Monday, June 16, 2014

Racing Season Has Begun

Racing has begun!

In recent weeks, I have resumed racing with a 60km riding race and 21km run.
With a schedule of races in July through September, I will be participating in a duathlon, Olympic Distance triathlon, half-Ironman, 10km and 21km races.
It is assessment time, and I will be building up to Ironman 70.3 Cebu; I hope to earn a PB. My main goal in 2015 is to earn a sub-3-hour marathon, or somewhere near that time. A Boston Marathon slot in 2016 will be my main goal. Next year, I may attempt my third Ironman Lanzarote and aim for my best time there.

Much to do, but happy work, nonetheless.
*Photo-credit (TRI-Factor Ride): Richard Leong*

From Less Functional To More Functional

During the years 1990-1993, I was national-level bodybuilder (also known as a 'muscle-head') on its B-team. In my first competition, I spent eight weeks to prepare and packed on 7kg of lean muscle. I won third placing in the Middleweight division, and that was the start of a frustrating and tumultuous relationship with barbells, dumb-bells and weight-satck machines. I experienced strength, fatigue, stretch-marks, stinky gym-clothes, hyper-nutrition (over-nutrition by pissing out expensive urine) and revelations.

Having won three 3rd placings, and one runner-up award I retired completely from the quaint sport with unnaturally-developed behemoths. I thought I was fit, but I was not. Even though I was flexible and strong, I lacked balance, core strength (I hated doing abdominal exercises) and functionality.

Muscular functionality is about how our skeletal-muscular (skeleton and muscles) system work effectively and efficiently. I could not apply myself fully in sports like racket-games and swimming. Even though I used to teach-exercise ('aerobic classes'), I lost a fair amount of muscular coordination. I was fit enough to pass my IPPT (annual physical fitness assessment) in my annual reserves military service, but I was not testing myself in enough ways.

Photo-credit & design: Richard Leong
Circa 2014, after a decade of training and racing in multi-sport endurance races I have redefined my muscle functionality. My core strength is much developed. I have better coordination of my body especially in then swim. I am a much stronger runner with far-developed endurance for the 10km, 21km and marathon. I can ride long, often in excess of 100km.

How are you developing your functionality? How comprehensive is your training process? How much do you factor in the testing and evaluation of your fitness?  
Take then time to measure these, and convert this into actual racing performance.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Recent Race Roundup & Reality Checks

It has been a while since I have posted. I have resumed preparation for my next A-races, with a few B-races under my belt. I enjoyed two recent assessments on my ride and run, and I have a stronger sense of direction on how to enhance my fitness, focus and decisiveness-in-action.

After completing my Big-3 Races (Boston Marathon, AP Ironman Championships, Ironman NZ) in March and April, I have recovered from my fatigue and mild injuries. No major injuries, I assure you, but signs and indicators of athlete's wear-and-tear. I suspect muscle imbalance, and I will be testing this; and joint issues, mainly in my knees (sounds, and mild soreness after long training or racing sessions). Testing and assessment will be my priority these coming weeks, with rehabilitation (strengthening and correct muscle activation/firing sequence) the order of the day.
I completed the 21km section of the Sundown Marathon. It was a new route, with a challenging climb up the famous Benjamin Sheares Bridge (named after our second President of Singapore) in the latter part of the race. I arrived in 1:45 (a far cry from my 1:33 best), and in 44th place in the Male category, and about 51st overall (including the Female category). I was pleased with it as I still kept an consistent moving-average pace. I had mild preparation with about three, 10km-runs, weekly. So, with more endurance-based runs I hope to lock in  a good timing in the Ironman 70.3 triathlon in Cebu in early-August.  Also, on the cards, is a major goal of cracking the my 21km PB, and a bonus of a sub-1:30 at the AHM 21km Run in September.
I also completed the TRI-Factor 60km ride, part of the complete series I have been sponsored for. In my current shape, I cracked my personal time on this fairly hairy 6-loop course. I placed in the top-33 percent, which means I have to continue focusing on speed work, and achieve a consistent pace for the full 90km in Cebu. I am taking a big crack on my half-Ironman PB with my renewed fitness, so this achievement was satisfying.

I am exploring a few more, short-course races - my main goal for the rest of this year will be racing and assessment. I am curious about what kind of speed I am capable of doing in the Olympic Distance triathlon, the half-Ironman, and the half-marathon. My A-goals for next year are to meet a career-best timing of near-3-hours for a marathon, and qualify for Boston Marathon in 2016. And, perhaps another two Ironman across two continents.