Sunday, 30 October 2011

Cairns bound

*Picture taken from official Challenge Cairns website*

I have flirted with the idea of doing this race for quite a while. And then, after my DNF episode in Desaru, I was keen to race Desaru again but I had to re-think my racing options for next year, as travelling twice in a year would cost me a bit more.

But after much deliberation, I rationalized with myself that I intend Cairns sometime in the future anyway, so I might as well do it next year when the costs are lower, as it is more likely than not that the entry fees as well as logistical costs will increase again in the following year. Plus, I think two years of doing Ironman Western Australia back to back is enough for me.

I signed up yesterday, two days before the early bird entry ends at 5pm Cairns time, 31 October. I was pretty much pumped up after a good 4 hour ride and good 13 minute brick run. I like the fact that what I see is what I pay, no additional admin fee, processing fee etc. With the starting point in a tiny suburb of Yorkey's Knob, I've also secured 3 night's accommodation, less than 1 km away from the swim start, without having to put down a deposit.

Okay, so I better not get too carried away. Ironman Western Australia is only 5 weeks away, so I should be channeling my energy and focus towards this race first.

On a side note, Li-Ann and I attended a barbecue and picnic event in Burswood park, with guests of honour none other than our Malaysian Prime Minister and his wife, who are in Perth for CHOGM. But after two hours, they were still not there. We had our nasi lemak and BBQ meat already, and had to get going. We might have just missed them on our way out.

Li-Ann is scheduled to leave for a 3.5 weeks conference trip to Washington DC, with a stopover in Sydney. We have been keeping ourselves glued to the TV for news on the recent grounding of the Qantas fleet worldwide, hoping that this would be resolved before her flight in two days time.

Friday, 28 October 2011


HELP ME! I heard someone yell as I was being wheeled in on a hospital bed through the aisles of the emergency ward of Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital. Around me were patients with oxygen masks, some unconscious, some seemed to be in a lot of pain. But the medical staff seemed calm, almost immune to the situation.

This was on Monday evening. I experienced some soreness around my left rib area during the weekend, I thought it might have been due to gym work I did on Friday night. But on Monday it became unbearable, I felt pain in each deep breath I took, and every step when my foot hits the ground. I left work early to visit a clinic, but I guessed I wasn't early enough as most of the clinics were already closed. Li-Ann brought me to the UWA medical centre and the receptionist suggested that we tried the emergency centre at the hospital.

There was quite a queue at the hospital. I expected a long wait before I could see the doctor. But when I described the pain to the front desk, they were worried if it was anything related to my heart. So I was asked to enter immediately! When I went in, I was told to lie on the bed so I can be wheeled to my designated examination room. I felt really embarrassed at all the attention I was getting!

In the examination room, a nurse asked me a lot of questions - where the pain is, how painful, any allergies, family medical history etc. She then performed an ECG and the results were okay. A doctor then came and asked me the same questions. She was concerned if it could be due to Pneumothorax (collapsing of the lung) so she prescribed me to get an X ray, which was done shortly after. Anyway, after all the drama, it turned out that there was nothing wrong with my heart or lung, or even my ribs for that matter - which I was initially most concerned about. I thought I might have cracked a rib!

I probably pulled a muscle or had a muscle knot. I rested the next day and did no training at all. Luckily I have an easy program this week, so I'm not missing out on much. And glad that I was much better the following day and could even do a 50 minute run.

Today, which is the CHOGM public holiday or a replacement Queen's Birthday holiday, her Royal Highness is also in town and there is a lot going on in Perth these few days. The police are busy patrolling the streets and helicopters are flashing bright lights from the sky. Anyway, any public holiday is most welcomed! More time to train, and more importantly, more time to rest. I'm all well and feeling no pain at all. Thank you all for the well wishes!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Man vs wild

Well, not really. But cycling on the freeway south bike paths, you can encounter some wild life. I've heard of people seeing some snakes on their rides, I've been fortunate enough not to experience that. However, today's long ride with Sam and Dennis, we were attacked by magpies in both our outward and return journeys. It seemed to be getting more rampant, as this is a common discussion amongst cyclists who ride this route.

Then, on the way back we rode through a swarm of bees. I went down really low on my bike, luckily I didn't get stung. I supposed in a way, we were intruding their natural habitat (I'd like to think that cyclists' natural habitat is in their cosy homes, and not on the bike paths!). The magpies could be protecting their young, while the bees could be just collecting nectar.

The people of Perth were again shocked by the tragic news of an American man who was killed by a shark while diving at Rottnest Island. This is the third shark attack in 7 weeks. Our deepest sympathy to the victim's family for their loss. I sure hope when we swim around the Busselton Jetty in about 5 weeks time, there won't be any sharks around.

I had a big training load this week. The easy program next week is most welcomed, as I felt a bit tired in some of the longer sessions this week. The last 30 minutes of my 2 hour long run yesterday, I could only manage a 5 minute pace but the faster pace of 4:30 at the start giving an overall average of 4:36. The 1500m swim time trial I did on Friday, I was hoping more of a 22 to 22:30 (average 1:28-1:30 per 100m), but I did 22:50 instead (average 1:31-1:32).

Looking forward to the easy week!

Sunday, 16 October 2011


This week, however is not all is bliss and joy. A close friend of ours had her grandmother passing away of old age. Reading what my friend wrote about her, she sounds like an amazing lady and there would be many wonderful memories to be remembered by.

And then a prominent figure in the cycling and running scene in Malaysia, passed away after collapsing during his morning run. Affectionately known as TSB, short for Tuan Senang Besar (Le Big Easy) because of his size was an advocate to raise awareness amongst Malaysians about cycling and running, and how things can be improved for cyclists, runners and motorists who share the roads.

I do now know my friend's grandmother or TSB personally. But they are both great people and their passing has touched me in some way. Their deaths will be mourned, but their lives will also be celebrated on how they have touched others, in one way or another.

Rest in peace...

Wedding (no, not ours!)

Li-Ann and I were very honoured to be amongst the guests of our friends, Jasmine and Michael's wedding this weekend. The morning reception was at Araluen Botanic Park. The weather was beautiful, not a cloud in the sky. Dinner was at Red Herring in East Fremantle, with a gorgeous ambience overlooking the Swan River. I've always cycled past the restaurant but this was my first time dining there.

Congratulations, Jasmine and Michael! Our best wishes for the both of you as new life begins as a married couple.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

And it begins...

The first week of October is always the hardest. It is the beginning of the few weeks (usually 5 to 6) where we rack up some mega miles, getting sun kissed tan and spending the remaining hours of our days in zombie like expressions. But looking at my training plan for the next couple of weeks, the weekly hours have still been kept to a manageable load of just over 16 hours. Then again... I may be wrong, as I have yet to receive the plans for the weeks after that.

I turned 28 on Friday, only 2 more years before I reach the big THREE-OH. That also means moving up to the next age group in triathlon-speak. As I clearly enjoy my meat, Li-Ann and I had my birthday dinner at Fibber McGee's Leederville - Irish dry aged steak with Guiness, of course.

What's a birthday without a cake? As there were only two of us, and we were pretty full from dinner, a slice of honeycrunch mousse cake from Exomod Mount Lawley was to be shared between us, along with a cup of coffee for Li-Ann and white hot chocolate for me.

My ride on Saturday started unusually late at 9.30am. I joined Sam and Dennis for a 5 hour ride, and they had a special program which includes a 1 hour swim before and 2 hour run after! I just did the ride. I wasn't sure how I would pull up as my longest ride this year was 4.5 hours before Desaru and that seemed so long ago. But it turns out, I managed alright - 154.2km, average pace 31kph, which is my best training effort so far for a long ride.

It was nice seeing some familiar faces on the freeway south shared paths, they were all on their way back whereas we just started! Though, the magpie attack on the way back from Mandurah wasn't much fun. Thank god for helmets! And I found out later that this has been quite a regular occurrence. Looks like inconsiderate vehicle drivers aren't the only ones who do not welcome us on their roads.

Sunday morning, I tuned into the live streaming of the Kona Ironman World Championships the moment I woke up. I watched Craig Crowie Alexander dominated the field to his 3rd win (which I won a A$10 bet with Li-Ann for hehe) and breaking the course record. There wasn't the excitement of a duel between 1st and 2nd like last year, but breaking the course record by such a narrow margin - a race against the clock made up for it. Chrissie Wellington had to fight off Mirinda Rinnie Carfrae breathing down her neck towards the last mile before claiming her 4th win.

I then set off for my long run, feeling a bit motivated from all the adrenaline of the World Champs coverage. Perhaps too motivated, and probably started off a bit too quickly. I was maintaining a 4:20 pace for about 40 minutes and then I started to fade. I slowed down to a 4:30 and eventually a 4:50 pace. Did 21.8km in 1 hour 40 minutes, an overall average of 4:35 pace. Oh well, we all have our off days and I was just glad to get the mileage in.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Old haunts

No, this has nothing to do with retro horror movies.

I had a do-as-you-like training this week. It would have been a lot more welcomed if I actually finished the race the previous weekend. Instead, I felt a bit sluggish and neurotically checking the scales regularly to see if I have gained any weight with the light training load, as I haven't been cutting back on my eating.

But taking a break is always good, both for the mind and the body. I re-visited the UWA swim squad on Tuesday night and did 1 hour swim session, covering 3km with a main set of 6 x 200m on 3:15. Everyone was asking where I've been, I guess I did leave abruptly without bidding farewell the last time.

I planned for a 60-70 minute run on Friday morning and I tried on my new pair of Asics GT-2150. They felt a bit stiff, still needs some breaking into. Halfway through I felt blisters developing on my left foot and decided to stop after 13km - 3 x 4.35km loop around my neighbourhood, which is my usual weekday runs before I started Bill's program. Clocked just under 55 minutes, average 4:14 per km pace. Still not quite there yet.

Saturday I did a 3 hour ride from UWA towards Point Walter and Left Bank. Haven't rode there for quite a while. The weather was forecasted to be pretty windy but I think it settled down later in the morning. I did a loop of the Shelley Reserve before returning to UWA. Clocked just under 30kph average.

I did try out something new though. I joined some of the North Coast Tri Club guys for an ocean swim at Sorrento Beach. This is probably one of the rare times where I swim in the open water, other than in races. Bradley Hosking's squad was doing their training there as well. My sighting in the open water still needs a lot of work. I stopped many times to ensure I wasn't swimming too far off the main group. The currents pushed me into the shore a few times too. I copped some stingers but they were pretty minor. Swam just over 40 minutes, probably did about 2km.

Bill's back from France today, he'll be joining us for our social group tomorrow. Can't wait to get my program for the coming weeks and get back into it!