I started doing triathlon in 2012. Did my first 70.3 ironman in 2014, and attempted the full ironman 3 times now since 2016. Bad news is I DNF’d all 3 times, good news is I am improving. I have decided to post this up to note lessons learned.
Just for those uninitiated, a full ironman is a 3.8km swim, 180km cycle, and 42km run.
2016, i did my swim in 1hr 27mins, but on the bike I had 2 flat tires twice. First after 20km, and another at 35km. I was lucky on my first flat, that there was a mechanic nearby. My 2nd flat was unlucky as I had waited more than 15mins for the mechanic before I decided to fix and pump my own tire. I guess it was made worse as the 2nd flat wasnt that bad, but i rode the flat for a few kilometers at a slow pace. And I continued to ride slow due to the fear of riding fast might cause another flat, and I would be done for. It was also fortunate that I had prepared 2 tubes, based on my experience in training for 180km previously. But due to the delay, I hit the COT (cut off time) at 130km. Note that I did all this with my Urata 7×2 speed bike. After that I decided
- Get a new proper roadbike
- Replace all tubes and tires for an event
- Use “anti-puncture” tires, what was recommneded and available was continental all seasons.
Needless to say, i was bummed out at the farewell dinner and the weeks after that. Even did my own 42km run. Which just shows that I haven’t tired myself out for the event.
I signed for the event again, but I registered a bit late, as I was coming up with the budget for the event, so my training was not full on until then.
Just clarify the budget that i was looking at was roughly the following:
- New roadbike $1,400
- New tubes and tires befor event $80
- Proper bike case $400 (“cheapest” one I can get from aliexpress)
- Event registration $800
- Flight $350×2 (my wife was joining, unfortunately originally budgeted only $200×2 as that was a good deal we got last time, which was no longer available)
- Accomodation for 7 days $200. 1st day to arrive and settle, 2nd day to set up bike, 3rd day to check in, 4th day to check in bike and rest, 5th day
Although I have joined a few cycling and running events to keep the fitness. In training, I focused mostly on being able to do the distance, as I was fairly confident as long as I go above 22kmph in the cycle, I should be able to have time for the run. When I did my LSD rides it was common to have a flat, but I was prepared, it gave me a chance to practice changing tires. Unfortunately I didnt practice as many hills as I should have. And due to buying my new bike a bit late I didn’t spend enough time on it. Especially with the tribars.
When the time came, i did my 2nd ironman swim with the same time, but for the bike… The good news was I did not have any punctures at all, the bad news us on the first hill at about 10km, my legs started to cramp up. So I was struggling to keep up the pace, I maintaining 25kmph initially, but as i had to walk on the hills and stretch once in a while, my overall average went down to 20kmph. Fortunately after the last hill at out 160km my legs started to feel better again,and was then able to keep up with a few other cyclists who were late. At the last 5km mark, the officials reminded us of the cut off times, and it was then i felt a surge of energy that i could go above 25kmph, especially with other cyclist in front and behind me.
I reached the T2 just under the cut off time, as I left T2, i saw my wife greeting me. I was confident with 6.5 hours left I could make it. My legs were surprising able to keep pace 8. Every station i took advantage of the cold water which refreshed me everytime, and I was able to push myself again. I think I was happy as i had bypassed my previous limit from the bike to be able to do the run. On the way back finishing my 1st loop, the rain started again, and this was where I did a critical mistake, I wasn’t aware of a turn I was supposed to do, and in addition my 920xt garmin watch had died, as I didn’t change the settings to make it last 24 hours. It was on my 2nd lap I realized that I had missed that turn, as the route marshalls ushered me in, but as I passed the check point at the end of the turn, I asked the official there if i could do the turn twice to make up for the missed turn, but the officials didnt know, so to be fair I tried to make two loops, but as i reached the turn again, the cut off officials were there to inform that I had reach the cut off time there and then. Thankfully they allowed me the choice of walking down the finishing line or the bus, and I decided to walk that last few km.
Last year I signed up for the bbtc 100km, but 2 weeks before I had a cycling accident that slightly tore my tendons between collarbone and my arm. Last year I felt I had more training last year. This year I admit I have less training then I did last year, I am just gonna depend on my existing fitness and my stubbornness to get through this. I would like to put down my thoughts here remind myself what I need to do to prepare.
- First up is the route, based on my prep last year, I assume from the rough low res route map on the website that is the same. So the start begins at jerudong primary school, from there go towards jeruton to go to the roundabouts leading to kampong katok’s bukit silat (8km eta at pace 10 is 1hr20mins of 1hr 20min)
- then going thru bukit silat’s 10km route twice (26km-8km=18km at pace 20 is 2hrs45minx2 =5hr30min of 6hr50min)
- Then go back the roundabout that lead to agro (32-26=6km eta at pace 10 is 1hr of 8hr20min)
- And then at agro that leads to shahbandar for 3 lengths or 1.5 loops (58-32=16km, 5.5hours of 13hr50min)
- Then shabandar thru the sb14 route twice (72-58km=14km at 5.5hours of 19hr 20mins)
- And finally, go to tungku to go to pantai berakas to go back to jerudong (95-72=23km atis 4 hours)
For a total of 24.5 hours…
Which is the cutoff time…
My prep other then going thru does routes
For the last 3 years I have been practicing intermittent water fast, which is basically similar to normal muslim fast. Fasting for 18 hours (include sleep) and dining once or twice, drinking water was allowed. 2 years ago I felt the normal fast was… Well… Normal… Not a challenge, the dehydration was a bit, but not so much. So I decided to take it to the next level. Extended Water fast. Which I would be breaking my fast with only water, and no food… For 7 days. I have read others have been able to do for 14 to 21 days, world record was a year, but with medical supervision and supplements.
1st one 2 years ago, I decided to do during fasting month, less temptation, but i failed in he first week as those temptations crept up during the break fast, but I managed to do it in the 2nd week. I was even maintaining my active lifestyle, a relax 1 hour cycling before the break. Did it in 7 days, feeling I could extend but didn’t.
2nd try was last year, i wasn’t cycling, but I was hiking, the first few days was awesome, knowing I could push my self. But on 5th day I started to feel weak, and on the 6th day I couldn’t push myself anymore, as my wife who usually trails behind, was way ahead, and I was the one who needed a break. (Knowing what I know now, I should have supplemented with salt during my break fast). So that time I only water fasted only 6 days straight.
This year I didn’t maintain my active lifestyle, and I failed to do it the first half of ramadhan. On almost the final week, visiting my father-in-law for a family iftar, I was inspired to do it again, as my brother-in-law law who previously had practiced 14 day fast, shared he also hadn’t done it this year, but he was gonna do the remainder of the fasting month. Not so long after that my wife shared she was interested to to try, so we did.
This year has been the most challenging I have ever done. either because we did at the late stages of the fasting month, or the last meal we had.
First 3 days was fine, but on the 4th day I experienced diarrhea, after the water break fast of more than 2 litres, I had to go to the toilet. So I tried to reduce my water intake to reduce the diarrhea, I ended up the 5th day extra weak, so without any research, decided to do what I usually do with any diarrhea, drink more water to flush it out, adding ginger powder and tea. It kinda worked, the diarrhea stopped, but the ginger left a burning sensation in my belly. 6th day I noticed my tongue was white in the morning, and slightly yellow brownish in the afternoon. It was only that night I researched and found information on my experience and some remedies. Basically I needed some salt and something called psyllium husk, I will share more in the next paragraph. On the 7th day, I felt a bit more energy after implementing the remedies, but i experienced a funny taste in my mouth some extra saliva seemed to seemed to be produce, which recognize preparation before puking ( I know because I used to suffer from sea/motion sickness), but I didnt puke. a bit of abdominal pains and maybe acid reflux, what I think most people I know call it gastric. I found that releasing air through belching and occasional flatulence relieved the symptoms temporarily. 2 hours before the break I had to sleep for an hour to catch my sleep and to get thru the pain. At my food break fast I had the psyllium husk in a cup of water and proceeded to eat normally. Thankfully the diarrhea didn’t pop up, but now I was bloated with too much food. 😅
I think the major reasons for my complications this time around was due to the food I ate, the timing of the fast (last instead 1st half), but most importantly the need to supplemnt to avoid the complications.
To conclude I will share the complications and its remedies and the source.
- bad breath, may be accompanied by white tongue (the bad breath may actually be acetone produced from fat burning), need more water. And brush teeth and scrub tongue more.
- constipation, (due to no food intake this to be expected, but to move last meal…) magnesium citrate, and exercise (this is where it differs from previous years) If its really bad, MCT (coconut) oil with tea.
- Diarrhea, may make lethargy worse (constipation and then diarrhea?! On a disgusting note, surprised to see how long stuff gets stuck inside the intestine, I noticed a few cucumber seeds in there 4 days after my last meal) a teaspoon of psyllium husk in a cup of water. Don’t take too much or else constipation. So find a balance.
- Lethargy or tiredness or weakness, (I usually feel this after day 4) need more salt, a pinch of salt as is, or with water, or in soup. (I personally take a tablespoon, note that I sweat a lot and like the taste of salt)
- acid reflux (first time I experience during extended fast, might have been the salt), a tablespoon of unfiltered apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice. Avoid cure for lethargy. (I may need to find balance between acid reflux and lethargy)
In the wake of New Zealand shootings, I have been slightly depressed. Today this video popped up in my whatsapp groupchats, I found a source on youtube and shared it here.
As strange as it sounds, I hope and pray that the attacker (like he guy in the video) gains wisdom, realizes the errors of his ways, and feels the guilt of his mistakes, so that he may make the world a better place.
I don’t mean start a debate, well maybe I prefer a discussion. The issue here will be a clash of perception, beliefs and knowledge.
Non-running and non-cycling drivers believe that the road is only for motorists, while runners and cyclists know that they are road users too. Heck i will put in pedestrians too.