Sunday, 25 May 2008

Tak sedar diri

First it was Arnie who did a comeback in 2003 with T3. He was 56 then. The first Terminator was released 19 years earlier on. Then, Stallone (who is a year older) did a double with Rocky Balboa two years ago and recently, Rambo, 26 years after the release of the original, First Blood. Not too far away was our reluctant bald hero in Die Hard 4 released end of last year.

And tonight, I'll be watching this old man in action.

Kingdom of Crystal Skull, the 4th edition of the Indiana Jones series, released 27 years since the 1st one, Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981. Harrison Ford turns 66 this year.

Just my thoughts... do these men actually realise how OLD they are? What are they trying to prove? Are they suffering from post 50s action movie withdrawal symptoms?

But just having your eyes opened on a typical race morning... be it a triathlon or a 10km run, you see so many elderly people, clad in their skimpy race vests, clocking times that can put the average adolescent to shame. I supposed being old doesn't mean that one can no longer do what they used to do 20, 30 or even 50 years ago.

Age is only a number...

You are only as old as you think you are...


...just some of the common adages. I too, intend to race in triathlons and marathons for as long as my body permits.

Hmm... better start investing in more glucosamine and iron pills.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Corporate smarts

I had my annual performance review meeting last week, with my performance manager and our division partner in-charge. Lately these meetings were more about what I intend to do in my future rather than how I performed in the past. I have actually openly expressed my desire to leave the firm to venture into commercial accounting by mid next year.

What, you crazy ah? I can imagine what you all are thinking. But on the contrary, it has worked to my advantage. It is a fact that most people in an accounting firm would not stay on to become a manager or a partner. We all worked out a plan to train me up to be ready when I leave for commerce, like getting me to audit clients within the industry I wish to venture into, getting me onto client secondments.

We also talked about one of our major clients who is looking to employ a CFO in their newly acquired business. I overheard our partner recommending me to the CEO over the phone. Now how many of us have our current bosses helping their employees look for other potential employers?

But I think it is a win-win situation. If I were to be employed by that business, our audit work would be easier in the future as there is a former KPMG employee working with the accounts. And if our partner believes that I have the caliber, he has maintained a good client relationship by recommending a capable person for the job.

Yup, he is a smart man. Just within 3 years when he came into this division, we grew from a family of 20-30 people, just having tax and accounting services... to an army of over 80, offering multiple professional services ranging from tax, accounting, audit, superannuation, migration and also corporate leadership.

Speaking of smart people... one can only imagine how much this guy made just over the last 48 hours.

Air Asia, by offering ZERO air fares to and from Perth in just two days, the tickets were sold out within moments. I was only able to get hold on the Rm199 air fares. It is still a lot cheaper... and even the airport taxes were only about Rm250 as compared to other airlines of over Rm1,000. God knows how he managed to get such prices. Hope we aren't flying over some terrorist air zone!

With that, I have decided to compete in Langkawi Ironman 2009. I have already booked my flights to Langkawi... also for Rm0. Now I only need to get my leave approved so that I can register with ease of mind.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Iron siblings

Watched the Ironman movie during the weekend.

Pretty good watch. Lots of cool special effects. Cheesy comic book dialogue were kept to a minimum, so that's good. Although the good guy vs baddy fight scene only came in towards the last 20 minutes of the movie... but it's an intro movie (are we expecting a sequel), so that's acceptable.

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Here's to wishing my two younger siblings very happy birthdays... 14th for one, 22nd for the other (I'll leave it to you guys to guess which one's which).

My sister, whom I hate to admit has all grown up and I guess finally ready to be on her own in New Zealand. All the best, sis... do give your ego a rest and call home once in a while to make your old folks happy, okay?

You are right! Your feet DO land crookedly!

My baby brother (yes, you would always be THE BABY of the family regardless of whether you are 14, 21 or 65! :P), it was weird seeing you being less than 15cms shorter than I during my last trip back. Looking forward to see how much you have grown this time around. I know being a teenager is tough... with raging hormones, various temptations and the whole world's out to get you! Whatever you do... DON'T ask you sis for advice! Hahhah.

Eh, eat more meat lah. Would help those skinny arms when swimming butterfly.

If it weren't for those neck bracelets, I wouldn't be able to tell all 5 of them apart.

Monday, 5 May 2008

0.5 Fe

PRE RACE JOURNEY

*Edit* For pics from official photo website

Li-Ann and myself left for Busselton on Friday morning. We dropped by our usual pie brunch at Miami Bakehouse.

We soon arrived at Busselton around 1pm. I got ready the bike for check-in... lubricate chains, pump tyres, tape Powergel (3 on bike frame tube, 3 more in my tri suit pockets).

I tried looking out for Graeme, my division partner and Shae, another colleague, who are both competing as a team. Graeme would do the swim and bike... while Shae would do the run. This is the first time that Shae would run more than 13km... good on her!

There were quite a few stalls at the expo. However, they weren't very good deals. Still pretty expensive. Except for some clearance Ryders eyewear, which were going for AUD20 and AUD40 for polarized. Wanted to get a pair for my sis, unfortunately, none of them seemed to fit well.

In our race kits, we were each given a T-shirt, a small tube of Carboshotz, swim cap and lots of other flyers (including one on Aviva Ironman 70.3 Singapore).

My race number was 452... which according to darling is a good luck number.

Darling and I had our carbo loading dinner at Vasse Bar Cafe. We ordered Kumara scones, fettucine carbonara and vegetarian pizza... which we had trouble finishing and had to tar pau.

It was a funny feeling to see fellow competitors everywhere... in the place we ate... at the supermarkets... I guess this was how it would turn out if a large group of triathletes and their families come to a small town like Busselton.

RACE PROPER – target 5 hours 30 minutes

Woke up at 6am to arrive at transition at 7 before it closes at 7.30am. Had a banana and my NutriGrain cereal for breakfast. Yes, I actually brought my cereal bowl and UHT milk along for this trip.

Still no signs of Graeme or Shae. Maybe I'll meet them on the race course or catch up with them after the race.

Had our bodies marked for our race numbers and category.

It rained the day before… so our bikes were all wet. Good thing I wrapped my shoes and seat with plastic bags the day before. But the weather conditions on the race morning was mild... slight breeze with clouds. Perfect for fast times.

Race briefing was at 7.35am, followed by the national anthem. The first wave started at 7.55am. Mine was meant to start at 8.05am. I didn’t get to warm up in the water. The wetsuit took a bit of effort to put on. I managed in the end... with darling’s help.

Swim 1.9km – one lap, target 30 minutes

My wave was flagged off at 8.10am.The wetsuit did help a lot in the cold water. It was really clear too. I could see the sand and sea weed clearly from the top. It was good to have so many people swimming at the same time. It made it a lot less likely to get lost! Apparently, this year’s race drew a record entry of 1,700 competitors.

It was comforting to see that just after few hundred metres, I was overtaking the earlier wave... those in pink caps. I nearly made short cut after the first right turn... we were supposed to swim on the left side of the buoys all the time. A coast guard on a raft told me to swim back to the buoy.

Swimming back to shore was a lot easier... with the tide bringing you in. I came out of the water at 30.31. Was a bit disappointed as it was outside my target... and I have already built in some slack into the target. I thought I could go under 29 minutes. Maybe I didn’t kick enough... it’s so easy to forget to kick when swimming with a wetsuit... as it gives you added buoyancy. But maybe it was a good thing that I didn't kick that much. Save my legs for the bike and run.

video

I had no problems spotting my bike. It was also comforting to see that there were still many bikes left on the rack. But I was a bit dizzy from the currents of the open water. Struggled a bit to remove the wetsuit. But I took my time... it would be a long race anyway. Dried my feet before putting on my socks. Had not too much difficulty mounting the bike and slipping into the tri clip shoes. Total T1 time was 2.49.

Bike 90.1km – 3 laps of 30km, target 3 hours (1 hour per lap)

I was surprised at how FLAT and FAST the bike course was. I needed little effort to keep the bike spinning. I passed by the UWA Tri club coach, who was taking times for his squad. He gave me an acknowledgement nod.

It was here where I experienced the usual... better cyclists overtaking me at almost every minute!

The bike course took us past some development wetlands and into the highway roads which were surrounded by woods. The roads were smoothly tarred. A Jamaican looking guy, who I've seen in several races before this, passed me after the first turnaround. He had always beat me on the bike and I tend to beat him on the run. Let's hope that this is the same for this race.

On the way back, there was a bit of commotion. A saw a small crowd surrounding a young girl. I soon got to know that she had a pretty bad bike accident and fractured her facial bones severely. An ambulance came soon and she is being treated in the hospital as we speak. Hope she recovers soon.

I made it back on the first lap slightly over 55 minutes. I was ECSTATIC! If I can keep this pace for the other two laps, maybe I should revise my overall target to 5 hours 15 minutes. I downed my first Powergel. Darling cheered and took pictures at the end of each lap.

I actually felt the urge the pee since the middle of the first lap, but I distracted myself by focusing on the race. The winds picked up a bit on the second and third lap. But my pace wasn't affected much. I decided to be patient and not try to overpush myself... thinking that it was going to be a LONG race. By the 3rd lap, Jamaican guy extended his lead to nearly 5km ahead of me. I was given a warning to keep a further distance from the front cyclist. He overtook me and slowed down right in front of me. Good thing I wasn't penalised.

There were timing mats that we had to go pass at the end of each lap. Somehow my wireless cycle computer showed 99kph each time I pass them. Must be some interference. Can't be going that fast!

Second Powergel was taken after the second lap. I was actually doing a calculation of when I should time my gels during the run. Yes, stingy me... was feeling pretty strong, so I thought I didn't need that many gels during the run. Besides, I was getting plenty of electrolytes from the Powerade I've been drinking on every 10km the bike course. I decided to take one more gel right at the end of the third lap.

Total bike time taken was 2:48.04 (32.2kph). My bike dismounting wasn't very smooth. There were several cyclists in front of me and I was afraid that I wouldto collide into them if I glided while dismounting. So I did the ol' horse dismount (dismounting only after bike is completely stopped).

Took my time slipping on my running shoes. Didn't want to suffer blisters from wearing the shoes improperly. Total T2 time was 1.17.

Run 21.1km – 3 laps of 7km, target 2 hours (35 minutes per lap)

My initial run target was made with a slack allowance in case I went over my bike target. As I came out of transition, my watch was showing 3:24... this means with a 1:45 half marathon run (5 minuters per km), I might be able to do a 5:10 finish!

But I tried keeping my composure... maintaining a steady pace. The crowd was really encouraging. There were tents set up on the side. Some in fancy dresses. I cheekily blew kisses to a group of ladies in floral dresses... playfully gave some kids high fives... really soaking up the atmosphere, enjoying myself.

There were some competitors darting to the public toilets on the run course. My urge to pee went away once I started sweating. I reached the first turnaround in about 16.5 minutes. I thought if I could keep under 34 minutes for each lap, I would make it under 5:10 for sure. The first lap was completed in 33.26.

There was still no sign of Jamaican guy. Hopefully he was not too far away. I felt blisters developing around my little outermost toes. Slowed down the pace a bit. I downed another Powergel after the 2nd turnaround. 2nd lap was completed in 34.14.

It was only after the 3rd turnaround that I saw Jamaican guy... and passed him! :P Was feeling much stronger on the 3rd lap (which was a lot shorter due to the finishing chute), kept on overtaking people... completed it in 31.39...giving total run time of 1:39.21... and overall finishing time of... not 5:15, not 5:10 BUT 5:02.04! I was stoked!

video

I was placed 259 out of 883 individual competitors and 17 out 37 in my age group category. The overall winner, Pete Jacobs, set a new course record with 3:50.01, more than 10 minutes faster than the time he did when he won Desaru last year. Click here for full results.

I proceeded to the athlete recovery area for muffins and fruits. We were each given a finisher towel (no medal, no collared T-shirt... haiya). I then got reunited with my NUMBER ONE supporter... Li-Ann.

While queuing up at the massage tent, I finally met Graeme and had a quick chat. The teams started later so he suffered more of the winds on the bike course. I really wanted to speak to Jamaican guy, and get to know his name! But I didn't get a chance to.

Getting a bit emotional recalling all the support everyone gave me for this event. My family, Li-Ann, friends, colleagues. Thank you, all! Yes, Eric and Brendan... I was also very touched by the phone call the night before!

My hats off to the organizers. It was indeed a well organized event. FULL ironman...? Let me just keep that in mind for now...

POST RACE TRIP

The prize giving ceremony which ran from 9am to 10.40am. Was not lucky enough to win any spot prizes. Darling and I then went down to Margaret River for a bit of sight seeing.

We had Cafe Au'Lait and Mexican Chocolate in a place called Urban Bean. They were served in bowls!

We then went to visit Leeuwin Estate. Didn't do any wine tasting... but took MANY pictures!

We had lunch at Gnarabar, where darling bravely attempted the steak burger... which I ended up eating most...

The mushroom and fontina bruschetta we had for entree was really good too.

We left for Perth after that and arrived around 7.15pm. I'm going to be so stoned at work on Monday...

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Ironman Vs Jellyman

I've just sent an e-mail to my division saying that I won't be in the office tomorrow. I'm leaving for Busselton at 9am in the morning. Then a cheeky colleague of mine REPLIED TO ALL wishing me good luck for the Half Ironman this Saturday. Now everyone is wishing me good luck... even my partner in-charge! *blush*

A bit of irony... after the finish line of an Ironman, how many of us would actually feel like an IRONMAN...

Or do most of us feel like a JELLYMAN... so weak that you can barely walk... and crawling seems like a very tempting option...

Hopefully, I would feel more like the first... but the second seems more likely...

Next post would be race report with pictures!