Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Tip Of The Iceberg

I have been keeping myself active in sports over the last few months, and I spent the time participating in several races, ranging from the full marathons in the Borneo International Marathon and the Gold Coast Airport Marathon (achieved a personal best in 3:52:08), to a half marathon in the local La Salle Charity Run (finished 8th); to Challenge Iskandar Puteri (Half Ironman Distance Triathlon—2nd Runner-Up), to the Labuan International Duathlon (finished 6th).

All these races were just a few weeks apart, but my next event will be a full Ironman race in Langkawi in mid November. I don't intend to join anymore short races until after the Ironman, so that I can really focus on endurance training. Although I'm happy with my general fitness, I'm a little worried about my endurance. You see, the Ironman is altogether a different beast. It comprises a 3.8km swim, 180km bike, and finally a 42.2km run, all to be done one after another in that order, and to be completed within a cut off time of 17 hours.

Last Saturday, I finally cycled 120km, a distance that I haven't done on my bike for ages. It was such a painfully exhausting workout because it just so happened that it was a windy day. Then yesterday, I rode another 120km. I had wanted to do more than that, but a freak storm forced me to shorten my workout. It was still an exhausting workout anyway; enough to result in sore legs today. Then in a short while, at about 2pm, I'm going to run 21km in this ridiculous heat. Hopefully, if I'm still alive after the run, I will go for a short recovery swim at the Likas Sports Complex at around 5pm. I much prefer to swim at the Sutera Marina, but it's closed for repairs; it's been closed for a few weeks, and I'm not sure how much longer they'll be closed. So I have no choice but to swim in Likas where the water is just too awfully cold. Since tomorrow will be a public holiday, and if the weather permits, I will go for a short recovery ride, followed by a short run.

The reason that I'm sharing all this is because when I do reasonably well in races—and I don't do well all the time, mind you—way too many people would say that I'm gifted, that I'm naturally strong or fast, that I'm genetically made for sports, that I have some sort of unfair advantage over others. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Some people would be pleased to get such comments from others. But not me. To be very honest, I'm rather frustrated when I get these comments, because for the simple reason, it's just not true. The truth of the matter is that I had to put in a lot of time and efforts in order to do well in races. It most certainly did not happen because I'm gifted; neither was it due to genetic superiority.

People have the general tendency to judge one's abilities from his or her performance during races, but they are not aware of what happens when he or she is not racing. It's a lot like seeing just the tip of the iceberg floating in the sea. For that portion of the ice is just about 20% of the whole thing; the remaining 80% is below the surface of the water and therefore hidden from sight.

It's too easy to forget that like many other things in life, in order to get good results, one has to put in the time and efforts to achieve them. At times, the kind of sacrifice that needs to be made is beyond imagination to most people, and a lot of the fight actually happens there rather than on the race day itself.

It's very hard to appreciate the value of proper preparations for a race until one experiences it for himself. This is overwhelmingly true in whatever "race" or competition in life. The sooner one can accept this as a fact of life, and start putting in the efforts, and sacrifices, to achieve whatever it is that he aims to achieve, the better are his chances of achieving it; and achieving it well. Pay more attention on the part of the ice that is submerged in the water, because after all the part that is above the water is supported by the part below it.

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