Monday, December 19, 2011

So much for a Race Schedule

Should have known, as soon as I "plan" my race schedule for 2012 I get an email informing me that our company's annual management conference is the same weekend as the Prestige Ultra in February, so much for planning your races three months ahead.

Above is the Garmin Connect download of my run on Thursday, one of those runs where it just felt great and the longer into the run the more comfortable I felt.

Even thou I'm right in the middle of the Holiday season I am enjoying my training and to be honest it's been a while since I've been this committed to training. Think I found some Mojo going into the new season building towards IMSA 2012.

One of the reasons may be that I am taking two weeks leave during the first two weeks of January. We are going down to KZN to our holiday flat, just as all the holiday people return to the inland.

Spoke to my coach and we are going to bump up the training intensity and have a mini Training Camp just before IM70.3 during my two week holiday down at the coast. Running and Biking is sorted, just need a swim coach to help me with my technique. Really looking forward to some serious training and where I don't have to start at 4am to be done before going to work.

Training from last week looked something like this, no high volume but heavy interval/intensity stuff:
Monday: Run-1h00, Swim 2000m
Tuesday: Bike 1h30
Wednesday: Swim 2000m
Thursday: Run 1h30
Friday: Bike 1h30
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Brick 4hr (3hr Bike, 1hr Run) Swim: 1 hour

Monday, December 12, 2011

Good training day for a Monday

Had a good training day today for a Monday which is always hard after the weekends training. It started with an early morning swim session to "recover" after the weekends training. It was 3x300m, 3x200m, 3x100m, 3x50m, swimming each interval faster than the previous one during each set.

This evening it was an one hour endurance run and I am really happy with my run form lately. could maintain a 4:35min/km pace without pushing too hard and keeping the heart rate in the zone.

One thing I am happy about is having a coach who is not one that sent you generic programs but analyse your Power/Pace Data and schedule training accordingly and also change your schedule should things not go according to plan.

Been with CTS coaching now for just over 18 months and I am so happy with my coach. After my below par performance on the bike at 5i50 in August me and my coach discussed it and decided to focus on the bike especially when it is a hilly course. I can really see a big improvement on my bike these last few weeks without neglecting my run.

I also did a Retul bike fit about a month ago, something I should have done a long time ago. Almost the case of trying to get the perfect fit and then you start all these little tweaks only to move further away from the perfect fit.

Reminds me of the comic where the guy thinks his table is too high and decide to saw of a few inches of each leg but then ends up with an uneven table. In the end he ends up with a table without any legs, almost something like the picture below.

Finalized my race schedule (if there is such a thing as finalizing a schedule for an age grouper) for the first few months of 2012 but can still throw in some smaller races.

Look something like this:
22 January: IM70.3 South Africa
28 January: Xterra Buffelspoort( moving over to the dirty part of Triathlon)
19 February: Prestige Ultra( Half Ironman)
25 February: Xterra Grabouw
11 March: Buffelspoort Ultra ( Half Ironman)
22 April IM South Africa

The picture at the top was Kim's birthday cake last week. As a surprise and joke I asked my mother the morning of her birthday to quickly bake her a cake with a TV and the satellite TV remote for the evenings get together.

Kim quite enjoy watching TV and I don't think there is too many people who's memory of the decoder are full from all the programs recorded and as she delete a program she watched she records a new one.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Good to be Back

When family and friends start asking why you don't blog anymore and you're excuse is "I'm too busy" you know you need to get back at it. Especially if you're the one telling everybody who say they don't have time to train, that you need to make time.

Well I need to make time to blog again. The last few months were just hectic and what I thought would be a "normal" racing season turned out to be just insane.

Apart from work that kept me busy we decided to move to Trichardt, the town I work in and put the house on the market in Witbank. Traveling everyday more than 100km's one way to work is not easy and "wasting" more than 2 hours a day on the road is not very productive. Having the house up for sale has put some extra strain on me.

Well things didn't work out as we planned and after two serious buyers pulled out and we reached the end of 2011, we are not moving anymore.

Don't want to rent property and get someone to rent ours. We've done that some time ago with one of our properties and it was a disaster. We also don't want DJ to be worrying what will happen.

The whole idea of moving at year end was to give DJ a smooth transition from primary to high school. Instead we have now enrolled her at Curro Private school in Witbank to begin her high school career. While I'm talking about DJ, just need to share this with you.

At the Merit awards evening of her school beginning of November, DJ made us so proud. She was named best Academic learner, Most versatile learner and most promising Hockey player of the year and also received the subject prizes in eight of the nine subject for the learner with the highest grade mark. she also received the prize for best Revue learner.

Below is a picture of her with all her trophies just as we got home after the awards. Her average for the year in all of her nine subjects was 90% with her best subject being Social Science with an average of 98% and her lowest grade was 84% for EBW.

Therefor I am biting the bullet and will still travel next year, the house is still in the market but we will wait patiently and what happens happen. I've done my 20 hours plus training in the past and was traveling then so it is just a case of getting back into the routine and focus again.

On the Triathlon front it is going OK. After the 5i50 race in August I did the Afriman long distance duathlon in October and finished on the podium in 3rd place in my category and 11th overall. Then it was time for the 11Global race at Sun City. It was an Olympic distance race and I missed the podium by 20sec and finished 4th in my age group.

What was encouraging is I had the best run split by almost 3minutes in my age group and my biking was on par.

My next race is Ironman70.3 South Africa on the 22 of January in East London. Didn't do the race this year due to my knee opp but looking forward to having a go at the very challenging race course.

Well enough for today, another post tomorrow about my racing schedule and plans for 2012 and also about the advantages of working with a coach.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Open Season

Yesterday was my first Triathlon race after Winter and it went OK. Before going into details here's the result.

It was the first race in SA under the 5150 banner and for those wondering why 5150. It's a 1.5km swim, 40km bike and 10km run, adding them all up gets you to 51.50.

The 40-44 age group had 69 entrants and I finished in 5th place and was also 25th overall.

Time: 2h19:13

Swim: 23:12 (new PB)

T1: 1:17

Bike: 1h14:22 (disappointing)
T2: 00:46

Run: 39:34 (happy with sub 4min/km pace)

Achieving a top 10 in my age group also meant that I qualified for the 2012 Hy-Vee Triathlon in Des Moines, US.

The long version about the race:

Overall I am happy, especially with my swim time, although it is still slow (15th in age group and 109th overall) but considering the amount of time spend in the pool this Winter I can only improve. Only disappointing thing at race venue was that swim was held in the resorts cable ski dam with the bottom not very deep. A lot of athletes just stood up if they got tired and walk for a bit before starting to swim. Happened a few times that I swam into someone standing in the middle of the dam, taking a breather.

The Bike leg was disappointing as I usually use this to catch people after the swim. Don't know what it was but I just couldn't find my legs for the first 30km and only in the last 10km could I up the pace and reel people in.

My average watts was a disappointing 223 for 1h14's work and if you compare that to the 245w I maintained at IM for 5 hours it was disappointing. My 1 hour average should have been in the 300 range if it was a "normal" day but could still manage the 7th fastest AG time and but only 29th fastest time overall

The bike course was a two lap affair with a constant 10km climb on the out lap and then cruising back home to do the second lap. In my view the course was not great and not very safe. It was a single carriage way whereby the placed cones less that two meters on either side with public cars making use of the middle section.

First of all the space was not enough to pass someone and if you went on the outside of the cones the Marshall's would yell at you to stay within the cones, making it very difficult to pass someone if they didn't keep to the extreme side of the road.

On the return leg coming downhill it was also dangerous. Not great if you are going at 60+ km/h and need to pass someone within the cone section and cars using the middle section.

The run was good and I am happy with my pace even on the flat course. Manage 2nd fastest split on run in Age Group and 14th fastest overall

After the race we had a nice BBQ and relaxing at the Chalet and this morning we first spend some time at the heated pool before coming home after a great for the weekend.

Below are just some pictures of our trip last weekend down to KZN where DJ danced and some other pictures of the past month.
Another BBQ
Someone getting baptised in the sea as me and DJ went for a early morning walk.
Bought myself some wheel covers for my Zipp808. According to their website the 808 with wheel covers have less drag and are faster than a sub 9 disc (will see). Didn't use them this weekend but must say on my training ride last week they felt good (had a Zipp disc and a 1080 and they do feel good and I can still use my Powertap)

Also got myself a 12-27 rear cassette to start training with it and get use to the hills waiting at IM70.3 PhuketMy new Oakley's with prescription lenses, must say they are awesome and just great, especially on the bike.

My Sister's new dog, another addition to the 4 dogs, 4 cats and 2 chameleons we already have

Another challenging trip to work, thought the mist would be gone by now but still some morning with heavy mist.
Now you don't see anything and then within seconds, BAM, a car just in front of you.

Monday, July 11, 2011

P4 Mountain Bike

Finally decided this past weekend that I just can't ride the Zaaihoek loop with my bike anymore unless I want to end up in Hospital or dead very soon.

The Zaaihoek road is ideal for intervals as it's 10km out before it becomes a gravel road, making it an ideal 20km loop. There are also no major hills with just some rolling hills, making it perfect. The only problem is a coal mine opened some time ago on this road just before the tar section ends which made it a bit dangerous. But lately another two mines opened on this road and it is now just not safe anymore.

During Saturday's ride I almost got taken out twice by truck drivers. The second time was so close as one truck driver overtook the other one and luckily I looked back just in time to see what's heading my way and had to go off road losing all my water bottles, all gadgets on my bike and almost had a nasty fall. Going at full speed on the tar in the aero position and then suddenly going off road on a TT bike is not a pleasant experience.

The wind was also hectic and add to that a truck driver flying past you, it just spell disaster. The problem with this piece of road and frankly with most roads in and around Witbank is that there is no yellow line section.

Otherwise training is going really well and last week was not a big mileage week but shorter sessions with a lot of speed and power work.
The only issue I have is the swimming pool heater pump is broken again. Same as last year so I guess it is going to be wetsuit swimming until summer as I can't see them fixing the pump soon if I go by last year's experience. Last year it took them almost a month to fix it.

Picture at the top is the new book by Macca, everyone is talking about. So far it is not a bad read and I quite enjoy it.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bombs Away

Did a 4 hour brick session earlier today, biking 3 hours and a 1 hour run afterwards. It was so cold and windy out there but I just couldn't imagine doing the bike session indoors on the trainer.

Doing too much indoor bike sessions during the week, so I decided to siu and go outside with 5 layers of cycling gear. The weatherman wasn't wrong when he said 1c and with the wind chill factor it will feel like -5c. Luckily it got better later on.

Just after my turnaround at the 90 minute mark I could feel that I must have or are busy getting a flat. I stopped and the front tire was almost flat. Instead of changing tyres I decided to use a "bomb" to inflate it. It was just to cold to change the tire.

I rode about 15km and had to stop again to use another bomb. Why I didn't just change the tyre, I don't know. Got to the house without changing the tyre but used all of the three bombs I had in my bag.

This was my first ride on my TT bike in I don't know how long. Lately I have only used the road bike and the Mountain bike. Need to use it more often before my race in August for the muscles to get use to the TT position.

Picture at the top is what saved my on my run the other day. I always carry three things with me when I bike or run. Obviously my house keys (with my Gym tag attached), some money and my small pepper spray canaster.

Runners will know the feeling but as I ran minding my own business I suddenly got this funny feeling and semi cramp and knew this is it. Time to pay a little visit to the toilet and this can't wait another hour, it is now or never. Lucky me, my gym tag is attached to my house keys and I was about 2km from the gym. What was an endurance run became a sprint session.

Got to the gym just in time, funny look from the receptionist but job done and I could carry on with my run at endurance pace.

Coach made me do a different kind of brick session on Tuesday and when I looked at it first I didn't know it will be that hard. Maybe something you can try. Was a 2h30 brick session with a 1h30 bike and a hour run. It was done as follows:

Bike: 30 minutes at endurance pace, 30 minutes Time Trail pace, 30 minutes endurance pace

Run: 15minutes at marathon pace, 30 minutes at 10km race pace, 15 minutes at marathon pace

Is much harder than what it looks like on paper

Finally here is a pic of me at DJ's Golf day where I played for the 1st time again in 20 years with the Clubs I bought at a Pawn shop twenty years ago. Who needs a bag full of Clubs when you can play with 5 Clubs.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

10 to 5150

The first week of Ten to get ready for the 5150 race on the 13th of August went pretty well. It is the 1st race in South Africa under the 5150 series banner and although the entry fee was ridiculous(but what do you expect from WTC) I decided to do it.

Some triathletes can race week in and week out and others aim for one big race during the season and train for that. I am one of those that choose one race and really put everything into it. My "A" race is only beginning of December (IM70.3 Phuket) and I will go insane if I just train for the rest of the year without aiming for something before the year end. I prefer IM distance racing but missing IM this year and with no other one soon in SA, I am going to give an Olympic distance race a go as my "B" race.

Olympic distance is a bit too fast for me but I'll give it a go and I think 10 weeks will be enough time to get ready.

On the home front we had a terrible week with the passing away of Niel on Wednesday morning. We will really miss him so much. The Memorial service is next week Tuesday. The rest of the week was really emotional as it was Kim's late mother's birthday on Thursday and the 5th anniversary of my Fathers death on Friday. Now that's a different kind of Hat-trick, having three days like that in a row.

The photo above is of the rainbow I took on the morning of Niel's death on my way to work. I took the picture at about 7am and he past away at 6:45. Coincidence??

The picture below is one DJ created while fooling around on the Ipad, just the motivation I need!

Training wise my 1st week of 10 towards 5150 was good. Coach gave me an easy week and we are slowly getting back into it.

Week's Training:
Monday: 30min easy run, 5.3km

Tuesday: Bike: 10x1min all out at 110+ rpm on 1min recovery. Surprised to be able to maintain close to 400 watts per interval with the lack of bike work lately. Managed a couple at 400+ but last two intervals a struggle and only getting to 368w & 358w

Wednesday: Run, 5x2min fartleks on 3 min recovery- could manage 3:36, 3:30, 3:35, 3:40, 3:49min/km, dropping of quite a bit at the end

Thursday: Swim: 2500m

Friday:rest day

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Maybe Next Year

Late Friday morning we got a call to say that Niel (Kim's brother) is not doing well and he's been admitted to Hospital again. He's been diagnosed with Kidney cancer and his condition suddenly deteriorated.

We were about to leave for the Kremetart bicycle challenge some 400km's north but instead all our plans changed and we headed 100km south.

Kim said I must go on my own to the bike race and she will go to the Hospital but that just wasn't on.

Seeing him in a lot of pain is not nice. Luckily this morning he looked much better, still in a lot of pain but better.

To come back to the race, this is the third year I've entered the race without getting to the start line. One year I couldn't do it due to work and the next because I was sick. This year it was Family, maybe next year will be the year when I race the Kremetart.

The picture at the top was taken at the VW annual awards some two weeks ago.

My next race will be the South Africa 5150 series on the 13th of August, the first in a series of 5150 events in SA. This will give me some ten weeks to prepare and hopefully I can get to the start line without any hassles and in better shape that I'm currently in. Something to look forward to.

As I did a quick one hour run this morning before we headed to the hospital I just realized again. Running is the best medicine ever for body and soul, period!

Run: 1h00, 12.3km

Monday, May 30, 2011

Unusual way to Celebrate

This past Saturday was our 17th wedding anniversary and we drove more than 500km to celebrate.

DJ had a dance competition and we drove to Bloemfontein for her to participate. Not your typical wedding anniversary celebration but hey, what you'll do for your child.

She did great and got a 1st place in Freestyle and a 6th in Slow dance. We finished later than expected on Saturday and instead of driving back to Witbank we changed our travel plans and stayed an extra night.

This gave us the opportunity to celebrate our anniversary and also DJ's dance results.

On the training front it is going better by the day and I am slowly getting back into things after my two week lay off due to flu.

This weekend is going to be a real challenge and one I probably regret come Monday.

I am doing a 175km road race on Saturday and a 40km Mountain bike race on Sunday.

The thing is I've entered this event some time ago and was doing OK training wise to do a reasonable time but getting flu didn't help at all. The race is in Kim's hometown and we decided to make it a weekend, when I entered some time ago.

Too late to change the family plans now, just need to SIU.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Another Curve Ball

We recently received some bad news about Kim's brother, Niel.

Niel has been diagnosed with Kidney Cancer and that at the age of 41!

We got the news before my sister's wedding but didn't want to upset and spoil the wedding, so we kept it to ourselves. He did undergo surgery to remove some of the cancer that has spread and they even had to break two ribs do get to the infected area and to remove it. He is now better after the surgery and has recovered in such a way that they could start with radiation to see if it will help.

If it doesn't help they are going to remove one of the kidney's. On the positive side the cancer has only affected the one kidney and the other one is still clean.

We are visiting him as often as we can as he now lives with his fiance and not with us anymore. They stay in Boksburg, about 100km's from us.

Get better soon Niel and we are praying for you.

I've been struggling with Flu the past couple of weeks but I said to Kim if you think about Niel and his set back you don't even wanna complain about having Flu. The only downside is I haven't been able to train for the past few days but hey it's Winter and maybe the downtime will do me good.

Picture is of Kim, her brother Niel and sister Marle at Marle's birthday on the 20th of February

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Back to Normal, sort of

Last weekend was my sister's wedding and after months of planning the day was gone in a flash.

Luckily everything went well and we had a lot of fun. Apart from Heloise being late more than an hour but I must add that it wasn't her fault. Let's just say there was some miscommunication with the hairdressers and let's leave it there.

I knew that Gerhard had a lot of patience but waiting more than an hour just confirmed it. A very big thank you to my friend Warren who let the ceremony, it was great. Not that often that you get a lot of compliments for the ceremony and message from the Pastor. Thanks W!

It was a very emotional day for me as had to stand in for my Dad who passed away five years ago. Bringing Heloise into the Church and also saying something about the Bride's parents wasn't easy but it was a big honour and I know my Dad's would have approved.

We are still waiting for the official wedding photos while the two are on their honeymoon in Mauritius but Yolandi, a friend of Gerhard, Heloise and also the daughter of Debbie, who is Kim's friend took some lovely pictures. I've posted it on my Face book page

We had a great Mother's day breakfast the morning after the wedding and then it was back to normal getting all the things back to Witbank. Gerhard and my Mom surprised Heloise with an Ice cream wedding cake and it this big three layer cake. The guests could only finish one layer, so we are having ice cream for the next, I don't know how many months.

The company that made the cake supplied us with a freezer to transport the cake and when I picked it up Friday afternoon the owner asked me how far is the venue. I said between 1.5 and 2 hours. His words: Try making it in an hour.

Not that easy when you have to face Pretoria and Johannesburg traffic on a Friday afternoon. With DJ as my co-pilot we did the trip in 1h15. Coming back after the wedding with what was left of the cake was a breeze as it was Sunday morning and no pressure of a perfect cake.

Only problem was finding enough space to store that amount of ice cream. I had to use a saw to cut the cake in smaller pieces and Eddy had a blast and a sugar rush from all the ice cream that was waisted and also helping to clean the back of the truck after I finished.

The past weekend DJ had two dance competitions, both on the same day. We are still new to this dance thing but organizing two competition on the same day by the same governing body doesn't make sense to me, maybe someone at SADTA can explain this to me. At the one venue in Pretoria she did her Freestyle and Slow dance competition and then she had to do her small group competition in Centurion about a 30 minute drive.

Another hectic day as we had to wait for her to finish her couples section, then we jumped in the car rush to the other venue for the small group to dance. Then we had to rush back to Pretoria for her to dance again.

The program was so tight and as we arrived back at the venue they were at item #121 and DJ had to dance item #120. She was devastated as it was the slow dance section she missed and also her favourite dance routine.

To see my girl that way just broke my heart. I told her to make the best of the Freestyle item and make up for the section she missed and she did. She danced her heart out and made me so proud.

After all the drama she had a great day finishing 1st in the Couples and the Freestyle items. Well done DJ!

Training wise I had to put it on the back foot due to the wedding and just as I thought I'll get back into full training I'm down with Flu. Not good and so frustrated but what can I do, just need to rest and recover this week. Luckily we are now in the off season so no major races I am missing.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Long Weekend and a lot of Traveling

This was another long weekend and boy did we do a lot of traveling.
Saturday afternoon after my 3h30 brick session we went to visit Kim's brother in Benoni, about a hundred kilometers from Witbank. We haven't seen him since he moved from Witbank, which was about two months ago. We really miss him since he moved as he was staying with us and it took some getting used to with him not in the house anymore.

Sunday we drove to Polokwane, 300 kilometers from Witbank and visited my sister and also spend some time at my Fathers grave. My sister, Gerhard and my Mother joined us and we had some fun during our journey.
DJ fooling around with the camera

The road was very busy coming back as a lot of people returned from their holiday. A lot of people made it a mini vacation with two long weekends in a row and took the three working days off in between.

Today me and DJ went to the second Trail run in the series of five and it was just as much fun as last week.

When I checked the official results last week, I saw that DJ came first in her age group but during prize giving last week they gave another girl the first prize. I decided to send the organizers an email and they rectified it today, giving DJ her 1st prize from last week.

She had another great day today and finished 2nd in her group. What made me really proud is that she improved her time by more than 5 minutes and completed the 5km trail run in just under 30 minutes. I teased her and said she didn't give her best last week and was just fooling around.

The next event is towards the end of June and she is now super pumped to improve her time and said she is going to train really hard this coming month

I had a great day today as well and finished 2nd in the 40+ group and 6th overall. The route was different from last week with a lot more twist and turns and more sandy jeep track, river beds and short bumps/"hills" making it really challenging to find a rhythm.

My legs had a good workout and on a few occasions I had to play some catch up to prevent the body from running away from the legs.

Before the race I said to myself I want to run a sub 4min/km race but I didn't know that the route would be more difficult but I could still improve my time by one minute from last week.

I finished the 17.2km race in 1h10:43, so close but I am happy and my pace was 4:07min/km.

This week is the final arrangements before my sister's wedding this coming Saturday and as you can imagine a lot of stress in the household. Going to be hectic but I believe everything will turn out OK and if they don't so be it. Just like an IM race, if something goes wrong you re adjust and move on, nothing you can do about it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Babbas Eco Trail Run Report

Well my first Trail run race is something of the past and it was so much fun. Can't believe I haven't tried this before and only discovering it now.

From what I gathered from the fellow athletes is that it wasn't that technical but that is just fine for me, it was my first race. One thing I can say is there was a lot of mud and water which we had to run through.

The route was maid up of Jeep track, some single track, some very muddy sections and some river crossings. There was also a small section of tar road to get to the nature reserve and back to the venue.

I'm happy to have finished 3rd in the 40+ age group and 6th overall. The 40+ group had some pretty fast runners and I think also the biggest group of entrants. For my effort I got a 100 buck meal voucher at a restaurant, not bad.

One thing I've noticed from off road running is you can't really get into a rhythm from all the ducking and diving and your hamstrings work much harder from kicking up loose ground. I'm also glad I took my new shoes for a test run and tightened the laces otherwise I would have lost them while running through all the mud.

My finish time was 1h11:44 for the 17.23km doing 4:09min/km, not bad for my first race since my knee opp and still building on those fitness levels.

I've convinced DJ last night to join me and she did great. She did the 5km trail run and finished in 35 minutes. Not bad for someone who's not doing any more running and Triathlon training and just concentrate on dance practise. When I asked her if she'll be back for the next race she said maybe but she's not a big fan of running through water and mud and said she will prefer a road race.DJ enjoying some hot chocolate after the race. The pictures above are from close to the start line, that was only the start and the further we ran the muddier it became.

Saw this plane next to the road not far from the venue and couldn't see a landing strip close by, wonder if someone took the wrong turn or what???
Went to a local clothing store yesterday to find me some sneakers and saw this. Maybe I should have used this today for my run, haha
On our way back home I had to stop in Pretoria to drop off my suit for alterations for the wedding and what I thought was going to me a quick one ended up taking so long. It is Freedom day today in South Africa and a public holiday.

Driving right into thousands of people getting together to celebrate meant only one thing, traffic jams and detours on what was suppose to be a day without traffic.

One last pic from our visit to the wedding venue this past weekend, DJ giving new meaning to the words, "Just keeping your head above the water" as she is standing between the swimming pool and the pond