Monday, November 30, 2009
Let me first say why I post in English if Afrikaans is my home language and then I'll give you some back ground on why my English is not the best there is.
Obviously when writing in English it is possible for many people to enjoy my blog entries. If I write all my stories in Afrikaans it will only be my mother and a handful of people that will be able to understand what I write. I would also not have met all these people that became my friends by blogging. I have become friends with really awesome people and reading there blogs and getting feedback from them is amazing.
As I said in the past, meeting someone like Bryan Payne, who has become a really good friend and feeling connected to him wouldn't have been possible.
Then there is also people like Dana Rucker and Nina Jack, with whom we stayed in LA that wouldn't have happened if I wasn't using English on Twitter.
And I always strive to improve in whatever I do. By writing in English I believe my English will improve over the years to come.
Now why is my English and particular my grammar not the best there is?
You see I grew up in a town called Pietersburg which is in the northern part of South Africa and is also a very conservative part of the country mainly farming community. Most of the residents back then if not all were speaking Afrikaans.
As we would refer to English back then as "the Enemies language" it was only spoken in school during the once a day English class. Even the Asian and Indian people who owned shops in Pietersburg quickly learned to speak Afrikaans if they wanted their business to survive.
We saw English as a subject in school and not as a language we were busy learning. There was no difference between English and Science. You did your homework, spoke it in class and that was it until tomorrows class.
Even the schools in Pietersburg was overwhelming Afrikaans schools. There were six Afrikaans Primary schools versus one English school and four Afrikaans High schools versus one English High school.
I can remember when we were children my parents had to translate some parts of the odd English program we were watching as we didn't understand all the words. 99% of the TV programs we watched were Afrikaans.
It was only when I went to Pretoria to study further that I had to use English more often in class and when I started working I had to use English to sell cars to English customers. I can remember some English people looking at me funny when I explained some vehicle stuff to them, but I became a good salesman even selling in English.
Two mishaps I'll never forget was once telling a customer which lever is his "flicker", actually it was the indicator but in Afrikaans we call it a "Flikker". And to another I said your car is on it's way from the "Fabric" actually it was suppose to be the "Factory" but in Afrikaans it is called a "Fabriek".
But never the less I made it through my studies and became a successful businessmen even when I'm not the best English speaking person there is.
Luckily one learn from your mistakes and I do whatever I can to help DJ, my daughter, while she is young to be better at English than her father. She has English friends, watch a lot of English programs on TV and listen to a lot of English music and reading English books. She will often joke with me and say "My Father have been speaking English deliciously since he was twice" and would crack herself for her joke about her Dad
Well there you have it, so forgive me if my grammar is not of the best but at least you can be part of my life and understand it.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Kim spoke to all the parents during the week and assured them that we will be extra careful and my sister and mother are going with so there will be enough supervision. One can understand how parents feel especially with us driving 100 odd kilometers to Pretoria where the Ice Rink is.
Gerhard, my sister and mother keeping a close eye on the children.
Kim was watching from the side and I was "helping" and keeping a close eye on the children while being on the rink. Kim said to me it is not necessary to be on the ice I can watch from the side but I guess I just wanted an excuse to be a kid for the day and play on the ice. These words from Kim would bite me later the day. It was when I was on the rink watching the children that the ice got the better of me. But what do expect if you haven't been on ice in thirty years, but more on that later.
Now for the part which wasn't so much fun. As I was skating or trying to and moving around the rink to see if all the children are OK, I was building up the confidence and was improving a lot. Later on I was skating really fast and my confidence was at a very high level. I was just about to give the current figure world champion, Kim Yu-Na a call to see if she is not looking for a new partner when I was brought back to reality and brought back fast. Before I knew it I was down and almost out. A youngster came to help me and he said he was skating past me when he just suddenly heard this bang. Funny how you instinctively feel where it hurts and then I saw my whole hand was just covered in blood.
Probably thought I was this drunk guy who's been in a fight. I could see the doctor that saw me was not really convinced about my story. Only after talking to him for a while explaining what I do and telling him about me doing Ironman racing I could see that he was believing me and realized that I am not your average guy coming for stitches every now and again.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Dejone gave us special instructions yesterday of how she wants the day to begin. Listening to her yesterday I could see her great grandmothers German blood coming through. She wanted to be woken up at 5h45 as this would give her 15 minutes to enjoy her birthday before her normal 6am rise and shine.
She also wanted her breakfast cereal and a cup of tea. She gave us all these precise instructions. I picked two flowers from the garden to decorate the tray with her breakfast on just to make it a little lady like. When we woke her up I could see that she was already awake but she acted if she was still sleeping. Tonight she admitted to me that when we approached her room she heard us and woke up but didn't want to spoil it for us.
The whole family greeted her, my mother, sister, sisters fiance, brother in law and me and Kim. I can see that she is changing from a little girl to a little lady just by looking at her gifts. Gone are the dolls and toys, she wanted lady stuff. She got a hair dryer, manicure and pedicure set and all these beauty treatment things.
My sister, who is an art teacher, and needless to say always comes up with very creative gifts made DJ a family tree with all the family pictures from her great grand parents to all her cousins with the history on the back of the piece. Kim was so impressed with it she convinced DJ to hang it at the entrance to our living room and not in her room.
With DJ having her birthday party on Saturday we decided to take her to a local restaurant and just have a quick birthday celebration dinner without any big fancy arrangements. We are taking DJ and 8 of her friends to Pretoria ( about 100km's from Witbank) where she will have her birthday party at a shopping mall where there is an ice rink. The Ice rink have this package whereby the kids can enjoy themselves on the ice and have a birthday party at a restaurant afterwards.
She is really looking forward to it and I think we are in for a real fun day as most of the kids, including Dejone haven't been on Ice before.
On another happy note my brother in law, who's been retrenched by the security company he works for and was suppose to finish end November, was re employed by the new security company that is taking the contract over. The business where he is working is so happy with him that they asked the security company, that is taking over, to employ him so that they can keep him at the business. We are all so happy for him.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
The route was shortened to 26km due to the river being impossible to cross with a bike, think it would have been impossible to cross it without a bike. I must take my hat of to the local bike club who organized the race. They had to change the route three times during the week because of the rain and they even had to build a bridge of over ten meters to make it possible to cross the river at one point. The route was also very clearly marked without any hick ups finding your way.
Well I must say I haven't had so much fun in a long time. Being in my off season and not training everyday I just went out to have fun and didn't have the pressure of doing an Ironman on me. There were 92 competitors for the 26km race and 32 for the double loop 52km race. I am so glad I didn't do the 52km race, as my back wouldn't have made it. Funny my legs didn't feel any strain but not being used to a mountain bike my back was really hurting in the last 5km.
We started about ten minutes after the long distance race and for the first kilometer or two we were three guys riding in the front. I stuck to the back of the two and just rode along. Going over the first hill, we encountered one of many downhill sections. Luckily I rode this part of the course last week and knew what to expect. I passed the two guys and stayed in front for the next ten kilometers. One of the guys dropped back but the other was staying about 100 meters behind me all the time.
That's when my off season lack of fitness kicked in and the guy passed me after the ten kilometer mark. I tried staying with him but my heart rate was touching the 180's and I had to remind myself that this is a fun race, I don't need to be so competitive. From then on I raced hard but stuck to my own rhythm and enjoyed the race.
I stayed in second position for the rest of the race with three guys chasing me but they could not catch me. When we were hitting the technical sections they will close the cap but when we hit the hills or the long downhills I will pull away.
The photo at the top was taken before the race, clean and dry. Luckily I didn't take the camera along as I don't think it would have worked after the race, everything was just wet and full of mud.
Doing so well in my first mountain bike race was really a surprise to me and I even received R200 for my second place at prize giving. The prize giving was great and with the Highveld Mall, the local shopping centre sponsoring the race there was a lot of prizes and lucky draws. It is really great having so many prizes for a local bike race.
Must say mountain biking is just the opposite to sitting in the aero position on my TT bike doing an Ironman. With an Ironman you find your rhythm and you then just stick to your heart rate and power wattage limits. With mountain biking there is no rhythm and you change speed, position and gears all the time. Another thing I also learned today is never to wear my lucky Thumb ring when doing a mountain bike race. When I race an Ironman I am in the aero position all of the time. My thumb didn't appreciate me hanging onto the handle bars and with all the bumps I have a nice blister on the inside of my thumb at the joint.
Well done to Jacques (@trijackal) son, @weaselattack who won the under 14 category and he is only 11. Well done Wessel.
Results will be available tomorrow at: http://www.spectrumsport.co.za/Highveld_Mall_MTB_20091122.pdf
Ps: And luckily I didn't fall today, but had some close moments
Heart rate: 165 bpm ave
Calories: 1682 kCal
Speed: 20.3km/h ave
Friday, November 20, 2009
Luckily for me I don't think a lot of people saw the tweet and I won with 837 000 calories on my S625x. At first I did send a picture of my RS800CX but having it only for a year I wasn't one of the leaders. Then I remembered about my S625X that I used before and I took the lead and the person getting the closest was at 600 000 sometime calories. I still don't know what I've won and although I could have ask them what the prize is, I purposely didn't ask, creating this surprise element.
Instead it was my Mark Allen Online Tri Top in the right colours that arrived. When I received my top to participate in Kona, a communication error occurred between me, MAO and Kiwami the Tri top suppliers and mine was Black, Yellow and Red instead of the customary Blue and White colours.
In Kona I did mention it to Andre, owner of Kiwami at the MAO breakfast meeting and he apologised for it and said he will send me the right top. I forgot about this and only remembered about it three week ago. I was really surprised when it arrived today. There was even a hand written note from Andre apologizing for the miscommunication and congratulating me on my race in Kona.
It is little things like this that make me believe in a product and sticking to it.
Now I can race Ironman70.3 South Africa in January in my new race top.
Apart from the excitement of the race top arriving it was a boring week with not much happening. The only thing that was very constant and persistent this week was the rain. It has been four days now of non stop raining. The weather bureau says it will start clearing up on Sunday. Hope they are right as I am doing my first ever Mountain Bike race on Sunday.
Everybody is talking about the funny weather we're having in the middle of summer. It feels like winter is back and temperatures were in single digits for most of the mornings. It was wet and windy most of the week. Luckily I am in my off season as it would have been a real challenge to bike 6 hours or run 3 hours in this weather during the weekend.
I think it is going to be a real mud bath with all the rain. Luckily I am just doing it for fun and only entered the 35km race. According to the route map there are two river crossing but I hear that they might change the route as it will be impossible to cross the river after the weeks rain.
Hopefully I can survive the race without breaking any bones. Will post a "race report" on Sunday.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Last night we attended the Revue group year end concert and Dejone performed four items. She is really a good dancer and so many people complimented her after the concert. It seems that when she goes on stage she transforms from this little girl into this super focused dancer. I particular like the Latin dance she did (photo above). The group dance routine (photo below) achieved 95% at the city school competition earlier this year and it is the first time in the schools history that a dance group receives a Diploma.
She must have her mothers talent as I can't dance to safe my life. Give me a few beers and I think I am the best dancer on the floor but dancing competition, no way. She also must have her mothers brains as she received Academic honorary colours when we attended the Schools Gala event on Thursday. This is the event where I, as chairperson of the school governing body deliver my year end speech.
During Thursday night we had a big thunder storm and Murphy's law, just before I had to deliver my speech there was a power failure. Luckily I've learned over the years when giving talks I memories bullet points and then I talk from the heart about these points. I delivered my speech in a pitch black hall only with some candles burning as decor. And as it turned out the power was restored minutes after I finished.
I am getting slowly back into my training routine and I love every minute of it. I can't believe I am saying it but it is so nice getting up at 4am again going to swim, bike or run. The new gym is really amazing and it is so nice swimming just after 4 and you don't freeze when you get into the pool. My swimming is going well and I thought that I will be struggling to get back into it but is has been good so far. I even thought of measuring the new pool as my times are equal or faster than before Kona, maybe it's the rest and recover.
I tried some Piyo ( a combination of Pilates and Yoga) at the gym today. This was the first time ever I have tried any form of Pilates or Yoga and I am definitely planning on doing more Pilates, Yoga and Piyo in future. Don't know how I have managed 4 Ironmans so far with this super stiff body.
I realized today why I am Ironman athlete and not a mountain biker, because you don't fall that often on your TT bike than on a MTB. Next weekend the local cycling club is having a mountain bike race and I decided to take my mountain out for a ride just to get into the groove. I don't know why I have a mountain bike as I only have done 1 off road Triathlon. Guess I am a Triathlon roadie as all my training is done on my TT bike.
It's amazing I have done more than 14 000 km on my TT bikes since I have my Power Tap and have never fallen. Actually I have never had a fall with a bike apart from the beginners lessons where you forget to take your foot out of the pedal when you stop. Well today I have done 30km on the mountain bike and yes I took a tumble. I was slowing down as I was going over some rocks and when I wanted to take my foot out of the pedal it was to late and down I went. Luckily it was at slow speed and one thing I learned from Judo which I did for a long time is you learn how to fall. Never stick out an arm and use your body to roll. I only have some minor rash on the side a fell on.
A BIG shout out to Bryan http://www.trainingpayne.blogspot.com/ who is busy doing Ironman70.3 Worlds as I am writing this post. Bryan commented earlier this week that we are in parallel universes as we experience a lot of the same "things" at the same time. It's funny and something I can't describe but I really feel connected to Bryan and we have never met. I just have this feeling since Friday that things are going to be good. Up to Friday I had this terrible time during the week but I feel super confident that he will just go out and have a super time.
A big shout out to Warren http://www.pastorwarrengraham.blogspot.com/ who is doing the Momentum 94.7 cycle race tomorrow. This race is the second biggest in South Africa and attract almost 20 000 cyclist. Warren has really worked hard having a little set back earlier this year and I am confident that he will just do great.
Robby http://www.robbyricc.blogspot.com/ is also doing the 94.7 and he is raising money for charity. Well done Robby I am looking up to you for your commitment and dedication in helping others.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
It is also not easy and very stressful to change careers after working for the same corporate company for 16 years. Working for an independent dealer and having shares in a company is nice but very stressful, especially if it is a motor dealer. The motor industry is taking a big strain currently.
Then we also got the news yesterday day my Brother-in-Law, who is living with us, is being retrenched at the end of the month. He is a security officer and the company he works for lost there contract at the company where he is on duty. They said to him that they will try and accommodate him at another location but they can't promise anything.
As I was busy dealing with all these issues I received a message from Robby Ricc http://www.robbyricc.blogspot.com/today to say he posted something about me on his blog.
It is amazing how things work and while I was reading the post it gave me this lift that I can describe. I am so humbled about all the kind words that Robby posted. Personally I think I am just another Ironman athlete who try to balance my work, family, training and personal life to the best of my ability but I am happy to be an inspiration to others.
What is amazing is that if you read Robby's blog you will see that he himself is a very special person being involved in a lot of things, one thereof is raising money for different charity organizations.
Thank you Robby for the post, you don't know how much it means to me and thank you for giving me a moral boost today.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Witbank only had one Gym for I don't know how long and lately the quality of the gym has really gone backwards. Even the "heated " swimming pool was not heated any more and I had to join another gym in the city where I work just to be able to swim in winter.
We are now well into summer and the swimming pool is still 17c. When I was there on Thursday they didn't even play music and it was dead quite while I did my weight session.
Last month a new gym opened in town and it is part of a nationwide franchise group. At first I thought I will stick with the current gym but it just became unpleasant to swim or train and I believe as soon as you don't enjoy what you do you might just stop doing it. I am definitely not going to stop swimming and therefor I had to join the new gym as the old gym don't seem to be upgrading their facility.
Yesterday after work we went down to the gym and asked for a tour to see what it looks like. I convinced Kim to come along and see if she wants to join. She is not a training freak like me and do some sort of activity but don't like the whole gym set up with Big guys staring at you while you try getting into shape. The new gym have a separate facility which is a women's only area. The area is totally secluded and no one can look from the outside into this area.
This convinced Kim and she was happy.
I could not think of going back to the old gym after I saw the excellent facilities at the new gym. Everything is world class. They have an indoor running track, which Dejone ran on this morning while I swam. The pool is 28c and there is an alarm that will be activated at head office if the water temperature drop by more than 2c. They have back up generators if they have a power failure and massive back up water tanks if there is a water problem.
Everything was just world class. They even have Pilate's and Yoga classes five times a week, which I will definitely make use of to improve my core strength and my flexibility.
Even the opening hours is something you can't complain about. They are open from 3am until 10:30pm. No more days where I can't swim because the gym is closed. And the best part is it is cheaper at the new gym than what it was costing me at the previous two gyms. They even have a special scheme with the medical aid company I am a member of whereby you get discount if you attend more than 10 times during a month.
It is amazing how a new gym and a pool of which the water is not freezing can give me new motivation. Although I am in my off season and just keeping myself busy until beginning of December when my Ironman training officially starts, it just gives me this sparkle to enjoy training again.
I am also still sticking to my weight loss challenge but it is difficult with all the year end functions where I try to nibble and eat the minimum. Not training 20+ hours a week is also not helping. One only realize in the off season how much one can actually eat when you train that many hours. Up to date I have lost 2.5 kilograms in two weeks and still need to loose just more than seven kilogramsto get into race shape.
The weeks training( or actually just keeping myself busy):
Bike: 58 km
Run: 19.1 km
Gym: 1 session
Total: 4h30, 78.6 km, 3653 Kcal
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
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Sunday, November 1, 2009
I decided to plan my 2010 season as in the past I did whatever race whenever I feel like doing it in my build up towards Ironman SA. I decide to plan next year more carefully if I want to do well at IMSA. Therefor I decided to plot down the races I want to do and plan my training around it.
My first race for 2010 and in my new age group (40-44) will be Ironman70.3 South Africa on 17 January 2010. This is the only official Ironman70.3 in South Africa and attracts a big field even with the bike course being very challenging.
The next race will be the Prestige Half Ironman on the 21st of February 2010. This race has always been my measuring race whereby I measure my readiness for IMSA. In the past this race was one month before IMSA but this year IMSA is three weeks later than last year and the Prestige Half Ironman is almost two weeks earlier making it two months between the two.
Just three days after the Prestige Half Ironman is the Panorama Primary School 10km Night Race. The timing is not perfect but this is the night race my previous employee's been sponsoring for ten years now. This is a really challenging route with a lot of hills as it runs through our neighbourhood. I have been involved (planning, sponsoring and racing) in this race since it's started.
My last race before IMSA will be the South African Triathlon Championship on the 21st of March. This is an Olympic distance race. I decided to do this race because of the big cap between the Prestige Half Ironman and IMSA. Being an Olympic Distance event (1.5 km swim, 40 km bike, 10 km run) this will bump up my fitness just before IMSA.
Ironman South Africa is on the 25th of April this year. This will be my last race for the first half of 2010 and it all depends on how I perform on the day. Whatever happen at IMSA I will then plan the rest of 2010 after the race. If I qualify for Kona I will then work towards Kona but if I don't qualify I will take a break and switch to the Duathlon season which is during our winter.
This year I didn't participate in any Duathlon races as I prepared for Kona.
It's been now one week since I started with my challenge to loose weight. I only lost 1.5kg but I think I will start losing more weight this week as I get a bit more active. I have only done 30km of running and the one swim session this week. I will get on the bike this week and also start with some gym session.
I went for a swim at the local gym on Friday afternoon and did 1km in just under 19 minutes. It was better than I expected with me not swimming for three weeks. The only problem was the water was 18c. This is the gym I avoided during the winter as the heater didn't work properly and the water was 13c at one stage. We are now well into summer and they still struggle to get the water to an acceptable temperature.
With the new gym in town that opened last week I am thinking of joining it this week. The only problem I see if I join the new gym is that according to their website they only open at 5am. The sales rep could not tell me for certain if this is going to be the official opening time as they are open 24 hours during the first month to get a feel of what time suits the people best as a lot of people work shifts in Witbank ( Mining community)
I can swim at the gym in the city I work in but I don't like driving 100 kilometers back home after I am done with swimming. If I am finish with swimming or for that matter with any training I want to relax not spending another hour driving home.
I struggled yesterday the whole afternoon to make a video about my race in Kona. I did get the photos with the song I want to use on one CD but I could not get the photos in the order I want them and the program re-size the photos making the quality bad. I also could not get the slide show to end when the song ends never mind fitting a script to the video. I think I am going to take Bryan Payne (www.trainingpayne.blogspot.com) up on his offer to help me produce the video.