Lately I have come to ask myself why I love triathlon so much and what on earth compels triathlon upon me. Triathlon, for me, involves countless hours training hard. Rain hail or shine I am out there trooping on, enduring the elements in solitude. To many, what may seem as crazy and totally ludicrous is simply another day in the office for myself. People close to me are starting to comprehend why I indulge in this particular idiosyncrasy but I will only ever know. Put me on a bike and have me ride over the biggest mountain you can find is eccentrically my idea of fun. From a young age, I found I had been endowed with great ability in both body and mind. I have always handled endurance at ease although the main ingredient is having the fascination and mental attitude of realizing that extreme exercise is my cup of tea.
As a kid I dreamt BIG…dreaming of one day I’d be competing at the Olympics I would be drawing the Olympic rings all over my schoolbooks…and to the teacher’s dismay, carving into the desks too. I was inspired greatly by my cousin, Craig Monk, who was competing in the 1992 Olympics and won Bronze in yachting. I was so absorbed in the phenomenally awe-inspiring games and idolized the athletes for their astonishing integrity with their elegance in using strength, determination and a strong willed attitude in making the most of their gifts.
I was first introduced to multi-sport by one of my older sisters who made training and racing look like fun. The sport looked so exciting and I was intrigued and eager to race as being a spectator was difficult since I was itching to get out there as a 10 year old! Apparently I was encouraged by my family to race so that my boundless energy would give them a break and hopefully tire me out. I did a biathlon as they called them in those days, a run – bike. I found myself excelling on the run As the youngest I was ahead of most, including to my delight, my sister who had the experience and training under her. However she later swallowed me up in the cycle leg but I enjoyed my first experience and placed 4th overall. At prize giving I was instinctively and intuitionally drawn to a videotape as my chosen spot prize. Dull prize it may have appeared, it has actually been worth its weight in gold. It has given me a solid foundation and insight on professional athletes and world championship races. This was like the best food for the young brain needing some guidance. Watching the tape, I was mesmerized by a Kiwi guy called Matt Brick winning the Duathlon World Championships. It made me think that I too could do that. So it seems I started off with extremely strong and powerful role models that have aspired me to achieve the milestones I have so far in my career.
Oblivious to the real world, I would imagine myself going on massive adventures, thinking of far and very remote places while, as a kid, it seemed unreal yet achievable the great distances that I felt the need to cycle and run to. What now seems ironic is that it was not a childish dream for I am in fact doing exactly what I had in mind. It is a dream that feels too good to be true and I am pinching myself right now hoping I won’t wake up for I am not only accomplishing those child-hood challenges of biking and running out of my home town Palmerston North in New Zewaland, but I have symbolically done this to a greater extent by cycling and running all over the world.
I started to fully realize my potential when, as a 15 year old, I had the desire to start pushing my body to its limit. I would tackle the mountains with my running shoes with nothing more that the enthusiasm and determination of using mind over matter to run the crazy distances I would set myself, simply off the bat, without acclimation to that mileage. My dad thought I was overdoing it, thinking I was too young and doing too much, He sought advice from professionals to try and persuade me to ease the throttle. I didn’t want to hear his words of wisdom as they were lessons I had to learn for myself. I learned what it is like to be totally dehydrated along with the well known term ‘hitting the wall.’ I found out too well it is not a mythical term for I wasn’t taking any food with me for an afternoon of running that now seems rather foolish. Yet I enjoyed being spontaneous, the thrill of the adventure and following through with my goals. This transcended into deciding to join a swimming club. The swim coach on the phone asked what distance I could swim without stopping. I had previously swum a few lengths - nothing much but I boldly said “5 kilometers” - totally bluffing all the while! Later that day, sure enough I did 5K non-stops as I like to always back up my words with action. Sure it was slow but it indisputably showed me the power of believing in yourself, that it’s possible to shoot for the stars and that the sky holds no limits with raw determination.
So why have I chosen Triathlon? Well I think rather it has chosen me! I believe I am destined for it - as it’s my gift to the world that I must not waste. I have come to realize triathlon is my calling in this life, something I am good at that radiates positive energy and gives me purpose. My true calling is to become an Ironman. Ironman, being the most extreme and demanding sport, tests the soul and courage of every individual. It seems ideal for me…right up my alley! I haven’t ventured into it yet as I have my sights firmly set on making the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China to which there will be plenty of time after that for the longer stuff.
I believe everybody has a talent. You indeed have been born as an individual possessing something extraordinary marvelous and special that ultimately makes your existence and purpose in life meaningful, both for personal satisfaction and an important link in the chain of life. What is it that you are good at and enjoy the most I ask you challengingly? For it disappoints me to see so many people underachieving due to lack of motivation or direction.
You have to get off your ass and create your own success and fortunate outcomes. For luck is not a word I believe in or use! I frown upon people who are pessimistic and think they always receive bad luck. In my views you get out of life what you put in and can optimistically make good out of any situation. I am thrilled you are interested enough to read this and have an inclination towards triathlon for it’s a miraculous sport where I’m sure not a second of your investment into this venture will be wasted. I can see the majority of you out there are not ‘fitness freaks’ like myself, however whether you are doing tri’s for increased fitness, the challenge of doing something new, social aspect, for competitive reason or whatever - there’s a million and one reasons. Remember that you are embarking on an incredible sport that will transcend itself into every aspect of your life and give you a bounce of self-importance, confidence and put reassurance into your step.
This is a sport I will never get bored with, always a sense of excitement and anticipation going into each day as a Triathlete. I live for the adrenalin that pumps into my body everyday from taking on new challenges and especially look forward to and relish the endorphin highs I get from giving a hard workout and giving every race everything I have. Quite often I will collapse at the end of the race, body totally shattered and knackered. However if you look close enough you will find a grin on my face whether I am pleased with my finishing time and place or not. I am always happy with my effort level I put forth. Triathlon is a sport that makes champions from everyone and from every walk of life for it doesn’t matter what ethnic race you are, religion, your social background or how old you are. Everybody who finishes a triathlon is a winner. It’s about who you are inside, giving life 100% with an Ironman spirit to achieve any milestones you set yourself. Don’t listen to the people who tell you something isn’t possible. Instead, remember my words, “anything is possible with the only limits in life being the ones you put on yourself. Life is believing in yourself to achieve your greatest potential and ultimate destiny.”
Sure there’s a lot of hard work - the pain, sweat, fear, solitude and dedication for making sacrifices to become a champion, however I see it’s all worthwhile. No words alone can describe the sense of enjoyment and satisfaction I get from the sport. I hope you find the same thrill from triathlon and let your enthusiasm spread to your family, friends and workplace. Give life 100% or else I’ll come back and give you a swift kick in the ass!
Until next time I wish you the best in your sporting and life’s endeavors!
Years in Triathlon: First triathlon at age 12
Heart Rate Resting: 32
Coach: Michael Jacques
Go PROFESSIONAL within a few years.
OLYMPICS 2008 is a VERY realistic goal - so I will keep extremely focused on achieving this.