Monday, June 29, 2009


Because we all love hollywood...

in one of my earliest post i spoke about the difference between a TRIathlete and a TRYathlete. i spoke about the guiding principles that make and differentiate the two sets of athletes in the triathlon universe and how both are celebrated depending on your aim in this universe.

last night while celebrating arif's first sub-5 marathon despite worrying about a returning knee injury just two days before and reminiscing about how far we've come since our first sprint together at a'famosa i realised TWO things:

1. dawning of a new era
while he has had tremendous improvement in his performance (albeit slower progress than he would have liked, and me thinking he's fantastic) i had pretty much stayed where i am. YET amongst good friends we have been blessed with equal support, encouragement, compliments and our fair share of loving 'fans' (i.e not people who worship us but people who genuinely care and like to track our well being in the tri universe)

it got me thinking about that try-triathlete post and suddenly it dawned on me that my favourite tryathlete was becoming a triathlete. he, of course, was a bit sad.
our conversation went something like this:
A: but baby, my blog is called Trying to Tri and the blogspot is TRYathlete1403!
S: well i'm still beyond cut off after finishing within cut of.. so go figure. change it if you wanna be correct about it
S: and when people ask you why you do this, you can no longer say because it's fun.
A: but it is!
S: baby, your definition of fun is different from norm. your idea of fun is aiming to clock 50k run weeks. that to the NORMAL human (not even the average human) is nuts.
A: but that is fun.. :(
S: yes of course! for a TRIathlete..
A: ... :(

He then put up a small effort to justify that he was still a recreational athlete. poor guy didn't stand a chance when i started asking if his training schedule had recreation written all over it (had to name every training schedule and behaviour and forced him to admit that he actually enjoyed the training pattern he designed himself). he felt better after i told him that there's no shame in what he is slowly becoming. of course there's more room to grow, more hours needed, better more structured training to be formed but if he held on to being recreational, his mindset would be holding him back. it would be an excuse to say 'ah well, missed the timing.. that's ok. i'm recreational after all' (two 10ks + one 15k + one 20k per week in mind - recreational my arse!)

after much rationalising, reassurance and showing him how proud i was that he was naturally evolving into a different kind of athlete we 'cheers-ed' to a new beginning.

*naturally, if he ever wanted to be a tryathlete again, we will still applaud him and welcome him with open arms. or if he decides to swing both ways and become a... BIathlete perhaps? hey, any thing's better than being a couch potato - but let's leave the BIs for another time!

2. becoming diva
which then left the other part of the conversation: me.
my question was how was it possible to be congratulated and complimented when i'm, as newly defined by arif, 'euro-cool' about training?
(euro-cool = to train by FEEL. only train if and when i feel like it and even if i was training, i only push when i feel like it and never on someone else's terms)

how is it that i manage to outgrow my newbie status but kept newbie performances (or sometimes even worse than newbies) and still celebrate my 'achievements' of finishing a race? heck, even my dnf at powerman last year was somewhat celebrated.

one word: DRAMA.

yup. it's no longer about what i accomplished but HOW i accomplished it. finishing remains important but how it was achieved gave my races life.

think about it: i am slowly but quite surely becoming a DRAMAthlete:
powerman 2008: dnf because i passed out at such an early stage of the race. had to be whirled back in a van to the ambulance that was not prepared because it was too early in the race.
IM2009: completed with a not particularly fantastic time, but with a hole in my foot and hospitalised for 5 days after that
NB15k: took me close to 4hours to finish and i tore some back muscle fibers that took me out of action for 10 days with help of double dose painkillers

and my latest epic: SCKLM, 7 hours but what happened?

this is what happened: (caution: graphic details entrails. stop reading if you have a weak stomach)

the truth: did not train. plain and simple, hence 7 hours.
the truth well sold: this needs more flair

my target was to try a get a new pb timing. which meant an easy sub-6. what happened apart from euro-cool training the months before was that my last official water station was about 15k into the race. i was so slow, the water stations had ran out of water from the 21k mark onwards. after that 15k water station, i relied heavily on the charity of friends like Azmar who gave me a powerbar and water at about 17k and Budin who bought me a bottle of water at 21k, and a race official that swapped my bottle at 25k when he saw me refueling water at the shell station's men's toilet. thankfully the water stations at later parts (35k, 38k and 40k) were replenished by the time i got there.

but you would wonder: she needed a whole bottle at 17, 21 and 25?? was she showering herself? why so much water for such short distances between?

well, it's a bit embarrassing to say, but i needed it to 'kinda' shower. more like legs and below.

erm.. ok here goes (gory! gory!)

somewhere between 15k and 17k, i felt the familiar warmth of the month. not kidding. i realised i didn't bother calculating this month and did a quick mental date check and voila! 'relatives' had arrived on schedule.


then the dull cramps set in and my back felt a bit sore.

double bummer.

THEN! it started to trickle.


first thing that came to mind was 'and to think i wanted to wear a white skirt this morning!'.

and since i had no money and medic was not even sophisticated enough to have counterpain let alone a sanitary pad, i had to wash myself to avoid noticeable traces with every blob, and trickle.

quite tricky since it was already starting to get bright by that time and i wanted to avoid running in wet, blood stained socks! (sorry.. but there's more)

anyway, good thing is i was wearing a black skirt, so this hid the nasty stain and the mess on my inner thighs.

bad thing is i was wearing a skirt, which held more water when wet than normal shorts.

the entire race after that, so that's for about 25k or close to 5 hours i ran/jogged/walked with a dripping skirt, a suspicious looking trail, wet inner thighs, deteriorating energy level and limited water supply.

see the drama?

probably psychological about lack of energy with blood loss and being immensely uncomfortable, by the time i reached the finish line i thought i was going to collapse.

good thing stupe was there to take me to the finish line.

AND to add drama, i approached the finishing line with the clock striking twelve: the mellow bell was ringing. comfort and encouragement from stupe. my dad's voice shouting from the nearby pavement...'hurry senn! the clock is striking twelve'. i honestly felt like cinderella rushing home before my carriage disappeared!

bad thing stupe was there to shower me while i sat on a white plastic chair! (sorry stupe, i really appreciated and enjoyed the shower. just didn't realise the mess it made after!)

fully drenched, the mess became worst. stains were just trickling and dripping uncontrollably. i was in the medal tent with some 15 other late comers and i didn't want to get up from my white chair. i asked arif if it was noticeable and he said (rather calmly i thought) 'you're dripping blobs through the chair'.

finally mustered the courage and thick skin to just get up. got a couple of worried stares from knowing women about the familiar coloured pool left on the chair, and walked back to the car looking like i was wounded waist down.

dad made me sit on a doubled towel and drove his princess home - knackered and admittedly defeated from the race.

was that good drama or bad drama? i'll let you critics decide.

i'll just admit this much: i am a dramathlete. love hollywood but may appear more bollywod at races.

a drama queen full on.. but honestly not on purpose.

may even start writing race trailers rather than reports! (not that i reported much facts in the past anyway!)

*from the racer of 'there's a hole in my foot' and 'bloody hell!'. IM70.30 Putrajaya.. what would you do if this happened to you? - coming this july*

p.s my dad did great for his first 21k by the way. he said he's motivation was to say 'c'mon senn!' to himself, hoping to fool his mental game and not give up. 3:02 and mighty proud.. :)