Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A New Goal

OK, I really am an Ironman junkie.

Or maybe just a sucker for punishment...

Today I entered Ironman Cairns for 2013.  Yep, 2013.  I know, I know - followers of my insane adventures will know that I'm doing Ironman New Zealand in March and now I'll be following that up with Ironman Cairns 12 weeks later...  And I'm excited about it - eek!!!

It became a bit of a no-brainer really.  Yes, really!  Despite the challenging day at Cairns this year I straight away knew I'd love to do it again.

Yes, the swim was tough - but I won't be making the same mistake with my goggles again and it just means I need to do some more ocean swimming and upper body work to improve my strength.

Yes, the bike was tough - but I was tanked from the swim.  More importantly, the course was stunning and my hillwork is slowly improving.

Yes, the run was a disaster - but next time I won't be so stuffed from the swim, and it's a flat run .

And Cairns is a great place to visit.  Our impromptu trip this year meant we didn't spend as much time there as we would like and St Pete and I quickly agreed that a return trip was essential so we could spend a bit more time going out to Great Barrier Reef, visiting crocodiles and generally enjoying the laid-back tropical environment.

Doing two ironman events in a year is no easy task.  But I figure I'm up to it.  Part of the inspiration came from my walking buddy this year - who was completing his third ironman in 12 weeks.  He had done Ironman Melbourne because it was the inaugural event.  He'd then done Ironman Australia (Port Macquarie) and was finishing the trio off with Ironman Cairns, again because it was the inaugural event.  Next year Stephen will be doing Ironman Australia for the 10th time and achieving "Legend" status.

And that's pretty good motivation to be loyal to an Ironman event.  I don't know about the other worldwide Ironmans, but in Australia and New Zealand, when you become a 10 time finisher at a particular Ironman you become a Legend at that event.  Legend status is pretty cool - a personalised race bib in silver (later going to gold as you accumulate more finishes) and the knowledge that you are part of a smaller, dedicated group of hardcore ironmen (aka "nutjobs"!).

For those of us who will never be fast enough to place in our age groups, becoming a Legend is a pretty worthy goal to work towards and it is something I'd love to achieve at Ironman New Zealand.  And who knows, it might also end up being the case for Cairns as well.  There is a certain appeal to the goal of having done every race since its inception and, with Cairns, I've started that journey.

And then there's Kona.  Again, I'll never be fast enough to qualify for that hallowed event by winning or placing in my age group.  However there is now the tantalising carrot of foundation slots - reserved for the hardcore group who have 12 Ironman finishes.  Well, once I've ticked off Cairns next year that will be #5 and almost halfway there. 

And you think I'm mad? 

It seems I'm in good company :)

When I first mentioned the idea of doing two IMs next year to Coach Dave he commented about how two ironman finishes a year will get me to Kona much more quickly.  "Don't worry", I said - "Pete's already done that calculation!"

It will be interesting to see how the body holds up.  Coach Dave has certainly got his work cut out for him, getting me through in one piece.  But two years of working with me means he's got a great understanding of my strengths, weaknesses and my mental approach.  And he's even less likely than me to shy away from a challenge!  So between St Pete and Coach Dave, and the undying support of my family, facebook friends and training buddies, I know I've got a great team around me and I'm up for my 2013 adventure!

Either that or the loony bin :)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Cobras, Crunches and Grunts


I got up yesterday morning and everything hurt.  Muscles in my arms, shoulders and legs were all aching.  Muscles I hadn't been acquainted with in a long time.  It felt like I had just done an ironman. Except I did that almost four weeks ago.  So it was pretty safe to say that ironman wasn't to blame, and I knew the culprit.


On Friday morning I had headed down to Bradfield Park to have a trial run with the team at Ultimate Bootcamp.  They run 60 minute intense sessions designed to improve strength, endurance, fitness and mobility.  With my plans to mix things up a bit over winter, then, it seemed like it could be a good way of doing some core work and getting a good dose of DOMS.

Richie was our softly-spoken trainer with a heart of steel.  There was no yelling, no chiding.  However there was no way any of us were getting off the hook, just because it was dark, wet and cold.  After a light warmup and stretch under the bridge we jogged down the hill to the end of Lavender Bay, and a small grassed area.  It was a lovely spot to watch the sunrise from, with a view across to the CBD.  But of course we weren't going to get a chance for any of that, because the grassed area was in a very special spot.

At the base of a nice grunty hill.

First up, a run up said hill, just to check it out.  Back at the bottom we were on the ground doing 50 crunches, 50 cobras and 50 one armed rows (with a stretch band).  There are various ways of doing cobras - our version involved lying prone, with arms stretched out in front and then swinging them out and back until hands touch the hips.  Great for the upper arms, shoulders and back.

After that little set we got to run up the hill again.  And then it was back into another 50 crunches, 50 cobras, 50 one-armed rows and 50 squats.  By then the cobras were starting to get a bit tougher.  After running up the hill a third time we repeated all the above and added 50 grunts.  Yes, grunts.  Basically a half-burpee.

And my new least favourite exercise.

Of course we weren't finished there.  It was another run up the hill and then back down and a repeat of all the above.  All up, in the space of 60 minutes, I did 200 crunches, 200 cobras, 200 one-armed rows, 150 squats and 100 grunts.   Plus four hill repeats.


But, despite the DOMS, it felt great and I can tell it's going to be a really valuable session to do over the coming three months.  Only one question remains: two times per week or three...