Tips for the Ironman first-timers

Of the 2,000+ participants in this Sunday’s Cobra Ironman 70.3 race, hundreds will be new. Here are lessons from your fellow triathletes….

CHRIS ALDEGUER. 1. Race Week = Get enough rest this week. Avoid long training sessions. Keep it short with a nice pace to stay sharp. Eat and Hydrate well. Prepare and check all gear and equipment to be sure they are ready for race day.

2. Swim= If you are a good swimmer, position well in the front. The swim start is crowded. Positioning well will get you in a good group that can result in an overall fast pace. For the majority, it is best to take the swim easy since it is a long race. The swim can be a warmup for the bike. For the first timers, expect the swim to be chaotic given the number of participants. It’s important to be prepared mentally to avoid panic.

3. Bike= Since it is a long race, ride comfortably the early stage of the Bike leg. It is better to be feeling good in the later part of the Bike rather than suffer especially that there is a 21k Run to follow. Also be reminded at all times to drink and eat.

4. Run= Same with the Bike, it is best to start at a comfortable pace. A big percentage of the participants end up surviving the run rather than running the run. This often is a result of wrong pacing. It is always good to finish strong.

JACS JACALAN. Pacing is absolutely critical in Triathlon Racing. Going out too fast in one of the disciplines will have a consequential effect on the other two. Settle into your goal pace; you should have put in many miles in the past several months at your goal pace, so it should feel natural.

Swimming with hundreds of triathletes is chaotic. Losing your goggles is a nightmare, so put-on your goggles underneath your swim cap to keep it from getting off your head. Going out hard in the swim is a huge mistake. Many triathletes push hard in the swim thinking they won’t use their shoulders during the bike and run anyway. But hard swimming causes the body to burn more carbohydrates and this effect will last until the bike and run legs of the race.

Ease up slightly on the last km. of the bike leg by increasing cadence and using easy gear. The transition from Bike to Run is the most difficult part of the race. Reducing lactic acid levels and getting your breathing under control will enable a smoother transition. Giving up just a couple of minutes here will improve your run split more than it costs your bike split.

You’ve trained hard and with discipline. You have missed late-night partying. You have not been to the newly-opened bars in the city. You have sacrificed family time. Most even have troubles with their wives (hehehe). Race Day is the payoff. It’s over. Enjoy the race.

ANNIE NERIC. Make sure you are really prepared for this event. Don’t worry about losing the registration fee or not participating. You are better alive than sorry. Think of yourself and family. Remember this is not an ordinary sports event.

Consult your doctor, have a check up and ensure you are fit (heart, no high blood, sugar levels etc). Avoid work stress; worries that may affect your condition, psyche, focus. Try to relax and try to get a good sleep the night before (this doesn’t always happen). Don’t try anything new on race day like new rubbershoes, new tri suit. Make sure you have tried and tested these before the big day.

Relax. Don’t tense your body and muscles. Think of good things; think of going thru the course and succeeding. This is Physical, Mental and even Spiritual. So PRAY, too! Go thru with your guardian angel. Have fun, enjoy the scenery, think of the Finish Line and look forward to a Cebu lechon!

JANE JANE ONG. 1. Taper in the final week. Make sure to eat and rest well and get plenty of sleep. Try to sleep early every night. If you can’t sleep, just lie down in bed. 2. During race day, it’s important to pace oneself. Although the adrenaline rush might push us to swim/bike/run faster than we are used to, it’s better to stick by the pace we’ve practiced during training to avoid getting cramps. 3. Enjoy the race!

BOYING RODRIGUEZ: 1) After all the excitement, we are down to the last week before the biggest day of our triathlon lives! If you had been religious in your training, you should have tapered down. Your body should be allowed to recover and heal these last two weeks. 2) When I was asked last year what date the next 70.3 would be, I said Aug. 4, 2013 — because it’s high tide in Mactan. You should have swam this course around the same time it would have started and at the same tide level to get a feel of the waves, current, etc. 3) I know there will be thousands of cameras clicking away because this will again be Cebu’s biggest sporting event and there is no way everyone will not want to look good on camera. But again, never use something new on this day. Never use a brand-new bike, tri-suit, goggles, shoes. Use something that you have been familiar with. 4) Take a ride on your car with a buddy with the windows open and survey the bike and run route. Feel the crosswind along the SRP and look for cracks on the road. Try to plan where you will take your power gel while biking at 35 – 40kph. 5) Listen to your body! Unless you are trying to gain a personal best time, relax and take it easy.

AYA GARCIA SHLACHTER: 1. Taper. Do not cram your workouts. Rest is part of training. 2. If you feel doubtful that you can finish the race, break down the distances in your mind. I have difficulty running 21k therefore I break down the run as four 5k races in my mind. This way, I am not that intimidated by the distance. Same goes for the bike and the swim course. 3. Smile and finish strong!

TYRONE TAN: 1. DIET- For me diet is very important. As a triathlete, improving the nutritional intake is a big factor in improving the performance almost instantly. That means no junk food, sodas, doughnuts; my mantra: if it is processed, it is not good for you. 2. REST- It is common to overtrain, thinking that more is better. In order to perform and train to the fullest, you must first take RECOVERY seriously. Practice the little things that can help bounce back faster like post-nutrition, massage, ice bath and compression socks. 3. TECHNOLOGY – invest in a bike fitting, right equipment, aero bikes, and as much as possible lighter bike parts. A 2 cm difference in body positioning can mean a back ache halfway through your first half ironman. 4. STRENGTH TRAINING – it is important to increase commitment to strength training. As much as possible 2 times a week. I recommend Pio Solon of Epic.

Phil’s Open win, Chuck’s Aboitiz bid

The past few weeks, the United Kingdom (U.K.) has been the toast of the sports world.

Three Sundays ago, they hosted the British Grand Prix (Formula One). The following weekend, it was Wimbledon — won by their very own, Andy Murray. And, two days ago, it was the British (Golf) Open, simply called The Open Championship.

Plus, of course, the winner of the 100th staging of the Tour de France is no Lance Armstrong; he’s representing Great Britain and is named Chris Froome.

At the British Open last Sunday, an Englishman named Lee Westwood led all golfers in the fourth and final day. He was 3- under and had a two-shot advantage. But it faded away.

Instead, as golfer after golfer succumbed to the difficulty of links golf and the traps of white bunkers and the tall grass that littered around Muirfield, it was the most smiling man on the greens who won.

Phil Mickelson. Who doesn’t like the guy?

I asked our Cebuano professional to comment on Phil’s birdie-birdie round of 66 finish and here’s what Charles “Chuck” Hong had to say: “Mickelson’s win was textbook patient golf. It was all Westwood and Scott from the start and he was patient enough to wait for all his birdies down the stretch. I was rooting for Tiger or Lee to win, but mickelson’s okay. He’s a very humble winner. Of course, Tiger’s was a missed chance, but I’m sure he’ll break his dryspell pretty soon. It just seems like he runs out of luck on the last day of majors, but that’s the nature of golf. I’m sure his day will come again.”

Thanks for those comments, Chuck. As for Tiger — the man my wife Jasmin loves to hate — again, he was in contention. Again, he faltered. Watching him on SkyCable’s channel 751 late Sunday night, he rarely smiled or looked confident. That fist-pumping brashness has disappeared. There’s no question the Invincible Tiger is gone. While we all thought his breaking the 18 majors of Jack Nicklaus was a question of when, not if, now it’s an unsure proposition for the 14-slam winner who hasn’t won in his last 17 major starts.

I know who’s having a smirk and an inner laugh: Elin. Same, quite possibly, with his former caddie Steve Williams, who carried the bag of Tiger’s flight-mate, Adam Scott. That must have been an awkward scenario.

Back to the champ, Phil Mickelson, the 43-year-old from California becomes the third straight player in his 40s to win the Open, after Ernie Els and Darren Clarke. Maybe the 37-year-old Tiger has to wait three more years?

Phil now has won three of the four majors in golf: the British Open, the PGA Championship and The Masters. The only major missing in his trophy cabinet is the U.S. Open — where he’s been 2nd place a shocking six times.

ABOITIZ GOLF. Now closer to home, the year’s most awaited professional golf tournament — the Aboitiz Invitational — begins tomorrow at the Cebu Country Club.

Armed with $65,000 (about P2.7 million) in prize money, we’ll get to watch on the Banilad grounds not only the likes of Elmer Salvador (defending champion), Miguel Tabuena, Angelo Que and Jay Bayron but also plenty of foreign golfers including James Bowen (USA), Grant Jackson (UK), Scottish James Byrne and Japanese Mitsuhiko Hashizume in the 126-player field.

But Cebu and CCC will be rooting for a familiar name: Charles Hong. “I prepared for the event by not joining the Pro-Am in Davao and just staying in Cebu to practice the week before,” Chuck told me yesterday. “Though I grew up here, it would still be a great help to get a few more practice rounds than the rest of the feild. You always want to play well on your home championship, but there are no guarantees. I’ll just do my best and accept whatever outcome. And it’s very exciting playing for a home crowd. A lot of people are expecting me to do well, but I’ll just play to my expectations. Like I always have.”

Categorized as Golf

Justin Uy: the Mango King of the World

A few weeks ago, my dad Bunny and I were given a tour. We rode in a Toyota Rav4 as the driver, just like in any tour, circled the winding roadways. We stepped off the vehicle every few minutes, strolled inside the buildings, observed the operations. The entire tour lasted one and a half hours.

Our driver? Our guide? The one person who accompanied us the entire way and personally explained every detail of the vast kingdom?

Justin Uy.

For 90 minutes, the founder/owner of Profood International Corp. showed my dad and I building after building inside the 16-hectare conglomerate’s operations.

We climbed the upper deck to view thousands of skilled workers peeling the skin off the mangoes. We stepped inside the exclusive laboratory where chemicals and secret testing was on-going. We donned hard-hats to watch an assembly-line of Del Monte bottles being rolled off.

Best of all, the three of us watched a movie. No, we weren’t watching Wolverine inside his J Centre Mall — the “J,” of course, stands for Justin and his siblings, all of whom start with J.

We were inside the multi-million peso ampitheater of Profood to view a documentary of his business and of mangoes. “It’s my first time inside this theater,” said Justin, referring to Theater 2, which was newly-added. Lucky us. We got to watch the premiere showing of Justin’s movie seated beside the director himself, Mr. Uy.

As we left our Tour of Profood, my dad and I were in awe of the sights we witnessed. We were like 9-year-olds who just came from Disneyland.

But that’s not the full story. Because exactly 15 years ago, we visited Justin in the same Mandaue property. At that time, we just started operating Thirsty Juices and Shakes and considered a possible mango-supply arrangement.

Then, 15 years ago, Justin did exactly the same thing. He toured us. Personally. But then, the 16-hectare property he now commands was only a few hectares large. And then, it was a golf cart that Justin drove.

Fifteen years. How time travels fast. Justin, day after hour after month, has worked extremely hard to build, build, build. He is now the leading exporter of dried mangoes — not just nationwide, but possibly of this whole planet. (The best part, speaking of tourism, is that his “Cebu” and “Philippine” brands promote our names worldwide.)

Like the BMW Z4 that he drives, he steps on the gas pedal at full speed. But what’s amazing about Justin is not just how hard he works and how intelligent he is (he knows every single mechanism inside the Profood plant; often designing the equipment and systems himself — a true pioneer).

As successful an entreprenuer as Justin Uy is, he is so friendly and approachable. One time when my wife Jasmin brought a group of Rotarian spouses and they couldn’t enter the Profood Museum because they were too early for the 8 A.M. opening, I called Justin and he quickly dispatched a message to the guard.

As hard-charging and aggressive a businessman as Justin is, he is easy-going and relaxed as a person. Laugher and joke times? Ha-ha. You should hear his back-and-forth exchanges with his best friend Johnny Siao. He’s witty and funny and knows how to relax.

Speaking of relaxing, three years ago when I was president of the Rotary Club of Cebu West, our group of Rotarians flew to Singapore for the traditional visit with our “sister club,” the RC Singapore West. Justin joined us. For four days, we ate together and joined the functions. He played golf. Justin loves golf, often playing with buddies like Romy DyPico, Mark Yang, Danny Lua, John Young, and Hans Co, among others.

Finally, on this topic of relaxation, we once visited the Imperial Palace Waterpark Resort and Spa. We rode the elevator all the way to the top floor and walked inside the Presidential Suite that housed a grand piano, a jacuzzi beside the window glass (overlooking the sea) and amenities that are fit for a king.

Well, yes, that king of mangoes is Justin. He also happens to own Imperial Palace!

LeBron, Kobe and Mike Rama’s 96

Before I write about Mr. Bryant and Mr. James, let’s talk about a headline-grabbing news that should have been broadcasted in the Front Page instead of landing in these back pages.

“Mike Rama shoots 30 three-pointers, scores 96 points!”

Can you believe that? Well, better believe it because based on news reports and on the actual conversation my dad had with our Cebu City mayor, it’s true.

Thirty 3-pointers. That’s 90 points. Add six more points. That totals 96.

The game was held exactly a week ago when Team Rama played against the CIB Thunders at the basketball court of the Cebu City Police Office. The final score: 157-137; winner: Mayor Mike’s squad.

I’ve known the mayor to be a sharp-shooter, having played basketball with him a few years back. But beating Chester Cokaliong and besting Danny Green — wow, this is big, big news. And what a balanced way of scoring: the mayor shot 15 three-pointers per half.

I did speak to Mayor Mike last Thursday afternoon. He called to thank about an article I wrote about him and sports; he even added, “We should schedule that basketball game again between Team Rama and your family.”

Sure! I said. I had not read the “96 points” story at that point (I only knew about it later that night from my dad) and so I wasn’t able to congratulate him on the unbelievable feat.

Come to think of it, if Cebu City is in the Guinness books as having accomplished three world records — the largest dance class, the largest chess tournament, and the most number of fireworks in one minute — then this story should be the fourth: For who mayor in the world has scored as many points as ours?

LEBRON. He’s here. Well, not yet. Rumors, as told to me by my youngest brother Michael, circulated that LeBron James was spotted in Shangri-La Mactan. His friends, Mike said, vowed by the sighting. Impossible. If Mike Rama’s achievement last Sunday was amazing, this story of LeBron in Cebu was impossible. For who wouldn’t recognize a 6-foot-8, 250-lb. behemoth who owns the most recognizable face on Earth?

Forget this “LeBron’s in Cebu” story. But this story is true: Two days from now, LBJ will land in Manila. Just weeks after he propelled Miami to their 2nd straight NBA trophy, he arrives in the Land of Eric Spoelstra. Sayang. The two won’t be coming together. But, for sure, a big reason why the 4-time MVP is arriving is because of Spoelstra’s prodding: He wants to visit the roots of his head coach (whose mom hails from Laguna).

“Witness,” the ticket to see LeBron says. Organized by Nike, the swoosh company decided not to sell the tickets but to give them away, for free. No proof of purchase needed. Just line up and get your pass. And, sure enough, thousands lined up for the last-Wednesday-12-noon ticket distribution. Some stood on line as early as Monday night!

But not all were LeBron fans. Many were “entrepreneurs,” who, after a sleepless wait, sold their tickets for as much as P1,500/pass.

Basketball will achieve superstardom status this 2013. Here’s why. After the visit of Miami Heat’s No. 6, it will be the 27th FIBA Asia Championship from Aug. 1 to 11. I’ll be in Manila around this time (games are in MOA Arena) and I hope to catch our Gilas team in action.

Next, Kobe Bryant returns to Manila. After his visit here in 2011, the Lakers star will land at the N. Aquino airport on Aug. 12 — the day after the FIBA event finishes.

If that’s not enough NBA action, the most awaited is the Houston Rockets vs. Indiana Pacers pre-season game on Oct. 10, also at the MOA Arena. (Notice how SM’s brand-new coliseum has cornered most of the prized events; imagine if SM builds the same arena in the SRP?)

Finally — and these are just rumors — all these stories will be surpassed by this revelation if it does come true: the arrival of the greatest athlete who ever lived, Michael Jordan.

Yes, as circulated by Gatorade, they are negotiating for MJ to land in our shores. (Shangri-La?) Imagine if this happens! If it does, I know Mayor Mike’s 30 3-pointers is the top sports story in my book — but this Michael beats our Michael.

Bionic man Bernard Sia turns into Ironman


Only 17 mornings remain before the most awaited sporting event in Cebu starts: the Cobra Ironman 70.3 race. One of the 2,150 triathletes joining is my friend from way back in high school, Bernard Vonn Sia.

The Executive Vice-President (EVP) of the family-owned Cebu Bionic Builders, Bernard is also a devoted husband to Cress and a proud dad to Cooper, Brie and Bliss. Here’s my full interview with Bernard…

What sports did you engage in in the past?

“I played bowling quite regularly when the SM Bowling lanes opened in the late 90’s. I was a part of ABC (Architect’s Bowling Club) representing the supplier section. This went on for about 5 years or so playing an average of 15-20 games per night 3-4x a week. Joined at least 4 or 5 tournaments a year only and never championed. hehe! After that, I took a swing at golf when my dad also started playing. Loved the sport, never had a handicap lower than 32 though and had already numerous injuries like tendonitis, back pains (bulging disc at the L4/L5) & even broke my nose! Yup my own golf ball ricocheted and hit my nose missing my left eye by half an inch. I was also part of SAGA (Society of Architect Golfers & Associates) again representing the supplier section. I’d play 2-3x a week diminishing when I got married and especially when we started having kids. The time spent on the fairway is just too long for a new family.”

How did you evolve into getting into triathlon?

“Well, it all started October 2011 when my medical check up showed a slightly high cholesterol and some other ailments. Cress then told me to get some exercise (during that time I almost had zero physical activities). I had actually been putting of exercise for the whole year of 2011- but these medical check ups shake you up you know.. a wake up call of sorts, this coupled with over 10 months of get togethers with Bendy Benedicto and everytime we would meet up we’d talk about his trainings and how it has improved his physical well being.

“So, to get the ball rolling & push myself, I registered for a fun run, not just any fun run, it was the CCM 2012 (Cebu City marathon) 21K half marathon. Take note I have never run and have never joined any fun run of any distance prior to this. This was when my kumpare John Pages would have his patience tested because I would call him almost everyday for running tips, running forms and the like . I would view videos on chi running, read on various training methods and download some training programs online. 2 months to train for the CCM half mary 2012 and I think i did 2:38 on my very first half mary. After that I found myself joining a half marathons once a month until this day.

“Since it wasn’t advisable to run everyday to give our joints a rest, I just figured, why not get a bike? a road bike probably since I’m in my 40’s? bike around the city as cross training? So I did, without any idea that there was a huge bike community in my circle of friends alone. The second I got my bike, it opened up a lot of new and old connections sharing the same enthusiasm for a healthier lifestyle. First ride, Ryan brought me straight to Willys in Busay. Second Ride, Mike Fernan rode with me straight to Danao. Majority of the guys I was riding with were all triathletes and all training for Ironman 70.3 2012 – so i kinda got sucked in their bike training while still doing my runs.

“The swim part was last.  I just toyed with the idea of: i’m running & biking, swimming probably? why not? could it be possible to teach a 40 year old the basics of swimming? So, a month before my first Tri Race, I asked Franz a triathlete and swim coach the basics —  boy did he have a hard time!! it’s really hard to teach an old dog new tricks! But it got done. It was frustrating but it got done.”


When was your first triathlon event?

“My very first Triathon Race was a sprint distance at the Tri United 3 in Alabang, Manila.  I chose this race, well because it had a finisher’s medal and that was a good remembrance of your first Tri.  900 meters in the LaSalle Zobel Pool that lasted 39 mins; 30 km. biking around Ayala Alabang for 52 mins & 7 km run around narra park for a total time of 2:23landing a 41st place out of 68 age groupers.  Packing & unpacking the bike was hell! will probably not race an out of towner again. hehe!

Can you talk some more about last year’s IM? And the Fearless Hot Mammas?

Since I was already riding with friends training for the IM and i was regularly running, 2 weeks before IM last year, I was trying to sell myself on facebook by posting status update volunteering myself in case anyone needed a biker or runner for any relay team.  The last update i posted 2 days before the event: “Last chance for anyone looking for a Cyclist or Runner to substitute any last minute back out sa Relay for IronMan 70.3this Sunday.  Guaranteed time: Ride: 3:40; Run: 2:35”.  That day I got a message from Francis M & Marget V. referring me to the same team: the Fearless Hot Mammas.  Their runner Maimai H. narrated to me that their biker actress Jennylyn Mercado could not make it because of some misfortune (found out later in the news that she was swindled her money for this cebu trip).  And the rest is history.

“I didn’t have any expectations as I was literally a last minute substitute so i went around my business of registering and bike check in just ‘going with the flow’.  The night before the race though i slept early and took lots of water.  Left the house at 2AM to make it to the 4AM cut-off before they close off the roads. The anxiety set in an hour before swim start.  Heart Rate started to rise as there were so many watching in shang that i had to make sure I don’t fall while trying to mount the bike. hehe! on the route, lots of people & children were cheering and that made a difference.  Southbound was very difficult, the headwinds were so strong I couldnt go faster than 20kph! I just paced myself ‘just to survive’.  Going back and up the bridge was another ordeal, could I still have the energy to pedal uphill?  Saw some guys already walking their bikes up — then told myself: “this is just another willy’s ride, just another willys ride”.  got back to shangri-la 34 minutes faster than my target time and it was time to relax.  I waited for our runner at the finish line excited, I mean exhausted. hehe!

Did you decide right after the event to join the full IM this year?

“I think I was already considering it immediately after but when i saw the exhausted faces of the finisher I said “nah! I’m not that crazy!” It would later turn out I was that crazy! I decided with finality to join this year’s individual half Ironman about 2 months after.

When did you register, the first day when the online reg opened?

“Yes, I registered the first day and first minute online registration opened that was December 1, 2012 8:00AM! I then found out that it only took 4 days to fill up all the slots!


How has your training progressed from Aug of last year until now?

“Right after last year’s IronMan70.3, most of my training involved getting the hang of the swim segment and also joining sprint and olympic distances just to get the ‘feel’ of triathlon and also so as not to do too much too soon.  The official training allegedly started around March after the Xterra Triahlon race.  So far I have build up my training base mileage the first 3 months making sure I can survive all 3 distances for each discipline with some brick (doing 2 at the same time) training here and there – sort of building up the endurance.  I also joined a lot of races making it part of the training.  The last 2 months until now is more specific with more brick trainings and more intensity but shorter distances and time.

“It is difficult to train solo as well, I was doubly blessed when last year our CCA (Cebu Contractor’s Ass.) had asked us to form a fitness group that we now call Built to Tri and early this year I was invited by the premiere Tri – Running Group TTB (Team TytsBogdo) to join their fold.  The seasoned triathletes from TTB has become my mentors in this new sport while the guys in Built To Tri have been moral boosters and vice versa.   The camaraderie in these groups also have given a new meaning to Training.

“I just have to say this though: Training for ironman is not easy.  If you get to chance upon my workout logs on Daily Mile, you will see the time that was/is spent on training. My mileage though is nothing compared to the others who dedicate more time and of course gets better results.  I aim to finish and make sure not to loose track of my goal in all of these: ‘To be healthy for my family”.  Right now, it’s family, business and training — anything more I take in will be impossible for me to handle.

“My weekday trainings are usually before the crack of dawn and finish in time to wake up my kids, have breakfast with them and bring them to school, everyday.  This means if i need to do an LSD (Long Slow Distance) run, i have to start before 4:00AM otherwise all weekday morning trainings are short and intense.  I’d sneak a 30minute swim during lunch, eat for 30 minutes and be back in the office immediately or do a Brick Swim/Run late afternoon but after the swim, I’d run to the house to save time.  My weekends used to be consumed with every Sundaytraining but over the last 2 months I felt it wasn’t doing any good forSunday family time, so I’d either do a long bike ride on a Saturday and report for work a bit later in the morning or do a quick Sunday morning training to finish before 8:00AM, in time when the kids wake up.  LongSunday trainings are now about once a month with some simulations or bricks.  Again, i cannot stress this enough, my time for family is a no compromise – and I thank my wife for her gentle reminders as trainings can be addicting and you lose track of yourself.

“As far as my progress of my training is concerned, I can’t really tell.  I think it is innate in us to under value ourselves thinking, we’re still slow, it’s still difficult and I think up to some extent, that’s good, it keeps our foot on the ground and not be complacent.  So, to answer your question: I have not progressed, but have become healthier?? Is that a valid answer?

What events have you joined?

“After my relay participation in ironman last year I have joined:

Tri United Leg 3 – Sprint Distance – November 2012
Cebu Loves Tri Leg 1 – Olympic Distance – November 2012
Cebu Loves Tri Leg 2 – Olympic Distance – February 2013
Xterra Off Road Tri – Relay 10K Run – March 2013
Talisay Triathlon – Sprint Distance – March 2013
Nat’l Age Group Triathlon – Olympic Distance – April 2013
Tabuelan 111 Triathlon – 111km distance (1.2km short of a 70.3) – June 2013

coming up after Ironman 70.3 will be Defy 123 – a 1km swim, 110km bike, 10km run in the island of bohol come october – a birthday race if you must say. :)”


Of the three disciplines, what gave you the most difficulty and why?

“First it was the swim because I was a new swimmer and especially if the water was rough but I kinda overcame that already, now my challenge is the run especially after the tabuelan race, I feel I need to improve my run after biking 90km.”

What are your expectations this IM?

“I‘m hoping for the same professionally organized race, better hydration & nutrition support for the bike & run part, a nice cool rain free weather and of course good and safe race.  Other than that, I saw in the race route it’s practically the same as last year so the same expectation of some challenging under currents in the swim part, strong and grueling headwinds on the bike part and super hot and sunny run! :)”

Why do you think this sport is so popular today?

“I can probably attribute it to social media? People see what other people are doing so they go with the fad probably? A bucket list of sorts.  The downside to this is the lack of education and respect for the sport which might cause injuries or fatalities.  I have read of a lot of deaths or injuries from triathlon racing.  That’s why as far as my training is concerned, I train using my heart rate as basis so I don’t overtrain / overstrain myself.  Our TTB elders also always remind us of the dangers of overtraining or doing too much too soon, our version of cruel love hehe!”

What will your farthest swim, bike ride and run be in preparation for IM?

“The farthest I’ve swam is the 2 km Olanggo challenge; a 120km bike ride and 21km run during the once a month fun runs.  I hope this will be enough to prepare for IM.”

With the Cebu Marathon, how will you describe your experience?

“Honestly and at first I thought it was a bit pricey but after my first full marathon at this year’s CCM, I have to tell you without any biases it was worth every cent of the fee and more.  the race route was very safe with marshalls everywhere and I think it’s the most important factor.  The support crews were manned by very competent people, sometimes overqualified with no less than doctors on some parts.  Hydration, Nutrition, Ice Bath were in surplus.  They even have efficacent oil spray on some stations.  The route was also filled with lively cheerers, bands, some music, and more.  Lots of photographers that openly share their photos as well. and of course last but not the least, I can proudly say I ran my first marathon at home: Cebu.”

What has sports and exercise taught you?

“Ironically John, though training for IM70.3 is very time consuming, it has taught me time management.  It has extended my sense of patience, forbearance and humility.  Sports is a good release of stress from other factors in your life as long as you don’t let the sport stress you out.”

Do you pray before, during or after an event/training?

“I have this practice of kneeling infront of Senor Santo Nino at home before any training asking for a safe workout and to ‘bring me back safely to my family after each training’.  We also pray as a group before a long ride or event asking for protection and safety.  I have a rosary that I bought in our Lady of Manaoag in Luzon when my wife (then girlfriend) went there that i place on the stem of my bike, that I touch and say a little prayer also before a ride.”

What if Pacman loses this November 24?

Good-bye. The simple truth is, if Manny Pacquiao gets defeated a third straight time (in his upcoming bout in Macau), that’s it. He stops. He retires forever from boxing.

Two weeks ago, our group of sportswriters met for lunch. Among the many stories that we exchanged was talk of Sarangani’s congressman.

“Rios (Manny’s opponent) is young and he’s very, very hungry,” said one colleague. “Compared to Manny who’s getting older and getting farther and farther away from boxing.”

My friend’s conclusion? “I think Manny will lose.”

Ouch. All things — the good, included — come to an end.

I recall our family’s insightful conversation one evening with Wally Liu, the owner of Primary Structures and one of our island’s most respected businessmen. Wally was telling us stories of business. Any business, he said, will always have a start and an end. Businesses, no matter how strong and mighty, will have it’s ending.

If Wally speaks of business, that applies even more to sports — where the body gets punched, the skin gets wrinkled.

Pacquiao is 34 years old. He’s not thirty four years young. Brandon Rios is young at 27.

Look at what happened to Anderson Silva. “The Boast” is 38 years old. And did you notice the “Anderson Knows” shirt that he boastfully wore upon entry to the octagon? I hope Manny knows that those “Nike knows” shirts are dimalas.

Manny used to be the “Pound-for-Pound No.1 in the world.” Today, he’s the “Pound-for-Pound No.1 in GenSan.”

Pacman better shape-up. Literally and figuratively. His last climb on the ring was in December 8, 2012. And we know his last memory of that bout. Or shall I say, given his temporary loss of consciousness upon the face-first fall, he’ll have remembered it from watching the DVD.

It will be more than 11.5 months (exactly 350 days) in between that Juan Manuel Marquez knockout and the Brandos Rios bout. That’s a long, long, long, long time. I scoured through Pacman’s previous encounters and he’s never had a gap this long. Ever. (Consider that, in his first year in boxing, he fought 10 fights in 1995.)

And it’s not like he’s been training this entire 2013. He’s busy. Manny is forever busy. Busy with all things except boxing. Busy as a father to Jimuel, Michael, Princess and Queenie; busy as a (now) faithful husband to Maria Geraldine Jamora; busy as Mindanao’s most famous solon; busy shooting basketball free-throws; busy as a God-loving and Bible-reading Christian.

Of the latter, this is, obviously, very, very good. Manny, as all reports have indicated, has renounced his sinful ways and become an honest, good boy. This is good. And bad. Because as good as this is when it involves his entire life and his relationships with Jinkee and his family, this hasn’t been all-too-good with boxing.

I’m no boxer but the mentality is to kill. It’s a savage, cruel, I-will-make-you-bleed sport.

I repeat: Manny’s becoming “good” is good. But has it softened his killer instinct? Has it mellowed his aggressiveness? Has he realized the whole meaning of life — that it’s not all about beating-up people?

I don’t know the answer. But it’s very possible that all these factors — Manny’s age, his long-standing myriad of activities that only Superman can follow, his newfound heart and surrender to God — that all these may have transformed him into a good guy/lousy boxer.

With his coming Nov. 24 bout: I hope Manny wins. Who Filipino doesn’t? I hope he wins and retires.Knowing him and Mayweather, they might be texting each other for a mega-bout in 2014.

But I hope he retires. He has nothing to prove. He is already the greatest Filipino athlete ever — and one of the greatest Pinoys in history. Fifty years from now, when Jose Rizal and Ninoy Aquino and Carlos P. Romulo will be discussed in the history books of our great-grandchildren, “Manny Pacquiao” will be one of those names. From kargador to the most famous Filipino ever, what a life. It’s time to stop the joyride. Time to gamble and win — then stop — in Macao.

Andy, not Anderson, is the Champ


Randy del Valle, a friend from Cebu who’s resided in London, England since 2009, was at the Wimbledon Gentlemen’s Final together with his son Luigi two days ago.

“We arrived at Centre Court of Wimbledon around 12:30 noon,” he said. “We passed through Gateway 518 and sat on seats 354 and 353 on Row ZE.”

Ticket prices? I asked.

“£130 each,” Randy said.

In pesos, that’s a high P8,500 per ticket. Not your usual Cebu Coliseum prices, for sure; but this is the most prestigious tennis spectacle in the universe with the world’s top two ranked players.

“What a day!” Randy e-mailed me, just hours after witnessing the historic victory of Andy Murray over Novak Djokovic. “This is my best Wimbledon experience after being here for the fifth time.”

With coach Tommy Frederiksen, friends Jourdan and Jingle Polotan, and my two girls, Jasmin and Jana, in our home theater room, we watched at 9 P.M. the other evening. And while the 32-stroke rallies were intense and exciting, nothing compares to watching it in person.

Randy continues his personal observations: “The last game at the 3rd set – what a thriller! The centre court was about to explode. When Murray broke 4-5, the crowd went wild and you can see a good mix of tension and excitement. With 3 championship points at 40-0,  we were on our feet until the deuce and 2 break points. The see-saw truly was a thriller and I actually expected Djokovic to break and that we’ll go to 4th set — but finally after the 4th championship point, Murray did it and became the first British man to win the gentlemen’s bracket since 1936 (77 years ago).”

On a hot London day that Randy describes as “scorching but nice” (he and son Luigi happened to be seated in the shaded area), he saw plenty of celebrities: Prime Minister David Cameron, Victoria Beckham, Sir Chris Hoy (the cycling champ) and some Hollywood celebrities. He added: “The crowd was great – can’t imagine another tennis spectacle with this type of atmosphere – a lot of firsts… It is definitely called the Murray Mount (farewell Henman Hill) – went there to see the crowd and wow, it’s huge… After a lot of upsets in the 1st week, this truly is the best ending of a great Wimbledon 2013!”

NOTES. What a tournament! After all the upsets, injuries and unpredictabilities, it ended with the two world’s best players on center stage. A few points…

Sabine Lisicki: that was painful. Usually, after a few games into the match, the nervousness subsides. Not Lisicki. Not until the score was 6-1, 5-1 and she was two match points down did she resurrect. But it was too late. We all felt sad for her. With her normal game on grass, she’d have won. Her 125-mph serve is as fast as Serena’s. The entire Wimbledon finale overwhelmed her. Sayang…

Andy-Nole: I actually found the final not as exciting as one where Roger or Rafa is involved. As our group (who watched) analyzed why, we realized the reason: these are two overly-steady, we’ll-never-miss players. Unlike Roger’s forehand or Nadal’s topspin or Del Potro’s running crosscourt angle, Andy and Nole are content to jab-jab-jab until one commits a mistake. They rarely go for the big, knockout shots. This was a game of fitness and mental fortitude. The man with the steelier nerves, wins.

Best quote from Andy: “I think I persevered. That’s really been it, the story of my career, I had a lot of tough losses, but the one thing I would say is I think every year I always improved a little bit. They weren’t major improvements, massive changes, but every year my ranking was going in the right direction.. I kept learning and I just kept working as hard as I could.”

Anderson Silva: ha-ha; I know, he’s no tennis player. But, like millions of you worldwide, I watched the fight last Sunday noon. Hambog! Can you believe how much he was taunting Chris Weidman? He was too cocky. And that’s what happens to people who believe they’re too good and invincible. Can you imagine if the same thing happens to one who’s just as boastful, Floyd Mayweather, Jr.?

Categorized as Tennis

Gov. Junjun Davide leads Cebu’s Ironman 70.3

IMG_0503At a meeting in the Capitol recently, Gov. Junjun (seated, 2nd from right) with (from left, seated) Atty. Mark Tolentino, Dr. Peter Mancao, Princess Galura and Hembler Mendoza, among others

When he was still with the Cebu City Council, I had met Hilario “Junjun” Davide III several times.

During the Cebu Sports Awards when POC Chairman Monico Puentevella, now Bacolod City mayor, graced our awards night at the Casino Espanol as guest speaker, it was Junjun Davide who attended the affair representing the Cebu City government.

When I was president of the Rotary Club of Cebu West — just a few months after he narrowly lost to Gwen Garcia — I invited Mr. Davide as speaker. Our Rotarians had a terrific night listening to the eloquent son of our former Supreme Court Chief Justice — also because Junjun happened to be a high school (Sacred Heart School) classmate of four other Rotarians: Bobby Yap, Alvin Tan, Benjie Cimafranca and Maxwell Ahyong. These moments happened a few years back.

A few weeks ago, I happened to be in close contact again with Governor Davide. This time, when the organizers of the Cobra Ironman 70.3 triathlon race — Sunrise Events, Inc. — needed to coordinate with the new provincial leaders.

July 1st, 2013; Monday morning early this week, on the historic first day of his governorship — and inside the improvised room in the Capitol that temporarily serves as his headquarters — I had the opportunity to meet with the new governor again.

We chatted. He read a message that we videotaped and was aired the following day when the Cobra Ironman 70.3 was launched in Shangri-La Makati. We met again last Thursday morning when he joined the organizational meeting between Sunrise Events (led by Princess Galura) and the province.

Gov. Junjun may not be a triathlete or a runner like Mayor Mike Rama — but he has vowed to fully support the August 4 event that is the Ironman.

Atty. Mark Tolentino, the Provincial Administrator — a close friend since college and a fellow member of the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals (BCBP) — is the lead person in behalf of the Capitol. He’s helping organize this huge sports event that will have 2,150 participants (including two world champs, Pete Jacobs and Chris McCormack, going head-to-head). It has been challenging. The new Provincial leaders began their term just last July 1 and the IM70.3 is on August 4. That’s a little over one month.

But thanks to Atty. Mark Tolentino (a runner who finished the 42K at the Cebu Marathon) and Gov. Junjun (plus the so many volunteers, including Dr. Peter Mancao, who has accepted the challenge to head the Medical team) this will be another proud moment for Cebu tourism and sports.

Wimbledon and Randy’s personal Grand Slam

Randy del Valle has been residing in England since the late 2009. Since his transfer from Cebu to London, he’s been watching sports nonstop. His current craze? Of course, the world’s most prestigious tennis spectacle…

“We went to Wimbledon last Thursday (2nd round),” said Randy, a top executive of the oil giant Shell. “This was the day after the big storm where a lot of players retired and got eliminated — King Roger, Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka (injury), Ana Ivanovic, John Isner (injury), to name a few, and two days after Rafael Nadal’s big upset.”

Together with his wife Christine and son Luigi, he watched plenty of grass-court tennis. “We did not have tickets to the big courts but were able to see some good games in Courts 3-18 (Jeremy Chardy, Bernard Tomic and Sam Stosur plus doubles match of Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek). It was a good afternoon until the rain came at 5:30 which eventually postponed the games to the day after.”

Apart from Wimbledon, Randy has watched plenty of sporting events in London. The Olympics of 2012. Formula One in Silverstone. And, for soccer followers, he’s a Chelsea fan. “My sister sometimes gives us tickets as she’s with Samsung – I was also able to watch a Barcelona game at the Camp Nou in Barcelona this year.”

But his favorite sport is tennis. This year will be the fourth time that Randy has entered the hallowed gates of the All-England Club (Wimbledon).

His passion for tennis started when his late father, Ruel Sr., got him and his siblings to play and follow the game. “I remember my dad to be an Ivan Lendl fan,” Randy said. “I got interested during the Sampras-Agassi days and cheered for Andre, even practicing his double-handed backhand in college.”

GRAND SLAM. To all tennis fans, if you think the story thus far of Randy’s Wimbledon visits are enticing, listen to this: Randy has watched — in person — all four Grand Slam events. Yes, no error in typing there; all four: in Melbourne, Paris, New York and London.

“I’ve always wanted to experience and watch the four Grand Slam events,” Randy narrated. “Last year, I realized that our planned holiday in New York coincided with the U.S. Open and took the opportunity to look for tickets on the first week and got lucky to get one.

“Early this year, I happened to be in Melbourne for work and took the opportunity to watch it over the weekend with my friend Joey Baring who lives in Melbourne. My friend Joey, who is also a tennis fan, watched the tournament everyday (Australian Open has this 2-week daily ticket available)!

“And having watched the three consecutive grand slams, I asked myself why not make it a ‘personal’ slam. I asked my family for to us to drive to Paris to watch the French Open in May and at the same time have a holiday in France since Luigi is also on a school break. This time my sister Ruby’s family joined us.”

How does Randy describe each of tennis’ four majors? The Australian Open, he says, is very sunny, relaxed and free (people wearing shorts and drinking a lot of beer while watching). The French Open is “very strict as they monitor tickets thoroughly.”

“Fun and free and the venue is huge—I find the night matches better than day matches as it is cooler and yes, the crowds yell a lot!” he described the US Open in New York. Wimbledon follows strict tradition, says Randy. That — plus the grass courts — make the London grand slam event extra special.

How he’d score the four? “If I were to rank them, I would say: 1. Wimbledon, 2. US Open, 3. Australian Open, and 4. French Open.”

With his favorite Grand Slam event that’s currently played in London, here’s one final word to keep all of us envious. Randy has tickets to watch the Wimbledon men’s final this Sunday. “We were fortunate to get a couple of tickets from Luigi’s allocation at the British Tennis-Lawn Tennis Association (LTA),” Randy said. “Hope it will be a Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray finals – and Andy finally winning his first Wimbledon.”

Categorized as Tennis