Thursday, February 23, 2006

Return to IM Langkawi - Down & Almost Out

Race Week : 20 February 2006 - 25 February 2006

My worst fear came thru - I fell sick at the crucial moment. Food poisoning (again) and had diarrhoea & fever. Was on MC on Monday & Tuesday and slept at home most of the time. The fever went away on Monday but the diarrhoea lasted until Wednesday morning. Packed my bike on Tuesday night and felt completely drained when I finished. Went for a short 20 minutes run in the neighbourhood on Wednesday night. Expected the worst but was relieved to find that I did not feel too bad. But it was just a short run and I couldn't really gauge the extent of the damage.

Thankfully, the illness did not rob me of my appetite - have been eating & drinking heavily since Wednesday. Feeling a little stronger now as I am writing this (Thursday night). Wanted to go out for another short run a moment ago but abandoned the plan due to rain. I guess there is nothing much I can do now except rest, get ready for Race Day and hope for the best.

This ought to be my final entry before Race Day. Will fly off to Langkawi tomorrow afternoon (Friday). I really hope I can pull this one off - have been dreaming about that finishing line for the past few months.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Return To IM Langkawi - Taper Week II

Taper Week II : 13 February 2006 - 19 February 2006, I am beginning to enjoy the taper. Have been eating heavily for the past few days. Mrs Chan commented that I lost too much weight and advised me to eat more until Race Day. Been drinking a lot of water too. Made sure I drank about 3 litres (2 big 100-plus bottles) of water at the office every day. Glad that it has been raining a lot in the past few days - the body doesn't feel so heaty. The challenge now is to make sure I don't get sick until Race Day.

Monday - skipped training and worked late at the office.

Tuesday - skipped the regular track session due to rain and traffic jam. Went to the gym at the office and ran on the treadmill for half an hour - EZ pace.

Wednesday - back at the pool, main sets were 8x100 and 1x800.

Thursday - back at the track, main sets were 1x2000 (7:51) and 1x1000 (3:42). Felt good and pushed a little harder than I really need to. Was quite pleased with the negative split in both sets - the 1k split in the 1x2000 was 4:00 and the 500m split in the 1x1000 was 1:53. But the total time for the 2k and 1k were way off PB of 7:32 and 3:31 respectively recorded in mid-2005. I guess my running had peaked in mid-2005 - could not log anything near those timings in the past few months.

Friday - back to the pool again, main set was 1x2000 (42:29). Seah (newcomer to the pool) logged the same time as I - he improved so fast. Soon, I think he will drop me.

Saturday - Rested and sent bike for service. Went back to my trusted bike shop in Taman Anggerik, Cheras.

Sunday - Rested.
IM training odometer todate (since November 2005) - Swim 95km, Bike 2,308km & Run 600km. Longest swim 1x4000, longest ride 196km & longest run 43km.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Return To IM Langkawi - Taper Week I

Taper Week I : 6 February 2006 - 12 February 2006, my favourite time during any training program. With all the hard work done, I got to spend more quality time with my TT. Training was back to the basic evening sessions only. Out went the additional morning runs at KLCC, bike intervals on the trainer and weight sessions.

The only harder training during the week were the 1x4000 in the pool on Friday, 10 February 2006 and the last long ride plus 7 km run at Putrajaya on Saturday, 11 February 2006.
And for a change, I rested on Sunday, 12, February 2006. Slept until 8.00 a.m., accompanied TT to her church in the late morning and watched the Le Tour de Langkawi on TV in the afternoon.

Friday's 1x4000 Swim - swam the 50m lenght of the pool (instead of the usual 25m width). The 1900m point did not seem forever to reach and was comfortable thru'out swim. But my timing was pathetic - 1:31:56 at the 3800 mark and 1:36:53 for the entire 4000m.

Saturday's Last Long Ride - Opted for a moderate 140km at Putrajaya comprising 2x53km loops plus 1x34km loop. Started with Swee, Azwar and Cecil. Cecil left us and rode all the way home to PJ hald way thru the 1st loop. Swee and Azwar continued with me in the 2nd loop but I was left to ride alone in the last 34km loop.

It was a pleasant ride, mainly due to the cloudy conditions and the company of friends. I spent 1/3rd of the time chatting with Azwar on the bike and worked only about 2/3rd of in the first 2 laps. My average speed at end of the 1st 2 laps was 27.2km/h. Worked harder in the last 34km loop and logged an average speed of 28.1km/h at the end of 140km.

After a quick transition, I went for a quick run at the Putra Rd Abt. Went 2 times around the 3.5km loop and logged a cool negative split of 18:30 (Ave HR 146) and 17:52 (Ave HR 155) or 36:23 for the entire 7km run. Must be the cloudy weather and the recent high bike volume, I felt light and comfortable in the run. Wore the new NB shoes again and did not have any problem with the left arch.

Fuel for the day - 3/4 PowerBar, a packet of PowerGel, 1500ml of 100-Plus and 500ml sky juice. The cold PowerBar Recovery drink at the end of session tasted great!!!

Ave HR 126/ HRZ Pts - 639
HR Zone Distribution : Z1 - 49%, Z2 - 28%, Z3 - 17%, Z4 - 6%

Friday, February 10, 2006

Kind Advice

Received this comment regarding my recent little adventure up Genting Highlands:-
“I love to ride and to run up to Casino, but listen to your body if you get that pull in the lower back. I used to get that pain above the Chin Swee temple and recently pulled my major back muscle so bad I've been totally out of sports for 3 weeks and it's only 3 weeks to Langkawi. See you there, but don't try too hard.”
I have been too obsessed with training that I have forgotten about such simple thing as listening to your body. Thank you very much for the timely advice. As Race Day is only 2 weeks away, I can’t afford an injury at this juncture.
I admire your courage of riding and running up that monster – hope to meet you at Langkawi – Cheers!!

Return To IM Langkawi - The Course

Extracted the following from IronmanLive regarding the forthcoming IM Langkawi:

“The safe and “doable” course for Ironman Langkawi takes competitors through local villages as well as the water front area of Kuah town in which the race is based.
The swim is a one-lap swim in Kuah Bay, starting and finishing alongside the giant eagle statue that dominates the Jetty Point port area. The bike course is three laps on a basically flat road with the transition to the run being held at Eagle Square. The run is over a four-lap course, which is flat and partly shaded. Because of the heat there will be aid stations every one-kilometer on the run.”
Phew!!! If I interpret the above correctly, I guess we won’t be missing the climb up Datai on the bike leg this time around. If you have been there before you would know what I am talking about. Sure, it is just a hill but climb it after riding >140 - 150km. And for most of us amateur triathletes, we would probably reach there on the second loop of the bike leg at around 1.00 -3.00 p.m. – climbing the Datai section with tired legs under the hot sun and not forgetting with another 42km to run thereafter - left me asking myself “Why on earth am I doing this??” when I was there back in 2004. That experience back in 2004 was the reason I incorporated some hill work into my training this time around.
The u-turn buoy in the one-lap swim will once again take me forever to reach. The four-lap run course (as opposed to the 3-lapper in 2004) will see heavier traffic, which in my humble opinion, will be good as we will be seeing more of each other during the marathon.

Return To IM Langkawi - Last Long Run

Sunday, 5 February 2006 – It was good to be back with Mr Chan and the gang. Menu for the day was to do a Hartamas plus 2 loops at the Lake Gardens (“LG”) (25km in total). I was quite tired at the start and secretly planned to drop the LG loops after Hartamas.
As usual, the elites (comprising Eugune, Richard, Don, Seow Wah, Goh & Toh) vanished before our eyes shortly after Bank Negara. I ran with the group that comprised Kevin, Seah and Chef Lee. I managed to keep up with them on the leg into Hartamas and logged a decent 51:08 split.
As we approached the petrol station at Hartamas, we had a glimpse into the battle among the elites upfront. Toh dropped everyone and was some 200m ahead of Goh and Richard. Toh looked strong and relaxed. He even said “Hi” and smiled to us (cool chap). Goh and Richard looked equally strong too and were almost ½ a km ahead of the other top guns. I missed the finishing but as per Azwar, Toh got back to LG first.
I started to feel the effects of yesterday’s long ride on the return leg. My group dropped me as we approached Hartamas Heights and I ran the remaining 7km+ all by myself. Gelled up after the Duta offices and felt slightly re-charged. I kept looking back in case Lee Chin would catch up on me (she has caught up on me several times in our recent long runs together & I had to push hard to stay ahead so that I won’t be seen losing out to this lady).
I was surprised with my split of 52:58 on the return leg – I thought I ran much slower than that. Opted to stop when I got to the LG playground and log a total time of 1:47:44 for this 20km plus run. Richard, who had finished the 2 LG loops earlier, was kind enough to invite me to run a cool down LG loop with him. With that, I covered about 23km that morning and was glad that the final phase of my training ended not too badly. I wore my new NB shoes again that morning and was relieved that the pain in the left arch did not recur.
Total Distance : 23km/ Total Time : 1:47:44 + (say) 0:15:00 for the cool down lap
Split Time :
Bkt Aman - Hartamas 51:08
Hartamas - Bkt Aman 52:58
Bkt Aman - LG 3:01
Cool Down Lap 15:00
Ave HR 147/ HRZ Pts 301
HR Zone Distribution Z1 - 5%, Z2 - 26%, Z3 - 56%, Z4 - 14%
Once again, both Mr and Mrs Chan were there providing timing, water and encouragement to us thru out the run. My dear friend Azwar was there too with his Zebra and a camera that morning. He was kind enough to let me curi cetak the following photos from his website.
Mr Chan

Seah, Me, Kevin and Chef Lee - shortly b4 I was dropped!!!

Don & I - post run
Azwar, Don & I - post run

Monday, February 06, 2006

Return To IM Langkawi - Riding With The Big Boys II

Saturday, 4 February 2006 - Rode with Don and Simon again. We started at 7.15 a.m. There were more hills today compared to the PD ride last Saturday. Cecil rode from his home and joined us at Phoenix Plaza. He was with us until the Peres Summit and turned back on his own. Some P2K riders were there too and they too turned back at Peres Summit.

We had a little race of our own up the Peres Climb (10km climb). Don and Simon shot off from base of the hill and I barely could keep them in sight. Half way up, we caught up with 2 P2K riders. Don attacked as he passed the P2K riders. Simon and the P2K riders responded and the race begun. I was some 50 meters behind and somehow managed to muster enough strenght to keep them in sight. Shortly after the little waterfall, I caught one of the P2K riders and dropped him with ease. The pace of the 3 front runners seemed to have slackened a little by then. I managed to catch them in the second last corner b4 the summit and pushed myself to the front. I attacked off the saddle too early at the last corner and fizzled out in the last 50 meters dash to the summit. But the effort was good enough to finish second behind the mighty Simon Cross. He responded to my attack and dropped the rest of us big time!!

We had a 45 minutes break at Klawang for a light meal. Then, we went on to cross 3 big climbs towards Lenggeng. The first was a 4km climb headed towards Jeram Toi. It was almost mid day by then, we had clear blue skies, a scorching sun, an open road BUT not a single tree over our heads for the slightest shade thru'out this climb. It was something like the section between Ulu Yam and Batu Dam. Don and Simon dropped me big time.

We re-grouped at the bottom of that hill and rode together until Lenggeng. The remainder of the 2 climbs were peanuts compared to the 4km climb - they were shorter and we had some trees to shelter us from the baking hot sun.

It was good to be back at familiar territory when we got to Lenggeng. There were plenty of rolling hills from Lenggeng onwards and I had a strong and fast ride until Semenyih (an approximately 20km stretch). Simon left us at Semenyih. Don and I took the longer way home via the Dam thru 18th mile Langat - we simply needed the mileage. There were 2 more big climbs in the last 10km of the ride between Suntex and my car near Phoenix Plaza.

Got back to my car at 3.30 p.m. and run around the neighbourhood for some 16 mins and covered about 3km. Survived the day on some noddles at Klawang, 1/4 Powerbar, a packet of PowerGel and plenty of sport drinks, 100-Plus and fresh coconut water.

Total Distance - 177 km/ total bike time - 6:45:30
Route : Phoenix - Suntex - 14th - 18th - Peres J - Peres Summit - Titi - Klawang - Jeram Toi - Lenggeng - Ulu Beranang - Broga - Semenyih - Nirwana - Tekala - Dam - Peres J - 18th - 14th - Suntex - Tmn Segar Perdana - Cheras Hartamas - Phoenix

HRZ Pts - 858/ Ave Speed - 26.2km/h
Don Khor, Simon Cross & Cecil at Powerman Malaysia 2005 -

Return To IM Langkawi - Doubled

Friday, 3 February 2006 - Slept until late morning and skipped my plan to ride at Sempah. Doubled in the evening instead - went to the tracks at KPSC for some speed work followed by an hour pool session with Don and gang.
Vincent was there at the tracks and we did 12 x 400 @ 3:00 as our main set. I made the mistake of trying to keep up with him in the first half of the set and sufferred towards the end - went slower and slower. Saw stars during the rest intervals in the last few reps.
I was late for the pool session and the gang were already doing their warm-up set when I got there. Felt tired and slow in the main set of 1x1500 with pull bouy and logged 30:41.

Return To IM Langkawi - Individual Time Trials

Wednesday, 1 February 2006 - Drove to 14th Mile Ulu Langat to start my ride. Don did not turn up and I rode alone. Original plan was to ride to Broga and turn back but when I got to Broga, I went on all the way until Lenggeng b4 I made the u-turn.
Good to ride this route again. Have not ridden beyond Semenyih since the last time I trained for IM back in 2003/2004. The Nottingham University (Malaysia) Campus before Broga was not there the last time I rode here.
Took the opportunity to log some individual TT and smashed a 3-year old PB at the Dam Climb (a 1km climb outside the gates of Semenyih Dam ridden from Tekala towards Peres Junction). The Semenyih - Nirwana (10km) TT was 1 second slower than the PB set back in 2004.
Peres Junction Climb (1km) - 3:34 (PB - 3:20 in 2003)
Semenyih - Nirwana (10km) - 16:53 (PB - 16:52 in 2004)
Dam Climb (1km) - 3:18 (New PB) (previous PB - 3:34 in 2003)
Peres J - 18th (9km) - 14:57 (PB - 14:30 in 2005)
Distance - 129km/ Total Bike Time - 4:37:50

Route : 14th - 18th - Peres J - Tekala - Nirwana - Semenyih - Broga - Ulu Beranang - Lenggeng -Ulu Beranang - Broga - Semenyih - Nirwana - Tekala -Peres J - 18th - 14th
Ave Speed - 27.8km/h
Ave/ Max HR - 131/166
HRZ Pts - 539

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Return To IM Langkawi - Solo Long Run

Monday, 30 January 2006 - Second day of CNY, went to Putrajaya and ran 12 x Putrajaya Round About (3.5km looper). Recovered nicely from the long ride 2 days ago and felt fresh at start of the run. Wore my new NB shoes for the first time. Started at 6.30 a.m. and finished shortly after 11.00 a.m. The 12 laps seemed like forever. The pain on the left arch recurred after 3 laps but became bearable as I piled up the laps. The run was more of a mental challenge than a physical test of endurance.
Had stomach problems after 6 laps and took a short toilet break (almost sprinted to the toilet-which explains the faster split in lap 6). Split time at 21km mark was 2:08:40. Felt relieved after that but the weather conditions started to get worse by them - it got hotter by the minute. Took my mind off the figure 12 and aimed for number 8 instead (the distance I had done b4 a few weeks ago). When I finished 8 laps, I aimed for 10 laps. Also kept telling myself to stop bitching about the number of laps I have done so far and focus on the present lap instead - that way I could trick my mind into thinking that I had fresher legs than I actually did at that stage of the run.
I almost gave up when I reached 10 laps - that would be 35km solo. It was already 10.00 a.m. and the sun was baking hot. Then, I told myself that I did not wake up at 5.30 a.m. for nothing and I only had a mere 7km to reach my goal for the day. I pushed on and surprised myself with a strong finish in the last lap. My last lap time of 22:37 was inclusive of a little extension to the car for water. When I got back to the course, I was some 2 minutes down but erased the deficit with the strong finish and managed to keep all my lap times below 23 minutes each. Survived the run on water, 1/2 Powerbar and a packet of PowerGel.
Distance 42km/ Total Time 4:22:21
Split Time
Lap 1 - 21:02 - 21:02
Lap 2 - 21:25 - 42:28
Lap 3 - 21:56 - 1:04:24
Lap 4 - 22:04 - 1:26:29
Lap 5 - 21:51 - 1:48:20
Lap 6 - 20:19 - 2:08:40
Lap 7 - 21:31 - 2:30:11
Lap 8 - 22:20 - 2:52:31
Lap 9 - 22:12 - 3:14:43
Lap 10 - 22:46 - 3:37:29
Lap 11 - 22:15 - 3:59:44
Lap 12 - 22:37 - 4:22:21
Ave Pace 6:15 per km
Ave HR 140/ HRZ pts 604

Return To IM Langkawi - Riding With the Big Boys

Saturday, 28 January 2006 - Chinese New Year's eve, rode from Ampang to Port Dickson and back to Ampang with Don Khor and Simon Cross. Gone a little to fast on the leg into PD, averaged 32.2km/h and suffered the consequences on the return leg with average speed dropping to 29.9km/h (the hot weather and heavy traffic at Cheras - Kajang Highway and the MRR2 did not help and made things worse).

The Admiral Marina (home to the PD Tri) looked quiet and deserted. The run and bike markings were still clearly visible on the road at the little round about outside the club house. Felt like coming home when I reached there. Had an hour long break at PD for light meal and for Simon to sort out his flat tyre.

Distance - 196km/ Total Bike Time - 6:34:10
Route : Ampang (Joo Ann's) - Taman Cheras - Phoenix Plaza - Kajang - Salak - Sepang - Lukut - PD Town - Admiral Marina - PD Town - Lukut - Sepang - Salak - Kajang - Phoenix Plaza - Tmn Cheras - Ampang (Joo Ann's)

HRZ Pts - 917/ Ave Speed 29.9km/h