Tri Hard, Very Hard

Last Sunday was the final leg of the 2015 Tri United series. I took the bundle registration and forgot about the distances I checked. I was thinking I took all the longest distances. So when October was in the horizon, I panicked as I was thinking i’ll be doing 70.3 in TU3. Hence I found no excuse not to train.

I used to allow myself two lazy days but since I was doing 70.3, I can’t not train. I asked myself – “Am I ready to do this?” then it is followed by thoughts of sending am email to the organizer asking to downgrade to a shorter distance. I checked the start list and was pleasantly surprised that I am not in the 70.3 start list! So I am doing the Triking distance.

As a result of the panic induced training, I lost around 7lbs and I felt more confident to race.

TU3Transition 1

Race day came and there I was in the starting line. I was familiar with the swim course as I already did that course twice this year. I know that I need to put on some protection for the stings from water organisms so I put a generous amount of sunblock with jellyfish protection. I felt good during the swim and in a short time I was already in the transition with a good number of bikes still there.

I’ve read and heard about the bike route and how difficult it is but I felt confident that I could do it. I was wrong. It was a very difficult route. It felt like a telenovela where the lead character gets to cry buckets. There were a few happy downhill times but it was so few you forget them when you start the uphill climb again. “Kuya, hindi ka naka cleats?! Lakas nyo. Paano pa kung naka cleats kayo eh di kanina pa kayo tapos,” someone told me as we were in one of those uphills. Good thing there was sufficient hydration so I managed to stay cool during the hot race.

Was tree planting not an in thing in Porac? Those were my initial thoughts when I reached the U turn of the run route. There were no trees and the sun was having a grand time making its presence felt. It was a kilometre and some more going down hill and of course half of it was going up. My only motivation at that point was to finish the race so that I could take shelter from the sun. I finished after 4 hours, 14 minutes, and 51 seconds. I was the 7th person in my age group to cross the finish line!


Some lessons learnt from TU3:

  • Confidence helps a lot. I am already familiar with the swim course as it was the same course as NAGT and TU1 and it gave me that “been here before” attitude that made me swim more confidently and finish my swim faster. This highlights the importance of doing open water swims and doing them in the actual course as it makes you more confident. Same is true with the bike route. I would have been more prepared physically and psychologically if I have had some first hand experience.
  • Based on that comment I got on the bike route, maybe I should start wearing cleats. I already have one and it is collecting dust under my couch. Time to use them I guess.
  • Weight matters. If I had a lighter bike, I think I would have finished faster but, if I was 10lbs lighter, I would have finished a lot faster as well. Hence I need to go back to eating camote. Lighter = faster = great photos!
  • We need more trees! Yes we need to have trees in that run route. It would have been easier if the run route had trees that provide shade to those running. The heat slowed us all down hence we need to go back to Porac and plant trees in that route!

About Kit Atienza

A researcher/runner/triathlete/cancer survivor who found himself in the world of development work. He enjoys, reflects, and rants about things while doing his job, improving his personal record in running distances, and training for the IronMan in 2016.
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