Skip to content

When the dust settles…

March 29, 2013

2013-03-28 09.49.16I thought I would do a post IronMan Melbourne Blog. Once again I will start with a summary of the Parsha for this week from . This week is a Double Portion – Tazria-Metzora.


The torah commands a woman to bring a korban after the birth of a child. A son is to be circumcised on the eighth day of his life. The torah introduces the phenomenon of tzara’at (often mistranslated as leprosy) — a miraculous affliction that attacks people, clothing and buildings to awaken a person to spiritual failures. A kohen must be consulted to determine whether a particular mark is tzara’at or not. The kohen isolates the sufferer for a week. If the malady remains unchanged, confinement continues for a second week, after which the kohen decides the person’s status. The torah describes the different forms of tzara’at. One whose tzara’at is confirmed wears torn clothing, does not cut his hair, and must alert others that he is ritually impure. He may not have normal contact with people.  The phenomenon of tzara’at on clothing is described in detail.


The torah describes the procedure for a metzora (a person afflicted with tzara’at) upon conclusion of his isolation. This process extends for a week and involves korbanot and immersions in the mikveh. Then, a kohen must pronounce the metzora pure. A metzora of limited financial means may substitute lesser offerings for the more expensive animals. Before a kohen diagnoses that a house has tzara’at, household possessions are removed to prevent them from also being declared ritually impure. The tzara’at is removed by smashing and rebuilding that section of the house. if it reappears, the entire building must be razed. The torah details those bodily secretions that render a person spiritually impure, thereby preventing his contact with holy items, and the torah defines how one regains a state of ritual purity.

I have recently seen the following quote – All dreams come true if we have the courage to pursue them.

I had a goal to try to do an Ironman and after nearly a year of training I have achieved my goal of completing an Ironman event.

I would say the event started in the few days before with the registration on the Thursday, the packing of my transition bags, Transition Bagsgetting my nutrition plan finalised, Gels and more gelsthe handing in of my bike and my transition bags on Friday and then hearing on Saturday night that the swim course had been changed. Registration was a bit of an anti-climax as the weather was so windy and the tent was closed, so they only let a few people in at a time to register.

One of the other aspects that started a few days before was first the tapering and then the “carbo loading” process. This started with cutting out some fibre and closer to the event the carbo loading started. This involved eating white breads, pasta and any other carbohydrates you can get your hands on. This is not my favourite. Being someone who loves salads, veggies, brown/ health breads, nuts and muesli. But I was advised to do it and followed my nutrition plan.

As expected I did not sleep much on Saturday night and was woken to the sound of wind! My friend Adrian and my Dad took me to Frankston to the start. 1st Step was to Daven (daily prayers) in Frankston. On the advice of a Rabbi I was told I can Daven a few minutes early.

Frankston foreshore was mayhem when we arrived. There was uncertainty regarding the swim as the conditions were atrocious. I went off and checked my bike, attached my nutrition bento bag and pumped my tyres. There were even volunteers helping with this.Pre Start with Alex - Ready to Rumble

Eventually it was decided that the swim course would be out and back and would only be ~ 1.9km rather than 3.8km. I was personally disappointed with this, one as I had trained and two once you are going to swim then you may as well go the full hog! I suppose what it was it was and I am sure the decision was not taken lightly in light of safety concerns.

I did a bit of a swim warm-up and tried to position myself for the start. The Siren eventually went off about an hour late. The start was absolute chaos. ( )  It is impossible to describe. You get pulled, punched, kicked and of course dragged under. This was all in addition to the massive swell the further you got out. After the turn-around I think the waves helped you get back to shore, but the current took you down the beach. Instead of fighting the current I let the current take me and then had an extra run along the beach.

The Transition 1 was a new experience. It is very different to other triathlons. You collect your bag and then go into a change room where volunteers help you and then you run to collect your bike. For all those interested I took off my cap and goggles.

As the swim leg was shortened I think more cyclists started together so it was very hard to avoid bunch riding for a good few kilometres. I think the Triathlon officials could not do anything to stop this. I eventually settled into a rhythm. The bike leg was two 90km laps from Frankston along East-Link highway. Riding from Frankston was very windy, especially on the second lap. It was reported that the pro women were only going 20km/h in parts. Parts of the ride back were absolutely glorious – Downhill and with the wind behind you.Ride

I kept to 2 of my race strategies:

–          My nutrition plan – I stuck to the little piece of paper on my handlebars (thanks for the tip Larry). Don’t ask how many gels I consumed!

–          My toilet plan – I decided I was NOT going to pee on my bike. Yes lots of people do. I stopped at a toilet, stretched and carried on.

On the ride a saw 2 of my training buddies Larry and Alex. Larry stopped and I lost him and Alex was battling with a sore knee. One of the amazing things on the ride is people you passed, they passed you etc. I tried to get a little bit of a comment or chat without breaching the 12 metre gap rule to avoid nearly six hours of boredom.

By the end of the ride I was pretty tired and my feet were quite sore under my soles. Not sure why!

Transition 2 was also a new experience. You get off your bike and helpers take it from you. You then once again go into the transition tent to change your shoes and pack your gels etc into your pockets.

As I mentioned I was sore under my feet. I hoped this would go away on the run. As expected the start of the run felt weird. After all the Brick sessions I did, it still felt weird. I now had the long run from Frankston to St Kilda. A marathon is a distance I have never done, so made a decision I was going to take the run nice and easy, enjoy the atmosphere, speak to fellow athletes and of course have a smile on my face (part of my race strategy).2013-03-24 16.29.55

My stomach felt a bit average for the 1st 9km’s but then was alright until I had 1 too many vegemite sticks. The salty taste was a relief from the sweet gels. But as the experts say – Don’t try anything new on race day!

For a good part of the run I ran with a friend David Vorchheimer which was great for both of us from a company and motivation perspective.

Once again on the run I stuck to my nutrition plan and slowed at most aid stations to get a drink and thank the volunteers. The water they handed out was absolutely hideous!! Not sure what was in it. I also ran with a bottle of electrolyte. (Thanks for the tip Russel Glasser)

The run course along beach road is magnificent and I really tried to taking in the views. For those who know the road the stretch from Mordi was along the beach and was very windy.

Of course the highlight of the run was running passed and seeing so many of my friends and family along the course. Sorry I did not stop, but I did appreciate all your support along the course. Along the run I had a few target points – Mordi, Black-Rock to see the family and of course finishing the event.

Running to the finish line was an unbelievable event. There were people cheering it was brilliant. Kona World Champ Pete Jacobs presented me with my medal. This is one of the amazing things with Ironman. The pros get involved and cheer on the age group athletes. The End Chute

After crossing the finish line I did feel a bit shaky handing in my timing device. I collected my stuff, had a drink and went out to meet my family and friends who were at the finish line. I have to admit I did not see them while running down to the finish line – Apologies all. I should have slowed down and smelled the roses.With the Family

After having something to eat, we raced home to do the Search for Chometz. Samuel said it had to be done after 8pm!

Today I noticed the following quote – “Running is like celebrating your soul. There’s so much it can teach us in life.”  Molly Barker.

In one of the Drosha’s I heard over Pesach from Rabbi Goodhart, he talked about Moses and the “burning bush” and he said that the amazing thing was that Moses noticed that there was a fire but the actual bush was not burning. Having completed IronMan there is so much I noticed both in my training and on the day. I won’t go into detail, but I will list a few:

–          The support in my training I received from Loren. Loren was the person who kept me grounded over the year. She also was my nutrition advisor and made sure I ate healthy meals and snacks during the day. Thanks for the love and care. I love you!

–          My kids were often left on their own at home while I trained. On most days I was back before they woke, but often I did not see them all day. My training was exciting for them. Michaela was so nervous for me the day before. Thanks guys,

–          Others who gave time and effort to help me over the year including:

  •  More than Physio (Darron & Onya), helped with all my niggles and glute issues (44 year old competitors need support)
  •  Acacia Health – Joe thanks for the training programs, without them I would have had no direction and structure and would have more than likely lost he plot, Vicky thanks for all the nutritional advice. My race day nutrition plan worked!
  • All my training buddies and fellow Ironman competitors. It was so good to always have people to accompany me on my long rides. We did get to see the beauty of the Mornington Peninsula, my Wednesday swim group at MSAC and my Thursday running buddies

–          The volunteers on the day. I heard there were over 2000 volunteers on the day. It is unbelievable that so many people gave up their day to help smelly, tired athletes and I hope not rude athletes;

–          It was an unbelievable to see how strong the pro’s were, especially on the bike when they wizzed by, but more incredible to see age groupers in all shapes and sizes; and

–          As mentioned before I really made an effort to enjoy the view on both the ride and the run. We are truly blessed to live in Melbourne.

The Pesach Sedar (meal) is filled with many themes and many more contradictions that form the tapestry of the night. Some of the contradictions that I have learnt about this year relate to the Sedar Plate.

On the plate we have Charoset (a mixture of nuts, wine and apples) which signifies the cement used by the Jews when they were slaves in Egypt, but the mixture also includes wine which is something that a free person would drink and enjoy. We also have salt water which is used for dipping the Karpas (root vegetable, we use celery). The salt water represents the tears of affliction suffered by the Jewish slaves in Egypt, but salt water also represent the salty sea that the Jews crossed when leaving Egypt and gaining their freedom.

This leads me to one of the Pesach themes – Freedom. For me this has always been something very hard to understand how we are meant imagine OURSELVES leaving Egypt on the Sedar night and celebrating our Freedom. The word Sedar is a contradiction as it literal meaning is “order”, plus there are all the requirements for the meal which I won’t go into.

So what is Freedom? I read a shiur that said that Freedom is governed by rules, laws and structure and it is within this frame work that we can infuse our creativity and individuality. This made me more confused until I read an illustration in which the author said that if someone gave 22 people all the cricket equipment, but did not explain the rules there would be chaos. At the same time if the 22 people are given the rules, players have the ability to maximise their strengths and flourish.

The Sedar night highlights this in that we are bound by many laws and customs. We realise that to really express our freedom we need to follow the instructions of the night, but within this structure/ “rigidness”, each person’s Sedar will be different by the discussions held, emotions felt and the enthusiasm around the table.

This same set of rules applies to a healthy lifestyle. We all know that we need to eat healthy diet, do exercises etc to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but every person takes a different path. I as you all know love to train and maintain a healthy diet, others like to walk and others just like to swim etc.

Recently I read the following explanation on a passage of Tehillim (Book of Psalms) – “Who will go up upon the Mountain of Hashem and who will rise up to His holy place?” [Tehillim 24:3]. All the commentaries say that this pasuk (verse) alludes to the fact that there are two different challenges in life. There is the “Who will go up upon the Mountain of Hashem?”  This means who has the strength of character and the drive to go up to the Mountain of G-d? This is one challenge. But there is an even greater challenge than getting up there. The greater challenge is once you are already at the top of the mountain, to be able to stay up there.

I have now completed an Ironman. This is my “mountain”, I now need to keep fit and healthy in the future without the motivation of an Ironman event that is a year away.

I will end with a quote from former tennis player Billie Jean King.  – “Natural talent only determines the limits of your athletic potential. It’s dedication & discipline in your life that makes you great.

I would hardly say I have natural talent or say I am great, but I do have the necessary dedication and discipline to reach a goal in all aspects of life.

Have a Good Shabbos.


2013-03-28 09.50.492013-03-27 21.47.28



From → Uncategorized

  1. Jeff permalink

    Well Done Ian. We are all proud of you!

  2. Hi, I’m a friend of Hayley’s and Peter’s.

    What an incredible achievement. Congratulations! Keep up the good work.

  3. S Pamensky permalink

    Loved your blog…..always interesting and informative. We are SO PROUD of you….very well done, it was so exciting sharing and watching you along the way. You have certainly ‘climbed a mountain’ and achieved your goal. Mom & Dad

  4. Hi All seemed to got ahead of myself re the Parsha. Never realised there was a special Parsha for Chol Hamoed and forgot about Shemini. So this is the Parsha for ~13 April???
    Could have written sooo much on Shir Hashirim (Solomon’s Son of Songs).

  5. Amazing work Ian – well done! 🙂 what a day!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: