Hey readers – well not sure how to start this blog – usually it comes to me easy but this one not so much…Here goes:
I was very excited to compete in this race, I liked the point-to-point dynamics of the course, training had been going well, I knew the race course very well, I had made sure the trip for my squad was organized ahead of time and the weather gods where on my side; in short, I felt like I had my ‘ducks’ lined up.
During the race weekend, I could not help but feel envious of the other athletes I saw around the venue, they seemed so happy and excited, versus me who was on the edge and stressed. Racing as a pro athlete against other top pro athletes all the while leading a group of ‘scholars’ or elite development athletes during a race weekend at your sponsor’s event is a tough task.
I do my best to be a BIG PICTURE kind of guy, I have to, I am a coach. Race weekends, turn into a detail-fest: equipment, food, schedules, clothing, budget, pictures, final workouts, rest and importantly: PERFORMANCE! I feel their highs, I feel their low’s and any problem I must fix.
I understand this challenge.
I accepted this challenge.
I understand this challenge is very rewarding.
Most of my career as a junior triathlete before I joined teamtbb where spent battling ‘side stiches’ on the run leg. Seldom did they ever appear in training, I could start to feel them near the end of the bike, only worsen on the run, making me incapable of lifting the intensity on the run as well to maintain a tall/upward posture. I was always puzzled on why they happened in races and never in training. I did research, asked questions and tried many things – avoided others.
I mean, these would feel like I had been stabbed in my abdomen, my lungs pushing against my diaphragm and often, in the races where I would gut myself through there, I could feel a sore spot for a few days after a race…
In the end, it really came down to controlling my breathing @ the end of the bike and start of the run. Racing longer distances or non drafting short/course races at lower and more even intensity lessened their likely-hood as well to severity, which has helped me become a more successful triathlete than before. Put still, in training I can get the intensity very high without this problem.
RACE DAY MORNING I felt good physically during my warm up but had a few things on my mind…I looked to block them out and be selfish for a couple 2 hours. Once the race started, I got on the back of the front and just cruised it. After about 500m I felt the pace slow down with a bit of swerving sideways so I casually made my way to the front and got into a sustainable rythym.
I tighten the screws gradually in the final 300m and secured the 300$ Alaska Milk Swim prime =)
A quick T1, jump on my bike and charged down a road where I had done some of the my hardest bike workouts from 2008 to 2011. After some ridding with my swimming mates for a few km’s, I found myself in no-mans-land where I could not see anybody in front nor behind me.
This is where my mind started to swerve away from the present – I figure my expectations where that I’d be ridding with the lead group until T2 like last year – the reality of this year was, the top pro’s would come into T2 all spread out.
I rode the course the best I could, remained dynamic over the modulating terrain; on the final and steepest uphill of the bike course, I developed 2 side-stiches (1 on each side) near the top as I ‘danced’ out of the saddle and gasped for air! There was a short flat, then twisty down hill, flat again towards transition where I did a final push in my aero-position I where could feel some tightness in my abdomen gradually increasing…
Once on the run, I was happy to see the 3rd placer just up the road, I took in deep breath and focused on a short/fast stride with relaxed arms. Within a few minutes I had serious abdominal pain, I push through them until the aid station up the road, I walked, sipped on water, took in some deep breaths again and then build back into a solid pace.
Now I was on the ‘golf course road’, somewhere I had ran up and down many times, not far from my old home on Lanzones st! The pain came back, more intensity where the impact of the road felt like was like being punched left and right in my torso…Not to long after this I got passed by 4 athletes within a 1 minute…
This is where I basically mentally ‘checked out’ and simply jogged to the finish line…I felt exhausted mentally and simply did not want to fight against myself no more…I got passed a few more times and did a FLYING POSE DOWN at the line for the competition for the box of Shotz gels because my girl friend likes them a lot!
All in all I’m simply disappointed with myself – I eased off the gas when I should have punched it. I allowed non-tangible things to distract my focus and I let my abdominal pain get the better of me, once again.
On the bright side, my athletes did quite well – Jenny won the Filipina Elite with a nice pay check all the while balancing a full time job with the Lozada Swim School, a family and being hesitant to join the team last October!
Banjo, who’s been living with me for almost 3 months now, was the youngest Filipino Elite in the field and took another step closer to the to the top local athletes in the country by being 4th Filipino Elite, ~2 minutes from the podium and 9th Overall.
Dhill manage to win more prize money in 1500m than he did in his entire swim career! 1 year ago he did his first triathlon here – 1 year later he cut almost 25 minutes from his time! He still how-ever must improve his overall cycling abilities as well to endure the pain/strain of running if he is to be the first South East Asian to qualify in triathlon @ the Olympic Games.
Marc completed his first Olympic Distance Triathlon and manage to dose his efforts accordingly by not starting to fast, of which is something that cannot be bought @ the store, learned in a book or have somebody else do for you; simply trial, error and growth.
Despite a flat tire, Martin managed to finish on the podium with Marc by using a well balanced/conservative effort and having to overtake a lot of people since he was in wave 2.
Last but not least, my little Joyette had another strong race – having Hector on the micro-phone warning the male athletes out on the run course she was coming behind was sure high-light for her!
Anyway, all-in-all it was a successful weekend – I simply need to focus more on enjoying the positives and not let the negatives blind me from the present…Its impossible to make everybody happy and it can never be x-mast every day
Heres a sweet video of the race – you can catch me twice, once @ 1:50 and again @ 2:50!