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Swim – Bike – Run – TRI

November 17, 2014

I normally start my Blog with a quote, but today I am going to start with a question – What would you do if you need to sleep the night before a “race” and your roommate is snoring – Loudly? – Do you wake him, do you record his snoring and share it on WhatsApp with his wife and cycling buddies or do you let him sleep?

Shepp TRII noticed the following quote from Brisbane-based psychologist Angela Bradley – “If you ditch the negative attitude and instead think, ‘exercise is pretty tough sometimes but gosh, when I finish it, it makes me feel strong,’ you’ll remain inspired”

Below is a summary of this week’s Torah Parsha (Portion) from

Isaac and Rebecca endure twenty childless years, until their prayers are answered and Rebecca conceives. She experiences a difficult pregnancy as the “children struggle inside her”; G‑d tells her that “there are two nations in your womb,” and that the younger will prevail over the elder.

Esau emerges first; Jacob is born clutching Esau’s heel. Esau grows up to be “a cunning hunter, a man of the field”; Jacob is “a wholesome man,” a dweller in the tents of learning. Isaac favours Esau; Rebecca loves Jacob. Returning exhausted and hungry from the hunt one day, Esau sells his birthright (his rights as the firstborn) to Jacob for a pot of red lentil stew.

In Gerar, in the land of the Philistines, Isaac presents Rebecca as his sister, out of fear that he will be killed by someone coveting her beauty. He farms the land, reopens the wells dug by his father Abraham, and digs a series of his own wells: over the first two there is strife with the Philistines, but the waters of the third well are enjoyed in tranquillity.

Esau marries two Hittite women. Isaac grows old and blind, and expresses his desire to bless Esau before he dies. While Esau goes off to hunt for his father’s favourite food, Rebecca dresses Jacob in Esau’s clothes, covers his arms and neck with goatskins to simulate the feel of his hairier brother, prepares a similar dish, and sends Jacob to his father. Jacob receives his father’s blessings for “the dew of the heaven and the fat of the land” and mastery over his brother. When Esau returns and the deception is revealed, all Isaac can do for his weeping son is to predict that he will live by his sword, and that when Jacob falters, the younger brother will forfeit his supremacy over the elder.

Jacob leaves home for Charan to flee Esau’s wrath and to find a wife in the family of his mother’s brother, Laban. Esau marries a third wife—Machalath, the daughter of Ishmael.

Post doing a long triathlon I try to do a Blog on what I learned in the process and doing the actual event – a Race Report.

This week a few friends and I did Challenge Shepparton, a half ironman distance triathlon in Shepparton. This year the event was on a new course, so I was looking forward to the event as it was a new challenge (and the swim would be clearer).

I will first give you a run down on the event and then some notes/ lessons.

Leading up to the event, the weather for the day was not looking great, us triathletes always complain (we are wingers) and want perfect condition, but the conditions are not in our hands. The night before the event it started raining and at about 2:30am it started pouring and this continued throughout the night. It was wet. 1st rain in 4 weeks in Shepp, most rain in November in 5 years and biggest downfall in 18 months (Ozzies love their weather stats).

Bikes had been checked in on the Saturday before the event. I had organised to go check my bike in after Shabbos (in the rain). They 1st wanted me to drop it off at 4:30am on the day of the event!! I still don’t understand why bikes are handed in the day before?

2014-11-16 05.49.45Woke at 4:30am (did not sleep much especially after the storms started), ate some food, stretched, Davened (Morning prayers) and got to check in at 5:30 to set up our bikes and equipment (in the rain). I put everything in plastic bags and hoped I did not end up with wet shoes and socks.

Waiting for the event to start in our wetsuits was cold and windy (I think freezing is a good description) – Questions were being asked – Why do we do this sport? Doron Gluch needed some quick repairs of his wetsuit as the zip broke and of course “nerves”.

The 45-49 year age group was so big, so split into two, so Anton Dembo was in a different group to Alex and me.

My brief race report –

My swim was good, water was nice and clear. Much easier in a lake than in the ocean. I felt good and did not kill myself.

Transition 1 was ok. My drying off towel was soaked, thank goodness shoes and socks were in a plastic bag and dry.

I then set off on the bike. It was raining, windy, freezing and roads were very slippery. Not a good idea just wearing a tri suit. Bike ride was really tough in the wind and I have to admit I did enjoy the stretches with the wind behind me. Overall it was a slog. The route is very pretty riding through the country-side. Doing the ride I thought I am not going to achieve my goal of under 5 hours for the event. It was great that there really was no drafting, so I never once worried about marshals on the course. I still tried to greet all people I passed or who passed me.

Transition 2 was also ok, as my towel was so wet, I decided it was stupid to change my socks, so just put on shoes and headed out – Not sure if that was a good idea as my sock were wet.

I knew that if I wanted under 5hours I was going to really have to push on the run. I set out pretty fast. The run was 3 laps of ~7kms. The run was really pretty through forests and round the lake. Once I settled into a rhythm I tried to hold my speed. This got harder once I got onto the 3rd lap and I noticed my times dropping, but pushed on. With the end in sight I tried to push.

2014-11-16 12.59.58 HDRI was very excited to cross the finish line and get a massage and have a cold beer – Challenge Style with all my mates who finished this tough event.

Overall my nutrition for the event was pretty good, I felt fine throughout. I possibly ate too much before the event. I really need to record what I ate for the next event! As I have said before in a Race Report – I really want to find healthier alternatives to gels and energy bars.

Noticed the following two Twitter posts from pros on the event:

  • Brad Kahlefeldt – @sticksy – “Thumbs up for a tough race today for @challengeshepp .Placed 2nd, very cold, wet and windy.. Hard day.”
  • #challengeshepp “that was tough. I’ll remember that for a long long time!” – @belinda_granger

I noticed the following short vort (word/ comment) on this week’s Parsha titled “Grab the Opportunity” on the website – And Eisav said, “Look, I am going to die, so of what use to me is the birthright?” …And Eisav spurned/ rejected the birthright. (Gen. 25:32)

Eisav came home from the field exhausted and noticed Yaakov cooking up a stew. “Pour some of that red stuff down my throat for I am starving”, Eisav exclaimed. Yaakov replied, “I’ll sell it to you for the birthright.” Eisav said, “Look I am going to die, so of what use to me is the birthright?”

In the course of life, G-d “throws” us many opportunities which can make us greater. He gives us an opening to start a great project or a position where we can influence and elevate others. The Torah is telling us not to let these opportunities slip away. Don’t say, “It’s too hard for me,” or “I’ll do it tomorrow…” Eisav had the opportunity to do the service of the birthright and gave it up. The Torah considers the passing up of such an opportunity a disgrace! [1] When an opportunity comes your way – grab it, and enjoy the ride to greatness!

I knew I had a goal and there was an opportunity to really push myself on the run and achieve my goal. I decided to take the “opportunity” not knowing how my body would hold up for 21kms. I achieved my goal of under 5 hours, not sure how with those tough conditions?

Now for a few of the lessons I learned that I would like to share:

  • Some people are idiots – Conditions were so bad on the bike ride, officials told people to slow down, but still people ride like “idiots” and corner fast and fall off their bikes at slippery corners. Who wants to get injured? As an athlete you need to respect the conditions. Your safety needs to come first. We all want to finish the event and share our stories.
  • You don’t get a PB in every race – Every race is different – Factors include – fitness, conditions, the course and of course weather. I am personally more excited that I achieved my goal of under 5hours than beating my PB. I am more proud on the way I pushed myself on the run to achieve this goal. For all aspects of life we do need goals, and not to say it is “too hard for me”.
  • Looking after our bodies – A few weeks ago I noticed a young girl really huffing and puffing while walking in a store. She looked like she was battling to walk around. I mentioned to Loren how sad I get seeing young people who are overweight and so unfit. About 3 weeks before this event I got terrible gastro. It basically wiped my out for a whole week. I could hardly do anything, never mind train (I did try ride one day, but I really should not have even bothered!). I was also battling to walk around like this young girl. It did not feel good! I noticed the following quote – from the the_wholesome_athlete“I got sick. It’s been 48 hours and I think I’ve gone through the entire grief process. Don’t know why it bothers me so much when I can’t train and follow through with a specific program. Positive pants are on and it’s back to the drawing board for training. Today I am grateful that is illness is short term and I’m otherwise healthy xx” – Blogging at

I read an interesting piece on our immune systems and peak fitness from Mark Wolff’s Blog – “Taper to Success & Not to Failure[2]“Immune System Strength – An athlete’s biggest fear is falling ill prior to race day. Let’s face it when we hit peak training volumes 3 weeks out from a big event our bodies are fatigued, immune system is low and we are very susceptible to infection. Even more so when we are exposed to children or closed work spaces on a daily basis. Contrary to popular belief athletes are quite weak at fighting illness during volume periods of training.”

Blogging at posted the following – “So I’m off work and I can’t ride my bike. It doesn’t make any sense. Someone said to me “Think about the advice that you’d give a friend if they were in your situation – then take that on board for yourself”. My advice would be to rest, get lots of sleep, keep the mind calm, enjoy some books and pod casts, drink ginger tea for nausea and peppermint tea to feel better. Relax. Let it go. Make a new plan”

It took me well over a week to recover and stressed me out, but I knew there was nothing more I could do. They say it is better to be “under-cooked” rather than “over-cooked”. Thankful besides this little blip, I am generally pretty healthy. I do everything I can do to TRI feel fit and healthy.

  • Have fun – Before the Challenge Shepp they asked a number of the pros to share some wisdom etc. Every one of the pro’s spoke about having fun and enjoying the sport – “Enjoy what you do. Never lose sight of why you first started in the sport.” – Belinda Granger, “Do it because you love it” – Michelle Gailey and “Make sure you keep it fun and don’t take it too seriously!” – Michelle Wu.

As I have mentioned before I absolutely love my training and really love the sport. “Enjoy the injury free times. … Nothing beats the feeling of being super fit and indestructible!” – Leon Griffin.

  • Consolation – The Jewish Community has been totally shocked/ rocked this week by the cold blooded murder of Dalia Lemkus in Israel. Being the niece of my good friends Loren and Farrel Datt has brought it so close to “home”. Reading and hearing about this remarkable 26 year old girl really impacted my thought process leading to this race and how important life and your health really is. I cannot even pretend to think I know what Dalia’s family must be going through. In last week’s Torah Parsha Chaya Sarah, Rabbi Mark Angel wrote about consolation – The Parsha says – “And Isaac brought her [Rebecca] into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebeccah, and she became his wife; and he loved her. And Isaac was comforted for his mother (Bereishith 24:67).” In describing Consolation he says “I have often told mourners: You never get over the death of a loved one; but you learn to get through it. The deceased loved ones remain with us “qualitatively” as long as we live. We treasure our memories of their lives, and we carry those memories with us as we forge our ways into the future. We find consolation not by forgetting them, but by bringing them along with us every day of our lives.

We find consolation through the power of love, the blessing of loving and being loved.”

Doing this event not only Dahlia was on my mind, but the importance of the love and support that I receive from my family and friends. As Rabbi Angel said we all need to love and be loved.

Farrel Datt has set up the Dalia Lemkus Fund. The first thing the fund will do is provide assistance to the Lemkus family to rebuild their lives. There is no pressure on anyone to donate. The account details are:

Bank      Westpac
BSB        733 165
Acc #     720100

I have to admit as normal all events in Shepp are so well organised and race officials are so understanding, friendly and helpful – Thanks to all the organisers and to all the volunteers who braved the conditions.

Today I am a bit stiff. I was talking to my training buddies and wondering why after races am I stiff, but after normal training I am OK. Maybe this quote from runner Tyson Gay is the answer – “I save the race for the race and I don’t let it all out in practice.”

Now a bit of rest before the training for IronMan Melbourne in 2015 begins!

To end a quote from Ultra Marathoner Scott Jurek[3] that I read in the book – Born to Run – “Beyond the very extreme fatigue and distress, we may find mounts of ease and power we never dreamed ourselves to own; sources of strength never taxed at all because we never push through obstructions”

This Blog is Dedicated to the memory of Dalia Lemkus – Baruch dayan emet[4] (Blessed is the True Judge.). May her family and friends find this added strength.

[1] Rabbi Moshe Feinstein

[2] “Taper to Success & Not to Failure” –

[3] is an American ultramarathoner, New York Times bestselling author of Eat & Run, and public speaker. Throughout Jurek’s career he has been one of the most dominant ultramarathon runners in the world, winning many of the sport’s most prestigious races multiple times, including the Hardrock Hundred (2007), the Badwater Ultramarathon (2005, 2006), the Spartathlon (2006, 2007, 2008), and the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run (1999-2005). In 2010, at the 24-Hour World Championships in Brive-la-Gaillarde, France, Jurek won a silver medal behind Shingo Inoue and set a new US record for distance run in 24 hours with 165.7 miles (an average pace of 8 minutes and 42 seconds per mile).Jurek has been meat free since 1997 and vegan since 1999.

[4] However, even when it comes to death we are taught to bless Gd; we say, Blessed is the True Judge, acknowledging that this is beyond our understanding.

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