Tuesday, November 7, 2017

KONA RACE REPORT!

Hey readers - later is ALWAYS better than never...below is my pre, during, and post Kona experience @ The Ironman World Championships.


As many know, in early September I moved to Qatar, started a new job, and had not been training all that much for a 226 KM race.






To say the least, I was not prepared...I tried my best, to downplay, and rationalize a possible slow race in Kona, well before the fact. I had not done any long swims in months, rode my bike only once above 3h00 and only managed to get in a few long runs over 90 min.

I honestly considered not going...It was just bad timing, and would be a big expense...However, I had 3 athletes racing, and for years I had been asked, a few times per year...have you done Kona?

This was also to be my only triathlon this season.

I simply focused on short, frequent, and intense sessions. I knew I would be able to handle the heat pretty well. I also had to rely heavily on my past training, as well to my experience and knowledge.

Simply put, I took my own advice, and practiced what I preach!

Just before I left Qatar, I started to get sick...Flying from Doha to Kona, via Heathrow, LAX and Honolulu...was a 48-hours door-to-door journey...Literally halfway around the world...We could have just flown the other direction as well!

Qatar Airways for the win - QUINOA.

I usually take my coffee black - unless there's a milk stick ;)
Once in Kona, I was happy to see Jong "The Farmer" Sajulga. One of my long-time athletes, who picked me up from the airport, and who I roomed with for my first week in Kona.

How-ever, my bike arrived ~40 hours after I did...


After catching up with Jong, I started to "get ready" for Kona, by doing as much training as I could on the race course, without overdoing it. On race week, I was doing long double runs & long double bikes...And swam every day!

With coach Cam and his FAST athletes.


To make matters worst, was poor internet connections, which made it difficult to do my online coaching...As I still maintain the same online commitment to all my athletes, regardless of where I am in the world.

I got to see faces I had not seen in over a decade. I also got to meet Martin, one of my KQ'ers - a Dane living in Switzerland. We have been working together for 18 months, and this would be our first time meeting!


Then Andy & company eventually showed up - making for fun and entertaining conversations!


Last but not least, Joyette decided to come and see me race :)




Anyway - THE RACE!


I stayed as relaxed as possible on race morning. I was a bit surprised at how disorganized, non-logical, and chaotic some stuff was at the pier...It's been what? 30 years doing this!

Anyway, I did a good warm-up and then waited in the deep sea, for what seemed like an eternity, before the cannon finally blew.

I bullshit none of you when I say this was my first proper "washing machine" experience...My plan was just to cruise the swim, cruise the bike, and cruise the run. I could not afford to push, or take chances.


Eventually, the field thinned out, I found some clear water and came out of the water in 56 min.

Which one is mine?
Quick T1 and on my Ceepo Katana!


Once on the bike, it was pretty crowded...it was literally impossible to not draft...Guys would come from the back, blow by me like Lance Armstrong on his best juice, then slow down...The group went from like 10, to over 50!

I must admit, I thought it was pretty funny...I was riding quickly, and not working hard at all. Some draft marshals came along, and stared at us...That's about it - either theu did not care or are smart enough to figure out it was impossible to not be riding in a group.

It eventually thinned out after 40 KM on the Queen K, and I focused on fueling, hydrating, and staying relaxed up to Hawi. I still felt good, and at this point, I was starting to think I would be able to smash the race!

Like a boy scout - I wore gloves and socks.
I was also fascinated to see the pro's at the turnaround - seeing who's where. Sanders, I thought you where gonna win! Daniela, I never doubted ;)

But the last 40 KM of the bike, the infamous big island crosswinds showed up...My lower back and left knee started to get real tight...I was not having a good time anymore...I got passed my 100's of athletes in a short period of time...how demoralizing!

Approaching T2 - I was excited to get off my bike - who knew what the run would hold?

Once running, I felt pretty good, and maintain a good moderate pace. I fueled, did nose breathing, and maintain a short/quick stride. As well to not loosing too much time at the aid stations...

Running with the top overall female age grouper.
In hindsight, I could have started just a tad slower...but I was passing tones of athletes. You know, those who ride their bikes like there was no marathon after!

So my good sensations continued well into the energy lab...I was looking at my watch every so often, I knew I had to keep going for a sub 10. I was still passing people regularly.

However, with around 6 KM to go, I started to go sideways...my body or "frame" started to fall apart...My neck, back, knees, feet, ankles, etc. all started to get really painful...I still had the energy and determination to keep ticking my legs over.

As I slowed down, I skipped aid stations, to make up the time...I powered up the last hill while being cheered by total strangers!

Going down Palani hill, I was in a world of pain but could hear Mike Reilly...I kept the pressure on and came in 10h04...Not that bad eh?

YOU ARE AN IRONMAN
All in all, I'm happy I went, raced, and did not go like shit...;)

I was totally smashed after the race...And then had another 48-hour travel towards Doha, via a quick overnight in Honolulu...I need to come back to Hawaii so I can enjoy the place more...I really did not do or see much while here...




It's almost 4 weeks on, and I'm FINALLY recovered from the race. I moved into a new home a few days ago, and back into a good routine. All the while shedding athletes for their offseason, and picking up new ones locally in Qatar!

Anyway, my major takeaways are:

-Trust your overall base - not what you did recently.
-Good execution with poor fitness is better than bad execution with good fitness.
-Always start a little slower than you want - it will bite!

Last but not least, I would not return to Kona to race as an AG. It's just a huge all-around expense...I would only come back, to race pro, or to coach athletes - then spend a few weeks touring the island afterwards!


Below are some random pics, of primarily american food!

The house burger - somewhere I can't remember...
The LOCO-MOCO

44$ canned horse anybody?

Hawaii - the biggest SPAM consumer IN THE WORLD

Acai bowl - ummmmmmm

No comment

LAVA CAKE

Middle East appetizer

Airport foooooood...

Papaya + mango + avocado = YUM

MUD CAKE ;)

Funny name

IHOP feast post-race.

Another burger I can't remember where...

Japanese style

Low carb yo!

Pina colada =)

Swimming paddles anybody?

If you look closely - you can see that this is a cop car.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Malaysia & Moving Forward.


Hey readers - well it's been a while since my last post. The first 3/4 of the year has truly flown by. I spent the majority of it, based in the Malaysian state of Johor, specifically in Iskandar-Puteri, AKA Nusajaya.

I hosted several camps, some for age groupers, elites, runners, and youths. It was very productive and rewarding. I met a whole lot of new people, learned more, and gained valuable friendships. I also grew my online business, continued to improve my "on deck" coaching skills, and importantly, lay a more solid foundation in my credibility/experience as a coach.

However, all good things come to an end. I have accepted the position of head coach for the Tri Club Doha in Qatar, which is almost 400 members strong! So in the first week of September, I will be moving for 1 year to the Middle East.

After almost exactly a decade spent in East Asia and South East Asia, I'm moving to new pastures. I like to believe that my time in the region, has prepared me for an "up grade" in work and salary. And of course, a new and different culture.

For those who are wondering, I'm still working online with Trisutto, and will still be racing in Kona this October, which will be my first race of the year. I had all these plans to race in 2017, but I decided to prioritize my coaching, after various mitigating circumstances. To keep it short, I'm aiming to not do too bad, in my first trip to Kona...And of course, support my athletes that qualified who will be racing!

Anyway, below are some pictures of the past 8 months. They speak millions of words, especially in priceless, and lifetime friendships. As well to knowledge exchanged!


Malaysia is a strict, yet moderate Islamic country!


First Trisutto Camp of the year.


Some smaller ones followed.



It was great to help, and especially enlightened individuals who are passionate about the same sport!
The secret Sunway 2 lane 400m track oval.

Team Tréximo.

Jogging around the awesome trails of Gelang Patah!

Kids in progress!
Drafting practice @ The Ledang Urban Retreat pool!


The famous KL Twin towers.

Riding around Pontian with Rupert & Emi!

Sun-set hill reps with the Ironman Cadets.


Some laps with the inspector - he can hang on the short stuff ;)

He's also a star on STRAVA - hehehe!

All smiles during a though sun-set swim session :=)


Riding by a large local Mosque.

Talk to the students @ EduCity.

START OF THE FOOD PICS!

LOTS-A-FRIED-RICE

An authentic presentation.


STEAK!

Chinese style quack bird!

Asian style dessert.


I explored lots of spices while here.

Typical riding snack ;)

Spicy Tom Yum soup that burned me trice: my mouth, my stomach, and my A$$!

J-panesse.
Fried egg maki!

A light snack ;)

Local sweets.

Indiaaan.

Typical home-made lunch.


My risotto!

Boilled egg salad!

Tumeric chicken stir fry!

Sea food risottooo @ Big Food!


Rotti tissue - sweet and sticky!

Mutton chop.

3 types of non-pork sausage!

Pineapple fried rice!

The classic Nasi Goreng dish with fresh orange juice!

My favorite, cheese mutton rice - YUM!

Lovely breakfast tapas from Tea Garden.

The biggest mango I ever seen...

No comment...

Late night Chinese style noodles!
RANDOM PICS

Party hardy @ 9MM.

Selfie anyone?

Local and fresh lunch with the crew!


Desaru brunch. 

Desaru race morning.

Joyette came to visit 4 times!

Forest City - the next Singapore they say.

Just beautiful...
ELITES!

The RP team.

Some drafting action.

Ready...DIVE!

The top South East Asian Junior Elite and Senior Elite @ Asian Champs this year.

RAMBO!

Cornering on slippery roads...

Nice & long off road run, with a fast finish!

Not far to go!

I'm gonna miss these 20th-floor sun-sets...