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.
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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.

Your most effective weight loss tool

I’ve seen a lot of people obsess about how many calories they burn while exercising. I never really understood that but anyways. I’ve seen ads of exercise classes mentioning burn up to 700 calories and that class would be filled with people and bare in mind that is a lot of calories for one class.

People would leave this class feeling burnt out, and sore for a couple of days to come. All that for maybe hopefully reaching a calorie burn of 700!! It’s up to 700, meaning if you give it your absolute all with a little vomit heading out of your system, you may be one of the lucky ones to make it to 700 calories.

Today morning I went for a bike ride which was a training ride for the upcoming ironman in Bahrain which is in 2 weeks. We rode just under 3 hours with police escort ;). We got to go on highways we don’t have access to as cyclists on ordinary days so today was the exception and I wasn’t going to miss it. Today was one of the very rare days that I was all wired up to my phone. I usually just ride for without anything on me but today I had GPS, maps, calories etc. After the ride I took a look at my phone and I burnt a total of 1,583 calories! Let me write it down in words. One thousand five hundred and eighty three calories! I was shocked at how much I’ve burnt having fun ( and the occasional pain and lactic acid build up ) IMG_2410

What other sport do you know of that can burn that amount of calories with very low impact? Nothing I know of. At least not in Bahrain. The bicycle is your biggest weight loss and fitness tool that you will keep you trim, fit and awesome.

The bicycle is a great way to get outside, get a good dose of vitamin D and stay trim without destroying your body. Since its a low impact sport, your joints will not suffer the way it does with running, weight lifting etc.

And if you’re in Bahrain visit Trilife or Endura and get a Bicycle. Winter is coming.

Challenge: 70.3

So tomorrow I officially start training for the Ironman 70.3 which is one month. Yes, one month. So I looked up everywhere on line for a one month training plan and the craziest one was 6 weeks. Yes, 6 weeks and that’s one plan that I had to dig up. I have 4 weeks left. There was nothing out there that even recommended a one most training plan. Here goes.

Can I do it? I mean, truth be told, yes! I could, but it’s not just about finishing, it’s about finishing strong and going through each discipline with confidence and grace. At last year’s Challenge ( half iron distance) I also didn’t have a training plan but I was always swimming, biking and running. I finished in 6 hours and 10 minutes. Not bad for my first ever half iron distance and no training plan.

But this year is different. I haven’t been biking at all and that scares me, Have been barely running and have been mostly swimming ( the smallest fraction of all three disciplines). So am I worried? I’m just confused, excited and a little scared. I’d like to finish in under 6 hours 30 minutes really just because I get bored out there and because I don’t want to be out there for so long. I just don’t.

So here’s what I’m going to do. Train super hard for a month, listen to my body, eat even better and hope I don’t crack. So wish me all luck and I may just keep you posted ( not that anyone should care)

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At last year’s challenge Bahrain

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?”

Tomorrow’s triathlon

So I was asked to be part of a team in tomorrow’s olympic triathlon. Well of course, I said yes! Even though I’m the least prepared for it

Let me back up a little and tell you what is an olympic triathlon: It’s an athletic contest consisting of three different events, typically swimming, cycling, and running.  Tomorrow’s distances are 1.5 km swim, 40k cycling and a 10k run to hit the spot. So I’ll be doing the swim and the bike part. Here’s the thing, the last time I was on a bike was maybe around 2 months ago and I was struggling to finish 20k.

So tomorrow will be an experiment that should be interesting. I usually put myself in such situations. It’s very unnecessary.

Wish me all luck.

The time it takes to get fat (Pt.2)

One night as he looked as his body, he felt disgust and he has been slightly overweight for as long as he can remember but all that changed for him in his university years. He went from fat to chubby in less than a year and stayed that way for a good 4-5 years.

That one night, it all changed for him. It was his breaking point where he has come to hate his body, his lifestyle, eating habits and wanted out of that dead-end life. He took a decision that night that changed his life forever to the very best and he keeps getting better and better. Not only was it a diet, but a whole mind-set shift where he wanted to be a new person, a shift in diet and lifestyle.

He didn’t let his emotions get ahead of him, because he as failed plenty of times on fad diets that has given him temporary results only, taking back to where he has started and maybe even gaining a few pounds over that.

He wanted SUSTAINABILITY and a change for life. So he took it slow, and started working towards his goal using baby steps. He started changing what he eats, eating mainly whole foods and eating a high carb, low-fat diet.

He began to lose 4-5kgs a month on diet alone, and then began adding a daily walk to his life every single day. Those simple changes made a tremendous effect on his life and he was able to do them because they were small, measurable, achievable goals. He began to add a little jog now and then just to get his heart beating. Once he saw the changes, he was motivated more than ever and would not stop until he has done a complete transformation. It took him around a year to just lose the weight.

He then was a transformed man, who wowed everybody he knew with how well he has done, after the big change and being so optimistic about life again, sky was the limit. He wanted to go above and beyond after he knew what his body and mind were capable of.

He then got a used up bike to train on. He would go for a 20-30 min spin on it and would sometimes jog. Then an opportunity for a challenge arose and that was a triathlon. That’s right, a triathlon, for those of you who aren’t aware what a triathlon is,a Triathlon is a multiple-stage competition involving the completion of three continuous and sequential endurance disciplines which are swimming, cycling and running that happen in immediate transitions. He did his first every triathlon and he finished it successfully. The guy who could barely walk a mile was now getting into races that the average people would think twice about.

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He then decided to get into bodybuilding and get into a whole new sport if its own. Ladies and gentlemen, it takes years of abuse for you to get fat and years to get fit, but the years spent getting fit and healthy are shorter, healing, exciting and bright. So make that change. I now share with you pictures of my good buddy Ahmed Awad and his transformation.

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And this is him now

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Here are Ahmed’s top 3 tips:

  1. Don’t quit: When you’re about to quit ,remember the pain is only temporary and then you’ll be happy for life.
  2. Eat clean and exercise: Eat clean, exercise/get moving at least 4-5 times a week to reap the health benefits of this lifestyle and add a cheat meal once a week only, so you can indulge when you have to
  3. Keep pushing : Number 1.

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