Friday, February 19, 2010

Half-iron Dreams

On January 14, 2010 I finally registered for the Cobra Ironman 70.3 Triathlon.

  1.2 miles of swimming
56.0 miles of cycling
13.1 miles of running
70.3 miles of racing
8 hrs to test oneself.
To test oneself. What an expensive way to test myself. Usd183.75 for solo registration fee, a couple hundreds more for accommodation and food expenses. But the expenses only serve to magnify the seriousness of my pursuit. Seven years after I first joined a triathlon on a whim and a dare, and 2 years after consistently immersing myself in the sport, I want to try IT. After finishing several mini-sprints and sprint triathlons without time pressure, I want to know if I can do a half-ironman within the requisite 8 hrs.
Two years ago I do not even know what 70.3 means. For the longest time I cringed at the thought of calling myself a triathlete. I swim long, bike slow and run even slower. At best I consider myself a recreational triathlete, for that is what I really am. Tri-ing for the sheer fun of completing the challenge. This time I want to focus on the Athlete. I want to be a TriAthlete.  Not the kind that stands on podiums, but the kind that knows his body and mind well, and has the ability to use them – refine them -  to achieve physical and mental feats. I see beauty, nobility and fulfillment in that pursuit. That lifelong pursuit to use our God-given gifts to improve ourselves and help others. Like iron on the anvil, I wish to subject myself to heat and pounding - in the hope of getting stronger, better and useful.
I dreamed about doing the Ironman the first time I saw the Team Hoyt video. A retired man pushing his disabled adult son to complete several full Ironmans. If the dad can do it, surely I can do it too. I very rarely cry but my eyes did get misty watching that video. I have admired Team Hoyt since then, and developed fondness for the local running version here that is Team Logan. The closest I’ve reached to the Team Hoyt dream was running the Subic Marathon with Team Logan.

Team Hoyt ( from Google images)

Team Logan with Sheer Will 
Photo by Aileen Eway
When I registered, there was a part that asked about one’s triathlon achievements. For a while the thought that I was not good enough to even join the race did cross my mind. But my name did appear shortly on the athletes list. I was overjoyed like a child getting his first bike. That was it. I am a participant now. A wannabe. An aspirant. After missing the inaugural version in 2009 I am finally in. Back then in 2009 I figured I should be a better runner first. I exchanged the half-iron dream for the marathon dream. My marathon did help me – I sped up a little and got considerably stronger in endurance. My marathon pursuit also taught me lessons that I could carry on to my half-iron pursuit. About what true competition and being an athlete really mean. About the value of motivation, friendship and good will in transforming the daunting into do-able.
A dreamer. That is what I am. An average guy who fulfills his dream one swim drill at a time, accelerating on his bike a kilometer per hour at time, and running after the half-mary goal one PR at a time. What I lack in innate speed I make up with endurance, creativity and an indomitable spirit. On hindsight, the liempo tempo runs, hopia LSDs, Biggest Loser Contest (BLC) Seasons 1 & 2, the Wednesday Swim Nights,  the Sheerwill Aquathlon Cups (SWAC) editions 1-4, and the planned Century Rides were conscious or unconscious attempts to come closer to the half-iron dream. I owe Gingerbreadman Luis my improvement in run pace from a lazy 8min/km to 7min/km. I organized LSDs and joined LSDs organized by others. I goaded Gerard and other people to join me in my quest to lose weight. I had hoped to inspire others, but I ended up being inspired by BLC winners Bryan and Allan, and my fellow contenders. In countless swim nights we simulated mass starts and thrashing in the water. I initiated SWAC to encourage newbie friends, but in SWAC I found other multi-sports friends who push and pull me in our collective half-iron quest. I am banking on the same pool of good will for our Century Bike Ride series, for this time I sorely need to go the distance and speed up my biking.
Half-ironman Dreams. Dreams are not free. They are paid with your time, sweat and pains. I but continue to dream just the same. I go there to Camsur with body made better by sheer training and with a heart that has always been burning brightly. If there is no cut-off time I know I can finish the challenge. But I really hope to finish within cut-off time and get a finisher’s medal as reward. I can swim 2kms now under 1 hr, bike at 25-27kph on the average for distance of up to 60kms, and run half-mary at 2:32 best. I have dotted my race calendar with a flurry of half-marathons, hoping to lower my Personal Best with each major race. I have devoted my Saturdays for long bike rides – slowly picking up speed and distance in the process. I have considered getting coaching sessions.  On race day I do not know what will happen. Will my goggles get kicked off my face? Will my tires go flat? Will my legs cramp? I do not know. The only thing I am certain is that I have a dream and I live to pursue that dream at the moment. I would leave Camsur certain that this average guy dared to dream, worked hard for it, and tried. So help me God.


jetpaiso said...

i firmly believe, that dreams were planted by God in our hearts, for us to pursue. God knows our hearts more than ourselves, and He delights whenever we nourish what He had planted.

i am happy for you bro, in pursuing your dream, and in God's grace, you will magnify His glory as you finish and fulfill your half-iron dream.

God bless you my friend! ngayon pa lang, i'm so proud to be your friend and brother!

Julius Cervantes said...

From one average guy to another - Godspeed, Rico! Can't wait to draw inspiration from your forthcoming half-ironman finish.

Anonymous said...

What I lack in innate speed I make up with endurance, creativity and an indomitable spirit.

nice one bro. I feel you on this one!

Anonymous said...

Good luck on your half-ironman, Rix. Ibang level na ito, ah. I know you'll be able to hurdle this new challenge. See you soon!

ronald said...

with your "sheerwill" and determination, i know you will cross that finish line under 8 hours. and i hope to be there to witness it. good luck, boss rico!

Anonymous said...

Hello Rico!

Remember the saying "a winner is a dreamer who never gave up"

Ray Abenojar

Rico Villanueva said...

Hey Jet, Divine-planted dreams. I like that. All the more reason to chase and work for the dream :-)

Yes Julius, Long Live the Average Guy! Haha.

Morgan, we will all get there. :-)

Hey Rene, oo nga ibang level na ito. Hoping to level up :-)

Kaya natin 'to, Hoff Ronald (teka, parang Milo yon ah). Ano ba ang tag line ng IM 70.3?

Hey Ray, good thing I do not give up easily. Thanks :-)

Neil said...

Hey Rico,

Your name name, "SheerWill", says it all.

You will defintely finish this in less than the cut-off time.

Good luck with your training!

Ian said...

8hrs? knowing you, I'm sure you can finish with that time if you do it next week! T minus Camsur HIM is exactly 6months.. With your focus and determiniation, by that time, you'd be in the condition to do the Full IM..

jayrulezzz said...

rico, i know you can do it...salamat! you are the one who introduced swimming to im hooked..sana sa susunod bike naman...goodluck!

Anonymous said...

Hey man, Good luck and godspeed! Looking forward to your success story. I'm a wannabe too, so your feat will be an inspiration to me and to many. I'll be cheering for you.

Rico Villanueva said...

Hey, Ian. Finish in 8hrs by next week. Haha. Thanks for the vote of confidence anyway. Kaibigan nga kita. Yeah, we have six months to prepare. This blog posts signals the start of that long preparation. Kitakits sa practices idol!

Hey Earl, one event at a time. Kaya yan! Sali ka Ateneo Aquathlon, ha.

Thanks Gleeman Macky. I sure hope to succeed. For myself and all the wannabes :-)

Unknown said...

Good luck Rico! I myself have started dreaming. But I don't think I can do a 70.3 yet. I always look forward in joining your training sessions.

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Anonymous said...

All the best with this dream, Rico. I'm sure it will prove to be an amazing(ly fun) experience with all the requisite pain and drama and hoots of personal triumphs...and I'm just talking about the training here! Haha! The 70.3 race itself, nothing short of awesome! ;D. See you in Cam Sur!

Gingerbreadman said...

Ricow, with all of the effort you have put into training and nutrition, you are primed for this my friend. We will be supporting you all the way, no matter what the outcome will be triathlete man :)

Rico Villanueva said...

Hey Jan, there is always next year. See you around in training sessions.

Thanks Anonymous :-)

Idol Mesh!!! Yeah, I look forward to all of that, in training and on the race itself. See you in that Camsur playground :-)

JavyO said...

Props to you for signing up Rico!

I have no doubt you will be able to finish...and finish strong!

Email/Chat me anytime you need some help buddy. I'm no veteran but I would gladly share what I have learned thru my forays.

Enjoy the journey...

Rico Villanueva said...

Hey IdolJavy! Good luck too on your Full Ironman quest!

Yeah, I will email/chat you one of these days. Thanks!

Josiah said...

Hi Rico! you can do it! we'll be praying for you and your success.

I'm also targeting half ironman next year. For now we are fellow competitors on the swim part of half-ironman. Let's finish the race and keep the Faith.

I hope to train with you sometime on wednesdays. Thanks for encouraging us. :)

God bless.

Anonymous said...

Very nice and intrestingss story.