Friday, June 24, 2011

Don't Quit

In one week I will be traveling to Klagenfurt, Austria to do my first Ironman triathlon.

It is almost time to do the event that I have chosen to become the inspiring goal behind my Superfit Project. For the last 5 months, I have been training again with consistency (and having lots of fun in the process) while thinking about the challenge I will be facing next Sunday, July 3, 2011.

Swimming 3.8 km in the lake, then switching to cycling for 180 km, and then finalizing the day with a marathon run (42 km) is not an easy thing.

It is going to be a long day of approximately 11 hours (hopefully less!) of uninterrupted racing, full of many difficult moments. If I do not manage myself well during the race, I could be facing muscle cramps, hunger, low energy, nausea, swollen knees and many other body problems. In those many hours, also many things outside my control can happen like heavy rain, flat tires, bike crashes, and so on.

In short, I could be facing many crises during the day.

Actually, I know many of these crises will inevitably come. And I am sure that no training in the world could have prepared me to avoid them completely. Thus, I know I will just have to face them without panicking when they arrive.

In fact, on the Ironman triathlon, it is fundamental to be able to overcome those difficult moments. You have to keep going until you reach the finish line. Keep pushing, even when the pain clogs your mind with fears and doubts. Keep moving forward, even when your body is screaming at you to stop.

How can you do it?
What can you do when your legs do not move anymore?
What can you do when you think you have nothing left inside you?

You can slow down and smile (instead of frowning).
You can focus on the surrouding beauty (and not on the pain).
You can even take a short break to relax and breathe (instead of being anxious).

But there is one thing you should never ever do:
You must never surrender.
Not for a second.
You just DON’T QUIT!

For it is usually in the most difficult moments when you discover how strong you really are in Ironman triathlon racing. And in everything else.

The following is a poem (anonymous author) that was sent to me by a very special friend of mine a few months ago. I received it almost when I started my preparation for the Ironman, and I have kept it with me all this time. I guess now is a good time to share it with all of you.

Don't Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won if he'd stuck it out.
Don't give up, though the pace seems slow -
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor's cup,
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out -
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are -
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit -
It's when things seem worst that you mustn't quit.

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