Just when you think you're tough enough

Tough Takes Triathlon

Newbie duathlete endures cramps and crashes to complete Powerman Malaysia 2019

The thought of Powerman Malaysia started off during the early bird sales where my ex-boyfriend now husband teased me saying that he had signed me up for the event and that we need to begin training for it NOW.

We started off training with a 60km bike ride, although I had never cycled such a long distance ever!

Thinking that was insane, but he said that this would be the acid test to your form and fitness. Progressing from that we got into more serious brick sessions mostly easing into 40km bike rides followed by some short 3-5km runs. But what is a journey without dramas.

Two weeks prior to Powerman, I signed up for Coach Fix’s Swim Clinic 3.0 which was almost a deal breaker. It was pretty much a Triathlon simulation clinic starting off with a strong run, followed by a swim clinic then onto the scorching hot bike ride starting at around 11am late in the morning.

Just about after the halfway point of the bike leg, I was getting very tired mainly due to the heat of the day which made me really fatigued and I ended up crashing into my coach!

This incident really threw me off my game and shook me up as I am still new in cycling and was afraid, I may endanger other participants during the event. However, my coach being a leader himself, kept encouraging me that I am ready, and he would not let me give up on myself as much as I asked him to hang up my bike.

Come race day, I could not sleep properly as I was too excited about the race wondering if I had forgotten anything. The thought of the race just kept running through my mind. Got to the race site, pumped up my tyres, prepped my transition area and did some warm up exercises with my coach just to get those nerves down. All along reassuring me that I am ready for this and that I will achieve my goals.

Started the first 5km run with a slow and steady pace as I was saving my legs for the bike.

With my heavy legs, managed to finish the flat course in 27mins (5.30pace) new record for me!

Grabbed my bike and ran out of the transition area. As soon as I’m out of the transition area, everyone started flying pass me with their bike and I’m terrified to get up my bike and cycle with that crowd of cyclist behind me! So, decided to push bike further down the road and pedal off when the crowd starts to taper down.

As I’m on familiar route, I started off with a good pace. At 10km, I started feeling the cramp on my calves!

First time cramping while cycling and strong feeling is because of my calf compression socks. Lesson learnt. NEVER try adding something extra on race day!

Stopped aside to pop 2 salt tablets, eased my cramps and took off my compression socks. Everything went well after that and finish the 30km bike loop in 1 hour 23 minutes! On the last 5km run, my jelly legs and body kept telling me to stop and take a break.

With my coach/hubby running beside me and imagining him holding ‘rotan’ (whip), I managed to pace myself and run my side stitch off!

Completed my second 5km run in 35mins (7mins pace) and crossed the finish line as a ‘duathlete’ for the first time!

Besides the scorching sun, I loved and enjoyed the race and can’t wait to come back stronger next year!

More about the author

Maple Chan now at the peak of her running with countless running events and marathons under her belt, she searches for new adventures with multi-sport events like Powerman with the ultimate goal of completing an Olympic Distance Triathlon.