Thursday, March 4, 2010

Ironman Langkawi 2010: Survival mode

Body marking...

Still not getting my bearings right after the swim...

Now it's time to cycle..

Bukit hantu...

Finally bout golf for a change?

Ironman has long passed. It's never easy. You could do all the training, and still not perform during the race.

As for training, I decided I would take a change and focus on intensity. Reason is, I had done lots of endurance, but lack the speed and raw strength. So, it's less mileage but more intensity during training. Good thing was, after a few weeks, I began to sense I could put in faster speed.
I added some strength workout and weights as well.

Coming race day. Swim was pretty ok at the start. I was near Hugo. Thought of drafting him...but as usual lost him somewhere. I thought I was going fast, but when I took a look at the distance marker, I thought that couldn't be. It seems like all that powerful swim strokes had no effect. Took a very long time before I reached the u-turn. The current was also pretty strong there. Coming back was a bit faster, but still the strong current messed with the direction. I found myself pushed over the red buoys, and once smacked into one big buoy. Upon reaching time was 1:22. Last year was 1:16. I could sensed that it'll be tough for a lot out there.

Then into the transition, and out on the bike. Could hammer in the speed on the big loop, while not pushing it so hard. At this point, the clouds were still in the sky. I really hoped it would last.
As I went into the 2nd small loop, I passed by 3 water stations without water. That was really really demoralizing. Guys were scooping out ice and refilling their bottles. Some supporters
bought mineral bottles and offered them as we passed by.

As the path going into the hills neared, I stopped by one of the houses, and asked the kids to refill. It was hot now. One participant dropped by and mentioned some other guy said 'I am finished...'
I understood it pretty well. During a race, we need all the hydration to keep the momentum going. Stopping the bike just to refill is only, one of the WTF moments.

Then, it was back to pedaling. Raymond Tan was pretty fast as we passed by each other a few times. As I neared the end of it, I popped in some powerbars and drank. Time on the bike is 6 hours.
Improvement of 16 minutes compared to last year's.

Now time for the marathon. And by this's like in an oven. Transition took some time. Went to the loo to pee, and coming out realizing I couldn't feel my balls.
I think too much time on the saddle might have caused this? Or maybe the bike fitting wasn't proper.

Anyway it was then running. And in the possibly worst conditions. I dreamt of lying on the bed back in the hotel, instead of this. For the first 2 loops, it was pretty ok.
But as the third loop ends, I was beginning to slow down. Something wasn't right with my stomach. Looks like I am going to puke but I withheld it. I was trying to pinpoint what went wrong?
The powerbar? gatorade? heat?

At the end of the 3rd loop, I stopped by a medic tent to get some plaster (handyplast) for the feet. Blisters was started to form on both feet due to the heat and soaking socks.
And to my surpise they didn't have any. The guy said he can put some tape and gauze to cover it.
But then how could I run? Another WTF moment. I might as well get it fixed in the best possible manner. I thought this is 101 first aid, but really I was shocked.

Each step is a pain because the blisters are on the soles. But I carried on. If I can't run, then it was walking.
Then by the fourth loop, after done a quick prayer at Condo Istana, I sensed that I got to puke. And I really did. That was a relief. At least now I felt better.

As the day turns into night, I was into my final round. Roger went passed me, urging me to run. But I couldn't. I saw him walking and running into the darkness, going from left to right, then left.
The ambulance were busy up and down. You could hear the siren blaring a few minutes apart. This is hell. There's no doubt about it. And if you are in hell, just move on.

A guy in green shirt (nik), had been cheering a long time. And as I head for the u-turn, he said something like 'Finish strong'. I had been walking all the while. So I forced myself to run, with
the pain, fatigue, stomach upset. Running is faster than walking. And I want to end this fast.

With some walking and running, I finally made it to the turning into the podium. People start cheering. I made a run for it, clapping the hands of the spectators. Finishing an ironman is always sweet.

My time was 13:42. It was way longer than last year. But with all the mishaps, I was just happy to complete it.

To all the supporters, I am truly grateful. Without you guys, we'll probably not survive this or not pushed on.

And as for the management, they could have done better. Seriously I don't mind the simplistic medal, or t-shirts, but during race, adequate care should be given on distributing supplies.
It's like a war. Winning one depends on a good logistic supplies regardless of how strong you are. To not have all this during the race is not right.

They might as well change the title from Ironman to Adamantium-Man. Iron is too soft.


Summary: Still a lot of work to do. It's back to the drawing board. I know my weaknesses, so now it's the time to focus on that.
To all those who have done the IM or DNF, and planning on doing it next year, try training consistently all year round.
This way, you won't feel rushing towards the last 3 months because your work is pretty much done. Bottom line is, each week you got to do something.

I think there's 2 general goals in training.
Train to get back at the same fitness level. Another is to train to reach a higher level. It's time to go higher.


sofiantriathlete said...

Well done Yip.

Anonymous said...

Wolverine. :D

But you did well despite the odds. Congrats. Inspiring as always.

..::EnAikAY::.. said...

Yeah Yip, go higher and stronger, as next year it will be AdamantiumMan....

Well done once again!

P/s: I hope u got the photos i sent thru your yahoo email. if not, drop me an email (at my blogger profile) and i'll resend.

K3vski said...

I think you were just unfortunate that you had to suffer so much. But you still pull through. Well done.

I'm relieved with your last paragraph about getting back to training to be at a higher level. Because honestly, I think you'll look pretty silly in golf hat and pants, hahhah.

zulhassan said...

yip tahniah...

Simon said...

Great job man, sounds like you had a torrid time on the run so great kudos to you for pushing on through.

eugene_chan said...

Congrats & good job~ tough Ironman!

The Runner, Dreamer, Observer, Seeker said...

You conquered the toughest race on earth again! Congrats, IM Yip!

Fong said...

yip.. congratsss.. =)

Miro said...

Hei Yip, well done!

btw - should you indeed like to swing a club, let me know; we can give it a two-some one day. You can get frustrated easily but you can enjoy it as well. it's a good game to relax away from swim-bike-run.

Cheerio from Melaka. Have a good one.

Ajo said...

bro, tahniah. Nko memang da-bomb!!

jonie said...

use micropore to cover the blisters... tape it up as much as u can... it worked for me last year in the ironman

Reza Ali said...

I've been reading your blog with great interest. Thanks for taking the time to write about the events you entered. I want to enter the ironman one day So your posts are really great.

I document my own journey at