Saturday, January 08, 2011

Looking back on 2010

Triathlon wise, the year 2010 was a very very good year for me, I won't get another year like it.

We managed to finish three Ironmans, two of them were just two weeks apart and of course the big icing on the cake was to get a lifetime Personal Best at IMWA.

I have done 13 Ironmans prior to IMWA, the previous best time was the first IM I did, which was in 1994 at Kona (those days, a Malaysian could take part just by writing in). However instead of improving after 1994, my times just got slower and slower. Nine of my IM times are more than 16 hours. In 2006, I was dead last at Langkawi. I figured I was not the Ironman type. But I loved what I was doing, I still don't know of a better feeling in my life, than the feeling I get, when I cross the finish line.

Before every race, we think we have put in the effort, surely we are going to hit the sweet spot this time. But invariably what happens, I have to keep on checking my watch during the run, to make sure I will meet the 17 hours' cut-off.

But not this time on 5 December 2010, I did hit the sweet spot, my wish did come true, I did get that Personal Best time erasing the previous best that I did at Kona in 1994. Plus I have a broken arm and all kinds of foot injuries.

27 Feb. Langkawi. I did about eight 200km rides after IMWA and ended some of those rides with 9 km runs, so I thought I was ready. But on race day I was so slow that I finished after midnight and came in last in my age group (16 hrs 28 mins).

We are blessed so many supporters came from KL, Thailand to Langkawi. Some ran with us a while, some waited at the remotest of places. There must have been more than 10,000 free pictures of us taken by them. The supporters and loved ones are the most important of people, we thank them.

As a Malaysian, I am ashamed to say that IM Langkawi is probably the worst organised IM race out of the 29 or so races on the planet. Its pathetic. Then there's the abusive kids all along the route making lunges for our water bottles etc. I saw a kid ram a cyclist with his motor bike. Late on the run, whilst I was all exhausted on the side of the road, a not so young kid came by and demanded for my "glow sticks" or was there anything else I could give him. I am surprised no one's killed them yet.

Having said that, I do hope Dato Chandran can pull a bunny from his political hat and give us a race on 14 May 2011. Anything is possible in Bolehland.

14 March, IM China. It was only my second trip to this great nation. Left on Friday and was back on Monday. It is by far the cheapest overseas IM race to do. I am very happy with the whole IM China experience. We stayed at the official hotel, so were bumping into the professional triathletes everywhere. World Champions, World record holders, legends, we took photos with all of them. Paradise for an IM junkie like me.

Police lined the whole cycling and running route. Spectators were polite and not abusive (unlike in Bolehland). The volunteers (University students) were so enthusiastic to please us.

Again I was always looking at my watch on the run to make sure I would make the cut-off. 2nd last in my age group (16 hrs 26 mins).

20 April, hosting Jocelyn Wong. This was when I resolved to change my diet. Instead of being all skin and bones after doing two Ironmans back to back, my tummy was as round as a balloon.

From this day on I only ate toast for breakfast and my wife's home made energy bars for lunch and when snacking. After so many many years of unsuccessfully trying to reduce my weight, this time it plummeted, 12 kgs worth in a few months.

Jocelyn Wong is a lovely person, very appreciative of what we did for her and I hope to see her again (won't be at IM China 2011 though as the new date is not OK for me).

Cycling mishap. On 1st May I also came the closest I have in my life to death (wow) whilst cycling. After around 200km of cycling alone, at Janda Baik, an insect bit me plus I think I got food poisoning from the mamak mee goreng at Bentong. I was so close to passing out but managed to get a lift from a luxury vehicle. Unfortunately I vomitted like a fountain in the vehicle. Anyway made it back after another lift from Joo Ngan's mechanic.

I have not been to Janda Baik since and now hardly cycle on the roads.

Train at home. Apart from the weekend runs, all my training is done at home. This is in fact why I have improved by leaps and bounds.

I only swim about 1 to 2 hours during the weekends in my little apartment pool. Its such a lovely little waveless pool. I have not been to a proper pool since April. But I was still second in my age group at PD and had the same swim splits as for previous years at IMWA. Relax during training.

My cycling is wholly spinning on the trainer at home in the mornings. I still did my best IM bike spilt at IMWA.

During weekdays, running is done around and around the apartment car park. Nothing wrong, I slashed 2.5 hours from my run splits at IM MY and IM China.

Training at home is the way to go. You are close to your loved ones, all your nutrition, gear needs are there, its cheap and you save maybe 10 hours a week in travelling time. Training at home in the still of the morning is definitely the way to go.

Ngae's passing. May was when Ngae passed away. One minute's silence please.

27 June SCKLM. 4 hrs 56 mins. For someone who regularly has amongst the slowest run split at IM MY, this performance was some doing. My run was coming back. My running (plodding) had been so poor when I got planta fasciitis in 2002. Now it was finally turning around.

25 July P.D. Triathlon. 9th in my age group (not last or second last). Things definitely turning around.

29 Aug (Perth City to Surf Marathon). 4 hrs 18 mins. Perth is a lovely place to visit. I am so fortunate that I have taken Tip to this beautiful location a number of times now. Run definitely improving.

26 Sep Newton 25 km run. 19th in category. I beat so many people that I have never beaten in my life. Of course, many people were still in front of me.

5 Dec IMWA 13 hours 25 min.

  • Lifetime PB
  • 14th official Ironman finish. The Msian record is 15 by Yee Sze Mun
  • First ever daylight finish.
  • 3 hours faster than IM MY & IM China earlier in the year.


Damn, the date for IM China has been changed. Not a good start.


Honey said...

Wow, lookey who I've found here! It's great to see you still doing what you love. I remember asking you about it one sweet MCM and you said you had 'retired' from it. Glad that's not the case (anymore). Don't look back! Only forward! All the best sir! =) And hope your broken arm and foot injuries heal soon. Who knows, maybe I'd bump into Bolehland's very own IM in one of the runs in the future. Not very likely with my healing broken foot and an experience of ONE 10km run, but you never know. ;) - Dini

sofiantriathlete said...


What a small world.
"Sweet MCM" ha ha. I like that.

Yep, 2010 I was able to do what I love quite a lot.

Congrats on your 10 km finish.

Get proper shoes from a good running shop. Start slowly, don't do too much in one go. Train regularly so that the muscles gets used to the activity and naturally become stronger.

Tq, Sofian

peter chan said...

sifu, tremendous year, tremendous achievement. your amazing improvement is really inspiring. well done, salute, salute.

sofiantriathlete said...

Wonderful to hear from you again Peter.
I believe I did see you in the distance running whilst having breakfast with Richard Tang at Mutiara Damansara (2km jogging loop I think).
All the best in your endeavours.

Thank you

plee said...

2010 was an awesome year and observing the improvement in yr performance was a highlight for me... Am sure the PBs will keep coming for years to come....Yr training method (post-May)focuses more on quality ... but more importantly it was also incident free!! No overuse injury or overexertion induced flu (as in previous years)!!

Keep moving forward!

Cheers Paul

sofiantriathlete said...

Hi Paul,

Thank you for your kind deeds and words throughout the year.

You are spot on. There was no overuse injuries, flu etc from May onwards.

All the best to us for 2011.