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Sunday, August 11, 2013

My 2013 Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines Race Report

I've been present in the 2011 and 2012 Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines to support friends and to get inspiration to do the same before I hit 40.  I was only 35 years old then.

I didn't know that the 2013 edition would have me participate and finish one of the best, if not the best, Ironman 70.3 race in world!

24 weeks of training following a plan from the book "Triathlon Training for Dummies" from 2-time Ironman 70.3 Philippines Finisher, Rej Santos, guided me in my dream.  Swim sessions with Ronnie Provido helped me improve my time.  Long rides and long runs with friends Bong Bernadez, Myla Go, Wap Forbes, Joy Vargas, Clifford Banzuela, Vic Viola, Nonong Mortel, Bobby Cruz, Rene Villarta, and others helped me go through the base miles required in training.  Even work colleagues were very supportive!

My Tri-United 1 finish and Tri-United 2 DNF were both sweet and bitter lessons.  I just held on the dream and moved forward.

I woke up at 3 AM and did my pre-race rituals.  Clifford and myself joined the 4 AM bus from Waterfront Mactan to Shangri-La.  It was raining.  I was praying for the rain to stop.  The traffic added tension, as the 15 minute drive became a 1 hour drive due to the congestion near Shangri-La.

It was already past 5 AM when we arrived, and we immediately proceeded to the transition area amid the rains to fix our stuff.  Seeing my college classmate Paul Minano who was also participating for the 1st time somehow made me calm.

I went to the beach around 6 AM.  I saw Rodel Cuaton, who was also participating for the 1st time.  We swam some meters to warm up, and waited for the gun start.  The sky began to clear.  Prayers answered.

6:25 AM.  The gun went off and Pros and CEO Category participants started to swim.  I was trying to compose and relax myself, to keep focus, and believe on the training I went through.

And then I heard the countdown for wave 2 started.  I started to swim and took my time.  I was very conservative.  I made sure I was near the buoy line.  Many participants also did the same.  

I had so many challenges while negotiating the swim route.  I had a hard time overtaking.  My goggles got knocked off before reaching the first turn-around.  Very strong waves battered me at the very long stretch back to Shangri-La beach.  I got pushed several times by the 3rd wave of participants.  Scary!  

I finished the 1.2 mile (1.9 km) swim leg in 1:00:47.

I walked going to transition a bit dizzy.  I remember Coach Norman Pascual's advise to take time during transition, to make sure everything was in order.  And that's what I did.  It took me 8:39 to complete transition 1.

Cebuanos were cheering their hearts out as I ride out.  Their cheers energized me all the way!  They were awesome!

I was able to deal the Marcelo Fernan Bridge without fear, thanks to the climb intervals introduced by Clifford.

As with the swim, I also had challenges negotiating the bike route.  The headwinds were punishing!  I stopped to hydrate, eat, and recover.  My right shoulder started to sore upon reaching kilometer 30.

I finished the 56 mile (90 km) bike leg in 3:55:58.

Again, I took time during transition.  It took me 10:42 to complete transition 2.

I had a hard time starting to run.  I walked as I go to the run route.  I practically walked the whole time, and ran only when I get the chance to join with friends I met along the route.  Special thanks to Hannah Sanchez and Mike Sarandona who picked up my pace going to kilometer 10.

I had my second wind and was running more than walking during the 2nd loop.  I was "bathing" ice-cold water at every hydration station to cool off.

Reaching kilometer 16, I met fellow participant Raymond Vasquez, a Cebuano.  He joined my pace, and I ensured him that we will make it to the cut-off.  We ran and walked together from thereon.

Finishers who were already cleaning their bikes cheered to push us to the finish.

Reaching the gate of Shangri-La, I told Raymond to go ahead, as I was trying to catch my breath.  He told me that we'll see each other at the finish line.  I still have 4 minutes on my watch.

Mccoy Lontoc was waiting near the transition area.  He told me to push to make it to the cut-off.  I ran my heart out, sprinting, knocking off an A-board because I entered the wrong lane going to the finish line.  Walked again for a while to recover as I was already seeing black, and had my last sprint from the Marquee to the finish!  Everybody was cheering!  It was crazy!!!

As I approach the finish line, Whit called my name out loud and it was the sweetest in my lifetime.  I finished the 13.1 mile (21 km) run route in 3:22:13.  I finished the Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines 2013 in 8:38:19!

I raised my hand, and praised God!  I am nothing without Him!  I praised and thanked Jesus for the gift of good health, security, and protection.  I was also thankful for the gift of friends.

The whole ordeal was a very humbling experience.  I totally surrendered myself to God's infinite mercy, from the day I started dreaming, to the day I started training, to the time the race started, to the time I crossed the finish line.

I learned so many things through this experience.  I got hurt, and I also inadvertently hurt some in the process.  To sum up, Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines is a celebration of our humanity and God's infinite mercy.  To all who shared this awesome experience with me, my deepest gratitude goes to you, and looking forward to share another Ironman 70.3 with you all!

Photos courtesy of (from top left to right) Finisher's Pix,
Jennybave dela Cruz, Timmy Sebastian, and Rafael Inigo


deemenrunner August 12, 2013 at 1:20 AM  

so inspiring papi! i wish i could do this too one day. congrats ironman jet!

Jet Paiso August 12, 2013 at 9:41 AM  

thanks noel! if i can, you can!

RUN4GOD August 12, 2013 at 10:19 AM  

Congrats Jet!! Idol! :)

Jet Paiso August 12, 2013 at 5:46 PM  

thank nicky! you can too!

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