Me and my new toys today….


Check out my personalised top…

Mondays are supposed to be an easy day for me. But I bought new swimming gear today and I couldn’t resist going into the pool especially to make up for yesterday’s let down. I needed some new swimming shorts so I stopped by a Speedo outlet and bought a Thinswim 1.0 swimming shorts. It’s very different from the usual swim shorts I am used to. This one feels rubbery to the touch and is made from the same stuff that the wet suits are made of. When I tried it, it was barely a fit and was very very very tight. But I knew that these things have a strange way of fitting differently in the water. Sure enough when I hit the water it loosened up a felt very comfortable.

Read moreMe and my new toys today….

>My new toy- Olumpus Mju Tough 8010 Digital Camera


Are my goggles too big?   

I bought a  new toy today, an Olympus Mju Tough 8010 digital camera. I already have a lot of cameras including dSLRs with an assortment of exotic lenses as well as a Leica digital rangefinder plus a few digital compacts so why on earth would I buy a new camera. Simple. This is is waterproof up to 10m. I make it a point to record my journey in getting fit and somehow the iPhone 3G that I always use is not making the cut anymore. I run in all sorts of weather and I need a camera that can run with me anywhere in any weather. I also want to record my swimming escapades. This little baby can take both still images at 14mp as well as 720p HD video.

The picture and video quality isn’t something to shout about but for the price I paid (RM999 or about USD300), it is really good value for money. As soon as I took my first pics I knew I made the right choice and that I’ll have a lot of fun using it. Being waterproof and shock proof makes it very Reza proof. I have to say, it looks and feels very very TOUGH so well done Olympus. My littlest complain? I wished they make buttons bigger and more colourful.

Here’s a pic of me taken with the camera:

Me showing off my top personalised with Reza Ali Reactivated  

I took some video too but will edit and upload later. The best thing about this camera is that it now allows me to combine my love of photography with my new found love for the triathlon.

About Reza Ali
Reza Ali ReActivated tells of the journey of Reza Ali as he embarks on transforming himself from a 120kg (35kg overweight) 46 inch waist unhealthy and unfit person to someone who can compete in a triathlon. Don’t be afraid to dream. Take action. Correct your mistakes. Learn from failures. Bit by bit, you will get closer to your dream.
If I Can Do It, So Can You…..

>Weekly Report 21 Feb-27 Feb 2011


Running at Putrajaya by
the waterfront  

This week has been a bit topsy turvy for me as far as training is concerned:

Monday Swim
Tuesday Run
Wednesday Run
Thursday Elliptical
Friday Off
Saturday Off
Sunday Swim, run and elliptical

The big news for this week is swimming is now part of the routine. Ever since my first swimming lesson I have been focussing on swimming technique and trying to improve it. My immediate aim is to be able to swim at a consistent speed an extended period of time. Much like my running I want to be able to put some distances in before I do any speedwork. Definitely my swimming cannot be described as remotely fast. I still feel clumsy in the pool and am not able to do the maintain a consistent form. If my form was consistent (even if wrong) then I can work on correcting it. At the moment I don’t know what to correct.

I am very interested in Terry Loughlin’s  Total Immersion Swimming and am looking around for swimming clinics based on that technique. Can’t find it in Malaysia so I’m looking to probably attend 1 in Singapore. There are some very good resources on Youtube by Terry. One learning that rally had an impact on me was when he said that only 3% of our energy is used for propulsion and 97% is wasted energy (you can catch it on one of his videos on the blog which is shown on Terry’s link earlier). So he said that whilst running and cycling is about building the engine, swimming is about shaping the vessel. What a profound statement. More so than cycling and running, mastering proper form in swimming will have a profound impact on performance.

Big lesson for the week. Improving technique should be the first thing exercise in anything we do.

The rest of the week was a a big disappointment as I had 2 unplanned off days. I did try to make it up today with swimming and running but I didn’t really feel good during the swim and felt worse during the run.

Next week will be better….

About Reza Ali
Reza Ali Reactivated tells of the journey of Reza Ali as he embarks on transforming himself from a 120kg (35kg overweight) 46 inch waist unhealthy and unfit person to someone who can compete in a triathlon. Don’t be afraid to dream. Take action. Correct your mistakes. Learn from failures. Bit by bit, you will get closer to your dream.
If I Can Do It, So Can You…..

Swim and run disaster – Feb 27 2011


I am not wearing a swimming cap…

I have been staying at Pullman Putrajaya Hotel for the last few days as I was conducting training there. The Putrajaya Aquatic Center is next to the hotel so I decided to swim there today. That was a big mistake as it was chaotic. I am not really a champion swimmer (not yet anyway) but I’ve read a lot about pool etiquette. Everyone was swimming all over the place. Some were swimming lengths others were swimming the width of the 50m Olympic size pool. There was not such thing as lane management. I tried to get out of the way of the ‘serious’ swimmers and wished the non-serious ones would stay out of my way (I consider myself somewhere in between).

There was this one swimmer swimming beside me who was doing some serious laps across the pool. I was admiring his stroke when suddenly out of the nowhere a guy just appeared who was swimming the width of the pool and collided with the poor guy. There wasn’t even so much as an apology or acknowledgement and the idiot just continued swimming.

Nobody was managing the pool. There was someone monitoring the pool but instead of putting order to chaos, this guy came up to me and asked me to take off my top. I told him that it was my training top. He just said that although the top was tight as per the rules, it has some words on it. The words were my usual ‘LEARNER’ embroidery that I put on all my training outfits. Things just went downhill from then on.

After about 30 mins of pain the pool just wasn’t even inviting anymore. So we decided to go for a run instead.


Have to watch my form..

The run didn’t go as planned which was a shame as I was looking forward to running in Putrajaya with all its lakes and waterfront. I managed about 7km of running (with about a 1km walk in the middle). I know it’s normal to walk during a run but I was a bit disappointed with myself for choosing to walk for a bit. No excuses other than I wasn’t focussed on the run. I was still focussed on the swim disaster.

Big Learning: FOCUS on what you can control not on what has passed.

Tonight I decided to do some cross training on the elliptical training so I can end the day with a success. No matter how small the success is, it does matter, at least to me…..


Matters of the Heart – Maximum Heart Rate (MHR)


On my night run tonight. 5km at Zone 2 77% MHR
or hard but still able to talk

I talk a lot about Maximum Heart Rate and depend on My Polar FT60 Heart Rate Monitor considerably to monitor my training and physical activity. You can say that it’s the most important training aid I have. A friend of mine pointed out to me that all this tech talk may be lost on people so I decided to write a short note on what I mean. I had written about it an earlier post. This post is a monumental attempt to write down what I know about it. I’m sure there are other better resources out there (and I suggests you find it). You can call this post the first step.

Our heart beats at a certain rate per minute. How fast it beats depends on our general level of fitness as well as the physical activity we are in engaged in at that time. When we talk about Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) it is the absolute maximum rate that our heart beats per minute. It is absolutely crucial that we now what our MHR is so that we can train better. How to find out? You can go to special sports centres who will put you a series of tests to determine your MHR. Me? I just used a general formula:

Read moreMatters of the Heart – Maximum Heart Rate (MHR)

Getting the hang of swimming…


The  pool where I spend
my time pretending to be a fish

Tonight I swam for the first time after my first lesson in relearning how to swim. The pool was divided into 2 with one side devoted to what teenagers destined for swimming greatness and the other side was devoted to those who are destined for the more mortals (like me). I started off tentatively and went back to my old form of swimming, which is a nice way to say it went really bad. I had to slow down and remember the simple drills that I learnt on saturday. Hoping meanwhile that nobody was watching me. I do actually had the feeling that everyone in the pool was watching me in my efforts to look cool while swimming. Once I settled down it went a bit better especially when I went into the ‘I don’t care what people think of me’ mode.

One of the things I noticed today was that I was swimming at nearly 85% Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) which is way to high if I want to for endurance swimming. I know definitely that my strokes are still inefficient. I have to start working on some drills to improve the technique. I had agreed with my swimming coach that the next lesson won’t be for another 2 to 3 weeks.

>14 Feb-20 Feb 2011 Weekly Report


I’ve started my swimming

Another week. This week was an interesting one though:

Monday Run
Tuesday Brick 20km bike 5km run
Wednesday Elliptical Trainer
Thursday 5km tempo run
Friday Elliptical trainer
Saturday Swim – Yayy!!
Sunday Free weights and Elliptical trainer

Calorie burn 5254 cal

Overall mood – Still fun
Milestone – Saturday’s swim

Big learning – Gotta make sure I don’t skip meals. Must properly to fuel my workout. Monday’s run was a disaster.

I had so much fun relearning how to swim.  My freestyle stroke was a major disaster. It’s still a disaster but on a smaller scale. Ever since I did the swim I can actually now visualise a triathlon much better. Before this, I couldn’t put the 3 disciplines together. Now at least I can have a picture of what it feels like.

One thing I noticed which is a big concern is that after being in the pool for an hour, my legs felt like jello and I wasn’t able to walk properly. I now have new respect for the triathletes who can get out of the water, run to transition area and jump onto a bike. This is something I have to get used too. I’m hoping to have my first full swim bike run session soon and experience it all once so that I know where I need to focus on. I’ve done a number of 20km bike and 5 km run back to back and i was able to survive it. I’m looking forward to that.

Next week is hoping to be a busy week. I’m going to be busy most days so I’m going to have to get those late nights or early morning workouts.


About Reza Ali

Reza Ali Reactivated tells of the journey of Reza Ali as he embarks on transforming himself from a 120kg (35kg overweight) 46 inch waist unhealthy and unfit person to someone who can compete in a triathlon. Don’t be afraid to dream. Take action. Correct your mistakes. Learn from failures. Bit by bit, you will get closer to your dream.

If I Can Do It, So Can You…..

My 3rd link in a triathlon, swimming……..


I taught myself how to swim about 8 years ago. It was a clumsy breaststroke. There was no technique in it. Just simple experimentation to figure out what can prevent me from sinking in the pool. When I managed to stay afloat I suprised myself by swimming 3.6 km in my small 30m pool at the condo. I had to do more than 100 laps and it took me about 5 slow hours. I felt quite accomplished at that time considering I had only learnt a few weeks before that.

My freestyle stroke leaves a lot to be desired and I find it impossible to sustain so I gave up. When I decided to complete in a triathlon, I knew I had to conquer a mountain to climb. I had to work on my running technique, my cycling technique and my freestyle technique. I’ve been working on my running about 75% of the time as it was my weakest link. The climax to my journey in running was about 2 weeks ago when I ran a half marathon.

Swimming swimming swimming


The Speedo Biofuse Rift

I’m gonna get my first official swimming lesson tomorrow. I can swim but I can only maintain a breathtakingly slow breast stroke.

I once went a bit crazy and sway a gazillion laps in the pool. I calculated that I swam about 4km that day. It took me about 3 hours as I wasn’t going for any speed record (sound familiar? Same story with my running and swimming). This was about 6 years ago. At that time I was swimming almost everyday and had ambitions of turning into a fish.

I bought some brand new goggles. The Speedo Biofuse Rift. It’s not like the other goggles I have which are small and snug. This one is designed for maximum visibility.

I’m very excited about tomorrow and hope to get some good solid free style technique. My immediate goal is to be able to swim in the 65-70% MHR range and I want to be able to sustain this non-stop for an hour and I want to do this and not make the pool look like a whirlpool.

Like my running and cycling, my focus is all about stamina and endurance. Speed comes later. I do hope that my Polar will work underwater. I surfed the net and there seems to be conflicting views.
Will update tomorrow.

What it means to be fit by Dr Nicholas Romanov


My butt is sticking out less but maybe its because
its smaller…

What a great article by Dr Nicholas Romanov, the founder of POSE Method of running. I especially like the quote,

A truly fit person is in perfect synergy with his/her surroundings, moving gracefully in space and time regardless of the activity. A fit person is in perfect balance physiologically, psychologically and emotionally, mentally and spiritually‘ – Dr Nocholas Romanov

I want to be fit to compete in a sprint triathlon and all my efforts and energy, intellect and emotions are focussed towards reaching that level of fitness. I am going to start swimming soon. Within the month I expect to be going training hard at it and relentlessly refining technique. Now whether I am going to be moving gracefully in space and time is something that remains to be seen. Despite improvements in running technique, I still do feel like a lumbering elephant though this elephant is gaining more poise and grace. 

Read moreWhat it means to be fit by Dr Nicholas Romanov