Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Countdown to Ironman Malaysia

Tomorrow I will travel to Langkawi for my A-race for this year. For the past 48.5 weeks I've put in a lot of training effort. No sugar coating on this and I can tell you it is tough. Having to juggle increased responsibilities at work and at the same time balancing time for family and training. Luckiy I am not racing for a living like the Pro. Being age-grouper certainly has it's perks.
I started writing this on September 17, 2014. A good 10 days before the race. So what you read may or may not appear "current". As you all may noticed too, my blog updates has been lesser mainly due to work commitment.
Tapering Plan
It failed miserably. I was supposed to taper Sunday Sept 14,2014 but the plan was cancelled due to last minute work planning. What I did was minimal and hardly enough to prepare my body for the much needed taper. The plan would had fell nicely because September 16 was a holiday and I will get to re-start some light Zone 1 or 2 training to keep the heart "hot" and body ready.
RnR - All part of the plan. Doof made it easier
But it all failed to materialise. Not helping with the lack of sleep over the Malaysia Day holiday due to work, I tried to log in an hour of spinning on September 17 night - only to find myself sleeping on the couch between 2100hours to 2300hours, and the bike was at the door waiting. Wifey were supportive enough and woke me up the next morning (today, September 18) to spin for an hour - which I managed what was likely my shortest spinning session...15minutes. Had a dizzy spell likely due to insufficient rest and call it off. Perhaps I will try again later at night. Somehow, today (Sep 18), I came to the conclusion not to fight the need to taper anymore. I will just do what I need to and what I could. If it meant a short spin of 30mins or a run of 15mins, so be it.
Or more session under the sun to acclimatise?
Race Plan
The main plan revolves around finishing the race in cut off time of 17hours. While I know many has higher expectation of me to finish faster, I would need to be pragmatic with my approach. Please remember that this race is my race and I am not benchmarking it against anyone. My timing for Ironman in Langkawi as follow (and link to the race reports)
Ironman Langkawi 2008 : 15:00:29
Ironman Langkawi 2009 : 16:13:43
Ironman Langkawi 2010 : 16:48:08
2010. 16:48
As you can all see, 15hours was my best timing. I came close to cut off in 2010. I am truly average. And nothing changes that fact.
However
I have a plan dream.
Add caption
Swim  - 1:40
The amount of swim training I've put in this time has exceeded the mileage I've done in my whole entire life swimming. No kidding. I would say for some one that has never gotten any training in swimming and only learnt it when I was drowning in a pool when I was 8 or 9 years old, I did really well. I've gotten so much tips from friends and I've put every single advice I gotten to good use. The results? I am able to swim front crawl comfortably. It is my weakest discipline which I've not placed much or enough training.
Aqua Sphere Vista Tinted for that morning sunshine swimming out
Bike - 6:30
7,600km. 4 tires changes. Endless hours and my bottom skin grew so thick it is a pad by itself. I can sit on the trainer for 6hours wearing just a running shorts with no padding. Either that of the seat given by fellow Ironman Kok Aik damn comfy.
Ironballs
The route in Langkawi will not be easy due to the heat and potential rain. The elevation gain is decent and it is most important to ensure a consistent spinning cadence than to "go for it", especially if this is your first time riding the course. While many are worried of the elevations and the course, I choose to stay positive as there is no merit in worrying. What you can do (and hopefully did) during the training is to learn to utilise the gears to flatten the road. A humble 6:30 to cover 180km - that is an average (a very do-able 27km/h).
Hoping it all pays off
Run - 6:00
I hate running. I still do. I've clocked good mileage as part of my base training and it sort of taper off mid-way during the training as I want to reduce the chances of injuries when all three sports combined in. Often resisting the urge to run longer - so I ended up making each run I do faster. The intensity training is important as I know I have the endurance and I aim to make sure I have what it takes to finish the race strongly. Jelly legs come into mind after a long ride and I believe I've prepared for the worse possible BRICK effect.
But will it be enough?
I set a very modest target of 6:00 for my run simply because I am not sure how I would hold up after the biking. My best PB for a marathon is a slow 5:15 and it is not in an Ironman race. a 6:00 42km for an Ironman is a good pace. 8mins/km and it is very do-able. Will I do better? I believe I would.

Adding Them (time) Up
1:40+0:15+6:30+0:15+6:00 = 14:40 total. If I do this, it will be my Personal Best timing. I know some are expecting me to do a 12hours - which honestly, I felt is way beyond me. I am prepared and I know I will finish strong. My 14:40 is a very very modest target I set for myself because there are more things that are important in races like these.
For example:
1. Camaraderie - nothing is more important to do this with friends. Some may do better, some maybe not. It is not how you win the game, it is how you play it that counts.

2. Staying injury free - because this is NOT the only A-race I will ever do. Look forward to be better and we can only be better.

3. Supporters - for these are the biggest contributor for me in this race. Without them, and specifically the family being there, this would not had been possible. Things WILL go wrong and it is important to remember WHY you are there in the first place and WHO help made it happen.

Fuel.Hydrate.Repeat
This is my fuelling plan for Ironman. If you are still grappling int he dark, this could be a good start.
My main fuel is Perpetuem Solids which I love the fact I get to chew on something and not just gulp it down. While it has mixed review from others from the food sticking to the teeth/gum (which I find it good because it then allow me or distract me to clean my teeth while cycling). I have the Gel as back up and likely to take them one every alternate hours to "top up".
The poison
1. Perpetuem x6 tubes - 1 tablets every 30-45mins.
2. Hammer Gel x 6 packs - 1 pack alternate hour
3. Anti Fatigue x 20caps  - 4 caps 1 hour before race, 1 cap per hour
4. Endurolyte x 25caps - 4 caps 1 hour before race, 1 cap per hour
5. HEED x 15serves - concentrated in Hammer bottle. Squirt into Torpedo bottle, mix with water every 15km. Drink a sip every 10-15mins
6. Oats for breakfast - 4 hours before race. LIkely waking up at 2am for this
7. Hammer bar for breakfast - 2hours before race
8. REM for restful sleep - target to sleep by 10pm
9. Race Day Boost - 2 tablets, 4 times a day, 4 days before race. 

Making it thick so I don't need to mix the powder, ever.
The key to food is 1/3 of the calorie burnt, in this case, approximately 200kcal/hour for me. I need to ensure I eat sufficiently. From my training ride, I know I get flat out by Km90 or 3hours into the long ride. I would absolutely need to fuel up and force eat!
Lastly
I be flying Firefly and 2-days before the flight I received distress messages that Firefly WILL not fly out any bikes. My main concern were friends that are taking FY with me and they are mostly first timer that will be racing. We took FYT because of convinience - not because it is any cheaper. Sad to say, FY most likely has not predicted the volume of athletes flying out and they lost the opportunity to gain long term support with these able-paying customers. 
What do I do with you?
As luck has it. Edwin of Joo Ngan & Son near my home offered to take my bike after seeing my 10 sen face. It was definitely too late to pack, too late to even find a box, and too late to change any flights - not when you have a whole family travelling. 
This sports has taught me about being selfless - while the triathlon sports is very much all about "you", the other element which is camaraderie is utmost important. I gained so many new friends just sharing what I know. I do not claim to be the best - for I never dare to compare myself even with the man in the mirror. I am truly my worse enemy. I must admit I was that close to breaking down today (Sept 23). Work load and last minute heart attack situation like these are not good. 
And there are always the little doubt; that the training is not enough and that possibility that mechanical failure will happen, and ...the finishing line to cross.
Week 49.
49 weeks of Sweat. Tears. Commitment. 8393.11km. 351:56:04 hours. 

See you all after the last 226.2km in maximum of 17hours. I would like to add that to the "training log" by this Saturday Midnight. 

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