Sunday, 26 August 2012

Two weeks

Some miscellaneous updates for these two weeks. Li-Ann's dad and her sister came to visit last weekend. We visited the Swan Valley region and went to the Perth hills the day after. It was also my first time having a meal at Le Croissant at Kalamunda. We took a hike to the Lesmurdie Falls walk trail - such a hidden treasure! Well, not exactly. There were plenty of other visitors but we just did not know about it all this while.

It has been a week since Eid al-Fitr, or Hari Raya as we call it in Malaysia. We were invited to our friend's open house where we had plenty of delicious Malay traditional food - rendang, curry, satay, laksa and all sorts of cookies. Thanks for the invite,
Fozz and Tasha! I'm so stuffed now hehe.

My training load has started increasing with the long rides reaching the 4 hour mark. I rode with the BYL group yesterday down the Freeway bike path, we took turns leading every 5-10 minutes. A fast average speed of 33.5kph after the halfway point, unfortunately I couldn't keep up with the pace after 3 hours and got dropped. Had to ride the last one hour on my own and my average speed dropped closer to 32kph. This morning, while most of Perth's athletic community were out running the City to Surf, I did a 2 hour ride of laps by the coast start from Sorrento and turning back at Burns Beach. Well done to everyone who ran this morning, the conditions were perfect and we saw many personal bests and fast times!

The weather is starting to warm up with bright sunshine during the day, which is good for my preparations for the Desaru 116 triathlon in less than 4 weeks' time. The mornings can still be a bit cold but I think that will soon come to an end.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Perth half mara pictures

Taken off the Dash Photography website.

And my position was 60th overall, same as last year! Despite being slower by nearly 2.5 minutes. Full results here.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Perth Half Marathon 2012

The Olympics is coming to a close, with so many heroes to draw inspiration from - Alistair Brownlee, Usain Bolt, Mo Farah... just to name a few. Somewhere closer to home, 19 year old Sarawakian, Pandelela Rinong clinched the bronze medal in the women's 10m diving event and became the first female Malaysian to win an Olympic medal and also the first medal in a sport other than badminton. This young lass is one to look out for on the diving boards in the future.

This morning was the Perth Half Marathon, an event I've done a few times now. With only 5 weeks into the training program, I had no intentions of beating last year's time, which is also my half marathon PB. But I was keen to at least run under 90 minutes. I had an easy week of training but my legs were feeling a bit tight, so I booked in a massage yesterday with Central Tafe and I felt a bit sore for the rest of the day. Luckily I recovered enough the next day.

On race morning, what seemed like a summer's day for the past couple of days turned into a very wet one. It didn't really shower heavily but it drizzled consistently. So much so I was tempted just to do my warm up run under the shade around the clubroom but there were just too many people to avoid. On Bill's advice, I downed a gel before the start. I normally either have a Powerbar or nothing at all other than my toast for breakfast before a race, and keep gels to the race itself. But as I ran out of Powerbars, thought I'll give the gel a try.

I started the run pretty well, as I started almost near the front I didn't have to do a lot of overtaking - in fact, I was being overtaken! The rain made the roads wet and slippery, which was a challenge in itself. Got into a comfortable pace, holding about 4:10 per km. The two guys pacing just behind me were having long conversations between themselves, it was entertaining to say the very least! After we made the first turnaround, we ran into some headwinds from the east, which made it a bit challenging from 9km onwards, where my pace started falling to just under 4:20.

My greatest gripe was there were no km markers from 12km onwards. This is where I wished I had a GPS enabled watch. But no matter, I played a chasing game and tried running down the guys ahead of me. I downed another gel just before the 1 hour mark, and that gave me a boost. I had no indication of whether I was going to make it under 90 minutes. But as we headed towards the Causeway, I knew we were getting close and I thought to myself to I might just make it.

Final stretch of about 1km to go, my watch was showing about 1:25, I knew I had to dig deep. I quickened my pace, gritted my teeth and winced my way through to the finish line - 1:29:52 was the time I clocked and I was the last runner to finish under 90 minutes. Just happy to have put in a hard effort! ...and it's back to hard training again next week.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Worth more than gold

In my previous post, I've missed out the fact that last night was the Olympic badminton final match between Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei and China's Lin Dan. As the badminton is not being shown in Australia (unless you have Foxtel), it somehow slipped my mind. It was the only realistic chance of Malaysia bagging it's first ever Olympic gold medal. However, it did not pan out that way and the hunt continues.

Chong Wei lost in an agonizingly close defeat that took 3 sets of 21-15, 10-21, 19-21 in a battle of 79 minutes. He was clearly heartbroken and the picture of him - courtesy of The Star holding back his tears at the medal presentation says it all. This would definitely be his last Olympic games, and it seem unlikely that we would be able to produce another badminton champion within the next 4 years to take on the mighty China giants.

But what touched me was the floodgates of support and backing from Malaysians from Facebook, Twitter and any social media possible. We were all behind Chong Wei. Put aside our racial, cultural and political differences. It doesn't matter that he didn't win the gold medal. Chong Wei has reunited the whole nation. And that is worth more than gold.

Dato' Lee, I'm proud of you. And I'm sure the whole nation is too.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Running on a high

A week has passed since the start of the Olympics. I've been watching most of the swimming - somehow doing laps of staring at the blue line in the pool during my teens made me relate most to this sport. But I've been only watching the delayed telecast online of course, as getting up at 3am every morning just doesn't go well with my training. I did catch the women's triathlon yesterday too. What a finish! It was a pity Erin Densham couldn't quite respond the sprint at the last few metres to clinch the gold. Now the athletics are on the way, and I think what's on most people's mind is who's to be fastest man at the Olympics this year.

Maybe it's from watching the Olympics but I find myself putting in some good efforts at the sessions this week. Also, probably because I've just signed up for Desaru 116 tri as well, in late September, so I derive some motivation from there. It'll be something to look forward to in the middle stages of preparation towards Ironman WA, as a test for myself and what I'm capable of. As some of you may recall, I had a disappointing race last year, where I did not finish due to mechanical problems. So I'm back again this year for unfinished business!

The Pancake Run this morning rounded up week 4 of my training program. Don't be misled by the name of the race. The course, being in King's Park is nowhere near as flat as a pancake. But we do get pancakes after the race! The sore achilles that I had few weeks ago is almost non existent now, so I thought having a 15km race would be a good idea as some hard but fun training. Also, it would serve as a good test before I do the Perth Half marathon next week.

My longest run since being back on the program was just over 11kms, so I wasn't sure what to expect. But I had an aim of holding about 4:30 per km average, as that's roughly what I've been holding for my training runs. Well, I did surprise myself, as midway through, 1:05 (average 4:20 pace) seem very possible... and I crossed the finish line in 1:03:10 in the end, an average of 4:11, very happy with that! I did slow down a bit on the 2nd lap but I caught up with a few people in front. Still, a good sign for the half marathon next week, looking forward to it!