Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Ironman Western Australia 2012... a race of a different kind

I came to this race with big goals and expectations. Even a big investment in a new bike, new shoes etc. the lot! As most of you would know, I fell short of my sub 10 hour target and made it through the finish with 10:16.28, about 1.5 minute slower than my PB at Ironman Cairns early this June. In fact, I clocked almost the same splits for each leg, talk about being consistent!

Disappointed? Somewhat. But given the conditions on the day, I was just glad to have finished strongly. The waters were choppy during the swim but in comparison, my swim time was still pretty average. It was hot and windy on the bike, which made it difficult to clock a high speed. Luckily Tom from BYL passed me on the second lap and it helped with my pacing. Onto the run, the mercury rose even higher and it was difficult to maintain the pace I started. The drinks stations could have been better spaced, it has been the same for the last years - some really close to each other, some really far. Despite improving 8 minutes on last year's time, my age group ranking dropped by 13 places to 22nd but I improved 14 places overall to 140th. I've given it all on the race course and I could not have asked for more.

I'm afraid this isn't one of my usual detailed race reports. After doing the same course three years in a row, I can't seem to find the creative juices to write it much differently. But what I can definitely shed light on how much I enjoyed the company of the Malaysian contingent doing this race, most of them staying at Amaroo Motel too, and most of them doing their first Ironman. The pre race stress and chatter outside the corridors of our rooms, and asking for tips and advice. I felt very honoured to share some of my experiences.

I can also share on how much stronger I feel in the lead up to this race. Coach Bill certainly did not take the brakes off in my training plan this time. And though I feel tired and beaten up at the end of most weeks, I knew I would reap the rewards when it matters most on race day. I'm proud to say that I could keep up (most times) with the BYL group rides and finally feel that I'm part of the group and no longer that slow one that the group has to drag home. It was great fun training with you guys and a bit of healthy rivalry did push me beyond my limits on race day.

As some of you may already know, my wife Li-Ann and I will be moving to Canada for the next two years. Li-Ann took up a research position in University of Western Ontario in London, two hours away from Toronto. She left yesterday morning and as I'm writing this, she's already in Canada, a foreign place so far away and our communication is somewhat limited. The past few weeks had been stressful for her - sorting out our visas, getting rid of furniture and belongings we don't need, arranging for our place to leased out, packing for a trip to to a place where temperatures drop to negative 30 degrees!

All of these whilst my mental space had been pre occupied with the Ironman race, I did not give much help. Still, Li-Ann gave her full support on race day, even took the car out with Sam and Dennis to cheer me on at the bike turnaround on Rushleigh Road. She was sunburnt and exhausted at the end of the day. Thanks, darling! I love you, darling!

An amazing shot taken by Dennis Tan
What's next for me? Well, going to Canada will be an adventure in itself. But being the Ironman junkie I am, I have already signed up for Ironman Canada in Whistler on 25 August. With over 4000ft of climbing on the bike course and nearly 700ft of elevation in the run, it's going to be one epic race!

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