Taken from the plane window. Beautiful Mt. Mayon
2 years ago, my husband raced the Mt. Mayon Triathlon. I was with him then as a supporter, spectator and cheerer. He had just come from the Cebu Ironman 70.3 race a week before but still managed to snag a podium finish despite the "uphell run rout" and "hilly bike ride."
This year, the organizers made this race an ASTC race sanctioned by the Triathlon Association of the Philippines so my husband and I (despite the last minute decision), registered for this race.
We arrived in Legazpi City in the early morning of Saturday. Went straight to the inn where we were booked. Since check in time was still at 2PM, we decided to unpack and set up our bikes in the lobby.
As soon as the bikes were set up, we decided to head on to the swim area, try out the water and try out our bikes as well. There were a lot of athletes when we got to the swim start area. All trying out the waters. After that, we had a quick breakfast before heading back to the inn. Thankfully, even if it was not yet 2PM, the frontdesk lady allowed us to check in. My husband and I were both hungry for sleep by this time. So we settled in and took a quick nap. We woke up just in time for a late lunch. We prepped out bikes and then went to eat.
In the afternoon, we checked in our bikes and then attended the race briefing.
The next day, we were up early. Drank a cup of coffee and then headed out to the starting line. We got there just in time to see the choppy waters. The elite men and women went first and we age groupers still had about an hour to wait before our gunstart. We got to watch the junior elite athletes race, a lot of whom were teammates and friends of our eldest son. We had a blast cheering them on.
15 minutes before our gun start, my husband said we had to head on over to the swim warm up area. It was an area not too clean but we made do with whatever space there was to warm up a bit. I don't think I am ever able to warm up properly before a race.
The women were the 1st wave. After getting some pre race tips from my husband, it was time for us to start. As soon as I got into the water, I knew I was in for a horrible swim. Given the fact that I am not a good swimmer and the water was choppy with strong current, I tried my best to stay focused albeit the waves that kept smashing into my face every time I would try to do some sighting. I saw my husband pass me and I wanted so much to tell him to swim with me haha! I finally finished the swim leg in 44 minutes (horrible time).
As soon as I got to T1, I saw that none of the bikes of my ladies in my AG were there. They had all gone ahead and I had no idea how far ahead they had gone. As soon as I got on my bike I grabbed my gel, ate and hydrated. About a kilometer into the bike, I told myself I had to make it a point to pass at least 15 ladies to make sure I was not to far behind. I started counting on the 2nd kilometer. At about the 10th kilometer, I saw the hills we had to climb on the bike. Knowing I hardly had any saddle time I shook my head and laughed to myself. I was on verge of 'relaxing' up the hill before I remembered that I loved the hills! I took a big gulp of water and then started pedaling harder. Sometimes I forget how I love the climbs. I started to pass other ladies and continued counting. After the turn around point, it went really fast. The closed roads made the ride enjoyable and safe.
I entered T2 with the sun blaring on us. There were a number of bikes already racked but I had no more time to spare to count. I just knew that if I exerted effort on the bike, I would need to exert even more on the run.
The Mt. Mayon tri run route IS the most challenging route, this is the claim of the organizers. Initially, I was intimidated but then again, remember I love the hills. I exited T2 with cramps. I was laughing to myself and telling myself, "what did you expect?!" I ate 1 more gel and stopped at the 1st water station.
My initial thoughts were, there was no way I was going to catch up with anyone anymore. But because the mind is our greatest enemy, I had to remind myself to dismiss that thought. So I ran. 2kms into the run, I met the fastest female in our age group, I cheered her on and told myself that I had to push harder. I started to see other ladies along the route. On the first hill, I passed 2 ladies. I continued to dig deeper and reminded myself to stay focused. As I always do, I keep my eyes on the ground when I run to avoid any other possible distraction. I stopped at every water station to drink and to pour ice water over my head. Because this route was not a looping one, I never saw my husband on the run. By km 7, I knew I had just 1 more hard push to go before running to the finish line. It was mid morning by this time and the heat was a bit too much already.
I passed the last water station and knew there was just 1 kilometer to go. I sucked it in and just maintained my run. When the finishline was in sight, I picked up the pace and tried my best to hold it. 200 meters to the tape, I saw my husband cheering for me. He was in high spirits so I assumed he did well on his race.
I crossed the finish line grateful as always. As usual, I had an awful swim but I was able to pick up quite a bit on the bike before managing a strong (not really fast) run.
I lift my eyes to the hills,
from where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
who made heaven and earth