How did I get this Cobra Ironman 70.3 Relay Finisher’s Medal?
Registration and Training
Feeling the kick of an efficient swimmer
The photographer within
The Papa Piolo Pascual Phenomenon (PPPP)
Finishing the Race
What I liked about the race
Room for improvements
When I heard about the second Ironman 70.3 in the Philippines I quickly asked my training buddy, Cat Gamez, if she would like to join the relay of the said event. She agreed and she looked for our biker. And she found one, Miles Young. I was surprised how easy for her to find a biker for the event, one of the reasons was the payment was not cheap, US$250 or almost about PhP11,250 for each team during early registration. She explained that Kuya Miles wanted us to experience a big event in endurance racing. And in February 27, we filled the registration form, entered the credit card number and got the confirmation that we are now registered for the race.
I already had tried swimming 1,500 meters non-stop in a pool but yet to experience an actual race in swimming. It was only 6 months before the said event and it was fast approaching. I went back to the pool, did some lapping and as expected I was having a hard time finishing the 50 meters but I assured myself that through proper training I could get my strength back.
Since I don’t have a bike, I joined all the aquathlon events I could find (Ateneo Aquathlon, Camaya Coast Aquathlon) Unfortunately, due to financial reasons there was one aquathlon that I was not able to join, but it didn’t bother me much since Camaya Coast Aquathlon was the race I was targeting due to its open water swim.
Then an accident happened to me on the Epic Relay. When I got back home from the race, I scheduled for a check-up. My blood chemistry and for an ECG was checked. My blood chemistry was normal but the cardiologist said that my heart rate goes up quickly. I told him that in two months time I am joining a race and would it be OK if I joined. He answered that I should observe during training and when I feel something is wrong then I should not join the race. After a month of being an out-patient with no training I got a go-signal from the cardiologist to train. One month to go before the race, did some short lapping. 300 meters on the first 2 sessions, 500 meters on the next and so on until I reached 1500 meters non-stop in less than two weeks, all sessions were done on a relaxed pace, and when I could feel my heart palpitate I further slowed down my pace to stop it from palpitating. I even did some cross-training by running inside Meralco Compound and playing badminton on our company’s sportsfest.
In one of my training sessions, I chanced upon Rico Villanueva, aka SheerWill from Team Endure and doing solo in Ironman 70.3, after my 1,500 meter session in MASA. I was about to go out of the pool and saw how serious he was in training, I stopped the idea of going out of the pool and swam on his side. I had no idea on how long he was still going to swim, I just swam and swam until he stops. Lucky for me he was doing relaxed pace swimming. The pool session ended with me swimming about 2700 meters and this helped me on increasing my endurance and confidence on the following swim sessions.
I joined a Ironman 70.3 simulation arranged by the Trantados in Los BaÃ±os where I gained a great deal of experience.
An opportunity then came to our runner in Singapore and she won’t be able to join the race. I was happy for her, after 2 years of working she was now going to practice what she studied on her four-year course in college, Family Life and Child Daycare. I was saddened because she would not be able to join us on the race. Did I mention that the payment for the early registration is non-refundable? There was no way, that PhP12,000 would just go down the drain. Luckily she had it all planned out, and I was happy that a good friend of mine, Mia Constantino, is willing to be our runner for the said event. I e-mailed the organizers and got a reply. We had to pay US$100 for the change of teammate!!!
The week before Cat left for Singapore, the four of us met with another friend, Yonna Belmonte. We discussed on how we will proceed with the race and how to pay the US$100 for the change of teammate. After the meeting I e-mailed the details of Mia and said that we would be paying the US$100. The secretariat replied “We regret to inform you but things are finalized already and we cannot accommodate your request anymore.” PANIC MODE!!! This was two weeks before the race. I replied to the organizers and asked if there was still a way for us to join the race. I prayed until I got the reply the next morning. “After having a meeting with the technical team, we are pleased Â to inform you that they will allow amendments until August 13, 2010.” Yahoo!!! An answered prayer. Thank God! And on August 11, we deposited the US$100 to Sunrise Events Inc. account and faxed our deposit slip and saw the change of names in the relay list from Catrina Gamez to Mia Constantino.
After 10 long hours of riding a car, we finally arrived at Naga City at 10:30AM on August 22. We decided to rest first before proceeding to CWC for registration. Unfortunately, our lodging is about an hour away from CWC and we must be register before 2PM. We would arrive there at 11:30AM then leave for CWC at 12:30PM to arrive in CWC at 1:30PM. We decided that 1 hour rest would not be enough. So we went to SM Naga, and looked for a movie just to sleep inside the movie house. The earliest movie was going to start at 10:50 AM but we decided not to go with the original plan and just eat at Greenwich and take turns sleeping there.
Then at 1:10PM we left for CWC for registration. They
- Checked our Government Issued IDs
- Placed bracelets so that we could be identified as one of the athletes.
- Handed over the documents that we needed to sign.
- Gave our race packets.
- Gave our loot bags. 🙂
After the registration, we went to the race orientation. This is where all the athletes will be briefed on what to expect on the race, clarify some of the race details and to remove/lessen the race jitters of the athletes.
When it was time for the questions, almost all the foreign athletes raced their hands. One by one the race organizer answered the questions. I was listening and some questions wasn’t answered clear enough. Serious questions all coming from foreign athletes, this made me realize that this was not the usual race that I joined for the past few years. My heart suddenly palpitated, I took deep breaths and prayed for myself to calm down. Then a question with a Filipino accent came from behind, it was Tessa Prieto Valdes. She asked where the cameras would be placed so that she could plan her moves. A loud laugh came from all over the place. Then she said, “See you on the podium.” One foreign athlete looked back opened her mouth and made an irritated face. Thanks to Tessa Prieto Valdes, her question calmed me down, it was an answered prayer. It reminded me that I was surrounded by my kababayans, we Filipinos love to laugh and have fun and it did not matter if this was an international event we were still a majoriy.
Kuya Miles then assembled his bike for check-in and told us that he made a mistake by bringing a wrong set of gears. He could only go as high as his third to the heaviest gear but he assured us that he can finish the race within the cutoff time, he just couldn’t push the bike to its top speed. He went to the bike service area of the event to check if there was something they could do with his bike and while we checked on the swim route.
When I saw the turnaround point in Lago del Rey I was a bit surprised. I already swam 2kms non-stop twice before the race but that was on a 50 meter pool and the longest distance per lap I had was in Camaya Coast Aquathlon, 250 meters. 725 meters was that far!!! It was my first time seeing a swim leg that far.
I quickly recalled the training I did. I can do this. I already swam 2kms non-stop, this is only 1.8kms swim with a 100 meter run in between.
After Kuya Miles checked in his bike we drove to Yonna’s home for that much awaited rest.
After 8 hours of sleep, a bottle of Gatorade, 2 slices of Greenwich pizza and 200 meters of warm up breaststroke, I was shaking hands with other relay swimmers wishing them good luck on the event and after 10 seconds the horn sounded signaling the start of the relay teams.
The plan was simple, keep your own pace and try not to be bothered by other people’s pace. Just when I was about to hit the water, I looked again on the turnaround point and became afraid again, I then said to myself “I will not fear for the Lord is with me.” This helped me a lot to remove my fear. I dove onto the waters of Lago del Rey and started swimming. Each stroke slow and steady.
The water had low visibility. I had no idea on how deep the water was or how far the next swimmer is. I looked at my stretched arm on the water, I could see up to my wrist and my hand was not visible. No markers below to tell me that I am going the right direction so I had to spot above the water to see if I was going the right way. Lucky for me that the buoy line was at the right since I’m a right breather. I passed the turn around point and continued swimming back to the starting point.
I then reached the starting point and started running to the cable park, sipping a cup of Gatorade on the way. I then heard people calling my name, I waved at some of them and when I was nearing the waters I slowed my running pace just to take a breather and jumped into the water of the cable park. Here’s where the real problem begins, the Buoy Line was on my left, visibility is up to my elbows only, the water resistance is increased and to top it all the water smells like a shoe of a runner with an athlete’s foot.
Since water resistance was high my gliding was not working as expected. I changed my kick from 1 kick-per-stroke to a 3 kicks-per-stroke, then I felt the shortness of breathe so I went back to my original kick. I just kept on swimming and swimming, every after three breathes I would sight my way on top of the water until I reach the shore.
And after 45 minutes and 32 seconds, I was up and running to the transition area to pass the timing chip to Kuya Miles.
During the swim, there are two ways to know whether I was near another swimmer. The first was when I was sighting and the second was when I saw bubbles in front of me. I was swimming on my own pace, no bubbles in front of me then suddenly BAAAMM!!! A kick hit me on my left cheek. I knew that the one who kicked me was an efficient swimmer. Amazing.
After my leg and some rest and many snacks. I took my camera and started shooting. First goal was to take a picture of Kuya Miles on the bike leg. Second, was to take a picture of Mia on the run leg. Third, to take a picture Terenzo Bozzone, last year’s champion. Lastly, was to take a picture of everyone else.
And for the third goal, just check out my photos in facebook, I may just got a picture of you. 🙂
The Papa Piolo Pascual Phenomenon (PPPP)
According to Mia, when Tessa Prieto Valdes got bored on the transition area she entertained the other runners by goofing around and sitting on Piolo Pascual’s lap.
According to Kuya Miles, many times he was mistaken as Piolo Pascual during the bike leg.
According to the Super Emcee, when Piolo Pascual was finished with the race the girls was waiting for him and he was too.
For me, I just got a photo of Piolo Pascual sprinting to the finish line.
When Mia finally finished the race she actually looked like the one who took the swimming leg. No one could blame her for that, the run leg was hot. No clouds, just pure sunshine. She took a bath every aid station though she forgot to bring soap.
We each got a Relay Finisher’s Medal, a Finisher’s shirt and a Finisher’s Towel. 🙂
Team Rumble Reggae
Special Thanks to Yonna Belmonte for accomodating us, dinner and after race snacks at their relative’s house and being such an amazing support. To Kuya Miles for driving from Manila to Camarines Sur and back.
CONGRATULATIONS to all the solo and relay Finishers!!!
To all relay teams, let’s all go solo next year. I want to be an Ironman next year, for now I’ll be happy with the title of IronFish. 🙂
P4,000 – Early Registration Relay Team per person (P12,000 per relay team)
P1,500 – My contribution to Change of Teammate (P4,900 per change of one team member)
P2,000 – Contribution for the gas and toll fees per person
P1,500 – Food and Snacks
P9,000 – TOTAL BUDGET
- Security was tight, there was an occasion that someone was going to enter through the transition area without a race bracelet and was stopped because only the people with bracelet are allowed to enter.
- They checked whether the athlete is the real athlete by checking their Government Issued IDs. I just don’t know how efficient is their checking.
- US$100 fee for changing of teammates. This is actually good, so participants would think twice when changing teammates.
- The quick and easy steps to sign the waiver, get the race packet, get and test the timing chip and get the loot bag.
- Viewing of the Contract. When I was about to change the name of our teammate, I wanted to know if the amendment would be possible. I searched at ironman703phil.com and active.com for the contract but It was nowhere to be found. Please leave a copy of the contract to be viewed after payment.
- Deadlines. When I was changing I was about to settle the change of teammate and replied the details of Mia, the secretariat replied “We regret to inform you but things are finalized already and we cannot accommodate your request anymore.” They didn’t even gave me a deadline. But all things went well since they allowed us to change our teammate. Please give deadlines.
- US Dollar to Philippine Peso Conversion. The amendment for the change of teammate was US$100. Since I did not want to be bothered by the additional fee of exchanging the US$100 to peso, I asked them if there is a way I could deposit in Peso, they gave me a Peso account but the payment would now be PhP4,900. The conversion was PhP49 to a US$1!!! The conversion did not even reach PhP46 to a US$1 in August 2010 nor did it reach PhP47 to a US$1 yet in the year 2010.
The timing chip was priced US$109 or PhP4,800, that’s PhP44.0366972 to US$1. I just could not understand why the high Philippine Peso to Dollar Conversion.
- Credit Card Number Security. There were two options to settle the payment for the Change of Teammate. One was to pay via credit card and the other was to bank transfer. At first we settled for the payment via credit card just to lessen the hassle of going to the bank, paying processing fees and keeping updated with the foreign exchange rates. And when the secretariat replied “Please also email your VISA credit card info:” E-mailing the credit card number is no-no. It’s not secured, so I opted to pay via bank transfer.
And with that I would like to extend my thanks to the organizers, the sponsors and the volunteers of the event. See you next year and I’ll be doing solo that time. 🙂
BTW, please filter the water in CWC Cable Park.