Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Plan Begins

The training begins .No excuses .

I am inspired by Chuckie V 's recent blog post and McCormack's book :

I can only be as good as I can be .That is what I aspire to with the limitations of everything within and outside my control.

Chuckie V says  in :Happiness , Ambition and Pursuit

Of all the goals an athlete might possess I believe the most noble is that of reaching our ultimate potential, or at least giving an honest attempt in reaching our ultimate potential. Basically, making the most of our capacity. By the way, capacity is what we're capable of; capability is what we actually accomplish.
Its not about winning . McCormack is right about one thing ,the title in his book .I am here to win .All I have to do is Win. Winning for me is to reach my ultimate potential. It is that journey that I have blogged about and it is that walk we take each day that sets us apart from those who meander . It doesn't make one journey better than the other. It is a different experience.

Chris's other notable quote for me is:
The process of being a triathlete – training, surpassing limitations, developing strategy, finding the strength to endure the suffering – is transformative. You become a better person when you manage to do something as insane as swimming, biking, and running 140.6 miles in the same day.

I had a look at the masses of paper and information I have gathered in 5 short years .I have a picture of me biking and running my first triathlon. I was big and I was slow but it was transformative.

I have designed what I hope is a helpful and instructive plan to training for an IM .

Ross's response:

Well I got to look at your program and these are the figures I got from it on the first few weeks.

7 days a week and no break within the first month

Swim 3 hours per week, but I know you want to swim more

Bike 7 hours but that is at minimum and would increase more i think if you are riding to and from work as you say

Run is 7 hours per week with 2 interval sessions back to back and one long run.

Totals hours is 17 hours per week with increases to 20+ if the extras you told me about take place.

It is a lot of hours so early in the 18 weeks. It will not kill you but it seems a bit over the top. Good luck with it and keep me informed as to how you feel.

I think you will not be able to sustain it for 18 weeks and I think you will go into Busso really tired. I know you would love to go to Kona, but are you sure this will get you there.

Keep me informed as to how you are feeling along the way.

Good Luck

As I responded to Ross the hours are a little high but not as high as some programmes I have done or seen and is a result of the preparation for the City to Surf  with a recovery week after each 4 week cycle and a rest day on the Sunday after August .Further Thursday is a relatively light day as it is really an hour of efforts , either hill efforts or windtrainer with the rest of the riding at an easy pace. Well time will tell.

To paraphrase Macca .Why did he continue to race after so many failures at Kona . Simply because "I am madly in love with the journey of being an triathlete. I can't wait to see what's to come around the next turn".

I feel the same way . Let the journey begin.

The Dream

Perth's wild stormy weather here to stay
Running on Wednesday night was a new experience.Perth was on a weather alert with gale force winds and rain due at about 5.30 .I ran up to the Running Centre and the group took off at about 5.30 with a 12km run .

It started to rain soon after and it was quite dark.About 4km into the run in King's park it started to belt down and my spectacles got really fogged up and running in the dark was hard.I started with the slow group but the re were 4 of us ahead of everyone and it was a 4.40 pace which was hard going for me .The two front runners and the fast group just pushed on ahead. I ran by myself for most of the way after the university turn off which was about 5.5km into the run. It was then along the river and the rain was just coming down with the lightning and the cars with their bright lights blinding me . There were a couple of times I got drenched by the car spray from several vehicles . It was an experience. Two of the girls running , passed me and I soldiered on. It was really not a night to be out .My wife was berating me for running in the rain with the weather warning. "You are not only obsessed ,you are stupid as well". Loving words of concern. Well I wasn't the only dumb one .There was fellowship in stupidity with 15 others .

I only managed a 10km run and I was soaked. I don't revel in the exploit. It was just a training run and it was good to be out despite the conditions . It was cold and wet but it made the day all the more complete. I recall my epic ride to Toodyay 2 years back and coming down Redhill in the rain. All these memories go into the bank of experience and makes the race all that sweeter.

I sat on my wind trainer on Thursday and tried out the Hills DVD from Carmichael. I did another wind trainer session on Saturday with a half hour run as well.On Friday I managed a swim session but little else .I was suppose to run on Sunday but just fell into a bit of a lazy hole with the weather and went to watch Harry Potter . I know ... I do need to get a life outside triathlons and training.I did have time to finish up my Programme and will post it on the blog.

I am happy with it and there is room to fine tune the daily workouts.

I am finishing McCormack's book and beside the great quotes its a simple read with his insight .I don't take a lot away from the book as far as how to improve and it doesn't quite get deep into his psyche and what makes him tick.Maybe it does scratch the surface and proves what I already knew ,he is a great athlete with a very tough mental attitude. I don't quite buy the mental games he played but if it worked for him that's fine.

I do take away a simple fact . A Goal is a Dream with a Plan ( chapter 14 of his booke). I now have a Plan.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Training Start : The edge of ......

My training is starting with earnest.I am back on the treadmill .

Monday I did a 15 plus run with 7.5 at lunch time and the rest in the evening with a short swim of 35 minutes .

I had a short radio interview at 6 EBA Etnic Ability , a radio programme in Perth run by EDAC about Triathlon and my fund raising campaign for Edac .I hope to promote the campaign again in the next few months in the lead up to Busselton.

On Tuesday I was up early .A first after many weeks of sleeping late. I rode with the group from EXCEED and it was a relatively easy session with 4 x 5km sprints.I rode a lap of the course before the start as I was up pretty early and saw Michelle training with an hour and half of laps in her preparation for Kona.

This will be the toughest preparation leading to an Ironman Race with my commitment to work and family and my other activities taking up a lot more time than previously. Juggling all these commitments is going to be interesting. I have finalised ,y programme with minor changes allowed for with life getting in the way of a good programme.

I will post the first month for anyone interested in a guide for IM training.The mistakes are mine to make . That is the uniqueness of Triathlon . There is so much to learn and whilst I can't do much about the genetics there is a diverse view about optimizing methods of training , nutrition and the psychology of racing.

Finishing my read of Chris McCormack's book " I am here to win" with many good quotes.My favourite presently is: I am Not much for affirmations , but the one thing I say to myself before every race is , "EMBRACE THE SUCK" Because no matter how much you love being a triathlete , at some point a race is going to really , really suck.

Chris McCormack

And finally in the week of preparation for me :

"The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare." Sun Tzu, "The Art of War"

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Do We Need Heroes

Just when they said it couldn't be done ... a happy and triumphant Cadel Evans and friend on his victory parade in Paris on Sunday. Photo: Getty Images
Read more: Sydney Morning Herald

Viva Cadel . The Tour De France is over and Cadel Evans, the true blue Aussie has conquered all and become the first Australian to win the Tour De France and the oldest winner in 88 years to boot.

He is a Hero or is he? Well for the purist he probably isn't but for many in Australia he is. He embodies the qualities we desire, secretly wish we had or aspire. He has reached the pinnacle of his sport. He has triumphed in the face of the competition, the weather and the terrain. He reflects what it is to be a Sportsman and a Human Being. He is a clean skin in a sport that tragically has lost its moral compass at times - blinded by the pursuit of success at all cost.

Gone are the days of sports in the unadulterated pursuit of result and achievement but with integrity.Money has sullied the thrill of watching and participating for the glory and nothing else.

A hero in normal parlance means (Wikipedia):

A hero (heroine for females) (Ancient Greek: ἥρως, hḗrōs), in Greek mythology and folklore, was originally a demigod, their cult being one of the most distinctive features of ancient Greek religion.[1] Later, hero (male) and heroine (female) came to refer to characters who, in the face of danger and adversity or from a position of weakness, display courage and the will for self sacrifice—that is, heroism—for some greater good of all humanity. This definition originally referred to martial courage or excellence but extended to more general moral excellence.

Stories of heroism may serve as moral examples. In classical antiquity, hero cults that venerated deified heroes such as Heracles, Perseus, and Achilles played an important role in Ancient Greek religion. Politicians, ancient and modern, have employed hero worship for their own apotheosis (i.e., cult of personality).

It takes many forms and is probably overused. Following Cadel's win there was both the cry of joy and championing of our hero Cadel. Even a call for a public holiday to honour his success. There were the, I presume largely non sporting commentators and public who just wondered what the fuss was about. He just won a cycle race. On talkback radio on ABC in Perth there were even callers who rang to voice their disagreement about the use of the term 'Hero'.As one caller pointed out, a hero was someone who saved a life, fought in a war or put his life on the line for someone else get the meaning. But winning a cycle race that ain't a Hero.

I don't plan to add to the dichotomy of views. Just mine. In my eyes I have people I admire and aspire to follow. Mahatma Gandhi , Nelson Mandela, my Father and many others for their moral fibre, their resilience and unfettering faith and belief in what is right. If only I had an ounce of the conviction and strength of great men in the ages gone, particularly in the complex world where all is not as it may seem. How would I act in a crisis? Will I be up to the challenge?

And I have my sporting heroes. They are a different breed with different qualities. My earliest memory a a young boy playing soccer in Singapore with the neighbours brings back memories of my favourite Club Manchester United. I think everyone supported them . They rose above the tragedy of losing an entire Soccer team . Sepp_Maier the German Goalkeeper was another hero. George Best for his skill but not his alcoholism. In more recent years I admire the triathletes such as Alexander Crowe, Chrissie Wellington, Macca and loads more. They are my heroes for the qualities in the sporting field. Their single minded strength to take the fight up to the competitor, their inner demons and the conditions.

I come from a sporting family and I learnt a lot from being on the sports field. I had good and fair coaches. who taught me to do the right thing, not to cut corners and to be fair yet hard. It was simple and morally easy on the field but it was my training ground. In 15 years of hockey I had never been sent off .

What has all this got to do with the title. Well, simply we do need heroes. It could be your dad or mom or the person next door, your child, the local policeman or woman. The kid who stood up to the bully. The man who went to the aid of an accident victim. But they  inspire us to be a better human being. To reach for what we thought may not have been attainable.To make the world a better place, to leave it just a little better for having us in it.

I still recall in my initial foray into the sport of Triathlon and how I was awe struck at the fact that some triathletes had completed an Ironman. My one wish at that moment was to try and complete an Ironman. My heroes were the guys I swam with and ran with and cycled with and they are still my heroes.They were not super human. They were everyday people doing extraordinary things. Would I have aspired to push myself without heroes. Maybe. But they made the journey easier by the markers they placed in forging a path for me. My heroes have been a compass for my aspirations and achievements. I believe it has made me the person I am.That I wish to be.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Tiring Week Doing Nothing

Perth Celebrates Cadels Win

Time is rushing by as the weeks start rolling by. Its been a terribly quiet week training wise with lots of work and long days and little sleep with the TDF.. I got in a swim on Monday evening and that was about it.
The rest of the week was spent at work and by the end of the day I was just too drained to get out into the cold and run. Having said that it was just nice to have a change of pace and not be under any strain but my run training has suffered with the lack of it.

But it was an inspiring week watching the TDF with Cadel Evan winning the time trial.

Followed the TDF on the SBS TDF website and the Official TDF website.

I have spent lots of time reading especially drawing up my programme for next month and had my parcel from Wiggle with my runners and a DVD from Carmichael training on Climbing.I hope to have a mix of riding my wind trainer and working on the road especially with the weather now.

It also allows me a little more flexibility and a more balance allotment of time in training and staying at home.

It is shaping up to be an interesting experiment in training as I try and put the jigsaw together . My lack of running fitness is always going to be an issue as there is always going to be difficulty in making the improvements I want in the limited time I  have with the commitments I have presently.The work load this year will get harder and as such it will be more trying making up the training hours I need to do fit into the rest of my life.

I am enjoying the calm before the storm.

Finally I console myself in my lazy week as in all things always try to aim for balance. Extremes on anything is bad. It also doesn't allow you to achieve the best you can be. I came across the article
I read an article Ten reasons exercise is bad for you by Ben Greene.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

You Might THINK

Weezer - You Might Think (The Cars cover) by Cover Me

I had a quieter weekend but the start of a productive one.

Managed a hard wind trainer session.A first for several months as I return to my bike on the wind trainer.I followed one of Troy Jacobsens spinervals and did 2.5 hrs before hopping onto the thread mill to run for 15 minutes .This was coming off a 17km run the previous night so the legs were sore.

I just didn't know how sore.My son was my domestique although he would only bring me Starburst snakes which are really just chewy sweets shaped liked snakes and would not get me any water so I had to have one water stop. He did begin to tell me all about Pokemon characters he collected . That was a long bike session.

It was especially hard having to ride standing with the cassette at 23 .
That really hurt as I was practically running on the bike and my quads were just burning up.

I made the fatal mistake of assuming I would recover by Sunday and did a long run.The plan was to try and do 30km but I was really slow and tired and managed 20km in 2 hours .A very slow run.The reality of compressing 3 days of fairly hard sessions without any build and rest.

Had to cut the run short because I had to take Jonathan to watch Cars 2 .My weary bones got a rest and my brain could switch off . The music and animation was good but it was after all a kids movie so don't expect a major storyline. If anything it had a simple story. Be yourself and don't expect your friends to be anything other then themselves. Or don't judge a book by its cover .Everyone has their talents if you can get past the cars talking bit. But Jonathan enjoyed it .

Finally starting on my programme for Busselton which will be up in August.
Welcome comments and criticisms.

And finally I had a read of some interesting and not so interesting articles;

Niki Gudex : Mountain Biker

  1. Wayne Goldsmiths piece on the Top ten effective habits of a Coach
  2. Mens health : Sexiest Female Athletes in the World
  3.  Hamburg ITU Race Report
  4. Bike rack as Art Competition at the Power house Museum
And if  a wind trainer session isn't mind numbing enough,  in one of my more delirious moments whilst trying to remain focused on the session I thought it would be nice to get a group of triathletes together and do my own spinerval .Beats a calender any day.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Lazy Days In the Spotless Mind

The weekend was relatively easy with me sitting at the computer monitoring races .There was Roth which had live coverage and 2 world records set. Raelert and Wellington both smashed the current Ironman world records for both the men's and women's event.

The men's record is now 7.45 and the women's is 8.18. Did not see them cross the line but the atmosphere at least from the  live cameras looked great .Its a race on my to do radar in the future.The other race on the weekend was Ironman Switzerland with several triathletes from perth doing the race.

Other than staying indoors I did ride on Saturday morning with the Exceed group but got dropped at Point Walter Road and then caught up with the stragglers just before the city.It was a cold overcast day and hard just trying to find my cycling legs.

I was meant to run on Sunday but just slept in and in the evening the weather was just looking miserable so I gave it a miss.Others with greater fortitude did venture out for their long run. I decided to run after work on Monday and it was just damp , cold and dark as well.Managed 17km in a reasonable pace of 5.18 just above my Vdot pace of 5.11.

At breakfast after Saturdays ride I had a lengthy chat with Ross and will show him my programme which I decided I will design myself . I have read enough and done had sevral programes I  think to be able to manage my own plan. I will put it up on my blog as I roll it out for anyone who wants to have a look at an ironman programe . I will continue to ride with the group but a large part of the training will be on my own.

The new financial year has started and I have to renew my membership with TWA . Unfortunately I have to join a Triathlon Club and given my training arrangements , just the practicality of the location , the group I am training with and Ross I will probably be joining Exceed .Although after 5 years , 3 of which as a  North Coast Committee member , my heart is very much with North Coast  and I will remain as a social club member for the sake of continuing to have a  connection with the club.

Read a good piece on the competitor website by Torbjorn Sindballe :

The mental Game of Triathlon
It is so much a mental game .
The rest of the week has been a daze of work so no training .Need to get out of this rut soon but no pressure yet.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Nothing Really Matters ....accept the Commitment

Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person.”
Albert Einstein

The week rolls by.I have had a very easy week of mainly running.I had a rest day on Monday after a Sunday of  morning and evening runs totaling 21km .It was a fast morning run at  4.31 pace and a slower 6min per km run in the evening. On Tuesday , my first morning start with an hour of power ride with Exceed. It was cold and I rode with the girls and felt comfortable.did not push myself and in the evening I did a 13 km run with 3 x 1600 m at hard pace. I managed the first 1600 at 7.15min pace and then slowed for the other 2 1600m runs.But I will do the 6 x 800 m runs next week to see if I can maintain them at 3.30m pace.

I had another rest day on Wednesday and on Thursday I was too lazy to get out of bed to ride to work so I just ran in the evening.It was dark and cold. A couple of people said hi to me in Kings Park but I have no idea who they are.I managed a nice easy pace so I was happy with the run. I started with a hill climb and ended with a series of runs up the hill and did just under 11km.I unfortunately lost the data downloading it .Not quite sure what happened.

Whats important in the world this week . Roth turns 10. There are loads of races on . Marino Vanhoenacker smashed the Ironman World record time this past weekend in Austria in a time of just 7:45:58.Breaking the previous record of 7.50.
Craig Alexander smashes the record at Coeur D’Alene and books his ticket to Kona.Kate Bevilaqua won Ironman Korea at Jegu and is also on her way to Kona.

The week for me has been a lazy one as I meander thru winter planning and doing more planning , with work being a priority.But eventually the preparation and contemplation and study must stop.I am definitely overwhelmed with the information I have managed to read on Triathlon and training on the Net . But cutting through all the issues ultimately its about commitment and getting on with it. Chuckie V has written another great article :

Routine Training Programme

A timely slap in the face reminder that lounging about in winter is good for the soul in small doses but in the Endurance world if you want to get as good as Chrissie , you do have to put in the effort. Chrissie wrote on her blog recently about Nutrition the fourth discipline in triathlon. Its your body is your temple so'watch what you eat ....something I find hard to follow .there goes the commitment .

Meditation isn't enough . Chuckie adds that  most of the triathletes running past me probably trained  harder and longer than me. But with work and family , sacrifices and balance and planning all come into the equation. Get it right and it can be done.

Free Triathlon training programme

I am now pouring over programmes and articles on training as I start my preparation for Busselton.Accommodation is booked and the effort , sweat and tears and most of all the adventure begins again.

Enjoy the ride.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Going Fishing : A matter of Principle

“Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.”

- Henry David Thoreau

I have started a slow build back.I had the king of the Mountain run on Sunday and I was sore so Monday was a rest day .I ran 12 km on Tuesday with 3 x 1600m at threshold pace .I was doing about 5min per km pace accept for the last 1600m when I fell apart .Managed the 12 km in about 1.15 although I am not sure if the Garmin was accurate at the start as it was still locating the satellites. I somehow lost the data and so did not have anything to download.It was a gruelling slow run in the dark around kings park.

On Wednesday , I hiked up to the Running Centre to join the group.It was a large group and I took off with the slow runners and we were quickly overtaken by the fast runners and I stayed with them . They were running 4.30 min per km pace and it was hard to stay with them I struck up a conversation with one of the guys who is heading over to Switzerland this Sunday for IM Switzerland . He sounded real fast so I presume he will be hunting for a Kona spot.

As the Garmin will show it was a fast run for me despite the slow start.Averaged under 5minutes in respect to moving pace.

On Thursday I was meaning to ride to work but just slept thru and instead I ran in the evening a slow recovery run  around Kings park. It was cold and dark again .Did about 6-7 km in 45 minutes.

I  did another run on Friday .It was suppose to be with some hill repeats but I still felt slow in my left hamstring and did one hill and the rest on relatively flat terrain . It wasanother 7-8 km run but it was really slow probably from the fatigue and it was a lunchtime run as I wasn't able to run in the evening.

I had done approximately 56 km since Sunday with a long run on Sunday again. I had a quiet day today and no riding or swimming this week. Iam still trying to work through my plans for the preparation for Busselton.

Which leads to the 3 pieces of reading. The piece by Lindsey on firstoffthebike , Chuckie V blog and Maccas book. All with pearls of wisdom. - Blog - Fishing and triathlon

A matter of Principle

The message I take away from the two pieces above are simply , it is a slow journey ,learn patience, it has to be fun , don't repeat past mistakes, it is a marathon and rest is equally important , and learn how to read your body. The last is extremely hard for me.

Iam now trying to piece together a different nutrition regime and working to a different plan as my body has definitely learnt how to adapt to the old training plans . It need a new impetus to build upon. Will be trying to be open to new ideas and adapting older ones. I do know it is a slow process for me and rest is going to be critical to avoid any injuries.

Finally , the Tour DE France has begun and IM Austria and Korea are on in a few hours. Will be following closely .Wongstar a TBB athelete is racing her final race as a TBB athelete at IM Korea and she has in the 4 years improved her IM times from a post 12hr race to a sub 10 hr race. She has announced her departure from professional racing  The Wongstar; Most exciting news and Looking for clues : TBB Milestone. Brett Sutton 's short message about what the Wongstar has achieved is an inspiration for all .

It is very cliche in Endurance racing to see the metamorphosis of the everyday non athlete into an Ironman .But each has its own story and each its own trail or journey. It is no less inspiring and so enjoyable to watch from the sideline and thru following her blog and others like her. These are the gel moments to energise my own conviction to do my best , to improve. The time does not matter , only knowing what you have done.

As Lindsey Corbin in her short piece alluded to. I am no fisherman and cannot comprehend the joy of fly fishing. Yet is it really about catching the fish ? Yes it is but it is also about how we all go about it . Isn't that it, in the end. Did you have fun and did you do it right?

Finishing a race in a PB time is wonderful. But knowing the effort, the mistakes and  lessons learnt make it all the more sweeter.