Life is like a triathlon. You train hard, you prepare for all possible scenarios, then you hope for the best and go out there to race. Sometimes, every thing turns out as planned. Other times, you get a little surprise.
For the past months, the road to Ironman 70.3 Cebu has thrown in quite a number of surprises for me. I got injured in April, crashed on my bike in July, and, just last week, sprained my rib area while doing ab work.
The thing is, my wounds healed so I got to swim 10 days after the crash. I pushed myself to overcome my fear after the crash and rode 100k alone two weeks after. The ribs? It’s just uncomfortable; I can swim and run through it. And, as of today, I got to run 12k with friends, Joey, Nona, JR, and Joel, without a single niggle of pain. Yes, injuries do heal!
– As if the injury free run wasn’t enough to make my day, I bumped into these guys at the parking lot. ALL of them are TBR Dream Alumni from Batches 2, 3, and 4. So happy to see them training for Milo Marathon while the others have gone into triathlon –
After months of uncertainty, today, a mere 14 days before race day, I know for sure that I can—and will—race Ironman 70.3 Cebu. Sure, it won’t be my best performance and maybe I won’t be able to beat my own time last year. But, I will try my best. As my Coach, Andy Leuterio said, “You will race it like a warrior!” Hey, after the hell that I’ve been through, crossing that finish line will be a celebration in itself.
Here are five things I learned during the past 7 months of joy, frustration, and pain while training for Ironman 70.3 Cebu that can probably be applied to running, triathlon, and other aspects of life:
1) Clearly define your goals. Are you aiming to finish, to improve your time, or to have fun? Should trials arise, such as problems with time management or training, then go back to those goals and make a decision based on that. I’ve found that, as the race draws near, there’s a tendency to keep up with Joneses and you worry if you’re training long or hard enough. Thankfully, I have the kind of personality where I don’t really care what other people are doing or thinking as long as I’ve done my best and set out what I planned to accomplish. I’m such a Bull, I know.
2) You decide. In triathlon, you can be part of a team, you can have a great Coach by your side, and you can have friends to support you all the way. But, at the end of the day, it’s all you. You decide how hard you’re going to push yourself during training. You decide if you’re willing to commit X amount of time to your already full schedule and if a medal is all worth it. You decide how you want a bike accident to affect you. If you do make it to race day, there’s no one else to praise (or blame) but you.
3) It’s a mind game. You can train your body to swim, bike, and run any distance, but if the mind is weak, then you’ll have a problem. For marathons and triathlon where you have to dig deep during training and on race day, you need the will, commitment, and determination to overcome the pain because (if you don’t know yet then let me tell you now), it may hurt like hell during the last few meters to the finish, but it will be pure bliss when you hang that medal around your neck.
4) People don’t care. Now, I don’t mean that your friends don’t care for you. Triathletes, based on my little experience being in triathlon for just a year now, are a great bunch who sincerely help newbies out and support others who share a common passion for the sport. But, they are also too busy swimming, biking, and running and living their own lives to care about that protruding tummy of yours in your trisuit or how slow you are on the bike. In other words, just do your own thing and ask for help when needed. Most triathletes are willing to help and they don’t really care about the little things that you are insecure about. (Just make sure to inhale during photos.)
5) Balance everything. Triathlon is like life, but it is NOT your life. (Well, at least for most of us age-groupers it’s not.) So, while you’ve been bitten by the bug and you would love to swim, bike, and run as much as you can, don’t forget that there’s more to life out there. There’s fulfilling work, a loving family, and awesome non-athlete friends who can make you just as happy too (and, guess what, they don’t want to know how long you rode or ran today.) If you keep this in mind, then any misfortunes in triathlon—a bike crash, an injury, or a missed race—will be nothing more but bumps on the road. The journey goes on.