And finally the close of another week of training and preparation for the 2014 and 10th anniversary edition of IronMan South Africa. And what a delight to finish it strongly.
Recovering from a flu a few weeks before the event, you are hopefully always going to get to a point where you feel a lot stronger than you did. However following last week’s capitulation in the last 30km’s of a long 150k cycle, it felt great to complete a reasonably paced 120km’s feeling strong throughout. Even more so to complete a 20 minute sprint in the middle and finish with a fast-paced 4km bric.
Sunday consisted of a fantastic 20km early morning run, replete with Kylie’s new album – okay but not too memorable on first listen – and an incredible second half of quality deep house. Such was the brilliance of said deep house that my little legs decided that they wanted to run fast. And who was I to challenge them. Finished a nice strong second 10k at faster than race pace.
And the proverbial cherry on top was a lovely swim at the GraystonVirgin Active. Now swimming is definitely the least enjoyable of my disciplines but last night was different. I felt strong over the full 2.5km and felt like I was gliding like a fish. The data didn’t have me at too much faster than normal but the few seconds made a difference and I felt great.
I’m praying that all of the above is a good sign for 2 weeks time.
Technical elements of an IronMan effort – Power and Functional Threshold
I even managed to pull off an all-out –balls-to-the-wall Functional Threshold Test in the middle of my cyle. What that requires is a 20 minute period during which you just race as hard as you can.. My good mate John was the catalyst for this. He is a wealth of knowledge ( I must look it up for my own peace of mind) and informed me that allegedly once you have a reading for the average power you are able to sustain for that 20 minute period, 75-80% (again I must get absolute clarity) of that average power is the measure of the average power you should be aiming to maintain through the IronMan bike ride.
And that magic figure from my power data is – 247 watts.
So for a 75-80% range, the output I should be looking at come race day is 185 – 198. Actually seems about right on the lower side at around 180 – 185, but I think if I maintained closer to 200 I’d be burning too many matches. Anyway – something to consider in line with heart rate.
Definitely looking forward to getting a better handle on the scientific aspect of this in the second half of this year.
Non-technical elements of an IronMan effort
Leg wax – my brother Rob inspired me to eventually go for one. He was training for the ABSA Cape Epic and after he reported back on what it was like, I decided it was something I had to do. If I was going to be serious about this whole IronMan malarkey, I needed to have hairless legs.
[two_third last=”yes”]I think any bloke who is somewhat serious about cycling would be lying if he said he hadn’t considered getting a leg wax. Makes you feel part of the greater triathlon clan and serious about your pursuit. I gather it’s a hellava lot easier than shaving with less resultant ingrown hairs and quite frankly I was intrigued as to how painful it would be.[/two_third]
I hasten to add that this particular wax was the 3rd in a series, each spaced 4 weeks apart. The ideal timespan I’m informed.
In my humble opinion, I didn’t find it particularly painful at all. Even the first wax on long hairy legs was about a third as painful as I’d thought it would be.
Anyway it’s quite good fun, only takes about 20 minutes for both legs and is a relative steal at R240.
Haircut – I decided again that if I am to get maximum benefit out of every possible facet I can think of, then I needed my hair as short as possible. Who knows what wind drag some extra hair length could cause on race day. It wasn’t something I wanted to change and so opted for a lekker number 1 on the sides and shorter on the top. I was hoping like hell that a byproduct of this shorter haircut was that I’d look meaner as well thereby helping me feel meaner in the process.
I even opted for a cut throat razor shave to see what my current unplanned ‘beard’ would look like with some of the neckline shaved off. Not convinced I look meaner, maybe just a little less scruffy. Think the beard will have to go for race day.
Physio and Dry Needling
After a relatively heavy week I definitely felt I needed a good rub down. I discovered an excellent physio in 2 years back named Noelle Gornall. She has done 70.3 (achieving a podium in her age group) and Iron Man and participates competitively in a variety of sporty activities and so knows her stuff and the types of afflictions we endurance athletes face.
Plus it’s nice to fill one’s session chatting about what you’re doing to someone who’s genuinely interested. Thankfully I haven’t had any bad injuries that she’s needed to fix but she always seems to help me through various little aches and pains and her sports massages are excellent.
The other great thing about Noelle is that she can do dry needling. This is something I discovered in a London when severe shin splints nearly ended my London Marathon efforts before a physio who understood dry needling was able to place a few of them in my offending calf and completely loosen it up. It really is a brilliant technique, the benefits of which – unlike a lot of physio – can be felt immediately.
If you’re based around the Northern suburbs of Joburg and in need of a great physio I seriously recommend you check her out.
Random things that go unexpectedly right AND wrong
Right = Shammy Cream
[two_third last=”no”]While rummaging through my drawer in the dark on my way out on Saturday morning I accidentally discovered my long forgotten jar of Shammy Cream. And what a fantastic discovery that proved to be. On my long ride the previous Saturday, my inner thighs and package were seriously chaffed, to the extent that I wondered how I was going to alleviate that. Did I need a new tri suit? Should I use cycling shorts on race day instead?[/two_third]
NO dipshit – the answer is Shammy Cream. I kind of know about it, hence the fact that I own a jar. But why I never remember to apply it before I cycle – that I cannot tell you.
But I’m a convert and will be applying it henceforth in perpetuity and think I’ll have a quick application in T1 on raceday, such has been the difference it made.
Wrong = Aquasphere Vista Goggles
[two_third last=”yes”]My beautiful Sunday night swim involved me taking the goggles I bought and used at 70.3 out of storage to use a few times before the full gig. And on Sunday night they worked a treat and I marvelled at their brilliance. It was up there with the Shammy Cream in the column titled ‘Right’.
Imagine my surprise then when Monday’s swim involved all sorts of subtle leakage that had water coming into my eye and had me stopping every 15 lengths or so to remove the water and try and readjust the goggles to try and prevent water coming in. I didn’t get it right over the course of the long swim and so am now going to have to play around again to work out what has changed.[/two_third]
What the Good Lord provideth, he can also taketh away. Maybe 2 items in the ‘Right’ column in one short week was too much of a gain.
Thankful for health and wellbeing
I got to meet a great guy on in my mate Johns cycle group on Saturday who has spent a considerable time over the last year rehabilitating himself from a bulged disc in his back – I think was what it was termed. He completed IronMan in 2013 and then did Sani2C, whereafter he started developing severe back pains that removed him from all events.
Once diagnosed the prognosis from a few specialists was a fairly sombre and serious spinal fusion a hectic procedure. Steve opted instead to go the non-surgical route and opted to rebuild himself through multiple Physio and Biokinetics sessions each week. It took him about 6 months to get to and through 70.3 and he is now ready for IronMan next week, but it did make one think on one’s health and that you have to be so thankful when you’re in good health before an event.
As we finished our bric run and our conversation, Steve’s comment was that you have to treat each IronMan as if it’s your first and potentially your last and really savour the event. It’s great when people remind you about remembering the importance of things like that and how fortunate we are to be able to even enter these events, yet alone get to the start healthy and ready.
There will be a host of people on the start line that would have gone through personal trials and tragedy and will be aiming to complete IronMan as a symbol of their ability to survive and overcome.
There will also be those that have made big sacrifices to be there. These are the true IronMen and Women.
ABSA Cape Epic
[two_third last=”no”]My younger brother Rob started the ABSA Cape Epic on Sunday. I know it’s something that I have to do in the future, and watching the first 2 days has done nothing but whet my appetite. I know it’s a gruelling test – but it looks amazing and I want some of it. Not now – but in the future.[/two_third]
The live tracker is a great future and while it could do with lots of improvement in adding a cumulative kilometre total to the riders and maybe plotting them along the profile, at least seeing them move along the course is a great feature.
Toodaloo. Time for bed – 2 sessions tomorrow and 8 hours of sleep required.