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!


KOOKY KASH said...

Wow, that is an impressive timing. Congrats!

CapArnabBrand said...

Dude!! Your 1st sub-2hr half-marathon right? Relli Fast & Fuyoh!!! Congrats!

Saiful Kodi said...

good...good!! sakit2 pun larat lari.

Dancing Ciken said...

hahaha lega dapat potong ck masa bike ek?

well done fast & fuyoh!

yipwt said...

ariff, I thought I was dreaming when u passed me...

Anyway...hope u have a fast recovery in time for langkawi..

Abu Soffian said...

Ariff Boleh!!!!!

bola2api said...

pergh all out semuanya.. congrats, well done!

Chief Kutu said...

Well Done Speedy Gonzales & of course to your partner, fast & furious Senn!

Wandernut said...

That's so cute! :D
So very Senn!

Have a speedy recovery, Mr A!