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 :)