Monday, January 22, 2007

Training Again

The back brace is off, Kapil's wedding and the eating marathon of India, Christmas and the New Year is over. As usual I've stopped drinking until my birthday in March and now I must start the long, slow, painful and frustrating path back to fitness and hopefully competitive triathlons again.

I'm 10kg heavier than I was this time last year, I've just got over food poisoning but am currently suffering from a terrible chest cold and having finished my second course of antibiotics I feel no better.

All that said I have a desire and some would say a foolish goal of competing (completing) in the Langkawi Ironman (3.8k swim, 180k bike, 42.2k run) on the 24th of February.

I started my long runs on Friday the 12th January with an unconvincing 8.5k run around Country Heights. The next day I staggered around our usual 21k run course but started early so that there were not too many expectations. Sam and Julie came by just before half way with some great and friendly support (thanks guys).

I got home feeling grateful that I'd survived and jumped into an ice-bath in the hope that I could stave off some of the impending stiffness. The next morning I embarked on a 140k cycle to Bentong which was equally tough but I survived it again. I met a really great English guy called Tom on the ride, who's planning to do his first Ironman in Langkawi. He and I chatted our way through the worst of the ride which helped enormously.

The following weekend (19th and 20th) I decided that if Langkawi was to be a reality I needed to push the envelope still further. To this end I embarked on a 150k hilly ride to Titi on Saturday followed by the Great Eastern 30k run on Sunday morning.

Once again I survived both (although I did think I was going to die in the first 10k of the run as I couldn’t breath).

Harro, one of my good running friends helped me through the worst of it and we paced each other for the first 20k.

One of my regular running partners Julie was on fire and won the women’s race with what appeared to be ease (and a big smile as she raced past in the opposite direction already more than 5k ahead of me).

Sam, Carmen, Cecil, Freddie, Mon, Dino, Marianna, Eugene, Goh to name but a few were all having awesome races and were great inspirations to me as I trotted around. All of them took the time to encourage me on which means a lot when it's such a tough day.

One of my staff also did the race, Joey. She’s not what you would call a natural athlete but has done a few 10k runs and entered the 20k option of this race. I was a bit concerned that I hadn’t seen her during the run but then I came across her with a big smile on her face and several kilometres further ahead than I’d expected – Great job Joey, I was really impressed and pleased for you.

I passed Hairul going in the opposite direction - he was about 3k ahead of me - he couldn't stop laughing as I waddled past. I was starting to feel good by then though and was moving faster, I wondered whether I might see him again later in the race! As it turned out I caught him with about 3k to go and he laughed again (all in good spirits I must add - I can't begin to tell you how friendly, supportive and fun the running/cycling and triathlon community is in Malaysia - everyone is so friendly).

I finished in 3:05 feeling pretty good and very satisfied. I had an ice-bath again when I got home and can now harbour hopes of Langkawi being a realistic possibility.

FOOTNOTE: Woke up the next morning without too much muscular soreness but chest cold had got 10 times worse and I had to spend the day in bed - oh dear!