Sunday, August 17, 2008

Confessions of a Relay Runner

I did my first relay triathlon over the weekend.

Not because I wanted to. But because doc said, "No swimming or cycling while your wrist heals."

"How about running?" I asked.

"Running ok," he replied.

How heartbreaking was that? Knowing your favourite race was coming up and you can't compete.

But all was not lost. Senn came up with this brilliant idea: let's do a relay.

She swims and cycles. And I run. And we'll all ourselves Fast N Fuyoh!

And so it was I began my first triathlon as a relay runner.

Our target: 1h00m swim, a 3h30m bike, a 2h00m run for a total of 6h30m.

It was a bizarre experience. For once, as I looked upon the waves crashing along the Desaru beach, I did not have the usual butterflies in my stomach that normally appear before a swim.

Even packing for this race was bizarre. Running shoes: check. Lucky visor: check. And that's that. No bike, no cycling shoes, no goggles.

The race started with the mad rush going into the South China Sea. And I was glad I was not part of that rush. Yet, at the same time, I was wishing I was.

Senn did a respectable 59 minute swim (much better than my 1:09 last year) and things were looking good.

Off on the bike and I was starting to get very nervous. It's very nerve-wracking knowing that whatever happens out on the bike is not within your control. I really don't know how the other relay athletes do it.

Her first loop she clocked a 1h09m. Very good. We were on target.

Her second loop was a 1h14m. Oh-oh, it was beginning to slip away. The good news, though, was that she was closing in on CK, who was seven minutes ahead at the end of the first loop. He was now only one minute ahead.

Her third loop was a stormer. This was when she decided to drop the hammer. She finished the third loop in one hour flat for a bike split of 3h23m! We were way ahead of schedule.

Buoyed by her brilliant performance on the last loop, I grabbed the wristband from her and sprinted through transition. I set off at a pace way beyond what I was capable of. I knew if I kept this pace up, I would be in trouble towards the end.

But for some reason I kept it up. I was pacing with two other runners and we made it the turnaround (about 1.5k) in under 7 minutes. At 3k, only 15 minutes had expired. I was running a 5 minute pace! Unbelievable!

I slowed down just a tad because I knew if I kept that pace, I'd be crawling across the finish line.

Yet, there was this pressure to keep going. Because I didn't want to let Senn, who did a brilliant job on the swim and bike, down. So I kept going. Adzim later remarked that I looked like I was hunting someone down!

And so, I kept going, passing runner after runner. This too was an unusual experience for me. Very few passed me, yet I was passing people left, right and centre. Of course, the fact that I had fresh legs probably had something to do with it.

I finished the first loop in 56 minutes and wondered when it was going to all fall apart. I thought the hill at the far and of the course would do it, but it didn't. I just shut my eyes and gave it all I had. And before I knew it, I had gone over the hill.

The final four kilomteres. I kept going. It was tunnel vision. I only had the finish line in my mind.

Finally, I heard the music from the finish line, I could hear MC Lan welcoming the runners back. Then Senn was running alongside me. Then I saw the finishing chute, the finish line. I picked up the pace. I sprinted and it was all over. 1h55m21s. A personal best by a good 23 minutes!

So that was the story of my first relay tri. And hopefully, my last.

It was probably too long and not very good but I just had the best run of my life so please humour me!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Proud Daddy!

Shafeeq, my eldest, came back from computer class today and said he wanted to show me his movie on YouTube.

I'm like, "You have a movie on YouTube?"

He's like "Yup!"

He wrote, directed, shot, edited and constructed the props. And he's only 9 years old!

So without further ado:

Pizza Battle

(Sorry, can't embed the movie, so please click on the link.)

Monday, August 11, 2008

adidas King of the Road... not!

The adidas King of the Road was nowhere near worthy of being a King.

It was a badly run event. No water, no distance markers, very few medics.

Before the race started, we were herded into the kandang like a bunch of schoolchildren. Even the short briefing given was like a headmaster addressing his students.

The race went underway and as usual, I started off the back. We came to the first aid station and they only had isotonic drinks. Never mind. Downed a couple fo cups and went on my way.

Pretty soon, it looked like there was going to be no water at any of the aid stations. They alternated between 100plus and sponges. And the sponges weren't even cold.

I got to one aid station and it said 12km to go. I was happy. 10km in 55 minutes. Not too bad. If I can keep up this pace or even do a negative split, I may just come in under two hours. Or so I thought.

When we got to the next aid station, the sign there said 12km to go. Eh??? WTF? Apparently, the earlier sign was wrong. It looked like the organisers were really fucking with our minds. By now 1h10m had elapsed. So much for coming in under two hours.

Then at the next aid station, I was really thirsty (the previous one only had lukewarm sponges). But alas, that station had run out of drinks! Luckily for me, Rashid was with me at the time and he had cash, so we crossed the road to the Shell station and got a can of 100plus and a bottle of mineral water each. Thanks Rashid, I owe you one.

We must have been about 12 - 15k into the run at this point (I couldn't tell, there were no distance markers, remember?) and I still hadn't seen any medic teams. Not that I needed medical help but it would have been assuring to see some.

By now, the splint on my left arm was starting to get heavy. So were my legs. I could feel blisters on my left foot. Maybe taking the Zoot shoes sockless wasn't such a good idea.

Caught up with Abu in the final kilometre. The boy was pissed off that there was no water throughout the run course. "Korang pergi dululah. Aku dah tak semangat nak lari," ("You guys go ahead. I have no mood to run anymore!") was his words when I met him.

At last, there was another distance marker. It said "500m to finish". So I picked up the pace a bit.


It was more like a kilometre to go. Should have known. That final roundabout just saps your energy and the finish was on a slight uphill.

Crossed the line with a 2h22m22s. Picked up my medal (which was still wrapped in plastic) and my cert (which I had to fill in myself). How absolutely motivating! Yu run 22.7km and you still have to fill up your cert yourself. The least they could do was put your distance in. But no, they left the distance portion blank, so you can pretty much fill in whatever distance you like.

Last year's event was much better organised. There were distance markers every 5km, and water was plenty. If they are going to keep having this event, they better buck up.

Having said that, there were some positives. For one, the weather was good, overcast the whole time. And I did get a good workout.

But really, an event with such a world-class brand at the helm could have been much, much better.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


injuries suck.

going for physio sucks.

paying for physio sucks.

staying off the bike sucks.