Road to Vietnam, Week #8: Go With the Flow

    

Last week was pretty good just easing myself back into physical activity again. I had a run and core training session on Monday, a swim on Tuesday, and an indoor bike session on Thursday before flying off to Cebu — but not to compete. Instead, I went to cover the pro women’s race for Witsup.com, participate in IronGirl, ride with Ceepo, and support my Endure teammates and countless other athletes in the biggest event of the Philippine triathlon calendar.

Ironman 70.3 Philippines Asia Pacific Championship
with a few of my Endure teammates post-race

While I did feel a twinge of envy seeing the participants pick up their awesome loot bags (that yellow dry bag stands out!), this was also the first year I was in Cebu with no pressure to perform. It was nice not to be a bundle of nerves for a change — to be the calming influence on my teammate who was doing her first half-Ironman and to think about how others were doing instead of focused on myself. Let me tell you, the challenges of being a supporter are different, but there is a lot of satisfaction seeing athletes’ faces light up when you offer them aid or encouragement.

Ironman 70.3 Philippines Asia Pacific Championship
nice to keep the shades drawn and sleep in for a change!

Ironman 70.3 Philippines Asia Pacific Championship
“carbo-loading” (not mine!

Being out there for the lead-up to the race and watching the race itself, I’m reminded how much I love this sport whether I’m competing or on the sidelines. I’m reminded how it brings out the best and worst in me and how it pushes me to do better and be better not just as an athlete, but as a person.

But I think being on the sidelines lets you get in on the fun without all the suffering. ;)

IRONGIRL 2016 from HeXaCam Media Manila on Vimeo.

Here are a few snaps from a memorable weekend:

Ironman 70.3 Philippines Asia Pacific Championship
at the annual traditional Ceepo ride

Ironman 70.3 Philippines Asia Pacific Championship
awesome breakfast with this bunch — thanks Shangri-La and Ceepo!

Ironman 70.3 Philippines Asia Pacific Championship
Dolfin Swimwear on Shangri-La beachfront

Ironman 70.3 Philippines Asia Pacific Championship
with Belinda Granger &heart;

Ironman 70.3 Philippines Asia Pacific Championship
running 5K at IronGirl in a RunningSkirt!

Ironman 70.3 Philippines Asia Pacific Championship
Hello again, Whit Raymond!

Ironman 70.3 Philippines Asia Pacific Championship
with my Endure teammates from Cagayan de Oro

Ironman 70.3 Philippines Asia Pacific Championship
Go Endure!

Ironman 70.3 Philippines Asia Pacific ChampionshipIronman 70.3 Philippines Asia Pacific Championship
Expo: Cascos/Rapha’s Gear booth (Salice, yurbuds JBL, Zensah)

Ironman 70.3 Philippines Asia Pacific Championship
Expo: Atleta Ako booth

Ironman 70.3 Philippines Asia Pacific Championship
Ironman 70.3 Philippines Asia Pacific Championship
Expo: Unison Cycles/Ceepo booth

Ironman 70.3 Philippines Asia Pacific Championship
Cebu’s famous sutukil dining

Ironman 70.3 Philippines Asia Pacific Championship
thanks to my TSM friends Farrah and Babeth for dinner and drinks!

Ironman 70.3 Philippines Asia Pacific Championship
hanging out with Ironman announcers Whit Raymund and Pete Murray

media duties at the swim exit
pulling media duties at the swim exit — spot me!

Ironman 70.3 Philippines Asia Pacific ChampionshipIronman 70.3 Philippines Asia Pacific Championship
watching the pros on race morning

Ironman 70.3 Philippines Asia Pacific Championship
swim exit action

Ironman 70.3 Philippines Asia Pacific Championship
Our Endure fish, Al Neri

Ironman 70.3 Philippines Asia Pacific Championship
cheering alongside TriMac

Ironman 70.3 Philippines Asia Pacific Championship
nail-biting to watch Roselle’s first 70.3 race

Ironman 70.3 Philippines Asia Pacific Championship
friend of Endure Tito Bong Rivera of Davao placed 3rd in his age group

Ironman 70.3 Philippines Asia Pacific Championship
so proud of my team

After watching Caroline Steffen win this race for the fifth time in a row and writing up the race wrap, I returned to the course to help bring in the final bunch of athletes. I know I’m not the fastest triathlete out there, but this was the first time I saw how the tail end of an endurance event goes. The cheering squads and schoolkids trucked out to bring cheer are tired and quiet, or worse, have gone. The hydration stations have been picked clean and nearby residents are carting away the remaining boxes of sports drink, despite protests from those of us who know there are still people out on the course.

Those on the pointy end need support, but they’re only out there for about four or five hours. The athletes left out on the course as the cutoff looms are out there the longest; they’re the ones that need the most help — whether it’s a drink or a cheer — to make them feel that they are not alone. I positioned myself near the final kilometer of the run course and saw the change in athletes’ demeanor when I handed them something to drink and told them they only had a short way to go to the finish. Those slumped over would straighten up, their stride would quicken, a light would shine in their eyes as they realized they were almost home. Seeing their spirits lift was beautiful and inspiring.

I’m sitting in an airport in China looking at a nine-hour layover to Europe while typing this. My training schedule over the next week will be focused on running since I won’t have my bike over there and won’t have access to swim facilities, but I’m determined to be good to myself and allow my body to continue recovering to full health. Justin Granger just posted to our MaccaX private group, reminding us that if we don’t give our bodies the time off after illness, then we never actually beat the infection and it stays dormant until our immune systems weaken again. This sounds exactly like what I’ve been going through. So what if I’m underdone by Vietnam? Long-term health is more important. I just want to keep tri-ing beyond that finish line.

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3 comments on “Road to Vietnam, Week #8: Go With the Flow

  1. Hi. I was there at IM Cebu, and I agreed with what you said. The slower ones left on the course (like myself) are those who needed the encouragements and drinks.
    Thanks for hanging around at the end :D

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