Sunday, January 27, 2013

Mega-Tri Race 2013 (Part 2)

Photo-credit: Alex Chong
The Swim: It was a four-loop, L-shaped swim, done in a clockwise fashion. There were several lifeguards on kayaks, placed at the turning points. It became a crowded affair, after the mega-distance, participants were flagged off in waves. The, subsequent, waves that followed meant that the different categories overlapped each other at some point in the swim course.
Photo-credit: Joyce Chang
Open-water swimming requires a measure of confidence, found outside of the chlorinated outdoor pools. The often, close body contact can incur fear at the price of finding the shortest route. The ability to sight the next buoy (and even the ones beyond), breathe deeply, and keep a rhythm are key factors for open-water swimming. It is also easy to lose your patience and tolerance for nervous and enthusiastic swimmers, who draft too closely and make bodily contact with you. 
Photo-Credit: Running Shots
There was enough space in the farthest, long stretch, and had a line of prominent buoys that stood out in the dark morning. I was hoping that the warming horn for lightning and heavy rain would not sound. The box protecting my ankle-chip broke apart after the first lap, and the swim-course officials assured me that my tagging-device was intact. It was the only physical distraction for the remainder of my race.
Photo-credit: Pictureart 60
The Ride: This was an 8-loop, 102km, course. I took it easy for the first two laps, opting to keep my heart-rate below 150bpm. It spiked after my moderate-paced swim. Once under control, I kept my pace within my higher aerobic/low anaerobic threshold. I decided to spin smoothly and keep my pace aerobic. The weeks spent exclusively on the indoor-trainer translated to a different kind of confidence in my cardiovascular fitness. As I overtook riders, I felt more assured that my slow-paced training translated into actual muscular endurance I would find useful during my next Ironman triathlon.
Photo-credit: Key Power International
The sight of friends cheering me on, at the return turnaround point, made the repetitive course more engaging. I made better progress on my last three loops as I refueled my body with only water (I picked them on the first of two stations; the other served electrolytes only) and my bidon of Hammer Nutrition Perpeteum mixture. I had a safe, ride, with no incidents and I was pleased for that.
Photo-credit: Alex Chong
The Run: It was a 2.5-lap, 27km for the Mega-Distance. This is an unusual format, as the Ironman 70.3 fetches 21k/half-marathon. We started with two larger 10km loops, followed by a shorter, 7km finishing loop. There was no drama for this, except we witnessed those doing the OD and 2XOD distances, complete before us. Some of them were using our shared track, to commute home by bikes. Some of these finishers waved at us, and egged us on.A light drizzle permeated the still air and overcast day. It was all mental, with each runner focused on completing their loops as quickly as they could. I ran into the finishing-chute, at a moderate pace, to no fanfare; just glad to complete a long training day. I met friends where supporting and participants who completed. I got back my $50 deposit for my race-chip, and after a quick recovery, braved the rain and cool breeze to ride another 15km home.
Photo-credit: Charles Teng

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