A Sleepytrigirl is Made not Born

How does a sleepytrigirl who has been a night owl most of her adult life become a triathlete or a morning athlete -runner, cyclist whatever?

It was a process. It started with the death of my son… Running consoled me..
As I added on the mileage, I decided to train for a marathon (the Chronicle Marathon in SF in 2002) to help me deal with my grief. At that time, I was an entrepreneur then working at home, which allowed me to do my runs at sunset, my favorite time. Before that I was a practicing lawyer, doing my runs in the evenings and weekends.

But right after the marathon, I was so sick of running and needed something else to do. My brother Lino, friends Earl Medina and Patrick Joson kept bugging me to try the tri. Lino lent me his yellow mountain bike that he bought, I think, in the supermarket. I’m not kidding!

Despite my bike being an eyesore and my not knowing which was the front or back side of my bike helmet, I managed to learn to ride with cleats and even survived a few scrapes and stitches..

I disciplined myself to sleep earlier than normal so I could wake up earlier than normal to bike. After about a month of this, I had to leave for the US to be with my dad who was very sick…He needed a liver transplant and as it turned out, Lino gave our dad, 2/3rds of his liver…

We eventually took my dad home. I did my first duathlon that weekend (5k run-20k bike-2.5k run). Lino also joined and finished the race, a mere 4 months after the liver transplant. I actually won that race. Sadly, my dad died the week after…Lino and I went for a run when they took him away. It was the only way I knew how to console myself.

I continued to do duathlons, waking up early to bike or run. Fast forward a few months, I ran, uhh.. I mean, I ran for public office as a senator. I squeezed in a run or bike wherever I was. Some of the more memorable ones were, running around a church compound in the pouring rain.. running in a state-of-the-art track oval on a moon-lit night in Lanao del Norte, surrounded by soldiers and the PSG.. biking through Cavite, just me and Dags (our ever reliable former Tour, now bike mechanic), shaking hands with people in the jeeps and going down at every market we passed… Oh, and how could I forget, biking up Baguio via Marcos highway.

As fate would have it, I won, became a senator and went back to a more predictable training schedule – that is morning bike rides and runs 4-5 days a week before starting my workday and 1 or 2 afternoon/early evening sessions. Last year, I started swimming regularly and made the shift from duathlon to triathlon. Today, I do both.

How does a sleepytrigirl do it? Believe me, with much difficulty. I come from a family of late sleepers. I’m used to working past midnight. When I reviewed for the bar exam, I studied til 3 am in the morning everyday, ran in between review classes, joined a half marathon a month before the bar exams and got typhoid fever, but that’s another story…I guess that’s just the kind of schedule that works for me…

Since I became a duathlete/triathlete I have had to try to be in bed before midnight, preferably 11 pm. Tough..especially with two girls who know mommies are on call 24 hours a day…

These days I’m a sleepytrigirl who needs to constantly review her schedule to balance work and family time, speaking engagements, meetings, study time, training and yes, sleep… I have no fixed sleeping time, and no fixed waking time. Some days, though rarely, thank God, I’m up at 5am (like the days when I biked from my house to Batangas). Other days, even more rarely, thank you, thank you God (!!!), I sleep at 6 am (when we had marathon sessions in the senate and the day after election- that’s at the campaign headquarters). I just do what I can every single day.. and at night, my girls and I thank God for all the blessings.. and then, I pray that my daughters let me sleep and I wake up with a smile without having to hit the snooze button 10x.

Why do I do it? Because…

– i like being fit, I hate being fat and I love to eat.
– i love to race…and race well. But I need to train well, if I am to race well..After the grueling campaign period, Philippine team manager Melvin Fausto signed me up for and olympic distance duathlon (10k run-40k bike-5k run). I knew I would suffer…After the first 10k run and the 40k bike, I was dragging my feet to finish the last 5k. I was so slow, I was almost walking and one of the race marshals, Rene Zablan, who was on a bike beside me kept saying, “out of shape ka ‘no?”..and, “gusto mo nang maglakad ‘no?” I wanted to bop him. But everything he said was true and I realized it wasn’t fun doing this when you haven’t trained well.

-its a great way to spend your vacation.That’s the Philippine Duathlon team in the World Duathlon Championship in Australia.

-I love being around all these disciplined crazy people who work hard and persevere in the pursuit of victory.
-I love seeing friends and meeting new people at races.
-I love the bond I have with my dua/tri/cycling friends, some of whom have become very good friends.

– when Im out there running and biking, I have peace.

Are you ready to tri?

Please check pinayinaction.multiply.com soon for more updates on running, triathlon, fitness and women’s health.

9 comments on “A Sleepytrigirl is Made not Born

  1. You continue to inspire women to get into the fitness habit. I only started getting serious 3 years ago not after suffering some health issues. It’s never too late though. That’s why I like to promote blogs that delve into health and fitness. When is the next race?

  2. banggigay

    wow! i really admire your discipline! i can just imagine how you juggle your time with all these. you wear so many hats, and still excel in all those. mediocrity was never in your system eh?

    got so inspired by you! 😉

  3. Funny you called yourself sleepy. You’re one of the few women who seem to have an endless supply of energy. Just goes to show how driven you are–to go beyond what your body is saying and pushing it further to achieve so so many things.

    Me! I wish I could tri! I’ve been hinting at it to my coach already haha. Maybe next year duathlon then tri the year after that.

  4. Hi Senator Pia! Found your blog through Jaymie’s. I’ve always wanted to do triathlon! I bike and run but I’m a terrible swimmer haha. You’re an inspiration since you seem to be on your toes 24/7 — plus two kids to boot!

    I hope to see you in one of the runs/bikeouts or duathlons soon!

  5. Your strength is admirable and serves as an inspiration to me. I don’t think I’m cut out for duathlon/triathlon though. Had a TIA 4 years ago. Until now, I’m still looking for an outlet for my grief. For now, I think blogging will suffice. I take my hats off to you. 😀

  6. GeorgeBodegonMD

    Ma’am Pia, you continue to inspire others with your dedication to bike, run and swim. If I didnt try out the 12-hour walk-bike-run for Gabriel in 2005 I probably wont be riding my bike to tagaytay or wouldnt even think of doing triathlons/duathlon. But last saturday,I did my first self-proclaimed duathlon: 4k run-0km daang hari TT4k-run.I loved it!!!!

  7. we have a connection together i am a living kidney transplant recipient(your dad was liver, sorry it didnt
    work out with him. after my transplant i became a self obsessed endurance junkie who did triathlons culminating
    with doing ironman arizona last 2007. now running and doing the occasional marathon and trying to bq. i am based in san mateo ca (immigrated from the pi in 1993). My son was also born last january so after some semi tragedy like having chronic kidney dysfunction doing dialysis then to be operated for the transplant ive ecstatic at what ive accomplised personal and family life.Probably your catalyst was your dad too. More power to political and athletic achievements ma’m senator.

  8. I rarely comment on blogs and this is a first for me. To Sen. Pia and to Chris – I am deeply touched by your stories on how you have turned a seemingly negative event into something positive that continues to inspire people like me. We overcome grief, sadness and hardships in so many ways and with your heart-felt stories, I am determined to start somewhere … at least by running. Thank you!

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