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100’s weekend aka #MaverickMindGames

During a famous triple brickset late in 2017 coach Trav mentioned that he was planning a big weekend for the Ironman athletes. His plan consisted of a 100 x 75m swim for Friday, a 5hr indoor bike for Saturday and to top the weekend off 100 x 400m run for Sunday. Immediately this caused a stir in the group. So when the 9th of March finally hit it was time to swim, bike and run.

Swimming as a group on a Friday for over 2 hours was difficult to arrange due to work commitments. So the squad broke up into smaller packs, with some even doing it all on their lonesome. I was one of those lucky buggers that got to do it all by myself and let me tell you, to swim 75m a hundred times becomes mind bogglingly boring. When you see 2 different swim squads finish and you are still busy swimming the thought of just stopping and calling it enough for a day did pop into my head a couple of times. Especially having 10 seconds after each 75m to think of how much you are hating this. With the dreaded swimming done and dusted it was time for a good night’s sleep for Saturday we ride.

If there is one thing the Johannesburg folk can do well, it is plan. We were sorted to the max for our indoor bike set. It was arranged that we all meet at The PainCave in Melrose arch and set up on the Kickers they have available there. We were also joined by the rest of the squad, who joined in on three hours of the five.  It really looked like we were on a camp. As a group we pretty much had everything except the braai. We started out cycling the Ironman course which we were supposed to warm-up for the first two hours but being able to see who’s in the lead quickly lead to the warmup becoming a mini race, thankfully the system experienced problems at about one and a half hours. We were set back onto the coaches program, which was by no means easier, in fact the focused shifted to just holding the numbers as long as possible. This was a very tough and mental set to have completed, everything in your body is screaming at you to just freewheel or stop. At the four hour mark we were down to three and a half Afrikaans athletes and three and a half English athletes, that’s right Bester you count as a half either way.  It was at this stage where WE were in control of the music for 3 songs, and sokkie we did. It was also the hardest on the last hour not just because it was the last hour but also this was the highest percentage FTP. But this is where the group dynamics pulls each one through, you cannot stop if your buddy is still going.

Then the dreaded run started bright and early on Sunday. This was the big one 100 x 400m each leaving on 2 minutes. It was decided to “try” maintain a lap time of 1:40 and rest 20 seconds, easy right? The first couple of laps went smooth thanks to music playing in the background and our auto timer blowing the whistle every two minutes. Reach lap 20 and you have completed the standard 20 x 400m. By lap 60 the majority of athletes will agree that it became dark, the group started to quiet down, less jokes made the rounds. I started wondering would it not just be better to skip the whole running and stopping and just slow it right down and continue running. The stopping started to hurt. Then before you know it you are at 80 laps, aka the business end. So close to being finished yet so far. But somehow with the help of each other we pushed through and completed the run. With the pacing being spot on 1:40 for every single lap which I found to be very impressive.

Now it is at this point that I need to mention our fearless leader Travis Maverick Johnston. Leader best describes this man and here is the reason for this. On Sunday when we started Travis could not join in on the set as he had family responsibilities. At 6 o’clock, in the afternoon, I messaged him to ask how did his set go during the day. He told me that he has not yet started and that he had a tough day. On a pitch black track in Dainfern our coach was on lap 35 at 8:30pm. How can I now ever justify a red block on TP?

I asked the athletes that completed the weekend to describe what the sets meant to them and what do they consider to have been the most difficult. The majority answered something similar to being able to push through the boundaries of what we think is possible and welcoming the challenge of the unknown. See in the end each set might not look that difficult but considering the compounding fatigue levels and the mental toughness needed to finish these sets are what will give us the edge come race day. The support of the whole team was much appreciated and I love that we were able to each set as a team, I strongly believe that Together Everyone Achieve More. Well done to every athlete that joined the 100’s club we are stronger and capable of so much more than we think possible.