Category Archives: Travel

There’s Nothing Like Small Town Racing

In today’s fast growing world of Multisport wherein everyone tends to gravitate towards branded races, it was so refreshing for me to join two events which were very warm and personal.

They were both held in small coastal towns and organized and supported by locals. What they lacked in numbers, they made up for in heart.

The first one I want to highlight is the Timex 226 Ironman Distance Triathlon held last December 2012 in Anda, Bohol by the local government/ Art Yap, Bike King, and Timex Philippines. I had wanted to join the first one staged in Dec 2011 but I had just given birth three days beforehand, so that was my excuse 🙂 I was happily able to participate in the second staging of the race, and even though my preparation was sub-optimal, I knew I was going to have a great time.

It was a very good course, we had a wavy swim, a nice rolling bike ride, and a pancake flat run. Plus some really delicious local fare at the party. All in all a wonderful experience I wouldn’t mind doing again!

20130214-114138.jpg

20130214-114223.jpg

20130214-114259.jpg

The second race I did fairly recently was an Enduro Aquathlon put up by the Tomaree Tri Club in Nelson Bay, Australia. It was a really fun day for my husband and I as we were able to convince his Dad, Mom, and sister Anna to join as well! While my father-in-law and the two of us joined the long version, my mother-in-law and Anna did the shorter version. Eva, Dash and our babysitter Gwen came to cheer for us, and I ended up being first female overall, while Dan finished 4th male. It was amazing to have so many family members on the race course, and we motivated each other well. We had coffee/ tea and toast afterwards with the local Tri club. What a great morning!

20130214-121618.jpg

Apart from doing these two races, I had a really relaxing Christmas and New Year Holiday wherein I only worked out when I felt like it, and even then the sessions would all be at an easygoing pace. Highly recommended every now and then!

Wishing everyone a successful racing season in 2013!

20130214-121908.jpg

Leave a comment

Filed under Race Report, Timex, Travel, Unilab Active Health

Presenting my 2012 Ride: The Quintana Roo CDO.1

I just realized I never had the chance to post a picture of my sweet new bike on my website… well here it is! I am a happy owner of the Team Timex Issue Quintana Roo CDO.1. It came with a PRO bar, Shimano Cycling components and Challenge tires as well! We are going to cover lots and lots of miles with this baby 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under Adidas, Biking, Dove Hair Therapy Philippines, Fitness First, Hawaiian Airlines, Pico de Loro, Timex, Travel, Uncategorized, Unilab Active Health

Race Report: Ironman Australia 2012

I was always going to do Ironman Australia. My sister Sinag did it twice in the early 2000s, and during one of her races I was able to watch the first Ironman of Chris Mc Cormack in Forster. This place was special to me, its athletes always inspired me to work harder, and I gained a lot of my triathlon knowledge under the tutelage of Australian coaches (what do you know, I ended up marrying one, funnily enough 🙂 )

So when I was around two months pregnant last year, I coerced my friends to register for the 2012 staging of the Ironman in Port Macquarie.  It would be David, Tyrone and Belle’s first ever attempt at the distance and I knew they were more than ready. As for Dan and I, we made a quick computation, and our baby would be 5months and 1week old (which he was, as I gave birth exactly on my due date!) and would be due for a visit with Dan’s family in Sydney anyway.

Fast forward to May 6, 2012. Everything I had visualized the year before was about to take place! We had just spent a lovely week in Sydney and Nelson Bay and now we were up at 4am for the race start.

Was I seriously going to do this? I asked myself once again as I breastfed my baby one last time before the gun went off at 6:45am.  I was wearing my wetsuit halfway and was holding Dash who looked so cuddly wrapped in a warm cover. I was amazingly relaxed too…since I had such a small window to start training properly for an event of this magnitude, I had decided long ago to treat it as a very long training day. No time pressure, no worries. My bike computer had even conked out a few days before and it didn’t even worry me one bit!

Fifteen minutes before the start I kissed my baby goodbye and handed him to Dan’s parents and sister Anna. The only reason I was able to race at all in Australia was because I trusted them to take care of Dash during race day. We were so lucky to have their full support!

My swim training leading up to the race was virtually nil so I was happy enough with my swim time 0f 1:11. I had organized for my electronic breast pump to be at T1 and T2, and also bought two small portable ones for carrying in my pocket throughout the bike and run. I decided to skip pumping at T1 and do so later. I was still on a high from having a decent enough swim!

My bike was very ordinary as expected with my combined lack of fitness and the hilly terrain of Port Mac, Bonny Hills, and Laurieton. Yes, I confess to dismounting and walking my bike on Matthew Flinders Drive. But I had to preserve my legs for the 42k!

I got into T2 and I DEFINITELY needed to express my milk then. I used up about 20min doing that. The volunteers in the Female Changing Tent told me, “wow, you are really an Ironwoman!” and did their best to accommodate my strange request.

Australian spectators are the best in the world. The marathon was a big unknown for me as my longest run during training had only been 22km! But the cheerers on the road were amazing–I never heard so many different variations of “Keep Going” in my life! Some examples: You’re a legend mate! Good on ya! You’re doing so well!

By a twist of fate and good fortune, I ended up running 2 and a quarter of my four laps with David, and our shared energy helped us run better. We walked all the aid stations but I made sure we were disciplined enough to start running again every time we did. It was getting harder and harder every lap but I just stayed positive. When he went into the finish chute I still had 1 lap to go. I missed him immediately but I took advantage of my alone time and expressed some milk again for a few short minutes this time. I was good to go and as I started my last lap I knew I was home free.  Not even tripping and falling flat on my knees dampened my spirits. I would see my baby soon! I missed him so much from not being with him the whole day.

It was a painful day but as I ran on the red carpet and looked up at the finish time, I saw that I went under the arch at 13:36:22. Not bad. I had another teary-eyed finish line photo, even though I was trying really hard not to cry. Every race is very special to me in a different way. This one was hard, because it was my first Ironman so soon after giving birth. But I made it and I am so thankful for that.

My husband, his family, my friends, and baby Dash were all waiting for me at the finish line. There were hugs all around.

It had been more than two years since my last Ironman and I had almost forgotten how great it feels.  I love this sport and am glad that it loves me back 🙂

…………………………………

Special thanks to family, friends, and sponsors. The Sarabias, de Leons, the Rules, and the Browns. Jenny and Ian from Lake Cathie. My athletes and training partners Belle, David and Tyrone- you are all Ironmen!!! My husband Dan and baby Dash, who keep me going every single day.

Unilab Active Health, Pico de Loro, Hamilo Coast, Timex, Adidas, Quintana Roo, Shimano, Rudy Project, Challenge Tires, Fitness First, Pinay In Action, Gatorade.

Thank you to my fellow mom athletes who taught me how to manage nursing and training at the same time, and who always inspire me! Pia Cayetano, Maricel Pangilinan, and my sister Sinag.

4 Comments

Filed under Adidas, Pico de Loro, Race Report, Timex, Travel, Unilab Active Health

2011 So Far…

Posted in Fun, Racing by Ani De Leon

The first quarter of the year has passed me by quite quickly.  I sometimes feel like I am riding a high speed train from which I cannot get off.  Well things finally came to an abrupt halt, or shall I say shaky jolt, last night here in Thailand when our hotel room started to wobble. Big earthquake! As Dan and I ran out the door (him in his jocks and I in my traveling outfit, the first thing I could put my hands on) the big TV set came crashing down the floor with a booming noise but we didn’t even bother to look back as we were in a state of panic—we had to run down four flights of stairs! Luckily the fire escape was easily accessible….. (to read more, http://teamtimex.timexblogs.com/2011/03/25/2011-so-far/ )

Leave a comment

Filed under Coaching and Training, Environment, Race Report, Travel

Here’s a video clip of myself from LAVA Mag….

http://lavamagazine.com/features/video-rookie-from-afar#axzz1EZWGys55

Leave a comment

Filed under Coaching and Training, Selected Features, Timex, Travel

A new year, a new life, a new team…

I am on the other side of the world right now, and when this happens I have this rare chance to stop and reflect on my life from an outsider’s perspective…sort of, as I am removed from my usual routine.  I guess there are some significant changes I have been going through, including but not exclusive to: getting married, moving out of the city, and starting the season with a new team.

Sometimes I wonder how I ever got so lucky–blessed with good health, family, friends, work that I actually love.  Now I have the chance to be part of  Timex Multisport Team and all I can say is that IT IS AWESOME!!! I showed up at camp a rookie and not knowing anyone in the team except for kiwi Keegan Williams but he wasn’t even able to make it to NJ as he was racing (he won 1st overall btw!).  Before meeting everyone I had this insecurity of not being good enough for such a solid group of athletes and a real winning team…but I was reminded by Tristan and the other girls at camp that we were chosen to be Timex Ambassadors for various reasons, athletic performance being only one of them, so I relaxed a bit more.  Timex took such good care of us (i.e. we were well-fed) and the venues we had were topnotch…Timex Performance Center and NY Giants Stadium–seriously!

Leaving the camp, I wrote an email to everyone in the group, wherein I said:

….I would just like to say thank you to Timex and the entire team for such an incredible weekend!  I must say that I was not really sure what to expect coming here and on my looong flight back home i hope the passengers beside me will be asleep as I will be smiling to myself the whole time (this, and maybe inspecting some of my swag) recounting the whole camp experience in my mind.

I am very happy to be a new member of this family, and if any one of you ever considers racing in my part of the world, you have a homestay with us. Have a safe trip back home everyone!
Love Ani

Special thanks to Gemma, Avi, and Jewel of Timex Philippines for helping me get in the team and supporting me always. And to Princess and Neville + et al for taking care of the Ironkids Run Race on my behalf and to my sister Sinag and Waya for taking care of wedding stuff while I was away. Pasalubong for you guys!  And to Dan–on my way home soon, promise!

To learn more about the team, visit: http://teamtimex.timexblogs.com/

11 Comments

Filed under Athletes, Coaching and Training, Timex, Travel

My Taiwan race on Yahoonews Philippines!

Since I took so long to blog about this anyway, here is the article by Babeth Lolarga:

http://ph.yfittopostblog.com/2010/12/02/pinay-interior-designer-wins-int’l-triathlon-event/

Pinay interior designer wins int’l triathlon event

By Yahoo! Southeast Asia Editors – December 2nd, 2010

 

By Elizabeth Lolarga, VERA Files
For Yahoo! Southeast Asia

While the nation whooped it up over Manny Pacquiao’s latest victory, a Filipino woman quietly flew home, lugging an international medal and trophy for the more physically taxing and rigorous sport of triathlon.

Her feat has received scant media attention, overshadowed by Pacquiao’s latest triumph.

Ani de Leon, 35, topped the Ironman 70.3 Race Series in Kenting, Taiwan, for the overall amateur category three weeks ago. Only one slot was given away to qualify for the world championships, and it went to her. She also finished ahead of other amateur women categories.

The first time her mother, feminist Anna Leah Sarabia, saw her compete, she described the sport as “masochistic” because Ani swims, bikes and runs longer distances than what’s required in the Olympics.

De Leon, an interior design graduate of the University of the Philippines and a visual artist on the side, looks back on how she got into sports.

“I was inspired by the commercial of gymnast Bea Lucero, but swimming with my sister Sinag throughout high school and college got me hooked into sports for the long haul,” she recalled. “After college, it was triathlon all the way. It seemed the most logical because Sinag and my UP friends were into it. I developed a lifelong love for it.”

While others may consider triathlon an extreme sport, she does not because she has taught her body to adapt.

“It is normal for my body to function that way,” she noted. “A lot of athletes, who are discovering multi-sport, will see this for themselves.”

She continued: “Humans are built to go long distances as evidenced in prehistoric times when man hunted for food. We have powerful engines; our frames can support that. So I am exploring how far my body-mind can go.”

She trains all-year-round since triathletes always join different kinds of competition. She said she plans to join six major international races in the Ironman and 70.3 calendar next year. That is roughly one every two months, not counting local races she participates in.

She maintains a disciplined schedule, but has taken time to pioneer the training of future Filipino triathletes. She is the coach of two squads: SuperTriKids and IronKids. The first group is under the Triathlon Association of the Philippines while the second is under the Ironman brand, which Fred Uytengsu of Alaska Milk acquired recently.

Together with Senator Pia Cayetano’s Pinay in Action, she visits public high schools, teaching kids, mostly girls, how to run. De Leon said all three organizations work for the same goal, that is, to get kids outdoors, get them active and embark them on a lifetime commitment to fitness and well-being. I

“It’s a great self-esteem and character builder, better than playing video games the whole weekend,” she observed.

Asked if a person can make a living out of being a professional sports woman, she answered: “If you decide to be a fulltime triathlete in the Philippines, it is not that easy. I am lucky because I’ve embraced the sport fully. I earn from coaching and holding training camps, conducting run clinics and organizing races. It is not work for me because I enjoy it.”

Since 2001, she has represented the country as national short-course athlete, then long-course athlete towards late 2007 to the present.

The first triathlon event she participated in was also in 2001 in Dumaguete City at the National Triathlon Trials.

Short course is one km swim,30 km bike, and 10 km run.Long course is two km swim,80 km bike and 10 km run.

Explaining her leap from short to long-distance events, she said: “Triathlon as a sport has a lot of race distances. Generally, if you are below 30, you excel in short-distance events. Once you hit 30 and above, you excel in long-distance endurance events.”

When competing, she feels tremendous happiness. It is her chance to experience nature closely. She explained: “I get to know different places really well. There is nothing like swimming, biking, and running from point to point which forces you to commune with all the elements.”

Racing has taken her all over Asia, parts of Australia and the United States to represent the Philippines. Her most memorable competition was the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii.

“Crossing the finish line there with the Philippine flag brought me to tears,” she recalled.

She continues to be inspired and driven by the performances of other athletes like Chrissie Wellington and Michellie Jones. She described them as “amazing women for whom I have so much respect.”

“Knowing that they are pushing the boundaries on behalf of all women makes me want to be like them, but I’m doing it in my own way,” she pointed out.

The bronze-bodied de Leon is aware that she is five years shy of 40 and her body may feel differently once she crosses that age. She is undaunted, having met female professionals still competing at the top of the field at 40.

As for her budding interior design career that was nipped in the bud, she shrugged and said: “I have shelved it and embraced the world of multi-sport full time.”

“Having said that, I am still going to be involved with triathlon through coaching,” she vowed. “I love helping kids achieve their potential in sports and in life.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Adidas, Coaching and Training, IronKids, Pinay In Action, Race Report, Selected Features, SuperKids, Timex, Travel