Back-to-back Aquathlons: Lessons As A Neophyte

Photo from my Coach

As a neophyte in the growing PH multi-sports community, I’ve always been curious about doing Triathlons. Who in the world will do a swim-bike-run in a distance and time-pressured feat? The crazy ones. And as Rob Siltanen says, these crazy people move the world. This culture of madness- besting one’s self through endurance sports, is one of the driving forces pushing the human race forward. Oooh gaad, I want to be crazy.

Me as an elem student

Apparently, I’ve never been sporty. I’m that fat little nerdy kid always at the bleachers (studying or eating), watching all my fit classmates play against each other in school intramural sports and PE classes. I’ve tried (see: hard) Table Tennis and Volleyball in elementary & was training with my Univeristy’s Taekwondo Varsity team in high school. I gave TKD up- it’s not really for me. Was just there for the cute guys. So I kept the nerdy side and stick with my Debate Varsity.

What better way to jump start this whole sporty thing? Run. Will have a separate post for this, but couldn’t post yet because  you know the feeling when you get so overwhelmed and passionate about something? Seems all your words disappear. All that you can comprehend couldn’t even give justice to the feels. Artenu.

As I am already a casual biker around Manila, the last sport to really invest into is swimming. I have zero swimming skills during the start of 2016, but I have such strong will to learn so I can make it to the Aquathlon season (March-May). With Coach Nur’s swimming lessons at Philsports Complex (Ultra), I was able to be a “zero” swimmer to a “fairly ready for the next level” in  a month.

An Aquathlon (Aquathon) is a continuous swim-run feat. Starting my Aquathlon career (charot) by doing a back-to-back Aquathlons: Ateneo Aquathlon and Atleta Ako Aquathlon!

race stat

My 1st ever Aquathlon experience was last March 6, 2016Ateneo Aquathlon 2016. I joined the Classic Category, a 600m swim followed by a 5k run.

I finished at 6th place of 13 strong athletes in my Female AG with 50:08 on my watch. (See full results here.)

I am beyond happy with the results. All I was hoping then was to finish strong and injury-free (and well, not die with my fresh swimming skills). We were clueless how this Aquathlon thing happens, so we put all trust to ourselves, our training and to Papa G.


Finally, Aquathletes!

Thank you to my teammates (aka my current favorite love birds), Dennis and Nikki for the joint trainings and patiently listening to my kadaldalan. HAHA. You are #relationshipgoals. Yii.

Iconic medal










Still on high from my recent aquathlon event, we joined the Atleta Ako: All Women’s Aquathlon 2016 today at our homecourt, Ultra.

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I finished strong at 4th place with 5 seconds deficit against the 3rd placer- which I really would put stress on as this brought me to tears. It was today when I realized that so much can happen in 5 seconds- a new baby birthed, a basketball championship, a heartbreak, a house burnt on fire, death from an accident, an apocalypse and my break down- and seconds, in sports, is a big deal especially for this little competitive heart I have in me. (See full results here.)

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My mom pep-talking and comforting me when I’ve figured out the results. Thank you mama for flying home to PH to watch me race. 🙂

Have learned so much from my 1st and 2nd Aquathlon events. For aspiring aquathletes like me, here are some of the few realizations I’ve learned and I hope we all learn from few of my #NewbieMistakes:

  1. 12833216_964523746956954_1101850966_n.jpg

    “FORM!!!” My coach shouting from the background. (c) The ever supportive girls from TBR fam-Des and Anj

    Train for the swim. Train for the run. But most of all, train for the TRANSITION. So what really happened with me in that 5-secs-podium-deficit in Atleta Ako? I dropped my race belt (the one with the number bib) and went back for it! Who in the world will go back and lose a couple of 20-30 seconds for a race belt, which I learned later, isn’t required to be worn anyway.

    • Never ever go back for anything already left behind. Both in transition-sensitive events as this and in life in general. Neng, tagalugin ko ha? Pag naiwan na, wag na habulin ha? Wag shunga. But #NOEXCUSES. It’s just not for me yet.
    • Note: If you already know you’ve wasted a couple of precious time being shunga somewhere in the mid of the race, compensate on the last part- RUN! I became lax in this part, apparently. Should’ve hustled hard until my legs become so jelly! Lessons, lessons.
  2. No socks is better! Faster transition, stronger foot grip!
  3. Ensure to have the right shoe. For me, since I just came from a marathon (and no budget to buy a new one yet), I still use my Asics Kayano 19 (a stability shoes I got on sale for only Php3,000 last year)- which isn’t really advisable for sprint runs like a 5k. Planning to invest in a sprint shoe. (See: Zoot and Saucony shoes)
  4. Rule of thumb: The lighter you are, the faster you will be. I cut down on carbs and loaded up on proteins. I lost approximately 5kgs from the marathon weight I’ve gained. (But I know I will easily gain that ‘coz I “cardio” so much, I don’t lift and feed my muscles. Sadnu.)
  5. 12814323_1202110673154595_6459841461541383522_n.jpg
    Arena lightly-tinted competition goggles on me. Waiting for the wave start. (c) Coach Nur

    Invest in quality goggles. For pool swimming, a pair of clear goggles is best! I took my tinted goggles off on the last swim lap during Ateneo Aquathlon as I couldn’t see anything in the chlorine-filled, dirty pool. Hassle! My gut says “Just feel it, girl. Swim side-by-side with the buoys!”

  6. Train with a coach and really LISTEN. Need I say more? Check out SwimNur!
  7. Stop stalking your competitors! Gaaah. I’ve always been this researchy-type of person. Whenever the race list is up, I google people who’ll be joining. Creepynu. So please, help yourself…Don’t give yourself more pressure. FOCUS ON THE BEST VERSION OF YOURSELF. The only standard to which you should be banging your records with is your own.
  8. Give your 100%. In a multi-sport event, you cannot always say “Babawi ako sa swim o sa run. So I’m saving up my arms/legs.” My coach says, give it your all. After all, you are already here- so why choose a part where to battle hard? Fight for the whole thing! No time for selective excellence.


Few snaps:

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First few laps on the track. Pacing with PH Triathlon National team, Ms. Deldio. She won 1st in our age group. Gaaad, idol! ❤

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Yii! I am done! Volunteer in pink says, “Come to papi!”

Post-race with Coach Nur (middle) and my training bud & strong swimmer, Nikki (right)

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Refreshing Del Monte Pineapple-Orange post-race drink. This was just perfect as the heat’s killin’ me from dehydration. I forgot to drink during transition and while running because…panic!

My family was there! Full support! My ate was shouting “5k lang yan, bilisan mo na!” inside the track. While my brother, taking photos and videos.

A better running form here. Inconsistent! Wa.
Me- Nikki and Coach Rhea #TeamGuttom #TeamSwimNur

Sometimes we win, but we always learn.

Charge everything to experience. After all, there’s a great pleasure in being called a newbie as all the big and the brights started zero and naive. Let’s trust in His timing.

P.S. So park muna ang Triathlon dreams ’til I get a bike ready for competition. For now, swimming! Yiiii!!!


Stronger after each and every heartbreak,




9 thoughts on “Back-to-back Aquathlons: Lessons As A Neophyte

      • Running speed? WOW! Another level up, surely hihikain na ako sa alikabok when I run with you po. 😀
        Why is the Aquathlon just from Mar-May??? Or is it just the series you’re following?


      • Di kasi sya parang fun runs na always meron. Aquathlons have a particular season lang here sa PH. So far, until May 1 lang yung may Aquathlon competition. I think the next after May is around November pa.

        Ako kasi pinapakain ng alikabok ng mga kalaban ko kaya need ko na maglevel-up 😦 need ko din numipis, hirap magpapayat. May marerecommend ka bang lifts for me? 🙂


      • Ah, talaga? kahit indoors na pool pa pwedeng ganapan ng aquathlon? Unlike fun run na summer lang sure tapos beyond 2nd half ng taon e umuulan ne..

        Sa lifting naman, gawin mo yung mga natatarget ang whole body. Wag na mag isolation masyado and wag masyado mag increase ng plate, baka kasi mag bawi rin sa gain ng muscle. Alam mo nato e.. hehe! Squats and deadlifts are my best friends! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m really more of a cardio person kaya I yo-yo on my weight (easy gain, easy lose) lately. 😦 Wala ako tyaga sa lifts kasi….ang bigat. LOL next time, sama ko sa gym sesh mo naman hahahaha


    • Hi!

      For beginners, 3k for 10hrs or 5 sessions.
      For advance, 2k-2500 for 10hrs or 5 sessions.

      But Coach Nur is not time/session sensitive. For as long as you learn, he’ll focus on you. 🙂


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