IRONMAN BAHRAIN RACE REPORT 69.1

The alarm went off and it was 4:15 am. I slept at 12 cause who sleeps on race night right? The dude on stage said even pros don’t so I figured I won’t even try and just stay up and stay relaxed. I had slept well 2 nights before so all was good I guess. The alarm goes off. I wake up, drink water and figure it’s still early anyways, so I lie down a little more. It’s funny how I’d fall fast asleep an hour before transition opens but no sleep would come to me 5-7 hours before. Weird.

I wake up again, have some more water and make a 7 banana smoothie not because I want to but because I have to. So I force some down. Gotta get a cleanse going. I then mix 2 electrolyte drinks with powders I got online and are suppose the best stuff out there. I have never tried them before. I always try new stuff on race day. A friend of mine recommended I take his pre work out powder supplement because it helps so much in the gym and it would keep me going long and hard. Now this is some funky stuff. Basically it’s a shit ton of caffeine with some anti-oxidants thrown in. Now, I NEVER drink caffeine anymore and haven’t in over 2 years. Which is great cause that will make me caffeine sensitive and it will work even better, right?. The container said take one scope but my friend recommended a scope and a half since its a long race. I was heading there not knowing that  the swim has been cancelled, we were suppose to start at 7. So I took it at 6:30 so that the caffeine kicks in. The swim got cancelled due to strong currents ( which I was disappointed about but applaud Ironman Bahrain for putting out safety first ). Race started at 8:15. I was jumping around the start line waiting for my batch’s turn. ( Every 5 athletes were sent out to the bike transition within a period of 15 seconds or so) . I had one gel on me only for emergency just in case I needed it. It was caffeine based, it was GU caramel macchiato caramel machiato

MY turn came up! I sped to T1 and passed my bike, had to run back and look for it carefully. The adrenaline was really kicking in. As I took my bike and took off, I saw the GU gel on the floor, had no idea how it fell off, I picked it up and got on the bike and away I went. ( Later saw another Gel on my race belt. Turns out someone dropped the one I picked)

All I had for nutrition were in my bottles and I wasn’t going to eat anything. That was the plan. We had one lane to ourselves and  the other 2 were for drivers. This year the race was way more organized, less people were complaining. The wind was brutal, at first all we had was head wind and I was just pushing through. After passing the Bahrain Bay bridge and heading towards city center mall was super windy that a few bikes in front of me were going side ways due to the head wind.

At the 22km mark exactly, my stomach began to hurt a little, then the more I pedaled the more it hurt. At 26km the pain was unreal. I don’t ever remember having this much stomach pain. I was riding with one hand on the handle and the other rubbing my stomach. I was barely pedaling. All I could think of at the time was is this what woman have to go through every single month? MY God. The pain was getting worse and then at 36k I stopped on the side and got off my bike. I was butt sore from not spending nearly enough time on the bike and my stomach ache nearly put me in tears. Lots of athletes passing by asked if I was okay, everyone’s trying to be nice while fighting their own battles. You can always appreciate a good gesture knowing what everyones going through. That’s it I wanted out, but the only way out was to get back on my bike. It was a tough time and not a porta potty in sight. I wasn’t sure if it was the pre work out supplement or my mixes or the combination of it all. It was then just me and the highway and everyone else passed me by then. All eyes were on  me.Some looked at me with pity, some with sympathy, some with curiosity.I felt like Simba when he was deserted and left for dead   ( for some reason Simba always pops into my head )help simba

10-15 minutes later I got back on my bike and slowly pedaled, just wanting to get somewhere I can get off. At 50k the pain was completely gone and I began to push real hard to make up for lost time.I must have passed around 20 cyclists and then I decided to finish the bike leg. I was getting hungry and took the GU gel and stared at it for a second, feeling very afraid. This gel was either going to make me or break me. I took it. Thank God I didn’t get anymore stomach ache but got a burst of energy. And from there I went head to head with the wind.

Now when it got really windy I would tell my legs,” easy girl, easy”. Don’t know why i’d call them that but it worked and I’d spin on a low gear with high cadence and just embrace the head wind. I reached  T2 in 3 hours and 32 minutes ( not counting the 10 mins stop). I got off the bike put on my running shoes and visor cap and surprisingly didn’t quit yet. I continued running. I decided to use the bathroom to urinate because I didn’t want to half way of the run. Legs were mush but guess I was going to run anyway. Entering the bathroom, luckily saw a cleaner there who was kind enough in helping me unzip my suit from the back ( also the 1st time wearing this suit to a race) . After the bathroom, I started jogging again and maaaaan was it hard to get running again. My legs were so stiff, mainly my thighs felt locked up. I asked myself whether I really wanted to do this. “Are you really going to run a half marathon Hady? really? Your longest run being the 10k a month ago and before that…? ” So I felt an injury coming. I could have run it but I don’t have that racing mentality anymore. That do it no matter what mentality, even if you finish crawling. I have nothing to gain by doing it and a lot to lose. I could have done it and injured myself and spend time recovering. I’m all about health over fitness. I used to race no matter what before and I did finish races and ended up injured a lot. Not doing that ever again. I don’t have anything against that mentality IF you’re well trained. I know my body very well and it was trying to tell me something and I listened. Sure this is a mind game but we need to get out of this physically well or as well as we can.But me knowing what I knew, training for a month, that was enough reason to get out of it. So after 2.2k I headed to the finish line smiling and everyone cheering me thinking I actually finished the race. Awkward moment there.

After the finish line we had chiropractors and physiotherapists to work on us and boy was that that the highlight of my race. I had a sore upper back and burning thighs. The physiotherapist did some voodoo on me and I was up and cracking. Fantastic work, I felt rejuvenated. They’re an awesome clinic called In touch, and they definitely In touched me very well. You can check them out here

One of the main reasons I wrote this post is tell people that “it’s okay “. It’s okay to forfeit a race if you feel you’re going to get injured. It’s okay to listen to your body when everything else is telling you to push. It’s okay to tell people you DNF ( did not finish) . This doesn’t mean you’re a quitter, this means that you have raised above opinions and criticisms and you listened to the one most important and sacred thing to you. Your body. But if you want to go all out, knock yourself out, i’ve done it a lot in the past and it’s an experience. It’s worth it for some and they love it!! It all depends on what it means to you. I choose health over fitness and I urge you to do it at least the majority of the time.

And here’s how I celebrated my DNF . Best vegan pizza I’ve had so far.
pizza

I want to personally thank Sh. Sager and the Ironman Bahrain team ( Suzy, if you read this, awesome job) tri life for being there for the athletes and for taking customer service a notch up, and for always looking out for me. Endura, the amazing volunteers, and everyone who cheered me on, and last but definitely not least Intouch.

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How I stay trim year round

I’m trim all year long with sometimes little to no exercise. I remember winter last year I was super busy and was ordering and eating out every single day, and of course what do we do on the weekend? You guessed it We eat out some more! I gained 8 kilos, and no not muscle but by fat! Fat that gave me man boobs, a horrible belly and maybe a cute butt.

It was a harsh time. Then I cut down eating out to 90%, eating the same exact foods I eat out but home made. I lost half the weight. I was shocked. I’m eating the same amounts and eating the same type of foods, why did I gain weight at the time? It’s the sh** they put in our foods. That’s what got me big. I really hated my man boobs. I’m glad to have regular boobs right now. Really puts me at ease. Then came ramadan and I went like 80%-90% raw and lost all the weight that I put on. I was literally stuffing myself with bananas, mangoes, avocados and watermelon. What a beautiful month of raw foods. Miss it. I vlogged about it almost daily on my Youtube channel, you can check out the series right here

So what do I eat to stay lean all year round? And mind you, I’m a foodie. I’m all about the vegan dishes that make you go…mmmmmm mmmmmm mmmmmmmmm. Here’s a typical day in the life of what I eat. In the morning I always start with a liter of water. Then depending on if I’m working out or not I eat. If I am then I just have a date or 2, or nothing. Smash in a liter of water while and then hit breakfast. Breakfast consists typically of fruits. I usually make a smoothie in the morning. Here’s a recipe that’s a staple for me. Coconut water/milk or regular water, 12 bananas, blueberries and chia seeds. The base is always at least 10 bananas, the rest I just throw in what I have that day.

Lunch would be a cup of rice ( a cup of rice is what some cook for a whole family of 4) , some steamed veggies, or a vegan stew along side that.

Dinner maybe another 10 bananas, or some baked sweet potatoes. Sometimes around 3-4. It’s great with cinnamon and brown sugar. Ahhh man, I’m drooling.  But here’s the thing most of my food has very very very little to no oil or salt on it. We condiment our food using spices, herbs, lime, homemade sauce/dressing etc. My food is always naturally low in fat, and high in carbs. I don’t mean processed carbs, but whole food plants. All from mama nature. Mother’s always got it right.

This is a typical day for me and slightly varies from time to time.

Welcome to the high carb world where restrictions of portions isn’t just in my dictionary. To see more of what I eat or my shenanigans, follow me on Instagram @elcotth or add me on Facebook: Hady Elcott. Here’s also another way I stay lean.

Cut carbs Cut life.

 

 

Today’s triathlon!

It started at 6:30 am. By 5:45, I was I having breakfast (dates and bananas) and sipping on a liter of water.

I told myself I have loads of time, but the water I was sipping on ( 1 liter ) really made time fly. It was 6!!!! I got my bike, packed my bag and just took off and in the car  I realised that I  forgot my swimming cap and goggles in my apartment, so I took 10 seconds to decide  whether I go back for them or not, I ended going back up since they were essentials and I’d basically be setting myself up for a disastrous swim.

I get there 6:20 and the bike racks are all taken and there’s no place for mine, so I was forced to lean it against a wall somewhere behind all the bikes. Anyways I get to the beach and 2 minutes later and its showtime! It’s 2 laps of 750m. The first lap was a technique mess where everyone is just struggling to get in a good swimming position and we’re all trying not to get sucker punched or kicked by the swimmer next to us. The second loop was very smooth for me, I had a good steady heart rate and I was using the best technique I know of and did pretty good ( 34 mins). Not bad for a 6 day swimming training plan ( which I only did 5 of ).

Then moving on the bike, I put on my shoes and ran to the start line and took off nice and easy, I haven’t been on a bike in 2-3 months and the last time I actually was on a bike I did a 20k ride which I struggled to complete. I was mentally prepared cause it was all a big nice day out where I get to ride my bike. Everyone was passing me and I enjoyed smiling at them and giving them a thumbs up. So this was also a 2 loop course (20/20) and the first loop was pretty easy but the second loop wasn’t hard but boring, all I was thinking of is how can people ride for 180km, GOD!!

I had no motivation to push whatsoever, I just wanted the ride to be over with, I wasn’t really tired, just had a sore butt due to not being on the saddle for a long time.Then comes along a friend ( bless her ) and we start and have a conversation about kids and she just gave me that push ( thanks Dana, oh and by the way she’s a mother who has a one year old, now feel bad for yourself for not working out) and I eventually left her behind but that conversation and her faster pace made a world of difference. I finally finished in 1:30 ( one hour, 30 minutes and not one minute, 30 seconds. I’m not there yet) and I was pretty pleased with myself for riding on a pretty good pace with no pain on ZERO training.  Then I handed over the chip to my fellow team member to go out and run. Boy, was I glad that it was over cause the weather was beginning to get hotter and it got brutal, so I finished in perfect timings where I enjoyed a good breeze on the bike. She arrived half dead from the 10k run, it was definitely a hot one. I got sunburnt  

 and I promised myself I’d sleep early but here I am.

ok FOOD. Most people wonder what I ate before the race and I mentioned it above but that’s the wrong question . The right question is what did you eat the day before? We run on last night’s glycogen on not on breakfast. For dinner the night before I had an amazing banana date smoothie that tasted like candy. 

  

  

 Anyways its past 12 so maybe I should name this ” The triathlon I did the day before?”

What good is in here that I cannot presently see? 

I lied in bed in despair, scrolling through Facebook and Instagram, not knowing what to do next, stressed out and just feeling “bored”. Who’s familiar with the bored selfie?  We see it a lot, at least I do. 

I was miserable and just felt like there was a dead end, now I could go on and feel like this for a long time (as I did at times)  wobbling in my own web of ideas and creating a negative neurological pattern. 

That wasn’t helping anyone, it was effecting me negatively and unconsciously effecting those around me. So as I sat there helplessly, I gave myself a second of sanity and asked myself, ” what good is in here that I cannot presently see?”  and that simple question just made me feel instantly good. What good is there? Here’s a few I came up with:

  1. I’m healthy 
  2. I’m alive 
  3. I have people who love me 
  4. I can walk/run 
  5. I can write 

And suddenly just like that, my thought process flipped to this positive chain of “feel good” and “constructive” thoughts. I put away my phone and indulged in the feel good thoughts, put myself together and wrote this down. 

We sometimes feel like we’re trapped and there’s no way out of this misery etc etc but as cheesy as it sounds ” there’s light at the end of the tunnel” . A nice sunny view where we appreciate what we are/have and where we make this world a better place by providing  light rays of hope and positivity in the hope to light up someone else’s path and maybe turn their tunnel into a shorter one than ours or for us to look back at the tunnel and say “I’m not going back there ” 

   

 We are what we think and we eventually become our thoughts, so let’s try and create an amazing pattern of thoughts that we can live by everyday to its potential and that we can try and see everyday as an opportunity and seize it, grab it and smother ourselves in it. 

I end this post with gratefulness and I hope this can create a ray of light ( or a tunnel of light) that you can grab on to.  

“What good is here, that I cannot presently see?”  A question to ponder over.

Fast food is fast money! 

As I ordered my brown rice, broccoli, and tofu I was grateful for the option available to me and grateful that eating whole foods has become more common in the Arab world, but as I reach out for the bill, my wallet is very ungrateful for how light it gets every time (or most of the time ) I eat out or even just buy food. 

Then, I look around the fast food joints and see how crowded they are with customers and how they have conquered the food industry. The marketing, the kids meal and how they make the meals with a theme and how you have to come back and collect all happy meal toy figures. It’s all brilliant. I wish health food restaurants would put in the same effort, but most of them are too busy overpricing their foods or just surviving through this fast food epidemic

Then, I look at the price of their meals and its shocking how dirty cheap it is. I hadn’t eaten at a fast food restaurant in over 2 years, so I was kind of living in my own bubble for a while, but as I took a look inside again, it makes complete sense that people are fat, sick and nearly dead.

The food is so cheap and its easier and more convenient to feed a family of five, affordable FAST food. We are going through an epidemic here, and all we can do is vote with our coin.

Please let’s ask ourselves why is fast food so cheap?! How can meat be that affordable (hint: it’s not real meat) and why have we become sicker than ever. Just food for thought.

A  few simple tips to eating healthier whole foods would be to simply eat outside less, buy in bulks and invest your time learning how to cook simple healthy foods such as rice, corn, vegetables, wholewheat pasta etc. 

I urge you all again to vote with your coin, save yourselves and your loved ones from  diabetes, heart disease, cholesterol and boycott the fast food mafia with all you’ve got.

Please leave below your comments and criticisms.  Happy and healthy reading 😀 

My Dubai marathon experience

SO here I am deciding to run the Dubai marathon. This marathon is like a curse to me, 2 years ago I wanted to run the marathon, I actually trained for it at the time and ended up getting injured( due to over training) . But this year I was fitter overall, just did the Bahrain challenge triathlon around a month ago and was feeling good, so decided to sign up for the race and do it without really much training at all. The longest run I did was the half marathon which was part of the triathlon and that was about it and then I injured my self doing the Bahrain half marathon, so I figured that I would wait till the marathon and see how I feel then, which was 2 weeks away ( Damn ITB)

So 2 weeks later, there I am and decided to just go ahead and do it. I bought a strap that was said to be very good-by a company called pro-tec, so I gave it a go.

itb

my lucky running socks

my lucky running socks

2 weeks later, there I am and the crowd were full of energy,  I made it just in time, so I arrived and just began running. Started off at a really good comfortable pace, the crowds there were fantastic, very encouraging and all.

At 7k my knee began to call for attention, but the pain was being held back by the strap which is what kept me going. I was fascinated by how a lot of the runners just responded to their call of nature ( just number 1) and watered the plants at any corner which made it comfortable for me if I had I was being called by nature to.So there I am running at a good pace and staying hydrated and sugared up.

21k

I just ignored my knee and at km 22, it just stiffs up and it becomes very difficult to run and I have never felt that kind of pain ever before, so I slow down and start walking and thinking what caused this?  Probably the combination of the knee paid and the lack of training so then I arrived at an ambulance and told them that I couldn’t move my left knee , so they iced it, sprayed it and told me to lay still for a while

As I laid there, I said to my self that’s it for me, there’s no point doing a marathon in this condition so I asked them how do I get back and they said the only way back is running/walking back or waiting 2 + hours for a bus to arrive and pick us up 0..O. I had no way out!! That was the biggest and maybe only to this marathon, a no return point. What’s that all about? Suddenly, some girl passed by asking if they had anything for her lower back and her knees, and she seemed to be in pretty bad shape. The nurse tells her to just wait for the bus to come by and she says “No way, I have to finish it’’ and she just continued her 42.2k journey. That, right there was motivation to get up and start limping, but as I continued I said to myself “screw it, I don’t have to go through this, I know I’m fit, I know I could finish a marathon in the right form”, so I started walking again and hopelessly thinking of an exit strategy.

As I was walking and I guess I looked kind of miserable too, a runner passed me and just whispered to me and pointed at her head saying” it’s all in the mind” and I don’t know what happened but I just started running again and ignoring the pain, and I was going fast!

But then the pain just hit me harder so it wasn’t really all in the head only. As I made it to the 30k mark there was finally a turn around point that read 40k on the other side. So I had 2 options, finish this or just take the short cut.

I took the short cut,I have nothing to prove by finishing a marathon in a crippled state, nor would it make me feel better.So, as I turn around to the other side, I just got faster and faster and ran with passion, still hurt but a lot of passion for the long-lost finish line, I had a runner next to me who I was actually pacing and a km away from the finish line she slows down and says I can’t and I tell her “oh no, you’re not, not here and not now, so we finish the race with a lot of intensity,I clocked 32.9k in 4 hours and  received a medal that I think I forgot in Dubai and ended up walking just as much as the marathon after that, to make the most of my last night in this beautiful city. My last painful night.

4

tower

oh! Me and my friend also missed our flight, we thought it would take off at 2pm but it took off at 2am. It could have been worse

wait

Moral of the story:

  1. You have to train for a marathon, you can’t just wing it. You could wing a 5k, 10k and even a half maybe, but not a full.
  2. Don’t ever race injured
  3. If you’re not a pro or race for money, just enjoy it
  4. It always good to chew more than you can bite every now and then and see where it takes you
  5. It’s not all just in the mind, you literally have to be physically prepared for some stuff out there
  6. Eat more fruits and vegetables J
  7. Be all natural, I used  ZERO stimulants in this race ( no caffeine or any sort of pain killers). Just so you can see what you’re actually capable of on your own, go a year or two without them and see what comes out the other side.