TBR Jr. Conquers His 1st Aquathlon

Tuesday, 27 May 2014  |  Race Reports



Last Sunday, May 25, our entire family woke up in the wee hours of the morning to drive out to Club Manila East on the opposite side of the world for Anton’s (or TBR Jr.’s haha) first Aquathlon.  (Read about his first triathlon here.)

There were three options for registration: Race category (medals would be awarded and kids were split into age categories), Play category (with short and long options), and Relay.  It was the first time the Play category was introduced and, after consulting with Coach Ani de Leon, I chose to register Anton in the Long distance Play category where I thought majority of the kids would be joining.  Boy was I wrong.  I guess the kids (or parents LOL) are pretty serious and competitive now.  When we showed up for the race, there were only 4 kids in Anton’s category.  Everyone else had signed up for Race!  Well, it didn’t bother Anton so it didn’t bother me!

My boy was cool and calm as always from claiming of race kit, body marking, to dropping his stuff at transition.  I believe it was his Mama (yet again) who was a nervous wreck.  I asked him more than a handful of times: How do you feel?  Excited? Nervous?  And, TBR Jr. would reply in jest: “I’m nexcited.  Just a bit nervous and more excited.”

At 8:00 AM, Coach Ani briefed the kids. 2 girls. 2 boys including Anton.  By 8:15 AM, they were off.

The swim was 300 meters.  Anton had trained under Lozada’s swim program all summer so I was pretty confident he would finish this.  But, as I watched from afar, I knew he was struggling.  Later on I learned that, since he didn’t have his glasses and the water was murky, he couldn’t see a thing.  (Woah boy, that’s what I get for refusing to spend on prescription goggles tsk tsk)


The 2 girls came out strong followed by the boy and Anton came out last.

I chased after Anton as he made his way into transition.  I watched him from the sidelines as he expertly slid his foot into his shoes (without socks like a real triathlete…so unlike me! LOL), wore his race belt and bib, gulped down his water and sped away for the 2k run.  (If only he wouldn’t be so embarrassed by me, I would’ve hugged and kissed him like he was 2 years old right there and then! Haha!)


I waited for him by the finish line and, before I knew it, the boy came flying in.  After a minute or two, Anton came 2nd.  Judging by his face, I knew he pushed hard and gave it his all.  And that, for me, was a winner!




Congratulations to my not so little big boy, Anton!  We’re so proud of you!  Congratulations also to all the kids who finished and to the awesome organizers of Ironkids!

Part 2: Ironkids Philippines – The Race

Thursday, 24 October 2013  |  Bullish Insights

This is part of a series of posts under the Quaker Challenge. It’s about the quest that my kids and I have to achieve our Quaker Goal to swim, bike, and run more. Read about it HERE.

The entire family–the hubby, both kids, and I–woke up early Sunday morning of October 20, 2013 to get ready for Anton’s first triathlon, Ironkids Philippines.  The future triathlete woke up as if it was a regular day, while his Mother (er that’s me) was a bundle of nerves.  Truth is, it was almost, if not more, nerve wracking than my first triathlon!  I taught our future triathlete how to pack his gear for transition, made sure he had a good breakfast of oats to fuel him for the morning’s race, and we were off.


We arrived at the event area at Palm Country Club to find a lively and exciting atmosphere.  Since there were various wave starts, younger kids had already finished the race, others were about to start, and other older kids like Anton had just arrived like us to check in.  It was like any other triathlon for us adults except for them, to ensure the safety of the kids, they have assistants to check in the bike and their equipment at transition.  How cool is that?!

Start and Finish Area

My future triathlete

Body marking…check!

Kids’ bikes lined up at transition area

Kuya who assisted us at bike check in

The not so little boy with his super nervous Mama (who is incidentally shorter than him now)


We headed for the pool for the 7:15 AM race briefing led by Coach Ani de Leon.  Before the race started, I reminded Anton that his goal was simply to finish the race.  If he crossed the finish line, he was already a winner.  With that, he went on his own and I watched from the sidelines with my heart exploding out of my chest.  Man, who knew that Ironkids could be so stressful?!

We watched from afar as the kids listened intently to directions explained by Coach Ani.  I noticed that Anton was the tallest in the group.  I also knew that he was probably one of the least experienced.

Race briefing by Coach Ani de Leon for 11-12 year old boys

Kids get ready to start. Always the scariest part of the race.

And they’re off!

The race started at 7:30 AM.  The other kids swam with power and ease.  The leaders broke away by the first two laps.  My eyes were focused on Anton who was at the end of the pack.  He swam slowly and calmly, his stroke a reflection of his personality.  Earlier that morning, I told him to simply focus on his stroke and go at his own pace.  And, I was glad that he listened.

Struggling through the swim

Anton was the last out of the pool, but when he came out, I couldn’t have been prouder.  With the little training he had and his disdain for swim training, I was glad that he pushed himself to finish the swim!

Anton quickly went to transition and took off on his 3 loops around Filinvest City to cover 8km.  Each time he passed us on the loop, I was relieved to see him enjoying the race.  Other kids were entering T2 at this point and heading out to run. Anton came in from the bike and made up for some lost time from the swim.  Then, he was off to run 2k.

Anton loved the bike portion

Nervous dad and bored sis waiting for Kuya to pass on the bike

First placer. This kid can leave me in the dust!

As we saw Anton running towards the finish line, it was one of the happiest and proudest moments ever.  He looked exhausted but fulfilled!  He could barely talk.  Um, he could barely breathe as we took the photo of him below.  But, I knew he had a great time!

After packing up and heading for breakfast, I asked Anton if he would do this again.  He replied: “Yes.”  And with that one word, I smiled dreaming of the world of possibilities for this little Ironkid of mine.

Anton just a few minutes after he crossed the finish line of his first triathlon

With good friend, course director of Ironkids and TBR Dream Marathon, Neville Manaois

Couldn’t be any prouder of this Little Man

PREVIOUS: Part 1: Ironkids Philippines – Training for the Race

Triathlon for Kids: Getting my Kids’ Feet Wet

Thursday, 30 May 2013  |  Running + Triathlon

When I started running in 2006, it was my secret dream that the rest of the family would pick up the sport, too.  The hubby eventually started running and he completed his first marathon at the first TBR Dream Marathon in 2010 (good choice for a first, eh?)  We ran NYC Marathon together later that year.

As for the kids, they would run shorter races with us.  Sometimes, I would take them out on weekends for short bike rides and runs.  But, I never ever wanted to push them into taking the sport more seriously.  I believed that if I wanted them to enjoy this sport as much as I did, they had to want to do it for themselves.  And so, through the years, I’ve been living a very active lifestyle allowing the kids to see me come home after a long run, pack my running gear for a marathon abroad, or simply listen to me wax poetic about an awesome run.  At the same time, I prayed, hoped, and waited that one day they would ask me for more serious training.

After years of waiting, that day finally came!  At least for my older son, Anton, who is now 12.  (12 already? How time flies. Sigh.)


Indulge me for a moment here and allow me to tell you about this not-so-little boy of mine.  He’s a good boy. He’s quiet, respectful, obedient, and humble.  (I won’t argue with you, he probably got this from his Dad haha!)  At the same time, underneath all this shyness, he’s also smart, a deep thinker (a trait he got from him Mom.  Er, that’s what people tell me.)  His teachers tell us that he’s an old soul who throws out questions like an adult sometimes.  Last March, he graduated from Elementary school.  He was one of only two kids who bagged ALL the awards given out that day.  I was floored…and, I was overjoyed.  It was truly one of the proudest moments of my life.  The feeling beat a marathon finish 10x over.

– That’s my boy! –

– with the proud Mama and sis! –

If that weren’t enough, a few weeks after graduation, with summer upon us, Anton gave me even better news: he wanted to run and bike with me.  My reaction?  First, I was ecstatic!  Okay, let’s do this!  I had images of me and my boy running and conquering hills together and riding past cars (and Vin Diesel in a jeep) all over the city!  Then, reality struck.  While I could easily take him running longer with me, I worried about biking out with him. Wasn’t it irresponsible of me to send my dearest child out to bike with a newbie biker like me? With visions of me struggling to uncleat and dismount as I try to save him from an oncoming truck, I thought it best to find a coach to get his feet wet into this world the right way.


Lucky for me, I’ve got a lot of great coach friends around.  I texted coach friends like Ani de Leon-Brown and Norman Pascual who I know train kids regularly.  After checking schedules (my daughter decided to take up swimming with Ria Mackay’s Aqualogic Swim Classes. More on that next time) and figuring out how I could possibly train for Ironman 70.3 in August while taking two kids to different sessions this summer (gaaah! the life of a tri mom!), I decided to go with Coach Norman’s Duathlon Sessions for kids in SM Mall of Asia every Wednesday and Friday. I thought if he wanted to get into triathlon later, then it would be easier for him already.

As for his gear, I chose NOT to spend to much on this just yet.  The only thing we really invested in were his shoes: Asics Gel Kayano, a few months ago. (I love run shoes and one should never compromise on this. So there!) I got Anton a very cheap mountain bike in Cartimar a few months ago and this was what we use for now.  For shorts, the hubby lent him.  For his tops, I gave him some of mine.  Hey, stop laughing about how frugal we are! I’ve got a couple of barely used football shoes, a tennis racket, and goggles gathering dust at home to remind me about spending too much too soon.  I just told Anton to prove to me first that he’s interested in doing this long term and we’ll support him all the way.

The first few sessions were one-on-one which was awesome for a beginner like Anton.  Coach Norman started with basic mounting and dismounting lessons, gearing, and even rode out with him around SM MOA a couple of times.

– with Coach Norman –

– Running seems natural for this kid. He actually leans forward and lands on his mid foot –

– After running, he gets on his bike –

By the next sessions, four other kids, all siblings, joined Anton for more fun sessions.  They raced with each other and even rode MOA in drafting positions.  During the last sessions, Anton even learned how to do a flying dismount, something I can only do in my dreams.

– They rush to wear their shoes, helmet, head off to bike, then run –

– The bigger kids biking –

– Little Sis comes out to watch Kuya. I’m hoping the bug rubs off on her too –

For now, Anton enjoys every single session and, for that alone, I am thankful.  I’m crossing my fingers that he’ll continue this even when school starts in June.  Just yesterday, he asked me: Mom, when can I get a nicer road bike?  Aaaah, it may burn a hole in our pockets, but, hey, it was music to my ears!


If you want to get your child started in triathlon or swim, bike, and run, here are some info that may help.


  • Coach Norman Pascual – 0917.862.6224, tricoach norman@yahoo.com
  • Coach Ani de Leon-Brown – 0915.444.0290, anikarina@gmail. com

RACES FOR KIDS (click on the links)


  • Junior Triathlete – published by Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan and Coach Ani Brown


Trot with Your Tots on Runner’s World Phils Oct-Dec 2011

Tuesday, 1 November 2011  |  Press

Thanks to Marie Calica, Editor in Chief of Runner’s World, for inviting me to write an article on running with our kids on the October-December 2011 issue of Runner’s World. Get your copy now if you still haven’t!



Weekend for the Kids: Run to Read and U.P.

Monday, 16 August 2010  |  Bullish Insights

For the past weeks, hubby and I have been focused on training for NYC Marathon.  We run separately on weekdays due to our chaotic schedules and run together on weekends.  We usually run easy on Saturday mornings then join a race on Sundays. Both weekend mornings have been devoted to running.

Last week, after all the fun we had at Mommy Milkshake, I realized that the kids need a regular dose of outdoor activities on weekends, too.  Running—whether we are training for one of the exciting races in our lives or not—must never get in the way of family time.

I signed up the kids for Aqualogic Swim classes on Saturday afternoons (continuation of their summer lessons).  And, hubby and I agreed that, starting this week, we run on only one weekend, while the other day is for the kids’ activities.



Hubby and I met up with Lit, Jun, and Lito for a 21k run around Bonifacio Global City.  This was followed by a sumptuous breakfast at Sentro—my new favorite post-run hangout—to celebrate Lit’s birthday.

With serious training ticked off, the next day was all for the kids.



Hubby and TBR Jr. were registered for 3k, while Little Miss TBR and I were registered for 500m.  Due to the little boy’s colds, we downgraded him to 500m instead.

The atmosphere was fun and light as it is with kiddie races like this (I didn’t reach the longer distances anymore).  We even spotted the Wizard of Enchanted Kingdom who probably needed to lose some weight before he even attempted to run 500m.  With the Enchanted Kingdom jingle playing over and over in our heads, we finished the race in no time.

– Kiddos with Enchanted Kingdom Wizard behind –

– Hubby and son –

– 15k runners on the way to the finish. Those multi-colored singlets were a cool idea –

The boys ran all the way, while us girls WALKED all the way.  It turns out that my Little Miss Bull Runner enjoyed her bike experience at Mommy Milkshake last week that she prefers to bike rather than run now.  Oh boy.

– Breakfast at Pancake House with the new kiddie pop-up menu. Good thinking, Pancake! –


After breakfast, we rushed to UP Academic Oval for Secondwind’s Boys vs. Girls Challenge (next post).  I didn’t feel like running more after our long run the previous day, and I remembered our promise to run FOR the kids rather than ourselves on this day, so I chose to accompany Little Miss TBR on her grand bike out.

– Chatting with Jay (Prometheus Cometh) before the kids make their rounds –

– Kids loved it –

It was the kids’ first time here and to say that they enjoyed it would be an understatement.  My boy used his scooter while Little Miss Bull Runner with her best friend, Liney the Lion, rode the bike.  She did over five rounds.  At the last lap, she asked me:  Can we go here again tomorrow?  And the next day?  And the day after that?

Seeing the smile on her face told me that the decision to scrap one day of running for the little ones was well worth it.

– She’s lovin’ the bike more than the run. I’m not complaining! –