Life in the Fast Lane


Girl Power: An All-Women Aquathlon Review

By 7:58 PM , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I'm still alive, blogging universe! Just been pretty swamped with so much work (seriously, it just gets busier and busier), but I've managed to keep my head above water.

Since my last post, I've celebrated my birthday, been a bridesmaid at a longtime friend's wedding, tried to balance work-family-friends-ministry-training, and joined three races (over three consecutive weeks these past few weekends).

The first race of the month was the annual Ateneo Aquathlon. Unlike last year, though, a friend of mine and I decided to team up this year and we joined the relay category. I was going to do the swim leg (which is my forte) and Mildred was going to do the run leg (which is hers, especially after having done marathons and an ultramarathon). We thought teaming up would be a great idea; true enough, we had a blast!

Me doing a 600m swim and Mildred doing a 5K run.

The week after that, my sister and I ran with our dogs, Buddy and Cassie, at PetExpress' annual Doggie Run. While Cassie had already joined several dog runs over the last two years, it was Buddy's first time to actually race (he doesn't really like running; peculiar for a Golden Retriever, I know). To be honest, I think he actually enjoyed getting to meet other dogs and humans more than the actual race. Both dogs had fun, though, and I'm pretty sure we'll be joining whatever dog race we can sign up for in the near future.

Both doggies came away with finisher medals and pretty loaded loot bags.

Perhaps my favorite aquathlon so far, though, had to be the one that took place just last weekend: the Atleta Ako Women's Aquathlon. Aimed at both first timers and multisport veterans, the race encouraged women of different skill levels and experiences to come together and celebrate what they can physically accomplish with its range of categories (standard, petite, and for kids).

Mildred and I both signed up for the race (we joined different categories, though: Mildred wanted to try a standard distance aquathlon for the first time; I joined the petite because I wanted to prioritize speed over distance) and were mildly surprised to see a lot of familiar faces. Mildred saw several of her running friends, while I saw a bunch of triathletes and aquathletes I'd met and raced against in previous aquathlons and in my first triathlon last November. 

A good number of the participants, however, were newbies. They were visibly nervous (especially for the swim leg), but the great thing about this race was how newbie-friendly it was. 

While we were grouped by age, we were told to do the swim leg by groups of three's, with a one-minute grace period before releasing the next group of three's, so as to avoid the "washing machine" effect. Also, the run took place in PhilSports Complex's oval (with lots of volunteers on hand to provide water for the runners), which made transitioning to the run leg — literally — much smoother.

My transition area. I should've placed a towel in it to dry my feet, because I had a hard time putting my socks on after the swim leg (I eventually ran without socks). Lesson learned!

Race briefing area. The organizers put all of us at ease with the encouraging way they briefed and cheered for us. (Photo © RickPets Lens)

Mildred and I waiting for our respective waves. Mildred was a bit nervous because she'd never done a 500m swim without stopping during training, but she shook off those nerves and decided to just have fun. That's the best kind of attitude!

Since Mildred's wave was up first, I watched from the bleachers, took photos, and cheered for her. I'm proud that she was able to do a standard aquathlon distance swim leg (she only took formal swimming lessons last year as a way to crosstrain on her off-running days), and she's stoked to have crossed this item off her multisport bucket list.

Several minutes later, it was my turn to be called down. (Photo © Earl Tormes)

Because I had trained more extensively for the Ateneo Aquathlon two weeks prior, I was still in good shape for this swim leg. I think I pulled off one of my strongest swims, all by God's grace. (Photo © Earl Tormes)

When I was done, I jumped out of the water and went to my transition area. As I wrote earlier, I struggled to put on my socks (talk about wasting time for transitioning!) and just ran without them. (Photo © Arianne Gelito)

Mildred looking strong during the run. Hitting the pavement is really where she shines. (Photo © Arianne Gelito)

At one point during the run, I felt myself slowing down a bit. Then someone pushed me from behind and overtook me. She happened to be my friend, Vanessa (in the Army Navy trisuit and with neon pink Newton shoes). Literally, she gave me a much-needed boost. (Photo © Arianne Gelito)

I didn't think I performed spectacularly during the run (even if I do a lot of running during the week compared to swimming and cycling, I still think it's my weakest sport). I just decided to have fun along the way. (Photo © Arianne Gelito)

About to cross the finish line. I really have to do something with that rear-foot-kicking-outward thing going on. (Photo © RickPets Lens)

With Mildred and our finisher's medals. We were both very happy with how well-organized this race was (thank you, Bike King!) and how it had a very encouraging, non-threatening atmosphere.  (Photo © Earl Tormes)

With Vanessa, who I see in practically every race I've joined since last year, especially because we're in the same age group and our surnames both begin with "A" (so we end up being placed together when grouped alphabetically). Here's a hint of the really cute finisher's shirt given to each of us.

Kudos to everyone involved in the mounting of this event; I daresay that it was a splashing success! I'm pretty sure that even more women will sign up for the next one (please have a next one!), and since this is the first ever all-women aquathlon event, it might inspire other organizers to mount similar female-centric events. 

Going back to the race, I left shortly after claiming my finisher's kit (which I usually do after every race), thinking nothing of what could've actually happened.

But lo and behold, this event was just about to become more memorable: an officemate, who was still in the event, called me up and told me that I won 2nd place in my category. 


That surprise came from... outer space! When I look back at my performance (even to this very second), I was very happy with how I swam, but didn't think that I did a fabulous job in the run leg.

However, I welcome surprises of this sort; I just laughed at the fact that on the very first time I actually medalled as an adult athlete (not counting my years of being in a swim team back in the day), I wasn't there to receive my award and go up the podium. Oh well!

One day after the event, I finally got to see this baby for myself. Thank You, Lord! Did not see this coming at all. (Photo © Anina Mendoza)

Needless to say, this race was one for the books. I don't know if I'll be medalling again any time soon, so I'll savor this win for a long time.

Thank you to my family, friends, and colleagues for supporting me in all my crazy (ad)ventures; to my friends in the multisport world for all the encouragement (special mention of course to Mildred, my aquathlon sidekick these days; to her husband, Earl, for being our race photographer; to Vanessa, for the much-needed motivation and literal push; to my tri team, Poveda Tri Team, for cheering for me even when if we're not at the same events and I can't wait to don our official trisuit); and to the Lord for continuing to strengthen me and for allowing me to maximize whatever physical gifts I possess for His glory.

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  2. Hello!
    I'll be joining Atleta Ako! this Sunday and came over your blog for some eavesdropping and motivation haha this is my 2nd aquathlon (1st was ateneo last week) and I'm really enjoying it even if I only had formal swimming lessons this January. Your blog lessened my nerve cracks. Thank you so much! Hope to see you around! :)


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