Friday, June 29, 2007

rest week

after the marathon, i thought of doing absolutely nothing this week.

but then i got bored, and was itching to get on the bike again. so, on tuesday, since my legs were no longer feeling sore, i went out for the usual tuesday night ride. since it was a recovery ride, i went very slowly and cut short the course to 20k. even then, i could feel a slight strain on my legs.

wednesday, went for a short swim to train my cousin, megat, for the PD tri. told him to do 1x500m followed by 1x250m. meantime, i only did 1x50m warm-up, followed by 5x100m sets. average time for the 100m sets were 2m05s. but did manage a personal best of 1m55s on the last set. megat seems more comfortable now in the water so he should do ok for the PD sprint.

thursday, took megat for a run at the ttdi park. i didn't do much running, maybe about 2.5k before i got bored. megat was going for 5k but he had problems with his left foot. it was swollen at the area just before the arch. so he ended up walking about 4k. doesn't look good for the PD sprint.

tonight, we'll be celebrating shafeeq's 8th birthday at klgcc so no training, but will be pigging out instead. tomorrow, i'm taking him out for lunch, so more pigging out.

so, i've done a bike, swim and run already this week. so much for resting...

Monday, June 25, 2007

ticked off...

... my list of things to do before i die: complete a full marathon.

3am, 24 june, penang. the gun goes off and my 42.195km journey began. ronald, peter, bernard, senn and i started off at the back of the pack, enjoying the cool morning air.

my goals for this run was 1) to run all the way across the bridge, one way, without walking and 2) to finish within cutoff. i figured if i can finish 30km within 4 hours i can coast the remaining 12 and finish well within cutoff. that was the plan, the reality was completely different.

the course took us on a 7.5km loop around the gelugor area before getting on the 8.6km bridge. i got on the bridge in 52 minutes. so far, i was on target.

10km in and i looked at my watch. 1h10m. still well within the target. i continued running. after 1h50m on the road, i hit the end of the bridge. goal no.1 accomplished. at this rate, goal no.2 should be a breeze. or so i thought.

at this point, we had already done about 16km. i continued running. hey, if i can go all the way without walking on the bridge once, i can do it on the return trip, right? wrong.

at about 20km my watch said 2h21m. still within target. but then, the knee pain started coming. i kept running till the 21km mark till. that's when the pain intensified. so i started walking.

i thought i'd walk a bit and continue running after a few hundred metres. but that wasn't to be. everytime i ran, after a few steps the pain would kick in.

so for the rest of the trip on the bridge, it was a run/walk. they say you hit the wall at 30km. i hit mine at 25.

at 27.5km, the powerbar reps were there to give out free powergel samples. local triathlon hero, dino, gave me one along with some words of encouragement.

as it turned out, i really needed the encouragement. this stretch proved to be the longest, most gruelling stretch of the marathon. by now, my thigh muscles were already screaming to give up. and my knee was getting unbearable.

as i passed the queensbay mall, i met bernard, who was going the other way. i asked him how far the u-turn was and he said, "quite a bit." how demotivating.

everytime i saw a traffic light, i was hoping that was the u-turn. but it wasn't. next traffic light. and again, no u-turn. i was beginning to believe the u-turn doesn't exist.

when i hit 30km, i was already 3h55m into the run. it was painful, but i was still on target.

7km after the bridge, (31km of the marathon) i finally came to the u-turn. by this time. i was just walking. not even a brisk walk. this is where my plan of comfortably coasting the last 12km went to shit. there were water stations every 2.5km, but these felt like they were 5km apart. it took me close to half an hour to get from one drink station to the next. 5km took me close to an hour. my thighs were burning. each step was agony.

at this point, it was a survival game. i didn't care about the time anymore. i just wanted to finish the run. marshalls were telling me to get on the bus. i refused. i had given up during ironman, and that was an expensive lesson. i'm not about to give up this one.

so i started playing a game. i'd find a landmark, run to it, then walk to the the next landmark. i'd do this while trying very hard to ignore the pain going through my legs. soon, however, the walk distances became longer than the run distances. but, it didn't matter, at least i was running again. i was sure , though, that i wasn't going to make the 6-hour cutoff.

after about 10km and close to 2 hours of pure agony and pain, i finally saw the 1km to go marker. i tell you, that was the prettiest sight in penang at that moment. i'm almost home.

suddenly, i got a second wind. i started running again. running at the pace i had earlier. as i approached the entrance to USM, where the finish line was, there were people shouting encouragement, spurring me to go on, even though i desperately wanted to walk.

entering USM, there were crowds of people blocking the way to the finish line. but by now, adrenaline had kicked in again, and i was pushing these people out of my way. how dare they block my passage to glory!

got to the USM field and i saw the finish line ahead of me. and i started to sprint! knee pain? burning thighs? they mysteriously disappeared during the last 100m.

finally, i crossed the line. however, it wasn't as victorious as most of the other events i've been to: there was no finishing tape to cross, no announcer yelling, "you're a finisher!", no one to put an icy cold towel on your shoulders and give you a bottle of mineral water. just a marshall telling you to hand over your wristbands. despite the huge crowds, it was one of the loneliest finsihes.

but that didn't matter, i've officially finished a marathon distance. a quick glance at my watch:


i made cutoff. goal no.2 accomplished.

after finishing, i waited for senn to come in. she finally showed up about an hour later, having fought with a policeman, who insisted she get on the sweeper bus. she refused, of course, and went on her merry way, after threatening the cop to leave her alone or else! you go girl!

Monday, June 18, 2007

racking up the mileage

total for the week:
swim: 2800m
bike: 80km
run: 40km

of that, 30km of the run was done over the weekend. the other 10 on thursday. so that's 40 in 4 days. now to put all 40 of them in under 6 hours.

saturday ran from bukit aman to petronas hartamas. started at 6:20 am since i didn't want to be out running when the sun came out. reached pteronas at 7.21am, 1h01m after starting. stopped there for a while, had a bottle of gatorade and the rest of my powerbar before heading back to bukit aman. reached bukit aman in 2h01m which leads me to suspect that the run was probably a little less than 20k.

on sunday, did the tri clinic in PD. the swim course has changed from last year in that we now start at the beach and swim into the marina. the start of the swim was alright and it got better as we got into the marina. got into this habit of counting each time my right hand plunged into the water so i could sight every fifth count. helped to pass the time on a very long swim. the return trip was a bit hazardous though, with the currents getting stronger. as i left the marina i felt myself being pushed into the rocks on the shore. at one point i was about 10feet away from the rocks. made it back to shore in 42m49s.

i'm not so sure about this new swim course. PD was supposed to be the tri that beginners would want to try because the swim was sheltered. with this new course, i'm not so sure beginners will be able to handle it. I'm now thinking twice about my cousin doing it. I'm actually thinking twice about it myself. those rocks looked quite menacing.

anyway, after a loooong transition, mainly to get everyone to start the bike together for safety reasons, it was on to the bike. the bike started off with an easy pace, everyone keeping in a pack until we got onto the kampung roads. then it was every man for himself. i started near the back of the pack and gradually worked my way to the middle, chatting with zubir along the way. when we turned into the kampung roads, i put my head down, got aero and picked up the pace a bit (on an aside, i just tweaked my aero position, dropping the bars another cm. felt good). pretty soon i caught up to adrian and said "hi." he replied with a "hel... shit! arif!" and immediately picked up the pace! so from there, we went on, working together, sometimes up to 40km/h, till the u-turn. after the u-turn (which was a bit messy) we continued working together till the wind picked up. having aerobars was definitley an advantage because i looked back to see adrian dropping back.

this was when things got hairy. the rain started to fall and the winds picked up. coming across the open fields, there were very strong crosswinds that threatened to push me off the road a couple of times. scary stuff. had to really slow down to avoid crashing or ending up in a longkang somewhere. once we were back on the main road, adrian passed me and i followed (from a distance) him back to transition. bike finish in about 1h23m.

after a short rest, it was off for the run. right from the start, i knew i was in trouble. my shins have never been a problem before but after a few metres they were hurting like hell. i soldiered on, trying to run through the pain. but at point it got quite unbearable and i had to walk. the 30km i did in the last 3 days were starting to take its toll on my legs. at one point i was limping because every time i put my right foot down, it felt like my shins were going to shatter!

after the u-turn, i got some ice from the water station and iced down my shins, it felt beter after that, but a kilometre later it was back. so i started walking again. soon though, i got tired of walking and just wanted to get back to transition as quickly as i can. so i started running. and i kept running and the pain wasn't there! it just disappeared!

after the lsat water station, i saw senn in her car. adrian and bernard must have seen me limping and reported it to her. she came out to rescue me! how sweet! thanks babe. but by then, my legs were feeling better, and having learned a very expensive lesson in giving up at langkawi, i decided to carry on. call this mental strength training!

anyway finally got back to the finish at 1h09m. not to bad despite all my troubles.
overall time (minus the long transitions): 3h11m. which is about 15 minutes faster than last year.

so now, with the big marahon coming up this weekend. it's time to rest. tuesday will do an easy bike, wednesday and easy swim and maybe a short jog oon thursday. friday, i'm off to penang. wish me luck. hope the shin problems don't come back.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

woo hoo!

went swimming yesterday. menu was the same as last wednesday:

1 x 400m warm-up
4 x 50m hard + 150m easy
1 x 100m cool down

total 1300m

finished everything in 28m16.2s. 1m04.2s faster than last week. woo hoo!

one of my 50m hard efforts went under 50s. a 49.8 to be exact. double woo hoo!!!

Monday, June 11, 2007

my new acquisition

vredestein fortezza tricomp tyres in white. to match saddle and bar tapes. gives angel the oh-so-retro look. i like...

unfortunately, the pictures don't do them justice.

powerbar triathlete of the year

Check out the PowerBar Triathlete of the Year Award rankings.

look who's at number 7 in the female category...

champion lah

whew! what a weekend

morning went for a run with senn , ishsal, peter and ronald.the plan was for a 15k, following the NB 15k run route.

ishsal showed up having not slept entertaining his bosses the night before. apparently he sent his bosses back to the hotel at 5am, went home, took a shower and headed out to meet us. the guy is either truly dedicated or truly nuts.

we headed out at 6.30am. the pace was a nice and comfy. since we were all training for the marathon, we all decided to keep the pace nice and easy. speed was not important today, keeping a steady pace was. at this pace, all five of us managed to stick together throughout the run. the pace was comfortable enough for me to have a chit chat with ishsal the whole way.

in the end, since it was almost everyone's first run in a long time and thoughts of kampung baru nasi lemak was making its way into our heads, we decided to cut the run down to only 10k. we reached the bukit aman carpark 1h23m after leaving it. i figure if i can keep this pace for the penang marathon, making the cutoff (6 hours) shouldn't be a problem (hopefully).

the best part about this run was we all ended it together. no one got dropped, no one surged ahead. and we also managed to laugh and joke along the way. the post-run nasi lemak was excellent too (ishsal, you missed out on smoe good nasi lemak, man). it was good fun.

evening, it was time to take my cousin, megat,on his first bike ride. so senn and i cycled from my place to pick him up(15k) and took him around damansara heights. cycling is clearly his favourite discipline. this was the first time since he started training that i saw a smile on his face.

we were just puttering about damansara, letting him get used to the bike, teaching him how the shifters work, etc. but after all that, we actually ended up doing about 10k by the time we sent him home. not bad for a first ride. hope he keeps his enthusiasm up.

had a lot of options for sunday morning: tri raining with SBR, batu arang ride with PCC, fraser's hill with

i'm not a big fan of the batu arang route and i just did fraser's last month, so i found myself at the uniten swimming pool car park early sunday morning. this was a good opportunity to up my run mileage. the menu: run 2x4k loop, swim 1500m then cycle for as long as you want. present was abu, azmar, bacin, dicky, faie, saiful and senn. there were two other guys but i can't remember your names, sorry.

we started the run and immediately the pace was hot. i swear these guys were doing an under 6-min pace. and i was pretty pleased that i was able to keep up for the most part. just when i thought the pace couldn't get any hotter, these guys (abu, azmar and dicky), turned up the heat at the last km and left me standing. i don't know how they did it. managed to complete the whole 8k in a little over 48 minutes.

then it was on to the pool. i swam sets of 500-400-300-200-100. couldn't really enjoy the swim because there were kids happily swimming across the lanes. they crossed me twice, making me stop and lose my rhythm. how annoying.

anyway, finished my swim in about 35 minutes and it was time to go bike. but one look at the sun bearing down on us and i decided to give the ride a miss. it was just too hot to ride. just as well, as later on i discovered the my front tyre had blown while it was sitting in the boot under the hot sun.

so what do you do after a good workout? pig out, of course! instead of riding', senn and i went eatin'!

weekend mileage:
swim: 1500m
bike: 40km
run 18km

overall mileage for the week:
swim: 3800m
bike 80km
run 32km

i think this is probably the highest i've ever clocked in a week since i started triathlons. could do with more bike mileage though.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

kids say the darnest things

last night i was at my parents' place. my two boys were spending the night there and before bedtime, they were jumping up and down like monkeys with their one-year-old cousin, qatrina.

seeing them jumping around, my sis (qatrina's mom) said, "look at the three monkeys."

to which, shafeeq, my eldest, promptly said, "three monkeys?" then proceeded to count, "one, two, three" while pointing at my brother, my sister and me!

bijak punya budak!!!

Friday, June 8, 2007

new blog on the block

someone else has a blog.

check it out...

rest day

phew! i'm tired. have had something on everyday this week from sunday. a far cry from last week where the only activity was makan makan and more makan.

today, i'm going to do absolutlely nothing. tomorrow is a different story: 15k run in the morning, short bike in the evening.

sunday is still up in the air. there's pcc's batu arang ride, there's swimbikerun's tri training at uniten and there's edwin's ride, possibly at hulu langat. i'm kinda leaning towards the tri training.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

we now resume our regular progamming...

after a week of non-activity (save for a swim on sunday), training has resumed again.

monday it rained so i hit the treadmill at my condo's gym. the first treadmill i used was a bit wonky, everytime i pushed the speed up to 10kmh, the thing went to something like 15kmh. i was like WTF?! after a minute or so, my legs were screaming to stop. so i switched machines and tried their interval training program: 20 minutes at 10kmh with incline changes every few minutes to increase intensity. towards the end i ramped up the speed to 11kmh for the last two minutes, 12 for the last minute and 13 for the last few seconds, before 3 minutes of cool down.

total distance (both treadmills)6.5km in 35 minutes. pace 5.38mins/km

after that i hit the rowing machine for 5 minutes for a quick upper body workout. all in all, a good workout.

tuesday, went on the regular tuesday night ride. it felt good to be finally on the bike again, having not been on it since kenyir. attacked all the uphills and recovered on the downhills. on my favourite hill, i got off the saddle and attacked. found i was going much faster than usual, but also the bike felt heavier than usual. was wondering why until i fiddled orund with my left shifter. turned out i hadn't switched to the small ring. i attacked it in the big ring. patutlah berat! that little incident totally killed my legs and i had trouble climbing the last hill of the night. i really struggled to get to the top of that one. but it felt good to be on the bike again nonetheless.

total distance 38.9km in 1h40m. avg speed 23.3kmh

last night, i took my 13-year-old cousin swimming at lake club. he's very keen on doing the PD tri so i've taken it upon myself to train him for it. since it was his first time in the pool i told him to go easy: 100m warm-up, followed by 2x250m sets. the problem is he can't do a front crawl and his breast stroke is slow. never mind, he's got a little under two months to improve. can be done.

meantime, i did a program of:
- 1x400m warm-up (8m57.5s)
- 4x50m hard + 150m easy (first set 4m26, hard effort 52.5s, second set 4m39.1s, hard effort 56.6s, third set 4m37.5s hard effort 52.7s, fourth set 4m35.6s hard effort 50.8s)
- 1x100m cool down (2m04.9s)

total distance 1300m in 29m20.4s. pace 2.26mins/100m

it's been a productive week so far. tonight, i'm taking my cousin out for a run in taman tun. will try and cover about 8km today. tomorrow rest before a long run on saturday morning.

the only thing to do now is make sure my lazy arse doesn't come back.

Monday, June 4, 2007

time to get off my lazy arse...

after a whole week of total inactivity, it's now time to get off my lazy arse and start torturing myself again.

yesterday, went for a swim. on the menu:
- 4 x 100m warm up
- 3 x 50m hard + 150m easy
- 1 x 100m cool down

total 1100m.

yesterday's swim was slow except for the 3 x 50m hard efforts. time for those hard efforts were 51s, 52s, 51s. not entirely fast but consistent. actual swim time was around 24m50s. time spent in pool, close to 45 minutes. lots of wall time.

today, run training starts. penang marathon is at the end of this month so june will be all about running with the occasional swim and bike thrown in. furthest i've ever run before is 30k, so 42.195k is going to tough.

what did i get myself into?

Friday, June 1, 2007


kenyir tri results are out.

and i was right, my stopwatch was wonky.

turns out my swim was same as last year, bike was 5 minutes slower and run was 1 minute slower. overall 6 minutes slower than last year.


all this shows is that in a whole year of doing tris, i haven't improved. not one bit. in fact, i've gone even slower.

which now begs the question: why bother?