When I returned to Johannesburg in 2008 for good, I was amazed that athletes set their alarms for daily training at 4.30am and were back home by 6.30am to start the day. "Madness" I said out loud to no-one in particular. In London, mid-week training was incorporated into the daily commute. You'd wake up at 6.30am and then bike or run to work in time for an 8.30am shower. Far more civil.
The difference between the two cities is that whereas in London you have sensible drivers and lousy weather, in Johannesburg you have sensible weather and lousy drivers. Dodging traffic in London seems to work pretty well and everyone tends to respect the rules of the road. In Joburg, cyclists who dare mingle with rush hour are the equivalent of novice contestants on Fear Factor.
So now I too get up at 4.30am. The closer we get to 22 April (Ironman ZA) the darker it gets, so we either hit the turbo trainer or put lights on the bikes. And we're back home just in time to put on the kettle, wake up the kids and start the day.
In the UK, I would run between home-station-office and often squeeze a nap out on the train. Nowadays that'd be a luxury, so all naps are negotiated for weekends.
Lunchtime is for swimming. Savy precision logistics are essential to get this excursion done in an hour. Kit is prepped the night before. Speedo is worn under one's suit to save precious time. At first it may seem peculiar, especially for one's work colleagues, but wearing goggles, swim cap and fins at your desk will save a handful of minutes.
And then after a few hours more work, it's time to hit the bars. Wearing your aero helmet helps save time for the next day especially if you have a time trial session to perfect on the bicycle.
And for those of you who thought this post was about the band, Blur, here's one of my favourite tracks from the legendary London band which you should listen to before getting out of bed each day.