Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Cobra Ironman 70.3 2012: Godspeed, Ramie

Aug. 5, 2012: Cobra Ironman 70.3 in Cebu. It was to be the biggest sporting spectacle in Cebu's history, and TTB was going to be a part of it with 10 individual entries and 3 relay teams. It was going to be our biggest triumph of the year, and we were all well-prepared and ready to go. I was doing the bike leg for TTB Cebu relay team, and I was going to enjoy the experience.
Watching the swim leg with Ramie, Doc Mitty & Mai-Mai
True enough the Cobra Ironman kicked off with a blast and a frenzy! All the hype and anticipation exploded with the more than 1,700 athletes registered ready to endure punishment and claim their medals. When it was my turn to go out on the bike course, I was just amazed at the people lining up the route. It was something new for a Cebuano since these are the same roads that you occasionally do training rides but with vehicular traffic. It was going to be the first time to ride along the SRP, and I was going to enjoy every minute of it.

Water station at KM65, Talisay area, with Ramie
I passed by teammate and regular bike buddy Ramie Igaña a few meters past the water station at the Talisay area, approximately 25 kilometers to go. We both acknowledged each other and I sped up with the tailwind heading home. I saw an ambulance just before entering the tunnel and thought, "who could that be?". I got back to the transition area after a 3 hour 18 minute ride and stayed on to watch the other athletes coming back from their bike rides. After all my other teammates came back from their rides, I was still surprised why Ramie wasn't back yet. I could tell that Doc Mitty, his wife and relay runner, was really worried. As the bike cut-off was announced and still no Ramie in sight with no word whatsoever from the marshals & organizers, I had this bad feeling that something was wrong.

I left the transition area to join Siobe as we waited for Mommy Sheila at the finish line. When she arrived, we got our medals and finisher shirts and then headed down the lunch area. That's when Doc Benj told us the news: that Ramie was pronounced dead after he suffered an Acute Pulmonary Embolism on the bike course at the Talisay area. I was really in shock since that was the area that I overtook him. I was probably the last person he saw and my name was probably the last thing he uttered. Celebration turned to devastation as we were all speechless and in disbelief.

Doc Mitty said Ramie died doing what he enjoyed best: biking. He was an avid biker ever since his college days. Ramie was a good friend, a loving husband & supportive father to NIña, and a true TTB adik. TTB was going to celebrate it's 2nd year anniversary on Aug. 7. For the past 2 years, we have been through so many bike rides, runs, gathering & parties and that is how I want to remember Ramie. 
My photo tribute to Ramie (some of our bike rides)

Gone too soon, my friend. But godspeed on your next journey, we will ride again someday...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

TTB: Tri Ta Bai!

So where does a running group go when it has conquered marathons & ultra-marathons? You simply add two more disciplines, swimming & cycling, and venture into triathlon! Sounds easy? Yes and no. It's easy to tackle swimming, biking and running for health & fitness purposes; but to train for a triathlon race is certainly not an easy task! In the words of Ironman Champion Chris McCormack: "If it was easy, everyone would be doing it!"

Ever since November 2011, when it was announced that the 2012 Ironman 70.3 Philippines would be held in Cebu City, the excitement and anticipation was already abuzz. Cebu would be playing host to two international triathlon events for 2012: Xterra Philippines in March and Ironman 70.3 Philippines in August. It just doesn't get any better than this! Swimming coaches & trainers were suddenly having full schedules, while local bike shops are reporting record sales up to today! And once online registration opened for Ironman and Xterra 2012, even the most inexperienced athletes signed up for the challenge ... me included!

So now the hard part: training for triathlon! Most athletes follow certain training programs, while others have their own personal coaches. For me, I have TTB! Aside from comparing notes, tips and advice, it's certainly easier to motivate yourself to train when your teammates are also doing the same routines...maybe even more! Century bike rides, LSDs, brick training and tri simulations with the team has been really fun and fulfilling! Not all of us are fast swimmers, seasoned cyclists or swift runners, but I'm sure we all have the same will and determination to face the challenge of a triathlon race. I can see it in each and everyone of us that it's about taking on the challenge. It's the same attitude that brought TTB together to tackle half-marathons, marathons and ultra-marathons in the first place.

And when 2012's triathlon events came, TTB was there to tackle every challenge!
Xterra Off-Road Triathlon 2012 Finishers

1st Talisay Triathlon (1k swim, 30k bike, 7.5k run)

Century Tuna National Age Group Triathlon Series (1k swim, 30k bike, 7.5k run)

Tabuelan 111 Triathlon (2k swim, 88k bike, 21k run)

As for me, I'm just enjoying the ride! After all, six months ago, I had tendonitis and could hardly run. I could barely complete a 50 meter lap in a pool. But together with TTB, I've taken on the challenge of triathlon and loving every minute of it! See you guys in August!
Tabuelan 111 Triathlon official finish time: 7hrs, 8min, 8sec