Been on the Big (Small) Island of a week now. We've been working hard since Ironman South Africa but the last 12 week block has been very focused. Travelling for 38 hours with an early 3am start, 3 flights and landing on the other side of the world on the same day is never easy. Training started the next day but we eased into the island for the first few days. Just another aspect of Lucie's experience.
I've been working with Lucie since 2013 just before IM South Africa. Her exact words were she could do nothing for me on that Ironman but if I gave her 18 months she'd get me to Kona.
For 6 months I tried to stick to the programme, often making excuses around work, time and my social life. World Champs 70.3 in Las Vegas was, for want of a better phase, a complete disgrace in my eyes. I came away totally embarrassed with my effort or total lack thereof. Lucie let it be. She never once gave me any false positives but at the same time didn't push or offer a solution.
I returned to South Africa about 2 months later on the 4th of November. Already with a changed mindset that whatever Lucie put into my programme I'd find the time to complete the sessions. At the end of the month I was 11th overall in the Midlands half. That wasn't good enough. December was like clock work. Lucie put in the programme and I just rattled them off. Long story short, 2nd in my Age Group for IM 70.3 in East London and will never forget the delight on Lucie's face when she saw me. Won my Age Group at Midlands Ultra in Feb and that setup a great run into IM South Africa and a slot to Kona.
We worked hard for my first Kona but in hindsight I was still building. Lucie kept me grounded, she was often spot on with time predictions and has never once given me a false positive. I am always only as good as what I put in. We don't look for excuses, we accept where we are and build on that.
This year has been very special, it started in November last year with an indoor plan to improve my cycling. I'd had so much input on my cycling but I decided to trust the one person that had already spent so much time and effort getting me to where I was. She knew me, what I responded to, when I was under pressure at work and how to adjust accordingly. The biggest thing is I trusted her.
I raced Ironman South Africa to get a slot, it was the beginning of my season and we knew we'd be able to build on that. I've left most of the decisions for training sessions up to Lucie. Even when I've suggested something we invariably go back to what she suggested in the first place.
So back to today, a week into the Big Island. Today was the first day we got back to some intensity and again everything was just perfect. The body has had time to acclimatise, the mind is relaxed and I just completed one of the best track sessions ever. Ending with a massive grin on my face.
All of the above is due to Lucie, yes I had to actually do the work but once I'd made that decision to just listen and trust the results speak for themselves. There is no quick way or generic online programme that can replace experience.
Through the years I've learnt that you have to respect any ultra distance event. If you don't it will punish you. Having said that I'm the one that has to race on the 8th of October. I can honestly say though that I will start the race in the best shape of my life and for that I need to thank Lucie for everything she has done for me over the past few years. Its been an honour to work with someone so passionate about their profession.