Sunday, 24 May 2009

The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again

Yes, it has been pouring cats and dogs since Wednesday night. Although it was a good opportunity for darling and myself to spend some time together for the weekend, as we rarely do so.

Having said that, although my Saturday morning bike ride had to be shelved, we started our morning by sweating out at the gym. Li-Ann smuggled me in as I'm not a member. I made full use of the 1.5 hours there, did some spinning and strength training with weights, which have been pretty neglected since I started doing long distance triathlons.

For brunch, we went to a quaint and cosy coffee shop in Mount Lawley, Globe Coffee House. Also partly because our Entertainment Book vouchers were expiring by June 1st, so we are both desperately trying to eat at as many of this places as possible before then. Yes, we are VERY kiasu!

We were both pretty satisfied with our mains. I had the club sandwich and Li-Ann had the salmon rye.

But the dessert could have been improved though. There weren't many selections, and our orange almond cake didn't quite have that zing.

After a hearty brunch, we planned to take it easy for dinner. But we couldn't refuse an invitation with 1/3 of our SLB friends at Durty Nelly. Eric, Brendan, Jessie and her friend, Sebastian who came to visit Perth. The special of the day was $16 T-bone steak, so we all ordered the same thing!

I had mine plus 1/3 of Li-Ann's steak and 3/4 of her chips. In addition, a full mug of Kilkenny beer and 1/2 mug of hers. You bet I was filled to the brim that night!

Amazingly, that REALLY helped my 30km run the next morning. The strategy was to clock 45 minutes for the first 10km and slow down by a minute for each 10km after. My first 10km was 44:46, 2nd 10km was 45:31 and the 3rd 10km was 46:13, giving total time of 2:16:30 (average 4:33 per km)! That's about a 3 minute PB!

Anyway, I won't put too much pressure on repeating this feat for next Sunday's training, but I'm more confident now to achieve my sub 3:20 target for the Perth Marathon.

Oh, I received this few days ago. We each received a $60 gift voucher as part of our entry to the Busselton Half Ironman.

It feels a bit... erm... sexy. Slightly revealing at the neck and shoulders area. But I like the colour, can't wait to try it out! :)

Monday, 18 May 2009

Up and down...

...if I were to describe my weekend in three words.

On Friday night, I watched the Wolverine movie. I found it pretty average. The characters in the movie used different names from what I used to know them in the comics. The female audience in the cinema were swooning over Hugh Jackman though.

I found Gambit so much cooler.

I didn't mind the movie actually. But what irked me was the $40 parking fine I got - that made it to be $50 for watching the movie! Yeah, I was in a hurry, and I made a foolish decision by just checking the car next to mine, whether to buy and display a parking ticket, rather than actually checking the parking signs.

Saturday morning was spent doing an 80km bike ride. Managed to clock a 28.6kph average for the entire distance. Pretty happy with that effort. I didn't put any pressure on myself to go over 29kph, as there aren't any triathlon races coming up.

Although, a suggestion was made that I asked to represent Malaysia at the Long Course World Championships in October. It is held in Perth, how convenient! But the thought of racing with the world's best seemed pretty daunting, and I'm not too keen on coming out last when I'm representing my country!

In the afternoon, we all were given a birthday treat by Marc for rock climbing in Northbridge. I'm glad that I don't suck as much as I used to. Had lots of fun, thanks Marc!

On Sunday morning, my initial plan to do a 30km run had to be called off, as I came down with a pretty bad flu. It actually started since beginning of the week, but it got a lot worse that morning. Li-Ann made me take some meds and I was in bed most of the day.

But come evening, my legs were itching for a run, so I went out and did 20km. Pretty happy to clock 1:27.47, might be the stimulating effect from the medication.

The weekend was wrapped up with a steamboat dinner hosted by our friends in Ida Street, Balcatta. Thanks Eric, Renee and Brendan! Dinner was great!

Today's Monday again...

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Growing up

My brother turned 15 two days ago (I call it mid teenage, kind of like mid life crisis, hahhah) and my sister is turning 23 in two days time.

Here's a picture of them, taken about six years ago.

And look how much has the little brat grown, into a young man! He has beaten ALL of my personal best swim times.

And how about this, how much has THE OTHER brat... erm... still remained a brat? Hehheh, nolah, she's matured plenty at Kiwiland.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, my two baby siblings!

Monday, 4 May 2009

More Busso HIM 09 pics...

From the official photographer...

Plus finishing video taken by darling...

video

Busselton Half Ironman 2009

Click here for last year's blog posting.

PRE RACE JOURNEY

Darling and I left for Busselton at 11.30am on Friday. Didn't need to leave so early as the race registration and bike check-in was only from 5pm onwards.

Instead of having our usual pit stop at Falcon for the famous pies at Miami Bakehouse, we decided to have the pies at their Mandurah branch instead. It was also nice to have a stroll at the Mandurah boardwalk. The Stretch Festival was on, and there were some interesting display of artwork using recycled stuff.

After lunch, we continued our journey and arrived at Amaroo Motel, Busselton at 4pm. I spent an extra $10 this time, to get a quieter, nicer room instead of the one facing the highway last year. After taking a cat nap, it was time to get the bike ready for check-in.

The record turnout at this year's race was obvious from the long queues at the registration. But the volunteers were efficient and we got through the lines fairly quickly. After setting up my bike and activating my timing chip, we had a look the expo stalls, ranging from Ryders eyewear, Newton running and Avanti bikes. There weren't many great offers but I did manage to get two pairs of Injinji toe socks for $15 each, a bargain!

Carbo loading dinner that night was at Vasse Bar Cafe. The crowd was huge, it took about 35 minutes for our meals to come. But the portions were massive, we had to take-away some of the pizza.

RACE MORNING

After a good 7.5 hours sleep, I was woken up by the quacking ducks outside at 6am. Had my packed Nutrigrain cereal breakfast, did my mandatory stretches and toilet visit before we headed out to the race venue.

The weather was clear, unlike last year when it rained the night before. The water seemed mild and the announcer warned us about the risk of stingers. I had my body marked and set up my transition area. Quickly downed a Powerbar performance bar with some Powerade, applied some suncreen, did some more stretches and it was soon time to start.

I struggled a bit with putting on the wetsuit, but Li-Ann was very helpful. At 8.02am, it was my wave start, just couple of minutes after the open category.

1.9KM SWIM - TARGET 30 MINUTES, LAST YEAR 30:31

I foolishly positioned myself at front of the pack. You think here Malaysia ah? The Aussies are very strong swimmers, you know? Spending the first five minutes of clobbering with the hundreds of competitors starting with me, hyper ventilating as the cold water made it difficult to breathe. It was no fun at all and I was close to giving up.

Also, halfway through I was stung by one of the many stingers. Here's my souvenir. And I thought the high neckline was restricting my head movement. Obviously not high enough to protect me from stingers!

Things got better soon, I'm glad to say my open water swimming and sighting has improved. I reached the shore, completing the first leg in 28:36. My watch buttons must have been accidentally pressed during the clobbering, as it showed 14 minutes when I ran through the showers, I thought I had to do another lap!

Happy with the improved swim time, although everyone improved on their swim by about 1 minute, maybe the water conditions were better, maybe the markers were slightly under-distanced.

90KM BIKE - TARGET 2 HOURS 45 MINUTES, LAST YEAR 2:48:04

I spend a bit more time in transition this year, had a bit of trouble getting the wetsuit off and putting on the toe socks. Also helped to place back the goggles belonging to the competitor next to me. Total time taken was 3:14 (last year 2:49).

Also, my wobbly legs caused me to unclip my left pedal on my way out, had to clip it back again and slowly find back my momentum. In order to achieve my overall sub 5 hour finish, I was gunning to improve on the bike leg as I had sexy Ah Rui with me, and my training times for the other two legs weren't showing too much improvement.

But somehow the ride didn't feel as easy as it was last year. Maybe I pressured myself more this year, maybe the smooth roads of Busselton were beginning to wear through. My usual race pacer, Clive Bingwa overtook me at the 15km mark. Gee, that's pretty early... it'll be hard to catch him on the run later.

I downed a Powergel at the 30km mark, drinking Powerade at every 10km. The urge to pee wasn't as bad as last year. Organizers promised some portable toilets on the course but there were none to be seen. Some guys had to go behind the bushes!

I would like to take this opportunity to show gratitude to the guy who told me that my Powergel was dropping out of my pocket, as he passed by me. Thanks mate!

I did the first of the three laps in 56:10. That means I had to work harder on the second and third laps if I wanted to keep them under 55 minutes average, to achieve the 2:45 bike target. My second lap was 54:55... sweet!

But that must have taken a toll on my legs, as by the third lap, I find it hard to maintain a 31kph pace. I opted not to take in another Powergel at the midpoint, as my stomach was a feeling a bit bloated.

Finally finishing the final lap in 56:41 and couldn't wait to get off the saddle. I took one more Powergel just before the finishing, for the energy for the run later. Total bike time was 2:47:56, less than 10 seconds quicker than last year. There was a long line at the penalty box. I supposed with the huge turnout, not drafting could be difficult.

T2 was much better. I slid out of my pedals smoothly and put on my run shoes and cap with ease. Total time taken was 57 seconds (last year 1:17).

21.1KM RUN - TARGET 1 HOUR 40 MINUTES, LAST YEAR 1:39:21

It feels great to be out on the run. I was overtaking the others, one by one! Defending champion Pete Jacobs lapped me just minutes into my run, I should have asked for an autograph, hehheh.

But I came across another celebrity encounter as I gave way to recent Ironman China female winner, Charlotte Paul. She said thanks :)

I had a slight fall as I was overtaking a competitor at the drinks station. I tripped over a curb as there wasn't much room on the right but that didn't stop me from running a fast 7km first lap, because I did it in 30:28! That's a 4:21 per km average! Li-Ann was cheering me at the end of the lap, and I surprisingly met our hockey star from KPMG, Brent Dancer, he must be supporting his girlfriend.

But the quick first lap started to affect my legs soon. I had some tightness around my left quads and hamstrings, and had to take a couple of minutes stretching them. The second lap was completed in 32:44.

By then, my watch was showing 4 hours and 24 minutes. I thought to myself, I should be able to run the remaining lap with a 5 minute per km average, and thus, just squeezing under 5 hours. Managed to overtake Clive Bingwa at the beginning of the third lap. But I ran the remaining lap conservatively, and my legs were feeling tight from time to time. The temperatures were also rising as the sun became brighter.

Coming close to the finish line, finding whatever strength I had left in my legs to sprint to the finishing. I completed the last lap in 34:03, finishing the half marathon in 1:37:36 and posting 4:58:21 for the entire race!

I finished 277th out of 1059 competitors who completed, 39 out of 83 in my age group. Four time winner Pete Jacobs had to hand over his crown to Iroman Malaysia 2009 winner, Luke McKenzie who also broke the course record in 3:47:01. While Charlotte Paul took the women's honours in 4:23:33. Full results here.

POST FINISHING

I queued up for the post race goodies. They weren't much - a finisher's cap, an apple, a banana, a muffin, an Anzac cookie and a Carbo Shotz bar. It was a totally different atmosphere from racing in Malaysia. I don't have many tri friends here. I chatted a bit with Shao Wu, who swims in my swim sessions. I passed him on the first run lap but he overtook me strongly at the final lap. I also talked to Sam Goh, a Singaporean doing his Masters in Sports Science in ECU Joondalup. This was his first half ironman distance.

But that's about it :( So fellow triathletes in Malaysia, do come and join me next year for a fun and well organized event next year, okay?

I didn't bother lining up for the massage as the queue was really long. And we were eager to head to Margaret River for our accomodation by the beach. So eager that I left my wetsuit on the car and drove off with it still on! Many thanks to the lady who picked it up and called us, really appreciate it!

POST RACE TRIP

A 60km drive to Prevelley Beach, Margaret River for our accomodation at Margarets Beach Resort. Thanks to SLB friends who got me this as last year's birthday present. The place was wonderful! We made full use of the laundry and kitchen facilities!

Dinner was at the resort's dining place, Gnarabar. From our memorable experience last year, this place did not disappoint. Thanks Jasmine, for lending us the Entertainment Card while mine was lost in the mail!

The next morning, much to darling's delight, I cooked breakfast! But that doesn't mean, it would be happening on a regular basis, okay? Hehheh.

We took a stroll on the beach, relaxed until it was noon before checking out. We stopped by Olio Bello and was greeted by the fragrance of organic olive oil.

Lunch was at Margaret River Providore and we give our food two thumbs up!

We made a quick detour to Busselton jetty again for Simmo's Ice Cream before heading home.

I'm knackered. This half ironman has taken a lot more of out me than I expected. Hope to recover quickly for the Perth Marathon in about 2 months time.