Category Archives: Diet and Nutrition

Day 28 – small workshop, afternoon cycling, and an amazing swim class

In the morning had a business plan workshop, it was disappointing to have a significantly smaller number on the last day of the workshop, but not unexpected. Kinda felt tired, but that might be from the disappointment, at the end of the class, a few people left early. I dont blame people for being unable to come or that they have to leave early, as I understand people have priorities.  The last friday of ramadhan is often a day where families visit graves, also considering pay day a few days ago and raya is upcoming, some people might need to go to the bank today in the morning.

The friday sermon or khutbah today was started with something about how complicated and fragile the human body is, and ended with the importance of masjid, or the place of worship. Mentioning on the newly (and amazingly quickly) built masjid in mentiri. It burnt down in early April 2017, but it was finished this late june 2017.  That’s like 3 months to build a structure that can house hundreds or maybe a thousand people. Which just shows with power, money a stong desire, a lot can be built in a relatively short amount of time. Inspires me to be rich and powerful to do something as great. 🤔

In the late afternoon after a power nap, my wife and I went out on a bike ride, me with my new bike. Originally she felt lazy, but she incentivize herself to bike by requesting to eat out afterwards. So I agreed. I was setting up, I realize how many important accessories I need to buy for my new bike. A new saddle bag for emergency repair kit, maybe a bag to put extra items, and some lights. Temporarily I transferred from my old bike to my new bike and we went out. And then due to larger frame and taller saddle, I had to remove both wheels instead of the usual front wheel only, in order to fit 2 bikes in one car. Also testing out my new bib shorts and cycling jersey that arrived yesterday. Which coincidentally matched the colour of my bike. I think green might be my new colour.

When I tested the bike previously, it was around the stadium, so I couldn’t go full speed at extended periods. This time around I wanted to see how well I would do on the highway. We started off easy, as a warmup. I cant fully experience going fast on a steep climb yet on the highway, as we went sliw and relaxed. My wife didn’t want to go too far so we settled for the 8km mark and made a u-turn. It was only then on the way back with a lot of descents that we went fast, I thought I might have gone too fast and left my wife far behind, but she was doing well keeping up just behind me, so I was able to go faster with her keeping up. I was surprised how I could maintain my speed, and even more surprised that my wife could keep up. Well for a while anyway, but it was still impressive. We went fast downhill and maintained a bit of speed uphill as well. Going downhill with my urata, I would have to pedal faster to avoid the dead zone to convert the pedaling to get speed, but with the smaller teeth of 11t vs a 13t, I was able convert more of that pedalling to speed without any dead zones. That means I could potentially go faster. Our last ride was 44 mins, this time around with the longer wait at the u turn we did 42 mins.

Looking at the speed graph below, potentially without the warm up, we could have averaged 30kmph. Previously with my urata, and withput drafting. I struggled to get to and maintain 30kmph. 27kmph would have been the average. What a difference a higher end bike makes. Of course I think the power I have built up with the urata over the years helped. The bike’s function is to convert that power into speed. And oh boy, did that new bike transferred that into speed. I feel more confident that I can keep up with the big boys. I look forward to riding with a group, or joining a cycling event. Just to see how much my speed is improved with a better bike. 

As we finished, I shared with my wife how impressed I was with her ability to keep up. Her faced was flush red from her attempt. I remembered this time around to do some stretches for myself an my wife, before we headed home.

We got home and prepared to go out. It was only then I realized I had a few invites that day, one was a function nearby. I decided to forego the functions and just treat my wife for her achievements today. Unfortunately a lot of restaurants were full for the iftar. So we decided to delay my break (and her treat) and went off to buy some bike accessories instead at the bike shop. Bought some lights and a bottle cage, will have to look for the saddle bag elsewhere. 

When we went to the restaurant,  they were a few available tables. We noticed that there were others that were waiting to be served as well. We were prepared for some slow and possibly bad customer service. My wife really wanted her treat, her reward, so she was willing to wait. For starters the table we got want wiped clean yet. Then it was a few minutes before we got the menu, thankfully we knew what we wanted and ordered on the spot. There a few food items that were out of stock, but there were acceptable alternatives. We noticed while waiting, a few other people left as they weren’t serviced fast enough. I acknowledged my wife for being patient as she used to be one of toys impatient people, but she shared she knows what she wanted, and wouldn’t go any where else, as if she did age any where else or anything else, from past experience, she knows she wouldn’t feel satisfied.  So the food was worth the wait. 

The cucumber and carrot slices with the sambal paste and ambuyat sauce came first. A few more minutes passed by before the ambuyat came along with leafy vegetable, we waited a bit longer before the plates and the utensils were provided along with the hati buyah, and finally our drinks. We noticed that the service was improving as one staff from the 1st floor kitchen came down and coordinated their efforts. We empathize with the workers at the restaurant, it is not often that they have a full house. I wondered when if they did at all, broke their fast. The service was uncharacteristically slower, but it was not bad. Aminah Arif was having a good bad day. Good that they have a lot of customers. Bad that they couldn’t keep up.

Done with the main course we dropped by a convenience store to buy some snacks as desserts. Soft drinks and ice cream. Then my wife dropped me off to the swimming pool for my class.

During non-ramadhan my classes were 4 sessions x 1.5 hours. But because the pool only opens at 9-10pm during ramadhan, my classes turned to 6 sessions x 1 hour. So my syllabus changed a bit. But then again, my syllabus is very flexible, as it accounts for different people’s abilities. Tonight is the 2nd last class, but 1 out of 2 of my students were able to do 50m non-stop at the basement pool. But she has the advantage of being a floater. Their next session will involve swimming at the lap pool above, after refining their technique a bit more.

If it wasn’t for the rain and my wife waiting in the car, i would be tempte to run. So we went staright home. When we arrived, we were so tired and sleepy. My wife wasn’t able to juice as she usually does , and I went straight to bed and dozed off.

Day 26 – Going to Miri, Buying a New Bike, Swim Class and Bike Testing.

Woke up comfortably as I took a day off from work, so there was no urgency to wake me up. I decided that today might be the only day that I could easily and comfortably go to Miri to look for and buy my road bike.  Considering it is a week day, the lines to cross the border was short and smooth. going there and back. It is important to note and share that the border closes about 5 minutes before the break time, and opens up 30mins later.

Buying the bike

I have been able to obtain a budget for my bike and I have been considering what bike to purchase. One of the reviews I found was a review from bikeradar in the video below.


I remember seeing 2 bikes in this review in this last one year, when I was just window shopping. The Specialized Allez E5 Sport in november last year, and the Giant Defy 3 when the Giant Bicycle shop opened up early this year. Unfortunately when I checked this time around they weren’t in stock.

Based on my  research, the criteria for my selection were:

  • Under BND1300, as that’s the money I have. Coincidentally, that’s roughtly the exchange rate from USD1000,  or MYR3900
  • My size. In general is 54cm or M. I have been using an S size or a 49cm.
  • 9 Speed Sora Shifter, 10 Speed Tiagra if possible. I have been using a 7 speed tourney for the last 4 years, any increase in gear shifting is an improvement.
  • Cassette Gears of 11t-32t. Some models come with a compact crank 50t-36t, so a 11t-28t is acceptable. But based on my langkawi ride last year, I prefer to have the low gearing option for easy climbs.

So of we went in search of the right bicycle. In Brunei, it is either a bit more expensive, or (and here is the main reason) they don’t have in my size in stock. So they would need to order it. So went to Miri.

Unfortunately, the Specialized Allez E5 Sport wasn’t available, the closest to it was the E5 Elite, it had a Tiagra 10 speed, but a 11-28T, meaning the climb wouldn’t be as easy as I would like. But at a Price of MYR4300.  more than my budget, but it was under consideration.


Next was looking into the Giant Defy. Unfortunately it wasn’t in stock, but the storekeeper said they can have it ordered and arrived in 10 days, with a MYR500 Deposit, for a total of MYR3800 (I think, as I forgot to note it down), He did recommend a Giant Contender SL that was in stock. It also had Tiagra instead of Sora, for the price of MYR 4200 (again at this point, I forgot to write down notes). I was consdiering that if I couldn’t get the right bike today, I wouldn’t mind ordering mine from here. I just need to dropby miri again in 2 weeks time.


Finally, went to the same shop where we bought my wife’s roadbike. I remember they had the s40, that have the Sora 9 speed with 11t-32t cassette. But I also remembered checking it out and found poor reviews, mostly on the weak breaks. But upgrading from a Urata road bike, anything else would be an improvement. When we went to the shop, we did find the s40, and it was in my size. So I was tempted for MYR3800. But the sales guy recommended to go for s30. A similar version, but it has Tiagra with the same cassette. and offer price of MYR4000. With that small price difference, I wouldn’t mind changing my decision to the s30. The salesperson tried to upgrade me to a cheap carbon roadbike for MYR6000, I was tempted, but, as I only budgeted for MYR4000, I was just gonna get the s30. In a review I read the casssette was a 12t-30t, but this one had my desired 11t-32t. So I settled.



The Break

We bought Pizza Hut and and some chicken wings from Miri in order to eat on the way back home. We also bought some famous amos cookies, but we were only able to eat the pizza, not the cookies. I guess we will leave it for the next day.

The Bike Test

That night I had a swim class, and I planned to cycle after that. Either I joined a Sahur Ride planned by a group that evening, or I could test it out at the stadium. When I left home I realized that my phone line hasn’t been changed back to my Brunei line from my Malaysian line. I decided it was to dangerous to ride solo to try to catchup to the sahur ride heading towards jerudong, so I settled to ride around the stadium, in that case if my bicycle broke down, I could easily just walk back to the car.

new bike 20170721

I rode kinda randomly around the stadium, and went to the Audit area to test out the climbs and descents. Among the things I noticed were:

  • It was definitely taller, finally I am riding my properly sized bike.
  • My hands were more comfortable on the handle bars. Previously I oftened moved my hands around from the flats to the hoods to the drops so my hands were comfortable. But the hoods were comfortable enough that I kept my hands there throughout. of course it was just a 40 minute ride, I look forward to test it on longer rides.
  • The gearing feels more or less the same… for the gearing that I previously used. I was wondering if it would feel different, but it didn’t, I guess the mechanics of the gear ratios doesn’t change much if  at all. But when I used the  the extra gears, the difference was felt. Again as a reminder, I used to ride a 13t-28t, Now I am riding 11t-32t. So the difference between the lowest and highest gears were noticeable. The lowest gear was easier than what I was used to, and the heaviest gear was faster than I usually go.
  • The gear shifts are a lot smoother. Previously there was a significant lag between wanting to change gear to actually changing gear. To be precise, my Urata Gear Shifter was on then flats. So if my hands weren’t already on the flats, I had to move my hand from the hoods to the flats in order to change gear. Having the lever shifters didn’t require me to move my hand from the hoods. That in itself saved me a single second for every time I wanted to change my gears. In addition, the shifting of the cranks and the cassette was smoother and faster as well, making the shifting significanly faster. No wonder I kept on getting dropped on the climbs and descents.
  • In general, I feel the intensity of the ride was not much different, but I think that is more of a function of power out put or effort from the rider (myself) rather than the bike. How that translates to the speed of the bike is a function of the bike. The comfort on the other hand is greatly improved, on my hands, my neck and my back. My groin area got numb at the end, But I guess that is a matter of a bike fit. Overall it was a fast and comfortable ride.

The Mile Run

After biking for half an hour, I decided the test was enough, and I would actually like to have a bit of a run. so I ran a mile route around the swimming pool area. Other than the groin numbness that dissipated after a few minutes, I felt I could run well enough. Despite not having a lot of Brick runs in recent months, The run was okay, and I could push myself a bit.

mile run 20170622

At the end of the run, again I cooled down with a few stretches for my back muscles.


Going home, I went through the long route to see if can spot the sahur ride group. unfortunately that road had a traffic jam caused by a police road block. I spotted the sahur ride group at 11:30pm, just passing by empire hotel. So I guessed they arrived at Jerudong Food Court at about 10:30pm, and left there just after 11pm.

Arrived home, but couldn’t go to sleep until 1am in the morning.  Woke up earlyish the next morning to go to work.


Day 25 – Waking up Late, Meeting, and Heaviest Iftar Yet

Somehow I woke up late today, after almost the whole month of waking up early. My guess the lack of sleep on Sunday and Monday caught up to me today. Didn’t wake up at all. Slept through my alarms. I was late for an early morning meeting, thankfully it was moved up to a later time. Decided to take a leave the next day to catch up on rest on the next day.

Afternoon, my wife went grocery shopping for cooking and juicing for the next few days. After that went off to a Restaurant to have our break with my wife’s favorite cousin and husband. Initially, I was going to do what I usually do at buffets, which was in general taste every single food available. But somehow this time I was a bit more selective. Took a spoonful of selected foods, but my plate ended up full anyway. Another strategy is to not drink so much, as liquid will make the stomach full faster. At the end, I had a mix feeling about the end of the buffet. On one hand, I was disappointed, that I couldn’t eat as much as I used to, either a sign of age, or a sign that my stomach is shrinking. On the other hand, I was relieved to know that my stomach can actually shrink, so I am unable to eat to binge or glutton as I used to. Specifically, I used to be able to do 3 rounds of the main course, and have some space for all the desserts. But this time I could only do 2 rounds of the main course, and a bit of space for some desserts. The food that I specifically ate were nasi lemak (fatty rice? oily rice?), fried noodles, crab, chicken, fish fillet, (hey I just realized there wasn’t any beef),  some water melon and papaya, some cakes.  I think drink too much water after eating a lot of food that were expandable caused my stomach to be bloated and caused some discomfort.

I went to the toilet twice to release pressure and for some bowel movement. Technically 3 times as one time I went to the lobby toilet, but it was being cleaned with a sign stating “please go to the 1st floor toilet”, but I went up and found a similar sign but stating “go to the lobby toilet”. So I had to wait a bit longer. But  after the meal was done, Me and my wife decided to walk it off, as my wife was looking for a comfortable walking shoe. Another annoyance came as we walked to one shoe shop that had a sign saying it closes at 10:30pm, but at 9:52pm, the closed sign was already turned. Well no sales for you from us then. Thankfully as the night went by the stomach ache subsided. But I remembered that during the meal, I didn’t drink much. I have a slight fear that when I fast, I would be dehydrated, so I forced myself to drink water, but taking care not to overfill the stomach. That night I slept like a log.

day 24 – khatamalquran, postal packages, triathlon day

Attended a khatamalquran funtion by Jabatan Penjara in the morning. (I was invited as I was involved conducting a workshop for the released) This is a ceremony usually done after 2 to 3 weeks of reading the quran by its section or juz. I haven’t attended one in a long time. unfotunately for me, I came in so early that they placed me next to the VIPs, which were next to the Imam, ustaz, and the officers. I was unsure of what I needed to do. Thankfully, there was a guidebook that was given, so it was just a matter of reading through it, and following cues by the imam or ustaz. being able to read fluently is an advantage of course. thankfully,  that is a skill that stuck to me from arabic school. I went to the office after that to do some work. there I found there was a postal card to pick up some parcels. I have recently used my office address instead of my home, as I found it more convenient. 

went home and my wife was ready to do an afternoon bike ride. Despite the windy and cloudy weatger, and some sporadic rain, we did. Thankfully it did not rain on our ride. She fared better this time around. What worked last time was we cycled out relaxed as a warm up, and cycled back fast. We did the same, and gps tracked she did her fastest 10km ride yet.

We broke fast with mostly food that my wife prepared before we cycled. Tortilla chicken with salad, we bought satay urat (ligament tendon on a stick) for the chondroitin supplement. 

The night I also had a swim class, I was half expecting the pool to be closed because of the rain. But pushed on anyway, went to the pool waited in line, waited for a few minutes for the pool guard to arrive, and went in. It was a productive class, as they students were able to swim the width of the pool.

After the swim class, I went out for a run. I realized this makes today a triathlon training day, as I swim 🏊 , biked 🚲 and ran 🏃 in one day, just not in that order. I learned from last time that I may need to start of slow as a warm up, to avoid my cold joints from being in pain and getting injured. So I warmed up for the first 2km at pace 8, but for the last 3km, I went fast, with a 5.5pace in some instances. MY GPS watch ⌚ was low battery 🔋 at this point, so I turned off the metronome, hoping that it would last longer, thankfully it did. And then at the end, I didn’t pack up and go in a hurry, and I did a few stretches. Targetting my foot and calves with lunges, and downward facing dog, and reaching my toes. I also stood on a ledge to massage the bottom of my foot.

On the way home, My car fuel was low, thankfully I knew a fuel station that was opened up till midnight at kilanas. At home  before sleep, I made sure I drank 750mL of water to hydrate myself. As well as to prepare for the fast the next day.

Day 23 – family tahlil, emotional/inspiring songs and another big break

Joined a family tahlil ceremony(ies?) tradition on my father side. Every ramadhan, usually on a sunday. We go to 4 or 5 burial sites in one day, and recite surah yasin and tahlil. I used an a simple pdf based app I made a few years ago. The tahlil and yasin app I created was from a booklet that my brother had printed for our late father. It was because at that point there was none available then that was close to brunei’s traditions, it is surprising to know that different countries have different practices despite having the same language and the same religion, it was only then I found that the practice is considered by some muslims as bid’ah or innovations, at which different xountries have their own customized customs.
Regardless, I find the customs of yasin and tahlil to be a meaningful practice. For one it gets people to practice the recital of the surah itself. The tahlil, itself is a form of dzikr, or the remembrance or the self reminder towards god, and dedicating it all to the departed loved ones. While the whole practice is also a very good way for relatives to come together. While my uncles like to remind their kids and others of who was who, was buried where, and so on. It makes for a good reminder from where we came, our roots, our commonality.  and it also makes a good reminder of where we all are headed, to know that we will remembered long after our deaths. To be be honest, I feel the whole tradition is for the benefit of the living more than it is for the dead.

The locations we visited were 3 burial sites at Batu Satu, 1 burial site at makam di luba, and finally 1 burial site of my great grandfather at Kuala Belait. I have only started visiting that last site for the last 3 years. I remember my father, often visited that site whenever we were passing by to go to miri. But I had never visited until 3 years ago, where my uncle usually makes it his last stop, but most of us don’t want to make that almost 2 hour trip. That time around I decided I had nothing else left to do, so I went. According to my uncle, my great grandfather, was working in KB, but he got sick and passed away. During those days it would be very troublesome to transport a body that far, and it has always been a custom to bury a body close to the location of death instead of their life.

On a related note, at this point I was already sleep deprived, having only 5 hour sleep. But one trick I learned a while back was to play emotional and inspriring songs. And the feeling I got will usually counteract any sleepiness. Its not heavy metal songs, but meaningful inspiring songs. My playlist that afternoon was Linkin Park, Nickelback, Imagine Dragons, OneRepublic and covers by boyce avenue. Songs that I would belt out to, if I remembered the lyrics.

In the afternoon my swimming class cancelled due to the rain, so we proceeded early to my wife’s sister’s home. We bought some grilled salmon to complement the seafood fried rice they were preparing. Being there early I thought I would finally take a nap, but no, I didnt feel the need. Later that night I slept at midnight again, while waking up early for work the next day.

Me and my wife shared a single salmon. My wife decided to make a simple dessert out of some flour, nutella and ice cream to make a simple lava cake, and separately a sort of sardine puff.