Sunday, 14 July 2013

Team 2ndskin Athlete Profile – Lim Ee-Van (Tri Stupe)

Standing up to the plate, we have breadwinner, father, husband, blogger, and weekend monster athlete, Lim Ee-Van. Better known in the social media circles as Tri Stupe, he is a 3-time Ironman Finisher and multi-sport specialist. We get down and candid with him to see what he has to say.

1. How’s it going EV? You competed and completed the PD Triathlon last weekend. Guess it was a walk in the park for you? Give us the lowdown of how it went.
PD Triathlon or PDIT as it’s known is the “must do” for me. It is like a homecoming race. A "ritual" almost. My triathlon life started at PD in 2005 and it marked the start of being a triathlete. I would not say it is a walk in the park for me as I actually ran the whole running route, including the beach run. But if you meant it was an "easy" race, I would say no race is easy if you are not prepared for it. I've written a two part blog entry for the race which can be read here : and here : This year, they branded it as Triathlon Challenge as it involved about 1km run on the beach immediately after swim out and before T1.  
Family, always FIRST place.
2. When did you first dip your toes into multi-sports? What made you take the plunge?
I have always been an "adventure" racer. My first "multi-sports" race was the AXN Urban Challenge in 2004. At that time, it was the most impossible thing I put myself into. I have always admired the mental strength and tenacity of the Eco-Challenge. The races were not of strength per se but of how a person breaches over their own physical limits and operates purely based on mental strength. 
Spot Stupe
I was playing competitive rugby for my Alumni and realised that while i operate well in a team, i potentially function better as an individual limited by my own abilities. Coupled with injuries sustained over the seasons, i made the switch to running and the rest, as they said, was history.
Stupe, the Rugger.
3. If I remember correctly, you have completed 3 - Ironman competitions and 5 - Powerman duathlons. Which do you think is a tougher sport? Triathlon or duathlon?
It all depends on how well you prepare yourself. All of it has it's challenges. In Ironman, the pressure is the distance. In Powerman, it's the cut-off time. One is all about mental strength and the other is about physical strength. But if you are ill-prepared and do not respect the distance, it will be the tough in all aspect.
Ironman Langkawi 2010. 
4. Which would you say is your weakest discipline? Swim, bike or run? How do you work around it?
I would say running. I hate running. So I run more and will continue running until I love it. If you ask me now, I still hate running.

5. Let’s delve a little into your personal life. What course of study did you take and what do you do for a living?
I am a trained Electrical and Electronic Engineer. Locally trained (back in the days of the popular "twinning" as my family could not afford overseas education and I was not good enough for scholarship). I had worked as an office boy for an insurance agency where I learn to be more organised, bicycle mechanic where I've learnt valuable technical repairs and maintenance, an intern with an IT company associated with car racing, an Account Executive in a famous advertisement agency, site supervisor where I learnt the tougher life of construction, contracting work where everything under the sun to construct, build and commission a building/plant/factory that made the core of my experiences. I then worked as an environmental consultant/engineer moving from nothing to managing programs, dabbled with renewable project and development and finally, I am now back to consulting, leading the operation for environmental consultancy for an US based company in Malaysia. I would rather be a full time triathlete - but something need to pay the bills and feed the family. Or you readers can choose to setup a fund for me ;-) - joking.
Chemical Ready
6. We know your wife and both children are very supportive of your sports indulgences. How do you juggle your time between work, family and sports?
This is a tough one. I have very little "me" time. I used to work-work-work. Those were the days where I had to put in more to prove my worth. No one is indispensable. I went from nothing to something, to nothing to something and to nothing again. It is a cycle that I've learnt to improve as I grow older. Now, it is all about LIFE. It is not Work-Life balance, but LIFE-Work balance. My wife is super supportive but that doesn't meant I have the license to abuse that. So, my workout are often limited to an hour, I train at 90% if not at 100%. A lot of it are impromptu and that is why I seldom train with anyone - It is not fair to make plans and cancel on someone. Taking the "support" a step higher is to get the family involve. I have to make my lifestyle their lifestyle and there is no better way than to start it when the kids are young. It is a constantly evolving phase. We move with the current, never against it. 

7. Have you ever had a clash of schedule? Important race versus important family occasion?
Oh yes. Ironman races in Malaysia always very near to Chinese New Year (2008, 2009 and 2010). It is a commitment priority that needed to be juggled delicately. So far, it has been good if we put family to always be top priority.
Chinese New Year 2013
8. Having known you for quite a while, I must say that you look like you’re in the fittest form of your life right now. You were definitely fit all the while (with long races and competitions) but you were on the chunky side previously. Tell us what happened.
A few things actually. Lost two friends to cardiovascular disease. Both my age. Both with young family. It was a wake up call for me. Time to stop being in denial. I was at the stage of my life where I was struggling with my career - a phase of depression and things get dangerously bad. It was time to re-assess. Re-prioritise. Pick another fight. Get a real life. Not helping that we all love to eat. Most of us exercise to eat. We know where to get the best of everything (food) and as you can see, my older photos showed me on the heavier bulky side. Like you said - Chunky. I've been doing races and exercising but I've never improved. It was always denial that I am OK and I am fit. But the truth is, I was not. It was revamp and re-everything. Ctrl-Alt-Del.

9. So it’s true what they say that washboard abs are made in the kitchen. Clean eating is of ultra importance to athletes. For someone who wants to beat the bulge, what do you suggest?
Haha. Yes, washboard are made in the kitchen. It is all about the food you eat. Calorie balance. Quality energy. Nutritious content. Get rid of the junks and you will get there. Takes a bit longer, but you will keep it off indefinitely (until you fall into denial mode again). Re-assess your need and the reason why you are deciding to start eating clean. Stick to it. Commit and adjust to your lifestyle.
Healthy Eating According to Tri Stupe
10. Would you say the process of slimming down is harder or the maintenance of that condition is harder? Why?
I would say the process of starting to eat clean (and thus, losing weight) to be harder. You are going to give up what you are familiar with. You are going into an "unknown" to you. I remember posting this up when I was the Curator for @Twt_Malaysia about eating clean and some Malaysians were asking me "Give up normal food? No more XXX Fastfood?" Our (modern) life's has brought along conveniences in all form - including diseases. Make the change, now.

11. Where do you see yourself in the next 3 years, sports-wise?
Podium and starting to win something. Races are expensive. Need to supplement this lifestyle. Perhaps giving a few well known athlete a run for their money. 
Photo Credit : Nik Fahusnaza
I am just joking about the podium, win and the sentences above to question 11. Haha.

I do not know where I will be in the next 3 years. But one thing for sure, I will as how a good friend always tell me "Keep Moving Forward". I look forward to be able to afford overseas Ironman-distance races or be able to be in semi-retirement by then to allow me and the family to start joining races all over the world. Yes, as of now, holiday happen during my races ;-)

12. Which race(s) will we see you in next for the rest of the year?
SCKLM 2013 (the postponed race) for sure, The Men's Health run (as an athlete with 2ndSkin and collaborating with Skechers), The 2XU 15km run, Powerman Duathlon, Hoping for Nusajaya 112 (long distance triathlon replacing Desaru 112), trying to sort out my work so I could join TMBT or Pathfinder (both in Sabah under the awesome Sabah Adventure Challenge group). I may join shorter race as a form of intensity training and to socialise with others. Perhaps.
PDIT 2013 - Photo credit Nik Fahusnaza
Awesome and informative best describes our interview session with Ee-Van. Thanks for the time and best of luck in your races for the year!!


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