Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Ironman China - the story continued...

I haven't blogged for a while but I do intend to start posting stuff more regularly, even if they're just funnies. Also I've added a couple of self-indulgent pictures to try to help motivate myself. The bike is from IMMY last year and the run from the Malakoff Duathlon series in 2006. No reason other than I like both of them.

Anyways, I haven't been terribly motivated to blog, train consistently or do anything else really. I'm still in a bit of a funk. To try to get myself out of it I had a look at the competitor list for Ironman China. I thought I'd better check to see if the two Japanese guys that beat me in 70.3 Singapore were going.

The good news is they're not registered but then I made a terrible mistake, I checked out everyone else. I did the same thing for Ironman Langkawi last year and then a bunch of Frenchies turned up at the last minute and whooped me.

A couple of hours later I'd established that eleven competitors registered for China in the 45-49 category had qualified for Kona last year!!!! ELEVEN! That's flippin insane. I'm telling you those over-achieving 1962-1966 baby boomers are a pain in the a$$.

So rather than spurring me on and enthusing me, it really gave me a kick in the teeth. Don't get me wrong I haven't given up but with my start/stop training and my start/stop mojo (or lack thereof) I just didn't need to see that.

HOWEVER, the fact is I usually pull great races out of the bag more times than not. My training may be far from perfect but certainly in Olympic Distance and 70.3's I almost always overachieve. Add that to the fact that an Ironman is an Ironman and much can go wrong for many people plus my secret weapon DENIAL then I shall be toeing the start line with my overinflated ego and confidence in tact. I'll always bet on myself, regardless of the odds.

But then I believe it was me that said "YOU CAN'T BLUFF AN IRONMAN LIKE YOU CAN AN OLYMPIC DISTANCE RACE". Time has pretty much run out now, I have 4 weeks left, 2 of hardcore training and 2 of quality tapering. The 2 weeks of the hardcore stuff is where I can mix the potions for the magic to happen but the stressful 2 weeks of tapering are the most dangerous where self-sabotage driven by stress can scuttle even the best laid plans.

I guess you have to know the murky depths of the inner me to truly understand what I'm on about here but I suspect that any PFG Ironmen (previous fat guys) will get a hint of what I'm wittering on about.

So there you go, an update, no longer a cry for help, no need for positive comments or kicks up the butt. What is there, is there and I'll make the magic happen and keep the self-sabotage at bay OR I won't. Either way it's down to me and there ain't no place or time to hide anymore.

So to the facts: -

My swimming is a little better, somewhere closer to my best than to my worst!!! I'm not sure what that really means but I think it means that in a nice buoyant wetsuit I shouldn't lose that much time.

My bike is unbelievable, I'm knocking out 180+k rides in 30-40C heat at a faster pace than I have ever done before without even trying. Averaging 35-36kph and heart rate down to under 110. It must be the bike.

My run is really not looking pretty though, I'm overweight and no sign of being able to drop anymore (stress = eating too much for me, "Then, don't eat you idiot" I hear you say but believe me it's difficult to control. At least being off pizzas, ice-cream and alcohol is helping to keep it stable. BUT...to run a descent marathon after the swim and the bike you have to be down to weight...AND I'M NOT!...Mmmmm!

To qualify for Kona I'm expecting to have to hit a time of sub 10hrs. That's what I shall aim for and if I can conjure up the magic over the next four weeks then there's an outside shot.

After China, there's IMLP. That was always my fall back position but I know well that the first Ironman of the year is almost always the strongest. BUT...? If it doesn't happen in China then...? Well, that's another soul searching blog or two... and it would take a monumental change of attitude. So let's do China first.

One thing's for sure, the next 12 weeks are going to be interesting, I'm going to be going to shadowy places deep inside myself that are scary, dark and miserable but somehow that's starting to excite me, getting reacquainted with one's own frailties, weaknesses and inner limits exposes your soul. The beauty of it is that no one else will see the full extent of it but myself, the journey will make me stronger, it will make me faster and if the usual pattern is followed it will make me appreciate the true brilliance of life even more.


JohnP said...

Damn - that was one well written last paragraph!

Deep - those that get it, Do.

I can see in your writing there is a fire inside you that will build into an inferno come race day. Unleash Hell! Explode onto that race course, stick to the plan and you are gonna have the race of your life!

You can't Fake an Ironman.

Make the magic happen baby!

No matter what happens - I'll see you in Lake Placid. You WILL qualify. One way or another.

I'm jealous of your bike skillz. I hate you! U make me sick! :)

Bryan Payne said...

S, China's a damn tough field, and your right that age group is really tough. You swim and bike, especially the bike (insane-I wish) is great. If I learnt anything from last year it's don't put pressure on yourself, those are the races that will suck and suck you down. IMSG, IMLP and Kona I relaxed. Especially IMLP and that was my qualifying race. I think you need to remember why you do Ironmans and I'm sure it's not to be a world class athlete. If like me, it's just a way to stay fit, a non-pfg and keep my confidence up. Kona's on a surprise bonus.

Train and enjoy, race and enjoy and let the chips fall where they may. If you want to go dark and into those places, go. Not for me anymore, done that, got the t-shirt.

If I was to give you advice, like I haven't already throughout this post, haha, it would be to get back to Simon and enjoy what your doing. We all know you have the mental fortitude of steel already. I'd train the best I wanted to and could mentally, show up to China and enjoy. If your on your on, if your not your not. And then do the same at IMLP. The one thing about IMLP is you will crush that bike and I think you have a great shot at qualifying, even better than China.

I know you're a race horse and I know you're focused and I know this is a monkey you want to get off you're back and I know it's a reciepe for disaster with a single minded goal.

I could go on and on and say the same thing in different words but I won't, I have to go to work. haha. The key is if your not having fun and enjoyment in the process and during the race, you're missing out on the daily benefits and rewards of being an Ironman, which you are time 100.

Set the bar low and when you jump over it it will be even more fun.

Damn, I wish I didn't have to go to work, I could beat up on you all day. I actually wish it was my work and I got paid to do it. haha.

Keep the corners of your lips up, especially during training.


Matty O said...

What I took from this post... Just like Americans, the English apparently hate France too (Frenchies HAHAHA).

Well, hey, if you took pizza and ice cream out of your diet... then you are making headway. I wouldn't worry about who is showing up as much as I would worry about having all my crap in order and not messing up myself.

Assume that they will have a bad day ;)

Keep up the good work man. You know what you have to do and you can at least hunt people down on the run.

Your bike will get you in a great position for the run.

Anonymous said...

CCHOO,Ong,Richard Tang ,Sam(pacer and guide) n others will go.

Heard the accomodation is difficult to book,hope u settle already.


Simon said...

J, Thanks buddy, you never fail to inspire me with your kind words (and sometimes not so kind haha) and encouragement.

I had an Ok bike this morning but a great 21K brick run so that instuilled some much needed running confidence.

Can't wait to see you at Lake Placid -and yes one way or another I will qualify. Just got to remind myself that it's not meant to be easy and they don't give slots away at McD's haha

B, Thanks mate, very wise words. Yes I will go to those dark places not because I want to but because I need to in order to be even close to qualifying. Once I get the monkey stuffed and strangled I'm sure I'll have a very different attitude.

I have already lowered my expectations for China and it's great to read what you say, if it's on then it's on, if it's not then it's not. I will still set the bar high but with a more relaxed approach to it. We'll see what happens as as you say there's always IMLP.

Only thing though is I don't want to eat up your slot at IMLP. I want us to be drinking all night and taking a dip at sun up by the swim start the morning after Kona.

Shit, if I qualify in China I might even let you beat me in IMLP. The racing not the beer drinking, my victory there is a given. haha

Seriously though, great input and I really appreciate it.

M, you yanks don't like the French over Freedom Fries, we were at war with them for over a hundred years (we won of course). As for hating the French, yes in a tongue in cheek way, in fact the French are brilliant people, certainly the ones I've met and come to know in recent years.

Thanks for the excellent input, I kicked myself after looking everyone up. Really it doesn't matter, they are gonna beat me or they're not, it all depends on the day and as you rightly say I need to worry about getting my shit together.

I won't assume that they'll have a bad day, I'll just assume I'll have a better day!

T, Hey buddy, yep hotel all sorted thanks, it was a bit of a struggle but I got into the main race hotel.

Elenamary said...

thank you for posting this. it was inspirational and i needed it. i am doing the 70.3 and it will be my first. looking forward to seeing you there.

Simon said...

E, you're most welcome, I'm sure you'll be fine, it's gonna be fun. See you there.

Patrick Dean said...

Simon, nice post, we would have met at the race (I am in the 70.3) where i could have admired your lovely bike. We would, but as IM China is now cancelled... What a bunch of ... I am unsure of exactly how much you will miss, the field has a huge number of really strong people, because there are a lot of *really* strong triathletes in the Greater China region! There are 3 world class triathletes that I know of directly here in Beijing.
Anyways, it will now be IM 70.3 Taiwan. And it will give me time to train properly, IM China is quite early in the season, and I don;t have enough time to train much, so this is good news for me, in a way.
Good luck with the following races!

Simon said...

Thanks Patrick, Sorry I'm not going to get a chance to meet you this time but I'm sure our paths will cross at some point in the future. I've lived in South East Asia for getting on for 20 years and have no plans to move so there will be many more races I will attend (much to my wife's annoyance haha).

Unfortunately/Fortunately anyone aiming for Kona qualification has to mix it with the best in the world. I counted 11 athletes that had qualified last year for Kona in my age-group alone.

I've qualified for the 70.3 worlds in Vegas and Xterra in Maui this year so I'll be gutted if I can't make the hat-trick with Kona. Hey if you have a good race in Tiawan maybe I'll see u in Vegas??? Good luck.

I'm also taking the extra (much needed) training as a positive as you'll see in one of my more recent posts. Glad that you see it that way too.

Have a great race in Taiwan and do look me up if you qualify for Vegas and indeed at any other races - I'll do likewise of course.

Looking forward to meeting you.