Nice heart, shame about the legs.

Change of pace today. Spent the morning with Amy and Nina down at the water slide in Muizenberg and had a ball running up steps and sliding down with two very excited little girls. The wind was howling and after an hour or so the wheels fell off when the excitement turned to shivers and we headed home to warm up.

I grabbed my bags and headed out to the airport for a flight to Gauteng for three days of facilitation with a client. I pulled a jacket on and thought how different today would be from yesterday where I spent 5½ hours on my bike followed by a 30 minute run. It’s called a brick session and it’s purpose is to of course make me stronger for the bike but also to get my legs used to the transition from bike to run.

Saturday’s run had been hard and my legs were tired. Part of Dee and my celebration for our 10 year anniversary was to spend Saturday night at the beautiful Vineyard Hotel with their famous Angsana Spa where I had booked us each a full body massage. We had a two very professional young Thai ladies who showed us to our massage room with adjoining tables (see pic).


The massage was a version of a Thai massage which was delightful with the highlight being my back being clicked with both of my masseurs knees while she sat on top of me. Excellent. I grimaced a bit as my legs got a work over and I’m sure they benefited from having the stiffness worked out of them.

Spa


Dee very sportingly agreed me to do a ride the next morning which also gave her time to sleep in. Because of the time I needed to do and a lunch date I headed out just after 5am. “You coming back?” the concierge asked suspiciously as I walked past him in my cycling garb while he was doing what concierges do at 5am in the morning. I must have looked like I was doing a runner (or whatever the equivalent is called on a bicycle). I assured him that Dee was in the room and left my car key with him for good measure.

It was dark (sunrise 5.53) and not many people around except for those heading home from parties. These are the most dangerous people on the road for cyclists in Cape Town with a number of cyclist having been seriously injured or killed by drunk or high motorists in the early hours of the morning.

Talk about two realities meeting up. Or maybe not so different. Both the cyclists and the party-goers are out and about giving their body a good work over, both get lots of pleasure from it which in the case of the cyclist partly comes from stopping cycling and enjoying the achievement of a good ride while for the party-goer the enjoyment stops when the hangover starts setting in. Having been in both realities I’ve got to say they both have their place – just don’t drive under the influence.

I won’t bore you with the route I did, you can view it on Google Earth

It was one of those days where my legs were tired from the first peddle stroke. I made my way down to Cape Point via Red Hill and was relieved when I turned and became one of those smug ones who gleefully smile at the late starters still fighting their way into the south easter.

What was encouraging though was that my heart rate stayed within the ranges my programme says I should train in (118 – 138) which means I’m roughly burning half fat / half carbohydrates. It left like my heart was saying peddle faster and harder and my legs were not very willing. I guess this is a good sign as it means that my fitness level is increasing, I just need to increase my strength.

At the point it started occurring to me that my heart was more willing than my legs, I was at a bit of a loss because I really wasn’t feeling like spending hours more on my bike but had to push through the second half of the ride to get the benefit. Unfortunately a willing heart doesn’t help a doubting mind which was starting to wonder why the hell I was getting blown around on a bike when I could be enjoying a leisurely breakfast with Dee at the hotel.

I started zig zagging across the Peninsula looking for ways to make up time. I didn’t actually want to do as many hills as I ended up doing but so be it. I then stretched out the route a little retracing my earlier path and doing a bit of work into the Cape Doctor*. I did also discover an amazing road home coming back the other way. Cycling along at more than 40km/h on Prince George Drive with easy peddle strokes, smooth tar and the wind behind me made me forget how tired my legs were in the last half hour. What a pleasure.

I pulled into my driveway and getting off the bike was, as it always is, both a relief and painful in itself. The first few hundred metres are simply a shuffle to convince my legs that they must go up and down instead of round and round. Once I got into it though I felt pretty good as I did two laps of the green belt next to our house. Towards the end I actually felt like I had bounced back and while I couldn’t exactly run a marathon,

I’m in Pretoria until Thursday night. Something went wrong with my shuttle transfer to the hotel from the airport so it’s given me some time to write this and watch OR Tambo airport in action.

I packed my running shoes and will have to make do with just running and then fit in the rest of my weeks’ schedule when I am back. Next week I’m going to be writing at home most of the week so will be able to work my training around that and the kids lifts to school which is looking very complicated.

* The South East wind in Cape Town is known as the Cape Doctor as it blows away all the pollution and leaves us with incredibly clear skies.

Dale is training for Ironman South Africa on 5th April 2009. This blog posting reflects on his experiences in training. He completed the Ironman in 2008 for the first time.

Author: Dale Williams

Dale is based in Cape Town on the southern tip of Africa from where he maintains connections with people all over the world through his portfolio life.