Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Bogged Down on Process

Too often, I would apply process to my everyday activities. I would rely upon identifying action items, crafting to-dos lists, and sometimes analyzing them in fancy spreadsheets to achieve process. Numbers crunching is what I'm good at, especially from first principles. Not surprising then, I've been told many times (mostly at work) that I can be a little "too" systematic when it comes to resolutions and work-life balances. This technical savy stuff is suppose to remain in zee office; however I seem to trend towards a fuzzy boundary...

Yep, "process" has been my new favourite buzz word for year 2011. It is dee word that drives people around me crazy because I can't help but fervously engage in conversations about how X can be summed up in a XYZ process. Don't worry, I won't start on the current and future processes of my training, but that's for another day. =)

First things first tho, I will start my list of new year's resolutions for 2012.

1. As per above, I should refrain in everyway possible from verbally-engaging the word "process" to quantify everyday activities. This is to salvage any existing friendships I might have, before they all start believing I have spreadsheets all figured out to map out my tier 1 from tier 2 friends.
2. As cheezy as this might sound, I'm thinking of starting my own "Happiness Project". There are some inspiring ideas while reading the book "the Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin. She applies a very systematic approach to being happier like a process, which I can definitely relate to.
3. I want to motivate others to run, not just for health/fitness benefits but because it's a great energy booster. I'll be organizing a Sun Run Team for my corporation. I'm thinking of starting up a lunch-hour run too to build motivation. Don't worry, I'll still be doing Boston in April!
4. Read more! Brilliant ideas (like the ones I'm stealing above) seem to usually come from books.
5. Travel and explore Boston and Switzerland! Current things to-do list for Boston includes eating Boston Cream Pie, lobster, clam chowder, getting one of those sweet Boston Marathon jackets, and perhaps doing the marathon since I'll be there already.

That is all for now, happy new year!

Saturday, November 26, 2011


This video got me thinking - sigh, I always wanted to travel the world.

I’ve been to 3 different countries other than my own, but one of them was during a layover to China (Japan). So I guess that leaves me with 2 countries officially visited. That’s pretty pathetic, really.

So during a friend’s farewell party, another friend said that he’ll visit him in Switzerland and then joked he would do the Ironman there. I couldn’t resist, I vowed that I would do it too had my visiting-friend signed up for IM Switzerland! It all seemed light-spirited at the time.

Then a few weeks later, my friend suddenly sent a text, which read "IMZ Confirmed". The “Zee” was referring to Zurich in Switzerland. I knew instantly from that moment on, I had to go.

This inspiring quote is suspiciously fitting...

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
- Anonymous

S-T-A-R...this is going onto my 2012 to-dos list! =)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


As I reflect on IMC, it strikes me again I AM SEEing bragging rights for life...
...or at the very least until my back-shoulder burns wear off. I haven’t been able to make it through one swim practice yet without somebody commenting on my freshly tanned souvenirs. I guess if you’re going get a healthy dose of vitamin D from sun exposure, you might as well get it during the biggest race of your life. On the bright side (oh the puns), yes it was cooler than a tattoo! And yes it was free!

So, inspired by recent accomplishments and back burns, I can’t promise there will be less prattling, punning, and joking, but I can say there will be more new challenges for the year 2012. This is an exciting process of my training.

There is this race called the Boston Marathon, I wanted to do ever since I was a little kid. My semi-annual visits to the dentist were a constant reminder of Boston. At those early years, I just toyed the idea that it was something cool to do one day. Maybe it will impress girls, but I really had no idea how long a marathon was, I had no idea you had to qualify (let alone beat others at registering), and it didn’t occur to me it was the most prestigious marathon. My dentist Dr. Hui had a framed picture of him centred and surrounded by a sea of runners with his metal proudly displayed beside it. As I made more visits to the dentist, my curiosity got the best of me.

Three years ago, my first attempt at the Marathon was over a dozen minutes shy from qualifying.

One year ago, my second attempt at the Marathon was 3:07:53, which was enough to qualify for both Boston 2011 and 2012. Unfortunately as the joke goes, you could have fast enough legs, but you could still be denied an entry spot into Boston if your fingers weren’t fast enough. It took only 8 hours for Boston 2011 to fill up – a day I will never forget since it was also my first day into the real world.

Since the registration process was changed for 2012 in response to the quick fingers, Boston was giving my slow fingers a break for the 2012 registration.

Six months ago, my third attempt at the Marathon was slimmed down to 3:07:32.

Last month, fast forward past a week of agonizing anticipation, I was relieved to hear when it was finally announced that 3:08:46 was the cut off time for my qualifying time group, with only 74 seconds to spare. Watch out Boston! I got my golden ticket!! =)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Ironman Extravaganza Weekend (Part 3 of 3 Series)

For my race report, click here.

When I signed up for IMC 2011 last year, I remembered the registration process had asked for my “occupation” among all the other trivial data. After graduation, I technically wasn’t quite a student anymore and wasn’t quite in the real-world either. I figured my occupation could be to help Harvey Ball (the guy who invented smiley, himself) with a huge favour and act as a “Smiles Rep”. Since a special day is coming up, I figured this would be appropriate timing for this final part 3 to 3-part series of Ironman Weekend Extravaganza (or just a super bad excuse for such a procrastinated blog post entry).
That being said, Smileybook can tell the rest of the story. Thank you friends for these dazzling rockstar photos. =)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ironman Extravaganza Weekend (Part 2 of 3 Series)

The Rockstar Race Report (“RRR”).


I’ll often admit that I like to engage in feverish discussions surrounding anything cardio-related (this is the reader’s clue and disclaimer for a lengthy “RRR” to come). You’ve been kindly advised. ;)


On the eve of my first ironman, my mind was restless. Unconsciously, my mind was tickled with running every possible scenario that could unfold on m-dot day, right down to the nitty gritties. I probably had just one actual hour of solid snoozing. I was losing patience – I would press the indigo on my timex watch to reluctantly check and see what time it was and then compute the remaining hours for sleep. This would happen every 15 minutes interval. On the plus side, I had plenty of opportunities to rehearse my game plan strategy during that 6 hours or so to get everything all mentally “dialled in” for race day. Here’s some “dialled in” thoughts:

(1) The Flashback:

Flashback to last year, race morning at 8 am when the stream of nearly 3 thousand athletes cruise by along Main Street in Penticton. I was not only inspired, but I noticed two distinct groups of ironman athletes. No not the fat ones versus the skinny ones, nor the fast ones versus the slow ones, though I was impressed with every one of them for attempting this challenging feat.

The difference in mental approaches was what I noticed. Some clearly were keen on blitzing out of town and determined to get a fast time. Others were waving and showing their appreciation for the stream of fans cheering them on along.

Q: I mean how often do we, as athletes get to show our rockstar-love back towards the fans?

A: Not very often because triathlon is not exactly the most spectacle-friendly sport, it’s more a participation sport.

Deep, I know (cough cough...sarcasm). I knew which group bracket I wanted to be in. Okay maybe I wasn’t completely willing to jump off my bike to give people hugs, but I definitely wanted ease my tempo coming in and out of town of Penticton and show my support for the truly exceptional fans.

(2) The Prep Talk:

“Don’t forget your A game. Flies in your soup. This is the big leagues. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.”

(3) Soft goals:

I knew I was capable of finishing in the 11-12 hour range. I budgeted for a 1.5 hour swim, a 6 hour bike, and a sub 4 hour run (subject to heat). I should fashionably make the cut-off times and the rest will be history. Oh yeah, finishing in style was a must. I planned to be running awesomely throughout the run course. =)

(4) The Finish

How cool would this be, just imagine Steve King calling out the words, “Winston Guo...[pause]...YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!” My tiny voice in the background resonating the words, and expressing “oh really, really, thank you so much!”

Race morning:

I felt optimistic and confident. I was nervous for the forecasted throbbing towards my body, but confident about the plan.

The body-marking line went smoothly and I saw Andrew, and Derrick (2012 to be IMCers) near the body markers. Funny I see myself in their position last year; reminiscence has a funny way of repeating itself.

I had realized I forgot my slurpee straw (a.k.a. aero bottle straw) and was in luck. A race saviour, thanks to Ceilidh, who happened to be at the right place at the right time. I was floored with my floor pump, it broke last minute, but I checked the tire pressure and figured I was fine. Phew, crisis averted!

Promptly, the national anthem was played and then a moment of silence before the anticipation for the cannon. I paused, looked back to absorb the inspiration. Then the cannon went off.

The swim:

I was envisioning three VOWSA laps and this leg of the race would be over with. There was certainly a higher degree of credit card side swipings and feet thrashing than my previous races. I guess you don't mess around in the BIG leagues, beatings were unavoidable, even on the left side. I tried to avoid the smashing as much as possible – even if it meant losing a few precious seconds. As I past the buoys markers, I was converting that distance to the percentage of VOWSA laps. My goal was to save as much energy as possible and it was going to be an eventful day, given that I swim out of the waters. I was sticking to the plan.

Ran over the mat and saw my time was 1:28:XX, ah just where I expected to be. I was ready for the bike.

The T1:

Organized chaos, I flew by and was peeled out of my wetsuit. Missed the sunscreen pit stop unfortunately and went my way gingerly on barefoot until I finally reached my bike. Popped on my new aero helmet and embraced the loud cheers.

The bike:

I was caught in the bottom end of the mob, and was in no rush to book it out of town. Did my princess-waves on Main Street and carried on. Haha, this was certainly a true rockstar moment.

I was flying at 36 km/hr barely pedaling. A combination of tail wind and downhill, and of course not drafting - I’m quite a law-abiding stickler on that or at least try to be. ;)

There seems to be clusters of riders barraging my passing lane anyways. An official on a motorbike was hovering at the same speed of a group, I just blew by everyone. The royal escort was over it seemed. Then it was to town of Osoyoos and up Richter’s Pass. I was just trying to save as much energy and stay on course of the plan. In attempt to employ the Craig-Alexander approach, I knew every little bit of energy saved here would mean a killer run split.

Because I was borrowing Derrick’s deeper rimmed race wheels, I was descending delicately down the rollers. Normally on my old clunkers, I can just rip down the hills without the worry of a cross-wind effect.

My nutrition on the bike for the most part was going well, and I was taking in salt pills every half hour and making sure I got in my Carbo Pro.

At the aid station shortly after special needs, I managed to get a nose-bleed and calmly dealt with it. The volunteer was super helpful, giving me ice. The incident cost me nearly five minutes, but it was also a five minutes break to a very long day.

I’ve done Yellow Lake climb a couple of times, and both times were soul-sucking to the point you question yourself to re-evaluate the plan. On this race day, those fears were not relived and the cheer zones made every bit easier and I didn’t even question the plan. Case closed!

The last 20km on the bike was basically a descent. I was alright with one rider passing me, but then behind him, a mob of approximately 15 riders was shamelessly drafting and zoomed by me! No attempt was even made to avoid it. I was not impressed and yelled out “No Drafting guys!” Oh well, I kept reminding myself to stick to the plan and the run would be epic. No flats please, I have no idea how to change Derrick’s sweet race wheels!

Before I knew it, I reached the dismount line and saw none other than Andrew Wight bike-catching. The home/run stretch was finally here. I felt in control and on the driver seat. Awesome, I got this!

The T2:
Ran to the sunscreen tray and did my own screen job. Couldn't wait for an epic run.

The run:

Some could say I had the “smile” of Chrissie Wellington, when I really shouldn’t be. I was supposed to be suffering in the blistering Okanagan 33 degrees Celsius heat. I knew there were doubters and that the WORLD was watching and waiting for me to drop my smile in the Ironman distance. Unfortunately, I can officially report the WORLD may be overly disappointed that not only did I not drop that “smile” of Chrissie Wellington, but managed to dare to say “enjoyed” the run. It wasn’t as bad as I had thought, I was bad-ass for still sporting a smile. My technique was light and efficient, and my muscles were willing to perform the task at hand. The first 5 miles was a cruise. I managed to shake off those biking quad cramps and when I saw some gentle hills, I was picturing Miranda Carfrae and Andreas Raelert in Kona attacking those hills like it was a 5km TT. No big deal right? Heat management was definitely in play. I was stuffing ice everywhere I could and turning into Sponge Bob like how Macca does it.

The one thing I could do better was resisting the temptation to grab everything at the aid stations. The mix of powerbar ironman perform, warm pepsi, ice water and jels didn’t sit too well with my stomach. I managed to use the washroom four times on the run course and for one instance barely escaped disaster by keeping "it" all together for a solid 2 km to the next available portapotty. At the latter end of the race, I was walking thru the aid stations to cool down and get my heart rate down. Then I ran the next 2 km. My body was craving of ice at every aid stations and that was the most awesome part. Now only if there were slushies for everyone!

As I ran closer and closer towards Penticton, the cheers grew louder. My body had this dialled in and I skipped the last three aid stations to give my stomach a break. I placed both of my hands on my head and celebrated. I was estatic - I was officially an Ironman!!! The clock read 11:25:33. What a ROCKSTAR feeling it was, no words could describe it.

Date/Time: August 28th, 2011, 7:00 am
Weather: 32ish, blistering hot!
Distance: IM
Gun time: 11:25:33
Swim: 1:28:01 (2:19 per 100m pace)
T1: 4:31
Bike: 6:00:53 (29.9 km/hr)
T2: 2:50
Run: 3:49:20 (5:26 per km)
Age Group: 35/126
Overall: 436/2832

Friday, September 2, 2011

Ironman Extravaganza Weekend (Part 1 of 3 Series)

I hate taper. The week heading into my first Ironman was a huge drag, I'd just been so used to walking on sluggish legs. I was not sure I could handle walking around with these 'fresh' looking legs. I just had been so grumpy all week because I was ready to put down the hurt (that's just triathletespeak for "I want to go train").

All this negativity was normal to me because somehow I always "seemed" to feed off a plethora of positive energy on race day, even when I was having a super bad race (e.g. Vancouver's little cone fiasco).

Despite all this excitement, it seemed to be perfect timing that my client offered a cruise social just before my weekend trip to Penticton. I knew it would be impolite to refuse free food! My little princess cruise just before getting picked up for the extravaganza road trip – now that was tapering in fashion.

Watch it, it's the far right Yacht!

There seems to be no easy way to transition from epic cruise boat into town of Penticton. So without a further a do, here's some more randomness and pre-race pics.  

(psst...spoiler alert -stay tuned for part 2)  Me - potentially

Just a tip, doing your first Ironman is a super good excuse to borrow a friend's race wheels...Thank you Derrick!!
 My prison bracelet...DUN DUN DUN, with my race number kindly labled 2-0-4 (if you believe in Chinese superstitions that is, oh I'm so asian).

In short, the number 2 sounds like 'easy' and the number 4 sounds like 'death' or something like that.  Ah should be fine, I keep telling everyone I'm feeling confident...
And as confident I was...I was getting the feeling Christmas came early and I was stoked to see how far my preparations for this "A" race of the season will turn out! I started from scratch a long time ago and this was the defining moment of a rockstar to say I've done the real deal - DEE IRONMAN. Stay tuned for part 2 of series (too bad I have to work all through the long weekend, otherwise this post may have came sooner)!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Race Report: Sooke Half – One Last 'Test' before dee Ultimate 'Test'

Date/Time: August 7th, 2011, 7:25 am
Weather: 15ish, foggy morning, sunny afternoon
Distance: Half IM
Gun time: 5:28:16
Swim: 40:39 (2:08 per 100m pace)
T1: 1:53
Bike: 3:04:50 (29.5 km/hr)
T2: 1:14
Run: 1:39:43 (4:44 per km)
Age Group: 5/9
Overall: 29/110

Good friends make threats to get other good friends to the race site on time. I happen to have some very speedy friends, however when it comes to the previous day to check in our bikes and attend the supposedly mandatory pre-race meeting, it’s a completely different story. We seem to always take our princess time to get everything ready and arrive very fashionably late. Not sure if everyone else is just early...;)

We easily missed our intended ferry sailing which was a blessing in disguise; I knew there was this awesome Montreal smoke-meat sandwich place nearly to kill time for the ferry wait - yummy goodness!

In the end, we managed to arrive to T1 only minutes before the 6pm cut off time to drop off our bikes. Success (minus the mandatory meeting, so sorry to the race organizers)!

I had learned I had a pretty awesome number coming into for this race in Sooke.

Double Symmetry is double sexy!

Okay Carl had a cool number too (but obviously not as awesome as mine).

These local races in the Subaru West Coast series have been a huge asset to my training for the upcoming Ironman Canada in less than two weeks! I’ve learned that doing these races are not only the fun part of my training to keep my motivation and sanity, but also these races allow me to build some solid lactic threshold training. These are huge confidence boosters for preparations for my first Ironman.

The swim!

We all know very well I can’t swim (or very well for that matter) and it is only with reason I let the WORLD pass me. Being a bottom-half swimmer, I usually leave family members and friends wondering if they had missed me coming out, but then humbly realizes – NOPE – he’s still way out there still swimming. This time, nearing the final length of the two lap swim course, I just envisioned “ice-cream scooping”. Yes, you'd read correct, big fat and generous ice cream scoops for my swim technique. I wanted to desperately bridge this 10m gap to a group of half a dozen swimmers to use their draft. After envisioning the ice cream scoops, pretty soon I found myself exceeding the pack and arriving onto the swim transition carpet in front of that group. I was impressed!
Seriously, I’m not in last place anymore! Look at all those athletes behind me!

Then onto T1!

This was one of my quickest transitions (shaved 6 seconds from last year).

The Bike!

It was a little bit tricky swiping off the hay-ie grass off my feet and putting on my bike shoes just in time for this picture!

Crisis averted! No cones were slowing me down this time around! Road rash all healed. =)

I’m sure you’ll find people saying this bike course was much tougher than last year’s course. I had to take the descents gingerly to ensure I didn’t do something I’ll regret later, and it’s just a smart time to nutrition up. Unfortunately, a few blind turns and suddenly you realized crappzers – maybe I shouldn’t have swallowed that cliff bar right before this climb. It happened several times, and that was just what caught me a little offguard. Overall it was a hilly and challenging course – so glad they closed off traffic! Terrrific!

Then onto T2!


And finally the Run!

This is by far my favourite run course of the series. I enjoy the hills, the grass, the gravel, the road, the jetty and the town. It’s rockstar like atmosphere and I like the challenges that this course throws at you.

Thunder thighing it up. Love this run course!

So only two weeks until Ironman? T-week begins now!

Thanks to UBCTC team, race organizers, and most importantly volunteers for this race! =)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

m-dot bike tour

Over the past two weekends (oh jeezz has it really been that long, I really should update more often), some friends and I rode the IMC bike course to get a feel for what some of us signed up for. In short, the course was do-able-ish (yeah right, minus the drafting we did!). And man oh man I'm not too sure about this idea of running a little marathon afterwards...I guess I still have a little bit over a month to figure it out. I definitely should consider consulting more you-tube IM videos for motivation, since they have more deepful meaning after doing this trip.

I still haven't been swimming and taking it easy with rides and runs. This was the perfect getaway from the city - we also enjoyed a wine festival afterwards in Kelowna. A wine and cheeze adventure for shures.

I was quite fortunate to have only the handle bar tape torn a little bit (and minor scratch to the pendal) from the crash in the Vancouver Tri. It goes to show, my bike has a pretty mean streak as well (no pun intended). ;) 

Maybe my bike's mean streak had scared poor Ogopogo the sea monster in Okanogan Lake away...that's pretty bad-ass you know?

You never want to anticipate for a flat, but in the back of my mind, I knew I could use a break to get a slushie. Next thing you know it, the cycling and slurpee gods answered!! They must had formed a joint 2-member panel to hit us right near the town of Osoyoos, where there was a 7-11 nearby and right before Richter Pass! Can you say perfect timing? Awesome.

While biking around the town of Keremeos, we saw this very familiar minivan. Scott and I was riding along, stopped to the side to take a closer look (of course our legs weren't desperately craving for a break by this point ;)).

WHOA no way, it's really Mr. Wight!! This is quite fitting, since originally it was Scott, Andrew and I that formed the original 3-man pack to do IMC 2012, 30 year anniversary of the race.

That was before Kim and Kory threw in a monkey wrench to the original 3-man pack plans and seems like 10 of us are doing IMC 2011 this year. Hopefully the 2012 3-man pack still stands. I know I'll be keeping my end of the promise.
Less than 37 more days to go... and counting. =)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Race Report: Vancouver Half – Impeccable Aiming

Date/Time: July 3, 2011, 6:30 am
Weather: 15ish, clear Distance: Half IM
Gun time: 5:11:11
Swim: 41:51 (2:13 per 100m pace)
T1: 2:45
Bike: 2:52:37 (31.3 km/hr)
T2: 1:03
Run: 1:32:57 (4:38 per km)
Age Group: 14/27
Overall: 82/227

You’ve probably heard by now that I had a pretty unsightly crash during Vancouver Half-IM.

Yes, I have had better races. Yes, I could have just called it quits. Yes, I was lucky to escape with only flesh wounds.

And yes, it was partly my fault for flirting with the line a bit too much, when all of a sudden then a cone had hit-on me.

Before I knew it, my front tire took flight and I had lost control of my bike and instantly met the kind asphalt arriving at 33 km/hr. I’ll spare you the visuals, since the wounds look a lot worst than they actually are ;).

I only have my impeccable aiming to blame. Had I hit the cone half-assed I might had had a fighting chance to keep my balance.

But that little warrior inside me just told me to just keep going - and keep going I did. Wasted no more than 2 seconds to hop back onto my bike. My mission was to not just finish, but finish strong. I just wanted to say I’m alright and smiling, despite the bloody mess. In fact, smiling really helped keep the sting away.

But honestly, it felt like the cones on the bike course were so poorly positioned and excessive; some had lie even within a foot inside of the biking lane. The cone that really caught me by surprised was when the two-lane road merged into a single-lane with a bike lane. Traffic was still divided from cars and hence the cone that I hit was placed in the middle of the single lane. No lines to keep me on route during the merge. =(

Unfortunately this had occurred on the first of four laps and I still had to brute the next three laps on the bike. Second lap I just hammered up Jericho hill on my big gear, something I would never do during a race. Just in shock for this lap. I managed to settle in on the last two laps.

On the run, I didn’t try to push the pace too much and just focused on good technique. Overall I was pleased to finish. =)

Once again, big thanks goes to my dad for these awesome action shots.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Race Report: Victoria Half – New milestone!

Date/Time: June 19, 2011,6:45 am Weather: 15ish, clear
Distance: Half IM
Gun time: 4:57:07 (new pb!)
Swim: 40:10 (2:07 per 100m pace) could be better?
T1: 2:09
Bike: 2:42:25 (31.5 km/hr) not bad!
T2: 1:04
Run: 1:31:22 (4:35 per km) felt strong!
Age Group: 10/25
Overall: 81/354

It all started with the realization of a missing timing chip a little 10 minutes before the gun...

Something just felt bare on the right ankle from that internal gut feeling check. I looked around and surprisingly found a chip just a metre away sitting on the motionless grass, but the chip had read ‘411’ on the black strap. My number was 137. Close? Not even! Did I grab the wrong chip I thought. Seconds later an individual ran to snatch it up. I was left chipless only minutes away from the start.

It was a case of a rookie mistake, but a veteran’s cool. Long-story-short, FLASHBACK to last year I had experienced a similar mishap, and was missing a crank bolt until race morning and eventually got one that fitted just in time from the bike mechanic – surely I had little to worry about this time around. This was an epic mental battle from pre-start to finish.

I ran to the lady at the timing booth and kindly advised her of my situation. She opened her eyes wider than normal and was shocked as anticipated and told me in a demeaning tone, “you’ll have to pay for one if you don’t find it and nobody turns it in!!” I replied “okie, that’s a deal”, and was handed chip 500. I booked it fashionably to the starting line.

For some reason, this was one of those swim that just honestly tanked. Everything felt a bit more offside than usual. There was little time to adjust my mental focus. Even this breaststroker was making a feast by kicking a 3 metre wide span and I felt helpless without doing a lengthy detour. Out of the water I came and at this point I was a solid 253!

No time to celebrate, I dashed into T1 and did a flying mount. Ka-lump, la-lump my left shoe hit the ground a couple times before slipping my feet in.

This was a difficult bike course – rougher terrain and some false flats near the end of the (2x) lap course. I was holding a decent 32km/hr speed until the last 5km where the bike fell apart, not in the literal sense but it sure felt like it. I was passing person after person in the first 80ish km and even yo-yo-ing with a few duels with riders equipped with aero helmets and fancy deep rimmed wheels. By the time I hopped off the bike and I was in 124 (a little more respectable).

T2 teed off well.

Mental focus was in check. I felt cautiously up to the test and my legs took the first 2-3 km to fully transition into run mode. Unlike the last race where I struggled cardio-wise, this time I was able to hold a decent pace and finished the two laps within a minute of the run splits. Finished in 81st in a deeper field this year.

In personal record fashion, I recorded my fastest half IM time of 4:57:07. Sure the course was shorter. But if you measured the time with the winner’s time, I had always previously came 1-hour-plus-ish; this race was a different story and I wasn’t digitally-spanked by more than an hour. A personal milestone was born.

Thanks for reading and congrats to everyone who participated!! Also, thanks to the volunteers (including the year-round planning committee) for making this event so successful every year. =)

PS Turns out, I had left my original timming chip in my street-clothes back pocket. Lucky for me, I turned the chip in without emtying more of my pockets.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Race Report: Shawnigan Lake - Official Season Begins

Date/Time: May 29, 2011, 7:30am Weather: 15ish, sunshine
Distance: Half IM
Gun time: 5:07:27
Swim: 38:36 (2:02 per 100m pace)
T1: 3:43
Bike: 2:41:15 (32.7 km/hr)
T2: 2:02
Run: 1:41:53 (4:50 per km)
Age Group: 4/5
Overall: 27/84 

Alrighty, no more blogging hiatus, I guess this little race report is a little overdue...perhaps. This past week, I’ve been flabbergasted with loads of real world work and client meals and trying to sneak in more training whenever I can, despite the jubilant excitement of the city for the Canucks and their exciting run for the cup! My prediction is I just hope the better team will win zee cup. =)

Cool shot I stole from the Clock Tower Images

Shawnigan Lake is the first race of the Subaru Western Tri Series and having done this race last year, I had a better idea of kicking the can this time around.

Here's the team report summary: http://ubctriathlon.blogspot.com/2011/05/shawnigan-race-results.html

Naiely, Derrick and I went over to the Island together. Naiely prepared us her famous homemade pasta for the ferry trip over and it tasted great - among her secret ingredients was added brown sugar. We also had yummy yogurt with fresh fruits to top it off. We’ll have to bug her for that secret recipe.

We took the later ferry than everyone else on the team, and had to rush to the race site. No worries, we got there just in time to miss it. Haha it’s the honest effort that counts anyways. The team took over Camp Pringle (superb hospitality) this year and it was super nice being within minutes of walking distance to the race start.


Having not swam more than 7 times the past two months, and 3 of those 7 swims were during the last week leading up to this race, I knew I was in trouble for this race and it would had been a huge wake-up call. Despite all of this, my time was 59 seconds faster than last year – and I still got the gloomy impression I was coming out dead last out of the water. I know my time will improve once I start attending VOWSA swim practices.

Lesson Learnt:

Two Swim caps did the trick this year, no more bobble heading coming out of the water this year unlike last year!


Last year I lost time for running back to retrieve the timing chip because I had taken it off whiling stripping my wet suite and then forgot to put it back on. A similar trend as the swim, I was out of T1 quicker by 69 seconds than last year. I was happy.


This year I bought miss P2 to the race - Faster, lighter, and aero-er, which made it a lot fun-er race.

I think it even attracted celebrity status of sorts, which I’m not known for. While completing the third lap, a random dude biked past me on the passing lane, rotated his head 90 degrees clockwise at me like a robot and yelled out “hey it’s UBC TRI KID!” I had no UBC tri clothing on at the time, but I guess my signature grimacing-smile had given it away. This had given me a boost on the third lap along with so many Olympic and sprint bikers on course. First and last of the 4-laps course felt really lonely. Biking-wisely I was exactly clocked in at 2 minutes faster than last year.

Lesson Learnt
Temperature was warm and sunny and I was wearing my Sugoi long sleeve jacket which was a huge mistake! It also costed me a couple mintues figuring out how to put it on and take it off at the transitions. But one great thing about this is that it had simulated a heat ride and I felt HOT on the ride. Good prep for Ironman at least.

I didn’t use the portables this time around and saved 103 seconds from last year.

I guess by this point, I had just under 6 minutes of banked time from last year’s race. Inevitably with the hotter conditions this year, my cardio system was running out of steam (no pun intended). Usually it’s the legs that give first, but I really felt the lungs burn. The last 5 km was the hardest part as this relay lady was on my tail within a metre all the way to the finish line (good work on her part for keeping up). It did make for an epic run, but I learned from Garmin I was still 5 minutes slower than last year. I was impressed that I managed to shave off last year’s overall time by 20 seconds.

Lesson Learnt
I will need to embrace for the hotter conditions, and as the season moves on, hopefully so does my fitness.
Dash to the finish

The highlight of this awesome trip was enjoying buffet food on the ferry trip back. Not going lie, we kinda pigged out – and not surprisingly Naiely felt obligated to taste-test everything on the dessert menu.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

One Hundred More Days ‘til M-DOT!

"Plans are nothing; planning is everything."
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Oh man, ironman is inching closer by the tick, Ironman Canada 2011 is coming!

So here it is...The Plan (the nothing part):

  • Volunteer and sign-up year before CHECK!
  • Sport an awesome Race Belt (because anything less is not acceptable) CHECK!
  • Run a marathon this season CHECK!
  • Acquire a GPS watch with adequate battery life (minimum requirement: 10+ hours)
  • Get my butt outside to some open water swims – the water awaits...
  • Finish a few half-irons this season
  • Try out this mysterious nutrition called CARBO-PRO and salt pills...triathletes live by.
  • Acclimatize to zee HEAT
  • Bike the course - study the N-S winds patterns
  • Get a sweet tanline?
  • Think about what to put in special needs bag...
  • Enjoy the experience when entering/leaving Penticton!
Anything else!?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Race Report: BMO - Mowing down the clock for Boston

Date/Time: May 1st, 2011, 7:30 am
Weather: 7ish, Cool sunshine and not a single drop of rain.
Distance: Marathon
Chip time: 3:07:32 (4:27 per km pace) new pb!
5K: 21:03
10K: 41:45
15K: 1:03:00
Halfway: 1:27:22
30K: 2:08:36
35K: 2:32:03
Gun time: 3:08:00
Age Group: 25/211
Overall: 99/3225

I remember it was absolutely gorgeous running weather for this marathon. Fantastic race support I might add! Okay, that was probably the biggest understatement of the year – but still awesome race bling, music, scenic route, cheer zones, many fans, GU & aid stations, and pre-race urinal rooms (a little too much info?), and the list goes on and on!! I felt like a rockstar. I was a rockstar!!

This was my first BMO race ever and I was a little aw-shocked with the number of runners here in my very back yard. I was caught chit-chatting when I bumped into mr. sauce (Derrick), who had signed up the night before to test his 8K distance. This explains my poor start time HAHA, but I really did enjoy the race.

I tried starting slow, but I just couldn’t resist the temptation. I started going faster barely after the first 5K already (21:03) and had a faster split by 10K (41:45). Between 15K and 20K, a Japanese dude was dressed up in a monkey suit and holding a decent pace in the low 4 minute/km. I tried sticking with him but had the unfortunate image of seeing his back sweat seeping into the costume. I give him A for effort tho. I was able to make the heroic pass soon later. Unfortunately for zee monkey man, he was nowhere to be seen afterwards.

By close to 20K, I was actually really close to smashing my half-marathon pb (1:28:35ish from 2009). My legs still felt fine by this point. I think the halfway time is actually a little shy of the marathon-halfway since this was actually the location for the half-way of the half-marathon. Clear as mud? For the record, maybe add 90 seconds and that’s probably more correct – I think I should be around 1:29:00, which is not quite my half-marathon pb by my books.

By 30K onwards, it was just a matter of how fast my legs can make the daunting approaches on Burrard Bridge as pace times were already thrown out the window. Garmin wasn’t impressed.

But as the distance grew, so did the calf tightness. My right calf started cramping so much that it altered my form and I was compensating with my left foot. The tendon on my left foot outer side eventually got so bad, I knew this requires some serious downtime from running the next week or so.

I had this sweet RunningRoom pace band with all the odd-numbered km split times. Too bad for me, it was a uniform distribution and my exponential relationship was a terrible fit to the pace band times by this latter end of the race. Still a great gadget to have on hand (oh a pun) http://www.clinics.runningroom.com/paceband.php

As I crossed the finished line...I took two tiny steps to a grinding hault and one of the finish-line catchers kindly whispered in my ear, "walk it off, the cramping will go away." Easy for him to say...but I think it helped.

My final thoughts:

My time may not have been fast enough to register for Boston next year with the new staggering scheme for registration, but I’m keeping my optimism high. Hopefully the world isn’t paying attention and I can still sneak in with my qualifying time. ^^ It’s likely it will come down to me vs. 100,000 for 26,000 spots.

Despite this, I was quite happy I was able to qualify for Boston again, and this time doing it as a working man. Not too shabby, this was 20 seconds faster on a more challenging course than my previous pb. I did get some more decent mileage in these few months and gain a little more confidence everyday for that Ironman in late August.

Thanks to Steph and Kendra for making these awesome signs!!
Boston crew: Brendan, ThunderThighs, Max, Liam (and also Carl and James but not shown). All had fantastic Boston qualifying times; Big congrats! =)

Friday, April 29, 2011

This may not fly in the office.

Today in zee office, I tried sporting this new ifitness race/fuel/freaking-everything belt I just got from the BMO expo, it's amazing!!

My boss did not approve tho... =(

Reflectors, bag for storage (with hidden inside pocket), jels can attach onto straps, bib has it's own elastic ties, 4 onze water bottles can be detached...oh man everything a race belt should have! =D

Race Report: Sun Run - Fun Run

Date/Time: April 17th, 2011, 9:00 am first wave
Weather: 5ish, sunshine
Distance: 10K
Chip time: 39:23 (3:57 per km pace)
Age Group: 59/2472
Overall: 289th / a bazillion plus

You can trust, only Garmin can tell time how it was meant to be told.

Last year, I looked at Garmin and it had said 3:55 min/km pace. This year I cautiously looked at Garmin again, and relieved to see 3:57 min/km pace. Hooray!! Not too shabby, exactly 20 seconds off from my pb chip time from last year and glad to see sub 4 minute thunder was still there.

Please forgive me! But I think I may have freaked out some fellow sun runners during the pre race anticipation of the start by coolly sharing my insights to a friend. I could regurgitate all my split times from last year by kilometres. OK fine, I can understand to the casual runner, I may have come across as a huge running dork. Short shorts, flats, visor, using only 2 pins for the bib to minimize weight, etc. For most I guess, this run was meant merely as a fun run. If there was a fine line that I had to cross for taking this race a little too seriously, I think I might have already crossed it and taken an extra 5 steps. =)

Despite being armed with this pre-race knowledge and strategy, I still couldn’t avoid the huge jittery crowd. One runner randomly did a standing leg twitch and somehow managed to gingerly kick me near the knees. Minutes later, another was stretching and friendly-elbowed me in the chin. Coincidence? I think not! This was all in part of a elaborate plan to take me out. 

Another runner didn’t even bother to signal and rudely streaked across my running lane during the initial 1km. I had to push my arms towards his back because I thought I was literally going run over him. Runner’s roadrage I call it! Had he signaled, I would had anticipated it.

Since entering zee real world, I must admit, I definitely don’t have the time to recover how I used to. I totally have to approach this sport with a new attitude. However, I knew I still had a sub 40 minutes performance in me. This race was just the perfect kick-start to my racing mentality. Love it. 

BMO is in less than 2 days + 5 hours!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Let the Rockstar Tour Begin!

It’s nice to be back in the bloggy world again.

I’ve just been so busy MOVING these days (yes again)! Only a 3 month stint at our previous place and it’s already time to pack the bags again. Not the most ideal way to train for zee ironman per se, but as an opportunistic triathlete would say, I consider it practice for transitioning faster. And I recommend leaving your training items unpacked to the side, just so that you can still sneak out of the house and log in those valuable training hours. See newly added training log at bottom. ;)

Anyways, enough with the mundane details, I’m excited about the Winstorm’s official 2011 rockstar tour. Much of the race schedule will be dedicated to prepping for the ironman in late august. I plan to do the BMO marathon as a build up to the distance. Should be a marvellous marathon; surprisingly I have not yet participated in any BMO events to date. Next up will be the Subaru Western Triathlon Series: Shawnigan, Victoria, Vancouver and Sooke.

By the end of August, I plan to do IMC. Hopefully work won’t conflict; there is a small chance this may disrupt my plans. Yes, in the real world, you have to come prepared for these kinds of things, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for good karma. =)

Oh yes SUN RUN is in less than 2 weeks! SUB 38 minutes? I’m going try, but I think more realistically is SUB 40. I have the added pressure of performing well as newly appointed Team Captain for my company this year. Let’s hope it all goes well! =)

UBC Tri « Olympic « march 6 - 2:40:05
Sun Run « 10km « april 17
BMO « Marathon « may 1
Shawnigan Lake « Half « may 29
Victoria « Half « june 19
Vancouver « Half « july 3
Sooke « Half « august 7
IMC « IM « august 28

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Race Report: UBC Tri – Try Tri Again.

Date/Time: March 6th, 2011, 12:05 pm Heat 1f
Weather: 5 to 10ish, sunshine
Distance: Olympic
Chip time: 2:40:05
Swim: 32:07
Bike: 1:18:17
Run: 49:43
Age Group: 8/26
Overall: 30/184

There is great promise for an exciting race season to come. My race at the UBC Tri went not so bad, but not so great either – perhaps a solid OKAY to reaffirm my confidence and to delete those jitters during the preseason. I have learned so much during the past year and know that I need to correct a few kinks in the armour before I am officially ready for the real race season to begin.

Despite a generous 8 minute margin deficit in matching my course record from last year in mid May, I think inevitable positive spirits still crept in because I take joy in racing. And it’s only early March.

That said, so far this year I’ve noticed the swim is my best improvement of the three and I am feeling stronger in the pool. This perhaps could be attributed to doing more dry land training such as chin-ups and push-ups. For a runner who unfortunately still swims like a runner, there sure was a lot of bubbly action rippling behind.
I have to thank my dad for once again taking these great action shots. Soo PRO, gotto love them.

Ben on the left, me and Mike on the right. Timing guy looks like he's about to take his scheduled midday nap.

Ben, who started directly behind me, must have braved the brute force from such tsunami action. Sorry Ben!

First time on the P2 for this race. Yep, after years of complaints from my dad, I was totally posing here...I was only metres from the dismount zone.

I've been told there is no such thing as a fast transition sitting down.

Stop right now. Thank you very much...

Gosh legs felt super bricky by this point.

Some key lessons learnt:
• Wear race belt right side up
• Could probably DO without leg warmers for this race
• Need to incorporate more speed workouts on the bike
• Started run a bit too fast at 4:10s km pace (realistic pace would had been in 4:30s)
• Race jacket worked nicely
• Intentionally smiling for the cameras make great race photos!

Some M-Dot friends I will be seeing a lot of this race season. Brendan, Dylan, and me stealing Steph's bike.