DNG #29: Going Lokal

One of my favourite places to refuel after training is The Lokal, at 136 Neil Road.

I may be biased, because I know the chef. But surely a full house on a soggy Saturday can’t be wrong?

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Join the waiting list!

Truth is, Chef Darren Farr is a rather picky man. Especially when it comes to what he serves his customers. Most of the stuff he serves up is fresh. No cans, no preservatives.

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The salads here are very, very good.

Really like the salads here because of how fresh they taste. Perfect blend of crunch and zest, without straying into sour territory. Whey dressing really enhances the flavours too.

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Menu gets updated often!

My recommendations are the Roast Pumpkin Salad, Sunday Roast (available on
.. Sunday) and leave room for the sticky date pudding at the end.

Couldn’t decide what to get today, so let the chef surprise me. Here’s the end result…

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Black Pearl BLT

Protein from the specially-added beef (thanks chef!) and fried egg, fresh lettuce and tomato for that kick, and a light bun that doesn’t have you feeling sluggish after. (don’t tell coach I sneaked in a sauv blanc!) Perfect for race week.

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Me trying to look as nonchalant as the main man.

When he’s out of that chef suit, Darren’s quite the doppelganger for Daniel Craig. Hence, he’s got quite a following. (Follow him on instagram at @fuzzychef) You’ll see instagrammers and hipster Polaroiders doing their foodpornography. And then sneaking in a photo with the chef. Most of them young, impressionable girls. ;)

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Hipster or what??

Met one of his fans, Jessica, who I could tell was quite the fan. Check out her hipster camera…

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Camera with a built-in vintage filter :p

Now, time for a nap.

DNG #28: Washout

Looks like it’s coming to that time of the year when the weather decides to change its mind as to whether it’s going to be sunny, rainy, or something in between. Today, it decided to bring on a light and sound show, a.k.a. Thunder and lightning.

This is all fine and dandy if you’re sleeping in. When you’re out doing a race simulation, like swimming in the sea, flashes of lightning on the horizon are quite disconcerting.

Hence, our session got abruptly shortened.

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Good thing about the cycling bit is that we have trainers at Mana Mana that allow us to mount our bikes, so essentially you have a stationary bike. Just like the gym. Bad thing is, it’s just like the gym. Pedal, pedal, pedal… You go nowhere.

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On the bright side, you have more time to chat with team mates who normally are too fast to catch, or have no breath to say anything by the time you catch up with them. Always good to have some time for team bonding.

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Nice to see Natalie back in training after a nasty fall at Macritchie some time back, and taking on a new job soon after. She and her husband Chris are quite a hoot with their “friendly”  competitions.

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Ok. Off to lunch now…!

DNG #27: Aero Hairo

In a sport that gets you soaked in brine, marinated in a helmet, and then scorched by the sun, your hair can take quite a beating. And having long, luscious locks of hair will get in the way during transition.

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Fabio probably hasn't done much triathloning

Hence, my quest for a hairdo that would not get stuck under my goggles and let water in (ouchh), nor stick out of my helmet like some misplaced tuft.

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Not quite triathlon gear, but you get the idea

Some of you might be saying, “Just cut it all off!” While that may be more aerodynamic, it exposes your sensitive scalp to sun damage, and I hear you can get sunburnt quite easily up top. (real reason: my strange, misshapened noggin!)

So here’s me 2 haircuts ago, and as of latest haircut. Sorry, missed the one of me looking like a beaver in between.

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2 months ago, 1 month ago, current

Much less maintenance required!

DNG #26: The final countdown

It’s just 10 days to go. Funny how time has been whizzing when you don’t notice.

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Melting in yesterday's heat at Marina barrage

40 days ago I attempted to start this series of posts, posting every day in the lead up to my first half-Ironman race in Danang, Vietnam. I’ve not quite managed that, even with churning 2 posts on some days.

Ah well. I’ll just keep plugging away…

Anyway, here are some of my favourites from the last 25 posts thus far.

#8 Southern Ridges
#13 Biking on Bintan
#17 Saturday Macritchie Runs

DNG #25: Project Love Sneaker V

Thought I’d better rush this post out before it’s too late. Came across this cool window display at Velocity some days back. In case you can’t read the fine print, it says that as part of Project Love Sneaker V, you can donate your old (but usable!) sneakers to the less fortunate, and score a $50 Running Lab voucher in exchange. Pretty cool deal if you ask me.

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cool and functional window display!

Great excuse for me to clear out the (full) shoe cabinet  for shoes too good to give away, but not in the regular running arsenal. Here were the 2 “victims” today:

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Asics GT2150 and Nike … something

After some inspection from the guy at the store, he did up the laces and off into the pile they went…

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May you go on to (stylishly) support someone else’s feet!

So, if you’ve got old running shoes around that you haven’t got the heart to get rid of because they’re “still good”, set them free and let them do some real good. Offer ends 30 Apr 2015. Vouchers expire 31 May 2015.

DNG #23: Drawing the lines

One of the consequences of being involved in triathlon is the tanlines. Despite training being mostly in the evenings, the 2 weekend sessions are enough to do some roasting. Here’s the evidence.

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Weekend roasts

You may be able to observe a
gradient of “done-ness”, from rare (top) to medium-well (bottom). I expect Danang to deliver “well done” to overcooked.

As one of my expat team mates mentioned, “You’re ang mor under there!” And so, I’ve bought myself some speedos.  :p

DNG #24: Shopping and Cycling

I mentioned in an earlier post that triathlon can Here’s the booty that got shipped last week.

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DHL free shipping FTW

Nice hefty box from Chain Reaction Cycles, or better known amongst the cycling fraternity as CRC.
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Unboxed!

The contents (clockwise from top left):
– X-tools hex keys (a.k.a. Allan keys)
– Zefal water bottle (clear)
– Zefal water bottle (red)
– High5 hydration pack
– Shimano chain
– Shimano Ultegra 6700 (10-speed) 11-25t cassette
– Shimano SPD-SL SM-SH11 cleats
– Finish line wet bicycle lubricant
– Dirt wash citrus degreaser

Shipping was free, so all this for $$161.49. May sound like a lot/little depending on how familiar you are with bikes and online shopping, but that’s almost $100 cheaper than retail. Much as I want to support local bike shops (LBS), all the savings do add up. I try to make up for it by taking the bike in to install the components I’ve bought, or for some servicing. Now hat’s something you can’t buy online. A least, not yet. :)

DNG #22: Taking stock

When I did my first triathlon back in September last year, I thought I’d be happy just completing it. And I was. But what I was even happier with, was that I finished in the top half.

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Newbie alert!

Fast forward to today, and I’m wondering what targets I should set for myself for the upcoming Danang race. If you asked me back in September whether I should even be attempting a half-ironman, I’d probably be extremely doubtful. Now, I’m thinking of what times I should target.

Recently though, I seem to be struggling at times in the pool. And my cycling seems to be stuck in a rut. The run, my biggest weakness when I started, is now where I’ve shown the most improvement. It’s all quite depressing and thrilling.

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15% less newbie?

Coach Scott reminded me of the 15% improvement I’ve clocked over the sprint distance, and how it’d translate if it were in any other part of your life. Imagine 15% more sleep, 15% more time, 15% more pay! That is substantial.

And most importantly, I need to remind myself  to enjoy the ride. I’m not gunning for a podium spot, and I don’t have sponsors to please. It’s time to enjoy how far I’ve come in 7 months. To do that, here’s to the Raj man who showed me how to finish a triathlon in style.

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The Raj breaks out the dance moves before crossing the finish

DNG #21: A day in the life of…

Sorry for the hiatus, folks. It’s been a trying time. I know I’m quite far behind now, but I’ve also got quite a few half written posts in the drafts folder so you might start seeing a few double header days soon…

Anyway, one of the questions I’ve been getting a lot of is “what training is like?”, and “do you train every day”. To answer these questions, here’s what a week typically looks like:

Monday: 75 min swim
Tuesday: Turbo Trainer class
Wednesday: 90 min lunchtime run*, 75 min swim
Thursday: Morning bike ride on Mount Faber
Friday: spare day* / off day
Saturday: Macritchie run
Sunday: Long bike ride (about 100km)

All the sessions, with the exception of the ones with the asterisk*, are group sessions. This means you don’t suffer alone. And if you’re feeling up to it, have some other people to compete against.

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Rodrigo (faking heart attack) horsing around after another Macritchie run

This is really important because you’ll be amazed how much harder you can push yourself when there are others around you pushing as hard, if not harder.

And there are the coaches – Mike and Scott – too. They spot mistakes, and show you how to improve. Not something that watching YouTube videos will do!

DNG #20: Better and Worse

Despite all the training that’s been done, it’s strange that I’ve only really done one triathlon to date. Until this morning when I clocked my second.

2015 Metasprint Triathlon Race Report

Got to Changi with about 1 hour to spare, but had to park at Changi Village and ride to the start. No biggie… plus it was a nice warm-up spin for the legs. The Transition Zone was a bit chaotic though. No specific spots for each participant. You could just park your bike and set up your own transition almost anywhere. Found me a spot on rack K10 and went for some warm up. Felt good in the water, and a strong current pushing from left to right, which would mean a quick run from 1st to 2nd buoy. image Start: In my first race, I played things really safe and started wide and at the back of the pack. That meant a wide berth away from everyone and an uneventful swim. Today, I wanted to get over that phobia and face that “fear”. Started on what I thought would be the favoured end (the right side on a course with 2 right turns) in the second row. Looks like I was wrong on both counts. With the current pushing hard, I ended up being pressed against the line of small floats that was meant to help guide swimmers toward the first buoy. Ahead of me was the first line of swimmers who were mostly slower than the pace I was trying to hit. Very frustrating, but got over my fear of the dreaded “washing machine”. In fact, think I might have dished out more than I received. Only really got into a rhythm when I was approaching the first buoy. Sigh. Tried to make up lost ground, and I think I came out of the water at the front of  the second pack from my wave.

Lesson: If you think you’re in with a shout, stake your claim at the front. Because if there are slower guys ahead, it’s going to be tough getting past them. No need to be shy, because it’s going to be worse when you have to climb all over them to get ahead. When I was on the final stretch coming up to the beach, felt the strap that was holding the timing device to my ankle loosen. Turns out it was, and I pulled it tight. Or at least I thought I did. Came out of the water, and felt it loosen again. Lost more seconds trying to fix it.

Lesson: Tape up the timing device strap. Don’t leave it to just the velcro to do the job.

Bike: Transition was fairly smooth and got off to a good cadence and pace on the bike. Seemed to be averaging 32-34km/h on the first 5km. Did the turn into the headwind on the next 5km, and dropped to about 30km/h. The next 5km I started to struggle. Couldn’t seem to keep pace anymore. Same lousy feeling I’ve been having on the long rides where the quads start burning. And the last 5km was just miserable. Took the opportunity to refuel with a gel and pray the run would be better.

Run: Dropped the bike off and hopped off on the run. Felt strong going into it, and seeing the TriEdge team on the side shouting their support just gives that little spark to kick things into another gear. Unfortunately/fortunately, my Garmin Forerunner 10 decided it didn’t want to cooperate today. So for most of the run, I was doing it on “perceived effort”. Only till the last 2km did the Garmin magically come to life.  By then, seemed like I had been doing about 5min/km pace, which was the target pace anyway! By the end of it, turns out I’d done my first sub-5min/km pace run in a race. No doubt helped by the last sprint inspired by the TriEdge family on the sidelines once again.

(Potential) Lesson: May be I should just ditch the watch?

So, what was the result? 1:25:22.

More than 10 minutes faster than my first triathlon.

Should I be happy? Sure. The swim certainly felt less difficult. Overcame my fear of going into the crowd. Felt strong on the run too. Overall time clocked is obviously an improvement.

But…? What’s worrying is that I’m actually slower on the bike today than I was in my first triathlon. 33km/h previously, today was a struggle at 30.8km/h. :( Not sure what the issue is – Mechanical? Psychological? Physical? Made some adjustments to the bike and cleats yesterday. Will see how they work (or not) in training…

Trifactor Tri 2014
Maiden triathlon results
Metasprint 2015 Triathlon
6 months later at my next triathlon

Next up: Danang.

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