Tag Archives: #swimbikerun

Things Learned From Not Finishing Ironman Gurye

Gurye is a picturesque farming town in the province of Jeollanam-do in South Korea. Last year, I was there for the first time to support a teammate who did (and finish) his first full Ironman.

The IRONMAN Triathlon (tri) race is a 3.8 KM swim, a 180 KM bike ride, and a 42 KM run with only 17 hours to complete all three legs of the race.

What I remembered most of the event was the swim leg.  While watching the athletes lining up and seeding themselves for their predicted swim time, it was in that moment I knew I would be ready to do my first full distance (226 KMS) with more or less a year of preparation.

And so I signed up for 2018 IRONMAN Gurye. My goal was to make it at the finish line, except I didn’t.

Preparation

As part of my tri training and in order to build endurance, I registered for Cebu Marathon, Tigasin Triathlon in Pangasinan (standard distance), and two stand-alone cycling events of Tour de Bintan in Indonesia: the 17 KM Individual Time Trial and Classic 144 KM races (this will be another blog story soon).

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Gran Fondo World Series is a series of UCI-sanctioned races held all over the world. Tour de Bintan is one of those.

To top it off, it was indeed helpful to have a tri coach for my Gurye race. The online tri training via Training Peaks app was offered pro bono by tri coach and cycling aficionado Coach Andy.  Training sessions commenced in October 2017.

Race Day

SWIM

I wore a tri kit under my wetsuit for the swim. The beauty of wearing a tri-specific race suit is that you can wear it throughout the entire event. Most tri kits are designed to be worn during the swim, bike, and run. Well, ideally. It’s a whole other story in cold weather.

On race morning, race officials and volunteers directed all participants to self-seed based on their projected swim time. The weather that day affected water temperature and a blanket of fog covered the lake.  While waiting for the gun start, we danced to these perfect upbeat tempos to warm up.

Not being used to cold water swimming (even after having the test swim the day before), I struggled to find my breath within moments of entering the lake and stopped swimming for a minute or two to blow bubbles. The water was way too cold even with a wetsuit.  Endured intermittent painful calf cramps on the course. I tried to relax my cramped leg and kept moving forward.  As I was on my way back after a U-turn point, a fellow participant accidentally hit the side of my head, just above my ear with his hand as I was rolling my head to breathe. I tried not to feel panicky while trying to reach for the lane rope to pull myself together.  After swimming the last 500 meters using only my arms because both of my legs cramped already, what a relief it was to be out of the water, finally! I was thrilled to bits hearing my name announced by the host while on my way to T1 or the swim-to-bike transition area.

BIKE

Transitioning from cold water to cycling was a huge challenge.  The air was chilly while moving out from T1.  Not having fully recovered from the swim, yet there I was faced with significant climbs in the next kilometers. Quads cramped.  First time it happened.  Then I saw a lady participant who got off her bike and walked the hill.  Me! No way!

Was in luck to build up some speed on the way down and saved some energy by maintaining a good tempo while coasting some of the kilometers leading to the main Y-shaped bike course.

The three-lap Y-shaped bike course took participants to a scenic route passing through rice fields, rivers, waterways, hills, tree-lined streets, and mountain ranges.

On the course, aid stations provided muscle cramp relief spray and sunscreen.  They were also well stocked with a variety of snacks, bananas, energy gels, and half-full bottles filled either with cold water or energy drink prepared by awesome volunteers.  Toilet stop is not a problem since it is equipped with tissue and water.  What more could I ask for?

I was almost done with my second lap, on a path under a shady canopy of trees, when I saw this lady rider ahead of me wobbled, fell off her bike on the right side of the road, and accidentally slammed her head on the highway guardrail.  Her feet were still attached to the pedals when I stopped to check if she had injuries.  I was figuring out a way to break the language barrier and continued to speak proper English telling her not to move.  She may have simply not caught everything I said while waiting for her teammate to make a turn on the road and park his bike so he can assist her before I continued to roll on.

Done with two laps and was about to do my third when I noticed volunteers have left the road intersection, with the U-turn signage for third lap gone and replaced with a straight-on directional sign.  With his right arm waving in the air, one race official shouted inaudible words to all bikers and pointed his other arm to the road straight ahead.  I followed, and then hesitated. Realized I’m not finished yet.  One more loop.  But, it was in this leg where my race that day ended.  I had to talk to a race official and surrendered my timing chip because I really didn’t think I was going to make the race cutoff.  It was so close.  Difficult as it was, but I made the decision.

The last stretch of the course leading up to T2 is a 20-kilometer highway with a low-gradient climb as a ruler’s edge. With no shade and as straight as it was, it was the last mental test in the bike course.  Heavy-hearted, there I was pedaling slowly back to transition, reliving the moment, and thinking of what had just happened.   This: A DNF (did not finish) at my first full IRONMAN race.  I was devastated.

LESSONS 

Choose to be positive and have a grateful attitude. 

The support I got from friends, family, siblings, and relatives was overwhelming.

My nephew who’s based in Hawaii messaged me, “It’s OK Auntie there are still many races.”  Or, my niece’s message, “Proud niece here!”  Or, to my coach who said, “You did better than many other people out there.  Just showing up and doing what you could despite all the challenges was brave and already an achievement.  Congratulations nonetheless and keep your chin up.  You’ll get there one day.”    Or, my sister who sent me extra money for whatever stuff I needed to buy.  Or, my supervisor who wished me well and asked me to come back in one piece after the race.  Or, friends and teammates who gave their time to send me (and another teammate) off at the airport and supported this endeavor in whatever they could.   

Sometimes you win.  Sometimes you make it.  Sometimes you LEARN. 

Every athlete, no matter how ready or well trained, will one day have a race that is disappointing, or not perfect.  I may have missed hearing these words “You are an Ironman!” or receiving the finisher’s medal, but again, it is only a race.  There are still plenty of races out there, but there’s only one life.   

Sportsmanship goes beyond the game.  Accept the outcome of the game. 

I have swum (3.8KMS) and biked (over 100KMS) the race by its rules.   “Finished or not finished, pass your papers!” That’s part of sportsmanship.  Sportsmanship or  the golden rule in sports and competition means handling both victory and defeat graciously and taking it all in stride by following the rules of the game, respecting the officials, and treating fellow participants with respect.   Win or lose (or not being able to finish), it is all part of sportsmanship. 

Let it go. Then, move on. 

Dreaming big, or shooting for the star.  Setting goals and trying to achieve them the best way possible.

Rising to challenges and managing personal and work-related stressors.  Spending a huge chunk of time (aside from having to work eight hours a day) training at night and on weekends—rain or shine—with dedication for that goal.  Believing in “me” and having that can-do attitude.

Showing up on race day at the starting line ready to battle what’s ahead (in spite of dealing with ongoing pain).

Well, these things I consider as huge accomplishments already. 

It’s OK to be sad for a while.  But don’t beat yourself up.  The most import part is to figure out what’s needed to be done.  In time, pick up your plan where you left off and come back strong.  Stronger and better than ever before.

Biag and Malolot Top Tri-Factor Philippines Asian Championship Series  

Billy Biag flashed superb form and dominated the long distance triathlon while Mark Malolot held off Jade Albar in the standard distance as they shared top honors in the Tri-Factor Philippines Asian Championship Series at the Camsur Watersports Complex in Camarines Sur on 26-27 May 2018.

Long distance tri participants preparing for the swim start.

Biag clocked 3:19:04 to rule the grueling 1.5K swim-60K bike-15K run event beating Renel Brecenio (3:27:05) by almost eight minutes while Anthony Llaguno III clocked 3:50:30 to place third overall, capping the two-day novel triathlon (tri), which featured a four-leg mass participation series composed of individual swim, bike, run events, and a finale tri.

Triathlete Malolot ruled the 1.5K swim-40K bike-10K run in 2:27:31 foiling Albar, who clocked 2:31:09 while Ryan Laurino placed third overall in 2:38:43 followed by Edgar Cabalero (2:46:37) and Ricky Busran (2:51:59) .  Actor Gerald Anderson of Team De Rosa clocked 1:16:15 to win in the 25-29 Age Group (AG) Sprint Division.  Ms. Earth Air 2016 Michelle Gomez finished her maiden tri in the Freshmen Division.

Ms. Earth Air Michelle Gomez and  Bert Lozada Swim School managing director and swim coach Angelo Lozada being interviewed by event host Elle Adda during the Kids and Freshmen awarding ceremony and Media Night .

Likewise, Biag topped the 35-44 AG with Breceno claiming the crown in the 25-34 AG. Topping the female side of the 25-34 AG was  Regina Rosquites.  The Tri-Factor Philippines  served as the third leg of this year’s Asian Championship Series and hosted by CamSur.  Athletes also provided school supplies and slippers to over 200 indigent kids under the Race to Give Program of Sanctband facilitated by Tri-Factor Philippines marketing arm One of a Kind Marketing.

“I’m looking forward to another cheerful event next year.  The people, the place and CamSur are just amazing,” said Elvin Ting, managing director of organizing Orange Room Pte Ltd. and Tri-Factor series founder.

Sharing the spotlight are the top finishers of the relay in the Open Division of the long distance triathlon led by Bolima Madler, Platilla Margarito, and Lagyap Marino with a time of 3:02:32. Hezron Vasquez, Gil Peña Jr., and Dave de Vera finished in 3:18:47 to capture second place, while the relay team of Ruben Mariano, Inocencio Parza, and Dennis Suz clocked 3:27:36 to  garner third place.

“When you’re focused on finishing the race, it is the most amazing feeling. Nothing else matters, but to see yourself cross the finish line,” said Governor Migs Villafuerte. Representative LRay Villafuerte together with the young CamSur Governor graced the event. Under Armour ambassador and concert vocalist Elle Adda hosted the event.

Kids and Freshmen participants posed for a photo op with guests and organizers before the start of the inaugural Tri-Factor Asian Championship Series in CamSur.

Malolot also took the crown in the 16-24 AG category with Laurino ruling the 25-34 AG  and Busran topping the 35-44 AG of the event. Winners gained berths in the Tri-Factor Series in Thailand plus an overnight stay in Caramoan islands.

In the sprint distance (740m swim-20K bike-5Krun), John Caleb Barlin took the overall crown with a 1:08.29 clocking beating Louie Ibo and Roman Bonagua who timed 1:12.52 and 1:14.46 respectively.  They also took the top three places in the 16-24 AG category.

Junior Oba topped the 30-44 AG in 1:29.43 while Aldo Turiano took the crown in the 45 and above AG category  in 1:33.40 while Faith Robertson (16-29 AG) and Keigh Pascual (30-44 AG) reigned in the Women’s Division clocking 1:27.28 and 1:32.30 respectively.

Tri-Factor Asian Championship Series celebrated their 10th year by having a four-leg mass participation series in countries across Asia such as Malaysia, China, Indonesia, and Thailand. The next Tri-Factor series will be held in Thailand on 17 June 2018.

Press Release: Stellar Field All Primed Up for TRI-Factor Series

Multisport newbies, enthusiasts, and veteran triathletes set out for a new challenge as they showcased their skills in swimming, biking and running in the TRI-Factor Asian Championship Series earlier today at the Camsur Watersports Complex.

A big number of athletes in the region are vying in the four-leg mass participation series composed of individual swim, bike, and run events, and a finale triathlon staged to promote an active and healthy lifestyle particularly among the youth.

📷 credit to Tri-Factor Philippines ; One of a Kind Marketing

The TRI-Factor has grown from organizing multisport events in Singapore to creating the premier short-course championship series across the Asian region with CamSur hosting the third leg of the Asian Series and it comes at a time when local triathlon is enjoying tremendous boom with top notch events held regularly across the country the last few years.

📷 credit to Tri-Factor Philippines ; One of a Kind Marketing

Spicing up this weekend’s event is the participation of celebrity Gerald Anderson and Ms Earth Air 2016 Michelle Gomez.

📷 credit to FrancRamon.com

Anderson did the sprint and fellow Team De Rosa mainstays.  Gomez finished her Freshmen distance triathlon debut on Saturday afternoon.

📷 credit to Tri-Factor Philippines ; One of a Kind Marketing

The event held in conjunction with the Kaogma Festival celebration featured a “Race to Give” project where TRI-Factor racers  get to award school supply kits to every indigenous child right after they finish the race as part of TRI-Factor’s corporate social responsibility.

Host province led by Gov. Migs Villafuerte, welcomed all participants during the race kit collection.

📷 credit to Tri-Factor Philippines ; One of a Kind Marketing

Action also heated up today with the TRI-Factor long and standard distance triathlon slated from 6:30 AM to 12 noon and the TRI-Factor sprint distance triathlon set from 7 AM to 11 AM.  The awards rites will be held from 1 PM to 3 PM to be followed by the Let’s Party@Kaogma Festival bash.

For other details, visit www.trifactorph.com.