Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sabah Adventure Challenge 2011 : Butterfly In Tummy

I have been busy. Too busy with work. Been slogging out over 80hours week (in consultancy term, that meant you worked for two weeks within a week!). Proposals, site work, report review, report writing, travelling, conference calls and the list goes on and on. Weekends was used up for work. Within the first quarter of 2011 i have accumulated 9 days of compensation time (meaning time that the company will pay back for working on weekend) with March scoring 6 days so far.
On one hand, it's nothing to be proud about losing those precious family and training time. Losing your life and f-king up the work-life balance (it remains a myth). Over the past three weeks, i survived on three hours of continuous sleep every night. The only time i see my kids was when they woke up in the middle of the night for pee-ing. Only time i see my wife, was when she wakes me up for work.
I was not alone as many in the office put in those hours and effort; which is starting to show some fruits of our labor. It is true we reap what we sow, and as it is, we are reaping good fruits!
"We won XXX! YYY please work on this with ZZZ!". The email said and i could almost imagine my boss smiling and jumping with joy.
"Thank you for the good work and hard work that all of you put in, especially....", read another email.
In fact, myself and my colleague that is taking over my position in office is starting to sweat about having not enough of engineers to do the work! Definitely a far cry three months ago when most of us are LLB-ing (Look Like Busy).
So, all is great on the work front. But the same can't be said about life. End of the day. When the chaos felt empty.
As most of you know, i will be racing in Sabah Adventure Challenge in April. I hope it will not be premature of me to send out email reminding some of my colleagues and bosses that "i will be working on the BB before and after the race" two days ago, i have applied, and gotten my leave for this race approved since Christmas last year! I am SO not going to give anything up for this (promotion included???)!!!
I have been diligently training until 3 weeks ago. Clocking in good mileage and mastering Kiara week by week. Now it all seems that it is back to zero. At this point of time, wifey, which is training for her first Marathon in June, has clocked the same mileage as me, (possibly more by the day!) with her running over the same period of training; and i am cycling AND running!
My beloved brother, Azly, has been putting in a lot of effort into the race. New bike. New brakes. New rims. Lunch hour reduced to testing out personal floatation device.
"Bro, RM50." The Whatsapp message read.
Some of you might be thinking right now...why in the hell an adventure race need a flotation device? The next few photos tell you why.
Photos taken from Rabani Ayub's Facebook during SAC Recce by Race Director Aman Avtar Sandhu.
That is just part of the whole 3-days story that myself and Bandit (Team Alpha Bravo) will embark in April.
fancy a peek into a man-man fantasy?
Read the level of excitement? That is just the tip of the iceberg. My tummy was having butterflies as the day come closer. And as more imagines unfold from the Race Director's recce...i could not feel more excited and more alive.
The pic above shows what should be a mountain bike portion...i say it looked more like a mudfest - aptly done with a bikini top and bottom.
This Sunday, i will be meeting up with Bandit at his place for a short ride and a QM (quartermaster session) to see if we already have all we need for the race. There are compulsory items that we need to collect/obtain. We got most of the items, almost all but it never hurt to check again. We are planning to race in a minimalist approach and only bring what we need for the race.
Three Identical race jersey for Bandit. Coincidentally, these RM18 jersey were the one we wore when we raced in Explorace years ago.
Hard to tell that these are RM18 a piece no?
Our 60-minutes of fame (advertisements included). Aunties at Carrefour/Tesco recognises us!
I can't wait for April 20, 2011 when i will be leaving KL for the race. This is my key race this year. I might end up with withdrawal syndrome after the race and might crave for more. Thank goodness for the Marathon, the few odd Triathlons and perhaps a few more races towards the end of the year for me to stay sane... to strive to get some WORK-LIFE Balance.
Truth to be told, while the excitement is extreme now, so is the caterpillars in the tummy that is growing by the days before it metamorphorsis into butterflies. I might need some Imodium to prevent some embarrassing moment when the race finally. And when that finally happen, i will fill this blog with photos and stories. 
Taken with this final compulsory item i will not leave home without.
Until then, stay tuned and don't change that dial!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Run#2 March2011 : Kiara

I had to be at work yesterday and missed the outing with the gang to ride Kiara. Knowing how close Sabah Adventure Challenge is coming and how much i am lacking with my running mileage, i had wanted/planned to run.
A quick email yesterday and there was a willing person that will want to take the trail on the two foot. Thanks Kheng Leong.
Met up at 7.30am at Kiara and let KL set the trail. We went up via the usual route and took a right into the new trail that has a 1.3km route that is nice for warm-up.
Saw the little-wormy like trail at the bottom of the map? that's the one. 

After that, we took Lung Buster up to Kiara and crossed the tarmac to part of 4K loop and exit near the cross-junction. We saw Yit doing secret training.
From there, we went to take on 2K loop and it was a mini-race with some "look like" state rider with us on legs and them on wheels. Obviously my fat ass could not catch up. We then bumped into James, Dave, Lydia in the trail.
A little rest with the tri-gang and we then decided to run/walk/hike up TwinPeak and go down Rock Garden/Flintstone before going through part of Carnival and back to carpark.
Distance: 8.56km
Time: 1:30:18
HRMax :172bpm
Ave: 147bpm
While i walked mostly up the hills and having KL smoking me all the way. I know i have a lot of things to do on my fitness. It will be a long way before i get to my fittest stage back in 2008, and i know it is not impossible. So don't wait up guys, i will catch up. Let me chase all of you for now and one day, i will be able to run and bike next to you. :)
2011 Mileage so far:
Run: 35.66km

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Body Inking : The Unveiling

It has been done. Another 3 hours at the mercy and close eyes of the tattoo artist (Thank you Simon!) and i am officially inked for my first tattoo.
It came out better than what i expected. Here. My Swim Bike and Run 140.6 Tattoo on my right calve.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Run#1 March 2011 : Lahad Datu

Did my maiden run today at the most unlikely place. Lahad Datu. Touched down at this quaint little town and changed immediately after i checked into the hotel. I was already studying the possible route to run and has decided that the loop from the hotel i am staying towards the airport, along the airport and then using the only road off the main road towards the hospital/new town would be the best option.
I was expecting minimal buffer along the road and took extra precaution to run deeper towards the road shoulder. I don't think many people in Lahad Datu runs; well apart for this week where they will see Reita K, my friend and colleague does that in her preparation for Bareno in a week's time.
Second slope
My legs felt fresh despite the waiting and sitting the whole day long for my trip here. In fact, i pushed off too fast too early - happens when one don't run as often and suddenly could not control, or rather, forgot how his own pace should be. In a way, i was glad i pushed off fast up the first hill towards airport. I ran along the airport runway and that covered about 2km distance and turned off after a small settlement that has two petrol station flanking the junction. A second slope was pretty steep but i used the opportunity to power it up. Top of the slope was the roundabout to the new town. Took left and head towards the Hospital.
Dusty and hot it was. Sort of reminded me on my last Ironman in Langkawi. Only this time, it was way more bearable.
Long shadow = low sun = no trees = hot+dusty road = Ironman 2010.
No drama here as the pace was very controlled and i felt i was pushing a bit more than usual. I covered 5km in 28mins and started to take it easy. I consciously tried to land mid-foot and tried to remember chi-running. Turn off at Jalan Pantai and it was downhill for about 800m. I went for it and i believed i clocked the 3:40 pace running down.
Jalan Pantai is a coastal road that goes through a water village. It was a mixed feeling seeing the condition of how some people live in and i can only be thankful how lucky i am to be staying in a house with full amenities. Food for thought definitely. It was also here that i stopped for a moment to snap my Day 123/365.
Feeling good with the pace and i finished off the run back to the hotel in 37:37 covering 6.5km of good run.
Definitely a good start for SAC - hope it is not too late!
As i pushed a bit more than usual on this short run, my heart rate too was elevated throughout the run. With an average of 173bpm and a max of 182bpm, i can conclude that the workout was pretty intense to a large (for me) extent. With a calculated max HR of 185 (220-35), i was running at the theoretical 98% with almost max VO2 rate. As i do consider myself as intermediate athlete, i believe i can still push more, perhaps to 190bpm before seeing stars or starting to froth in the mouth (maximal effort). I shalt tried it the next time in the next run.
Distance : 6.5km
Time: 37:37
Ave pace: 5:46 min/km (still far off from my best effort).

2011 Mileage so far:
Run: 27.1km

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Project 365 : Day 123 of 365

Saw this when i was running along the coastal road in Lahad Datu, Sabah. Had my Panasonic DMC-FT2 and could not resist the nice contrast/blend of the water, boat and the orangy sky. Hope you like it as much as i composed it.
Fisherman's Boat.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Kiara#7 March2011

Woke up late and decided that i will never be able to catch the T-Clan at the cross junction by 7.30am. My exercises has been reduced to minimal and only on weekend when times permit. More so that me and wifey need to sort out the time so she could get enough time to work out and myself enough to prepare for SAC.
Work is piling up in the office and i am expecting March to be challenging as i am involved directly with a few things that would make or break the rest of the year.
All work and no play make Stupe a dumb boy
Not gonna let that happen.
So, this morning when Wifey failed to wake up for her running session, i went ahead and took my Spanish Girlfriend for a ride in (where else) Kiara.
Plan was to ride 2K-Apollo-Mission and then TwinPeak-Upper-Lower-Mission and back to carpark. (hey, i am getting a bit better recognising these trail names!)
As luck has it, i met the T-Clan at Sungai. I exited Bar-A-Kuda and found them there.
Nice seeing you again James. Been Years since i bump into you!
Game plan was up back to lower and upper and ride part of Snake&Ladder to reach TwinPeak. Then TwinPeak and those that wants to finish the ride could take Around The Mountain and exit via Reverse Carnival. The stronger riders such as Shang, James and Leong does the longer route.
RoLance doing his RoBot March. :)
The ride was good today. But i was still pushing on some switchback and could not ride up when the others could do so (like it was flat road). I learnt a few things today. These are potential life saving and ego saving tips, so hear me out.
1. Ride with your mouth close. Spider don't taste as good as how Bear Grylls shows on TV.
2. Look in front and look UP. Low hanging branches are whiplash hazard. I now know how it is like to get whiplashed at 10km/h. The thin looking branch won though.
The score so far in Kiara vs. Stupe stands at 5-2. But i live another day.
I have to start running trails soon. With Sabah Adventure Challenge coming really soon in less than 45days, i have to start hitting the trails in excess of 7 hours with full race pack on. Now, just to find the time.
Distance : 12.69km
HRMax : 165bpm (am i getting fitter, or am i riding more relaxed?)
Time : 1:30min (OK, FASTER!)

2011 Mileage so far:
Run: 20.6km

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Project 365 : Day 122 of 365

Long overdue. Been looking for inspiration and perhaps i found one. Was in Manila (my first trip into the country) and was fortunate to have the opportunity to take this from the hotel window.
I am not sure how long Project365 of mine will last. But i will still post things up from time to time. This 365 might turn into a lifetime commitment towards good image - no more settling for mediocore stuffs. Enjoy.

Traffic : Ayala Avenue, Makati, The Philippines.