Keeping The Faith: My Ironman China Race Report

During our 3-hour flight to China, my seatmate and I (let’s hide him under the name KQ2) compared reading material. He was reading a book entitled, “The God Delusion.”  My book of choice, on the other hand, was “The Existence of God is Self-Evident,” something which could not possibly have been more contrasting.  We had a good laugh about it, and I even tried to scan his book for a bit but I could not read it without wincing so I gladly gave it back. I took out my copy of Triathlete Magazine and we eventually found common ground–our love for the sport is indeed very strong.
Little did I know that just a few days after this, my commitment as an athlete would be brutally tested yet again.  My love affair with triathlon has had its share of ups and downs over the last ten years, but our relationship is solid. As I went into Ironman distance two years ago, it proved to be sweeter than ever. 
Until Ironman China.
This race tried to break me, and honestly, in those dark dark moments of the marathon I thought it had succeeded.  I have no idea how I finished, I only remember that it was the longest and most dreadful walk that I had to do. Heck, it was the only Ironman in which I ever recall having to walk at all.  I had suffered too much on the bike to be able to run. 
What happened??? It was a well-organized race, don’t get me wrong, and hats off to the organizers. I had also come to this race prepared as always, as my training partners can attest to. I had tapered well, rested well, eaten well–did all the things a good athlete is supposed to do.  It was a tough race, as tough as they can be, comparable to Kona itself–but I will not use this as an excuse.  When you sign up for an Ironman, you don’t expect to have it easy. If for some reason you do, then you are definitely in the wrong sport.  I showed up in Haikou fully aware of this.
So again, what happened?  As of this writing, the answer still escapes me.  It will take time to process.  What I do know is, I had a bad race.  No , I had a horrible race.  However, I also know, in a strange way, that this was good for me.
Why? It has taught me that even when I do hit rock bottom, trudging on just to survive and with all hopes of a stellar performance out the window, I could still manage to hold my head up high and raise my hands in victory as I crossed the finish line, a good 13 hours and 39minutes later– a spectacularly fantastic PW (Personal Worst 🙂 ) for me.  Yes Ironman, you have challenged me today, but my faith remains intact.
The wonderful thing is, my atheist friend KQ2 did amazingly well amidst a most formidable field of athletes from all over the world. He finished among the pros and was among the top age groupers, thus garnering him a slot for the Ironman World Championships in Kona like I knew he would.  Believer or not, I am beside myself with joy for him, and in fact will even accompany him.  After all, I am still his coach 🙂
Thank you for always Believing. Cinnabon, Adidas, Hed, Timex, Aquasphere, Hammer, Rudy Project, Cobb Cycling, Zoot.  My dearest family and friends, you know who you are, thank you.  Pinay In Action, Fitness First, Sabak Tri, South Tri, Polo Tri, Xycos, the SuperTriKids and IronKids families.


Filed under Adidas, Coaching and Training, Events, Fitness First, Race Report, Timex

10 responses to “Keeping The Faith: My Ironman China Race Report

  1. Patrick

    Thanks for sharing your experience Ani. Such a trial, surviving it no matter the outcome just serves to make you a better athlete. It was as very inspiring read for me. You are truly one of my idols. All the best & more power to your future endeavors.

    • anikarina

      Thanks so much Patrick. It was truly humbling, and I am quite sure now that I needed that 🙂 Hope to see you soon 🙂

  2. Julian

    Must be the weather. 🙂 Was keeping track of you at ironmanlive. Congrats just the same. Idol ka pa rin namin, Keep the faith. Luke Mckenzie dnf at Langkawi and came back at haikou the champ.

  3. bkmedalla

    Thanks for sharing this! I’ll use it as fuel on my first olympic distance tri in May … hopefully it will keep my inner whine at bay (which I only hear on the run leg for some reason).

    PR or PW… you rock.

  4. Sheri

    Dear Ani,
    Thanks for sharing your story with us. It was an amazing and also inspiring story. The fact that you finished and never gave up makes you a champ by itself. You are an awesome athlete and a role model to so many of us.

    • anikarina

      Hi Sheri… do me a favor and go kick ass in Aviva!!! Thanks for your note… I really would not have been able to show my face to you guys if I DNF’d. You guys inspired me to finish it for sure. I will pray for your success in Singapore and hurry back to tell us your own race story 🙂

  5. Greg Banzon

    Hi Ani –

    If there’s anyone who can empathize with you, I guess it would be me. Have failed to finish Ironman West Australia due to a lapse in concentration resulting to my crashing in the bike and then the tragic hyponatrimia episode at Ironman Langkawi.

    I trained hard for both – piling up serious mileage and applying what I learned through both research and consultation from Ironman vets. But still, missed crossing the finish line both times. Langkawi was particularly bad. I kept my pace well managed to save to the run but by the time I got to the run, hyponatrimia had taken its toll on me. My hands and tongue were numb, I had a splitting headache, was dizzy and had tunnel vision….threw up 9 times in the run course, almost one blow every 2 to 3 km… plus 3 times in the medical tent…all I wanted to do was cross the finish….ended up spending the evening in the hospital and taking shots to stop the vomitting and IV to stabilize. It’s been 3 weeks since but I still find myself awake late into the night almost every night feeling the frustration of the DNF.

    I am very impressed with your finish and knowing that even you go through though races makes me even more inspired to go after that elusive finish line. Maybe in Langkawi again or Ironman Australia. Thanks for sharing your story.

    • anikarina

      Hi Greg, thanks so much for your message. You will have your day at Ironman, and when that day comes, it will be really sweet because of all that you had to go through. I look forward to the time that you will cross that finish line and I will be celebrating with you!

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