>Week 4 to IMWA: Lose Some, Gain Some

>Ever since I started triathlons in 2008, I have changed 3 bikes. First was a 2nd hand Wilier aluminium frame. Had a good intent to buy a cheaper bike because I just started out and wanted to find out whether I would continue with it. Then 3 months later, I bought a LOOK carbon road frame. Also 2nd hand. But realised that it was set up too big for me and had severe neck ache. Then decided to change to current Cervelo Soloist, with so called proper fitting. Why so called fitting? That story for another day. Anyway, that was 3 months later in the same year, thereabouts. Sometime in December 2008, I bought the 2009 model. And had been with me since then.

From then on, looking at the amount I had wasted changing bike frames, I decided that I should not stinge anymore and just get something that I like. And it was the same thing when I bought my car. Probably the same reason why I would not be changing cars in a while. Besides the insane soaring COE prices.

And as cyclists or triathletes, we know that changing tyres can be a pain in the butt. Especially when the tyres are brand new. They can be so stiff and tight that getting them out and in of the wheel would take a lot of energy and effort. With this in mind and that my A race is looming, I thought I should use the more seasoned tyres. Despite knowing that the soft side walls of the Pro3 had frayed a little as the tyre lever went round the rim during the change of tube, I had thought the tyres should be able to withstand my dragonfly touch on the pedal while pedaling. Besides, the tyres were not exactly that worn through. Probably 1500-2000km only? They looked quite ridable still. No point wasting money right?


Was up and about riding with Enrico at Coastal. Coach said to simulate ironman pace and nutrition, and work each other up and encourage each other as well. Everything went fine. Weather was great. Clouds covered the skies at 8am still. Light wind but seemed to be picking up. We were moving along cruising at about 31-35kph but averaged 30kph on the first loop. Body was warming up to the ride. And the inevitable happened.

45km mark, bang! I was hoping it came from the ego-too-big-for-their bikes roadies that overtook me. If not for the 200km plan, I am pretty sure I would have smoked them all. Hated the grins on their face thinking they had overtaken a disc wheel bearer. Hmm… I suppose I had my pride too. But I let them go nonetheless.

Back to the Big Bang. Front tyre was flat. And I just changed on Saturday after Friday’s flat. Enrico stopped at the top of the crest and I was about to change out the tube when I realised that the tyre had been ripped open. And that could have resulted in pinching the tube and burst it while under the duress of riding.

Tyre was old. It was soft. It was just waiting to happen. And fortunately, it happened today, which was NOT race day. I lost the day’s training and could have made it up by restarting again in the early afternoon. But that could have meant not spending almost the whole day with the family. Not withstanding the fact that I spent the whole day working on Saturday – which explained my rest day yesterday.

Coach agreed that I should forgo it and spend the time with the family. And that I did.

Got home, put on spanking new tyres both on the 808 front and the disc. Made a trip to the LBS to buy and replaced the “old” rim tape as well. I was not about to take any risks again. Might as well do everything and test out the equipment for the next 1 month and ensure that mechanically, the whole bike is fully functional.

Yes, penny wise, pound foolish clearly holds much water. Its a lesson that I had learnt and relearnt many times over. Sometimes, it is just so hard to know how much the dollar can be stretched. Definitely not worth it at all in a race that I had spent thousands to get to with the family for sure.

What did I gain? A nice breakfast with the family – I got home and they were still sleeping – and relaxing outing with them. No doubt, a session lost, but not all lost was in vain.

And as I told Coach, I will be ready for hard sessions right from tomorrow onwards. My body is full of energy from the loading on Saturday. The energy has to go or they will become fats really fast. Better dispense of them really fast or I will regret it. (Although I think a day of loading would not make that much a difference in weight gain.)


>Rain Aint Stopping Me This Fool

>Went on a 120km bike ride with 10km run today. Half way through the ride, could see the clouds building up. Why am I a fool? Because there were no shelters along Coastal. And just trees and loads of trees. What did we learn when we were young? When there is lightning, DO NOT stand under trees. And I was doing just that. Biking instead though. I was just praying that the lightning would just pass me over. Strange enough, no lightning where I was. Some bits of heavy drops of rain. Got me wet but I would live.

Was pushing quite hard. Even with headwind I was cutting in above 30kph. HR remained quite stable and this was good . Most of the time above 32kph while cruising and at some point with tailwind, the disc helped pushed up the speed to above 35. But it would be unlikely I would push for the HR today during the race. Maybe just slightly lower. No point trashing my legs before the run.

The best part was this. 300m from end point, I hit a front flat. And the ironman in me, got off the bike, took off the shoes and jogged to the car while pushing the bike along. All this done while it was still drizzling. The BBQ people must have thought that this guy (me) had gone bonkers. I think I deserve a prize…

The 10km run was a good ironman pace. It felt good and I think with proper nutrition I should not be too trashed. Did 1st km with pace of 5:43/km and the nxt 9km in 5:45/km. May have to slow it down a bit more in case I get too tired out for the 2nd half. After all, the real race starts from 28km. So my Coach told me…

And to confirm it, yes, the distance markers were off by 500m yesterday and the day before as well. Today I ran with GPS instead.

Tomorrow would be rest day. Got to go back to work. Had to convince my wife to let me ride long on Sunday instead. After all, the rest is drawing near. Would be having Enrico for company during the 200km ride. Stressful to ride with 10 time ironman finisher…

>Best Swim By Far

>Did a 4km swim today. At the 3.8km mark, the time was 1:10:33! And I wasnt even trashed that badly. Looks like the Monday swims and Coach’s swim sets all contributed to this. 4km was 1:14+!

I remember being envious of Matt’s 1:10 timing – which he said he could improve even – and now I have done it myself! Am very happy!

Did a 10km run just now at East Coast Park. I am not sure if its my footpod or the location. I seem to run very much faster. I think its the footpod problem coz I wasnt running that fast. So my pace for yesterday’s 6km run would probably be off too. And thanks to the footpod, made me happy for a day. So it would mean that I covered less than 10km today. Arghhh…

Yes this Polar footpod had been giving me so much problems with distance. Think I will have to run with the GPS module from now on instead. I suppose I will have to depend on experience to know what the cadence may be. Will have to be guess work…

But nonetheless, I am still happy with the swim time. This is probably the fastest I can get for this year. Maybe, just maybe, I can press it down further next year…

And also the bike time…

And also the run time…

>Raise The Bar For 2011

>Yesterday’s bricks was a good outing. 100km bike with 6km run. Surprised myself with an average of 5:17/km pace for the full 6km run. Hope it was not a footpod calibration but I think the distance was about right.

Although the year has yet to end, I am looking forward to new goals for 2011 races.  So will there be a off season for me after WA? I doubt it. It will be time to raise the bar for Aviva 70.3 which may be the 1st race for the new year. I will likely pass for Biathlon and focus on long distance running races and triathlons. No point doing so many races when I could probably put the time to training sessions instead. Also to reduce the amount of money spent on race fees. I think I have spent close to $2000 this year on registration alone. Not including overseas travelling costs. Fees have been increasing over the 2 years I started on triathlons. So have to be wise and choose the races carefully.

I was evaluating Norway just a few weeks ago. Planned to holiday with just my wife there for the Bergen ironman distance tri. This will be more affordable than a whole family holiday. But wife said that it would be too costly and not our lifestyle. So, it had to be shelfed again. Like I have been telling my friends,” Where is my money tree?”

I checked the old ironman Japan website and apparently they are planning for a race next year. I emailed them but no response despite them asking readers to email for more information. Needed to find out if it will be in June again. Otherwise it will be back to WA for 2012. Wife says I can only do 1 ironman in a year. I missed the 2 ironman this year and seems like she is quite firm about it. Darn! Anyway, the site mentioned to wait for news in November. I can only cross my fingers and hope for the best.

>Miraculous Sports Massage

>Nearing the race, I have my sports masseur come in more frequent. Yesterday’ session was the start of bi-weekly routine, to build up towards WA. For a period, I did wonder whether sports massage was truly beneficial? And if you had read Triathlete, there were some reservations about it as well.

But yesterday’s session was mind blowing. I had been feeling aching sore near the upper end of the quads. My masseur pressed on my hip flexor and the pain immediately disappeared! It was like a volcanic release of built up pressure. I was totally in awe.

So for its worth, sports massage may just be necessary to keep the body in tune and in shape. Well, at least for this time round. Perhaps it was coincidental that the symptom was related to the hip flexor. But since there is no sure way to know, sports massage will still be one of the solution to relaxing the muscles.


I had not realised that some of the blokes at Monday swim squad were more than a decade younger than myself and Julian. It was no wonder they were always zooming ahead of me. But that cant be used as an excuse for me. I learnt today that a 45 year old ironman triathlete, completed his Kona in 10:45 and a 36 year old did in 9:05 or so. And they were all age groupers. The only consolation I had was they had been in the game for 6 years. Maybe, just maybe I have a chance. In 6 years. Yeah… right.

Anyway, I missed the bike trainer session because I had the massage. Oh well. Cant pack everything into the little time I had.

Today I did an easy 12km run. Coach told me to keep it easy and not to blow myself up. I do have quite a long week coming up, starting from tomorrow. Did a very short negative split between the 2 halves, pace of 5:43/km and 5:39/km on the return. Although I must say that I did not feel that strong. Could be because I did not bring any hydration along with me. Fortunately there was no prescribed HR nor distance. Just complete it. And that was what I did.

>Week 5 To IMWA

>Rain had come and haze had gone. Where I was, the lightning and thunder were in abundance and threatening but very little rainfall. Still the haze had somehow lifted. So all was good to go on Sunday.

I was suppose to ride a short 50km in the morning but chose to have breakfast with my family instead. I was too tired to wake up early for another ride and just wanted to give my body and mind some rest. Intended to ride in the early afternoon, but felt sleepy so took a nap instead. Essentially, I was a bag of lazy bones.

But took off for a 3x8km run at about 1530. Cloudy skies, what more can I ask? Furthermore, it had just rained for an hour, an hour before I left the flat. Weather was really really cool. Such a nice weather, I could not possibly have asked for any more.

Started with a fat burning zone HR pace of 6:15/km. Walked 1km and did a 2nd 8km at 5:55/km pace. Walked 1km and went on a upper end of zone 3 HR. Probably average pace of about 5:30/km. Actually was going faster at 5:15/km before I forced myself to slow down so that the HR would not shoot up too high. Was quite confident I could have continued with that pace for a while more. Legs and stamina looked sharp. Seemed that the fatigue from the races 2 weeks ago had dissipated.

Its 5 more weeks before race week. I sure am getting the butterflies. The thought of having to be working out for more than 12 hours continuously just scares the living daylights out of me. Oh well, I have trained 10 months for this race, I should be fine. But whether the body and equipment will be fine on race day is another thing altogether.

>One For The Weekend

>Friday’s haze was not too bad. The little droplets of rain did a little relief to the condition that enveloped the island. Started out the run in the late evening after work and though the environment did look misty, the air did not smell as bad as on Thursday.

Did a 4x4km run with 500m walk in between. Greedy me ate 2 curry puffs just 2 hours before and paid for that moment of folly. It was tough running when the puffs wanted to find their way out of the stomach. Fortunately, they stayed right in. Paced 5:32/km, 5:38/km, 5:46/km and 5:23/km. HR was ironman pace. If only these were the actual ironman race pace…

This morning started on the 180km bike. Again I decided to hit out to Coastal flats. Did 7.5 loops before heading home. Getting there was 20km and back would be the same distance. Pretty disappointed in the speed despite not having very strong headwind. For 170km, my average speed was 30.8kph. The purpose for today’s ride was to sustain the HR and complete the whole sitting. If I were to be hit by Busselton’s winds, this average speed will definitely go even lower. Looks like I will have to manage my own expectations again.

I realised that my wetsuit has been in the cupboard since December 2009 IMWA. I think it is really time to take it out for a swim to see if there are any problems with it. The last thing I want is to buy a completely new one while in Australia.

Gotta find time to do a sea swim this coming week. Its going to be tough time getting into the suit all over again…