Saturday, February 25, 2006

India Here I Come! (Updated)

Finally had the chance today to get my boys to put on their shoes, so naturally I cannot resist a photo shoot! Ok, so it wasn't a run but a 6km bike ride with the kids, but it's gotta start somewhere... :)

With the OSIM Olympic Distance Triathlon just over 3 months away, perhaps it is time to set some goals. I have never done a Olympic Distance Triathlon before, so I am thinking of just doubling my last Sprint Triathlon timings as a goal...

  • Swim:
    Sprint (750m) 00:21:36
    Target for Olympic (1500m) 43 mins?
  • Bike:
    Sprint (20km) 00:41:56
    Target for Olympic (40km) 1 hr 20 mins?
  • Run:
    Sprint (5km) 00:32:22
    Target for Olympic (10km) 1 hr 5 mins?
I am currently only doing the swim, bike and run training seperately - no bricks at all. And even then I am taking about 44mins for 1.5km in the pool, probably 1hr 30mins for 40km, and 1hr 10mins for the 10km run. So I guess the above targets are challenging enough for me to do all three in one go. See what I mean when I say I am SLOW? :)

Next week I am going to be in India, so it may affect my recent spate of good training weeks (see my training log side bar) - will be limited to only 5km or shorter runs in the gym. Things are just going CRAZY in India nowadays - huge growth in the economy means lots of fly-in business men and professionals trying to get a piece of the pie. Hotel prices have doubled AGAIN, and I will be spending USD$300 a night in New Delhi - which is probably more than what the majority in India will live on for a whole month! The sheer contrast in India between the haves and have nots never ceases to amaze me!!

EDIT (26/02/06):
  • Updated my weekly training log in the side bar. Off to New Delhi this evening - will try to take and post some photos if I get the chance. Was planning to do my kicking drills for this week before the flight, but as you can see from my training log I have missed that [Sorry Keith my mysterious swim guru buddy - not feeling too good after the run last night (feels a bit like indigestion - burping and all)].
  • What this also means is that it has been 2 weeks since I decided to try to get in 2 swims, 2 runs and a bike per week, and I have yet to be able to squeeze in the fifth training session somehow. With the India trip, this looks impossible for this week too. :( Will just do what I can and leave the outcome in God's hands.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Unconditional Blessings?

It occured to me a couple of weeks ago that while God loves us unconditionally (He hates sin but loves the sinner), He never promised unconditional blessings.

In fact, almost all the promises of blessings in the bible contain certain conditions. At the most fundermental level, we are saved when we believe. We cannot be saved if we do not believe, and this is simply because until we believe, we cannot bring ourselves to accept the saving grace of God into our lives. I guess it is a bit like a parent trying to get a hesitant child to go to a party, join a game, try a new dish, etc... At some point, the child has to trust Mommy or Daddy enough to try it to experience the blessings that the new experience brings.

My current favourite verse (below) speaks of the blessings of joy and peace, and how to always have them in my life. Again, such a simple requirement (to set God always before me), but so hard to do consistently in practice. :)

"I have set the LORD always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,"
Psalm 16:8-9 (NIV)
Update to my last post: I am afraid the nap won over the bike, so I am heading out in a few hours for a much needed bike ride. Train safe everyone!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

A Bargain!

Old Nitrox can't pass up on a good bargain and so when I saw this last pair of cute New Balance running shoes clearing for USD$9, I grabbed them! Praise God, I have been looking at them for a year, and refusing to pay the original USD$40 - Been meaning to get them as R1 has a pair that he is fast outgrowing and R2 still runs around in his sandals. Turns out they are the perfect size so in a few months R1 will grow into these new shoes and R2 gets R1's old shoes (poor R2 is always getting hand-me-downs, such is the fate of the younger brother). Now if I can only persuade them to go for a run.... :)

Been another good training week - this is a PR in terms of # of training sessions - I don't think I can do more than 4-5 sessions a week. Have yet to update my training log in the side bar (will do that tomorrow), but here's a quick sum-up:
  • Mon - Swam 1.5km (60x25m), 44mins 18sec
  • Tues - Ran 5km (Yup, I finally used the office gym at lunch), approx 30mins
  • Wed - Rest
  • Thurs - Ran 10.2km, approx 1hr 10 mins
  • Fri - Rest
  • Sat - Swim Drills. Warm-up: Swim 10x25m, Drills: 5 x (4x25m kicking, 4x25m swimming), Swim: 16x25m. Total = 1,650m
  • Sun - Still can't decide if I should take a nap or go for a ride. :)

Decisions, decisions...

Monday, February 13, 2006

Still Slow...

Welcome to this week's edition of "totally irrelevant photo". :) Just thought I will share this picture of R1 and R2 having some fun with some of the paper stuffing in the Chinese New Year hampers. Funny how when we were young, even paper streamers could be heaps of fun, but when we get older, our toys get so much more expensive. ;)

Last week was another good training week in my books. I am updating my training log into the side bar on a weekly basis now (scroll down it is the small table between my archives and links). Here is a "snip" of this week in case you haven't seen it:

W6 Mon 06/02 Swim 1km 0:28:50
Wed 08/02 Run 9.8km 1:07:12
Fri 10/02 Swim Drills 1.35km Kick/Swim
Sun 04/02 Bike 50.6km 1:59:57
  • Mon - Swim (1km). You've read my gripes about how slow I am, so I shan't repeat myself.
  • Wed - Run (9.8km). I still can't believe I stopped 200m short of 10km! That's what happens when you run at night and can't read the Polar S625X. :(
  • Fri - Swim (drills). Somewhere thru the kicking drills, it occured to me that I have done this before - duh.. of course - SCUBA DIVING! Don't know why it took so long for me to connect the dots in my head, but I scuba dived quite a bit in my younger days and of course we kicked a lot while scuba diving. So I just imagined that I had my flippers on, and that I was snorkelling or scuba diving, and all of a sudden, I was much more relaxed and actually moving faster in the water while kicking. I seriously think I have made some break though here! :)
  • Sun - Bike (50.6km). Not sure if it is possible, but I think I am getting slower with every ride! Rode from 10 to 12 at night, nice cool breeze, not much traffic (except for a couple of buses who seen intent to rub shoulders with me - Praise God for continuing to keep me safe), but somehow I just can't get my heart rate up! :(

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Army Daze

20 years ago, I joined the Army as part of our mandatory National Service in Singapore for all male Singaporeans. Today, I am officially transfered into the void called "Military Reserve" otherwise known as "don't call us, we'll call you when we need cannon fodder" or civilian life. ;)

Bit of background, all the guys in Singapore go thru mandatory military service which consists of 24 to 30 months of full-time service, followed by 10 to 13 years of yearly re-training (which can last anywhere from a few days to 4 weeks at a time). Depending on how often we are called back for re-training, the actual period of service can stretch over 20 years (like in my case). After that we get transfered into "Military Reserve" which basically means no more obligations to return for re-training, etc. I.e. the long awaited life as a ordinary civilian.

So today my army buddies and I gathered in a military base to celebrate our release back into civilian life. It was with mixed feelings that we went to the camp - relief that our national service is finally over, but a tinge of sadness that buddies that have served side by side for the last 10 to 20 years will hence part and probably never meet again. Some senior officer came to thank us for our loyal service (as if we can any choice!), and then we were served the most generous lunch in our entire military service, given some momentos and then it was all over. In typical male fashion, we joked, shook hands and then left - not even bothering to exchange contacts or promise to stay in touch because we know that even in a country as small as Singapore, without the mandatory military re-training, many of us will never see each other again.

It is hard to describe the friendship/camaraderie built up over the long years of blood and sweat (sorry, no tears, we are MEN). ;) Suffice it to say that somewhere along the line, we stopped working together because of serving the country, compulsory requirements, threat of military discipline, etc... and starting working well together because of EACH OTHER. I must say that over the years, I have had the priviledge of serving in rank and file as a lowly sergeant, rolling thru the same mud, sleeping on the same hard ground, carrying the same heavy loads as the men I serve with. And what MEN they are - guys who over the years have grown flabbier, lost hair, grown skeptical, but nonetheless showed up when called and got the job done. There are so many stories to tell, more than this blog can hold, and I will always remember them as some of the best/worst moments of my life.

I am only saying this only because no one in my Army unit will ever see this blog, but I LOVE my army buddies and I sure miss them.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


In case you are wondering, you are looking at my new Timex resting on my worn out and frayed swimming shorts. This picture just about sums up my current state with the swim - old and tired but still posting the lousy time of 28:50 for the measly 1km swim last night. :(

At least now I know it is the kicking (so important to keeping my legs and butt up when I swim) that I have to get used to, so I will be patient and continue to work on them kicking drills. God willing, it should all come together in a couple of months and I should be posting improved swim times.

This is a totally unrelated and rather late picture, but my R1 and R2 looks so cute doing the Chinese New Year Lion Dance that I juat gotta post it. ;) They look rather professional don't you think?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Need for Speed

Had a pretty good week - 2 swim drill sessions, a bike ride, and a negative split 9km run. That's about as much training as I can squeeze into a week with current work and family demands.

Saw the local Tri club doing bricks while I was on my run, and realized that it is time to do a reality check on my aim to do a Olympic Distance Triathlon in July. This is my only Triathlon goal this year, keeping in mind my limited time to train, but even then it is time to get serious about it. I think the challenge I may have is SPEED. Given that it is "only" 1.5km swim, 40km ride, 10km run, I believe, with God's grace and more training, I can probably get thru the lot, but as I shared in a previous post, I was slow before and now with the 2 weeks break, I am even slower now. :(

  • Swim: Trying to improve my stroke through kicking drills. I feel like I am swiming faster now, I would say that I have a more deliberate stroke and I float better now thanks to the improved kicking, but I have lost some stamina from before. Still need to work on the kicking - Tried to do vertical kicking (sans the Total Immersion DVD) but could only keep the water level at my forehead unless I go all out (and tire in 30 secs). Will have to start balancing kick drills with distance swims, and work hard on the stamina/confidence to go back to the 1.75km that I could swim with my old, lousy stroke.
  • Bike: After the 2 week break, I am terribly slow now - can't even mantain 30km/hr in the usual straights. Could be that the winds are stronger this season, but disappointing nonetheless. Will have to start some speedwork, maybe introduce some “fartlek” style intervals in my weekly rides.
  • Run: Only had 2 runs since the 2 weeks break. I am still doing below 10km and very slow. Will have to build back up to 12km, and probably start some speed work too. There is a gym in my office which I have never used – perhaps it is time to start mid-week lunch-time 5km tempo runs.

Bottomline is that the Triathlon is fast approaching, and I betta get serious if I am going to do this…

Thursday, February 02, 2006

No Limits - Part II (Thanksgiving)

Hi all, work has been pretty hectic lately - you know the drill: more work, same pay, same resources to do it... They call it widening your job scope. ;) So I may be slack in my usual rounds of blog reading/comments these 2 weeks. Sorry fellow bloggers!

Quick update on family side: Thanks again for all the kind thoughts and prayers for R1 and R2. They are well now except that R1 developed an allergy to the antibiotics and broke out in a nasty rash (betta now). I was actually tempted to take a photo of him, but decided that it would be too cruel, so I'll just use this stolen cartoon instead. :)

Just want to update that after the swim drills on Monday, I brought R1 & R2 to the playground, and as I was watching them, I remembered Commodore's No Limits Challenge and decided to do some dips. I have been having some pain in my left lower back from carrying R1 up and down the hospital last week, and the dips really aggravated it - it got so bad that I could feel the pain down to my left heel when I walked. That night, my sweet wife volunteered to give me a massage which helped heaps in loosening my back, and I stuck on one of the traditional chinese medicine patches on my back. Most importantly, before I slept, I was reminded of Jesus bearing our illnesses/sickness and carring them on the cross 2000 years ago to give us BOTH spiritual and physical healing (Isaiah 53), and it encouraged me to pray for healing for myself.

Lo and behold, I woke up the next morning, and the pain I have had for a week, that just got worse the night before, is GONE. Praise God! I was even able to go out for a 45km bike ride that afternoon. Yay! I just gotta call it as it see it - God is Good GREAT!