In about 10 hours time, I would be boarding my plane home. With a 80km ride on Saturday, followed by a 20km run this morning, I can say that my Ironman preparation is complete... the physical part anyway.
An Ironman is 50% physical, while the remaining 50% is mental. Hence, one cannot overemphasize the importance of visualization - the power of the subconscious mind.
This is not a post of over confidence or counting my chicks before they hatch. It is about setting into stone, how I visualize my race day to be... as it should be, playing through my mind...
We all tread water nervously, eagerly waiting for the start horn in anticipation... HORN! And we scurried through the waters, stroke by stroke, into the start of the 3.8km swim. I positioned myself strategically amongst the front, as I don't want to be caught in the crowd and I wanted to post a good time. I kept close to the buoys, to ensure that I was on course. The water was reasonably calm, slight waves but not too severe as to throw us off course. At the turnaround point, my watch showed just under 30 minutes - according to target.
Swimming back to the finishing, I picked up my pace... but mainly strengthening my pull, saving my legs for the bike and the run. I climbed onto the jetty, posting a time of 59.55, and was delighted to hear that I was the first Malaysian out of the water! (I'm allowed to dream, aren't I?)
Into a smooth transition, dabbing my feet dry and fitting into my toe socks. Put on my glasses and helmet, grabbing my number belt and fastening it as I jogged briskly towards my bike.
Smoothly slipping into my bike shoes as I pedaled out of transition - to the start of the 180km bike ride. The first 28km was flat, and I rode comfortably... not hammering too hard, but not resting on my laurels either. I managed to complete the first out loop in an hour, just as I planned. Downed my first Powergel here.
Into the small loops, went through some rolling hills. Again, conservatively taking on the up slopes and resting slightly when zooming on the down slopes. The short, steep climb at Padang Gaong was challenging, but not disheartening. I took a Powergel after each 30km, drinking Endurance drink every 10km. The first three loops were completed in 1:20 each.
Onto the last loop, I mentally prepared myself to get into running mode. Started easing on the cycling legs. Unstrapped my bike shoes and in to transition, smoothly slipping off the bike and jogged into the transition tent. The 180km bike ride was completed in 6.5 hours.
Fitting nicely into my Saucony running shoes, put on my visor. Grabbing Powergels and fitting them into my pocket, while I downed a Performance bar and off for the marathon.
Legs felt okay, it was a long run so there wasn't any hurry to quickly come off the jelly legs. The first 1km out was done in 5.45. On to the 8km laps... mum, dad, Keith and Li-Ann were cheering me on... carrying me throughout the day.
I did each 8km lap in 45 minutes.
Coming into the final 1km back. Giving the spectators high fives as I could see the finishing chute just a few steps away. I could hear the announcer loud and clear. I could feel my family and Li-Ann's presence getting closer... and closer.
Breaking through the finishing tape, I embraced my family and Li-Ann, sheding tears of joy and unexplainable emotions. I looked at the huge timer, clocking a time of 11 hours and 50 minutes. I am an Ironman!
...this is how I would be playing the race in my mind. May my subconscious mind enable the actual race to reflect the above as much as possible, if not better!
My next post will most likely be my race report. In the meantime, check my race progress here. See you guys in Langkawi!