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…

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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™‚