PLEASE BE WARNED THAT THIS WILL BE A LONG POST. GRAB A COFFEE JUST IN CASE..
As mentioned in my pre race write up, I was not ready. But the turn of events leading to Desaru, and on the race course was pretty interesting. Sports is a passion and hobby, andย multi sports is my favourite after running. I take part in them leisurely, but to have some competitionย once in a while is OK for me except that if I have ‘competition’ running up and down my neurons before a race, I know it would be difficult for me to enjoy the race. What more longer distance races i.e. Ironman Langkawi and Desaru Long Distance Triathlon. For Desaru this year, apa ke bendanye nak competition.. Undertrained ! This would only be my 2nd Long Distance outing in Desaru. First time was in 2007 (Sprint, 1:01) and second time in 2008 as part of my Ironman Langkawi preparation (Long Distance , 6:25)
Been doing more rides since fasting month, some bricks also, running..not so much.. the only 10k I did was with Yip one of the fasting weekend, and also some trail running with him during fasting also !! (memang, campur ngan Yip mmg jadi IpMan terus..) ๐ Larian malas (lazy runs) ada la beberapa kali. Didn’t forget my strength training ! So I did hit the gym a couple of times. Swim ?! Terrible.. only did a couple of times.. memang teruk benar lah preparation this time .. I have to admit, Desaru lepas bulan puasa (after fasting month), memang mencabar (is definitely testing).. In 2008, it was way before Ramadhan, plus the fact that it was a build up towards Ironman, Desaru is a must-take-part race, well at least for me ! So there, a humble humble prep. I was not motivated to train. But was also surprised to see that my running legs are still there when I did the Newton Run (12k) 2 weeks ago. I was afraid I would bust my knee or something, so had to keep everything under control.. It was not the time to ‘test’ my legs, just had to keep em going for Desaru. I only RESTed the last week to Desaru. There was absolutely no point pushing any mileage on the last minute.
En route to Desaru/Before race day
Had great company ; Hadi and Fitri. We car pooled, and ‘convoyed’ with Fairul and his friend Syah(Bedul). Left KL around 7.30am and reached Desaru around noon. 1st up, ย collected our race kits. Funny this year I thought the registration fee is higher, but no tote bag .. only plastic bag..! And a typo on the participant tshirt is a blunder as well.. ’10km’ running instead of 21km ! Anyways, we quickly collected our race kits. Lucky thing we came early. At least can get our preferred tshirt sizes ! I got myself a Power Balance band from Eugene Chan. ๐ I don’t know exactly how the stuff works, but it worked alright !! But I was not sure what effect will it have on my overall performance tomorrow. Well,, as long as I am psychologically boosted than I should be ok. Nearly got myself a new PINK tri top by Zoot, but i think me wallet have had enough of boost lah. haaha.. We had lunch at Hentian Desaru. We were hungry, and the rice was a bit salty, but can’t complain. Will be needing the salt anyways.
Checked in at the hotel and rested till 5.30pm. The body and mind was tired. I would have been more tired if I drove. (Thank God Hadi was given the honour to drive !! thanks Hadi !). . Race briefing was at 6pm at Lotus Ballroom, at the official hotel, Lotus. But Fairul, Fitri and I managed a quick run and some light stretching before that. I felt my legs very heavy.. I still had some water retention in me legs.. (not good..!).. Already panicking that time.. I went for a massage the night before but my regular masseur was on leave. So had another masseur attending to my muscles.. didn’t like it as she was putting more strain to my muscles instead of soothing it and I had to tell her a couple of times to ease the massage pressure a bit. I wanted to make a sports massage appointment with Equal Fitness but their outlet is a bit too far off and I didn’t want to go through the MRR2 traffic to reach Kinrara (they are based there). Their outlet in Sooka Central recently closed (unfortunately).
Race briefing : a big hall, a big crowd filling up the hall. and a standard sized white board, and a drawing of the race course map using marker. Was not sure if the people sitting at the end of the hall could see anything. But other than that the race briefing went well. I threw in a question during ย Q&A. Will there be chilled sponges at water stations? Answer was NONE.. Shucks..they had it 2 years ago !! (and yes, it saved my life ..!) Mr Chan changed the race start time to 10am. A LAST MINUTE change, which I don’t think many minded. But I was getting worried because I had to go back to KL after the race on Saturday !!!!
We didn’t have dinner super early because…race only starts at 10am !!! Didn’t even bother to set up the bike! Left it in the car.. was so bored that I still had enough time to hang out with some friends after dinner. LOL. Slept around 11.30pm.
A typical race morning would be.. wake up, rush for shower, breakfast,.. and get prepared to go for body marking at the transition EARLY. But this time around…Woke up…(the rest were still sleeping).. woke adik Fitri up to go to the beach and catch the sunrise. Hey, it didn’t feel AT ALL like a race morning. I was thinking no point rushing, and since I won’t be around the following morning might as well check out the sunrise that morning. Fitri and I posed and took some photos. The rest eventually woke up and joined both of us at the beach. After that mandi (shower), had breakfast in the room( bread and peanut butter) and soy drink. Already prepared my gears the night before. Left for the transition around 8.30am. Parking is limited and I wanted to park closest to the transition area. So it was a good thing we left early !
Got my body marked. Lucky number of the day : 721. Chris’s was 722 ! Chris is fast, but absolutely NO pressure to me. haha.. mind control had never been that easy. I know what I am there in Desaru for, and mind strategies like these are important. I can be physically fit but if I were to put too much pressure to myself it won’t work either. So I had to totally chill myself. haha..which I did. Punya relax pagi race tuh that I even changed to my racing uniform after reaching Lotus. haha.. biasa lah, lagi pressure, kena lagi relax right…?
Met up with the JB gang; Azhar, Dale, Eddy and the rest. Azhar and Dale will be the key people to support me and a few others for our sports nutrition during the race. THANK YOU to Azhar and team ! The atmosphere at the transition area was almost carnival like. The had good selection of songsย blaringย in the morning Desaru sky. Good ! At least I got to dance while preparing my gears ! haha.. met CK, Jaja, Patrick(he couldn’t take part), Jabir (1st time doing a 1/2 ย Ironman distance), Shahrom, the UPNM guys etc. Missing were quite a number of the regular tri racers; Siok Bee, Michelle, Raymond, Keat Seong , Jen Jen, Arif, Senn, Ishsal, Stupe, Sofian, Simon Cross ! ย Emma as well !! (Emma is in Kona right now). But was surprised to see Ah Thiam there. Got to know that he will only be doing the swim relay. Lydia was there but had to pull out due to food poisoning.
The ‘feeling’ did not kick in even when I was at the beach waiting for the start. (oh no!)ย Still holiday mode.ย Just tested the water a bit to see if the goggle is okay. I did bring an extra goggle just in case something goes wrong. Swam a bit and found water coming into the goggle. Shucks !! Tightened the goggle strap but still had water coming in. Ran back to the transition and take the other goggle , the same goggle I used in Desaru 2 years ago !!! Nostalgic MUCH ! haha ๐
It was blazing HOT on the beach, and I just couldn’t wait to start. It was a mistake that I would later regret to be standing in the middle of the start crowd. The horn blew and I rushed with the masses into the water. Mistake numero uno.. don’t rush in when you know you’re not a strong swimmer.ย Just stay behind. I couldn’t swim smoothly for the first 200m. But after that it was ok with occasional slapping on the face by those doing the breast stroke, and also ,at one time, a kick on my jaw ..!
The sea was pretty calm, to my surprise. Not like 2 years ago, washing machine ! 1st loop went well. And I was relieved to exit the water to go for the 2nd loop.ย Saw Azman from Team Poyo waiting for another friend at the Powerbar buoy at the beach. The 2nd half of the 2nd loop…strainedย and irritated the ankle ligament , due to the dorsiflexion and plantarflexion of the ankle joint. I couldn’t swim properly the last 500m ! Just had to rely on my upper body to do the work. And I should obviously be slower than the 1st loop. Didn’t want to aggravate the condition. Still have another 90km to go on the bike and 21km on the run ! I finished the swim around an hour. That’s minus 11 mins off my 2008 Desaru swim time yo. It was good enough for me !
Haha.. this part is funny. Before the swim start, I purposely placed my flip flop at the roadside, near where the last blue carpet was placed before the transition area. It is quite a run (for barefoot) from that last carpet/mat to my bike. So….I just placed the flipflop there. And I reminded myself before the swim start and..during the swim(?!) to not forget the flipflop. And I didn’t ! haha.. Azman Mansor of Team Poyo gave a ‘loud’ remark the moment he saw me running into transition in them ‘Oii main tipu !’ , or something like that.. Chill mike!
T1 was quick, but definitely not that looongg jog from the beach to my bike.. around 200m ++ I think. I passed Jabir at the shower ! Quickly put on the cycling shoes, helmet, shades and race number, and off I went.ย I didn’t plan to tie my cycling shoes to the bike this time around. 90km is plenty of time to catch up with the other competitors (I hoped!).
3 loops of 30km. Not flat as a pancake but rolling hills. Not so steep. Mild to medium, but after 2 loops mild or medium won’t matter. The head wind and side wind during the 1st loop was not so bad, but on the 3rd loop… made it quite difficult.. I did what I have been doing in my training which is to maintain on the big crank, including on the climbs. Actually had a good time rolling up and down the hill and overtaking guys on TT bikes. :p I had Azhar and his friends helping me out with my sports drink.It is way better than having to carry 3-4 bottles on the bike ! The organizer couldn’t prepare bottled drinks for the participants.
I overtook more people on the 2nd loop, and into the 3rd loop I don’t recall anyone overtaking me. The faster cyclists must already be starting their run leg. As for relay cyclists, dangg they were supa fast. I noticed 1 tall (and big) cyclist in Terengganu cycling jersey zooming by. TWICE ! Chris was well ahead of me. Overtook a few ladies (which I assume are) fromย Singapore.
Anyways, I found myself slowing down towards the end of loop 2 on the bike, but not after I relieved myself on the bike. And then.. somehow..I began to pick up the pace a bit, by bit.. haha.. The marshalls at then U turn points were kind enough to pour water on my head as I pass the water station. I had my ‘own’ feed station, where Azhar and gang was stationed ๐
Saw Jaja, Kam (taking it easy), and Penang(from UPNM). Cheered them on. Jaja looked strong !ย Salute to the triathlete (and 1/2 IM distance finisher) who did the 90km bike course on a Rock-mountain bike ! ๐ 1 of the UPNM guys suffered a puncture on one of the hills. I slowed down (on the hill!) to check if everything is alright..), and suggested that he should just ask passing participants if anyone have a tube to spare. ( i didn’t have any…)..
Was relieved to be back at Transition !!! On my feet, finally !ย Again, didn’t waste time at transition ๐ Transition is the 4th discipline inย triathlon, if you will.
The first loop of 10k was okay, no cramps or anything. No major dramas on my side, no monkeys came and kacau (disturb) me. Was taking it easy at the same time making sure that I don’t bust my knees. I did feel during the bike that my ITB was tight. lightly punched them (during) the bike to release some of the tension. I did not manage to do any long runs for my Desaru prep.. the longest run was a 12k at the Newton run where I did an easy and relaxed 1:08 ( a hilly 12k ..). So for the run leg last Saturday, the strategy was to take it easy. I did not bother to check my time on the run (i did check for each bike loop). Just wanted to enjoy the run at my own pace. No pressure ! ๐
Passed Zaki and Zali on the 2nd loop on the run (they were smokin on the bike course..!). and I can’t exactly remember who else. Somewhere near the U-turn point on the 2nd loop I saw 4 UPNM guys running together.. and I was like.. aik.. ni dah final loop ke..? awat macam relax GILER..ย ย I shouted across the road to them ‘jom habis sama2..’ coz I thought that the U-turn point was just a few meters away.. turned out that the water station that I saw was only the second last, not last..! I shouted back ‘Tak payah tunggu lah..!!’. I was afraid I might slow them down. The last U turn was another circus.. one competitor asked me if it was my last lap, I said yes, and he poured a bucket of water on my head .. ok..thank you ..!
Continued my run and passed Jabir’s friend who I met a couple of weeks back during my brick at Putrajaya. Can’t recall his name, but he asked if we can pace, I said , yeah sure, ‘Jom!!’. I don’t know how far we could pace each other before I dropped him. No turning back..! and passed the UPNM guys I saw just now before the U Turn. Paan, Penang and other guys. Told myself, will wait them at the finish line. :p At the last hill (one and only hill on the run course actually..) 1 of the volunteers threw a bucket of water on me.. swwoosshhh….tak sempat tutup mulut kot.. dangg.. and I coughed…!! hayya.. ! never mind.. last than 2km to go..oooweeee..I was sooooo excited.. good thing I picked my pace earlier on in the last run loop. But it was not ‘flying’ like Desaru 2008 where I was 1 of the 3 in my category to do the run below 2 hours. I didn’t bother to check what was my run split..! Just wanted to focus on finishing the race..!
I was happy to see all the supporters on the road side cheering us on, including kak Jenap and Misni whom I met at Newton run. Adik Fitri, his dad Abg Sahril, Denis Oakley, Hadi, Azhar, Dale, Ibrahim, Fezul, guy in yellow tshirt from Singapore (sorry forgot your name lah), and all who supported the triathletes on the course , thank you !!!! Tak ketinggalan, the guys and gals from team Ombak, Shirliza Ann Sedai and friends, thank you !! You all did a great job motivating and pushing us to go on !
Finally,.. that last junction into Lotus Hotel. I saw NO ONE ahead of me..huhuh.. I was at the backkkk of the faster group, or maybe right in the middle group..(selalu macam tuh pon masa race mana2..!) .I sped to the finish line..UP HILL after the junction, passed the mini roundabout, and down the red brick road towards the finish line. ๐ and crossed it….Yyeeessss ! haha.. looked at the digital clock behind me.. 6:04..!!! I started off the race with a humble expectation which is to do better than my 2008 timing, but how much better was left to my performance on that day. and there I was at the finish line. Officially my 2nd 1/2 IM distance finish, and 3rd Desaru finish. Man, that was quite a journey. Susah jugak half Ironman ni sebenarnye.. huhuh..but how the heck did I finish Ironman Langkawi tahun lepas?? hahah…
Ok, sabar..tak habis cerita lagi ni.. Razlan (Malaysia triathlon commentator greeted me at the finish announcing my name, and giving me a high five and quick hug..haha.. AND… he whispered into my ears.. ‘You should have finished sub 6 !’. I know what he meant.. I know.. but I was happy and satisfied that my performance is better than 2008, without any pain, on my knees or any cramps at all .ย I will work on it Razlan, will work on it. Ni semangat nak take up swim lesson niehhhhh !!!!! watch out yek ladies.. and YES, I know that as I progress through the age group categories, it will be more difficult. because the stronger competitors are in the older age group.! kalau boleh remain 28 forever kan MACAM best. haha..(kepala otak angg..)(that’s ‘YOUR HEAD!!’ in Malay..) ..hihi..ok .ok… intermission jek tuh..
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL FINISHERS. ๐ TO ALL THE GUYS AND GAL FROM UPNM, CONGRATULATIONS !!! ZURUL, HERE’S 1 FOR YA, YOU GO GIRL ! AJAK LAGI RAMAI LADIES FROM UPNM TO JOIN LEPAS NI. IIU X TEAM , THIS IS A CALL FOR YOU TOO ! ๐ ABE, YAHYA, Congrats for finishing the sprint event on Sunday. Very happy for you guys !! FAIZ ABU SAMAH, HAIKAL, NAD, JEPAH, MIRUL, NIK, X TEAM is counting on you ! haha..
Race analysis and MORE photos will be in the next post. Raya post nampak gayanye kena tunggu lagi… ๐ฆ ok, cau cin ciao.. lunch time !!! ๐