Blessings in Disguise · EN · Irin Active Journey · Life Lesson

Ironman 70.3 Bintan Journey

Long distance sports have taught me more into characters development rather than gaining physical strength. For me, becoming strong is just a reward. The real journey is when you becoming someone better from the inside. That is the most valuable lesson I will always picked.

Every time I finish a long distance race, I always come back home learning a precious life-lesson.

Most people would’ve imagined what it takes for someone (or me) to reach certain level of strength. Or endurance. They would think it takes waking up early when the sun has not shined, or spare at least an hour of your schedule each day just to train, or going extra miles – keep improving your distance over time – which will be resulting gaining your endurance level.

But for me, I see it from different perspective and found much deeper meanings by being a long distance athlete.

I am becoming the better me because I have the best moments with myself during those long hours of exercise.

I just completed my second 70.3 Triathlon Race in Bintan last Sunday. My first at four months ago was not an official Ironman race, but they had a Half Ironman distance. And my second was an official Ironman race from The State. I improved my timing from 8:20 hours to 7:50-ish hours, with less training because of some incidents happened during my peak training weeks. I don’t say that you will do just good with less training. Of course proper training and preparations have high contribution on the performance. But I realized that my own mental readiness has higher contribution on the performance.

It is what keep me going..


Swimming open water has many challenges. And risks as well (for sure). Learn to do sighting while you also need to keep your body straight to maintain the buoyancy so the swimming won’t feel too draggy, is one of many challenges we all are facing during the Triathlon race. Otherwise, you will swim out of the race course lane which will contributes to the longer timing and a risk of not being able to continue to the next leg.

Bintan’s ocean is one of the most beautiful sea I’ve ever swam. The wave is calm, the water is warm (about 29 degrees Celsius), the bottom is quite clear so I can see line of reefs, and some small fishes swam next to me.

I was never feel alone 🙂

I knew I belong to the ocean, I did not need to take a while to blend with it. But not for some other participants. I can sensed their worries when it comes to swimming open water. And it is okay, it is okay to be scared of the water, of the ocean, of what it may happen.

The deeper the ocean, the cooler the temperature, the more we are formed to be stronger to conquer the roaring waves.

There were thousands participants were swimming on the same lane, even though we were divided by several waves, released every five minutes. But still, people were competing, and less likely we could find someone who can swim on the same pace as everybody else. They started kicking without caring whom would they hit around when people were trying to catch up with the front-liners.

But I cared.

At some point, I decided to look around, tried to find an empty spot where I could swim without hurting anybody. I might swam a little bit further because I was swimming almost at the outer lane line. But then again, I am here no to seek achievement, I am here to finish what I have started.

At that point, I learned to be less egocentric, thinking about other people than myself.

Maybe people were there to compete. But I realized I was there to find myself. They are not me, and I am not them.

I found my peace at the open water.


It was tough. The 90 kilometers distance was the toughest. And cycling has always been my weakest point. I heard that the bike course in Bintan is hilly. I never imagined how hilly Bintan was until I was sitting on the top of Aaron, conquering hills after hills.

It felt so long, it felt so far. “When will these hills end?”, as I looked down to see the road. I chose not to see how much further the hills I was facing.

At that point, I learned patience.

Because in the end, the hill itself has its limit, and we will reach at the peak of it eventually, within moments.

“Easy, Irene, easy. Go easy on yourself. Don’t push too hard. It’s a long journey, and you still have one more leg to finish”, I said that to myself every time I went into a hill that is too hard to climb.

“Don’t get off from Aaron. Just keep pedaling with your own pace. The hill(s) shall pass”, I said that to myself every time I saw a hill that is too far to pass.

At that point, I learned persistence.

Then I remember that most of the times I am being too hard on myself. I am an idealist. And a perfectionist. I would stress myself if things go sideways. I realize that I am being too hard on myself if I do that. In an ideal world of mine, everything does not come together with the things that we all are going through in the real world.

But I learned that each individuals are formed differently, and timing does not come the same between one and the others. It’s okay to take some time and go on with your own pace, my own pace ..

.. as long as you don’t stop.

I conquered hills after hills, without getting off from Aaron, survived the climb with extreme heat for about four hours.


It was 11.30 AM when I started running, and it was extremely hot. I was too lazy to run. Both my legs were too heavy to run for another 21 kilometers, it was a long distance at this hour. Even it felt so long to run for just one kilometer.

The run was the longest journey.

But I kept running, slowly, with a small steps, and passed few people who started to walk in limps. When I was about to chose to walk along the run leg, I saw them and thought that I was not alone: everyone was in pain, everybody felt the same fatigue. So I kept my leaps small, and did not stop.

I learned that I am not alone in any kind of struggles ..

.. because everybody in this world are having the same struggles with their own capacities. The troubles I am facing right now, might seem easy or hard to someone else, and the troubles other people are facing right now, might seem easy or hard to me. I am not in the position to judge.

I learned to be more humble.

Because each of us are granted different kind of strength to face different kind of hardships and my existence around them are to be someone in times of need.

I was at my first out of second loop, when it felt so hot, and passed one of my friend that demotivated me with his negative words, telling me that I was suck. Tired, dehydrated, I realized my emotional state was at my lowest. I was hoping to hear some motivational cheers, but instead I got insulted. When I heard those words, I had the option to get angry or just let go and ignore what he had been thrown at me.

But I learned self-control, and chose to dwell in silence.

I cried for the next 3 kilometers and suddenly lost my energy to keep running under the sun. I was almost losing my confidence to finish the running part. “Am I that suck because I was way behind him?”, I was doubting myself.

But I learned to believe in myself, that no one has the right to define you but yourself.

I chose to cheer myself up by cheering other people, especially for those whom I know. Accompanied one of my injured friend for 3 kilometers when the rain came down heavily and chose to leave him because he asked so.

It felt great when you are there for someone in need.

I managed to finish all the legs with no injuries or pain.


I caught a light flu and a cough, I had my second day of period during the race day, I was not at my best physical condition, but I was able to finish the race, when the day before I almost gave up to start the race because I thought I could not bear everything. And every time I was about to give up, every several kilometers, I always remind myself why I do what I do: to finish what I have committed to begin.

At that point, I learned to be a person of my own words.

“Why I should I torture myself in this long distance race?” Should I give up? Can I finish the course?, I asked myself those questions every time I was going to put it an end.

But I am not the kind of person who would like to give up easily.

The thing to be a long distance race finisher is because I want to bring home a story to be told: nothing is impossible if you believe in yourself.

The greatest battle is not out there, on the course, but it is within you: yourself.

I could not thank God enough for His guidance in every seconds I was at each of the legs’ course. I can feel Him right next to me, giving me the energies I needed to keep my going, while He gently said: “You are not done yet, My child, keep going”.

I am not done yet, because I have not seen the finish line. The race is like a life-journey, you don’t give up just yet when things seem to be overwhelmed to handle. It makes you stronger, makes me stronger, creating a better you and I over time.

I found more of me.

And you will find more of you somewhere along the journey, just like how I found mine 🙂

I went back to the villa where I stayed, took a quick shower and joined my friends who were still around the race village with a big smile. I might not be a winner in the stage, but I am a winner of my own demons: fear and worry.

And that’s all that matter .. That is all that matter 🙂

WhatsApp Image 2017-08-23 at 2.45.20 PM


Thanks for the togetherness, TriDear! It was an awesome journey with you guys!

WhatsApp Image 2017-08-23 at 2.46.17 PM

WhatsApp Image 2017-08-23 at 2.45.55 PM


Blessings in Disguise · Irin Active Journey · Journey of Love · Random Things Found in Daily Life

granted simple wish

Semalam aku bermimpi tentang kamu. Dan aku dapat merasakan mimpi itu seolah kenyataan. Aku dapat merasakan keberadaanmu begitu dekat.

Aku mengerti sekarang bahwa mimpi itu merupakan hasil dari segala sesuatu yang kita pikirkan tepat sebelum kita tertidur. Dan ya, aku memang sempat memikirkan dirimu sore hari, dan malam hari, hingga tepat sebelum tertidur. Terutama setelah kesempatan singkat dan sederhana bertemu denganmu pada tempat dan waktu yang tidak diduga.

Siang itu merupakan siang setelah kebaktian gereja usai, ada satu harapan sederhana di dalam hatiku, “seandainya saja aku dapat dipertemukan dengannya”. Mungkinkah? Atau harapan itu hanya sekedar impian semu belaka? Aku turun ke lantai bawah seraya berpikir restoran mana yang akan kupilih untuk aku menyantap makan siangku yang tertunda dari dua jam yang lalu. Entah bagaimana, ada sesuatu dalam hatiku yang menyarankan untuk mengunjungi restoran dimana aku dan dirinya pertama bertemu. Jadi aku pergi ke sana.

Tentu saja, dia tidak disana.

“Ah mungkin hanya harapan bodohku saja”. Tapi tidak ada satu pun harapan yang terlalu bodoh jika kamu mengubahnya menjadi doa sederhana.

Mungkin tanpa disadari aku ini sebenarnya berdoa kepada Tuhan untuk dipertemukan dengannya. Entah kenapa ada rindu melihat sosoknya, bukan hanya memandangnya dari sosial media yang menyatukan kita.

Aku memilih untuk duduk di sisi luar restoran yang berdampingan dengan jalan umum. Tadinya Ma, yang saat itu sedang bersamaku, memilih untuk duduk di sisi dalam restoran. Tapi entah mengapa, sesuatu dalam hatiku kembali berkata, “ada baiknya kamu duduk di sisi luar”.

“Duduk di luar saja yuk, Mam? Di dalam pengap”. Jadi aku duduk di sebelah lorong restoran tersebut.

Ternyata suara itu bukan sesuatu. Melainkan Seseorang.

Tiga puluh menit kemudian, pandanganku bertemu dengan sosoknya yang sedang berjalan dari hadapanku, menyelusuri lorong sisi luar restoran tempatku makan siang. Aku pikir aku berkhayal. Tapi aku tahu, bahwa itu dia. Dari jauh aku sudah dapat mengenal sosoknya yang belum lama ini baru menarik perhatianku.

Dia selalu mempesona dengan caranya tersendiri 🙂

Detik itu aku mengerti, suara-suara itu merupakan suara Tuhan yang mendengar doaku dan mengabulkan doaku.

Lalu sepanjang sore hingga malam hari aku terus berpikir jika doa dan harapan sederhana yang sempat aku lantunkan itu mempunyai maksud tertentu. Aku bercerita kepada seorang teman baikku mengenai kejadian sederhana yang aku alami itu.

“Tidak ada yang kebetulan, bukan?”, ujarnya.

Mungkin saja. Mungkin saja tidak. Tapi aku selalu menganggap segala sesuatu yang terjadi dalam hidupku mempunyai maksud-maksud khusus yang tersembunyi. Jadi aku bertanya kepada Tuhan jika memang Tuhan ijinkan aku membuka diriku kepadanya.

Tapi pertanyaannya lebih ke: “siapkah aku?”. Siapkah aku terluka lagi, siapkah aku membuka diriku lagi, siapkah aku mencinta lagi?

Ah tidak. Mungkin tidak secepat itu untuk mencinta. Tidak lagi. Tapi tentu saja aku harus membuka diriku akan kesempatan untuk menemukan cinta kembali.

Dan sepanjang tiga hari aku menyendiri di perbatasan kota Jakarta dan Bogor, aku telah merenungkan banyak hal. Bahwa hanya orang berani saja yang bisa mencintai. Mungkin aku harus lebih memberanikan diri, karena jika aku mencintai, artinya aku membuka diriku akan kesempatan untuk terluka kembali.

Aku bangun di pagi hari dengan perasaan heran mengapa aku memimpikanmu begitu dekat, begitu nyata. Apakah pikiranku yang menguasai isi mimpiku? Atau memang alam bawah sadarku mengatakan bahwa sudah saatnya aku kembali membuka diriku? Ataukah mimpi tersebut merupakan caraku menyampaikan doa dan harapan, dan bagaimana Tuhan mengemasnya menjadi sebuah petunjuk?

Aku hanya tahu satu hal: Tuhan mendengar doa dan harapan kecil hati yang merindu.

Percayakah kamu? 🙂

EN · Irin Active Journey · Life Lesson

Virgin 70.3 at Sungailiat, Bangka


I remembered what my mentor in Triathlon community I joined told me during our run-date few months back when I asked him whether I will be able to endure long distance Triathlon in Sungailiat, Bangka this April. He said: “it’s not a matter of whether you are able or you will suffer. It’s a matter of whether you can commit to your training schedules”.

I thought I can.

Just before my heart was broken and I got lost in almost everything, including following my proper training schedules.

You see, the thing about brokenhearted is not about laziness, but it’s about losing our self. Suddenly I lost all the things I had planned for the coming months. And I had to rearrange all the things I had in mind before all these. It was too late because the incident happened one and half to two months before the race day.

But I survived.

I had settled my heart and calm my mind two weeks before the race day. But I knew that I lacked of quality training for about three to four weeks. So, again, I isolated myself to gain my inner peace to face the race. I preferred to spend some time for myself, including last few training, not because I did not want to see anybody, but because I had to make peace for myself in facing the greatest obstacle: the mind. Some of my friends were nervous when it was only days approaching to the race day. I was the only one among them who took long distance. But I told them that I am so calm, so peaceful. “I hope this is a good sign”, as I told some of them.

I just wanted to finish the race. No expectation, just be strong enough to finish the course because I knew I lost few weeks of proper and quality training.


One day before the race day, me and the group reached Bangka, setting up few things for tomorrow, the race day. We tried the water, swam few hundred meters to feel the ambiance. Right on that moment, I blended with the ocean. I knew that I would never be afraid of one thing: water. It calms my soul.

But I guessed my day was too tiring. Somehow I can feel my body was drop to almost zero. I just wanted to sleep, I just wanted to rest. The preparation day was too packed. I kept silent for the rest of the evening, telling myself that everything will be alright. “Just remember to aim for the finish line”, I kept remind myself.


Woke up from five hours of sleep, I suffered a medium migraine pain. Took a painkiller, and thank God it worked.

Went to the race venue and made some preparation in the transition area. I could feel the participants were overwhelmed with so much burden of facing the race. And when I was in the long distance transition area, I saw there were lots of pro triathlete will be competing the same course as me. I kept telling myself: you are who you are with your own pace. I did not want to fill myself with the burden from some people who would tease me if I perform under them (who are much older than me).

The Swim – It was fun. I enjoyed the ocean, though many people swam in front of me (and of course faster than me). Swimming was my strength, I thought of finishing the 1.9k distance within 40-45 minutes, but it turned out I finished within 59 minutes. I realized after that the distance was 2.5k – 2.7k (my GPS was error so I could not get the accurate distance, the correct distance based on what I saw from other people’s GPS). Consider I finished 2.5k within 59 minutes, I was satisfied with the result.

So here where all the problems were started..

The Bike – I think I swam too fast (or too excited because I was so enjoying the water – the temp and the feel and the view).

At km 15 > my thighs started to stiff.

At km 20 > my thighs were cramps.

I kept going.. At km 30 > it got worse, I was thinking to stop and DNF at some point soon. But no. I kept going, when I was thinking of my second family in Jakarta, my DATE members, who had prayed for me the night before I flew to Bangka, prayed for my health, prayed for the event to run smoothly, and wishing me a very good luck. I kept going because they were the people who gave me hope when I was at my lowest during the six weeks healing process.

At km 40 > The back pain because of the broken bones dozen years ago, came.

At km 50 > I can’t feel half of my body. I felt the pins and needles on the left side of my body, I did not know why. I never felt this before, even during my longest ride. I was thinking maybe it was because of dehydration attack, it was around 9.30 in the morning and the sun was shining so bright. Like the sun was laughing at me. But while I was thinking when to stop, the distance marker showed I was at km 60. I had finished more than half of the bike distance.

I kept going, and I reached km 70.

I kept going, and I reached km 80.

Just another 10, and I will finish the bike part. But the course was getting harder. Hills after hills, and I could see some long distance participants pushed their bikes and walk. But I chose to keep pedaling even though I would go slow, I did not care. As long as I did not step on the ground.

I reached km 90 and entered the transition area to continue with the run.

I cried few times on the bike, because the cramps were too painful. Every time I passed the water station in every 12k, I poured one water aqua bottle to my body, it was very very very hot I could not stand the dehydration, and the migraine came back. I did not stop, I finished the bike within 3 hours 49 minutes. Not fast. The average speed dropped from 28kpj/h to 23.7kpj/h. But I finished.

The Run – 4 loops of 5k. I was so sure to stop after I finished the first loop. Because I can feel the cramps on both thighs. The course was clearly exposed to the sunlight. At 12.30pm I started run, when the sun at his highest.

At the second loop, I cannot feel both my palms. And they were in pain. Then I realized that they were swollen. I knew, I was dehydrated. No matter how many water I flushed to my body, no matter how many bottles I drank during the run, I was still dehydrated because that was the doctors told me about my body: fluid imbalance. So if my body demands for 2 liters of water per day, I need to add at least one more liter to my daily consumption.

I stopped running on the third loop, until I finally reached the finished line. I kept walking. I can also feel the pain on my lower stomach. I also knew the kidneys were screaming. That was why I did not want to force myself to run. I finished my run within 3 hours 19 minutes, and that was the longest half marathon run I ever had in my life. I finished the whole course under cut of time: 8 hours 23 minutes (of total cut of time 8 hours 30 minutes).

What kept me going, especially when I was so certain to DNF during the run? The people around me.

  1. At the start line, I met a guy (cute one though :p) handed me over his Salonpas spray (for cramps) as he had finished the race (short distance). “Bring this with you, you may need it. And don’t give up!”. I brought the can until it finished at third loops.
  2. Some of my friends passed me by when I was still running, and they shout at me: “Irene, don’t give up! Keep going, you’re almost there” (even though at that time it was still a long way to go).
  3. My roommates and travelmates approached me on my second loop to cheer me up: “Irene, run! So we can get a good shoot at you” (read: photograph). One of them tapped my shoulder while saying: “you can!”.
  4. Two of my friends looked for me with their bikes at my last loop. I cried when I saw them because I was touched. “We looked for you”, they said. And then I told them that it was almost cut of time, I think I will just give up. “At least finish the race as a tribute to two of our friends that did not even started the bike because the marshal closed the first transition area”, one of them informed me. Then I started running, with a very slow pace, chasing the time so I can finish under the cut of time, for two of my girl friends who devastated because they were unintentionally DNF.

Overall, the course was depressing, because mostly you are racing on your own (less people joined the long distance course, compare to the shorter ones).


When you read this, maybe you will conclude that it was a miserable race. Perhaps it was. But perhaps it was not. And if you ask me whether I want to do another 70.3 in the future – the half ironman distance, I would definitely say “yes”. But maybe with a better planning: from months before, weeks before, to one day before the race: drink lots of water (I knew I missed this because of the tight schedule) to “save” the liquid inside of my body. And of course, to avoid any brokenhearted or hurting feelings few months before the race :p

But I did ask God, again, about why He let me experienced something I am so longing for from long time ago. He said: “be patience as you need to be patient with yourself when you are going for a long distance race. Beautiful things dwell in time”. He is right. I kept going by telling myself: “no need to be in a rush, you are with your own pace”. If I feel the pain, I slow down. If I think I can push just a little bit more, I push myself to the limit.

I knew that I have several physical limitations, and I cannot escape from the calcium dependencies. Normally I take calcium once in two days, but two weeks before the race, I took twice in a day. It helped a lot. Not only we need to take care of our nutrition intake, but vitamin intake as well (depends on in which  area you are lacking of ). It did not mean that I was too forcing myself, I knew I still can hold the pain. So I kept going, slowly, but to reach one destination: the finish line.

I thank God I am free from injury. I thank God I finished the race safe. The difficulties I faced during the race turned out because the relapsing hormonal imbalance that affects so badly to all my metabolism. Doctors told me to shorten the distance of my outdoor activities. But I want to be a living proof that if you train your mind and body, anything is possible. But don’t forget to listen to your body as well. Understand your own body, what he/she wants and needs.

No. Never give up. Being an inspiration is not only about standing on the stage, holding a title as a winner, but it is also about not giving up. So, winners are winners, but finishers are also winners.

This race is dedicated for the people around me – who really wish to be as active as me, but they say that they couldn’t, or they are too lazy to start, or they are too difficult to commit at least half an hour everyday, or cannot manage their time well enough – I want to tell you all that nothing is impossible if you believe you can. Nothing is impossible if you are willing to sacrifice your time. Nothing is impossible if you are patient with yourself.

I am a singing writer (three books in progress) who do long distance Tri. If I can, why can’t you?

Train yourself to be dedicated to something that will make you live.

WhatsApp Image 2017-04-26 at 3.41.53 PM

Blessings in Disguise · EN · Irin Active Journey · Life Lesson

Journey of becoming a Duathlete

It always seems impossible until it is done, until you are crossing the finish line.

I was so nervous when the day of Powerman Duathlon race is approaching. After i finished my first Aquathlon race in Singapore last week, i caught a flu, a heavy one, left me so helpless and weak. Can’t sleep for most of the nights as i suffered from endlessly cough, i ended up to pay those lack of sleep by sleeping early and waking up late. So, no trainings. Until the D-day.

My last training of running was about two weeks ago, while it was three weeks ago for the cycling as Jakarta was filled with heavy rain in the morning. So yeah, lack of trainings of moments before the Duathlon event. I was so worried i couldn’t be strong enough to finish the course because my weakness was the bike.

Anyway, i joined this Duathlon race because it is a part of training plan before my first 70.3 event in April. I chose long distance course because i need to know how my body would react after certain distance.

Every long distance races is not merely a physical game. It is a mental game.

I ran my first 10k at my own usual pace. I knew it would be too fast at the beginning, but i couldn’t keep my feet slower. I guess i had so much energy inside of me during the one week resting of recovering from the flu.

I will normally put earphones during long distance courses, to keep me distracted from the bored that will attack me. As i got an announcement that no earphones during the race, i left myself off of them, making me more nervous because i was afraid that i would get bored and slowing down.

But it turned out that i enjoy my first 2 laps of 5k running. My big brother told me what will he do during his Full Marathon races if he gets boring: take out your list of prayers, and start praying for them. I did that (while i was thinking, what will i do during the bike and the last run).

I started to pray about him, who came into my life with some reasons. I explored myself, what i feel about him. I asked God if i don’t understand what i found, what’s the meaning of it. I confessed to God what i felt about him if i understand the kind of feelings i feel for him. No denying, i just tried to be honest with God, and myself. So i remember of my (other) brother told me: at the end of the day, it is the story between you and God, and you and you, not you and him. He is right. I told God, if this meant to happen, if me and him meant to happen, it will happen eventually. But not forgetting the boundaries: take care of my heart so i don’t step in into the area i shouldn’t touch before You give me the green light – love. Then i was lighten up, how the journey between me and him is giving me the chance to talk to God often. Maybe this is the meaning of what my brother once told me.

I kept telling God the feeling i found out during the first running, while i told myself: don’t be influenced by other people’s pace, embrace your pace, your own speed.

You define yourself not by what other people are saying or put the perspective into.

As i approached the transition area in few hundred meters, my heart was pounding really fast, how i was worried for doing a 60k bike (with no earphones as well). It was raining heavily. I was soaked, my shoes were too. And another worry came, running with wet shoes.

I wasn’t fast, but i managed to maintain my speed. I did not know that BSD would be that beautiful. So i just enjoyed the scenery while fighting with the wind. The course was flat. It made a little bit harder to do recovery from the free-wheeling. We must keep pedalling to stay on the speed.

The bike leg was my very moment to seek what was within me, about life, about dream, about wishes, about everything. Even though every 10k i kept looking at my watch, wishing the bike session will be finishing soon. Then i was thinking about process. Even process takes time, could be long, could be short. Embrace time, because it is the place where changes could occur, or even a miracle. Don’t rush anything.

I dismounted my bike at the entrance of transition area, and found myself barely could stand. I walked slowly towards the bike rack. Did a little stretching before i do my last run laps. I thank God i had regular few brick sessions for two months, so i managed to get my legs muscles switch easily: from bike to run (but never tried doing brick from run to bike). Now i know the important thing about brick training. Your legs get easily used to do multiple sports in one time.

When i was out from the transition area to running laps, i met my friend. He screamed from afar: go Irene, keep going!. I replied to him: finally it’s one more!. I think my injured calf was going to have cramps.

I still had my energy inside of me to run with my first running pace. But i chose to slowing down because, yes, i can feel the cramps attacked my injured right calf, going up to the right knee. But i managed to keep going without taking a walk. “Go slow, Irene, your own pace, embrace your pace”. I looked down to the pavement so i won’t get dragged with the faster runner. I embraced my own steps. 
That was when i was thinking about the post i wrote last night: about how love needs time and space. I wondered (and still now) why he is different from the others i had known before. And so many questions right in my mind. But i kept telling myself to give him time and space. Because love may grow between those phase. Give him a time to think, and a space to process. And let God process him too. I teach myself to be patience, because love is (patience). 

It was 200 meters away to the finish line, i can see my friends were waiting for me. As i entered the finish line, they opened their arms widely to welcome me, and hugged me tightly, with so much warm and congratulations in order. Among them, i was the only female taking long distance course. I say this not to be proud, but to proof myself that i am capable of something bigger than i thought. Most of the times it was fears that brought my confidence down. I should’ve trusted myself better than the others.

You define yourself, not by other people.

I finished within 4 hours 39 minutes 45 seconds.

And almost could not believe myself that God had given me the opportunity to win the prize as a second winner in my age category: 18-29 years old. It was God’s favor, to win a prize for a long distance course such this. I couldn’t thank God enough for the blessing He gave upon me.

God had granted us the cloudy (and rainy) day for the race, so all of us won’t suffer the heat as most of us finish between 9.30 am-11.30 am range of time. Can’t imagine how hard this will be if it was sunny.

I thought that i wont’t survive the race. But i was wrong, i finished and i survived, i am a survivor, a hero to myself. It’s not about the prize. Prize was just a reward. It’s about the process i had gone through along the way. They made me stronger.

This race was not about me and my physical ability. But through that 4:39:45 hours, was my best moment with God.

EN · Irin Active Journey · Journey of Love

Journey of becoming an Aquathlete

It was early at night, compared to my previous nights when i went to sleep late. I crawled to bed with troubled feelings and crowded mind. A day before my first Aquathlon race, i was so confused having the thought of him for the rest of the day, and can’t even tell anyone about it (because it was stupid and childish). Beside it, i found myself to be so nervous of having an open water race in few more hours. I’m a swimmer, but i still have some concerns of being in the open water if i hadn’t swum it for a long time. I chose to play the list on Sean, wishing that it may help me to sleep soundly, so i may rest well.

The time had shown 3.30am, local time. I was somehow awakened by the sound of the wave, and found out that the sound was coming from a song i listened through my earphone. It was Banda Neira song, titled “Langit dan Laut”:

Dan dengarkan ombak yang datang menerjang kuatmu

Dan dengarkan arus yang datang nyatakan lemahmu

Langit dan laut dan hal-hal yang tak kita bicarakan

Biar jadi rahasia menyublim ke udara

Hirup dan sesalkan jiwa-jiwa

I listened to the whole song until i finally fell asleep again, and woke up as the alarm i set rang at 5.00am local time. The song was somehow comforting, and when i fell asleep, i dreamed about him, i dreamed about the race and how i conquered the ocean.

As i travelled to the race venue, i found the city was still covered in darkness. It was 6.00am in the morning, and yet, the sun had not risen up, so different from the country i live in. I sat in the bus and put the earphones on, listening to the song list of Banda Neira, and one of them was the next song came in titled “Re: Langit dan Laut”:

Biarkan saja alam yang membahasa

Biarlah saja

Takkan ubahnya yang ada

Dengarkan saja pasang gelombang yang bersahutan

Rasakan getar dari kedalamam samudra

Di ambang gelap dan terang

Di batas indah dan perih

Ada, ada.. sunyi..

I smiled because i realized that only God can reveal the mistery of life, i shall not be fear or worry. I kept telling myself while i prayed to God: only You understand what the ocean’s trying to say, therefore only You can understand the silence moments between the twos.

The melodies of those two songs had brought me into the world where i had never explored before. The one that is scary yet exciting at the same time.

I reached the race venue one hour later just right when the sun rose, at 7.00am, and the sky was suddenly filled with the bright blue color, showing its beauty when it blended with the white color of the hanging clouds. “It’s gonna be bright”, said i.

I walked towards the sands, where all were going to start, and found myself was filled with a huge feelings of tension. I ignored all the signs that written “Metasprint Aquathlon 2017, go here” and just walked towards the crowds. I just wanted it starts as soon as possible and finish quickly.

Collected the race pack, took-off my clothes left swimsuit only, setting up transition number 1540, dropped my bag, got both of my arms tattooed, and waited for my wave to start at 8.40am. Everything seemed well settled. While waiting, i saw some people did a short warm-up swim at the side of the ocean-pond. I followed them, to try the water. As i jumped into the water, i swam and swam, for 200m away, and i felt nothing other than excitement. Those tensions i felt earlier were gone. I blended with the water. It was dark i could not see anything below the water (but that’s okay), the temperature was just fine, the wave was so friendly, and it was not too salty compares to Bali ocean. I felt so calm after i tested the water. Took off from the water, i watched the four waves before my wave competed in the water.

Few moments later, i found myself queueing behind the start line, waiting for the alarm goes off. And when it did, i ran into the water, fighting with few participants to move forward. It was a battle ground. Everyone started to kick, or slap, and they did not care whom they hurt. What a competitive swim race i had. I kept changing my stroke from freestyle to breaststroke to freestyle once i saw an open space and then another breaststroke once it was too crowded, and freestyle, and breaststroke, and then finish the last lane with freestyle and ran to the transition area to change clothes into running apparel. A little bit of accident in the transition, when i was ready to run, my BIB number fell off. Now i know i need a BIB belt during multisport races.

And so i ran, and ran, and ran, passing one after one running ladies. Somehow o felt fast. Looked into my watch and on the pace column was written 5:xx. I wondered why i felt so great for the run. Maybe because i took two days rest from the fever attack since thursday evening, i’ve got so many energies inside of me. But i was so surprised when the next waves were following my wave (or the previous ones) ran – oh, it was male categories by the way. I can even hear their breathing since 10m away behind me. They were so so so fast (mostly were westerners, by the way).

Entered the finish line when the host called my name: “Irene Angelina from Indonesia just enter the finish line!”. Yay.. Finally i finished the course with no feeling other than excitement and relief, and i think i have the strength to run some more distance – nah, tomorrow will do just fine.

I collected my live result, and surprisingly with the cough i had, i managed to finish within the targetted time: swim – 20 mins and run – 30 mins.

750m swim in 19:36 mins and 5k run in 29:16 mins. I tried to fulfill myself with the result i had, because if you don’t, you will never feel enough. And perfection is when you feel enough. We all should be proud of ourselves, because many of us losing their ways because they set a standard as other people’s but not themselves. I fell once, but won’t come out as an individual who falls twice into the same mistake. Each of us has an unique way to achieve something great. Mine, was being an inspiration to the outsiders, who haven’t felt the kind of excitement of crossing the finish line. And that should be enough for me, that should be enough. I am enough for myself..

Thinking about me going for two 70.3 events, i was wondering whether i can do it or not. But i guess i just need to take the risk to prepare those events. Not that kind of “carelessly-risk”, but stay committed, keep practicing, and stay humble (for sure). And when i think about the kind of risk i should take as well in the journey of love, i think it will be worth to take. I always remember what my brother told me: “at the end of the day, it’s the story of between you and God, and, you and you”. Not the final result, but the process God wants to put between both of us. “Why God gave such thing if He doesn’t mean something along the way (or at the end of it)?”. Explore. I dare myself to explore.

And i guess space is good, and understandable. A time to think, a time to feel, a time to consider, a time to understand, a time to grow. For both of us. And if the cup feels empty, i teach myself to feel enough with something small as a simple “HI”. Start with being enough, and be fulfilled from it.

I unlocked my title as “A Marathoner” in 2016. And the new journey of 2017 has begun: An Aquathlete, A Duathlete (next week), and An (Half) Ironman (next few months). I wonder what other great things will come next.. 

Love-Birds, maybe? 😉

PS: overall, the event was so great, i was enjoying it. The fears i had earlier were just my worries. I wished to come again next year!


About Me · Blessings in Disguise · EN · Irin Active Journey · Life Lesson


It was 4.45 am in the morning, I was getting ready to catch Aaron (my bike name) and meeting my early running appointment. The sky was like the night sky, it was very dark, and nobody had awakened yet. I was thinking to take the journey slow since I am still afraid of the darkness because of several accidents I experienced and witnessed. It was very windy anyway, so I can’t speed. Before I departed, I set Sean (my phone name) to the map mode, so he can guide me towards the destination by passing the correct and the fastest route. Well, actually this had been my third times riding Aaron going to South Jakarta in the early morning. Just took a precaution in case I forgot how to get to the destination, I didn’t have to be afraid of getting lost or late to reach the destination by the arranged time.

I put my earphone on my right ear-side because music can lessened my fear of darkness. I barely could see around, so I turned on my front light for a better sight towards the road. I was so secure when I rode on the main road (Sudirman-Senayan), because I am very familiar of every indentation, of the environment, of the corners diverting one road to another pathway.

And then I made a turn. And I knew that that particular road is the one I am not familiar with because I barely travel pass it. I thought I’ll just follow to where Sean directed me to. I kept riding, and riding, and riding, and somehow I turned to a smaller and quieter road where the road was darker, and no one around, not even single vehicles, but I chose to keep going. Until my guts stopped me, and under one of the road lamp I chose to take a look at the map.

There was a time when I continued riding, I did not now where to turn and Sean did not giving me the direction, he kept silent (or was I not listening to him?). I was in doubt at some point, but I refused to stop and take a look at Sean.

I made the wrong turn. So I turned around to get me back on the right track.

The trip went from 10k to 13k in total as I reached to the destination. After realizing that I was lost my way, I sped up because I was afraid I will be late, leaving me tiring legs for my planned 21k run. I was not late, but still, I made 3k extra effort to ride. I should be arriving in the destination earlier if I was not lost. I should be finishing my 21k running distance, but instead I stopped at my 17th because I was exhausted and thinking to save my energy for the ride back. The route was quite challenging with hills contour. I just did not want to waste my energies since my purpose is not to do brick training, but to run.

After I realized that I was lost, I reflected on myself. It was a detour. It was the unnecessary journey.

The same thing in life. Many times in our lives we make wrong decisions and end up to go through the unnecessary life journey. And we suffer for it. We often questioned God the Whys behind the bad things happened in our lives. We often blame ourselves and live in regrets as we are blinded by the negative things that affects life. “It was not supposed to be this way”. But one thing I knew for sure that everything happened, happens for a reason. A good one.

When I made wrong decisions in the past, almost all times I lived in regrets and tend to blame myself of why I did what I did. I used to isolate myself and let negativity feed me, drowned in sorrow and grieving for myself for months or even years. It affected how I interact with people, I got overly too sensitive over someone’s words. And I grew up as an insecure individual because I got too scared to open myself up. That fear got me just right of being an overthinking person. My world is my thoughts, and I lived that. But mind could be wrong. Being a stubborn individual, I thought that the world is a cruel place for me to live.

But that was my past when I was thinking that I am a victim of the mistakes I created.

The world is unkind, but we can’t force the world to adapt on who we are. But the very first thing that matters in life is not about how we fight the world, but how we are living in it as survivors, and come out as a winner to ourselves.

Living in an almost-depressed situation, God saw me broken. He pick me up and saved me before I made the kind of mistake that there will be no turning back. God is never giving up on me. There were lots of times when I was down and questioning my capabilities, God always cheered me up by simple little things afterwards, telling me that I am matter for Him, I am loved by Him. And just like how rainbow were portrayed over the blue sky after the storm, that is how God draws smiles and laughter after the tears. And then days or weeks or months or years later when I look back, I understand why that was happening the way it did.

If it’s good, it’s God’s blessing. If it’s bad, it’s still God’s blessing, a blessing in disguise. We may not see that today, but we will see the purpose of why it’s happening in the future.

  • Like why I was growing up in a broken home family – because then I saw lots of people who grew up broken, but I grew up healthy and I should be grateful of how God take care of me all these times. God always put me in positive communities where I can grew up to be a good person, and it’s all about choices. I chose good. And then I met a lot of people who needs support and encouragement of being strong when encountering family problems. I can empathize on them, because I’ve been there even though I am still struggling myself.
  • Like why I failed in few serious relationships – because then I got enough time to learn about true relationship before I got into marriage. Funny when God always given me the chance to be close with happily marriage couples – so I can learn how they live their marriages. And how God also given me the opportunities to know people whom marriage is broken – I can learn the “dos” and the “don’ts” in marriage, and what should be prepared before we are getting married. Failure is inevitable, pain is temporary, but lessons learned is valuable and nothing in this world can buy successful marriage.
  • Like why I should wander in few places leaving all my comfortable areas, losing lots of relationships, keep starting over – because then I got the chance to see the world bigger and dream big. And I just learned that my healing moments were not something that I’ve got from other people, but they were the things that I’ve got from exploring few places and living there for some period of time. I’ve got it from within me when I see the world. I’ve got it from the dream I wish to achieve and finding out where to start.

There were so many mistakes or bitter experiences in each of the three mentioned above events – but I learned that God has beautiful plans for me: so I can be who I am today, a blessing to other people. I made wrong decisions because I was so stubborn that I was so right, leaving me to get into the painful process. But that process is making me who I am today as a grown up survivor. I did not involve God in many decisions. But again, God never giving up one me. He is faithful. I might spend unnecessary efforts, taking longer distance or time to get to the destination, but then it’s all about process. I am a working in progress.

My brother always told me that the painful journey I was and am experiencing are meant to shape us and to reveal “the best of me” inside , don’t treat them as the enemy but as a way of knowing, understanding, and accepting ourselves, so when we see us we see God is working within us. The result is just a reward from God, but the process is what God mostly care about so He can see us as someone where He has seen us in the future. We tend to see result. But God sees process, He wants to process us through the journey He let us gone through.

At the end of the road I always see God. No matter how broken I was, I am, I always see Him right in front of me, speaking right through me, guiding me from one step into another step even though I made wrong turns, He never leave me. There were some times when I thought that He was silent. But that was not because He did not see my struggles or hear my calls, but because He wants me to grow bigger, exploring myself. It’s like when a father teaches us to ride a bike, when we fall, it’s not necessarily he helps us to stand, but he will be there to give us strength, encouragement, as well as seeing us stand and ride again. And when we rise again, God will smile at us and say: “good job, My child. Take my hand, and I will guide you”. I am not scared because God will never leave me, nor forsake me, and He Himself will always be with me – Deutronomy 31 : 6 & 8.

A detour doesn’t seem that terrible because I knew God is watching me, and I believe that He will guide me back to the right pathway, where the final destination is where God first wants me to get – in His time.

Jeremiah 29 : 11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”

About Me · Blessings in Disguise · EN · Irin Active Journey · Life Lesson

A Hero to MySelf

It was the night when me and my brother met for simple coffee and dinner. Talked about lessons in life and what we learned from them. We moved from place to place, and meal to meal and arrived at the end of our conversation session to find out that I must write about this. He suggested that I need to write this. I’ll call this: “A Hero” to myself. A story where I transform myself from being wimp to be brave.

29 February 2016, when I got my own first road-bike and I named him “Aaron” which has meaning “mountain of strength, in the purpose that I hoped to gain more strength and increase my endurance level in sports when I train with him. That was why I named him “Aaron”.

I was into Triathlon sports for about two years now since I followed Teri Hatcher in the media. I admire her body shape, and I found out that in daily life she trains herself to be a Triathlete. Few months before she turned 50, she did her first Sprint Distance Triathlon at Malibu. Making her as my idol, I started running in November 2014, and thank God I had conquered water long time ago so swimming is not an issue for me. I searched for a bike but couldn’t find any match until I met with few friends who has same interest in Triathlon, consulted with them, and found him (Aaron) at the end of February 2016.

My cycling journey has never been easy, because I never touch a road-bike before. I chose to train by myself and bond with Aaron, understanding his each parts of the function. And as a beginner, cycling is definitely become my biggest disability.

Woke up at 4.00 am or 4.30 am to get on the road and ride with Aaron three times a week at 5.00 AM. Alone. My weekday route is just around my place: Senayan – Kota Tua – Monas, and I would spend my Saturday with a long ride to Halim. No, I don’t do speed, but I focus on the distance. From 30k, to 50k, to 70k, to 80k, to 100k in eight months, I gradually increase my distance. But this is not about how long I ride, or how fast I ride. But how the progress I made in eight months has taught me to conquer my fears. I encountered many obstacles, from bike handling, traffic awareness, to experiencing an accident, witnessing a major accident, witnessing someone dead in front of me. I traumatized from some experiences, but they taught me to be someone who brave enough to conquer the road and the tough surroundings when we ride with heavy traffic around.

It was 5.15 am in the morning, I was heading to Monas before I met some of my friends who planned to go for a bike tour to Kota. I planned to get the distance, that was why I took a bit of detour. There was an area near Sarinah which is under a MRT construction and the pavement is coated with some kind of metal. Since the area is very dusty, the construction worker watered it and made the coating slippery. Not only that, there was a big truck parked there at the side of the road. I was so surprised because from afar I did not see the truck (or maybe I did not pay any attention), and I spontaneously diverted the handlebar to the metal area, which caused Aaron to get stuck in between the gap and made me fall thrown about two meters from Aaron. My head was hitting the pavement hard. The construction workers were rushing to helped me stand up before any cars hit me from behind. I was covered in bruises and bleeding wounds. “Are you okay?”, asked the construction workers. I nodded while the fact that I was in shock. There was a bit of shame, I was rushing myself to ride back home in pain (I was scared as well because the construction workers were all guys, and I was the only girl around). Aaron was okay, just a bit of scratch. I canceled the plan to join the bike tour with my friends because I couldn’t bear the headache caused by hitting the pavement that hard (that’s what helmet is made for, to protect your head). Long story short, I was okay, there were nothing serious beside few wounds in my body, but my courage fell far short. I did not want to see or to touch Aaron for two weeks. I did not ride him at all. I did not turn on my alarm to wake up early in the morning and working out because darkness terrified me. Just about I get used to ride Aaron, I had an accident. So after two weeks, I braved myself to see Aaron, touch him, and ride again. I keep telling myself: “the only way out, is to get through it”. It felt awkward at the beginning, but I slowly came back from where I left of.

Not only that I came back, but I realized that I developed sensitivity and awareness towards the traffic. I learned how to control my movement in the middle of traffic, because I realized that I cannot let fear feeds me. When people say: “if you had fallen once, you’ll come back braver and stronger than you were before” is a true fact. I bond with Aaron even more.

But still, cycling is still become my weakest part. I have to keep going. I have to.

Few months after the accident, I no longer fear to ride during the pitch-dark hours. I came out in Saturday morning at 5.00 am to ride long. Made an u-turn at Bundaran Senayan, I headed Bundaran HI, and there I witnessed a major accident. I did not want to elaborate how the accident happened in here, but in conclusion,  I saw the cyclist was dead in place. Saw so many blood and his shape was no longer a “normal-human-shape”. I went back traumatized and left Aaron for another two weeks because I was too afraid to ride him as the accident kept coming back vividly in my mind. But again, I came back. Much more stronger, and braver to conquer not only the road, but the traffic in peak hours.

From that day until today, I always came out when the sun has shown his light, no more riding in the pitch-dark hours again. Too risky, I have to be wise in this if I want to ride by myself. I see that two events as how God was trying to warn me the dangerous of underestimating riding on road by yourself during the dawn.

1. I learned to obey Him. No more practice at dawn. Be wise.

And then God allowed injury got into my running journey. I took two months resting and to maintain the endurance level I had built, I added more days to practice cycling, from three days a week, to five days a week. My heart was broken when I found out that I need to rest my feet. But Aaron had cheered me up ( :p ) and he accompanying me to blend with the wind.

2. There’s nothing in the world happens without God’s will. There’s a greater purpose behind everything that happens.

One fine morning, I saw my watch when I was riding Aaron towards Bundaran Senayan. Somehow I felt the wind was so strong, so I took a peek on the speed. It was about 30-ish. I normally ride with 20-ish speed along Jalan Sudirman street until Bundaran Senayan. But that morning I was faster than before. And then the next morning, and then another morning, and then few more mornings, I managed to maintain the average speed of 25 – 26 -ish during the long ride (my average speed was 20 – 22 -ish top before) – I made a progress within six months of having Aaron. Again, I’m not emphasizing the speed here, but to tell you, Readers, that I conquer my weakness, my fears, and came out as stronger person few months after few uncomfortable incidents.

The only person who can help yourself is yourself – A Hero to MySelf, and you are a hero to yourself.

And last weekend I unlocked the opportunity to be titled as a second place in one of the cycling race.

It was a great experience.

To some people, that kind of achievement might be normal. There are also some other people who are much faster than me for sure. But when last night me and my brother discussing about “things we had won in life” and told him the analogy of “the fallen” and “the risen” me, the ups and downs during my cycling journey, and brought us to the conclusion that some people or some incidents came into our lives for us to grow to be much more stronger, and much better in coping with many kind of circumstances or uncertain situations, and to be braver to go out from the cave and face any kind of possibilities (the good and the bad).

3. God wants to stretch our capability.

We might think that we are not that strong. We might say that we are weak, or we can’t do this and that, or it is impossible, but God wants us to see that the story is not about us and our surroundings, but it is about ourselves and God Himself, so we can say that we are strong, we are able to do this and that, and everything is possible.

4. Because God so loved His children and wants us to grow to be extraordinary people. To be the light of the world.

Like when our parents scold us, or punish us, they do that because they love us and want us to grow. The rough, painful, traumatized incidents will form us to be the individual He has planned for us in the very first beginning. Learning is a continuous journey that will never stop until we grow old, until we pass away.

The traumatized incidents I experience in the past has been a blessing in disguise. We often say: “why would You let this happening to me?”. But few years afterwards, we tend to look back and all those things we experienced in the past were intended to be something wonderful in the future.

5. And I learned, instead of questioning God why bad things happened to me, I turn the question: “what do You want me to learn from this?”.

“We cannot change the past, but we can learn from it” – The Time himself (from Alice Through The Looking Glass).