Lots of change

It’s been a very long time and lots of things happened since my last post. It’s been a reallllly long time. 

My 2014 ended and things went a bit downhill. I needed a break and it was good to sit back a bit and not take things too serious. Had a great skiing vacation, went up Kilimanjaro in January 2015 and enjoyed good wine. I tried the odd race here and there and of course suffered due to lack of training and motivation. Work also needed some attention and I focused on that a bit. 

However September 2015 was when life took a turn for the good again. The decision was made to get back in shape and pack the Bulls by the horns. At that time 3T cycling offered the ambassadorship for their wheels and in december Irulan received a new set of shoes that she loves.

  
I did in August 2015 the ironman 70.3 in Durban which was probably my race for the year. I managed to beat my PB but could not duck under the 5 hours. Only had a minute to spare. Should next time pee on the bike instead of stopping.

I went to the world champs slot allocation and received a slot for the world champs 70.3 in Oz Sunshine Coast. Setting myself up for a great 2016.

December vacation was awesome with my love and partner Jennifer. We cycled the wine lands and ran the beach promenade in Cape Town. Of course we drank enough wine too.

In January 2016 things became real and the decision was made to sign up with a coach. I signed up with Raynard Tissink. It’s been an experience in itself. One that saw me doubling my training hours a week and being more consistent. One rest day every 3rd week and trusting the process.

It is paying off the coaching and I already notice and feel changes. I am super excited to race but that will only happen in May. 

So this is my year and I am making it a big one. 

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Ironman 70.3 World champs my most painful moment

To start of I must say. The Ironman 70.3 world championship must be one of the best and greatest experiences in my life. It’s been an event that carried all the emotions known possible. What am experience and definitely would so it again. So to start:

I drove up from Montreal very early Friday morning. Plan was to meet up with friends go for a swim and do the registration. The drive up was uneventful. Snail pace 100km/h on a highway.

Arrived in mont tremblant pretty early and already felt the ironman vibe. How amazing that an entire town and community transformed and supported all these events. You can feel the passion. The bike course was better tarred than the normal highway.

We did our warm up swim in a super clean, beautiful, nice and just perfect temperature lake. Wow reminds me of Austria/ northern Italy.

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Registration was busy. Interesting that they took our weight and no one was able to say why. But in the end I figured it out. Unfortunately during the wrong reason.

The town and atmosphere was fantastic and everyone there is nice, friendly and helpful. Spend way to much money at the ironman shop. But hey you only there once.

Met up with some South Africans at the opening event. They should have reduced the speeches and should have kept it all in one language {English}. It is an international event.

Was nice to have the Saturday kinda off no rushing around to get registered etc. Packed my transitions bags. Broke my valves on my tires twice. Took it to the shop to fix. All good. Did a small ride and run and dinner/carbo load with friends.

Excitement was building and the nervous were staring to niggle. Watch “any given Sunday” and went to bed fairly early. Woke up a couple of times but slept ok. Up early, run, breakfast and coffee. Out early to transition. Get all sorted and ready to rumble.

After ogling the pros bikes, we hit the beach. A few fly overs by a fighter jet and warmed up in water that was 20 degrees vs 7 degrees outside. Loved it.

Gun shot went off and my age group swam. Sighting was easy buoys all the way. A bit of bumping and touching but not too bad. Out in 35 minutes which is fairly ok. Long run into transition.

Out on the bike and that is were everything went south. I was adjusting my shoes as I got on and lost focus and hit the barrier hard. My entire tri bar shifted and loose. My right thigh burned from pain. Bike mechanic saw what happened. Calmed me down. Got electric tape and cable ties and managed to mcgyver my handle bars. Little bit loose and unstable but manageable. Everyone there was awesome and so supportive. They rocked and I am so grateful for them.

A quick body check and I made sure nothing is broken. Few bruises and on huge mother of a bruise on the thigh. All I can think of is to finish the race.

Hit the bike course in pain. Every pedal stroke hurt. Standing on hills was the worst. Everyone was flying passed me.

But what a beautiful and fast bike course. Would love to do it again. Road surface was amazing. On the highway back in you can sit on your tt’s and just smoothly nail it back. Even the last 20k up and down was fantastic.

My worries was the run. Pain was manageable if you don’t have pounding force. Getting of the bike I felt it and I just had to bite through. Strategy turned into a finish it at all cost and don’t give up. I slowed my pace down to a shuffle and ran. No walking was the mission. 1st lap done with Hennie morally supporting me for a bit. Club mates are the best. Second lap I knew that when I am out all I had to do is run back home. At 15k I started a bit of a walk. Had to push and motivate myself. Each aid station I grabbed ice to shove down my pants on my leg.

The last 1km I started to tear up and the emotions if finishing got ahold of me and I was crying over the finish line.

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Earned the biggest medal ever and was so proud of myself for biting through. Got my priorities in gear and focused on food 1st then medic tent.

At the medic tent the nurses weighed me again. Ah now we know to evaluate fluid loss during a race when someone is severely dehydrated. I only lost 2 pounds.

The nurses were uber friendly and the best. Made sure I am comfy. Got me drinks and chatted with me. Doc Philippe came and congratulated me and started diagnosing. Luckily nothing broken just one huge mother of a bruise. ITB’s are cool and ice was needed for the swelling.

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Got discharged and was able to hop away in glory.

Will I do it again. Hell yeah. I have never experienced such a fast race and I just love it want to be part of it. Need to up the training. The pain threshold can handle a lot I learned. Now and the body to work harder.

Loving it ……

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Touch down Montreal – #IM70.3WC

So yesterday I arrived safely and with a few dollars less in my pocket in Montreal. Traveling with a bike can get unexpectedly expensive. The flight was fairly okay as long flights could be. I am glad I did a Lufthansa flight and not via Dubai as that would have just eaten up so much more time.   

So last week the excitement started and I started with the initial packing. I got all my stuff together before the weekend and when it came to loading my bike into the bike box I was so out of it I forgot how to do it. At least after taking a break and having some dinner I was able to figure it out again. I arrived at the airport with 7kg’s overweight …. darn should have loaded more in my hand luggage. That cost me a few extra $ ….. Arrived in Montreal with a slight panic attack when I was not able to find my bike at the Oversized luggage area. Luckily there are two areas and if I only read the sign I would have spared myself from running around like a crazy headless chicken trying to find it. In the end all good, until ….. packing the rental car. Got an upgrade to a midsize car … .yay …. except it is a Ford …. no ….. with seats that fold down ….. yay …. but the space between the seats is to narrow and my bike box does not slip through ….. no. Oh well have to do another upgrade to a mini van …. Mazda this time … no … were are all the german engineering cars. That cost me another arm and a leg. 

Got to the hotel and checked in. Went for a small run in the CBD. Good for sight seeing, luckily only to loosen up the legs and frequent stops at traffic lights were annoying but not an issue. Today I will try and hit the park or at least along the river.  

Montreal is a big city, lots of different cultures, has a bit of an American feeling to it but everyone speaks french with an American twang. 

So today I will do some sight seeing, will have run and a steak. Bed early and tomorrow morning will hit the road to Mont Tremblant. Can’t wait to get there to go see the course and swim, bike and run.

 

 

 

 

 

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Ironman South Africa 2014 – the easterly beasterly

6th of April marked my 2nd full distance Ironman. It was the 10th Anniversary of the event in Port Elizabeth. Now I have done a 70.3 and full distance in Europe followed by a 70.3 and full distance in Africa. Next on the menu should be state side or maybe east. The training up to the event was marred a bit by business trips back and forth between South Africa and Namibia. It did not affect it too much, but routine is always better. However this opened up the opportunity to travel a bit with my bike and to ride it in a different country. Also my life wont change in that regard and I have to accommodate the schedule with my training and look at alternative training methods.

I also had my best friend with me and her support was awesome. Not only was it the support on the day itself but also in the preparation and training. It also motivates having a training partner. We left on Friday night and flew to PE followed by a late dinner at the old Austrian and an early bed time. Saturday morning was definitely not a relaxed time. It was jam packed with registration, meeting my primary school teacher, swim practice, race briefing and bike check in. It felt like I was running around the entire day. As soon as the bike was checked in however I started to relax. Dinner we kept early and loaded on the pasta. The night before was relaxed and I was able to hit the sack quite early. Both alarms set for a 4am wake-up.

 

My best fan - Thomas Switala and Jennifer Christie

My best fan

4am came and I went for my obligatory run and coffee. I had my oats and peanut butter and went to the transition area to prepare the last items on the bike and in the bag. Time ran a bit away and I did a quick dip in the ocean to get used to the water temperature. Gave Jen a kiss goodbye and headed for the starting pen.

The start was relaxed and it took me 50 seconds to reach the ocean. The start was a big wave 25 – 44 age group. I was really proud of myself and swam crawl the entire 3.8k. Some minor breast stokes just to orientate but kept the swim going. This is a big achievement for me on its own. 1h18 and I was out of the water and prepping for the bike. Transitions were a bit slow and I took time to get suncream-ed.

The bike I started of holding back a bit and to build up a nice pace for the 180k. In the beginning there were a few head to heads racing. The marshals were also pretty strict but fair. The ride back was a killer, especially climbing a long straight hill with the eastern wind blowing  at full force (26kph). This I felt especially on the 2nd loop. The speed slowed down significantly and kept a pace to ensure I don’t blow on the run. Finished the bike in 6h25.

The run was awesome. My strategy was to keep a relaxed pace and run consistent pace. I allowed myself to walk all the water points. It was also fantastic to see Jen on the entire route supporting and going bonkers. I received two little raisins from her and they tasted from heaven compared to the coke, gels and other junk I was consuming the entire way. On the last of the 3 laps I knew it was time to finish and go home and the last 5 kilometers I picked up the pace and opened up the taps and felt great coming down the finish line. Finishing the run in 4h11 with a total time of 12h06

Swim Training - Thomas Switala

Swim Training

What an awesome event it was. Great support and spectators. Fantastic venue and also nice and challenging.

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When a plan comes together a goal is achieved

I had the race of my life. It was not an easy race but it was one of my best. Ironman 70.3 East London was my 1st race for the season. The goal also was to try and qualify for the World Championship in Canada in September. I successfully completed the race in an awesome time and position. I also took a slot allocation for the World Championship and I am on my way to Canada later this year. I am extremely happy qualifying and also having a race now on the calendar for the 2nd half of the year.

I did everything right on the way to race. It was a bonus to have a lot of time to train during the festive season and that set the intentions right for new year. Yes I did spend it at home watching a movie and eating pizza so that I can go for a long run the next day. *boring*

I set myself an ambitious schedule for training. I did not really keep to it but it guided me through some of the main sets. I focused on swimming and also started spinning a bit to get the legs working. I also moved my long rides from 6am to 8am with the excuse that the race would be during the heat of the day ….. real reason was – “I love my duvet”. It actually felt like I did enough. I could have done slightly more, but I kept it in a window between over training and doing enough.

The build up to the race I kept the intensity a bit higher than normal and for a shorter period of time. I was rested when I arrived but not so much rested that I needed to dust out the cob webs from the bones.  Saturday we did a group swim, a small run and explored bunkershill on the bike. Pizza was for dinner on the beach and an early night.

Sunday morning I did a short run with the usual oats and peanut butter. I confused myself a bit through transition area. 1st forgetting my bike helmet on the bike and my swim cap in the bike bag. On the beach I realized I had my sunglasses still on and had to run back to transition to deal with them. The warm-up swim in a cold ocean was needed to deal with the shock and awe.

I started in the 35-39 age group. My start at 7:20 was fantastic. No turbulence entering the water and a clear route ahead.  For the 1st time I sat for a few minutes on someones feet, sorry for slapping them a bit. I did the swim without any breaststroke – huge achievement – and managed to sight well even with the swell in the water. I exited at 36 minutes. Still  room to improve there. My exit was position 133 in the age group …. need to definitely improve it.

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I hit the bike and managed to keep a good pace and really worked it. The profile is deceiving as it shows uphill out and downhill back. The back leg was quite hilly with deceiving little hills to be conquered and the wind started to play a role. I kept my head down and managed a 2:47 on the bike. I moved up from 133 – 29th position catching up with most of them that I lost in the swim. My goal was to not let any red numbers pass me. I kinda succeeded in that with one or two that sneaked pass.

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The run was great I conquered bunkers hill and managed to run it up both times. I knew it would be game over if I walked it. The last few kms I opened up the taps and did a strong finish. I managed a 1:43 time. Loved the run, give me a flat course and I will do a 1:35.

In the end I did 5:14  and position 19 in AG not a bad time for the 2nd toughest Ironman 70.3 in the world.

I came out to have a great race, which I did and I also came to get a slot for the World Champions, to go race the best in the world. It will be hard but the experience will be worth it.

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Irulan’s new pair of shoes ….

This week was a big upgrade for Irulan. I bought her a pair of new racing shoes/wheels. She looks absolutely gorgeous.

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She got a pair of zipp 808. A pair of nice and light carbon wheels. I am really looking forward to racing next weekend to see what affect it has. A quick ride this morning showed that all is good. I probably would just swap my brake pads after reading about the overheating.

But she is getting there. Next year Christmas it will hopefully be a powermeter.

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The wait is over and the bank is empty

The wait is over. I have my entry for probably the most important race the season. Ironman SA 70.3. Now I just need to work towards getting my worldchampionship slot.

I also have my entry for Ironman South Africa full distance too in PE. So my bank manager is shaking his head at my expense account.

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