Tri United 1: Done!

Sunday, 15 April 2012  |  Race Reports

“The miracle isn’t that I finished.  The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”

– John Bingham

Woohoo! I finished Tri United 1 yesterday! It was a 1k swim – 30k bike – 7k run, a distance that may seem short to experienced triathletes, but daunting to this newbie.  I’m writing to you now so that’s proof that I survived it.  Even better, I actually had fun!

I hesitatingly showed up for the women’s race yesterday all nervous and jittery. Quite honestly, I didn’t know what I was doing there.  I knew I didn’t have enough training.  I wanted to stay home with the kids for the weekend.  And, every time I thought of the swim and bike, my stomach churned. But, surprisingly, when I looked out at the sea in Laiya, I felt a certain calmness.  All of a sudden, I felt I made the right decision in showing up for the race and facing my fears.  Just like my first 5k way back in 2007, I knew I was at the right place.


The women’s race was at 2:30pm Saturday while the men would race Sunday morning (earlier this morning). We were 42 participants in the women’s race.

The course was friendly for beginners like me. It was 2 loops each for the swim, bike, and run. So, we pretty much knew what to expect for each of the 2nd loops.

– Host during the race briefing for the women’s race –

– Female triathletes during the brieifing. That’s Lods Yapson of Team Secondwind in the Sun Broadband shirt. Hey, Sun Broadband, I like! hah! –

– Unilab GM Clinton Hess during the briefing. In the back, my teammates Jake and Paolo are busy with more important matters: packing their baon –

– My teammates Bic, Adel, Mike, and Clint during the briefing –


It was my first open water swim triathlon. The only time I ever swam in open water before this race was at The Next Step Tri Camp last year. To say that I was nervous was an understatement.

Swimming out towards the buoy was tough as we went against the current. It kinda freaked me out that I couldn’t see anything at the bottom.  I don’t know how many times I stopped to hang on to the buoy just to find my way. But, heading back towards the shore, as my Coach had advised, I pulled hard and swam at a good pace. That’s exactly what I did.  Before I knew it, I was out of the water telling my teammates how much fun it was.

We ran 300m from the swim to the transition area. I calmly wore my bike shoes, helmet, shades, race bib, and hydrated, then off I went on the bike. Oh boy, I could use a lot more training on the bike. This was the point where I felt everyone was just overtaking me and I felt frustrated about wanting to go faster but not being able to.  Lots of newbie tales here: there was a time I almost bumped the race signage, or the time I u-turned beyond the u-turn portion to avoid hurting the spectators, or the time I yelled at men on motorcycles ogling at all of us women: “Lumayo kayo sa akin! Babanggain ko kayo!”

After what felt like forever, I finally reached the transition area and dismounted without crashing (one of my nightmares). The first few kilometers of the run were difficult. I wanted to push harder, but my legs felt heavy off the bike. (That’s what I get for not doing any brick sessions!) By the 2nd loop, I felt much better and I went at a slightly faster clip to finish the race.

– Heading towards the finish. Photo courtesy of Gica Limjoco –


I’m such a newbie. I didn’t even get my time. I guess I was just ecstatic about finishing. And, to tell you the truth, that’s really all that mattered to me at that point.

How many times have we said that, when it comes to your first marathon, the only goal is to finish? Well, for my first serious triathlon, it was exactly the same. The goal was to enjoy the journey and to finish with a smile on my face, and that’s exactly what I did.  I just had a grand time all throughout the race!

Uh oh, guys, I think I’m hooked.

Thanks so much to Coach Patrick Joson for teaching me the basics of biking and chasing after me when I was learning how to ride with cleats, Coach Andy Leuterio for taking me out for interval rides, Coach Martin Carandang for teaching me how to swim even if I take too long in between laps, Team Berlin and Team Kalyo (that’s just you and me, Ton) for our always fun runs, and to Team Unilab Active Health for the camaraderie and support.  This is only the beginning.

– with good friend and 2nd Place finisher for her age category, Bic –

– Teammate Ani de Leon, wins in her age category just 4 months after giving birth –

– with teammates from Team Unilab Active Health. They all stayed overnight for the men’s race the day after (today), but I rushed home after the race to be with the kiddos –

Pre-Race Prayer of a Beginner Triathlete

Friday, 13 April 2012  |  Bullish Insights, Running + Triathlon

Dear Lord,

Tomorrow is the big day: Tri United 1 at Laiya, Batangas. It feels like my first triathlon since I’ve really only done two mini sprints way back in 2008 and 2009.

Oh God, this is the first time I’m joining a triathlon in open water, first time I’m going out of town for a triathlon, and the first time I’m going to swim and bike for what seems like such a long distance! Last year, I would never have dreamed of swimming and biking this much!

If you sense the panic in my voice, please take pity on me and, should you have a short recess from solving the more weighty problems of the world, perhaps you could accede to one or more of my humble requests:

  1. Please don’t let any sea creatures sting me — be it jellyfish or sea ticks. It will be quite difficult for me to employ my own TBR swim-scratch-gasp-swim(R) technique during a race.
  2. Please help me make sure I prepare everything properly in the transition area. You know how often I’ve forgotten underwear, toiletries, or even my own surname after receiving epidural for two kids. Just this once, help me leave nothing behind.
  3. Keep me and all other participants safe during the bike ride. Yes, needless to say, you may also keep them safe from me and my not-so-perfect biking skills.
  4. Guide me as I attempt to drink from the bottle during the ride. I know, I know, you only help those who’ve helped themselves. Promise, I’ve practiced this the past couple of weeks, but I’ve come to the sad conclusion that I must’ve been absent when you blessed humanity with balance and maneuvering skills.
  5. Please spare me from any technical difficulties on the bike. I’ve watched so many youtube videos on “how to change a flat tire” but unless my repair kit has a magical caucasian genie triathlete that pops out and does everything for me, I don’t think I’m ready to change it myself yet. I promise to learn before Ironman 70.3.
  6. Brick? Oh boy, I didn’t have any brick training during my past 3 weeks of mishmash triathlon training. Please Lord, don’t make me wobble like a duck when I hop out of the bike and attempt to run.
  7. Allow me to have a strong and safe run since, this time, it comes after a 1km swim and 30km bike ride. You know I haven’t done anything like this in my entire life, so send some angels to make things a bit easier. If they’re busy doing some good in the world, then second or third or fourth wind would be much appreciated if and when I tire out.
  8. Last but not the least, please let me have fun even if none of the prayers above are answered. Remind me that the first race is always about enjoying the experience. I can worry about time and a better performance at the next race, right?

Yours Truly,