Thursday, July 29, 2010

Officially a Veteran now

Well, I am now officially a Veteran when it comes to racing. Yesterday was my 40th birthday and it was awesome.

When it comes to racing the rules differ for each sport discipline and although I've been participating in the 40-44 age group at Ironman I was technically not 40 yet but the rule state that the age you are at 31 December of that year is the age you participate in.

But when it comes to running they apply the rule whereby you race in the age group of your actual age on race day. So when it comes to Road running I was still in the Open division up to yesterday.

I said to Kim that I am actually looking at doing a road race as soon as possible just to tick that Veteran box on the entry form.

Some people have an issue with their age but I don't care about getting old and believe that you are just as young or old as you think you are. Maybe that's why Club Music is still my favourite kind of music and I still see myself as a twenty something year old guy although I can feel the difference in age when I wake up after a hard day of racing or training.

Yesterday after work our whole family had a get together and had some lovely snacks and cakes my mother bake. Having had a Home Industry shop and still baking for clients from home, no one bakes like my mother.

She, DJ and my Sister even baked me an Ironman cake in the spur of the moment just before I got home.

At the end of the night I was a little bit high after a few beers, some red wine and lots of Coffee. I think I had a caffeine overdose. The reason being I got a coffee machine for my birthday, with a coffee grinder, something I've wanted for some time. The machine also have a timer so that I can now wake up to the smell of coffee.

I was experimenting the whole night and was making coffee, espresso and cappuccino and the family was the Guinea pigs. I am now just searching for the perfect Coffee bean but I think between Russell Nugent and Urban Ninja, I will be guided to THE one, as both of them know their coffee very well.

The family also gave me some very nice red wine glasses as I also love my red wine.

Well needless to say I did no training on my birthday but I didn't miss any session as coach was kind enough to give me the day of. But today I was back at it full swing even with a stuffy beer, wine and caffeine head this morning and did a Tempo run session and Swim session for the day.

This weekend my sister from Polokwane is coming to visit and we will have a family BBQ to celebrate my birthday again, but I don't mind. Looking forward to it as I haven't seen my sister in 2010 yet.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Summer's here, well Almost

Summer is here or at least that's how it felt this weekend. During the day it is quite pleasant and warm but one can feel at night and early in the morning that it's still a bit nippy. Well Winter is almost gone and to be honest I can't wait.

Funny how one's perspective change about the seasons.

Not long ago when I was still a FG(Fat Guy) I loved the Winters, I can dress up warm, do nothing and eat a lot. In summer I still did nothing, eat a lot but was sweating like a pig with the big fat layer around me.

Now that I'm a PFG(Previous Fat Guy) I love the Summer and "hate" the Winter. It is so cold with less layers of fat around me.

Today I did my long run at 1pm and it was as you can see from the picture, between 23 and 31 with an average of 26c. Not bad for Winter. I also had a great run and just perform better in the heat than in the cold. I did a 1h30 endurance run and decided to run the hilly route instead of the less hilly route and could still manage 18.5km.

That's the problem or advantage of living in a city/neighbourhood that only have up and downhills, no flat sections. It is just the difference in grades of the hills that determine if it's a hilly or not so hilly route.

Well as you can sense from my post I am really excited now that Winter is disappearing.

Thursday afternoon I had some business to take care of in Witbank and had a follow up appointment at the Optometrist to see if I can come right with contact lenses. It was the ideal day to leave work early as DJ had here first hockey game of the season.

She's the one, right in the middle at the far sight bending forward and ready for action.

She's been chosen to represent the 1st team of the school although she is only in grade 6 and usually the open team consist of players that's in grade 7. I am so proud of her. Luckily they drew 0-0 and didn't loose the first game of the season.

She was all over the field and one can see from this red face that she did her fair share of running.

The mini hockey practise was also on and I enjoyed this little guy(nr4) so much, the stick is almost bigger than him but he is all over the field.

I also took Dolly to the Vet today so that he can "fix" her up. It is just impossible to have good hygiene in the house with a dog that is one heat and with Eddy becoming a "man" it is just crazy. We've decided to rather fix her up and that way Eddy can also start eating again. Wish I can drop weight like he did the last week.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Power Intervals, just what the Doctor ordered

Today's training schedule called for power intervals and as I arrived home after work it was the last thing on my mind. I just wanted to relax in front of the TV and call it a day.

The last few days at work's been hectic and hard as we just finished financial year end and now it's all the planning and budget preparation going into the new year, o and salary increases and you can't please everybody. Always someone who wants to resign because they didn't get want the wanted!

I decided to just go ahead and do the session before I change my mind and boy am I glad I did.
The interval looked something like this. It's a 45 minute session, and if you think 45 minutes can't be that hard, think again when it's power intervals.

The session started with a 20 minute warm up in the beginning and a 20 minute cool down period and in between is a main set of 8x30 seconds all out with 30 seconds recovery, if you can call it recovery. It is just 30 seconds to prevent you from puking.

Yes it adds up to 48 minutes but I did a 20 minute warm up and cool down instead of 18 minutes.

During the 8x30seconds I was really suffering and if you are not suffering you are not doing it right but after my training session I felt so good and got rid of all the work related stress that's been hampering me the past two days.

Tomorrow I am back in the gym after a two week break and can't wait for the pain on Thursday morning when I wake up.

My next race is only in October and I am really looking forward to three months of just hard training without thinking or tapering for some race.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Ain't no Bike Mechanic

I ain't no bike mechanic but I need to become one pretty soon or else I am gonna regret it again like I did this weekend.

Yesterday as I prepped my Mountain Bike for today's off road duathlon I heard this terrible noise coming from the crank/front part and I had no idea what it was. Last time I used my mountain bike was on the 20th of June during the last off road duathlon.

After the race I parked the bike, as I do all my training on my TT bike, and pulled it up again for today's race. As I probably know by now I should have checked the bike earlier. Checking your bike on a Saturday afternoon when all the shops are closed is not a good idea. My way of fixing a bike problem is some lubricant(Q20) and some grease but this time it didn't work.

Don't know if you've ever seen people standing next to the road looking under their cars bonnet but have no idea what to do, well that was me. After fiddling around and drowning the front chain ring/BB in lubricant it was quieter but when I took it for a test drive I couldn't get it onto the small chain ring.

I phoned my Bike shop owner/ mechanic and he explained which screw to turn which way to adjust the derailleur but the more I adjusted it the more I screwed it up.

Eventually I was fed up, full of grease and very irritated and still with a bike with a noisy front part that can't go into the small chain ring. I decided to cancel the duathlon as I didn't want to drive 2 hours to do a race and need to do the bike part in the bike chain, especially going up a mountain or have a DNF due to the bike.

Lesson learned this weekend: I am gonna buy a book to learn more about bike parts or attend a bike mechanic course.

I am not bad at mechanical stuff and as soon as I apply my mind to something I can master it. I did manage to learn most of the skills about the building industry and build our house by myself without any contractors help.

It is just that I have never had to do bike fixing before. With my TT bike, I take it to the bike shop, they service it and I bike. Never had any bike issues with it, but Mountain biking is a little bit different it seems.

Well at least I am done with racing for a while and my next race will only be October and then it is back to long distance road racing again.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Being a Single Dad is Hard Work

Being a Single Dad even thou it was only for a week is hard work. Kim was away on a work trip and me and DJ was all alone this week. Kim still have another week long work trip but that is only somewhere in October, so for now we're fine again.

I really don't know how it would be possible to do Ironman, managing a full time job and looking after DJ if I did it all by myself. I've said it in a previous blog post but it is during weeks like the past one that I appreciate Kim even more.

There was no time for Blogging, surfing the web or just watching TV and if it wasn't for my Blackberry I would only be able to read my emails tonight. Tonight is actually the first time I am working on the PC this whole week.
One thing I did manage was training but only because it was a semi taper week for me with the off road duathlon on Sunday. If it was a full Ironman training week I'm sure some sessions would have been missed.
Lucky for me my Mom helped and picked DJ up after school and made sure all the homework was done when I arrived home from work.

This Sunday is the last short distance race before I swing my focus to the longer distance racing and my next race, a long distance Duathlon will only be in October.

I left work early today and went back to the optometrist to pick up my contact lenses. It was the first time I've tried it after wearing glasses for I guess about 10 years. They weren't that bad and I think I will come right.

The two photos I've posted tonight is just some special Dad/Daughter moments some time ago. We had a lot of those moment this week but taking pictures this week didn't even cross my mind.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Split Second Decision

I think all decisions we make in life are split second decisions, we just don't realize it because our life is not in danger. So when making a sudden decision when you are out of your comfort zone you tend to think of it as a split second decision because it could change your life forever.

Tuesday night was one of those moments for me. The picture above is of the N12 Highway (Freeway) I travel on everyday of my life. As you might know I life in one city (Witbank) but work in another city (Springs) which is just over 100km apart.

Therefore I travel everyday 100km+ to work and 100km+ back home after work. During Winter it is the worst as there's a lot of Fog in the morning and part of the morning and the whole evening trip is done in the dark.

The Highway is one long stretch of highway with no bumper to bumper traffic, so speed can be a problem.

On Tuesday night as I was coming home with about 30km to go an Idiot (no other way to describe the person) in an 30+ year old car (no surprise) made a U-turn right in front of me on the highway as I was approaching.

I had little time to react and slam on the brakes and swerved to me left only to swerve back again as the idiot immediately changed lanes after he made the U-turn. I braked so hard that the hazards switch on my car came on (a safety precaution on the VW Touareg, whereby the hazards come on if you brake too hard) and this has never happened before.

It was the closest I came to Road Rage and just wanted to pull the person over and sort him out but decided to just keep on driving. When I got home I was still shaking.

Lesson learned from the night: drive slower, be careful, be thankful, think for others, greet your family morning and night as if you will never see them again and remember every decision is a split second decision.

On a lighter note, DJ suddenly has this urge, passion and determination to learn how to drive a car. There is an open piece of veld less than a kilometer from our house and for time being that is her training ground.

She turns 12 this year and can only get her learner license at age 17 but she says why wait till then to learn if she can start now. Than reminded me of the 10 000 hour rule but more on than later.

It is amazing to see the passion and excitement on her face when she drives. My car is an Auto which make it so much easier for her as she just need to control accelerator and brake while driving. No need to worry about gear changes, but as long as she develops the feel for driving that is fine with me.

I am amazed at how quickly she learns. In just two "lessons" I am actually not feeling nervous when she drives.

On the Triathlon front, which is what the blog is actually about it is going good considering it's Winter. The Calorie counting is on target and I've lost 1kg so far this week just by recording what I eat and by making sure I end the day with a 500kcal "negative split".

Training is also spot on so far this week and I have a brick session this Saturday with some hard intervals within the session, going to be a real challenge. Next week is another easier week as I prepare for another leg in the Multiman Duathlon series next Sunday and will aim to improve on that 5th Overall place.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Calorie Counting

It's been just over two months since Ironman South Africa and you can see from pictures that I haven't done any Calorie Counting lately. Add to that the Winter, which is luckily on it's way out, I've gained more weight than what I wanted. I am still training but no matter how little or hard you train it's all about the calorie in, calorie out rule.

During Winter I give myself some leeway and eat a little bit more but this year I've exceeded all expectations. I think last year Kona was some sort of rescue "device" as I started training soon after IM South Africa and trained throughout the Winter.

This year there is no Kona so the free wheeling/eating has been going on much longer.

From tomorrow I am back at not necessary eating healthier as I do in general but just eating less, to balance out the calories consumed vs calories burned.

After Wednesday's Power session on the bike which weren't the best I've ever done I am glad that my bike session on Saturday was spot on target again. It's almost if you feel you loose fitness if you do a session and you're not performing according to the training plan.

On Saturday after my bike ride we went to a Wedding Venue together with my sister, Gerhard and my Mother. My Sister and Gerhard are planning their wedding either April next year or if they can't find the right venue they will have it September next year. As my Father used to say: "Getting Married is like having Diarrhoea, you know it's coming and you can't do anything about it"

As I said in my last post most, if not all the family discussions nowadays start, end or have Wedding talks in it.

Although I liked the venue my sister wasn't happy and the search continue..................

Today just the three of us (me, Kim, DJ) went for lunch and it was really great. After lunch DJ asked me if I can take her for another "driving" lesson. That's the advantage of having a big veld close to our house and having a SUV with Auto transmission.

It's so easy for her to get her eye, hand, foot coordination right and just get the feel of it to accelerate and brake while turning.

Well let the Calorie Counting begin.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sunday on my Mind

First of all I need to apologies for two things.

Number One: To all my friends and followers who support England, I am sorry, I am really Flippen sorry. But my German team showed you how to play soccer on Sunday.

Secondly I must apologies for the lack of Triathlon and Ironman related posts. Lately I've just been so busy with other work related stuff and being right in the middle of Winter is not helping at all.

One thing I can't believe is that this time last year I was doing 20 hours plus a week, to prepare for Ironman Worlds during the Winter. I don't know how I did it but training this Winter is a real challenge and I don't even put in the hours.

I guess it's about setting yourself a target and work towards it. Or at least I am that way, I can't just train for the sake of training, I must work towards a race. Talking about that, I am busy reading a very interesting book which Urban-Ninja suggested.

Although I am only half way through the book, Chapter 2 has hit the cord and that changed my mind about training, working towards a goal and life in general. But more about the book later.

Finally, to get back to Sunday, it was such a lovely day. We decided to have a mid Winter BBQ and although the wind was a bit hectic during the morning the day turned out real nice. It was awesome having the family together and enjoying the day. Thinking of it our Winters aren't that bad, just a bit chilly early in the morning.
We had a good time and lately almost every discussion turns out to be about my sister and Gerhard's wedding early next year or that's the plan anyway.

After the BBQ we watched the game between Germany and England together as a family and what a game. The day couldn't end better and me and DJ woke the neighbors up on Sunday evening with our Vuvuzelas after the game.
Me and my Buddy, Eddy and below DJ helping me with the BBQ.
Training wise, yesterday's bike session was really hard. It was a power interval session and the main session was 10 x 2min all out efforts maintaining a high RPM on 2 min recovery. I just could not find any rhythm and my legs were dead, just could not spin them around at maximum watts.

I did speak to my coach and I think it can be the 9 hour road trip on Monday together with all the Financial year end related issues at work that caused some fatigue. Hopefully during this weekends long run I will be back at it.