Thursday, July 31, 2008

Jeans & Genes

I love jeans. They are the one clothing item I wear (when not in Lycra) 99% of the time. Maybe it was because as a kid I never owned any, (I always had to make do with my brother’s hand-me-downs). Not that I cared much. So long as there were two legs to step into, a zipper and a button I was happy. I would have probably been more bothered if I had an elder sister and was forced into hand-me-down dresses. How could you climb trees, ride your bike through the woods and make mud pies in a dress??? Apparently so I am told; as soon as I learnt to talk the first words that came out my mouth were NO! This was in reference to when mum was trying once again to put her little girl into something without legs and a zipper.
So if you hadn’t guessed already I was a bit of a tomboy. Dolls were something I did not wish to own, while the LEGO that my brother got for Christmas was something I WANTED and the subject of many a tantrum or two.
My friends were always decked out in the latest denim so when adolescence was finally upon me and I was able to start buying my own clothes my excitement was at fever pitch when I purchased that first pair of jeans. Sadly I don’t have a picture at hand but I can describe them to you in full glorious detail.
We are in the 80’s; Miami Vice & Dynasty were TV staples moulding my young mind and I had a picture of Limahl (what happened to him?) of Never-ending story on my wall and a Spandau Ballet poster covered my math book – are you getting the picture? I had the legwarmers; I had the pixie boots, now I needed the denim. Think skinny drain pipe jeans with, wait for it, white stripes on dark denim! How cool was I? Looking like the cat that got the cream, with my boyish flattop haircut (believe it or not my mum was and still is a hair dresser) (sorry mum you are great, maybe I was just crap at sitting still), it is no wonder that I was always mistaken for a boy when buying my supply of sweeties at the corner store.
I lost count of the amount of times I heard, “thank you young man/lad/sir” whilst handing over my 50pence pocket money for as many ½ penny cola bottles, aniseed balls and oooh, sherbet flying saucers – remember them?, that I could afford.
Did I ever correct the shopkeeper? Did I shout out “Oi! I’m a girl”, did I heck. I wouldn’t say boo to a goose in those days. I just took my sweeties and ran, (after paying of course, well most of the time after paying).
The thing is as the years wore on the picture never changed. I was hanging out with my very first, opps no, second boyfriend when we were both referred to as young lads! Can’t imagine how he felt about that – I believe he is still trying to get over it. Did I ever do anything to change this ongoing case of mistaken identity? Did I stop wearing the biker jacket, green Doc Martins and Purple jeans? Did I start growing my hair, wearing dresses and experimenting with makeup? NO. Why should I? But on the other hand, I never defended myself over it too.
Mum and dad never seemed to mind about the way I dressed, I don’t think it bothered them. When I started playing A LOT of badminton from the age of 14 I guess they were happy just knowing where I was at night.
Not long ago, and I am talking about a matter of months, I was in a lift when someone once again called me a “young man”. Okay fair dues they actually asked me if I was a boy. These days though it comes as quite a shock to hear that. I know I still dress in my uniform of jeans or cargo pants with T’s but come on lah. The difference 20years down the road is I have grown up, I will say boo to the goose and I will not shy away of saying what I think. So all I will say is that person was reminded rather abruptly that this is A YOUNG LADY not a YOUNG MAN. I know I may not always act like a lady, but these days I am partial to wearing a wee bit of makeup, heels and a dress now and then so all in all I think I’m making pretty good progress.
You can’t alter your genetic makeup and should never be ashamed of not following the herd – how boring is that? Some people like sports and some people just will never understand WHY some people LOVE sports. And some people like me also love to wear jeans. WHY? Because I can.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

So Moving

Probably the least amount of words I will ever say in one post:

LOVE the movie, ADORE this music. ENJOY!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Oranges Have WON

Damn. I WANTED PURPLE! Now I shall cry, because we are all going to end up looking like a Pumpkin Patch on bikes! Never mind, if that’s what the majority want, then what to do?
Ok, so the wheels are now in motion. This could take a while so please guys, bear with me and I will keep you updated on the progress. It seems with the TTH Blog a lot more of you who have come out the woodwork and would like clothing. This is great news, more Team Tri-Hard Pumpkins! There is a variety of clothing items I plan to get made, see below samples and make a note of what you like and email me or make a comment – I know some of you have already done this but please do me a favour and let me know again.
Give me a while to confirm things and as for pricing this will depend on quantities so I need to know from ALL of you what you would like.

We will make clothing to order. NO extra stock will be carried. And payment, when required will be UPFRONT.
Hope that’s cool with everyone.

Photo’s Never Lie

Before Photoshop, a photograph remained just that. Something you liked, stuck in a frame and put on the mantelpiece or something you hated but mum and dad loved and stuck in a frame and put on the mantelpiece. Either way, as far as I can remember I have always hated having my picture taken.
A little while ago, one of the first friends I made here in Malaysia emailed me a photo he had found way back from his wedding registration. Still not sure why he felt the need to remind me of how much of a heifer I had become during my studies, on opening the file I was shocked. Nope, mortified, was that really me?
It seems whilst living out in the sticks in the little Welsh village of Llandeilo studying the birds and the bees (I am talking about wildlife illustration), food had become a great comfort, my new best friend. There was not a lot of opportunity to work out. I was not running back then (although there were a couple of attempts) and the nearest gym was 15miles away. There was bad weather and plenty of pubs – so you do the math! From being a fit 19year old I rapidly transformed at a galactic pace into an unfit lardy arse. The mad thing is I didn’t realise this transformation was taking place. I still fit (albeit squeezed) into the same clothes and my friends said nothing – that’s the British politeness for you. As for my family, they said, “Emma, don’t you look well” (I think they forgot to add on, rounded).
When I arrived in Malaysia for a 6week work placement, you could say people who had seen me the year before were rather shocked. But it wasn’t until I turned up for Squash one evening when it really hit home. I used to play at the Valley Club in Subang. Mostly with guys there was one local lady who sometimes turned up. Well. She took one look at my new ‘healthy’ shape and said, “Emma! Wahhhhh, so fat one Ah? Must have put on at least one stone, Ah????” Don’t you just love the “tell it how it is” attitude over here?
Anyway, it did the trick. I went to the gym and got on the scales to check the damage. Back then I usually weighed around 57kgs (heavy enough) I had ballooned to 64 in a just 3months. I made a vow there and then never to go down that path again.
I won’t throw that picture away because it was of a happy day. I may not like what I saw, and I may not like looking at it, but at the end of the day it’s just FAT. You can get rid of that by upping the training and reducing the food, (with some stern discipline thrown in for good measure of course). We all strive for the perfect body; I believe more so in this sport than any other. Lyrca is not forgiving; it stretches yes, but over ALL those love handles. Will we ever be happy with our appearance? No matter how hard we train, how much we diet and how many thousands of sit-ups we do, I think you all know the answer is NO. But the importance is having a happy place on the inside. Find that, keep it, cherish it and above all else LOVE YOURSELF.
Note: I am still a work in progress and still hate having my picture taken but believe I have made a giant step forward today by posting this ghastly snap. At the end of the day, that’s all it is – a picture.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Worst smog in a month hits Beijing as Olympic athletes leave it to the last minute to acclimatise to poor air

By Mail Foreign ServiceLast updated at 9:33 PM on 27th July 2008
With only 11 days to go until the start of the Beijing Olympics, this was the smoggy scene in the Chinese capital yesterday. Visibility was down to half a mile in some parts, including the National Stadium, while the Athletes' Village complex could not be seen from the nearby Olympic Green.
The city's notoriously polluted air has cast a cloud over the Games, with organisers threatening to postpone events if it is bad. City officials confidently - and possibly unwisely - predict that air quality will be good for the Games. Their efforts to curb pollution include taking half of Beijing's 3.3million vehicles off the roads and closing factories.
Haze: Pollution today in Beijing was at its worst for a month, but officials say air quality will be good by the time the Olympics start on August 8 The grayish haze was one of the worst seen in Beijing in the past month despite tough traffic restrictions imposed a week ago to help reduce pollution.
'The air quality in August will be good,' Du Shaozhong, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau, told reporters on Sunday. He did not explain the reasons for his optimism.
Du blamed the thick haze on a combination of fog and light wind unable to blow away the pollution, but he said pollution levels now are 20 per cent lower than one year ago in similar weather conditions. He did not provide any details. 'Our job is to decrease the pollution as much as possible, but sometimes it is very common to have fog in Beijing at this time,' Du said.

Pollution: Tough traffic restrictions have been in force since July 1 to improve the air quality in the Chinese capital, but athletes will be at the mercy of the winds
Olympic athletes have been trickling into Beijing, but are expected to begin arriving in larger numbers this week.
Some, though, were headed to training sites in South Korea, Japan and other places to avoid the Beijing air until the last possible minute.
'No, it doesn't really look so good. Yesterday was better but the day I arrived, Tuesday, was awful,' said Gunilla Lindberg, an International Olympic Committee vice president from Sweden who is staying in the Athletes' Village.
Jacques Rogge, president of the IOC, has warned that outdoor endurance events will be postponed if the air quality is poor.
Emma Says: FOG??? That's the best that they can come up with? As one of the most anticipated and celebrated sporting events I sincerely hope Bejing does not fall flat on it's face. Let's pray for clear skies and and miracle to lift the so-called "FOG".

What's Your Song?

Do you remember the TV show Ally Macbeal? Back in the day when I regularly assumed the couch potato position I was an addict to the series. These days when time allows TV I usually end up asleep, waking only as end titles start rolling, and that is usually my sign to roll off the couch and stumble along to the bedroom where sleep then eludes me.
Anyway, get to the point Emma. Ally Macbeal had a theme song that she had to think of when seeing that freaky dancing baby, remember? Now I like music but am rather crap at recalling names, lyrics and titles but I DO LIKE MUSIC and last year wanted to give myself a theme song. I don’t normally wonder down these “self motivation/seminar/Ally Macbeal” type roads, but a song that got me going and had a positive message seemed like a very good idea considering the sport I had jumped into and the gargantuan mountain one had chosen to climb.
Choosing the song was pretty simple. Something I was already constantly listening to, you could say it had unknowingly staked its claim. Despite my, ahem, youngish years I have been a fan of Queen for a long, long time and was maybe all of 7years old when I saw that video of Freddie dressed as a women, vacuuming the house in “I Want to Break FREE”. From that moment on I was hooked; don’t ask me why. Maybe I aspired to be a housewife wearing blue eye shadow, bubblegum pink lipstick, a pink dressing gown and fluffy slippers whilst doing “women’s work”! (no harsh comments please - it's a JOKE).
He is/was/still is the man, and NOPE that isn’t my song. The last album made before he passed away, “Made in Heaven”, has some brilliant material and messages. My personal favourite and now "my song" and wake up call is “It’s a Beautiful Day (reprise)”. I simply never EVER tire of listening to the lyrics, the guitar solo, the songbirds – it’s AWESOME. It keeps me focused and gets my head and adrenalin pumped before an early morning run and ride. Have yet to try it before a swim...maybe I should?
Well since it’s once again a crappy Monday morning and a whole 5days before the next long ride, ENJOY!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

KONA Looms 11.10.2008

With Sergeant Sam still AWOL, Carmen came over for dinner at mine with Randy and Ivie on Saturday. She brought last years IM World Championship DVD with her and so after dinner we prepared to be inspired. 60minutes later we were all in AWE. The experience of a lifetime is looming very near for our Kona girl and I am both very envious and proud of her all at the same time.

The real training starts now. It's not an easy path to tread, but she has done it twice before and I am sure Carmen will face this one with the same steely resolve and calm quiet confidence she takes into every race she does.

Good luck Carmen, we are all behind you.

Enforced Holiday

The ride out to Salak yesterday was well attended with 16 riders. I don’t know if the coffee shop knew quite what had hit them when all these lycra clad lads and lasses rolled in and took over. It is also the first time we have been given an official bill and receipt!
I have to admit my training has been pretty heavy of late. The Wednesday ride started to show serious signs of fatigue and yesterday just confirmed the fact that the legs have had enough. Plus the fact that I have been unable to sleep for the past few weeks has not helped at all. When I almost nodded off at the wheel whilst driving on Friday and couldn’t finish a weight session at the gym I decided to take some of my own advice, and rest. After the Sunday run this morning of course.
Well funnily enough I had my first good night’s sleep in ages last night and when the alarm went off I was very close to staying put. Not relishing the idea of 21k after the cycling pain and short brick run yesterday you could say I was NOT up for it. But since the next 5days I have given myself an enforced “holiday” only LIGHT training allowed until next Saturday, I downed some black coffee and went to meet the others.
So how surprised was I to finish with a beaming smile on my face? Maybe it was the blue smarties, maybe it was the coffee and maybe it was my running buddies that carried me along. Julie, Randy and Marianna made this morning’s jaunt very entertaining and I apologise for my excessive happiness (like I say, not sure what was happening), maybe it was the pending 5 days of NO early mornings.
On the way back, Bee (aka, gadget girl and now RH Bee), joined us. Bee will usually drop off the pace a bit but like the trooper she is stuck with us (probably regrettably), and when some silly person suggested going back via double hill (as a joke), that person then had to follow through with the detour (when will I learn to shut my mouth)!
Julie and I tried singing little ditties to carry us up the hills, but without the word sheets we were pretty crap (and I thought she knew her nursery rhymes). I also don’t think the others appreciated our strained and wheezing (Emma) vocals trying to run up the lovely hills.
Anyway, on revealing my plan of light exercise, no one believed me. “Yeah right,” “Believe it when I see it,” type of retorts. So I promised to blog it and make my actions official. I WILL NOT ride wed morning and I WILL NOT partake in any early morning runs and swims. If you want to know where I am – hopefully I will be fast asleep zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
BTW: If sleep still eludes me, I may take Julie up on her offer to strap me into her 2year olds car seat and drive around until I drop off. Quite who is then going to carry me out of the car, I haven’t a clue.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

2 Days Left to Vote

There are just two days left to vote on the team jersey. Many of you on the ride yesterday had a colour preference but have not yet voted. Only one colour will be made and to reiterate, it will hopefully be available in short sleeve (as shown), sleeveless, tri-top, tri-suit and shorts.
If you are particular about which colour, then I suggest you click on the vote box in the right hand panel under "orange" or "purple".

Friday, July 25, 2008

Girls Night Out

The girls night out was supposed to happen after Aformosa, then after Miri and Kenyir. Finally we got our act together last night and although there were a couple of notable absentees, Julie (in Singapore shopping no doubt), Li-sar (working – not sure what that is but it doesn’t sound nice) and Hayley (having the time of her life in Europe), we were fed up of waiting!
It turned out to be a pretty tame effort which was probably a good thing since I can become rather a handful when on the Speckled Hen, and so the evening remained coherent for all in attendance, we all went home at a respectable hour and I am guessing we all woke up alone and without headaches. (God this sounds SAD).

WE DID HAVE A GOOD TIME THOUGH. Eating is something I do particularly well, and talking about sports and gossip in general is something we all get rather animated about. Food: Excellent, Company: So, so. I’m kidding, I’m kidding.
Cheers girls, it made a relaxing change to leave the lycra at home and squeeze into my jeans!
And by the looks of this stomach you can see exactly WHO polished off all the dessert! L-R: Emma, Chris, Ivie (she had a short stool), Bee and Kona bound Carmen.

Did he or Didn't he?

It is official, Gane DID do the PD triathlon last Sunday. I was beginning to have my doubts since I couldn't find a picture of the buggar apart from the swim start - and anyone can fake that now can't they! Anyway here he is, courtesy of Ivie's camera.

Gane, once again sorry I didn't recognise you, will you accept a milo panas as way of an apology :)

The Call of Nature

Until some of the other team members start emailing me their anecdotes for publishing you shall have to put up with me. You don’t have to read my waffle if you don’t want to – I will never know. But if you crack a smile, smirk or snigger at my shortcomings then my job is done. Content warning: Those of you who don’t know me will soon find out about my crass sense of humour. Those of you who do know me, (stop rolling eyes...NOW).

Before the IM I heard from some of the guys (well OK one, namely SAM PRITCHARD) that when spending 6hours, maybe less, maybe more in the saddle, when the call of nature comes, if it comes, you just to quote, “pee on the bike”. Well I never! How unladylike I thought. Fast forward to the looming race and I polled a couple of the girls with the same question. And it was the response of sexy Chris, always so enviously ready for a Kodak moment who said, “Pee on the bike of course!” And so that was it. Should the call of nature come; I would pee on my beloved Scott.
Fast forward again to race day and this is how my bladder faired, (I did warn you I could be crass).
Swim: Took me rather a long time and all the water induced the need to pee. (Just as well there weren’t many people behind me!)
Pee total in swim, 3.
Bike: This is where it gets silly. Being a good girl I ate and drank and ate and drank. After 45minutes on the bike I was busting. Oh well here goes nothing. You know when you see a baby smiling because they just filled their diaper – that was me (sans diaper – oh and the poop!).
At first I tried to avoid the shoes, and slosh down with water from the stations. After pee number 2 and 3 (I was now going like clockwork every 45minutes) I realised I was actually piddling on the nutrition taped to the top tube and my bottles which were left open for ease of drinking – YUM.
Pee total on bike 5.
Run: Having listened to my mentors I decided to stop and drink at every station located at 1k intervals. This lasted for all of 2 or 3k because yes you guessed it; I was dying to answer the call of nature. Now this time round I used the port-a-loo. In rather a disgusting mess (I do have some standards) I decided on the spot not to use that again. So in order to stop pissing about (pun intended) I stopped drinking, electing instead to take a cup every few K, and squeeze sponges over my head and in my suit. And THAT finally did the trick.
Pee total on run 1.
So in all, for my first IM outing I peed a total of 9 times in just sub 13hours. I am sure this must be a record somewhere, anyone who can beat it please let me know : )
BTW: cleaning the bike, socks and shoes afterwards was so NOT pleasant, but oh so worth it!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Ask the Experts: Exercise Well

I log onto more times than I care to admit! I know, I know, hard to believe, eh? You would think I was obsessed! Anyway, there is a lot of good stuff to be found, to both inspire and educate. We have all exercised beyond our bodies limits, through sicknesses and injuries - some more than others, (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE)! Anyway this little excerpt may or may not help those of you who don't listen to your body to finally see the LIGHT.

Dr. Paul D. Thompson: Should I run when I have a cold? How do I know if I'm too sick to exercise?
Published Tuesday, July 22, 2008
There are no hard and fast rules for exercising during illness, there is little in the way of solid medical research, so athletes must use common sense. Generally, if you're sick and don't feel like working out, don't. This is simply a corollary of the rule "listen to your body"-it's trying to tell you something.

You can take several days off a training schedule or routine without affecting your overall fitness level, so it's generally better to back off training when you're feeling under the weather. Be sure to get additional sleep and rest. But if a cold sidelines your training right before a big race, and you feel up to it, it's not necessary to cancel your plans.

The only time I prohibit a patient from exercising is when he or she has the flu with muscle aches. A good rule of thumb: If symptoms are only above your neck (like sneezing or a runny nose), you can keep exercising. But if you feel congestion in your chest or if your body aches, it's best to stop working out.

Why? Aches imply that the muscles are involved in the inflammatory process. Since the heart is a muscle, the presence of muscle aches raises the possibility that there is also cardiac inflammation. Some people even get rare viral infections of the heart called "viral myocarditis," which can cause abnormal heart enlargement and other serious problems, especially when the heart muscle is stressed, as it would be during a run. There is also evidence that hard exercise during a viral illness helps the virus survive, keeping you sicker longer.

Emma says: At the end of the day guys it ain't rocket science. Use your noggin and the longer your body is going to let you train.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tales From a Sore Spot

I picked up the rear during this mornings fast and not so furious ride and it reminded me of when I first started on the bike. On my first 180k outing to PD I was totally dropped and needed a GPS to get home. Those days are long gone I hope but it reminded me of a little piece I wrote 4 weeks before Ironman Langkawi. I wanted to submit it to a mag for publishing but although I want to write about sports it seems I have been tied to interior design and food! Anyway, reading it again made me realise how quickly things can change and you never know, "Tales from a Sore Spot" could become a regular fixture on the blog - there's plenty of material upstairs in this noggin of mine, (huge groans from everyone).

It is a fact that the seats on road bikes are in place to do no other job than create pain. Now I have yet to check out the guys problem areas but the pain for women and our, ahem, delicate bits is not solely down to my being a rookie rider. I have done the research and the seasoned girls I ride with all suffer. One would have thought with technology; the level of comfort derived from the seat would have improved to a level that stopped the onset of sore spots. Instead, the seats seem smaller and the words “Women’s Specific” I personally think are just thrown around to make us girls spend extra pennies, I mean money, but they do also seem to induce the amount of pennies spent on long rides. I have tried two seats so far, one regular and one woman’s specific, the result? Sore spots from both, thank you very much

What am I going on about? Well a few short months ago after screwing up my shoulder from years of abuse with racket sports I started down the path of cycling with the target of getting into triathlons once the injury healed. There was a duathlon around the corner and having never ridden a road bike I borrowed one, did a handful of rides (it did help that I was already a regular runner) and went to Lumut for my first competition. To cut a long story short because this isn’t the real story – I did pretty ok, for a rookie.

A few thousand Ringget later I had my first baby. I have yet to name her but the black, white and silver carbon is sexier than a Victoria Secret catalogue (okay probably exaggerating now). After Lumut the shoulder was given the all clear and I finally got back in the pool with the foresight of improving my swim and being ready for the upcoming seasons triathlons with the Singapore half Ironman in September 2008 being a sensible, reasonable, achievable, BIG goal. During this time my seasoned training buddies were full steam ahead preparing for a December IronMan in Perth, Australia. After following their progress, getting jealous and feeling left out I rescheduled my 2008 race calendar, threw caution to the wind and decided what the heck if they can, I can. And so my first ever triathlon will be Ironman Langkawi in February. Silly, na├»ve and stupid are words many people have thrown my way – but what the heck – I’m British for Christ’s sake.

So here I am with 4weeks left of training to go. The body is getting rather tired with the 20plus hour training weeks and 5am rises. And mentally, this is what I wasn’t prepared for; mentally I am exhausted. So why put myself through it? The funny thing is I enjoy it, the sweat, the pain, the exhaustion, the sore spots, the chaffing and above all else the family. I am not talking about ma and pa here. I am talking about the other Silly Billie’s’ who follow the same unsociable hours. A mixed bunch of locals and expats, it is the camaraderie, banter and obsession to excel that make setting your alarm for ungodly hours acceptable.

Ok now for some of the pluses-: when training for a 3.8kswim, 180kcycle and 42krun you can eat what the hell you want. I mean there has to be some pay off and for me the food is it. Basically my life over the past few weeks could resemble that of a hamster. I exercise while everyone is sleeping; eat whatever I can lay my hands on and as often as possible and sleep like a good girl, at a lets say, a reasonable hour. Quite how I am going to adjust to reducing the food intake after Langkawi I don’t know, but for now I am enjoying the freedom of chocolate without guilt.

And if you ever see a group of riders out on a Saturday morning I will probably be the one picking up the rear or getting lost. But never fear, I won’t go hungry, because you know the great thing about cycling shirts? It’s those huge pockets on the back. Wonderful how much food you can stuff in there, it’s almost worth putting up with the sore spots so you can exercise and eat at the same time. What a great sport this is – why on earth I didn’t take it up sooner I will never know.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Secondhand Zipps Wanted

Randy Tan is looking to get his paws on a pair of secondhand Zipp 404's, preferably clinchers. He had a rough bike outing in PD at the weekend when he was invloved in a nasty crash. Still suffering, he also needs to get his tri-bike in working order with a new pair of wheels! Please leave a comment if you have or know of someone wanting to rid themselves of some 404's.

Whoops-a-daisy (Sat 26th Ride alert)

I thought I was doing so well in Sam's absence until I realised the Saturday ride was void of a meeting time. You all know it anyway but here it is in black and white - 6.30am Megamall.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Port Dickson Olympic Distance Triathlon 20.07.08

(Pictures Courtesy of Ivie & Tey)
For full size high resolution glory click on the pix
This is the 2nd time I have shared a house with Randy, Ivy, Sam and Carmen this year and it makes such a relaxing change to the mayhem of hotels and overloaded rooms. It is also very much easier on my pocket. So once again you two, thanks.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I never sleep well prior to a race and for some reason was really nervous this time around. It all started when I saw
the amount of girls in my group, so my apologies if I was short with anyone prior to the start – just trying to get into "the" zone. We rode down to the start, checked the bikes in and got marked up, everything went smoothly and Chris, KK, Gane, Gnae, Li-sar, Bee and Michelle to name a few were all in good spirits – again I apologise for my sour face!
We were started in waves – again all very new to me but after a little dabble in the water I felt pretty good and calm. My wave included both girl’s age-groups and the old farts – opps sorry, over 50 dirty old – opps sorry, OVER 50’s MEN. Randy’s group as with Simon and KK was large enough to go on their own, hence a lot of competition. I believe around 1400 competitors this year.
The horn sounded and we plunged in. Now everyone knows my swim is pretty diabolical so I have really been busting a gut trying to improve. Also I have not always handled the mass start and flailing arms and legs too well, nor have I been too good at navigating and swimming in a straight line, but as each race has progressed I have begun to feel a little more comfortable.

Once into my stroke I noticed Carmen in her BB (Bike Boutique) tri-suit 5 or 6 meters in front and she didn’t seem to be getting away. "Bloody hell," I must be doing something right for once, let’s just hang back and see how it all unfolds I think to myself. I came out of the swim just in front of Carmen and when I eventually looked at my watch after the 150m dash across the sand up by the showers it read 32min, that’s a PB by 5minutes! I was well happy and couldn't stop smiling to myself. It was shortlived though as I then shouted out loud to myself "forget about it", the swim is done but the race ain’t over. (A note to you all, yes I can be a bit mental - you should hear me talking to myself when in the chocolate aisle in the supermarket - but thats another story).
I got on my bike with Chris at the line, WOW. "Hop on to my tail," I yelled, (I only offer this once by the way) and then I went, never looking back. Out of transition I was told I was 10th – oh dear a lot of work to do. Well I passed around 10 girls by 15k’s, so then any notion of placing completely went haywire. I rode on my own, and as hard as I could go telling myself I may not be drafting but this will make me stronger. It’s not going to help the run much but eventually I will be stronger!
I finally started catching up with some groups of guys usually with a girl amidst them. My strategy? Ride up, see how fast they are going, and go past. Tempting as it is to take a draft I knew my race was all about playing catch up, and if I let up and drafted below pace then I would not catch Steph – my nemesis! And so every group I passed a few decided to latch on and I guess it grew and grew – as I say I was not looking behind.
At around the 28k's I came across yet another group and focused as I am I cannot miss it when a guy starts patting his backside! I thought eh up that’s a bit friendly but thanks for the gesture. I then looked at the bike, and the butt again (sorry!) and realised it has KK having a bad day. I came out of the group and rode by his side whereby he barked GO! Now I always do as I am told, so GO I DID.
Into transition out onto the run and boy was it hot. They had changed the route. Having never done it before made no difference to me but this route on the highway was long and draining and a real scorcher, with really not enough water stops in my opinion. By this time I thought I was 3rd or 4th. I then saw someone in front with long hair but couldn’t fathom whether it was a guy or girl. I was comfortably catching “it” up, and once upon “it” realised it was one damn fit ripped girl with more veins popping than me! Do I stay back or overtake I think. Well having tried and failed that manoeuvre before I went by and hoped for the best. She didn’t follow, another one down, no clue how many more.
Coming up to the u-turn Steph was coming the other way, buggar she must have had at least a k on me. Oh well, never mind. I still didn’t know where I was so maintained the pace and when I turned off the main road into the home straight 200m ahead was Steph, so I thought. Not entirely sure though, so do I gun it? She then presented me with the confirmation of catching her name on her butt and that was it, the carrot was in sight. With an asthma attack well on the way I went as hard as I could to catch her. Turning into the final straight I passed just as she got on the carpet and sprinted ahead to the finish, I could hear her saying “NOOOOO” behind me. Not a nice way to lose a race – very sorry Steph if you read this – but LOOK BEHIND YOU.

It's not pretty but WHO cares! I was actually still waiting for Steph to come rushing past. I didn't realise she had stopped to smell the flowers!

So how did I do? I didn’t even know that until they called the 2nd and 3rd places the penny finally dropped that I had won and was 2nd overall. Very stoked. Very happy. It is the first time I have won anything I was also RM2000 and a sexy pair of Oakley sunnies better off.
Here are the rest of the results it was another great effort from the team and an awesome weekend:
Sergeant Sam: 1st place AGAIN, RM1600 better off with a pair of sexy GAY Oakley’s. (check out his picture below)
Uncle Don: Smiling all the way to a 4th place.

Li-Sar: 5th place. She said she was doing it for fun! Ha. Secret training on the bike has paid off – well done girl.
Gnae: He just couldn't wait to slip into his sarong! I think you got 6th placing-well done Gnae.
Carmen: 7th place. Carmen is in full Kona training mode now and had another positive day at the office and will be looking forward to Desaru I am sure. Mind you I was rather disappointed as she said her swim was bad. We finished almost together and I was doing cartwheels over mine!

Simon: 7th place. It seems the Black Beauty is working exceptionally well for Simon. He now just needs to go on back on the slim line tonic water and shed a little power gel – sorry mate but you know it’s true.
Cecil: 7th place. In probably the toughest group Cecil had a great outing.
Chris: A tough day at the office. Chris completed the race only to faint at the finish line. She had been suffering with an upset tummy and must have been severely dehydrated. The tough cookie that she is though, she finished AND was still the sexist girl in PD!

Randy: Talking of tough cookies, Randy had a nasty crash towards the end of his bike leg. He managed to ride into transition, swat away the nurses trying to bandage him up (not many guys would do that I can tell you) and go out onto the run and still come top 20. Well done Randy – hats off to you.
KK: I heard that KK had pulled his butt. Technically known as a glute I believe. I saw KK on the swim and he looked awesome, his run has been getting quicker and I thinks he just toys with us on the bike some days. Bad luck KK and better luck in Desaru.
Bee: Managed a personal best swim but then suffered with a tummy upset on the bike and on the run - must have been catching. Tough day but she still finished with a beaming smile – well done Bee!
Gane: He entered for fun and I have never seen someone so jovial and relaxed at the start of a race. A calming influence on me? Perhaps not, but I applaud your great spirit. Well done! (My apologies Gane, I could not find a picture of you. If anyone finds a picture of Gane in action please email me. I am now beggining to wonder if he did the race at all???)

Further entertaining snaps of the weekend...

Port Dickson Sprint Distance 19.07.08

(pictures courtesy of Ivie)
The day started very leisurely at Coffee Bean with a strong “wake-up” brew with Sergeant Sam, Carmen, Ivy and Randy. On route to PD the heavens opened and where as the usual tropical downpour comes and goes it looks like this one had set in for the day. On arrival at the Marina, roads were flooded and the sky was still heavy with rain so we all made the very wussy but I believe wise decision not to do the sprint. I for one didn’t want to buggar up George (my new P2C) by having a skid and basically screwing up the following day’s race.
We were just leaving when Simon turns up. He of course confirmed we were all Kampong chicken’s and went ahead with his plan to do the sprint. As it turns out the torrential downpour just 1½ hours later turned into a furnace which earned him a pink suntan to match the Bike Boutique tri-suit he had donned for the occasion.
We hung around to see the sprint unfold; I believe Simon got 2nd – Well done. We then hung around further to see the Elite race unfold, but by this time the weather had got so hot most of us sought out the shelter and muggy cool from the tents and were fast losing interest and getting itchy feet to test ride our own bikes. Carmen, Sa
m, Randy and I finally got back to the house leaving Ivy to sleep while we snuck out for a quick 10k which turned into 20k. (Sorry Sam and Carmen). It was then back for a quick shower and off to the carbo loading dinner.
Briefing was skipped as the bed was beckoning and I for one was already getting rather antsy about the next day. It didn’t help matters when I got back to find they had forgotten to put my bike number in my bag.
Seeing I was starting to get rather flustered, Nurse Carmen immediately set about making me a number with some paper and black tape. The girl deserves a Blue Peter badge – great job Carmen. She said it would bring me luck; we would have to wait and see...

Ride Alerts Wed 23rd & Sat 26th July

Sergeant Sam has gone AWOL for the next few days but there will be no slacking for the troops.
Wednesday, for a swift ride out to Putrajaya and back, meet at Pantai toll 5.45am sharp. Please leave a comment on the blog if you are joining.
Saturday will be a 120ish K ride out to Salak for breakfast and returning the same way via the Putrajaya highway. It was fast and furious last time; let’s see how the legs fair this week. Again, leave notice in comments if you are joining.

Man dies during NYC triathlon swim

Taken from: WNBC-TV

News 4 New York has confirmed a man died during the Nautica New York City Triathlon, marking the first death in the event's eight-year history. He was 32.

The man was pulled unconscious from the Hudson River on a humid, muggy, trying day for swimmers competing in the event, reported The New York Times. It happened at about 8 a.m. Sunday.
The paper said that the man is not being identified because his family members live in Argentina and have not been notified. Event race director Bill Burke told the Times that rescuers pulled the man from the river about 75 percent of the way through the .93-mile swim event, which is the first of the triathlon's three portions and precedes a 24.8-mile bike ride and a 6.2-mile run.
"Other swimmers noticed the gentleman in the water and they were actually waving and signaling for the nearby jet boats to come assist them," Burke told the Times. "We did have life support on the boats that were monitoring the swim course. There's medical staff on those boats so if the guy had a situation in the water, he's getting the best medical care."
About 3,000 people compete in the amateur division of the triathlon, according to the Times, which said at least three other people have died in the swim portion of a triathlon since May.
An autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death.

Emma Say's: I was reading about the guy who drowned last year in Port Dickson before we left. Knowing I don't relish the swim re-reading the article from last year did nothing to calm me down. After an inspiring weekend for us here at home reading this article has brought me down to earth with a bump, especially as the guy is my age. My thoughts go out to the family and friends.

Feedback Please

This is the last round of Jersey amendments and your last chance to state any preferences. The design will be adjusted to a short sleeve jersey (as seen), sleeveless jersey, tri-top and tri-suit and shorts if wanted. Vote as many times as you want.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I have finally succumbed

It has been on the agenda for some time now, this starting a blog thingy. Anyone that knows me knows I can never ever reply to any email or text message with a simple answer. I might not be a great talker but give me a pen or in this case a keyboard and I can’t stop babbling.
Now those in the know know that I have become slightly hooked in recent months about a sport called triathlon. It all started with my electing to do Ironman Langkawi in February of this year. This 3.8k swim, 180k bike and 42k run was my first ever triathlon, first open water swim and the bike leg was completed on the back of only a handful of rides, (I only got my road bike late in November). I made the decision to sign up in December of last year after watching my buddies cross the finish line in the Bussleton Ironman on the Ironman live feed. I won’t bore you with the details of how silly people thought I was being. I just decided I needed a challenge and new direction in life and thought hey, I’ll do the easy one first (only kidding).
Anyway to cut short the story the journey went well, extraordinary well so I am told. I survived and ultimately fell in love with endurance sports. My tri-buddies may have other words for me but I just like to think of myself as one focused gal, slightly obsessed, very passionate and extremely determined. So this blog is not just about me, from the time when I entered the sport which was literally a matter of months ago our training group has grown to the extent that we now have a team name with the a team jersey and T-shirts in the pipeline. This blog is another long overdue idea that I have been tossing around with a couple of friends and it will be a way of dedicating achievements, goals, news and events with everyone and anyone involved in and outside of the sport.
Use the blog to find out training schedules of rides, runs and swims and let’s not forget the social side of which eating and drinking beer is an essential part of training. For those not YET into triathlon, I hope this site will inspire you to realise that anything is possible if you set your mind to it. Goals are not easy to achieve, if they were then we would all be living the “dream”. But a goal will remain a dream unless you are prepared to work your butt off to achieve it.
A further word on the subject of goals:
Not too long ago I would have been afraid to admit a goal to anyone for fear of failure. The thing is, if you don’t let your goals be known it becomes all too easy to forget about them, leaving you later in life with a great big pile of “What if’s”. Share aspirations with others; it keeps your dreams real and you humble.
What is my dream? Well it’s simple, I aim to win my age group in Langkawi next year and go to the World Ironman Championships in KONA Hawaii. Yes it’s a tall order. Yes I am prepared for some speedy age grouper to turn up on race day and beat me. Those are things I can’t control but I can control the amount of effort I put in to enable my body to produce my personal best possible result.
Self belief:
Believe in yourself. I have spent 17years blaming EIA (Exercise Induced Asthma) for the reason I am a crap runner and average sportswomen. And then early one Sunday morning last October with no planning or intention I ran my first 42kilometeres on a training run after having only ever managed 26k’s. I felt great. It felt great. After that I realised ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.
So TRY and then TRI-Harder.

BTW: I do have a face, it's just that I am a little shy. One thing at a time...