Thursday, November 12, 2009

Powerman 2009

(Photos courtesy of Tey, Ivie and Mike Williams)

So this was one of my three target races this year. (Others being KL Marathon and Miri Tri [yet to come]).

I'd really really trained hard for this race averaging 20 hrs a week for the last 10 weeks. The main focus was trying to get the volume in while maintaining quality and not getting injured or over trained. Add to this a principle requirement of success was to lose a lot of weight (especially after I'd put on so much in France). So, a difficult balancing act, not to mention trying to do the right thing by Shilpa and the boys.

The latter point was dealt with by training a lot early in the morning while they still slept and during lunchtimes. As I wasn't doing Ironman distances, Saturday rides were only around 120K and Sunday runs seldom more than 25k.

The weight? Some people train and lose weight - I don't!!! I have to be stupendously careful with what I eat even with the volume of training that I do. I admit that I do enjoy a few glasses of wine and a few beers each week which are calories that I could do without but come on, you've got to live a little. Anyway, I focused and come race day I was 72kg and had lost 9kg since France.

Although everyone said I would get injured and was over training I religiously followed a training plan and although I was dead tired a lot of the time it worked a treat.

Finally, illness? I don't seem to get ill anymore which is weird because the last 3 years or so I've gotten ill almost on a weekly basis with chest and head colds, strange fevers, flu like symptoms etc... Well I discovered a tiny device that fixed all that - a nose clip for swimming! It may make me look really geeky but it works. I suspect that I have an allergy to chlorine and certainly pool water so this device massively reduces the flow of water across the mucous membrane in my nasal passages and BINGO - no more illness.

To the race: -

Saturday started with a celebration, Shilpa's birthday. She had no interest in coming to Lumut (not really a great holiday destination) and as I'd already been overseas on business for the week and then leaving for Lumut on her birthday, I was treading on very thin ice.

So Saturday morning began with me leaping out of bed and cooking American Banana Pancakes (Shilpa's Favourite) as a bit of a peace offering. We followed that with her birthday cake (what else for breakfast?) and then late in the morning I headed to Lumut with a not too angry Shilpa (In fact just to clarify, she was totally cool about it and when you consider the circumstances she had every right not to be).

In fact it got better as later that day she picked up the present I'd bought for her which was a painting that she had fallen in love with - (me too actually) so now we're trying to find the perfect place to hang it.

I arrived in Lumut in good time, got my chip and race kit - incredibly efficient I must say - well done Quick Release.

Met a few people but needed to race to the hotel and get the bike sorted. I'd somehow managed to snap my handlebars in half on the turbo just before I left for my business trip and I'd expoxyed and glass fibred them up late on Friday night. I had to test them and ensure they weren't going to fall apart in the race.

Sam, Carmen and Emma joined me for a 20 minute ride (the handlebars were perfect) followed by a 2k run to get the systems fired up. Then it was off for a very early dinner to the local Italian with Sam and Carmen. Highly recommended. Sam then made me have an ice-cream - a very easy job of persuasion though. Then to bed by 8:30.

Up at 5am and not a bad night's sleep I'm pleased to say. A Powerbar a "sit-down" (or two) and four coffee's later I was feeling on top of the world. As this was a target race I'd stopped drinking coffee (or any caffeine) over a week before the race so that it would have a bigger impact on race day (if you're not doing this then you're leaving time on the course - I keep tellin ya!!!!).

I was strangely well organised so the bike was in transition and set up quickly and I was then into a solid warm up (highly necessary for such a race and a quick getaway).

The gun went and we were off on the first 11k run leg. There is an Elite category girl from the Philippines who runs really well and is a similar pace to me - I paced off her to start with and then started reeling in the people in front of me. Amazingly I passed Cecil fairly early on but he was only there for the fun of it rather than serious racing.

All was going well for the first 7k or so and I was pacing off the leading Elite women when all of a sudden a bee flew into my eye and stung me on the lid. I'm proud to say I didn't break my stride, no way was a little, albeit excruciatingly painful, little thing like this going to stop me. I do have to say that I did scream like a 10 year old girl though - hey ho you can't have everything! I thought I'd got the barb and poison sack out and carried on but believing that at some point soon the pain would become unbearable, my eye would drop out and that would be it - a big fat DNF (Did Not Finish).

As it happened, too many other things were in pain and I soon forgot about the bee sting. Good things were happening too, I passed Danny Feng then the Elite women and then my main rival Razani (never had I been close enough to call him a "rival" before). Additionally I could also see Iwata-san - never have I seen him at the end of a run before, he's too fast a runner and is usually long gone.

Run 1 time - 41mins 6secs

A good transition and I was onto the bike.

T1 time - 48secs

Not much to say about the bike really, other than I had a good one. I kept track of Razani at every turnaround and was pulling away from him at about a minute every half a lap, so that was good. Danny caught me just after halfway which brought a huge smile to my face. No need to concentrate now, I just sat back about 10m from him and let him pace me. Danny is an awesome cyclist so it was a pleasure to be in this position.

Then shock horror!!!! A western guy with number 330 (my age-group number range) came storming past both of us. Up until now I had thought the race was as good as mine assuming I could keep the second run together - oh well, it was after halfway so I'd have a good shot of catching him on the second run.

Going over the huge bridge I dug a bit deeper and passed Danny. He told me later that he'd done a lot to catch me and should have paced off the back of me; as it was he was pretty spent. I set about reducing the gap with Mr. 330. I reeled him in a little in the closing stages but to be honest this guy was awesome on the bike.

Bike time - 1hr 42mins 39secs

Another good transition and it was out on the dreaded second run (10k) this time.

T2 time - 60secs

I was into my stride pretty quickly and was passing the few racing snakes that were still ahead of me. Then I saw Mr. 330 (looking back a lot I was pleased to see). I caught him at about three k but knew I was starting to fade. So I straightened my back, kept my head solid and cruised past him as if I was as fresh as a daisy - my mind was going into meltdown - the effort of deceit was immense.

I just kept going and kept going, I didn't want to show any sign of weakness but trust me by now my body was as weak as mush and my brain wasn't far behind. I was also concerned that Razani could still pull off a rapid second run and I didn't want Iwata-san beating me in our last race before he leaves for Japan. So there you have it, I was a mess but I had a magic ingredient FEAR. Running scared is always a good motivator for me, especially as I hate to lose.

I came round the stadium for my second 5k loop and merged with Dave Spence who was just starting his second run. Dave is an inspiration to me, a real competitor who gets better and better literally every week. His most endearing trait is his infectious cheerfulness but not today! By that I mean he was as cheerful as ever but as we ran side by side with him chatting away (and I'm convinced pushing the pace), joking and laughing my mental resilience was crumbling and my head was ready to implode.

I think he sensed my steely antisocial aura and eventually let me go but from thereon in I was barely holding it together. It was super hot, no ice or isotonic drinks on the course. I poured water over my head at drink stations and wished I hadn't as it felt like someone had just heated on the stove. Normally I'm reasonably successful at sending my pain away on a little holiday at least for stretches at a time but today I'd lost that skill. Somehow or other I kept the pace up until the last drinks station and gave myself permission to look behind for the first time. Blimey, all that pain and anguish and no-one within sight of me! I should have felt euphoric, I was a little relieved but I just felt horrible - get me to the finish.

I arrived at the finishing chute with the marshals desperately trying to stop me entering as they wanted to send me round for another lap (ironic when you consider the first time around they tried to force me down the finishing chute), I think in the end though they saw the look in my eyes and let me past for either fear or pity.

Run 2 time - 46mins 15secs

Over the finish line and I collapsed at the first bit of shade I could find (It didn't matter that people were standing there, they weren't by the time I hit the floor). About twenty bottles of water later I had a smile on my face and a gentle glow of satisfaction (or was it heat stroke) that I'd won my first (age-group) Powerman. As it turns out I beat a few of the Elites and was first age-grouper overall. No bad for an old geezer!

(Mr. 330 turned out to be in the age-group below me anyway so that was all a bit of a false alarm).

Overall time 3hrs 11mins 49secs


Dave Spence - Fourth in his age-group - I stated when he first started riding with us (in running shoes I may add) that he was going to be good! It's not going to be long before he is regularly on the podium.

Chris Williams - fourth in the Sprint race and only seconds behind a podium spot. Not bad in itself but when you consider there were no age-groups in the Sprint, it was an open race for 16 year olds and above - CHRIS IS ONLY 14. This guy is gonna be good - you read it here first.

Ong Siok Bee - Second in the women's 30-39 category - awesome result Bee, well done.

Carmen (Kona Carmen) Leong - First in 40-44

Commiserations to Sam who was having a stormer of a race only to be sabotaged by a numpty of a policeman who waved a car out of a side road straight into Sam's path. Sam ended up with a broken collarbone and is having a plate inserted tomorrow. Our thoughts will be with you Sam. In answer to the question that is in the forefront of every one's mind I'm sure - "YES, his bike is OK". Phew!

Huge congratulations to everyone that took part. Thanks to all the supporters and in particularly to the photographers - Tey, Ivie, Victor, Jason to name just a few.

Great race, I've almost recovered, struggling a bit with post race blues but no time for that, got to tune up for Miri now.

POSTSCRIPT - When I got back to the hotel for a shower it was only then that I remembered the bee sting. I thought I'd have a look and see if there was any swelling. As it turned out I was rather shocked to see the barb still deeply penetrating the skin with the poison sack still attached - oh lordy!

Check it out the next day!!!! Ouch!

And it got considerably bigger than this by the time I got to the clinic.


sofiantriathlete said...

very well done.

yipwt said...

nice...awesome race report.

Cheong said...

Enjoyed the report & congrats on a well deserve win.

I heard them announcing your name at the finish when I was just coming into T2.

It was my debut Powerman. I did a Run - Bike - Walk but glad I made it within the cut off :)

What was the temp reading on your bike meter? Mine kong. Thanks

Simon said...

Thanks guys.

Glad you survived Cheong, well done. Temp reading on my bike was only 30 degrees but by the time I was finishing I was told it was closer to 38 degrees. A warm day ay!!