Monday, 24 December 2012

Farewell 2012...

As it is only a day before Christmas and the year comes towards an end, I would like to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and a happy new year! I never quite believed the Mayan end of world theory, looking forward to many years to come!

2012 has been an eventful one. On June 23rd, I got married to a gorgeous lady, my darling Li-Ann. Although we have been living under the same roof for about 1.5 years before that, there some subtle differences in our lives since that special day.

I completed 2 Ironman distances this year. In fact, if you count Ironman WA the year before, it adds up to 3 in a period of just over 12 months. I think I've matured as a triathlete - many thanks to Bill's coaching and training with the BYL team.

Come 2013, changes and challenges a plenty. New place - London, Ontario. New job - I'm still looking for one. New people and culture altogether. Let's not forget my passion - triathlon, training in a place that snows 4 months of the year will require some thinking outside the box!

I'll be away from Christmas day, will be returning to Malaysia for a week. Until then, enjoy the silly season! See you in the new year!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

More pics from Busso

Pictures courtesy of Li-Ann, Dennis Tan, Andrina Goh, BYL and Finisherpix
My biggest fan, the night before the race
At the start line
The calm before the storm
Glad to be out of that choppy water!
Pretty average swim time
Let's try to fix that on the bike
Chasing Tom at the Rushleigh Rd turnaround
Still smiling at the start of the run

And a bit of horsing around too!

Finished Ironman no. 6!
Post race celebration at Duckstein brewery

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Ironman Western Australia 2012... a race of a different kind

I came to this race with big goals and expectations. Even a big investment in a new bike, new shoes etc. the lot! As most of you would know, I fell short of my sub 10 hour target and made it through the finish with 10:16.28, about 1.5 minute slower than my PB at Ironman Cairns early this June. In fact, I clocked almost the same splits for each leg, talk about being consistent!

Disappointed? Somewhat. But given the conditions on the day, I was just glad to have finished strongly. The waters were choppy during the swim but in comparison, my swim time was still pretty average. It was hot and windy on the bike, which made it difficult to clock a high speed. Luckily Tom from BYL passed me on the second lap and it helped with my pacing. Onto the run, the mercury rose even higher and it was difficult to maintain the pace I started. The drinks stations could have been better spaced, it has been the same for the last years - some really close to each other, some really far. Despite improving 8 minutes on last year's time, my age group ranking dropped by 13 places to 22nd but I improved 14 places overall to 140th. I've given it all on the race course and I could not have asked for more.

I'm afraid this isn't one of my usual detailed race reports. After doing the same course three years in a row, I can't seem to find the creative juices to write it much differently. But what I can definitely shed light on how much I enjoyed the company of the Malaysian contingent doing this race, most of them staying at Amaroo Motel too, and most of them doing their first Ironman. The pre race stress and chatter outside the corridors of our rooms, and asking for tips and advice. I felt very honoured to share some of my experiences.

I can also share on how much stronger I feel in the lead up to this race. Coach Bill certainly did not take the brakes off in my training plan this time. And though I feel tired and beaten up at the end of most weeks, I knew I would reap the rewards when it matters most on race day. I'm proud to say that I could keep up (most times) with the BYL group rides and finally feel that I'm part of the group and no longer that slow one that the group has to drag home. It was great fun training with you guys and a bit of healthy rivalry did push me beyond my limits on race day.

As some of you may already know, my wife Li-Ann and I will be moving to Canada for the next two years. Li-Ann took up a research position in University of Western Ontario in London, two hours away from Toronto. She left yesterday morning and as I'm writing this, she's already in Canada, a foreign place so far away and our communication is somewhat limited. The past few weeks had been stressful for her - sorting out our visas, getting rid of furniture and belongings we don't need, arranging for our place to leased out, packing for a trip to to a place where temperatures drop to negative 30 degrees!

All of these whilst my mental space had been pre occupied with the Ironman race, I did not give much help. Still, Li-Ann gave her full support on race day, even took the car out with Sam and Dennis to cheer me on at the bike turnaround on Rushleigh Road. She was sunburnt and exhausted at the end of the day. Thanks, darling! I love you, darling!

An amazing shot taken by Dennis Tan
What's next for me? Well, going to Canada will be an adventure in itself. But being the Ironman junkie I am, I have already signed up for Ironman Canada in Whistler on 25 August. With over 4000ft of climbing on the bike course and nearly 700ft of elevation in the run, it's going to be one epic race!

Monday, 3 December 2012

It's show time

It's hard to believe that the 22 week training plan for Ironman WA has nearly come to an end. It sure was an interesting ride! I'd like to thank my coach Bill Scanlan for getting me this far, it is with his coaching and guidance that I have confidence in my preparation to be at my best on race day. My lovely wife Li-Ann for tolerating my absence both in body and mind, when I'm out training and when I'm either too tired or zoned out when I'm at home. Without her support I would not have made it this far. The BYL crew, thanks for pushing me to my limits and beyond. It is only with these guys and girls that I can put training for an Ironman and fun within the same sentence.

After a couple of months hiatus, I joined the BYL interval run session on Tuesday morning. We did 6 x 1.45km in King's Park. As it has been a while since I've ran at intensity, it was pretty tough and I was careful not push too hard to prevent getting injured. I did two swim sessions during the week and tried on different wetsuits - full sleeved and sleeveless. My arms felt really sore partway through the full sleeved session and I was baking inside swimming in the heated pool. I felt a lot more comfortable in the sleeveless and my swim times were pretty similar, if not quicker than swimming in the full sleeved. So it's a no brainer that I'll be using the sleeveless on race day unless it's going to be a really cold morning. I'll still bring both down to Busso just in case.

The weekend's volume was a tad bit shorter than last week. I rode for 3.5 hours on Saturday down the Freeway. I had my aero helmet and the disc wheel on, and got many stares from other cyclists and pedestrian. I even copped some abusive words from a bogan driving past in a ute and the Murdoch traffic lights. On Sunday, I ran for 80 minutes around my neighbourhood with negative splits. My first half was quicker than last week's tempo pace and I managed to go even quicker in the second half. Glad to see I'm feeling fresher with the taper.

My dark knight all set up and ready for race day
I had a massage session with Nathan Doig this morning. He was kind not to hurt me too much (his words, not mine!). Race week coming up, a bit of packing to do and plenty of nerves going around. A bit of nervousness is good but too much can be self destructing. Sometimes, it's good to shut away from it all and just take a deep breath.

I wish all those taking part all the best! And to the first timers, enjoy the moment! No one else can do that for you, but yourself. Track us live this Sunday on, my next post shall be my race report!