Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ironguides Journal Wk-8

If week 7 was a wall of pain filled hollow legs week 8 has followed in similar vein only this time the hollow legs were replaced with hollow arms and a back that feels as though I have been beaten several times with bamboo. Yes, it seems the swimming this week finally took its toll on Emma.
Monday went ahead great with yet again faster times but there has been a niggling discomfort in my left shoulder for a while now that I have been calling fatigue. On Tuesday the fatigue turned into alarm bells as the pain went from an ache to sharp pain. This for anyone who knows injuries knows aches and sharp pains are a world apart. When you start getting sharp pains a BIG problem could be looming. I cut 800metres off the Tuesday swim because of it and reported back to coach Vinnie.
I knew myself what was wrong. When I first started swimming one year ago everything was wrong, a VERY BAD BAD technique. I mean come on I was swimming in circles in IM Langkawi (remember!) It is still not great but at least I now understand what I should be doing and how it should feel. This is key as once you GET IT you just have to be patient and keep repeating and repeating until it becomes natural and you don’t have to mechanically think about it anymore. So while I know what I should be doing the damage if there is any is already probably there.
To make matters worse swimming became tough this week, really hard work. I muddled on, doing the volume only and making sure the sharp pain was kept at bay. The good news? Rides and runs although still pretty tired were really strong.
The taper plan came through on Thursday. I studied it, read it, and studied it. Hmmmn, so of course it is not what I expected, not sure what I expected but as I have said before I am in the reliable hands of Ironguides and on hearing last week about the success of a 42year old guy (read: 9hr 11min IM Arizona finisher, KONA qualifier) that Coach Vinnie has been coaching, I am NOT, I say I am NOT going to argue. Yes I am scared, yes the pressure is on, but a quote I read this week sums up the whole ethic of the training that I am now doing. If it was so damn easy, of course everyone would do it: “Success only comes before work in the dictionary”, Brett Sutton (had to be Doc!).
With my weekend taper complete, I feel pretty good and am looking forward to light swims and reduced runs and a revved up body come next Sunday. There is pressure, but in all honesty the pressure from outside could never match up to that that I personally put myself under. I just want to do my best, and if that is 10th place I will be happy. If it is 3rd place but I know I could have done better I WILL NOT be happy.
Thanks Coach Vinnie for your motivational email; I am inspired and raring to go.
Phuket here we come!

A Sunday Ride

At the request of ONE person to switch the Saturday ride to Sunday so this exalted one could join having being in Europe over the past week, the weekend started with an odd Saturday run. The start of my taper, running on Saturday totally screwed my simple head up and I got up this morning thinking it was Monday and time to swim again. A quick glance at the pile of clothes on my bedroom floor revealed my new pink teamTBB tri-suit ready to be ‘worn in’ reminding me it was actually time to ride. Randy, Bee and I waited at the Ulu Langat Traffic lights for exalted one, and we waited, and we waited. At the exact time I placed the ‘where the bloody hell are you’ call, a grovelling message came through – sorry overslept, forgot to set alarm. A sleepy phone call ensued and it was agreed to carry on ‘gently’ until we met up. The plan changed numerous times over the next 30minutes much to Gadget girl’s disappointment but in the end we rode to the T-Junction at Perez and waited. Actually writing this I realize we did rather a lot of waiting today. I think exalted one owes more than a FREE Milo panas!
We had taken it easy – sticking to the taper plan, injecting a little pace when I felt George wanting to go. Once at the T-Junction exalted one was still 25minutes away. So we sat down on the tarmac and chatted, watched the stream of superbikes adorned in all their leathers, zip pass (was tempted at this point to go say hello, just being polite you understand!). All in good spirits, the mist was hanging around for an extra long time this morning and the setting was beautiful. Riders came and went and then IM Sofian came along, pictures were taken (as you can see I was enjoying myself today), and then Exalted or should I say EXHAUSTED one trundled along. We exchanged a few words of good luck with Sofian; he looks in great shape and tremendous spirits – good luck next week. And we set off in search of the nearest Chinese coffee shop so Gadget girl could get her food fix! Went a little over the scheduled ride time today, but it was blissful, really enjoyed it, let’s hope the rest of the taper works. The brick run on the other hand was its usual torturous affair, but very strong, so happy with that. All in all, a great Sunday morning, thanks GUYS.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Spirit of Christmas

It’s the 1st of December on Monday. A day I looked forward to BIG TIME as a kid this was the beginning of the countdown to Christmas. My brother and I always had an Advent calendar taped to the kitchen cabinets and although there were no sweeties behind those doors just traditional pictures, I got really, I mean really (mum & dad will verify) excited at the prospect of opening another door each morning to see what new picture lay in wait (little things eh?...). I never had a chocolate advent calendar. This is not a complaint although at the time I probably thought I was being extremely hard done by. But if you think about it, chocolate Advent calendars were just the beginning of losing the true traditions with material Cadbury ones. This is the 5th year in a row that I have not “Balik Kampung – via MAS”. Last year my Christmas spirit was really lacking – it was not a pleasant roller coaster year’s end for me and so I plan to rectify that this year!!
It’s easy when you have kids because they just bring out the bigger kid in you. Dad used to wind me up a treat on Christmas Eve to the point they just could not calm me down. Families celebrate Christmas in all sorts of different ways, in our house; we had gifts around the tree (these only appeared on the eve as mum couldn’t trust us not to tamper). Tree gifts were from family members. Santa’s offering came in the form of a stocking (aka BIG Santa SACK – think black bin bag size) which would lay at the foot of my bed waiting to be filled with the prerequisite Satsuma, mini box of Sun Maid raisins, Cadbury selection box and a few other delights.
Every year we would lay out the carrots, whisky, mince pies and milk. Double shots, as David had the same offering in his room too. And every year I would wake up in the morning hugely disappointed at once again missing the great man himself, damn! So one year I had a tactic, thought I was being extremely smart, and had a foolproof plan to finally nail the guy. It went like this:
My Santa sack (which by the way was never ever FULL), had a drawstring cord. When I eventually went to bed that night I tied the cord around my neck. Damned if I would miss the big man again, the scenario going round in my little noggin would play out like this: Santa comes in, goes for the sack (tied around my neck) which would in turn literally jolt me awake (obviously I did not see any danger in tying cord round my neck!). Emma Says: “Hello Santa, What ya got me!” Santa Says: “Ahhh, but have you been a good girl?” Well something to that effect, you get the gist!
I woke up the next morning. Eh? What happened? Sly old Santa had cut the cord, buggar or words to that effect that a 6 year old could conjure. And so it was never meant to be, I never did get to meet Him. He still ate the mince pies and downed the whisky, some years it was a tipple of Sherry (maybe that was at the request of Mrs Claus).
What I do remember from those days though is memorable. As a small family, Christmas Day was never huge, and never an extravagant over-indulgence. Christmas meant us kids were able to drink cola and lemonade, eat Quality Street from the BIG tin, have a huge roast Turkey dinner with all the trimmings (no sprouts for me though – still to this day hate them Brussell Sprouts) and snuggle down with the my favourite granddad (God rest his soul) and the rest of the family to watch Indiana Jones or what other repeat BBC was showing for the umpteenth time.
Ok so as a kid I WANTED STUFF, what kid doesn’t, actually what adult doesn’t? But the ‘need’ was over as soon as the decorations were down, holidays over and we were back walking to school in the dreary rain – in life material things don’t last. They can be very expensive, but they don’t last, memories on the other hand last a lifetime.
So this anecdote brings me round to thinking of the current mad economic crisis particularly in the UK. The pound has fallen to 5.5ringgit to the pound this must be the lowest for what 8years?? But still retailers are trying to tempt Brits to SPEND SPEND SPEND with huge discounts on electrical items and the like. Trouble is I know most just can’t afford it, but still the majority feel the need to keep up and lavish kids and loved ones with material LUBBISH. Ask yourself this, do you really need it to have a GREAT day??
This year I will buy a new tree. That will probably be my one and only indulgence. Am I bovered? Not really. I will celebrate this year with my friends and spend on a few token gifts. I will bake and cook and bake some more as this is how I like to spread the Christmas cheer - through my cooking! And although I won’t be with my family, and I am no longer that over-excitable 6year old I will look forward to making memories with friends and celebrating the Spirit of Christmas in the way that I used to; simply, memorable, with party games and drinking. All that material razz-a-ma-tazz; the commercial vultures can keep it!
After all it is not about what you spend. It is who you spend it WITH!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Jogging the Memory

It has taken a while, nearly a month to the day! But at last we have those infamous 'shots' from Randy & Ivie's fantastic wedding bash at Uncle Chili's. I remember very little from that evening and was hoping these snaps would shed some light on a night that started oh so beautifully and then took a rapid decent faster than when I am sober riding George - that's pretty fast these days - so I hear!
I am not going to cheat. I am blogging everyone of my ugly shots so please please enjoy laughing. I have learnt a few things about myself as well:
1. I am a very good dancer.
2. Sexy Lady Chris did a great job of holding me up
3. I like kissing Ivie (that's twice now!)
4. When inebriated I like hugging people (I actually knew this one already)

5. I REALLY REALLY Enjoyed myself, and that is what the whole night was about at the end of the day - BIG SUCCESS!!

Stone cold sober, nice shot with John, this is as good as it gets, all down hill from here!

Going...Going...Gone!
I am sure you had better things to do on your wedding night than hold me up Randy, Thank YOU!
Opps-a-daisy, into the car she goes!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Reflections in Puddles

How cool are these? Taken by Photographer Vlado Marinkovic, from I imagine somewhere in eastern Europe (no bio data on the guy where I found these) they are photographs of, as the Title suggests -"Reflections in Puddles". We know rain is wet and refreshing, but who would have guessed you could also find such artistic beauty in a puddle! Amazing talent and a fabulous eye for the unusual. ENJOY.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Need A Hand?

Gadget Girl's working late tonight, hope this cheers you up - it's Gadget CAT!

Caught Short!

Don't ya just hate it when this happens!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Protein PACKED!

Most of my money these days goes on food, and lots of it. Luckily I have never been a shopaholic with a penchant for shoes and clothes I won’t wear. But I DO like food shopping! Always on the lookout for something new to try I found this cereal that packs a real protein punch for breakfast. It’s not cheap, RM24 per box (now you see why I am poor!), but it tastes great.
One serving gives 13gms of protein, 1gm of fat, 10gms of fibre and 30gms of carbs for only 140calories. An Emma size serving is twice the recommended amount. So I get 26gms of protein, 60gms of carbs + the protein from my milk AND the extra vitamins from the banana’s, raisins, figs or whatever else I can find to throw in – YUM!
Goes down a treat after my weekday swims and means if I have late night training I am not going to overload and get bored to death with eggs ala scrambled or omelette!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Ironguides Journal WK-7

More than a third of the way through IM training, WK7 has been one long tunnel that has caved in at several points making things even more painfully challenging both physically and mentally. I got used to enduring the physical pain a long time ago. Basically if there is no pain, I assume I am not trying hard enough so that little problem is pretty much under control.
When thinking back to my training for IM 08 this year, even though it was a relatively short duration of training, I think 8weeks in total; I still went through the same highs and lows as I am getting hit with now. It was not the physically struggle, but the mental fatigue that I was not ready for. Training is not rocket science, well not my training anyway. So you would think how can something so simple screw you up so mentally? While what I am feeling is nothing new I still struggle to understand how it just creeps up and bites you so dam hard. Maybe it’s the pressure you put yourself under, goalposts you keep moving, races looming closer, the occasional off day and then comes the time when the off days start to trump the good days and become off-weeks. AND that ladies and gentleman is what I have just had!
I have started to forget little things like locking the door properly (just as well I have nothing worth nicking, with the exception of George, my cat and my laptop). I forget the days. I lose concentration very easily; mid sentence and then I forget what the hell I was saying (probably not that important anyway!)
ON the flip side the things I do not forget: Eating - I do this about every 2hours without fail, most days I am consuming 3000calories. Drinking – Water & isotonic, “keep awake” brew and evening “help Emma sleep” Milo. Training - programmed in, the plan gets me up every day that’s all I ever needed. Sleep - early to bed, early to rise. Goal - I never forget that.
Some days the goal scares me, other days it motivates me. What have I done? Exposed it for all to see, there is no hiding from it. I can only do my best and try, really try not to worry about things (read: other competitors) that are out of my control. My emotions have run extremely high this week. Near breaking point, I have not been much fun to be around and I apologise to my training buddies for the cranky moods. This week I have had to question my actions, the initial reason I fell in love with the sport was because of the fun in training and I have not been feeling the love this week. As a wise friend has told me more than once in the past week, chill out and stop taking yourself so seriously. I am trying; honestly I am TRI- ing.
My Sunday run has gradually got slower in the past 3 weeks. I am trying to ignore this fact. Not let it bother me. The bike has got harder. I am trying to ignore this fact. Not let it bother me. I do know that I will be quicker when rested & re-energised; I am trying to focus on this fact and let it drive me and get me through one more week. The swim funnily enough is great. In 7 weeks I have swam approximately 112k’s. And while swimming is hard, it puts no strain on the hollow legs I have when trying to ride and run, making it ironically my most enjoyable discipline at this moment in time. I am getting better and take great strength from that.
Coach Vinnie has been quiet this week. He is letting me do my thing and get on with the job in hand. I took on some good advice for the turbo sessions and road rides and was pleased as punch to inform him of a couple of breakthrough swim sessions. I penned an email to him yesterday explaining the struggle my mind and body is currently having. This is not a cry for sympathy, a change of plan or a reprieve from training. I am just me being sensible and responsible and reporting back what is going on with Emma. The more information he has, the better he can assess and learn about what I can and can’t endure. Everyone is different and I am handling it in my own way. It may not be pleasant all the time but at least I still get a buzz of satisfaction from completing the sessions every day.
One major element that has become more important as the weeks have gone on is sleep. A few weeks ago I could do the Saturday session, go home, shower and rush out again. Now, once a session is complete the body is crying out for rest. I can no longer just get up and go. Sadly weekdays I have to work, but luckily the weekend allows me to re-coup and do sod else all if I so wish. So once those eyelids start going I just let nature take its course and visit that divine place they call dreamland where all your wishes come true, there is no pain, there are no speeding tickets, work commitments, screws in tyres, bills, blocked drains, washing and house to clean. Nope in dreamland everything is serenely beautiful. I am running like the wind, swimming like a fish and riding like a demon. And when you wake up, be it after 10minutes or 2hours, you are refreshed, recharged and ready for just a little bit more.
To sum up: I still got my arse up Perez even when my mind and body were yelling at me to stop at every heartbeat. My time this week: 26:08. Still not 25something, but considering the empty tank I am confident that 25something is there for taking on any good day. I just need to, what was that word again? Oh right. Chill and not be such an over obsessive arse!
Thanks Coach Vinnie for the words of encouragement and thank you to my training buddies for putting up with my foul mouth and bad mood this weekend. Emma will be back, stronger and happier, but I am afraid the foul mouth may take a little work to eradicate!

You Got Screwed

I shall end the week on a funny little anecdote although it is once again at my expense. Never mind eh, the shoulders are broad enough! On Thursday night after my run I got in the car and above the hypnotic soothing voice of Andrea Botticelli I could hear a noise coming from the rear wheel. Didn’t sound very good at all. Like all good car-minded conscientious people I ignored it and carried on driving Jazz until I gave Randy a lift home today after the run.
“That doesn’t sound good” he observed. “You should get it checked out, could be a nail or something more serious”
"Ah ha, yeah I will do that,".
Dropped him off and actually had a look at the tyre. And there I saw the culprit of the nasty noise, a HUGE screw well and truly embedded in the rubber. Well it is Sunday and car workshops are all closed and I noticed the tyre after 3 days was starting to lose air. Well I can probably change a car tyre quicker than a bike one but still I didn’t want to do that nasty hot and sweaty job. So I have just driven around in the hope that I could find a workshop. Closed, closed, closed, Hallelujah! There is a strip in Uptown with quite a few workshops open on a Sunday.
Diagnosed problem, screw removed, air in tyre and good to go. The old Chinese man at the shop then passed me the screw and said, “Screw ah! You got Screwed, Hahahahaha.” Me thinks he knew exactly what he was saying!!! That’s a new one on me I replied with a smile. Paid my RM5 and off I motored, probably getting another ticket on route.
They say bad things come in 3’s, Speeding Ticket and being screwed in one week is quite bad enough with everything else that went wrong. So whatever you are doing up there, gimme a break, please.
Cheers, Emma.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friggin FRIDAY

I just got a speeding ticket! How dare they! For just going a “TAD” over the limit. I just sat there handed over the license and didn’t even try and squeeze out of it. I was too tired and could not be arsed! AND I am not going to bribe them and give the coppers some extra coffers for their lunch! There you go. I am NOT in a good mood :(

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Revenge

I was going to post this next Monday but couldn't wait. Don't get me wrong I love animals, I just prefer cats over dogs :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Buggery Wednesday

I should be tucked up in bed right now but I need to end this buggery day on some sort of positive. Up at 4.30am for the morning ride, was really looking forward to it. Monday and Tuesday were awesome training days so why should Wednesday be any different? Ah ha...shows what little I know! It went like this:
Morning ride: 30minutes nice and easy - feeling good, lah-di-dah, 30minutes moderate - here we go crank it up a wee bit. I seriously thought I was doing well, I felt like I was working moderately but in actual fact was going slower and slower. Jump to the painful reality, my time to the toll was 5minutes slower than normal - ouch! The ride back was VOLUME.
Morning run: If the ride was any gage I was NOT looking forward to my run. My tactic? Forget about the bike and start the run afresh and see how. Today my easy was painful and the hard well I probably didn't reach that for more than a minute or so. Still it was in the bag. VOLUME.
Work: Boy I am lucky work is quiet at the moment. Not good for our business but good for me. And I am pretty sure my kind, supportive considerate boss knows I did diddly squat. When I eventually got to the office I sat on the sofa (it's a home office) and curled up with my cat Jessie with the aim to get some energy and strength back for the evening swim.
Evening swim: I forgot my cap and goggles today, should have left it at that and recognised the sign. Instead I loaned the items. I did a couple of good sets but when trying to push, nothing, nought, zip, zero, diddly squat in my arms. I gave myself 3 strikes tonight - on the 3rd strike I would get out.
Strike 1: Panic attack. Getting pissed off and upset with oneself is never a good idea at the best of times especially when in water and particularly especially when you suffer with asthma!
Strike 2: Panic attack #2. Same as above - I am a slow learner :)
Strike 3: The wet suit was no longer keeping me warm my feet were blocks of ice.
8.30pm: Out Emma gets.
So what did I gain from today's torment? I am trying my best as I sit here sipping my hot milo defrosting my tootsies to come up with a positive spin on the days training. Ahhh I know.
I got through it. I am not injured. I am not sick. I have eaten well. I am just tired. Tomorrow is a new day and this was just another one of those tunnels mentioned a while back that I am going to become rather familiar with.
One more positive. The endurance is there. When you are feeling tired the idea with trying your best to just do the volume is so it is done and under the belt, and you reap a lot of self confidence from knowing that and plugging through when the chips are down. You know you can go the distance whatever is thrown at you. YOU are fit enough, it's just that being tired means you cannot go all guns a-blazing and hammer the session.
So all in all, am I bovered? Nahhh, The Ferrari will be revving her engine come Phuket, this was just one of those buggery Wednesdays.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pink & Proud

We all know these days I am LOVING wearing the colour PINK! Check out the link for Powerman results update on teamTBB, a few of TTH are notably in the PINK too.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Chin Woo Biathlon - 14th December



Here is an opportunity to take part in a fun end-of-season race that should not disrupt your Ironman preparation too much. Don Khor and the rest of the Chin Woo gang put on a excellent and friendly race that is open to all ages. So please come along and support the event by either taking part or by offering some help to Don and his team. Entry form attached. Check out our very own Ironlady on the poster. If you prefer to submit the form through me or Carmen, please do so. Otherwise, please send the form to Don or to Lester as instructed on the form. Cheers.

Emma Says: Drop a note in the comments with your email address and I can email you the original PDF entry form OR click on the form above to view full size and then right click on the picture. Highlight 'save picture as' and save the image to your PC and print out from there.

Smile, it's MONDAY!


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ironguides Journal WK-6

It was a fatiguing week of sorts. With recovery swim and spin sessions on Monday following Powerman I got through them and looked forward to Tuesday as my first official off day from training. How did it go? I missed the routine but told myself these days will be few and far between so make the most of it. My prescription for rest included eating lots of rubbish and basically lolling around watching TV and catching the new Bond movie in the evening (all after my work duties were taken care of you understand).
Wednesday morning was still light training. I dearly wanted to join the morning ride but instead had to settle for an easy jog. This was fun though as for once I wasn’t solo and had a refreshing morning run with Chris. As Wednesday evening rolled round I was all set for the swim session and ready to kick-start training. The session was good but I was still clearly fatigued. This seemed to go unnoticed however as Peh commented on how good and quick my swim was looking...hmmmn (it’s the wettie). I guess part of competing anyway is about trying to disguise your moments of weakness. Try and keep a stiff upper lip, it doesn’t matter what is going on inside, just make sure the packaging stays in one piece and together!
Thursday, my favourite swim session followed up by an evening run. The run was great, was feeling good. So good that Friday morning I killed myself in the pool, great strong session and then went and poked my head in the doors of True Fitness for a light session of weights. With the week in the bag I was looking forward to the Saturday ride. Coach Vinnie had agreed to a longer than usual route of the Ulu Langat-Perez-coffee shop loop in preparation for Phuket. Instructions: HIT THE HILL HARD!
I must have done the 9k Perez Time Trial hill no more than a handful of times. The idea is to basically get up there as quickly as you can. On my first assent nearly a year ago I enjoyed a leisurely ride absorbing the crisp morning and scenery. Since then I have kept note of how long it takes me to pedal those 9k’s. Not a killer like Genting it is still a challenge especially if you try and hit it hard. To date my best achieved was 26min24sec on June 28th (this is also the last time I did Perez). Yesterday I did 26min06sec. The time is coming down and that I can only hope is an indication of my improvement over the past few weeks with some pain and stubborn determination thrown in. I am well known for not being great going up hills. Probably more famous for falling off/down them so I am more than a little pleased with any time decrease especially when the legs were still screaming from a hard race the previous weekend.
The post brick run went ahead and while this is probably the nastiest kind of run training anyone could ever imagine and God forbid endure it was made easier by the fact the weather yesterday was rainy, dull and gloomy. Not something one would usually celebrate, but when training; this type of weather is a welcome reprieve and results in no soaring heart rate and no need for water on route...what a difference a few degrees can make. I was fortunate in Langkawi this year for it not to be a scorcher on the run. Will we be so lucky next year? We can only hope and pray to the rain Gods to answer that one.
Nothing much to say about the Sunday run, not particularly easy but it got done. I am looking forward to starting week7 head down all guns a-blazing to fire myself up for Phuket. And just to give me a little carrot to chase, Perez is beckoning again next week so let’s see if I can break that 26min barrier – the gauntlet is DOWN!

Footnote: Please forgive the picture, the artist in me took over! Looks like I shouldn't give up the day job eh?

Hop on the Turbo Train

The turbo trainer has become a staple of my training these past few weeks and odds are it will become more prominent in the “plan” rather than less as the weeks progress. For those not clued up, a turbo trainer is a device that allows you to clamp your bike into and ride at varying resistances without going anywhere.
What was that? Can I hear you groaning and saying HOW BOooooring? Perhaps, or perhaps not. A turbo session is a sure fire way to bang in a great midweek bike session when time constraints do not allow you to spare 2hours for a morning or evening ride. More plus points? You can do a turbo session with a group of buddies it doesn’t matter what level you all are as since you are not going anywhere you cannot be dropped! Another plus point, MUSIC. Crank up the volume on the spin tracks and let your adrenalin start pumping and your start legs turning...HARD.
I have been chatting over the past few weeks about these sessions with the guys. Some have already been dabbling with turbo and it now appears some group sessions are about to kick off which is fantastic news. The Bike Boutique in Damansara Perdana is a perfect venue for this, they have the music and the space and Daniel has a whole book of workouts to tease and frustrate you and ultimately make you STRONGER. The workouts I believe usually last around 45 to 60min and you can alter the resistance on the turbo and also use your gearing to change tempo.
So what are you waiting for? Hop on the TURBO TRAIN!
Footnote: When I heard the guys are arranging to start the sessions my first thought was great – at last some company for little ol’ me. Now I find out they are thinking of doing Thursday nights. This means two things: My Thursday night 60min run is now solo AND my Monday night turbo is still solo! (If you wanna join me on either of these sessions let me know please. Too much training solo can drive one rather insane) Then again maybe I am just not very good at taking hints ;)

Congratulations!

Gadget Girl, Sexy Lady Chris and Smiling Meng travelled to Penang on Saturday for a mammoth food trip with a little sweetener of the Penang Bridge marathon thrown in for good measure. They all did superb!
Bee, having been rather disappointed with her time in Borneo posted a new PB of 4hours and 9min on the back of a new PB in Powerman last week – way to go BEE!


Meng with little or no training ripped off his marathon in 4hours and 25minutes – so what are you going to do WITH some training under the belt??
Chris went for the 25k half, maybe Penangites went to the same school for math as I because I am pretty sure 25 is not half of 42! With both hamstrings pulled 6k from the end Chris did a solid job and posted 2hours and 37minutes and that’s on the back of a new PB for her 11k time in Powerman last week.
I was never even entertaining the idea of doing this race so my hat comes off to you guys – well done! Go now and be gluttonous!

Looking Good

I saw multi Ironman finisher and 3-time Kona finisher (I only learnt this this morning, please forgive me) Sofian this morning on the Sunday run. He has 3 weeks until his Buselton D-day and is looking really good. On reading his blog his Sunday run times keep tumbling, so Sofian, I do not think you have to worry about coming inside that cut-off time with plenty to spare!
Ismail Mohammed Sofian (Buselton IM race #543)
Another Buselton warrior is Gane. I saw him this morning also. Did not have much of a chance to chat but you are looking pretty dam solid, especially after posting a soggy PD ride in the rain yesterday. Sorry I couldn’t tag along but ya know, the plan and all – not allowed!
Sivanadam Ganesan (Buselton IM race #986)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Safe Swimming

I guess I am not a newbie anymore but this still applies. AND to all those new newbies please take note that as a brand spanking new enthusiastic triathlete it is VERY VERY important to practice safe swimming!

Wear a wet suit :)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Training Made Easy

6 weeks deep into my Ironguides plan the daily sessions are now etched in my mind. I know what I am supposed to do and when and why and how long for. It’s not because the plan is boring, that could not be further from the truth. No, the plain and honest fact is, it’s SIMPLE.
In the short time I have been knocking about in this sport, I am very blessed to train with an experienced group of amazing guys who have helped me out no end. They have introduced me to a lifestyle I never thought existed and helped me believe in myself. They make getting up at ungodly hours totally acceptable and FUN. I haven’t got the knowledge of years and years of triathlon training like some of my TTH buddies to compare their regimes to my new Method. But at the end of the day without any qualified assistance, training is to a certain extent still flying by the seat of your pants. I guess the real problem for everyone is questions that we combat on a daily basis.
For example; a sampling in no particular order:
When to have a rest day, what is a rest day, can I have a rest day?
How long to taper/do I need to taper?
How many bricks should I do?
How can I improve my swim/bike/run?
Why do I swim/bike/run 4 times a week but have no improvement?
What should I be eating?
How many hours should I train per day/week?
How does an “easy” session make you faster?

How does pushing higher gears on the bike help your run?
And so the list goes on and on and on...
Before I was given the plan, Ironguides wanted to know everything about me. What makes me tick, what is my goal (oh dear, let me think for a while about that one – I will get back to you - haha!) What motivates me, my weaknesses, my moods...you name it they wanted to know. From the simplest to the hardest thing I have ever had to do (and no, that was NOT IM Langkawi). Once they had these valuable nuggets of information Coach Vinnie devised the plan based on my strengths, limiters (the swim), the GOAL and the time that I have/can make, for training.
The plan came back and while we all know the swim volume at first shocked, everything else as I have mentioned before seemed very doable. The swim volume scares me no more. If I am told to just have a 30minute easy recovery swim, I’m like “is that all?” WOW. On those rare days because they are VERY rare (only one so far) I would love to do more, I would love to bang in a run, get on George and hammer through the gears, because I am itching, yes itching to train. But I don’t. Why? Because since October 4th I have followed the plan to the T, and it has worked so far so why would I risk doing more when instructed not to?
My times are coming down, some tumbling. That is not always going to be the case. As everything gets better it is going to get harder and harder to cut seconds, at the moment it’s minutes!
There is just one rule. Think of Ironguides as a diet. We all know if you follow a diet it won’t work if you cheat. Well Ironguides is the same. The schedule is clear and simple, easy to understand and follow. But if you sway, adapt, change, skip or dare to try and CHEAT it then don’t bother wasting their time or yours. Good training is honest training. It’s not about killing the bike every session – I have now learnt this. It is not about running the same pace every session and it is definitely not about swimming up and down a pool mindlessly blowing your brains out with boredom. The sessions are varied enough to keep it different. I get excited just thinking about my Thursday morning 3k swim (but that’s me, a sad git).
Finally what other gems can an online coach provide? Remember this could be someone you have never met. I haven’t met Coach Vinnie and we have not yet spoken. (But we all know how I prefer the written word over talking). They need to learn about you just as you need to learn and understand your plan and read and understand when your body is tired, hungry, sick, ready to race etc. Every titbit that you feed back after a good or a bad session no matter how trivial helps Coach get a clearer picture of what you can endure and how much you can train. We are all built differently and we all have different strengths and weaknesses. If you have problems tell them. When I started the plan my knee was stopping me from doing ANY riding. Not a great start but I took on board the advice, did not push it, did not try and do too much and now bobs your Uncle, Emma is back to normal (well as normal as she gets).
I know of a couple of people who are following online coaching. There’s appears to be more technical than the Ironguides Method. This doesn’t put me off. I don’t really want the hassle of measuring out puts and stuff. I wear a heart rate monitor only when riding and I look at it from time to time but it doesn’t really dictate what I do. Right from the start the one device I have relied on for letting me know how things are going is not a gadget – it’s me. Training with Exercise Induced Asthma over the years has taught me to listen to my body and understand reading perceived effort and feeling, it’s not going to work for everyone but I like this method. It makes the training clean, simple uncluttered and natural, oh and did I mention cheap! How far did I run in week 3? Haven’t a clue. How many k’s did I bike last week? Haven’t the foggiest. These are questions since coming aboard Ironguides I no longer think about – I trust their advice and judgment implicitly – I am in their hands.
There is one question I do know the answer to though and that is: “Am I getting faster?” YES, YES, YES!
Thanks Coach Vinnie and Ironguides, bring on the Phuket training!

I DID!

There was Dave in the distance as I was torturing myself through the second loop of the run in Powerman. Didn't think I would catch him, he looked very comfortable and very strong. But gently, gently that old bald head got closer and closer until we were shoulder to shoulder as I turned into the finish. On passing him he shouted out "I am NOT going to let you lap me" He then had the audacity to speed up a little bit!


Well Dave, sorry to say it, but looks like I did ;) Thanks Tey!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Something Fishy

video

Nothing to do with me, this vid clip comes from my brother David. Blame him! It did raise a snigger though and I am a self confessed cat lover!! Oh how I miss UK telly.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ironguides Journal WK5

Week4 hit me rather hard. The upside is I came through and entered week5 positively, still a little tired and apprehensive about the looming Powerman on Sunday, but I think positive would be an accurate word to sum up my feelings.
Monday morning swim is the longest out of all my swim sessions. I guess this is because I have two days out the pool on Saturday and Sunday and so just in case I forget what the wet stuff in the concrete tub is for I am reminded big time of how much work I need to do. With the swim in the bag I went over to TBB for an evening turbo. It is the first time I have done the full duration at FULL intensity. During the past four weeks I have been reticent to kill the session because of my knee but, and I am touching wood as I type, the knee seems pretty dam good!
If Monday was a strong day Tuesday plonked me back down to earth with a bump. The swim killed, and I hate to admit this, I had to cut 1 set of 200m. The times were getting slower and slower and so I thought enough is enough. I got out and did my brick run. It is supposed to be on a treadmill and there is one beautifully placed in the small condo gym looking out to the pool. I have used it twice since I started the plan as it now seems a gaggle of old ladies doing their morning walkies and talkies have taken it upon themselves to occupy the machine at the precise time I come out the pool! Luckily I have found a route outside which is not too hilly so I can focus on form and technique. Trouble is it’s HOT!
After asking Coach Vinnie if there was to be a taper in sight for the race he responded with a few adjustments. Not too much but enough to “leave some power in the legs for Sunday”. Well not really too much else to say (makes a change!). The remaining week went calmly by, and with the reduction in volume and intensity I began to feel my body itching to do more. Bizarre how just a tiny drop in your normal training over 2days can make you feel as though you can take on the world. When doing my easy runs and turbos towards the end of the week it was really hard not to push. But I also knew the theory behind just having a nice easy jog or spin. Keep it loose, don’t let the muscles forget what they are supposed to be doing but don’t ask them to work too hard...YET. Save it ;)
Well after my post late last night we all know it worked. I am still smiling and I have just finished my morning ‘light’ swim. Yes I am proud of myself and at the same time very grateful to the help from coach Vinnie of Ironguides. My success yesterday is in part due to his very simple but sensible Method guidance that I am lucky to have at hand. I cannot stress enough that if you are going to ask advice from ANYONE the least you can do is follow it. And if it works, carry on, carry on, and carry on!
I have a lovely light 3 days that has been awarded me and will make the most of them because I am assured from next week the hammer is coming down for the final training push to Phuket!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Race Report: Powerman Lumut

(photos courtesy of our man Tey)
Oh my, what a weekend! I will try and put into words the weekend a la Emma’s perspective.

Simply can't stop smiling!

Saturday morning: I had agreed to give Kristoff a lift to Lumut. 9am at Kelana Jaya LRT I said. I was there early and watched the trains come and go and started to get antsy. No need to worry he was there just waiting in a different place! Arrived without delay; Kristoff earning his petrol money by becoming my co-driver cum GPS device. Once checked in I changed into my runners and went out for a 20min jog with 4 race pace pick-ups. Despite it being 1pm and scorching I felt really good. Stopped by the 7-11 on the way back to the Orient Star to stock up on water and 100PLUS and proceeded to drip all over their floor, counter and chewing gum at the till!! Opps!
Back to my room; shower and chill was the order. Tried to sleep, no such luck, tried to read, couldn’t concentrate. I was beginning to feel REALLY moody. Not nervous, but just rather antisocial, so when the offer of a ride with Marianna and Simon was mentioned I was not having any of it. “Not in the plan”, “Don’t want to”, “So there” is the shape of my reasoning. So how on earth and why I then decided to go I don’t know. But glad I did. Thank you for persisting with my stubborn side. Felt great on the bike as it happens. It was very windy and I could feel Zeberdee the Zipps been blown around. Crap, hope it’s not like that tomorrow, or words to that effect ran through my mind.
Got back to the hotel as KK and Chris arrived. “We are just going out for a run, wanna join?” Mr Cross announced”. First I had heard. My run was done and was not doing any more. 30minutes later, yes you guessed it. I was running with Chris while Simon entertained KK (poor guy). Got back to the hotel AGAIN just as Sam and Carmen drove up, my mood was now getting darker and darker so much so KK and Chris stopped teasing me. To avoid offending anyone else I quietly retreated to my room never to be seen or heard from again until breakfast.
Race Morning: Had some good sleep, always a great start if you can sleep. Went down to breakfast, no-one there so I picked a table by the window and sat down to a quiet burnt piece of toast and coffee. Realized I needed more that the crap they were dishing out so ran, ahem, walked to the lift and went to my larder supply for flapjack and a banana hazelnut muffin – YUM – NOW that’s what I call breakfast! KK kindly then gave me and George a lift to the start and we all set up our bikes, did the pre-requisite toilet duty and jogged over to the start line.
The RACE:

Run1 (49:12): Off went the gun, whistle, I don’t know what it was, that’s a blur. The first run felt pretty good. I kept Leslie in my sights all the way and over took her towards the end. I also had Sam in my sights all the way to which I was pleased about. But considering Sergeant Sam sadly had a rather bad day at the office, in hindsight, that’s probably nothing to be proud about.

T1 (1:20): Oh dear, I know I must sort my transitions out. Will endeavour to practice those in the near near future.

Bike (1:47:34): Got onto the bike feeling strong, my heart rate had been touching 170 on the run but oddly enough it felt controlled and never bothered me and dropped back down once I got into a comfortable groove. What can I say about my bike, except I LOVED IT? There were a couple of tense moments when I thought cramp was coming, I averted this by totally relaxing the calves and shaking them out as much as I could. Parts of the course are rather bumpy too and as I had to keep riding wide to make it absolutely clear I was not trying to draft a rider who was going a similar speed, some of these humps and bumps were unavoidable. On the first loop going I rode over one particular bump near the U-turn; ‘ping’! Something had broken off and fallen -SHIT. Thank god the wheels where good and it was just my gas and spare tube lost. Do I stop and pick up? Do I heck, they probably bounced off the road deep into the grass anyway. My cadence meter decided not to kick in, I always have to fiddle with it after it's been in the car and didn’t prior to set up (stupid girl). So I rode on feeling, never letting my legs get lactic but managing to push a high gear while knowing I had some reserves. Did I say it already? I LOVED MY BIKE!

T2 (1:21): At least I am consistent. T2 was the same as T1, crap, yes, but definitely consistent. Surely I deserve points for that.
Run2 (52:11): Popped the last of my four gels, scooped up some water and threw in my face and ears with my mouth managing to catch a drip or two, and I was off. Baby steps, baby steps this is my new technique. It was working, I sensed I had a bit of a cushion but knew some of the other girls were way quicker runners. The plan was consistency, push and you may cramp, slow and you WILL be caught. Really, really thought I was on line for 50minutes, so pissed about that but nevermind there is always next year!
Finish: (3:31:40 & 1st place womens 30-39): I am stoked. My target was 3:45, potentially 3:40 but never thought about getting near 3:30. Finally Emma is smiling! I went to hand in the chip and still not exactly sure of my position, I saw them note down my number on the list. I couldn’t see any other numbers checked in from my group...except one, NUMBER 409. It seems Simon wanted to race with the girls today. For late entry he was given a girls 30-39 number AND had to rack his bike with us. Hmmmn, me thinks this was probably all part of some cunning plan!

My best side!

Well done TTH and everyone else who stood on the start line. There were some good and some unlucky results and endings. Sadly Kona Carmen had an accident at the U-turn and came off, she is nursing some nasty cuts and abrasions and a bump to her head but otherwise is okay. Sam had a rough day, dehydrated and bonking the Sergeant still managed to finish. Simon had an awesome outing posting 3:19 and a 3rd place. Marianna racing in the Elite did fantastic on her new Cervelo and came 4th. KK got a puncture after just 20k that he was unable to repair. A great shame he was feeling strong and perhaps guaranteed a crate of beer. Next time KK! Chris came 8th, Bee subbed 4hours – her target, as did Dave which was his target also. Kristoff came 10th in the Elite, how he ran that first leg in 35min I do not know – AWESOME!

Don Khor: 2nd mens 45-49. 3:25:00


Simon: 3rd mens 40-44. 3:19:40

Mariana: 4th Elite female. 3:28:47

Kristoff: 10th Elite male. 3:05:45


Nice shot for the album, God knows where I was probably sulking!
My thanks to Daniel at The Bike Boutique for helping me take care of George, TeamTBB for their support and Coach Vinnie of Ironguides who was true to his word and made sure I would have some juice in the legs for the race. Thanks guys. Back in the pool tomorrow!