Friday, 22 February 2008

Training in Asia III...

As the pool here is the size of a tub - IronGreg suggested I swim down by the Jetty where the IM swim will take place. This would be a great idea, except that I saw a scary fishy in the water the other day when I went running down there, haha. Like, a really scary - prehistoric looking scary! Prickly, pirranha but bigger scary!!

That said, I didn't want to tell IG why it was I was scared to go into the water, because he was going to have to swim in that water in the race on Saturday and I didn't want him to worry about his swim and scary fish! (I am counting on the fact that he is busy with his final prep and likely won't read this post till AFTER the race, haha.) I figured that IG would be with me in the water, and likely other competitors getting one last swim in, so why not go?? Not to mention that I plan on doing an International race next year and it's likely I'd be swimming in an ocean or sea - might as well get over my fear now, right?

The plan was for me to do a run/swim/run. I'd run to the Jetty while IG biked around a bit then he'd meet me there. It's only about a 10 minute run or so.

When I got there, anyone that was in the water was getting out. Rats. IG showed up shortly after and when I said 'we going in?' he replied, 'Oh, I'm not going in today in order to save my shoulder.' "Okay", I squeaked...

Needless to say I was scared. I tried to rationalize this fear in my head, saying it was just fear of the unknown, not to mention fear of a fish that likely won't be anywhere near me...but I was still scared. haha. I thought about not going in - as now it would be just me in the water - but I knew I couldn't do that. One thing about fear, if you don't stare it down, it will never go away.

So I got my goggles on and slowly walked the plank....I mean walked to the pontoon. haha. It was kinda neat going in to swim where the race was going to be. Not that you could tell that was what I was thinking at the time....I was walking quite slowly to the pontoon and yes, a few tears escaped my eyes. (I'm such a loser at times!) I kept telling myself to suck it up and stop being such a wuss! I stood on the steps of the pontoon for a bit when one of the IM dudes that was watching over people going in notified me that the current was very strong and he didn't want me going further than a particular buoy. I see. I then asked him if there were fish that would attack me in this part of the water. He laughed and assured me there weren't.....I'm not sure if he was telling the truth or not, but he did promise to come in and rescue me if need be. Phew! LOL.

Oh, I should mention that I told IG I was scared to go in (I mentioned the fear of fish....I just didn't mention that I actually saw a scary fish!). He too assured me that he'd rescue me, to which I told him he wasn't allowed because he had to be ready for the race tomorrow. So I pointed to a handsome military dude (who closely resembled 'The Rock') and asked that he send him in after me, haha.

Okay, so I took a deep breath, and I dove in! The first few strokes were all out sprint. Wanted to make sure I scared any mean, Susi eating fish away. heh heh. Then I got into a groove. It was pretty quick into my swim that I was rudely reminded that I was swimming in salt water. Gasp, sputter!

I practiced my sighting and finally made it to the buoy. I turned around to see IG with his arms in the air cheering me on. I swear, he's the best coach - not to mention friend! I then swam back to the pontoon. I figured out quickly about the currents - it took me half the time to get back as to get out there, but I was also being pushed away from the pontoon. This would be something I'd let IG know about for tomorrow.

I did one more lap then got out. I was hoping they'd have the showers going, (they have them set up for the competitors tomorrow) but alas, this was not to be. IG sprayed some water on my face to wash off the salt, and I drank a bit to get it out of my mouth too. The rest would have to stay on me as I went for my run.

I said goodbye to IG and headed out. I am not one for busy areas, so figured I'd run in a new direction today and do some exploring. The first leg of my run took me along the water towards the Westin resort. I didn't have to run far to get there so I headed back to the hotel area.

It was really cool running through that section as it was more in the forest. I could hear the calls of about 3 or 4 different birds. All of them with a cry much more pleasant that our magpies back home!

Once back to the hotel I headed to the right, rather than the left where I had been yesterday. I had no idea where I was headed, but I knew it'd be an adventure!

I ran along a road that took me through a bit of a residential area - I think. I can't read any of the signs so not sure what all the places were, I think I went past a daycare, tons of little roadside stands, and houses. There was one industrial section that I went by and I saw a huge tank, but I'm not sure if it was for petrol or water. Pretty big pipes going into the header though!

I came to a 10% grade hill. Huh. 10% looks pretty steep! I started to run up it, but my HR was climbing too high so I stopped and walked a bit. Not to mention I was starting to wheeze, haha. The humidity hadn't bugged my asthma too much, but I think it would kick in big time if I tried to run up the hill.

I came to a junction that said 'Kuah' or 'Something Beach'. I decided it was to the beach I'd go! This whole section of road was like running through the jungle, but on a paved road. It was awesome! Part of the time I had CCR's 'Run through the Jungle' going through my head, haha. I savoured all the sights and sounds. Lots of animal sounds - I was hoping none of them were sounds an animal makes before attacking, haha. It was truly beautiful through there.

Finally I came to the beach and a very small resort. The beach was in this little alcove and totally deserted. How cool is that?! There was a little hut that indicated they could take you on adventure tours around the area - hiking, fishing, etc etc. I walked on the beach for a bit and collected a bunch of sea shells and then just stood there looking out at the water and thinking to myself 'I can't believe I'm here!!!'

I realized I'd better get running again as it was getting hotter out. First a quick stop at the resort to grab some cold bottled water. I got my water and learned how to say 'thank you' in Malay..."Tarima Kasih".

The run back had a few steep hills in it, but they weren't super bad. Of course I got to run down the 10% grade hill. Yay!

Along my run there were many people that drove by or that I ran by, who were sitting in the 'restarons'. I have to say the people here are wonderfully friendly and most will smile or say hello. I really must learn how to say 'Good morning' so I can greet the people I see. One fellow shouted at me 'Keep steady!'. haha. I also got an offer for a ride on a motorscooter, of which there is an overabundance here. The fellow who asked me was wearing a purple outfit, which I thought was quite fitting as it is my favourite colour! I thanked him, but said I was fine.

The reason he asked was because I had stopped along the road...and the reason I stopped along the road? MONKEYS!!!! I was running along and thought that I saw something up wasn't until I got closer that I saw what it was that had moved. Two of them made for the trees, with one of them grunting. I took that to mean 'stay away', so I did! There was one sitting on the cinderblock fence that seemed quite interested in me. I stared back for a bit, then figured I'd better get running. I wish I'd had my camera!!! They weren't more than 6 feet away from me!

In no time I was back at the hotel. I got about an 1:15 run in. I was hoping to do 1.5 hours, but in all honesty I was burning up. As I thought how hot it was out, I thought about all the competitors that will be in the IM this weekend, especially our IG. I truly hope everyone has a good run and isn't affected too badly by the heat and humidity here. That said, there is a reason they call Ironman 'The Toughest Show on Earth'!!

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