Fly!

12985544_469838073210563_1550771287244590085_nI came to win, to fight, to conquer, to thrive
I came to win, to survive, to prosper, to rise
To fly
To fly – Nicki Minaj

I heard that song earlier while I was doing my morning run. I didn’t really understand what the other bits of the song was saying but the chorus was what really caught my attention. It has been an LSS for a while now as it somehow reminds me of our trip to Cebu next week. To win, to fight, to conquer, to thrive, to survive, to prosper, to rise, to fly.

To FLY!

It some how sums up why we’re going to Cebu. For us first timers, we’re there to conquer that 70.3 distance and prove to ourselves that yes we can. Some of us are going there to survive that distance again, to be reminded that yes you can do it again. For some of us, it is to thrive, to finish something that was not finished in 2015. For some, the goal is to prosper – to do better than last year’s performance. To beat that personal best set last year.

As a team, we worked on this together. We have pushed each other, reminded each other to continue training. We recommended upgrades to each other. We have competed with one another and more importantly, we have supported each other in order to do this.

I can still remember that 1st day of October when all of us were on line waiting for the registration to open. It was a mad race to get in. For me it was a happy $300 spent. Then we started planning our life around our training. There was not a week that I did not see at least three of you or a day when I don’t get a message on Viber from you. Weekends won’t be complete without a team activity.

Though I know that we won’t stop here, this trip to Cebu is an important milestone for us. This when we proudly wear our team colors and make our coach proud. This is when we show everyone that Marquez training that made us stronger athletes. This is when we show them how hard we worked for this. This is when we make them understand why we wake up so early every day. This is the time we will reap the hard work we put into this sport.

Team Marquez will be in Cebu for the Iron Man 70.3 Asia Pacific finals to represent. To FLY! Go for it team, see you at the finish line!

 

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Orange

Orange is the color of Team Marquez. We used to wear this black tri suit and for some reason, it changed to orange. But this is not about the color. This is about how happy I was to see a lot of people wearing the same shirt I was wearing on the race route last Sunday.

Pinoy Fitness Sub1 challenge happened last Sunday. Months back, someone from the team suggested that we join the race as a team run. We also agreed that the race will be a 10K time trial for the team. We all agreed and came up with a plan.

The plan was for those who are sure to finish in an hour to be in the 1st wave then those who are not so confident about doing a Sub1 to join the last wave. Faster runners were also asked to go back to the race route once they finished and pace those in the 3rd wave.

We had that at the back of our minds and we continued our training. We are a triathlon team so we swim we bike and we run during training. I think the only group training dedicated to running happens Wednesdays when we do our speed drills in the Mall of Asia.

So we registered (some didn’t some had a last minute registration) and then there we were on race day wearing our orange shirts. Coach instructed us to be in the venue 4:30 as he wanted us to do warm-up before the race. I came late hence I missed the warm-up so I just ran around the block and proceeded to the finish line.

Julie, Elaine, and Bob were standing near me at the starting line. The ladies were starting to doubt themselves. One was saying she’ll do her best while the other was saying she can’t do it. Then it was the start of the race.

I tried my best to push myself while observing my right knee as I had some issues with my knees hence I had it taped. I didn’t feel any pain so I continued running trying to increase my pace. On the lead pack was Coach Romy who was in 4th place when I saw him.

After the U-turn, my team mates. I saw Elaine and Bob then Julie. Then came McCoy, Lloyd, Edna, Wad, Franco, Fiel, Alprince, Raffy and Lear who were in wave 2. I saw Karen who came to support the team 2 kilometres away from the finish line. It felt great to see them pushing themselves wearing the same shirt I was wearing. Makes me proud of my team.

On the last stretch of the race route, I tried to increase my pace. I remember coach telling me to run faster at the final stretch so I did. I finished at around 50 minutes seeing Coach Romy and Flor cheering at the finish line. It was not my best time for a 10K but it was a great finish nonetheless.

After crossing the finish line I got my hydration and my medal and started walking back the race route. I caught a glimpse of Julie who finished Sub1. I saw Karen again and asked about Elaine. She told me that she saw her being pushed by Bob and that they finished before Julie. Went back to the route looking for the last runner wearing the team shirt and ran with him to the finish line.

It was a great race. Most of us finished within the Sub1 target. I am sure that those who didn’t make it broke their personal bests. Coach won 1st place in his wave. Everyone was happy with their finish times and agreed that the Wednesday speed drills helped. So happy and proud of my team!

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Hangover Notes

We had one great party guys! I still have a hangover and it is already Monday!

Amazing job Dianne, Karen, Flor, Bong, Elaine, and McCoy! Thank you Raffy for hosting us and for providing us with wines from Central Asia. We were able to try 14 of them wines that are not yet available in the market. Alprince and Kris, the games brought out the competitive in us. Everyone worked hard for the party to be successful. Salamat sa mga nagdala ng food at mga inumin (parang may mga bote pa yatang hindi nabuksan).  Thank you everyone!

What a great way to celebrate our achievements and to renew friendships! It was great seeing people meeting new members for the first time and seeing members we haven’t seen for a while. I can no longer recall what exactly happened but I recall singing The Dawn’s Salamat and the song’s lyrics aptly describes our ties.

Kay tamis ng ating samahan sa lungkot at kaligayahan. Tunay kong kaibigan, kasamang maaasahan. Salamat at tayo’y may pinagsamahan. Salamat, tunay kong kaibigan.

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I don’t know who choose that song but it was really spot on.

So it is now the Holiday season. A lot of parties happening this week and next so let us all enjoy the season. But guys don’t forget your goals ok. Remember, training doesn’t stop. The more you indulge, the more you need to work overtime come new year. Please don’t forget to let me know your availability for our meeting next year and kindly get in touch with Elaine if you still need to pay.

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El oh beh eh!

Kit

Salamat Lloyd sa mga larawan.

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Off Season?

Today is the second day of December. Parties start to fill my calendar. It starts this weekend for me. Most people I know are talking about being off season from training on social media. It made me think – am I having a training break this holiday season?

My training log does not say so. My coach is also saying that we’re not having a break. We need to burn more as we are eating more this season – he reminded us on one of our Wednesday speed sessions.

Speaking of speed sessions, I had another speed session in the University of Makati Track Oval last Saturday evening. I was one of the lucky ones to try the new Nike Air Zoom Structure 19.

11216829_10153821110063487_5240716601211283145_nAs the brief says the Nike Air Zoom Structure 19 is a stability shoe loaded with dynamic support and Nike’s zoom air technology to help athletes speed through their lined-up races. This version of the shoe has thicker Flywire cables in the midfoot for enhanced lockdown, as well as additional yarn in the Flymesh upper for greater structural support without limiting breathability. “Comfortable support meets increased stability with the triple-density Dynamic Support system that supports the foot as it transitions through foot strike, providing stability when it is needed. The Zoom Structure 19 delivers increased stability with highly responsive cushioning with the Nike Zoom Air forefoot unit for a quick, crisp toe-off.”

That was a really technical description of a pair of shoes. This just show how much Nike studies the little details here and there in order to come up with a shoe that responds to the needs of an athlete to help them become faster and more comfortable. The level of detail was evident on the finished product.

The shoe was comfortable. The moment I wore it, I immediately felt the sock like hug of the Flymesh upper material. It hugs the forefoot without being restrictive more like a comfortable hug. The arch support was also really evident when I wore them. You will feel it right away.

It was a good workout companion doing speed drills around the oval. I did not feel any discomfort running with it considering that I am using the shoe for the first time. It feels like I’ve already worn them before. This shoe should be in your Christmas wish list! I am adding them in my list!

So is it off season? I don’t think so. It is a season to train harder and start the new year stronger, faster!

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Captain’s Love Note

Hi Team!

Congratulations Karen, Dianne, March, Lloyd, Emer and Loyce for finishing strong in TU4! Congratulations too Bob, Jave, Leo, Franco, Henry, and RJ for a strong performance in the Power Man the other week.

I woke up this morning with Lear’s voice chanting El-Oh-Beh-Eh Team Marquez repeating in my head. I still have a high from the weekend I guess and it is a good chant I must admit. If we have to put a line below the team’s name, it has to be L-O-V-E!

I saw LOVE this weekend when the support crew brought with them bike tools because they knew some of the newbies don’t have them. With how people checked the whereabouts of those who are still on their way. When we made sure that cab driver did not make a wrong move. With how we supported each other. When Bong and Lloyd saw Loyce’s bike and started talking about quick fixes to make his ride better (and he’s not even part of the team). When people started screaming and running after Dianne during the swim leg. When coach arrived during the event.

I still have a high from the weekend and it is already Tuesday! That high was reinforced when Robert (my trainer) while I was doing push ups and lifting weights asked about the team and asked if he could join as support in one of our future events. He volunteered to stretch those participating because he said he wanted to watch. I think we’ve made a good impression on someone (Loyce) and that impression was shared with others.

Every time we compete, we always look back and check where we failed and how we can still improve. This is true for both those competing and the support crew. As we are all working to be better athletes and support crews, it is always good to look back at our experience and ask questions like – what worked and what didn’t and look for ways to improve.

From what I gathered both from the Power Man and TU4, we need to really include tire changing as part of our training. I personally haven’t done that. I know the steps and had some hands-on but doing it and doing it fast, is a big question mark for me. Most of the TU4 participants being newbies lack the skill as well and like me chose to cross their fingers and pray that no flat tire happens. Given Bob’s power man experience we need to really do this as part of the training. I think this is more of a note to self here. 🙂

The men (Lloyd excluded) need more swim training. Good job ladies the Tuesday and Thursday evening swims really made a difference. As I wrote in my previous entry, I observed people taking their goggles off then putting them on and start swimming again. This has implications in terms of fit and also about getting used to wearing goggles and not getting the urge to take it off every time you stop in the water. I have to admit I used to do this myself but it time and maybe because open water swims do not allow you to do it, I got used to keeping my goggles on.

Another observation was on familiarizing with the route. Dianne almost gave me a heart attack when she started running to another direction. I know swimming in a pool can disorient you but it is always good to familiarize yourself with the race course.

Switching to beast mode during competition is also one thing we need to do. I noted people chatting having introductions during swim to bike transition. Transition time is part of the race time so the friendly face should be swept aside when you start the competition. Put it back when you cross the finish line.

This is already very long. I have to stop. Just a quick reminder, we have 3 months to prepare for TU1!

Love, love, love.

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Triathlon CI

MUDA  (無駄 ?) is a Japanese word meaning “futility; uselessness; idleness; superfluity; waste; wastage; wastefulness”, and is a key concept in the Toyota Production System (TPS) as one of the three types of deviation from optimal allocation of resources (muda, mura, muri). (From Wikipedia)

I was in Cebu a few weeks ago to observe the Continuous Improvement (CI) program training for Visayas. I was only able to attend the last two days of the 5-day training but I learned a lot from sitting at the back of the room, watching school administrators make paper planes, launching them, recording the results, redesign the paper planes and re-thinking their strategies and trying them out.

Muda is one of the new words I learned in that training. It is one of the filters in looking at your performance and really looking at the why why why of things (root cause). As school administrators discussed how they will be applying what they learned, I was also looking at how I will use my takeaways from the training in my triathlon team as I am the Team Captain of my team, Team Marquez.

My takeaways that week was (1) record data and (2) ask why again and again and again – looking at the root cause of things. I realised that I did not have the data of the team on a record. Everybody knows their numbers but as a team we need to put it somewhere so that we could refer back to it and support each other in improving the numbers. We need a baseline for a 2K swim, 40K bike and 10K run. It would be good to go back to the numbers and see if there are improvements. We also need to get the team’s weight as a good number of people in the team need to lose weight.

Another takeaway is asking why again and again. Post race, after the celebrations, we would talk about what went wrong during the race and talk about how we can train better and how the support group can also do a better job – accommodation, transport arrangements, dinner, etc.

imageLast Sunday, while cheering for Team Marquez newbies (my actual paper planes), I saw some Mudas during the swim. People taking their goggles off everytime they stop swimming for example. They take them off, put it back again then start swimming again. Imagine how much time that will waste and imagine how fast you finish if you only put on your goggles once. I do this as well but when I found the right goggles that fit really well, this was minimized or even eliminated. Another Muda I observed was people chatting during transition. It is good to be friendly but not during the race. People should be mindful of the time as it will be part of your results. Chat after the race or before the race but not during the race.

imageAgain, applying the my CI takeaways, Team Marquez need to have a record of baselines for weight, swim, bike and run times. I think we need to have time trials in January then do them again every two or three months. Also, we need to have some key questions to ask for the support team and the athletes for events. I need to remind the team to be friendly before or after the race and mindful of the transition times. Another thing is we need to check the equipment we have (i.e. Goggles) so that we can perform better next time.

 

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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!

Results

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!
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