NAVFAC Marianas triathletes compete in Philippines
Joseph De la Cruz and Alex Oviedo, of Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Marianas, competed in the Cobra Ironman 70.3 Triathlon race in Cebu, Philippines, in August.
Although he is now the Japan Facility Improvement Program Manager at NAVFAC Far East, Joseph De la Cruz was the Public Works Office Requirements Branch Head with NAVFAC Marianas during the time of the competition.
For his first Ironman Triathlon, De la Cruz said he had a number of struggles in preparation due to a fractured knee cap he sustained at the beginning of the year.
“Training was painful and limited because of my injury,” he said, “So I never really was able to stick to a solid training regime.”
Though faced with difficulty, De la Cruz pushed through, making his way to the race.
“The atmosphere at the event is electric from the moment you touch down in Cebu to the time you finally cross the finish line,” he said. “I had a bit of nervous energy at the beginning of the race but knew if I just stayed within my limits that I would finish just fine.”
De la Cruz said though he had a solid swim and bike leg and competed both under his estimated time, he suffered during the half-marathon run.
“It seems like it took all my energy and willpower to cross the finish line,” he said. “When things get tough, I usually vision my kids yelling, ‘go daddy, go.’ I hate to disappoint them.”
Though for now, De la Cruz is taking the time to recover and enjoy a break from training, he maintains that physical activity is an important part of his life.
“Whether it is swimming, biking, running or any other outdoor or indoor activity that keeps me physically motivated I always seek to challenge myself in a couple ways; mentally at work, physically at play,” he said.
For those interested in competing in triathlons, De la Cruz suggests looking online for resources to prepare and tailor a training regimen to fit one’s physical abilities and schedule.
NAVFAC Marianas Military Construction and Sustainment, Renovation and Modernization Manager, and Assistant Regional Engineer Alex Oviedo also suggests building up a good base of training when looking toward competing.
“Do a few sprint and Olympic-distance triathlons before attempting an Ironman,” he said. “I have been participating in triathlons for the past four years so I had a good base line going into this Ironman race.”
This past Ironman competition was Oviedo’s first. He finished 14th in his division and to prepare, he followed a rigorous training plan for four months, taking time to exercise six days a week.
“During the week I would swim, bike or run either early in the morning or in the evenings,” he said. “Sometimes I would run or bike to work. On weekend, I would do my long runs or long bike rides. Also whenever there was a triathlon race in town or a 5K, 10K or 15-20K race, I would do these and incorporate them as part of my training.”
Though his preparation was intense, Oviedo admitted that he was nervous and anxious when the competition came around.
“I didn’t want to fail,” he said. “There were 1,500 participants and the check-in and equipment (preparation) was stressful.”
However, his family’s presence helped calm his nerves and the event’s adrenaline rush motivated him.
“At the end of the race there was this great sense of accomplishment, satisfaction and relief,” he said. “It was over and I have done it. I’m an Ironman.”
Oviedo said that overall, keeping physically fit and engaging in healthy physical activity is not only good for the body, but also for the mind and carries positive effects throughout all areas of one’s life.
“Exercising and racing build qualities and attitudes that you can also use in your regular life, involving family, friends and work,” he said. “Overall, it makes you a better person.