Friday, October 31, 2008

Bishop's Bakery

I was in a rush to get to work this morning after my swim so I dived into the freezer to grab some home baked goodies to munch to find I did not have a lot of choice. It seems my baking habits have fallen by the wayside of late. On after finishing work early (it is Friday) and doing the gym thing, I returned home to bake up a storm. My house smells gorgeous as I type this, a mixture of heavenly cheese scones, healthy banana & hazelnut muffins and sinful but lovely (tried already) Chocolate muffins with 3 packets of Cadbury's chocettes thrown in for good measure!
Just as well I am due for a hard workout tomorrow ;)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Good Ol' Days

Not sure how many of you may be familiar with this little baldy character. Morph was a regular feature with Tony Hart on BBC Children's TV when I was a kid and I looked forward to his wordless babble and fights with fellow baldy Chaz. Today I am sure something would be made of the 'skin' colour of Morph & Chaz, political correctness and all that - nothing is simple anymore. We can't just watch and enjoy without reading waaaay to much into an innocent cartoon.

What prompted me to type in 'Morph' to YouTube I do not know. But on looking at this clip a little smile started form, ending in a whacking big grin. I do believe I have just found our newly WEDDED Randy Tan from a former life (if you believe in all that). I leave you to choose which one he was - wouldn't want to appear bias ;)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Weighty Issue

This is all pretty simple stuff so my apologies if you learn nothing new from this post. But if you are reading this information for the first time – think about it.
A subject close to my heart, weight training for the female athlete today has a positive image prior to the greased up “ladies” prancing around on a stage competing for who’s gonna pop their veins first! Don’t get me wrong I have nothing against these “athletes” it is just a body type and a sport of sorts I do not aspire to.
I understand substituting a run for a weight session may not burn as many calories, but the gains earned by putting a little time in at the gym are ENORMOUS. I am talking about the added POWER, STRENGTH and ENDURANCE that weights can help you find. Your muscles will keep on working for you while you sleep and recover. Muscle increases your metabolism meaning your body becomes more adept at calorie burning even when stationary. Muscle also weighs a lot more than FAT, so weight gains should never be looked upon as a negative.
The gym has been a place of solace for me for over 17years. It is the one area that has remained a constant with the type of training altering depending on my sport of focus.
My coach introduced me to the gym many years ago to help my badminton. I started to learn about strengthening my legs to help get those fast-twitch muscles amped and to build my quads to support my terribly painful knees to help me perform better. Now it is a fact I was never the best badminton or squash player. But, I was very quick and this came from training fast twitch muscles in the gym and on the court with speed work (aka shuttle runs)!!!
After my rotator (shoulder) muscles went on holiday, I had to leave the gym alone. Rest, physio, running and riding was the only training I was allowed for a period of 3+months. Many of you whom I train with have ailments that you train with day in and day out. It’s hard, it’s painful and we know it will never fully get better unless left alone, but we don’t because the empty void is too much to bear. I didn’t enjoy giving up racket sports, the gym & swimming but I didn’t have much choice.
After the all clear was given my focus was recuperation. I had been suffering for over a year and was intent on moving forwards not backwards. Once I started back in the gym it was great to get back but agony starting over. So conscious of tearing the shoulder again I devised a training plan to work every shoulder muscle, the back and arms very gently and very slowly. 6months away from what you love is nothing compared with what many others have to go through, but had I not stopped, surgery or never being able to start triathlon could have been the outcome.
So why weight train for triathlon? It gives me A LOT of confidence, I believe increases endurance, helps me maintain a strong posture on the run and substantially decreases chances of back discomfort on the bike plus it will ultimately provide me with the power that I hope will come into effect when my swim technique finally improves!
In the old “fatty” days I could be found everyday pushing weights long before it became fashionable. Today because of the demands of training for a multi-discipline sport I have reduced my sessions to twice a week, and I find this is just perfect. The books and magazines say 20 minutes 3 times a week is a good goal to target. I guess it depends on your aims. I treat the weight training session for exactly what it is. It is not a cardio workout and I am never tempted to divert away from what I went in to do. My two sessions a week, one on Tuesday and one on Friday each take a solid 60minutes. I don’t dilly dally; I go in do my thing and go out and usually back to work!
I really feel it is important for girls to get into this. As you get older bone density decreases and for ladies doing long hours in endurance training we are prone to fall under the FAT (Female Athletes Triad) . This is a condition whereby the period cycle of some athletes slows, becomes irregular or stops completely due to low body fat and or high training levels. If this happens(I have and do suffer from this) you could be losing precious bone density, so while weight bearing exercises won’t put you back on track with your periods they will help to fight osteoporosis. It is also good to note that Vitamin D and C supplements and plenty of pure protein should be included in your diet.
Some girls I chat to don’t incorporate weights into their training because they don’t like it – end of story. Well we can’t “LOVE” every aspect of training. Nothing is as fun as getting on the bike. I don’t particularly love swimming but I am trying to teach myself to love it, because I know I will benefit in the long run. Training is all about doing everything you can to make yourself stronger, faster and healthier so think of a weight program as part of the deal. If you don’t do it then in my opinion (and it is just an opinion) you must accept you will be missing out on performance.
Since the start of my Ironguide plan the weight program is still included. But it is also an optional rest day (afternoon)! To take off some of the intensity from my arms I have reduced the sets from 4 of to 3 of and so far so good. Detailed below is a training plan that I try to execute twice a week. It is rather intensive but I don’t see the point of getting changed and “fannying” around in the gym for 20minutes. I stick to it and then lay off one week before a race to let the muscles fully recover. *Note: this is what I have been doing – however it may change!

1. Pulley Row: 3 sets x 12 reps of overhand grip, 3 sets x 12 reps of underhand grip
2. Lat Pull Down: 3 sets x 15 reps starting at 26Ibs (warm-up) ending at 33Ibs
3. Triceps Press: 3 sets x 15 reps starting at 40Ibs (warm-up) ending at 55Ibs
4. Triceps Pull down: 3 sets x 12-15 reps starting at 5Ibs (warm-up) onto 7.5Ib
5. Bicep Curl: 3 sets x 15 reps starting at 10Ibs (warm-up each hand) onto 15Ibs
6. Chest press fly into Shoulder Press (free-weights): 3 sets x 24 reps starting at 5Ibs (warm-up each hand) ending at 10Ibs. 12 reps fly into 12 reps press
7. Lower Back: 3 sets x 24 reps 12 x overhand grip into 12 x underhand grip. Using 35Ib/40lb curl bar overhand works lower back, forearms and triceps, underhand grip works lower back and biceps
8. Core: 5-8min constant Abductor exercises
Note: You may notice I am not doing any leg weights. With a dodgy knee this is something I am very cautious about and also high resistance riding on the bike is helping to build the legs equally well.
This training plan is something I have devised for my personal use and my thoughts are merely a reflection of a subject I feel strongly about and are blogged purely for you to maybe think about it. Don’t comment me back telling me you have thrown your back out! If you haven’t weight trained before – GET ADVICE FIRST!

For more information check out this link, primarily aimed at beginners it makes very insightful reading with tips for everyone in every area of the sport with a great detailed section on weight training for triathlon.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Saturday Night

Seargent Sam says:
"Here is a good photo from Saturday night. I dare you to publish it!"

Emma Says:
"What the heck! If you can't smile at oneself when in a reckless moment of bad alcohol judgement when can you? I LIKE THIS PICTURE. It proves to all of you that I CAN let my hair down, just glad the dress is still on ;)
Am sure there are plenty more of these to come and expect them to be probably worse...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ironguide Journal WK-3

Oh my, what a week. After 3weeks I am feeling stronger in the pool. Not always faster as some days the arms are just killing me but I know I am stronger, at least that is my mantra whilst going up and down and up and down and up and down.
I added a few new additions into the mix this week. With the knee feeling a bit better I finally managed the turbo session. That was tough and the tricky bit is actually when I got off the bike, removed shoes and tried to not fall arse over tit in the pool of sweat I had left beneath George (this is my bike in case minds were starting to work overtime!). A turbo session is something many people dislike due to the boredom factor. Personally I have never really needed music to train to – although it can help, and I don’t necessarily need other people around me to motivate – yes I know I am anti social!
What works for me is the art of zoning out. What am I thinking when in this deep abyss you may wonder? Basically, I visualise. I see myself achieving the goals I have set. I talk to myself (not out loud of course - well not all the time). I don’t think about skipping a session or whether or not to have a break. To coin a very well used tag I - Just DO IT. If it’s not going to plan – I still try and do it.
Am I tired? Well it is only week 3. And considering a trip to Singapore, the addition of a turbo session, increased swimming volume and the long awaited start of my weight training again after a 3 week layoff – you could say this was the toughest week yet. My body aches but that I am rather ashamed to admit that is from falling on my bottom after a rather tipsy Saturday night. My neck also aches, hmmn, still trying to work that out.
But the legs are still working, arms just about and the mind is still very motivated. Just as well really because week 4 is full steam ahead. Quite how I will feel come Sunday I don’t know but having trust and faith in what instructions Ironguides are providing is a huge help. I don’t question anything because what do I know? The only decisions I make are when it is time for my body to rest. No one can make that decision for you and I believe that one is the most important of all. No guilt should be attached to resting. Rest is when you repair and regenerate. It is good for you. But try not to get it mixed up with lazy, cos those days can go on and on and before you know it you will be a couch potato eating potato chips watching food shows all day! Oh dear, was that me on Sunday? I will admit that it was, but since I left the couch for my run on Sunday night I reserve the right to call that hiccup a much needed REST.

No Bottle Opener?

Whilst drinking a few beers post marathon in Borneo the other week our lovely beer waiter intrigued us with his bottle opening technique. Well he intrigued me – but then again it doesn’t take much these days! After one or four beers I stood up and slurred (doesn't take much for that to happen either!) “gimmie a go, I can do that no worries”. And so here it is (thank you Ivie for the picture), me opening a lovely ice cold bottle of Tiger with...a lighter! YES, I know. I am a Smarty PANTS - little things please little minds eh? ;)

What do you reckon, should I give up the day job?

Detox RUN

It was Randy & Ivie’s – opps sorry, I mean Ivie & Randy’s long awaited wedding dinner on Saturday night. It has taken me two days to blog this stupendous evening so that should tell you how great a night it was. I have been told I was funny – wish I could remember exactly how funny, as my mind has many blanks over the course of the evening. From what I can recall though – a fantastic time was had by all. The bride looked absolutely beautiful and the groom very dashing. It was a gorgeous dinner, fuelled with plenty of drink that turned into a rather raucous after dinner party downstairs at Uncle Chili’s. (I am assured there are many pictures to follow, many of which I hope will jog my memory and hopefully not prove too embarassing!).
The VERY Happy and gorgeous couple!
The idea was to postpone the Sunday morning run to Sunday evening. Not all of us actually managed this and on waking up Sunday morning not knowing HOW I had got home I had some doubts as to whether I would be able to run. Come 5.30pm the room eventually stopped spinning and I drove down to Bukit Aman to meet the others for the usual run albeit 12hours later than normal.
Nothing else really to say on this; it wasn’t particularly nice and the return leg felt as though I was running against a brick wall. I treated it purely as a volume session to DEXTOX all the alcohol out my system. It was very humid and sweating profusely I am sure my perspiration had rather high alcohol content! Job done, I went home straight to bed with the view to start week 4 of training STRONG!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Another 2 From Borneo

I have been looking and looking for official pictures from the Borneo Marathon. Tons of people were taking snaps and I saw many taken of Randy and myself. Why can I not find any of these then is beyond me. I can't even find one of Marathon Champion, Gadget Girl Bee. BUT I did find TWO of ME! But then again, I did kinda stand out!
Comfortable (that is Randy's arm)


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Are You Getting Enough?

Sergeant Sam and I had a very interesting and knowledgeable trip to Singapore for the Marc Becker Seminar at TBB Singapore. Focusing on nutrition this is a subject we all battle with on a day to day basis as to what we should and shouldn’t eat. One aspect that really stood out was the protein requirements for endurance athletes. I have always thought my protein intake was pretty spot on. I eat about 16 eggs a week (mostly whites), loads of fresh leafy vegetables such as spinach, tofu, tuna and chicken breasts etc. On learning that I should be actually consuming 108gms of the stuff a day I reckoned I was probably lucky to meet half of that requirement! Normal RDA (Recommended Daily Average) for non-active people is around 55gms, weight depending. If you are exercising to the extent we do, calculate your body weight in Kilos by 2 and THAT is what you should be eating – now considering the eggs I eat have about 6gms each – that works out at 18 a DAY!
After the run this evening we were again discussing the subject. Taking a protein shake in the morning with breakfast is a great way to get most of it in one shot. Many don’t like this, but to be honest how many eggs, tuna and chicken breasts can you eat in a day? I have scoured the net for what I think is a helpful guide of foods we regularly eat and some that we can incorporate that perhaps you didn't think of. I did notice however chocolate eggs are not on there – perhaps it was a typo? BUT, on the positive, I did see that 100gms of milk chocolate would give me 7.65gms of protein - so it’s not such a bad thing after all!
Whether you’re a blood thirsty carnivore or cud chewing vege this link will identify EVERY food you can imagine and more. It gives the breakdown of how much protein is in the food, calories and % of calories from protein.
Check it out:
I used to always eat 4 eggs in one go, usually scrambled. Now I am going to have 5. Ditch 4 yolks and keep one whole. This evening I tried an experiment with dinner. Since "they" advocate no carbs 3hours before bed I made a Frittata (aka Spanish Omelette) without the potato. 5eggs, (30gms protein), dash of sour cream whisked in, (substitute for cream), 100gms spicy tuna (23gms protein) and a slice of cheese atop for a taste. The result, it was bloody lovely. Low in calories but a whopping 53gms of protein!! I even took a picture for you to see the finished result before I stuffed my face ;)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

It's Official!

Thought I better blog something - I noticed my last waffle was Sunday!
Just got back from my Wednesday night frostbite swim and judging from the icicles hanging of Mich's and Bee's noses, tonight was rather cold. I was as usual warm as toast once I put the ruddy wetsuit on the right way round! But wouldn't it be easier to have the zip up the front anyway?? Why at the back? (please help me out here).
Oh well, a great session, got in 3.5k without any real problems except tired arms. Went to climb out and I let my ego got the better of me. Instead of gingerly taking the steps as per usual to prevent any sudden movements, I tried to hulk my body out the pool like a big lardy walrus using my arms.
I knew I could do this cos I a big strong girl! The problem is cramp. And there you have it boys and girls it's official, even with a wetsuit on it came and bit me as I tried to get out the pool. Try massaging cramp with 5mm of neoprene on - it ain't easy. Thank you to the kind gentlemen who helped me, I am sorry I didn't get his name! Am sure he had a good chuckle on my behalf anyway.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Ironguide Journal WK-2

With another week completed and tucked away I am now looking ahead at WK-3 as the first real test of my fitness capabilities where I shall endeavour to complete the plan with full intensity and volume (unless told otherwise). This week saw my recovery swim on Monday fail to happen. I was still in Borneo and although it was earmarked (I packed my cossie and pullbuoy), it never materialised. My brother has been visiting and I only get to see him once a year at the most so sometimes I have to stop being selfish, obsessive and anal about my training and chill. It was a great weekend with good food, fantastic company and our friend Tiger – (see I can relax).
Got back home on Tuesday and promptly plopped into the pool for a full session. The warm up was great but on starting the main set my legs promptly turned into an anchor. I persevered and elected to call the session a ‘volume’ day rather than intensity. Straight into an easy run and I was surprised at how comfortable the legs were considering the battering they had been given on Sunday and the anchor-like swim I had just finished.
With Knee still niggling and George at TBB I wisely missed the fast & furious ride AGAIN. The Wed night coached swim however went fantastically well once we were able to get in the water after yet another horrendous lightening storm. The suit really works well, enabling me to push harder whilst giving a super upper body workout. It’s tough just doing moderate sets because of the tightness on my arms so imagine how quickly fatigue sets in when Coach Peh says up the pace and sprint. At least I won’t sink though – nice and buoyant and still toasty - lovely jubly!
Back in the pool Thursday morning. This is a tough one. I get home just before 10pm on Wednesday, eat, shower and sleep, then up again to get in the pool for 7.30am. This was my first session with paddles. Never used them before because of my shoulder injury but these days it is pretty good and as strength work outs are the order – that’s what I will do. A wet evening run followed my first BIG swim on Friday morning rounded out a good 5days post ‘Borneo recovery’.
I have left weight training alone for the last two weeks while my arms have been getting used to the swim volume - they have been VERY sore. The aim is to put the sessions back in next week but reduce the sets a wee bit to hopefully prevent over stressing the shoulders (I shall post my take on weight training, something I have been doing for MANY years, in the coming week for those who are interested). The idea is to stay strong and toned (something we all wish for) but not ‘Arnold’ the weights so that they start affecting the swim improvements which so far I am VERY happy with.
As Knee was still “ish” (to coin a phrase from S.Sam) I contacted Coach Vinnie on Thursday informing him of the planned weekend ride and distance. Knowing what I was allowed to do, I wanted to make sure that it was still ok to go ahead as I had not ridden for two weeks. Email destructions were delivered Friday night informing me to go easy and only do 2hrs30min. To put this into effect and still be sociable with TTH I got in my car and drove over to the traffic lights where Simon starts to cut 40k off the distance. Didn’t like doing that but it was a VERY wise move. (The guy hasn’t even met me but he knows his stuff and thankfully I listened!) Knee let me ride but not without discomfort. The brick run brought posed no real problems but I was icing ‘Knee’ once the session was complete.
Today was Pacesetters Mizuno 10k. The race went fairly well – I may not have “hammered” it, I really can never gage how to hammer it without blowing out and having an asthma attack! But I did feel plenty of pain and sufficient bursting lungs on the hills to know I was close. I am off to Singapore with S.Sam on Tuesday so it looks like my Wednesday morning ride next week is once again going to have to be rain checked. Probably wouldn’t make it anyway, Knee needs to be checked out and I have to seriously consider whether Powerman is a viable, sensible option!
Still not counting the K’s and loving it but I have to admit the past 2wks have seen me overly indulging oneself in the other type of K’s (read Calories). So much so that perhaps I should start counting them before I revert to the Ol’ days. I wait with baited breath to start learning about nutrition and only hope that Coach Vinnie doesn’t fall off his chair with laughter on learning my addiction to chocolate. Hmmmn, maybe I should eradicate that picture of the chocolate stash my brother brought over 3weeks ago – I mean it’s nearly all gone now so I could pretend like it never happened. Denial, denial, denial – the first sign of addiction – so I am told ;)
Thanks Ironguides and teamTBB, Emma is still surviving and counting: T minus 17weeks ;)

Race Report: Pacesetters Mizuno Run

(Pictures courtesy of our man Tey - many thanks once again!)
What a change from the handful of runners in Borneo last week. This morning’s race seemed to have brought every man and his dog out for a 10k with estimates of participants as much as 3200! The start line was as sea of predominantly blue running vests – the official vest for the run and a very nice one too. I will enjoy wearing it in the gym! I met friends from the gym, spin instructors, runners, and riders and of course triathletes of which we are these days, a growing brood.
I went for a 30minute warm up before the race as instructed and Gadget Girl and S.Sam accompanied me. Having just bid my brother farewell at KL Sentral I arrived in Bukit Aman just before the Piccadilly Circus rush hour and squeezed into a parking spot. Rather tearful at saying goodbye to my bruv (I hate goodbyes) I collected my thoughts before Sam arrived, followed by Bee with the shirts and race “Buttons” (you can’t call them chips can ya?).
“Start off slow-ish then hammer it” – I was told. Right O’ whatever you say. I felt ok, knee pain there but thought what the heck give it a whirl. I am not a great runner; I have improved a lot over the past year through sheer grit and perseverance. My goals for these races are to not get sidetracked into training for them but to use them to gage improvement. It proved fruitful enough; last year my time was 55min38sec, this year I brought it down to 49min20sec. Not bad for a 10k distance and also considering I have only just started a new structured program as opposed to the "Emma Bishop School of winging it and flying by the seat of your pants"! Next year let’s see if I can bring it down to 45min? BTW: According to our very own gadget girl the distance was 10.32k.
I would like to congratulate Pacesetters for once again a race that in true Pacesetters style was fantastically supported and organised with plenty of FREE refreshment at the end (This was something that was sadly lacking in Borneo – have to pay for a can of 100PLUS after running 42k – would you believe it!) AND thank you Pacesetters for introducing the long awaited addition of timing chips to your races.
TTH had a great outing and with many PB’s earned. Still waiting to find some shots of the guys - Gadget Girl ironically went off the radar!
Birthday girl and Women's Veteran Winner Hayley with Young man Cecil Sergeant Sam with a beaming smile - gotta love those hills!
Simon with a grimace...obviously not so fond of those hills!
Sexy lady Chris did Genting AGAIN the day before!
And so did KK Martin - WELL Done you mad buggars!

Li-Sar looking trim and composed

Friday, October 17, 2008

Running in the Rain

I spend most of my time these days washing the chlorine from my hair. I might have given it the short chop but still gotta wash it after all these swim sessions. Nothing to do with this post by the way, except that I nearly had to wear flippers and goggles!
S.Sam came back from Hawaii on Wednesday night (Carmen is still enjoying her well earned R&R with friends in Japan). I got an email from Sam on Wednesday morning asking if anyone is running Thursday morning. As I am now off the radar for morning runs I told him I was unsure who was going and that I had a date with a swimming pool but would be running Thursday evening if he would like to join.
Well we all know the past couple/three weeks every evening the heavens have been throwing down bucket's of water, and I knew this would again be the case again for my Thursday night run. I informed Sam of this and said I was going whatever the weather and it's up to him if he wants to join. Sure enough we met in the car park 4.30pm and not another soul to be seen. We got out the cars and these are the words he uttered:
Sam: "You have got to be friggin mad." (I would like to note there was no "Hello Emma how are you!)
Emma: "Gotta do it."
Sam: "Well come on then lets gets this started."
It was a GREAT run. I would like to say just how well rested and tanned Sam looks and loved hearing all about the Kona experience - he has come back more motivated and inspired than ever - (not that he has ever lacked any of those qualities) and just listening to him speak of the event my stomach was doing flips and I had a grin from ear to ear (or was that a grimace from the rain pelting me in the face?). Anyway, a cool inspiring run and I am looking forward to catching up with the Ironchick Kona Carmen herself when she returns from her mammoth shopping trip in Japan!
BTW: A note to all those dry weather runners out there. "What the hell are you thinking? We sweat, we get wet, dehydrate and get very hot. It rains, you get wet BUT don't dehydrate AND stay nice and cool. PERFECT!

Mouthwatering Lineup

The pro lineup for Laguna Phuket Triathlon has been confirmed. S.Sam and Simon have always commented on what a great race Phuket is to do in part because of the amazing location, organisation and the friendly Thai people. So it is of no surprise that this holiday destination also attracts some big names to keep us mere mortal age-groupers well and truly grounded!
(Taken from Lagnua Phuket Triathlon website)
The Laguna Phuket Triathlon will feature an exciting line up of pro athletes from Olympic, Half Ironman and Ironman distances. Surprise 2007 LPT champion Liz Blatchford will defend her title against Samantha McGlone (CAN) and Laura Bennett (USA). McGlone is a former Ironman 70.3 World Champion and one of the favourites to win the Ironman World Champion title in Kona this year.(Emma say's, "Well that didn't happen - just who can beat the Chrissinator?). Laura Bennett has won medals at several Olympic Distance World Championships and only just missed out on an Olympic medal in Beijing by finishing fourth.
In the men's race defending 2007 LPT champion Massimo Cigana will return to Phuket for the fourth consecutive year where he will face Australian Greg Bennett who won LPT in 2005 and Beijing Olympic Gold Medalist Jan Frodeno of Germany. Bennett was named Triathlete Magazine's 'triathlete of the year' in 2007 recognizing his historic feat of winning all five USA Lifetime Fitness Grand Slam races which earned him the highest prize purse ever paid out in a triathlon series. Frodeno came out on top at the recent Beijing Olympics outrunning all the pre race favourites to become only the third Olympic Men's Triathlon Champion in the sport's short Olympic history.
Emma says: Belinda Granger (AUS) will be represeting for teamTBB. Winner of 3 IM's in 2008 - Langkawi, Canada & China - can she cap off the year with another 1st?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Laguna Here We Come!

The Laguna International Triathlon in Phuket is a race many of TTH are packing their bags and preparing for (myself included). One of those races that should be on your “to-do” list it is heralded as a fantastically organized and very professional event. I was in Laguna two years ago for a holiday while the race was on, and that is when the bug started to bite me. Sergeant Sam and Cecil among others were participating and as I was standing on the beach watching the guys run into the water at the start I vowed to myself “I will come back and do this”. Two years later the countdown begins!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ironguide Journal WK-1

Well I literally have swum my way through week one of training. My knee dictated no riding and after explaining my symptoms and sending pictures and video clips of me on George to Coach Vinnie apparently there is nothing wrong with the setup up but a red flag was definitely raising its ugly head. I stated that running didn’t really hinder me and so he emailed back “I shall let you do Borneo...” Eeek, didn’t realise that was in danger! Well if you read the report you know it went ok – let’s see how the running goes for WK-2.
With no riding I followed the swim and run plan to a “T”. Admittedly my arms on Thursday and Friday were beginning to throb from the sheer volume of K’s in the pool. Not much by some peoples standards but 12.5k’s is the most I have ever done five days straight (and this was the “ease Emma into swimming week”). The good news is I coped, didn’t slack and finished feeling positive and for the first time ever I actually enjoyed my Wednesday night swim session at Bukit Jalil thanks to Kimmie’s wetsuit that kept me warm as toast. It’s the perfect recovery suit if you think about it – Wednesday morning is a fast & furious ride followed by brick run. By the evening I am, as expected a little tired. The suit keeps me warm, prevents the cramps and helps me float so my body position is good in the water so I can concentrate on the stroke. The full length of the suit on my arms also offers up a great strength workout – very tired arms – but it just means I will get stronger right?
The weekend came round and I didn’t feel knackered and once I get back on George (hopefully by Wednesday) I will be doing about the same number of hours per week as I was banging out pre-plan days. So what’s the difference you may ask?
No more guessing games. I am not going to argue with a tried and tested product (well not this early on anyway) and it seems all very doable and sensible. More sleep, more time for recovery and no more counting!
Yes that’s right – I have stopped counting the K’s on the bike and the run. Ok so I will always have some sort of idea as to what I do but distance is no longer going to be the determining factor as to how long I go.
I actually thought I would have an issue with this and my guess is I bet many of you guys would too, especially those with a love for gadgets, calories and VOLUME, VOLUME, VOLUME. So, I have rather surprised myself at how easily I have accepted the time over distance theory. Perhaps it is because I am still new at this game and easily swayed into another way of training and thinking. My take on any new theory is you have nothing to lose. Give it a go, doesn’t work – stop, works – carry on, it really is that simple – but you have to be honest with what you are doing and DON’T CHEAT! My body will let me know if I am going faster one week and slower during the same session the following week – I don’t need a Garmin to tell me that.
So to sum up, no real downs in WK-1, I feel happy and positive, the knee is getting better (well post marathon it was – opps), and there is just 18weeks to GO.
Thanks to Coach Vinnie of Ironguides who has already been bombarded with an assault of emails regarding what to do and not to do from yours truly.
And thanks to TBB and teamTBB for giving me this amazing opportunity to train properly with expert guidance. I am doing my best to try my best to be the best that I can be.
Cheers Guys, Emma.

Race report: Borneo Marathon

(Pictures courtesy of DAVID)
In the true spirit of a Sunday morning run my first official marathon is now done and dusted. Gadget Girl, Randy and myself woke up at 2.30am and left the hotel at 3.30ish Malaysian time to the Likas Stadium. After the prerequisite of toilet stops we moved over to the start line. It was quiet, very quiet. Neither of us could quite comprehend how few starters there were! A shame really as the support crew and Marshalls were top notch, very helpful and surprisingly nearly all expats – (I am not being bias here, but they just went out of their way to help you).
I had a plan for today’s race. It wasn’t my plan (I come from the school of winging it), it was a plan from Ironguides Coach Vinnie. He had decided to let me run after learning of my poorly knee and followed up with a 3-step strategy to apply to the race. “Don’t get caught on splits, your goal should be running everything without slowing down.” Sounded simple enough.
I started out with Randy, he seemed to think I wouldn’t talk and be no fun but I think I proved him wrong. The early stages were VERY entertaining and we kept each other company, laughing and joking along the way – ala a regular Sunday run. The pace was slower than slow (as instructed), then after only 2k I was in dire need of a toilet stop, luckily it was only a number ONE! Alas there were no bushes to duck, cover and moon. So I had to continue on until the 6k mark where I had read there would be a porta-loo – hummmn. Of course I shared my busting bladder need with Randy and he subsequently then needed to go. Just when I was beginning to get really uncomfortable, there was the warm glow of a shell station that beckoned us in. Ahhhhhh. We both ducked off course and I shot in the ladies (no key required at Shell), while Randy hung around outside as the men’s was locked. I spent my penny QUICK and opened the door to let the bursting Randy in the LADIES!
Once we were both done with our toilet needs the time was already 34mins plus and as per my instructions it was time to pick up the pace a wee bit. Randy kept asking what are “we” doing, what is “our” plan?? I asked him what is all this “we” stuff? “I am tagging along for the ride,” he said “and will stay as long as I can”. Fair nuff – I was having fun.
Well it was fun until 23/4k. My knee had been doing fine, the cycling side was behaving itself but there was a nasty pain creeping into the right side that was eventually altering my stride and pace. NOT GOOD. It got to a stage where Randy was pulling away a bit so I told him to go. I was considering stopping, not something I wanted to do but I was trying to be sensible and kept telling myself it was only “a training run”. Yeah, well, I carried on. At the 2hr30min mark I was supposed to go into the 3rd stage and up the pace again, this proved very difficult and it happened only in fits and starts.
Out by Sutera Harbour the road went on and on and on. Markers were irregular and very misleading and at about 30k I started to feel a bit better and said to Randy – we finish together – RIGHT? So long as we beat Simon’s PB – we will finish together. He didn’t say much.
With 8k to go I looked at my watch and picked up the pace again. I felt Randy dropping off my shoulder and tried to egg him on. Go, he said. And so I went. Felt pretty good at this point, glasses on, the usual focused glare, I found some energy and thought ok let’s try punching out 5min K’s here – easy!!!!!
Before the 3k marker I saw a marker that I thought said 2.5k, WOW going good. Five minutes later I saw a 3k marker. F*!K. NOT GOOD. Severe stitch, nearly threw up I was feeling a shuffle coming on.
I finished in 3.54 (including toilet stop & taking into consideration the distance by Gadget Girls GPS 42.6). Once across the line I was informed I was 3rd! Well blow me down with a feather – how about that? So when the prize giving came round I was waiting for my name to be announced – it never came. Someone else was there??
Apparently her time was 3.32 which is something I would not have been able to manage even with good knees. Did she take a short cut? Why was her card not in the tub when I finished? Lots of questions but I am sure it was all above board. Went over then to Stadium entrance to see Randy finish and as I said I would finish with him, yup – I ran the track to the finish line again! Well done Randy, 4.01 – (which would have been a sub if not for SHELL Stop). I did the same for Gadget girl, 4.25 – (but unlike Randy who was slowing down, BEE decided to speed up! Christ I had to shout at her to slow down. “It’s the last 100m,” she yelled. GOD that hurt me but as promised we all finished together in some shape or form. Bee was also the first Malaysian women in the Open Category – Well done!
Ivie had an amazing 10k run. Usually our official photographer she took the day off leaving my brother David to snap the pic’s whilst she joined in. 1hour4min – a great time Ivie can we now hope to see more of you running rather than snapping?
Would we do this race again?? I just asked Bee and Randy and their answer is NO. The course is flat-ish, but starting at 4.30am is probably too late – the heat suddenly bites you even at 7.30 in the morning. It is the first time the race has been held so maybe next year there will be more competitors but the lack of support is always a downside I guess. One positive though as mentioned before is the organisers and volunteers – not easy for them with so little action but they did a great job. Plenty of water too and 100PLUS. Would I do it again?? I think it is perfectly positioned as a good training run for TTH, early enough not to damage Lumut preparation but good enough to gage how training is going.
My only complaint would be...why only prizes 1-3? Come on lah, I will probably never place 4th in a marathon ever again and I got ZERO, we didn’t even get finishers shirts! Oh well, feeling good this morning, no real aches and pains – back to week 2 of training!
A special thanks to Big Bruv & Nik for your support - great having you there for my first marathon - X

Ironman Kona

Aloha folks!

Carmen had a fantastic day finishing in 13hr 35mins after sticking to the tough job at hand with grit and determination that is epitomized by the Ironman spirit. She has done us all proud. Relaxed and tired after the ordeal of a tough Ironman course, Carmen wants to thank all her friends and family for supporting her throughout her training and preparation for the race. This meant a lot to Carmen. Today is the morning after the race and Carmen has the appetite of a horse and she is up for a mega breakfast. Before we head off, here is a brief run down of the big day yesterday.

We had a premature wake-up call at 3am when Simon sent us a well-wishing sms message. To be honest, we could not sleep very well feeling anxious and nervous ahead of the big day. After a light breakfast, we headed down to Kona village where the race organisation was already in full swing. It is difficult to comprehend the number of volunteers at this race but they are in their thousands and every one of them is so helpful. After body marking, Carmen disappeared into the transition area and that is the last I saw of her until she came out from the swim. The swim start is an amazing sight with close to 1800 athletes treading water and edging forward to try and get that extra advantage of clear water for the swim. The whole scene is noisy with a tv helicopter hovering overhead and a military transporter aeroplane doing fly-pasts. In fact, three Navy Seals jumped out from the back of the plane and parachuted down to the start area where they jettisoned their gear and joined the race in their fatigues. I found a precarious spot to watch the start from a narrow breakwater crowded with spectators. It was a good spot and I could see a sea of green hats (men) with a sprinkling of orange caps (women) stretched across the start line. I knew that Carmen was anxious about the mass swim start and was probably behind the main pack. She later confirmed that she was some 50m or so behind the main pack at the start. The announcer warned that there is no countdown to the start but there was no mistaking start of the race, a huge 'boom' could be heard as a cannon was fired. And off they went. Carmen's anxiety in the swim was short-lived when over 200 volunteers on long-boards appeared from around the pier and paddled over to chaperon the swimmers all the way around the course. Luckily, Carmen was not bothered by someone kicking her of swimming over her and she managed to get into her stroke quite quickly. She could see the sea bottom for most of the course and even a scuba diver that was taking photos of the swimmers! They think of everything.... Carmen found the water a bit choppy on the way out and easier on the way back. Nevertheless, she finished the swim in a longer than normal split time of 1.43 but was happy and relaxed knowing that she could look forward to the bike and run courses.

The bike course proved to far more difficult than Carmen had imagined. It was windy and undulating and with one big hill. Simon had warned us about the wind and sure enough, it arrived. The worst part was the side wind and not the head wind. Carmen found herself gripping the handlebars tightly to avoid the front wheel from shaking and from getting out of control. I knew something was not right when her split time for the bike went over six and half hours. In the end, she appeared at bike-to-run transition after a bike split of close to 7hrs. As she got off the bike, I could see that her lower back was giving her some discomfort after so long in the aero position. Nevertheless and after a few minutes in transition, she reappeared wearing a different top and lovely smile on her face. I knew then that she would finish come what may.

Carmen did what she normally does on the run, she kept to nice and steady pace and gradually ate up the miles. After the Alii Drive out-and-back (14km), she looked comfortable and strong but she told me that she had been suffering from diarrhea after taking too many gels. All she needed to do now was the remaining out-and-back to the National Energy Lab in the dark. I figured she was running at 4hr30min pace and sure enough, she emerged out from the darkness at just before 8.30pm where I joined her to pass her the Malaysian flag. I rushed to the finish line to catch her coming across the finishing line holding the flag aloft and with a huge smile on her face. Great job Carmen, you have done it again!

After relaxing for a while in the post-race recovery area, Carmen and I went back to soak up the atmoshpere at the finishing line. The atmoshpere is absolutely amazing and with announcers like Wit Raymond pumping up the crowd, you could not help but be caught up in the excitement. As we stood there cheering other competitors crossing the finishing line including a 75 year old man that finished in 15 hours (what an inspiration), our very own Chrissie Wellington came by to join the festivities and threw some of her race gear into the crowd as a memento of the day. Carmen put her hand out to catch Chrissie's race goggles but they bounced off her hand and someone next to her picked them up. Drat! Anyway and by now, Carmen was tired and hungry so we left the party at around 10.30pm and headed for home.

So, what a fantastic day and what a fantastic job Carmen did for us all.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Congrats Carmen!!

Just watched Ironchick Carmen come over the line. 13hrs 35min 01sec - looks like a tough day. We are all VERY VERY proud of her. Well DONE Carmen, you have just acheived the dream of a lifetime. ENJOY the moment go out and party, drink and eat like you never have before!

BTW: Randy, Bee, Ivie, David, Nik and MOI are going out for beers and will have a jug or two for YOU.

BEE has just said she will have a jug for Carmen - you heard it here first! XXXXX


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Kona Diary - Friday

Aloha again!

Well, we are down to the last few hours before the big day and make no bones about it, the tension is rising! Carmen and I have just got back from the bike check-in and the scene was absolutely amazing. The number of helpers must be in the hundreds and they all seemed to know what to do. The swim course is all laid out and the starting line marked by an enormous Gatorade bike bottle sitting on top of the pier. Needless to say, Carmen had her eye on that bottle too but I convinced her that it is too big to go into my rucksack! As the athletes were chanelled into the transition area, all the bike companies had their reps counting the number of their name-brand bikes being checked in. I peeked over the shoulder of a few of them and I reckon that Cervelo must be the top brand this year. Cervelo were dishing out yet more freebies for those that had a Cervelo bike. Carmen was in her element and got yet more free tee shirts! Once we were done with the bike check-in, we hung around for a while to see the other athletes coming in. Chrissie Wellington came past to check-in her new P2C. She looked in great shape. Lets hope she has a good race tomorrow too.

Carmen and I then headed back to the apartment for an early evening dinner and we will be off to bed very early tonight. Our plan is to catch the shuttle along Alii Drive at 0430 that will drop us off close to the start. We all know and love Carmen as a quietly strong triathlete that gets the job done but she is understandably anxious about the swim and the 'washing machine' effect at the start. Her game plan is to hang back at the start and to pick out other swimmers that go at her pace and to stick with them or even draft them around the course. Lets hope her strategy works. Once she is out from the water, she is looking forward to the bike and run legs especially since the weather has been cloudy and cool every day since we have been here from 2pm onwards. So fingers crossed, she will have the same conditions tomorrow.

So gang, please channel positive thoughts Carmen's way tomorrow morning to help her have a great race.
You can follow proceedings on Ironmanlive and put in her bib number 1322 under the name Ban Leong.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Kona Diary - Thursday


Carmen and I started the day like hundreds of other athletes with a morning swim at around 7.15am at the Ironman start area. The buzz around the waterfront was electric and you could sense the nerves and tension rising among the athletes. Oooh, scary man! The water was choppier today even though it was not windy. We managed a 30 min swim along the buoys before we got out of the water to warm ourselves under the morning sun. It was beautiful. No sooner than we were out of the water, Carmen’s antenna was raised. She was on the scent of yet another freebie. Off she went like a ferret to return a short while later instructing me to “put this on”. I politely asked what “this “ was and I was told that it was a sticker that I needed to put on my arm or leg and return to two guys from Germany that were dishing out free tee shirts and swim caps from a makeshift stall on the promenade. So, I dutifully did what I was told while Carmen did the same thing. Needless to say, we are going back there tomorrow! Once we were armed with our free tee shirts and by the way they are quite nice, we returned to our favorite spot the Gatorade tent to collect yet more bike bottles. We are now up to 7 bottles and on target to get up to 10! We then returned home for breakfast and armed with loads of goodies. Carmen was happy!
The rest of the morning was spent on a short tour in the car just south of where we are staying. We came across loads of coffee plantations something that Kona is famous for and then we stopped at a lovely coffee shop that had great scenic views of the coastline below. We were only going there to have a cup of coffee but once Carmen saw the size of the breakfasts, she could not resist and she got stuck into a huge plate of scrambled eggs, sautéed potatoes and juicy sausage. Everything disappeared and she even drank the coffee too. Immediately overlooking the coffee shop was an enormous avocado tree fully loaded with fruit. God knows how the grower harvests the avocados since they were so high up. Once we were done with the second breakfast, we headed down to the coast and a landmark where Captain Cook died, allegedly killed by the Hawaiians back in the mid 1700’s. The coastline is dotted with many coves and in one of them, we found this really friendly guy called Kai that was de-scaling red snapper fish that he had caught the previous evening. I am sure it’s difficult to picture in your mind but this guy was sitting on a lava outcrop with waves lapping around him and on one side, he fed a moray eel that was swimming in and out of a shallow pool and on the other he fed a 30cm diameter turtle. Unreal but true. Carmen has taken the pictures!
With the tourist bit over, it was time for Carmen to have another short ride on the bike. She cycled into Kona town and I met her there after taking some video clips of her on the bike. We did the Expo thing again and stocked up on Powerbar freebies. We also bumped into Alex Bok who was looking good but a bit frazzled.
This evening we went to the race briefing which was pretty uneventful. The good points to note were 200 kayaks on the swim course, drink stations every 5 miles on the bike course and 6 bike mechanic vans on the bike course that will gladly repair a flat so long as you have the tubes. Now that is good organization. While walking into the race briefing area, we noticed a relatively new P3 (same colour as mine) complete with Zipp 808 rims, carbon handlebars and carbon water bottle cage for sale for USD 4000. Not bad eh!
Its bike check-in tomorrow and an early night…….

The Final Countdown

Hope you haven't got bored with the vid clips, I could watch them over and over again - now that might be because I have a bad memory but I prefer to think it's because I love sense of strength, inspiration and motivation that these clips serve up. I sit at my laptop in awe, with butterflies, goosebumps (and NOoooo it's not because I have aircon ON)! and a grimace on my face that always turns into a grin when I see the elation of every finisher at the end. Anyway this last clip in the final countdown to IM Kona is short but just as sweet and if you ain't got a touch of those goosebumps yet - this one should deliver, if it doesn't your reading the wrong BLOG.

Just in case you forgot Ban Leong BIB# 1322 - GO CARMEN GO!!! All the best for a safe, steady, strong race, we are all thinking of you X.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Gadget Girl Reigns Supreme!

Before I launch into this latest post let me just reiterate a snippet of what I emailed to Mon earlier today. The TTH blog is here to inspire a bit, motivate a bit and bring a smile to someones face at least once a day. Well this latest posting brought a huge smile and chuckle to my face albeit that it is at the expense of our very own dear gadget girl. SO BEE, my apologies for sharing this but I know you will see the funny side and trust that you know I am just pulling your leg. I am just jealous...if only I had as many gadgets to play with as you =)
Bee and I are going over to Borneo on the same flight this Saturday morning so I offered to drive and leave my car at the airport. We discussed last night at swimming as to what time I would pick her up and It was left that she would email me directions to her abode, not someone to do things by halves this is what I received.
Hi Emma, Here's the directions to my apartment:
1. Along Jln Lapangan Terbang (old Airport road) going towards Subang Airport, u'll see a flyover upon approaching Saujana. Just before the flyover, u'll see a signboard for Saujana & Ara Damansara. Keep left and go underneath the flyover. U'll then see a traffic light junction going to Saujana (left turn) & Ara Damansara (right turn). Just before the traffic lights, do a U-turn to the other side of Jln Lapangan Terbang Subang.
2. After U-turn, keep left.
3. Turn left at the 1st left turn off the main road (u shud see condo blocks on yr left hand side).
4. After about 65metres (or 213 feet to u ppl), turn left again into a service road leading to my condo (u shud see a miniscule orange colour signage with the word "Puncak Nusa Kelana" once u turn in).
5. After about 280metres (or 919 feet), u should come upon some concrete road barrier. Turn right & you shall see colourful hoardings on your left hand side & my condo block on the right. (my condo's called Puncak Nusa Kelana).
6. Keep going straight until u see the guard house (that's about 137m from the right turn). I shall wait for u there.
(This is the bit I love) Per my GPS, the distance between my place to LCCT is just under 60km. That means at a constant speed of 120km/h, we shud be reaching LCCT in only 30 mins. Our flight is leaving at 10.20am & I'm thinking that as long as we reach the airport by 9am, we shud be fine (btw, KK is regarded as a domestic flight, not international). That being the case, is it ok if you pick me (& my sis) up at 8.00am instead of 7.30am? Bee
BTW: As entertaining as I found this it is also very helpful and thank you Bee for taking the time to give me such acurate directions. If I don't get to your house by 0800hours something is very wrong. BUT Have you considered if I travel at a constant speed of 160km/h which I am known for doing, does that mean I can have some extra sleep and pick you up later??

Kona Diary – Tues/Wed


Early this evening (Wed), Carmen and I went for short run/jog along Alii Drive and who should we bump into? None other than my mate Chris! That’s McCormack to you…. I was just giving him some last minute tips on his preparation for Saturday and strangely enough, he bloody well ignored me. What can I say? I reckon he must have felt a bit threatened by my pace since I was going deceptively slow at the time, let’s call that walking! Anyway, he cruised past Carmen and I and headed off into the distance for his early evening dinner of fish and chips and a pint, not!
Anyway, today was a Sam ‘Scorsese’ day, the film director. Armed with a Sony camcorder courtesy of Chris, I took loads of shots of the swim practice session, the Expo and parts of the run and bike course.
The swim practice session starts around 6am and goes on until 9am. It is very well organized. Gatorade operates a kit drop-off area manned by half a dozen volunteers situated 10m from the beach. With just one entry point onto the beach, the immediate vicinity is absolutely crowded and bustling. With people using it as a meeting point as well, it’s just like a scrum-down at the beginning of a swim start. Nevertheless, the buzz is awesome. I could hear a lot of German, Spanish, French and Portuguese (Brazilian) spoken but I could not hear anyone from Asia, not even Japanese. While the race is truly international, make no doubt about it the race is very American! By that I mean there is a lot of hype and hoopla so be prepared if ever you make it to Kona.
Back to the swim practice. The water is calm early in the morning. It’s not as calm as Langkawi but much better than Desaru. The swim course is one loop out and back and parallel to the shore. Carmen and I did not swim all the way out to the half way point but there were support crews out on the water over the whole distance. Again, this shows the excellent organization of the event. The water temperature is cool but once you start swimming, the temperature seems just right. Carmen and I noticed a lot of athletes using those thin wetsuits over their trisuits. The Zoot version of the thin wetsuit was selling at 200USD in the Expo (ideal for you, Emma for swimming in Bukit Jalil). Once out of the water and back to the Gatorade tent, the volunteers quickly hand your bag back and give you a free Gatorade bike bottle and a bottle of Endurance drink. Needless to say, Carmen went back for more and more. We are up to three bike bottles so far but I reckon we’ll be up to 10 before we leave!
And then it was time for the Expo. Ford is the title sponsor for the race and as you can imagine it has a lot of snazzy vehicles on display. However, I did not see anyone showing the slightest bit of interest in what Ford had to show. Instead, most people were looking for the sexy bikes and the latest go-faster gear that was on show. That included Carmen and me. All the top brands of bikes were on display….. and there was a special beginners section for those riders using a Trek TTX! By the way, Cervelo had a P4 on display. Once we had finished with the bikes, we headed for the freebie section where we got loaded on free Gatorade, Powerbar drinks and granola (that was our breakfast). Interestingly, Powerbar had a new product that is like a jelly bean but nicer. It’s called Gel Blast. Sadly, they are only available in the US. They are nice.
Once we were done at the Expo, we headed out on the bike and run course and visited the famous run turn-around at the National Energy Lab. My God, what a desolate place. This turn-around is about 13/14k from the finish line and since the sun goes down at 6.15pm, Carmen and hundreds of other athletes will be there in the dark with her glow stick! I am sure that completing this section of the course with no lights or people to lend some support will be tough. Nevertheless and knowing Carmen as we all do, she will take on the challenge in her stride. At least, she has now seen the place in daylight and seen the lava fields that surround this special place.
Tomorrow’s agenda is an early morning swim followed by the mandatory Gatorade bottle collection! Thereafter, Carmen and I may go for a trip in the car and be a tourist for the day. The race briefing is tomorrow evening and while Carmen is not keen to go, I feel that on this first occasion, we should go.
Anyway, more to come tomorrow…….

Race Nutrition

Ever wondered what nutrition NOT to take on an IM? Here's a tip!

2 Days to GO! Ban Leong BIB #1322

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Seal Spotted in Bukit Jalil Baths

After months of freezing my butt off, cramping and breaking up my swim session to get out and go pee at least 3 times in a 2hour session due to the Arctic waters of Bukit Jalil's pool, I have at long last survived an evening free of cold, no peeing and the only cramp that raised it's ugly head was do to the struggle I had taking off the darn thing!!!
BUT IT WORKED. Having never worn one before I arrived early and lucky for me Mich was there too to help ease my svelte body (HA HA) into the sexy number. With a lot of huffing and puffing, squeezing and holding in the tum, Mich finally zipped me up and into the water (I would like to say here dived), but it is more of "plopped".
The outcome is I was as warm as toast. Can I say too warm? It worked a treat, the arms got tired towards the end as my mobility became an issue but at least I lasted the night and was able to take instruction and stand still without turning into a block of ice. I think I also provided some light comedic entertainment for the guys when getting into and out of the wettie! (All donations for the impromptu side show will be greatfully accepted).

THANK YOU KIMMIE for the loan. Not sure I will buy this one off you as it really is TIGHT. I will give it one more whirl next week and see how if ya don't mind.

BTW: There is a picture of this momentous occasion to post, I just don't have it yet - HONEST ;)

Free Advice!

We all love free stuff especially when connected to triathlon. This is not a ploy to get you to start logging onto a particular site but I find this link increasingly helpful, entertaining and very interesting. For those of you who enjoyed Brett Sutton’s talk last week at TBB I am sure you will enjoy it and for those who missed out and failed to show up then you can get a taste of what was missed.
If you have a question (peeing on the bike, dehydration issues in IM etc.) that you would like to pose to Brett (aka “DOC”) or any of the other pro’s in TeamTBB then sign up and post your question and they will get back to you, it’s simple as that. Meanwhile, concerned over cadence, wheels, nutrition etc, then you will surely find some advice and entertaining anecdotes there along the way. ENJOY!

Ironman Courage

I don't mind admitting this clip brought tears to my eyes. Pretty it ain't but MAN O MAN if this doesn't motivate you to NEVER give up and to TRY harder - nothing will!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Live Athlete Tracking

I typed in 'Leong' under the athletes expecting for Carmen Leong to come up so I was a little stumped when I saw Ban Leong. No other Leong's in the 35-39 female age catagory so my guess is "Ban" could be a name our Kona Carmen has been keeping under her hat! Anyway on race day log onto Carmen's BIB number is 1322.
Well wouldn't you know it? It is Ironman's 30th Anniversary this Saturday (Sunday from our neck of the woods). So Carmen isn't just going to have the race and experience of a lifetime she is doing it on it's 30th Anniversary. How cool is that?

Kona Carmen has Landed

Carmen has made headlines yet again this morning in the Star Newspaper. The race starts on Sunday morning 3am Malaysian time so once I have done with the marathon I will be logging onto Ironman live to check her prgress on the bike. Go to and put in her name and you should get the live tracking. I will post Carmen's race number once I have it.
Malaysian triathlete set for Hawaii challenge By NG WEI LOON (courtesy of The Star)
TRIATHLETE Carmen Leong believes that she is well prepared for her debut at the Ford Ironman World Championships at Kona in Hawaii on Oct 11. Since June, the 39-year-old nurse has been undergoing a systematic training programme, between 15 and 18 hours a week with her Team Tri Hard training buddies.
Following the training, Leong feels she is in a good shape to compete against the more illustrious triathletes in the world. “Despite going through the regimented training programme, I have not suffered any illness and I’m also injury free. I’m feeling good and ready,” she added. She has reduced the intensity two weeks before the big race.
“I covered 200km in my final long ride to Port Dickson followed by another 24km run on the day after the cycling outing. Now, I am just going through light workouts before leaving for the event” Leong said.
Leong earned a spot to feature at the event when she emerged as the top Malaysian women finisher to clinch the third spot in the women’s 35-39 years category at the Langkawi Ironman in February. She clocked 12’39:09 and crossed the finish line for the second time in the Ironman distance of a 3.8km swim, 180km cycle and 42.2km run.
In her first appearance at Ironman Western Australia Triathlon in Busselton in December last year, she finished the gruelling race with a better time of 12’30.
For her upcoming Ironman in Hawaii, she is anticipating tough challenges to tackle the first discipline.
“I am not a strong swimmer and it is going to be difficult because of the mass start in deep water. The plan is to take it easy in the swimming leg. But, I have to make up in the cycling. “I am feeling confident about my ability to do well in cycling because I have adapted to the aerodynamic position after getting the correct set-up on my bicycle. “I have also done a lot of long rides as part of my build up. But the conditions on the road are also going to be tricky because of the strong headwind and crosswind.
“Hopefully, I will still be feeling strong after the ride to set a good time in the run. Running is my forte. Usually, I am very strong off the bike,” Leong said, adding that she hopes to bring down her personal best to 12’20.
Leong had raised almost RM9,000 from friends to realise her dreams of taking part in the world meet.
“It costs about RM15,000 to get to the starting line. It is fantastic that there are a lot nice people out there who are willing to help unconditionally. “My employers have been supportive in giving me time off on Saturday and Sunday to train. I want to thank them for allowing me to savour this once in a lifetime experience. “ Previously, I have only won many local meets in my age group. This is a step up because I have accomplished a personal achievement to qualify for the event. “My aim is to soak up the atmosphere and come back with good memories from the outing there. “It may be the only time that I am going to compete at the world meet because of the strict qualification criteria,” Leong said.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Down to Business

I am hampered with a sore right knee at the moment so I have a feeling riding is going to have to take a back seat for a little while. Running and swimming however cause no physical discomfort, they just tire me out! Some of you may know that I am now following a programme structured by ironguides (see logo on the links and click to find out more).
I got the plan on Friday, promptly pooped my pants on viewing the swimming volume and intensity and then went about the weekend training as instructed, rallying those who were willing and silly enough to go out for a later than usual ride on a very wet Saturday morning. The ride went well albeit painful on the turnaround (resting the knee now). And a brick run in scorching heat after, was, well it was beetroot face hot. Sorry boss, managed 31minutes not 40!
ANYWAY. The swim fun started this morning and after a long run yesterday and a whole day out up Fraser’s with RH Bee, David Nik and John I was knackered last night and unsure of how this was going to kick off. In bed at 9.30pm and lulled to sleep with more training reading.
I followed the sets religiously, I am actually rather good at doing what I am told, it just depends who is doing the telling as to whether I will obey and listen! Won’t go into detail but it wasn’t that bad, ok so it wasn’t the heavy week set and it was only DAY1 but I finished feeling positive, which is good isn't it?
So there you have it. 145days to go. For those interested I will be doing a weekly blog on how the structured training is going. A bed of roses it is not going to be but if it makes me a better swimmer (really not that difficult), faster runner and stronger rider then I will be a very happy bunny.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Genting Challenge

As you will have read from Emma's report, all those that took part in the Challenge had a great day even if Emma sprinted barefoot up the last 3k or so.
Just to recap, the group consisted of Randy, Simon, KK, Chris, Emma, Dave, Meng, Ngae, Bee, Terry, Lim and me. We set off as planned from the Batu Caves meeting point at soon after 7am and headed for Ulu Yam and the first drink stop. The two climbs before Ulu Yam proved to be mere pimples compared to what was coming next but these climbs warmed up the legs nicely. We all safely arrived and regrouped at the first drink stop albeit Ngae got lost somehow. Suitably refreshed and keen or anxious to take on the next part of the challenge, we all set off together for Gohtong Jaya with Ivie and Carmen in support. The section of the ride to Gohtong was a 16 to 17k climb without any real breaks and it had the effect of breaking up the group. Lim showed his climbing talent by gliding up the hill without any effort while Simon was very strong too. All the group arrived safely at the Gohtong Jaya drink stop in dribs and drabs for yet another well earned banana or gel. However, most of us did not hang around for too long since it became quite cold. So again, off we went in ones and twos to take on the last part of the Challenge, up to Genting itself.

This section of the ride is very steep and some of the switch-backs are over 15% gradient. So its easy to appreciate how this section lives up to its reputation as one of the 5 most difficiult climbs in the world. Unfortunately and being the first day of Raya, the traffic going up the hill was manic and needless to say there were some very poor driving going on. This meant we had to hug the side of the road where the slope was at its steepest. Nevertheless, we all solderied on and eventually managed to reach the top to complete the Challenge. After a quick change in KK's van, we all went down by car to Gohtong for a well earned lunch before heading back to KL. It was a fabulous day and apart from the brilliant cameraderie within the group, it was a nice feeling to know that everyone had taken on and completed the Challenge. It was a fantastic effort by everyone and something that we will repeat again for sure....but not next week

Friday, October 3, 2008

Barefoot up Genting

So Wednesday was the BIG day, the assault up to Genting. S.Sam will be uploading his take on the day very soon, but here is my version to get started. Pictures on the way Lahhhh.
Twelve riders ending up doing the TTH challenge, rather a few dropped out last minute?! The riders brave enough were: S.Sam, Simon, Randy, Terry, Lim, Ngae, KK Martin, Meng, Dave, Chris, R H Bee and Moi. Everyone did a fan-BLOODY-tastic job. We all arrived at the first pit stop just past Ulu Yam in good time and not too far apart. A quick refuel and then it was onto Gohtong Jaya.
Never have I sat in the saddle so long. I am used to getting out and attacking hills but under the advice from Terry stayed sitting down. It was murder in the beginning but did get slightly easier, not the hills but just the sitting down bit. “Can I stand up here?” I asked on numerous occasions. Terry just kept shaking his head and saying NO. So for once in my life I behaved myself put the ego away and sat down and shut up. The shutting up part was easy actually since my lungs were working hard enough just to let me breathe let alone speak or God forbid swear as I am on occasion prone to doing!
I got to Gohtong Jaya with Terry (thanks for the company) and felt pretty good. My knee that has been plaguing me since last Saturdays ride was not happy with the resistance it was up against, but everything else was kinda working. I kept the pit stop short, already soaking wet I was starting to get extremely cold. Cramp had already creeped in waaay back before Ulu Yam so I was concerned about keeping the Goosebumps and cramp at bay. (Did I just say I felt pretty good? Hmmmn, now I remember, Carmen said I looked good. Nothing about feeling good!)
The last section was the worst. A nasty 8-9k climb all the way up to the top. I set off and was quickly dropped by Randy and Terry. Plodding on, trying not to come to a standstill, I kept telling myself just make it to the next corner, and then the next and the next. That was my plan and it was kind of working. Until the “nasty” corner. With 3-4k to go there is a hairpin turn on a gradient that could be as much as 15% or more. In the car this had worried me and now as I approached it I realised I had no bloody clue what to do. I missed the part where the others had been advised to “go wide”, I usually pay attention but for some reason my ears did not pick up this bit of V V V important advice. So there I am trying to take the corner as normal up the tightest gradient, conscious of the stream of traffic out in the road that I would have had to cross into to go wide. Sit down, Stand up, Sit down Stand up. I had no bloody clue what and how to take the corner. NOVICE, PRATT, IDIOT, ANNOYED, NEWBIE!!! The bike came to a standstill, my knee stopped working, so I unclipped knowing the worst was going to happen. I put my foot down and with cleats on, on a steep incline I could not grip and slid and then promptly fell. I got to my feet to see a car pull up stop a bit and then laugh! No utterance of are you ok. I would have loved to give them a piece of my mind but was too busy trying to stop the shakes and stand upright without falling further back down the hill. I guess it was rather comical thinking back now.
Anyway. What to do? I took my bike shoes off and starting pushing Scott up the hill. Do I get back on or not? I was having a mental battle with myself. The leg I fell on hurt but was fine but my Knee excuse the French was really well and truly _____ed!!! So I carried on walking for a bit and then Carmen in the support car passed. I stuck my thumb up and said I was fine. After that I saw a sign for 3.5k. Well my knee hurt when riding but I knew I could run without pain and so THAT is what I did. Barefoot all the way, with stinky shoes in my left hand, bike on the right hand I started a slow jog of baby steps. Chris passed by a while later. “You go girl” I yelled! Amazing job Chris, FANTASTIC. Then R H Bee, “Good job Bee great stuff”, and then Meng. “Well done Meng keep going” I yelled. I have never run barefoot before and only ran and pushed a bike in transition so it was a new experience. Steam coming off me, spittle and snot flying, yes I said SNOT, I was a mess but I was going to get to the top in some sort of style, okay so there was absolutely nothing stylish about my accent but basically I was not going to walk!
Thank you Ivie for probably taking the worst ever picture anyone is EVER going to see of me in action. I am waiting for her to forward the picture. When she saw what I was doing she drove up to the next nasty incline, pulled over and took pot shots of me with her Nikon as a tried to run on the balls of my sore feet up a particularly nasty incline.
Everyone got to the top. Everyone did amazingly well, I cannot stress that enough. This just goes to show how strong the grit, determination and gumption of TTH has got. We disrobed and changed into dry clothes in the KK Martin Wan and then descended via cars back down to Gohtong Jaya for a well earned lunch and bevies.
Once again well done everyone. And thank you Carmen and Ivie for the fantastic support even if you were late to the first Pit stop! (Dilly dallying over breakfast was we??). And BIG thanks to Sergeant Sam for thinking up and arranging the whole day. GREAT STUFF
As for me, I have a marathon to tackle next week and hope my knee will let me perform well-ish. As for the nasty corner, I will be doing that again VERY soon.