Writer Aimi Iwasaki

Returning to Malacca to race at the 113 OD Melaka on Klebang Beach recently, was a befitting homecoming for me. It has always been great to race in Malacca as this is where I spent most of my teenage years in boarding school, as a swimmer and also as a National Cyclist.

I had been looking forward to be in action as an actual Triathlete this year after a two-year break. It was certainly one of the most difficult physical and mental challenges I would ever undertake for the come back this time. I wanted to prove to myself that there isn’t goal that cannot be accomplished if I set my mind to it.

Recalling my sporting journey, I started swimming at the age of 10 and ventured into cycling under the Malaccan state team in 2012. Then, I progressed to the National Squad from 2013-2016 and the Terengganu Cycling Team (TSG) concurrently.

My actual Triathlon journey began last December in 2018 under RC Coaching with the guidance from Rupert Chen, and I began training in Bukit Jalil twice a week. Currently, I’m assisting in their coaching and also racing on behalf of RC Coaching while working as a freelance translator mainly in Chinese and Japanese.

I did everything I could to prepare for my race while helping my mum to manage 85A Pintaku Guest House for my friends whom were racing. This included taking post workout recovery, supplements, healthy dinner to provide energy and glycogen stores and reduce inflammation. Prior to bed, I reviewed course details and went through my pre-race preparation checklist so I was prepared for the morning.

Race day is like no other experience. I woke up feeling bad as I wasn’t able to sleep the night before. One of my race day’s must do list is to get my make-up done well to feel complete and to get my music on before heading out for the transition set up. Those two are my mood boosters and it gets myself well focused to set my intention for the day.

As the race started, I had a bad swim as my category started way behind that I get trapped by other triathletes. I broke my goggles and got tied by the rope during the swim as well.

Overall, it wasn’t a smooth 1.5km swim. Transition wasn’t convenient due to the narrow set-up, and we were all mostly hitting each other in that area.

I felt okay on the 40km bike leg, but held back a little for my 10km run.

It turned out to be a great run as I wasn’t feeling as fatigue as how I felt at another race two weeks back and managed to shave four minutes.

Jubilantly, I crossed the line, finishing first in Women Youth Open category (25-34yrs) and third overall female and Elite based on the official result.

The most important part I have realized, is that is not about race day. It’s about getting to race day. The mental stamina to go beyond your limit and grow within.

To have support from your family, friends, coaches and your teammates is what it is all about. It is about the friendship you make and the bonds you create with your training teammates. For without the guidance from the head coach of RC Coaching, Rupert Chen through personal and training peaks, love and endless supports from everyone that has always been on my back during my bad and good days, I wouldn’t be strong enough to come back today.

This is the beginning, for me and am looking forward for what’s next.

More about the budding triathlete

Aimi Iwasaki started swimming at the age of 10 and ventured into cycling under the Malaccan state team in 2012. She progressed to the National Squad from 2013-2016 and the Terengganu Cycling Team (TSG) concurrently. She is developing her Triathlon journey with RC Coaching by Rupert Chen currently.