Monday, August 3, 2009

Race Report Desaru 2009

The 10days leading up to Desaru were not my best. Like most people I was suffering with the haze and coughing up grey matter. I had a sore throat and was feeling pretty low and having trouble staying awake throughout the days. When fatigue sets in, and I mean really sets in I can only liken it to walking around in a fog. The head is heavy and hazy and you continually want to close your eyes.
So in the week leading up to Desaru, Monday played out as normal, then I took my foot off the gas and prayed I would feel strong enough to give a good effort.
Putrajaya not happening was a huge blessing; not going to Baling was the absolutely right thing to do. Desaru while not the main race was to be a gage of how things are improving. It is my distance (well half of my distance) and I wanted to build some confidence.
So, ready? Here we go...
I drove down in the KK mobile with Jens and Li-sar. We rolled up to the hotel around 2:30ish. Checked in, registered and by 4:30 went out for a spin and run. George has been poorly and I soon found out he still wasn’t any better. The gears were not going in when I wanted them to and the only way I could get in my monster gear was to go from 53-15 and WHAM push it down hard to get the top whack, tried to sort it out but to no avail. Now here’s the weird thing, usually this would freak me out...I need everything on the bike to be smooth and working perfectly...for some reason though I just accepted the state of play and decided big stuff all the way anyway so deal with it...not a biggie!
No carbo for me, had noodles and muffin in my room which I shared with Jens. (I think I was sociable, for a change, he may disagree though). Race morning and no brekkie I had a small banana and muffin and jug of coffee. The real carbo load for me was the previous afternoon. Starting getting ready and everything was cool until racking George and the nerves hit.
I was eyeing the other girls and their machines...putting Shahrom on the spot about who they were and how strong. I was REALLY nervous. I know you can’t worry about anyone else...but it’s still nice to know who’s out there...or not. It also didn’t help when someone, I forget who, mentioned “Emma you look really tired”. Oh crap...I must admit my foggy head was not entirely clear but usually once I start training or in this case racing the head comes together and I forget about the fatigue until the job is done.
Swim: I was given a speed suit in March. I have not worn it before. I was instructed that when you are such a bad swimmer as I, wetsuit/speed suit – no brainier, you use it. So I did. Slightly worried about taking the thing off but figured the transition area was so long I would have plenty of time to get a head start on it.
God and Mr Chan looked kindly on the non-swimmers among us on this race day. The sea was a meer shade of its normal spin cycle and the distance was definitely favourable in the short sense. Having said that I came out just behind Sofian who unlike me knows how to swim, was I drafting him? I have no clue...I wouldn’t know how or if I was...and if I did...thank you it was most enjoyable.
Exiting the water I was struggling with the zipper and a guy running behind me yelled out if I needed help. So we stopped and he unzipped me – this is what I love about this sport and would like to think despite my focus and race head I would do the same for someone else in the same position.
Peeled the suit down and by the time I was at my bike it came off pretty easy. Still plenty of girls bikes around (good sign). Rocked up to the mount line and I hear “Good swim Emma”. I turned round to see Sofian next to me! I didn’t even know we had come out the swim together!! Sorry about that :)
Time: 34min I think. Bike: Okay now I start to work hard. Places to catch up. Got into a comfortable groove early on, the gears were still messing about but I didn’t let it bother me...I knew what I had to do and just put my head and gears down. By the end of the first loop I went into first overall place. Chatting to myself all the way I now thought OK, 60k’s left to create some space...maybe 10minutes? Just as these thoughts are going through my head I went over a little bump and BANG, the bottle from my rear cage pops out. Stop or not. In a split second I decided not to stop...just as well as the cage was broken and would not have held. But now I knew I needed to get water. I had an iso on my down tube and my aero bottle with water was empty and with 2 loops to go that was not enough.
So within 3minutes of taking the lead I lost it when I had to literally stop and get the water station to fill up the aero bottle. This was my ‘Chrissie moment’. Because then the race was back on and I gunned it to reclaim first place after about 15mins. After that I never looked back. I stopped again to refill with water but this time the buffer was more comfortable.
I felt strong, I felt like there was more in the legs but I also knew I was on target to meet my time so I made the decision to HOLD IT and not push any more. You have to keep reminding yourself you have to run after the bike and if you want to run strong you must not leave you legs on the bike!
Time: 2:30.Run: This was a new scenario for me. Never have I come off the bike in 1st place. I am used to chasing down places on the run and I rather like that. So this was someone was going to be chasing me down. How mush lead did I have, was she a good runner, was I a fast enough walker to hold her off? So many little time.
Socks on, (decided I would wear them if in 1st off the bike). Shoes, glasses, cliff shots and GO! I know the run doesn’t look pretty but it works for me. Short fast turnover. I felt good everything under control and on the turn back I saw 2nd place about 11mins behind me. At 5k I checked my pace and just decided to hold it. Thoughts kept going through my head that Nicole (pos. #2) would catch me but when I saw her she looked worse off than I (but also all credit to her as she kept yelling out “Awesome job” every time she saw me). If I had to step it up I knew I had some in the tank, the thing that was really on my mind now was HOLY CRAP I can go under 5hours!
With the TV camera bike at my side they followed me in for the last 3k or so. I was relaxed and really enjoyed the moment and could not stop grinning once I came into the finish – it was a fantastic day and an awesome weekend.

Total time: 4:53:17
This was all about testing my progress and what all the training is about – which is just to get quicker. I can’t wait for Cobra 70.3 in 3 weeks. Not sure if I can repeat but my confidence is high and I am feeling good.
Congratulations to everyone who took part for the first timers and repeat ‘offenders’, it may a be rather long journey to make but I believe you will agree with me in saying that you sense of achievement and the camaraderie that surrounds this wonderful sport makes that drive well worth it!!
Thank you to Mr Chan for all his support and a super organised race and to Razlan for his constant shout outs. I may not be a local but he and many others always make me feel right at home!
And final thanks to Nicole Gallegher (2nd place female). Her reaction to me passing her on the bike on that first loop was “I knew I had to settle for 2nd today”. Those words meant a lot and her constant show of support as we were running you would have thought she was in a different category. The biggest competition is yourself you cannot control anyone else over a long distance and that’s why I love the long stuff. And so when Nicole came up to say well done after she crossed the line she also asked me “Are you Emma Sutton?? Where did you come from? Are you a Pro” (honest she did say that!!!) reply was simply, “I crept out the sea.”
Many thanks to Lydia Tan and Bernard Soh and Albert Chung for the awesome pictures...I do have more, maybe I will blog a couple more, maybe not!!


sofiantriathlete said...

well done

jennifer said...


plee said...

awesome! Onward to Cobra 70.3

yipwt said...

nicely written, and you still won despite twice stopping for bike!

LG said...


John said...

Congrats! Keep it up.

azhar said...
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