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.

5 days to ironman 70.3 Bahrain

I’m sore  and haven’t tapered yet. Ordered top of the line nutrition and a wrong order arrived. I have been swamped with work and cannot say no to it, because as a freelancer you just can’t refuse work, not at this stage of my life at least.

I’ve trained for this race for under a month. My longest run was the 10k I wrote about around 3 weeks ago. And it wasn’t even fast. I’m trying to sleep more, but it can be challenging.

I have a few ticks up my sleeve and will see how it goes. Humble goal: 6:30, non realistic goal: beating last years time of 6:10 ( which I was kind of in shape for ) and the  unattainable goal under 6 hours.

For now, eat super well, try and get as much sleep as I can and easy workouts. Work load is increasing by the day. That’s good if it was any other time. But that’s life. Throwing curve balls at me. Just have to me focus and deal with it the right way.

To all you tapering. I salute you. See you at the start line.

How to be pure

He was staring at me non stop. It was probably my man bun. I was looked at in weird ways by abusers, liars, hypocrites, cheaters with a few thieves thrown in. But they were better people than I was. They were the chosen ones, all hand picked by God himself. Anyone to forfend by what they believed was wrong, were WRONG. There was no messing with those people.

I was covered in shame, trying to hide my face using my hair. Since they weren’t pleased by the man bun, I untied it and let my shoulder length hair cover my face so I could hide behind it. I took a peek through the layers and they weren’t happy at all. It felt like they were casting me out of heaven forever. I left there with hate and promising to grow my hair even longer. I have now become stubbornly hateful because I was jealous of those who had the key to heaven. Since I was out anyways I was gonna be bad to the bone.

After watching Terminator 2 for some motivation on being bad to the bone I got even more upset because the bad guy was liquid metal and there was no way in hell I could be like that. Great, now hell too.

I took a good look at myself in the mirror and realized that I wasn’t casted our of heaven yet. I am not dead yet. I have time to redeem myself and have a clean bun instead of a messy one.I figured I’d start there. I felt better about myself. I went in to work lifting my bun with pride. It was all neatly tucked in and I was getting less dirty look and more clean looks.

I then saw someone walk in with an undercut. How dare he walk in here looking like that?!!! Where does he think he is? This is the middle east. Then walked in a women with a pierced lip. HOW DOUBLE DARE YOU? You both ought to DOUBLE DATE. I then remembered how I was casted out of heaven with mere judgmental looks. I stopped casting them out and smiled at them. They looked at me weirdly. I smiled even more hoping they could the read the smile, which read ” It’s okay, I understand. I know what you go through sometimes. And I’m not casting you out of heaven, don’t worry.” They walked out and we lost 2 potential clients. But at least they walked out knowing I was with them.

I made another decision , to never try and cast anyone out of heaven again or give them judgmental looks. We are all going through our own journey and kindness always wins. I was gentle with myself and It worked. The gentler I became with people, the more they accepted me and I them. I formed a bond with myself and a pact to never judge anyone based on appearance, race, color or food choices ( I’m working on this one ) .

And how did I get my self out of hell after being casted out of heaven?! It was one good decision. And I think that’s something I ought to work on more often. Making better decisions. 

I have rid myself out of the purist mentality a long time ago and have met and made more friends with people from all walks of life. Some who didn’t even walk much. And I’ve accepted them in my heart. It all started with a better decision. So the next time I make a move, I’ll think of the better decision and take that one step forward. We will always be on a high horse and look down at other, the purer we are. Lets rid ourselves of purity. It’s non existent. Making a better decision exists and the next good decision will be to post this.

DONT BE A PURIST. MAKE BETTER DECISIONS ( Note to self )

 

The characters we play

As I walk in to that door, I automatically super charge and transform into the energetic instructor I’m suppose to be. I greet everyone with a smile, say good afternoon or evening and get warmed up in the instructors room. You see,that room to me is like behind the curtains for actors that are getting ready to say their lines and play their role on stage. The only difference between me and them is my colleagues don’t know that i’m rehearsing. And that can be hard, because I may end up offending somebody or giving someone a bad impression. I don’t like that but the job must get done.

I come home, mellow down and let my guard down for a while before I go to bed. It’s relaxing. Most of the time I don’t have a show to put up after 9 pm. But as I wake up in the morning I should or else I get depressed and get nothing done.

Then, I turn into this quiet-ish little boy when I’m with my parents because I haven’t got that much to say and I also have to be extra careful about what comes out. So I refrain from being too loud or saying stuff that’ll probably make them think twice about who this person is.

Then I have 3 group of friends. The 1st group I can let my guard down completely and just be “me” and say what needs to be said. The second group is those who kind of look up to me in a way and I have to be that shining example and not let anybody down. The 3rd group is the one where I have to be nice cause they’re nice too, they’re more acquaintances than friends and so I have to be well-behaved.

Then comes the smoothie man where I’m the founder and the representative. So I have to be top-notch at customer service and make sure that I don’t end up insulting anyone due to their ignorance. Not that anyone is. Just saying. I not only have to be at my very best, I also have to convince them to buy and why this is actually good for them, and how I’m doing them a favor and no matter where they look in this island, they’ll not find great quality whole foods for this affordable price.

Here’s the issue. When you lose yourself and start playing another character in the wrong place. Here’s an example, a customer called and told me she wanted smoothies, she mentioned what fruits she wanted in her smoothies and what to exclude. She told me she doesn’t like bananas. I said “okay, how about mangoes? ” “Not a fan sorry”, she replied. “ok then, I’ll put in some avocados for you”. “sorry those too”.  I simply blurted: ” I feel sorry for you, are you serious?”  Long story short, she didn’t text/call back that following day. And at times my wife tells me ” I’m not your friends okay. I’m not Ahmed or Nasser. How can you talk to me that way”. Mmm oops? Back to character Hady, back to character.

When I play such intense characters. It’s hard. It’s hard to get out of them quick and it’s hard not to offend people. But I mean all good, I promise. I don’t wanna hurt anybody. People either love me or hate me. That grey line is quite rare. I can be a little straightforward at times. I just forget which character I’m playing. I’m exhausted already naming all them.