Challenge Camsur 2015

The last time I was here at Camsur Watersports Complex I watched the Cobra Ironman 70.3 back in 2011. I wasn't running yet at that time but was already borrowing my daughter's bike to ride with my friends, in fact we rode for about an hour on the bike route the day before Cobra IM 70.3. Challenge Camsur promised to bring back the memories of the start of the triathlon boom in the country by staging the event in the same place where the IM brand started.

The thing I'm most concerned about during race day is the availability of toilet rooms or porta potties, luckily the rooms were enough and the line was short on that morning.

It was a sunny weather but it wasn't hot HOT, just a regular sunny day with a chance of clouds. One thing I noticed was that we're kind of few for such a big event.

When my wave was called, I took off my long sleeved shirt and flip flops, and gave it to my companion before proceeding to the starting line. I splashed some water on my face and made my goggles wet before putting it on.

Challenge Camsur 2015
A medal with a pendant

Swim 1.9K
I started my stop watch before the horn sounded to be assured that my clock was running. It was a two loop swim and I went pretty hard on the first 350 meters or so. The water was delightfully not cold but the visibility was poor. My goggles was displaced a couple of times due to the chaos of us athletes. I was out in 39 minutes though.
Goal - Swim plus T1: 40:00 minutes
Reality: 41:29

neil ong at challenge camsur
In T1 I put on the shoes before my cycling shorts... :P

Bike 90K
I was excited to ride the route with its famed flat surface. I was always calculating my time to correspond with my goal time. I was down by more than two minutes on the first few kilometers so I tried harder than usual to inch closer to my target. After 30 kilometers I was about even with my goal but I lost my chocolate bars on a bump on a train track. Lots of bikers were passing me and every time someone passed me, I would try to counter by riding harder but all of them would fade farther and farther in front of me until I would lose sight of them. There was even an unexpected small peloton that passed by, I tried to chase them to no avail. By kilometer 60 I was pleased to see that I was about 5 minutes ahead of schedule but the road at that moment changed to a not oh so smooth one. The asphalt was gone and my wheels seem to float instead of just roll. The speed dropped for about 15 kilometers before it picked up again heading back to CWC. By the time I exited T2, I was more than 11 minutes behind my target. :(
Goal - Bike plus T2: 2:55
Reality: 3:04:45

The only way I could feel fresh for the run is to change clothes and brush my teeth ;)

Run 21K
After changing clothes on T2, I posed for the camera before going for the run route. There's something I forgot, it's not the bottle, not the face towel... uh oh... it's my chocolate bar! I had no choice but to drink Coca Cola on hydration stations and miraculously I didn't get a side stitch by doing so. Just before the halfway point when my shoes were already soaked in water, I thought my left big toe was bleeding. It was painful but manageable and the good thing was I was actually gaining time on my target. 
Goal - Run: 2:05
Reality: 2:01:07

Challenge Camsur probably had the best finish layout I've ever seen. Approximately a kilometer from the finish line the village huts provided for an interesting scene, one that can't be replicated elsewhere. The run on the side of the lagoon where the swim took place reminded everyone how every athlete hoped at the starting line. And the final push around the wake park lake made us all thankful for what we would eventually accomplish after an awesome day that was Challenge Camsur.
Goal - Total: 5:40
Reality: 5:47

All In A Day Before Race Day - Challenge Camsur 2015

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Depart from House at 4:41 a.m.

Arrive in Naga City, Late breakfst at Bigg's Diner

Challenge Camsur 2015 registration
Registration at CWC Convention Hall

pinoy triathlon

Inspect the swim venue

Late lunch at Yellow Cab Pizza

triathlon philippines
Back to CWC for bike check in

Visit to the basilica in Naga City

After going to SM Supermarket for my nutrition needs, we had dinner here

Goals and Race Course - Challenge Camsur 2015

Challenge Triathlon advertised the Camsur course as the fastest in the land. Starting with a color coded seeded waves for the swim, the course offers a higher probability to beat your Personal Record. The bike course is almost flat with only 23 meters of elevation gain and the run route is a fast mix surface that'll be kind to the legs (they say ;)). Coupled with an assortment of nutrition needs along the race course, everything is set up to get that two letters - P.R.

I wrapped up my training yesterday with a short swim bike run workouts and although I didn't have a long ride going into Challenge Camsur my weekly mileage was pretty good. So now comes the part where I try to guess my finishing time. In the past I always get this wrong big time. Unlike in a standard distance race, where I would be near 2:30 and miss by a couple of minutes, the difference between my goal and reality was disappointingly huge. But you know, a guess is a guess and this time would be no different.

With an easier route than my last IM 70.3 race in Subic where I finished in 6:07, Challenge Camsur should be at least twenty minutes faster. My goal is to finish in.... 5:40. Here is the breakdown:

Swim and Transition 1 - 40 minutes
Bike and Transition 2 - 2 hours and 55 minutes
Run - 2 hours and 5 minutes
Total = 5:40

Of course I could totally miss by miles and finish nowhere near 5:40 but hopefully I'll enjoy the experience as I enjoyed the training. 

Getting Stronger For Challenge Camsur

Time goes by so fast, it seems unfair that two weeks have come and gone like a nap at lunchtime. It wasn't as if I didn't do anything, to the contrary, I did everything my mortal body can handle in such a short notice. I logged ridiculous amounts of time in training by skipping the gradual in gradual progression. I did thirteen hours on my first week alone but one thing is still amiss - the all important long ride. I'm entering race week now and I think it wouldn't be wise to get some crazy miles on a single ride this close to the event. 

Hoping these shoes will never fail me on #challengecamsur

I enjoyed the past two weeks of training; the planning, the finding of the right mixture of workouts, the huffing and puffing to achieve the best that I can be on Challenge Camsur made me appreciate my date on June 14. Now with only seven days left, barring injuries, I'm gonna be on the starting line and hopefully finish the race where it all began.

In a way Camsur is also where it all began for me. Some years back I went there with my friends to see how Cobra IM 70.3 was staged. I saw a lot of guys with bodies that don't typically scream triathlon and older women who seem to have no worries finishing that particular race. And to my shock and enlightenment, the race was just half of an Ironman race, Ironman distance is not the only distance of a triathlon... Toinks!

No wonder so many participants were lining up to have a shot at Camsur in those days when triathlon was just starting to creep into the consciousness of Philippine culture - it was just half the distance. Then later on with some researching I understood that triathlon is just a term for a swim bike run competition in any distance an organizer might come up with and this led me to think that my daughter would be delighted to do it. She did some races but eventually quit and somehow I just continued what she started.

Today here I am with all the necessary workouts almost done, the remaining days will be reserved for recovery and conditioning, feeling positively stronger but not necessarily faster ;) Brimming with a new found false confidence hehe, I will tell you my goals for Challenge Camsur with its fast course on my next entry.

Happy races everyone! ;P

New Gears

I've had my share of misfortunes in choosing the right running shoes a couple of times already. Last year I bought two pairs that were both uncomfortable to run with. I always use an extra insole to cushion the impact and it is the reason why I find it hard to get kicks that's right on the money. For it to work properly the shoes should be light and be able to accommodate the insole while still providing room on the toe well and height on the ankle.

Last Monday I ended up buying a New Balance 1980 Zeta. It is light and lights up the day with its color :). I got a size bigger than my usual NB shoes. 

From my two shoe mistakes last year I learned that weight really matters and toe box is just as important. With the newest hit from NB I discovered that the width from ankle to mid part and shoe drop are quite important for the stability of an extra insole :(. They shouldn't have replaced the old 1090 version 2 with a v3 or v4 so wouldn't be looking hard for a nice fit - some designs aren't meant to be replaced because they're just perfect.

The Speedo Mariner is now being phased out according to the salesperson who entertained me. I was looking for something that has a similar strap and ended buying a Biofuse training goggles. 

First impressions - my new goggles fits too tightly around the eyes when pressed to avoid water leak but on the good side it is the easiest pair to adjust the strap. I feel that the Mariner is better in open water swim even if it is just a leisure model for the brand. I'll know soon enough on Challenge Camsur though. 

The latest gear I acquired is the sunglasses. It doesn't seem like a big deal but my experience on Tri United 3 suggested otherwise. At that moment I thought it was the way I trained with a folding bike and how I was riding upright most of the time but now as I analyze how I came prepared for TU3 yet suffered a bad neck on the bike, I think it's the glasses that did me in by using my 'japorms glasses' I ended up looking more upwards than I usually do.

The glasses I got doesn't speak of my taste in style they're just been bought for functional reason and of course I'm a cheapskate. 

Depending on how it will perform or how I perform with these new gears on my workouts, I may or may not use any of these in Challenge Camsur on June 14. Race day is fast approaching, these are too new to gamble with and I'm not a gambling man. 

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