You Win Some, You Lose Some (Part 1)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Road to Camsur

My race week began the moment I set my email to out-of-office, auto-reply. Finally, after almost a year of zone 4 work effort, I was taking a much deserved break. I had a half-ironman race to complete, I should be allowed a 5-work day reprieve from leading a systems project, poring over contracts, answering auditors and regulators, and dealing with never-ending stream of inanities.

There are a number of teammates participating and supporting in Camsur, but I chose to drive alone to the race destination. I cherished the time alone, the lack of structure, and the opportunity to stop and go on a whim. I was accompanied by 3 bikes (mine and that of two friends) and a good book. Days before the race, I tried to go race mode by reading Lance Armstrong's "It's Not About the Bike" (very good read!) and Dean Karnazes' "Confessions of  An All-Night Runner" (liked some parts, couldn't relate much to the rest). Lying on my back on the deserted sandbar of Dalampasigan Resort in Sariaya, Quezon - my overnight pitstop enroute to Camsur - I savored in soothing solitude the true story of US Olympic swim hopefuls "Gold in the Water" (still reading it, but enjoying every bit of it). 

My mind appreciated the RnR, but my body needed to peak for the race. I took a 2km jog on the fine beach, and played around with left-side breathing on the pool. Time seemed to slow down to my preferred pace, and everything seemed perfect with my world.

The Day Before The Race

I took a dip in the small lake to practice my new discovery which is left-side breathing. In Sariaya, I discovered that although I was not as comfortable with my left side breathing, I actually swam faster for the same level of effort! I had to take 5 time trials on the 20m pool to validate my eureka moment.  Five out five times, I was faster breathing on the left, by at least 2 seconds for 20m. That should help me navigate the counter-clockwise swim in the small lake. Unfortunately, the buoys on the small lake were spaced too far apart and too low for me to efficiently use this technique. The other structures also trick the eye. It had to be front sighting, right breathing for me.

I was getting ready to do bike route recon by vehicle when I discovered I lost my vehicle key. Yes, my vehicle key! My first concern was "Oh no, I promised pa naman my teammates we shall all do this recon together." Bummer. My vehicle was also the de facto vehicle for our support team who rode the bus to cheer for us. I knew it was a panic situation, but I did my best to calm down and resolve the problem. Boy it must have taken a lot of calories to calm myself down. I methodically retraced my steps, twice, on the sprawling grounds of CWC. I suspected the constant walking in CWC before race day  last year was the cause of my odd, race morning, wake-up cramp the race before, and here I was spanning the area again. At the same time, I was fighting the thought that I would lose my precious vacation and recovery time riding the bus home to get the spare key and going back to fetch my vehicle. I asked the CWC tiki hut housekeeping and the wakeboard desk if they found anything, but tough luck, there was nothing. I went to the front desk and reported the loss, and requested them to instruct guards to keep watch on my parked vehicle and prevent anyone from driving it out. What the guard said was like cold Gatorade on a parched summer run:  "Sir, yung kasamahan namin may nakitang susi."   I lost about 1.5 hrs searching for the key, but I was glad to know there is still a God.

My misfortune has not completely ran its course, however. After lunch, I suddenly realized how tired I was after that key search and how stupid I was not in not opting to get the cabana key from my roommate who went out of CWC for lunch. About 1.5hrs before bike check-in time, I finally got the chance to prepare my transition bags and get my bike for a test ride. In the middle of my packing I decided to squeeze in the test ride. I was out all of five minutes when I discovered I was locked out of the cabana. My friends thought I was already out to check in. Oh no!  I survey the long bike check-in line looking for my roommate. I did this twice but for the life of me I could not find him. I asked acquaintances but nobody saw him. I was desperate as it was getting dark and the race briefing was about to start At last I saw a familiar face whom I know also knows my roommate. I boldly introduced myself and asked if he could call our friend. Finally I got the key and in 5 minutes tops I finished my transition bag packing.

Harassed, I hurriedly checked in my stuff. Once done, I went back to the cabana and I was fumbling through  my shorts when an ugly reality reared it head again. I lost the room key this time. I retraced my steps again, including going back to transition area. I was distraught. Here I was just crashing in my friend's cabana and I had the stupidity to lose the cabana key. I went back to the front desk to report the loss. Good thing the housekeeping staff found the key on the grounds. In my haste I dropped from my shallow shorts pocket the cabana key.

I missed the race briefing, but I went my way out to have pre-race dinner with teammates in Magsaysay Avenue. Dinner was good, but I had to excuse myself early as I was almost ready to doze off in my seat. My teammate Sid was kind enough to bring me back to CWC, and Philip, a physical trainer, was very thoughtful in  giving my tired self some good stretch.

Good luck to me on race day.

(to be continued)


Jinoe August 17, 2011 at 10:59 AM  

Naku Rico. Susi na lang nawala pa. :P Excited sobra.

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