I began my accidental Ironman journey in 2007 when I ‘accidentally’ joined the A Famosa Triathlon (sprint event). 2007 ; the sprint Tris and DUs year. 2008, upgraded to full distance (OD) triathlon, Powerman as well as the Desaru Long Distance Triathlon (half Ironman distance). I believe in the 1 thing at a time principle (tho im a profound multitasker). So the logical best next step was Ironman. I was not reluctant, but had the confidence that whatever foundation I manage to build in 2008 will serve as my base for Ironman training.
To cut the story short, I will go straight to the race report. Training and motivation issues , I’ll post later on. I apologize for the delay. Been pretty busy after Ironman. Anyways, enjoy !
1.Arrived in Langkawi. EXCITED + FLUTTERS. ahahaha.. Weather in Langkawi can be spelt with 3 letters. H.O.T.
2. Medical check up, Race registration, Race kit collection
3. Carbo-loading evening
1. Morning run with fellow triathletes
2. Breakfast with Dino + uncle Alex
3. Pre-race briefing
4. Bike check in
5. Masak-masak time !
6. More flutters
D-day has finally arrived. Didn’t exactly have a good peaceful sleep last night. But still, we were up by 5am. Already prepared the things to bring to transition area that morning the night before. But of course la, excited punya pasal..kelam kabut jugak !
Cycled to transition area from the hotel. 😛 The excitement has already started. 😛 At this time I was not nervous. Just excited. I checked for the 100th time to make sure all the things I need are in place. Fong helped rub some vaseline on my back. Here, and there. Blister from endurance races are merciless. What more Ironman !
0730 hrs ; flag off for pro
0745 hrs ; age grouper flag off
So there we were on the pontoon. Posing, laughing..ahahaha…as if there’s no big deal when the next air horn blows. But i know for sure some of us there were already nervous. My only target at that point of time is 1- not to be stung by jellyfish, , 2- to meet swim cut off no matter what
074520 hrs : my real Ironman Langkawi journey begins. Let the faster swimmers jump in first. I was at the back. I did not even thread water. Hahaha.. Went in the water, stayed at the back, and swam slowly towards the small buoys. Ironman swim start, at least the 1st 100m is like an open water sparing competition. You get kicked , slapped, shoved, here ad there. So gotta be careful ! I am (or rather the IM participants) are/were lucky coz the swim course this year is pretty straight forward. No more triangles and no-man-zone. You ‘just’ gotta swim straight for 1.9km, make a U-turn, and head back to the jetty. So there were we swimming on the waters of Straits of Malacca. Water was pretty calm, cool, no sea lice ! Think rough water, think Desaru ! Think sea lice, think PD Pantai Panorama ! It took me around 56 minutes or less before I made the U-turn. I believe I over took a pink dolphin in a Bike Boutique tri-suit. Or was it Abu ? Hahhah.. Swam on, and felt the current pushing me from behind. owh great ! I felt more confident, and swam a lil faster, but at ease. 300m to swim finish a jelly-fish decided to pop up from no where,appeared right below my abs !! Say 20cm from me abs ?! Froze, shock, and my legs went cramp ! Oh no ! That was the last thing which I wanted to happen on D-day ; getting stung by a jelly-fish ! But I didn’t get stung, swam on,recovered, and head for a home run. Pace ; 2.31mins/100m. I’m pretty much slow! but I was smiling ear to ear after FINALLY getting out of the water. Time check ; 1hr 35mins for swim time. Well done Julie!
Surprised to see May Senn still there. But more surprised to see Michelle coming in after me. But anyways, it took me a couple of minutes to change from my speed suit to the 2-piece tri suit. There were helpers there to help us to rub sun block or Vaseline for you. They did a great job. But my guess is, its better to do everything on your own. Put on my cycling shoe, put on the helmet and off I went to get my bike !
With my sub 2 hours target for the 3.8km swim leg achieved, next thing to do is go easy on the bike and not too push hard. I did not went , see or even tested the course. But according to fellow Ironman bloggers, as well as the race briefing, bike course is pretty hilly.
1st 200m out from the bike area, I hear people cheering and I heard a girl shouting out my name ‘Aunty Julie!!!!’. It could be either be Abu’s daughter or Zabil’s. But I think its Zabil’s.Next 100m Abu zoomed pass me, ‘Go Julieeeeee!!!’. Those cheerings gave me some boost. I did not want to get too excited for the early part of the bike coz I got 180km to go ! We gotta do 1 big loop, and 3 small loops. All parts are pretty hilly except for the course surrounding the Langkawi airport.
It was burning. The heat, the sun. I had no gloves on, no sunblock cream on. My hands were already burning. Imagine applying the deep heat rub on your hands. Well, that how I felt. But luckily at the feed station you can cool yourself down with the mineral water.
There were stretches where I’ll be alone for 3km ++, or even 5km ++ with 1-2 fast cyclists passing by. Entertained myself well, sang, check out the sceneries, check out the on goings at the street side. What else..oh yeah, and there’s this invention called the Bento Box ! Hahahha… Macam-macam i put in there..my salt tablet, my Q gel Carni, sweets, dates and even jelly !
Kids at the street side were all cheerful. But at times can appear as annoyance and danger as they’ll be running at the street side to increase their probability of getting hold of the infamous Ironman water bottle. Yes,the white one with the Ironman Langkawi logo on it ! Just for the sake of sharing, at 1 point some kids were spilling on the bike course. So I yelled at them ‘Dek, tepi dek !’ (means ‘Get out of the way young ones!’). And 1 of them replied ‘Eh ? Boleh cakap Melayu?’ (means ‘She can speak Malay?!!’). Those kids must have thought I was a foreigner. Thailand, Philippines perhaps?
I manage not to get any tube puncture. Lucky me ! Below is my average speed per loop ; maintained the 1st 100km with an average between 28km/h – 26km/h. Last 80km average 23km/h – 24km/h. Total average : 26.74km/h. I took the hills at ease. Love the hills. This was the plan , take it easy. Smile at the camera, stop at feeding station, wave at the local kids who were sheering and asking for the empty Ironman water bottles. I have another 42km of running to go.
|BIKE – 30 km||2:45:44
30 km @ 1:03:48
|BIKE – 45 km||3:17:34
15 km @ 31:50
|BIKE – 57.8 km||3:45:04
12.8 km @ 27:30
|BIKE – 67.5 km||4:06:50
9.7 km @ 21:46
|BIKE – 82.5 km||4:40:19
15 km @ 33:29
|BIKE – 95.3 km||5:08:44
12.8 km @ 28:25
|BIKE – 105.0 km||5:31:09
9.7 km @ 22:25
|BIKE – 120 km||6:07:19
15 km @ 36:10
|BIKE – 132.8 km||6:38:04
12.8 km @ 30:45
|BIKE – 142.5 km||7:02:26
9.7 km @ 24:22
|BIKE – 157.5 km||7:39:04
15 km @ 36:38
|BIKE – 170.3 km||8:12:09
12.8 km @ 33:05
|TOTAL BIKE – 180 km||6:43:57||26.74 km/h||388||6|
Bike done. (macam tak percaya je) Unbelievable ! ‘Only’ 42km of running left ! yeehaa..so here’s the toughest part in Ironman..the run leg. I took it easy at the transition. Plenty of time left.. plus the fact I have achieved my main target already ; meeting cut off for swim. Some streching and some salt tablets. I have never ran a full marathon before. This one will be my first. So , no high hopes Just maintain the pace, and NOT walk. I don’t remember who I bump into at T2. So excited already kot..but anyways, here I go…
Again, weather was on our side. It wasn’t at hot as the bike leg. And yes, it rained bit. Learning to cool down, pace and not cramping was my main concern. I admit, I did not push at all during the run. Did not want to stress the system as I know I’ll benefit nothing by doing so. Plus the fact that this is my first Ironman. We had to do 5 loops of 8km. Plus the 1km in between run start/finish to the timing mat in front of the Sea View hotel. Part of the run was in the evening. I started running around 4pm ++. The watch on my left wrist did not bother me.It was home run for me, with lots of halts in between. Loo halts, medical tent halts, feeding station hats, a whole lotsa halts there.
I chatted with a lot of people too. Or else you’ll get bored. Once the sun sets, you’ll see visible to your eyes many zombies. Some walking, some limping, some with a long face, some keeping their spirit up even though they are mentally tired. I had to do my bit of entertaining as well. The people at the medical tents helped a lot. I ask them for the cramp spray, this and that. hahaha..fun ! i was sick worried I might get cramp. But I didn’t.
4-5 times visit the loo. too much for the ‘tank to hold’. At the stretch between the Sea View hotel to the traffic light junction, we had the supporters and friends cheering non-stop for the participants. There were the LeTuang gang, the IM cyclists gang, the Navy gang with the UPNM gang, and other friends and family members. It is a challenge for them as well to wait for us triathletes for more than 11 hours ! Penat woo ! And yes, there were the national kayakers gang. Lek was on of them. Anyways, bad news for me during 1 of the loops. Bump into Badrol , my team mate at Perhentian Island Challenge 2008. He told me Dino was admitted to the hospital . And I was like.. ‘What ?!!!!’. Then came Steve, also with the same news, describing every inch of the story. Dino was not well weeks heading toward D-day. He was sicks 2-3 days before but yet determined that he had to carry on the race, as he was hoping for the Kona slot. Well, Steve and I cried a bit.. yes, I was indeed sad that time. For a second I felt like quitting the race to go see him, but determinism tells me that I gotta carry on this race even with a heavy heart due to the many mishaps befalling me even up to the eve of Ironman race itself. It wasn’t easy. But I held tight and true to my principle and that the best thing is to just finish this race.
So there I was at Bandar Kuah, hobbling, running and slow jogging along side hundreds other Ironman participants ! Bila la nak habis ni..? ahhahaha…dat question slowly trickling into my mind. I couldn’t go any faster. My legs were already so heavy. Water retention. And I felt blister building up on my toes. And had to take care of the knee as well. Had a bike crash 2 weeks before Ironman.
The colourful bands given to us indicates how many loops we’ve covered. After getting the last band we had to run 1 last loop before heading for the finish line. After getting the last band, opened my stride and run !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Here’s my run average. It can be described with 3 words : CAN BE IMPROVED
|RUN – 5.1 km||9:05:18
4 km @ 32:54
|RUN – 9.1 km||9:33:25
4 km @ 28:07
|RUN – 13.1 km||10:02:05
4 km @ 28:40
|RUN – 17.1 km||10:30:27
4 km @ 28:22
|RUN – 21.1 km||11:01:30
4 km @ 31:03
|RUN – 25.1 km||11:32:36
4 km @ 31:06
|RUN – 29.1 km||12:05:42
4 km @ 33:06
|RUN – 33.1 km||12:38:55
4 km @ 33:13
|RUN – 37.1 km||13:08:54
4 km @ 29:59
|RUN – 41.5 km||13:35:24
4.4 km @ 26:30
|TOTAL RUN||42.2 km (5:10:03)||7:20/km||290||6|
I don’t know how fast I ran. Outside the reality of Ironman I was running slow. 6:01km for the last loop might not change much of my timing, but it did prove 1 thing alright –> my sprint finish for most of my triathlon races. hahaha.. But in IM reality, 6mins/km is considered as decent. I even passed 1 chap in the tunnel leading to finish line. Heard people screaming my name too !
At the finish line : Official time : 13hrs 42mins. This is done,finally.Secretly I wished there was someone there to receive me with a hug. But there was none. 😦 Might have to wait another for year for some magic to happen. Or not. Finishing Ironman is not about the finish line, but that road, journey you go through before hitting finish. I had mine, and I must thank God for giving me the chance to go through priceless experience.A pretty colourful road too…
Collected my medal, and finisher towel, which I had no idea who I received it from. Razlan was doing something else,so my name was not announced when I hit finish. But no big deal. I had a mentally, physically and emotionally tough day behind me. All I need next it soak myself in the shower.Fong finished 8 minutes ahead of me. 8 minutes came from the swim time. For bike and run, my average was slightly higher than hers. Well, this is a motivation for me to train swimming more seriously so that i can relax more on my next Ironman. hahhah..just kidding !
After yak yak at the shower , I waited at the finishing area to watch for a few more friends to finish. Happy to see AJ, Denis Oakley and Yusran to finish ! After that, gathered my belongings, bike , and pushed the bike back to the hotel. An easy 2km ++ walk back to the hotel, passing Barath who was still running at that time, worried if he’s got time left before the 17hours cut off.
Saw Adeline, Stupe as well. They all finished. Hats off to everyone !
2. Bike pick up, send to Bike Boutique tent
3. Lunch with the gang
4. Awards dinner
A big THANK YOU to POWERBAR Malaysia for sponsoring and encouraging me to take up the Ironman challenge. 😛 Not forgetting to EVERYONE whom I met along the way throughout my journey to Ironman. To my training buddies, its been a helluva good time training with you all. Special note to Azmar and AJ who did their IM PBs this year ! So proud of you guys ! To the 1st timers, Kam, Barath, Rashid, myself, I think we all deserve a pat on our shoulder. Give yourself one if you havent ! To those who didn’t make it to the finish line, remember , life is far more important than anything else. There’s only 1 life where you can be doing all this, so don’t put it at risk. Race in fun, but with caution and aware of the risk which lays ahead of you. Those who DNFed or DQed, it wasn’t your day. Remember , plenty of races this year, next year, every year.
To all newbies, I enjoyed my maiden Ironman. I did not set exactly how many hours I was gonna finish Ironman in. If you prepared well, all should go well. Its like preparing for a test (Ironman is indeed a test !). You pay attention in class, do your homework, revision. Comes D-day, you’re mind is already set, course cleared and you’re ready to go baby !
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL !!
P.S. : I have plenty of stories to share, and plenty more pics to upload, but I guess I’ll do both part in another post. I’ll upload the pics to my flickr account. View sana okay ?! http://www.flickr.com/photos/missjewelz
Ok, DONE ! (with the belated basi maiden Ironmn report). Signing off.