Is undeniable that my highlight of last year (and so far of my life), has been to race the Ironman World Championship. As a fantastic race it was, it surely was the hardest thing I have ever done. Three months after the race and I’m still hurting.
In the early 90’s there was this anime show called Teknoman (Tekkaman Blade in japanese). The main character, Blade, was this human that had amazing powers due to the power of an alien crystal, that transformed his body into a sophisticated body armor with amazing powers (imagine Ironman’s armor). The aliens that transformed him into warrior, were trying to invade to Earth, and he was the only one who could stop them. After a long series of battles and challenges, Blade, in the last episode of the series (spoiler alert!), finally confronts the evil bad guy in the moon. Wounded already, he starts a long ass battle, where at the end he makes a last effort and finally defeats the evil alien, saving the Earth from an eminent invasion. Seriously wounded, he falls back to Earth. Flash-forward some months: We know now that his transformation crystal, that made him able to become this super mega powered warrior, broke after falling from the moon. Not only that, but now he is bound to a wheelchair in an almost vegetative state, being taken care of his pretty girlfriend.
So let’s say I’m Blade. The chosen one within several triathletes to defeat Madame Pele in Kona. Wounded before the final battle (ankle sprain), embarks in a challenging task. After a final effort, defeats the odds of Kona and finishes the race. Flash-forward 3 months: My transformation crystal, in this case my mojo, has broken, unable to make me transform into an iron- triathlete again. As pain continues to appear as I begin training, I really do feel that I’m bound to a wheelchair… my knee, my ankle, my hip, my shoulders (WTF?.. shoulders… really?), my back and my core. The worst part (at least for me) is that I have no pretty girlfriend to take care of me.
There are some times when you get burnout of something. Clearly, people have cataloged what I did as inhuman, heroic, etc… but certainly I did an unthinkable effort to do it. It makes me think that life has other things to be enjoyed of. I would like to have more time with my long forgotten friends, the ones that were with me before my Iron-related adventures, the ones that are in a certain way “normal” people. I would like to retake the other long road I had before becoming a triathlete, and that was the road to become a Black Belt. I would like to meet more people and maybe the pretty girlfriend to take care of me at the end of Blade’s story.
Triathlon has given me a lot. For certain it gave me the bests of friends I could ask for. People that are nice, passionate about being healthy, and just becoming better each day. People that don’t ask anything in return, but they just keep giving. A community to be proud off.
When I signed up for Ironman Brazil, I did it with a group of 10 or more people. My first Ironman I trained with 2 people, who become Iron-Brothers as we quite finish our first Ironman. The second one, I did the training by myself. It was tough, but made me mentally stronger. So training with 10 was the main reason to signing up to Brazil, I will train with my best friend and people I really like to be with. Imagine training with a group as big as that one! Quite the motivation! Plus they all will be Iron-virgins and I would be there as the experienced one and I would gladly help them. I still remember the dinner we had and the excitement surrounding us, those were happy times that I will always cherish.
Unfortunately during the year, this unbreakable group, broke apart and sunk down as the Titanic. My dad taught me that the only thing that has no solution is dead, and I truly believe so. Although everything was developing under my nose, I thought it could be solvable. I wish I could have tried harder to keep everyone together, but I had my own problems and Kona was waiting for me. The one I grew closer left, two left on their own, others make their own team, and my “dream team” was left with 3 people. I believe that everyone is a good person, but how it could end up like this! I respected everyone’s decision, but that doesn’t mean I’m not full of sadness. Both sides of the story started talking, discussing, back-talking, having opinions and arguments, and I was caught between the middle of the crossfire. Since I was in the middle and not really taking sides, I took a load of the drama between my friends. One person said to me “I’m sorry you are in the middle of all of this”. Some friendships were torn apart or got damaged…, the insane drama! This was supposedly to be fun! We are not professional athletes here, we are people that work and have lives! We had to bring balance to the Force, not leave it in darkness! I thought things were taking care off, but my fear was correct and it broke my heart seeing my friends leaving. My haven from real life got spoiled, my motivation is lost, and I am drained & tired from all this. Unfortunately my sadness is becoming anger. My anger is beacuse I couldn't do anything to stop it.
I know some athletes do actually good when they are driven by anger. Macca, for example. One year he was so pissed off that the guy was unbeatable. In Dragon Ball Z, the main character Goku is the nicest of guys, maybe a little too naive but with the purest of hearts. People have related me with him as character trait. As a warrior, he always tries not to kill his enemy, becuase there is always another way to solve things. In one of the most famous fights in anime, he is pushed beyond his limits of niceness and loses himself in a fit of rage to become a Super Saiyan (which is probably the most powerful warrior in the universe.). I don't know if rage will push me to the next level, but it seems that this is the only thing left in me. But at the same time I don't want to be fueled by rage only. With my support crew gone, and motivation lost, I need to find a way to get it back. I decided to give back what they did for me and start motivating others, if I can't find inspiration... become one.
The truth is triathlon is not a cheap hobby. Whoever says different is a millionaire or has a sugar daddy. The last 3 years, when I started the journey, I had race a lot. Probably the only stops I had was during my injuries, that lead me to a complete stop and no adventures. I think is time to do a grown up thing and start paying all the debts that I had accumulated through the years and start saving money. A big trip right now, it would just sink me even more. Although some people had been kind enough to offer help, I think it would be better to gracefully deny their offers. It got me really mad that people would start talking about how I got financial help for Hawaii, one way or another, and I was getting paid everything. If you don’t know why people helped me and the state of my finances…. SHUT THE F-CK UP! (You see... I AM ANGRY NOW!)
Someone I really care about told me on Friday… “You’re too nice Beto… I have observed you… and you care a lot about people, but you don’t care about yourself." Is funny, becuase years ago someone I really cared about told me the same thing. Being nice maybe is my biggest asset but at the same time my biggest flaw, I just like to see people happy.
These are the reasons why I’m not racing Ironman Brazil on May 26 2013.
I just have one planned race this year. St. Anthony’s Triathlon in St. Petersburg, Florida. This will be the Florida Region qualifier for USAT Nationals. If my dream comes true, I would follow my friends footsteps and qualify for Nationals and hopefully Worlds, if not… that would be the end of my triathlon season. I will continue training, but just for fitness purposes.
My boss told me once: “Since you started doing your triathlon stuff, you have become a better person.” I’m planning to stay the same, but is about time to take care of myself.