Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Ironman

Many of my family members and friends are aware that I'm active in sports, and that I'm in fact an Ironman. Not everybody knows much about being an Ironman, or how to earn that title. So let me explain quickly what it's all about. 

The Ironman is just like any other brandnames out there, and in the sport of triathlon, it means a person who's conquered a 3.8km swim, a 180km bike, and finally a 42.2km run, one after another continuously, and all within a total cut off time of 17 hours. In some events, the cut off times may be a little shorter. The title, once earned, will remain forever.

To an average person, it may seem impossible to even swim 3.8km, or bike a distance of 180km, or run 42.2km, let alone doing all those one after another within 17 hours. But I have always said that the race itself is not the toughest part. In my opinion, the toughest part of becoming an Ironman is in the months and months of training when one requires a lot of discipline. He trains on a daily basis for what seems like eternity, and at the height of the programme, he has almost no life other than training. It is there during the months of training that most people would fail!

Now some people know quite a lot about being an Ironman—they know, for example, about the ridiculous distances in the 3 disciplines; they know about the training programmes etc; that all the training can help to improve the fitness and endurance. But what they seem not to know is that we are still human; we are still flesh and blood, and we are not immune from falling ill sometimes! It can be frustrating when people say something like, "But you're an Ironman; how come you have the flu?"

I'm approaching 51 years old soon, and I feel like I've never been any fitter than I am today, even when I compare myself to the times when I was in my twenties. My resting pulse is down to about 40bpm and these days jogging between 5km to 10km at a pace of say 6min/km is not very tiring to me. 

But actually, I do have some issues such as a bit of pain in my joints, especially my knees. This lately, I find that recovery takes a little longer. I still have to be careful with what I consume, or else I would see my cholesterol level rise at an alarming rate. Although my blood pressure is generally within the "normal range", I notice that it may rise to a "borderline high" on some occasions; I mean it will rise for no apparent reason—not just when my wife sends me a text message, asking me to buy a large pack of tampons containing 30 pieces at the pharmacy near my office.

So you see folks, we Ironmans are human too, and we are very much like any of you out there. We did not come from the planet Krypton, wearing our underwear over our tights. We do fall sick every now and then just like anybody else. The next time you see your Ironman friend under the weather, please don't be surprised—he is just being human. 

The only difference is perhaps we're dumb enough to torture our bodies—for only God knows why—so that we can spend a ton of money to race for an entire day on a weekend, and then earn the title Ironman.

No comments: