Sunday, 30 January 2011

A week to myself

My darling fiance left this morning for Malaysia for Chinese New Year. She'll be back next Monday.

It was a good thing that I did my ride on Australia Day public holiday on Wednesday. This gives us more time to spend with each other before she flew. I did an 8.7km run on Saturday morning, went alright for the first loop but somehow still couldn't hold the pace. Dropped the pace a bit at the start of the second loop but was able to increase the speed towards the finishing. Clocked 38:16 averaging 4:24 per km. Still far off my best, but slowly getting there.

We then had brunch with our friends, Jon and Angie at their new home in Burswood. It was nice seeing their lovely house and meeting up with others, May and Jason. In the evening, we watched a movie, The Fighter. It was pretty good and I had goosebumps each time they boxed. Christian Bale gave a stellar performance as the crack addicted coach/brother.

For dinner, we visited Little Caesars again, it was still early 6pm, hence it wasn't too crowded. We decided to try something new this time - greek lamb. Not as rich as white rock's roast and very easy on the palate.

After sending Li-Ann off to the airport early this morning, I took a nap before spinning 30 minutes on the wind trainer. The initial plan was to do another bike ride but with the weather warnings of Cyclone Bianca, I stayed indoors. Eventually the cyclone didn't come through Perth at all, but it was still pretty windy outside.

I maintained an average of 100rpm with sprints of above 110rpm for the last minute. Then I did a 4.35km run and managed to run at 4:10 per km pace. I'm glad that I can start running with reasonable speed, the key now is to maintain it for longer distances.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Aussie Brick

It was Australia Day yesterday. I took opportunity of the public holiday to do a brick session, seeing that it might rain this weekend. I've been slightly down with a bout of phlegmy throat and cough since last weekend. Did an 80km ride with an average of 29.0kph, the slower pace might be caused me feeling a bit weak from the sickness. The weather was pretty mild, with some moderate winds in some areas.

There was still quite a lot of traffic on the road, people flocking to the foreshore for barbecues and picnics. The Australia Day triathlon was on too, causing a bit of congestion as I rode through Point Walter. The race was finished as I got there but participants were starting to leave. Good to know that Scott Thomson from BreakYourLimits won the race.

After the ride, I was hesitant as to whether to stick to my plan of doing a brick run. Eventually I got myself to a jog about 3kms out along Hackett Drive and Mounts Bay Road. I stopped at the turnaround and started walking for about a minute before jogging back until the last 700 metres where I stopped to walk again. Altogether I probably jogged about 5kms in just over 25 minutes. I didn't turn on my stopwatch, which means I wasn't in the mood. My pace was pretty inconsistent but I guess it's not a bad start.

That evening, we watched the fireworks at the riverside in the city. We parked at Royal Street in East Perth and took a walk down. It was one of the colder nights of all the Australia Days I've had over here. Despite being repetitive and after seeing it nearly every year, it was still a nice 30 minute sight.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

First run for the year

After battling with the discomfort around the inside of my left foot and the uncertainty as to when I should start running, on Sunday morning I've finally decided give it go. This was my first run since Ironman Western Australia. Surprisingly I could barely feel the discomfort while running and I was trotting along quite nicely.

But after having not ran for 7 weeks, the lack of running fitness affected me significantly, and I slowed down considerably halfway through the first loop (I was meant to do two!) around my neighbourhood. Slightly disappointed, I stopped after the first loop but as I was walking back home, I thought that I should just jog another loop anyway.

So I did. It didn't feel as stressful as when I'm trying to make certain timing. Did 8.7km in total in just under 40 minutes, which I would normally have done in about 36 minutes. I ran with the new Asics GT 2150, for the first time as well, they didn't feel as responsive as I hoped them to be, but I guess I have yet to break into them properly yet.

So that was my first run training for the year. It didn't feel great but I'm looking forward to better sessions ahead. Just like my cycling when it started off pretty crappy but steadily progressed. And yesterday's 80km ride was a sign that I'm in the right direction, averaging at 29.7kph. Although the moderately calm weather did help.

On the domestic front but still triathlon related, I caught ONE HD's coverage of Ironman Western Australia 2010 and was delightfully suprised that I was captured not once, but twice! Each about 1.5 seconds and one of it crossing the finishing line with the Malaysia flag!

This afternoon, I spent A$80 on sporting gear at Harbour Town this evening. But none of my own. Got my lovely fiance a pair of Saucony running shoes and Skins compression tank top for my little sister, which were only A$30 in Jim Kidd. I was meant to get these items from Wiggle online as I have a GBP5 gift voucher to be used by middle of next week.

Hmm... does this mean something for myself then? A pair of Shimano 105 pedals perhaps?

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Group ride

Being a long distance triathlete, one can become quite anti social - spending hours on the bike and long runs alone. I for one, rarely ride in a group in Perth for the following reasons:

1. I find it extremely difficult pulling myself out of bed before sunrise, as most group rides start 6am;
2. Most groups are too fast for my pace. I did one ride with the people from TBE Nedlands bike shop and was dropped off halfway through the ride;
3. Being a triathlete, somehow the whole idea of drafting doesn't quite sit well with me.

However, lately I have been finding it difficult to get into the training gear, so I thought that training in a group will be just the thing to get myself motivated again. And what better way to do it with Monday morning social rides with Team Break Your Limits (BYL). To be honest I was quite sceptical at first, as quite often, most social rides turn into competitive ego jostling races!

But I was assured by Bill, one of the main guys there, that wasn't the case. And they even had novices joining them. Also, my friend Shao, who swims with me, is also part of the group, so it helps having familiar people there. So on Monday morning 6am, I turned up at BYL headquarters/gym in West Perth. Bill and Shao introduced me to everyone else. I noticed that I was the only one without shaved legs and the guys had shinier legs than the girls!

We rode through Dalkeith and did a small loop around Cottesloe Beach, which was nice as I haven't rode through there before. The pace was comfortable but as I rarely ride in a group, I got a bit uncomfortable staying so close to the other cyclists. Also my bike handling skills are still pretty poor and I found myself slowing down a lot around the corners, so I stayed back just so no one would collide into me!

We stopped by Cimbalino in Dalkeith for coffee and just chatted among ourselves, where some of us parted ways and the remaining of us returned to BYL gym. We covered about 35kms and averaged just under 26kph. I actually felt pretty good from the ride and I was feeling fresh for the rest of the day. Looks like this is one ride which I would keep to my weekly routine, and hopefully I can pick up some pointers on bike handling along the way!

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Weekend enjoyment

In a blink of an eye, and it has already been almost two weeks since we've been back in Perth since our holidays. That also means that we are already halfway through the first month of the year 2011.

Training wise, this week went much better than the previous week. I felt more power in my strokes for Tuesday's and Thursday's swim sessions. The two spinning sessions I did during the week felt good, I managed to keep between 95-100rpm and hitting above 110rpm during the last 1 minute of sprints.

Saturday's bike ride was much more enjoyable than last week. Partly because it was about 10 degrees cooler and winds were 5kph lower. There was still some fatigue but only towards the last few kms of the ride, when riding against the headwind. My new cyclecomputer has a wired cadence now, but I only use the cadence mode for my spinning sessions. When I checked that I was clocking just under 110rpm for the ride, I was pretty shocked. Maybe it's time to pull bigger gears, adding more power.

Just after Canning Bridge, I bumped into (not literally) John Cooke who was just finishing his ride after an arduous ride in the hills. He's training for Ironman Lanzarote, which is infamous for it's hilly course. We chatted and rode alongside for about 5km up until the Narrows Bridge where I bid him farewell and continued the last few kms of my ride. I completed the ride the 80+ km ride with an average 29.0kph, not that fast but pretty happy with the effort as it is heading in the right direction.

That evening, darling and I had dinner at Tony's Spaghetti Bar in Scarborough, a place we've been wanting to try out for some time. It's a little take away with a few tables and chairs for those wishing to dine in. All pastas were $15 and under, with meat and seafood dishes being between $15-$20.

Very satisfied with the meal, good value, the portions were quite large and despite taking away more than half of Li-Ann's linguine, I was still left with a bloated stomach. After dinner, we had a nice walk by the sunset at Scarborough Beach.

I weighed myself this morning, and I'm happy that I'm back at my pre holiday weight! :) And I haven't even started running yet.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Not quite there yet

It's been 6 days since I've been back in Perth. Things started out pretty well. I was motivated at work despite just returning from a 2.5 weeks holiday. Thursday's swim session was great, I felt strong and I was even clocking faster times than I did before the holidays. The 2 hour swim sessions with my brother's squad back home must have helped.

I haven't started running and would probably avoid it for another two weeks. The soreness on the navicular area on my left foot, which I have had for more than a year now, somehow became aggravated after Ironman Western Australia. It was always there but it didn't affect my running before this. I saw a sports doctor in Malaysia, Dr Aston who reckons it is due to my flat feet (again!) and weak feet muscles. So I have been doing the recommended feet exercises diligently, hope it will heal soon.

In the meantime, I did some spinning sessions on the wind trainer and I'm glad that I was able to sustain my high cadence. Thought it would be good to put my legs to the test for an 80km ride on Sunday. Sadly, I was disappointed with the results. No doubt that it was a scorcher at 35 degrees with strong winds blowing at 22kph, but mainly I haven't found my fitness yet and I pretty much gave up for the second half of the ride, and decided to just enjoy the scenery at a leisurely pace. I averaged 27.6kph for the entire ride.

Though I'm not entirely pleased with this outcome, I'm not going to be overly anxious. My next race is the Aviva Singapore Ironman 70.3, which is a good two months away. There is still time, but I have to log in my training consistently to get back into form.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Fozz and Natasha's wedding in Ipoh

Thanks for Chee Minh and Renee for the photos. Li-Ann and I are back in Perth now, starting in the office tomorrow.