Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Batu Arang

Oooo it’s the BIG challenge tomorrow. Good luck everyone who is brave enough and silly enough to attempt it. I took my brother for a ride out to Batu Arang this morning so have a great excuse not to finish tomorrow. And so does Meng, as he came with us. Me thinks he thought it was 60k only, sorry 105k round trip!
So David has never ridden a road bike before. He did it today sans clips; we will save that entertainment for when there is a much larger audience around to appreciate his circus acts. All in all he did great though and I think, at least I hope, he enjoyed himself. The heat was a bit of a factor later as the sun got stronger and it probably didn’t help me saying how cool it felt today. I also gave him a heart rate monitor to wear. “What do I need this for” he said. “Just wear it and keep an eye on it and try not to go too high,” his little Sista said. Well he wore it and he kept an eye on it all the way to 180!! But not to worry mum and dad, back in one piece and he is now by the pool with Nik. He won’t be joining tomorrow but hopefully he will be up for a leisurely jaunt out to Ulu Langkat this Saturday. BTW: regarding the caramel egg situation I have to confess frozen caramel eggs taste absolutely fabulous!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

9398

I was never very good at math so I am not sure why I have such an affinity for numbers being the titles of my posts these past few days. But this one I assure you is rather interesting.
After a manic week of work I collected my brother and his girlfriend on Friday evening from KLIA. They are over here for their holiday and to spend time with his Little Sista. David will also be joining I hope on a couple of rides whilst here. We have a bike on loan from KK and some shoes to purchase tomorrow as he has never ridden clips before!!! David is hardcore mountain and BMX, just check out the picture (right) to see what 25yrears of abuse to your knees entails. I will try and post his mug shot later but as I am by far the better looking of the two perhaps not!
RIGHT, back to 9398. I am a self-confessed chocoholic. I try to curtail my cravings as best I can but it is not easy. Once I start I can’t stop. David has been saving some Cabury’s crème and Cadbury's caramel eggs for me that he brought waaaay back in MARCH! This is something I could never ever have done. But I have it under authority from his girlfriend Niki that more than once she had to stop him from eating them. (Thank YOU).
So, they arrived safe and sound Friday night, unpacked their suitcases and presented me with the bounty you see here, (minus one Crème egg already and some two penny blackjacks and fruit salad sweets). I have since whilst writing this post eaten a sherbet fountain AND a caramel egg. I am in heaven and trying my best not to go eat another for at least 5minutes. We added up the calorific value of the bounty and it totalled 9398. A lot I suppose. But when you consider I rode 200k’s and ran nearly 30k this morning I could eat the whole lot for free if I did another 200ride and 30 run.
Doesn’t sound so bad when put like that now do it? Anyway, not sure how long the goodies will last; they are in the freezer (my attempts at making me think twice before popping it in my mouth). Trouble is I will eat it frozen – I KID YOU NOT!
Another FAT picture of Emma coming up? Perhaps. Watch this space.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sweet 16

Don’t ask why I keep featuring digits as my titles - I just do. Kona bound Carmen is just 16 days shy of the race of her life. We have all tried to help as much as we can to support her throughout her training and S.Sam has been there every step of the way, whip in hand – Careful Emma. Anyway, as the final big weekend of her training approaches I would just like to say I am very proud of you. Yes of course a little envious too, I am human after all but PROUD trumps the envy big time. This vid is for Carmen, I am sure the adrenalin is already pumping but just in case it isn’t...ENJOY.

video

24

A new phrase was coined for the Wednesday morning ride today. It rhymes with Duck & Duck. Five lonesome figures cast shadows over the elevated highway this morning, what has happened to the large groups that were joining these ferocious sessions is beyond me. S.Sam uttered something about lightweights and I am prone to agree.
Anyway back to the Ducks. S.Sam, R H Bee, KK, Chris and I were the tour-de-force this morning and having missed out on last week’s Wednesday ride due to sickness I was looking forward to today, apparently though my legs were not.
We set at the usual pace and as we approached the highway I started to crank it up. Everything was hurting; couldn’t breathe, but I told myself that is how I should feel when you push. And then S.Sam passed me. Usually he catches a lot later and usually up a bloody hill but today he went past and I could not follow. Cor Sam’s having a good day I thought in-between cardiac arrests and asthma attacks (am not kidding). AND then R H Bee sailed past. Good going Bee, I said to myself, George Junior is obviously working for you. Of course despite my disposition I gave chase, I had two carrots in front and that isn’t allowed.
Could I catch R H Bee? S.Sam was off in the distance and whilst I kept Bee in my sights the elastic chord kept shrinking and then extending over the 30k out trip. My heart rate was skyrocketing, my legs were hollow and crying out for me to stop but it never EVER occurred to me that anything was wrong.
Sweating profusely I killed myself going out and went through the toll at just over 3mins behind S.Sam. He and Bee both looked at my hangdog expression collapsed over my bars and said “What’s up Emma?” And THAT was the first time I thought that I could be having an off day. I was nowhere near reaching the speeds I usually do, the cadence was way off and the legs as I said were empty BUT I still never let it occur to me that I was not 100%. KK and Chris came through the toll and both of them again noted on my below par performance. (thanks guys!).
I finally accepted this was going to be an off day and on the way back knew I was in for some pain. Bee kindly rode with me for a while until I told her to go ahead; she was falling asleep at the speed I was going. (Thanks for the support though Bee). I watched the others one by one go off into the distance until I could see them no more. My legs were pounding, stand up, sit down, nothing helped; I just span my legs and hunkered over the aero bars as it took too much energy to sit upright.
A painful lesson has been learnt here today. Many people will say overtraining and I am still going to argue that one. But I do know that whatever little buggar of a bug I caught knocked me for 6. I don’t mind admitting that this morning really battered my confidence and dented my ego. I felt like everything I had built up over the last 6months had been lost. How can performance drop off THAT much? I now wonder about the weekend, will the legs work, will they stay in bed? I have all these doubts in my mind which is in reality is really bloody silly because it was just ONE ride.
We all have off days and I know mine has been long overdue. I hope however that last Sunday and this morning is the end to it, but just in case, my legs are now on holiday until Saturday when I shall endeavour to ride strong. To where and for how many K’s I don’t know, I shall do the wise thing and let my body dictate this one.
As for the title, “24”. It is rather embarrassing but I like to be honest about my ups and downs and 24 happened to be my average speed this morning. As I said Duck & Duck!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Refreshing Change

Pictures by Emma
Since September was shaping up to be a month barren of races we thought what better time to take a break and partake in some light social training and R&R for a change? Fraser’s Hill was the destination with accommodation courtesy of Bee and RHB bank.
Saturday morning: Simon and Dave joined S.Sam, myself, Randy, Olly, Meng (Welcome back!), Chris and Bee up to Ulu Yam. They then turned back whilst we continued onto Fraser’s. Carmen put in a banker long ride with KK and Daniel in the morning and came up later in a support car while Wei Kong decided his weekend was going to be NO training, only R&R, and so kindly went ahead with our kit bags in Bee’s car.
Always a challenging route we took it oh so slowly. At the “gap” the road only allows for passage of one way traffic and since the other road up is impassable due to another landslide if you time it wrong you have to wait for the traffic flow to change to cover the last 8k to the peak. (Yes of course we had to wait!). I was having a lovely day, still feeling a bit low from the week’s illness but the pace was gentle and I thought it was in the bag until for some reason 2k into the last climb I had an urge to vomit get off my bike and sulk. I didn’t but obviously I wasn’t as “back to normal” as I thought and so my brick run promptly went out the window.
The House: Gorgeous, Blissful, tranquil, picture perfect, are you getting the idea? An old colonial property (God those British had good taste!), set in lush green manicured gardens, surrounded by sights and sounds of the jungle. It was awesome, amazing, astounding. Coffee and tea on the Veranda, sorry there were no scones – but I have been ILL. It was shaping up to be a great weekend.
The BBQ: Come 5.30pm everyone was starting to get peckish so the 3 disposable BBQ’s were fired up. Well perhaps that is a slight exaggeration. Lighters, satay swatting from Carmen and Randy (they really should think about opening up a stall), and some good old huff and puff from Meng and Sam. It all worked out, food cooked, wine corks popped (Bee partook in a tipple or too), just damn good company and good food what more could you ask for? As the sun went down the cooler weather came in and the 3 Brits (sorry 2 Brits and1 Welshy) were the first to buckle! I had to put 3 layers on. YES, despite my roly poly tum (it will GO) I was freezing! We took the party into the lounge or should I say drawing room and continued on supping beers and munching all the junk food we could lay our hands on – yes even S.Sam had a crisp! By the time bed beckoned around midnight, Bee had turned a lovely shade of crimson and I believe she was suitably and quietly drunk thanks to Sexy lady’s prompting. A Sunday morning run was planned but the rule was no alarm clocks, we go when we wake up. Sunday Run: I woke up at 5.30am...with cramp. Damn those hills. Back to sleep and properly awake at 7am. Shuffled to the “drawing room” to see Randy already soaking up what was looking to be another beautiful clear cool day in paradise. S.Sam, Carmen, Meng, Bee, Randy and I finally got out the door for our run at just before 8am I guess. Hilly, very, but just amazing; cool and crisp, I opted for long sleeves as did Carmen. Off we set with Bee initially running circles around us trying to pick up her GPS signal. I on the other hand just pressed the switch on my foot pod and was ready to go! Somewhere along the route the 6 of us got spilt and Randy and I ad lib’d our way back to the house finally meeting up with the others who had taken a mighty SHORT CUT!
Breakfast: Back in the house the lightweights had risen and breakfast was on the minds of everyone. With no oven or hob and only a microwave, kettle and toaster to speak of we put our Girl Guide and Boy Scout skills to good use and whipped up a feed of 24 scrambled eggs with sausage, baked beans, two loaves of toast, noodles and papaya and umpteen cups of coffee and tea. Perfect.
The Ride Back: We left the house just before noon to catch the one way traffic time frame, myself, S.Sam, Olly, Randy and Meng planning on riding all the way home. Once in Ulu Yam I was clearly not having a good day. Over hot milo the weather took a change and rain came in torrents with thunder and lightening. I was wisely coerced to pack my bike and go back in the car with Carmen and Randy who needed to make a flight. We left the others to wait it out.
The weather rapidly got worse with many trees down blocking parts of the road. Once dropping Randy off we went back for my car and then both Carmen and I went back out for S.Sam, Olly and Meng. So we didn’t quite make it there and back but the weather did little to dampen the spirits. All in all the weekend was a beautifully refreshing change to the chaos of KL.
Thanks to R H Bee for booking the house, Wei Kong for driving the support car, Carmen for holding back the mad cars on the Fraser decent and thanks too to Randy and Meng for looking out for me and Sam for talking sense into me at Ulu Yam although once that rain started I really didn’t need much prompting!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Barmy Britain

Every day I try to read the online British papers to keep abreast of what's going on in the homeland. It has become pretty much a joke though as these days it seems another bizarre Politically Correct or Health & Safety issue is always making headlines. They do make entertaining reading, but the truth is these news items should never even be making the supplements let alone headlines and yet here we are once again with the ponces at “elf & safety” coming up with another way to ruin someone’s daily exercise.
It is getting harder and harder for me to count the ways in which I love Britain. Am I proud of being British? You bet I am. Do I wish I was living there? NO WAY, NOT ON YOUR NELLY.
Wake up Britain and do something constructive for a change rather than ruining peoples lives!

Banned by the goggle police:
How 'elf and safety has stopped a man swimming in his local pool after 30 years
By
Daily Mail Reporter Last updated at 12:24 AM on 19th September 2008
He's been swimming all around the world and never caused a ripple of concern. But Roland Grimm hadn't reckoned on the goggle police at his local pool. His special mask stops water going up his nose and has a single eye piece which does not press against his face. But now, almost inevitably, it has fallen foul of the 'elf and safety enforcers.
Their ban on his mask has left Mr Grimm, who has been swimming at the leisure centre in Swiss Cottage, North London, for 30 years, high and dry.
He said: 'I've used these goggles in more than 100 different pools in countries including Germany, Spain, France and Portugal and no one else has ever complained or questioned why I am using them. 'I'm not allowed to wear them here because they cover my nose. They just don't seem to like the shape of the frame. 'I'm very upset because it seems mad. I like to swim every day and this is messing up my whole life.' But pool bosses defendedtheir decision to eject Mr Grimm - declaring his goggles were not shatterproof and breached industry guidelines.
Centre manager Gary Dark said: 'Non-shatterproof panels in enclosed environments can cause facial injury on impact with pool surfaces or other bathers and may pose a further hazard in relation to broken glass remaining on the pool floor. 'Full face masks that cover the nose can also cause breathing difficulties if water is swallowed and may restrict vision which can cause an accident.' He said he wanted Mr Grimm, who is in his late 60s, to swim at the pool and would welcome the chance to speak to him to find a solution. But Mr Grimm was not so easily mollified. 'After you've been swimming for 40 years all over the world you know what works best for you and what's safe,' he said. 'The last thing I would want to do is put myself or anyone else in danger. 'My lenses are plastic and are totally safe.'

Dead Runners Walking

This Sunday I will be saying goodbye to two old friends. I don’t know about you but I get rather attached to my running shoes. Each pair holds many memories; my first ever run, first 10k, first race, first IM. My Orange Nimbus 8’s are not the oldest shoe in my smelly cupboard but they are probably the most knackered and definitely without a doubt (cycling shoes aside) the smelliest. When your shoes start walking around of their own accord you know something is seriously wrong!
At the moment I only have decent racing shoes in my cupboard and since the 10k races are mainly done and dusted I needed to replace my long distance training shoe. The Kinsei, although I love them to death for its long life and durability is way too expensive to buy again so I have downsized and replaced the Nimbus 8 with the new Nimbus 9. They look rather spiffy if I do say so myself and hope they do the trick in Borneo. Whether they last the mileage until next February though is another matter entirely.

So despite being sick with “stomach flu” for the past couple of days the sight of a new shiny, fresh smelling pair of runners in my closet has at last brought a smile to my face, (thank you Julie for being my courier pigeon). As for my old Nimbus 8’s, they will be accompanying me up to Fraser’s for a last run (aka Dead runners Walking) before being sombrely laid to rest.
Yep, I have no LIFE. AND I think I have just proved I can write a post about ANYTHING!

32

Yesterday was a public holiday for those lucky people working in Selangor. I am one of those and so was looking forward to an extended ride to Salak followed by a run and well earned lunch. Well, that all went pear-shaped on Tuesday afternoon. On my way home from work I dropped by a furniture store as I need to buy a bed for my brother who arrives in exactly 8days! Saw the shop, pulled the car over and just could not summon the energy to get out. B*ll**k’s, I will do it another day (I have been saying this for the past 3months by the way). Got home and went straight to bed (I never do this). I was scheduled to meet Kona Carmen for a run at 6.30pm and was then cooking dinner for her and myself afterwards. Well the run did not materialise but the dinner went ahead with me trying to force a plate of pasta down, something that is never usually a problem.
As soon as Carmen was out the door I was in bed again. Awoke at 5am for the ride and knew that it was not going to happen. I spent the rest of the day asleep, text messaging and occasionally answering the phone when I had the energy.
All in all in 1½ days I have slept for about 32hours! That is more than a lot of people I know get in a week. I feel a bit better (I am now able to get to the vertical (standing) position now and am off to the doctors in a little while in the hope that I can get rid of whatever is bugging me in time for the Fraser’s Weekend. Because if I miss that excursion I really will be bloody SICK AS A DOG!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

166

WOW! More and more soles I chat to these days have signed up for IMM. It starts in 166days that’s 23weeks or 3984 hours to be precise. Bearing these numbers in mind, there will be many thoughts that are going or have gone through your mind. If they haven’t already– they WILL:
The Training: You have dispensed of the cash and now think you still have time to laze around. "I will start tomorrow" is your favourite phrase. It can be done but the training is to me, 70% of the fun especially when in a big group. So get out there with your teammates and motivate one another. Challenge each other, have a laugh. Train hard and make it count but ENJOY the process and stop telling yourself “I will start tomorrow”!
The Task: An IM is NOT an insurmountable challenge; a challenge yes, but not unrealistic. Multiple IM finishers say it is a process of mind over matter. It is NOT about being the fastest or strongest. It is about defining your personal goal and why YOU want to take the journey. Realise and recognise YOUR goal, share, and then go out there with a positive attitude rather the “SHIT what I am doing here” train of thought.
Now, you may think this is all just a tad premature to mention? So in response to those “loads of time/will start tomorrow” thinkers I have 3 digits for you.
166

A Dietary Don’t

I shall keep this short and not because it is sweet. Cut short the ride yesterday, have had a cough and been feeling under the weather, so I did a 147 to Banting with the main group. After which we drove en-mass with rumbling tums to a Banana leaf place in Jalan Universiti. As I got out the car I knew I was in for a devilishly good feed. Since lunch was kind of late, when evening came round I still felt full and did not want my pre-requisite of pasta before the long run this morning. What to eat? I can eat scrambled eggs any time of the day or night so this is what I downed:
4 eggs scrambled, egg whites x 3, 1 x whole
Half punnet of baby mushrooms
Half punnet of tomatoes
Half can baked beans
One large bagel with sour cream (didn’t have cream cheese)

Breakfast for dinner? Yes that’s exactly what I had; lovely jubley. Not one to ever suffer with stomach pains when exercising it seems my carbo load played havoc with the planned 32k that last night I decided to turn into a 36. Three toilet stops on route I tell you. Won’t be doing THAT carbo load again! But did the 36 and felt super duper, albeit and funnily enough a lot lighter and a little tired.
Well done Sam and Carmen, the previous tough day on the bike with searing heat played havoc and gave them both some very heavy legs, and so they wisely cut short. Randy joined me for 32 I know he didn’t enjoy ALL of it ;) thanks for the company. And R H Bee danced along to her MP3 (always gotta have a gadget) and completed a solid 30k in preparation for Borneo.
A great morning that continued until 1pm which is what time the gang finished breakfast at Coffee Bean MK.

Friday, September 12, 2008

AVIVA 70.3 Ironman Singapore

Well done to Michael who won his age category at last weekend's 70.3 in Singapore. Here is his race report......

(A)VIVA SINGAPORE!

Say what you want about the official IRONMAN races .... but they are well organized and they put on a good show.
Case in point – the 2008 Aviva 70.3 held on Dec. 7 at East Coast Park. Attendance stood at approx. 1400 (1030 finishers; 60 DNF; plus teams), and a total of US $ 50,000 was up for grabs for the pros. The venue was East Coast Park, a favourite for many other multisport events, bike rides, and runs, and it’s easy to see why: located right at the ocean (which was calm on race morning), plenty of room for the transition area, parking and post-race activities, it offered a safe and controlled environment, and is spectator-friendly to boot. Since the city agreed to have one direction of the busy ECP (East Coast Parkway) closed to traffic, the bike course was also well contained, although some stretches allowed regular traffic on the same roads, in coned-off lanes. A bit boring maybe going up and down the highway for 3 identical loops, but it gets the job done. The Bike Boutique folks were out there in full force, including a KL contingent, to administer a quick bike safety check before the start, and then helping out on the course. Despite the fairly smooth road surface (sans potholes!) I saw quite a few flats during the ride, possibly due to cyclists riding on seldom used portions of the road, near the curb and close to ramp walls. And don’t believe it when you hear about a “flat, fast course”. There are enough bridges on that course that will make for a less than blazing bike split, not to mention the ever increasing breeze. Narrow lanes and lots of passing going on, so you better stay focused.
But back to the swim: it was a 2-loop rectangular course, with a short beach run in between, so the 4 large buoys plus a string of smaller white ones made for easy sighting. Congestion was minimal due to the field being split up into several waves, but of course tri-swimming remains somewhat of a full-contact sport even under the best of circumstances. I seem to recall an announcement that the water temperature was 26C, which sounds about right.
It was the run course that made up for the monotony of the bike leg: held in the nicely landscaped East Coast Park, it offered a flat and fast paved road, with a few grassy sections thrown in to keep things interesting. A lot of shade and aid stations every 1.5km or so helped offset the heat and humidity somewhat, although the conditions were never oppressive to start with. All stations offered water and 100-Plus and cold sponges; power gels were available at one area also, which all runners passed 3 times.
Bonus: Whit “The Voice of Ironman” was there at the finish line, with his usual energy, upbeat attitude and enthusiasm. I swear if he had been in Hawaii the year Julie Moss crawled to the finish line she would have managed to run the last few meters. Watching him at the awards ceremony later that evening convinced me that there was at least one person on drugs there.....
The awards buffet was held near the finish line @ 7:30 that evening: a surprisingly good spread, even though over-prized for non-competitors at S$50.00, and a good show complete with fireworks at the end. Too bad only a fraction of the 1400 athletes showed up, since many returned home immediately after the race.
For the record, the Aussies cleaned up, winning both the men’s and women’s pro categories, in 3:55:40 (Simon Thompson) and 4:25:43 (Rebekah Keat) respectively. I wasn’t exactly breathing down their necks..... but 5:20:33 was good enough for an age-group win and a slot for the “70.3 World Championship” in Clearwater, FL later this year, which I had no intention to collect. Patsy was happy to get over the swim cut-off hurdle and went on to finish and win her age division in the process.
Bottom line – would I recommend this race? If you can get over the fact that this race series is just as overpriced as its ‘big brother’, sure I would: it is a major-league event, well organized and within driving distance. And you don’t have to wait another year to do it either: due to “tri event congestion” in the fall the race will move to a spring schedule in ’09, so mark your calendars for March 22 for the next edition.

Sexy Lady has a Birthday

The pin-up girl of TTH had a birthday bash last night. The gorgeous Chris, aka Sexy Lady, turned 29 (I am allowed to disclose the number since she is still in her twenties). We moved from the Pot Luck Poolside of Li Villa’s and for a change put on our glad rags and headed for Souled Out in Sri Hartamas. I believe 18 of the gang turned up? Let me think. Chris, KK, S.Sam & Kona Carmen, Randy the "Tan Man" & Ivie, R H Bee, Michelle, Cecil, Wei Kong, Mariana & Glen, Julie, Ngae & Jenny, Daniel, Simon "Stretch Armstrong" (thank you Julie) & Shilpa. My apologies if I missed someone out – opps, Bloody hell ME! That makes 19. Anyway, food was plentiful and just kept on a coming as did the beers and later on the Tequila??? Chris – WHY only me! I am not going to keep rambling but as the pictures come through I shall post them and they shall do the talking for a change. So, please be patience and WATCH THIS SPACE. (Thank you Ivie for the Pictures. Fantastic job)

On the Way...Lah

Last night comments were passed on my lack of blogging this week. This means, a) You actually enjoy reading my drivel OR b) You were just trying to wind me up! My apologies to those who fit into the former category, busy week, work an’ all that. There are many anecdotes in the pipeline just bear with me, they are on the way Lah : )

Monday, September 8, 2008

Telly Addict NO More

I have been spoken with the guys on runs and rides about this for a while now. Obviously TV show recital makes up a large dose of chatter in the mornings and Hayley, freshly back from her European summer holiday is the QUEEN of TV. Hayley can watch the whole series of 24 (never watched one show myself) back to back. Now I don’t know how many hours of viewing that is but my guess is ALOT. How she does it and stays awake I will never know because for the best part of a year now my attention span to that invention called the goggle box has been reduced to that of a 2year old.
I love sports and used to LOVE watching them too. Never missed F1, even followed football, lapped up the tennis, enjoyed the badminton, drooled at the rugby (come on what girl wouldn’t) and the list goes on. I have the US Tennis Open on TV right now as I am in my office typing this. I just can’t be bothered. I will watch for a little while and then switch off – not the TV just my mind will wander. TV shows get the same treatment. And as for films, I can't remember the last time I watched one from start to finish. BBC naturally is my favourite channel, I can watch reruns of all the classic comedies so long as it’s only 30minutes and then I inevitably have to get up two to three times during the show just to wander to the fridge to check to see if anything tasty has miraculously appeared since the last time it was opened 10minutes ago.
Me thinks I have a problem. It seems like many people, I associate watching TV with emptying my fridge of its contents. Well I stopped buying chocolate a while ago now and put blinkers on when I walk down the sweetie aisle when shopping. So you could say this blogging malarkey is a pretty good form of diet control.
Seriously though, once I have posted this I will go back into the lounge, sit down, look at the tennis and then get up and go to the kitchen. I have already eaten for God’s sake – WHY do I do that! Maybe I should just throw the TV out. Anyone want a Samsung Flatscreen 32” LCD?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Stop & Think

I don’t read the paper much these days. Today I made an exception and am glad I did. An article particularly stood out and made me think about our actions and reactions. This guy Kevin Connolly was born without legs – you may have read the story in the Star weekender section today. He has spent the last year travelling around the world on his skateboard (his preferred mode of transport over a wheelchair) shooting pictures of people from literally his hip. All the pictures are taken in rolling motion and without the knowledge of the passerby. Throughout his travels he experienced a mixture of reactions from people seeing his disability; most reveal horror, sadness and sympathy at what they are seeing. I am sure this is only short-lived but one picture stuck in my mind. Is that the look I show when I see someone so physically different to the norm or when faced with a beggar on the street? I hope not. Do I turn away and ignore what I saw out the corner of my eye? Or do I just stare? These are all human reactions we do without thinking, because even as adults we still do not know the “correct” way to react and respond. Well the correct reaction and response that Kevin Connolly is looking for is nothing. Different in the fact he has no legs, inside he is the same as you and I.
Kevin Connolly does not want sympathy, nor is he a beggar looking for donations or handouts although when travelling through the Ukraine people ignored his refusal of handouts and “shoved money in his backpack”. He has won a silver medal at the 2007 X-games Monoski* event, and his story is one of true inspiration for his ability to let us see the world from his perspective and for not letting the fact that just because he has a disability does not make him and his desire to dream and achieve goals any different from you or I.
For more information and to view the photo-exhibition check out his site at
http://therollingexhibition.com
*A Monoski is a skiing device for people with limited use of their legs, such as people with spinal cord injuries, spina bifida or double leg amputations.

Wet & Wild

There is not usually much to blog about weekend rides; always entertaining, sometimes painful and sometimes easy, but always very enjoyable. This Saturday’s effort though deserves a mention. 200k’s was the agenda on a route that I had not done before and apparently it was deemed to be a killer. Hills were the focus and while many turned up for the jaunt to atop Perez hill (around 12 in total), only 4 riders (Sergeant Sam, me, Simon and Patrick) descended down the other side. At the top of the hill spits of rain started as we were having last minute chats before the descent. Carmen was having a rough day and decided very wisely to turn back and save the long ride for another day. Now at this juncture there was really no need for anyone to go on, but the distance was reduced down a measly 175k and so with no reasonable excuse off we sped in gentle rain that quickly turned into torrential downpours for the rest of the day. My shoulders and back hurt today from the white knuckle ride that proceeded for the next four hours and forty minutes. Going down hills is fun, going down rapids because that’s what it was can also be fun, but try slowing down and it just doesn’t happen. Brakes won’t work, lever too hard and lose your wheel, don’t apply enough and basically you lose, well put it this way, the asphalt would win! I decided very earlier on to check in my ego for the day and let the guys go ahead and wait for me at intervals. I was NOT going to come a cropper and risk screwing up training and probably my life!
At breakfast as S.S got some 100PLUS out the fridge I noticed an extraordinary amount of beer on offer. It was suggested to stay put and drink all afternoon and in hindsight we should have done that. I will put that down on my TO DO list for another day when I have more than RM20 on me. The 4k climb after hot noodle soup that I had been warned of was tough. Driving wind and rain, I was hurting not just from the exertion but the pelting raindrops were hurting my delicate porcelain skin (JOKE)! As I reached the top, thoughts going through my head in-between ouch was this is actually nothing to what Genting has in store for me (I am VERY worried). I then started the descent. On a dry day this would be awesome. On a day where roads have taken on the guise of grade 5 rapids it was scary (okay, so exaggerating a wee bit, grade 4). Trying to keep my speed to below 50 was hard and negotiating every corner was harder still. But I survived in one piece as I am here writing this today from Coffee bean and not a hospital bed!
After that little monster Simon kindly warned me of the next one brewing. A 1k climb that is a buggar as you cannot see the top, but once at the top that’s it! I didn’t believe him, as I rarely do and so expected more surprises that came later on. BTW: that little 1k hill WAS a buggar and was also nothing like what Genting has in store. (IM was a piece of piss compared to what we are doing on Oct 1st!)
Simon took his exit at Kajang (I would like to say lightweight here but he is still on the diet), leaving S.S, me and Patrick to continue the real distance, taking the Kajang/Silk highway as something a little different and supposedly easier. For some time now I had been struggling to keep a half decent speed against the wind, heart rate was really low but the wind was just zapping me. I also needed a toilet stop urgently! I asked Patrick if he could help me out on that front since he was the one leading the way, here is the dialogue that ensued:
Emma: “I’m busting for the loo, can you help me out on that score?”
Patrick: Laughing
A little later (S.S off in the distance) I saw a very high hard shoulder and started thinking about my toilet needs when Patrick pulled up.
Emma: “What’s up?”
Patrick: (man of few words) “Rest Room” and pointed, albeit smiling, to the hard shoulder.
Emma: “That will do me just fine.” I know I could have gone on the bike being all wet and that but I have vowed to do this only in racing. I laid the bike down and ducked behind the hard shoulder while Patrick slowly rode off. I could see him all the time and was thinking don’t you dare turn around! (He didn’t, thank you – was not pretty!). GOD that was good. Got back on the bike and off I went with a big smile of bliss on my face!
Great ride, it was one of those that had it been raining so hard from the offset we would not have gone. I am glad we did, even if at times when it was like someone heaven bound pouring a bucket of water over your head. At one point I was telling myself think of the girls Beijing road race, similar conditions and hills. That was me, just a tad slower. A BIG tad slower.
Thanks to Sam for waiting up, Simon for waiting at the interchange when I had no clue where I was going and to Patrick for constantly checking I was there and finding the loo!
Next week another 200k’s. Will it be cut short? I don’t know. But I will be there ready to take whatever elements are thrown at us.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Another Monster Weekend Looms

This time last year I was happily plugging away with the running and spin classes nursing a buggared shoulder. It’s the Aviva 70.3 this weekend and as of November last year I put this weekend’s race down on my TO DO list for what would be the start of my foray into endurance racing. Well we all know that went out the window at the beginning of the year but I still hope to get down to Singapore next year to give it a whirl.
I am now back into full-on training after two very pleasant weeks of light exercise. Kona bound Carmen is also breezing through her IM Hawaii training (she had an awesome ride and run last weekend) and as such long rides are the staple Saturday diet for the next 4 weeks. Choose to tag along or not, I have opted to keep Carmen and Sam company on these “little” excursions. My legs are still new to the cycling malarkey and as a very “wise OLD man” once said to me it’s all about putting the miles in your legs – that’s how you improve - we shall see.
The running is also gently being cranked up for Borneo – the goal there is to do a solid marathon feeling fresh so that can be a base for how I want to run at IM in Feb. Mad yes, but positive thinking and lots of it accompanied by Mr. Focus is helping.
The swimming, ahhh, my swimming, I posted my fastest 1.5k this morning. I have knocked almost 12minutes off my 1.5k time since Feb. It is getting harder and harder to cut the time but practice, practice and more practice I am finding, is the ONLY thing which will and does yield results.
Enjoy the weekend, have a safe ride, run, swim, race or whatever!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Catchy Ditty

Looking over some TeamTBB blogs for inspiration and such, Chris McDonald wrote this back in March. Very funny!
Chris - "I have been reading this on the back of the toilet door since I was a kid and I just think it is great."
WHY I'M TIRED
Boy I’m tired! For years I have blamed it on middle-age, poor blood, lack of vitamins, air pollution and other maladies that make you wonder if life is worth it. But I found out it’s not that - its because I am overworked.
The population of this country is 51million. 21million are retired, that leaves 30million to do the work.There are 19million in school. That leaves 11million to do the work. 2million are unemployed and 4million are employed by the government.That leaves 5million to do the work. 1million are in the armed forces, leaving 4million to do the work. 3million are employed by councils leaving 1million to do the work.There are 620,000 people in hospital and 379,998 in jail. That leaves two people to do the work. You and me. And you are sitting on your arse reading this – NO WONDER I’M BLOODY TIRED!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

King of Road

The Adidas King of the Road run back in August may have been, sorry, no WAS a train wreck but there were some snaps to post that I have just found (courtesy of KC Leong), thank you. Should have picked them up a while ago but I guess have not been keeping abreast of all things. Speaking of breasts - My dodgy picture looks suspiciously as though I am touching myself. If I had something to touch believe me I definitely would touch it - just one of those rare Kodak moments that always seem to happen to me!
Pictured here in no particular order of TTH: Emma, Sergeant Sam, Kona bound Carmen, Julie, Ngae and R H Bee.


Monday, September 1, 2008

Unstoppable?

I was just reading the latest on TeamTBB's site and shock horror, Chrissie Wellington has blasted past the field yet again this time in the O3 distance. Exactly 3times an Olympic Distance Tri, Subic Bay O3 is on my calender for the future having heard some glowing reports from a couple of guys in Desaru.
Here's the link to the report from TeamTBB of her race in the Netherlands this weekend, just check out Chrissie's swim time - bloody AWESOME. Coupled with a 3:03:19, 120k bike this women seems simply unstoppable!

Prepare for the BURN

The Genting challenge is just 1 month away TODAY. That’s 5 weeks, in no particular order of either or all of following:
1. Denial
2. Ignorance
3. Preparation
4. Training
To try and instil some confidence I found this link on climbing tips that may or may not help some of you. I for one have read and re-read it and realise that I must stop eating the chocolate right now and shed some KG’s or risk going backwards down a very steep hill! Check it out:
http://www.cptips.com/climb.htm

BIG Weekend (in more ways than one)

The 196k ride to PD and back was the longest many have sat in the saddle since IM Langkawi. Partly a Birthday ride for yours truly and partly a training ride for Kona bound Carmen, it started out as a cool day in the saddle that escalated after breakfast at Costa Rica into a scorcher that then did a tailspin in the last 15k’s home into a torrential downpour that had TTH struggling to see.
The good news; we returned without incident. It was a tough ride for some and even tougher for others. Randy got back from Vietnam very late the night before and managed to rumble up to the meet point still with half a smile on his face. Simon also had just stepped off the plane from his summer holiday earlier the previous evening from what was probably a mammoth journey with the family in tow and no sleep; it was good to see you made it. Funny the lengths people will go to when a free (albeit cheap) breakfast is on the horizon.
To cap it off it took me an hour to get home, some concert going on nearby home had me soggy and stranded in my car for an hour for a journey that usually takes 10minutes. It was 5.30 by the time George was clean, clothes clean and I was clean, just in time for wine and the birthday chat to parents. Out again by 6.30 for an early birthday dinner – thank you John. I was tucked up in bed before 10pm as I had no sleep the night before (noisy neighbours) and a 25k run to get through. (Borneo although for fun is now in the sights.)
Slept like a log. When the alarm went off I did not want to budge so stayed put for a few minutes then looked at my phone to see a message. The run venue had been changed from Bukit Aman 6.15am to Bukit Kiara at 6am, it was now 5.35am! Rolled, and then promptly fell out of bed. Threw my clothes on, sent a text in advance apologising for my lateness that was certainly coming and jumped in the car. Nearly rolled it around the corner into BK (so Sam says – I think he was exaggerating). Parked up next to Sam and Carmen and then this is where I really knew I should have stayed in bed. Went to get out the car and saw Sam’s car moving backwards. Crikey I thought where are they going?? It quickly sunk in as I heard a slight crunch I had left mine in drive and was moving forwards!!
The run was tough, heavy, heavy legs. Everyone was in the same boat but I was feeling dizzy and sick and had not even been drinking and was feeling more like 64 than 34! My head and heart got me through the run yesterday, that and picking up the rear of Sam, Julie and Marianna.
Things did not improve throughout the day. Sit down, stand up, and fall over. Not a happy bunny. Luckily by the time the evening rolled round for the pool party I was feeling a little more sprightly. Thanks to everyone who came and for the wonderful presents, I was more than a little overwhelmed by your generosity and kindness. And thank you Ivie for the wonderful chocolate cake you made. I am sure someone took pictures so I will blog a couple once they are passed on.
The ride this morning DID NOT go ahead. That was a joint decision by all. A swim is instead planned for tonight. For the rest of the day I am going to try to chill and detox all the chocolate out my system...and am pleased to report I feel MUCH better.
It is September 1st and the training starts again...NOW! Well after I have polished of the remaining chocolate cake, and Godiva chocolate of course – can’t waste it now can I??