Wednesday, September 30, 2009

On our way to LA

Our 2 day trip to London has come to an end and we are on our way to the airport to fly to Los Angeles.

The two days in London was busy but awesome. The only bad part was that I had an upset stomach yesterday and could not train.

I suppose if you are use to eating very healthy and you are then exposed to airline food and take outs for a day your stomach don't appreciate it.

Later in the day I felt better but then it was to late to do any training.

It was a real challenge doing sightseeing with an upset stomach.

We visited the Madame Tassaud wax museum yesterday, stopped at Buchingham Palace and Big Ben.

Last night we went to a football match between Crystal Palace and Sheffield Wednesday. Although they are two 1st division teams it was a great experience.

The match ended in a 0-0 draw.

Kim wanted to organize her handbag are with a shock she discovered her pepper spray in her bag. So much for airport security. She passed South Africa and Heathrow security and no one picked it up!!!!!!

Now it's the long haul to LA and our homestay with Nina and Dana Jack. Really looking forward to it.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Arrived in London

We safely arrived in London on our journey towards Kona.

I forget how bad it is when you fly 10 hours plus and are restricted to the small seat of a plane. After today I am not looking forward to the London to LA leg of our journey which is around 13 hours I think.

After we stood in the queue to get through customs for more than 45 minutes we dropped the bike and some suitcases off at baggage storage and got to the hotel only to be told we are to early. Our room was not ready so we decided to explore London and took a trip on the Eye of London. Wow what a great experience with an awesome view.

Tonight we had a quick bite at the restaurant Friday's before we went to see the musical "we will rock you". Kim and DJ really enjoyed the show, some very spectacular scenes.

Tomorrow I'm back training after my day off and it's going to be interesting running in central London. Apart from dodging all the people my feet are swollen badly after the flight. Don't know why I don't wear my compression shocks if I have them, really stupid of me.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Die Groot Trek

                                                      Copyright by Van Emmenis Arts.

 The Great Trek or in Afrikaans "die Groot Trek" is a historical event in South Africa whereby my ancestors, the Voortrekkers or Boere as they were called decided in 1835 to leave the Cape Colony and went North. More than 10 000 with their families embarked on this mass exodus. The main reason for the great trek were their economic problems, the danger of the Xhosas who settled across the Fish river but mainly due to the conflict with the English colonial authorities.

The reason for the Stemmet's great trek is none of the above but for only one reason and that is to embark on one of my dreams, to participate at the Ironman World Triathlon Championships in Kona, Hawaii on the 10th of October.

We are about to leave for the airport to start our journey halfway across the globe. Everything is packed and we're ready to go. I can't believe but all the luggage are way within the size and weight limits. Don't know if that's still going to be the case when we return.

My long run this morning were just the opposite of my long bike yesterday. Whereby I could not find any rhythm on the bike yesterday and cut the session short, the run went super well. I could find my rhythm from the first step and it improved by the kilometer. Hope I can just have such a run on race day as I've been having the last few days.

Earlier today my mother and sister together with her friend, Gerhard gave us a farewell brunch. They all wore their Ironman supporters T-Shirts, and wished us a safe journey. It's thinks like this that make ones family so special and precious.

Luckily tomorrow is a rest day and I only need to train again on Tuesday. Going to be interesting to swim, bike and run in London. The swim venue is sorted thanks to Donna and running is not to difficult. The only downside is I will only be able to do my bike on the Hotels stationary bike. It will not be the real thing but as long as I just keep the legs turning. My next bike will be on Friday in Kona.

Well that's it for now, will have regular posts on the blog and also keep you updated om twitter( @tristemmet ) for those who's twittering.

This weeks training(tapering feels so good):

Swim: 7 km

Bike: 244.4 km

Run: 56.3 km

Totals: 15h07, 307.7 km, 11139 kcal

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Today was a busy day packing, doing some last training on South African soil and last minute shopping of things we forgot to get during the week. Above is the "before" picture of my bike, pre-packed.
Below is Matilda dismantled, wrapped and ready to be put into the bike case.

And below is the finished product. Looks so easy but I hate it each time I have to dismantle the bike and put in into the bike case. Apart from it being a very time consuming thing, I've seen how the people at the airport handle luggage and every time I unpack the bike I open it holding my breath.
This time it is even more intense as I will only be able to reassemble the bike after five days and four different flights. Just hope the people handling the bike read the sign on the case- "Fragile"

Waking up this morning was so different but so nice, not having to shut the alarm but waking up naturally. I can't believe the difference between a twenty two hour training week and a sixteen hour training week. It's amazing what a difference a few extra hours a week can make.
I did my long bike earlier than normal and I could not believe that it is still so cool and it's almost summer. I just could not find any rhythm on the bike, one moment I would be spinning along at 90rpm and the next minute I would be right back at 60rpm. Luckily my coach said that if you feel like it you can cut some training sessions short as the most important training sessions is in the bag.
Needless to say I shortened what was suppose to be a 5 hour bike to 4 hours.
About three months ago when I was doing the big bike weekends and with Kim bringing me replacement bottles I started to throw my empty bottles to youngsters alongside the road. Since many of them don't have running water and are poor they appreciate it so much if they get this empty bottle. Sometimes it is heart breaking if there is two or three standing and you only have one bottle to give, but I always try to throw it at the smallest one.

It is so nice to see how they appreciate a simple used water bottle. Today as I was getting my bottles I use for racing ready for Kona, I could not believe how many bottles are still in the cupboard. Above is a picture of what's left and that's after giving away plenty of bottles during the past three months.

Suppose if I keep doing it I will eventually get rid of most of the old bottles.

Luckily the packing is 99% done and tomorrow will be an easy day before we leave for the airport at 4pm. I still need to do a 2 hour run and a 2.5 km swim but I will do that early so I can take it easy the rest of the day.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Nr.1192 and family ready to go

With today being a public holiday and me in my taper phase of training it was nice spending the whole day with the family. I only had an hour interval session on the bike and although it was hard while doing it I was done by 9am. It was also very strange but nice not to wake up at 4am to start training.

Today is know as national Braai (Barbecue) day in South Africa and the weather did not disappoint, it was a lovely sunny day. Not to mention we also had a braai.

Dejone can't hide her excitement anymore and with the school holiday that started yesterday we are going to have a tough time keeping her calm and relaxed until Sunday before we fly out.

Dolly or should I say Jumbo, Dejone's little Poodle enjoying the attention while we were busy braaing.

During the week the BIB numbers were issued and number 1192 was assigned to me. It's amazing that now suddenly the number 1192 has a special meaning to me but before that it meant nothing.

Our travel plan is also finalized and I must give a special shout out and thank you to Nina and Dana Jack ( ) who will be hosting us in Los Angeles the night before we fly out to Kona. Nina has put so much effort into helping us with choosing a hotel in LA on our way back and also helping us with the planning of things to do during the days we're in LA.

Also a special thank you to Donna deWick ( ) who helped us with the planning of our London leg. I did not know there are so many swimming pools in Central London until Donna helped me chose one close to our hotel as I need to fit in a swim session during our time in London.

For those interested here is a basic layout of our travel plan for the next three weeks.

We're flying to London on Sunday night and will be spending two days in London. Apart from taking Dejone to the major tourist attractions (Buckingham palace, Big Ben, Eye of London etc.) we are going to watch a musical the Monday night and a football match on Tuesday evening.

Arriving Wednesday afternoon in Los Angeles we are spending the evening with the Jack's.

Then on Thursday morning we fly to Kona and for the next 13 days it's focusing and doing what I've trained for the last 20 weeks, Ironman Worlds.

We return to Los Angeles on the 13th of October and will spend the next three days exploring LA while staying in Santa Monica right on the beach.

Apart from exploring the city we are taking Dejone to Universal Studios and Warner Bros. Kim will be attending a recording of the Ellen DeGeneres show on the Wednesday. The highlight for me will be on the Tuesday night when we are going to an Ice Hockey game between the Anaheim Ducks and the Minnesota Wild. Although I don't understand the rules 100% it will be fun to watch.

We return to London on the Saturday for a short stop over before we fly back to South Africa on Sunday the 18th of October.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Getting the suitcases out

Kim asked me today to get the suitcases out. She wants to clean them and I had to measure them to see if they are within the airline limits.

Luckily they are within the limit but I told Kim she must remember the size limit is one thing but there's also a weight limit.

Guess who's taking the pink suitcase. Yip it's Dejone's. She has this suitcase now for more than two years but it's so big she never use it. She is so excited to finally use it. Luckily she won't have a problem identifying her suitcase at baggage collections at the airport.

Well enough on the suitcase. Will post tonight some more.

This post is via email, testing the function before to see if it's working

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Tri Travel, just keep on giving

We are using Tri Travel as the tour operator during our 13 day stay in Kona and am I glad we chose them. From the beginning the service was just excellent. During the past month they've also been sending emails with all these freebies.

First it was the free pair of Newton shoes for every athlete in the tour group. You had the choice of any Newton shoe and I decided to go for the ones I am used to, the Racers.

Next up was the Louis Garneau Superleggera Helmet for every athlete at this ridiculous price. As my current aero helmet is black with little air vents, I went for the special deal. Don't think my helmet will be ideal for Hawaii's temperatures. During IM South Africa when the temperatures were in the mid 30's I could feel that I am cooking in the helmet. With the Superleggera it is light in colour and have 5 massive air vents. I got the helmet for $120 less than the retail price. The only condition of the sale is you must wear it on race day but that's no issue.

Yesterday I got another email giving every member in the group (athlete and spectator) a Timex Ironman watch. Don't know what Kim and Dejone are going to use theirs for?

Apart from the above every member is also getting a goodie bag worth over $200 from them. For our family in total it is almost $1000 worth of free stuff.

That's not were it stops. When I collected our post this morning the itinerary from Tri Travel was in the post. On the Tuesday before the race they are hosting a breakfast with an information session with the following athletes to give advice, Michellie Jones, Luke Bell, Chris Legh and Mitch Anderson.

And on the Sunday after the race we are having another breakfast with last years champion Craig Alexander to talk about the previous day's race.

Can't wait to meet all these Pro's

This morning before my long bike we went to Chantelle's house to meet Eddy, my new dog. Chantelle and Kim are working together. It is a Jack Russel and I will only be getting him when we get back from Hawaii. He was just over a week old today. Between Kim and Dejone, I lost the battle with giving him a name and they out voted me.

I've ordered a Triathlon dog shirt for him from Nina. Nina and her husband Dana is from Los Angeles and is hosting us for one night before we fly out to Kona. Her business is designing and manufacturing anything Triathlon related.

Training is still on track and I don't know if I just had enough of all these long hours training or if I can't wait any longer but I am starting to count the number of exercises that remains. Don't know if it's good or bad. After tomorrow's session I have 10 training sessions left for each discipline.

Feels good having only 30 sessions left if you consider when I started with the 20 week program there were more than 280 sessions to be done. Obviously I did not do all of then due to work issues and being sick but I did the bulk of it. This morning was also my last weight training session.

Got an email from my coach which said that you should start to feel a bit sluggish but it's all part of the program and no need to worry. My only worry is that I don't feel sluggish during my training yet and even today doing my 6.5 hour brick session I had so much power and energy. No tired legs or high heart rate.

Know it sound funny but I hope I will start to feel a bit sluggish soon.

Friday, September 18, 2009

n Boer maak n Plan

We have a saying in Afrikaans "n Boer maak n Plan" which translates to the following.

"Whatever it takes, you(boer) will make a plan" (during the task you are struggeling with to make it work)

"Boer" is what the Afrikaans people used to be called as our ancestors were farmers and they trekked around the country exploring new ventures.

With my new shoes chafing me on the side I could not justify it to go and buy a new pair of shoes and keep testing shoes until I could find the right pair. So I cut the side of the shoe away where it was chafing me. Since then I've done more than 2 hours of pain free running.

It does not look that good but it's working and the shoe will be fine for the next three weeks of training. After this last episode of shoe troubles I've decided to use the Newton Racers in Kona.

I am only getting them in Kona but I have a week to run them in and I've seen with the first pair of Newtons it took me three runs and I was fine.

The Newton is a great shoe and very light and it was only during the high mileage weeks that I experienced the pain in my lower calf. I am sure they will be fine for the race.

Tri Travel, the company who is arranging the trip and accommodation in Kona keeps sending emails with free stuff. It is awesome getting all these stuff. Will post on that later.

During my recovery (easy) run this morning it was such an awesome sight to see the sun rise. The photo does not do it justice as the sun was already too high. Earlier as it was rising it was just magnificent and I didn't even look at my heart rate monitor and just enjoyed the run.

This weekend is my last big weekend with a 6.5 hour brick session on Saturday and a 2h20 run on Sunday. From next week it's all downhill with the sessions getting shorter by the day.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

What's an awful session?

Found this article on Team TBB's website and found it very interesting and motivational. It's about the 5th article on the left of their homepage.

With Kona almost here I am now at that stage where I count the session that's remaining. I don't think I'm over trained as I feel really good when I do the training session but getting started is a real challenge.

After I read this article I realized that doing a session and it feels awful is what makes you better. I was amazed to read that Tereza Macel has never missed one session or cut one session short in the last three months. That is now commitment and determination!! Hope she does well in Kona.

What's next, Barefoot running?

My running shoe problems just can't be resolved. I got my new Asics on Thursday and did an easy run with them on Friday morning. It did chafe me a bit on the side but I thought it was because they're new. Yesterday during my brick session it chafe me more and I started to worry.

During what was suppose to me my long run today it was a disaster. It chafe me so much that I only concentrated on running in such a way that it does not hurt. I was suppose to do 2h40 but could only manage 1h25. After one hour it was so bad that I decided to turn back home.

Don't know why it's happening as I bought a size 11 the exact same size I've been running with for years. The whole shoe saga is a mystery to me. I ran for five years with Asics size 11 with no problems, no chafing, foot pain, blisters, nothing. No previous Asics did this and were fine from kilometer one. Then I start running with Zoots and Newtons for five months and when I return to Asics this happens.

At this stage I'm frustrated and worried as I don't know what to do. Maybe the last option is to go barefoot running???

Apart from the shoe's that's got be in a tail spin the whole week has been super. I could stick to all my training and the best feeling this week was on the bike as it feels if my leg speed is coming back and I don't have that heavy leg feeling on my long rides anymore.

After yesterday's long brick session I felt great and it only struck me after a while that I did more kilometers than what is waiting for me at IM and I could manage a 4:50 min/km run after the bike during my 30 minute run.

I received an email from Tri travel finalizing the arrangements and also giving some insight into the swim, bike and run course. According to them you climb 1678 meters during the bike course. Well during yesterday's bike session I gained 1610 meters and the legs felt strong.

I don't go for massages often but I've gone for a leg massage on Friday and will have a leg massage once a week for the following four weeks, exactly the same as beginning of the year when I was preparing for IM South Africa.

Weeks Training:
Swim: 12.5 km
Bike: 301 km
Run: 62.8 km
Weights: 2 sessions
Total: 21 hours, 376 km, 15026 kcal

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Thanks for cutting your hand, Sis

Things happen for a reason and even if it seems like a bad thing it can turn out as something that happen with a purpose. My sister cut her hand while preparing dinner during the week and although she thought it was OK, it was not and my mother had to take her to the doctor the next day to get some stitches.

While they were at the doctor my mother asked the doctor while she's there if she can just give her a repeat script for her high blood pressure medicine. When the doctor took my mothers blood pressure she nearly went into shock. It was according to the doctor so high that my mother could have a stroke any minute.

When my mother told the doctor that her medicine's been finish for a while and she didn't have time to come for her script the doctor went crazy. That's when she told the doctor that she's been not using her medicine for two months now, without us knowing.

They immediately gave my mother some medicine and monitored her blood pressure until they felt it was safe for her to go.

Needless to say me and my sister went ballistic and gave my mother a good pep talk. I said to my mother if she wants to be daredevil she must go and work at the circus. She was not happy with me but it was necessary.

Here's my mother relaxing during tonight's Rugby game and having normal blood pressure again.

Last night's swim training was a near puke session. Just as I finished my warm up Caroline who was in the lane next to me ask me if I'm doing any particular set tonight. I said yes it's my speed session tonight. BIG mistake, she said O, I'm also doing my speed session tonight so why don't you join me. These words I regretted for the rest of the session.

We started with 20 x 25m all out leaving on 40 seconds. After that it was 3 x 150meters leaving on 15 seconds. As we finished I thought it was tough but not that bad. That's when the shock came. She said, OK done with 1 set another two to go. We ended up doing 3 sets of 20 x 25m all out with 3 x 150m. During the second set Billy joined us and did the last one and a half set with us. He is doing his first half Ironman in January next year.

While I was doing it, it was so bad trying to keep up with her as she kicked our butt and finish 5 meters in front of us every time, but the good news is I manage to do most of the 25's in under 20 seconds with a best of 17 seconds. My previous best for a 25m was 20s but that was a once off.

During my long bike today I just had enough when a truck driver turned right in front of me. I had to pull so hard on the brakes but could not stop in time and had to swerve out and almost hit an oncoming car. That's when I decide to turn around and give the truck driver a piece of my mind. Luckily this happened in town and as hard as I chased him I could not catch him until he got caught by a red light. I pulled up next to him and asked him to roll down his window.

I gave him a good lecture of road rules and that cyclist have the same rights as motorist. I did not yell or swear at him but I was very serious and maybe a bit loud. He acknowledge that he took a chance as he though I was not going that fast and said he was sorry. He promised me that he will be more careful in future. If he only said that to please me I don't know but it made me feel better.

Today's Brick session felt good and my legs aren't that tired anymore. Must be the "heavy" weights during strength training that's something of the past.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

30 Days

Today it is 30 days until Kona. I can't believe it's so close, it was just the other day that it was 100 days to go.

Luckily training has been going well this week after last weeks slight hick up with a slight cold. I've done almost the same hours up to today then what I did the whole of last week. This weekend is my last big weekend with a 7.5 hours brick session on Saturday and a 2h40 run on Sunday. I will see how close I can get to the 7.5 hours as I am a bit worried about my cycling at this stage. As I said last week the leg speed is not there yet. Hopefully that will come soon as my power phase of my strength training ended last week and this week I began my Chisel phase.

Chisel phase meaning no "heavy"( triathlete heavy) weights anymore but lighter weights at a faster repetition

This mornings gym session was good and I enjoyed tonight's speed bike training (if one can enjoy those sessions). It was a 15 minute warm up, 20 minute Time Trial, 8 x 30 sec all out with a 15 minute warm down.

I finally got my new Asics today. What a mission to get them as almost every running shop in South Africa are out of there old stock but haven't received their new shipment. Can't wait for tomorrow mornings easy run, funny how you're looking forward to a session if you bought new stuff.

Talking about Kona, everything has finally been arranged and paid for. I will post our itinerary soon for our trip half way round the world. I'm really excited about it especially for Dejone's sake as she is really looking forward to the trip. She even made me a card thanking me for taking her along on holiday. It's small things like the card that make all the training worth while. The only downside is that for her and Kim it's a three week holiday but my holiday only starts October 11.

Training up to Thursday:

Swim: 7 km
Bike: 128 km
Run: 31 km
Gym: 1 session
Total: 9h40, 6669 kcal.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Advice from a Pro

During the winter I had to use the gym in my work town to do my swim training as the pool at my hometown gym was not heated. It was at one of these swim sessions about two weeks ago that I met Caroline Koll, while sharing a lane. She is a Pro Triathlete and a member of Team TBB which is coached by Brett Sutton. She Finished 5th this year at Ironman South Africa and was 3rd at IM Korea in 2006.

Here is the link to here blog

One does not always have the opportunity to talk to a pro triathlete never mind asking for advice. The Pro's usually stick to their own circle of fellow Pro's during race weekend and because they race for a career they are so focused on race weekend that they don't need any distractions.

While talking to Caroline I noticed that she is a very friendly person and not shy to help with advice when asked.

On Friday we shared a lane again and I asked for some advice on issues I have for my upcoming IM. To sum the conversation up, it basically came down to this.

Stick to what's working for you and keep it simple, don't over complicate things. So true.

After Ironman South Africa, I wanted to change running shoes, why I don't know. I've been running with Asics for the past five years but I recently tried Zoot's and Newtons. The Zoots were a disaster but the Newtons weren't so bad but I started to develop lower leg muscle pain. I have now done almost 500 kilometers with the Newtons and it is time to get a new pair of shoes that will be my shoes that I will race with in Kona.

I have now decided to go back to Asics and use the shoe that's been working for me. Why I wanted to change shoes when I got faster, I don't know or was it just clever marketing from the shoe companies.

The second thing I changed back to, that's working for me is my nutrition on the bike. After IM this year I started using Infinite sport drinks, from the standard mix to my own personalized mix but I keep feeling bloated and nauseous after four hours on the bike. I also stopped using gels and any solid food.

On yesterday's Bike ride I went back to what I'm used too and what's working for me. Solid food(energy bar)on the hour, Powerade on 15min, a PowerBar gel at 30 minutes, then Powerade at 45 minutes and then back to a energy bar on the hour. And I repeat this every hour.

I used this for the past three years with no GI issues and on yesterdays bike it worked again, no bloated feeling or nausea. The only thing I did change and it is working is I changed the energy bar I used for a Mars bar (another Caroline tip) and it was good.
After doing my long bike ride every second weekend with either the 2XU pants or the Zoot pants, I've decided to use the 2XU pants for Kona. It was hard to decide between the two but the 2XU's just feel a bit more comfortable and it also have four hidden pockets for things I want to carry with.
I found these pair of Asics Noosa's in my cupboard yesterday. I bought them about three years ago but was so happy with the Asics Nimbus shoes that I hardly used them. I think they've done less than 100 kilometers. I was also much heavier three years ago and was scared to use them. I didn't want to use the Zoot's or Newtons today and didn't have time to buy my new Asics yesterday so I did my long run today with them and they are so comfortable.

Yesterday was my last power gym session and now it is two weeks of light weights fast repetitions and then I'm done with the weights for Kona. During my 20 week training program for Kona I have only missed the gym sessions when I had Bronchitis. Comparing my training schedule of IM South Africa with the current schedule I'm way ahead on the gym sessions.

I also did a Body Composite scan yesterday. Comparing it with the one I did 2 weeks before IMSA, I have 3% more body fat (something I need to look at urgently), but my muscle mass is up by 1.8kg and my bone mass is up 0.5 kilogram.

This weeks training was not 100% as I picked up a cold again and decided to miss training on Monday evening, Tuesday and Wednesday. I didn't want it to become serious but since Thursday I'm back into training although not feeling 100%. It's amazing, I missed two and a half days and gone are 5 training sessions, impossible to catch up.

Weeks totals:
Swim: 3km
Bike: 139km
Run: 33km
Gym: 2 sessions
Total: 10h35, 7168 kcal