It’s just a little over a month to Ironman. I had initially wanted to write a post with my thoughts about my whole journey at exactly 30 days to Ironman, but I happen to have some free time right now, and my notebook is fully charged right this very moment, so I figured why not now.
It’s been roughly 8 months since I started my “Road to Ironman” adventure. I had toyed with the idea of taking part in what seemed like an insanely difficult task for a few years now, though I always brushed it off with a laugh at precisely how insane and impossible that idea seemed. My brother, Kevin, has done it numerous times and seemed to love the sport very much. I have had my fair share of Olympic distance triathlons and have uttered the words “I will never do an Ironman” a few times. So what changed?
I guess it all changed last year, when Ironman came back to our shores. After a 4 year hiatus, Ironman Malaysia came back with a bang, and as soon as the registration opened, everybody jumped on that bandwagon. At that time I was still in the state of mind that I will never ever do an Ironman. It was just way too far out of my league. Little did I know, though, that my mind would be changed by the people around me very very quickly.
To cut to the chase, my friends who bike and run were all signed up for this big event and suddenly I was immersed in the Ironman conversation day in and day out. Externally, I shook my head when I read or hear about the training sessions they put themselves through but in my head, something chipped away at the mental wall I had built inside, and slowly I felt a desire to be one of them. I have always had a competitive streak in me and I couldn’t help but think that if my friends could do it, so could I. That’s right, I could do an Ironman, I totally could!
But even for someone like myself, who usually wings it, I was a little wary of the amount of work I would have to put in to survive the Ironman. I am no longer 21 years old and I knew (as much as I try to deny it) that I couldn’t just rock up and swim 3.8km, bike 180km and run 42km with no physical and mental preparation whatsoever. This is a different ball game.
So in April 2014, I completed the 70.3 Ironman Putrajaya. It was painful. But the satisfaction was indescribable. I knew for sure, then, that the full Ironman is no joke. But I was prepared to take it on. I started to take training a little more seriously from then, with the support and help from Gary and my big brother. I knew I wasn’t ready to do it in 2014. I wasn’t ready to give up so much time for it, yet.
Come 2015, February, as Chinese New Year rolls out of the picture, I decided I was ready. I was going to start taking my training seriously. I was going to set some rules, plan some routines, and told my fiance that if I wailed and whined, he would just need to say “Suck it up, Buttercup” and tell me to stick to it. And this happened on many occasions, to be honest. *oops*
The progression of my training was slow. I started up with just a bike trainer session once a week. Then I ventured into adding a swim session in on a weekly basis. As time went on, I got in long rides on the weekends. Did my first 3-digit ride with my friends, and then did a few more until 3-digit rides became the norm.
It wasn’t until I finally signed up for the race in June, when sh*t actually got real. I don’t really remember how, but suddenly it was minimum 1 hour training every day, 2 trainer days a week, 2 swim days a week, long rides on weekends and just finding time to swim, bike or run whenever I get some free time. Gone were my naps, gone were my breakfast out with mom and dad, gone were watching tv series on my notebook. I was so tired at the end of every week, Monday just seemed impossible to wake up to. I was on the brink of burning out, and much sooner than I expected.
I know myself very well, and I am not afraid to admit that I am lacking in discipline when it comes to training. Hence, to make it even 3 months long, I think that is quite a feat. I love keeping fit and working out, but I also love relaxing and having down, low key times. So it got too difficult too fast and many times I found myself cursing this Ironman and what it has done to my life. But I usually try to take 3 deep breaths and thank the stars above for sending me kind, patient and loving Gary who bears the brunt of all my worst days and still sticks around to see me pull through.
So that leads me to here. Now. 8 months into my “Road to Ironman”. Am I still training like a maniac? Mm…not really anymore. Is it time to taper down already? Probably not, still got 5 weeks. But I am cutting myself some slack for my mental health. I am doing okay. I have worked hard and the results are showing in my performances in the past couple of 113km races. I am cycling better and running stronger. I complain less about the water. I’m on track even though I know I could do more.
Right now I just want to do my best, without sacrificing my life, and my job. I need to work to make a living and I need to spend some time planning for other aspects of my life. But am I still Ironman focused? You bet.
And on November 14th, 2015, I will cross that finish line, and I’m gonna be an Ironman. Don’t believe me, just watch. =)