A Triumph of Tenacity at Ironman Langkawi for Crystal

A Triumph of Tenacity at Ironman Langkawi for Crystal

In the heart of Langkawi, a remarkable woman carved her story of grit and triumph. Meet our Ironman female 25-29 AG champion, 2nd overall finisher and 1st Malaysian, Crystal Ng.

We interviewed her to get a better understanding of her indomitable spirit that refuses to bow down, even in the face of adversities that would make most falter.

Her story is one of resilience, determination, embracing the unexpected, and mastering the mental game. In this interview she gives us a glimpse of each area.

Some background for those unfamiliar with Crystal's story. In 2019 she was involved in a car accident on her birthday, then while attempting 60ft monkey bars she fell injuring her hip badly. That same year she raced in the PJ Half Marathon 30 km and could not walk by the end of it.

A 2-day injury dragged over weeks and eventually turned into years of discomfort. In 2019 she attempted the Chicago Marathon and was forced to limp to the finish and thereafter hang up her running shoes to undergo a minor knee surgery which proceeded with months of physio and rehab. It was in 2021 that she embraced the world of triathlons.

Then, during her triathlon training in 2022, she battled more hospitalization and setbacks. All of this, and yet, in 2023, she emerged not just victorious at Ironman Langkawi - stronger and faster than ever before. Here’s what she had to say about her journey. 

Faith in Resilience: Triathletes Overcoming Setbacks 

Last year, a month before the race, Crystal was admitted to hospital due to food poisoning. This year, a jellyfish sting threatened to mar her performance.

How did she handle these unexpected situations with such grace? Her response is a testament to her unwavering resolve:

"I’ve already come this far and sacrificed so much, as long as it's not game over, I will keep going."

Key learning - setbacks are just bumps on the road, not roadblocks.

Determination Redefined: Training for Success 

In 2022, she finished the race in over 13 hours, after a year interrupted by illness and hospitalization. But 2023 marked a monumental improvement, cutting down her time by almost an hour. The key? A year of uninterrupted training.

With a structured program designed by Coach Chris Khoo, she embraced intervals, strength training, and rigorous rides. She said training with faster peers and upgrading to a more aerodynamic bike were game-changers.

Her journey emphasizes the importance of structured training and leaning into the community to help push boundaries in every session.

Key learning - Structured training and consistency leads to remarkable improvements 

Embracing the Unexpected: Triumph in Adversity 

Crystal said placing 3rd in her age group in 2022 and then securing 1st place in 2023 left said in utter disbelief. Surrounded by international athletes and facing seasoned competitors, she had expected a different outcome.

In fact with a full time job and only a year of proper training she was hopeful to place last which made her victory even sweeter. 

It felt like everything happened for a reason, all the suffering I endured from my previous injuries was meant to happen as it got me into triathlon.,” said Crystal. 

The tears that welled up at the finish line echoed her journey – a fusion of pain, determination, and the lyrics of The Script's 'Hall of Fame' played in her heart. 

Key learning - Even in the presence of self-doubt and imposter syndrome, remarkable triumphs can unfold. 

Mastering the Mental Game: A Warrior's Mindset 

Triathlons demand not just physical endurance but also mental fortitude. How does Crystal navigate the psychological hurdles? 

"Just take things one step at a time, don’t get overwhelmed," she advises. “I often echo quotes like - It’s not over until the fat lady sings - and remind myself of the sacrifices I’ve made, the hours I’ve put in, and the people who have supported my journey.” 

These mantras echo in the minds of all athletes facing their personal battles, reminding them that the mind can overcome any physical challenge.

Key learning - Breaking down challenges into manageable steps is the cornerstone of mental resilience. 

Words of Wisdom for Beginner Triathletes

Crystal’s story is a testament to risking it all for a dream. Failure might be part of the journey, but without trying, there’s no chance of success. To aspiring triathletes grappling with setbacks, Crystal has this to say: 

"Don’t give up. There will be a light at the end of the tunnel one day, even if it takes years," she says. 

Crystal also acknowledges that raising a podium placing triathlete really does take a village. She says her unwavering determination finds its roots in her mother's spirit and her own experience of hitting rock bottom in 2019.

She hopes this will remind us all that even in the bleakest moments, there’s a flicker of hope that can ignite a roaring fire of resilience. 

In the echoes of her victory, we find the anthem of persistence. Her story is not just a tale of a triathlon; it’s a narrative of the human spirit refusing to bow down.

It’s a call to everyone, especially women, to chase their dreams, defy expectations, and emerge stronger after every setback. Because in Crystal’s victory, we find not just inspiration but a roadmap to conquering our own Ironman races, one step at a time.

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