General

What it takes to be an athlete

Lately I have been thinking of having a permanent tattoo on my right wrist. I am so in love with the infinity symbol, and I had several infinity temporary tattoo attached to my skin every weekends for the past six months. I approached some of my friends who had tattoos on their bodies and I was asking how was it felt to be drawn by needles. And of course I was asking some of close friends’ opinion of me having a permanent tattoo. While some were agree and very supportive, the other were just the opposite.

When I was consulting with one of best guy when he was in town, of his opinion for me having a permanent tattoo, he argued that nothing in this world is permanent. Literally, nothing. While I questioned love, something else came up in my mind: how about something that we love?

I reflected to his state of mind every day since then. It has been few months already, but it keeps appear in my mind and I was also looking for an answer, and be aware of what might happen to something that I love today, which is, being active.

I have a regular activity every week, three to four times a week, sometimes I do that in the morning, and sometimes it’s in the evening. Running. One to two times swim for each week, two times of weight lifting. Two years ago I was so dedicated and addicted to weight lifting at the gym, and did that for everyday in the evening. As a result I gained muscle density through eating a strict diet meals, full of protein. Been doing that for a year, and I, of course, gained weight by means of my fat levels went down and muscle levels went up. I was quite bulky during that time. And when I got bulkier, I looked like getting fatter. But I didn’t. It was just all muscle.

And then, that happened, when your muscle got bored with the routines at gym, and considered to mix my workouts with a high-intensity kind of exercise, which is cardio. That point of time, I was so eager to watch Desperate Housewives, and saw Teri Hatcher (Susan Delvino) looked so strong with her tiny body and tight muscle on her early 50th. Googled for her kind of workouts, and found out that she’s a Triathlete, a Triathlon-athlete, a multi-stage sports involving Swimming, Cycling, and Running continuously. So that was how I am into that sport, starting with running to build up my endurance since November 2014.

There is a quote which stated that swimming is the most tired one, while cycling is the longest, and running is the heaviest for a Triathlete to pass one race.

There are four levels on the Triathlon:

  • 1st is Sprint Distance – 750m open water swim, 20k bike, 5k run
  • 2nd is Olympic Distance – 1.5k open water swim, 40k bike, 10k run
  • 3rd is Half Marathon Distance – 3k open water swim, 90k bike, 21k run
  • 4th is the longest, Ironman – 4.1k open water swim, 180k bike, 42k run

I could not imagine if I would go as an Ironman, but at least I was aiming for an Olympic Distance Triathlon race and a Half Marathon (21k) race firs someday. Haven’t thought of going further than that yet.

In the Triathlon, the phase I hate the most is the cycling part, because I just hate cycling. It hurts my butt even though you have wore a pad. But it’s a part of Triathlon sequence, and I have no other choice to practice on that. Mostly I do my bike training in the Les Mills RPM class at gym.

There is a Triathlon race in Bali this 25th October 2015, I signed up, and somehow got chosen. But I doubt I am able to make it to Bali, since the date is the exact date I normally got my first day of period. There is a possibility I’m not going, and it makes me sad. Because I really want to go for that race and see whether I would keep going on as a Triathlete, permanently, pursuing for a higher and further levels, or longer distance, or this Triathlon thingy would only just be a “one-time” event in my life, and become a history afterwards, just like how my best guy said “there is nothing permanent in this world”. I would die to know.

I have been trained for about 9 months for this Bali International Triathlon, and I’m thinking that I am ready, although I rarely done my brick training. Brick training is when you combine at least two sequence kind of sports in Triathlon (like Bike-Run-Bike or Run-Swim-Run). By seeing how I train, I believe that I could do my first Triathlon just fine since my endurance level is good enough to do a Sprint Distance. I am able to swim 2k in 45 Mins, 13k non-stop run in 1.40 Hrs, and cycle 30k in 2 Hrs in few days in a row.

You know, this kind of endurance sports has formed my body well. I don’t need to have that strict diet anymore, just monitor some of my intakes to balance the nutrition for a better strength and endurance purposes.

During my tiring unstoppable long run, or those painful and heavy strokes in the pool, I always think why do I do this, would I ever stopped doing these training. But believe me, it feels great after. When I crossed those FINISH lines on the races I signed up, when I got out from the pool and felt the pain for a few days on my shoulders and back whereas made them formed nicely, when I dropped off my bike and felt numb on both of my glutes and thighs, oh believe me, it felt wonderful. It’s not the pain, but it’s the feeling of success that you have set a new record each time you train.

Although there were so many grins drawn on my face because I feel the pain. But it is worth.

Maybe some of my friends would say that I am too crazy to force my body beyond its maximum capability and I might regularly get injured. I did get injured in some part of my bodies and it made me to have a few weeks bed-resting with no exercise at all (and it depressed me). But I realized that I got the injury just because I did not understand my body, I did not listen to my body, whether it’s scream and beg for a recovery or if it needs to move and add some miles than the regular distance. Each of us has a very active body, which is able to speak to us, and we just need to obey it for our own goodness. And the same thing when to eat a healthy and clean meals, and when to eat a not-too-healthy meals. And, voilà! You and your body become advance! You and your body are a team.

From there, I develop a good relationship with my own body, and understand that being good together feels great. So, yeah. I’m gonna add this to my permanent “things-I-like” list. He once said that: “perhaps, you love running and wish to be a long-distance athlete is just temporary”, I would say that he’s wrong, man.

I believe that becoming an athlete is a commitment. A commitment of letting go of your non-productive activities and turn it into something more productive, like having a nice body.

If you are too busy at work, just spend a minimum of 30 minutes to workout.

If you are too lazy to wake up early in the morning and you are thinking that your whole day would be too tiring, you are so wrong. Believe me, you would feel fresher for the rest of the day (a clearer mind to do your activities or even to think!). I do feel sleepy for some point of hour, but I just need to add up a little caffeine or eating sugar (from fruits for your health, of course), and it works!

If you feel that “tasteless” meals are boring, try to mix it with “cheat-meal” once in a while (remember that there is NO such thing as “cheat day”, you only have ONE “cheat-meal” once in a while – instead of having “dirty” meals for the rest of the day).

Go easy on you train on your distance or endurance level, I do running slow for my long run, I do light lifting for my strength training. The aim is that you don’t stop.

There is NO such thing as “NO TIME”. If you think that it is important, that you would do anything to make it happen.

Be there when the sun rises, or when the sun sets down. It determines how would you want to start or end your day.

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