Saturday, March 31, 2007

One of our Men at MDS writes...

Hi my guru: Thanks for all the tips and pointers. That really help us here. Just finished the marathon stage in about 7 hours or just under. I was so carried away that for the first time I took out and flew the Malaysian flag in the last 500 metres.

Thank you also for your emails and sorry for not queuing for to send you a reply earlier. Pls say thanks to Mike Steven for his email.

I as stupid enough to incur 1 hour penalty on the second day for check in 5 min late on the second day morning. Otherwise I like it so far. I also waited for Dr. Tan in check point 5 during the long leg to finish together in the nite and he owed me a favour for that.

Can you also forward this to and pacesetters club to let them know our status.

Another 11 k tomorrow and we are done. Hurray and see you real soon. Cheers!!

Friday, March 30, 2007


Here's Hayley collecting her "Woman Runner of the Year" award 2007. It was sponsored by Adidas and for some strange reason they thought making her wear a Men's LARGE tracksuit would be a good photo op! You look great Hayley but Adidas you need to get your act together. (By the way it was a cowboy theme for the evening which explains the dude on the right).

A group of us the day before the Langkawi Ironman. Sam and Carmen on the extreme right. Dr. Tan 3rd from right and Ngae 4th from the left (they are currently competing in the toughest foot race in the world - Marathon Des Sables - 240km ultra-marathon, carrying all of your own provisions across the Sahara Desert!!! Awesome Guys). Then there's me in green next to Dr. Tan and Joo Ngan at the front (the man that got me back into triathlons).Next is Japanese Sam - never to be seen without a smile on his face - doing his first Ironman.

Sam and Tom just before the 2007 Langkawi Ironman - both looking extremely cheerful. Sam had never managed to conquer this Ironman (although he has many others) and this was Tom's first attempt. Tom and his partner are soon expecting their first child - good luck Tom.

Sam with a gong around his neck and a Langkawi finish under his belt looking fresh as a daisy and just seconds away from Hawaii qualification. AWESOME!

Monday, March 19, 2007

18th March 2007 - 41 Years Old

Today was my birthday and to celebrate it I did the KL Marathon. Having survived that, my lovely wife had invited a few friends to celebrate with me for a champagne brunch at the Westin KL.

John and Emma were there.

Emma had also completed the half marathon.

Mike and Bella too.

Bella and Shilpa had completed the 10k run.

The final members of the team were Ian and Siti.

Ian had completed the half-marathon.

Everyone else that had ran all seemed fresh as daisies (and I pretended to be too).

John, Mike and Siti think we're all bonkers by the way. Having said that, John did mention that he had managed a PB (personal best) that very morning - he'd made it to the bathroom and back to bed in a new record of 30 seconds - Well done John!

Monday in the office was a bit tough, I arrived late and felt like I'd been hit by a bus (and I know from experience how that feels). As is the office tradition on everyone's birthday, we have a cake and sing Happy Birthday, while the birthday boy/girl try not to get too embarrassed.

Lovely! And that's another birthday for another year.

KL Marathon - 18 March 2007

Having somehow struggled through the Langkawi Ironman I embarked upon a crusade to Twickenham to watch England do what they have done for centuries and ravage the French. A fitting encore was a pilgrimage to the Guinness Factory in Dublin. You can imagine how "tired" I was by the time I got back!

Shilpa reminded me that in two days time I had the KL Marathon to complete. I was a tad surprised as I'd been following one of my favourite training regimens - "Denial". Oh well it's never too late to start training, so on Friday night Shilpa and I went for a 6.25k run. Unfortunately after 4.4k I had to stop because my Achilles tendons were hurting too much. NOT A GOOD SIGN.

Sunday soon arrived and I woke up at 2:40 a.m. to see England lose the rugby to Wales, India lose the cricket to Bangladesh, Pakistan defeated by Ireland and sent packing from the world cup (very significant to Shilpa and I, as you will see in later posts) and Leeds United yet again fail to win a game. Not a good day. Oh yes, I almost forgot it was also my birthday.

The race started at 4:30 a.m. so after a visit to the loo I made it in good time 4:31. Actually it worked out well as I intended to start at the back anyway. I started off gently intending to do negative splits (doing the second half of the race faster than the first), this is the only way to run a marathon, so say all the books and I can't agree more.

I managed to get to 21k relatively unscathed except the pain was setting in the legs and pelvis. At this point I took a salt table and a gel which helped considerably. Soon after I ran past my office and towards the start line; this is a little cruel as the course then turns away and you have another 17 kilometres to do before you see the finish again.

At 30k I got the much talked about but seldom experienced "runners high", a first for me. I was running along considerably faster than I had been, still in pain but singing "I believe I can fly, I believe I can touch the sky..." with a big silly smile on my face. That lasted for about 8k and then the wheels temporarily fell off. I had 2k of misery doing the Ironman shuffle, head down shoulders hunched - not very pretty. The last 2k were a little easier for the simple fact that it was almost over.

I finished in 4 hours 4 minutes and 13 seconds which was over 7 minutes quicker than last year. I was also in a far better state at the end of it. So all said and done a great result.

A few mentions: -

John Gilchrist stormed around the marathon in 3:16 and 18th place - nice one John.

I met Hayley before the race and she could hardly talk. She'd got some sort of cold and fever, not to mention the swollen throat. She really should have been at home in bed - can you believe it she still did 3:22 and came 4th! WOW!

Hairul Azwar ( completed the marathon in a very credible 4:51 just 3 weeks after Ironman.

Julie continues with her superb form and came second in her category - AWESOME JULIE!

Emma had a tough day but still managed 2:01 and 25th place.

Ian did his first half marathon in a few years and knocked out a very worthy 2:16.

Joey did the 10k and achieved a personal best of 1:30. I met her at the finish and she was deservedly and proudly wearing her medal. Well done Joey, great job again.

Shilpa and Bella also did the 10k. They had a ding dong battle all the way through, each taking turns overtaking each other. With 1k to go Shilpa made her move and Bella just couldn't respond to Shilpa's blistering final kick. Shilpa achieved a personal best of 57:57 and Bella was a second or two behind.

Christopher did a great job in the 7k and Asha was awesome in the 3k.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

England vs France - 11th March 2007

Back when time forgot, Ian and I were at a rugby dinner in KL hosted by Austin Healey, the ex-England international. During the evening they had an auction for a hospitality trip to Twickenham to watch England against France in the 6 Nations.

It all sounded great but our glasses were empty so we let them get on with it while we tried to get a waiter's attention. It took ages and much gesticulation, we were a bit frustrated (not to mention thirsty). When the waiter eventually came, you can imagine our surprise when he turned out not to be a waiter at all but was the auction guy asking for our credit card and congratulating us on winning the bid!!!!! Oops! (A bit of poetic license here - but who am I to spoil a good story by the facts).

We arrived in England, got to the hotel and went straight out for a 10k run around Hyde Park - an excellent way to get the body going after a long plane ride.

Later we met up with one of Ian's police buddies who is one of the principle fire arms instructors for the police force (and special forces). He took us to one of the Police firing ranges and unleashed us on the firing range with some serious hardware.

First off with a MP5 SMG and then a Glock 9mm pistol. We shot off about 250 rounds - it was awesome - thank you John.

Then it was off to the theatre to watch Mamma Mia. Interestingly the tickets were no where to be found and we had to blag our way in. A bit stressful but we made it (in fact the tickets got delivered to Ian's room the day after!!!). The show was excellent and afterwards we met up with Ian's buddies John and Steve in the evening and also my buddies Andy Brown and Sean Murtagh. It was really great to see them. A few beers were downed and old times reminisced.

The next morning was shopping day and also Chris and India came up from deepest darkest Kent to catch up. It was great to see them and we also met up with Ed, one of our old sailing buddies from college. Lots of shopping and a big lunch later Ian and I were left to our beer drinking exploits - we're obviously getting old though as we ended up having an early night (we justified it as preparation for the big day tomorrow).

We arrived at Twickers with plenty of time to spare, we got our passes and dived into the souvenir shop (which was huge). I thought Ian might not leave anything for anyone else and eventually I dragged him away – after all there was Guinness and Champagne to be drunk.

True to form we were first to our table and Ian introduced me to the delights of Black Velvet (Guinness and Champagne cocktail).

The rest of the table eventually arrived including Austin Healey. You can only imagine the surprise on our faces when two of our table members turned out to be French (they'd won the auction from Austin's Hong Kong dinner). Oo ere we thought, France were the favourites to win and there were a couple of Fenchies here to rub our noses in it! As it turned out they were great company (and England had a surprise or two on the pitch as it turned out).

The weather was amazing, not a cloud in the sky and Fortress Twickenham has an electric atmosphere. The players came out, we sang the national anthem and the game was on. I've never known 40 minutes pass so quickly and we went in at half time a few points behind but looking strong and the better team.

During the second half England really started to play with some flare, whereas the French looked flat and out of sorts. Two awesome tries later and a few kicked points, the victory was ours! Icing on the cake (I'd expected a French win). Icing on the icing on the cake was that I won the table sweep-stake for predicting the time of the first try. 55 quid - thank you ladies an goodnight!

Back to the Players Lounge and it was buzzing. Mike Catt the England captain and three players came by for a Q&A session. Very cool.

Just as he was leaving Mike begged me for a photo with him, he said it was for his Mum so how could I refuse.

The rest of the evening became a little hazy and there seemed to be no end of Frenchies around - I have to say what a good spirited, friendly crowd they were - every last one of them to a man.

Big respect guys.

The next day we somehow dragged ourselves out of bed and to the airport. We had arranged to spend a couple of days in Dublin as neither Ian nor I had ever been to Ireland. We met up with a buddy of Ian's, Mike McAndrew who looked after us royally.

We stayed in an area called Temple Bar which is the hub of Dublin night life. An early night was had and an early morning (very chilly) run was embarked upon. Ian abandoned ship after a couple of kilometres as it was very cold and he was running in his best tropical running kit. I managed to keep at it for 12-13k and got back very invigorated.

Later we took a bus tour around Dublin and one of the stops inevitably was the Guinness Brewery - fascinating.

A few Guinness were had and the rest of the tour completed with a warm glow in our bellies.

Not much else to report. The next day we flew back to London, then Malaysia. AN OUTSTANDING TRIP!!!