Ironman 70.3 Colombo

This is the first time that Ironman is doing a race in Sri Lanka. And I have the great chance to join as a runner as part of a relay team, replacing an injured athlete.

Today was the official registration and safety briefing and I met my fellow team mates for the second time:

Starting us off will be Shenaalie (19) with a 1.9km swim, anticipated time 33-34 minutes, followed by Sam (38) on the bike, for 90km, or, as we hope, 3h. And then me, the oldest of the pack, 21.1km running. Which I know I can do usually under 2h, but in 32˚C that might be a different story … 3 days to go .. we shall see!

This is what I have to do:

The main challenge will be the heat! If all goes well and swimmer / biker come in at their estimated times, my start time is 10AM, when we expect full on sunshine at high temperatures, a bit of wind (thank God!) and relatively low humidity. Oh, and air pollution level is expected to be much better compared to that half marathon I did in Hanoi. 
No Outdoor Run Today

Forgot my running belt, so I opted to just do a nice & steady 10K on the treadmill.

My new Garmin watch is not that great in getting the distance right without GPS, while Apple Watch and the actual treadmill meter agreed on the total distance of 10K

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A boy and his cat

Very happy that Julius is finally getting his pet-experience.

And he is very happy and hands on with the cat, the litter box is his duty station and I can find him goofing around with the animal every so often.

Today’s Outdoor Run:

After yesterday’s ordeal it was a good idea to just have a very light, short jog with wife-y dearest.

Also stopped by our future gym to check if / how crowded it is in the mornings.

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Doctor Visits, the Conclusion

Back to Lanka Hospital today after school, getting the CT scan back and checking in with the ENT specialist.

His verdict? Hmmm, he did not mention the word ‘sinusitis’, although that’s what the CT lab technician was hinting at. In his language, this doctor tries very hard to be the least scary, least committal doctor ever.

There is tons of mucus and something that could be polyps. We are now treating everything with antibiotics, antihistamines, nose drops and sprays and will check back with him in 4 weeks.

On the way back from the hospital I got this very cool ‘smoke against sunlight’ shot:

Today’s Outdoor Run:

One last push for speed! Set off for a fast 10K and things worked out overall pretty well, if it had not been for the traffic cops at a certain junction, who made me stop and wait for every.single.lane!

I can see in the pace graph that this cost me easily 2 minutes … could have broken quite a couple of personal best times … ah well …

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Doctor Visits

Today was a lot going on … and I have very few pictures to document it all.

My mission this week was to sort out 2 doctor visits for Julius to get him checked out for the equalizing issues he had when he tried doing his check-out dives.

But this is NOT that easy here. Or I just really got too used to SOS and Sakura clinic in Hanoi.

I googled and called around, tried this ‘e-chanelling’ app that many people recommended to get a doctor appointment (rather useless) … in the end I called Lanka Hospital and managed to make an appointment the old fashioned way.

And while I was getting ready to run some more errands, I got the great news that our recent water bill shows a crazy amount (instead of the usual 3$ they want 100$ this time!) and the meter reader guy suspects we have a leak somewhere.

First I tried to call the water company, who is worldly enough to print their information in all 3 official languages, but when I called their toll-free number, English was not one of the 2 options … so, I contacted the landlord.

When Julius got home we had very little time to get ready (just ‘brush teeth’) and off to Lanka Hospital, where we got to see the dentist fairly quickly!

Nice Indian lady who assured us that the dive problem is NOT tooth related. For one, currently Julius does not have any fillings, the few he had came out with his milk teeth.

But he does have some molar ‘breaching’ and that can cause discomfort, especially when sucking cold, compressed air.

Impressed with how speedy this all was, we checked if we could also ‘quickly’ see an ENT specialist, and indeed, that started off very well.

This doctor checked nose and ears and throat, and then sent us off to get an xray done, which also was still ok, time wise.

But after that we had to wait quite some to see the same doctor again (he was on the phone) … and he found the xray to be inconclusive and ordered a CT scan, which we also could still do.

Interestingly, in this hospital you pre-pay as you go. And while the xray was dirt cheap (6$), the CT scan was closer to 100$ … and after they scanned Julius, who was a trooper all the way through, we heard the results would not be ready until next day … so, we were done with the day …

Obviously there is some mucus situation going on, we will know more tomorrow.

Today’s Outdoor Run:

The last week before a big race is supposed to be for ‘tapering off’, meaning less running, enough to stay fit, but also let the body rest a bit.

So, this morning I started quite gently, but then I came across our local Olympian marathon runner, and started following her, which of course changed my pace.

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CCR 5K / Sound of Music

This morning was the CCR 5K City Run again, and since we were short on volunteers, I helped out with time keeping again instead of participating. Nice turn out and great running conditions.

In the afternoon we went, for the first time, to the big, modern Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre, a landmark I often run by. They had somehow managed to get a touring musical company to come with their mobile ‘fish tank‘ stage and perform “The Sound of Music”.

Very lovely performance and quite impressive to have something like this here. Fun was that while all of the adult cast is part of the traveling circus, the 6 younger von Trapp children are played by local kids who had been selected out of 375 contestants who auditioned way back in December and who have been rehearsing since then. Their performances were all top notch.

And it is only ever so slightly irritating that Georg von Trapp has one 16 year old white daughter and the rest of his kids are all Sri Lankan 😉

After the performance we dropped Ritsu and Paola at a hospital to visit a friend, and J & I went to watch the sunset.

Today’s Outdoor Runs:

Since I did not get to participate in today’s CCR 5K, I simply ditched the car and ran my way to the venue, and the same back, with some detours to have a 3mile and a 4 mile run.

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Heat Run / Sunset Pug

In preparation for next Sunday’s Ironman, I met up with a few running pals at 11AM for a heat run.

We expect our running portion of the Ironman race to start around that time and at that ungodly temperature. But we did not go full distance. Most did 10-12K, while I did 15K under 90 minutes.

Afterwards we went sweat drenched into the very fancy Galle Face Hotel for refreshments and I had my eggs benedict.

In the evening I got Julius out for a sunset walk and he was rewarded with his first pug encounter on the island.

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Social Runner Gathering

It is always amazing how, over time, we find new social connections when we move. In Vietnam it was the local foodie scene that I got quite active in and made a few friends, here in SL I am blessed to have found this super fun running community.

Today was the first time that I joined one of the evening gatherings for drinks and hot butter cuttle fish (a very tasty and popular snack to be had with drinks) and even those I was the only middle aged white guy, I was well accepted in their midst.

Interesting for me to see all those people ‘with clothes on’. Meaning: not in running gear and the ladies all dolled up 😉

No pushing today, no looking at the watch. Just cruising and taking pictures…
… also stopping for trains, ignorant traffic cops and to smell the roses.
And get chased by SL police men!

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Now with piano! (and later burrito!)

As the ABRSM exam is approaching, Julius needs to practice with a piano partner now. His violin teacher gave me a contact and today he had his first session:

First time they play together, obviously there are still some kinks to be worked out, but we meet again next week.

For dinner we tried out a new pop-up Mexican, called ‘Tacocat’ (get it? It’s a palindrome, how clever 😉 )

While Ritsu was out for a more fancy dinner with a colleague, us boys went to check out the newest addition to the still rather small Tex-Mex food scene. Julius had voiced cravings for burrito recently, but was not super satisfied with the offerings of our neighborhood place ‘Let’s Taco’.

Overall, Tacocat’s burrito, was spot on flavor wise, but in my humble opinion, the ratio of protein to carbs is way off, the portion feels small (well, at 6$ it’s also cheap) … so, it feels more like a snack .. after which I somehow craved Thai food.

Pushing for speed.
I started out trotting with no clear idea, just that I would want to do more than 5K, but not much over 10, if at all.

When I came to VMD park, where we usually have our speed sessions, I remembered that the bike loop is really nice to run and I gave it my all for 1.5 rounds. For a ‘no music’ run, the final average is not bad.

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Happy Valentine’s Day Dinner

Initially I had a hard time finding any special offers for V’day dinner, but over the weekend there were tons of them. Interestingly, it seems that buffet’s are very popular. And even the few sit down multi course options were shy about what the actual food would be.

So, I contacted the 1864 restaurant directly to find out what their special 5 course menu would be and after checking the very nice sounding menu, I booked that one.

We arrived too early and had time to take in the sunset by the water front and do some romantic jewelry shopping.

Service in this restaurant was top notch, as was pretty much everything we were presented with.

With one exception: I had selected the duck & goose liver parfait, which looked great but had absolutely zero flavor! It was like eating a block of mere fat!
Now I know that I should have returned it (Ritsu’s goat cheese / beet root heart on the other hand was delicious!), but I did not feel like causing a fuzz.

Wonderful place, maybe we should try their regular menu some day as well.

Holy Cow!.
After yesterday’s loooong run, I wanted to keep things easy today and did some low impact machine workout at the gym, but by afternoon my running feet were itchy and instead of my usual sunset walk I decided to do a casual neighborhood 5K.

Have not run this loop before and have not witnessed cows in the street being fed straight from the door.

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Casual Tuesday Half Marathon

While I had in mind to do a long run today, I had not prepared for the total
half marathon length of 21.1km today. Meaning, I had no extra water / nutrition on me.

But the weather was great with a slight cloud cover and the traffic was very light (somehow public schools were closed). Overall great conditions and I just kept going, wondering ‘where to next’. Also exploring a few new paths.

Doing HM under 2h without even really trying, not bad.

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Cat Got Fat!

Well, not really :)

But it is amazing to see her growth. She was a mere 0.6kg when I brought her to the vet first time back in early December. And she was 1.4kg when she was sick 2 weeks ago. And now that she is all good again and eating well, 1.8kg!

Today was time to bring her for a check up (she very much objected to having her temperature taken!) and to get the rabies booster shot.

Two rounds pushing for speed….


… one round mellow..

Overall 8K, not bad, still getting used to not having music, but happy with the data I get from my Garmin.

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Japanese Fair

This afternoon we drove all the way out to Water’s Edge for a ‘Japanese Fair’

Lots of mixed attractions, taiko drum performance, martial arts display, food stalls (well, interesting maybe for those who never had ‘real’ Japanese food. As often with those kind of food fairs, whatever can be prepared in bulk, stay heated for long and easy to eat while walking around … lots of fried stuff and pretty meager yakitori)

Julius had most fun at the tables of Lanka Comic Con, the island’s division of manga loving cos-player and board gamers.

Today’s Outdoor Run.

Another great CCR run and my first group run without music.

Sure helps to have people around, running with you, when you are missing your music.

We stretched out everything a bit here and there and I tacked on a bit at the end to turn the planned 10K into a 15K

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Bubble Junkie?

Today is the big day!

After weeks of classes and pool session, now comes the time for the young man to rig his gear, listen attentively to the dive briefing, help push the boat into the ocean and hop into the water!

While the kids were getting ready, I did a quick dash up and down the beach (see below)

Funny thing happened though, as me and some other parents waved the boat goodbye, it circled around and came back! Turned out there was something wrong with the engine and they just quickly exchanged it.

And here is the whole crew ready to go:

The whole adventure was scheduled to last until 3PM, and since I had done my run already, I went back home and took Ritsu out to a very nice brunch by the seaside. Back to the pool bar at Galle Face Hotel.

Ritsu had an extra tough week at work and needed a nice treat and some comfort food, so while I had my eggs benedict, she had Nasi Goreng with a side of curious squirrel 😉

When it was time to pick up Julius I heard that unfortunately he did not have a great day. Thanks to either an air pocket in one of his dental fillings or blocked sinuses (or both) he was not able to equalize and get below 3-4 meters.

So we need to have this check out by a doctor / dentist and once he gets an all clear from the medical professionals, he can try again.

Today’s Outdoor Run.

Ah, that beautiful beach again, this time without music. But still very nice.

Only one round, 6K. Felt like I was getting blisters again / opening up the ones from last week.

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Independence Day Celebration at School

Found this photo from J’s school assembly when they commemorated Sri Lanka’s 70th anniversary of Independence

Today’s Outdoor Run.”There goes my pace” 8K no music Run. Still tough, but I have to get used to it. Also first run with new Garmin, having some Strava sync issues (fixed with manual .tcx upload)

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Meanwhile … press conference with the Goodwill Ambassador

Link to full article.

And there is even a little Youtube video.

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