Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Good Life

Happiness is ....

What makes a good life .Not really the subject of a Triathlete Blog. Well Yes and No

We are but a subset of a wider community of society. We are part of the community .We are very social animals . Triathletes like anyone else interact daily with friends ,work colleagues and family . We are part of society and it is good to think about what makes us happy , What is a Good life.

I won't go into the topic but only in a shallow sense for Books are written about it (see Hugh Mackay's book the Good Life ) Or listen to the interview :

Radio National Australia interview with Hugh Mackay

But in his research , A good life has universally been associated not with comfort or wealth or prosperity  and not even trying to achieve it but a sense of achievement or being productive. We have the ideal of what our perfect life would be but it rarely ever works out as we imagine.

Social researcher Hugh Mackay has come to the conclusion that the pursuit of happiness is a very bad idea.
Broadcast date: Tuesday 28 May 2013
Hugh Mackay has spent decades researching how Australians think and feel about the lives they lead.
He's realised that the relentless pursuit of happiness, mostly confined to the western world, is likely to lead to misery and even depression.
Instead Hugh says we should be living a life that's useful and whole, where there's sadness and grief mixed in with the joy.

It isn't sufficient to want a Good life , We all  must have a plan and have at least thought out how to get there. Like preparing for a race. 

Below is another interesting piece on how not to consciously over achieve as parents and create unhappy kids in later life.Too much of a good thing can be bad.

How to Land Your Kid in Therapy

Why the obsession with our kids’ happiness may be dooming them to unhappy adulthood. A therapist and mother reports.
It is the reforming of our thinking as to what is a Good life , a good man , a Good triathlete is.
It takes having thought and walked through what it means and coming to a cross road. What we want , what makes us happy and what is it that makes for a good life .
Well there is no magic bullet. .But for me it has to be a road to Damascus feeling , a self exploration and realization. No mold fits all. For me , what is the good life now may not be what I foreshadowed 20 years ago. But there are common threads as Hugh Mackay suggest from a sense of achieving and being in community , which includes the difficulties which come with all human interaction .

Now older and wiser , it is a simple existence, it is a moral good. Like training for a triathlon , there is no better feeling or high than achieving  , be it helping someone or finishing a race or a particularly hard workout and achieving a good outcome. Putting in the hard yards and honestly reaping the results. hence some do get obsessed with exercise as a point of returning for that sense of worth .Again balance is critical , and not a Triathletes strong suit .

I remember when feeling really strong , I would  train to the point of really being sick ,but I knew I had given my all . My Tuesday 1 hour hard sessions on the bike were a case in point but the feeling of jelly legs and seeing the average speed going up were priceless. There was a sense of achieving something for the morning.
Not everyone's cup of tea. There are the disappointments as well but they make that moment all the sweeter.  

A good life and a good triathlete for me is one who pursues his life / his triathlon / his goal with a solid moral compass to do good and to do it honestly .Ultimately , the ability to achieve , interact and contribute is really a Good Life

Monday, May 27, 2013

Training With Boris

The Saturday session

It is the off season and no training or little training for the past 2.5 months is now over. I have started back on strength training and a bit of running and cycling.

With every start , the muscles have been tested and sore. I have had 3 sessions of cross fit type work outs with Boris. (that's his nickname ) They are pretty tiring and after the Saturday session my arms and legs were just sore for a few days.

On Monday I have been doing a spin class in the gym just for a change .

Tuesday has been a work out session and I will be cycling in the near future. On Wednesday it was hill repeats at Kings Park for an Hour.Thursday was crosfit again .Feeling the pain from using muscles I did not know I had.

We had a good work out and I did start late rushing from work. It is intense and challenging.I cannot do one pull up presently without bands  but even then with repeated pull ups my arms were /are still hurting.

On Friday , I did a 1.15 bike session around Kings park and Cottesloe and Nedlands and then a 11 km run . It was quite tiring having to carry the weight despite it being a slow run . I did not ride as planned on Saturday as i had a wedding reception to attend and then rushed back for my Cross fit session. called The Engine Fail / 1 hour cut off meaning you probably won't make it to the end before your Engine Fails. The legs were feeling it in the end and my left knee was sore as was my calf .On Sunday I struggled out of bed and ran down the coast . only did a 12 km run . By 10km the left calf wand knee were hurting from the session the night before. I decided it would be safer to rest for the rest of the day.

My first complete week of training .I had dropped about 2 kg and now weigh 78.6 kg .Still massive but heading in the right direction. I have got a meal plan and hopefully if I can follow most of the guidelines I will be able to shed the kilos.

June is the start of  Base training with my Saturday rides back in with a series of great rides planned.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

End of season Coffee Ride

Start of the Ride At Metrio .A few sore heads after the Exceed Club Meltdown the  night before.The hardcore only had 3 hours sleep

Our 2nd coffee stop at Victoria Park
Back at Metrio with Cake from Eleanor the owner

The triathlon season traditionally ends with the Busselton 70.3 which was held last weekend.Exceed triathletes had a good showing with many PBs and podium finishers and at least 5 triathletes from the club heading to Vegas for the 70,.3 World Championships.

With the end of season there was the meltdown party (which I missed )  and the coffee ride  round several cafes. it is  a great way to end the season and was my first ride with the club for quite a few months after IMNZ.  In the main everyone was riding their fixies and it was a cool slow ride on what was a  slightly dull drizzly day but it soon brightened up by mid morning.

We finished the ride with breakfast at  Metrio Cafe and Eleanor the owner baked a cake for the Exceed  group. I was sore after the short ride having got back into some training with a spin class , and doing some weight cross fit training and running the night before. Everything was sore especially after Saturday afternoons session with Boris . 

It should hopefully not hurt as much in the future.

For many in the Exceed Crew , training for Vegas and Kona will be starting up in earnest .There are also members training for the ITU Worlds OD in London as well.So many will be back training in June.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Cycling : The Beauty and the Tragedy

I felt compelled to write about cycling. It is part of my life in a big way and part of training and triathlon.It is also dangerous. why because as a cyclist on a road , we are vulnerable and always come off second best if struck by a vehicle.

Why expose oneself to such danger. Well there is a freedom in cycling and there is a  utility in riding .
There is also a simplistic beauty in the machine. There is the love and simplicity of the machine as portrayed in the short clip I stumbled upon called The Spokesman. hats off to Steven for his love of bikes and preserving them.

The Spokesman from dean saffron on Vimeo.

Then there is the dark tragic side. Death and sadness in all cases avoidable by drivers following basic road rules. I appreciate that in all cities there will be cyclist who behave with no regard to their safety and the road rules but that does not allow drivers to disregard or be reckless with the safety of cyclist especially when passing. In the Nordic states there is a requirement to keep a safe distance and the onus in the event of an accident is on the driver to show he acted properly . Education is vital but in a fast pace  hurried world mistakes and errors occur but I hope drivers learn to give cyclist the attention  and care in as much as a pedestrian or child near a road would expect from a driver .

The death of Richard Pollett in Brisbane on 27 September 2011 and the outcome of the trial against the driver recently highlights the concern in the cycling community .The state must act to protect all road users .

Truck driver Found Not Guilty- Amy Gillett Foundation

Call for cyclist gap to become law

Ghost bike' a haunting symbol of cycling danger Brisbane Times 17 May 2013

In several European countries, the higher standards of duty-of-care for more vulnerable road users include the legal responsibility for car drivers to avoid collisions with cyclists and pedestrians. In these countries the onus is on drivers to prove no-fault when in collisions with pedestrians and cyclists.
It's not just about bike lanes by Jan Garrard at ABC Environment Website

Barber Violin Concerto | 2nd Mvt | 2010 Young Performers Awards | RIP 2011

Richard Pollett was killed 2 years ago cycling on a road .A moment of gross carelessness ended a life .It is incumbent on us as a society to do our utmost to protect all road users starting with the most vulnerable .This means changing attitudes and making drivers  more accountable because that inattention , reckless action can harm the unprotected cyclist on the Road. A needless death , a lost talent and someones son/daughter /parent /friend.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Heavy Weight

Starting back with Molly watching

My slow long recovery and preparation is coming together.It is now 7 months and 4 days to Ironman Busselton 2013.

I only have one race for the remainder of the year and possibly a few marathons and runs in the build up .Uppermost is the focus on strength and weight.

It starts with a visit to a dietitian , Boris , whom I first met  almost 10 years ago when I weighed nearly 100kgs and was on high blood medication.My doctor sent me to Boris to work on a diet plan to get my weight down . That and the start of going to the gym did take the weight off .

What really caused it to drop rapidly was when I started triathlon training and particularly in 2007 when I was at 75 to 76 kgs . unfortunately this year , I have steadily climbed back to 81kgs but the fatigue of training and the injury last year have been a major stumbling block in maintaining a training regime. But there has to be a start to everything. Ideally it would have been better to have been a few kilos lighter starting out but it isn't impossible.

Had an interesting discussion with Boris and will keep a food diary and try to follow a better dietary plan he will draw up.

Chris McCormack wrote about his views on Weight and I largely share his philosophy although I am no where near where I should be weight wise. My best time was not achieved with my lowest weight but close to it.

How Chris McCormack changed weight to speed

Chris McCormack on the Race Weight debate
( Both articles are from triathlete Magazine )

Whilst not the only issue Diet and what I have been eating continues to be a major factor .

After a short break over ANZAC week , I have started back riding on Wednesdays and running on Fridays .Short runs but with the undulation of Kings park it is a good run with company. On Friday night , I was sputtering towards the end .

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Making Of Ironmen

Straits Times Article 3 May 2013

Whilst I have primarily been inactive , this is my vegetative stage . Ironman training and there are several events on this weekend.There is Ironman Port Macquarie with many West Australians racing . There is the Taiwan Challenge race as well. Good luck to the many who have got themselves to the start line.

Enrico was interviewed in the Singapore Straits Times by Lydia Vasko for the lifestyle section about his selection for the Kona Ironman World Championships.His 16th race . A good read and with some great quotes.What caught my eye was the many truths about Endurance racing repeated many times in this Blog and many others.
  1. It is a core group of dedicated athletes who step up.
  2. We all at the beginning thought it was impossible  .
  3. With dedication and a plan , we astound ourselves and others.
  4. It takes time and effort 
  5. Ability and capability are not enough .Desire and will absolutely necessary

As Enrico points out :
Nothing like completing a race to give you a sense of achievement and accomplishment .It is a very strong anchor which you carry with you

There is a growing band of athletes , taking a step into the unknown each day. My Facebook page is filled with the activities and training of these small dedicated group. They provide a beautiful backdrop of the kaleidoscope of training each morning and evening .

My life is much the richer for the friends and acquaintances I have met in this endurance journey. I am reminded how much more enjoyable it is to share that run with friends as I ran round Kings Park this evening with fellow triathletes. ( despite the extra weight and the puffing).