How did you feel when you crossed the finish line?
Unlike Uncle Yee, IM Langkawi recently was my first Ironman race. So, when I finished the feeling was a mixture of disbelief, relief and an overwhelming sense of achievement. I was so excited about finishing that I couldn’t sleep for the next two days!!! It was truly a dream come true for me!
How long did it take for you to train for this event?
I have been doing triathlon actively since 2012, starting with Olympic distance. So, that is 1.6km swim, 40km bike and 10km run. In 2013 and early 2014, I challenged myself to the 70.3 distance, which is half of the Ironman race distance. It was only after Putrajaya 70.3 in April this year that I decided to take the leap and compete for the IM Langkawi. But to say that the training was just for 5 months would be an inaccurate statement because I believe the foundation was built from the time I started running in 2010. So, it was a 4 year journey to get to the starting line.
What is your training like?
I have a coach who prepared the training program and train me for my swimming. In a week, I swim twice, bike for about 7-10 hours and run 30-40km. The training goes in a cycle of 3 week period whereby in the first week, I do about 10 hours in total, second will be about 12-13 hours, third week is the peak week of about 15 hours and the fourth week is a recovery week for your body to replenish and reconstruct all the damage that is done over the 3 weeks. That just repeats itself until 3 weeks before the race where the training starts to taper.
Do you watch what you eat?
I am not so obsessive about it because generally I do eat clean food and I always believe that whatever that we do must be in moderation. Then only it is easier for us to continue doing it on a long term basis and make it part of your lifestyle.
What other memorable moments did you have throughout the journey on the track?
I had a lot of fun training for the IM Langkawi event. We went on the bike to places I have not even been to in my car! My cycling buddies took me all the way to Frasers, Genting, Bukit Tinggi, Melaka, Lukut, Tanjung Karang, you name it….we probably have done it! We truly had lots and lots of fun!
To be able to ride that far and that long every Saturday, I not only need a great deal of support and understanding from my family, but I also need to put a lot of trust in people I am training with. And that made the journey even more special because I then know my family loves me no matter what and people whom I have just known have now become my trusted friends. I think those are my most valuable prizes in the journey to this race.
What advice do you have for all women out there aspiring to be like you?
After IM Langkawi, I had a lot of enquiries from men and women who aspire to do the race. My advice to all of them are the pretty much the same. Start small, with a shorter distance, be good at it and then only progress to the next level.
Whether you are doing it to tick a box on the bucket list or as part of your lifestyle, there is no shortcut to it, and what is most important is to enjoy the journey and smell the roses along the way.
I also cannot emphasise enough about having a good training program prepared by qualified coaches. In training for such an arduous event, there is chance of you sustaining injury, or over train that causes muscle fatigue, or under train that may not give you confidence to complete the distance. Once you have the training program, trust it and work it. The result will show on the race day.
What is your future plan in terms of triathlons and competitions?
Well for 2015, I have signed up for Ironman 70.3 in Putrajaya and Cebu, Philippines. I will definitely support the local triathlon races because those were the platform that started me off in this sport, and of course an IronMan race at the end of the year.
Apart from triathlons I also do compete in running and cycling races. I intend to run a full marathon in Melbourne and a Century Ride in a few states in Malaysia including Kelantan where I come from!