Tag Archives: Race Report

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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Filed under Race Report, Random Thoughts

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

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