This time last week was the day after Ironman Malaysia, muscles were sore, memories were vivid and I was so damn hungry I could eat a horse! I’m not quite ready to relive the nitty gritty details of the whole 12 hours and 10 minutes and write a race report, but that will come soon. I just wanted to share a few highlights of my trip as people keep asking me about it. The days before the race weren’t without drama and and freak out moments that’s for sure.
I travelled to Malaysia with Jess, my coach from Multisport Consultants. After initially advising me against doing this race (due to the tough conditions) we both somehow ended up signing up! It was very cool travelling with someone else also racing, in the lead up we shared the excitement and anticipation of the race, and afterwards we relived and swore over it all! Looking back, one of my favourite parts was the race debrief sitting on the lawns near the finish line straight after the race… It’s a bit of a blur but involved a fair few expletives, ice cream and beer… Holy moly I can’t begin to explain it, but we will get there in due time!
Arrival gifts at the airport.
Queuing for customs on arrival into Malaysia I suddenly realised I had forgotten my bike top screw. Something essential that secure the handlebars (technical term- no idea). I don’t even know how it popped into my head, but I remember when I was packing my bike up thinking I needed to pack it somewhere safe, which I never did… So it was still on my bedroom floor (in Noosa). Oh no, out of everywhere this could happen, it happens in a third world country with no bike shops on the island. A few hours stress, a visit to the Ironman expo bike mechanic and $10 later and I had a replacement part! Phew, crisis averted. After a long night and day travelling, that afternoon involved a swim in the hotel pool, some much needed wine, a glorious massage and an early night to bed in preparation for day 2.
Day 2… The Thursday before a Saturday race. This is where logistics began to interfere with our perfectly constructed plan. You see T1, T2 and the race finish were all in different places. We wanted to ride some of the race course but also wanted to go for a practice swim… These 2 didn’t actually correlate! So we decided to ride 20km to the swim course (despite not actually being the ride course). It was open roads, villages, monkeys, hills and heat! We arrived dripping with sweat and happy to be alive, due to more mechanical issues I actually had no back brakes for the whole journey… Talk about a few heart starting moments! A quick outfit change and we were into the murky warm waters, guided by more canoes than you can even imagine! We had to check in and out of swim practice… Did some people not make it out alive?!
We returned home relatively unscathed, although we were joined by a friendly scooter rider in the middle of our pack along the way! A quick nap, lunch (and a sneeaky icecream) later and it was time to run for half an hour…. So we ran… And ran… And ran… I literally felt like I was going to die!! It was soooo hot and humid and bloody awful. I hadn’t planned to run with Jess but ended up sticking with her (well to be precise she wouldn’t let me turnaround early) and we ran home along the beach, I was too hot to care but it was actually stunning. We got back to the hotel and I sat in the pool trying to cool down and calm down… How the heck was I going to run 8 times that distance in 2 days? (And we won’t even think about the swim/bike that would come beforehand!) Oh Lordy the self doubt began to set in.
Day 3… Ironman Malaysia Eve… I wrote a whole blog post about this day! It was bliss, ok aside from the nerves, my main priority (apart from hydrating and carb loading) was to take some good photos… Just ask the coach, she thinks I’m bonkers… I may or may not have said ‘I just need to go for a stroll to get a photo of my bike on the beach…’ Clearly some of us have different priorities to others. We also travelled all around the countryside checking bikes in, gear bags in and going to the race briefings, we were glad when that day was over.
But all jokes aside, race day eve involved a conversation at dinner that ended up being a game changer and motivation for race day. We were trying to work out where we would meet after the race and at what time… Which led to race specifics… Which put a fire in the belly… There’s not a lot which can motivate me beyond my own perception but I was motivated!
BRING IT ON… Oh wait, it’s already been brought…
Which brings us to race day… What a day! If you’ve kept reading to this point then kudos to you… I promise the race report will be more interesting!! I can’t actually begin to describe race day. There’s so much emotion and so many stories it needs its own post. But there’s just a few people that need a mention. Firstly Karina, to do what you did for me on race day, I can’t thank you enough. This photo Karina took of me about 4km into the run… We were having good old chat but my biggest worry was that Jess would see me chatting and think I wasn’t trying hard enough!! #guiltyascharged At 12km she told me I was coming 3rd and if I didn’t stop running the rest of the way, the girl in 4th wouldn’t catch me. Longest 30km ever after that, but it pushed me so hard, so thank you.
Secondly thank you to my coach Jess. I looked at the course map before we began and was worried I wouldn’t see you during the day. But seeing you on course was so good (even if it may have scared the crap out of you at times!) When I was freaking out 10km into the run that my pace was slower than we had talked about, you said to just stay at it and walk through the aid stations as planned. That helped me calm my farm and it worked a treat! I know you hate the word journey, but you have been there every single stroke, pedal and step of my journey. I can’t begin to thank you enough, for not only sticking by me from the start when I was slower than a turtle, but for the whole Ironman Malaysia experience. You’re a great coach, I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us as a team… But whilst we have the wine thing down pat… We probably need to work on our swimwear promo photos 😉
To all my wonderful family, friends and training buddies… Thank you so much! Each time I crossed a timing chip/marker knowing you were tracking me warmed my heart (actually it was pretty warm already). I know that my 120km bike marker didn’t go off and I’m sorry for the worry it caused you! But until you’re in a foreign country, crossing hundreds of kilometres knowing that someone, somewhere is tracking you, you won’t know what it’s like. When you finish and hear of the people who held their breath in anticipation and crossed off every kilometre with you… That’s what took my breath away. Mum, Will, Anna, Jeremy, Joel, Dominic and Arlo… Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I know you don’t need to read it on here, but you’re my everything. Love you all xxx
And to everyone else, whether you know me personally or just through social media thanks for sharing! I feel like I put myself on the line a bit each time I post a photo (especially in lycra!). It started with a race photo here and there and has grown into sharing the whole whirlwind triathlon training journey! You’ve shared the highs and the lows, thanks for your support and cheers to many more exciting races.
In case you’re interested, or wondering, yes many beverages were consumed post race. The days following were spent sipping cocktails, reading books by the pool and on the beach, swimming, napping and enjoying buffet breakfasts. We did ride the Langkawi Cable Cars and the views were beautiful, but that was the limit of the tourist attractions we visited. Plus 180km on a bike gave us a pretty good overview of the island on Saturday!
Until next time, remember #anythingispossible