Triathlon like life
So with all the frustration around my knee injury and then my hamstring pain that have hindered my running since the beginning of the year and then getting flu twice in August – I have had my fair share of a mental & physical roller coaster in the lead up to Kona.
My coach Lucie, told me in her wisdom that triathlon is like life – it sometimes throws us unwanted or unplanned curveballs. That’s no lie. At a time when my cycling is stronger than ever and my swimming form feels great, I am probably in the worst running shape I have been in, in a couple of years. A total of 250 km’s of running since I was allowed to start running again in May.
Hard work – 30 Days to go!
So after a tough session this morning on the indoor trainer and a long day at the office I am sitting here not knowing what to write about in my next blog – after all tomorrow I am into the 20s days to go! Cannot believe I am so close.
Then I remembered a saying that I heard for the first time a few years ago while chatting to Roland Schoeman, Olympic Gold Medallist and an awesome guy, judging from the couple of hours I spent with him. “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard”. He mentioned that it is was up on a wall at the University in the USA where he spent many hours training. I had to think about it for a while before it sunk in.
Soon afterwards I wrote it down on a piece of paper and then transferred it to my diary. I then saw it again recently at the Sports Science Lab (SSL) in Pretoria run by Neil DuPLessis – an incredible sports scientist who has helped me with 2 fairly serious injuries.
I reckon, that I live by this. I am not particularly talented – I was 4th Team rugby captain at high school and tried my hand at just about any sport on offer from tennis to squash to cricket to action cricket, athletics to volleyball to swimming to bmx’ing to canoeing to water skiing and throw in some golf. Not often did I achieve anything amazing, but I loved every minute of being outdoors and exerting myself in some way.
Then I fell in love triathlon – WOW have I worked hard at this sport and enjoyed the journey immensely. Note I said journey, and not every single session or moment. The other day I was so far over y limit on my indoor trainer that I thought I was going to throw up. I didn’t, but I know that hard work will pay off in Kona.
Nothing in life comes easy – work hard and you can beat those talented individuals out there!
Balance? Bull dust! 32 days to go
That question that we all grapple with – is there a perfect balance between work, family, friends and triathlon?
I am not even going to call it ‘health’ because when you hit the Iron Man distance there is NO balance and its not for health reasons.
As my wife Sharon once said – “Iron Man is a cult”.
Triathletes mind set 200km mark
Its psychological I suppose and anyone who cycles will know what I mean. Even the pros do it – I remember riding with Jan Ullrich in Stellenbosch, SA back in Dec 2014 and we ended a ride just short of 100km and as we arrived back at the hotel he was spinning his front wheel to ensure the clock clicks over to 100km’s.
I’m certainly feeling good now that I have done the 200km’s, better than what I would have felt if I had done 198km’s !
So people keep asking me how I manage to spend so many hours on my indoor trainer? The answer is simple I suppose – time and results! When it comes to my indoor trainer I have literally spent hundreds of hours in my ‘man cave’ , ‘torture chamber’, home gym – call it what you want. It was even part of the plans of our brand new house that Sharon & I designed at Monaghan Farm. It wasn’t me that pushed for the training room – Sharon said it must be part of the plans. Thank you my darling!
Amazing how a big goal like Iron Man Kona can create an emotional roller coaster. As mentioned previously, I have had my fair share, in fact more than my fair share, of injuries during my build up and unfortunately the neural hamstring strain is not going away. I envisaged having my biggest training week ever this week – around 24 hours. That was thrown off course on Monday evening after a 10km run were my hamstring flared up to the point I could hardly walk on Tuesday morning.
Tuesday night was a huge low point for me – I was ready to pack it all in and give up on the Kona dream. I literally cried myself to sleep wondering if it has all been worth it. In desperation I turned to something I have never tried – Chinese therapy:
KONA Countdown - 38 days to go
So I came back having qualified for Kona at 70.3 Xiamen, China and headed for an inguinal hernia operation. Something I knew I had coming but told no one as that would have meant not going to China and having a chance to qualify for Kona. Stupid – yes, but we do these things!!
4 weeks post the operation, 1st week of January 2017, I was back into training. This was going to be the real start of my Kona journey. In reality I have been on a very long triathlon journey for the past 20 years! Well, that 8 month journey has been one of many highs and lows. As my coach Lucie, put it – “it’s a thing called life!” Smooth is not the way it goes, well for most of us anyway.
About 2 weeks back into training I got what was later diagnosed as ‘massive bruising’ of the femur. Basically resulting in serious knee pain when running. That meant only cycling and swimming and seeing what ended up being 9 different specialists, physiotherapists, biokinetisists, massage therapists, sports scientists, not to mention advice from every person who had ever had knee pain. Many, many hours of rehab and specialised strength training and many thousands of rands later.
I have so many people to thank for their time and patience. First and foremost my wife, Sharon, my coach, Lucie, Sports scientist and super amazing man, Neil DuPlessis, Dr Jon Patricios, physios Noelle & Sidisha, massage therapist Nico and a few others along the way.
With the recent launch of GARMIN's latest Premium GPS running/triathlon watch, we asked Trifactri athlete and GARMIN Brand Ambassador Jade Nicole to give us a little insight to this incredible training device..
"23km of swimming, 300km of cycling and 80km of running in a week. This is the training load I log during a solid block in my program. The one piece of equipment I cannot go without and feel ‘lost without it’, is my Garmin technical device. I was one of the first athletes in the country to be given the new Garmin Forerunner 935 Triathlon/ Multisport watch.
Oh, the classic Swim, Bike and Run- I would say that we are all pretty familiar with the drill. The fourth discipline is fondly known as Transition, sometimes forgotten and neglected, yet when mastered can shave minutes off your time. (I speak for myself, who basically sets up camp in transition.)
My 5th discipline is called Type One Diabetes (T1D) and without careful attention to this domain, completing a triathlon would be a pipedream. T1D is an autoimmune disease that manifests after the body self-destructs its own insulin-producing cells of the pancreas, resulting in the complete loss of carbohydrate metabolism. Talk about self-sabotage. There is no cure and I play full time pancreas- balancing administering insulin injections and carbohydrate counting.
Durban 70.3 2017
I entered this race for one goal ..okay maybe two and that was to get a slot for worlds 2018 in PE as well as dance somewhere on the podium, this was no secret to anyone who knows me or cared to listen.
I’m not very talented but I’m as stubborn as a goat. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard … and boy did I work hard. Early Hours, Late nights, Long Weekends. Day in and day out … all greens where I could help it.
Where Trifactri athletes get to tell their side of the Swim, Bike and Run