Sunday, July 24, 2011

Journey to Ironhood: Week 28

Week 28 (18-24 Jul):

Turning points in life aren't always earth-stopping miracles. Often, they happen subtlely, and we may even scoff at its prospect. For me, it happened 3 years ago while repeating monotonous 3k laps in the pool (yes, even as a non-competitive athlete, I had so much unchanneled energy I expanded them all in the pool on a daily-weekly basis).

"You should be an IronMan!" the lifeguard at the pool pointed a finger me while I took a quick breather at the end of a lap. I had no idea what an IronMan was, but vaguely recalled it as a super human, unachievable sport, at least not for someone as mediocre as me.

Little did I (or that lifeguard) know, that 3 years later I would be chasing the IronMan and badgering myself to train for 7 months to get to the starting line of an IronMan race.

Oh how very bizarre and how very wonderful the events that color and vary our lives that we can't help but smile to ourselves at miracles that show up on an ordinary day.

With 2 weeks to go to race day (which coincidentally falls on my birthday.. how cool, right??) I thought it appropriate to dedicate my log for this week to the man who had no idea what seed he had planted in a girl's mind when he said "You should be an IronMan". To him, a great big thank you for taking time to wait by the end of the pool for me to finish my splash and utter those magic words.

When I cross the finish line on 7 Aug, I'll make it a point to savor that moment in tribute to you, Mr Lifeguard, for turning words into reality.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Journey to Ironhood: Week 27

Week 27 (11-17 Jul):

I hate to admit this close to race day, but I'm stretched beyond my means to carry on, and I'm in desperate need of grace.

I've cut down my training by half for the past 2 months and it still hasn't help to get me strong on my feet again.

Sometimes I do it right, but most times I do it wrong by relying on my know-how, strength and resources.

Now with only 3 weeks to go, I'm hanging by a thin thread of faith. At this point I have to stop momentarily and recalibrate all that I am, or I doubt I'll make it well and strong till race day.

Journey to Ironhood: Week 26

Week 26 (4-10 Jul):

A week of slow recovery from a big time downer from stomach flu last week.

Continued training throughout the week, though at a lesser intensity and volume.

Come Saturday morning, I still wasn't sure if I was fit enough to train with the guys, but decided to take the plunge.

In total, we accomplished a mini triathlon feat: 3.2k swim + 80k bike + 10k run, at a huge struggle though.

Swimming in a full body wetsuit in Singapore's tropical weather drained me substantially. By the time I hoped onto my bike, I was breaking out in cold sweat and in desperate need of food and water.

The bike leg proved a major challenge. Riding conditions were stacked against the 3 of us. Traffic was chaotic, intensified by long stretches of road works along West Coast Highway, and we had to keep absolute focus and a tight grip on our handle bars for fear of being blown off course by the zooming trucks and strong head wind. The guys had to make a number of stops to drink and recover because I was running dangerously low on energy.

Running in the heat proved to be the greatest obstacle, and I contemplated many a times during the one-hour run to stop in my tracks and just give up.

Throughout the entire session, I struggled with self doubt and frustration. Here I was, doing a mini triathlon that is merely a fraction of the actual race distance, and I wasn't feeling like a million bucks, but oh so human and vulnerable against the forces of environment - the traffic, pollution, noise, wind, tiredness, scorching heat.

Now I'm thinking, in nervous anticipation of 7 Aug: Do I? Will I? Can I?

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Journey to Ironhood: Week 25

Week 25 (27 Jun - 3 Jul):

It's fascinating how much of a microcycle the past 7 months have been. I've shot up to the moon, danced on cloud nine, sizzled among stars, and slapped hi-five with the sun.. figuratively speaking, of course. What I meant to say is I've been training hard, enjoyed every session of it, experienced peak performances, and relished in the gratifying reward of intense training and the adrenaline it brought.

Alas, life is a cycle we can't alter its course, and all things that go up must come down.

I have my fair, large share of diving into an empty well, scrapping at the bottom of the barrel, sprawled on a thirsty, dry land, in search for water, nourishment and any form of life. Translate this to my training: I have had a couple of bike crashes, bruised my body from lack of rest, fell terribly ill and subjected myself to my own sanctioned iron prison.

Sometimes I'm confident of getting to my dream, sometimes I doubt my own ability, simply because the journey there has been a tumultuous one.

"Do not be anxious, for the battle belongs not to you, but to the Lord."

That which matters most to you, lift it up and leave it into the hands of someone who won't screw up - your Creator.

So into Your hands, Lord, I commit the remaining 5 weeks.