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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Once again

Last night after my weekly Wednesday ride, I was thinking what to write about in the blog for today. No clue.

Just before I went to sleep, I tried to think of an idea of what to blog about. Fail again.

As I was driving to work about few hours ago, my face was like those university graduates who are sitting in the examination room, scratching their heads looking for the answers to the exam questions. And still I have no idea of what to write.

Luckily I don’t get paid to update this blog as my main source of income, or else I need to start learning how to become a fisherman, or farmer in order to feed my family (and myself).

You see, it’s not easy to maintain a blog, to actively updating it.

And it’s not easy either to maintain a family, a career, a friendship, and a little hobby of doing triathlon or sports, all at the same time.

So, what is easy in this world?

Well, you choose.

Everything can be easy, and everything can be not easy.

It’s in your head. It’s what you think.

If you think that things are easy, then they will be easy. And vice versa, I don’t need to spell out everything. I’m sure you get what I mean.

And I guess maybe that’s why when we see someone in trouble, we tell them “Hey, take it easy ya!”.

Err, actually I wanted to blog about something else but I’m not sure why I’ve written all the above.

Actually I wanted to write about endurance. Triathlon and marathon and some other similar sports are an endurance driven sports where even though some people can do them fast and some people can’t, they all have to endure so many things before they get to cross the finish line.

First, they have to endure the demanding training. Some people train hard almost everyday, some people do long hours training on the weekends, some people even wake up as early as 5am in the morning just to train. I bet some people might even have to endure the micro arguments with their spouses for spending more time with the bike than with their family.

Then, they also have to endure the grueling race itself which have so many non-controllable challenges. The hot sun, the limited water stations, the rain, the choppy waters, the jelly fish, the strong wind, the sudden unexpected stomach ache during a bike ride or run, the cramps, the need to pee, the puncture tires, as to name a few.

Oh ya, they also have to endure the pain!

I remember in some conversations that I had with some friends who do not do endurance sports, it’s quite interesting to see their comments.

“Eh Nik, you ran 20km ah? If me aaa, I will die 3 times already leh”,

“Wow, you cycled 100km? That’s very far you know. You pengsan or not? If me aaa, to drive a car for 100km also tiring you know”.

Maybe you think I made up above comments to spice up my blog entry today. OK, I'll let you see it to believe it. These are the ones I get from my ex-school’s blog on an entry about me completing the SCKLIM 2009 recently.

Now, do you believe me? Not my intention to brag about it, because I have nothing to brag about. Many other people have done up to 5 marathons or 2 Ironman triathlons. I just wanted to share with you the diversity that we have with people surrounding us which is, nothing but interesting.

On the external point of view, they only can see the distance we have to endure. They can only see the long hours we have to spend to complete the training or races.

But, they cannot see the pain that we have to endure.

I mean, they cannot feel the pain. They won’t know how painful is the pain.

I can say that 80% of the times when I train or race, they were all painful. Some were very painful, some were only a little bit painful.

When I first started to run, I couldn’t even run 1km because it was painful. Same as for cycling, where I fell asleep for 30 minutes on the sofa right after cycling for only 15 minutes during the early days. I don’t want to tell about the swim, it’s even worse.

But one after another, I brought up my pain threshold one level to the next with every success of enduring the pain. Perhaps, this is where we start to taste the fun of having the pain, where we subconsciously gets stronger.

Enduring the pain throughout the training or races, is something that I also use to help myself endure some difficult times in life. It helps me with my self-training of not to give up as easily as I used to be. I feel much better knowing that I can endure something that is hard, tough and difficult, and painful.

The thought itself makes me feel stronger.

It makes me want to go further.

Well, doing Olympic distance triathlons that consume around 3 hours or more, is already painful.

During the 42km run, i.e. marathon, which I did in the end of June, the pain that I had did stop me at few points of the run as I couldn’t hold up the pain in the legs any longer. But, I kept on going and it took me more than 5 hours to complete it.

This Saturday, I’ll be at the start line of the Desaru Long Distance Triathlon, which will consist of 2km of swimming, followed by 90km of cycling, and a 21km of running. It may take me 6 to 7 hours before I can cross the finishing line, and I know it’s going to be another episode in life where what I have to do is to endure the pain, once again.

As this is my first time doing a long distance triathlon (some call it as Half Ironman), my target this time is just to finish it, injury free, smiling.

”Hey Nik, take it easy ya!”

Yes I will.

P/s: Oh ya, wish me luck and pray for my success too ok! Thanks. And good luck to others who are also taking part. See you there!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Roti Bakar

[Got this via email - thanks wifey!]

Story that might motivate you...

"When I was a little girl, my mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. And I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work. On that evening so long ago, my mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage, and extremely burned toast in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed! Yet all my dad did was reach for his toast, smile at my mom, and ask me how my day was at school. I don't remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that toast and eat every bite!

When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my mom apologize to my dad for burning the toast. And I'll never forget what he said: 'Baby, I love burned toast..'

Later that night, I went to kiss daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his toast burned. He wrapped me in his arms and said, 'Debbie, your momma put in a hard day at work today and she's real tired. And besides, a little burnt toast never hurt anyone!' You know, life is full of imperfect things.....and imperfect people. I'm not the best housekeeper or cook.

What I've learned over the years is that learning to accept each other's faults - and choosing to celebrate each other's differences - is the one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship.

And that's my prayer for you today. That you will learn to take the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of your life and lay them at the feet of GOD. Because in the end, He's the only One who will be able to give you a relationship where burnt toast isn't a deal-breaker! We could extend this to any relationship in fact - as understanding is the base of any relationship, be it a husband, wife or parent, child or friend or anyone we have an acquaintance with!! "

Monday, July 27, 2009

Fading

”Hey, have a nice weekend ya!”, a good wish we normally give to or get from people, friends, colleagues.

And how was my weekend?

It was a great one, but I’ve been a B-A-D boy.

Bad boy for did not go out that door to run, to train.

In the morning, the blame was on the nice cooling rain.

Later in the evening, the blame was on the comfy pillow who kept me asleep soundly for few hours.

It’s not my fault, right? It’s their fault! The rain, the pillow. I was not guilty.

But I am feeling so guilty now. Miserably guilty.

I thought I have the confidence to go through Desaru long distance triathlon this coming weekend, but now that thought is slowly fading away.

I am not putting any big target for Desaru other than to finish it injury free. However, I wish I have another two weeks to train so that I can cross the finish line – smiling.

Now, I can’t really remember why did I sign up for Desaru long distance triathlon.

Should I toss a coin now? I still have 4 days to decide though.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Be Brave

For those who has swam 6.5km for the Kapas – Marang Swimathon, a 3km swim is like nothing.

And I bet for those Ironman triathletes, they must have done loads of 3km swim (or more) during their training sessions.

But for me, to be able to swim 3km was like a dream come true.

Yup, yesterday was the first time I swam 3km – non stop!

Dream come true indeed.

Why? What is so big deal about that?

Because few years ago, I could not even swim 25m.

Let alone to swim one lap of the 50m pool length. I even thought it was an impossible task. At times I felt like giving it up.

I always envied and amazed at those people who can move swiftly in the water, doing laps upon laps of swimming. Fast or slow it didn’t matter. It looks like they were enjoying their swims, effortlessly.

That seeded the intention in my heart to one day, be able to do as what they do.

Yeah, I’m a very jealous type of person. Jealous at a better person. A jealousy that leads me to work myself harder without doing any harm at that better person.

On a general note, majority of the people in this world know how to run. Fine.

And I am assuming not so many people have trouble to ride bicycles either.

But, there are more people who I came across that don’t know how to swim. Or at least they would say they are afraid of getting drowned.

To think about it, yeah, getting into water might be a high risk – if you don’t know how to survive in it.

Survival requires braveness too. Cowards will never survive successfully for long time.

For me, I think braveness is supported by some knowledge and your own self’s willingness to be brave.

And I believe, braveness can be developed – only if you let yourself to be.

When I was a kid, my family would sometimes bring us to the beach (Pantai Cahaya Bulan in Kota Bharu, Kelantan). And as a kid, I would dash into the waves and tried to do something that looked like a swimming act. I never went anywhere deeper than chest high though, simply because I was afraid of getting drowned.

During the flooding seasons too, I would never go to anywhere deeper than neck high. I was still scared. Yup, I was a bit hard-headed boy back then who had caused some headaches for my parents.

One fine day in the year of 2006 (I think), I went to an Olympic size swimming pool for the first time in my life. A 50m length pool with one end having a depth of 2m, i.e. deeper than my height. I didn’t even know how to swim a proper breaststroke yet, and definitely I didn’t know how to thread water (i.e. floating).

But yet, I braved myself to enter the pool from the shallow end. I didn’t swim much at that first attempt. What I did was to hang by the wall and observe and learn (i.e. acquiring knowledge) on how other people swim and float in the water. I looked from under the water. Well, some swimmers may have thought that I’m that pervert boy who sinks his head under the water to look at female swimmers. Well, I have no control of what they wanted to think or say. I looked at everybody though. Men, women, young boys, elderly people, everybody. Fair, right?

I just needed the knowledge to build my braveness. Hence I have to learn. And hence, I have to ‘look’ at them.

From then on, I kept on learning, and trying, and letting myself to be braver and braver.

I had many nice and happy moments by the swimming pool. Nah, not because of those curvy bodies wrapped in skinny swimming suits. But because I passed lots of small stepping stones in my journey to be able to do as what I can do yesterday. From not knowing how to thread water or swim front crawl (freestyle), to be able to swim 3km non stop.

It was one very long journey for me. Not only weeks or months. But, it has taken me years and years to accomplish it. And my journey is still on the move. My target is much further ahead. And I hope I will get there soon.

So, what if you don’t know how to swim? What would be the solution?

Simple.

Be brave.

I mean, allow yourself to learn and acquire the knowledge on how to swim in any methods you prefer, whether self learning or getting a swimming coach. But more importantly, allow yourself to be brave.

Remember, braveness can be developed – only if you let yourself to be.

Enjoy your swim.

I enjoy mine.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Long Journey

Upon returning to work after KL Marathon last month, few colleagues who knew I took part asked me, ”Nik, what placing did you get?”

Same thing, when I get back after PD triathlon, some colleagues would be asking the same question, about what prize I won and what was my number.

Nothing’s wrong with that. And I think it’s quite normal for people to ask what we got upon completing a race, or a match. Just like football, people will ask who wins and who loses, and what the score is.

What I did was only to show them the finisher medals that I got with pride and honor. The honor of completing the races I took part.

Perhaps they don’t know that I did not care about what position I get. Anyway, let’s just leave this issue to end here. I don’t even know why am I writing this up.

During 2008, I only participated in one event which was the PD triathlon. This year, I plan to participate in few others. So, with more races to do, more hours of training is definitely on high needs. And the training can be quite demanding too.

Though the training may be demanding, but if you are granted with training buddies where you can train together, you won’t even notice how demanding the training would be because you are enjoying your training sessions.

I still remember my first long distance ride in JB which was a 90km, from Kampung Melayu Majidee to Kota Tinggi waterfall and back. Never did I think I will bonk on the ride after 50 to 60km riding upon which I had no more legs to pedal. I told two of the training buddies to proceed ahead, and they agreed to wait for me somewhere.

I bonked so badly that I even stopped to rest my thighs. Luckily I didn’t break down into tears. I almost, though. At that instant, I ‘regretted’ doing it and tell my self not to torture myself again.

But my training buddies told me to keep on going at it. It will make me better and stronger.

I tried putting some beliefs in their words, and so I continued to do another long distance ride.

For the second time, doing slightly over than 100km, I bonked again. Not that I rode fast or tried to be the leader of the peloton. I was at the back and cycling at my own pace all the time, mostly alone. And yet I still bonked. And at that instance of time, again I felt the regret of doing it and promised myself that it will be the last time I ride my bicycle.

But then, those buddies who waited for me at a petrol station ahead said that they did not have to wait for me as long as they did during the previous one.

Ok, some smiles started to grow on my face.

That was a year ago.

With more and more training I did from then onwards, be it short distance or long distance rides (or swims, or runs), if I ever to plot a graph of my performance, I know it will be showing a positive inclination line. However, on the x-axis (the horizontal axis, i.e. the ‘time line’), the scale would be big. Big scale here means, to achieve a mere 10% increase in performance, it may take me few months, maybe a year, maybe more.

Anyway, it’s good to know that I’m progressing positively, though very slowly. I just cannot loose it to my temper or impatient for not getting up there fast enough like some other people do. If I want to reach up faster, I know I can do it by pushing myself harder. But I may also lose the fun of doing all this stuffs and I may be neglecting my many other obligations as a normal person who has a family and a job to keep. I don't want to risk having an injury either.

Yeah, I cannot deny that I’m tempted to be faster, stronger and better. I don’t want to rush though, as I know I am an easy to give up type of person (sometimes). In fact I’m still teaching myself never to give up. I know I can be better, and yet not lose a single bit of fun while doing it. But it’s going to be a very long journey for me.

I think, having fun is the cure for the pain that we have to endure.

And I feel that my long journey had only just begun.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday blues

I’ve swam 2km before.

I also used to cycle 90km few moons ago.

A 21km run was part of my marathon training.

But, to do all three of the above, one after another, on a same day, back to back, is something that I have yet to experience.

Two weeks to go. How time flies.

I’m planning to go all out on the training this week and half of next week. Hopefully the weather and body condition permits me to do so. I know I don’t have enough time to do everything, but I don’t want to live a life doing nothing.

On the other hand, work has been and still is on the high tide now. More input than what I could output. But, that’s the normal working life, right? No point complaining, bukan naik gaji pun.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

PD Triathlon 2009 Result is out!

My result:

1.5km Swim Time: 0:45:58
40km Bike Time: 1:11:59
10km Run Time: 1:00:20

Total Time: 03:00:39

I'm speechless...

*faint*

(P/s: Last year, my time was 03:23:10)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Port Dickson Triathlon 2009 – The Report

”I survived yet another Olympic distance triathlon at Port Dickson yesterday, and I think I did a Personal Best (PB)... I think lah.”

How did it go? Roughly like this:

I did it very calmly, but blindly, and felt tremendously happy with the whole thing – what a great weekend!

I did it calmly because I know I did not prepare to the fullest of my expectation and satisfaction. Uh, that sounded weird.

I mean, I forced my self to think calm and to be calm for the race and take it as a training session for the next coming long distance triathlon in Desaru. Perhaps maybe because this was my second time doing triathlon at PD, that helps a bit in the process of calming down myself. Not that I did not feel the butterfly in the tummy. Yes the butterfly did come, but I already drank a can of Ridsect mixed with Shieldtox which I guess have done the justice to them. Hahaha.

No, the truth is – I tried not to pressure my self as I know many things (bad or good) may happen to anybody during the race day, regardless whether you’ve fully prepared for it or not. And doing the race in a peaceful and calm mind is something I will try to always do from now onwards.

And I did it “blindly” because just few weeks before the race, my almost two years old Ironman Triathlon Timex watch’s band has broken and showing the indication that I will not hold up long with the splashing of water during swimming. So, not wanting to loose my watch in the PD beach, I opted to race without wearing any watch.

I mentioned ‘blind’ here to mean that I did not know what my racing time was. I never ever trained or raced without looking at the time, but this time I just totally ignored it and dashed everything through without any single knowledge of my timing, until this very second.

OK, let’s try to see things in chronological order.

Saturday – Pre Race Day

Race Kit Collection
I arrived PD at around 2pm and directly went to collect the race kit. Since payment has been made via online, so not so much of a hassle and it all went very smoothly. Everything was done in less than 5 minutes (not so many participants at that time and I did not queue at all). Spent some time to snap some photos before heading my way to look for lunch.

MissJewelz – all this while I just read her blog and what an honor I felt to have bumped into her finally. Another new triathlete friend in the book.

Who said a guy in 'sarong' cannot do a triathlon hah?

The race kit. The T-shirt is nice. And I know things are at higher prices nowadays so I don’t want to comment much about the lack of items inside the goodie bag. I’m here to do a triathlon, not to shop.

I then went to grab a lunch, and afterwards I settled down for a good nap. I even skipped watching the sprint triathlon event at 4pm because it was pretty hot at that time and I don’t want to be under the hot sun so much prior to a race.

Carboloading and Race Briefing
Carboloading was done at a very moderate amount. I just ate rice with chicken, and some spaghetti, all in a single plate. I did not go for any second rounds and I did not even eat any fruits.

This time, race briefing was done at the foyer, perhaps due to the large number of participations which won’t allow everyone to fit into the halls like what we had last year. I was hoping and at last was pretty glad that they have changed the run route. Instead of running on the highway like in 2008, they let us to run under the shady trees with a very nice view of the ocean, just like in the year 2007.

Mr. Chan even mentioned that the swim will be a bit tough as it was forecasted that the water will be a bit choppy (a bit?) in the morning. That’s something scary, but I don’t want to think so much about it.

After the race briefing, I chit chat with some of the people that I know. Not many of them though. But, they are all very friendly and supportive. It was a big pleasure for me as these people used to be (and still are) those athletes which blogs I read and get the inspiration of doing the same thing. And there I was standing in front of them and talking and cracking jokes with them. I know I may be missing some names but among others are Abu Power, his cousins Farid, Dush and I'm sure there was another guy which I can't recall the name, Kash, Fairul, Ariff. I even had the chance to talk to Mr. Iwata, who's going back to Japan for good by the end of this year.

(Photo courtesy of Fairul)

Just before getting to sleep, did my last preparation on the race items. Final checks on the apparels, bike, shoes, everything. Once again, though I know I’ve done this for the third time, I still want to make sure I got everything ready before I go to sleep. It’s also a good time to visualize in every details of what I’ll be wearing, holding, doing, and racing on the next day.

Sunday – Race Day

Woke up at around 6am, get ready and as I walked out, it was raining drizzly. But fortunately as I was checking in my bike at the transition area, the rain finally had stopped. I prepped up my stuffs accordingly, again visualizing of how I would enter the transition area after the swim, how would I start my bike, and how would I get back to it before changing the shoes for the run.

Number 335 was written on both of my upper arms – the body marking. Then, we got some spare time to do final warming up and stretching. I did not do any warming up, but spent the time well to stretch as much as I could while wishing everybody I know the best of luck.

Standing at the water edge, looking at the waves and those choppy waters, the butterflies in my tummy re-emerged, this time harder. I could even sense my heart rate increased a little bit. I tried swimming for a few meters, trying to be as calm as possible. The waves and choppy waters are things that I cannot control, but my self and my calmness is something that I can. So, I should focus on what I can control rather than being worried of those that I can’t.

OK, I think jellyfish also do not like choppy water, so I’m safe.

The Swim
Everybody grows old and so do I. So, this year I’m racing in the 30-39 age group, the largest group of all. We were going to start the swim in the second wave, being released 5 minutes after the first age group.

Inside the starting cage, I stood at the very end. I mean, at the back. Oh yeah, I felt nervous, just like every time before starting the swim leg of a triathlon. As the horn being blew, I made sure my goggles were securely fit, and I slowly walked behind the crowd towards the water.

”Oh gosh, where should I swim? There were too many yellow-headed people in the water, and the water is choppy, and my legs are not touching the underneath sand already.”

(Note: Yellow-headed, because we were wearing a yellow swim cap)

I guess I just had to make my way trough whatever is at the front, people or wave. The first few strokes of the swim were done without a miss of sighting. I need to maneuver myself in the crowd to make sure I did not hit other people and I don’t want to be hit.

Simply put, I tried my best to stay calm as I had a very bad experience during Lake Kenyir’s swim in April.

It worked well. Keeping my self calm and focusing on the swim, I noticed my swim went through very smoothly (smooth is not equal to fast ok). One good thing for starting the swim at the back of the group is that I could see that I was overtaking some other slower swimmers. What a sensational feeling. Last year, I think I didn’t overtake anybody.

I was glad that I could do front crawl (free style) all the way through. Breathing was OK, no panic attack at all. Just focus on making my way forward.

I can’t deny that the u-turn point still feel far, just like last year. Once reached the u-turn buoy, I told myself it’s time to swim home.

That was time when more and more strong swimmers from the third and fourth waves overtook me. One guy was swimming very near to me and he almost knocked the goggles off my face. I was lucky, really lucky. I will be in trouble if I dropped my goggles.

So, when I felt like someone was coming in through from the right, I would swerve to the left to avoid getting into any kind of contact with them, and vice versa.

As I exited the water, I noticed Rais (Kash’s hubby) with his camera and he asked me to pose. Hahaha. I wonder how the result of it looks like. I finished the swim still feeling strong and calm as I could run on the beach towards the transition area. Last year, I walked all the way through, I was out of breath.

"Poyo-est sea escapade's pose"
(Photo courtesy of Rais & Kash)

T1
I tried changing into my cycling gear as fast as I could. Gulped one Powerbar gel, a sip of ORS-ed water and off I went. Glad to see there were still plentiful of bikes around, indicating that I did a pretty good swim time (I hope so).

The Bike
This was the interesting part of all. Interesting because it’s the time to see how well I’m going to perform on the bike despite of the very lack of training. I tried pushing it through with me holding the aerobar but I don’t feel that strong to push it all the way by myself. I kept on checking if there were some ‘train’ that I could hop on.

At about 8 or 9km, there was this small ‘train’ with three people, two guys with aerobars, and a lady, overtook me. I quickly hooked myself to the small train and never let loose of them. A quick check on my speedometer and I noticed we were doing pretty fast to my standard. We were overtaking more and more cyclists all the way through. Some tried to hook up but not many succeeded. One guy caught up with us and he hanged on.

There was time when I felt kind of contemplating on whether to stick with them or let my self loose and save the energy in my legs. I was glad I made the right decision to stick with them. Pushed myself bit by bit to make sure I won’t get dropped especially while on the climb of the rolling route. The speed increased tremendously to about 46 or 48km/hr when we were on the flat.

I also noticed few of the cyclist who had to stop by the side of the road, be it to replace a punctured tube, or for nature calls. I was glad I had no reason to stop during the bike leg.

I was also lucky that I did not fell down when my front tire bumped into the guy in front of me. I was holding the aerobar, trying to change position with the rider at the back. As I wanted to get inline I did a mistake of not getting my hands ready on the brakes and “zrassshhh”, I hit the back tire of the rider at the front. Luckily I could balance my body and bike to avoid falling down. Phew, that was a close call of disaster. A lesson well learnt.

I cycled most of the time in aero position and it was weird that rather than having a cramping sensation in the legs, I felt the tweaking feeling of cramp in my upper right arm.

Glad to arrive back at the transition in one piece.

T2
Put my bike on the rack, put on the running shoes, gulped another gel and few sips of ORS-ed water and made my way out for the run as quickly as I could managed. One Powerbar Gel was slipped underneath my tri-shorts, for back up.

The Run
During the first few kilos of the run, I started to feel both of my thigh muscles stiffened up. Oh no, the payback of the fast bike riding, so I thought. They get stiffer and stiffer that there was a moment where I couldn’t hold the pain anymore. The lady who I followed during the bike was already running in front of me, making her way slowly but consistently.

Many runners overtook me by this time.

I can’t take it anymore. Not even reached the first water station, I’ve started to walk in pain in the thigh. I stopped once or twice to stretch but the pain did not really go away. When I reached the first water station, I poured the icy cold water onto my thighs and the pain disappeared for a while. I could run again, slightly. But, after another 30 steps or so, I had to stop and to stretch again. The pain was too much for me to handle. Slowly walk and run a bit until I reach the next water station where I can cool down the legs with water.

A big compliment should be given to the organizer for the fully quipped water stations and as they promised, there were plenty of 100+ and icy cold water at every water stations that I passed.

I stopped at every water station to cool down my legs and get some drinks. My shoes were already wet and already started to make the ‘swoosh, swoosh” sounds as I ran. To my surprise again the legs felt stronger and the pain had totally gone and I made my way through the u-turn point to collect the red ribbon as a proof that I’ve ran 5km before heading back to the transition.

Slowly I was able to overtake some runners, including the lady who I followed on the bike. It turned out to be a lady that raced in the JB Eco Challenge in May where I was the marshall. Not sure whether she could recognize me but I surely recognized her though I wrongly called the wrong name at first. What a shame.

I moved myself forward, running non stop. A mental boost from the successful marathon I did last few weeks ago did help to strengthen my confidence that I could run the remaining distance until the finish line.

I said hi and gave hi-5 to those that I know on the opposite side of the run as I was making my way back after the u-turn. It felt good to see that I was at the front of so many other people. I felt good, and wanted to finish the race strong.

I focused my run and made my way to the finishing line. Increased my pace a little bit running towards the finishing line. I raised both of my arms when I heard the emcee mentioned my race number and I crossed the finishing line, smiling.

What a good feeling, knowing that somehow, though not knowing what my exact finishing time was, I know that this race was the best race for me ever.

I think I did a personal best this time, I really think so.

Can’t wait to see the official result from the organizer’s website.

The End

So, that’s how my third attempt of an Olympic distance triathlon went through. It was a second one done at PD. It was truly a great feeling. Able to finish the race strong and more importantly, making new friends – that really made up for a great weekend!

I just have to share with you this one final thing - I chatted with Dato' Bernard Chandran after the race as we were collecting our bikes. Yes, I spoke to him and we talked about our race experience a bit, especially about the swim. We were chatting as if we were alreday friends. Good guy he is. No wonder he's so famous.

Well, to all friends who have done the PD triathlon last weekend, whatever your timing was, congratulations to all! Hope you all had a great race. It was a pleasure for me meeting you guys.

My next event?

Desaru Long Distance triathlon in three weeks time. See you there!

Time to put more hours on the swim, bike and run again.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Re-visiting PD

Once upon a time about a year ago, after we’ve finished the usual Wednesday night ride, I was chatting with those triathlete friends in JB and told them that I wanted to try do the sprint distance triathlon at PD.

”Nik, can you swim?”, one of them asked me.

”Yeah. Swim ‘bodo-bodo’ I can lah”, was my replied to him.

”In that case, just do the Olympic distance lah!”, he then told me with an intonation of which I was not sure whether it was an order from him or was it an encouragement for me to challenge myself one step further.

That was how it started – my official venture into triathlon event.

So for my maiden triathlon event last year, I prepped up pretty well I guess since there was sufficient time for it. I tried my best to learn and rectify my front crawl (some say freestyle) swim as prior to that I could only do breast stroke. I also started joining few long rides (riding for about 70 ~ 90km) with them, and also not to forget the running training of which what I could do at that time was only a little bit faster than walking pace, nothing lasted more than 45 minutes for every run.

And I completed it last year with a shameful time of 3 hours 20 minutes. Not too bad, but not good enough.

So for this year, I am going to revisit the Olympic distance triathlon event taking place at Admiral Marina & Leisure Club Port Dickson, starting from 8am this Sunday.

My preparation for this time?

Between 0% to 100%, I would say, ermm, I think I only managed to prepare less than 50%. Definitely not fully satisfied, but it's OK.

With a not fully satisfied preparation, and in addition to about 430 people of which I will be swimming with together on that Sunday morning, the best I would do is just to survive yet another triathlon event.

That is going to be a 1,500m of open water swim, followed by a 40,000m bike, and to finish it with a 10,000m run.

The swim leg still triggers some shiver bugs inside me though.

And my target remains the same as last year's – "To finish it, injury free".

Getting a better timing than last year's will be an added bonus, seriously.

For I know I am still a newbie in this game. Still lots of things I can learn and improve. And to not pressure myself more, I am considering this one as a training for Desaru long distance triathlon, which is going to happen three weeks from now (I forgot to register for it yet, duh!).

So, I’d like to take the opportunity here to wish those who are taking part in PD triathlon this weekend a big GOOD LUCK. To those who can spare the time, come and cheer us. Details of the event can be found here.

I’ll see you there!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

No Jelly Please

I don’t know why, but one thing that is scaring the hell out of me now on the thoughts of doing triathlon at PD this weekend is the JELLY FISH!

Yes, I know they are cute, and soft, and jello-ish, some maybe colorful. But, as it is for snakes, or scorpions, or bees, I am scared at animals that are poisonous or are capable of stinging human being.

Reading from triathlete blogs recently, some of them reported that they get stung by jelly fish during the Xterra off road triathlon in Kuantan and the recent ATM triathlon in Melaka. If a strong triathlete like them said it was painful to get stung by jelly fish, I don’t know what if I get stung too. I can’t imagine. I don’t want to imagine.

I don’t know whether it is because of the water temperature, or is it because of the season, or whatever it is, but it seems that I’ve been hearing more things about people getting stung by jelly fish while swimming in the sea lately.

I really, badly, seriously, truly, high hopingly wish that there will be no jelly fish presence in the area where we will be swimming at PD both on this coming Saturday and Sunday. I don’t mind if they want to watch us swim and cheer for us from under the water by clapping their tentacles, but please leave us alone for that short 1.5km swim. Please don’t touch us or be in our way that we have to touch you. Please, please. Onegai…

If there are any specific tips you may have on how to avoid getting stung by a jelly fish (other than telling me not to go into the water), or at least how to quickly recover from the pain, I beg your mercy please share it with me. Any real life experience will help too. I don't have the luxury of time at this moment to search the entire net-universe. So, your help in sharing is highly appreciated.

I don’t want to be standing alone at the starting line shivering, while everybody else have entered the water. Ayoyo, really scary lah.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Harvard & Stanford

[A TRUE STORY By Malcolm Forbes, publisher of Forbes Magazine]

A lady in a faded gingham dress and her husband, dressed in a homespun threadbare suit, stepped off the train in Boston, and walked timidly without an appointment into the Harvard University President's outer office.

The secretary could tell in a moment that such backwoods, country hicks had no business at Harvard & probably didn't even deserve to be in Cambridge.

"We'd like to see the president," the man said softly. "He'll be busy all day," the secretary snapped. "We'll wait," the lady replied. For hours the secretary ignored them, hoping that the couple would finally become discouraged and go away. They didn't, and the secretary grew frustrated and finally decided to disturb the president, even though it was a chore she always regretted.

"Maybe if you see them for a few minutes, they'll leave," she said to him!

He sighed in exasperation and nodded. Someone of his importance obviously didn't have the time to spend with them, and he detested gingham dresses and homespun suits cluttering up his outer office.

The president, stern faced and with dignity, strutted toward the couple. The lady told him, "We had a son who attended Harvard for one year. He loved Harvard. He was happy here. But about a year ago, he was accidentally killed. My husband and I would like to erect a memorial to him, somewhere on campus."

The president wasn't touched. He was shocked. "Madam," he said, gruffly, "we can't put up a statue for every person who attended Harvard and died. If we did, this place would look like a cemetery."

"Oh, no," the lady explained quickly. "We don't want to erect a statue. We thought we would like to give a building to Harvard."

The president rolled his eyes. He glanced at the gingham dress and homespun suit, then exclaimed, "A building! Do you have any earthly idea how much a building costs? We have over seven and a half million dollars in the physical buildings here at Harvard."

For a moment the lady was silent. The president was pleased. Maybe he could get rid of them now. The lady turned to her husband and said quietly, "Is that all it costs to start a university? Why don't we just start our own?"

Her husband nodded. The president's face wilted in confusion and bewilderment. Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford got up and walked away, traveling to Palo Alto, California where they established the university that bears their name, Stanford University, a memorial to a son that Harvard no longer cared about.

You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who they think can do nothing for them.

"People will forget what you said, People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel".

Monday, July 6, 2009

Man Down!

I did a little bit of run on Saturday morning, making use the BHP Orange Run route, together with Dr. Din. A bit of speed work for me as I have to keep it up with Dr. Din’s pace for the first 5km. Afterwards, just run-walk-chat-run.

After lunch, I wanted to take a nap when I started to feel like I’m going to have a cold. Throat was itchy, started to cough, and a fatigue feeling all over the body.

Sunday passed along quite quickly as most of the times I spent the time sleeping and resting.

After arriving JB (by bus) at 3.30am this morning, I couldn’t stop coughing. It was a terrible feeling to wake up for work. I continued sleeping for a little bit more until,

”Alamak, 9.30am already! Got to go to work!”

Head was still dizzy, but I have to go to office because I’ve promised a customer to send some information by today. A promised made on last Friday, to be delivered no matter what it takes before end of working day today, Monday.

Woke up, went to clinic to get whatever is needed to heal my cold (and most importantly the MC as I was too late to clock in as normal working day), then rushed to office.

Handed in the Medical Certificate to HR personnel. And with a big question mark on her head, she asked me, “Eh, you are on MC and why do you come to office today?”

“Because I want to spread H1N1 virus to everybody!”, I jokingly replied.

Ok, time to stop blogging and do my best to deliver what I’ve promised to customer.

P/s: I don’t even want to think about PD triathlon preparation training this week. Hantam sajalah!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Not gonna do PD triathlon

Yup, you heard me right.

I’m so not going to do PD triathlon this year....

Not as how I did it for the first time last year.

What I meant by that is, I’ll be doing PD triathlon this year with lesser preparation as how I did during last year.

Sounded better, right?

Immediately after Kenyir triathlon in April, most of the training effort and focus was to prepare myself for my first attempt of marathon, hence run after run after run.

I’ve neglected swimming and cycling pretty tremendously. During last Wednesday’s weekly night ride, I was glad I could still remember how to unclip my shoes off the bike. And if I am targeting for better timing than last year’s, in the next coming week my effort should be to focus more on cycling.

Not that I am already good at swimming. My 1.5km swimming time in the pool is still quite embarrassing to be mentioned here.

Ok, to look at things rationally, not including today (Friday), I have about 8 days left before race day. Something that may look like this:

Saturday – Maybe will do some running nearby my house in the morning. I’m going back to PJ this weekend.

Sunday – A full day of family time. I’m just an average Nik (I don’t like using Joe’s name) who has a family, a work, and a tiny bit of interest in triathlon. So, a good balancing act is a must.

Monday – Combo swim and bike. If it’s not raining here in JB.

Tuesday – Combo swim and bike, again, if it’s not raining.

Wednesday – Combo bike and run and nan cheese tandoori, if it’s not raining. Err, the nan cheese tandoori thingy can still be done even if it is raining though.

Thursday – Don’t know what else to combo. Maybe bike only, if it’s not raining.

Friday – Not sure yet. Maybe no training at all.

Saturday – Might already be travelling to PD for the race on Sunday.

See, that’s how the next 8 days will be spent, IF IT IS NOT RAINING HERE IN JB.

I guess the raining season has started here in JB. Not sure about other places though. Last two or three months we had been complaining about the extra heat. So now we should be grateful that the heat has reduced a lot with this rain. And I’m so grateful for that.

Therefore, if it rains in the evening for everyday of next week, I’m sure I won’t be doing PD triathlon this year as how I did it last year (better preparation).

But, I will still be standing at the starting line, insyaAllah.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Official Result SCKLIM 2009

The official result for SCKLIM 2009 is out. And here's mine:

There you have it. My full name is as lengthy as the marathon distance itself. Hahaha.

Wait until you see my daughter's name.
That might be an ultra marathon distance length!