A little less than a year ago I was sat with friends drinking what was a very nice glass of Chardonnay (I remember because it was very buttery and from Margaret River WA, and as I live in WA I remember the good wines from there). When full of bravado I pledged to do the Australia day Triathlon. I didn't pledge to do the Sprint; I thought I might settle for the novice or fun. I did write about this back in Feb 2018. Anyhow I ended up entering the sprint, the longest event held on the day (750m Swim, 21 KM bike ride and a 5kM run) which whilst not great in distance for the seasoned athlete was a challenge for me at my first event.
I've got to say I was completely under prepared for the transition from swimming to bike, from bike to running. It was if your blood was in the wrong muscle groups when you came to change to each of the disciplines. My swim was a disaster, I ended up zigzagging my way to the first turn buoy which was upwind and with the sun in your eyes and I could not see shite! By the time I got to this buoy I was being clambered over the wave of participants that started behind me, I then swam inshore to the second turn buoy just trying to keep out of the way. I didn't really get into any rhythm until the final leg but the Swim time was probably 30% longer than it had to be. Having said that I was a fantastic learning. And I plodded on regardless. My bike leg was stellar; even if I say so myself. Of the two boys I was competing with mine was the quickest, but what with the nightmare swim and the effort I had put into the ride the run ended up being a plod; and I had a stitch come cramping of the guts for the second half of the run. So I obviously did not hydrate enough both before and during the event. More lessons learned.
My target I had set myself was to complete the course was 1 Hour and 45 Minutes; my official time was 1 hour 43 Minutes 35.93 Seconds. I was delighted with this and have immediately signed up for my next one in early April.
The key learning for me were; hydration, I need to drink more water prior to the start not just during the ride and when you take a drink a the run stations stops and walk and take your time to swallow the water properly, don't gulp it down with a load of air. Second is nutrition; I should of had some oats when I got up just for some sustenance and to line the gut and finally transitioning between the legs needs to be practiced more. Getting the body use to changing modes is something I completely under cooked.
Anyway; once the Rottnest Swim in February is done I'll get onto these elements.
Some additional thoughts:
I set the performance targets for the year at the end of last month; as the new year began I had committed to going plant based for my diet. I had read about the perceived benefits and pitfalls of doing so and on the few days prior to the end of the year when I’d gone plant based I had felt lighter. Also I had lost the 2 kg' s I had put on. I shouldn’t have done I had a week or so around Christmas where my training was slack and I ate a lot of shite. I think limiting my meat intake during the last couple of weeks of the month helped. I needed to ideally lose 5 kilos for my running. I didn’t want to do this by going back to the shakes and bars because I was exercising too much for this to sustain me. I was just trying to understand how nutrition is a requirement to exercise well. I was doing enough exercise to know when I had eaten well. The training was better when I had eaten shit it was harder. So I was determined to give it a go. As a family we were also on the Celery Juice; my wife had read of the benefits of celery juice and we both felt it would be good for my daughter in managing her Crohns. The benefits of celery juice are well publicised. They include; assisting with digestion, reducing inflammation and being an alkaline food reduced the bodies acidity. The jury is still out weather the celery juice is working for my daughter. After several days she is experiencing pretty severe gut cramps; we will persist but we will wait to see. We waited a saw her condition deteriorate, we then saw her specialist who told us that the fibre in the celery was too much for her to tolerate with her condition. She is no longer on the celery juice.
By the time you have reached your mid-forties you have more than likely gained some worldly sense and understand a bit about yourself; and as in my case you have just reached a point of maturity where you can take stock. This is what I have been doing these last few months; trying to work out really how I want to play out the remainder of my days. Hopefully there is a few left but I have kids that are now growing past the years of being our babies and turning into little people and progressing to adulthood pretty quickly. There are elements of adulthood that happen way faster these days than before in my opinion. My ten year old has (a very strictly managed) social media account. My attitude to this is the same my parents had with alcohol, and whilst I’m still working on my blow outs when alcohol entered into my circle of friends in the mid-teen years I was more prepared than most, because I had sat and had a glass of wine with meals, a small bottle of beer with my Dad. Alcohol did not have the exotic appeal it had with some of my peers. That’s the attitude I have with social media; we’ll introduce it at home where we can closely monitor it before there is some real independence; then its down to us trusting our kids. I am not a big fan but there you go, society cannot do without it these days.
Anyway back to taking stock; as I’ve got in better physical shape I have felt I can do more; I’ve wanted to explore more about me and what’s important. I certainly want to be a better husband/father and I think my physical wellbeing underpins this so I have to find balance between exercising and training and spending quality time with them whilst still working. As hard as I try I’ll always put in at work and will stay back to finish something if needed. So the family time will suffer. It’s a pride thing, I take pride in my work.
I sometimes snap at the kids, I’m trying to say no less for the non-material things. I’m reflecting when I do snap at them, my words hurt their feelings. This isn’t discipline, discipline needs to be explained. I'm no softy; my expectation of the kids at their age is that they have good manners and try hard, and we pretty much get that feedback constantly which I take great pride in. So they do not deserve me speaking in tones that upsets them.
Putting shit down helps you make order in your mind; I’ve been reading self help books since meeting a mate about four years ago; he is a great one for them and he has me on to them as well. I do tend to read only half of them before I get turned off; many of the writers seem to live in an ideal world where they can dedicate all day every day to the practices they are preaching. My world wouldn’t allow for this but I take the pertinent bits from the ones I do finish and try to apply them.
A common piece of advice is journaling and it has just dawned on me that this is a route to what mindfulness is. I’ve struggled with this concept, of being mindful but I think I’m starting to understand mine better. Considering your actions within yourself is how I’m understanding it at the moment. Making time to contemplate how you have behaved, reacted and felt about certain behaviours and how better dealt with they could have been is having a calming affect; I think I’m feeling less stressed, let’s see how we go in the working environment.
I’m not minding the plant based diet, I am actually preferring the food but I am now experiencing flu like symptoms. The first day I ran, not bad but felt shocking after. Second day I decided was a rest day, today’s the third day and I feel I need to exercise. Going to need to find my Goggins later. I mentioned David Goggins previously; he is a Navy Seal turned motivation speaker but his story is an incredible one and his no excuse approach is one I’ve got running around in my head which is pushing me faster in my runs and swims. I find myself reflecting on his words during these times. His book is referenced in the additional info tab.
Being mindful; having just read John Joseph The PMA Effect (see additional info tab) I’ve started to try and follow the four agreements he references as his method of keeping on the straight and narrow, being:
Be impeccable with your word
Do not take things personally
Never make assumptions
Always try your best
It’s difficult to say the least and I can’t say I have a 100% success rate but when I have felt a deviation from feeling completely positive I have centered back on these and have reconciled situations and got back to it. As the advice in the previously mentioned book states, failure is not making errors it’s failing to get back to your plan that should not be tolerated.
I also did an hour float tank session; whilst I enjoyed the experience and felt relaxed when I left I'm not too sure of any lasting effect. I think you have to experience two or three more sessions to get use to the tank and I have a further two booked so we'll see how this goes.
My diet was:
See additional info; The Rich Roll Meal Planner is a great reference but some great finds have been:
Amy’s Kitchen Soups
My Exercise Routine:
My exercise calendar is posted above; again concentrating on the swimming, but with some running and cycling leading into the Triathlon. Also continued with some Yoga sessions, these stretching session really began to help with the aches and pains I felt in my joints.
I continued to monitor my monthly active calorie burn; in this case 45,325, up from previous months. The realisation being that to complete a longer distance triathlon the volume and intensity in training will need to grow. So this marker should increase over the next year.