Thursday, March 8, 2007

Thursday in Panama...

It's late morning in Panama now, and I have been up for a few hours. Made a few phone calls, had breakfast here at the hotel, and met with the director for UTP, (Triathlon Union of Panama), Allan Baitel, and another member, Ricardo.

We had some brief discussions about this weekend, what to expect, the press conference tonight, etc.

I am headed to the pool shortly, at Union Club. Tomorrow I will probably go to the Olympic-sized pool, 50 meter. It's pretty cool, on an old US Military base. Not sure how many people reading this are familiar with Panama, but there is a BIG US presence here, due to the Panama Canal. Panama also has more banks based here than any other country in Latin America, due to the stability of the economy, and the US dollar. US Dollars are the main currency here, so you don't even have to exchange your money. They call their currency the Balboa, but it doesn't actually exist, and it's a 1:1 ratio with the US dollar.

I seriously can't believe how much this place continues to grow, it's exponential!

The race this weekend is the big event of the year for the UTP, and the race is now the Pan American Off-Road Triathlon Championships. It's Thursday, and they're already promoting the event for Sunday in the newspaper!

Here's the article in today's La Prensa, roughly translated by me with help from a website, (forgiveness please, I'm short on time)...

Marisa Diaz, Triathlon Addict

It is late in Amador and in the distance you can hear a pair of bicycles. Children, men, women and elderly they are prepared to initiate a family walk and although the sun is being put out nobody is about to leave. They will travel out and return on the Causeway, some in bicycles and others on foot, with the only purpose to share a good while and to do a little exercise. Marisa Díaz was one of them.
It arrived with a bicycle of black color, lent and conditioned for traveled through extremes. "When I finished the journey, I was so motivated that I wanted to continue. It was, almost, a pre notice of what would convert me seven years later", she explains from where the passion of triathlon was born, the indisputable champion of this discipline in Panama. In 2001 they invited her to an activity of the Union of Triathlon of Panama in Amador and she responded for curiosity, since she had heard it was a discipline which combined cycling, swimming and running. "I loved it and I began to learn and introduce me in the triathlon". "Since that moment I have not stopped learning, to perfect me and to improve my team", commented Díaz, who prefers the run, by giving her the time to think, to organize her ideas and above all to set new goals. "The trialtón is like a healthy addiction. When you initiate cannot stop and find always an excuse to compete and to practice it", reveals Díaz.

For her to be maintained healthy is an aspiration, to be able to comply with all its goals, among them to defend the national crown of the International Triathlon, that this weekend will be disputed in Portobelo. Also she desires to compete in an Ironman, an exacting test in which the athletes have to swim 3 thousand 800 meters, to walk in bicycle 180 kilometers and to run 42 kilometers.

She is 35 years and graduate in Marketing, with mastery in business Administration, lives for the triathlon. "It is a habit that you cannot leave, but is good for your body and your life", reveals. "Really always I coach for thenights, one or two hours are sufficient and my delivery is total. During the day I try to eat healthy", emphasizes the triathlete, who has very few rivals and owns six national titles and of the triathlon.

In 2002, participated in Fiji in Echo-Challenge. "It was a really hard test, but a pretty experience that never will forget and that few have the opportunity to experience". Two years later I represented to Panama in the Ironman of Brazil, the one that finished after 13 hours. "The daily routine at times tires and therefore i like to change the settings and thus I utilize the Park Omar, Clayton, Albrook and Causeway, where six years ago I began for mere curiosity", explains. Triathlon Xtremo they have been confirmed that some 150 athletes will participate of the IX version of the International Triathlon of Portobelo, that will be disputed in the Atlantic coast in Columbus, this weekend. The news of this year is that will become a stop official of the pan-american one Xtremo.

Winners The triathlon of last year was earned by the legend Argentina Oscar Galíndez, and in the female branch succeeded Viviana Chavarría. The event of this year will be opened with thousand 600 meters for the test of swimming among The Gayra - Large Island in the bay of Portobelo; 35 kilometers, for the cycling crossing currents of water, stony earthly, in order then to rise a mountainous land of 70 degrees of inclination, for which the cyclists will have to charge their mountaineers for two kilometers and the career on foot by paths of steep

Pending, it finished in the ruins of Portobelo. Prizes In this edition seven thousand will be distributed balboas among the ten first athletes (seven men and three women) in crossing the goal, without importing the category and will be governed under the parameters of the International Union of Triathlon, that offered points for ladies and gentlemen for the Olympic Games.

It will compete in the categories since the 18 years to the 56, being opened a special route for this last group. The ladies will also be dividadas in groupsof 10 years of difference, leaving also since the 18 years. Can participate individually and by teams, having a cost of 60 and of 170 balboas, respectively. It is permitted to do one of the phases to a participant. The triathlon of Portobelo is a sports competence that serves al same time of promotional window for the region as tourist destiny.

Some pictures from last year's event which you can browse...

Gotta hit the pool!

Vance - 2007 NFA

1 comment:

moonpie said...

Rock on! Have fun in Panama :) I love the way that article was translated...almost read like engrish :P