Check this out guys! http://www.swimbikerun.ph/posts/in-focus/athlete-in-focus/page/2/
Thanks Carlos de Guzman and swimbikerun.ph!
Athlete: Coach Ani de Leon
By: Carlos de Guzman
Pictures from: Ani’s Blog
For its debut edition, SWIMBIKERUN.ph.ph (SBR.ph) is honored to have Ms. Ani de Leon as its first In[FOCUS] athlete. One can’t think of a better fit. The first Filipina IRONMAN World Championship qualifier. Talking to SBR.ph for the first time, for its first In[FOCUS] release.
Last October 29, 2010, Ani, for the ‘nth time has once again brought honor to our country, topping the age group category in the Ironman 70.3 Race Series in Kenting, Taiwan.
SBR.ph talks and gets the low down on what’s happening with Ms. Ani de Leon. What keeps her ticking and what motivates her.
Read on below for the interview.
SBR.ph: You’re the first ever SBR.ph In[FOCUS] athlete. =) Anything you wanna say to our readers?
I’m truly honored to be the first featured athlete…Triathlon has come a long way in the Philippines since I first started. Having venues such as this site of yours to further enhance the sport makes it even easier for everyone to communicate and be updated. Kudos to all the SWIMBIKERUN.ph staff!
SBR.ph: Tell us about the win in Ironman 70.3 Kenting, Taiwan. How was the race?
Honestly I was in what you could call a “relaxed state,” physically. Emotionally and mentally I was going through a very tough time. My friend, a Taiwanese, Eric Wang graciously offered to set me up for this race, along with fellow coach Ige Lopez. It was very timely, as I needed something to make me feel good. And nothing does that for me like racing- good results or not. So when I won first female amateur I was very happy. During the race, I only realized I was leading when I entered T2 and saw that there were no other bikes yet along my row. I thought… “Oh! There’s nobody here yet… Oh!!! Shoot! That probably means I’m ahead!” Hahahaha…my bike computer conked out early on and so I just went by feel. It worked out for the best obviously.
SBR.ph: Where did that win rank in terms of your results so far?
I’ve podiumed in most of the Asian Ironman and 70.3 races which I have joined, but never first overall amateur. So it was definitely a breakthrough. It’s so ironic since I was not as prepared for this one as I was for the previous races. But I think what I learned from this is that coming into races not fully expecting anything can also be good for you.
SBR.ph: Were you already into sports when you were young? If so, which of them were you most passionate about?
I was into gymnastics and swimming when I was younger. I was quite passionate to do both! But in the end I had to choose one, and since my sister Sinag was into swimming it was the logical choice, plus since the pool was just inside the U.P. Diliman Campus it was also more convenient. In high school and early on in college all I would do after school is hang out at the pool with my teammates. My Coaches Noel and Bernie were the ones who first introduced the concept of cross-training (i.e. running!) to me, and though I detested it initially, looking back I am glad they forced me to do that!
SBR.ph: You’re the driving force behind the Ironkids program. Tell us more about it.
Well in the Philippines we have two triathlon programs for kids, namely, SuperTriKids (ASTC/ TRAP) and IronKids (WTC/ Sunrise Events). I feel so lucky to be given the opportunity to help out in both. Basically they share the same goals—to get the kids outside and be active. In this age of computers and video games, and also with the steady rise of childhood obesity, I think it is crucial to have programs like these. We create races for them throughout the year, which serve as great motivation for them to train. Where I am based, in Makati and Alabang, I coach them regularly with the help of fellow triathlete Noel Salvador. We have around three to four sessions during a typical week. We also have other coaches now who help out all over the country, and together we are building the next generation of triathletes. It’s really fun…I love my job.
SBR.ph: Do you follow any other sports?
I used to follow F1 racing when Michael Schumacher was at his peak but I don’t anymore. I follow the Tour de France when it is on. Other than that I am not such a big sports fan I think, haha. I have other interests like art and music, which I share with my family.
SBR.ph: What’s next on the calendar for Ms. Ani de Leon?
I am planning to do most of the 70.3s in the Asian region and the Ironman in China. I will be racing in SUBIT as well.
SBR.ph: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Still coaching, most likely. Hopefully I would also have my own family by then, haha. But I would still like to train and race, whether competitively or not, as this is one of the things I live for. I think I can still be competitive in my age group.
SBR.ph: How do you balance coaching, training, and personal life?
It’s tricky. I could do better with that I think. But it’s just a matter of planning and organizing. As I was trained to be an interior designer this is one of my fortes. But Life Happens…and when it does, you just go with the flow, even if you have etched your schedule in stone 12months ago, for example.
SBR.ph: What is your long term goal as a multisport athlete?
To be able to do what I love for as long as possible, which is race at a high level and be a good coach.
SBR.ph: During long training swim, bike, and run sessions. Has it ever occured to you that you asked yourself, why the hell am I doing this? =)
I will not lie; it has come up several times. It even reached a point a couple of years ago when I had to stop altogether for almost a year because I started questioning myself- my intentions, my goals, my decisions. But all I got out of that, aside from the weight gain, was a burning desire to go back. I knew then that it was an integral part of me, doing triathlons. Since then it was full steam ahead.
SBR.ph: Tell us about your sponsors Ani.
I am privileged to be representing TEAM TIMEX internationally for the first time this year so I am not taking this opportunity for granted. In fact it makes me excited just thinking about it! I have very good relationships with my long term sponsors, namely ADIDAS, RUDY PROJECT, FITNESS FIRST, TIMEX, HAMMER NUTRITION, AQUASPHERE and HED. I owe them a lot for supporting me year after year. So I try my best to make sure they get their money’s worth!
SBR.ph: Do you have or maintain a specific diet? If so, tell us about it.
I’m not going to say my diet is perfect since I could do with less sugar. I have a sweet tooth unfortunately haha. But apart from that I eat quite well. I eat good quality protein like fish and try to stay away from too much processed and fried stuff. I eat lots of fruits and vegetables. I know I am not eating well when I start feeling sick. If you are training a lot and you don’t eat properly that is bound to happen. So I am quite good with my diet.
SBR.ph: What else about Ani de Leon do you want the whole world to know? =)
Err…I could do a headstand for 10minutes. Does that count?
SBR.ph: Any last words or tips to those who wants to get into crazy world of triathlon?
Yes. You’re nuts! Hahaha. Seriously, at first triathletes look intimidating but we really are a great community. I love all my friends who are into triathlon, and you will make your own tri-friends too…everyone is more than willing to help out, so just tag along and you will learn a thing or two. Of course if you want to take it to the next level then hiring a coach would be the best thing you can do for yourself.
SBR.ph: Thank you for the time Ani. Appreciate it. Keep winning and keep inspiring!
Always a pleasure 🙂