Wednesday, February 25, 2009

IM Ditty

Well my bags are almost packed, the final swim is done.
It rained again but then it was only just for fun.

I sent Coco the cat for boarding; she’s none too thrilled with me.
Better I send her there than leave her to roam willy nilly.

I have finished with baking, a feast of IM delights,
One hopes I have enough to sustain, mine and others appetites.

All the training is done, a rollercoaster it has been,
Would I do it again? In a word YES I’m still keen.

Thanks to my training buddies, who put up with Emma’s strops,
Without you the journey, could have become one big flop.

BIG thanks to Coach Vinnie and a Method that tested my true strength,
Your guidance has been invaluable, on learning how to go that extra length.

Without TBB, dear old George may have come unstuck,
But Daniel always came through, what a sheer stroke of luck.

The butterflies have subsided; at least I think they have for now,
Am sure they will come back before they take their final bow.

With just over 2days to go I feel fit, strong, healthy and happy,
Let’s hope it transcends into a safe super Saturday.

The iPod is charged, focus music is on cue,
There’s no stopping me now, how about you?

To EVERYONE taking part. Whatever your reasons for treading the water on Saturday morning remember the hard work has been done. Enjoy the day. GOOD LUCK and have a SAFE, STRONG race. I look forward to seeing you at the finish line :-)
Emma x

Surfs Up!

There was nothing in the plan about needing a surfboard during training! This morning was my last brick session and Randy kindly agreed to do the time with me, although I rather think he may have wished he stayed put in bed.
Just to make sure we are ready for anything on Saturday the heavans opened this morning and boy oh boy did we get wet! 75minutes was on the clock and as we were going onto the Putrajaya Highway I noticed Randy kept checking his watch (I tried looking but the rain was too heavy for me to see much at all). He said he wasn't sure if we would be able to turn back in time. I didn't know what he was on about until we started going along the bit where the two highways split. I mentioned something about leaving my supergirl cape at home otherwise I would have just flown across the gap!
Luckily we reached 37 and a half minutes (oh yes, on the dot!) just as the roads came back together. Easy peasy (or so I thought) the divider looked short, but inbetween trying to hulk my bike over the concrete divider and laughing so much I nearly fell over. Very comical. I then had to heave myself over, very ladylike a la bum first, swing legs round and voila!
The ride back was equally wet and funny. And the run after was more of the same. This is where a boat would have come in handy. Torrents of water gushing down the hills, cars soaking us - it was GREAT fun.
I loved every minute of this morning, thank you Randy for accompanying me much better than a turbo. Feeling good, looking good, SMILING, one more swim to do and then GAME FACE :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mindblowing Street ART

Mind the crevasse: The amazing 3D pavement art that has pedestrians on edge
Tom Kelly (courtesy of
After a sudden shift in the Earth's crust, the ground has cracked open. What was Terra firma is now a gaping crevasse. And into it - his arms raised in terror - plunges a hapless pedestrian on a shard of rock.

Emma says: For 3 decades street art has been capturing the imagination. How many times have you walked past chalk drawings on a city sidewalk without giving the art or it's artist a second glance. Well I bet if you happened to stumble on one of these masterpieces you would be stopped in your tracks, maybe even fall over! This mind blowing realistic 3D art jolts the mind and adds a fresh dimension to traditional oil on canvas and photoshop artists of today. They are free to look at, to admire and to even walk over! For the full story click on the link:

Monday, February 23, 2009

Coconut Water for Special Needs?

(Courtesy of Ivie)
"Coconut Water contains organic compounds possessing healthy growth promoting properties that have been known to help:
Keep the body cool and at the proper temperature
Orally re-hydrate your body
it is an all natural isotonic beverage
Carry nutrients and oxygen to cells
Naturally replenish your body's fluids after exercising
Raise your metabolism
Promote weight loss
Boost your immune system
Detoxify and fight viruses
Cleanse your digestive tract
Control diabetes
Aid your body in fighting viruses that cause the flu, herpes, and AIDS
Balance your PH and reduce risk of cancer
Treat kidney and urethral stones
Boost poor circulation
Emma says: If you are wondering what if anything to put in your special needs bag for Saturday, perhaps some coconut water? It's good to choose something that offers a different flavour from what will be doled out on the course, not sure how warm coconut water will taste though. I for one don't like the stuff so will stick to a chocolate muffin most probably laced with caffine for my boost!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ironguides Journal WK20

The first week of my taper; never having done a proper one of these before I envisioned blissful feelings, boundless energy & happiness. People have spoken about how great you feel whilst on the taper, and since many of my buddies had already been rubbing my face in it, parading around without aches and pains ready to race, my turn had finally come, and I wanted me some of that!
It didn’t quite play out as I had visualised. In fact this week turned out to be the hardest yet. Not hard in the physical sense but damn tough in the mental sense. Here’s what happened (I will try to be brief):
Monday: Shortened swim by all of 600m. Not too bad but mid swim I suddenly seized up. I was thinking about that finish line and suddenly saw myself fighting on all fours to cross the line before another competitor in my age group. It was a battle between the two of us! Crawling, falling, and wobbling trying to get to the line first. (Does this sound familiar?). Panic and fear suddenly gripped me and I sank! Sounds funny and rather bizarre now, will this premonition play out on Saturday? God knows, I can’t even tell you who crossed the line first! Got out the pool and went to work very emotional and cried.
Evening turbo: Again a shortened 74minute version, really unpleasant, not feeling great at all.
Tuesday: Shortened swim again and shortened by myself even further as panic attacks and asthma gripped me. What is up with my emotions??? In a complete and utter mess I got out and immediately penned an email to Coach Vinnie.
He replied almost immediately, and described what I was going through as (yup you guessed it) completely normal. He also highlighted many other symptoms I had not mentioned but was suffering from. Boy this guy is good. To quote part of his reply, because you may find this rather insightful:
“When we switch into "taper" mode after a long period of consistent training, we make a journey from one state of physicality into another. What is happening is that your body is moving from "fight" mode into "heal" mode. The training systems that were on fire are shutting down because you are no longer subjecting your body to the physical training (stress) stimuli.
This change means that the balance of hormones in your body is changing. The level of hormones secreted to sustain your high levels of physical exertion during training is dropping, while the level of "restoration" hormones is increasing. This change translates to a sensation of fatigue in the body.
Your muscles will start to "gum up" as they lay down healing tissue without constant movement breaking down the tissue -- so it is important to move. That is why we don't take extended periods totally off during a taper -- you will seize up!
Your body will feel sluggish as you have been used to a very high rate of oxygenation and movement of fluids. Your metabolism will be out of whack as the amount of energy you are used to consuming drops. Your digestion will feel a little off, your head foggy, and you feel all the little aches and pains the season brings on.
All totally normal! In fact, what would be cause for concern would be if you didn't feel these things at all! That would imply you hadn't trained enough, or that you are entering into "taper mode" too late. Right now, about 10-12 days out from race day, is the ideal time to go through what you are experiencing.” – Coach Vinnie.

Evening run: Again slightly shortened. I had also decided not to blast it as I have been doing. Still did a fair pace with chronic indigestion, fighting off the urge to hurl over the machine (as you read above-completely normal!).
Wednesday bike/run brick: Easy peasy bike on Scott. Only 2hours in duration with a solid 45min run at 5min k pace – not bad.
Evening coached swim: During warm up my arms wanted to fall off. Man oh man they hurt. Swam for 1hr15min doing 100’s with stroke correction, a good session with some breakthrough on the stroke I think.
Thursday swim: Left the watch on the bedside table and did my 200’s blind as instructed. Fast, slow – didn’t care, just tried to be consistent whatever the pace was.
Thursday run: Only 35minutes and the painful legs is still a worry.
Friday turbo: Shortened again and a lower resistance, are my legs starting to finally feel better or am I imagining it??
Saturday Ride: 4hrs was the target at a SUPER easy pace. The idea was if 30kph is my norm then ride 26kph, felt good, lactic finally going I believe. To get the time done I went a little longer and the guys waited for me back at the Batu18 coffee shop – thanks guys!
Brick JOG: Lovely jubbly, if only I could feel like this when I run.
Sunday run: Shortened to 1:45 (bliss)! Instructed to keep it flat (taking care of the pins) we all know KL does not offer much ‘flat’. A treadmill run was advised but 105min on the treadmill – no thanks. I did some on my own, some with the guys, the great thing with running to the clock I just make it up as I go along not caring for the distance – it’s such a relaxing way to run. In the bag and the legs didn’t feel buggered - result
Summary: I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. And hopefully the engines will be revving come Saturday. It has been tough feeling so rubbish knowing the race is so near. On Monday and Tuesday I could not contemplate being ready, but since Wednesday I have begun to feel a little better each day. I no longer have aches and pains when I wake up, hell I can do my morning cat stretch without fear of something going twang! So all’s good and I still have 5days to go. Doesn’t sound much but I do now believe, I nearly lost faith this week but it is back with me now and I am POSITIVE!
BTW: Sorry, tried to keep it short, but oh well, it’s me!

A Little Warning Please

It was Saturday afternoon when a gang of robbers burst into an Our Price (record) store. Pulling a gun on the kid working behind the counter they demanded he open the safe and hand over the takings.
Kid to the robbers: The safe is empty I took the takings to the bank yesterday.
Robbers: Why the hell did you do that?
Kid to robbers: You didn't tell me you were coming!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Speedy Pensioner

Teenage handbag thief outpaced by 72-year-old ex-sprinter
A teenage thief picked on the wrong victim when she tried to run off with a bag belonging to pensioner Jean Hirst - a former championship sprinter. By Paul Stokes ( & Courtesy of Cheong)
The schoolgirl was surprised to discover her victim, a former All England Schools championship sprinter, still had a turn of pace - at the age of 72. As Mrs Hirst gave chase, she soon began to close on the culprit who was forced to throw down the bag in her desperation to escape. The retired teacher had allowed three teenage girls into her car to help her with directions after getting lost on the way to a theatre.
She was straight out of the starting blocks again, however, when one of them took advantage and tried to make off with her bag.
Mrs Hirst said: "Suddenly I felt 18 again. The adrenaline just kicked in and I seemed to turn back the years.
"She had a head start but I covered 70 yards in about 15 seconds and was within two strides of her when she looked over her shoulder and saw me.
"She probably thought I was an easy target but she shouldn't have judged a book by its cover. The look on her face was one of sheer amazement and she just threw my bag aside."
Mrs Hirst, a widow, from Mansfield, Notts, was able to stop and pick up the bag which she described as containing her "whole life", including her purse, keys and address book.
As a 17 year old, she was the Nottinghamshire County Schools 100 yards champion and qualified for the final of All England Schools Championship in Ashington, Northumberland.
Her latest unscheduled sprint was from the car park of the Duchess Theatre, in Long Eaton, Derbyshire.
She had stopped to ask the three girls, who were aged around 15 or 16, if they knew the way and they insisted on getting into the car to take her there.
When they arrived one of the girls asked for 20 pence and Mrs Hirst realised her bag had suddenly disappeared with one of the back seat passengers who was calling for the others to go with her.
"Then she started running and that's when the fun began. I was not as out of breath as I thought I would be at my age," she said.
When Mrs Hirst returned to the car, the other girls apologised for their friend's actions and she decided against calling the police.
She added: "I just told them to choose their friends more carefully. There was no way I could detain them and at the end of the day I was just glad I had my bag back."
Mrs Hirst, who has two grown up children, was later rebuked by her daughter who told her the girl could have had a knife or turned aggressive.
She added: "I didn't think of my safety, but I did pay for it a little the next day. I was covered in aches and pains and my daughter turned to me and said it was because I didn't warm up properly."
Emma Says: If ever you think you are to old too start running, give yourself a swift kick up the backside and put your runners on and go out the door. Age os not a factor!

Mystery Man

Police in the Republic of Ireland have been on the look out for a serial traffic offender. The man in question has racked up scores of speeding tickets and parking fines but each time he has been stopped he evaded the police my giving a different address each time. SO a search has been on for a rather naughty driver by the name of Mr Prawo Jazdy when in fact that wasn't even his name! Read on for the punchline come startling reality of Irelands traffic policing. (Which after all said and done is probably pretty much on a par with everywhere else in the world).

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Close Shave

Phew, a potential absolute disaster has been avoided this evening. Planned to go to TBB yesterday to practise changing Georges' tyres (I felt I needed the practise), didn't quite make it. Daniel also advised me the chain needs changing, apparently my high resistance training does not give chains a very long life! Wednesday is supposed to be a day off work but I end up faffing about sorting my life and errands out even though I don't have to go to the office. ANYWAY, I popped over there tonight to have my tyre changing session and then do my tapered run with Dave who I met over there.
I chose a very good day to go, Daniel & Jerry are both rushed off their feet packing everyone's bikes but I was in good hands. Eric, and Wong Atium (sorry if I spelt it wrong) and Sharom (again, sorry if I spelt it wrong :) were on hand to help this LA-DEE in distress.
Don't get me wrong I can change a tyre. It's just I haven't done it much which is why I was wisely brushing up the skills. Boy oh Boy am I glad I did it. I have not changed the Zipps before and on trying to remove the tube it foundit ra ther stuck. It seems the adapter was jammed and only with the effort of a hammer would remove it! I have done Desaru, Lumut AND Phuket with the Zipps and did not know this. Had I got a flat there it would have been game over (stupid, STUPID GIRL).
Anyway, I am now pleased to report the adapters have been ground down to SMOOTHLY fit through and I changed both tyres with Wong AND Sharom looking over. Sharom even felt it fit to explain over a phone call that he was helping this useless triathlete by the name of Emma to change a tyre. UNTIL I shouted out I knew exactly what he was saying (my Bahasa is not that bad!!).
Did my run and feeling a lot bit more human today. Haven't broken down and blubbered since Tuesday so the emotions are hopefully under control. Feeling quite positive actually, but my legs still hurt and I am on the turbo in the morning:(
Not long now, and if you have anything at all to learn from any of my posts the message I am finally getting around to here is CHECK YOUR BIKE!!!! Don't blame the mechanics, they do a fantastic job BUT they are VERY busy. It is YOUR responabilitysibly so YOU BLOODY CHECK IT!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

You Cannot be Serious, Can You?

A little late I guess. I forgot it was Valentines Day on Saturday until one of the guys mentioned it at a drinks stop during the ride. I came across this lonely hearts AD on the web, it was posted under the title 'worst ever lonely hearts Ad'. Still trying to fathom whether it is real or just a joke one thing it is, is bizarre. Mind you each to their own, different tastes and all that.
To put your heart out there and lay it all on line the line for the WWW to see is a bit silly in my book because people like me could pick it up and post it for some Innocent light entertainment. But you gotta hand it to her, it takes not just great stupidity but also a lot of guts to do something like this, click the link and you will see what I mean ;)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Ironguides Journal WK-19

It’s finally in the BAG! I anticipated a tough final week and thought it was all coming true after a very uncomfortable turbo session on Monday night. Dreading the swim the following morning how surprised was I not to blast the swim but to get back to some sort of normality with regards to timing.
And so the week played out for perhaps the first time ever, to the script. Another blitzing Tuesday treadmill run where I told myself make it count it is the last one (I lied, still gotta do it next week just a tad shorter). Another strong Wednesday morning and for the first time in weeks my coached swim session was a success. Caught unawares after my warm up I was coaxed into 5sets of 500 which these days I could almost say is a walk in the park (it isn’t but that’s how I get my head round the monotony). Would my final long IM swim come to haunt in the morning? It didn’t! WOW. Not quick but I didn’t fall asleep and it was a solid effort.

I emailed Coach Vinnie some time back as I was starting to question the efforts I was giving. Once any training was finished, particularly in the swim and on the run I explained I was not feeling particularly jaded; returning to a’ normal’ state so quickly that I thought I maybe wasn’t trying hard enough. I guess the huge pay off after so much consistent training is not just the amount of food that I can tuck away it is the level of fitness that has been achieved. I don’t feel very fit when walking upstairs during work in the day but when training it is apparent fitness and more importantly endurance is there in abundance. Who would have thought training when tired with no rests week in week out would make you fitter and stronger. Well if you can get your head round that conundrum – it really does work.
And so to my Thursday night run. Totally shocked myself here, knocking almost 30secs per k off what I normally run off the bike. OK so it wasn’t a brick, but 30seconds in a k is huge especially when I found it comfortable – getting worried!
Friday turbo, thanks to The Catherine Tate Show and then the men’s German triathlon on TV made this all the easier today.
Saturday the last ride to PD for a while I would like to think! My long rides have been limited to 6hours in the saddle, knowing this is hard to stick to especially when going to PD I told myself give or take 15minutes either side. Since we started putting PD on the menu for Saturdays I have got quicker each time without really paying attention to what I was doing. I know I was riding pretty hard this Saturday, but I don’t want to think I was killing it. Always keep that thought in the back of your mind that the job is not finished when you get off the bike. So, and especially so as I am told in Langkawi, it is not wise to leave it all on the bike. This week for the first time I scrapped under the 6hour mark, stunned is pretty much an underestimation. Gosh if I could only do that on race day...
Thought I may have screwed up the run, knowing I had pushed but NO. The intervals were punched out and got quicker and quicker. Man if I didn’t know any better I would say someone was spiking my drinks!
Sunday run I woke up and thought let’s give this last one a good crack. Yeah right, I may be able to deceive the guys on the bike by using big gears but there is no way to hide the fatigue in my legs on that Sunday run. All 2hours and 40minutes were not pleasant but the satisfaction once I had stopped staggering around the car park was pure ecstasy!
I am now ready for that taper. As I mentioned earlier in the week it is not what I expected but it does make sense and my hours in the first week have been cut by a third. The journey is nearing an end but it hasn’t just been a 20week journey. For me I have been training for this one day since Feb. 22nd last year. A lot has been sacrificed particularly since December. No evenings out or late nights, weekend afternoons have been rare and sporadic resigning myself to the fact I MUST REST as soon as training is finished. I may sound a bit like a sad case but I do not regret my decision to do this at all. I have learnt much over what I conceive to be a very short time and also believe if I had tried at anytime to burn the candle at both ends then I probably would never have got through the past 19weeks unscathed. As it is I feel tired but strong, healthy and fit.
It’s not for everyone; each person has their own reason to train, and their own reason behind tackling and training for an IM. Primarily social interaction is the key motivator. This is what captured my heart, being able to train with a variety of colourful characters from different backgrounds with one common interest that supersedes what we do for a living, how much we earn or what language we speak. Sport is a wonderful thing and in triathlon I have found it more so. We spend so much time training together it is only natural your training buddies become an important part of your life. And despite the many walls I have fallen off and bumped into in the past weeks I can hand on heart say that I have never laughed so hard and smiled so much as when I am training with the guys. Lately the laughing has really started to hurt as the lactic in my legs just doesn’t go away, but I am still smiling, it doesn’t hurt to smile now does it :-)

All the hard work is done go enjoy your taper and ready yourself for battle because in the words of one hit wonder Europe and Sponge Bob, The Final Countdown has begun!

Made to Last

The old ones are always the best. Ok so fashion and hairstyles date, but the laughs, they never stop, especially when the name Del Boy is in the script. Created during a time when the only offensive language uttered on TV was ‘plonker’ there are too many side-splitting Only Fools & Horses episodes to mention. Very difficult to choose a favourite, this one is pretty darn good! Grab a coffee and enjoy!

The Perfect Toast

(Courtesy of Dave Spences' Mum?!)
In the pub, 60 year-old John O'Reilly hoisted his beer and said,"Here's to spending the rest of me life, between the legs of me wife."
That won him the top prize at the pub for the best toast of the night.
He went home and told his wife, Mary,"I won the prize for the Best toast at the pub tonight."
She said, "Aye, did ye now. And what was your toast?"
John said, "Here's the toast to my spending the rest of me life,sitting in church beside me wife."
"Oh, that is very nice indeed, John!" Mary said.
The next day, Mary ran into one of John's drinking buddies onthe street corner.
The man chuckled leeringly and said, "You know, John won theprize the other night at the pub with a toast about you, Mary."
She said, "Aye, he told me, and I was a bit surprised myself.You know, he's only been there twice in the last four years.
Once he fell asleep, and the other time I had to pull him bythe ears to make him come."

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bike Course

For those of you are interested, Simon has had nothing to do today and as such has detailed his thoughts on the new bike course for IMMY.
He is also selling some rather nice looking brand new trisuits. Why? I have no idea. Did they not fit??

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Final Big Push!

I got the long anticipated email from Coach Vinnie detailing my taper last night. It was a bit like Christmas, you wait and wait and wait only to find it's not really what you wanted! Anyway, after I had regained consciousness from the shock I studied it for the rest of the evening and then had a pretty sleepless night. Awaking halfway through with a very rumbley tummy I popped to the kitchen for a snack of sunflower seeds (I am a bird after all) and then proceeded to go over the taper - again.

We all know I was wrong thinking last weekend was the final BIG weekend. I pretty much knew it wasn't but was secretly hoping and praying. So this week for me is exactly the same as last which is the same as the week before that etc etc. So this is it, it is now the Last Big Push as we get ready for battle in IM and there is no cunning plan - a la Baldrick that will make it any easier.

I have come this far, so I am not about to ignore the taper and do my own thing. It is the first time I have raised an eyebrow, and a question, but I assure you, it will be followed to a T.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Just 1 Bloody More

Darn. I lied. Looks like I am off to PD again this weekend and I ain't driving! Another heavy weekend is on the cards and for those who are not enjoying the luxury of the word taper, you are welcome to join. I promise to try and stay awake and upright this week and even throw in some conversation, but I cannot guarantee it will be fluent :) Check the link for usual details!

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Bottle of Wine

(Courtesy of Dave Spence)
For all of us who are married, were married, wish you were married, or wish you weren't married, this is something to smile about the next time you see a bottle of wine:
Sally was driving home from one of her business trips in Northern Arizona when she saw an elderly Navajo woman walking on the side of the road. As the trip was a long and quiet one, she stopped the car and asked the Navajo woman if she would like a ride. With a silent nod of thanks, the woman got into the car.
Resuming the journey, Sally tried in vain to make a bit of small talk with the Navajo woman. The old woman just sat silently, looking intently at everything she saw, studying every little detail, until she noticed a brown bag on the seat next to Sally.. 'What in bag?' asked the old woman. Sally looked down at the brown bag and said, 'It's a bottle of wine. I got it for my husband.' The Navajo woman was silent for another moment or two. Then speaking with the quiet wisdom of an elder, she said: 'Good trade....'

Ironguides Journal WK18

It’s a long one this week, so get a cup of coffee ready :)
There have been some rough days in the past 18weeks and a lot has been learnt about what can be endured if you can keep battling through. Absolutely on my last legs, you could say Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall. The final limits of which I can push has been tested to the max and Week 18 was pretty much a haze of training. I say haze, because at times the desire to close my eyes and sleep wherever I have been was a struggle. I have never actually outlined my training week so what you read here is what I have been doing day in day out. This is how it went:
Monday swim: A swim I enjoy with paddles and pull buoy and with no swimming for 4days I usually post a strong session. This wasn’t too bad but getting out of bed is becoming really tough.
Monday turbo: 90minutes of hell. Randy joins me for 61minutes of his ‘sermon’ and today Carmen also posted a turbo session at TBB. I had had a bad day at work and took it out on the trainer. As soon as I started I knew I was in trouble. Feeling nauseas and having trouble staying awake and upright I consumed 2 x 100Plus and 2 bottles of water in the session – unheard of for me, but it worked and the result was solid.
Tuesday Swim: The past 2 Tuesdays have been nasty. Anticipating a bad one it was a bit better than the past two weeks. Maybe the run later would be ok?
Tuesday Run: On the treadmill for 92minutes. Despite my fatigue an any given day I have been able to BLAST these sessions. It’s the only time I know how far I am going and have week by week been pushing the limits while making sure my breathing is kept in check. I don’t pay attention to the legs; they hurt all the time so discomfort in the body is not a good yardstick by which to measure my effort, again, fantastic session and quicker still.
Wednesday Brick: The past few rides have not been easy and I have had to basically focus on volume. After the treadmill run of the night before, Wednesday morning (or night, if you think about getting up at 4am) is hard, as it is for everyone who makes the effort. So how surprised was I to be able to crank up the gears and push the ride. Solid effort, on the return I was wondering how much I would be able to give the run though.
Brick Run: The 60minutes on hills doing my usual circuit felt amazingly very comfortable with approx 5min k splits. Now I am really starting to wonder when it will fall apart.
Wednesday coached Swim: Arrived at swimming VERY buggared. I knew it was pointless to do the drills with the group as even with the wettie I felt I was sinking. Legs in excruciating pain and I just wanted to sleep. After the warm up I told the coach I need to swim alone, someone calling out times and telling me to sprint was not going to help. I just swam up and down, up and down. On some of the ends I closed my eyes and rested. Other times I put 100m in before a break. I was given technique instruction and at 36minutes I started thinking about getting out. After that it was a matter of let’s just try to get to 40minutes, then 45minutes. And then one hour. And then when it got really bad, one more length, this is how it played out until even in the wettie I was getting cold. I lasted 1hr 20min.
Thursday morning swim: Back in the pool at home for my last swim of the week. This is a long IM swim of 200m splits with 15sec breaks to help maintain form. Before I even got in the water I had a HUGE struggle just getting out of bed. In the pool I accepted it would be slow and the words HOW just kept going through my head. I was falling asleep while stroking. The urge to close my eyes was immense, they were so heavy and I found them closing mid swim. On the 15sec breaks my head was gone eyes closed and I just stood holding the side to stay upright. I would then have a chat with myself – again saying that word – ‘HOW’ and I then found myself pushing off and doing one more. I lasted 62minutes – which was a miracle.
Thursday run: In dire need of motivation to get out the house and do the 50minutes I found out Sam and Carmen were running at the park and asked if I could join. Having posted an email to Coach Vinnie detailing my sleep swimming I was actually secretly hoping for a reprieve. It never came. Sam said the run would be slow. I said that is all I can muster. They dropped my very quickly. When he turned round I held up my arms and said (with a smile I might add) this is as good as it gets! Amazingly the body started working on the turn. Not quick but I somehow found a groove.
Friday turbo: 105minutes of fun, fun, fun. Still no reprieve. This was really tough, again I don’t want to sound like a broken record but I don’t know how I actually did this.
Friday massage: Ahhhh, this was easy.
Saturday ride/run: A long fast windy 206k. I was in trouble driving the car to BK. Heavy eyes, again the urge to close them was very hard to resist. My mood was not great (I believe I left my sunny personality in bed), but not wanting to inflict it on anyone I just kept to myself and stayed quiet. The first half of the ride was hell on earth and it was probably only the act of having to concentrate on pedalling that kept me from falling asleep. When I got off, I was nearly falling over and putting sentences’ together and remembering things – well I lost that capacity a long time ago (some may argue I have never had that ability!). One may think I was bonking – but at no time was this the problem. Food, drink and needing to ‘spend a penny’ so far have never been an issue, this was all about getting my mind to stay alert and get my body do something very strenuous when there was an overwhelming desire to give in and sleep. You see the body felt strong; today it was the mind that needed to be kick started.
After breakfast and the pure sweet condensed milk elixir of kopi x 2 and milo I found some reserves and pretty much blasted home. Well I thought it was a solid effort, maybe blast is the wrong adjective! The run too was a solid effort, now rather than thinking “How am I going to do this?” I was thinking “How did I do that?”
Sunday run: The end to a long week. I started later than normal to get extra rest. Going out was nasty but on the turn Hayley joined me and together she helped me post a pretty solid run that was just shy of 30k in 2hr 40minutes. I was VERY surprised, but too tired to get happy about it. Basically it was in the bag.
So now I have one more week before the taper. One last long ride on Saturday? I think so. I hope not. One more long run on Sunday? Maybe. I really hope not. In the hands of Coach Vinnie, when he reads this will he think, yeah let’s start the taper now she needs it. Of course he won’t, because it ain’t in the plan! And let’s remember, it’s just fatigue and apparently I am supposed to be walking round like an extra from Thriller. I probably look as bad as one of them too!
What have I learnt this week, because as always, there is always a lesson to be learnt. It is this:
Human Beings have many reserves, you may need to dig very deeply to find them but they are there. Don’t get hooked up on time when you feel tired, instead remember that every day YOU ARE GETTING STRONGER.
“When I think it is impossible to keep going I know my body will carry me forward. When my body is fighting pain and wants to stop and rest, I know my mind will refuse to give in.”

Friday, February 6, 2009

Wake UP!

Yesterday was a HUGE struggle to roll out of bed. Getting up is no longer an option, much easier to roll, swing legs over the edge and try and sit up. To do this safely and to prevent injury it is always a good thing to make sure your eyes are open. Mine kept closing yesterday, all day. Not even copious amounts of coffee saved me.
So here I am again. It's a little after 7am, the turbo is set up in front of the TV waiting for my tired butt to get on and start spinning for a little over 90minutes. I can't wait, joy, eager, excited, loving it, highly motivated - all LIES.
For once I would just like to have everything functioning properly in the morning, starting with being WIDE awake!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Star Metro Section TODAY

Triathletes beef up for Langkawi Ironman
ALTHOUGH the Team Tri-Hard triathletes have set different individual targets for the upcoming Langkawi Ironman on Feb 28, they share the same ultimate aspiration to cross the finishing line of the gruelling race comprising 3.8km swim, 180km cycle and 42km run.

Ready for the challenge: (From left) Ong, Leong, Pritchard, Randy, Bernard and Bishop all set to cross the finishing line at the upcoming Langkawi Ironman.

And last year’s World Ironman Championships qualifier Carmen Leong is already feeling the heat to defend her status as the national number one in the women’s section.
The 39-year-old nurse also came in third for the 35-39 years category with a time of 12’39:09 in her debut at the meet in Langkawi last season.
For her upcoming assignment, Leong will be featuring in the 40-44 years section and is aiming to clock 12’15.
Leong admitted that it is going to be tough to stay ahead as the best Malaysian woman in the field. “The competition is going to be tougher because several contenders will be fighting for the top spot.
“My training partner (Ong Siok Bee) has improved tremendously and has been narrowing the gap. I am not sure about the current form of the other competitors. But it is going to be an interesting race.

Staying ahead: Leong (right) and Pritchard working out on the trainer.

“I am getting faster on the cycling leg with the right and consistent approach in training. I am expecting to finish the marathon distance run in 4’30 because that is my true potential. I will have another crack at qualifying for the world meet at Kona in Hawaii again,” she added.
Ong registered 14’02 in her first appearance at the meet last year.
However, the 37-year-old finance manager is modest about her aim.
“I had a good outing and enjoyed the experience last year. Initially, I had the fear of taking the plunge in the open sea.
“I knew that I was going to complete the race when I came out from the water in 1’54 before the cutoff time of 2’20.
“The first leg was a real test because my race would have ended prematurely if I had come in after that. My preparation thus far has been good and I have been clocking the mileage in cycling and running with the group. But I am not spending enough time to improve on my swimming. I will be delighted to finish the race below 14 hours this year,” Ong added.
In contrast, Englishwoman Emma Bishop is taking a more serious approach in preparing for the race. A victory in the 30-34 years section will be the cherry on the cake for the 34-year-old manager, who is setting her sights on qualifying for the World Championships.
Last year, Bishop settled for the third spot in her age-group with a 12’59:15 effort in her first attempt at Langkawi Ironman.
“It has been my goal for the past one year to secure a slot for the world meet. And I have been working towards that direction. I am not sure about the strength of the foreign competitors in the category,” said Bishop, who is competing under Team TBB (The Bike Boutique) banner.
Bishop has also taken a pay cut from her work to register up to 26 hours a week in training with the assistance of Brazilian Vinnie Santana, who is based in Bangkok, Thailand, through the website.
“On certain days, my body is so sore and I just have to drag myself out to follow the programme. I have faith in the 22-week training routine and the tough regime has given me a huge boost.
“After that, it is up to me to handle the pressure and go out there to give my best on race day,” said Bishop, adding that she hopes to finish the race in 11’30.
Among the recreational competitors from the Team Tri-Hard are Welshman Sam Pritchard, Englishman Denis Oakley and local duo of Randy Tan and Bernard Tan.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Schools OUT

As a kid I loved Snow Days. It meant more often than not, no school which meant tobogganing and snowball fights. Back then schools were closed rightly so because the buildings were so old, decrepit and run down that the slightest bit of harsh weather in the form of snow and ice resulted in no heating. So us kiddies couldn't go to school because it was too cold. Boo Hoo. Although we were not hardy enough to continue our education in icy cold classrooms we were however hardy enough (even me, back then) to go outside and freeze our butts off playing, only going home for hot chocolate and McVities chocolate biscuits (ok, I made that up). Hot ribena and custard creams I think my mum had on hand.
So, leap forward 20 + years (ooo, has it been that long?) and they close the schools now not because they are old and decrepit but because, wait for it. It could be dangerous. Someone might slip over, graze their knee and lump the school board with a solicitors letter for a dangerous playground!
Dear oh dear, gotta love it. Gotta love this cartoon too!


I had a nice chat with my beloved brother the other afternoon (morning for him). He was just about to leave for work on his mountain bike (the road bike is still on EBAY). Fresh snow on the ground it has been many years since I played in the white stuff. Looks nice but unless someone devises a hot water bottle suit I am quite happy training in the tropics. ARD as nails is my Bruv (he likes to think so anyway -haha). He and Nik live in the gorgeous New Forest where country lanes, wild ponies and forests and pubs are EVERYWHERE. It truly is a beautiful place in the UK to live if you have to live there. Trouble is, don't look like the snow plough or gritters come down to that neck of the woods!

A Word Too Strong

Yesterday I said I am hating training, blah, blah, blah. I can't say I am enjoying it if compared to an afternoon of doing sod all but stuffing ones face with Godiva but HATE was the wrong word to use.
When I head out the door I honestly never know what I am going to be able to do. It's been this way for a good few weeks now. How I will feel, how far I can go before I want to cry, give up or faint, I never know. But the one thing I DO know is that I NEVER give up so it really doesn't matter how I feel.
I keep surprising myself, very near the end of training I can smell that taper and by George (yes that is on purpose) it smells Damn good!
BUT, and with Emma there is always a but or BUTT - Oh purlesese somebody, help me!
OK. The BUT. Patience is still low, anger is still high, nerves are not great - check my finger tips, all of these things combined mean I could still go off: BEWARE! The bunny boiler has spoken!
P.S: To the person in the car this morning around 8:45am who yelled out "Go Emma!" as I was putting the finishing touches to a strong brick run this morning. No clue who you were but your yell brought a smile to my face, warmed my soul and enabled me to go just that little bit faster! THANK YOU.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

You Looking at ME?

Arrrrgh! I am not happy. Hating getting out of bed and training. I am still doing it (no question of ever not) and will be putting in the torturous treadmill session in a short while.
A word of warning: Emma's patience is very low her anger very high so beware!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Ironguides Journal WK17

119days down, 26 to go. Oh yes I am counting the days now. The end is in sight but not before more twists and turns. No changes, but twists and turns as in one day your feeling Top of the World, the next BANG. You are the unfortunate Wile E Coyote who keeps getting foiled by the Road Runner ending up burnt, frazzled and generally buggared.
But like Wile E Coyote who has been knocked down more times than you can count, he may be a bit dizzy but always gets back up to have another crack at catching his nemesis. So this week, while it all started out hunky dory on Monday with the swim as per usual, the elation was short lived, VERY short-lived.
I spent this week trying to rest as much as humanly possible. It was very boring but absolutely necessary as once any training was completed I was good for erm...nothing but sitting on my couch watching/sleeping with the tennis on whilst keeping in touch with the world via the laptop. Coco my cat, I don’t think she knew what had happened. Never have I stayed at home for so long and she soon grew tired of annoying me and me of her, and so we spent many afternoons glaring at each other from one end of the sofa. I kid you not, I swear she thinks she is human, and she definitely thinks she is more important than me but than me but that’s cats all over isn’t it?
Waffle, waffle, waffle...interesting week eh?
Tuesday morning swim was the usual tanker effort followed by my treadmill run that I seem to be able to blast. Changing treadmills and wringing my socks and shoes out halfway through the cleaner ended up following me around with the mop! Undeterred I carried on, – great session, physically and mentally. Spending 92minutes on a treadmill is great focus training and ensures you keep a good solid form – I highly recommend it.
OK, Wednesday I did a change of morning session and avoided the group ride doing my own thing with my usual brick. It made a change and was pretty solid, but those Wednesday mornings totally screw me up, and that is where Wile E Coyote Emma started getting blown up. The coached swim in the evening was substituted for a solo swim at the new pool around the corner from me. I wanted an early night and as much rest as possible but after the morning session it was a struggle to move. Knowing I had to go swim I prised myself out the chair and drove over for a long swim session in the rain in the late afternoon.
Thursday morning was the first morning since October where I really thought I could not do anything. I stood taking a long hard look at myself in the mirror whilst asking myself aloud “what are you doing” and “how am I going to swim this morning?” Yeah well, same ol’ same ol’, I did the swim. Worst ever since swim since training begun, bad enough for me to pen a mail to Ironguides Coach Vinnie for some much needed support.
It seems while I don’t like to be a pest bothering him every 5minutes, he wants to know how I am doing a little more often especially over the next 2weeks. That’s good to know. And while everything I am asking I basically know the answers to, EVERYONE needs positive confirmation that what they are doing, feeling and experiencing is normal. That is the huge plus especially at this stage of the game by having Coach Vinnie in the internet wings. If he perhaps wasn’t there at my disposal, I don’t think I would have given up or missed days, but there would be some self doubt, and that is the last thing I want to start clouding my vision.
The big weekend rolled round with the final ride to PD. I hope and pray each week that I can just get there and back and put in the run. Lucky with the weather it was cloudy and not too scorching and surprised myself with my quickest PD yet for an honest ride, meaning no drafting. Still can’t believe it and do not want to get ahead of myself so will log it as a fluke.
Back down to reality with a bump on Sunday morning, that run is tough mentally and physically. But once it’s done the sense of accomplishment of another full 26 hour training week in the bag is very satisfying.
It all starts again tomorrow, just 14days of REAL hard work left. OR I could look at it as: 8swims, 8bikes and 10runs OR 52hours. Whichever way you break it down it is not a lot and after tomorrow morning it will just be 7/8/10!

Happy Sunday

Sunday, the dedicated day to rest B.R (Before I started Running). I used to get up at normal civil times and go about a lazy day, perhaps throw in a game of squash, swimming, sunbathing, eating out. Yes those were the days, long, long ago, B.R. A little over four years ago I started running and became a social runner with the aim to just be able to keep up with my newly found running buddies who would effortlessly do the Hartamas loop whilst chatting non-stop!
Encouraged, although I prefer the term, coerced, to start running on Sunday mornings, 21K seemed an insurmountable challenge. Run 21k on a Sunday morning? And worse still get up at 5:15am to do it!! Buggar that for a game of soldiers. And so the weeks and months went by until one day I turned up. I can’t say I fell in love with putting one foot in front of the other at a pace slightly faster than my regular walk, enjoyable. I would cough and splutter my way around the hills and inevitably get dropped from the group before we ever reached Duta.
Three Christmas’s ago I ran on Christmas Day. I had not run 21k for a about 6months but thought what the heck. I walked up that nasty hill (I know there are too many to count) but you know the one, coming back past Bukit Tunku, up that incline! I remember getting home that day looking forward to a Christmas morning cook up only to have my hot bath (BIG mistake) and faint!
Since that day I have regularly run on Sundays. Persevering, through a lot of sweat and coughing and with the help of my supremely more gifted and very patient running buddies, Sunday became a regular fixture in the week. Miss it and huge, I mean HUGE guilt complexes would come to haunt. Brunch was also a regular fixture, Sunday became not a total day of rest but it became one I looked forward to, it had meaning and breakfast tastes soooo much better when you have ran half a marathon (not many people can atest to that each week), and have you ever seen the look on their faces when they learn this fact - dumbstruck wonder - very COOL!
Well, nothing stays the same forever. Things change. I still do my Sunday run, although these days while in heavy triathlon training mode, there is not a lot I like about my Sunday run. As training nears the final couple of weeks, just turning up and doing the time, (2hrs:40mins) is as much as I can do. I leave my ego in bed and if I can stay with the group, great. If I can’t so be it – I know they are there and that is all I have ever needed to carry on and keep moving forward.
Once that run is in the bag I know I have the rest of the day at leisure. No more training until 7:30am Monday. It may not seem long, but it is bliss. It feels like a day and almost is. Most weekends these days a few of us gather at a well known coffee shop for caffeine fixes and breakfast. It’s not a fixed agenda but has almost become a regular hangout. With our tired legs we relax, chat and chow, it is simply the best way to start/continue the day – with likeminded friends.
Today we finished up breakfast and went for a massage. Spontaneous, absolutely, but I know I am not the only walking like John Wayne, and so S.Sam, Kona Carmen and RHBee really did not need much convincing!
I am now waiting for the Federer/Nadel tennis match to start. I have absolutely nothing else to do today and I LOVE that. In fact, once that run is finished, I LOVE SUNDAYS!