Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
I am going to try keeping this report even shorter. It’s only an OD tri after all!
This was my 2nd Lake Kenyir tri. An absolute B**** to get to it is a long and arduous journey. Last year I hopped on the ‘magic Bus’ with S.Sam, Carmen and Ms. Sexy. This year with S.Sam carving up the French slopes on his skis I caught a lift with RHBee. All was good until the air-con packed up and we started to cook beneath the glass of her Vios. For someone who lurves gadgets it seems to me RHBee don’t pay enough attention to her car! Anyway, we got it fixed – finally, and the convoy of 6cars arrived in Lake Kenyir in time to register and think about taking the bikes out for a spin before the heavens opened and put to rest that little idea of FUN!
Sharing a room with Kona ‘bound-again’ Carmen and RHBee we sorted our stuff and then to keep the boredom at bay spent the rest of the afternoon eating rubbish! I was not feeling on top of the world. Had the start of what I thought was a sore throat coming on and was dog tired. I put this down to the fatigue of races in recent weeks and was just looking forward to getting Sunday over and done with so I could get back onto a training routine.
We arranged to go for the carbo load at 7.30pm, knowing it was going to play out like a rematch of the O.K corral was the reason we had been eating so much rubbish. We kind of knew it was going to be a fight to get some food from the hoards. So it was a nice surprise when Stuart (doing his first triathlon – great stuff mate!) informed us that we could use the carbo coupon in the restaurant and NO ONE was there! Come on down!!
We needed no further coaxing. Well perhaps I did, because at this stage I was in bed asleep feeling basically CRAP! I prised myself out and we went over to the restaurant to see what ‘delights’ (and I say that absolutely tongue in cheek) they had on offer! Keeping it clean and simple, I avoided all spicy food, meat and went straight to sweet stuff. Bed by 9.30pm. RHBee did not know what had hit her. Never in her life had she turned in so early. Carmen and I on the other hand were soon punching out the Z’s.
RACE DAY: Alarms go off. I did not want to get up. That is a bad sign. Sore throat and to throw another spanner in the works I was wheezing like a trooper. Not even my asthma medication would cure that. At this stage I REALLY did NOT want to race. But we had come a long way and if I am honest, which I always am on the blog, I wanted to try and earn some money – needed to!
Kitted up, we rode down to transition, marked up, goggled up and waited. I was feeling pretty calm, not healthy and up for it, but at least I felt calm – the new attitude is working a treat!
SWIM: BLOODY HELL! What to say, where to start. Words cannot describe how BAD this was. Lake Kenyir is a beautiful to swim in. It is pristine. It is warm. So why I had a HUGE panic attack is beyond me. Never have I quit on a race so far in my short AG career but yesterday I was pretty damn close. Here’s how it played out:
Tried to attack the beginning; BAD MOVE. A panic attack ensued immediately. I saw Ms. Sexy, Carmen and Li-Sar going away from me and these are the three girls I know I should be at least be staying with these days. So I try and start again, head down, swallow water, panic. Tread water, breathe stroke. In a nut shell the first loop played out like this I could not regulate. I was anaerobic all the time and it was killing me. One side of me was saying QUIT. The other side was saying CALM the F down and GO! Well eventually after what seemed an age (and it was an age) and after getting pummelled in the head and stomach I finally starting something that resembled a swim. I reckon I lost at least 3minutes, so it was back to playing catch up AGAIN! T1: Out the swim and someone was hurling at the side, I was on the verge of joining the guy but somehow held it in.
BIKE: Out on the bike, my heart rate is through the roof from the abysmal swim and the hill that beckons straight out of transition. I also still want to PUKE. But can’t. Surprisingly the bike went without any hiccups. I saw Simon waking it home; he had a puncture (bad luck, and better luck next time). He never carries spares on OD races and yup you guessed it – neither do I! The bike leg is known for being NASTY with the hills. So how surprised was I to be staying in the big chain ring for the majority of the ride – loved it actually. Despite feeling crap the ride went well for me and the other 10 or 20 people who elected to sit on Emma’s tail!!!! I HATE drafting! Then again when it is friends I don’t mind helping, I passed Mon and he accepted the taxi with thanks but on the turn I had lost him – sorry Mon. T2: Pretty quick I think, I came in, in 4th place and just as I entered transition Steph was leaving on her run. I thought she was in 1st place at this time.
RUN: Out on the run and the 3rd place girl didn’t find her run legs, those hills really do bite you, don’t they? So within a couple of minutes I had passed her and then it was try and keep form and keep the legs turning over at a good cadence. I saw Steph just after the first turnaround and when I passed she informed me there was one more in front!! Damn!!! Oh well, it is not a good idea to try and chase someone down on the Kenyir hills, so I just kept it as steady as I could and what would be would be. Yup you guessed it as I crossed the finish line I realised I believe I was just seconds shy of 1st place!!!!! Emma was bridesmaid AGAIN. Last year Langkawi 3rd, Kenyir 3rd. This year: Langkawi 2nd, Aviva 2nd and Kenyir 2nd. Do you see a pattern forming here? Guess I will have to wait until next year! It was all worthwhile, I came 2nd overall as well, so the additional bonus money was extremely well received. Thank YOU Triathlon Malaysia, a great race. Hot as hell and tough but it is such a beautifully tranquil place that I believe I will return again.
Well done to all the guys who participated:
Li-Sar, back on the bike and racing came 1st in her age group!!! Awesome result. She couldn’t stop smiling, FANTASTIC. Carmen came 2nd behind Li-sar, RHBee, came 4th, Ms Sexy 5th –basically the IRON CHICKS had an awesome day and walked away with some cash in the pocket.
Meng, Rodger, Bernard, Randy, Stuart, Mon all had smiles on their faces which means the most important result was achieved. THEY HAD FUN and will be BACK!
Ok, I said short, but ya know I just get carried away!!!
That’s it now until July, back to training for Emma.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Anyway, was a pretty awesome evening, I had some beers took some snaps, behaved myself and it was good to see even the pro’s letting their hair and guards down.
I am going to do my best to keep this one short. Half the distance so I figure at least half the text right?
Okay. This race was a no pressure ‘holiday’ race of sorts. I still wanted to do well but knew my best was probably not going to be in the bag. So I also treated the very long weekend (Wed to Monday) as a holiday. I haven’t had one of these in a long time, triathlon breaks yes, but not beer drinking, lazy days eating and just chilling.
Arrived on Wednesday, checked in and hopped straight into a cab to Orchard hotel to meet Julie who was staying for a few days. A very lazy afternoon ensued of drinking (I started only at 5pm mind you) and gossiping in the lobby lounge of the Orchard.
Thursday morning, I hung out in China town, popped to the Polar service centre, ate lunch, took a massage, started the beer drinking, slept, ate, slept ate, drank. Yeah you could say I was pretty chilled out.
On Friday, things were starting to heat up RE: the race. (I knew I had flown down here for something other than R&R). A short light run down by the beach in the morning followed by breakfast and some more sleep. RHBee was driving down with the bikes and had kindly agreed to swing by the hotel on arrival to pick me up on the way to registration.
Friday night was the carbo loading and by 4pm I was starting to feel really rough. At breakfast that morning I had trouble standing up unaided and I was pretty sure it was not the after-effects of a drinking session. I knew I was on my physical limits and still recovering from IMMY and so asked Bee to drop me back at the Mercure Hotel. I fully intended to be back at 6.30pm for briefing but it didn’t happen. I couldn’t move out of the bed. No carbo for Emma and no race briefing – oh well!
Saturday morning we agreed to have a light spin and swim. I hoped that I would feel better and lucky for me, 8am rolled round and I felt a hell of a lot better. Had a spin with Dave and Bee, then a little swim. Back again to the hotel for some R&R before returning to Big Splash for the Brett Sutton talk at 2pm.
I planned on attending the 2nd late briefing at 5.30pm after Brett’s talk. Seeing as I missed Fridays. Again it didn’t happen. I got chatting with Brett about my new position with TBB KL (to be announced later), and time just flew past. Then it was a TBB photo call and then, only then I could leave and eat. I then realised I hadn’t eaten since breakfast that morning! Not good. Carbo load was a bowl of Maggi noodles, peanut butter toast and a couple of mini muffins. No beer tonight!
Well you know I was up at the crack of dawn. Here is how it played out:
Swim: I was aiming for 38min. I knew this was well within in me – under normal circumstances. Alas, today delivered a very unusual set of circumstances. All good experience though.
I like the wave start. I feel more confident thrashing about and fighting with just female swimmers! Less than a quarter into the swim I was stung really badly with jelly fish. Worse than Langkawi, much worse, it got my face, legs and my right arm really nastily. There were no adverse effects in Langkawi so I tried my best to ignore the pain going through my arms. It was a nasty swim, I hated getting out and plunging in again and I was already at this stage asking a lot of questions of myself.
Bike: It had been raining and the roads were still damp. I was really looking forward to the bike and it is no secret that I had a 2hr30min split in mind. I felt strong and comfortable but something was missing, my first lap was 51 or 52mins and rather than maintain or increase, the pace started dropping. The arms were throbbing and stinging, all in all it was not the most comfortable ride I have ever done. Annoying because it is a course and a road surface that I would LOVE to tear up, but we cannot always have good days, and today was clearly not going to be mine.
Run: Having not done a bike to run brick since IMMY I had NO CLUE what my legs would allow me to do. Strangely, they came straight back. Just by keeping things ticking over for the past 3weeks the muscle memory was clearly still present. I got into a nice stride, sub 5min k pace to start and then settled into steady 5min k’s. I was on target for a 1hr45min run – the target I had in mind and all was going to plan until k 13. Who unplugged me?? Nauseous, lightheaded, rapid breathing – usually I have to fight off panic/asthma attacks on the home straight not 8k out. I figured my body was breaking down pretty quickly and knowing this fact started to panic me so then I had to sort my head out to prevent the inevitable attack happening. This meant I didn’t smile as promised. I knew 1st place was just in front of me, but after a while I had no clue where I was. Sometimes I didn’t care, other times, when I heard my name been shouted I had a go at myself and tried to put the bit back between my teeth.
Sponges, gels, iso, water, I took everything going and when I saw 1k to go I picked the pace up as much as I could. Sure that I would keel over at the finish, I didn’t care if I did I just wanted to cross that line and stop and lie down.
I crossed the line in 5hrs18mins and change. I still have no clue of the splits, the places I made up but on crossing the line to ELO and hearing that I was 2nd overall amateur female – I was pretty damn stoked! I didn’t reach any of my split targets today and that I know is because Emma is tired. But I still got an awesome result at my first official 70.3 that I am mighty proud of :)
Well done to Disco Dave, RHBee and Meng who all went sub 6hours 3 weeks after IMMY – awesome result guys. And Chirpy Aaron, who gave me a chirpy “looking strong Em” on the bike, a slightly less chirpy “good stuff Em” on the first loop of the run followed by silence. I haven’t spoken to you yet Aaron, but from what Neil said you had an awesome race and I know you were hurting! Thanks for the Shout OUTS. I for one was sadly doing none of that.
Big THANKS to Keat Seong who travelled down to see the pro’s and support us. Looking forward to seeing the pictures.
Thanks also to teamTBB (love that new SUIT) and TBB KL. Awesome job as ever and I am now proud to officially call myself a part of the team. Cheers Guys!
A great job by AVIVA for organising a superb event. Support was fantastic and it is definitely a 70.3 I would do again, although perhaps next time not 3weeks after an IM!
How's that for short but sweet!!!!
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Amped on caffeine as I type this. Race start is at 7:15am and I am still feeling TOTALLY relaxed. I am actually begining to believe that I have finally turned the corner in how to handle race prep and that the grumpy moody cow that WAS Emma is and could be a thing of the PAST.
Trouble is people are still waiting for me to snap! Seems like my reputation precedes me! But am doing my best to convince them that I am no longer dangerous.
Okay, so just a little update, I am looking forward to the race, God knows how I shall fair, a tough line up in my NEW age group but what the heck I WILL SMILE!!!!
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
1. There have been no downs
2. I found it really really easy to follow
I have not been consumed by guilt at the dramatically reduced training long hours. It hasn't bothered me not going long on the bike or run. Also I have not really consumed. Initially worried my weight would shoot up, funnily enough my appetite has reduced and I have been pretty good at not going overboard. ALSO my weekly grocery bill has been about 30% cheaper compared to when training 26hrs a week! Result!
Good advice, I like that kind of advice. It has never been targeted as a triple ‘A’ race anyway, I would like to do well and have goals but the year is long and the real triple ‘A’ race is sometime away.
Singapore will be my first official 70.3, I am just going to go out there, hopefully with a smile on my face and have a blast because the real work starts when I get back to KL. Not sure yet what that all entails, but the words sadistic Santana are ringing in my head!
Thursday, March 12, 2009
ANYWAY, obviously we got chatting about stuff, IM in particular. And he asked what I got. I said nothing, there is no prize money, just the trophy and in my book the ‘prestige’ at doing well at an international event which will last long after the last RM50 note has been frittered away.
Ever the typical businessman, Boon Foo said, “What no money incentive?” I said NO Boon Foo. But you should know me by now. Emma does not need incentive to drive her forward. Work hard, focus, live and breathe your passion and then....only then...the money may come. But in my book if it doesn’t, so long as I can keep George in fresh, tyres and myself in coffee then I am living my dream.
Incentives? Bahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. We all need help to move forward in sport, but sometimes money is NOT the answer. If you are reading this and are in a position to help young athletes in ways other than writing a cheque, some coaching, equipment, apparel, time – these are the things that I believe will help advance the sport. But then again it’s just my humble opinion so don’t bombard me with comments saying I don’t have to worry about money. Because those that know me well...know I do (have to worry that is).
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
By Dr Sarah Brewer (Courtesy of www.dailymail.co.uk)
However, many asthmatics go on to successful careers in sport. Olympian Rebecca Adlington is asthmatic, as are runners Paula Radcliffe and Sebastian Coe and cyclist Bradley Wiggins.
Monday, March 9, 2009
I will set a NEW bike course record for all AG women (I know the course would probably be different but what the heck, this years was harder and I was just 3minutes shy).
I will set a NEW course record for the Age Group Women!
I will then go to the SHOW!
There, I have said it. It is out there. It is going to be a tough one and I can’t wait!
While in my down time I have had plenty of time to think about the rest of the year. Still keen to go to Kona with Carmen and Wong, IM Japan is a race I told myself last year I would give a shot if I missed the slot at IMMY. I know I have a great chance to qualify there so penned my thoughts and a 2009 race plan to Coach Vinnie.
He replied with ‘interesting’. As he saw it, yes, I could probably get there in Japan. BUT that is not the journey he had in mind.
I said I wanted to get faster. I CAN go faster. Coach Vinnie will help me get faster. SO he says to me. “Do you want to go to Kona 2009 OR do you want to get faster?”
Such a conundrum; well he has done right by me so far, I trust the advice. I mean it would be better for Ironguides for me to go to KONA sooner rather than later, more exposure at the show. BUT, that is not what he advises. SPEED is.
After some thought (and many apologies this was supposed to be short), I decided that if I gave Kona another shot this year it would mean a great experience but also Emma will lose one year of getting quicker (and she ain't no spring chicken ya know!) So, my decision in the end, was simple. I will be doing a bunch of 70.3’s starting with Sing and then...(to be revealed).
Once again I will not hide from my new goal. A dream that is shared, is a dream that will be realised. Having a dream makes you feel alive. I don’t feel a failure from missing out by 10minutes I feel lucky to be alive and healthy.
Emma will spend 2009 getting FAST. This means plenty quicker in the swim, quicker still on the bike and cutting that run down as much as Emmerly possible.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Langkawi 2009, in the bag done. All smiles now. Even Randy is standing.
I slipped this one in cos it vaguely and I mean vaguely shows the hint of ab definition on my Lilly white skin...I think!!! hahahahahaahahahha
Friday, March 6, 2009
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Denis Oakley: 14:05:11. Denis joined us on a few swims, bikes and runs before going under the radar and back to Blighty. A lovely fellow, another fellow Brit this was Denis' 1st IM and he was in pain on that run but never EVER too much to say "GO Emma". During training he always would shout out when I was grinding out my long runs. Thanks.
Sofian Ismail: 15:38:38. This guy is a true inspiration. He has been there done that and got the T-shirt. Sofian's 1st trip to Kona was through writing a letter to the WTC back in the 80's. Said he was from Malaysia and he would like to come to the World Champs. The rest is history. If only it was that easy today! A guy I totally admire for all he has achieved, he had a great race today with a PB.
Don Khor: 11:33:51. This guy is so fit and such an awesome runner. He decided to participate at the 11th hour and still churned out a fabulous time. Last year there were no smiles, this year the guy was beaming from ear to ear.
Kona Carmen: 12:02:09. Carmen is the most consistent female I know. So steady and so quietly determined unlike yours truly. She went to the show last year as 1st Malaysian and by Jove she is going again this year with a PB under her belt. very proud of you Carmen, not envious like last year, just sad we didn't qualify together but lets see if I can still join you yet!
Sexy Lady Chris: 14:32:47. Throwing sponges at me on the run, Chris had a really tough run but she never stopped clapping me EVERY BLOODY time she saw me. I am welling up just thinking about that as I write this. Thank YOU CHRIS and YOU LOOKED bloody amazing. Chris is one tough IronChick, giving up is NOT in her vocabulary.
Smiling Meng: 13:41:04. We didn't see much of Meng during training this year and still with little or no training, Meng ALWAYS has a smile for you, it's so infectious it makes me want to smile more. Well done Mate.
Bernard: 14:38:38. A new addition to TTH, this was Bernard's first IM too. He looked in pain on the run, but always gave me support. Thank You.
KK sexy Martin: 14:46:05. KK is one of the busiest guys I know but will still go out of his way to help you. It is a pleasure and such fun training with you. You have said many kind words to me over the past few months and the fact that you say I inspire you makes all the muscle soreness go away and is replaced with warm fuzzy feelings because that is all I have ever wanted to do. INSPIRE & MOTIVATE. Thank you for your honesty and kindness.
RHBee: 12:41:18. No one is more determined than RHBee. She loves to train she loves to ride and has accompanied me on many brick runs. You did great in training and it shows in what you achieved on race day - totally in control. Thank you for your support.
Randy Tan: 13:15:40. If only I could swim like you Randy. 1:03! WOW. Randy has supported me in much of my turbo and Sunday run training, a lot of the time I am sure he didn’t want to but he came along to keep me company. Forever in your debt. Thank You.
S.Sam: DNF. Sadly after a storming swim and PB on the bike Sam struggled with stomach problems and had to pull out but not before when we passed each other on the run and he had the cheek to yell out “Smile Emma”! Sam you have been an absolute diamond over the past year, during training and outside of training when things got a little rough. Forever in your debt. Thank you.
Last but not least, Simon Cross: 10:43:44. Yet another fellow Brit (where are the girls though?) You are the one who tried to get me into the sport ages ago. I remember everything you said and I remember thinking yeah right get real. I had to do it in my own time and in my own way but once I made the move you have given me constant support and been a sounding board of sorts particularly over the past 12months when I have been struggling. Always positive, always optimistic and always believing that I could do it. You pipped me today by a little over 10minutes but I will get you, maybe it wasn’t today but you know what, you churned out a fantastic performance. He said I would beat him on the bike and I thought I had, so how bummed was I to learn he did 5:03 – not bummed at all just 100% happy for him. For someone who suffers in the heat I believe he now believes that he can crack this distance. See ya in Kona Mate!
I awoke once in the night, made a Milo put the iPod lullabies back on and then finally got up at 5am. Still feeling pretty calm at this stage, I did the ritual toilet thing x 3. I know it is boring to eat the same food every morning whilst training BUT the body gets used to it and you know how it is going to react and work so while it may be a culinary bore it is sensible (in my book anyway). Planned to go down for brekkie early before the others but on my first trip downstairs I forgot my bananas for my pre-race/training ritual of a banana sarnie. So up I go again to the 9th floor. Tried to get in my room and the darn key didn’t work. So down I go again. And then up again. By the time I actually got to breakfast S.Sam, Carmen and the Tan’s were already there on a table of 4! They looked at me, I looked at them as if to say, what the? They then said it’s okay we will join the tables. I said, no worries, turned the Pod up, focus music on cue and Emma sat on her own.
We (Sexy Lady Chris, KK Sexy Martin, Kona Carmen, S.Sam, Tan & Tan, Smiling Meng, Disco Dave and Emma “no nickname Bishop”) assembled in the lobby and got the Wan to the jetty. Plugged into Pod, still calm but there were some nerves circulating in the tum. Waiting for the marking and that was it; I was now officially in a mess, smiling was not an option in fact crying was. Very emotional, I no longer had Pod to help me switch off so did my best to remain polite and upbeat (I said I did my best).
Still concerned about George’s wheels and how to let the pressure down (if I got a flat), a little tip for you all; hotel cotton-buds! Take off the cotton wool – they work a treat! One problem solved. Pumped tyres, fannied around, not as many photo calls as last year, I basically avoided seeing the guys until the last minute. Nothing personal but they are so upbeat. Randy always smiling, in fact everyone was smiling except lil’ ol’ me – it had to happen.
So there we all are, waiting at the pontoon, goggled up and ready to go. The time had come. Into the water, bobbing about, the past 21weeks of brutal training, discipline, highs and lows had come down to this one moment as I bobbed about waiting for the horn, there was just seconds to go. What was going through my mind at this stage? Something to the effect of “Oh for Christ sake just sound the bloody horn already I wanna GO”!
Swim: 1:24:16 (IM2008 1:45:55)
I tried to attack the swim a little more than my usual hang back efforts. I am a lot more confident in the water than one year ago and believe it or not I am quicker, just not quick enough...yet. So since I am no longer the slowest of swimmers, Coach Vinnie suggested push hard to the first buoy and then try and get in a group to a comfortable pace. Problem is when I am getting bumped rather than plough through which I should do because I am a big strong girl, I slow right down, maybe tread water, breaststroke and wait for clear water and start again. This is error number 1. The out was actually not too bad, I felt good and was swimming efficiently from buoy to buoy. But after a while and before the turn something started going wrong on my left shoulder. I have had an on/off problem for a while from a past wrong technique. The pain I was getting was new. Unsure of what it was I just tried rotating more and pulling through with long strokes. This felt good and was working but was never ever consistent enough.
On the turn, the pain continued. By this stage I knew something was really wrong and my left side basically was not giving much propulsion. Quitting was not an option. I started the race and if the shoulder was completely buggared by the end of the day I would deal with it then. For now it was just about getting the swim done.
On the turn I overtook Sexy Lady Chris. This made me feel better but I knew I was still lagging behind where I should be. On the return, swimming buoy to buoy was not easy as the current kept pushing me left and a guy was constantly kicking my face. It seems anywhere I swam to try and go round he would suddenly appear again.
Once you get into earshot of the announcers you know you are home. I get out the water and straight to transition.
Bike: 5:19:50 - Average Heart rate: 144. Average Cadence 67 (IM2008 6:25:43)
With all the training over the past weeks I had absolutely no clue what I was capable of. I was focused on two things: cadence and heart rate. Actually not too fussed about the ticker as long as it just kept pumping! 10weeks ago I told myself 5:45 was achievable. Since then I have been moving the time down (in my head). You should never ride an IM with a bike time in mind (well not Langkawi so I am told), because you have to run off the bike. But it is good to know what you are capable of; it gives you some confidence and assurance. I had plenty of positive feelings and know that I have got stronger than one year ago but as to what I could do – no bloody clue.
I started off and straight away picked it up into the big chain, big gear. Totally comfortable with this style of riding, love it. The heart rate was pretty up there with some sporadic highs but from my little experience the asthma seems to affect me more out the swim and it takes a while trying to settle everything back down.
I would like to add at this point when I left transition I left at the same time as another girl in my group. Her shoes were clipped on, mine not. I keep telling myself to learn to do this. For short OD races I guess it would help, but if you are not really GOOD at this approach you actually loose time. I whizzed past her before she had even one foot in.
I absolutely loved the bike. I do like riding, some training rides I have not wanted to ride long because I was so tired and fatigued. But when you are tapered and champing at the bit, feeling strong and riding a bike you feel 100% comfortable with in aero, is a dream. I used the aid stations as a gage to see how my progress was and realised pretty soon I was doing over 30k an hour pretty comfortably.
It got quite hot out on the course and I think this is where the damage for many of the athletes was done. Still cool by Langkawi standards, the route was exposed and interspersed with fast roads and concrete crap (out by the airport). There were winds, but I didn’t notice them. I overtook a lot of people, the only ones who overtook me were pro’s I am proud to say.
I saw Adzim, 10minutes into the bike and gave him a cheery hi. Emma was smiling. Then I saw Sofian and then I saw KK “I know that butt anywhere” Sexy Martin. I was happy, relaxed and in a groove.
Alex who is probably one of the busiest guys there with TBB donned a ref shirt and I saw him on the bike. Gave me words of encouragement! Cheers Alex. I then saw Neil and Aaron who had shelled out for the flight to come and support and volunteer their services as bike ref’s. Great stuff, again huge thanks for your shout-outs.
At 90k’s I had clocked 2hr40min. It was now that my mind started thinking about time. Initially I had though 5:35 with 5:30 being a dream. 2hr40 meant I was on for a 5:20!!! Cannot be. Without meaning to sound arrogant I was worried something was wrong or that I had miscounted because I was totally within myself. There was plenty more in the tank, in fact I asked myself should I go faster? But I knew the pace was already pretty solid and that I had 42k’s waiting for me so settled down and just maintained. I passed Randy who was having a nasty time out by the airport and suffering with a bad back, we exchanged greetings and off I went.
I drank, I ate, I peed x 3, body working well. With 20k to go in the distance there he was, S.Sam. I had finally caught him. To say I was pleased to catch up with IM Sam on the bike is an understatement. He is always encouraging, full of enthusiasm and an awesome rider and bloody outstanding on hills, which is probably the only reason I caught him today because it was just rolling stuff.
We rode in together, Sam giving plenty of support (verbal not drafting), telling me just to stay focused and concentrate. Very easy to screw up when you are just on the home straight. This is where I usually have a chat with myself and it is usually out loud. Stuff like, “Good job Emma, nearly home, keep it together.”
The only problem I encountered on the bike was when attacking hills, I got out the seat as often as possible, it is a style I prefer and feel strong at. The heart rate elevates but the payoff is it is only for a short duration and it gives the back a rest and moves the lactic around using a different muscle group. Today though getting out the saddle killed me every time. My shoulder was really giving me gip but bahhhh, nothing like the pain I had gone through in training so Grin and Bear it!
Got off the bike with Sam, gave each other slaps on the back and off I toddled into transition.
Run: 4:05:43 Average Heart rate 145 (IM2008 4:33:32)
I was hoping for a sub 4, didn’t quite make it. I will next time though. The great thing with all the sadistic training is running off the bike after 180k is actually easy. Never ever think about it. Never thought ooo my legs hurt, they feel like jelly. Nope straight into a rhythm. I am not saying it was an easy run. It was not. Here is what happened:
I am known for having a game face, not smiling at all. Now let me explain why. In the past if I connect with everyone around me when I am trying to give my best effort I get very emotional, all your support, shouts of “GO EMMA” really really touch my heart. I love it. But if I react, my respiratory goes mad and trips into an asthma attack. So I try to keep my emotions in until the end and then only then it usually all comes out. Today though was a new experience. While I had been nervous on the swim, I was smiling on the bike and as I started that run and heard my name being called I realised I was smiling, this fact was confirmed when announcer Whit yelled out “Number 680 Emma Bishop and there’s that smile".
Loop 1 great stuff: Yet again Alex was out on the course supporting teamTBB and everyone else he recognised, he also asked me if I knew where I was placed. I shook my head, didn’t know at all, I did know I had to do my race and not try and chase someone who could have been 5 minutes or 30minutes in front. Do that and I would blow up.
Loop 2: looking good still smiling. When we ran back into the turnaround point before the blip of a bridge the anticipation of what was waiting round the corner lifted me every time. The iamcylist van with Ivie, Bobby and many many others whose names I cannot remember, my sincere apologies if I haven’t mentioned you, but BIG thanks. On the other side of the road people are yelling out my name too. I loved it. This is my home race, let’s face it Malaysia is my home. Going into the turn around to get the next band was another buzz, with Razlan announcing your name, Goosebumps, an extra little kick, support works, don’t ever think there is no point in shouting out. Even if you yell "Hey you in the PINK TRI SUIT keep going", it is good enough! (Okay so if I am having a bad day I may well come over and punch you and tell you to SHUTUP, but I was having a good, no GREAT day).
As my run was nearing the end I started seeing many familiar TTH training buddies, they still had a long way to go but ALWAYS gave me their support.
I loved every minute. I am still hooked, raring to train, looking forward to the next one and looking forward to going to Kona one day very soon. x
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Rise and shine, didn’t have to get up too early but I am so used to 5am rises that I was wide awake. Met the guys for brekkie we then got the ‘Wan’ down to the Jetty for a toe dip in the ocean for 8:30ish. On arrival plenty of people already swimming, saw Sofian, he had just come out the water and warned us of the Jellyfish. He had just been stung. Everyone was in pretty good spirits, more importantly I was still in good spirits, and the butterflies had well and truly gone away (for the moment). I had a 10minute swim in mind that would be followed by a 10minute bike and 10minute run with some race-pace pick-ups. Briefing was at 10:30am so it was going to be a busy morning which was a good thing, less time to start chewing off my nails.
The swim looked much more doable than last year, a straight out and back. Calm as a mill pond, we goggled up and plopped in. Well Emma did. Here’s a bit of useless information. I have never EVER dived into water. Don’t know how. Fallen, yes, tripped, yes, but it is usually the walrus plop effect for me. Note for 2009, must learn to bloody dive! Oh yes, and Swim!!!
Sorry, back to the swim. So off I set, lovely long strokes, gliding along (Oh F***, wake up Emma) anyway swimming along in a straight line I would like to add as opposed to last year’s Ever Decreasing Circles. Can’t have been more than 5mins out and my right arm came over and hugged a big bastard Jelly Fish. As the right arm went through it pushed the buggar left and my left arm caught it, I then discarded it behind me right into the path of Sexy lady Chris (I do like to share). Both of us were stung pretty nasty. I had lash marks on my wrists, Chris a sting on her face and back. We bobbed about a bit and then swam back.
Sadistically I was happy this had happened. If I had no reaction other than nasty discomfort and itching then I knew if it happened on the race I would be OK. Trouble is I now had to wait to see if there would be any side effects.
Out the swim, back to the hotel and straight onto George for a 10min spin with KK Sexy Martin and then a 10min run, feeling real good. I got back showered and then straight to briefing. After briefing we went to look at the other side of the bike course in the ‘Wan’. It appeared whilst driving to be rather hillier than anticipated. Not looking good. Lunch was taken at T-Jays, the same place as last year; we even sat at the same table and me the same seat. Did I mention I was superstitious?
Back to the hotel for a nap, I couldn’t sleep though. Stomach was bulging with the disgusting amount of Pizza I had consumed so I got all my bike stuff together and went to sort George out and get him ready.
Bike Check-in: We rode our bikes to check-in, on the way I was still not happy with the noise emitting from Georges rear. The gears seemed to be jumping in the big chain ring. Not happy, getting a little/ a lot antsy, I saw Alex as I went through the gate and he guided me into the mechanics.
Joe to the rescue again. I then took the bike back out and rode around, working through the gears. Crap, I thought, this OCD is getting really bad. Deciding enough was enough I went back to check-in, back to Joe. Got them to check the seat, cables, headset and then, only then, did I go through and let them put the sticker on.
With George racked I went and found him to go over the tyres. I had put two tubes, two C02 and a hand pump. OCD Emma was not taking any Chrissie type risks. I then spent the best part of 15minutes going over the tyres looking for damage, bits of debris that could come and bite me in the arse if not removed. (I had already done this twice). Whilst doing this very very scientific technical procedure, IM announcer Whit came over. He was eyeing up the bikes and recognised not me but my Little Miss Naughty T-Shirt from Phuket. We can’t all be as memorable as our very own Sexy Chris now, can we? During this time I was now trying to release the pressure from the tyres but having problems. After yet more faffing about the air was down but the Starbucks straws were not doing the job. What the hell would I use tomorrow if I got a flat?? One final look over George, check the bags, quick chat with Alex and Simon and to the waiting ‘Wan’. The guys dropped me off at the hotel. It was gone 6pm. I didn’t want dinner and as per last year, retired to my room with Maggi noodles, chocolate muffins, Milo and the iPod.
Got a text from Julie. “Was I in a mess?” Oddly, weirdly, I was very calm, not like the calm before the storm I was really calm - cool as a cucumber, no butterflies, what the hell was going on? I was raring to go and keen to get to the start to see what I could do. Lights out by 8pm, lulled to sleep by “Chariots of FIRE soundtrack!
Monday, March 2, 2009
Up at 5am the day started off with car pooling to the airport, for once I didn’t need a wakeup call from Mr and Mrs Newly Wed Tan and we arrived in plenty of time. George and all the other bikes had travelled by road with TBB KL earlier in the week so it was just regular luggage and my trusty Zipps I had to sweet talk (I know, not my strong point) through customs hand luggage. But since every other man and his dog were carrying a pair of wheels they couldn’t refuse me could they? But they did try!
Arrived in Langkawi, picked up the Wan (this is Chinese speak for Van), that KK Martin, NKA (Now Known As) KK Sexy Martin (you know why) had superbly pre-arranged and left waiting for us. Off to TBB Bike Maintenance to hand over the Zipps, then to check-in, then lots of faffing about with registration. Once most of the gang were assembled we popped out in the late afternoon to test our bikes and the hill.
My bike test lasted all of 5seconds, by which time I realised I had no front brake. Luckily Joe one of the mechanics supporting TBB had not yet left and with some minor quick adjustments I was good to go. Now I have never suffered from OCD but this weekend I self diagnosed me with the disorder where George was concerned. EXTREMELY paranoid is an understatement. I had the guys look over the rear wheel A LOT. I don’t like noise when I ride; I prefer to be a silent assassin whereby I ride up behind you and WHOOSH fly past before you can say what the F*** was that?
I found out the rear bearings need changing and that was why there was noise when changing gears. After asking FOUR of the TBB mechanics AND my brother in the UK if it would be a problem their united 'it shouldn't be' and my brothers 'NO' allowed me to settle down a little; like I say, Emma was getting rather paranoid where the bike was concerned.
The ride was good, I felt raring to go, and was in good spirits which surprised me but absolutely floored my training buddies. They were waiting for my anti-social cum axe murderer personality to kick in but it didn’t. Actually I was on pretty good form if I do say so myself. WEIRD.
And so we did the hill that was apparently the only real nasty blip on the bike route. Not too bad I thought. Back to the Bayview, quick change and out to Simon’s fancy suite at the Westin with the others for a 100PLUS at sundown. Sorry no drinkie poo’s for me. This was followed by a swift dinner, followed by bed. Friday morning would be early with a quickie swim, bike and run and that was just for breakfast.