Step down, Anthony, and level up with your Family!

Step down, Anthony, and level up with your Family!

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“Hon, be their biker!” Maricel encouraged me to consider joining my daughters Ella and Hannah who were contemplating joining the Ironman relay – adult division – for the first time. They all graduated years earlier from “Ironkids.”

It was about 5 months to  the race and I was initially against giving up my individual slot as I was hoping for a strong finish in the triathlon race for perhaps my one last time. I joined the Alaska Ironman 70.3 race since it started in the Philippines 8 years ago, and I felt it was time to “move on,” focusing on marathons instead. But I was planning to leave with a bang!

But as I asked friends and colleagues, the response was the same: go for the relay instead, “because racing with two daughters” will not only be more fulfilling; it will impact more lives as well.

So, I “quit” the individual race and stepped in the relay event instead. Hannah was to do the 1.9km swim, I’d tackle the 90km bike and Ella would complete it with the 21km run.

We were all amazed at the support and the excitement of everyone as we announced our participation as a relay team. It was heartwarming to see our brands go all out as well as they fully supported our needs for the race which included training, traveling, competing, and ofcourse, recovering from such a grueling race!

I must admit a few days before the race I was quite nervous; not only was my “saddle time” (time spent biking or spinning) inadequate, I fell ill with a virus two weeks before the competition. In the meantime, I could see my two daughters determined and increasingly consistent in their preparations for the race. I was getting cold sweats and hot flushes!

But I pressed on regardless. Inspired by my teammates commitment and guided by my coach’s “customized” training plan (given my busy work and travel schedule), I kept the faith. It helped that partners like Quaker (Benby Philippines), Timex Philippines, Adidas Philippines, Rudy Project, Gatorade, Felt Bikes, B Hotel and USANA leveled up their support: I simply couldn’t let them down! They gave me what I needed to race, and race with all my heart I did.

I had no idea how exhilarating that day would be. Seeing Hannah come out of the water among the top 5% of over a thousand swimmers almost brought me to tears as I recalled her struggling years earlier as an Ironkids participants. Those tears quickly turned into fears, as I was pressured to keep up! Considering my lack of training, Ella was pleasantly surprised to see me come in almost 30min ahead of my expected finish, and I knew it motivated her to perform amazingly in what became a blistering run, her first 21km ever.

It was a tough ride for me for the most part, but I was amazed at how I felt increasingly strong toward the last 3rd of bike route. I credit that “kick” to the highly personal training approach Coach Dan Brown developed and adjusted for me as the months rolled by. I almost feel like it was a war won by smart guided missiles as against massive, indiscriminate firing. Training, nutrition, sleep, the right mindset, and above all “Divine Intervention.” Don’t race harder, run smarter. And it worked. We not only finished; we finished 7th in a field of over 70+ teams in our division! 

I’m 51 and I am privileged to experience these kinds of feats with the help of family, friends and partners. Hats off to our team manager, my wife Maricel. And once again to our partners like Timex Philippines who’s been with us from our first race as Team Pangilinan built in triathlon and running into our lifestyle.

Indeed, the race ended with a bang! But not for what I had accomplished on my own. Rather, it was what we achieved together, my daughters and I, which was far beyond what we could have done individually. It’s true: “Teamwork makes the dream work.” (Dr. John Maxwell) But may I add, “…and our lives worth living.”

Hannah’s Vlog #3 – Cebu Ironman Experience

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