One of my new found passions in life is triathlons.
i started about a year ago and while my heart beats strongly still for each race, my performance have not improved even marginally and i would be bragging if i said i have maintained speeds like last year. In fact, i have become slower, more sluggish, and unable to maintain a rythmic training pattern which begs the question...
like answering all questions in my life, i always approached it systematically and in a rational order. this means that a base needs to be set up in order to argue the many angles of the question. The base here would naturally be where do i stand in the world of triathlons to begin with?
Ever since i started triathlons, i have received a spectrum of response from people around me ranging from 'high up' compliments, encouragement and advice to the 'down right' sarcasm about my performance.
The following are my all time favourite comments so far:
1. "Baby, you run like a duck... with cellophine tape stuck to the bottom of your feet" - my beloved Arif, after seeing me run 6 months into training.
2. "May Senn! Where did you stop for lunch?" - my fellow triathlete Haimi, when i spent close to 5 hours to complete the 30k Great Eastern run early this year.
3. "Babe! RUN!!" - My mentor Shen, well... at almost every race when she laps me on the run leg.
4. "SHUT UP! Forget the medal, just finish the race" - another fellow triathlete Shiraz, 11:55 pm, when i had tears welling at the last 8k run of Ironman Langkawi 2007.
5. "It's the fire come down..."(sang to the tune of Final Countdown) my cycling guru Richard, when he saw me struggling uphill
6. "Just wanted to know if you wanted some ORS?" fellow triathlete and colleague Karoline, this one's more for the fact that i had thought i was riping tarmac when i noticed she had merely brisked walk to be at my speed to ask that question.
So let's see:
1. it's been a year with no progress
2. my performance base is so low it's a wonder how it actually got lower this year
3. it's obvious that i'm not the star performer in my team.. more like the mascot trying out in the big league
4. i get yelled at, teased, and labelled an animal that is genetically challanged when it comes to moving on land (AND handicapped by cellophine tape!)
So why bother indeed...
This is why:
1. i get no greater personal satisfaction than knowing i had pushed myself mentally and physically, so hard sometimes that i literally cry while still racing, only to come out of it stronger, more tolerant and disciplined.
2. race gear is really cool when you know how to mix and match!
3. It feels good when a newbie asks if you've done this before and you said 'yes' with a smile and there's a slight twinkle of admiration in their eye before race starts. The trick here is to maintain that twinkle in their eye...usually by ensuring you finish before they do. Something i aspire to do eventually.
I had a whole list of reasons in my head on why i still bother when i started this blog, and i rushed to come to this part fearing that i would forget what they were. but now that i've arrived here, i think i'll sum it up in only ONE main reason: i made true friends.
Friends who do not judge you by your profession, or is superficial just because they think you can be useful to them. Sure, there's always the poke and hints about poor performance but these are friends who respect you as an individual and genuinely care for you. A unique set that, while they are very loyal to you by hanging out only within the circle during race trips, have very little emphathy when they drop you during the swim, bike or run. Friends who are so zoned out during the race they sometimes pass you without saying 'hi', but they cheer you on with big smiles and loud claps at the finish line when they have completed. They are selfish to improve their personal timings but are willing to wait for you under the hot sun or in the middle of the night when everybody has gone home (including the organisers!). No matter how long you take, they will wait for you and they will cheer and congratulate you when you cross the line.
Yup. True friends make it all worth while and the best part is... i never have to worry about forgetting this in my head, because it's already seated nicely in my heart...