Thursday, April 07, 2011

Where I am, warts and all - Kick me up the A$$

OK, let's get this straight, after reading this I want, no messages of support, disbelief or generally well meaning comments. Only kicks up the A$$ will be accepted.

Large doses of reality, firm kicks up the backside and anything along the lines of reminding me that I'd promised myself that I'd turn up at Ironman China with no regrets, down to race weight (not just near to it) and fully fit knowing that nothing would stop me qualifying for the Ironman World Championships, are all gratefully welcomed.

Yes, I came out of a huge slump from the end of last year, I've got my MOJO back but to be frank, it's not fully back and I've got motivational problems.

Yes I qualified for the Xterra Worlds, yes I've qualified for the 70.3 Half Ironman Worlds but I've qualified for those before and to be honest it's easy to qualify for these compared to Ironman.

No disrespect meant to anyone else but I've raced Xterra twice and qualified twice and I've raced 70.3 twice and qualified twice. I've raced Ironman 17 times, came close only once and have never qualified. I cannot adequately express the magnitude of difficulty it is in qualifying for Ironman (for me at least).

However, I have been close enough to know what it takes. I know the depth of misery that I must go to in training, week in, week out, for months on end. The level of fitness and endurance necessary to compete rather than complete, is unprecedented.

I know that the swim cannot be written off as unimportant, especially when missing qualification by a handful of minutes in 2010. I know that the race always comes down to the run and usually the second half of the run.

I know that if I have a chance then I will have to be at the absolute top of my game, nothing left behind, weight, fitness and mind will all have to be the best they have ever been to succeed. Anything less and I will not qualify, I have bluffed good results in many races but you don't bluff your way onto an Ironman podium.

So what's the problem? Mmm! Where to begin? First of all, just to let you know, this post isn't to inform, entertain or educate but it is a last desperate attempt to get myself ready for Ironman China. Only I can put things right and time is almost up.

Is anything on track? Oh yeah baby, the bike - duh! Not a difficult one, I love the training and I love the pain on the bike, I don't feel it's a damaging pain like the run or an unpleasant uncoordinated feeling like the swim, it's kind of pleasant, fulfilling and soothing in a way.

On the bike I understand what I have to do, how hard to push, how to pace and what to expect. I'm not at optimum Ironman biking endurance yet but another half a dozen 180+k rides will have that bagged.

So what are the problem areas?

Swim, Run, Weight, Mind.

The truth is that the MIND is the big problem, I'm still suffering from last year's burnout and although things were back on track I've hit some bumps in the road, I shan't list them, I knew they'd turn up and I promised myself I'd work them out. Fortunately I'm not sick so that's a bump dodged so far.

But there is precious little time left. I feel that this post will be do or die. Today will be a shed water, it will be the day I realised I blew it for China or the day I gave myself a fighting chance. Naturally I'm betting on the latter, hey, that's why I'm writing it.

So to document the stuff that can be affected assuming I can fix my mind. Weight, I'm over 73kg again and NEED to be 67kg. Please don't argue, I need to be 67kg to be competitive, not only for the extra speed that better "power/weight" ratios bring but more importantly to help to keep my core temperature down.

I sweat at a rate of 3 ltr/hr at full bore and as far as I understand the body can only ingest 1.5 ltr/hr of fluid. You don't need to be a mathematician to work that out over 10 hours. Lower body fat will put less stress on my system and more specifically lessen the insulation.

This is probably by far the biggest issue I have. Losing 6kg more while in this last phase of training is going to be a difficult ask especially while avoiding injury and sickness.

My second biggest issue is my run. I just haven't done enough, I can knock out a fast 10k or a reasonable 21k but to run a consistent Ironman marathon comes only with hundreds of kilometres of training and lots of long runs. I have an Achilles injury on my left foot and a long standing ankle tendon injury on my right foot. Running scares me at the moment because of my lack of training and consequently I find excuses not to do it. THIS MUST CHANGE.

Last year at IMMY, for the first time ever in an Ironman I was actually LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING ONTO THE RUN. I knew I was ready and I knew my run was going to be awesome. Dehydration slowed me down in the end but I still ran under 4 hours which was a huge breakthrough for me. I need to get that confidence back. Time is not on my side.

Lastly is the swim. In fact this is the one thing that I have done the least of in recent weeks. I started off the year doing almost 80k in just four weeks but since then I've lost the motivation. I just can't get in the pool in the mornings. THIS MUST CHANGE.

I've always said to people who fall off the wagon, (whatever wagon it might be, booze, fitness, smoking etc), never mind, don't mope, don't beat yourself up too much (a little self beating-up is good) but most importantly "Don't get back on the wagon at the beginning off the month or even on Monday morning. GET BACK ON THE WAGON NOW! Consequently, less damage is done, there is more likelihood for you to get back too it and you're far more likely to stick to it long term"

So don't feel sorry for me but equally don't think I'm worrying about nothing (PFG's [Previous Fat Guys] like me were fat for a reason, lack of discipline, self esteem/lack of belief, focus, consistency or they just loved being lazy). Do feel free to kick me up the A$$, in fact please kick me up the A$$, I need it.


JohnP said...

Yup, you are an idiot. I mean seriously, think about it - after all the hard work, sacrifice and time spent on training, you risk blowing your Kona ticket becuase you eat like a PFG. Get your sh!t together and drop that weight!

You are absolutely right about the weight. Most people do not understand that in order to be competitive at Ironman, it means sacrificing muscle and leaning out to unhealthy looking proportions. Every pound counts. Every calorie you take in, you better have an excuse for it. Think twice. Clean out the kitchen of snacks and crap. Every minute of every workout is the most important 60 seconds of your Ironman career. Burn that frickin' calorie!

You need to show up to the start line knowing you trained to the absolute frickin' best of your ability. That you put an honest effort into following the training plan, no Bullsh!t, no justifying lousy excuses. Get it done. NOW. Not tomorrow, but right now. Now. NOW!

Execute the plan - Then Feel the qualifying pressure lift off your shoulders, for you know in your heart you have done your best to prepare. Then, you can Enjoy the ride.

You can rest when you're dead.

Get it done.

Bryan Payne said...

S, I feel your pain, I'm in a similar funk right now, although I don't have the pressure of KONA on my mind, I just want to finish with less pain.

I remember Mark Allen giving a speech and saying that in 1988 Scott Molina won Kona on only 6 weeks of training. He went to Palm Springs, out of shape and in 6 weeks, got in shape and won the Ironman.

Also, the first guy to go the fastest ever on a new style bike at a veladrome did it on 6 weeks of training.

Last year when I trained for China, I did 13 weeks without missing a workout. I Actually think I was in better, faster shape at the 6th week when I went for my mini training camp in palm springs. I had my best race at IMLP and I took time off at St. George and didn't start hard again, and even then it wasn't full speed until 6 weeks.

I believe that for us that are in good shape, lots of experience, it's a mental game. In the beginning we needed the long training time, now I think we don't, it may be detrimential, it's a long mental grind and I don't think it delivers the same level of results it used to.

Swimming??? I saw your mileage, insane. To much too soon. I think that within 3 weeks you can get every benefit you'll get from swimming.

Being a fat shit without drinking beer, I can't help you with that, except your a little snacking piggy aren't you. Hypnosis worked for me. Also, don't put the pressure on yourself for Kona, it will happen and if it doesn't it doesn't. It's a journey not a destination.

I think this is just an opportunity to learn about adjustments and kicking you're self in the ass will have the effect of motivating you to see the light. I don't think you need to do what you did in the past, rest is key and I think 6 - 8 weeks is all you need to show up fit and mentally ready to role.

My two cents.


Matty O said...

Well here is what you have. You kicked ass and qualified for two races already. It is going to be even harder to qualify for this one since you already won the other two races.

Mentally you are probably thinking your training worked for the other races, I'll ride the victory wave through.

Personally, there is no thinking in my training, its GET UP, GO DO IT, and TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Thats all I have.

Don't think about going to the pool, thinking is when you justify not going or you find excuses. Just do it. Just go to the pool and bust out the workout.

The running front, You got me on that. I am in the same boat, I am scared of the run. I am a natural runner. I wouldn't push too hard on the intensity of your workouts, that is where you will probably injure yourself more. I would honestly go out, take the pace and intensity DOWN and just rack up hours on the road man.

Stop thinking, just go out and do it.

Good luck clearing your head out. If I lived in the jungle I would go to your house and physically kick your ass... unfortunately I live in civilization.

Simon said...

J, B, M, awesome feedback, just what I needed. It's amazing how clear and obvious things are when you hear them from someone else.

John, I'll get it done

Bryan, awesome confidence boost buddy thanks, 6-8 weeks is all I need and 6-8 weeks is what I've got.

MattyO, Just Get Up, Go do it - simple words (you should work for Nike) but the depth of that is just so profound. If I've ever stopped for a coffee before a swim I've NEVER done the swim. It's so true, don't give yourself a chance to think about it, just get on with it.

As for you coming over to my house to beat me up! It wouldn't surprise me, your American, "friendly fire" is what you guys do best - hahaha

Bryan Payne said...

S, oh, one other thing, I'm not sure how it is in MY, but qualifying for the worlds in Vegas in not an easy ticket. Stand proud.


Simon said...

B, The 70.3 was in Singapore and people flew in from all over the world, I guess it's a holiday destination too. Enormous Japanese contingent flew in also. So no it wasn't easy, I am very proud of it but I still maintain that qualifying for Ironman is massively much harder than 70.3.

The best analogy I can make is the difference between a half marathon and a marathon. A marathon may be twice as long but it is far more than twice as tough.

I think the biggest challenge about Vegas will be keeping you awake after midnight if you come over.

Chris W said...

No matter how much ya train, how many new bikes ya get, how much weight ya loose, or even learn to'll never beat me!

(Could be just the motivation you beat Chris in an IM)

Simon said...

Hey Chris, great motivational and fighting talk but didn't I already whip your ass with my 10hr15 last year in Langkawi?

Or do I need to do more?