Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines Race Week!

Unlike when I left for Roth three weeks ago with little to no competition for attention at the bike shops I frequent, this time it’s madness with dozens of other athletes getting their bikes tuned and boxed and their gear sorted. Yes, it’s that time of the year again: Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines race week.

"Boxing" Day?
My bike is somewhere in there. I think.

This race is what most Pinoy triathletes have been training for the last year and a half (except for those of us crazy enough to target a full distance this year). Individual and relay entries sold out last October in a matter of hours after registration had opened and I was one of the over-eager ones who snatched up a slot. After my Roth adventure there is no way I can be 100% for this race, but since I’ve already paid for everything in advance, I’m heading over to Cebu tomorrow with my bike box, hoping my body will be right for Sunday.

The official website is kind of slow in updating information for race week, so do check out the Facebook Page for Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines for latest news. Continue reading “Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines Race Week!”

Challenge Roth (3 of 3)

This is part of a series of posts in my special coverage of Challenge Roth. Check out Thoughts and Thanks Before Challenge Roth, Challenge Roth (1 of 3), and Challenge Roth (2 of 3).

What counts in sports is not the victory, but the magnificence of the struggle. — Joe Paterno, Penn State football coach

I hobbled out of the stadium into the athletes’ tent to retrieve my after-race bag, and changed immediately into a dry Mizuno sports top, my Endure shirt, and Zensah compression tights. I had another pair of Wave Sayonara shoes to change into, but my feet were so waterlogged I needed to dry them out in flipflops. The pain I’d experienced throughout the race had been a dull one in the background, drowned out by the flow of adrenaline through my veins. But now I could feel every little bit of soreness not just from my gaping wounds, but also from my beaten-up muscles. I could barely lift my arms to slip into my top, and nearly fell over trying to get into the compression tights. I also knew I needed to eat something, but just a small bowl of the vegetable quinoa porridge they were serving and I was done.

After my wonderful welcome to the finish line and seeing familiar and friendly faces, the stark reality in the athletes’ tent was I was by myself, couldn’t find anyone I knew to sit and have a chat about the race with, and couldn’t move around to look for anyone. It was then I missed the close-knit Philippine triathlon community. I also didn’t have a data connection so I couldn’t get any word out about how I was, even though I knew my friends and family had been following the race over the live results site.

I hate to admit it but I felt alone and empty. Is this all there is? I wondered. Fourteen hours of pain for one magical moment at the finish line? It just didn’t seem worth it.Β 

Continue reading “Challenge Roth (3 of 3)”

Challenge Roth (2 of 3)

This is part of a series of posts in my special coverage of Challenge Roth. Check out Thoughts and Thanks Before Challenge Roth, Challenge Roth (1 of 3), and Challenge Roth (3 of 3).

I knew I wasn’t going to be particularly fast; I would be racing alongside Ani and Arland, two giants of Philippine triathlon. But I also knew I had it in me to finish and to fly the Philippine flag proudly across the finish line.

#ChallengeRothTeamPHI 2014

I just didn’t know how much it would require of me.

If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong. – Murphy’s LawΒ 
Continue reading “Challenge Roth (2 of 3)”

Challenge Roth (1 of 3)

This is part of a series of posts in my special coverage of Challenge Roth. Check out Thoughts and Thanks Before Challenge Roth, Challenge Roth (2 of 3), and Challenge Roth (3 of 3).

I remember when I did my first marathon. It was exactly on my birthday and was a great way to give myself an achievement that no one could take away. I had no doubts I wanted to finish it.

Challenge Roth was supposed to be the same thing. It would be my first foray into full distance triathlon racing, happening on my birth month, marking another milestone in my life.

But as I lay there belly up in the Main-Donau-Canal gasping for breath, barely 10 minutes into what would be almost 14 hours of racing, I was faced with the choice: do I continue, or do I quit?

#ChallengeRothTeamPHI 2014
the calm before the storm

Continue reading “Challenge Roth (1 of 3)”

Kikay Reviews: Lily of the Valley Period Panty

I’e reviewed sanitary products before, like tampons. I’ve also reviewed underwear, like sports bras. But this is the first time on this blog I’m taking a look at underwear designed for a woman’s red days.

First, the problem this product is supposed to solve:

Lily of the Valley

Women experience discomfort when using sanitary napkins with wings. It’s even more of a hassle when you try to run while using sanitary napkins. This is actually one of the reasons I’ve shifted to using tampons on active days. However, sanitary napkins are cheaper than tampons, so I still use them on days I don’t need to move as much. So when I was sent a Lily of the Valley period panty to review, I was intrigued. Of course, I had to wait until my next period to try it out. Hehe. Continue reading “Kikay Reviews: Lily of the Valley Period Panty”

Thoughts and Thanks Before Challenge Roth

This is part of a series of posts in my special coverage of Challenge Roth. Check out Challenge Roth (1 of 3), Challenge Roth (2 of 3) and Challenge Roth (3 of 3).

I fly out tonight bound for a little town called Roth to participate with 5,500 athletes in the greatest triathlon in the world. Challenge Roth is the European triathlon mecca, and this year marks the 30th anniversary of the first triathlon held in Roth.

30 Years of Triathlon in Roth

Challenge has pulled out all the stops for this year’s race, and it’s certainly attracted the cream of the crop. This is the strongest pro field ever to contend for the title.

If you scroll down the list of pros, though, you may find a pro representing the Philippines…
of course it’s not me! It’s Arland Macasieb, the first Filipino man to compete as a pro on the long-course circuit.

This year, we make history because this is the first time Filipinos are participating at Challenge Roth. As I mentioned earlier, Arland is doing it as a pro. For the age groupers, it’s Pinay Power because Coach Ani de Leon-Brown and I will take on the fast Bavarian course. We are unofficially Team Philippines, and I’m proud to be racing alongside (well, on race day I’ll be a few hours behind) these two giants of Philippine triathlon. I am the rookie in this group, and this is my first full distance race.

If you had asked me when I started on this triathlon lark whether I would bite the bullet and attempt an ironman, I would have shuddered, then laughed at the idea. I would have said, “I’m not that crazy.”

I didn’t know I would get to do it this early; I’ve been doing triathlon since 2010, really just taking my time and enjoying the challenge of each step up in distance. As a sport, even for an age grouper, it really takes a lot of time, energy, commitment, as well as resources. The addiction feeds itself; you suffer, but you soon start to look for that feeling of having pushed yourself to go farther or faster than you have before. You can now say I’ve gone off the deep end — and I love it.

All these months of training are soon coming to a head. The question, “Was it enough?” will be asked and I will have to come up with the answer. When I did my first marathon, there was a feeling of uncertainty about whether or not I would finish it. I have that same feeling now about this first ironman; anything can happen out there on the course.

Truth be told, it will be a great relief for it all to be over; during this taper period I’ve had so much time to reconnect with friends I’ve been neglecting and enjoy some time where I’m not just waiting for my next training session to start. I don’t think I will miss those long afternoons at a pool swimming until I logged 4,000 meters or my arms fell off, whichever came sooner. While my long solitary rides were great for some “me” time, I did feel like a loon every time the security guards manning the gates at Nuvali would tell me, “Ma’am, mainit na! — It’s gotten hot!” and I still had four more hours to do. As for running, I did a bare minimum because of all the time devoted to the two other disciplines, but it did become a matter of ticking off miles because I had to, not because I loved to run.

I did almost give up; a few weeks ago I actually decided not to push through with the trip and the race just because I felt so alone in my efforts. The training, the travel, the race, the expenses… But I didn’t know so many people were standing behind me and rooting for me, and all I needed to do was ask for help.

So I’d like to take this opportunity to thank some of those who have been with me on this #roadtoRoth. I may be doing this race as an individual, but it’s taken a great team to get me to this point.

Team Endure — words aren’t enough to thank you for everything. Thank you for believing in me, thank you for being there for me, thank you for being not just friends, but family.

Mizuno Philippines — thank you for the continued support. Never Settle!

Jerry Santos, Ceepo — I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my triathlon journey has progressed by leaps and bounds since we started working together. Thank you for the opportunity to use this amazing Mamba frame. I really hope to maximize its potential and mine on Sunday!

Maiqui and Gianina Dayrit, Cascos — you’ve given me access to some amazing brands that have helped immensely during my training and racing. Thank you especially for all my new pink stuff I will be wearing on race day.

Greg Banzon, Century Tuna — thank you for allowing me to share my dream with you, and thank you for being a part of my journey.

Dave Voth, Challenge Philippines — without your hand in all this, I wouldn’t even have considered going to Roth in the first place.

Raymund Magdaluyo — I really don’t know how I can ever repay you for all you’ve done. Thank you for taking me on my first few triathlons overseas, for valuing my input, for being a friend. :)

Primo Cycles and Sabak — thank you for, among other things, keeping my bike in tiptop shape and being staffed full of triathlon nuts in their own right so I could spend hours just chatting away about this sport I love.

Anthony Kierulf, Tenkie Box — who would have known that day we did our first sprint triathlon at Subic that we’d still be in this sport years later? Thanks always for your ready smile and for all the gear!

Chris McCormack and Aaron Franklin, MaccaX — thanks for the writing gigs that have helped fund all my training expenses for Roth! And to Chris, thank you for saying these four words: “You have to come.”

Ani and Arland — You both paved the way for the rest of us and have set such high standards. Coach Ani, thank you for always being a positive presence and thank you for encouraging me not to give up on Roth.

my family — Mama, Papa, Marielle, Michael, thank you for always being supportive about my sporty endeavors from my first marathon up to now. I hope to make you even prouder than you already are about me.

Let me also thank you, dear readers, for continuing to read and follow my journey.

Onwards to Roth!

My #RoadtoRoth Spotify Playlist

I promised in my previous post about Spotify to share a playlist of songs that have helped me through the hours and hours of training on my road to Roth. While I don’t play music when I’m on the road riding or running, when I’m hamstering away on a stationary bike or a treadmill I just can’t get through without some hard driving beats or my favorite tunes. This Spotify playlist has also helped keep me awake or entertained during the long hours of driving to training venues like Pico de Loro or race venues like Subic Bay.

So, my dear readers, let me present to you my #RoadtoRoth playlist on Spotify.

#RoadtoRoth playlist on Spotify
#RoadtoRoth Spotify playlist (click to listen)

This is what my playlist looks like on the Spotify desktop/laptop app. If you also have the app installed on your computer or your mobile, you’ll be able to play it right in your app. Or you can play it right here on my website while you keep reading…

Continue reading “My #RoadtoRoth Spotify Playlist”