I hate to preface race reports with excuses but I knew coming into this race that the heat was going to play a big factor in the race. Last year when I first decided to race here in Langkawi I was expecting to spend the majority of my winter in the Philippines. However "wintering" in NJ did have some good points.
First of all I was able to Train with the Montclair State University Swim Team which has always helped my swimming with the heavy yardage and the January camp in Puerto Rico. Supplementing this training with the Master's swim Program at Drew University always worked out well. Unfortunately no open water swimming in the north east USA during the winter months - in Fact, you can actually go ice skating on Mirror Lake where the IM USA swim is!
For the Bike, this was the first winter where I did about 95% of my training indoors on the Computrainer. After 10 years of riding the old Nintendo version, I finally decided to upgrade to the PC version - and what a great help that was! On New Years Day I rode the entire Ironman Canada real course DVD (112miles/180Km). During the week - we would mix in regular 3D PC rides along with the Wed night indoor trainer session at Mountainside Hospital. In my last training week in NJ - Derick my "assistant coach" taught me how to make our own intervals using the ERG function but unfortunately we only got in one of those before I left.
If any area I was under-trained in coming into this race - it was the run. Running in the cold is tough. Since I don't own a treadmill, it's always a struggle to get to the gym and an even bigger struggle to do brick workouts as running off into the cold after sweating on the bike trainer is not such a good option sometime especially when you're trying not to get sick. My longest run was only 15 miles and only a handful of interval workouts. But like I said I really have no excuses.
Ironman Malaysia is the first IM I've done with a 1 loop out and back swim. The Swim actually had markers for every 200M of the swim! So at least the whole time you know how far you've gone and how much is left. So as my swimming has never been my strongest event, I was even more under-trained in it coming into this race so I knew a sub 1 hour swim was going to be tough. I went off in the pro wave which started 15 minutes before the age group wave. Right away the pace is fast! I was able to find some feet for the 1st 400 meters or so - and then then after some banging around and jockeying for position I lost the pack and found myself swimming alone. But by about the 1.5k mark, I managed to catch up one the female pros - looking at the splits now it must have been Ladislava Cisarovska. So I had at least 1 person to keep me company for the 1.2 miles back to transition. The swim split was 1:07
Because of the Heat, I opted to ride with a regular vented helmet (a la Chrissie Wellington) and with white arm sleeves (not to be called arm warmers when it's close to 100 degrees F!) I rode with my powermeter and HR monitor to keep myself under control. I'll actually post the GPS info when I download later. This was also my first race on my new Karma Chameleon Elite Razor - which fit like a glove! I was a little apprehensive about riding an aluminum bike again after being used to Carbon - but the fit and the geometry were so dialed in I felt as comfortable and powerful as ever. Especially considering I probably had less than 10 outdoor rides this whole year!
The bike was a 4 loop course. 1 big loop and 3 small loops. I was working with one the Brazilian female pros Ariane Monticeli. She was really strong! But I did notice that I was going a bit higher than I wanted to during certain points and as we started the 2nd small loop I lost her as I slowed during an aid station to get a water.
The other rookie mistake I made was that I forgot one of my high calorie nutrition bottles in my refrigerator back at our hotel. As I wanted to wait until the last minute to keep it cold for the race. So I just relied on gels, energy bar, and clif shot bloks for the bike. Also by the last loop on the bike they started to run out of gatorade and water. Also because of the rough roads my aerobars came loose again!! just like they did at the ChesepeakeMan!! At this point I was losing it mentally also so I decide to make a pee break out of it also. But by the time I go back up and running - there were some Australian tourists who had come out on the course and started handing out water to us - I guess other riders must have told them that we had run out of fluid. I graciously thanked them and got back up to speed. I started to get my 2nd wind and actually got Ariane back into sight. So finally I rode to transition trying to get more calories and electrolytes in - but I knew it still wasn't enough. Total elapsed time was 5:20 but I think my ride time was something like 5:15
I took my time in T2 and let 2 other athletes come in and out before starting my "death march" there was only vaseline in the tent and no sunblock - i peeled of my arm arm warmers and put on my compression sleeves on my calves and my Newtons and started out on the run.
It was HOT!!! there is some shade early on in the run running from T2 to the out and back loop. Having skipped the pre- race meeting, I was imagining the course to be 4 loops of 10K so mentally I was ready for that. I was runnning ok the first out and back - but on the 2nd lap I started hurting a bit more, plus weather went from overcast to the the sun shining full strength. I started to melt down - it was literally like running through an oven - with heat index I think it was over 100 (36c) I had a visor and put on the sponges on my shoulders and tried to exchange them ever water stop.
My run quickly became a jog and then the jog to itermittent jog/walking. I stopped a few times in the shade to try to re-group - but I pretty much knew that it was just going to be survival. Then thinking it was going be my last loop #4 - I realized looking at my GPS that the laps were only 8Km each and that I had another 5th loop to go!!! My spirits sunk even lower and I sat again to try to re-group. Then one of my roomates Ramon "Meo" caught me toward the end of my 4th loop. He was going a steady 10min/mile pace - as opposed to my up and down 8min pace run/walk - so I decided to stay with him the entire loop. We made it a point not to walk in between aid stations and that seemed to work. By this point in time almost all of the age groupers were on the run course and the aid stations were a mess of sponges, cola, water and gatorade and gels.
Nutrion-wise I couldn't hold anything down anymore at this point - even the sight of gatorade and cola made me sick. Plus I was hoping to be only out for only 10 hours not 11. But anyway I finally made it to the finish line, did my patented hand stand finish - and went to the recovery tent. Total elapsed time was 4:24 but I think my actually "running time" was 4:12 Finish time was 11:02
All in all it was not so bad considering all the mistakes I made even before the gun went off. But at least now I know better and hope to not go into an Ironman event under prepared again.
So in closing I just want to thank everyone who helped me get here: my new sponsor Elite Bicycles, PBN Nutrition, Newton Running, MSU swimming and Diving, Tim Johnson the head mechanic from the Montclair Bikery, Twinkle, Lilly, and all my friends from the Fil Am Tri Club, team Fitness First and to everyone on facebook, twitter etc who sent me positive their positive energy.
So 1 race down - 1 to go! Saipan here I come!