Monday, 30 August 2010

120 + 80

My foot injury is slowly healing. However, I am still under strict orders by my physiotherapist to refrain from running for another week. My intial plan was to accompany Li-Ann for her 12km run at City to Surf on Sunday. She filled in for her supervisor at the last minute.

But I'm allowed to cycle. To quote my physio, I can ride all the way to Albany (6+ hours drive from Perth), but NO RUNNING.

So on Saturday, I thought it's time to up my cycling mileage. No, I wasn't cycling to Albany. But I did an extra loop of Mt Henry bridge to East Fremantle, instead of doing my usual 82km ride and clocked a total of 120.8km. I finished the ride in 4:00:46 (average 30.1kph) my first training ride above 30kph for this distance. Legs felt pretty strong throughout, although there were some tired moments, I was able to bounce back quickly after dropping my pace a bit.

The next day, after I dropped Li-Ann off for her run, I did another 80km ride. The cycling path from the city was pretty crowded with runners for the event, hence I was already off pace when I started my ride. But things didn't get any better. My legs were still sore from the day before and I was beginning to feel hungry.

By about 65km, I felt really weak. My arms were cold and I started to shiver. I stopped a while to check on the SMSes. Li-Ann finished her 12km run 1:13, one minute slower than last year. She had stitches and it was hotter this year, starting at a later time of 9.30am. Sofian did really well for the marathon distance, with a time of 4:18.

After the short rest, I regained a bit of strength and continued my ride. But that did not last. At about 75km, I stopped again. Took that opportunity to call Li-Ann to make her pick-up arrangements. After that, the remaining 5km was a stroll back to the city. I averaged 28.4kph for the ride.

That night, we played host to Lee Puh Heng and his wife, Yap who were here in Perth for holiday. Lee is pretty amazed at the extensive cycling paths we have here. I think he's tempted to bring his bike if he comes the next time hahhah.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Election Day and St. Bart's Day

So Australia had its general elections over the weekend, and the outcome is a hung parliament with the governing majority could go either way. It would be weeks before we find out the result.

This would be my second time experiencing the elections in Australia. I'm not eligible to vote here. But I am a registered voter in Malaysia, although I have missed out on the last general election back home. I hope I'm not one of those phantom voters, hahhah.

On Sunday, my workplace, St. Bartholomew's House had its annual celebration of St. Bart's day. I brought Li-Ann as extra hands to help. We had the usual church service in the morning, followed by the traditional serving of soup and bread.

This time, instead of having it in our hostel, we served the refreshments at City Farm. This year's event was a bit special, as we had the ground breaking ceremony for our new building, expected to commence construction in a couple months time.

Our WA premier, Colin Barnett was one of the dignitaries. Also present was Labour MP Alannah Mactiernan. It was pretty cool seeing members of the media hijacking the VIPs and the bodyguards with sunglasses and earpieces standing by our premier.

Also, as I was taking pictures, it was pretty funny overhearing Colin giving Alanah sarcastic condolescences for losing her seat the day before. Ah, politicians... Here's a picture where everyone's a lot friendlier.

After the ground breaking ceremony, the Spirit of The Streets Choir performed. It was made up of people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness due to different issues - work, personal, mental or physical disability. Some of them used to be residents of St. Bart's. Many of them are the elderly, which is pretty sad that they haven't got anyone else to take care of them, but themselves.

It is through experiences like these, that I feel my work here is a lot more meaningful.

Friday, 20 August 2010

This part sucks

It turns out that it weren't my toes that were hurting from last week's run and the pain was actually from my outer foot. And it hurts each time I bend my foot, to the extent that I have to limp sometimes when I walk.

Hence, I have not been running for a week, or even spinning for that matter. I've done a lot of strength exercises though. But the pain didn't seem to go away. So I thought it was high time I seek professional advice.

I took the day off with the intention of resting and fixing an appointment. I rang up my podiatrist, only to find out that he doesn't work there anymore. I sent him a text to find out where's his new place. And he replied with a voice message, saying he's taking a break from podiatry at the moment.

Hmm... bummer. So, I called up a few local podiatrists and physiotherapists, but all were booked out. Ancillary health services is a lucrative business here, I tell you!

Finally managed to get an appointment with On The Go Physio. I've seen John, one of their therapists a few times at UWA before. Decided to give Gerard a try, at Shenton Park since he's an experienced triathlete himself.

Gerard reckons I have peroneal tendonitis. Not a stress fracture, much to my relief. He gave me some peds to stick to my orthotics to minimize my rolling outwards, which happens to be the cause of all my injuries. Yes, my flat feet - the bane of my triathlete life!

No running for another week, but I'm allowed to cycle tomorrow. Which is also election day. While the rest of Australia choose their ruling government and Prime Minister, since I'm not eligible to vote, let's see how empty the cycling paths will be tomorrow.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Time off

It has been a pretty average week, training wise... well, for the run anyway.

Wednesday morning, my first run since last weekend's half marathon was slower than usual. I did 13km in 55:37 (average 4:17 per km), I guessed my running legs were still recovering and hence, didn't worry too much.

Saturday's bike ride was pretty good, I averaged 30.4kph for the 82km ride. I think the last time I did that pace for my training ride was during Easter.

Sunday morning, 21.7km run was on the menu and I wanted to redeem myself. Started the first two loops pretty well, but some side stitches got to me and I slowed down at the third. And towards the end of the fourth loop, my left toes were starting to hurt so I called off before the fifth loop. I completed 17.4km in 1:14:37 (average 4:17 per km).

And my toes continued hurting for the rest of the day even as I walked. Not sure how this happened, but it felt like my toes were clenched and hitting the front of the shoe towards the last few kms of my run.

A bit frustrating, yes. Especially since I blitzed a massive PB at the half marathon last week and did a solid run leg at Port Dickson Triathlon two weeks before. Compared to what I've done before, volume wise, I should be able to recover from these races easily.

But having given it more thought, I did put in a lot into these races, both physically and mentally. I guess, it's wise to let myself unwind a bit and steadily build my way to prepare for Ironman WA in less than 4 months time.

Wouldn't want to risk an injury, would I?

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Perth Half Marathon pictures

From the official photographer here.

Notice the clear difference in facial expressions? Well, at least one of us was enjoying the run, hahhah.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Proud moment

On the 8th of August, 8am (yes, quite auspicious right?) I ran my 4th Perth Half Marathon. It's a club event, organized by WA Marathon Club with a smallish cozy crowd, of 600+ participants.

Despite wanting to do a PB (sub 89 minutes to be exact), I'm treating this race primarily as my build up to Ironman WA. Hence, the 82km ride the day before. Also, this year is a bit special as it would also be darling Li-Ann's first half marathon. My good friend, Eric and his friend, Kenny were doing it for the first time too.

The night before, Li-Ann and I had our carbo loading dinner at Little Caesars, Leederville. Which proved to be a slight disappointment. Maybe because we have eaten there a few times already, and the novelty is lost. Plus, the long wait didn't help.

Race morning, we picked up our friends and arrived at Burswood club rooms about 35 minutes to the race start. I did my usual warm up runs and stretches. It was a perfect morning, very calm with little to no winds. A bit cold though, about 3 degrees when we were about to start, but it warmed up after that.

Due to some construction on the riverside, the course layout had to be changed. No longer the out and back route to UWA. Instead, we had one big loop to the Narrows Bridge and back (approximately 13.8km) and a smaller loop around East Perth, which is traditionally the starting of the full marathon route. I actually like this new course, a bit more scenic though a bit hilly near the East Perth side.

I started off somewhere near the front and got a bit caught up with the chase. I did my first km under 4:05 but I steadied myself after that. I maintained an average of 4:09 for most of the way, except for the 5th km, where I had to stop to tie up my shoe laces. This is the first time it has happened to me in a race! And it was double knotted too! Lost about 15 seconds there.

Somewhere from the 15th km onwards, I started experiencing slight stomach discomfort. I had to slow down the pace, and I was releasing flatulence (sorry guys who where running with me!). There was a point where I was running at about 4:16 for a couple of kms.

Nearing the last 1km to go, a bike nearly hit me as we were running down the corner of the Causeway bridge. I paused for a moment, and the guy behind ran into me. But no major dramas. I looked at my watch, and it looks like I could make it a low 88 minute (to make it closer to 88 minutes, than to 89 minutes). But the stomach cramps did not go away, plus I was getting side stitches now!

Finally crossed the finish line in 1:28:33, just under an average 4:12 per km. Despite it being not a perfect race, I'm happy with the 3.5 minute improvement on my personal best. Here are my 5km split and lap times.

5km - 0:20:59 - 20:59
10km - 0:41:45 - 20:46
15km - 1:02:37 - 20:52
20km - 1:23:58 - 21:21
21.1km 1:28:33

I wanted to jog out to find Li-Ann but I could only muster a walk. I walked about 1.5km before I saw her, smiling and running really strong! We paced until the finish and my darling crossed the line of her first ever half marathon in 2:05:08!

She totally exceeded my expectations, I'm so proud of her! (She too complained about stomach upsets, it might have been the pizza the night before) Our friends did really well for their first half marathon too.

The full results are out here. The overall winner ran it in 1:09:37, and three ladies beat me to the finish line. I finished 71 overall and came in 11 in my age group.

Overall, a really good outing and a perfect boost for me to start my Ironman preparations.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Last weekend, this weekend

For the weekend just past, darling and I tried out the much talked about burger place, Grill'D in Mount Lawley. It was actually Li-Ann's suggestion, much to my surprise as she isn't really a burger fan.

The verdict? Very satisfied! The burgers taste great, the place was vibrant but not as crowded as Jus Burgers and a lot cheaper compared to Fab Burgers. Yes, you can see I've done my burger research, hahhah.

This coming weekend, Li-Ann would be doing her first half marathon, organized by WA Marathon Club. The initial plan was for me to accompany her, but once again, my competitive side got the better of me.

I thought I might as well use this as a training run for my build up to Ironman WA. But after gunning down two good training runs this week - 21.6km on Sunday in 1:31:09 (average 4:13 per km) and a new PB for this morning's 13km run in 53:43 (average 4:08 per km), I thought of having a crack of going sub 89 minutes for this Sunday's half marathon. My previous best more than two years ago, is just over 92 minutes.

We have a new route this year, because part of the traditional route is under renovation. Let's see how interesting this Sunday can get.