Shame is a great burden to shoulder. But do not drop the shame to pretend everything is fine. Even, I suggest to prolong and to enhance the weight (use your imagination! Be creative!). Because, its detrimental effects are actually rare resources we can try to use to our advantage. It may give way for strength and willpower to rise. To shoulder great shame, one must possess the necessary endurance, and this endurance we’d cultivate in mental and physical distractions.
First. I tried to swim, for an obese class one like me(at the time), it was the most comfortable sport. But it is costly so I turned to walk. Then slowly I tried to run. Well, god be damned, even after quite sometime and changed from obese class one to “just” overweight, I’m still struggling to finish even a 5 km run. My self-esteem rise and fall frequently just like my weight. Just not long ago, I lost 6 kg, but then I gained 2 kg. So what, I’ll just shed them again. Sometimes I feel like Sisyphus who’s condemned to push a boulder to the top just to watch it fall again and push it up again forever. But like Camus said, one must imagine Sisyphus happy!
At 20 July 2015, having just arrived the day before from a long trip to my grandmother’s village, I tried to perform a Triathlon Sprint Distance. Triathlon is an endurance sport that possesses death rate almost twice the death rate of marathon (says howstuffwork), awesome right? It consists of –conventionally in this sequence– swimming, biking, and running. It’s not merely dangerous to the health, but also to the wealth, duh, it’s an expensive sport! There are a lot of gears that screams, “Purchase me please!” like: swimsuit/wetsuit/trisuit/cyclingsuit, bike, goggles, bike shorts, running shoes, running belt, tracking device, etc. Whoa. Man. I don’t have enough resources to pay for those. and even the fee to triathlon events is probably too much for me. So, man, what the fuck, I just gotta do this shit my own way: minimum gears and solo (I think it would be cute to call this a triath-alone).
For Sprint Distance, the usual sequence and distance is swim (750 m), bike (20 km), then run (5 km). What I did was in the opposite sequence, run 5 km, bike 20 km, then swim 750 m. The logic behind the usual sequence is to prevent people from drowning out of exhaustion; because well, they actually sprint the race. Me? I didn’t intend to sprint at all, I merely trying to survive the distance and the pain, that’s it. Also, I kinda don’t like the idea of biking and running after being wet with chlorine in a pool; that’s why I rearrange the sequence so the running came first and the swimming came last.
As I said before, finishing a 5 km run is still not an easy thing for me. Especially when I just got home from a long trip; I was trapped inside a car for days, bored and kept shoving any food within arm’s reach into my mouth. That’s why, that morning, after I started my run at 07.00, I only managed to constantly running for (maybe) the first km, and the rest of the run was filled with a run-walk-run switch; I finished it (5.09 km), in 38 minutes, with average pace of 7.33 min/km. I started and finished it at my home, there I took a piss, and drank a lot. But when I just wanted to grab my bike, I felt a slight cramp at my right thigh. It was not that painful, but the concern of what might follow that hurt so much. I doubted myself, “Stop this, you have two excuses, you just got home from a long trip, and now you got cramp!”. I was discouraged and disheartened, even my parents told me to stop. I took a deep breath, rested on the couch, browsing about cramps in my phone; in wikipedia, it says that one possibility that may cause cramping include low blood salt. I forced myself to stand up and then I ate a spoon of salt. I don’t know whether that really did the cramp justice or it merely served as a placebo treatment; the fact is, I decided to continue.
I wasted 20 minutes in the first transition because of that cramps, and I rode my bike really slowly in fear of cramps. But after quite a while, I decided to be faster. At some point I went too fast for my own capacity, my knees felt like they have turned into stone, so I had to slow down to the point of almost standing still again. Overall, it went better than the run, I finished it (20.94 km) in 1 hr 6 min with average speed 18 km/h. I finished it at the Permata Timur pool.
The pool’s area is 24 m x 12 m. To achieve 750 m, I had to swim the 12 m, 62,5 times. I thought it was going to be easy, but what the hell, I was wrong. After merely swimming for 12 x 4 in freestyle stroke, I was already hurting my arms. I was in despair. The innocence laughter of children playing at the pool suddenly felt like merciless mockery directed at me. I closed my eyes, rested myself for a while; brooding. Then I proceeded the swim with body facing the side, both hands stay still close, and I was only using my leg to stroke the water horizontally. With that form, I slowly regained calmness and focus, hence, I was able to use my arms again. I didn’t have the device to track my swimming directly, so I merely using a stopwatch to count the time and my mind to count the distance. The result: I finished it (12 m x 64 = 768 m) in 51 minutes.
I started at 07.00 and ended it at 10.06. Of course the time was embarassingly slow. But I’m also quite proud and pleased. At least now I know I can survive the distance … and, am I allowed to call myself a Triathlete now? :p I wonder, should I try the olympic distance next (when?) or focus to increase my time in this distance?