Growing up, I was always picked on about how large I was. I avoided dressing girly simply because I couldn’t fit in into clothes properly. During my teen years, I experimented with a lot of bad habits mainly to lose weight. I slimmed down but in the process, I became unhealthy because I acquired a bunch of eating disorders. As twisted as it may seem, I did all that because I enjoyed being underweight.
This distorted perception on the kind of lifestyle I had to have carried on until I was trying to find my career path in the Philippine fashion industry. Being on all the fad diets and crazy workouts just to slip into a size 0 was terrible. At that time, the only thing I liked about the gym was using the treadmill. Everyday, I would “jog” for an hour; little did I know that I was already doing about 10 kilometers each time.
The exact moment I knew I had this passion for running was when I told my mother that it made me stop smoking. I started eating well to complement the active lifestyle. Eventually, I discovered the joys of running outdoors. I found it challenging to just keep passing or weaving through people since I didn’t own a sports watch.
When my best friend, Denise, found out I only used an iPhone to track my first race, a 21k run on the Skyway in early 2016, she surprised me with a running watch for my birthday. Denise also knew that our friend from school, Heather, was recruiting me to join the Poveda Tri Team to be a relay runner in an Ironman 70.3 race in Japan in June of the same year.
Ironman 70.3 Subic, Photo by Tong Pascua
I was uncertain of joining and had no clue what was in store for me. I did not want to disappoint anyone, but Heather knew I could bring the Philippine Flag to the finish line. I met my teammates and bonded with them instantly, as if I knew them my whole life. Running was part of my everyday routine so the motivation and discipline to train came naturally. Learning new things to become a responsible athlete took some time, but I wanted to be a good runner and so I worked on the discipline consistently until I got the hang of it.
In a span of one year, I learned how to swim, joined local races, some with podium finishes, joined my first aquathlon, did my personal best for a half marathon in Hawaii, became the first female finisher for The Bull Runner Sun Life Dream Marathon for 2017, and to top it off, I was finally able to have an Ironman 70.3 relay experience in my own country. I could say the best memories I made just in one year today were with my loving family and friends, as well as my caring teammates who supported my hopes and dreams.
The biggest lesson I realized through all this is that it is never wrong to aspire to be something more; that it’s okay to have big goals as long as you have the drive and discipline to achieve them.”
Kacci through the years