Posted in Cycling, Hobie Beach, Ironman, Ordinarylife, Port Elizabeth, Running, Shark Rock Pier, South Africa, Swimming, Training, Triathlon, weather, Wetsuit

I am chicken! And not afraid to admit it.

So as I said in the last post, I am pretty happy with my body at the moment.  It is doing what I want – now I just need to work on my MIND!!  It is seriously letting the side down.


I am a chicken – I don’t deny it.  Lots of things scare me!  Heights, strong winds, big seas, sharks, jelly fish, success…Actually the list could go on. 


Most Friday afternoon’s we go for a sea swim from Hobie Beach.  There are usually quite a few people there but when the wind picks up, in particular when the Easterly picks up most people stay away, most sensible people – not my friends.  I went down expecting (hoping) them to cancel.  I hung around, sure they would cancel.  There was a serious Easterly blowing, which means rough seas and if the easterly has been blowing long enough Bluebottles (man o’ war) and jelly fish.  I rarely swim if there is an easterly, but my excuse of bluebottles was falling on deaf ears – the sea was still clear!  They decided to go out!  I was going to have to do this.  I need new friends? 



As we were entering the water we spoke to a few people coming out, they said it was fine until you turned around and tried to swim back.  Hmmm, ok!  So we went in and they were right, it was fine.  So what if you smacked down as the wave passed, or that you swallowed half the sea?  I was actually enjoying myself.  So WHY, oh WHY did I decided to swim ashore at the turn around and walk back.  I was scared!  Or at least I thought I should be scared!  East’s scare me, right?  I had felt the rip, and knew it would feel choppier on the way back.  But so what!  I am a chicken, it is the only excuse I have.  As I walked along the shore I felt disappointed, I could see my friends swimming and they were doing fine.  I could have done it, and here I was walking!  I felt like kicking myself. 


And then what do I go and do????  Almost the exact same thing on Sunday!  You would have thought I would have learnt.  The only difference was this time it was on the bike.  I pulled out at the ½ way stage in our ride.  It was windy and raining and I am scared of the wind – I always say I am scared of the wind.  I don’t ride if it is windy?  But I was actually enjoying myself – so why did I pull out?  I think my MIND just is not up for this.  It thinks I should be scared so then tells me not to continue. 

On a calmer day!
On a calmer day!




I know I should be proud that I went out even for the 1st halves.  Most people did not, and as I am reading what I have written I am beginning to feel a bit better about the whole thing.  There were not many people in the sea on Friday.  Less than ½ of the usual culprits, and yet I still went out.  So, I walked back – I had already swum nearly a kilometer by that stage.  And on Sunday, there were only 3 of our group that even started cycling and we did not see many other cyclists on the road.  I still did 62km, and I was not the only one to pull out at the ½ way.  In fact only one girl continued; still I should have joined her.


But I suppose I am getting better, slowly.  At least I went out!

Posted in Cycling, Ironman, Ordinarylife, Port Elizabeth, Running, Shark Rock Pier, South Africa, Swimming, Training, Triathlon, weather

Added advantage!

I am really lucky to live in the city where Ironman South Africa is held.  Well, I probably would not even know that such an event even existed if it were not for the fact that it were held here, so luck probably does not have much to do with it – but still.  If I were lucky I would have won the lottery last night!


Anyway, living in Port Elizabeth most definitely has a lot of advantages.  We get to practice and train on the route and swim in the sea.  It helps a lot.  You get more confidence and get to experience it in all different conditions.


Take this weekend for example; on Friday evening after work I went down to the beach for a swim, as we usually do most Friday’s.  There was a strong Westerly blowing, but the sea was flat (usually is when there is a west) and really beautiful (not to clear, so I did not have to shut my eyes) and there were a lot of swimmers in the water (I like my odds then).  I think I had my best swim of the season.  We start at Hobie Beach, which is where the actual race starts and although we don’t swim as far out as we would in the race but we do swim in the general area.  I feel very sorry for competitors from other parts of the country or world where they are not able to get this experience.


Then on Saturday we cycled the route.  In Ironman South Africa the cycle leg is a loop that you do 3 times, each one is 60 km.  Once again there was a strong Westerly blowing and a bit of rain early on, but we decided to go anyway.  I am really glad we did.  We did the loop twice, and our speed was pretty much the same on each loop.  I am sure if we had done a 3rd loop our speed would not have dropped much more either.  In fact it might have picked up as the wind dropped.  I am really happy with the improvements in my cycling (although I am still unsure about how much of the improvement is me, and how much is my bike).  This was the first time that I have done the route since my last IM, and my average speed was 4km/hour faster than it has ever been on the route before!  If it carries on like this I am hoping to drop an hour of my cycle time!


I am sure that most of the improvement has to do with the bike, but I do know that some of it must be me.  On my ride this morning my bike computer passed the 1000km mark.  That means that since I received my bike in December I have done 1000 km.  Woo hoo – 1000km, well 1006 to be precise.  If you add this to the kilometers I did on my old bike since I started training again you get nearly double the distance I did in training for the last IM.  DOUBLE!! And I still have 8 ½ weeks left till race day.  I think I will probably add another 800 – 1000 km on the clock. 


I suppose the strangest thing to me about all of this is how much I am enjoying cycling.  Before I just would not get on a bike!  If I did ride I was a total stress bubble by the time I got off.  I would look for any excuse not to ride. A slight breeze – it was too windy!  Dark clouds – it looked like it might rain!  A Saturday morning – might be too much traffic (yes at 5 o clock), rather ride on Sunday.  If anybody asked me what was my weakest disciple I would instantly say cycling.  Now I don’t really know?  I mean, it is not that I am good or fast in any of them, it is just that I am not really much worse at one that any of the others.  I like it this way.  

Posted in Hobie Beach, Ironman, Ordinarylife, Port Elizabeth, Shark Rock Pier, Swimming, Training, Triathlon

I have competition

On Friday afternoon I went down to the beach front for an open water swim.  I was standing near the back of my car pulling on my wet suit when this family walked past me.  The little boy, who must have been about 7 years old, stopped and looked at me very seriously and asked; “Are you training for Ironman?”  Wow, ok I thought he must have a parent that is also training.  So I said “yes, I am” 


He then very proudly said “So am I”. 


It was so sweet, he was so serious.  Every year, the day before actual Ironman event, they have what they call the Ironman Kids, so I am assuming that is what he is probably training for and taking it very seriously.  It is very cute and I go and watch.  To finish they get to run down the actually finishing cute and get a big medal.


Anyway, so I asked him how his training was going and he said well, so I wished him luck.  He said thank you and ran off to catch up with his parents.


You know Ironman Fever has hit this city when the 7 year olds are taking it very seriously!


Pritt Ironman Kids 2008
Pritt Ironman Kids 2008
Posted in Hobie Beach, Ironman, Ocean Racing Series, Ordinarylife, Port Elizabeth, Shark Rock Pier, South Africa, Swimming, Training, Triathlon

How to get the heart racing on a Monday morning!

The newspapers sure know how to give a girl a heart attack – and how to sell newspapers!


The headlines on the bill boards all the way down the streets were “Killer Shark Attack” and such likes.  When I saw the first one I nearly crashed my car.  Holy crap – I was in the sea on Friday.  Ok, I am usually in the sea on Fridays, but still.


I rushed onto the office and grabbed the paper.  “Lifeguard savaged to death by shark”!  Crap, crap, crap!


Next thought – what beach?  Scan the article…”A lifeguard watched in horror as his friend was savaged to death by a giant shark while they were swimming together at Port St Johns at the weekend”   Port St, Port St Johns, not Port Elizabeth.  Phew!!!!   Phew!!!! Phew!!!!


Obviously it is really sad when ever anybody dies, but my first thoughts were purely selfish.  Thank fully it was miles away from Port Elizabeth in an area that is renowned for attacks.  Port Elizabeth is still safe?????  Woo, hoo, this will probably not alleviate any fears I have but at least should not exacerbate them.  For now I will continue to swim in groups and with my eyes shut. 

Posted in Hobie Beach, Ironman, Ordinarylife, Port Elizabeth, Running, Shark Rock Pier, South Africa, Training, Triathlon

I made a start

I think I must just get used to the fact that I can either have pretty feet or I can do sport!  It is a one or another situation – and I choose sport!


I don’t know what it is with me but I blister, even on the shortest of runs.  Not that last night’s run was short!  We did 15 LONG kilometers…. Not bad for my first run in ages, in fact I was quite impressed with myself.  I was not all that social though.  The people I was running with were chatting away and it was all I could do to remember to put one foot in front of the other and breath at the same time.  Hopefully it will get better though.


At least we had nice weather and we ran along the beachfront which always makes everything seem easier, it is so beautiful and we even spotted a couple of whales just off the shore.

Posted in Hobie Beach, Ironman, Ocean Racing Series, Ordinarylife, Port Elizabeth, Shark Rock Pier, Swimming, Training, UNISA

Thank you.

Thank you so much for all your good luck wishes.  I think the exam went well.  Or at least I thought it went very well until I started checking the answers!  I put the book away and will worry about it when the results come.  There is nothing I can do now anyway.




Then, I took these photo’s a couple of weeks ago.  It was the morning of the Ocean Race Series where I pulled out after a couple of meters because of my shoulder.  Now you can see why I was so miserable. The sea, although cold, was perfect for swimming!!!! 




Perfect Sea from Hobie Beach



Hobie Beach
Hobie Beach




Posted in Family, Hobie Beach, Ordinarylife, Politics, Port Elizabeth, Shark Rock Pier, Triathlon

A Land of Contrasts

Today is Blog Action Day, and the theme is poverty. 


I have started this post so many times and then deleted what I had written.  What can I write about poverty?  Actually there are so many things I could write about it I don’t know where to start, and yet I have not experienced it personally.  I suppose the closest I came was when I was living in England and working in a factory.  I had to budget so well just to make sure I had enough money to get to work in the mornings but that is still not real poverty.  It is not the poverty that we see around us in Port Elizabeth every single day.


In South Africa there are so many contrasts.  Yes, a lot of it has to do with the past policies but not all.  We can’t blame everything on the past.  The present has to take some responsibility as well.  What about the children that are living in child headed households due to the HIV/AIDS policy and non supply of antiretroviral drugs.  The lack of housing, the greasing of certain hands, the inadequate and incorrect spending of various municipal budgets.  But on my blog I stay away from politics, so I won’t go there!


I will just write about something I saw last Sunday.  I went down to the beach to watch a triathlon.  All lined up nicely in the cordoned off transition area were these fantastic bikes.  Some of them worth much more than my car – yes I know bike envy rearing its ugly head again.  I mean if you take what the average triathlete had spent on their equipment it would have been quite a bit.  Even if you take my near the bottom of the range stuff it still adds up.  And there right next to the transition area, taking shelter against a small wall was a row of street children still sleeping under blankets, cardboard and newspapers.  The contrast was huge!  These kids have absolutely nothing.  I don’t know if I have never noticed them before because I am always taking part and so am more focused on setting up or if they are not usually there but it really upset me.  What can these kids be thinking?  Here we are laughing and sucking on our energy gels for extra sustenance.  Those gels probably had more energy in them than the foods these kids had eaten all week. 


The kids I volunteer with at the children’s home really are the lucky ones.  Even though they have probably been through things we could not even imagine they are now well cared for and protected.  There are still so many children that are in desperate need of help.

Posted in Exams, Ocean Racing Series, Office, Ordinarylife, Shark Rock Pier, Studying, Swimming, UNISA, Work

If you are happy and you know it clap your hands!

For some reason I feel happy – AND I AM NOT SURE WHY!!!!!


On Sunday it was the first swim of the Ocean Swim Series and I was SO looking forward to it.  The swim only started at 9 but I got there at about 7 just to check out the water etc.  I registered for the 2 km swim as the sea was flat, clear and it looked lovely.  It was slightly cold but other than that it looked to be perfect.  Hmmmmmm!!!!!!  I got about 20m and had to turn round.  My shoulder totally bombed out on me and was in absolute agony!!!  So much for taking a weeks rest and thinking it would be fine.  I now have booked a physio appointment for Wednesday!


Then this morning – I failed my exam!! And yes I have got the results back so it is not just a feeling.  I needed to get 75% to pass and I only got 68%.  That sucks big time!


So who knows why I am feeling happy, but long may it continue.  Maybe it is a nervous reaction to failing???? 


Very ironically as I walked out the exam room and put on my phone I received a message from UNISA (not who I was writing this exam with) saying “Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success. Good luck/ endurance and wisdom towards your exams”.  Talk about perfect timing!!!


I write my UNISA exams at the end of the month.  Before that I need to write this one again and then another – all before Friday!



Posted in Hobie Beach, Ironman, Ocean Racing Series, Ordinarylife, Port Elizabeth, Shark Rock Pier, Swimming, Training, Wetsuit

Global warming, I think not?????

On Sunday it is the first swim of the Ocean Racing Series!!  I have been waiting for this for – well since the end of the last series in March. 


There is only one little problem – the weather forecast!!!  Where the heck is global warming????  It is October and supposed to be spring going into summer and it looks like this – maximum 19!  Surely that can’t be right???


Let’s hope they have it wrong (quite possible) and it turns out to be a beautiful day.  I am holding thumbs



Sunday, 05 October 20085 October 2008


Min Temp:


Max Temp:



Partly cloudy.


light southerly but fresh easterly in the afternoon



Sun Rise:


Sun Set:


Moon Rise:


Moon Set:


Moon Phase:



Posted in Cycling, Hobie Beach, Ironman, Ocean Racing Series, Ordinarylife, Port Elizabeth, Running, Shark Rock Pier, Swimming, Training, Triathlon, Wetsuit

So I think I’ve remembered everything?

So I decided to get organized for this triathlon.  I set everything out on Saturday.  Last time I forgot my watch and a towel so this time I was determined that I would remember everything!  And I did – except to shave my legs….


I woke up on Sunday morning and debated it, but thought they were not too bad and nobody would notice anyway.  I mean I had shaved them on Friday so it was only a day and a bit.  I got down to registration, paid my fees and then went for body marking – oh crap I had forgotten about that!  They write your race number on your leg with black marker pen.  This meant somebody else was getting up close and personal with my prickly legs.  And it was cold and I had goose bumps which made things seem much worse than they actually were!  Embarrassment!  So after each triathlon you learn a bit more. 


Other than that – and something very dodging going on with bike computer all went well.


I got into transition after the swim and there were still bikes there.  Bikes – yippee, that meant I was not last coming out the water!  It was a novel experience and one I liked!  The rest of the race went pretty well too, although I am not sure how fast I went on my bike as the computer thingy went all funny on me, but I must have done pretty well.  My time for the whole thing was the same as last time – even though they had extended the swim.  I am very happy with it.


The only think I am not happy with is my shoulder.  It is still playing up and I think I am going to have to rest it for a week or so.  So no swimming for me this week!  It is also the start of the Ocean Racing Series on Sunday and I want to compete in that, so I will take it easy and see how I feel on Sunday morning.