Tag Archives: Ironman

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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Ironmom Diaries: Practical Training for the Real World Triathlete

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I signed up last year for Ironman Cairns (and several other major races) with the full hope that I would be able to give it all I had in terms of training for the event and going for a PR…imagining that I would have the luxury to focus on that one aspect and still be able to fulfil my other obligations somehow.

In the past couple of years though, I’ve learned that at this stage in my life, my training schedule is this: I try to do all my jobs as best as I can, and whatever free time remains, be it 20min or 2hours, well, that is my training time. Not ideal, but workable.

I’ve also learned that although I may not be able to follow a typical program week after week as my commitments vary, I just need to be consistent. Even if that means being consistently out of routine. In other words, I am not so obsessive anymore about following my program to the very last second but I have established some personal guidelines for myself so that I may still have a semblance of decent training. I’d like to share them with you!

Rule no 1: Never let two weeks pass without doing a long run.

Rule no 2: Never let two weeks pass without doing a long bike ride.

Rule no 3: Swim at least once a week.

Rule no 4: Run at least once every three days.

Rule no 5: If tired, take it easy. If really tired, skip the session. If sick, rest and take it easy for a couple of days.

Rule no 6: Train a minimum of 4 sessions a week. When you do, prioritize the key sessions. When you can, do combo sessions to maximize.

Rule no 7: If all you have is a few minutes, take it. Just make it count! For example, you can do intervals and make it a really good speed session.

Rule no 8: If all else fails and you really cannot find the time to train for days on end, EAT HEALTHY, and EAT LESS than you normally would if you were training heavily. Body composition counts for a lot in endurance events, and a few kilos can spell the difference between a good run split and a bad one.

Rule no 9: Core strengthening sessions can be done soon after your main session. Even 10-15minutes is greatly beneficial.

Rule no 10: Because you are a well-rounded person and triathlon is not the only thing which is important in your life, if you do not perform well, you should not kill yourself about it. Triathlon should not dictate who you are as a person, it is just something you love to do. Take in the lessons that need to be learned after a disappointing race, regroup, and move on! Remember to always enjoy what you do. Everything will be much easier if this is the case.

I would like to point out that these are not based on any scientific studies, nor are they taken from any triathlon training books, but I have come up with these points through years of observing what works for myself.

I am writing this piece during the flight back immediately after doing two Ironman distance races just a month apart, something I have never attempted before.

Am I happy with my race results? Maybe not as much as I would have been if I actually stuck to a spartan-like regimen. But am I happy and fully satisfied with my life as a whole? Heck, yeah!!!

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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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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 🙂

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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.

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My Ironman World Championships Race Story

 

 Ani Karina Sarabia de Leon

The Goal: Finish Line at Alii Drive

The Goal: Finish Line at Alii Drive

My Ironman World Championships Race Story (as written for Metro Active) Today I was able to achieve my lifelong dream.  I know that not many people get to say that.  I officially became an Ironman World Championships participant—I definitely know not very many people get to say that either. Treading the waters of Kailua-Kona Bay minutes before the race start, it almost felt like I was still watching one of those videos that I had seen hundreds of times…except for the fact that now, the giant inflatable Gatorade bottle was right beside me, and I was about to swim with a big mass of people—1,800 strong and unbelievably able bodies to be exact.  It felt surreal. How did I get here, in the beautiful Big Island of Hawaii, qualified to join the greatest competition known to my sport, the Everest that all triathletes aspire to? Everything that led up to this moment suddenly flashed in my mind.  My first efforts at swimming freestyle with the help of Coaches Bernie and Noel at the U.P. pool.  My first ride in the countryside on a borrowed road bike.  My first frustrated attempts at running.  My first triathlon competition.  My long stint as a national athlete.  My countless hours of training and racing, and with it, all my career ups and downs, triumphs and disappointments, precious friends gained, lessons learned the hard way, and literally all the blood, sweat and tears that I spilled to get to where I am now.  It was an incredible journey, and one that I treasure as much as the destination itself. The cannonball fired by the US Navy to signal the race start jolts me back to reality immediately, and a mass of world-class triathletes jostle frantically for position in the water.  All that pent-up energy from months and months of preparation and anticipation are instantly unleashed and I cannot begin to describe the chaos of it all.  These were all warriors hungry for battle, and I am right there with them.  Amazingly, after a few hundred meters, I feel relaxed and it feels like any other race, and for the moment, I forget the fact that I am in the world championships.  Despite the non-stop aggression going on around me all the way to the end of the 3.8km swim, I settle into a good rhythm.  I get out of the azure waters thoroughly primed for the toughest legs still ahead: the 180km bike and the 42.2km run.  I had done my homework, and I wasn’t completely terrified.  Just a little bit…. The pros who had done this race a couple of times had forewarned me about the powerful winds which were notorious for blowing away athletes off the course.  They weren’t kidding.  Just like any typical triathlete, I had set personal time goals for my race. As I rode further out, I had a sinking feeling that I was not going to meet my target for the bike.  The winds were so strong and I felt horribly unequipped to maneuver my way through it.  My tires were literally bouncing off the road with each blast that the seas and lava fields blew in my direction. I couldn’t even let go of my handlebars long enough to drink from my bottle or to down an energy gel. I was getting tired—more mentally than physically.  I was sadly aware that I was not 100% in control of the situation.  I was fighting so hard to stay in the race, and I went in and out of it so many times.  What people don’t realize about Ironman distance racing is that it is such a long day that your attention span and your focus will inevitably wane.  I knew this of course, but that didn’t prevent it from happening.  Fortunately, I also knew that even it you get into a really bad patch, you could snap out of it and get a second wind again as if nothing happened.  I finally complete the bike leg, with much relief that I could put the winds of the Big Island behind me, and also that I didn’t suffer any crashes or mechanical problems. Now a 42.2km marathon on its own is enough to intimidate a normal person, but as I looked at my fellow competitors, this didn’t seem to bother them one bit.  It was just another day at the office.  I took my cue from them, and focused on the task at hand.  A good triathlon coach once told me, even if you are running 42km, just concentrate on the one square kilometer in front of you.  This proved to be a real good piece of advice, and as I passed mile marker by mile marker, I quietly gave myself a pat on the back.  The spectators all over the race course gave us such wonderful positive energy and this helped me move a little bit faster.  My trusty support crew of two, Patrice and Joel wrote a note for me at the motivational corner which read “Philippines Loves U,” and I choked back my emotions upon reading it.  It fired me up even more. Everyone was feeling the heat (I later learned that it reached 40C) especially towards the Energy Lab but that didn’t affect me so much.  I was hopeful till almost the very end that I would make it to my personal target of sub-12 hours.  But then when I hit the last 2 miles and realized that I needed to run two 5+ minute miles, I ditched the whole thing and just planned to enjoy myself and savor the final minutes.  Patrice had been given specific instructions to 1) find a pole to attach to the flag, 2) hand me the flag on Hualalai Road, and he had been alone in that corner waiting for me for almost two hours.  And upon seeing him I could only shout “give me my flag!!!” because I had been repeating that mantra to myself for hours by then.  I didn’t forget to thank him after the race.  But right now I was focused on seeing that finish chute, and I could finally hear the music and Mike Riley’s booming voice on the speakers. The last few hundred meters are indescribable.  I was already sobbing and I had to wipe my wet face before I hit the lights on the carpet.  The noise from the crowd was deafening but I had played those final seconds countless times in my mind and I knew what I had to do next.  I proudly waved the Philippine Flag to everybody, in its debut here on Ironman World Championships grounds, and it was beautiful. Race Day (5) I wanted to show it on behalf of all the people back home who had been waiting for this moment just like me.  I blew a kiss, took a low bow and thanked the Goddess Pele silently for teaching me a lesson in humility but at the same time being kind enough to grant me a PR. I raised the flag once again and proceeded to let myself be embraced by two Filipina catchers, Lovette and Sally, who had chosen to volunteer and wait for me to arrive. I let the tears flow freely.  I had done my job and I was glad.  My lifelong dream had come true. for more pictures, you can visit http://anikarina.multiply.com/photos/album/82/Hawaii_Ironman_World_Champs_30th_Edition http://anikarina.multiply.com/photos/album/78

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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.

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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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