February 2009

Pre Argus Medical Check Anyone?

When I entered the Argus I filled in my existing medical conditions on their website. It seems they are worried about me because now they want me to visit the MediClinic at the Cycle expo to get checked out.

The only problem is that I listed my conditions as follows.

1: Spontaneous dental hydroplosion.
2: Leprosy.
3: Flesh Eating Bacteria.
4: Government created killer nano robots.
5: Hotdog fingers.

I’m going with that exact list to Mediclinic and I’m telling them that the cycletour insisted I be checked for these conditions. Who wants to video it?

Brick Sessions

Today we did a brick session, which to me is a new form of training. It consisted of a 1hour bike ride followed by a 30 minute run, repeated 3 times and in theory getting faster each time. To add insult to injury the riding leg took in the 2nd climb of the Argus Cycle Tour, the infamous climb up Smitswinkle Bay. With a total altitude gain of 1010 meters and with a howling North Easterly wind on the return leg for good measure, it was a proper workout.

The day started with an early call at 4:30am, followed by an hour’s drive to Simonstown to meet the bunch at 6:00am sharp. Since when did 4:30 happen so early in the day?

I took a couple of positives away from the session as well as two little negatives to add some balance.

On the bad side, one of the objectives of the mornings training was to test the food we are planning to use for nutrition at IronMan in April. Two problems cropped up immediately. The first and most obvious one was that I left all my carefully planned food goodies at home, over 60km away. A Big thank you at this stage to USN sponsored athlete Kent Horner for donating some delicious USN calories to my stomach’s cause.

The second and not so easily remedied problem is that I apparently don’t have a clue what to eat on race day anyway.

I love muffins, and my initial Google research indicated that being low GI, they would be the perfect food for the job at hand. Except that they are not very palatable in 35 degree heat. They are what my dear old mom would call ‘claggy’. I compromised by swapping muffins for pancakes. I mean the ingredients are vaguely similar and they are easy enough to cook.

At this stage I should point out that if when making pancakes, a fly comes into the kitchen, it is easy to mistake a spatula for a fly-swatter. And a crushed fly is equally similar to a blueberry. And a wife is a lot like a fly eater. I’m not telling her if you’re not.

So, baby potatoes, pancakes (still to be tested), energy gels and Perpetuem are top of the ChrisH feeding regime at the moment, but I really don’t think it’s enough variety. The range of energy powders, bars and gels at the local sports shop is staggering and enough to confuse even a confused person, so I’m going to have to swallow my pride and ask the guys in my training group for advice on what they eat. More on this in the future, although the future as far as my IronMan quest is concerned is a mere 2 Months away.

On the positive side I have a brand new pair of running shoes. Spiffy blue and white New Balance 1063’s. How good are they you may ask? Well good enough that I don’t even know that they are on my feet. I love them.

And if you think the nutrition section of the sports shop is confusing, try choosing the right pair of running shoes from among those punted by the many manufacturers. There are dozens of them, all making similar claims, and frankly I doubt if there is really anything to choose between any of them. Which begs the question, why did I chose New Balance over the others?

I chose them for the same reason my hydration pack is a Salomon and all four of the family bikes are Raleigh’s. Because the New balance directly supports South African sports and in particular the sports that I love, multisport and adventure racing.

Life’s e-mail system.

I am a firm believer in life sending me messages, so why I keep deleting them without giving them a cursory glance is beyond me.

Take last week for example. The life messages were coming in fast and furious and my internal mail box labelled ‘Warning. Read!’ was filling up at a rapid rate Yet I was ignoring them, knowing all the time that heed should be taken and I should be crawling under my bed for protection.

On Tuesday evening the reality came home to roost when life’s postman gave me a whack on the back of the head to wake me up.

On the way to the group Tuesday night track training session, I wasn’t feeling too fantastic, with an overpowering urge to stop the car and sleep. I ignored the message reasoning that I had been up since 4:30am and was just tired.

The training session after a 20 minute warmup, consisted of running 17 x 400 meter laps, with the first 200 at a sprint and the second 200 meters slowly recovering with no breaks in between.

(Sensitive readers should look away)

After lap 10 I got the message that I needed to pee. I deleted it.

After lap 12 I REALLY needed to pee. Again I ignored it.

Lap 15 concluded with me in ever increasing pain and an overpowering desire to head behind the nearest tree. I continued running instead.

The last lap ended with me screaming into the undergrowth for relief. But now I needed to vomit as well which I did in no uncertain manner and continued to do all the way home.(stopping the car obviously).

Tuesday night and Wednesday passed in a blur of sickness. I have never felt so ill in my life. I was off work on Wednesday and Thursday and then on Thursday night my wife also got sick with the same malady which neatly cut off my supply of sympathy and nursing. I was in hell. (So was she, but lets be honest about it, you read this column to find out about me) Come Friday I was feeling a bit better so I headed off to work to see how the body held up.

Any normal person would have taken an extra day or two to recover after what I had just been through, before venturing back into their fitness regime, but the Western Province Triathlon champs were on Saturday. I was entered and had been looking forward to the event for a Month already so I had a hard question to answer. Was I really going to stay at home and not compete? Of course not.

I reasoned with myself that I would just take it easy and go for a finish no matter how slow. I wasn’t reading the messages you see.

The swim was great. Halfway in 15 minutes, and out of the water in exactly 30 minutes, consistency at it’s best. The short run to the bike was fine and transition one went off with no drama and no sense of urgency in keeping with the aim of just going for a finish.

To set the rest of the scene, I need t to let you knowhat I have managed to ride 18 Months and almost 6000 kilometres on my road bikes without having a puncture. Frankly I was getting worried about this because the closer IronMan is getting the more the law of averages was looking at correcting the puncture balance in Port Elizabeth in April.

Not to worry, the South African National Glass breaking championships appear to have been held last week on the very same route shared by Saturdays triathlon. 22km and 3 punctures later I was stranded on the side of the road with no tubes, no CO2 bombs and just as little enthusiasm left. I was out of the event and looking for a lift back to the finish.

Luckily on my walk back I met up with a young rider from Wellington who was competing in her first Triathlon and was also stuck after numerous flat wheels. She was able to use the phone at a local Winery to call her mother to come and rescue us.

This young lady whose name escapes me, (I think it is Lizandre or something similar) was actually the first lady out of the water after the swim and had her first puncture as she left the swim bike transition. I was happy that despite all her problems at her first Tri event she was still bubbling with enthusiasm for the sport.

Perhaps, like me, she needs to learn to read life’s e-mails.