Sunday, November 29, 2009

Trip to Sydney - 18 Nov 09

My 3rd day at Sydney, which would turn out to be a great day! The symposium went on as usual. Nothing interesing to report there. I'll try to post a separate summary of the symposium itself, for those interested.

After the symposium ended, which was already around 5:45PM, I was determined to go out running! The weather was so nice, it's a waste if I don't go out at least once. Anyway, I already brought my running shoes with me.

So I laced up and with a sketchy mental map of Sydney, I just went out. Starting from the Darling Harbour, take a detour to Tombaloong Park and decided to turn the other way to the north. So turned back to Darling Harbour, went around it. Ran past the nightspots on the right and the marina on my left. Past the, already-closing-at-6:30PM Sydney Aquarium & Wildlife Park. Then on to the King Street Wharf with a few more nightspots on my right. Darling Harbour is like Jalan Bukit Bintang in KL, a happening place, if you like that kind of happening.

The Tombaloong Park. Actually a roughly 50m diameter grassy area only hehehe

Darling Harbour marina at dusk

The nightspots by Darling Harbour

Then left the seaside and went on to the road where I get to see the more relaxed part of Sydney. Past some residential areas all the way to the tip of Sydney. That's where Harbour Bridge is. From afar, on foot, the bridge look magnificent. With the massive steel structure with the two towers on either side. Then I found out the route I was taking take me right underneath the bridge! I was so excited! There across the bay, the Opera House sits proudly as the landmark of Sydney. Too bad I did not bring a camera with me. Not even a phone. All pics in this post was actually taken the day after.

Don't know what this is about. It's a roundabout

The sight of the majestic Harbour Bridge from afar, on foot

To give you a sense of scale of the bridge structure

I proceed with the run past The Rocks, which is the oldest part of Sydney, facing the international passenger terminal, with a huge 7-8 storeys passenger ferry berthed there. Less than a 100m away. It's not everyday I can see such huge ferry from such a short distance.

The Rocks

Continued to run around the bay to the Circular Quay ferry terminal, my first option to return back to Darling Harbour. But I decided to carry on all the way to the Opera House. There saw quite a number of other joggers, so decided to follow them. That brought me right up the steps of the Opera House (great!) and over to the other side. Which took me to the entrance of the Royal Botanic Garden, surrounding another bigger bay.

A different perspective of the Opera House. Taken right from in front on the entrance

Just jogged by the seaside going round the bay all the way to MacQuaries Point. By now, I was already so far away from my hotel, no option to turn back. Worse case have to take a cab back hehehe Then ran past the naval dock yard on my way back to the city center. Had a detour to the Sydney Hospital and Parliament House before I finally found my way to St. Mary's cathedral. Remembering where it is on the map, I made my way to Hyde Park to get to Kings Street which should take me back straight to Darling Harbour.

I ran from this side of the bay to the other side (left hand side of the pic). About 2.5km

Sydney city skyline, at dusk

The naval dock yard

Pics of St Mary's cathedral

Then I was pratically running through the city center, together with all the people leaving home from work, but nobody seems to be bothered. Try doing that in center of KL, I guarantee you stern look from other passers-by. I was right and the road took me all the way back to Darling Harbour. When I reached my room, it was still quite bright outside. My guess would be latest 7:15PM, but I was shocked to see it was already 8:00PM! Summer time...

View of Darling Harbour at late dusk

I was so satisfied with the run. But determined to do it again tomorrow, with a camera!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Trip to Sydney - 17 Nov 09

First day for the seminar. Woke up late, after being embarassingly woken up by Razman when he called my room's phone. Luckily the event venue is just a 5 minute walk away.

Sydney Convention Center in the background. The symposium venue

These a few things I noticed at the event:
1. Attended mostly by middle age guys with balding grey hairs. It was an event attended by industry leaders, CIOs and the like. Felt a bit 'small' in such company

2. Almost EVERYBODY was using iPhone or Blackberry. If you just landed from Mars, you may think Apple and Blackberry were the inventors of mobile phone. Very few people seen using normal phones like Nokia, SonyEricsson and the likes

3. Coffee, cold drinks and light food served free flow. But I had to survie on Pepsi and juice only for the whole duration of the seminar

4. Airconditioning at venue was so cold, had to run out during lunch break, but it was even colder outside! Had to run right back in. The cool surroundings was very comfortable for me. I hardly broke sweat, even with jacket on. Back home, I would've been drenched in like 2 minutes.

5. During the interview of an industry leader, the guy simply took sips of mineral water from the bottle itself. No need for glasses. And he's CEO of Telstra, one of the major telecommunications company in Australia. It's like having Tan Sri Ananda Krishnan, being interviewed on stage, drinking right from the bottle. Not gonna happen here. We're a bit more polite I guess, while they're more open.

Sydney 2000 sculpture in front of the convention center

Another funny thing, just realized I still had the tag inside my jacket which I bought the day before I left KL. Lucky nobody noticed hehehe

Later after the seminar, went out, alone. Discovered the first downside, the shops close early! They all close at 8PM or earlier. So just spent the rest of the day relaxing on the platform around the harbour. It was really cold back in the hotel room, even with the heater at full blast.

Trip to Sydney - 16 Nov 09

This is kind of late. Just don't have time to update my blog. I was at Sydney from 16 - 20 November. Paid trip by the company hehehe I was sent to attend Gartner Symposium there, together with my boss, Mr Razman. This is my travelblog.

Arrived at Sydney airport around 10AM, after an 8 hours flight. Was so excited!

Boring view out of the plane window for most of the flight

The moment I get there, the first thing I was eager to know, how cold is it? It's now summer in Australia, but it's still around mid 20 degrees, which to my delight felt really nice, cool and comfortable. Especially when the wind blows. Stayed at Novotel on Darling Harbour, which has a very nice harbourside view. Expensive as hell, it costs AUD$259 per night which at current rate is more than RM800 per night! Lucky for me, the company pays hehehe To give some idea how expensive it is, later that day, bought a loaf of white bread and a bottle of Gatorade at a convenice shop. That costed me more than AUD$10! Even without translating back to ringgit, it IS expensive.

The hotel room, Novotel on Darling Harbour

Darling Harbour behind me

Right after we checked in, went out to the city, on foot. Since Razman have been to Sydney before, so he led the way. We went from one shopping complex to another. From one shop to another. Due to the price, nothing caught my interest. Spent like 3-4 hours walking almost across the length of Sydney, from Paddy's Market in the south, all the way to the Circular Quay ferry terminal at the north tip! On the way stopped at Starbucks Coffee for drinks, which tasted exactly the same as in Malaysia. But note that there's no free wi-fi at Starbucks in Oz-land, unlike here.

Chinatown behind me

The long walk ended with a very nice ferry ride back to Darling Harbour, departing from Circular Quay terminal, in between the two famous Sydney landmarks, Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. The ferry ride then took us right underneath Harbour Bridge where we can have a magnificent view of the steel underside structure of the bridge. It's much more grander than it is in photos! Marvelous!

Harbour Bridge!

At the famous Opera House!

Getting onto the ferry

Great view of the bridge underside

Great view of the bridge and the Opera House

Sydney city is nice. The atmosphere is relaxed. Not so crowded, nor is it rushing. People are quite laid back and things go calmly. Not much vehicles on the road and there was hardly any traffic jams. The city is also very 'touristy' with lots of interesting places to see. Since the city is not so crowded, we have people running right in the city center itself on the walkway. And quite a lot of cyclist sharing the road with other vehicle. I would say, with the weather and traffic condition there, I wouldn't mind cycling as well.

Also I noted most of Sydney people (they call themselves Sydneysiders) are Asian. Mostly Chinese. I would say, only half of the population are caucasian.

Picked up an Australian Optus mobile phone pre-paid package for AUD$30, but got a total value of AUD$300 usage actually. Great! Later at night, had another frappucino at the Starbucks nearby our hotel.

My AUD$10 dinner

Nice view of Darling Harbour at night

Another angle

Expenditures (AUD$)
$14 - van from airport to hotel
$30 - Optus 'yes' pre-paid
$6 x 2 - Starbucks frappucino
$10 - souvenirs
$5 - ferry fare
$20 - travel adapter & bandage (yikes!)
$10 - bread & gatorade (yikes! again)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Powerman Malaysia 09

As per my previous post, Powerman Malaysia 09 was last Sunday. Again, held at Manjung.

The day started early, 5:00AM since the race starts at 7:30AM and I stayed more than 20km away from the start line. The result of late booking and undecided of doing the event.

All smiles before the sufferings...

11km run
Was very nervous right from the start. But met a few familiar faces although most of them are now much leaner, with their consistent training. Out of a sudden, the race was gunned off. Some were still chit-chatting at the back of the pack.

Right in the first few hundred meters, I was drifting towards the back of the pack. In my head, I just wanted to keep to a comfortable pace and complete the race. I wasn't racing anybody else, except myself.

A few of the elite athletes even overtook me before I started my 2nd lap, which was a clear indication of being slower than last year. Nevertheless, managed to sustain the run till the end without stopping or walking. Consumed only a pack of Powergel albeit a bit late into the run.

Time - 1:09:13

T1 Transition run-bike
Just took it easy. Not rushing. No incident during transition. Out of the area in 2 minutes 22 seconds.

On the way out to the bike course

64km bike
As usual, my favourite discipline. Right away was overtaking a few competitors. Was doing a steady and easy 30+km/h, with no intention to push. Planned to save my legs for the last run. Even the various climbs over the bridges was surprisingly easier than I thought! Overtook many others on the climb. But was also overtaken by an elite athlete no. 002 on the bridge.

My cyclometer actually read 33+km for the 1st lap. But I was off for the 2nd lap. Still maintaining good pace at easy effort most of the way. It was only on the way back in that I felt slight cramping in both quad muscles, especially on the climb. But managed to keep it in check.

Ater a long 66+ indicated km, entered transition.

Time - 2:06:41

T2 Transition bike-run
Again, took it easy. Very tired too by then. Took 2 minutes 14 to get out of transition.

10km run
Tried to jog the first few hundred meters, but cramped both quads. So had to resort to walking. Still had about 100 minutes to finish the last run. So targeted for 10min/km pace to ensure of qualifying.

Both legs felt really hot under the scorching sun which doesn't help with the cramping. The route was almost open with only tall trees lining up on the sides giving the slightest form of shade from the sun.

Virtually walked all the way to the first water station, 2km away. At the station, totally drenched my body with mineral water. Also on my thigs to try to soothe the cramps. That did help! Immediately afterwards, felt a bit more comfortable and started to jog-walk a bit. So I devised a plan. Walk through the shady area and jog through the hot patch. At least, I wouldn't get baked for too long!

After the 1st lap, I was 8 minutes inside my target time! The plan worked! That gave a me a renewed motiviation. Continued with the bathe-at-water-station, jog-at-hot-patch & walk-through-shady-patch routine all the way.


Nearing the finish line, still can barely walk. Anis was waiting at the finish, with the finisher's medal, passed to her by the man in charge.

Run time - 1:24:10

Total time - 4:44:43

Completing the race!

I was 15 minutes off my last year's time, but I was not worried. Considering the amount of training I had this year to last year, I was satisfied. Yay! ;)

All smiles and relieved after the race

Powerman Malaysia 09 - the summary

The burden is off my shoulder! Powerman Malaysia was last Sunday. In short I managed to finish within the 5 hours cut-off time, barely. My watch time says 4:44:44. 15 minutes slower to last year's, but with the amount of training I did this year, I can't ask for more. Being a classified finisher was more than good enough.

I'm so happy!!

Me at the finish line! Thanks my dear Anis for the pic :)

More detailed info to come...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Wish me luck!

Powerman Malaysia is TOMORROW!

I'm all pumped up and nervous at the same time. But I'm just sooooo busy nowadays. Last night was in the office till 11:30PM. Only managed to clean & lube up my bike last night at 12:30AM! And as of writing, 11:00AM Saturday, I'm also in the office. Well, what to do.

My race kit

Hopefully I can get enough rest tonight so I can be ready for tomorrow.