Friday, 31 December 2010

Coming to a close

In about 13 hours time, we bid farewell to year 2010 and welcome the new year of 2011. That also means my year end holidays are about to end... a bit too quick if you ask me, haha.

This year really flew past and looking back in review, despite having some ups and downs, I wouldn't have it any other way!

I did two Ironman races in a span of just over 9 months this year, both of which I wasn't able to clock a personal best, let alone meet my 11 hour target. However, I achieved a personal best by 7 minutes in an Olympic distance triathlon in Port Dickson and I was over the moon when I completed the Perth Half Marathon in 1:28:33, I never thought it was possible for me to go under 90 minutes.

My relationship with darling Li-Ann took a step further when we got engaged at the end of October. We spent a fair bit of these holidays getting some wedding preparations done, and I must say, despite being a bit anxious of what lies ahead of us, I'm really excited!

Being away from home and being mostly pre-occupied with my passion (obsession?) with triathlon and Ironman races, I try my best to keep in touch with family and friends. I admit, that I still need to work on this and would rethink my priorities for the coming year.

We will be away in Ipoh, 2+ hours drive from Kuala Lumpur, for the next 3 days to attend our friend, Tasha's wedding. Our SLB gang from Perth will be there as well. In the meantime, happy new year everyone!

Friday, 24 December 2010

Season's greetings...

Here's to wishing all readers of my blog a very merry Christmas and a happy new year!

It's the festive season and I'm currently 2kgs heavier, 2% higher in body fat and 20bpm increase in my resting heart rate. But this won't stay for long, I assure you when year 2011 comes, I'll be back!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

IMWA celebratory dinner

Finger licking good at Fatty Crab, Taman Megah

Certificate presentation by Ironman mentor and Kona finisher, Sofian. Thanks Richard for printing and laminating the certificate!

Only 3 of us from this group will be competing next year

From my previous post, I mentioned that I was down with a bout of shingles. Well, I've finished my medication and glad to say that I'm recovering well, with the marks subsiding, slowly but surely.

Been busy getting some of our wedding preparations done in the past few days, trying to make full use of our time here in Malaysia. We have more or less decided on a venue and now looking for a photographer for the reception.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

I've got shingles!

Just above my belly button on the right side of my body, across my back and ends just before my spine. Felt some itchiness since Monday and I thought it was bed bugs. As I arrived home, mum rushed me to the clinic the moment I showed her my rashes. Well, the good news is at least our bed doesn't have any bugs.

Apart from the itching sensation on my body and the slightly uncomfortable turbulent flight back to Malaysia, it's good to be home. Caught up with high school friends and would be visiting relatives later.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

More IMWA 2010 pictures

*Thanks to Richard/Claris, Sofian/Tip, Dennis Tan*

Swim Exit - Aiya, missed out on 1 hour by 1 minute 15 seconds!

Bike turnaround at transition - Oops, forgot to suck in tummy!

On the run - Oh no, Richard is coming closer and closer!

Emotionally charged towards the finishing

Post race open house feast

Watching the beer mile run with Rebekah Keat, women's 1st runner up

At the awards night
P.S. - I'll be away for holidays in Malaysia for 2.5 weeks, my flight from Perth departs this Friday morning.

P.P.S. - After much deliberation, I've signed up for Ironman Western Australia 2011. Entries were at 65% capacity even less than an hour since it's opening. No thanks to daylight savings favouring people in the eastern states. It's Ironman WESTERN Australia for goodness sake! Luckily I decided to check it in the morning before I left for the office, otherwise I would have missed out. Hope my friends were able to get in.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Busselton Ironman Western Australia 2010

Many of you would have known by now that I fell short of achieving a PB for this race, let alone meeting my target of 11 hours. Nevertheless, it is one experience which I truly enjoyed, along with the company of friends competing all the way from Malaysia. Hence, I'll stop beating myself up over my result (I didn't do that for long really) and give you my full account of the experience, as positively as I can hehe. Take heed that it's a LOONNNGGG one.


I woke up on 7am Friday morning to the noise at my front door. Richard, Sofian and their wives, Claris and Tip just arrived from the airport. We chatted a bit before starting our trip, first dropping by Subiaco markets to pick up some fruits and have breakfast. I had to collect my Timex watch too, which I had to replace for battery and waterproof seal. Unfortunately it wasn't ready, so my trusty old Casio Phys (which is more oftenly used by Li-Ann now) will have to do for the race.

We then headed straight to Busselton, arriving at about 1pm. Checked in to our respective accommodation, I was staying at my usual place Amaroo Motel, whilst the rest at Gale Street Villas just a few hundred metres away. We bumped into Ezer at the reception, who was about to go out for lunch with his mum. Arif and Senn then joined us, and we proceeded to Signal Park for our registration. I was delighted with the efficient process, no queue at all. Also took note of a banner depicting the new 12m drafting zone rule, which seemed pretty long.

The finishing chute in the middle of Busselton Town on Queen Street had already been set up. On Sunday, we would actually be running right next to the finishing chute for 3 times before we go through it at the end of our race. Might be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you are feeling on that day haha.

A quick lunch at an Asian take-away (thanks Sofian for the treat!) and we were all set for a test ride on the course. We cycled for about an hour at an easy pace and noted the strong winds, but pretty manageable.

That night, we attended the welcome dinner at Barnard Park. It was in air conditioned tents. It was a great experience. The food was pretty good with plenty of pasta. There were big screens showing video clips of past Kona races. Mike Riley, the voice of Ironman was a good host and the talk by John MacLean, the first wheelchair athlete to compete at Kona was truly inspirational. I also enjoyed the interviews with the pro triathletes, who all have their own sense of humour. The mandatory race briefing though, I wished that it was a bit more informative. The pretty girl on the screen was not bad to look at, but she made a lot of references to the athletes' guide. There was no description about the race course at all, I supposed it was assumed that we all understood it from the athletes' guide.


Had a good night's sleep following the tiring trip, woke up fresh on Saturday morning, ready for a quick swim at the Busselton jetty. Richard, Sofian and myself went together and we met Ezer there. I probably made a mistake of not applying vaseline around my neck and my erm... chest area. And I experienced some slight chaffing from the wetsuit, it is more likely the salt water as I don't get this problem testing it in the pool. The water was reasonably cold but a lot warmer than when I did the half Ironman in May last year.

After the quick swim, I headed back for breakfast and noticed that I left my goggles and cap at the washroom. Luckily it was still there when I returned, thought I might as well visit the expo to see if there were any good deals (a dangerous thing to do, especially when Li-Ann is not around!). Fortunately, nothing tickled my fancy, there were a lot of Ironman branded merchandise and some K-Swiss products. The only thing I got was a $30 Ryder sunglasses and it was from unofficially setup shop in town. *phew*

I rested most of the morning before joining the rest for lunch at their villa. Many thanks to the ladies - Claris, Tip and Melissa (Claris' cousin from Brisbane who's also competing), for getting the groceries and cooking up such a wonderful meal!

After lunch, I got my bike and race gear ready. There was no race T-shirt given in our race bag (we Malaysians love our T-shirts!) but I was pleased to see the organizers gave us individually numbered swim caps and named running bibs. The Ironman branded fuel belt was also a delightful surprise.

I probably spent too long setting up the bike and I got to the transition area about 15 minutes prior to closing. That's where I saw Arif running out, who later told me that Senn forgot to number her helmet and he was rushing to get the number sticker. My bike was placed opposite Carle, who sold me the Spiuk helmet and also competed at Kona this year. He teased me about my 80mm clinchers, saying that a guy my size would be blown off straightaway with these wheels.

After rushing through the bike check in and race bag drop off, I could relax a bit. I chatted with Li-Ann on the phone, shaved my legs (yes, it has become a race ritual!) and got ready for dinner. I went over again for dinner, a delicious meal with chicken curry, thanks ladies! After dinner, I went back and put on some Rock Tape, samples which I got, recommended by Sofian and got ready for bed.


Got up at 3.40am with a surprisingly good night's sleep. 9pm is an early time to go to bed even for my standards. Had 2 bowls of Nutrigrain cereal and a banana, managed to put on my contact lenses with ease (getting easier with practice) and a quick visit to the toilet. Got to the race site at 4.15am, again no long queues to get marked. Only our category letter (mine was B) was marked on our right calf. That's where I saw Viv my podiatrist and Phil my bike mechanic who was there on mechanical support.

The weather was calm and cool, a perfect day for a PB unlike last year's scorching 38 degrees. I met Pete Jacobs, the pre race favourite and wished him good luck. My tires were pumped from the evening before, so all I had to do was remove the plastic bags covering the handlebars, saddle and shoes. I then downed a Powerbar Performance Bar, did my stretches, applied sunscreen. One last visit to the toilet where I met Shao who swims in the same squad as I. It was time to get into my wetsuit and line up for the 5.45am start. Thanks Sofian for supplying me with vaseline at the last minute!

3.8km swim, target 1 hour

The swim is out and back, around the Busselton Jetty, water temperature was 21 degrees. With nearing 1400 competitors starting at the same time, the swim was going to be chaos. But this was reduced with the start line being spreaded quite long. There was some contact here and there for the first few hundred metres where I had to fight for my space, but soon after I was swimming normally. A rookie mistake I made - not clearing up my goggles before I started. I was swimming with poor visibility with fogged up goggles for the first half of the out lap until someone knocked my goggles out a bit and let some water wash them clear.

And then I could see! I managed to find a few people to draft behind but I probably made a mistake of keep on changing persons that led me to lose time. I didn't check my time at the turnaround point, but about few hundred metres after that, it seemed my watch was showing 31 minutes. It looked like I was going to be on target then, but little did I know that there were currents pushing us out. As we neared the shore and the water became shallower, my watch showed 50 minutes, I thought I had it in the bag. But it took us a while before we actually got to the finish and I crossed the first timing mat at 1:01:15, just off my target. Slightly disappointed but nothing I could do about it, I was keeping positive for the remainder of the race.

Transition 1

I had some slight cramps around my calves and at my abdominal muscles. It could have been the cold water. It took me a while to remove the wetsuit and get it into the race bag. But the volunteers were very helpful, as soon as I got all my gear on (sunglasses, helmet, race belt, Injinji toe sock - I marked them L and R this time to avoid wearing them on the opposite sides like I did in Langkawi early this year!) they chased me off and said they'll sort out my bag. Got my bike off the racks without much problems. I didn't do the fly mount but the rubber bands tieing my shoes did make it easier for me to slip into them. T1 time was 5:04.

180.2km bike, target 5 hours 50 minutes

The bike course is fast and flat on a capital-I shaped course, over 3 laps. It was pretty open to winds in some areas, but it started off pretty calm that morning. The tightness around my abdominal muscles took a while to go away, and then only I could go on to full aero position. Someone yelled at me (or at least I thought it was at me) See you later when we get back! I think that was Viv who's a good swimmer and great cyclist, I usually beat him on the run. But he was flying that day and finished with a 10:40 overall!

Somehow with the legs spinning and in an aero position, made it difficult to pee while cyling, although I had a strong urge. It was only until the 2nd lap that I was able to release erm... excess water but not fully. I stuck to the plan of maintaining an average of 31kph. I was surprised that Shao only passed after I stopped for the first special needs stop, which was at 90km. I was even more surprised when I passed him soon after that.

Throughout the ride, Sam a friend of Eric's was out on the course cheering me each time I passed him. So were Tip and Claris at the end of each bike lap. Thank you all for the support! It really did spur me on. I was probably overly cautious at all the turns and corners, going wide and letting others pass. At the narrow turnaround at Tuart Drive west side, I intentionally unclipped one foot each time just to balance myself. Yes, I need a lot of work on my bike handling. After each turns, I could see Richard slowly catching up with me.

I left remaining 2 mini muffins at the final special needs stop. There were 8 of them but I could only managed 3 in my mouth on each of the stop. On the last return lap to transition, the winds picked up and I slowed down my pace. But I was still on track to meeting my target. I finished my ride in 5:50:56.

Transition 2

Now here's a funny story. After I removed my helmet and placed on running visor, I felt something smooth on my head. You guessed it, I had my swim cap on for the entire ride! Luckily the weather was cool, otherwise I would have passed out. And imagined if I didn't intend to use a running visor, I wouldn't have noticed it and ran out with it! Time for T2 was 1:54.

42.2km run, target 3 hours 50 minutes

The run is made of 4 laps along Geographe Bay by the water. The first part out actually takes us running next to the finishing chute. Hence, the crowd cheering there was really uplifting. After turning around that short lap next to the finishing chute, Shao was closing in and soon after, so was Richard. When we got to the first marker of 2km and shortly after the first aid station, I was well ahead of my planned time. I walked for about a minute as planned as I got through the aid station.

Just after 3km, Shao overtook me and beckoned for me to follow him. But he was flying and there was no way I could match that pace. Two of the aid stations weren't placed consistently, leaving only 1km gap between one and 3km gap between another. But I was still feeling alright then, so no worries. I was still ahead of schedule after the turnaround point, so I dropped by the first public toilet I saw. I felt slightly bloated around my stomach and just above groin area, and it was a great relief to release all the excess water.

I finished the first lap in 55 minutes, 2 minutes ahead of schedule. Local hero Courtney Ogden was about to win the race then, beating all the other favourites. On the 2nd lap, the bloated feeling got worse and I felt a bit dizzy. I slowed down and finished 65 minutes and even walked for a couple of minutes while starting the 3rd lap. But it didn't end there, after I passed the first aid station, the dizziness worsened and that's when I gave up and started walking. I was not mentally strong enough to fight through this discomfort. It didn't help that Richard was reducing my lead by a minute after each turnaround! I couldn't cope with the pressure!

Hence, I walked and walked and... walked. Richard soon overtook me. It was until halfway through the third lap where I felt better and started running again. But it was more like I ran one km and walked for two after that. I finished the third lap in 1 hour 25 minutes. I met Arif as I started my last lap and he said he had cramps all over. We chatted a while before I moved on with quicker, bigger steps but still walking.

After a while, I felt better and wanted to finish the race with a respectable time. So I started running more, my walk breaks became shorter. John Cooke passed me as he was running consistently, but I overtook him again towards the last two kms. I stopped for about a minute while waiting for my Malaysian flag in my special needs bag.

But it was worth it, I carried it flying high as I ran through the finishing chute. The loud roaring cheers from the crowd brought out some emotions, and Sam was amongst them. I gave a roar as I crossed the finishing line but as emotional as I was, the tears didn't come out of my eyes. Maybe my body ran out of water haha. I finished with run time of 4:36:27 and total race time of 11:35:36, my slowest time in 3 Ironmans by just over 2 minutes.


The athlete recovery area was very well managed. It was canteen style with plenty of seats and had good food. The post race massage was a bit of a disappointment though with the therapist only massaging the back part of my legs and not the front, in no more than 5 minutes. Shortly after, I met Ahmad Fathi from Brunei, who did a great race just under 12 hours.

I stayed on to cheer our remaining Malaysian athletes. Sofian did a massive PB by more than 2 hours and his previous best was nearly 20 years ago! I had a good night's sleep that night. The next day, the ladies again put up a splendid meal and we had everyone over including Miro who stays in Malacca with limited training facilities but beat all of us with a finish time of 10:53!

Richard convinced me to stay another night at their villa. We watched the beer mile race and the hair shaving of overnight celebrity Gi Singh, who was doing it for charity. Later that night, I attended the awards banquet which I had never done before. It was great watching snippets of the race that took place the day before. Inspiring moments included the women's champion, Kate Bevilaqua, another local, crawling past the finish line and the oldest competitor Yutaka Kojima finishing in 13:52 at 75 years old (young)! That was when I finally met Denis whom I think was a bit drunk that night haha.

In the morning, Melissa made pancakes for everyone (thanks!) which was a great breakfast meal before I made my journey back to Perth.


Firstly it was great having a group of friends here competing and the support crew of Tip and Claris, which made a whole lot of difference. Thank you for the wonderful meals and great racing experience!

Darling Li-Ann whom I know was feeling all guilty being away in India, I know you would have been here if you could, so don't feel guilty! Your never ending support throughout my training regime and tolerance to my constant ramblings of Ironman topics in the past few months was invaluable. I love you!

My family at home nearly had heart attacks when my split times for the second part of the run took unusually long to be updated online. It is the support and encouragement of my loving family which made me become an Ironman, three times now. Thank you.

Also thank you to friends like Keat Seong, Yip, Frank, Emma, Paul Lee, Ray Ng, Ray Hee, Mich, Jenn, Meng, Matt, Fong, Reita, Lee, Enrico (who I didn't get to meet), Uncle Peter, Eric and others (sorry I couldn't mention everybody but you know who you are!) who have been giving me encouraging words all these while

When I gave up and started walking during the run, I was considering taking a break from Ironman races for a while. I supposed doing two Ironmans in just over 9 months is a bit too much for my mental state (more so than my physical state) to handle. I couldn't push myself when it got tough. And that was still my decision in the past few days.

But with the registration for next year's race opening next Wednesday, temptations start to grow and I'm also keen to redeem myself next year. This also happens to be the most convenient Ironman race for me. I have to decide quick as entries are likely to sell out fast!

*Pictures courtesy of Claris and Finisherpix*

Monday, 29 November 2010

All systems go!

Only 5 sleeps left to Ironman Western Australia, which would be my third Ironman. They say that third time is the charm, and I would like to break the 11 hour barrier this time round.

My hopes of achieving that target nearly went up in smoke when I was down with peroneal tendonitis on my left foot in late August, which led to shin splints on my right due to additional stress to make up for the recovering left foot. Since then, my running has been pretty inconsistent. I was off and on running on dry land, clocking no more than 13km a week, and substituting them with strength exercises and aqua running in the pool. However, these substitute sessions did help me focus more on technique and proper form. And I'm happy to say that althought the swell from the shin splint is still visible, it doesn't cause any problems while running and I should be able to give my best on race day.

Cycling wise, I have definitely logged in a lot more miles this time round compared to my last Ironman training. I did six 120km rides, one more than last time. This time I did two 150km rides, four 160km rides and one 200km ride. Previously I only did four 160km rides. As for swimming, nothing has changed much. Although with the weekly strength training sessions, I do feel stronger and with a wetsuit swim, I'm hoping to come out of the water under an hour this time.

I've sent the bike for a service with Phil at Runners World. I've started packing for my trip, ticking off my checklist as I go. This is the first time I'm making a list, I usually do them mentally. This is also the first time that I'll be racing an Ironman without Li-Ann by my side. But I'll have her strongly in my mind and my heart, fueling me throughout the race. Li-Ann is actually doing much better in India now. She has also checked in to a new hotel, with internet access, so it makes our communication easier.

I have experienced hot and humid conditions for my first two Ironman races in Langkawi, Malaysia. Traditionally, Busselton is scorching hot at this time of the year. But it's forecasted to have heavy rain and strong winds. But that may change. Whatever it is, we'll be all facing the same conditions, so no one is particularly disadvantaged.

I sign off this post with a music video, which I find humourous but inspirational as well (to me anyway). There are many elements of the race that are out of control. We should focus on those within our control and react as positively as possible to whatever we may encounter on that day.

Track my progress on race day this Sunday on, my bib number is lucky 183!

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Test, test...

7 days out from Ironman Western Australia and I can't help contain the excitement (with a bit of anxiety). And I'm sure I'm not the only one!

For Thursday's swim session, I did the warmup with my Ironman Instinct wetsuit. Swimming with it didn't require much getting used to. It was putting it on and taking it off which was the problem. Would probably try it again next week for another swim session and practise taking it off. Otherwise whatever time savings from the wetsuit swim will be wasted in a slow transition.

Saturday's bike ride was meant to be a short 80km distance. But as I had to cut short last week's ride due to bee sting, I decided to do another 120km ride. Probably shouldn't have done such a long distance, but I reckon I have enough time to recover before the race. I tried out the Spiuk Krono helmet again, this time with a haircut, it didn't feel as hot as the last time.

Also, I had my 80mm clinchers. And the winds were pretty fierce this morning, blowing at 25kph, which was a good test to see whether I would be able to handle the front wheel with such winds (could be stronger) in Busselton. It took me a while to get used to them. The last time I rode with them was four months ago at Port Dickson triathlon. I was hesitant to go down on my aerobars, especially in narrow paths. But soon got the hang of it, and I'm now confident I would be able to use them at Busselton.

I was overly cautious around the corners and the downslopes. The last thing I wanted was to have a crash just a week before the race. My average speed for the 120km distance was 28.5kph. Not great, but given the strong winds and I'm not meant to kill my legs, pretty happy with the result.

Throughout the ride, I met many on triathlon bikes, most likely doing their last few miles before the big race. We exchanged nods of acknowledgement, which gave me some sort of cosy feeling of togetherness. After the ride, I practised mounting the bike with the shoes clipped on, with rubber bands to keep the shoes in place. I should have done this long ago! Made it so much easier!

Li-Ann is away in India for a conference followed by a workshop. My poor darling have been down with fever and purging since Friday (she only arrived on Thursday). And somehow, I'm unable to get through to her mobile, and she's unable to get online. Text messages are our only way of communication for the moment. She has seen a doctor though and was given antibiotics. She did say she was feeling better. So I'm slightly more relieved.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Coffee bee

Whoosh! This weekend sure did fly past.

I decided to swap my ride and run, as I made an appointment at the student massage clinic at Central Tafe, Mt Lawley on Saturday morning. Just prior to the appointment, I did a 13km run, testing out my Orca 226 race suit and the Saucony Fastwitch 4 racers. Was pleasantly surprised with the result, clocking 54:23, an average of 4:11 per km.

The massage was pretty good, the young girl helped release all the tight areas on my lower legs. My only criticism was I wished she applied more pressure and she made full use of the 45 minutes as stipulated. But for $30, I guess I can't complain much, as it is a lot cheaper than elsewhere.

While waiting for me, Li-Ann wrote thank you cards for the participants for her experiment. Then, we had a big bowl of hot chocolate at Crown Cafii, East Perth before joining our friends for dim sum at Dragon Palace, Northbridge. And then for dinner, Li-Ann's family friend invited us over. They had relatives visiting from Italy and they made us traditional Italian lasagne. Yummilicous!

Extremely satisfied from dinner the night before, on Sunday I set out for my final 120km ride before Ironman Western Australia. It was the Great Bike Ride day, and there were over 4000 cyclists riding around the Swan River. I stayed at home until about 8.30am just to wait for the crowd to clear. But as I was feeling pretty drowsy by then, so we dropped by Cranked Cafe in Leederville for a cuppa, to wake me up.

And then the weather seemed a bit temperamental, so I waited again until it calmed down. Finally started my ride at 10am. It was pretty humid with the clouds and the intermittent showers, and I was sweating profusely just minutes into the ride.

Well, I didn't ride for long and just before 50km, I felt a sharp pain went through my right wrist. I briefly glanced at it, and there it was, a sizable bumblebee stuck to my wrist, with its sting pierced through my skin. I quickly flicked the bee away but I had to continue riding until I could stop safely. The sting wasn't pierced too deeply and I could easily remove it.

I wasn't sure if I could continue riding. So I called Li-Ann to pick me up, just in case I had an allergic reaction. This is the first time I was stung by a bee! We went to the chemist straightaway, and thankfully after taking a tablet of antihistamine, the swelling and the redness subsided. It's totally gone now, as I'm typing this.

What an adventure, let's hope next weekend is a little bit less stressful.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Wind down

3 weeks off from Ironman Western Australia, and the shorter ride on Saturday was most welcomed. I decided to give the Spiuk Kronos helmet a try and it turned out pretty comfortable. My forehead started sweating in the beginning of the ride, but after a while, with the slight breeze, it felt pretty cool and I took no notice of it.

The helmet didn't cover my ears as much as the Bell Meteor, which is good as I'm more alert to my surroundings. It's difficult to tell whether it made me cycle faster but it did feel easier riding into the headwinds as compared to a normal road helmet. One thing for sure though, many people including cyclists and pedestrians gave way to me yesterday. Probably because the helmet shell is much larger and longer, making me look more intimidating haha.

I completed the 120km ride in 4 hours 5 minutes, averaging 29.4kph. There were some moderate winds, strong enough to give a bit of challenge but generally pretty mild compared to the previous rides I had.

Sunday morning, the plan was to do a 21.6km run (5 loops of 4.35km). I donned a pair of cheap compression leggings bought off a Korean website, G Market, just to try them out. They served their basic purpose, but they were no 2XUs or Skins. I started off the first two loops pretty well, just under 19 minutes (4:23 per km) but by the third loop, my right shin felt tight and I felt a bit fatigued. So I called off the run after the third loop, finishing it just under 19.5 minutes (4:30 per km) and completing 13km in total in 57:22 (average 4:25 per km).

Slightly disappointed that I couldn't do my planned distance but I supposed being aware of my body signals and being cautious was probably the wise thing to do. I'll probably run in the pool next weekend just to play it safe.

I wore my Asics GT 2140 trainers for the run, which I suspect was one of the reasons for causing the shin tightness. I've had these shoes since Christmas last year and they have well worn out. So, later that morning, as Li-Ann and I did Sunday shopping at Westfield Innaloo, which was open for Sunday Telethon, I got myself these!

An updated version of my current trainers, the GT 2150. And at 25% off, I couldn't resist! And I had Rebel Sport season pass $20 voucher and a Westfield gift card, which made it all worth it. Though I probably won't be able to test them prior to the race. I still have only 1-2 runs left to do, and I have yet to test out my race shoes.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Running form

I told a small lie when I mentioned the previous weekend was the last hard weekend. There is still a full four weeks before Ironman Western Australia, and I must admit I gave in to pressure after reading about fellow participants logging in their long miles on their blog writings and Facebook status updates. It also helped that Li-Ann was entertaining some visitors, friends of her mum on Saturday. So I took this opportunity to clock another 5 hour plus ride.

Once again, the weather forecast played me for a fool. It was supposed to be mild in the morning, with 8kph winds and only meant to be pick up in the afternoon. It was pretty calm, but the winds got strong at about 9.30am. It wasn't long until I could hear the them rushing through my ears.

A slight misfortune, a piece of nail busted my rear tyre just after 2/3 of my ride. And I had problems getting air into the new tube from the hand pump. Hence, I was riding with a soft tyre for the remaining of the ride. Also, I rode to meet my helmet seller and I rode home through the traffic, which slowed my pace considerably. I completed 148.3km in 5 hours 21 minutes, a leisure pace of 27.7kph.

On Sunday, for my 13km run, I decided to use my current Saucony Fastwitch 3 instead of the Asics GT 2150. I also opted not to use my orthotics. The Asics have long worn out, and I'm beginning to think that prolonged use of the orthotics is starting to result in over correction in my running gait.

The impact from wearing the lower profile racers needed a bit of getting used to, but soon I was enjoying their lightness. I ran hard but not crazy, paying attention to my running form and being wary not to overstride, by ensuring my foot lands no further in front than my nose. I read an article from Ironguides coach Shem Leong here which made a lot of sense. Also, the aqua running sessions early last month did help me practise good running form such as tall posture and mid foot landing.

The end result? 13km run in 55:11 (average 4:15 per km) still about 1.5 minutes off my best, but pretty satisfied with the effort. And I ran pain free this time. Though the swell on my right shin is stinging now, I reckon it will pass within a few days. This has definitely put my confidence back, that I should be able to run the marathon leg of the race without too much problems.

I'll try a 21km run next weekend.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Oops.. I did it again!

After I got my bike in August last year, I remember telling myself that I wouldn't be spending any more on tri gear and equipment.

Then came the 80mm clincher race wheels I bought for Ironman Langkawi. And shortly after the race, I got myself a new tri suit to be worn for Ironman WA.

This time round, keeping in mind that I should also be saving for wedding preparations. Anyway, I'll let the pictures do the talking. TA-DA!

Spiuk Kronos, RRP US$229, I justified my purchase by getting it 2nd hand from the Triwa forum for slightly above half the price.

And, I'm also putting up my current Bell Meteor II for sale too. No point having two aero helmets, right?

Monday, 1 November 2010


A date to remember...

No longer my girlfriend...

She's now my fiancee :)

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Last hard weekend

For the bike anyway. But before I get to that, an update on my running.

I have been doing aqua running for two weekends and avoiding running on dry land for nearly three weeks. The swollen area on my right shin still hurts if applied any pressure, but the pain is virtually non existent as I walk briskly or even quick stepping down the stairs. So, I decided to give it a go on Friday morning. My usual 13km route, 3 x 4.35 loop. I started off at a reasonably conservative pace. Was pretty happy with the first loop, 18:47. But the moment I started the second loop, the right leg felt really tight, so I slowed it down, 19:34. As it eased off, I picked up the pace a bit and finished the last loop in 18:57, giving total time of 57:14, averaging 4:24 per km.

There was no pain during the run, but the swell might have gotten more inflamed. Perhaps I should slow down the pace. After all, I'm intending to run at a 5 minute per km pace (with 1 minute of walking after every 2km) during the marathon leg at Ironman Western Australia anyway. I'll reassess the right shin throughout this week, if it's still not ready, I might go back to aqua running.

Now, on to the bike. With Li-Ann away, I planned a 200km ride on Saturday, one that I could do with as many breaks I needed to take, with no worries of speed, and not having to feel guilty of spending too long a time away from darling. I've been wanting to do this for quite while, but never had the confidence or the patience.

Fortunately (or unfortunately) for me, I had to choose this day when the winds were blowing above 20kph. I started my ride at 7.30am (I like my sleep haha). Despite not having any target pace in mind, it was nice to be able to keep an average of 28.5kph, but only until my first pit-stop in Hungry Jack's South Perth, at the 124km mark. The winds toned down after that but somehow there was no clear direction as to where it was blowing from. So there seemed to be a tussle whichever way I was riding. I became tired and decided to take a short rest under the trees at the 162km mark. By then, the pace had dropped to 28.1kph.

15km after that, I dropped by the IGA Supermarket to get myself some refills. The cheapest option was a 3L bottle of apple juice, which I drank some of it and ate a Powerbar Performance bar. Even after filling up my water bottle, there was still plenty left. It took me a while to finish it, as I didn't want it to go to waste. I probably drank enough apple juice to last me for the rest of my ride, as I didn't drink anything probably until the last 10km. And I probably had enough sugar in my system to keep my head spinning for the rest of the day. But luckily I was on the bike, so my legs did the spinning haha.

Managed to do a short sprint towards the end, despite riding straight into headwinds. Finally got to my car at 3.30pm, 8 hours from when I started. Total ride time was 7:07:18 for 200.4km, an average of 28.1kph.

This probably sounds cliche, but throughout my ride, there were so many times I wanted to cut it short. But having Li-Ann in my thoughts and mind, kept me going. Ironically though, when she's around, there are times when my rides are cut short so that I could see her earlier haha. Can't wait for her to be back tomorrow!

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Old and new

I had quite an eventful weekend. Li-Ann's away in Shanghai for holiday trip with her family. But I had the company of my cousin, her 6 month old daughter and her in-laws, who are here for their first visit to Perth.

I attended a farewell dinner for my former divisional partner at KPMG. He was leaving after having worked at KPMG since he was a grad. It was nice catching up with everyone again. Most of them at the dinner have already left KPMG. Those who are still with KPMG claimed that we all look a lot happier, hahhah.

Saturday's bike ride was pretty dramatic. First, my cycle computer bounced out less than 10kms into the ride. Then, it showed signs of dying, with the battery indicator flashing, despite having replaced the battery only 3 months ago. About a couple of hours later, it froze and that was the end of it. It didn't help that I modified my route slightly, but I estimated it was still 160km and I took about 5 hour 40 minutes, which is just above 28kph average.

I bought a new battery from the watch repair shop in Subiaco markets. But I noticed the plastic sensor attached to my bike fork is starting to give way too. Maybe it's time to get a new cyclecomputer. This time, one with cadence sensor. I like my current Specialized one because it gives a triple display (elapsed time, current speed and trip distance) in one screen. Any recommendations of one that does the same?

Sunday morning, I did another session of aqua running. Covered 2km in 1 hour. This time a lot less awkward and there was less chaffing on the feet. Feeling pretty confident on the recovery of my sore right shin, and should be able to start running on land in a week's time.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Aqua running it is...

The run I did on Monday left some tightness around my shins and caused the swell on the right shin to hurt a bit more. So I decided to be really cautious and did some aqua running instead at Terry Tyzack Aquatic Centre on Saturday morning. I swapped my bike ride to Sunday as it was forecasted to have winds blowing in the mid 20s kph. Yes, despite having done two Ironmans, I can be quite a wuss. As Keat Seong puts it, IRON PUSSY!

Aqua running was quite an experience. It really tested my patience. There were so many times I was just tempted to swim, but I kept to the plan. One side of the pool was actually too deep, the water was reaching my chin. Maybe I should have just done it at the shallow end. I did sets of 100m in intervals of 3 minutes, but I barely had any rest in between, it was that slow! I did 2kms in about 1 hour. Partway through, I had to change lanes because the senior citizens water aerobics class was on, hahhah.

Usually after my long rides on Saturdays, I'm pretty much spent for the rest of the weekend. So for a change, Li-Ann and I went out for lunch at Betty's Cafe, Innaloo. It was pretty quiet that day, apart from the kids party behind us, I'm guessing they are about 8 years old, were quite entertaining.

Famous for their milkshakes

The small wedges was huge!

The Big Betty. Their burgers were alright, though I must say Grill'D is better.

Sunday morning, I did my 160km ride in conditions which were forecasted to have winds between 6kph and 11kph. I can assure you, that DID not happen! Though it was calmer from last week, but it picked up at noon and the flags on Mounts Bay Road were being blown at a full horizontal.

Throughout the ride, there seemed to be plenty of fruit flies, hitting my arms and face, some even got into my mouth! But no major dramas. I averaged the ride in 29.1kph average. Wished it could have been faster, but at least that's another 5+ hour ride above 29kph.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

My weapon for Ironman Western Australia

Saucony Fastwitch 4 in new Vizi Pro colour. They look like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh, hahhah. My current Fastwitch 3 has been seving me well in all my races, so I decided to stick to what works well for me so far.

As Wiggle (which is one of my favourite websites now) gave free shipping for baskets above A$83 (which means the shoes cost less than that), I added in a pair of Speedo swimming paddles as my current pair has broken.

The rubber straps were too long, so I had to make several additional loops.

All at Li-Ann's expense as my birthday gifts. Thanks, darling! Love you!