Travel and sickness plagues Knut’s second month of training

The Project Hero athletes are well into the second month of Ironman Putrajaya 70.3 training. It’s at about this time where it seems to get harder to maintain the momentum. In Knut’s case, he had business trips to go on during Weeks 5 through 7. On top of that, he started getting the flu too. Read on to see how he coped:

Week 5/12

Another week of travels and training, In fact the next few weeks will be full of business and leisure travel so I am worried about how I can stick to the training plan.

The Monday swim which now has become a welcome start of the week did not go too well. I felt I was stressing and actually I was thinking about swimming fast most of the time. Wanted to see if I could get my time further down. Was trying to push as hard as I could for the distance but when I checked my time afterwards I was disappointed to see that I had gone at exactly the same time as previous week. This made me realize something my old coaches told me back in the day, that you should not focus on time during training, only your technique and effort. And I realized I had gotten way too focused on my time. So from now on I will try to force myself to not think about the time/speed during the sessions. Get the technique right and results will follow πŸ™‚

The Tuesday morning run with 6 hill sprints went well. The new shoes felt good with no pain in my feet. I did not dare to go 100% in the hill sprints though as my hamstring has been getting tight and I was afraid of pulling it. After the run I had to hurry and shower and call a cab as I headed to Manila for another business trip.

This meant another hotel pool swim on Wednesday afternoon. My regular hotel as full so I had to book at a hotel I had never stayed at before. My first question at check-in was how long is your pool, I was very happy to hear it was 25m. Many hotels have very short dipping pools only.

I had planned my swim after my last meeting and before dinner, did not have much spare time so as I got back to my room after work I changed immediately and headed for the pool. By the way I always feel a bit silly walking around in the hotel and taking the lift in bathrobe and slippers, but they call it a home away from home so what can you do.

At the pool I “unrobed” and put on my swim cap, earplugs and goggles. Walked up to the pool and turned on my watch – only to hear beep beep. Screen didn’t come on and nothing more happened, I pressed the power on button several times and all that came out of the watch was beep beep. I was getting worried it was broken and tried all different kind of button combinations. After 5 minutes, I decided to go back to my room and luckily it turned out my watch was just out of battery. So after 40 minutes of recharge I was ready to go again.

The swim turned interesting as it was getting dark outside, and the pool did not have that much lights. In addition my goggles started fogging so I didn’t see much at all. I hit the side wall 3 times, and almost went nose first into the end-wall, was one millimeter away from hitting it hard. Was also joined by another hotel guest that seemed to want to race. He waited for me as I made my turn and then swam past me, this repeated 4-5 times, but then he stopped. I still had 60 or lengths to go…

Hotel pool, 25m lap lane. Hit the side wall on the right because it was getting dark and foggy goggles.

Hotel pool, 25m lap lane. Hit the side wall on the right because it was getting dark and foggy goggles.

Funnily on Wenesday I met with one of my clients there and when I told her I had started training for triathlon her reaction was opposite of what most people have. She exclaimed “oh no!! WHy?! Now you will start looking dragged and tired!”. I had to laugh and she explained one of her colleagues had started training for the Philippine Ironman events to lose weight and apparently she though he looked increasingly tired πŸ™‚

Thursday I had my return flight to KL, so had to fit in the run in the morning. Being in the middle of Manila there are not a lot of options when it comes to running, but there is a small park called Ayala triangle that runners seem to flock to. It is only about 1km around, so for my 15km run I had to do what felt like one million rounds! J Quite nice to see a lot of runners there though, any time of day, but there is also a lot of traffic driving around the park so you breathe in a lot of exhaust.

14 rounds in the middle of Manila

14 rounds in the middle of Manila

Friday we headed to Singapore to meet up with some good friends who were passing through on their way back to Switzerland from a holiday in Korea and Japan. I knew of course this would mess up the training plan a bit, but good friends are certainly more important in life than even Ironman. Last week was our recovery week but we did this week’s long biking then, as we knew that would not be possible in Singapore.
Instead I hit the gym on Saturday morning and did 30 minutes intense ride on one of the gym bikes, first time have seen my wattage although I admit I don’t exactly understand what it means πŸ™‚ After the biking I got out and did a 20 minute brick easy brick run.

Gym bike, with HR, watt, speed AND TV :)

Gym bike, with HR, watt, speed AND TV πŸ™‚

Sunday we headed back to KL, and I had thought of maybe doing a quick spin session on the trainer in the evening. But felt really tired and my nose had started clogging up on the plane, so dropped it. Turned out it was the first sign of flu that would knock me out by the end of the coming week…

What we mostly did in Singapore :)

What we mostly did in Singapore πŸ™‚

Next week I would be heading to Auckland and Sydney, so flu was definitely not welcome.

Overall I felt good with the training though, on good days I think I should sign up for the full Ironman as well, on bad days I worry if I will be able to finish half πŸ™‚



Project Hero week 6/12

I knew on Monday this would be one of the most challenging weeks so far, because I would have trips to Auckland and Sydney – which meant tight meeting schedules and timezone travel leading to potential jetlag. On top of this my nose was running on Sunday night so I feared I might be catching a flu. By the end of the week my concerns had proven true and I had missed my first trainings since starting on this plan πŸ™

Monday started well enough though. Nose still running but not too bad and I felt well. So the swim on Monday evening after work passed without any special events, only that we had to hurry because I had to get to the airport by 9pm for my flight to Auckland. So no time for dinner, just shower and change and get into the car.

Running in the country of dwarven legends

Running in the country of dwarven legends

Before going to Auckland I had checked the weather forecast and it seemed good enough, 20-24 degrees should be good training temperatures. However, what I had not thought about was that I would do my training late at night or early in the morning, so it would be colder. Upon arrival I had just time to go to the hotel, change and run to my meetings which extended to dinner. Was back at hotel at around 9.30pm, did someΒ  work emails got changed and headed out at 10.48pm. Man it was COLD! Officially 17 degrees Celsius. I had only brought my running shorts and singlet and took a mental note of bringing at least something long sleeved for next time.

I don’t know Auckland very well, and not sure what would be good routes for the hill sprints but saw on Google maps there was a small park near the hotel so headed there. Turned out it the park was on top of a hill so it was quite ok for the 8 x 30 secs hill sprints I was supposed to do. A bit dark though, and slightly shady feeling, but figured no one would rob me since I had nothing on πŸ™‚ Made it back to the hotel in one very cold piece and hit the bed just after midnight.

There was no pool at my hotel in Auckland so morning swim was not possible. But I was heading to Sydney in the evening and had contacted my hotel there and they informed that their pool was short about 13m, but just a few minutes walk away there was an aquatic centre with 50m pool and lap lanes. So when I arrived in Sydney I quickly checked in and grabbed my gear and headed to the Aquatic Centre. I probably looked very funny arriving – I did not know what I would need to bring, so I took the bathrobe, slippers and towel from the hotel which was quite a lot to carry, and of course I had not thought of bringing any suitable sports bag, so stuffed it into a big plastic bag.


The centre was nice, with electronic lockers you could rent for your clothes etc, and there was definitely no need for robe or slippers. There were several pools, but one for doing laps, and each lane was marked with a sign stating “slow lane”, “medium lane” and “fast lane”. When I arrived the slow and medium lanes were all busy with 3-4 swimmers in each, so I thought I might as well hit the fast lane even though I am not, and with what felt like an oncoming flu I had anyway decided to take it pretty easy. I enjoyed my lane in peace for about 5 laps before I was joined by another guy who actually WAS fast. He lapped me 4 times as finished my next 15 laps πŸ™‚

Aaaanyways, as I finished the 2k swim I checked my watch and had a small shock, despite swimming with what felt like quite moderate effort – where I just tried to focus on good technique (or my version of it anyway) – I clocked in at a personal best with an average of 2m11sec/100m!! Wonder if the water is faster in Australia heheheh.


Back at the hotel I had quite a lot of work to do so only finished around 1.30am. Next morning my alarm woke me up at 6am and after a bit of pep-talking myself out of bed, I started my morning run at 6.37am My hotel was next to the Hyde Park connecting with the harbour park next to the opera house, so I enjoyed a very nice view. Was also happy the temperature was much friendlier than in Auckland, with 21 degrees – those 4 degrees made a huge difference!

Hyde Park, Sydney in the morning.

Hyde Park, Sydney in the morning.

The park was really busy with runners, and I spotted quite a few guys in tri shorts/suits as well. Turns out the park was smaller than it looked though, so had to criss-cross it quite a bit to make up the needed distance. As time was ticking I realized I would not have time to finish the planned distance of 16km due to my first meeting in the morning, but pushed on to make it 14km before I had to rush back to my room and pack.

As I showered I noticed my throat was a bit sore, and throughout the day it got gradually worse. By 3pm and my last meeting my voice was cracking up quite bad, and by 4.30pm when the meeting ended, my voice died completely. I could barely whisper – which made my webconference a bit of a challenge at 6pm – no one could hear me so I had to type my input. Also tried to call my wife but she also could not hear me and just yelled “hello…hello…” πŸ™‚

Back in KL I went to the doc and got 3 days of anti-biotics. I asked eagerly if it was ok to train even though I was on the meds and she said sure, as long as I feel fine – but maybe not push it too hard. But as the weekend passed I did not feel fine to train at all and on Monday after my cure was over I was still nowhere near recovered so went back to the doc who extended my anti-biotics for another 2 days.

Finally a comment about travelling and training, or rather travelling and used training clothes. When I got back from my trip and opened the plastic bag of my used training clothes I almost died of the smell – even with a partially blocked nose. The stench was unbelievable!!! Not sure how to do this. I won’t have time to wash and dry the clothes, so I thought it would be worse to wash and bring them wet, than to bring them used. But I think the wet option might be the less bad after all…

Project Hero week 7/12

I started this week on anti-biotics. Was supposed to end the medication on Sunday but on Monday I was nowhere near recovered, and actually not much better than when I had started on it 3 days earlier, so I went back to the doc and got another 2 days. With very sore throat, phlegm and breaking voice there was not much point in trying to train on Monday. But on Tuesday I thought I felt fresh enough to go for a slow swim in the pool. So did 2.4km according to this week’s plan and felt quite ok after, despite some coughing on the way.

Selfie with my "flu beard" :)

Selfie with my “flu beard” πŸ™‚

Next day I was thus encouraged to try something harder. But due to the terrible haze outside I decided to skip running, and jumped on the trainer instead. After 40 minutes of very moderate pace, I was exhausted, and as I got off the bike and my vision turned black, I had to support myself on the bike for a few seconds and realized I probably need to wait a bit longer before I get back “in the saddle”.

So the days passed as I was impatiently waiting to get rid of the flu. And the haze outside made it even worse. I had to accept this week would be pretty much wasted in terms of training.

By Saturday I was feeling better, although I would still cough up phlegm quite frequently. So we decided to get back on track and headed out to Putrajaya for our regular Saturday morning brick. We took it slow and easy though, but it felt good being outside again despite the nasty haze. I also realized that the bike route map had been updated, so we added the extra 1.5km we had missed previously when we rode the 70.3 route. The run went well too, slow and steady πŸ™‚

On Sunday we joined the Tadonamo swim clinic in Putrajaya. Have to give so much credit to that gang for organizing these clinics. It is really priceless experience for us beginners. The swim went well, although my watch disappointingly did not record the distance correctly and only recorded 1.2km, although I must have done at least 1.8km. My wife had done 1.9km so I was probably around there too with the small detours I made. It went better than the first time, mostly because I remembered to do more sighting this time. It is a strange feeling though, when your head is under water and you can’t see anything. It is a bit like being in space, you feel your body move but have no reference points, no visual feedback to tell you how you are doing, so it is almost like being blindfolded. I think I was stressing a bit on the first round, but on the second I think I managed to swim with better technique.

Very happy lucky draw winner :)

Very happy lucky draw winner πŸ™‚

After the swim I WON in the lucky draw, a cool Ironman Hawaii bag πŸ™‚

We had also brought our bikes and had planned to do a mini-tri. The idea was to ride for about 3 hours then do a short 20-30min run. But unfortunately I had a football game at 3.30pm and the swim started a bit late, so we ended up having to cut the bike short to around 2 hours and 10 minutes, and drop the run altogether, as the clock was already 12.30 and I had to rush home, eat, change and go to my game.

So quite a disappointing week in terms of the training. The flu really took its toll and the haze made it worse.

But by the end of it at least I was happy to be back training, although I could feel I was still reduced from the flu.

Swim clinic 9 March 2014. Quite hazy but think it cleared up a bit during the morning.

Swim clinic 9 March 2014. Quite hazy but think it cleared up a bit during the morning.

Thanks to Nurina Van Oostrum Abdullah for the photos from the clinic!

Looks like Knut coped pretty well throughout these three weeks. Only three weeks to go to the big day so all the best Knut!

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