Monday, June 28, 2010

Kind Deeds Deserve lots of Home Baked Goodies

So George and I have been using a 23/12 cassette for the past 10days. My legs are not keen on high cadence and out on the road  on last weeks Saturday ride the changing was smoother after months of putting up with the gears jumping, slipping and making noise. The only problem is I have never used a 23/12. I didn't realize what a difference 23/11 makes and also I guess didn't realize how much I use that gearing. Losing valuable speed down hill and on the flats I needed to find a 23/11 and we were out of stock :(
Bang on the dot at 6:30pm today, one half of my good kind sponsors walked in the store with a shiny brand new 23/11. I am (for a change) lost for words at the kindness of these two people and as I mentioned earlier to him I will say thank you the only way I know how, with baking. So you can expect delivery each Sunday at Bukit Aman of freshly baked goodies. 
This past Saturdays ride was a easy spin so the smaller cassette did not matter. In fact I did not leave home until 9:30am as I was doing a back to front triathlon! I rode the duke and stopped at not the nicest place for a photo moment but it does offer up once of the coolest views of the city from afar. And it was such a gorgeous day. usually its pitch black when I pass by on Wednesdays.
This Saturday George and I will be kitted out with our new smooth cassette. I am looking forward to speeding along and getting stronger. I have 15weeks of training to go. And two more weeks of this light stuff, better enjoy while it lasts!!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Weekend Wittering’s

Finally, I have coffee coursing through my veins. I had a sore run this morning. Sore because I wore a shirt I have not worn in a long time. 45minutes in I knew I was going to pay the price for wearing it but I preferred to be squealing like a little girl (oh wait I am a little girl) in the shower afterwards rather than strip off mid run and scare off every other runner on the road this morning with my white – one ab. Oh ok its not that bad…but if the day comes where you see me running stripped off it will be with a 6-pack. So that isn’t ever going to happen is it!
Not a bad run. Never know how far I run but if my fast twitch muscles are talking to me I know that I have tried. Also another gage is how easily I can extract myself from the car after I have driven home! Oh and while we are on the subject one more telling factor is the shoes. This morning I could actually shake my leg and the water would come out my shoes – and we are talking sweat people!!
So run in the bag I needed to do something I really do not like to do on the only day I have that post run can be looked upon as a rest day. I needed to brave a shopping mall. I needed to buy some kit. Sport bras. You know just in case there does come a day when I do strip off I need to make sure I am wearing something under there, no matter how small an area it covers!
So while I would have liked to sit on the sofa coffee in hand and snooze, I had breakfast and headed back out the door.
Now if you have to go to the mall on the weekend. Do it EARLY before the rabble gets there for their free air-conditioning, window-shopping and eating.
I decided no coffee until the chore was done and in the bag. That would get me moving and give motivation to the cause. Thankfully it didn’t take too long and I am now positioned in a quiet coffee bar away from the maddening crowds with another large Americano due very shortly.
Apparently I am supposed to be in Bali doing the triathlon. Well that was news to me? But I had an email yesterday saying some people were asking where I was? This person didn’t know quite how to respond so asked me “why the hell are you not here. Get your butt over here and kick butt”.
Ahem. I responded ever so politely. There is the little matter, little being the operative word here that in my phrase book we all know that an Olympic Distance to me means Oh Dear. So as tempting as it is to pop over to Bali and have a party, AND despite the fact that in the past couple of weeks there has been an improvement of sorts in my swim I still do not swim quick enough to warrant the trip. It’s a bummer really; a lot of friends from all over have gone to the race. I hope they had an awesome time this morning. But if there was one thing that would bite it is the transition from the swim exit to the bikes. 700 metres over sand!! Yes that’s what I said. That’s almost a kilometre. Over sand. My gosh, PD is a tough enough transition. You come out the water and I find myself sprinting and trying to breath all at once but 700metres. Hey, maybe I would have had a chance after all!!
So briefly back to the swim. I met this French lady at the pool a couple of weeks ago. She swims a couple of times a week with her husband and we usually bump into one another in the changing room NOT the pool, I can swim in a straight line in the pool. Lovely things those blue lines :)
I saw her on Friday morning after our swim. We exchanged the usual morning pleasantries and then she said something that made me think. And then made me quietly smile. My arms hurt, they always hurt. On the bike they hurt in the pool they are lactic until about 10minutes in.
“You have got a lot quicker,” she said.
(Me) “I have?”
“Yes, I said to my husband that you are going so much quicker now than two weeks ago,” she said.
(Me) “I am?”
I am not going to say anymore. I am just going to keep hurrying slowly. I now have to tape my left wrist before swimming because the paddle has started to cut me due to the fact I only swim with paddles and all the other stuff including donut aka towrope. I think the paddle is cutting because I am maybe starting to do something right? Well that’s what I am telling myself.
Yesterday I carved up some kids in the pool. There was a day when any kids in my way would be excuse enough for me to get out and skip the session. Not any more. That is MY POOL. YOU get out the way. You can see me. I cannot see you. So if I hit you, your fault. Sorry but that’s the way it is.
So far so good, it is like a constant parting of the waves and they do move out the way when I come through. Yesterday however BANG. Now the thing I have found out and have been thinking about whilst swimming is what happens if something happens mid swim before I reach the end?
Silly question you may think. BUT. When fitted with paddles, pool buoy and donut if you want to stand up in the pool you cannot. Not without having something to grab hold of. Yesterday it was the poor kid I crashed into!! I guess if I do get in trouble I can just do an impression of a whale and roll onto my back! 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Total Blog Lapse

Just been reading Denis's blog. Love the new look he has implemented. Also I am impressed that he is able to blog every day. I used to do that, sometimes more than once a day. Now I realize it is just over a week since my last blog - YIKES. Am I getting lazy? No, not really, it's just sadly my blog comes last on the list these days.
I still have plenty of time to think about what I want to blog because I am still training - and that is when I do my best blog storming. No matter how busy things get. Training is something that will ALWAYS be executed. Sometimes I have to not be so anal in order to get it done, but for the most part I feel I am balancing things pretty well at the moment. That could all go bottoms up once the training moves up to the next level, but I think. No, I KNOW it will be all right.
I am not really thinking of Kona. Ok, correction. Here is something that I was thinking about when hurting myself running up the stairs this morning for the 14th time. For some reason my legs and lungs refused to work in harmony. Meaning when the legs were lactic and I was on the verge of falling up the stairs my lungs were fine and dandy. Get towards the top and the legs started working while the lungs were just SCREAMING STOOOP! And I did. Popped in the lift, down to the ground floor and repeat X 14.
I am persevering with my stair runs despite the fact my hip is nearly as good as new. But I am not crazy enough to do them more than once a week. Keep a good balance I am told and so I just make sure to get one stair session in a week. It helps, I really think it does. While I am no where near the pace I was beginning to discover on the run last year due to the injury I am looking forward to the half marathon next weekend. It will be a nice little test of sorts. Especially as I will be riding one hour before running, Apparently for non-runners like myself I will run quicker off a warm up bike rather than a warm up run...Hmmm, we shall see :)
Anyway, what was I thinking of. Oh yup. When I was training for IM Malaysia I used the visualization technique A LOT. It gave me motivation when I was in that dark tunnel of pain and pity. I would imagine seeing myself cross the line in first place, it was so clear it was almost real. I used that a lot in my training. So now I move to Kona. No where near training for it, I am not even thinking about that yet. But the problem with not having been there or done that before is that I have no clue what to expect. I don't know what the finish line will be like. I have seen the pictures, we all have and I think I can see myself riding on the Queen K. But as for crossing the line I do not have a clear a picture of what that will be like. Perhaps I should ask Kona Carmen, I am sure she can enlighten me :)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Didn't Lose My Bottle

I have lost count of how many bottles I have lost from my rear cage. Broken countless aluminum cages, I know titanium is better but not easily available. So I switched to a carbon one that has a pretty good fit. It doesn't break but I think I have lost 3bottles from going over a bump and they just 'popped' out. On most instances when this has happened I have had to let it go as stopping would have been too dangerous.
I am not fussed about losing bottles, but I am fussed about losing liquid that I need to complete my rides. Also since I ride 95% of the time in aero, reaching behind me for the bottle I have found not to be an easy thing. Thats fine in training but when riding a long distance in a race, reaching behind and doing unnecessary movement is not something I want to risk. Hmm, maybe my arms are too short? So when racing I always forget about the rear cage, pop the aero bottle on the front and use one on the down-tube. This allows me to stay aero and drink without too much movement.
But the aero bottle is noisy. It splashes. Any little bump and you think that its going to fall. Hence the reason I do not use it for training - too annoying. So I tried something new yesterday on my ride. My wet ride, I hasten to add. So the liquid really wasn't  required much. I have seen a lot of the pro's experimenting with this idea and they swear by it preferring it's convenience over the aero bottle. It is an aero bar bottle holder fashioned by using a regular cage tied to the bars using lots of cable ties. After some adjusting I had a pretty good secure fit on Friday and was all set for my Saturday ride.
It works! I didn't lose the bottle, despite the road out to Ulu Yam being very VERY bumpy in places. Now with a little extra modifying you could probably fix a straw from the bottle - a la aero bottle style. But in races - the main attraction here, especially in a long race - is I can throw this bottle and slot in the new one. Saves filling up my aero bottle and while I cannot sip while I ride the bottle is still there in my face telling me to drink!
First real test will be the Philippines I guess, but until then it will get some solid  Malaysian road testing  :)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Price of Taking Part

It has been a while since I blogged, bizarre as I am constantly online every day. But that IS my work. Keeping an eye on what is happening in the world of triathlon and teamTBB. Coming up with stories and ideas has never been a problem for my overactive brain or perhaps we should say imagination, so I have a long list of ideas and stories/features I want to write about for the website that keeps getting longer not shorter.
Because of this my own blog has been feeling a little left out. Anyway, I love FB the way you can see, virtually hear and read what your ‘friends’ are doing and how they are feeling. And even though I don’t get the chance to blog as much I can still post the occasional FB status. I have always been a firm advocate of a NO SWEARING policy on FB or on the Blog. Basically anywhere where people may get the wrong idea or you may offend someone by a use of inappropriate language is for me a no-no.
This is just how I personally feel. Call me a hypocrite if you like as people who know me know I swear like a trooper. But that is in the presence of those that know what I am like. They can take it with a pinch of salt. I do not want people to start judging me just because I let myself have an emotional 5minutes on FB and go loopy. So I try to keep my emotions in touch when on virtual airwaves.
I am not having a bash at those that do like to vent. Heck even my brother earlier this week launched into a foul-mouthed tirade of abuse at his employer. That’s his choice. I know what he is like - a bit of a hot head like me. Someone else however may think crikey…wouldn’t like to meet him in a dark ally.
Anyway what is all this leading to? As always I am wittering on without getting to the point! The subject, The Price of Taking Part implies something to do with sport and you would be correct in thinking this.
Just this week I have had emails and messages from a local riding clubs about the Century Ride. I won’t be taking part because I choose not to. But apparently the fee has increase from RM90 last year to RM100 this year and they have been inundated with complaints. Even with my terrible mathematical brain that’s a little over 10%. On paper 10% is pretty steep. But lets remember it only started at RM90 not RM200. And apparently you get a lot for your money, a great jersey for starters. Isn’t that worth the RM100 alone? And then there is the privilege of joining a race with all your friends, having support, safety cars, nutrition etc. Is RM100 so much?
Lets move on to Mr Chan and triathlon Malaysia. Now every man and his dog are complaining about not enough local triathlon races and it being too expensive to go overseas. IM Malaysia is off the books, is Putrajaya on/off – who knows? And so Port Dickson registration has increased. I think by RM10. Again I ask you. What is the BIG deal? We all love to take part in Mr Chan’s races. I distinctly dislike the Olympic distance but if there is a race here that I can and am able to support whatever the cost I WILL ALWAYS SUPPORT IT.
Now don’t go sending me comments about Emma the expatriate, earn loads of money etc. Those that know, KNOW that this is NOT the case. I have always taken part in local ‘money’ races with the aim that if I come good and win something then I use that to pay for entry into another race. You will NOT find me Monday morning at the mall spending my hard earned winnings.
Finally, running races. I have yet to do any of these this year. I hope to do the Standard Chartered 21k – but have not yet registered. I am always late to sign up for these things because I never know what I am doing or where I will be. So while it costs a little more as I can never get the early bird that is my choice. I will not complain.
So why are people now complaining about the cost of local running races? The organisers that put these events together are WORKING. It’s their job and they need to make money. We have a choice and many of us make the decision to take part because it is fun to run a race with friends, get a t-shirt, and maybe win something. It makes you work harder. It gives you extra motivation when you sign up for a race.
So why complain? Malaysia, while not perfect in all her organisational skills is still the cheapest and one of the friendliest when it comes to participating in a race whether it is a swim, bike or run. It seems we may have lost IM and that is a huge HUGE shame. This means looking farther afield to take part in an international triathlon that for some is not financially possible. Now that is especially sad since the two years that I have been racing I have seen countless newbie’s enter the playground that I so love.
We can keep fingers crossed and hope for the best but you can also look further afield for your next BIG race perhaps. But whatever you decide please take a positive attitude and support the organisers that are here putting together races for you and I and charging what I deem to be a very honest fee.
You have a choice. You can choose to do your own triathlon, duathlon or run your own 42’s, 21’s, 12’s and 10’s OR you can choose to spend a little money and take part and support the local scene.
Be positive and be constructive, complaining over an extra RM10 that you would not think twice about putting towards your next sporting purchase, dinner, frappacino or movie just does not add up.
Okay, I am getting down off my high horse now, Thanks for reading :)