Monday, September 19, 2005

7h41min, lapped twice and almost last...

Desaru International Triathlon.

Introduction
It was akin to a half ironman event. 2km swim, 90km bike and 21km run. I was apprehensive the day before. As i was driving down with my wife, i kept silence most of the way as i wasn't really sure if i'll be able to finish it, even.

I set a really moderate target of completing the race in 8 hours. An hour for Swim. 4 for biking and 3 for running.

Doesn't help with my tummy giving way a week before the race. Maybe it was all fated. The anxiety attack came a week before the race...

The drive took 3 hours 30 minutes to Desaru. Pleasant most of the way, minus those daredevil F1 wannabe that overtook strings of cars like they are driving some cars with 12 air bags. Upon reaching Desaru Pulai, i could feel my tummy turning.

The Hotel
Was a bit worried when they couldn't find my reservation and was relieved when they found it under the front desk in the VIP basket. We were given a great deal compared to anyone else by virtual of being connected to the owner, no complains here and definately won't be telling anyone what price we had for the rooms.

Let me sum it up where accomodation and services at Desaru Pulai is concerned. It's first class. We've not received such personalised service (complete with good luck cards, which we think might also be given to the other triatheletes which came for the race) compared to anywhere else we went for races.

The staffs were friendly, the room were clean(with no toilet smell unlike the other resorts we stopped by), it was carpeted and plush! Definately 4 thumbs up!

The Apprehension
OK. Back to the race.

I didn't take my bike out until later in the evening and after registering for the race. Those bikes that some of them have sorta makes me feel as if i'm not worthy of the whole event. Carbon frame, carbon here and there...and me, in my Le Run. perhaps it will be worth the weight of at least 3 of those carbon/titanium/aluminuim bikes with aerobars and high end groupset.

Doesn't help with my V-brakes being unable to be adjusted so that neither sides of the pads were brushing against the rims...both front and back!

Most of the participants i saw at the registration counter were regulars which i presume everyone sees at any races, everyone seems to know everyone, well, except me, but i don't need to be known, do i? I then made up my mind that it will be a race against myself.

I found out later that the cut off time was 8 hours. Damn it. And i thought i could take my sweet time and do that 8 hours, minimum.

The Dinner
Dinner was fast, tar-pow-ed fried rice and mee goreng, my first solid food for the whole week. Need to carbo load, or whatever that is left in me won't be able to hack it through the race. Finding food in Bandar Penawar was hard. There wasn't any mamak or chinese food, which means it is an almost 100% malay community. Well, with the influx of people like me and other racers, perhaps it was about 98% Malay and 2% lain lain. The woman which i packed my food from was delighted to find me speaking in Malay and was surprised to find out i'm chinese. She gave me extra helping on the rice and noodles as i say i'll be racing tomorrow.

Bedtime was early, but i wasn't able to fall asleep. The thoughts of running half marathon after 90km of cycling sorta want to make me puke the food i just ate.

i do not know what time i finally slept but before i know it, the alarm went off at 6.30am and i was awake. Called steve to wake him up and he was mumbling something, which i later found out that he was dreaming about munching on some candy bars from a truck that spill it out.

3Hours to Race
Breakfast was swift, avoiding any sort of spicy food, i must say that i didn't ahve the appetite to eat, no doubt i won't be having lunch during the race, but somehow, i felt sick.

At 8am, we were all ready to drive to the race starting point 3km away. We unloaded out bikes, put it in the transition area, met up with Doc, Zabil and Azam, as they were staying at the official hotel. By the way, Azam will be reporting in for a 5 days intensive medical check up for his astronout bid. He ran the fastest 3km amongst other 800 astronuts hopeful.

We had out body marked. I am number 150, Doc 231, Steve 326, Bean 327. We felt like some cow ready for slaughter.

BY 9.45am, all the racers were asked to go to the beach for the starting of the race. Dato' Azalina, the Sports Minister came, apparently it was her birthday, and the organiser had a cake ready for her.

Doc told Aileen that he will see how, if he wants to continue the race after swimming. He was dissappointed that the regular kakis weren't around to swim with him. I felt like throwing up. The morning sun was burning into my eyes and the body never felt any funnier. Zabil managed to pop in one immodium. "anxiety attack la bro" he said.

At 10am, she pressed the air horn.

Too late to pull out by now.

2km Swim.
The beach never seems livelier than usual. This is afterall, the 10th installation of the Desaru race. About 450 triathletes and wannabes (like me) ran down the beach and into the cold water. Some were seen pushing people aside as they started their swim. some were walking until they can't walk anymore before they decide to swim. Frankly, i've not swam except on wednesday at Kelana Jaya. I was worried of course. Swimming was jsut perhaps 2% of the whole race. I reckon even if the fastest swimmer could get out of water 20 minutes ahead of me, i could still catch up if they have 2 puntures. But of course, those were wishful thinking. Moreover, if the fastest swimmer is actually Mr. Chris himself, that's almost imposibble.

The swim was uneventful for me, it was a rahter relaxing event. I covered the 2km in a moderate 45 minutes. Trying to conserve as much energy i could for the cycling and running league. I breaststroked all the way. reckon that i wasn't good enough to do front crawl, as i noticed a few of them that was swimming side by side with me was actually at the same speed as me, while doing front crawl!

Ran to the shower, took my time there to wash off the salty sea water, minus shampoo and soap. Entered the transition area, had 2 bananas and packed 2 more in my shirt's pocket (and i've enough chocolate, instead of powergel, in the small pouch i borrowed from karoline). Steve and zabil's bike is no where to be found anymore.

The Biking.
Hopped on my Ol' Bike.Had all the items i need, until i realised that i forgot to grab my sunnies. It was already hot. The sun was merciless. As i made my way towards the first U-Turn near the golf course, i knew i could very well finish the race today. Well, that was what i thought.

Into the first 20km, Mr. Chris overtook me. Lapped me silly. As i hit my first 30km, i was doing an average of 30km/h, pretty fast for all it's worth of my ol' bike.

The sun was hard, the wind was blowing harder. Roadies were overtaking me as if i'm some snail along the highway.

As i complete my 60km ride, i'm pretty much tired and almost worned out. I've came so far, i thought i might as well finish the last 30km which is left. by then, Mr. Chris overtook me again...and that goes to the few profesional guys as well, even Sonja lap me once.

It took me 4 hours plus to finish the 90km bike, by then, i saw Zabil and Steve doing their remaining 13km of run, saw doc on my second 30km lap, saw bean walking to the finish line MINUS his bike, and heard that Mr. Chris has finished the race in sub 4 hours.

Morale were low, no doubt, but i came so far, might as well finish it.

The Run.
I came in after the biking, jumped off my bike to test if my legs are still up to it. Wifey rushed to me to make sure i'm ok. I'm about half dead. Nevermind the 5 cloud 9 chocolate i had, 1 snicker bar, 1 powergel and 3 liters of water mixed with Excel Isotonic and 4 bottles of water which i used to drench myself in the hot afternoon heat...i have to finish the race, even if the whole gang that is already at the finish line have to run behind me and stick a knife on my back.

I ran out, this time, remembered to take my sunnies (hey, gotta look cool for it dude, don't want to look constipated...), i ran into the shower where the organiser set up to cool us down. Took 2 bananas with me and poured ice cold water to douse the heat. I think i qualified for some wet t-shirt competition and looking kinky with 2 bananas in my mouth.

The first 10km felt like my usual 10km run which i do. I think i managed to finish it in about an hour 20 minutes. I know i have to keep moving, at least a slow run, or a fast walk. The pain shifted from my hamstrings to my quads, then it disappeared and appeared on my calf, then my shin. It is like doing a few cycle around my legs. Everytime there is a watering and sponge station, i'll be there to put more ice cold water to ease the pain.

My second 10km was a crawl, i was reduced to walking. i reckon maybe a 4km/h walk which i don't think is very tri-athelete like. but what the heck, it's me against myself. Slowly watering station were closed down as the race enters it's final hour. I found myself grabbing a bottle which were thrown on the grown and filling it up with ice cold water. I had 2 sponge with me, which was later split into half by the 15km mark(as i was grabbing them so hard to ease the pain).

At my final 6km, i decided to make friend with Roy, which is 2 years older than me and from Singapore. He was having cramps from the waist down. We cheered each other up and found out that he have his pregnant wife waiting for him at the finish line.

we walked, we limped, we stretched. Passerby cheered and ask us to carry on. The final 3km never felt furhter.

500meters was like hell.

the final 500m was sweet.

Roy made a dash for it, i wasn't up to it anymore, no way i could hack it to even run, infact, my walk felt like a crawl, i felt like i'm HALF dead.

i crossed the line, greeted by the whole bunch of Light and Easy gang and wife in 7h 41 mins.

First thing i did?

"where my medal????" i asked!!!!

pictures will come later, need to take time to recuperate before Powerman this weekend.

ps- i saw penguin in powerbar tri suit...caya sama lu brader!!! Linking you to my site.

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