Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Trip to Muscat.

Hey readers - last week, for a couple reasons, I travelled for a few days to the capital city of Oman: Muscat.

Travelling solo summons this raw sense of independence. But in revenge, it does make me feel lonely. It's always a pleasure to share the sights and tastes of a new destination, with somebody else...

Anyway, it was a pretty casual trip. I had a bit of computer work to do. I did the tourist thing, and I also rented a road bike.

Generally speaking, I felt that Omanis people carried a greater sense of humility than some of their neighbours. It was pretty laid back, and I was surprised when I took a taxi out of the airport, that the drivers are locals. It was also nice to see some mountains, of which I haven't really seen in a few years.

The infrastructure was surprisingly good. And just like many countries in the region, it was laced with foreign workers from various countries such as: India - Philippines - Lebanon - Nepal - etc.

I also learned a lot about the country's political history and it's role in the Arabian Peninsula. But at the end of the day, just like many Islamic countries, there were not many "fun" things to do and was a little bland...

Below are various pictures of my trip, with some relevant captions!

Selfie @ QURUM Beach

Sunset @ QURUM Beach

Contemporary structure @ QURUM Beach

Panoramic of QURUM Beach

Good morning QURUM Beach

Local & foreign football players running along QURUM Beach in the AM

The BIG BUS I took around the city

A ship out of water

An interesting fountain 

There were pictures of Sultan Qaboos all over - he obviously did great things for the country


Some government buildings

More images of Sultan Qaboos

A typical Islamic gate


Mutrah Souq is the local market


Market center

I did not buy anything

Although there was some cool stuff to see, smell, & taste


Looking outside, from the inside


Wave breakers

More flags

Locals just hanging out


My rental bike

Selfie from the top

Selfie with the highway in the background


Panoramic shot from the top

A big local Mosque...I was actually told to leave moments after this pictures

Lamborghini with a patriotic colour scheme 

A Ferrari with a patriotic colour scheme 
Mercedez-Benz are taxis here

LOL...the sweet spaghetti place & home of chicken joy

Le GRAND Mosque

Le GRAND Mosque again

Le GRAND Mosque - final pic

The view from my hotel room

A plated chicken Shawarma - LOVE THESE

Post ride FRESH drink - Avocado, Strawberry, & Mango - LOVE IT

50M Pool @ The Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex
Anyway, it was nice, but I doubt I would come back again willingly...Maybe Salalah seems nice for training, or other more rural parts in the mountains...

Tuesday, November 7, 2017


Hey readers - later is ALWAYS better than never...below is my pre, during, and post Kona experience @ The Ironman World Championships.

As many know, in early September I moved to Qatar, started a new job, and had not been training all that much for a 226 KM race.

To say the least, I was not prepared...I tried my best, to downplay, and rationalize a possible slow race in Kona, well before the fact. I had not done any long swims in months, rode my bike only once above 3h00 and only managed to get in a few long runs over 90 min.

I honestly considered not going...It was just bad timing, and would be a big expense...However, I had 3 athletes racing, and for years I had been asked, a few times per year...have you done Kona?

This was also to be my only triathlon this season.

I simply focused on short, frequent, and intense sessions. I knew I would be able to handle the heat pretty well. I also had to rely heavily on my past training, as well to my experience and knowledge.

Simply put, I took my own advice, and practiced what I preach!

Just before I left Qatar, I started to get sick...Flying from Doha to Kona, via Heathrow, LAX and Honolulu...was a 48-hours door-to-door journey...Literally halfway around the world...We could have just flown the other direction as well!

Qatar Airways for the win - QUINOA.

I usually take my coffee black - unless there's a milk stick ;)
Once in Kona, I was happy to see Jong "The Farmer" Sajulga. One of my long-time athletes, who picked me up from the airport, and who I roomed with for my first week in Kona.

How-ever, my bike arrived ~40 hours after I did...

After catching up with Jong, I started to "get ready" for Kona, by doing as much training as I could on the race course, without overdoing it. On race week, I was doing long double runs & long double bikes...And swam every day!

With coach Cam and his FAST athletes.

To make matters worst, was poor internet connections, which made it difficult to do my online coaching...As I still maintain the same online commitment to all my athletes, regardless of where I am in the world.

I got to see faces I had not seen in over a decade. I also got to meet Martin, one of my KQ'ers - a Dane living in Switzerland. We have been working together for 18 months, and this would be our first time meeting!

Then Andy & company eventually showed up - making for fun and entertaining conversations!

Last but not least, Joyette decided to come and see me race :)

Anyway - THE RACE!

I stayed as relaxed as possible on race morning. I was a bit surprised at how disorganized, non-logical, and chaotic some stuff was at the pier...It's been what? 30 years doing this!

Anyway, I did a good warm-up and then waited in the deep sea, for what seemed like an eternity, before the cannon finally blew.

I bullshit none of you when I say this was my first proper "washing machine" experience...My plan was just to cruise the swim, cruise the bike, and cruise the run. I could not afford to push, or take chances.

Eventually, the field thinned out, I found some clear water and came out of the water in 56 min.

Which one is mine?
Quick T1 and on my Ceepo Katana!

Once on the bike, it was pretty was literally impossible to not draft...Guys would come from the back, blow by me like Lance Armstrong on his best juice, then slow down...The group went from like 10, to over 50!

I must admit, I thought it was pretty funny...I was riding quickly, and not working hard at all. Some draft marshals came along, and stared at us...That's about it - either theu did not care or are smart enough to figure out it was impossible to not be riding in a group.

It eventually thinned out after 40 KM on the Queen K, and I focused on fueling, hydrating, and staying relaxed up to Hawi. I still felt good, and at this point, I was starting to think I would be able to smash the race!

Like a boy scout - I wore gloves and socks.
I was also fascinated to see the pro's at the turnaround - seeing who's where. Sanders, I thought you where gonna win! Daniela, I never doubted ;)

But the last 40 KM of the bike, the infamous big island crosswinds showed up...My lower back and left knee started to get real tight...I was not having a good time anymore...I got passed my 100's of athletes in a short period of demoralizing!

Approaching T2 - I was excited to get off my bike - who knew what the run would hold?

Once running, I felt pretty good, and maintain a good moderate pace. I fueled, did nose breathing, and maintain a short/quick stride. As well to not loosing too much time at the aid stations...

Running with the top overall female age grouper.
In hindsight, I could have started just a tad slower...but I was passing tones of athletes. You know, those who ride their bikes like there was no marathon after!

So my good sensations continued well into the energy lab...I was looking at my watch every so often, I knew I had to keep going for a sub 10. I was still passing people regularly.

However, with around 6 KM to go, I started to go body or "frame" started to fall apart...My neck, back, knees, feet, ankles, etc. all started to get really painful...I still had the energy and determination to keep ticking my legs over.

As I slowed down, I skipped aid stations, to make up the time...I powered up the last hill while being cheered by total strangers!

Going down Palani hill, I was in a world of pain but could hear Mike Reilly...I kept the pressure on and came in 10h04...Not that bad eh?

All in all, I'm happy I went, raced, and did not go like shit...;)

I was totally smashed after the race...And then had another 48-hour travel towards Doha, via a quick overnight in Honolulu...I need to come back to Hawaii so I can enjoy the place more...I really did not do or see much while here...

It's almost 4 weeks on, and I'm FINALLY recovered from the race. I moved into a new home a few days ago, and back into a good routine. All the while shedding athletes for their offseason, and picking up new ones locally in Qatar!

Anyway, my major takeaways are:

-Trust your overall base - not what you did recently.
-Good execution with poor fitness is better than bad execution with good fitness.
-Always start a little slower than you want - it will bite!

Last but not least, I would not return to Kona to race as an AG. It's just a huge all-around expense...I would only come back, to race pro, or to coach athletes - then spend a few weeks touring the island afterwards!

Below are some random pics, of primarily american food!

The house burger - somewhere I can't remember...

44$ canned horse anybody?

Hawaii - the biggest SPAM consumer IN THE WORLD

Acai bowl - ummmmmmm

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Middle East appetizer

Airport foooooood...

Papaya + mango + avocado = YUM


Funny name

IHOP feast post-race.

Another burger I can't remember where...

Japanese style

Low carb yo!

Pina colada =)

Swimming paddles anybody?

If you look closely - you can see that this is a cop car.