John Humphries is this months ‘Client of the Month’. John always trains hard and religiously sticks to his training programme. He has overcome a number of challenges with his training. This is his story.
My Journey with Qwik Kiwi… by John Humphries
After finishing the hardest endurance event of my life of Ultraman Australia, being a total of 515 kms, of swimming 10 kms, cycling 420 kms and running 84.3 kms, with Coach Ray beside me every step of the way, either in the support vehicle, running beside me, or pacing up and down the beach while I completed the swim with my 12 year old safety paddler Lily, I knew I wanted to write an article about my journey with Qwik Kiwi, not just to thank Ray Boardman and his athletes who supported my journey all the way, but to possibly encourage others who are seeking a Coach and to tell them about my journey with Qwik Kiwi.
In some ways, I found Qwik Kiwi purely by chance. I have made no secret of the fact that I struggled with the 2014 New Zealand Ironman and yet it would be the third time I had crossed the finish line, having fulfilled my dream with Ironman Australia 2012 and Ironman New Zealand 2013. 2014 was different where I trained and I could have trained better. In fact I had added over 2 hours to my time and my body suffered from about a third of the way into the bike course. Training on an exercycle and swimming in a short pool in Timor-Leste were one thing, but various reasons (which I’ll save until the day I write a book) got the better of me.
I found Qwik Kiwi because at Ironman 2014, Ray was on the course as a Coach. He stayed on the course after his athletes had finished to keep an eye on me and offer encouragement while his athletes enjoyed the finish line massage table and refreshments etc. Ray knew me through his role as an Army Physical Training Instructor (PTI) and with another PTI colleague they helped me achieve the infamous finish line. It was then that I knew I wanted a coach and wanted Ray Boardman. Loyalty to a non-client – he must be exceptional for his clients.
As I was returning to Timor to continue serving for the rest of the year, I contacted Ray and asked what his coaching business was all about. He introduced me to Qwik Kiwi where I spent a number of hours reading, observing and smiling at some of the ‘write ups’ his clients were posting. I knew I wanted to be part of it.
On my way back from that fateful Ironman (I did finish in time), I picked up a book in the bookshop at Darwin Airport while doing the dreaded Airport stopovers. The book was called Finding Ultra by Rich Roll and I got hooked on the idea of an Ultraman. I emailed Ray and said “I want in. Will you take me on as a client and coach me? This is what I want to do“, listing Half Marathons, Marathons, Half Ironmans, Ironman, and Ultraman.
I explained a bit about myself which Ray pretty much knew and told him that if he thought I was a dreamer and didn’t want to coach me I wouldn’t be offended (referring to Ultraman).
Ray was more than keen, but was also truthful. Under his guidance with Qwik Kiwi we pulled my “to do” list back a bit (Ray pulled my reigns in). This is one of the best attributes any athlete will get with Coach Ray. He will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear, as a coach should.
We knocked a Half Marathon or two and a Marathon off the list (due to their timing against each other) and planned on Ultraman for 2016, knowing they only accept 40 athletes and that we wouldn’t know until November 2015 if I was to get accepted for Ultraman.
Ray asked me the details of my self-coaching training regime. I am sure if he wasn’t rolling around laughing, he would of been rolling his eyes back. After confirming with me what I had been doing, he took me back to the basics. Ray also explained it isn’t about training harder. It is about training smarter.
Ray then looked at the agreed list and planned my training for each activity accordingly with the focus on the bigger event in mind also, which at that stage was Ironman.
I knew if Ray was putting the time and energy into an athlete, that it should be returned. I made sure I completed all activities, but on occasion had to swap days around due to personal and work commitments. I always kept Ray fully informed of any inevitable injuries which he managed the training around accordingly.
Ray is always accommodating as “he gets it” when it comes to juggling commitments. I wasn’t about to take it for granted and would try my best. Ray was also honest when giving me feedback, telling me when I was doing well or training too hard for the training activity or otherwise. This feedback was gratefully received and kept me focused. He also gave me advice on equipment, such as Garmin, laptop programmes, bike set-ups, running shoes, diet, and great blogs on www.CoachRay.nz of not just training, but what the other Qwik Kiwi athletes send to him for a blog.
I soon learnt that Qwik Kiwi was like a family. I have met a few at events (Di, Helen, Austin and a couple of others), but you soon get to know the other athletes quite well even if only through the Qwik Kiwi private Facebook group.
Qwik Kiwi athletes share their highs and lows, some beating themselves up with disappointment with not just Ray picking them up, but all athletes jumping online with encouragement, “pretty much if you fall off your horse get back on it and we’re with you all the way”.
Once Ultraman came around and I was accepted, Ray stepped in and took up the role as our team UltraHumps PR guy. Qwik Kiwi athletes, regardless of the journey they were taking, were quick to jump in and show me support from the outset. I was floored and so thankful. It was even before my journey with Ultraman that with Ray’s loyalty and the encouragement of his clients, my fellow Qwik Kiwi athletes, that made me know I was with the right sports training group, Qwik Kiwi.
Qwik Kiwi has taken me from a struggling triathlete to a stronger Ironman and now an Ultraman (titles no one can take off me).
At Ultraman I won the military division and placed reasonably well within the field at almost the age of 50, for an event I wasn’t even sure if I could achieve the finish line. The support of Qwik Kiwi is second to none!
I have a number of charity opportunities which I will always fund raise for: the Fallen – KIWI = Killed, Injured, Wounded and Ill, likely focusing on the children left behind whose fathers have been killed in the line of duty overseas. I will spread these out over a number of years and will always do so under the banner of Qwik Kiwi. Qwik Kiwi has provided me a focus. A focus that supports my journey, with athletes that support my journey.
Keep training Qwik Kiwi athletes. You all rock and each of you are supported by each other during your respective journeys no matter what they are.
If anyone is looking for a Coach and a sporting organisation full of support, Qwik Kiwi is it!
– John Humphries
As client of the month John received a gift basket delivered to his work this morning.