Tag Archives: run

Ironman 70.3 Vietnam 2016

One year on from my first half-ironman, the butterflies in the stomach have mostly flown away, replaced by expectations. Last year I was just hoping to finish in one piece, and I came in at 6:22hr.

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Team TriEdge on the day before the race

This year, I had set myself a target time of <6 hrs. Just to be clear, for those unfamiliar with finishing times for half-Ironman triathlons, this isn’t a time that even remotely challenges podium winners. In fact, they are almost done with their run by the time I set off on my run leg. (This year’s winner finished in 3:54hr!)

SWIM

Compared to Putrajaya where everyone seemed to have been funneled into a mass orgy in the water, there was a relatively wide berth for swimmers. But sighting became an issue without any tall buoys used as turn markers at the far ends of the course. I ended up trying to swim behind whichever feet I could find. Also, found myself being pushed into the ropes more than I liked, and getting back out into open water was a bit of a pain. Ended up with a 37+ min swim, which was about 1:30min quicker than last year, and there was no Roka speedsuit this year.

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Into T1…

T1

Long run in to T1. I had the shoes already clipped in, so it felt like I hardly had anything to do apart from getting the helmet and sunnies on before getting the bike out.

Bike

I felt my inner knee/lower thighs starting to burn quite early in the ride, and that wasn’t something I was expecting. About 5km out, I knew something was wrong. I was sitting more upright than normal. I looked down at my seat and saw that the marking I had made to indicate the right seat post height could not be seen.

My seat post had sunk. 😦

This means that you’re riding in a position that doesn’t allow for you to use all the muscles you’re supposed to be employing.  Knowing that Coach Mike would be out on the bike course, I was hoping he would have an Allen key with him. Still, it wasn’t too bad as I managed to push 33-35 on some stretches, and even started wondering if I should bother with the seat adjustment. But I told myself that even if I managed to push hard now, this less-than-ideal position would mean sapping strength from my legs, and I would be suffering (even more) on the run.

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That sinking feeling. Literally.

Turns out Coach Mike didn’t have the tools with him anyway, so I pushed on.The last 20km on the bike was as painful as I remembered last year with the crosswinds, and the low seat certainly didn’t help. A slightly modified course meant that at least we had a tailwind on the last 6km, which was a nice morale booster. Finished in 2:57hr, just over 10 min quicker than last year. I’d like to think I would have gone quicker without my seat fiasco! After the race, I found that the seat post had gone down by an inch.

LESSON: bring the damn tools!

T2

This was a big downer last year -Going out and seeing most bikes still racked in T1, but coming back in T2 and seeing most bikes back already. This year, not so many were back. by the time I came in. 😉  Not much else to say after I decided to go with a semi-new pair of shoes and run sock-less.

RUN

The first 5km was relatively ok, coming in under 30 min. But each km gradually got tougher, and I was eventually overtaken by my team mate Filippo. Happy for him, but it pretty much confirmed my pace was slipping. I was losing hope that I would crack the 6hr target, but I didn’t bother to do the math. Just wanted to finish as close to the 2 hour mark as possible for the run and hope for the best. Coach Mike shouted at me not to think about everything else earlier on, and focus on what’s ahead. VERY USEFUL ADVICE. Just tried to keep my eye on Filippo and the size of the gap when he U-turned. The 10-15km mark was relatively uneventful, and I was actually waiting to be caught by my other team mates at some point but it didn’t happen.

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Trying to hail a cab. (I’m only half-joking)

Later I realised how much they had to deal with (Regis with a badly stubbed and swollen toe and Philippe with severe food poisoning) and still finished their race! I tried to step up the pace somewhere after 15km, but the gear just didn’t seem to click. Once I got to about 4km to go, the strength started to come back. Not sure if it was because I consciously tried to take less stuff at the aid stations in the last few km? I found I could kick harder and eventually overtook Filippo, who had slowed down. Got over the line, looked down at the watch. Run: 2:10hr (17 min quicker than last year)

Total time: 5:52hr. Mission accomplished.

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With Filippo, who helped pull me forward in the last 3km, and placed 4th in his age group!

Special thanks to Coaches Scott and Mike for all the advice and coaching, and all the members of the TriEdge family for the encouragement! As they say here in Singapore, “Semangat“. 😉 Go google it, you know you want to!

(All images here by Michael Lyons and Gladys Kwok)

Metasprint Triathlon 2016

This was a bit of a mess, coming after 1.5 days of a major event launch at work plus the onset of flu. Thankfully, I woke up on Sunday morning feeling relatively ok. Thing about racing after/during illness is you’re not exactly sure how hard to push, especially with the big race just around the corner – Danang is less than a month away.

Credit to Jaime K for the pic!

 Swim: I decided to take things relatively easy, and not push too hard. Unfortunately the swim was a nasty one. There was some contact in the swim, some gulps of salt water during unfortunately-timed breaths, water in the goggles and I started hyperventilating. Wasn’t sure if the flu had anything to do with it, but severe self-doubt crept in. Was really tempted to call it a day, and had to stop to tread water for a bit before restarting. I also underestimated the strength of the tide, and how important positioning was. Could have just started way to the right of the course for the current to push you back on target. Ended up on the ropes at one point and having to push through bodies to get free of the tangle, then having to swim an arc for being pushed too far out on the last leg. Lesson: Visualise the path you’re going to swim, and where you want to be in the pack. Even if it’s just a easy race. Sight more, don’t count on following the guys ahead. They might be lost too.

T1: Something new I tried was having the shoes already on the bike, which made it really feel like I hardly spent any time in transition at all. No flying mount, but some time saved already. Lesson: Have the velcro on the shoe partially done. Having the shoe completely unstrapped makes it difficult to locate the end of the strap.

Bike: Fairly uneventful, and didn’t have that many people overtake me. Might be psychological, but my legs are feeling less used to the road bike position now. I could however, pretty much stay on the drops the entire way. Maybe time to move on to a more aggressive fit for the road bike?  Unfortunately I had no idea how fast or slow I was going thanks to a Garmin cock-up that I didn’t want to spend time meddling with lest I crash. Ended up with a 31+kmh average, which still sucks. Lesson: Get used to the handling on the TT bike and stick with it. Learn to screw with the garmin while moving(??)

T2: Silly thing is I somehow came off my bike and had the rear tyre rub my shin, taking off some skin with it. Didn’t realise it until I started running that I felt bit of a sting. Re-racking issue with my bike falling off the bar twice. Like WTF? Lesson: Practise the dismount. a lot.

Run: Coach Mike asked my how I felt was I was heading out. Didn’t know what to say, but I wasn’t comfortable so I just shrugged. Relatively slow 1st loop at 5:20 – 6:00min/km pace, but gradually built till I was on 4:10min/km for a 4:53min/km average. Lesson: Apparently my racing shoes suck, says the podiatrist form myFootDr. Hmmm.

So am I happy with the result? Hmm… Can’t really say? Feeling a cough coming on though. That, I’m not happy with.

DNG #5: Wicked Wednesdays

The toughest weekday for me, is Wednesday. This is where I’ve been scheduled to do a long run 60-90 min, and do a swim session in the evening.

Because I’m really not a morning person, I used to do the run after the evening swim, like a really long brick session. Coach said I should be spacing out my training though, so what’s the next best thing? Lunchtime runs.

If you’re familiar with singapore weather, you know that presents another type of challenge –  the heat and humidity.

Still, I think it’s good to get a sense of how hot this are likely to get in Danang during the run leg.

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Because it’s in the middle of the day, I’m running from the office, which is in the heart of the city. Today’s run was slightly different though. Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s  wake at Parliament House was on, and something like 300,000 were lining up across the city in snaking queues to pay their respects.

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And here I was running around and between them. Apparently some queued for 8 hours. Now those are the real ironmen/ironwomen. I was cooked after my 1hr 25 min today.

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A small section of the longest queue I’ve seen

It felt rather surreal, and I became hypersensitive to my surroundings, suddenly aware that the man they were all queueing up to see had something to do with almost everything I was running over, under, past, between, opposite and through. Gardens by the bay, Marina Barrage, the central business district…

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