Monday, 23 May 2016

Kerian International Duathlon 2016 - Team Athlete Chan Jun Shen Race Report

Kerian International Duathlon is the race which I signed up and forgotten about it after a while. I am just too occupied with my work at Air Wing, I hardly have any time to check for races. Every time I log on to my pc, I will sign for multiple races. The very same weekend, I have Garmin Clinic and also OP Running Clinic on Saturday morning. How am I gonna split myself like an amoeba and be at 3 places at the same time? I managed to merge the OP Running Clinic and Garmin Clinic, it turned out to be the right decision! Killed two birds with one stone. I drove back from Lumut to KL. I woke up to a rainy (no thunderstorm) Saturday morning, the Garmin clinic participants' attendance was around half of the class' strength! Well, not all runners are "All Weather Runner". Thanks to all the OP Running Clinic participants who filled up the lists and made the clinic really happening. The HIIT session mainly focuses on the program, running dynamics and benefits of understanding the data in Garmin devices. We concluded the clinic at around 1030H, I called up a few friends to pick up my race kit in Kerian just in case I can't make it in time.

Sharing with the participants on High Intensity Interval Training.
Pics courtesy Limite Art. 

3 hours of self driving is so boring! I came to KL from Perak and in less than 24 hours I am heading to Perak again. I met my UPNM juniors at their homestay and collected my race kit from them. Not knowing what to do, I conducted a 3 hour triathlon training class to kill time.
 During my cadet years, my seniors were not very knowledgeable, not many truly understood the training data given by heart rate monitors. Bike fit knowledge was almost zero. But they were a bunch of awesome seniors who guided me with all the knowledge that they had, whatever they had to offer me, they made sure to get it delivered to the juniors. Prior to my maiden Long Course Triathlon, I only knew that I will be bulldozing over 2.1km open water swim (like washing machine), 90km of cycling and finish up the race with a 21km run. Little that I know that aero bar is so important. My senior Kapten Salman and the gang, helped me to find an aero bar and got it fitted on my bike. Later on they got commissioned, the last word they told me, "Chan, jaga kelab kita baik-baik". Now that I am already a 5 X Ironman Finisher, whenever I meet the UPNM juniors, I will teach them and bring their knowledge to the next level. 

Setting up their bikes before sleep. 

My initial plan to camp in the car got cancelled as the juniors invited me to stay overnight with them. In return, I paid for the whole team's dinner. As the night fall, the mosquitoes flew in stealth and quiet like the B2 bombers without us realizing and started the "blood donation campaign". After setting up the mosquito netting (I carry mosquito netting in my car) in my room, I dozed off really quick. To my surprise, I did not feel any pre race jitters. Knowing that this race is full of potential winners, I do not see myself competing at the first pack after two weeks of disappearance from the training ground.   
How the cadets sleep. Save money for more future races, so we cramp together in a homestay. No complain, this is much more comfortable than sleeping under the poncho.  
RM50k worth of bike equipment in a kitchen.

0500H, I can't remember the last time I got awaken by the rooster because we do not have rooster in the Naval Base! If the rooster make noise in the morning, those desperate survival training trainees would hunt them down and make them KFC in the jungle. This time, I find it really annoying. Haha. The rooster never stop making noise every single minute! By 6am, I was already at the race area setting up my transition. 0700H flag off, huge crowd sprinting in the front pack. I was just running at my own sweet pace around 4.10mins/km along the straight long stretch next to the waterway. The top 10 gone missing by kilometer 4, I couldn't see them despite the straight stretch! A few UPNM cadets were chasing the front pack with their impressive running speed, not sure how long are they gonna last though. My transition was a quick one, fly mounted and caught a few UPNM cadets who ran ahead of me. They should really buck up their transition skills. Until now, no drama yet. 
Average pace : 4.06mins/km
My Garmin Connect data shows a good pace management with no significant pace drop, the heart rate was at Zone 5 for 94% of the time to keep my high cadence of 174spm and good stride length. To my surprise, my average stride length is 1.42m, my height is only 1.62m so it is already 88% of my height! My stretching shows significant improvement in my flexibility and agility.  
Flat and long running route.

40km of cycling on a flat terrain sucks. I never liked flat courses because I will be beaten by the super bikers on their TT bike, I rather climb hills. First 20km, I rode with the UPNM cadets. We took turn to pull before Richard Tang blazed past us with no mercy. He is another veteran with balls of steel, one aggressive rider! Got off the saddle and drop a few gears to bridge the gap. Then the Sungai Udang Commandos overtook us, trying to command the peloton but nobody bothered. By now, more than 20 riders in the peloton but only 10 power horse. The rest were suckers. Two young 16 years old riders really have the cycling legs, I even thought they represent Malaysia in Duathlon. 10 more kilometer to the transition, Sayuti smoked my peloton and then Fariz came by with a huge "ATRAZ" on his backside. Cut short the long story, my peloton is a tortoise peloton with a few riders who NEVER pulled the peloton throughout the race. I entered the transition with 20 over riders! As I fly dismount and pushed the bike, the muddy entrance got so congested that my aerobar stuck to Fariz's back bottlecages. Hahaha. 
Average pace : 36.8km/h

The fluctuating pace caused by the confusing moves of riders in my peloton. 84% of the time I was riding in Zone 4 heart rate and 16% in Zone 5. Pretty intense. The race was too fast for me to look at my watch, my focus was to stay accident free and stay with the pack. 
 Flat course and no flat tyre. Thank god. 

The cramping tingling feeling started as I ran out of the transition area. Oh Not This Time Please! Shorten my stride a little while maintaining good cadence, stay focused and keep the cadence high. Please don't cramp now! I saw a few UPNM cadets in front of me, but I just couldn't catch them. I burped all the time because of the feeling of throwing up. My diaphragm started to cramp which further restrict my breathing. Kilometer 4, the breathing starts to get more synchronized with my running rhythm. It doesn't get any easier though, because I wanna chase down the UPNM cadets! Hahaha. Kilometer 6 on wards, I pumped my arms to keep the legs going. I am really lack of training, that is why I suffer so much. Padam Muka. When I approached the finishing arch, I didn't know if I will make it to podium. Then Razlan the commentator shook my hand and said "Hey Congratulations Bro, You're No 5!". 5th placing is the very last spot for podium. 
Average Pace :   4.29mins/km

 Picture Courtesy SpeedDemon TM.

 The fluctuating heart rate and stride length was caused by my "Cramp Symptom Damage Control". My average stride length dropped a little compared to my first run, but still it was a good run of 1.25m. Cadence is still under control, averaging 180spm. 65% of Zone 5 and 36% of Zone 4. I gave everything I have. 

 Razlan announced my name to collect my Men Open 5th placing prize. "Chan Jun Shen, a proud product of UPNM and bla bla bla...". Out of nowhere the tears start brewing (not because of winning the race). Knowing Razlan for so long, he has been the one who announce my finish since my RMC and UPNM triathlon races. So when he said "proud product of UPNM", I felt a bit touched to recall how far have I come. I wouldn't say UPNM is the best place to study, but UPNM made me into who I am today. I did Ironman during my cadet years to relieve some of my stresses I got from the regimental routine, it was triathlon who saved me from quitting. We had Instructors who scored flying colours in courses and also another bunch who were put in "cold storage" for disciplinary action. Life was never peaceful for us. So I always tell the juniors, never give up in delivering the best of our ability as a young officer. Kelab Sukan Lasak UPNM has a very special place in my heart.

 Another podium finish for this year. 
Group photo with the UPNM Cadets.

Working is not an excuse for not being competitive. I highly recommend this race for athletes from all level because of the well marshalled roads and clear signage, ample water stations and punctual race start. The fees is relatively cheap compared to other Malaysia Races so you should expect huge crowd with lots of fast athletes come to test their power.