Sunday, November 08, 2009

Powerman Malaysia 2009...

Event: Powerman Malaysia 2009
Venue: Seri Manjung, Lumut, Perak
Date: 8 Nov 2009
Time: 7.30am
Distance: 11KM run, 64KM bike, 10KM run
Shoe: Nike LunaRacer+
Bike: Merida Road Race 905-Com
By Frank

In the year 2007, I told myself that I would really like to join the Powerman Malaysia in the year 2008. That didn't happen. Then in May 2009, the chance came when I was "poisoned" in getting a road bike. And so, registration was made and the day finally came for my duathlon debut, jumping straight on to the Powerman scene!

About Powerman Malaysian 2009
Powerman Malaysia held at Seri Manjung, Perak is regarded as the hottest race in the International Powerman series. The race is divided into 2 categories, an Individual Long Distance and Sprint event. The Individual Long Distance will take athletes on a 11KM (2 X 5.5KM) run, 64KM (2 X 32KM) bike and finally a 10KM (2 X 5KM) run. The below is my experience in the Individual Long Distance event.

Start, finish and transition layout...

The run route...

The bike route...

7 November 2009. Pre-race day...
I have been to the town of Lumut but that was years ago and therefore will still need someone to guide the way there. I opt to follow Keat Seong and Jennifer instead of following the others which were heading to Kuala Selangor for seafood lunch first. Our journey started at about 8.45am from KDU College. The drive was smooth but upon reaching the Sungkai interchange, we were both greeted by a suprise. A police road block! Both myself and Keat Seong were flagged down. Keat Seong pulled to the side and seeing that the police did not flag me down properly and that he wasn't paying attention, I slowly drove off. Hahaha... We were soon reunited when I waited at a rest area just at the front. Glad he wasn't penalised as we were both actually driving according to the speed limit although at certain point like overtaking and rolling down the hill, our speed did went up to 120KM/h.

Annabelle, my neighbour's dog gave me this look before I left for Lumut. Now is that a good sign? Hahaha...

Keat Seong leading the way...

Reaching Seri Manjung after a 3 hours drive, we immediately went for lunch before proceeding to the MPM Mini Sports Complex to collect our race timing chip. We then checked into Lead View Hotel. Since it was only about 2pm, we decided to take a short rest while waiting for the rest to arrive. I prepared my race stuff and went down to purchase some food and drinks for the next day.

At about 4pm, the 3 of us left for the sports complex again to meet up with the rest and also to attend the race briefing. Steven my hotel roommate who cycled a total 219KM to support us arrived safely. It was there that we also learnt that Victor who just bought his spanking new bike for this race and has yet to pedal any distance, crashed pretty badly 200M from his house in the morning while on his way to meet up with Ngae. He suffered bruises on his left side of his body and needed 6 stitches above is left eyebrow. But am glad that he is OK. He did however came to support us. Further surprise, I even bump into Adrian Mok who just arrive from Singapore! What a long drive. The briefing started shortly and athletes were briefed by Melody from Quick Release, the event coordinator for this race. Short, simple and straight to the point, it was all done in less than 30 minutes and off we return to the hotel to pack some stuff before heading out for dinner.

Contents of the race pack...

All of us had dinner together at the town of Setiawan. A simple Chinese dinner that took an hour plus to be served, we all spent time in chatting away. Honestly speaking, the dinner did not fill me up but was glad lunch was a good source of carbohydrates for me. Was a little worried that time if the amount will be sufficient for the race the next day, and so back at the hotel, I had a light snack before turning in at 11pm.

8 November 2009. Race day...
I woke up as early as 3.30am. While Steven was still asleep, I had plenty of time to myself in getting myself ready which I did at 6am. Steven who is suppose to take Victor's place in the race, noticed a punctured to his rear wheel and so had to rush to get his tube replace at the last minute. I proceed to the race venue first at 6.25am and check my stuff into the transition area and soon met up with the rest for some photos. I had a good warm up followed by dynamic stretching before I head to the starting point at the wide main road. Grouped together with most of the guys and just chatted away till I notice the pistol pointing up the air! It was time!

At 7.30am sharp, the pistol fired and off 500 plus athletes went. As I started in the middle of the pack, I had to manoeuvre myself through the athletes. I had no problems doing so as the roads were really wide and at 500M into the run, I was already a free runner. But guessing my heart rate is still not up to point yet, I gave it another 500M before I went for it. Fom there on, I took Tony's advice and went at my 10KM race pace, something I put to test again after a successful Nike+ Human Race 10K 2009 a couple of weeks ago.

The run took us athletes on a totally flat course around the Seri Manjung housing neighbourhood with 2 water stations placed around the 2KM and 4KM mark. With the traffic police doing the job pretty well, I had no problems running and eventually completed my first loop in about 27 minutes without water. I went even faster at my second loop grabbing a cup of water to wet my mouth about 1KM from the transition area. As I near the stadium entrance, I heard someone calling out my name. Look back and saw Chin Chin who was doing the Sprint event. Thanks Chin Chin for the cheers. Into the transition area I went and I clocked 50:11 for my first run. With this, I believe I broke my 10KM personal best which I did 2 weeks ago at Singapore. But I am not taking it as this isn't a 10KM race.

Took me about 4 minutes to get into my cycling gear. As I was a bit nervous, I did not tighten my cycling shoes properly, hence causing me to stop twice as I pushed my bike out. Out of the stadium, I took 3 cups of water and a banana before getting on my bike. Was peeling my banana with my mouth as it came with the stem. And it tasted so raw. *blargh*

I decided to go all out for the first half of my bike leg. With the banana finally resting down in my stomach, I went for it. The roads were open to traffic but again, the traffic police did a wonderful job here. Though the roads were a litle bumpy with cracks at certain place, I was glad there isn't any pot holes around, or maybe that I didn't notice it. First major attraction was the Venice of Perak. Didn't really notice it or maybe shall I say that I do not know what it is. Hahaha... But it's about 3KM from the stadium. Then it's a ride in between oil palm plantations before arriving at the Lumut Port, some 10KM into the ride. Over here, a Malay cyclist came beside me asking me to drop my gears as he noticed that I was pedalling on the biggest gears. I politely obliged but only dropping by a few as I'm not good at cadence and had to rely on power.

The first bridge came into view shortly which I manage to climb with ease. Shorly later, another bridge too came into view which is nothing compared to the third, the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Bridge. It was a steep and long climb for those tired leg muscles. At the top of it, I was rewarded by the drop which I happily pedalled full strength down it. As I went down, I noticed Raymond making his return trip. Now I know where he was as I did not seen him after the start. He was indeed fast. And just before the u-turn point at the junction leading to Damai Laut, I spotted Lynn making her return trip too. She's pedalling all right and was glad that there was no "pain" written on her face.

Made my u-turn at the 16KM mark, grab a bottle of water from the station here and off I go. Took my pack of raisins here which got stuck in the box. Tried to dig it out, thus causing me to slow down. Some raisins ended up as casualties though as there were dropping out from the box onto the road. Hahaha... Saw Keat Seong and John making their way to the u-turn point shortly later and I told myself, "Here they come". As expected, no matter how fast I run and how big the gap I build from them, they will catch up for sure in the cycling leg. And at the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Bridge, Keat Seong called out to me. I could only replied him with "Go Go" as he overtook me during the climb when I was huffing and puffing. Soon he disappeared. Darn his TT bike!

About 25KM into the ride, John too passed me though I managed to stick with him for a while for a short chat. Then he too disappeared. Just shortly in front, I noticed Steven at the side. I gestured to him and he replied that he suffered a punctured. Sigh... Back at the Venice of Perak, I exchanged places with Lesley a few times before I eventually powered myself back to the stadium area to start my 2nd loop. However, just before doing so, I spotted Lynn again and moved along side her to give her a thumbs before making my u-turn.

"Here we go again", I told myself. Though I started my second loop well, still exchanging places with Lesley at times, things took a slight turn as I approach the Lumut Port. I can feel both my quads starting to harden as I pedal and as Lesley passed me here, I decided that I should save my legs here for the final running leg later. Took my supply of Endurox R4 here hoping it will give me the boost I need later.

Arriving back at the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Bridge again, I was already struggling to climb it. As I descend from it, I pop in a pack of AccelGel which I spilled a little as I tried to tear it open. Down it wit a bottle of water which I grabbed after the u-turn point, I just told myself "Just another 16KM to go". That's of course only for the bike leg though. Andrew Chan came from behind shortly and called me out. I joked to him saying that I'll beat him at the run leg later and he shouted back "Never". Hahaha... I also spotted Saya, Jennifer, Shih Ming, Lee and Kel Vin heading to u-turn point before out of no where, Poh Seng passed me and soon disappeared.

I was on cruise and economy mode all the way back to the stadium hoping my legs will recover a little for the run. And just before the turning to the Venice of Perak, Michelle passed me. No intentions to follow a strong cyclist, I pedalled on my own and soon finally, I entered the transistion area after a time of 02:16:12 on the bike (total 03:10:28). Took me about a minute and half to get into my running gear again, grabbed the balance of the Weider IN jelly gel with a few cups of isotonic drink plus water and started my run. Didn't want to rest too long as I learnt from the simulation done. Started with baby steps before upgrading to jogging pace.

Felt uncomfortable and 1KM into the run, disaster struck. Cramp on my left quads which led to the left hamstring cramping up too. Quickly limped to a nearby bus stop to catch hold of the railing to support myself and tried to stretch to relieve the pain. Saya passed me here asking if i was OK? Told her I was and ask her to move on. My cramp experience at my Sundown Marathon 2009 helped me here as I did not stopped very long as I restarted with brisk walking. Though painful with every stride, it eventually went off. I took water from both stations here but I was hoping for isotonic drink instead. I needed sodium and sugar that time. As I approach the stadium, I passed Poh Seng who was reduced to walking. And in the stadium, I joked to Wai Mun who was resting the side that it was suffering!

Completed the first loop without stopping, minus the stop for cramp ealier on and started my second and final loop by bumping into Andrew Chan. I went beside him with a cheeky smile and told him that I kept my promise that I beat him in running. Hahaha... He was experiencing some lock up too, and I told him that we go together. However, he was forced to stop when his the pain got to him. I moved on without him as I know that it will happen the same to me if I stop. But, deja vu struck at the same place where I cramped up earlier. This time, my right quads lock up. Mixed running and walking instead to shake it off, which didn't really help as I did walk for about 5 times. It was only after the final water station, that I went a little faster knowing the finish line is just ahead.

Into the stadium I went and onto the running track, I could see the finish gantry. And as I made my way onto the carpet which leads to the finish line, I saw my friends from Lynn, Saya, Keat Seong and Tey waiting at the opposite side. And to my suprise, the marshalls put up the finishing ribbon which I though are for the top finishers only. Never have any experience with it and don't think I will have the chance in the future, my mind just went blank and my emotions took over as I grabbed the ribbon as I crossed the finish line in 04:23:18 and earned the title Powerman!

Joy turned into agony after I crossed the finish line as both my quads gave way and soon needed help from the medics to keep me standing. Went sprawling down on the ground when 3 personnel from the St. John Ambulance came over to help me with ice. Victor and Tey was happily snapping away as agony was written all over me. Keat Seong too came over as he sprinkled cold water on me. As I got better, I allowed the medics to carry out their duties with others as Steven came to help me up. I took 2 bottles of water but it wasn't enough and I went searching for isotonic drinks which sadly was no where to be seen. White spots were starting to form on my vision, as I quickly made made my way to the fruit station to munch in a few slices of watermelon before making myself back to my friends, just in case I collapse. Keat Seong came over to help me to the bench and cool me down later which I'm really grateful. I soon recovered after 20 minutes or so, and eventually packed up my stuff and return to the hotel with the others for a rewarding shower.

Front view of the finisher's medal...

Rear view of the finisher's medal...

We all checked out from the hotel at 2pm and made way to the nearby McDonalds for lunch. I ate more than the others as I needed to replinish myself for the drive back home. Shared our race experience till about 4pm before we bid everyone farewell. And with this, comes an end to my duathon debut. Congratulations to all finishers despite the time and especially to the first timers from Lynn, Chin Chin, Kel Vin and Poh Seng. Let's DU it again next year!

My overall split timings...

Post mortem
Overall, I enjoyed the race. The weather was actually within acceptable range for me as the simulation done at Putrajaya was even hotter. Maybe my weekday runs that starts about 3pm did help me on this too. And not forgetting the event committees for they did a rather good job on the overall quality of the event.

I ran a blistering 11KM, suffered cramps, completed the race within the qualifying time, earned the title Powerman and seen stars (from low sugar). What can I ask for more? Truly an experience.

My many thanks to the followings:
- Adele and Melody from Quick Release for handling the registration process and also the change of categories for my friends.
- Tony: For arranging the accomodation and also the simulation leading to the race. Not forgetting the advices given.
- Keat Seong: For leading the way to Lumut with Jennifer and for the advices and concern given. Not forgetting the assistance given when I needed it after my race.
- Steven: For advices given before the night before the race and being such a easy going room mate.
- Tey: Truly a photographer like no other. Thanks for coming all the way for taking everyone's photo and also to support.
- To the rest like Lynn, Chin Chin, Michelle, Saya, Shih Ming, Siok Bee, Yap, Wai Mun, John, Lee, Meng Lian, Kel Vin, Pathma, Poh Seng, Raymond, Victor and many others, thanks for it has been a wonderful trip and experience together.


Cheong said...

Congrats Powerman! Did'nt I told you so that you will be able to do it well below 5 hours. Can la ;)

C-CUBE said...

First it was Ultraman in the beginning of the year, and then end the year with Powerman. Next will be Ironman, keep going......congrats for your achievement.

plee said...

Fantastic report! Pain and perseverance hand in hand!! Congratulations and Well Done!!

Phantom said...

Well done on your debut Powerman with a great time posted.

yipwt said...

congrats Frank...just train more on cycling, and you'll get faster.

Frank@Runnerz said...

Cheong, plee & Phantom: Thanks.

c-cube: Thanks. Ironman won't take place until the I learn how to swim. I wonder when. Hahaha...

Yip: Thanks. Yeah, will remember what you told me the other night.