Thursday, 16 October 2014

Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2014 Race Report : Deo Azrul

Love race report? Deo has prepared a report as fast as he ran last weekend's race. His 27th Marathon done in 3:57. Not the timing he was looking for, but we all learn a bit about ourselves in every race we do. Enjoy the race from Deo's perspective.
-----
Standard Chartered KL Marathon : Deo AH

Done my 27th marathon in ‪SCKLM‬ in 3hr 57mins. Not a timing that I wanted. The route was punishing and boring. I couldn't understand on what ground the route testers mentioned that this is a PB course and scenic when all I could see from the highways were tall concrete wall, apartments and many kedai besi buruk along Duke. This is worse than than running in ECP, Singapore.

And I don't understand the reason why SCKLM's route was moved away from the city when 75% (or maybe more) were done on highways. Might as well call it Standard Chartered Highways Marathon. I strongly believe if we want to make running a culture and marathon (and road closures) is slowly acceptable by the public, we should have the course covering the entire city (just like in Majors), not going backward and moving the marathon away from the city.

That was my first reaction after completing my 5th participation in SCKLM overall and 4th just in the marathon category as well as my 27th full marathon altogether. If I were to rate the hardness of this marathon as compared to the other 26 marathons that I have done, it will be among the seven toughest ones. Well, it was not actually about how tough the race was but it was more about the mental challenge and probably the unfamiliarity with the new route were the reasons that made SCKLM2014 a tough nut.

Let's recap on my preparation for this marathon. Obviously, I have not ran in much races this year and SCKLM2014 would just be my 4th marathon for the year after Gammon China Coast in January, 2XU Singapore Marathon in March, and Borneo Marathon in May. Having clocked in a lot of training mileage, I was quietly confident to do reasonably well in SCKLM. Although I was not aiming to do a PB timing of better than 3 hours and 40 minutes done at 2XU Singapore Marathon, I was hoping to at least do better than my previous three SCKLM Marathon, which are 4:31 (2011), 3:50 (2012); 3:49 (2013). To be frank, I was aiming to do somewhere around 3:45.

The only setback to my training was that I did not do much speedworks as my training post Borneo Marathon was focusing on the two 100km ultra marathons - Beaufort and Penang. So, the training was much to do with endurance and a long, long LSDs. The hazy weather when SCKLM was approaching also hindered me from doing the pre-race short runs, which I would normally do two weeks before a marathon. 

I was also having a lot of doubts about racing in SCKLM this year. Firstly, on how would I survive running in hazy condition, would I be able to breathe easily? Would I be out of breath in the middle of the race? That could lead to my first DNF? Well, I think I have a valid reason to be worried as I never ran in such weather condition and I am talking about a fast pace of sub 5:20-minute, not a leisure 6:30-minute pace. Then, the new route. I knew in advance that the new route involves undulating stretch, not one but many, on top of the traditional Bukit Tunku route. And the unfamiliarity to the new route would means that I would not be able to strategize my run - where to attack, where to take it easy, bla bla bla... and when the organizer released the video preview of the route, I knew it was going to be mentally challenging running on the highways, not one, but two plus plus...

The undulating route with sharp inclines at few spots would break (more than make) your target for a good timing :(

Nevertheless, the race day arrived. The organizer has given a clearance that the race would go on despite the haze, as the condition look to be better on Saturday (than throughout the week preceding race weekend) and thankfully it got a little bit better on Sunday morning, although I could still smell burning smells in the air at few spots during the race (but not sure if it was the haze or the rubber smell from the scrap metal yard/shops along the Duke Expressway). 

As I checked in at a hotel around Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, I got extra sleep for an hour or two as I only made my move to the start line 45 minutes before the flag-off time which was at 4.30am. After settling my drop bag business, the announcer made a call for the marathoners to move in the starting pen. I positioned myself about 50 meters behind the front row of the elite runners. So, I reckoned that I would not have much zig-zagging to do at the early part of the race. The reverse direction of the new route which moved towards Jalan Raja Laut at the start would also give the width of the road for runners to break away from the rest of the runners. Bear in mind that the number of registered marathoners this year reached 5,315 (according to the organizer) and from the race photos from various volunteer photographers, you can tell that there were not many instances where you can have only one or two marathon runners in one shot, except for those running with the pace of under 3:45-hour or close to 7 hours. 

The new route that only look nice on paper (and told to be scenic), but in actual it was one of the most boring marathon route I've ever ran.

The race was flagged off sharply at 4:30am after some ceremonial activities by the VVIPs as well as the blunder of Negaraku song played when they played the old version of the song (the marching version) and the song was played incomplete since it followed by Penang state song (I was informed) of which they quickly turned it off. The route took the runners from Dataran Merdeka towards Jalan Raja Laut up to the Maju Junction intersection before turning right into Jalan Sultan Ismail all the way to Jalan Ampang heading towards KLCC. Then moving into Jalan P. Ramlee before getting back into Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Raja Chulan and headed towards Jalan Jelatek via Jalan Tun Razak and Jalan Ampang. 9.5km into the race, the dreaded AKLEH Expressway section started as we strolled to the end of the expressway before making a u-turn near Jalan Sultan Ismail and now ran on the opposite direction of AKLEH before we exited at MRR2 (another highway). So, it was already 10km on AKLEH. I got a little depressed on AKLEH as I did not expect the concrete walls at the side of the highways as well as as in the middle of it were that tall. I thought I could see fellow runners on the opposite direction, which could motivate me a lot, but all I could see were their heads and I have no clue of whose heads they were. 

Into MRR2 highway for about 2km before going into the undulating, boring, nothing-you-can-see and dreaded stretch of about 10km on DUKE Expressway. So, that was already 22km on highways/expressways. Exiting the highway on Jalan Kuching towards Bulatan Segambut before entering the Bukit Tunku section. A little twist to this year's route whereby previously we turned into Jalan Raja Laut at the Bank Negara Malaysia roundabout, but this year that spot was just about 37km so we had to head towards Jalan Parlimen, making a big round around the Lake Garden and entered Jalan Damansara (another undulating stretch that killed my quads with 2km to go), passing KL Sentral, the old KTM Station and headed home to Dataran Merdeka. 

My race...

Early in the race along Jalan Sultan Ismail where I was following the 3:30 pacer group
[photo by Running Malaysia Magazine]

As I was targeting to do 3:45-hour race, I think it was a good idea to hook up to the 3:30 pacers as I thought I would try to follow them as long as I could before dropping off from the group in the second half of the race and finish off my race in 3:45-hour. That was what I did. After a short toilet break just after the flag off and before entering Jalan Raja Laut, I had to run a little faster to catch up with the 3:30 pacers. As now I have these pacers to keep control of my pace, I noticed that my pace at the start was not as fast as what I did in 2XU Singapore Marathon where I had my PB. I was comfortable with the pace. It was a small group of people of about 10 or so hooking ourselves to the pacers. So, 10km passed by without much problems where I did close to 51 minutes. I was very much running in the group until nearing the u-turn at the end of AKLEH Expressway (around KM13). The undulating AKLEH route as well as the boring-ness of the route caused me to drop a little behind from the 3:30 pacer group but there were still within 50m in front of me and well within my sight. However, I just could not move faster to do the catching up like how I did early in the race. There was no urgency, the was no strong desire for me to catch up with the group. 

My gap with the group widened up as we exited AKLEH and as we got into DUKE Expressway, the 3:30 pacer group was already some 100m to 150m in front of me. I told myself "that's was it, I would not be able to catch up with them" especially when it was rolling elevation which stopped me from running at a consistent speed if I were to do the catching up. Anticipating it would be a long journey on DUKE, I got demotivated. There were not many runners around me that time to strike a conversation or maybe the other runners also were puffing and huffing at that time, struggling with their pace and in the hazy weather condition. Finally, I made my first walk break at KM22 as my legs almost wanted to gave up on me. But, the decision to have a walk break was made only after I was assured that sub 4-hours would be well within my reach. I calculated that at that point of time, if I were to do an average of 6:00-minute pace for the rest of the race, I would still make it under 4 hours. So I walked. I walked a little before continuing with my run, a little stronger after the walk break, but that walk break prompted me to do many more walk breaks after that and in the end, I walked countless time on DUKE. I hate you, DUKE! 

As I could only see apartments on the right side of DUKE and scrap metal yards most of the time on the left side, the signboard showing that Jalan Kuching was just 500m away was like the light at the end of the tunnel. I knew DUKE stretch would end soon but I still have some 12km to go and that includes Bukit Tunku and the dreaded finale of Jalan Parlimen-Lake Garden stretch. Bukit Tunku stretch was known as hilly and a killer section of SCKLM but at least I knew what to expect, I knew when to take it easy (walk uphill), and when to attack (run downhill). However, as my race was done (literally) on DUKE, I did not have much rooms to play around with my timing. The signs of cramp was also coming to my left calf and right quad so I was just ensuring that I keep moving while not overstretching the muscles that could lock up the entire leg. It was just about 10km to go so it would be a waste to DNF so I took it easy, but still cautious with my pace to ensure another sub 4:00-hour marathon finish. More runners overtook me at this point but I was not bothered by that, it was my own race that I was battling against.

At the Bukit Tunku section where I was battling with so many things - boredness, the threat of cramps attacking my left calf, right quad and even groin area, the wet socks from the sweat, among all...
[photo by EnAiKay]

Arriving at the Bank Negara roundabout and we had to move towards Padang Merbuk/Lake Garden via Jalan Parlimen, the marathoners merged the half marathoners (the slower ones). So, the similar story of slower half-marathoners crowding up the entire Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman in the previous SCKLM was happening again this year, on this new route. But unlike the old route when it was just some 2km to deal with problem, with this new route, the marathoners had to deal with the slower half-marathoners for five freaking kilometers. They crowded up the roads, the crowded up the final two (or maybe three water stations) and they were just a crowd of heart-breakers for the marathoners who were struggling to finish their race strongly. The final 5km stretch was not spared from rolling elevation either, and I think cumulatively I walked more than I ran in the final 5km. Only after I reached in front of the Majestic Hotel (near the old Railway Station) that I managed to run all the way to the finish line.

My 10km splits for the race were not pretty: 50:45; 51:38 (1:42:24); 56:28 (2:38:52) and a slow 1:03:24 between KM31 to KM40 >.< Given the dreaded route and how pathetic my pace was (especially in the second half of the race), I was really glad to be able to cross the line with few more minutes to spare before the clock strikes four hours. I was not happy, but was not despaired either. I take it as another full marathon completion for me, 27th to be exact, and another sub 4:00-hour finish which now totals to 13 races (that is 48%) and another finisher t-shirt and medal to keep. Luckily the design and the quality of the t-shirt and medal this year have improved much from last year. The only thing that I was not happy with SCKLM was the route - boring, there was nothing to see, which was in total opposite of what the Race Director, Rainer Biemans said "This is the KL Marathon. We are on the international calendar (of running events) and runners come from all over the world. They don’t want to run in a park. They want to run through the city and see its landmarks and iconic buildings." (read full article here). Other than the new route, the support, marshaling, water stations, race expo, race pack collection, were all commendable.

For the race, I wore Team 2ndSkin World Domination t-shirt in VaporLite material, Kraftfit compression short, Skechers GOrun Ride 3, Wrightsock Coolmesh II socks, Garmin FR620 watch, Ultimate Direction Jurek Essential waist pouch, Lifeline-ID Pro model;

and I consumed Hammer Endurolytes taken pre-race and every 45 minutes into the race (2 caps each time), Hammer Anti Fatigue Caps taken pre-race and every 45 minutes into the race (2 caps each time), Hammer Perpetuem Solids taken every 45 minutes into the race (1 cap each time) and Hammer Gel taken every one hour into the race. 

For my race details at Garmin Connect, click here.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Ironman Race Report : Tristupe

Having read Jun Shen and Roy's Ironman report, the last one to check in (both on race day finishing and blof entry) is Tri Stupe. Lengthy report, but we did not expect anything less from his style of writing anyway (bordering old uncle story teller, some say). Here is his report. Enjoy (and well done Uncle)
-----
Ironman Malaysia 2014 Race Report
"Hey, it is taking him too long to cross the line", the MC announced as I stopped by the side to give my wife and family a kiss before proceeding to cross the line in 16:12:30 last Saturday in Langkawi. 
best low-res photo ever
This is my story.
-----
T-2 Days to Race
Arrived Langkawi via Firefly and it was with some drama days prior to it. Having sorted out the race logistic for my bike thanks to Edwin (Joo Ngan Son), It was a more relief journey with the family. My kids flew Firefly when they were toddlers and they obviously can't remember it. So obviously, this time around, it was for them to maximise the experience flying in a turboprop.
Troublemaker
Troublemakers
The ATR72 were filled with fellow IM-hopeful and supporters. Here are some pics of them. How many can recognise them in these photos?


















RMC Ex-Boy at Langkawi Airport Arrival Hall
Champion placed his photo on the box...
We arrived in Langkawi soon after and met up with Jun Shen, which was waiting for Roy and Chloe. 
Thanks to my friend Ghaz, we managed to secure a rented van at a good rates. Knowing we will be carrying bikes as well, he came over to help us to carry the extra luggage and friends. We rented an Innova for RM120/day. Car rental is not expensive in Langkawi, but it was slightly more that weekend due to influx of participants, which has hiked up the rates slightly. On usual day, you can get a Nissan Serena for RM100/day. So, an old Innova for RM120/day was higher than usual. From the airport, we headed straight to Participant Check In.
With Chloe
The thing about this Ironman participant check in was the timeline. Everyone wanting to race need to sign in by 5pm on Thursday. Because of that, many had to change/shift their flights that was booked a good 6 months to 1 year before. 
I find it a bit unfair for us that has been "overly efficient" with this arrangement as the organiser stipulated the sign in about 2-weeks before the race via the participant booklet. Since rules are rules, many of us made the extra effort (and payment) to get to the island on time. 
One of the ritual thing to do after checking in is the weighing in session. For a moment, you will feel like a boxer.

This was done mainly as a health precautionary should you encounter anything during or after the race where your weight (then) can tell the medical personnel if you are severely dehydrated.
Sub 40kg?
 I of course were shocked to learnt I put on (solid) 5kg over the training period.
Nadia said - 745!
We were asked which swim wave we want to be in and this was to be told during weigh in and timing chip collection.
Indemnity forms were signed too
Instead of wave start using gender or category, the organiser went with your expected timing on the swim. I went to Wave 2, 1:05 - 1:35. The race check in continues to be busy until 5pm, which was the first cutoff for the participants. With that completed, it was signing in to the apartment we rented (yes, you guessed it right, booked a year ago!)
Ready?
Back in the apartment, we met up with Chloe's childhood friend that is working in Australia. He just came back from UTMB and doing his second Ironman race after a long hiatus. Keng Loon, as he introduced himself. Photo of him later in the post. :)
Later on that night, it was the Race Dinner and Briefing at Mahsuri Convention Centre, next to the Airport. The place was packed to the brim by almost 1300 participants. The atmosphere were electrifying with fellow IM hopeful gathering.
Names of the AWA participants were flashed up on the screen. A recognition for being top 10% of their age group
The Ironman Malaysia brought out various groups of friends that came for racing. Here are some of them in photos.








It was then back to the apartment for rest, as the next 1-day will be used to prepare for the Bike Check In and ensuring everything is in place. It was an early night, as the day has been pretty non-stop from 7am onwards.
T-1 Day
Terk woke me up early and said that he wanted to go and test the water for the swim. We headed there and he was the last that was allowed to swim. I decided that I can wait for it on the real day. It was then chilling at the Pontoon area with friends. Here are some captures of inspiring people
Chris, Carmen and Nik - done with swim. Carmen was there to support this time around. She will race IMWA
2-years ago, he was hit by a taxi driver at Cyberjaya. Esmen, as he is known to most of us.Now, he is back, better than ever.
Siok Bee, another strong lady for long distance races
Steady Doc!
As I was about to go, the usual suspect showed up. Except for me and Chan, Roy, Pui San, Chloe and Phui Tin were first timer.
Anxious? Me too.
 And here is how the swim course looked like. The far end was too far to be seen in the photo.
1.850km out each way with 100m diagonal - making it 3.8km swim
Chan then lend some tips for the swim. Being a Navy officer able to read tidal changes and influence, he shared a lot of tips from the expected current push and the depth of the water at certain time. His warning? Do not try to stand up and walk, as the bottom of the shallow water is all soft mud, you will sink and may get yourself stuck - SWIM until the stairs!
Roger that Sir!
The swim is admittedly my weakest most least trained discipline. I know I just need to survive this and estimated no more than 1:40 to get out.
Somehow, it looked like a shark...ready to eat you up
Rob "Wassup" Plachiak
Mostly 1st timer, and I can totally understand the excitement
Then, it was back to the apartment to sort out the race day bags for check in. The T1 and T2 bags need to be checked, double checked and triple checked. You can't afford to make mistakes as once it was handed over, you won't see it until T1 and T2!
T2 bag packing
Stickers for helmet, bike and streetbag
Need to be planned meticulously Items all double bagged in case it get wet in transition
Keng Loon. Damn cool headed guy
Special Need Bag - ready!
T2 bag ready!
Put into bag (red T2) after checking it for the 5th time
Bikes tested and all gears checked
With all that done, we then left for lunch and visiting the expo again. It is an excuse to chill and cool down before the event.
Doc PS and Kam
Telur Botak Group
Supporters
All the way from Vietnam
WAGs
More WAGs
Lunch with an awesome group
You do know Xterra will be in Langkawi in 2015-2018 right?
Old Puteras
Support Crews - starting them young
There were so many friends it was impossible not to stop and chat for at least 10 minutes. The last bike Check in and transition tour will take place at 3-5pm, with the tour to be at 4pm. So, we went back to check (again) our T1 and T2 bags, and to ensure nothing has been left behind before checking it all in. There was just too much risk involved not to check (again and again)
Yes? No?
On my way up from Lunch, I saw another racer that has the exact same bike as me. it was a photo opportunity, as what are the chances this happen? The Orbea Ordu 2007 is super rare nowadays.
Who is sexier?
Bike Check In
It is a ritual by itself. If you are new to Ironman (organiser) race, you really need to know that the transition area and bike racking is strict. 
Housemates
Heartmates
My manager walking infront
You are discouraged from placing removable things on the bike, this meant, your computer, water bottles, helmet, sunnies should not be on the bike. You can leave food (gels)
Only my spare tires were on the bike
The process of bike check in starts at the first tent where a photo will be taken of your bike. This is two fold : security and as a proof that you did check in.
Make sure wear helmet too, as it will be checked
Wear your helmet or bring it along, as it will be checked for compliance. Then you go find your rack and mount it handlebar first.
All ready?
As you can see, not many placed their food on the bike and almost everyone let go of some air from the tire. I am still debating the need to do that because the increase in temperature (toward afternoon and evening) is not sufficient or significant to cause a blowout.
Plastic bag optional
If you noticed, I set my gear to be on the small crank and mid-cog, this way, it will make it easier to ride away initially and start to downshift/upshift once things normalise out of transition. The last thing you want is to fall all over trying to start pedaling.
Soon after the racking, the transition tour started. So, instead of heading to the Transition tents, I decided to hang around the tour, as we will head to T1 and T2 where the bags can be handed over soon after.
And it also allow me one last chance to check the bag again if i left anything.
Agnes, Lini and KK
Edwin playing hide and seek
Doc Yap and friends
Adele as MC
Henry (yellow cap) and Ho (right)
Ghaz!
The transition tour brought us to the tent and I was super impressed with how they bags were managed. I was used to the fact that bags were left on the ground (hence the double bagging with plastic in case the bags get wet due to rain). This one, with the bags being hanged, superb.
Corner Lot T1
In a way, instead of looking at bikes at transition (to see if people around you are out of water or out for run), looking at the amount of bags in T1 gives the super competitive another avenue to "plot" their race.
Corner lot again (duh!)
The tour ended after the T2 tent, and by then, we have already cam-whored and taken many photos. Here are some to remember the afternoon. 
Iran and Terk
Keng Loon, Jun Shen, Rizal, Iran and Roy at T2
Another capture that showed how the bags were arranged
Winnie and Roy
Compulsory post with the bike racks
Bumped into BatBenMan
Bananaman (Jabir, Mel and Syed)
The beautiful Chris
Making mental note that this is where my bike rack will be
The RMC Old Puteras. We have the largest contingent racing and not to forget the largest group of supporters too!
Keng Loon and Chloe - they both known each other from primary school
Zaki (in green) and friend
With Hin Toong, Led Ye and Azman
Spot me (bike)
Andrew's Entourage consist of John and Andrew's wife Michelle (middle), and friend

Exiting the transition, we knew that there were nothing else left to do other than to relax and have an early dinner so that the body can be well rested. 
Shy shy..hahah
Not Shy

It was somewhat liberating to have nothing to worry about, but the race....that of course, was what many of us wants you reader to think.
Jom Balik!
Once the bike check in was done, we decided to take a drive to check the cycling route out. While many has done so many weeks or days before, we sort of decided to do it 12hours before the race. We picked up Bandit, which flew in specifically for the race to support us. Having him around was superb, as he always never fail to make light of things. This collage made by him summed up his overnight trip
The Bandit Chronicles - pic from his Facebook
While driving around the route recce, Bandit came out with the best metaphor for the 180km bike...do it like Man vs Food.
What?
Yeap. Man vs. Food.
Portion the race distance like you would approach a big meal. Divide them up and start eating them in parts. 
Does make sense though, as the strategy that I've shared with some friends is to keep a steady pace first 90km, eat and drink as the second 90km would be tougher. Then if you feel great at KM135km, bring it home the final 45km with all you got. Don't worry about the run portion, as the rhythm will comes to you after 5km (of run). 
See why having Bandit there is good? He make technical tips as easy as eating a huge meal. Thank you Bandit!
Dinner at Wonderland Food Store before race day
It was then back to the apartment, soak my oats, fill up my bottles with Hammer HEED and leave it in the freezer, recheck the special need bag, check the swim cap and items and getting into bed by 11pm. Alarm set for 4am the next morning.
Anxious.
Last Check
Last thing we did before retiring was to stick the race number tattoo on our right arm. I believe I've gotten to do this rather professionally.
Forward facing, allows for clearer sight by race marshall. Photo from my Instagram
D-Day
It was a sleep that were light and getting up a few times due to the worry that I may miss the alarm. You know the feeling when you overslept and then you realised you have a plane to catch? I then sat down for 30minutes, force feeding myself the soaked oats at 4am. It was tough to eat when it is not your normal breakfast hour. But it has to be done. In my bag were another Hammer Bar where I will take about 6.30am together with 4 tabs of Anti-Fatigue and 4 tabs of Endurolyte. I made a cup of coffee the night before and left it in the freezer so I get a cup of ice cold caffeine fix when I take it. A quick shower and we were off to the Transition area for final check. 
As we walked to the Transition area, we passed the special need counter. We (me, Terk and Keng Loon) decided to stop and hand our items out first, so we got less things to carry and worry as we head to our bikes. Once that was done, the morning drama begin.
Special need truck at 7am in morning. Pic from Raymond Tomatoman
I forgot to bring the bottles of HEED i froze the day before. It is sitting in the freezer. Lucky for me, the apartment is a close 500m away. But I do not have my phone with me and my worry is to wake my wife (or Terk's wife) up to open the front door. I bumped into CG and asked him to help call my wife. No answer. So I guess I would be ready to pound of the door to gain access if I have to.
That 500m to apartment were a long walk and jog. I had to be careful not to get too panicky (though I already starting to be). Climbed up the stairs and rang the bell. No answer.
Knock on the door and I heard the room door opened. It was Zaza, Terk's wife.
Relief!
Went in to take the two frozen bottle and rushed back to Transition. By then, it was already 5.30am. 
Entering the Transition, I take a deep breathe and started to arrange my nutrition onto the bike. For this race, I went with two bento box. The front were filled with the Anti-fatigue and Endurolytes separated in small plastic bag so I could differentiate them, and no less than 20 Perpetuem solids lined up inside the bento. I know it will get wet with sweat, but that was the easiest  setup. 
The second Bento was strapped near the seat post, in there I carry a small jar of Vaseline and spare gels, in case I need it. I forgot to bring money. So, that meant stops to buy food at local store will not happen.
Then I proceed to check my tire pressure. The front was alright but the rear somehow were lesser than I remember it was the day before. I borrowed the pump from the neighbour next to me and then realised the air refused to get into the tubular.
Panic again.
Noticed that the Bike Mechanic (GH Cycle) just started their morning, I rushed over and saw Daniel (Lim). I tried to pump air in using his pump and failed. It seems that the valve at the end of the tubular tire may had been closed or stuck, rendering it impossible to pump air in without removing the 80mm attachment and hoping the valve can be opened. 
A few things ran through my mind:
1. OK, buang suey (throw bad luck out, first being the bottles, now this, am I to expect ONE more bad luck?)
2. Tire pressure was not sufficient to remove the tubular from the rim, alternative may meant to write off this tubular (new, less than 200km) by puncturing it and then use my spare Tubular for the race
3. I am so F-ed. 
Team GH helped me to remove the attachment and when Daniel and his team managed to release the air from the inner valve...that sound of air escaping was music to my ears. I could not thank them more on that stressful morning!
The GH Team, Kamsia!
With that all done, it was 6.15am. How times fly when you are busy clearing up all the mess in the morning. I took my goggles out, give it a good saturation of anti-fog,  placed my earplug and put on some jellyfish cream that was given to me by Mohan Marathon a year before. Will it work? I am not sure. I've been very lucky with jellyfish that I never had any incidences of being attacked. The most I had were the sea lice, which is equally irritating, but less hazardous. I offered the cream to a few people, but none seems interested. It was then moving to pass the street bag (the black bag I brought along to Transition) and hand it over to the counter near the special need counter. 
How the holding pen for swim wave looked like at 7am in the morning of race day. Pic from Raymond Tomatoman
All system go. Anxious level down and seeing friends started to help lower the heart rate again.
Wefie by Indran. Thanks bro!
Making us looking good. Thanks Shanaz!
Guess who is the slowest swimmer. Pic courtesy of Raymond Tomatoman
We were then asked to enter the swim wave area. I went into Wave 2, with expected time between 1:05 to 1:35. I have confidence that morning that I will manage a good swim timing.
Waiting for our turn to enter the jetty for swim
Swim
Sharp at 7.30am, we heard the Pros were let off for the race. The following waves were ushered to the front and we slowly make our move towards the jetty. 
Hello Tomato! Pic from Raymond Tomato
It will be a turn-by-turn start and your personal time starts 2-feet from the water entry. Good stuff as it prevents too much of body contact in the water. This way also prevent anyone waiting too long for their wave start which happened in Putrajaya 70.3. I had cramps on the toes the moment I enter the water in that race as the body went into cooling stage after waiting nearly 1hour! 
Lamb to the Slaugther. Pic from Raymond Tomato
My game plan for the swim was to keep the line of sight and keep moving. I stay close to Chan, hoping that I will be able to remain close to him. Who am I kidding right? Swimming with Chan? He is super fast in water (and bike and run). But this is Ironman, nothing is impossible.
With Chan and Faizal. Thanks Raymond Tomatoman!
The final moment before we enter the swim start was the announcer high-fiving everyone as we enter the zone of no return... and just like that...the race begun!  
The situation at Swim Start. Pic from Shanaz.
I pressed my Garmin 910xt as I crossed the line and lunge forward to start my swim. Less than 5m into the very murky water (due to mud being kicked up), I was kicked on the face by the swimmer next to me doing breaststroke. My goggle dislodged and water flooded.
Damn it. Unlucky Number 3!
I lost my rhythm the first 400m as I struggled to keep moving while the goggle keeps leaking. I reckon the seal between the goggle and my face were lessen due to the mud that got between them. I reached the first rest pontoon and hang on to get this issue sorted. I was a bit angry but there was nothing I could do. Things happened in races and this is just one of them. I managed to clear the water and almost gotten the seal, but it doesn't stay long as water seeps through. It wasn't until the second rest pontoon (about 1km out) that I decided to give it up. it was just too difficult to get it fixed when I am IN the water.
Supporters waiting
As I breath on my left, the bouy markers were on my right. Sighting was an issue but I stuck to the 6-strokes-1-sight technique. I slowly get back into rhythm, figuring out there is little I could do with the goggles.
The rest of the swim after that was ok. It could had been better if not because of the kick in the face, but hey, this is Ironman.
Out of water in 1:40. It was exactly what I've predicted. Was just very happy to get out of water with no jellyfish sting or more mishaps.
Kissy kissy smooch smooch. Pic from Raymond Tomatoman
Finding Strength
Walking to T1. Pic by Kam
Just glad to be out! Thanks Tey Gor.
In 2009, I exit the water with Ben Swee right in front of me. This year, not much different, we took a long stroll back to T1.
This is my Garmin tracking for the 3.8km swim. Notice the zig-zagging. It is purely due to mix of breaststroke and my freestyle sightings.
Entering T1. I saw a few friends in the tent. I was happy to have survived yet another long swim. Transition is a very happy place for many. It marks the point where you are still in the race and allowed to the next stage. I spent about 10mins in Transition, a bit longer than expected (I initially target about 5minutes), but I decided to let it rest a bit before I start hammering on the bike.
Bike
Out of transition and I was hoping the day will start to get hotter. It doesn't seems that it will rain and that is good as rain+hill descent can be dangerous. 
Pushing out to start cycling
The moment I pass the timing chip gantry, I mounted and started cycling. This is it. The longest portion of the race. The 180km journey that is like cycling from PJ to Ipoh. The mental thoughts of climbing the same highway and Datai, twice. The Man vs. Food. The Bandit.
Fast up the bike
Immediately after the transition area, we turn right towards LISRAM highway, that is where the first climb will be. The first 3km of the race looked like a big mental hurdle for some; in reality, it is actually not as difficult as long as you keep cranking on light gear and never ever stand up as it will tire you out fast. 
I saw a few coming down and pushing the bike. Not too good of a sign if you are already pushing at KM2. I hope they will be ok.
The trick is to let momentum brings you over the next climb. It takes confident to go down at 60km/h and not to lose control. If you managed to even get 50km/h downhill, half of the climb will be sorted - and that was what I did. Let it roll, literally.
Cranking it up, slowly but surely
Out from the first climb, we headed towards Bukit Sg. Hantu, this is the unassuming climb immediately after a sharp right turn exiting LISRAM. What appeared to be flat were replaced with a 800m climb, with the apex to be a heartbreaker. Keep spinning and keep the cadence high, save the legs by spinning fast, but light. Many made the mistake to power through and end up with cramps. 
I was feeling strong on the bike, those time spent training paying off. But there are room for improvement, the trainer does not replace the real feel of cycling outdoor, and I can see that playing out the first 45km of the race. The next 30km was rolling hills towards Teluk Ewa via Pantai Pasir Hitam. It was then I saw the pros finishing their first loop at speed in excess of 45km/h passing by. I then passed Tony Quay manning the "penalty box" and this was when Tey (Eng Tiong) snapped my photo.
The position I've practiced for a full 49 weeks. Staying aero is important to gain free speed. Thanks Tey.
Passing Teluk Ewa and La Farge factory, it was Kampung road. Winding and rolling. By then, I've passed two water station (KM5 and KM20) and will be approaching Teluk Yu/Pantai Kok u-turn. I saw many friends on the opposite site, obviously ahead of me and some shouted out for me. That is half the fun of the race - to exchange words (or shout) of courage with friends!
Hey, is that Ayam Golek?. Thanks Tey!
Passing the U-turn and knowing the "dreaded" Datai is just 5km away, I prepared upon entering the "Red Bull Challenge" zone, it was already an incline. I told myself I've trained for this. Those 53x17 cranking up at 80rpm should be put to use, and that was how it was conquered. Keeping the cadence going and staying the line. I tried not to rush it though I can still push it. There were two climbs, each about 20m elevation differences. Not big, but it was sharp sudden climb. Upon reaching the peak of each hill, it is rolling with potential of touching close to 50km/h until the next sharp corner showed up, forcing you to slow down again, and to climb again.
Red Bull Tough Zone. Thanks Kam!
The last climb was through a small tunnel before U-turning down and returning back to the Teluk Ewa road. ON the way up the tunnel, I saw a participant on the side being attended by medic. Doesn't look good as he has the neck braces on. Must be crash coming down and the sudden change in lighting condition from bright-dark-bright could be too fast for the eyes to adapt. Turns out, there were two person crashing together. One going up and the other coming down. One could had encroached into the other's lane, causing the contact. 
The tunnel. Thanks Kam.
Going down Datai was much easier. Passing a Water station and I was good to go to complete the first loop. The route goes on to pass Teluk Ewa and Pantai Pasir Hitam, before hitting the roundabout and going straight via Ayer Hangat back to Transition. 
Throughout the first 3-hours, I had been without fail, drinking and eating between 30-45mins each time one cap of Anti-Fatigue, 2 caps of Endurolyte and 1 tab of Solid. I replenish and aim to finish a bottle of HEED via the aero bottle on the aerobar, replenishing as I approach water station and made it a point to shower with ice cold water in the water bottle given out. It washed away the salt and refreshing the body. 
Approaching the end of Loop 1, Lini overtook me before entering the U-turn. Super nice. Lini is strong and having trained with her a few times, is always consistent with her pace. I reckon she can score a big PB this race.
Loop 1 Done!
I stopped at the Special Need counter and spent about 10minutes there, maybe more. Not sure, as my "non moving time" clocked on the Garmin amount to 13mins in total. There, I spoke to some locals as they asked me the race format, i ate the cream bread I bought and replenish some vaseline to my crotch area. It is getting dry and a chaffing at the family jewels would not be too nice with 90km+42km to go. One has to be wise to stop and repair when needed ;-)
Heading out for my second loop, I climbed LISRAM again and this time saw Bossman cheering us on. Abu Power was there too and my thanks to them for the encouragement.
Powering through at high cadence. Thanks Indran.
At that point, everything was still ok until the second climb up Bukit Hantu. I fet a cramp coming and had to sacrifice some speed with high cadence spinning to rid the muscles off lactic acid built up. It worked after about 8-10km and I had to play catch up game again. By then, I already reach Pantai Pasir Hitam.
Second loop up...and visibly more tired, but it has to go on!
The second loop everything tends to be a bit tougher. My 100km wall was breached as I passed it with adequate fuelling. During training, I struggle to keep powering after KM100 due to my own experiment. This time around, the 30kcal/30mins Solid worked superbly + 100kcal/hour of HEED providing me just enough for that period of time. Passing Pantai Pasir Hitam and Teluk Ewa again, I see less and less riders on the road. It could be I am at the back or I am too fast. I believe I slowed down a bit and looking at my average fall from 30km/h to 28km/h at that point sort of confirms it.
Up Datai second hill. Thanks Kam.
Along part of the Datai route, we have Kam, Farouk, Bandit and Ramzul going up and down to cheer us on. Having Bandit blowing the whistle were good. I made it into some rhythm as I crank the cadence.
Supporters at Teluk Yu/Pantai Kok U-turn. Thanks Kam!
The second time up Datai was tougher, but it was equally as fast as the first round. The rolling hills helped a lot with speed control and allowed for extended resting time not pedalling as we gain free speed coming down hill. I remember mustering to myself "bye-bye Datai" as I exit the Red Bull banner and turn left to wrap up the last 30km of biking. Glancing at the Garmin 910XT. I passed the 6hours mark and I knew I was 30mins behind my target time. It was almost impossible, in the state I was in to power through the last 30km of rolling hills within an hour, but I will try nevertheless. I passed Tony's Penalty Box and decided to stop for a few minutes to catch up with him, and to take a short break.
Self Imposed Penalty ;-)
The short break worked wonder and it was a tempo ride back to Transition. It was uneventful except I saw one participant throwing up all that he ingested. As I cycled past asking if he was ok, I remember him nodding and guess he was in a daze too as to what happened.
Home Run. Thanks Jack AhBeh!
Heading to transition, the family were waiting and I was glad yet another section completed and this time within 7hours. 
See Ya later!
I dismounted and left my shoes on the pedal, so I could walk a bit easier to T2 without the cleat. That too allowed my feet to rest a little after being locked onto the pedal for 7 hours.
Bike 180km, completed in 6:58.
Run
As I entered the Transition, I saw Andrew Lim. Strong cyclist and has never ran more than 10km for training (he says). Also there was a few other friends and the atmosphere in T2 was pretty good. Most athletes checking in looked comfortably still strong and everyone were hi-5ing each other. I got into a short chat with a triathlete from Philippines and i noticed his cleats shoe were detached from his shoe, yet he finished the cycling. It is truly not about the bike or the gears. I changed my cycling/tri shorts and wore the Kraftfit compression thighs. Had to strip and moon everyone, but that is normal for all of us that day. 
Happy! Out of T2 and jumped for Adele. Thank you Adele!
I started to jog a little to get the legs into tempo. The family was waiting for me at the end of T2 before I turn right towards the Eagle Square to start my first loop. Many things came to my mind at that moment:
1. All i need is to walk and I be done within 17hours. 
2. I have a full 8 hours to walk, never happened ever in past 3 Ironman.
3. Now, if i start running, I may just PB as planned. 14:30 was very very do-able!
Priceless capture Shanaz. Thank you.
The 42km ahead of me will not be easy. But my spirit were high. I know some people at home were tracking me on the IronmanLive website, thinking if i can hold on to the pace and if my training will pay off. I know my body well. At that time, the body said "Let's go!"
Extra Hammer gel tucked at my Kraftfit Compression. Thanks Hong Lan
I was keeping good pace. Going at about 6:30pace and feeling good about it. I know I can run faster at that point and was two minded about it. Many things crossed my mind during the first 5km of run. The journey I've taken this far. The surreal feeling of racing the Iron distance. The simplest thing in life of putting a foot in front of the other and repeat it until I reach the finish line.
Move it. Thanks Indran.
I covered the first loop or 10km in about 1:10. Which is pretty good by my standard. If I can keep this up at Tempo pace, I would wrap the 42km within 5hours - better than expected. 
Ada bagus? Thanks Michelle!
Then at about KM15, as I clear the spectators area and headed towards the Kampung road, I started feeling a rather strange, but somewhat familiar feeling tugging on my left thigh.
Hmmm...
I ignored it as it did not feel that bad, I could still run, that was until about KM17 as I headed back for Loop 2. It was then I started to feel every steps to be jolting numbing pain. It was a dreaded thing and it has to happened after 49 weeks of training, on race day. My ITB came back. 
Do You Want To Dance? Thanks Indran for the pic.
At that point, i felt frustrated. I had it all going well the whole race. Never mind the 3-bad luck earlier; just that I never knew there will be a fourth. I tried to run a little more, only to realised the best way to "run" was actually not to bend my left leg...and that made me move like I am dragging the leg like a prosthetic. Immediately, it reminded me of how Abang Sharif aka Singapore Blade Runner had to endure. 
But 
Nevermind. 
Found out that Terk missed the 2nd loop bike. DNF for this year. Thanks Hong Lan
What is important now is to admit that the 14:30 is not possible. With ample time of about 6hours, I would still finish within 17hours. Just have to keep on moving.
It was a stroll...literally. 
With Ben. Nice Socks bro. 
Along the loops, I keep coming across friends that kept their heads high. Many are first time IM hopeful, and they all looked strong. It was inspiring to see them run and race they way they did. While for most of us it was still too early to conclude anything, as 42km was, at that time, a very very far journey. Most of us will finish in the dark.
Walked with uncle Chan for a good 1km. 
For myself, it was another phase to accept the fact that running will not be possible without risking irreversible injury. Because of the way I was walking, my left feet begin to develop blister while my right left starts to over compensate for the limp on the opposite. Uncle Chan gave me encouragement - that I should keep moving and NOT give up.
Giving up on September 27 wasn't in my plan. 
I will not, ever, give up.
I kept moving, holding my head high, knowing my targeted PB slipping away as I enter my 25km of  walk. It will be another painful 17km walk and it was already dark. Around me however, were people having the same doubt as me; if we will finish.
I walked with a participant for a bit.
"I don't think I can make it. I have 10km to go", he said.
"You will bro, you have 2:30 to make it, you can keep at this speed and I will see you at finish line", I said.
I was also comforting myself at that point. I walked with (at different time) Yusran, Pui San and Andrew (and they started running soon after), I walked with Uncle Yee (and he in his usual style, commented on how tough the bike route was), Warren and Andrew Ang keep cheering me from the opposite site as they continue their battle to finish their first race. 
Humping the traffic barrier against my ITB. Thanks Hong Lan.
Zaki were running on empty and all i could do was to keep telling him that he will make it. Azman Poyo were his usual cheerful cheeky self, even stopping to ask his sister (or wife) if his mum finished shopping. I saw Chan running fast. I was in awe of Rupert as he ran his last 2km. Rob (Plachiak) were looking simply inspiring, as he ran his way to his personal best. 
"You best wait for Rob at finish, he is running his last loop", I told Poova (Rob's wife) as I saw him waiting at the park.
Hin Toong, with a crash a week before Ironman was looking elated, as he ran on adrenaline and using his experiences - superb to see. 
Kok Wai, was seen struggling a bit, as he was fighting a jellyfish sting around his hand or fingers.
Edwin, looking smashed, as he was side swiped by a car on his last 5km of bike. With a bruised lips, bloodied shoulder and what looked like a potential broken collar bone, as he held his own right arm on the top of his tritop. 
What is running through the mind of these athletes?
Notice the bruises and him grabbing his tritop to support his shoulder
There was my old boys buddy, in order of bumping into them : Iran, Syed, Jabir, Azmel, Chris. Strong. Spirit were high. Each of them fighting their own battle. On the opposite side of things, the supporters were going strong. Cheering relentlessly.
Go! Go! Go!
As for myself, I found the strength to suck it up. Fukitol, as they say. The ITB numbing were more bothering that the one, perhaps two big blisters I developed over the distance. Every single time I had the chance, I stopped for the family and friends. Thanking the supporters and volunteers. Blessed!
One more lap papa!
The thoughts of running through the stadium in maze-like loops will finally be over. The numbing pain, the blisters, the sacrifices and the support. Just too many memories running through. 
Bit more. Photo from Kam
I glanced at my Garmin, passed my target, but it was ok. I look towards the finishing area and the atmosphere were electrifying. I wanted to run, but I can't. Adele and Mike was announcing names. I heard mine being called.
Elated. Finally.
I found the family. They spent 16hours cheering. I spent the same, maybe just slightly more, and cross the line to my 4th Ironman finishing.
Ironman Live finishing gantry. Thanks Doc Yoong.
42km in 7:01. That was longer than my 180km Bike.
What Went Right
1. The fuelling. It was my least tiring Ironman and I can say amongst all my races.
2. Hydration. My pee after the race was normal. I neither over or under hydrate.
3. The bike. 28 cogs were life saver. It did flatten the whole route. 
4. The mind. For keeping calm.
5. The gears. None failed me.
For Improvement
1. My swim. Weakest amongst all. I must start to swim with a swim cap, and use it frequently so I could learn how the creases on my face effect the seal of the goggles.
2. My Bike. While feeling great, I could not sustain the same power output. Realistically, I need it to be stronger - and it will be. Need to go out and ride more often. Trainer build endurance, but limits the real riding feel outside.
3. My Run. More LSD and action to fix my ITB
4th in bag
Acknowledgement
Thank you to all family, friends and you readers, that followed the progress from the day I registered to the time I crossed the line. It was my "A" race. But I personally felt I scored a B-. I know I may have disappointed a few people, for that I apologise and I strive to be better.
To the supporters and photographers that lined the streets and cheered me and everyone the whole day, you are all awesome. Your photos rocked. Made my 4th memorable. I am keeping all photos and if you have the time, do send me the high res for my personal keeping.
Team 2ndSkin
To my team mates, Jun Shen and Roy that was racing with me. Well done. 
To my sponsors; 2ndSkin, Skechers, Hammer Nutrition, Kraftfit, Garmin, Spyder, GetActive and Lifeline-ID, thank you for the support and for believing in me and the team.
To Edwin of Joo Ngan &amp; Son, thank you for the bike services.
To Daniel and another team mate (I did not know the name) of GH Bikes, you saved me from an heart attack in the morning.
500. Back in Apartment. 
To those of you that went out there to start for Ironman Malaysia - you have just inspired many and I reap those spirits that exuded from all of you. 
To those that went out, started but did not finish (DNF), a big pat on the back. To me, you are all finishers.
To those that crossed the line within 17hours : YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!
And lastly, to my beloved wife and two kids, papa is back and will spend more weekend time with all of you; that is until training for 2015 starts again ;-)
Until then, keep Tri-ing.