The Athlete and The Deaf Frog

3 06 2012

As I toed the starting line today, I knew what I had to do.

Run. Run fast. Push. Push hard. Break my record. Win. Nothing else matters – not until I cross the finish line.

For the next 7 laps, nothing else crossed my mind. Each and every step, leap, hurdle – all were propelled by nothing other than the desire to go faster, harder, to push physical and mental boundaries, to find within me the will and power to run my best race.

A LITTLE WORLD FOR MYSELF

Prior to any race, I create a little world for myself to momentarily step into.  In this little world there is only me and me alone. There are no distractions – no cheers nor boos, no encouragement nor discouragement from others. It is only me, focusing intently on the immediate goal that I must achieve. I take deep breaths and immerse myself in this self-created world. I visualise my goal, I visualise success. Then the starting pistol is fired – I am jolted out of the little world that I have molded for myself, and spring into action.

When the going gets tough – when I can sense the fatigue creeping into my legs, when my heart and lungs are working at their maximum capacity, when I feel as if I cannot push myself any longer – I remind myself of the world that I had stepped into at the starting line. I remind myself of my immediate goal – I picture it, I visualise it, I savour it. And that’s what keeps me going, that’s what propels me forwards, even if my body tells me otherwise.

The finish line is right before me. I pump my arms, I call up my final energy reserves. I grimace in both pain and concentration, anticipation and excitement. The seconds are  slowly ticking away…11’49, 11’50, 11’51…11’52″03!!! I had done it – I had broken my previous record, I had run a personal best, I had set a new HK Junior Record!

New HK Junior Record for the 3000m steeplechase: 11’52″03

THE  STORY OF THE DEAF FROG

As I sat in the meeting room after the race for a HK Athletic Team briefing, Coach Paul told us all a story.  It goes like this.

Once upon a time there was a city of frogs, and in the middle of this city stood a huge tower. 1000 steps led to the top of the tower. Each year the city held a race, where frogs competed against each other in a hop to the top. No frog had ever made it to the top.

One frog, however, was determined to make it. As he toed start line together with other competitors, the crowd cheered words of encouragement. The frog hopped – the first step, the second, the third… gradually, however, other frogs began to slow and drop dead in exhaustion. The crowd was still loud and raucous, but instead of words of encouragement, were now seeking to persuade the frog to stop, to stop hopping before it was too late. And yet the frog kept going. He hopped and hopped until he made it to the top.

How did he to do it, a flabbergasted reporter asked the frog at the finish line.

The frog cupped his hands over his ears. I’m sorry, he said. I can’t hear you, I’m deaf!

The frog hadn’t heard the crowd discouraging him from carrying on. He had thought that they were simply cheering him on, urging him to keep going. And so, in his own little world, focused only on the goal before him, the frog succeeded.

IT’S MENTAL.

I believe half the race is won in the head. As long as you tell yourself that you can do it, as long as you want it enough, as along as you are determined enough, as long as you push hard enough, persevere for long enough – then the race is for you to win.

Thank you to my uncle, Benson, and to my grandma, for their support today! Photo credits – Benson Chiu.

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18 06 2012
A Strength Workout « myMOVEMENTS

[…] I did alright at the Championships. I clocked a 11’46″96, six seconds faster than the week before and setting a new Hong Kong Junior Record. That was nice. But one of the biggest disappointments […]

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