My 2017 Cebu ironman 70.3 experienceΒ 


As 2016’s Asia Pacific Championships was when I first dipped my toes in an ironman event by doing the bike part of the race, 2 months ago for this year’s event, I faced the challenge of racing all 113kms of swim, bike and run all by myself.

They told me that Cebu was always unpredictable and it would always have that once curveball during the race… what we didn’t see coming was that this year, there were two curveballs. 

Everything was going smoothly…. I was nervous yet excited for the race to to begin. I have a penchant for starting beside my friends/teammates and this race was no different. After finding them by the shore, we all warmed up together and planned to run into the water together and swim side by side. (I still have a lingering fear of swimming so my teammates are nice enough to always let me stay with them as much as I can just til I get comfortable) 


But sometimes, things don’t go as planned… and as the rollingstart begun, I found myself being pulled by a marshal to the front and having had to start all by myself. I remember running in, looking back to my teammate, and gave him an “oh sh-t” look. I was alone. Suffice to say that I ended up getting lost (people were hanging onto the buoyline so I swam past it and ended up in the deep, really black part of the sea already… faaaar from where the racers were) and ended up swimming around 3km. 

The current was so strong and we were swimming against it. At some point, when I had realized that it was pitch black and there were no other swimmers next to me (I got lost in my thoughts that I didn’t realize it early on – swimming is very meditative), I looked up to find myself in the middle of the sea… I screamed for help and a nice marshal on a kayak went up next to me to tell me that I was far off course already. I asked him if I should just ride his boat and call it a day but he said he believed I could still make it to the cut off. Kuya Manong kayak, whoever you were…. thank you for that.

So I swam back. Or at least tried to. Once I got back to the pack, everyone was swimming violently. I remember being punched and kicked countless times. I was frustrated. I was screaming as I exhaled in the water. I just wanted this to be over. The moment I found myself lost in the deep blue was when it stopped being a race for me and became all about survival. Screwy target time. I just wanna live. Maybe finish… but I told myself already that if I get cut off, then so be it.

When I finally got out of the water, I checked my watch only to realize that I had still ample time before the cut off. “Great” I thought. As I got to the transistor area, I was surprised to see quite a number of bikes still there. Wow. There were still plenty of people swimming then…

For those of you who have read my other entires, you probably already know that biking is my favored leg of the 3. So despite everything that happened on the swim, I was glad to finally be able to ride my bike. 


Biking 90km in Cebu under the heat, with crosswinds and headwinds was harder than I had remembered. I pushed and pedaled and got lost in my thoughts… I wanted to save my legs for the half marathon that would come after. But at the same time, I wanted to make up for the horrible swim time that I clocked in.My quads and hamstrings started to cramp but I kept telling myself that I should keep going. Now is not the time to dnf. The will to survive. I was thinking.. hey, I’m already in pain, might as well keep going and get a medal for it! 

When I finally got back to transition, that’s where the mental game started. I didn’t want to run anymore. My legs were giving up on me. I started pacing by my box, debating with myself if I should go on… I was feeling weak. It was too hot. But a voice in my head said “come on, it’s just 21k… you do that for fun every week today is when it matters.” So I put on my shoes and attempted to run. 


It was a scorcher out there. I found myself getting as much sponge, ice, water, sports drink and bananas I could get my hands on in all the hydration stations. I was taking my gels. I was strict with my nutrition. But the heat was stronger than my body. The people of Cebu were lined up in the streets cheering, screaming our names… it was a nice reprieve from all the suffering we were enduring. I was smiling through the pain.. their energies lifted me up. 


I was smiling when I crossed that finish line. It was a sense of relief. It was A sense of accomplishment. And as I found my teammates by the ice baths…. I suddenly felt the adrenaline wear off and I let out a loud cry.. “kuya that was so painful” and I was hugged as I cried…. cried because it was painful. Cried because it was finally over. Cried because I survived. It was a roller coaster of emotions for me, and everyone else who joined. Cebu was a tough one. That was one hard earned hardware. Will I do it again next year? We’ll see…

Advertisements

Musaman TriDavNor inaugural race


A couple of months ago, we got an invite to race the inaugural Olympic Distance Triathlon in Davao, the Musaman TriDavNor, that was set to happen on the last weekend of June 2017. We happily accepted the invitation, and looked forward to the racecation.

But a sudden change in climate in Mindanao made us a bit apprehensive of still doing the race. A lot of people backed out, yet also plenty were still trying to get in. Mindanao was in Martial Law, there were news of rebellion just near the race venue. We were quite scared, but the organizers assured us that they will beef up security and make sure of our safety.

So we still flew out of Manila and into Davao, got greeted by police escorts and off to Tagum we went to stay in Hijo Resorts where the swim start and first transition would take place.


They say before the race didn’t feel like one at all. When we biked out to register at the sports complex, I got to appreciate the beautiful palm tree lined road that we would pass on race day. The roads were smooth and flat – it was so beautiful. Of course, it was also my first time to have police escorts as I rode out on the road – an extra precaution that the organizers gave us to entail our safety.


It certainly felt more like a vacation as we just relaxed by the pool and got fed so much local food – fresh seafood, and ulam’s and delicacies from the different tribes of Davao.. everything was so delicious it was hard to stop eating.

Race day came, and the elites were to start first, then the men, followed by the women 10 mins after the first group. To say I was nervous was an understatement, but good thing I was able to shake off my nerves after spotting some friends cheering us on.


It was a fast 1.5km point to point swim in clear flat waters and I was quite surprised to have come out of the water in 31 mins. Having zero swim background, this was very fast for me. I was elated to see my time and went on to transition to my bike ride.

The 40km bike course ran through the palm tree lines roads, and on to a banana plantation til we reached the sports complex where the next transition was. The turns were quite tight so I found myself overshooting and having had to make a u-turn.. I tried to make up for the time lost. My nutrition plan was out the door when I realized my gels dropped from my bento box when I hit a bump on the road so I had to make do with what energy I had left. All in all that bike ride was amazing and I still hit a personal best for that 40km stretch.

As I came onto the flats as a pancake run, the temperatures have risen to 35Β° and all I wanted was to run as fast as my tired legs could take me. I didn’t see a water station until 3km in so I found myself suffering in the heat. On the last km stretch of the run, I found myself running  along 3 male triathletes, one of them stayed by my side and paced with me til the finish line. Grateful for that last push to the finish.


To have finished under 3 hours for the second time in a row at an Olympic Distance Triathlon is a huge achievement for me, especially since I haven’t even been doing this for a year yet. All the training hours certainly pay off.

All in all, Musaman is a beautiful and memorable race and I can’t wait to do it all over again next year.


Shout out to Father Jay, Andy, Christopher, Missy & Keith for inviting us and taking such good care of us in Davao. Our experience wouldn’t have been the same if not for you guys. Also ofcourse, this racecation wouldn’t have been as funny and fun without Kuya Kim, coach Ige, My soul sister Sara (this was her first Olympic distance tri and she rocked it!), Greta, Tim, Cj, Jonah & Jane, Rico & Trixie, Keith & Joyce. And of course the three people who keep me race ready – my swim coach Noy, my tri coach Ige and my unofficial nutrition and race strategy planner Enrico. You guys are everything a newbie triathlete can dream of. I feel so blessed to have you all as my friends. πŸ’•

CT IronMan70.3 Subicbay 2017


I’ve gone from 1 run relay, 1 bike relay, 2 Olympic distance triathlons and 1 duathlon straight to my first half ironman in less than a year. Am I testing my limits or am I just crazy? Up to you to decipher.


Yesterday’s race was challenging. It was my first 70.3 and it didn’t come easy. As January rolled in, I started to train for this race but as luck would have it, I injured my shin 2 weeks in and was out of training for a week. After that, my coaches only allowed me to swim and bike. Three weeks before the race, friends, team mates and my coach sat me down and asked if I still wanted to do it. I haven’t been running much and my injury still wasn’t healed – it concerned them that things might get worse. But since I’m stubborn, and the type who wouldn’t stop at nothing to get what she sets her mind to, I told them I’d manage. Or at least try to. 


Come race weekend I was nervous but calm. I had no idea what to expect and my coach had told me to just pace the whole race and not push too hard as he didn’t want me to injure myself yet again. The goal was just to finish, I can push when on the next one. Triathlete friends (who have been doing this for years) all gave me tips on how to go about the race and what to expect, what to do as to not blowout and bonk.


On the day of the race, as I was getting my transition area ready, i had a little crisis as my front bike wheel was deflated and even the bike mechanics didn’t have a valve extended to put air in it. Fortunately, Jay Caniza of the Alveo tri team came to my rescue, he kept telling me to relax as it was my first race, and he was the one who looked for a solution for my problem. Big thanks, jay!


At the swimstart, I didn’t have butterflies in my belly– I had a whole insect farm in there! My heart was beating so loud and fast I kept holding on to my chest. As the whistle blew, off I went. At some point of the swim someone accidentally punched my face and pulled my goggles down so I had to stop to put it back on. Nevertheless I think I had a good swim, still slow but I wasn’t freaking out in the water nor was out of breath anymore. Yay! 


I took advantage of the fact that I could take my time in this race and there was no time pressure from myself, my coach or my friends so at the first transition area, I took my time and applied sunblock all over to protect myself from the sun on the cloudless bike course on sctex. If you check my bike photo you’d notice the bottle of sunblock spray in my back pocket. The bike course was tough as it was full of rolling hills, false flats and rough roads, apart from the sweltering heat. Oh boy. I also initially suffered with problems with my gear shifter. For some weird reason, I couldn’t get the chain to the big ring. I was already thinking that maybe it’s the universe telling me to really take it easy on my legs but then it worries me as that would mean no power on the flats and downhills. But as I hit the first major downhill, on the 7th try, it worked, and I was so grateful. Every successful small to big rig change from them on felt like an achievement for me from then on. 


Having had only a handful run sessions during my training due to the shin splints, I knew I wasn’t going to run fast or strong. But I was willing to put up a fight. I wore my shin compressions for added protection, and changed my bike shades into pink running ones (because.. kikay) and went on my way. The blistering heat of the sun was unforgiving. I stopped by every aid station to grab ice, sponges, water, have them pour iced water all over, and even grabbed a banana or two just to keep me going.  It helped a lot that fellow triathletes would cheer me on as I ran, those who knew it was my first time would scream “you’re doing great!” As they passed. 


I never wiped the smile off my face the whole race. Yes it was painful, yes it was tough, but it was worth it. And apparently I was 7th in my age group too! Not bad! 


And though I was initially advised to take a break, next week I’m off to do my first aquathlon. Wish me luck! πŸ™‚

Powerman Duathlon 2016

I know it’s been months since this race but I’ve only gotten hold of the photos recently so i think it’s about time I share this wonderful race experience with everyone.


Last year, I got an invite to join the Powerman Duathlon 2016 in Clark, Pampanga. I’ve never done a Duathlon before but I was told to expect pain as it is a run – bike – run race, which would be heavy on the legs. As the days came close to the race, I started to get mental and slacked off in training. I didn’t really want to do it anymore. But 2 of my tri friends, Noy Basa (who is also my swim coach for tri) and Jonah Rivera were doing the race with me so I thought I’d just do it for the experience. Don’t get me wrong though, even if I “slacked off” in training it doesn’t mean I really let go. I just had an additional rest day, that’s all. But I’d still do my long bike rides and long runs as I should.


I arrived in Clark the day before and only had enough time to register, attend the briefing, check in my Trek Emonda roadie and then head to my hotel for dinner and bed. I was wearing this cute little cut out maxidress that made me look more ‘plus one’ than athlete. (much to the chagrin of Kuya Kim)

On the day of the race, i felt good but sleepy. We had to wake up way before dawn to head to the race village and prep our gear. Since I was doing the shorter distance (with most registered athletes), I was on the second to the last wave, which meant the wait til gunstart would be longer. I only had one cup of coffee instead of two so to say I was sleepy was an understatement.


Jonah was asking me if I still wanted to race because he found me sitting on the grass with my head down and eyes closed… then I said “yeah… I’ll just aim to finish fast so I can go back to bed.. my motivation will be my hotel bed” — oh what motivation that was!

And so when the gun was shot for my wave, I started running .. but took it easy as I didn’t want to tire my legs out too much. My goal was to finish the race in 2 hours, or perhaps 2:12 but no longer than that.


I finished my 5k run in the middle of the pack, noting as I got into transition that half the bikes were gone. Half. Oh well!

As I rode my trusty steed I felt good. I think I’ve said this before, but again, I’m always happy when on the bike, so I pedaled away, trying to tick off and overtake as much girls as I could to make up for my slow but steady start and enjoyed the ride. I had no idea how fast or slow I was going compared to the others. I was aiming to break my own personal record and perhaps go back to sleep. Towards the end, in an uphill, there was a teenager right behind me who was almost out of breath and kept saying “ayoko na!” I looked behind me and saw the teen struggling. I smiled and said “Kaya natin to. Tara!” 


Entering the second transition for the last run leg, I noticed that there were hardly any bikes in the area. I looked around and saw only a couple of bikes in my lane. “Oh sh*t.. I think I can win this.” Was the first thing that entered my mind. As I was running out, the teenager I spoke to was just coming in, and he waved at me and cheered, as if a sign of thanks for helping motivate him to finish earlier on. (Yay)


I becan running like I stole something. I ran as hard as my tired, heavy yet jelly legs could go. I kept looking back checking if there was anyone behind me. On the last kilometer I wanted to walk but I could hear Coach Ige’s voice in my head telling me I’m not allowed to do so. And upon seeing the finish line, I sprinted, saw the banner, posed and crossed it. Yes, I had to pose. Being the Asian that I am, I threw two peace signs by my face and smiled. Raymund Magdaluyo, the organizer of this race (who is also a friend) gave me a tight hug as I crossed the finish line and screamed “I’m so proud of you!!!!!”– I didn’t have any idea why until one of the marshalls told me that I was the third woman overall to cross the finish line. WHUUUT. I was so elated. It felt so surreal. I did a sub2 hr finish.. waaay faster than I expected I could. Yay!


To win first place in my age group and third woman overall on my first ever Duathlon was priceless. The elation I felt was so indescribable. All I can say is that it wiped the exhaustion from my body and I just had endorphin overload.


That was the last race that I joined for 2016. And now, its two weeks away from my first race of the year, which will me my first Ironman 70.3 race. I’m not sure how I’ll fare as I’m still nursing a shin injury but I think I can still finish, with a smile I hope.. wish me luck!


*all photos (except the last one) from Powerman 

Special thanks to Carlos de Guzman of SBR for my race kit and accommodations. You the best!

Mt Maculot


 It was the day after Typhoon Nina had just devastated some parts of the country. We were supposed to climb a different, more difficult mountain that day, but, given that typhoon had just hit the area, we decided to change our whole itinerary.


From a large group of 20+ that was supposed to hike a different mountain at dawn to catch the sunrise, we ended up with a little less than 20 people climbing up to catch the sunset instead. And I’m glad we did.


We saw a tree that had fallen the day before right at the start of the hike. We were scared that the soil might be soft due to the storm but fortunately, the soil was dry, thanks to the humidity and heat that day. Ofcourse, it was the heat and humidity that made the climb harder than it really was as well.


Having some first time hikers with us, we paced slow and steady, and took tons of photos every chance we had. And boy, did we take lots of those chances! 


I kept muttering “oh my God it’s so beautiful” over and over as we were nearing the Rockies. Because it really was. Everywhere we looked, everything our eyes could see… the photos don’t give any justice to the breathtaking beauty that we witnessed.


Standing at the top and edge of every rock just for that obligatory mountain photo was quite a challenge. You look down and see that one wrong move would mean the end. It is of utmost importance to practice extra caution when going up those rocks. Didn’t help that I’m actually frightened of heights so I had to do my deep breathing exercises whenever I’d be standing by a cliff. 


We were all on top of the Rockies when sunset occurred  and we just stayed there. Sat down and took it all in. (And took tons of photos again ofcourse.) there are no words that can suffice to describe it. Mother Nature put on a show that day and to just marvel at what you see was inevitable.


We climbed down as it was getting dark and again, the view of the city slowly lighting up in the dark was another sight to behold. Took more photos not with a camera but just my eyes for the memory bank this time… extremely grateful for that sudden change of plans. Grateful to have hiked safely. Grateful to have witnessed the sunset at the most amazing spot thus far. Grateful to have had another opportunity to climb. To end the year with an exhilarating climb up a mountain is more than what I wished for when this marvelous year started. I love it. 

Twin peaks – Mt Cayabu & Mt Maynuba

It was a week before Christmas, the only day we were all available for a Sunday hike. pinoyMountaineer photos showed a beautiful sea of clouds once you reach the summit, but, it had been raining intermittently on the day of our climb, so the sea of clouds were a no show, but it was beautiful nonetheless. A Beautiful rainbow also appeared at some point, when the rain had paused.


We started our hike at 4am, when the sun wasn’t even up yet and headlamps were our bff’s.


We reached the first summit, Mt Cayabu, while it was dark still. It’s ok, it was Maynuba that we were after anyway.


Everything was so beautiful. Perhaps the only caveat was that the ground was extremely muddy and slippery. But the weather, albeit the rain, was cool, we liked it. 


We decided to traverse the mountain, never mindthe extra hours it would add to our hike because traversing meant going through 8 “wonder falls” where you could take a dip. The cold, clean water was such a treat for our tired legs! 


Watching the sun rise as we hiked through the mountains… just being around nature. The phone connection may have been non existent there, but the human connection was stronger than ever. 


What made this hike special also was that not only is it our first hike back after a year and a half, but it’s the first time I have ever hiked with my bro. And it won’t be the last. πŸ™‚

12 years of missed steaks

And so the (somewhat) inevitable has happened.

12.5 years ago, i became an ovo-lacto vegetarian all because i watched a documentary by PETA that made me cry my eyes out because i felt sorry for the cows and pigs.

a year later, i started eating fish because i was advised to do so.

fast forward to September of this year, as i had just finished my first ever Olympic distane triathlon race and was gearing up for my second one, a triathlete/nutritionist-in-training friend of mine told me that maybe i should start eating meat to get stronger. i told him i’d think about it but would only really consider it perhapsΒ after my race. i didnt want the meat to mess up my system, if ever.

And so for 2 months, i was mentally and emotionally preparing myself with the fact that i might have to try eating meat again. the thought made me shiver. it made me scared. how will my body take it? how will it react? will i get sick? will i like it? i was secretly hoping i’d hate it.

What most people didnt know though, was that dizzy spells was becoming a norm for me already. practicing yoga would sometimes make me feel dizzy with all the inversions; i open my eyes and i see stars. i didnt want to admit that i was feeling weak. i didnt dare show it.

i guess my doctor’s spidey sense went tingling when he messaged me to drop by his clinic as he was concerned about something. and so, to cut this very long story short, i was told that i was getting anemic, and that my body NEEDED the meat to fully recover from my intense trainings. plant and fish protein werent enough for my body’s needs anymore. it was a choice of either eating meat or having to heavily supplement artificially. that was the clincher.

my friends who raced with me in Bohol kept me company as i had my first bout of meat. Sara set up 2 cameras and edited this video too. so for those who were wondering how i reacted the first time i tried it… here you go.

the first bite was the weirdest sensation and taste ive had in years. the juice, the texture…. it was something i wasnt used to. it was weird. good. but weird. im so sad that i love it. now ive been eating steak almost everyday….

yes, i was trying to delay having to eat it. yes, i felt bad. and yes, i cried myself to sleep that night. it wasnt an emotional cry, but i think i really just felt bad for the cow. sorry mister cow, ive begun to love you in a different way now….