Friday, November 23, 2007

Planning a run and running the plan

Tel Aviv 10 km

Last Thursday I had to undergo a dental operation that involved cutting open my gum cutting out two root canals that had somehow managed to impact into a sinus cavity and as a result I get getting infection and an abcess was growing , one and three quarters hours later I was out of the dentist with six stitches in my gum. So for the last week I have been unable to train and perhaps this was one of the hardest things was the fact that I could not train in any way for seven days, and I was planning to run the Tel Aviv Half Marathon this morning.

I decided that the best thing was to run the 10 km instead of the Half Marathon and that I would run with the 60 minute pacer so that I would not tax my body and treat today as a ease back into training rather than risk my recovery.

It is a interesting and different to run at a defined pace that is slower than you are capable of, I really started to enjoy the discipline of keeping myself in check and running at pace and the mental battle not to go faster, rather than race.

It has been a very frustrating week and I was feeling bad, when I left my friends who were all running the half I trudged to the start of the 10k, but learning to deal with these feelings is helping me change into what I hope is a better runner and athlete.

My time for the 10k 59:06 , a good well planned and paced race, so I took some comfort from the fact that i stuck to my plan and have not had in face or teeth pain post race

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Non Competitor

Have enjoyed training this week , racked up some good miles and yesterday was a fast solid track session , luckily for anyone who for some reason reads my inane ramblings, the blogger system for some sane reason refused to allow my Heart rate graph to be uploaded, so there you have been spared. The funny thing was running the track yesterday I reflected with another runner between gasps that when you run 800 splits they seem a long hard distance, yet when you run 3000 , 2000 then start 1000m repeats the distance beckons easy ... go figure but managed to keep pace at sub 4:40 for all km splits and last split was 4:30 , Couple of weeks to the Tel Aviv Half marathon, should be fun

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Friday, November 02, 2007

Focusing on Changes

Running is an individual sport, you can run with friends or a group but they cannot be your arms legs or lungs. But they can and always be part of me.
I have struggled with many aspects of running and perhaps finally I have found that being competitive had made me the wrong runner. Time happens once and you cannot not turn it back but only look forward to the clock going forward.
Dwelling on times and competition does not make me a better runner/triathlete.
It is time know to start enjoying again each footstep, enjoy training and from time to time join friends for a race, run how I feel and at the end reflect on the day with a smile and knowing that I tried my best and nothing is more rewarding than sharing that with friends

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Corniche Abu Dhabi

One great thing about travlling for work is the places you do get to train in. Currently in Abu Dhabi in the UAE [United Arab Emirates]. a city like so many here in the Gulf that is growing beyond anyones wildest imagination. Where hotels try to figure out whether they a seven or six stars, and this is no joke. The Emirates Palace here in Abu Dhabi, is in fact a palace used by the Royal family, it is so large that it takes twenty minutes by golf buggy from one side to the other side, and it is so vast that taking your breath away is almost an oxymoron.
Anyway i am not staying there a more modest four star in town just near the corniche or espalnde, where I ran this morning in the heat, full credit to the woman I saw running this morning fully covered up with head scarf and only here trainers showing as i ran past sweating wearing only a pair if running shorts, luckily the modesty police missed me, must be my speed LOL
Abu Dhabi

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Munich Marathon 2007

There is one feeling every athlete should experience in his or her lifetime. Finishing a marathon by running into an Olympic Stadium. The sensation of entering the tunnel of the Munich Olympic stadium where the darkness opens up with each step to revel where legends have run.

The lap around the track to finish line should be longer just so that you can enjoy the moment, for just a few minutes more.

The morning of the marathon was cold with the temperature in the single digits and the Olympic Village clouded with mist. Instead of one plastic bag to keep warm I opted for two as Chaim and I walked down to the start.

I always laugh when I think that I spend more time wondering and procrastinating about what to wear on marathon compared to how much time I spend getting ready to go out. What to wear shorts or running tights, singlet or long sleeve shirt? I opted for tights and singlet, wanting to keep my legs warm in the cool seemed the best option. Chaim decided on shorts and forgot the golden rule of “shorts and marathoning”. If you have never chafed once in training then the Chafing God will rear its ugly head, which it did.

One good thing I did find at the expo during number pick up was band aids specifically designed for the male nipple. There is nothing worse than finishing a race thinking you are looking trim taunt and athletic, to only look down and see two blood trails down the front of your singlet, as if a wide mouthed vampire has bitten your chest.

We decided to opt for the Galloway walk run method for the race. As I had not gone further than 28km’s in training and wanted to make sure that I did not injure myself in preparation for Ironman Austria next year.

Much has been written and discussed as to the walk run method; we opted for 9 minutes running followed by 1-minute walk. I ha done this in Tiberius earlier in the year and was amazed at my recovery post that race. It does work provided you do it from the start the theory being that you change the muscle groups and this allows you to run faster longer and avoid the wall.

The course of the Marathon is one of the most scenic and flat I have run to date, the English Garden is more renowned for where the locals like to go and walk around in their birthday suites whenever the weather is pleasant, luckily the cold morning meant that we did not have to avert our focus. Thru leafy suburbs and in to the city center where architecture is measured in multiple centuries, from there you enter the University and theatre area, magnificent buildings that you pass in a slow blur, focusing more on the feet ahead of you. Finally it was onto the loop back to the stadium.

Being Munich, home of the Oktoberfest what would a marathon be without a beer station instead of a water station. Somehow they have managed to make a non-alcoholic beer taste very good and at 39 km’s it was time to stop and enjoy the moment.

We have all heard and read about lists of things to do in life, from a hundred places to visit to a hundred books you need to read. If I was to start a list of things that every runner must do. Then add you must run and finish a marathon on an Olympic stadium, and Munich gives you that thrill. A feeling that I will never ever forget crossing the line with my friend Chaim, our arms raised in victory ... in an Olympic stadium.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Swim Drafting & Rocket Science

Walking onto the beach, for the Endure Group Open Water swim, I was first shocked by how the weather has changed and that for the first time this season, the sand was cool under the feet. But more to my dismay I watched Coach Max swim towards Egypt towing the buoys to mark the swim course this morning.

I am the first to admit that my swimming is my weakest leg of training and since I have trouble getting to the pool for training due to the conflict with work hours. My training has been limited to only Open Water Swimming Sessions. So the dread of black lane fever is not a problem I suffer from, more the curse of the managing to maintain a straight course from Buoy A to B, as opposed to my normal course which I describe as pretzel course.

Max assembled us on the beach and once again, like last week we were going to delve into the realm of "Drafting". At this point I would add that Rocket Science is simpler try reading this background paper which I found on Google -

Now that the science has been proven, how would this affect me.

What the science does not explain is how to avoid being hit in the face by another swimmer coming at you from the other direction, how every time I lost the bubbles of the feet in front of me I felt no real difference for the first ten sets of the workout.

But if there is one thing I have learnt is, to have faith in your coach and on the final solo lap I for the first time kept up with the feet in front of me and for one minute I actually felt the effects of drafting. It made me swim a little harder than I was used too but at the same time the water ... well it felt a little easier.

Our last sets saw us swim together as a pack, ala Tri racing and yes again tucking into the washing machine, perhaps this drafting thing is not rocket science. But then again contact swimming is a swim not for the feint hearted.

If you get have given up trying to read the article about drafting here is the conclusion -

The present study indicated that the optimal drafting swimming distance was at 0 or 50 cm behind a leader reducing by 11–38% the metabolic response of the draftee. At the 100- and 150-cm distances, the gain was still important with reductions in the metabolic responses of between 8% and 31%. In lateral drafting at 100 cm beside another swimmer, the optimal distance was at 50 and 100 cm behind, when drafter’s head was approximately at hip level of the leader. The drag benefit was only a third of that when drafting directly behind the lead
swimmer. Drafting was always behind or lateral to a passively towed lead swimmer. Further investigation is required to determine
whether the benefits of drafting behind or beside a streamlined lead swimmer are likely to be a conservative estimate of the benefit from drafting behind an active stroking and kicking lead swimmer.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Sdot Yam - Olympic Triathlon Race Report

Saturday 29th Sept 2007

There are many reasons to look back on Saturady and reflect on my performance, but above all it is good to reflect that you gave it all and know deep in your heart and soul. It was the best I have ever performed, well apart from the swim. Which after progressing so well has stalled and it is back to the basics to get it focused agagin and ready for Ironman Austria in 287 days.

Swim Leg

Talk about the famed washing machine, I felt like a sock trying to find its partner in a front loader. From the git go is was chaotic, punched kicked clawed on swam over no matter where I tried to go there was someone else heading there faster and stronger. Try as I might to keep the freestyle going I was in fact going so slowly that I thought for a minute that I was swimming backwards despite my arms going forwards and by the time I was two thirds of the way to the first buoy I realised that unless I went back to breaststroke I was going to lose to much ground [or water as in this case] for me to make up the time and have a competitive time.

Thus it was back to the curse of the breaststroke but also i immediately started catching others and passing the slower freestylers, so I knew that it was a matter of pushing hard. Many people consider breaststroke as a easy out, but when you put the hammer down and do it aggressively it is a powerful stroke.

Exiting the water after the first loop my heart rate was a solid 143, and my focus was to swim the next two buoys breaststroke again before switching back to freestyle for the last leg back to the beach.

Exiting the water in 30:47 (85th out of 129 in my Age Group) I knew that everything was back on track and my worst discipline was over, but at the same time the discipline that I want to improve the most. Up to transition and out as fast as possible. I am even starting to figure out how to cut and shave seconds in transition, often not the big things but small simple things, or as one might put it, "Do not set up a supermarket, when the corner store is all you need".

Bike Leg

The bottom line was that i really felt that for the first time in my short life as a Triathlete I hammered out a discipline to the best of my ability to the point that I moved from 85th to finish in 46th place in my age group. It was an out and back course no loops just the hwy closed in one direction , a fast rolling course with no major climbs , the only problem is that on this type of road you always feel that you are going forever upwards as there is no relief or chance to rest and free wheel down.

Then add the dreaded "No Drafting" rule , as one might say I enjoy the pace and commitments of being surrounded by other triathletes wanting to push a little bit harder in the paceline. But alas this was a heads down you are on your own. Now having spent the last few weeks watching Ironman Videos your mind conjures up images barreling down the Queen K at Kona, when reality was, I was pushing myself harder than I have ever done on the bike, but I was on the Hwy 2 going North on the Southbound lane to Haifa, and not Hawi.

On the out leg as I passed a rider he asked me whch direction I thought the wind was coming from and a thought crossed my mind that someone the other day at the Group Track Session had mentioned the headwinds.

The first half of the Bike I did in 34:17 (20km's) and as I went around the mark and crossed the timing mat, the headwind hit hard , nothing but to push harder and try to maintain my cadeance and speed. I worked with two others keeping draft distance as best as I could and tried to take in food and drink my bottle of Nuun. Battling the headwind I completed the second half in 40:43 and was out again in 2:41 for the run.

Run Leg

10km's around the Kibbutz , two loops thru sand and past cow sheds, the heat was now well up into the 30's and heat coming back off the lone stretch of the course that was sand was tough. As they say at the water stops if they were selling I was buying tring to get as much of the cold water that i could get off each volunteer and tip it over my head in an attempt to keep cool. I drank sports drink and water at each station and kept well hydrated. In fact my nutrition plan for the whole was spot on as at no stage did I feel empty in fact my energy level on the final run back on the second loop was as good as I had felt apart from being exhausted from keeping my heart rates in the 140's plus for the past two and half hours.

First Loop 5km/ 25:34 Second Loop / 25:24.

Finishing in 66th place out of 129 for all triathletes over 40 and in my age group 45-49 20th out of 33 . My best placing ever and a new PB time of 2:40:19 . My last Olympic had been a drafting race 2:41:25, so whilst the time difference may not have been as good as I had felt, the difference of the draft and a paceline cannot be underestimated.

And a final thought for everyone of us, those silly check lists we use in our first tri and then think we do not need too use then again, well guess who turned up and did not have his Association timing chip, well put it this way I am 50 shekels ($12) poorer for having to rent one at the race, guess what I downloaded again this morning a whole new checklist.

Tri'ing Harder

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Perfect Day for Training

I have written many things about life racing and training in the Unholyland, much postive and with my tongue in cheek some not so positive about Israeli Drivers and life as an athlete.
Then comes the one day a year when a day of atonement becomes a day for celebrating as an athlete. For on Yon Kippur (last Fri night/Saturday till sunset) there are NO cars on the road. Imagine a country where there are NO cars, buses, trucks and motorbikes. The roads are completely empty of traffic for twenty four hours. It is without date one of the most incredible experiences to walk out and have silence, in a country where the car horn is used as a turning indicator on many occasions.
Thus Yon Kippur has also become National Bike Day and for a glorious day a year, you can ride on three lane highways without fear.
Highways and roads become the domain of children on their first bikes wobbling across all three lanes, if you have a bike you simply enjoy what is without doubt the best place in the world to train.
Whilst I was on standby for work in the office in Jerusalem, I did get up at dawn and did the ride I have always wanted to do. Ride the main hwy in Israel from Jerusalem down the mountain and back up, approx 600m vertical over twenty km's, the down was easy and hell I even enjoyed the climb back up, my biggest day of climbing on my bike ever, not to mention I also managed a new top speed on my bike of 75kmh.
And who says that religion is the root of all evil.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Still Training

Have no fear , still training , but dealing with winter issues in Australia and the horror of the fact that a 50m pool is twice as long as 25m pool, you would not think that this would be an issue for concern but holy hell it has been kicking the preverbial wind out of my sails
Lots of trail running with Molly

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Reading a Dogs Breakfast

I thought I would share my Heart rate readout from last Saturdays Long Group Ride, the trouble with information is that sometimes the graphs often look like a "Dog's Breakfast" with so many lines it can look like spaghetti thrown against a wall and it is only after you start to itemize each line can you start to find the information you need, now whether it makes any sense or aids my training will come with time when I look back at my cycling workouts.

The kicker for this workout is that we are in the strength building phase of the triathlon season, well actually we are in the summer break of the season which kicks back in early Sept with around 4 Olympic distance races of which I will probably do 3. The last race of the season is down in Eilat about a five hour drive and will involve a couple of nights in hotel and I am not sure whether the finances warrant going down for an olympic when I am focused now for the Ironman in less than a year.

Perhaps the hard thing is that when you jump in a pool and swim a lap , it hits me as to the magnitude that lays ahead. I have no doubt as to my belief in myself that I will and I am capable of achieving a goal that defines me as a person of commitment.

This week has seen me do the following

Group Open Water Swim - 1500 m [5 sets of 10 minute repeats] immediately follwed by 40 minute tempo run [7.5km] temp above 30 C , Core Super Set & Stretch 30 minuts

AM Group Track 1 Hour with Coach Ron , heavy Pliometrics strength training
PM Core Super Set & Stretch 30 minutes

6 am - 1 hour bike drills [25 km's] 4 repeats one leg drills on hill and cadence work
7.30 am - Core Super Set & Stretch 30 minutes
9 am - One Hour Spin Class with sprints
10.30am - One Hour swim drills

AM - Group Track 1 Hour - Strength and Cadence Running 400's

Phew and the weekend is still to come

Train Strong

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Heart Rate Feedback this week

A few HRM charts from workouts earlier this week will also add later a few swim photos when I get the chance, training has obviously started to focus more on running with Munchen now under a hundred day, the track session this morning was probably one of my best running sessions in a long time, legs felt strong and good, pace is certainly picking up just now need to translate that to longer distances.

My arms felt good enough to hit the pool after track this morning and had a solid 1500m yes 1500m drills session. I was so pleased when I calculated my distance today as in my training log. I still keep a handwritten log and each week I have to list three objectives and swimming 1500 freestyle was one of the objectives, given how far I have come swimming feeling so good about the pool and I am really starting to enjoy the water.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Training Grounds

So I had my first ever private swim lesson today and I need this question answered?

Is it normal to feel like your upper arms and shoulders want fall off?

Now the picture is the view from my apartment of my training grounds, this is not Wisconsin in winter , the Med Sea is fifty meters away , then there is the salt water 25m pool out the back and the road to the left is the start of many of my runs with the wind off the sea. Just thought I would share this view from my balcony.

The whole weekend has been a great training block from the bike ride Saturday morning when I realised that I have to mive up to the top group of riders, it got to the stage when I felt it was like the Tour de France when I broke away from the peloton when I realised that my heart rate had dropped to below 90 and we were meant to be doing cadence work. So in my mind I took off and did a hard 12 km on a solo breakaway.

Running was good but the heat is sucking me dry, and I am having trouble keeping up my fluids or more importantly being able to carry enough fluid for my longer runs. Saturday afternoon is an exception when I run with the local Hash group and we rehydrate with beer. Sunday was long and it was great to have a new running friend, Riich who I met thru the Phedippidations Pod Cast has moved to Israel and what is even funnier is that we have run many of the same Marathons and I am trying to talk him into doing Munich in October. Monday was a brutal tempo run for 40 minutes with my heart rate in zone 3 to the end of the Marina which you can just see in the picture. And this morning was my first track session of the week and I can feel my running improve with every session.

Swimming, Monday was the Group Open Water in the sea, water was so warm that it is almost uncomfortable even in the dreaded Speedo's well I actually wear TYR to avoid the speedo smears. Not only having to deal with warm water the visibility was dreadful and it was like swimming in watered gravy.

Then today my first swim lesson, ok here are the nuts and bolts. Firstly I don't suck as much as I thought I did, need to widen my arms and not cross my hands/arms, need to drop my chest and get more streamlined and start to spot my elbows. For an hour I was worked solidly by Gavin my coach and yes i was videotaped. If you would like to see my attempts post a comment and I will upload via you tube if any thing good for a laugh.

One funny thing though was that my best lap for form and speed was done with closed fist drill, go figure LOL

Friday, July 13, 2007

Three symbols, a world of possibilities. Let the games begin.

Define Sport , here I could insert a quotation from dictionarycom , but in a quiet moment of channel surfing in the office I came across a new sport.

It has coverage on ESPN … following are the quotes from the telecast commentators.

“Thousands of pumps down “
“He has been unflinching all night”
“Oh no he has stumbled getting into the ring”
“Fatigue could be an issue”
“Slices paper for the point”
“Must throw flawlessly”
“Players must stay in sync”
“He is exhausted”
“These players are tired”
“On the verge of making sports history”
“He has done the unthinkable”
“One day we will see that fist in the Hall of Fame”
“This is the greatest moment in RPS history”
“He is my champion today”

Ok what is this sport?. Which somehow managed to elicit every sporting cliché from the commentators, there are some clues and even the acronym that it goes by.

I like watching sport and have even been known to comment on sports from curling to my personal favorite “solo synchronized swimming”. Yes they have solo synchronized swimming what the sync against is still a mystery perhaps they put a nose plug on the side of the pool and use that .

Anyway today I have to say that the second annual championship held in Las Vegas complete with $50,000 prize money was won by the “The Brain” in a tight match that included the referee having to stop the match for being out of sync.

Yes folks “ROCK PAPER SCISSORS” is now a serious sport

Check out the web site and if you are truly patriotic American please admit to cringing.

This article was on the site to promote the telecast that was my inspiration today …

After logrolling, spelling bees and hot-dog eating, you might think ESPN has run out of sports.
That would not be the case. Tonight, ESPN2 presents its first rock paper scissors competition.
The 2007 Bud Light USA Rock Paper Scissors League National Championship doesn't have the cachet quite yet of the Super Bowl, but it's growing, according to Matti Leshem, co-commissioner of the USA Rock Paper Scissors League.
Although the competition, held in Las Vegas, has been televised before - last year on the A&E Network - this is the first time it will be covered by ESPN, which still likes to call itself "the worldwide leader in sports."
"It's a real validation for the sport," Leshem says by phone from Los Angeles.
The competition was held in May at the Mandalay Bay Resort Casino, with enough underwriting from Bud Light that 300 finalists from nationwide barroom competitions were flown in with a guest for the finals, which carries a top prize of $50,000.
The league has only been around since 2005, Leshem says, "but this is a game played since the beginning of recorded history."
Really? Before the invention of scissors? Or paper?
"Back to the caveman days," Leshem says, though he adds, "it was known as rock rock rock in those days."
The discovery of new materials led to a change in the approach. "For a time, it was known as rock papyrus spear, which you may have heard of before," he says.
Clearly, the development of paper in China, along with the invention of scissors, made great strides in the hand game where, of course, rock smashes scissors, scissors cut paper and paper covers rock.
There is a historic angle to the other name by which the game is known, Rochambeau, after the French general who aided George Washington in the Revolutionary War, and whose march through Connecticut (through Farmington, not too far from eventual ESPN headquarters in Bristol) marked its 225th anniversary last year.
The French general, according to Leshem, "adjudicated several disputes with rock paper scissors."
That may be just as much a myth as Rochambeau supposedly plotting the Yorktown battle with Washington in Wethersfield. But it explains why school children pumping their fists three times in anticipating shooting their desired signal will often shout "Reaux! Sham! Beau!" instead of "One! Two! Three!"
Clearly, there are different styles of the game, which is obviously not treated in complete seriousness by the league. But what exactly makes a great rock paper scissors champion?
"Skill, athleticism, the ability to read an opponent - to know what your opponent is going to throw before they throw it," Leshem says.
Statistics play a role - women often open with scissors, while men often choose rock first; paper is the least often used first signal, studies have shown.
But athleticism?
"There are different styles of play," Leshem says. "It gets quite energetic. A lot of power goes into it. The mental drain of it has a toll on the body."
Besides that, he adds, "there are injuries, people dislocate shoulders or sprain wrists."
Because reading the opponent's intent is so important, a poker champion, Phil Gordon, has agreed to officiate.
Also, like poker, "it takes a moment to learn, but a lifetime to master," Leshem says. "It's like chess, right? You have to practice, and you really start to feel the Zen of throwing."
Eventually, a world view develops, he says. "You look at life as a tripartite thing, that life is not black and white, it's not a binary on-off switch - there's the possibility of third choice."
As for those who don't think it's a sport, Leshem says, well, it takes all kinds. "There are people who think golf is a sport."
Ilan Ben-Hanan, the network's director of programming and acquisitions, says, "For us, I think ESPN is all about competition - traditional stick and ball sports, for the most part. But there's room for something a little bit different."
And the childhood game of rock paper scissors is nothing if not that.
"Everyone knows how to play the game, so that helps," Ben-Hanan says.
Whether it returns next year depends, in part, how it does tonight.
"We'll wait to see what the response is," he says.
Leshem says the initial ESPN telecast coming on 7-7-07 isn't completely lucky for them.
"It's kind of a hard night, there's also that Live Earth thing on," he says. "But we're honored to be on the ESPN networks."
The 2007 Bud Light USA Rock Paper Scissors League National Championship runs tonight at 9 on ESPN2.

Now to add a bit more cringe factor I add one last paragraph from the official site …

“American players embody the ideals of the sport - aggression, cunning and intensity. Finally, they have the stage to showcase their mad skills. Annual nationwide tournaments will honorably determine the best RPS player in the USA, and bring on a new breed of elite athletes to make all Americans proud and unify our polarized nation. The red, white and blue will be properly represented in international competition and inspire a new form of patriotism. The USARPS League is destined to bring on new strategies, training techniques and of course, great American heroes.”

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Like a Hollywood Movie

Remember those scenes from movies about sport whereby the hero always seems in trouble and is told by the coach to run the stadium stairs and our lone forlorn hero is seen in wide shots of the stadium easily climbing up as he has a point to prove against his coach. Well let me tell you stadium stairs hurt big time.
Again at the track workout with the group we were shepherded to the stadium and given the task of two ups and downs followed by 400 around the track repeat till i say stop. It sounds dramatic but in fact a great workout your quads are screaming by the end and I doubt that anyone could honestly run a complete stadium without collapsing.
So another hollywood myth is debunked , but then again it could be just me.
Lots of congrats from the team about signing up for my Ironman and looks like I will have some training partners from the group which will be good on those long runs, no I wait for the horror stories from those returning LOL
Long in the morning
Train hard

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Sold Out in 19 hours

Well today is either Day 1 or Day 374 depending on whether I wanted to count up or down, I prefer the notion of counting down it somehow adds to the excitement. But then again it seems silly to worry about something that is that far away. Munich is closer so in the spirit of being rational it is only 102 days to Munich so come Friday the clock will read 100 days and my coach Gavin has me focusing on this race as I want to set a PB which means going under 3:58. I have been under 4 hours twice and feel that my running is getting better so I am confident of setting a PB. But one thing I have learnt is that you must respect the distance.

So I woke this morning and looked out the window at the pool down below, my training program had me down for a criterium bike workout on the spinner and a swim workout. The sun was still not on the pool so I opted for a later swim or perhaps I could just skip the swim and do the bike. Hang on whats with skipping workouts on Day 1.

So popped the dvd, put on "What it Takes" the insirational Tri film that follows four elite triathletes training for Kona in 2005. I probably watch this two to three times a week it does give you an incredible lift as you watch them train and compete.

The bike workout was as follows

10 min warm up ,
6 x 30" > 100 rpm+ , 30 " easy - 39 ring
4 x 2:00 90 rpm (53/21) - 1:00 easy
4 x 2:00 90 rpm (53/17) - 1:00 easy
4 x 1:00 90 RPM (53/17) - 1:00 easy
45 minute easy include cooldown

All up 1 hour 30 minutes which is a good way to get time on the saddle , and the roads here are just to dangerous to consider riding on unless you are with a group or have a death wish.

Followed by my core super set of 14 exercises - 30 minutes with stretching

So before 9:00am I had already done two hours training and the pool still sparkled down below. But I had some errands to run and get my bike looked at for new brakes, last group ride everytime I braked it sounded like a screaming banshee car alarm surrounded me and made me about as popular as a pork chop at a bar mitzpah. Naturally the shop sold me more than a brake pad set as preventive chain maintenance is critical and I have now two cans of ozone layer destroying degreaser and lube ready to be used , assuring me according to the shop a smooth silent chain, the jury is out lets wait and see.

Back home the pool still sparkled was reletively empty of holidaymakers, so it was time to put on the much maligned Speedos and head down for my set . Regular readers know that my swimming to date has been not my strongest point but slowly drill by drill I am actually getting the freestyle bug and the thought of breaststroking is a thing of the past. I am not doing any great distance and my whole workout was 750m 3 different drills of 250 m followed by practicing Total Immersion basic drills . The sun beat down and the water was warm , hey i might even start really enjoying this swim part.

Tomorrow morning , my second track workout with the group at 6:30 , up at 5.00 am.

Oh and the title , Ironman Austria sold out in 19 hours online, amazes me that an event can sell out that far in advance that fast , well I guess I am not the only one commited now.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


com·mit·ment (kə-mĭt'mənt) Pronunciation Key
The act or an instance of committing, especially:
The act of referring a legislative bill to committee.
Official consignment, as to a prison or mental health facility.
A court order authorizing consignment to a prison.
A pledge to do.
Something pledged, especially an engagement by contract involving financial obligation.
A pledge to do.
Something pledged, especially an engagement by contract involving financial obligation.
The state of being bound emotionally or intellectually to a course of action or to another person or persons: a deep commitment to liberal policies; a profound commitment to the family.

Now all of the above do not specifically relate to what I have commited to. Espicially any reference to prison or a mental health facility, but then again I may have reason to question my state of mental health given to what I have commited to on 13th July 2008

The time has come that I feel that I am ready to complete an Ironman next year "Ironman Austria" Entries opened this morning and the 2,000 spots have almost been filled in less than 15 hours. Hitting the send button and receiving the email back means that purpose has a new meaning.

No longer can I look down at the pool from window and give myself a reason not to go down and do laps, the cycleop's spinner is going to have to hum for hours and more than one pair of trainers will be worn out.

My main focus for the next couple of months is to nail down my training for the Munich Marathon with Chaim in October and finish the tri season here after the summer break which resumes in September.

Then there will be the cold mornings of winter and no doubt work trips which will totally screw up my training plans from time to time, but having commited to what will be the longest day in my life I have only one desire and that is to enjoy the experience from my first workout tonight when I get home to crossing the line in the twilight on July 13 2008.

It is going to be a long journey but every step of the way will be recorded.

Hey I am going to be an Ironman, I hope you will enjoy the journey with me.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A Hard Post to Write

Sometimes truth can hurt in ways that really hurt you when you realise that. That you did'nt realise.

A friend today told me that I had made them turn against running and that I was no longer fun to run with. The reasons were stupid callous words that I had forgotten or chosen to put in the just words spoken but with no respect to my friends. people who i have run have every right to run with someone who wants to run just like them for the fun of it and not turn it into a competitive sport.

I will never win anything and perhaps now I should just step back and reflect.

Why? Because I enjoy running with friends above everything else, just for the fun of it. And maybe I have lost that focus and need to take drastic steps to repair this aspect of my life.

I am competitive that is my own curse that needs to be cured, and perhaps today was the biggest wake up I have ever had as to how I need to change my training and become once again the person people enjoy training with.

I no longer want to train alone and stare at my reflection on a computer screen of my heart rates and pace, there is no substitute for laughing and realising that running is fun.

We take each step as a solo runner, but the best sound is hearing a friends footsteps next to you not behind you.


Monday, June 25, 2007

Attack of the Medusa's

It has become official, the curse of the open water swimmer has arrived for there summer sojourn on the beaches. The Medusa Jellyfish is back for the holiday season, as I found out this morning when a tentacle managed to drape itself across my mouth during the group swim session. It stung like hell and like everyone else I spent the next thirty minutes wishing with deep reflections not to be stung again, and luckily I managed to avoid the tentacles.

My swim is gradually getting better and I am happy to see progress. Followed the swim with a 40 minute run at a good pace.

The weekend was again a good solid training block, with cycling 65 km on Sat Morining and a run in the afternoon with the hash group. Sunday was swim drills and a late afternoon run in the heat. We have been having a heat wave here with temperatures in the high 30's C or close to 100 F. I have been sweating buckets as they say and it is hard to keep up the fluids on the run.

I have signed up to run the Munich Marathon on October 14th with Chaim, my aim is to run a good sub 4 marathon so the emphasis over the next few months will be running as the tri season is in hiatus till September.

Train Strong

Friday, June 22, 2007

Long by Tempo Zones

The good old days of going out for a long run at an easy pace have been changed by my coach Gavin. Long runs are now days dictated by running in certain heart rate zones for periods. What ever happened to those long easy days of comfortable running at a conversational pace.

Todays long run was 18 km in 1:43:00 and it brutally hot and amongst it all I lost a bottle from my fuel belt so when I came to the end gasping with thirst all I felt in my belt was an empty loop.

This weekend looks like it is going to be even hotter with a heat wave coming accross the country, luckily the bulk of my running is over and I have a group bike ride at 6:30 in the morning.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

15 minutes and a new PB

Report on the Tel Aviv Olympic Triathlon

The bottom line is that I dropped 15 minutes off my PB time for the Olympic Distance in a month, now it only my second Oly tri distance but taking it down from 2:56 to 2:41 is good and my challenge now for the next Oly distance is to go sub 2:30. So how did it break down and how can I improve.

Leg #1 - 1500m swim, now everyone who has been reading my blog knows that I have only just started to swim freestyle after being a breaststroker only for all my life. I was confident of swimming the distance as my training in open water group classes has been going well. I am one of those people who prefer swimming in open water to doing laps of a pool.
The horn went off just before 7 am on the beach and we had a long sand bar wade to get to a depth we could swim in, and the course was two loops. I started well on the side hoping for clear water, but for the first time in three triathlons I was well and truly in the washing machine. Hey I even enjoyed sort on contact swimming BUT i was going backwards and was not passing anyone in fact I realised that even with my freestyle breast strokers started passing me.
I had been determined to swim the 1500m freestyle, but the reality of racing made me rethink my race strategy, I was determined to do at least the first loop freestyle and as I came back onto the beach for the second loop I made the decision to switch to breaststroke for the second loop and on the second loop I was in fact two minutes quicker.
I came out of the swim after 33 minutes , happy with my time but I knew that I had been slower than I hoped, the run back to the T1 was a long way thru the Part and took 3 minutes 40 barefoot thru sand and on concrete, it was not worth having running shoes for such a short distance the time to put then on would be negated by the advantage.
My T1 time was 1 minute 16 seconds , the training had paid off
The bike was 40 km and drafting was allowed so the aim was to find a fast group and work together it took a good 5 km's to work up to a fast pack and get the drafting in full swing , Over the course I rode with various riders and we were moving my average speed over the course was above 35 km/h . With 3 km's to go my b.....y computer fell off the handlebars and it was either forget about it and stay with the draft or stop go back and get my computer (Velo Cat eye) I stopped cursed and picked up the computer , the same one that fell down the elevator shaft a week ago. And refocused on the course, I had no one to draft and fought hard against the wind, finally picking up a draft pack with a km to go. Now I thought fast transition get out of your shoes coming into T2 , bending down I managed to twist the shoe off the pedal and had to carry it in my hand , something to work on LOL
T2 was even better exactly 1 minute and I was out and running , it was now close to 30 degrees C around 90 F so it was hard but keeping focused I did the 10 km in 53:20 and probably put more cold water over my head than I actually drank.

So total time 2:41:27 by my watch , my nutrition was probably not the best as I did not eat enough during the race, but my pre race nutrition included a plain no fat yoghurt and gel at 4:30 am and another gel 20 minutes before the start.
I recommend mixing yoghurt and gel makes the gel taste better

Hope you enjoyed the read , was great race
Tri Harder

Monday, June 18, 2007

Kicked Butt in Tel Aviv Tri

Full report to come , have not had time today been walking backwards with fatah Gunmen in Nablus on the West bank. But had a great tri Saturday and took 13 minutes off my PB for the Olympic Distance , did a 2:41:06 on Saturday.
More to follow
Sorry no time to write more today , and by the way never eat at Mister Baker if you ever visit Nablus, you could use the grilled chicked as tiles on the Space Shuttle LOL

Friday, June 15, 2007

How my run finished last night

This is a funny , only in Israel could this happen at the end of a run.

Thus, last night I was running with my hash group the Thirsty Knights Hash House Harriers, commonly using slogans like runners with a drinking problem or drinkers with a running problem. Simply you run with friends then rehydrate with beer. Ok not the best training program but it adds a great alternative to speed intervals or long runs.

So as we ran back to the car park at the end of the run last night, there was a police car with its lights flashing next to my car. Now your immediate thoughts are of course , expletive my car has been broken into oh expletive.

However the car was untouched and the concern was that my car with its TV signs painted on the windows was in fact a suspected terrorist vehicle. The background being last week Militants in Gaza had tried to kidnap another Israeli soldier down in Gaza by getting a SUV and painting TV on the windows they had approached an israeli checkpoint. There attempt was thwarted one was killed and three others fled back into Gaza.

This story was palyed heavily in the local press, and last night whilst my car had been parked and left unattended two boys had seen my car and being good concerned citizens called the police and reported a "suspected potential terrorist vehicle"

The policeman was cool about it all and drove off smiling, after we explained to him dripping in sweat " That hey no, thats just Mals car".

So a funny only in Israel way to end a run. You have to laugh.

The vehicles look so similar LOL

Thursday, June 14, 2007

You often wonder?

Have been spending a lot of time looking around at other tri and running blogs in the past few days and have been trying to figure out what makes a good blog and how to adapt mine to reflect these.
Some tri'ers have great links and information whilst mine lately has seemed to be an endless listing of boring facts and figures complete with graphs that to be honest only are probably of no interest to to anyone and who cares about split times when the simple fact that I cannot understand simple instructions which are lost in translation are far more funny.
I suppose we all go through doubts about our blogs and whether they mean anything.
Then again what is the magic to some extent of specific blogs is that in a small way in connects us middle (to the back) of the pack athletes who compete for fun, we (well I) am never going to win anything in the forseeable future and no sponsorship deal is ever going to knock on my door.
I like being active and perhaps reading about other active people makes us all feel good, so maybe out there someone will read my blog and get a smile or look at my silly HR graphs and go wow dude that is awesome so that is why I like to blog.
Hope you all agree
Tri'ing harder

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Clif Bar Triathlon Start Commercial

Ok Something Silly to make you laugh. Must add this to my training schedule


I have fallen foul to my own enthusiasm for training we all do it , luckily I have done it without injury but my legs at the track yesterday felt like lead.

When I asked my coach Gavin if I was overtraining he said yes "Take it easy, Your running has improved so much"

So with the words of encouragement I have taken heed, time to back down a bit and focus on the Tel Aviv Triathlon this Saturday

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Whew Whatta

The title "whew whatta" comes from my past, when working as an editor in a tv station n Melbourne Australia, whenever there was a heatwave (Remember those days before global warming) , so whenever we had hot weather the line up editors used the expression " Whew Whatta " as in What a hot day.

So the other day Chaim asks me if I would like a run Sunday evening, not realising that a heatwave was on its way I thought could be a good time to work with Chaim and run at a local track up from his home, and introduce the Yasso 800's into the mix as we start training for the Munich Marathon in October.

From what I can figure it was at least 39 degrees C over a 100 F, when i got back into my car the temp came up as 45 degrees C.

If you look at my heart rate , click on the graph it expands out you can see that it was beyond my max rate of 172 , was hard to guage as i did not feel like I was pushing the bounds, but this is clear proof of the effects of hot weather and training. A good lesson learnt about training in the heat.

We had a good workout but I felt the effects and a lesson learnt

Train Smart .

Friday, June 08, 2007

Longer and Faster

I normally do my long runs early and on Saturday morning, which is the same as Sunday morning elsewhere, but today the programme had me long as Saturday is the only day that is half safe to ride on the roads here. Remember that they show Mad Max movies at Driver Education Programs here in Israel, and ifthey do not then how they learn to drive so badly is a vexed question.

So foolishly I started my run at 7am and spent almost half of it dodging cars , note to self do not run late Friday.

My normal pace on long runs is to be as lazy and slow as I can justify , taking into consideration that according to all books it is a LONG SLOW run to be done at conversational pace, rarely will my heart rate get close to 120 unless I am going up a hill.

Thus Gavin my coach has implicit zones to train in now, to break this habit and today I was to train in Zone 3 145 Bpm + , and how did i go. Well I looked for excuses and found I could justify a slow start as I was running on sandy soft trails, but when I got to the paved road I kicked up the gear and thought hey do it , on your long run push it "Define Yourself"

15km's - 1 hour 21 minutes 40 seconds for a training run I was very pleased with myself , Heart Rate average 134 max 157.
Pace 5.33mins/km or 8:55mins/mile. Well ok that is not fast but for me it was the best paced long training run I have ever done so a good session despite the Mad Maxes

and I managed 28% in Zone 3 and 59% in Zone 2

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Lactate Larry goes beyond the Zone

Well first up I think that that is a darn funky name for a blog entry, so excuse me for patting myself on the back, and yes given enough time a monkey with a blackberry would also come up with the exact phrase.

Any thanks for all those who posted comments on the recent video links to you tube inspirations. I also recommend all three of us that read my blog entries , to download some great podcasts about running and triathlons so next blog will give you my rundown. I am at the point that actually I do not like running to music and would much rather listen to a podcast about tri or running.

Anyway, enough digression back to Lactate Larry aka me this morning at the track, given the complete balls up the other morning at the track, go on snigger and laugh I know you are. Before even the warm up I cordoned the coach and got my running orders before the others. Strike 1 victory for moi.

Oh boy,as Gavin said we are peaking for Tel Aviv next week, hey I thought what ever happened to the "Taper" expression, so we are going to have two speeds on repeats today Lactate and beyond Lactate.

Great I thought, not only am I sore from Tuesday's mistakes, now I knew exactly what had to be done. I wished for blissful ignorance instead anyway here is the breakdown

warm up
400 m Lactate threshold 400m Beyond (ie even harder) REPEAT 5 times - Total 4km No breaks
2 minute rest
800m LT 400 m Tempo REPEAT 3 Times
Cool Down

So how did it go , well here are the facts and figures of the session

Warm up 10 minutes heart rate sub 110

Distance Time Max HR Speed km/h
400 1:38 135 14.6
400 1:42 138 14.0
400 1:52 139 12.8
400 1.47 143 13.3
400 1.56 144 12.3
400 1.46 154 13.0
400 1.53 152 12.6
400 1.47 158 13.3
400 1.57 155 12.3
400 1.51 158 12.9


800 3.43 154 12.7
400 2.11 149 11.2
800 3.52 158 12.3
400 2.16 151 10.6
800 3.51 181 12.2 (Last 200 flat out 16.3 kmh - nothing left max effort)

Cool down Walk & Jog

Total Distance workout 9 km
Speeds avg 11.5 - max 16.3 kmh
Hr avg session 135 max HR 181

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Can World's Strongest Dad

A true story of inspiration for all of us

The video points to Dick Hoyt competing in triathlons with his son Rick, and when you first look it won't take long to see this is a video with a difference.

Something happens, you see, when people see Dick Hoyt.

It started 45 years ago, when Rick was born in Massachusetts, US, with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck cutting off the oxygen to his brain and Dick and his wife Judy were told there was basically no hope for Rick.

He had little hope of development and it was best to put him away, the doctors said.

When Rick was eight months old the same doctors told his father that he would be virtually a vegetable all his life and that they may as well put him in a home.

"It's been a story of exclusion ever since he was born," Dick says on his website,

Dick and Judy didn't put Rick away, though.

They played with him and laughed with him, and when two younger brothers came along the Hoyts soon became convinced that Rick was as intelligent as either of them.

Dick wanted to put his son in school but because Rick couldn't talk the school authorities told him Rick could never understand.

"Tell him a joke," Dick said.

They moved uncomfortably.

"Tell him a joke."

Rick laughed at their joke.

So Rick went to school, and even way back then in the early 1970s they built him a computer that enabled Rick to put his thoughts into words and he got along fine.

So Rick was off to school.

Then one day a schoolmate was paralysed in a car accident and the school organised a charity fun run.

"Dad," Rick typed, "I want to do that."

Dick had never run in his life.

Still, he did it for Rick, pushed him the whole 8km, and when he hit the finish line Dick was as sore as sore can be, and glad it was over.

Then Rick typed something.

"Dad," he said, "when we were running I felt like I wasn't disabled anymore."

That did it for Dick. He began training – swimming and running, riding the bike.

So much so they did the Boston marathon in 1983 four years after being denied entry, with Dick pushing Rick all the way.

After that they went into ironman triathlons. A 3.8km swim, 180km bike leg and 42km marathon at the end of it.

Dick's pot-belly had long disappeared and Rick, who had never walked, was now floating on clouds.

"Dad is one of my role models," Rick says on the website. "Once he sets out to do something, Dad sticks to it whatever it is, until it is done.

"For example, once we decided to really get into triathlons, dad worked out, up to five hours a day, five times a week, even when he was working."

So much has happened since.

Rick graduated from high school and now lives by himself and holds down a job.

Then Dick had a mild heart attack four years ago during a race. Doctors found one of his arteries was 95 per cent blocked – and said that if he hadn't been so fit he'd have been dead.

World's strongest dad . . .

Now to that video. So much is downloaded these days.

Such is the world we live in, people can get just about anything they like on the net.

But somewhere along the line, among all the hate videos and celebrations of violence, among all the rage and division, somebody put together a video of Rick and Dick and, well, give it a try, it might just change something for you.

It's on, and if you type "can world's strongest dad" in the search window Dick and Rick will pop up.

What you get is more than Dick and Rick competing together. You get the chance to watch those around them.

Volunteers and fellow competitors, people who get to see some pretty special athletes do some pretty special things as part of the everyday, affected by two honest, good men.

What you get to see is that, at a time when anybody can drive their hate, when the net is a free-for-all, there are still some pretty impressive people out there.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Tuesdays with ?

Well apart from the upcoming Triathlon Sat Week , my other main focus this year apart from more triathlons later in the year is to run the Munich Marathon in October so a lot of my focus in coming months will be running, well trying to improve my running and going for a PB. I will not mention the BQ word as that is not a reality and I am a realist and not a fool at my age.

So anyway I aim to be running two track sessions Tuesday and Thursday morning leading up to October. So where does the title of this entry come from well there was a famous book out recently which i did not read called Tuesday with Morrie.

Thusly rocking up to the track this morning fully expecting one of the two normal coaches to be there, but a new coach was there with very little English, a quick briefing to the assembled 50 of us, and bang they were off.

"What are we doing?"

One of the girls laughed and said "20 minutes, 1minute break, 25 minutes, 1 minute break and then 10 minutes to finish off"

So off I went good solid pace 5 minutes a km (8 minute miles) , round and around , first the twenty, then the fifteen, the coach smiling and saying looking good whats your pace?

"5's I said thru a pounding heart rate and hard breathing"

I was about to start the final 10 minutes, when he said "now at 10km race pace"

"What ?"

So off I went for the final session, giving it my all. Now I did not barf but was totally soaked with sweat and bent over double by the end.

I asked the girl who had given me the original 20/15/10 formula, what the coach had meant by doing the last at 10km race pace?

"Oh the did I forget to tell you that the first twenty minutes was at your Marathon Pace, the second fifteen minutes at Half Marathon Pace and the last ten minutes at 10k race pace"

"No I replied but I ran bloody hard for the last hour"

Perhaps this entry is another Lost in Translation

Monday, June 04, 2007

Weekend Wrap up

Thanks to Steve at Phedipidations Podcast for the plug for the blog in the last show, boy know I have to post some interesting stuff apart from my heart rate charts

The best thing of the weekend training schedule was my chance to go and watch a triathlon, instead of competing. The Herzliyya Womens Tri was held early Saturday Morning , so I was up before the birds to get my long run in before the start so at 5am I was running one of my favorite courses up the Nofyam Wilds past the Ammo dump, hey it is Israel they are everywhere sort of like running in the states and not seeing a 7/11 or a Mc Donalds is the way I put it. All runs here involve going past some Military Installation and at least going North meant that I did not have to go thru condom carpark where the results of the night trade are on evidence

Back to the tri , it was great to watch. It amazed me how much you can learn from watching for a change, little points like faster transitions and bike mounting all make sense now. I can see where I will be able to make up time for my own next race in two weeks time in Tel Aviv.

Sunday Morning was nearly three hours in the gym doing everything from weights to a spin class and since I only have a few days membership left time to make the most of it, I cannot afford the gym anymore simple fact of economics rather than lack of desire for the gym as I do enjoy it.

This morning was the group swim in the Open Water and even though I felt I sucked and was being beaten by anyone doing any stroke I did achieve another milestone in that I swam the whole thing from the gitgo Freestyle , not pretty but hey I have only been swimming freestyle for the last three weeks after 48 years of being a breast stroker so there was a positive.

Going to try and work on drills now to get the stroke better and faster . My goal is to do the swim leg of the Tel Aviv tri all 1500m of it freestyle ... wish me luck

Track tomorrow ... oh the pain LOL


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Jon Blais - The Blazeman

va.le to a true inspiration , roll accross the line next

va.le Blazeman

A true hero and inspiration to all triathletes and fellow athletes passed away from Lou Gehrigs Disease on the weekend his tribute can be found here
Watch the video for yourself and reflect next time you are having a tough workout

The Most Brutal Track Session to date

Now if you have run track, you always hear the complaints of the boredom of running endless loops getting nowhere and ending up where you started of course that is all true, but running track with a coach telling you to go faster when you have nothing left in your legs is another story.

I enjoy running track for some bizarre reason I actually like it, I still try to figure out why but there is something about endless loops that appeal to my warped sense of trying to get fit in a rapidly aging body.

yesterday was brutal though and somehow we had to run 3 x 3000m, 7 and half laps of pushing to the limit. My best km split was 4 minutes 40 seconds and so I can reflect that I am getting faster but it hurts if only I can transform these times to my next race then I will be very happy

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Saturday Breakdowns

Heart Rate and Speed Read Outs from - Transition Training

Tr (a) ing for Transitions.

Now anyone who entered or watched a triathlon has seen and heard about the fifth discipline of triathlon – Transition.

The experts and pros make it look so simple and effortless taking seconds as the move from one discipline to the next, for us new triathlete’s a better comparison is “like watching paint dry” , or in other words women can buy shoes faster than I could transition in my first efforts.

The next triathlon is in Tel Aviv in three weeks and training today in the mountains involved two brick sessions ride hard for an hour, transition and then run hard for 25 minutes. Have a five minute drink break then ride two hard loops with aggressive drafting , transition and then run harder for ten minutes.

Now a key thing to remember is that in our tri group is that out of the sixty odd who turned up for training today, I was the only member of our smaller sub group of twenty who are focusing on the Tel Aviv Race who does not speak Hebrew and the coach stood around and gave a lengthy 5 minutes of explanation in Hebrew of what we were to do. My briefing was 10 seconds so I thought I missing out on the finer points, which became all to evident when I finished the first bike and to be asked why my running shoes were not around as we were doing transition training, I pointed out as I walked back to my car that no one told me that we were doing transitions.

Anyway all worked out great and no doubt my transitions will be faster and tighter in the Tel Aviv Triathlon.

Not to pretty a sight and a good reason to keep shaving my legs

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Tri'ng yet again

Apologies for the lack of postings but been having enough trouble finding time to train amongst all the grief and troubles going on down here in the Middle East , and computer access is not a major thing sitting on dusty hilltops in war zones.

But enough of that rubbish lets focus on the things that make us better as people and things we enjoy rather than images that fleet past us.

Now you would think that having done a Half Ironman in 6:33:00 that the coach would cut me some slack but within days it was back to track work etc.

The reason was last Friday was another triathlon , for those who are fortunate to live in countries were it seems that there is a tri athlon or running race every weekend to choose from, it aint that way here . With summer beating down we do not race basically from mid june till Sept so most events are stacked in May

Last Friday was my first Olympic distance race - 1500m swim , 40 km bike ride and 10 km run

Well having only ever done one triathlon before this was yet another eye opener , as the swim was in the sea , the bike was 5 loops of the same circuit with drafting allowed and the run was 4 loops out and back.

I finished in a PB time , well it was always going to be a PB as it was my first olympic distance, to be greeted by the head coach of our group saying , not well done but "You need to work harder" and my coach saying my running "sucked" and I have to work on running not like a marathoner but a fast runner. Not exactly words of encouragement and congratulations but words that have made me train and work harder.

Hey I am going to get this swim freestyle under my belt four , I even swam in training last Monday in open water freestyle. My biking aim is to learn to push harder and man do i pump my arms harder now.

Another Olympic distance in a few weeeks in Tel Aviv .

But the next big and real challenge is that i want to do an Ironman next year, hey it will only take 14 hours to do and nine months to train for

Monday, May 07, 2007

The day I became a HALF IRONMAN

Sea of Galilee
Jordan Valley

Before we get to the facts the figures and the stories behind my first triathlon lets take a step back and examine some very rational facts, which may explain why I am not a rational person.

Fact #1 I have never competed in a triathlon, I have never even been too or watched a triathlon, I had no idea what happens in a transition area or what to take or how to set up my transition gear.

Fact #2 Most sane and sensible new triathletes start with a short race like a Sprint
Or Olympic distance (1500m swim, 40km bike, and 10km run)

Fact #3 The Half Ironman distances are as follows
1900m swim (Prior to last Monday I had never swum that far)
90km Bike (Never ever ridden that far previous best 75km with lots of stops, done in a group with lots of drafting)
21.1km Run (Half Marathon) Last time I did a long distance run I DNF’d due to heat and cramps and have not run this distance on a road since January)

Ok so we have established I am not the smartest triathlete to be, but I have great friends to train and travel with that have inspired me to this point and I will be forever indebted to Margaret, Andrea and Michael for introducing me to a new sport that I am sure will dominate my life for the years to come.

Now I had planned to just to the Olympic distance up until a week ago, a nice introduction to Triathlon, and I had done all distances previously. But for all those who know me, know one thing I do have a competitive streak, which for good or bad is part of me. So after the training day we had up on the Galilee a couple of week’s prior, with Andrea and Margaret with our training group we had all decided to sign up for the Olympic, well then Margaret gets talked into to doing the half Ironman as it is the only Half in Israel, and thusly if Margaret was going to do the Half then I was as well, even though I had not gone any of the distances, apart from the run.

The four of us drove up to the race on Friday, it is less than two hours away but on race day we were scheduled to start the race at 5:30 am, which meant getting up at 3:30am to eat and get to the race start.

The night before we all got together for a somewhat bizarre and nervous pre race meal, which naturally involved walking around the streets of Tiberius on the eve of Shabbat trying to find a restaurant that was open and served pasta for a pre race carbo load. Now anyone who has ever gone out with friends in a state of nervousness will know that you will walk around in circles trying to find what you want, so instead of walking into the first restaurant you spend an hour on your feet not resting walking past the same three restaurants in search of something as simple as a bowl of pasta. The trouble in Tiberius was that being Shabbat eve the only restaurants open seemed to be Lebanese that served meat and fish or fish and meat. Finally we managed to find one restaurant that had some bad pasta on the menu.

Frustrated but at least happy to have found some pasta we ate and headed back to the hotel to put the final touches to our nutrition plans making peanut butter and jelly wholewheat pitas and the funny touch of writing our race numbers on our arms.

Sleep well trying to get to sleep at 8:30pm is not the easiest especially when your nerves are wire tight and you know that ou have to get up at 3:30. Of course you are tenser about sleeping in and missing the start than you are are about getting a good nights sleep.

The alarm went off after what seemed to be the longest night with no sleep and immediately you eat and have a coffee and hope that nature will take its course in the next five minutes as going to the toilet is as important as not forgetting your kit at this hour of the morning.

Arriving at the race start we got our bikes together pumped up the tires to race pressure hoping in the dark that we would not get a puncture, even though twice in the past two weeks we actually have got together for practice sessions in changing flat tires, yes we trained to repair flat tires, it makes sense to anyone who has done a triathlon and yet seems dumb to anyone who has not. The difference can be ten minutes in being able to repair a tire quickly.

So in the dark we checked in through the safety check and headed for the transition area to unpack and prepare, even though I had never done this before it was fairly straightforward laying out what you need for the bike and run legs.


Dawn was just breaking as we lined up, the sun barely above the Golan Heights and the Sea of Galilee was as dark and dim as a scene from a Lord of the Rings movie. My nerves were stretched but at the same time I knew that since I was starting at the back to avoid the kicking and punching of the front swimmers in the washing machine in front. Naturally the start had been moved to 5:45 instead of 5:30am, but it mattered little as I tried to make out the buoys in the distance that we had to swim around. 1900m is easy to write and does not seem a long distance especially when you are used too or in my case having swum only once in my life five days before. But in the open water of the Sea of Galilee there is no black line on the floor and the water is just greenish, you can see your arms in front of you and that is about it.

The horn sounded and with a lump in my throat I plunged in and started my first triathlon. “I am a swimmer, I am a swimmer” stroke glide stroke “I am a swimmer” went through my mind and I began to relax and look around, the sun still not on the water but lighting the hills that make the Golan Heights that separate Israel from Syria taking on a magical glow, turning at the first buoy of the triangular course I could see the sun on the eastern coastline and I just focused on the next buoy to swim too. Now forget images of a bronzed Aussie in the mould of Ian Thorpe turning over freestyle in a relaxed manner, I breaststroke having never learnt to swim freestyle so all I could see where the leading and not so leading swimmers pulling away from me. I did not care or worry as my goal was to get through the swim without having burnt up to much energy when I knew I still had the bike and swim leg to go. In fact the key to a race of this length is the ability to pace yourself it is a long day at the office.

Now I am not going to downplay my breaststroke because like the tortoise and the hare, slow and steady actually had me catch up with the slower free style swimmers, and I actually tried to draft behind a slow free styler but to be honest did not seem to make the slightest difference except I was swimming in the bubbles of his feet.

The shore and finish eventually came and my feet touched the rocks after 59 minutes 45 seconds and looking around Margaret was next to me so we laughed and shuffle ran up to the transition area surrounded by fast little 10 year olds competing in the children’s race. My heart rate for the swim was avg 103 max 110, which was spot on easy relaxed and energy to burn.

Transition #1 Swim to Bike

By the time Margaret and I got to the transition area the first thing we noticed was how few bikes remained the rest of the people doing the Half Ironman seemed to be long gone. I focused dried my feet put on the bike shoes quickly ate a banana grabbed my helmet and headed out to the mounting zone. You cannot just get on your bike and ride all areas in the transition are controlled and ruled by officials with the power to disqualify you on the spot. Transition time incl run from water 9 minutes.

Leg #2 THE BIKE – 90 km’s

Hey two laps of a 45 km loop seem easy to say in conversation. But it is a bloody long way and the reality was that I actually expected to take close to four hours to complete this leg. Remember I have never ever ridden 90km before in my life. 75km’s in a group with drafting yes, alone with no drafting was a daunting prospect.

Again the key to my strategy was to pace myself, remain in low gears and maintain a high cadence so that my thighs and quad muscles would have the energy to run the half marathon.

To make myself feel good in the first few km’s all those little kids who had raced past me running out of the water I blasted past them on the bike, ok it does not mean much being able to out cycle an 11 year old but in my mental state of trying to maximize every positive these were small victories.
After 5 km the kids turned and all of a sudden I was alone, no one in front of me and for the next 15 km’s I rode alone pushing as hard as I dared. I had calculated that to do well on the bike I had to eat and drink smartly as nutrition is often referred to as the fourth leg of a triathlon.

Riding alone on an empty highway seemed strange, tucking into my bento box (food box) on the bike I nibbled on cut up dates and kept sipping water and sports drink. Suddenly ahead of me a bike streaked past heading back in the opposite direction. The leaders were on the return of the first lap, these guys were motoring and seemed to fly past, but then again I was comfortably pushing along trying to maintain 30 kmh., Which I did quite successfully for the entire time on the bike.

I did the first half of the loop in 47 minutes and turning back grabbed a bottle of water and took a gel for energy. I was going to save my peanut butter pita bread for the second lap as a reward.

It was so strange to be alone on the road as I passed the few riders who were behind me it felt good to not be at the back but then again I really did not care. Since no matter what time I did it was going to be a personal best time.

One of the good aspects of loop courses is that you see and pass your friends and it was great to see Margaret and Michael on the course, both seemed to be as focused as me.

The second leg of the first loop saw the traffic jam of the sprint and Olympic distance riders now on the course and mentally it felt great to crank up and pass other riders, with my energy levels high and heart rate below 140. In fact over the entire bike section my heart rate was an average 122 with a max at 140 beats per minute.

The second half of the first loops I did in 44:52 and settled back in to start munching on my peanut butter pita. Note to self here do not wrap so well in plastic wrap not easy to undo one handed at 3o kmh. The leaders raced past me going the other way and I just focused on keeping my head together and maintaining a good cadence to save my legs the third section I did in 49:36, within two minutes of the first one heading back now I passed Margaret and we shouted encouragement and shared a smile in less than an hour I would be off the bike and running. My god my bum and crotch were getting numb by now.

Hang on up ahead another rider, yes another rider after 65km’s I actually past another rider doing the Half Ironman. Hey after 2:45 minutes I actually overtook another rider.
Heading into the final two km’s I dropped the gearing to low and gently try to change the muscles the run awaited.

My final leg took 47:39 for a total bike time of 3 hours 10 minutes and 11 seconds, given that I had hoped for four hours having never done the distance I jumped off the bike at the marshalling area and felt my legs go to jelly with the first step I took, oh dear ….

Transition #2 Bike to Run

Now I wish I could say that my legs felt fantastic, when in fact they felt like two rubber bands for those first twenty steps and by the time I got my bike back into the transition rack, the rider that I had passed had also entered the transition and was off like greased lightning. Taking a minute longer than I wanted I changed shoes and grabbed a drink before hobbling off, but with each tentative step my legs did come back.

Leg #3 – THE RUN

I have run the half marathon distance many times in races and in training so of all the disciplines of the day, this was the one that I felt good going into. I had fueled well and drank plenty so I thought that dehydration was not going to be a factor. Little did I realize how much fluid I was going to need and the Gastro problems that awaited me?

My first km’s were done in a respectable 5:29, 5:27 and 5:24 which are by all factors respectable times and though I felt slow my watch did show I was moving well. It was becoming a mental game and my mantra was “ I am a runner” and through the whole run over the next two hours never did the dreaded left side of the brain ever take full control. Sure it tried but it was the heat that was becoming the critical factor, the run again was a double loop and on the first leg there were runners from the other distances on the course so at no times was there empty path ahead of me.

The path was a brutal fully exposed no shade footpath of hard concrete alongside the hwy south and it was a matter of trying not to look at the signs and distance markers on this first loop as all I could focus on was the thought of on the next loop I will be counting down rather than counting up.

One great thing on the loop system was that I was to see Mike, Margaret and Andrea and we could high five each other, well low five actually but somehow this simple act helped bond us and mentally gave me a great lift to know that all of us were going through the same and yet we took the time to help each other by the simple act of slapping hands as we took another step towards the end.

The first loop was highlighted by the fact that when I got to the Half Ironman check point the volunteer upon seeing my number approach dashed back to the table and grabbed my special need bottle that had been dropped off earlier in the morning, I declined knowing that on the second loop this would be a great mental boost for me. Lets face it since when is purple Gatorade a mental advantage but it was to be.

I knew that up to this point my fluid intake had been good, as I actually had to stop and go to the toilet, ok more than you need to know, but it showed that I was drinking enough to this point.

The run back to the turn around point was tough and the sun and the heat was physically taking its toll, I tried not to look up but simply concentrate on my mantra and keeping my legs moving in what seemed like the slowest shuffle, my km splits were down to 5:50 and 6:00 sometimes longer as I walked through all drink stations taking two cups of water, one to drink one to pour on myself to try and cool down my head.

On the second leg of the run loop my best km split was to be 5:56 minutes per km and after picking up my purple Gatorade and downing yet another gel I walked with another competitor for two minutes as we tried to psyche each other up to run, we did eventually but after 100 m he stopped and I continued pushing as best I could.

I realized that water I had been getting on the run had been coming out of these portable water tanks and that the volunteers had been tipping them up to get the last of the water out, mentally this just started to make me think and sure enough I started to cramp in the stomach.

I needed more water and as bad as I felt I knew that this was crunch time I had less than five km’s to go and as I passed Margaret for the last time I tried to smile but inside I was hurting real bad but did not want to show it. Andrea had finished her Olympic distance and as an act of true friendship came back down the course to find Margaret and me and as I passed her she offered me water from a bottle she was carrying. I really at this point was mentally beyond my zone and thanking her just continued I was so bloody close that I could not figure out why these last km’s were taking so long, my km time were blowing out to 6:30 to 7:30. But I was moving, my legs felt like jelly for a few hundred yards and as I walked they loosened and I wobbled but mentally pulling myself I got back into a run as slow as it was.

Then I heard the best sound of any event you enter the announcer at the end on the loud speaker reached me and down inside I knew that I had made it just another 500m and it would be all over.

There is always a part of you that wants it to be over, but at the same time the journey has taken you through so much and made you realize what it takes that you somehow do not want it to end the journey has made you a better person and the end seems not fair. You want the feeling to never end because you understand what it takes and what you have been through.

But the finish line was there and as I crossed I realized that I had done it I was a Half Ironman. Hang on does this mean I want to be an Ironman. At this point I truly do not know but to push yourself to a new limit is such an emotional high that inside you want more.

My time 6 hours 33 minutes the seconds really do not matter, what mattered was that all of us had taken a challenge and we had all won.

Margaret got a trophy for second place in her age group and packing up the cars tired and exhausted beyond anything I have ever done before.

I felt an elation and endorphin high, today I had with friends done better than my best, we all had.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Arbaim Ve Schome

Ok whats with the title of the blog today?

Well in my poor translation of hebrew it is actually "Forty Eight" and hence my bitrhday, funny thing is that i do not feel 48.

Two days out from the Jordan Valley Half Ironman and in reality today was the last of the training taper days , a 45 minute run (should of done 48) made up of 3 repeats 10 min Easy 5 Minute Race Pace . We have a sandstorm of sorts here at the moment and the temperature was above 30 degrees C at 6 am when I ran

Getting my stuff together for tomorrow, looks like an expedition rather than a simple race of Swim Bike Run

Reminder to self , at dinner tonight PLENTY OF WATER

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Three Days Out

So I had planned as my first Triathlon to do an Olmypic distance race , surely a 1500m swim in open water, followed by 40 km on the bike and a 10 km run would be enough for my first Tri, hell I do not even know what happens in those Transition areas having never done a "transition".
Well no for some reason I have decided that I will be doing the "Half Ironman" 1900m swim, 90 km bike ride and then run a half marathon , why ?.
Because there is only one Half ironman a year here in Israel and so the left side of the brain has for some reason over ridden all common sense and I have entered it.
Feeling positive about the day, as my goal is not time orientated and just to finish with a smile is all I want.
Have been tapering and concentrating on nutrition this week along with the other great pondering of the event do I wear an old wetsuit , this morning at six am I was downstairs in the pool, and almost drowned on my first lap swimming in a wetsuit, as stupid as that sounds. I thought my time over 1000m was better than yesterday when I swam in my trisuit, but was a minute slower however I was warmer . So this is a question that will no doubt irk me to I actually get in the water Saturday. What to wear ? wetsuit or tri suit ... Erring on the side of the tri suit only at the moment
Followed the swim with a good run , easy 4.5 km loop around the suburb in 22:52 Heart rate did not get above 137 and best km split was 5:12.
Tomorrow I have a 45 minute run which i will do at easy pace and race pace over three intervals

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A new PB and only in Israel

Now readers of my blogs know that I have an affinity with the drivers of Israel. And last Saturday yet another story about life on the roads here took the unbelieveable to yet new "only in Israel" But lets get back to the issue of me running a new Personal Best for 10km.
Personal Bests meaning very little to anyone but yourself, of course people go "oh great" and "well done" but it is the inner self that knows you have gone faster than ever before over a set distance and perhaps all those early morning hours spent running by yourself pushing a little bit harder does in fact pay off.
For the last year I have been running with demons as one might say and not running my own race, more so in my mind than in my body, last Saturday I was focused and decided that this was a day for me to go. My best km split was 4 minutes 11 seconds and the slowest was a respectable 5 minutes 10 seconds on the uphill at the 7 km mark.
When they gave me the tacky medal at the end, for the first time in a long time it meant something to me because I really felt lke I had earnt it.
Now as runners we know that part of the race entry fee is for the police to co-ordinate road closures to ensure that the locals do not line us up like a bowling alley and aim for a strike. So after the race at around 9:50 I got back into the car and tried to drive out back home, only to be stopped in a line at a police barrier blocking the road. Now you do not have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that the police had been told to close the raod till 10:00, but oh no the five other cars around me seemed intent on screaming at the Policeman that they should be let out, these are the same runners who not half an hour ago had wanted the security of a safe road as we ran past other Israeli drivers shouting at Police road blocks that they had a god given right to drive on the road even if it was full of runners.

The Policeman just looked at his watch and shrugged as the departing runners vented their frustrations at the same person who not long ago doing the same thing had given us all safety.
I just laughed and sure enough at 10:01 the road opened up , only in Israel.