Tri United 4 Race Account: From Happy Momster to Trimomster

Friday, November 28, 2014

Now I can say it. I am a triathlete! A momma triathlete! Woohoo.

So I really toed the line, and made it all the way to the finish. AND survived all of that! Wahoo!

A little back story on race day. My little guy Thirdy started having low-grade fever the day before D day. But other than sinat, he seemed perfectly fine. The usual happy, hyper, and kulit little guy he is. You wouldn't know his temperature was a little bit off until you touch him. So off we went our merry way to Fontana in Clark, ground zero for race day.

The evening before the race, as if taking cue from my rising anxiety, his temperature rose to full-blown fever, enough to put me on Momma Alert Level 3. He started getting antsy and we had a hard time putting him to sleep and keeping him asleep. I was worried sick about him. I was up all night, half of it trying to entertain the awake little boy (boy, he wanted to play at 2 freaking a.m., was very hyper and chatty until he was crying already from exhaustion and perhaps, headache) and another half tossing and turning and constantly checking on the little guy. By 3:30 a.m., and with barely an hour of sleep (staggered), I was ready to quit the race.

But something deep inside (plus the husband's prodding) made me don the team colors. Feeling like zombie, I reluctantly pedalled off to set up my bike and run stuff at the transition area.

Good thing the electrified atmosphere at the transition and start area rubbed off on me and in no time, I felt like the girl who went there to race. It was a huge plus that my wave was star-studded: the Gameplan TV host Amanda Fernandez, Iya Villania, and Jennilyn Mercado were in my wave. Not to say I'm actually a diehard and celeb-crazed, but there's something so inspiring and calming and nakaka-pressure being around these strong, fit, gorgeous ladies who I'm guessing have a lot on their plates, too. Admirable, to say the least.

With Gameplan TV host Amanda Fernandez, also a first timer, who totally rocked the race.

Right before my wave's start. Spot the Iya Villania. Too funny! :)

The Swim Leg.

Of the three disciplines, I feared most the swim. I am a newbie swimmer, still continuing to learn, and I have not joined any race that involved swimming (unlike running and cycling). And as you may know, our tri simulation with my teammates a month ago put things in perspective -- that although I can swim a kilometer (confidently and peacefully) by my lonesome, being in the pool with a dozen other adrenaline-pumped able bodies fighting for space just petrified me. I literally forget how to swim by merely thinking about it!

Surprisingly, I had no single panic attack on the swim. On the contrary, I was surprised to have found my rhythm by the first lap. I would bump into someone now and then, but I would regain my composure the moment after. "Just keep swimming" echoed in my head as I focused on the stroke and technique I've been learning from my Aqualogic instructors for months now. 

Keep swimming, keep keep swimming, love.

Now, here's the clincher. I was so timid about my impending swim that I started at the dead last of the pack, not wanting to be "ran over" and killed (the spirit, that is) by the stronger swimmers. But as it turned out, I was the faster swimmer among the slower swimmers in the tail-ofthe-pack pack. Hah! I saw it with my own eyes, I actually overtook a few girls at every single lane. And my husband was there, cheering me on, assuring me I was doing fine, and that I was actually not as slow as I initially assessed myself. He tried talking some sense into me, that I could actually swim faster than the girls I thought would all leave me behind.

But as I was not that confident with my swim, I paused and took my sweet time resting (and ogling all the other swimmers) at the end of each lap. So, what happened was, I would let the few girls go ahead of me (while resting and ogling), then swim off, catch them after a few strokes, reach the end of the pool ahead of them. AND rest. The other girls go off to the next lane without resting. Then I'll swim off again, inadvertently catching up and getting ahead of them. Repeat. 

Completed 6 laps of the 50-meter pool (halfway through). I just had to smile and pose, like I have all the time in the world! LOL.

Not a very good gameplan, huh? Don't worry, I've learned my lesson. :) And it all sank in in retrospect. I was just too ecstatic to have completed the swim in one piece. When I got out of the pool, I knew I finished half of the race already.

The Bike Leg.

Triathlon transitions are an art that require expertise and practice.
But oh boy, I was dead wrong, dead wrong. Finishing the swim was not tantamount to finishing half the race. While I may have underestimated myself at the swim leg, I probably overestimated my capabilities for the bike leg. I've always thought, hey I was riding bicycles since I was a kid and I should be able to finish it despite minimal training. What's so hard about pedaling, right?

Not at all thrilled with the bike course. But I just had to smile. :P

Hah! 30 kilometers with loooong, seemingly endless stretches of uphills was HARD and painful, dammit. I wonder how others can go so fast (they zoomed by!) while I stay snail-paced even with my best efforts. All I wanted was to finish the bike leg so I can run and see my boys already. Painful lessons learned on the bike that morning.

The Run Leg.

The run was hot, hot, hot, hilly, and mentally challenging for having so many mini loops inside Fontana. Imagine seeing the Finish Line and breathing a sigh of relief "ah, I'm so near," only to be crushed because you have an almost-hairpin loop between where you are and the Finish line, and then another of that, plus one more, and another.

So happy to be running in the outdoors again.
Good thing I was armed with the most potent energy booster, ever -- the sight of my two teammates who drove all the way from Cavite just to cheer us, along with my husband and oh boy, my little guy Thirdy was waiting by the roadside! With a very huge smile on his face, eyes twinkling, like he had no sinat at all. He sweetly called out to Momma, and I planted a kiss on him as he grinned. I was so kilig.

Apparently, he had been waiting for me by that roadside for 20 minutes or so. "Tagal, Momma," the little boy said to his Dad. Sorry baby, Momma's was not fast enough for you! :)

The most potent energy boost, ever. Waiting for me at the run course.
The rest of the run went on quickly after that Thirdy boost. He was happy, he didn't look sick (he actually still had sinat), and he flashed me his biggest smile. It took me to the Finish Line, heart soaring and legs actually lighter.

Couldn't get happier, despite being beaten, than that. :)
Happy Momster's Takeaway.

I finished the grueling course in 2 hours 34 minutes. Nothing impressive, I placed right below the median and I was 40 plus minutes behind from the very fit and grogeous lady who was the champion in my age group (guess who? Iya Villania!).

But you know what? I don't bat an eyelash and I am past cringing whenever I say my finish time. As they say, finishing dead last is better than not finishing, which trumps not starting at all by a huge margin. Finishing the race may have been the ultimate goal, but committing, OH FINALLY COMMITTING, to wade my toes into triathlon despite an already challenged balancing act, was the highlight of my first triathlon journey.

Sweet icing on the cake, baby.
And remember in my previous post when I told you what my gameplan was? I did enjoy myself -- HEAPS -- out there! :)

I guess I'll keep doing this, after all. ;)

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