Saturday, July 9, 2011

Do you believe in Magic? (Part I)

“Limits exist only in the souls of those who do not dream” – Philippe Petit

Many friends have asked me to write about my Ironman race of last Sunday. They want to know how hard it was, how I felt, and in general, how I could do such an extreme thing. They really do not understand how it is possible to swim 3,8k, bike 180k and then run 42K in a day (in my case in 10h33…to be precise!).

Well, last Sunday for me was not about effort, but about doing a big celebration. The whole weekend was very surreal for me. After only 5 months of my comeback to sports training, I was really making one of my dreams come true. And the great thing is that I was sharing this special moment with friends and with my parents, who came all the way from Ecuador to live this with me.

Very cool!

On Sunday, the 10 hours and 33 minutes flew by as if they were just a few seconds of normal time. After all, Einstein already demonstrated that time is relative, and for me his Relativity Theory becomes very evident whenever I am living such special moments: Large distances become extremely short and many hours become only a few seconds.

Yes, I can say that Einstein was right!
Space and time are really relative!

Everything becomes effortless because there is a sense of being carried away by a greater force that the one I can generate by myself. In those special moments, everything becomes a source of endless energy.

It is pure Magic.

It is the Magic that is created when you follow your own Passions.
Magic that comes when you immerse yourself fully in the Present.
Magic that you experience when you are with People you love to be with.

Of course, I am not saying that everything was easy last Sunday, or that everything went as planned. What I am really saying is that I was not struggling mentally or being anxious. In fact, I was enjoying every single moment of the whole experience.

This was the mental and emotional state that I experienced also during the whole 5 months before the race. In fact, I never had the sense of sacrifice behind my preparation that many people associate to Ironman training.

Seriously, the training was not hard!
Nor was it painful!
I am a hedonist, not a masochist!
(Sorry to delude some of you!)

To me, everything was just a continuous, 5-months party.

By the way, to the more technical people reading this, I only trained an average of 11 hours per week during 5 months to prepare the Ironman race. Never trained when I did not feel like it. And I never got sick or injured (but I do know how to make the most of the time I have available to train, which gives me a great advantage).

So you want to know how this Magical Sunday went by?

I’ll try to describe my impressions for you here, although I am sure I am not capable of fully communicating with words what I felt during the whole day. I guess you will have to use your imagination to compensate for my lack of writing ability ;)

Before the race – at the hotel
Alarm goes off at 4.00 am. I woke up early to have a light breakfast, and to be able to digest it well before the start of the race at 7.00 am.

The great thing is that I woke up to find really nice encouragement messages on my cell phone from special friends of mine and family, so the day started very well. I was also feeling rested and relaxed even with the few hours of sleep.

My parents were staying in my same apartment in Klagenfurt, so we went together from the hotel to the race area using the transfer bus. They were actually my “supporting staff”, carrying my bike pump, food, water, and wetsuit for me. It was great to see how excited they were with this whole craziness!

Before the race – at the race area
Arriving at the race site, we immediately felt the excitement in the air. It was only 6:00 am, but the sun was already up, and the city was crowded with 3000 athletes and many more spectators and fans.

I went into the transition area to set up my bike with my water bottles, to pump the tires, and to check the transition bags. The whole area was full of participating athletes, but everything was very quiet. I guess most of us were already thinking about what we were about to do, and not many of us felt like chatting at that point.

I finished my bike preparation and left the area as soon as possible. There was too much tension in the air, which I wanted to avoid.

Then I just walked with my parents to reach the swim start area, following the crowd (a surprisingly quiet one) of athletes, and their supporting families and friends.

Just before going into the swim area, at 6:30 am, I put on the wetsuit and my dad zipped it up for me. A quick hug to both mom and dad (actually I had to reassure my mother that everything would have been fine, and that I would have not kill myself!!!) and off I went into the swim start area.

Finally, I was alone to focus on what was about to happen.

I crossed the check-in line into beach area and stood almost at the front of the group to be able to see the huge lake in front of me.

Sun was already way up.
Temperature was cool.
Music was pumping loud.

Helicopter, kayaks, and cameras were all around.
A mass of rooting fans were surrounding the beach
At the center stage, the ready-to-fight troop of 3000 neoprene-covered athletes, with fancy swimming goggles, were tightly formed and ready to jump into the beautiful lake laying in front of them.

All set for the Magic to happen.

Was I really part of that?
Was I there?

One quick look at my heart rate monitor: 95 beats per minute

One deep breath.
One look into the hills over the lake in the horizon.
A thought about how lucky I was to be able to be there.

80 beats per minute.
Relaxed again!

Yes, I was ready!
Ready to create and Live the Magic!
No effort, no tension!
Just raw energy.

OK, I’ll leave you here. 
Right at the beach, ready to explode when the cannon is fired!
In the next post, I’ll try to take you through the whole race, as it happened within me.

But before question for you...

Do YOU believe in Magic?

If you (REALLY) want to live it, you have to believe in it.

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