Get That Life: How I Started Joining Marathons In My 30s Because Why Not?

Running changed Jaymie Pizarro's life completely, and it can change yours, too.

Jaymie Pizarro, also known as the Bull Runner, is a runner, triathlete, and the first Filipino to complete the World Marathon Majors (aka six of the largest and most renowned marathons in the world). She’s also a mom of two, an entrepreneur, and a graphic designer.

But before Jaymie became the fun, fearless woman and life peg we know today, she was held down by her issues. She was struggling with her weight. Obsessed with the numbers on the scale, she starved herself, walked on her treadmill three times a week, and went to the gym to drop the pounds. But none of those were working for her so she was really unhappy.

Then she discovered running in 2006. One day she realized she could actually run on her treadmill. She downloaded a program online that would let her run for 30 minutes straight in two months. She stuck to it because it was so basic, not because she was athletic (she wasn’t at all). In the beginning, she had to run for five minutes, walk for four minutes, then run for five minutes again. Eventually, there were more running than walking times, until there were no walking times at all.

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Jaymie calls herself the Bull Runner for a few reasons: She’s a Taurus; a bull run in the stock market (where she worked before) is a good thing; and her dad said she was “bull-headed” when she was growing up—meaning to say she’s stubborn. But it’s this stubbornness, this determination, that transformed her from being an unhealthy person to a runner on a treadmill to a marathoner and a triathlete. All this happened in her 30s.

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How? She got a coach—a P.E. teacher in her son’s school—and trained with him. She scoured newspapers for race schedules. In 2007 she put up a blog to express her love for running, which would become the go-to blog of running beginners and enthusiasts in the country. In her blog, she also shared things she learned about the sport, and talked about what to wear and which shoes to pick.

Jaymie never stopped training. She also dreamed big. Because of her and her colleague Jim Lafferty, the Bull Runner Dream Marathon (a 42-kilometer run) was created in 2010. She had wanted to share the experience of “surviving hell” and feeling like she’s the “strongest woman ever” and that she could “conquer anything in life.” She believes “You won’t know the magic of a marathon unless you experience it yourself.” And Jaymie has been sharing the magic with hundreds and hundreds of runners since.

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Running has changed Jaymie’s life completely; she can’t even believe how far it’s gotten her. And since she fell in love with it in 2006...

1. Weight hasn’t been a concern anymore. Jaymie’s focus switched. She ended up just wanting to perform better: run longer, run faster, do better in a race.

2. Fitness has become easier. Jaymie believes that getting involved in a sport that one loves is the best way to get fit.

3. She’s realized that fitness shouldn’t be a destination, but a journey. The point of fitness is to ENJOY doing something good for your body and something you love. Becoming fitter, healthier, stronger, and more confident is just part of the process.

4. Workouts have stopped to become torture. While other runners want to feel the grind, Jaymie’s ideal workout is running without minding the time or how fast she’s going. It’s really about being in the moment and in the zone, and savouring it.

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5. She has gained independence and self-confidence. Before she got into running, Jaymie was a work-at-home mom who didn’t have her own ambitions. But running gave her time for herself, and it gave her goals.

6. She has discovered her physical and mental strengths. According to Jaymie, running marathons involves the physical strength to cover 32 kilometers, and the mental strength (the will power) to keep going for 10 more kilometers when your body is beaten up.

7. She has traveled to other countries. Through companies who believed in her and her blog, Jaymie has run marathons in cities like Tokyo, New York, Boston, and London.

Jaymie has had several injuries because of her flat feet and was sidelined by a car twice. But nothing seems to keep her away from her passion. Her body can still take her training, so she still makes time for it every day.

A creature of habit, Jaymie runs four times a week, and swims and bikes twice a week. “For me, it’s not difficult to do the workouts. If you really want it, you’ll find the time. Just find one hour per day to work out. That one hour can be your time away from Facebook or TV.”

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And if Jaymie was able to shape up relatively late in her life, who’s to say we can’t too?

Jaymie Pizarro was one of the speakers during Cosmo's first Fun Fearless Life event.

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