Tag Archives: Ani de Leon-Brown

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

Ironman Melbourne: 10th Time’s the Charm

The first time I had a taste of proper triathlon training was when I hooked up with Coaches Tony Benson and Sean Foster from the Melbourne Triathlon Club, back in 2002. I learned so much from that stint and have come back to Australia several times since, to train, to coach, and to race. I have always had a soft spot for Melbourne though, because of my wonderful first trip.

It took some time, but I was finally able to return and race the Ironman there this year. And it sure was worth every minute, as for the first time in my Ironman racing career, I was able to finish in daylight! I guess you could say I am a slow learner, and yes, maybe I should have been able to go faster for Ironman sooner. I don’t mind though, and I do what I can–each and every Ironman I have done is a gem of a learning experience. I am still discovering new things, I still don’t consider my time fast, but this is exactly the reason why Ironman continues to challenge and excite me.

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I’d like to enumerate my Ironman Distance races here just for fun, and also because I have never actually kept a list before–I might start forgetting what I did down the road, haha 🙂

1. Ironman Distance Race, Matabungkay Philippines, Nov 2002.  13:04

2. Ironman Langkawi, Feb 2008. 12:21

3. Ironman World Championships Hawaii, Oct 2008. 12:07

4. Ironman Langkawi, Feb 2009. 11:45

5. Ironman China, Mar 2010. 13:39 bad, bad, race 😦

6. Ironman Australia, May 2012. 13:36 first IM race after giving birth, Dashy was 5mos and 5days 🙂

7. Timex 226 Philippines, Dec 2012. 12:18

8. Challenge Taiwan Full, May 2013. 12:24

9. Ironman Cairns, June 2013. 11:51

10. Ironman Melbourne, Mar 2014. 11:08

At the Bike Turnaround, amazing crowd!

Moving forward, I have plans to do other Ironman races this year (given a sibling to Dash doesn’t come along yet 😉 and will announce them soon enough. I am so blessed to be surrounded by a great group of family and friends, and this is the main reason why I can continue to do this. Dan’s Family and My Family gave us the gift of time for a week– Dan’s parents took time out of their busy schedules to fly into Melbourne from Sydney to watch us, and my family took care of Dash for a whole week in Manila. Our friends, both in Manila and Australia, sent so many lovely messages of support throughout the week, especially my Girls Run For Breakfast ladies! Our sponsors, Timex and Unilab among others, to whom I will always be grateful.DSC_1433

We had a remarkably sizeable Philippine Contingent in Ironman Melbourne this year, thanks to the efforts of Fred Uytengsu and Princess Galura of the Sunrise Events/ Ironman 70.3 Philippines Team. It was a record number of Filipino participants and I was so proud to be part of it. We are already planning the next Ironman destination as I write this, and I am very happy to travel again with such a fun and energetic group.

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It has been over a week already and I am still smiling from all the wonderful memories. I love Ironman and I always will. I Thank God for always blessing an ordinary person like me with so many opportunities, as I may not be that fast, but I am able to endure. Which is why I know I am tailor-made for this. Be it a daylight or night time finish 🙂

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