Saturday, March 13, 2010

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Why Did I Join Ironman Langkawi 2010?


Why did I join Ironman Langkawi 2010?
I have to say this. I recently broke up with my girlfriend and wanted to exorcise her demons away through an Ironman induced absolution.In order to purify and cleanse my wounded soul, I needed a suffering experience that would make me drive out the shattered pieces of hurt that still laid inside of me. I was a hurt locker.

Ironman Langkawi 2010 covers a 3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42km run -a total of 17 gruelling hours to complete and cut off time for each discipline to boot.
Registering the bike

Here's what happened. A friend of mine had already registered and paid(RM500) for Ironman Langkawi 2010. However, she had just started a new job and was not able to obtain leave for this February Ironman event. Rather than letting it go, she asked me if I wanted to replace her. I looked at my schedule and agreed. This all happened in December 2009 which meant I had 3 months to train for my first ever Ironman.

I trained as much as I could within the 3 months. With preplanned trips already made before my Ironman decision, I had to sometimes forgo my training. I was missing a lot of training days. As the days grew closer, I became more and more nervous. I trained in and around Putra Heights, going through the loops for about 2 hours and swam in my 20metre long apartment pool every night. Rainy sessions and work related trips also threw a monkey wrench in my training programme. The guilt of not being able to train was overbearing especially when the competition was only 20 days away. Most of the time, a bit of me whispered the word "quit". I was halfway in and just trained and trained as much as I could until 27/2/2010.
On the morning of 27/2/2010, all 500 of us lined up at the jetty to start our swim disicpline.
Getting ready for the swim

Body Marking

Break of dawn

We started our swim at 745am and by the time I reached the halfway point, I was beginning to feel hungry.
I swam free style and have no vision of the jetty. Every 25 strokes, I would stop and try to find my line of sight(LOS) with the jetty. Tick tock tick tock my friends. However, I had help from a fellow swimmer. There was a participant who swam breast stroke beside me and I used him as my directional beacon to the jetty. He always had line of sight with the jetty. There was no 5 second pause for me to find my directions any longer. I locked on to him like a heat seeking missile and swam my heart out and completed the 3.8km in 1 hour 57 minutes. Not bad for a guy who just swam one hour per day in an apartment pool and for that, I pat my own back.
Just came out from the swim discipline. Semangat

Showering the salt water away

I took 6 minutes in the swim/bike transition area and is now at the heat of the Ironman moment.
Swim/Bike Transition

Wearing tennis shoes to bike..sigh

Swim/Bike Video

I was ready to charge the 180km road and hills that came before me.
On the bike course

I made the first Durian Perangin- Ulu Melaka loop and arrived at Bukit Hantu. With my inexperienced handling of the bike, I dismounted from the road bike and pushed.
Other participants were riding pass me uphill and seriously, I felt horrible and but not ashamed to be pushing up the bike.
There's no shame in pushing the bike

The worst moment for me was passing by Hotel Helang en route to the station aid. The road was in between the airport runaway and the sea. The heat literally yanked my soul away. The heat around Langkawi was totally unbearable. 180km is the distance between KL and Ipoh and I was riding since 10am.
Biking in the hot sun

By the 4th round, as I was approaching the hills at the Naval Base and with almost 7 hours already on the road, I broke down and cried while riding. The catalyst for breaking down was seeing a bunch of kids playing amongst themselves looking really happy with no care in the world. One word - innocence. Somehow that moment of Khalil Gibran clarity towards a child's ionnocence coupled with my fragile
emotional state produced a bucket load of tears. I am a sensitive bugger .......sprinkled with MCP toppings.

I looked at my watch : 545pm and that's when the marshall came and asked me to discontinue. I had another 40km or so to go.

And that's it - I DNF - Did Not Finish. DNF or not, I had an awesome experience and I can't wait to come back next year for some justified vengeance. It will be 200 degrees and they will call me Mr Farenheit - burning through Langkawi Island.