Wednesday, August 18, 2010

 Are you ready?

I have been asked and I have asked that question innumerable times, more frequent as the days count down to Cobra 70.3 Half-Ironman in August 22. The best response I've got so far is from Mari Javier, who retorted with practical wisdom: “Can you really be ready?” That was already running wonder and fast-rising duathlete/triathlete Mari speaking.

So am I ready? I wanted to say yes, for I have been dreaming about this since January 2009. I spent 2009 building the courage to sign up, and the last 8 months of 2010 facing up to the challenge. Eight freakin' months! That's 70.6kms of swimming, 1,842kms of cycling and 655kms of running since January 3, 2010. I can no longer recall how many 2km-swims I have done and how many 90km rides I've made, but I do know I've never been this dark in my whole life.

I have structured a training plan individually customized for my personal goals, character traits, strengths and weaknesses. A plan grounded on science (yes I poured over sports journals – no, not the magazines, but those venerable kinds peer-reviewed by sport scientists). A plan enriched by the personal experience of others. It was a plan meant for a strong finish with a smile, not necessarily a fast one. It was a plan mirroring the philosophy that major races are epic journeys, not just one day accomplishments. It was a plan that slowly builds up while allowing myself to actually enjoy the process. And what a journey it has been.

In a few days time my journey ends. I hope it culminates with a rapturous experience. On Sunday I will know if I have been a smart athlete or a foolish one. With my unorthodox training plan, well-meaning friends have advised me to avoid over-training. I wanted to be defensive and say, “ I may bike or run long, but I do not overtrain,” but I quietly heeded their advice and watched my recovery days. I slowly built up my endurance to aggressive distances, and aggressively followed a resting schedule.

After days or sometimes weeks of rest I actually feel my body rearing to go at it again. I felt this best in my runs. The more I cut back and rest, the stronger and a tad faster do I get. I broke my 10K run PB on what was supposed to be a day-after brick run, and I finally nailed a real 21k negative split in the Rexona run, again a supposed after-bike, day-after run. For the first time in 2 years, I am running without injury or physical concerns. Best part is I am actually enjoying the runs. Is this peaking?, I would ask myself. Part of me wants to rejoice and proclaim, “Yehey, my plan seems to be working!”. Pragmatic part of me says that running after a 90k ride in the noontime sun is an entirely different matter. I will be content if I can run 80% of the course.

Am I ready? I am ready only in the sense that I have done what needs to be done according to my training plan. But a race has a life of its own – with some factors not entirely within one's control. I have done countless mass swim starts, simulated chaos in the pool, and front-sighted in deep, dark, green pools, but nothing can prepare me fully for the electrifying/terrifying spectacle that is the CWC lake swim start. Truth is, although I consider myself a water baby, and I have clocked way below the 1:10 swim cut-off for a 2K swim, there is still that possibility that a swim incident can happen and I will end up not making it to cut-off. When that happens, I will be devastated, moreso because swimming is my (relatively) strongest suit.

Am I ready? For this race I braved and won some road battles. For several weeks I built courage in the safe confines of Daang Reyna, until one weekend I claimed my stake on Daang Hari and proclaimed myself a King of the Road. How I did it is a blog post of its own, but I leave for Camsur with that confidence that finally I am biking on real, open roads. I am village biker no more! With the help of a fast-forward seatpost and a crotch cradle that is Adamo saddle, I finally learned to love the aerobars. I am no master yet on those balancing metal beams, but I am hopeful that maybe on at least a third of the bike course, I will be on aero position.

I am equipped for busted inner tubes, but how does one prepare for a broken chain, a busted rear derailleur, a broken crank, a wheelset that misaligned from a bad fall? The bike legs scare the hell out of me for the possibilities for misfortunes are greater. But I really hope to rise above that worry and enjoy the more than 3 hours I will be on the saddle. Bike safety I pray for all.

Yes, I am ready to see if my hours of labor will bear fruit. Yes I am ready for the challenge and the spectacle. Yes I am ready to be inspired and inspire.

I do not know how long it will take and in what manner it will go, but I am ready for the adventure – the highs and the lows. So help me God.

It is by sheer will that I signed up and trained for this race, but only by your grace will I finish this. Glory onto You. May Your light shine upon us all.


jetpaiso August 19, 2010 at 12:13 AM  

wishing you and all of our friends the best of luck. God's blessings be with you all from start to finish. enjoy the race, and will wait for your story.

Julius August 19, 2010 at 12:20 AM  

Good luck and Godspeed, Rico! May you finish safely. Looking forward to reading the account, and seeing you back at the races soon.

Anonymous August 19, 2010 at 7:33 AM  

goodluck boss rico....


Bro J August 19, 2010 at 7:38 AM  

God bless you bro! Continue to focus on the author and finisher of our faith, our God.

:) August 19, 2010 at 7:58 AM  

Hi Rico,
I am sure you can do it! Go! good luck this coming sunday and enjoy CamSur.
I remember when I did my first marathon- these words from the book "the Alchemist" were in my mind
"And when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it."
Your training, your heart will take you there.

All the best,

journeyingjames August 19, 2010 at 9:52 AM  

go go go sir rico! stay safe and have good transitions!

bridget August 19, 2010 at 10:38 AM  

good luck! :)

Amado L. Castro, Jr. August 19, 2010 at 10:47 AM  

You are ready Rico and we all wish you well! In your solitude during the race think of all of us and extract energy to bring you to the finish line.

Unknown August 19, 2010 at 12:18 PM  

The race has not began and yet I already feel tingles down my spine with the ever present tears in my eye whenever I read SheerWill.

We had our conversations about relishing the journey and the race itself as merely being the next step.

Your next step is now. You will start it, HE will finish it.

Anonymous August 20, 2010 at 12:23 AM  

Goodluck Goodluck Goodluck !!!

Mark 9:23 All thing are possible for those who BELIEVE


you prepare well God has seen it

I remember when you told a story to me before when you started to learn to swim you almost drown a kid

now you serve to all of us an inspration to focus on our goal weakness & to do multisport =)

Be safe... don't foget to enjoy what you are doing =) have fun at CAMSUR !



Unknown August 20, 2010 at 9:10 AM  

yes, you are ready!


doc lyndon August 20, 2010 at 9:12 AM  

Good Luck bro. May the Lord and the Force be with you on Race Day. Take Care!

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