All In A Day Before Race Day - Challenge PH 2015

February 20, 2015

A look at how the day before race day unfolds.

1- Pick up of race pack at Harbor Point Mall, 2- Pepper Lunch, 3- Buma Hotel, 4- Buma Hotel lobby deco 5- Philippine Sports Arena during travel

1- Ocean Adventure, 2- Puro Tri Team during race briefing, 3- Stage performance after briefing, 4- Transition area during bike check in, 5- Panorama shot of race briefing at the finish line

1- Bike check in, 2- 2nd dinner at Meat Plus (1st was at the carbo party at Ocean Adventure), 3- Late night massage at Ritz Spa, 4- Challenge Expo at Harbor Point Mall, 5- Welcome speech from Challenge Family

Oh Challenge, I Fade - Challenge PH Race Report

Expectation: 6 hours 50 minutes, Reality: 7:12. 

neil ong
By the numbers

I only knew about the exact date of the event last Thursday. I was still hammering on my bike route, swam a 2.2K time trial, and jogged for about 40 minutes with less than two days until the race not knowing that Saturday would be race day. It was luck that I got to check the event schedule and found out that it's not a Sunday race. Miracle number 1: I didn't DNS.

My pre race routine included a visit to the rest room when the race was about to start. I was in the line for a major necessity but it was getting too late so at around 6 minutes before the horn I proceeded to the starting line and prayed for the best. Miracle number 2: my stomach was not looking for the restroom throughout the race.

Maybe I should have sticked this tri tats somewhere else  

Swim 1.9K

It was a very clean start at the Camayan Beach Resort. I was on the fourth wave (M18-29, Male 40-49) and my first tri swim without the feeling of a washing machine start. The middle part was shallow and I think I saw a ship wreck on the last turn. It was over in less than 37 minutes. Miracle number 3: no washing machine start.

Transition 1

I wore my loose cycling shorts, loose muscle shirt (yes, I hate tight fitting clothes), my cycling shoes, sunglasses and race number; then I was off.

Transition Area

Bike 90K

From kilometer 1 to 89 people were passing me. It felt like everybody in my wave just overtook me. Even the athletes from the last wave overtook me on the hills of Bataan. The view was a typical mountain view, unpopulated with dense forestation. The road was endlessly winding and undulating. And the weather was HOT! The first 30 kilometers was OK by my standard but the last 60K was terrible. I had a better ride last year when Reggie was pacing. But still... Miracle number 4: I only had one stop and it was a brief one, I neither got a flat tire nor a mechanical problem considering that I used an MTB crankset on a Shimano 105.

You'll definitely run faster once you see this ;)

Run 21K

Just like Tri United 3 last year, I was already spent at that point. I was so 'laspag' that I forgot to change to my running attire. I didn't forget the cellphone though. I saw my teammate Lloyd on my entry to the forest, he was already on the way out to the finish line. The difference between last year and this time around was that I knew what to expect. I felt I couldn't run so I just jogged and tried to minimize the time I spend on hydration breaks. I was jogging much slower than Tri United 3 but I had a better run split. The run course took us to the forest reserve where PNP Special Action Forces were training specifically the Viper commandos. On short distance triathlons I usually overtake a lot on the run course but it wasn't short and on that day I couldn't seem to overtake anyone. Miracle number 5: I finished. 

Medal of Laspag 

So here goes...

The Good: the difficulty of the bike route added to the challenge that is Challenge PH
The Bad: my performance needs a little bit / LOT of improvement
The Ugly: I could have gotten this race for a much cheaper price as part of the Bohol 226 appeasement program hehe
The Race: Challenge PH Subic is very well organized unlike last year, the events within the event are all above average.
The Time: more than 4 hours on the bike, period.
The Best: the hydration stations and kilometer markers were big big upgrades.
The Lesson: be prepared even if it's not your main priority race

Philhealth Simultaneous Nationwide Run - 20K

February 15, 2015
20K Run

This is my first long run of the year leading up to Challenge Philippines on February 22. I am on my 14th day of training and this is absolutely heaven sent as the race is fast approaching and I don't have a single long run within my training.

triathlon running
before, during, and after the run

I was early on the venue because I have to distribute the race pack to my friends who were going to run the 20K. After meeting up and putting the number on our shirts we proceeded to give our raffle stubs to the organizer and waited for the start. An anthem and a prayer later we were told to line up near the starting line. There were very few participants, we can start at the front if we wanted to but we settled at the third row. Then the gun went off. It was 4:30 a.m.

The plan was to run alongside my two buddies Pong and Zaldy but after a couple of kilometers Zaldy, who just run the Condura 42K, got it going and left us. It was an easy run all throughout. At the halfway point we clocked 1 hour 15 minutes. We finished the run in 2:38. It was Pong's first run above 10K and now he's looking for more. Woohoo!

We didn't wait for the raffle announcement and just went straight to Jollibee for our breakfast, headed home for a sleep and somehow I think my body's aching especially the back of my knees... hmm.

Yep, It Started Alright

Procrastination is to January as Christmas is to December. But February 22 is Challenge Philippines and I'm glad to say that I already started training on February 2, 2015.

triathlon philippines
2015 training starts now

I have 3 weeks to prepare, and with 12 days in... it's all good and fun. I'm slowly getting some mileage on every discipline and it looks like my body is handling the workouts just fine - I'm still in one piece!!! :)

Although 3 weeks is a bit short to prepare for a half distance tri (duhh) it's not totally that bad since I had a good fitness base before I stopped working out on December 3, 2014. I just do workouts that I can comfortably finish, and because of that I'm holding up pretty well - I guess :).

There were a lot of creaking sounds from my bike

I am not working my ass off in fact I'm surprisingly calm despite the lack of training. My worries are the usual bits like race day flat tire, mechanical problems, porta potty issues, cold weather, etc... and my little toes. I have a busy weekend ahead so I may not be able to train as I would like to but hey I'm an age grouper right? 
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