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…”

So You Want to Be a Pinoy IRONMAN

Yesterday, the Philippine triathlon community got the confirmation to all the rumors that have been circulating (founded and unfounded): yes, a branded IRONMAN race would finally be held in this IRONMAN-crazy country. In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the first IRONMAN 70.3 race ever held here, the Century Tuna IRONMAN Philippines will be held in Subic Bay on June 3, 2018.

While registration is yet to open — it’s scheduled for August 1, or Ironman 70.3 Philippines weekend — my Facebook feed was abuzz with people already planning to take on a full IRONMAN for the very first time in the country. Others may have already become an Ironman in other countries, but this race is special, they say. Continue reading “So You Want to Be a Pinoy IRONMAN”

Podcast #10: Daniela Ryf, Ironman World Champion

While I was in Phuket two weeks ago I got a remarkable opportunity to interview the current Ironman European Champion, Ironman 70.3 World Champion, and Ironman World Champion: the one and only Daniela Ryf.

Also on iTunes.

She was staying at a sports resort in the build-up to her last race of the year, which is happening this weekend. The Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championship Bahrain is not only a regional championship, but it also serves as the last of the three races comprising the Nasser Bin Hamad Triple Crown. The person who wins all the races in the series would be awarded a special bonus of $1 MILLION, and only Daniela has been able to win the two previous races at Challenge Dubai and the Ironman 70.3 World Championship.

With Daniela Ryf, Ironman World Champion
Fangirl mode, ON!

Continue reading “Podcast #10: Daniela Ryf, Ironman World Champion”

What You Need to Know before Your First Ironman

If you had asked me when I started on this triathlon lark whether I would attempt an ironman, I would have said, “I’m not that crazy.” Then I got addicted to the feeling of pushing my limits, and started wanting to challenge myself over longer distances.

Others go into triathlon with the goal of doing an ironman from the very start. Whatever spurred your decision to do your first ironman, it is a months-long journey into the unknown. Make sure you go into it with both eyes open.

Here’s what you need to know before your first ironman.

#ChallengeRothTeamPHI 2014

Continue reading “What You Need to Know before Your First Ironman”

Why “50 Women to Kona” Matters

While I’ve touched on the subject of “50 Women to Kona” in a previous blog post, I’ve been wondering how best to write about it that underscores why it’s important to me and why it should be important to you.

50 Women to Kona

“Why should I care about the women professionals? Why should I care about what’s happening elsewhere and not in the Philippines or in our corner of the world?”

Well, if you consider yourself a triathlete, then triathlon is your sport. “50 Women to Kona” is an issue that affects triathlon in its highest echelons all the way down to grassroots because it involves equality between the sexes, something that was supposed to be built into the sport from its inception. Continue reading “Why “50 Women to Kona” Matters”

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. 

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 Law 
Continue reading “Challenge Roth (2 of 3)”