Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mizuno 11k Run - 25 October 2009

(Photos courtesy of Missjewelz - thanks for coming to support us all and good luck with your knee surgery)

I decided to "race" as opposed to just join in this event as a tune up for Powerman in a couple of weeks. Normally I don't take running races too seriously and do them just to be with friends and add some diversity to my training. Every now and again though I have a crack at them and remind myself how painful running fast can be (trying to run fast at least).

Shilpa was also taking part as was my business partner and buddy Ian. Shilpa hadn't trained for a couple of weeks so she was a bit nervous about it. Ian was hoping to go under 6min per kilometre pace and as Shilpa has been a little quicker until recently they decided to run together.

We met loads of friends prior to the start but then I had to go off and do a couple of k around the track to warm up properly. With a couple of minutes to go I joined Sam, Carmen and Jens at the front in the hope of avoiding all the idiots (no apologies about calling them that, in fact I'm being more polite than I'd like to) who start at the front, sprint 200m and then start walking (usually three abreast).

The gun went and somehow the idiot brigade had got ahead of me so I spent the first 300m weaving in and out of them. Then we were straight on to a steep oxygen sapping, lung busting, leg wobbling hill. As we crested it I passed Chris (58 years old, Senior Veteran, amazing runner who eventually came in just a couple of minutes behind me and 3rd in his category).

I'd introduced Ian to big Neil (The headmaster of Gardens School) before the race and Ian sized him up wondering if Neil had much to offer with his grey socks and ginormous height. I put Ian right and explained that he may not be the fastest but is useful to say the least. Little did I realize how useful; I saw him about 300m ahead of me and going like a train - amazing. It took me about 5k to catch him.

The race was based at UPM campus and is a fabulous venue. The course was undulating in places and flat in others with a monster hill at the start and even worse at the finish. Shilpa was saying that the views were lovely, sadly I missed most of them as I had my heart trying to leap out of my mouth and was focused with a tunnel vision etched in pain.

I spotted Goh with a group and slowly wound them in, a couple of the young Indian guys clearly didn't like a chubby old geezer passing them so they played the "surge game" as I like to call it. They'd run overtake me then walk. When i caught up again they'd run ahead...very annoying but hey that's allowed. Just got to keep a strong head and at some point they'll snap (and eventually they did).

Next on the agenda was Danny Feng, Danny is a fantastic cyclist but every year he comes and shows just what a great duathlete he is too at Powerman. Slowly, and I mean very very slowly I reeled him in. When he heard me coming (and he said he heard me coming like a herd of elephants - thanks Danny) he put his foot on the gas again and pulled away.

With about 3K to go I managed to pass him and soon was alone. Way in the distance I could see my next target and I was slowly catching him but then we came to the killer hill on the way back. Whose twisted sense of humour was it to put this here at this point in the race I don't know but certainly someone that wasn't talking part that's for sure!

The guy ahead was getting closer but was now looking behind, blow me down it was Don Khor, what a result being this close to him. He was cresting the hill now and he'd clocked me, with less than a K to go he wasn't going to let me get past him. Danny and Goh weren't far behind so I'd still need to dig deep to make it to the end in front of them.

I came down to the track and looked behind (an important lesson Cecil taught me once), blimey, where had Goh come from? and my goodness, how fast was he going. I whizzed around the track as fast as my little tired legs could carry me and crossed the line a few seconds ahead of him - a huge result as it turns out as I was 5th and that was the last prize spot in each age-group (sorry Goh). I was 14th overall which isn't too bad for an old porkie geezer either.

Don was 4th in our category, Cecil was 7th in the Open Cat, Jens was 6th (I think), Sam scored his first placing in a run race with a 5th too in the Senior Vets. Shahrom was 5th in the Open Cat and as I mentioned earlier Chris was 3rd in the Senior Vets. Iwata said he was tired, had put on weight and didn't have a great race but still managed 2nd in our category - what a legend - he's heading back to Japan soon, he'll be majorly missed.

After I picked up the prizes - trophy, RM200 Mizuno voucher, Mizuno T-shirt, Powerbars, gels etc..., two pairs of running socks and most importantly (for Sid and Seb at least) an enormous tub of Milo (chocolate drink) - I passed them to Sam for safe keeping and ran home (about 4k) and then did another 6+k around Country Heights to bring my total to 23k for the day. Sweet!

Probably the biggest two results of the day were Ian and Shilpa. They started right at the back and had to pretty much walk for the first 500m due to all the numpties starting at the front and then walking. Even so they both crushed the hour target by several minutes at the 10k marker. Ian finished first, well under 66 minutes, with Shilpa coming in (also under 66 minutes), just a minute or so later.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Chinese Book Shop

(Courtesy of Andrew Bartlett)

If you can't find the book you're looking for,









Friday, October 23, 2009

Chicken Surprise!!

(Courtesy of Dave Clenton)

Chicken Surprise!!

A couple go for a meal at a Chinese restaurant and order the 'Chicken

The waitress brings the meal, served in a lidded pot.

Just as the wife is about to serve herself, the lid of the pot rises
slightly And she briefly sees two beady little eyes looking around
before the lid slams back down.

'Good grief, did you see that?' she asks her husband. He hadn't, so she
Asks him to look in the pot. He reaches for it and again the lid rises,
And he sees two little eyes looking around before it slams down.

Rather perturbed, he calls the waitress over, explains what is happening,
And demands an explanation..

'Please sir,' says the waitress,, 'what you order?'

The husband replies, 'Chicken Surprise.'

[You're going to love this................... ]

[You're going to hate yourself for loving this!................]

'Ah! So sorry,' says the waitress , 'I bring you Peeking Duck'

Patch William

I'd never heard of this band before until Stephen Fry via Twitter pointed it out. I can honestly say this is the best band I've heard since Cold Play or the Killers. Real good stuff take a listen.

Toe-nail or not toe-nail? That is the question

(Courtesy of Chantal and the New York Times)

GETTING serious about a sport can mean doing the previously unthinkable. Swimmers shave their bodies sleek. Cyclists take blood-boosters. And ultramarathoners have their battered toenails surgically removed — for good.

Toenail removal is not for the faint of heart, but it can be a big relief to people who compete in 50- or 100-mile races. Even the most hardened ultramarathoners, for whom 26.2 miles is a warm-up, can be distressed by bleeding under a nail or a loose nail that bangs repeatedly against the front of a shoe.

“From my experience, it’s the hard-cores” who choose to go without toenails, said Dr. Paul R. Langer, a Minneapolis podiatrist who has been on the medical team for a 250-kilometer 7-day race through the Gobi Desert. “Even within the ultra community, less than 10 percent or maybe even 5 percent are permanently removing their toenails.”

The average marathoner suffers from plenty of black-and-blue nails, but doesn’t sign up to have acid poured onto a nail bed for permanent removal.

Ultramarathoners, who number more than 17,000 nationwide, according to UltraRunning magazine — “appear crazy sometimes, but they are great strategists,” said Dr. Robert M. Conenello, a sports podiatrist who tended to contestants of a multiday race in the Sahara. “A lot of them look at their toenails as useless appendages, remnants of claws from evolutionary times long ago. I’ve heard them say, ‘Toenails are dead weight.’ ”

The most utilitarian of ultramarathoners remove the offending toenails and keep problem-free ones. Then they sport a checkerboard look in sandals.

But the practice strikes some runners as overkill. “You know any sport has gone off the rails when you have to remove body parts to do it,” said Christopher McDougall, the author of a recent book about ultrarunning called “Born to Run.”

Ultramarathoners tend to keep quiet about toenail removal, Mr. McDougall said, because they “tired of being freaks, and they don’t want to add anything more freakish to their résumé.”

Marshall Ulrich of Idaho Springs, Colo., who had all his toenails surgically removed in 1992, has become a example for the practice. He used to stop mid-race to poke a hole in a throbbing nail to relieve pressure. Now, he said, toenails are “one less thing to have to deal with.”


Simon Says: - Nope sorry, if you do a sport where you constantly lose body parts then it's time to change sport. I lost a toe nail doing the Marathon Des Sables - I shan't be doing that again!

Shilpa has real problems with her toenails when running as do my sister, Angela and buddy, Chantal who both seem to lose several every time they run a marathon. Time to take up netball girls! Or sky diving (actually my sister already does that - what a wacko!)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Caption Competition - WINNER

The Caption Competition winner is Denis Oakley with -

"New age group structure for Triathlons: -
1) Elite,
2) Holy Men, Prophets & Messiahs
3) Mortals"

Denis I'll be getting your Glabal Privilege Membership card embossed this week. Let me know when I can pass it to you?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Caption Competition - VOTE

The Caption Competition is now closed but I couldn't decide which I liked best. Thanks to everyone for having a chuckle with me and entering your captions - very good all of them.

Those listed on the left are my favourites so you guys vote and I'll announce the winner next week.

The winner will get a Global Privilege Membership which is a lifestyle membership which gives you discounts in hotels, restaurants, spas and other lifestyle partners. Plus a whole load of dining and spa certificates.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Success from Failures

Simon says: -This appeared as todays motivational quote on our Company website. I wonder whether Dale Carnegie was a triathlete? Born in 1888 I guess not but this quote really works for me! No just for triathlon I might add.

"Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success. No other element can do so much for a man if he is willing to study them and make capital out of them."

Dale Carnegie

Kona Finishing Videos - Carmen and Mr Yee

(Courtesy of and RoadID)

Click here to see Carmen finishing with the Malaysian Flag

Click here to see Mr Yee finishing well before the cut off time also flying the Malaysian flag.

Ultra cycling double peaks GENTING & FRASER

If you've ever ridden either of these peaks in Malaysia (or even heard about them during the Tour d'Langkawi) then you need to read this - having done these climbs several times I knew them well but the thought of doing them both during the same ride just blew my socks off!!!

Check this out Ultra cycling double peaks GENTING & FRASER

Kona Diaries - Race Day afternoon & evening

From Sergeant Sam: -

Carmen had a tough day on the bike. Her split time was similar to or even more than last year at around 7 hours. She said the wind was severe again this year but she found that using road wheels instead of aero wheels helped her confidence on the aero-bars. At least she got back in one piece without any mishap.

So she started her run at around 3.40pm and she still managed a nice smile as she left T2. I saw her again while passing Lava Java, the favourite haunt for triathletes during IM Kona. She was in a positive mood and resigned to the fact that she could not do a fast time. No sooner than she passed me, I saw Mr Yee coming in the opposite direction having just started his run. Yee was all smiles as usual albeit when I asked him how he was he answered “I am f***ed!” Even so, he soldiered on in his inimitable style.

With Carmen out towards the Energy Lab, this allowed me time to check out the pros. And I got some photos of Craig Alexander, Chris Lieto, and Chris McCormark. Not long after the pro men, Chrissie Wellington appeared on her way to a third consecutive win. She was absolutely flying on the run.

Of the age groupers that I knew in the race, Michael Waldau had an awesome race and finished in around 12 hours which is very respectable under the testing conditions. After Michael had passed, I then waited for Carmen to appear and true to form she appeared after doing yet another 4.5hr marathon.

I duly handed her the Malaysia flag and she held it up aloft while she ran down the finishing chute and over the finishing line. She told me immediately after the race that she would not do any more IM. I think we all know that feeling of saying “I’ll never do that again” only to re-discover the bug a matter of days afterwards. So, I am taking that remark with a pinch of salt.

I have to say that Carmen did suffer from a bout of nausea after the race and she looked a bit ‘pink around the gills’ but nothing that a good rest will not cure. We did want to return to see in the final competitors but Carmen is already fast asleep in bed and I don’t intend to disturb her.

Anyway, congratulations to her for yet another finish at the World Ironman Championships.

I have my fingers crossed that Yee will finish in time. [Simon says: - Mr Yee finished in 16:32:41 not bad for a 72 year old ay! - Congratulations Mr Yee, you are indeed and inspiration to us all].

Tomorrow (Sunday) will be a true rest day where a big American fry-up breakfast is called for washed down by Kona’s finest coffee. Once that is out of the way, Carmen and I have been invited to Mr Yee’s son wedding at the nearby Sheraton Hotel where the obligatory dress code is shorts and tee shirt. Brilliant!

Kona Diaries - Race Day Morning

From Sergeant Sam: -

Race day dawned with a clear sky and Carmen got to start with an hour to spare. So, all was well albeit she was a bit apprehensive about the swim. Her plan was to start at the opposite end of the start line to the pier and gradually merge with the ‘traffic’ along the line of buoys.

The race for all age groupers started at 7am prompt to the sound of a cannon being fired from the Kona pier. Boom! And then they were off, all 1800 or so athletes. What a sight that was! The sea conditions looked relatively calm although there looked to be quite a swell and a current pushing the swimmers out to sea. This is probably why no swim records were set this year.

I watched Andy Potts and a local guy from Hawaii come out of the water in around 44mins. How awesome is that? They were at least a couple of minutes ahead of the rest of the field.

With the athletes streaming out of the water, the next vantage point to watch the race was on Palini Drive, the hill climb on the bike course that takes the athletes out of Kona town. Wit Raymond was there whipping up the crowd of supporters and calling out the names of the competitors as they emerged from T1. This was a good place to catch the riders going relatively slow as they cycled close to the spectators, Tour de France style.

I caught Andy Potts the race leader at that time, Norm Stadler, a very determined looking Chrissie Wellington and a gaggle of Team TBB athletes. Not forgetting of course our very own Carmen. Well done Carmen, you did ok in the swim! And she looked comfortable and smiling on the bike (probably feeling relieved). Not long afterwards, Mr Yee came along looking good and smiling as ever. At 72 years young, Yee is an inspiration to us all…

With everyone out on the bike course, it was time for me to head home for a belated breakfast before the afternoon session begins that will go on until Carmen and Yee have finished.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Kona Dairies - Race Day minus 1

From Sergeant Sam: -

Carmen and I got up on time this morning and we were walking towards the swim practice area by 7am. There were lots of people already in the water since sunrise in Kona is around 6am. We dropped our stuff at the Gatorade tent as usual and tip-toed across the road careful not to trip over the construction of the finishing chute.

As we entered the water, Carmen recognized a girl from Singapore also called Leong Shawn who races in Malaysia. She had just finished her swim to the coffee-bar boat and back. Carmen reckons she is a weak swimmer and she will suffer if today’s sea conditions are similar tomorrow.

The chop had disappeared from yesterday but this was replaced by a significant swell which will not be good for those that suffer from motion sickness. What was more important, Carmen felt more comfortable in the water today and she seems less freaked-out about the swim. As we hung around at the beach after our short swim, we saw Alex Bok about to go for a swim. I had an image of this pale and unfit mat saleh that would find it difficult to swim in the sea conditions. How wrong I was. Hats off to Alex, he took off like a seasoned cross-Channel swimmer and that was the last we saw of him. I presume he turned back at some point ….. otherwise he’s headed for Los Angels some 5000 miles away!

To complete her last day’s taper, Carmen cycled back to the condo (8k) and went for a 10-15min run immediately afterwards. Carmen strategically chose the GU tent on the run course on Ali’i Drive as the turn-around point. Little did I know that I would end up carrying back about 20 packets of gel, 10 packets of recovery powder and 10 packets of energy drink and a free tee shirt and a turquoise pair of men’s underwear. Carmen had it all planed of course and I was the pack horse brought along to carry all the stuff back. I should have known better!

After a late breakfast, we started to get the bike and the race bags prepared which did not take too long. Bike check-in started at 2.30pm for Carmen’s race number and we got there early so that we could get back for an early dinner.

However, we found that hanging around the bike check-in was a good opportunity to see some spectacular bikes and to see some of the pros. We were lucky to catch Faris Al Sultan, Michaele Jones, Bella Bayliss and husband Stephen and Chrissie Wellington.

And full marks to Chrissie. I shouted at her to stop and pose for the folks back in Malaysia and of course…she did! Nothing seems to be too much trouble for her; she is truly a great ambassador for the sport.

The next challenge is to try and get some sleep before race day. The alarm is set for 5am and we aim to be at race start by 0545. Carmen’s race starts at 7am sharp (1am KL time on Sunday) so let’s wish her and Mr Yee all the very best for a great and enjoyable day at the World Ironman Championships 2009. We can follow them both on Just plug in their race numbers 1159 and 235 respectively. Malaysia Boleh!


Friday, October 09, 2009

Kona Diaries - Race Day minus 2

From Sergeant Same: -

Race Day minus 2

Carmen had to be encouraged out of bed this morning after a fitful sleep last night. We had set our goal the previous evening on being at the Kailua Kona pier by 7am to join the throng of trathletes and their supporters for a morning swim. We managed it, just! It was a bright and sunny morning and it felt like the whole of Kona was milling around the swim start area. So we dropped off our gear at the Gatorade tent where there were 10 or so volunteers helping to look after bags etc and then we joined the masses for a two lap swim of the roped-off area beside the pier. The water felt a bit chilly to start with but once we were swimming, the temperature was just nice. We swam out along the line of buoys and we couldn’t help notice how choppy the sea was. Carmen had to stop a couple of times as she mistimed her breathing with the chop and she felt a bit uncomfortable with the swell. Anyway, we soldiered on and eventually finished our swim feeling invigorated and ready for some ‘makan’. Carmen is a bit concerned about the swim especially if the sea gets choppier than it was today. The conditions were almost like a bad-swim-day at Desaru so we are hoping the sea will be a bit calmer on race day.

Before we left the swim area, we watched the customary “underwear race” where participants and supporters do a short run in their underwear to the swim start area. You will be glad to know that I chose not to run in my underwear in case I frightened everybody away but I took note of what looks good in case Carmen is back again next year. A little pink number perhaps!

After all this fun and frivolity, it was down to the serious business of collecting free gifts. There were swim hats, tee shirts, gels, Gatorade drinks and stickers on offer and we got them all courtesy of Carmen’s tenacity. If there was a world championship for collecting freebies, I reckon Carmen would be the world champion. While we were collecting all these freebies, we could not help but notice Faris Al Sultan hanging around looking extremely lean and fit. So, he may be a good outside bet for this year’s champion perhaps.

Carmen and I met up with Michael Waldau (aka to some as ‘red socks’) and his wife Susan for lunch. Michael qualified in the 55-59 category in IM China earlier this year. So, hats off to Michael for getting to Kona and for qualifying in a race that suffered extremely hot temperatures.

We also visited the outside Expo where all the bike manufactures have their displays. Boy, there are some very sexy bikes on show not least the Look tri bike. And not forgetting Cervelo of course. We also saw a Trek TTX tri bike complete with electronic shifters and Zipp disk wheel….. for a child [Simon says: - Do they have two?]. I hate to think what that might cost. Moving further along, we saw the legendary Dave Scott giving an interview under the Triathlete Magazine banner.

It is the carbo party this evening and Carmen and I have chosen to give it a miss in preference to makan at home and an early night to catch up on our lost sleep. Tomorrow is bike check-in day but not before we go for a morning swim with our friendly masses and not before we do another round of collecting free gifts….Hey ho!