Thursday, March 31, 2011

Journey to Ironhood: Week 11

Week 11 (21-27 Mar):

There are many things I can do without - diamonds, luxury goods, exotic holidays; but one of the few things I can't do without is physical exercise.

But that's exactly what I'm meant to do the week after Aviva 70.3, my first attempt at transforming my flesh into iron (kidding of course - Aviva 70.3 refers to a half IronMan triathlon race).

Forced to refrain from physical exercises to allow my micro tissues torn during the race to heal, I took the backseat of training, allowed indulgence to pilot its course, and guffawed in amusement as I found myself doing things I normally wouldn't (watching 3 movies in a row); eating stuff I usually don't (instant noodles, Cornetto ice cream); and thinking thoughts I usually guard zealously (a half IronMan is strenuous enough... a full IronMan? Twice the gruel, pain & perseverance? Are you sure you're up to it?)

Well, all of life's an experience and though I wished for the speedy departure of the week of rest and recovery, I appreciate the good it does me - reviving my vision and recharging my body for another 9 weeks of battle till May when I step onto Chinese soil for the first time, for the big IM.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Journey to Ironhood: Week 10

Week 10 (14-20 Mar):

Love makes all things possible. I owe all I accomplish to nothing but love and support from friends and loved ones, my husband and God especially. The amazing experience just yesterday at the Aviva half IronMan is yet another, in what I hope would be a lifetime of greater feats and accomplishments.

I have never been more focused, elated and thrilled than to be on the course, swimming my lungs out against strong currents and getting mercilessly thrashed by thousands of stronger, well trained men and women during the 1.9km swim leg; fixing my gaze on the road ahead as I biked what seemed an endless 90km loop and feeling my heart sink each time I was overtaken by thousands of speeding bikes; and running my heart out in an elusive 21km track that finally saw me tearing as I was just 1km from the finishing point - utterly overwhelmed by His glory, His strength and might that brought me on this incredible journey.

I love endurance sports because it brings me to the core of my being, laying nothing on the race course but my rawest physical ability, mental strength and a total dependence on my Master.

When the hand is set on the plow, there's no turning back. It sets the mind, soul, body and spirit into a propelling motion to achieve greater and greater heights of physical, sporting endurance.

And Aviva 70.3 is just the beginning. As I press on to longer, further distances, may what I do not be a definition of my own dreams and aspirations, but a reflection of what the human body is capable of achieving, when we set our sights above.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Journey to Ironhood: Week 9

Week 9 (7 - 13 Mar):

Made a final push for a long 121km ride in Desaru despite being unwell. Thankful though, for the good company I was in, who encouraged, rode with me, laughed and joked and dissipated the initial struggle I had with my weak body.

Struggled with a weakened health (attributed to my weeks of rigorous training and insufficient rest) for most part of the week, but always found strength in relentless support and encouragement from fellow triathletes.

With the upcoming Aviva 70.3 race just round the corner, a midpoint of my journey to Ironhood in May, I’m a pretty nervous wreck, I must admit, a thousand thoughts racing through my mind, fighting a mental challenge of completing the race in good form.

Yet through it all, I find tremendous strength in His Word: Having done all, stand.

So stand I will, and trust I will. All’s well. Let’s rumble!

Monday, March 07, 2011

Journey to Ironhood: Week 8

Week 8 (28 Feb - 6 Mar):

More than anything else, it's time away from the family that training demands. And for that I repent for the long periods away from my husband and family - slow breakfast on weekends, chat sessions over coffee and tea, a stress-free me.

But it's not all sob stories. I thoroughly enjoy wakin up at 4am every other weekday and weekend to train, each and every long ride under the scorching sun in Desaru on weekends; coming home with abrasions and sun rash that last for a week, recovered and to recur again the following week after another ride; but more importantly, getting to know amazing fellow triathletes, many of whom are graciously kind and generous souls.

That said, it's the tenacious human spirit that inspires me each time.

Just yesterday, during an epic 180km ride in Desaru, I came across a couple in their late sixties or even early seventies (judging by the saggy skin and deep-set wrinkles), who strapped large pannier bags onto their touring bikes and were in the midst of their bike tour from Bangkok to Singapore, covering a total distance of over 2,000km. A pair of grandies cycling over 2,000km! I pray my husband and I would embark on such adventures in our old age!

What more can I say? I'm humbled by so many who have gone before me, journeyed the road less travelled, and prevailed only to keep coming back for the challenge of competing in yet another Iron Man, season after season, year after year. Salute! And so here I come, treading after their footsteps.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Journey to Ironhood: Week 7

Week 7 (21-27 Feb):

As I progress in my journey, I'm meeting more and more fellow triathletes, many of whom are multi-time Iron men, and can I say, they're all extremely nice people. Is it any wonder that doctors encourage sports because it benefits not just our health, but our entire well being? Here are some of the fittest people on the planet, and they're also the kindest and most generous souls around.

I have been a fortunate recipient of their kindness, and I know my dream to Ironhood is not possible by my sole effort, no matter how hard I train; but it's made possible only with the help and support of an entire team of fellow cyclists, former and aspiring Iron men and women who train with me week after week, share their invaluable experiences and resources, sincerely and truly going the extra mile to help me accomplish my dream; and whom I now have the privilege to call as friends.

To all of you amazing triathletes, Dawn Riders, runners, Iron men and women - you know who you are - thank you.