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’•

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. 

Beautiful BaliΒ 

Bali is a place I will forever hold dear in my heart as this is where I went to heal, pray & yoga after going through a great ordeal last year.

Several days ago, with a new set of happy & content eyes, I went back, all for a different kind of adventure.
I’ve always been meaning to surf, or atleast learn how to, so just imagine how ecstatic I was upon finding out that first on our agenda was surf lessons from Quiksilver’s Bali Surf Team. 

   
   

I was very much elated to have been able to stand on the board right at the first time!! Even if I only surfed baby waves, boy, was I stoked!

   

Other beach activities were on our itinerary the following day but I chose to just chill by the beach in my very “conservative” swimwear. Having been training under the sun all the time, my shoulders and arms were already a lot darker than my legs. This new swimsuit design allowed me to even out my tan. Don’t you just love it?

 

At the behest of no one, I still awoke at 6am everyday in this trip to practice yoga. Glad the other girls were able to practice also on our second day though! 

   
    

   

Sunset sessions, shopping & just enjoying the sights were also some of the highlights of this trip. To say Bali is Beautiful is an understatement. No words will ever suffice to describe the beauty of it. So let me just say more than a thousand words by these photos. 

   
    
    
    
    
  

What a fun & memorable trip this was. The best part? We didn’t really have to pack anything as we were lucky ducks being able to don Roxy’s newest collection that’s just being released in a few days! Can’t wait for the  the new collection to hit the stores!