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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

My 2014 Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines Race Report

Comparing how I fared in 2013 and 2014 Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines

2014 has been tough for me.  Many things happened that required several adjustments and I was not able to cope well. I had difficulty with trainings and opted to take several breaks to rest and try to escape from the clutters that come my way.

I joined several triathlon events prior to Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines, namely Tri United 1, Subic International Triathlon, and Tri United 2. And as I go through each race, I knew that my fitness level was declining, as I was gaining weight and feel more sluggish.

In the run leg of Tri United 2, I had difficulty running.  In fact, I walked all throughout! I knew I'll be in deep trouble come Cobra Ironman 70.3 day, and told myself to have no hard feelings if I didn't finish the race.

I wasn't excited while preparing my stuff for Cebu. I was already conditioning myself that I may not finish the race, and aimed to be simply safe at all times.

At the plane, I was surprised to see my college friend, Mandy Ilano, who is seated next to my row.  He is also participating the race.

With fellow Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines 2014 Finisher,
Imus Vice Mayor, Mandy Ilano

Arriving in Cebu, participants were greeted by the usual Sinulog dance performance of the locals, arranged by the organizers of the race. Though I have already seen them in 2012 and 2013, they still bring joy and helped me to relax and not to think about the race for a while.

My compadre and Triphibian teammate Vic Viola took an earlier flight, and waited for me at the Mactan International Airport. He helped me arrange transports for our bikes from the airport to our hotel.

After securing our stuff in our hotel rooms, we took the day easy by proceeding to the event area in Shangri-La Mactan, to shop at the expo, and attend the opening party. Fellow Triphibian teammates Clifford Banzuela and Luigi Robles joined us, and we exchanged pleasantries with friends we met at the party.

Vic joined the bike route recon activity of Saturday. I opted to just rest in the morning. Come lunchtime, my compadre Mike Mesina, who is a pilot based in Cebu, took us to the yacht club. The place offered a quick respite from the hustle and bustle of the city.  After lunch, we went to the mall to help Vic purchase a replacement tire, and proceed back to Shangri-La to attend the race briefing and the Holy Mass.

My planned breakfast was cup noodles, milo, banana bread, and 1 piece banana. I greeted Makoy Lontoc, Rej Santos, Ronnie Provido, and Joy Vargas in the pantry who were having breakfast. After getting hot water, I went back to my room to eat and prepare.

I was surprised when Makoy came into my room with a plate of sausage, corned beef, egg, and rice. Told him I planned to eat light, but he insisted and was told that Ronnie and Joy sent the food. I was thankful and smiling while eating their shared meal and preparing my stuff.

Vic, Cliff, and myself met at the hotel gate at 4:30 AM and took a cab to bring us to Shangri-La. Traffic was already building near Sutokil, and we alighted the cab and walked our way to the transition area. After fixing our stuff, we proceeded to the starting line.

As usual, I avoid the washing machine by swimming away from other participants. For the 1st time, I swam the whole course without seeing the buoy line.

The double M loop of the bike course was thrilling and punishing at the same time. This year's course pounced us with 4 headwinds! I was already cramping on the 3rd headwind and was just pushing to survive the leg. At the Fernan bridge, I shouted and asked the marshals to catch me because my legs locked at the halfway climb. I rested there for a good ten minutes, and walked my bike the rest of the climb.

When I reached the transition area, I was thinking really hard if I should put on my shoes and proceed. When I checked my watch, I realized that I still have a shot.

I tried to run, but my legs can only manage a 10min/km walk-run pace. Mathematically, I realized 10min/km pace was just enough for me to meet the cut-off. Ultra-marathon experience kicked in, not minding the pain and the scorching heat, and persevered. I saw Makoy, Vic, Joy, Bong Bernandez, Rico Villanueva, Rachelle Escudero, Noy and Gail Consolacion dealing with the scorching hot run course.

I saw Rej and Prince Baltazar 200m near the finish line cheering the participants and Prince paced me to the finish. Rej waited for Joy.

I crossed with a minute left on the clock. Ronnie greeted me at the finish line. I didn't expect her to be there and learned that she DNF.

Vic greeted me at the post race tents as we waited for others to cross.

Joy and Rico missed the cut-off. I hugged and congratulated Joy and told her she did a great job. In fact, Joy and Rico had better finish times than me. I was just fortunate to be included at an earlier wave start.

I didn't expect to finish the 2014 Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines race. But more than anything, I am very thankful for the opportunity to renew friendships in Cebu.

Clifford and wife, Easter, went to Bohol the following day.  Vic and myself joined Prince, Bon Aga and wife, and their friends for lunch in Lantaw.


Anonymous,  September 17, 2014 at 9:28 AM  

ohh great improvement in the swim

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