What to do when you reach a dead end, why lying on the ground opens a better perspective of the way, is it possible to befriend the pain, how to burn 1 million kcal and how to fit 7 years into a 3-minute video?
For about 6 months I couldn’t decide to post this article. The thing is that this super-full sporting period of my life has transformed into a fitness activity. I couldn’t accept it for a long time, but now I did. I’m a little sad because those years were very awesome: they radically changed me, and my country a little bit.
Sport helped me become more disciplined and make plans, understand that there is nothing impossible, taught me to endure pain and helped me make friends all over the world. On the other hand, sports took a lot from me (except fats): my wife’s peace of mind, communication with my children, a lot of money, time and effort, which I could’ve invested in my family or in business, at least.
Today I have other goals and tasks: I want to become the best daddy and husband, lift the team to the global market level, design devices, which change the world, and learn to whistle. But yes, I will continue participating in races, running, swimming and walking barefoot. But this time, I’m going to do it out of pleasure and not for scores. Together with Sporter, we will continue developing amateur sports in Moldova. Well …
Seven years ago I realized that I got lost in life and reached a dead end. Neither could I go back nor avoid it. So, I was facing a giant wall. The attempts of breaking it mixed with dozens of whisky, caused me to go deeper into depression. I stopped and looked around: there were just walls. The only way I could see was to go back. But I didn’t want to turn around, because the well-worn and boring paths are not for me.
Does it mean that this is my goal? I didn’t imagine it like this… Somewhere along the line, I became powerless and, feeling pity for myself, I lied on the floor. I was looking at a great wall which was going up into the sky. Suddenly, it hit me: why should I walk around the wall while I can … climb over it! It can’t be infinite!
I sat down, I put my hands on the wall: it seemed hard, cold and edging with sharp stones. It seemed impossible to climb over it. But it didn’t matter anymore, because I saw the sun beyond the clouds and I was determined to go up. So I started climbing.
Soon, my hands became bloody because of the wounds, muscles were trembling due to overload, head was aching due to many falls. But one attempt after another helped me go higher and higher, clinging to the sharp stones, sandy ledges or icicles.
I was climbing the wall for seven years because it was very high. All this time I endured pain: injuries, suffocation, preinfarction syndrome, frostbite and hypoglycemia. The heart, kidneys, lungs, liver, muscles and brain were “begging for mercy”, but I continued crawling, running, swimming and climbing up. Suddenly, along the way, I realized that pain makes me stronger and that the suffering is just my choice. So I accepted the pain to be my friend, who was pulling me up, and I stopped suffering!
Instead of pain and sadness on my face, I had a smile and I was happy, not because I could get over the wall, but because I got over myself. My muscles became tough, the belly got flat and the chubby cheeks transformed into scraped cheekbones.
I was accepting more and more pain, and I was choosing more difficult tracks to climb the wall, because they were going to speed me up to my goal. Sometimes I almost broke down and only miraculously could hold on to the ledges.
Finally, I got on top of the wall.
From the top I saw the endless labyrinth, which I actually wandered through, I saw the path I walked and, most importantly, I saw that there were billions of roads, turns and dead ends ahead.
While I was climbing, I changed. I became the person who believes that every wall has a top which may be climbed over. And it doesn’t matter how long it takes.
Friends, by this post I do not intend to prove to you that I am a hero or that I made some acts of bravery: I am sure that anyone can climb their own walls in order to change their own mind and help others. You just need to start climbing, even if it seems that the top is unreachable.
Now I want to say thanks to all the people who supported me throughout these seven difficult years:
My beloved woman, who climbed alongside, moreover, she helped me fuel, applied bandages and encouraged me. My children, who were waiting for me on the other side of the wall.
My friends, who supported me, guarded and dragged me out of complex situations. My colleagues and team, who helped me concentrate on the wall and did not let all other things collapse. And all of those who watched my empty attempts and who rolled up their sleeves and started the journey to the top of their wall.
In the video below I compressed seven years in 3 minutes. At the end of 2019, I want to wish all of you to be able to get over your walls, no matter how high they are!
A little more about my seven years of experience:
In 2012 I learnt about the existence of Ironman and the amateur sport. I had a light bulb moment and here I kicked off!
In order to train for all my 80 races, I had to spend 2,024 hours at 1,826 training sessions and burn over 1,155,000 Kcal (equivalent to 150 kg of fat). During this time, I ran over 13,000 km and swam over 1,000 km.
I am one of the first athletes in Moldova who won the Ironman title, covering consequently all the triathlon distances: Ironman, Ironman 70.3, 5,150, Relay. I was able to swim across Gibraltar, Bosfor, Volga River, Ganges, Lake Balaton and even canal of Venice. I managed to swim in the Arctic Ocean, become an Oceanman in Mexico and ran off the If Island. By the way, I fled off Alcatraz as well, by swimming across the strait. I participated in the toughest survival race Tough Guy, covered one of the most difficult swimrun distances: OtillO. I climbed Mont Blanc and Mount Elbrus. The title of champion of Moldova and Master of Sports in freediving was added to my collection of personal achievements. I learnt to hold my breath underwater for 6.5 minutes and participated twice in the World Freediving Championship.
But my greatest passion are all types of marathons. Until this day, I managed to run over 20 marathons. In addition to this, 5 marathons were majors (the most important marathons for any marathoner). The medals from Paris, Tokyo, Jerusalem, Rome, New York and London marathons hang on my wall. My sporting career includes: six-day races through the Sahara Desert: Marathon des Sables, ultramarathon in South Africa: Comrades, charity marathon: Wings for Life and hot race in the Death Valley (USA).
In 2018 I became the president of Triathlon Federation of the Republic of Moldova. In the same year, I became the first Moldovan who ran the toughest marathon at the North Pole. I won the precious second place! Another gift I received was the qualification (3:12) for my sixth major marathon participation, which was held in Boston.
In 2019 I set the world running record at ultra-low temperatures: I ran 50 km in Oymyakon at -60°C (-76°F) .
And that’s not all! During these seven years, together with my super cool Sporter team, we were able to elevate the amateur sport in Moldova to a new level.
We took the role of organizers of Chisinau International Marathon, Rubicon ultramarathon relay throughout Moldova, Triatlon Triumph open air triathlon championship, Chisinau Criterium urban cycling race, Ghidighici Sea Mile swimming in open waters, a series of unique underground races: WineRun, as well as “the dirtiest race”: Glodiator Mud Race.
During this time, we organized 66 sporting events, in which over 80,000 people participated (7,235 foreigners from 62 countries), who travelled over 700,000 km on roads, hills, cellars and who swam in the lakes and rivers of Moldova.
Moreover, for contribution to the development of sports in Moldova, we received an award from the President and Government of the Republic of Moldova.
I hope that the next wall won’t be so high.
But I seriously doubt it…