Sunday, 31 August 2008

Independent humans

While many others back home were doing the Nike Human Race 10km along with several other countries in the world, or some who were enjoying our Malaysia independence day festivities, I was down to do the City to Surf 12km run, from Perth City to City Beach.

Although this was not at all associated to the Nike Human Race, with over 36,000 participants, exceeding last year's turnout by more than 6 thousand, I think this could very well be called a HUMAN race too.

Last year's timing was 53:26 (average 4:27 per km) with heavy showers and strong winds. I aimed to clock at least under 52 minutes this year (average 4:20 per km), considering the weather was much better... slight winds with clouds, not too hot.

Li-Ann dropped me off at the city at 7.15am. Darling, you aren't missing out again next year! The half marathon runners were just about to start. I don't like the route for the half marathon as it goes through the trails of Kings Park.

I ate an expired Powerbar (sis, they are ALL expired now. Hope they don't cause me any stomach problems in my races hehheh) with Powerade drink. Did about 12 minutes of warm up jogs around the Central Park foyer at my office tower.

Went upstairs to my floor to use the bathroom before I head out to the starting line. Met Jiun, Susan and Vicky from my division. Jiun has been getting himself psyched up for this run since the beginning of this year. He didn't compete last year due to sore shins. Peter and Alex from main audit came to have a chat. I haven't seen them run before, so this would be interesting.

8am line-up... I gave my bag to the clothing bus. It was a lot more organized this year, where they had different buses for different categories. 8.15am was the start... Olympic gold medalist Cathy Freeman were among us, doing a celebrity appearance. I doubt she was lining up at the front though.

I was meant to start in the B Category - 48 to 58 minutes, but I found many others (i.e. C Category - over 58 minutes) in the A Category - under 48 minutes compound, so I followed suit. Less traffic to get through at the start.

True enough, I clocked the first km in 4:25, still required a bit of crisscrossing between the crowd, but much better than last year. Right after the first km, we had to climb a hill at Edward Street, but surprisingly I was still able to clock a fast 2nd km in 4:12. I overtook Jiun at this point, and passed Peter shortly after.

My legs felt like ironed pistons as I somehow powered through the next few kms. 3rd, 4th and 5th kms were done in 4:02, 4:03, 4:02 respectively. I told myself not to get too excited as the hills were just about to come. I clocked the 6th km in 4:27. We haven't come to the hill yet, so I thought maybe the first 5 markers were under distanced.

Then, we came to the FAMOUS Underwood Avenue hill right before the 7th km mark. I looked downwards at my feet, just watching them go, distracting myself from the steep slope up ahead. I clocked 4:26 for the 7th km, giving 29:37 so far, still under 4:15 per km average pace.

We passed by the 4km runners at this point, they have yet to start. They cheered us as we passed. 8th and 9th km were back on FAST and FLAT ground, so back to the usual pace, 4:07 and 4:10 respectively.

Up until now, I haven't marked any runner as my pacer. I guess I'm a type of runner who runs very much on my own, by my watch. There was a steady built up of slope after this. I clocked the 10th km 4:15, giving 42:09 so far. I did a mental calculation, that in order for me to go under 51 minutes (and hence, surpassing my target by a WHOLE minute), I have to clock at least 4:25 per km for the next 2 kms.

The uphill seemed to go on forever. My 11th km was 4:28. I thought my chances of breaking 51 minutes were slim... BUT right after that, it was down slope all the way! I opened my strides, still can't sprint very fast though... endurance runner mah... clocked the final km in 3:48 - my FASTEST 1KM SPLIT EVER, giving total time of 50:25 (average 4:12 per km), whole 3 minutes faster than last year... I WAS STOKED!

I met Alex right after that, he didn't time himself but I think we finished about the same time. Went to collect my bag at the clothing bus drop off, was delighted to find it with ease and not take 30 minutes like last year!

Few other work people I met after that - Peter, Joe who arrived late and had to catch his breathe for 10 minutes before starting, Jiun who wasn't too happy with his time (hope this spurs you on harder for next year, mate!). I also met Jordan, whom I used to swim with and is now working with WHK Horwarth... Natasha who improved by nearly an hour compared to last year's walk, well done!

There were many corporate marquees set up... BHP Billiton, Royal Perth Hospital, Western Power... Come on, KPMG! Could have at least organized a team with T-shirts and all! Even middle tier accounting firms like WHK Horwath and BDO Kendalls had their own team AND paid for their members' entry fees!

I finally caught up with Jasmine, Michael, Bernice, Su Yen and Cheryl at the UWA meeting area. We stayed a while for the prize presentation... the men's winner finished in 35 minutes (under 3 minute per km!) and the women's winner finished in 42 minutes (3.5 minutes per km!). Cathy Freeman lined up in the walking category but her competitive spirit made her run until about 4kms to go, where she legs started to hurt. She finished in about 80 minutes.

And then, John picked us up, all squeezed into Su Yen's car, with Li-Ann joining us for lunch at Taka's in the city later. Thanks guys, for the transportation, really appreciate it!

Overall, I really enjoyed this year's run. The organizing was much better... perhaps the fine weather helped too. So... sub 50 minutes next year?

Sunday, 24 August 2008

On track

I apologize that lately my posts have been nothing but my triathlon training progress, but with only just over 6 months from Langkawi, I can't help it!

I've finally lowered my 10km run to 42:40 (average 4:16 per km), my fastest so far since recovering from the marathon.

And this morning's bike ride... I knew I was doing a good ride, the weather was fine, not too windy... I was aiming to improve on last week's training PB of 27.8kph average to clock somewhere above 28kph average... BUT I was ecstatic when I did 80.84km in 2:50.08 (28.5kph average)!

Although, I am noticing more and more mysterious scratch marks appearing on Ah Rui's body. Could be due to the stones hitting it as I ride past. Sigh... can't be helped...

Somehow, the pain in my left achilles has shifted to my right one. My physio highly recommends that I see a podiatrist for my VERY flat feet (or in his words, PANCAKE feet). I have been putting off seeing a podiatrist for very long now. Didn't want to incur the costs, also didn't want to add extra weight from the orthotics to my running shoes.

But I think I really should get my feet checked... if I really want to be doing triathlons for the rest of my life. Maybe I would just use the orthotics for my training shoes, and not have them in my racing shoes.

Okay, I'll set an appointment with Peak Podiatry in the coming weekends.

Sunday, 17 August 2008


The Olympics swimming had come to an end. Michael Phelps got his 8 gold medals. There were a few upsets in the Aussie camp with favourites, Liesel Jones, Jessica Schipper, Eamon Sullivan, Grant Hackett failing to finish tops. But there were a few pleasant surprises as well, coming from breaststroke specialist Brenton Rickard and backstroke young gun Hayden Stockel. A 19 year old world record, Janet Evan's 800m freestyle finally came down, and it was broken by fellow Britain, Rebecca Adlington who became the first female swimmer to win an Olympic medal since 1960, by winning the 400m freestyle earlier.

And for another week of the games, I will be less glued to the TV but there seems to be plenty of action in other events as well...

Usain Bolt, became the world's fastest man on two feet yesterday, and he broke the world record even by celebrating playfully towards the last 10 metres! UNBELIEVABLE!

Thanks to brother Eric who gave me his TV. The one I bought from KMart two weeks ago was making high pitch noises. Good thing I was able to return it.

Look, it's a SONY TRINITRON! And it's so much clearer than the previous one!

I too, did my best cycling average in training this morning. 81.07km in 2:55.00 (27.8kph average). But it wasn't without any hiccups. I stopped at a junction while waiting for a car to pass by, but wasn't able to unclip my pedals in time... so I tumbled down...

I'm alright... only a slightly bruised left palm, but look at what happened to Ah Rui...

But actually I fell on my left, how come my rear derailleur got scratched? Hmm... weird.

I had some soreness at my achilles tendon. Went to see a physio and got my feet taped, to hold them more rigidly. My flat feet are causing some tension on the achilles due to too much rolling inwards and outwards.

But the tape came off during my swim the day after. My achilles are feeling much better now though. I was told to do heel drops on the steps, 60 times a day. That has been helping a lot.

Sunday, 10 August 2008


Olympic fever is here... I'm so glad I braved the cold and started my bike ride at 6.30am this morning, to make it in time to catch the swimming finals.

This won't be my first time singing praises for this man on my blog, but he has never failed to impress each time he plunges into the pool.

The guy is a FREAK OF NATURE! Watching him being a FULL BODY LENGTH in front of his own world record time set just 5 weeks ago was OUT OF THIS WORLD!

And then we have our very own, Stephanie Rice... whose world record set at the Aussie trials was sidelined by her controversial Facebook pictures, and to have her world record broken by Katie Hoff at the US trials... and to break up with her 50m freestyle record holding Eamon Sullivan just before the Beijing games.

Well, she did a Phelps by ALSO breaking the 400IM record by a full body length!

Finally, I can't be any happier for this Korean kid...

Pint size Park Tae Hwan, just short of 19 years of age, clocked the second fastest 400m freestyle ever! Second only to the legendary Ian Thorpe who set the time in Manchester in 2002. He also won Korea's first ever swimming medal at the Olympics... and he delivered a gold medal!

It's such a joy watching Asian guys kick ang moh ass at world swimming meets...

Don't know about others, but I always get fired up while watching major swimming events. Inspired, motivated and sometimes, even a bit emotional...

After 4 weeks of being absent from my running route, I finally visited it... twice. Both 10km runs were clocked just under 43 minutes.

And this morning's 80km ride was clocked in 2:55.52 (average 27.4kph)... a much better effort than last week's fatigue plagued ride.

It might be because I planned the ride much better this time, not pushing it too hard in the beginning. Also, I stuck to using the smaller chain, so less strain on the quads. But either way, I'm happy that my legs are back on track!

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Spending Ah Rui

As if last week's bike purchase wasn't damaging enough to this month's budget... I got myself an Avenir bike bag.

It was going for AUD150 on the Triwa Forum. I thought it was a good buy as Joo Ngan back home was selling bike bags for about Rm600 to Rm700. And I have been eyeing a bike bag for quite some time... must take care of Ah Rui mah... she would be travelling with me from Perth to KL to Langkawi and back.

I haven't heard of the brand, so I Googled it and it is pretty popular in the UK. A similar bag was going for GBP65, which is about AUD135. After I told this to the seller, he was nice enough to drop it down to AUD130, which is only about Rm400!

And then, my old tv decided to give up on me. It was passed down by a friend who left Perth many years ago (ironically, she's back now, getting married here soon... but that's a different story!).

So I got this 21 inch Audiosonic brand tv from KMart for AUD119. It's not a plasma or LCD, but I just need something to keep myself entertained and updated during my free time... especially with the Olympics just being around the corner!

It makes a funny sound each time you put it on standby though. Oh well... that's what you get for that kinda price...

I finally brought Ah Rui out for a long ride today. Was really impressed at how aerodynamic she was! Contrary to what most cyclists believe, I actually found time trial bikes better at climbing slopes, as they have narrower, shorter frames. But then again, it could be because she's lighter than my Avanti.

I'm still getting used to changing gears on the time trial bars while doing hill climbs but loving it when it comes to the flats! As the gear shifters do not have a trip function like road bikes, I can switch easily to and from the large crank (excuse my layman bike terminology... but if you give me numbers like 27, 29, 24, 22 etc. I would have no idea what you are talking about!). Although some may advise against shifting the crank too often. A bit of help here?

Aero position is not too bad... no serious sore backs but had a bit of neck stiffness from looking up while being in aero, even 30 minutes into the ride!

At the 1 hour mark, I had already clocked 29 kms (I normally do about 27 to 28kms at this point)... so I'd thought I was making some record time! But fatigue soon set in somewhere after 45kms and by 60kms, I was merely spinning, just over 20kph average.

I completed 80.34kms in 3:08.06 (25.6kph average). I even skipped the last 5km of slopes at Dalkeith and replaced them
with flat roads around my apartment. After I finished cycling, my head felt a bit dizzy. My stomach was growling due to hunger but at the same time, it was feeling bloated and windy from the heavy breathing. I quickly downed a packet of expired Powergel.

Could be due to the time-to-fatigue run which I did for the exercise science experiment this morning. Could be due the test tube of capillary blood taken from my forearm during the experiment. Or could be due to me hammering too hard in the first half of the ride.

Any way, I can't wait to get back into form to bring Ah Rui out for a fast n' furious ride!