Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006 Stats

Here's the stats from my first full year of consistent exercising, courtesy of my Polar 720i HRM!

No. of Exercises = 113 = 2.17 per week
Total Training Time= 137h 51m = 22m 40s per day
Total Energy Expenditure = 86,023kCal
Longest Event (Time) = 2:19:13 (Petaling Hash 13/5/06)

Total Cycling Distance = 1,509km
Total Cycling Time = 60h 11m
Longest Ride = 87.3km (Batu Arang 3/12/06)
Fastest Ride = 32.4kph (Home to Work 15/4/06)

Total Running Distance = 406.6km
Total Running Time = 60h 50m
Longest Run = 15km

Total Swimming Distance = 5.9km
Total Swimming Time = 2h 23m

and in pretty pictures....(this one shows cumulative cycling & running distances)... can see I didn't do much until halfway through the year! This is a graph of training time each week...the gap in the middle is my trip to England.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Record Breaking 5k!

I was going to put "5k in under 30 minutes" on the blog as one of my Targets for 2007, but I went to KLCC this morning and did 5k in 29:22 so no need!!

I had a good swim lesson for an hour after that, and I'm off for a Hash run now.


Thursday, December 28, 2006

Double Hill Comeback

Despite rain falling a few km away, and forgetting my heart-rate monitor, I suprised even myself by still making the effort to run the 10.8km "Double-Hill" route all on my own. A toilet stop and some headphone difficulties pushed my time up a bit and I clocked 1:09:48 - that's 6:25 per km, which is more or less my usual pace.

This surprised me as I expected to be slower following my illness. I suppose that fitness built up over a long time also takes a long time to be lost?

I'm now confident of managing at least one long bike ride this weekend, hopefully 100km+.

Goodbye 2006

I had 4 days off work (Sat to Tue) and wanted to get back to doing some exercise following my recent ill health.

I managed an easy 8km Petaling Hash on Sat p.m. despite still not being 100% (still tired and coughing in the mornings). Sunday a.m. I was still under the weather a bit but was determined to get to Ulu Langat for the ride to Klawang.

I finally met Azwar, and also Bacin, Adzim, and another guy whose name I can't remember. I felt fine on the flat first 14km but the climb up Peres was awful. I really wasn't feeling good and decided to u-turn at the top. The return leg was fine, but I was disappointed not to have done my first 100k+ ride for 8 years! Maybe this weekend!

Here's the ride profile...

No activity on Xmas day except eating quite a lot of chocolate!

On Boxing Day afternoon I attempted a 1-hour run around the KLCC track but still didn't feel good despite my very slow pace. After 3 laps my stomach was twisting and turning so I gave up after 4 laps. Still ran 5.2km though, in a slow 35mins.

Tuesday is PCC Night Ride day, so I drove to TTDI in the evening. More people turned up than I expected, and I had an enjoyable but tough (faster than usual) 23.8km ride in almost exactly an hour. My legs were burning on the last hill but felt fine the next day.

Tonight I'm going to keep up my plan of exercising (or training as I should now call it) every other day. My plan (subject to Will and Weather) is to do the Pacesetters famous 10km Double Hill route from Padang Merbok.

I've got another 4 day weekend coming up. I'm tempted to drive up to Ulu Yam early Saturday afternoon and cycle up towards Genting, then fly back down in time for the Petaling Hash.

This morning I was delighted to see that Pacesetters have got a well-stocked 2007 event calendar online, so I've updated mine accordingly, with all hyperlinks I know of. Look right!

I've signed up for the KL Half-Marathon on 18 March, and a couple of the training runs beforehand.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

70.3 Here We Come!

The competitor list for the Singapore 70.3 Tri is online now - here's me circled in red!

This race, and possible the Desaru Pengerang Long Distance Tri in August will be my main focus from now. I've got until April (A'Famosa) for the first Tri of the year to try to become proficient at front-crawl (another lesson coming up in 50 mins). The January Kuantan Tri has been cancelled so my next two main events will be a first ever 20k run for me on 21 Jan, and the Singapore Duathlon on 11 March. That will be my first full-length Duathlon (10k/40k/5k).

I'm still a bit under the weather from last week's throat infection that travelled into my chest, but it is quite well cleared up now so I really hope to be ok for a 130k ride tomorrow, and a >10k run on Xmas Day. Possible Petaling Hash this afternoon too! Bye for now!..

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Right Way To Argue

Arguing couple
We all argue... but how do you know whether an argument is valid?
Christmas is a time for family and good conversations around the dinner table. But when talk turns to politics or religions, can you hold your own? Ethicist Daniel Sokol offers a few pointers on how to argue a strong case.

There are several ways to get what we want. Fighting, stealing... but for most of us, persuasion is a more common approach.

Whether we are negotiating a salary, giving our views on abortion or the death penalty, or arguing over who should wash the dishes, persuasion by argument is central to our lives. Indeed, arguing is an essential part of what it means to be human.

So what is an argument?

An argument can be broken down into a premise (or premises) and a conclusion. For example, the traditional "pro-life" position on abortion consists of two premises followed by a conclusion:

  • Premise one: "It is wrong to deliberately kill an innocent human being"
  • Premise two: "A foetus is an innocent human being"
  • Conclusion: "Therefore, deliberately killing a foetus is wrong"

Is it a valid argument? An argument is valid if the premises lead logically to the conclusion. If the premises are true, then the conclusion must be true.

Since the validity of an argument rests solely on the connection between the premises and the conclusion, an argument can be valid even though the premises and conclusion are false.

Take this as an example:

  • Premise one: "Iraq has weapons of mass destruction (WMD)"

  • Premise two: "WMD must be destroyed"
  • Conclusion: "Therefore, we should destroy Iraq's WMD"

John McEnroe and Aristotle
Will logic or passion win the day?
This is a valid argument, since the conclusion follows from the premises. Yet it is not a sound argument - because that would require both that the argument be valid and that the premises be true, and we now know that Iraq had no WMD. Premise one turned out to be false.

And there are other perspectives to consider.

Returning to the pro-life argument, an opponent might question the premise that it is wrong to deliberately kill an innocent human being by asking what we mean by "innocent".

If the foetus threatens the woman's life, is it still innocent? Another move is to deny that abortion is always a deliberate killing of the foetus. When a doctor removes the uterus to treat a malignant tumour, the intent is not to kill the foetus - its death is a side-effect of the medical procedure.

Of course, these counter-arguments are in turn rejected by pro-lifers.

Defective argument

So how can we identify whether an argument is built on sound foundations. How do we detect fallacies?

Guy Goma
If someone is as an "expert", does it make their views more valid?
Fallacies are defects in our arguments. They are likely to crop up when we feel strongly about an issue, when we construct an argument on the spur of the moment, or when we are factually ignorant of the subject.

A common fallacy is to attack the person making the argument, instead of the argument itself: "We should reject Mr Smith's views on the death penalty, however appealing they may be, because Mr Smith has been addicted to cocaine and alcohol for many years."

Rather than examine the soundness of the argument, the critic diverts attention away from the argument to Mr Smith's socially unacceptable lifestyle. This is an example of the ad hominem fallacy ("against the person").

Another common fallacy is the appeal to authority, which consists of arguing a point by invoking the opinion of an expert. However, experts may be wrong, they may be expressing an opinion outside their area of expertise or they may have been incapacitated or joking when making the point.

Godwin's law says online debates always end with a Hitler comparison
It is the expert's reasons that are valuable, not the fact that they were announced by an expert.

It is also tempting to make broad generalisations based on a small sample. We notice one threatening ruffian with a pony-tail and immediately believe all pony-tailed youths are thugs.

This is the fallacy of the lonely fact. When studying for my PhD, I interviewed people who believed doctors should not disclose a grim prognosis to patients. They based their views on anecdotes about patients who committed suicide or died very soon after such disclosures.

They derived a broad conclusion from a tiny sample. At the other extreme, some people believed doctors should tell patients "the whole truth", however ghastly.

The black-and-white fallacy refers to the belief that there are only two possibilities - conceal the truth from the patient or disclose everything - when other alternatives exist, such as revealing information gradually and assessing whether the patient requires more.

Hell in a handcart

In ethics, people sometimes invoke the slippery slope argument. The idea is that if you allow one thing to happen, it will trigger a chain reaction that will ultimately lead to a terrible state of affairs.

Doctors face tough questions about how much to tell patients
Opponents of euthanasia may argue that legalising morally acceptable cases of euthanasia will lead to legalising unacceptable ones. Some forms of slippery slope argument can be compelling, since the slide from the top of the slope to the bottom is obvious.

In other cases, the slope may be less slippery. Some slippery slopes are akin to a series of manageable steps rather than a soap-covered slide into the jaws of evil.

Those familiar with internet culture may have heard of Godwin's law. Coined by the American lawyer Mike Godwin in 1990, it states that the greater the length of an internet discussion, the higher the chances of a comparison involving Hitler or the Nazis.

The law reflects the tendency of some online forum users to use slippery slope or ad hominem arguments to win often impassioned discussions.

Many fallacious arguments are persuasive, and an accomplished speaker can deliberately mislead others through the subtle use of fallacies.

In Oxford, souvenir shops sell a postcard which reads:

    "The more I study, the more I learn,
    The more I learn, the more I forget,
    The more I forget, the less I know.
    So... why study?"

Fooled into accepting false premises, we risk making bad decisions.

Dr Daniel Sokol is a medical ethicist and lecturer in ethics at Keele University.

Monday, December 18, 2006


Based on typical triathlon distances, to have a good balance of training I need to split my training as follows, according to distance (not time)...

Swimming 3%
Cycling 78%
Running 18%

I can cycle anything up to 150km a week no problem. But to run say 15-20km AND swim 2-3km is pushing it a bit - I like to be at home watching TV too much!!

Well you never know, once I've got stuck into my front crawl training perhaps I'll become more interested in swimming, which I have always regarded as a bit boring to be honest.

Singapore 70.3 Tri

I've done it - I registered!!!! 9 months and counting....better start training!!!!!!!

Aviva Ironman 70.3 Triathlon Singapore 2007

The latest news is that registration has now opened for this event.......

That's a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile ride and 13.1 mile run (total 70.3 miles, hence the name!). Or in metric......1.8k/84.5k/19.8k.

At the moment I have serious doubts as to whether or not I could finish such an event, and I don't even know where I'll be in 10 months from now, but I'm sorely tempted to register. If I withdraw for any reason up to 1 month before the event I'll get most of my fee back.

Registering will also act as a massive carrot to encourage me to train through most of 2007. I'll certainly have to start doing 15-20km+ runs, 100k+ bike rides and some 2k swims.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Latest Photos & News

This is our Xmas tree, beautifully decorated by Sri...

Here's Lucas having a spot of fun with shaving cream.....

An here's my brick-sized book that I'm reading. After struggling through the Treebeard chapter I'm back up and running again...

I took Friday afternoon and Saturday off work as I have a throat infection. So I missed out on my Sat a.m. ride to work, and didn't go out with PCC this morning depsite really looking forward to riding up to Genting Sempah with a group for the first time.

I struggled through a swimming lesson yesterday, but cancelled it today as I'm not up to it.

This is my first illness since June and has come at the same time as a period of relatively little exercise - no coincidence I think. Anyway my next event isn't until late Jan. so I'll take a little break now - a winter off-season break!

I have taken leave at Xmas & New Year so I'll have 4 days off for both of the next long "weekends". I plan at least 3 long bike rides and a couple of long (10-15km) runs in that time.

If the Jan 20-21 Kuantan Tri doesn't happen (as I suspect it won't) I'll be doing my first ever 20km run on the 21st, so I need to do some more running in the weeks before.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

My 2006 Medals, Certs. & Race Numbers

To remind myself of how great I am, I've been keeping all the certs. and medals from all my events. Inspired by, I now also keep a race number. I only started doing this since September so I don't have many. Here's my "2006 collection"...

I hope to have a much larger collection next year. One day I might even have a medal that says something more exciting than "Finisher". That will probably be when I get a good placing in a senior age group category!!!

These are my 2006 races and times...(earliest first)...


Siemens 10.7k - 1:19:32
FTAAA X-Country (8.2k) - 1:12:00
Power 10.7k - 1:19:14
Polis 10.7k - 1:16:47
MMDS1 (5k/15k/3k) - 1:30:37
NB Pacesetters 15k - 1:49:47
Seremban 11k - 1:23:42
MMDS2 (5k/25k/3k) - 2:12:20
B. Gasing Challenge - 2:01:30
Genting T'blazer (Wild) - 2:16:17
Putrajaya 10.1k - 1:09:44
Mizuno Wave 10.2k - 1:14:07
Pulai Tri (0.75/20/5) - 1:42:05
Chin Woo Biathlon (0.8/7) - 1:06:03
Subang 10k - 1:05:23
Powerman (4k/30k/4k) - 2:02:11
IOI Community 7.3k - 0:53:46
WM Setiawangsa 8.4k - 0:54:11
Selayang 10k - 0:57:54

Sport - A Matter Of Life Or Death

Aussies 'more relaxed over sport'
By Nick Bryant

Australian goal in match against Uruguay.
Aussies took World Cup qualification in their stride

British and Europeans are much more prone to suffer heart problems after watching nail-biting games than their Aussie counterparts, a study shows.

It found no increase in cardiac-related hospital admissions during two big sports events among Australians.

In contrast, previous studies have shown that European hospitals reported a big upsurge in admissions during games in the 1998 and 2002 World Cup.

The Sydney University studyteam examined hospital admission rates around the time of two exciting matches watched by thousands of people.

The first was the 2005 Australian Rules grand final between the Sydney Swans and the West Coast Eagles, which went down to the final kick.

The second was the key World Cup qualifying match between Australia and Uruguay, which saw the "socceroos" qualify for the finals for the first time in 32 years after a dramatic penalty shoot-out.

The match was watched by 82,000 spectators at the Telstra Stadium and millions more in front of public big screens and televisions at home.

The researchers examined the number of heart-related admissions at New South Wales hospitals on the days of both matches, and discovered there had been no increase in the number of patients suffering cardiac problems.

European effect

In contrast, a UK study found the risk of admission for heart attacks rose by 25% in the immediate wake of England's World Cup exit at the hands of Argentina in 1998 on penalties.

Doctors reported 55 extra admissions compared with the number expected.

The UK report concluded: "The increase in admissions suggests that myocardial infarction (heart attacks) can be triggered by emotional upset, such as watching your football team lose an important match."

The Sydney team said their research suggested that the stereotype of the laid back Aussie had some validity.

They also proffered a simpler reason: the number of times that Australia ends up on the winning side, especially when it comes to cricket.

As lead researcher Professor Adrian Bauman wrote in the Medical Journal of Australia: "Overall, it is probably safe for the Australian population to watch telly over the Christmas break - even to watch the Ashes test series - with minimal increased cardiac risk.

"We are likely to win, anyway. No worries mate."

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Ride Profiles

Here's the profiles for the last 2 weeks PCC Sunday rides. First up is Centrepoint Bandar Utama to Batu Arang...

Next is the return leg, Batu Arang to Centrepoint Bandar Utama. There's 445m of climbing on that ride. The main peak (on the left) is a nice long winding climb through young oil palm plantations outside Batu Arang.

This is the profile from this mornings ride out to the Guthrie Expressway. The 7 or so peaks between 20 and 40km are the Expressway, through rolling hills, up and down and up and down......

Friday, December 08, 2006

National Cancer Society Charity Run - 17/12/06

National Cancer Society Charity Run

A little morning run to get the day going?

Finding a way to contribute to society?

Well then, the answer to both questions is the National Cancer Society Charity Run.

Organized by a group of college students driven by their zeal to serve the community, the Charity Run is a sincere project to raise funds needed by the National Cancer Society to further their service in preventing cancer, as well as improving the quality of life of those living with it.


Venue : Taman Lembah Kiara, Taman Tun Dr. Ismail

Date : 17th December 2006

Time : Race commences at 7 am

Registration Fee : Rm 10 for those below 21 years old

Rm 15 above 21 years old

*First 200 registered participants will get a free door gift.

*Registration will begin on the 16th of December 2006, from

12 noon to 6 evening at Taman Lembah Kiara

*Registration on the 17th of December is also possible; before 6.45 am.

For registration and further information contact :

Yuhhui - 016-6271759 /

Oliver - 012-2311244 /

Bloggers, please check out our OFFICIAL NCS Charity Run blog, copy the code provided and help us promote this event on your blogs!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Monday, December 04, 2006

Christmas Kids Hash

A report of the toughest ever Kids Hash, including an appearance by Santa Claus, is to follow soon!

PCC Ride - Batu Arang

I joined PCC yesterday morning for another very enjoyable Sunday morning ride. I counted 28 riders leaving Centrepoint Bandar Utama at 7.30am. We covered 87km in 3hours and 18mins at an average of not far under 27km/h. If I remember rightly that's the longest ride I've done since 1998 or '99 when I was in Singapore. Soon I'll have to do a full 100k!

As I seem to have left my track pump in Ipoh or Lumut, I borrowed Ron's pump (with guage) and filled my tires up to 120 psi. This would give me some extra speed i thought! After 20km we were joined by what seemed like a rather small group of Bike Pro riders, and our pace increased. I enjoyed cruising along at 30-40km/h but didn't do any work at the front!

After a while the Bike Pro group went off the front. Before Batu Arang, Ron, myself and a few others regrouped and I set the pace from there almost all the way to Batu Arang, along nice undulating roads through Palm Oil plantations.

We stopped in the town for some 'makan', drinks and a rest. I ate some fried rice and mee-hoon noodles.

On the return leg it took my legs a good 30minutes to get warmed up again. By that time the lead group of 5 or 6 were about 1km ahead. Myself and 3 or 4 others, including Rahim, caught up another 3 or so riders (Harun, Arif and Wendy) at about the 60km mark. I took a break for a while by riding behind Harun, at which point the group broke up and some went their separate ways. 'Twas getting mighty hot out there at this time (about 11am).

I caught Azwar at 65km and stopped for a drink at the next petrol station, where I had spotted Ron and Benny. Noticing that time was running out (I had to get home and out again for the Kids Hash) we quickly got going again. At the Sugai Buloh junction Benny was strongest up the hill, never to be seen again. I noticed my rear wheel was badly buckled (possible snapped spoke - explaining the loud cracking noise I had heard earlier).

Ron and I almost caught Benny, but he caught the green light at Tropicana and we lost him again, although we picked up a guy (sorry. no name) with a nice-looking Token bike with carbon everything and ZIPP 404 wheels. Even his seat was carbon with no padding, on which he said he'd ridden 160km comfortably!

More, including route profile, to follow........

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Institution of Engineers Malaysia Seminar

For a nice change here's a post about me actually working (with photos too!) and not mucking about on my bike!

Earlier this year I was invited to present a talk about the project that I am working on to the Institution Of Engineers Malaysia on 16 November 2006. As I really do not ever like being the centre of attention I look forward to these events with a mix of nerves and determination (to actually do it). Fortunately 2006 has provided me with a small wealth of experience in public speaking - I presented three 15 minute papers to an audience of 2-300 an International Tunnelling Conference in KL in March, and did a best-man speech in front of 60 people, most of whom I didn't know, for my best mate Paul, in England in July.

The blog 'preview' feature isn't working now so here's a description of the photos all in one...

1 - Action shot of me talking about slurry pipejacking systems!
2 - The audience, rivetted to their seast to prevent them from leaving!
3 - Question time! I was rather aggresively and unfairly grilled by one delegate, but the session chairman soon got him to shut up!
4 - Award time - I got a certificate of Thanks and an IEM tie! How lucky I am!...

Friday, December 01, 2006

11k Titiwangsa Training Run

I managed an 11k training run yesterday evening, another record! (longest ever solo run). 4 laps of the approx 2.75km Lake Titiwangsa running track.

I finished the third lap in 52:50, 13s faster than my previous 3-lapper, even though I had to take a 30m detour on each lap to run around the area where it loks like a Ferris Wheel is going to be built.

My total time was 1:10:42 - a pace of 6:25 per km. I did feel a bit tired (weak) and dehydrated halfway into the 3rd lap. Possibly due to accidentally ordering and eating a spicy Tom Yam soup in the morning, which gave me an upset stomach for the rest of the day!

Cycle to work tomorrow morning (try to leave early enough to have time to do >20km) and another KLCC run in the evening. I think I'll go for a shorter faster run...perhaps 6km or so.

Sunday morning I might join Way2Ride for a ride up to Genting Sempah, or ride on my own. Either way I have to be back by 10am for my swimming lesson.