Wednesday, April 04, 2007

業餘運動家 / On Being an Amateur Athlete

Among my family members, I am probably the most "athletic" relatively speaking. I do not have the build of an athlete, like Michael Jordan of NBA National Basketball Association fame, nor the heart and lung capacity that made Lance Armstrong the legend of Tour de France (in addition to our American celeb fighting off cancer and running a sub-three hours Marathon in New York City last November). Far from it!! When I was in Primary School, I was always the last one to be picked in the Soldiers vs Bandits game 捉兵賊. In Form 2, I ran my first 800 metres for my School House at King's and was dead last. In Form 3 and 4, I was being laughed at because puberty never quite arrived as early as it should.

In spite of all these or perhaps because of it, I always have this urge to push myself to the limit, to see how far I can go regardless of what people say. I have always been aspired by the Greats of sports: from the Iron Man of Asia 楊傳廣, the legendary Chinese Olympian who recently passed away; to Alison Chadwick-Onyszkiewicz and Vera Watson who fell to their deaths while making their bids to climb the 8000 metres plus Himalayan peak Annapurna in 1978; to Grete Waitz, nine-time winner of the New York City Marathon; and the list could go on.

Over the years, I have learnt to enjoy different sports/exercises, such as basketball (based on my mother's cause-vs-effect theory that the sport could make me grow taller, as "evident" from people who played the game), volleyball, racket ball, bicycling, swimming (open-water, in lakes), sailing (owned a Fireball once), canoeing (still have my aluminium canoe), curling (played third but never skipped), skiing (cross-country, downhill/alpine, and telemark), rock climbing (was leading 5.10 to 5.11 before reaching my limit and took a 35-ft fall on a 500-ft cliff), snowshoeing (love it, especially climbing hills), ice skating (on frozen lakes and canals), and more recently running marathons (just finished my 8th in Rome). But frankly, I am not very good at any of the sports, even by amateur standard. Nonetheless, I continue - humbled but not discouraged by ranking and results, resolved to improve but not paralyzed by a burning desire to compete and win.

And, just like everyone else, including the Greats, I will hit my age yield- or stop-sign at some point and will then have to accept the reality of aging (even though there is this eighty some years old east-Indian marathoner who keeps on breaking records in his age category of one in races). Eventually, I will have to settle for something more gentle on the muscles and joints. But in the mean time, as long as this "bod" of mine is still functioning reasonably well and can still heck the grinding 42.2 Km marathon distance and other physical and mental demands, I will continue to do my personal bests (PBs) in the various sports that I like and enjoy being just an amateur athlete.

4 comments:

xiao zhu said...

You're really wonderful! A bit out of my imagination.

微豆 said...

Xiao Zhu: Thanks !! Ha, t'is fine as long as I am just "out of imagination" and not out of whack :)

暗黑的卡夫卡 said...

Welcome back...you back to Canada right?

And damn you are way way way more fit than I am ha...

微豆 said...

暗黑的卡夫卡: That's right, I'm back to Canada, and to the cool spring weather. It even snowed last night !!!

I am fit, relatively speaking, among the general population but not within the running and triathlon communities. If you plan to run a marathon in the fall/September, you should mention it to your family doctor. I was told that it will take 16 weeks of physical training for a healthy individual to "get fit". But I do not believe that's a hard rule. You might wish to buy the book "Running - Start to Finish" by John Stanton, founder of the Running Room. I am still using that book as a guide.

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