Monday, November 24, 2008

The Marathon Woman

After the ride/run brick on Saturday I handed my house and children over to Ivie and Randy who had very kindly agreed to look after them while I abandoned Sid and Seb to go and support Shilpa for her first ever marathon in Bangkok.

My buddy Ashley was kind enough to collect me from the airport and we went to my in-laws house for some light refreshment and a bite to eat. Shilpa was in good spirits although a little nervous. Soon after, Ashley and I went out for a few beers and a bit of shopping to allow Shilpa to sleep - that's our story and we're sticking to it.

I arrived back with enough time to grab an hours sleep before we had to leave for the 2a.m. start - yes you read it right 2 o'clock in the morning - OUTRAGEOUS! In the meantime Shilpa had thrown up her lunch and dinner and it looked like food poisoning might put a damper on snatching Paula Radcliffe's world record. I suggested that it might be pre-race nerves, put it behind us and hope for the best.

We were at the start in plenty of time and soon enough 2a.m. came around and the gun went off. I tried to get some photos as she ran past but to no avail, so I ran along with her for the first two hundred metres - she had a big smile on her face and seemed more than ready to face the challenge ahead. I on the other hand grabbed a taxi and headed home for another couple of hours sleep.

The alarm went off all too soon at 5:30a.m. and I headed out with Marieke and Andrea, two of Shilpa good friends from KL (they're both really "go get it" Dutch ladies and great fun to be with) - they were doing their first 10k run which started at 6:45a.m.

We got to the start/finish area at about 6a.m. and waited for Shilpa to appear. She was hoping for a sub 5 hour race (an ambitious time for a first marathon) however, having trained with her I knew that if she kept her head together she could even break 4hr30min.

And then in the distance I saw a woman running with great ease and fluidity who looked a little like Shilpa - it was just past 4hr20min but this runner looked so at ease, there was no way this could be her - BUT IT WAS!

She finished in an amazing 4hr23min54sec, she gave me a huge wave and smile as she cruised over the line. I gave her a big hug and then got a shock - she'd just run a marathon in the tropical humid heat of Bangkok and she was dry as a bone, she hadn't even broken into a sweat. Not only that but straight afterwards she did some stretching and began by touching the floor in front of her toes (straight legs mind you) - "It's all down to the yoga" she said, "No I didn't have any down points in the run - in fact I don't know what all the fuss is about, I found it quite easy".

This was painful to hear as there was no boasting, no bravado in her voice she meant it solely as a matter of fact!!! Imagine what potential she has? I was blown away and incredibly proud of her - although perhaps my sleep deprivation didn't allow me to express it as I might have done had the race been at a sensible time of day.

We then went to watch Marieke and Andrea finishing - they finished within about a minute of each other and were totally stoked by the whole experience - there may even have been a few tears!!! Wonderful - What a great day.

Later a lovely breakfast was followed by a relaxing Thai massage and then some more sleep for me while the girls went off for more shopping. Which brings me nicely to an anecdote - Marieke and Andrea were so enthused about the whole thing that they were soon planning their next race - Japan seemed to be the preferred option but various places in Europe were also suggested. Trying to be helpful I explained that there were many 10k races held in KL so there was really no need to travel - At which point I got a friendly hand on my shoulder and in a very kind voice (the sought of caring voice a mother might use to a little child who has just said something very silly and naive) "It's not about the running, IT'S ABOUT THE SHOPPING".

Before we knew it we were heading for the airport and home. Which leads nicely into the last adventure of the trip which I suspect few have experienced. As we started to descend to KLIA there was lots of turbulence and all of a sudden a huge BANG and flash from the right engine - we were sitting at the window just behind the wing, the engine and the flash were in full view - WE'D JUST BEEN HIT BY LIGHTENING!. Shilpa and I reacted slightly differently, I realised that the plane was still going forward and nothing too drastic seemed to have happened so I put it down to being "an interesting experience" and made a mental note to mention it in the blog. Shilpa on the other hand tried to get out of the plane! Not quite but let's just say we held hands very very tightly and I'm hoping the fingernail marks don't leave a scar.

Randy and Ivie were waiting for us when we got home and it sounded like they and the boys had had a great action packed weekend. We couldn't wait to see the boys; they'd obviously have missed us terribly - they woke us up this morning and Sid kindly and very diplomatically said "I missed you" but then went on to tell us what a great weekend they'd had with Randy and Ivie - Mmmmmm! Looks like we're disposable parents.

End Notes: Shilpa has expressed some slight tightness in her legs this morning - not pain just tightness - life isn't fair! that's all I can say!

Thanks again Randy and Ivie we really appreciated your help and the boys obviously took to you big time.

Well done Shilpa - (she finished 20th in her category, 596th overall out 1866 competitors) - you surprised everyone except me - you just made me so proud!

Malaysia Boleh

(Article and picture courtesy of the Star online)

While the GB team continue to show their class in the Track World Cup in Melbourne I was so pleased to see the first ever gold medal for Malaysia - with all the nonsense that goes on with the governing bodies here it was a real delight to see this on Sofian's Site - great stuff - Malaysia Boleh!

KUALA LUMPUR: Youngster Azizul Hasni Awang made history when he won the main keirin final in the second-leg of the UCI Track World Cup in Melbourne last night to become the first-ever Malay?sian gold medallist at the World Cup stage.

Incredibly, it was the first time the 20-year-old was riding in the keirin event at the World Cup stage. That, however, did not stop Azizul from beating the likes of Andriy Vynokourov of Ukraine and Pervis Francois of France into second and third placings respectively.

“This win is for Malaysia as much as I wanted it for myself. I was looking for a medal finish in the Olympics but my lack of experience was my undoing in the final. But this tops it all, my first attempt in the keirin at the World Cup and I won it. I’m so happy,” said Azizul in a telephone interview from Melbourne.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

England Zwei (2) - Deutschland Ein (1)

(Photo courtesy of the BBC)

Half my family are German but you've just got to love it when we beat them at football!!! It seems to happen all to often these days!!! Mind you, I was pleased to see that the boys from Blightly didn't embarrass our German cousins too much like the 5-1 drubbing they gave them no so long ago. A win is a win though and it's just got to hurt...gloat gloat...I just love it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ride/Run/Fly & Run Alert - Sat 22nd & Sun 23rd November


Destination: The Dam - coffee shop via Perez climb up/down
Distance: 120k.
Meet point: Country Heights 6:45am then Hulu Langat traffic lights (nr police station)7:15am.
Difficulty: Flatish with 9k hill timetrial
Intensity: Easy out, timetrial hill and then moderate pace.

Location: Country Heights midday ish - straight after ride
Distance: 8.8k (40 minutes)
Difficulty: Rolling Hills, intervals
Intensity: Moderate

Destination: Bangkok
Distance: 1,178k
Meet point: KLIA
Difficulty: Dependant on turbulence
Intensity: Flat out, 800kph

Sunday 23rd

Run - Shilpa
Location: Bangkok, 2am
Distance: 42k
Difficulty: It's a marathon for goodness sake - it's gonna hurt
Intensity: That's up to Shilpa

Alternate Run - Simon
Location: Country Heights, 9pm
Distance: 25k
Difficulty: Rolling Hills
Intensity: Easy first half, moderate second half

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Want Chrissie Wellington's Bike?

(Courtesy of Chantal)

Go to eBay of course. See "Chrissie Wellington's Cervelo P2C Bike-Charity Auction"

You are bidding on two-time Ironman World Champion Chrissie Wellington's Cervelo P2C frame that she raced on in 2008. The frame has been autographed with a silver pen. This is the very frame that won Ironman Germany, the Alpe d'Huez Triathlon, Timberman 70.3 and the Long Course World Championship. Chrissie has generously offered up this frame to support the Blazeman Foundation and the War on ALS. The Blazeman Foundation for ALS is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. It is a family foundation that serves to carry out the vision of its namesake and founder, the late Jonathan "Blazeman" Blais. Contributions to the foundation are tax deductible. The mission of the Blazeman Foundation for ALS is 1) to raise awareness about ALS by leveraging the energy, commitment and compassion of the multi-sport community and 2) to raise necessary funds to be directed into cutting-edge scientific research to find treatments and an eventual cure for ALS...So Others May Live. To learn more about the Blazeman's legacy click on the link to a YouTube video: . You may also visit the foundation's website at

In addition to the autographed frame, the winner of this auction will receive:

A signed, unused TYR racing singlet
Chrissie's 2008 cycling shoes that she wore in Kona (autographed as well)
Chrissie's 2007 Kona running shoes (autographed as well)
An autographed copy of the January 2009 issue of Triathlete Magazine, featuring Chrissie on the cover
A blurb and photo in Triathlete Magazine congratulating the winning bidder (if the winning bidder so chooses)
A signed copy of the 30th anniversary Ironman hard cover commemorative book

A letter of authenticity for all products signed by Chrissie
A nutrition pack from Cytosport featuring: (1) case (4 tubs) of Cytomax powder (any flavors); (1) variety box of Cytomax packets; (1) case (4 tubs) of Muscle Milk powder (any flavors); 1 box of Cytomax Gel; (2) boxes of Muscle Milk Light bars (1 of each flavor).

A gentle paddle anyone?

(Courtesy of the Telegraph)

Thrill seekers have described it as the ultimate log flume challenge. At 300ft tall and almost 1,150ft long, the Llyn Brianne Dam, near Llandovery, Mid Wales, is the tallest dam in Britain.

These images show a group of kayakers hurling themselves down the spillway at speeds of 40mph.

They drag their kayaks to the top before propelling themselves down the 1:3:6 gradient slope.

It takes just a matter of a few seconds for the kayaks to plunge to the bottom.

The man-made dam was constructed in the late 1960's and early 1970's to regulate the flow into the river Tywi and its reservoir supplies water to the South Wales coast.

The reservoir was created by excavating the surrounding area and using the crushed rock to create a mountain to block the valley.

Canoeists have long used the sedate expanse of water, set in dramatic scenery, for training purposes.

An onlooker said there was group of three men aged in their teens and early 20s took part in the stunt. They were watched by a girl of similar age.

”They launched into the reservoir and went over the lip and down the spillway. It was bizarre to see someone shooting down this type of water. One of them went about 12 feet into the air when he hit a wave at the bottom. He landed upside down in the water.”

Welsh Water has warned the action is illegal and it would prosecute offenders for trespass if they were caught.

Check out the video

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Graduate

Wow, how cool is this? My big sis graduating with her Teaching Degree in Germany. We're incredibly proud of her. Well done Angela, you're the best.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Family Under the Weather

Shilpa and I went out for a dinner party last night, we were both not feeling well, blocked noses, super sore throats etc... The boys similarly not well. I was up and awake for the run this morning but sicker than a very sick dog. SMS'd the team and spent the day pretty much sleeping and stuffing my face with every herbal remedy, Vit C and soothing soup I could find.

Feeling better now but not great - next week is another new week, hopefully I can hit the ground running - actually I'm going to do something I seldom do - a really tough turbo session - never a lot of fun but will sit in front of my big screen and catch up on CNN, BBC or something more relevant such as E-Hollywood news.

Boring Blog entry but hey, have some sympathy, I'm sick.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ride/Run & Run Alert - Saturday 15th & Sunday 16th November



Destination: The Dam - coffee shop via Perez climb up/down
Distance: 120k.
Meet point: Country Heights 6:45am then Ulu Langat traffic lights (nr police station)7:15am.
Difficulty: Flatish with 9k hill timetrial
Intensity: Easy out and then moderate pace.

Location: Country Heights midday ish - straight after ride
Distance: 8.8k (40 minutes)
Difficulty: Rolling Hills, intervals
Intensity: Moderate



Location: Bukit Aman Car Park to Sri Hartamas 6:15am
Distance: 21k
Difficulty: Rolling Hills
Intensity: Easy out, moderate back.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Trikidz NEEDS YOU!

A plea from TriKidz and Azwar - if you've got time to read this, live in Kuala Lumpur or the Klang valley then I challenge you to find time to help out - it'll be fun, that's for sure. These kids will be bating us before we know it so we'd better start being nice to them now!

"Dear friends,

Trikidz will be having its 3rd Triathlon Clinic and Race this coming 29-30 November ..... and we're looking for volunteers BADLY.

We currently have 130 kids registered (our quota was 100 ekceli) and we're expecting more to come at the very last minute ... yes everybody is into triathlon nowadays. Unfortunately we're short of manpower. With kids its usually more delicate ... not like our grown up races :)

Details of the event as follows :

Date : 29-30 November 2008 (29 = Clinic, 30 = Race)
Time :730AM (both days)
Venue : Swimming pool, Universiti Malaya, KL

We need volunteers for the race on 30th (Sunday). The race starts at 7.30AM N finishes by noon. Volunteer briefing and division of tasks will be done on Saturday morning (not long).

We unfortunately cant pay you guys any salary .... but we will give you a tshirt N packed lunch plus a whole lot of fun watching kids do triathlon :)

If you're interested please submit your name N contact number to me at or you can call me at 014-2250290

Please visit our website to know more about the event

Thanks for reading guys :)


A little strong but to the point

(Courtesy of Nick Flynn)

Mum, sorry about the language, it's Nick's fault!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

First Obama Cartoon

(Courtesy of Shilpa)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Powerman - 9th November 2008

(Photos courtesy of Tey)

The lead in to this race wasn't looking too good. I bonked (totally ran out of steam) last Saturday when I had planned to do a race simulation run/bike/run - I didn't mange the second run and felt totally depleted. Sunday's long run was delayed until I struggled through it on the Sunday night. The rest of the week I'd planned to taper but with various light sessions - I only managed one sorrowful spin class.

On the bright side, I skipped session after session because I knew I needed the rest - the old Simon would have done them regardless - I knew the fitness was in the bag but I needed recovery before race day.

On Saturday before the race I went for a 20k push on the bike followed by a 2k run. I felt good and recalled that I was feeling a damn sight more "race ready" than this time last year before Powerman.

I skipped dinner with the group and was asleep by 9:00pm and slept deeply, this is probably a first for me before a race. The alarm went off at 5:00am and I proceeded to drink 4 coffees and sort myself out. I got to the transition check-in about an hour or so before the start - racked my bike and went off for a solid 2k warm up run - experience has taught me that much much more is to be gained by doing a solid and complete warm up rather than trying to "save the legs or save energy".

Back at the start, I moved to somewhere near the front and "BANG", we were off. The first run is all about trying to run as fast as you can, stay in touch with your rivals but no going into a state of oxygen debt - a fine balance to say the least! By the time I was on the second 5.5k loop of the 11k run it was hurting and I was ready to get on my bike! I kept trying to send the pain away on little holidays, a technique I used to be good at but today it wasn't working and the pain stayed with me.

11k run 43mins - OK a bit slower than last year but in better shape for the bike this time.

A reasonably quick transition and off I went on Black Beauty (my Trek TTX) together with my two new weapons, Giro aero helmet and Zipp Sub9 Disc wheel. The new TTX, the helmet and the disc have been responsible for faster bike times this year when I've been less fit and heavier than previously, I swear by them! I'll take the free time any day.

The ride was fabulous, cadence averaged 100, this is lower than my usual but there has been some talk recently about a lower cadence resulting in a lower heart rate and the bigger gear allowing you to push more power - I find a high cadence helps my legs cope with the run off the bike but what do I know? This cadence seemed to work OK.

I caught Don, Cecil and most importantly Iwata-san on the first lap, this is always extremely important as they are all better runners than me so catching them before halfway always gives me a good time and psychological advantage.

I lost concentration for a couple of K's coming back on the second lap which must have cost me a few seconds but all in all it was a strong and focused ride. It was an out and back course so we all passed each other 4 times - I can't say that I noticed anyone other than Dave who was extremely vocal every time we crossed - I joked afterwards that he cost me time by breaking my concentration - in fact it was the opposite, encouragement always helps you push - THANKS DAVE.

64k bike 1:43 - pretty happy with that as it was 4 minutes faster than last year although the second lap was two minutes slower than the first which was a little disappointing.

Second transition was not too bad, last year I could barely walk and hobbled in, this time I could sort of run in.

On to the second run and I knew that it wasn't going to be the nightmare experienced last year, although I also knew that I'm a long way off my best when running off the bike. I saw Razani just a 20 metres in front of me but he slowly pulled away into the distance.

The first two K's were OK but tough, after that the running legs came back and I completed the first 5k loop of the 10k run reasonably strongly. Things started to go wrong thereafter though, it doesn't matter how much I know or have read about running tall and keeping your head up but my chin was sinking lower and lower into my chest - pretty much all I saw for the next four K's were my feet - I just tried to keep the cadence high and hang on but knowing Iwata was coming for me. It must have been a sad sight to behold.

I gratefully got to the last drinks station with about 1 K left and looked behind - the runner behind looked like Iwata - OH NO! after all this, he's got me. I turned the corner and looked back, he was taking a drink, it was then that the Dunkirk Spirit kicked in, if he's going to beat me then he'll have earn it.

My head came up, my legs stretched out and I was going to nail the last 1 K or die trying. My lungs were screaming but the pain was strangely rewarding. I ran past a western guy (I think it was Aaron) who was extremely encouraging which really blew me away - THANKS, I really appreciated it although all I manged was a very weak "Thanks mate, you too" or something like that.

I ran down the finishing shoot, alone, elated and ready to die. I found a little patch of grass and collapsed. The marshalls were awesome - they had ice towels over me in seconds, constantly poured ice water over my dangerously overheated body and in the end stuffed my tri suit with ice - AWESOME. Thanks to you all, you were so on the ball it was very reassuring.

10k run 50mins - this was 2 minutes faster than last year but I was targeting 48 or less so I was a little disappointed but then I know I need to work on the post bike run - A LOT.

Iwata strangely came in about 2 minutes after me so he either massively backed off over the last 1 K or else, more likely, I'd mistaken him for someone else and I was just sprinting from an imagined foe. Oh well, he looked in worse shape than me, he'd clearly given it his all - he's an amazing competitor and one that I don't often beat - I have huge respect for this guy.

It turned out that I beat both the guys (Iwata and Yong) that beat me last year but I still finished third again behind Razani (Malaysia's finest multi sport athlete) and Austrian Martin Malleier (who beat some of the pros) - good company to be in but I wonder how much improvement there is if I start training more consistently, take day to day nutrition more seriously and cut back on the late night boozing/dinner parties - it's always a thought but then one has to have a life and decisions have to be made. I'm sure with a bit more discipline and maturity I could find a middle road - Mmmmm - as always a work in progress.

Overall time 3:19 - 4 minutes faster than last year. Won RM700 (US$200) - can't complain.

Great event, well organised - great high tech T-shirt in goody bag, great finishers polo shirt as usual. Extremely switched on marshalls at the finish and the course was well policed.

The only criticism I can think of is that some 100Plus (energy drink) at the finish would have been nice - it's usually there and I spent the last 5 k dreaming about that ice cold elixir. Also only trophies for first place! - I'm only saying that because I keep coming second or third but it's not like they cost much.

Postscript: - "220 Triathlon" the British Triathlon magazine has spent the last year profiling an athlete who took a year off to focus on training properly - coaching, nutrition, physio, the whole works. His target race had to be abandoned due to injury so he refocused on Powerman Malaysia - his wife interviewed me after the prize-giving so who knows - I might get a mention - we'll see.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Wicked Wave

(Courtesy of Nick Flynn and Online Times)

It was a “dark, evil wave” that almost killed him, but for Australian surfer Kerby Brown, riding this 12m (40ft) monster in his own backyard was one of the highlights of his surfing career.

The 25-year-old surfed the enormous break at an outdoor reef in the Southern Ocean “somewhere between Margaret River and South Australia” on the southwest coast of Western Australia (WA) last August.

Local surfers discovered the break – the exact location of which they want to keep secret – after deep-sea fisherman alerted them to the amazing waves they had seen about 15km (9 miles) off the coast.


Today is Shilpa's birthday - she was woken by her three boys singing happy birthday followed by a flat car battery! Her boys got the car going eventually and off she went to drop Sid and Seb at school before doing a 5k run in her best time ever 27:33 - nice job.

Twins playgroup this afternoon and then cake cutting with the boys followed by a few friends over for drinks guessed it, CAKE.


Thursday, November 06, 2008

Ficton more fun than fact - Tree of Life

My recent post "Amazing Tree" is actually called the "The Tree of Life" - Azman left a comment on the post stating that it wasn't in India at at all. I was a bit put out so I did a bit of research.

The first reference I came to seemed to suggest that it wasn't in India but rather in South Africa. Azman however, had suggested that it was actually a theme tree in Disney World - and outrageous claim!

Outrageous maybe, but true not the less - check out this link "Tree of Life - Disney World"

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

At last - IT'S OVER!

Not only has America managed to overcome underlying racist tendencies (the UK is no better) by electing the first Black President but they have also elected a sane one for the first time in eight years - one that talks sense and appears to be trustworthy - now that last point is probably also a first since JFK.

Well done America - sense prevailed, although it was never certain - Now watch the markets soar and then stabilize - Recession? Yes, but at least there will be an end to it.

Let's just hope that my JFK analogy isn't too representative of dark things to come; I do worry that there are a lot of wackos out there and the American Constitution states that every wacko is allowed to carry a gun...

[Disclaimer: Use of the word "trustworthy" must be taken in context as it was used in reference to politicians and as we all know none of them are totally trustworthy, it's just the scale to which they let us down that you have to judge them by]

Amazing Tree

(Courtesy of Pop)

Check out this amazing tree in a remote part of India (Click on the photos to enlarge them and marvel at the detail - AMAZING)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Sofa King Funny (say it fast)

This appealed to my oikish sense of humour.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Weekend Round-up

Friday night I was going to run, then I had such a stressful day trying to get the monthly staff wages sorted out so I decided to go for a beer instead; but by the time I'd finished it was 9pm so I went home to bed.

Saturday was supposed to be a 8.8k medium intensity run at 4:30am, followed by a 114k medium intensity ride, followed by another 8.8k run but this time hard and fast. As it turned out I put in the 4:30am run (much to the shock of the security guards around Country Heights), unfortunately I pushed a bit on the hard side and suffered for it.

I then met Azwar at the gate for the ride and he announced that he would be drafting me all the way so I'd better get on with it. I DID - I'm a silly boy sometimes (too often actually), I pushed fairly hard again (Azwar's chain broke somewhere along the route so I didn't see him again sadly), I met the group at MegaMall and then continued to push reasonably hard. About 75k into the ride I was spent, cooked, finito!

The group stopped for breakfast at Salak but my plan was to get back for the second run. I grabbed some water and coke from Petronas and carried on (when I reach for coke I know I'm struggling). I was in a bit of a state by the time I got home but was determined to run. In the end I spent an hour wondering around in my tri-suit but in the end concluded that running now was going to do me no good and would probably shatter my confidence for Powerman next week. I went to bed instead.

I couldn't sleep so took the boys swimming - great fun as always. Then went to bed again - still couldn't sleep. We had people coming over for dinner, so it was clear that if it was a late night then tomorrow morning's scheduled 25k run was going to be hard.

Dinner finished at 2am - OH DEAR! I wanted to send Sam an SMS saying we weren't going to make it but having got the times wrong and woken him and Carmen up in the middle of the night before the Hawaii Ironman I thought better of it. Fortunately they worked it out pretty quickly in the morning and carried on without us.

Sunday turned out to be a lazy "recover from the night before" day. Shilpa was doing a study group for her MBA so I took the boys for Dosa (India savoury pancakes) which they love and then ice-cream - YUM YUM!

Back home, I did a whole load of DIY chores and then more time in the pool with the boys. It was about this time when Shilpa said "I suppose we'd better go for our 25k run that we missed this morning?" - I kept very quiet. I knew that I should do it but was hoping she'd "persuade" me that we didn't need to go. NO SUCH LUCK!

We ran in the rain which was nice, it was tough but we got back at about 10:00pm satisfied and tired and proceeded to sit in our (very hot) hot tub by the pool with a bottle of sparkling wine - NICE.

To top it all Paula Radcliffe won the New York Marathon and Lewis Hamilton toyed with all of our emotions and scraped the world title by a single point in the F1 (makes up for the 1 point loss last year and all the points the FIA docked him this year). Finally, Britain's cycling team continued winning gold medal after gold medal at the World Cup - impressive stuff.

Great Weekend.