The Run – The Reason I Swam and Biked
Wow, what a blast it was to be finally off the bike. I did a quick stock take of my body and I was feeling good. I had no cramps, was very happy with my bike nutrition and drinks consumption.
It was a great relief to have on my trusty K-Swiss mens running shoes and I felt I was ready to rock the run course.
I was initially thinking of maintaining a 5 minute per kilometer pace but decided to go with the flow and run at whatever pace I was comfortable doing. Well, for the first 10km that pace was at a quick 4:31/km average. I was flying past many triathletes with many a spectator commenting on my pace, my easy running style and encouraging me to keep going. Indeed, the most memorable guy was standing outside a hotel with a beer in hand. He told me if I maintained my pace that I would overtake 500 people. I must have done a double take and looked at him with apprehension as he then repeated it and told me to keep it going. I kept his comments in my mind the whole run as I did indeed want to overtake 500 people.
It turns out that I actually ran past 472 people with not one person over-taking me. So, of the 360 that took me on the bike it turns out that I got them back on the run with interest. I got to overtake another 100+ who were already running even if I was still many kilometers out on my bike.
I loved the run. I will never forget it as I got my personal best time of 3:28:27 (beating my previous best by almost 2 minutes). It is very empowering to know you can run so strongly after a hard bike ride.
My first 10km was in 45 minutes, my first 21km was in 1:38 and then my 30km was with a good average pace of 4:45/km. I felt strong the whole way and kept a positive mind set every step of the way.
I knew I had done lots of good quality training, I was the lightest I had ever run (64 kilos), I was strong due to a great diet of quality foods, and had tapered very well so that I was well rested mentally and physically for this challenge. I also had the picture of my beautiful children in my head. Their wonderful and inspiring sign that they did with our friends Angela and Dennis gave me a world of strength.
Our inspiration. We love you Lauren and Christian.
As I ran past the hundreds of fantastic Melbourne spectators I imagined my own darlings standing there yelling at me to keep going. I also thought of my buddy Chef Cyrille, our great training mate Wallen, my excellent colleague Shiela, our new team mates from Sante Barley, and all our friends who had helped us on our journey to Melbourne Ironman.
After 30km I broke the remaining 12km into 7km + 5km to go. Then as I got to 5km to go I just took it one km at a time. It helped that I knew the terrain of the last 10km as we had biked it the previous Wednesday. It was great to still be flying past so many of my competitors with quite a few hobbling their way home. I saw one guy sprawled out on the path trying to get over cramps.
It was going to be nice to finish in the day light hours this time in under 12 hours after my late night 14:07 Hokkaido finish. My watch was only set for my marathon time so I really did not know what time I would finish in although I knew it would be inside my goal of sub-12 hours.
As I ran past the 41km marker I put on my beanie with the Filipino flag emblazoned on the front and tried to hit the finish line as fast as I could. I didn’t want to high five anyone in the finisher’s chute as I just wanted to get my best marathon time as well as my Ironman personal best.
I was delighted to finally stop the clock at 11:41:37. It was a 2 hour 26 minute improvement upon Japan but I believe that the Hokkaido course is easily a 2 hour harder course. I almost cried upon nearing the finish line in Japan but was able to keep my emotions in check for Melbourne. I was very proud and delighted with my efforts and was now going to enjoy watching Natasha and my other mates experience the joy of also becoming Ironmen.
The Finish Line
After finishing Japan Ironman I was so cold and wet that I went straight to our hotel room to see Natasha, Lauren and Christian. However, this time I was determined to enjoy seeing every athlete complete their race. It is such a special moment to see loved ones, friends and even strangers cross the finish line after their epic journey.
After changing (it was very challenging and difficult to put on my compression socks) and getting warm I headed back to the finish line and stayed there for over 3 hours to watch the other athletes become Ironmen. I saw a 70 year-old finish in 15 hours, I saw teammates David Richmond, Joey, Jonah, Weng and the other members of the Filipino contingent finish and share in their joy. There was even a couple that finished together, hand-in-hand, having become engaged at the 21km mark of the marathon course.
Vic Cruz was deliriously happy when he finally crossed the finish line. It was a great site to see.
I saw finishers break down and sob uncontrollably upon finishing, some had to be wheel-chaired to the medical tent after nearly collapsing and others were dancing and jumping for joy as they crossed the finish and achieved one of their life’s dreams. It is no easy task to swim 3.8km, bike 180km and then run 42.2km. Everyone who finished deserves to be proud of their achievement.
The most joyous moment for me was to welcome my wonderful wife at the finish line. We have been through tough training’s together (with Wallen, Julien and David), had experienced the intense disappointment of Natasha’s DNF at Japan Ironman and had dreamed of this moment for many months. After 15 hours and 24 minutes she finally entered the finisher’s chute and was soon to be an Ironman. She did it. Life is wonderful.
Ensure that you plan properly for the finish line so that you have enough warm clothing if you compete in a cold climate. Have a warm drink, eat some nutritious food and avail of the free rub downs if you can.
After recovering from the cold Melbourne night we picked up our bikes at 12:20am, walked slowly back to our apartment, packed up our bikes ready for our early morning flight then cracked open the Sparkling Shiraz at approximately 3am. A great Aussie Sparkling red is the perfect way to celebrate becoming an Ironman!
Here is a cool and amazing co-incidence. In their last 2 triathlon races, Natasha and Weng have raced over 277km for a combined time of exactly 18:33:21 each. Natasha was 32 seconds ahead after Tri-U 1 but Weng was then ahead by 32 seconds after Melbourne Ironman. Great racing ladies!
Tomorrow’s post will highlight wonderful Melbourne and the Filipino contingent’s after party in Makati.