Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Safra Swim for Hope 2012

This is the 2nd Safra swim for hope at Safra Tampines.

Swim for hope is a charity event organized by Safra.. last year the funds raised goes to Singapore Disability Sports Council.. this year the funds goes to Children's Cancer Fund :)
The amount donated is determined by us, the swimmers, the more laps we swim, the more is donated (by corporate sponsors) to the beneficiaries!!

Last year, we (swimmers from the mon tri swim group, with the help of Dennis Quek to collate the registrations) came in as a group and completed ~40% of the total laps swam. As a result, Safra took note of our presence and decided to engage our support in this year's event :D

A few months b4 the event, DQ and I met up with Safra organizer, Jay, to discuss some issues we noticed in last year's event and also provided some input based on experience in other events.. and this year we will be given a lane all to ourselves!! Yippee... no need to worry if we kick others or tickle their feet... it's all ka ki lang!:p
Also we found out this year there is a new event called the hydro chain challenge where a team of 5 NSmen will have to take turns to swim to retrieve 4 items, namely the no 4 top and bottom, dummy rifle and SBO...and the final swimmer will put everything on and swim 100m!

The event day happened to be smacked in a busy period for many of us... quite a number of ppl going to attempt the Everest Base Camp climb, Clifford was leaving for Kona the next day, I just got back from Penang the night b4 and was heading over to Hawaii on a fully paid incentive trip, the following week too (would have just missed Kona!! :p)
Yet, on that day itself, many of us turned up very early to make sure we can complete as many laps as possible! But actually it's the hydro chain challenge that started off the day... haha... the continuous lap swim comes after :)

I happened to have a meeting at 10am at AMK that day!! So I turned up in my usual shirt and pants... haha... I look like team manager (which is pretty much my role for the day since I have been coughing for almost a month then, and was advised against swimming until I recovered... with Hawaii trip coming up, I decided to stick to the advice :p But after the trip I have informed the vet that I m gg to ignore the advice... haha... swim or not, cough is not gg anywhere!! :p)

Anyway, I was there early to deliver the BRAND NEW trifam banner (just sent for printing the day b4 in Penang... fantastic service by the printer aka my neighbour) and also the birthday cakes (specially delivered from Penang via Air Asia :p)... also to make sure the Hydro chain team members turned up, especially those that got arrowed :p

I managed to stay until the Hydro chain challenge was over b4 I had to leave... our team got 2nd and 3rd place... woohoo!! Fantastic effort by our not so young NSmen!! The team that got first was a bunch of young NSmen from SIM :p

Team trifam 1 (aka team stirrer) consist of Clifford, Desmond, Sin Guan, Dion and Hui Koon
Team trifam 2 consist of Irvin, Edwin, Alex, Matthew and Nick

When my meeting ended, it was pouring at AMK... I quickly drove back to Safra Tampines and found that it also just started pouring... Great! Just nice to have intermission for b'day celebration!
It was Desmond's birthday and Donald's birthday was also round the corner... so we got the emcee involved in helping to get the 2 birthday boys out and came up with some impromptu games to sabo them! Hahaha...

After some fun time of "win, lose or draw" game, the rain finally stopped and it was time to get back into the pool... as I was rather drenched by them (from running abt... just to get to the car, and the pool, and to find Jay to get the cakes), I changed into t-shirt and shorts... din bother with swim suit since I was getting feverish by then... more reason not to swim (despite having pledged 200 laps) :p

I just stayed on to stir people to swim extras to make up for my 200 laps and another 200 laps pledged by Jerry who was also sick that day and din turn up :p
As the day went on, more and more ppl left for their other engagements... finally it was left with our top swimmers Gary, Han, Donald and Danny... and Enrico who just landed not too long ago and rushed over... and of course there was Dennis and I...

Dennis came, he swam and he was conquered!

Congratulations to our top swimmers with prizes sponsored by our partner, Swim Bike Run Singapore!

Congratulations to Gary for making it into the Singapore Books of Records as the person who swam the most laps in 6 hours! 302 laps to be exact!! That's going to be hard to beat!

Here are some Trifam group photos taken b4 and after the rain...
B4 rain
After rain

Thanks to Safra for organizing such a fantastic event.. and err.. the plaque.. for being a stirrer?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Desaru long distance triathlon 2012

It's almost a year since I last blogged!

Seems like I only blog when I have just completed a race.. Haha.. Since I haven't really raced since last Dec.. I haven't blog either!

I was actually signed up for OCBC cycle and S'pore Biathlon this year.. But in February, my vet advised me to stop training for 3 months so I had to get someone else to take over my slot instead.. That must be for taking over someone else's slot last year.. Haha :p

While I was stayed away from my usual swim/bike/run.. I got myself occupied with yoga and pilate instead.. They were interesting initially.. Haha.. Everything new is always interesting to me.. But 3 months later.. Zzzz.. I was getting totally bored!!! Haha.. It became a chore to get myself to class on time..

In June, when I was "released" to restart training.. I was happy like a bird (pun intended).. I started with alternate day and at low intensity.. actually low intensity pretty much how I train half the time b4 I took a break anyway :)

After abt 2-3 months of easy trainings, I started increasing the intensity... at the same time I decided to sign up for a couple of races..

Firstly, the Yellow Ribbon run which starts not too far from home (and one which I signed up last year, and on the event day, I woke up and got changed, but never left the house as I was so tired I went back to sleep! Haha..) and...

Secondly, the Desaru long dist triathlon relay (with my uncle, Sai Keong as cyclist and Danny as runner)

A week b4 the Yellow Ribbon run, I developed a cough.. Initially I ignored it and went ahead with training.. however, as it starts to affect my sleep and I started to develop sinus congestion, I decided to take a break... with the Desaru relay coming up the following week, I also decided to skip the Yellow Ribbon run...

A week later, it still hasn't gotten any better, vet's advice was to rest until I fully recover... but I have the Desaru relay that weekend!!

Since we were signed up for mixed relay and the cyclist and runner are both male, the swimmer has to be a female... and our team happens to be a strong contender for podium position because my uncle is a fantastic cyclist (bike leg is usually the most impt), Danny and I are not bad runner and swimmer respectively... so I decided to try asking a couple of female swimming friends of mine, who swims about same pace as me, whether they can take over my slot... unfortunately, their answers are no...

So after 8 days of rest and no sign of the cough going anywhere, I told my vet I couldn't bear to dump my team and decided to go ahead with the swim :p

That morning was really exciting...

First I woke up late because my phone shut down after I upgraded its OS (haha... lesson learnt... make sure u dun need to rely on your phone for anything if u are planning to upgrade its OS).. fortunately, it wasn't too late... but instead of me picking Danny at Serangoon and heading to my uncle's place at Punggol to transfer over to his car... we have to meet at Danny's place and head straight to Desaru instead..

Just when we think that's enough excitement for the morning... at the checkpoint, the immigration officer look at Danny's passport and asked him, "Do you know your passport has expired?"

Since Danny was the runner, which is the last leg, expected to start 3 hours later... we decided Danny can go back and get his passport and take the ferry over, while the 2 of us head to Desaru first..

Fortunately, from there, we reached Desaru rather uneventfully.. first we had to head over to Pulai Hotel reception to get our race pack as Teryn has helped to collect the pack, and I got changed up there.. then we went to the transition area to put the bike and our stuff... then I headed straight to the start point... after a quick warm up, it was almost time to start the race... as usual, I like to start at the outer side of the swim course (which means I may have to swim slightly more, but there will be less hands and legs around)... Teryn came along to join me... hehe... last year PD we came out from the water at the same time... let's see whether this year will be the same :p

The swim was 2 triangular loops that are 1km each... the first loop was typical of an open water race, plenty of hands and legs... the second loop was less hands and legs... but I think I lost my legs too :/ I meant my feet became numb, and then it went up to the ankles and calves... it's not the first time I had this experience, it seems to happen everytime I do a long continuous swim that's exceeding 1.5-2km... my vet thinks it's vasoconstriction from sympathetic overdrive... hmmm... but how do I prevent that from happening again? I wonder if the neoprene swim socks will help... it seemed to help this fella :D

Anyway, I managed to complete the 2 loops in 42:25.. not too sure that's considered fast/slow (there are way too many factors that affects an open water swim eg wave, current, actual distance swam)... but Teryn's time was 40:59... darn... I must have gotten slower!! :p

From the swim end, I had to run another few hundred meters to the transition area, where my uncle was waiting and he helped remove the chip from my ankle and strap it on his own and off he went!

I estimated he would take under 3 hours to complete the 90km... so I went to soak myself in the pool, took a shower and changed...

Danny sms-ed me to tell me he was taking the 9:30am ferry, expected to arrive 35 mins later and the shuttle from the ferry terminal to the hotel is abt 20 mins... that's about 10:30 to 10:45am .. assuming the journey time is quite accurate and the ferry departs on time... My uncle started cycling at 8:15am and is expected to be back around 11am..

I decided it was too stressful to leave Danny to take the shuttle bus since as he will be in a rush when he arrives... so I told him I will drive to the ferry terminal and pick him up.. the journey there actually took 30mins, and I was driving beyond speed limit!!! How can the shuttle bus possibly take only 20 mins??

Anyway I arrived at the ferry terminal early, so decided to eat something at the canteen :D Met another person there who also just completed the swim leg and was there to pick up a friend, except this friend is just a supporter :p

When Danny arrived, I quickly caught him and drove back towards the race site... we arrived before 11am, so I thought we had plenty of time... but while we were walking towards the transition area, my uncle called!!! He's back!!! We quickly ran towards the transition area and Danny took over the chip and off he went...

Later I found out my uncle's bike time was 2:35:00 inclusive of the transition time! Wow! That's super fast!

From there it was another 2 hour wait for Danny to be back.. the route this year was not very spectator friendly, so we just hang out at the hotel lobby and my uncle washed up and changed..

At about 12noon, the first men's relay team finished, followed by another few relay team (including 2 from the mixed category)... but no sign of Danny yet... I know we were among the top 3 for mixed relay when Danny started the run leg, so we were hoping to maintain our position...

As I was getting rather bored sitting around, I decided to walk out and see if I can catch a glimpse of Danny running in... as I walked along the path (within the hotel compound) where the runners have to run in by, I realized it was a pretty long route, probably another kilometer just within the hotel compound... reminded me of the 2.4km team road race in Penang I used to do during secondary school days... the last 300m or so felt like eternity... I think my PB for that race is abt 11mins... dun think I can do anywhere near that pace nowadays... actually, it's more like dun think I want to :p

Anyway, while waiting for Danny, I saw quite a number of individual participants still cycling... it's going to be a long day for them...

Just when I was starting to get bored, I saw Danny from afar... yay he almost done... except for that kilometer around the hotel compound :p Since I did not see any other mixed relay team runner since the first 2... I told him to just maintain his pace and warn him of the long stretch within the hotel compound...

After 2:03:53 (inclusive of the ~8mins waiting time by my uncle), Danny crossed the finish line! Yippee!! I think we got third!!

As the prize presentation will be in the evening, we were not planning to hang around for it, so we left after Danny had a shower...

We had a quick stop to fill our stomachs, then it was time to head back to Singapore...

Back in Singapore, I sms-ed Teryn to help me collect the prize if she were staying back..

Later that evening, I found out via facebook that our team got 2nd place instead of third... one of the teams that I thought was a mixed relay team (because they had the 90xx bib for mixed relay instead of the 80xx bib for men's relay) was actually a last minute entry for men's relay! Yippee!!

So it was a worthwhile trip despite all the initial hiccups, from the persistent cough (which is still persisting now more than 2 months later...), to waking up late, to wrong passport... hahaha... it will indeed be a memorable race! We got a trophy each and RM200 each...hehe :D Thanks to Teryn for carrying them back to Singapore for us!

Anyway, with the cough lingering for so long, and no vet able to figure me out yet, or rather it's more like no agreement between the vets on what's up with me (haha.. can't help to find the disagreement amusing even though I am the one that gets to suffer :p)... I have kinda lost hope in the possibility of participating in any race again soon... so I have signed up to be a volunteer at this year's Standard Chartered Marathon :D

It's not my first experience as a volunteer since I used to volunteer in adventure races quite a fair bit, some triathlons, and even YOG and SNG... so this time round I signed up as a volunteer leader and I was assigned the role of baggage supervisor (sentosa)... which means I oversee the baggage deposit area for the 21km race, and I will have 3 leaders under me who will handle a group of volunteers each... I'm not sure what exactly I will need to do, but I do know that I get to roam around :D

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Last race of the year...SCMS 2011

SCMS is my last race of the year...

Nowadays, I do not really like to participate in a run only race...but there was that possible free I decided to sign up for the 21k...wahaha...what a bimbo huh?
Actually I was also interested in the new route, in Sentosa and Universal Studios, when I first saw it last year...and since it was a similar route this year, I decided to go ahead ;)

However, this is the probably the first, and hopefully last, time I did a race even though I was clearly unwell, with some fever, the day b4...under most circumstance, that would be a clear "no" to any form of exercise, except that...that's basically how I felt on and off for the past few months...and I did get clearance, to go ahead with the run, from my nice doc, with the promise that I won't drop dead from the run...wahaha...of course, he already had me on dozens of tests and even verified through various means that my lungs, heart, kidneys and liver are at the right places...even though not necessarily in optimal condition...haha :p

Anyway, I signed up for this race in Aug 2011...b4 I started feeling unwell and had funny fevers in Sept...I initially cut down on all exercises with a couple of recovery pace activity in a week, but that didn't I decided to go ahead with some more regular, easy swim, mostly < 30mins (as I was suspecting stress as a culprit and swimming was my most guaranteed method to relieve physiological effects of stress) fact after clearing me from any possible infection resulting in bacteria in the blood, my doc suggested I go ahead and swim everyday...haha...I like my doc!

Since then, I have been exercising (mostly swimming) 5-6 times a week...but most of the work out remains less than 30 mins (~5k runs), with an occasional more than an hour work out (~10k runs), which is pretty much what I used to do previously...haha...however recently it's more of due to the fact that work outs more than an hour long tends to leave me feeling like a wreck, regardless of how I normal I feel during the work out itself *_*

So before the race, I was prepared to go for a slower time, maybe a 2:30, and have fun at the race by dressing up as angry bird...hehe...
For the first time, I actually put in so much thought into what to wear for the race...haha...bimbo in the making :)

On the race day itself, I parked at Fort Canning and took a train to Harbourfront where our start point is...there was a very very long queue at the baggage deposit, but I managed to get that settled and quickly head towards the starting point...
It was pretty long walk!

By the time I got to the start point, my heart rate was at 151! Uh oh...and I was thinking of running the few km at HR of 140+ like I usually do when I go for a 5km run...hmmm...looks like need to change my tactics a bit...
I decided that I will run at a pace I feel comfortable while monitoring my heart rate and decide from angry bird turned out to be a bit more preoccupied than expected...which probably explained why I missed so many ppl told me they saw me along the way...haha

Anyway, I decided to try to keep my HR at approximately 160 and to slow down when it hits 165...that a slightly higher HR than I would like...but what to least I still feel comfortable up til HR of 160...
I definitely do not want to walk through out to keep my HR at 150, no matter how scenic it may be...I think it's more torturous to walk 21k!! :p

The part of the route in Sentosa and Universal Studios was full of bottle's always a challenge having a race in S'pore with such limited space...and it definitely doesn't help with the poor running etiquette of the runners...not keeping to the side when they walk, or worse still, walking in a row or holding hands while walking!! Oh well, I will just have to push those guys aside then :p
Otherwise, the run inside Universal was pretty interesting...quite a number of ppl queueing up to take photos with their favorite funny...
I would have taken photo with the autobots if I saw them...but somehow I missed them while being preoccupied :(

The route within the Sentosa was abt 10km and I spent about 70 mins in there...that's very slow for me...esp at HR of 160 :p

Anyway from there on...I continued running for another 5km...before I started half walking, half running...up and down AYE/ECP, up and down Benjamin Sheares Bridge...on and on until finally at last km...I saw a familiar face with her camera...Le Giang (the very fast cyclist and runner who thinks she is slow)!
But she missed the first worries, I will u-turn and try running towards u again :) Thanks for the photo!

And then there was Jayce (my fellow eguana and bfast buddy in hall in 2001/2, and then my early morning running buddy at Sentosa when she was working at dolphin lagoon and I was doing my PhD work at NUS ard 2005/6), who completed almost an hour ahead of me!
And it was the sprint to the finish...but alas..walking ppl in the way again...gotta push them aside b4 I get to pose in front of the official photographers...haha...

Next it was another queue to stroll on the muddy ground to collect our finisher medal and 100plus...
And then I headed towards the BMW booth where I met my tanjong beach twin, Sin Guan, who was a 4:15 pacer...had some finger food and collected their finisher pack consisting of a pair of slippers and towel :)

Then I went to collect my stuff from the baggage deposit...went back to look for LG to see if there's anyone else around...b4 we started walking back to the padang where we bumped into Craig aka Mr Courtesy (say thank you and make his day :D), who did the 42km, and his sister...after which we headed our own ways...where I slowly walked back to Fort Canning...and head home :)

Overall, I wasn't too happy with how my stamina has "deteriorated"...especially since I was still at my usual stamina the last 2 times I ran that distance, in July (Trifactor 21k run) and Sept (Mega Tri 18k, after 1k swim and 65k bike!) this year...

At least I still had my fun with angry bird...and I realized I still look good on camera regardless of how I feel...wahaha...vanity wins!
And now I can say I have participated in a 10k (2004), half marathon (2011), and full marathon (2005) for SCMS! Yippee! :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"Why do a triathlon?"

I actually have no answer to that question when it was first posed to me this year in April.
But I think that question was the “fertilizer” given, to the triathlon “seed” I planted in myself 6 months b4 by joining the triathlon group to swim on Mondays.

I have done triathlons b4, as an individual and as a relay team member, few years back. But I have kind of stop after getting busy and not having time (or rather the motivation, since it’s all about time management) to train.

Last year, after graduating from PhD, I realized I needed some structure in my life, so I decided to plan a workout schedule to start my day, then it was swim, jog/breeze walk (I was so reluctant to run then), gym, all of which is easily accomplish within my condo area. However, a workout schedule that involves myself only is really difficult to sustain. That’s when I decided to join the Mon tri swim even though I didn’t really like the idea that it was in the evening and worse still it was all the way in the west. But at least it’s a sport that I enjoy the most.

At that point it was just enjoying the workout and company. Hearing stories of the biathlon/triathlon/ironman they accomplished, resulted in a “seed” planted in me to do an ironman again…one day. No idea when that would be…haha.
Subsequently I also started joining this same group of people to swim at Tanjong Beach on sat mornings when the tide is right. More ironman stories there.
I was also present at some races to support my friends who were racing, eg. the Aviva 70.3.

I frequently go to the library to borrow books, and one fine day I came across the triathlon section and started borrowing books from there too, inspirational stories about triathlete/ironmen, training strategies etc.

But for some reason, all those are just thoughts, I never got myself to run, I didn’t even have my bike with me (my bike was with my friend for years!).

And then one day late April this year, someone I respect very much, saw me with a book on strength training for triathlete, and casually asked me why do I do a triathlon (I believe that person had no idea that I was nowhere near doing a triathlon then, just a lot of thoughts about it). I managed to come up with some lame answer saying I think it is fun or something to that effect.

For some reason, that question actually became the question that got me to start really doing a triathlon. Subsequently, I had additional “water” and “sunlight” to add to the “fertilizing” question…haha…
A few days later, a chat with another person about his children and doing triathlon (this person knew I was pretty active in sports all the while, but wasn’t aware I haven’t really been racing recently, except for a long distance open water swim), got me to go check out races that were coming up. Then, the intention was to introduce his children to the sport and see how they might be interested to participate in it (I dun think dad had a chance to bring them to experience the atmosphere at a triathlon competition yet til now…I better keep him posted on next year’s race already..haha). By chance, that weekend, 1 May, there was a triathlon at Changi Beach Park. Knowing an uncle of mine does triathlons too, I sent him a message to ask if he were participating as I was thinking of going over to support them. The reply was “yes”, he and my 10-year-old cousin are, but my aunty, who has signed up too, has just recovered from an illness and is giving up her slot, “am I interested to take her slot?” It was a mini distance triathlon (i.e. 200m swim, 10km bike, 2.5km run).

That week, I just so happened to have gotten myself to run 2 loops around my condo (that’s ~2km, but I thought I was never going to do it again because it was too boring!), swimming is never an issue for me (I just swam 20km in the sea half a year b4 that…what’s 200m..haha), 10km cycling is definitely do-able, except that I do not have any bike with me then. So I replied saying that I do not mind, but will need to borrow her bike. And it was all set. Suddenly within 10 days of being asked “Why do I do triathlon?” and yet not having really done any in the past few years, or not having really trained for it (except the swim part), I was agreeing to do a triathlon that have been thinking for months but never really taking action towards it.

2 months later, I was doing a full distance triathlon (1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run).. of course my fitness level has always been pretty good, so to have moved into that distance in a short span was not difficult (or harmful to health)
Another 2 months later, I was doing a slightly longer, but funny distance triathlon (1km swim, 65km bike, 18km run…yes, a very swimmer unfriendly distance)..and managed to finish the race pretty strong, after having swam 100 laps the day before!

I have indeed come a very long way and am extremely happy with my performance. But most of all I am extremely thankful to that person for his simple, casual question of “why do a triathlon”…I doubt he knows what kind of impact his simple questions had on me..haha

I am still not sure why that question seem to have such a big impact on me. Is it because it was such an unexpected question (most people around me know I have always been active in I guess they never thought of asking me such a question) that it made me wonder hard enough that I just decided to jump into it? Is it because he is someone I respected so that question has bigger impact? Is it simply because I felt someone actually cared enough to ask such a simple question?

Whatever it is, I guess I should find the courage to thank him in person one day ;)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Charity swim 2011... the one I prepared for but didn't participate in the end...

This year's SAC charity swim has just passed over the last weekend...
Instead of toughing out in the sea, I was toughing out in a seminar at was a great seminar with plenty of amazing speakers...but I am not writing abt that here :p

The SAC charity swim has been something I try to participate annually since I first found out about it in 2006. I can't quite remember what got me to sign up for this swim...but I believe it was an impulsive decision when presented with the challenge (at least that's how I signed up for the 20km swim last year :p)...if someone actually brought me through the distance I have to swim...I would have freaked out (that's how I felt last year while taking the boat from end point to start point of the 20k swim :p)...haha...
and like all endurance events I have participated, once u have tried it, u tend to develop some addiction to it...even though during the event u may curse yourself for signing up AGAIN!!

So this year, I signed up to swim in the dirty waters of ECP again when SAC sent out the email abt the event...

Swimming was in my life since I was very young...
I started learning to swim when I was in primary 1, joined some "competitive" training in our country club in primary 4 ("competitive" because we basically have fun and compete for the last few positions during least during my time) switched to focus on tennis during secondary school...and started joining the school team again when I was studying in JC in S'pore...of course, I was never a serious swimmer...but we do have a lot of fun...and in uni, we did have our winning team for IBG and IHG when I was in Kent Ridge Hall :)

In 2004, after graduating from undergrad, marathons, open water swims, biathlons and triathlons came into my life. It started of with 5k runs, then 10k, and b4 I knew it I have completed 42k marathons (yes more than one :p) the mean time, I also started biathlons, triathlons and even adventure races...

However, somewhere around 2006-2007, I got busy with PhD and other work, and my sporting activities got reduced until almost zero...of course, I was still walking around with my big bag a that's sufficient exercise to burn calories and keep me trim :)
For almost a year, I went without any exercise...I almost gone crazy...haha...fortunately, I managed to force myself to take time off and go for a swim one day, and the effect was amazing...there was an instant calming effect the moment I jumped into the water! Since then I have always made an effort to swim at least once a week or at the very least, once in a fortnight, unless I am sick...

It wasn't until last year (2010), after I have official graduated from PhD, that I started picking up on my exercise again...

First there was the 20k charity swim I was training I swam on my own in various pools, on certain days, swam with Trevor (organizer of the charity swiim) at NYP, and on Sun with the charity swimmers at UWCSEA...
Then in oct, there was that move to my current place which has a 50m pool...yippee!
Somewhere in dec, I started to join the Mon tri swim at Buona vista pool...then not long later, I joined the Tanjong beach swim on Sat...

...and since May this year, I have been swimming very regularly, at least 3-5 times a week...and with the influence of those crazy ironmen/triathletes I swim with, bike and run is also part of my training...although still not as frequent as swimming :p

As a result of all these training, plus some technical tips from various experienced swimmers such as Amos Tan, Matthew Wong, Dion Gan etc...I found that my swim has improved beyond my previous personal best...I was looking forward to my best swim in this year's 10km charity swim...but alas an important meeting clashed with the charity swim date. It was probably to save me the agony of making the decision to swim, with an unknown cause low grade fever lingering around...that initially worried me, is more of annoying me now :p

But that said, I am still very happy to have seen significant improvement in my swim times during the various preparatory events I participated in...
(1) Trifactor 3k swim... 62 mins
(2) Port Dickson triathlon (<1.5k swim)... 25 mins
(3) NUS splashdown (5k swim)... 102 mins
(4) Mega tri (1k swim)... 18 mins
(5) Charity swim time trial (1.5k x 4 sets, <2-3mins rest in between)... 29:04, 30:13, 29:25 (cheated with paddles :P), 25:35 (cheated with fins!)

It is definitely disappointing to not be able to participate in the charity swim after so much preparation and to know I have improved so much this year...but like I tell my friends when they have to skip an event (usually due to injury), there are many many many more races in the future ;)

I look forward to more open water swims, biathlons and triathlons in 2012!

Below are links to some of my previous charity swims...and also photos put up my SAC for this year's swim

2011 10k swim photos..

2010 Tioman 20km swim...
2008 ECP 10km swim...
2006 ECP 10km swim...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Mega Tri...and NUS splashdown 2011

The mega tri was my third and last triathlon for 2011. It was also the longest distance I have completed, although it’s not in the typical triathlon/ironman distance. It was a very last minute sign up…haha…the race was on 11th September, and I signed up on 2nd September! I was not planning to do that race, however, after the disappointment of having to miss the Trifactor triathlon due to work commitment, I decided to sign up for that since it was the last triathlon that I could participate in (I would be away for the Desaru tri on 24th Sept too).

The day b4 the triathlon I had a 3-hr swimathon event at NUS (NUS splashdown). I have participated in that event 3 times and place top 3 twice :) This time, with my swim improving after all the Mon tri and Sat Tanjong Beach swim, I was aiming to swim close to 170 laps in 3 hrs. However, it didn’t turn out that way. I was unwell from Saturday (after I signed up for the Mega tri on Friday!) with some non-specific symptoms such as fatigue, headache and fever (most doctors would not agree I have a fever though, since it was less than the magical 37.5C :p)
As I was not clear whether I have an infection, or it’s just a physiological response from some significantly stressful situation I experienced in the week, I decided to go ahead with the events, but with careful monitoring of my heart rate and prepared to stop early if there was any sign of “wrong” feeling.
I was swimming at a very comfortable pace and I found my heart rate to be pretty consistent at ~140. However, I was surprise to find that I completed the first 50 laps in slightly under 50 minutes. As I went on, I was thinking about the triathlon the next day, and decided that I will try to aim for 100 laps (the minimum number of laps we were supposed to swim) in as close to 100mins as possible and stop a couple laps later... just in case I miscounted the laps and I could use those extra laps as warm down ;) I also figured I could swim more during the Safra Swim for Hope, where we will have 7 hrs to swim!
As it turned out I completed the 100 laps in just under 102mins with a quick water break every 20-30 laps. I was definitely very happy with the timing especially since I still felt strong at the end of the swim. The only problem was my nose was congested the rest of the day as I go about my usual business :p

Fortunately after an early night’s sleep, the next morning I woke up feeling pretty good, and temperature was normal (my penguin normal :p). I headed off to Changi Beach Park at 7am to get prepared and catch the boys b4 they were flagged off. The sky was rather gloomy then.
After I set up my bike and stuff at the transition area, I immediately went to the swim start area to look for the boys who were doing the long distance event (2km swim, 95km bike, 27km) . Yay…I saw the Hui Koon aka Pro, Robert aka Ironchef, Desmond, and Enrico, and Richard was there earlier than me to help us take photos!

I did the middle distance event (1km swim, 65km bike, 18km… swimmer unfriendly distance :p) which started later, so I had a chance to cheer the boys at least for the first lap of the 2 x 1km loop. After that it was my turn to get ready. As usual, I was planning a “swim fast, bike slow, run slow” race. So when we started, I was quick to enter the water and swam on the further out away from the pack. I have found this strategy to be more efficient even though it is a longer route, as I spend less time swimming over, under other ppl or kicking ppl who try to pull my legs.
I completed my swim in a very respectable time of 18:14 (mean = 25:51; median 28:30; 1st out of 9 who completed), but took my own sweet time at T1, having a drink, putting on socks, cycling shoes, race belt, cycling gloves, shades and helmet…haha…spent 3:04 in there, before I was out cycling... Luckily din bring any make up along, otherwise may spend more time in there :p

The bike route was 4 loops along Changi Coast Road, with a short detour into Aviation Road, each loop about 16 km. It was very flat route, where I barely changed my gears. Drafting was not allowed in triathlons but it still happens…haha…I was impressed that the organizer actually has officials on motorbike going around to spread out any drafting pack.
I think I was at my 3rd loop, when it started pouring. I was so cold…brrrr….but it was quite nice riding in the rain ;)
Although I did not think my bike time was very slow based on my current standard, my bike time of 2:32:35 (mean = 2:23:31; median 2:22:20) was the slowest in my age group! Haha…looks like all those in my category are cyclist :p
Then it’s back to T2 to unload my stuff, change shoes and go for the last bit of the tri…took my own sweet time again, spending 2:54 there :p

After I got out of T2, I realized I forgot to remove my cycling gloves…fortunately this tri suit has pockets big enough for me to stuff them. Then off I go jogging slowly along the 9km run route x 2. We were supposed to run from Changi Beach Park all the way to the Changi boardwalk and back. Somehow we had to pass my some hawker center and that made me really really hungry! Fortunately, we had water/isotonic drinks, sponge with iced water, power gel and bananas along the way.
It was a pretty slow run as I was keeping my heart rate below 150, and I walked quite a bit as my ITB was getting tight especially during the 2nd loop. However, surprisingly my run time of 2:08:48 (mean = 2:13:33; median = 2:15:14; 4th out of 9) is faster than average.
I also had plenty of photos taken here, as our friends, Richard, Le Giang, Vijay, Sanae and Wilson, who did not participate in this race, were coincidentally stationed at different locations. Being the vain penguin, I automatically break into a smile or pose, whenever I see anyone with a camera. Their presence, together with the cheering of other competing friends, kept me smiling most of the run route :)

Overall, I completed the race in a time of 5:05:31 (mean = 5:09:52; median 5:13:44; 4th out of 9), which made me a very happy penguin! I definitely can improve a lot more in my bike and run, but I have gone a long way since the beginning of this year :D

Time to take a break and figure out what’s wrong with me…until the next race...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Port Dickson triathlon 2011

It was just in May I did my first triathlon after a long break from races (that involves more than just swimming).

Today I embarked on my first Olympic distance triathlon… this is what happens when I spend too much time with people who do triathlons and even ironman races.

Getting to Port Dickson itself was already pretty exciting. We were supposed to depart on Sat morning, but I just arrived from Penang late that morning, and had a seminar to attend in the afternoon, b4 I could make my way down to Port Dickson. Fortunately for me, Robert, our Ironchef, was driving down and was planning to depart in the afternoon. He was nice enough to wait for me, and picked me up from town.
Before I left for Penang, Desmond has kindly helped me take my bike, so that it can be take the bus to Port Dickson with the other crazy friends of mine.

So on Sat afternoon, a chef and a penguin was zooming on the Malaysia’s North-South highway towards Port Dickson. We reached there just in time for me to join the rest for dinner, while Rob went to check out the race route. He is more serious. I am just going to figure out the route as I race *_*

That night, after hanging out and chatting in one of the rooms, we went back to our room, got our bikes and gears ready, and slept immediately.

The next morning, my roommate, Teryn aka Dino, and I (yes..a penguin and a dinosaur stayed in the same room) just refused to wake up until almost 6am…haha…race starts at 7am.
Anyway, we are fast. So after washing up and changing into our trisuits, had the bfast we brought along, we immediately brought our bikes and stuff to the transition area.
It was pretty crowded by then, and there were long queues for body-marking.

We put our stuff at our designated area, got our body marked, then headed towards the beach. So many people were there doing their warm ups…but the tide was sooooo low, we had to run out at least 100m or more b4 it was deep enough to swim. Darn… not fair to the swimmers…we are going to swim less than 1.5km :p

Anyway, the guys started first, so we were hoping the tide will be higher by the time we start off....haha…fat hope :p
The moment we were flagged off…everybody was running, and running, and running for a while b4 we started swimming…I think that was the point where my heart rate was highest throughout the swim leg...the water was very calm so it was like swimming in a pool with a lot more people around. It was a simple L-shape swim x 1 lap. As expected my swim time was pretty fast @ 26:38 (mean = 33:32; median = 32:24; 8th out of 64) though 6 mins slower than the fastest :p I am still very happy to as fast as the Dino :)

Next step is to get to the transition area, put on my running shoe (I wasn’t using clipless pedals), shades, helmet, race belt, have a drink and off to “bike out”.
Many triathletes like to participate in Port Dickson triathlon because the bike leg is just one 40km loop (instead of multiple loop routes the Singapore races offer). The route had some slopes but they were manageable. However, it definitely wasn’t helpful to be using regular platform pedals :p My bike leg was pretty slow @ 1:26:17 (mean = 1:24:47; median = 1:21:33, 43rd out of 64), but I am still happy to have completed it. It means I have more room for improvement next year ;)

After the bike leg, I just needed to remove my helmet and put back the bike (no need to change shoes..haha) and off I go to “run out” for my 10km run. On the way out, I saw Sanae with the camera. Had time to smile to the camera and continue running. Actually I was smiling at all the cameras that were aimed at me :p

Apparently, this year’s run route was different from previous year’s. Since this is my first PD, it doesn’t matter to me…haha… but most of us did not really like the new run route as a third of it was running on sand/trail. However, I was happy that it was shorter than 10km…haha :p
My run was pretty slow too @ 53:43 for about 8.5km (mean = 55:42; median = 54:10; 30th out of 64), but it’s better than the average and I actually still had the strength to sprint and overtake a few people near the end point…haha :)

Overall, I completed the race in 2:49:14 (mean = ?; median = 2:50:14; 29th out of 64). There’s definitely plenty of room for improvement here, but I am extremely happy to have completed my first OD tri, feeling strong ;)

Until the next race…

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Sprint series triathlon (mini distance) 2011

My first triathlon of the year...the last (and, if I’m not mistaken, only) one was 6 years ago!!

How did I end up doing this triathlon was quite interesting...

I started training with the Mon tri swim bunch at Buona Vista some time in December or January this year...and subsequently Tanjong Beach swim...I have been swimming regularly b4 this but decided swimming with others is more motivating as I still frequently find that I m dragging myself to swim even with a 50m pool at my condo…
Anyway, with so much influence from these ppl, a couple months back, I started considering doing a triathlon again before I embark on my Ironman dream :)

4 days before the event, a Thur, I was at NUS and decided to drop by a very nice Prof’s room to have a chat with him…somehow our chat ended up with his kids participating in some kids triathlon event as they regularly run with him, and occasionally swim and cycle too. I suggested he bring his kids to go watch some triathlon especially those with kids event. So I told him I will go find out what are the events coming up that he can bring them to.

When I got home to check, I found out there was one coming up that Sun at Changi Beach Park...and various Trifactor events in the coming few months…so I informed him about it and decided to sms my uncle to see if he and his family are participating in that event (haha…I din know they are so active too until this year) I was thinking of going over as a supporter…
Instead he asked me if I wanted to take my aunt’s slot since she just recovered from an illness and was planning to skip the event. Fortunately she was doing the mini distance, and had a bike to lend to me…so I said ok! How impulsive heh :P At that point I din even have any plans to sign up for any triathlon this year yet…since I haven’t run in years and my bike was still with a fren (for the past 3-4 years)! But I figured…250m swim, 10km bike, 2.5km run…can’t be that hard right? :P

On that day itself…although I arrived pretty early (8am; when my wave starts at 950am, and my uncle’s one starts at 850am, my little cousin’s one 1020am), I din check where exactly is the start point, other than knowing it’s at Changi Beach Park…so when I saw some participant parking some 2-3km away from the start point…I blur-ly decided to park there too…the difference was...they were cycling to the start point…I was walking!!!

I walked and walked and walked until finally I found the start point…haha…just before my uncle’s wave started!! At least I can cheer him on too…together with my little cousin, Samuel :) After my uncle came out from the swimming leg, we tried to catch him at the transition area for a photo before bike out…but he was too fast!! Or the spectators route was too long…hehe…so we decided to wait at the u-turn area for his 2nd loop…by 930am, he was not back yet, so I decided that I need to get my race kit and go to the transition area to check out the bike (for the first time!)…haha…it’s always more exciting to do things at the last minute :P

Luckily all I needed to do was shift the seat height, get all the bibs/stickers pinned/stucked, take off my shoes and clothes, put on the champion chip, swim cap, goggles (it has prescibed lense, otherwise I will be "blind")…and run barefooted to the swim start :)

At 950am, our wave usual, I swim further away from the line so that I dun have to fight with everyone else…it was just a 125m swim out and u-turn back…by the time I reach the u-turn point…I had this feeling I am the fastest swimmer (since I was participating on behalf of someone else, I was wondering whether to slow down or just go ahead and be the first swimmer since it’s unlikely I am going to keep up in the cycling and running leg and end up top 3)…I just went on swimming hard…when I got out of the water, my aunt told me I was the first…heh…timing was 5:05

After that, it’s off to the transition area…run run run…get to my bike…as usual, took my time to put on my singlet, cap, helmet…hmm…shall not use shades this time…not very sunny…finally, shoes…and off I go!! Took a total of 2:51 for transition 1…haha
My fastest speed on the flat roads of Changi Coast Road was only 30km/h and I can’t even maintain that :P I think my average was only 20-25km/h…even though my heart rate was maintained at 150-160! Oops…
Got overtaken by quite a number of ppl here…and later I found out I was still the 11th fastest cyclist out of 29 participants…with a timing 29:51…not too bad for someone who has not cycled for years :P and I think the bike speedometer recorded a distance of more than 10km :P

After that it’s back to the transition area, put back the bike, remove helmet…not using cleats so no need to change shoes…and off I go…but I was so dead already…my heart rate was 170-175…the highest I have seen…although theoretically my max heart rate is 190 :P

I ended up walking/slow jogging the first 500m or so to get my heart rate to a more manageable rate of 140+ before I start running at a heart rate of 160-165 again…at the water point, I walked again to enjoy my sip of isotonic drink…haha…I am a super slacker!! :P

Again I got overtaken by more ppl…and in the end my run time was 8th fastest…from behind!! 17:22 for 2.5km…thinking of the 10min 2.4km I used to do in JC…hmm…no comments...

Anyway, overall my placing was 9th for the female (16-39yo) category…in hokkien I would say…bey hiam :) But gotta start training on the bike and run liao…especially since I have gotten back my bike! :)

Now which should be my next tri…Trifactor or should I go for PD too?? Sprint or Olympic distance?

Proof of slacking can be found here

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Charity Swim Tioman 2010

Apparently keeping this blog updated has become an annual affair now...fortunately I had this charity swim to write about this year :)

Here's the long story about the crazy 20km swim I completed in Tioman...from the day we departed from Singapore til we arrived back safely :)

On Fri, 29 Oct 130pm, we all gathered at Seletar airport for our flight to Tioman Island . At 2pm we were ushered through immigration to the waiting area for boarding…even though the boarding time on the boarding pass is stated as 235pm. Anyway, all of us went to the little air-conditioned hall to wait…it’s just a hall with nothing else there…with the plane sitting right outside…

I was chatting with Charles, one of the Aviva swimmers (Aviva is one of the main sponsors for the event, a few of their staff formed a relay team to swim in the event), when we saw the pilot starting up one of the propeller…and then…hmmm…it stopped at that one propeller??!! Are we flying with just one propeller? Soon we noticed the crew starting to gather around that propeller…uh oh…

Next we were told there’s some technical problem and they are sending a rescue plane over. Huh? Rescue plane? Ah…they actually mean a standby plane…so we were told a delay of 1.5 hr is expected while waiting for the plane to fly over from Subang airport…

As we were a bunch of hungry people by then…we were quick to find out how to get food in that deserted airport…apparently fast food delivery is the answer! So Canadian 2-for-1 pizza was our answer! We ordered 2 large pizza which arrived in less than 45mins…and 16 people finished them in seconds…one slice per person...haha..

Soon after we finished our pizza at abt 4pm…we found out the delay is until 5pm…and then 540pm…uh oh…some of us are still quite hungry…so Herbin, another Aviva swimmer, had the idea of ordering more food…this time we decided fast food would probably be faster…so McDonald’s it shall be! Alas…did u know that McDonald’s has safety rules for their delivery man…no delivery for rainy area! Although it was not raining at the airport yet…the clouds were very dark…sighz…

So next we called KFC…but delivery takes 1.5hrs…ahhhh…I guess one pizza is all we are supposed have before the buffet dinner at 7pm…

At about 5pm…the rain started to pour…uh oh…that can’t be helpful! Indeed it wasn’t…the plane had to hover around the air space for a while before getting clearance to land at abt 540pm…and then…at 615pm we finally were ready to take off…apparently we nearly did not get clearance to take off due to the weather and the airport was closing at 630pm!!

Phew…we really need to thank our lucky star for the chance to fly off on that day itself!!

When we arrived at was slightly after 7pm…the group of passengers who were supposed to take our plane out to KL were stranded and had to stay one more night…same goes for the pilot and air-stewardess who were caught totally unprepared! We are indeed very lucky that this whole delay did not affect our charity swim plans at all…we just needed to rush to the dinner table when we arrived instead of checking in first!! :):)

Dinner was wonderful…so many good stuff to choose…yummy!!

After dinner…we had a short briefing by Trevor (the founder of SAC and organizer of the whole event) and team...and all of us immediately when to our rooms. Janine, another Aviva swimmer, and I were in the same room. We took a shower, prepared our stuff for the swim…and immediately dozed off on the bed!

Next day, 30 Oct, is THE DAY…the day we attempt the crazy swim!! We woke up at 530am…had breakfast at 6am…then 7am we took a group picture and off we go to the jetty, split up into a few boats to go to the starting point…Mukut village jetty!

The sea was very choppy and it was very cold that morning as it poured the night before…how are we going to swim in such conditions? :/

As we were bouncing up and down, freezing on the boat…and I was wondering how it’s going to be like when we swim in such conditions…Peter, chairman of SAC and also my swimming partner for the swim, was identifying landmarks we can follow during the swim to give us an idea how far we were from the end point…cool…I have a great navigator swimming with me :)

Along the way, we reached out from the boat to feel the water and realized that the water was actually quite warm…so the moment we reached the jetty…we told the boatman we were jumping into the water while waiting for the other boats to arrive…it felt so much better in the water!

When everyone arrived, we got onto the jetty…had another photo taken…and at about 9am we jumped off the jetty…from there we waited for the boat that will be following us before we swam off. Carol, a swimming coach who has been participating in most (if not all) of the SAC charity swim, Peter and I were swimming in the same group while Novie, from SAC, is on our support boat. I initially tried swimming with my fins but later realized it was too heavy and slowing me down instead. So I switched to paddles instead…it was a lot better but Carol and Peter were still faster…haha…

For the first hour or so the tide felt like it’s against us even though the prediction is that it will be for us from 9am onwards…hmm…was the prediction correct? Fortunately after an hour or so, even though the water was still choppy, I could feel like I was swimming faster as the tide was pushing us forward. GREAT!

We had a break every 30 mins to ensure we were well hydrated…but each time we swim, Carol went much faster ahead, Peter followed but he slowed down every now and then for me to catch up…I’m really glad to have him as a partner, seeing him waiting up for me makes me determined to catch up faster each time I feel like slowing down!

Not too long later, we were told there’s a jellyfish alert...apparently Ben, our youngest and faster swimmer, got stung by a jellyfish…the tentacle was so long and transparent…he didn’t realize and swam into it…OUCH! He was immediately brought to the safety boat while the rest of us were warned to swim further away from shore…
The idea of someone getting stung just made the swim more “scary”…but we just went on :)

Soon while I was just feeling like the tide is going very well and I could swim forever in that condition…we hit the 10km mark…it felt so fast even though it was 3 hrs of swim! That was where some of the 10km swimmers, Terry, Donovan and George, joined us...

But somehow before they joined us, we ended up taking a break at the jetty and was served some really refreshing cranberry juice on a sun chair…wow…

After about 15mins of break, we went back into the water…so did Ben who was much better after taking an antihistamine and washing off the sting with vinegar…that’s real determination! Bravo to our young chap!

In the first part of this 2nd 10km, we could see corals and fishes just beneath us…in fact, Peter who was swimming right next to me then, saw a turtle which I somehow managed to miss :(

From there on it’s just Peter and me, as Carol moved to a faster group instead. Peter kept looking out for the landmarks while I just kept swimming towards him…haha…he’s my perfect moving landmark?

The next 5km was still not too bad…just kept swimming and swimming…and drinking and eating every 30 to 45mins…with Novie and William “serving” us initially…and suddenly they became David and Jennifer, my friends who came along as supporter and photographer…haha…Novie wasn’t feeling so good after so many kilometer floating up and down on the boat, and dehydrated from not being able to eat/drink well…so they got David, who could finish a plate of chicken rice on the boat, to take over instead!!

The last 5km felt like eternity…we kept swimming and swimming looking for that little island called Renggis that was just off the shore at the end point. When we finally saw that island, we realized it will still take us more than an hour to get to the finishing point! I was so tired, and with so much chaffing on the neck, chest, armpit and behind the knee, I really wanted to stop swimming…but watching Peter swimming ahead and slowing down watching me just kept me going and going!

When we finally saw the beach where our end point was, we immediately turned right heading straight for the beach even though the actual end point was still a few hundred meters away. We just got onto the beach and walked towards the end point! Apparently we looked like a pair of spies from the James Bond movie while walking along the beach…haha…a pair of very tired spies. Alas! we have finished…20km in approximately 7 hrs…it was totally crazy!! But I think I might just do it again in the future!! :/

That night we had another round of wonderful buffet, a seafood bbq buffet…with squid, crabs, squid balls, some fish, satay, beef, lamb...and even corn in the cob…we all loved it!!

After dinner, everybody just went back and sleep.

The next morning, we saw a letter at our doorstep…the flight has been delayed again…instead of a 2pm flight, we had a 410pm flight…oh well…that just gives us more time to go snorkeling at Renggis Island…or for Janine, more time to run and have a massage! So after breakfast, which was very good, some variation from the day before…Tristan (another regular participant of the SAC charity swim), Carina (Tristan’s wife who’s also a pretty good swimmer but was only here to support Tristan and their son, Ben), Charles (another Aviva swimmer), Trevor, Peter and I swam to the island even though we were told that it was not allowed…the other tourists took a boat over. Peter swam from the resort while the rest of us swam from the jetty…the shortest point to the island…haha…we were not as hardworking as Peter. We swam around the island…admire the many fishes and beautiful corals…then we swam back to the beach…haha…apparently 20km of swim the day before wasn’t enough. We had to swim somemore…Peter the most!

Before going back to the room for a shower…Trevor, Peter, Charles and I had some fun at the resort pool which had icy cold water…so different from the seawater which was much warmer…haha…but the slide at the pool was really fun!

After a shower, we met at 130pm, went different ways for lunch…Trevor, Herbin and gang and I went out to this Chinese seafood restaurant just a few minutes taxi ride from the hotel. We had hokkien mee, chicken, fresh prawns, squid, curry fish slices and 2 vege…all for RM40 each inclusive of the taxi ride!! Great selection of dishes by Herbin and gang…Trevor and I just ate :p

Then all of us gathered at the lobby at 3pm and took a bus to the airport. Just outside the airport, somehow we had some issue with one of the shopkeeper we bought drinks from the day we arrive...but we finally managed to settled that and took off before 4pm.
The plane ride was very fast, we were busy enjoying the view from above and before we knew it…we arrived at Seletar airport at abt 430pm…that was the last ever Berjaya air flight to arrive at this airport as the next flight will depart from Changi airport. Another historical moment for us?

….and then it’s home sweet home!! Til the next charity swim…

Will post some photos when I get them from my "personal" photographer, David :) If I'm not too lazy :P

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Reminiscing my past in Singapore...

Can't believe I have lived in Singapore for close to 12 years now...
I have to say it's been filled with adventure, fun, learning...and everything!!! Even though there are ups and downs along the way...I dun think I would change anything at all!!


On 7 Jan 1998...the long-awaited letter of acceptance for the ASEAN pre-university scholarship finally arrived at my house in Penang...
Two days later...I arrived in Singapore for wat's gg to be the beginning of my 12-year Singapore tax-payer funded education journey...yes officially I'm still a part-time graduate student at NUS...although since Aug 2009, I'm no longer funded by tax payers :P
Just for the fun of it...I do hope I can graduate by 9 Jan 2010 to mark the 12th year anniversary :D


My first "home-away-from-home" (as our most "affectionate" SML put it) was CJC hostel...
Since I had been actively participating in out-of-town or overseas competition since a tender age of 11 years (I think) away from my parents was nothing new...but 1998 was still the first time I'll be away for more than weeks!
Fortunately, there's nothing to fear here...from the very first day we reach S'pore, we were very well taken care of by our seniors...even though just a year older...and the hostel wonder so many parents like to send their children to study in S'pore!! From school stuff to shopping, entertainment etc...our seniors were always there for us :) In fact, we were always there for each other too...til now...

I had always lead a life full of JC life was perfect for me...
There was classes and compulsory extra-curricular activities in school...where I took triple science in A levels which gives me the most hours in my time table as all 3 science subject has additional lab sessions...and on top of that...I was in multiple ECAs such as the more exciting sport teams such as tennis, swimming, track and x-country...and the more brainy societies such as a biology society and malay society (haha..that was compulsory for all of us taking malay as second language)...

Meanwhile, in the hostel we also frequently had our own social activities (with the MnB United gang...hehe), besides activities among all the ASEAN scholars which includes a mixture of crazy orientation-like activities and the more serious merdeka day activities involving principals of our JCs...

It was just filled with activities!!


So the 2 years past rather quickly and soon I found myself back in Penang...while waiting for entrance to a university...

Fortunately, at that point it was time to train for the 2000 Malaysian Games which was held in Penang...but b4 I went full swing into that...our family traveled to US for dad's biz trip in California...and at the same time attend my bro's graduation in Chicago...and further holiday towards the North Eastern part of US...

After we the trip...for 6 months while I was back in Penang...I was spending all my time at the tennis courts...haha...sounds like some professional tennis player hor...but trust me...I'm NOT!
In fact, I managed to do the stupidest thing of running into the drain and giving myself a nice hairline crack near my knee during the first few days of the Games itself...haha...


Timing had been so perfect hor? After the Games which was held in June, it was time for me to head back to Singapore...attended some orientation activities...b4 university classes starts mid July...

University life had been just as colorful...with 3 main groups...(1) my pharmacy classmates, seniors and juniors, (2) all my fellow Kent Ridgean, and (3) the NUS tennis team...
At some point...u can say I majored in hall activities and minored in pharmacy...wahaha...but life has been wonderful and exciting with all 3 groups... be continued....

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Out-of-control work magnet

Haha...the title says it all...I must have recently entered a really strong magnetic field...when I came out started attracting all forms of work...

B4 I started attracting any work...I already had plenty to juggle with...let's just look at those related to my PhD...since I'm trying to get that out of the way ASAP!!
Firstly, I have a biology paper which I have just submitted to one of my bosses...then I was starting to write my medicinal chemistry paper...and then I shld prepare for my presentation for lab meeting on 18 Mar...and of course the most important thesis which I plan to submit b4 I head off for my conference in US on 17 Apr! much writing...and I just hate's just eating up my mental energy...I need more physically demanding work!!

Anyway, apparently that's not enough! Haha...I had to attract more work...yippee!!
Firstly, I started attracting a lot of customers at the various pharmacies I'm working part-time at...that was great for the resident pharmacists there since I've "unconsciously" boost their sales...haha...but I'm supposed to be writing my thesis there!! Not so good for me huh? oh well...

Meanwhile, while I'm busy with all this writing and working, my bosses (the research ones) had a meeting on technology disclosure aka patent application we submitted many moons ago...and guess wat the outcome of the meeting??!! Yes...I have more work to do!! Darn...why do u guys need so much information...
So I had more paper work...and thankfully some lab work...
Hmm...but now I realize the lab work is more tedious than I projected...
So many cell lines...growing at different rates...of different sizes...thankfully in the same medium...and so many drugs to test...
Actually it would have been fun to do all this if I din have so much work already... I had a meeting with my boss on the biology paper...haha...wat's new...more work!! So now I have to edit my biology paper, continue to write my med chem paper, prepare for my presentation and finally my thesis...exciting hor...

That all happened in the past 5 days...I'm totally overwhelm me!! or just kill me!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Marathon Charity Swim

Just decide to post an email I sent out regarding my charity swim....

Hi all

The swim is over!
It must have been the most exciting swim I had in a while...especially when I started swimming at the same spot for more than an hour!! Feels like swimming on a threadmill!! hehe

Anyway, it's all my fault..haha...I was way to slack to start off...
During the briefing that morning, we were told the current will push us to the 5km mark and it'll turn ard at 12 reach the 5km mark by noon or u r doom!! haha...the latter was wat happened to me...wahahah

We were first matched to our kayaker, randomly...the kayakers were there for safety and also to carry our own goodies :D Mine was Verna, a very nice gal...who was unfortunately stuck out in the sea for quite a while with me...hahaha... all started with a really slow and relaxing swim...took 36 min to complete 1km...and that shld be with current assisting...I call that atrocious least the next 1.5km was faster...36min (so abt 24min/km)...hmm...but that makes its abt 1145am's too late!! the current is gg to turn ard soon!!

so i took another 24 min complete the next 0.5km...and...hehe...the next 1km was indefinite...i was swimming real hard but not moving at all for more than an hour...b4 i found out that the current is gg to be that way for 6hrs!! heh...that's when the speedboat came by to pick me and so that i could re-assess the situation...we found ourselves drifting at least 50 meters back towards the starting pt within a minute!! no wonder i'm not moving at all no matter how hard i swim...

I was dropped at the 4km mark and swam back from there...
I swam in extreme slow arms were pretty tired from fighting the current..but...i still completed the first km in 15mins...the next 0.5km in 8mins...the next 1.5km in 18mins...and the final km in abt 12 mins...wahaha...that's less than an hour for the last 4km...versus 3 1/2 for the first 4km...
so it was sort of a 8km distance if u observe from land...but it felt more like 11-12km of swimming...hehe...exciting?

Well I'm still alive and fact...i could still go back to work after that..and u prob couldn't tell i just swam if not for the "permanently" tattooed swimming cap on my forehead...hehe..

In conclusion...I had a real interested and fun weekend :D
I shld attempt more of such swims...maybe the English channel in the future :D

Thanks again to everyone for ur well wishes and support!!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

2008 is more than halfway through!

Oh infrequent can my postings get!!
Had some inspiration to write somethings previously but never really found the time to do it...hehe...anyway...

More than half the year has gone pass...what have I achieved so far?
Wow...I shld really have asked myself this question earlier!!

Din seem to have done as much as I would have thought man!

I only managed to get quite a fair bit out in the lab...

I'm finally done with synthetic a nice post-doc to help me do any additional synthesis cool...

I can finally concentrate on biological work! Doing enzyme assays, antiproliferative asays, western blots...growing cells, killing cells...blah blah can be a lot of fun...even though enzymes and cells are not easy to handle though...currently stuck with a bunch of less active enzymes which is preventing me from reproducing results from the US...BUT..I have good news today...seems like a new batch of active enzymes has finally been made...after I'm not too sure how many months of just gotta wait for reconfirmation and shipment over...hopefully the enzymes can withstand the trip well :D Shall keep my fingers crossed...otherwise it might mean heading to US just to get the assay done!!
I also love my current need to wash glassware, fill pipette tips, autoclave, order chemicals/biologicals...someone else does all this things...our time is really valued we can really spend more of our effort in research...and more imptly for me...other personal stuff...hehe...

Now that I know I have not achieved enough...time to buck up!!
5 months to go b4 2008 is over...

Gotta start getting down to effective planning! Just learnt that in a full day leadership training seminar I attended it's time to put wat I have learnt into action!

Hmm...first step gotta learn to differentiate efficiency vs effectiveness...
I guess it all starts with a clear goal in life...

Ok time to get my goals clarified and come up with an action plan...

Till I feel like writing again...adios!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

2nd post of 2008!

Wow...we are almost halfway through 2008...and i only have one post for the year!
Haha...i'm just too busy man...having plenty of fun though :P

Anyway, let's see wat's up this year...

I'm attending plenty of weddings...and there's also plenty of frens who're now pregnant...hmm..the rat year must be a good year :D

I've been out of the country so frequently...I feel like I'm now a frequent flyer...wahahaha...except that I dun always fly :P
Within the past 6 months or so, I've been to US, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, HK...and of course Malaysia! Wow...

I've also helped plenty more ppl improve their health...especially among my relatives and friends...I'm indeed fulfilling my role as a legal drug peddler :P

I'm doing a lot of biological work instead of chemistry work now...a biological lab is a much more pleasant place to be in...but that means I'm more of a mad biologist now than a mad chemist...mad chemist sounds nicer!!

Anyway, I think this post is getting very messy...just putting watever that comes to my mind...scatter brain...time to stop writing...wahaha...til I feel like writing again...ADIOS!

Monday, January 28, 2008

First post of 2008

Wow! I'm getting really irregular here...hehe

It's almost the end of Jan and this is just my first post of the year :P

Anyway, life's been hectic...which is actually very good for me :D
I'm planning to be a rich PhD graduate by next year 2009...the progress is gg very well so far...just keeping me really busy...haha...