Wednesday, September 5, 2012

To TRI or not to TRI

Do you love running? Is it your first love (depends on who you are considering). Is running the exercise that shed of those pounds in the beginning? Is running the exercise that made you get up early in the mornings, that made you go further and further because you felt a change, that made you go faster as you started to reach pb's? That was the case for me about 6 years ago.

I started running to loose weight in England. I moved to the Philippines and continued running, seeing a difference in the way I look, I got compliments on how much weight I lost but the most important, I felt fit and never felt this in the last 15 years. I started running further and further and longer distances. It was a way of breaking away from the world, just that 10 minutes (in the beginning) or 2 hours time out and all by myself. It was such a great experiences. I must admit it was much harder in the beginning and I had my mornings of skipping and sleeping in, but overall it was a great experience.

I came to the Philippines in 2005 January and joined Golds Gym in Greenhills or San Juan. I got to know the manager there as he was also a running coach at the polo club (forgot his name so if someone know please let me know:). He told me there are a few races at UP. I heard the name Rio and decided to go there one Sunday morning as I heard there would be a race. I was amazed with how little people joined the race and that was the case for most races then, mainly organised by Rio de la Cruz. I met him that first Sunday, just for a couple of minutes as he did everything, from organising, gun start, set up, cleaning and even marshall. Nevertheless, he seemed like a great guy that knows something about running...

Months followed and I joined most races available which were only a few then. I got to know Rio better and noticed he knows more about running than what I thought. The races grew bigger and bigger, from being the only foreigner for the first couple of races to seeing more white faces. It started also at MOA and the Fort. More organisers became involved but Rio still stood out amongst them.

I came to a place in my ministry where I had to leave running for a while. We moved the Palawan and got cut of from the running community. I remember one Dec as I was in Manila, friends of mine, Levy and Jay Nacino asked me to join the Condura 21km, that was before there were a 42km marathon. I agreed to do it but I soon realised it was not a wise decision as I walked most of the way. On my return to Palawan I started picking up the sport that I loved so much over last few years and soon realised again why I loved it. It was again a slow process to get fit but eventualy was able to run the Hong Kong marathon as well as the Palawan milo 21km.

Before we moved to Palawan I was challenged to do a triathlon. I was told it is not that hard. I should only do a sprint race. "What does that involve": was my next question. I was told only and I say again ONLY 700m swim, 30km bike and 7km run.... Well 30km bike, I can ride a bike, 7km run, no problem as I was fit then but a 700m swim? Being the stubborn person that I am, I quickly tried to downsize the swim leg. I told myself things like, I can swim, how far can 700m be? If I get tired I will just roll on my back until I have my breath back and then continue swimming, I go on holiday and always swim, sure I can do 700m. If only I knew.

You guessed it, I signed up. My dear friend Levy met me the morning of the race and together we drove to Alabang. He took me through the steps at transition and how to pack my gear. We had race briefing and we went to the pool. It was a 50m pool. I waited for the gun start and off I went. I allowed for everyone to go first before I started. After not even 25m I was tired. I did not know what to do. I still had 675m to go. How could this be so difficult? I started doing back strokes and not even the proper stroke. It seemed like I was on holiday. Each time I got to the other side of the pool I rested for at least 5 minutes. I eventually finished the swim dead last. To make things worse, I was the only foreigner. I managed to finish the bike and run leg after that.

The first thing I was going to do in order to continue with triathlon (yeah the triathlon bug bit me even though I could not swim) was to go for proper swim training. Jaymie told me about this swim program called total immersion. Their website is I signed up and did 8 lessons in Manila. They taught me the technique and what I did wrong. I was amazed. After just four lessons could I swim for at least 400m. It is all about technique. Instead of fighting the water you use the water to glide forward.

Today I have done at least 4 triathlons in Manila, 1 70.3 in Cebu, one 70.3 in South Africa and an olympic distance in Subic. I definitely enjoy swimming now, even though it is not my favourite part of the triathlon, it is still great to swim, feel great and enjoy it!!! And did I mention finish the swim still feeling strong.

If you are one of those that want to tri but scared of the swim, check out aqualogicswimco and get some training to just learn the technique and you will not regret it.

As I always ended my posts, keep on running, for today, keep on swimming!!!

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