Friday, May 29, 2009

Hey, live your life!

Ever wondered why we are exited about Friday's? Why are weekends better than any other days? Why is a birthday more special than the day before or the day after? You are older, yes, but only by one day from yesterday. Yet it stays special. Why is it that?

I can understand a holiday because of the change of surroundings. Going to the sea, seeing a lion in the Kruger National Park, diving with a great white shark...always exciting!

The sad part is that we are so focused on the the 30 minute lunch break or the 15 minute tea time that we wish our lives away. Looking forward to something exiting makes all else mediocre in comparison. The 6 weeks leading up to the holiday at the beach are the worst of the year! We convince ourselves that we are over worked, sick of the daily routine, irritated with our colleagues and that we can't continue without the break!

Life is living 24/7. Full stop. If you are not enjoying it then change it! That is what sets us apart from the animals! You are a HUMAN. We shouldn't be content with unhappy. We shouldn't be living in a cage. You shouldn't. If your circumstances are the cage then don't be boxed in and limited by the 'measurements' you have allowed others and yourself to construct around you! Get the hell out!

Ja, but it's not that easy! Isn't it? Take a calculator and add up all the lunch breaks, tea times, Saturday's and Sunday's, holiday's and every day you look forward to. That is how much you live per year...around 40% of it? Well done, nice! 60% of the time you are wishing your life away. It should rather be 98% living, joy, fun, health - that is GGGGGGGood! Make a change. Make your work fun. Get up 30 minutes earlier than normal and walk around the block. Freeze a bit. Turn you knuckles red from the cold. See the frost and smell the winter! Go have a coctail with a loved one at 11pm ON A WORK NIGHT! Just the two of you. If all the others are dull, stuff 'em! It's your life, live it.

Some people are paralysed. They have no choice and that is real tragedy. Me living my life as if I am paralysed is just plain sad. I am inserting a clip that really touched me and it made me see what a William Wallace saw. Freedom. Freedom from unhealthy routine, freedom from limited thinking, freedom from fear of change, freedom from a life that others chose for me and freedom for a better future.

A man loves his paralysed son. This father loves his son so much that he doesn't care about experiencing winning for himself, but rather to have his 'limited' son experience a bit more about dad's love for him. He swims 3.8km in the sea pulling his son in a boat. He rides 180km with his son with him on the bicycle. He ends by running 42.2km pushing his son to the finnish line. A whole Ironman event. For the sake of love. For the sake of life.

Life is short, very short. Get out and pull, ride and push yourself to the finnish. Don't regret not living it to the fullest. Like they say at Nike: Just do it!

Be strong and live hard.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009


How dee all ya mates of mine! I am embracing this warmer weather with all that is in me. It is so very very great and I do hope that it stays like this until spring time! The last few weeks were a bit chilli, but nothing too serious, just enough to dampen the motivation.

My good friend, Johan Stemmet ( is going to Kona and that just lifts my motivation to give everything in me to get into the top three athletes in my age group at Ironman South Africa 2010. Hearing him plan and starting his training program is so the 'real deal' that it lifts one up. With it being so extremely expensive, I have told myself that if I don't get a top three I will not be going to Kona, even if I do qualify with a lower spot. It will lift me to not miss training sessions and to really commit to my schedule.

Last week went really well. I only missed one cycling session, but because it was my rest week it didn't bother me too much. My motivation is OK and I am still very positive.

The running is going well and I am so so comfortable. The hill sessions are tough. I am doing a 10k run with 4 x 600m hill repeats included. I try to do the first three as close to three minutes each and then go hard at the last one...still my 11 year old son whipped my ass by three seconds. He just pulls away from me little by little. I hate that feeling, but Wessel, being mine, makes me proud! I did my 5km time trial went well averaging 3:50 per km not pushing my heart too high.
I am happy with this considering I am still very early in my program and still very unfit.

The cycling time trail was done the day after the run tt and I felt it in my legs. I did post my best time for the last three weeks for a 29:35 over the 20km's. The long ride was very easy, maybe a bit too slow, but at least we went out in the cold. When I returned home after the ride my feet were still frozen.

The pool's temperature is a bit warmer making the early morning swims easier to do. Hanging around 20C it is far from perfect! This week the sessions are 1,5km and I am still focusing a lot on my stroke. I need to gain 4sec per 25m lap on average to get down to a 1 hour 3.8km swim...ouch.

The gym is hurting me like a dog! An extra set is being added this week making me very sore! BUT! Sore=strong=GGGGGoooood!

Of for my cycle now! Have a great day.

Be strong and live hard!


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Fence walking...

As I drive to and from Secunda many times a week, it cuts the leash of the busy schedule which occupies our every thought and lets the mind wonder in directions it hardly ever dares to go. It's nice to think about things you can't change. It feels weird being a man to speak about friendship, life and love on a public blog...why? Hell, girls do that! We drink beer, drive fast and watch rugby...and if no one looks, we even give a glance at the cheer leaders doing their jumps and stuff.

We live in a world filled with so much feeling that I think if I could put just a small part of it into my body I would die an instant death. Life is like walking on a fence. We are born fence walkers. Some of us stay on this fence from the day we were born right until the day a family member takes a shovel and starts filling your place inside the earth with tears running down his face. Never ever tasting the extreme in any way whatsoever, living a very ordinary and very plain life. Is there anything wrong with this? Hell, no! Billions of others would give up their whole fortune for an ordinary life. We work, we go home. Kids are born, go to school, study, leave the house. We still work, we retire, we grow old, happy and healthy. Nice.

But, the fence isn't always this friendly. Somewhere someone wins his 7th Tour de France and somewhere a person has been sitting in a wheelchair since childhood, not even knowing the feeling of shoes on his feet. Somewhere some healthy bloke drinks and smokes for the 70th year straight, not even outing a cough at night, yet somewhere is a 12 year old girl living her last days on a lung machine staring at a little bird just bathing in the sun on the windowsill. Somewhere an average grade 12 scholar inherits millions from a person he never knew and somewhere a honest man looses everything he has worked for for 30 years just because of the current economy doing what it is doing. Somewhere a mother cries from happiness holding a baby daughter for the first time, but somewhere a mother beats her baby to death against the bedroom wall. Somewhere a man drives around a corner on his way home and later that night he greats his family and they have supper together, while somewhere a man drives around a corner only to be hit head on by a drunk man thinking he is funny, killing him instantly. He did not have supper with his family.

I know how my walk on the fence has been so far and so too do you. Reading over what I have just written it is very clear that life is full of unexpected 'it won't happen to me's'. Whether good or bad, accident or lotto win. Is it fair? Again, hell, no! Did the young man deserve to inherit the fortune? No. Did the father deserve to die in the car accident? No!

Work your hardest. Train your hardest. Be honest. Be true. Love. Respect. If we can network together in life with all of the above weaved into our being, how wonderful wouldn't life be? After all, having done and lived all of the above, then it does not matter on what side of the fence we land. On one side of it it is spectacularly unfair. On the other it is like receiving a bit of heaven.

No one can even start to give a true answer, but only speculate. Every person's or religion's answer will differ and even possibly offend the other. All I can say is that I too don't understand this part of life. But what I do know is this: Being true and honest will make the side that the fence chooses to throw us much, much easier to handle should it cross our paths. All the best to everybody walking the walk. May hard work pay off!

See, a man can talk about 'weird' stuff too!

Be strong and live hard!


Monday, May 18, 2009

Tough going made better by you

Reading the Twitter updates from pro athletes at the 2009 Giro and also from friends busting their guts out while others are still lying in bed digesting the Big Mac super sized meal gobbled down with a case of locally made lager. Reading blogs posted by other athletes and friends sharing their chosen 'road to travel' in the finest of detail. Not training alone every single day, but having someone right there beside you sacrificing their time so that your road can be made less strenuous. This is how life should be, this is what relationship is. What a great week it was! I know we must pursue our dreams because that is what makes the best moments in life the BEST!

Seeing my son at 11 years of age committing to giving his all because average just isn't good enough any more, has me in awe! Getting up at 4:30 three times a week to swim in cold water because that is what it takes to be the best. Running five days a week because that is what it takes to be the best. Cycling three times a week because that is what it takes to be the best. Bust your guts. Eat right. Sleep well. Sacrifice a lot...all in the name of a dream. Maybe somewhere someone would see the effort and commit? Maybe have lady luck smile upon him one day just like she did on a little Lewis Hamilton a few years back? Who knows? Those days don't come for free and it takes hours and years of commitment and sacrifice to change fate or to force a dream into reality...keep going my son. I look up to that and he motivates me...being so small, yet every gram of his 29kg stature grinds it out daily. Don't live on favours, but deserve what you get from your hard work.

Back to me. Last week went great. My weight is dropping fast now. I have lost almost 20cm and 6kg since the 6th of April. I have two 'eat what I want' days, on one I may not eat a lot and on the other I can go wild! The gym work is starting to pay off. I am slowly gaining strength and I can feel my core improving weekly.

Swimming = cold! But, I don't care any more....just shut up, dive in and swim. My distances are still very short and I really try to focus on a swimming video posted by Raoul de Jongh on his website The footage is very clear and it opened my eyes to the many weaknesses of my own stroke. Since we don't have coaches here in Witbank I have to use all aids available to me. I am really focusing on the catch and high elbow stroke. There is a lot of water resistance doing it like this and I tire quickly because of a lot less 'slip'.

I had a little niggle in my right heel and I skipped two days of running and one days cycling. The rest helped and it feels 100%. I think it may be the new running shoes, but I will experiment this week just to be sure. I felt great with both the hills session and the long run. Very very positive!!

The cycling was good and I didn't jippo on the long ride!! Ha!! The time trial was nice, my legs were a bit dead and I did the first 5km with my front break dragging! My time for the 20k's was 29'46 and a full 5 seconds slower than last week.

Thanks to Warren for sticking it out with me on Tuesdays taking the loneliness out of the session. Good luck to Johan Stemmet with his Kona prep. I know his motivation is running low, but stick it out my friend! In 6 months it's all over and then that medal is yours!!

And lastly, Wessel, keep it going young lad...your future is a big one!

Be inspired and thanks for reading.


Monday, May 11, 2009


As the little Excel blocks on my training program gets ticked off, week by week, day by day, exercise by exercise....they seem like very little stepping stones on a 'oh so long' journey. I think motivation and the need to stay positive becomes my biggest enemy. I constantly find myself digging for any positive and related articles and blogs from other great athletes and those I look up to.
The winter isn’t helping my cause at all and Saturday was a great example of this. We got up early morning to go for our long ride on a very cold and overcast morning. About 18km's from home we were heading right into a thunder storm which made every one turn too. I thought that I would ride home and from there I would then ride out in the other direction from where the storm was coming, but as we got home the storm was just behind us and 50m from home it started pouring with rain. My next thought was to wait 1 hour and then go out again....but, as I closed the door behind me I also closed my motivation outside. Needles to say, I only did 36km on Sat. Not good enough to reach my targets. Miss any days training, but NEVER the long ride or run!
I have learned from this and will never again be so lazy. Exactly what I am teaching my son, I went and did the opposite. Not a good example and you know what hurt most? He, 11 years old, went for his long ride and off the bike run later that same day! A good example for dad!

I will stay positive and reading tweets from other triathletes like @tristemmet and @raouldejongh really keeps one going and staying motivated.

The training last week went really well. I am doing power work in the gym three times a week and I can feel my legs getting stronger. Keeping a very sober mind on where my current fitness level is, like I always do, I honestly feel that I am well ahead of where I wanted to be.

The cycling went well with a 20km time trial time of 19"41. Obviously this isn’t done with aero wheels, helmet or clothing, but with my normal training 'kit'. With me focussing on the running and only keeping the cycling miles ticking over, I was very happy with this - knowing by how much I still can improve. During the power session on Thursday I took it easy just to look after my knees. I focussed on a smooth peddle stroke and breathing deep into my stomach. All and all, apart from Saturday’s lazy spell, a good week's cycling.

With the running I am very 'over the moon'! TT's are there to measure fitness, performance levels and improvement. In the time trial on Wednesday I was running 3"40km's and keeping my heart rate at 80%. How is this possible? Is this because of my good base? Is this because of my new running shoes? (Oh, I did not do the tt on my new shoes!) On my long runs I want to keep my speed at about 5 min/ km, but at this stage I get down to about 4"45 just to keep my heart from not dropping too far below 70%. But, my motto is to start slow; first get strong; then push times. With this in mind I WILL have the discipline to not go too fast too early, but wait a few months longer.

Swimming pool = stuff up. 16C water. Need I say more? You just cannot swim in water like that at 5 in the morning. I can just sit and wait for better times. The sad part is that I just have to swim in that water to get fit. One morning Wessel was sitting next to the pool (his 31kg body would freeze in that water) and Johan Stemmet chirped that it would be child abuse to let him swim! Sounded very funny at that stage, being in the water myself. We all hope the water gets warmer soon.

This will be a great week.

Keep fit!

Monday, May 4, 2009


Happy times....base training is a thing of the past and from this week on it is full blast ahead. I Will be in a building phase until the end of October later this year. Because the building phase is so long and strenuous, I will build two weeks and rest one. From November to Feb 2010 will be very tough and long with March being my taper month.

Starting wit time trials and power work this week, I am very happy with where I am. I am running very easy and I actually have to purposely slow myself down on the LSD runs (long slow distance)! I have changed my running shoe brand from Asics to Zoot. It is a very light shoe at a much better price. The only thing I have to get used to is the fact that it is a 'bare foot' shoe - no socks! therefore I am currently only doing short runs in the shoe of up to a max of about 9k's. It really feels weird running sock less, but I will get into the feel of it soon.
I luckily don't have to run alone anymore since my 11 year old son is training with me! It sounds funny, but he is actually much faster than I am.....I am actually holding him back! He does the mid week training with me but my weekend long runs he only does between 50-70% of my distances. Boy, what a future he has!

Regarding the cycling, I am only ticking the km's over. This week I start with a 20k TT once a week, and a few power sessions once a week. Nothing serious, just to get the time trial muscles back in action.

The swimming is a pain in the butt. The pool at my gym hast dipped bellow 20C with the same old lame excuses thrown back at us. It is very cold, especially swimming at 5 in the morning. But, I will persevere and push through....happy times are always not too far ahead!! The distances are short, max 1,5k's per session. I am really focusing on swimming faster and getting my body to cope with the higher speed. I thing I have gotten into a rhythm of slow swimming and I will up the pace just a little while the distances are still short.

The gym work steadily picks up and I no longer feel as tired as two weeks ago. From this week Wessel will swim and gym with me, making it less lonely.

Have a beautiful week and keep Tweeting!!


The Jackal