Selamat datang ke Langkawi (Welcome to Langkawi) where the weather is warm, the beaches are beautiful and the monkeys are plentiful. It’s race day eve, no real similarities to Christmas Eve except maybe the anticipation levels and planning an early morning wake up tomorrow. Race day eve is a different kind of special, it’s nervous excitement combined with a little bit of fear and apprehension mixed in.
I will be stepping up to the start line with confidence in knowing I am capable of completing the distances, I’ve done all of the training and I’ve done it twice now in racing. I know what I need to do, I’ve stuck to my training program like it was gospel, so I should have in me what it takes to get the job done. I wasn’t really too nervous about this race until I landed in Langkawi on Wednesday morning. The heat and humidity hit me, we were walking down the street and sweat was trickling down my back. We had lunch and just sitting at the restaurant I was hot and sweaty, actually stuck to the chair! I knew it was going to be hot when I signed up, but the thought of racing in this weather… I suddenly started to have doubts.
The second day in Langkawi we rode 20km to the swim start for a practice swim, experiencing some of the bike and swim course was invaluable. If you are ever racing in a foreign destination I highly recommend testing out the course beforehand. Knowing what to expect takes away some of the anticipation and unknown, although in my case it has planted seeds of self doubt. I don’t want to sound like a cracked record in saying it’s hot… But man IT IS HOT! Suddenly I’ve realised why people say you can’t get a PB in Malaysia. That afternoon I was lucky enough to tag along on the Pro’s bike course tour (benefit of travelling with my coach). A full lap of the bike course (in an air conditioned bus) and suddenly I was overwhelmed with doubt. I didn’t realise there were so many hills on this course. I actually hate hills. There I’ve said it. Rolling hills, steep hills, gradual climbs, I’m not good at them and don’t like them… And this course has them all!
Just to top the day off we went for a half hour jog at 6pm, it felt pretty awful. Multiply that by 8 and there we have it- the last leg of the race… Brilliant. So safe to say I was a bit deflated. Swim will be warm but should be flat and fast, bike course looks beautiful but pretty tough and the run hmm well just horrendous (can’t think of a positive spin). What on earth am I doing here? It’s not too late to cut my losses, forfeit the $800 rego fee, put all my training towards another much more pleasant race and spend race day having cocktails in the pool instead.
But what would the fun be in that? Did I sign up for Ironman Malaysia expecting it to be a walk in the park? No way. Did I sign up because it was described as one of the most brutal and challenging races on the Ironman circuit? You betcha!
I have this strange personality trait that if something seems difficult or impossible to do, I’m much more drawn to the challenge than to something ‘easy’ or that everyone is doing. I haven’t always been like this, and definitely never before in sport, so not sure where it came from. But my Mum has always said that if I set my mind on achieving something, I’ll get there no matter what it takes. I didn’t used to believe her, but I guess Mum’s always know best (you’ve now got that in writing Mum).
The good news is that the memories of yesterday’s course and weather must have been wiped in my sleep. Overnight my self doubts seem to have dissipated, and my outlook on the race totally turned around. I’m pretty tough… I reckon I’ve got this! It’s going to be hard, it’s going to hurt, and I’m going to smile through it. As they say… Pain is temporary, but race results on the internet last forever!
Bike is checked in, run and ride gear bags dropped off, carbo loading and pre-hydration are well under way. All that’s left is to put the paws up and try not to burst with excitement. Thanks for all the kind words, encouragement and good luck. I really do appreciate it and feel privileged to have such a great support network. Biggest thanks to my Mum, my number one supporter no matter what, even if she doesn’t agree with the #trisb4guys shirt! Look forward to celebrating with you when I get home. Also huge thanks to my coach and travel buddy Jess from Multisport Consultants for everything. You’ve gotten me from couch potato to Ironwoman, have a great race tomorrow, can’t wait til cocktails in the pool on Sunday!
Until next time, may you stay cool, calm and glued to the ironman tracker tomorrow (just kidding). Catch you on the flip side, I’m sure there will be some stories to tell.