Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Abstract Marathoning: Part 4

A Personal Case Study

In an attempt to provide true insight into the more important factors that make up peak sporting performance, I'm going to document my own experiences preparing for and recovering from a long distance endurance event. In my case, it is the 2014 Sanlam Cape Town Marathon. What follows is the first installment of what I hope will provide an insightful look into the mind of an ordinary bloke who, while extremely competitive in nature, competes for the love of the activity and the process. Attaining one's desired results doesn't have to be all blood and guts, it really can be fun and pain free!

The ebb and flow of daily life.

For many of us part-timers, there exists times where we cannot reasonably expect to fulfill our personal sporting pursuits. Those days where “life gets in the way” are loathed by many; seemingly external factors such as work, family, weather, social obligations etc tend wreak havoc into even the most progressive of training approaches.

In these instances though, is life really getting in the way?

I suspect not in many cases. Sometimes these factors that cause us to miss or curtail training sessions exist for a reason. Call it inverse synchronicity if you like, but developing one’s ability to go with the flow starts with accepting any given circumstances that may derail the perfect training plan.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Abstract Marathoning: Part 3

A Personal Case Study

In an attempt to provide true insight into the more important factors that make up peak sporting performance, I'm going to document my own experiences preparing for and recovering from a long distance endurance event. In my case, it is the 2014 Sanlam Cape Town Marathon. What follows is the first installment of what I hope will provide an insightful look into the mind of an ordinary bloke who, while extremely competitive in nature, competes for the love of the activity and the process. Attaining one's desired results doesn't have to be all blood and guts, it really can be fun and pain free!

“Don’t worry if you start to feel good during a marathon; it won’t last long.”

Don Kardong, US Olympic Marathoner.

Whilst the above quote is not verbatim, the profound and sage Kardong does have a point. Racing to one’s maximum capability hurts. In fact, I cannot think of one competition over almost three decades of my own endurance sports participation where I did not consider quitting at least once. The human brain is a powerful mechanism, where an individual’s current state of emotions relative to the circumstance can often predetermine the result.

Why are many athletes so negative in their attitude?

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Abstract Marathoning: Part 2

A Personal Case Study

In an attempt to provide true insight into the more important factors that make up peak sporting performance, I'm going to document my own experiences preparing for and recovering from a long distance endurance event. In my case, it is the 2014 Sanlam Cape Town Marathon. What follows is the first instalment of what I hope will provide an insightful look into the mind of an ordinary bloke who, while extremely competitive in nature, competes for the love of the activity and the process. Attaining one's desired results doesn't have to be all blood and guts, it really can be fun and pain free!

Feel free to email me with any questions or comments.

As an internationally acclaimed chiropractor recently stated:

“While statistics are useful, they are like bikinis in that they reveal a lot but not everything.”

They call it intuition; that little voice of reason inside your head which instinctively knows what the correct course of action is for any given situation. Intuition and instinct need to be developed over time though, in order to counteract that other major psychological factor called ego.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Abstract Marathoning: Part 1

A Personal Case Study

In an attempt to provide true insight into the more important factors that make up peak sporting performance, I'm going to document my own experiences preparing for and recovering from a long distance endurance event. In my case, it is the 2014 Sanlam Cape Town Marathon. What follows is the first instalment of what I hope will provide an insightful look into the mind of an ordinary bloke who, while extremely competitive in nature, competes for the love of the activity and the process. Attaining one's desired results doesn't have to be all blood and guts, it really can be fun and pain free! Feel free to email me with any questions or comments. Happy National Braai Day!

Easter Saturday 2014. Having finished the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon just outside the mythical silver medal-winning four hour barrier, I was pretty satisfied with my performance. With a busy few months leading up this event, my preparation was very personalised, which many may deem as rather abstract or non-conformist. That is fine though; what works for one person does not necessarily translate well to others. Such is the beauty and intrigue of life!

Whilst satisfied with this performance and euphoric in the journey leading up to that point, I must admit that I was not exactly enthralled with how my body felt. More specifically, my left calcaneus was severely inflamed and was as stiff as hell. In short, I felt slightly crippled for several days afterwards.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Instinctively Synchronised

Saunas, ego and nurturing personal instinct

When does education stop?

This was the title of a stirring essay by the late James A. Michener, a highly acclaimed author of family saga novels with historical and geographical themes. I've got a printed out copy of Mr. Michener’s piece at home and have re-read it many times. I must admit to a feeling of intense motivation each time I read the essay, although I’m not always sure exactly what I’m motivated for. One thing I do know is that writings like these have led to a constantly evolving personal perspective of many things over the years as well as an unquenchable thirst for knowledge.

A famous former Le Tour winner once related how he loved testing his limits. In an attempt to understand his own physiology as well as the equipment he had at his disposal, the rider in question referenced such seemingly mundane examples as seeing how far a seat pin could be tightened until the thread stripped to observing his how his sleep patterns evolved through intended bouts of over training. One of his contemporaries even gauged his personal physical “hardness” by seeing how long he could stay in a sauna at pre-Grand Tour training camps!

Friday, 5 September 2014

Rockley Montgomery: Rock of Ages


Gees, vasbyt and sprint finishes in Sun City

For those triathletes around in the 1980s, Rockley Montogmery was synonymous with South Africa's flagship triathlon of the time. With a strong canoeing culture, the nationally televised Leppin Ironman tested athletes across the disciplines of canoeing, cycling and running.

A five-time champion of this event, Germiston-native Montgomery showed his mettle across many a multi-sporting code, with a World Quadrathlon title and victory at the Durban Ultra swim triathlon being but a few of his many dominating victories.

This is his story.

On his entry into the fledgling sport of canoe triathlon:

“Being a frustrated middle-distance track runner that had lost motivation due to not being able to race internationally, I got excited about triathlon, when one Saturday afternoon in early 1986, I was sitting on the balcony of a high-rise flat overlooking the Victoria Lake. Whilst having a beer with Richard Holliday (2nd in the 1987 Iron Man), we witnessed one of the early running’s of a triathlon at Victoria Lake Canoe club. We could not figure out what was going on when we saw canoe’s going around the lake, then cycles leaving the club grounds, then cycles returning, then runners leaving and so on. We went down to the club to find out what this was all about. At the club we bumped into Larry Lombard, a journalist whom I knew from my running days and he filled us in on this new sport that was growing like a wildfire across the country. This was the spark that motivated both Richard and me to go out that very week and buy a bike and a canoe. A few weeks later, I entered my first triathlon race, the VLC champs. I guess the rest is history.”

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Mandy Dean: PE's original Ironlady

80's trail-blazing in Europe

In a time when South Africa was still banned from the international sporting arena, a small party of local triathletes made their way to Europe to pursue their dreams of making a living from the sport. ‘Trailblazing’ their way across the continent, this closely-knit group eventually produced two world champions, paving the way for several young South African triathletes to find places in French and German clubs.

One of these hardy individuals was a lady by the name of Mandy Dean, whom most SA triathletes of today would probably have never heard of. A native of Port Elizabeth, Dean pursued a professional triathlon career internationally for over five years, before returning to her home shores. A true pioneer of the sport here in South Africa, Mandy is now a swimming coach in her hometown, providing up and coming youngsters with a platform to develop their skills at an elite level.

“I spent my entire youth swimming up and down a black line” recalls Dean of her formative sporting years. “I was more into the social element, however, and moved into surf lifesaving as I got older.”