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Monday, August 31, 2009

SHE's mine

Finally, SHE is mine!

P/s: Thanks to a good friend for the 30% discount!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Training in Ramadhan

During Ramadhan last year, I didn’t do any fitness training at all. My fitness activities last year was not as much as this year. I only did one triathlon last year compared to three triathlons plus 1 marathon this year. So, I can say that my fitness level back then was at very minimal, very low. This year, slightly better.

As for preparations for this year’s races, I kept my momentum going since the beginning of the year. It is true when people said that it may take quite a long time for one to notice an increase in performance, especially when one is building the endurance.

Remember when I blog about fighting the ‘M’ bug? Yes, I was that skeptical and kind of worried if my fitness drop in the case of not continuing my training. Not having any big races to do, normally the motivation to train will slowly reduce.

My experience of building the basic foundation of fitness level since beginning of the year was not easy, and it was tough. I had to put up hours upon hours of training, continuously. Well, that was to build the basic foundation alone, not yet including any speed work, and it was already tough.

So, I don’t want to start from scratch again. And for not having to do that, the only way is to maintain the fitness level I currently have.

Maintenance is the key word here.

I’m a heavy sweater, and I sweat easily upon any slight increase in my body temperature, or ambient temperature. That means, I need to keep my self hydrated, especially before, during and after training.

But now, it’s the holy Ramadhan month. So how can I continue my training properly?

Before starting any kind of training session (swim, bike or run), I normally drink half a bottle of plain water (approximately 200 ~ 250ml) to hydrate myself. And depending on the level of intensity and duration of my training, I might need to drink while training too. And rehydration after training is a definite must. I sweat a lot and I need plenty of water or else I’ll face the risk of getting ‘switched off’ (go kaput laa).

With that, I don’t dare to train during fasting (i.e. daytime). The only choice left is to train during night time. Here are some summary of what happened during this week.

Monday
Oh gosh, I suddenly forgot what I did on Monday. Oh yeah, now I remember. I went to the gym after tarawikh. Fortunately the gym extends its operation hour up till 12 midnite during Ramadhan (normally it closes at 11pm). So, I spent 1hr ++ there doing some mix upper and lower body workouts. I also tried running with speed of 13km/hr on the treadmill, and I could only last for 5 minutes. So pathetic. Next time, I’ll try beating this one.

Tuesday
Here in JB I live nearby UTM Skudai. I can’t think of any other ‘safe’ place (i.e. well lit, less traffic, no dogs, no thieves) to run at night other than to run inside UTM campus. So, I decided to run there. Again, after tarawikh.

With still a full tummy from the break fast, running that night was not as comfortable as normal. At 4km, I felt some abs cramp and I settled for some fast walking for about 50m to recover the cramp. I then continued running in the humid environment where I sweated a lot, and by 6.5km-ish, after completing 3 loops around the campus, I called it a night.

Wednesday
It was the night of the least cyclists showing up. Only three of us. When I arrived, there was one guy who wanted to do some running before cycling, so I joined him to do the 2km-ish warm up run.

With no speed demons cycling that night, I took leisure during cycling. I did not push at all. However, I only settled with an embarrassing 18km ride distance. Embarrassing because I know I had the energy to do 30km, but I cut it short just because I was attacked with the M4L4S bug. Plus, with so little cycling buddies around, it won’t be much of fun.

The plan to do another run after the cycling was quickly trashed into the ditch without any second consideration.

Thursday
I made another visit to the gym last night. This time I spent 1.5hrs, doing higher intensity upper and lower body workouts. I’m having muscle soreness now, especially the arms and chest. OK, good sign I guess.

So far, things were going pretty well. At least, I can still do some maintenance and strength training during fasting month, though I think I have to temporarily forget about doing any speed work due to timing unsuitability.

If I want to run fast, I need lots and lots of water. Hence, no running during day time.

If I run with full stomach (i.e. to run after tarawikh), it won’t be comfortable. And if I want to speed up, there will be high possibility that I’ll vomit during the run. Ugly, ugly.

If I take light iftar, I might be able to increase my run intensity. But I also don’t want to stuff my stomach so near to my bed time (i.e. to eat after the run) as it won’t be healthy either.

It’s OK. I’m taking it easy for now. At the end, I’m only maintaining my fitness.

Tee Dough Lar Ghee Sir Darp

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

SHE will never be forgotten

Long long time ago, HE was lonely. Being alone most of the times only by himself. HE did not do anything much. HE just sat down on the couch in the living hall after returning home from hard days at work, only to be accompanied by the world wide web displayed on the 17” screen, while waiting for the time to go to bed.

So did SHE, though being surrounded by many friends, HER heart was empty. Being there by the shelf, looking at people come and go, with a high hope that one day, someone might at least, notice HER presence there.

On one weekend, HE decided to go out to look for something that can kill HIS boredom. Enough of staying in the house doing nothing good to the body and soul, HE went out searching for some source of fun.

As HE wandered around doing some window shopping, HE saw HER.

”When HE first met HER,
It was like a love at the first sight,
As they smiled at each other,
Everything felt right.”

From the very first moment of being together, HE felt happy with HER. Even though SHE might not be the best of all, HE still chose HER. HE knows, nothing in this world is perfect. HE can live with a little imperfections. No big deal.

So does SHE. Never that SHE complained about being with HIM. HE might not be there all the time for HER, as HE got few other important things to handle in life. But at each time when HE gets out with HER, SHE’ll give her best to HIM. SHE enjoys every single step and every single moment, being with HIM. There’s no doubt that SHE was happy too.

The basic rule of having a good relationship is – to give more, and to get less.

They were happy, being together.

SHE sacrifices a lot for HIS happiness.

And HE takes care of HER, as best as HE could.

With the amount of sacrifices that SHE has made for HIM, SHE easily fell sick. SHE was willing to be with HIM at all times as required, regardless of whether it was raining heavily, or whether the sun was blazing its greatest heat.

HE cares for HER so much and HE knows one day HE will have to do whatever it takes, to save HER from HER illnesses. Even if HE has to take the risk of being perceived as not loyal, HE will have to face it. It’s for HER own good sake.

Lately, HE started to go out again, looking for some help. A help much needed to reduce the pain SHE is suffering. HE knows, this has to be done. Whether HE likes it or not, and whether SHE can take it or not, that will be a different issue.

SHE knows this is coming. And SHE knows SHE will be seeing HIM with another one. Sooner or later.

Last week, HE has just found a NEW ONE. HE has started to lock HIS eyes on the NEW ONE. HE can’t hide HIS feeling this time, it’s already too obvious. SHE already knows about it, however decided to keep it to HER self at this moment. SHE doesn’t want to let HIM feels so guilty for looking for another companion.

It will be a matter of time, where HE will have two or three of them by HIS sides. SHE will be on one side, and the NEW ONEs will join HER soon. Soon enough. We’ll have to wait and see, if they all can continue living happily ever after.

One thing for sure, SHE will never be forgotten.

This is HE/HIM

And this is SHE, looking old and sick, after more than two years being together with HIM

This might be the NEW ONE

HE has also started eyeing for this babe

Argghhh, HE is so greedy.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Don’t dig it!

Before I changed my job and work in JB, I used to work in PJ for more than 6 years. And as you all may already know, those who have to commute to work by car will be experiencing traffic jam. Most of the cases. It depends where you stay and where you work, what road you use, and what is the time of the day you are on the road.

As for me, the 20km distance I have to travel from house to office would normally take me around 30 minutes or 45 minutes travel by car, especially on my way back from work. While being stuck in the traffic, I like to see how people behave in their cars. It can be fascinating, I tell you.

Majority of the drivers are talking on their mobile phones. Some drivers would use hands free kit, while some choose to be ignorant to their own safety by holding the phone with one hand. I believe all new mobile phones come with free hands-free kit, don’t they? So I wonder why they are not using one.

They are also some drivers who sing along to the songs on the radio or CD player. Some would do a little head banging, enjoying the song. And some might even do some face expressions as if they are doing a big concert in front of thousands of fans. You know, the singers expressions when they are ‘feeling the song’.

But one behavior that never fail to make me laugh, or at least bring a smile to my face, is, when I see drivers dig their noses.

No, I’m not saying they are doing wrong things. It’s their noses, and they are digging their own noses. Nothing is wrong with that, right?

But to me, it’s so funny to see how some people looked so serious while digging, especially when they are trapped in the gridlock. As if they are in war with something, trying to fight (i.e. get rid of) that "thing" inside their noses, especially those difficult ones.

I better not describe in further detail on how people dig their noses. For some people, talking about nose digging might be personal, or might be disgusting. I’m sorry if this entry happens to offence anybody. By the way, we’ve all done it, the nose digging. So, I leave it to your own imagination. Hahaha.

So, why do I bring up this topic?

Because, during Ramadhan where Muslims are prohibited from eating and drinking, and anything that may break the fast, from the dawn to the dusk, digging the nose (deeply) is among the things that can break the fast. So, this is kind of a reminder to myself lah. Sometimes we do not realize it. The next thing we know, one finger is already inside the nose. Not only while driving, but also during work when we thought no one is looking. It’s kind of semi-conscious behavior.

There was one time, where I got stuck in a traffic on my way back from work, and it is already time to break the fast (i.e. Maghrib time). So, what did I do then? How should I break my fast? Oh no, what should I do?

Yes, you guessed it right.

I drank water lah. I bring a water bottle in my car maa…

Why? You think I dug my nose to break my fast is it?

Hahahahaa… Naughtly la you for having that thought.

So, to help me remember not to dig my nose while working during this fasting month, I put this reminder notice on my white board.

Selamat Berpuasa kepada semua rakan-rakan seIslam. Selamat menyambut Ramadhan al Mubarak. Semoga ibadah puasa kita tahun ini akan jadi lebih baik dari tahun-tahun yang lepas. Amin Ya Rabbal 'Alamin.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pulun

As if I am going for a race this weekend, my daily training for this week particularly has been kind of – overly done, I guess.

Monday was a rest day, due to late hours driving from KL back to JB the night before.

Tuesday – 1.5 hours gym session for strength training which also included a 7 minutes speed work run on the treadmill. I ended up having sore quads.

Wednesday (yesterday) – I did another speed work running 6km-ish on the road. Continued with a 30km bike riding at night (or was it 36km? Don't know, I lost my speedometer last week) which I got attacked with calves cramps at one point (for trying to keep up with the speed demons). And I ended the night with another 2.5km itchy (geli-geli lah) run right after the bike ride.

Today evening – I will be attempting a 10km-ish run after work (hopefully, if the rain stops). And if that is not enough, I’ll re-visit the gym for another round of strength training, maybe focusing on the upper body muscles.

Pulun gile, kan? Hahahaha…

P/s: Sorry, I don’t know what is ‘pulun’ in English. I initially thought of putting “Poo-Loan” as the title of this entry, but… hrmm… enough with daily shitty shitty things at work lah.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Work Out

It has been very long time since I last visited the gym for some weights training. The last times where I went to the gym were the ones where I wanted to increase the strength on my swimming muscles – mainly upper body workout. And with few constant visits to the gym, spending about 1 hour on each visit, I could see and feel some increase in my swimming performance, compared to before.

I’m in the situation where my target is starting to change. I guess a better word for it rather than using ‘change’ is – develop. My target is starting to develop. My initial target when doing endurance sports was just to see whether I can do it, whether I can endure the whole journey. I think I’ve passed that with flying colors.

My developed target now is, to see whether I can do it, faster.

I’m starting another journey to see how far of that target I can achieve. And I know this time, the journey is going to be tougher than before. And definitely going to be longer.

Jealousy drives me into this. Yes, I’m jealous to see other athletes who can swim or bike or run faster. It’s the inner competitiveness character inside me that is causing the shift in my target. Not to compete with anyone else, but to compete against myself.

Though I did not record them properly, I always keep in mind of the timing of each of my training so that I know where I stand as I go along. The mental torture is greater when what you want to beat is your own best timing. So, I have to be really careful with what I’m doing, so that I won’t burn out before hitting my peak performance.

And I believe it’s ok to take it easy once in a while. Give the body some rest. Resting is also part of the training. By the way, I’m only doing this mainly for fun. So, I will push when I can, and I will rest if I feel I needed one.

Now that I’m targeting to go a bit faster, lot’s of things need to be done. One step at a time, no rush here. I’m starting to read some books and online reading on the topic of effective training, and anything similar to it. I hope one day I can come up with a proper training plan specific to a race or target, and stick to it.

One of the things to do is, to strengthen the muscles. Stronger muscles will drive you faster. It’s like the car engine. I discussed this over with one friend, and without any doubt, strong muscles are necessary if you want to go faster. Well, strong muscles do not mean that you have to have a body shape like those body builders. They are in a different regime and endurance athletes are in a different regime. The way we use our muscles are different.

Well, I’m still learning more on the scientific facts behind this, so I won’t preach so much on it yet at this moment.

With Ramadhan coming close, and with a first small target to improve my running speed, I went to the gym last night. At first I only planned to do a 10km run after work, but my car air-cond broke down so I have to ditch the run and bring the car for repair. Hence, I’m RM200 poorer.

Not wanting to waste a day where I’m healthy and energetic and have the time to train, I went to the gym after an early dinner of nasi ayam penyet. Paid RM5 for a daily entry fee, and duh…!! I forgot to bring my tights. So, I just changed to my sleeveless dri-fit shirt and running shoes, and still wearing the pair of jeans from work, I started my lower body workouts.

Please don’t ask me on the movements names of the workouts, because I don’t know. But I worked out mostly on the leg muscles, mainly quadriceps and calves, and a little bit on hamstrings.

The front leg muscles

The back leg muscles

In between the repetitions, I also did some upper body workouts, just to alternate and balance up the muscle usage. Just as I was doing the last few repetitions before calling it a day, I took some photos so that I have some ‘idea’ of what to merepek (ramble) write in my blog. Hahaha.

Do you notice me wearing the jeans for working out? Next time I will dress up properly and suitably. Yesterday was an ‘emergency’ case.

At one point, my legs were so “itchy” that I went on the treadmill and do a fast run for about 7 minutes (yes, while wearing jeans!). Upon coming down from the treadmill, I can’t feel my legs. Then, back on to do some more weight training before finishing up with some stretching, when the gym was already getting too crowded.

Having spent more than an hour at the gym last night, now I have a little bit of soreness on my quadriceps. For me, it’s a sign of a successful workouts and I hope my work outs worked out alright.

This might be my training menu during Ramadhan.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Words of Wisdom – Part II

1. I love you not for whom you are, but who I am when I’m by your side.

2. No person deserves your tears, and who deserves them won’t make you cry.

3. Just because someone doesn’t love you as you wish, it doesn’t mean you’re not loved with all his/her being.

4. A true friend is the one who holds your hand and touches your heart.

5. The worst way to miss someone is to be seated by his/her side and know you’ll never have him/her.

6. Never stop smiling, not even when you’re sad. Someone might fall in love with your smile.

7. You may only be a person in this world. But for someone, you’re the world.

8. Don’t spend time with someone who doesn’t care spending it with you.

9. Maybe God wants you to meet many wrong people before you meet the right one. So, when this happens, you’ll be thankful.

10. Don’t cry because it came to an end. Smile because it happened.

11. There will always be people who will hurt you. So you need to continue trusting, just be careful.

12. Become a better person and be sure to know who you are before meeting someone new and hoping that person knows who you are.

13. Don’t struggle so much. Best things happen when not expected.

14. Smile when you answer the phone. The caller will be able to ‘hear’ it in your voice.

15. Remember that sometimes not getting what you want may be quite fortunate.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Climb it up!

Once upon a time back in September 2005, I was walking with my dear wife at UPM’s convocation fiesta when we came across a wall climbing set. Never did I climb any walls. And with a small fee of RM2.00 (if I’m not mistaken), I get the chance to climb up this wall. They gave me two tries, at which I succeeded to reach the top on the first try, but did not even make it halfway up on my second try as my arms were already ‘pumped’ (wall climbers should know this lingo).

The wall

“If the kids can do it, so can I!”

With zero experience, zero training, zero knowledge, and without proper equipments (no safety helmet, no shoes – highly not recommended), I began the climb… for the sake of fun, and for the sake of getting the experience.

”Yeay, I did it!”

VICTORY!!! Cewah poyo.

Enjoying my way down.

Touch down. Glad to be back on earth.

On my second attempt. Climbing on the right side. Gaya macam Spiderman sembelit pun ada jugak ni

After the failure to conquer the top on my second try, I could still smile. Arm muscles were so stiffed (a.k.a. “pumped”).

It was a joyful fun. I just love outdoor activities.

Only after the climb that I know we should use more leg muscles during the climb, rather than the arms’.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fighting the ‘M’ bug

Some friends used to ask me, “Are you not tired of training for almost everyday?”

Sometimes I just smiled back, and sometimes I would just tell them that I needed to train because I had races to do.

To my housemates, they only see me for few minutes while we are preparing to go to work, and another hour or two at night before we go to sleep. On Wednesday when I go for the weekly night ride, I’ll be home so late that I’ll be greeted by men under their blankets, snoring. Normally they’ll be home by 5pm, when it’s the time for me where I start my daily (or alternate days) training.

That was sort of the routine for my training, when there were races to do.

Just after Desaru, I got no more targeted or planned races to do. Actually I had a plan to do the Singapore marathon, and some friends also invited me to join Powerman duathlon in Lumut. But due to some financial constraints, I had to let them go. Fine with me though. I’m not a race ‘catcher’ or medal collector anyway.

With no planned races in the near future, and with Ramadhan coming around the corner, I switched myself to the ‘off-season’ mode. By off-season, it means that I will still do some training, but with lower intensity and volume.

And with that, I got heavily infected by the ‘M’ bug.

”Bugger!”

So, how do you tell if you got infected with the ‘M’ bug? Here are some of the things I noticed happen to me, upon getting the bug (in random order):

1. You would wish and pray hard that it will be raining or even thunderstorm at the time when you normally go out for run or swim.

2. Your heart rate shoots over the roof upon seeing a 1kg increase on the body weight even without heavy carboloading. Anything more than 3kg increase of body weight within a week, please ask you spouse/friend to bring you to the ICU for a panic shock treatment.

3. Whenever you plan for a 40km bicycle ride, the actual outcome would be 20km (or less).

4. And whenever you plan for a two loops of run (whatever the distance is for one loop), the result surely will be only 1 loop run. A three loops run plan will also turn out to be one loop run. No doubt about it.

5. A 1 hour trainer session plan will end up with only 20minutes (trainer = static cycling device).

6. A plan to do some swim will end up with nothing!

7. The sun at 6pm ‘feels’ as hot as it is at 1pm. Hence, you tell yourself ”Are you crazy to go out running at 6pm with that sun on your head? Don't be stupid ok!”

8. You would classify dreams (while sleeping) having anything to do with swimming, cycling or running as nightmares. Even to have a view of a swimming pool in your dream is already bad enough.

9. On a fine evening where the weather is good for a run, and then you receive an email from the customer which at the end says, "I would appreciate if you can give some feedback by end of next month”, you would immediately rush to settle the requested job on the same evening and make that as an excuse for not going out for a run.

10. Lastly, you’ll end up writing a blog entry with the title “Fighting the ‘M’ bug”.

Oh ya, ‘M’ bug is also known as the M4L4S bug.

”Bugger!!!”

P/s: My housemates have started to ask why am I home so early...

A colleague drew this on my cubicle's white board, and I wrote the dialogue

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Precautions

It's getting scarrier to see what's on the news lately. Casualties here and there, relating to the influenza A H1N1 virus.

With that, I've decided not to go to any public swimming pools for the time being. Fortunately it's now the off-season period (from any triathlon events), so skipping a few swimming workouts hopefully won't do any harm to the muscles 'memory'. And putting the risk of H1N1 as the main reason for not swimming at public pools, would not leave me with a deep feeling of guilt.

I've been wanting to do one or two swims in a week, just to maintain the stamina and endurance fitness. But, perhaps I should take it as an opportunity to spend more time on the tarmac instead.

So, let us all be more on the cautious side line, and not risk ourselves with the influenza virus.

Yesterday morning, I saw this hand drawing of a scenery of trees, mountains, house and a sun rise being drawn on the dew covered back sreen of my car. Might be drawn by the neighbouring 9 ~ 10 years old kids, or might be by my 30++ years old housemates! Ahahaha. Anyway, it made my day!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I'm Sorry

That one fine Sunday night in July this year, I walked my way from Masjid Jamek LRT station towards Puduraya bus station, a norm I’ve been doing for the past few months. Well, I’m a weekend husband/daddy who commutes from JB to PJ, then back to JB by express bus, almost every week. So that night, I headed to Puduraya once again, to hop on the coach, going back to JB.

A friend of mine has waited by the side of the double-decker bus, as we promised. I saw he was talking to an unknown guy, in his twenties. The look at that guy’s face transformed the hint saying that he was in trouble. My friend explained to me that that guy claimed he was in trouble and was trying to get some help.

The guy then told me his pouch got stolen. He lost all his money, bus ticket and mobile phone. He was visiting a friend at a university in KL, and was on the way back to Kuantan that night. He then said that he has lodged a police report about the theft.

I assumed he is one poor college or university student, with an unfortunate luck, wandering around at Puduraya, at almost 11pm at night, alone.

He asked me whether I can help him with some money to buy a bus ticket so that he can go back to Kuantan. Roughly RM25 was needed for the bus ticket, quite a small amount of money for some people I guess (not really for me at my current state of affair though). Unfortunately, I was not carrying much cash in hand, so I handed him RM10, with a little bit of guilt for not being able to help him as much as he needed.

I even said sorry to him.

And I then departed the bus, get a little bit of sleep, and by 3am I was already in JB. Life turned back to a normal week, once again. Just like any other weeks of a salary man.

Last night, the same friend of mine who was waiting for his bus at Puduraya, sms-ed me saying that he saw the same guy, doing the same thing – asking help (money) from other people.

Now I know, that guy lied to me. He pretended like having a problem, and faked every single story, for the sake of getting easy money from other people.

Yes I was angry as I read the sms from my friend about it.

No, I was not angry for losing RM10 to a loser like him.

And I won’t beat him to death if I happen to see him again. I can’t even recognize his face at the first place. I’m not that good at remembering names or faces.

But I’m angry because, it has created a stereotype thinking inside me to say that,

“Nik, never ever help any strangers who came to you out of nowhere and ask for money, for whatever reason or trouble they may have, and for whatever bad luck that they may have. Just don’t be bothered with them and just leave them alone with their problems”.

Now, that sounded very wrong, right?

And I assume some of you may have heard the same thing, where some people pretended having an accident, or having mugged, or just being snatched, and came to us to ask for a little favor or help.

Even worst, not only money that they are looking for. It may even be a decoy to kidnap us. And for ladies, they may be kidnapped, raped, and God forbid – get killed!

It’s getting difficult for us to tell which is genuine, and which is fake.

What’s really happening to our society today huh?

As much as I don’t like to judge or label other human being, I also don’t like to be cheated, repeatedly.

I will definitely think twice, or get more information and proof from any poor fella asking for my help, before I even start to consider helping them.

Or else, I’ll just say, ”I’m sorry”.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Media

During the recent Desaru LD triathlon, I was quite surprised that some coverage was done by our local TV stations. I may not realized it during previous events which I took part, but during Desaru, yes I saw some cameramen and even the media's company car at event location.

In fact, during the prime time's news on last Saturday night, while we were having dinner there, we were all excited to see the long distance triathlon event we took part was being aired on the news. Of course my dull facial expression during the race won't attract the cameraman to shoot me in action at the first place (bukan tembak mati la, "shoot" ambik gambar/video laa)).

Almost immediately, I received one or two sms-es from some friends asking me the normal questions friends would ask, "Nik, what number you got?"

OK, nevermind about that. I've written about it in previous post.

And then, when I was at home in JB on Sunday night, having my nasi-goreng-pasar-malam as dinner, once again the mainstream media showcased the event on the news. This time it was for the sprint distance triathlon which took place earlier that morning.

Wah, it was my time to brag a little bit about the event I took part to my housemates. Showed them some photos I took from my camera, blablabla this, and blablabla that.

But then, I noticed something was wrong. I thought I heard something wrong, or the newscaster may be saying some other things. Not wanting to lose the opportunity, I quickly grabbed my camera and with a shaky hand, took this snapshot on the TV screen.

Oh gosh, I can't even aim my camera at the centre of the TV screen. Blurgghh, what a waste.

Woops, hang on. Did I see something different?

Did you see it?

Since when people who do triathlon is called a T-R-I-A-L-I-T???

Recalling back what the newscaster had said, yup, she said it as "trialit".

No wonder I thought I heard something was mentioned wrongly.

Now I don't know whether to laugh or to cry.

Since men should not easily shed tears, I got no other option left then, do I?

"HAHAHAHAHA... HAHAHAHAHAHA...
HAHAHAHAAH... HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA"

Words of Wisdom

"Don't compare yourself with any one in this world.
If you compare, you are insulting yourself"

"Life laughs at you when you are unhappy.
Life smiles at you when you are happy.
Life salutes you when you make others happy."

"Every sucessful person has a painful story.
Every painful story has a successful ending.
Accept the pain, and get ready for success."

"If a problem can be solved, no need to worry about it.
If a problem cannot be solved, what is the use of worrying?"

"If you miss an opportunity, don't fill the eyes with tears.
It will hide another better opportunity in front of you."

"No one can go back and change a bad beginning.
But anyone can start now and create a successful ending."

5 simple rules to be happy:

1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simple.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Desaru Long Distance Triathlon 2009 Result

Here's my official timing for Desaru Long Distance Triathlon 2009.

Swim Time: 00:38:19
(Definitely not a 2km distance swim)

Bike Time: 03:06:06
(Average speed 28km/hr - need to improve on this Nik!)

Run Time: 02:35:13
(Hey Nik, small kid also can run faster than this lah. Do something will ya!)

TOTAL TIME: 06:19:38

I can't ask for more... I did my best.
It was my first attempt anyway.

If there's any chance in the future, I'll try to do it better.

Yeah, if there's a chance...

Monday, August 3, 2009

Desaru Long Distance Triathlon 2009 Report

I’m feeling a bit nervous now. I spent 5 hours plus to write up my first marathon story, the same duration of time I spent running the marathon itself. And I spent longer hours to write up the recent PD triathlon race report than the time I took to cover the race. And now, I’m about to start the looooooong hours or writing up Desaru Looooooong Distance triathlon race report.

OK, I’m starting my stopwatch now. Hahahaha. Poyo!

The Training

Desaru long distance triathlon is the main event that I targeted or planned to do for 2009. I started to have the ambition to do it since I first started doing triathlon back in July 2008, when I just finished with PD triathlon. But due to super-lack of training, I did not even register for last year’s Desaru event. It was not the right time to commit suicide yet.

So, when I resumed training consistently and seriously from December 2008 (after Ramadhan and Syawal, and where my weight started to consistently drop from 73kg to 65kg), I had one main goal in mind which was to train for Desaru. I know the distance and challenges one needs to cover for the long distance triathlon race is very demanding, so does for the training. Hence, I started early.

Following through the training journey, I participated in Kenyir Lake triathlon in April, followed by the KL Marathon in June and lastly PD triathlon in July. August came by very quickly and it was already time to be there at the starting line for Desaru triathlon.

If there is one thing that I regretted not doing well is, the training plan. Nope, I did not create a proper and solid training plan from the start till the end. I would only train whenever the weather, or time, or my health conditions permit. That’s why I was a little bit shaky few weeks ago when I had a feeling that I might be under trained. I didn’t know where I stand with respect to my preparedness for Desaru.

One lesson learnt there.

FRIDAY – PRE-RACE DAY

Preparation
I took the Friday off from work so that I have enough time to calmly and peacefully pack my stuffs, and go buy some race necessities items. I spent the morning cleaning my bike, and lube the chains, test the gear shifting (oh yeah, you’ll be changing gears many times during a race), tightened up whatever can be tightened, and prep up the race apparels.

The clip-on aerobar. It may help to keep you a bit relaxed during the long hours cycling, and give you some aerodynamic advantage

The speedometer. A device that can help you see how slow you are doing while climbing up that steep hills. Hey, at least that encourages you to not push the bike, right?

A friend of mine calls this Bento Box. A good device that you can use to carry small items during your rides. Tools, handphone, camera, Powerbar gels, MP3 player, roti canai, nasi lemak… woops. Hehehe

Another friend gave me this hand pump. Not having the original holder, I had to MacGyver-ed it a bit by using masking tape. Masking tape BOLEH!

One bottle cage at the front…

… and another two at the rear. It’ll be 90km non-stop cycling dude. Don’t play play

Plus, two spare tubes secured underneath the saddle by the means of Velcro straps. Easy to install, easy to re-use, easy to keep

Bike set-up complete!

I like to keep my cycling and running shoes in separate small bags. Easy to manage, easy to carry, and easy to see if I have something missing

Completed with the packing, I then went out to buy some more ORS (oral rehydration salt). After that, a quick visit to a mamak restaurant for lunch before going for Friday prayer.

Pre-race carbo-loading lunch with chicken briyani

The Journey
I still remember one of the thing that I was unsure of doing when I first bought a road bike was how to dismantle the rear tire. To put it back was even trickier. So, in the early days, I used to fold down the rear seat of the car, and put my bike from the boot with the rear tire attached.

After a while, I saw some people just put their bikes at the rear seat. I never thought a road bike could fit nicely there. So, here is how I would carry my bike in the car. The tires had the best seats. Ahahaha.

Desaru is only about 1.5 hours drive away from JB. I departed from JB at around 3:30pm after a short visit to the office to read some blogs for final inspiration (ahahaha, yes, I’m an avid blog reader).

”Lonelyyyyy, I’m so lonelyyyy… I have no bodyyyy.. in my caaaarrrrrr….Uuuuuuuu…

I saw this classic. Sexy aye? Noticed the double exhaust pipes?

I also saw lots of Singaporean cars with superb road bikes or tri-bikes along the way to Desaru that particular day

What a waste of money to have this Police monitoring tower built, and then leave it to rust. Why not use the money for the more needy people like orphans or single parents, right?

Oh ya, who knows who are the mommy and daddy for Transformers?

The answer is – Transparents! Hahahaha…

Registration
I arrived Desaru at around 5pm. There were not so many people at that time. The registration went pretty smoothly. I did not hear of any hick ups during the registration. But I felt a bit disappointed when they said we won’t be using the ChampionChip this time. Well, small issue anyway.

I think the guy in black denim on the right is Yip the ultra-guy

And I think the person with half of her body covered behind the board, carrying a DSLR wearing orange shorts is Lydia

Shopping time!!! I bought 6 Powerbar gels, and get one for free. I wanted to buy endurance drink too, but it was already out of stock. A friend suggested me to get Gatorade or 100Plus as a replacement

So this is where we’ll be swimming 2km. No, no, no. Not in the swimming pool. The choppy ocean at the back there lah

Swim course is somewhere here

Ghost in the mirror!

After registration, I went to the apartment to store my bike and other staffs before headed back to the Desaru Golden Beach Resort for race briefing.

Race Briefing

The race briefing started at 6pm. The briefing area was already full with triathletes, though some friends who took part in last year’s event testified that there were more participations last year compared to this year.

Majority of the participants are from the overseas

Mr. Chan, the race director, giving the briefing with his favorite snooker cue

Mr. Chan conducted the race briefing, and as always, it was fun and funny. The swim course would be two loops of 1km swim, where everybody has to exit the water after the first loop, and then get into the water again for the second loop to finish up the total of 2km swim.

The swim course. Two loops of this have to be swam, with a 30m run on the beach before re-entering the water for second loop

The safety aspects during a race can never be taken for granted. Though there will be no water station in the ocean during the swim leg, Mr. Chan suggested anyone who has the difficulties during the swim to raise up their hands if they require any help. There will be kayaks and jet skis rescue team around. He even showed us a special technique during the swim that is best to be used to symbolize the word “HELP!”

”Firstly, try to swim on your back…

… and then, raise your hand like this and then scream… HELPPPPPP!!!”

After the briefing, we were free to do whatever we wish. There was no carboloading dinner organized like other events I participated. So, a self service carboloading needed to be sought after later on. I took the opportunity to make and meet new friends, especially those who I get to know from their wonderful blogs.

Stupe, Yip, Sofian, Kev. All have done Ironman, at lease once

The super fast Malaysian triathlete working in Perth. He flew back home just to participate in this race. It was an honor to meet you Kevin! (I secretly transferred his shoulder energy into mine so that I can swim as fast as him. But unfortunately I did not have the chance to steal or kidnap his strong legs. Well, maybe next time)

This must be a super expensive bike

No money, not triathlon

Some views of the transition area the day before the race. Next day, this area will be full of bikes, and shoes, and helmets, and triathletes

A view of where I hope to be able to smile when crossing it after hours upon hours of swimming, cycling and running

Carboloading
I went for carboloading dinner at a restaurant somewhere nearby Bandar Penawar with a JB triathlete friend and his family. I had two full plates of white rice (crazy!!) that night. I had not felt that full for long long time. Yes, triathletes can eat a lot, sometimes.

Chicken and beef soup, some veggies, ginger chicken, ikan siakap three flavors, otak-otak. Semua sapu bersih!

Last Check
Before going to sleep, it was time to do the final check on what to bring to the race course, to make sure the tires are adequately inflated, the water bottles being filled with ORS and water and also 100Plus, race numbers in place, shoes, helmet, goggles, swimming cap, apparels.

7 gels, 2 performance bars and a pack of dates for some solid food before and during the race. Not shown here, bananas

I saw the pro’s, some elite triathletes and some friends do it like this. Using a tape to secure the Powerbar gels on the top tube of the bike. I put 5 gels on the bikes, and only consumed two throughout the bike leg

Bento Box – Three bananas, and a small pack of dates. I only ate one banana and one dates. The left over bananas I gave to the monkeys besides the road. The remaining dates I ate after the race

Triathlete #295 is ready for action, sir!

With all items in their proper places, I felt calm and quite relaxed. By 11:30pm I tried to have some dreams but failed miserably. I was not nervous, but somehow I couldn’t manage to get a good quality sleep. I hope that won’t cause me any trouble the next day.

SATURDAY – RACE DAY

I woke up at around 6:30am with plenty of times to calmly take shower, do the necessities and prepare a pretty decent breakfast. I bought some eggs the night before, and I prepared some half-boiled eggs. I also had some bread for breakfast.

Put two eggs each inside two cups, and put in boiling water. Leave them for about 10 ~ 15 minutes

Bon apetite!. This was the first time I ate 4 half-boiled eggs at one go, and without any drop of soy sauce or any white pepper. Can I call this “half-boiled egg kosong?”

Done with the breakfast, I cycled to the event location which is about 1.5km away. I saw some triathletes were warming up along the route, either cycling or running.

Prepped up my stuffs at the transition area, properly arranging the shoes, helmet, race number, water bottles and small towel. I then went to the lobby to get my self bodymarked.

I’m good to go, boss! (Oh, what a fake smile…)

Oh ya, do you notice the black wrist watch I wore in above photo? Keep that image in mind and look again at my left arm in the ‘after race’ photos.

The 2km Swim
At around 8:40am, we were all being asked to make our way to the beach, where the swim start will be taking place. I was not surprised by the choppy water there, as many people have told me that one of the famous challenges about Desaru triathlon is the choppy water. And one can easily justify that the choppy water at Desaru is still more challenging than the one we just had during PD triathlon few weeks ago, especially after getting into the water itself.

I tested the water a bit, swam for about 100m or so into the sea, and turned back to the shore. OK, not so bad. At least, the experience dealing with the choppy water at PD recently helped a bit in the confidence department.

Shortly after that, Mr. Chan called everybody out from the water so that the race can start on time. Everybody gathered on the beach, behind the starting line. It was a mass start, with about 430 people altogether.

I remember the lesson I learnt during Kenyir triathlon’s swim mass start where I got panicked for starting the swim in the middle of the pack of 300 triathletes. So this time, I opted to start the swim at the front, on the outside (respective to the swim course). I stood just besides Stupe, and also had the chance to say hi to Emma Bishop, and some other friends. We wished good luck to each other.

At 9 o’clock sharp, the horn was blewed and we all dashed to the water.

Teeeeettttt!!!. It was a false start. The VIP mistakenly blew the horn.

OK. Take two. Everyone get back at the starting line.

I reset my stop watch, and as the horn blew for the second time, that was when we officially begin the race and together with the crowds, I made myself into the choppy water.

I would say that the start of the swim for this time, for me, was in better control. I could maneuver myself properly while trying my best to swim straight ahead and not hitting anybody. I did not push too hard, as always the main thing in focus was to keep the breathing steady, especially knowing that the swim distance is 2km. Some said that the actual swimming course that day was a little bit shorter. How much shorter? I don’t know.

I felt pretty good during the swim, especially knowing that there’s no jelly fish in the water (but I saw one jelly fish on the second loop and that really freaked me out!!!). I did my first loop in 17 minutes and I was shocked. Getting out of the choppy water and to run on the beach was in fact quite a hard task to be done. I only walked on the beach. The supporters and spectators were wonderful. They cheered and shouted for us. They were standing so close to where we were running on the beach that we would have no problem at all to throw them some hi-5 if we wanted to.

I re-entered the water for the second loop of the swim. A short calculation in the mind would say that if I can manage the same pace, it might be possible for me to clock sub 40 minutes for the whole swim.

As soon as I finished with the calculation of time on the top of my head, one swimmer swam across me and accidentally kicked my left arm. In a blink of an eye, I could feel my wrist watch’s band broke and there goes my beloved 5 years old (I think) Casio watch into the sea of Desaru.

”What the… Arrrggghhhhh!!!!!!

And there goes my race time recording. I was racing the race blindly, once again. Just like at PD. So, let’s just wait for the official result.

Somehow, I am still feeling sad with the incident. I love all the watches that I have. Well, nevermind.

Needless to say, I survived the whole swim course feeling a bit exhausted but still energetic enough for the other two legs of the triathlon.

T1
My first transition was done quite smoothly. Wiped out the sand from my feet before putting on the socks and the cycling shoes. Then, put on the race belt number, shades, and helmet. Pushed out the bike and started the pedaling at the exit of T1 area.

The 90km Cycling
The cycling consisted of three 30km loops route. This was my real test for the lack of riding mileage in the few months prior to the race. If I can remember clearly, I have not been doing any long distance (of something more than 80km) since four months ago, partly because of focusing the training for marathon.

Putting the most positive thoughts in the brain, I continued pedaling. At least, if I were to fail during the cycling leg, let it be the failure of the bike, or punctured tires, or anything else, but not to lose it mentally.

Despite of having a clip-on aerobar, I did not use it as much as I wanted to. Whenever I get into an aero position, I felt the uneasiness of pedaling, and in the breathing itself. So, I settled with normal hand position, holding the handlebars, most of the times. I did switch to using the aerobar once in a while and when going down the hills, where in the first loop I recorded a maximum speed of 56km/hr going downhill.

One portion of the loop was rolling, with quite strong head wind gushing through your face. The other portion of the loop consisted of a very long climb where going downhill was heaven and going up on it was hell (of course lah kan?).

For a long distance triathlon, unlike Olympic distance triathlon, drafting is not allowed during cycling. Which means, one cannot closely follow another cyclist from behind to get the advantage of ‘wind breaking’ (sorry, I don’t know the right term). It was tough to be cycling by yourself and the strong head wind at some portion of the route really helped to slow me down.

On my first 30km loop, I could still hammer the pedal. Going with the speed of more than 30 or 35km/hr on the flat road was not that tough, yet.

Getting into the second 30km loop, it felt hard to keep up with 30km/hr speed on the flat road.

In the last 30km route, it was all about mental and legs torture, where 30km/hr on the flat road had turned from possible, to impossible.

Not really knowing what the time was, I tried to eat a dates for some solid food supply to the body. Now I know it was terribly difficult to swallow a dates while cycling. I kept on chewing and chewing on that one dates, but still failed to swallow it. At last, I had to down it with a gulp of water. That’s why I only ate one dates during the cycling leg. Fortunately the tummy was not screaming for food. Or perhaps, I drank a lot during cycling as I was afraid of getting a cramp if I do not rehydrate myself properly.

However, a banana was successfully swallowed on the last loop. So, sorry. No more dates. Hello banana!!!

Halfway in the third loop (somewhere at 78km distance or so), I started to feel the fatigues in the thighs. I slowed down my average speed a little bit, trying to save the legs for the 21km run afterwards. And I noticed some of the cyclists were also slowing down during the last loop. Yeah, 90km non-stop cycling was not easy I can tell you.

But it was a fortunate that I didn’t get any punctured tires, or a pair of bonked legs. I finished the cycling just above three hours (actual distance recorded from my speedometer was 87km, and no I didn’t take any shortcut ok).

To my shock, as soon as I unclipped the shoes and get down from my bike, both of my thighs jammed up. It was so painful. Very painful. I tried my best to maintain in my standing position with both legs locked straight. I almost fell down actually. I pushed my bike into transition, walking like the yellow robot in the Star Wars movies. What’s its name again? No, not the R2D2, the other one. So, that was how I walked while pushing the bike into transition.

Oh yeah, the robot’s name is C-3PO. Thanks Google.

3-CPO

T2
Once I put the bike back on the rack, I sat down and bent my legs to stretch out the stiffened and locked thigh muscles. No doubt I was screaming in pain. The picture below can give you some idea of how I stretched out my thighs. Again, thanks Google.

I spent quite some time in T2, mainly to stretch my legs. I also drank as much water as I could in that very little time. Once I felt better with the legs, I started my 21km run journey after changing to running shoes and putting on my cap.

The 21km Run
I put the target to run as much as I could, even if all I could do was to run slowly. In the first few km’s of the run, the cramp in the thighs kept on coming. So, I stopped two or three times and with one hand holding on to the trees, or lamp posts, to help me balance, I stretched my legs and thighs. Then, I tried running again.

Arriving at the first water station, I showered!!! Ahahaha. I didn’t care to keep my shoes dry this time. What mattered to me the most was to let the legs survive for the remaining 19 or 20km’s. So, I cooled my body and legs down by showering with the icy cold water. I did just this at every water stations throughout the 21km run course. Never missed any.

Just after the first u-turn point nearby the next water station, I was joined by a newly made friend on the run. A Navy from Lumut. Pak Ya, I called him. He’s a funny guy, and very sporting too. It seemed that we’ve been taking over each other during the first few km’s of the run where at the end we arrived at the water station together. I asked him whether he had any target time to finish the race, and he said no.

He said, ”If we feel strong, we run. We can walk when tired. And we can take shower at the water stations”.

The journey from then on was very relaxing. We chat all the way, made jokes, and would surely made the volunteers at the water station laughing their hearts out. Pak Ya was indeed a funny guy, who has done Ironman Langkawi once, at least.

I told him that I wanted to run as much as I could, and only wanted to stop at every water stations to cool myself down, and to rehydrate. He had no problem with that at all, kept on encouraging me to finish my run strong. I gulped two Powerbar gels while running, and two bananas.

Few times I told him that if I were running alone, I would already be walking since the third water station. I was running with the cramp onset at my thighs all the time, all the way through. At some points, I also got cramps at the calves that forced me to stop and stretch.

I was impressed at how un-selfish triathletes could be. During the run, where I stopped at one place to stretch my thighs, one triathlete passed by and upon seeing me in trouble, he offered me a deep heat cream that he was carrying. I didn’t carry any, and I should be doing the same as he did in my next event. I thanked him a lot as the deep heat cream did help to reduce the pain I was having and thus, allowing me to run much further without stopping more frequently.

I would say that during the run is where you can see who are strong, and who aren’t. It might be the main determining factor for clocking a personal best timing. Because it is during the run that you might face the hottest of sun, the driest of throat and body, the most fatigued legs, all working together to slow you down. With a slight mental drop, you’ll end up walking all the way without even realizing it.

Even for myself, there were few times that I wanted to walk. But, I kept on running, slowly. Together with Pak Ya, we endured the pain we both had and tried our best to finish the run and the race strong.

Luckily, the weather too was not that scorching hot. At times the clouds would appear, giving the much needed shades to us while on the run.

I totally lost the sense of timing. Didn’t know how long I’ve ran, and how long it has been since I first plunged myself into the ocean for the swim. Nonetheless, I kept on moving with every painful steps. I owed it to Pak Ya who kept on running with me, and had been a good running buddy. When I got cramp attack, he waited for me to stretch, and I did the same thing when he had to stop to attend to his cramped calves.

Nearing the finishing line, we agreed to finish the race together, hand in hand. Pak Ya refused my offer to let him finish ahead of me. It was a truly sporting spirit indeed.

So, after running for 21km and with a self promise I made earlier, I crossed the finishing line with both arms in the air – SMILING!!!

One thing remain unanswered though – my finishing time.

With a very high urge to know how good/bad was my performance, I asked one guy at the finishing line of the current time, a few minutes after I crossed the chute.

His watch was showing 3:20pm.

Hang on. That’s impossible.

We started the swim at 9:00am. And finishing the race at 3:20pm, that would mean that I’ve crossed the finishing line in 6 hours and 20minutes.

What? What? What?

Was it true? It can’t be true that I clocked sub 6.5hrs for my first long distance triathlon attempt, can it?

*Faint*

Whatever it was, I am still eager to know my official timing.

Post Race
I spent some times after the race at the finishing area, waiting for more friends to arrive. I made use of the opportunity to snap more photos.

That’s Pak Ya. A very strong-at-heart guy, very supportive, and very funny too! Run with him to know him yourself. Don’t blame me for having a cramp pair of jaws for laughing non-stop ok

One guy making a wedding proposal to his girlfriend after he crossed the finishing line. And she accepted it. Way to go dude, well done!

With the very strong Dush. Nice to meet you bro!

With Dush and Farid. Two very strong siblings

With Dush, Hamid and Farid

The organizer also prepared a traditional massage tent and with a little fee, you can go there and loosen up your muscles. I caught one triathlete ‘enjoying’ his massage.

Enjoyment level 1: ”Hmmmm… ok… ok… ok”

At level 2: ”Grrrrr….. tskkk... tskkk… tskkk”

At level 3: ”Ooooouuuucccchhhhhh!!!!!! Heeelllppppp!!!]

Note: Sir, if you happen to read this blog, I’m so sorry and I didn’t mean to make fun of you. I did feel pity for you when I saw you get the massage. Hope you really enjoyed it though.

After a while, I packed my stuffs from the transition area and headed back to the apartment. At that time I did not feel any sun burnt on any part of my body, though my legs were already showing three or four tone difference. But at night, I felt some burning sensation on my shoulders.

Dark, and not so dark. Same color tones on my shoulders too

Continued some stretching at the apartment, while cooling myself further inside the swimming pool. After taking shower, we chat among some friends staying together by the pool side until one moment where I can’t afford to open my eyes anymore.

Into the dream land

SUNDAY – POST RACE DAY

I woke up slightly late to watch the start of the sprint triathlon held on Sunday. When I arrived at the race area, most of them were already in the middle of their cycling leg. This time, I was the spectator.

Training to become an emcee? Hihiihi

Some of the JB triathletes

Spending the time nearby the transition area, I could witness how fast some of the pro athletes did the transitions – in a split second!

Iwata-san. Zap, zap, zap… gone!

Price Giving Ceremony & Lunch
It appeared in the news the night before that one police traffic guy passed away during the long distance race, claimed to be due to heart attack. The organizer held up a donation and within few minutes, about RM1300 ++ was voluntarily collected from the triathletes, to be given to the family of the late Koperal Ibrahim Jalaludin.

Triathletes queuing to give their donations

Among the winners

Among the non-winners

THE END

My lunch

Ok, time to stop my stopwatch now.

Wowww…. What a new record!

*faint*

All in all, it was a good weeekend. I'm happy that I've done it. It was tough, no doubt about it. And, provided if we have enough time to train properly, I believe many other people can also do it.