Animo Triathlon – My First Tri

Sunday, 14 September 2008  |  Bullish Insights


I came, I swam, biked and ran, and…I conquered! As I type these words in the comfort of my own home, I can’t even believe I had just finished my first triathlon early this morning. Was that really me? You mean I managed to finish the race without drowning or clinging on to the lane lines for dear life? Before I get philosophical here, allow me to share the juicy race details:


I was a bundle of nerves—uhm, I was like that all week—when we arrived at 6:05 a.m. for check in. “Let’s go. I think I’m late.” I told my hubby over a hundred times. Of course, we weren’t that late but, being the newbie that I am, I disliked the fact that tardiness was adding to my stress. I picked up my race kit, got bodymarked, stickered my bike and helmet, parked my bike, (all with Marga’s guidance) and discovered that everything was less complicated than I imagined. Before I knew it, we were at the pool waiting for the race to start.


– What would have I done without Marga?! Let’s go, Team BWK! Banggi, start training. –

– Iron lady, Ani de Leon. Bow bow bow. –

{ SWIM – 350m, DLSZ pool }

This was the portion I was most concerned about, but as all 13 of us mini-sprint women (maybe 15 since two arrived late) were waiting for the go signal, I was surprisingly excited and psyched up. It must’ve been the crowds, the friends cheering me on, the feeling of being in a real competition that made me forget, albeit temporarily, about the long, arduous swim (at least, in my standards) that was about to commence.


– Trying to stay calm –

– Last photo with Marga in case I drowned –


– Waiting for the race to start –

So, I swam at a modest pace, not too fast, not too slow. I was kicked quite a number of times, but thankfully not in the head. It was a struggle to stay relaxed while seeing all the swimmers pass you by, but I knew that if I wanted to finish, I had to pace myself. After lap 3, I believe I paused at the end of every 50m lap to catch my breath and foolishly waste some seconds glancing at the hubby or smiling at friends. Let’s just say those pauses at the pool were both physical and emotional requirements to survive the grueling swim. By the last lap, I just swam away with only one thought in mind “Just get it over with.”

– I didn’t drown! Woohoo! –


I climbed out of the pool to realize that my slippers were at the other end of the pool. I yelled to my hubby “Slippers!” and instantly he dashed out to get them. (See, that’s the reason why hubby’s been running 3x a week; it was really to be quick and nimble when he acts as my support.) Hubby ran with me towards the transition area and watched me get ready for the bike. It was quick; again, less complicated than I thought.


– Smooth and easy transition. Thank God for the trisuit –

{ BIKE – 12k, Ocho Ocho Loop, Ayala Alabang }

The day before the race, Annie had lent me her roadbike, but after encountering problems with it, I decided to go for the safer but slower alternative, my hubby’s mountainbike. I biked the Ocho Ocho loop just the day before the race (yesterday) so I was pretty confident about not losing my way; however, I was very concerned about my speed. I knew I would be moving at turtle’s pace.

As I mounted the bike, I was with two other people, but when I made my way out to University Ave. towards Country Club Drive, it was like everyone disappeared except for one man in front of me who was biking at a leisurely pace. A few minutes after, some athletes—Harry Tan and a couple of other guys—passed us by and it confirmed the fact that I was going very slow; I felt like I was stuck in a slow mo movie. Yawn. By the time we reached Cuenca, the man who I initially found super slow increased his speed and, before I knew it, he was nowhere in sight. I was biking alone! Double yawn. I didn’t even feel like I was in a race. Pretty soon, I reached the finish line and boy was I eager to get off the bike.


Parked the bike. Removed the helmet. Drank a bit of Rush. And, much to Annie’s horror (she advised me against this early on but my OC-ness got the better of me), I stopped to re-tie my laces. She’ll be glad to learn though that I only tightened one of them.

I was expecting to walk out of the transition area like Daisy Duck or, if you want someone more relevant, Erap, but I was surprised to find myself jogging out of there in my regular running form.

{ RUN – 3.4k, Ayala Alabang }

Now for my favorite part: the run. I ran in complete comfort as if I had just started a race; the swim and bike portions had been erased from my body’s memory. For the first time, I ran without my Garmin but with my hubby’s water resistant timex. And, being the runner that I am, I only remembered to start the timer in this portion!

We were to run two big loops around the area and I felt strong all the way. It was only here that I felt I was doing well. I was outpacing people, even men, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Time passed by quickly here; well, it was just 3.4 km after all. According to my timex, I finished the 3.4k run in 16.39 min so my ave. pace was a little below 5 min/km.

As I neared the finish line, Annie came by for support and paced me until the end. She was so serious that I wanted to laugh out loud but she even shouted “Sprint. Sprint” and so I did. Hubby was at the finish line waiting for me. He says he stuck out his hand waiting for me to high-five him, but I didn’t even see! I was just probably in awe over my finish.

– I did it! –

– With Annie who showed up to watch and support. Thanks Annie! –


Can I be honest with you? I ended the race thinking: Was that it? Did I really finish my first triathlon? Why doesn’t it feel like it? Why am I not doing cartwheels and celebrating?

I’m still unsure exactly why. But, my best guess is that I’m a runner and I’m a masochist. Hah! I like ending a race drenched in sweat with my legs and feet tight and tired and the rest of my body yearning for a massage. At the end of this mini sprint, I didn’t feel weary and worn out; I felt like running more. (No, not quite ready for a sprint tri. That’s where I’ll definitely drown.)

So, running more is what I’ll be doing. For the next few months, I’ll be training for my half marathon. Exact details of which I’ll share with you in due time.

The triathlon was just something I had to try for pure fun and I’ll probably give it another go in the future. But, for now, I shall resume training with my one and only love: running.


– Triathlon mommies: Bunny, Me-Anne, TBR, Caroline, Dedette, and Ting. Mommy Power! –

– Foreignrunner after his 1st sprint tri. Congrats! You had no reason to worry –


Athletic couple, Maui and Coach Ige Lopez, with their friend.

– Finally, a photo with the famous Drew A. I waited in line for this photo. Daming fans. –

Marga for introducing the trisuit, staying calm during the race and guiding me.
Annie for showing up and pacing me.
Jamike Lopa for lending me his race belt.
Mark Parco for providing last minute race belts.
And, of course, to the hubby who woke up in the wee hours of the morning just to transport the bike, wait, watch, take photos, run for my slippers, and more—all this on an empty stomach!

Monday Morning Blues

Monday, 8 September 2008  |  Bullish Insights

I usually sing (or more like yell) “Oh what a beautiful morning!” in the car as I drive my kids to school on weekdays. My son rolls his eyes while my daughter, fortunately or unfortunately for her, stays dozed off in the backseat of the car.  Today, however, my children didn’t get any of mom’s singing; I was in an awfully sour mood.

I hardly had any sleep as I burned the midnight oil hoping to get a lot of work done to free up my load this week. I was still dreaming about my awesome weekend: ran 10k with Annie on Saturday then biked 11k/ ran 4k alone on Sunday and I could hardly believe it was Monday again.

My plan for this week was to run, run, and run while squeezing in a couple of swims for the upcoming triathlon this Sunday. If there’s extra time, I was also hoping to take a Bikram session and spend a day at the gym.  But, with the way things were going early this morning, I doubt if I’ll even have energy to keep my eyelids from falling the next few days. My deadlines are tight and I’ve got a lot of other tasks to accomplish while juggling the most demanding job of all: mommyhood. 

Ah, such is life. One just learns to roll with the punches, to give 100% at every task even when weary and spent, and to pray to the high heavens that—despite the lack of training and sleep—one will survive the triathlon that one was crazy enough to sign up for. Gulp.

I’ll TRI!

Friday, 5 September 2008  |  Bullish Insights


I just registered for the Animo Triathlon mini-sprint distance on September 14! I know, it’s next week already.  Don’t remind me. I’m in denial.  

82% of me is excited.

10% is nervous about the 350m swim.

5% is wondering how to prepare for transitions.

3% is trying to figure out what to wear.

Boy oh boy oh boy, what have I gotten myself into?  Good thing I managed to drag, I mean, invite my 17-year-old nephew to do the mini-sprint with me.  Wish us luck!

Thank You, Nike!

Monday, 1 September 2008  |  Bullish Insights

Annie and I have just cried our eyes out after receiving the most unexpected, thrilling news ever.

I got home a few minutes ago to find this comment in my blog from Mr. Miguel Celdran of Nike Park, Bonifacio High Street:

Dear Ms. Bullrunner,

Thank you very much for bringing this inspiring story to my attention. Athletes like your friend Annie are what inspires us here at Nike. We laud her determination and wish her a speedy recovery.

I would appreciate it if you could inform her daughter that we at Nike Park applaud her mothers effort and in turn would like to give her a 16K Gift Certificate. Please provide me the name of her daughter so I can make arrangements for her to pick it up at Nike Bonifacio High Street. She can then avail of it at any Nike Park Store. You may get in touch with me at my email address.

Best regards,

Miguel Celdran

To Mr. Celdran, may you be blessed a hundred times over for your generosity and kindness. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Should I TRI?

Thursday, 28 August 2008  |  Bullish Insights

For the past two weeks, I have been toying with the idea of joining the Animo Triathlon on Sept. 14. I get stressed just thinking about the mini-sprint…(Don’t laugh!)

3.4km run around roads I’ve ran a hundred times over…easy!

11km bike at the only place I’ve biked lately…no problem!

350m swim at La Salle Zobel’s pool…I feel like I’m drowning already. Choke choke.

Since the swim leg is first, I wonder if I’ll even reach the bike and run portions. 7 laps in an olympic-sized pool is a big number for a newbie swimmer like me. It takes 30-seconds to catch my breath and rest (and maybe indulge in a Hizon’s halohalo) after each lap!

I took a TI course last Feb with my good friend Nonoy, but with the lack of practice lately, I’m not sure if I’ll survive without having one of those tall, burly triathletes resuscitate me after the swim. (Hey that doesn’t sound too bad, you know. To the hubby, I’m kidding!)

Aside from my swimming concerns, there are a whole lot of trivial (and embarassingly silly) questions that a wannabe triathlete has to deal with:

  1. Do I have to wear a tri-suit? Marga says it will make me feel as svelte as Angelina Jolie, but I seriously doubt it. If it’s true though, I’m considering making it my daily attire.
  2. Can I use my mountain bike? I heard I can for the mini-sprint. But how about when I join the Ironman…in like 20 years? Haha!
  3. What if I get a flat tire?  Will a tall, burly triathlete help me fix it? (Oops, there I go again.)
  4. Do you wait till all your ten toes are dry before you wear your socks? If you don’t, won’t that make you prone to getting athlete’s foot?
  5. What if your obsessive-compulsive about shoelaces being equally tight before a run?  Will I look dumb retying my shoelaces twice or thrice?
  6. Do you really have to stay until 10am?
Oh well, I’ll take the next week or so to think about the mini-sprint and decide then. In the meantime, I’m preparing myself anyway. This is what I did the past week. Hopefully, I’ll have time in between work and the kids to do more. If not, my first triathlon will have to wait:
  • Friday: 350m swim with long rests in between. Ayayayay!
  • Saturday: 11k run, pilates
  • Sunday: 18k bike
  • Monday: 7k run
  • Tuesday: rest
  • Wednesday: 5km run, strength train