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Monday, March 3, 2014

Ateneo Aquathlon 2014 : My First Multisport Experience (Race results now included!)

After falling in love with swimming last year, I decided to take the passion to the next level and join a competition. In all honesty, I am  not yet a strong swimmer but I see athletic events as a great way to learn more, focus on a sport and improve.  :)
Event banner at the College covered court where we had our bodies marked
and awaited for our division to be called
Ateneo Aquathlon is an annual event composed of swimming and running, organized by FAST (Fast Ateneo Swimming Team), Ateneo's elite swimming team. 

It's a great introduction to multi-sport as it offers short and varied distances which caters to kids and adults of varying endurance levels. Other distances are the Relay: 600m Swim & 5km Run, Aquathlon Kids(12& Below): 400m Swim & 3km Run and Lite: 400m Swim & 3km Run.
That's me on the 3rd lane from the top of the photo. :) My super supporter, lil sis took this shot. 
I joined the Classic Category (600 m swim and 5K run) at the age 30-35 division where 12 or more other ladies participated.  

My preparation was several months prior, focusing solely on swimming as it wasn't until December 2013 when I finally learned to swim - there's still so much to learn in terms of technique though but I'm happy with my progress. When I started, I was afraid of getting into 5 feet of water and couldn't even make it to half of a 50 meter length pool.  You see, there's hope my friends, just train consistently! :)
Men's Age 36-44 Division
At the holding area while waiting for our gun start, I glanced at the ladies that surrounded me, all looked quite fit with more than half wearing tri suits. While some looked like seasoned multi-sport participants, the atmosphere was fun and friendly. I was nervous but it was a good kind of nervous. Plus, I ran into friends (Don and Nel), met new friends, Joanna and Kim, who are from a triathlon team from Laguna. It was Kim's first multi-sport event while Joanna was coming back from a 5 year break from triathlon. 

Below's a raw footage of the first 5 minutes of the swim portion taken by my sister.
After the gun start, I sprinted too fast the first few meters as water splashed everywhere, making it challenging to grab for air. I lost my composure too and as a result,  struggled all throughout the swim part and thought about quitting after the first round. :P How I managed the next two rounds was all a blur to me (had to do 3 rounds as Ateneo's pool is only 25m long). My lungs were burning! I finished the swim route in 20:16 minutes. It's an average finish yet I'm glad I was able to complete it, considering I planned on quitting early, haha!Whew!  
Rushing towards the running route. That's me in a purple shirt near the wall. I didn't wear the singlet
provided as this was quicker to put in. :) 
In the running segment,  we went around the Ateneo campus, which was surprisingly manageable despite the heat. The water station wasn't until the first marker which was around 500m away. What I enjoyed most were the tall trees on both sides of the road. I was also glad that I was able to run consistently, stifled the urge to puke midway and finished in 31:39 minutes. Adding the swim + transition time, I was able to  complete the entire thing in 51:55 minutes, making me 6th out of 15th ladies under my division. Yipee, I know it's not that fast but I'm happy about the results, it's my first! Yay! :) 

Official race results are now uploaded at the Ateneo Aquathlon website

(Tips if joining next year): familiarize yourself with the 1st kilometer as it can get confusing on the intersection leading to the back of the gym. Also, put water or an energy drink at the transition area in case you need to get a quick drink, this was helpful for a first-timer like me).

Lastly, sharing with you my key takeaways from joining this event:
1. As a result of training, my cheekbones are now prominent and my neck can now make public appearances. Yipeeeee! :)
2. Being in love with food, I can go for guiltless food trips every now and then which keeps me  motivated to be physically active. :P
3. Swimming is also a mental sport which trains your focus, which is an excellent skill to have if you want to be a better listener and gain new knowledge. (Here's some helpful tips on how to improve mental toughness are available at the USA Swimming website)

If you're thinking of joining the event next year, do subscribe to the Ateneo Aquathlon accounts : Facebook Page | Twitter  | Aquathlon Website

Congratulations and big thanks to FAST and its sponsors for this successful event! :) I had a great time! :) 

Lastly, to my family and friends, thank you for your moral support! :)  Mwah. 

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