Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Ironman Langkawi!!! DONE - 28/02/2009 ....Part 2

Alright, time to start.. we all headed to the floating platform at the jetty, crossing the timing line and shower area at the same time.. some of the athlete's did a quick warmup in the sea, but I decided to try to stay as warm as I can after getting wet in the shower. As usual, I'm unable to keep my body warm, and was already shivering at this point. OK, tahan.. tahan.. The Pro's went off first, as usual, and they were fast... ok.. abit more... time getting closer and closer.

Apparently, for IM Langkawi, you can either have a swim start or a dive start.. hehe.. I chose the later, which means I start a bit further from the start line. OK.. countdown.. 2 more minutes, as the official said while looking at his watch. Still shivering, I looked around... Ben was with me :) at the platform... ok... START!!!! Go Go GOO!!!!

I jumped into the sea slowly... (really, .. i was moving in slow motion) and started front crawling... saw the yellow buoy at my right and continued on while being pushed, knocked, elbowed, kicked.. u name, i kena-ed it... all the way.. Somehow, I kept swimming in zig-zags all the way while trying to avoid being kicked in my already sprained right ankle. After a while, the swimmers started to disperse out, and finally I can actually swim per normal. Seawater kept me afloat easier, so din need to kick at most part of the swim, which was good, cos can save my legs for later :)

After what seemed like ages, finally reached the last buoy and made the turn. buoy on the right now.. another loooooooong swim (better this time) and finally can here the emcee's shouting .. yayy!!! approaching liao.. chk time.. still within the cutoff.. buildings getting bigger and bigger until finally, can see the platform and the steps in front of me.. YES!!! SWIM END!!!

Slowly walked towards the transition area and stopped to have a 5minute shower. It felt great to be outta the water. took off my swim cap, rinsed my mouth and goggles.. fresh water never tasted soooo good. Grabbed my bag and went into the change tent. There were many volunteers there who were helping out the athletes. I took my time, chatted with them, while drying myself with the towels provided and applying as much sunblock as I can. I also had my slice of fruit cake, and some water, before putting on my bike helmet and race belt and head out towards my bike. Met up with Ben who was heading to his bike too.. and we exchanged supportive remarks. OK, time to start cycling...

For those who din know that I sprained my ankle, I did.. about 3 weeks ago.. which means, I cannot use bike shoes and pedals cos I can't twist my ankle, so I cycled in my running LunaRacers.. haha... for the whole 180km!! This can be some sort of a Nike Ad already... Buuuut... Bad move actually.. and will explain in a few more secs. I wasn't so accustomed to riding uphill on my bike, so I pushed up the 3 big hills along the course. The first loop went ok, second not too bad.. but started to feel uncomfortable... third loop... damn, bilateral thigh cramps every single time I step off my bike... hmm.. let's just say that for the 4th loop.. I iced my thighs and had them sprayed with ethyl ethanol at EACH aid station about 10km apart.. the cramps was soooo bad that I fell each time I got off my bike... but no.. must go on.. luckily it drizzled a bit towards the end, that the weather was cooler. Draft wind almost blew me off too... haha.. managed to stay on course. Finally, at the last loop, cycled back to the jetty and T2. BIKE END!!

Took T2 slowly as I removed my helmet and had a coke.. hehe.. met the other trifamers and greeted them.. ok.. slowly run first.. managed to run most of the first 20km, but after that thighs were soooo painful that I could only walkrun. Another TBB guy there motivated me to go on.. and on .. and on.. and I was so glad I had him there. Run was ok, except that I had blisters, and had to stop a few times at the aid station to tape my toes.. but nevertheless... must go on.. after all, it's just a bit more :)

Finally, after 5 loops around the run course... time to head to the podium at the jetty. The walk there was so relieving, as I finally AM going to finish the race. It took me 7 mths to get here and I almost teared when I thought of crossing the line... The place was still bright, brimming with supporters as I walked to the finishing line.. somehow, manage to muster enough energy to run the last 10 m and crossed the finishing line...

YES!!! I did it!!! I was elated beyond words... in my mind, no achievement so far could ever come close to this... this was pure torture, excitement, challenge, trust in God and everything else put together to attain. I was so proud of this moment.. even more proud of than getting my medical degree at NUS (which was actually quite easy to get, if u have a good memory la).. YES!!! NOW I AM AN IRONMAN!!!

Da Eagle Medal!!

Was ushered aside, and given my medal and a towel to wrap around my body. Went for the weigh in... hmm.. lost about 1.5kg in the race.. nvm..will get it back later.. chatted with the other finishers, had a massage.. some soup... I was speechless...

Got my bike and bags, and headed back to the hotel, where I had a short nap. Woke up at 5am, hungry and tired, but looking at the medal made me smile again. Packed my bike.. my bags, and went down for brekkie. Collected my finishers tee later in the morning, and finally chked out of the hotel and to the airport.. time to head back.. and rest... was sleeping all the way cos I was just soo tired..
Day after the race..

:) The race is over, and currently am still recovering. It was amazing to finish the race -a gruelling 15hrs 32 mins of non stop action and being on my feet (except for the swimming part).

Well, there were some things I learnt from the race to bring to the next one...
1. train properly - 3 hrs of bike training on a flat road does not equate to 6++ hrs on hilly and flat roads
2. nutrition damn damn damn impt
3. wear bike shoes for bking, not LunaRacers..hehe
4. dun sprain ur ankle before a race - kills the run

And most imptly... mental strength is the most impt factor in finishing the race (as well as a firm believe in God). No matter how strong u are physically, it's the last mental push that you'll need to keep you going, even as things gets worse..

So to all out there, try your best, never give up, the pain is really for a while, but the glory lasts forever... Alw push yourself beyond the limits.. and you'll get there..

Trudge on...

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