The Hesitant Runner
I had been lured many times but I was simply hesitant. Hesitant due to various reasons like expenses in joining such triathlon events known for being “a rich man’s sport”, like having no team to go with and support me, and some other factors that aren’t even factors to begin with. In short, I was just “praning”.
Fate would have it anyway she wants it. And by her stroke, I found myself joining a triathlon race albeit in relay capacity doing the bike leg. I was registered which by the way is cheaper than most ultra races and had a team in the person of Ryan, our swimmer, and Becky Runner, our runner naturally. Fellow WGR co-members Margaux, Teejay and Khate made everything happen for me. All I have to do was just to say “yes”, and to pay, of course! Hahaha….
Team IBM/AMS And Team Umali
The transport of my bike (and myself) was even taken cared of Margaux fetching it before the race and delivering it to me right after that I did not even have to lift a finger! Since I commuted from Manila, Wella (who is fond of “check-ing” every details), Jenny and the cutesy pair whom I had the impression was for “your eyes only” so I will not name them (echoz, I’m so bad with names so sorry guys), were thoughtful enough to pass by me at SM Clark after some “marketing”.
Margie and her support team composed of office mates from previous (IBM)and present (AMS)companies she works in did all the planning and organizing of this activity in such an efficient way like they were professionals at it! Well why not do event coordinating in the side for added income then Team Margaux huh?
Team Umali, that’s Margaux’s active and ever supportive family composed of two younger brothers Kevin and Jason who are avid mtbikers like her (they three did the bike leg with me) and cool mom and dad. They were the very core of this activity. Even my 40K Alaska Cycle participation/training was made possible through them! “Paadopt na lang kaya ako noh?” I came to know later that all three of them were born 6 years apart. Family planning kung family planning ang peg. That means I am out of the equation. Hahaha… “Ipagpilitan ba?”
The Triman Race And The Swim Leg
Designed for newbies, Triman covers 900 meters of swim, 30K of bike and 5K of run leg around the Fontana Leisure Park, Clark, Pampanga area. As part of the Team Try Lang which by the way there were 4 (as in 4 teams!), I was assigned to do the bike leg together with Team Umali.
The swim leg started at 6 am with the women’s and relay leg leading the rest of the male age groupers. Our participants, Ryan, Eljay and the only “real” rose Eva Ann were IBM co-officemates of Margaux. Jerard is a present co-worker at AMS.
First to cover this 6 laps across the width of this 50 meter Fontana pool done 3 times was Eljay followed by Jerard. Despite this showing, Eljay was a bit disappointed with his overall time. Well there will always be the next time to redeem yourself Eljay. Next came Eva Ann followed by Ryan. I came to know later that Ryan was just a newbie in swimming. I thought he was a regular based on his buff body (that Christian can’t help but swoon over). It won’t be a surprise if he’ll blaze the lanes next year!
My Part Of The Game – The Bike Leg
All 3 bikers had already left. When Ryan finished his swim leg, I was more than willing to remove the timing band from his leg and transfer to mine. After making sure that my helmet was properly secured, I ran my bike to the mounting area and off I went to do the first of my 3 loops around the Fontana perimeter.
What a relief! I found myself flying as soon as I reached the main road. It was all downhill (or so I thought). Blazing this side of the route, I found my speedometer indicating 45kph! But as anything too good to be true goes, it was short-lived. Right smack mid route I found myself shifting in succession to easier gears trying to remedy a slowly but steadily building tension in my legs. Oh my oh my! Hope I can make just one loop! I prayed as I gritted my teeth and tried to sustain a decent speed above 20 kph. Or I’ll be damned!
Without proper mileage going into this task, I was aiming to finish at least somewhere around 1:10. But my runner, Becky, who is a competitive one himself, would not settle for anything less than sub1! I would not like to disappoint not only him but my team in general. So I hammered on. “Takot akong panlisikan ng mata ni Becky!” And despite not being able to buy my pre race nutrition and sports drink and had to settle for a piece of banana given to me by Teejay, I managed to stay atop my bike and not faint.
I finished sub1 (or not as later race result showed by bike split to be 1:10 though I felt fast so let it be)! Thanks to the downhill part of the route. Even Becky and the rest of the Team Try Lang including our efficient and magnanimous supporters were not expecting me to finish too soon! Aside from the inclined half that I kind of struggled maintaining a decent pace, the sudden shower that fell as I was on my second loop posed some difficulty as well. A wet road is always accident prone for road bikes equipped with the thinnest of wheels. This, unfortunately, I learned the hard way – twice!
Recovering in a snap from disbelief that I managed a decent time, Becky immediately removed the timing chip in my ankles and transferred it to his. Then off he went dashing too eager to finish the 5K distance that went around the pool area and back to the transition station.
All the while I thought it should be 3 loops just like the swim and bike leg only to be informed by the marshal to make just 2. However since Becky was wearing his gps watch and making 2 loops registered only slightly some few meters past 3K, he decided to make another one. At least we did not short charged ourselves and what we paid for. (Checking the result much later, I believe 2 loops was just short given the percentile of sub25 finishers, mho.)
As soon as I saw him making some dash for the finish line, I tried to join him in some few meters of victorious running towards the tape. Ryan was contented by waiting at the side line. Our threesome then went to claim our well deserved finisher shirts and medals, not to forget the free meal too!
Meanwhile, the three runners, Khate, Teejay and Sean Patrick, went off in consecutive succession as Team Umali arrived one after the other. They were all natural at running so the distance was just a walk in the park. There was only one instance when Teejay almost missed the correct lane to take. However, with hands securing his imaginary crown, a timely “kembot” to the left and he’s on the right way once again.
After all four teams had finished, we scoured the activity area for some photo ops that will immortalize this precious first for all of us members and supporters of Team Try Lang.
Then Off We Went Home
We checked out at 1 PM and it was direct for home for Becky, Teejay and Me. The experience was encouraging that we promised to be back for more! This time around as solo participants which will baptize us as TRIATHLETES. Well on my part, though I had dreams of becoming one, did not really pursue aggressively such aspiration. But sometimes Fate works in ways we did not expect her to. And voila here I am amidst triathlon realm! Am I the kind who will scamper in fear at the challenge? I guess not. So PUSH!!! Tri United 3 anyone?