EditorialHow I Keep Fit

How I Keep Fit


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By JULIAN SEBASTIAN TEVES TEVESAfter an almost seven- year hiatus from triathlon racing, I finally had a chance at redemption at last week’s Ironman 70.3 held in Cebu, the same race that almost destroyed me eight years ago.

And a Redemption Race it truly was, enough for me to qualify for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships to be held in Lahti, Finland next year in 2023.

All serious triathletes will attest to the fact that Ironman 70.3 Philippines is the most prestigious race in the country. Back when I first started training for triathlons when I was in college, it had always been my goal to race and finish it injury-free. I believe it is every Filipino triathlete’s goal to race the Ironman 70.3 in Cebu.

In my second year doing triathlons back in 2014, with a good number of short distance races under my belt, I boldly decided to take on the challenge to race the Half Ironman — without any proper guidance, no training plan, and being naive to the absolute difficulty of the distance of 70.3 miles (total 113 kilometers).

Being oblivious to the total 70.3 Ironman distance — composed of a 1.9-kilometer swim, a 90-kilometer bike along the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway, and a 21-kilometer half marathon to top it all off — I thought it was going be a piece of cake.

That time in 2014, I took on the race with very little knowledge about training, conditioning, and pacing strategy, inadvertently treating the major race as a “fun” short distance triathlon.

After four long hours of racing, I found myself walking the run course, dragging my stiff legs one step at a time just to finish. I got to the finish line alright, but physically shattered, and mentally-destroyed, as it took me almost six hours to finish all 113 kilometers.

Upon stepping on the finish line, I was rushed straight to the medics’ tent as I was in and out of consciousness, throwing up whatever I ate or drank in the last six hours. I was treated for dehydration and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels). It was the worst feeling ever as I was desperately trying to recover inside the tent with dextrose stuck on my arm.

As I began to regain some consciousness, I could see from the tent the professional and elite athletes simply walking around like they just came from a typical Sunday jog.

That got me thinking: How do they do that? Is it even possible? Why don’t they look so depleted like me? What do they do to get themselves conditioned?

I think that was the moment inside the medics’ tent when thoughts of confident triathlon racing became an obsession.

After around a year, my parents reminded me to focus on my studies instead; their wise advice was an opportunity for me to take a break from the sport. After completing my degree in Physical Therapy, I did not waste any time to return to racing triathlons; but this time around, I knew I had to do it right.

With my continued passion for the sport, I just wanted it as a serious part of my life. After getting my professional license as a physical therapist, I enrolled in Professional Bike-Fitting and Triathlon Coaching courses. And with some hard-earned wisdom, the professional courses provided me with the knowledge, the science, and the skills behind the sport that could take my racing to the next level.

And at the same time, I was thinking I could also help improve and elevate the performance levels of our Dumaguete and Negros Oriental athletes.

Two years during the pandemic gave me the time to build back fitness. Then it was finally time to see the fruits of my dedication and hard work.

On Aug. 7 last week, the stage was set. After eight long years, it was time.

From the get-go, the race didn’t pan out the way I envisioned. I started to have stomach problems midway through the 1.9-km swim, which I had to endure all the way until the end of the 90-km. bike ride. Luckily, it slowly went away, as I passed through the halfway point of the 21-km. run — right where the race normally starts to hurt the most — when you know you only have about 10 kilometers to go!

But I just knew in my mind that with my appropriate training and exact pacing strategy, I would be able to push through, and still beat my target race time of under-five hours.

As I was running the last few hundred meters (I think I could already hear my mom Teresa screaming my name), I just knew I had it in the bag. Then I saw my very supportive family, my team mates, and close friends near the finish line, cheering on: “You did it, Seb! Sub-5 hours!”

I could hardly believe I actually clocked in at 4 hours:49 minutes:13 seconds. The unbelievable time was enough for me to qualify for the Ironman World Championships.

The journey has just begun. My goal is to develop top-tier endurance athletes from Dumaguete and Negros Oriental. I hope I can inspire the next generation of Dumagueteño and Negrosanon endurance athletes that anything is possible, as long as you put the work in. I hope our City and Provincial governments will support our athletes of all sports, and give them a fighting chance at doing what they excel in.


Sebastian Teves is a licensed physio-therapist who considers himself on the “heavy” side at 80 kilos. He has flat feet (pes planus), knocked knees (genu valgum), and tends to run almost only on the balls of his feet (forefoot striker). But those physical impediments never stopped him from training smarter, not harder. In the recent Ironman 70.3, he finished 6th over 40 others in his age group 25-29 years old, and 13th over 573 males, running to the finish at a pace of 4 minutes-51 seconds per kilometer (after having swum and biked the last three hours), to bag the 28th seed for the Ironman World Championships. He believes it’s not about the volume of training sessions one engages in, but more about the science behind, considering the athlete’s needs, periodization, and completing quality workouts.
If you are interested to get into endurance sports, Seb Teves is only happy to help. You can find him on Instagram: physio.seb or on Facebook: PhysioSeb.

Author’s email: sebastiantteves@gmail.com

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