Imagine the energy expended over five grueling hours of swimming, biking and running, the exhilaration of finally crossing the finish line, and the chest swelling with pride when this medal was hung on your neck. That is what every finisher at the Ironman 2014 Race in Cebu experienced. I didn’t want to say anything… but this is what the medal looks like. :)
Yes, I can only imagine the incredulous thoughts and looks of disbelief on your faces as you read that last line and for a millisecond, thought, Marketman?!, seriously? Hahaha. NOT. As the hundreds of participants in the Ironman race flooded Zubuchon’s new Marina branch from Friday through Saturday and after the race Sunday, my managers, staff and I all wondered what it took to prepare and steel one’s self for this race. And soon after the race finished, dozens of folks walked around proudly with their “FINISHER” t-shirts, some hobbling and barely moving without wincing a great deal. But they came to eat their lechon, and a surprisingly strong demand for our new seafood menu as well.
We doubled up crew, brought in all of our “A-Team” from other city branches, and for several hours straight we felt like we were in a marathon to feed the participants and their guests. Accountants were behind the scenes washing dishes, our buyer was chopping lechon, managers were clearing tables and we tried our best to accommodate the deluge into our restaurant that was just a few days old.
There were glitches, but honestly, with groups of 40 demanding that their food be delivered all at once like we were at McDonald’s, it was a real challenge at times.
These photos taken when it wasn’t so CRAZED yet, as later in the day it was all hands on deck and I ended up helping at the kinilaw bar, selling hats and bags to Koreans, unruffling feathers ruffled by glitches, and all around pacing that would have just about let me finish a 21km light jog that day.
The wisdom of the diets was beyond me. I assumed carbohydrate loading the day before, and massive eating after the race. And that fatty pork would not be a good thing. But there seemed to be no rules. Pig, fish, vegetable, desserts, shakes all seemed to be in strong demand.
And despite trying to dissuade others from waiting 30-40 minutes for a table(s), we had guests waiting in their air-conditioned vans until tables came free, and of course we delivered our complimentary peanuts to them while they were in their vehicles looking over our menus. Yipes.
So honestly, I thought the crew deserved a medal for their service over those 3-4 days. And like some bizarre scene from a movie, one day last week, after the race, a regular guest walked in, and after speaking with one of our managers, gave us this authentic Ironman 2014 Finisher Medal. No, we did not earn it the traditional way, and would never misrepresent ourselves. But how cool is that? Not sure if the man manufactured the medals (it was designed by Kenneth Cobonpue) or if it was an extra, or someone delirious from lack of electrolytes post-race threw it away, but this man gave it to us, and I will have it framed and displayed at the branch, not because we finished the Ironman race, but because we fed so many of those who did. :)
The donor shall remain anonymous. And I send him my profuse thanks. And I hope that the Ironman Race will return to Cebu next year, so we may feed the throngs of contestants and their guests again. And maybe, just maybe, if I plan far enough ahead, we can have a simultaneous “IronPig” competition that will see guests trying to eat a trifecta or more of porky dishes, to earn a “FINISHER” t-shirt that would be proudly worn just like this medal above. :)