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El Nido, Palawan with the family

We just got back from 4 amazing days in El Nido. I wanted to treat the husband and the little one to a vacation that they won't forget and this trip definitely nailed it. I wanted to thank my husband for tolerating my cycling madness. It's not easy being married to someone like me who tells her husband after a stressful day at work, "honey, you better shape up as i have just signed us up for Race Across America." *wink*


beautiful El Nido!

On a more serious note, I have been wanting to show my husband how beautiful Palawan is ever since he decided to move to the Philippines from Singapore. It's been pretty hectic the past few months but I made it a point to schedule this vacation this month. I wanted to reward the husband for a job well done in delivering one of the biggest global projects of Deutsche Bank this year. He has been working very long hours and I've seen how dedicated he is to his work. On days when he's not working, he makes sure to spend it with me and Bella.


the little one and me in Funkita!

It was perfect timing when I received an email from Vany regarding a big promotion extended to the French Chamber of Commerce regarding packages and discounts for the El Nido Resorts in Palawan. Last time I was in Palawan was 10 years ago and I stayed at El Rio Y Mar in Busuanga for 4 amazing days. Anyway, I immediately booked a 4-day package at Pangulasian Island, the eco-luxury island resort in Bacuit Bay, El Nido.


melts my heart... daddy and bella bonding :)

Pangulasian Island didn't disappoint. We love all the activities, the service and the details in the resort. We were upgraded from the Canopy Villa to a Beach Villa (Thanks to the French Chamber!) with our very own beachfront. There were a lot of things we did... the Lagoon tours, the sunset hike, walking around El Nido Town, island hopping, feeding the Jack Fish in Miniloc Island, snorkelling and many more. The 4 days was just perfect as we got to do all these activities with so many time spent just bumming around, sleeping in, napping, lounging by the pool and just killing time by the beach. What's great about staying at Pangulasian is that the food is amazing and it felt so exclusive that we barely saw other guests during our stay there. Peace and Quiet.


family time!

We bonded a lot as a family which was the main objective of this trip. Bella was so excited to play on the beach and in the pool. The resort provided her with so many toys that kept her so busy. She enjoyed walking around and bumping into the big monitor lizards. I was quite impressed that she wasn't scared of them at all. She loved playing with the sand and chasing the small crabs running around. She had her fair share of "daddy time" and "mommy time". Colin had a ball snorkelling and was so impressed with the diversity and the abundance of sea creatures he saw. :)


family time take 2!

Now that we're back in Manila, I can't help but look forward to our next beach trip. It's been truly amazing just to be away from the chaos in the city and the daily grind. I am truly grateful for the gift of family and I am definitely looking forward to our next family adventure. :)
We have just concluded the last Audax ride for the 2016 season (October 31, 2015-November 1, 2016). We had a total number of 274 registered participants. 133 out of the 159 participants finished the 200km audax while 107 out of 115 finished the 300km audax well within the corresponding cut-off times.


scenes from the start of the ride

We had the worst weather from start to finish in the 6-year history of Audax Randonneurs Philippines. It was raining very hard at the start of the ride and we all had to endure the ankle-deep flooding at the start. It was pretty sketchy starting a bike ride in the dark, with flooding on the roads and not knowing where the potholes are. The rain was relentless as it practically rained all throughout the ride. I've never seen this happen before. I heard a lot of people who had mechanical issues during the ride (from being forced to use a single-speed, front derailleur problems, multiple tire punctures, and many more!). My husband had to abandon the ride as he was feeling sick when we arrived at the first checkpoint and I was forced to abandon my 300km audax buddies. (Sorry, guys! My mantra has always been, "Marriage over cycling!") We had a couple of accidents and even one of the biggest to date. Mr. Nelson Negrite was already in Castillejos as he was hit by a 6-wheeler truck from behind and was even dragged for a few meters. :( (Update: He has already undergone 2 surgeries for titanium implants and is now recovering. He said he can't wait to be biking again!)


happy people in the audax :)

But the spirit of audax riding was alive last weekend. At the beginning of the ride, I was already warning everyone that if they are not confident riding through the rain, they can back out and I would be happy to return their money. No one was budging. I was very impressed. In fact, I even heard shouts of glee as people cycled through the rain. The many photos and videos shared showed that a lot of randonneurs found joy in the challenges that came their way during the ride. The people I saw at the checkpoint in Cabangan were just full of positive energy ready to tackle the rest of the distance. I heard so many stories of people helping their fellow riders.


audax riders in action!

I saw a lot of old and new faces who are all inspiring in my book. Kenneth Romero rode with his 60-year old father, Gaspar Romero, and tackled their first 200km distance together on their Fat Bikes! Randonneurs are getting better and better as I saw the 300km Audax record broken by 17-year old Joshua Mari Bonifacio with a time of 9 hours and 34 minutes (inclusive of all 4 control point stops and with pedal problems!). We have some new additions in the Couples Who Audax section that are just truly inspiring for those who want to try the audax with their better halves. Everyone, and even those who didn't finish within cut-off, braved the elements last Saturday and showed a lot of mental and physical toughness. I couldn't be any prouder.


epic ride finishers!

As we close the 2016 Audax season, I would like to commend the 56 Super Randonneurs from the Philippines duly recognised by Audax Club Parisien. These men and women have officially completed the Audax series (200km, 300km, 400km and 600km rides) well-within the 2016 season. There are only a few Super Randonneurs in the country and I am very proud to have known each one of you. To date, we also have 506 Audax Addicts, individuals who have 2 or more official audax rides under their belt. Congratulations! :)


epic ride finishers!

Before I end this post, I would like to thank each and everyone who joined me on that fateful Saturday morning where we had the harshest weather conditions at the start of the ride. Thank you to the David's Salon crew who worked tirelessly and have been up for more than 24 hours to ensure everything is all ready and all control points are covered. Thank you to our very own Delfin Garciano who watched over Mr. Negrite in the hospital until his teammates arrived. Thank you to David Charlton for his unconditional support for Audax Philippines. Thank you to Ms. Jola Gonzales, who is enjoying her well-deserved vacation in Eruope, for helping in the preparation. We felt the love even if you are not with us physically. Last but not the least, thank you to my girls (Vany Bandoy Hans, Rachel van Klaveren, Annie Fallorin Abdon, Shai Dionela and Pebrero Dos) who helped in the registration and in welcoming all the finishers. :)


audax finishers!

Rest and recover well, randonneurs! And see you in December! :)

P.S. More photos can be found HERE.

P.P.S. Photos from the cameras of Alvin Quilingan, Clarisse Marte, Cyrk Ryan Lim, Don Fernando, Ed Ambida, Eleazar Samalca, Ferdinand Bautista, Hatta Dimaporo, Jason Delos Reyes, Jay-R Zapco, Jeremy Deanon, Jonas Bernales, Jonathan Miranda, Jonnel Cruz, Jose Trini Evangelista, Julius Buen, Jward Cruz, Kenneth Romero, Lito Anchores, Maynard Choi Degollacion, Carmela Pearson, Michael Lafuente, Onez Suena, Patrick Duruin, Patty Bellido, Rebecca Reyes, Rainier Paywan, Rey Baldwin Hernandez, Rick Tamayo, Russel Perez, Ryan Macalong, Sean Ilaguison and Shindee Franco

impromptu dinner at a new Italian find

Thanks to Vany, we discovered a new Italian restaurant today in the BGC area. After a longer-than-expected meeting in Makati and braving the 1-hour traffic from Makati to BGC, I was famished. I was just supposed to have a "light" dinner but when I saw the menu of Salvatore Cuomo, I started salivating and just went for a really big meal. :D


lovely dinner with the husband and athlete-friends :)

We managed to enjoy their house bread, the caprese salad, a pasta dish, a pizza to share, their big Bistecca Florentina and some dessert. It's been awhile since I had a nice Italian meal in the city and this definitely nailed it! What a nice ending to a busy hectic weekday! :)

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Back in April of this year, I signed up for the Gran Fondo New York (GFNY) Indonesia with my Team Cycledelic teammates. I've missed riding with my Singapore cycling team and saw this as a great excuse to have a nice race-cation with them. As far as I'm concerned, I wasn't race-fit (quite rusty actually!) but was pretty much excited to visit a new location and do what I love most... cycle! :)


180km route of the race

So why do the Gran Fondo New York (GFNY) Indonesia? I haven't done a proper cycling road race in 4 years and this seems like a nice comeback race. I've never been to Lombok, known as Bali's pristine sister island, but have heard of the amazing cycling culture in this part of the country. The governor of the island himself is an avid cyclist. Given that I'm into long-distance cycling, the 180km distance with some really hilly sections works in my favour! And last but not the least, I love Gran Fondos! I really enjoyed the Gran Fondo Marmotte in the French Alps last July that I got really excited to do another one that is internationally recognised. Good thing is that GFNY Indonesia is also a qualifying race for the Campagnolo Gran Fondo New York in 2017. If I qualify, this should be a good excuse to go to New York next year. *wink*


elevation of the race course

We wanted this to be a nice race-cation so we opted to stay away from the racing crowd and decided to stay somewhere nicer than the race hotel. Good thing Marlene, probably the OC-est and most organised in my team, booked us at Qunsi Villas. It was such a nice place as we felt so relaxed. It didn't feel like we were there to race at all. Morning views of the beautiful pools with the sea as a backdrop were spectacular. I enjoyed a lazy easy breakfast watching surfers in the lineup and some riding their waves. We managed to squeeze in a spa session as well!


my morning breakfast view :)

We had a nice villa for the 4 of us. The food was incredible. We practically ate all our meals there and skipped the meals provided by the organisers. Dinners were great with an Indonesian buffet spread on the first night and an Italian buffet spread on the 2nd night. The antipasti spread was to die for as they served fresh mozzarella, juicy tomatoes and fresh ricotta cheese! Oh! And the burgers were superb! I had 2 burgers during our stay at Qunsi!


beachfront of Qunsi Villas in Lombok

On our first morning in Lombok, we decided to do an easy spin of just 20km to check the bikes and ride a portion of the course. Our short recon gave us an idea of the climbs (with more than 15%) and the quality of the roads, that hopefully won't shock our system during the race itself. It was nice to know that the coastal roads were nicely paved and that the views were fantastic. We bumped into a lot of locals and a local lady cyclist who was so friendly and even requested to take a photo with us. So sweet! :)


cycling chicks building their own bikes :)

The girls and I woke up early on race day. It was still pitch dark as we cycled from our hotel to the start of the race. Being an inaugural race, the start of the race was a bit chaotic. We registered as VIPs to be put in the first coral as we wanted to be in the peloton in front. There wasn't any security and checks done whether one does really belong to the VIP coral or not. The start was also a bit late than promised which irked me a bit. Our flight back to Singapore was in the afternoon after the race so I am a bit sensitive with any delays.


the dinner buffet spread at Qunsi Villas: Indonesian for Day 1 and Italian for Day 2

When the race finally started, I got excited. It's been a long while since I've done a proper road race. I have forgotten how much exhilarating it is to attack, close the gaps, chase and just pushing oneself in a road race! We were initially thinking of finishing in 10 hours but boy did we race it! I managed to stay with the lead pack in the first 60km of the race. It was lung busting and legs were screaming. On the 60th kilometre, I realised that there are only 3 of us girls in the peloton and we have dropped the 30 or so women who have registered for the race. It was intense but was glad to hang on to the group until the climbs. By the time we hit the long climbs, my legs were spent and felt powerless. I must have pushed too hard trying to keep up and suffered the consequences. My roommate and friend, Colleen Ang, caught up with me and we managed to work together until we hit the steepest climbs of the race.


scenes before the gunstart

It was pretty humbling as I had to tell Colleen to go ahead and leave me behind as I had to walk these 33% sections. I've never walked and pushed my bike in the Gran Fondo Marmotte last July and that had 4 big mountains in the alps! Come to think of it, I've never really had to walk and push my bike in any of the road races I've done in the past. I thought I was screwed as some women started overtaking me on these sections (walking as well!). I thought I was done for. But I focused on recovery. There's still a long way ahead of us and I know I still have a shot if I can recover. I took it easy, started to be more aware of my nutrition and regulated my breathing. There was a 25km flat section where I managed to draft and recover well before we hit the final climbs. I started overtaking people in the climbs and started to feel good. I caught up with Colleen, who was running 4th female, and we worked together for awhile. By the time we hit the climbs, she let me go and I just went for it.


sweet victory!

The girls and I agree that GFNY Indonesia is one of our toughest road races to date with 180km of hilly and rolling terrain. My strava data only registered the first 142km of the ride before it ran out of battery. It would have been nice to analyse my data for the entire course. Anyway, the team did very well today with our Team Cycledelic Team Captain, Christina Liew, finishing 3rd fastest woman overall. Colleen Ang topped her age category. And I managed to top the 18-39 age category with a time of 6 hours and 45 minutes and be the 4th fastest woman in the field.


always a great time with my Team Cycledelic girls :)

It has been a crazy-amazing weekend. I had a great time with my teammates (Chris, Colleen and Marlene Chan). There were just so many laughter and stories shared. We had a great adventure even up to the last minute we left Lombok! Traffic was so bad and we arrived at the airport with just 25 minutes before our international flight back to Singapore! I still can't believe we were able to pull that off!

Anyway, I'm now back in Singapore and about to sleep. I can't wait to get back to my dear husband and my little one. Hopefully, I'll recover well enough for the 300km Audax next weekend! :)

off to my 1st road race in 4 years!

Off to Indonesia for the qualifying race of the Campagnolo Gran Fondo New York 2017. This is going to be a painful 180km of road racing on hilly terrain in the beautiful island of Lombok. Let's just hope the volcano behaves itself and lets us all have an epic ride. :) I can't wait to be racing with my Singapore cycling team mates again! It's been way too long! :)

loving funkita!

Loving this 2-piece ensemble by HERE! I may not be a swimmer by heart, but these suits make me excited to hit the pool on a rainy afternoon. They make me feel I belong to the water even if I'm considered a non-swimmer. :D Grab your own funkita swimsuit and order them through the Neptune Actives Facebook page. :)


really loving this 2-piece swim suit! :)

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I used to ride in Sierra Madre almost every week. It's my favourite training ground as it is just near the house and riding here is always a quality training ride. It never gets easier no matter how many times I've done this in the past. I can't believe it's almost been 3 months since I rode here, which was even before I left for Europe in June.


happy to be riding in Sierra Madre again :)

Anyway, the husband is in London for a business trip but I wanted to make the most out of my weekends so I just had to ride. I sent out an email to the "usual suspects" and was glad to know that some were available to ride on a Sunday. I wasn't sure how my fitness level would be like. I have been training mostly indoors lately without any climbing because of Challenge Vietnam. I'm in cramming mode now as I have a long and hilly race coming up in just a few days in Indonesia.


always an informative session with Tritech Fitters! :)

Surprisingly, I felt good all throughout the ride and managed to keep up with the fast climbers in the group. I didn't feel powerful on the bike though but since I lost some weight from all the triathlon training the past few days, my power-to-weight ratio must have improved. Anyway, it was a great day to ride and we managed to finish before lunchtime. :)


Rudy and Timmy of Tritech Fitters... ang sweet!

After a quick lunch at home, I headed off to Tritech Fitters for my time trial bike adjustments. Saul was there and we got to discuss through the Performance Manager Chart with Chronic Intensity Load and the importance of tracking data to get the balance between fatigue, fitness and form/freshness to optimize performance on your target race or sportive. Honestly, I was never really into numbers when it comes to training. While I use a power meter for my indoor training, I opt not to have one when doing my long rides. I also rarely use my garmin and strava account as I rather focus on enjoying the ride rather than being consumed by the numbers. :)

Anyway, I feel that today was a great day... so productive and informative! Let's hope I survive my race next weekend!
I used to follow the theatre scene in the country before. I've been very busy the past few years that I haven't really had time to check out what's showing in town. Fortunately, I had my dental appointment a few weeks ago and my dentist, who is a very hands-on mom, mentioned that Repertory Philippines is staging the musical "Hansel and Gretel" for toddlers in Greenbelt 1. She highly suggested that Bella watch it as it's only an hour long (inclusive of intermission) and is quite entertaining.


Bella with her Ninang Nina :)

Since Colin is on business trip in Europe for the week, I decided to call on one of my very good friends and Bella's godmother, Nina, to accompany me and Bella to watch the matinee showing of Hansel and Gretel. We saw the musical this afternoon and it was such an amazing experience for my little one. Without inhibitions at her age, it's quite fascinating to see her go through a range of emotions all throughout the show. She was really happy during the light moments of the show but got quite scared whenever the witch started to sing. It was comforting to know that a lot of toddlers were going through the same roller coaster of emotions and I'm not the only parent in the audience trying to pacify my baby.

It was indeed a great afternoon spent with Nina and Bella. It was like an extension of Bella's birthday celebration and it's nice for her to experience something new. Now that I can see she has basic appreciation of a musical, I can't wait to watch another one with her soon. :)
We had a record number of 390 registered participants. 332 out of 365 of the participants in the 200km ride finished while 22 out of 25 for the 400km ride. To date, we have 466 Audax Addicts (those who have done 2 or more official audax rides) and 16 Super Randonneurs (SR) in the country. There are still 41 folks who are vying for SR status and we might actually see another record number of SRs for the Philippines in 2016.


scenes before the 3am start



scenes before the 3am start

We saw the biggest gathering of randonneurs in the Philippines in last weekend's Audax. It has been a very eventful ride. The riding conditions were definitely not ideal. We all battled through the dark scary roads of Zambales at 3am. We all had to endure the heavy rain showers and the cold through most of the day. We had to be calculating in the descents and the slippery roads. We had so many accidents on the descents in Palauig and on the metal bridge before the town of Iba. Even my small band of Audax riders was not spared as we got into a multiple bike accident on a very slippery metal bridge in the dark. Yours truly had to abandon the ride as I suffered a mild neck whiplash, a bump in the head and some bruises up until now. I've heard of stories of first-time audax riders who were mentally and physically challenged and almost thought of quitting. The distance is challenging enough even for the seasoned cyclist and these conditions just made it tougher.


some riding photos

But despite all these challenges, the good still outweighs the bad. The previous record of ex-professional cyclist, Salvador S. Salvador (6 hours and 31 minutes) was broken by Jerry Guinsisana with a time of 6 hours and 15 minutes. I saw a lot of people finish well before lunchtime. I guess you can say that "these people ate a 200km bike ride for breakfast" last Saturday. A lot of Audax Addicts were beating their previous personal records. We saw the smallest wheel on a bicycle officially finish the 200km distance as Migs Mendoza, lead guitarist of the band Join The Club, finished using his girlfriend's foldie that has 14" wheels! We saw our resident Fatbike Super Randonneur, Ferdinand Estudillo Bautista, brave the 400km audax with his Fatbike as he prepares for an epic 1200km ride in Korea. I am still truly amazed by the tandem bike couple, Cyrk Ryan M. Lim and Natalie Grace Gestre, who finished the 400km distance well within the 27 hour cut-off. Last but not the least, I saw camaraderie among old and new friends flourish.


photos taken on my favourite bridge :)



photos taken on my favourite bridge :)

Friendships have been forged in last Saturday's ride and this is something that I myself truly value. I've always believed that one feels the most alive when one gets out of his/her comfort zone. It's a testament that we don't take our lives for granted. But to do such an activity with a friend makes it all the more memorable.


photos at the controls :)



photos at the controls :)

I would like to take this opportunity to thank David Charlton of David's Salon Inc. for his support ever since we started Audax riding in the country 6 years ago. Thank you to Ms. Jola Gonzales for her leadership over our dutiful marshals and staff. Thank you to the marshals who have been tirelessly working for more than 24 hours during the audax weekend. Lastly, thank you to my fellow Pinoy randonneurs who understands what these rides are about. Our growth in this sport is a testament of our deeper understanding on what long-distance cycling is all about and I am deeply honored to be riding with you all.

Until the next audax ride! :)


photos at the finish :)



photos at the finish :)



photos at the finish :)

P.S. Photos from the cameras of Alvin Bernales, Bowie Pascual, Carey Orbe, Dencio David, Emil Miranda, Erick Ureta, Ferdinand Bautista, Harry Penano, Javier Gonzalez, Jay Dy, Jema Ng, Jenny Guerrero, Jeonghun Lee, Joel Cortez, Julius Lopez, Kathy dela Masa, Kriska Sto. Domingo, Lilibeth Dy-Liacco, Longs Saldana, Mark Lucido, Maskedrider Kenneth, May Santos, Natalie Gestre, OJ Tiongson, Redg Plopinio, Reggie Reyes, Roger Sotto, Russel Perez, Sam Borromeo David, Wilfredo Martinez and Carmela Pearson.

P.P.S. More photos can be viewed HERE.
Leading up to this day, I have been both excited and nervous about Bella's birthday celebration in school. Most of the past birthday celebrations had packed fast-food meals from McDonalds or Jollibee and the corresponding themed loot bags. Themes have varied from Little Pony, Barbie, Finding Nemo, etc. It's my first time to host such a celebration in school and given the constraints (20 toddlers, 12 teachers and school staff and just 30 minutes of school time allotted to celebrate the birthday), I wanted to be different. I wanted to be unique. :)


Annie-themed sugar cookies, cupcakes, birthday cake and bento meals :)

I've been racking my brain for unique ideas and have finally come up with an Annie theme (from the famous 1980s musical). Annie was perfect as she is like Bella - cute, fun, loves music and with curly hair! I've been hunting for the perfect red dress for my little one and found one just 2 weeks before her birthday. As for meals and giveaways, I wanted to veer away from the usual fast-food meals, toys and candies.


one of the highlights of our morning :)

I've been researching for the past months and came across Bento Mommas. Everything fell into place as I later found out that their Quezon City kitchen is just 5 minutes away from my little one's school. This means, they can make the meals really fresh and I can just pick it up on my way to the school. True enough, the food was still warm by the time the kids sat down and ate their meals. I love what they have done with the bento meals with the Annie theme incorporated on the colour of the meal box used, the label sticker, the Annie face on top of the pasta and the Annie dress cookie. Aside from following the theme, the food was really good and was quite reasonably priced.


As for the loot bag, I put some little candies but added a customised red velvet cupcake, and a customised red dress sugar cookie. Thanks to Tintin's recommendation, I had everything made from Basti's Delicacies from Marikina and had them freshly delivered just an hour before I left for Bella's school. I also ordered a customised 6-inch cake for the candle blowing. Everything was "Just-In-Time" and was executed seamlessly. My husband was pretty impressed as he had no idea what I have been planning the past few days. We were equally impressed on how the school efficiently executed the gift-giving, the candle blowing, the meals itself and the distribution of loot bags all within 30 minutes! Needless to say, Bella felt extra special this morning and kept whispering to herself... "It's my birthday. And I have a lot of gifts!". :)

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Relaunching of All Terra Cyclery :)

What makes a good bike shop? Aside from having everything that a cyclist might need, it's the people behind it. Edmund and Salve are like family. I have been going to Allterra since 2007 and I am very glad to see it #retuned and #repacked for a better version of #allterra2016. Congratulations on your store opening and more power! :)

my little one is 3!

Time flies so fast and my little Bella is now 3! Now that she is in pre-nursery, she has a good idea of what a birthday is since they celebrate each student's birthday in school. For the past 2 weeks, we have been preparing her for her birthday. I've been singing to her and telling her what her birthday means. I want her to feel that we are truly grateful for having her in our lives. :)


We have no fancy celebrations for her this year. We just wanted an intimate lunch at the office today and then her birthday celebration in school with her classmates on Friday. What's cute is that she loved being sang for and she kept on saying, "again!" after blowing her birthday candle. This prompted us to sing "Happy Birthday" and for her to blow her candle 5 times! So cute! I can't wait for her mini school party on Friday where she will get to celebrate with her classmates and teachers. :)

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I never really considered myself a triathlete. I need to equally love the 3 disciplines that come with the sport to give justice to the word, "triathlete". Truth be told, I never really enjoyed the running. I never really trained for it nor have I ever found the love. I can't seem to get that "runner's high" that people are talking about. My last half-Ironman distance triathlon was roughly 7 years ago. It was the inaugural Ironman 70.3 in Camsur in August of 2009. I remember placing third in my age category. My whole team, Team David's Salon (TDS), was in full-force that year. I enjoyed that weekend in Camsur immensely not because of the race itself but because I was surrounded by such positive people in the sport.


our Challenge Vietnam family: TDS with Tito Tony and Redg

For the past years, I've devoted myself to cycling. I've gone past the usual cycling races and have found my love for long-distance cycling. I really don't know what went into my head for signing up for Challenge Vietnam. For me, it's definitely easier to do a sub-16 hour 400km audax ride than do a half ironman distance triathlon. But on a more serious note, when Joyette, our TDS team manager, was considering to do this triathlon early in the year, I was game to do it with her. When I found out that it was going to be organised by Eric Imperio, the more I got excited as my first ever triathlon back in 2007 was his famous White Rock half-ironman distance triathlon in Zambales. It was like going back to my roots where I started out in endurance sports. It was humbling and something I think of fondly even up to this day. I've also never been to Nha Trang, the beach capital of Vietnam. This is a good excuse to travel and see another side of the country that I have never seen. Much to my delight, my other TDS team mates were game to do this too! Kriska, Vany, Nina, Popo and I were game to represent Team David's Salon in this inaugural race. I managed to convince our good friend, Redg Plopinio, and my favourite uncle, Tito Tony, to join too! Our team manager, Ms. Jola, was also game! :) I may not be prepared for the race itself but I know I'll be looking forward to a fun weekend in Vietnam with this bunch! :D


getting lost in Nha Trang together!

It was good vibes all weekend! From all the eating, the walking, and catching up with familiar faces in the triathlon scene... I really had a great time! As for the race itself, many things have gone wrong. I was committing newbie mistakes one after the other. I was having pre-race jitters as I haven't really done any triathlons for the past 7 years! "This is going to be painful", I thought. I stared at the buoys in the open water and they looked so far away. It helped that I had a swim session with Popo and Tito Tony the day before but man... those buoys still looked far. And I had to swim around them twice! On my first loop, I was already cramping. I had to exert less effort on my kicks and just work with my upper body more. I managed to draft in most parts of the swim but when I got out of the water, I tripped because of severe cramping. It was a bit embarrassing as everyone on the beach saw me. Hahaha! I saw my time of 51-minutes and felt it was just too slow for a 1.9km swim. (Later on, I found out that the buoys have moved the night before and I actually swam at least 2.4km!) At this point, I have let go of lofty dreams of having a good time today. The terrible swim time and the early cramping were just enough reminders for me to take it easy and remove all pressure from this race.


just before the swim (photo credit: asiatri.com)

The bike leg went fairly smooth. I was overtaking a lot of people on the bike... even those who were 15-20 minutes ahead of me on the swim. The only people who lapped me were the male pro triathletes. What I just didn't like in the bike leg was the number of loops we had to do. I had to do 7 u-turns which can be quite confusing. I was so glad I brought my road bike instead of my time trial bike. However, I started to cramp again in the last 20km of the bike leg. I forgot some of my gels as I was rushing out of transition. Another newbie mistake! The last 10km was painfully slow and I hated it. When I finally got into transition, I was told that I was 10th fastest female age grouper.


grateful.

Since it was practically drizzling the entire day and I am so paranoid of getting blisters, I sat down in transition to clean my feet, put leucoplast tapes and petroleum jelly and then wear 2 pairs of socks. My transition time was awful and my teammates were screaming at me. They were saying, "are you knitting??? what fancy arts and crafts were you doing in transition???". (Later on, I found out that I spent more than 10 minutes in total transition time which was really awful! I should have spent only less than a minute. Oh well.). The run was long but quite enjoyable. I tried to amuse myself and meditate while on the run. I have no single competitive running bone in me and had no desire to chase the people ahead of me. I was grateful that the run course was cool and overcast. At this point, I was already enjoying the race and I thought that I should push myself a little bit more in the next race. Next thing I knew, I was entering the finisher chute and my teammates were all cheering for me. Vany even ran with me to the finish line! Our crazy bunch was present and lots of hugs and finisher photos were done. Oh! And I didn't have any chaffing or any blisters from the race! :)


Team David's Salon in the inaugural Challenge Vietnam :)

Ok, I'm not exactly a good role model when it comes to triathlons because I'm just awful in prepping for any multisport event. I committed so many mistakes pre and during the race itself. However, doing Challenge Vietnam was still a great experience. So many learnings and so many nice memories made with my dear Team David's Salon family and friends. We were surrounded by inspiring people this entire weekend.


so proud of Popo and Kriska for podium-finishing!

I can't help but be thankful for my swim coach and friend, Jenny Guerrero, for helping me prep for the swim. When we started a few weeks ago, I couldn't even do 1 lap without struggling so much. She helped me survive the 2.4km swim yesterday and still have energy to finish the race. Thank you to my coach, Justin Granger, who willingly took me under his wing with so many challenges to train me. I had very limited time to train given my day job and my family. I only had 7 weeks to train with zero swim and zero run for the past 7 years. Thank you for working with me given my odd endurance background. I was a triathlon coach's nightmare. :P His patience and guidance definitely helped and I am looking forward to work more especially now that we have this race as a baseline. Thank you to the organizers and to my fellow racers and all the amazing people I have met this weekend. Thank you to my dear husband, Colin Pearson, and the rest of my family for the support. :) Until the next one?


my Challenge Vietnam family :)
Oh no! What did we get ourselves into? I am having goosebumps as I write this post. It's official. The first ever relay team from the Philippines (and perhaps in Southeast Asia) will be doing Race Across America in 2017. Dubbed as the World's Toughest Bicycle Race, RAAM has been challenging ultracyclists from around the globe to push their physical and mental limits to the farthest reaches. Starting in Oceanside, under one of the longest piers in California, RAAM spans 3000 miles, climbs 175,000 feet, crosses 12 states and finishes in Annapolis, Maryland, the east coast sailing mecca. Let's hope to have the first Filipino finishers accomplish this momentous cycling event.


It's Official! Team David's Salon in RAAM!

long weekend with family and friends

Colin and I were supposed to spend the long weekend in Subic for my last heavy training weekend for Challenge Vietnam. It was a failure as we got rained out so badly. 2 of our friends crashed on the bike and the weather was just too grim. To top it all off, Colin and I saw the shark-infested movie USS Indianapolis at the Harbourpoint just before my supposedly open water swim training in the afternoon. The result? I couldn't wrap my head around swimming in the open water with zero visibility after watching a shark movie. All training plans were put to rest and I just accepted the fact that I won't get any decent training done in Subic. It wasn't all that bad though as I got to spend time with my husband and some training time with Cyril (who is training for Ironman Barcelona in October).


eating Jenny's yummy lemon squares

I didn't let the failed training weekend dampen my spirits though. I managed to still make the most of the weekend by doing some swim sessions with Jenny. She brought some freshly-baked lemon squares that I was just too happy to eat after a tough swim session. (I don't consider myself a good swimmer so all swim sessions I have are all considered "tough" in my book. Hehehe) :D


catching up with Nina and Joyette after their gym session

I also managed to squeeze in a short "chika" time with Nina and Joyette after their gym session last Sunday evening. It's always nice to catchup with friends even if some of the news shared are not that good. Just reconnecting and looking forward to things together are some of the things that excite me especially when done with friends. :)


swimming with the girls :)

Monday early morning was spent swimming with the girls, Luuk and Jenny's friends. We dominated the pool that morning which somehow looked like Jenny's swim squad. :) I was happy that Alan, one of Jenny's swimming friends from Alabang, was there to help me finish my pretty intense workout. Whew! Glad that's over! :)


last photo for one of our loyal sponsors, Rudy Project :)

All my training plans weren't executed well this weekend but I'm still happy to have some time training and catching up with the girls. I spent some quality time with the husband in Subic and got to train, even for awhile, with Cyril. I am now officially in panic-mode for my triathlon in 2 weeks' time. I don't know what I was thinking when I signed up for a half Ironman distance triathlon when I haven't even done a triathlon in more than 6 years! Worse, I haven't done any running and swimming in the past 6 years! Oh well... should be another adventure and I'm sure there will be lots of learnings in the process. :)
I don't know what went into my head when I signed up a few weeks ago to run in this morning's Sofitel 21km run. I've only started running 4 weeks ago. Prior to that, my last run was more than 5 years ago! It was a crazy endeavour but something I needed to do. I know it might seem premature but when my triathlon coach gave me the go-signal to sign up for it, I took that as an excuse to have a Sofitel staycation with Bella and Colin. Also, this would be a great activity as Nina and Andrea will be doing the run too. :)


Bella enjoying the playground :)

I had no idea how my body will take the 21km run. I've never ran that far in more than 6 years. The running is what made me quit triathlon a few years ago. I never seem to find the love for it. All I remember and dread are the chaffings, the blisters and the injuries that I got. I heeded Andrea's advise to apply petroleum jelly on my feet. I wore 2 pairs of socks. Since we're staying at the Sofitel, the hotel gave us bananas and water at the lobby before going to the race venue. I was with Arbie, Nina and Andrea at the starting line. It was all quite festive but I must admit that I was a bit nervous. A few seconds after the gun start, I dropped my gels 15 meters from the start and I had to go back for them. It was funny but quite scary as the sea of runners seemed like a stampede heading my way! Once I got my gels, I ran behind the 2:30 pacer to play it conservatively. I was having side stitches but I slowly overcame them as I remember Jenny teaching me to control my breathing just a few days ago. I stopped at each of the hydration aid stations fearing I may cramp as I forgot to bring my saltsticks. I ran a very conservative pace and felt strong after the 21km run. I reckon I could have tried running around a faster pacer but I'm still glad I played this one out conservatively. I had no blisters, no chaffing and no cramping. It was quite enjoyable especially when I saw Rio, Andrea and Arbie cheering me on just before the finish line. :)


21km Sofitel Run... done!

Doing the Sofitel Run was a great excuse to have a Sofitel staycation with family. I wanted to enjoy the hotel with my little one and my dear husband. Bella had a ball playing in the hotel's playground after we have checked in yesterday. We also spent most of the afternoon playing in the kiddie pool. Colin had a nice afternoon nap and had a leisurely time lounging by the pool bar. After my run, I still managed to have a nap before joining Colin and Bella for a sumptuous breakfast buffet at Spiral. It was a nice mini celebration for the morning's run. :)


bonding with these 2 is love :)

This weekend was awesome and hit 2 stones in 1. I got a good 21km workout and some quality bonding with the family. I am definitely looking forward to more weekends like this. :)

starting to have a feel of the water

For the past few weeks ever since I got back from Europe, I've been seeing my team mate and one of the country's best swimmers who has competed in the Sydney Olympics, Jenny Guerrero. We have been having 2 sessions per week so I can gain confidence swimming again. I know how to swim and I've done a couple of triathlons years ago but I wanted to be more efficient in the water. I wanted to swim properly. :)


Prior to swimming with Jenny, I struggle to even do 1 lap in our condo's pool. I am very thankful that Jenny took me in as a student and I can see the significant improvement of my strokes. I am still nowhere to be considered fast but I think I'm slowly getting more efficient with cleaner strokes. :)

Anyway, parking this video here for posterity. I am one big work in progress but definitely willing to learn and do better. :)

carissa's birthday lunch :)

Happiest birthday to one of my treasured friends, Carissa! :) I have very few friends from high school that I truly consider as great friends until now. We may not see everything eye-to-eye but I always respect her views. Aside from giving sound pieces of advice, I appreciate her brutally honest self and the thoughtfulness she puts in everything she says and does.


We have gone through quite a lot in the past 3 years but I'm happy to say that we have learned to accept and look forward to the brighter side of life. Here's to more friendship milestones! Thanks for the lunch treat! :)

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On September 11, 2016, my uncle and 2 of my team mates from Team David's Salon will be racing Challenge Vietnam as a relay team. Tito Tony will be swimming 2km, Vany will be cycling 90km and Nina will be running 21km for the benefit of the Amithaba Hospice in Auckland, New Zealand.


Please visit the team's Givealittle Website for more information and details on how to make a donation. No amount is too little and I hope you can find it in your hearts to donate to this worthy cause. :)

running on a Sunday morning!

What to do on a very rainy Sunday morning? :) I am so tempted to just sleep in and have a lazy day BUT... This is what team mates are for... to make you get up and work your bum on the treadmill for 1.5 hours so you won't suffer much next month. :D


Thanks for the push, Kriska and Nina! I know I needed that. :)

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