Ironman Malaysia – the logic and preparation

8 months ago I was stuck at home post ankle operation, bored, miserable and demotivated. So I started looking for something to aim for, a reason to recover quickly.

I looked up all the late season Ironman events and tried to work out which ones I could possibly be ready for.

At the end of March whilst still at home unable to walk I emailed Adam (my boyfriend) and asked how he would feel about a trip to Malaysia in November…

Adams dad lives in Singapore so the logistics were easy enough, fly to Singapore, spend some time with Adams family, acclimatise a bit and recover from any jet lag, then head out to Langkawi Malaysia for the event. Adam even decided to sign up for the 70.3 event on the same day so we would be able to do some training together!

The only issue with this plan? I wasn’t allowed to train for 3 months post op, so therefore would only have 5 months to get ready for the event. I wasn’t sure this would be possible so decided to keep it a secret. No publicising it on social media, I told only a couple of close friends and family. Therefore, if I didn’t manage it no one would need to know.

Luckily I have a number of super fit friends and we do lots of swimming, running and cycling together so training for the event as part of my normal routine wasn’t as difficult as you might think.

As soon as my ankle wound healed I started open water swimming, and entered the open water swimathon and swim serpentine events.

Both quite long distance swims so I had a public reason for doing so much swim training, and much of this was done with Olivia, who was a fab training buddy, even swimming with me in torrential rain!

I cycle with Romford Cycle Club and it’s usually easy to persuade some friends to add on a few extra miles to club rides, or ride long distance training rides with a promise of cake. Massive thanks need to go to Hassan here as I’ve really struggled with my cycling this year and he has put up with my long slow rides, even travelling down to the South Downs with me for a long distance Sportive in the tail end of Storm Brian so I could ride some hills.

Running strangely enough I found easiest… I kept my miles light until after the Berlin Marathon, then discovered some local runners/triathletes run locally at 6am on Wednesdays covering 10-14km these mornings, this became my middle distance run each week, huge thanks to Dave and Lee especially for giving me a reason to get up at 5am on Wednesdays!

I have friends at work who run 5km with me at lunchtimes and my sister Katie was training for a half marathon distance so I did my long runs and my recovery runs with her. I am hugely motivated by being with other people and am really grateful to everyone who ran with me as part of my training. Particularly to my sisters Sarah and Katie who did a 9 mile run with me one day straight after I had done a 75mile cycle with Hassan. They were ready and waiting when I got off my bike and made my longest brick Session a lot more pleasant than it might have been.

So after just under 5 months of training it was time to travel!

Adam and I flew out to Singapore on a Thursday after work, this meant we had plenty of time to get in some last minute taper training and get used to the heat before travelling to Langkawi.

Adams family were great, they knew we still needed to get some training in, so they arranged for us to be able to swim on the Saturday morning with the local Tri club who swim out from a beach on Sentosa. This was fantastic as it gave us an opportunity to swim in the sea and without our wetsuits, as the water temperature for the race was forecast to be 29 degrees.

On the Sunday morning we joined Adams dad on a 50mile cycle ride with the Singapore West Coast Riders, this was great as we were able to see how it felt to ride in the heat. We are so grateful to the local clubs in Singapore for letting us train with them.

Finally on the Tuesday morning, we headed out along the river for a 5-6km run. This for me was the hardest bit, the heat and humidity meant I was sweating almost before I had started running. It couldn’t be more different to running in the UK!

Then on Wednesday it was time to fly to Langkawi and get ready for the event, but I think it’s best if that forms another blog post.