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Alicia Lee Wo: Get out of your comfort zone
What is fear keeping you from? What do you yearn to do but fear beginning? No matter how strong and confident we appear, we are all susceptible to fear.
There are irrational fears that can literally cripple us and there are those that we all experience, some hidden from others, sometimes even hidden from ourselves.
Overcoming fear is one of life’s greatest challenges.
How many fail to achieve their dreams because of fear? How many works of art, astounding creations and inventions lie dormant?
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but to triumph over it,” says Nelson Mandela.
“The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid but he who conquers that fear.” Fear of change is always terrifying. Moving to a new country, starting a family, beginning a weight loss or exercise programme all carry different levels of fear.
Exercise is one of the most potent stress reducers on the planet and yet it’s the one activity that too many people do not make time for. We were designed to move frequently and fluidly.
Physical activity helps to reenergise us and produce feel-good endorphins. Despite this, we are afraid of embarking on an exercise programme.
Walking into a gym or yoga studio for the first time can be stressful.
If you are unfit or overweight selfjudgment can step in. Quite often when we are exhausted at the end of a hard day the choice to exercise often seems too difficult and wetake the easy way out.
If you are one of those fearful of making that lifestyle change, putting off adjusting your eating habits, remember that you can build up to anything as long as your legs work, and even if they do not. Find an activity that you truly enjoy.
There are so many ways to get exercise. Explore the ones that you feel comfortable doing and would have fun in the process. Perhaps take your routine outdoors. Most people find that being in a natural environment relaxes and refreshes them. Remember that the time of day you choose will influence your staying with it.
As there are many other priorities to balance, select an exercise schedule that will work for you long term. Take small steps but do not under estimate your potential. I love these words from Kobe Bryant. “I have self-doubt, I have insecurity, I have fear of failure. You don’t deny it, but you don’t capitulate to it. You embrace it.”
Today, Alana Lee Wo shares her fitness journey. Fighting her fears, she stepped boldly into the world of the triathlon and on to ironman.
Always dream big and strive for excellence.
“It all begins and ends in your mind, what we give power to, has power over you...if you allow it!!” I’ve learnt so much on my journey to finally understand and accept this.
My name is Alana Lee Wo, and I just completed my first ironman (2.4 miles swim, 112 miles bike, and 26.2 miles run) I’ve always done some form of sport from early. I can’t say I was ‘running’, it was more like jogging. I fell in love with being outdoors and the thought of doing a marathon came to mind. I was turning 40 and what better way to celebrate!! So I just started running more. No coach, no running partner, just me and the Savannah!! I chose the Disney Marathon and increased my mileage every week. Then the pain started. The orthopaedic surgeon told me I had no cartilage left in my knees.
I refused to give up and continued my marathon on pain killers. I prayed for the strength and courage to make it. I will always cherish that Mickey Mouse medal.
After a few months break, I decided to start running again and joined a once-a-week running group, founded by Dexter Simon and his brother Derrick.
It was truly a one run each week. This group consisted of athletes involved in other sports. I started to take running more seriously, racing more and doing 1/2 marathons and full marathons. I trained with inspiring and motivational individuals and so qualified for the prestigious 2015 Boston Marathon which I completed. I had to take a break having suffered many injuries over the three-year running preparation. Some were very serious like my ankle and a torn quad. It was depressing to be injured and unable to train and the cost of therapy is incredibly high. I would like to thank Asha de Freitas, Renew Star Serpentine, Movement Mechanics, Ruel Rigsby, and Beverly ‘Leda’ Skinner, for making it possible to continue my running journey.
When the Simons opened their gym “The Asylum” I started a strength training programme for the first time.
I cannot stress how beneficial this was for me. I was coached on the ‘holistic’ approach to training for any sport. Being able to do a sport and more importantly do it successfully is not just about your physical ability.
‘The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine’. Every aspect of your life has to come together. It is about nutrition, strength training, rest and recovery, sleep, massages, stretching, time-management.
It is overwhelming at first, and takes courage and determination.
‘I’m stronger and fitter’ It is 2017, I’m stronger and fitter than I have ever been and looking for a new challenge. Why not try triathlons? I just have to learn two new sports, how difficult could that be! Let me tell you, even though you can run a marathon, try swimming 25 metres!!
I have never been so humbled and embarrassed in my life. I think pride made me doggy paddle back the 25 metres. It was pretty much downhill from there to finish my ‘assessment’ of 300 metres! God bless Edward Tuberoso!!! Even though I know he thought I was a little bit crazy for wanting to do a full ironman in about a year, he never discouraged me and had all the patience in the world to get me to be able to swim the 2.4 miles (3800 metres) comfortably.
So we are now into May 2017 and I finally get my bike. I thought swimming was going to be the death of me—try getting on a road bike for the first time in your life!! I fell many times.
Thank you also Jerry Chin Lee, for taking me under your wing and helping me improve my bike skills.
Training for a full ironman is not easy. There are very long hours especially on a weekend and most days we workout in the morning and evening. It is a huge sacrifice. The encouragement from family and friends is so important and I was very fortunate to have 100 per cent support to be able to achieve this dream. It was a blessing to have my +one a week family, my Aslyum family, my Misfits family, my JCA Optical Ltd family, and Dundee Thomas by my side in this journey.
So many lessons I have learned about hard work, coming out your comfort zone. What I think is most important to realise is that the only limitation is your mind.
We all have dreams, and it’s never going to be the right time and we will never be 100 per cent ready.
We will always have too much going on and the excuses will always be there, but only you can give your dreams the respect for it to happen.
I completed my first ironman with only doing two sprint races before, learning to swim a little over a year, learning to ride only 11 months, but I had people who believed in me and made sure I had the whole holistic approach.
My brother, Derek, came to support me at my ironman, and he told me, he was so inspired by watching me do it that he has now set that dream and goal for himself!
You never know how you inspire people by your life choices, so keep dreaming, keep achieving and then dream some more. As they say in ironman...anything is possible.
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