Before the Race
For two weeks before the race I had butterflies in my tummy. Everyday I thought I had gotten the flu bug. I couldn't even complete the 10.8km double hill the weekend before the race and my feet were feeling funny again. I had not cycled on the road for months, was this going to work? And, I only swam in my measly apartment pool.
In between the Monday to Friday before the race, the only workout I did was to ride the 10km or so on Friday to the bike check-in.
Carbo Loading disaster (Thursday)
I can't take milk but I was hitting all the butter and the creamy pasta stuff. I paid for it. Spent the whole night going to the loo and woke up on Friday with a splitting migraine. What a cry baby I thought I was.
But as Tip fed me breakfast, I realised the food wasn't going out anymore and I was feeling stronger as the day progressed. So it was fried rice, fried rice and water throughout the day. I still have a chance I thought.
With WA not practicing "daylight savings" this year, it was bright and warm in the morning this year. We were so impressed by a little boy that was directing adults where to park their vehicles, a little boy mind you. I was stupidly a tad late and was rushing getting everything ready.
With the many swimmers, the early part of the swim was a bit brutal. A bit like driving in KL. I wanted to swim "outside", but couldn't move that way. Surprisingly, the inside (by the jetty) was clear. So I swam on the inside.
The water was super clear (what a change from what we are used to) and not choppy. It was a most pleasant and beautiful swim apart from the whacks I got. The wetsuit was chaffing a bit at the neck, but nothing serious.
1 hr 12 mins vs 1 hr 13 min last year. Wow I'm not sick I thought.
T1 (5 mins) was pleasant. Someone helped with the wet suit and everything else. The whole transition area was nice soft grass. So off we went.
As usual everyone flew by me. It just didn't bother me. I just looked at the white line and stayed in aero. My mantra was stay aero irrespective of speed and everything would take care of itself. The meter wasn't working anyway.
At the aid stations I would take iced water and bananas and I would nibble away at my power bar and gels.
At the end of my second lap (120km), Gina Crawford (female winner) came powering by. Hardly slowing down at the roundabout. I would also see her on the run, again she appeared to be sprinting the whole way. These pros are something else.
The first lap took about 2 hrs 8 min and the second lap took 2 hrs 13 mins. Very happy times for me.
The third lap was when everything fell apart. I couldn't stay in aero anymore, it was so hot, the seat felt uncomfortable and worse still, I was immediately vomitting out the bananas and gels that I took. I felt sorry for the boy volunteer that gave me the banana. Sorry, i didn't mean it. If there was a sweeper van, I would have gone on it.
Anyway I finished the bike. The third lap must have taken me 2 hrs 27 mins. Total bike time was 6hrs 48 mins according to the results. I didn't tell Tip how I felt should she start to worry.
T2 (7 mins) was about taking my time. I am totally indebted to a kind volunteer who suggested I wear a hat. He gave a an old fashioned round hat that all the volunteers had. It may not be a "tri" cap but it was very practical. At every aid station I placed ice in the cap. The hat also provided all round protection from the sun and the dreaded flies. I was cool throughout the run. Many of our friends DNF you know.
The start was initially terrible. But after refueling, things started to get better. I was plodding one step at a time. I tried to imagine I was doing Sri Hartamas and that I was flying. But it didn't work. At least I was plodding and in fact didn't walk at all except at all the aid stations. The nutrition I took at each aid station was ice, water, cola and oranges. When I tried the sandwiches, I immediately threw up.
I wore the "quad compressions" that I bought the previous day. First lap (14km) took me 2 hrs 18 mins, alright I thought but still a long way to go.
The second lap took me 2 hrs 27 mins. I knew on the third lap of the bike that an all time PB was out of the question. But I could get a "recent PB". Last year I did 15 hrs 48 mins, then at Langkawi I did 15 hrs 38 mins. I must at least get a recent PB I thought.
With 8 km to go (run turnaround), I decided to throw all caution to the wind and just went as fast as I could. Swinging my arms for all I was worth, very quick stops at aid stations, running in a "low position".
THE RUN SPECTATORS
The run leg of IMWA is the happiest moment of my life. I played to the crowd. I properly acknowledged every cheer I got, gave my Usain Bolt greeting to everyone, smiled, high 5, bowed, everything.
The run spectators were simply awesome, out of this world. Don't they know wars are going on. They very well know what my name was. I can go on and on. It made everything, well the exorbitant cost to do IMWA worth very penny.
15 hrs 18 mins. A "recent PB", 30 mins faster than IMWA last year and 20 mins faster than Langkawi in Feb 09. Its my 11th official IM finish. Fastest time since Langkawi started in 2000 (my IM times are pathetic), but still way off my all time PB (13 hr 42min) that I did at "that place" in 1994.
Langkawi 2010 here we come. Life simply can't get better.