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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My run route in JB (for now)

"Eish Nik, the road is dusty la. No good you know."

"Nik, dangerous lae running here. Banyak lori, banyak kereta. Run somewhere else laa better."

Those are the common comments I heard from my colleagues at work who noticed me running in the evening outside the office. I used to run from the front gate of my office here at Taman Teknologi Johor, towards the main road (Jalan Skudai), and u-turn back to the office. A distance close to 5km for one loop.

At first, I did not bother so much about their comments for only one reason - after running in the evening, I would continue working until late night. So, the best (and economical) place to do a frequent 5km run (and then continue working macam orang kurang siuman) would be at the route mentioned above.

At one point, I totally stopped running. Due to massive work load, I guess.

About three weeks ago, I started to run again and this time, at a new running route. Known to the JB tri-group here as the "Istana Garden", you can cover around 2km or 2.5km for every one loop you run - depending on which loop you choose. Here is my normal run route, doing 3 loops of 2.25km/loop within 45minutes. Nothing impressive (yet).

There are also a 5km and 10km and 18km routes outside of this garden. These are the favorites routes for those who are training for Ironman.

I'm pretty happy to be running here, except for one thing which is I need to drive about 20 minutes from my office (or house) to get to this beautiful place. You can even see the Selat Tebrau and the main island of Singapore while running at this Istana Garden.

And yeah, if anyone would wonder, the Istana Besar Abu Bakar was where Mawi and Ekin get married few weeks ago (not that I was invited!).

I'll be running around this area as much as time (and mood, and energy, and err.. apa lagi ek?) permits me to run.

Ermm, can anyone tell me what 'endorphin effect' really means? Hehe...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Where is it?

I just realised something.

This is what appears in my company calendar for December 2008.

Something is definitely missing. Do you see it?

Look carefully. No, no, no. It's not about the Awal Muharram holiday on December 29th which we were not able to enjoy.

Can you figure?

Well, I'm sorry to say that whoever's birthday fall on December 31st, won't be able to celebrate it this year, according to this calendar lah of course.

Weird, or funny?

Monday, December 29, 2008

PowerShot

Doing triathlon, I was introduced to PowerBar and PowerGel.

Today's entry is not about above two 'power' thingy, but for a non-consumable item called digital camera.

I got myself an end-year present - a Canon PowerShot A470.

Well, I did not buy all the color schemes. Gilo apo? I only bought the grey one, the only stock available at the shop at that time.

This is what I can afford for myself at this moment. Something to cheer me up a little bit sebagai penghapus luka-luka berdarah sepanjang 2008, and to boost up a little bit on my motivation to face the more challenging 2009 (read: plan nak masuk more tri events, so kalau tak dapat race pun.. dapat ambik gambar orang lain race pun jadik lah).

Though I am already using the 2002 model of PowerShot S30 (3.2Megapixel with 10x zoom aje) which I bought when I was in Japan, but this slick-er and tiny-er A470 is kind of tricky to handle. I mean, to produce good and sharp photos.

If using the S30 model, I can easily use the "sports mode" and I will never get shaky images, due to the short shutter opening time. But with this A470, I am yet to explore its full potential. I'm studying the manual and reading from websites for some skill learning. Feel free to share with me if any of you are also using the same camera.

Hopefully more photos will appear on this blog.

And I serioulsy need to learn how to upload photos for my facebook. Crap!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Monsoon

Out of no where, it rained pretty heavily and continuously since ermm, 2am or 3am (I'm not sure, I was sleeping) this morning over here in JB. And it is still pouring cats and dogs and buffalos and hippopotamus until now. Very similar to what we normally get during the monsoon season at the eastern part of the peninsular. Rain all day and night with dark grey clouds everywhere.

That brings my memory about the monsoon season we annually get at the east coast.

When I was a kid, everytime the monsoon season came I would wish and pray that it will flood. Why? Because, being a kampung boy where swimming at a pool is a very uncommon opportunity, flood is among the times where we can swim at the doorstep of our house, literally. Other than that, I used to swim at the beach once in a while, namely the Pantai Cahaya Bulan (PCB). I never dared to swim at Sungai Kelantan though. God knows what creatures are inside that wide river. Takut kena ngap beb!

I remembered one of the years long long time ago where it flooded pretty badly at Kota Bharu. The water level in front of my parents house was at about waist to chest. At certain places nearer to the river, the water level was already more than 2m deep. It flooded for more than 3 or 4 days before the flood subsided. So, the best time to swim in the flood was when the water level is at the max.

During that time, I never knew how to swim freestyle. Not even know how to swim breastroke. What I was capable of doing at that time was only dog crawl style. I don't know how to describe the style, but if you ever see how dog swims, that's how.

Being an active kid like myself, it was superbly fun to swim in the flood. Kulit jari kaki dan tangan dah kecut pun masih nak main air lagi. Bila perut dah lapar je baru naik ke rumah untuk cari makan. And during that cool and rainy season, alangkah nikmatnya dapat makan biskut kering empat segi cecah air teh o panas sambil kaki terendam dalam air banjir.

That was long long time ago. Being an adult now, I would always wish and pray it will never flood again at my kampung. Not that I'm jealous for not being able to swim in the flood, but more than that, it is hard to do the cleaning up after the flood subsided. Mud all over the house. Pity my parents if they have to do that.

Alhamdulillah, it does not flood as often as it was 10 or 15 years back.

On a separate note, I swam on Monday and yesterday - at swimming pool of course. Monday was a continuous 45min swim, and yesterday was slightly less because I already ran for 45min, prior to the swim. Penat siot! Brick training in reverse? I don't know. I just feel like doing heavier training nowadays, whenever possible. As long as my body can endure the game.

It is still long way to go until I get the strength and high endurance level like these triathlete friends I have around here. It is kind of a season now for these guys to train more, in preparation for Ironman I would assume. That's why I'm also training harder - it is a penyakit berjangkit maa, hehe. By the way, I have no specific target at this moment, just preparing myself for 2009 races I guess. We'll see.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The IM outbreak

If it was 6 months back, never ask me to swim non-stop for more than 5 minutes, or run non-stop for more than half an hour, or cycle anywhere longer than 30km. For sure I can't do them. Period.

Everything changed after I attempted my maiden triathlon - the PD olympic distance triathlon back in July. Though there were few times I felt like giving up especially during the 1.5km swim leg (kau dah gila nak mampus ke berenang kat dalam laut jauh macam tu hah?), I pushed my self a little bit just to experience the feeling of finishing and olympic distance triathlon.

Since then, I did not join any other triathlon event. But, I still do very little training just to keep my self fit.

Now, it is the season where those who are going to attempt the cruelest event in triathlon - the Ironman Langkawi, have started pushing themselves very hard on their training.

For them now, running less than 2 hours or swimming less than 3km or cycling less than 100km are considered to be too little for their IM preparation. They would train everyday or every alternate days. Training aje dah macam nak gila, apa lagi bila dah betul-betul race for Ironman. Gila-gila.

As a side effect, an ikan-bilis-new-triathlete like me pun terkena jugak IM outbreak ni. Each and everyday I would think of what to do in the evening - swim, or cycle, or run. Kalau dulu, I only run or swim on weekends, itu pun only on weekends where I do not go back to KL. But now, I would rush back from work as soon as I can, just to make some time for myself to run or swim on the weekday evenings.

And another change in my training pattern is that, I do not bother so much anymore about distance nowadays. Instead of distance, I train by time. I would set a target of how many minutes I want to run or swim compared to last time where I only set the distance or number of laps. Exception for cycling la, lagi jauh kilometer lagi syiookkkk.

Now that I know I could swim non-stop for more than half an hour, and able to run non-stop for 45minutes as well as having the strength in my legs to cycle anywhere within 100km, it gives me such a high burst in spirit to continue with this grueling endurance sport called triathlon.

No, no no, I won't be competing in Ironman Langkawi 2009. My journey is still a long long way to go before I reach the peak of performance.

But, my running shoes and my swimming goggles are always with me now - in case I have some unexpected free time where I can spend for running or swimming. Gila kan penyakit IM outbreak ni?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Tour de Pontian (Updated with photos)

Since I got my road bike, I've cycled to few places here in Johor that I have not even reached by car. For example, Tanjung Sedili, or Kota Tinggi waterfall or Gelang Patah. Last Saturday I went to a new place - Pontian.

Some said the route from JB to Pontian is pretty flat, not so many climbs to be done. And some also said not to underestimate the windy route.

From JB we departed at around 7.40am, though the planned departure time is 7.00am. Total of 6 riders, with 50% of them including me will be cycling the first time to Pontian. One guy just bought a road bike and he's having some issues to get his body to get used to the road bike, as he was an MTB user. Kejap-kejap ngadu sakit bontot, kejap-kejap ngadu sakit leher, kejap-kejap ngadu sakit belakang. "Normal la tu Joe, badan tak 'season' lagi tu", I told him.

The journey from JB to Pontian was great. Lots of clauds. I enjoyed cruising at a moderate speed of 30 - 35km/hr on the flat roads. Layan. Not easy to be able to paddle with this speed for long distance actually, but since they all were already far ahead of me and I don't know the route, so I have to try to keep inside the grouping or else I might get lost.

Once reached Pontian, we went for breakfast at one of the mamak's there. Adus, suddenly takde idea pulak nak sambung ayat ni.

Pendek cerita, lepas makan kitorang bergerak kayuh balik ke JB. Matahari dah makin terik, headwind dah makin kuat. Nak maintain speed 30km/hr pun rasa macam nak terjelir. Well, actually memang dah terjelir pun. Penat siot. Dah la lama melepak kat kedai basikal kat Pekan Nenas, tunggu member tukar tayar bocor.

Well, I don't know why but I don't really feel like blogging today. Maaf di atas mutu kemaskini blog yang macam hampeh pada harini. Nasib baik aku tak makan gaji jadi tukang update blog.

Sorry folks, my brain is dead tired now. I'll update some photos later, insyaAllah. Aku nak update facebook kejap, lepas tu nak balik rumah tido!

Ops, before leaving here's the summary of the ride:
Total distance covered: 93.5km
Departed at 7.40am
Arrived back at starting point at 1.30pm (Matahari dah terpacak beb!)
Average speed: Never really bother. Yang penting I cycled all the way through.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Employment Flowchart

Somehow, it is true. Right?

Short notes

Time is very jealous with me now, so here goes some short notes...

1) Did a little run of about 4.5km outside the office on Tuesday evening. Macam nak pecah dada! But, better than nothing. I've not been running for ages.

2) Cycling on Wednesday night was great with more than 25 cyclists turned up with their road or mountain bikes. I did 5 x 6km loops aje. Enough to provide a micro-amount of endurance training.

3) Went for swimming yesterday. Twitched a little bit on my swim drill and I noticed that I could swim more relax-ly. I did not count how many laps I did, but the total time for berenang + berendam is 1.5hrs. Ok lah..

4) This weekend, plan to go back hometown for Hari Raya Aidil Adha (or Hari Raya Haji), which means zero training on the weekend (again).

Ok, that's all I can write for now.

Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Adha. Maaf Zahir & Batin

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Trikidz - Nov '08

I've been wanting to update the story about last weekend where I volunteered myself for the Trikidz - Nov '08 edition, which was held at the UM sports center. But due to busy-ntahahapa with work, only today I can do some blog updating secara kecil-kecilan.

Saturday was the clinic - where the kids were given briefing and training on each and every legs of triathlon. The swimming, the cycling, the running, and also the transitioning.

The race director (in orange t-shirt) is giving the opening briefing.

The coaches (from left): Bukhary, Jaja, Badrul, err.. tak ingat, Mat, err.. tak ingat lagi, Gary, Ros, Dino, Azhar and Stephanie. The race director, Azwar in the orange t-shirt.

TV3 crews doing some coverage of the event.

Coach Steph is heating up the kids with the warming-up session.

That's about all the photos I captured on Saturday during the clinic because I spent the rest of the morning at the pool side. Volunteering lah katakan...

Sunday - the race day.

Youngest participant, maybe? Cute isn't she?

Body marking session. Sam, Carmen and Chang (sorry if I get your name wrong) writing down the race numbers of each participants. Just like in the real triathlon.

Long queue for body marking.

"Practicing your podium entry?"

Pre-race briefing. "Okay adik adik, mari sini abang nak bagitau macamana nak race. Mula-mula, berenang kat sini dua lap. Lepas keluar dari kolam, pegi dekat mama mintak susu sebotol ye..."

"We're ready to go!!!

Coach Azhar releasing the kids for the swim leg. "Go, go, go! Ayya karambaaa..!!"

The swim-to-bike transition. Looks like a pro, right?

In actual triathlon, you can never cycle or run torso-naked. Silap haribulan boleh disqualified.

Nice bike... I like...

Size or age do not matter. The spirit to finish the race does.

They did it!

I was assigned the task to wait at the cycling u-turn point, which was about 1km away from the transition. Luckily lots of tree shades around, or else I might turned out more hitam legam due to standing in the heat without any sunblock.

The parents and their mini-triathletes. Many of them have left before the closing ceremony ended, too bad.

Want to know more stories? Visit the trikidz website here.