Search

The Argonaut

A sailor, a voyager…

Seoraksan

Winter was almost done when I thought of joining a social group through “Meet Up” (Smart Phone Application) in Seoul.  Thanks to my friend Mac who introduced me to the group and so I was able to get a change to hike the 3rd highest mountain in South Korea, The Mt Seoraksan.

seoraksan (4)

All the way from Seoul we traveled probably less than 3 hours to get to the Gangwon Province, North East of the country.

The trail that we went trough I should say, was not really hard; however, because I left my crampons in the bus, I was a bit messed up as I need to worry about not slipping.  The good thing was, the ice/snow was not really that bad that day probably because it was already February and most of the snow were melting, so I was able to hike okay.

The hike was good enough for more than two hours but my friend and I took longer because we took more photos; hence we are unable to visit more spots around; however, I guess, that’s just probably another reason to return in the Fall! Yeah!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On Learning – Ironman Quest Repeat

Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure.

Me says: If you can't play, display!
Me says: If you can’t play, display!

Aug 2, 2015 was my 2nd attempt in 70.3 Cobra  Ironman Philippines; a month prior to the event, I have doubts about my capability, I have full on anxiety and fear that I might not even make it to the swim leg; after so much contemplation, I have reached to the conclusion that I could only finish the race if I have decided I can. I respect the distance. I am not that strong in any of the segments of the race, yet I trust myself enough that I can do it. I was full of optimism, but not overconfident, the moment we were released to swim, I remained calm because my training manifested that I can do it in 50min. I stayed away from the buoy because my experience told me that it’s not wise to battle against people who rely too much at it. A couple of unidentified sea creatures hit me, but I didn’t mind it, because I know it’s nothing compared to what I should face. At 1.4km, I noticed, my watch stopped counting the distance yet the time is moving; 50 min. It’s ok… 60… 70… Oh no, what’s going on? Was my watch not working or I was just too slow.  I got alarmed too by the number of people getting close to me. I was really naive and clueless of the scenario; 80 minutes, the crowd just went bigger and bigger, there were people who stopped in front of us, others were trying to swim hitting anything their arm could touch, one was pulling my leg, then another hitting me on the face that had my goggles disarranged; at that time, I decided to stop and look around, I was swimming on the opposite direction and yet I saw people swimming with me. A number of people were heading towards the land so I followed. I was full of disappointments as I get close to the shore because I thought they are just trying to sheep people until I heard someone said, “Last three minutes!”

IMG_1843

I rushed as much as I could, I still have a chance!

I clocked 85 minutes on my swim; worst ever. I calculated the lost time and it was about 40 minutes that I could’ve spent for the bike.  I knew I was in a difficult situation but of course, I should give it a shot. I was doing well, but I was a bit ashamed of myself for not enduring the scorching heat of Cebu. I struggled. My pace declined every time I was biking against the wind and too relaxed when it was pushing me. I had cramps, I stopped frequently (oh totally unacceptable). After biking the 90km distance for 4 hours and 30 minutes, I reached the transition, shamefully asking the organizers, “I didn’t make it right?” It was another failed race for me; painful because it was my 2nd attempt. I started evaluating myself, apart from the terrible swim course (I’ve heard that full moon affected the movement of the tide hence the current); I looked on what I could’ve done wrong. They said that a bad workman blames his tools and yes, I have too, one of the things I noticed and I thought significant were my bike cleats, that easily unlocks when I pull; hence, during the whole bike course, I was just pushing the pedals. That leads to my negligence in checking little things that counts; Improper placing of the power gels; as it fell; not to mention my unqualified bike training. I do indoor spinning, jogs frequently, constantly hikes, swims, but my training is not at all considered a concrete plan to finish. On a lighter note, I don’t want to be remorseful about this event (hey, I didn’t lose my job yet, not yet); in fact, it was quite a learning experience for me. It was my first time to really fight against a number of people while swimming.  I tend to give way every time I got bullied but this time was different as I thought of survival and at least finish with pride despite of the mishaps.  As many people say: winner takes all, but for me, sometime you win, sometimes you learn. My body may have failed me, and broke my heart, but there will always be time to heal (#inspiringmusicon).

dramatic bubble thought: tomorrow is another day…

Oh, well, until my next Ironman event. Yes, we will not give up!

Climbing to the Top

Just Climb!

IMG_0654
Almost summit

Mt Geumjeong is probably one of my most visited mountains in Busan, South Korea.  Aside from the reason that it’s near, but also because of the different routes I could check out.

IMG_0656

Of course, climbing to the top with some friends can make the trip worthwhile.

What’s even more fascinating are the locals; I couldn’t agree more that they are the friendliest, offering you food and rice wine, makoli (I love it so much!). One old woman just told me, I look like a naughty man. Haha! I just don’t know if it’s a compliment, but she gave us more tomatoes and cucumbers to eat!

Here are the photos of my last weekends climb!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On Winning and Learning…

Sometimes you win, sometimes  you learn

In the District 20 Toastmasters Annual Conference Humorous Speech Contest
In the District 20 Toastmasters Annual Conference Humorous Speech Contest

A year ago, I participated in the District 20 Toastmasters Annual Conference Humorous Speech Contest. There were 15 Toastmasters who competed against and I was able to nail 3rd Place. A humbling and remarkable experience playing just as a wild card since I only placed 2nd in the Division Contest in Kuwait (1st only goes to the District)

Upon moving to Korea in July 2014, I carried a thought that if I really work harder, and think better, I could be really win in a bigger stage, maybe at least managing to be in the global competition if not, in the national.

Toastmasters in Korea belongs to District 93 with only 4 divisions.  Comparing to a bigger District 20 with 15 divisions, we could say that it is relatively small.  In District 20, there is only one representative per division and there’s  semi finals and you need to be at least 3rd to reach the finals and then you’ll get the chance to win.  District 93 is different.  Since there are only 4 divisions, it means at least 2 representatives can participate per division – In short; I have greater opportunity to reach the District (National) Competition.

Korea Fall Division Contest
District 93 Division C Evaluation Contest – 3rd (Fall Conference)

Fall 2014, District 93 announced that the contest for the Fall Conference would be the Evaluation Speech.  So we did the normal procedures, Club Contest, Area Contest, Division Contest.

I won the club contest 1st, Area contest 1st, and then the division contest; I only need to win 2nd to get a ticket to the District, and the contest chair called me 3rd.  It’s okay I thought, there’s still a chance for me in the Spring Conference and thinking that Evaluation Contest is not really my cup of tea.  My ultimate goal is to win in the international speech contest instead. I attended Fall Conference and I had a remarkable time too.

IMG_0211
District 93 Division C International Speech Contest (Spring Conference). I am believing the fact that I’m the perpetual 3rd placer. lol!

Spring 2015 came. This is the time I’ve been waiting for, the International Speech Contest!  I prepared again for my contest piece and work on it until my words became my heart, and it happened. I won in the club 1st, in the area 1st, but in the division…

They called me again 3rd… third again… I felt real disappointments this time… Maybe I need to look back again on my speech crafting, on my delivery, but looking at the silver lining, I can visit again Dubai for  District 20 Conference as there’ll also be the same conference going on at the end of the month. I can be reunited with my old friends.

IMG_0489
And so I reached the district again… This time, for the International Speech Contest!

And then suddenly I received a message.  The 2nd place winner decided not to proceed due to her pregnancy that is almost due. Wow! The universe is working hard for me to be in the District I thought; however, I had a bit of dilemma, the District 20 and 93 conferences will both be happening at the same week! I had quite a stress and feeling a bit canceling my plan and trip to Dubai. I know what I want and probably my friends would understand…

IMG_0514
Either I’m so naive or I’m not listening carefully or I don’t know what the man on the right’s position – President Elect 2016-17 of Toastmasters International!

Fast forward, the night of the contest, of course I was shaking but I want to do my best. I really believe in myself I can do it. I was contestant #6. Speakers one after another went to the podium and whenever each person spoke, I couldn’t help myself to say, wow… that was good, he did well… and then it was my turn. I refused to change my speech from day 1 because it is the speech that was really close to my heart a story about my parents and those days we loved looking at the beauty of the fireworks on every New Years Eve, where we would jump and shout and eat together back when we were little. I miss those days… and that day, they heard my story…

At the podium I’m not really sure if I did well, but in my heart, I felt I did my best. I was ultimately relieved after the contest.

The winners were announced Sunday afternoon, and I didn’t get anything.  Wooohooo! I’m not sure how to react; yet, If I could only quantify the disappointment it’s probably almost negligible, because although I had desire to win the contest, I realized that winning is not the only thing better that day. I gained a lot of new friends and learned a lot by my experience and I became a better person after this. Maybe, next year I will try again and again, but one thing is certain, that we will never stop discovering our true potential.

IMG_0470

Also, I want to extend my gratitude to the people who supported me on this, who believed me and I hope the Fireworks I shared to everyone, will never be forgotten…

Daegu Olympic Triathlon – My First Try

If you’re going through hell, keep going.

at the pre-race briefing


May 3, 2015. It was raining…”Surely this is going to be a long day.” I thought as I try to fix my things in the transition area in Daegu Olympic Triathlon. I put a plastic cover on my box so at least I won’t be wearing wet shoes and socks, at least while putting it on. The wetsuit (though my third time of using it) fit but a bit too tight. My knees for some reason were shaking and weak despite of participating multi-sport events for quite some time. I’ve been here, done that… I’ve been here done that… Everything is going to be alright.  Fear lurked in me the moment I jumped into the lake for warm up. Should I go back, I thought (Of course not) my mind was playing tricks on me.  The water was probably just too cold that’s why, so I tried just staying in the water until I got my composure.  There were buoys anyway, so for sure, it will be safe.  I can go on that side all throughout…

making sure that all the required are available!

A number of people gathered the event, surprisingly, it was a big pack. I was ignorant of the fact that many are also passionate tri-athletes here in Korea.  Waiting for almost an hour before the first wave began; I was still convincing myself I can do it!

Before the gun-start, I’m freakin’ out here!

I was in the second wave, group of 20-35 years old participants.  At the sound of the gun, I was surprised that most of them were hesitant to move and I was at the back. Were they also as scared as me?  I waited for a bit, but it looks like that group was really slow, so I started moving, making sure I was near the buoy. I realized it was not a good idea as few people did the same and started panicking.  I’m not sure what happened but I notice there are few people who tried pulling my shoulder just to get a grip and save their lives.  Wallah! What’s going on?  My coordination suddenly got lost but I tried going away from the buoy as it was not really a good idea. The triangle loop in the lake was short yet it feels so far… I eventually regained my confidence, but I know it was already too late; I spent so much time convincing myself everything will be okay.

I was a bit worried about the slippery road.
I was a bit worried about the slippery road.

I successfully finished the swim leg but it took me almost 55 minutes to complete the swimming course, it was for me a disappointment. The bike leg was next, the road was slippery, so I was too prayerful. I don’t care if I’m slow; I just want to be safe. The forty-kilometer bike ride was probably the most relaxing part of the race, although I struggle nursing my back.  Hah!  Poor saddle time was the cause of this, as I don’t try longer bike workouts. Maybe rain helped me despite the slippery road because I didn’t get dehydrated.

The final leg the run-leg is probably of course the safest, but most annoying. It was just like saying, everything is going to be okay, but because we were running in a park, the area was uncemented,

The Finisher Medal
The Finisher Medal

partially muddy and full of water, it was a bit a challenge; nevertheless, I tried enduring the five loop run. Maybe I was almost the last runner not including those who did not finish due to bike problems, I don’t feel much pain, yet I felt tired and wasted.

My first Korean Triathlon maybe annoying as it was raining most of the time, yet I felt grateful for this wonderful experience as always.


Until next time.

Kyungju Cherry Marathon 2015

 Create the world you want to see!


 

Kyungju during the spring

 A month ago, a Korean friend sent me a link about a Marathon.  As I check and understood, (All are written in Korean) theres a cut off limit of 5 hours for a marathon and 2:30 hours for a half marathon, so without hesitation. I signed up… For the half.  I tried convincing few friends and lucky enough two agreed with me on my pursuit.

  


From Busan, we travelled for almost two hours the night before and stayed in a nearby hotel.  The spring air in the city of Kyungju is undeniably blooming as the cherry blossoms gleam at night. I know, the race the next day, is going to be phenomenal!

  


A great number of people gathered in the event from 5 Km Runners to Marathon.  It looks like its a quite famous event as the city is also celebrating the Cherry Blossom Festival.  According to them, the flowers as many as what we saw are only blooming from late March until the 2nd Week of April; too bad that its not there most of the time, but Im still thankful for the great ambiance.

  

 

Our race started at 9:10, 10 minutes after the marathon runners, people zoomed at the gun start and so do I.  I was amazed and surprised on the beauty of the place as I was never really expecting it! The whole route was just full of cherry blossoms! It was truly breath taking! Somehow, it made me energized for a period of time and not to mention it was a downhill for the first 5Km. Although at the latter part of the race, having an awesome ambiance doesnt really matter anymore due to the tiredness that I felt.  

 

I ended my race at 2:33, it was still slow, and I was despising myself too much because I massively resorted for many walk breaks during the 2nd half of the race, but at the same time, I was glad that I improved based on my previous race where I clocked 2:41 last Busan Marathon in Oct 2014, hopefully (seriously hoping) my efforts in the future will get even better. Im looking forward for that. 


 

 

 

 

 

Sweeter the 2nd Time

 

Proudly claimed my Race Kit!

It was 2013 when I first ran Tokyo Marathon. Just for the heck of it, I signed up and got selected in the lottery together with another running friend.  I really had fun during that time because it was a different kind of experience running my first Marathon in a country that Im not really residing (Went to Kuwait Marathon 2012). After two years, I thought again of signing up, and to my surprise, I got the cut in the lottery. Again! WOW!  My travel would definitely be easier this time now that I am living in South Korea since it will only be a two hour flight; however, theres a little ordeal.  I would be alone and would have to do all the things by myself; anyway, I did all the formalities in making myself physically present at the marathon. tokyo

It was still fun being in the event. It was full of vibe and the atmosphere was totally positive.  While there were few runners that I know who were participating, I was unable to see them due to the massiveness of the crowd; besides, we had different assembly points so I tried to at least befriend a lone runner/traveler as well.

It was raining, it was cold, but at the sound of the gun shot, after so much of waiting, we took off. To be honest, I despite of my current weight (Lol) I tried my best to run as much as I could until I gave up after hitting the 1st half of the distance. I felt soreness at that moment and after reaching 30km, just like the old days, no amount of motivation can push me.  It was just purely me; dragging myself just to end the self inflicted pain, it lightened up a bit though by seeing some takbo.ph acquaintances. 

I finished the race in little less than 6 hours. I felt a bit of shame for not working hard to lose extra pounds, but at the same time proud because at that end of that day, the person who motivated myself is no one else but still me. I was a fighter psyching up my unconvinced brain cells that I can still do it despite of whatever excuses I had.

The Finisher Medal, My Unofficiall Time and the Infamous finisher towel

It was a long day afterwards  having unable to walk after a marathon, but my heart was full of joy.  Of course, I will do it again. 

 

Exploring Opportunities

Take and explore every opportunity you can get!

One morning in Busan
One morning beautifulin Busan

It has been six months since I arrived in South Korea, and I must say that living in Busan is quite a challenging experience; however, there’s a saying that there’s opportunity in every difficulty so I grab one when I see one.  The culture of the country is a bit fast paced and most people tend to dedicate their time towards work so I try my best to keep up with its busy lifestyle and at the same time, find an opportunity to have a quality time with myself. I listed few things that I have done.

1. Learn to read and write – it’s never easy to learn another language; what more if they have a different alphabet?  It’s a double whammy! Most of the signage in every landmark is written in their native language, Hanguk, even in the menu in restaurants are quite difficult to understand and I have to rely on photos; so the best way is to at least know how to read and know what food I order.

The Hanguk Characters - #photgrabbed
The Hanguk Characters – #photgrabbed

Mekju hana chuseyo!  :P

Hopefully, I’ll be able to learn the language after a year!

Helpful Korean Applications
Helpful Korean Applications

2. Download Phone Applications – I am truly thankful I live in this era, google translate, subway schedules, bus, airline and even food name is available on line, somehow, life is less difficult having these trustworthy apps.  Even online banking and where to watch a movie, smart phone is never a failure.

jirisan
Jiri Mountain, 2nd highest mountain in South Korea

3. Hike – So now that I have google maps, I was able to learn South Korean topography and choose where to hike every week.  I also tried researching about the place, but of course knowing where to go first is more important. Every place is truly breath-taking! Bukhansan, Cheonggesan, Jirisan,  Jangsan, Hwangyeonsan and counting!  My camera is always loaded with the beauty of Korea.

Korean Roads: Great for running!

4. Run – Uphill, Downhill, Run near the beach, on the road, I can really run every where in Busan, the place is bike friendly and has a lot of parks to jog. There are also monthly races that I was able to join although I just really have to be keen in searching on these running events as most of the sites are only available in Korean.

18th Ocean Busan Half Marathon
18th Ocean Busan Half Marathon

5. Toastmasters – This global club has been around the country for years and being with toastmasters has always been a great help; being with Korean toastmasters helped me to adapt the culture outside work and having Ex-pats toastmasters allowed me to understand also their experiences in Korea.   I even attended a national conference and I had loads of fun. It’s just too tiring though because it’s only for a day.

tm
At the Fall Toastmasters Conference in Seoul with J.A. Gamache (World Public Speaking Finalist)

I’m really sure that there are still a lot of opportunities to explore here in Busan to avoid home sickness and boredom thankfully, I was able to adjust quite faster than what I thought. :)

Living the Moment

Anyanghaseyo! That is the most common greeting that I use to hear everyday from colleagues and everyone else here.  Yes, I am in South Korea. My three year stint in Kuwait is done and now I am embarking a new chapter of my life.  The kubus, humus, machboos and sisha life has changed to kimchi, noodles, kalbitang (my favorite) and soju. Goodbye to my desert life for now :)

SeoulI must admit that living life in Korea is somewhat difficult if I compare it in Kuwait; not that the people are not nice, in fact, they are indeed very nice; however, I have few challenges, one is the language.  Most people speak mainly Korean and you would only see few people speak English. South Korea herself has a very rich value for culture that is why I think its like that, although I think a number of English speakers has been increasing which I think is very good for us expats.  Another is, seeing another fellowman in the country is rare unlike in Middle East so there are very limited people I could ask about Korean lifestyle. Thanks to a friend and a few websites I was able to learn few things before moving in.

As what I have said, Korean’s culture and tradition is so rich, that of course I had a taste of it that moment I landed.  My colleagues immediately gave us a sumptuous dinner in a table so low that we have to sit while eating.  I don’t have a problem with that, except that my belly is pressing so much that it hurts! lol!  Then the soju (local wine) was poured to my glass, and according to them, they have a way of pouring it.  Use of chopsticks and more table manners that we soon need to adapt.

City

There are so many things about Korea that I have to learn; it might be somewhat difficult but surely it is possible; for now, I would have to live the the moment and be thankful on what I have!

P.S.

I can now read and write Korean! Yay!

Train
very organised train stations… This is very convenient!

Conspiring with the Universe

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” – Paolo Coelho

rodel win

Ding… I received a message from a friend: “Rodel, I can’t participate in DTAC this time and since you are the second place in the DIVISION Contest for Humorous Speech Category, you are the next eligible toastmaster who can participate…”

It was mixed emotions… bitter-sweet.  It was bitter because a friend, who is more likely to win in the contest could not participate due to some circumstances, and the same time sweet, for selflessly sharing his victory with me and giving me the opportunity to participate in the contest every toastmaster has been dreaming of : The District 20 Toastmasters’ Annual Conference. A conference where every toastmaster meets each time of the year in any of the following countries:  UAE, Oman, Jordan, Lebanon, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain. A time of the year to search for the best toastmaster in the following category: Humorous, Evaluation, Table Topics and International Speech Contest.

 

Registering for DTAC L-R Natalia, Sandy, Me, Faten, Don and Lisa
Registering for DTAC
L-R Natalia, Sandy, Me, Faten, Don and Lisa

Without hesitation, I declared that I am more than happy to represent our Division in Kuwait.  I booked my ticket, hotel reservation and then secured my toastmaster registration; I had  doubts.  I partly questioned myself because I felt that this was pure luck.  I am a member of 3 clubs, My Mother Club – Desert Pioneers, then Active Minds a diverse club, and another club that I am part of during the chartering, NKPIS.  I failed to participate in the Club Contest for Desert Pioneers due to work and I didn’t even nail third in Active Minds, but I got the gateway to the Area Contest in NKPIS since, it was newly chartered and no one has volunteered to represent.  Well, I volunteered. In the area contest, there were only 4 contestants, and yes, the universe has a way of making a secure spot for me to compete for the Division. Two of the participants went overtime and winners won by default.  I got second. Haha!   – Lucky me!

Kuwait Gang with Omani Friends
Kuwait Gang with Omani Friends

There were 6 contestants in the Division I contest; All of them were equally good.  Thankfully, I placed again… Second.  I thought that was the end of my journey because only one can represent our division… Not until that message came.

It didn’t really sink in to me until my mentor and a friend told me that I should start rehearsing; with barely a week from the D-day, I rehearsed, rehearsed and rehearsed, they evenly spent their time with me during my practice… “Oh My God! (Repeat to infinity to exaggerate) is this really happening?” I exclaimed.

kuwait 1
with the lovely DTAC Contestants

Anxiety Attack, as I saw the hall where we would compete, it was huge! And so I had to study the stage well so that I know how I would be able to move properly.  More practice… More suggestions… Thanks to the last minute comments I was able to incorporate more on my speech.

The contest was divided into two groups, a group of 8 and 7.  Group A and B, respectively and I was part of the bigger group A.

Another Anxiety Attack on the day of the contest, draw lots and waiting time… My knees were weakening like as if I didn’t have breakfast… My friends were there cheering, like as if they were my crutches until inner voice coming into my mind (You can do it! You can do it!) as I listen to the music of WE WILL ROCK YOU (by the Queen). I note to myself, “Ok Rodel, since you are already here and you came to represent Kuwait, why don’t you just be yourself and give all what you’ve got?  You’ve been here, just a bigger crowd… No one will judge you…” and so it happened…

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Point 1: Exaggerate!  Since it’s a big stage, movements should be seen well.

Point 2: Check the spotlights.  Make sure that they can see your face so that they can see your facial expressions.

Point 3: Act like a winner and feel it!

There are just few of the thoughts I had at that time, and glad that it paid off for I heard laughter in every set of my punch lines.  It annoyed me a little bit when I heard a ringing phone; however, it was a good thing that I was not able to forget my spiel.

I won 1st runner up in the elimination and luckily won 2nd runner up in the finals.  Oh boy!  There were butterflies in my stomach when I was waiting for the announcement of the winners; to be honest, I was hoping to win, but not really expecting, for I felt that the finalists also did an awesome performance.

Being in DTAC and representing my Country and Kuwait is already an honor, making it to the finals and winning it?  It way too much!  It was truly a humbling experience for me.

 

Thank you Oman!
Thank you Oman!

With this success, I strongly believe that I am just a face, for there are a lot of people behind me who has supported me and as grateful as I am when I stood in that podium to deliver a message.

Ildone – who gave me the opportunity to join DTAC.  He could’ve bagged another victory this year but he selflessly shared it to me.

Hazel – my mentor who brainstormed with me on this speech in Nov 2012.

Raymond – my mentor who helped me how to deliver and tackle the speech.

Robert and Natalia – who made sure that they also hear my speech and provided comments on how I could improve it better

Deepak Vindal – who helped me secure my registration in DTAC

Satish Kumar – who constantly check on me and pursue me to attend DTAC

Don, Sandy, Lisa and Faten – who gave me more pointers the night before the contest, on how I could put more light on my presentation.

Active Minds, Desert Pioneers and NKPIS – My clubs that always allow me to grab opportunities to grow.

 

 

My Message – “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” (Quoting Paolo Coelho)

Whether it’s in toastmasters, at school, work or family or even just a mere hobby, Your passion and wanting could lead you somewhere, with an ample amount of determination and push, the universe will conspire in helping you achieve what you want, if there’s a will, there’s always be away.

Attached is the humorous speech video

The 3rd Al Corniche Aquathlon

Fear is a state of mind…

BIKE Tri-Team
BIKE Tri-Team

It was a great day and once again, avid multi-sport athletes gathered for another much awaited event in Kuwait.  The Al Corniche Aquathlon.  The turnout of the event was not really as big as the fun runs due to the complexity of the game for most people, as the event calls for each participant to swim in an open water.  There were four categories and these were the following:

Sprint and Sprint Relay – 1K swim, 5K run

Olympic and Olympic Relay – 1.5K swim, 10K run.

Most of my friends signed up for the Olympic category for they have already tried few months back the shorter version of the event.  As for me, I have chosen to join the Olympic relay because I want to engage a friend in this kind of sport, meanwhile, another friend also chose to do the relay, due to his minor heel injury.  It was good in my opinion for tho things, he keeps himself busy while trying to recover and he’s giving opportunity also to other athlete/friend to participate.

swim rodel
Captured moment

THE WASHING MACHINE:  The start of the race –  I have been with a few swim races and triathlon games; however, jitters still didn’t go away that easily, although the jitter quickly subsided after the first 50 meters, after that, it was okay. the course was not that bad too, for there were buoys from afar and there was a man in his kayak watching over us. I finished my swim at roughly around 31 minutes and immediately tapped my friend to run.  Immediately, I looked for my friends on how well they were doing; gladly, they were able to get out of the water safely. I couldn’t be prouder to my friend Biboy after coming out from the water despite of finishing last.

btt finisher
Bike Tri Team Finishers

THE RUN LEG –  It was already past 10 am and the sun is already high. My running buddy Arnold started strong but later somewhat felt dehydrated due to heat. Fortunately, the run course required them to do a 6 laps to finish 10km so, we were able to see most of our friends frequently and cheer for them.  Arnold clocked 54 minutes in his watch, including his transition, making our finish time at 1:25 (unofficial).  Still waiting for the official results though.

medal
The finisher medal

POST RACE – After finishing the race and evaluated ourselves, our team mates realised the importance of open water swimming.  The spur of the moment, their adrenalin and fear could still linger giving us a few mishaps especially during the swim leg.

Over all, it was an awesome event with a friendly and positive vibe!

 

The Iron Man Quest

I should keep moving… I signed up for this right?

Signed Up!
Signed Up! I was drowsy when I hit “submit” :P

Yes! I signed up for the Ironman 70.3 Philippines this year. Although I was a bit hesitant because I don’t really know what to expect and I haven’t really have much exposure, (oh well) I did!  A multi-sport event that includes three discipline:  Swimming, Biking and Running.

Packed my stuff. Hush, I don't know for some but I think participating a Triathlon overseas is tough on logistics.
Packed my stuff. Hush, I don’t know for some but I think participating a Triathlon overseas is tough on logistics.

Fast forward… Zap! There were butterflies in my stomach the moment I landed in Cebu Philippines ; and because it was my first time transporting a bicycle (or any big luggage for that matter) from one country to another, I find it very stressful; not to mention that you actually need to disassemble your bike and then put it in order in a box and then reassembling it once you get to the location. Maybe I’ll get used to it soon though.

number
Claiming of the race kit is very easy. It was an organized expo!

Despite of all the stressful logistics. It was a good thing getting the race kit, race number tattoo marking was fine, the bike check-in has a strict security. It was very organized and I am impressed how things were being handled (Maybe this was hat we were really paying for).

All set!
The night before the d-day! Looks like I’m all set.

Above all this, above all the preparation, the real thing that’s most important is myself. The night before the event I was really restless (like as if I’m doing the BDM 102); slept at 10PM but woke up at 2AM and started preparing as I couldn’t get back to sleep anymore.  It was rainy that morning and I felt that we’re definitely going to have a tough race… and so it happened…

The 37th Milo Marathon

“I run because if I didn’t, I’d be sluggish and glum and spend too much time on the couch. I run to breathe the fresh air. I run to explore. I run to escape the ordinary. I run…to savor the trip along the way. Life becomes a little more vibrant, a little more intense. I like that.”  – Dean Karnazes

with photocredit

Another marathon was held once again in Manila: The 37th Milo Marathon (Manila Leg Elimination).  I’ve been participating the event ever since I started running, not that I really intend to religiously participate in this race but I was just lucky that I was here in Manila every time the race takes place.  As expected, the execution of the race is awesome!  The organizer, Rio nailed it once again.   It’s quite overwhelming to see people cross the finish line.  Some were screaming, some were on the verge of tears, some were chanting and crawling to reach the finish line.  Of course there were a few disappointments of runners not achieving the cut off or the PR but it looks like everyone is on a runner’s high!

As for me, it’s another time to reunite with good old friends. It’s great to see new bloods participating and the old one’s still running and still striving to beat themselves (Too bad I missed the takbo.ph aid station as I only run 21K and not 42K).

As so I thought I felt home… :)

RESULTS ARE OUT

Thanks to Running Photographers, Wesley Orana, Jessie Tiu Laurel and Tong Pasqua Photography for the snaps!

On Chasing Lights

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.”  – Ansel Adams

busy
City Lights in Fintas – Settings 20 Sec, F16, ISO 200 on Nikon D40

I love taking photographs of basically about anything.  Nowadays, people are into it and I joined the bandwagon long back (2008 is still new though).  On the things that I have learned about photography, one of my favorites is shooting at night and trying to catch the light movement.

whirl
Low Shutter Speed, Low Aperture and Low ISO settings could also catch the water movement.

At first I was asking HOW? Whenever I see a photo of the beams of the car without the car itself, I’m quite puzzled on how could it be captured like that. Until I realized that one needs to have a tripod to successfully do the trick or at least a place where in the camera will never be disturbed by any force that will make it move.

Of course aside from the movement of the camera that needs to be avoided, proper setting should also be adjusted. Tip #1: SET IT TO MANUAL MODE.  Friends say that it’s ideal to have the minimum ISO possible to evade unnecessary noise in the composition.  Next is to have a somewhat low aperture and lastly to have a low shutter speed. Balancing these setting should be up to the photographer depending on his taste.

In this exercise I’ve learned that high aperture can make the lights unequally scattered; hence it needs to be adjusted to properly disperse the light. Fast shutter-speed of course will make a photograph darker and the ISO on the light adjustment as well as the noise as I have mentioned.

lights
Using the same trick in the Corniche of Doha

I have some of Doha Shots in the Past here

Maybe this will also help —> LINK

I’m sure many photographers have their ways and could share and explain better than what I’m saying. Okay, I’m off to shoot my next favorite photo!   Cheers! :)

Nostalgia: Chautauqua

chautauqua
chautauqua park

It was May 2008. Chautauqua Park in the heart of Boulder, Colorado is one of the most relaxing places away from my home country that I have visited; back in that year, I was totally a home buddy and enjoyed hanging out with TV and gym, but my trip in this place made me realized that there are far more better things to do. Maybe I was just to bored or just get tired of being a couch potato.

I can’t remember how good the trail is but I bet it was totally easy. We were actually walking in jeans and cargo pants at that time and we actually thought it was comfortable. Lol! What a total newbie!

Trip

Anyway, this place inspired my to move, to pledge that I will be more of an outdoor person when get back home. I felt guilty of only realizing it late, but as the saying goes, better late than never. So here I am looking forward to explore more. :)

 

On Biking

If you want something, there are ways, if you don’t there are reasons… 

bikeIt’s been three weeks now since I joined a biking club here in Kuwait and I must say, again, that it’s an oxymoron.  A bitter and sweet thing; bitter because of the fear that is residing within me.  Something that is preventing me from doing things that I really want to do and I want to be.  Sweet because every finished course is an achievement, a conquered battle, a blessing, which I am truly grateful.  Hah!  That’s the drama!

Why am I saying this?  Oh well, Last Friday, I arrived to our meeting place and realized that no one was there? How could that possibly be?  According to a good friend, there’s no way the Friday bike session can be canceled; hence I started to wonder.  Only one speculation came to my mind: they already left.  I want to back out at that moment; this fear was like punching me on my face.  I must admit, I am afraid to bike along the road. I am afraid of getting hit by the speeding cars and big buses.   Then, I started contemplating, if I will not do it now, when?  What is my reason?

Ok, before I start, I uttered John 3:16 and left the area until I reach the turning point and met the gang. I realized that there was only a change of venue on our rendezvous.  Anyway, This may be nothing compared to others, I’m just glad I made it!   Looking forward for greater bike rides. :)

Fun Run Festival: Tokyo Marathon

The is no gain, if there is no pain…

The Runner's Crowd

The Runner’s Crowd: (click the picture to see the attachment link)

It was September 2012 when I joined a lottery; Not really the lottery where you can win jackpot and go home a millionaire but a lottery in qualifying as a participant in one of the major marathons in the world: The Tokyo Marathon 2013. 

Ninja Suit!
Ninja Suit to protect myself from cold.

October when it was declared that I won the lottery; to be honest, I am not really sure of how many people are applying for that spot but I was just glad that I qualified. I felt that it was a once in a lifetime invitation so I decided to take this opportunity. Thanks to my good friend who also qualified I do not have to worry about my few logistics.

Fast forward (I don’t want to talk about my issues in obtaining a visa and a flight but we made it to the Expo where you claim the bib and eventually and there at the starting line). I was culture shocked! Cultured shocked because I never thought that the event could be so festive. All the anime characters I grew up with where there. Power Rangers, Dragon BallZ, Super Mario, You name it! Almost 36,000 runners piling up to the starting area. Good thing we booked our hotel nearby and we arrived early at the area. I was in the Coral H and it actually took me 13 minutes to hit the starting line.

Tokyo Tower
Tokyo Tower

I thought I had enough about the culture shock but I had even more. The whole route was clogged by an unbelievable number of supporters from Km 0 to the finish! Gambatter Kudasai (Do your best)! Fai-to (fight)! Their kindness didn’t stopped there for they are even sharing chocolates, candies, rice balls and awesome bread that are truly aji ichi ban (number 1 taste). Some of them are even in costumes too! There are even support groups who were dancing and cheer dancing. There’s just got to be no way that you will stop and feel defeated on this race.

The Imperial Palace
The Imperial Palace

In the Philippines we always look forward for a cloudy day but in Tokyo, you would really wish it was sunny. In my opinion, it was really cold at that time, probably around 2-8 degrees Celcius; not to mention that the wind was sometimes blowing towards you giving you an uncomfortable chill. I was litterally chasing the sun when there was an opportunity! At the start of the race, most runners were covered by a wind breaker or rain coat but you will see all of those on the street when they started running and their body temperture raises up.

2013-02-24-0978
Pikachu, Kabuki and the gang!

Portalets will defintely an issue as well. If you are bothered on your time, you would really have to unload all of what you’ve got in your bladder so that nature would not call you and would not slash 5-10 minutes of your time due to the portalet queue. Hehehe! (I took a break at Km38 and slashed 5minutes while my good friend had it at Km 1 and missed 10minutes of his precious time).

Hi powered crew!  Awesome support!
Hi powered crew! Awesome support!

Overall, it was really a supecalifragelistic experience. I finished below 6 hours (no excuse for the weight gain) but this I must say is my best (bestest) marathon experience. How I wish I can do it again!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Year 4 at Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon

Old time run! first timer!
Old time run! first timer!

Rewind: January 25, 2009 was the day I officially started running. Had I not been informed by my Sykes Outdoor friends, I wouldn’t have reached the miles I have now conquered. Thanks to them! I actually took part on my first race as what we called “nuisance” or in the runner’s mouth: BANDIT. We don’t know the rules and we don’t care. Hell, this is road and it’s for free, until I realize that running BANDIT is unethical. I myself dread to see bandits, because I felt unfair whenever I see one. Why don’t you find a race that you can pay eh?!

Fast forward; four years… I was at the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon without a bib. I was supposed to run a marathon, but due to a series of unfortunate events (blame the flight delay and the foggy weather conditions in Dubai) I didn’t have a race kit on the day it needs to be collected. I didn’t have a bib.
I am sure I will not step on the starting line like that in the marathon? No bib… No bib… No bib… I can’t run without it… It keeps reverberating on my mind like as if one who will catch me running like that, they will confront me and condemn me….

Grabbin the 10K medal
Grabbin the 10K medal

Another runner whom I shared the same fate gave me an unsolicited advice: that we should run. I refused, but he insisted. He even mentioned me to run the whole marathon route like that. He was my devil’s advocate… But you were trained for it right?

Reality check1: I paid the race for 120 USD.
Reality check 2: There was a whole day of flight delay… I almost slept in the airport to wait…
Reality check3: It’s not my fault and neither the organizer’s
Reality check4: I was not alone for I met a number of runners who have experienced the same.

I said NO firmly… NO… for 42K, but 10K would be considerable, the thought of running 42K would be dreadful on a situation like that in my opinion but 10K would be manageable; and so we joined the crowd where I think I wouldn’t be noticed Sorry, SCDM. I need to at least enjoy half of what I paid for. With a pang of guilt, I joined the 10K runner’s crowd. I was a little anxious when I reach the coral.

 

The foggy day in Dubai made me miss the marathon (42K)
The foggy day in Dubai made me miss the marathon (42K)

The run started and everyone moved, Point to ponder, stay in the middle. Along the road I feel that the bystanders were looking at me so I tried going to be in the middle, I have no choice but to enjoy the whole race like as if I had a bib until I made it to the finish line. I felt really bad of not running the marathon, I guess there’s just got to be a reason, but what can I do? Whining is not an option, especially here in Dubai!

Great view at the finish line!
Great view at the finish line!

 

Oh btw, we got the shirt and the 10 finisher’s medal and I had a time well spent.

Featured Thoughts: Hope

We must accept finite disappointments, but never lose infinite hope – Martin Luther King Jr

Hope

Life itself I must say is topsy turvy. Life is like a wheel or a roller coaster ride; sometimes your at the top and sometimes your at the bottom; often whenever we are at the top, we feel that it was too quick and the the next moment we’re at the bottom, and we complain so much and we feel that it’s going to last forever. 

Disappointments are always there, and it will always be like that, but as the saying goes, that we must accept finite disappointments, but never lose infinite hope…

Featured Thoughts: “Life of Pi”

“When you suffered a great deal in life, each additional pain is both unbearable and trifling…” – Yann Martel

Life of Pi Poster
Life of Pi Poster

As I was browsing through what movie could I watch over the weekend. I came across this movie “Life of Pi”. It puzzled me for a moment what this movie is all about, I don’t want to put my money into waste so I thought of checking its synopsis and check what is it all about.

The film was based on a novel by Yann Martel and was directed by Ang Lee, a well known director of movies Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Hulk; so this should be good. As I watched its trailer, a saw the sense of the movie so I decided to go for it.

The movie is actually all about the teen-agers post shipwreck life losing his family from a thunderstorm and his quest for survival. And the dillema, he has to live with a full grown Bengal Tiger!

For 227 days, he managed to live in an environment like that…. I couldn’t just imagine myself if I was in his position. Maybe I’ll do the same but I am not entirely sure if my sanity will keep me alive.

Glimpse of the scene (grabed from nytimes.com)
Glimpse of the scene (grabed from nytimes.com)

The movie itself has thought me to thank life even more. I am totally humbled for most of the time complained about my ordeal, about how things that don’t work according to my will. How torn my pair of shoes are and not seeing the man who doesn’t even have feet. I also appreciate life’s wisdom shared in the movie and the way it teaches us to hope, and hope even more but do something about it.

These are just few of my favorites quote from the movie:

 I suppose in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go, but what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye.

If every unfolding we experience takes us further along in life, then, we are truly experiencing what life is offering.

Above all… it is important not to lose hope…

Check out more quotes of Yann Martel and the New York Times Review.

Check out also the trailer of the movie:

If you’re into a movie about life, this is for you.

What next for me? Maybe I should read the book…

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com. | The Baskerville Theme.

Up ↑

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 388 other followers