Pesteng Ehem

Monday, September 5, 2016

It has been 4 weeks since I did the Cobra Ironman 70.3 race. The after-race week was actually great. I completed the race course tired but not wasted. A few hours of sleep after a race, I was up and about devouring lechon. I felt light and was in good spirits that week, that I actually hit the gym that Saturday for a very short indoor swim-bike-run recovery session. The next day I felt like shit. Monday after that I called in sick for work. The last three weeks were a succession of nasty cold, then phlegmatic cough, and now dry cough.

Since I have always been an advocate of natural healing, I shun medicines the whole ordeal. That has always been my secret to staying relatively sick-free all these decades. As my condition is nothing serious, just highly irritating and annoying, I have not yet sought medical opinion. I get to go to work and even do short swim, bike or run sessions, but this pesteng ehem refuses to die yet.

Some questions and thoughts have been in my mind lately:

Am I still in a state of stress? It has been 4.5 months since I removed the main stressor in my life - a frustrating work environment - by resigning. I have since taken up some very manageable work, which is very far from stressful and has very people-friendly work schedule. I actually had more time for leisure and exercise, and I have a very fulfilling gardening/backyard farming on the side. I think I have made good strides, but it will take some more months before I fully shed the 40-50 pounds of frustration I had from my previous work, and the bad lifestyle habits that crept along with it (e.g. shallow breathing, stress binge-eating, late night sleeping). What accumulated in six years cannot be undone in six months.

May this pesteng ehem finally reached its rightful end, so I can claim back the healthier me of six years ago. Six year ago I was an Ironman [albeit 70.3 only ;]   I miss that man I used to be.  Soon, Rico, soon....


I May Just Actually Make It

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The 2016 Cobra Ironman 70.3 race in Cebu just transpired. While I still distill my thoughts on that race and wait for photos, I just want to share this old draft written (but not published) on July 29, 2012, or four years ago before my first Cebu 70.3 experience. Many points and lessons remain valid four years hence.


July 29, 2012

At any given point in time, I have a couple of blog post ideas nesting in my mind waiting for that rare time I can sit down, ponder some more and type. This post is one of them, that one big post tossing in my mind for months now.

I was one of the hundreds excited when the Cebu version of Ironman 70.3 Philippines was announced in December. Cebu is a vibrant city replete with beaches, seafood, bars, and culture. Cebuanos are known for their hospitality and bravado. I MUST be there in Cebu in August 2012!

I silently registered for the race. Silently because I did not tell teammates and friends who are all giddy with excitement for this race. Silently because I was not certain I would find time to train given my year long project to spearhead system replacement in our division. Silently because I know the pressure of spearheading change can be challenging, frustrating and therefore fattening! I have been told a number of times, "Sir, huwag ka nang magalit. Mauubos mo na naman yung pack of Chippy!"

From December to January I scouted for a permanent house, oversaw repairs, packed and transported 15 years of accumulated life into a dream house nestled in the hills of Laguna, all in the middle of my project kick-off. From January to April, I would drive home mentally exhausted to a beautiful blue house, and stare at its beauty and reality for minutes, wondering at times whether the trade off was worth it. The job that excites my voracious mind and finances my dreams is the same one that bloats my belly while sapping my energy. Every now and then I managed to leave work earlier than 7pm and got to bike or run in the village. In those precious moments, I would say: Yes I have found home.

From January to April, what would constitute as my 70.3 training would be: a lucky night in a week of swim, mtb ride or jog; a Saturday MTB hilly ride from our village to Daang Hari, and a Sunday swim. For months I forced myself to learn bilateral swim breathing given that the Cebu swim was supposedly counter-clockwise and that two-side breathing would promote symmetry of form and force. The regular, albeit spaced, MTB rides forced me to be strong enough to roll my heavy form over hills without having a heart attack. The fact that I am still blogging means I was successfull on this one. The run, I did not give it much thought then. It would only matter if I get to ride fast enough to make it through cut-off time.  Last year was a sort of blow for me. I was raring to better my maiden PR, and chase people on the run, but I ended up DNF when I missed the bike cut-off time by 5 minutes! I was better equipped, better trained, but I was put off big time by the unexpected storm that drenched my glasses and gave me chills. All these months I tried to keep the race silence. When asked if I would race Cebu, I would only smile. At that point, I was only prepared to start the swim and the bike.

Tipping Point

The turning point occurred noiselessly  in May in the middle of my bilateral swim set. Finally, after my seemingly endless gymnastic bouts with pull buoys and swim paddles, I could breathe comfortably on both sides. That should be enough to at least bring me to the bike leg. With that discovery came the epiphany:  It is not enough that I start the race. I must race with the conviction that I gave it my best shot given my circumstances. Only then can I accept failure without regrets. My race shall be measured not by cut-off times, but by how hard I tried. I wanted to remember Cebu and recall giving it a good fight.

Almost at the same time I came to terms with my work. I realized that indeed, Rome was not built in a day. Whatever lofty ideals that play in my head and no matter how hard I push, some things simply happen in God's time. I guess work is best approached with the perspective of triathlon tapering. After you have complied with the long hours, the tempos and high-intensities, you cut back, recover and let the building process take its course. Cut back was what I did. I forced myself to leave the office by a certain hour, confident of the thought that tomorrow is another day. I delegated and made people accountable. Everyone has to have his turn at the peloton front.

I committed myself to join the weekly Mizuno Run Academy sessions. I went back to the Army pool where multisport dreams were nurtured for most of us. I picked up my tribike and finally replaced the dropbars with a proper tri cockpit. I registered to as many tri races and runs I could get myself into. I was back in the sport and enjoying the endorphins once more. I just hope the turning point was not too late.


Group classes at the gym

Thursday, July 7, 2016

I am typically the independent spirit at the gym doing my own thing. You would often see me hogging the stationary bike or treadmill. Occasionally, I would get a trainer to compel me to raise my exercise intensity, I have also tried group core exercise in the past.

The past few weeks I have been joining group spinning classes (RPM, Le Mills) in the gym. My teammate and weekend training buddy tried it out one time on a whim and for training variety. Maiba naman. We are triathletes supposedly - maybe not as active - but we barely survived our first spinning outing.We simply didn't know how to pace ourselves  initially. Eventually, we got the knack for it. It is a fun and compelling way for one to have variety in training and get some intensity. We had so much fun trying the spinning class that we also ventured the bodypump class one time. It is easier to brave these group classes if you have a buddy with whom to suffer humiliation and laugh things off. If pacing is the key to RPM, the appropriate weights are the one for Bodypump. We learned that the hard and weary way.

I am actually using the spinning classes as my main training for the Cobra 70.3 Ironman in August, moreso now that the rainy season has come and my weekends are occupied sprucing up my home garden/farm in Los Baños. In the past, my 70.3 strategy has been to bike long outdoors. I will see if this indoor training will work for me soon. I heard even some pros do most of their training indoors.


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