34 years of endurance sports. At three events I finished absolutely last.
Endured a heart attack and major surgeries, but I'm still at it, only Open Water Swimming now.
Very ably supported by my Thai wife, Tip. We are living back in Malaysia and I swim to stay healthy.
Well they don't have our Tey Eng Tiong snapping away thousands of photos for our benefit, but they do have very professional official photos and the finish video.
I will probably order the whole lot, since we don't do the Worlds everyday. The video has me stagerring over the finish line and also has glimpses of my supporters (Guy and Jessie who only arrived as I was finishing).
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 IMMSIA. 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 SriHartamas, 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.
This might be useful if you want to go to Perth on a budget. Flight
We were lucky to get MAS return tickets for RM1,000 (its not available now). After going to so many races on Air Asia, travelling by MAS was like going on a Rolls Royce. The seats are bigger, proper food is served, bikes are not charged extra etc.
Unfortunately I couldn't do the same for IMWA. I also made the "mistake" of booking the going and return flights separately (Air Asia) and the return ticket per pax is now RM250 + RM1,300. It would actually have been cheaper to book return tickets in one go. Bike charges still not included and the food and seats on Air Asia are rubbish.
Our top of the range room at the YMCA cost us AUD60 per night. I have never seen a room so small. For RM180 in Malaysia, you could get a Palace. Anyway we slept well and I found the people there all to be friendly.
Another budget alternative is the YHA.
There are Asian restaurants /groceries close to the YMCA. The race site, CBD etc. are all just a short walk away.
Overall I find racing in Oz to be a very pleasant experience. Aussies are generally friendly people, they leave a place clean for the next person, speak the same language we do, so no problems..
Saturday (Happy Deepavali): 150 mins light spinning. That was all I could do.
Sunday:20 km run. 60 mins to Petronas. 4 mins stop. 68 mins back. Total 2 hrs 12 min. So spinning on the trainer is good for running.
60 mins swim.
Monday:No training. Sent bicycle for packing, they said I had to change the pedal (RM650). The packing is FOC.
Tuesday:3 km swim with paddles (59 m 7 secs). Thats it, all training done. Next will be testing the equipment in Perth.
Wednesday:No training. Finalise packing. Thursday:Fly to Perth. No training.
Friday:20 mins swim with wet suit in Swan River (sunny day). Bicycle check up with official Shimano Mechanics.Tested bicycle 7km. Visit EXPO (don't buy anything - no money). Ask stupid questions. Official Pasta Party start at 6 pm sharp. Didn't go, had dinner with Guy and Jessie at Cicerellos. Wife wants to go to the mall - yuck. The wife has been absolutely wonderful though.
Saturday:A cold rainy day. Race briefing - 12 noon. Bike check in (9 am to 12 noon). Dinner with Kevin at East Perth. 30 mins jog in the rain.
Sunday: Race start at 8.30 am for my age group. Try to meet all the cut-off times. Pack bicycle after race, have dinner, go to airport. Flight is at 1 am (I booked wrongly).
Kevin was the fourth fastest Malaysian at IMMSIA in Feb 09. I have met some of his family members, they are all lovely people. His little sis for example, is going to do the coming Spore Marathon blindfolded for charity. Kevin himself has a strong soft spot for the less fortunate, being the CFO for a Homeless Shelter in Perth.
This ITULDWCseems to have more rules than all the other events I have done put together, plus the Organisers have been very particular about how things are done.
I thought I had read all the rules cover to cover and had all the bases covered. Until, Kevin very kindly pointed out to me that due to my flight arrival time, I would miss the compulsory "no exceptions" race participants accreditation on 22 Oct 2009. I frantically phoned and e-mailed the Organisers who gave me a Late Registration on Saturday (24 Oct 09). Again they used the words "No exceptions" to anyone else who have not informed the Organisers in advance.
Phew, thank you Kevin Siah for evidently reading the web-site with more accuracy than me. I am forever in your debt.
My name is on the official start list, visas done, cheap flight paid, cheap hotel booked, office leave obtained, ITU race uniform being printed. Will pay entry fee (AUD 280) there. Entry fee is much less than IMWA (AUD 635) and Perth is a genuine World Championship.
I presume if you are from the strong Triathlon Nations (Oz, USA, Britain), there would be a very competitive selection process. However, if you are from Malaysia, just about the only condition is that you have to pay everything yourself.
If you are a Malaysian, this is what you have to do (for 2010):
Inform TRIAM. You do this by putting in your request at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Mr Chan/ Samantha Chan / Mr Cheah (TRIAM President) / Balwant Singh (the Mount Kinabalu run Race Director). They will do the race registration as they have a special log in ID with ITU. The limit is 20 per age group. Of course, Msia will be lucky to have even one participant. ITU will confirm in due course.
You need an ITU approved wet suit (I hope mine is OK). From 2010 your name must be printed on the wet suit (even for age-groupers).
ITU approved race suit (even for age groupers). ITU logo, your surname, country code (MAS) on the front and your surname on the lower back. The zip must be at the back. Kevin Chan can do all this.
Saturday: 85 mins spin on trainer (morning). 2 hrs 5 mins in the afternoon. Total 3 hrs 30 mins for day. Sunday: Run. 63 mins to Petronas. 5 mins stop. 66 mins back. Total 2hr 15 min, a PB. (I have problem feet, the thick RM10 socks from LIEM did the trick.) One hr afternoon swim. Monday: 37 mins spinning. Tuesday: 74 mins spinning Wednesday: 70 mins spinning. 10 mins swim (I am useless) Thursday: 60 mins spinning (try new approach, I think all the spinning will help my running). Friday: 65 mins spinning
This morning, Mr Cheah kindly received the 3rd placing Trophy (50 - 54 age group) for the 70.3 PutrajayaIronman on behalf of LIEM.
No one has even hinted to us to return the Trophy. But, we don't believe we are the correct third placed person and thus we returned it. One does not keep something that is so precious but does not rightfully belong to you, even if the Organisers handed it to you and they in all probability now, don't really know who the correct recipient should be.
We did the race as honestly as we could. The Putrajaya road looks exactly the same to me and I had no idea where the turning off was. At the fateful junction, only one chap turned left (I thought he was going home). Everyone else went straight, so I just followed. When Emma and Don Khor overtook me for the second time within a short time span, I realised I had done something wrong. We were heartbroken. The road marshalls were only directing traffic. Any advice from them was wrong.
At the end of the second lap, I took a proper look at the signs and correctly went left up the hill. IM Yap Eng Leong told me he had made the same mistake and was in fact doing the little loop twice. So I did the little loop twice too. We saw a signboard at the fateful turn off which said "go straight, no left entry". But just a few meters after that was another sign which seems to say turn left. In terms of KM, we did the full 90km.
I knew a disqualification was probably looming, but did the run anyway. You know I didn't take any short cuts at all on the run. IM XXX was being such a pain, cutting the cones in the middle of the road, not doing the roundabouts properly (I did every single roundabout properly, taking the long way around even when I was trying to chase Peter in front). The turn around at the govt offices, I did properly too even though IM XXX was screaming his head off telling me to do a short cut. I didn't.
I did the whole race with full fucking honesty, and now I return the Trophy with the same honesty as its not mine.
Saturday:30 mins trainer Sunday: 70.3. 7 hrs 3 mins Monday & Tuesday: Nothing - thighs, feet all sore. Wednesday: 45 mins on trainer before work. Thursday: 50 mins on trainer before work. Friday: 35 mins trainer morning. 60 mins swim