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Trail run in Halle wood

Posted by on Jul 19, 2012 in Training | 0 comments

My dogs are not fit at the moment. Too many months without working out regularly due to my travels. I needed to stop several times to wait for them, but despite that it was awesome this morning.

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Embracing the suck and other thoughts…

Posted by on Jul 17, 2012 in Ironman, Random thoughts, Training | 0 comments

Chris “Macca” McCormack is a 2 time Ironman World Champion, his pre-race mantra is “Embrace the Suck”  and it refers directly to the inevitable pain/suffering that is part of triathlon and all endurance sports. He says: “You don’t play triathlon. You play soccer; it’s fun. You Play baseball. Triathlon is work that can leave you crumpled in a heap, puking by the roadside”.

In my view that quote makes sense for a pro athlete like him, average age group athletes like myself should try to enjoy this journey as much as we can knowing that endurance sports require high time commitment and suffering tolerance. It has taken me quite a lot of time to find the balance between pain and joy, I am still working that out, so this is work in progress. I  am starting to understand that I need to adapt my training to my circumstances and to enjoy this journey called training. At the end of the day I am a full time business man, travelling more than 200 days a year, living in hotels and exposed to food that I cannot control. I am living a life that goes against my priorities which are my family, my family and my family.

My reality has paid a toll on my body this year, I have been struggling with intestinal issues for more than 4 months now. I have lost several kilos unintentionally, and every time I go workout I suffer from a weird dizziness that scares me like hell. Doctors have identify some minor issues like IBS syndrom (most probably caused by stress), lactose intolerance and extreme fatigue, nothing major that should put me aside from endurance sports, but I can certainly say that I have and I am embracing the suck for a while now!.

I would probably need to slow down, I honestly did to a certain extent (this past weekend I avoided to workout, ignored my training plan for the first time ever), but probably I’d need to do an extra effort to take things easier. It is not easy task since Ironman World Championship awaits for me, 87 days to go…it is very hard to avoid that pressure. There are thousands of athletes around the world that deserve 100 times more than I do to be there, people who are faster, fitter and readier…it would be disrespectful from my side not to go there and give everything, being the best I can be.

This is not an excuse post, I keep committed to my original plan and I will train hard to be ready, but being conscious that circumstances surrounding me are less than ideal. If I am able to do this will be because of  the incredible support from my wife, no way this will happen without her being there for thick and thin.

A collateral measure, I will be stepping down from some social networks for a while. I have been an evangelist of Social Media and heavy user to say the least since they appeared, but I am disappointed because of the amount of people not adding any value to the conversation and just having a look and trolling, I call them e-voyeurs. They exist because people like me, who exposes his life to the public (someone could argue it is our fault because of showing off!) and sometimes they do more bad than good. I know who my friends are and how they care. I also know how to contact them.

I intend to keep expressing my thoughts here and learning/sharing interesting content in Twitter. Everybody is welcome to participate and express their views. I am also happy to interact with those who are ready to add value. In the mean time I will continue enjoying this journey called Ironman Training and embracing the suck….when needed!

Inertia is a powerful oppressor, interpret the above as my determined action to break the bonds of all this oppression. I am not going to wait for the right time, for the right people or for the right something any more.

The only right is right now.

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Training for Kona…and more (T-122 days)

Posted by on Jun 12, 2012 in Ironman, Training | 0 comments

122 days, that’s the time left for the biggest Ironman race on earth, the Ironman World Championship in Kona (Hawaii), I will be there.

Training for an Ironman requires hard work, mental strength, support from your relatives and faith, a lot of faith. It also requires fun, yes fun. You better enjoy this journey otherwise you’ll end up hating this.

Few years ago I was struggling with myself. I had a great job, a wonderful family, very supportive friends and all my needs covered. I was not happy. Even worse, I was suffering an overwhelming anxiety disorder. At any moment – while working, driving, having dinner with friends – a panic attack might strike. My heart would race, my body flushed hot and cold, and nausea would sweep over me. The attacks felt like that split second before a car crash, when the adrenalin whooshes through your body and you think you are going to die. So from the outside, I was looking fine, but on the inside, I was thinking, “If only you knew.”’

There’s this misconception that anxiety is associated with mental illness and that it is a sign of weakness and lack of control, WRONG. Anxiety and panic attacks are very common, problem is nobody likes to talk about it.

After facing this terrible condition for more than 2 years I decided to ask for professional help, I needed to sort that out and recover my life. After a very discouraging journey trying to find the right person (lots of charlatans and miracle cures, be careful) I ended up meeting a wonderful psychologue specialised in anxiety. She made me work very hard (so if you meet someone that promises you a miracle cure, do not trust), but together we overcame anxiety and panic attacks. If you are reading this and you are going through something similar do not hesitate to drop me an email.

Why am I writing about all this?, well, let me explain. During my therapy I decided to go to the Himalayas, I wanted to do something extreme, to demonstrate myself that I would be able to overcome any challenge…I wanted to be isolated, in a remote place without mobile phone or assistance by my side. I needed to recover my confidence. I was not an athlete at that time, I was running a bit, but not yet a triathlete.

I ended up choosing a very tough trekking in Leh, climbed 10 mountains over 5.000 metres in 3 weeks and met wonderful people, but you know what?, I was so focused on the final peak (a 6.000 metres mountain that we were going to climb at the end) that I did not enjoy the journey. I was obsessed with that peak, the rest was not important, the other achievements were not the real deal…very sad. The morning I was in the base camp of the Stok Kangri I decided not to go up, not because of not feeling ready and prepared to do so (on the contrary, I was feeling strong) but as a punishment to myself because of forgetting that the journey was at least as important as the final goal.

We have a Spanish saying that I am going to translate (mind, rough translation ahead!): the man is the only creature to trip over stone twice. In 2010 I won the lottery to go to Kona, I just couldn’t believe my luck. As soon as I knew I became obsessed with training to the point that I arrived in pain to race’s week. I forgot to enjoy the journey again, but this time I raced, I crossed the line…and it was one of the happiest days of my life. I am 100% sure that I couldn’t have done it without the full support of my wife (and believe me, I can become a real ass-hole when I am close to a competition) and the great advice from fellow athletes like Alain (I keep all his emails).

I am going back to Kona, I have 122 days in front of me to enjoy the journey. I will work hard, you bet, but I also intend to laugh at myself and don’t take myself completely seriously. I am going to get it right this time.

Just for the fun, I intend to post pics from the places I train in. This was taken this morning, a very uncomfortable bike from my hotel in Zurich where I spent 90 minutes. Technogym Bike Med. Stinky Index: 70/100

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Here we go

Posted by on Jun 1, 2012 in Ironman, Training | 1 comment

The time has arrived, the time to pack all the gear and to compete. I am not a competitor per se, as I do this to compete against myself. Team Fuente-Van Havere is heading to Switzerland this afternoon to participate in the Rapperswil Ironman 70.3 race that will take place next Sunday. My objective is to validate my slot for Kona, in order to do so I need to finish the race within 7 hours and 30 minutes (the last -and only- time I did a 70.3 I finished it in 5 hours and 3 minutes).

I need to confess something, every time I face a race I feel butterflies in my belly, I guess I am quite nervous, and not only during the days before the race, I have been quite anxious (without knowing) during the last 2 months.

I have been diagnosed with IBS syndrom, and they say it might be relate to stress…well, I guess the race is adding a bit of stress on my belly. This minor inconvenient has caused me intestinal trouble for the last 3 months, and I must admit it has undermine my confidence a bit. I have trained for this race well, but still, there are millions doubts flying over my head: “have I trained enough?”, “will I face a technical glitch?”, “will my legs be there after the bike?”, “will someone kick my nose during the swim?”, “will my belly behave?”.

This is the beauty of triathlon, and specifically of long distance races like this one, there are many factors one cannot control. You can only be ready for whatever comes.

I am ready, I will enjoy this race as it would be my first one and I will be the best I can be. On Sunday around 3 pm I will be a happy man with my Swiss medal over my neck and the final passport for the Ironman World Championship in Kona (Hawaii).

Thanks so much to my beloved wife for her unconditional support.

In my next post I will let you know how it all went!

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Going back to Kona

Posted by on Apr 19, 2012 in Ironman, Random thoughts, Training | 0 comments

October 13th 2012, that is the date. Ironman World Champioship will take place in Kona (Hawaii), I will be there….

I always felt I have special support from heaven, from the people who loved me and passed away. They guided me to the finish line in 2010 and they will do so again in 2012. Here on earth I have the unconditional support of my wife, without her I won’t be able to do this, and from my friends. Thanks all so much for being there!

Now the time to train for this special event has arrived, I know what I need to do, but this time I need to be smarter. I need to take care of my aching body, train hard but with brain, recalling the lessons I learned in 2010.

Of course it would be nice to slice some time off, but honestly, it is not my objective. I just want to cross that line before the clock ticks 17 hours.

I have a massive respect for those athletes who have won their slots in the hard way, going below 9:30 in many cases. I will never be able to do that, no matter how much I would train. I know and accept my limitations.

I feel fortunate and grateful for this wonderful life I have been gifted with. I promise to train honestly, to give my best.

Hope to keep counting with your support along the way.

See you all on the road.

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Coming Back- Follow up

Posted by on Feb 27, 2012 in Training | 0 comments

Almost one month a go I wrote a post about me coming back to training. After a tough 2011 (double knee surgery) I had the firm intention to make 2012 count, so from the very beginning of the year I defined my competition objectives:

Ironman Antwerp 70.3 (July 22, 2012)

– Possibly a full Ironman in October-November

– Possibly the Brussels Half Marathon (October 7, 2012)

February has been good, I was able to log almost 500  km (month still have few days!):

 

I am feeling good despite noticing that my right knee is far from being well (and I know is not going to get any better), but hey, it holds up. I am also working on reinforcing my core and correct some imbalances with a personal trainer based in Australia.

I will keep you posted on my progress.

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Coming back

Posted by on Feb 2, 2012 in Training | 0 comments

I consider myself a disciplined guy. I think I have the mental strength to overcome difficulties and to focus when problems arrive, but lately I have been a bit discouraged because of injuries.

Injuries are and have been part of my life; I accept the fact that I am not well built, I am defective…and that’s ok. There are thing I can change and others I just can’t.

I have modified my running style (I am a mid-foot lander now), shortened my stride and started using minimalist running shoes (now trying Inov 8 X-Road 255). Thanks to those changes I can continue running despite my (very) bad knees.

Following the advice of my pal Alain I am starting with Yoga. It will help me to be more flexible and strong.

After my 4th and 5th operations last year I can finally say I am back into serious training (I admit I had several false starts caused by lack of motivation mainly). I have signed up for Antwerp Half Ironman in July 22nd and…I confess…also for the Kona Lottery (and I have hope to get a slot again!)

I look forward to sharing the ride with all of you guys. You are a key part of the game. Count on you!

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Inspiring people- Robert Verhelst

Posted by on Sep 19, 2011 in Ironman | 0 comments

Completing an Ironman is a tough challenge, but imagine how would it be if you decide to run the last “bit” of it (that is a full marathon -42 km or 26 miles) with extra 45 kilograms (100 pounds) on top of you, and I don’t mean extra body weight but the full firefighter turn out gear. That is what Robert Verhelst did last week when completing Ironman Wisconsin.

Just over a decade ago, Robert Verhelst spent eight days working Search, Rescue and Recovery at the World Trade Center . To remember the tragic events of 9/11, and the 343 firefighters who lost their lives on that day, he raised money for the Code 3 for a Cure Foundation during his race at Ironman Wisconsin. RESPECT.

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True Ironmans

Posted by on Jul 31, 2011 in Ironman, Training | 0 comments

What else can I say?

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I am not

Posted by on May 6, 2011 in Random thoughts, Training | 0 comments

Today I’ve been told that I should not run again, never ever.

My knees are too bad, my cartilages are damaged, I have no meniscus, I have liquid, cysts, arthritis…the list goes and goes.

I have no plans to quit running, that isn’t an option. I will demonstrate them wrong, I will recover (as much as can be recovered) and I will come back.

And if definitively there is no solution for me I will find a new challenge, probably linked to swimming. English channel crossing?, 28.5 Mile Manhattan Island Marathon Swim…just ideas that are flying through my head at the moment.

I want to share a video with you…probably I need it more than you do at this stage.

I am not letting anyone steal my dream. Period.

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