Sunday, 31 July 2011

Stormy week

It was actually alright for the first half of the week, and really started on Wednesday afternoon when I did my 45 minute easy run after work. It started to drizzle as I started my run and the clouds were all black. There was a bit of lightning too but they seemed quite a distance away. As a cyclist overtook me at one of the intersections, he said "I thought I was the crazy one riding home in this weather!"

Well, as it turned out, there were many other crazies running that evening too. John Cooke was one of them as he posted on his blog here. The downpour really came on my return journey from Burswood. It was not only wet but the winds were strong too, such that the rain were hitting me diagonally and hard! And my glasses were all fogged up, I could barely see beyond a few metres in front of me. Thank god I got home safely that night.

I didn't have further altercations with the weather for the next couple of days. In fact, it was clear when I did my long run on Friday morning. Managed 21.6km for the 90 minutes, an average pace of 4:10 per km. My best effort so far... and looking forward to attempting another PB at the Perth Half Marathon next weekend.

Saturday's ride in the hills was when the skies opened again. Although I must say I was pretty lucky, when it really poured, coincidentally I was near sheltered areas. The first was at the toilets at Mundaring Weir dam, the second when I was making my journey back at the Windan Bridge at East Perth. But most of the paths were flooded at East Perth, forcing me to make a bit of a detour and I found myself cycling along playgrounds and boardwalks.

I had another ride on Sunday morning, this time along the Swan River. Although it didn't rain as much, I think the winds got stronger. Or it could be the impression from the waves crashing onto the Freeway South bike paths. I could barely go down on my aerobars without risking being blown away. On my return journey, I even struggled to maintain riding on the outer lane as the winds kept pushing me in.

Previously I would probably be cursing the weather throughout these sessions. But somehow I've learnt to accept these things and take them as deposits into my memory bank to draw upon if it gets tough on race day. As John Cooke aptly quoted from Macca's I'm Here to Win book, EMBRACE THE SUCK!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Alien robots and monster burgers

I had an easy week of training this week. And with the extra time, I could run a few house chores, do my tax returns and go to the movies, which we haven't been doing for quite some time. And yes, you guessed it, Transformers 3 was what we picked. But we couldn't justify the extra dollars to watch it in 3D and both Innaloo and Morley only had one session a day for the 2D screening.

Anyway, we picked the Morley one despite being slightly further from us as the one in Innaloo was showing at 9.30pm, and being the earlybirds we are, we probably would fall asleep partway! The movie was fun and entertaining. I wasn't expecting much from the plot, so I couldn't be disappointed. Although, I'm not a huge Megan Fox fan, but the new girl in this sequel somehow lack the feist of her predecessor.

After the movie, we had dinner at a tiny lunch bar, Novembar, which is famous for their interesting and querky burgers. I had a classic steak burger with the lot while Li-Ann had the star burger. My steak was really tender and Li-Ann really enjoyed the beef patty and her sesame seed bun. And for dessert, we ordered the fried ice cream burger, which was absolutely yummy!

The standard burgers are quite cheap, most of them being $10 or under. But there are crazy ones as well, including the Fat Boy burger, which makes up 7 patties and cheese, $28.50 on the menu. Or you can take up the Fat Boy challenge and pay $1 for every minute you take to finish the burger, with the condition that you MUST finish it. I think I might try that the next time. The current winner sits at 6.5 minutes, with the winner out of the first 1000 participants takes home $3,000 cash. Only 40 or so people have taken part.

And if you are REALLY hardcore, there is a 100 patty burger, but be prepared to pay something in the hundreds for that. You can read more about this place on Urbanspoon and Cam and Chris' Burger Odyssey.

Now, back to a hard week of training and perhaps I can reward myself with a Fat Boy burger haha.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Lake Joondalup 10km Run

Another 10km race in my program, as Bill's way of making me run hard and not to slack off after a pretty tough training week. I heard that it was a fast course and a PB is pretty much guaranteed. As much as I wanted another PB and possibly crack the sub 40 minute mark, I was a bit doubtful. My quads felt tight the whole day yesterday after a 4 hour ride.

On a whim, we decided to eat out for dinner last night. I thought it would be a good idea to get some carbo in before the run, I'm preparing like it was an Ironman race haha. We went to good ol' Fratelli in Sorrento. We did not have a booking but as we were early, we just managed to get ourselves a table before it was all booked out.

Service was really quick, the food was ready within 5 minutes from ordering! Very tasty, I had the chicken fetuccine and Li-Ann had the seafood risotto. As always, we swapped plates halfway through. Due to the quick service, we were barely in the restaurant for more than 30 minutes. We then had dessert at San Churro at Hillarys Boat Harbour. Unfortunately, our black forrest trifle was a bit of a letdown.

Race day morning, I got the Lake Joondalup by 7.15am for the 8am start. Organized by the WA Marathon Club, it was a two lap 5km course. I didn't feel fantastic during the warm up. My quads were still tight, and my breathing was a bit laboured. I had chaffing from yesterday's ride and I felt it while doing some short sprints.

I met Dennis Tan from North Coast Tri Club and Steve Gleeson from Break Your Limits. Both got their PBs, well done! I could not find any toilets for the pre race leak, so I followed some other guys who went to the bushes. Not sure where the ladies went!

Race start, I got caught up in the surge of the other runners, clocked the first km in 3:53, but the second km in 4:06. I guessed the 1st marker was probably a bit short then. There was a slight slope down just before the 2.5km turnaround, meaning an elevation after it. It annoyed me a bit, as I expected a TOTALLY FLAT course but really, I shouldn't be complaining at all.

The was a bit of wind too, but wasn't too challenging. Throughout the first lap, there were kids no taller than my chest, who were keeping up with my sub 4 minute per km pace, some even faster! Gosh, they can really run! As I made the 5km turnaround, the the finisher clock showed just over 19:40 something, I thought to myself, if I can maintain the pace, sub 40 is mine!

I didn't negative split for the second lap but I kept the km splits under 4 minutes. Reached the finish in 39:43, a PB by over 40 seconds! And I broke 40 minutes for 10km, something which I never thought I could. Definitely breaking my limits! I guess the interval runs really help.

Looking forward to an easy week of training...

Sunday, 10 July 2011

The day my car was stolen

These things happen. However, I always thought that they would not happen to me. Well it did. Maybe it was just bad luck. Maybe it was poor judgement. Maybe a combination of both.

I went for a swim at Balga Leisurepark on Tuesday night. I placed my bag in the changeroom. It only contained my clothes, access card to the pool and my bunch of keys, which consist of car keys, house keys and office keys.

I started swimming at 6.20pm. About 55 minutes later, I returned to the changeroom with my bag wide opened, clothes thrown to the side. My first thought of relief was luckily I did not bring my wallet or phone with me. But that relief quickly changed to panic when I could not locate my keys! I quickly reported the incident to the staff at the front desk. The shift manager escorted me to where my car was located and true enough, my car was gone!

The receptionist was quick to contact the police and after finalising the report, I used the front desk phone to call Li-Ann to pick me up. Once we reached home, I started calling all my credit card companies and banks to cancel the cards. Murphy's Law... normally I leave my wallet at home when I swim, but I left it in the car this time as I wanted to fill up the tank after the swim.

Nothing much we could do after that, but at about 9.20pm, I received a call from the police saying they found the car and the culprits caught. According to the front desk staff, they are mostly likely a group of teenagers who have been banned from the centre for previous misconduct and it seems vehicle vandalism is pretty frequent. So I don't think I'll be swimming there again!

My car is still with the police at the moment for further investigation. It has been a bit inconvenient for the past few days, but Li-Ann is very supportive, sending me to work and all. To be honest, I rather have the car be written off as it is insured, and we could get a new one. God knows what they have done to it.

Another first for me, I did a 20km bike time trial hosted by the Australian Time Trial Association at Champion Lakes. It was quite a drive, about 45 minutes away. I found it really hard. The winds were blowing strongly, with gusts knocking me off balance a few times. And there were some tight corners which I slowed down a lot due to my poor handling. I thought I could achieve an average pace of 35kph but after the first of four laps, I knew there was no way I could clock that in those conditions. Hence, finishing in 36:54, averaging 32.5kph. Can't complain.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Scenic rides

I've cycled a total of 267km this week. I think that's a personal record for me, although it's a measly figure compared to many others, including some of you who read this blog. Still, it gives me quite a satisfaction and I know this record would soon be broken.

Saturday's ride was probably one of the last few rides in the hills. All but one of the Cyclebespoke people didn't show up. Shaun, the only one who came, said we're probably the only ones brave enough to ride in the rain and wind. He also said, he could think of another word other than brave... we both knew what the word, and chuckled quietly to ourselves.

It's a good thing Shaun came, as even though this would be my third time riding this route, I'm still unsure of the way. Shaun brought me up to Mundaring, where we bade farewell and I continued to Mundaring Weir. One upside of riding alone is you can take your time, riding at your own pace, taking a toilet break and... something I've been wanting to do in prior rides, getting a picture of the beautiful Mundaring Weir dam.

The next morning, I had another 3 hour ride in the program but this time on a flatter course. I started from the city and did a loop around Shelley Reserve. It was so peaceful and quiet, and the view was just gorgeous. Any photo taken would not do justice to the experience, hence, I didn't take any hehe. I then rode to the Left Bank, East Fremantle and made another loop at Shelley before heading back to the city.

Normally, my legs are pretty shattered towards the last few kms if I have longish rides back to back. But they held up pretty well this morning. Must have been the big feast of a dinner Li-Ann and I had the night before at Little Caesars.

And look what my parents got for me for an early birthday present... thanks mum and dad! I love you!