Happy Hour

August 29, 2008

My First Triathlon

Filed under: Races,Uncategorized — levyang @ 2:51 am

A lot of people are thinking of doing their first Tri this 14th of September at Alabang.  Perhaps to assuage the fears of the first timers, I just thought of sharing my own experience when I did my first triathlon last 22 October 2006, also at Alabang which covered a distance of 950m swim, 27k bike and 6.5k run 🙂  

The sport of triathlon has always intrigued me.  It’s right there in the list of things-to-do before I die.  So, I thought have to get this one out of the way while I’m still healthy and spry 🙂  While those that do triathlons usually have a strong background in at least one of the three disciplines, the closest background that I can speak of is that I do jog for 20 minutes 3x a week.  Last time I biked?  Well, I was about 10 years old and I remember I held myself up pretty well then….yup, without training wheels, dig that 🙂  Swimming?  I guess I’m lucky enough to say that I do know the rudiments of swimming….leisurely swimming that is.  So far, these are stuff going for me.   

As far as the other equally important stuff are concerned….well, let’s just say it’s anything goes at this point.  For example:

1.  Tri-suit:  What’s that?  For the swim, I used my ever reliable skimpy swimming trunks for the race.  For the bike leg, why? Cycling shorts, of course…..without the padding though.  It was those cycling shorts that basketball players wear underneath their shorts 🙂  

2.  Mountain Bike/Road Bike:  Ummm, what is the difference?  My friend Junie was kind enough to lend me her road bike as well as her helmet the day before the race so I can give it a test ride.  How did it go?  It didn’t take me too long to find out she got longer legs than mine.  After only minutes of biking around, my crotch (R-13) hurt like hell 😦  

3.  Gearing:  Huh?  Bikes have gears?!!!  The hell with the gears…it’s all so confusing.  Operation Pedal to the Max, here I come!!!!!

3.  Where do I change?  I remember asking this question to one of the marshalls and he gave me a strange look.  Well, it turned out that the transition area = dressing room.  Being the modest Filipino that I am, what I did after the swim was to put on the ‘cycling’ shorts on top of the swimming trunks I was wearing.  Undressing at the transition area is only reserved for sexy guys like Dingdong Dantes.  

4.  What to do with the painful crotch?  I had to have a lot of padding to ease the pain.  Well, back in college, I used to collect bandanas.  Let’s just say I finally got some use for them other than as a handkerchief or as a head accessory.  Mind you, I needed A LOT of bandanas to ease the pain.  I’m glad to say, it did work though…enough to endure an hour and a half of biking 🙂  

How did the race go?  Here are my official times courtesy of triathlon.org.ph:

Swim:  23:38………….Told you I knew how to swim ha! 🙂

Bike:  1:19:12……….. Just like it was when I was 10 years old, without training wheels….but killer hills 🙂  

Run:  50:53………….. More like walk, crawl, stagger just to reach the finish line.

But yup, I did eventually finish with a total time of 2 hours, 33 minutes and 43 seconds.  But you know what’s the best part?  My family surprising me at the finish line with my one-month old daughter in tow 🙂  Didn’t bother to wake them up for the race because I didn’t know what time I will finish and truth be told, triathlon isn’t exactly a spectator sport for the uninitiated.  So, this was a real pleasant surprise for me.  Yup, I could probably die right about then with a smile on my face 🙂  Never knew so much suffering could bring so much joy at the same time.

Thing to remember is HAVE FUN, yes, even amidst all the blunders and embarassing questions.  As you can see, I did and still am having fun 🙂  Don’t be too serious or self-conscious, those are reserved for the elites/halimaws.  Eh, may ambisyon ka ba maging halimaw?  Kung meron, tsaka na yan, first time muna di ba?  Just have fun racing till the end and then muster a smile at the finish line 🙂 Who knows?  There might also be a surprise waiting for you at the finish line 🙂  

So that pretty much sums up my triathlon story.  What about you?  There’s a story to be made on September 14 🙂  Hope to see you there.



August 26, 2008

On the 31st of August…..Just Do It

Filed under: Races,Ramblings,Running — levyang @ 4:22 am

Ok, this will be my last post on the Nike Human Race.  I’d like to share with you an email/comment that was posted by The Bullrunner on the reasons behind the staging of the Human Race in Manila:

Hey levy, I think this is what Nike was afraid of in organizing a local race. They didn’t want the Pinoys to feel that they were locking out all those who didn’t have Nike+ kits. That’s why Coach Rio kept reiterating the fact that this Nike physical race in Manila was not an official race but more of a gathering for all the Pinoys who signed up for the virtual worldwide run. Since all these Pinoy virtual runners would be running their own 10km anyway, they thought of just gathering them together in one place.

I’m not a Nike endorser. And I do agree running should be open to everyone. I do know Nike didn’t want all the others to feel left out too that’s why they gave those discount coupons and free sportsbands. That’s also why I thought it was a good idea to allow people to win the kits and give them a chance to join. It’s more of a service to the readers.

Don’t you think it’s about time I make my peace with Nike?  In light of the Bullrunner’s explanation, I wish to extend my apologies to all those who may have been offended/slighted with my “The Outsider and Nike” post earlier.  But I hope you do understand where I was coming from.  In any case, I think Coach Rio should be commended for organizing a race to bring together all the Nike users even though Manila wasn’t selected an official city.  I mean can you name me another non-official city where they’re gonna organize something that Coach Rio is doing?…..  That’s what I thought.  Bottom line, I think what unites us all is our common love and passion for running and I think that should transcend anything and everything.  I mean, iilan lang tayo sa running community mag-aaway away pa tayo?   In the movie “Field of Dreams”, a line there goes “if you build it, they will come…”  Well, guys and gals, Coach Rio has built it.  So, on the 31st of August, go out and JUST DO IT!!!


August 21, 2008

This Outsider is a Sellout

Filed under: Contest — levyang @ 5:18 am

In a previous post, I wrote a critique of the NIKE Human Race.  Well, I have a confession to make.  Yes, I’ve succumbed to the dark side.  As part of the buildup to the NIKE Human Race on the 31st of August, runner-bloggers like the Bullrunner and Ben Chan had this promo of giving away NIKE+ Sportsband in their respective blogs.  In the spirit of fun, I joined the TBR races in Bullrunner’s blog and as luck would have it, I won the last TBR race yesterday. Ok, so I’m a sellout.  Crucify me.  But go easy on the hammer ok?

August 17, 2008

Miracle Run Recap

Filed under: Races,Running — levyang @ 5:07 am

Lots of races happening today.  There’s Bayani Run at Marikina.  Run 4 ur Life at UP.  Off-Road Duathlon at Lucban, Quezon and Miracle Run at the Fort.  Truth be told, I had mixed feelings joining the Miracle Run. The NGO that I used to work with is sponsoring Run 4 ur Life at UP.  Thing is, I registered for Miracle Run the day before I heard about the run in UP 😦  As a compromise, I bought the ‘run 4 ur life’ singlet and wore the same for this morning’s race 🙂  Now on to the recap:

Got to the venue at around 5:15 am, because I still didn’t have the race packet with me.  Registration was a breeze as there was no line and I was able to get the shirt and my number at once.  Did some stretching and a few warm up runs.  Got to see Jojo (Sunkist Trihard) and Pierre (schoolmate) as well as Jake (schoolmate) who I’m glad to see is on the comeback trail after his injury.  Go Jake! Looking forward to seeing you in the triathlon races till the end of the year!  Was planning to bike for an hour after the 10K run so this will constitute as my Brick workout for this week.  Boom Gonzales was the emcee. There were the usual welcome speeches from the Editor of Mens Health as well as the Executive Director from Kapuso Foundation explaining the mechanics of how the sponsors will donate P200 for every 10K finisher and P400 for every team that finishes the race as well.  It was close to starting time already and didn’t feel like there were a thousand runners at the start line 😦  

Like it said in the flyer, race started promptly at 630am.  Was hoping for an earlier start but if I were to do Whiterock in the future, might as well get used to running under the sun 🙂  As the run began, was trying to focus on my form.  Trying to get rid of my ‘hunchback’ pose so I was really conscious of holding my chin up and squeezing an imaginary egg behind my back 🙂  At the same time, I was also advised to incorporate a bit of a ‘skip/jump’ in every stride to make my run easier/faster, so I was trying to do that as well.  The route took us around Serendra towards Japanese school and then make a turnaround back to the main road towards S and R.  Upon reaching S and R, runners would then take a left turn at Fifth Avenue (I think) and then another left towards the ‘start/finish’ line.  One loop is 5K, so us individual 10k runners had to do 2 loops.  I remember glancing at my watch after the first 5k and saw that I was running at about a 5 min/km pace.  I remember Loonyrunner in his blog saying something about doing a negative split and I was wondering If I should make a go for it.  I tried but I kept thinking that I still have to bike after so there goes my goal of a negative split.  There were at least 4 water stations  in the race and they were handing out gatorade bottles to the runners!  It’s good that the sponsors are quite generous in giving gatorade but then the sad reality is runners would only take a sip and then throw the bottle away.  I just thought it would have been better if they give cups of gatorade instead to prevent wastage.  At any rate,  I avoided stopping at the water stations so as not to break the rhythm I was maintaining.  It’s all about rhythm 🙂 Another good thing about the race were the kilometer markers which I failed to notice during my first loop. At about the 7km mark, I remember glancing at my watch again which showed (34+minutes) and once again at the 9km mark (45:02+minutes) and realized that doing a sub-50 may be within reach.  Tried to pick up my pace but I knew I was only maintaing what I’ve been doing thus far 🙂  Don’t know what happened but I knew I breached the 50 min. mark way before the finish line.  I was surprised to see though that when I made my turn to the finish line it was still 49:40++ and counting.  Even then, try as I might I got past the finish past 50 min.  My unofficial time based on my watch was 51:19.  I was happy though because I was aiming for a 50 to 52 finish.  Sub-50 is just gravy 🙂  It will have to wait at a more opportune time, hehehe.    

At the finish, they had this kilometers counter adding up 10km every time a runner crosses the finish line.  Thought it provided a nice touch.  When I finished there were already 500kms thereabouts on the board.  I sure hope we reach the goal of 10,000kms for this run.  Got a gatorade at the finish.  Unfortunately, didn’t have time to linger as this is ‘brick’ day for me.  BTW, during races I don’t bring the heart monitor anymore and just go by how I feel.  Had I brought it, the HRM would have registered in the high 150s to 160s during the run.  In RunMD’s blog, he presented a table of the HR percentages of an easy to hard workout.  According to said table, my HR is still within aerobic stage.  Damn that table 🙂 I was already panting and breathing hard, hahaha 🙂  Sure felt like I was already at V02 max 🙂   

15:03 lapsed between finishing the race, freshening up a bit, getting into the car, driving home and setting up the bike.  Biked for an hour and did around 29.4km.  Was already bonking at around the 18km mark, so I just eased up on the gears in order to finish the required 1 hour bike ride.   Here are stats of the brick day:

Time: 51:19   Distance 10K run

Transition: 15:03

Time: 1:00  Distance 29.4k bike

Total: 2:06:23.

Congratulations to all those who ran the Miracle Run with me this morning.  Thank you very much to the organizers and all those who were involved in this Miracle Run.  I hope Kapuso Foundation was able to reach the P200,000 goal.  Here’s to more runs-for-a-cause in the future.  


August 12, 2008

Ironman Manila Bay

Filed under: Ramblings — levyang @ 2:16 am

On my way to and from work, I always pass by Roxas Boulevard.  During those idle times when my mind wanders as I gaze at the sunset on my way home, I wonder wouldn’t it be great if our very own Manila Bay gets to host one of the Ironman races?  Picture it.  Swim leg would be an out and back from the shores of Manila Bay while Baywalk can serve as the transition area.  The 180km bike leg would then take the racers to scenic Tagaytay via Aguinaldo Hi-way, turnaround at Batangas and then back to Roxas Boulevard where the 42K run is done on the very same route used for the Milo Marathon.  At the finish, there’ll be fireworks at Quirino Grandstand and all-night partying in front of the Rizal Monument.  If the race starts at 7am, the elites will probably finish right about sunset time.  Running towards the finish with the famous Manila Bay sunset as the backdrop….:)  

But I guess it’ll never happen huh?  Only because Manila Bay is so darn polluted that ITU wouldn’t even dare sanction a race there.  But then, I do see children swimming in the Bay especially during summer time 🙂  I don’t know….Every triathlete dreams of doing an Ironman and I just thought wouldn’t it be great if one were to do his/her very first one right in his/her own backyard?  The closest thing that we have here is Whiterock and Subic O3.  And I do remember having read somewhere that the Philippines did hold an Ironman distance race before (in Matabungkay i think).  But I’m not sure if it was part of the Ironman series held around the world.  And I’m sure it wasn’t at Manila Bay.  Oh well, I can still dream can’t I?


August 7, 2008

Back to Earth…Back to Work

Filed under: Training — levyang @ 6:39 am

Triathlon helps in keeping me grounded.  It is such a demanding sport in terms of time and effort that you can never get too high or too low after a race.  There is hardly any time to bask in the afterglow of a good race or dwell on the disappointment after a bad one as the demands of training beckon.  

Yup, it’s back to the training grounds for me after Subic 🙂

This time though I’m happy that I’ve managed to work my schedule around so that I’ll be able to go to the ULTRA track oval for speed workouts and join a long bike ride during the week.  I’ve been wanting to do incorporate long bike rides in the training regimen, but it was just so difficult to fit it in my schedule.  With the wifey’s blessings, that is no longer a problem now 🙂

Thanks to Czar, I was able to visit Morong once again and do the Jalajala route today.  The last time I did it was last year 😦  See, how long ago that was?  80 kms out and back in the beautiful Rizal countryside.  The lowlight of which is that I almost had an accident when dogs that wanted to hump each other came onto the road and I wasn’t able to avoid one of them and I bumped the dog.  Don’t worry, the dog wasn’t hurt bad probably took a blow to the stomach.   I’m sorry dog, but you shouldn’t be humping in the streets,  keep it inside, hehehe.  Here are the stats of this morning’s ride:

Distance: 80kms.; Time: 2:49; Average speed: 28.1km/hr; AHR: 125; Peak: 152

Can’t wait for next week’s ride.


August 4, 2008

Subic O3 Recap (Standard Distance)

Filed under: Races — levyang @ 5:32 am

In previous races at Subic, I used to check-in at Majestic Hotel the night before because Subic is a good 2 and a half to 3 hours drive from home.  Thanks to SCTEX (a new expressway linking Clark to Subic), I can reach Subic in a little less than 2 hours, hence the decision to leave Manila in the wee hours of the morning of 2 August 2008.  Usually, I don’t get to sleep much the night before a race because of the excitement, etc. This time though, I got to sleep at 9:30pm and woke up at around 1:00 am.  Went through the equipment checklist and my wife and I finally set off for Subic at around 3:00 am.  It was raining throughout the trip, but then after Fontana, rain does not faze me anymore 🙂   Finally, got to the race site at around 5 am.

It was drizzling when I got my race packet and it sure looked like that the sky was not about to clear up anytime soon.  I remember thinking that the temperature was perfect for a good race but was worried at the same time that the slick roads may cause accidents during the bike portion.  While lining up for body-marking, I was excited to see the other participants prepping for their long-distance triathlon.  The race started on time at 6am for the long-distance triathletes while I was still in the transition area racking my bike.  Was aiming for fast transitions this time, so the shoes were already clipped on the bike before I left the transition area one last time to begin warming up.  Also, did not bother to bring socks and gloves this time.  As I left the transition area, Coach Rick was announcing that Matthieu O’Halloran was leading the pack and doing a 50min pace for a 4k swim!!!!  Wow   

It was great that the organizers set aside a warm-up area for those who wanted to test the waters before the race even as the long-distance triathletes were already making their loops for their 4 km. swim.  I did not get to attend the official race briefing and I was sure glad to see Gerard Reyes and Joma Palana (Groundhog Dude) who informed me that we will do just one loop for our 1.5k swim.  It was great seeing Monica Torres (who eventually placed 2nd overall in the women’s category) as well as she informed me to remember to turn right once I see a gap in the buoy lines.  Otherwise, I’ll be doing the O3 version of the swim and we don’t want that now do we 🙂  While doing the warm-ups, I was surprised Coach Rick Reyes was already announcing to clear the waters because the standard distance race was about to start.  All this time, I though we were going to start at 7am.  Oh well, better start lining up as the race officially started at 6:45am.

Unlike swimming pools, swimming in open water can be tricky because every so often I have to make sure that I’m not swimming out to open sea.  The participants were swimming in a clockwise direction so those that breathe on their right have no problem as they can see the buoy lines as they breathe in and out.  But for me, I only breathe on my left so instead of buoy lines, I use my fellow racers as guide 🙂  I was able to get into a comfortable rhythm.  Trying to glide and swim “tall” like what they teach at Total Immersion. Right at about the gap portion, it was good that they had a marshall on a roving kayak to tell the swimmers to turn right. I just followed the crowd and soon enough, I saw the shore.  I glanced at my watch and saw that I swam 34 minutes for the swim course, encouraged that it was 2 minutes faster than my swim at Subit 🙂  Now, on to the transition.  

At the transition, just dried up a bit and put on my helmet.  No more shades as well as it was bit too dark for me.  Did the transition in 1:30 thereabouts  (a minute faster than my usual average at transition 1, yahoo!!!!)  So now, I just have to put the feet inside the shoes while riding…..I already practiced this before but this time I found it a bit difficult because: (1) it was raining and the shoes were wet, my foot kept on slipping a few times before finally getting it on; and (2) was a bit conscious as lots of people were watching and I wanted so bad to do a smooth transition 🙂  Oh well….Both of my calves cramped up as I was trying to slip into the cleats, but managed to shake it off as I began the bike course. 

This is the same bike course as the one earlier in Subit 2008, so I knew what to expect.  Ride conservatively at the start in order to save strength at the hills.  First 10k was pretty smooth, averaging around 32km/hr, the highlight of which was finally meeting Marga (The Changeling Child) on the road.  I knew it was her because the Mizuno running shoes was a dead giveaway 🙂  I said, “Go Marga” and then she gave me a funny look and it was only then that I remembered how she didn’t like people creeping up to her without introducing themselves properly.  So, I said, “Hi, I’m Levy” and that’s when she lightened up 🙂  (Sensya na Marga ha, kala ko kasi magkakilala na tayo…sa blogs lang pala yun) P.S. Marga had a frightening accident as she was about to finish her ride. (You can read about it in her blog, get well soon Marga!!!)

After a flat ride of about 10kms, the hilly portion began.  Did not attack the hills because I don’t know how to stand and do that rhythmic thing that pros do when climbing the hills 🙂 But persevered just the same.  Soon enough, the turnaround came right below a nice descent.  I remember telling fellow riders at that point that it was too bad the turnaround came abruptly just as the bike was gathering momentum for a speedy descent 🙂  The ride from the turnaround was a bit easier and the descents were pretty fun as I was going 63km/hr at one point.  Whoopee!!!!  Finished the course in 1:19:02 Off to transition 2.

Racked the bike, ate Gu, took a swig of gatorade, laced up the shoes and then run out to Dumuk Bridge.  Did transition 2 in 2:05 about 40 seconds faster than my T2 time in Subit, things are going well at this point except for the cramp thing earlier.  

The run course is 4 loops around Boardwalk then a 600m run to the finish.  After the first loop, I saw my wife and I remember shouting to her, “Mukhang matatapos ko ito (Looks like I’m going to finish this)”  At the end of the first loop, I glanced at my watch and saw that I did around 12:30.  And I really felt good because it also looked like I will be able to meet my goal not only of finishing the whole 10k running but also making a sub-3 time 🙂  Unlike Subit in May 2008 where it was really hot, the weather was my friend this time.  I did not stop at the water stations because  I did not want to break the rhythm that was already established.  At this point, it was great seeing the elites like George Vilog flying by so effortlessly.  At the last loop, Coach Jojo Macalintal shouted to me to run tall which a hunchback like me always forgets.  Finally, on the last 600m, I remember Jim Araneta zooming past me but heck, I was so happy because on my 3rd attempt I was finally able to really finish a standard distance triathlon, without flats, without bonking, etc.  At the finish, I glanced at my watch and saw that I did 55:47 for the run and finished at 2:52:44.  Yes!!! A sub-3!!

At the finish, I tapped Jim Araneta and said, “Good race.”  I wished I could have also said maybe I could have a taste of some his imported beers also during Happy Hour 🙂  There was also these 2 ladies who told me that finishers get to have their portraits taken.  I told them that it must be for the long-distance finishers only but they said that it’s for everyone.  (Hear that Nike?  It’s for everyone)  So, I had my portrait taken as well 🙂  

Here are my observations:

The Good:

  • The weather was perfect for racing.  I remember Coach Rick telling me that it’s too bad some of the     regular participants were not able to join this time around.  Perfect weather for setting PRs
  • I’m beginning to like biking in the rain.  
  • I liked the fact that the 1.5k swim was out and back instead of the usual 2 loops.  
  • Also liked the out and back bike course.  It did measure exactly 40kms in my odometer.  
  • Special thanks goes out to Jaime Noel Santos and Jun De Leon who got photographers to document the event.  I believe they are the ones responsible for the portrait finish.  Provided a nice touch to the race.   
  • Getting to meet bloggers like Joma and Marga.  Finally met the legendary Coach Rio as well.  
  • Chatting with Coach Jomak, Ria V. and I think it was George Carag who were discussing the finer points of running.   
  • The organizers were able to cordon off the street used for racing.
  • The medics at hand were able to respond immediately to Marga who had a terrible spill towards the end of her bike leg.  
  • Results are posted first working day after the race.
The Not So Good:
  • Standard distance race started earlier than the 7am published time.
  • I don’t know if there was an official announcement that the awards for the standard distance race was going to be held at around 11am.  But some of the podium finishers were not at El Centro when they were giving out the medals.  According to the published schedule, awards were to be given out in the afternoon.  
  • After the standard distance race was completed, the crowd thinned out considerably leaving a few handful to cheer on the long-distance triathletes who were still competing.  (I am guilty of this one as well, I left at around 12nn, I’m really sorry about that)  
  • Registration fee was prohibitive.  Could have more participants if this is lowered.  And it can be done.  Just ask Popo and Thumbie on how they do it.  
All in all, it was a well-organized race.  Congratulations are in order for TRAP, Coach Rick, the marshalls, the medics, the volunteers, the sponsors and all those who took part in this event.  Congratulations to all the individual, relay and team competition winners.  Results can be found at http://www.triathlon.org.ph

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