Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Year In Images

Not a review for 2011 but just a cool song to sum up yet another year.

I have picked these 2 You Tube clips put on my facebook from a friend . A little commercial but I like the colour , the images and the sentiment.

The year in pictures from Reuters.

A multimedia showcase of some of 2011's top stories, including Japan's tragic earthquake, the Arab Spring, the demise of Osama bin Laden and Muammar Gaddafi, the shooting rampage in Norway, famine in Somalia and the Royal Wedding. Multimedia editing by Jillian Kitchener.

Happy New Year

I have been on holiday.I have been sleeping lots , reading and just relaxing .It has been a drastic drop off of training but one I think I needed after Busso .

Whilst it is a good time to reflect on the year . my results and performance for 2011 is probably an accurate reflection of the World in 2011.Very turbulent and lacklustre with some near misses. The world seems to be lurching from disaster to disaster and 2012 , the Year of the Dragon which usually heralds a successful year .Iam not so sure.

What is certain from the many economic writers is that 2012 will be a tough year to predict. On top of the uncertainty of the economic future of the world , there are sufficient doomsayers predicting the end of the world according to the Mayan calendar at 21 December 2012 exactly at 11.11am . So much so the Mexican Ambassador to Singapore wrote in to the Singapore Straits Times stating the Mayan academics interpret the Mayan calender as a odometer ticking over into a new cycle not the end of the world.
(see Wikipedia for one interpretation of the Maya_calendar )

If anything the world of nature is one of cycles , we humans try to run and move against this natural order but we never succeed.Be it our body clock or seasons , the reality even our calender is just a reflection of the cycle of seasons .As such it is important to recharge and rest . Even though I do lose some strength and fitness ,it has been necessary for my mental endurance .

What is important is to reflect on the past to plan a successful path for the future. Whilst there is always uncertainty in the world , my view is that the economic and even natural disasters are partly reflected by the globalisation of the world. we are now a nanosecond from every news breaking story and every story is news breaking these days . There can be like overloading training probably overloading the senses . there is only so much the brain can process in a news day .It has become cursory and news bytes with the bare minimum of information .Sadly  we become immune to the content however tragic. The major events of the year , the Japanese Tsunami , the Greek economic crisis , the many famines in Sudan and Africa , the many elections around the world ,the Middle East people movement, all reflect a human face and the resilience of the human race.With the globalisation of the world and democracy true the Internet via you tube , facebook and tweeting comes the overload  of information lots not accurate and irrelevant. I am a recipient of the good and bad of this globalisation. I learn so much but i have to be more discerning .There is the immediate access to news and information personal to myself and friends.

But in the final day of 2011 , I do reflect on the year closing.from my training and races , I can at a glance , identify the highlights.These are

  1. despite the slowest time ,IM Lanzarote was a great adventure and a culmination of a very strong training period
  2. Getting my weight down in the lead up another indication of the need to focus on my weight a lot more
  3. My Singapore 70.3 race despite the swim was a solid effort in the heat.
  4. My city to surf marathon was a good solid effort and a new PB 

The not so great moments are many but I hope  I learn form them.Most important lesson as obvious as it may seem is that most of the training programs are quite similar but for some slight changes in emphasis but no program is really going to make a difference without the right mental approach and desire .Secondly , learning to adapt the program as external factors intrude is vital. 

The new Year is one I approach with more hope . My holiday reading helps, Have a Little Hope by Mitch Albom and Why the west rules for no by In Morris.New York Times Book review In addition the many news stories for 2012 The economist

I hope the many who stumble into this blog have a Happy New Year in 2012.Despite the cliche , the journey has so far been much more exciting than the destination.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

It is Christmas Day. I head into a short break over the next 10 days . I also headed out on my first ride in 2 weeks yesterday. Legs were still sore from the blisters on the sole of the feet . It was a hard ride and I got dropped really early but I wasn't about to try and keep up .There weren't any coffee places open on Christmas Eve in the city as well.Our usual haunts were all closed. I ended back at the city early and had coffee and then rode back home for a total of 73 km . legs were a little tired after the inactivity.

I was glad I did go out and I enjoyed the ride round the river .It was a nice summer day in Perth. There wasn't much traffic about but lots of cyclist around .

I did put out a short tongue in cheek message on facebook :

Wishing all the Important People who are my friends on facebook a very merry Christmas and a Safe and Wonderful New year .I am thankful I survived the cars , loons , drunks , madmen , sharks and the wife (just kidding dear) . I am truly blessed.

The sentiment though is heart felt. Despite the stresses of balancing life and work and training as everyone else has to do , work ,family and training , I am thankful that I was able to train and race this year.

Despite the wet winter and the not so great results , I have had some really awesome days on the bike and in the ocean and pool , and running around Perth.These are the memories and even the bad races , have great lessons to take away and learn from.

Time to kick back and relax and reflect on the year with an eye for 2012.

The top stories from Triathlete Magazine's perspective was :Top Triathlon Stories for 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Purpose and Purposeful

It has been a period of self reflection as I rest and plan for next year . As always , it is the time of the year to reflect on what has happened , could have and hopefully learn some lessons from.

With down time and no training (which is a little extreme) I have managed to attend to other matters . It has certainly helped to be away from training and racing. I am committed to the Busselton Half 2012 and will commence my training in January .
I am undecided as to whether I will be doing 2 Ironman races next year . It may be counter-productive and it will be something I will give serious consideration .

It is time to change routines and do things differently. I also have to take the issue of my diet and nutrition more seriously . Having said that I read a short report on IM Cozumel by bored@work and it was a reflective piece of a 7 time IM racer about priorities, purpose and balance. We all come to a point in life where we must ask ourselves what is more important ?

After 7 Ironman races & the last 3 being a real let down. I decided the problem was all mental.

I needed to find the love of the sport & what I wanted to get out of the sport & why I was really racing IM.

It was so simple I just couldn't see it & needed a break from racing.
I don't want to be the guy that sacrificed everything for a sub 9 /10hr time. I want to be known as they guy who was the best father, husband & friend he could be & still managed to finish an Ironman race. I removed a lot of the things from my life that caused stress - so called friends, car loans, visa cards & stopped wasting money on crap that we really didn't need
Bored@work on IM and Cozumel

I felt the same way but as I have stated before there is no easy way and it is a journey of experience and constant learning.

Lesson 2 : I learnt on the weekend as I went flying on a beautiful Perth afternoon, (I get to do things I don't  normally do when I am not training) As we waited to get up , I watched as my friend went through a checklist in preparation of the flight .There was systematic thoroughness but it was necessary. like all important matters , there is the mundane necessity of routine to derive the benefit. How great the want will determine the execution . The second half of the year has been difficult as my preparation has been sub optimum  as far as putting in the desire and commitment.

Jonathan enjoying the view .17 December 2011

Lesson 3:
Love what you are doing and know why . At IM Cozumel was another unfolding story I stumbled upon reading mailto:bored@work%22s piece. It was about Maria Plummer .There is some vagueness as to whether she had already decided to quit the race or she quit the race to give her bike to a fellow racer who only had 10 miles to ride when he had a flat he could not repair.

She said in an interview:
My self-worth is not determined by a clock or whether I finished," Plummer said. "The look I got from that man when I gave him my bike? There wasn't a shadow of a doubt that I had done the right thing."

Sometimes it is easy to lose sight of what is important and why it is important . Knowing why is probably more critical in Endurance racing as it is the basis of the foundation for the mental strength needed when you ask all those hard questions on the cold dark mornings at training and in the middle of the race.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Bits and Pieces

Ironman WA 2011 by Delly Carr
Pictures of ironman WA 2011 by delly carr

Andreas Raelert, 35, Rostock, Germany. Third place overall; 8:11:07  New meaning to sleeping with your bike
(pic Andrew Herrington )
outsideonline Kona special

This whole week I have done nothing . Just allowing my self the rest and letting the body recover from the flu and chest infection. I have been scouring the web for interesting articles and pictures . There was a great collection of pictures by Delly Carr which I have put the link to above. Someone posted the Ironman World Championship link and I have also received the Ironman Lanzarote CD and watched it last night. I think Lanzarote has one of the most scenic cycling courses going. Watching it did inspire me for next year after the rather flat race in Busselton.

Another piece in firstoffthebike is: Building an Injury resistant Body .

Finally i read an excellent piece in the Outside Magazine by Elizabeth Weil on the World championships.

Especially the quote below:
Yet the event is filled with unlikely apostles: mothers of young children, three-limbed amputees, octogenarians, all ticking Kona off their otherwise divergent bucket lists because of a fascination for what’s difficult. Because marathons have been ruined by people who think it’s fine to walk. Because life is too easy and Everest is too far away.
It is a little disturbing reading about the level of commitment by some triathletes in getting to a World Championship and whilst I acknowledge  even in Perth there are many talented athletes and determined athletes I hope one are too blinded in the pursuit of getting to Kona at the expense of everything . It is a challenge , a very worthwhile challenge but it isn't and shouldn't be the only focus in a life at the expense of everything . I have enjoyed the ups and even the downs and I relish the challenge to learn from mistakes and to try and improve but it is in the context of a race against me and with my limitations.

In Lanzarote , a 69 year old Triathlete is interviewed about his ironman Journey and he talks about the triathlon family. He came from a car racing background and contrasted the amazing friendships he has made in triathlon .there is a shared camaraderie not found in too many other sports.

The dream lives but enjoy the journey as well.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Getting back on the Horse

Bouncing back after the Ambulance Ride

There is never any easy process after an Ironman Race .It is especially harder after a disappointing race . I have now had the full effect of the flu and it has added to the tired legs and the painful blisters on both soles of my feet . It has been  quite a different post Ironman feel to Lanzarote and Busselton last year . I had soreness and stiffness but none of the blisters I have copped this year and much greater fatigue than normal and the dreaded flu.

I am carrying more weight though. I did nothing for a whole week as the blisters did make it difficult to walk. I was signed up for the inter-club Championships and up to the day before I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to race.
I have managed to sleep longer but I am still getting up in the morning at 4am so.Old habits are hard to stop. I had my office Christmas dinner the night before the inter-club race and only managed a short 4 hour sleep. I then drove down to Mandurah for the race .I got there really early , before 6am . The race was at 7.30am. Got set up and I forgot my wet suit so I was swimming without one.

It was hard going barefoot with the raw feet . Racing for the first time for Exceed , my new club.

The guys started 15 minutes after the girls and it was relatively calm waters with a slight chop. I swam a15minute 750m race which was about right . I hobbled to transition as it was hard running on the blisters. Got my socks and bike shoes on.This was not a race where I was going to try a fast mount on the bike with the shoes clipped in. I kept my ride as consistent as I could and passed a few cyclist along the way. Finished the bike course of 17.5km in about 33.31 minutes. Got the runners on and did the 5km run in 25minutes exactly.

All the times were down from last year which indicates the state I am in presently. I was four minutes slower despite a good start to the year relative to last year. I finished in 1.13:56 .

Exceed won the Presidents trophy ( Inter-Club Championships). Fastest Tri Club second year in the row.More importantly , Exceed's catering manager  Rob Parry cooked up a storm of food for the exceed athletes. I was just too sick to eat much after the race .Just Coke zero and water. we had 34 athletes and had the best average and we were 700 points away from North Coast who had the biggest field.

It was great seeing everyone out on the course.Not so great being slow.

I think I do have the touch of the IM Blues or the flu and/or just the touch of the burnout / lack of motivation I have felt for a few months is still lingering .

Despite those feelings I did manage to register for Ironman Busselton 2012. I will now take a break and start planning and making some decisions about how I approach next year. It is the OC syndrome ( Obsessive compulsive behaviour)

My racing weight and nutrition  is going to be the major area I will need to focus on .

I did read a short piece how-to-bounce-back-after-a-poor-performance with the penultimate paragraph :

If all else fails, I like to call on the Jamaican bobsled team for their words of wisdom. Look yourself in the mirror and say, “I’m a bad ass runner who don’t take no $#@% from nobody”. Hey, if nothing else you will feel ridiculous saying it and whether you like it or not, you will smile. Go find a mirror and say it NOW. You smiled didn’t you?

I did.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ironman Busselton 2011 Photos

Bike check in Saturday 3 December 2011

Not too many places this active at 4am

Transition at 4.15am

Starting the Bike leg

on the many more laps did I have?

At the end ...everything was hurting
Pictures from finisherpix

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ironman Busselton 2011 Race Report ....Searching for the Promised Land

As I sit at home 2 days after the Busselton Ironman 2011 was done and dusted , it is a different world. It is raining , actually , hailing. It is cold and wet .I now have the full blown symptoms of the flu and a hacking cough .

I finished the race and it was my slowest Busselton time of 12.47. No excuses and as I have blogged , the race is very much a microcosm of life .You can be prepared , train and life is such you will have curved balls thrown.Obviously the better prepared you are the better able you are to face these curved balls.

I reflected on the past year of training and what I learned. As esoteric topics such as Ironman training/racing go and not to get too philosophical , I knew it was always a hard race for me by the nature of my training , my lack of race weight , up and down motivation and difficulties with my asthma .But like most triathletes , come what may you want to be standing on that start line after all those hours of training. I did what I could to get there .A DNF is just not something you want to contemplate or consider after the effort. Better to crawl and have the most miserable day but say I have finished.

That attitude is not necessarily the correct one but it is part of Ironman Folklore. As Courtney Ogden , last years winner with an injury walked the run course in 6 hours and finished in a time of 11.50.Not for anything than the respect to fellow athletes and himself. But I don't think any less for those who did not finish . Any Ironman is tough and Busselton throws up its own demons on the day.

On Friday I got the sniffles. I downed as much flu and panadol tablets and vitamin C. I felt OK but my voice could not hide I had a cold. I did my usual race preparation on Saturday and fortunately Rod Marton had come down to cheer the Exceed athletes . As the family were not coming down I had a spare bed and he was a great help after the race.

It was a 3am wake up. I slept well and set about getting ready . I got to the transition early and whilst it was still dark it was warm suggesting a rather hot day ahead. The water was nice and was at 22C .Got everything set up and with wet suit on chatted to everyone I knew . There is a raw level of anxiety. I am always excited and a little nervous but I have learnt to be comfortable with the nerves and enjoy being in the moment. After the pros started off , I warmed up and felt really good in my wet suit , I literally ran into Rusty Cook , a guy who for the past few Busselton races was next to me in transition before moving up an age group.

A handy triathlete , he went on to finish the race in 11.10 . We chatted for quite a while till suddenly everyone started off . No fanfare and off we went. I tried to draft behind various swimmers and thought I was going fairly well.There was a little swell further out at the end of the jetty .Then came the turnaround and I think I went a little too wide. The swim back I thought was slower and as my Garmin suggest I swam 4.05km in a slow 1.25 . I am not sure why as I felt good and possibly I was not pushing myself and drafting behind slower swimmers . I was  not taking the most efficient route  and my lack of discipline in keeping up my swim training did not help as well. I was clearly not as swim fit as I was in Lanzarote. Lesson learnt . Practise , practice and more practise for someone who is just an average swimmer.

I came out a little disappointed in the time. I had to refocus on the race. Got through transition and out as quickly as I could ...still slow in 5 minutes. Once on the bike I tried to just to get up to speed and start my nutrition. I knew the course and I had my plan. Within 20 minutes I was just not finding any strength and I was really struggling to get in an average speed of 32kph which I had to maintain. I did the first lap in over 1.50hr and after that the second and third laps were slower. I just did not have the strength and worse by the third lap I was cramping a little. It was not for the lack of salt or electrolytes .I had far more salt this year than last year.

I suspect my cold and the diarrhoea I had leading up to the race were indicative of the weakness .The cylinders were just not firing on the day.Not a lot I could do .I had no nutrition issues and kept taking the gels and water at every aid station .In all I had nearly 10-12 bidons of 500ml of water . It was hot and windy but I could not say the condition affected my performance. My general level of health and preparation for the race had more to do with how I was performing on the day. I came off the bike again disappointed with the time . A slow 6.08 hrs. I was also in alot of pain.I had huge blisters on each foot and my quads were just hurting so much . The run was a battle of attrition and survival. There was no chance of salvaging a good result. Every step hurt from the start .To make it worse as I grabbed a drink at Transition I started running down the swim to bike chute. I had to run back and out the correct way . A wasted few minutes . I started off just feeling good to be off the bike but each step hurt and despite the gels and Gatorade and water and coke and salt every hour , 6 km into the run and I was already walking the aid stations and contemplating a walk run regime.On the 2nd lap I was doing just that and by the third and final lap I was walking 2 minutes and running 800m . It was a slow marathon for me . I finished the run in just over 5 hours.

The disappointment was that I really could not control the cold I had and to what extent it influenced my result I do not know. I think it had been a long year with training and that too may hours of training have been counter productive for me.

The pain blurs the recollection , but with the support around the run course , quitting was not an option. For one , I made a commitment to do this race for myself and fund raise. Secondly lots of people were having great races and many others were struggling with their inner demons. I was not alone.

The disappointment is that another Busselton race was over with a less than optimum result. Having said that , as I finished , it was relief .I was struggling and with Rods help got home and my bike out of transition.
After each race , I have these huge negative thoughts about why do you do this. It hurts and I seemed to be going backwards. For everyone , there are setbacks , Giving up is an option. I think at the core I cannot keep doing what I am doing but giving up is not an option. It was not a good day for many reasons and some more that I may not figure out. I am not about to over indulge in too much analysis now.

I can say I am disappointed but I also gained a lot from being out there. Lots of support from the volunteers and friends who cheered as well as the strangers who were out there for 10 over hours. Many first timers who blitzed the course and many friends who had Pb's .

I admit a sense of selfishness in what I do . I want to improve and I want to get to that Promised Land. Invariably we all know where that is for each of us .Whether in careers , sports , love or life.

What I don't know is when and how long it will take me . At the moment it has eluded me . I have spoken about it many times the sweet spot . It is unimportant to others because it is no measure of success for them but everything for me. It is not about beating others . You know when you cross that line and laid it all out and got to that goal you set for yourself and achieved . It may never come and I will not be any less a triathlete but that is the joy of the journey , the planning the execution and hopefully the joy of a result well deserved. For now I enjoy the results of the many who finished what they started and draw from them their strength and inspiration.

I don't usually go to the draw downs where the Kona slots are allocated . I went after breakfast on Monday morning with Rod . Sadly there are never enough slots for the many I know who deserve them and there is always a tinge of envy for those who have got them but they are all deserving winners of these coveted slots. I envy their strength and athleticism .For this is what it is about . From my very myopic view point for 3-4 days of the year , life is about Ironman and about achieving such goals and the Promised Land. I don't worry about work , or life or world affairs.
I had a brief chat with Kate Bevalaqua , last year's winner at the cafe we were having breakfast . She didn't have the race she wanted and she felt it was just more the mental preparation and a long season. Time to have a break and refocus for next year.

It is a wonderful sport and has wonderful inspirational people in it.

I will recover and get better and reset myself for next year.For the many who did achieve their goals , congratulations and well done . For those who did not , don't be disheartened , sometimes , we need adversity and testing outcomes to strengthen our resolve . I would rather TRI than falter and lose all hope at the first hurdle.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Busselton Ironman The quiet before the Big Dance

Just a short update. I drove down on Friday morning and made it into Busselton by 8.45am .I had left Perth at 6.30 am .I had picked up a slight head cold but I don't think it will make a huge difference. I had a short swim on arriving and the water was nice and cold , at least without a wetsuit. I got registered and had a quick stroll round the Ironman store .Not a lot of gear that I would buy.I will get a cap for the run though.

The rest of the day I just rested at the chalets. In the evening there was the carbo loading dinner and the race briefing .This year they had a sought of reception area with everyone getting their meal in a box plate and sitting on the floor to eat .Everyone then was ushered into the main staged area with chairs for Pete Murray and Simon Beaumont to interview the pros and Pete Jacobs who was 2nd at Ironman Kona 2011.The women's Hockey team was in the audience to launch their preparation for the London Olympics.Nothing terribly special and after the usual video clip of last years race , we had the race briefing.No new issues .The main point as always the 12 meter drafting zone.

On Saturday morning , I did my usual 30 minute cycle with efforts and 15 minute run.

It is now just a long wait for a 3am start to the day and a swim start at 5.45am

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Helpful Hints and Words

Anything is Possible"

Ironman Motto
Other motivational quotes


Taper week is always fun. The load is much reduced and I am just soaking up the excitement . It would be nice to just get down early and enjoy the atmosphere. the pros are either there or on their way. the other thing is going through the list and making sure I have everything organised .

In addition I have been trolling the Internet for inspirational quotes .there are lots and when the chips down it is better to have a few in the back pocket and just pull them out. I can't do much about my swimming as I know my weaknesses but I have not put in as much swim time as I should . But I am a better swimmer than I was last year .

The key points are:
Get to transition early and have enough time to get the wetsuit in and warm-up.
Make sure the wet suit put on properly as the tightness around the shoulders will fatigue the shoulders.I have had that happen to me and I will try and get help to get into the wetsuit.
Don't is better to slow down and always breathe .Sounds basic but I have done that to.
Try and catch a swimmer and stay on his legs or side but don't impede his stroke as it will slow him and you down.
Try to keep straight .my biggest problem . Paul Newsome did state in his blog that swimming straight tends to be easiest when someone is strong at bilateral breathing. I have had a relapse and tend to be strong breathing on my left
( see his helpful hints : Racing Tips for Ironman )

  1. get the nutrition right and do the maths as to how much you need to eat on the bike before hand.
  2. Eat and eat
  3. drink at least a bidon an hour or a litre if it is hot.
  4. keep the pace as constant as possible for each lap.
  5. (everyone tends to slow down on the last lap) If you can keep a constant pace there should not be a huge difference in lap times.
  6. Its OK to go hard but know when to pull back so you do not suffer on the run.It is a triathlon .No prizes for the fastest bike time ...well there is but I am not in the running and I would rather have a new PB for my Ironman than a PB for the bike leg and bonk on the run.
  7. Stretch every hour by getting up off the saddle.
  8. Be aware that the draft zone is 12 metres
  9. Again have a few mantras or happy thoughts when your mind begins to drift as it will on a 180km bike ride.

  1. It is the last leg .don't go out fast
  2. Drink at all the aid stations
  3. try and take in some nutrition preferably gels
  4. again keep the pace steady.
  5. Have a plan and a pace in mind
  6. Have a Plan B
  7. Run all the way , if you can't walk the aid stations , if that hurts follow a walk and run regime.
  8. But if it hurts walking or running than its better to just run
  9. Absorb the atmosphere and the energy from the supporters.
  10. Have shorter goals or break the race up into bite size portions. Have various milestones along the way to achieve.
  1. Always visualise the transition and go through as many times as you can what needs to be done.
  2. Get in and out as quickly as you can.
  3. Don't rush just go through everything that needs to be done preferably like a checklist you have practised  before.
  4. Keep your sunglasses and anything else for the run in a zip lock bad which you can take out and use as you get on the run course.just one bag to carry and then distribute the items once on the course.
  5. Use sunscreen
Finally the 25 most common mistakes in an ironman Ironstruck article: Common Ironman Mistakes

Most of all Smile and enjoy the day.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Final Countdown and all things Tri

A Quitter never wins and a Winner never quits - Napoleon Hill


Coach Brad Hoskings (Centre Standing) Tuesday run session

The last Saturday Ride before Busselton. It is now 7 days before the race. Not a lot to do. I rode with the Exceed group and it was a 2 hour ride with some efforts a long the way. A cyclist joined us at some point near Cottesloe. We rode and did our first effort along Cottesloe and Leighton's beach. The next was along Point Walter road and 3 of us surged ahead of the rest of the group. Did not see the group till the coffee shop.

At Bicton , a group of cyclist were riding past us when one of the cyclist touched the back wheel of the front rider and he went crashing down. He wasn't injured but it was a silly thing to do as there were several speed bumps and we were all slowing down as we approached them .I was just behind and to the left of the cyclist who fell and just missed riding over his head.

Tineke , our guest rider and myself continued on to Shelley and we rode back to the city from there via Curtin and our guest cyclist turned around at the end of the Shelley effort.

I got to test my aero bottle and everything was working fine. I was happy with the morning effort . I ran for 23 minutes off the bike and that felt comfortable.

On Sunday , it was a short swim at City Beach .No one felt like a longish swim and it was a little swelly out there . I should have swum longer but I will be doing all my swim sessions this week before Sunday. Looking forward to Sunday .It doesn't have the sense of anxiety and worry it used to have but more a sense of Adventure . But lots can go wrong and the trick is to be able to be positive whilst making sure I will be able to foreshadow any and every eventuality. Have a back up plan . I am hoping that I don't have a puncture but if I do I will only be carrying one tubular. If its two , I will be walking home.

Started collecting all the gear together. The advantage of a local race , I have more stuff to cart down to the race.

Swim : 1.5 hrs or 3.8km
Run: 2.25 hrs or 23km
Bike: 158km or 5.2 hrs
total : 9.15 hrs

Friday, November 25, 2011


Happy Thanksgiving graphicsfairy

The week has flown with a much lighter workload . I skipped Monday more so as I just felt tired. On Tuesday , I did the morning ride with a 1 hour session and managed to stay with the group .I had to catch up to them first as Ross told me after the group  I was suppose to be riding with had left the car park. I managed to take my turn at the front more often and felt very strong on the ride as it was only an hour session. The average pace for the ride was just under 35kph.

In the evening , we had Brad's session and it was a good lighter session with 8 x 400m at " Ï" pace which was 1.44 minutes per 400m. I ran about 8.5km and it was a good session. the wheezing wasn't as bad today. I ran into Kate Bevalaqua and had a short chat with her. Sadly a day later , the news of the fires in Margaret River were all over Perth and unfortunately Kate's parents who have a house down south was affected and did not escape the fire. All in 37 homes were damaged or destroyed. Fortunately no one was seriously injured. The weather has been hot .My thoughts have been with those affected especially Kate's family whom I met at Lanzarote when she was racing earlier this year.

On Wednesday , I did a run in the afternoon before my Board meeting at EDAC it was a short 55min run and whilst it was hot ,it wasn't so much the heat but just feeling sluggish . I might have been a little dehydrated as the office air conditioning has not been working well.I did my swim in the morning and felt strong .Swam 2.6km.

On Thursday , I had a shorter slow ride . Riding to work and Kings park and then riding home.I rode about 45km and it was again just hot and slow.

Friday , I was meant to swim and run but by the arvo I felt sick with a headache and opted out of any training.

So it has been quite an easy week . Not a lot I believe can be achieved now anyway so I have taken a more cautious approach rather than pushing myself .

Whilst , there is no tradition in Australia to celebrate Thanksgiving , I think it is appropriate to be stop and be thankful for what we have. This week , I am thankful for the opportunity to train. There were some close moments with trucks that don't seem to notice you on the road  . I am thankful for my family and friends. I am thankful that the fires in Margaret River are now under control and no one lost their lives.

I have read a few more articles and interviews Chrissie Wellington has given .I have linked a few as they are very much inspiring and so true.

Here is her answer to 2 questions in an interview on Triathlete's World  :

I've read that you take a copy of the poem If by Rudyard Kipling with you when you race, is that still true?

I write it on all my water bottles. I take the copy that Brett [Brett Sutton, Chrissie's former coach] gave me, the dog-eared photocopy and I take it everywhere.

Why does that poem mean so much to you?

I think it encapsulates everything it takes to be a good person and a good athlete. Often my biggest disasters have been bigger stepping-stones to future triumph and that's what Kipling means by seeing triumph and disaster as one and the same. I like the line, "If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew, To serve your turn long after they are gone." To me that means using your mind to overcome any bodily discomfort you may be experiencing and to retain self-belief and confidence. That's what I try to do whenever I race.

Lava Magazine did a piece on Jordan Rapp and Chrissie overcoming disappointment and using them as stepping stones but more importantly how important the mind is .Lava Magazine - Mind Games .Another interview of Chrissie Wellington : A piece on Wellinton by Kathryn Bertine

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My happy Place , the mental game and a Checklist


Like everything in an Ironman race , it comes down to the preparation.
There is the training , the equipment , nutrition and transitions . In addition it helps to have a Checklist. I am now putting my gear together and this weekend will be the final check and packing in preparation . Testing the equipment and preparing for all aspects of the race is crucial even for the regulars.

In addition I have worked off a checklist from the Internet and for those super keen , there are even better super list. my-ultimate-triathlon-and-ironman-checklist

body glide (for back of neck)
triathlon jersey
cycling/triathlon shorts
goggles x 2
swim cap
Garmin Watch
heart rate monitor strap

tire pump (pump tires up day before, adding a few psi to compensate for overnight pressure loss)
chain lube (apply day before)
Profile Aerodrink bottle
2 water bottles
Sweets and dates
6 gels
cycling shoes x 2
race belt w/ race number
seat pack with tubular, tire irons, multi-tool, and CO2 inflation system

running shoes x 2
gel belt with 4 gels in flask
cramp-stop spray
a change of run top (in case)

Photo ID
Salt Tablets

The next crucial aspect of preparation is the mental aspect of racing. All the hard work is done but as Chrissie wellington said on her website in a piece titled  Peak Performance

“It amazes me how little time people spend on mental training. 30K into a marathon on race day is too late to figure out that you need to train your brain. There are many different tools you can use. Have a bank of positive images and songs. It doesn’t have to be related to sport at all. That way, when the going gets tough—and it will get tough—you can draw on those images and have peace of mind.”

Heather Wurtle , who came in Eight in Kona and has two Ironman wins this year , Placid and St George talks about finding that happy place in a piece she wrote about  The mental game .

The race is hard but with clear thinking and strategies in place ,  we can do our best. In her piece on the Mental game , Heather  goes on to comment :
So much about success is about belief, and so much of what I love about sport is the ability to overcome: injury, doubt, your own mental hangups, fatigue, negative factors/people in life that seem to want to drag you down or make you feel like you can’t achieve your goals.

I think that one of the hardest things about tapering before a big race is that you actually have more time in the day and mental energy – our brains are glycogen burning machines after all – to reflect. This can lead to confidence and to doubt, and you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t harbor negative thoughts.

I love the sentiment she portrays. That is what it is about , not the tortuous training sessions and the runs and ride in the rain , the number of hours of training . it even isn't about winning for me . We are all competitive and it is great to be in front  but more importantly it is about over coming all that is put in front.

As Chris McCormack in his book "I am Here to Win"  states , at some point it is going to hurt and embrace the suck ...whatever that means I hope I will be in my Happy Place.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Delusional Optimism

Taper begins.   For many doing their first Ironman , there is an uneasy feeling and doubt ...have I done enough.

Invariably , I was one of them. It is natural in the human psyche to question and doubt. But when all is said and done , it is what it is. I may not be at race weight or done enough long runs or fast speed work or taken enough vitamins or watched my diet but there isn't much i can do now.So there isn't any point worrying about it.

For most , they have done the training and the day will fly by and all their fears will be unfounded. Like any journey there is the fear of the unknown. 

It is also the end of the training and a very taxing part for most triathletes . Gone are the juggling and management of training , the tiredness and the endless guilt at missing least for me. But I have mellowed a little in the short years I have been training. I see this as part of a bigger journey .

But there are 2 short articles I have read that have helped make sense of all this madness. A piece by Antonio Neves. Neves is an award-winning broadcast journalist and the founder of THINQACTION titled :  delusional optimism

For those who dare to dream the unthinkable is just one step forward , the next is to realise that dream by making it happen.For all those who dare by taking that first step , the next is when they stare out with 1600 others on the beach at the start of an Ironman race. Consistent action with a goal in mind as Neves described it.

The other piece is by Balsam in his blog with a piece called  grit-cakes

He states eloquently:

Progress in life is directly proportional to the dirt under our fingernails. Success comes from the strife we endure and the effort we exude. Life is made up of peaks and valleys. Stay humble in the highs, stay hungry in the lows.

It is said that we are at our happiest when we are attempting something difficult but attainable. It is that unknown, yet reachable territory that excites us. When we hit that territory, it’s magical. However, even after hours, days or months of work, we don’t always get there.

But it’s OK to eat a face full of grit cakes every now and then. It keeps us level. We always learn something along the way so no honest endeavor is ever a wasted one. It didn’t work out as planned? You’re life isn’t going according to your “If Everything Were Perfect” memoir? I say good riddance! There is no substitute for busting your butt.

Struggling when chasing a dream reminds you that you need people to lean on, that we need to vent, regroup, relax, reset, rethink, retry, and get ready to fight all over again. Our story will be a much better read when it’s all said and done. Moments of clarity in my life have always presented themselves after periods of uncertainty.

Embrace the suck. Enjoy the grit cakes. It’s good for us. It will make us better. And if we’re not trying to get better every day, shame on us. Always Be Better.

Anyone eat their own fair share of grit cakes recently? What did you learn from it?

It is hard and nothing worth chasing is easy .I seem to remember the hard sessions and the workouts that did not go so well , the days when I really was low and tired and fed up but I also recall the sense of completing all those hard training sessions .There was a sense of completing and enjoying the day for what it was. No great triumph or medal. just knowing I did what I set out to do.

For me , the experience is a metaphor of life itself .The highs and the lows and how we handle it all. For those who contemplate the journey there are just two considerations , they are Embrace the suck and be delusionally optimistic. You owe it to yourself.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Week 16 ... Done and Dusted

Tony at the end of the Swim at Coogee Beach

Coogee Life Guards

The weekend turned out to be great weather wise. I had my last longish ride down the freeway. I drove down to the Narrows Bridge and rode for 40 minutes before I met up with Jason and Jamie and 2 other exceed riders and followed them down the freeway .They rode for just over an hour before turning back . I initially just drafted behind them and then as we got into the ride I began to practice keeping a 12 metre gap. It was hard .

My Garmin died at the 45km mark and after they stopped I continued for a further 30 minutes before turning round . I did not get attacked by the magpie . I rode by myself for a further 40 minutes before I got passed by a rider and again tried to stay on his wheel but couldn't till I passed a cyclist in Running Centre gear and he eventually passed me and I just tried to keep at their pace . They eventually dropped me just 6km from Mt Henry Bridge.

I rode back trying to keep the pace steady. there was a bit of wind going down but the return journey was fairly easy. I averaged 32kph on my cycle computer . I did 117km in 3.38 . It was a quick change and a run along the river to UWA ( University) and back about 6km in 35 minutes. saw a couple of cyclist I knew as I was running back

I had time for a coffee at Tiger Lil's but I really just had a lemon juice as I  was just so thirsty. I then went to Tony's to change and got to my massage appointment at Running Centre.  The massage felt really good if not a bit painful . But the legs were feeling pretty good. I was not in much discomfort and the massage definitely helped after the workout.

On Sunday , I just did my open water swim at Coogee with Tony , Les and Hanna. We swam between the jetties and I think it is 3 kms in just under an hour. I had lots of issues with my goggles and I kept stopping but the swim back was a lot better and felt really comfortable with no stops.

I skipped my Thursday ride and Monday run but with the legs hurting I was conscious not to make things worse . I think it was the right decision .On Saturday I  felt very comfortable on the bike and not tired at all. It is always hard having to decide whether to miss a session.

With 2 weeks to go , it is just a question of keeping safe and turning the legs and keeping up with some fast and short sessions. it will be a very interesting race for me with my first race without a proper programme from a coach .

Total training:
Run: 36 km or  3.50hr
Bike: 5.38 hrs or 177km
swim: 8.5km or 3.10
Total: 12.38 hrs

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Countdown Begins...Walking On Sunshine

It is approximately 17 days to Ironman Busselton. The hard weeks are done and I have just one more longish ride before the Taper begins.

It was a hard week last week and I opted for a rest day on Monday. my programme had a 2 hour run but I was really only going to do a 90 minute run but in the end I did nothing. The quads were pretty sore from the weekend rides and I knew with Tuesday super session of hard ride and interval work out it was going to be worse.

On Tuesday I  got out to Nedlands running a little late and rode hard from the City so I effectively started my session at 5.20am. I did one lap of the Nedlands loop and saw Mike Kent .I tried to hang in behind him but got dropped after 3 kms when I hit a slight rise. I did the first lap on my own and it was just pain in the quads. On the next lap I began to get into the Exceed groups and by the end of that lap I was with Stuart Phyllis group and just rode behind them . They were averaging at between 35kph and 42kph. It was a good work out and I had my Zipps so I did manage to keep up and took a turn once or twice in the front.At the end of the ride I had an average of 34kph which wasn't too bad for over 50 kms.

In the evening brad had us doing 20 x 200m at "R"pace which was 51 seconds for the 200m for me. I did all the runs at about 40 to 43 seconds. it was a total workout of 7.5km only for the hour. On Wednesday I swam in the morning , I managed only 2.5 km with a short 100m warm up and then we did a 200m , 100m , 100m and a 100m medley repeated that and then a 200m and then another set of 200m , 100, 100m , 100 medley , followed by 2 x 200m and 2 x 100m and a cool down. I just swam behind Glenda as my legs were really tired after the Tuesday run session.

In the evening , I did my run starting off with the slow group from the Running centre . I passed them within the first km and ran alone for the next 5 km when I got passed by the faster group . I ran through the University of WA and then headed to the river and ran back along the river back to the City. It was a total of 13.5 km in about 72 minutes.

I was suppose to ride on Thursday but with the legs being really tired , I again chose to skip the session. On Friday I ran for 50 minutes and did about 9km and in the evening swam for just over an hour doing 3kms without stopping. The day turned out great and it was nice and warm in the afternoon.

I had my Bike in for a service on Thursday evening with  Bespoke. cycles. It was a full service and I mentioned the funny noises from my crank and the feeling the chain was touching the derailleur . It turns out when I rang them today that my bottom bracket had broken and was in several pieces. I had been riding over 240kms on a broken bracket.That explains the tired legs as well. They are going to have to get the part and hopefully I will have my bike by Monday. At least I discovered the problem early.

The rest of the training rides will have to be in my Shogun Bike.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Newbies Information Evening

At the Information afternoon , Sorrento Surf Club 13 November 2011 Pic by Dennis Tan

Today , North Coast had its New members Evening.  I said a few words about my experience in triathlon. As a Tri junkie and I can now spot one as  I am unashamedly  one myself  , I have tried to convert the uninitiated and the unsuspecting .

No matter what , those who join and participate in the sport  change not only their physical appearance but their whole outlook to life. It is a life changer. I believe ,  with the training and the social aspect of the sport , I have grown more in self belief of what is possible. I am surrounded by a positive can do attitude . I have seen and been part of great stories of perseverance and individuals setting and finishing goals they could only dream of.

I hope my little talk imbued some of the passion I feel for the sport. It isn't about the distances or time spent ....more so about the discipline , camaraderie and support in the tri family.

As I recounted my story which like many before and after me , is a similar one of faltering steps to learn how to swim and cycle properly , lots of falls and panic attacks along the way. But if you pick yourself up and keep at it , eventually  you will succeed.

I did not in the short talk acknowledge the advice and support from the more senior members of the club who would guide and advise the newbies. They were an invaluable part of my tri journey and for which I am always grateful. I hope the new members  took away  from the talk , the uniqueness of the sport and that more than just an activity it is very much a lifestyle.

Each day despite the soreness and the self doubt and the early morning sesions , I am thankful , I am healthy , and I get to see another beautiful sunrise. Sometimes the soreness and pain and even injury and illness are markers of  how much more we have to appreciate.

Today I learnt I am surrounded by more like minded fellow triathletes . I have a common bond with many who swim , bike and run . I have a larger family of friends . I joked that all the sayings about triathletes are true..I have a different wardrobe mainly tri gear and T-shirts and my car is filled with 3 bags for different training sessions and my bike on some days, I spend more time on my bike than with my wife. ...the list goes on.

But in the final analysis , despite all that is difficult , what triathlon teaches  is with belief all is possible. A small example is the story about   Trish Dowling , a paraplegic who did an ironman race, which I came across on Dennis Tan's face book page .Dennis is doing his first Ironman and he said today despite the training he could not help smiling. Dennis also put up a really good piece about being ready for an Ironman . Here is a similar version Am I ready .

At the bottom of Trish Dowling's webpage is a very apt line.... "Are you winning your Human Race"

A Big week

Wednesday 9 November

Morning: Swam 3.1 km comprising 600m free warm up followed by further 400m free . 8 x 50m made up of 25 fist and 25m free .Main set 300m, 250m, 200, 50m x 2 at threshold down 2 x 50m backstroke and free. A relatively hard session.
In the evening I got home late from work so i ran from home and did  approximately 9.3km it was dark and it was slow.

Thursday : I managed to get out by 5.20am and rode round the river with 3-4 efforts . I had breakfast at Ekka where the Exceed group met up. In the evening i rode home making a total of 68km .

Friday : I got up early and went to the pool and began swimming before the session started. I managed 3.2km with a 1000m warm up and then 200m of medleys and then the main set was 9 x 200m building to the last 100 m being fast. Then just did a 200m cool down.

In the evening I did a 10km run but it was very slow.There was a strong headwind and I was travelling very slowly. I did a 10km run in just over 1 hr. My slowest run but I felt quite lethargic at the end of the busy day.

Saturday: It was my longest ride for a while. I left at 5.45 am and rode from home .It was slow going with lots of traffic lights which made for a lot of stop /starts . I struggled a bit on the ride down and finished 86 km in just over 3 hours. I then pushed harder on the return leg. Finished the ride in 6.17 .It was slow going but I am happy with the pace on the Freeway bike path. I felt pretty comfortable on the ride and only around 60km did  I start getting a niggle in the back but it settled after 30kms and   I  was pretty comfortable on the way back.  I seemed to feel that the ride down was tougher .  There were not as many riders on the bike path as in previous weeks .Presumably everyone is starting  to taper with 3 weeks to go.

The ride into the city and back were slow as there were lights and a pedestrian bridge to get over , but once I was on the Freeway bike path I managed to get into a good pace. There was a fair bit of wind about and I just had to remain focused.

It was a slower ride by comparison to my rides earlier in the year but I got off the 180 km ride feeling pretty good  possibly because I ate a  lot  on the bike . A whole bag of sweets and dates which would have been about 200gms , 4 gels of 160 gms of carbohydrates , I bidon of 70 gms of Gatorade and  3 more of water  with salt and electrolytes. No cramping issues and I did not bonk. I had a few issues with the bike as it was making some real weird nosies and felt like the crank was not funtioning properly. It may have been the chain coming into contact with the front  derailleur during the ride .

I was a little sore the next day but did an easy 30 km recovery ride on my way to Tony's . We were going to do a swim but in the end he had pain in his hip and there was no one swimming at the Cott so I did not fancy swimming alone . We had coffee and I rode home  and swam at the Inglewood Pool . I did a leisurely 2.1km swim.

It was probably not critical that I finish every session this week. It is 3 weeks to the Busselton  Ironman and I must say mentally I have been tired of training especially in the rain. I am not quite at race weight and the wheezing and asthma issues will be something I have to just work round for the race. But overall , my preparation has been good. I have not had any injuries and just 1 or 2 colds. Despite the wettest training lead up to an Ironman , I  have been lucky. I see these past 4 months as a real build period for a stronger 2012.

It has been more a mental challenge this time round and more about the Heart . Just grinding out the sessions has been counter productive and I think the weeks I change the programme and ditched some of the activities has helped. My swimming has suffered a little and I will have to refocus some of my energy next year towards getting more efficient.  It isn't a large component of a Tri but it would be great to be efficient .

Swim: 3.15 hrs or 8.4 km
Run: 5.10 hrs or 55km
Bike : 12.10 hrs or 333km

Total : 20.55 hrs

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Change the world

Last weeks training flat lined with a head cold and just a flat attitude. It had been a good rest and I have refocused .It is the constant theme this time round , motivation but I am comfortable with the work done. It has been about right and kept me sane.

A Brief summary of last weeks training before I succumbed to my head cold and coughing fits.
In the morning it was back in the pool .Did a 500m warm up with fins and then drills for another 800m and then the main set was 3 x 200m firm , 100medium and 100 firm .Cool down I did a 100 free , 100m kick and 100m free .Total was 2.8km

In the evening I ran with the Running centre although I started out with the slow group and ran by myself before I was overtaken by the fast group at the 5km mark. I continued running through the University and then back via the river pathway. it started to rain about four kilometres from the end .Another wet training run . managed 13km in about 1.10 .A little .

Thursday: I struggled to get out of bed and kept trying to get a few more minutes in bed  .Eventually got out of bed and out of the house. It was a river loop and did just over 50km .Then to coffee and a breakfast tart .Rode home making it about 68 kms

I have since learnt that all the coughing was just my asthma playing up with the high pollen count and my training rate increasing especially the running and the lack of taking my Ventolin medication.

It was pretty bad and  I was coughing in run training and struggling to keep up the pace.

On Monday this week it came to a head when I ran at lunch time I had another attack and just could not stop coughing. I finished the run but I was really tight around the chest . I started to take my Ventolin and it made a difference .I ran again in the evening and did about 22 km altogether.I did get pretty wet in the evening with the rain coming down at the 4km mark .

Tuesday was a good day with the weather holding in the morning. i did a 2 hour session with about 1.20 at hard pace. I rode mainly on my own and the wind was really hard. I managed to keep a good pace and averaged about 31kph with the ride back to the city. I Did ride with the exceed group for 1 lap and then jumped onto one of the faster exceed groups but could not stay with them . In the end I just rode on my own and finished the session still feeling good. I could have gone harder but I think it was about right. Managed about 60kms.

In the evening it was run training with Brad Hosking. It rained again. We did a 1km easy warm up and then 2km comfy run before starting 3 x 12 minutes at threshold pace which was 4.38 minutes per km for me. This was followed by a 2minute comfy run for recovery between each run. I ran about 12.5km Not as much coughing.Legs are pretty tired after Tuesday's double session.

The next 2 weeks are the last 2 hard weeks so I will just have to put in the effort.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

This is Your Life

Trolling through Facebook and the various tri related websites , I came across a short piece on the San Diego Triathlon Challenge , fundraising for Challenge triathletes.  . Like many motivational clips this hits the spot.Feeling down and sorry , Had a hard day , training not going as planned...the list goes on. We all have our ups and downs. Well just have a look at the clip. If these kids and challenged triathletes can give it a go , then who am I to complain.

Which leads me to this interesting collection of words called the Holstee Manifesto ( Holstee )....

A jumble of words to live by .Life is Short and Share your passion ....Have a passion. This is mine. What is yours?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Tumultous week

Perth was the centre of attraction for the past few days with CHOGM .It was over before it started and I am still not sure what was achieved other than a great get together of Commonwealth leaders and the Queen came to Perth  and we all had a traditional sausage sizzle on the front lawn of the city.

The weather was good as well . I had a good break from training .By Sunday , Australia was in the grip of the QANTAS debacle. Everything in the world today is escalated manifold by the manner the press reports and re -reports everything instantaneously .We don't get news once but a multitude of times and versions.Every iota of information is squeezed out of a story and with it peoples sense of perspective. We are jaded with death , war , casualties , disease and famine because we see so much of it everywhere. Same for the QANTAS lock down and stopping its service.

I enjoyed the Chasers QANTAS parody put up on face book again even though it was from the series Chaser 4 years ago. Very apt.

Monday: I slept in as usual but did my long run in the evening.It was pretty warm at about 5.15pm and I ran to Nedlands about 11km and ran back. it was undulating and managed a 5.30 pace for the first 11km and then got a little slower as it got darker .partly as I did not drink anything till the 17 km mark . but the legs held up and managed a 22km run. The longest since the marathon. I just need to focus on keeping the pace steady . I was a little erratic with my mind wandering and the pace dropping off.

Tuesday : Always a hard day following the long run .I was up and out of the house by 5am .I had a 1.5hr hard speed work ride at Nedlands. Did not quite do 1.5 hrs but overall did just under 2 hrs of riding with most of it at speed. I averaged just under 32km overall and probably was just above 33 kph for the nedlands loops. I managed 57kms. The legs were sore at the end. As everyone else had an easy week I was alone doing the loops. Tried to chase down some cyclist and I managed to catch up with them before they would take off up an incline and leave me behind. But is was good to be doing some speed work finally.

In the evening , I had interval sessions with Brad at the WA Athletics Stadium. It was a warm up and then 3 , 4, 5, 4, 3 min intervals at "I "pace which was now 4.12 for me with the same amount of recovery accept with 1 minute of the recovery time spent in the Plank position to strengthen the core . I was OK for the first 2 interval sessions but struggled with the next 3 recording at  just above I pace of 3 secs ,9 sec and 6 secs  for the last 3 intervals. It was then a slow cool down .I ran a total of 10kms. I was tired and my throat was very sensitive to the air and I was spluttering and coughing a bit.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Home Stretch - IM Programme for NOVEMBER



Saturday, October 29, 2011

How good are you

Lance Armstrong ,once said that endurance triathletes are always running away from something. not necessarily true . they may be running towards something.

It is nice to be able to have taken time to reflect and sit back. This is my easy week. I get to take it easy and recover .

I rode on Thursday and Friday and it was easy rides with a bit of heart pumping bits in it. A little different to the programme .but I kept to much of the core work outs. Saturday was a rest day as I rode on Friday and I will swim tomorrow as well.

The next 3 weeks will be the next hard block of work and then it is the Taper. It is great to reflect back on a not so perfect preparation but see the pit falls and issues of the past 6 months of preparation. Primarily it is a long training year for me with other stresses and I have had to dig deep for motivation .But I have kept to my core work outs and I have been fortunate to have had only a few near misses with accidents and injuries but survived so far.

I don't think I   am running away but always towards something....chasing a goal  and a destination. I haven't quite arrived.

It is to have prepared and raced the perfect race . And the journey there has been to learn , to absorb and to try and help where I can. Hence this Ironman at Busselton is for a purpose . To help the group I am involved with  EDAC and I will be making another push in the next few weeks to fund raise again.

The long weekend has been a great pause in the preparation. The question is Not How Good YOU ARE But Are YOU Prepared to Step Up and be Counted.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


The Economy of Happiness

I have an easy week of training this week . Thankfully . I needed it .Although on Sunday as we relaxed after the swim and joked about training I recall my wife berating me for being a gym junkie and spending everyday at the gym doing classes. In those early days of working out,  it turned out the maximum amount of physical training I was doing was a whopping 5-8 hours a week .Nothing like the 15 plus hours now and certainly not the 27 hours a week in my first IM programme.

The easy week is not such a feature in many programmes and for me the only real difference will be the long run and ride are dropped. Otherwise it remains just as heavy. The only difference this week is with the wet weather we are having I  may miss a few sessions and move them around.

On Monday it was a light day with a swim in the evening. I did a 2.4km swim with 600m warm up followed by a 600m, 500m, and 400m and medium pace and then 300m cool down . I did not swim with the squad today as I started early.On Tuesday it was a wet rainy morning so I skipped the ride and ran in the evening. I had a hard session with a lot of coughing from the chest probably from the hay fever and lingering infection. We did a warm up and then 1 km , 2km and 3km at threshold pace of 4.38 min/km . with a 1,2,3minutes recovery after each run. I did about 11km all up.

This week Perth is the centre of attention with the CHOGM ( Commonwealth head of States meeting) Lots of dignitaries and the city in lock down. There are lots of activities being hosted and I may go to the barbecue for the Queen on Saturday if the weather holds up . But I will be working my training schedule round the activities .

Having said that , After today's session , as I listened to the radio discussion on the economy and Australia, in particular the protest in New York and Europe , we do have a lot to be thankful for. The uncertainty of the economy in the United States and Europe will impact on the world and these next 6 months can be a significant turning point of how this whole sad situation will play out.

What is evident and is reflected in training for endurance sport. ,sometimes being frugal and economic with your energy is critical to performance. It is not the biggest engine that wins but the most efficient engine that wins. Similarly , why work and why have debt. The crisis we see unfolding in a simplistic way and I have stated before is a combination of greed , lack of regulation, and living in a state of accumulating debt or simply spending more than we have. In some situations that is necessary.

I am not an avid fan of pure market capitalism with no regulation. The unevenness of information demands state control of the capital market to make it work properly. The lax regulation and the many countries like the United States and some European States having huge deficits will and does come home to roost.

Only 50 years ago ,  in my parents generation , it was never the norm to be in debt and whilst the past 25 years has seen significant growth in the value of housing , I somehow don't see that happening in the future and so our main asset is not going to keep up with our rising depth if we spend more than we have.

Which leads to the question why train to be economic with energy because by being efficient one can complete the race with the least amount of energy. (which is a finite resource in a race) Similarly why spend more than you have ? Why do we work and live a stressful and unhealthy life.? If we have no valid response , we really are not living an efficient economic life.

Should we measure the State of our lives like the Country of Bhutan , a happiness meter .Although Bhutan is not a model country of happiness with its share of a dark history of  treatment of Nepali speaking Bhutanese.

How happy are we each day and more importantly what makes us happy are the questions. Somehow how wealthy we are or how many worldly goods we have may not really cut it.

I work and train and spend time with my family because I am passionate about what I do. I enjoy it and the money is important but secondary. I strive to be good and to achieve a good result. It is a race , a race to win. Winning is measured not by finishing first but having done the best I can. That in turn makes me happy.

Fortunately , a lot of what I do does not cost  a lot relatively. Well the bike does but when I take the number of hours I use my bike it is actually very economic.

What is the point . Simply , in the turmoil of modern life with competing pressures and the huge gulf of wealth between rich and poor, learn to distill what makes YOU happy and strive to achieve your true potential .

For me it isn't about the dollars , it is about satisfaction and the moments you cannot buy, the memories of collectively what we call your life. The more it is filled with these treasured moments , the happier I believe you will be.

There are somethimg's money can't buy
For everything else there is......