Friday, October 7, 2011

A Tale of Two Steves

iTri. iSad.

Steve Larsen (1970-2009)
Uber Cyclist, Ironman Triathlete

Steve Jobs (1955-2011)
Visionary, Innovator.

Monday, July 11, 2011

ICanTri for ICanServe Update

I did it! It was not pretty, but I am now a 2 time IRONMAN finisher, and with your support, we are very close to our target of raising P226,000 for Breast Cancer.

Here's some kwento:

The race had been going pretty smoothly, and I was chugging along rather nonchalantly, feeling strong, until about 9 hours into my race, when my stomach had shutdown, and was resisting any form of nutrition. With more than 26 kilometers left to run, I was dead tired, dizzy, and somewhat incoherent. I gutted it out, put one foot in front of the other, and finished, in spectacular fashion - at the finish line, before entering the medical tent, I hurled in Linda Blair Exorcist style, like I had done several times on the course.

A few moments later, I was lying inside the medical tent, with an IV in my arm. My BP was at 100/70 (rather low they say), and I was a bit out of it. As I lay there, I really got to feel the reason I was there - To raise money for Breast Cancer. Ironic that I ended up (for a few hours), feeling like one - tired, dizzy and puking. I guess that had to be part of the entire experience.

Despite all of that, I was still able to improve my personal best by 30 minutes, finishing in 13 hours and 27minutes, on what they are now calling the toughest Ironman Course.

Thank you for your continued support, a lot of women will be benefiting from this. I am looking forward to doing this all over again someday - but I guess I might have to find something crazier?

For those who are still asking HOW to donate, please email me.

I've been asked a few times whether I would do it again. The answer is DEFINITELY.

Let me leave you with something from Theodore Roosevelt:

'It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.'

Til next time...

Javy Olives

Ironman Survivor, Breast Cancer Advocate

Friday, May 27, 2011

Update: ICanTri for ICanServe

Dear Friends and Family,

I guess you know what they say about the best laid plans.

First The bad news: the Ironman event in China originally scheduled for this
weekend has been called off. Just weeks before the event was to take
place the organizers encountered problems with the local government. Repairs
being done in the area where we were to swim would apparently not be ready in

Now for some good news. The organizers have been kind enough to give
the participants a full refund and a chance to join an Ironman event in another
destination. I am registered to swim, bike and run on July 3 in Jeju, Korea. More
importantly, I am determined more than ever to raise funds for the ICanServe
foundation. NOTHING WOULD MAKE ME PROUDER THAN to do this in honor
of the brave women that bravely fight breast cancer. Nothing would make me
humbler than having you help me realize this goal.

Donations and pledges can be sent or emailed to: For your convenience we can arrange to pick these
up too.

Thank you again.

Javy Olives

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

ICanTri for ICanServe

Dear Friends and Family,

This will confirm what you probably already knew. I am crazy. Last year's Ironman left me wanting more, so I'm doing it all over again in China come May 29. Those gruelling thirteen hours stripped me down to my core. I learned about pain, patience, sacrifice, hope and the power of the human spirit. Best of all, I learned that nothing is IMpossible. This time around, I am psyched to swim 4 kilometers, cycle 180 kilometers and run 42.2 kilometers not just for myself, but for something much, much bigger.

Twelve years ago, my sister was diagnosed with an advanced stage of breast cancer. She helped start a breast cancer foundation and made one vow: that women diagnosed should not go through it alone, in the dark or in shame. Today, the ICanServe Foundation provides hope and help for women with breast cancer. It promotes early breast cancer detection through high impact information campaigns and early detection programs.

In the time it will take me to complete the Ironman, 240 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and 60 of them will die because of it.

I'd like to TRI and make a change in any little way I can, and I would love for you to help me. Here are some ways you can:
  1. Donate a flat amount that feels comfortable for you and your wallet.
  2. Pledge any peso amount for every kilometer I complete. (The Ironman is a 226 kilometer event)
If there are cancer survivors you would like to honor, let me know. I will gladly scribble their names on my jersey to remind me why I am out there that day.

Through your generous pledges and donations, every stroke, step and stride I take will help chemotherapy patients on treatment and help subsidize community-based screening programs. Like I said, no one should be helpless or clueless when it comes to cancer.

So there..maybe I'm not so crazy after all.

PS: Below is the pledge form, or you can download it from here. Please disregard my mobile number, as I am in the middle of changing numbers. I may be reached thru

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Half Ironman Pacing

It's less than 2 weeks to go to Ironman 70.3 Philippines. I've got nothing much to say, and have a readership of about 3 people (including Hannah and my Mom - who probably just reads up to check up on me), so here's a little something for everyone who'll be at Camsur.

Good luck, Race clean and most especially, embrace the pain.

Here are some tips from Triathlon Coach/Elite Triathlete Gordo Byrn:

[1] Go out easy on the swim - the swim makes no difference to your overall performance. Use it as a warm-up for the bike. Two minutes faster on the swim can result in 20 minutes slower on the run. I ran past 250+ people at Wildflower last year. In an IM race, I typically pass 5-800 people with this strategy.

[2] Go out easy on the bike - your body will need about 6-10 minutes to make the adjustment from swimmer to rider. Take the first part of the ride easy in an easy gear. Initially drink water or highly diluted sports drink. Don't start eating until your HR has settled to your normal bike pace. It is okay for the HR to be a little high at the start but if this is the case then you should feel like you are pedalling VERY easy. Remember, it is a long day - there will be plenty of time to hammer later.

[3] About 15-20K into the bike it is time to start eating. By now you have let your HR settle and you have found a pace that feels comfortable. Personally, I will be racing Vineman at 10-15 bpm below my AT. On my first 1/2 IM I was 20-25 bpm below my bike AT. For your first race, remain aerobic at all costs.

[4] 45-75K is, for me, the crux of the bike - this is where you should be fueling up and maintaining concentration. It is easy to get distracted in this period. Maintain concentration, maintain fluid intake and EAT.

[5] Overall, the purpose of the bike is to replace what you lost on the swim and prepare yourself for the run. There are ZERO benefits to hammering - let the hammerheads go. You will see them later [if you don't then they are faster than you anyhow ;-) ] Find a steady, comfortable pace. Stay aero, hydrate and focus. Remember that good body position is golden in a long race.

[6] Now the run. Start the run SLOW - are you noticing a pattern here? Many people do 1-5 above and then arrive at the run feeling great. They then blow their load in the first mile. Remember that you are about to run a half marathon. I normally leave a frozen bottle of drink at T2 so I can have a cool beverage to start the run. I run the first two miles real slow [please use your own definition here - right Craig?]. Normally, my stomach is full of food and water from the bike. Stitches are common as is a feeling that your legs will never come right. Believe in yourself, believe in your legs and they will come right somewhere between the 3-5K mark (assuming you listened to me about the bike!).

[7] Personally, I like to think about the run as really 4 x 5K. My strategy is to run the first 5K slowly. All I want to do is find my rhythm, hydrate and ensure that I am fueled up for the real race, about to begin shortly. Don't sweat your HR. The name of the game is getting your running muscles going.

[8] The second and third 5K pieces are where it all happens. You are still focusing on running steady. Here you can use your HRM to make sure that you don't run too fast and also make sure that you are not dogging it. If you are having trouble getting your HR up then get on the sports drink or cola if available. If your HR is running very high but you feel OK then this could be a sign of dehydration - water, water, water.

[9] Somewhere in the 8-16K region, you will have a period that feels absolutely awful (at least I always do). Stick with it. It will only last about 5-10 minutes and then you will be through it. Push through these problem times and you will get out the other side. Believe in yourself as an athlete.

[10] Hopefully, you are now around the 15K mark. You are tired but a bit stoked that things have gone so well. You can sense the finish line and you can do the math to see that you are going to beat your goals. You have run a smart race to here and will achieve/exceed your goals. Now it is HAMMER TIME. If you feel like it then rev your pace up. You will know the right amount to increase. Keep it aerobic but it is OK to get a good sweat going. Remember to continue to take fluids at every aid station, particularly around the 15/16/17/18K marks. Just ask PNF about the risks of skipping aid late in the game.

[11] Once you hit mile 12 (19K) spend everything you have, or simply enjoy the tailend of the race. I have done both.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Race Report - The Bullrunner Dream Marathon 2010

I hadn't been this excited since Ironman a few months ago. Perhaps it's the thought of completing an entirely new distance that fueled this excitement. Contrary to popular belief, I have not run a marathon. Yes, I completed the Ironman, which consisted of a marathon, but barely ran it. In fact, I have only 1 Open Half Marathon (Condura 2009). My longest run race was back in 2008 (New Balance 25k).

After Ironman, I took a few weeks off training, and began putting in some runs in preparation for my first marathon, The Bullrunner Dream Marathon. The weeks flew by, and before I knew it, I was about to tackle my first marathon, with Hannah, Jake, Drew, Levy and many others.

The 2am gunstart created quite a stir when it was announced, but was a welcome change, since it meant not having to deal with much heat. The day began at 12 midnight. After 'breakfast' (more like a midnight snack) and other pre-race rituals, we found ourselves at the starting line all revved up to go.
Drew, Levy & I
Photo Courtesy of Photovendo

The gun went off, and so did we...into the darkness. The first few hundred meters were quite awkward. Since it was almost pitch black, we (Levy, Drew & I) did not know where to go. We did the next best thing - follow the motorcycle (whom we assumed was a race marshall). Thank God he was.

The first 24 kilometers went by pretty quickly. After rounding thru Solenad for the first time, Drew, who had to ready himself for his Emcee duties, peeled off. I began the 2nd loop, the final 18km. At that point, I was pretty much on target. I had a decent rhythm going, and despite a queasy stomach, was feeling fine. A few KMs later was the turnoff to the bird sanctuary, a 3+km off road trail in almost complete darkness. The trail was a welcome break from the hard concrete, but traversing it in darkness meant pacing down a bit, or risking injury. As soon as I got out of the trail, I began the steep ascent. In all honesty, I was not ready for this kind of course. It was a 70m vertical ascent in 2km - that's equivalent to a 21 story building.

My pace was deteriorating badly, and so was my body. My quads were on fire, and my calves were beginning to freeze. Slowly but surely, I made it up to the highest point. The race director Neville, surely didn't let us have it that easy, as he situated the major turnaround another 2km below the highest point. This meant after climbing to the highest point, we had to run another 2km downhill, and make that uphill return, before heading to the finish line. My calves were ceasing, and I was looking less and less like a runner, and more and more like a Nordic skier. I was talking to my calves, asking them to cooperate. As soon as one calf relaxed, the other ceased.

I hit the 32km mark at just under 3hrs. At that point, I was not sure if I could break 4hrs, considering the condition I was in. I gutted it out and proceeded with caution. Running with cramp stricken calves is like treading on thin ice - go too fast and they'll lock up.

The final push
Photo Courtesy of Photovendo

With less than 4km to go, I passed thru the SecondWind zone. Hec ran alongside me for a few meters, shouting encouraging words. Those last 4km were the longest 4km I ever ran. With 2km to go, Levy strode past me. He was going strong, and I could not hang on. It was only in the last 500m that I started to relish the moment. The live band was playing 'My Hero' by Foo Fighters as I made my way thru the finishing chute. 3:57:02. Not bad. Not bad at all.

My signature headstand
Photo Courtesy of Photovendo

Sub 4!
(with one of my senseis Levy Ang)

One by one, first and 2nd time marathoners crossed the finish line. Each had their own emotion, each, their own story. It was an amazing experience I enjoyed sharing with 200 other first timers. We had done what 99.9% of the human population will never do. We had finished a marathon.

with Hannah, who completed her 2nd mary in 4 months

Props to Jaymie and her team for putting up a spectacular race. Congrats to all the Bullrunner Dream Marathoners. Special mentions to Hannah (for gutting it out), Jake (for popping his cherry) and Levy (for PRing by 10mins).

with Jaymie aka The Bullrunner, and Levy aka Happy Hour

'Don’t the best of them bleed it out
While the rest of them peter out
Truth or consequence, say it aloud
Use that evidence, race it around

There goes my hero

Watch him as he goes

There goes my hero

He’s ordinary'

- From 'My Hero' by the Foo Fighters

Monday, May 10, 2010

Race Report - Subic International Triathlon 2010

Honestly, this race almost didn't happen. If not for peer pressure (aka Drew), I would not have participated. Back in February, after my terrible Ironman attempt, I decided I wanted to do a marathon.

I have never run a marathon, and all those kilometers I logged gearing up for Ironman seemed wasted as I practically walked the entire marathon at Ironman. As soon as Jaymie posted The Bullrunner Dream Marathon, I immediately signed up. It was slated for May 22, and Subit was slated on May 2. This meant that the triathlon fell right smack into what would be the biggest run week. If I was to do both, one would have to take a backseat, and I decided the triathlon would.

After taking a break in March, I resumed running in April. I put in a few swims and bike rides here and there, but my main focus was logging in those miles for the marathon. Subit race day came pretty quickly. Before I knew it, I was having the customary beers with Team Super at The Lighthouse. One turned into two, two turned into three...a familiar story. My teammate Jake asked me what my race strategy would be. He caught me off-guard as I myself did not know at that point. I said it would be 'controlled aggression'. As I really did not know what pace my legs could produce, I could not really do much. Controlled aggression for me meant not holding back too much, but also not running myself to the ground.

Race Day

After some hurried setups of T2 then T1, and a few minutes of swim warmup and light stretching, I found myself toeing the startline of our wave. I gained some confidence, and positioned myself towards the front of the line, about 15 people to the left. I figured this would be a good position. The starting gun went off and so did we. I tried to put in some effort in the first 100m, and it paid off. After around 200m, there was no longer any mayhem. At the first turnaround, I found some feet...bubbly feet. When you see bubbles, you know that's a kicker - and you know that only good swimmers can maintain kicking hard for 1500m. I quickly latched onto his feet, trusted his navigation skills, and enjoyed the ride. After the first loop, I checked my watch and it was 12:40 - whoa! I quickly dove in and latched onto the stranger's feet once again. He towed me thru the backmarkers and onto a swim PR. We exited the water in just over 25 mins. Amazingly I was not huffing and puffing. I later realize that he was a UP swimming alumnus - thank you sir! You are my Bubbly Toes!

I jumped on my bike, and finally pulled off a smooth flying transition (shoes on pedals). I began the tricky part of the course, which was the climbs. This was only the 2nd time on my tri bike since IM, and I was testing a brand new position, so I didn't know what to expect. I went on a decent pace on the uphills, and tried to be as aerodynamic as possible on the downhills. As I hit the turnaround, I started to see familiar faces zooming down. This is usually the point wherein the elites start catching me and zooming by. Surprisingly, only a few people caught me on the bike. On the flats, I just maintained my position, and tried to keep a decent cadence. I rolled into T2 at around 1:15 - success!

All my races have quirks, and this one was in T2. I had totally forgotten where my rack was, since it was early and I wasn't really paying attention when I setup T2. It took a while, and a marshall finally helped me find my rack. I slipped on my shoes, race belt, and our (Drew & I) secret weapon - GSP 'Kamikazee' headbands.

Trying to pace with Idol Abe Tayag

I began running at a decent pace. My run strategy was simply to run with what I had, and try to keep pace. Early on, I felt the effects of long running - I had no speed in my legs. I chugged along and made the most of what I had. Early in the 1st lap, uber runner Martin Lorenzo zoomed by, and made me look like I was sunday walking in Luneta. My pace was slowing down every lap (that's why they call me Positive Split), and there wasn't much I could do about it. At around the 3rd lap, Abe Tayag had caught up with me, and I tried to pace with him. 1k later, I had dropped - his pace was just too much for me to bear. I chugged along the remaining laps, and finished the run decently in just over 48mins.

No its not Karate Kid, its GSP!

All in all, I had a pretty good race. 2:30 total, 20th place overall and 6th in my age group. I was able to slash 7 mins off last year, and improve my standing by 2 places - despite being in a sea of elites, former national team members and a Kona Qualifier.

Next stop, my first marathon @ The Bullrunner Dream Marathon.

Team Super Reprezent!

Customary recovery BBZs at The Lighthouse

'When you move like a jellyfish
Rhythm don't mean nothing
You go with the flow
You don't stop
' - From 'Bubbly Toes' by Jack Johnson