Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Singapore 70.3 - race day

To be honest I had no expectation of crushing any records in this race. I had not trained sufficiently to do this. I thought I would participate, have a good time and finish with a respectable time. Ummm it didn't quit work out that way. Although in the end all was well.

I had heard it happen to others but had never experienced it myself. The "Bonk" ( AKA Wall, Crash etc ). Overall, it was just a bad race for me. I had made an assumption that since I had already trained for and completed a 1/2 and a Oly and completed both in good form that I was in good enough shape to race here without much specific training. I was wrong.

First let me say that the race itself was well run and managed. The volunteers were awsome. The race itself was done mostly around Singapores bay with some beatiful views. However, the logistics for the race was just too complicated for my taste. The two transition areas was just weird to me.

I started the day waking up ready for breakfast only to realize the hotel has no room service at that hour. Thus I had Shot Bloks for breakfast. Yummy!! Not!!

That was mistake #1 did not consider that most people are still sleeping at 4AM, and that I was not home. Thus no breakfast. Anyhow I got in by Taxi at around 5:45AM, and headed into transition with my bike a swim stuff.

The swim was a rectangular shape, The race started at 7:15, but my wave started at 7:40. There was some chop in the water. ALOT of people for some reason were breast stroking from the git go, which I found strange. Other than that, nothing eventful here other than my right goggle leaked and the salt water aggravated my eye. Finished the swim in 49 minutes.

Then onto the bike. First thing I see, my bike computer, yet again is not working despite the fact that it was working when I put it together and tested it out just a few days before. This is a real pain for me during a race. I rely on the feedback from it to guage my speed and also I get pumped when I see that I am hitting high speeds. The backup is my HR monitor to guage effort, and that also for some bizzare reason was not working even though its a new Polar RS400. Never had a a problem with it.

So I just went along on effort. The ride is fairly technical with lots of turns, but also mostly Flat.
I started out hard, maybe too hard. The course starts with a 10 K route that leads into the city where you jump on a 20K loop that has to be done 4 times. By the time I finished the second loop I was not feeling right. My left foot was sore and I was feeling tired. Leading me too believe I pushed too hard in the first two loops. I toned it back for the last two but I think the damage was done.

When I finished the bike, the heat and humidity had settled in and it was bad. I did not expect it would effect me in such a way. Maybe because I was already in a bad way when I started the run. But I found the run to be unbearable. Normally this is my stronger of the 3 skills. I suffered no leg cramps but I was just out of it About 3 miles into the run I just walked. I had no energy left. The heat and humidity was killer. ALot of people were walking. It even got to the point that I wanted to just Stop. Just DNF because I knew this race was a goner time wise. But then I decided thats a bad idea, mentally I turned it into a training session and now my job was to acclimate mysef to push myself to finish even when I do not want too. Especially if I plan on doing an Ironman race. To get by, I focussed on reaching the next aid station and then the next after that, until reaching the end. Running in with all the other walking wounded.

It was just a bad race for me and I am glad that I at least finished. I am glad I did the race because there are lessons to be learned here.

1) I underestimated this race. I thought it was Flat and so it would be easy for me who is used to riding in Hilly terrain. Never underestimate a 1/2 iron or more distance race. It is still a substancial effort.
2) I severely underestimated the effects heat and humidity would have on me. It truly sucks the life out of you if you are not ready to deal with it.
3) I really did not train for this race. I had thought about it a few months ago, but did not decide to do it until a month before the race. As such I was just not physically ready to do something like this. A 1/2 ironman race is a substancial distance and should not be taken lightly. Not something to just throw in for the sake of doing a triathlon.
4) I did not really consider all the logistical requirements of doing a race when staying at a hotel in a foreign country. In NY in a pinch I could head over to a diner that are often open 24 hours. No such luck here. I just did not think of breakfast.

So what did I do right? I stuck it out and beat back my desire to quite. I finished :)

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