Having rummaged through my drawer for a proper shirt to wear this morning, I was shocked by the plethora of finisher’s t-shirts I own. Some have been rarely used, while others have seen the light of fray. From cotton to dry-fit to spandex, each scientifically knitted piece of fabric was sewn together by months of blood and sweat (and sometimes, tears). Eleven Ironman-distance races later, I am still at it and so are many of my friends (who I have experienced these tough and challenging experiences with). John Cooke from Perth wrote about this with poignancy, that endurance-athletes can fully relate to.
As a way of celebrating these moments of indulgence and insanity, I have compiled some observations, circa 2011. Most endurance athletes:
1) Still have a drawer-full of race/finisher t-shirts.
2) Have yet another drawer filled with purchased race memorabilia (mostly M-Dot).
3) Own a library divided between magazines and books (running, swimming, cycling, nutrition).
4) Are analogous with being the Imelda Marcos of running (including Vibrams Five Fingers, huaraches and minimalist) and cycling shoes.
5) Have evolved to barefoot running, or at least exploring the realm of minimalist shoes.
6) Have skirted the edge of ultra-distances by doing your first marathon-plus race.
7) May earn a diploma for their many visits to the TCM, sports massage therapist, physiotherapist and chiropractor.
8) Have attended ancillary classes in pilates, yoga, core stability, and self-massage – and perhaps have a certificate to teach or coach it.
9) Spend many hours watching online videos of competition, coaching and cycling crashes.
10) Own a watch that tells every detail of relevance (heart-rate, temperature, rate, distance, and location) except tell time clearly.
Leadership Lessons: Once you earned you badge of honour, what happens? Do you rest on your laurels? How do you sustain your interest? How do you distinguish between you riding on a fad and embracing a lifestyle of endurance sports? When was the last time you clear your junk from your trunk?
Tonight, our first batch of seven swimmers of Monday Night Swim attended Sheila Taormina’s swim clinic; another solutions-focused trio will attend tomorrow. We had a blast learning about the history and theoretical bases for faster pool and open-water swimmer. As this Olympic gold-medalist (200m relay) shared her basic formula for faster swimming, many of us had to challenge our paradigms about our swimming. Although she made sense and explained herself convincingly, we had to grapple with our mindsets and experience about our swimming abilities; muscle memory is a hard habit to break. As the shortest swimmer in the history of Olympic history can attest, we can revisit our swim strokes and enhance it based on historical evidence, physics, and her astute observations. We had an educational and fun evening and look forward to Friday’s evening session. Each of us left with an autographed copy of Sheila’s book ‘Call The Suit’ which we referred to during our near-2 hours of generous sharing by our coach. Copies of 'Call The Suit' are still available at Elite Custom Pte Ltd.