by Norman Aceron Garcia
Let’s meet Ferdinand Del Rosario, a.k.a. “Dot,” who recently earned the title Ironman by finishing Ironman Arizona – a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and, 26.2 mile run – held on November 20, 2016.
How did you get into triathlon?
My good friend who got me into long-distance running a couple of years earlier, Kevin Kowalchuk, was considering taking up triathlon, but I initially dismissed the idea since I’m not a good swimmer and I knew how expensive the sport can get. In December 2014, my mom passed away and it reminded me of how short and precious life is and that we should live it to the full. A couple of months later, I joined a Running Room clinic and met Sherry Penner, the first triathlete and Ironman I’ve ever known. With Kevin and Sherry’s encouragement, I decided to buy a bike and learn how to swim in May 2015. By June, I participated in my first triathlon at Birds Hill Park.
What made you decide to take on Ironman Arizona?
I was devastated when my first attempt at an Ironman in Whistler, BC last July was unsuccessful. I wanted to finish the year on a good note, but I recognized that I needed more time to train before I do another event. I chose to register for Ironman Arizona because it’s a relatively flat course, which is what I’m used to. It’s also the last North American race for the year, which gave me four months to train.
What were your specific preparations for the race?
Determined not to fail again, I trained harder than ever for Ironman Arizona. My training averaged 18 to 20 hours per week, which included swimming 5,800 metres, riding 290 km, running 60 km, and some strength training. I did more research on optimal fluid and nutrition intake for Ironman distance races and adjusted accordingly. I also paid more attention to the effort I exert, especially during steep climbs or strong headwinds, to ensure I don’t overwork my legs and minimize muscle fatigue and cramping.
How was your performance overall in Ironman Arizona?
Going into the race, my primary objective was just to finish so I could replace the bad memories from Ironman Whistler with happy ones and become an Ironman! Having that expectation helped relieve some pressure versus trying to achieve a specific finish time. I was anxious on the swim, as usual, since I’m not used to getting hit by arms and legs from all directions. Once out of the water, I heaved a sigh of relief, gave thanks for not drowning, and went onto my favourite part, the bike! The flat course and good weather made the bike leg both enjoyable and fast, which helped me to run a decent marathon too.
Overall, I was just really thankful and happy for finishing Ironman Arizona and becoming an Ironman! What I didn’t realize was that I’d be able to finish in under 13 hours! It was definitely one of the happiest experiences I’ve ever had.
How do you manage your time between working and training for the Ironman Arizona?
Ironman training is extremely time consuming, especially with my job, which involves business travel and extended work hours. I don’t think I could have done it without a loving and supportive wife who takes care of the kids and the house when I’m working or training. I’m so grateful to Eve for supporting me and for being so understanding as I trained for most of the weekday evenings and almost all day on weekends.
What’s your most indispensable gear?
My triathlon bike is my most indispensable gear. The bike leg accounts for half of the entire race duration so having a reliable, comfortable, aerodynamic, and light bike is critical to success in triathlon.
What’s your favourite workout?
Although I had been running for a couple of years before I even bought a tri-bike, cycling outdoors in good weather, by far, is my favourite workout. I love the speed, the feeling of the wind in my face, and being able to appreciate the natural wonders around me. It’s my peaceful place where I find momentary refuge from the stress and negative energies from work and bad things happening locally and around the world.
Norman is a member of Sulong Triathlon Group. For more information, please visit our website at www.sulongtriathlon.org and like us on Facebook at Sulong Triathlon Group.