Category Archives: Random Thoughts

Ironmom Diaries: Practical Training for the Real World Triathlete

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I signed up last year for Ironman Cairns (and several other major races) with the full hope that I would be able to give it all I had in terms of training for the event and going for a PR…imagining that I would have the luxury to focus on that one aspect and still be able to fulfil my other obligations somehow.

In the past couple of years though, I’ve learned that at this stage in my life, my training schedule is this: I try to do all my jobs as best as I can, and whatever free time remains, be it 20min or 2hours, well, that is my training time. Not ideal, but workable.

I’ve also learned that although I may not be able to follow a typical program week after week as my commitments vary, I just need to be consistent. Even if that means being consistently out of routine. In other words, I am not so obsessive anymore about following my program to the very last second but I have established some personal guidelines for myself so that I may still have a semblance of decent training. I’d like to share them with you!

Rule no 1: Never let two weeks pass without doing a long run.

Rule no 2: Never let two weeks pass without doing a long bike ride.

Rule no 3: Swim at least once a week.

Rule no 4: Run at least once every three days.

Rule no 5: If tired, take it easy. If really tired, skip the session. If sick, rest and take it easy for a couple of days.

Rule no 6: Train a minimum of 4 sessions a week. When you do, prioritize the key sessions. When you can, do combo sessions to maximize.

Rule no 7: If all you have is a few minutes, take it. Just make it count! For example, you can do intervals and make it a really good speed session.

Rule no 8: If all else fails and you really cannot find the time to train for days on end, EAT HEALTHY, and EAT LESS than you normally would if you were training heavily. Body composition counts for a lot in endurance events, and a few kilos can spell the difference between a good run split and a bad one.

Rule no 9: Core strengthening sessions can be done soon after your main session. Even 10-15minutes is greatly beneficial.

Rule no 10: Because you are a well-rounded person and triathlon is not the only thing which is important in your life, if you do not perform well, you should not kill yourself about it. Triathlon should not dictate who you are as a person, it is just something you love to do. Take in the lessons that need to be learned after a disappointing race, regroup, and move on! Remember to always enjoy what you do. Everything will be much easier if this is the case.

I would like to point out that these are not based on any scientific studies, nor are they taken from any triathlon training books, but I have come up with these points through years of observing what works for myself.

I am writing this piece during the flight back immediately after doing two Ironman distance races just a month apart, something I have never attempted before.

Am I happy with my race results? Maybe not as much as I would have been if I actually stuck to a spartan-like regimen. But am I happy and fully satisfied with my life as a whole? Heck, yeah!!!

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The Proof Is In The Pavement

It’s a Saturday and am not riding my bike.

And nope, I am not fussed.  Given the time constraints that I have, today is the day I put my foot down, lace my shoes up, and start training properly for my first marathon.  Yup, you read that right. I’ve never really done a stand-alone marathon event.  The six 42k runs which I’ve done have always been preceded by a 3.8km swim and a 180km bike. I’m not downplaying those runs at all, but I think it’s high time I give myself a chance to try and start a 42km without my old unwanted companions Backache and Energy Deficit.

I’ve always known that my first marathon event was going to be special, and this year I am finally realizing my dream with the help of my Timex family, who was generous enough to give me a slot for the famous New York Marathon on Nov 4.  Timex has been a part of the NYM for a long time now, and am happy to have their support, as well as the support of my local partners Timex PhilippinesUnilab Active Health and Adidas Philippines.

Most of my major triathlon races of the year are done with, and now I finally feel like I have the all-clear to focus on one event. When I gave birth to Dash almost 9months ago now, I set certain goals for myself:

1. To race within two months: Check, Timex Run, Jan 22 2012.

2. To race a Half Ironman within the first quarter: Check, Aviva Singapore 70.3 March 18 2012.

3. To race an Ironman within the first 6mos: Check, Ironman Australia Port Macquarie May 6 2012.

4. To race New York Marathon with a decent runner’s time, 3.5weeks before Dash turns a year old.

5. To race Timex 226, our local Iron distance triathlon, to mark the weekend of Dash’s 1st birthday!

Looking at the calendar, I have 10weeks to prepare for no.4 and 14 weeks to prepare for no.5. At this point though, a run focus is what the heart and soul is asking for, and THANK GOD the body is healthy and injury-free.

If I were to be brutally honest to myself, I just haven’t done the work this year to merit being called a marathon runner. I have too much respect for the distance. When I was training for Ironman Australia, the longest run I did was 22k. Granted, I only had a very small window of opportunity to do this as during the peak week of training for that race Dash was only 4mos old. So I am not beating myself up over that! But I told my husband Dan that I wanted to stop using Dash as an excuse after 6months–the “I just gave birth” card was just getting old. Maybe not for anyone else but for myself it was.

So I am calling on my inner Pam Reed as I will need that persevering spirit to help me last in the longest of my long runs.  I am also calling on the Lady of Fortitude, the Lady of  Endurance and the Lady of Multi Tasking Moms. Why we don’t have icons in their images beats me. I would also like to honor the original marathoner, Pheidippides (and pray that I don’t suffer his fate!).

To my fellow would-be marathon inductees, happy running and see you at the finish line…the proof is in the pavement.

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Filed under Adidas, Random Thoughts, Running, Timex, Unilab Active Health

The Magic Hour

It’s 2:56 am, and I wake up like it’s the most natural thing to do. Baby Dash is stirring beside me and it’s time to feed again.  When we get up for the 3am feeding, one of two things will happen: we go back to sleep again, or we don’t, and stay up til it’s time for mommy and daddy to officially start the day between 5 to 6am.  So much for Sunday sleep-ins…

Slowly though, I have gotten used to our routine and can now schedule a training session of at least an hour into the day. It has been more than two months and not too long now til I race my first triathlon after giving birth (small panic attack)! Am excited about the fact that my baby is going really well and I am encouraged by my husband to fit triathlon training into my life again. Not that I went too far away, I just focused on training other people for a year!

As of today, my longest sessions have been: Swimming for 4ominutes, Biking for 3hours (with a feeding break somewhere in the middle), and a run of 1hour 10.  A year ago,this may have all fit into one training day for me, but right now I am happy to even have come up with that within a stretch of a week! Some days I only have 20minutes, but I’ll take it as every second counts for a working/ training/ breastfeeding mommy.

Sometimes I have my apprehensions about diving back into racing again with a small child, but I am encouraged by great women athletes like Paula Radcliffe (won New York Marathon less than 10mos after giving birth) and Dara Torres (qualified for her 5th Olympic Games 15mos after giving birth). Not that I am eyeing feats such as theirs, but they are tremendous examples to look up to!

I will also not be pushed into feeling guilty about taking up my sport so soon after. I am sure that Dash will not like it if I use him as an excuse to slack off, and will in fact be proud to know that he is the reason why I feel like I can do so much better in all aspects of my life now. His presence has given me an extra bit of strength.

I love triathlon and will continue to do it everyday for the rest of my life God willing, but my favorite time of day does not occur while I am training or racing. My Magic Hour is that time, in the wee hours of the morning, when everything else is quiet and I hold my son close to me, his heart and mine beating to the sound of the purest love in the universe. He looks up at me with eyes which tell me how much he needs me to survive, and when I look back into his eyes, I feel like singing that song from Dreamgirls…”you’re the perfect man for me, I love you I do…”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HO4naAiz0Wo

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Filed under Mommy-hood, Newbie Mommy, Random Thoughts, Sketches and Doodles

Dash’s First Week: Mommy and Daddy Made It Out Alive, Phew!

Dash is more than a week old now and am happy to report that Mom and Dad survived the maddening 1st week! To say that parenting is a serious job is a gross understatement… let’s start with my delivery, which I believe should be a separate blog entry in itself –but then a new mom only has so much time in her hands!

I had an epidural-free water birth at home, an option I felt most comfortable with. It was a decision that I had to stick with, even in my last hour of labour, which took a total of 25hours. Yes, that long, partly because Dash came out a whopping 9lbs!!! It was pain beyond my imagination, but believe me when I say I did not even entertain getting anesthesia, as I wanted to be really involved in the process, no matter how excruciatingly hard it turned out to be…no race on earth could ever compare to that. TRUST ME. If you don’t, ask my husband, who has done the Ultraman World Championships in Hawaii, which consists of a 10k swim, 421k bike, and 84k run (he placed 8th). To this day he is still in shock about the whole birthing ordeal, haha. He was my rock till the very end though, even when he almost passed out after he saw Dash’s big head come out from underwater. When Deborah, our American midwife, asked if he wanted to cut the umbilical cord, he could not even move his mouth to form any words!

After that it is a big blur of waking up in the middle of the night a couple of times, breastfeeding (ouch. OUCH!!!), changing diapers, bathing, morning strolls, burping, rocking, singing, lots of crying and lots of smiles and laughter.  And here we are.

I write this blog in a hurry while Dash is having his afternoon nap, and it took me umm, 3 hours to make him fall asleep. Obviously we are still trying to get the hang of parenting, but we are fully committed. How can we not be? We are totally smitten with our boy, and am praying that we will be able to raise him well.

Here are pictures of Dash’s first week, and some of our visitors…. thank you for your love always!

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Filed under Family, Mommy-hood, Newbie Mommy, Random Thoughts

Waiting To Exhale…

I am just about ready to pop, so to speak, but I have a feeling my baby boy will take his sweet time.  That’s okay…this early we want to give him the freedom to decide on the important things in his life.  He might as well start with choosing his birthday!

I have spent the past few years just rushing through things, but this year was different.  I met my husband, got married, and now we are starting a family. Hmm…alright, maybe that too sounds a bit rushed, but I promise it did not feel like that at all!  I guess my husband and I both live life at hyperspeed anyway.

Seriously though, I have been slowing down the past couple of weeks in anticipation of Dash’s arrival, as true to his name, we already know we will be chasing him around!  But we are happy to do so.  In time we hope he outruns us in every way and in the most positive sense of the word.

Still, I have to admit that I am a bit nervous for my most challenging endurance event yet, even though I know that in turn, it will also be a million times more rewarding.

Thankfully, I have a great support group of women who are there for me, and I hang on to every piece of advice (and maternity, and baby items) they voluntarily throw my way.  I just want to thank all of these women who have been so helpful in this special time before things start becoming hectic again:

1. I hardly needed to buy any clothes for my growing body since Mona, Belle, and Tonichi gave me their maternity wear.

2. I did not realize that the literature on mommy-hood would be so overwhelming and diverse.  Everything from the basic “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” to  “Bestfeeding” to “Baby Signing…” thanks to Maricel, Deborah, Candy, Maui, Tonichi, and Pia for pointing me to the right direction. Now let’s hope my brain internalizes most of the stuff!

3. My forever fabulous women friends, those whose names are already mentioned above, plus: Tessa, Doray, Rizzo, Leana, Lara, Leah, Mariela, Honey, Yvonne, Chesca, Vernice, Sandra, Tricia, Chris, Cris, Celda, Ginny, Waya, Oona, Lala, VP, Princess, Gemma, Tita Anthea, Tayo.  Thank you for giving me all kinds of support–like simple “how are you doing” messages, nursery items, and throwing me a lovely baby shower.

4. The women in my family– my mom, my mother-in-law, Amar, my sister Sinag, my sisters-in-law Mae, Anna, and Melissa. Lola Mama, who passed away around the time Dash was conceived this year, has made her presence felt in various forms. I am very blessed to have you all in my life.

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Filed under Family, Friends, Mommy-hood, Random Thoughts

Off Season for a Good Reason

As I write this, I am using my pen and paper as there is a nationwide power outage and I am trying to conserve my laptop battery. I am also munching slowly on my breakfast and savouring my cup of hot chocolate. A lingering morning meal is certainly one of life’s simple pleasures.

My husband, on the other hand, is out doing his long run. On any other given Sunday, I would most likely have done the same, but for the next few months I am drastically reducing my run and bike mileage and concentrating more on swimming. No, I am not injured. As a matter of fact, the explanation for my low training volume is quite happy news-we are expecting a baby!  …. to read more, http://teamtimex.timexblogs.com/2011/06/05/off-season-for-a-good-reason/

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Filed under Family, Mommy-hood, Random Thoughts, Timex

Freedom, Love n Faith

In Siem Reap, Pia and I got to know this wonderful Filipino couple.  They are young and already making waves.  Loven Ramos is a graphic artist and photographer, while his wife, Faith, is in the fashion industry.  Their son’s name, of course, is Freedom. 

While we spent most of the days in the conference, we spent our evenings with them.  They are excellent company.  We went to Loven’s art gallery and Faith’s Clothing and Accessories shop, WANDERLUST. Loven  designs a bag collection among other items.  Written on the tag of the one I got is a touching story of how a young man who was in love with a woman could not afford to buy her her favorite thing, which was a Louis Vuitton bag, and that is why he just decided to make bags for her.  Aaaww…  🙂

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Filed under Art and Culture, Articles, Friends, Random Thoughts, Travel