Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Race Day

The night before
I think I only slept one hour. Went to sleep at 8.45 p.m. but couldn't sleep. Luckily it didn't affect me for once.

Race morning
We went by car. Can't even warm up the 2 km (my leg pain, cannot walk - so take car).
Body weigh in and body marking was fine. Still another hour to race start (7.30 a.m.). Mingled with our supporters (Ng Joo Ngan and Leong) and the other participants.

Uncle Francis Chai
He is now in the 70+ category. I really like him. We always have nice conversations during the race day. He is a nice person with nice words about you and everyone.
I knew it would be difficult for him to meet the cut off because even five years ago it was touch and go for him. He has lost weight. He says train on an empty stomach so that the body learns to use the body fat as fuel. During the run, I saw him already changed talking to the volunteers. I didn't see him at all before.

The Swim
With the 7.30 a.m. start there was adequate time and a special place for the warm up. However, I noticed most just stayed on the pontoon waiting for the gun.
Its not clear water the jetty area. You could smell the diesel from the boats n jet skis. The swim was two lops or four laps. It takes 10 mins longer going out than coming in. Going out it seemed to take forever, but coming back was very fast. There was no rope linking the buoys, so swimmers were sometimes criss-crossing each other. Luckily I wasn't lapped.
It took me one hr 23 mins. My wife and other familiar faces were at the pontoon cheering.

I saw Simon and Geoffrey (MMDS) in the changing tent. No time to chat of course. I was slow in the tent.

The bike
Its a flat 60km loop three times. Real opportunities to do a very fast time (alas not for me). I started at a comfortable pace. All the girls and everyone were going by me. It was only when coming back that i overtook two or three. The first lap was OK for me. I went by the cheering Joo Ngan in aero position looking impressive at that point. After about 40 km, I slowed down a lot. The average speed went from 29km/hr right down to 25km/hr. What a disaster. Never mind I did not feel that down.
Dr Tan got me whilst still on lap no 2.
The aid stations were for once superb. I only used two water bottles instead of the four on my bike. There was always cold water, gels, bananas at the aid stations. Paradise conditions. The heat was to be expected. Even the locals from Kedah, said the island heat was something else. At 5.30 pm it is still blistering hot in Langkawi.

I finished the bike just before Jason Shortis completed the whole event. So at this point everything was on target as i budgeted 8 hrs for the walk.

The leading cyclist looked super smooth on the bike. I'm sure he would do well in any Tour. Some were so low in their aero position. Jason Shortis was behing thumping his large gears. I didn't think Json could catch them on the run.

The run
I had finished the bike with about 8 hrs 40 mins on the clock. On target.
As mentioned i have real problems with my feet. I did not train running, so I just walked looking at my watch all the time.
The first lap (11km) took me 2 hr 10 min (on target). The second lap (10 km) took me 2 hrs (still on target). the third lap (10km) took me 2 hr 10 min as I walked the whole way. Panic buttons. I had only 2 hrs 10 min for the last lap (11km). So I started running and funnily enough I could right up to the turnaround. So i started walking again looking at the watch. At Seaview I had 15 mins. But was 1 or 2 km to the finish. In front of LADA (500 m to go), Joo Ngan came and spurred me on , come on the cut off is coming. If i did not make the cut off, I would be devastated. All the money for nothing. So I ran (sprinted I suppose).

100m before the finish line my wife appeared and ran with me. I can almost cry thinking about this. She never runs (she can only walk in the shopping malls). For the first time in my life, I was finishing a race with a loved one. With my wife who took care of me when I broke my arm in Nov 2002. Aiyo, it was really a wonderful feeling.


ANIZ said...

MSI, wowwww.. mr and mrs sofian... finishing an ironman race together in langkawi... that's so romantic!! i'm so jealous... how i wish someone could do that to me.. neway, congratulations, you did it again like before, finishing a great and toughest race on earth... u're always truly an Ironman lah... bravo MSI!!

sofiantriathlete said...

Hi Anis

Thank you.

Its true Anis, you want to love your spouse for ever, finish an Ironman together.