Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wise Words

The whole week I've been thinking about the conversation I had with the elderly man at the swimming pool on Sunday.

Don't know why but there was just something about him and what he told me that sticked in my head. I am not someone that remembers well but it is if the whole conversation is imprinted in my mind.

Kim will tease me and will tell people that my hard drive(brain) doesn't have a big memory and I just remember what I want and will delete old stuff as new information becomes available. She says I am going to be just like my dad and get Alzheimer's as I can't remember things and I'm not even 40.

I tell her that I only remember important things and if something is not important to me or not worth remembering I will just ignore it. I choose what I want to remember.

It is not as if he is this famous person or motivational speaker and most of his statements are nothing new to you but here's what he said.

-"Whatever you do don't stop because the older you get the harder it become to get back into shape until one day when you can't get back into shape again and you just let it go".( He has this big belly and one can see that he is very overweight)

-"Never take things for granted".

-"Enjoy Life".

-"Buy what you need, not what you want otherwise you will never be wealthy".( had me thinking there, with all my unnecessary triathlon stuff)

-"Enjoy a drink from time to time but don't let it become your boss and start pissing your money away as I did". ( Told me the old story about Biology teacher that put three worms into three different glasses. One in Whisky, one in Nicotine and one in soil. When they come back the next day the worms in the Whiskey and the Nicotine died but the worm in the glass filled with soil is still alive. When she asked class what do you learn from this, Johnny replied, If you drink and smoke mam, you won't get worms)

-"There is life after death"( He told me about his triple heart bypass operation and that there were complications and he was clinically dead for two minutes, and he did experience something amazing during that time which he can't explain but it was amazing).

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas, What a Wonderful Time

Merry Christmas to everyone from the Stemmet family in case we missed somebody through Twitter, emails or sms. We spend Christmas home and it was very relaxing, no travel or overcrowded beaches or holiday resorts.

On Christmas Eve we had Gerrit's( my sisters Fiance) Mother, Sister and Brother over for the evening as we handed out the presents and had way to much to eat.

Our little Christmas tree with all the presents (most of them DJ's). We decided that every family will only buy for their own family presents, no buying presents for everyone. But the elder ignore that rule and the kids got presents from everyone.

On Christmas Eve the weather was so pleasant and my sister and DJ decorated the tables outside by the swimming pool. Every year no matter where we are we tell my mother to take it easy on the snacks and every year she just ignore us. There were so much food and with the Christmas lunch leftovers the next day we're going to have food for the next week, maybe two.

It was so wonderful handing out presents later that night and to see everyone faces and reaction, specially DJ's it is just special.

The next morning we headed for Church and after that I did my run training. I knew I had to do it immediately or else I will not do it. Kim, my Mother and Sister were getting all the food ready for Lunch. Dejone could not wait to get back from Church to start building her puzzle( one of her presents). She is so into puzzles right now and just love building them. Definitely her mothers child, I just don't have any patience for that or anything where I have to wait or sit still for a long time.

Niel, Kim's brother met this new girl that live in Johannesburg and he went to them for the Christmas time. Here he is with his new girl friend and her son.

Kim's sister also just popped in during the day as they were on there way to Pretoria to spend some time with family. Here is Kim's Sister with her husband and her daughter, Monja who is expecting her first child end of January. I must say and Kim also mentioned it that she really looks good for someone who is 8 months pregnant.

The Lunch on Christmas day was awesome and we enjoyed it at my sister flat. Luckily it is on the same premises as our house as I was so tired after lunch and just excused myself after desert and went for a nap. I slept for more than two hours and was still tired when I woke up.

One of my Mothers favourite deserts creations, and I always have two and regret it later. For the rest of the night we just had fun and enjoyed family time.

On Boxing day( day after Christmas) I went to the gym as I woke up and I could feel that I've been eating and drinking more than I should be. What I don't understand is I've been eating very healthy and 100% according to my eating plan for more than a week. Then for two days I eat whatever I want to, and not everything is healthy and I haven't gained any weight. That I don't understand, not that I mind, maybe the weight gain will kick in later.

When I came back from the gym we went to see a movie. I wanted to see Avatar, not that I am a big movie lover. Think I haven't been to the movies in three months, but DJ wanted to go and I said OK , let's make it a family outing. When we arrived at the movies it was so busy. DJ then decided she wanted to see Alvin and the Chipmunks 2, and the harder I tried to convince her to choose another movie the more she wanted to see it.

As we sat in the movie waiting for it to start I told her that she is now to old for these kind of movies. She quickly pointed a few adults out that was watching the movie and they didn't even had children with them. What's wrong with these people? Needles to say I did not have an answer for her and struggled through the movie, would have done a 4 hour bike session on the trainer any day instead of watching that specific movie.

After the movie we had some lunch and I had my favourite as a starter, Oysters. I will eat Oysters everyday all day if I had the chance. One of the guys that is in DJ's dance school was our waiter and he was just talking dance with DJ and Kim whenever he was attending to us.

The guy is really committed and I gave him a generous tip as he is a foster child and is really working hard and saving all his money to pay for his dance classes. I have so much respect for people like him, to let nothing stand in his way to achieve his dream.

Sunday morning was a lazy morning and although I wanted to sleep late, I just couldn't and was up way to early. It was actually so peaceful with everybody still sleeping. I made myself some coffee and sat outside with Eddy and watch the sun rise and the world waking up.

We had a big breakfast that DJ made for us and then I was off to the pool for my swim training. I am really concentrating on the video I saw the other day on Bryan's blog and trying to better my stroke. The more I read up on improving my swim the more I realize one message coming through and that is to constantly work on technique. It is not like biking where distance and time make you a better cyclist, you need to improve your technique with every swim session.

I met and 75 year old man at the pool today and he was just keeping himself busy in the pool. As I stopped between one of the sets, he started chatting to me and asks me for what am I training. He told me a lot of his stories and gave me some advice.

One thing he said stuck in my mind, " Whatever you do, don't stop because the older you get the harder it become to get into shape until one day when you can't get back into shape again"

He said that he was once just as active and in such good shape that what I am now and he stopped due to some work issues and other things and when he tried to get back into shape he was just to old and he just could not get back to the form he used to be.

O, I forgot the other day when I talked about all the pets we have about Gerrit's chameleon, here's he or she I don't know in his/her cage.

Well tomorrow it is back into training for the week before we celebrate the new year on Friday and then there will be no more excuses preparing for IMSA 2010.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fixed up

Luckily for me, my seat post clamp is fixed and I don't have an excuse to miss bike training during this crazy time of the year.

Riaan my workshop manager could not help me as the part was to small and delicate for his machines. Luckily his uncle is an engineer who builds Helicopter parts. When he realized that he was not going to come right he took the part to his uncle and this morning I went with him to fetch it.

His uncle is amazing and even with his engineering factory closed he went in specially and manufactured the part for me. He even made an extra one in case one breaks.

I was absolutely amazed when I saw his operation. He has sole rights to repair all the Oryx Helicopters in South Africa when ever some mechanical part breaks. He told me what it cost to build a helicopter's gearbox from a block of metal. This factory was just mind blowing, all the engineering tools are computerized and you can eat of that floor, that's how clean it is inside.

Talking to him was so interesting, giving me all these info on how they rebuild Helicopter parts and the processed involved. With the World Cup coming to SA next year he is so busy getting all the helicopters 100% for next year. I can't remember the exact number but all VIPs are going to be transported by helicopter and that's a lot.

After I fitted the new clamp tonight I was on my bike and did my one hour high cadence spin session. After the session I measured the seat and it didn't move a millimeter. One thing I don't need to worry about anymore.

I had a challenging day at work but hey it's the crazy season and one can expect that. One of the drivers bumped a clients car in the parking area and yes guess what? All the Panel shops are closed and only opens January 11. Luckily the client understands.

Salaries and bonuses were also paid to the staff today and it was just confirmed to me again. You get winners and then you get whiners. With the current economic situation which is not the same as two years ago, we could not pay huge bonuses but everyone did get a bonus.

It is amazing that the staff members that perform well are the ones coming to thank you for the bonus even if it is not as big as in the past. And guess what the under performers are the ones complaining about there bonus. I was absolutely shocked when one staff member who is currently on leave phoned to query his bonus.

There is a saying "I don't get mad, I get even" which I seriously considered today but I guess one will always have this situation with people that always want more even if the don't deserve it.

Luckily on the training side I had no negativity and I had a good day. I did my tempo run this morning and the easy bike tonight.

Training Today:
Run: 50min, 9.7km, 143bpm, 841kcal
Bike: 1hr, 32km, 124bpm, 818kcal

Monday, December 21, 2009

All I want for Christmas is a new Seat Post Clamp

What is it with my timing lately. The seat post clamp on my P4 broke this weekend and with us being right in the middle of the Holiday season I won't be able to get another seat post clamp soon.

During my ride on Saturday it felt if my seat was lower than it should be but I thought it was my imagination because I haven't been on the bike a lot. When I finished my ride I carried on my other things and only remembered on Sunday about it. When I measured my seat height on Sunday I saw that the seat was a good 1.5cm lower than what it is suppose to be.

I loosened the clamp, adjusted the seat and when I tried to tighten it the nut just turned in circles without any tension. When I removed the seat post I saw something that I did not like and I almost started crying. Not because of the clamp that broke but because I knew I was not going to get a new part this time of the year.

My fears were confirmed when I phoned the bike shop today. After sending them the pictures of the clamp they confirmed the news I already knew. The Cervelo agent in South Africa is closed but they managed to pursue him to have a look at his stock and they don't have any P4 clamps in the country.

They need to order one from Cervelo HQ and can't tell me how long it's going to take.

Luckily for me my Workshop Manager has the skills and Tools to help me out. I gave him the broken piece and he said he will machine a new part for me tonight. I will use this part for time being and when the real part arrive from Cervelo I will just replace it.

In the mean time I still need to see what can I do to prevent the seat from slipping. One option is to loose weight but that's the long term solution and I need a short term solution. I don't want to tighten the bolt more than 6Nm although Cervelo states you can torque it up to 7Nm maximum. The last thing I want is a cracked frame.

The clamp fits into the frame just above the "S" and when you tighten it, it push the seat post against the frame. When I gave my P4 report a few months ago, I said that this is one of the weak points of the bike as it keeps slipping.

I gathered everything I thought I will need at work today and after my swim training tonight I started with my mission to fix my bike and prevent the saddle from slipping.

This is the tools I think will do the job.
I used an industrial sponge that is more dense that a normal sponge and after cutting it in pieced I shoved it down the frame. Above is the end product. Luckily the seat post tapers down and the frame is smaller than the post making it possible for the sponge to stop where the seat post meets the frame otherwise I would have had a very heavy frame stuffed with sponges.

At first I did not filled it enough and when I sat on the bike it was still lower than my seat height but without the clamp. I used DJ to help me and after I shoved more pieces of sponges in DJ will get on the bike and I will measure it and so we carried on.

Finally I just had enough in the frame and when I sat on it, it was just at the right height and that is even without a clamp. Now I don't need to worry about a seat post sliding down all the time. I can even ride without a seat post clamp.

Kim made the remark that I need to change my nickname now from "Skillie" to "SpongBob Squire Pants"

Talking about Kim. Last night I was laying in bed reading the January issue of Triathlete and when I turned the page I saw a Mark Allen Online full page advert thanking/congratulating all the MAO athletes who participated in Kona. I told her look, here is a list of all the athletes names and my name is in the magazine.

Her remark was " Where's your name, right at the bottom" I replied with something starting with a "F" and ending with "you". She thought it was very funny. I then had a look at all the MAO athletes results and had to give her the news. Out of the 37 MAO finishers my finishing time was one of the top ten times. Not last my baby!!!

On the training side I did a 3km swim today and I was just concentrating and working on my forearm pull and "swinging" the body the whole session. It is hard on the body at this stage but I can feel it is going to work.

I didn't want to race some 100's again and just did two 25's at the end of the session to see how fast I can go. Nr.1 was 16.5 seconds and Nr.2 was 17.9 seconds. For the first time I feel I am going somewhere with my swimming and want to do my swim training where in the past I hated it.

Today's training:
Swim: 1H09, 3km.
Bike: Not possible, will try and catch up "1hr high cadence spinning" during the week. Luckily we have a few Holidays this week and the dealership closes at 12pm on Thursday.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

0 to 15 hours in Two Weeks

Well it's the first full week of training of my 2010 season after my little mishap which delayed my 2010 season by one week. I am satisfied with my progress and consider that I had two weeks of no activity, things were not to bad this week.
I have gone from 0 hours training two weeks ago to 15 hours training this week. I only missed one run session during the week, but that doesn't bother me as I am still a bit cautious about my foot injury, which is by the way still there but not as bad as a week ago.

Thursday I was feeling it and was really tired but since then I think my body has adapted and I am not as tired anymore.

Yesterday I had a three hour bike session to do in the afternoon. It was such a sunny day but I just could not get myself to do it on the open road. With the festive season in full swing there are so many cars on the road and I don't know but I suspect a fair share of these motorist is driving under the influence.

I am not going to take a chance and decided to do it on the CompuTrainer. I guess you will get motorists that will be a threat to a cyclist during the course of the year but during December the odds are just a bit more. I will get back on the road in January when everybody is their normal self again.

Because I train on my own, I don't have that piece of mind when cycling in a group and motorist also tend to be less considered to a guy who cycling on his own on public roads.

As I commented yesterday on Twitter, this is the reason why I love dogs. As I was cycling on the trainer Eddy was sleeping next to me and even when he woke up he just lay there and watch me, talk about a loyal supporter.

The session went really well, my legs could feel it after two hours but I though it will be worse.

It was so nice to sleep in this morning and recharge the "batteries" after the week. Me an Kim went to do our last minute shopping before Christmas on Friday. I really laugh at DJ as she try to figure out what presents she is getting. My sister wrapped her present in a big box so she has no idea as she can't see the shape of it.

Bryan Payne also commented on his blog about his son guessing what presents he's getting. I just laugh as I watched her. Eddy almost made it easy for DJ. Being a 3 month old dog he just play and nibble on everything in his way. As we placed the gifts under the tree when we looked again Eddy was busy unwrapping the presents under the tree.

During this afternoons swim session I made the breakthrough I was looking for, for so long and I must thank Bryan for it. He posted a video on his blog about this young guy explaining how to swim freestyle the proper way.

This guy is not a famous swim trainer or Olympic champion but the way he explained it was in such a way that it made sense to me. Since I've started doing Triathlon and attended swim workshop nobody told me to use my forearm to pull through. Everybody just talk about catch and pull. All this time I was only using my hand to pull and not my hand and forearm.

He also talk about swinging from one side to the other. I tried it in the pool today and WOW, I did a 100 meter in 1:26. Even when I was swimming easy just by concentrating on those two things I was way faster than before. I am looking so forward on working on it and when the fitness level is there just imagine how my swim time can improve.

Getting back to race weight has also been good this week. I have lost 3kg(6.6lbs) so far and although most of it is just the weight I've gained post Kona, I am feeling much lighter. Counting the Calories is one thing that works for me but even if I have to admit this week is going to be hard, being Christmas with all these public holidays.

Weeks Totals:
Swim: 10.5km
Bike: 223km
Run: 26km
Gym: 2 sessions
Total: 259.5km, 15hours, 11334kcal.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Now that's a Fast "Transition"

Yesterday someone broke into the Dealership and got away with one and a half Pc. They took one persons Pc and only a screen from another persons table.

What amazed me was that the person was in and out and gone within 2 minutes. Now that is very fast. Breaking the window, stealing two Pc's and get away within two minutes.

The report from the security company shows that the reaction unit was at the dealership in 1 minute 55 seconds from when they received the alarm signal.

I think I must get some tips or advice from that thief. to get my transition time below two minutes.

The training is spot on for the week so far and yesterday was a gym session and a 1h15 tempo bike session. The gym session before work was good and I can feel that the strength is coming back.

After work I was so tired, not only physical but mentally I was drained. Apart from the break in that is not a nice thing to experience me and the one director sat down and decided on Christmas bonuses for the staff. As we are a private company and not a corporate one we don't have a structure and policy that determine every ones bonus.

Being a private company we obviously need to see if there is money in the bank to allow for bonuses. Then we also have the difficulty to decide how much every employee gets as we base the bonuses on performance and attitude throughout the year.

When I got home I had dinner and decided to lay on the bed for a while just to get some energy and motivation. I never do this and always do my training immediately after work but I knew a tempo bike session is hard and I won't make it if I get on the bike immediately.

After a very short half hour nap, or sort of a nap I got onto the bike and was feeling much better. Towards the end of the session I was struggling to keep my heart rate between 138 and 147bpm but that is obviously the fitness that is not there yet.

Yesterdays Training:
Gym: 46min, 451kcal,
Bike: 1h15, 42km, 141bpm, 1231kcal, 80 rpm,

Calories Burned: 3602
Calories Consumed: 2435
Ratio C/P/F: 62/14/24

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Making the most of the Public Holiday

Today is a Public Holiday in South Africa and it gave me the chance to sleep way past 4am as I don't need to go to work. It also gave me the opportunity to spend some quality time with DJ and Kim.

I went for my run mid morning and really struggled. I had 1h05 on the schedule and battled for most of it. My legs was dead from yesterday's run and bike session and I just got not get going. I had to keep my heart rate below 143bpm according to my training schedule and walked most of the hills to keep it there.

At one stage I thought these hills must grow during the summer as I had no problem running to the top of all of them during winter. Getting back in shape is so hard after an off season.

Forgot to post this picture yesterday but this is what it look like on Monday when I started my training, not the best weather to start a new season. Luckily today is such a sunny and lovely day with the temperature at 29c.

After my run I enjoyed a nice breakfast and relaxed for some time just to get my energy levels back. Dejone wanted us to finish our Monopoly game we started Sunday but I decided to first do my swim. If we first start playing it so easy to call the swim off.
I was at the pool and with today being a holiday it was so empty. I was the only one in the pool for most of the time. A 4km session waited for me and I knew it was going to be hard as it included 20x100m. After my warm up and drills I tackled the 100s and this is where I saw my fitness is way off.

The first four were all below 1:34, then my time dropped to 1:38 up to the 10th one. For the next five I really struggled and was doing them between 1:42 and 1:45. My friend Bryan Payne has a saying "Suck it up" and I decided I need to complete the set and will not go slower than 1:45, just suck it up. The last four were back in the 1:38 to 1:42 range but boy did I feel it.

The session ended with 300 meter kicks and 300m easy swim. After the 100s and the run this morning my legs were really burning doing the kicks.

Back at home Dejone was so happy to see me and we continued our Monopoly game. It was so nice not watching TV or being on the Internet and just chat and play the whole afternoon. The only thing with Monopoly is it can go on forever and we decided to make 6pm the cut off time.

Emmah our maid brought Judith, her daughter to work on Monday and Tuesday to help her mother but I think DJ was more happy to have a friend to play with during the school holiday. I don't think DJ gave Judith a chance to help her mother.
Judith is finishing high school next year and wants to become a nurse. I have so much respect for Emmah as she is putting Judith through high school as a single mother and safe everything she earns to pay for her studies comes 2011.

Kim takes Judith every December to a local clothing store and let her choose some clothing. Kim started doing this when Emmah started working for us 6 years ago. Judith is so thankful for this but it's the least we can do.

Mr. Busy Body, Eddy has learned to jump on the couch and it wasn't long before he learned to get up onto the backrest. He thinks he is a patrol dog and walk up and down on the backrest while we watch TV.

My training schedule for the next two days is not very hard before the long weekend hours but the only problem is I won't burn that many calories and would really need to look at what I eat during the two days to keep the consumed vs burned ratio in tact.

Yesterday's Training:

Run(Tempo): 50min, 9.4km, 141bpm ave, 805kcal, 86 cadence ave.

Bike(Recovery): 1hr, 29km, 122bpm, 769kcal, 212 watts

Calories consumed vs burned: 2369 vs 3494 (1125 in the bank)

Ratio: C/P/F %: 54/16/30. Carbs down, still too little Protein and too much Fat:-(

Today's Training:

Run(Moderate): 1h05, 11.2km, 1014kcal, 136bpm, 83 cadence.

Swim(Moderate): 1h24, 4km, 700kcal,

Calories burned: 3584.

Calories consumed: 2236

Ratio C/P/F: 50/15/35

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

So Far, So Good

My Ironman South Africa(IMSA) 2010 training have started yesterday with a 3km swim and 1h50 Bike session. It was a real shock to the system going from 0hrs in a week to almost 3hrs in one day but it was good.

I must just be careful not to over train in the beginning as this will just be an instant recipe for a cold if I push my body too much.

It's amazing how soon one forget about the early mornings and late evenings. As I woke up at 4am and drove to the gym for my swim session it was dark, wet, windy and cold. I thought to myself the rain during the night together with the cold front we experiencing couldn't have made my start of training more challenging. I was the only one in the pool at that time of the morning. Back are the long and lonely hours of Ironman Training.
And to add to this the new Gym has a problem with the pool and they turned the heater down. The temperature was 23c, hope this is not a repeat of the old Gym as this was the reason I switched Gyms.

What amazed me during the swim was that my times were not bad at all. I don't have the fitness level yet but my speed seemed to improved during the off season. That doesn't make sense to me. I did 4 x 100 meters at the end of my season and all four were between 1:32 and 1:34. When I trained for Kona the best I did was 1:34 and that was during my peak.

During the bike session last night I did one 60km lap of IMSA on the Computrainer. When I did the same lap on Saturday I finished in 1h50. Last night I finished in 1h48 and just did and easy 2min spin to get to 1h50.

This year I will be concentrating on as they say "pedalling a full circle". Most cyclist push down on the pedal and don't use the recovering leg to pull up. Because I used Rotor Rings on my P3 I could never use the feature on Computrainer to the full potential as the Rotor Rings is oval shaped and "helps" you with the recovering leg getting it over the top. With my P4 I couldn't fit the Rotor Rings to the Zipp Crank and now have the opportunity to utilise this feature.

For the whole session I was concentrating on doing full circles and had the PC screen on the spin scan mode. I must say it is really difficult when you pull as hard as you push to make it a perfect circle. Being not used to it I had to concentrate really hard and as soon as my mind drifted off I was back at pushing down and not pulling up.

I am also back on the healthy eating wagon and will use the method that worked for me in the past to loose all those off season fat by doing Calorie Counting again. I've seen that my writing down what you eat and looking at the calories burned vs consumed it makes you think twice before eating some high calorie snacks or junk food. Yesterday I consumed too little and need to get the ratio closer otherwise it will just lead to some craving session, if I starve myself.

Apart from only consuming 1886kcal the Carbo/Protein/Fat split was also not right. The Carbo ratio was to high with not enough Protein.

I finished my session just after 9pm and decided to go to bed to get the maximum hours sleep before this mornings 4am wake up call. Last season I neglected my sleep and some evenings went to bed at 11pm and getting up at 4am. This year I really want to get more sleep as I could feel last year when I woke up some mornings that my body hasn't recovered from the previous day's training.

Today's Training:
Swim: 3km, 1h01.
Bike: 60km, 1h50, 131bpm ave, 1574 kCal, 80rpm ave, 221 watts ave.

Calories burned: 3894
Calories consumed: 1886
Carbo/Protein/Fat % split: 66/16/18.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Welcome to the Family

It's been 8 weeks since Eddy has arrived and it has been a busy and hectic 8 weeks getting used to a new member of the family. We picked him up on the Sunday we arrived back from Hawaii and that will always be something I will remember. We were so tired after thirty hours plus on planes and then having very little sleep that night with a little doggy not wanting to sleep all night.

At two in the morning he was not that cute anymore. Being new to a house full of animals I think he thought "who are all these weird people and animals".
Doesn't matter if you are an animal or Human it takes time to adapt. In the beginning he was scared, lonely and very unsure of what to expect. All he did was keeping himself busy and it was not pleasant getting a cold shoulder from his roomies. Getting used to his new home also took time not knowing what is in the next room.

Amazing how it also applies to humans. Weather you are new at work, a city or sport club you first need to find your feet and get a feel for the new environment and this takes time which we don't always have. Maybe we can learn from a dog, just be patient.

Then you connect with someone which just "speak" your language and there are others who you don't like although you are polite to them. You also have those who you want to talk to but they just ignore you, but you keep on trying.
And you also have that one who you don't even bother talking to as you know it is just going to be a disaster.
I must say it took 8 weeks but Eddy is now part of the family, he is not a new member to the family anymore but part of it.

This is Kylie and she is the one Eddy don't even come close to. She is the Guard dog and stays in the back of the yard. No one and I mean no one can enter the back section of our yard. When I am around she is the most loving dog there is but don't try entering by yourself and don't think you will take a change with her if you are an animal. This is Max and it is Kim's cat. He is 15 years old and just stay in and around the house. Obviously being that old he doesn't want to play anymore and will ignore Eddy, full stop. Kim gets really cross with me when I tell her her cat is a mamma's boy. Since we got him he doesn't do things a cat is suppose to do, catching birds, mice and being outside. He just stay in the house and only go out if he needs to do his thing. And then there is Dolly, DJ's little poodle. The two of then are inseparable and DJ even carries her like a baby. She is the one Eddy connected with and they have so much fun and irritate the crap out of Kim by re-arranging all the loose carpets and decorations that's in the house when they chase one another around.

Then there is my mothers dog and cat and my sisters two cats all having a different relationship with Eddy.





On the Training side it feels so good to be finally getting something done. Although it is not much it is something. I can't believe how I lost so much in such a short time, hopefully it will be back soon. The bike session this afternoon was a moderate 1 hour but I think if it was done mid September it would have been classified as an easy recovery ride.

Today's Training:

Gym: 42min, 285kcal,

Bike: 1h00, 31km, 136bpm ave, 913kcal, 85 rpm ave. 216 watts ave

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Just couldn't wait any Longer

"Hi, my name is Tri-Stemmet and I am a Tri-coholic". Guess this is what I will be saying if I ever have to attend an AA meeting.

They say that you get addicted to exercise and I can confirm that. After my slight mishap the week before last I wasn't allowed to exercise for two weeks due to me having concussion. Having issues with my foot made the decision easier and last week I did nothing.

But since this past weekend I was becoming irritated, grumpy, restless, call it what you want but I was not happy and something was missing. I kept reminding myself that I need to take it easy this week and can start training again next week but the more I was thinking about doing nothing this week the worse it became.

Eventually I cracked under the pressure today and did an easy one hour on the CompuTrainer.
When I came home after work I told Kim I am going to get on the bike. I thought she was going to give me the "you are only allowed to start training next week" speech but she just said OK. I think she couldn't take it anymore more with me just sitting around and irritating everybody.

As I was going along during the session I just concentrated on keeping my heart rate below my Threshold rate and enjoyed every minute of it. After the session I didn't even look at the power file, I was just happy to be sweating again.

All I can say is the next week or two is not going to be easy getting back in shape but I will take a blood, sweat and tears training session any day instead of just sitting around. Apart from loosing form I am also gaining weight by the day and although I try and eat as healthy as possible it is just so difficult if you are not training.

I can't wait to get to the pool tomorrow and see where I am at, regarding my swim level. The only good thing about being a bad swimmer is I don't loose that much in the pool. I've seen in the past that when I return to training after my off season, swimming is the discipline where I don't loose that much.

Today's session
Bike: 1H02, 32km, 922 kcal, 130 bpm ave.

Do You Have "Athlete's Heart"

Below is a link to Dr Larry's blog page where he explains "Athlete's Heart". It is a very interesting inside into the condition.
Thank you, Larry

Below is also two posts about Syncope, which is basically a "black out" and may be triggered by "Athlete's Heart"

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Happy Birthday Kim

Today was Kim's birthday and it was a great day just chilling and relaxing. Kim is not like me who wants to be busy on my birthday. She likes to just relax and savor the day whereby I wants all the going out, having lunch and having people around me.

I respect Kim for that and that is probably why we are such a strong couple, being the complete opposite. I am the happy go lucky one and she is the serious, keep everything sane in the relationship one.

The biggest activity of the day was having my mother and sister over for some cake. Apart from that we went to do some shopping and relaxed the rest of the day.

I respect her for enjoying her birthday the way she wants it but told her come next year July I am going to have the biggest party ever for my 40th.

Happy Birthday Kim, I know you had a great day and may there be many more. Thank you for being such a great friend, wife and mother.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ironman South Africa Advice

It is not often or in my case never that a TV Personality and a famous person ask me to give some advice, but I guess there is always a first.

Chris Schauble is the TV News Anchor for KNBC in Los Angeles and is coming to South Africa to do the Ironman in 2010. Chris has asked me the give some advice on what to expect and what to look out for. You can check out his profile at and see for yourself all the achievements Chris has accomplished, awesome!

We met through Twitter thanks to Nina Jack who connected the two of us. I must say I am really chuffed, honoured and nervous giving advice to Chris.

Port Elizabeth has been the host city of Iroman South Africa or as we refer to as IMSA for the past five years of which I have done three. As I said in the past the advice I am giving is based on my perspective and experiences so don't hold it against me if you don't experience it the same way but this is my honest advice to you and maybe to some other US and Canadian friends who may wonder what IMSA is like and may come and visit soon (hint hint Bryan, John, Nina and Dana).

This is a picture of the swim start and for two out of the three years the sea was this calm. The swim takes place in a bay and it is only at turning buoy nr 2 where the sea can be a bit rough. The swim consist of two, 1.9km (1.2mi) loops with a short run across a timing mat after the first lap. On your way back from buoy number 3 to 4 the swell can be high but not that bad. My only problem is I can only breath to one side and going out is no problem but coming back I tend to get the sodium levels up with all the breathing into the direction of the swell and swallowing water.

The water temperature this year was 19c(66F), but with the 2010 date being three weeks later and closer to winter I can't see that the water will be 19c, and guess it will be closer to 17-18c(62-64F). Wetsuits will therefore be definitely allowed.

The bike course is not that bad depends on the direction of the wind. It is a three loop 60km(37miles) course which is very spectator friendly.

For the first 13km you will be climbing all the way but not that steep. It is a gentle climb with two hills with a gradient of 5-6 degrees. The first hill is after about two kilometers from the start and is about 300 meters long. The second one is just before the highest point at 13km and is about 600 meters long.

For the next 27km (16.8 miles) it is rolling hills with one or two rolling hills that can be a bit tough but mostly it is flat or downhill. During this section you will do a turn around come back on the same route for about five kilometers and turn right towards the coast line.

The last 20km (12.4 miles) is fast and flat depending on the wind. And Port Elizabeth is not known as the "windy city" for nothing. If it is a Southwester you will fly on the last section (photo above) but if the wind is coming from the east this can be the longest 12 miles ever.

A lot of guys used disc wheels but I will only recommend it if you are a really strong cyclist. For two years I have used Zipp 808 wheels and last year Zipp 1080 but then it becomes tricky if you are not big and don't have excellent handling skills. The road is not very smooth with only a few kilometers of smooth road surface, so be careful if you pump your tyres too hard, it can become a bumpy ride.

The special needs station is about one kilometer before the start/finish line and you will have three opportunities to call for your bag. The run is also a three lap affair of 14 km (8.7mi) per lap and is flat. You will have a slight hill of about 200 meters on each lap but it is not really a hill so nothing to worry about.

The run course is fast but can become boring during the University section with 5km (3.1 mi) to the finish line. There is not any supporters on that section and it is about 3km (1.9 mi) long and is basically on the outskirts of the town. The best way to handle that section is to count to 100 steps with the left foot and then 100 steps again with right foot and keep on repeating. This way you will soon be back in town and have PLENTY supporters next to the road.

Just as you entered town after the University section you will have the opportunity to call for your special needs run bag and will also have three changes but as it is only one kilometer or so before the finish line you won't need it on lap three.

The nice thing about the run leg is that for about 10km of each lap you will have more than enough people that will support you. You will get tired of people shouting your name, as it is printed on your race bib above your number. The run is the most awesome part of the race with people just shouting your name and cheering you on.

In general the race is very well organised and they do an magnificent job from registration to the awards ceremony. The Finish line section is brilliant and it is better than the finish in Kona. I am not talking about all the emotional things you experience in Hawaii but the logistical stuff and things like the stage with the red carpet you run onto, the announcers and the finishers tent is all world class.

This is my advice and hopefully it will help. Please leave comments if you are unsure about something or want more technical stuff. I didn't want to make it to technical but if you need I can give you gradient and time split info per lap as this is the best way to cope. Pace yourself per lap and not for the entire bike or run section.

If there is other people that have done IMSA and can help with some more tips please feel free to post comments

Some Great Advice

Since my post about my foot injury and my slight mishap on the Ice, I have been getting so many emails and advice from friends and people I didn't even know. It is really surprised me and I feel much better than what I felt two days ago.

One always read about these professional athletes that have all the expert people in their team who helps with advice and treatment. Well age group athletes also have all these experts helping and sorting out your problems. The only difference is they are not people you see face to face but they are the people you meet via your blog or Twitter.

So many people have given me advice and I appreciate it so much. Below is a link to Dr Larry Creswell's blog. He is a Heart surgeon and also a Triathlete, getting advice from someone like him is priceless.

Check out his blog there is much info on there and it's all athlete related.

Another email I received was from Gregg Heller, who has been in the foot industry for more than twenty five years. Below is an copy of the email he send me. I think if I need to tick off the things I do on his list there will be many one half tick.

"Hi Johan …sorry to hear about your PF. As I explained in my tweets I was involved in this business for 25 years. We were industry leaders in North America and one of the first companies to use CAD/CAM technology to make our orthotics. To show how backwards many of these so-called doctors and foot professionals are, we started using the CAD/CAM equipment in 1989 and20 years later 95% of the competition still makes orthotics by hand. Our main marketing effort was holding seminars to tech doctors about the foot …as their base knowledge was very limited. (BTW I’m in Toronto Canada). Feel free to post this info in your Blog …hopefully it will help someone else.

With regard to PF:
Step 1 is to find out what caused the PF to occur.
It is usually caused by trauma (jumping off a chair or deck);
excessive pronation (bio mechanical deficiency …either a rigid high arch or a very flexible flat arch in combination with a short 1st toe) or
‘overuse’ syndrome …running, basketball.
can also be a combo of these.
If this is caused by trauma, the S-T treatments may eliminate the problem permanently.
If the cause is bio mechanical in nature ( over pronation caused by a short first ray (toe)) you need to correct this deficiency with a good orthotic and good footwear
You will need to find a sports injury specialist that understands running and how the orthotic and proper shoe interacts with the foot and the person’s running style
To eliminate the pain in the S-T see below

Our typical protocol for treating PF was as follows. We had a 95% success rate with this methodology where leading Podiatrists typically have success rates of only 70 to 75%
Short-term treatment
Ice several times per day
Do your exercises 2 or 3 times per day
Do the stretches 2 or 3 times per day (Google online for these)
See a Physiotherapist for Ultrasound and laser treatments
Acupuncture can also help
If the pain is persistent and chronic a cortisone shot may help to get rid of the inflammation, however it may also mask the underlying cause of the problem and cause long-term damage. DO NOT get more than 1 shot.
For long-term chronic conditions some surgeons may perform a “fascia release.” This is not a proven treatment, so be wary of this.

Sitting on a stool, place a cupful of paperclips and marbles on a hard, smooth floor surface. Pick up the materials with your toes and drop them in the cup
Lay a hand towel on the floor and with your toes grab the towel and slowly bunch it up towards you
You may find more exercises by Googling the topic

Long-term treatment
Orthotics …if in fact you do have a short first ray, the orthotic needs to be ‘full length’ which would include posting under the 1st toe joint to bring the forefoot back into proper alignment
For running buy a good ‘motion control’ shoe. Check with Runners magazine for a list of recommended shoes
Change your running shoes on a regular basis. As the shoe breaks down, pronation will increase and the PF could return
Wear your orthotics in your everyday shoes. Make sure that the shoe provides stable support for the orthotic
Don’t wear bare feet around the house. This will make the PF worse
Wear a sandal with a contoured footbed as your house slipper. I prefer the Mephisto footbed, but the Birkenstock is also good

I hope that this helps!

All the best",


S-T(short term) L-T(long term)
below is a link to the website.

Thanks again for all the help I really appreciate it and hopefully this two minor hick ups will be something of the past very soon.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

So what did the Doctor say

When I went to the Doctor today to check out the Planter Fasciites problem with my left foot I never knew what was waiting for me. She confirmed it, the problem is back and suggested giving me a cortisone injection after I explained to her how long it's been going on but she did warn me that it is going to hurt.
I never knew a tiny injection like the one today will give a grown man teary eyes. After she evaluated my foot carefully she gave me three injections with the one right at the bottem of my foot sole being the one that made me almost scream. She also gave me some new strecth excercises to do and instructions on how to strap it.
It was interesting to hear that the Planter Fasciitis will more likely return after you end your season as all the muscles and body parts aren't that flexible anymore and they "shrink".
Well that was the good part of the visit. As we talked I told her about my fall and asked her while I'm there if she can check me out as I suspect having a slight concussion. The bad news is I do half a slight concussion and was told to not start running for at least another two weeks.
Aparently if you start running or for that matter do anything whereby you elevate your heart rate and your brain "bounce" around it can have seriuos reprocussions during the long term. Symptons like headaches can occur when you do endurance events in future even if you are healthy and recovered from the concussion. I am allowed to cycle but only on the indoor trainer and I can swim but only after the stitches are taken out.
Up to now during the visit I was fine as the news wasn't really news to me but what she told me next shocked me a bit. I guess this is why I will rather wait a week to see her and give me really sound advice. That's the advantage if you go to a doctor that only deals with sport injuries with her practice being at the High Performance Centre of the University of Pretoria's premises. She is a cyclist herself and even completed the Cape Epic, a multi stage MTB race in South Africa. They say it is the toughest MTB race in the world.

I told her that I can't really remember how I fell. All I can remember was skating round the corner and the next minute I was helped up by this youngster. She suspects that I had a Black Out and was really worried. She qouted her Cardiologist friend who's an endurance athlete himself and explained to me why something like that happens or could happen.

Endurance athletes can develop what they call an "athletes heart" whereby your heart, as it is a muscle increase in size the more you excercise it. Some people can then develop an irythmic inbalance and your heart basically "skips" a beat occasionally or has a irregular beat which can lead to a black out. She also explained that this will more likely happen when you just finished your season and are in your off season. She qouted all these medical phrases and explained it to me but I can't remember all the names and termigolities.
She then said that this can also be helped on if you have high blood pressure. I told her that my blood pressure is fine but she insisted on taking it. Surprise, surprise my blood pressure was higher than what a person in my conditions pressure should be. She says it is probably of the fall but I need to monitor my blood pressure for the next week and if it doesn't come down I need to go back and she will do some test.

Below is an extract of what "Athlete heart" is

"Athlete's heart is a constellation of structural and functional changes that occur in the heart of people who train for > 1 h most days.
Intensive, prolonged endurance and strength training produces many physiologic adaptations. Volume and pressure loads in the left ventricle (LV) increase, which, over time, increase LV muscle mass, wall thickness, and chamber size".
Last full review/revision August 2009 by Robert S. McKelvie, MD, PhD, MSc
Content last modified August 2009

So my official training for Ironman South Africa will now start 14 December and not next Monday as planned but I will rather start a week late than having headaches and problems later in my life as I plan on doing a few more Ironmans.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Has or Have and Was or Were, not always sure!

One of my friends mentioned to me that he enjoy my posts but as he calls it, he can see I'm a "Dutchman" due to my Grammar that is not good. "Dutchman" being the word use in South Africa to describe "Afrikaans" people.

Let me first say why I post in English if Afrikaans is my home language and then I'll give you some back ground on why my English is not the best there is.

Obviously when writing in English it is possible for many people to enjoy my blog entries. If I write all my stories in Afrikaans it will only be my mother and a handful of people that will be able to understand what I write. I would also not have met all these people that became my friends by blogging. I have become friends with really awesome people and reading there blogs and getting feedback from them is amazing.

As I said in the past, meeting someone like Bryan Payne, who has become a really good friend and feeling connected to him wouldn't have been possible.

Then there is also people like Dana Rucker and Nina Jack, with whom we stayed in LA that wouldn't have happened if I wasn't using English on Twitter.

And I always strive to improve in whatever I do. By writing in English I believe my English will improve over the years to come.

Now why is my English and particular my grammar not the best there is?

You see I grew up in a town called Pietersburg which is in the northern part of South Africa and is also a very conservative part of the country mainly farming community. Most of the residents back then if not all were speaking Afrikaans.

As we would refer to English back then as "the Enemies language" it was only spoken in school during the once a day English class. Even the Asian and Indian people who owned shops in Pietersburg quickly learned to speak Afrikaans if they wanted their business to survive.

We saw English as a subject in school and not as a language we were busy learning. There was no difference between English and Science. You did your homework, spoke it in class and that was it until tomorrows class.

Even the schools in Pietersburg was overwhelming Afrikaans schools. There were six Afrikaans Primary schools versus one English school and four Afrikaans High schools versus one English High school.

I can remember when we were children my parents had to translate some parts of the odd English program we were watching as we didn't understand all the words. 99% of the TV programs we watched were Afrikaans.

It was only when I went to Pretoria to study further that I had to use English more often in class and when I started working I had to use English to sell cars to English customers. I can remember some English people looking at me funny when I explained some vehicle stuff to them, but I became a good salesman even selling in English.

Two mishaps I'll never forget was once telling a customer which lever is his "flicker", actually it was the indicator but in Afrikaans we call it a "Flikker". And to another I said your car is on it's way from the "Fabric" actually it was suppose to be the "Factory" but in Afrikaans it is called a "Fabriek".

But never the less I made it through my studies and became a successful businessmen even when I'm not the best English speaking person there is.

Luckily one learn from your mistakes and I do whatever I can to help DJ, my daughter, while she is young to be better at English than her father. She has English friends, watch a lot of English programs on TV and listen to a lot of English music and reading English books. She will often joke with me and say "My Father have been speaking English deliciously since he was twice" and would crack herself for her joke about her Dad

Well there you have it, so forgive me if my grammar is not of the best but at least you can be part of my life and understand it.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

DJ's Birthday Bash with a Bang

Dejone was so excited to finally have her birthday party today after a whole week of planning and organizing. She invited eight of her friends and when they heard it's gonna be an Ice Skating party everyone accepted the invite.
Kim spoke to all the parents during the week and assured them that we will be extra careful and my sister and mother are going with so there will be enough supervision. One can understand how parents feel especially with us driving 100 odd kilometers to Pretoria where the Ice Rink is.
Very early this morning DJ were out and put some balloons on our front gate if someone can't find the house. I was just laughing as she prepared everything together with Kim. There was a snack pack for the road trip for every child and they made a whole bunch of Hot Dogs for the road trip. Not to mention all the chips and cool drinks that were packed.
We stopped at a Petrol Port halfway to Pretoria for a comfort break and enjoying some snacks.
When we arrived at the Mall the energy levels and excitement were awesome. The children's eyes were just glittering and the could not contain themselves. We met the guy who booked the party and he gave us all the tickets for the skating. Must say it was easier than I thought sorting out the children with skates and it was not long before everybody was ready to start with the fun.
Below is me helping DJ getting her skates ready.
Of the nine children only two have ever been on ice before. Living in a country which doesn't have snow during the winter and in a city which doesn't have an ice rink it is understandable.

One thing that I noticed immediately is that now matter if you're a child or adult, you will always get people that wants to take on a challenge and then there are those who give up so easily. One or two just gave up immediately and quit when they couldn't get it right. Others just kept on going and falling until they could maneuvered themselves around the rink.

Gerhard, my sister and mother keeping a close eye on the children.
Kim was watching from the side and I was "helping" and keeping a close eye on the children while being on the rink. Kim said to me it is not necessary to be on the ice I can watch from the side but I guess I just wanted an excuse to be a kid for the day and play on the ice. These words from Kim would bite me later the day. It was when I was on the rink watching the children that the ice got the better of me. But what do expect if you haven't been on ice in thirty years, but more on that later.

The host from the Restaurant who organized everything was super and everything was 100%. The children enjoyed themselves so much and at one stage I was looking at the family sitting behind them and I felt sorry for them. You could see the guy just wanted to have a relaxing time with his wife and two children but our group weren't making it easy for him. They did not misbehave, they were just enjoying themselves and were a bit loud.
I just decided to leave then and let them have fun, why not is a party.

When we were done at the Mall we continued the party at our house. They were playing so rough in the pool that my mother said it felt like she was living under a waterfall with her flat being a level below the swimming pool. During the week I cranked the pools heater up to 32c, and as one child said while they were swimming "this feels like bathtub water".
I wanted to get the Jacuzzi ready during the week but decided against it, as it would have just spelled trouble with nine, 11 year old playing in a hot tub and I was scared how some children would react to very hot water. Don't want parents phoning me with complaints about sick children.
Dejone really had fun and you could see that it was one of those days that she was just relaxing and enjoying herself.
Now for the part which wasn't so much fun. As I was skating or trying to and moving around the rink to see if all the children are OK, I was building up the confidence and was improving a lot. Later on I was skating really fast and my confidence was at a very high level. I was just about to give the current figure world champion, Kim Yu-Na a call to see if she is not looking for a new partner when I was brought back to reality and brought back fast. Before I knew it I was down and almost out. A youngster came to help me and he said he was skating past me when he just suddenly heard this bang. Funny how you instinctively feel where it hurts and then I saw my whole hand was just covered in blood.
He helped me upright and took me to the medical room at the rink. Luckily they have one. The girl put a bandage on and said she thinks I need some stitches.
I didn't want to spoil DJ's party and let them continue, although I didn't go on the ice again. As soon as I felt better and could walk without looking like a guy who's been in a bar fight I walked to the pharmacy and ask the assistant to give me some antiseptic stuff and a bigger bandage.
Kim helped me in the restaurants restroom and we continued the party. I must say I was taking strain and it was really difficult to put up a smile and pretend that everything was fine.
When we arrived home I just helped getting the things ready for the kids to continue and I headed off to the Emergency section of the Hospital. Luckily I decided not to drink any alcohol as I was driving other kids around. I could see the medical staff was quite blunt when I arrived.

Probably thought I was this drunk guy who's been in a fight. I could see the doctor that saw me was not really convinced about my story. Only after talking to him for a while explaining what I do and telling him about me doing Ironman racing I could see that he was believing me and realized that I am not your average guy coming for stitches every now and again.
The doctor could not believe it when I told him that this is the first ever stitches I am getting in my life apart from my knee operation. I also gained new respect for boxers, I only had I cut and a bruise, man it must hurt if you look at those guys with there whole face full of cuts and bruises.
Must say after the Hospital staff saw that I was not your average bad guy all the staff at the Hospital were very good, from the receptionist, nurses to the doctor. The nurses and Doctor kept telling me what they are doing or what they are about to do. They also took some X-rays to see if there wasn't any other damage.
Luckily I am still in my off season for a week and don't think the cut will affect my training that much. Just thankful that it wasn't more serious. Apart from the headache and Kim giving me the "I told you so" speeches I am fine.