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The Wongstar is born. « Jocelyn Wong's Blog

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The Wongstar is born.

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    How to Become an Asian Triathlon Superstar, Step #11: Earn yourself a superstar nickname.

    Well it is November 3rd and I left home exactly 2 months ago on September 3rd. It is hard to believe the time has gone by so quickly, it’s almost as if this was a perpetual summer: at home summer ends right after Labor Day (right before I left) and then I headed to a hot humid climate for 2 months of triathlon training with some prosthetics thrown in here and there. It will be almost winter when I get home, although a California winter is pretty different from say, a Switzerland winter. ;) Still, I may just leave all my hot weather clothing here, I *really* don’t want to get dinged with more excess baggage charges!!!

    I was sad to leave Subic yesterday, having bonded with the other rookies, our coach, and everybody else. Rookie Boot Camp was such a big physical (and mental!) test for me. Many of the other rookies came into camp with years of the pro triathlete training lifestyle under their belt, for me it was my first time to focus exclusively on the whole eating, sleeping, and training kind of life. I came into camp a little scared and intimidated. At the end of two weeks I wasn’t sure what I had gotten myself into. At one point, Coach told me “I can see you’re trying very hard, and I’m not sure how much longer you can keep trying.”

    But I persisted. I was not the fastest and definitely not the most talented, but goshdarnit I would be relentless in busting my butt for every swim, bike, and run. As I improved my fitness and technique, slowly I gained more confidence in myself. I stopped being so scared of Coach :) and less concerned with how much everyone else was whupping me in the workouts. I can muscle through the water like a steamboat, grind up the hills in a giant gear, and even run some decent 200′s after being told I have no speed. With my new run technique, I can run 2 hours without any pain after coming into camp with bad shin splints and being only able to run for 10-15 minutes.

    Coach says I still need to work on my discipline and my confidence, but I am confident the confidence will come as I continue to improve athletically. Does that make sense? By the last week I was much less sore and coping better with the unending battery of workouts. I never tried to guess when the next rest day was because I didn’t want to get my hopes up…so I just always assumed there would be another day of grueling workouts. (and I was usually right! haha!) Somehow I managed to avoid the various viruses that began to plague the freshman squad…it must be my Chinese warrior genes. They sure helped me get through my first boot camp!

    In the middle of it all, Coach gave me a new nickname. At first I thought he was calling me The Wongster, but he then clarified that I am THE WONGSTAR! (With his Aussie accent it’s pronounced like “Wongsta”…kind of like “gangsta” for gangsters.) Because I am on the way to becoming an Asian triathlon superstar. We are only on Step #11 though. I don’t know how many steps it will take to get there, but the past 4 weeks have seen a lot of progress and I’m going to do my darndest to keep up the momentum while I am at home, and heading into the next camp in February. It could be 100 steps, it could 500. or more! But I am so happy to have started this journey with the team and see what I can achieve with a lot of hard work, passion, and discipline.

    I am here in Manila until Thursday morning and will be helping out at the PGH prosthetics clinic (Philippines General Hospital) tomorrow. There is a young female patient, 20 years old, with a rare high level amputation due to bone cancer in her femur (the thigh bone). This is the level we call “hip disarticulation” because the entire femur and everything underneath was completely removed. Dr. Bundoc requested that I come by and help teach the technicians how to cast, fabricate, and fit this type of prosthesis, so today I’m studying up extra and have consulted my boss at home for some help. We learned this at school, but were always told it is such a rare case that most people only see it once or twice in their entire careers. Luckily for me, I had a great residency and we actually saw 3 or more patients at this level!

    Unfortunately I’ll miss the next Pampanga mission this coming Saturday (Nov 1st was a holiday here so it was postponed), but in the upcoming months I’ll be better defining what my contribution to the team social projects are in terms of prosthetics work. I have always wanted to go to Vietnam and Cambodia to help provide prostheses to landmine survivors and that is a definite goal. And I know that the better I become as a pro triathlete, the more my profile will be raised and the more people I can help. I think we should call it “Project Wongstar.” ;)

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