Thursday, December 26, 2013

Hits & Misses For 2013

I trust that you had a joyous, past few days, celebrating the festivities of the year. Having reviewed my sporting goals, I have done a simple SWOT Analysis that included 'hits' and 'misses', and then translating these into Opportunities and Threats.

My misses for the year included: Sprained hip before and during the Singapore Marathon (December); missing a sub-6 hour at Kona; missed a sub-4 hour marathon in Kona; 

My hits for the year were: Completing the Ironman World Championships in Kona; earning a second Boston Qualifying (BQ) time; earned a new PB (3:16) and second BQ at Gold Coast Airport Marathon (July); qualifying for Boston Marathon 2014 (April); improved the marathon course in Singapore by one minute (over-2012)/missed my PB by one minute;

My goals for next year in triathlons and endurance sports will be: Earn a sub-4 hour marathon in an Ironman; hit sub-5:45 in my Ironman rides; met a sub-1:20 PB in my open-water 2.4-mile swim; complete with PB in Ironman New Zealand (March); complete Ironman Melbourne (March); complete Boston Marathon (April); PB in Ironman 70.23 Cebu; managing and leading as a committee member in Triathlon Family Singapore; earn another lottery slot for Kona.

May you have an eventful 2014, filled with new achievements and accomplishments. Continue to tick off your Bucket List and Big hairy Audacious Goals (BHAG).

Leadership Lessons: Towards your goals - view, re-view, over-view, and pre-view them. Give them new perspectives. Set goals, make them 3-D (dimensional), strategise for them, and work towards them, and keep measuring for progress.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Congratulations, Ironman Finishers!

Congratulations to all finishers of Ironman Western Australia 2013!

You have braved the challenged, braced the unknown, and embraced the day to discover yourself. You have faced your fears, anxieties and physical discomforts to take on an, arguably, tough race. Little is glamorous when your sporting attire is drenched in blood, sweat, tears, and other bodily secretions. You already paid the price many times over in training.

Whether you completed the race or not, top marks for signing up, training hard, and showing up at the start-line. Whatever your reasons for stopping, I trust that you are better now, and healing up. Review your results, appreciate the feedback, and plan a better race. There are few failures, mostly outcomes and results.

There is little doubt that it is a hard race. If it was so easy, many would be doing it. The Ironman triathlon is a rigorous examination of Self, with three disciplines to test you over the 226km of terrain. Like all tests, it tests our mettle and mindset to complete a task, and a colossal task at that. It engages our beliefs, values, fibre, perceptions, instincts, pre-judgements, and behaviors - much goes on in our body and mind.

Some have achieved much more, with parallel accomplishments like fund-raising, balancing recreation with vocation, and spreading good messages. The race is poised on a purpose larger than us. To race with a purpose, whatever it is, gives us focus and a sense of importance and direction.

It is not a race to the end, but rather, a race o the next milestone. May you return stronger should you wish to reply to unfinished business. Many a time, the next attempt is much sweeter in its ending.

Good luck in your next foray into the endurance challenge. Congratulations for a very hard hit out there! You are an Ironman!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Reflections on the SCSM 2013 (Singapore Marathon)

Photo-credit: Triathlon Family Singapore
It has been four days since the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon. In classic style, I ran through my pain barrier, in the last 10km. I was doing so well for the first 32-33km, pacing alongside strong triathletes/marathoners, Ewin Teo and Dr Lim Baoying. The gluteal (buttock) strain I experienced after a tempo run, four days before the marathon, worsened into a hip-joint/right medial gluteal injury. I had to withstand the pain and weakening muscle performance, to a disappointing finishing time.
Photo-credit: Steven Tan Fun Runner
Six weeks after completing the triathlon world championships in Kona, I was able to complete a marathon (with minimal marathon-specific training). I was mainly riding and running (50-60km per week of running, at my maximum). I was on-target for a possible sub-3:30 finish, when I assessed a strong 1:45, turnaround time. However, when my right pinky-toe erupted into a bloody gusher (I felt it when it happen), I suspected something was amidst. Then, my right hip gave me grief with tightening intensity. This progressed, with diminishing results, into a slower run as my right leg could not fired thoroughly. I crossed the line, one minute better than last year, and one second off my course-best timing. Well, it is what it is. 
Photo-credits: Mohd Hafiz
I had a sports-massage after the race, requesting two male masseurs (undergraduates in the Diploma of Sports Science from a polytechnic institution) to work on 'releasing my hip muscles'. It hurt, not helped by skin abrasions I picked up on my run. I had my bloody toe treated at the Medical Tent; thankfully, it stopped bleeding and the nurse was kind enough to keep my foot dry with a large swathe of cotton-gauze. I hobbled out with a discernible limp, on my right side, as was described by my friend, Khina Ong.

On reflection and reviewing my race-day , I realised that my mental fortitude and tenacity drew me to the finishing-line. Endurance athletes develop a deliberate sense of stubbornness from many hours spent doing their favourite discipline. You engage values like determination, patience and commitment to help you complete the task. Thus, developing mental strength as well as physical fitness are complementary and mutually-dependent.
Photo-credits: Running Shots
This is a great time to briskly evaluate your performance, and translate these into future goals for the next racing season. As you rest your weary body, be wary of what works and what does not. Assess your successes as well as misses. There are few failures in life, merely results. A 'perfect race' may be a surprise, earned when you least expect it. Other times, you will experience it coming and ride on the waves of your confidence.

Above all, consider which factors you can control and which you cannot. Focus on what you can do. Relish in your progress. Little gains add up into value: tacit experience and tacit wisdom. That is the education of an athlete, and the learning of a person.

Enjoy your time with yourself.