Completed the Putrajaya 70.3 Ironman!!!


I completed the Putrajaya 70.3 Ironman.  that means I did 1.9km swim followed by a 90km cycle, followed by a 21km run. mind the fact that the pros finished under 4 hours, and I finished it under 8 hours. I did it, I completed it, and under my expected time of 8 hours. I did it in the blistering heat. my cycle ended after lunch time, and ran through till 3pm. I had to slow jog in the end, confident that with a slow jog or fast walk of 9-10min per km, I would finish the whole thing under the cut-off times.

ironman putrajaya results

 

The swim is the easiest part for me, using total immersion, I glided through the whole swim course, the fresh water was more comfortable then open sea water, and the water were calm, no harsh waves that would cause me sea sickness. only a matter of slight current and sighting the turning points. I may have went off course a bit, but that’s expected in open water swimming. did it in 51 minutes. my pool time usually 45 minutes.

after the swim, ran to the bike, spent almost 5 minutes to set up for the bike. wore my helmet, wore my socks and shoes, put on some sunscreen (wear sunscreen!) wore my arm band for the run, ate 1 banana, and packed 2 in my back pocket, and off I went. I forgot to turn on my endomondo for a few minutes. The bike was hilly thats for sure, but I found myself comparing it to the mentiri highway, but longer. I am glad that I built up my engine for the hills. Previous 80km ride, my average was 20kmph, but training on mentiri highway i got up to 24kmph, and some point at muara-tutong highway got 27kmph. for the ironman my average was just under 25kmph. so I ended earlier then I had anticipated.

I was glad there was 3 water points in the route, so we could have water, isotonic and coke… coke!!! i decided not to take the coke until the last lap due to fear of dehydration by caffeine. on the second round, as expected based on my training my water reserves of 3 bottles ran out. so on the 1st water point of the first lap, I decided to refill one bottle. I should have refilled all, considering I stopped at the next points refilling that same bottle. Could have save time by refilling all my bottles at that point, so I wouldn’t need to stop at each point.

Riding along I felt sorry for those whose bike punctured, or fell off due to sharp and narrow curves. to be fair the race managers did warn about that part, in the first round there were people around signing to us to slow down. I felt so motivated looking at other people cycling, and felt even inspired when I saw signboards meant for other people felt it applied to me. “pain is your friend”, “this is your hill”, “try to today and relax tomorrow”. the spectators were no different in cheering us on. cheering for their friends and family members and any other stranger that was competing. :)

ironman putrajaya run

 

When my ride ended, i was happy to see that my riding time wasn’t 4 hours, but it was just above 3hr and 30minutes. I felt that I could relax mentally and not stress about the run, because now I have 4 hours to run half marathon, in my worst time it was 3.5 hours. Hoping for the best, I slipped my mobile phone on arm band, but disappointed to find my phone unresponsive (to the moisture collected on the bike bag). so I spent a few kilometres holding on to it waiting for it to dry before turning on endomondo for the run. Going on the first lap, saw a few people whose pace was quite face, and a few others that ran and walked, and then those who walk. I’ll admit a lot of people were running faster then I was. But I told myself that I don’t need to push myself, just play it safe and jog slow. With the day heating up, I realized I forgot to pack my cap, which i usually wore in my training. as of writing the skin of my forehead is flaking off. I did not put any sunscreen on my head, for fear the sweat would run off into my eyes. There was a aid point for almost every 2km, and for each aid point there was a toilet, medic tent, water tent, isotonic tent, food (watermelon, banana, sweets), and water… again. The medic tent had those muscle sprays (I have never needed them, just a few stretches usually clear them off for me), and sunscreen. I asked the medic to give me on my palms and I covered myself again. (I had experience terrible sun burn/blister before in my training).

ironman putrajaya cycle

At the end of the 1st lap, I noticed some runners had wet sponges embedded within their clothes. What a wonderful Idea I thought, then I realized on the last aid point that they actually provided it. On the 2nd lap, the first water point was out of cups, so I drank from the bottle, the next point was out of water, so I didn’t use any to cool myself down, on the subsequent one there was also no water, but i saw other runner taking water from the drink containers and pouring on themselves as well as putting some of the ice down their shirts. I thought good idea, so I did it as well. REMINDER on this one, do not do this for a one piece suit. my ice ended collecting around my ass, which felt cooling, but after half an hour later felt my leg muscles close to my ass cramping up. bad idea. good thing after almost an hour it dissipated, but i had to be careful. the last few km of that second lap was miraculously (THANK GOD!) cloudy, so I could run slightly faster. I had noticed during the heat that even with a slow run my heart rate went upto 145, when usually it would be 120 around that pace. I maintained under 150bpm to be safe. that last round I actually caught with a guy walking and asked me about the time, and I assured him that with the pace and time, we would make it. he later caught up to me and we had a chat till the finish line. It was interesting to note that while chatting my pace went faster, coinciding with the cooling of the weather. both probably contributed. Reminder next time to find a running partner to talk to earlier in the run.

At the finishing line, I saw my wife waiting at the sidelines and took a picture of me. I crossed the finish line and the organizers place a medal around my neck, gave me an ironman towel. and one guy gently took away my timing chip from my left leg. At the finishers’ area, they provided drinks, fruits, ice cream (ICE CREAM!!!) and massage (people had to seat in line for that one). I drank a whole bottle of isotonic, took 2 ice cream, and went to talk to my wife for a while. then I went stretching and cool down while looking at the other finishers crossing the line. I admit it was quite inspiring and emotional to see the finishers greeted by strangers and by their loved one.

Thank you to the organizers, to the other participants/competitors, the volunteers, to the cheerers and supporters, especially to one that I realize I might have been rude to by saying “please don’t push me, I just want to relax”, after she cheered me on. Thank you for the experience. Every single person that I was around on my 70.3 ironman journey was a contribution to my inspiration to keep on moving. Love you all. :)

Sport Summary of 2013 by Endomondo

endomondo

looking at endomondo, begining of the year I was running a lot (green) and hiking once in a while (purple), but in the middle of the year when I was training for triathlon, my cycling went up (red), but note that my swimming record is almost non-existent (blue) due to my poolmate watch strap being broken. lowest activity was puasa and raya, 2014 that’s not gonna happen, i gotta keep active to maintain my fitness.

Review of my 2013

The following is a point form of my successes in 2013. After listing them out, I managed to categorize them to spiritual, Physical, Intellectual

  • Spiritual
    • Finished reading conversations with God volume 1, 2 and 3 - Despite understanding that it is based on the author’s perception of god, it god me to realize everyone has their own perception, we can only see through our perception, and thus we interpret god as we see, through our limited perception. Pondering on the truth of our knowledge of God.
    • Explored Pantheism – the notion that god is everything, and the universe is defined as everything in existence, therefore god is the universe. ended up realizing that god is greater/bigger then the universe, because according to science, the universe may decay, or freeze.
    • Deeper understanding and appreciation of god and the universe, noting that we probably can and will only see at best 1% of the universe. the universe has expanded in a way that light coming from other stars will never reach us. 
    • Watched The movie of Life of Pi – choosing a story of a universe with a God or one that has none.
    • re-examining the things that were taught in religious school or by our tradition or culture.
    • Understood that the meaning of Allah is literally “The God” from the phrase “la ilaha illa allah”. which means “there is no other god than The God
    • Installed iQuran on my iPad, occassionally reading through translation(s).
  • Physical
    • Completed the 5.4km Open swim from Labuan to Pulau Papan and back. without getting sea sick!!!… much… thanks apple xin for the distraction during the swim.
    • Picked up cycling again and went for and completed Individual Triathlon (inspired due to 2012 MnY mastermind)
      • ABDB Triathlon, thanks to fadilah for reminding me.
      • Panaga Triathlon, 
      • Serawak Triathlon in Miri, (due to weather, swim leg replaced by run instead)
    • Ran barefoot for most of the runs that I did (except for SME run)
      • National Day Run in Temburong.
      • SCB Run - helped train my sister for the 5km run.
      • Pusat Ehsan’s The Run
      • Business School Charity Run (to be honest I crashed it, I didn’t manage to register and get the shirt)
      • Signed up for His Majesty’s run, but did not run due to scheduling, I went to AYPVC cambodia
      • Did not run BIBD run due to scheduling. had leadership camp at the same time.
  • Self Development – Intellectually, Mentally, Financially, and Creatively
    • Moved house.
      • closer to work place, feel more independent, more customization due to wife’s feng shui interest.
    • Bought a Guitar, finally bought a replacement for my broken guitar by my nephew a year ago. Gonna learn to play contemperorary songs with the guitar again :)
    • Attended the Millionaire Mind Intensive Seminar,
      • got reinspired to get passive business income and attain financial freedom.
      • Understood who I was in respect to money and vice versa  (I’m a saver)
      • learned the 6 jars money management (I’m going to enjoy the play jar)
    • Helped create mastermind from the graduates of the seminar.
  • Career and Professional Development
    • Toastmasters
      • Got my Advance Communicator Bronze
      • Appointed as Vice President of Education
    • LiveWIRE
      • Organized SME run for the LiveWIRE Brunei SME Promotion.
        • from the marketing, registration,shirts, refreshments, and volunteer management.
      • Organized LiveWIRE Brunei Business Awards
        • from judging process to prize presentation ceremony.
        • some problems, some were overcome, others will be handled for next time.
    • Being involved with ASEAN Young Professional Volunteer Corps (AYPVC.
      • Delegate to Cambodia in the agriculture,
        • Made/met new friends from ASEAN community
        • Learnt about agricultural practices, 
        • helped locals solve their own issues,
        • inspired to see and help the rest of the world.
      • Committee for AYPVC Seminar in Brunei.
        • helped organize and welcomed most delegates at the airport.
        • Became tour guide for delegates.
        • Made new friends
        • learnt about Volunteer Organization Management.
        • more ice breaking games.
      • involved in the national youth day parade/line up representing AYPVC.
  • Others
    • Won an iPad – from a scratch card at shopping.com.bn, I am now an iOS convert… nah! more like iOS/android hybrid :p actually lost a waterproof camera in cambodia, but the universe replaced it with an iPad.
    • Supported my sister in attending landmark, she admits that it has helped here with coping with life issues a lot better :) yay… she doesn’t need much consulting and consoling anymore :D

Typing this up kinda reminds me of making a CV. 2013 just gave a worth one page of CV. I should add picture to this post, or links to facebook or other resources, but i’m not gonna bother. simplicity is key. next up is my aims for the year 2014, that one i’m gonna add pictures.

Insights on cycling

biking

biking (Photo credit: henna lion)

I usually have insights while swimming or running, when I picked up cycling again, my mind was focused on techniques during the ride, looking at my progress through my endomondo. I guess those are becoming background noise, cause now I’m getting insights on the bike. Again this insights are on how the cycling itself reflected on my life.

A few insights occured during my last few bike rides specifically about:

  • hill rides – dealing with highs and lows in life
  • speed training – on goal setting, measurement and achievement.
  • long slow distance – on being prepared and being disciplined.
  • remembering a cycling accident I had.

On the hill rides, I generally put on a low gear to climb up easier, as well as to lower the strain on my thigh muscles. and when going downhill, I can then use the high gear with no strain, I just have to be careful where I was going. the insight was that in life, when things get tough, I need to slow down and take it easy, if I don’t I might get burned, then I’ll stop. Sometimes after the stop I might continue, but in worst case I may give up. When I did the hill climb frequent enough, I eventually was able to maintain my speed and in some instances, I actually was able to speed up. At the top, I am relieved to have reached it, and going down hill,  when life gets easy, I may take it easy, or I may choose to take advantage of the height and speed up as fast as I can, and if possible bring that momentum the next up hill battle, which would lessen the burden upto a point. There will be ups and downs in life, it matters how it is handled.

In speed training, I realized that I was going at a slow and comfortable pace, I wanted to go the speed of an average cyclist. So I first found out exactly my current average speed (18-20kmph) and the average speed of an average (not amateur or beginner) cyclist, which happened to be 30kmph. Then I found out how they have achieved it, how their training regime is like, and emulate. In life, we have goals, but we need to find out where we are, and where we want to be, how we are going to reach it, and just do it. improving things a bit at time.

On long steady distance rides, I needed to maintain low gear, keep my pace. I needed to prepare hydration and nutrition to maintain my energy. one time  after a huge binge meal the day before,  I thought I could do 100km with 1 bottle of isotonic drink. I was wrong. It only lasted a bit more than half of the ride, the last half i rationed it but it wasn’t enough, so I rode really slow and tired… and thirsty. Most of the things in life will not be reached instantly, sometimes it is a long journey, it is best to be prepared, but if it turns out it we weren’t, find out how it could have been improved, and do it next time.

One time, I had a self accident. the pedal was squeaking, and I was looking at the cranks during the ride. then I noticed that a rubber cover of the hood over the breaks was peeled off. I tried to fix it, but I lost track of the road and swerved to much to the left, I tried to realign but it was too late. I rolled over with the bike, I was ok with some bumps and bruises, the bicycle had a bent handle, and some broken spokes. but from that moment on I learned to be focus on what I am doing, if there was something wrong, or I need to adjust something, I need to stop and then check it. In life there are distractions, certain distractions can pull away focus from what is important. If necessary, stop and deal with the distractions itself, then continue on the journey.

It is interesting that a simple thing like riding a bike bring insights to life and how it is lived. from the highs and lows, reaching a goal, being prepared and being focused and how to deal with distractions. I expect this is just the beginning, and I look forward to having these insights on the bike.

 

 

Improving my cycling speed

Pictograms of Olympic sports - Triathlon. This...

Pictograms of Olympic sports – Triathlon. This is unofficial sample picture. Images of official Olympic pictograms for 1948 Summer Olympics and all Summer Olympics since 1964 can be found in corresponding Official Reports. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This year I have done my first 3 triathlons individually, I have completed these triathlons, I did not excel. completing them in itself is already awesome. But my time is lacking. Now, I want to complete a triathlon at an average triathlete’s pace.

My first triathlon was the ABDB triathlon, my swim was fast, I took over a lot of people, but in the cycling leg, around half way was overtaken by a lot of people, I ended my run when the the closing ceremony was taking place. Second triathlon was the Panaga Triathlon, the race was in waves, and the winner was decided on the total time they took. I started early, so I finished early, despite having a lot of the late wave cyclist and runners passing me by. looking at the time list, i was the bottom 5. and I realized the average speed of the cyclists were about 30kmph. Third triathlon was in Miri, due to weather the swim leg was replaced with an extra run leg, the cycle was on a single road to a point and back. Halfway to the halfway point, I began to see the elite cyclist heading back. With every passing pack, I noticed their position and speed, this was the first time I tried to use the drops (the lower handle bar on a roadbike), to my surprise my speed improved by that simple act, it was uncomfortable but I was faster.

Recently a fellow triathlete asked if I was interested in joining the 70.3 ironman at Putrajaya, KL. A 70.3 ironman is a half ironman. 2km swim, 90km bike, 21km run. I thought about it, and I signed up. The way I see it, the main time I improve myself is when there is a big event or a competition, I may not win the race itself, but I always improve myself for it.

There are often a few questions in order to improve.

  1. Where am I now? what stage am I in.
  2. Where do I want to be?
  3. When do I need to achieve it?
  4. What would it take to get there?, what do I need to do? How do I get there?
  5. Why do I want to improve? why do I not want to stay where I am? Why do I want to get to where I want to be. What will motivate me in achieving this goal.

1. I already know my average speed, being 18-20kmph.

2. I would like to run with the cycling pack. an average of 30kmph.

3. I would like to attain that speed, and maintain that speed for 90km in the 70.3 Ironman on the 13 April 2014.

4. I asked the other triathletes and cyclists, I read books and magazines, I referred to websites and youtube. generally the advice ranges from:

  • Interval Training – a start with low intensity, then repetitions of short bursts of high speed, with moderate recovery time. This is fast and tiring, but I find it works not just as speed work, but does improve stamina as well.
  • Hill Rides – which provides a sort of interval training, High Intensity going uphill, recovery going downhill. But the intervals are set by the hills, not by the rider.
  • Long Slow Distance – to go as relax as I can, at low gear. This is volume training as well as aerobic training. getting the body used to the distance. I find it is the perfect time to immerse myself in my bodies actions, to feel whether I am doing something right or not, whether I am efficient or not. but added with brunei’s hilly rides, I take advantage of the downhills with a high gear when I can… just not too hard.
  • Get into a cycling group, you tend to push yourself when you are in a group, especially those who are better than you, that you feel you can match. I am personally not ready for this yet. I am afraid that my current speed is too slow for most packs. I’m waiting till i get 28-30kmph before I join one.
  • Measurements, using a gps watch or smartphone app, keep track of your improvements. Robin Sharma said “What gets measured gets improved”, I started with 18-20kmph, with the last few weeks of training, I am now 26kmph (I might be faster if not for the traffic lights), and I will know that I am successful when I reach that average of 30kmph mark.
  • Practice, practice, practice. the more often you train, the better you become. This is what most cyclist/triathletes tell me. regardless of the technique. It is a matter of doing it, and improving as you get along.

5. I am bored and tired of being past by almost everyone (I am the last few, if not the last at times). I enjoyed the feeling of completing the triathlon, but the feeling of completing is not enough anymore. It is easy, it is doable, it is done. I need to know and feel that I am getting better, faster and stronger. Not just good, fast and strong. Which is good enough, I just want better. It is either I become faster, or I go for longer, or both.

So my plan now is as follows:

  • train as much as possible, looking at my time, I need to allocate at least 3 times a week for each discipline. easiest I can do it is by cycling for 1 hour every morning before work, do a brick run when I can, or do a run later in the afternoon. Do a swim at night, or if I’m up for it, or night is unavailable (due to weather or events), then consider a lunch swim.
  • Do a mini or full triathlon at the weekends, twice a month. unfortunately, swimming pools opens at 8:30, so I have to do do it in the order of cycling, running, swimming. It is okay I think, considering swimming uses different sets of muscle. and assuming I had enough rehydration and nutrition during the cycle, I actually felt better and relax after the swim.
  • Do a long cycle or run in the weekends. doing 100km cycle (done but slow), or a 42km run (I haven’t done this in a while), the run part I can do 10km relax, I haven’t done a 42km since 2007. But I feel that I may be able to do it again, its only a matter of rehydration and nutrition during that long run.
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