Monday, January 22, 2007

Training Again

The back brace is off, Kapil's wedding and the eating marathon of India, Christmas and the New Year is over. As usual I've stopped drinking until my birthday in March and now I must start the long, slow, painful and frustrating path back to fitness and hopefully competitive triathlons again.

I'm 10kg heavier than I was this time last year, I've just got over food poisoning but am currently suffering from a terrible chest cold and having finished my second course of antibiotics I feel no better.

All that said I have a desire and some would say a foolish goal of competing (completing) in the Langkawi Ironman (3.8k swim, 180k bike, 42.2k run) on the 24th of February.

I started my long runs on Friday the 12th January with an unconvincing 8.5k run around Country Heights. The next day I staggered around our usual 21k run course but started early so that there were not too many expectations. Sam and Julie came by just before half way with some great and friendly support (thanks guys).

I got home feeling grateful that I'd survived and jumped into an ice-bath in the hope that I could stave off some of the impending stiffness. The next morning I embarked on a 140k cycle to Bentong which was equally tough but I survived it again. I met a really great English guy called Tom on the ride, who's planning to do his first Ironman in Langkawi. He and I chatted our way through the worst of the ride which helped enormously.

The following weekend (19th and 20th) I decided that if Langkawi was to be a reality I needed to push the envelope still further. To this end I embarked on a 150k hilly ride to Titi on Saturday followed by the Great Eastern 30k run on Sunday morning.

Once again I survived both (although I did think I was going to die in the first 10k of the run as I couldn’t breath).

Harro, one of my good running friends helped me through the worst of it and we paced each other for the first 20k.

One of my regular running partners Julie was on fire and won the women’s race with what appeared to be ease (and a big smile as she raced past in the opposite direction already more than 5k ahead of me).

Sam, Carmen, Cecil, Freddie, Mon, Dino, Marianna, Eugene, Goh to name but a few were all having awesome races and were great inspirations to me as I trotted around. All of them took the time to encourage me on which means a lot when it's such a tough day.

One of my staff also did the race, Joey. She’s not what you would call a natural athlete but has done a few 10k runs and entered the 20k option of this race. I was a bit concerned that I hadn’t seen her during the run but then I came across her with a big smile on her face and several kilometres further ahead than I’d expected – Great job Joey, I was really impressed and pleased for you.

I passed Hairul going in the opposite direction - he was about 3k ahead of me - he couldn't stop laughing as I waddled past. I was starting to feel good by then though and was moving faster, I wondered whether I might see him again later in the race! As it turned out I caught him with about 3k to go and he laughed again (all in good spirits I must add - I can't begin to tell you how friendly, supportive and fun the running/cycling and triathlon community is in Malaysia - everyone is so friendly).

I finished in 3:05 feeling pretty good and very satisfied. I had an ice-bath again when I got home and can now harbour hopes of Langkawi being a realistic possibility.

FOOTNOTE: Woke up the next morning without too much muscular soreness but chest cold had got 10 times worse and I had to spend the day in bed - oh dear!

TriTwins First Birthday

At about 5:45 a.m. December 31st 2005 I was just rousing from my slumber to do my usual long cycle when the phone rang and Shilpa said that it looked like she was going to have to have the twins today so would I mind not going for my ride and coming to the hospital. WOW, I was taken aback but she reassured me that all was OK but for the twins health it was decided to have the caesarean now. Don't worry she said we'll wait for you.

So I shaved, brushed my teeth, showered, had my breakfast and then made my way to the hospital. It turned out that all was not quite as "OK" as Shilpa had expressed an breakfast at least should have been skipped - I arrived to be told that it was already happening and was told to sit in a chair and not watch through the little window at what was going on - I watched anyway.

Minutes later two very premature babies were whisked out and to the NICO ward - that was 12 months ago now and it seems like only yesterday and yet lifetime ago too - it may not make much sense but I know what I mean.

Anyway a year of highs and lows, tears, scares, joy and laughter have passed by (not to mention a fair share of pooh, vomit and sleepless nights) - it has been a rollercoaster alright but now on December the 31st 2006 it's Sid and Seb's first birthday.

Shilpa had organised a little party for them with balloons a gorgeous cake and of course lots of presents.

My Mum and Dad were here too so that was an added bonus for the party.

Sid and Seb were still a bit under the weather from their bout of food poisoning (Sid had even had to spend two days in hospital - poor little lad), they put on a brave face though and did their best to enjoy themselves.

Today was truly a landmark in all our lives - Sid and Seb, thanks for coming to join us; we love you - HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Christmas Day - The boys first Christmas

We arrived home on Christmas morning at around midday from India. We'd been travelling all night from Jaipur to Delhi, Delhi to Bangkok and Bangkok to KL.

We planned to open Christmas presents with the boys and then have Christmas lunch (a late one as it turned out with our good friends John and Emma).

Of course the boys were oblivious to all the pomp and ceremony and as predicted enjoyed the wrapping paper and boxes more than the presents. We all had great fun though.

The champagne was popped and Christmas was officially underway.

Christmas lunch was next and Shilpa and Emma surpassed themselves making a magnificent traditional spread in double quick time.

Christmas crackers were pulled, bad cracker jokes told (they were actually better than John's best jokes though!) and merriment was had by all.

Later that afternoon Ian, Izyan, Nina and Alasdair came over and so did Mike and Bella, Christopher and Asha. More crackers were pulled and more appalling jokes told until we banned John from telling anymore.

The evening ended off with a dip in the hot tub and more booze of course, before Simon retired to bed feeling a little sorry for himself - as it turned out I had caught a dose of food poisoning from India which turned pretty unpleasant over the next few days but what was worse if that the boys, Shilpa and one of the maids also caught it.

Oh well eh! Christmas day went to plan - AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, WE ALL HAD FUN!

Kapil and Ritu's Wedding

Shilpa's brother, Kapil got married in Jaipur, India, on the 22nd December 2006. Ritu was his lovely bride and the wedding was held at an amazing Rajasthani Palace that is now the (Rambagh Palace)Taj hotel.

(Kapil and Ritu were the first people (other than me) to see the boys when they were born (even before Shilpa saw them), they paid a flying visit to KL on the 31st December 2005 and arrived just a couple of hours after the birth).

Shilpa, myself, Rohana and the boys flew into Delhi via Bangkok on the 20th December. Our good friend Ashley joined the flight in Bangkok so we had an extra babysitter to lend a hand.

We were collected at the airport by a 4X4 that Ritu's father very kindly sent for us and we headed off into the Indian traffic chaos (nightmare) and a six hour drive to Jaipur.

Over the next day or so we met up with all the relatives including my parents and the festivities and eating began.

Naturally the boys were a hit with all the family and had some amazing outfits to wear. Shilpa's Mom an Pop bought them their Sangeet outfits and Ritu's parents bought them some gorgeous Sherwani's for the wedding itself (thanks guys they were magnificent).

The Sangeet (pre-wedding evening) and wedding itself were out of this world. The boys found it quite tiring and were a bit of a handful but all said and done we had a great time.

Shilpa and Ranjan (Shilpa's sister, Meenu's husband) were the MC's at the Sangeet (I was too shy so made myself useful babysitting with Rohana). They did an amazing job and were congratulated by just about everyone there.

Simon and Ashley shaking their stuff at the Sangeet. (You dance at Indian weddings - it's not optional, you have NO CHOICE)

Congratulations to Ritu and Kapil. They are a fantastic match for each other, and Ritu is certainly going to keep the boy on the straight and narrow, that's for sure!

We also had the pleasure of spending some time with Ritu's family who are absolutely lovely - it was a real joy to have met them and we look forward to seeing them again soon.

And a final note of thanks to Mom and Pop for all the organsing that they did for the wedding too, they put us all up in a great hotel and really went to town to make sure we were all well looked after and the wedding was an outstanding success.

Geat job, Mom and Pop, all the kids safely married; now it's time to relax for you two and start spending some well earned time on thinking about yourselves for a change.