Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tempo Runs - a creative touch

Week 8/10 to Marathon

Having conquered the peak load stages of my 10 week marathon training program, I feel like my legs can eat 10k for breakfast, 20k for lunch, and still have room for dessert without much discomfort. It’s a wonderful feeling, really! Two weeks ‘til the marathon, I feel confident about getting my main course meal - my Boston Qualifier time (3:10:59)!

All this running mileage building however is not without its obstacles. My body is handling the extra mileage beautifully, though the same cannot be said about the in taking the large icy-syrupy beverages. Lately I have restrained myself from going anywhere within 50 meters of any gas stations or 7-11s to resist the urge of getting a slushie.

The hot N cold just doesn’t mix well, especially eating yummy shanghainese rice cake noodles after a slushie. It upsets the enzymes apparently - I learned that the hard way while making many visits to the bathroom during the night. =/

To the running and triathlon worlds, it shouldn’t take a great stroke of insight to realize that throwing in a weekly tempo run is the answer to racing your best.

How to become one step closer to global domination, STEP No. 16: Be creative. The Kenyans may get upset at me for using their tempo race secret, but don’t worry, I have a clever idea to add!

We all know the benefits of tempo running. It’s basically a way to teach the body to use the oxygen more efficiently by increasing the lactate threshold. This involves running at a constant speed at a 'comfortably hard' pace that should hover around 85 to 90% of your maximum heart rate.

They also say you should have a warm up and cool down stage before and after the tempo stage.

The problem.

Some friends wanted to do a 10k tempo at 40-42 minutes on this past Saturday after the bike ride. That’s a long tempo run - usually they’re only up to 20 minutes long. Plus, I also live 20k from campus, which means I also have to do the friendly commute. Taking public transit with my Cervelo P2 just wouldn’t be cool.

The solution.

Use the cycling stuff as warm-up and cool-down. Hey presto, kills two birds with one stone (I know that sounds environmentally wrong, but it works). I got in a decent bike workout in. The commute to and back campus was flawless. Lastly I also got in a solid tempo run in. I ran with some friends just under 41 minutes. It felt comfortably hard (avg heart rate 172 bpm).

The 10k tempo Run route

Friday, September 24, 2010

One year later...

...flashback to One more year.

Disclaimer: Spoiler Alert - Secrets revealed!!! I'll recommend you just skip this post if global domination is not your kind of thing. It's quite boring, anyways. ;)

Dear Blog,

I realized sharing many of my life experiences are fresher on the blog and I now only have to waste half as much time repeating exciting/boring/sad/angry/hungry/superheroes stories via MSN (don't laff, I'm asian =P) over and over and over and over again to all my bffs best buds. Thank you!

Everybody needs a little corner of the world to call their own; your blog page on the worldwide web is no exception!

How to become one step closer to global domination, STEP No. 1: Start your own blog! Yes yes yes, you may be wondering what on EARTH are all these friggin' STEPS of late!

This is basically (besides being a complete DORK) a series of steps towards becoming closer to global domination status and it shall be my secret life mission. We’ll keep this between my loyal followers and me! On the record, my real life mission is to earn an honest living... (...not sure if it is going very well, a work in progress T.T).

Happy one year anniversary (albeit close +/- 72hrs)!

Nuff said, peace. =)

PS: I noticed many new blog bandwagon jumpers recently, which is just super cool to see! Derrick, Eddy, and Spazzz!
Keep up the awesome work!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Progression Runs

Week 7/10 to Marathon

Let’s be honest, marathon training can be a bit of a drag even for the most disciplined superhero-runners sometimes.

Interested in getting oodles more fun with less recovery time than the work of normal long steady runs? Then I present to you my recently learned and adapted training secret!

How to become one step closer to achieving global domination, STEP No. 5: Carry yourself like a winner. Or in the words of Jens Voigt, “Shut Up Legs!”

Well actually after doing a little more research, I learned that the secret already exists in structured formats and is well-known to the running world, officially known as ‘progression runs’. More on this later.

The 28km run I did last Sunday started innocently unstructured enough. My original plan was to get some easy feel-good mileages in along the most continuous route, since my marathon was coming up in less than 3 weeks. I started on the Central Valley Greenway and slowly ran to the Olympic Village False creek area and eventually connecting up to the Stanley Park Seawall.

I was holding between 4:30 and 4:55 per km pace for the most part. Alas, that quickly changed halfway on route along the Seawall. I heard these monstrous footsteps behind me slowly bridging the gap. Normally it's a little kid trying to chase me down on his/her bike.

For the next 4 kilometres, this became a friendly wordless-exchanged battle between David and Goliath.

I instinctively ran slightly faster (about 4:15s) to reduce the noise pollution of these monstrous footsteps; however no luck. The footsteps followed, so I tried slowing down (to about 4:25s). The middle aged man ran ahead, and I wasn’t just going let him go that easily, so I was inspired to keep his pace at 4:15s.

After the 4 kilometres I eased up and had a quick water break at the aid station. I noticed that the middle aged guy also eased up, perhaps waiting for me to cling back on his pace. Anyways for the next 2 kilometres, I ran ahead of him and averaged 4:17s. Not too shabby for what was already 26 kilometres in. It was still a controlled pace, yet at a race pace intensity (in other words, it wasn’t my all-out pace).

I finally broke the silence and said, “great pace there buddy!” I learned that he was training for New York Marathon and he had 16 more kilometres to go. At this point as if I wasn't listening, my legs were screaming STOP STOP STOP!

When we separated off, I quickly realized that I had to slow down to 5:30 pace as there was no more help with the sound of footsteps.

So to recap, the last 6km was slightly faster than race pace for about 20% of the 28km run. Did a cool down afterwards and enjoyed a slushie.

There’s a great article on structured Progression Runs at McMillan Running.

The article classifies three different types and ironically I ended doing something very similar to DUSA. I did an 8.5 km recovery run the next day with UBCTC and my legs still felt moderately fresh. It was a great experience; I have to start simulating my own progression runs in the future now. =)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Race report: Subaru Banff Olympic

Date/Time: September 11, 2010, 9:15 am
Weather: 5 to 10ish, water temperature freakishly cold at low 10ish, rain and pockets of sunshine
Distance: Olympic (shortened swim)
Gun time: 2:16:37
Swim: 13:08 (1:46 per 100m pace)
T1: 8:21
Bike: 1:10:32 (32.3 km/hr)
T2: 1:36
Run: 43:02 (4:19 min/km pace)
Age Group: 2/8
Overall: 54/343

This past weekend, the much anticipated showdown emerged at the Subaru Banff International Triathlon. There were many humbling surprises and stories to tell in this great expedition to Banff National Park.
First surprise came when the team learned that one big name and gglg opted to not bring his TT bike due to the trivial inconveniences such as changing the brakes and putting on race wheels. Weaksauce was brought!

This meant my TT bike would be the obvious choice for a grand theft auto. I was having second thoughts.

As the evening grew darker, we crash the night for our beauty sleep in the area of Sicamous plus or minus a town – ninja camping style.

Ghost train. Or what looks like the light at the end of a tunnel.

The next morning, we hastily packed up our tents and booked it to our neighbourly province to the east.

Welcome to Albertaville!
Cool guys don’t need to watch where they are going, apparently. Watch and learn kids!

Don’t be fooled, the turquoisesie colour water at Lake Louise owes much of its look to the fine particles suspended in glacier waters. This is a kind way of mothernature giving you the visual warning sign for things to come for the swim at Two Jack Lake.

Cold feet anyone? Zeeeee feet izZz freezing!

The pioneer effort of hosting a first ever triathlon in a national park with a glacier fed lake is not without its share of controversies. The day before the race, the race director announced that the swim would be cut in half after ‘consultation’ with none other than mothernature. We realized this was no joke, the swim and the subsequent air temperature for biking will be crazy cold.

Hypothermia was a threat.

We stayed at the designated camping grounds at Two Jack Lake. What a beauty.

The night before the race, my primal instincts kicked in during a dream. I realized the only way to stay warm for this tiny 135 lb physique is to layer up – the superhero way. I should survive this adventure by keeping all the sensitive areas warm, such as head, toes, hands, and the tighty whities area of course. Now I understand the underwear layer method, it’s all about speed. Get out of the swim and your only choice without butchering minutes for what seems like hours in the transition area is to layer up with your preferred choice of undies.

Now theory to practice...


The swim.

OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG the swim was chilly. Despite the reduced distance, this was truly a MAN test, an exploration to the unknown! I had no trouble weeing in my wetsuit in the water after doing a warm up lap (above ground). I broke the swim into three survival stages as each stage was a side of the triangle. My chin got so cold, the skin in that area no longer feels as smooth as what it used to be. I did the two swim caps method and even opted to swim with a white cap indicating I was a distressed swimmer. I’m still a terrified swimmer, but I passed so many swimmers, backstrokers, breast strokers and even freestylers. Nobody had great technique because their head were held way above the surface to avoid the bone chilling slap in the face. It felt great!


Not very often I can laugh and say 8:21 was the time it took me to t1. The guy next to my transition with bright neon orange cycling shoes had enough time to exchange at least 3 jokes before we left transition. I was in survival mode, doing everything necessary to enter the bike leg as warm as possible. Arm warmers, inner tri top, outer shirt, and rain jacket and...
Top right: swim cap
Top left: black briefs
Bottom right: gloves 
Bottom left: toe covers 

The Bike.

The bike course was a little wet. I felt great for the bike, not much can be said other than watching out for sheep and elks on the course and riding gingerly over the Texas cattle gates. I was super stoked I got to race on my Cervelo, but my puffy yellow rain jacket probably screamed DRAG but oh well. This was a sweet deal, mountains in the background and racing on the outskirts of civilization.


Trying to jump out from your cycling tri shoes was a difficult matter, especially if soaked I’ve learned. There was a suction issue and I couldn’t yank my foot out in time, losing some precious seconds.

The Run.

The 3 apex very ITU run course meant that I got to see my Subaru series rival Andrew Wight nearly six times in 10k. I have learned that for the first time in the race that he was within 2 minutes ahead; however despite this gap, and running 3:50 to 4 minutes pace, I couldn’t hold it for the second lap. Typically I can settle in the half iron distance and catch him at my comfortable pace (2 minutes would have been an easy catch in the half marathon). It could have been due to shortness of breath from the elevation gain and the super flat run course.

Andrew is learning quickly and using my own classic Winstorm secret race tactics to beat me this time (gradually getting faster as the race proceeds on). I knew by the 4th apex, I wasn’t going to close the gap. It was a great race though; I was beat fair and square. Scott and Vince finished less than 10 minutes ahead, so it was a pretty close race all around. Hey, no more double digits spanking, guys! I like this!

Also congrats to a youngstar of the future, Eddy for finishing strong in his Olympic.

It’s all about consistency. Bridesmaid position again! Congrats to Eagle for taking the 20-24 age group.

I didn’t win the blue triad frame, but who’s to say I can’t say this weekend was a huge success. A great Canadian rockies adventure for sure, and overall what a great road trip with the UBCTC team. Congrats to all who raced. Also a big thanks goes to the entire team for keeping my Cervelo in such good shape, I really appreciated it. =D

Mike used to be a ballin’ ballerina, I suspect (or still is judging from this photographic evidence). =P

Live obstacles: A male elk along the bike course.

Vince gives two thumbs up.

Trash talk from Ceilidh? Looks like he will be trouble, he already copied my killer smile.

The 2 Cool Club which consists of Celeste, Me, and Eddy for having such awesome numbers
 (blogger won't let me rotate this picture, it's kinda uncool!).

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Operation Enter Real World.

My triathlon season is officially done for the year, and Banff was such an incredible experience to cap off my 2010 breakthrough year. Stayed tuned for Banff Race Report!

Banff was the perfect escape from the norms of city life.

Now, I can focus more on job hunting, otherwise every near future family dinner gatherings will become quite awkward once they realize my goal is global domination. I also haven’t forgotten that marathon creeping up in Victoria. Boston Qualifier is patiently waiting for me to figure out how to get my sorry act together.

I need to steer off some resumes and cover letters in the meantime. Wish me luck! =)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Subaru Banff International Triathlon - Showdown!!

Banff National Park - Two Jack Lake

If swimming, biking, and running in “one of the most picturesque races in the world” hold little appeal, then the big showdown definitely should garner the attention of the world!

The Subaru Banff International Triathlon will mark the fifth and final playground at Banff National Park, as the race debuts this year in the Subaru Western Triathlon series. Although only Olympic and Sprint distances are offered in this race, this hasn’t even deterred Ironman 70.3 Female Champion, Magali Tisseyre, from coming.

According to Impact Magazine July/August 2010 issue, she has 10 planned races for the season; all of them in the Ironman 70.3 distance except her only Olympic distance being at Banff. It seems only fitting that all big showdowns occur in the races she attends in the Subaru series, with the last one being the BIGGER showdown in Vancouver.

Many big names from the UBCTC will be racing at Banff.

Andrew, (pic taken from last year)
Andrew, a familiar face in all the half ironman distance races in the series, is unquestionably out for lunch meat this time around the final bend on the run course – i.e. the Winstorm variety. His latest effort in Sooke is starting to remind us of his pure greatness from last year.

Scott, AKA Eagle, is an Olympian specialist after already dominating in a few this year. Despite being the only one among the big names to not race in the BIGGER showdown in Vancouver, he will be out for prize money/blingware for sure! This race also marks the first meeting this season between Eagle and I, since neither one of us is volunteering/racing-in-a-different-distance this time.

Secret Ninja JP is so clever at holding a poker face. Rumours indicate that he secretly signed up for Banff, trains in the dark, and tells nobody (perhaps not even family members)! He also occasionally tends to organize group rides under an alias name and then not show up for them.

Big Man on Campus
Michael Duncan is the big man on campus with the guts of steel! There’s no telling him what he can or cannot do. IMC 2011 baby!

Vince easily spanked yours truly by 14 minutes 25 seconds at our last Olympic Distance meeting. He is in a league of his own.

As for my chances? - As good as Andy Schleck winning the tour!