2017 Malaysia IM - Melissa McMillan @ 21 Jan 2018
It was my first time racing overseas & my first time racing without my family & closest friends for support (a daunting thing but definitely an experience that made me grow & find some of my own strength without the reassurance of others).
I absolutely loved everything about Langkawi, it was lush & breathtakingly beautiful yet in parts smelly, dirty & a dumping ground for any unwanted items. There were lots of new houses being built & many abandoned half built ones, it didn’t seem to make sense. The people were friendly, kind & honest yet they had so little, most living in poverty without the everyday things we take for granted.
Raceday: it was a non-wetsuit 2 lap swim, so the first Ironman swim for me minus the re-assurance of the security blanket! We headed out on the shuttle bus towards the start when some panic set in as l realised my Garmin had not charged & l would be racing blind, along with this I had left my spare tube in the hotel room (it’s ok said Ang you won’t get 2 flats!).
I had a good swim & was having a great time on the bike until l found myself with 2 flats before the first end of the first 90k lap. It just goes to show expect the unexpected during an Ironman race! Consequently l spent a long time literally cooking on the bike course waiting for assistance from the bike mechanics which made getting through the not only physically but mentally seemingly impossible. But l did & after a little too much time in transition l headed onto the run course.
The run was hard which it always is. Let’s face it, how could a marathon not be after 180k on the bike & 3.8k of swimming? Despite the difficult time I experienced in the oppressive heat & with the knowledge going through my mind that l had a very big battle ahead to actually finish, l managed to find positives there during the marathon to get me through. I tried to focus on how lucky l was to be healthy & strong enough to race in such a beauti-ful location & how excited my boys would be for me. I also managed to find new & never to be seen again best friends who shared my big day out.
I finally finished, but it was my slowest time to date. I was 2 hours off the time l should have done this in. No reflection of my training, l simply had some bad luck & struggled to pull it all together at the time.
Reflecting on the positives of this day, l set out to achieve the so called impossible again & l did this with a smile on my face!! I really do love this crazy sport!