Monday, January 16, 2012

Doing What Will Make A Difference

It is one week exactly till the Chinese Lunar New Year begins. In effect, it is 15 days of festivities marked by feasting and renewing friendships in the Year of the Dragon. I will still be training despite the initial two days of public holiday, although I will be scheduling it in the earlier part of the day.

This past week, I clocked 15 hours in total for my spartan Ironman training. It is, after all, six weeks before the Big Dance at Lake Taupo, New Zealand. The last time I committed so much time to triathlon training was in 2006. The subsequent races that followed, I had to compromise total time invested on each race. I managed to successfully get by with minimal allowed time to complete each race in reasonable time (12-13 hours bracket). I also focused on the half-Ironman, or 70.3 format in 2008 and 2009. Those were the last two years I qualified for the world championships in Clearwater, Florida.

Coach ‘Fox’ has been sending me my schedule for Ironman NZ 2012 every Sunday evening. The variations have been subtle, however the riding is increasing by 30 minutes each time. The intervals sets within the long rides are longer, and more intense (higher cadence or higher gear). I need to get stronger on the hills, and be fresh off the 180K ride for a confident marathon. On Saturday, I completed a 130K ride, followed by 40 minutes running. On Sunday, I ran 2 hours (with 12X5-minute intervals at moderate pace) in the morning. I ran 35 minutes in the evening (with 12X90-seconds intervals), followed by 30 minutes of swimming with pool-buoy. I was knackered, to say the least. Just another day in paradise! All would be well after a good night of sleep. Heal and hammer again!

These weekly interventions are designed to lead me towards my race goals, which include a few personal best (PB) times. Race-day nutrition will be a major factor, so I have been experimenting with scientific applications like pre-training meal, type of complex carbohydrates to use, hydration (versus over-hydration) and electrolyte replacement. This is a delicate physiological equation I will have to balance, and that has cost Fox and I in the past with premature fatigue, cramps or gastro-intestinal distress.

Our fund-raising efforts have been positive so far. After one week, Iron-Team Varella (comprising a team of Singaporean endurance buddies) has raised NZ$1,195.00. I am grateful to friends and sponsors for believing in our cause: Breath4CF, which supports sports and physical interventions for New Zealand kids suffering from cystic fibrosis. I have a sense that more sponsorship will come as some have made pledges to our training. Our team of Ironman triathletes will race for the kids and for charity on 3 March; it has spread the word smoothly and subtly.

Read about the ruminations of a focused lawyer and multiple-Ironman finisher, John Cooke. When did you last take the road less travelled?

Leadership Lessons: Take a walk on your wild side. Be outrageous for a moment. Stop taking life too seriously for once. Immerse in, and enjoy the numerous moments that may pass us by. To struggle is also to live. Regal when you breeze through things and events.

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