Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Some guidance on Saucony Guide 8

I've been racing in Saucony shoes for a while now. In fact, I did my first sprint triathlon in a pair Saucony Jazz, about 14 years ago. But it was really when I was training for my first Ironman when I got hooked on the Fastwitch series. I now have a collection of Fastwitch-es from the 3rd edition to the 6th, which all I had great racing experiences with.

Having Saucony Malaysia come on board this year to support me in my lead up to Ironman Malaysia 2015 was a true honour. I've been a massive fan of the brand and I feel really grateful and rewarded to be picked. I guess sometimes, it pays to be loyal to the products that serve you well!

Enter the Saucony Guide 8. I've been using the Guide 7 for my tempo and long distance runs over the last 7 or so months. The shoes have clocked well over 1,000kms and it's time to give them a well deserved retirement. The Guide 8 is nearly identical to it's predecessor with some very subtle changes. So for those who have been using the Guide 7 and wishing to upgrade, have no worries transitioning into these pair of shoes.

Contrasting colour scheme of the Saucony Guide 8
The Guide 8 comes under the guidance or stability category of Saucony running shoes. Tipping the scales at 10 ounces or 280 grams, these are often labelled as lightweight stability shoes. Perfect for those wishing to get some cushioning from pounding the tarmac over the longer distances but not sacrificing the agility and responsiveness, that tend to be lost in heavier shoes.

As I have close to no arch (you should really see my flat... and I mean, REALLY flat feet) so I tend to look for shoes with arch support. On the medial or inside of the shoes, the Guide 8 has a Dual Density Saucony Super Lite (SSL) EVA system that supports the mid sole area. While on the lateral or outside of the shoes, they have the PowerGrid feature, which absorbs impact and re-distributes pressure around the feet. Saucony uses PowerGrid instead of gel for cushioning because gel is heavier and so it can only be used in small areas. Whereas PowerGrid cushions the entire surface area, and minimizing weight at the same time.

Dual Density SSL EVA arch support
PowerGrid technology for impact absorption
Saucony's Injection Blown Rubber (IBR+) technology is 33% lighter than and more durable standard rubber. Perfect for my staple mileage trainers! 
For those running in tropical climates, Saucony has got you covered as their shoes are well ventilated. The Guide 8 is no exception with it's honeycomb textured mesh on the outside and on the inside, it uses it's patented RunDry moisture wicking material. Even the inner soles come with 24 tiny holes on each, improving the ventilation inside the shoes.
Honeycomb mesh for maximum ventilation
Even the in-soles are well ventilated!

One notable update from the Guide 7 is that the SRC Impact Zone on the outer heel area of the Guide 8 has been extended further into the mid sole, increasing surface area of it's crash pad. Again, designed and engineered to minimize the ground impact on the runner. The heel drop ratio or offset is 8mm, which is not surprising given the extensive support the Guide 8 gives and it's similar to shoes that sit within this category with other brands.

SRC Impact Zone marginally increased from the Guide 7
8mm heel to toe drop
The Guide 8 also comes in a wide range of colours to suit different tastes and in two widths - regular D or 2E wide.

Pick one that tickles you fancy! Source: www.saucony.com

I've ran in these shoes for a few times now, the longest run being 22km. So far the experience has been great. My feet feel well cushioned and supported from the impact. But still very responsive and not sluggish. I was able to put in some good pick up efforts and the shoes responded well to the increased leg turnover rate.

Looking forward to putting many more miles in these babies, thank you again Saucony Malaysia!

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Visit Brisbane

Just a week after my friend David left Brisbane to return to Malaysia, my parents came to visit. This gave me the opportunity to see Brisbane and it's surrounds as a tourist as we barely have time to do that on our own.

Mum and Dad arrived on Wednesday morning at the Gold Coast airport. I was meant to take the day off but had a meeting which I could not miss. Luckily, my brother Keith was visiting from Sydney as well and he was able to pick Mum and Dad up from the airport. I was able to get off work by midday and we did a brief sightseeing tour then.

A short tour of the UQ campus. Keith made the comment that, from this picture, people may think he studied here.
Mt Coot-tha summit overlooking Brisbane CBD below
The next two days, we parked at Kangaroo Point (as it was free parking!) and did a long walk to South Bank and Brisbane CBD area. It was especially windy on the second day and with the low temperatures, it felt very close to the single digit temperatures! So much for being in the Sunshine State!

South Bank - Keith's favourite place in Brisbane!
We walked from Kangaroo Point along the Story Bridge (shown behind) to Brisbane CBD
The Liverpool football team were in town doing their tour

Roma St Parklands

Another visitor rescued this baby possum from the birds and placed it in the tree
Li-Ann then joined us for dinner at the Eat Street Markets in Hamilton. Pity it was so cold and windy, otherwise it would have been a lot more enjoyable!
On the weekend, we took a drive to the Sunshine Coast. First stop, being the Glass House Mountains area. We took a hike up Mt Ngungun, which was 2.8km return trip up to the summit which was 253m above sea level. And after checking into our accommodation in Caloundra, a nice relaxing stroll along the beach.

Steep climb to the summit

I'm on top of the world!
Awesome view from the summit. That's Mt Tibrogargan
At the lookout viewing point
Low tide at Bulcock beach
After a nice dinner at Hog's Breathe, we went to bed with a good night's sleep. I got up early for a 12km run along the beach before we checked out. We then headed to Mooloolaba harbour for a whale watching cruise. It was pretty windy that and the skipper gave the tour group the option of re-scheduling our respective bookings to another day. As my parents weren't local, we decided to go ahead with the cruise.

Well, as we got out to the open water, it got a bit rough and more than half of the tour group got seasick. Myself, Li-Ann and Keith included. There was a point where I could feel my legs turning into jelly and I was feeling as though I was going to pass out. I sat down and tried to sleep, which helped pass the time. Mum and Dad were okay though. We didn't manage to see any whales and the cruise company offered a refund as part of their guarantee. We did however, manage to see a few dolphins.

All happy before the boat left the harbour
Mum and Dad flew back to Malaysia that night. It was quite a long drive from Sunshine Coast back to Brisbane and then to Gold Coast airport. We did have a good few days though, it's nice to have some family bonding time, which we often take for granted before. Now that we're in different parts of the world, we can't wait for the next one!

Friday, 10 July 2015

100 x 100m swim

To be honest, when the club first announced the Day for Dani Fundraising Swim, I didn't take much notice at first. Coupled with the fact that it was on the same day as the Gold Coast Marathon, which I would be doing the half distance. When I found out that there were two sessions, one later in the afternoon which I could still make it for, I was pretty keen.

Dani (short for Danielle) was a member of our Red Dog tri club and was involved in a cycling accident couple of years ago. Her injury was permanent and she is now in a wheelchair. It was great for the club to put on this initiative each year. And hopefully, with the proceeds raised, it will help make Dani's life a little bit easier.

I thought I would give the solo 100 x 100m a shot. The furthest I have swam during my competitive swimming days, way back in my late teens, were 2 to 2.5 hour sessions and these reached just over 7kms at most. Most of the time they were about the 5 to 6km mark. If I am successful, this would be something nice to tick on my bucket list.

It was nice and sunny when we started at 2pm. There were about 30 or so of us at the pool at the afternoon. We were allocated to the lanes according to our respective speeds. The lane I swam in held  the 100m cycles of around 1:50 to 1:55 including rest times. And after every 1km or so, we took extra rest to refuel and some lollies were brought around to give us extra energy! There was a young boy, about 10 years or younger, who put in a massive effort and did a fair bit of leading. I took over towards the later stages to take the pressure off him a bit.

It was hard at first. By the 3rd km, I thought I was about done. But I kept pushing. Having a few others in the pool definitely helped. After the 5km mark, it got a bit easier mentally as we were halfway through. But here's when many began to stop swimming and getting out of the pool. So it got a bit quiet. A handful of others stayed on, so they kept me company.

Towards the final km, there was only myself and another girl who were still swimming. Some of the faster ones have already completed the solo 10km. It got a bit scary as the sun was beginning to set and the pool was being prepared for closing. The pool covers were being put on the lanes next to us so they were all dark except for our lane. The meme below kept playing at the back of my head!

C'mon... I'm sure you had this fear too... that a shark will magically appear in the middle of the swim pool!
But we finally got it done. Finishing the last lap was a bit anti climatic as most people have left but it was no less satisfying. The time I recorded was 3 hours 9 minutes. My arms were sore and I had chaffing on my armpits. But I think the longer lasting effect was the dry skin from being soaked in chlorinated water for so long! Until today, I'm still scratching myself despite applying heaps of moisturizer! Having said all that, I'm proud I did it and it was my small contribution to Dani.

Hope that any upcoming Ironman swims would feel much shorter now in comparison!

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Gold Coast Half Marathon 2015

For the past few years, I've always used a half marathon as a lead up race early in the season. It's the perfect distance to dust off the cobwebs and I don't need to worry about racking up too many training miles in order to prepare for it. Because of this reason, I haven't been breaking PBs over the half distance for quite a while. My previous best time was 1:27:32 in 2011, race report here.

But I was keen to break that cycle and after some solid speedwork at the track sessions the past few months, I knew I have a good shot at it. Just the Tuesday before the race, we did a 5km time trial and I was only 10 seconds slower than my 5km PB despite holding back a bit.

Couldn't bring myself to give it a 100% with the upcoming weekend's half marathon in mind
Race eve was quite a relaxing but fun day. We took a drive to Surfer's Paradise, about 50 minutes away. My friend, David is visiting from Malaysia and doing the half distance as well. So we decided to stay the night. We each booked a one bedroom apartment at Islander Resort Hotel, the building is a bit old but the rooms are clean and spacious. An evening stroll along the majestic beachfront followed by some street food at Miami Marketta was just what the body needed to unwind and prepare for the race the next day.

The Expo At the Gold Coast Convention Centre. There were many more stalls than at the usual Ironman expos. 
Next morning, an early start to catch the 5am tram to the race precinct in Southport. The trams were packed and we were lucky that we were able to squeeze ourselves in without having to wait for the next one. Upon reaching the venue, I did a last minute visit to the portaloo. The half marathon was to start at 6am, about 80 minutes before the main event, which is the marathon. So it was still pretty quiet (and the portaloos were still reasonably clean!). Did some warm up jogs for about 10 minutes, then we deposited our clothing bags and lined up for our respective start zones. David gave me a wager that if I did not break my PB that day, I needed to drink 3 pints of beer that night!

Here's where a little bit of drama ensued. I was in the A start zone (less than 1 hour 45 minutes) and with the massive crowd, I could not locate the entry point of the gates to get there. There were a handful of runners in the same boat and we decided to climb over the gates. Then as I was inching my way towards the front of the A start zone, I could hear the announcer counting down to the gun off - great! Quickly turned on my Garmin but it was taking forever to locate a signal. Never mind, I'll just run with the timer mode then.

The race gun went off and there was still a sea full of people ahead of me. I was trapped in and had no choice but to follow the pace until I had more space to do some overtaking. I lapped my watch to the first km marker and to my disappointment, it showed 4:37! I had a lot and I mean A LOT of work to do if I wanted to break my PB. The second km wasn't so bad and I clocked 4:09. And I managed to go a bit quicker for the next 2kms, both at 4:04.

Still keeping it in control
The course was fairly straightforward. Just out and back with short detour at the 6-7km mark and the turnaround point just after the 11km mark. It's virtually flat with some very subtle inclines when going up the bridges. The weather was great - it was a bit chilly early in the morning in single digit temperatures but when the sun came up, it was nice and crisp. Very low humidity and minimal winds.

I managed to overtake the 1:30 pacer just after the 5km mark, so I knew I was in a good place. It was still fairly crowded at this point and I had to weave in and out to keep pushing the pace. It was only after the 11km turnaround point where I had plenty of space to myself. There were a few guys and a couple of ladies around me, we played cat and mouse for a fair bit and there didn't seem to a clear breakaway. My pace started dropping to the 4:10s and I was unsure how long more I could hold on. I was still on track on breaking my PB but it was going to very... very close.

Now I'm out of control!
The home stretch couldn't have come any sooner. As we approached the start of the finishing gantry with about 200m to go. I started kicking but I am clearly no sprinter as those around me surged past me, leaving me in their wake. As the finishing clock was in my sight, showing the gun time rather than the net time, I had no idea what I'll end up clocking but I gave it my all, crossing the line with 1:27:25 on my watch - I knew it was a PB, just not sure by how much!

Pity I couldn't get a GPS measurement. Would like to know how far or close it was.
I limped around the recovery area, drinking a few cups of Endura as I ran the whole race without any drinks. Collected my medal, finisher T shirt and my clothes bag. Once I settled down to wait for the massage, I was able to check my previous best time on my Athlinks account and delighted to see that I broke it by 7 seconds. Was even happier when the official results showed my net time another 3 seconds quicker!

Happy to keep my pace fairly consistent!
Coincidentally, I found David as we were making our way back to the trams. With 9,000 participants and their supporters for the half marathon, we initially planned to meet back at the hotel. After a brief wash up and hotel check out, we had breakfast by the Surf Club to cheer the tail end of the marathon runners going past - and, we get to catch a Spiderman marathoner in action!

A very well organized event with minimal hassle getting to and from the race precinct. Barring any upsets, I look forward to doing this again next year!

Being a side event, it's not surprising that our medal is a little bit smaller.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015


Can't believe that it's been 3 years already since our wedding and 9 years since we officially became a couple (according to Friendster... Yes, it was during THAT time!). One of the perks of having our anniversaries just one day apart, it helps me remember!

We celebrated early on the weekend by taking a 35 minute drive to Raby Bay and then having lunch at the Grandview Hotel at Cleveland Point. The weather was gorgeous, barely a cloud in the sky. The restaurant had a nice ambience in its heritage building. The food however, was pretty average though.

So bright we could barely open our eyes!
Rump steak and pork cutlet to satisfy our inner carnivore!

Happy anniversary darling! I'm so glad to have you in my life and looking forward to sharing many more happy moments to come!

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Season 2 begins...

It's been 4 weeks since my Ironman finish and 3 weeks since my last blog post. The break was most welcomed and we did quite a few things done.

Just a week after the race, we did a weekend trip to Sydney to attend Li-Ann's cousin's wedding. We could have stayed the whole week in Sydney after the race but we both have work to do. Li-Ann's parents came along from Malaysia, so it was nice family time. I caught up with my brother too who's studying in Wollongong and he stayed with us for a night in Sydney.

Can I log wife lifting as part of my training?
Pretty obvious I'm not that great in taking we-fies
Another poor selfie - but the pork knuckle at Lowenbrau was awesome!
I was told we looked almost identical despite being 11 years apart
We moved house the following weekend too and loving the new place. Plenty of room and at the moment the house is pretty empty with just the two of us. It's about 7kms from my workplace (yes, I already did a weekend run to and from hahaha) but Li-Ann has much further to travel now.

Most of our furniture are made in Malaysia. Doing our bit to help our export economy!
Plenty of space in the garage as well where both my bikes live happily.
I've finally had a full week of training this week, after skipping a few sessions here and there for the past couple of weeks... no particular reason, I was just plain lazy! But glad to be getting back into the routine. This week was tough too finishing up with a Sunday group session where I did 2km swim, 90km bike and 16km run. I struggled a bit at the later stages of the bike and was contemplating not running at all. Luckily I listened to Coach Pete who asked me just to go for an easy jog. I felt pretty good going out, struggled a bit on the way back but still kept an overall average of 5 minutes per km.

For the first full week back, not too shabby if I say so myself
The main goal race would be Ironman Malaysia, Langkawi on November 14. I have a lead up races planned in the next few months, starting with the half marathon at the Gold Coast Marathon in the first weekend of July. With a fast and flat course, let's see if I have the speed to beat my personal best all the way back in 2011. Would be working hard at the Tuesday track sessions for the next few weeks.

Thursday, 7 May 2015


Ironman Port Macquarie, also known as IMOZ, is the first Ironman in Australia and the 4th oldest Ironman in the world (after Hawaii, New Zealand and Canada). From it's humble beginnings as the Great Lakes Triathlon in Forster Tuncurry in 1985 with about 165 competitors to over 1,500 at the start line in Port Macquarie, home to this iconic event since 2006.

Pre race

I signed up for this event while I was still living in Canada, thought it would be nice to make my Ironman return to Australia in it's oldest event and to make it even more special that it was celebrating it's 30th anniversary in 2015. It was easy enough to get to from Brisbane, about 7 hours drive. But we chose to fly, our original flight was a direct one but that got discontinued, so it changed to a short stopover in Sydney with a Qantaslink flight to Port Macquarie. The weather leading up to the race has been pretty severe, with cyclonic like storms and our little plane was being blown around it during the short flight from Sydney to Port Macquarie.

We stayed at Ozzie Pozzie YHA, which arranged complimentary airport pick-ups and drop-offs. We booked a room with an ensuite, it was clean and decent, and the place had a bit of a laid back cabana atmosphere that catered well for the surfer crowd. It rained most of the day and although we brought an umbrella with us, it was blown inside out by the wind. The registration and athlete check-in was in the Glasshouse Convention Centre, about 1km away. The organizers did a great job capturing the history of this event, with a grand display memorabilia since it's first year in 1985 - photo albums, posters, finisher towels, T-shirts etc.

The giant #IMOZ at the Glasshouse
I tried to ride that afternoon but it got too wet and windy, so I decided to play it safe and turned back after 5 minutes. Welcome dinner got a bit muddy although we were under sheltered tents but luckily it stayed dry during the short walk to and from the hostel. The next morning, I did my practise swim the water was pretty choppy still. And pretty windy when I did my second attempt of bike practice. I managed to ride to the big hill on Matthew Flinders drive this time, didn't dare go down it with the weather conditions. The rain only started to clear up later in the afternoon. Organizers gave the option of checking in our bikes on race morning but many still checked in that afternoon.

One of the perks of being part of a winning club. Now I won't be running past my spot in transition!
Race morning

One great thing about having 5am training sessions was the body started getting used to waking up at 4am. I did my usual routine and visited the toilet twice before leaving the hostel. We then took the short walk to transition. It rained again overnight but the skies looked clear in the morning. I gave my bike a quick wipe down and then made our way to the swim start, which was a few hundred meters way. It was a rolling start and I was seeded in the 1 hour to 1 hour 7 minutes gate. I had some spare time and was able to get a few hugs and kisses from Li-Ann before she left the gate.

3.8km swim

The swim took place in Hastings River, it's one lap in anti clockwise direction. It has an interesting twist where somewhere before the 2km mark, we had to climb up and down some stairs to cross the weir and do the same just after the turnaround. Water was pretty cold, about 20 degrees Celcius. But once we got moving, it was okay. Unlike the day before, the water was nowhere as choppy. There were some currents, to our favour, on the way out.

Visibility was not very good, I could barely see past my shoulders. There weren't many buoys and the boats and yachts docked along the river made it a little confusing and difficult to sight the next buoy. I got a bit off course in some occasions and it didn't help that those in front of me weren't necessarily swimming in the right direction either! But we didn't get too far off before the paddlers signalled us back to line. My first crossing across the weir was about 30 minutes and about 42 minutes for the second crossing. I thought I would be close to 60 minutes for swim and dabbled with the thought of finally going under the hour. But on the way back, we swam against the currents and that slowed me down a bit.

Came out of the water in 1:02:21, pretty happy with that as I had been swimming around the 63 minute mark for the past two wetsuit Ironman swims.

Transition 1

Quick run into transition, managed to get my wetsuit sleeves off pretty quickly but had to struggle a bit getting it off my ankles. My tri top didn't have any rear pockets, so I just slid my two Clif bars under my top, behind my back. They fell off a couple of times as I ran towards my bike, so I had to turn back to pick them up. I then tucked my top into my tri shorts and that did the trick. A slow but steady fly mount on the bike and ready for the challenging bike course. Total time 3:31.

180km bike

The bike is two laps, out and back, with a few turn around points. It goes along the coast but we only get to overlook the coast in some sections. We go down the infamous hill on Matthew Flinders drive outbound and we climb it on the way back. Some rolling hills in and out of town and then mostly flat sections after that. The weather was a complete turnaround from the days before, calm breeze with a slight headwind on the way out but tailwind on the way back. Unlike the previous days where I felt I could be blown off my bike, I felt much less intimidated and more confident descending.

That was until I got to Matthew Flinders. I thought I was prepared to go down in the calmer weather but I wasn't. I got off my bike and walked it down the hill. Felt a bit silly and embarrassed doing it, but I thought better to be safe than sorry. Once I got to the bottom of the hill, I continued cycling and thought no more about it. And then... it happened, around the 27km mark, my rear wheel felt a little bit bumpy and soon, I could hear it hitting against the ground. Yes, I had a flat tire!

Still had my rear wheel on, coming out of transition
I did my best to stay calm. Screwed off the valve extension and plugged in the sealant, hoping that it would meet the valve. It didn't at first and the foam was spraying everywhere but it soon did, and I could see the tire inflating. But it didn't last and I guess that puncture was too large to be sealed. I made it worse by dropping the valve extension into the wheel rim - DOH! I don't usually carry spare tubulars with me and this time was no different. I decided to call it quits and waited for the SAG wagon. But a roaming mechanic came and said they would bring me a spare wheel. They didn't take very long and I was back on the course again. In total, I was out of action for about 45 minutes. I felt like a superstar after that, I was overtaking those in front of me, one by one!

Hybrid wheel setup - front carbon tubular, rear alloy clincher
But that affected my momentum a bit, I was nowhere near my racing pace. I kept on thinking of poor Li-Ann who had to wait almost an hour more before I return. The climb on Matthew Flinders was quite an experience, there was a carpet for those who wish to walk their bikes up and there were plenty of supporters cheering by the side. When I got back to town, she was cheering and I briefly pointed her to my rear wheel. I stopped by special needs to get another two Clif bars, the volunteers didn't prepare it in time but I only waited a short while to get them. Once I got to Matthew Flinders descent again, I chickened and walked down the hill again - probably the only competitor who was slower going downhill than up!

Almost the end of the bike leg, coming into town
The wind picked up on the second lap and the rough road surfaces become more prominent. Even on the way back with the tailwind, I could feel my energy being sapped away from the vibrations. My average speed was hovering around the high 28kph (not taking into account the idle time) and getting slower. Finally, got back to transition with 6:53:55 bike split including the downtime.

Transition 2

Legs felt a bit wobbly but was able to unstrap my shoes and dismount with the shoes still clipped in. The mats going into the change tent were a bit wet and I contemplated changing my socks but decided to keep the same pair on for the run. No big dramas here but I took the time to ensure that the volunteer packed my helmet away before leaving the change tent. Time taken 1:31.

42.2km run

The run course is 4 laps, mostly flat with one short but steep climb just after the first km out of transition. It goes along the main event area with plenty of support from the crowd. The Red Dog club members were cheering just after the big hill and I soaked up the atmosphere. Li-Ann was cheering as I just started my run and she was at the same spot after I made the turnaround so I was able to see her quite often. After such a long day, I wasn't sure how I was to approach the run. My legs felt good as I ran out of transition, turnover was quick and my upper body felt relaxed. I was running past those in front of me and some sections were narrow and slippery especially on the grass areas, so that got a bit tricky.

The Garmin picked up a signal very quickly, even before I left the change tent, to my delight. My first few kms were around the 4:45 per km pace and once the excitement wore off, I slowed down a bit but still keeping it well under the 5:00 per km pace. I didn't feel the need to walk at the aid stations and I was going to see how long I could maintain that. Surprisingly, I did that for the first two laps.

I'm happiest during the run
On the 3rd lap, my bladder was filling up and I was desperate to use the portaloos at the aid stations but they were always occupied. Finally, I decided to break my rhythm at one of the aid stations, slowing down to a walk so that I could ease myself as I walked through it and splashing water down my legs to clean myself up. I didn't completely emptied my bladder and a couple of aid stations later, there was a vacant portaloo, I raced into it and peed to my satisfaction - that was 45 seconds well spent!
Crossing the bridge that had 2 way traffic
I felt much better after but my legs were starting to get tired. My pace slowed down a bit to the 5:30 to 5:40 per km pace. The sun has set and it was getting dark. It started raining too and I no longer needed the water splashes over my head to keep myself cool. The volunteers began handing out glow sticks but my ego got the better of me and I declined taking them - never used them before, didn't intend to start now!

With about 4km to go, I knew the end was near, so I picked up my speed bringing it back to the 5:10-5:15 per km pace. Got to the intersection where the left goes for another lap, and the right goes into the finishing chute. The feeling was electrifying and I bawled my eyes out as I ran past the roaring crowd towards the finisher arch. In all my previous Ironmans, I've always wanted to shed a tear but I couldn't. This was clearly an exception and to top it off, FirstOffTheBike captured this special moment in 50th to 65th seconds in the video below.

My run split was 3:32:46, giving me a 2.5 minute PB over the Ironman run. I finished in 11:34:04, my second slowest time ever but one I felt a greatest sense of achievement in getting to the finish. I was 49th in my age group and 430th overall.

The finishing mat was wet from the rain, but I did add some tear drops to it
Post race

I didn't spend much time at all in the athlete recovery area as I was looking for Li-Ann. We caught up shortly after and went back to the room for a quick shower and then some Chinese dinner. It rained heavier that night and I decided to leave it to morning to collect the bike. We flew back to Brisbane the day after the race. Catching connecting flights with a tight transit time on wobbly post Ironman legs was a funny experience, if it wasn't so painful. My bike got offloaded the Port Macquarie outbound flight as there wasn't enough space but it got delivered safely to my office the next day.

So my 8th Ironman finish, done and dusted. It doesn't get any easier for sure. Massive thanks to my supporters back home - Compressport Malaysia, Lifeline-ID and Team H2C Boardman Malaysia for making it much easier for an amateur triathlete to keep on racing. The fun bunch at Red Dog Triathlon Training for keeping me honest in the sessions and for the cheer squad on the race course. Mum, dad, Karen and Keith and everyone back home sending well wishes and support messages and keeping me strong on the course.

Finally and definitely not least, my personal photographer/caddie/cheerleader/chef/masseur - my wonderful wife Li-Ann for putting up with me despite this crazy lifestyle of mine and being me in all of these events with such dedication. You are my pillar of strength and I owe my finish to you. I love you...

Looking forward to a month or so break, of train as I like before starting back again for Ironman Malaysia in November.