Daily Log 29 May 2011 – We can be in 1 of 3 zones: Comfort zone, panic zone and the best zone of all, the learning zone




I went to see Malaysia’s Armed Forces – Angkatan Tentera Malaysia (ATM) Triathlon today. I had registered for it earlier but decided not to do it for fear of the swim portion. Nevertheless I went to see and to learn as part of my preparation for the PD Triathlon which is a few days over 50 days from today.

It was quite an experience and I did learn a lot. The swim portion is by far the weakest of the disciplines for me. I think the idea of swimming non-stop without any rest kinda got to me. The swim portion was 1.5km today and it looked so far. Quite a few swimmers got stung by jellyfish and had to drop out. A few others suffered from cramps and also had to drop out.


I think when it’s time for me to do the triathlon I have to make sure I swim at my own pace and not try to race with anyone. Trying to go fast for me during the swim is a sure recipe for disaster. One thing for certain though, I’m going to make sure I go to the triathlon swim workout for the maximum 3 nights a week instead of my planned 1 workout (with the others being swimming on my own). I realise now that I have to devote more time to the swim.

The bike leg was interesting to watch. There were the super far cyclist, the fast ones, the slow ones as well as the steady ones. I think 70% of the triathletes today was not out to win anything. There were out there wanting to best themselves and nobody else. I should remember that. It reduces the stress and pressure.

Quite a number also had to drop out of the bike portion due to accidents as well as equipment malfunction.

The run portion saw the competitors pull their last ounce of energy and is the ultimate test of will. Anyone can drop out of the run and people will probably understand but then I am sure it’s something that will stick in their memory.

I saw a few runners just starting the bike leg when the top competitors were already celebrating their finish. It takes a lot of guts and courage to keep moving in those circumstances. I don’t plan to be last when I do it but if it so happens that I am amongst the few at the tail end of the race, I hope I have similar courage and willpower.

For me, I started to panic a bit when I saw the swim and how far it is. I panicked some more when I saw how fast the bikes were going. I’m used to seeing competitive runners so it didn’t have that much of an impact for me. Still, by the end of the triathlon I was severely in panic zone and I found myself thinking,  ‘how the heck am I going to do this’?

I had been in the comfort zone for too long now and now I can feel myself going to that panic zone.

All the way home I thought about all the things that can go wrong. Jellyfish, cramps, equipment failure, coming last and I was firmly in the panic zone. When I got back I went straight for my bike and decided to do a brick bike/run for 20km on the bike and 5 km running (similar distance to the sprint triathlon which I’m going to do in July).


I had to do this brick workout for some peace of mind otherwise I’ll be haunted by what I saw during the ATM Triathlon. I have to prove to myself again that I can do it otherwise my confidence will quickly erode.


I had always done my bike workout on the cycle trainer. I started the bike leg on the cycle trainer but 5km though the workout I decided enough of that, I’m going to hit the road and I did.

Of course it was not on any highway. I went around the housing area where I live and did about 15 laps of it. Time was about 51:54 which is quite respectable for me. I want to do it in 40 minutes which gives me 2 mins per km and I have 7 weeks to do that. More intervals to build speed and more long runs to build endurance. Mind you, the time I got for today’s ride was made longer because of all the breaking I had to do for 8 corners plus 1 intersection where I had to slow down for traffic. I am quite surprised at how well I did during the bike portion this afternoon considering I’ve been delaying my road biking experience for such a long time. So there’s hope.


The run was a mixture of running and recovery walks. I had already done 2 interval sessions this week plus 1 long ride on thursday. So I decided to do a low run but every time I got into a rhythm I found myself picking up speed/. So I ended walking for a few laps jst to bring my heart rate down. Interesting that whenever I let myself go of any thoughts I find myself begin to speed up. Good for the confidence but not so good for my training plan. I was averaging about 2:35 per lap which is a huge leap from the 3;00 per lap that I used to do 2 months ago.  It must have been those interval and fartlek workouts I’ve been doing.

My cadence averages about 79 per minutes or 158 strides per minute. My ultimate intention is to get it up to 180 strides per minute or a cadence of 90. If I can do that then I’ll be a happy camper.


Once finished, I went out of the panic zone and started to go back to the learning zone. I had calmed down a bit. The Brick bike/run workout went very well. I’m going to spend more time swimming so that should turn out ok.

Being in the comfort zone is ok though sometimes it’s good to get out of the comfort zone and into the panic zone. That way we will never be complacent and will always grow.

What we need to learn is to recognise when we are in the panic zone and switch over to the learning zone.


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.

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