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April « 2009 « James Cunnama’s Blog


Archive for April, 2009

Hundred Club

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009


So yesterday was my birthday… Hip Hip Hooray! And all that stuff…

A few years ago, in another lifetime as a student, we would celebrate someones birthday by inducting them into the ‘Hundred Club’. In order to become a member of this elite club the inductee was required to consume 100 shots (30ml) of beer, one every minute for 100 minutes. It sounds easy, but really is absurdly challenging, and the constant stream of beer invariably results in a level of drunkeness that is spectactularly entertaining! Add to the challenge the rules that you may not leave the table (for anything!) and no beer may pass your lips in the wrong direction and the Hundred Club becomes exclusive indeed!

But as I say, that was in another lifetime and I am not sure I would make the ‘Ten Club’ these days! However, keeping the tradition alive, this birthday I joined another ‘Hundred Club’. That is the Pro triathlete swimming Hundred Club. Induction in this club is probably equally humorous for those not involved and equally painful for those involved, but doesn’t result in people losing their lunch (well, not as often…). Beer goggles optional.

So for my birthday I completed 100 x 100m in the pool. It was the furtherest I have ever swum in a single session, or single day for that matter. In fact, it may be further than I have ever swum in two consecutive days before…

Happy Birthday to me! …Now I’m gonna go figure out how to wash my hair without lifting my arms above my shoulders… ;)

Ironman Amnesia

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

It has been only a short 2 weeks since Ironman South Africa. I can honestly say that 5 April was probably the toughest day I have ever been through with all kinds of pain and discomfort. The last 16km of the marathon were absolute agony, with serious cramps every 3-4km and torturous jogging through pain inbetween.

…At least that is the description I have memorized and repeated a few dozen times since that day. Whether it is entirely true or not I can’t really say. You see, I am suffering from Ironman Amnesia. Unlike the complete amnesia that comes from a concussion (or in the early-morning hours of a heavy party night ;) ), Ironman amnesia leaves a few vivid spots of memory scattered throughout the day, causing the entire 9 hour experience to feel like it happened in a few short minutes. And you can recall none of the pain that, at the time, consumed your entire consciousness.

I am sure this is an evolutionary protective mechanism – humans have the most developed memory of any creature, yet still cannot remember pain. Without this I doubt there would be any mother with more than one child – the pain of child-birth preventing them from ever again making the mistake of falling pregnant. And certainly no-one would ever do more than one Ironman!

However, I cannot remember the pain of two weeks ago. And that is why I find myself heading out to begin training again for my next Ironman… and, regardless of the pain, I cannot wait!

Below is my support crew from IMSA – my entire family, girlfriend and some friends, with their huge banner just for me and pink TeamTBB shirts.


A tough day in the office at IMSA

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Just a short note to let everyone know what went down yesterday – a full race report will follow in a few days.

Yesterday was Ironman South Africa 2009, and what a day it turned it to be. In conditions which proved to be challenging to even the hardest of the hard, there were some great performances, and some broken spirits.

Marino Vanhoenacker dominated the entire event with a great bike ride backed up with a strong run. Michel Gohner was 2nd with Petr Vabrousek 3rd (in his 55th Ironman as a pro! – I, in comparison, was doing my 3rd…). I started well, with a good swim coming out in the 2nd pack and feeling like I had swum well within myself – a big step up from my previous swim performances where I was wrecked after 3.8km. I got on the bike got into a good rythym. There were some significant position shifting through the bike, except for Marino Vanhoenacker, who was in a leaugue of his own. I rode with a group for a bit, but spent a significant part of the ride on my own, sticking to my race plan. After a good ride of 4h41 and feeling strong I started the run feeling confident.

However, pretty soon it became clear that it was going to be a tough day, and my pace slowed early. Turns out everyone’s pace slowed significantly and I ran my way up to 4th place, partly due to me overtaking guys, and partly due to guys ahead of me dropping out. The last lap however was an exercise in pain management as I cramped and struggled. However by this stage I had the mountain bike with ’1st SA Man’ with me and I was determined to finish with that bike next to me, so I hung tough and, although I was passed by two competitors (including Stephen) to end in 6th, I was the first SA man over the line – which was an awesome experience!

Congrats to my team-mates: Stephen coming back on the run after a tough bike for 4th, Lucie for dominating the ladies race from start to finish, and Caroline for finishing 5th and also claiming top SA lady.

A full race report soon…

Ironman SA 2009

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009


Ironman South Africa now looms large in the minds of pretty much everyone around me and the tension is palpable. This is a fun time. I love the sense of anticipation. As you do more and more Ironman events (and start doing it for a living) it is easy to get blase (can’t find the thingy on top of the ‘e’) about the whole thing, and when you do you lose some of the experience. I’m all about the experience.

The pic is of my race-ready rig. I’ve borrowed a mates 808-1080 wheelset, and they just happened to be colour-coded – looking slick! And my race suit matches it too… I couldn’t have planned it better!

Things here at home have been great, catching up with all my mates and tapering for the race. Today, IM registration opened and the buzz kicked up a notch. Walking around the expo someone offered me a magazine and I almost said no, but then glanced again and saw a familiar face on the cover – ME! HAHA! Wow! My first magazine cover. Awesome! (Check out www.multisport.co.za) Unfortunately it was prior to TeamTBB, but that cover is coming soon ;)

The race-day weather looks good, the field looks strong and everything is set. I can’t wait…

I am off for a swim before renting some movies and putting my feet up… and waiting… :)