While all of my North American friends were sleeping, we were racing the first ever 70.3 in Philippines. My lungs had finally come right after 3 weeks on antibiotics and 2 days in the salt water on Caramoan Island in the Philippines but on Friday, they were giving me a bit of trouble. But thankfully, my only ‘lung challenged’ moment came at the start of the swim. I stayed pretty controlled on the swim and then hammered the ride. I exited the swim about 4 minutes down on Gina Kehr (4th Hawaii IM, 2006 and 9th in 2008) and Bree Wee. By 43 km, I caught Gina but she stayed with me for the rest of the ride. The ride was unbelievable. Spectators from all of the little villages lined the road; some parts reminded me of the crowds at Ironman Germany! There were bands playing and little children cheering “Ironman”. The roads were completely closed to traffic. At 82 km, I caught Bree Wee and then entered the transition area about 20 seconds down on Gina Kehr and slightly ahead of Bree.
The heat and humidity were unbelievable – way hotter than any Kona conditions or any race I have ever competed in. I did not run very fast out of transition but I was running faster than others and I moved into 1st place within the first kilometer. From that stage on, it was survival for me and a lot of positive thinking. I literally was just running from corner to corner and reminding myself to be light and to run with quick turnover. I also thought about all of the Polo Tri Team members who were now my teammates and I thought about my husband, Dave, racing on very little fitness and I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. It literally felt like running in an oven. It was apparently 35 degrees Celsius and well over 40 degrees with the humidity.
I felt much better on the second lap as did my competitors who looked very fast and scared me into running a bit quicker. I won the race in 4 hours and 24 minutes and after lots of photos, I went back on the course to cheer for Dave and Lance, my coach. Dave did amazing (and looked amazing in his 2XU gear!!). He was a determined little camper out there riding further than he has ridden all year and running further than he has run in a few years. It is his first race back after his back surgery, so a big thank you to his surgeon, Dr. Villavicenzio!!
I will write more later. I wrote a whole recap of our incredible 10-day trip but I don’t think it is on my website yet! It has been the most unbelievable experience of my life. The kindness and hospitality have been priceless and the best ever! Stay tuned!