Where It All Began

I had an interesting surprise last week from FB. In our Puro Tri group chat where literally hundreds of messages are posted each day by only a handful of members ;) , Lloyd our mamaw triathlete in the group, offered free race entry to Challenge Camsur courtesy of RaceDay Magazine. I was sick at that moment and only three weeks away from gun start but it's free entry to 'Where It All Began' we're talking about. I grabbed a slot and went to the doctor for a check up.

From a screenshot of www.challengecamsur.com

'Where It All Began' is the tag line of Challenge Camsur happening on June 14, 2015. The venue is generally believed to be the place where triathlon started to see its phenomenal growth due to Ironman 70.3 brand of race that was held there some years ago.

The plan is to make sure I have no fractured bones from a minor accident that happened last January. I actually did two half distances before I decided to stop running in March. The X-ray results on my foot are encouraging; although my ankle ligaments were torn during college days I have no fractured bones just inflamed parts that can go away. The wrist is another matter though, my right wrist has no more ligament or cartilage (don't remember which of the two). Doc said it's the reason why it hurt so bad and told me to use the aero bar often when on the bike to minimize the pain.

I know three weeks is too short of a preparation for a half distance tri but I've done it before on a harder course so I guess it most likely will boil down to how I execute on race day. I'm imagining I'll hold back on the bike and run-walk towards the finish line to give myself a better chance at finishing the race. But before that I have to deal with the swim, hopefully I'll be ready by then and start near the front of the pack. 

On the registration form there was a question about my expected finish time, I put a stretch goal of 5:45 but it could easily be 6:45 or worse DNF, arghh. 

About my cough and colds, it's getting better by the day and in fact I've done well on my first day of training - an hour on the bike trainer ;). 

Here's wishing for a safe and happy race on June 14. CWC here I come!

Getting Sick

I've been sick for the past few days. Nothing gruesome, just a lot of coughing and a nose that runs like a waterfall. It started with my little boy, he passed the torch to his mom who in turn transmitted it to our daughter. I thought I wouldn't catch it even when all of them got sick, I was thinking I have a strong immune system in a time when I wasn't training. I was the last one to contract it and feeling desperately seeking for some magic cure. Here's what I have tried so far: ginger tea, clamansi juice, banana pineapple smoothie, malunggay soup, pineapple juice, grape juice and a cocktail of vitamins and decongestant.

The feeling is already improving - it better be coz I can smell a free race entry in the very near future (fingers crossed).

My own cocktail of you know what ;)

Kwebang Lampas Ride

Photos by Pot, Pong and Zaldy

Kwebang Lampas is a tourist destination in Pagbilao, Quezon. You can find it in a place called Lukang Cove in the Grande Island of Pagbilao. It's called Kwebang Lampas for a reason: the cave is actually a very short tunnel - through and through so 'Kwebang Lampas'.

A panoramic shot of the whole Lukang Cove Stretch

From the City of Lucena we rode for about 35 kilometers to reach the place but we still had to cross a small lake and traverse a trail to get there.

Almost There :P

We parked the mountain bikes on a local's house before boarding the boat. Lucky for me I didn't have clipless pedals on my mtb, I was wearing running shoes and my buddies were on their cleated shoes on a hike.

Waiting for our turn on the Boat Ride

Someone paid 105 pesos for each of us upon entering the place, it included the boat fee. I was a bit surprised that the place was packed with tourists. I was expecting fewer  people but the number of tents on the ground alone indicated otherwise.

With the boat passengers

From the shore I swam to get to the cave and exited at the other end before swimming back to the beach. With its white sand I think the place is a delight to swim in only problem is that it sits beside a huge coal fired power plant.

Start of a short trek towards Kwebang Lampas

The ride back home was too hot. We stopped and dined at Pong's house for a fiesta celebration and even had a 'take out' chicken upon leaving.

76 kilometers in and I was home sweet home.

Look at their shoes ;)

Here's a photo of the cave... but I guess you're looking at those bikinis, right?

The left hand side of the beach shows a lot more crowd

The extent of the white sand is shown on the background

Maintenance Plan

Maintenance Workouts

When I was just starting with endurance sports it was always tough to get on with the structured plan I set after each sporting event especially if the race was a long one.

No matter how I prioritize my races it still was a struggle to continue with my laid out training plan. More often than not, I wouldn't sweat out for a couple of days... actually it's more like a week or so.

30 Minutes of Swim Time per Week

But going through a lot of these events I learned to accept that slacking after a race is totally fine with me. It is recovery, and in some cases it is an end to an old training regimen and a beginning of a new lower mileage maintenance plan.

As I claw my way back to triathlon, I am now beginning to condition myself with some sort of maintenance plan for the very simple reason that I don't have a race in sight just yet. So here I am not training for a race but just enjoying a low volume workout schedule just to keep myself ready for an eventual training period in the future.

Here is my usual weekly mileage for the time being:

Swim - I try to swim once a week for 30 minutes
Bike - I try to do one short casual ride on weekdays and a longish ride on weekends
Run - I try to run 3 to 4 times a week, each session lasts for only 20 minutes

This is a huge positive leap from something like not doing anything... duhh.

Bike Trainers are Nice but really Boring Stuff

To be honest, I am not worried that I wouldn't finish a race if given a three week window to train. My experience in endurance sports isn't vast but it's enough to feel the fitness that I acquired throughout the years will get me through somehow. Not every race of course, marathons and full I.M.'s aren't for three week preps but other than that I think it's fair game.

Speed is another matter though for me. Since I am not fast at anything, going even slower is a reality. I know I wouldn't be able to go hard in my current condition. Struggling to keep pace would be an understatement and gasping for breath... well, let's not go over there yet hehe.

If you are into triathlon and don't have a race in the near future I'd like to suggest to try only the workouts that make you happy because those are the ones that are sustainable, and feel good that you've done something to stay fit for your next training push. 

Triathlon Is For Bikers

There's no denying how ubiquitous the pedal powered machine is in and out of the Metro. From the road bikes that were popularized by the Tour of Luzon to the mountain bikes that saw a boom in the 90s, they're everywhere. Today we can see different types of bikes plying our roads. We can see how the folding bike captured the hearts of many, how a fat bike can be a badass on trails, how the triathlon bike look dangerously awesome and most recently how the single speed/fixie bike won the teenage market. With the most expensive equipment in triathlon already in the hands of these riders it's easy to see why bikers can easily transition to triathlon. Here are some things I would like to share to all the biker dudes out there who are considering to enter the world of triathlon.

A swimming pool beside an oval running track makes for an efficient workout

1. Swimming is a good cardiovascular exercise that will complement your cycling.

2. Running off the bike is easier for a biker than a swimmer because of the experience of riding is already there.

3. Get a good pair of kicks that you can use in training and racing. Some running shoes need a break in period to perform well.

4. Don't get intimidated by the looks of triathletes especially with their tri suits and expensive bikes, they're mostly average at best in all three sports.

5. This sport gives you the license to give in to your 'upgraditis' issues. There are tons of new gears you just have to have starting with a power meter.

6. Running is not for everybody. Some guys went biking to avoid running injuries, some have joints which aren't good for running - if you have serious issues with running you might as well dismiss triathlon. 

7. Do not abandon the root of your bike rides. This is probably where I strayed when I was just starting to delve into triathlon by making my training as structured as possible to get the most out of every workout, I missed a lot of rides with my friends.

8. It is normal for a biker to have long rides that can last up to a day. IM's 180K ride would seem just another weekend ride.

9. You can bike a double century in no time but in running it will take some time before you can run a marathon. Be patient, there are a lot of short distance triathlon races in the calendar, and choose wisely.

10. Just so you are a biker doesn't give you the privilege of hammering on the bike leg, remember to save something for the run.

Triathlon Is For Runners

With the boom of running, many runners were born. Starting with a 3K or 5K fun run, a lot of people will be challenged by the longer distances until such time they reach the end of a marathon or an ultra marathon. Some will wonder if they can do a triathlon and they'd go to a site like this and see if they have what it takes to become a triathlete. The obvious answer is yes because running is the hardest part in triathlon - at least one part is already in the bag. Here are some things I would like to share to the runners out there who would like to try triathlon.

Triathlon philippines
Get ready for your new mates :)

1. Three is not better than one but it's definitely cool to have two more sports to choose from during days when you're not up to running.

2. There are short distance triathlon events you can join before plunging on the longer distances. Some are even done on swimming pools and beginner friendly. In some short races you can sign up without training, just borrow a bike if you don't have one.

3. It probably takes two months of training with a coach before you can swim comfortably if you start from zero. Concentrate on your form and proper technique.

4. Your bike should REALLY FIT. A bike that doesn't feel quite comfortable is not the bike for you.

5. Biking is easy but it takes a lot of time to get comparatively fast with other triathletes. Time on the saddle will dictate your progress.

6. Our triathlon community is not as big as the running world, you'll see familiar faces on races and you'll expand your social circle. From lane mates to bikers on long rides you'll have new buddies guaranteed.

7. In a race I usually go out hard on the swim, steady on the bike, hard on the short run and easy on longer runs. You'll know your next approach once you tried it. All I'm saying is that you should have a solid plan for every distance especially on your race nutrition particularly while on the bike.

8.  Accidents can happen on bike training and racing, always be alert and stay safe. Bring money and mobile phone on every ride.

9. Triathlon running is different from a stand alone run, much of it is because of the bike ride prior to the run. Try some brick workouts before a race.

10. Structure your workouts to get the most out of it. At the start prioritize your weakness and when you're improving give a lot of emphasis on the bike; it is always longer and your run depends on it.
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