Triathlon Coach NZOnce Ray had taken me on as a Client in the later part of 2014, the ultimate goal was to compete in an Ultraman – Ultraman Australia 2016 and to also consider it as an opportunity to fund-raise.

Ray carefully planned the training to focus on events as they arose, partly because we both knew that Ultraman only accepted a maximum of 40 athletes (we didn’t know if I would be successful) and partly to hold me back from getting too carried away and over-training.

Each event was planned and completed and I noticed my results were improving.  Once acceptance for Ultraman Oz was achieved, Ray commenced increasing the training but also holding back to consider the events between the time of acceptance and Ultraman Oz.  Iron Maori was very much on my calendar as I always wanted to complete it, however it always sold out within minutes.  My partner was entering Teams from the NZ Police in the Hawkes Bay and whilst at it grabbed my credit card and managed to secure an entry for me for both their Quarter Iron Maori event and their Half Iron Maori event (perhaps an early Christmas present from her to give me torture).  My focus was the Half Iron Maori event.  I hadn’t discussed a time with Ray for the 2 Km Swim, 90 Km Cycle and 21.1 Km Run.  I had always hovered between 6:15 to 6:30 but was keen to get a sub 6:00.  The day was great with so many swimming in Pandora’s Pond that I completed the 2 Km Swim in about 30 mins, getting dragged around with the flow.  The bike went well and I laughed to myself when some of the other riders around me were complaining about the wind.  As I train in Wellington I thought the wind was nothing more than an annoying side wind.  For the run I simply focused on the person in front of me and chased them down, followed by the next and the next and so on.  I came in with a personal best (PB) of 5:23:17. I was stoked, as was Ray.

The next event on my calendar is the Scorching 100th being a Half Ironman on Wellington Anniversary weekend in January, followed by Taupo’s New Zealand Ironman in the first weekend of March, before heading to Ultraman Australia in May.

I was discussing these events with my partner as I read Coach Ray’s Blog before Christmas about training with an injury.  She had already read the blog and commented that I had been injury free since following Ray’s training program correctly.  Talk about jinx it. On Boxing Day I swapped the Saturdays training with the Sunday and wanted to do a long run to burn off the Christmas festivities, which I did my best to minimise.  With 10 minutes to go on the run I strained my calf which I hadn’t strained in almost a year.  My partner was cycling beside me and said “no, this is not the year for this to happen for you”.  I contacted Ray and am continuing with the training program as cycling and swimming don’t affect the area of the injury and walk fast for the plotted runs.  After a week I did a few short very slow jogs of no more than a minute each whilst on these walks and I could tell it was on the mend, however I need to treat it with caution.

Ray in his usual calm self said “these injuries are here to challenge us, you’ll be okay with treating it with caution”.  My next blog will provide an update as the Scorching Half Ironman is only two weeks away to sort this injury.

Regards John Humphries (Humps)!


Earlier editions of UltraHumps can be found here.

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