Every now and then when people ask me about my recent races, I find myself telling them how I enjoyed the race at Putrajaya. No, the waters weren’t crystal clear, there were no mountains or beautiful scenery on the bike ride; but I somehow had a good race experience there.
Surprising! I know right!!
A quick summary of how I did that weekend
Swim : 42min 😦
Bike : 2:39hrs 🙂
Run : 1:55hrs 😦
Finish 5:21:56 // 15th place in Age group
Not too shabby for a really hot race, but a lot of areas for improvement especially my swim navigation and bike/run pacing.
Things to take note
1) hot race, be really careful with nutrition. Salt intake and hydration especially.
2) bring a basket for transition
3) bring a head torch in the morning because it was really dark at transition before race start.
4) Use a pair of running shoes with good drainage
5) Cap and sunglasses, really helpful on the run
6) Apply 2 layers of sunblock, it really worked!
Why I would sign up again next year.
To be honest, I can’t count the number of people advising me against signing up for putrajaya. The general feedback/ complaints were that the water conditions on the swim was bad, aid stations were lacking, portions of the bike route were dangerous or uncomfortably rough, the heat on the run was a real killer.
Speaking to 2 guys who were returning from last year’s onslaught, they said that the organizing committee really put in the effort to improve this year’s race. So coming from a first timer at putrajaya, I think the race was really well organized; definitely the best experience I’ve had around the region.
Driving up to KL would usually be a very straight forward affair, but let’s just say we screwed up our navigation and got into a really frustrated situation.
Ok moving on….
We checked into our lovely hotel at the Marriot in the evening and quickly settled down, the good thing about driving up is that bike assembly takes 30 seconds, to put on the front wheel. The Marriot was slightly further away from the race site, but I thought since we were driving, an extra 10mins drive wouldn’t be an issue. I signed up for the race a little late and surprisingly, the Marriot still had rooms at a relatively pretty good rate (about less than USD$100 per night)
Raymond joined in the fun and headed up together to give some support; we had a group of 4 participants (me, sebfitdad, Bryan and Brandem), 2 supporters (Jaime and Raymond) and a mini fan club (sefitdad’s family)
Check in and registration
Well the registration and bike check-in/event area, which were located at 2 different places didn’t seem very convenient to get by but our trusty March managed to not get us lost. The fully air-conditioned mini expo was actually quite impressive, way better than Langkawi and I dare say, IMWA.
Bike check-in went pretty smoothly, the transition area was nicely carpeted and clean. The only concern I had was the crazy heat. To be leaving my bike roasting under the 4pm blazing sun, i was kinda worried about coming back to burst tires. I have this huge worry that the temperature will be extremely hot enough for the tube and tires to stick together.. and when the next day comes, I’ll be pumping to 110psi, it just goes “BOOMz!” followed by “awwwwwws”.
Anyway, I brought along a Daiso bike cover but the officials said it wasn’t allowed, and I thought it was quite an odd rule.
RACE DAY MORNING
I got up a bit earlier to have a full breakfast and then headed back to sleep. This is so that when I got up the second time, my system was already churning like a hot tub time machine for my morning dump, just in time before leaving the hotel. Despite all that necessary preparation & mind prep talk leading up to this day, i was really feeling all the jitters while driving over to the race site, i tell you. Trainings has been going pretty well so far and I’ve got lesser excuse for a poor race. hahahah. Oh, in any early morning drive in unfamiliar places, please make sure the roads to site are planned ahead, with an alternate route. Siri didnt get the road block notification thus we re-routed along the way taking a longer detour via the next highway exit.
Lining up for our rolling start.. we slowly shuffled our way to the pontoon, the starting point where everyone was raring to start. The 3.8km swim took place in a beautiful man-made lake which is pretty much resembles ECP sans the saltiness and choppiness….
Swim route takes us out and back so navigation was supposed to be straight forward.
At the U-turn point, i took a quick glance at my watch and it says 1:53min/100; was super happy with the pace, but unknowingly, i was starting to drift a lot outwards. I only realised how bad it was after the swim where it indicated about 3-400m more. I never did liked or trusted the distance measurement on Garmin for my open water swims.
Anyways I thought it was a bad swim….had to move on
A slow rage was building up inside; I was really disappointed with the swim and I wanted to make up for lost time; a newbie mistake which I always make time and again.
My transitions were super fast; a vast improvement from my other races. When I started my bike, I knew I needed to keep the heart rate at about 140-145; but I went ballistic, threw the plan out of the window thus i was just recklessly pushing the pace throughout the bike ride.
I eventually clocked a really decent time for the bike, but of course, I would pay for it dearly on the run.
The sun was out in full force by the time I started my run; the heat was searing my already “chao tah” skin. The plan was simple – run at a 5:30min/km pace initially and slowly picking up to about 5:00min/km . Oh my…..how wrong i was, to think that this would be a normal half marathon. 20mins into the run, I was holding on to my dear life just to keep the pace below 6mins.
I was so glad to see the aid stations well stocked and a huge tub of iced water (to splash yourself with) was available at every station….which was an absolute lifesaver! Later on i was told the solid block of goodness were there while it lasted..
It was a very nice feeling to meet familiar faces on the course; gives a temporary distraction from wandering thoughts of getting a heat stroke.
Truth to be told. Shortly after I started my run, my mind was caving in to defeat.. I was already counting down the distance from about 15km ahead. During normal circumstances, i only start counting down to the finish line when I’m really exhausted, and that usually starts at about the last 5km. Today, I couldn’t even recognise the corners I ran past, even the buildings and parks were all but a blurry picturesque.
After struggling for 2 hours on, no words could describe the sheer relief when I saw the gleaming timer at the finishing line. The cheering crowd made up with supporters of all walks – typically that would spur on what’s left of my last working muscle.
The rest of the group came in shortly after, crossing the finish line with the brightest of smiles on their burnt faces.
We were pleasantly surprised with how well the event was run; based on last year’s feedback, I was already prepared to encounter the usual hiccups at triathlon races. A recent biathlon in Singapore had me swimming towards a buoy which was detached and drifting away.
Putrajaya 70.3 was great this year; there’s a high chance of me coming back again next year!
Some pictures from our Ironproject facebook album