Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I'm Back! And I have moved...

Yup, after an absence of 4 months I am back on blogger, but I have moved to a new blog which I am calling "Life to the Full"

I've been doing a lot of soul-searching in the time I have been away, and I have come to the conclusion that I will focus more on what REALLY matters to me - God's awesome grace and His incredibly wise method to use us to save ourselves.

To be honest, it was also getting depressing talking about my Olympic/International and Sprint distance triathlon training/races amidst the incredible Ironman/Ironwomen/Marathoners here in blogger. :-) You just have to trust me when I say that I am still training and racing when I can (go on to my 1st post in the new blog to see photographic proof). :-)

To my old buddies, please come on over to my new blog and sorry it took me so long to find myself in blogsphere. For the newcomers (and I am praying there will be some new readers) :-), please do swing on over too and please, please be patient with my bungling attempts to record His incredible wisdom and miraculous grace in my life.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Off the Grove...

Just a quick note to confirm that, Yup, I am definitely off the training and blogging grove. 4 weeks of non-activity since "My Inaugral Olympic Distance Triathlon That Was NOT To Be". Here are 2 pictures from the said event.

Thanks for the well wishes, prayers and encouragement. I am not sure if I will be taking a longer break, or jumping back into the swing of things soon, motivation has gone WAY down. I was toying with the idea of getting myself a set of ZIPP 404 wheels to celebrate my 40th birthday (creeping up in a couple of months), but even that idea can't seem to motivate enough to get back to training.

Until I find my motivation again, train safe and God Speed everyone!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Picture from PAssion Run

Here's me in the final stretch of the 10km Saucony 100-Plus PAssion Run. Not sure why I look like I am scratching my back, but I do remember feeling (and looking) like a fish out of water, gasping for air in the final sprint.

I'll still feeling kinda bleh about the OSIM Triathlon and about training in general. Work is crazy this week, so I will not have time to do any training, which is just as well, given how I feel about getting back into training right now.

My sis-in-law may be coming again in Dec from New Jersey, so maybe I should go ahead and buy a set of used ZIPP 404s from e-Bay to perk me up and get my training jump started. :-)

Train safe and God Speed y'all!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

My Inaugral Olympic Distance Triathlon That Was NOT To Be...

I collected the finisher's medal but did not do a Olympic Distance Triathlon at the OSIM Triathlon today. There was a Category 1 Thunderstorm (i.e. high chance of lightning) mid-way through the swim start waves, and the organisers had to stop the race and pull everyone out of the swim and bike legs (my wave has not started yet, but some triathletes were actually told to stop the race midway thru the swim and bike). When it re-started, the race got shortened to a 20km bike and 5km run for the rest of us (yup, no swim) due to time constraints. :-( As you can imagine, it was not a popular decision as this was a ITU race where some of the participants were fighting for placement points.
I am feeling kinda bummed myself too - I don't think there is another Olympic Distance Triathlon in Singapore this year, so this may well mean that I have to wait one more year before I get another shot at a Olympic Distance Triathlon. Not good.
Will post more details once I am better able to collect my thoughts...

Saturday, July 28, 2007

One Day to Go...

... Before my 1st ever Olympic Distance Triathlon attempt at the OSIM Tri! So I am afraid this is one of those totally unorganised, "spill-my-guts" type of posts where I try to work thru my insecurities...

1st of all, sorry for not keeping up with my buddies on blogland. I have been too caught up in self-pity for catching a cold so close to the race, having such a late start, work pressures, etc... Yup the race is tomorrow, I guess it is normal to feel a little unprepared? This is all the training I managed to do in my 15 week training plan, sure hope it is enough:As many of you rightly pointed out, "enough" training or not probably depends a lot on my race goals, which are

  • "C" goal - Finishing my 1st ever Olympic Distance Triathlon
  • "B" goal - Finishing under 3:30hrs
  • "A" goal - Finishing under 3:15hrs

Given that I am still snorting/coughing out yucky stuff this morning, I am going to put aside timing ambitions tomorrow and just lean on Him for the strength to complete my 1st ever Olympic Distance Triathlon. It's gonna be a long 3.5 hours or so, but I am going to try to remember that this is my special "dance" for the Lord. No reason, no special sacrifice, no special occasion just something that I enjoy doing, and something that I am able to do only with His awesome blessings and protection. Must admit that I was contemplating not going for this due to my cold, the hot weather, etc... But He has healed me (just about) and He has brought clouds and rain for the entire week now, I guess I better stop whinning and get out there and do it!

And now, to end the pre-race post with a game of "Spot the Difference". Can you tell the difference between this previous picture of my bike (top) and the current (bottom)?Yup, the black plastic disk between the rear casette and the wheel spokes is gone! Affectionately known as the "dork disk" in roadie circles, it is often an indication of a newbie cyclist - "experienced" cyclists usually remove it so the bike looks "cleaner". I have never bothered to remove it, but when the mechanic at the LBS was tightening the spokes on Wed, he also took it out (in case it was contributing to the squeaking noises). So I guess I am finally a "serious" cyclist now. :-)

Okay, I betta go pack my stuff for the race, train safe and God Speed y'all! But before I sign off, I just HAVE to share with you my kids' prayers for me tonight:

R1: "Dear God, please don't let the sharks or anything bite my father tomorrow. Please don't let another swimmer doing the front crawl pull him down and swim over him [Oops, he must have overheard my conversations]. I know it is very hard, but please help him to do [the triathlon]. Please protect him when he is running and cycling because it is raining and it could be slippery."

R2: "Dear God, please accompany my Papa everywhere he goes, until he is very old and dies."

Funny how even though I did not communicate my fears to them, but they seem to know JUST WHAT to pray for! ;-)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Showers with Thunder

This is what the local Met services guys say, and judging by the weather these few days, I am inclined to believe them.

So, I could whine about:
  1. Flooded transition area.

  2. Extra murky/yucky open water swim (the storm sewers discharge out to the sea, so we have encountered branches, plastic bags and even old rusting buckets in the sea after a storm).

  3. Running in wet, heavy shoes.

Or, I could Praise God for:

  1. Cool weather - I'll rather be wet than be over-heated (race starts at 11:15am!) or dehydrated. Although it says max of 32 C / 90 F, I don't think it has passed 30 C / 86F the last couple of days. It ain't much, but a few degrees make all the difference in hot and humid Singapore.
  2. Prior experience of doing my last Sprint Tri after after a over-night storm - flooded transition area and extra murky/yucky open water swim (so I know what to expect this time).

  3. Recovery from the cold I caught - still snorting out a little yellowish stuff, but I feel much better.

  4. Kewl New Balance race belt that came with the race kit - almost bought the same thing some weeks back. (Yup, I've collected the race pack, the pressure's on!)

  5. Since I could not train (thanks to the cold), I did the next best thing -> I cleaned off all that gunk from my chain & drive train accumulated over the many months, and re-lubed everything. That *HAS* got to count for something.

  6. LBS managed to (FINALLY) locate and eradicate irritating squeak from my rear wheel - it took me a lot of persistence and 3 visits to the LBS, but they finally narrowed it down to the spokes on my rear wheel (GASP! Was I about to break my wheel?). The mechanic tightened the spokes and *hey presto!* no more irritating squeak! Sometimes, it pays to be PERSISTENT.


Thanks so much for the prayers and words of encouragement. Train safe and God Speed!

Monday, July 23, 2007

I've caught a cold

Not sure if it was the day at the zoo in the pouring rain, but I managed to catch myself a cold.

6 days to the OSIM Triathlon.... :-(

Thursday, July 19, 2007

"Singapore Zoo Keepers Dissolve in Water" & "Cold Feet"

Yup, that's the conclusion that I have come to - the Zoo Keepers in Singapore dissolve in water! Ol' nitrox volunteered to be one of 3 parents accompanying R1's teacher and his class of 35 7-year-olds to the zoo yesterday (hurray for taper period) and as you can see, it wasn't exactly a beautiful sunny day. So here we were standing in the rain, the animals were standing in the rain, but they cancel not one, but two animal shows due to the rain, and I cannot fathom why except that the Zoo Keepers are soluble. Some kids were whinning when it was time to go, "But we haven't seen anything yet?!?!"...
On a totally unrelated note, I am starting to get cold feet about the OSIM Triathlon in less than 2 weeks. I found out that my wave starts at 11:15am, which means that I will be swimming, biking and running through the HOTTEST 3.5 hours of the day, and this is no laughing matter in tropical, HOT (80-90F) and HUMID (80-100%) Singapore. Had I known this earlier, I would have spent more time training in the early afternoon to condition myself to the heat. Did I prepare enough for this?? I am 4 days into my 2-week taper, which so far has meant sitting around and getting fat, and I am pretty sure that is not what tapering is about. So I betta get off my (fattening) ass and figure what I am supposed to be doing...
Train safe and God speed everyone!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Week 13 of 15 - Injury, Hot Trot & Open Water Swim

Hi folks, I am back from Thailand, and just about on track for this week's training. Sorry for anothe long training post, but this is my final training week before taper, so please indulge me. :-)
  • Mon: Tempo Run - 20mins warm-up, 22 mins tempo (10.3km/hr), 20 mins cool down.
  • Tues: 550m Warm Up, 6 X (220m sprint, 30s recovery), 110m Cool Down.
  • Wed: Work was just CRAZY. Could not squeeze in any training before my flight to Bangkok. In fact, I arrived at the airport after the flight has closed but I was able to convince the check-in guy to let me onto the flight! Phew...
  • Thurs: Strength Training - Leg Press, Seated Row, Bent Elbow Lat Pull Down, Push-ups, Bicycle (Abs). I injured my left shoulder blade (upper back) while I was doing push-ups, of all exercises - and I thought it is the safest exercise of all! I was into my 2nd set of push-ups when I suddenly felt a sharp pain in my left shoulder blade - not good. I could not even lift up my left arm. A prayer and some stretching later, I felt much better and managed to complete the push-ups and bicycle (Abs). Praise God! I'm not too worried about my shoulder given that next week I start to taper, so I will just think of it as a reminder from God to pray for Cliff's shoulder. :-)
  • Fri: Long Run (15km) - Woke up late to a cloudy day and decided to do a mid-day run. The sun is pretty brutal in my part of the world, so I figure that I should get in at least one hot run before race day. Just realised that I am in one of the last waves, which means flag off is 11:15am or later - I am praying for cloudy skies or it's gonna get REALLY HOT (32 C / 90 F).
  • Sat: Plan to do a 1.6km open water swim later this evening - we'll make it a family outing to the beach with another buddy (who is doing the Sprint) & his family. The plan is for the dudes to try out open water swim and the missus to watch the kids. My buddy will do 800m and I hope to do double that, which means I will be swimming alone for at least half the time. This may be my 1st and last open water swim before the O.D. Tri in 2 weeks (last month we managed to get to the beach, but I swam all of 10 mins), so I am a little nervous - I have not done any significant open water swim since the Sprint Tri's in 2005. This time, I have fashioned a simple open water floatation device - fancy term for a bit of rope tied on one end to my race belt and the other end to my pull buoy. I hope my feet will not get caught up in the rope - have tied a slip knot on my race belt in case I have to jettison the whole thing mid-swim (it's actually pretty easy to take off the race belt mid-swim if I have to, but better safe than sorry).
  • Sun: Long Brick - I plan to do 50km bike / 10 km run. I like qcmier's suggestion to do a "tempo" brick, and will do that next weekend as part of week 1 of my 2 week taper. I am thinking that in taper, we reduce volume but increase tempo, right? So maybe a 60mins bike / 40 mins "tempo" run is just the ticket?
Well, that's all folks, 2 weeks before my 1st ever Olympic Distance Tri! Until next time, continue to train safe and God Speed!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Week 12 of 15 - Bubble Baths & TT week

Something occurred to me while I was giving R1 & R2 a bubble bath this weekend... Like all kids, R1 & R2 loves bubble baths, so once in a while, we fill up the big bath tub in the master bedroom bath and give them one. R1 & R2 love taking baths together, but now that they are getting older (6+ and 4+ respectively), they are starting to want their own space. This time in particular, they were so busy hoarding the bubbles on their respective ends of the bath tub, and fighting with each other over who has more bubbles, that they totally forgot to enjoy the bubble bath. As I was watching them, it occured to me that sometimes, we are like that too. God, in His love, blesses us with good things, but how often are we so busy hoarding them that we forget the simple act of enjoying the very blessings that He has given us? As I watched the bath disintegrate into a fight, I realised that when God blesses us out of His love, it must be incredibly frustrating for Him to see us fighting over the very things that He has blessed us with. When we do that, we take the good things that He has given to us, and turn them from blessings of joy into seeds of enemity. Let's take the time this week to simply appreciate and enjoy the many blessings He has put into our lives - family/children, health, fitness, material well-being, the ability to race, etc...

On the training front, I have decided to call this week a TT week. Some of you already know that I had the 10km race last Sunday, but on top of that, I decided to also do swim and bike TTs this week:
  • Mon: Tempo Run. 20 mins warm-up, 20 mins @ 10.3km/hr (quit laughing, that's tempo for ol' nitrox), 20 mins cool down.
  • Tues: Swim Intervals - 550m Warm Up, 5 X (220m sprint, 30s recovery), 550m Cool Down.
  • Wed: Long Run. 15.1km, 1hr 44 mins. Yups, that's my longest run yet!
  • Thurs: Strength Training - Leg Press, Seated Row, Bent Elbow Lat Pull Down, Push-ups, Bicycle (Abs).
  • Fri: Bike TT. 40.2km in 1hr 19mins. (It was a very flat course, but that's as fast as ol' nitrox can go).
  • Sat: Swim TT. 1.65km in 40 mins. Following Rachel's very informative swim post, I was concentrating on using the top of my head to point ahead, keeping my finger-wrist-elbow straight and using it as a paddle, pulling a full stroke, and it seems I made a breakthrough in the swim! 1.65km in 40mins ain't fast for you ironmen/women out there, but it's 1-2 mins faster than ol' nitrox had ever done it! I'm so hoping that this is not a flash-in-the-pan fluke. (If you are heading over to Rachel's blog, remember to check out her HAWT new Tri Bike.)
  • Sun: Run TT. Saucony-100Plus Passion Run 2007 - Official results just out - 62mins chip time (my watch says 61mins) which is slower than more than half of the guys in the Men's Open. Either way, I did NOT meet my target time of 60mins. Still, it's 6-8 mins faster than when I was running 10kms as long runs back in March, so I guess I can't complain. I'm lousy with race reports so I'll just say that overall, I'm actually pretty happy with the run, as I managed to meet my secondary objectives of (1) running at a steady rate, (2) getting a negative split, (3) test out my el cheapo racing shoes (they worked great - can't say that I noticed the weight difference when running, but I had no problems with them at all), and (4) being able to get to church on time after the run. :-)
This week (week 13 of 15) is my last training week before tapering for the OSIM Olympic Tri. I will be travelling to Bangkok this week, so again I will have to juggle my training schedule a little. Still can't decide if I should go for a mock O. D. Tri this weekend, or just do a long brick (50km bike / 10 km run). What do you think? Also, do I need to do any swim/bike bricks? Have not done that at all this time.

Until next time, train safe everyone, and God Speed!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Week 11 - Giro D'Italia & Bike Stuff

Congratulations to the Saunier Duval - Prodir team - for winning the team championship at Giro D'Italia! Must confess that the only reason why I am excited is that they ride Scott USA bikes (just like ol' nitrox).

On a marginally related note, some latest bike stuff:

  • I finally decided to drop the hammer on the Rotor System Q Ring. I have used Shimano Biopace chainrings before - they were all the rage in the 90's, but frankly I did not notice any significant change between the Biopace and the round ones. Let me tell you this folks, the Q-Rings really work! Going from my current round chain rings to the Q-Rings, there is a noticeable "smoothening" of the pedal stroke - they are supposed to reduce the dead spots in the pedal stroke and I can confirm that they sure do. I certainly do not remember having anything near this "smoothening" effect on my pedal stroke with the Biopace chain rings back in the 90s. In fact, with the Q-Rings my pedal stroke felt so smooth that I was pushing a bigger gear for much of my 50km ride today. This one is definitely worth a try, guys & gals! Alas, it felt so nice and smooth that I simply pushed too hard on the bike and paid the price in the run (had to adandon at the 5km mark - was planning to run 9km). Oh well, it's rest week anyway, so I am not too bothered by it.

  • While I am on the bike, I thought I will post an update on my clip-on aero bar - Deda Clip One (1st reviewed in Jan '06). I got this bar 18 months ago as I was looking for a clip-on aero bar that was light and minimalist in design. There are now many other sexy choices in the market, but I can't fault my Deda bar. :-) It was a challenge getting comfortable on the bar on my road bike, and having no access to bike fit professionals meant a lot of trial and error, but I finally got myself a zero off-set seatpost (used, off a mountain bike) and managed to sort out my bike fitment. Here's a picture of the seatpost (on the right) showing my current saddle position - almost all the way to the front. Once that was done, it worked great - I have always been a believer that simple things work best, and the Deda Clip One bar is a case example in my books. Here's a couple of pictures showing the current alignment of the bar on my bike ('06 Scott CR1 Team):As you can see, the bar is angled downward (handhold on aero bar slightly lower than the brake hoods), and slightly extended beyond the hoods - approx 2-3" out. Here's a close up (please excuse the cheap looking grips, there are actually zero cost grips - I basically cut out discarded mountain bike grips and slipped them on):

And now, a final picture for the parents out there who have tried taking pictures of their bike when the kids are around. :-)

Tomorrow, I get back into training week, and have a "tune-up" 10km race on Sunday. I will not taper for the 10km, but just take it as a training run.

Train safe and God Speed!

Thursday, June 28, 2007


Last Sunday, Thaddeus Cheong (17) passed away at the national triathlon team selection trial for South East Asia Games after completing the Olympic Distance Triathlon in 2 hours 9 mins. Despite the apparent lack of medical personnel at the event, the family is not blaming anyone. In fact, they continue to have very good things to say about the sport and about TAS (Triathlon Association of Singapore). I think it is a tremendous testimony of God's grace for the family to respond in such a gracious manner.

However, I must admit that I am a little shaken by this incident. In the last couple of months, I have been getting some negative or cautionary feedback about triathlons. More than one person has told me to start saving for a knee replacement surgery, and incidents like this and the deaths in triathlons in Singapore the last 2 years running make those around me nervous about my sport. Are we taking on more risks as triathletes/runners as compared to the inactive? As the sole bread winner, am I being irresponsible to my family? Please tell me it is NOT crazy of me to start triathlons in my middle age. Yes, I am shaken, but He is my strength and shield, and I will continue to train with the freedom that He came 2 thousand years ago to give me.

Train safe and God Speed.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Week 10 - Missed Long Swim & New Running Gear

Yup, ol' nitrox sure has a lot of New Balance gear and now I have even more. Comes from having a TAS (Triathlon Association of Singapore) membership card which gives me 30% off retail price - hence the fuel belt above at $20 (USD$13) and the Lightning Dry (i.e. NB's version of Dri-Fit) cap at $15 (USD$10). I would've prefered a fuel belt with less bottles, but that's the only model they seem to have, and I can always carry less bottles. Best of all, I work near the New Balance warehouse, which explains this pair of discontinued New Balance RC330MR racing shoes for $35 (USD$23)! I was considering getting the RC1001BW but was put off by the $125.30 price (after discount) for a pair of shoes that I will only wear a few times a year (for races). Not sure if racing shoes will give me any advantage, but for $35, I'll give it a go. ;-)

Quick wrap up on Week 10 of 15 which is another 5/6 week:
  • Mon: Excursion to Sentosa with sis-in-law, T1 & T2.
  • Tues: Long Run - 14km. Longest ever! It felt good, no problem finishing.
  • Wed: Strength Training - Leg Lift, Leg Curl, Seated Row, Bent Elbow Lat Pull Down, Push-ups, Bicycle (Abs). Over-confident from the long run, I over-did the leg curl. OUCH!
  • Thurs: Tempo Run - 15 mins warm up, 18 mins tempo (10-10.2 km/hr), 15 mins cooldown. Very painful, paying the price for the leg curls.
  • Fri: Missed the planned swim (more below). :-(
  • Sat: Long Brick - 53km bike / 9km run. Very, slow and painful - not sure if it was the winds or tired legs, had to walk for 1:30 near the end of the run, but immensely glad that I completed it!
  • Sun: Swim Intervals (planned) right after the kids are in bed.
On the home front, Sis-in-law and her sons (T1 & T2) left yesterday and the house feels quiet. Funny how I never felt that way before with 2 boys in the house, but having 4 boys in the house has introduced a new level of activity that we have gotten used to. You would have thought that a middle aged guy would be over these things by now, but I miss them terribly. Especially when I know that I will not see them for the next 6-12 months . :-( I must confess that Fri night I got irritated about missing my swim intervals due to the many schedule changes that comes with visiting relatives, but now I am glad that I gave up the long run last week, and the long swim this week in lieu of time with my sis-in-law and T1 & T2. School starts in Singapore tomorrow, so it's life as usual - no more goofing off, late nights, excursions, and ice cream (except for weekends).

Tomorrow I go to India, so see you in a week, train safe and God Speed!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Week 9 of 15

Sigh... It is already week 10, and I am posting 1 week late again. As mentioned in my last post, my sis-in-law and her two boys (T1 & T2) are in town, so between spending time with them and work, training and blogging has taken a backseat. In case anyone besides Robin is curious about why I call my boys R1 & R2, and their cousins T1 & T2, I must confess to an incredible lack of imagination and watching too much Bananas in Pyjamas when my boys were younger - remember B1 and B2? Just so happens that my boys' names start with R and my nephews' names start with T. ;-)

Okay, back to week 9 - I have to report that I missed my long run (GASP!) and have to score myself 5/6. :-(
  • Mon: Rest - Time with sis-in-law, T1 & T2 in Malaysia
  • Tues: Ditto above.
  • Wed: Run Intervals - 15mins warm up, 5 X (3min @ 11km/hr, 3min @ 8.5km/hr), 15 mins cool down;
    Strength Training - Squats, Seated Row, Bent Elbow Lat Pull Down, Push-ups, Bicycle (Abs).
  • Thurs: Rest - Time with sis-in-law, T1 & T2 in Singapore
  • Fri: Swim Intervals - 550m Warm Up, 8 X (110m sprint, 30s recovery), 550m Cool Down
  • Sat: Long Brick - 53km bike / 8.3 km run (longest run off bike!)
  • Sun: Long Swim - 1.6km (shortening my long swims from 2km to 1.6km to focus a bit more on pace)

I feel kinda bummed about missing the long run last week (which I consider to be a key work-out), but not much I can do about it now except to focus on the training ahead. This week (week 10) is supposed to be a rest week, but next week I have to be in India (which has proven to be a tough place to get any training in), so I will push on and take my rest week in India. I am pretty excited to get the long brick done last Sat - 8.3km is the longest I have run off the bike ever, and it is helping to boost my confidence for completing the coming OSIM (Olympic) Tri. Sneak peak on Week 10: I got my long run (14km) in on Tues, and that is also helping my confidence substantially.

Good news over the weekend is that a friend of mine from church actually took my advice and signed up for the Sprint event at OSIM. ;-) It's so great to see a friend commit to an active lifestyle and I am so happy for him.

Okay, it's back to work for me. It's race season, so God Speed and take care of yourselves!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Long Weekend in Malaysia

There it is, ladies & gentlemen, I am doubly blessed these 2 weeks - R1 & R2 (yellow hats) has got their cousins T1 & T2 (blue hats) visiting from the States. :-) This is them going up the commando net in one of the nature parks in Malaysia and I am looking forward to a few more excursions in Singapore in the coming week!

On the training side, I managed to get both the long brick and swim in last week, so Week 8 of 15 was another 6/6 week! All thanks to my Father-In-Law, who was kind enough to bring me to his club on Sunday. Can anyone tell me why there is a empty pool in tropical (read: hot) Malaysia on a Sunday morning? I was initially worried that the pool was abandoned - the pumps were not working and there was algae on the bottom and sides. Yuck! But sure enough, halfway thru my swim, other swimmers started appearing and I felt a bit better. Instead of swimming 2km, I decided to do a 1.6km time trial and finished in 40mins, which is a confidence booster, given that the swim cut-off for OSIM Tri seems to be 40 mins (1.5km). I would love to be faster, but will be happy to just make the cut-off this time. :-)

Until next time, train safe and God Speed!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Week 8 of 15

A very quick update on Week 8 before I head off to Malaysia for a short vacation...
  • Mon: Run Intervals - 15mins warm up, 4 x (3 mins sprint, 3mins active recovery), 15 mins cool down. This was really painful, coming off 1 week of being sick. Had to slow down in the last set. :-(
  • Tues: Strength Training - Squats, Seated Row, Bent Elbow Lat Pull Down, Push-ups, Bicylcle (Abs).
  • Wed: Long run - 13.1km. I finally have my replacement sports headphones (will post about that next time) so I am able to run with workship music again. What a blessing! Would not have been able to finish the run without it. Was so knackered after the run that I started wondering why I am doing the OSIM Tri...
  • Thurs: Swim Intervals - 550m Warm Up, 7 X (110m sprint, 30s recovery), 550m Cool Down
  • Fri: Long Swim - 2km (planned) - This will be tricky since I am still stuck in office! :-(
  • Sat: Long Brick - 50km Bike / 7km Run (planned) - The plan is to head out early in the morning and get the brick done in 2.5-3 hours before driving to Malaysia for our vacation!
  • Sun: REST

Week 9 will be a bit of a challenge as I am on vacation in Malaysia and may not have access to a proper pool (the only thing the hotel can tell me about the pool is that it is 4 feet deep and has a waterfall). In fact the coming weeks will prove interesting as work is getting pretty intensive and I have quite a few business trips lined up.

Until next time, train safe & God Speed!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Week 7 of 15 - Unscheduled Rest Week

Sigh... 2 pieces of bad news this week.
  1. Yup, week 7 is officially an unscheduled rest week now, thanks to this runny nose / cough thingy that I caught. Thanks for the prayers, I am actually feeling much better now and even managed a short swim (500m warm up, 500m with paddles) yesterday. Was hoping to go for my weekend long brick today but woke up feeling a little nauseous, so I decided to rest one more day. Either I am pregnant or it's all part of the virus working itself out of my system. :-) I know some of you train through minor sickness, but ol' nitrox usually stops all training once I am sick, with the hope of getting to full recovery sooner. With my first Olympic Distance Triathlon only 8 weeks away, I hope to get back to training starting today, and make some changes to my 15 week training plan - week 8-9 will now be training weeks, week 10 a rest week, week 11-13 training weeks, and then week 14-15 taper. Let's hope that works... Prior to falling sick, I was starting to get comfortable with the distance, so I will repeat my Week 6 training volume/intensity in Week 8 (next week), and start putting a bit more focus on speed.

  2. To make matters worse, any chance of boosting my slow bike leg with a set of 'em sexy FlashPoint FP60s for the OSIM Olympic Distance Triathlon(July 29th) is now officially zilch. My dear sis-in-law coming next week from New Jersey is already carrying too much much stuff for R1 and R2 (we are talking about suitcases of toys, books and clothes here), and confirmed that she cannot bring anything else into Singapore. :-( By the way, since I can't get them in time for the race, any advice on aero wheels (choices) would be much appreciated - e.g. What do you use and do you like 'em? Clinchers/tubulars? Are they sturdy enough to be used also for training rides weekly (instead of just on races)?

Only 8 short weeks before my first ever Olympic Distance Triathlon. Probably laughable to you ironmen/women and marathon runners out there, but I must confess that I am starting to feel nervous...

Until next time, train safe and God Speed ya 'all!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I am NOT a runner...

... I am NOT a swimmer either... MANY years back I cycled a bit, but I am NOT a cyclist either, as proven by this experience I related in my comments to Robin's post sometime back (by the way Robin is such an accomplished cyclist now that she does NOT clip out going 'em hills anymore):

Maybe this will make you feel betta about clipping out in the hills. Singapore is so FLAT that when I was in the university in Vancouver, I went for a leisure ride with the cycle club and was DEAD last. Turns out they went to an island with rolling hills and these Singapore legs just could not cope. There was one particular hill, where I REFUSED to clip out (1st generation LOOK pedals back then), but got into a full on cramp midway and could not move a muscle (literally). I slowly toppled to the side, which thankfully was grass, with my back on the grass and my legs still locked in position above me holding the bike up. To make things worse, I then proceeded to slide ever so slowly all the way down the hill, upside down. Since then, I have had no issue about clipping out when I need to. :-)

So why do I train for triathlons? I attempted an answer last year, which is still very valid, but I still get frustrated at comments from my runner friends like "Doesn't EVERYONE run a sub 1 hour 10km?". No, I don't. Not even when I am fresh. Yes, I run 3 times a week now and I train 8 hours a week, but I still do not run 10 km in less than 60 mins. I am also frustrated at the 40 min swim cut-off in Singapore for 1.5km - I can only just make it, barely, but it feels disappointing to know you will be one of the last, and there's always the risk of missing the cut-off... Maybe I am expecting too much too soon, but I get discouraged when my buddies seem to just head out and swim/bike/run so much faster than me when they are not even in training. Sigh... Must be a beginner thing...

Anyways, I have signed up for the OSIM International Triathlon (my 1st ever Olympic Distance Tri) on 29th July and also the 10km Saucony 100Plus Passion Run on 8th July to "blow out the carbon from the pipes" before the OSIM Tri. It should be fun.

Oh and if you are praying for me, please continue to do so. My sore throat has indeed become a runny nose / cough thingy. I am getting depressed from the training and family time that I am missing (don't wanna pass on the germs to my boys). :-(

On the home front, I am incredibly proud of R1. He has been asking for a set of roller blades as a reward for doing well in school, and we finaly got him a pair. He's been on 'em every chance he gets and has perservered despite falling countless times. In just 2 days, without anyone teaching him (besides some advice from the older neighbourhood kids) he is up and skating. I am so proud of him that I feel like I am about to burst! As you can see below, R2 seems a little unimpressed with the fuss we are making about his big brother. Maybe it's time to get R2 some skates too. :-)

Until next time, train safe and God Speed!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Week 6 of 15

Sorry for another post-dated reported on last week. It's getting tough to keep a balance on work, family and blogging nowadays. Been getting stressed out at work with the merger now at the stage of forming my team - organisation and people. It ain't easy trying to be fair to everyone, setting expectations, conforming to changing HR and global guidelines, AND getting the right people for the new organisation.

Anywayz, the good news is that I had another 6/6 week!
  • Mon: Swim Intervals - 550m Warm Up, 6 X (110m sprint, 30s recovery), 550m Cool Down.
  • Tues: Run Intervals (Dreadmill) - 15 mins warm up, 4 X (3min@11km/hr, 3min@8.5km/hr), 15 mins cool down;
    Strength Training - Leg Press, Seated Row, Bent Elbow Lat Pull Down, Push-ups, Bicycle (Abs).
  • Wed: Rest
  • Thurs: 13.3km @ 8.7km/hr - Longest run ever!
  • Fri/Sat: Unscheduled Rest - Work & family calls.
  • Sun: Long Swim - 2km (I have now reached my long swim distance goal and will focus more on speed in the coming weeks);
    Brick - 52 km bike / 7km run - Longest brick run ever!

The bad news is that I have developed a sore throat since the long brick on Sunday. :( I have not been sleeping well - too much stress at work and at home (merger at work, and R1 has been getting a little out of control lately) - and I think the lack of sleep and breakthrough workouts may have caught up with me. So Mon and today (Tues) will be rest days for me, and I will get back to strength training and swim intervals the next couple of days and hopefully be able to get back to aerobic training soon. Sore throats are usually the first indication of a coughing/runny nose infection for me, so please pray for speedy recovery!

Until next time, train safe and God Speed everyone!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Week 5 of 15

Week 5 of my 15 week Olympic Distance Triathlon Training Plan was tough, and I scored myself 5.5/6, but before that... please allow me to take detour thru the "Hill of Foreskins". Yup, that's Gibeath Haaraloth, where Joshua circumcised all the Israelites with flint knives - ouch! (Joshua 5:3). ;-D

Sometimes when I read a Scripture passage, it seems to jump up at me and shows me an immediate application or area of sin/rebellion in my heart. Other times, it just sticks in my mind for weeks/months... This is one of the latter. The situation is this: God has just stopped the Jordan river mid-flow and brought His people over the river into the promised land (Joshua 3:15-17). Only problem is that the promised land was still inhabited with its native population who are not thrilled that a whole army has crossed over to take their land. So imagine the entire Israelite population dressed for battle and hyped up about their God stopping the entire river to bring them over. Victory has been promised, the natives of the land are trembling with fear (Joshua 2:8-11) and the Israelites are ready to kick ass. But then, God reminds them that the entire generation of Israelites has not yet been circumcised! Talk about a let down. Talk about being vulnerable. The people had to literally lay down their armour and arms, and get themselves circumcised - I would imagine that movement alone would be tough for a few days, let alone defending themselves against any sort of attacking forces or wild animals (Exodus 23:29) now that they are literally behind enemy lines.

Has that happened to you before? All ready to go and then there's this soft, persistent voice at the back of your head reminding you that perhaps you might have missed something even more important? It's happened to me too many times now. After a long day of work/family/training, I am all ready for my 8 hours of recovery sleep, only to remember that I had forgotten about my QT (Quiet Time with the Lord) - so what's it to be? Trust in the recovery from 8 hours in bed, or trust God to honour my QT? Another one I face pretty often goes something like this: Back from a week of business travels and missed work-outs, can't wait to head out the door for my run, and R1/R2 says "Can you play with me Papa?". I still struggle with these sort of decisions, but one thing for sure is that AFTER the Israelites were circumcised behind enemy lines, nothing came to attack them, until they have re-committed themselves to the Lord, and we all know that they then went on to capture much of the promised land. Praise God!

Okay, back to week 5:
  • Mon: Rest (Just too much going on at work, and the office gym is closed for a month due to the merger and re-locations) :-(
  • Tues: 12km Run - Dark clouds started forming from the point that I left the house for my morning run. As I ran, I was praying hard that God will hold back the rain so I can finish the run. And you know what? God has a sense of hunour - the rain started coming down at exactly the mid-point, where I had no choice but to run all the way back. This was not a drizzle, this was a tropical storm, where the rain goes side ways. It was the first time that I ever felt cold running in Singapore, and I think it helped speed me up, as I was running harder just to get warm!. :-)
  • Wed: Swim Intervals - 550m warm up, 6 X (110m sprint, 30s recovery), 550m cool down
  • Thurs: Another unscheduled rest day - work is really getting busy.
  • Fri: Run Intervals - 15 mins warm up, 3 X (3 mins sprint, 3 mins active recovery), 15 mins cool down
    Strength Training - Squats, Seated Row, Bent Elbow Lat Pull-down, Push-ups, Bicycle (Abs).
  • Sat: 50 km Bike / 6 km Run (Brick). I bonked on the run - had lunch too early and got hungry in the run. Probably pushed too hard on Fri too. Had to walk/run a bit after 4km or so. Terrible cramps when I finally got back. Felt better after I stuffed myself with raisins, almonds and peanuts.
  • Sun: 1.9km swim.
The sliver lining is that the parent teacher meeting confirmed that R1 is doing well at school (that's my boy the Star Student on the right). He has also discovered some new found interest in sports this week - football (soccer) & badminton, which is encouraging, as I have been starting to worry that he may be a bit too much of a "home body". :-)

Next week I go to Indonesia again, so again the training plan requires some tweaking. Until next time, train safe and God Speed!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Week 4 of 15 (Rest Week)

The reason why I have this photo of an empty airport lounge is that all the other passengers managed to get on the flight except me and my colleague. :-( That meant another 3 hours in the lounge without even Internet access, and no chance of getting back early on Fri to get some training done. That just about sums up last week for me - I read that we are supposed to keep to the same number of sessions in rest weeks, just reduce the volume/intensity, but I was not able to do that with the travels to both Indonesia and Phils in the same week.

All I could manage the entire week was Swim Intervals (6 X 55m sprint, 30s recovery) and Run Intervals (10 X 1min hill sprint, 2min active recovery). With all the travelling (and probably also the stress of the huge merger and missed financial targets at work), I have not been sleeping well, so despite the lapse in training, I don't particularly feel refreshed, so when it was time to do my weekend bike/run and it was drizzling, I decided to spend my 2.5 hours on this instead...Yup, that is Luke Sykwalker at the front with his light sabre, while Chewbacca, R2D2, Hans Solo and Princess Diana chill out behind him (there's one other character in the cockpit of the X-wing fighter, but I can't figure out who he is). This Lego set was R1's birthday present last year and the poor kid has been waiting 6 months for his negligent papa to fix it with him. Now that R1's exams are over and it's rest week, there really is no excuse for us to put it off any longer, so Voila! We are proud to report that, despite being only 6+, R1 built all of that himself - all ol' nitrox did was to help him find the lego bits from the hundreds in the box. R2 also helped by taking a nap so he wouldn't be tempted to go running off with the tiny Lego bits. :-) As you can see, R2 was a little over-whelmed by how much got done while he was napping. [ BTW, the picture on the right was also taken last weekend when we went shopping for MORE TOYS! :-) ]

So all in all, I can only score myself 2/6 for the rest week (only 2 of 6 training sessions done), but given the work commitments, I think I did well to spend time on what's important - family. :-) Praise God!

Until next time, train safe and God Speed!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Week 3 of 15

Another 6/6 week! But just barely... My floor pump broke just when I was about to head out for my Sunday bike/run and I had to scramble to get a new one (see picture, I got the Park Tool Home Mechanic Floor Pump, what a beauty!). Thankfully, I managed to squeeze in the bike/run before my flight to Jakarta this week, it was pretty stressful, as I was running scared of missing my flight to Jakarta! ;-)

So here's my training stats this week:

  • Mon: Swim Intervals - 550m warm up, 10 X (110m sprint, 30s recovery), 550m cool down
  • Tues: Long Run - 12.2 km
  • Wed: Rest
  • Thurs: 15min warm up, 8 X (1min sprint, 2min active recovery), 10min cool down;
    Strength Training (Leg Press, Seated Row, Bent Elbow Lat Pull Down, Chin-ups, Ab Crunch with Twist)
  • Fri: Rest
  • Sat: Long Swim - 1.95km
  • Sun: 52.4km bike / 6.4km run

As you can see from the total training hours per week above, this is the most training hours that I have ever logged in 3 consecutive weeks, and probably the most structured training I have undertaken since my Army days more than 20 years ago. The last bike/run I did on Sunday, I actually felt pretty strong and the fear of missing my flight actually pushed me to a 9.4km/hr pace for the 6.4km run, which is BOTH the fastest and longest brick run that I have done so far! I know the speed and distance ain't much to you ironmen/women and marathoners out there, but that's a brick run PR for ol' nitrox! :-) What a great way to go into REST WEEK this week! All in all, I feel tired and a little sore, but satisfied with the 3 weeks, and looking forward to cranking it up against after a week of rest.

This probably falls into the "too much information" category, but I remember that after the 2006 New Balance Real Run, my speedy gonzales friend N was remarking to me how he gets nipple abrasion on long runs, and I was like "erm... No, I don't have that problem. And I don't think I know you well enough for that conversation buddy!" Then last week, I jumped into the shower after my long run and "OUCH" - nipple abrasion. I guess I have arrived as a runner. :-) I already use vaseline on my bike seat (it helps me slide forward in aero position and back when climbing), so maybe... just maybe... Any suggestions welcome from you avid runners out there, and until next time, train safe and God Speed!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Rubbers & Gels

Somehow, this seems a particularly apt subject while blogging in the Bangkok airport (waiting for my flight home). :-) Yup, boys and girls, you gotta love your rubbers, and ol' nitrox just got myself a pair of lovely white-walled rubbers. My OEM tyres were starting to fray at the side walls, so I picked up these beauties at the LBS last week. Vredestein Fortezza Tricomps are apparently racing clinchers with recommended pressure of 145psi, but my pump can only go to 140psi, and my wheels have a 133psi limit, so I am running them at 140psi (which is still 20 higher than my usual 120psi on the OEM tyres). If these are anything like car tyres, they probably need to be "broken in", but initial impressions are positive (except Mrs Nitrox took a look and pronounced them "Ah Beng", which is Singapore speak for "Bling" - in my defence, the LBS guy picked the colour and I did not know they come in black until I started surfing the 'Net). Coming from OEM tyres, I found the Tricomps to be much grippier - I used to slide on wet cement floors and have my OEM tyres break traction going up steep hills, but did not seem to have this problem with the new tyres. They also seem "tougher" - the 120tpi casing shows itself as feeling thicker and tougher than the old rubbers. I was initially concerned about them being slower due to higher rolling resistance (more grip = higher rolling resistance = lower speed?), but the higher pressure must have helped, as I seem to be ~2km/hr faster on the straights (have yet to quantify the effect on average speed, which really needs a few rides). Will keep you updated if they are indeed faster than the OEM tyres.

Following my questions about Nutrition for Olympic Distance Triathlon, I decided to do some testing and picked up a pack of Hammer Gels (Raspberry). So far I have been just taking 2 bottles of Powerade on my weekend 2.5hr bike/run (approx 35kcal per 100ml, so a total of 350kcal). Don't think I can drink 2 bottles on the bike leg come race day, so I am thinking perhaps a gel (86 kcal) just before the swim, 1 bottle of Powerade (175 kcal) during the bike, another gel in the run leg (86 kcal), and another bottle of Powerade (175kcal) split between quick gulps in T1 and T2. That would give me a total of 522kcal for 3:15-3:30 hours. Think that is enough?

So last Sun, instead of taking 2 bottles of Powerade on the bike for my planned weekend 50km ride / 6km run, I took 1 bottle of Powerade, 1 bottle of water and 1 Hammer gel for the bike. I left out another bottle of Powerade so that I can take quick gulps between the ride and the run (I managed about 3/4 bottle). Just like the pros, I taped the Hammer gel on the top tube of my bike so I can rip it off one handed. In true ol' nitrox style, I managed to get my fingers and glove all sticky in the process - looks like more practice is required. :-) What did it taste like? Well... Kinda like warm, melted candy (except it is less sweet), which is not entirely a bad thing. I was apprehensive reading about how gels make some people hurl, so was relieved that the other 11 gels in the box won't be going to waste. I had naively expected a magical power boost but of course it never came. I guess the fact that I could successfully take in the gel and bottles is good news in itself. The gels should come in handy to keep energy levels up in the O.D. race (3:15-3:30 hrs)when I may not be able to stomach so many bottles.

Oops, almost boarding time, so until next time, train safe and God Speed!

Monday, April 30, 2007

Week 2 of 15

Week 2 went well, considering I had a business trip to Jakarta. But before that, please allow me to share R1 & R2's latest creations of which I am immensely proud. On the left is R1's attempt at Pop Art, while R2 painted a duck who loves his boots so much that he wears them even on sunny days. :-) (sorry for the formatting, can't get the pictures to aligh properly...)

  • Mon: Long Run 11km (Yes, that's a long run in my books.) :-)
  • Tues: Swim Intervals 8 X (110m sprint, 30s recovery) (Yes, it was a pool with a weird length)
  • Wed: Run Intervals 6 X (1min hill sprint, 2min active recovery)
  • Thurs: Long Swim 1.8km, Strength Training (Leg Press, Seated Row, Bent Elbow Lat Pull-down, Push-ups, Abs Crunch with Twist)
  • Fri: Rest (return trip from Jakarta)
  • Sat: Unscheduled rest day (family commitments)
  • Sun: 52.2km ride / 6.2km run (Brick)

So in short, I am thankful to report that Week 2 of 15 is again 6/6! :-) I had to take my scheduled rest day last Sunday on Saturday instead - BEFORE my Week 2 bike/run instead of AFTER, which should make this week's training interesting... Also adding to the challenge this week is a 4 day business trip to Bangkok, which will again push my swims, long run and ride to the beginning and end of this week. I will be travelling with my boss, who is recovering from bronchitis, so I will be praying for good health this week!

Thanks for following me on my 15 week journey. I also did a bit of shopping, and got some new rubbers and gels (sorry, no kinky stuff, I am a Singaporean) this week, but more on that next time. Until then, train safe and God Speed!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Olympic Distance Triathlon Nutrition?

Taking a cue from IronPol, I am reminded to ask if I need any special nutrition plan for an Olympic Distance Triathlon? I am aiming for 3:15-3:30 finish time, which means I will be using good ol' Staminade, but do I need gels and energy bars?

I take Staminade with me on my 2 hour ride - 2 bottles, approx 1 litre which is about 222 Cal (kcal) - because I read that I should take in 150-250 Cal per hour on the bike. But my Polar HRM says that I burn >900 Cal in my 2 hour ride, what's with that? Am I supposed to replenish only a portion of the calories I burn or all of it?

Based on my weight, RunThePlanet says that I am burning 800 Cal per hour when I run (my Polar HRM says approx 650 Cal, close enough I guess). I never take any sports drink or gels during my run because currently I am running less than 80 mins. Should I be?

Recovery drinks - do I need them? This is one area where I am totally confused. I started with Accelerate last year, but found it expensive. Then I read that low fat chocolate milk or even skimmed milk with some sugar works the same. So I started taking low fat chocolate milk / low fat milk after work-outs (I read that the 30mins after work-out is a good time to take in some protein and carbohydrates). After a few weeks, I started suspecting that I may be lactose intolerant (a condition I had in my teens). So now I try to take soy milk (reduced sugar) instead.

Of course on top of all that I am trying to eat right - more veggies and fruits, green tea instead of the 2nd cup of coffee, more fish/chicken, etc... But I am certainly not on any sort of diet. In terms of weight, I am hovering at 80-82kg (1.85m height), which puts me at 23-24 kg/m2 (which puts me just below "overweight" cut off at 25kg/m2 for Asian populations).

While we are on the subject of nutrition, R2 is getting so thin that some neighbours have asked us if he is sick. :( He is a finicky eater, so we are doing what we can to get him to eat MORE - including bribing him with a brownie-on-a-stick. :D

Quick update on training front: Week 1 of 15 was indeed a 6/6! I managed to get the planned bike/run in on Sat. This week I am travelling to Indonesia, so I will push the long run and swim to the start of the week and leave Strength Training and Intervals to the hotel gym. I will be back in time for my weekend bike/run, so God Willing, week 2 looks to be on track too.

Until next time, train safe and God Speed!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Week 1 of 15

The inaugral week of my 15 week Olympic Distance Triathlon training plan has gone reasonably well, considering that I was off track from day one due to work commitments:
  • Mon: Plan - Run Intervals. Actual - Unplanned rest day due to work commitments.
  • Tues: Plan - Swim 1.5km. Actual - Run Intervals (4 X 1km run, 500m recovery).
  • Wed: Plan - Run 10km. Actual - Swim Intervals (6 X 110m, 30 sec recovery).
  • Thurs: Plan - Strength Training. Actual - Run 10km (on dreadmill, due to heavy rain), Strength Training.
  • Fri: Plan - Swim Interval. Actual - Swim 1.65km.
  • Sat (tomorrow): Plan - Bike 52.5km / Run 4.5km
  • Sun: Rest

So in short, I managed to catch up on the week's training plan today (Fri) and hope to get in the Bike/Run tomorrow as planned to make it a 6/6 training week. :) I am feeling a bit tired as I have not done so many sessions in a week before, but still hopeful that I will stick to my 15 week plan.

Judging by how much fun R2 had with the neighbour's pedal kart, the need for speed must run in the family. I have been reading about speedwork in Triathlete Magazine and have decided to follow their "ladder system", which means starting with much shorter intervals (100m X 6) and gradually increas the interval durations. Apparently it increases neuromuscular capacity so that this ol' brain can fire off more muscle fibers when fatique sets in... Sounds good to me! :)

Met an ol fren 2 days ago. We have not met in years so he has not seen the new, lean me...

  • Ol' Fren: What happened to you? You lost so much weight! Are you sick?
  • Ol' Nitrox: Em... No... I have been exercising.
  • Ol' Fren: But you LOOK sick. Is everything okay? You can tell me, it's okay.
  • Ol' Nitrox: I have been doing some triathlon training.
  • Ol' Fren: I have never seen anyone do triathlons and lose so much weight. They tend to stay the same size and just do triathlons. Are you sure you are healthy?
  • Ol' Nitrox: Buddy, I assure you that I am very healthy (exasperation made me say it). It's normal to lose weight when you train 5-6 times a week.
  • Ol' Fren: 5-6 times a WEEK?!?! Is something wrong? It sounds like an obsession. Why are you so obsessed with it?
  • Ol' Nitrox: I guess I'm just the kind of guy that likes to put 100% in what I do. I think guys that play golf put more hours into golf than I do.
  • Ol' Fren: Ya, but they don't do it everyday! Are you sure you are okay?

Sigh.... Some people just DON"T GET IT. In hindsight, I could have talked about the freedom and fullness of life that Christ came to give us. Ol' Nitrox has always had blindingly brilliant hindsight. Sigh... Until next time, train safe and God Speed, y'all!