Sport360°’s Chris Bailey has signed up for the challenge of his life in November – an Ironman. Follow his adventure as he prepares his body for a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile cycle and a marathon to finish with the help of I Love Supersport Dubai … check out part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5 and part 6 here if you haven’t already.
If Ironman Arizona is my baby, then I’m getting an early introduction to fatherhood.
The baby’s screaming – that’s my inner self urging the physical vessel to get up and train. Then there’s the need for several feeds a day for a growing body and trying (in vain) not to indulge those cravings with sugary treats. The monthly bills have sky-rocketed and, believe me, the laundry list is never-ending thanks to reeking piles of gym clothes.
Even still – though it defies all logic – the love burns strong.
Three months remain before that little rascal comes of age in the US and it seems to have come around so quickly. Having progressed from vaguely ignorant to hyper-aware of the distance involved, I’m beginning to realise it’s far more of a mental challenge. No matter the amount of hours ticked off on treadmills and the like, it’s going to hurt. A lot. And I’ve just got to deal with it.
Last week it was time for a tiny sampler at the Ironstar Indoor Triathlon, situated at the Max & Aegle fitness club in Meydan. It was the first of two summer triathlons taking place at the gym and while it meant we all escaped the sun, we certainly brought the heat inside.
The concept is simple. You swim lengths for 10 minutes in a pristine 25m pool before hopping on to a stationary bike and pounding the pedals for 30 minutes. That’s polished off by a 20 minute run, at the end of which all the metres and kilometres you’ve racked up are added together. Whoever has gone farthest, wins.
It’s intense. It’s brutal. The sweat turns the gym floor into a lake. Yet it is incredibly satisfying to expend as much energy as possible in such a short space of time, as opposed to the plod-fest that training for an Ironman can feel like at times.
Apart from a snafu on the bike, where my thunder thighs somehow broke the resistance knob and locked it onto a level that even Chris Froome would struggle turning, it was a blast.
It’s awesome receiving support during a traditional triathlon but here, with the organisers, volunteers and assembled well-wishers crowding around the apparatus and roaring you on, it adds more than a few peps to those steps.
I finished 15th out of 38 overall, with the capacity to have leapfrogged a few spots if not for the malfunction. Among a field in which some notoriously good TriDubai athletes came out to play, there will be no complaining from me.
So about those increasing bills … coach Dmitriy twisted my arm – it really didn’t need rotating much – and sourced a second-hand Colnago K-Zero for me to purchase. With a little/a lot of persuasion administered on the other half, I’ve got my very own superbike.
There are a few tiny things I need to get my head around first. Finding training wheels so I don’t burn out the bleeding-edge wheels it came with, for one, while also getting used to the shockingly high seat position that doubles me over onto the shockingly low aerobars.
Practice better make perfect – I quite literally cannot afford another crash.
Fancy getting your first taste of triathlon? I Love Supersport Dubai are running this year’s second IRONSTAR Indoor Triathlon Dubai at Max & Aegle fitness centre, Meydan, on September 14 involving a 10 minute swim, 30 minute bike and 20 minute run. Sign up at www.premieronline.com – hurry, places are going fast!
Dmitriy Firsov – ILSS coach
Chris is now in his last loading stage, which will take him approximately three months with three weeks of tapering straight after. Understanding where he in the training process, we’ve finished one week of recovery and started the full endurance loading in order to make sure he will be ready by race day.
Loading is supposed to be done regularly – but based on what you’ve done in the previous week. Consequently it’s difficult to say how much training is left to do, but through experience working with other athletes, I can say now that we are on an endurance loading block in order to make sure that Chris will complete the distance in the time frame that we planned.
One of the key points is technical support. That’s why we ordered a new bike and why I wanted to make sure that by the time Chris comes to the Ironman distance, nothing will let him down. It’s lighter, more stiff and with together with the wheel upgrades that Chris has made on the bike, he will be faster – though at the end of the day that mainly depends on the legs!
With the Ironstar Indoor Triathlon that Chris was participating in, you don’t need much to compete – all you need is a tri-suit and running shoes, so beginners can try it without putting so much money into it. It’s a chance for beginners to try a triathlon out for the first time in a controlled environment with little cost. Also, this event can be used for more serious amateurs or experienced athletes to test themselves during the loading period; how it’s going, what can be improved, so on and so forth.
As it’s done indoors, the loading you receive during the event is harder as it’s the environment surrounding you is not changing – you see your competitors side-by-side in the pool, on the stationary bike and treadmill. It’s a constant pinch to the body, seeing everyone around you putting in their maximum effort and pushes you to do more!
The 2019 OMAN by UTMB returns in November offering adventure-seekers the GCC’s most unique experience.
The second edition of the ultra trail event will be held in the Sultanate of Oman on 28th-30th November, with varying distances opening the event to all trail running enthusiasts in the region. The extraordinary 130KM mountain course at the heart of the 2018 event – hailed by National Geographic as the ‘world’s toughest adventure race’ – will now be joined on the international trail running calendar by a 50KM course and an ultimate 170KM challenge.
Last year’s pioneering race attracted enormous interest including many high-profile members of the global trail running community, and immersed participants in Oman’s natural beauty, taking them through deep wadis, high ridges, ancient villages and memorable landscapes. Winner of the 2018 men’s edition, Jason Schlarb (USA), who crossed the finish line jointly with Diego ‘Zpeedy’ Pazos (CH) said: “It’s an honour and a privilege to win the first ever OMAN by UTMB and to share it with someone like Diego was a dream come true. We didn’t discuss it until the last 20 kilometres when we worked together and pushed each other – we both ran faster and harder than we would ever have done on our own. The people were hugely inviting and wonderful, shaking my hand.”
“Tough but wonderful”, was the verdict of UTMB Mont-Blanc Race Director Michel Poletti, who added: “The idea was to offer runners an unforgettable experience, within a magic landscape.” 327 ultra-runners from 57 countries, enjoyed the unique hospitality of the Omani people from start to finish as they crossed the iconic Jebel Akhdar (the Green Mountain). With over 1,500 runners expected at this year’s event, participants will run through the country’s beautiful wadis and ancient villages and experience some of the region’s most breath-taking views in ideal weather conditions with daytime mountain temperatures of approximately 21C and 10C overnight. Runners will also have the opportunity to explore Oman’s diverse landscapes before and after the event. The winner of the 2018 women’s race Anna-Marie Watson, a former British Army captain said: “UTMB holds a really special place in my heart. When I heard there was going to be one in Oman, I just had to be part of it. I spent several holidays here, diving, seeing the turtles, and chilling out. There is so much to explore in Oman. It is a true gem in the Middle East.”
With a few months to go, the reduced price Early Bird entries are almost sold out. The 50KM race, which starts on November 29th, is a new addition to the Oman by UTMB family and is aimed at runners who are new to the sport or looking to take on the challenge of a tough but fair ‘short’ trail-run with limited technical sections to navigate. It will start and finish in Al Hamra, taking the participants onto Jebel Al Akhdar with more than 2,300m of elevation gain.
The 2019 event has also added the super-challenge of a 170km course that ascends to a height of 3,000m on the formidable Jebel Shams, Arabia’s highest mountain.
The original and now classic 130km course remains at its heart, complete with climbs totalling 7,800m. Both distances are only suitable for experienced trail runners, with participants requiring official International Trail Running Association (ITRA) ranking points to qualify to participate in either distance. Both start on November 28th in the village of Birkat Al Mouz.
New for 2019 is a big bonus for all those on the 130km and 170km courses as completion within the barrier time means a guaranteed entry for the 2020 UTMB Mont-Blanc in Chamonix, France. The sell-out event is the pinnacle of the trail running calendar attracting thousands of runners from all over the world each year. Oman by UTMB will be the first event that will offer runners the chance to guarantee their trip to Chamonix. To register visit www.omanutmb.com/enter/ and find more information on Instagram: @utmboman.
After twice falling short, third was the lucky charm for Jamie Greene at the Reebok CrossFit Games in Madison, Wisconsin, last weekend.
The Abu Dhabi-based athlete clinched third in the overall women’s standings, finishing 220 points behind winner Tia-Clair Toomey and just 25 points behind second-placed Kristin Holte.
Greene, who trains at CrossFit Yas in the UAE capital, made her debut in the team’s division in 2016, finishing third, before placing eighth and 11th as an individual in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
But the Dunedin native, who has been living in the Emirates since 2014, looked a class apart of her rivals over the four-day event last weekend, notching third in the First Cut, fourth in the Sprint Couplet, third in Mary, fourth in Split Triplet, fourth in Swim Paddle and second in The Standard.
Speaking to Sport360 after returning to the Emirates earlier in the week, Greene said: “It definitely felt different to other years. You get back home, you rest for a little and then you’re back to square one again because you realise what you want and need to work on.
“I had a lot of weaknesses to work on, smaller things like the mental game, pushing through when you do get tired, changing your training so you can handle the volume when it comes to competition time.”
With twelve gruelling events taking place over four days at the Alliant Energy Center, recovering both mentally and physically comes down to fine margins, especially if the athletes are to get the best out of their vast talents in each workout.
“You have to manage your energy. Everyone feels like that, you can have a bit more energy if you spend a bit of downtime between events resting,” said Greene. “And being smart about how you use your energy, whether that’s cutting down time on social media, talking to people or walking around doing stuff you don’t need to do.
“You know what you’re there for so if you can focus on that then you have much more energy for your events.”
Gymnastics has always been a key strength for Greene since an early age, but other workouts from a strength element require some extra work. With so many different workouts and routines to practice and manage, it’s important to cover all bases effectively in advance of competition.
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😎🖤 How can I say a big enough THANKYOU to all the GCs who have dropped a message, caught up with me, helped me out here & there over the last few weeks 🤗 Absolut Gems 🤙 I’d be lost without you all!! 🐹 •••••• @wit.fitness @wit.training @edwods @ellsimmo93 @odysy.training @loudlivesports @nuzest_middleeast @esc_sounds @voguefitness.crossfityas @voguefitness.yasladies
“We go through different blocks throughout the year. I do basic strength work for a while. I just get the body used to a lot of volume. You build up volume throughout the year and then when it gets to competition time you break it down as if it was an event,” she said.
“You hit each workout like it’s competition intensity. That’s the big difference instead of just cruising throughout the workout.”
Knowing she can now shine against the best in the world, Greene’s podium spot is sure to provide additional firepower to her training over the next few months as she attempts to replicate another strong display at the CrossFit Games in 2020.
“You need to take note of the little things,” she said. “The importance of recovery so you can hit every workout harder. Going into training with a purpose, know what to achieve in that position instead of just going through the motions. I’ll need to increase the running and strength blocks and hopefully to come back next year.”