Finally! After spending most of last week after the preparing for our shop opening on Saturday then racing in Subic on Sunday (more on that in a following post), plus my regular work and MBA studies, this is a only free time I find to myself to buckle down and write this post!
Along with all of the other athletes, the White Rock Triathlon for me the night before. That's when we arrived at the venue for the race briefing, last minute bike checks and check in, plus of course, preparing all the stuff the goes into a transition bag for a half-ironman.
Race morning seemed to take forever to come, as Hector and I both agreed that our excitement could not allow us to get a fitful sleep and we tossed and turned all night!
After a early breakfast, Hec and I filled up the water bottles on our bikes and preparing to wait for the start.
Chatting near the back, we were caught unaware during the start and became one of the last people to enter the water.
However, I think this worked in our favor as we managed to avoid most of the "washing machine" effect at the start and I quickly got a rhythm at the start.
On the second of the three 320 meter loops I found myself in the middle of a swim pack and with no where to go or maneuver I just settled in to swim with them until the finish.
Getting out of the water 32 minutes later, I thought I had posted a very good time only to see to my dismay that most of the pack, including my nemesis Hector got out of the water ahead of me. Later I would discover that due to some late night technical difficulties the swim leg was around 4 to 500 meters short!
In transition, I realized that I made my 1st rookie error and that I had forgotten to start my Timex! Oh well. Can't do anything but go on! I took my second GU of the race, hydrated with some Gatorade, then wore my helmet and shoes and started on what would be one of the longest bike rides of my life.
I knew this would be the weak point of my race, as the recent disasters which befell the country and the rehabilitation efforts I participated in seriously affected my much needed saddle time and I reckoned I was under-whelmingly prepared!
A few minutes into the ride, I realized something was wrong when my cyclometer wouldn't work! In what seemed to be a race long mantra, I thought to myself; "Oh well, just go on!" Later I found out that my magnet had moved on the drive over to White Rock and I failed to check it the night before!
The lack of kind of pace information meant I decided to just go on gut feel and started of quite quick! In the matter of a few kilometers I managed to sight the running man on the back of Hector's trisuit and decided to pour on the gas to catch up with him.
In what would be an 1 and a half long battle, I passed him, only for him to pass me back a couple of k's later when I slowed to take some GU. This would go on all the way to the 45k turn around and I started to realize that I didn't bring enough GU, only strapping three on to the bike when I needed to take at least twice that to maintain any kind of decent pace as I was gulping and burning the GU as fast as I could eat them!
After the turn around, I slowed down for good and Hec zoomed off into the distance. I settled in to make the best of what I can do. Reserving my last GU for the time on the return leg when I felt I would really need it, relying instead on the peanut MnMs I thoughtfully stuffed into my trisuit.
After what seemed like an eternity.... 3 hours and 9 minutes to be exact. I found myself back into transition. Where I must have looked like a desert refugee, because the race director worriedly asked if I was ok!
After some salt solution and banana though, I was as fine as I would ever be coming from a 2k swim and 90k bike, so I set of in the chase of the Secondwind bragging rights.
I have to admit, the 1st couple of kms were disheartening, as the 1st people I saw were the lead pack on the way back!
I must be so far behind I thought to myself! In fact, I didn't see or pass a fellow competitor until I got into SBMA, a good4 or 5kms into the 20km run!
My bike really did me in!
And then I saw Hector, on the way back and I still had a long way to go until the turn around! It was then when I conceded this particular race to him and refocused myself on just beating 6 hours!
It was a hot and brutal run! I stopped on every aid station for water, ice, and sponges! Fortunately, these conditions affected everyone and I managed to pass quite a few struggling runners on the way back!
With less than 5 k to go and right after the killer hills, my right calf started to twitch and I thought "oh no! this is it!"
I was gonna be a close finish to sub-6 hour finish and this maybe my undoing! But with no choice but to bear it, I just ran the best I could on the longest, flat 4k of my life.
I tell you, I was never as happy to see a Total station as I was to see that one right outside White Rock, it must have given me some extra energy, as I managed to summon up some of my last, last, bottom of the barrel reserves and I tried to sprint my way to a 5 hour 55 minute finish!
Sub 6 accomplished! Unbelievable! Much harder than my 30 hour 100km trail race last year! Though unfortunately, while it was good enough for 4th in my age group... it wasn't good enough to beat THE Hector! Bring on next year!
I tell you, I have so much respect to all the finishers of this race. I had never done a half before and I really didn't realize how hard and how long it would be!
Here are the finishes of my friends Hec and TJ, as captured by the number 1 ranked support crew/race team photographer Mike Bob!