Wednesday, September 15, 2010

HOLD ON LIFE DOESN'T WAIT

Some might say tough, I would say time for change.  Our business has closed down due to the bad economy and these last few months were really tough.  Fighting as we may, we just couldn't keep our heads above water.  Our house is sold and now we are entering a future which is unknown to us!  I have never been afraid of change and are eagerly moving forward with great expectation.  Through all this I was not able to keep training and almost everything stood still for a while.

In the mean time I have started a new organization and it is called Operation Blanket.  Our main objective will be to give a hand to people around the world who have lost everything due to unforeseen circumstances.  We are non-profit and our official website will be up and running before the end of the month.  The temporary spot is www.operationblanket.blog.com or on Twitter as operationblanky.   We have already helped an old age home which was destroyed by a fire.  Around 90 old people lost everything they have owned and 18 died that sad night.  We will keep in touch with them to supply food, etc as we can.  We will also start fund-raising for the very bad floods in Pakistan.  15 million people are affected and we will help with food, etc as much as we can.

With the family it is going great.  Tianari has taken up dancing and within 3 weeks were by total surprise allowed to enter for her dancing exams.  We never thought she would be able to do it and her teacher couldn't believe it too.  She did very well and will now lead her age group in their year end show in the civic center.  Very proud and I have to say that she works extremely hard!  Every day our home is filled with singing and the bouncing around as she practices her new moves.

Weasel is getting so strong and sometimes I have to do a reality check to remind me that he is still only 12!  He rides me out of his slip on the mountain bike and runs a sub 40min 10k as if it is a morning jog.  This weekend will be his first race in a long time and he is so looking forward to it.  Now we just hope for a safe and incident free ride.

I have been going seriously for my 6th week now and have kicked the alcohol habit in order to reset a few healthy lifestyle habits in the process!  After 7 weeks of not drinking I have gone from 87kg to 79,8kg and have not missed one training session.  My sleeping and eating patterns have both returned to normal again and without the booze I find that I recover faster and also that my form improves much faster.  I am healthy, feeling good and have much less ugly fat flab plastering the sides of my body!  I am looking forward to entering an Ironman event again, but it will only be in late 2011 because that is how long I will take to be fit enough to achieve my goal.

Thanks for reading and remember to be strong and live hard!!


TriJackal

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

TIRED LEGS


Good to be writing again. It's just so hectic that I don't get around to putting fingers on the keyboard. But, here I am jotting down a few words. So far I have had a great year experience wise...not only experience in the wisdom sense, but also in the 'it is an awesome ride so far' sense. Never have I had such a great time with my boy and also never have I enjoyed sport as much as I do now. And to see Wessel have this much fun is just the best thing ever.

At the Gauteng triathlon champs he comfortably won his age group. He did have a tough time with the swim and obviously came out of the water almost stone last, but he had a very strong ride on the bike and just had to hold position on the run. He is currently 12 years old and competing in the 12 - 13 age group. Thus he will be competing in the same age group next year, but have a better chance at the title. He is preparing for a tough SA Tri Champs later in March because of the children being a year older than him, but it will be a very good experience and a big challenge. It will be key to first have oodles of fun and secondly to learn as much as possible.

The South African Cycling Champs went really well. I am so proud of him for bringing home two silver medals. He was the only child in his age group to stand on the podium for both the time trial and road race. The time trial was very impressive. Because it was his first time trial against the clock we weren't sure how to approach it. We got it wrong for the first 3km and he went out a bit too slow. He also didn't follow the shortest route and he stuck to the left side of the road riding through every puddle of water and heap of gravel. I was driving the back up vehicle behind him, but he couldn't hear me shout because of the 20m gap and wind combination. I also only noticed cracks in the Zipp 404 tubby rear tyre and decided to let him ride with a normal rim. He learned a lot that day and, all of the above concidered, to still only lose by 17 sec was a very very good result against a guy competing in his 3rd SA Champs.

The road race was on a very flat course and with Wessel not being the fastest sprinter in the world, I knew that this was going to be a tough one. There was a slight hill about 11km from the finish, but with their gear restrictions and light body weight a break was just impossible. Four riders managed to break away and had a sizable gap as they approached the finish, but the winner was just too quick. Wessel miss timed his sprint with a few meters and he just couldn't glue himself to the winners wheel for a pass. I was still very impressed that he was able to drop the the third guy during his effort to latch onto the front guy.

Athletics. The track and field is almost at an end and he will be competing in the Provincial finals this weekend. I am very impressed with his times, but during the last race I noticed that he was looking tired. I am tuning down the training a bit and giving him a rest now. It should be fun and thats how I will keep it. He hasn't got the leg speed to be a factor at SA's on the track so we will rather focus on the Tri- and Duathlon races. We will use the 1200m over the weekend as speed work for SA Tri Champs on the 20th.

Tianari did very very well in the 1200m as well. On the last lap she was pushed by another athlete and she stepped inside the track. She was given a red flag and after the race her medal was taken away and she couldn't proceed to the Provincial finals. Her and my heart was broken and many tears were shed. She is so talented and came this far without training one step! I love you my girl and just keep on being the the ray of sunshine that you are...

With all the triathlons, athletics and cycling races the children are competing in I don't get to training myself! This weekend I am missing the long ride AGAIN! But, I won't choose training above my wife whom I have not seen a lot over the last 4 weeks. I will just wait for this month to pass and then decide from there. In the mean time I am just ticking over the kilometers and see what the future brings. I only have another 6 - 9 years with these little dudes in the house and I want 100% time with them.

All the best out there with your ventures. Good luck to all my buddies out there competing in Ironman events and also in the Cape Epic. May the hours of training pay off and may it all be worth it at the end. Keep up the hard work.

Be strong. Live hard.

TriJackal

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

CHANGE IS SUPER


Having a child is one of the most amazing things that can happen to any two people. But, the impact it has on lifestyle, habits, routine, responsibility and finances is huge. Does this suddenly make having children a bad thing? No never! Yet it does require planning and a decent affordability study! What makes life such a brilliant venture to be a part of, is our constant hunger for improvement. What makes us different from our feathered and four legged friends is that we need improvement, constantly! We cannot just be satisfied and sit. Well, maybe some of us can, but I can't.

Recently I have sat down and made a list of the 5 most important spheres in my life where I can possibly improve. Relationships, work, health, assets and the world. Taking each of these, I sat and really honestly (not to be revealed on this blog!) analysed myself in each of these. How can I improve my weak points and through this make each of these five points life changing. I am working at it now and I really hope that in the next few months that I will reap the fruit from these wonderfully green growing trees.

Just a thought, take it, leave it.

Two weeks ago I also analysed my running style and thought that it too can improve drastically! Please don't laugh at me, but I am so convinced that I am onto something that I will continue with it for another month or so! My knees feel great. My foot injury just disappeared. And my times are tumbling! I did not read anything, I did not get a tip from anyone, I just looked at it logically and made a few changes. My calves are taking a hammering and are a bit stiff - thats it.

As soon as I think that I have mastered it I will inform you where to go and buy my book! Hehe, just a joke. I will share soon.

Have a brilliant life filled with the wonderfulness of change and improvement. Life's gggggod!

Be strong.

TriJackal

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

TRAINING UPDATE JAN 2010

Just a quick training update. It’s been ages since I’ve last had so much fun training. My life is a joy again! I am getting adequate sleep, I’m eating GOOD food, I’ve been spending a lot of time with my family and I’m just LOOOOVING my training. It is all about balance and as soon as I start to neglect any one of the above aspects, then all the others slowly start to feel like an effort too. I am literally having the time of my life.

The cycling is going well and I am focussing on a bit of strength work doing a few hill sessions per month. I also try to do intervals weekly, but not taking my heart to high. Weekends I don’t miss the 4hour plus rides and I will keep it between 4 -5hours until June/July this year. This is enough time in the saddle for this time in my training and I will have a great base come winter.

With the swimming I am not even looking at a clock in the pool. I am going very slow on purpose focussing on my stroke. I will plod along at 40 – 60 laps a session until August/September after which I will start to focus a bit more on speed/intervals/etc. I love swimming in the lane on the side where the streams are the strongest. This gives me great a feel for the water, first fighting the stream (concentrating on an effective catch) and then coming back with long fluent strokes (almost like motor pacing on a bike). When I end off with a few laps in the middle lane I just can’t believe how great it feels.

My running speed is picking up weekly and I am very surprised by this. I am religiously keeping my heart at 70% on all my runs and my speed has dropped by 40seconds per km over the last 3,5 weeks! I am only doing hill/power runs and long/slow runs at the moment and I am easily clocking 4:40-4:45min per km. I would have been happy with 5min runs when I start with a bit of speed/Time trial work at around May this year. It looks as if I am going to be around 4:30min slow runs by that time and that would be just perfect! I am enjoying my running for the first time in a very very long time.

I missed training with the Weasel today and it wasn’t nice going out alone. I hope he recovers quickly so that we can burn some rubber together again!

Till next time, be strong!

TriJackal

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

THE SEASON OF THE CHILDREN

What a great kick off to the start of the athletics season! My daughter, Tianari, is a real treat to have around. She is always friendly and laughing - never ever is she down or quiet. She dreams of becoming an actress and to earn her way in Hollywood. It's not often that children from South Africa seriously want to pursue such a dream, but she is 100% convinced that this is the road for her to travel upon. My children dream big, very big and this is so inspirational to me. So often people finish school and then still wonder what the heck to do, but these little energy balls occupying my house is really set! Not to be convinced otherwise by anybody. If she would train with her brother she can become really good, but she wants nothing, nada, zipp from this idea...Holywood and thats it!

This is so great to me that she does not want to live my dreams. She is unique and thats the way it will stay. Never the less, she has to compete in the school sports and so she did yesterday. Winning the 70m hurdles and also coming first in the 1200m in a record breaking time of 4:55. Not bad for someone who NEVER EVER trains and just walks around singing all day long! I love her to bits and I wish her all the best for 2010!!

As for my son, he too has made his mind up. South Africa is very big on rugby and cricket and the pressure on children to compete in these disciplines is very high. Yet he doesn't care and wants to chase his dream of becoming the best in the world. Like a young Burry Stander his mind is made up and he trains accordingly.

The week and weekend before the athletics we trained very hard and we cycled over 4 hours on Saturday and on Sunday ran a brisk 15km hilly route. He was subsequently stung on his ITB by a wasp and on Sunday night the swelling was still bad. To add to all the drama the track was wet and slow with all the rain we have had (going for 300mm just in January!). My personal goal for him was around 4:05 since it was the first race in 2010 and also he has only recently started with speed work. In true Weasel style he kept to all the time checks, asked me his lap times on every lap and nailed a 3:58 in a new 1200m record time. I am really proud of him. We have got permission from the school that he doesn't have to compete in the friendly competitions as his schedule is really full.

Feb 6 - Athletics
Feb 7 - Provincial triathlon
Feb 11 - Inter Schools Athletics
Feb 18 - Inner Ring Athletics
Feb 20 - South African Cycling Championships
Feb 26 - Northern Region Athletics
March 6 - Provincial Athletics
March 18 - South African Athletics Championships for Primary Schools
March 21 - South African Triathlon Championships

So this is what the young man has to do during the next seven weeks start February. During this time he is still writing exams and I will try to make life as easy as possible for him.

These little bodies running around my house is an inspiration and I just cannot imagine a life without them.

Be strong, live hard.
TriJackal

Monday, January 18, 2010

FOUNDATION TIME




For the first time in a while I am starting to feel stronger again. The concrete in the foundation is starting to set. Far from fit…oh so very far, but things are beginning to look up again. When starting from almost scratch again, like I have, then the first 6 weeks are hell. Your body starts complaining during the shortest of workouts and then the next day you are scampering and shouting around looking for the physio’s telephone number! And that’s not where it ends! Pulling my hippo resembling physique up the hills and then trying to stop it again down the other side is by no means an easy task! Thank goodness for bed time. The time where you can click off the power switch and just…yes, just sleeee…oh NO! What was that? The little voice in you head wakes up at bed time constantly yelling at you: ‘you’ll never get back in the shape you were’, ‘you have waisted your life’, blah blah blah!

The great thing is that six weeks are only six weeks! And they pass rapidly. Suddenly you start to notice a normal stomach figure appearing from under your shirt. That idiot voice packs up and goes where ever the hell it wants to. Energy and power returns to training rides and running sessions. Hills aren’t so steep any more. And then one day, the best of it all returns: you suddenly remember why you have loved this sport so much in the first place!

What makes triathlons so different is the total exhaustion that one experience during preparation and execution. From when the program starts to where the tapering ends. A kaleidoscope of feelings. The one day feeling that no one can touch you now and then just the next day to stand staring at a solid brick wall. Not knowing what the heck is going on. Dead legs, dead head and dead will. Almost like depression getting in behind the wheel and turning one around as soon as the thought of training enters the mind. But those who pull through are the ones who will certainly taste the fruits of success. The podium is reserved for these steel minded people.

Lucky for us there are family and friends to motivate and pull us through these rivers which are trying to pull us sideways. My goal is far. April 2011. But I am as focussed as never before. I will not let go of what is right. I live with an 11 year old boy who is so motivated and in love with his sport. This sheer joy that I see in him is what is driving me to get off my own but and to pull him through his tough times. He impresses me daily and I have no bigger wish than for him to have the right people noticing him at the right times. For him to one day stand on the podium he is working so hard for. He, you and I – at times we pull one another and at times we get pulled. It is great having great friends.

My diet is going just dandy! Man I am chuffed about it and I have lost over 5kg! My total kilojoules intake for last week was 50,920 with an average of 7,274 per day. Only healthy foods and I have not cheated once this year! As my weight drops I will slowly up this until it reaches around 10,000 per day. Obviously when I get down to the low 70’s I will eat exactly what I burn every day.

Until we chat again, keep the rubber side down and BE STRONG AND LIVE HARD!

TriJackal

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

IS YOUR HABIT GOOD?


According to the brain of TriJackal, our habits are the determining ‘make or break’ of athletic success. I am more convinced of this than of any other multimillion dollar ‘success is guaranteed’ plan to be found ANYWHERE.

Why would I start this writing with such a bold statement? Easy! Because it is the truth. We get fit and we get unfit. We get thin and we get fat again. We live healthy lifestyles only to go unhealthy again. We don’t drink and then one day we go and get dumb drunk! Being human, I have been a part of this lifestyle and therefore I am at a point in my life where I have to use my homo sapien DNA advantage and start changing things!

In my personal opinion the biggest weak point we have as humans are eating. We always know the correct answer, but rarely make the right choices! Stop going on and an over drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, etc. Look around us and see how unhealthy people have eaten themselves. Overweight children are bound to turn to beer just to have that moment of ‘fitting in’ and feeling good. It was the overeating that makes them look really unattractive between friends and therefore the binging starts. My point? If those parents have had GOOD habits cemented into their lifestyles at home then our communities could have been so different!

We should not speak of diet. We should just be eating healthy naturally. We should not be mentioning that we will start training again, but it should just be part of our daily, healthy routine. We must not live for the day that we can shove a pizza down our throats. We always feel bad afterwards and then we walk around with this feeling of guilt. This ‘I am craving for a bag of fried chips’ is the signal for the rebirth of a bad habit.

If you need eg. 9000kj daily to maintain a healthy body weight, why would you swop 3000 of those healthy kilojoules for deep fried crap? Why swop a healthy orange and plum for a 1000kj chocolate bar filled with unhealthy preservatives? I think it is down to bad habits. Previously I had no clue as to how many calories I could eat per day to maintain or lose body weight. I usually just checked the fat content and if it was low I would indulge. And indulging is bad! When you stop training the bad habits continue! All this indulging would constantly keep me 3 or 4 kg’s above my ideal racing weight. But, when I read on Johan Stemmet’s (www.tristemmet.blogspot.com) blog that he is now doing calorie counting on the foods he eat, I decided for once to try it too. Man did this change my life! It is easy and almost all foods are labelled with kj, etc. info.

I am feeling good. I am putting healthy kj’s down my throat and not bad ones. I can eat 7500kj a day and be healthy OR I can shove 7500kj down my throat and be hospitalised within a month! Weird hey! Do not eat the burger just because you have calculated that you can fit it into your daily kj intake. You are harming your body. Especially us Ironman/endurance athletes. Our bodies are under stress and we are treating them like abusive owners. No to bad fats. No to bad sugars. No to bad habits. That is what we deserve.

I will appreciate your feedback on this as this was quite a revelation to me over the past two or so weeks.

In the mean time be strong and live hard!!

TriJackal