Monday, March 2, 2009

Ironman Langkawi 2009: Becoming the Ironman

Excellent pictures by pmTey2.multiply.com


Why am I still wearing googles outta of the water?

Now, I wished I could swim faster than this...

Up those pesky hills again...arrghh..

Chasing Randy...and guess what, we both rode the same TT bike (argon 18 mercury, and mine was first owned by him)

After 12 hours and 39 minutes...

...all they gave was a medal and towel :) We must be pretty vain to do this...but we'll never stop.

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At the start of the bike...


Climbing the hills after chenang...


Just out for a marathon...

Out on the running course...trying to run as much as possible...


Finishing the world's toughest show on earth...

Roger & me in the shower room...


There's only 2 medals that's worth so much pain. Sundown 84 and this one. (pic from michelle's)

* thanks to aini & jen for pics...will upload more later.

The ironman. The distance itself the human body has to travel to earn that accolade is swimming 3.8km, bike 180km, and then run a marathon (42km). To even click on the submit button on the ironman website, one has to think 10 times. Then comes the training preparation, heat acclimatization, mental hardening, which will take at least 3 months.

I salute my new buddies who had even dared to attempt it, and finally earning themselves that title. You know who you are. Some were nervous, some tried to take it calmly. It's perfectly understandable that anything can happen during the race. And there's doubts that you have to confront. Will I finish the swim? Will the tyres puncture? How much to eat or not to eat? And could I still run after the bike 180km?

Personally, looking back, the ironman training had actually brought myself to realize it's not really that easy. I wasn't a strong cyclist. So I have to make up for it by riding the fraser loop 192km, kuantan-kl (270km) and back, broga both directions and putrajaya in the heat. It brought invaluable lessons and how to pace during the bike. I also did more running intervals rather than pure distance. I've managed to clock better timing, and yet did lesser distance.

But the most important lesson was nutrition. After running 3 times up and down genting during the fasting month, and then having painful plantar feet pain, I knew something was wrong. What you eat is very important, especially for active sports people. Neglect this, and you can have negative results.

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Frankly, I didn't have the butterflies for the race. I knew the distance was doable. The only worries was the bike, as I didn't want to get any punctures. It's all a matter of pushing it at a leisure pace for 13-14 hours. I've done more than that, being the hardest 26 hours on the road. Mentally I was prepared, but being the first race, I didn't know what to expect.

Race day came. And I find myself among the hundreds bobbing in the water before the buoys for that start at 7.45am. I noticed the current was pushing us in the opposite direction, which means going for the first part out to the ocean, will be slower than coming in. As the horn blew, the stopwatch started, I knew the race has started. Soon, I find myself plowing into the water, touching feet, or mine being touched.

At the start of the swim, my heart rate went up a bit, so I slowed down and tried to find a good rythm. Push too hard, and you'll have a hard time going on the bike. Soon, I reached the turning back to the jetty after 40 minutes. And then tried to swim stronger back. However I did knock into buoys a few times. Managed to clock 1:16 on my watch.

Then it was taking the Bike Bag, and heading into the tent. Made sure everything thing is in order before taking the bike out. The bike route is made up of 1 big loop and 3 smaller ones (38km) each. Both my ears was still stuck with sea water, but I couldn't stop to just get it out.

For the bike course, I didn't push it. I set my cruising speed 30km/h, and if possible 35km/h, to compensate for hills. Many went pass me, but I have to keep it that way. I went pass Raymond Hee a few times, and sometimes he went in front. His strong cycling is suprising. Then came Bobby and the gang to cheer things up. There were also roadside spectators cheering for us, and the kids wanting our power bar bottles, as we went pass villages.

Perhaps the best scenic route is after Pantai Chenang as we went up and down hills while overlooking the sea and islands eastwards. But the hardest part was the climb up a slope equal to Genting Sempah climb at McD. Some have to dismount to walk their bikes up. And we have to do this 3 times!

As I went into the last 3rd small loop, I stopped for 6 minutes McD burger for special needs, then went blazing back. But as I went into the junction at the traffic lights, I almost crashed into a few runners. Carmen Leong was just right at my back (I could have spoiled her race). As I reached the end of the bike course, Raymond Hee has just arrived (surprised again). Meet steve as well in the tent, who said he's just going to walk the course :)

Got the running shoes on, and left running without any sunnies because the clouds have set in. We would be running into the night anyway. Surprisingly, I could run.

For the marathon, we have to do 8km x 5 loops, with the 2km remainder for the run home. With so many supporters cheering us and with aid & water station each km, it was hard not to run. And I had the most coke drinks in my life (I don't fancy coke before this). Kids were helping the stations passing sponges, drinks and food. And the roads were just littered with everything possible leftovers you can find.

The first 4 loops was pretty bearable. I tried to take off the boredom of running by thinking of other things, such as work. Sometimes I thought about whether it's possible to run 10 loops and see if I could survive it. I didn't run too fast, and my main goal was just to finish it regardless of time.

The last 5km was the hardest. Cramps set in, but my mind was still strong. Chatted with Steve to stave off the cramps and somehow it worked. Reached the end of the first loop, proudly showing the marshalls I've got 4 bands on my hand, and they let me off from this everlasting torturing loop run. I sped off, somehow managed to run faster than before, and as I turn into the road to the finishing line, I knew this was it. People were cheering from the sides, and I felt like I won a million bucks.

Finally nailed the whole thing in 12:39.

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A big thanks to all the supporters who came and cheered for us. Without you guys, we couldn't have pushed so hard. And I think the organisers, volunteers deserved the recognition as well for doing a good job. And they have to work until 3am (longer than any of us).

Would I do it again next year? Most likely yes. Congratulations to all Ironman!

Guys, you can get your detail timing here:
http://ironman.com/events/ironman/malaysia/?show=tracker&rid=179&year=2009

26 comments:

Iman said...

Yip, Yip, Hurray !!!
Congrats......

Keat Seong said...

you're da man!!! da IronMan!!! :D

Dancing Ciken said...

i'm so proud of u, good report

well done again!

Stupe said...

Yip - Well done. I couldn't had done it any better! :) Well done!

yipwt said...

stupe...no worries..next year you could better yr time.

Ali said...

well done Yip! excellent timing!

Abu Soffian said...

Bro...Well done!!! Macam mana nak laju macam ko ha?

kev said...

Yip, well done! We're all Ironmen! So when is you starting to attempt your next project i.e. Ultraman?

akubrutal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Keat Seong said...

an IronMan to Yip is small stuff compared to his ultramarathons... :) ... Yip, time for DoubleIron UK... :D ... AA got cheap flights...

yipwt said...

abu, buat speed work. Boleh laju lagi...

There's a few other things in the list. Run 200km, and cycle the fraser loop, but up genting to the top.

Ironman double?...enticing but that could wait.

The Editor said...

Fantastic effort sir. I stand with a salute.

yip weng Foo said...

Congrats bro, u made me proud.

C-CUBE said...

Incredible !!!

Anonymous said...

Is there a finsher medal? Can u post the pic since I can't find it on the net. Anyway congratulations Ironman Yip :)

Upiq said...

Yip,

Goshhh.. for a first timer, your timing is just mind boggling...

All of us were talking and eager to see your next unbelievable feat...

simply amazing, you Ironman...

yipwt said...

thanks bro...

Anonymous..i'll try to get a pic.

Upiq, check out kevin siah's blog 11:15:20, lagi terrer. I didn't go fast...just paced all along.

yipwt said...

oh ya...i wanna run 200km. see how...

zulhassan said...

tahniah yip .... under 13 kira lajulah ni :)

haza said...

You're really The Impossible Man, 12 hrs on your first IM! Congrats.

Anonymous said...

thanks Ironman Yip for showing us the pic of the medal. Me want!

Do u know that Goggins (the guy who run ultramarathons esp the crazy Death Valley one) also completed his Ironman in about 12hr too?

Guess ur as tough as he is. Congrats!

Carboman said...

really stupendous job man! well done!

Anonymous said...

Hi,bro..

My site now is in 2nd site liao mah..not update kah..haha ?

http://pmtey2.multiply.com

Pls come to copy n paste u foto..cheers !

Well done !

Tey

Simon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Simon said...

Hey Yip, Well done in the Ironman but seeing some of your other feats the Ironman must have been child's play for you. Can't believe some of the things you've accomplished - huge respect to you bro. Marathon Des Sables next maybe?

yipwt said...

hi simon..thanks..but imho, Des Sables is harder, with running in the desert for days...

I'll think bout Sables maybe late in my 30s..