“Pics or not true.”
I don’t pride myself on having a particularly good memory, so photos help me remember especially the places I’ve been and the people I’ve met. Blog posts, too; I scroll through my post archive and the post titles bring back a flood of good memories. I document because I want to remember. As 2015 draws to a close, I look back on the highlights fondly.
I stayed close to home this year with no international triathlons on the schedule. It was my heaviest half-ironman racing season: with Challenge Philippines, Challenge Camsur, and Ironman 70.3 Philippines I was in heavy training throughout the year, or at least tried to be. That wasn’t a good thing, and my body told me so with fevers and chest infections. I was just lucky to scrape through with podium spots at both Challenge races.
I fared much better at short-distance triathlons, scoring an age-group win and Philippine National Games finals spot at the National Age Group Triathlon Subic standard distance, and a second overall at the Bataan International Triathlon Rapido distance.
Running — when I was well enough for it — was also rewarding throughout the year and acted mostly as a wake-up call for how much I hadn’t been running. Second place at the 10-mile distance at the Takbo.ph 20-Miler, fifth overall at the Yakult 10-Miler, sixth overall at the Laguna Phuket 6K Fun Run, and then second place and a new 5K PR at the McHappy Day Fun Run… I also did my first running race outside of Luzon at the Lake Ormoc Festival 21K and finished fifth overall. Running is calling again. :)
I had an opportunity to head back to Germany this year and took it. After spectating at Challenge Roth and cheering on the Filipino finishers as well as seeing my wonderful host family from last year, I headed off on my own.
Because I was already in Europe, I wanted to explore a little bit more of Germany and also hopped across the border to Austria on a day trip. I had a chance to experience the awesome pedestrian culture there and did not need to take taxis at all to get anywhere I wanted to go!
I also went to Singapore over a weekend to catch my friend perform in a show, and again the trains and my own two feet were enough to get around. That was also when I bought my first pair of Under Armour Speedform Apollo shoes and got myself back into running more.
I took running shoes everywhere I went this year, and I was amply rewarded with some great “me time” in the mornings and also allowed me to explore beyond the roads. Running on Boracay’s White Beach earlier this year is something I’ve done many times but it never gets old.
Phuket was my most-visited foreign destination because of some work I’ve been doing for a sports resort there. If you’re a serious triathlete and haven’t been there yet for a training camp, you are missing out!
Aside from that Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 Subic Bay Underpants Run stunt I pulled, I wasn’t really expecting to end up in any other media this year. So I was surprised and honored to make it into MultiSport Magazine’s Body Issue this May. Even better, Overseas Filipino World (OFWorld) Magazine put me on the cover of their July issue as a “fitness inspiration”. Rappler also asked me to be a guest on a Google Hangout to talk about physical and financial fitness, and I said that being healthy is key to enjoying life. One of my aims for running this blog and being involved in an active lifestyle is to make people want to get off the couch and get fit. That’s because this same decision has helped me live a fuller and more purposeful life.
I was also honored to be included in noted fashion and commercial photographer Xander Angeles’s exhibit Relentless Forward Progress. I was one of the athletes, celebrities, and personalities he depicted “relentlessly pursuing their passions, moving forward in doing what they love, and progressing to realize their dreams.”
This year, I’ve had opportunity to meet so many people who have been making their own waves in the endurance community. I’m so glad to have had some awesome guests on my podcast. I got Macca back to talk about the Bahrain Endurance Team which has by now made its mark on further professionalizing elite triathlon. I was also able to speak with James Cunnama. My biggest interview this year would have to be with the double world champion Daniela Ryf right before she won the Nasser Bin Hamad Triple Crown and scored a million-dollar bonus.
The interview closest to my heart would have to be with Pastor Ferdie Cabiling, known as the Running Pastor in the local endurance community. He ran the Philippines from south to north to raise funds for Real Life Foundation scholars. At 1000 pesos per kilometer over 2,180 kilometers, he was able to raise more than two million pesos by running more than 50 kilometers a day in less than 50 days. Simply amazing.
There was so much more to 2015 than what I’ve covered here, and looking back I can’t help being a little overwhelmed at how much was packed into the past 365 days. God is good, even if in our limited day-to-day understanding we can’t comprehend the bigger picture of what He is accomplishing in our lives. Everything works out for the good of those who love Him. Even if I don’t know what 2016 will bring, I am assured that it will be good.
I’m looking forward to 2016!