Tag Archives: Ironman Langkawi

Ironman Langkawi 2009

Ironman Langkawi 2009 Mar 23, ’09 1:50 AM
for everyone

Ironman Langkawi will always have a special place in my heart.  It was my first ever WTC Ironman Distance race and my first ever Hawaii qualifier…among other things 🙂

It was a good race for me..I was very happy with my swim as I honestly do not feel that I trained for it properly, and was quite satisfied that I timed in at 1:04, similar to my split last year.  Nothing much to it as I started on my bike leg, which in my opinion was much tougher than last year.  I bet they used a real Tour de Langkawi climbing route….I had conditioned my mind to execute the bike course last year, which also had a sprinkling of rolling terrain but no real climbs.  So I did less hill work than I should have (wrong move on my part anyway), not knowing they would change the course two weeks prior to raceday….and of course by that time it was a bit too late….I had a time goal of 5:45, and I did 5:58, but it’s still below 6hours so I took a little consolation in that.
The saving grace of the day was that the heat did not manifest at all, and am glad for that….I was having major back and tummy problems starting the run leg and could not take in anything for around 10km at least….so imagine if I were sweating like crazy and I could not replace anything then I would have bonked big time.  I told Patrice I never had to struggle so much for the marathon leg of an Ironman.  We had to go up and down that loop five times, and pass the bridge ten times, and i just wanted it to be over.  I had wanted to beat my run time in Kona but only managed to do 4:35….but it’s okay.  I also knew that I was in the second position in my age group and had I at least done my Kona run time I would have been able to chase her, and I saw her each lap at the same exact place, which meant that we were running similar times, but try as I may that was all I could manage for the day.   I am aware that I still had a podium finish and that is always something special. I was happy at the finish because I knew I had given it everything–and that’s when I can pat myself on the back for pushing it to the limit.  My hotel was only 1km away from the finish line but I pleaded Patrice to get me a cab as I could not stand up anymore….haha.  It’s funny how one can run 42km but cannot even manage a kilometer walk. But that is the human brain for you 🙂

Joining a couple of bike races and focusing on coaching the Kids for Yokohama World Youth Triathlon for now…till next time!!!

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Ironman Langkawi 2008 Race Report

Best Finish Ever 8

Ironman Langkawi Race Report   Feb 27, ’08 9:47 PM
for everyone

Hi all,


Thanks so much to everyone who sent good luck and congratulatory messages. It is amazing reading all of them and seeing how some of you were able to keep track of our individual splits and race updates.  It was a really really good weekend for me and the rest of the Filipino crew in Langkawi. One of my friends asked if it was my most significant moment in triathlon so far, and I guess I hadn’t processed what had happened yet at that point, so when I looked at him blankly, Maiqui Dayrit, who was standing beside me then answered a big hearty “Yes!” on my behalf.  I had him and Mark Ellis to thank for getting me safely to the finish line (more on that later), and although the race is over, I can still feel the outstanding support I constantly receive from friends like them.


Those who are close to me know that joining Ironman Worlds in Hawaii has been one of my fondest dreams for many years now, and a year ago I decided I couldn’t shelve it any longer. I didn’t mind the heat too much considering my genetics so it was either going for it in Langkawi or a lottery entry.  I’m not ashamed to say that I tried both ways, but now I can see why God never intended for me to win in the Hawaii Sweepstakes draw when I entered it! 


Crossing the finish line wasn’t an easy feat, and I had to fight hard for that slot. Although I am a veteran triathlete, I am a beginner to this distance and had a lot of doubts during the course of the race, particularly the latter end of the bike and the run leg.  I had to stop at every single aid station (a total of 41) just to pour water on myself because otherwise I would have overheated, and I still don’t regret taking the time to do that.  I had blisters from lap 1 because I would rather have wet socks and shoes than get dehydrated. I knew I was leading in my category and I also knew that the Frenchwoman from Reunion Island was chasing me down.  It’s one thing to have someone breathing down your neck for 10km, but for 42km, it is extremely stressful.  It was a fine balance of sticking to my plan and known limits and not trying to be reactive to her—I didn’t want to push too hard too early and then crash.  She kept gaining on me, and from a lead of almost 20min, I only had 3 minutes on her at the very last turnaround with 7km to go.  It didn’t take a genius to compute that she would soon overtake me if I continued with my pace. It was then that a switch suddenly turned on inside my head and I started running like a madwoman.  I knew I could handle running fast for that remaining distance, and I could not leave anything more to chance.  I wanted that Hawaii slot, and there was no way I was going to hand it to her. From then on it was only a hurried sip of water and defizzed Coke from the aid stations.  I was now getting annoyed at the narrow run path and having to overtake people when earlier on I was happily cheering for them.  At 1.5km to go I spotted Mark and Maiqui, and realized I had just whittled down the 6 minute gap they had on me so I was even more encouraged.  I caught up with them with 1km to go.  They were startled but happy to see me, only to quickly discover that I had no intentions of staying with them for a merry chat.  In between breaths I explained and apologized profusely that I was leading but someone was closing in on me, so I had to go, NOW.  They immediately took in the weight of the situation due to my panic-stricken expression and decided to pick up their speed too.  Mark said later on that he didn’t realize that his legs would follow his brain’s command in switching from a 7minute/km pace to a 4:30/km pace just like that.  They were my saviors in that last, long kilometer to the finish line.  It was a frenzy of shouting, panting, crying, and egging each other on.  Mark, who was obviously still the best runner among us, ran in front and took on the role of rabbit.  I kept asking Maiqui to look at the back to check if anyone was there, and he would say “no one Ani, no one”….that is, until the last 300meters, when he said, “I think someone is at the back, let’s pick it up some more,” and the turn to the finish couldn’t possibly have come sooner.  When we finally

made it to the chute, I burst into tears from relief, joy, fatigue, and gratitude….the three of us crossed the line in a tight embrace, and our faces in the finish line pictures will say it all.  Mark was jubilant, I was crying, and Maiqui was just plain happy.  The person immediately behind us turned out to be someone else, and the girl second to me ended up finishing more than a minute behind.  We made it.  It was more than I could have ever hoped for, and I had done it with my friends.


I didn’t embark on this journey alone, and I definitely felt that my angels were with me leading up to Langkawi and that they worked even harder to give me strength on race day.  My fellow Pinoys in the race course and family and friends who were praying from back home gave a steady stream of great energy so I cannot ever claim to have accomplished everything by myself.  The Fitness First Tri Team–Mark, Doray, Joel, Maiqui and Gianina, Ige, JC, Chari;  the Tri Clark Gang and their families, led by Abe, June, Rico, Jumbo, Raffy, Chris, Abby, Tintin (also of David’s Salon); the Tri Hard Boys—Vic, Vinny, Greg and Paolo (also of TRIADS); Retzel, Alex, and Leo, were the finest bunch of people anyone could ever train, travel and race with.  My dear friend Vera and his trusty group of Thai triathletes took good care of me and my bike the whole weekend. Just so I could prepare better, Pia offered a room in her house to me in Alabang without my even having to ask for it, and I cannot possibly repay all the support that she and the rest of the Cayetano family have provided me.  My own family, especially my mom and sister, put up with my many absences and remain very patient and understanding to my chosen sport. 


Well, that’s my post-race report for now, sorry I couldn’t make it shorter.  Let’s cheer for our racers this coming weekend in Taupo, NZ…Manda, Jonjon, Andy, Deo, Cris, and Rune, hope they will have happy stories to bring home too! 




Female Age 30-34
Place Bib Name Nat Cat Swim Chg1 Bike AftBike Run Total
1 625 Ani Karina De Leon PHL F 30/34 1:04:49 0:02:21 6:01:11 7:08:20 5:07:05 12:21:17
2 624 Soizic Coudiere REU F 30/34 1:06:27 0:02:36 6:20:34 7:29:37 4:49:43 12:22:40
3 637 Emma Penver MYS F 30/34 1:45:55 0:05:58 6:25:43 8:17:35 4:33:42 12:59:15


Thanks to Jumbo for compiling this:

Pinoy Finishers Total time
Tayag, Abe 11:07:15
Oracion, Leo 11:21:02
Bautista, Alex 11:27:55
Kit Jr., Rosalino 11:48:07
Dayrit, Marco 12:21:16
Ellis, Mark 12:21:16
De Leon, Ani 12:21:17
Ayson, Enrico 12:47:02
Tayag, Jumbo 13:13:21
Ouano, Paulo 13:14:49
Munoz, Joel 13:17:52
Ellis, Rhodora 13:22:50
Orquiza, Retzel 13:37:42
Zapata, Jose 14:34:47
Tongson, Vincent 14:47:03
Ongyanco, Chari 14:36:32
Tongson, Vincent 14:47:03
Navarro, Christine 14:48:27
Magno, Victor 15:53:43
Manas, Johann. 15:12:15
Nepomuceno, Chris 16:17:55
Banzon, Gregory 17:06:03

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Confessions of a Triathlon Drama Queen

I wrote this in January 2008, A month before my first WTC Ironman Race in Langkawi:

Confessions of a Triathlon Drama Queen

Ani Karina S. de Leon



Preparing for an Ironman* can be a bit tricky. I remember, among many of the jampacked days that I have, one such night wherein this thought crossed my mind.  It was the last week of December.  It was almost 9:30pm and I had yet to start my designated workout for the day, which was a 2 and half hour run.  I wasn’t very happy about having to do it so late, but it was the only opportunity I had.  Ironman Malaysia, the race I had set out to do, was going to be in February, so I had to train through the holidays (not a simple feat if your social life is high on your priorities—luckily for me, it isn’t).


I had efficiently and consistently stayed away from most of the Christmas parties and reunions, but I couldn’t miss the ones my own family was celebrating.  Normally, I enjoyed prolonged gatherings with them and would even volunteer to shuttle my nieces and cousins around, but at that moment I was just agitated at having so little time to fit in anything else aside from my work and training, which I could barely put together as it was.  As I drove to the safest place I could run alone in at such a late hour, I dwelled on having to run till midnight and successfully built up a foul mood in the process.  I knew that it was nobody’s fault though, and couldn’t really get mad at anybody in particular.


Taken for Sense & Style Magazine


As I got out of the car, I saw a lone runner just finishing his own workout.  Well, somebody else trained late today, I thought, but still earlier than me!  He walked to the parking lot and we recognized each other. It was an athlete that I had trained when he just a beginner.  We chatted for a bit. He was also preparing for another Ironman race, later in the year.  I was happy that he was so excited about it.  He asked me for advice and kept marveling at the fact that I was still trying to carry out my run even though it seemed absurd to do so given the circumstances.  I secretly worried that I was setting such a bad example with my stubbornness, but it seemed to have a positive effect on him.  He continued on to praise me and said nice things, like, “you inspire us with your determination and perseverance,” and “you make us proud with your accomplishments.” 


He finally left and I set out on my route.  Amazingly, I felt very light and my disposition became sunnier in spite of the dark night sky.  My friend’s words had reminded me of how far I had gone and how blessed I had been to be given the opportunity at all to do such things.  My whole life, I had been gifted with excellent health and a fitness level which enabled me to do diverse challenges, sometimes on a whim.  I suddenly felt ashamed at having been such a drama queen.  I had nothing to complain about.


Earlier in the day, some of my teammates also did the same 2.5 hour run, but at different times and in different places.  Ige, similarly, had high aspirations and the accompanying pressures and expectations to do well, but also had a lot of work commitments. He ran in between his appointments.  Maiqui ran while his family was vacationing in an inconvenient training venue—through sand, hills, and hard terrain.  Mark had to run in the sweltering heat, and because he was Caucasian and suffered more than us Asians in these conditions, had almost given up but didn’t.  Joel, who has two lovely daughters, had to run tired as he was constantly looking over various architectural projects and seldom had enough room to recover.  Doray, who always had to juggle between a highly demanding job and her family aside from focused training, actually had the flu and hadn’t been able to run at all, but did so the next day, as soon as she could get out of bed.  I didn’t really have to look far for inspiration.  All around me were my friends, still trudging on, still completing their task without much hype and hesitation. 


All the same, I guess I will always allow myself to have a bit of drama in my life.  I was raised by my parents to be an artist anyway, and that’s my excuse.  Like most people, I listen to upbeat tunes in my iPod, but I do insert some sentimental or operatic tracks too, and wholeheartedly let Sarah Brightman’s or Maria Callas’ mournful singing take over my emotions as I bike along the rice fields and watch the sun rise.  On some occasions, I missed JJ, my old training partner who is now based in France, and wished that he were still here.  We trained for our first Ironman distance race together more than 5 years ago, when we didn’t really know what we were doing, and now that I’m racing it for the second time, it would’ve been nice for him to be there as well.  Plus he would’ve kicked ass.


My mini bouts of sappiness are not a genuine cause of concern though.  Recently, I gained even more motivation to do well in the Ironman.  Joan Cadelina, a woman I met through another multiple Ironman finisher, Geraldine Santiago, is going through her treatment for breast cancer as I write this piece and needs to generate funds because of this.  I have decided to help her in my own little way by dedicating my race to her and women just like her, and will gather pledges for their benefit through our Pinay In Action** Network.  There is no more room for whining on my end, because Joan’s sickness is as real as it can get.  Where the acting up stops, random acts of kindness begin.


I’m aware that true-to-life stories don’t always turn out to be comedies or chick flicks.  But I believe there are always heroes and heroines out there who have personal tragedies to contend with but demonstrate courage nonetheless.  And like a typical girl, I always hope that everyone will eventually have the happy ending they deserve.



*An individual long distance race covering 3.8km of swimming, 180km of cycling, and 42.2km of running.

**Visit pinayinaction.com for more info.

**Mark Ellis, one of the athletes mentioned above, is also gathering pledges from friends for Gabriel’s Symphony Foundation, which continuously supports deaf, mute and cleft-lipped children. Visit gabrielsymphony.com for more info.


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