Sunday, 31 January 2010

The final frontier

My final hard training weekend before things get easy. Okay, maybe not easy, but easier.

I decided to try out the aero helmet for Saturday's bike ride. Wanted to see if overheating would be a problem. Ironically, it was quite windy that Saturday, winds were blowing in excess of 35kph. Hence, there was quite a bit of ventilation. Also, the temperature were somewhere in the low 30s at it's highest, not too extreme.

Anyway, the helmet didn't cause any problems in terms of heating up my head. It did sometimes get caught up in the cross winds though.

I scheduled a lunch break somewhere after the 100km mark. My average speed was 28.8kph then. Li-Ann is in Sydney for her conference, so I wouldn't be able to have lunch with her after my ride anyway. I indulged myself in Hungry Jack's triple cheeseburger stunner meal - a burger, small fries, small drink and a sundae for only A$6.95 (no, I'm not getting paid for this promo). I helped myself with the free drink refills.

After lunch, I was mainly riding into the head winds. But patience is a virtue, and sure enough the last few kms of my ride was greatly wind assisted. I completed the 162.8km distance (slightly longer than my usual 160km, must be the detour for lunch hehheh) in 5:41:57 (not including rest stops, average 28.5kph). Not my best, but given the rough wind conditions, I'm pretty satisfied.

Sunday morning, I woke up with a pair of pretty tired legs. I wasn't sure if I could do a long run. I took comfort in knowing that I've done a long run on Tuesday, the Australia Day holiday already. So I told myself I'll just take one loop at a time and see how it goes.

The results were pleasantly surprising! It's amazing when the race comes nearer, how much more motivation there is. The first four 4.35km loops were ran in 19:09, 19:03, 19:27, 19:31 (water stops at the 3rd and 4th loop) and I shocked myself that I had the energy to sprint the 5th loop in 18:41. Completed the 21.6km distance in 1:35:51 (average 4:26 per km), I was stoked!

27 days to go... I can't wait!

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

One day holiday

Yes, it was Australia Day. For the past four years, we used to have it as a long weekend. This year is was on a Tuesday.

Anyway, any holiday is always welcomed. On Monday night, we celebrated Eric's birthday with buffet and karaoke at Dragon Palace. Fun night out, there were some hillarious moments, and some undiscovered talents were unearthed too. Thanks Eric for the treat!

Tuesday morning, I did a 21.7km run. After not having done any long runs in excess of 1 hour since the new year, I was keen to get one done. And I decided not to do 30km, as to be cautious not to floor myself. I started off pretty well, just over 19 minutes for the frist two 4.35km loops. By the third loop, I slowed my pace down and was approaching 20 minutes, which is normally how I pace my runs anyway - start off quick and ease off later, I find that less stressful on the mind. I completed the full distance in 1:38.05 (average 4:31 per km).

Happy with another long run in the bag and reasonably good timing. I guess running with fresh legs helps, as opposed to running on the day after a long ride. I might just stick to this distance, and nothing more for my long runs up until Ironman Langkawi.

Later in the morning, darling and I joined Eric, Renee, Ivan, Joelle and Fozz at Scarborough Beach. It was a nice day, not too hot - 32 degrees. There were many young teenagers there in their Australian flag beachwear. It was good recovery after the long run. Dipping in the cold water, relaxing on the beach. We had lunch at Dome, which was pretty satisfying.

That evening, we joined the throngs of people watching the fireworks at Perth foreshore. It was Li-Ann's first Australia Day here in Perth. It was a full 30 minute display, a pretty sight.

Happy birthday Australia!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

I never thought I would ever do this...

...but Li-Ann thought it would be a fun idea.

And she was definitely having more fun than I was, as I bade farewell to whatever leg hair I had left, being shaved and washed down the bath drain (along with a significant bit of masculinity!).

It definitely feels a bit awkward, slick but slightly naked. Now, let's see if this can actually make me go faster.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Slight detour

So I had a week of completely no running, to allow the soreness on the navicular bone on my left foot to subside. I spun on my indoor trainer for 30 minutes each day for 5 days and swam an average 3.5km for four days.

I must say, I'm feeling the improvement in my cycling technique and my swim strokes. On Saturday morning, the winds were blowing in excess of 30kph. I completed my 160.5km ride 4 hours 43 minutes, average 28kph - 1kph slower than last week but still better than last year's best effort.

On Sunday morning, I was keen to get my running shoes back into action. And with fellow die hard athletes at home, including my dad and sis, who were doing the New Balance 30km run, I was pretty fired up to do my own 30km run.

My left foot felt fine during the run. I started with a pace slightly slower than the 30km run I did two weeks ago as I wanted to be cautious. But soon, I felt some slight stitch developing at my sides and upon reaching the third loop, I decided to call it quits, completed only 13km just under an hour.

I'm a bit lost at the moment. It might be my running legs are still on holiday after being out of action for a week, and I probably should ease back into the distance. At the same time, I'm also contemplating sticking to short runs up until Ironman Langkawi to prevent any risk of inflammation of my left foot, and just rely on the cumulative mileage I did before this.

Food for thought for me to chew on. Speaking of food, Little Caesars just opened a branch in Leederville, which is just 10-15 minutes away from us. So now there is no need for us to drive 45 minutes all the way to Mundaring for their delicious pizzas.

This new outlet has a lot more choices on their menu. Li-Ann and I took quite a while to decide which ones to have. After much deliberation, we decided on White Rocks Roast, something we had before but was indeed a memorable choice.

And for dessert, we had Black Forrest cake. Yes, a cake baked on a pizza. Deliciously sweet.

The place was pretty crowded and the air conditioning wasn't too strong. It was a hot day too (42 degrees at it's peak!), so we didn't stay long. That night, we had to sleep in the living room as the bedroom doesn't have any air conditioning.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Powerbar Team Elite

I have been applying for this for the past three years but was never accepted. Luckily though, my lil' sis got the sponsorship, so I was able to use her supplies.

This time, luck was on my side and I was elated to find out that I was shortlisted for an interview. The problem was... I'm in Perth and the interviews are held in Malaysia.

Nevertheless, after several emails to Nur Munirah, the girl organizing the interviews and a few changes in appointments, I've finally had my phone interview with Mr Shahrul.

The interview went pretty well... in my opinion. It was pretty informal. More like a chat. I was mainly asked about my usage of Powerbar. And how being in Team Elite would benefit me, as well as what I can do as Team Elite member to contribute to them, to the sport, to the community. Although there were some questions I wished I would have answered them differently but there is no point worrying about things we cannot change.

Reflecting on some of the questions from the interview, made me realised... I have been in this sport for a VERY LONG time.

My first taste of the Powerbar Performance bar was when I was doing the swim for the triathlon team relay, about 8 years ago. I was hungry and searched through our race goodie bag, there was a bar in it. This sounds like I'm exaggerating but upon the first bite, I did feel re-energized... kinda like a caffeine boost.

From that day onwards, I have been a loyal user of Powerbar. I've always used them before my races. And after my sister got her sponsorship in the last three years, I have used the Gels during my longer workouts and the drinks to refuel during and after workouts. As I'm only able to get my supplies from my sister during my visits back home, I had to stock them in my fridge here... yes, all of them are now past their expiry date but surprisingly never caused me any problems!

I REALLY hope I'll be selected though. Mr Shahrul told me that compared to last year's selected team of 44, this year there were only 27 shortlisted for interviews. And from there, only about 18 will be selected. Well, having said that, if I'm not selected, I would still continue to use Powerbar. But on a more rationed basis as regular usage can be quite costly.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Secret weapon

Li-Ann has been making banana strawberry smoothie for my pre workout drink, using the following milk.
No, we haven't got a toddler secretly kept here. The milk are leftovers from her nephew when her sister came to visit.

And I'm pleasantly surprised with the results. I completed my first 160km ride for my Ironman training this year in 5:30:52 (29.0kph average, not including rest stops), more than 15 minutes quicker than last year's best effort. Last year, I could only manage such a speed at half the distance.

Well, it could also be the new tyres that I have finally decided to use. Vittoria Rubino Pro Slick. The old Continentals were pretty worn out and I was getting punctures nearly every other week.

Or maybe it's the bike. Or... maybe it's my improved cycling ability, hehheh I'd like to think this last one as the main factor. Whatever it is, any improvement is most welcomed.

This morning however, I skipped my 30km run. My left foot is still hurting. The pain just refuses to go away, it has been more than a month already. I might just avoid running for whole of next week and see how it goes. This means, more time spent in the pool and on the bike.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Make do

How was everyone's New Year long weekend?

We ushered in the new year with a pot luck dinner at Eric and Renee's place, with loads of food - pan mee, curry chicken, soy chicken, claypot chicken rice (hmmm, just realised we had A LOT of chicken). Yes, it was a Malaysian theme and for desserts, we had kueh talam, kueh lapis and Ribena cheesecake. We counted down to 2010 with the fireworks display... on TV... from Sydney Darling Harbour... 3 hours delayed telecast! (*hint* when's Perth getting back our own new year fireworks?) Having said that, it was a great night out. Thanks guys for hosting us!

New Year's morning, I intended to do a 160km ride, with a scheduled lunch break in between with Li-Ann. But I guessed my legs were feeling tired from the previous days' of partying and I decided not to continue my ride after lunch. Total distance cycled was 98.8km in 3:31:41 (average 28kph).

That night, we went to the movies for Sherlock Holmes. Pretty entertaining and funny. Clever too. The ending seemed like one of a Scooby Doo cartoon series. I don't know about you guys, but I think the villain, Lord Blackwood has an uncanny resemblance to comedian Russell Peters.

Saturday morning, I finally did a 30.5km run (7 x 4.35km) without calling it quits. Although I did walk for 400m on the final loop. Completed the run in 2:23:59.

Then in the evening, Li-Ann and I had dinner out for a change. Gianni's at Mount Hawthorn nearby. It was an interesting Balkan cuisine.

I ordered the Mostarski Odrezak, as it seemed to be the largest item on the menu. It did look huge at first instance, but I had no problems finishing it. I guess Ironman training has increased my appetite.

Sunday morning, I decided to do another bike ride to make up for my discounted ride on Friday. But after 30km, I suffered a puncture and decided to head back after fixing it, as I used my last spare tube and it was scorching 40 degrees. Covered a distance of 76.49km, in a slow 2:46:19 (average 27.5kph).

But we did make good use of the sun that day. We met up with Eric and Renee at Scarborough Beach for KFC and some wave hopping.