Sunday, August 1, 2010

Venturing Into Unchartered Territories

During the recent potluck dinner at Andrew's, we were discussing about what other challenges we could do. We thought of several things, one of which was the climbathon. The last time I went up the mountain, I felt like I almost died because of altitude sickness. Several doctors have since told me that it is possible to die because of altitude sickness. So the climbathon is most certainly a no-no for me.

Then someone brought up the subject of the triathlon. I guess the triathlon is more promising than the climbathon since I don't have the altitude to worry about. However, the last time I rode a bicycle must have been more than 25 years ago. And if I'm not wrong it's been more than 15 years ago since my last visit to the pool. I think I still have it in me to try the triathlon, but maybe not so soon. I probably need a bit of time to buy a decent bike and find out if I still know how to ride one.

But the most difficult discipline, I think, is the swimming. I have never been any good in the freestyle. When I was much younger, I could do a couple of laps, but even then I was mainly using the breast stroke, you see. Well, because I haven't been swimming for such a long time, I did not even know if I could still float in the pool. At any rate, even if it's such a big challenge, I could at least give it a try. Perhaps we should start scouting around for a suitable event some time next year.

Then I started a forum via exchanges of emails with some friends just to gauge the interest, and to start the ball rolling. And then before I knew it, Teo became so excited with the idea. Within a few days, he was all so pumped up for a triathlon. The plan about next year's triathlon suddenly disappeared. Instead, Teo is all out to join the Miri Triathlon at the end of October this year!

I think Teo caught some of us by surprise. Well, at least I did not see it coming! And then in no time, Teo had even tried out what he called a "mini-mini" triathlon of his own (yes, Teo is talented in coming up with new sporting terms), i.e. comprising swimming several hundred metres, biking in the gym, and followed by running on the treadmill. His verdict was that the triathlon is "doable"!

Well, Teo inspired Andrew who in turn also did his version of the "mini-mini" triathlon. He, too, gave a verdict of "doable". So the two of them appear to be heading for Miri in October. The rest of us, I think, have not recovered from the shock. But the idea is beginning to sink in by now. In the forum, I raised my concerns about the swimming leg of the event. But Teo and Andrew will go ahead even with the breast stroke!

Well, I did not even know if I could still do the breast stroke. The only thing I'm certain I could do is breast-stroking, but that has nothing to do with swimming. So I decided that I might as well try to find out. Well, one fine day I went to the Suria Shopping Mall to buy a swimming trunk and a pair of goggles. For a brief moment, I considered putting some scratches on my goggles, so that it's not too obvious that it's still new, you see.

I wasn't sure if I could still fit into a swimming trunk, but last Tuesday I finally got into the swimming trunk for the first time in over 15 years! I was pleasantly surprised that the tightness did not cause any migraine. I jumped into the water and for a few seconds I thought I was gonna die of hypothermia. Turned out that I could still float!... and I could do the breast stroke! But into the second stroke, I pulled a muscle just below my left shoulder blade. A short rest and then I finally decided to try the freestyle. And wow! I could swim almost a full 40 metres without stopping! It was so pathetic, I tell you!

A short while later, a friend of mine who's a professional swimming coach showed up. He watched me swim from one end of the pool to the other end. While I was swimming, I was conscious of him walking at the side of the pool. He was shouting instructions to me—I think it's something to do with my arms; or was it my legs? Anyway, my main focus then was just to remain alive and floating.

I stopped somewhere in between, but I finally reached the other end of the pool. My friend was already there waiting for me. The first thing he said to me was "too stiff"! And I thought, he wasn't even looking at my crotch? Well, I finally completed a pathetic 400 metres that day. Never mind how many million times I rested in between, but I must seriously doubt that I will be ready for the Miri Triathlon! Well, not unless I plan to be in the front pages of every major papers for all the wrong reasons.

In the mean time, Teo has visited practically all the bicycle shops in KK. And from a decent budget, he has now gone far beyond the original idea of a "simple bike". He's going all the way to Manila to buy one (I never knew that Manila is the best place to buy a sports bike). And perhaps by this time next week, he will be already playing Lance Armstrong on his new bike!

The rest of us mere mortals are still contemplating if we're really into doing a triathlon this October. Dr Felice said she wanted to ride someone's mountain bike to get the feel of it first. Mia was more ambitious—she suggested that we try out a mini triathlon next Sunday, until I reminded her that we don't even have a bike. Perhaps she was thinking of using JJ's toy bike for her triathlon training, I don't know.

In the mean time, I'm doing the Singapore Bay Run in September. I'm also trying to sign up for the Newton 30km, but I received an email recently from the organiser, informing me that they don't even accept Malaysian credit cards. Then of course the Penang Bridge International Marathon. So I've been quite busy this lately, you see. I just hope I will survive all this!


Unknown said...

A lot of people tell me it actually easier to do a triathlon than a full marathon. I don't know if that's true cos I haven't done a tri before. But maybe you can start with the sprint event first (a shorter version of the tri).

BTW, the Newton 30 - you still game for that? Need me to help you and your friends sign up?

Cornelius said...


Yes, I think the Triathlon may be easier, provided that one is able to handle all the 3 disciplines. But if one is not so good in, say, the cycling or swimming, maybe it's not so easy! In my case, I think the swimming leg may be a bit of a problem.

And yes, I would still like to join the Newton 30k, and was about to seek your help. I believe Teo is out, now that he's so much into the Miri Triathlon. So I may have to go solo on this one. But I made up my mind a few months ago to join this race. It's not my habit to withdraw once I've made up my mind to do something. I'll be communicating with you again via email.

Anonymous said...

If not triathlon, then how about duathlon? (biking and running)? You could work your way up to a triathlon, possibly...

I am pondering a duathlon some day in my future

Cornelius said...


That is a good idea. But I don't know if we have the so-called duathlon organised in Malaysia. I must google it up to find out. But yes, that's a good idea.

kkchai said...

Yes they do..Malakoff just had one. And if you are up to it, there is even a relay for this, you can check it out here :

Cornelius said...

Ah! kkchai, thanks for the info! Now that is a much more promising event for me than the triathlon. But perhaps not this year... certainly not a week before running the full marathon in Penang! I still have a lobster bet for the Penang 42k. But most importantly, I'm trying to make it a hatrick vs Dr Peter!... hehe

I'm hoping that Dr Peter will again suffer the cramps beyond the 30km point *evil grin*, so that I can have a bit of hope. The one thing that Dr Peter and Mia have in common is both of them drink very little during the race (Dr Peter can even run without water beyond 15km). Of course we know that water is very important for almost all our body functions. Dr Peter, being a doctor, of course knows this very well. But, you know, sometimes even doctors don't obey their own science!