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#STORYOFSTRENGTH: MARGAUX UMALI
WINNING BY A MILE
“I used to do just the work-home routine (okay, and some reading in between),” shares 33-year-old triathlete Margaux Umali. While that may be the norm for some people, Margaux found that working 15 hours in the office “just robbed my soul.”
To make up for this, she tried almost everything from painting to sewing to creating leather bracelets. She adds, “I even tried to learn how to play the cello (which I still love, by the way), went on a lot of beach trips, and read a lot of novels!”
But whatever she did, nothing could bring her soul back. That is, until she started to bike, run, and swim.
With absolutely zero training, Margaux signed up for a 3K run.
The best of both worlds. The time Margaux got hooked into triathlon was also when her brother was diagnosed with an illness. “I needed a structured and productive diversion,” she shares.
“I went from the couch to toeing the start line on race day,” Margaux recalls. It was a struggle, but she wasn’t the type to just throw in the towel. She joined race after race, even though she would always hate herself for joining. Margaux tried to convince herself that she would never do it again, but there she was every Sunday morning, checking out new races and planning months in advance where to go and what she wanted to do next.
As a famed quote goes, “She believed she could, so she did.” Margaux persisted until she found what she wants to do for the long haul: train, go to different places and compete in triathlon races.
“Nothing is as satisfying as preparing for a major race, and actually finishing it,” she gushes.
So while she maintains her day job as manager for a recruitment team doing offshore recruitment and sourcing services to clients based in Asia Pacific, Margaux finds herself more fired up than ever.
Triathlon is a solitary sport, so for Margaux, it’s a welcome break from all the interaction her work requires. She is grateful for the chance to do something worthwhile on her own. “It pushes me to my limits every single time, and I do it with so much joy. On long and stressful weeks at work, I’m not affected too much. I know there’s no problem that can’t be solved,” Margaux adds.
A day in the life. On weekdays, work doesn't start until 10 a.m., so Margaux kicks off her morning with either a quick run or a barre workout or yoga class. She works from home on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so she switches up to three-hour indoor rides on the bike, or a long swim.
What’s keeping Margaux busy these days is training for her first Audax cycling event in December, where she’s set to tackle 200 kilometers. But there’s no stopping this reluctant writer and triathlon age grouper.
“I still want to complete a full-distance Ironman before I'm 40. I actually want it to coincide it with my 40th birthday, so instead of hearing, ‘Happy 40th birthday, Margaux!,’ it'll be ‘Margaux Umali, you are an Ironman!"’ when I cross the finish line.”
Her list of dreams runs long: “I want to finish Suzuki book 10 on my cello, perform a solo recital, be a yoga teacher, run my own coffee shop, and conduct performance training sessions for young athletes.”
Margaux’s brothers are with her every step of the way, joining her on race weekends or when she does her long rides. “For my brother who was diagnosed with an illness, these activities helped him on his better days—kept him busy, made him look forward to something, and definitely it was a great way for us to bond.”
To date, Margaux has logged a triathlon distance of close to 8,000 miles (“Yes, I log my miles!”). But it’s more than just a number, she says. “I made a promise when my brother went out of special care in 2014 that I will devote all kilometers I’d SBR (swim, bike, run) for his healing.
“I thank this sport for giving me that much needed bliss to compensate for the hard days. This sport is more than just having something to do, but also a personal journey to push you to become better every single day,” concludes Margaux.
More about Margaux:
What she does
Recruitment Process Outsourcing Manager
I tend to stick to basics like LBDs. I also have a lot of blues in my wardrobe. But I always look for something that offers a pop of color like really nice shoes, bags, or scarves.
On expressing herself through fashion
I tend to keep a low-maintenance office wardrobe as I don't want to spend a lot of time dressing up in the morning. I would normally come straight from the gym or from the pool before going to work, so lately I've been more attuned to wearing dresses and cardigans, and anything that's easy to bring anywhere.
It’s a tie between the Baby Boite (always a conversation-starter) and the edgy Mayfair Satchel.
On being a bag person
I don't necessarily collect bags—but I do buy one every time there's an important milestone that I've achieved, or if there's something worth celebrating. The bag probably is the trophy to symbolize these milestones.
Why she loves Katre
Katre styles and colors offer something for everyone. I obviously would always get the ones in striking colors.
I like the Audrey Hepburn look.
Dream designer bag
I’m happy to say I support local most of the time.
If you’re certain you can use it more than once, buy it!
Photography KURT ALVAREZ
Words BUBBLES SALVADOR
Styling ANNE BELLA ARGUELLES
Hair & Makeup DAVE GRONA