Over the weekend, 3 sad deaths happened in 3 different races in both Malaysia and Singapore. One was not really related to the participants in the race, so I shall not comment of that here. For the other two... there can be lessons to be learnt...
The first death was a newbie triathlete who was doing the swim part of the OD in a relay team. He was fairly fit, according to the newspaper, with a few weeks of pool training prior to the event. With no Open Water Swim beforehand, he jumped into the ever ravenous nd dirty waters of ECP.... and this was a BIG mistake. He was later found disorientated by the rescuers and was brought to shore. CPR was administered, but he failed to revive.
Lesson here : Pool swim does not = to Open water swim. Open water swim is not for the faint-hearted. In open water swim, you'd have maybe a few hundred ppl swimming around you, above you, next to you, and who knows, even under you when u lap someone. No one knows whats happening and who's beside them unless they stop and look around, and no.. not many ppl will do that.
------ > Hence in an open water swim, do expect to get knee-d, elbow-ed, kicked, ur head slammed in the water and have bruises everywhere... In my last race, someone kicked my jaw until it was stuck... had to stop and pushed it back as I couldn't open my mouth. And no, the person did not stop to say sorry, and I did not expect him to.
SO..... THERE IS NO POLITENESS IN OPEN WATER SWIM and DON"T EXPECT ANY OF IT...
To mitigate the scariness of it, pls do ur homework and do a few swims in open water. Join the swimming clinics to get the feel of the water and situation if u're new. And if u really feel like u dun want/can't continue, do stop. A race is a race, and there will always be another one. After all, we're doing this race to have fun, don't endanger urself over it.
This I'm not too sure the COD, but early news could be due to dehydration. But nvm.. here's the lowdown.. After a 10k run in KL, a runner was missing and later found dead in the rubbish dumps. He finished the race, but no one knew what happened to him after that. This was his first ever race So far, the authorities queried dehydration.. so let's talk about that.
Nutrition and hydration is a vital in all races. Easiest and most basic rule : If u sweat alot, drink more. Don't wait till u're dry in the mouth to drink. My own personal rule: I'd drink whenever I dun feel any more fluid in my tummy... in other words, when I dun feel any sluish sensation anymore. This makes sure that I remain hydrated but not bloated in a race. It works for me, but may not work for u, so test it out on the long runs to see what u can and cannot take.
On that note, do remember that sweat consists of both salt and water, so salt replacement is equally important as water. Drink too much without proper replacement, and you'd get hyponatremia and die. However, a little extra salt won't kill you, so I usually take more salt than needed (ever since having both thigh cramps in Langkawi during the bike leg). You'd know u're salt deprived when ur sweat is not salty... so by then... stop and by all means, take a salt replacement.... at that stage, ur body is saving all the salt for itself, lose anymore, and you could be at danger zone.
These are 2 impt lessons to be learnt for both amateur, and veteran atheletes who sometimes still get it wrong (even me). Racing is fun, its exciting, but it doesn't mean its danger-free. That said, keep on exercising and racing as it reaps benefits to you and you alone that no one else can help you achieve. Just BE CAREFUL when u're out there and always listen to your body and keep having fun racing!!