I was feeling a bit off early on during race week, and was anxious about traveling and getting sick right in time for the race. Being based in Subic is great, but the downside is I have to drive to Manila (anywhere from 2-4 hours) for meetings, sponsor events, and flying through Manila airport. I knew the smart thing to do would have been to postpone the dinner and early morning meeting I had scheduled before my flight, so that I could get more rest. But stubborn me kept the appointments, and by the time I landed in Bangkok I was feeling really sick. I finally listened to my body and just rested as much as I could in the hotel before the race. I didn't have a fever on race day, but it was definitely a struggle.
All in all, it was not as bad as it could have been, and I enjoyed my time in Pattaya and catching up with my triathlete friends. I was aiming to get a podium spot, but just came up short on the day and finished fourth.
Lesson (that I should have) learned (a long, long, time ago): Don't underestimate the power of Manila traffic and stress in f***ing you up. Listen to your body, get enough sleep the night before your flight, and hydrate!
I had my first DNF in a triathlon because of some bike mechanical trouble. I actually cried about it for a minute, took a selfie in tears, laughed, sent the selfie to my friends, and went on texting them about my shit day. It was my first time in Korea, and I was very excited to finish in a quicker time, given the perfect weather conditions on a beautiful course. It was really disappointing and frustrating not being able to finish. Anyways, big thank you's to my friends who were so human about listening to my drama that day!
And despite being super unlucky on race day, I actually felt quite lucky having a good group of athletes to hang with on the 4-hour drive back plus the 6-hour wait at Incheon airport. Hellos to the Naude bros from South Africa, and Mitch Kibby and Katy Duffstar from Aus! I learned quite a bit from you guys in our little cultural exchange. :) Thanks for not making me want to shoot myself in that 10-hour wait.
Lessons learned: Shit happens. Life goes on. When in Korea, stop and smell the kimchi and make new friends. Air BnB is awesome. Also, Incheon airport is great for layovers. They've got good shower and massage/spa facilities, and day beds/ reclining chairs for passengers to have a rest.
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It's always nerve-wracking to line up against some of the toughest chicks in the sport. Bintan played to my strengths with the calm swim, rolling hills on the bike, and hot run. The lead girls were quite a bit ahead, and it was not my fastest race, but I was happy to overtake a couple girls on the bike, and hold off another on the run.
Lesson learned: There will always be moments in training and racing where you are not where you want to be, and you just want to quit and be done with it. Don't quit! You will be stronger and better for it.
It was great to come back and defend my title from last year. Maria Hodges made me work extra hard this time around, which made the win sweeter (or spicier???). I love Bicolanos and Bicolano food and Bicol sights!!! Big thank you's to Joe Matias, Missy Hilario, and everybody that took care of us on and off the course!
Lesson learned: Mt. Mayon, Legazpi City, the Philippines, is absolutely beautiful!!! Any chance you can get to travel round these parts, you should definitely take. Mt. Mayon Tri is a must race. Click here for more info.
It's always an exciting experience racing the Ironman 70.3 in Cebu. It's a world-class event that is proudly Filipino. Aside from the thousands of spectators all along the whole course, and the 5-star facilities of the host hotel, and the massive expo and crazy pre and post race activities, there's also just a unique energy to this event! I clocked my best time for this course this year, and was very happy to see my friend LC back in the game and snagging the final podium spot for the Filipina Elite.
Lesson learned: Real friends train hard with you and race hard against you, then day-time-wine-buffet-drink with you, and take pics and videos of drunk you.
The hottest race of the year gave out one of the coolest rewards! Thanks to the Challenge team, Camsur local government, and the Villafuerte family, pro athletes and friends were able to spend two days in Caramoan islands! I've probably set a record for saying "wow" the most number of times overnight. I will never forget the beauty of the islands and the indescribable starry night sky.
Lesson learned: I am not the same having seen the stars on this side of the world.
Now as an official Subic rez, the Regent 5150 has become my favorite home race. It's always great to have the support of family, friends, and local community at events. And this year, the bike route actually passed in front of our house! Talk about a home court advantage. ;) It's very, very cool to see old and new friends from the Philippines and abroad come together in my own backyard for a race.
Lesson learned: Above and beyond all the travel, experiences, and medals that triathlon has given me, the biggest reward is still the friendships I've made through the sport.