Before You Sign Up for that Long-Distance Triathlon…

This year, the major long-distance triathlon organizer in the country laid down some new ground rules. In order to sign up for their upcoming Ironman Philippines, one must have done a half or full-distance triathlon between January 2016 to March 2018.

I regret writing here that this would be a cheaper way to do an Ironman. Unless you’ve been caught in the yearly vicious cycle of signing up for 70.3’s come October, you probably weren’t counting on having to do another race on top of the one you really want to do. I know a few experienced triathletes who have been waiting for a full Ironman but only race Olympic distance because they don’t like the Cebu and Subic 70.3 courses, or it’s too expensive to race a 70.3 every year. They pounced on the Ironman registration, but are now caught in a bind. (I know someone who has quit triathlon for now on principle because of this requirement which was laid down after they had registered.)

If you’re in this situation, you can either spend more money and sign up for a half, have your registration transferred to another Ironman in the region, or ask for a full refund.

While the organizer has a right to lay these requirements down for newbies, it still rubs me the wrong way as an experienced triathlete and ironman finisher that my 2014 Challenge Roth finish and most recent 70.3 Cebu race in 2015 don’t fall within the timetable — especially since other races within the region don’t have a similar requirement, and it’s a requirement that was set in place post-hoc. Anyway, it seems people like me are a minority, with many of the athletes already completing the validation requirement or set to do so.

This is why it’s so important not to get swept up in the hype that comes during registration season. I always consider a few things before I sign up for longer distances because I now know very well that I can’t rush the preparation my body needs. At this point, it’ll be three years before I even consider signing up for another half-ironman. (You might need less or more time.)

Why? Because I had been running for two years before I did my first minisprint triathlon. The following year, I moved up to sprint. The year after that, I did my first Olympic. And then I decided I’d do a half. It took me seven years to build up to a full ironman, given my work and other physical commitments. By then I had laid down a very deep foundation of aerobic endurance fitness.

So, here are the things you should know before you sign up for a long-distance triathlon. Continue reading “Before You Sign Up for that Long-Distance Triathlon…”

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, 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: Continue reading “Road to Vietnam, Week #8: Go With the Flow”

Dispatch #7: Keep on Keeping On

I found myself feeling a little lost this past week. For the last two years this particular week has been occupied by the lead-up to Challenge Philippines. I had decided last year I wouldn’t be racing this early to give myself a longer adjustment period into racing season, but when the race was cancelled the hole in my calendar felt that much bigger and emptier.

Most of my training is done solo. I prefer it that way; I’m more likely to over-extend myself when training with someone else. I can achieve a more gradual progression that sticks when I’m able to work at my own pace, whether fast or slow.

Dispatch 7
Long solo runs how I like them, just me and the open road.

Still, I appreciate when I do have company. I love catching up with my tri friends and chatting about what we’ve got lined up. Even if we’ve got different abilities and reasons for engaging in the sport and most of triathlon is a solo endeavor, it is the wonderful community at training and races that I enjoy being around again and again.

Dispatch 7
Sometimes you’ve got to sit up and just enjoy.

Speaking of triathlons, I’m heading to Subic in two weeks’ time to cover the Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 Subic Bay race for Continue reading “Dispatch #7: Keep on Keeping On”

Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 Subic (Part 2)

Part 2: Work Hard

Unlike my previous races in Subic where I stayed in a hotel, this time I had taken a spare room in the Team Red Cross Triathlon house in Subic Homes, where pros Michael Murphy and Mitch Robins had taken up residence. On race morning I hitched a ride in a van with them to Transition 1. This small change in routine was sufficient enough to throw me off, and in the pre-dawn drive I realized I’d forgotten my drink bottles and flat tire repair kit at the house. It was too late to go back for it, so I decided I would be able to grab some bottles at the first hydration station on the bike course. As for a flat tire, well I was about to gamble that on the smooth roads of SCTEX I wouldn’t pick up a stray nail or glass shard…

Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 Subic
Notice the empty bottle cages.

Continue reading “Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 Subic (Part 2)”

Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 Subic (Part 1)

Part 1: Play Hard

When I got the opportunity to race the Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 Subic Bay with two of my teammates from Team Endure, I couldn’t say no. Being part of a relay at a triathlon has always been fun and pressure-free for me. It’s an opportunity to work together as a team in this often very individual and lonesome sport, you can go as hard as you want in your chosen leg without being afraid of blowing the other two legs, and it’s just a great excuse to be away for an active weekend without overtiring yourself.

Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 Subic Bay
I am obviously taking things very seriously. Continue reading “Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 Subic (Part 1)”

Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 Subic Bay Preview

It’s only a few days to go, and then I drive up again to what the legend Frank Lacson refers to as “Triathlon Country” for the Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 Subic Bay!

Century Tuna 5150 Triathlon
From a 5150 to a 70.3… Century Tuna has stepped it up!

These last few weeks have been busy for triathlon in this part of the world, with Challenge Philippines and Tri United 1 just concluded. And no, I did not sign up for all three races, but I know some crazies who have…

It’s going to be a fun weekend and the pressure is off for me because I’m just doing the bike leg on a relay team with my Endure teammates John Doctor (swim) and Sugz Lopez (run). This is going to be a great opportunity to experience what it’s like to cycle on the SCTEX coming from the Subic side. I’ve heard and seen how challenging the terrain can be — long climbs, some steep sections, and fierce headwinds and crosswinds — but due to tollway regulations no one can ride on those roads on any normal day.

But really my main motivation in joining this race is I just love watching the pros do their thing, and boy do we have some stellar ones coming! Continue reading “Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 Subic Bay Preview”