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Sunday, November 20, 2011

My journey towards Ironman immortality

ANILA, Philippines - My story started four years ago at the finish line of Ironman Malaysia 2008 in Langkawi — a full-distance Ironman that involved a 3.8k open-sea swim, a 180k bike race and 42k run — all within a 17-hour cutoff. I trained for almost 20 weeks for that race, which took me 17 hours and six minutes to complete. Yes, I missed the cutoff by a painful six minutes! They gave me the finisher’s medal, but I was unable to earn the distinction of being called Ironman. Thus began an obsession that would take me four years to conquer.
For the uninitiated, the full Ironman is probably the most grueling endurance sport there is. It starts with a 3.8k swim, which is like swimming the length of EDSA from the Buendia intersection to Roxas Blvd, within a 2:15 period. Immediately after that, one has to mount a bike and ride for 180k. This is like biking from SM Mall of Asia to the foot of Baguio in La Union. The cutoff for this leg is about eight hours. If one does not make it to the cutoff, he will be pulled out of the course and the day ends for him. Finally, after the tough swim and long bike ride, one caps the race with a full 42k marathon. This is equivalent to running from La Union and heading back to Pampanga. In the Philippines, the only official Ironman race is a 70.3 miler, which is sometimes called a “half Ironman.”
It is an extremely painful and exhausting endeavor for sure, but that’s what makes it appealing. It is the challenge of pushing yourself to the extreme limits of physical — and oftentimes even psychological — capacity. Once you cross the finish line, the announcer calls out your name and shouts “You are an Ironman!” To hardcore triathletes, this is the ultimate confirmation that one is indeed a member of the rare breed of people who have completed the distance.
In Langkawi, I was totally devastated to learn that I had just missed the cutoff by a mere six minutes. This meant I had to carve out another 20 weeks of my life to train for another Ironman and go through the same agonizing experience to lay claim to the distinction of having conquered the extreme challenge.

AL :-
Interesting story about determination to reach for IRONMAN Status..
I salute you Greg..

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