Saturday, June 30, 2012


In the past month , I have done very little physically. I have enjoyed the relaxing easy days of non activity. I have gained weight . I have become lazy.

I have not been motivated to get back into training. It doesn't happen only to me. Macca wrote in the Triathlete magazine (June Issue) it happens even to the Pros. Having said that , the countering point in tipping the balance , is that , it is a job and they get back on the Horse fairly quickly.It ain't easy for anyone. I have found it tough as I gear myself for the start of my return to training and a much more time managed daily routine.

Like an Ironman , It starts with the first step. I have learnt by past errors, Motivation will wax and wane but developing habits is the key. It is a slow process and one where life's pressure s will interrupt with many unforeseen daily interruptions. Managing and not fretting too much are key to a balance , successful result.

It was never meant to be easy. For me its like losing weight it is slow and very hard. It does come from sheer repetition and developing good habits. As I start this journey , it does not mean lounging around and having a period of no activity was bad.I think it was necessary to maintain balance and longevity in this sport .It was essential for the body to heal as well.It has meant nearly four months of very little swimming and it shows in my fitness in the pool .

I have recently read a useful article on habits :

Changing Habits beats reliance on Willpower

How companies learn your secrets

Finally Macca in his recent article on Motivation in triathlete magazine confirmed everyone even the pros have their bad days.
There is no secret to recovering , just tips:

Here are his tips:
1) Accept that a lack of motivation is normal, but don’t let it derail you from the ultimate goal.

2) Keep it simple. By that he meant do not over-complicate the training and make the program or routine too important. Training in social environment makes it a bit easier.

3) Time management: Realistic training time frames, don’t try to cram too much into too little time.

4) Rest: Don’t underestimate the power of rest, physically and mentally.

5) “Be process-driven, not always goal-driven. Goals, when set, can be lofty and at times far away.” For this reason it’s important to identify what the goal is – but even more important to know the process you have to put in place to reach that goal. The process is the most important, and understanding how it relates to the bigger picture helps you remain in control of the journey.”
(Taken from a short  article on the BADDOG Multisport coaching webpage even though I have read Maccas piece in triathlete June edition)

Hence as I start out on my program  , I told my coach , the reason I do have a coach is mainly because I can be my worse enemy , I load too much into the program and in the end it is designed to fail. I will do what I can within the time I have.

If there is a secret , I think for me it is to enjoy it for what it is , a lifestyle not a race.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cycling in the City and Mountains

I haven't been cycling for a few weeks now but if there is a reason to get back into it , it is this video.It is a RAPHA clip of a ride round the mountains in Java .Beautifully shot and shows the Hot , Humid and steamy conditions . Beats the freezing mornings at the moment. I am cycling in my mind in Bed at the moment.

I stumbled on this clip from the Outside Magazine. It was filmed by Lucas brunelle over a 3 year period.It is definitely not how you should cycle in any City but makes for great visual theatre.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Picture of Briony Smith Yogi from the Mind body Spirit Website

The Sanskrit word yoga has the literal meaning of "yoke", from a root yuj meaning 'to join', 'to unite', or 'to attach'. As a term for a system of abstract meditation or mental abstraction it was introduced by Patañjali in the 2nd century BC. Someone who practices yoga or follows the yoga philosophy with a high level of commitment is called a yogi or yogini.[6]

Within Hindu philosophy, the word yoga is used to refer to one of the six orthodox (āstika) schools of Hindu philosophy.[7][8] Yoga in this sense is based on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and is also known as Rāja Yoga to distinguish it from later schools.[9] Patanjali's system is discussed and elaborated upon in many classical Hindu texts, and has also been influential in Buddhism and Jainism. The Bhagavad Gita introduces distinctions such as Jnana Yoga ("yoga based on knowledge") vs. Karma Yoga ("yoga based on action").


I have been doing Yoga this year and whilst there is no major break through , I have a greater appreciation for this form of exercise.

It is hard and beautiful. It builds core strength and many professional athletes like Miami heat MVP LeBron James , heavyweight boxer Evander Holyfield, tennis greats Monica Seles and Pete Sampras, all practice Yoga. I find it tough but I will need to double my efforts as it is really a good way of getting that core strength needed for endurance sports . If I can do a handstand then I think my swim stroke will be a lot better.But that is a long way off.

Today's class was made all the more meaningful as I had read a number of articles on Yoga and watched a number of video clips.It was all inspiring. It isn't about looking good or strength , those are by products , it is about a journey of both external and inner discovery. I don't begin to understand or appreciate the philosophy of Yoga but I am sure there aren't many better ways spending a Saturday afternoon learning to be centred.

26 Poses of Bikram Yoga

 Why Every Athlete Should do Yoga

The controversial Video by Equinox.It is beautiful to watch but does it sexualise Yoga. .And what is it with the guy sleeping through the session. I do like it for the beauty and strength .It makes Yoga look graceful but so powerful.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Triathlon Religion

Scott Tinley

In the wintery days of June , I have been  in doors more and reflecting more.

I read some great articles by the  Hall of Famer Scott Tinley .One in particular captured my interest given that Australia Census released its findings on last years census including the issue of religion.

Scott reflected on the question is Triathlon a Religion in the Beginners Triathlete Website.It is a reflection of how serious some of us are about this sport but it is a unique activity and a very young activity .So young that Scott Tinley can claim to be at the birth of the Sport of Triathlon....actually he lived within spitting distance of the first race. He writes an eye witness account of the start of this sport called  36 years in triathlon .The fledgling sport of triathlon in Mission Bay.

There was the purity and the innocence of all new sports . There was a breed of athletes who were challenging the frontiers of what it was to try something different. This soon morphed into the famous Commander Collins challenge in Hawaii and Tinley was there after 1979 .He knew all the greats , Allen , Molina , Warren et al .

“It’s May in 1979 and Tom Warren leaves a copy of that week’s Sport Illustrated Magazine on the front door of the house we’re living in. The issue features his win in February of that year. There’s a note on the cover that says, “You should try this event, Tinley.” He spells Ironman in two words and says, “It’s hard but meaningful. Call me,” he wrote. “I’ll show you how to win at something other than the race.”

It is not only meaningful but as Tinley writes for some it is religion. It begs the fundamental question "what is religion"

Well in the Australian Census there are 65,000 Australians who identify Jedi as their religion. So Triathlon will not be out of place in a Nation that probably lives and breathes sports and is probably one of the unifying factors in being accepted in Australian society.

Tinley comments that the similarities between sport and religion are obvious going back to Ancient Greece.
On the surface both offer places of communal gathering, heroic figures, rituals, and are steeped in a quest for betterment. Sport and religion both celebrate group values and offer excitement and heightened emotions. Sport and religion are grounded in disciplined practice, a devotion to a cause, and a belief in the unseen. And both require faith.
The intersections and overlaps between the two are not hard to identify.
It is a moot point and whilst sport is really a replacement in a commercial secular world where the number of Australians identifying themselves as Christian is falling , I do believe that there is the opportunity to be spiritual in sport and for sportsmen and women to be spiritual, as Tinley points out not in an organised religion.

There lies the point , in that driven regime of training , following the black line in the pool and the empty road for miles and hours , we come to realise that wonderment of peace around us , the solitude of silence and just listening to our heartbeat and breath. In that we may better our souls as he suggest . If that uplifting feeling is what the masses who throng temples , churches and mosque derive , then as Tinley states it is an acceptable justification for our compulsion and religious zeal.

I am sorely tempted to put Triathlon as my religion at the next Census. Why should the Jedis have all the fun.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Sports , the law and Social Media

Lance Armstrong - The Herald sun
Like an Ironman Race , there are many factors which meld together to make for a great result and flawless execution.

I have been hibernating for the past 6 weeks and ruminating on plans and execution of those plans.I have also seen the development of the legalistic nature of sports.The telling examples recently are :

1 Emma Snowsill's failure to win selection to represent Australia at the London Olympics
2 Lance Armstrong's being accused by USADA of Doping and as a result he is not able to compete at this weekends Ironman France in Nice.
I am not a Drug Cheat

Both issues resulted in some form of legal proceedings.In Snowsill's case she appealed the decision which was heard by a tribunal made up of a Chairman QC Barrister .They dismissed the appeal and Emma gracefully accepted the decision. Macca did not appeal but did criticise the goal post moving Triathlon Australia did and the difficulty the Triathletes had in planning for the races they had to perform in.

In the UK , Liz Blatchford a contender for the UK Triathlon team missed the third spot with 2 lower rank Triathletes getting the call up. No Appeal but no real justification other than the possible argument that the junior members  would act as domestiques for Jenkins , not that she would need them.

What is clear , a century ago it was competitive but not complicated.

Norms and Mores on the Tour De France was less sophisticated and drug of choice was acceptable.I am none the wiser and I am not offering up an opinion. The sad reality of sports and the social phenomenon of our media , judgment and comment and innuendo is instantaneous and almost always opinion without foundation.

Two cautionary tales about rushing to judgment in the court of public opinion  .The first is a Rugby league Star falsely accused of a sexual assault .He was cleared but is took a few years .He is still shunned by sponsors. The second is a husband accused of his murder . The Queensland Police have been swamped with comment on their Facebook page (they apparently cannot turn it off) This may have significant ramification in a trial.The Australian reported :
The arrest of Gerard Baden-Clay, over the alleged murder of his wife, Allison Baden-Clay, is the latest in a series of online incidents in which Queensland Police has been overwhelmed by its 290,000 followers posting hundreds of possibly prejudicial comments about cases before the courts.
Last Thursday, following the arrest of Mr Baden-Clay, more than 1500 people reacted to the announcement on Facebook, with many posting inflammatory comments, forcing the Police Service to appeal to users not to undermine the case

Rugby League Star Brett Stewart - Sydney Morning Herald
The Australian -Queensland police Fall Foul of Facebook Followers

We humans are quick to judge and inherently comment .The Internet and social media have made it instantaneous. It brings out the best and the worst . I am slow to criticise simply as in an Ironman race there are just so many imponderables. I am not brave enough to cast the first stone or criticism.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Transcending Pain

To achieve the high most athletes yearn or strive for , there must be a little pain . It may not be  necesarrily true in all instances but we are familiar with the common throw away lines




Well everything is relative.This week listening to the morning radio in the car , the host interviewed a Perth runner who is running the Transcendental 3100mile race in New York. What The  ^&*% is this .

Well there is a race probably reflective of the RAAM for cyclist.and the Deca-Ironman in Mexico  Only 10-15 runners running round a 900m block in Brooklyn for 18 hrs a day for the next 50  plus days . His name is Grahak Cunningham.

A short bio on him on the Transcendental website:

Grahak Cunningham, 32, Perth, Australia

Last year Grahak, in his second attempt, finished 3100 miles in 46 days, 11 hours, setting a new Australian record. He moved all the way up to fifth in the 3100 rankings from 14th place. In 2007 with little multi day experience he completed the 3100 mile race in his first attempt in 50 days, three hours.

The Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race
It is these ultra races which have little monetary reward but are huge mental and physical journeys of self discovery. There is a spiritual purpose as all endurance events allow that search within to achieve . Why , and the answer is basic and so true as stated at the award ceremony last year:
You can call the race a test of strength, will-power, fortitude and a display of rare talent for running nearly 17 to 18 hours a day. The athletes we are honoring tonight have gone deep within themselves to acquire a resolve and determination rarely seen or even needed to overcome any obstacle. The obstacle in this case is formidable- a relentless pile of laps, hundreds of them every day, every week, until the total reaches 5649- the multi day runners’ version of the top- the summit, if you will, of the linear Everest. In addition, along the way their is the ever-changing or ‘always there’ presence of fatigue, boredom, doubt or a feeling of lonesomeness that few of us have ever experienced.

Why Run 3100 miles
There are many reasons to race all no different to all human endeavour of endurance. It is a challenge of discovery and as Sri Chimmoy states :
                      Today's Goal is Tomorrow's Starting point

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Returning To Kona

That Julie Moss Moment

Julie Moss was and is famous for the 1982 Ironman Kona race where she crawled over the finish line coming in second .It galvanised the spirit and captured the imagination of  athletes who took notice of the race and Kona has steadily grown into the iconic event it is.

triathlete magazine: Julie Moss returns to Kona

She is coming back to race this year as an invitee of WTC and she will be racing with the eventual winner in 1982 .A sort of a reunion with Kathleen McCartney . She has the pedigree and last raced in 2003 in Hawaii having retired from pro racing in 1990.
It will be an interesting contest but most of all this time round she will have the wisdom and the benefit of her past travels to enjoy the experience .

I’m looking forward to being present – being really present throughout the day and especially on that run. Hopefully not having pain that would force me out of being present! Acknowledging that the miles are going by, and feeling a flow. Feeling like it’s moving along and that I better pay attention and enjoy it, because it’s going by fast. I humbly acknowledge that the women in my age group have all qualified to be there and it will be a privilege to race alongside them

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A triathlete with E missing from Elite

The Journey as corny as it is , is a task in management , logistics and juggling skills. Juggling everything from your time , people and life.

And here it can make and break relationships. People have actually left their partners because of their unrealistic life. That is chasing a goal that is not going to add much to human endeavour.

Here lies the conundrum .Why race an Ironman .Why race 2 or 3 or more.? No real reason is the simple conclusion and in a lots of ways I can't really justify the inordinate time I spend training with very little tangible improvement and certainly no likelihood of even coming close to challenging the serious age groupers. I am after all a triathlete with the" Ë " missing from ELITE. It is not a negative . It is the truth . But there is an innate  and unquenchable desire to keep going with the wishful hope that I can get better and I can have that "perfect "race.

For this I apologise to those around me who are indirectly dragged through the experience  . They are living it and its consequences day in day out.There lies the sad reality of the unfortunate life of an Iron wife .I have the sympathy of the comments of the blog entry of Matt Kurton in his latest blog entry ,The unfortunate life of an iron wife at 220 Triathlon .

A man who knows that he is, basically, a bit wrong. And who really has spent quite a bit of time getting ready for training, actually training and recovering from training over the course of 2012. Matt Kurton

 The only deluded  benefit / excuse  I can find is , the partner is happy and relieved  they are out doing something that is remotely healthy .(Well the jury is still out on that one as probably the level of training for the average triathlete training for an Ironman is possibly shaving a few cells from the Heart Muscle ) They are excited about something other than sex . Spouses get to travel to exotic places , well sometimes too exotic . Melbourne is fine for an Ironman ....there are lots of shops , my wife reminds me but a small island off the coast of Japan is really not the ideal holiday destination no matter what I say. Its a holiday from each other at the very least anyway .Absence makes the heart grow fonder I keep repeating.

Somethings are just unanswerable .Hence I heartily can only repeat Matt's words of contrite wisdom:

Because we’re sorry. We really are. And we’re grateful. We know we’re a nightmare. We know we’re obsessed. We know you put up with a lot. And we love you for it.
And if we don’t say it enough, well, don’t take it personally. It’s just that we’ve got a brick session to fit in, and it’s looking like it might rain.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Getting in the Zone

Getting In the Zone. This past month I have been doing that .Lots of physio and nothing much else. Its easy to be in the zone when the operating word is nothing.

Unlike others parts of the worlds ,  Perth's climate is conducive to year round training ,but that may not be necessarily good.

I have had lots of time to reflect and prepare .I see this part of the year as a useful exercise not so much in ruminating how disastrous things are /results were  but as a reflection of once you hit bottom it can only get better view of the world.

Its not easy and its all a balance.

That leads to Bob Babbitt's article in Triathlete Magazine June's issue 2012 "Life in a Bubble".
His last line is a gem "I love that if it weren't for the slow guys like me getting our butts kicked  , how would the fast people know they were fast ?The world needs us!"

 In a bubble he discusses the importance of attitude in adversity and when you are having a bad day just work on the positives. that is so true. Hard to put in practice . Staying positive and putting one step in front of the other is just how you get it done. It isn't pretty .

I am hopeful the break , the physiotherapy and slow build will be the good foundations for a better result. Planning starts this month as I start back . Habits and time management become even more important particularly with a very busy work schedule. But without goals we are just aimless boats in a wide ocean drifting around .

*Bob Babbitt
Babbitt has helped push the sport of triathlon to new heights through a myriad of contributions over the past 25 years. His work in the world of multisport media began when he co-founded Competitor magazine in 1987 and helped launch Competitor Radio in 1990.
Babbitt spoke of his first Ironman and the nutrition his crew provided during the race, including a Big Mac, fries and a Coke. “I thought this would take me two days. I had no idea I could do it in one day,” Babbitt said. “So I thought, ‘there’s going to be a band. There’s going to be all sorts of people cheering for us at the finish. This is a pretty impactful event.’ Instead there’s chalk on the road and a light bulb. I hear this voice: ‘hey you, you in the race? You’re done.’”


Pictures from Busselton Ironman 70.3

Picture from Marathon-Pics

The official finish Time was 5.55 slowest yet but a good race to have done .