The last race of my 2018 Season – Ironman 70.3 Langkawi

2 weeks ago at the start line of the New York Marathon I wasn’t sure my legs had a marathon in them… 5 weeks after Ironman Italy I was tired, and I wasn’t appropriately trained to run a marathon…

But NYC wasn’t the end of my year of events, I had already entered Ironman 70.3 Langkawi, a middle distance triathlon in a gorgeous location, but it’s a tough one! I knew this as I did the full distance here last year…

I was only home for 2 nights after New York before flying to Asia. We flew to Singapore for a few days before heading to Malaysia but my time in Singapore was tough. I had crazy jet lag after 3 continents in 4 days and was waking up at 2am really hungry, not getting back to sleep and eventually getting up in the morning feeling incredibly sick! Not great prep!

But still I made the most of my time in Singapore and was super lucky that a guy we met last year (Ken) took us along to the Singapore Newbie Triathletes open water swim session on Saturday morning and then out to join part of the West Coast Riders Sunday group ride! (And took us for yummy breakfast both days!) Thanks Ken!

Slowly I returned to life and on Wednesday we travelled to Langkawi, headed to the Expo to register, then out to our hotel. We stayed in the same place we stayed last year – the Berjaya resort, it’s close to the swim start and has lovely restaurants, a great beach and pool and is pretty much the perfect holiday location! Highly recommend it, especially for people doing the Ironman events.

We joined the test swim on Thursday morning, already knowing what to expect as we swam here last year, calm waters with temperatures of around 29 degrees, heaven when you consider the 15 degree waters in the UK at the end of triathlon season!

Friday we racked bikes and kit bags and then both mine and Adam’s families were travelling over to stay with us for a few days. Adam’s family arrived at lunchtime and mine at dinner time, perfect, as the best thing to do the day before a race is rest and eat well and I’m good at the whole eating thing!

Saturday morning we were up at 4.15am, and there was still a storm going on outside with bright flashes of lightening in the distance… Not the best start. But by the time we had had breakfast (the hotel started breakfast at 4am for athletes) the storm was clearing and we headed to the race start. Usual check of bikes and added nutrition and bottles before heading down to the swim start.

The swim is such a nice loop, with literally the best water safety I have ever seen at an event, lots of boats and kayaks, regular rest pontoons, continuous buoys on the right hand side of the course every 30mtrs in addition to your usual turn buoys. It’s straight forward and easy to follow which is a great start to the event.

Swim felt a little congested this year but I possibly started a bit too far back in the self seeded start area, but even with a few extra bodies in the water I was through the swim in 44mins and off into transition. They have fresh water showers as you head into T1 and it’s great to wash your face off a bit before getting on the bike.

Helmet, bike shoes on, extra sunscreen applied and out onto the bike, having ridden the course last year I knew what to expect, rolling hills for the first 15 miles, then a few miles of reasonably flat roads before 3 more significant climbs later in the ride. During the first section there were a lot of accidents and I saw many people a bit battered at the side of the road but the medical team were doing a great job of patching everyone up and luckily I escaped this section unharmed.

Then Mother Nature decided to add in an extra challenge… A storm, as I cycled along I could see the dark clouds looking over the mountains, then the wind picked up, massive leaves blew off trees, the wind got stronger, then there was a good few minutes of rather cold aggressive rain! To be expected in a tropical environment I guess?

I knew I wasn’t ready for this bike course, and when we had been talking about anticipated timings I had thought it would take me 3hrs 30mins to complete the ride, rather than my usual time of between 3.05 and 3.15, and I was right. 3hrs 29mins later I rolled into transition quite exhausted, my body hated me. It hadn’t recovered from my recent events and the tough bike course took everything from me, Iv no idea how I managed 2 laps of that last year!

Into transition a quick change of shoes and I hobbled out onto the run course feeling rather demotivated. I was too tired to run properly and had a very sore toe (I injured it in Italy) so I shuffled along, walking some sections feeling miserable, for a while I adopted a very non scientific regime of running the distance of 10 marker cones and walking two… no idea why but it gave me mini targets which did help! Then approximately 9km in I saw Adam at a switchback section, he was about 1km in front, having had a better swim and bike than I did, so I decided to try and shuffle a little quicker to catch up with him so we could finish together.

I caught up with Adam between 10 and 11km and we trotted along together, by now it was about 35 degrees and relentless sunshine which whilst beautiful made the exposed run course very tough and sadly there were a number of people on stretches at the medical stations…

Eventually we were on to the last few km of the run and we saw my mum, sisters and their boyfriends cheering at the side of the road, they spurred us on and the last 2km passed quite quickly, soon we were heading back past them and into the final few 100 metres, along the gorgeous beach and towards the finish line!!! Ironman 70.3 Langkawi was done! And so were we! The end of a great season of races but I’m definitely ready for a rest before starting it all again with some new challenges next year!

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