Sunday, February 20, 2011

Transformation: Triathlon Style

Dave Scott and Mark Allen battle: The best Ironman athletes EVER

  15.7% to 8.6%: Referring to my body fat % when I joined up with the “PM Institute of Sport” to my measured reading last week. (Measured 4 weeks in a row on the same Tanita scale)

75.1 Kg to 76.3 Kg: Referring to my weight distribution with arriving here and my weight as of last weekend. (1.3Kg gain)

 In a brief synopsis, I have lost 7.1% of my body fat, all while gaining 1.3 Kg in the process, meaning I am burning fat but gaining muscle. My guess is that the muscle is accumulating on my legs mostly as I have been riding much more consistently, spending hours in the saddle.  I attribute this to my coach, my training partners, and the volume of my training as well as my new housemate whom helps me keep in check with my dietary habits. (note that after receiving the 8.6% reading last week, I gave it my best effort to gain it all back over a couple heaping dinners haha)

Upon my decision to arrive in Western Australia months ago, one of the short term goals was to put together a decent Half Ironman Race if it was possible. To this point I have done a variety of triathlons ranging from the super sprint to one 70.3 distance at the inaugural TryCharleston race in May 2010, which was a heat wave!  Now that I realize it, it will be almost exactly one year to the day that I will be doing the Busselton 70.3 Ironman in Western Australia, from my 1st experience with the distance. Ever since then, a lot has changed and one of the main things that has progressed positively concerning the race is my all around training. 

   Just 5 weeks out from the 70.3 distance last year, I was notified of a comp entry into the event because I was on the staff for TrySports, whom was the main sponsor. As a challenge to myself and the staff, I gladly accepted the entry and decided I needed to buy a bike and perhaps starting swimming again. Needless to say, the event was a HUGE learning experience for me and as I crossed the line I said "never again". Well now I am ready to take on the challenge but this time I realize there are no real short cuts as I was optimistic about last year. To make myself put forth a proper effort I have even gathered a coach whose intensity in training is renowned all over “Dub A” aka Western Australia.  To prepare for racing years ago he actually did 101 1/4m repeats on the track in a single day, just because Zatopek did 100 so he wanted to give it a crack!

  The true transformation of my triathlon experience has affected several factors in my life, one of which is socializing. For those of you whom may know me from back home, I have always been a pretty social guy, trying to squeeze in that last bit of time to see friends or maybe to host some random party. Here I am in a place where I know few people and the ones I do know are so wrapped up in their training habits, besides the morning 1hr coffee break no one really has nightlife besides calling it an early evening. Sacrifice is something that many of us struggle with day in and day out. Are you trying to save up for that dream house or maybe that shiny BMW, what sacrifices will it take in order to make it happen? Same goes for triathlon; early bed times followed by an early wake up are required in order to satisfy a proper training regimen supplemented with adequate recovery time.

  Fortunately for me I am able to train with some pretty stellar athletes who are dedicated to the cause and to making these sacrifices. It's very interesting to take a step back and look into the world of an endurance athlete, plain and simple, WE ARE CRAZY. But that's what I love about it, we aren't afraid to push ourselves to a new limit that so many fear. After reading an interview on about Kyle Pawlaczyk , I realized that I in fact cherish the fact that I am able to do so much in the world of sport. In short Kyle is an up and coming triathlon star whom slept on a blow up mattress for years and firmly says    " I wouldn't trade it for the world" even though he actually has his masters degree. One hurdle that I see so many athletes face is having a significant other and spreading themselves thin in order to appease every facet of life, but thats a completely different blog post! Over this last year of my life I have made a point to take a step out of my comfort zone with any and everything in my life that I could. My logic in this is that by taking steps into numerous directions with my living situation, career, and athletic hobbies, it can only get easier from here in life. 

Macca grabbing a GU in the Hills

  Often times I am at a struggle against myself as to step out of that door at 5:30am in order to knock out my bike interval session or to hit the pool. We all have days of struggle but I have been working intensely on making this as a lifestyle by choice to see how far I can go. As people have asked me "Aren't you on a working holiday? There is a reason it's called a holiday Chris" I tell them that its life, hard work is a part of my existence. I will be posting later about my swash buckling career in the Australian workforce, but as a brief glimpse into my life I will provide a recap of the last 2 weeks for me, in terms of training and working. 14 days in a row I have worked one job or another or 2 to three jobs in the same day while fitting in my training sessions. It has been one heck of a run but I think I may be signing off at one of my casual jobs due to the fact that I never have time to see friends, see the country or even get the proper training in. Often times, I am waking up at 5:20am to head out the door and eventually riding my bike back home into the night to arrive at 10pm and right to bed. (as a side note, I have been busting my butt in order to save up some $ for an upcoming mini holiday session)

   Thus far I have really transformed my lifestyle to mimic that of a champion or so I hope! People are in awe when they find out that after one job, I am riding my bike to the next, but its the grind and its apart of me. Some may judge me for this or that, but those who know me, know that putting in a 50hr work week isn't that unthinkable, even on a working holiday across the world or as some would say "Paradise". Thank you to all of the people who have had faith in me back home to push me to this new place and thank you to those new friends I now see on a daily basis. Let's see how this whole Triathlon thing wraps up on May 7th at my Half Ironman!

The Philosopher