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Surviving the Last Leg of the 2014 Splash 'n Dash Aquathlon

I remember way back in May or June of 2008 when I went to try my luck to audition for the first season of Survivor Philippines. Unluckily though, my survival instincts did not qualify to pass the expectations of the very first interviewer. The question was like: "If you and two other people are stuck in the island with nothing else except for a piece of food/bread that you still have, what are you going to do?"

I answered the question based on what I learned from the Values Education subject in High School and the GMRC that was already inculcated from what our parents taught since the childhood days: "to share what you have with other people". But that answer was the reason why I was prevented to proceed to the second stage of the interview. The interviewer was looking for an answer where your personal survival instinct will surface... and that means to keep your "ace card" until the very end when it is most needed -- the time to bribe one of the remaining members to keep you from getting evicted out.

I bet our Country's corrupt and cunning Politicians may be the best candidates for this kind of show as they are already well versed and experienced with that kind of "survival instincts", but that's a topic not fit for this article.

In all honesty, even if I passed the series of interviews, I know for sure that I will not be able to survive the swimming portions of the actual show, specially that I still fear deep waters and my dog- and frog- swimming styles would easily drown my lungs out! After that frustrating audition, I never did anything to somehow learn how to properly swim, and for those past years, I can no longer see myself joining any type of race or activity with swimming events on it.

These all changed, thanks to Cris Dela Cruz, for his patience and unwavering support and belief that I can still learn a new skill and adapt to our ever-changing trend and increasing challenge in sports.

It was just barely eight (8) months ago when I first dipped into Aquathlon. If you will read my experience during that debut, you will know how I struggled finishing even the first 200-meter swim loop, almost gave up at the final loop, and had side-stitch with heavy feet on the 3K run.

With Team Hunyango, L-R: Eric, Dan, Rommel, Cris, Ton, Me (photo by Photo-Ops)

Last December 14, I have once again survived my second Aquathlon event at the final leg of the Splash 'n Dash Aquathlon, still held at La Stanza in Marikina City. I cannot technically compare my lap-by-lap performance results between the first leg and this leg as I wasn't able to use my Suunto Ambit 2S because the strap is already broken.

However, I could say that overall, I was able to conserve my energy in this one compared to the first leg. This time, I was able to survive the four (4) swim loops of 200-meters each for a total of 800-meters swim leg with still enough oxygen in my tank for the final 5K run. Although unexpectedly, I have finished the swim leg with more than double my first leg's finish time of 13-mins 45-secs for a 400-meter swim, compared to 34-mins 55-secs for the 800-meter swim for this leg. If I was able to mimic my swimming pace time like the first leg, I would have finished slightly between 27-mins to 30-mins.

Thinking back, the transitions after each swim loop in which I just walked as well as the many rests that I did in between each lap contributed to the more than 5-minutes of additional swim time. It was also at my third (3rd) swim loop that I made a lot of rest when my right calf cramped from kicking the wall after each 25-meter lap. My legs are still not accustomed and trained for that one.

Stayed that way for more than 1-minute waiting for cramped calf to relax

There was also two instance when I have to stop in the middle of the pool to fix my goggles after diving, and give way to another swimmer (doing breast stroke) who won't let me pass him. He swam to my side, kept pushing me towards the buoy dividers, and when I stood up behind to let him pass, he kicked my chest to propel himself better. We caught each other at the end of the lap but he has no remorse or whatever to what he did. I just let him be!

Checking some of my swim videos, I still have a lot lot more to improve -- from the form, paddling, and most of all -- my breathing. A day after the event, my neck is aching like its having a delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), my body twist is driven by the neck instead of the hips!

Savoring the Gatorade as it flush out the Chlorine from my mouth

After transitioning towards the run leg which took me around 2-mins 15-secs, I just walked towards the starting line not rushing the moment like what I did before. This helped a lot to regain my composure from the swim leg. I caught up with Ton Malasig who is already running his last loop for the run. From his estimate, he was running third place for our age group but after a while, a participant in blue singlet passed us and Ton was challenged to chase back his place. I decided to pace him so we could still chase the coveted age-group 3rd place podium but man he was fast and was maintaining a better pace than us. A few meters away from the finish line and we just gave up from chasing the guy.

Continued my second run loop while Ton proceeded to the finish line with a heavy heart. Because of that chasing, I think my adrenaline was still full that I ended up having a negative split, finishing the second loop at more than 3-mins (est.) faster than the first loop for a total 5K finish time of 28-mins 41-secs.

During the awarding, Ton was called 3rd Placer for our age group. Turns out the guy we were chasing is from Wave 10 -- not the same age group as ours! Congratulations Ton! :)

Although I'm not contented with my overall finish time of 1-hr, 6-mins, and 21-secs, I am still happy for the strong finish with still ample energy to take post-race photos with our wave mates, other participants and teams. No dizzy and dark-sight moments after the finish line except for the already tightening and burning right calf. But then again, it's still a loooongg way for me to go, more pool water to be swallowed, more chlorine as my hydration, and much much more swim-run trainings to do (yeap, I am already embracing the aquathlon event).

With Dan while waiting for our wave
Wave 11 briefing, hosted by Ms. Abet Ocampo
James Rosca motivating me and watching my every move :p
Stretching at the transition
Dash to the finish line (photo by Photo-Ops)
with Ms. Donna and Company (they both podiumed in their respective age group)

Race Profile:
Distance: 800-m Swim, 5-km run.
Official Time: 00:34:55 (Swim), 00:31:26 (Run), 01:06:21 (Total)
Official Ranking: 56th out of 87 Overall Finishers

Race Info:
When: 14 Dec. 2014.
Where: La Stanza Events Place, SSS Village, Marikina City
Event: 2014 Splash 'n Dash Aquathlon Leg 3

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