Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A-Race Equals Assessment Race

Although the Ironman 70.3 Philippines (on 4 August) was not an A-race for me, yet it was an assessment of my fitness and readiness for my next A-race: World Championships in Kona-Hawaii on 12 October. Between these two events, will be a 21km run and a 10km run. Both these runs will be attempts at Personal Best (PB) times. I hope to go below-1:30 for my half-marathon, and sub-44:00 for my 10km.
I enjoyed my half-Ironman on Cebu Island, as I managed to stick to my Ironman race pace. I was off my PB by only eight minutes, which I could have equalled if I wanted to if this was my A-race. My ranking improved to a top-15 percent of a 2,100-wide field of seasoned and new participants. Although I was only #22 in my age-group (45-49 male), I paced myself adequately over the three disciplines to reduce my initial deficit. 
I experienced no gastrointestinal (GI) distress, as I consumed only Hammer Nutrition's Perpeteum, mixed to the correct measure and consistency. I only had to spend an inordinate amount of time peeing in the Transition area (T1), and another at an aid-station during the half-marathon. I was adequately hydrated, picking up water along the ride at all aid-stations.
As I was in the final waves (with the women), the swim was packed with stragglers and struggling neophytes. It was a wet-start, and most of us were barely near the start-line when the gun fired. The route was an anti-clockwise rectangle. As I was decked in my new speed-suit (non-neoprene regulation version), I suffered a collection of abrasion streaks. I had to adjust my suit during the swim twice. Note to self: more lubricant next time. I settled into an easy pace, and emerged from the water in a reasonable time.
The ride was riddled with drafting riders. Perhaps, the new riders did not know how to respond to an over-taking rider from their left and ended up drafting. I attempted to educate a few riders, but it seemed to fall or deaf ears or ignorance. The safety-distance between riders on the flat stretch was 7 metres, and the overtaking rider has 15 seconds to make the pass. The overtaken rider needs to drop back to 7m for the pass to be complete. Riders were riding two-across, with packs in tight formation (read: drafting). I understood that the Draft Marshals caught a few errant riders, but mostly for litterbugs. It was assuring to see at least two Elite riders (bespoke bike builder), including pro-triathlete Arland M. Many riders suffered punctured tyres, and it caused a fair bit of distress. The pre-race, overnight, rain caused debris to be strewn on various sections of the ride-course. 
Like the ride, the two-lap run route had spectators line both sides of the street. The volunteers at aid-station were very helpful, and the spectators were highly encouraging. The participants included famous people and local celebrities, including one of the singers from 'Black-Eyed Peas' (who was riding for charity). They cheered us enthusiastically on, including calling us 'idol!' It felt good to be acknowledged. I experienced a long 800m run into the finishing-chute, and I had to reckon with a photo-finish when I overtook a younger runner at the last 50m. He grabbed the banner before I did, although I secured its end. Emcee, Whit 'Voice of Ironman' Raymond called me in, and identified my friendly adversary as my younger counterpart. I had enough 'in my tank' to complete this dash, which saw me through a self-satisfied completion.
My photo-opportunity with reigning Kona King, Pete 'PJ' Jacobs (who I will see again in Kona in nine week's time).
Overall, it was a splendidly-run race. I would do it again - next year.

Pre-race ride to sort out mechanical issues.
Photo-credits: Nicholas Khaw, Vincent Yang, Leon Soh, Dennis Quek, Roy Foo, et al.

No comments: