Last Sunday found me on the starting block once again at Alabang for this year’s NAGT series. It was a special day as it was my Dad’s birthday and it also marked the third year since my first race at good ‘ol Narra Street. Judging by the number of participants that day, it certainly looked like triathlon is here to stay 🙂 Raced without a watch again, so the times posted here are based on TRAP’s official results. Here’s my report:
Swim – 17:44
Swam with the usual big contingent comprising the 35-39 age groupers. At the start, I positioned myself beside Alfred Racho who is a strong swimmer with the intention of drafting off of him. I told him as much 🙂 Alfred, for his part, positioned himself right behind Jon Rufino and David Verlee. So, good luck to us 🙂 It was a wild sprint after the starting horn sounded, all of us with the same intention to get ahead of the crowd. Was able to keep up with Alfred for the first few laps and settled into a good rhythm. Maybe it was the thrill of competing in a race or the adrenalin rush, but I found myself swimming harder than planned. Probably a level or two below threshold. Comfortably-hard pace, if there’s such a thing.
Bike – 57:20
For the past few races, I put on my cleats before getting on the bike. No more of those “attached cleats before riding” thing that I was trying out before. I’ve always had difficulty to put my feet inside the cleats while riding anyway so why bother riding like a pro, right? 🙂 Anyways, I pedaled with Coach Jomak’s admonition in mind: Spin faster, lighter gear. So the run won’t suffer. Initially, I thought that spinning at a lighter gear might slow me down. Jomak told me otherwise and said that in fact, it would help me run better. Guess what? Lesson No. 1: ALWAYS LISTEN AND FOLLOW the advice coming from an ITU Coach 🙂 Using the previous bike times/speed as benchmark, I pretty much maintained the same speed as before.
5 kms into the bike leg. Jon Rufino overtook me and soon he was no longer in sight 🙂 Gotta love the sound of those disc wheels as he zoomed past me. At this point, I was glad I still managed to get a sip from my water bottle before it jumped out of the bottle cage. Probably as a result of the numerous humps throughout the bike course. I tried getting the water cups from the aid stations on the fly but I found it difficult to balance with one arm extended to get the cups. “Di bale na nga,” I told myself. Thank God this was a sprint distance race 🙂
Run – 35:44
Throat was parched as I got into T2. Water bottle from the marshall saved the day for me 🙂 Headed out of T2 with the aim of establishing a good rhythm. Nowadays, I consider a race successful if I’m able to get a decent run at at the end. It’s not that I don’t value swimming or biking. But the run will show if I’ve managed myself well during the first 2 stages of a triathlon race. Blowing up during the run usually means I fucked up earlier in the race. Pardon the language 🙂 Either nutrition was not adequate or I might have pushed myself too hard on the swim/bike leg.
About a kilometer or two into the run, I was overtaken by Fernando Ferrer of Sunkist Tri-Hard. Looking at him run, I knew I couldn’t keep up with his easy gait and long strides 🙂 But I was quite happy with the pace I have set although there was no Javy Olives to run with this time around 🙂 Another comfortably-hard pace again just like the swim up until the hilly portion beside the Country Club when I suddenly heard footsteps behind me. Did not bother looking behind as I increased my pace. But the footsteps were still there. I think this went on for a good kilometer at least. I remember thinking, “Oh no! This is now a race and somebody is gunning for me.” What if he came up beside me? I don’t know if I can match him stride for stride. I just took comfort in the thought that whatever happens, I’ll just do my best 🙂 Pretty soon, a few hundred meters before the turns toward the finish, the footsteps were gone. Tried to muster a snappy salute to my teammates from Team PMI who were kind enough to wait for me as I crossed the finish line.
Overall time: 1:50:48
Yup, Coach Jomak was right. Ever since I followed his advice from the debacle that was Camsur, I was able to run better off the bike. Run splits from the races that I joined since Camsur show that with faster/lighter spinning, I managed to maintain a 5:06 km/pace for a 3.5, 5 and now 7 km distance. Probably, a loser pace for most triathletes out there. But for me, anything close to 5 min/km pace off the bike is a winner in my book 🙂 Now, if only I can maintain something like that for a standard distance race, I can die a happy man 🙂 I’m really happy with this race only because as it turned out, my times improved across-the-board from similar races at the same venue. That it happened on the day of my Dad’s birthday and my third year anniversary as a triathlete only made it more special.
This one’s for you Dad!
P.S. Congratulations to Rachel Manglicmot (First Lady of Team PMI) for a solid showing in her first triathlon. (Flat pa yan sa bike sa lagay na yan ha) 🙂
Next up: Adidas KOTR