Wednesday, August 06, 2008


After 6 weeks of training int he beautiful mountains of Switzerland we have completed (nearly) our move to Abu Dhabi to begin a new chapter in our lives. School has started nicely with a great group of teachers that are also new to the school, a well planned and productive orientation.

Training has been interesting thus far. A bike yesterday morning went fine...completely flat with 'light' traffic. The traffic looks like it may be fine, the issue will be the temperature right now. We walked out of the airport at midnight to 38 degrees and 70%humidity. By morning the temperature had cooled to 38! A 2 1/2 hour run this morning was a nightmare but I will take another shot at that on Sunday. I am heading for the pool now for a swim as I turned the chillers on yesterday so hopefully I won't be swimming in a hot tub! On Friday I am going to hit the trainer for a couple hours then meet the local cycling club for a few more hours.

Should prove to be an interesting couple weeks leading up to IMC!

Cheers for now.

Monday, July 28, 2008


As I head in to my last days of training in Leysin I had a nice ride yesterday. Headed out of Leysin bright and early and started the day with the Col De Mosses, nice warm-up. After the downhill to Chateau D' Oex it was rollers for about 100km, a nice downhill ride in to Vevey, along lake Geneva to Aigle and then the 16km climb up the mountain to Leysin. In the end 6hours 10' and 3 bakeries later I arrived home safe and sound!

Besides the bakeries which are always the highlight of the rides here, I had a family of foxes on the road in front of me not moving which I almost hit, a 50 something year old couple rode along beside me in a BMW convertible...both topless!!, I had an old couple stop in front of me on the rode that I almost hit going about 50km/hr! So, not an uneventful ride!

I have about days of tune-up here (including a 1/2 ironman race simulation on Wed) then it is off to Geneva on Saturday and fly to Abu Dhabi on Sunday for the next chapter in our lives!

Cheers for now.

Friday, July 25, 2008

4 1/2 Weeks

Hi folks!

It's four and a half weeks until Ironman Canada and I just thought I would let you know how I'm feeling and where I feel I'm at. Definitely feeling fitter than I ever have before. I was feeling very fit when I left Egypt 5 weeks ago, and the last month has only helped that. When I left Egypt I was working on bike fitness and my running was feeling great. Leysin has only made me stronger on the bike which in turn has helped the running. Swimming is still a bit of a question mark but I know I can get through it comfortably.

My main goal for the race is to be able to run in the neighborhood of a 3 1/2 hour marathon. This is mainly going to come down to bike fitness (which I feel o.k. with) and race execution. The key will be not going too hard on the bike. For me that means somewhere in the neighborhood of 5:40' on the bike. I know I could ride a 5:15' or so, but not sure what kind of marathon I could run after. So it means a nice comfortable bike, control the first part of the run and try and finish up strong.

I have been working with coach Vinnie for about 6 months now and he has done wonders. He is now part of Ironguides, and if you get a chance I highly recommend him! amazing guys with great insight in to the sport and his philosophy is right on par with mine.

My last question mark about the race is just the travel that goes along with it. I will fly from Switzerland to Abu Dhabi on August 3rd and will begin to taper and 'tune up' then. From Abu Dhabi, I fly to Canada on Wed night before the race. That's ten time zones only 4 days before the race. Factor in to that I am going from the cool mountain air of Leysin to the hot, humid air of the Gulf then to the unpredictable air of Penticton. I can't do anything about this so it's just a matter of taking things in stride, enjoying the race and doing what I can do!

Cheers for now.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Thus far 2008 has been a very busy and very rewarding year. The family and I are currently in the Swiss Alps until the 3rd of August. I am taking a M.ED program through Endicott College at Leysin American School. It is an excellent program that has been based out of Madrid for the past few years and this year they have started a cohort group in Leysin. Leysin is small skiing village in the mountains in the Lake Geneva area. We have been lucky enough to visit the Montreaux Jazz Festival and meet some really great people. In addition I have had a super month of training. Training in the Alps is a far cry from the desert of Egypt! I would say I am right on track in my preparation for Ironman Canada on August 24th. My plan currently is to race IMC then look at IM South Africa as a race to try and qualify for Hawaii.

Have to run
Cheers for now.

Monday, January 07, 2008


What is in store for the Brawn family in 2008?

2008 is shaping up to be another big year for us. With January already under way I have another week of holidays before school starts (January 13th). Then the fun and games begin for another semester, our last, here in Egypt. Once back to school I am full swing in Basketball practices. In March I travel to Oman for our Varsity Basketball Championships. At the same time Jaz travels to Minnesota for a 10 day intensive yoga training seminar with David Swenson. In February she travels to Dubai for her JV Basketball Championships. The end of February we will make or way to the Sinai for the annual Taba-Sharm cycling trip. Also sometime before the end of March we have a cool run run-bike weekend Ein Shafala on a Friday (40km completely off-road through the mountains), followed by a Saturday mountain bike ride through Ras Abu Gallam.

That is our winter season. Beginning in March the final sports season starts with Track and Field, culminating in the Screaming Eagles Track meet in May. Following Track it will be a quick finish to the school year.

Summer also will be crazy busy this year with the family travelling to Switzerland for the month of July so I can take my Masters in International Education at Leysin. Then the big move, we report to our new jobs at the American Community School in Abu Dhabi on August 4th. ACS is a great school and one of the premier schools in the region. I will be full time atletic director and Jaz will be teaching high school PE. We will be very sad to leave Egypt, but are very excited about our new positions and our move to Abu Dhabi.

On August 21st, I will fly from Abu Dhabi to Penticton to compete in Ironman Canada. This will be my second Ironman and I'm excited about the opportunity to have some family there to watch and to compete with my two training partners from Egypt who have also registered and will be making the trip.

The rest of my race calendar is up in the air right now, but I know I will have some local races in Egypt leadin up to the end of the school year and I'm sure I will get in a race or two in Switzerland as well. Once the school year begins, Dubai has a busy tri calendar as well.

As you can see 2008 is shaping up to be a busy year and hopefully as enjoyable a year as 2007 was.


Monday, October 01, 2007


It's a little after the fact, but it's true and won't change. On June 24th, 2007 on the edge of Lake Zurich, with my wife and daughter standing by and a couple close friends, I became an Ironman. 11 hours and 45 minutes after I waded in to lake Zurich, I became an Ironman. 3 years after dropping nearly 30 pounds and completing my first triathlon, I became an Ironman.

So one journey ends and another begins. On an impulse I sent an email to ironman Canada and three days later was awarded an ironman slot as a foreign entry. My two training partners followed suit and now we begin the ironman journey again. This one will, insha' alaa (God willing in Arabic) land us at the finish line of Ironman Canada on August 24th of 2008!

I will post a full race report as well as an update of the Ironman Canada story in a day or two.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Today our school year comes to a close and I must say it has ended on a rather dissapointing note. AISE is a proprietary school and because of this money is often at the forefront of decisions. Add to this that Egypt is a society where connections mean everything and you have a recipe for bad things to happen.

On May 24th our seniors finished school and decided to go on a rampage disrupting the other school activities going on and causing havoc in the school. This involved firecrackers in the school, oil on the floors, live chickens and rabbits (some of which eventually died!) and other shameful events. Some of the problems should have been seen coming as this group of seniors has been a less than reputable bunch.

The administration along with school ownership reacted quickly and in a way that many of the staff approved of and among other things prevented some students from participating in the graduation ceremony. Unfortunately, a handful of teachers felt this was too harsh and parents were up in arms. Eventually through pressure from parents, some teachers and many high ranking government officials (as the result of a well connected student body), this decision was reversed and all students participated in the graduation ceremony.

This has caused many hard feelings on staff and even between staff. Many people are dissillusioned with the school and the ownership. Today we have an assembly to recognize departing teachers followed by a lunch put on by the ownership which many, many teachers have decided to skip. One teacher has even resigned over the incident. It is very unfortunate and there is a real somber mood around the school today.

As for my action, I have let the administration know about my displeasure with the actions and some of the goings on in our school this year. I have let them know that I have not been very satisfied with many aspects of my postion and some of the decisions made and how I believe the school year could have been made better. This brings closure to the school year for me and now I need to put it behind me and move on to next year. I can't carry any of this baggage with me through the summer and in to next year. I need to believe that the administration will take what I have said seriosly and try and make improvements on some of the negative things that went on this year and move on. I need to be able to look forward to next year and believe that positive changes will be made and it will be a good year and a positive attitude from me will help ensure that, so I will attend the ceremony this afternoon and believe that better things for AISE are on the horizon.

cheers for now