Monday, 27 July 2009

Uneasy

With only 5 days to go to Desaru triathlon and with my low mileage for the past few weeks, I can't help feeling unprepared.

My usual 80km Saturday ride had to be cut short to 20km due to multiple flats. I found out that there was a small piece of stone in the rear tyre.

A busy day on Sunday, hence, I decided against running 20km under the hot sun. I ran half the distance instead in 43:16. I take comfort in considering the additional 10km would be tiring me out and be counter-productive, rather than making me stronger.

I just need to have confidence in my accumulated training up until the Perth Marathon four weeks ago.

On another note, I finally got myself onto contact lenses! Yeah, my eyes are pretty bad, and a few years ago, contact lenses with my prescription would be anything but comfortable.

But the technology is much better now. I'll be using one-day lenses, which are softer and thinner. They even come with astigmatism included. And the best part is, they're all FULLY covered by my private health insurance.

And oh, this also means I would be able to race in sporty sunnies! I just got myself a pair of Ryders on the weekend :)

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

For sale

In my previous post, I mention that there was another reason for me making this last minute trip for Desaru tri. Well, the reason is... I'm getting a new bike.

And as I only have a pair of legs and the new bike would cost me a significant amount of money, I have to bid a sad farewell to my beloved Ah Rui and put it up for sale. Don't get me wrong, I love my Ah Rui to bits. But it is time, my cycling see some MORE improvement and hence, the bike upgrade.

I have shared many fond memories with Ah Rui. She has been more than a bike. She is my companion during my long training rides. My fiery mare during my races. With my mediocre cycling ability, she has helped me achieved some pretty swift times (although still slow by some standards), including 6:08 bike split for Langkawi Ironman and 2:48 bike split for Busselton Half Ironman.

So here are the full details.

Quintana Roo Kilo

Medium 52cm frame - I'm 169cm, suits my height perfectly!
Frame - Custom butted AN-6 aero tube frameset with carbon fork
Front derailleur - Shimano Ultegra 6600
Rear derailleur - Shimano Dura Ace 7800
Shifters - Shimano Dura Ace
Crankset - FSA Gossamer
Brakes - Tektro Caliper
Wheels - Alex 220
Handlebar - Quintana Roo Alloy with clip on Vision Alloy aero bars
Stem - Quintana Roo Aluminium stem
Saddle - Quintana Roo
Seatpost - Aluminium aero post
Tyres - Continenal Ultra Sport

Here's their official website. But as 2008 was the final year they made the Kilo model, you're unlikely to find this model on the website. The closest is the Tequilo but that comes with Shimano 105/Ultegra whereas the Kilo came with Shimano Ultegra/Dura Ace. So it's pretty top notch for an entry level time trial/triathlon bike!

I bought it brand new in end of July 2008. It has been regularly serviced, every 3 months (I made full use of the bike shop 12 month free service). It is still in very good condition, apart from minor scratches at rear derailleur and handlebars, caused from unintentional falls (I won't be intentionally damaging it, would I?)

I have listed it for sale on bicyclebuysell.com for Rm5,500 (excluding pedals and bike computer). Members and friends of THG can get a Rm1,000 discount off the listed price.

I'll be bringing this bike down to race in Desaru next weekend. Sales can be made then. I can be contacted at kskh@hotmail.com. If there is no sale (which I hope not), from then onwards, the bike will be located in Subang Jaya and my dad, Mr Siah can be contacted at 019-3351 254 to arrange appointments.

Grab it while you can! This is the perfect bike for those wishing to move on from road bikes to tri specific bikes, and at a bargain price too!

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Crazy?

As some of you are aware, I have made a last minute decision to make a trip back home for Desaru Long Distance Triathlon.

I would be departing from Perth at 9.35pm, Thursday 30th July via Tiger Airways, arriving at Singapore at 2.50am, Friday 31st July. Will then be joining the Singaporeans and other overseas competitors by ferry to Desaru. I'm flying back to Perth via Air Asia at 12.05am Tuesday midnight, 4th August. The total cost of my flights is A$316 including sporting equipment fee, which I think is a pretty good deal.

The temptation of racing in the local scene with familiar people and enjoying the camaraderie of my tri crazy friends is too hard to resist. That, and another reason why I'm making this last minute trip, which I would devulge later...

Many thanks to the people of THG for helping out with my last minute call for assistance with logistics etc. Everything has been sorted. My supportive family would be making a holiday trip down. I can't be any more grateful for them!

And of course, my ever wonderful girlfriend, for putting up with this crazy, last minute decision of mine. I won't be dragging her along in this rush trip, but I would be thinking of her constantly throughout... pre, during and post race.

So... me, being someone who's obsessed with proper planning, has signed up for a race at the eleventh hour. Although I have been consistently logging in my training, they were somehow lacking in focus and sometimes, less driven. That doesn't mean I don't have a race target, as I always do!

Hmm... I supposed 5 hours 15 minutes is a reasonable target for 2km swim, 90km bike, 21km run... given the infamous choppy waters of Desaru and temperamental cross winds on the bike course - 35 minute swim, 3 hour bike, 1 hour 40 minute run reasonable?

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Guess who's in town?

I apologize for the poor picture quality taken with my camera phone.

Without having this blog turned into a political one, here's a short clip on the man's take on last year's September 16th issue.

video

I was lucky enough to be roped in to help my friend out with this informal luncheon for Dato' Sri Anwar Ibrahim to meet the Malaysian community in Perth. The main event is the Interfaith Conference organized by Perth Lighthouse tonight.

Personally, I don't want to get myself too involved in politics. But I give the man credit, he definitely can speak well... a trait which is pretty rare amongst our Malaysian leaders these days.

...I'm attending my friend, Natasha's (the same friend whom we helped for the luncheon today) birthday celebration tonight. The theme is Caribbean Cruise and there is a murder mystery game involved! Sounds like fun!

...darling has been in Sydney for the past week with her brother on holiday. Maybe that's why I'm lacking a bit of drive in my training these days. Can't wait to bounce back on track!

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Race report

*Edit* For race pictures from official photo website.

This is for this morning's Perth Marathon 2009... yes, I don't procrastinate, I like to jot them down before I forget :P

The night before, darling and I had a great carbo loading pizza dinner at Little Caesars, Mundaring, which is 45 minutes drive away. Great is an understatement... it was definitely worth the drive, and also worth the wait (the place was packed full, mainly with Asians. I tell you, Asians REALLY love their food)

We had great company - Eric, Renee, Brendan, Mindy and her mum, Li-Ann's brother came along as well as we brought his friend visiting from Melbourne. We ordered NINE pizzas - 6 large ones and 3 dessert pizzas. We were all stuffed and had to take some home. I, myself had about TEN slices of pizza!

Race morning... I woke up at 5.30am, had my usual pre race breakfast - Nutrigrain cereal and a banana. Did some stretches and mandatory toilet visit. Picked darling up at 6.30am and we headed to WA Marathon Clubrooms in Burswood.

Once arrived, I downed a Powerbar Performance bar, flushing it down with Powerade. Did some warm up jogs for about 10 minutes and did some more stretches - yes, I'm an overkill with the stretching.

As I was doing my stretches I met race buddy, David Tan a.k.a. Mythos. We met at my first Perth Marathon and he was at Langkawi Ironman 2009 too.

Did one last toilet visit, kissed darling farewell (like going to war, hahhah) and lined up for the 7.30am start, with the hope of achieving my 3:20 target, or 3:17 if I played my cards right.

The start wasn't too chaotic. This year's turnout was just over 400 full marathon runners, compared to last year's of 360. I restrained myself from getting too caught up in the adrenaline of starting off too fast. But somehow upon reaching the first km marker, I clocked a time of 3:55! Hmm... something is not right here.

Anyway, as we went up Windan Bridge to East Perth, approaching the 2nd km marker, I did a time of 5:08, giving 9:02 for those two kms. Now, that seems more about right!

I couldn't have asked for a better weather! It was really fine conditions, with some very light winds, the river that we passed was very still. My strategy was to start the first 10km in 45 minutes (average 4:30 per km) and slow down a minute for each 10km onwards (about slower by 5 seconds per km). Because I knew that no matter how slow I started the race, I would still be hit by fatigue in the later stages. I can't do negative splits!

But I found myself averaging between 4:20 to 4:25 per km in the first few kms. Slightly worried that I was going too fast too early, but I was feeling comfortable at that pace, so I kept on. My timing at the 10km mark was 43:44.

I was more flexible with the water stations this race, and not just sticking to the carbo drinks. I drank whenever I felt thirsty, taking whatever was available - be it water or electrolyte. I was also feeling slightly bloated, not sure whether it was last night's pizza or the Cookies N' Cream flavoured Performance bar. So I avoided taking Powergel up until somewhere near the 19km mark.

I amazed myself by keeping about the same pace since the 10th km. I reached the halfway - 21.1km in a time of 1:33:00! That's less than a minute slower than my half marathon PB last year! Just after that, I crossed paths with the top runners making their way back. The turnaround point is somewhere between 23-24km

I realised that in all these running races, I always seemed to be running alone! Too slow for the front pack, too quick for the back pack. Well, I work best alone anyway, don't really like having to pressure myself to keep up with a pacer. I slowed down at the upslopes at the bridges, as I knew there was no point overdoing the extra effort just to keep the same pace.

My pace slowed down slightly after the turnaround point. Dropped to about average 4:30-4:35 per km. I was still way ahead of my target. At the 30km mark, my time showed 2:13:29, that's over a minute quicker than my PB I set in my training 4 weeks ago!

I did a mental calculation that if I averaged 5 minute per km for the remaining kms, I would actually do 3:13 for the full marathon distance! ...and I did just that! Hitting the wall after 30km is DEFINITELY not a myth!

From then onwards, I went from averaging 4:40 to 4:45 to 4:55. From the 36th km onwards, I was struggling to keep under 5 minutes. My legs began to feel tight, the stitches in my sides were getting more severe. My 2nd Powergel helped slightly but I still had to run conservatively to prevent cramps. Ben Swee, if you are reading this, it was your 3:13 at last weekend's KL Marathon that pushed me through the last remaining kms!

Last 1.2km at the 41st km mark, my watch showed a time of 3 hours 7 minutes. If I could still maintain the 5 minute per km pace, I could still clock under 3:13. So I picked up my pace a bit... I could hear the announcer loud and clear...

Last 100m, darling was cheering by the side... there was one guy right in front of me... I didn't want to share my finishing picture with him, but he was slowing down... so I sprinted and crossed the finish line with my arms in the air... finishing in 3:12:40 (average 4:34 per km)!

Here are my splits and lap times.

5km 0:21:56 (21:56)
10km 0:43:44 (21:48)
15km 1:05:50 (22:06)
20km 1:28:08 (22:18)
21.1km 1:33:00
25km 1:50:37 (22:29)
30km 2:13:29 (22:52)
35km 2:36:54 (23:25)
40km 3:01:53 (24:59)
42.2km 3:12:40

I hobbled around a bit before getting changed and queued up for a sports massage. The masseur took me by surprise by asking me to remove my track pants, good thing I was wearing presentable underwear! He also said that my right quads were more developed and seemed stronger than my left one. Maybe that's why I seem to get cramps more often on the left leg. Hmm... maybe I need to do some single leg squats!

While waiting for the prize giving, we helped ourselves to the free food - muffin, hot dogs, hot soup and drinks. Although luck wasn't with me this time, no draw prizes for me. But it was great to see the winners accepting their prizes, and hearing out for their amazing times, especially the older age groups! The last runner was an 80 year old man, he was the only one in his category and he came in under 6:05!

Another finisher's medal, the 31 up there is for 31st anniversary, not 31st placing! I'll probably not run for the next 6 days... maybe I'll start next Sunday. Of course swimming and cycling would continue as normal, hehheh.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Tragic light

Many thanks to the free invites given to our organization by Lotterywest, darling and I were treated to a wonderful ballet performance of Romeo and Juliet at His Majesty's Theatre. It was the final dress rehearsal and apart from our people from St Bart's, there were many Lotterywest staff members there as well.

It was a bit awkward, as I was on the Lotterywest audit team when I was with KPMG. There were some familiar faces but I don't think they'd recognize me. Auditors aren't exactly very popular!

We enjoyed the performance very much. It was pretty lighthearted with comical, slapstick antics. Romeo and Juliet were played by very young casts. It was set in the modern times rather than in the classical era. I've forgotten my Shakespeare. I was confused as to how did Romeo die in the end. Was it the priest's fault for giving him the wrong poison?

Li-Ann had a great time too. I was finally able to introduce her to my work colleagues. They've been eager to meet her after tasting her tasty cakes, which I bring in for morning tea every now and then.

...Perth Marathon, T minus 2 days.