Share your #KwentongTriSeries! Are you an Aquaman? a Duaman? or a Triman? Whether you finished just one or did all three, we want to hear YOUR story. Tell us your motivation for joining. Tell us your why. Email your story at [email protected]. Don’t forget to attach pictures as well! #KwentongAquaman #KwentongDuaman #KwentongTriman.
Mary Rayalene Cahiles is an accomplished swimmer turned triathlete who embarked on her triathlon journey before the pandemic’s onset. From taking her brother’s challenge to embracing the triathlon discipline, Mary’s determination shines as she juggles training, academics, and life. Despite the setbacks of the pandemic, Mary’s return to racing in 2023 serves as a testament to her unwavering spirit. Reminding us all that we can always Tri again, and perhaps even surpass our previous achievements.
What I Once Was
By: Mary Rayalene Cahiles
Way before the pandemic started around 2016 (I was 14), I was already practicing the sport of triathlon, but prior that I was already a ‘somewhat’ established swimmer representing my school together with the City i reside in (and supposedly the NCR) for years, so triathlon wasn’t that all too unfamiliar.
Started with a tease as my brother suggested “Subukan mo kaya mag-triathlon, nagkaroon ka lang ng bike at run bigla sa sport mo.” (“Try triathlon, you’d just add cycling and running to your current sport.”) From there I decided to give it a go and tell my mom about my intentions. Luckily enough my dad is friends with a well known triathlon coach, Jojo Macalintal of Team Trimac, so finding a coach and team wasn’t the hard part.
Then what was the hard part? Having to adjust to training for three sports consistently while maintaining decent grades at my school (I studied at a Science High School through my JHS & SHS), juggling all those with still having a social life with friends and family. Surprisingly, I pulled it all through, placing a couple podiums through the years of joining competitions here and there. Probably my greatest tri-achievement was placing 3rd for the OVERALL Female category of a full distance triathlon race, but that’s a story for another day.
For five consecutive years I was training consistently and studying immensely, as I was planning to join the Ironman 70.3 during 2021 so my training during 2020 was crucial, but the world had other plans. The pandemic struck and my high spirited idea of “training at home” started to dwindle, as we weren’t really well off to have a pool at home, treadmill, or decent space for home workouts. Truly being in one of the most challenging parts of my life; from my 18th birthday celebration being canceled (which I prepared 2 years for) to my triathlon process/career depleting, I was ready to accept that I will never be back to who I was before the pandemic.
But I know I wasn’t the only athlete who had the same feelings of frustrations due to the inability to train, so to those who really felt defeated during the pandemic; you are not alone, I feel and understand you. After a year, when things were looking up and I was already back into swimming training daily (bubble training), I teased the idea to my mom that I wanted to try and join a competition again, but it never really pushed through.
So why just now this 2023? Besides the times now being much better to how we react to the pandemic, having to adjust to F2F college was hard, especially coming from online classes for 2 years prior. Then it’s all settled, I would register only for the Aquaman and Triman races because I won’t be able to train properly for Duaman since the last week of June was my finals.
My mom was first scared since I was just swimming on/off for the past months and running here and there but nothing too serious, however after a bit of convincing she agreed with the condition of me having to train consistently for the month prior to the Aquaman race, so that I wouldn’t get hurt during the competition. She was thinking about my safety through and through but all I could think about was me being able to get back out there and race again. I really can’t explain why racing (and training) for this sport gives me such unparalleled joy to anything else this world has to offer, it’s such a different type of happiness, na kahit hirap ka na minsan tumakbo pipilitin mo ‘wag isipin yung pulikat (even though you’re tired of running, you’d force through the cramps) for the heck of it all.
(I’d just like to take this time to thank both of my parents for being supportive of my interests and caring for what truly makes me happy in life. I love you both, I owe you the world and more.)
Now at 21 getting back at it, I finished the Aquaman race with flying colors, beating my PR from years ago like who could imagine, right? Coincidentally, the date of the aquaman was almost the same date of my first aquathlon ever. Following that was me finishing third for the Triman race for my age group. Our body works wonders but everything is all in the mind and our willingness towards something, kasi nga kung gusto mo naman talaga ay may paraan. (If you really wanted to, then you would.)
I was never gonna be what or who I once was, but I could always Tri again.
So to all those athlete who had their spirits shattered, you could always Tri again! and who know, you could even be better than who you once were.