Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Understanding The Physiology of Triathlon

Doctor Jordan D. Metzl, MD explains why much of your potential to do well in triathlons is genetically predetermined.

Written by: Jordan D. Metzl, MD

Jamie, a 40-year-old triathlete, came in to see me last week. “Hey, Dr. Metzl,” he said, “my brother keeps beating me in long-distance triathlons. I can kick his butt in the shorter-distance races, but when we get to long-course races, he toasts me. I’m having trouble holding my head high. What can I do?”

Jamie is hardly alone in wanting to go faster and, more importantly, faster than a sibling or friend. Chances are you do, too. So let’s look at the physiology of triathlon to figure out how you can improve your speed.

For all of you who wake up at 5:30 a.m. to get on your bike, hop into the pool or do a run workout, here’s the bad news. Much of your potential, maybe even 60 percent to 70 percent once you are relatively fit, is genetically predetermined. That’s right; your genetics make a huge difference. So much so that if you want to create kids who are successful in triathlon, you would be well advised to go find someone of the opposite gender who is faster than you and procreate with him or her.

Does that mean we can all hit the snooze button and go back to bed since our fate is predetermined? Absolutely not. Let’s go after that other 40 percent!

When we talk about success in endurance sports, there are several important things to consider. Successful triathletes generally can generate large amounts of energy through a process called aerobic (with oxygen) metabolism. This is in contrast to sprinters, who need quick bursts of speed, which are achieved through anaerobic (without oxygen) metabolism. The goal of triathlon training is to find ways to efficiently increase aerobic metabolism. This is sometimes measured through a VO2max test, which can assess the body’s ability to maximally utilize oxygen, and thus make energy, during intense exercise. Even more predictive is the lactate threshold, the level at which lactate, a product of muscle metabolism, can’t be cleared fast enough and muscles start to fatigue.

So how does a triathlete go about improving his or her own physiology?

There are several main workout patterns that, when executed at the correct frequency, help athletes achieve their physiologic potential. Triathletes who are looking to improve their physiologic profile should make sure to work on each of them in different amounts, based on the timing and distance of their target event.

1) Endurance training: Aside from the musculoskeletal importance of spending sufficient “time on the bike, time on the feet, and time in the pool,” endurance training truly is an essential component of building a physiologic base. Prolonged workouts at moderate intensities are the best endurance builders. They should be done year-round, with increased duration closer to your goal races.

2) Tempo training: Once the base is in place, tempo training, which consists of moderately sustained efforts at moderately high intensities, can be used to further increase the lactate threshold.

3) Interval training: We all hate it; we all love it. Intervals are short, repeated high-intensity efforts that increase aerobic capacity, speed and fatigue resistance. Because of the discomfort it causes, many triathletes do not do enough interval training.

4) Circuit training: Stronger muscles generate more force, which improves speed. Regular strength training is a key part of triathlon training, as it makes muscles much more physiologically efficient and much better able to absorb joint loading force from exercise.
So, whether you are my brother Jamie or a triathlete who wants to go faster anywhere in the world, make sure your training program includes regular doses of the components described above. Paying regular attention to these physiologic tips and combining them with good technique, nutrition and body awareness, will enable you to “kick it” all the way to the finish line.

Jordan D. Metzl, MD, is a nationally recognized sports medicine specialist at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. In addition to his medical practice, Dr. Metzl is a 27-time marathon runner and six-time (and counting) Ironman finisher.

For more information, visit

Saturday, August 22, 2009

It's been a long time...

Yes, a long long time ago (cos I can't remember when) I was sitting at the poolside indulging in a relaxing Saturday morning after a hearty breakfast (nasi lemak & teh ais la...what else!). With a cool breeze, cloudy sky, chirping birds, flirting squirrels all around, it was...lovely!

Today, it happened again! It doesn't come round too often you know. Boy oh boy was I smilling! :) But sad to say the smile didn't last long when the clouds decided to pee on me. Hahaha! Yup, the pee turned heavier now. Thought of sitting in the garden shed instead but then again, home sweet home on my couch or bed wins hands down.

This morning was different. No long drive to some place for long rides or long runs. Woke up at eight and I went for a slow & easy ride inside UM and neighbourhood roads along Gasing hills. Supposed to meet up with Tony, Ming who were part of the heavy human traffic in the Gasing trails, for breakfast but my Mr Tummy was getting impatient when the clock hits half past ten. To Mr Mamak I went.

All in all the ride was only 20km, which felt more like my usual rides 20years ago on my MTB back in Kuching.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Farewell little Tomei...

Last Sunday was a day I didn't know whether to smile or shed tears. Happy and sad...
Little Tomei was finally adopted. Good friend of mine, Dorothy, was so kind to look for someone who'd take a puppy home. Already with a daschund at home, her friend Chris didn't mind as his parents just love dogs.

Little Tomei knew who to get close to when they came to pick her up that afternoon. That little devil is very smart! Dogs have this sixth sense so angel or devil, they can smell us out!
We played and teased lil Tomei so that she get more acustomed to Chris. Quietly I picked her toys, tennis ball & tyre tube, and her sleepin rags, to put into a box ferrying her away.
Oh it's sad...
In her new home, she's got a new name....Paris ! They named her as soon as they saw her pix.
Asked Chris on Monday nite on how Tomei...I mean Paris was doing. The little fella and daschund became good friends! Oh ya, the daschund is called Starry.
They find Paris very easy to love and simply adorable.
Happy for her...
Some more pix of Paris Tomei

The first night at tomato crib

Marked her spot in tomato mobile

Let's ride!!

Our last moment together

So adorable....

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Faith, Not Feelings, Pleases God

Faith, Not Feelings, Pleases God
By Rick Warren

In our Devotionals series, Pastor Rick Warren discusses the Bible passages that inspire him the most. Today's Devotional is based on this passage:

“Everything on earth has its own time and its own season” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 CEV).

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised” (Job 1:21 NIV).

When you are a baby Christian, God gives you a lot of confirming emotions and often answers the most immature, self-centered prayers—so you’ll know He exists. But as you grow in faith, He will wean you of these dependencies.

God’s omnipresence and the manifestation of His presence are two different things. One is a fact; the other is often a feeling. God is always present, even when you are unaware of Him, and His presence is too profound to be measured by mere emotion.

Yes, He wants you to sense His presence, but He’s more concerned that you trust Him than that you feel Him. Faith, not feelings, pleases God.

The situations that will stretch your faith most will be those times when life falls apart and God is nowhere to be found. This happened to Job. On a single day he lost everything: his family, his business, his health, and everything he owned. Most discouraging—for thirty-seven chapters, God said nothing!

How do you praise God when you don’t understand what’s happening in your life and God is silent? How do you stay connected in a crisis without communication? How do you keep your eyes on Jesus when they’re full of tears? You do what Job did: “Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised’” (Job 1:20–21 NIV).

Tell God exactly how you feel. Pour out your heart to God. Unload every emotion that you’re feeling. Job did this when he said, “I can’t be quiet! I am angry and bitter. I have to speak!” (Job 7:11 TEV).

He cried out when God seemed distant: “Oh, for the days when I was in my prime, when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house” (Job 29:4 NIV).

God can handle your doubt, anger, fear, grief, confusion, and questions.

You can learn more about how to expand your faith by reading The Purpose Driven Life.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Little Tomei

One look and your heart melts...

This little puppy is Hyper, Gila, Smart, Cute, Adorable...a true blue THG pup!

Sad I can't keep dogs up in a condo...

On 4th August, after dinner at PJ state, Michelle and I were heading to her car and this little fella came out of nowhere and followed us. She was afraid of cars passing by. She kept muzzling in between my legs...must be looking for protection from the cars.

I couldn't just leave it other dogs mommy looking for she followed me home. A plate of warm milk and she quietly went to sleep. Cute little fella.

I couldn't possible name her Merida or Cervelo so from! Yeah, Tomei will do.

Thursday night, Lydia dognapped her and it was a good timing cos I told her little Tomei is her birthday present!

Pix by Lydia

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My knees!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

After Desaru half ironman, I had a nearly 100% rest till this evening. That's one and a half weeks without running and cycling. I dare not say swimming cos...err...cos...ok ok I did swim. But not even close to was just a cool down dip on Sunday afternoon as I couldn't stand the blistering heat.

This evening I was with Pacesetters exco and Klang area group members doing a short run at Taman Rakyat, Andalas. Did 1 loop jog or 4.2km or 1/10th of a marathon. Hahaha!

Bad news when I knees felt tight and both were sore! It was difficult to walk! Felt as if the knees were semi locked.
Why? How? What?
I thought the rest was improving them...hmm....

What's going on? Not enough rest? Knees were sleeping?

Maybe my pair of 'kasut batu' working shoes is causing it. I walk with it 3km every office...going home. Pounding on hard sole could be the problem. This is my 3rd month walking so much with it.

I better get a pair of walking... working... shoes, I mean working shoes that is good to walk in...or walking shoes that can be used to work. Or I just paint my running shoes black!

Whatever may have caused it, I need to get to the bottom of this. Can't leave them in pain and uneasiness.

My knees need help!!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Human Needs

In today’s Gospel, we see how Jesus personally attends to human needs with deep compassion. Jesus never abandons us provided we do not reject Him and push Him aside especially when we are in need or in pain. We must always live in His presence and draw strength from Him.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Normally at this time, 8am, on this day of the week, Saturday, I'd be somewhere far from home sweating my ass out.
But it's a no no no this weekend. Even though I emailed to find out what lite & easy actions the gila buddies have in store, I couldn't take the next step of joining them. Last night I was exhausted. Was supposed to meet a few buddies for yam cha but I had to say sorry. I couldn't even finish watching a movie on the couch! Imagine that! The past six weeks have been long distance running, tri-ing, cycling and coupled with long hours in the office, I need to chill out before burning out.

So now, it's LiteFM in the background, hot mocha in hand, Facebook in 1 tab and blogger in the other.

Oh man! My friend just reminded me to clean the house! Well...err...honestly i've not done that for...err...weeks! Ok then, it's not a RELAXING Saturday after all. Vacuum, mop, wipe, included!


Friday, August 7, 2009


Meng Lian, me, Yip, Lydia at the beach the day before the race

me, Keat Seong, Michelle, Siok Bee
Coming out of hotel lobby, going to check in our bikes at transition area. Bobby, Michelle, me, Stupe
Bike checked in, Body marking done

Leslie, LiSar, Yip, me, Lee
Smiling before kicking, slapping , get kicked, get slapped with a school of swimmers

Choppy huh?
All set to go Bang! Flagoff and there we go and get whacked by waves
1st loop done...still feel good... and off to 2nd loop Yes! I conquered Desaru waves. Woohoo!!

90 km to go

I may looked like smiling but in actual fact, my mouth got cramped and that's why I looked like that...hahaha!

2km swim, 90km bike, 21km run done

Keat Seong, Jennifer, Siok Bee, me, Leslie

Pix courtesy of Lydia, Bobby, Yap, Bernard, Jennifer, Ben. Thanx!!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

For those with hypertension / high BP, read this...

Fish oil supplementation reduces blood pressure

CINCINNATI, OHIO. Conventional blood pressure lowering medications often have detrimental effects on quality of life and may lead to unfavourable changes in cholesterol levels. Several studies have found that supplementation with large amounts of fish oil (5-15 grams/day) lowers blood pressure significantly in hypertensive individuals. Whether smaller amounts are equally effective has been open to question. Researchers at the University of Cincinnati (Ohio) College of Medicine now report that daily supplementation with low doses of fish oil is indeed effective in lowering blood pressure in mildly hypertensive patients. Their study involved 33 patients (men and women) with a diastolic pressure between 90 and 104 mm Hg. After a four-week wash-out period during which the participants discontinued all medications the patients were randomly allocated to one of two groups. Group 1 supplemented with 2.04 grams/day of fish oil containing 410 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid and 285 mg of docosahexaenoic acid. Group 2 was given a placebo capsule daily containing safflower oil (80% linoleic acid). After 12 weeks and a four-week wash-out period the groups switched supplementation so that group 1 now received the placebo. Blood pressure, heart rate, and body weight were recorded at two- week intervals during the study and blood samples were collected and analyzed at the beginning and end of each treatment period. The researchers found that fish oil supplementation reduced diastolic pressure (sitting) by an average of approximately 4.4 mm Hg and systolic pressure by an average of 6.5 mm Hg when compared to values obtained prior to the start of treatment. There were no adverse effects on cholesterol levels. They conclude that fish oil supplementation is a safe and effective way of lowering blood pressure in mildly hypertensive subjects, but noted that the beneficial effects wear off relatively quickly once supplementation is discontinued. NOTE: This study was funded by a grant from RP Scherer Ltd. a manufacturer of fish oil products. Radack, Kenneth, et al. The effects of low doses of n-3 fatty acid supplementation on blood pressure in hypertensive subjects. Archives of Internal Medicine, Vol. 151, June 1991, pp. 1173-80/

Monday, August 3, 2009

Team Hyper Gila rocks!

Results of Team Hyper Gila at Desaru International Long Distance & Sprint Triathlon 2009

Long Distance
Sub 5.30
Yip Weng Tak 5.21.37

Sub 5.45
Keat Seong 5.32.47
Kevin Siah 5.32.00 (severe cramps, otherwise sub5)

Sub 6.00
Ben Swee 5.45.55
Siok Bee 5.51.54
Tomatoman 5.57.10

Sub 6.30
Michelle 6.25.48
Lian Meng 6.36.09

Sub 7.00
Lee Puh Heng 6.52.43

Sub 7.30
Bobby 7.21.25

Lydia 52.34 - 3rd

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Desaru Pengerang International Long Distance Triathlon 2009

Just got back from Desaru. Very tired...but very happy to do a sub6. My own time is 5:57:12

Report coming soon...but dunno when... :P

Gains and Rewards?

In today’s Gospel, Jesus explains how we should serve God without expecting personal gains and rewards. If we serve to gain praise, popularity and power over others, then our service will not be effective and fruitful because God is no longer at the centre of our lives.
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