Sunday, July 29, 2007
Saturday, July 28, 2007
... 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
So, I could whine about:
- Flooded transition area.
- 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).
- Running in wet, heavy shoes.
Or, I could Praise God for:
- 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.
- 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).
- Recovery from the cold I caught - still snorting out a little yellowish stuff, but I feel much better.
- 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!)
- 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.
- 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
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Saturday, July 14, 2007
- 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?
Monday, July 09, 2007
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. :-)
Until next time, train safe everyone, and God Speed!
Sunday, July 01, 2007
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):
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!