Tuesday, 15 April 2014

shi shang zhi you mama hao

Today is my mum's birthday. Since I've moved overseas, I have not been able to celebrate with mum in person. That's 13 years... and counting. I usually wish her either by giving a call or through Skype. Sometimes I get my sis to run around to get a present. Most often, I choose the lazy route and transfer some money so my mum can buy something for herself.

This year, her birthday is even more special as it marks her official day of retirement. She has been a teacher all her life and if I'm not mistaken, it has been almost 25 years since she has started teaching in SMK Subang Jaya. Did you know that all 3 of us siblings went to the same school that mum taught in? My mum was born to teach and we always joked that she has in-built loud speaker. I remember vividly when we were having our SPM trials and we could hear her teaching from the opposite block! Love it or hate it, it was what it was. I actually found it pretty cool that mum's closest friends are those who have educated me and seen me grow up.
My mum and yes, that's me! I was probably 16 then and it was cool to wear shirts that are 3 sizes too big.
My sister shared pictures and video clips of mum's farewell ceremony with us. And it was clear how much she was loved, both by students and fellow teachers. And so they should. Mum is a dedicated and caring teacher. She often puts others first and her needs last. Even at home. Each time we come home from an outstation trip, no matter how late it was or how tired she was, she made sure that all our things were unpacked away, clothes washed, meals cooked - ready for the next day.
Mum's retirement, taken from my sis' Instagram. Dad and sis surprised her by showing up. Dad even brought a large bouquet of flowers!
Mum loves to travel and see the world. Now that she has retired, we hope that she has more time to do that without having to worry about school holidays or marking exam papers. I look forward to travelling with her and dad to the USA later this year.
There's no horsing around when mum's around hehehe
Happy birthday mum! Sorry I've missed out on yet another birthday. Congratulations on your retirement! Best wishes and may you enjoy it to the fullest in this new chapter in your life. 

Lots of love from Canada.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Week 2 of 26

I learnt from last week and scheduled a rest day on Monday to recover from the big weekend workouts.

On Tuesday I did my usual 12km at Springbank. It was a nice sunny day and with the long sleeves, I was overdressed. Had a nice tailwind on the return lap and ran a low 52 minutes for the distance. Wednesday was a 60km ride to Thorndale and back. Had a slight headwind on the way back but still manageable.

I did not wake up for a morning swim this week and did my session on Thursday evening. Partially because Li-Ann and share a car, and I planned to swim on my way to work, it didn't feel right dropping her off at work at 6am in the morning! For the swim, I decided to do something different with a main set of 20 x 100m - odds were freestyle, evens were individual medley. Then a 400m steady swim, finishing up with 12 x 50m - odds were either butterfly or backstroke, evens were freestyle. Friday I did the same 60km ride as Wednesday, and had very similar conditions. I even clocked just 1 second quicker! I like being consistent :)

The weekend came and although I cycled the evening before, on Saturday morning, I did a 100km ride to Southwold and back. It was sunny and the winds were pretty calm. I had 3 layers on and I was baking inside. Finished with an average of 30.4kph, so I was happy with that as I usually ride slower on this route - some rolling climbs and plenty of turns, so it does slow me down. In the evening, I spent an hour in the gym.

That night, I was tracking my sister and a few athletes whom I coach back home, racing Putrajaya 70.3. The live feed, however, wasn't updating very well. So I stopped tracking just before midnight and went to sleep. The next morning, after catching up with my sister (who by the way did very well for her first 70.3 with limited training!), I went out for a 22km run. It was warm enough for me to wear a singlet. I tried on my new Asics GT2000 and a new pair of socks as I ran out of running socks (pun, not intended!). Probably wasn't the wisest thing to do for a long run. But it felt alright other than feeling a bit snug which tends to happen with new shoes.

Started well at about 4:30 per km average but after about 10km, my back felt stiff and legs didn't have much in them, so I slowed down to 4:45-5:00 pace. Could be a combination of the late night's sleep and my first 100km ride the day before. Anyway, I willed myself to finish. I had Taylor Swift's 22 song playing in my head and deliberately made the distance to 22.22km, finishing just a few steps off my front lawn!

In the afternoon, I did a quick and dirty swim session with main set of 6 x 500m to help recover from the long run. The pool was pretty busy with a few lanes being reserved for a coached swim session. All the splashing made me feel as if I was swimming the ocean!

Week 2 stats:

Swim 7.0km (2 hours 5 minutes)
Bike 220.3km (7 hours 6 minutes)
Run 34.2km (2 hours 36 minutes)
Gym (1 hour)

Total 261.57km (12 hours 47 minutes)

Monday, 7 April 2014

Week 1 of 26

So I said I'll share my training log up until the big race - Ironman Malaysia, Langkawi on September 27. Here's the first week of my 26 week build up.

Originally I didn't plan a rest day this week. I started the week off with a 50 minute session at the gym, alternating between arms, legs and core. My legs were still feeling a bit sore from the weekend run and on hindsight, I should have taken this day as a rest day. This became even more true on Tuesday. It was nice and sunny outside but the winds were really gusty and I didn't want to risk being blown off my bike after having not rode outside since November. So I went on the trainer but I felt no power in my legs at all. I decided to call it quits after 15 minutes.

I did make up for it the next day. I got home late and only started my ride at 6pm but luckily we still get daylight until past 8pm, so I was able to get a 60km ride in. I went to Thorndale and back. A pretty decent effort too, if I say so myself, averaging at 32kph.

Thursday's weather was a bit gloomy. I did a 12km run at Springbank, had a nice tailwind on the way out. The wind was blowing so strong that my legs could barely keep up with it. On the return lap though, it was pretty tough and I had to dig deep try maintain an even split - was slower by 3 seconds on the way back.

Friday it rained most of the day, so I spent another 90 minutes on the trainer. I'm not sure whether it's because it's getting warmer and I'm feeling more uncomfortable, or the resistance on the trainer actually gets harder with the higher temperatures. I was struggling to hit the speed I usually do in winter.

The weekend came and because I took an unscheduled rest day earlier, I packed two workouts on each day. Saturday I did a swim in the morning with my favourite main set - pyramid swim of 100m, 200m, 300m, 400m, 500m, 500m, 400m, 300m, 200m, 100m. At first, I had the whole lane to myself and then, 3 other guys came and did sprints. Yes, it was pretty crowded and in a 25m lane as well!

I took a nice long nap in the afternoon and hit the road for a long run in the evening. I've been gradually increasing my long run the past few weeks and this week, the plan was to hit at least 21km. The route I took got my clocking 21.7km with a 4:30 per km average, so I was pretty happy.

Sunday's weather was nice and sunny. I took my bike out for a ride heading towards Thorndale again and then a loop around Lakeside. The wind picked up on the way back and you guessed it, it was a headwind! My average speed dropped a bit but still glad to have done 90km in just over 3 hours. I was pretty tired but had a couple of hours rest, before I did a long swim set just after lunch - I was burping curry chicken! Main sets were 1km, 10 x 100m, 1km. The first two sets were okay but I did not have much left in the tank by the 3rd set and it was 30 seconds slower than the first.

I'm quite pleased with this week's training. I haven't been able to pull myself out of bed for a weekday morning swim but hopefully, I'll be motivated enough to do that next week.

Week 1 stats:

Swim 7.0km (2 hours 2 minutes)
Bike 205.1km (6 hours 24 minutes)
Run 33.7km (2 hours 30 minutes)
Gym (50 minutes)

Total 245.83km (11 hours 46 minutes)

Monday, 31 March 2014

T minus 26 weeks...

...to my triple A race this year - Ironman Langkawi, Malaysia.

I've been training regularly the past few weeks. Clocking around 10 hours, about 210-220kms a week, most of are spent cycling on the trainer. The temperature has risen which helps a bit. I managed to run outdoors a couple of times a week for the past few weeks. The ice on the roads have mostly melted, although there are puddles in some parts that never seem to subside. I've given up avoiding puddles and just run through them, which is why I haven't started using my new Asics GT2000 trainers yet. My poor Brooks Adrenaline are already very worn out and still taking a beating.

Weather forecast for London, Ontario for the next few days. Taken from the Weather Network
The weather forecast looks promising. Finally, positive degrees Celcius everyday! We will still get some light snowing here and there but temperatures are warm enough for the them to melt quickly. With some luck, I may be able to start riding outdoors next weekend. Although, it may have to be a midday ride as temperatures hover around the freezing point early in the morning.

As if I'm not doing so already, I'll try to share my training log every week from now on. Yes, I'm one of those who overshares my training sessions and annoyingly floods your news feed with how far I swam, biked or ran today. But hey, it's my blog, my Twitter and my Facebook, so I get to do what I want haha. Plus, it'll give this blog a bit more activity as it has been quite slow the past few months.

The past few months of maintenance training has come to an end. The REAL training starts tomorrow. I'll try to get myself used to waking up early for some morning swims. I have been sleeping in everyday and only doing my workouts in the evening.

In 4 weeks time, I'm doing a half marathon at the Forest City Road Races - my first race for the year and I plan to do well to start the season on a good note.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Free birthday meals!

We celebrated my wife, Li-Ann's birthday over the weekend. Being the bargain hunters that we are, we subscribe to the mailing lists of some of the local restaurants and manage to score free meals in the months of our birthdays.

Here's one at our favourite Italian restaurant - Fellini Koolini's. My New York striploin was a bit dry, I'll ask for medium rare the next time. Li-Ann had the lobster lasagne and it was really rich!

On Saturday morning, which was the actual birthday itself, we had brunch at Maxwell McCoys. When we arrived the doors were closed but we noticed there were patrons inside. After waiting for a while, the cook came out and told us that the wait staff had gone home sick and they had call in replacement wait staff. But he let us in and we sat ourselves at the table and helped ourselves to the menu.
Burger with a generous serving of fries
Eggs benedict and you guessed it, fries!
Li-Ann had always baked her own birthday cake. But we didn't bring any of her baking equipment here. You can see that she improvised with a mooncake box from Tai Thong as the baking tray.

Happy birthday darling! I'm so lucky to have such a wonderful and supportive wife. Love you, muaks!

Monday, 10 March 2014


On early Saturday morning, news of a missing Malaysian Airlines plane shocked the nation and very soon, the world. Flight MH370 lost contact with air traffic control about couple of hours after midnight on it's way to Beijing, China. 48 hours have passed since then and yet, still no clear indication of what could happened to this plane.

I do not know anyone directly who is on this flight but going through news feed on social media, there are some of my friends who are directly connected to either passengers or crew members on the flight. My thoughts go out to the families and friends affected. I cannot imagine what they are going through at the moment. I can only keep on praying that the people on the flight are safe.

Taken from Pray for MH370 Facebook page
There had been bits and pieces of information emerging, adding to the mystery and many confounding theories of what could have happened. But I choose not to speculate and urge many to do the same. Instead focus your thoughts and prayers for the safety of the passengers and crew members of flight MH370.

Life can be so uncertain and fragile. A distant relative of mine passed away a few hours before news of this missing flight. He was not suffering from any illness, so his passing was a shock to his family and friends. I pray that he rests in peace and for his family and friends to be strong to get through this difficult.

Things like this really put things into perspective and shows how sometimes, the things I fret about can be really petty and in the end of the day, not worth getting stressed about at all.

Monday, 24 February 2014

It's starting to melt!

Well... not quite. But we have been getting more sunlight and the temperatures are getting a tad bit warmer. As it should be, as we are only a couple of weeks from when it officially becomes spring. But every now and then, we get a cold front and snowstorm... and it seems that winter is NEVER going away.

Yes, I am whinging, as much as I hate whingers. But I'm getting sick of running on the treadmill or riding on the trainer. I took a gamble to run outdoors this morning. It seemed mild enough at -5C. The trouble with melted snow during the day is when it gets colder overnight, it freezes turning into ice. So the paths were pretty slippery this morning. I did slip but the fall was pretty gentle, so not a scrape. It did hurt my ego though.

After having not ran outside since November, it was difficult getting back into it. I struggled with my breathing in the cold air and somehow couldn't bring my pace up. Of course, I was being cautious too with the slippery paths. But I have been slacking off in the past couple of weeks too. Only running once a week and had been nursing a cold, which I am happy to recovered from. But now my left foot is feeling a bit sore for some reason. So I'm taking it easy.

But I hope to get back on the train soon. Winter is almost ending (I hope!) and I have the Forest City Half Marathon in just over 2 month's time. I would like to start the season with at least a decent performance.