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The Importance of “Yes”

A Life Without Limits - Chrissie Wellington

Yesterday I found myself inside a bookstore to pick up a copy of Chrissie Wellington’s autobiography A Life Without Limits. I had already borrowed the book from a friend last year, but having my own copy is invaluable because I can go back to some of its nuggets of wisdom. The one I was thinking about in particular was this passage:

My only policy throughout has been to keep an open mind and, whatever I may do, give it my all…the limits that I thought I could see in the distance dissolved as I approached them. They turned out not to be real at all, but mere assumptions. And that has been the most exciting revelation of all.

When I first started running, I never thought about competing, but ran for its health benefits. Then when presented with an opportunity to race, I took it and found I enjoyed the races as well as striving to be better. Everything else that followed after was a result of saying “yes” to opportunities that presented themselves. Yes to doing my first marathon on my birthday, which led to qualifying for the Milo Marathon finals that year (it’s our own version of the Boston Marathon!). Yes to doing my first triathlon, which a few years later led to me completing an ironman this year — at one of the world’s best races, no less!

But what was the first step? It was answering “yes” to challenges that presented themselves, that ignited passion and excitement in me. I’m normally more closed-off. I’m not a world traveler, not adventurous (even in food! I always order the same things in restaurants I’ve been to), not spontaneous…

Happy Camper
doing my best Chrissie Wellington impression

I took an improv acting workshop many years ago, and one of our exercises was “Yes, And”. Two actors begin a conversation. One of them starts with a scenario, and the other agrees and builds onto that scenario. It goes like this:

Actor 1: How was your trip to Africa? Did you see any lions?
Actor 2: Yes! One of them even came all the way up to our truck.
Actor 1: I heard it scratched the door.
Actor 2: That was my door. I’m so glad it wasn’t an open-bed truck, otherwise we would have been like a bucket of KFC Chicken. Nom nom nom!

You’re not allowed to deny anything the other actor says, and you have to build on it. This has the opportunity to build into a great story, and all built on improv! One of the reasons I sucked at this exercise was I tended to say, “No, not really” instead of agreeing with my partner in the exercise.

As I re-read Chrissie’s book I see in myself many of her traits: the desire to excel, a need for approval, the tendency to become a control freak. Someone recently asked me, “Why do you hold onto so much, and hold yourself to so much? It is your biggest limiter and also your biggest asset.” I said it’s because I ask a lot from myself, and I usually get it. It’s great when it fuels me to get the best performance out of myself in a race, for instance. It’s awful when I get down on myself for things that haven’t even happened, doubting myself, resulting in questions like “what if I’m not fast enough or strong enough?” It’s something I am trying, with increasing success, to overcome.

Because of sport I’ve been “Yes, And”-ing things in my life, and it’s opened up so many new experiences, I’ve met great new friends, and been so many more places than I ever thought possible. And there’s so much more to do and see and grow into becoming. It’s not just an external journey, but more importantly it’s also an internal one. I do feel my world and my perspective has grown from all this. I’ve grown not just as an athlete, but also as a person.

I don’t want to say that I can become a world champion just like Chrissie Wellington (she’s a freak of nature!), but I do know that I am on my way to becoming the best I can be at whatever I decide to do. And I know you can do that, too. Anyone can.

But it all starts with a “yes.”

Blog Race Info

Gran Fondo Bicolandia on December 14

I have been sick, busy, or otherwise faffing around so I haven’t taken my Ceepo bike Aki out on a really, really long ride. And besides, I’m done with ironman training for the next few years so you won’t find me on a 200-kilometer ride any time soon. But this bike is made for long-course, so every time I end one of my rides in Nuvali I can practically hear the bike asking for more, more…

You can understand why my ears perked up on hearing about the Gran Fondo Bicolandia happening on December 14, 2014. It begins in Naga City and passes through the municipalities of Sagnay and Tiwi, the city of Tabaco, and ends in Legazpi City for a total of 120 kilometers!

Gran Fondo Bicolandia on December 14, 2014
Gran Fondo Bicolandia on December 14, 2014

This is a gran fondo, which isn’t a formal race but is more of an organized group ride with rest and feed stops. It’s a great way to get miles in as well as see the country on two wheels! The fondo is open to road, tri, and mountain bikes. Hooray for Aki!

Entry is priced at Read more »

Blog Reviews

Kikay Reviews: e-Gel Electrolyte Energy Gel

After using certain energy gels for long-distance races, I’ve become wary of them due to the unintended bathroom consequences. :( Over time my gut has become intolerant of these former favorites, and I’ve gone so far as to avoid using them even in shorter events just because I don’t like my stomach roiling when I’m trying to enjoy post-race festivities.

When SWIMBIKERUN.ph admin Carlos de Guzman (no relation :P) sent me a box of e-Gels to try, I told him I would do so in training, since I’ve been desperately trying any kind of nutrition to see what could work for me in my upcoming races next year. I’d rather not have to chew bananas while running…

E-Gels
e-Gel by Crank Sports

e-Gel is low in simple sugars, made of high-grade maltodextrin, and is gluten-free. According to its literature, being low in sugar means it doesn’t spike blood sugar which can lead to a crash or bonk, and the maltodextrin is a complex carbohydrate that releases energy more evenly into the bloodstream. And with many people now becoming aware of gluten sensitivity, being gluten-free means a lower risk of irritating the gut.

e-Gel also sets itself apart from other energy gels by promising not just calorie replenishment, but also balanced electrolyte replacement. It has more than five times the sodium and twice as much potassium as other energy gels. This means that if participating in long events where electrolyte imbalance is imminent, you only need to carry e-Gels and drink water, instead of also having to carry an electrolyte replacement solution or tablet.

This is particularly important for me because I don’t seem to absorb sports drinks properly anymore (the drinks that contain a combination of calories and electrolytes). Instead I have to source my calories from solid food, and dissolve electrolyte tablets into plain water. While this has worked out for me in triathlons where I have bottle cages for water and the bike bento box to hold my electrolyte tablets and food bars, when I get on the run I have no time or inclination to carry a water bottle around to dissolve my electrolytes into.

I was able to use the e-Gels on two training runs; the first one quite hesitantly and only one gel packet. Then I spent the next few hours waiting for a call of nature, which never happened. So I was ecstatic about that! The next time I used the e-Gels was on a long run, and I took one before the run, and one halfway through. Again I waited for a gut reaction, but it never came.

So I finally used the e-Gel in a race, the New Balance Power Run. While with my previous gels I’d grown accustomed to the big hit of energy that follows after taking a gel, and then the need to forestall the crash by taking another gel, with e-Gel the energy was very constant and sustained. Because it has a more liquid consistency, I was also able to swallow it quite easily with a few sips of water at the stations. And I’m happy to report that I never got a hint of a cramp even while running at some of my fastest speeds over that distance.

Now I’m out of that sample box of e-Gels, but I can just as easily order more e-Gels from the SWIMBIKERUN.ph Online Shop. An e-Gel is P95/piece, which is about P10 more expensive than my former gel brand, but each e-Gel packet contains 50% more calories than the old brand; per 100 calories, e-Gels are more economical.

Check out these nifty comparisons (prices in USD$):
e-Gel vs. Gu
e-Gel vs. EFS Shot

Race-day nutrition is a tricky subject and everyone is unique. But it really is quite important to get the hang of so you can reach your full potential. I’m still fine-tuning my own race-day nutrition, which may be different in open running vs. triathlons. But I’m glad I have the e-Gel option now. :)

e-Gel is available from the SWIMBIKERUN.ph Online Shop, all Secondwind Running Stores, The Brick Multisport Store McKinley Hill, and All-Terra Cyclery stores in Ortigas Home Depot and Robinsons Galleria. Like their Facebook Page E Gel Philippines to get the latest news and updates.

Blog FYI

Garmin Concept Store Launch

Ask any runner what their dream gadget is, and it’s probably a Garmin watch that allows you to keep track of distance and pace in real time. My first one was a Forerunner 305 and it helped me train and race both my Milo marathons in 2010 and more races beyond. (It’s now with my brother-in-law.) After years of quietly distributing to different retail stores, Garmin now has its own concept store in Glorietta 5!

Garmin Concept Store PH launch
Garmin concept store 3rd floor, Glorietta 5, Makati

I had an opportunity to chat with Mark Tan of NAVCO, Garmin’s official Philippine distributor, and he expressed both positivity and nervousness. “We never planned to go into retail. Read more »

Blog Race Info Training

Bataan International Triathlon Bike Course Recon

It’s only a few more weeks until the Bataan International Triathlon… and boy, do I feel unprepared!

I came out of my offseason two weeks ago and started training properly again (as opposed to merely exercising to stay in shape), but I haven’t been hitting the hills as much as I need to.

Thanks to my teammate Kira and friend Jayjay, we set off on a day trip to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan, which is the jump-off point for Bi3. We left Manila at 4:30am and took the NLEX and SCTEX to Dinalupihan Exit then drove for a bit more. We arrived around 7:30am and paid for an 8-hour room so we had somewhere to shower after our ride.

We set off around 8am with another group who serendipitously were also there to scout the bike course.

Bi3 course recon

There are two distances for the race (Largo and Rapido), but since my two companions were doing Rapido and had never been on the bike course before, I decided to stick with them.

I already know these hills from five recon rides here last year for Challenge Philippines anyway. :)

The Rapido course passes from Bagac into Morong and takes a U-turn at the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.

Bi3 course recon
at the Bagac-Morong boundary arch

Bi3 course recon

Bi3 course recon
Kira’s first time to ride to the power plant!

It was a nice leisurely 30+ kilometers and then we were back at Las Casas for a quick shower, lunch, and peek around the resort.

Las Casas used to be a private collection of reconstructed and relocated antique houses. Now it’s a thriving hotel, resort, and tourist destination.

Bi3 course reconBi3 course recon

Bi3 course recon

Bi3 course recon

Bi3 course recon

I definitely can’t wait to go back there in a few weeks’ time and run through those streets. :)

Online Triathlon Coaching - MaccaX
Online Triathlon Coaching - MaccaX

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