Completing the IRONMAN
"I had only one serious obstacle to overcome;
I didn't know how to swim."
first came into contact with the sport of triathlon when Laguna Phuket hired my firm, Vivaldi Public Relations to handle the publicity for the newly introduced relay triathlon (part of the deal was a free entry into relay). I convinced my friends to do the swim and the bike while I did the run. I was in complete and utter amazement when I saw the swimmers complete the 1.8 kilometre distance. It was then that I decided I have to do just one triathlon in my life. I had only one serious
obstacle to overcome, which to my embarrassment as a grown adult was I had never learned how to swim and had complete fear of water over my head. A lot has changed since then. I am very
proud to say that in August 2012, I completed the Ironman Canada, a 3.8km swim, 180km cycle and a 42.2km run. I have an
all-encompassing passion for the sport and seek the thrill of learning and feeling of how far I can take my spirit, emotions and physical body to its outer limits. I will never forget my first 4.5km swim and my first 190 km cycle ride. The goal of finishing an Ironman is very much the same as an Olympic Gold Medal achievement. I was never naturally gifted enough to win an Olympic or even national gold medal, but I could complete an Ironman to feel exactly how they must feel. Alas my triumphant return to Laguna Phuket for the Asia Pacific Championship Ironman 70.3 2012 came this past December. I came in 385th place and was off my target by 15 minutes in an unusually tough
race on the day. On the swim start we had to overcome 2.5 metre swells.
Fortunately, swimming dolphin style through waves is something I had been practicing prior to the race, but I still couldn't stop feeling helpless during those moments where waves forced us to swim backwards. It was a real wild ride. I had practiced drafting for the swim and did so ruthlessly to save energy for the bike. I broke my personal record for the swim when I stepped onto the beach in 42 minutes. The bike leg ended up being just a difficult as I had anticipated. During the critical
training period before the race, returning from a training weekend a van we were in was hit by a runaway bus. Thankfully, I walked away from the crash in one piece but I did injure my back and neck. Three doctors told me to rest for three weeks, which I only partially did. To make matters worse, my US$4,500 Carbon bike was smashed in the wreck, so I had little to no training and
had no bike to ride! Luckily for me, I was able to build a bike from parts of bikes from three different friends and got a bike two days before the race, not much time to get used to it, but better than nothing. For the first part of the cycle, I made excellent time right up until the last 30 kilometres when we were hit by monsoonal rains and then the steep hills climbs at Naiton
Beach. I came in at 3 hours 7 minutes,
although my target was really 2 hours 55 minutes. I reminded myself that I've always finished strong on the run as it is my best discipline and felt excited about the prospect of breaking 6 hours. By the time I reached the run section, my legs felt good and I ran the first 11 kilometers, of the 21.1 kilometer run, in 60 minutes. I was very excited as I was on my way to a sub six-hour finish. Then my worst nightmare happened the sun came out from behind the clouds, the temperature sky rocketed,
and the humidity due to the rain must have 99% - my lack of training on the bike came back to slam me like a WWF wrestler. I hit the wall on the run, my legs became as heavy as wet logs and cramps were tweaking up and down my legs. Many athletes started to pass me, I mustered all my power just to keep running and not walk, inside I was so distraught and by the time I finished the race my eyes teared up when reality hit me that I had not made my target time. But it was still so amazing because at the finish line all my Thailand Triathlon & Cycling teammates and friends were waiting with high fives, lots of hugs, laughter and smiles for all we had accomplished something very, very people ever will.
"I have an allencompassing passion for the sport"