Sunday, May 31, 2009
The week began quite funny with me wishing Kim a happy anniversary on Monday the 25th. Don't know how I got the dates mixed up as I am usually the one that remembers birthdays, anniversaries etc. Luckily she thought it was real funny, and at least I remembered Thursday when it was the day. Our initial plan was to go out for dinner on Thursday night but we decided to rather give it a miss and went to see a show in Johannesburg Saturday night.
When I came home on Thursday and asked Kim where are we going for Dinner for our anniversary Dejone was quick to ask where are we going? I said, no it is me and your mother that is going out for dinner because it is our anniversary. She replied with a big smile "But I am part of this marriage, so where are we going". I though this was quite funny as she didn't see anything wrong with it to join us. Eventually being a bit cold and me coming late from work we changed plans and went to the show last night.
As with our marriage and with a lot of things in life, it all comes down to commitment. This made me think about all the thing we commit our self too. Our marriage can't be a success if we are not fully committed towards each other and to make a success of our life together. The same goes for your work, family, sport, friendship, hobbies, religion and the list goes on. No one said that if you commit yourself towards something it is going to be easy. Everyone experience the ups and downs, but the secret is if you commit yourself towards something you can't let any downs, pitfalls or distractions come in your way to relinquish that what you've commitment yourself to.
The same goes for my preparation for Ironman. I've committed myself towards the sport and to be successful I need to commit myself to long hours of training and it is not always easy. But that is the difference between someone who will be successful in Ironman's and someone who will never be able to say "I have completed an Ironman"
I've spend a good 15 minutes today in the steam room to get rid of the cold that's been bugging me for the last two weeks (hope it helps). It is not that I am down and out but it just keep me from sticking to my training schedule 100%. Some days I can go all out but some days it's all in my head and I can't even complete the workout. I felt much better today and maybe I can now stick to my program.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Before I continue I must add that I am not a person that complains all the time. If something bothers me or I experience an issue that upsets me I deal with it there and then and move on with my life.
I guess this post tonight is my way of dealing with the frustration I am experiencing currently and for the last 6 months. So please bear with me so I can get it out of my system and move on.
October last year I ordered a P4 and the distributors of Cervelo in South Africa asked for a deposit before they order the bike. Well I paid them the deposit they asked for (which works out to more or less 20% of the bikes price). The initial emails confirmed that I will have the bike December 2008. Well this wasn't the case and they postponed the date to late January/ early February. That date also did not materialized.
I then started sending emails and tried to get a date for delivery as Ironman SA was 2 months away and I wanted it before the IM.
They informed me then that there was a problem with the rear brake system but it is sorted and the P4 will be released soon.
After some emails they told me that I won't have the bike before IMSA as only a few frames were released in March but a big portion of frames will be available in April and May.
When I then enquired about this big portion of frames that will be available at the end of April they said that it is on it's way. I even emailed Cervelo Head office and they also did not give me a definite answer.
Well I asked for some feedback today as we are now approaching June, and 8 months since I paid the deposit and still no definite answer from Cervelo.
On Cervelo's website they say that the frame sets will be available early 2009, don't know if June still qualify as early 2009 and that is if I am getting it in June????
By coincidence I came across a website of a US bicycle retailer (very popular among Triathletes) today that had a picture of the first owner and his P4, that they delivered. The date the owner took delivery- 12 March 2009 and the distributor in SA tells me the bikes has not been released world wide?
Now where's the problem, is it Cervelo or is it their distributors in South Africa. I get the impression that Cervelo don't care about the average cyclist on the street since their bikes are in demand and it is a case of, if you want it you play by our rules or don't bother us. Currently this whole situation leaves a bit of a bad taste in my mouth after 3 years of enjoying my P3.
Guess I am stuck with Suzie for an indefinite period.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
There is a saying in Afrikaans, my home language "Slim het sy Baas gevang" For my friends who follow my blog that doesn't understand Afrikaans let me first explain the meaning. If you translate it word for word it will be "Clever catches it's Boss" which doesn't make sense and is not the real meaning of the saying. It translates to something like "(he was) too clever for his own goods" Well coming back to my story, if it wasn't for Tritravel this saying would be spot on.
Some time ago I wrote about the ridiculous fees that Airline companies charge for transporting your bike when you fly. By searching the net I came across Virgin Atlantic who don't charge for sport equipment and Hawaii air who charge $100 from LA to Kona compared to the other airlines $175.
Because we only fly end of September I booked and paid for the flights from Johannesburg to Los Angeles on Virgin, as there aren't many options for this route and the price differs a lot from airline to airline. I decided to hang on to the LA to Kona booking because the price does not differ that much and I was hoping for the Rand/$ exchange rate to drop.
Late last week I decided to do the booking as the $ was at it's weakest against the rand in a while. Everything went 100% with the booking on Hawaii Air until I had to pay for the tickets. Problem number one, they only accept credit cards from the USA, Canada, a few countries close to the US and Australia. Well I thought there goes option number one but lets fly with United Airlines. They were option two when I compared prices. OK they also don't take credit cards from South African citizens. Lets try American Airlines option three, well, guess what no credit card option for SA.
I tried option number four Delta airlines, hey great news they do take South African credit cards, only problem is they are now almost double the price than Hawaii Air. But if you don't have any other choice what can I do.
Before I finalized the payment, I emailed Tiffany at Tritravel in Australia who is the company we are using for our accommodation and tour activities in Kona. Luckily she came to the rescue and booked the exact same flights on Hawaii Air as the ones we looked at and for the same price as the Internet price I got. One thing I can say is that the service I am receiving from Tiffany and Tritravel is excellent. I've been fortunate enough to travel a few times to different countries in Europe and has been to the US a couple of times and the service I am getting from Tritravel is been the best I've ever received from a travel agent.
Nothing is to much to asked for and they get back to me immediately with every question or query I have. Even with us getting to Kona before the official tour starts and leaving after the tour ends, all the transport issues has been taken care of. To Tiffany and www.tritravel.com.au Thank you.
My 20 week training program with www.markallenonline.com has started on Monday and I am slowly getting back into the routine of training twice a day for seven days a week. I am still half asleep at 4am to do my morning session but it won't be long for the body to fall into the routine as it did for Ironman South Africa.
It was a big surprise today to get a phone call from a friend of mine from which I haven't heard in almost a year. We studied together and then started together in the motor industry and worked for the same company for almost fifteen years. It is such a sad story, as he then developed a gambling problem and without anyone suspecting it he stole money from the company. He lost everything and his wife even divorced him. He received a suspended sentence, had to pay back all the money he stole and just finished a rehabilitation program to cure his gambling addiction. He lost everything and are now living with his parents and must start his live over at the age of 38. One can say he brought it upon himself but it is still sad to hear what his been through the past year.
It made me think about me complaining about little things such as motivation and some flu that's not even real issues. I must be so thankful to have such a great life and for everything I've been blessed with.
Swim: 20 min 1 km( speed drills)
Now some cycling on the Computrainer.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Can it then be possible to wake up one morning and all that negativity and lack of motivation are gone. Yesterday morning I woke up and just felt so good. It went to the gym and did my strength workout. During the day I also felt so pumped and last night I did my bike workout. During the last few weeks I would either do half the workouts or won't do it at all. Last time I was on the bike was Monday a week ago. I was suppose to do 1.5hr on the bike and I was so surprised to do the whole workout. I just had that feeling that I just want to carry on.
As I woke up this morning I was so scared that, that feeling was gone, but I still had that positive attitude. Both my sales managers were on a course today, so I had to be the New vehicle, Used vehicle and Dealer Principle today and I was so busy but before I knew it the day was gone. After work I went to the gym to do my swim workout. During the last few weeks I would either just drive past the gym going home or don't complete the full session because of the cold water and the swimming pool heater issues but tonight although the water was still so cold I just carried on and focused on the session.
I am working on my technique after I studied some videos since I can't find a swim coach who can assist me. Although my time is slower than normal it feels if there is less effort when swimming and as soon as the muscles get used to the proper way of swimming I believe that times will come down.
Currently I am so positive and glad that I have my motivation back. My 20 week program for Kona starts on Monday, and I can't wait to get going.
I can't believe that for the past few weeks I was so negative and had a lack of motivation and now I am so committed. It feels like I went to the Lost & Found counter Wednesday night while I was sleeping and picked up my motivation and positive attitude that I lost three weeks ago. Can it also be that your mind is so powerful knowing that your training program starts Monday and it just switched to another mode overnight, putting your body into motion for what's to come.
To all my friends helping me to get all the negativity out of my mind, Thank You.
Today I thought about what Sylvia Ashton Warner said and it's so true when you are an Ironman Triathlete. "Dreams sometimes do come true. But not without something that looks a lot like hard work"
Gym: 35 min, 385 kcal
Bike: 1h30, 50 km, 135 bpm ave, 1300 kcal, 33.2 km/h, 232 watts ave
Swim: 32:58, 1.5km.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Lately after me having a bit of flu and my lack of motivation to train, mainly because I feel tired all the time, I've been thinking about all the supplements I take. Do I take too many or do I need to take some more. When I started doing Ironman's I basically took everything and anything that claimed to better your health and performance. As time passed by I started to cut all these supplements one by one and for the last year or so I am down to the following.
I take Pharmaton Multivitamin capsules as my daily multi vitamin. Why I use Pharmaton is only because they say that endurance athletes may suffer from an iron deficit and these are one of the few capsules that have 10mg of iron. The rest are at 5-7mg. Then I use Moducare as an Immune booster and a generic Antioxidant capsule at night. I take some Omega 3/6 capsules and I also use Arthro Guard, a tablet that they claim will protect your cartilages and joints. By doing competitive wrestling and Judo for sixteen years and having had two knee operations, when it comes to running my knees ain't the best there is.
I only use Infinit energy drinks and Powerbar gels on my long rides and runs and use Infinit Repair after my long sessions.
Now do I take to much or is there something I can use to help my body efficiency. I guess if you read all the reports and adverts about all the supplements that can make you perform better you will spend your whole salary on supplement. For time being I think what I take support my healthy eating habits which have most of the vitamins and minerals one needs a day.
I've also loaded my 20 week training program on Markallenonline.com and can't wait for Monday to begin with my 20 week journey towards Kona.
Run: 45 min, 8.7 km, 681 kcal, 139 bpm
Run: 56 min, 9.8 km, 136 bpm, 824 kcal
Swim: 42 min, 2km,
Sunday, May 17, 2009
I don't even want to think of it but you can also add your coaching fees, the money you spend on your equipment and gear. What about the Ironman race where you qualified, do you add those expenses too?
Then there is the things which have no monetary value, the 20 hours plus you train per week. Waking up at 4 am every morning to do your workout before you go to work and finishing at 11pm if you have, in my instance the Monday evening 3 hour bike session after work. The 7 hour bike ride on a Saturday and missing those valuable time spend with your wife and children. There are so many things you can add to this topic if you want to calculate the amount of money you are going to spend to just get to the start line at Kona, no finish guaranteed.
Now let's try $37 300(R317 000).
That is what the 4th and last slot on eBay auction went for in the annual charity auction whereby 4 slots get auctioned and you get a ticket to participate in Kona.
The third slot sold for $35 100(R299 000). I know it is for charity and I am thank full for people with that kind of money and hearts to give that amount to charity but when I looked at this tonight I could not help but to think if money was not an issue will I pay that to participate in Kona.
I guess I don't realize how lucky I am to have qualified to go too Kona, and maybe I can use this as a motivation as lately I just don't have any motivation to train. If someone is prepared to pay R317 000 just to get a slot, never mind all the expenses going with it to get to Kona it must be something special.
What do you think, if you had the money will you pay $37 300 to get a slot or will you train your bud off and earn your slot?
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Yesterday morning when I woke up I immediately knew here's trouble. My whole body was sore, stuffy nose and a sore throat. I had to go to Pretoria for the day and could not see the doctor. Later in the day I felt better and went for my swim after I came back from Pretoria. It was my weekly speed session in the pool and I was suppose to do 2.5km with lot of speed work.
I could only manage to do 1.5km before I couldn't go any further. My whole body was sore and I was shivering in 19c water. I though that if I hit the steam room I can maybe get rid of the flu. After 10 minutes in the steam room I was still shivering and eventually I sat there for 20 minutes and decided to get out. Thursday I only manage 14 minutes in the steam room and now I was in there 20 minutes and still not feeling the heat as previously. Definitaly something was not rights.
When I got home I just had something to eat and then before I knew it I was sleeping. This morning I decided to go to the doctor as I normally wait to see if these colds don't go away only to see the doctor 4 days later. Luckily it is just normal flu and it hasn't affected my lungs yet.
After the doctor I decided to do my gym workout, I am suppose to do as it is not high aerobic stuff. I could manage to do my gym workout but decided to give the steam room a skip today. I will also give my bike session a skip today and see how I feel tomorrow. I would rather skip one or two sessions now and be ready when my IM program starts in two weeks.
When I was at the doctor someone asked me, do you take any supplements to help your body cope with all the training and it made me wonder. I did cut back on supplements and are taking far less than what I used to take a year ago. Maybe that is something to look at.
Swim 34:35 min, 1.5 km
Gym 35 min.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
For the week so far I haven't missed any workouts and I am also sticking to the whole workout per session, no cutting short. It is amazing how quickly one body can adapt. Two weeks ago I was so out of shape after the 4 week lay off after IMSA and now I can already feel how everything is coming back. Spoke to Jacques today and we discussed the pool's temperature at the gym, which is by the way down again to 18c. But when you start t swim it is sooo cold but after a few laps your body adapts and you don't feel that intense cold anymore.
I also received a qualification certificate from the IM company stating that I did qualify for IM Worlds. That was a real surprise to receive the certificate.
Run: 51min, 9.5 km, 135bpm, 733 kcal, 5:24 m/km
Swim: 1h05, 3 km, 700 kcal,
Monday, May 11, 2009
One of the biggest challenges I will face in Kona will be the heat and humidity. As Winter is almost with us, most of my training will be during the winter and when it will starts to warm up in September I will begin tapering. Therefor I will need to use all resources I have and try to simulate the heat in Kona to prepare myself for it. I know I won't be able to simulate the conditions 100% but it's better to train in some form of heat generated conditions than in single digit temperature figures.
Last night when I did my 1h15 bike session I set the Air Con's temperature in my training room at 31c, the maximum it can go up too in the heater mode. All the windows were closed and I also dressed up to increase my core temperature.
I loaded the Interactive Real Course Video of the Kona bike course on the Computrainer and off I went. Must say since I got the DVD last year I did ride it a few times but now it had a different meaning and purpose. As I cycled I looked at the bike course in a different way. Last year it was just another bike route on the Computrainer. Now I will cycle it comes October. It was also nice to get familiar with the environment.
First I want to get use to the course and then later on I will do the same as I did this year with IM South Africa and start breaking up the course in segments and give myself time targets for each sections. I know conditions on the day play a big role but it worked for me at IMSA.
I only cycled 1h15 and covered 40km of the course but with the air con blowing full speed at 31c and me going aka Thorbjorn Sindballe with the long sleeve I was sweating like a pig at the end of the workout. Only difference is Thorbjorn is wearing that type of cloths to bring his core temperature down and I am dressing up to increase my temperature.
Since last week I am also spending some time in the steam room at the gym after my swim and Gym workouts. First I could only manage 5 minutes in the steam room before it became uncomfortable but yesterday I was in there for 13 minutes before I called it a day. Will see if I can push it longer with every session.
Run :50 min, 9.75 km, 143bpm, 786kcal, 5:08 min/km
Bike: 1h15, 40 km, 136 bpm, 1090 kcal,
Run: 36 min, 7.31 km, 141 bpm, 554 kcal, 4:57 min/km
Friday, May 8, 2009
I then decided, no way there must be somewhere, somehow a cheaper option. And although it took me a whole day guess what, I did get a better price. And I must say I don't have all the resources the travel agents have and it was by searching the net, airline by airline. So with all the resources and systems they have I am sure it won't take her the whole day. Wonder if these travel agents are just to lazy to put some effort into it and try to really help you or do they get additional incentives from certain airlines to promote those flights.
All I can say is Virgin-Atlantic and Sir Richard Branson you rock. I eventually found the best price on Virgin-Atlantic whereby we will fly to Los Angeles via London. With Delta it would have been LA via Atlanta.
I then found a good price on Hawaiian airlines from LA to Kona. But here is the best parts.
Virgin-Atlantic will allow one sports equipment bag on the flight at NO extra charge as long it is less than 32kg. They also allow two checked suitcases at 23kg's per bag per person. Compare that to 23kg's checked luggage from Delta and $600 for the bike. I couldn't believe my eye, the only other airline that came close was Emirates which allow you 30kg's checked luggage at no extra charge if it includes your bike.
Just to make sure I phoned the Virgin-Atlantic customer care line and the lady was so help full. She even offered me a stopover in London for the same price and yes they take your bicycle at no extra charge.
Hawaiian Airlines will charge me $100 to transport my bike from LA to Kona whereby Delta and United Airlines charges $175 and American Airlines $150.
So was it worth it to spend the whole day searching for a better deal. Yes, I think so. We are now flying Virgin-Atlantic and Hawaiian Airlines, have a stop over in LA and London and I saved R9000($1000) compare to the travel agents best deal she could find and R18000($2000) from the first quote she gave a week ago.
With the airlines and the accommodation in Kona, thanks to Tritravel sorted out I can now put that behind me and concentrate 100% on my preparation for Kona.
I still have issues with the gym. It is now Friday and the water this morning was 16c. After 20 minutes I just could not face the cold anymore and it felt like my whole body was going into a spasm. With the outside temperature at 9c it is not fun swimming at 5am. They keep on having different excuses for the heater not working. I need to make a decision very soon if I want to continue like this or go and swim in the town I am working in, which is 100km from home. This will be a big sacrifice but at least the water there is 27c. But more on the swim/gym story later as it unfolds.
Gym: 41 min, 443kcal
Bike: 1 hr, 33.5 km, 134 bpm ave, 849 kcal
Swim: 25 min, 1 km.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Then you get to the registration form and here you not only need to supply your personal info but answers all these questions they have. Questions such as "Significant Triathlon accomplishments" well I only had 1- qualified for Kona. "Family members attending or participating", " Professional or Academic honors" and the list goes on. At some questions I was hoping for a multiple answer whereby I can choose one. One question-" Interesting facts about yourself, I thought it would be best to ask Kim that question.
After all these questions you then proceed to the final page where you need to pay $10 because you are not registered as a USA triathlete, but eventually it was done and I am soooo Happy I am now officially registered to participate in Kona
Got a WAKE UP from Trijackal on Monday. It went something like this- "Are you doing a duathlon in Kona because I don't see you in the pool anymore". I guess you need these messages to catch a wake up. The thing is with my "official" 20 week training program for Kona only starting on the 24th of May I find it difficult to focus and have the self discipline to keep on training the way I've trained for IMSA. But after the message I got my act together and haven't missed a workout session of my maintenence program which leads up to my performance program.
It is also not nice when I arrive at the pool at 5am this morning with the air temperature at 10c and the water has now dipped to 18c. When I asked them last Friday why is the water so cold( it was then at 20c) their explanation was that the pump packed up and they had to switch the heater off. They said that they will fix the problem this week, well it's already Wednesday and it is not fixed. Last year was the same old story. I guess they know they are the only gym with a swimming pool in town so they don't care.
I am still looking to find a cheaper way to get myself and my bike to Kona. Bryan suggested that I get prices from FedEx/UPS to sent my bike to Kona. I did get a quote today and for a moment I thought this is the way to go. I asked the lady to give me a price for my bicycle to Kona and back. She worked it out at R5687. When I confirmed with her the route she replied by saying it is only one way so it will be another R5687 from Kona back to South Africa. So far the $900 from Delta still seems to be the cheapest if you add the airline ticket.
Well tomorrow I have a gym session and a bike session. I think my legs will feel it as my last bike ride was the Mpumalanga TT champs on 18 April.
Run: 48 min, 9.6 km, 811 kcal
Swim: 43 min, 2 km
Run: 40 min, 6.5 km, 623 kcal, 133 bpm
Monday, May 4, 2009
What a surprise did I get today when I wanted to finalize our airline tickets with Delta Airlines to Kona in October. Something just said to me, check what the airline charge to transport my bicycle. Just to bring you in the picture, we are flying from Johannesburg to Atlanta, from Atlanta to Los Angeles and then onwards to Kona. No matter how you look at it South Africa and Hawaii are exactly at the opposite end of the globe.
Well here it is and it is not a joke. From South Africa to Los Angeles will be $300 and then from Los Angeles to Kona will be another $175. That is one way, so it would be another $475 coming back. Maybe it doesn't sound that bad for my friends who earn their living in dollars but for a South African that is R8.45(our local currency) for $1. That is just over R8 000 just to get the bike to Kona. Browsing further on Delta's website I saw that you pay for almost any luggage you intend taking. On International flights you have 1 bag free, second bag is another $50 and on their domestic flights you start paying from bag nr. 1($15).
I then looked at South African Airways bike policy just to compare and they allow you 20kg luggage but that must include your bike and anything over 20kg's is R243 per kilos excess fee. Which also comes to about R7000 if you take 35kg's including bike.
It seems that airlines has now decided to make their money by transporting luggage. What amaze me is that they are so strict on the weight of your bags and are not shy to charge you for it but there is no penalties or excess fees for people in different weight divisions. It seems a bit unfair to me. Guess I will start searching tomorrow to see if I can't get some airline that can take me and my bike half way around the world for less than what I got from Delta.
Important lesson learned today, if you take your bike with you on a plane the cheapest price is not always the cheapest, check the airlines luggage policies before you book.
Well enough of airlines, tomorrow is registration time. The athletes that qualified for Kona at Ironman South Africa can start registering from tomorrow until the 19th of May. You only have these two weeks to register otherwise you're not in. Guess what I will do tomorrow.
I've also been struggling with Planter Fasciitis in my left foot. It is funny that when I trained for IMSA and were doing high mileage it bothered me just for a week and then it was gone, but now that I am taking it easy and only running once or twice a week it really hurts. Trijackal and my physio said that maybe it is my shoes that I wear to work that is the problem. After they mentioned it I realized that I started having problems since a bought a new pair of shoes for work.
Before that pair I never had foot issues. I got myself a new pair of shoes Friday at the health store and must say that my foot is much better but not 100%. Hope it will fine before my Ironman training starts end of May.
Monday night is dancing lessons for Dejone and I always enjoy it when she comes back and you see the excitement in her eyes. She is so into it right now, hope the enthusiasm stays with her.