Two weekends in a row now I have braaied for dinner.
That is pretty unusual for us.
When I get the opportunity I do love it but it does not present itself that often.
The contrast of the two last weekends made me think.
The first we were camping in Porterville at 22 Waterfalls.
I went back to my Boy Scout roots and used a piece of paper (collected from the trash) and one match. Kindling is the crux, you can never have enough. The flame needs to build heat in order for bigger logs to catch. You build the size and volume of wood gradually until you can use the real heavy stuff. Logs that eventually turn into good coals. This takes time, patience and a lot of practice.
The meat was exceptional and we gazed up at the stars as we sipped wine. Life was good.
Only a few days ago I threw meat on the fire made in a Weber in suburbia. [But for the sake of this argument let’s discard the setting for a moment]
Firelighters were arranged, briquettes of identical shapes poured from a bag. A gas lighter provided the flame and the rest is really just a waiting game. Half an hour later dinner was served. But somehow the steak just did not taste the same.
This got me thinking.
Is it possible that in order to get truly great results we need to go through the work. The real work.
We can take short cuts and at some point we all do but we should be honest enough (with ourselves) and look in the mirror. Only then can we see where we are lacking, where we have added petrol to the flame to speed the process. The irony is that most of the time we still end up with a medium rare steak at the end but somehow it does not taste the same. Or put differently a steak done the proper way tastes better. It might take longer and require more attention: that is exactly the point.
Build a good foundation and your fire will never go out.
Shortcut your training and you may have good results for a while but eventually you will be found out. Shortcut your foundation and your house might look pretty but the cracks will eventually show
I gasp a couple of breaths trying to slow down my HR before the next rep. The clock poolside counts down. 57, 58, 59 and they are off!
I see them in my periphery only but they take me by surprise. “Is 59 the new 60?” I wonder. Time to put down the pain. New PB’s are recorded by some.
False records inflate the ego for a while but you will be found out. You can lie to yourself for a while but the truth will shine through. Unless you put in the hard yards you will eventually be found out. By others, By yourself.
Go to Pinterest and load your wall with motivation if you have to. But do the hard yards.
A few months earlier I was riding along and suddenly there was a scream. Self inflicted carnage on the road all around. Girls lying in the ditch, team mates stationary while we should be chasing the clock. I wonder where is your commitment? Too late to ask questions. We can just do the best we all can as a group.
I am not a natural
My first cricket practice ended with my coach tying a stick to my arm to try keep it straight while attempting to make me resemble a bowler. Batting practice ended with a black eye on my part a few days later. I never liked wearing white kit and ball boxes anyway. And smashing the hard ball on my bat sent vibrations all the way into my head. Not for me I thought.
Years later compulsory team sport ended in the last hockey team. I was positioned somewhere well out of harm’s way. I can’t recall too many matches that we played let alone won.
I did athletics in summer. After a few seasons Coach encouraged me to do the 3000m walk as there seemed to be some chance of success here (probably due to the lack of any competition what so ever). I still came last and my body hurt for days, like never before.
We chose cross country in winter. Not because we were athletes with any potential but because training was on a Tuesday and Thursday and that would not interfere with our climbing, And I figured that running was the best training we could do for climbing.
I romanticised about mountaineering. Looking back and tracing the route of our ascent on the blank canvas. The first few times I went out I immediately lived my dream. I was no natural though. Fear of imminent death and adrenalin combined to keep me alive. Somehow. I stuck with it not because I was good but because it was a challenge and I hoped to progress. I was committed and could not imagine a life without climbing. Slowly I improved. I devoured literature, watched and learnt. Every level of competence was challenged again and again. I travelled to the Cederberg first, then Namibia, Europe, the big walls. Each step climbing higher, building.
A few years ago I could not swim a length of a pool. I wanted to do a triathlon so I had to learn. There are no shortcuts. At some point you have to put your face in the water and go through the discomfort and either you come out the other side better or you don’t. No shame in either just be honest with what you call it.
Above all else don’t cheat yourself.
Yesterday was spent going through my final list of preparations for Saturday. With all the warm weather recently I was expecting to deal with some serious heat on the bike. Not good news after a winter of cold and wet. Well it seems like the Norwegian weather gurus predict otherwise:
Arm warmers, Buff and windproof are going to be the order of the day. And lots budget for hot chocolate for supporters.
Ten days ago I started my taper. More by feel than by program. I was exhausted and needed two days break. Time to notch it back and sleep. So far so good.
My nutrition strategy is different from Ironman last year. I will be having something to eat before the swim. Also I will have more real food on the bike and no gels. Those will be kept for the run.
My bike is clean, spares packed. Trail shoes are ready.
So time to put it out there:
I am confident of swimming (2,5 km) and getting out of T1 sub 1h. If temps are cold this will be tough.
The bike (80 km) should take 6 – 7 hours – I hope, maybe 8… Who knows as nobody, including Geddan has actually ridden the complete course in one go.
Either way I hope to be able to clock each leg of the run loop (7km) in 45 min. this is my real aim here. I am aiming to complete leg 3 in 2h15.
So if you want to beat me you now know where you need to do it J
See you Saturday!
Every kid knows that you have to get it just right. The sand must be the right consistency, not too dry or too wet. If it is too wet then it flops into a cow paddy, too dry and it does not hold its shape. Just the right combination to bring out the little turrets, towers and walls that elevate this mud cake to something special. Elevate it above mere recreation.
So too with our architecture for an event. Our turrets of Load, Recovery, Nutrition, Sleep, Work etc all need to be in the right balance and position for you to build a higher and higher fortress that holds shape, is supported by each pillar and does not fall over. If you are lucky then you have built above the high water level and your tower survives a few rogue waves. Well maybe not a spring high but race day’s high tide.
M got sick (I don’t blame her one bit) but I do admit that it added to my stress. Trying to stay germ free and getting enough sleep (with a coughing partner) were adding up to dilute my sand sculpture. I was trying to add some harder sessions in order to sharpen up before I taper. The great tired set in pretty fast and hard. What I failed to understand for the last 6 days is that I needed to restore balance. Drastic action was required. I decided to cut my losses and take an extra rest day today instead of the planned long bike ride. Marcel’s Frozen Yoghurt and take away coffee replaced my bike ride. Afternoon snooze replaced bike clean (Bert is still dirty and growling at me). DVD replaced recovery shake.
Tomorrow was a planned rest anyway and I will stick with that. I hope that two days will kick the recharge button.
Some times you have to build a moat rather than extra gun turrets to protect your palace.
This last weekend was another two days of core workouts in my preparation for Enduroman SA.
Saturday I met Geddan Ruddock of Franschoek Cycles, Ed from Atlantic Triathlon Club and new twitter friends for part two of the bike course. The 3km climb was sobering and set the tone for what is going to be a big day out. Total distance from Geddan’s Shop to the start and back was 47 km with over 1000 m vert. I stocked up on treats for the drive home.
Sunday I headed to Silvermine again. Old climbing friends with kids watched on as I suited up in my Orca wetsuit, two swim caps, ear plugs and goggles. The first lap I was doing ok, second lap I seriously wondered if this was a good idea and if I could actually complete my intended three laps, the third lap I just tried to keep my form as I saw M take some pictures.
So what is the point of a 45 minute session in 12*C? I now know that I can. It’s not going to be pretty but I know I will get onto the bike and after that the run course. After that it is just a hop, skip and jump….