Monday, November 27, 2006

Ironman 70.3 Singapore

Ironman 70.3 comes to Singapore on 2 Sep 2007! That would explain the rising number of beautiful Tri bikes I see in Singapore lately. :)

Given my DNR (Did Not Register) for the Olympic Tri this year and my off-again-on-again training, it would take tremendous motivation to even consider signing up for a half Ironman.

According to this article on, "The Singapore Ironman 70.3 will consist of a 1.9 km swim, a 90 km bike and a 21 km run." This seems to be yet unconfirmed as the site still calls the course "under construction", with only some vague hints like
"1. The Swim will be flat, except there may be some chop on the day.
2. The ride is fast; VERY VERY fast, and very accurate... and it's looking more and more likely that we'll be able to launch with our preferred believe me, that's worth waiting for!

3. The run is superb! It has a little of every thing. It's fast, it's smooth and it has a lot of shade!!!"

Which comes to my current muse of "Do I really want to do this?", "Can I get in shape in time?", and "If not now, when?!?!" Hmmmm.......

On the home front, I still cannot get over how well R1 is doing on his bike without training wheels. Biked 4-5km with the little fella to the club for a swim and then we biked back afterwards. Perhaps he will yet be the Ironman that I never will be. :) Funny how as parents, we tend to project our deepest unfulfilled ambitions onto our kids. I gotta be careful to avoid that. :D

Train safe and God Speed.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Lessons from Parenthood Part II

That's right, NO TRAINING WHEELS! :D Been trying to teach R1 to ride his bike without training wheels and as you can see, he's finally in the weird, wonderful world of cyclists! :D

More than a year ago, I wrote a post on Lessons from Parenthood. Our kids teach us so much - while teaching R1 to ride without training wheels, it occured to me that there is much in common between teaching him to ride a bike and my bumbling attempts at evangelism. I am sharing this parallelism in the hope that it will help pre-believers better understand our sometimes bumbling attempts at spreading the Good News.
  1. Why do I care whether R1 can ride his bike without his training wheels? I mean he gets on fine with his training wheels and is happy enough. Why do I want to stress him out by encouraging/cajoling him to ride without training wheels? Why do I want to risk his falling and hurting himself?
    Well, because I want him to experience the freedom and joy that comes from riding without training wheels. I am hoping that he will discover the same joy that I found in the wierd and wonderful world of cyclists and, God Willing, this would be the first step towards discovering a healthy lifestyle.
    In the same way, we evangelise out of our eagerness to share the joy and peace that we have discovered in our Lord. You know that feeling when you find a good restaurant and can't wait to tell others about it? It's pretty much the same deal, except maybe 10 times stronger. :) I know that sometimes out of our over-enthusiasm, we offend the pre-believers and in doing so, perhaps make it even harder to accept Christ. For that, I sincerely apologise.
  2. Did I really "teach" R1 anything? I mean all I did was help him find the God-given ability to ride a bike. If he did not have that in him, there is probably no way I can "teach" him to ride his bike.
    In the same way, evangelism is really only helping the pre-believers find what God has already planted in their hearts (Romans 1:19-20). It is probably more like helping someone "connect the dots" than "teaching"...
  3. There is a time and place for everything. I tried teaching R1 to ride without his training wheels months ago, multiple times, but he just wasn't ready. I could tell he has terrified of the idea of riding on two wheels, I can see him thinking "that's impossible". No matter how much I encouraged/cajoled him, there was just no way he was gonna do it. When he did try it (months back), his fear made him fall (repeatedly). It is only with time, when he saw his friends doing it that he made up his own mind that he wants to do it. Once his mind was made, all it took was a few practice runs (and I mean me running behind him, hunched over holding his saddle - Ouch!) for him to get it.
    God's timing is always perfect - sometimes He calls us to sow, and other times He calls us to reap where we may not even have sown. If we are not in tune with the Holy Spirit's working/timing, it can get frustrating. When the time is right, all it takes is the courage to try. Praise God!
  4. While running, hunched over, holding R1 up by the saddle, I was trying realy hard to make sure he "got it" before I let go. My aching back soon had other thoughts and I had to let go. But guess what, that's just what it took for R1 to learn to ride.
    Sometimes, we just gotta let go and let GOD.
  5. Finally, a quote from R1 when I asked him to describe to R2 how it felt the first time he rode his bike without training wheels. I was expecting him to rave about the sense of freedom/speed, etc, so that R2 will also get enthused about giving up his training wheels, but this is what he said instead:
    "It feels like you are going to fall, but if you don't let go of the bike, and just PEDDLE, it's easy peasy, lemon squeezy."
    At some point, it takes a leap of faith to discover God. Rationalisation can only take us so far. God cannot be "taught", but He certainly can be "experienced".
Praise God for He shows His wisdom in the innocence of daily life with children. :)

Quick update on the training side:
Thanks for all the encouragement/advice about breaking up the cycle of training/sickness I seem to get myself into - your comments made a lot of sense and I am going to focus a bit more on eating/resting right, and take baby steps back into training (and a little less on how much I weigh). I'm finally getting my hands on The Triathlete's Training Bible end of this month (I hope) which will help tremendously towards figuring out my training and nutrition plan. This week my baby step back into training is a 50km bike - I usually follow up my ride with a short (3km) run, but this time, I could feel cramps setting into my legs at the end of the ride so I skipped the run. Hurray for baby steps! :)

Train safe and God Speed!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Down for the Count

Sorry I have been missing from the blogsphere - both from posting and from visiting my favourite bloggers. I have caught a cold and have been feeling pretty miserable about not being able to continue training.

What is worrying is that I definitely see a trend developing here over the last year:
  1. Not training enough, gain weight, feel guilty about not training more.
  2. Rack up training volume, reach something like 2 x run, 2 x swim, 1 x bike and some strength training a week, lose weight, fall sick.
  3. Back-off training while recovering, go back to step 1.

What's this about getting healthy and fit? The cycle above seems to be repeating itself every few months. Is the weight gain/loss a sign that I am not eating right? I am 1.85m and my weight fluctuates from 78 to 80kg between steps 1 and 3, so I am not over-weight, but getting worried about being under-weight. (What a amazing turn-around, I was quite a bit over-weight a year ago.) Any tips guys/gals? Just what am I doing wrong?

Until next time, enjoy your training (I am green with envy) and God Speed!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

A Long Weekend...

... in every sense of the word, so be warned that this may be a longish post. ;)

This weekend started on Thurs with R1's kindergarden graduation concert - he goes to primary (i.e. elementary) school year. His class put up a great traditional Chinese dance about humble beginnings as labourers, fishermen and boatmen - he is the second labourer from the left carrying a sack of rice. :)

Following that, we decided to take the boys to the zoo on Friday before the usual rush once school holidays start. For a change, it was just us this time, no other friends, and it gave us ample time to linger over the animal feedings...

Then came Saturday, and time for R1 to go to his new primary school for orientation - he gets introduced to the new school, and we get to buy his new uniform, school books, etc... Uniforms are a big thing in schools here in Singapore, very much in grained into our culture. The orientation turned out to be pretty nostelgic for me, as I put R1 in my old school where I spent a good ten years - 10 years of primary (i.e. elementary) school and 4 years of secondary (i.e. high) school. I even met a couple of schoolmates that I have not met in YEARS. Praise God!

On the training side, I have to first say a big "THANK YOU" for all of you who shared your encouragements and/or advice either thru the comments or via email. I really appreciate the support, and quite frankly, it is what keeps me going sometimes. I have been thinking a lot about training plans - more specifically putting some sort of structure around my training so I am not just doing junk miles. Let's just say it is "work in progress" at this time, as I am still trying to figure out the right balance between structure and flexibility given my unpredictable travel schedule.

Following Tri-Daddy's advice, I have been spending a bit more time at, trying to read up more on swim techniques/drills, where I found this article from Terry Laughlin which actually says it all. And I quote:
"A world-class runner is about 90% mechanically efficient, meaning that 90 of every 100 calories expended produce forward motion, while approximately 10 are lost to muscle heat, ground friction, wind resistance, etc.. Because water is 900 times thicker than air and highly unstable as a medium for applying power, a world-class swimmer is only 9% mechanically efficient -- which means the typical Beginner Triathlete probably has energy efficiency of about 3 percent. Thus, the path to swimming-improvement is not to make more energy available through training, it’s to waste less energy by improving your stroke. If you can increase your mechanical efficiency even modestly -- from, say, 3% to 4% -- that will translate into a 33% improvement in your swimming capacity."

Terry Laughlin's experience in college of swimming harder but not faster speaks volumes to me, and reminds me very much of my current state of the swim. :) Inspired, I went to the apartment pool (approx 27.5m - yes, I was "anal" enough to measure it), and started counting my strokes per length (spl). To my dismay, it takes me 25 strokes or more to finish a single length. What's interesting is that without exception, each length when I try to limit my spl to 25 or less, I invariably end up swimming FASTER. When I try forgetting about spl and try to swim fast, I ended up being SLOWER. This man knows what he is talking about! ;) All this while I have been expending needless energy, and not even working out the proper muscles for the swim! Will also check out the Masters Swim class recommended by a very kind Debbie who stumbled onto my blog, but was still kind enough to leave a tip. :)

Given that I have been steadily working on the Olympic Tri distances for the swim, bike and run, I think it's time to start introducing speed work for the run and the swim (I can't fit in more than one ride a week, so I will have to settle for only one longish ride per week with some small hills). For the swim, this means DRILLS, DRILLS, DRILLS, and focusing on spl and swimming silently.

Until next time, train safe and God Speed!