I raced this event as my first triathlon (tri) back in June 2016; and by complete surprise, landed third place in age group! The inaugural Sunrise Sprint or S2 was a 750m open water swim + 20km bike + 5-km run, a side event of Regent 5150 Triathlon sponsored by Regent Foods Corporation and was hosted in Subic Bay, Zambales.
I had been eyeing the Cobra 70.3 IRONMAN in Cebu 2016 so this sprint tri was never part of my preparation and repertoire prior to the big day in August. But two of my Endure teammates, Raffy and Clark, including Jerome, a Tri Taft member and good friend, encouraged me to register for a sprint tri so I could experience triathlon firsthand and familiarize myself, especially, at transition points considered crucial links in the outcome of a tri race. Their efforts were not put in vain.
Made a few new friends as well and saw old ones during race kit claiming. After I checked in my equipment and had myself body numbered, I walked around at the expo and immersed myself in the excitement and nerves before race day. Later in the afternoon, it was a total cool experience seeing a sea of nice bikes during the mandatory check-in at the transition area. The group decided to forgo attending race briefing and opted to go back to the hotel and get an early night instead in preparation for next day’s event.
Before the race started, as I was heading towards the beach area, I chanced to walk and chat with professional IRONMAN triathlete Dimity Lee-Duke of Australia who raced the standard distance. I asked her if she ever get nervous before every race. She was kind enough to answer the question by sharing her own experience as a beginner triathlete, and gave me these encouraging words, “Give your best. Fear is natural but you have to conquer it. Just have fun!”
While waiting for our wave start (all women), I’ve never been more nervous in my life than seeing the 750-meter rectangular course. The sprint swim course started at the ACEA beach following a counter clockwise flow. It was far too nerve-wracking for someone who transitioned from training in a pool to racing in open water after such long years and swim in a “washing machine” or in a pack of a more experienced triathletes. Well, the distance looked longer than in the pool and the buoys were too far! I had no choice but to meet the challenge head on. The countdown began with ten seconds to go and then we were off. Trust your training was my last thought before plunging into the water.
Swimming in a pack can get a little rough when you could be hit by swinging arms and kicking feet or climbed over by faster swimmers, which made it difficult to race at your best sometimes. At the start of the swim, it was like we were one large school of fish trapped in fishing net, swimming about, seemingly trying to escape. By the time I reached the first buoy, that moment felt like I had been overtaken by everyone and so I felt the need to strategize. I stopped for a few seconds to tread water and sight. I even managed to shout jokingly, “Ang lapad-lapad ng dagat nagsisikipan tayo!” Of course, no one was paying attention to what I said because most were swimming frantically in an endeavor to reach the shoreline and finish ahead of the cut-off time. Towards the end of the lap, I had settled into a rhythm and swimming like it was one typical Sunday morning. I tried as much to slash seconds off my race time by doing a quick change gear at transition 1.
The bike course was relatively flat with slight ups and downs but no major climbs to worry about. A major section of the race took place at the airport runway. It was a bit too windy that day. Bike leg ended in Remy Field where transition 2 was located. All I could recall during the bike leg was I was trying to move at a speedy and steady pace, pedaling to catch up and overtake other cyclists to compensate for time consumed during the swim. Just wanted cycling done and over with so I could finally do the run. It was a glorious day for a triathlon with the sun shining bright. A number of standard and sprint distance participants were already running by the time I reached transition 2. Running off the bike can be uncomfortable. It was for me, initially. My legs so heavy and I felt a little discomfort. It took ten to fifteen minutes before things started to feel right. The sides of the street were lined with spectators who cheered and shouted to say the names of their friends or family. I only made a quick stop at the aid station near the turnaround point and kept going for the last few kilometers to the finish. A foreigner guy was clapping his hands and cheering for me as I neared the finish line. Saw the finish line arch, crossed it, and then it was over. I completed my first tri!
We stayed a few hours to wait for the others to join us, went for food, claimed our bikes and walked back to our hotel to pack and rest. I was taking a shower when Endure teammates Clark and Raffy excitedly shouted from outside that I won. Inside the bathroom, I was wondering how they could know about it so quickly. They even knocked on the door asking me to finish real fast and go back to the venue ASAP. Another teammate Dido also won in his age group. Fellow blogger Vimz aka Kulit Runner of Sunrise Events also sent me a message that I won. By the time we reached the venue, my name was already called and I was not able to go up on the podium to accept my award. Never really expected that I would win (finishing 3rd in age group) that day!
Race results showed I was second-to-last to exit the water or 9th out of 10 competitors in my age group. I finished the 20-km bike in a little over an hour (1:06:47) and finished my run in 33:10 minutes. I placed 29th out of 69 female participants and 137th overall out 236 sprint participants. For a first-time “triathlete” … not bad at all! I owed this win to my Endure teammates and “Team Ninja” for their support and encouragement. Most importantly, to Him who made this possible. This race will be forever etched in my memories as one of my best tri races! Congratulations to all finishers and winners of this race. Kudos to the organizers, volunteers, and community for such a top notch race! Till next time!
I have been complaining about the pain in my butt six months ago. It was the pain I experienced in the middle of the buttock and it gave me trouble when I run, but became more pronounced every time I do stretching exercises or when I bend forward with legs straight. The pain persisted despite having a regular massage or doing stretching exercises.
Then a fellow blogger Bob akaCruise Control recommended to try Active Release Techniques (ART) by coach PJ Rivera. Bob shared how his eighty-plus-year old Mom benefitted from the therapy session of coach PJ. There’s no harm in trying.
I, together with fellow running blogger Jared akaSupladong Irish Runner, decided to try ART last month. I thought it was my hamstrings that was causing the pain the whole time! Well, my sciatic nerve was the main culprit. Sciatica is a leg pain, which might feel like a bad leg cramp or a shooting pain that makes stretching impossible for the affected leg. I think, in my case, what caused it was prolonged sitting in the office. My bad. So glad I have my Fitbit tracker now to remind me to move.
Will not go to specifics on how my sciatica was treated, but I did cry a bit (no tears, of course). So what is ART? It is a method to treat problems that involve muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves so one can perform better. Really thankful to Bob for suggesting it. The results are remarkable. I can bend and reach my toes now, my running stride is back, and I look forward to my upcoming ART session again. Introducing me to ART couldn’t be better! Super thanks coach PJ!
First, he’s an International Triathlon Union (ITU) Level 2 Coach. He is a certified provider of ART in the country for about two years now. He’s into sports at a very young age (since six). Chess and Yaw Yan martial arts are his first two sports. He has done running, powerlifting, dragon boat, triathlon, mixed martial arts or MMA, and more martial arts. He has been part of the track teams of Lourdes School of Mandaluyong in high school and University of the Philippines Diliman.
Second, he has won multiple medals in track in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP). Because of his active lifestyle, he suffered injuries left and right—pulled his hamstrings ten times and hurt his elbow, knees, shoulder, and ankles. He also broke his back in an accident. With so many injuries, he was also getting a lot of rehab. Though he was getting fixed, the fixed area felt weak. Because of this, he told himself, “there must be a better way to treat [my] injuries.“
In his pursuit of a better treatment, he bumped into ART. Actually the person who treated coach PJ told him about ART. Next thing he did was flying to the States to study ART. The rest is history.
In classical history, no other breed of warrior has struck fear into rival civilizations such as the Spartans. Trained to deal with adversity and succeed against seemingly impossible odds, the Spartan warriors continue to inspire modern day feats of heroism among athletes who drive themselves to ever higher peaks of excellence.
Today’s athletes need not fight to the death to excel but then the same ethos that drove the ancient Greeks to heroic feats is what drives today’s competitive warriors. The hunger for excellence and passion for continuous progress drives the modern day Spartans. Whether it is in the pursuit of running, cycling, triathlon, powerlifting, or plain and simple badassery, the Spartan athlete is about pushing the boundaries of human potential—to work harder than the rest, to keep going when others are about to quit, and to be the last one standing. It is the passion to progress. It is about being part of Team Progress Beyond Logic.
Finnish company SUUNTO, known for its tough-as-nails-line of wrist-top computers, unleashes its first most capable device and training tool made specifically for the unbreakable athlete: the Spartan Ultra (SU). Featuring a space grade titanium bezel, high contrast color touchscreen display, and a multitude of features in its quiver, the SU is what a modern day warrior needs!
•Titanium bezel and proven durability make SU light and incredibly tough, enough to take the knocks and drops of everyday training without skipping a beat.
•Outdoor grade color screen provides high contrast display, which is easily visible under any light condition. SU’s intuitive menu lets the wearer easily set features according to athlete’s training needs.
•Preset sport modes are designed for the multisport athlete. Preset modes include cycling, outdoor/indoor running, swimming, weight training, and more. These can be further customized in the Movescount site.
• Multi-info display shows three to eight lines of information depending on the mode, reducing the need to scroll between display modes, and distract one from the workout.
•20-200H battery life, efficient Bluetooth, and GPS technology minimize energy consumption—a must for IRONMAN athletes, ultra distance runners, and multiday trekkers.
•Its Bluetooth connectivity can be paired with SUUNTO cadence/HR pods, third party devices like power meters, and can also be synced to a mobile phone for e-mail alerts.
•Provides smart training insights every time SU is sync at the Movescount site where athletes have access to helpful training metrics such as time in Training Zones, Training Effect, Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption, and training logs.
•Community powered progress is another feature that offers connectivity to the Movescount community, and where athletes can reach out to coaches, discover new routes using the heat maps, and even plan next ride or run by downloading the route to SU.
•Personal best and peer group training insights function informs the wearer when a new Personal Best or Personal Record is hit during a workout as well as compares performance with fellow athletes.
Availability and Pricing
SUUNTO Spartan Ultra is distributed by Time Depot and available at the following stores nationwide:
Metro Manila Time Depot Rockwell, Shangri-La, Festival Mall, SM the Block, SM Mall of Asia, Robinsons’ Manila, Maximus Athlete’s Café Shop
North Luzon Time Depot Harborpoint Subic
Visayas and Mindanao Time Depot SM Cebu, SM Davao, Centrio Cagayan de Oro
7 September 2016—Today marks one month since Cobra IRONMAN (IM) 70.3 in Cebu, and the event is still fresh in my mind. I tried to write about it these last few weeks and even promised myself to finish it ASAP, but being creative can also be difficult and challenging at times.
My recent stint in triathlon (tri), to other tri friends, came as a bit of a surprise. I was surprised myself. My initiation to open-water racing happened in 2009 during an aquathlon 400m swim-7K run-400m swim event in Corregidor. Fast forward seven years in June 2016, and I just completed my first sprint tri—the inaugural S2 Sprint Triathlon 750m open water swim-20K bike-5K run, a side event of Regent 5150 Triathlon in Subic Bay, Zambales. It was to just experience transition, open water swimming again, and have a good time. Never expected it would end up as a podium finish ranking third in my age group. Big thanks to my Endure Multisport teammates Raffy, Clark, and Dido including TriTaft member and good friend Jerome for encouraging me to register for a sprint tri. Their valiant efforts egged me to go out and try it to familiarize myself especially at transition points where change from one discipline to another is crucial for tri success.
What Triggered My Getting Into Tri?
Here are my reasons. First, I only wished for a simple folding bike to use around town for errands, city touring or perhaps commuting or appointments. However, my friend Maui offered her road bike for sale. It was delivered at my doorstep on a Chinese New Year so my friend Maui named “my” bike Lucky, nicknamed Luke. My first road racing happened during the Alaska Cycling Philippines. Having my own road bike, finally, made me want to try a tri race. Second, this tri was long overdue. Obviously, the love for running took precedence over biking or tri these past years. I just picked up where I left off then. I have joined multisport events from 2009 until 2014, mostly aquathlon or SwimRun events where, luckily, I also had some podium finishes. Third, the advert about the upcoming Asia Pacific Championship really sparked my interest. IM 70.3 posed a new challenge for the serious recreational athlete in me.
Last year, I have asked myself many times, “When are you going to do it?” And my answer was, “It’s now or never.” The NOW was signing up for Cobra Energy Drink IRONMAN 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship Philippines Presented by Ford tri event in October 2015.
How Did I Prepare for IM 70.3?
The first thing I did was unlearning what I have learned years before, and relearn a new stroke to improve my swimming technique. It was a struggle at first, but over time it made the swim seemed effortless, while at the same time enjoyable. Meanwhile, a teammate shared the training program he used during his IM 70.3 preparations. Another experienced athlete shared her expertise and proposed another training plan to compliment what I had. After comparing both, I decided to tweak the two programs based on my current level of fitness.
I have also included extra activities and workouts—more swimming time, completing essential bike accessories, joining races tailored fit to endurance training such as The North Face 100K Trail Run, Salomon X-Trail Pilipinas, some half marathon races, attending a cycling class, and learning the ropes of biking from identifying parts, bike handling, road safety, gear shifting, using bike shoes and cleats to having a bike fit prior to start of an Eighteen-week Plan for my IM 70.3 training. I had to be more careful during my workouts after suffering bike crash related injury during the initial stage of my training. The program commenced in March 2016, peaked in weeks 13-16, and tapered during weeks 17-18 before the big day.
I have maintained a journal to daily record my progress and track my workouts. Training would start as early as 5:30 AM for my swim and as late as 11 PM for my bike and run on weekdays while on an eight-hour day job. I joined ride outs as well, more for endurance and to get comfortable conquering hills and practice gear shifting. Venues for these workouts vary.
Weekends were used to do either a three to four-hour cycling or long slow distance (LSD) even if it was raining. Early this year, together with teammates Clark, Noelle and Marga, we practiced sighting drills and swim start-exit techniques in one of the resorts in Subic Bay. And, exactly two weeks prior to Race Day, I joined a two-kilometer swim at the Open Water Challenge event in Punta Fuego, Nasugbu, Batangas. With much thanks for the support and compliments from former teammate Hanna Sanchez of SwimFit. Not all days though were spent to do workouts. I made sure that some of the activities did not overshadow my weekly exercises by including cross-training and rest days to balance the demand of my workouts.
How was the Competition?
Overall, it was a remarkable experience being it my first IM 70.3 distance and one for the books I would say. It was not easy since Cobra IM 70.3 Cebu is considered as the toughest tri event in the country. The remaining weeks leading up to race day brought stress and anxiety. I think I have cried a couple of times while thinking of the magnitude of this race. My only solace was looking at everything through the eyes of faith and grateful to persons who showed support and encouragement.
With almost 3,000 registered participants, it made the race more challenging especially in the swim part. Each athlete was given only 70 minutes or one hour and ten minutes to complete the 1.9-kilometer swim. This is a standard rule. Otherwise, race marshals would not allow the athlete to continue with the BikeRun part and be declared as either disqualified or did not finish. I seeded myself in the back or in the wave of my predicted finish time and waited for the race to begin. I was feeling a bit scared when the pros were started. I believe I battled the same nerves as everyone else at the starting line.
While the sea showcased spectacular scenery, the swim was a bit rough with waves pushing swimmers into each other. I was hit in the face and felt as if my goggles were going to push my eyeballs out of its sockets. Sea lice stung my upper lip. I saw an orange starfish floating. I was kicked a number of times, and at one point, pushed by someone under the water. Thankfully, I didn’t panic when it happened. It did not even deter me to keep on moving. Plus seeing a couple of divers in the deep end was a huge comfort. As it turned out, I had an excellent and breakthrough swim—just within the goal I set for myself.
In the cycle leg, I did say to my bike, “This is your time to shine. No flat tyre, please. Let’s do this!” Crazy as it may sound, I talk to to my bike as if it’s a living entity everytime we go for a ride. The scenery towards Talisay City was quite nice and the headwinds certainly slowed me down. A headwind would significantly increase your pedaling effort and affect your cycling time. Think of it as a form of hill climbing at slower speed. In my case, I had to get down and used my drop bar to get into an aero riding position since I didn’t train using aero bars. At times, I could feel my bike rattled by crosswinds. The tailwinds, however, made up for a fast and strong ride back. Climbing the MarceloFernan Bridge highlighted my biking experience in Cebu. Looking ahead, I saw some bikers walked their bikes up the steep bridge. As I was about to ascend, I told my bike, “No way would I walk that bridge. We trained for this. We can do this, Luke!” I experienced headwinds again as I slowly pedaled my way up Fernan Bridge past another biker who was massaging his leg cramp by the side of the bridge road . Cruising down the bridge, I almost forgot about the sharp downward turn at the end of it. Thankfully, I managed the bike break well and completed the 90-kilometer bike course without any mishaps—no flat tyre or crash.
The whole time I was biking on my way back to the transition area, having no idea how fast or slow I was going or what distance I was travelling since my odometer did not function plus I didn’t wear my GPS watch, it was a bike by feel motion. Also, not seeing any of the fast bikers along the route, I was entertaining these thoughts, “I would probably be stopped by race marshals at the transition area and they would tell me not to proceed with the run.” But to my surprise, as I reached the transition area, the marshals were shouting, “Go, go, go Ma’am, you have enough time to run!” It was, to my estimate, almost noon by the time I was dismounting from my bike to park and to quickly change into my running gear, I could not just start running because leg muscles were still in bike mode.
The sun was high in the sky and it was a humid and a hot twenty one-kilometer run made up of two loops on a flat terrain of mixed asphalt and concrete roads before finishing. I did a power walk in the next two or three kilometers. I had to slow down as I felt the cramp coming on. At the hydration station, I asked for ice to treat my quads. After this was done, I knew I could now run slowly. Seeing Team Boring Jet (thanks Jet for the words of encouragement) and Endure teammates Ziggy and Noelle at the race course cheering and encouraging the runners, I had no choice but to run. Besides my bib’s name was telling me “silently” to run no matter what! Then it rained suddenly. After a few minutes, the sun shone bright again.
I pushed myself to run steadily the last final kilometers and managed to pass a few runners heading towards the finish line. Teammate Noelle was telling me that emcees have just announced cut-off time. Organizing team member, a foreigner, was clapping his hands, “Don’t stop. Just keep on running. You’re almost there!” A few kilometers to go then I heard my chip beeped as I crossed the timing mat. I looked ahead while running towards the finish arch and was almost overwhelmed with emotion again by the excitement of spectators and some friends watching who cheered. I saw some of them running towards the side of the finish arch shouting my moniker and name. Super thanks Mike Miras aka Mananakbo Ako, newfound friend Martin, and Endure teammate Tracy for the cheers! Big thanks to my good friend and former classmate Meggy who couldn’t be there yet still tracked my race log and progress online.
Incredible experience upon hearing my name announced by event host Chiqui, and finally passing under the IRONMAN finish arch in 8 hours 5 minutes 17 seconds! I raised my arms in victory, looked to the sky to give thanks, dropped to my knees, and kissed the ground for finishing the race unscathed before accepting the iron heart finisher’s medal.
Congratulations to all finishers and winners and the organizing team of this year’s Cobra Energy Drink IM 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship Philippines Presented by Ford!
Believe in yourself. Take on challenges. Dig deep to conquer your fears. Nothing is impossible if you keep a positive mindset and put your heart into it. That being said, I would like to convey my heartfelt gratitude and sincere thanks to all wonderful people who supported me so I can successfully complete my first IM 70.3 tri race.
Special shout-out to swimmate and choirmate Jez Derramas for facilitating the registration process; swim coaches Bernard San Juan and Brian for the swimming lessons and drills; coach John Lozada for my running drills and workouts; Mabelle Lozada for accompanying me during my oval or park running workouts; fellow Happy Feet and now Greenhills Tri Team member James Rosca who helped me with my bike needs; teammates Ziggy and Noelle for tri tips, and for the cheer during the race; TriTaft friend Jerome and swimmate Ilyfish for facilitating the airfare booking; Team Gotta Mark Hernandez for the bike bag; my fellow participants/former classmates Manny Hermoso and Jerome Salvador who finished strong in this race; Primo Cycles Bike Shop owner Glenn Colendrino for my bike fit and bike maintenance; Share the Road advocate Pat Joson for conducting a Cycling 101 session; Mike Miras for sharing his tri experience as well as recommending bike accessories to keep; Ziggy, Raffy, Jerome, and Clark for accompanying me in my tri journey; Jemai for designing the Endure participants send-off poster; coach Andy Leuterio of Maximus Cycling Cafe for additional tri tips and cake treat; Cristy’s Bike Shop for my other bike needs/accessories; bike mechanic Ricky, JR, and Jeff of Primo Cycles for the assistance with a smile; fellow running bloggers Franc, Jared, Banjo, Vimz, and Bee for the support; my colleagues and bosses for supporting this endeavor; F.O.M. Choir; Endure team; and, my family (nieces Kating and Janiel), and friends.
About IM 70.3 Cebu
Hailed as the Hollywood of Triathlon, the province of Cebu hosted the Cobra Energy Drink IM 70.3 Philippines for the past four years. Race venue was at Shangri- La Mactan Resort and Spa in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu.
Cobra Energy Drink IM 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship Philippines Presented by Ford was held in the country outside New Zealand and Australia, a first time for the Philippines. Almost 3,000 or 2,978 slots to be exact for 2016 were sold out in just 28 minutes when online registration opened in 2015, and still with 400 hundred people in the waitlist. Almost 3,000 athletes from 43 countries represented all over the world, pro and elite triathletes competed for the $75,000 grand prize plus 50 age group qualifying slots for the 2017 IM 70.3 World Championship in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
IM 70.3 triathlon is a continuous endurance challenge which involved three disciplines in one event—1.9K swim, 90Km bike, 21K run with cut-off time of 8 hours and 30 minutes. IM 70.3 (70.3 miles = 113.1369K) is only half of the distance of a full IRONMAN.
Defending champion Bradley Weiss seeks to dish out another explosive performance around majestic Mayon Volcano as he banners a stellar field in the XTERRA Albay 2016 on February 7 in Albay.
Weiss won gold last year when the prestigious off-road triathlon race had its maiden run in Albay with the South African ace determined to set another podium for himself with the world’s most perfect cone as backdrop.
Out to foil Weiss’ bid are 2015 male pro third-placer Ben Allen of Australia, 2015 fourth placer Brodie Gardner also of Australia, Charlie Epperson of Guam, Joseph Miller of the Philippines and Michal Bucek of Slovakia who are all returning to Albay.
The women’s pro crown is up for grabs with 2015 winner and world titlist Flora Duffy from Bermuda has opted to skip this year’s event to concentrate on her campaign at the Rio Olympics.
Runner-up Australian Jacqui Slack and third placer Australian Dimity Lee Duke head the contenders in the distaff side along with Mieko Carey of Guam, who placed fourth last time.
Pros Lizzie Orchard, Taylor Charlton, Cameron O’Neal, and Hsieh Chung Sing are making their debut in the 2016 edition of XTERRA Albay.
The 1.5-kilometer swim starts in the shores of Lidong in Mayon Rivera where the water is calm and deep and the sands are black.
The 35-kilometer bike course features wide and open trails and provides breathtaking view of Mayon. It is a single loop point to point race passing through fire roads, grass roads, sands and rocky trails.
The 10-kilometer run follows the ATV route in Mayon passing through rocky and sandy areas, river bed, and grasslands with the finish line set at the famous Cagsawa Ruins.
XTERRA Albay 2016 is organized and produced by Sunrise Events, Inc. and backed by official venue partners Province of Albay, City of Legaspi, Municipality of Daraga, Bayan ng Sto. Domingo; official courier and logistics partner 2Go Express; Cetaphil; Columbia; Finisher Pix; Shotz Sports Nutrition; Timex; David’s Salon; Department of Tourism + Tourism and Promotions Board; and, media partner The Philippine Star.