I’ve been meaning to write my 2015 resolutions on Facebook but I realized that it is more appropriate to do it on this blog. Why? Because it’s freaking long that’s why. Haha! Each has its own explanation of sorts to remind me why I am doing it. I hope to God that I am able to stick to it the whole year round.
1. Be more patient. Slow to anger.
I have to admit, I am a very impatient person. Providing repetitive instructions irritates me. I’ve told you once, told you twice and you still don’t get it, my blood pressure shoots up. My husband always calls my attention whenever this happens. Patience really is a virtue and a way to release oneself from stress.
2. Pray more.
I find peace in reading the bible and praying the rosary. I should do this more often.
3. Give more.
I learned from a friend that there were over 1,000 people affected by a fire that broke out New Year’s Day morning. People who lost everything. We had a financially challenging 2014 as we had make investments as well as pay mortgages not to mention discovering a very expensive sport – Triathlon. I attended a Christmas party with mass being celebrated as an opening to the party. What the priest said during his homily stuck to me. It is not how much you give but what is left with you that matters. So off we went to the grocery to buy water for the victims of the fire and drop it off at the Apolonio Samson barangay hall in QC.
4. Procrastinate less.
I have to admit again. This is one of my worse traits. I move errands back until the very last minute which increases my stress level a hundredfold. From Chito’s homework to paying the bills, making business reports and others. I know it can be done because I don’t do this at work and during my training days – well I may skip a workout or two or three – haha!
5. Little white lies are still lies so I plan to lessen saying these as well.
Noy: where are you? Me: I’m on the road when I am actually still at home. Haha!
6. Love more. Trust more.
Both are something that you give for free. Can one exist without the other? I honestly don’t think so. Love makes the world go round
7. Eat healthier.
This is more achievable than Eat Healthy. Healthier means – lesser processed food, lesser potato chips, lesser cakes. Oh how can one live? Gail – I said lesser, not zero. Oh ok ok. This is achievable.
8. Be more active in family gatherings.
Training can be a bitch. You miss out on a lot of family time. It also doesn’t help that you are married to a once sociable person turned introvert turned exec MBA student. Gasp! And seriously, Noy and I are joined at the hip so if he doesn’t go, there’s a huge chance that I won’t be there either. So when he says, I’m lazy to go to the neighbor’s house during a family event, I’ll most probably just stay home with him. But family is family and you get your source of laughter and valuable insights from them so this year, I plan to attend as much fam events as I can.
9. Spend less on unimportant or “for show” items.
Bags, shoes, watches, clothes. These are essentials to a degree. Of course you won’t survive with just one bag. How will it go with your different clothes and shoes? I am not a hypocrite. I enjoy small luxuries such as designer bags, shoes and clothes. BUT I am practical by purchasing items on sale, those which I can get on installment as well as those which I can purchase WITHIN MY MEANS. You do need a few pieces to satisfy your curiosity why people “go gaga” on these items. This year though, I will avoid purchasing items which I do not need. I do not need inverted triangles, double-G, L and Vs to be happy. I will live simply.
Now, bike upgrades – this is a different story. Hey, these are essentials! A comfortable bike saddle is needed for long rides, an aero hydration system too. Oh don’t get me started why I need carbon wheelset. Ay Caramba! Erase erase! Off to a bad start. Haha!
10. Always share or pass on the credit.
It’s a great feeling hearing the words – Oh, it’s Gail idea. Oh Gail did it all by herself. I always hear these words from my family, friends and co-workers. While I bask in the glory of it all to feed my huge ego, I really need to start passing the credit on to someone else. Maybe Noy for driving me to the grocery to get the essential items needed for a family trip (I always end up buying the supplies and being the advanced party. This is the only way I can be assured that we will have a stress free out of town family vacation. Haha! I am OC that way.) or to Ben who got out of the computer so I can print my Lola’s ticket or to someone else. Because fact of the matter is, I am not a superwoman. And knowing this will encourage me to be try to be a better me everyday. It sounds weird I know but I guess I am wired differently.
11. Be less judgmental.
I have an opinion on almost about anything. The way people act while in church; the way they carry themselves during meetings etc. While this is sometimes needed in business to read other people and strategize next move, I will have to lessen doing this and tell myself – You shouldn’t care. It’s their life not yours.
12. Try harder.
I will try harder to – run, swim, bike faster. Be a better parent. Be a better mentor. Be a better teacher. Be a better person. Be a person open to criticisms. Be more organized. And so on. This will be my last resolution because it probably encompasses those that I was not able to include. Whenever I assess my performance and mark it as mediocre, I will remember these words – TRY HARDER.
I had the chance to interview some of my teammates during the team’s send off party for them last Saturday. Each had different insights and strategies but the same goal of finishing the race injure-free.
Let me share with you some of their answers to questions thrown at them during the party so you can get to know them better.
Bernadette Tan aka Berns
Berns is an ultramarathoner who competed and finished various ultra events including TNF100. She is the only female representative of the Greenhills Tri Team who joined IM Langkawi.
Is this your first time to be competing in a full Ironman event? Yes
What made you decide to join? Aspirational. In my opinion, you are not really an IronMan unless we’ve completed a full IronMan distance.
Why Langkawi? Closest to the Philippines and the timing is perfect. Since I started training in January, September would be a perfect time to compete.
How many 70.3 events have you completed prior to joining Langkawi? Two
Do you have a coach and are you following any prescribed program? Yes. I follow Coach Dan Brown’s program.
Peter Jarin aka Doc Peter
Doc Pete is an otolaryngologist by profession and has started joining triathlons a long time ago. He is a member of the Greenhills Running Team.
Is this your first time to be competing in a full Ironman event? Yes
What made you decide to join? As Edmund Hillary said when asked what made him climb Mt Everest. Because it is there. In addition, peer pressure.
Why Langkawi? Closest to the Philippines and cheapest
How many 70.3 distances have you finished prior to joining Langkawi? 10 but I also signed up for TU3 which is happening in October.
What is your 70.3 PB? 5:50
Any target time for Langkawi? 14:30
Toughest discipline – Bike
When did you start training for Langkawi? Mid-June of this year
Dennis Gan aka Oyster
Oyster is a restaurant entrepreneur who started doing triathlons back in 2012.
Is this your first time to be competing in a full Ironman? Yes
Why Langkawi? Closest to the Philippines and cheapest
When did you start training for this event? December 2013
Any target time for Langkawi? None. Just to finish.
Toughest discipline – Bike
How important is it to have a team when training? Very important. It kills boredom. For me, training is more difficult that racing. It is when you need the support of other people.
How do you prepare yourself mentally? I don’t let this event be the source of my stress. No pressure as my goal is just to finish.
How long do you train in a week? Weekdays a total for 6 hours. Weekends, 6-8 hours.
Jeng de Guzman aka Jeng
Jeng loves to bike. This is an understatement. He is a businessman by profession and he started his triathlon “career” in 2012.
Is this your first time to be competing in a full Ironman? Yes
Why did you decide to join? Because of Doc Peter. He asked me to so I said yes.
How many 70.3 have you joined before this event? Three
Any target time for Langkawi? 14:00
Toughest discipline – Run.
Finished any full marathons? Not yet.
Who is your inspiration? Doc Art. Kahit pagod na, nilakad lang nya yung last leg and he finished.
What is your strategy to finish the race? Swim – survive cut-off. Bike – push it. Run – Run-Walk.
What is your strategy for nutrition? Bike leg – Perpeteum every 20 mins and peanut bar every 30 mins.
Dennis Shiangho aka KK
Quiet, reserved but deadly. KK is one of the most dedicated athletes in our team. He designs boats for a living but eats and breaths triathlon.
When did you start doing triathlon? Last quarter of 2010. I have joined over 15 races.
How many 70.3 have you joined before this event? Three
Any full marathons under your belt? Trail. TNF50. My toughest race.
Weakest discipline? Swim
What is your PB for a 21k race? 1:46
What is your race strategy? Swim – Drafting, avoid the pack and stay away from the buoy and lane lines.
Bike – maintain a speed of 30-33kph flat portions of the course and 40kph+ during downhills.
Run – relaxed during the first 3k with a pace of about 5:00-5:30 and 4:40 during the last 5k
Target time? 12 hours
Race nutrition strategy? Perpeteum, banana and energy bar
Any inspiration? Yes. Our teammate – Melody Yapson (Yiiiiiiiiiiheeeeee)
Emerson Go Tian aka Emer
Emer is an ultramarthoner first and a triathlete second. But in my book, he is an “ultra” endurance athlete. He has finished the very tough Bataan Death March 102 and has found a new love in traithlon.
Is this your first full IM? No. Jeju Korea was my first.
What was your finish time? 15:45
Why choose Langkawi to be your 2nd foray into this sport? Closest to Manila plus I was pushed by Uncle Willy (Yao) to go.
What is your weakest discipline? Bike
When did you start training for this event? A month ago
Longest distance you’ve ran? Bataan Death March 102
What’s your strategy? Just have fun. Eat when you’re hungry. Stop and rest if you’re tired.
You feel that you’re ready? YES!
Art Virata aka Doc Art
I have known Doc Art close to five years now. And believe me, this guy is all about endurance. He has completed the Bataan Death March 160 and several full IronMan distances. Together with Emer, he is also an “ultra” endurance athlete. Doc Art is a pediatrician by profession.
I heard that this is not your first FM distance? Yes. This will be my third. My first two were Metaman Bintan 2012 and 2014.
What is your PB? 16:20
Why Langkawi? Well it holds the IM brand and it’s the closest to Manila
When did you start training for this event? January 2014
What is your weakest discipline? Swim.
And your strategy? Allow the strong ones to go ahead, swim in clear water. For bike, stop at every station for at least 2 minutes to eat and drink. Breakdown the race so that you look forward to the next station instead of the finish line. For run, I will walk constantly with a speed of at least 6-7kph.
Tips: It’s achievable, if you believe you can.
Willy Yao aka Uncle Willy
Uncle Willy is simply amazing. He is the oldest representative of GHTT to Langkawi. A true inspiration to all, he completed 66 full marathons and has completed several ultramarathon distances.
Is this your first full IM? Technically no. I had two previous attempts. The first one was in Jeju Korea, second was at Western Australia. Both instances, I injured myself a few days before the race which resulted in two failed attempts. This is my first time to join without any issues.
How old are you Uncle Willy? I am 64 years old.
I heard you have finished a number of marathons, how many exactly? Sixty-six
What was your best time for a full marathon? 3:16 Boston Marathon
When did you start training for this event? April this year.
Longest distance you’ve ran? Bataan Death March 102.
What is your weakest discipline? Swim.
And your strategy? If you feel tired, switch to breastroke.
Your nutrition? Erito, sandwich, Vitargo, a carbo drink I discovered.
I am amazed at the perseverance and dedication of people who join full IronMan races. I know how difficult it is to train for a 70.3. Double the distance means double the training, double the pain. These individuals have truly inspired me.
Good luck to my teammates and to all those who are joining the IronMan Langkawi, Malaysia. My God be with you on this journey.
Stay safe! Race smart team! BRING HOME THAT MEDAL!!!
Manila, Philippines 18 September 2014 – 119 Filipinos are set to participate at the IronMan race to be held of September 27 at Langkawi, Malaysia.
Triathletes with varying profiles and athletic abilities, these group of Pinots have bonded together to form what is now the largest and second Philippine contingent ever to compete in a full-IronMan distance race outside the country, the first one being the 90-member team which went to race at the IronMan Asia Pacific Championship in Melbourne, Australia last March.
This year marks the return of the IronMan race in Langkawi. Lagkawi Island is located within a cluster of tropical islands that attract visitors the world over. Our Pinoy triathletes together with other participants, are set to embark on a truly Malaysian cultural journey through a 3.8K swim, 180k bike and a 42.2k run on tropical, hilly and demanding terrain passing traditional kampungs (villages), mangrove clusters and rainforest vistas.
The team, organized by Triathlete and RP Paratriathlon Team Coach, Vince Garcia, is composed of mostly first-time IronMan Langkawi participants and a number of second and third-time participants. They just held a press conference at the Skippy’s Bar and Grill located at Bonifacio Global city, mainly to send out the message that passion for Triathlon as a sport has truly grown in the country within only half a decade.
Sunrise Events Inc., franchise-holder of IronMan races here in the Philippines has expressed full backing to the contingent. Princess Galura, Project Director of SEI said, “SEI will continue to support Filipinos competing in Iroman races all over the world”.
Apart from Coach Vince, some of the notable members of the Pinoy contingent to Langkawi are celebrity triathlete Drew Arellano, UltraRunner Willy Yao who at 60+ is the most senior member of the group, the youngest being Charles Lazaro who is 21 years old and Cobra IronMan 70.3 2014 Filipina Elite Joyette Jopson.
The IronMan Langkawi is a qualifying race to the 2015 IronMan World Championship in Kona, Hawaii with available 40 slots.
It’s been more than 3 weeks after my IM70.3 debut and I must admit that during the first few weeks after my big event, I felt down, discontented and disappointed. It’s an odd feeling as I have never felt like this not even after my first full marathon.
How does one deal with post-race blues?
I am not an expert but what worked for me may also work for you.
1. Allow yourself to recover
Odd thing to say coming from someone who ran 10k two days after the race. But seriously after that run I realized that I should let my body recover. It didn’t mean that I had to stop working out. It meant that my regular 1.5hr spins became 45mins; my 3k swim became 1.5k and my 10k runs became 45mins easy running. It allowed my body to still get that rush of endorphins without the stress that comes from a hard workout.
2. Indulge in other activities during your free time
Appreciation of your free time would do you good. I was able to drive my son to school. Bring him with me to swim practice. Visit my uncle and sister. Do the grocery without rushing. Read a good book.
I plan to go camping with my children one weekend and hike up a mountain soon.
3. Look for photos of yourself during the race – relive the moments and move on
Relive the experience. Imagine yourself there in moments permanently etched in your memory. Look at your medal. Reminisce with triathlete friends who were also present during the race. Take note of what you couldn’t done differently and move on. Do not dwell in the negative.
Meet up with family and friends. Drink, eat, laugh and be merry.
5. Set a new goal
This worked very well for me. I signed up for two more triathlon events, both before the year ends and I am looking forward to conquering Cobra IM70.3 once again.
“Once you’re beat mentally, you might as well not even go to the starting line.”
I woke up at 2am. I couldn’t sleep. I guess this is normal for most but seriously, every since I started TRI-ing, I almost always get as much as 5 hours of sleep before a race. My migraine kept me up as I found myself tossing and turning trying to think of hundreds of reasons why it should just go away. I prayed to God to make it go away.
Finally at 4am, I decided to give up and start preparing for my long day. I opened my bible and started to reflect on the day’s readings which I already knew having heard anticipated mass the day before.
About two weeks before race week, I developed Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. I blame it on hours of training on the bike without eating anything prior to training. So this time I would make sure that I consume something light before the race. Noy pre-ordered a health omelet and some bread which the hotel promptly delivered at 430am. While munching on some of hubby’s breakfast, I prepared myself mentally for a grueling race.
I repeated what Coach Ige Lopez told me, a week before Cebu, mentally several times. He said – you have done your homework, you’ve done your mileage. You will be fine. Yes, I will be fine. I will be fine.
After a quick shower, I put on my trisuit, tied my hair, collected my transition bags and waited for Noy to be ready while doing some deep breathing exercises. We headed out as soon as hubby was done putting on his make up, oh I meant his sunblock.
A few minutes before 5am and the place was already packed. We were thankful that the rain didn’t pour the night before. Our bike covers were dry. I used this as a lining before I laid down my bike and run gear to protect them from getting dirty. Yes, I am OC that way.
I headed to the beach to look for my teammates and bumped into Edith of Team Endure at the little girls room. We saw Caroline Steffen, who I did not know at that time. Newbie triathlete here.
Finally at the beach, I saw my teammates who seriously are the source of my tri-strength. They push, support and keep me grounded. And most of all, they make me laugh and want to train. Being a member of GHTT is so much fun!
I saw my good friend Janis getting ready for the swim as well.
I lost Noy as I headed towards the beach and when I saw him again, I gave him a big hug and told him to stay safe. And finally his wave was being called. And after a few minutes, it was our turn.
As part of wave 5 – the last wave, I felt that we were at a disadvantage as cut-off was set 70 minutes after our wave. This means that earlier waves get additional time for their swim. This was what bothered me the most. I want to make sure that I do not get cut off or else I would’ve been heartbroken and my training was for naught.
It was a floating start so we had to swim a few meters before the starting area. I lost my teammates and ended up with Edith and Kira of Endure. Seriously, there were so many people!
When it was time to swim, I couldn’t make my way forward. So many people going left, right, doing breast stroke, kicking, pushing. Oh wow! I got kicked numerous times but I didn’t let it get to me. I wanted to swim with Kira as she called me and asked if we can swim together but it was impossible. There were just too many people!
I started to swim away from the crowd, away from the swim line and finally found my rhythm. Aside from the pushing, pulling, kicking I experienced earlier, my goggles started to leak. Oh boy. But Coach Nonoy Basa was in my head. Just enjoy the swim. If your goggles leak, then fix it. Oo nga naman! So fixed it I did. Several times I had to tread water to fix my goggles. This will be a long day I said to myself.
Finally the 2nd to the last turn before the finish. Hey cool. I’m almost there! I can see the last buoy before turning towards the swim finish. I was wondering why some of the marshals in the boats were calling out to me. As I turned to my left, I saw that I missed the ramp. I was suppose to swim diagonally towards it. Stupid! I did it again. I almost got lost again. I didn’t know if I made it. But there I still see dark blue even light blue caps (male age groupers which were in earlier waves) in front of me.
My watch registered 55! Yes! I did it. I rushed to T1. I made it! This should be an easy 90k bike. James (Rosca) did say it was a flat course.
I wanted to make sure I had everything before heading out. Drink water, pour water on feet, consume gel while wiping feet, hydrate, put on shoes, race bib, helmet, bike. Oh I forgot my gloves. Go back, gloves. Shall I re-apply sunblock? No time for that. Oh my shades. What do I use? The dark one or the lightly tinted one? Oh I should use the light one coz of the dark tunnel. Finally, off we go.
Please don’t make me fall. Please don’t make me get a flat. Those stuck to my head as I headed out of Mactan Newton. Then tok, tok, tok, tok, tok. What is the f*cking sound! Shall I stop to check? No, you’ll lose momentum and lose precious time. As if my deciding-what-shades-to-wear activity didn’t do that already. That’s transition. That does not count. Funny how I can recall the argument going on inside of me. I decided not to stop even if it was bothering me so much.
Now where is that bridge? Aha, there it is! I started to increase my speed so I can generate enough momentum, getting myself ready for the climb. Uhoh, in front of me was a sharp curve towards the right before the bridge. Ugh, I had to slow down losing all the momentum I had generated. With almost no momentum, I started my slow climb. Spin, spin, keep your cadence up. I can’t! I shifted to an easier gear and climbed slowly. I then heard someone call my name. It was Nicky from Rock N Road. I screamed back – “May ingay sa bike!” As if I can hear his reply. Oh well. At least I was able to air my concern to someone.
Finally done with the bridge, I worked my way towards the SRP for the double M loop. I was starting to enjoy the ride. Sure, my head was still painful but hey, the tough part is over, I can now relish Cebu’s flat roads, I told myself.
Flat? Flat? No way! I had to go up another bridge which looked a bit steeper than that of Marcelo Fernan. It was shorter though. I pushed hard. Kicked and pedaled my way to the top. You can do this – You climbed Bugarin, Mabitac, went to Real Quezon. This is nothing. I told myself.
After climbing that bridge, I got disheartened. This is not the flat course I was expecting. My head was throbbing. Then here comes the headwind. So this is the headwind James was telling me about. I was on top of the bridge scared to death that I might be blown away. That’s how strong it was.
I cannot honestly recall which came first the bridge or the dark tunnel but both freaked me out. I cannot believe that I have to go through this eight times to complete the double M loop.
As we were heading down from the bridge, an athlete on his/her bike, a few meters ahead of me to my left, started to sway which eventually led to him/her falling. I heard a scream to my left. Another athlete was moving too fast to stop that he ran over the athlete who fell. Thankfully I was able to maneuver my bike to the right avoiding an imminent crash. Brilliant! I was this close to getting into an accident. I was obviously shaken by the event.
I forced myself to relax and just enjoy the scenery. I recalled that during the race briefing, it was mentioned that the double M loop was 45k of the 90k. I was only at 25k. It’s going to be a long day, I told myself. I couldn’t even smile when hubby shouted my name. I was feeling that awful.
Finally, at km 50 after a female triathlete from Polo Tri overtaking said to me – “What is that horrible sound?”, I I decided to pull over and check my sensor. I had a feeling that my sensor was hitting part of my wheel creating that nasty sound I had to endure halfway through the race. As I was dismounting, my head started spinning, I was so dizzy that I had difficulty focusing on the task at hand. After a few minutes, which felt like seconds, I adjusted my sensor, mounted my bike and got back to the race.
Hooray! No more nasty sound. I lost so much time already so I picked up the pace and started overtaking people. I can recall a happy moment, as I was climbing up a hill after the tunnel. As I overtook a male triathlete, he exclaimed: Lakas! I said to myself, of course, I was trained by Berns and Candy. Haha!
As I made my way back to Mactan after the horrible SRP double M loop, I felt recharged. I can do this! Last 10k. Do not get a flat! I saw a number of triathletes on the side of the road, some even on the center island, trying to change their flat tires. I did not have the tools to change a flat. I forgot my hand pump and my CO2 canister fell, to the dismay of hubby who spent P1.2k for it. Haha!
There’s the McDonald’s sign. McDonald’s in 1.5km away. Pushhhhhh!!!
I was seriously dizzy, feeling faint and felt like I was going to vomit. But this is MY event. The only leg I feel confident about. Bike mounted, helmet off, bib in front, bikes shoes off, socks on, running shoes on, handheld water – check, change shades, visor on. I drank water which felt like I was drinking warm tea. It was scorching hot. I started to look for the exit but realized that I was still wearing my gloves! Ran back to my box to dump my glove and put on sunblock on the back of my neck and my face. Shall I re-apply all over? No time.
I learned from Coach Ige to pace myself during the 1st 10k of any run. So I was just chill when I saw people overtaking me. Don’t worry, we will see each other later. True enough, at km1 they were already walking.
I was slowly feeling better. Slowly getting my groove back. Someone said, “hey Noy is right there!” Great! Hehe! I got you now!
As soon as I saw him, I felt energized. “Hi Ny! See you later!” and started to overtake him. But he replied – “I injured myself. I lost part of my toenail.” Oh no….I asked if he wanted me to pace with him and he said yes. What should I do?
Noy said that Cobra IM70.3 would be our first and last half ironman event. We spend too much time away from the kids; it’s an expensive sport; I’m too tired. Those were his reasons. If this will be our first and last, I better make it count by making sure we both finish the race we started. I slowed down to walk with him, trying to make him laugh. I would run ahead to get him a cold of water, gatorade. Too bad I couldn’t find anymore sponges. This reminded me of the husband pacer challenge I did years back when we were still running newbies.
To elude boredom and encourage Noy to follow my lead, I would run ahead and run back to him if he doesn’t followed. I tried every trip on the book. I sang for him, tried to make him laugh, ran backwards, told him jokes. I even wanted to pour ice cold water on him but he refused as he didn’t want to get his wound wet.
I was concerned that we weren’t going to make cut off. Hubby could barely run and he was having a difficult time walking. He told me to go ahead and he will meet me by the finish line but I refused to leave his side. Besides, I won’t be able to achieve my target time anymore.
The run course was flat. Flat, filled with cheers and abundant hydration stations. There were serving cold water and Gatorade. Safeguard also has booth where you can get pour ice cold water to keep you warm.
At the last 3k, my training buddy, Eunice caught up with us. She was so happy to see us saying – Tapos ka na right?! (You’re done right?). I said No and explained that I promised Noy that I would stay with him. I told Eunice to go ahead when we reached the last 800m.
We’re almost there! Wow! I grabbed Noy’s hand and we started our slow jog to the finish line. We heard comments like: Sweet!; Kiss naman dyan!; Power couple; Iron couple. I even told them that we will kiss when we get to the finish line. Haha!
As we crossed the finish line, I realized that all the hardwork was worth it. Finishing a half ironman distance with the love of your life is something to be proud of. As I stared into Noy’s eyes, I said – WE DID IT!
I was elated to have finished with 30 minutes to spare. It wasn’t my target time but it was a race I will truly remember.
Lynette, my teammate, asked us to pose for a few pictures.
This I would say is a fitting end to a wonderful journey.
I would like to thank my family and friends – who still love me even if they don’t see me due to my “in training” status; my GHTT teammates – you guys and gals make training fun; Coaches Ige Lopez and Nonoy Basa – thank you for believing that I can do it, for your tough love that got me here; Anthony & his Rock ‘N Road family; Leeroy from Brick; Eunice and Nick; my friends from Endure & Takbo.ph; my children who understood why we had to leave so early and spend hours away from home training; my boss – Martin and his family who supported my training schedule and adjusted around it; and my husband, who did not get mad at me when I dreamt for the both of us.
I was asked several times by friends and peers before August, will I do another IM70.3 after Cobra? I said no. But looking back, I do want to do it again.
I will not settle for just a once in a lifetime but rather a lifetime of firsts. For every competition is a different experience. And that’s what makes it amazing.
Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure. -George Edward Woodberry
How did I get here?
A year ago, I was amazed that a friend of mine, Anthony Mejilla,competed and successfully finished the Cobra IM70.3 edition. You see Anthony did not know how to swim. Together with Janis, a common friend of ours, we forced him to enroll with us at Aqualogic in Makati Shang just so we can share the experience and have someone pay for our after training drinks. Haha! So from someone who didn’t know how to float on his back he actually survived and finished 1.9k swim, 90k bike and a 21k run. Amazing!
I was equally impressed and inspired by the stories of my friends Jet Paiso and Rico Villanueva. They also finished previous Cobra IM70.3 races. I remember them saying – If we can do it so can you.
So as soon as registration opened I found myself signing up for the race that will change our lives forever.
Flashback to August 1, the day we flew to Cebu to start our journey. To say that hubby and I were excited was an understatement. Nothing could ruin my mood. Not even the unintentional debit that the bank made to my account, not even my missing Timex watch. Nothing. Until we got to the airport. You see I rarely take Cebu Pacific. Not because I don’t like their service. It’s because I like earning miles from flying with PAL or SQ. But I always make sure that I check in online a day before my scheduled flight. Makes life easier. PAL has a dedicated lane for web check in folks where they can drop their baggages.
When we got to Terminal 3, the place was packed! It took us 20 minutes just to get inside the airport. Oh boy…
Apparently, Cebu Pacific does not have a dedicated lane for baggage drop and we had to queue as well. So much for online check in.
After probably more than an hour of waiting, our flight was directed to the Last Call Counter. A lady took our tickets, processed it, called our names to issue our boarding passes and take our luggage. With 20 minutes to spare before our scheduled departure, we headed towards our assigned gate to get ready for boarding. I saw my swim coach Noy Basa and his fiance Eva. He looked pretty ticked off as well. Jet Paiso and I were also taking the same flight. I was getting really excited again seeing all these triathletes headed to Cebu. Finally, it was time to board. I still didn’t see Anthony.
Cebu Cebu Cebu! We made it. The reception was amazing! We were greeted by a cultural dancers and a live band.
Anthony did not make in on the same flight! Cebu Pac bumped him and other passengers to the next flight. Oh no…
I was fortunate to have a private shuttle pick us up as arranged by my office’s Cebu branch. There was a long queue and some had to wait for some time to get picked up by Shangri-la Mactan’s shuttle.
After checking in and meeting up with roomies Janis and Eric, Noy’s wanted to check out the expo to look for a spare tire. Smart, he forgot his spare at home. Janis will be participating in Sunday’s event as well. She will do the swim leg of their relay team.
The expo was massive with so many people! I bought IronMan goodies for the kids and myself. The duffel bag was a steal at P2,490. I saw my Greenhills Tri Teammates. There were more than 25 of us competing this weekend. Woah! Unfortunately, there were no inexpensive tires on sale so Noy had to wait til the next day to get himself one.
We had our trusty bike mechanics from Rock ‘N Road assemble our bikes before hitting the beach for an open water swim. Our swim was very pleasant.
The waters near Shangrila Mactan were pristine. You can actually see the corals, schools of fishes swimming. Janis and I had a grand time while wondering where Noy was. Apparently, my brave husband decided to swim half of the course. Swimming had always been his strongest event.
The carbo loading party was slated for that evening. We donned our casual outfits and headed for the golf course. My teammate Bryan Ermac said that Sunrise Events really know how to throw a party. And he was telling the truth. There was live entertainment that actually reminded me of Rio de Janeiro’s Carnaval.
The boys enjoined and so did the girls After the party, we made our way back to the room. I was feeling sick. Felt like I was catching a cold. Noy got worried that he put socks on my cold legs and made me wear the hotel robe to keep me warm. Day 1 is finally over.
I’ve been putting off writing about my TriUnited 2 experience but only a few days before Cebu IronMan 70.3, feeling down and frustrated, it would be the perfect time to reminisce finishing the longest triathlon event I’ve joined to date.
The event will be held at Laiya, San Juan Batangas. I’ve heard horror stories about Laiya’s deep and wavy waters. So different from Subic’s calm shores. And at 2k, this will be my farthest open water swim. This is my main concern. I know I can ride 60k with no issues, maybe run majority of the 15k. Will I survive the swim?
A few days before the event, Coach Nonoy Basa made me do a 2k time trial. I can do it in the pool. I shouldn’t have a problem repeating it again. We shall see.
Race packet claiming
We arrived at Playa Laiya around 3pm, heading straight to the event for packet claiming and bike check in.
Benefit of not being too early – no lines. We were in and out within 10 minutes.
After hearing mass, I attended the race briefing. It was actually the first time I’ve ever attended one. Kuya Kim Atienza was invited to share with us the weather forecast. I didn’t know habagat meant southwest monsoon. He shared that there will be light to moderate rain during some of the bike and the run portion of the event. Great!
After some raffle prizes were given away I headed to La Luz where my teammates and I were staying.
Fast-forward to race day. Since we left our bikes at the event, I just brought a bottle of water with me to fill up my hydration bottle. I filled it only half way since it seemed that the ride won’t be a hot one. I thought to myself – filled up Speedfil equates a heavy load. Boy, that was one bad call.
Just like TU1, I was part of the 1st wave. We were allowed to warm up a few minutes before gun start. I noticed that the waves were swelling and prayed to God that I would be able to finish the event without any issues.
As advised by Coach Nonoy Basa, always start wide, away from the swim line and work your way in. That was precisely what I did. As soon as the gun went off, I slowly made my way towards the water to start my swim.
The first 50m was difficult. I felt nauseous from bobbing up and down with the waves. I positioned myself to the far left of the swim line and after 100m or so, moved towards the swim line where I saw some triathletes holding on to the line and using it to propel themselves forward. Wow! Seriously? Too early in the game people! I moved past them until I reached the orange buoy that marked the first turn. This would be the longest part of the leg. I was enjoying the swim, feeling the water, concentrating on my stroke. Looking down, I could see darkness, abyss…and then an image creeped into my mind….a huge shark with its jaws appearing from down there. Eeep! I swam faster.
There they are again, I saw three more triathletes, propelling themselves forward. I thought to myself – I must be really slow in swimming for them to be able to do that and still be ahead. Haha! Every time they would see someone swimming beside them, they would release the line and swim again. Geez…talk about feeling guilty.
Finally! Another buoy! I turned right swam more and turned right again. We were suppose to make a letter P. Straight, right, right, right and a left towards the shore. Easy right? Nothing is easy. Sighting was an issue because the sun was right in front of us. So I decided to draft behind another swimmer. Tough luck. I ended up getting lost because the person in front of me was lost too. Haha!
I swam towards a bunch of swim caps and found my way back. Ended the swim in 59 mins! Took longer than expected. I was 54 mins during my pool TT.
Wash feet, wipe, bike shoes, helmet, shades, race belt, bike. And off I go.
I paused for a while to get my picture taken
My favorite event. Every time I bike I feel free. Happy and free. I took note of the organizer’s instructions to keep right. Since the roads are narrow, it is imperative for us to keep right unless to overtake.
I had to overtake several times but I made sure that I move to the right as soon as possible making sure that it’s clear.
I saw a few bikers not following basic road protocols. They stayed on the left even if they were not overtaking thus blocking the path of fast bikers and the elites, leaving them no choice but to cross to the other side to overtake. Tsk tsk….
The sun was out and it was a hot and humid ride. My nutrition plan was to take an energy gel before the bike ride, two during and one right after. When it was my turn to take another gel, I realized that I ran out of water. I still had 10k to go so I decided to stop at the hydration station, refill my bottle and take my gel. The hydration station was after an uphill climb from the port and was located at a slightly incline position. Confident of my dismounting skills, I didn’t bother to find a flat surface to dismount. Big mistake! I lost my balance and fell to my left. Argh! Since my fall was a slow one, my shoe didn’t even unclip and it was still attached to my pedal. People rushed to help me up but didn’t also know how to my left foot out of the pedal. We struggled a bit to get me into an upright position but nothing worked. I ended up removing my foot from the shoe. Now that did it!
One of the race marshal asked me if I wanted to continue. Oh yeah! And he noticed a seemingly fresh wound on my arm. I told him that was from 2-3 weeks ago. He laughed. I guess they realized that I fall a lot. Haha!
I continued on and prayed that I won’t fall again. Finally the dismount area. I’m almost there.
I saw my “classmate” Eunice at the transition area. I told her to rush and get ready to run.
Bike up, helmet off, bike shoes off, socks on, running shoes on, grab gels and filled up hydration bottle, switch race bib to the front.
Off I go.
I’ve always been comfortable running from bike to run. Heavy legs were of no issue to me. Since I don’t wear my Garmin, I didn’t know my pace. I relied on feel, counted my steps, breathing just breathing. I stopped only when I’m at a hydration station to have a drink, take my gel. I was enjoying the run.
I’ve a funny story to tell. I started this sport as a runner so I am very much aware of simple running etiquettes especially how you are suppose to grab a drink from hydration stations. No sudden stops. Move at the end of the station. Grab drink at the end of the table. In my case, I grabbed a cup, took it with me at the end of the table – AWAY from all the other cups that had water, placed it in front of me while I open my gel to consume it. While I was in the process of consuming my gel, a triathlete grabbed the cup that I was placed right smack in front of me. Of all the cups on the table, he grabs mine which was on the other end of the table, the only cup on that side of the table. Oh well! I screamed well muffled because the gel was on my mouth “That’s mine!!!”. The athlete looked back, realized his mistake and screamed, “Pakibigyan sya” to the volunteers. Hahaha! Classy. Real classy. After laughing with the volunteers. I thanked them and went my way.
I love running because it is something familiar. I also get to chat and see old friends, cheer on other athletes and pose for photos. You can’t do that during the swim and bike legs.
While I was happily going my way, a male runner decided to pace with me because my pace seems to be slow enough for him. I didn’t mind the company so I agreed.
Finally my last loop. I was so tempted to walk portions of the route especially the hills. Oh the hills. But I kept on going. I didn’t even stop at the last hydration station as I was really excited to cross that finish line.
In order to get to the finish line, we must run along the beach. I kept on stumbling and close to falling so I just decided to walk until I reach a more stable part of the beach.
Finally the chute to the finish. I ran and gave it my all. FINISH!!! I screamed YES!!! Thank you Lord!
As I was about to step down from the finish line, I hand grabbed me from behind. It was my teammate Doc Erick. Yehey! We posed for a photo together before heading down.
It was an amazing feeling finishing a 2k swim, followed by a 60k bike and 15k run. I was in Cloud 9!
After crossing the finish line, I looked for Maridol and my other teammates. I was starving. Ineng’s barbeque always hits the spot and I’m so glad that I get a meal for free after each TriUnited event. Free Razon’s halo-halo was a definite plus. I ate with my teammates while waiting for Noy. As soon as I saw him cross the finish line, I can’t help but be the proud wife that I am. With him by my side, everything is possible. Or rather, would him waaaay behind me during races, everything will be fine. Hahaha!
CEBU IM70.3, HERE I COME!!!