Swim. Bike. RUN!

Hi all

This post is dedicated to the X country team. I want to share with you the recent race that I have gone through, and by doing so I hope to motivate and inspire all of you.

Recently I embarked on a journey to Desaru, eastern Malaysia for a half ironman distance triathlon (2km swim, 90km bike, 21km run). Being a casual runner, occasional swimmer and a random biker on the road, it took me great courage to sign up for one of the toughest races in the world. I started endurance sports (particularly running) 2 years ago, and continued the sport due to the influences around me. I have friends who are have unlimited stamina (Eric!), who, against all odds can complete trainings (Melvin, Patrick, Fabian), who win medals every now and then (Madan!) and who break their personal PBs more often than not. These people, whether or not they are from X country, are my motivations. I moved to triathlon just to try out the sport out of the blue.

So the multi-disciplinary sport which I signed up (and had no idea how tough it was) came sooner, no later and I was somewhat unprepared for it. Sometimes I wondered if I had taken things too fast. Nonetheless since the race day has already come, I just told myself to give it a try. After a gruesome 6 hours and 50 minutes of non-stop action in the sea and on road, I finally crossed the finishing line. The swim at the sea, despite the current and the constant contact with other swimmers made me feel extremely tired and irritated; the ride on the hills (no flat roads!) pushed my thighs and calves to the limit; and the run under the sweltering heat took away my soul as I lifted my foot and placed them one in front of another. The entire journey was unimaginably gruesome and every single second spent on the sea and road was another second thought of giving up, physically and mentally.

But no, I told myself, for there were more reasons to persevere than to give up. You see, giving up is really easy; you just get off  after the 1st loop of swim, or the 1st loop of bike, or just run straight to the resort room and take a nap/sleep for the rest of the day. But think of the consequences thereafter. The journey to giving up is just temporary, the lingering thought of you who gave up will stay forever. Someday you will look back and thought “I should have just completed the race” and there you go, regretting why you did not continue just a little more to cross the finishing line.

So yes, I told myself not to give up despite the extreme weather and the fatigue, because one day I WILL regret when I look back. I promised myself to travel all the way far from home, to race, to complete, and to go home. Simple equation, simple solution. I told myself I will do this race for the people who motivate and inspire me (as above), and I will do this race for the people who support me all along; be it the extra runs they did with you (Fabian, Patrick), the extra swim sessions (Richard! Jovin! Sarah Tan!) they promised and the extra bike rounds or even bike tips (Jayanta!) they were with you. So there, by completing the race, you did little promises and indirectly not “wasted” someone else’s time on you (kinda crude way to say, but you know what I mean).

Anyways, some take home messages to ponder: I was once just an ordinary person (ok still ordinary) and decided to do something with my life. I trained and ran, although not as fast as all of you, but I still continued and persevered on, and completed races which people never even thought of doing them. Do remember that in times of hardships; you are not alone because some way or another, the people who you have worked with will directly or indirectly influence your decision to race and to complete the race. In times of hardship and you really feel like giving up, take a breather and think of the past trainings and people around you and your loved ones, and you will realize that you are not alone and you will, against all odds, continue and overcome any obstacles in front of you.

Most of us are here to win, but some of us (like me) are here just to gather achievements. Whatever it is, the feeling of crossing the finishing line is priceless, and for that, you just have to persevere on until the end, for in the end, it is only you against yourself. If you can conquer yourself today, you can conquer yourself another day too!

So don’t give up, no matter what it is, by toeing the starting line you have already won half the battle, for you took up the courage to challenge yourself, and by crossing the finishing line, you will conquer yourself!

Best regards
Alvin Low
Sundown Ultramarathoner 2010
Desaru Long Distance Triathlon (70.3) Finisher 2010
Ordinary Guy

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