Category Archives: Shimano Tri

Challenge Roth 2014 Race Report: Still Learning, Still Loving Every Moment, Still Living The Dream


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It’s no secret that I love Ironman Distance racing…of the hundreds of multisport races I have done, I honestly only really remember the epic ones- ones wherein I have had to dig deep to finish. The others are unfortunately just blurred images of lycra, sweat, aid stations and pasta parties.

But that’s me, and people are different. I actually prefer swimming, biking and running for longer distances, and I’m not going to apologize for it. I love the race and the whole process that I have to go through to get there—it makes me feel alive. I WANT MORE, SO I DO MORE. And this here is the story of my 11th Iron Distance journey.

And oh, what a journey it was. It was not just any other race, this was Challenge Roth, the triathlon race of lore.

GRFB and GLENDA: Two forces to be reckoned with!

My running group Girls Run For Breakfast had organized a send-off dinner a few days before I left. They are an amazing bunch of Kick-Ass women and just amazing friends and I really wanted to do this race well for them.

Getting out of Manila was a bit of an ordeal in itself though, as I had left the Wednesday Typhoon Glenda decided to showcase her wrath. The airport was in utter chaos, and it took us more than an hour to go through immigration, so our flight was more than two hours delayed. I had a connecting flight from Abu Dhabi to Dusseldorf, and when I landed in Abu Dhabi the flight to Dusseldorf was already on its Final Call. That was my main workout for the day, running as fast as I could with my luggage from one gate to another, and I made it just as they were about to close their doors. From there it was two more plane rides, one subway ride, one train ride, and one car ride to get to Roth on a fine Thursday afternoon. And what a lovely welcome I received from my homestay family, the Woelfels:

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3 Flags: Philippines, Roth, and Germany

The Rhine–Main–Danube Canal

On Friday Morning I arranged to meet with one of the other Filipino participants, Noelle, at the swim practice.  I felt great in my brand new Blueseventy Helix Wetsuit, and the water temperature suited me perfectly.

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Yay my Blueseventy Helix wetsuit fits! Phew (Photo by Sven Woelfel)

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Was great to see Noelle (Photo by Sven Woelfel)

 

Roaming Around the Expo

I picked up my race packet afterwards and roamed around the humongous expo grounds.

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Cool ZOOT car!

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Lunch with Sven

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Hanging out by the registration

 

Roth Town Welcome Party Friday Night

In the evening I had a blast at the Bayern 3 welcome party!

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Bayern 3 Party

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My lovely German Homestay Family, the Wölfels

Challenge Women Run on Saturday morning

The next day the Woelfels and I cheered for Eva as she ran the 5k Womens Race.

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My homestay Eva raced in the Challenge Womens 5k on Saturday morning

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A photo with race emcee, my favorite Belinda Granger (Photo by Sven Woelfel)

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Cheering for Eva with Leo, Johanna, Sven, and Lucia

Bike Check In on Saturday afternoon

It was getting very hot so we fled from the sun and came out again in the last hour of the bike check in to tuck my baby in for the night. It was going to be a long day tomorrow. I kissed my trusty steed for luck.

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See you tomorrow my trusty steed! (Photo by Sven Woelfel)

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All Racked Up! (Photo by Sven Woelfel)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3,500 Individual participants and 650 Relay Teams make for a Giant Transition Area

 

Race Day Beckons

Yes, I still get very nervous, very very much so, on race morning. People ask me this question all the time. This is what I live for. The gut wrenching feeling which signals the impending battle you are about to take on.

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Arland checking out the swim (Photo by Sven Woelfel)

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Noelle and I started in the same wave (Photo by Sven Woelfel)

The song choices of the DJ that morning were very motivational, including an Olympics anthem which made my hair stand up even more.

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We swam underneath this bridge (Photo by Sven Woelfel)

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250,000 Spectators on Race Day. 40,000 Spectators at The Canal. Crazy! (Photo by Sven Woelfel)

Individual Participant Sister Madonna leads the prayer

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Rockstar Sister Madonna Buder, 83 yo (Photo by Sven Woelfel)

Inspirational CAF (Challenged Athletes Foundation) Ambassador Rudy Tolson Garcia

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Out of the water

Walking to his bag

Walking to his bag

Prosthetics On

Prosthetics On

Out of the swim in good spirits

I felt like I swam well enough, so I was very happy. I set out to do a fast transition as every second counted!

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Photo by Sven Woelfel

Smashed on the Bike

On the bike I started out fine but began to worry when after 2hours or so the hills didn’t seem to let up. Then I realized they weren’t going to. Haha. I shook my head and laughed. The times here are fast because of the strong Germans, not because it’s a fast course!

Okay Mathias, Jurgen, Thomas, Dirk 1, Dirk 2,  Jens and Wolfgang. You have permission to overtake me!!! 🙂

After that I let myself relax a bit more as there was still a long way to go. I had to maintain a decent pace but made sure I did not overdo it. Energy management: that is Ironman in a nutshell for you!

Solarer Berg

I just need to talk about this hill. It is amazing. It is magical. I was sobbing and laughing wildly at the same time. I am a big fan of classic cycling races and the Tour De France, and I have always wondered what it felt like to be cycling in one of the stages. Well, you get a wicked glimpse of it on Solar Hill. It may have lasted but a few minutes, but these are minutes from my life that I will always remember.

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 Slugfest on the Run

The marathon course of Roth is very scenic and forgiving on your joints due to the hard packed trail surface. I would have probably appreciated it better on any other day. But today, it was a slug. I just did not have the energy left to produce a decent run. I only had myself to blame as I had to admit I probably did not do enough bike and run volume, which had now led to this. But every race you learn. Or re-learn.

One of the things I love about Iron distance racing is that it always give you a big serving of humble pie when you need it most. At this point in my career I tend to take basic things for granted, like laying the groundwork properly, and when I go to races like this unprepared I pretty much pay for it. Racing long distance constantly keeps me grounded. I can never stray too far once I start being too complacent!

Emotional Finish (yes, again)

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I saw my host family waiting for me in Town at the 40k mark, and I was very very happy to see them. Little Leo ran about 150meters with me. It was great. Macca just happened to be standing nearby too and ran to give me a High Five as I passed.

Finally, I was on the last stretch. Once you hear the noise from the stadium you are home free. I looked for Sven as I wanted to get the Philippine Flag from him. It meant a lot to me to carry it through the finish line.

When I saw him a few hundred meters to go I was in such an emotional state already. I always am. I just can’t help it. I let the tears flow. I guess my finish does not feel complete without them.

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Unfolding the flag before I take the last few meters towards the finish line (Photo by Sven Woelfel)

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Forever Grateful to be able to Finish. Always grateful to be able to FINISH. Thank you God for another amazing journey.

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Women’s Champ Mirinda Carfrae, blazing fast run

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Challenge Roth 2014 Winner TIMO BRACHT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Auf Wiedersehen

And just like that, the race weekend was over. I stayed two more days in Roth before heading home mostly because I wanted to spend some time with Dan’s homestay family the three times he had raced there.  It was great to meet the Wölfs as I had heard so much about them from Dan. They were very happy to meet me as well. They showed me some photos during Dan’s stays with them. I could see why my husband liked them very much.

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I was very happy to finally meet Dan’s family in Roth!

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Dan’s homestay family in Roth got out their photo albums and showed me some pics of Dan the couple of years he did Roth and stayed with them

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Some gelato in the square with Lucia and Leo

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My parting gifts…Timex watches for Eva and Sven and some dried mangoes from the Philippines!

On my last day in Germany the Wölfels took me to Nuremberg wherein we had a few hours to stroll around before my train took off. They are a lovely family and I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to stay with them.  I thought of my own small family, Dan and Dash, and how much I longed to see them. It was time to go home.

It had been an eventful and productive trip, with new friends and lasting memories made. Auf wiedersehen Roth, until we meet again!

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:

Girls Run For Breakfast and UNILAB–THANK YOU!!! Timex, Gatorade, Rudy Project, Zoot/ Light’N’Up Marketing, Yurbuds, ALASKA Milk, Enervon Activ, Shimano, Glen Colendrino for my RETUL fit, my ULAH teammates and my boys Tyrone Regaliza, David Almendral and Maiqui Dayrit.

Felix Walchshoefer and Elke Angermann.

Thanks to my ever loving family, Dan and Dash, the de Leons, Sarabias, and the Browns. My Team Transformers Claire and Epoy, Ben, Philip and Mark 🙂 And of course my homestay family the Wölfels and Dan’s homestay family the Wölfs.

 

See Related Feature by SWIMBIKERUNph here:

http://www.swimbikerun.ph/2014/07/rothmyworld-ani-de-leon-brown-arland-macasieb-and-noelle-de-guzman-2014-challenge-roth-finishers-sbr-ph-infocus-special-edition/

 

 

 

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Filed under Challenge Tires, Challenged Athletes, Enervon Activ, Gatorade, Ironman Racing, Race Report, Shimano Tri, Timex, Uncategorized, Unilab Active Health, Yurbuds

Welcome to the Family!

Ever since I met Dan, one of the things he would never stop talking about is how much he loves the Challenge events he has done (3 in Roth and 3 in Wanaka) and how amazingly warm the organizers are. I must admit that before then, even though I had heard of the race series before, I did not really know much about it. All I knew about it was that the pros loved going to Roth to post their fast times (sub 8s for the men and sub 9s for the women) there.

Anyway, I told myself that if I ever had the opportunity to join one of their races I would jump on it. When they announced late last year that they were staging a full and a half distance in Taiwan, virtually our next-door neighbor—Dan and I were ecstatic!

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We were quite lucky that in this particular race, we did not have to adapt to a new time zone. It was just like flying to another part of the Philippines! The flight was less than 2hours. I needed to spend the least time away from our son Dash as possible, so I flew in with Eric Wang two days before. Dan had taken a flight two days before ours. Eric and his friends took me out for a quick lunch in Taipei before my domestic flight to Taitung. We went to a really simple but delicious hotpot place. I always trust Eric and his Taiwanese friends when it comes to food and drink!!!

Hotpot in Taipei

I was on my own when I landed in Taitung, and all I had was a text message from Dan with the name of our quaint B&B in Chinese characters. I showed my phone to the taxi driver, and what do you know, I was there in less than 10min. This was where all the pros were staying, including our very own Monica Torres, who was racing the half distance.

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PRE RACE

I was desperate for a massage too so Dan arranged for me to go to the massage place with Petr Vabrousek (yes, the one and only Petr- 120+ Ironman races, always placing in the top 10). I had not assembled my bike yet so I chased him around the side streets using one of the inn’s old rusty bikes fitted with a matching rusty basket. I am not sure exactly how Petr discovered this place but the masseuse was a genius. I felt much better afterwards.

The next day was pretty straightforward—coffee in the morning at the nearest 7-11 with Dan and Michal Bucek (who eventually won the half distance race), organized our transition bags, checked in our bikes with Monica, walked back to the hotel and rested. It was going to be a loooong day tomorrow (sigh).

RACE DAY

On race morning I had to do some extra work which I highly doubt any of the other racers did…I needed to express milk. Fast. I was still breastfeeding Dash, and I needed to keep my milk supply up. Thankfully I brought my Philips Avent Pump with me!

Philips Avent Breastpump

I always ask myself, why am I doing this again??? But it is useless to find the proper answer. Sometimes, I really can’t figure it out. I know I am going to go through pain for about 12 hours. I know that I don’t have to do it, goodness knows nobody has ever forced me to do it. BUT HERE I AM. AT THE START LINE OF ANOTHER IRONMAN DISTANCE TRIATHLON. THIS IS RIDICULOUS, ANI, ARE YOU SERIOUSLY DOING THIS AGAIN!!!– SWIM 3.8km, BIKE 180km, RUN 42.2km. But for some reason, when it comes to racing, I prefer not to over think things. And yes, I believe I really enjoy this stuff.

Moving on… the lake swim was slow for most, but my total disregard for my swim training had finally caught up with me. I knew I swam slow when Dan shouted at me from the sidelines (they were getting ready for the half distance which started 2hrs later) “Don’t worry, everyone is swimming slow!” Haha. Thanks.

Ani Bike Challenge Taiwan

I had a tea party at T1, I even chatted with Monica who was also waiting for her race start. I guess that was the theme of the day, as I had a very solitary long ride on my own, and a pretty relaxed pace on the run as well. The one thing I did right was keep my pace even, and that served me well cause I still made it to the finish line smiling. But of course I teared up just a few seconds before the bright lights. I don’t think I can help it even if I tried—an Ironman distance event is always hard work no matter what.

Ani Run Challenge Taiwan

Ani Finish Challenge Taiwan

POST RACE

Awarding for the half distance was a couple of hours after I crossed, so I stayed on to cheer for Dan (who was 8th overall male and 3rd in his Age Group) and Monica (who was 2nd overall female and 1st in her Age Group). We then trooped to the McDonalds across the road, and I can tell you one thing: triathletes are generally very healthy eaters, but after an Ironman, all hell breaks loose. Our group consisted of some of the top finishers in the full distance, including champion Dylan McNeice.

Post Race Feed

The awarding for the full distance was the next day, and I was surprised to hear that I came in 1st overall Female Age Grouper—for some reason I thought I was 2nd. What happy news!

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That same afternoon we took the slow train back to Taipei (by slow, I mean, 6hrs) with some help from our lovely B&B friends. They accompanied us all the way to the train station! Unfortunately it was chaos when we finally arrived at the Taipei station at rush hour. After lugging our bike cases and all our other bags from one platform to another amongst the sea of commuters, we eventually made it outside. Daryl Carrey, the official race photographer pointed us to a nice hotel and a delicious New Zealand burger joint, KGB, or Kiwi Gourmet Burgers. Lamb burgers, what a brilliant way to cap the trip off!

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On the flight back home, a tiny thought entered my mind, and I smiled to myself…I am now part of the Challenge Family, yay!!! And thanks to the organizers, it really feels like a family: Felix, Michael, Kent, Roman, and the rest of the crew go out of their way to talk to every single participant. I am officially hooked.

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*A big shoutout to our sponsors who are always there to support us: Timex, Unilab Active Health, Gatorade, Enervon Activ, Hamilo Coast/ Pico de Loro, Rudy Project, Adidas, Quintana Roo, Shimano, Yurbuds, our friends from LightNUp Marketing, Retul. Thanks to our family especially my Nanay and Ate, Gwen and Norma, who looked after Dash while we were racing, and special thanks to Noelle for covering for us at work 🙂

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Filed under Enervon Activ, Gatorade, Quintana Roo Tri, Race Report, Shimano Tri, Timex, Unilab Active Health