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’•

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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!

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….

 

 

 

BGC CycleAsia 2016


Yesterday was such a special treat because not only did I get the chance to meet and ride with Australian former cycling pro & three-time Tour de France winner Robbie McEwen, but i also had the privilege of doing that 40km course with my dad by my side.

The starting line- my dad to my right, Robbie McEwen to my left; surrounded by Polo Tri Team and pro triathlete Dan Brown

Early that morning, I made sure to get to the starting line way before gunstart, waited for my dad, and made sure I had brought with me his bike nutrition (an energy bar), his race belt, and bike emergency tools (co2 and pitstop). It was the first time my dad and I were riding together so this was an extraordinary bike ride for both of us.

As the gun was shot, off we went. We were surrounded by the full force of the Polo Tri Team and those guys were fast! It was a test of willpower and tons of EQ for me as I wanted to push, go fast and try to chase them (keyword: try) but I knew I had to stay by my dad’s side. 

A screencap of The Facebook live video that caught my dad and I side by side on the kalayaan flyover

Having suffered from a bad crash caused by his heart stopping a few months ago, the doctors told my dad to ease up on the bike. Meaning, he can’t quite raise his heart rate anymore. Only slow, steady rides for him. He knew I liked going for speed..told me I could race it and just leave him, and just wait for him at the u-turn. But I couldn’t, wouldn’t  and didn’t. What if something happened to him in that few minutes that I’d leave him? I was not going to risk that. Besides, the only reason I joined this was so that I could ride side by side with him anyway!

The course was easy and beautiful. Having the roads of BGC, buendia and roxas all to ourselves, my dad told me stories about his old biking adventures the whole way.

Other bikers would pass us, as we would also pass some bikers… we didn’t care about speed, just biked merrily. My dad admitted to me as we climbed the last flyover that he purposely didn’t wear his heart rate monitor just so that he won’t panic if his HR goes up by just a bit (which would cause him to stop); But he looked like he was having fun so I was the least bit worried.

Jonah Rivera, Robbie McEwen, Myself & my dad right after crossing the finish line altogether

On the last 10km we found my good friend & Tri trainingmate Jonah so he caught up with us and stayed by our side. Upon reaching the last 5 km, Robbie showed up beside me and paced with us too! How awesome right? He said we looked like a group he would cross the finish line with. An hour and half on the course and we crossed the finish line, all four of us, me, my dad, jonah & Robbie, with big smiles on our faces. Yes, it was probably one of my slowest rides to date but  I wasn’t doing this to PR anyway. This was perhaps one of the best (if not THE BEST) dad & daughter bonding experience I’ve had with my dad. Such a priceless experience that I wish to get to do over and over again. Yup, the medal that we got in the end may just be a piece of metal, but what it represents is something I will forever cherish. 

Big thanks to Princess Galura & Sunrise Events for organizing this well-executed event! 

Forever daddy’s little girl

My Bellevue 5150 Bohol 2016 experience


5 months ago, I posted about my first ever triathlon relay experience, and a lot has happened ever since.

After dipping my toes into triathlon via that relay wherein I did the 10km run part, I wasn’t planning on getting fully into triathlon until maybe next year. But the universe had other plans for me. As I was training to do the run part once again, for another triathlon- the Ironman 70.3 in Cebu this time, the biker of my team had a bad bike crash and fractured her hip. She was therefore unable to fulfill her role in our team anymore. Having been kinda training on the bike anyway, Our team captain decided that I’ll do the 90 km bike course instead. The delicious 2nd place podium finish whet my appetite to maybe do all three already.

Three weeks later, I did my first ever triathlon via Aboitiz 5150 in Pico de Loro. 


It having only been 3 weeks after cebu, I wasn’t really trained for it. I just did it Coz I wanted to, much to both my coaches’ chagrin. I had only learned how to sight the day before, so me almost drowning in those large swells was perhaps expected. Even before doing Aboitiz 5150 though, I already knew I was going to do Bohol.

My training days leading up to this race weren’t exactly the best. I suffered a nasty bike spill on the 2nd of October making me unable to train completely for a week and a half, and was only able to swim twice the whole month. I also fell ill and was coughing even until I got to Bohol. On the day before race day, I tried to swim, bike and run, only to have a head on collision with a fellow athlete in the middle of the ocean and thus having my face get a huge scratch by the eye because of it, got stung by a jelly fish on the leg, stepped on an urchin on the way out of the water, and to top it all off, began my moon cycle.

Perhaps a normal person would think that all of these setbacks happening to one person was either a sign not to race anymore or is the universe conspiring against her. But I’m not normal. I’m weird and perhaps, crazy. I thought that this was the universe challenging me and testing my spirit. I’m a fighter, always have been. Nothing will stop me from racing and chasing that endorphin high. It also helped that I had just finished reading Chrissie Wellington’s book, so to say I was inspired was an understatement. 

It was a beautiful day on race day – it had just rained the night before so although our bikes were completely drenched and the roads a bit slippery, the cloudy day was perfect. I woke up feeling good, and oddly calm. Why was I so damn calm? Having such a bad day the day before, I was set to believe that the universe will be a lot nicer to me today. It should be. I had my pre-race brekkie of oats, nuts, fruit & superfood with 2 cups of coffee, took my Optygen, and went on my way to transition to put my things in my box. 


My friends, who all belonged to other teams, and I had a group prayer before heading to our respective waves and then we were off. It’s my second triathlon race to date, but my first for it to be early morning and first deep water swim start. I ws nervous about drowning even before the gun was shot. 43 mins later, I was out of the water, but time had counted the minutes where we were walking onto the shore, which was extremely long so I made it a little less than 50 mins.. Given the amount of swim I was able to clock in prior to this race, I was just happy to have survived it.


I’m always happy when I’m on the bike so the 40km flat course had me smiling the whole time. It was mostly cloudy with a bit of rain for a couple of minutes but I managed to clock in 1:18. Again, I kept wondering why I was oddly calm. 


The run course was painful. Not because of anything else but the fact that I could still feel that sea urchin’s needle poke my foot every time my right foot landed, I started coughing again, and my tummy started cramping. Why, of all days did my moon cycle decide to begin yesterday?! I tried to ignore everything I was feeling and  pushed til the finish line. After exactly 3 hours and 20 mins of swimming, biking and running, I crossed that  sought after finish line and placed 4th in my AG. An unexpected strong finish, having only wanting to finish smiling given my circumstances. 

Oddly enough, I didnt cry like how I did on my first tri. But instead, I just let out a huge exhale, shook my head and smiled. Oh what an exhilarating feeling!! I looked for my friends immediately after, and our endorphin high had us enjoy the rest of the day laughing and talking about the race that was. 

I also met Sam Betten, the back to back champ of Bellevue 5150. Ironically enough, he was also the champ of the Regent 5150 5 months ago, yup the first one I dipped my toes into. I was already in awe of his speed and strength then, and nothing has changed til now. I was fangirling and starstruck to say the least. 

Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we pay to swim, bike and run our hearts out? Why do we push ourselves to the limit? 
Because we can. 

A huge congratulations and thanks to Sunrise & Bellevue for this well organized event! The course was beautiful, everything about it was obviously well planned. Perfect race for a newbie like me. 


My first Tri (relay)

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No words can describe how marvelous it felt while racing the run leg of this Olympic distance triathlon. Sure, I’ve ran 10km countless times.. But it wasn’t for a triathlon. It wasn’t at 8:30am. It wasn’t in subic, where the weather was SCORCHING HOT (about 36Β°) with a cloudless sky and no trees by the road to give you shade. 
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With a Gretchen Fullido as the swimmer, chef Carlo Miguel on the bike and me on the run, we aimed for an over-all relay podium finish. 

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 But what with Cheffy’s front wheel breaking, we lost about 10-15 mins when he changed his wheel to one from a marshal’s bike. We finished 6th, not bad right?

Despite feeling like I could pass out from the heat, I was smiling from ear to ear because the vibe and energy of tri was just so alive. It really kept me going. 
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I wouldn’t have joined this if it werent for the push, motivation and inspiration from the people I train with..

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Kuya Kim crashed head first from his bike yet managed to still finish the race albeit bleeding and needing to get stitched up after the race (he went to the ER after finishing.) such a warrior!
Jonah suffered a flat tire on the 34th km mark of the bike so he WALKED the remaining 6km of the bike in his bike shoes and transitioned to the run after. What a rockstar.
Chef Carlo Miguel, as mentioned, broke his front tire and wanted to DnF but he said he couldn’t bare disappoint me and not let me run on my first tri. Thanks for that, Cheffy.
It was too hot that day, but everyone pushed. Keith, who is part of our little chat group, even got a podium finish.
Mark Bu, Coach Ige and Mark H all finished with a sub 3… But apparently that was slow for them already. (It’s super fast for me)

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 I’m so lucky and happy to be training with these strong triathletes.. And I’m happy to have somewhat experienced the endorphin high that they get after a race. Sure we endure the ugliest tanlines after.. But it sure makes our hearts happy! I can’t wait for my next relay (ironman) and my first whole TRI! πŸ’ͺ🏽 

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