Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Swimming Training

I started my swimming training in earnest since the AA Macau, I can swim for many years but only really confident in breast stroke, with freestyle I can cover 8 laps of a 50m pool at most and I would need to take a few breath or switch back to breast. I have been trying to improve my freestyle for more than 10 years but has hardly got very far. Then in Bintan I realised there are even more I have to learn, I cannot breath on my right side and I cannot look ahead without interrupting my strokes. Anyhow, throwing myself to the deep end is my favourite pass time and I am doing it literally this time. Bought myself a copy of "Triathlon Training - Swimming" by Steven Tarpinian. It has got many great stuff on improving swimming for runners and bikers. I tried doing the ten drills it suggested and has got me really tired on just the first one. Which was just kicking water while staying vertically in water. Impossible for even 30secs, but I meant to wear paddles to do that, but being unsupportive as it is with the Hong Kong Government. Swimming aides of any kind are not allowed in the public pools. Right now I am exploring other options to get some proper trainning. Anyone got any bright advice?


Saturday, June 17, 2006

Action Asia Challenge Macau


A bit of an late update since I lost my internet connnection at home last week. Finally completed the last leg of my three races in 6 weeks schedule in Macau with the Action Asia Challenge. This time I am partnering Andy in team Tempo Sparks again. We have raced together under this name since 2003 for 3 times already. Kin my partner in Moganshan is also racing with Larry, another mountian biker, under the team name of Windcatcherz. So without saying a personal battle quickly developed between the two teams, to make myself clear, I want to kick their ass real bad.

I cannot have a more enjoyable race than this one, after doing these races regularly enough, I am now getting to know so many of them when we rubbed shoulders on the narrow race track. Ah Keung from my group of climbing friends is another person I know personally. But there is nothing more fun than racing back to back with friends you know.

The first part of the race is mostly on foot, shortly after the starting run, we have to swim across a lake and landed ashore like in the Battle of Normandy. Andy's swimming goggle he bought at the hotel disintegrated at first touch of water and that dragged us down a bit. But we quickly recovered our pace and were taking over people on the coasteering section, that is mix of running and swimming along the rocky boulders along the coast, and occasionally climing up cargo nets from the sea. We got passed Windcatcherz quietly and tried to stretch our lead. We know any advantage is shortlived as the second half of the section was on bikes, interluded with some hill climbing with fixed ropes, kayaking, abseiling and getting wet again and again for no reasons. I realised I have developed this fear on off road biking since the injury, but I tried my best to stay on the mount while charging downhill. We could see Kin and Larry right on our tail at every checkpoints.

Finally Windcatcherz pressed home their advantage and overtook us at a stretch of downhill biking trail, but 5 mins later when we got to the abseiling check point, we executed it in commando freefall style and overtook them again. Though at the penultimate part was 15mins cycling on road toward the Macau Tower and we cannot pushed our bikes any harder to fight them off. Finally we came to the last 2km run across a bridge toward the finishing line. Though Andy's injury is kicking in, his had been closed to breaking his knee at the coasteering and now the swelling has taken its toll. I can see Kin and Larry just at the top of the bridge and at our top running speed, we probably stood a chance of catching up with them. But injuries is just part of the race and it is all these uncertainties that turns a race into an adventure.

Finally we got to the finishing line at Macau Tower and once again I felt enormously proud to have get this far in another adventure race. The finishing line always mean so much for a competitor, however shattered I felt, I can always find another bucket load of energy to sprint through the Arch of Triumph.

Out of 135 teams, Tempo Sparks came 88th overall, finsihing at 6hrs57mins. Windcatchez came 86th beating us by 3 mins. Congradulation to them.

Thus I have time for a mini break, but the calendar is still busy in the rest of the year. I am gonna team up with Alain and Alice from work as a relay team in the Korea Ironman at end of August, the new challenge is to swim 3.8km at open sea.

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Terri Schneider's Finished 2nd in Woman Catagory in Gobi March

Terri Schneider's Training and Trail Running Blog: Gobi Desert: Retribution

Terri Schneider
Finally recovering from ingestion problem she got back to 2nd place in the Gobi March, losing to the winner by just a few minutes and she said,
'Throw it all down. If we’re honest about what that looks like, to ourselves, we can sleep well at night.....Lay it all down for yourself and you will be a satisfied human and live confidently in your skin.'
Wish all those competing in any race or challenge in life will have the courage to 'throw it all down' and be satisfied with the reward of merely doing so!

Action Asia Macau, here it come this Sunday!!

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Saturday, June 03, 2006

Terri Schneider in Gobi Desert - Racing the Planet

"why would you do something like that" sort of way, I stated, "I like to do cool things, in cool places, with cool people and this event fits the bill." Terri Schneider
I discovered this cool blog of Terri Schneider few days ago and is hooked to her daily update on a great adventure that she is undertaking. Terri is a adventurer by profession, taking part in all sorts of ultra running, adventure race, ironman etc. Right now she is running through the Gobi Desert in Xinjian, China, competing in the Gobi March as part of the Race of the Planet series.

Gobi March is a 250km / 6 days foot race that require athlete to run/hike across the vast desert unsupported, they have to carry their own food, clothing and gear during the day but do get to stay in a tent at night after each stage. In addition to Gobi, the series also races in Sahara (Egypt), Atacama (Chile) and those who has completed all three can take part in the 'Last Desert - Antartica'!

Sahara / Atacama Desert / Antartica

Terri has been racing strong for the first few day and had been well up for the first spot, but she was broken down by diarrhea problem two days ago, after struggling through the 5th day race, she is running fast again on the 6th day. She unlikely to recover the first spot but no matter, she said, 't's been a great adventure – cool place, cool people, cool event.' Stories like that is always inspirational (not that I will try to pick up more injuries in future races to write stories for you guys.)

Now onto the serious business, apparently you don't have to be superman to do the race, lots of participants are working professional who is simply looking for a challenge in their lifes. You need to train a lot to win the race but lots of people only equipped themselves with after work training. So I am putting this up on my 2007 or 2008 to do list!
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