Tuesday, March 03, 2009

My 226KM Journey aka IronMan 2009

I completed my second IM and here is my report.


The part where I trained the least and only for a month at most. The gun went off at 7.45am and I took my time to enter the water and started swimming.

As usual, IM swim is like contact sports. It could get ugly with all the hands and legs flying around. I tried to find my beacon, but everyone around me was just swimming in an almost zigzag motion. I spotted AJ and a few of them. I saw Senn, I saw Julie. I stayed closed to them to get a bearing of where I am going.

The water was unusually calm and the usual jelly fishes and water lice did not show up on race day. I must say I enjoyed the swim thoroughly and it was evident in me posting an almost identical time for the 3.8km swim in 1:35:57, but it was essentially 15 seconds slower than last year. I initially thought I did better, but I guessed I did not as I am writing this now.

One thing did go wrong. I kicked, twice, on the stone that was used to weigh down the buoy. I am not sure which events were more severe as I had 2 cuts at the ball of my left feet.

as of yesterday afternonn

I waste no time and ran into transition and I guess I totally ignored some of the cheers along the way and I knew the pain from the cut would be bothering me the rest of the day.

Ran into T1 and realized that the cut looked nasty and it was still bleeding. I reckon it was about an inch gash, with the deeper portion along ¾ of the gash. It was deep enough to see the red flesh and I could feel the pulsating effect when I open up the gash to see if I require any medical attention.

But I guess I was man enough to handle this gash/cut. I carried on.

T1 was a fast 6:57 and I was out to the bike.


Out To Bike

The bike route this year was different. But not very much different that it would create more problems for most of us. Well, that was what I thought until at 60KM mark, I realized that I will need to climb this Bukit Hantu 4 times!

This hill is maybe a couple of times harder than the hill in Lenggeng. It’s steep and sharp and it makes granny gear looked hard.

A lot of people dismount and pushed the bike up, but I refused to do so and just continue to crank my way up.

I covered the first 60km in good timing, averaging at about 28.9km/h. But that was the fastest ever average I got for the day as I slowly see my average dropping to 25km/h by the end of the day.

I seriously do not know where I went wrong on the bike. I felt strong. I keep pedaling. I did not have any cramps. I ate. I drank. But I must say that after 105km, the pain on from the cut sort of went off; maybe my foot was just numb. I don’t know.

The photographers such as Kharis, SK, Tey, Din, Tini, Jim and supporter such as Bandit, Luvis, Mervin and of course Wifey, sort of made my day and gave me more strength and power to continue what I was doing. I won’t deny the fact that I was hoping to see them at every turn.

But I guess what really went wrong was that I stopped at every 10km to SHOWER with ice cold water – in my effort to stay cool under the hot 40 degree heat.

That, together with the pain on the ball of the feet that came back after 140km on the bike, threw my race out of the window as I realized I was really slow on my 3rd loop.

I was so slow I was wondering what the !@#$^ I was doing wasting my time racing!

I carried on pushing and dreaded the last climb up Bukit Hantu. By then, I already see more people pushing. On the top of the hill, the supporters were there cheering. I had to stop for a leak.

Now, why do I have to stop? I know for a fact that if I don’t have any urge to pee by then, that would mean I am severely dehydrated and I can kiss the race goodbye.

Guess Who?

I found myself talking to my family jewel why he did not want to take a leak. I did after 10 seconds of coaxing and by then, Yusran and Kam had caught up.

And that was when I knew I am really slow on the bike.

Indeed, it was, I clocked in at 6:59:38, a good 11 minutes slower than last year.

Into T2, I saw Yusran and was later joined by Kam and Hoh (which incidentally, reads my incoherent blog and remember both my kids name – thank you sir, it’s an honor to be racing with you).

I took the shoe off and the gash closed off at both end, leaving the gash to be about ¾ inch wide. It stopped bleeding and it did stain the inner part of my cycling shoe. I guess the pressure I put on the wound during the bike course has sort of help to stop the bleeding.

Show must go on. T2 was a quick 15:31 (as compared to the almost record breaking 29 minutes last year).


What a chore. Not only we have to run 5 loops, it gets as confusing as hell. I ran the first 1km and then I had to stop. The gash was pulsating and I felt the shoe to be extremely tight. Every step I take is like walking on nails. I then found out that Senn has the same injury, but hers was deeper. I saw her on the run course and I must say she hid the pain really well. Unlike me, which were showing all over my face.

Needless to say, it was my personal worse marathon. I completed the run in 7:15:41. Which isn’t even a run but a walk.

I am truly disappointed with myself for not being able to ignore the pain. For not able to push myself more than I actually could.

Wifey and the supporters were there to cheer me on; I had to try to hide the pain as much as possible as not to make wifey worry. I then took a painkiller that wifey offered me and trust me, it did nothing to the pain (I took acoxia, which is amongst the best NSAID pain killer around) and I just had to continue onwards.

I saw my finishing time went from 13:30 if I was able to run, to 14:30 because I managed to run my second loop to 16:30 as I was walking the remaining last 3 loops.

Along the way, I cheered people I know on. I am very very happy to see Barath pushing himself and determined to finish the race. I was very pleased to see Bandit running along with Barath – something money can’t buy and only friendship could offer.

I saw AJ’s determined face. I saw Julie pushing on. Sofian was walking but confident. Edwin was strolling compared to last year. Kam managed to take a dump and still finish in good timing. Halim was soldiering on. Arif was happily running, Ishsal was chasing cut off, Bean was as usual, calm, Steve was with a bag of Jambu Air as food/snack for run, Faisaal running like it’s a 10km run, Adzim despite bad cramps focused to complete the run and the ultimate would be Senn, numbing her pain with her smile and crosses the line a good 15 minutes ahead.

The highlight of my race on Saturday was the 2km walk that wifey took with me to the finish line.

That itself was priceless. It was her sacrifice that I managed to do some training. It was with her support, that I managed to do this sport.

I crossed the line in 16:13:43. A good 1:13:40 than last year.

To be frank, I don’t really have the urge to write the race report this time around.

I know I should be happy to be able to complete the IM this time around, but I guess my frustration was because I know I could have done it better.

After all is said and done, and with the minimal training I had, I should just be happy I am now twice IronMan finisher.

There is always next year to improve on my timing; and the year after…and after…and after. It will get better; I promise all of you, and to myself most of all.

Thank you to all the supporters and well wishers, there are too many to be named, you know who you are.

Well done to all the IronMan that managed to complete their first ever IM or even first ever triathlon and well done to all that has improved their timing.

Most of all, well done to all of you, for beating one person. YOURSELF.

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