Being a pack leader also helped me tremendously in preparing for events. Pack leaders are pace setters during KyserunKrew’s official running sessions (KyserunKrew is the family I run with and to me, the most awesome running crew in the world). During the training sessions, we are required to maintain our pace within a certain limit according to specific pace groups (we normally have three groups with three different paces to accommodate the various abilities of the runners who join our trainings). I’m certainly proud with the committee members who have succeeded in bringing the crew to where we are now. It used to only be a handful of us running together, with so little experience. Now, our family has grown through the years, with more excitement to share and more love to spread.
Oops! Back to the topic. Through running in a pack, I got to learn how to be in control of my pace and my breathing throughout each run. This has also made me realize that one person’s meat might be another person’s poison in the sense that different people have different levels of capabilities, abilities and limitations. Hence, a technique that is well-suited for one person may not be the best for another. Through knowledge sharing and engagements with various kinds of runners from diverse backgrounds, I learned a lot and in the process, was able to understand myself even better. After all, life is a continuous learning process. The very same applies to running.
T-2. I was almost ready. My to-do list for Ironman 70.3 was almost 100% checked, including the two weeks diet strategy. Let me stress that diet here does not mean turning anorexic, where food intake is limited. Instead, I consumed more simple carbohydrates (as efficient source of energy), fish and chicken (good protein for tissue recovery) and drank more coconut drink (an incredible source of electrolytes such as potassium and sodium) as well as lots and lots of plain water. Besides that, I avoided oily and spicy food as well as fast food (Trust me, this is a big sacrifice on my part considering the fact that I’m a die-hard fan of French fries from Mc Donalds).
As you probably might have concluded, I am as much a normal human being as you are. I do feel tired too. And yes, I do need my sleep every night. In fact, having enough rest is crucial for your body to recover so that it could function optimally, which would result in more effective and efficient trainings (notice how I stress the phrase “efficient and effective training” – after all, it’s always quality over quantity).
T-1. My friends and I went to the Ironman Expo to check in our bikes and while at it, managed to “window-shop” for interesting merchandises. We were secretly ogling over the rows of overly-expensive-yet-eye-catching bicycles, wheel sets and bicycle parts that were on sale as well as the ones checked in by other participants.
Pre-race jitters started to consume my entire body. I could feel butterflies flapping their wings vigorously in my stomach as I observed all the other professional athletes who exuded self-confidence even by simply breathing. But there was also a part of me that was excited to race against them the next day, to stand alongside them and most importantly, to reveal to the world (probably an exaggeration in itself but you know what I mean) the results of my trainings and preparations.
We strutted back to the hotel feeling slightly anxious but all rejuvenated and geared up for the race. It has always been a habit of mine and probably many others to set out the things which are required during the race including my race kit, the power gels, socks, shoes and other gears on the floor, for the flat lay photo session (to be uploaded on Instagram – sounds familiar?), while making sure that everything was in place for the big day.
That night, after having a hearty dinner (most of us call it carbo-loading), I slept early. Well, at least that was the plan. However, due to extreme nervousness, I ended up tossing and turning on the bed instead. I mean it’s not every day that you get the opportunity to compete with professional athletes from all corners of the world in one of the most prestigious event in the history of triathlon!
I woke up the next day, feeling slightly nervous with a tinge of excitement. I ran through my checklist, knowing that it was all complete till the very last line: Wings to fly. My wings came in the form of my running family, the Kyserunkrew. They’ve helped a lot in providing me with tips and advice which ultimately became part of my To-Do-List. Their continuous words of encouragement never ceased to boost my morale and motivate me to not give up every single time. Everything was perfect and I was ready.
On that momentous day, I swam, I cycled and I ran. I gave it my all. My family was there. For almost 6 hours, they stood under the scorching sun, waiting for me to complete the race. Every time I reached the transition area, I could see their faces by the sideline, hear their never-ending cheers and feel their energy through their high-fives as I passed by in front of them. And I soared. I really did.
And you know what the best thing was? I Got To Reach For The Stars.