The story of Shangrila Rendon is a story of a strong woman who left behind her sad past to fight for one big goal this year: To complete the DECA Ultratriathlon Switzerland. And, if all goes well, to break the women’s world record.
Shangrila Rendon / Quintuple Ultratriathlon Mexico.
Shangrila, in 2015, you made the Guinness World Record as the fastest women to complete 5 Ironman in 5 days. How did your sports career begin?
Shangrila Rendon: At age 17, after emigrating from Philippines to USA, having no money and no mode of transportation, I walked a total of one hour every day to my first job in United States for 6 months. At 19, when I was able to afford gym membership, I spent 15 minutes running on a treadmill before work. I prioritized studies and earning money to be able to pay for education, which left me no time to participate in any sports during college. My first racing experience occurred only when my friend invited me to run a 10k at age 24. At age 25, I started running marathons and had increased the number of marathons I ran in a year as I reached 28 years old.
And when did you complete your first triathlon?
I finished my first super sprint and sprint triathlon in 2009 at age 28 and my first Olympic, half Ironman, full Ironman and double century ride in 2010 at age 29. I also started running and riding ultras on 2010.
Even though swimming was pretty hard work for you …
Yes; swimming ultra distance took a longer time for me to adapt and learn as I came from a non-swimmer background. I was scared of water and didn't know how to swim at all. I attempted my first Ultra triathlon race in 2014. Unfortunately, I wasn't mentally ready to race and deal with cold temperature, rain and thunderstorms then. I didn't complete the distance of a Double Ironman. After having collected some more race experience, in 2015 I made the Guinness World Record as the fastest female to complete the 5 Ironman in 5 days.
Ultraman Florida, February 2015 (6.2 mi swim, 263 mi bike, 52.4 mi run) - participant
Double Anvil Florida, March 2015
Quintuple Mexico, October 2015 (Guiness World Record)
Ultraman Florida, February 2016, (3rd female overall and first Filipino ever)
Why did you register for the DECA?
1. I want to inspire people in large scale, to show that our past doesn't define us and that we can turn negative things into positive. I want to show that I, who suffered, survived and recovered from child abuse, post-traumatic disorder (PTSD), depression, eating disorder, alcohol addiction, few suicidal ideations and discrimination/rejection due to my sexual preference, have used my past as my strength and continued to bring awareness and inspire people.
"I am passionate
2. I am passionate to challenging my limitations. I want to have unique and memorable experience in which I rely on my own human strength and fortitude while develop stronger relationship with good loving people during the journey in training for Deca.
3. I want to raise awareness and funds for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Audrey Hepburn CARES Center providing services for abused children.
4. I want to do something big for the Philippines and for the people who I represent - those who are suffering and/or have recovered from child abuse, post-traumatic disorder (PTSD), depression, eating disorder, alcohol addiction, suicide and LGBT community.
5) I'd like to break the world record. I like to dream big.
How did your friends and relatives react when you told them you will participate in the DECA?
I have received mix feedbacks. Some were in disbelief that racing Deca distance is even possible. Some were impressed of my courage, dedication and guts. A lot has been very supportive and proud.
"I'd like to break the world record. I like to dream big"
Can you tell us something about your nutrition concept? What do you eat during races, what do you avoid?
Eating "real" food instead of processed food is better for me. Real food sits in my stomach well. I eat food containing ingredients and nutrition that would help my performance - food with right amount of sodium, carbohydrates, calories, protein and potassium. I know when I should be taking in particular nutrition. For fluid, I normally drink 1-24 oz nutrition bottle containing enough electrolytes and calories per hour. I adjust my fluid intake depending on the weather condition, temperature and intensity that I put in. I eat "happy" food or food that I really like in terms of taste. Such food stimulates my brain and keeps me alert especially during long races.
"I listen to my body's feedbacks and adjust accordingly"
I'd avoid fried foods, anything new or I haven't eaten in the past and alcohol. Definitely, protein and carbs after each day of race. Lastly, I plan to listen to my body's feedbacks and adjust accordingly.
How do you regenerate during breaks or at night?
Decaman is about lasting long without my body breaking apart too soon during the race. I plan to stretch and do mobility workouts, maintain low heart rate and get massages during breaks and at night.
How do you prepare for the deca, how many hours of training have you planned?
I have hard training weeks while I also have recovery weeks. During peak of my training, I train 28-30 hours. I do my best to get a lot of sleep that I can.
We heard that breaking the world record is one of your goals ...
Yes, that is true. I'm putting so much effort, time, energy and money into the race, then I might as well aim for breaking the world record. Besides, that how I get my motivation to train really hard and be very disciplined. If I do break the world record, then I'll be really happy. Otherwise, I will still be satisfied because I know that I have put my best foot forward during the race.
What is more important for you: finish the DECA or break the world record?
My priority is finishing DECA over breaking the world record. In fact, I'm already humbled just to be able to race DECA with the rest of strong athletes. I plan to take control of everything I can prior and during the race and allow God to execute His plan.
How do you deal with the pressure to finish the DECA or to break the world record?
I focus on the task at present while still keeping in mind of my goals and purpose why I'm doing what I do. Here are what I do and think everyday besides training:
1. I'm aiming for excellence everyday, focusing on the process and
not the outcome of the race.
2. Training gotta be harder than the race. Suck up the training now
and smile on 10 race days!
"Suck up the training now and smile on 10 race days!"
3. Health and body maintenance are critical. I can't afford to get sick and/or injured.
4. Rest/recovery and gut training are included in my training.
5. Mental training, being balanced and grounded are critical.
6. Knowing my body, its prospective limitations and how to overcome them are well-thought of and
planned ahead of the race.
7. Remove all distractions and focus on relevant things.
8. Last but not the least, I thank God for his greatness, power and blessings.
"I plan to continue racing and inspiring people"
What are your mental «tricks» to finish the DECA?
In my mind I tell myself,
1. "Thank you God for giving me the strength and belief that I can do this. Thank you for all the people that have helped me in this journey. I know that you will guide, protect and take care of me all the way. Help me do what you want me to do."
2. "I'm racing for survivors and those who are suffering fromchild abuse, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, eating disorder, alcohol addiction and experiencing discrimination/rejection due to their sexual preference. I'm Filipino's pride."
3. "Suck it up now. Later, I will have a story to tell and inspire the world."
Have you already plans for your sports career after the DECA?
Yes, I have. I plan to continue racing and inspiring people.