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New Year Resolution for 2008: Swim faster, Run longer, maybe return to cycling.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Singapore Navy Biathlon 2005

It's an Olympic distance race. The word going around was that the currents were strong - even the NDU were finding it difficult to navigate. Vectoring was the essential game plan.

The back of my shoulder still hurt a little. I was contemplating giving up even before I woke up! I was having so many mixed thoughts.

'Come on, CM! Conquer your fear! Face the challenge!'

'But I need to listen to my body!'

I woke up at 0500hrs. This time, I was careful NOT to have too much of a power breakfast. I didn't want to gag while I was swimming. I took half of last night's hot cross bun (it was Good Friday), a Milo, and a granola bar. Then I started hydrating.

Tiong and Francis came over at 0600hrs. We carpooled and took Francis' car to East Coast Park. Even while Francis was parking his car, I was still contemplating.

Fast Forward. I got my race tags and Championchip set up. The first wave was flagged off. Mine was next. From afar, I could tell the guys were veering off-course even just 200m out from the shore. They were heading towards Bedok jetty!

Uncle Richard was right. Perhaps a 45 degree vectoring would put us back towards the first bouy.

0810hrs. My wave started. I walked into the sea. From that moment, I knew there was no turning back. I had my strategy with me. I knew my running would be my worst discipline. I had to swim strong. I had to face the deep blue O, and the currents. The mass start of 600+ men was pandemonium. I started off in a blinding mix of breaststroke and freestyle. It was tough to navigate amongst so many flailing arms and legs and whathaveyou. I kept to my vectoring. I kept to swimming about 40 degrees to my left. The next thing I knew, I swam pass the main bulk of blue swim caps. But I was still in a bunch heading to the first bouy. Rounding the first bouy was the worst part of the swim leg. Everyone there were trying to navigate around it. On hindsight, the current really kept us from making the first turn!

The second leg of the swim was the toughest. From where I was swimming, I only saw high waves. I couldn't sight for the 2nd bouy. I kept swimming. I wasn't even sure if I was swimming off course. I just followed the masses. Was it the blind leading the blind? It came to pass that while I was on cruise-control against the currents, i might as well hum a couple of tunes while I swam. It definitely kept my sanity.

I finally saw the 2nd bouy and I headed towards it. The glaring sun in my eyes didn't help, but I was pretty much locked in sight. Rounding that bouy was much easier. The home-stretch - even with vectoring - was on 5th gear. I powered up and headed for shore.

Transitioning was easy. I just took my time. Behind me were many many more swimmers struggling with the forces of nature.

Now the dreaded run. 10km of tarmac ahead of me. Oh what the heck, I challenged the distance!

Dudes were running past me! The lousy swimmers were running past me!

At the 4km mark, JA popped out of the Corolla, cheered for me, took a picture of me and she received a peck on the cheek from the sweating amphibian (that's me). The procedure took 5 seconds. (note: I later realised she didn't snap a picture of me - somehow the camera was not turned on!)

And so I continued trudging along and I completed my run time at a disappointing 1hr 12 min!

My total time was exactly 2:00 hrs.

But I was satisfied with my swim. I could go faster, but I was definitely NOT out-of-breath when I entered the shore. That's efficiency. Fish-like. I'm a fat lung fish.

I conquered my fear.

I've completed my first Olympic distance Biathlon: 1.5km Open Sea Swim, 10km flat course Run.

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