Powerman Asia Duathlon Championships – Malaysia 2016: Race Report

My first Powerman Asia Duathlon Championships – Malaysia 2016 was held yesterday. It was an intense Sunday of sorts with crazy scorching sun but most of it was I had my first hand of it by participating in the Classic Relay category and of course watching it in between my session. This race also made it into the Malaysia Book of records for the ‘Largest Participation of Duathlon Championships’ in Malaysia. Participants from 39 nationalities and approximately 2,700 participants made it to form the largest Powerman gathering in the world.

My first relay for the year and coincidentally my first ever duathlon partnering with Sifu Terence Poon who has been instrumental in my last 2 years plus in running. Sifu himself being a tri-athlete and Ironman has been there, done that and it was an honour that he agreed to be my partner for the relay. Yours truly here cannot cycle so obviously Sifu had to rescue me! That being said, having enjoyed this experience so much never mind the temperatures went up to 34°C, I know I want to return next year and compete in the Sprint section entirely on my own i.e. 5km run - 30km ride - 5km run.

The race flagged off at 7am. I arrived at 545am as Sifu wanted to check in his bike only on race day morning to avoid a drop in tyre pressure etc. I went along to see how it was done. And being a complete noob in such races, I was glad that Sifu Terence took me through the start line, transition area for our Classic Relay, the transition area and the what nots necessary in passing our time chip to each other. Yes...ready or not the Classic Relay 10km run - 60km bike - 10km run was going to happen for me.
Morning warm up includes catching up with pals, checking the Transition area etc.
Picture courtesy of Captain Foo
Say hello to Sifu Terence

I was still struggling with a bout of butterflies in my stomach even when we flagged off. Through some strange incident, I had to run without my waist pouch that I would normally carry at least my own handphone in case I wanted to take pictures. Without a pouch, I wasn't keen to run with my phone in my hand or stuffed into my sports bra like how some runners do. In a no phone, no pouch set up, I took off for my 1st leg of the 10km run. 

The 1st leg of the run was good. I flagged off almost at the end of start pen and it was good to be standing next to a familiar face Chean Kye. A very flat route and I had to do 2 loops of 5km. There were 3 aid stations for every loop with clear options of water, isotonic and options of bananas and sponges alternately. The volunteers were chirpy and efficient making it such joy to meet them. On the first loop, I only took 1 sip of isotonic from the 2nd aid station. My second loop saw me taking 1 sip of water and a sip of isotonic from the 1st aid station. I felt good after KM3 when the butterflies all "flew away". Nailing 10km at slightly under 60 minutes is my best 10km ever since I tore my ankle ligament. My personal best for 10km was 53 minutes plus:(
1st leg of run done and dusted. 10km approximately 60 minutes or slightly less in my psychedelic tights and PureBOOST X. A set up of UK5 and socks because I anticipated that I might wet myself with water on my 3rd leg so I needed socks to minimise blisters.

Thankfully Sifu Terence briefed me throughly where to enter the pens etc because I was actually being flagged down by some marshalls who insisted that I was supposed to run into the Short Relay Transition Area. I had to evade them by running a tad to my left otherwise, chances are I might have been pulled in by one marshall who muttered "I wonder if they even know which relay category they are running". Thank you Marshall, I know you meant well but I really do know that I was running the Classic Relay and my bib is green in colour!

I ran in rather blindly and could not spot Sifu Terence (I did tell him that I run blindly), Thankfully he called out to me and we made a quick transfer of the timing chip on my left foot to him. Lesson learnt, when you come in, let the other person remove the band because I was still fresh from a sprint. Timing band swapped and Sifu Terence had to wheel his bike out of the pan before he could mount it.

The game plan was to return to the pan after 2.5 hours as Sifu Terence estimated he would need that time for an easy ride. However, after his first loop, the game plan changed and I returned to the Transition Area half hour earlier. While waiting, I refuelled with half a banana and some water, worried that butterflies and indigestion would return. The wait however left me hungry and thankfully Sharon Chow shared some grapes with me. 6 grapes and Sifu Terence returned. He cycled hard! I removed the timing band from his foot, strapped on my left foot and he said "go go go runnnnnnnnn". And I ran off.
Sunnies were necessary to cut out glare. Glad I made a decision to switch to Climachill tee and arm sleeves because the earlier sleeveless Supernova tee will still leave my back exposed to sun despite the arm sleeves.

The 3rd leg of 10km run was hot. I started at 33°C and returned at 34°C one hour later. This time, I made a stop at every aid station. 1 sip water, 2 cups of water to pour over my head and 1 sip of isotonic. I wasted time sponging myself at aid stations with sponges because I wanted fresh, cold and soggy sponges from the bin instead of those being handled out by the amazing volunteers. Lesson learnt (one never stops learning) I should just stick to the first sponge I have taken and just pour water over my head, cap and sponge because that took an average of 20 seconds instead of 45 seconds. I am amazed that I took 1:02 to complete my 3rd leg despite the stops and slowing down for high fives with some pals.

4:11:23 later, Sifu Terence and I completed 80km. 20km run for me and 60km ride for him. So much fun. So much learnt. I know I will want to return next year! Meanwhile, I need to figure out how to cycle!

Powerman Asia Duathlon Championships – Malaysia 2016 has been one very physical and mental endurance game. Congras to all who completed it! Here's some pics from yesterday.
Spot me..because I can't even spot myself.
Flag off. Took me approximately 1:20 to cross the start line.
A sea of runners!
Making my way into the Transition Area and the hubster called my name. I was surprised he stayed back because he was nursing a flu and fever. 
With fellow TPRC running pals Velary and Terence
Watching others make their way through the Transition Area. Amazing how quick some could get out of their running shoes and onto their bikes.
My idol Marlina and fellow TPRC buddy Hui Jane making their timing band swap
Cyclist on their 2nd loop for the Classic Relay
Cycling along the highway. 
Sifu Terence
A happy face as I entered my 2nd loop for the 3rd leg of running. 5km more to go.
Photo credit: Jack AhBeh
Note the sponge sticking out from my back. I stuffed it into the back of my sports bra and forgot about it even though I changed my tee after the race.
Crossed the line and we all had our ribbon moments!
The hubster and Sifu Terence were waiting for me at the finish line. Received a hug from both men, tried removing my timing strap and Sifu Terence poured water on me to help me cool down faster. This water trick has been a time proven cooling down / stay cool method that I had used during my 3 days of KL Maran Walk last year with temperatures hitting 38°C, SCMS 2014 and Route 68 last year.
Medics were efficient along the race route and finish line. 
My first ever Powerman, Powerman Asia Duathlon Championships – Malaysia 2016. A classic relay. A hot Sunday of 80km and ranked 28 out of 65. Not bad for a last minute team that named itself Absolutely No Idea.
United Kingdom’s Emma Pooley came in first in the female elite category with a total completion time of 2:57:27, followed by Airi Sawada, Japan, and Mirasol Abad, The Philippines, who have completed the race in 3:13:40 and 3:15:40 respectively.
Thomas Bruins completed the race in 2:35:53 to be crowned the winner of the Powerman Asia Duathlon Championships – Malaysia 2016. This was followed by Filipino John Leerams Chicano, 2:39:19 and Frenchman Gael Le Bellec, 2:40:42 as the first and second runner up respectively.
My signature jump...20km did no damage to me. I want more!
A quick pic with my fellow teammates and friends before I went off to grab lunch.
Thanx Chean Kye for the encouragement before we flagged off and congras on completing your Classic Race!
The hubster and I both eyed the bikes at the Powerman Expo. Apparently he posted that he has the itch after witnessing the exciting race. Fingers crossed, next year he will be ready to run-bike-run with me. Not as a relay but we will each take part individually. 

Powerman Asia Duathlon Championships – Malaysia 2016 has been an amazing experience. Am glad I made a rather rash decision to take part with the support from the hubster and Sifu Terence. 

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