Anything is Possible – is the Ironman mantra.
Well, I have my own version. “I cannot do this on my own, but with You ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE”
My Journey in triathlon began in October 2014 at the 2XU Triathlon (sprint distance). Then I stopped for more than a year.
On the 28th of October 2015 while I’m training for my first Marathon I decided that my Ironman 70.3 attempt was to be realised in the following year on the 07th of August 2016. I joined Filipino International Triathlete (FIT) training sessions and have gained camaraderie / training buddies. Marsha Yecla was from the same triathlon, running, church group I am attending and a constant training buddy. We have talked about whether Ironman Cebu was feasible. I am sure Marshie (aka) had Ironman in her visions and I’m sure that she’s more than capable but I have no idea if I could attempt the distance.
Fast forward, we have finished the Asia Pacific Ironman 70.3 Championship in Cebu on the 07th of August 2016 and here again craving for more (mentioned during my Cebu race report).
It was morning of 30th of November 2016, I came to work and saw in Facebook that Ironman 70.3 Dubai was already sold out! So many triathletes rant in Social Media that it closes too soon (I’m one of them, by the way). I thought I could let this slide this time, but door of opportunity came in the way. And I’m in!
It was a total of 07:15 hrs when I finished Ironman 70.3 in Cebu last August 2016. It was a reality-check for me and suffered badly from cramp all throughout the run. I knew I have a lot of work to do to improve my time. I try to maximize my training with the limited resources that I have (logistics, equipment and availability) since I cannot follow whatever is in the training schedule. I felt like I was more prepared during my Ironman Cebu than now. Although my training was an unstructured ad-hoc training, I still try to look at the objectives and benefits of every single one that I make.
The Ironman race week arrived very quickly. Jumeirah Open Beach (Ironman Race Village) was buzzing with very expensive carbon bikes, lots of lycra and Ironman razzmatazz everywhere (it was a privilege to be part of this whole thing). The waves are high that 25th of January, Wednesday morning; still tested the water although I arrived a little late morning. Same day evening, I attended the race briefing. The next day 26th January, me and tri-buddies tested the water again. I tried reaching the farthest buoy I could see but no luck, there’s a strong current so I swim back to the shore instead. Marshie and I racked our bikes and transition bags that evening and headed back to prepare for the race the next day.
Friday morning started early with a 4am alarm. It was difficult to eat at this time in the morning but it is going to be a long day so I forced the bread down with my usual coffee. At 5am we got on the cab and headed up to the race venue. Ironman is different from most of the triathlon events that I have entered in that you don’t keep anything on the floor in your transition station. Everything has to be on the bike or in the bags provided and placed on your numbered peg. The only thing we had to do was get air in the tires and get our wet-suit on. Transition closed at 6:45am so we headed down to the swim start.
Photo Credit: to the owner
07:15am the canon fires, the pros/elites get the first wave underway. The other thousands of us get in the line ready (according to expected swim time) for the rolling start (every 5 secs 12 swimmers). The swim exasperated the hell out of me as it was just difficult to breath for the first few hundred meters because of nervousness. I really do admit that I’m not a fast swimmer (If you did not finish the swim part within 01:10 hrs you cannot continue to the next part of the race). Lots of pushing, shoving, kicking and slapping and no place for well-mannered conduct as this was a dog fight! The water is clear and calm (unlike the past few days) that day. It was a perfect weather! I enjoyed the last meters and felt strong towards the end of the swim leg.
Transition onto the bike was pretty stress free, I removed my wet-suit in the shower and hurried to the transition area to get my transition bag. The bike course was awesome. Riding on smooth roads was great and it felt so safe that I decided to push a fraction harder than planned while staying within planned power and heart rate ranges. My HR average never went above 131bpm during the whole 90kms and my pace stayed 29kph on the first 45kms and 38kph on the second half for much of the ride. I had more to give but I knew the half marathon in the heat was going to be a tough challenge. The bridges on the course were fairly easy. The feed stations were great with everything handed to you while riding and absolutely no need to stop during the ride – in fact I didn’t stop once in 90km. The 1 loop bike course was an absolute pleasure to ride.
Photo Credit: Filipina Hernandez
Coming off the bike I felt good – I knew I had hydrated better by a long shot and I was very happy being ahead of my schedule coming off the bike. T2 was also pretty stress free, I was off feeling rather pleased with myself and at this point thinking I could possibly smash my expectations for my second 70.3 Ironman race. The sun was up and the skies were clear blue and the run course along the beach was just lovely. I stayed within my planned pace for about the first 7kms then I started slowing down, I tried to keep the pace up but I could feel the pace dropping off in the heat but I wasn’t too worried as I just wanted to run, it didn’t really matter how fast at this point. Every time I passed with someone I knew, we are giving a little words of encouragement. The spectators are great giving their best cheer “you can do this” “you are strong” and even called my name! Not long after 10kms I felt a twinge of pain in my hamstrings, I wanted to stop so badly but instead I convince myself that I can let this slide, I will just slow down into a jog. Took deep breaths and pour water on my legs. After picking up my last band (3rd) the vertigo started make the running quite difficult. Everything is twirling around (I have vertigo because I have a problem with my left ear plus I have a poor eye sight)! I need to stop. I walked. Suddenly I heard Christa (FITmate) asking “Eden, are you ok?” I told her I’m feeling dizzy (almost wanted to faint) and I need water. Luckily, the feeding station was not far. I heard her asking water and she handed it to me. I also heard Julie (FITmate) on the other lane said “Maitim, Maganda, Malakas” I gave her a smile and a nod (guess it’s time to run again). Christa encouraged me to do a slow jog (thank you!). I did. I uttered a prayer in my mind, “Dad give me strength, I can do this” I repeatedly say this prayer in my mind (not knowing I was already ahead of Christa). On arrival at the finishers chute and the Ironman carpet I knew I made it. I loved every single second with the music pumping, my heart now racing, the shouts from my friends and I crossed the line in 06:22:39 to the PA announcing “Eden Uy, you are still running”.
In every race, the path leading up to the finish line was one of the most challenging rides—especially those last grueling kilometers of the race, where the legs felt like lead blocks and pretty much every part of the body hurt as we ran. There will be a strong urge to stop, sit down for the first time and just call it a day. But remember, no one was more surprised than yourself to discover that limitations are just something you set for yourself. Finding out what’s beyond them is truly a life-changing experience.
I feel limitless, more motivated than ever, and I’m already searching for a new, big challenge!
Until next finish line,