Melvin Hee

Getting through life is like racing a triathlon.

Time is the most precious commodity in life. Getting through life is like racing a triathlon.

It is a multisport event which require delicate balance training for each sport in order to succeed well in the race. Same for life, we can't just focus on a single aspect and expect the rest to go well. There must be a balance in love, family, career, happiness in our life.

How I started in triathlon:

My parents are one of the most patient parents I've known in my life. They are the ones that took their time outside of work to teach me new sports when I was growing up. Hence, I learned a large variety of sports ranging from racquet, ball games to aerobic activity like cycling.

Back when I was 5, I learnt swimming with the help from my parents. It was a blessing to have parents with such patience to coach me at that age. However, my interest in it quickly faded as it was becoming a chore doing laps in the pool.

My interest in cycling picked up when my parents would take me to east coast park to cycle and end up at McDonald's East Coast (before Marine Cove was even built) where they would treat me to a happy meal without fail. It was quite a significant part of my childhood and it also contributed to my obesity during my Primary school years. I didn't start running until in Primary school. I vividly remembered that I could run but not fast enough to keep up with boys in catching. Hence, I joined the girls in their game of catching and usually have a lot of fun. My weight caught up with me and in Primary 4, I was invited to joined the TAF (Trim And Fit) club where overweight students are invited during their recess break to have additional physical activities such as running, etc. I managed to lose enough weight to leave TAF club in Primary 6 where I continued running to keep my weight in check.

When I was 19, I met with a traffic accident, which left me with a fractured right ankle. The rest of me was fine. This left me in crutches for 4 months. During that period, I felt like I lost my sense of freedom as I needed my crutches and couldn't go too far off from my place. I stayed at home for most of the time and needed help from my parents sometimes.

As a fairly active and independent person, I felt like a part of me was gone. At times, my thoughts will run wild. What if I could not walk again? What if I had to depend on my parents for life? Will I be a burden to the people around me? However, whenever I started feeling down and unsure about the future ahead, my girlfriend Taqinah will be there to cheer me up and talk me out of it. She would visit me almost daily and be my pillar of support that I needed. I also realised that people with more severe disabilities such as Nick Vujicic, a motivational speaker without arms and legs, can have a positive outlook of life, why can't I do the same or better?

When I finally managed to walk after 4th month from the accident, the doctor said I couldn't put too much pressure on my right ankle yet and so I couldn't run. Just when I thought I could return back to my active running self, I was reminded of my injury and body limitations. Furthermore it would hurt when I tried to jog. I thought there had to be another way to regain back my fitness.

A quick Google search on low impact activities led me to cycling again, after a long break from it. I decided against mountain biking as there are high chances of crashes and might affect my injury. Hence, I decided to go get a road bike. I began cycling daily and it helped me quickly regain my fitness and also helped lose the weight gained during my recovery.

Ever since then I haven't stopped cycling, and decided to take up triathlon as I have the basic (swim and run) skills to finish one. After a year of cycling, I signed up for a sprint distance triathlon and just barely managed to finish it and felt like dying. However, I didn't train for it and knew I could do better. I joined a cycling group called UCycling and have been with them since. Having a group of people that always motivate and push you is essential to bring out the best in ourselves. I've met fellow cyclists there who have done Ironman triathlons and seeked advice from them to improve myself.

My passion and love for triathlons and cycling grew not because I was good at the sports I do. But rather the support and the people around me that drove my passion to greater heights.

It gave me the realisation that in life, it doesn't matter how tough or miserable or bad things can go. As long as we have someone to go to, to support us, we can go very far regardless of the odds.
Melvin Hee