Monday, March 30, 2009

So, What do you aim for?

This last few days almost everybody I spoke to ask me this question. What do you aim for this weekend? It's is then either followed by, In what time do you want to finish or Do you aim for a position?

Well my answer to all of them is neither. My goal for the weekend is to finish. I am not that experienced when it comes to IM's as this will be only my third, but one thing I've learned is that you need to have respect for an Ironman race. It is when you start blabbering it out that you aim for this time or that position that you can bump your head so quickly. With the past IM's and with the half dozen Half Iron's I've done I've learned that you need to take it discipline by discipline.

My first goal would be to get to the start line healthy and without any hick ups that will distract me. My second goal will be to finish the swim. Only if I finish the swim then will I start thinking about the bike and after the bike then my mind will be focused on the run.

The whole day depends on so many things. There is nutrition, bike reliability, injuries and of course the weather. Last year the water was as flat as a pancake, but looking at the weather forecast they forecast some rough sea conditions. They also forecast a 30 degree midday temperature for the day, so it is going to be HOT. Looking at wind speeds the forecast is also 30+ km/h wind speeds. Taking all this into consideration I think I can safely say it is going to be a rough day(feel really sorry for Team Stemmet that will be next to the road for the whole day).

I must be honest that in my mind I do have some expectations otherwise there is not really something that drives you on the day. I will aim to beat my time of last year, and do have a time and a "top something" in mind but that will all be decided on race day.

I am getting my tri pants back tomorrow, I've done some printing on them and I think Team Stemmet would like it. That surprise I will reveal on Saturday night. Have also made some new stickers for my bike which I will also get tomorrow. Will post some photos of the bike once I've rigged it out. Last year it was the "Skilpad" theme( Skilpad meaning Tortoise). It all started as a joke between me and Jakkals as I said I am slower than a tortoise after a disappointing race, and from there on I was called tortoise. So I rigged my bike with stickers of a tortoise, well the tortoise was faster than expected on race day.

Having all this fun and build up towards IM, I think is important. One spend so many hours training and money on the day that if you don't enjoy it 100% you're missing out big time.

Today's training
Run: 40min, 8.4 km, 4:46 min/km, 132 bpm ave, 551 kcal.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Family time- Priceless

With one week to go to Ironman I am cutting back a lot on all the workouts during the taper phase. Doing much less compare to what I was doing a month ago I realize how much time I spend on training. Now that I don't have to do those long rides and runs over weekends there is so much time to spend with the family.

I must add that they know I have to train a lot for an Ironman and they fully understand. They also enjoy the whole Ironman experience and I am so glad to have a family that understand and support me 100%.

Yesterday I did my run early in the morning and quickly went to work but was back at 1pm and me, Kim, DJ and my mother went to a restaurant to have lunch. Can't remember when last did we have lunch as a family together on a Saturday afternoon. It was so relaxing and nothing rushed us to get back home. Dejone and Kim also went to the hairdresser to get their hair done.Dejone really enjoyed it at the hairdresser, she is becoming a real lady.

Dejone is much better after she went to the doctor yesterday and got some medicine, believe she will be ready before we leave for Port Elizabeth(IM host city) on Thursday.Later we watch some rugby on TV, and my mother made us some waffles as a late night snack.

This morning we slept late and there was no rush. We watch the F1 race from Australia laying in bed. Dejone came to join us and we all were chatting in bed. While Kim was off to the shops to buy some food for the week I went to the gym to do my swim workout. The rest of the day was just as relaxing as yesterday and I only started my cycling at 4pm.

I really enjoyed all this time with the family over the weekend and after Ironman next week I know there is some more quality time with them as I will be taking a break for a while before I start training again.

This week will be even easier on the training and I only have 3 workouts in each discipline for the week. I think I will be more busy getting everything ready and packed before we fly on Thursday. I don't like packing the bike every time we fly. I am always so scared when I know the bike is at the back of the plane and you don't have control over the guys that's handling it.

Yesterday's workout
Run: 1h11:28, 15.8 km, 4:31 min/km, 142 bpm ave, 1111kcal.

Today's workout's
Swim: 1h34, 4 km

Bike: 2h01, 70.7 km, 35.3 km/h, 136bpm ave, 1742 kcal

Week Totals
Swim: 10 km
Bike: 204 km
Run: 30.2 km

Total: 12h17, 243.9 km, 9140 kcal

Friday, March 27, 2009

DJ not well

With every training session today I was totally focused. I love it when I have these training days.

I am not sure if my bike training was more this year than last year but even if its not the Computrainer has helped a lot by doing the IMSA course. Tonight I've done it again and breaking the lap into three splits helps you focus. Just hope I can focus on race day to bike according to these splits. I was spot on tonight, split 1- 26minutes, split 2- 45 minutes, split 3- 31 minutes. split 1 of lap 2- 26:30 minutes. I was suppose to to two laps to give me my 3.5 hours but I only did 1 lap and a part of the second lap.

The reason being, Dejone is sick and if I have my daughter standing next to the trainer and asked me if I can come and sit with her, there is no option, family always comes first(Luckily she's asleep now). Anyway I believe I can't gain any fitness at this time, I can only loose fitness and then I would have to do nothing for the next week.

My only concern with DJ being sick with the flu is me getting it a week before my "A" race. I will just need to double the dose of all the vitamins I am taking.

It was also a sad day for Dejone as the school closed today and her best friend, Jessikay is immigrating to New Zealand with her family. They only leave on the 20th of April but I think reality struck Dejone today knowing that she won't see her at school again when it reopens. I promised DJ that she and Jessikay can spend as much time as possible together during the school break before they leave.

Today's workouts:

Swim: 41:31 min, 2 km.
Run: 28: min, 5.5 km, 130 bpm ave, 374 kcal.
Bike: 2h22:40, 78.1km, 128 bpm ave, 1858 kcal.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

10 Days to GO #686

It is 10 days until Ironman South Africa and the race numbers were also issued today. Yip my race number for the day is 686. Everything is now in its final stage, from the tapering to getting the bike serviced and sorting out all the travel arrangements.

Today was a rest day for me and it felt good. I am just scared of gaining weight on these days with no workouts but my brain keeps telling me to eat. Tomorrow is one of those busy days again with workouts in each sport on the day, including my long bike ride of 3.5 hours . It is going to be a long night. The only advantage is that I only have a 1.5 hour run on Saturday.

Don't know what am I going to do with the rest of the day. For the last few months Saturdays were so busy with my long bike sessions. Think we will make it a family day on Saturday, the whole day.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Why these armbands?

Although I've been wearing these rubber bands for more than two years, a lot of people asked me lately why do I wear them and for what. Well up to now I kept the reasons to myself but said that if you're really interested I will share it on my blog.

The black one I started wearing after my father died of Alzheimer's disease and it is in honour of him. He died on the 10th of June 2006 and I was looking for something to wear to remind me of him. I am not a necklace person and doing triathlon it is difficult to wear something permanently. I saw people wearing these bands but all of them had some statements on it.

I then found this black one in St Tropez when we were on holiday. This band remind me about all the lessons I've learned from him and what a great roll model his been. I have learned so many things from him but the most important things is to be honest and responsible and If you do something do it 100% or don't do it at all.

The red band I wear to motivate me to qualify for Kona. When I wake up at 4 am and don't feel like training I see this red band or if I'm doing a 6 hour bike ride and want to cut it short I look at this band. When I am still busy training at 10pm ,I look at it and I know that to qualify for Kona there is no short cuts and the other guys who also wants to qualify is busy training.

Today was a busy day with workouts in all three disciplines. Although the session were short it was high intensity and I could feel it tonight when I did my bike session that the legs are tired of the days workouts. Doing 3 x 5 minute time trials at full effort wasn't easy at all.

Today's workouts

Run (speed session): 45:51 min, 8.9 km, 138 bpm ave, 166bpm max, 672 kcal.

Swim: 58:37 min, 2.5km, 751kcal

Bike(speed) 40:36 min, 23 km, 120 bpm ave, 464 kcal.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Still can't decide with which shoe I am going to do IMSA. I know this decision should have been made already but both shoes have there pros and cons.

Will it be the Asics Nimbus10 or the Zoot Ultra Ali'i special edition racer(nr. 607 of 1800).

I know one must make an educated decision and not an emotional one but running in a special edition shoe which was named after the famous Ali'i drive in Kona makes it difficult.

All of my Half Ironmans I've run with the Zoot's and the most I've done in one stint was 25km. So I'm not sure how my feet will feel going another 17km. The advantage with them is that I can run without socks, making transition quick and they are so comfortable.

The Nimus have more cushioning and they are my old faithfuls doing the long training miles. The only problem with them is I need to run with socks and in the second part of the marathon I am so drenched with water, from the aid stations and sweating that the socks are so wet and it starts to irritate me.

Guess it is going to be a tough decision, Any suggestions???

One person I follow on twitter(Rich_GoWagen) made we aware of the following running event. It is a Global event but you do a Local race. I think it is really a cool idea and it is the third year that it is happening. It takes places on the weekend of the 10-11th October and what it basically is, is you register on their website( and its free) and on that day everyone run his own race wherever you are but it will be all these registered runners across the world. You can decide if you want to do a 5km, 10km or 21.1km race.

Check it out at www. and register to do your own race, it is going to be amazing. I've already registered to do a 21.1km on the day

Today was a rest day with no workouts

Monday, March 23, 2009

How long can a Hour be?

Today was just one of those days. Everything started real easy with my 1.5 km easy swim this morning. The swim was different as I took it easy but for a change I enjoyed it a lot. After the swim I got ready and drove two hours to Volkswagen's headquarters to attend a roadshow/meeting. For a change it was interesting and I enjoyed it.

When I returned home I discovered that we had a burst(leaking) water pipe which runs from the geyser to the house. Luckily Albert, the plumber I've been using since I can remember came to sort it out quickly. He is so reliable and never say no when you need him. He did the plumbing for our house, so he knows this house's plumbing better than anybody else.

I had to do an easy bike tonight, and jumped on the computrainer to do it. Literally after 35 sec I got a puncture( on an indoor trainer!!!!). I jumped off and changed the tyre, and was back on the bike to start with the 1 hour easy ride, but when I pressed the start button on the computrainer the program freezes on my laptop. So I jump off the bike restarts the laptop and when that was done I loaded the course again. After this ten minute delay I could complete the hour without any hassles. After my ride I had a look at the tyre and saw that it had a cut which I must have got from Saturdays ride. Lucky me not to have a flat on Saturday.

Today is also Gerhard's, my sisters fiance birthday. The are out having some fun.
Happy Birthday Gerhard

Today's workouts.
Swim: 32 min, 1.5 km
Bike: 1h02, 32 km, 115 bpm ave, 619 kcal.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Running is on track

Did go for my last long run early this morning and I must say I feel real positive about the run. My legs feel much stronger and I do have more speed than last year. From this week onwards I am beginning to take in easy and there are even days that I have NO workouts never mind only one for the day.

I did email Mark and Luis at markallenonline as I am really tired and the lack of feeling "sharp" bothers me. I just don't feel like training but as soon as I start I can go the full distance without a problem. Mark suggested that I reduce my swim tomorrow from 3.5km to 1.5km and my bike from 2h30 to 1hr. I do have a rest day Tuesday and see how I feel after Wednesday's workouts. He also suggested to start catching up on sleep. I normally get between 5 and 6 hours sleep a night, mainly due to my working situation and all the training.

This afternoon I went to the dam and did some open water swimming. I just wanted to make sure I am fine with the wet suit and the open water after my hick up at the half iron two weeks ago. Must say I did enjoy it and I felt great, no problem what so ever. Just a bit scary if you swim alone without any support but I swam all the way along the shore and made sure I didn't drift inwards.

Today's workouts
Run: 2h00, 25 km, 4:48 min/km, 136 bpm ave, 1704 kcal.
Swim: 21 min, 1 km.(open water)

Weeks Totals
Swim: 9.2 km
Bike: 293.5 km
Run: 48.3 km

Total: 16h38, 351 km, 12048 kcal.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Keep Left Pass Right

Today on my long bike it was one of those boring rides where you just keep on going and nothing is happening. You are in your training zones, no motorist try to take you out on the road and nothing happens along your ride to make it interesting.

Well that was until the 130km mark and heading home. Part of the route I cycle on is a very quite road, where you travel past some farms. I could see there were a lot of sheep running across the road and as I got closer I saw these farmer and his helpers chasing his sheep, I suppose from one side of his farm to the other and in the process they are running across the road.

I was cycling at about 35km/h and slowed down to 10-15km. Me and the sheep were negotiating our way past each other and it was going well with most of them, but there were still some sheep who were falling behind that was catching up. You just know when you feel something is going to happen. As I approached(about 5 meters) this one sheep I was going to the left and he was going to his right. I moved to the right and he moved to his left. Braking to an almost complete standstill me and the sheep had a head on collision, or should I say my front wheel with the sheep's body.

It just gave one bleat and scattered to the side. Luckily I could unclip my foot form the pedal not to fall over. I just laugh as I saw him running across the road. After I started cycling again I wondered if the sheep wasn't maybe right when they say 'keep left pass right". This rule apply when people are moving in the same direction but what about two objects approaching each other. You see the sheep did keep left and then passed to his right, but it was me confusing him to keep left and pass left, or am I now just being silly.

Never a dull moment when you spend these long hours on the road training.

Today was my last brick session before IMSA, with tapering to start on Monday I only have a 3,5 hour bike ride next weekend. Tomorrow is also my last long run with a 2 hour run. I've decided to do my swim workout tomorrow in the local dam just outside town. Just feel that need to go out with the wetsuit and do an open water swim.

Today's workout
Bike- 5h08, 161.5 km, 31.4 km/h, 127 bpm ave, 3951 kcal.
Run- 28 min, 5.9 km, 4:55 min/km, 140 bpm ave, 435 kcal

Friday, March 20, 2009

Winter is coming

When you see the Cosmos flowers next to the road you know that winter is approaching fast. Last week I didn't notice it but suddenly this week it appeared everywhere. Although the cosmos plant is a weed it produce this beautiful flowers in shades of pink and white. I could also feel it's getting really nippy when I went for my run this morning. Luckily IMSA is only two weeks away and then I am taking a short break before the duathlon season starts. During the Duathlon season I take it easy and don't train that much, basically just something to keep me busy.

When I saw the weather forecast, if one can belief them, I decided to swop my run and swim workout today as the were forecasting rain for this afternoon. Don't know if I am just tired or getting old but lately I don't enjoy running in the rain, and I don't want to catch a cold at this stage. The only problem I encountered was that the gym close at 8pm on a Friday, so I could only manage 3 of the 3.5km swim workout, before they wanted to close at the gym.

Tomorrow is a 6 hour brick session, the last long ride before Ironman. I am still deciding if I need to go outside or use the Computrainer because there's more rain expected.

For those interested I've posted the photo of Donald ( Guess who's back post).

Brian(trainingpayne) hope you enjoy the picture. While I am thinking of Brian you need to check out his blog, very interesting. I really enjoy his posts everyday, worth following him. You can check it out at

Today's workouts

Run: 28 minutes, 5.4 km, 5:11min/km, 121 bpm ave, 328 kcal( easy run session)

Swim: 1h10, 3.0km, 117 bpm ave

Thursday, March 19, 2009

School Projects

Before I continue, I need to apologies that the photo of Donald is not up yet. Yesterday it was raining so heavily that I could not take a clear picture and today, well lets blame it on the school project. I was a bit late for work this morning and forgot the camera. I will definitely have it up before the weekend.

Dejone got this school project where she needs to make a music instrument, and she decided on a guitar. She was not happy with her dads idea of getting a shoe box and add some fish gut to it.

She wanted the real thing. So off I went to the store to buy some wood and to the music store to get guitar strings with the fitments. My initial plan was to help her after my run workout but when I got home after the swim session she was waiting because Dad needs to help.

I decided to give the running a miss, and help her. What a great time we had. I did all the cutting and drilling of the wood while she helped me with the measurements. When that was done she insisted that she wants to use the hammer to nail everything together. Must say we waisted 10 minutes arguing about this because I had to keep the wood together with the nails in place and she's got the hammer. Eventually she won the debate and I must say I only got hit once on the finger.

After that I helped her to attached the strings and that was the ground work done. Today she and her grandmother did all the painting and decorating. She is so excited to take her guitar to school tomorrow. I must say I am really impressed with her commitment and hard work to make the project a success and with her "boy" skills when she helped me with the woodwork.

Tonight I did my bike workout which included 2x 12 minute time trials, hope my legs don't feel this way in two weeks time. They really feel heavy and that "sharpness" is not there. I hope this will improve from next week onwards when I start with the tapering.

Yesterday' workout

Swim: 32 min, 1.5km

Today's workout
Bike: 1h00, 36 km, 133 bpm ave, 822 kcal.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Guess who's back

All I need to say is, Welcome back Donald. As I was driving back home yesterday I could not believe my eyes when I saw Donald back in his pond. For those who don't follow my blog that often check out a previous post " Where's Donald" and you will know what am I talking about. Will take a picture tomorrow to post and you all can see who Donald is. For the past two weeks I've been checking the pond but one become used to not seeing what your looking for and then you start looking and searching for new things to make life interesting.

Did my speed run yesterday morning, I must say I enjoy them more every time I do them. You get that feeling that you can't go any faster and while you push yourself to the limit, or that's what you think, you just what to slow done. But before you realize the session is done and you feel so GOOD. Love these fast sessions more and more. Last night I did my two hour bike ride. Did do one loop and a bit of the Ironman South Africa course on the Computrainer. I know the course so well now on the Computrainer and have work out my splits. Hope this will also work on the day. Plan on doing a 1h40 per lap(x3).

The first split is the 13 km from the start where you climb all the way, with some sections at 7% incline, then it is 27km of rolling hills and the final 20 km is fast depending on the direction of the wind. I have broken it down to 25 minutes, 45 minutes and 30 minutes which will give me 1h40.
Last year I did manage these splits on the first two loops but was 7 minutes off on the last loop.
Hope the wind doesn't play havoc this year as Port Elizabeth is known for its heavy winds, then it can happen.

But everything depends on how you feel on the day and as I realized lately one needs to have a plan A,B and C.

Did not do a workout this morning as I only finished late last night and decided if I do a workout this morning it would mean that I will only get 5 hours sleep. So I decided to do my swim and run workout tonight. Don't mind if I finished late as I only have one bike workout on Thursday and will do it in the afternoon.

Yesterday's workouts
Run: 1h01, 12.1km, 140 bpm ave, 161 bpm max, 908 kcal
Bike: 2h00, 64 km, 118 bpm ave, 1343 kcal

Monday, March 16, 2009

20 days to Go Go Go

Every year round about this time I ask myself, WHY? One is full of plans and motivation when you start to train for a specific event in my case Ironman South Africa, but when it gets to 20 days you wonder if your preparation was enough and all these "what ifs" goes through your mind. Not to mention the training that seems to never stop. I will swop a long, slow workout anytime now for a fast,short workout. Am actually looking forwards to tomorrow's run workout, which is a speed session.

Went to the doctor today as he wanted to make sure my lungs are OK, after last weeks mishap at the half Iron. He's happy with the lung function test I did today. Last Monday the result of the test was 78% and today's result came out at 98%. This is also a big relief to me, knowing that there's no problem with my lungs anymore.

Today's workouts

Swim: 1h28, 3.7 km
Bike( recovery ride): 1h01, 32 km, 124 bpm ave, 732 kcal.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

What a Run

Suppose everyone experienced it where everything just feels right and you know this is going to be a great workout. This is how I felt this morning when I went out for my long run. I was running at a sub 5 minute/kilometer pace and after my 2h20 I felt that I could go for another 2 hours. My heart rate was at a 137 bpm average, pace at 4:53 minutes per kilometer, cadence 90 and stride length 114cm and a running index of 66. I would give anything to have such a run at IMSA.

After Church I rushed to the gym to do my swim workout but could only managed 3.5km of the 4 kilometer workout before I was chased out of the gym as they were closing. It was just after twelve o'clock and all my workouts were done for the day, what a nice feeling no late night workouts. The rest of the day was a real relaxing day and I spend some quality time with Dejone and Kim, something that I don't do that often during this last few weeks before Ironman.

This week is the last of my hard weeks before my two week taper, just need to get through it.
Tomorrow morning I am going back to the doctor as he wants to do a follow up Lung function test just to make sure everything is back to normal.

Today's workouts
Run: 2h20, 28.7 km, 137 bpm ave, 4:53 min/km, 2023 kcal.
Swim: 1h13, 3.5 km, 119 bpm ave, 829 kcal

Week totals:
Swim: 9.5 km
Bike: 235 km
Run: 64.3 km
Gym 2 sessions
Total: 17h45, 309 km, 13469 kcal

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Little Black Book

It is now 38kg's that I've lost since I started doing Triathlons 5 years ago. The majority of the weight was obvious because I was overweight but then you get to a stage where you don't loose the weight so rapidly anymore and you then tend to starve yourself to loose that extra fat.

After I joined markallenonline last year and also reading his book "Fit Soul Fit Body" I realized that although I was eating healthy my food allocation was still not right.

According to my new eating plan I need to get a split between Carbohydrates, Protein and Fat of 60/20/20. In the beginning of the year I started keeping track of what I eat and records everything in this little black book. Everything gets recorded in the book and I also record my workouts for the day to balance the calories with that, that I've consumed for the day I was amazed that I was getting to little Carbs and Protein and still get way too much Fat in during a day. I was shocked when I saw how easy it was to get it wrong during the day. One thing I changed was eating more fruits as I am not a big fruit lover but starts to enjoy it more and more.

Initially I thought that I will only keep track for a week or two but I am on my second black book and I think that I have a pretty good idea of what to eat everyday to get the balance right.

Since I am eating according to the 60/20/20 principle I do have a lot more energy, don't get sick that often and I have started loosing weight again. I need to drop another 2kg's to reach my ideal racing weight and then I just need to keep it there.

Today was a full day with my last gym session before IMSA and a long brick session. The bike leg was tough today as it started raining after 4 hours and I was riding in the rain for the last 2 odd hours. Don't mind the rain that much as I keep telling myself that this could happen in the race and then you at least know how it feels. What worries me is all those motorist flying past you. Did put my flasher light onto my bike before I went out as I was expecting rain but it's still a scary feeling.

Today's workouts

Gym: 40 min, 286 kcal
Bike: 5h51, 183.1 km, 129 bpm ave, 31.4 km/h, 4565 kcal
Run: 30 min, 6.2 km, 141 bpm ave, 4:50 min/km, 452 kcal

Friday, March 13, 2009

Big weekend ahead

This week had its up and downs but somehow it's Friday afternoon and I've done all of my workouts apart from the one swim workout where I got stuck at 50%. This weekend is another big weekend with a 6h45 brick. Tomorrow is also the last of my gym workouts. I've looked at my training schedule and there is only 12 workouts per discipline left before IM.

Next week will be my last week with big mileage and then it's two weeks of taper. The intensity will increase but the volume will come down. The way I feel now, I can't wait for some intensity with less volume. Don't know if I am just tired or perhaps I can't remember but this year I feel more tired than last year. I don't have that "sharp" feeling, and are real tired, hope I'm not over trained.

Last night's workout

Bike( intervals): 1h00, 32 km, 136 bpm ave, 858 kcal

Today's workouts

Swim: 1h25, 3.5km
Run: 40 min, 7.5 km, 129 bpm ave, 525 kcal, 5:20 min/km

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Where's the Energy

Yesterday morning I was up early to do my 1h30 run as I had two meetings with the first one starting at 7:30am. The run went well and I didn't have any problems with the knee anymore.
Just as I was out of town Kim phoned to say the car won't start again. Luckily she and my mother got the vehicle started. Must be a faulty battery and asked her to go to Tyre & fit to change the battery as the winter is approaching fast and then it is going to be a problem.

As the day progressed it felt if i was just loosing energy, don't know if it was the meetings or maybe some side effects from the weekends race. After work I went to the gym to do my swim session but after 2 km i decided to get out as I was waisting my time. I did not go as hard as I should have gone and my whole body was tired.

When I got home we had no electricity as there was some problem in the neighbourhood but luckily it was not long before it was restored. After dinner I went to bed just to recharge myself with a good night's rest.

This morning I am still tired but did do my second last gym session before IM. Don't know how I am going to get through the bike speed session tonight. Do have a sore throat and a runny nose, hope it is not the beginning of another flu session.

Yesterday's workouts

Run: 1h22, 16,5 km, 135 bpm ave, 4:58 min/km, 1147 kcal
Swim 45 min, 2 km,

Today's workout
Gym: 36 min, 257kcal

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

#527 for DJ

We received Dejone's race number today for the Ironkids event that will take place the day before Ironman. This will be the second year they have such an event for the kids. The nice thing about it is that there is no winner, if you complete the race you get a Ironkids medal (and it's the same size as the Ironman medal). It is so much fun seeing all these kids giving it a go and enjoying themselves

Last years distance was a 60 meter swim and a 1.2 kilometer run. This year she falls into the 10 to 13 year category and will need to complete a 100 meter swim with a 2 kilometer run. She is quite excited about it.

Got some good news today from the race organisers of the weekends event. The cyclist that got hit by a car is OK and suffers from a few bruises and some of his ligaments are torn but luckily nothing broken. That is a real relief.
Kim is back from her two day out of town workshop and did I miss her. One only realize the amount of time you spend on all these things from getting Dejone ready for school to preparing lunch boxes and dinner when you're a single parent. Would never be able to train the way I am if she was not helping out with all the household things and with Dejone.

When she got home her car wouldn't start and with me working 100 kilometers away I could not come and help. Luckily I phoned the guys at McCarthy VW, where I worked for 17 years and they sorted her out without any delay. Big thank you to Gert, appreciate it.

My mishap from the weekend seems to be something of the past, did my normal training and everything feels the way it should be. Today was my last day of recovery training after the weekend event and from tomorrow its back to the full schedule for the rest of the week. Nice 5.5km swim tomorrow and a 1h30 run, will see how it goes.

Today's workouts

Run: 26 minutes, 5.4 km, 132 bpm ave, 353 kcal, 4:51 min/km

Bike: 43 minutes, 20 km, 134 bpm ave, 595 kcal

Monday, March 9, 2009

Another Triathlon lesson

Whenever you are an average swimmer, don't be fooled if you had some good sessions in the pool to think you can start at the front with the top swimmers. I guess that is why they say you need to group yourself according to your ability.

This is a lesson I learned over the weekend although I've heard it on many occasions at events but never took notice of it as I always start at the back. After my visit to the doctor today and giving it some though I realized what went wrong this weekend.

You see after my hard work in the pool during the last month I though that I can start with the front runners, only to be pushed under water more times in 100 meters than in the whole swim leg of last years Ironman. What happened was I got some water in my air waives, without noticing it and this caused my air wave to cause some spasm to prevent any water from getting to my lungs. The only problem is it also prevented any air getting to my lungs.

The doctor gave me a good check up and took some x-rays and did some lung capacity tests on me. According to him I don't have any asthma problems, and my lungs are 100%. My upper air wave just reacted to some water that I breathed in during the chaos and this caused the airwaves to tighten and that feeling that there is no air getting to my lungs. He just gave me some medicine for the irritation I am experiencing now. Must say I am glad it is not that serious , one can't imagine that something this small can ruin your whole day.

Went to the pool this afternoon and did a 500 meter easy swim just to make sure everything was still in order. Glad to say I could do it without any problem, just some small irritation in the throat.

Been blessed to visited Maranello in Italy twice, the home of Ferrari. The tour guides, when you visit the Ferrari museum, on both occasions told us the following story, so I guess it must be true. In Enzo Ferrari's office he had a cupboard with some small replica Ferrari's in it. These replicas weren't the Ferrari's that were the top performers or the best ones they ever build but it was all the Ferrari's that weren't successful, the failures. He did this to remind himself that there is always room for improvement.

When I looked at my race T-shirt I got yesterday before the race I though about this story. I decided to wear this T-shirt every time I go for my swim workout until Ironman in 4 weeks. Just to remind me of my swimming ability and to remind myself to work extra hard on my swimming. As Enzo Ferrari said himself " Look ahead and always push even if you are not winning"

Today's workout

Swim: 12:27 min, 500 meter.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


I guess the DNF says it all, the first in my triathlon career. I sort of expected the DNF but not the way it happened. The whole week I've been looking at options with my knee that was not 100%. First I said I am only going to do the swim but as my knee improved during the week I decided to do the swim and bike leg and yesterday I decided to do the whole event. I had a plan "A" and a plan "B" but never a plan "C".

After roughly 200 meters in the swim I felt that I could not breathe, there was no air getting to my lungs. I swam to the shore to rest a while and then tried again but after 400 meters I had to get help from the life guards. I was coughing so badly that I just could not breathe. They took me to the shore and I sat there until I felt better. First time ever that this happened to me.

After a while I got my breath back and asked the race referee if I could do the rest of the event although I would be a non finisher. I got onto my bike but as soon as I started pushing and my heart rate went over 120 bpm there was just no way I could breathe. I completed the 90km cycle but the only reason that I did was because there were no pick up vehicles in sight. The last 20km was so bad that I had to ride in my small chain ring just to keep my heart rate below 100 bpm.

My time for the bike was 2h57 compared to last years 2h32. Average heart rate was only 126 bpm and my ave power was a miserable 151 watts compared to last years 229 watts. Did not even think of starting the run leg.

I am so disappointed as this never happened to me and I am really concerned about this as Ironman is only four weeks away. Will go to the doctor tomorrow to help me, don't know if I am having some asthma problems, as I've been coughing now the whole day and can't take any deep breaths. Felt really sorry for "Team Stemmet" as everybody was up and about at 3 am this morning to make the 2 hour journey to the event. Sorry guys.

It is funny how something like this can make you feel like a real failure, even if you just wanted to do the event as an tester for Ironman. Need to stay focused now and not let this make me negative for Ironman. Well I guess it is as they say "back to the drawing board"

Some more sad news is that a cyclist got hit by a car at about the 60 km mark. This looked real serious as the whole bike was recked and there were people everywhere to assist the guy as the medics were on their way. I really hope and pray the guy is OK.

Today's disaster

Swim: 400m, 12min

Bike: 2h57, 90 km, 126 bpm.

Weeks Totals

Swim: 4.9 km

Bike: 113 km

Run: 2.8 km

Total: 6h27, 120km, 4465 kcal.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Good luck Guys

Tomorrow is the Cape Argus Cycle race, the biggest cycling race in South Africa. The entries are limited to 35 000 and it's sold out long before the closing date. Many of my friends are cycling tomorrow. While I will be doing the half ironman these guys will be facing a current heat wave in Cape Town and a 45km/h strong South Easter. All I can say is GOOD LUCK my friends.

To Jakkals, Johann de Klerk, Wimpy, Richard, Derek, Warren and to Marco and Ettienne from Cycle Tech( the shop that looks after all my bicycle needs) enjoy the race and may you achieve your goal whatever it may be.

Luckily I did not work today so I had a lazy morning and watched my rugby team (the Sharks) on TV. First time I see them play this season and luckily they won. Juggling my time between work and training for and IM I don't have any time to watch them play. Feels nice for a change to sleep later than normal and not to have anything that you need to do in a rush.

Did my pre race workouts today and I am glad that my knee did not bother me at all. My heart rate was higher than normal when I did my run and cycle workout but I suppose that's because I didn't do any running or cycling for the last 4 days. After my workouts me and DJ went to the shops to buy a battery for my power tap bicycle computer as it showed "low battery" when I did my cycling this morning. Don't want to let it die on me tomorrow in the race. We also got DJ a netball ball for the netball season that is now almost in full swing.

Going to spend some time this evening at my mothers place where we'll watch the Bulls (the rugby team she supports) take on the Stormers in a Super 14 match. Then it is an early night as we need to leave for the half ironman tomorrow morning at 4am. Team Stemmet will be in full support as my mother, sister and Gerhard, her friend together with Kim and Dejone are all coming along.

Today's workouts

Pre race easy sessions

Swim: 10min, 500m
Bike: 20 min, 8.3 km, 123 bpm ave
Run: 14 min, 2.8 km, 136 bpm ave

Friday, March 6, 2009

30 days to go

It's 30 days to the big day, Ironman South Africa. It sounds like I am repeating myself every time I talk about this subject but it really feels if it is approaching very fast. From time to time I get that feeling of doubt, where you are not sure if the base training was enough or if you still have enough time left to be 100% prepared. Luckily I'm on the markallenonline program and I trust them 100%, so I just need to stick to their plan and I should be ready for the big day.

My knee feels super today and I had no pain whatsoever. I am having a swim session tomorrow morning followed by an easy bike and run. Will see how the knee reacts and will then decides if I am taking part in Sundays Half Iron. If I feel any discomfort I won't do the full event but decided to do only the swim. It won't give me an accurate picture but my main focus the last few weeks was the swim and would like to see if there's any improvement in the open water.

Today was an easy day with no training, the only problem is one must be so careful not to consume the same amount of calories as you do on heavy training days. It's so easy to gain weight on these easy days.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Thanks DJ

DJ(nickname for my daughter Dejone) attended a birthday party today of one of her class mates and as I got home tonight she gave me this Marshmallow mouse with the liquorish tail. This is properly my favourite sweet if I do loosen up on my strict eating plan. She told me that when she opened her snack box at the party she saw the mouse and though of me as she knows it's my favourite.

It is amazing how your child can pick the things up that your like and dislikes. This reminded me of a quote that was in this little book DJ gave me for Christmas. The books called " I love my Dad" and it is full of quotes and one of the first quotes in the book is:

"He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it"-Clarence Budington Kelland.

Isn't that so true, we think we just do what we need to do everyday but do we really realize that our children absorb every thing we say and do.

My knee is much better, if I had 100% discomfort on Sunday it is now about 20%. Went to the physio today and afterwards the doctor gave me a cortisone injection. Should be fine in a day or two.

Today's workout

Swim: 33 min, 1.5 km 380kcal, 110 bpm ave ( easy swim)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


That's the number of entries in my age group for Ironman South Africa. Entries closed Monday(2 March) night. The M35-39 age group is the biggest group again, followed by the M40-44 and then the M30-34 age groups. Last year there were 312 entries in our group so a small decline from last year but still a big group.

It will be a real challenge to follow on last years performance, were I finished 29th out of 312 in my age group and 111th out of 1404 finishers.

It won't be long until race numbers are issued. "Team Stemmet" as I call them (Kim, Dejone, my mother and sister) are waiting for my race number as they want to make shirts to wear on the day. The whole Ironman experience is not only about yourself and the race on race day but all the build up the week before from picking up your race pack to racking your bike and going down to the swim start for the beginning of a whole day of racing with the family supporting you all the way. There has been long discussions about the design and you can imagine what it takes to get four ladies to agree on it. The whole atmosphere about the event is starting to build up and it gives me that extra motivation to keep up with the training and to perform on race day when I see them all excited about it.

My knee is much better than yesterday and the pain is almost gone. The Physio worked on it again and see believes that I will be ready next week to get back to my normal schedule. Will see her again tomorrow for another session. I did not do any workouts today but will do my swim workout tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

To Do or Not to Do

I could only see the doctor this morning and it seems that I have a condition called Bursitis in my right knee. This is when the small fluid-filled sacs that is located where the tendons connect to the bone become irritated or inflamed. One of the causes is overuse, and I guess that is in my case the reason for the inflamed bursae.
What worries me is that the knee is swollen today which wasn't the case yesterday.I am now on some medication to see if it will help and the Physio is also doing her magic. They suggest that I don't do the Half Ironman this weekend, and I guess they're right. They said they will work on the knee and see if it becomes better, but being so competitive it's hard not to participate this weekend. The weekends race is a "B" race for me and I don't want to ruin my Ironman in 5 weeks. If I participate this weekend it is almost a case winning the battle but loosing the war. Maybe I will just do the swim part to see if I improved on the swim as I have been working real hard on it.

After I saw the doctor I took my bike for a service as this was the initial plan. As I drove to the bike shop I realised that it is actually not necessary for them to check my bike but as I already arranged with them I took it anyway. The guys at the bike shop are so busy now as everybody wants to service their bikes before this weekends big Argus Cycle tour in Cape Town, guess we all leave this for the last minute. I am not 100% sure but according to the event organisers this year they have over 35 000 entries.

Today's workouts

Swim: 1h03 2.5km, 107 bpm ave, 580 kcal

Bike: Intervals 25min, 15km, 126 bpm ave, 312 kcal

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Please not the knee, again

Late last night as I got up from the sofa my right knee just "locked" and I couldn't straighten it. This is the same knee that's been under the knife twice. Preparing for Ironman South Africa in 2007 my knee also gave me trouble and I could only do the minimum of running for the last two months before that years Ironman. After surgery later in the year my knee's been trouble free ever since. I did put some ice on it and this morning it felt better but i still can straighten it without having this pain on the outside of the knee. When I did my swim this morning it didn't bother me but as soon as I walk for a while it begins to hurt.

For the rest of the day I took it easy and just relaxed by the house without being to active. My long run was suppose to be this afternoon but I decided to skip the workout as I first need to see if my knee will be better tomorrow. If it is not better tomorrow I will go and see the doctor as my Half Iron is this Sunday.

Hope this is just something small and not too serious.

Today's workout

Swim: 1h06, 3.0km, 131bpm ave, 883 kcal.

This weeks Total

Swim: 14.5 km
Bike: 289.7 km
Run: 43.5 km
Gym 1 session
Total: 19h54, 347.8 km, 13738 kcal