Tuesday, March 03, 2009

I'm Back (updated with photos)

(Photos courtesy of ainiza.multiply.com)

In fact I got back on Sunday night and was in the office Monday morning - not bad ay? I had promised my business partner that a "no show" would mean that I stayed an extra night because I qualified for Hawaii - ho ho! Clearly that didn't happen but I managed to achieve most of my goals - the most notable one being an Ironman personal best of 10:43:44 and in the hills, heat and wind of Langkawi - quite chuffed!

My Mum and Dad were over from England to support me, Shilpa and the boys came too of course and they were all awesome. We stayed in the Westin as a bit of a treat and they even upgraded us to the second best suite in the hotel - nice!

My buddy Henry Tan said before the race that if I came in the top 100 (I've never come close to the top hundred before) that he'd buy me a nice bottle of scotch - I was 75th (including the 40 pros) so again pretty pleased with that and Henry delivered a bottle of Chivas Regal to my house last night - thanks Henry - more importantly he said he'd train and do the race next year!!!

Just about everyone in the TTH group had a good race and amazingly the weather was relatively cool reaching only 37 degrees Celsius during the bike according to my bike computer.

So all in all a great race and a great weekend shared with lots of wonderful friends and my family - what more could you ask for?

I read Sofian's blog this morning and I liked the way he'd done a few "shout outs" to/for people so forgive me for doing the same and forgive me if your name should be here - as I replay the weekend in my mind I'll add to the list and add photos later, this is a work in progress.

So a BIG shout out and thank you to: -

Shilpa for being supportive and understanding of my training (most of the time) and for your amazing race day support, she was there every time I needed that extra bit of encouragement or motivating word. She organised herself, Mum, Dad, Sid and Seb to be in strategic places at the transition zones, on the run and at the finish so that I saw all of them at all these crucial spots - not to mention kept tracking me down on the bike in the car - very very motivating.

Sid and Seb for just being so gorgeous in every sense of the word, your persona's just outshine everything else, your unconditional love just brings me to tears, I could never have imagined ever being so lucky, I love you so much it hurts.

Mum and Dad for coming all the way to Malaysia knowing that I'd be out training or at work much of the time and then in Langkawi standing out in the hot sun to get a mere glimpse of me as I cycled or ran past only then to have to wait another hour before repeating the process. Mum also looked after Seb and Sid back at the hotel when they needed a rest which resulted in changing at least one pooy nappy - something I bet she didn't expect to be doing again.

Ivie - who recently became Mrs Randy Tan, she's our team photographer, baker and general support crew. Just like Randy, always positive, always cheerful - thanks for all the support.

Tey - This guy gets everywhere with his camera (not to mention having just done the HK marathon himself) - Looking forward to seeing the photos Tey. Thanks so much for all the pictures you take of all of us at so many events - you really are one of our greatest support team - THANKS FROM ALL OF US.

Julie and Hayley - for their encouragement and support whether that be on Sunday morning long runs, at races and by SMS. Good luck to you Hayley in the London Marathon and Julie too when she gives birth later this year.

Sofian Ismail for being an inspiration to us all, a Malaysian legend in triathlon, always out there for hours after the pros have had their shower, dinner etc. but always with a smile on his face, never grumpy, always with a positive word - As we passed each other on the run I called out to him "keep going Sofian, YOU INSPIRE US ALL" - and he really does. if any budding triathlete needs to find a role model then there's no need to look to the Pros - Sofian's the man. I always get a big lift when I see him on the course.

Dr. Tan, another ICONIC character in Malaysian Ironman, he struggles to finish in the cut off time most years but you'll never see a more smiley, happy man in the middle of a sea of misery. This year he achieved 16:58 - "dead last place" his SMS read - no Dr. Tan, your forgetting the MANY MANY starters that didn't complete the course who you beat - and don't get me started on the couch potatoes that didn't even start training let alone the race. Dr. Tan you are an IRONMAN YET AGAIN - he's also off to do the Gobi Challenge later this year - another desert ultra-marathon like Marathon Des Sables - at least I was sensible enough to stop at that - Dr. Tan is certifiably BONKERS.

Everyone at the IM Cyclist van and Edwin of course - These guys were just awesome, full of cheers and support - thanks guys you made that steep bridge easier to get over every lap. Thanks Melody and Adele especially, they cheered me every time I went past, sorry I didn't acknowledge it after the first couple of times but I was in a little world of pain and just trying to keep it together.

TTH Disco Dave 13:20:21 - I just love training with you - always a smile, always great conversation, fun, jokes, banter - great addition to the group and now you've broken your Ironman virginity - well done.

TTH Kona Carmen 12:02:09 - She got to Hawaii last year (and beat me) but kindly let me get away this year. No so lucky were Fiona and Wendy who Carmen resolutely wound them in and finished as first Malaysian woman again. Congratulations - the dream lives on.

TTH Emma Bishop 10:55:43 - Everyone put money on her beating me (including me) but her bravado got the better of her the day before the race and rather than succumbing to the pressure I managed to keep her at arms length to the finish. Emma has spent the last year aiming for Hawaii and would have made it by over an hour had the organisers not changed the rules at the 11th hour which moved her into the next age-category where she was pipped to the lone spot by just 10 minutes. Emma was philosophical about it and I have no doubt that another Ironman later this year will reward her with a spot to the Big Island.

TTH Denis Oakley 14:05:11 - Denis disappeared from the radar in the month of February and I only saw him on the plane home. However, despite tremendous challenges at work he too broke his Ironman virginity and even called it easy - Shame on you Denis, try harder next time, or pretend it hurt to make the rest of us feel better.

TTH Sam Pritchard DNF - Never mind Sam, a good swim was followed by a sub 5:30 bike but with food poisoning - now that is awesome. Sam eventually succumbed on the run but having suffered food poisoning once myself in this race I can tell you there's no where to hide and you can't fake it on this killer course. If you're not 100% then it will eat you up and spit you out.

TTH Lingerie Lee aka KK 14:46:05 - Always a cheerful chap, great guy to train with, holiday with and race with although his choice of underwear on the outside is becoming a little distracting.

TTH Chris Sexy Lady 14:32:47 - Her name speaks for itself, Shilpa said that half dead Ironman who were almost crawling on their hands and knees sprang up, chests out and started sprinting when they saw Chris approaching - she clearly exudes that sort of inspiration, the women athletes just turned green with envy in comparison. Chris looked a million dollars, as usual and had a smile, a wave and a word of encouragement every lap of the run - she should make a guest appearance in every Ironman to rejuvenate everyone I reckon.

TTH Randy 13:15:40 - Now Randy is another of those training partners that you just love to have around, always smiling, only positive words to say, laughing, joking - just Mr Cheerful, but my goodness come race day what a change. I asked him to let me beat him out of the water as he is a great swimmer. Not only did he not do that but did a 1:03 and beat me on to the bike by a good 10 minutes - very unsporting. It took me over 50k to track him down. But later that day... Randy was looking grey, no smile, no jokes and no cheerfulness, just a grimace of pain and dogged determination to finish. I later found out that I hadn't managed to upset him but rather he had suffered some sort of back trauma on the bike and had spent the last 12 hours of the race in excruciating pain. Good on you Randy, that is the Ironman spirit - just keep going.

TTH Gadget Girl Bee 12:41:18 - Bee has been steadily improving throughout the last couple of years and this clearly showed in Langkawi, she looked the very definition of an Ironman triathlete, total confidence and focus - in the zone! Nice one Bee I can see that Carmen will be having more competition for the title next year.

TTH Meng 13:41:04 - Seems like I train with a cheerful bung of guys and girls but Meng takes the biscuit, he permanently has the biggest smile you've ever seen on a human being. This guy is the personification of happiness even when he's hurting. I caught him on a hill just before I finish my last loop on the bike and guess what - he was smiling! This year he's not had the chance to do as much training as he'd like but still managed a great time.

TTH Don Khor 11:33:51 - Don entered at the last minute and although his running was tip top his cycling training was a few thousand k short of what was required. When he got gouing on the run though he had a smile from ear to ear and was sprinting around the course.

TTH Bernard 14:38:38 - he struggled on the swim but kept it all together to the finish. Nice one!

TTH Ngae 15:14:35 - Often seen running marathons barefoot and Ironman Malaysia was no different, ass cheerful as ever, telling whoever would listen that he was taking it easy Ngae ran round the run course with an injured hip and shoes in hand - good job dude. Incidentally, he was guilty of putting a bet on with me for a 10k race head to head with me AND Ironman Malaysia, albeit with a 45 minute handicap advantage. He lost the 10k race and after some frantic SMS's and "legal" input he delivered the first case of beer - however, he was heard trying to wheedle out of the second case for the Ironman - we'll see - beer is cheap in Langkawi too, I hope he bought a case there.

TTH Aaron and Neil (They were draft marshalls) - Thankfully I didn't see them during the race nor did they need to worry about me I hasten to add - but they have been awesome training partners and will be doing the Singapore 70.3 in 3 weeks - good luck guys. Just a note to reflect upon too, they were there as race officials, giving their time to do a thankless job of draft busting - can you believe that the organisers made them pay for their own flights to Langkawi???!!!!! Does anyone have any idea how much sponsorship the organisers get from the government???? I do and let me tell you it runs into millions - volunteering is one thing but it's quite disgraceful that they have to pay to fly there - just my thoughts - doesn't reflect well on the organisers but it just goes to show what stand up guys Aaron and Neil are - good on you and thank you guys.

Iwata Takatoshi 15:31:09 - As last year my great rival and friend Iwata-san gave up his race day to pair up with a blind Ironman for the swim before handing over to the guys tandem bike partner. Iwata then finished the race himself but not before crashing on a sandy bit of road - he still finished with injuries all over his body and a very badly damaged shoulder - that's why they call them IRONMAN - great respect as usual Iwata-san.

On another note regarding the organisation - I do owe the organisers half an apology, I said in a previous post that the bike course was going to be a disaster and that some people would ride too many loops and other too few. I was half right, some people did and it was a bit of a silly course but the signage was great (except exiting the last lap was left to local knowledge or plain luck), marshals and police were perfect and somehow I blew my previous bike time away with a 5:03 feeling totally fresh and ready for a marathon - strange!!

There are more to add and photos of course but just no time yet...more later


Ali said...

super fast timing Mr. Cross... Great finish! Great support too!

plee said...

Well done and congratulations! Fantastic time, great performance!

Keat Seong said...

Congratz man!!! Your game face was on the whole 42.2km!!! :)

bola2api said...


pics from me here http://ainiza.multiply.com/photos

Abu Soffian said...

Wow..Well done Simon. How can I be like U? I salute U

Simon said...

Thanks for all the wishes guys - they really mean a lot.

As for how you can do this Abu? I'm nothing special, I've just been doing it a long time.

By the way your time in Langkawi is better than half of my Ironman times - looks like I'll be chasing you soon.

Dave said...

Simon not only a great race Buddy but a brilliant Blog to go with your awesome achievement.

You inspire me with more than just your silky smooth legs now as I see that the same qualities exist in your writing skills.

Can't wait to get back on the road with you and the rest of TTH and thanks again for all your personal words of encouragement.

Wherever next years race is you can count on me being there as I want to emulate your achievements in terms of PB's and cheer you on to making your dream goal a reality.