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TAG | The Age Grouper | Judith Caneza

Like what we always say here on SBR.ph, it’s the age-groupers who truly make up the sport. The fast ones may always get the medals and accolades, but at the end of the day, it’s the non-podium (slower) ones, who epitomizes what this crazy sport of ours is all about.

Such is the case of Judith Caneza. She got our attention last SuBIT 2014 because just as when (almost) everyone was done with the race, under the sweltering heat, she was still out there with a few more kilometers to go. In most cases, you’ll see athletes with their heads down, totally frustrated with their race. Some people would surely opt for the quick fix and go for a D.N.F., but with Judith?

She was just out there racing like she’s the boss of her own race. In a good way of course. Her head up and we can tell she was totally in high spirits. We shouted “good job!” to her on her last lap and as expected, she answered back with a very happy “Thank you!”

“Man, she’s something else.” we said.

Then.. we saw this gem taken by the master himself, Peth Salvador.

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We couldn’t help it anymore. So we asked …

Hi Judith. Just want to say that I have pictures of you too last SuBIT. Your dedication and determination out there to finish the race was totally inspiring. One of the champions of the race for me honestly.

I’d be honored to feature your journey on @swimbikerunph

And she said..

Hi! Carlos , I would just like to tell how glad I am that I was noticed

out of hundreds of people who participated in SUBIT. I joined that race to achieve something for myself but I gained more than that, respect and being an inspiration to others was the best feeling I’ve ever felt. I never got any medal nor stepped on a podium in any race events that I’ve been to but seeing those uplifting comments on my pictures and the cheers that I heard while I was on that race was more like receiving one. I hope I can inspire more people thru your site

So here’s her story..

Little did we know, this year alone, she has logged more racing mileage than the average male pinoy triathlete. Even more than our admin! (Heyy! I’m just starting my comeback! – CDG).

“I am a gastric band patient year 2008, at first I followed my program and I lost some weight, then I studied and worked abroad, became busy and my physical activity went bye bye then my weight went up. It was last October 2012 when I decided to accomplish something for myself, and take an action regarding my weight. I was nearly 300 pounds when I came back to the country. I had a hard time to carry out simple task because I easily get tired moving and I have a very low self-esteem. I seek again for immediate medical help to my doctor who is Dr. Edward Oliveros who did my gastric band at St. Luke’s Medical Center Global City and he introduced me to the weight management team of the hospital. This time I was determined and focused on what I want which is to lose weight and be able to walk without a feeling of sore ankles.  From that point on I did my exercise 6-7 times a week, I consistently visit weight management center of St. Lukes Global City  3 times a week, guiding me in my workout sessions. My workout sessions were tough and painful but I have to endure it because I know deep in my heart I will benefit from it in the end. Even if I was nearly crying from the pain in my exercise routine, the fitness team of SLMC Global City didn’t gave me a chance to stop furthermore they encourage me that I could do it, even if it would take me a while as long as I could finish my workout sessions.”

Just for 2014 alone, Judith has already done the following . The best part? She joins our races too! Here’s her list of races and some snippets from her race experience. It’s truly amazing how much impact this sport of ours, can have in one person’s life.

1. Ateneo Aquathlon

When my feet step into that finish line, my heart was beating with joy because at last I overcome what I think before was impossible. Back then, I was just sitting on the sidelines hoping that someday would come that I could walk again without having a sore ankle or not getting tired so easily. At that moment, everything that I hoped and prayed for came true; I was capable of finishing a race like others do. My time was 00:13:24 in swim and 00:30:13 in run a total of 00:45:41, I finished 43rd out of the 48 people in the group, knowing that I was not the last one to end in my wave, my emotion was over the top because I assumed that I would be the last and I exceeded my expectations to myself. It was one of the most unforgettable experiences in my life; I learned that if you really want something you can reach it as long as you put your heart and soul into it.

2. Aquaman Aquathlon

I continued to do my brisk walking and began to converse with the watcher who is beside me and said “Kuya? Ok lang ba kung huli na ako? Di ko po talaga kaya masakit na paa ko mukhang open na blister ko”, then he replied “Kaya po ninyo yan ma’am isang kilometro na lang nandito lang kame.” I saw my sister 500 meters from the finish line cheered and make sure if I’m alright, I’m in the dilemma of my pain and not disappointing the people who believe in me. I kept on moving forward, as I approach 200 meters before the finish line I witnessed the people waiting, shouting and cheering for me. I cried when I saw that sight maybe because I had mixed emotions from the pain, exhaustion and happiness that I’m feeling and at last I’m nearly there. When I stepped on the finish line, everyone congratulated me and some took a picture of me, I felt like I won the race and didn’t feel a single bit that I finished last in my wave. This moment was my turning point to get serious in this sport because for the first time no one teased me in my appearance even if I wore tight clothes and I felt appreciated and important. I’m happy and blessed to be surrounded by my loving family, friends and team mates who supported me although out the race. I still fight obesity and this kind of community is helping me to battle my long term problem. I believe that one day, I can be an inspiration to people similar to me who’s thinks that there is no way out in obesity.

3. Milo Marathon (10k)

The thoughts in my mind while I was running is that “Ok lang umiyak Judith, wag ka lang titigil!” and I ‘m eager to make it in the cut off time. My breathing was fine and thank God I was not gasping air when I reached my 8th kilometer, we passed by the truck which sprinkled water on the runners. Unfortunately, my shoes was wet and after a few meters I formed a blister that gave me a hard time to run and it was really painful. Yet I kept on running but the pain slowed me down, I was worried that I can’t make it to the cut off time. When I was on my final stretch I heard the person in front of me said “3 min. na lang! kaya pa natin umabot!” that word gave me hope and even if my feet are hurting, I still ran as fast as I could. My time was 1:27:36, I finished 1758th out of 2813 10k runners, I was ecstatic when I knew that I made it on the cut off time even if I don’t look fit like others do. I have many issues in life and most of the time I doubted myself in every race I’m into because of my weight. I realized that I have to trust myself more and what I’m capable of.

4. Philippine Duathlon Series Leg 1

There were moments that I was thinking “what am I gotten into?” run and bike is not my forte and it was really a challenge for me but still I’m doing it and on the other hand my heart tells me not to quit. As I reached my 6th loop, there was a smile on my face knowing that I’m 3 km away from the finish line. In the 2nd transition my legs was really tight and began to numb, still continued to run and when I passed by Regi, one of my team mates who is watching and cheering for me, I told her I’m really tired and my legs are hurting that I want to stop. But she said “No! you can do it! di ako papayag tumigil ka! Konti na lang!” then she ran with me with my last 3 km even if she’s on her slippers. In my last 200 meters Regi pushed me to run as fast as I could and thank God I did it! The physical effort, mental focus, and adrenalin high were worthwhile as I step into that finishline. The incredible energy level and camaraderie from everyone at the event, from participants to organizers, to volunteers was tremendous.

My time was 2:54:15, I finished 15th out of 18 participants in my age group, and this was a good sign for me to continue my triathlon dream. I know have plenty of areas to focus on as my journey continues to triathlon, I will prepare for it and I feel that I could conquer it in God’s perfect time.

5. World Merit Aquathlon

Even if frustration came into my mind my heart was eager to continue the race in the best way my body could do. As I ran in those uphill my legs felt tightness but bearable and after 600 meters the pain on my abdomen started to ease slowly. I focused on my breathing and kept my heart rate in 150-170 bpm, I make sure to stop in water station to drink and cool myself. Everything falls into place and managed to continue at my normal running pace without gasping air. 200 meters before the finish line I saw my father waving at me, at that split second my joy was over the moon. Appreciation of my parents was more than enough reason to finish my race. This sport slowly gaining back my self-esteem and self worth, and I won’t trade it for anything else. It gave me a reason not to settle at the sidelines and be better person and I hope and pray that I could continue it as I progress my races.

6. Tri Manila (Her first triathlon!)

No review submitted to us :) *BITIN!*

As for the final words? Let’s quote it from Judith herself..

“This sport changed my life, I hope and pray that I could improve more…” :)

See you on the road Judith ;) Keep racing and keep inspiring!

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