Saturday, August 20, 2016

Iron hearts

“Iron hearts”
Sun.Star Davao, August 20, 2016
                Grit is defined as a “combination of passion, perseverance, tenacity and hope”.
            In her book, “Grit”, New York Times bestselling author and psychologist Angela Duckworth explains that it is not only talent and intelligence but grit which will lead an individual to success.
                Last August 7, 2016, several Dabawenyos participated in the Cobra Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championship in Mactan, Cebu. Enduring swimming for 1.9 kms.; biking for 90 kms.; and running for 21 kms. under regulated time, surviving this premier race is truly one of the ultimate tests of an athlete’s will power and determination.
             Read about some of the awe-inspiring moms and dads who hurdled this recent competition as they share their “grit” journey to the finish line: 


Number of times you joined Ironman: The Ironman race held last August 7, 2016 was my first one.

Sports competitions through the years: Durianman, Safeguard 5150 and Dipolog 101
Motivation for an active lifestyle: I wanted to be healthy and actually look healthy.  Also, hearing triathlon stories from my cousin Dolly pushed me to try it out myself.
Journey to Ironman: I started from ground zero with triathlon coach, Patrick Serrano.  I could barely swim 25 meters without struggling for air, and it seemed impossible to run 1 km. without taking a break.  It took about 2 years of 6 days a week workouts which consisted of strengthening, swimming, biking and running at 530 am.  The swim part was what I dreaded since I am not a strong swimmer and the water was quite choppy. Fortunately, the current was going in the same direction as us for most of the way, and I finished the 1.9km swim in 48mins. The bike leg was a challenge since, for half the time, there was a strong head wind, I finished in 3:16. The last leg of the race was running and my legs were pretty tired but I just kept telling myself that I was already half way done so I just had to go on.  I finished in almost 3 hours with a cramped left calf but with a big smile on my face.
Balancing sports with parenting/work: I trained early morning before the kids’ school starts.  When I have work, I skip my workout and compensate the next day. And, I usually dine out with family if I don’t have a workout the next morning.
Life lessons from Ironman: There were days that I was confident that I could do it but there were also days that I doubted myself and thought it was impossible.   But, perseverance, diligence, and support from family members kept me focused in achieving my goal. I learned that nothing is impossible with the right amount of will and dedication. 

Advice for parents who want a more active lifestyle: It takes a lot of sacrifices but the result will be priceless.  As my coach once told me, “No pain, no gain!”.

Number of times you joined Ironman: I raced Ironman 70.3 twice, 2015 & 2016, both in Cebu.
Sports competitions through the years: I usually join local triathlon races all over Mindanao; Durianman in Davao; NAGT in Cagayan de Oro; Lawihan Tri in Gensan. Recently, I raced in the Sarbay Triathlon where I won 2nd place in my age group category 30-34.
Motivation for an active lifestyle: To be healthy for my family, to have energy to perform well at work.
Journey to Ironman: During my annual physical exam in December 2013, I was obese, diagnosed with dyslipidemia and high uric acid. At that point, I thought that if I continue with my sedentary lifestyle, I might not be able to see my kids grow up, so I decided to engage in sports and do daily exercises. I was inspired when I saw triathletes and how disciplined they were. I took up the challenge and trained to swim, bike and run, joined triathlon races starting from novice, sprint, Olympic distance and eventually made it to Ironman 70.3. Training became part of my daily routine and I became healthier. I lost 10 kilos of weight. Cholesterol levels and uric acid now are normal. I have more energy to engage with my family and find time to play with my 2 daughters, aged 5 and 3.
Balancing sports with parenting/work:  Waking up early morning at 4 a.m. gives me a boost of energy to start my day. I start my day with daily training (either swim, bike or run). This helps me to clear my mind and gives me a good perspective on my goals each day. With renewed energy every day, I'm able to manage my different roles: first, as husband to my wife Sai and dad to two kids; be active at work with my teammates; and perform well. My boss is also a health buff like me. I also attend celebrations every Wednesdays and Saturdays with my church community, not to mention occasional social activities with friends and high school classmates.
Life lessons from Ironman: I've learned that anything is possible when you put your mind and heart into it. The human spirit is unlimited that we can do everything that our mind can conceive as long as we are determined to achieve it.
Advice for parents who want a more active lifestyle: My advice is to set a fitness goal, and take small steps towards it daily. Find the motivation to exercise daily, be it for the kids, family or yourself. Imagine to live a healthier happier life in the future.


Number of times you joined Ironman: It was my first time to join the Ironman Philippines Asia-Pacific Championship in Shangrila, Mactan Cebu. I got 3rd place in my age category (45-49) with a female time of 5:58:37

Sports competitions through the years: “Rody Duterte Lumba Bisikleta sa Kadayawan” - Champion, Ladies Category (2015); Sprint distance/Novice Overall Champion –Female Manta Triathlon (2014); Overall Champion - Female XRail Offroad Triathlon (2015); 1st Place-Age category Dipolog Triathlon (2015); 3rd Overall Champion Defy Triathlon 123 (2015); Offroad Triathlon Overall Champion - Female Petron Blazemen Offroad Tri (2015); and 2nd Overall Champion –Female 8080 Triathlon (2015)

Motivation for an active lifestyle: I want to stay fit and challenge myself to my limits.

Journey to Ironman: Ironman is a hard endurance race. Starting day 1 of my triathlon training, I realized that this is not an easy sport. It will take much of my time. But, as long as I have the passion to do it, I just do it day by day. I stay hyper focused on a goal, then conquer anything I thought wasn’t possible.

Balancing sports with parenting/work: My daughter is 16 years old already and understands my sports. I see to it that we have time together and go out on “date” regularly I see to it that I spend quality time together with my loved ones in between work, training and rest. My work schedule is very flexible. So, it simply fits to my training program for a certain day.

Life lessons from Ironman: I learned from joining Ironman that if you dream something big and work hard for it, dreams do come true. In my 2016 Ironman Experience, the hard work I put into my training paid off, I finished, and even got a bonus, I Podium-ed.

Number of times you joined Ironman: Challenge Philippines 70.3 distance inaugural race in Subic with son Carlo, our 1st half IM distance (2013); IM 70.3 Cebu (2014); IM 70.3 Cebu (2015); IM 70.3 Vietnam (2016); and IM 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship Cebu (2016).

Sports competitions through the years: Running has been my forte before my 1st marathon in 2013. I have completed the Run United Series in Manila in 2012 and did more than 30 half marathon in 2 years. Since then, marathon became my staple run every end or start of the year. I have finished the Audax 200 kms. from Davao to Mati and have been a consistent Triathlon Podium Finisher in the DurianMan Olympic distance series races. My bucket list includes, Tokyo Marathon in 2017 and Great Wall Marathon in China in Sept. 2017.

Motivation for an active lifestyle: Defy age. It is just a number. I hope to inspire my three growing active teenage boys by involving them in sports and nutrition as well as instill discipline and maximize their potentials. Besides leading a healthy lifestyle, I wish to instill in them the value of sportsmanship, performing their best and not giving up.

Journey to Ironman: At first, I could not run a mile without my heart pounding. My bike had spent more time at home than being ridden out for a spin.  I could not barely finish a lap in the pool. It took a lot of guts, courage, motivation, and discipline to join an IM. But, when I took that initial step to run, pedal that bike and glide that stroke to swim, anything is possible. If you worked and trained for the IM distance, trust your training and believe. You compete with no one but yourself. Focus on finishing and completing the race than trying to outrun anyone in the race.

Balancing sports with parenting/work:  Running is my therapy. It relaxes my mind. It became a part of my lifestyle so I incorporated it in my daily schedule, usually in the morning before heading to work. On the other hand, cycling or spinning is my cross training activity. It gives me the opportunity to go to other places and explore. Lastly, swimming is part of my recovery. It relaxes my muscles and a good therapy for my run-bike program. My recovery is equally important as my training.

Life lessons from Ironman: Sports or triathlon is part of our family’s lifestyle. Every race or activity becomes a family affair and a chance for us to bond, travel together and have fun. All of us are looking forward to the after-race feast whether I make it to the podium or not. I just simply thank the Lord for letting me finish strong, safe and injury-free. Joining Ironman is a life-changing experience for me. I learned to persevere and be patient at my stance. One realizes that there is no shortcut to success but hard work. It actually made me a better person as I was not only able to inspire my kids but also my friends and teammates. In addition, I learned to appreciate God's gift of life and strength. All things emanate from Him!


Number of times you joined Ironman: This is my 4th Ironman 70.3 in Cebu. All the half Ironman races I have joined since 2013 have been in Shangri-La Mactan, Cebu. Each year has given me different experiences and it never seizes to amaze me year after year how the sport and the races are getting better and better that is why I keep going back. The Cobra Ironman 70.3 race in Cebu is the “it” race for me yearly.

Sports competitions through the years: Every sports event I register for during the year is geared for training leading up to the Ironman 70.3 race. Last year, I joined the Beijing International Triathlon in China and came in 2nd in the 40-44 female age group. I also ran the full marathon (42 km.) during the Davao Finisher’s Marathon last December 2015. Early this year, I joined the Kalilangan Duathlon in General Santos City where I placed 1st in the female age category 35 and up and the Sarbay Triathlon in Gumasa Beach, Sarangani Province where I placed 3rd overall in the female category. In Davao City, I joined the first ever Durianman Cross Channel Triathlon in the Island Garden City of Samal and placed 1st in the female 40 and up age category.

Motivation for an active lifestyle: I joined numerous fun runs here and there, usually 10 kms. and up. Ever since I joined my first ever Novice Triathlon way back in April 2012, I got hooked to this multi-sport. I never looked back since then. I took swimming lessons, had an online running coach from Manila and bought a better bike. I then met some running buddies like Yvonne Sasin and Haroon Cali whom I molded strong friendships with through running 3 times per week for the last four years.

Journey to Ironman: The journey towards completing the Ironman 70.3 race is priceless! It entails countless of early morning hours, sweat, blood and money! Crossing that finish arc is a very emotional and surreal feeling for me because everything I trained for over the last 6 to 8 months is finally put to a test. The race itself - swimming 1.9 kms. in the open waters of Mactan, biking 90 kms. from Lapu Lapu City to Talisay and running 21 kms. under the intense heat of the sun is not an easy task to complete. You have to have an iron heart and will, and be mentally strong to embrace the pain.

Balancing sports with parenting/work: I am fortunate that my two daughters are now 16 years old and 13 years old. They are very independent when it comes to their schooling. I always believed in letting them learn from their mistakes and I am just there when they ask for help. I have learned how to delegate all the tasks to cater to their needs. My mornings, which starts around 4:00 a.m., are for my training sessions (swim, indoor bike, run or yoga) and after work, I spend time with the kids during dinner time. I don’t have any social life because I am asleep by 8:30pm.

Life lessons from Ironman: I have learned that if you put in the time and effort into your training, you will improve. It is also important to invest in a coach or training lessons because they will always help you.

Advice for parents who want a more active lifestyle: It is never too late to start today. Age is not a factor at all. Being healthy and fit, makes you happy and that aura will spread to your children and family.


Number of times you joined Ironman: It was my first time to join the Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines, 1st Asia Pacific Championship held in Shangrila Mactan, Cebu City.

Sports competitions through the years: Durianman - Finisher (2016 & 2015); Xtrail Offroad-Finisher
(2015); Regent 5150 Subic Bay - Finisher (2015); SarBay Fest - Finisher (2014); Timberman Butuan City -Finisher (2014); Tunaman Gensan - Finisher (2014); 1st Phil. Eagle – Finisher (2014); and 6th TRIAD Davao- 1st in Adult Novice (2010)

Motivation for an active lifestyle: My friends and health. I used to have high cholesterol and sugar level.

Journey to Ironman: It all started as a hobby and eventually, I got hooked on it. I realized how this kind of sport could benefit one’s health. I wanted to become an inspiration to others also. As the saying goes, "Kung kaya nila, kaya ko din!". Another factor were friends who were so supportive of me. We share the same passion. We do these all together for God’s Glory. The heart medal for the finisher serves as an inspiration to me. It symbolizes the finisher’s “iron heart". That's where I draw strength from during the darkest hours of my race.

Balancing sports with parenting/work: It's all about planning and time management. In my daily life, I get to bond with family in the morning then before or after work, I allot time, either for a 2-hour swim or run. But, I make sure I eat dinner with the family. Saturdays are for bonding time with triathlete friends in Samal where we swim, bike and run. Saturday nights and Sundays are entirely for the family.

Life lessons from Ironman: Anything is possible if you pray. You can do things with perseverance and determination. To God be the glory!

Advice for parents who want a more active lifestyle: It's not about joining all the three sports. You can start with just purely walking every day. Put your heart and soul into it then that's it. You can start right there and then. And, enjoy every minute of it.

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