Monday, October 26, 2009
People come from all over the world to do this race at their own expense. I understand even the National race attires are paid for by the respective individuals.
The large contingents I notice are from Australia, GB, USA, New Zealand, Brazil, France etc. Asia was not really represented, I only saw two chaps from Spore, thats all.
The Race Briefing was very well done. From the off, you realise that proper professionals were organising this race.
It was a wave start swim. My age group started at 8.30 am. After only a few seconds, 90% of my wave had left me. Well this is the World Championships. The water was very choppy maybe because of the windy morning.
I was dreading the fast 30 years age group that was starting 5 mins later. Fast swimmers tend to just go over you. However, it wasn't that bad this time. I only got two good whacks on the back of my head.
I didn't try to speed up, I just tried to remain relaxed as far as possible. I wasn't moving fast, I accepted my fate.
After the turnaround, the view on our left was especially nice. The water I would say is the murkiest I have ever swam in. The water was not that deep, you could stand in thick mud at some places. Suddenly loads of jelly fish came in front. I just got a heart attack, very clearly remembering the stings from IM MSIA. The funny thing was, these jelly fishes don't sting. Phew, I still kept my fingers crossed though.
I did overtake one or two people from the earlier waves, so I am not totally useless. I exited the water in 1 hr 9 mins for the 3 km swim. I presume the slow time was due to the very choppy conditions and the current.
T1 was a longish run on well maintained grass in the wet suit. Most bicycles were gone, but there were still some from the later waves. For the first time I put on 2XU compression calf guards that I just bought the previous day. T1 took 3.5 mins (quite long).
Fellow competitors wished me well as they overtook me. Even though its the Worlds, everyone was actually nice.
The bike route was a flat 4 X 20 km. The roads were super smooth. It was windy, but one could remain in aero throughout if one didn't panic.
The road marshalls were very professional. They were alert at all times and were constantly giving encouragement to everyone.
There was only one aid station per lap. Its a pity they didn't give out the specially printed ITU water bottles, instead the water bottles were just the plain white ones. Only once was iced water available. The weather was getting hotter and hotter, nothing new for us but I didn't take in enough liquids.
The last lap was a bit lonely as almost everyone had completed their 4 laps. Funnily I did manage to overtake 2 or 3 people which doesn't normally happen in Msia.
My lap bike splits were pretty consistent. The total bike spilt was 2 hr 43 min which makes my average speed to be only slightly below 30 km/ hr. I have never been this fast.
The transition area was completely full with bicycles. I was one of the last to reach T2. A number of the Female Pros had already finished their race.
I started the run in earnest as the run route was choc-a-bloc runners. My speed wasn't quite like when going to Sri Hartamas, but I was moving, unlike Desaru when I almost immediately started walking.
The first lap was a fast 30 min. As the fascia on my sole is completely gone (i.e. I have no spring in my steps), I ran on my toes. The second lap I tried experimenting running on my heels. The thighs very quickly started to tightened, so I went back to running on my toes.
Its a beautiful flat run course. Our Putrajaya 70.3 aid stations were much better. There was no gel, fruit etc and the water provided at Perth was warm.
The run road marshalls were again very professional and alert. They cheered every single person. I also noticed that as it became obvious I was one of the last, the crowd cheered for me more and more. Come on "Ismail", come on Malaysia, Malaysia boleh. What wonderful people the Aussies are.
My lap splits were going slower and slower. 29.5 mins, 35 mins, 37 min and the last lap was 40 mins.
My Achilles tendon was getting more and more painful, but this is the Worlds man, whats a little pain.
Total run time was 2 hr 21 min. Total overall time was 6 hr 21 min. Accurate detailed results are already out through the official site. My times for Desaru and 70.3 were more than 7 hrs, so I would say the Perth time is a definite improvement.
Many things can go wrong when we do a race overseas. But everything went alright and I got my first ITU Long Distance World Championships Medal. In fact I think it is Malaysia's first Long Distance WC Medal.