career woman, a better person. Why should I stop when it brings so much positivity in my life?”
“Today, my goals have changed, and I run not only for fitness, but because it makes me feel good. It brings endless optimism and sunshine into my life. And I would like to be that sunshine to other people. Passion is contagious and with mine, I would like to encourage women to take control and kick some ass!”
Looking back, Twila realized that the changes didn’t stop with her career and motherhood. “Before all this, ayoko man lang na pagpawisan ako. Ngayon, I’m super outdoorsy, outgoing… Before medyo suplada ako! But now, I feel like the best has been brought out of me.” In her runs, Twila has met many people who have shared their life stories with her—and for a girl who seeks inspiration from the world, Twila has found the motivation to keep going. “I get inspiration from everywhere. And this inspiration is what you translate into other parts of your life.”
Photo by Charisma Lico, Edge of Light; Make-up by April Feliciano; Hair by Jannet Saberon. Clothes by Running Skirts and Alii Sport, Shoes by Saucony, and Shoelaces by EZLaces – all from www.atletaako.com.
On to New Adventures
For the past four years Twila has been on the road, one thing she has learned is not to look back. Even with the distances she has run, she remains humble: “I strive for continuous improvement.”
Twila knows that her journey would not have been possible without the support of her loved ones. “I have a great relationship with my family and friends. They understand my work, and where I’ve come from. That’s why I am able to do everything I’m doing.” With a good support system, time management, passion, and determination, Twila is able to achieve everything she sets her mind to.
Today, Twila treats herself with care. After work, she trains at least four times a week before going home to do her chores. She eats mindfully. And she tries new things that will bring even more joy into her life. Recently, Twila has found herself running on trails, finding more stimulating experiences. “It’s very rewarding—the views, yung pagod, yung init. I don’t know, really. When I tried it, I fell in love with it! I’m trying to get better now. I’m not as strong yet, but it’s okay. Nag-eenjoy ako.”
“It’s never too late,” Twila says as her message to women who want to start an active lifestyle. “There’s no deadline for anything, but you’ll have to really want it for yourself. Circumstances will dictate, and then dire-diresto na ‘yan. They will see the positive effects over time, and they will see results.”