Ironman Langkawi - Malaysia
Total Time 14:15:01
Lardman has a business trip to Singapore (and running in the Singapore Biathlon on 1st Mar 2008 with Jerry Clayton a New Zealand businessman who has been inspired by Lardman to participate in his first multisport event despite now being in his 60's). The timeliness of the Malaysian Ironman could be better, a cheap flight from Singapore to Langkawi is all it took to convince Lardman to enter this event.
Malaysia takes place on Langkawi, a popular island resort destination in Malaysia. It's tough not because of the course, which consists of a very warm swim, a rolling bike and a relatively flat run course. It's tough because it can get really hot, especially during the run. How hot? In 2001 temperatures that reached 43 degrees Celsius (which is very close to 110 degrees Fahrenheit for anyone who still thinks in those terms).
When they dubbed the hottest Ironman on the circuit "The Toughest Show on EarthĒ and they werenít kiddingÖ
The swim was tough from the start, very warm waters, sea lice/bugs that itched the skin the entire distance. I didnít think there was much of a current, but the sea did have a slight chop, but when I rounded the 1.9km buoy after 47mins, I thought this was going to be a long swim. But there was a current, as a 1.9km homeward leg in 36mins proved.
They always say that as soon as you exit the water, you forget all about the swim and itís so true. A quick transition as straight on to the bike. Now the organisers had a special treat for us on the bike. The first 10km was a one off loop out of town, including climbing a large hill. How large, well I managed a speed of 79kmph on the downward section of the hill. Pretty scary stuff.
The bike course was quite rolling, with 4-5 hills of note to tackle, some of them long. Iíve never used so many gears in any race. The winds played their part as well, tough in some sections, but mainly just hot winds that made breathing difficult to do. After about 100km on the bike Iíd had enough, I just wanted to get off my bike and quit. But thatís not what Ironman is about, so I stuck it out. After the longest bike ride in an Ironman I got off the bike feeling pretty exhausted and gasping for breath, which was difficult to get in the heat.
I ran the first 1km, but then walked the next 5km. As the run course was four 10km laps, I decided to run 2km from each turnaround and the last 1km to the finish and walk the rest. So I managed 16km of running, yet with this I was 45min slower than walking a marathon, such was the heat. It was freaky to see bats flying down over your heads as the sun went down. The kids on the side of the road were cheering atheletes to the very end and the finishing chute was as good as the one at Kona. I made many friends again at this event.
I have never experienced such sights, people walking their bikes up hills, being sick on the side of the road, people collapsing and many people in the medical tents, this truly was a hard race, one I will never forget.
Could this be the last race? After running 4 Ironman events in less than twelve months, the body is starting to ache.
At Langkawi a 63 year old man celebrated his birthday by running his 63rd race, only to be eclipsed by a man who was running his 100th ironman!