Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sweet 16

Friday was me and Kim's 16th wedding anniversary. I know it sounds cheesy but I just can't believe it is 16 years. If I think back at all the things we've done and have been through it feels like yesterday we got married.

Kim still blame me for convincing her to get married right at the beginning of Winter. Those days I was "somewhat" heavier than today and I just couldn't see myself wearing a suit with sweat running down my body if we got married in Summer.

She says that I still owe her and one day she wants to have the wedding again but in summer, preferably on a beach. Maybe something to think about when we get to twenty years.

With Kim busy finishing some work assignments we decided to just go for a quick lunch on Sunday (today) as she was busy Friday night, the whole Saturday and Sunday morning.

We had a quick lunch at a family restaurant and no fancy romantic stuff.

On the training side it is really going well. The training is so different than what I am used to. Every workout is very specific and needs to be done in specific zones. I do a lot of biking intervals at lower rpm's than what I am used to but in a much higher wattage zone.

Today I did a 1h25 bike session and had to maintain a cadence of 70 and power output of 250-265 watts. It is so different that what I am used too, biking at 90rpm. After each session I can feel that my legs had a good workout even with my run sessions which is also a combination of fast and slow run intervals during the same training session.

This Saturday I am doing my first cycle race after Ironman SA. It is a one day 175km race but it is broken up into 4 stages throughout the day. The stages are 53km, 48km,52km and 22km long. I am just going out to enjoy it and is also doing it on a borrowed bike from my sales manager. It is a Scott aluminium frame bike with a 9 speed group set.

Going to be interesting going up the hill in Louis Trichardt with a 9 speed. One thing I've learned during the last few months is not to sell your bike if you don't have a new/replacement bike beforehand.

I sold my road bike towards the end of last year as I was looking at getting a Cervelo road bike but said to myself I will get it when I get back from Kona. Well that never happened and because I do all my Ironman training on my TT bike I never had the need for a road bike.

It is only now when there is a road race coming up when you suddenly realize you need a road bike asap.

With some new development happening on the sponsorship side which I am not allowed to make public yet I don't want to buy a new road bike and then will have a sponsored bike in a few weeks. More on that later as soon as I get the go ahead to make it public and the signed documentation in my hand. All I can say is it looks very promising and exciting, can't wait!

One thing I do like about training with CTS, is that for the current training block up until 20 June I don't have training scheduled for Mondays. It just feel so nice after a weekend of training to wake up a little bit later than the usual 4am and after a busy day at work on a Monday not to come home and have a training session waiting for me.

Don't think it will be like that forever but while it's like that I am enjoying it 100%

Weeks Training:

Gym: 54min
Swim: 50 min, 2.1km

Bike:1h26, 51.6km
Swim: 54min, 2.25km

Gym: 51 min
Run: 48min, 10.3km

Bike: 1h21, 45.2km

Swim: 45min, 2.3km
Run: 1hr, 12.7km

Bike: 1h25, 51km

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sometimes Change is Good

Well after a very busy week I finally have some time to blog again. The whole week was hectic and yesterday wasn't any easier but today was the first day I could really relax.

Well as I said in my previous post I am changing my Ironman training and racing.

I have decided to join Carmichael Training Systems (CTS) to help me with my Ironman Training in future. I must just say that Mark Allen Online is awesome and helped me to go from a 11h55 to an 10h10 Ironman and also helped me qualified for Kona.

After Ironman South Africa I felt that I just need more guidance and personal interaction with a coach if I want to first of all become a podium finisher at Ironman events and secondly Qualify for Kona again.

I had a look at different coaching options online and in South Africa and after studying all the options I decided to go with CTS. I have signed a 12 month contract with them and will see after a year how did it go.

It's been now 2 weeks since I joined and during the first week I did a lot of Field tests to determine all the zones I need to train at. I also had all these questions to answer and had to submit a lot of answers to my new coach on what, how and when on all aspects of my Ironman training and racing.

Having a coach that email (and Skype if necessary) you constantly and comment on your workouts is great, something I am still getting use to but I love it.

Something I still need to get used to is my training schedule that can change daily (if necessary) on the outcome of my heart rate and power files that I submit to my coach after every workout. Now, I can't just decide to miss a session as the coach will want to know why I didn't do the session(some pressure, not that I missed a lot of sessions when I trained by myself).

I must say that the sessions I've done so far are very different to what I am used to and even the gym sessions have totally different routines to follow than previously.

After Tuesday's gym session my Hamstrings, Glute muscles and lower back muscles were so stiff I struggled to walk but Thursday's session was much better and I could train normal again.

I have also decided to enter Ironman New Zealand and was lucky enough to get one of the 1500 spots before the event was sold out. Entered as per my passport (johan stemmett) with my surname ending on "tt". With Ironman South Africa this year there were 313 participants in the 40-44 age group with only 2 Kona slots.

Ironman New Zealand has 6 slots with less than 200 competitors in the age group. Not that it will be easy but the chances are just better. I also did the IMNZ bike course on the Computrainer a few times and I like it, think I can go fast.

I will still do Ironman South Africa next year as it is a month after IMNZ. And then I will do Ironman Lake Placid towards the end of July if I can get an entry. It seems that entries are very scares and current year participants have first option to enter. Online entries only open the day after that so it will be a tight call and I need to enter as soon as the online entries open.

IMLP will be my third chance at a Kona slot but it will be hard as it will be winter training again. The whole idea of doing IMLP came when Bryan invited us to come and do the race and also visit them as they don't live that far from the race. I am really excited about this and hope I can qualify at one of the first two races, then I can have a relaxed IM with Bryan.

The picture right at the top was the chair me and DJ made this week for her school project. At first it didn't seem to be that tricky until we had a look at the instructions. They first had to submit a plan and then after that had to build the chair exactly according to the plan. The material, dimensions, colour, everything, even the measurements of the metal wires at the bottom, had to be the exact same size as the plan.

Below is some pictures of the Nampo Agricultural show I went to on Wednesday where we displayed the VW Amarok. One massive show and every and anything that have to do with farming. From little Ponies to Huge Cattle.

Swim: 52min, 2km
Bike: 1h10, 40km

Swim: 52min, 2.5km
Run: 1hr, 13km
Bike: 2hrs, 65km.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Some Changes Coming

Well I don't have much to blog about at this stage but soon I will. At work everything is still the same old ............ but on the Ironman front things are changing. I have made some decisions that I feel came improve my Ironman lifestyle and chances to qualify for Kona in 2011.

It's not that I am keeping it a secret but I am just very busy at work and helping DJ with ANOTHER school project and I don't want to rush my next post. By the way "DJ" is making a chair for her school project.

Amazing how she call me to her room Sunday and says she want to tell me something while closing the door. I thought OK she can't be pregnant, wonder what is so serious. She then inform me that "we" have a school project that must be finished by Thursday. Perfect timing with a weekend just gone by and I had not much to do, can see a few late nights coming up.

Add to that an early morning start tomorrow as I am going to Bothaville to take some clients to the Nampo Agricultural show. The new VW Amarok will be there on display as it is launching during August in South Africa and we have the opportunity to take clients to see the vehicle. Bothaville is a good 3hr drive from Witbank.

Training for the week: Not much as I had a bit of flu but did some training and feeling 100% again.

Oh, on my run to the track on Saturday I picked up a mobile phone next to the road. Long story short, I put the battery, covers etc. back and phoned last number. After some tracking (from guy who's phone it was looking for me as I kept on running he got his phone back) He left it on his car's roof and lost it as he drove away from a friends house. If it wasn't a Nokia phone I maybe would have kept it(haha).

Run: 28 min, 5.8km

Run: 30min, 5.7km

Run: 38min, 8km (field test)

Swim: 28 min, 1.5km
Bike: 1h30, 52.5km

Rest day

Gym session

Thursday, May 13, 2010

10 Things you don't know about me

Lately I've seen people blogging about things other people don't know about them. Some people list 10 things, other 25 and then you get people who list up to 100 things and my friend Bryan even went beyond 100 things.

Well here's my list of things not everybody know about me but I think I will stick to 10.

1. Never been absent one day during my whole school career, Grade 1 to Grade 12.

2. I can predict where water is under ground and my father use to take me to farms and I would predict where they must sink a borehole ( have a 100% hit rate with my last "job" only 2 years ago. I use metal wires or a "Y" wood stick ).

3. I once set alight a sugar cane plantation in our back yard (my father planted it to protect the house from cross winds at our swimming pool) and almost set the house on fire.

4. My favourite meal is Eisbein with Sauerkraut and a Beer.

5. Obtained provincial colours in 5 different sport disciplines (Wrestling, Judo, Duathlon,Triathlon and yes Inflatable Boat Racing, but that's a whole different chapter in my life)

6. Don't know what it is called but I am obsessed with timing my activities. From doing Triathlons, which is no big deal to driving to work and even time spent in bathroom. Everything I do I measure against the clock. I know it's sick but I can't help it. I will time an activity and then it becomes a target to do it in most cases faster or somethings slower.

7. When I finished studying, I sold my car which I inherited from my Grand Father to buy an airplane ticket to visit my girlfriend in Belgium.

8. I crashed my company car on my first ever work day at my first job as a Trainee Car Salesperson and luckily didn't get fired.

9. I was a Formula 1 fanatic some time ago and have attended 6 Formula 1 Grands Prix (USA, Brazil, Italy, Spain, Germany, Monaco)

10. I use to breed Birds, Pigeons and Bunnies when I was at school. When the Pet Shop didn't want to buy anymore Bunnies from me or wanted them for Free I used to stop outside the shop and sent my younger sister (ten years my junior) into the shop and just put the box full of Bunnies inside the store and run away. Eventually I got rid of all the Bunnies and boy did I learn way back that Bunnies is one animal you don't breed.

Bike(field test, determining FTP) 1h02, 32km
Run: 30 min, 6km, 5min/km, 427kcal, 137bpm

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Who's your (Coaching) Daddy?

The picture above is when I met Crowie in Kona and in now way is he my Dad (had to add this comment because I know Bryan, will have something to say about it. haha).

I only uploaded this picture with my question in mind: Do you need a coach (even if you are world champion)

Since IMSA I've been thinking about coaches and who's being coached by who.

Talking to so many Triathletes and reading blog posts and websites I see something of everything. Some people coach themselves, others get by using generic programs from the Internet and others have coaches. And then you get different type of coaches and different type of packages depending on the experience and knowledge of the coach.

Looking at all of this it can be very confusing and hard to decide which way to go. At what time in your Triathlon career/lifestyle do you start making use of a coaching service and at what time do you stop making use of a coach, which I don't think is a wise idea!

I basically started out by just reading up on websites and using generic triathlon training plans off the Internet. Just to get the feel for what to do, how much and when. But with our wonderful www. out there you can get confused so easily.

After a while I joined Triangle Sport (organizers of Ironman South Africa), which training department was back then run by James Cunnama, a professional triathlete with some awesome results lately. This was the first time I had the experience of being "coached"

After completing my first IM, I decided to look for something else and after browsing the web I came across Mark Allen Online, I joined them and it's been always two years that I train on the Mark Allen Online principles. It works for me.

The method they use is awesome and after getting used to the "new" way of training I found it very helpful. With their guidance I went from a 11h55 Ironman to a 10h10 Ironman. To best describe the way they coach, I would suggest go their website.

After Ironman South Africa this year I asked myself the question, will a coach make a difference, in my case to get to a sub 10 hour Ironman or get on the podium from where I am now, or am I just as good as my genes, and no matter how hard I train or whoever is my coach, I will only improve to a certain level and then I won't improve any further. Is it possible to, if I can call it "Waste your money on a coach" as you don't have the potential or ability to improve any more.

I think a coach is there to help you perform at your best but at the end the result will depend on your ability no matter who's your coach

And I refer again to my personal situation. Will a coach take me from a 10h10 Ironman to a 9h30 Ironman ( which is the time to do to get onto the podium in our age group) or is it just not possible for my body to get there, due to lack of talent ?

Now my question: Who's your coach?

Today's Training:
Run: 25min, 5.5km, did not wear heart rate monitor, just went for an easy relaxed run.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mothers Day in the real World

Today was Mothers Day and nothing about the day turned out the way we planned, but we survived and had a different but great day.

My Mother enjoys a week in the Kruger Park (National Game Park) every year with friends and this coming week it is that time of year again. She asked me if I can dropped her off at the Church (the point of departure) at 5:30am this morning and I said sure, I will be awake but she just need to give me a call at 5am to see if I was awake.

Well we got the call at 5am but it was not good. Lately the doctor changed her High Blood pressure medication and since that she gets this cold sweat, dizzy feeling when she wakes up in the morning.

She had the same feeling this morning and was awake since 3am but couldn't get up. There was no way that she was in a state to get up and ready to go. After Kim gave her some Tea and something to eat she went back to bed and we phoned the group to tell them she's not coming.

By 9am I went and sorted her medicine out and got her old medicine which didn't have the side effects on her that the current ones have. After I came back she was feeling better and I could see that she was very disappointed not being able to go on the trip.

I said to her if she feels better later and want to go I will take her (a 3 hour drive). She was happy and said she will let me know. She then said yes and I arranged to take her after our lunch meeting and said we can leave at 2pm

It was almost 12pm and Kim had a reservation at a restaurant for us to have lunch and her sister and brother with there better half's would join us.

Kim and her Sister, who is six months pregnant

We didn't want to cancel as Kim hasn't seen her sister in months and it was anyway too late so we went for lunch. The restaurant was so busy and I don't know how they planned but they were way under staffed. We were waiting for everything and the poor waiter was making excuses every time he came by as he was just running around like a mad man.

At 2pm, when I thought we would be done my food arrived and after having a quick bite I had to leave to take my mother to the Park. Kim and family stayed behind and enjoyed their lunch without me.

Well after a 2h34 drive to the Park and a 2h25 drive back( I only know this as I was thinking about negative splits in driving suppose to running), my mother is fine and she is happy to be with her friends and enjoy a week in the Park.

Well the day didn't start or go as we planned but being back at home I am going to have a beer now and enjoy the last bit of Mothers day with Kim. Happy Mother day Kim, you are an awesome Mom!

Tomorrow I am going to start training again. For two weeks I have done nothing but I can feel that the urge to train again is back. (Yippy)

And did I mention Winter is coming!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Take me to the Track

Next time you want to go to the race track you're welcome to take me along, although I am not a gambling man I think my predictions are good. Below is just some post Ironman fun.

Can see I don't have a lot to say about IM training as there is not a lot going on right now but I am starting next week and will get back in the IM training groove.

For those following my blog you will remember I had a post up( who's who in the 40-44 zoo) just before IMSA where I made a prediction of who to watch at IMSA getting in the top 10 of our age group.

Well it turned out that my predictions weren't too far off. As I said of the 313 competitors, 51 were foreigners so I based my predictions on South Africans only.

Of the Top 10 South Africans I was right with 6.

Below is the results and the positions mentioned are as South Africans not overall.

Nr 1, I said Richard Wright and he finished 1st

Russell Nugent finished 2nd and I predicted that he will get a podium.

Mr Turtle (that's me) finished 4th and I had myself down as a dark horse/outsider.

Andrew Payne finished 6th, I predicted a top 5.

Marc de Rooy finished 7th and I also had him down as a dark horse.

Guy Cluver finished 9th and I predicted he finish 7th.

Well not bad predictions, getting 6 out of 10.
O' and our age group was won by Jason van der Burght from the Netherlands, congratulations Jason. One of my posts last year was about the IMSA course and giving advice to first timers. Jason commented that he found the post very helpful and thanked me. Little that I know back then that he will be our age group winner.

That's my post IM fun for tonight, need to start IM training soon, the only problem is finding a race to train for as we enter Winter now. I am not very keen on maintenance training as I feel more driven and committed if I have a race date waiting for me.

Training: Rest day
And for my friend B: 3 + 1

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Ironman South Africa- some Numbers

Thought I'll bore you with some numbers but for those who like me love looking at numbers here's the, if you can call it, "Technical" race report of Ironman South Africa that took place a week ago.

As I said before I am disappointed in not achieving the goals I set for myself but I must admit that it was hard and very optimistic goals but overall I am very happy with my result as I did a PB overall and also improved in every discipline except the bike.

My swim time of 1h09:38 was 6 minutes faster than any of my previous IM's.

Lap 1: 34:56
Lap 2: 34:36

Not by much but I am happy that lap 2 was faster than Lap 1 and that I didn't slowed down on lap 2.

T1 was also a PB at 2:40.

Could have been faster but I struggled to get wet suit off but otherwise a smooth transition with no hick ups. Could find my bike bag quickly and also no issues location my bike between some other 1850 bikes.

The bike was the leg in which I am disappointed. I finished in 5h11:24, a good 9 minutes slower than last year and 4 minutes slower than 2008. Without looking for excuses I think "drinking" to much sea water during the swim leg played a big part in my bike time.

As I said before for the first 5km I was just throwing up and it was sea water all the way. After that my throat was raw and I struggled breathing with a tight chest but it came right after a while. Not being able to take on fluids early on the bike leg cost me. I only ate 3 Mars bars and I was suppose to have 5 on the bike, 1 every hour. I was also suppose to have 4 Powerbar Gels but I had 2 as my throat burned from the gels. Well that's the way I trained to refuel but it didn't work out. Missing out on bars, gels and Powerade during the first hour was not good news.
I did drink Powerade that was given at the aid stations but as I started too late to fuel up I believe this is what cause me to bonk (cramp) on the run. I had 1 Powerade bottle( half full, probably 300ml) at every aid station from the last section of the first lap and continued until the end of bike in addition to the bars and gels.

My plan was to bike at 247 watts average keeping my heart rate below 148bpm. Without realizing it and thinking to much about my hydration issues I biked to hard on the first lap and faded big time on the last lap. Must say with the last part of each 60km lap biking into a head wind also took it's toll, as this part is usually a tail wind where you can fly.

Lap 1: 253 watts, 148bpm, 88rpm
Lap2: 247 watts, 146bpm, 89rpm
Lap 3: 215 watts, 140bpm, 85rpm.

Total: 239 watts, 145bpm, 87rpm, 5123kcal

Average of 239 watts was only 3 watts more than 2009.
Even with a bad bike I could still manage 8th fastest bike split of my age group.

T2 was also a PB with a time of 1:53. One little mistake I made from not thinking clearly as I grabbed my bike bag with all my swim stuff instead of my Run bag. As soon as I took the bag from the rack and feel the weight of it I realized what I did and jumped to the other side to grab my run bag.

Lucky for me my bag was only 5 bags from the end of the rack making it easy to get to the other side.

My T2 time was the second fastest of my age group.

The run started good and up to 34km's I was on target for a 3h30 marathon. I did my run/walk strategy and it work. I could maintain a good pace and after every walk split I could pick up the pace right away.

All my running was at 10 minute intervals and the walk intervals were at 30 seconds up to 22km, then I did 45s intervals up to 30km but then I had to do 1min intervals to try and keep my running pace at 5min/km. It is at this stage that the wheels came off and I had no more left in the tank and the cramping just made it impossible to run a decent pace.
On the run I took Powerade at every station for the first lap and on the second and third lap I took Coke at one station and Powerade at next, altering it between aid stations until the end with water in between. Looking at my split between the first half of marathon and second half I can now see how big the bonk was. First 21km done in 1h40 and second 21km done in 2h04!

Total: 3h44:38, 137bpm ave, 5;19min/km, 87rpm, 3414kcal
A PB by 7 minutes for a IM marathon and 12th fastest for the day in my group

I wanted to post the lap times below but I won't bore you with 39 laps of data.

As I mentioned before, Yes I did the marathon without socks (and not getting any blisters). I just prefer running without socks as my socks get so wet from the sweat and the water I pour on me at the aid stations that I actually get blisters running with socks. I ran with Newton Distance Racers which had already 550km on them but they were fine. I could not get a new pair before IM as they were out of stock and I had no other choice.

Overall I finished 8th in my age group with a time of 10h10:13, a PB by 12 minutes.