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YOU CAN NEVER BE TOO STRONG

December 13, 2016

I am currently reading Arnold Schwarzenegger’s autobiography Total Recall. He talks about practicing a speech and makes the following statement “Each stick at the top of the page represents one time I rehearsed delivering the speech. Whether you doing a bicep curl in a chilly gym or talking to world leaders, there are NO shortcuts – everything is reps, reps, reps … No matter what you do in life, it’s either reps or mileage….if you have done the reps, you don’t have to worry, you can enjoy

Torah Parsha (Portion) Vayishlach in a Nutshell from www.chabad.org

Jacob returns to the Holy Land after a 20-year stay in Charan, and sends angel-emissaries to Esau in hope of a reconciliation, but his messengers report that his brother is on the warpath with 400 armed men. Jacob prepares for war, prays, and sends Esau a large gift (consisting of hundreds of heads of livestock) to appease him.

That night, Jacob ferries his family and possessions across the Jabbok River; he, however, remains behind and encounters the angel that embodies the spirit of Esau, with whom he wrestles until daybreak. Jacob suffers a dislocated hip but vanquishes the supernal creature, who bestows on him the name Israel, which means “he who prevails over the divine.”

Jacob and Esau meet, embrace and kiss, but part ways. Jacob purchases a plot of land near Shechem, whose crown prince—also called Shechem—abducts and rapes Jacob’s daughter Dinah. Dinah’s brothers Simeon and Levi avenge the deed by killing all male inhabitants of the city, after rendering them vulnerable by convincing them to circumcise themselves.

Jacob journeys on. Rachel dies while giving birth to her second son, Benjamin, and is buried in a roadside grave near Bethlehem. Reuben loses the birthright because he interferes with his father’s marital life. Jacob arrives in Hebron, to his father Isaac, who later dies at age 180. (Rebecca has passed away before Jacob’s arrival.)

Our Parshah concludes with a detailed account of Esau’s wives, children and grandchildren; the family histories of the people of Seir, among whom Esau settled; and a list of the eight kings who ruled Edom, the land of Esau’s and Seir’s descendants.

ballarat-screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-10-39-39-amOn the weekend, I competed in the Ballarat 70.3 Triathlon (Half Ironman distance). I always try to give a bit of an update on my day and some lesson I have learnt along the way.

Instead of giving a detailed account of my race, I will make a few points. The last few days before a race are always a bit crappy. The tapering, the worry, the nerves, the weather, the tiny aches & pains and the big question – Why am I doing this? This was the big question sitting and freezing in Ballarat on Saturday!

blog-banksyBut then I thought “suck it up princess” – I noticed a quote from Bob Marley that sums this up – @therealbanksy posted “Some people feel the rain, others get wet.” – Bob Marley

My race in a nutshell – The swim was cold (water temp was 16 degrees Celsius and weather was about 8 degrees – Yip its meant to be summer!), I started the cycle freezing and we had a very strong headwind back to Ballarat, the run was tough as the day heated up (yip I got very burnt and Loren rightly so is very cross with me). This is all the negatives – I knew I had done the hard work in training to prepare and I did enjoy my day out. I tried very hard to go under 5 hours. Starting the run, I knew I needed a brilliant run to reach one of my goals, I missed it by 2 minutes, but I do think I achieved a lot in completing my 1st triathlon in over 1 ½ years, having a good swim,  I was still very happy with the result and the way I performed on the day.

A few lessons from my training and the day…

In the pro Facebook, live panel discussion[i], the pro Kirra Seidel (she came 2nd in the female pro’s) talked about her move from ITU racing to longer course racing and describes why she prefers long course triathlon more than ITU. These are some of her preferences with a few of my own comments:

  • It’s an individual sport – this is not an understatement and especially applies during the bike leg when you need to keep 12m away from the next competitor. This gives you time to think, suffer and to try enjoy the scenery of a different place (yes not Beach Road). It was so nice to ride through the countryside and under the Arch of Victory on the Avenue of Honour in Ballarat;
  • You need to pace yourself as it is a long day – This is true to an extent, but as you get more experience you learn where you can and can’t push your body harder. Knowing that I had a run target, I would have to pace myself very well, but push my limits – I think I pushed too hard early in the run – but from a mental perspective I just tried to keep going even though when it was very tough to keep up my pace;

 “Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.” DEAN KARNAZES

  • There is a mental side to it – There is no doubt about the mental side especially on the run when you are getting tired, but also on the swim when concentration is needed to keep your line and from getting kicked etc. by fellow competitors and on the cycle in maintaining the gap to avoid penalties and to keeping focus and speed for close to 3 hours; and
  • Strategy is important – You need a strategy and goal for the day, but you also need little contingency plans during the event to manage unexpected issues. This was a factor in Ballarat with the cold swim and the very windy ride. Strategy also applies to your training plan and preparation for the day.

I just watched the movie Hands of Stone. This is the biography of Roberta Duran and his trainer Ray Arcel. Arcel becomes a mentor to the ferocious fighter, convincing him that winning ultimately comes down to technique (Arcel describes this as the SHORT Term – It covers every move and in boxing every punch) and strategy (Arcel describes this as the LONG Term – The plan for the Fight – You apply your technique to achieve your GOAL). His comments don’t only apply to boxing! “The minute the day is set for the fight, then the fight is on, right there. And Ray Arcel amplifies that ability that Roberto Duran already had rooted in him, of understanding the importance of the psychological warfare, psychological strategy and tactics that are pivotal to the sport. I mean, boxing is a sport that you lose or you win in your head already, and he understood it very well.”

In this week’s Torah portion shows Jacob as a man of action. Jacob has a STRATEGY in preparing for possible hostilities from his brother Esau, Jacob took all practical measures possible. He prepared in three separate ways — by praying to G‑d for deliverance, by appeasing his brother with gifts, and by planning for war if it should become necessary. His byword was action. Jacob took every practical measure possible to safeguard the lives of his children and the continuity of the Jewish nation. He did not make any surveys of the situation, nor waste time on statistical analysis.

Up above I mentioned that triathlon is an individual sport, which it is, BUT there is also a team element that includes family, friends and the people that I train with. These people are your support. When I was young and I watched the Comrades Marathon, I loved seeing Bruce Fordyce chasing down a fellow competitor and then going past them, but as a competitor I did not like going past a friend and training partner who I could see was suffering. The thoughts that went through my mind – Please stay with me, should I slow down and help him to the end and am I going to hit a wall!

I heard a brilliant quote from 5 times Beach Volleyball Olympian (YES) Kerri Walsh Jennings on the Rich Roll PODCAST[ii] – “I don’t want to be better than you or her or him—I want to be better than I am right now.” – KERRI WALSH JENNINGS

Professional triathlete Clayton Fettel posted on Twitter “Thanks to everyone’s support, the triathlon community can be a very supportive network and should be. Well done to all that raced today.” One of the amazing things about going to races is all the people you meet and the stories they tell. Met an amazing guy before the race who had done 5 events in 4 weeks including a full Ironman. I said that it is an expensive exercise and he said his Mum had just passed away and he was doing it in her memory with a tear in his eye. I was so happy to see him on the run course and give him a pat on the back and have a few words. These are moments of inspiration that make competing so good…

At the back of my mind during the race I was thinking about Craig Percival who had just passed away. Craig was a 45-year-old father, triathlete and coach. I have never met Craig, but some friends were coached by him and I had heard him talk on various Podcasts. Craig had recently completed 8 Ironman’s in 8 days in 8 states (8in8in8) for charity which was amazing and very inspiring.  After a knee operation[iii], a blood clot (embolism) which travelled to his lungs, caused multiple heart attacks. He then went into a coma for six days and his life support was eventually turned off. Such a fit guy…. I think the message is that we need to treasure our lives, the people in our lives and do the things that we love! As my Mom says – “Forget the crap”.

This year we parked very far from our car, walking to the car pushing my bike I enjoyed cheering on fellow athletes who were yet to finish and thank the volunteers who had to work for long hours as the day got warmer. It was so nice to see a smile when you say “Go Max, Louis or Nicole” to an athlete or try motivate them to carry on running, knowing that they did not have far to go.

screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-2-14-43-pmWalking in the City last week I noticed an advert outside George Jensen with a picture of Norwegian Boxer Cecilia Brækhus. Cecilia holds numerous world titles and is undefeated in 29 fights. The advert featured a quote “You can never be too strong”. (Watch the ad[iv] )

I noticed an article[v] in The Age, the article mentions a new book, How to Create Hunger in Paradise. The author Rasmus Ankersen heads a chapter: “Principle #1: Never Trust Success.” The article discusses how teams that have done so well one year (example Leicester winning the EPL), fall from grace.

I think that both the quote and article resonate with me. I always believe that I can get better, I try improve my performance, I never rest on my laurels and I always try to take my training seriously. Rich Roll who I often quote, talks about making every workout count! In an article[vi] by Lionel Sanders who I have mentioned in previous Blogs says:

“There are three crucial areas that you can improve endurance in when preparing for an Ironman:

    A long run.

    A long ride.

    A long day.”

I can say I did them all – The long run, the long ride and the big BRICK session!

“I have a big 2017 planned, taking a few days now to regroup, re focus and go all guns blazing into the new year.” – Clayton Fettel

 “What’s on your 2017 Fu#kItList?  Commit a challenge to paper. If you fail to plan…you are planning to fail“! (Ben Franklin said that) – Jesse Itzler @the100MileMan – Author of Living With A SEAL

 I think that Goals and Challenges are very important – I say to myself that I don’t need to do these organised events – they are stressful, often inconvenient, expensive etc. – BUT they do provide you with a goal and an impetus to train and keep fit. This year I have had a busy year with an ultra-marathon, 2 marathons and an Ironman 70.3 – Now I need some good REST and then I will think about 2017.

I think @thebodycoach sums up my training and my day “Work hard, play well and make other people happy

[i] https://www.facebook.com/IRONMANAsiaPac/videos/1335626316501852/

[ii] http://www.richroll.com/podcast/kerri-walsh-jennings/

[iii] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3998520/Ironman-father-two-dies-knee-surgery-complications-caused-multiple-heart-attacks.html#ixzz4SakwqmZR

[iv] http://www.georgjensen.com/en-au/campaigns/cecilia

[v] http://www.theage.com.au/sport/soccer/no-mystery-in-leicesters-fall-from-grace-20161205-gt4ps6.html

[vi] https://lsanderstri.com/2016/11/25/imaz-lessons-part-1/

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One Comment
  1. Mom permalink

    Loved your blog this week. Especially enjoy the quotes & words of inspiration that are have an impact &a meaning. Well done for the excellent triathalon result &a great blog. You deserve ‘mazel & success’!!!

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