Race Review: Putrajaya Perdana Triathlon 2017

I had my first taste of triathlon in sprint category three years ago at Port Dickson International Triathlon 2015. Last year, I accidentally registered for my second triathlon in half ironman distance at 113 Triathlon Bukit Merah 2016. I was glad I survived close to eight hours of endurance, making me half half ironman, half human! :)

As the year is coming to an end for 2017, I have been looking for a triathlon to participate during second half of 2017 to fulfil my "one triathlon a year" target. It's a blessing that I managed to register for inaugural Putrajaya Perdana Triathlon 2017 which was held on 22 October 2017 at Kompleks Susan Air, Present 6, Putrajaya. The event was organised by Team M3X of Tri-Amateur. 

Putrajaya Perdana Triathlon 2017

  • Event Date and Time: 22 October 2017, 7:30 am
  • Event Venue: Kompleks Sukan Air, Presint 6, Putrajaya
  • Event Organiser: Team M3X of Tri-Amateur
  • Event Organiser's Social Media: Facebook

Race Entry Pack Collection (REPC)

I had my race entry pack collection (REPC) at Pullman Putrajaya Lakeside at around 2.00 pm on 21 October.  Even though I missed out on the race briefing which was held at around 11:00 am on the same very day, the event organiser was considerate enough to have sent the link of the race briefing  in video format to all participants earlier.

The race entry pack collection was very smooth. Not much crowd. I managed to collect mine in less than ten minutes. :)

No long queue at the race kit collection centre

Putrajaya Perdana Triathlon 2017's race kit collection venue at Pullman Putrajaya Lakeside
Honestly speaking, I hope the tee-shirt quality and design to be better. But I love the recycled bag and swimming cap! :)

I then checked out the sponsor booths at the REPC venue, filled up a survey and studied the route maps and event schedule posted on the walls. 

I realised that I was put in the "TriMaster Men 50 and above" category. What? TriMaster Men 50 & above? Sob sob! Yeah! Sad but true! I must admit I'm 50 this year and I can't fake my age to organiser. But I'm still young at heart, still trying my best to do what the young ones are doing, testing my physical limits and exploring new horizon. :)

But what shocking to me was that all the participants' ages were also printed on the participant list and pasted on the wall. I was like, "Oh no! Can't the organiser be a little but more sensitive about our age? Now the whole world knows my age!" haha! I felt a bit uncomfortable seeing my age glaring at me on the wall! But I guess it's not the organiser's problem but more of my own personal mental battle to finally accept that fact that I have just turned 50. 

In TriMaster Men 50 and above category, I was very impressed to see four participants in their 60s. The eldest participant is 67 years-old from Hong Kong. Wow! I'm so inspired. I pray that I will continue to be healthy so that I can still join full marathons and triathlon when I turn 67. 

Very shocking to see our age so openly posted on the wall! haha! :)

Time to have fun under the sun!

Based on master event schedule, I'd be in "Lake Wave 4" group, starting off at 9:40 am. With such a hot weather, I knew by the time I finish the triathlon, I would be toasted under the hot scorching sun. 

But hey - I intended to have fun under the sun, to have my first ever swimming experience in Lake Putrajaya, first ever cycling experience in Putrajaya, and also first ever running experience along the Putrajaya Lakeside.

It's gonna be fun with all the new exciting experiences! 

Putrajaya Perdana Triathlon, here I come!! 😊

Beautiful Putrajaya lake!! Wow! I can't imagine I would be swimming and running here!

Beautiful triathlon venue

I had a pretty good sleep the night before. I arrived at race venue Kompleks Susan Air Present 6 Putrajaya around 6:00 am. As I arrived rather early, I walked around the beautiful Putrajaya Lakeside and enjoyed the breathtaking morning scenery. Honestly speaking, it was my first time to really take a closer look at the lake and the surroundings. Such a relaxing place! No wonder I didn't feel nervous at all. haha! I'm pretty sure the relaxing atmosphere had helped to calm down my nerves.

Beautiful Putrajaya lake and Pullman Putrajaya Lakeside as backdrop

The arch for the swim finish 

Such a calm putrajaya lake

Another view from upstairs of Kompleks Sukan Air

There are quite a lot of runners doing their morning runs around  the lake side. 

Preparation at transition area

With the labels on my HASA bike and helmet done the night before, I slowly racked my HASA bike on the rack at transition area and took out all the necessary to lay it down close to my bike. 

I don't have tri suit like 95% of the participants. Nowadays, doing sports is no longer cheap! How I wish I am an elite and young athlete. Then I might have a chance to attract some sponsorships for some of my running and triathlon gears including tri suit. 😊 Anyway, I'm day dreaming about the brand sponsorship. Who wants an old fart at 50 who is not an elite nor a podium finisher or social media influencer to be their brand sponsor, right? 

Hence, I planned to swim in swimming trunk, then cycle and run in running shorts, running vest and running shoe Saucony Kinvara 8. I might not look like a triathlete with such outfit but I just need to be practical about it. :)

All checked at transition area!
My number is 625. 
I was so glad to bump into Mimi Tan, one of my weekend runner friends at Padang Merbuk. She was preparing for her maiden Ironman 70.3 in Langkawi next month in November. And Putrajaya Perdana Triathlon 2017 would be her first experience in sprint triathlon in preparation for the much much tougher half ironman distance in a month's time.

She didn't put on her arm tattoo yet. Neither did I. So we helped each other to put on arm tattoo for each other at transition area while chatting happily about running, cycling and swimming. We also chatted about her Langkawi 70.3 Ironman training and preparation! My tattoo sticker "6" spoiled and wouldn't stick. Hence, I made do with two digit number: "25" on my right arm!! 

One of the reasons why I love triathlon is also because of the arm tattoo!! It's so cool!! Loving it!

Missing "6" but still happy for the chance to have arm "tattoo". :)
Mimi - you are awesome!!! All the best to us yeah! haha!

Swim 750m: Titanic is going to sink!

750 m Swim course at Lake Putrajaya
The swim course is 750 meters in the beautiful Putrajaya lake. I have swum in a fresh water lake at Bukit Merah and in an open water at Port Dickson before. I was pretty much looking forward to the new experience swimming in Putrajaya lake. 

The lake water looks pretty calm. The water doesn't appear to be very clean but definitely it's much cleaner than Bukit Marah Lake which has yellowish mud.

Since my start time was 9:40 am, I got a chance to see the kids, the elites in action first. The kids swam in the swimming pool. And they are so so cute! 

As for elites, I could see all the top notch elites like Jason Loh all in actions aiming for qualification to Commonwealth Games 2018 in Gold Coast Australia. They are so young and talented! 

I might not have much triathlon experience. But in comparison to 113 Triathlon Bukit Merah 2016 and Port Dickson International Triathlon 2016, I'd have to say that the swim start at Putrajaya Perdana International Triathlon 2017 was rather confusing for Lake Wave 4 (9:40 am batch) and Lake Wave 5 (9:50 am batch for male participants aged 30 to 49 years old). 

As we were waiting for our turn for the 9:40 am wave, we couldn't hear proper announcements. Then we saw everyone moving towards the platform for the swim start. Hence, we just followed the crowd. 

We then heard emcee announcing that L category would need to wait until 9:50 am. As for the rest, we could proceed to the platform at the lake shore. I then heard some participants checking with each other not knowing what "L category" means. We also checked on our arm tattoo and our ankle timer strap trying to look for "L". 

Luckily, announcer later realised that not everyone could remember their category since it's not stated on the ankle strap. He then made announcement for the male participants aged 30 to 49 years old to wait first for the 9:50 am flag off. But there was also no proper check or verification whether those who started their swim at 9:40 am could have possibly included those in L category who should have started only at 9:50 am. I remember at 113 Triathlon Bukit Merah last year, the organiser did a proper check to ensure the correct participants for the correct wave. Not at Putrajaya Perdana International Triathlon 2017 though. 
May be it's a small little hiccup! Anyway, it didn't bother me much. I was there to have some fun! :) 

Yohoo! I'm ready to create some water splash at putrajaya lake! (photo credit: AirUmi)

One funny thing happened when we were all at the platform. 

Some were already in the water all around the platform. Then the emcee announced that all participants should move to the right side of the platform behind the rope. That's where the start point was. 

We then all looked like a flock of little dolphins (or mermaids?) moving as fast as as possible from the left platform to the right platform. 

And you know what? Suddenly the platform tilted to the right side with most of participants stood at the right side of platform now!! 

I couldn't stop myself from laughing aloud! I thought it was funny! I was then jokingly saying to some other participants, "Oh no! we are going to sink like the Titanic now! It's going to sink now! haha!

Well, we were safe on the platform. We didn't sink. The platform was just tilted heavily to one side! But it was good for the laugh to loosen everyone up! I had fun with the incident though! I thought it was funny!

We were at the left side of platform. Later we all needed to shift to the right side! (Photo credit: AirUmi)
Another shot by AirUmi of all the exciting swimmers! (Photo credit: AirUmi)

I was so excited and happy that I could jump into the lake soon! Was I nervous? Not at all this time! May be in the back of my mind, I already told myself earlier to come here for new experience and for fun! And since I love to be in the water anyway, naturally the excitement overcame my fear and anxiety. 

It's really a beautiful lake. Water is calm and fresh. It's really a wonderful place for a morning swim! :)

For the first 100-200 meters, I felt like we were like a flock of sardines trying to swim to deep ocean. I was sandwiched left, right, back and front. I was also kicked left right centre by other swimmers. I guess I might have kicked some of them too. haha! Ooops! My apology! But it's ok. That was expected anyway!  Good that it wasn't my first time joining triathlon. Hence, I wasn't nervous at all when kicked. I just slowed down to let the swimmer go first. At times, I would then look for some gap between swimmers and swam freestyle pulling away from them. 

Beautiful shot by Fiz with Putrajaya as backdrop. (Photo credit: Fiz)

Seriously, I didn't know who was on my left or right or front. What I know was that I was trying to swim towards the buoys

To share with you how relaxed I was in the water, I even had a smiling face as I swam with the nice warm morning sun bathing us along. I was nervous at Port Dickson and Bukit Merah but somehow I just really enjoyed the swim. I also didn't push hard. I just swam at my comfortable pace - switching from freestyle to breast strokes back and forth

I had fun. I wish I could swim longer in the fresh water Putrajaya Lake.... haha!

I completed my swim with the following stats:
  • Time: 18 minutes 15 seconds
  • Overall ranking: 131 / 377
  • Gender ranking: 120 / 307
  • Category ranking:11 / 33
It wasn't a very good timing for the swim but no complaints from me. I had 100% fun

After 750 m swim, it was time to come out of the lake. (Photo credit: AirUmi)

Running towards the transition 1. (Photo credit: David Lau / MY Runners)

Transition 1: Running shoe before shorts

After coming out from Putrajaya Lake I ran to the transition area. In my mind, I started to rehearse how I would want to do transition the fastest I could. I then heard one of the supporters shouting to her friend, "keep transition time to less than a minute! Not more!". 

I then became a bit nervous. haha! I quickly dried my feet and put on my running shoes Saocony Kinvara 8. When I was about to stand up, I only realised that I was still in my swimming trunk without my running shorts!

Where was my running short? I messed up the steps! Oh no! How could I run in my swimming trunk? Luckily I realised it before I pushed my bike out. I then quickly took off my shoe to put on my running shorts over swimming trunk. Then I put on my Saucony Kinvara 8 again.

Last minute check: helmet, power gel, gloves, sun shades. Cool! All set to push my bike out to the bike course.

The whole transition too me 3 minutes 32 seconds, far cry from the less than one minute standard! Sob sob!!! 

May be a tri-suit would have helped me save lots of time and prevent me from any future blunders!! lol!

Cycle 20 km : "You naughty boy!"

20 km bike course
Oh Cycling! How I love and loathe you!

Cycling has never been my favourite! In fact, it's my least favourite of swim bike run. I had a traumatic cycling experience when I was a child going downhill with my little bicycle. I almost got myself killed by a motor bike. Ever since then, I don't really dare to ride on a bicycle. And even after I picked up triathlon and cycling 2 years ago, the trauma has been staying with me until now! I would brake my bike almost all the way when going downhill. I'm really scared that the speed might make me uncontrollable and some nasty accident might happen again. 

Without much training on cycling, I was glad to have HASA road bike with me this round. I could handle the bicycle much better. Still, the fear of falling is always there. Hence, I have been very careful in cycling. Safety comes first for me.

The bike course is wonderful. Flat all the way with a couple elevated uphills on the road ramps. But the sun was killing!! It was so so hot! Occasionally, there were strong head wind blowing from the front. And that slowed me down even further.

My Garmin GPS watch setting wasn't working so well. Hence, I couldn't really tell the distance. I kept looking for the u-turn which would have marked 10 km in distance. 

I saw some really fancy road bikes overtaking me!! They all looked so relaxed and comfortable on their bicycles. It seemed that there was little effort required for them to move so fast! How I wish I could ride a bicycle like them!! Oh yes! And they have road bike cleats too!! And I don't! Sob sob! I never wanted to buy a pair even though I know it would save me energy. I've heard so many stories of cyclists falling off due to their cleats!!  Err... I would rather be slow than falling off a bicycle!! Again, my fear of falling due to my past traumatic cycling experience that's still haunting me till these days!

I continued to ride my bike as fast and safe as I could. 

I was really to know that there was finally a u-turn and I was half way back to transition two. Yohoo! I just want to get it over with! lol! 

I really suck and I'm really slow in cycling!!

But hey - now matter how lousy I'm in cycling, I still wanted to look good in front of all the professional photographers! haha! So vain! lol!

Great thanks to all the photographers to capture some of the best cycling photos I have ever had. 

I really love the photos very much! 

Thanks to Tough Asia for this nice shot! (Photo credit: Tough Asia)

Cycling (Photo credit: 2Escape MY)

Cycling. (Photo credit: Zainal Nal)

I can still smile! haha! (Photo credit: AKU, Wong)

Say peace! (photo credit: AKU, Wong)
Another shot by David Lau of MY Runners (photo credit: David Lau / MY Runners)

I must share with you this funny moment at mount area.

As I was about to reach the transition area, I was still at my normal speed without any signs of slowing down. 

I heard the female event personnel who was on duty to remind cyclists to mount shouting aloud to me, "Mount here! Mount here! Mount here!"

She wasn't scolding. She was just loud because she was worried I couldn't hear her.

But I heard her clearly. 

I just didn't want to slow down until I was one inch from the line at mount area.

Then I applied a fast brake

You know what? My front tyre just stopped exactly one inch before the line!! I then looked at her and smiled with a cheeky face! 

Suddenly, I heard some of the supporters at that transition area burst into big laughter!! 

I think they found it funny! haha! I think it was funny too! I was a bit playful on that day!!

After I mounted and as I pushed my bike passing another guy on duty, he then said with a smiling face, "You naughty boy!" hahaha!!

Glad there was still someone mistaken me as a boy instead of a 50 year-old!! Good to be young-at-heart and playful at times!!! 😊

I was so happy to have completed the 20 km ride under hot sun. If I'm not mistaken, the distance was short by 2 km. 

Anyway, below is my race result for bike leg:

  • Distance: 20 kilometers
  • Time: 39 minutes 02 seconds
  • Overall ranking: 210 / 377
  • Gender ranking: 190 / 307
  • Category ranking:22 / 33

  • You see, 79 people over took me after the swim, dropping my position from #131 in overall category to #210. That is another demonstration of how weak and poor my cycling is! 

    Who to blame? Only me! I hardly ride. I have fear. I also don't want to buy cleats. And I also didn't wear cycling shorts or tai-suits. By the way,  love the butt-pain experience with my running shorts! haha!

    Transition 2

    I was really excited to have come to transition 2. It would be running all the way now to finish line! Yohoo!

    I wasn't in a rush. After putting the bike back on the rack and removing my helmet, etc I also took a bit of my old sweet time to drink water, wipe my sweat etc.
    It took me 1 minute 44 seconds for transition 2. I should have kept it under 1 minute though!

    Run 5 km: chasing Japanese and overtaking young triathletes

    For those who think you still could run at your usual speed and pace after swimming and cycling, think again! Well, may be for those triathletes who really train hard do bricks training (bike then run), they might find it no problem at all.

    But for the ordinary runners like myself who hardly cycle and never do bricks (bike and run training) at all, then we need to ensure the "jelly leg" feeling! haha!

    Yes! The legs felt like jelly after the cycling legs. My upper body wanted to move but I felt that my two feet were so heavy. They just refused to move at the speed and cadence I wanted.

    But slowly, the jelly feeling in both feet was gone and I could resume back to more or less normal running.

    I really love this lakeside run!! Again, I have never run there before. And I have never really got to enjoy Putrajaya's beautiful scenery before. Yes I did participate in full marathons in Putrajaya before but those events were held at night or early morning in the inner part of Putrajaya, not the beautiful lakeside.

    It was such an awesome experience to run along the lakeside. There were also two water stations being provided. With the u-turn, that means runners had four opportunities to drink water at the water stations.

    running photo by Fiz. 

    Running photo by Fiz.

    Running photo by AirUmi.

    running photo by Jack Ah Beh

    Guess how many cups of water I drank in this short 5 km run?

    4 cups? 5 cups? Guess again! I drank 6 cups of water!!! 2 cups per water stations. With the returning trips, that made it 6 cups as I only skipped the last water stations towards finish line!

    I must say that's a lot of water to drink for 5km! lol! But the weather was so chokingly hot and humid!! My shoulders were burning! I needed to keep myself hydrated.

    Two memorable moments happened during the 5km run. I was over taken by two Japanese triathletes who were running at a very constant speed. By then I had slowed down bit. But towards the last 1 km, I was glad to have seen them in front of me and I managed to over take them eventually.

    I also sped up as I inched closer to the finish line. Then I saw a young triathlete running in front of me. I thought of following behind him all the way to finish line. Then I heard two marshals along the route cheering us on. I was encouraged and I started to speed up again. Then I realised that the young athlete also sped up for his last dash!

    I ran as fast as I could as if I would be running for my podium finish!! I wanted to see how much I could still squeeze out of this old engine for the last 300m or so.

    I was glad to have endured the speed until the finish line. I really wanted to thank the young athlete and the Japanese triathletes who managed to bring out the competitiveness in me while having some fun at the triathlon!!

    Running my guts out with the young athlete to finish line. (Photo credit: David Lau / MY Runners)

    Another shot - I love this photo by David Lau / MY Runners. Look at the volunteers behind us seeing us pia ! quite funny! 

    Running photo by David Lau / MY Runners. One of my favourite photos.

    I ended up finishing the 5 km run with the below stats:

  • Distance: 5 kilometers
  • Time: 28 minutes 44 seconds
  • Overall ranking: 68 / 377
  • Gender ranking: 61 / 307
  • Category ranking: 8 / 33

  • Great thanks to the running, my overall ranking has climbed back from position #210 after cycle to #68 after run. I was happy that I managed to do some recovery during the 5 km run.

    Completion of 3rd Triathlon

    I was so happy to have completed Putrajaya Perdana Triathlon 2017, my third triathlon in my whole life!

    I completed with a time of 1 hour 31 minutes and 20 seconds with the overall ranking of 68 out of 377. And in my age group category, I came in at #12. 

    The podium finishers are super fast!! I was like more than 20 minutes behind!! 
    I really enjoyed the whole experience because it gave me many first time experiences: 
    • first time swimming in Putrajaya lake
    • first time cycling in Putrajaya
    • fist time running at lake side
    I also got the opportunity to witness the qualification round of the elites for the Commonwealth Games 2018. And yes, how to forget those little kids who were so full of spirit and high energy swimming in the pool, then cycling in their little bike and running to the finish line! I'm sure some of them will grow up to be top triathletes in Malaysia one day representing us and making us proud!! Kudos to them all!

    And yes, now I can tick off triathlon from my 2017 bucket list!! Mission accomplished! Yohoo!

    This triathlon also further confirmed about my weak areas - cycling and swimming. I must commit myself more into cycling and swimming in order to improve further. 

    Most importantly, I had lots of fun. I laughed, smiled, chatted with friends and even made jokes. 
    • Titanic is sinking at the platform?
    • Putting on running shoes without putting on running shorts first?
    • You, naughty boy?
    • Make the young triathlete run for his money?
    All were very memorable fond memories that I would cherish for the rest of my life!!

    packing after completion.
    Yay! Time to jump for joy!
    Congrats to you Mimi!! thanks for the catch up and encouragement during the event!
    Yay! We are triathletes! haha!
    I want to thank the organiser Team M3X of Tri-Amateur for organising such a marvellous event. And of course all the volunteers, marshals, etc who made our triathlon experience a memorable one!!

    Lastly, I really want to share my deep appreciation to all the photographers who had to run from swim to cycle to run to cover all there legs under scorching hot sun.Without them, we would not have all the wonderful photos of our swim, bike and run!! Without them, I would have have the nice photos for my race review! Thank you!

    Below are the awesome photographers who endured the scorching hot sun to make us look good! I am sure there are others but so far I only managed to find the below. 

    Thank you to each and everyone of you for  your sacrifice to make us look so cool and awesome on that day!

    • David Lau / MY Runners: https://www.facebook.com/myrunners/
    • AKU Wong: https://www.facebook.com/YourRunningCyclingPhotographer/
    • Jack Ah Beh: https://www.facebook.com/groups/jackahbeh/
    • 2Escape: https://www.facebook.com/2EscapeMY/
    • Sub Malaysia Tour: https://www.facebook.com/supmalaysiatour
    • Teh Eng Tiong:  https://www.facebook.com/engtiongtey
    • Nick Fahusnaza (enaikay): https://www.facebook.com/nik.fahusnaza
    • Tough Asia: https://www.facebook.com/ToughAsia/
    • Zainal Nal: https://www.facebook.com/zainal.nal.39
    • Fizo: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100017579400511
    And thank you YeKoon Ang, the golden triathlete couple with Allison Yee for tagging almost 100% of my photos taken by the photographers for me. Without any much familiarity with triathlon community, you both are so humble and making me feel so much welcome in triathlon sport. I really appreciate all the photo tagging by YeKoon Ang.

    To close off this race review, here is to share with you the beautifully designed finisher medal!

    Words: Vincent Khor
    Date  : October 28, 2017

    Thank you very much for reading my experience sharing. Appreciate it very much! You can also follow updates at Instagram and Facebook . 


    No comments:

    Post a Comment