Andrew Chinalpan : Ironman Korea

Every athlete has a great story to tell.

For our first YOUR SBR story, we put the spotlight on Andrew Chinalpan. He talks and shares to everyone his Ironman Korea conquest. He finished Ironman Korea, his third, with a time of 11:48:30. The second fastest Filipino time of the race and with a Filipino best 4:44:41 bike split.

Andrew Chinalpan

The story of how I was able to join Jeju Ironman started when I registered for Ironman China in which the latter was supposedly be held on May 29, 2011. It is a “blessing in disguise” for me that Ironman China was cancelled just weeks before the race since I was not able to execute the training needed for me to perform well due to family commitment and work. I was sorry though for the other Filipino contingent who really looked forward racing in China specially for those doing it the first time.

Anyway, we ended up having a vacation in Beijing using the bookings we made that was intended for the race. It was in Beijing that we got the news that IRONMAN organizers are giving us free registration to any Ironman races anywhere in the world aside from the full refund for the Ironman China cancellation. It was such a good deal, I and the rest of the gang (Uncle Willy, Emer, Jc and Meyo….oops I forgot Jason) decided right there and then to register. Our fate for Jeju Ironman was sealed.

Fast forward to race week, it dawned upon me that the whole month of June left for me to catch up with training specially the swim part went by like a “shooting star”.

Swimming is my weakest link and I just put my fate on the 5 mm rubber fabric covering my body during the swim. My first ironman 4 KM swim in Langkawi is 1:20 and my 2nd at 1:27 so a 1:40 for the 4 kilometer swim in Jeju will be heaven for me. I ended up finishing the swim in 1:18, it was a bliss. Is it the wetsuit? or is it the new training I was doing on my own, a mix of Total Immersion and some techniques borrowed from countless magazines. It remains to be seen in Camsur this August 14.

All is going well I reckon, so on the swim to bike transition I took my time and I think it took me almost 8 minutes. Never mind, I was happy to be on the bike, my strongest discipline. It was a hilly course and I thought it would be an advantage for me being a ” not bad” climber but to my dismay, I was sufferring the last 30 KM. I ended up doing the 180 KM at 5:32. I guess it was ok after all.

Now on the dreaded run, my bike to run trasition was once again on a very relaxed mode. The first KM was a steep downhill so it was a pleasant fast pace but not burning the lungs. It was when it starts to go up a bit that I felt my legs very weak. I can’t seem to lift my legs to take a step. I said to myself, maybe this is just a “transition thing” so I shuffled for like an eternity until I walked. This is it, my mind is telling me to quit then I quickly thought I may just be low on sugar so the first thing I asked a couple walking at the side walk if they have coke. The guy said sorry he does not have. I stopped, my mind telling me to just quit, then I saw a nearby store so I shuffled a bit again to catch the couple and ask them if they can spare me a money to buy a coke. The guy was an angel, he handed me 1,000 won. I crossed the street to buy coke and truly enough, a minute after I drank the coke I felt energy surging through my body. I shuffled again and after a while, there was the first aid station with tons of cola waiting to be consumed. I stopped there for probably 5 minutes trying to down more cola.

Leaving the first aid station at a pace of probably 7 minutes per kilometer was not bad, I kept thinking to myself. I will finish the 42 KM in less than 6 hours. Better than not finishing at all so I felt I had a bit of kick in my legs, so I thought. The next aid stations was a welcome site but it revealed another problem, I feel sleepy between aid stations so on the 3rd one, I started to sit down on the chair and had naps. This is the norm for the first loop and good that on 2 occasions, Ivan Fojas and Art Ifurung was there to shout on me and ask if I am ok and I would start to jog again after that. I was thinking of going to the stores nearby and ask for some coffee but I just kept on going until the second loop. I passed by Greg Banzon just before the 2nd aid station on my second loop and he was asking me why he was very sleepy, I was amazed we had the same problem so I told him just to sit down and have a nap like what I was doing. He did and when I met Ivan I informed him I told Greg to just take a nap so Ivan will not be alarmed when he sees his teammate dozing off.

On the third station of the second loop, I can’t take it no more about the sleepiness so while sitting on the chair, I asked the volunteers if they have coffee, another angel was there for me, she pulled a thermos underneath the table and gave me a cold black coffee. The kick of the “black magic” made me want to fly, I said to my angel I will be back for more. The power of caffeine made my pace faster and I felt strong. Coming back from the U-Turn, I met Greg again and I can still see in his face that he is sleepy so I told him about the coffee on that aid station and I insisted to him to have one when he gets back. After another shot of the “blac magic” and I increased my pace all the way to the finish line, I was flying…

I finished my 42 KM at 4:44 and my third Ironman at 11 hours 48 minutes.

Thank you Lord for the Angels and thank you to my wife for her undying support and last but not the least to my sponsors EPIC, ROX, Nathan, Timex and Energy Bar.


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comments Team

A triathlete making a comeback and a true blue Scorpio. That sums it up quite nicely :)

One Comment

  1. The coffee and the sleepy part was really funny haha Weird though, can someone help explain why they were feeling sleepy? Was it the fatigue or could it be the sugar crashing from the coke?

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