Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ironman Malaysia - Training began today!

Oh and how much did it hurt?!!!! I came down with a horrible chest infection after Phuket but was determined to beat it without antibiotics if possible. The dark green phlegm is now a less nuclear green and the usual bucket full in the mornings is only half a bucket now.

Coupled with that, building the boys "Castle", Christmas and all that goes with it, work and quite honestly a huge dose of Nomotivationitis I have done nothing since Phuket other than one run (Malakof 12k), one bike and one swim (and the swim might just be my imagination).

Last night we went to some good friends and drank and ate more than the average human would consume in a week - it was just too yummy. When we got home I didn't even bother setting the alarm for the usual Sunday morning 5a.m. wake up call - the group would have to manage their 21k stretch of the legs without us (AGAIN!).

Shilpa was shocked when she woke up although confessed that a herd of wild horses wouldn't have dragged her out of bed. So we agreed to run this evening - amazingly at about 6:30pm I found myself changed and pulling on my new Asics Nimbus runners that Shilpa bought me for Xmas - Shilpa took one look and said "Enjoy, I ain't coming dude, I'm in the groove with my studying (she's doing her MBA)". So that was that.

I started off at a reasonable pace as I want to start putting some decent distances but good times too - there's an adage that goes along the lines of "If you train slow then you race slow". Like all things there's a time and a place but I planned to do 21k (should be doable even with the layoff) at a reasonable speed.

The first thing I noticed was a rather unpleasant feeling of my somewhat expanded and bulbous gut bouncing over the front of my shorts on every stride - oh dear, where did that come from? Oh well ay, what's there is there but it won't be for long.

The first 17k were fine and the speed very good (it's amazing what a rest, even due to illness, can do for you sometimes). The next 2k weren't a lot of fun and the last 2k were some of the most painful I've experienced. When I finished I was struggling to even walk my standard cool down - oo ere, I'm going to pay for this tomorrow.

I'm in bed now writing this, I'm really hurting, but it's a good hurt, a happy hurt, I'm on the road to Langkawi - it's started and the journey will now be 7 weeks of misery, two weeks of taper and then anything from 11 to 17 hours of IRONMAN (this is a combination of BIG hurt, misery, total euphoria but most of all the feeling of being alive - REALLY ALIVE, there just nothing like it! (And if you finish you get a free T-shirt - how cool is that?)

Merry Christmas

I've not been doing much blogging over the last few days and there was a distinct lack of Christmas cards sent this year (I managed only one to my sister) - SORRY and thank you to everyone that sent cards to us, we will be better prepared next year, time just hasn't allowed this year as I will try to explain.

It all began some months ago when Shilpa suggested buying a climbing frame and swings for the boys that I'd make one for them - it would be a far better piece of apparatus, include tree house, sand pit, slide, fireman's pole and swings. Mmmm... A few days before Christmas I'd ordered the wood, bought a circular saw, new drill and some other odds and ends and started the major construction project.

In the midst of doing this I also had to keep things ticking over at the office as my Co-MD, Ian was away for the holidays but I'd also contracted a very nasty and heavy chest infection.

So the scene is set and with the clock ticking and Christmas just four days away the projected kicked off with me finishing most nights/mornings at about 2am. The same was true of Christmas eve and even Christmas morning I had to get up at first light to finish putting it together and fill up the sand pit with sand. In the end it wasn't quite finished in terms of the requisite 3 coats of varnish and all the safety rails in place - as for the swing, slide and fireman's pole there were to come later anyway - the important thing was that the boys were happy.

Once I came in from the construction site Christmas morning started as it should do with Champagne, snacks and present opening.

We even had "special" Champagne for the boys (sparkling non-alcoholic grape juice).

Just prior to that the boys checked to see if Santa Claus had eaten the mince pie and drunk the Brandy that they'd left for him (he had of course).

They also checked to see if the reindeer had eaten the carrots that they'd put outside the door the night before (they had too), Sid did freak out a bit and bolted back indoors when he suddenly thought the reindeer were coming back all of a sudden!!!

Present opening, Champagne quaffing was then followed by asking the boys if they'd like their very own castle in the garden with it's own sand pit, just like their cousins Nico and Sven an friends Indie and Kofi.

They thought that this would be great so we went to see if Santa Claus could possible have left one for them.

HE HAD! The boys were over the moon albeit it their attention span was limited.

Dad was pretty pleased with himself - even if the roof wasn't on yet or the ladder finished (hence the step ladder).

Christmas lunch was soon upon us, Shilpa had as always done us proud, she ensures that just about every little tradition that my family ever had or I'd ever heard of (or I invented because I liked the sound of it) was fulfilled. We had the works, Brussel sprout, roast potatoes, mash, peas, carrots, Quorn turkey (vegetarian), two types of gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing, filo spinach and Ricotta cheese pie - AWESOME.

We had Christmas crackers with paper hats, crap toys and th world's worst jokes - just the way it's supposed to be. Dessert was Christmas pudding with Brandy Butter AND ice-cream - Christmas pudding was set on fire with Cognac of course! OUTSTANDING. By the end of it I just manged to squeeze a coffee and a Cognac in before I burst.

The rest of the afternoon was spent snoozing, sitting by the pool an talking to friends and family on Skype - the day was perfectly completed with a drink and some Christmas cake while sitting in the hot tub - A wonderful day - MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ONE AND ALL.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Malakoff 12k

(Photos courtesy of Tey)

I was sick as a dog and Shilpa had done nothing since her marathon debut so we weren't expecting too much. In fact it was a victory and a little surprising that we actually got out of bed for it at all.

A very pleasant run although very hilly. We took it easy trotting around in 1:06:35. Our legs hurt for days afterwards which was a weird feeling - oh well guess we'd better get some training in.

Monday, December 22, 2008

T’was the night before Christmas

(Forwarded courtesy of Judi Saxon)

T’was the night before Christmas and all through the town,

No noses were frozen, no snow fluttered down.

No children in flannels were tucked into bed,

They all wore their shorty pajamas instead.

On patio and pool decks sat Daddies and Mums,

‘Neath durian, papaya and coconut palms.

The slumbering kiddies were dreaming with glee,

In hopes of finding TOYS R US under the tree.

They all knew that Santa was well on his way,

In a new Proton Saga instead of a sleigh.

He whizzed down the highway & squeezed down the roads,

Dodging the cycles while peddling his loads.

He sprang from his Saga as quick as a wink,

Was all dressed in Bermudas of red, white and pink.

There weren’t any chimneys but that caused no gloom,

For Santa in Malaysia enters through the Amah’s room.

He stopped at each house and stayed only a minute,

As he emptied his bag of the toys that were in it.

And finally the gifts for Mum and Papa,

Then to the table for air kelapa (coconut water).

Next he leapt into his car and threw it in gear,

And drove down Bangsar singing songs of good cheer.

But we heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight:

“MERRY CHRISTMAS, KL and to all a good night, LAH!”

Bangkok Marathon - Pictures On The Go

Shilpa met a guy from KL, Mohan, while doing the Bangkok marathon. He recognised her and knows (or knows of me) too apparently. He does a dozen marathons a year and takes his camera with him when he runs - very cool approach to it if you ask me.

He took these candid shots of Shilpa during the run - of course she's a woman so doesn't think they're very flattering but I think otherwise - very "in the moment" shots.

Thanks Mohan for taking them and then taking the trouble to forward them to us.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Kuantan Break

With Christmas rapidly approaching and having no other holiday plans coupled with needing to be on hand to cover the office while the others are off sunning themselves, Shilpa and I decided to have a rapid mini holiday in Kuantan with the boys.

I was sick with a chest infection so my plans to cycle there and back were vetoed by the coach (yes, her indoors) but I was allowed to take my windsurfer. We stayed at the Hyatt and the wind was a good 15-20 knots every afternoon - perfect! Unfortunately, the waves were real dumpers on the beach and that together with my poor technique and lack of practise made the first two days somewhat frustrating and painful.

Fortunately, a little last minute research meant a quick dart to Balok Beach before heading home meant that I didn't feel like a complete windsurfer loser - I had a good hour of blasting around managed loads of water starts and got to use my harness quite a bite (otherwise my arms would have fallen off).

Here are a few snaps of me cavorting around on the water together with some of Shilpa and the boys.

Our last half a day turned out to be amazing actually: -

We visited the zoo;

Took the boys on battery powered jeeps, battery powered (3 wheel) motorbikes (I strongly disapprove of motorbikes otherwise and toy guns for what it's worth).

We then took the boys on a pony ride all before we went and checked out on the way home with a slight windsurfing detour. Wicked!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Phuket & Khao Lak - Family Fun

During before and after the Phuket Triathlon I was also having heaps of family fun. The race is always a focal point of these holidays but is also the excuse to have them in the first place. I wasn't always the best at combining the two but hopefully over the years I have improved and better balance the race and the family holiday. (Chris Wayman has led by example on this note, credit where credit is due - thanks Chris).

So here are some pictures of us all in Phuket and then at our friend Minni's Resort in Khao Lak (an hour north of Phuket).

Having fun while at the Sheraton Laguna Resort in Phuket. Each of the five hotels is on a series of lagoons that you can travel between by hotel boat taxi - very cool. Also a kids club where Sid and Seb had fun.

Chilling out in Khao Lak

One of the things that they do for rememberance of the Tsunami is to elt off hot air ballons. We sent three out over the ocean.

Check out this police launch in Khao Lak; It was washed two kilometres inland. You can only begin to imagine how high the water must have been to have carried something like this so far, it really brought the horror of the Tsunami home to us.