Friday, July 1, 2016

what's up

seriously i told y'all i was going to blog more so here i am.  i am going to divide things up by categories.

training

slow i am.  and lucky that lycra does stretch.  so i am slowly back training and from here on in it has to be a consistent and regular process.  i have a plan.  i am doing ironman western australia at the end of the year.  then i made the momentous decision to visit relatives in melbourne and at the same time do ironman geelong 70.3.  so that is all booked and locked in.  the course looks great. nice hilly bike.  this will then allow me to do the dams ride in late april and not worry about busso 70.3.  i love it when a plan falls into place.  now train i must.

work

work really sucks and the pressure and anxiety at times is almost too much.  somedays i have to look at it like an ironman.  you know that feeling when you really want to just walk but keep telling yourself you must keep running.  and yet it is so tempting to just walk.  i just have to remind myself that if the shit hits the fan it will not be the END of the world.

house

i have finally de-cluttered my house and you can now actually walk into rooms.  this weekend the kitchen cupboards are getting an overhaul.  i am back to having to mow my own lawns again but at least it is winter and only weeds are growing.

qantas

well fuck me if qantas didnt just pay up no questions asked for my seat post.  i rang them to get a damage statement on the request of  qbe insurance and qantas says dont be silly.  send us the receipt and we will just refund it straight to your credit card.  no need to go through insurance.  i didnt even have to send a picture of the damage.  there must be a flag on my name.

pets

i have new pets.  i think i may have mentioned that my dad's cat jingles now lives with me and he is gorgeous.  he is quite the character and loves teasing the dogs into chasing him.  he has no fear of them.  at the moment we are having a battle about being allowed outside and i am winning.  casey girl is going strong at 14 although i think at times she is disgusted with me for getting cooper.  cooper was a rescue puppy and was first thought to be a staffy cross.  his mum was a staffy cross but as cooper has kept growing and then developed little whiskers it has become clear that he has wolfhound in him.  cooper is a super sweet dog and very entertaining.  he is going to be an awesome running dog.  he is a terror with casey but i think keeps her young and good company.  he loves to play tug of war and and destroying his toys.  he can be very destructive and this week ate my haviannas.  i should not have left them where he can get them.  we ran 2.5k for the first time last week but since he is only 7 months old and going to be a big dog i really cant let him run any further or too often as he is still growing.



Monday, May 23, 2016

my first (and last) DNF

Looking the part in Port MacQuarie
it has been too long since i have posted anything here so there are quite a few gaps in the story.  but most significantly i had my first DNF at any event at Ironman Australia and i am kind of okay with it.  i hardly trained for it and there are no excuses.  this is just another part of the ironman journey for me and  another lesson to learn and i certainly have no regrets.  

so i guess i better explain as to why i didnt train when previously i was a training demon.  well it seems it is true and life can actually get in the way of ironman stuff.  i was worn out from doing five ironmans in less than 3 years and thought that having a 12 month break between events would be enough. well combined with the problems at work and both parents going into aged care it seems i could not focus and when you train for an ironman you need to be able to focus on one thing.  training.  so i had some moments of great training but failed big time to do anything consistently.  you know before race day you can go back over your training and have confidence that you have done the hard work.  i didnt want to do that because i would have been freaked out by the lack of numbers.  i did look after the event and it was as dismissal as i thought.  actually it was amazing i did the swim and the bike.  i thought my swimming was consistent and while it was when you look at my running and bike it still wasnt great and i never swam over 3k.  i didnt do a single brick session unless you count the sprint triathlon at hillaries.  the longest ride was 5.5 hours and there were not that many and very few short rides.  not even close to what i would normally do.  i did a total of 13 hours running.  and four of those were two trail runs at just over two hours each.  you cannot wing an ironman.  i also discovered that i was struggling with running because i seemed to have developed exercise induced asthma.  the ventilin stopped the incessant over night coughing but gave me side effects instead and one really bad one on race day.  

pre-race port macquarie

i had three days free before flying to port mac.  i was so glad to be away from work.  i didnt think i would make it through those last few days and i was totally desperate to get away and i needed a break badly.  jingles the adopted cat went to the kitty prison and casey and cooper were dropped off at the doggie holiday camp.  then it was time to pack all the gear and get the bike organised.  new bike and new bike bag.  this time i took the derailleur off and used pool noodles to pack around the frame and more padding around the wheels.  i had the bike booked in for a service in port mac so i knew they would put everything back together for me.

this year i booked a later flight so i didnt have to get up at stupid o'clock.  drove out to airport. it cost me $132 to park the car so maybe in future it might be cheaper to catch a taxi.  both flights were okay and arrived around 5 pm.  luke bell was on the same little plane and our two bikes were the last to come out.  mine appeared to have survived the journey.  this year i was staying at the mantra quayside and this was an excellent decision.  it was the perfect location and facilities.  the room had a kitchen and was very spacious and best of all had a heated lap pool on the roof.  

so wednesday was busy.  and just for the record the weather was pretty much perfect everyday except race day.  it sucked race day.  took the bike in to get put back together and checked over and then headed back to my room and changed before heading out for a run.  managed to get in a 60 minute run over the course and really enjoyed it.  the temp here was quite warm and humid. afterwards i headed up to the lap pool and swam for about 30 minutes.  felt really good and relaxed.  i then headed back to the bike shop to pick it up before returning to the town green for a massage that i had booked.  the guy worked really hard on some tight spots which i did feel for quite a few days afterwards but it was worth taking the risk.  very sleepy after this so home for soak in the bath before crashing.

tried to get up and go for a ride early but couldnt be fucked.  the weather and wind was forecast to be mild all day so figured i would go after checking in.  normally before any ironman event my nerves are totally shot and frazzled.  knowing i was so under trained you would think that my nerves would be worse but it was the opposite.  i was very relaxed and not worried at all.  i think with the lack of training the pressure for a result was no longer there and i could just enjoy things.  so i headed off to check in and get my race bag and any goodies i could score.  i also hit the ironman merchandise.  just cant help myself.  i picked up a couple of t-shirts for thom and lucas and some running gear for myself as well as a cycle jersey by zoot.  handed over the cash and headed home.  it was there when i was looking at my goodies i thought that what i paid was more than i expected.  long story short they had over charged me and so back i went.  turns out the items were more expensive than the tagged price but they still gave them to me for the tagged price.  told me some sob story about selling items in different locations and i was probably looking at the price in malaysian dollars.  all i know is that there is no way i would have paid $70 for a running shirt.  by this time it was almost lunch so i quickly headed out on the bike.  managed to cork my leg on the bottle cages and gave myself a nasty bruise.  rode out to mathew flinders drive before the rain decided to come so rather than risk a crash i turned around and headed home and back up to the lap pool for a swim.  i had organised to meet up with a girl from my triathlon club to swim at the practice session in the morning and then go for a ride so i needed to be in bed early. 

Swim Start
met fiona at 7 am and it was a little fresh but not too bad.  quite a few people out early for a swim and we had our wetties on pretty quickly and headed out.  the water temp was  good and headed down the course and felt very relaxed. probably swam out for 750m before heading back.  i really enjoyed this and it gave me some confidence that race day might not totally suck.

arranged to meet up with fiona for a ride shortly after the swim at her place which was at the top of the run course. managed to get on my bike without injuring myself and headed off.  weather was perfect.  we rode out on part of the course and onto mathew flinders drive which was great for fiona as she could see it and ride up it and not have the fear of the unknown on race day. we came back into town and rode out to the run course turn around at settlers point.  this was nice for me being flat.  fiona had to go and check in so we parted ways and headed back to my room.  met up again around 6 pm for the carbo loading night which was pretty average.  the entertainment and the food.

so the day before the big day and bike check-in. got up early and went for a short ride before another swim in the lap pool.  spent the day getting everything organised and making clothing and gear choices.  i had decided that i would go back to wearing proper cycling gear for the ride and fuck the transition time.  packed up the bags and headed of to transition.  quick trip to the supermarket and back to the room to do as little as possible.

the race

i slept quite well and only woke a few times.  felt pretty good and didnt have any of the headaches like last year.  bought different pancakes and they were disgusting so my first mistake was not eating enough.  walked down to transition and set everything up.  since my room was directly across from the swim start i went back to my room and made use of the un-smelly toilet and avoided the line up for the stinky loos.  headed back about 30 minutes before the start and got my wetsuit on and handed over my street bag.  i still wasnt nervous so i was really enjoying myself.  the weather looked great with very little wind and perfect temp.  water was calm.  fiona then located me so that was great having a friendly face to chat to and help calm her nerves.  it was the last i saw of her for the day.

as usual my swim started off badly, got worse then slightly better and i thought about quitting so many times and cursed myself for doing it and regreting every swim session i missed.  so much crap goes through your head.  the water was nice and a few people got in the way but otherwise pretty ordinary swim.  wetsuit annoyed my neck and i had put a tonne of glide on.  this is an issue i need to sort out and i used new goggle anti-fog which is not as good as my old one.  slight current assist on the way back and i needed it by then as i was getting tired.

into transition and i dont know how long i was there but it would have been a good ten minutes. when i got out to my bike and saw how many were left i realised i was behind already.  this was a new position for me.   so begun the ride to hell.  i dont know what it is about this bike course but one day i will nail it.  i was determined to enjoy the ride at a manageable pace and do the easy things right like hydration and nutrition.  with a lack of time spent aero i knew my neck/shoulders were going to hurt and while i had stretched my back during the swim it was highly likely that towards the end that would hurt too.  i had some heat rub with me and before i got on the bike i had a few puffs of my inhaler.  the first 45k was okay.  the roads were just as bad and there was little wind.  it was spitting a little bit but nothing to worry about.  i cant remember alot about the first 90k.  i know my neck etc started to hurt and the heat rub improved things.  i know it started to rain as i rode into town for the turnaround but it was just light rain.  it was on the way back out that the real rain came and the gusty wind and then more biting cold rain.  you could see this huge front of rain coming across the ocean towards us.  i wasnt too worried.  done it all before so i figured i would be okay.  just keep going.  i knew i was at the back of the field.  there were far more asian competitors than i normally see.  while swimming and biking is not there best leg i have to admire the way they get through it and then can run and run well.  a few of the guys had no idea how to ride the hills.  i do remember on the first lap that i took chances going downhill.  i needed every bit of free speed but once it started raining i wasnt game enough.  it was very nerve racking going down some of these hills on those roads and even going up my back wheel had a few little spins and sliding.

i saw caron and then pete and it was nice to have company.  i was tired when i got to the final turn around.  i couldnt feel my hands or my feet.  they were so cold.  my neck was killing me and i had taken everything and done everything i could to help it.  i realised at this point that something was wrong with my mouth.  it had started to feel very strange when i went to have a drink and the inside of my mouth was very dry.  it was the strangest thing ever and i knew that my lip and mouth was puffed up like a friggin blow fish.  the only thing i can think of was i had a reaction to the ventilin.

This was taken a few hours after the race.
The inside was worse.
after pushing my bike up mathew flinders drive i didnt think i was going to be able to get back on it. i was fucked.  seriously. all i could think about was getting back to transition.   i had nothing else on my mind.  it was while i was riding the last couple of hills one of which is short but so fucking steep and all i wanted to do was not fall off my bike that i knew i probably wasnt going to head out on the run.  it was still raining and i realised the ride last year was a walk in the park compared to this.  my two longest rides ever have both been at ironman australia and i broke the record big time this year.

there is a difference to the pain you feel when you are pushing things but you have trained for it and the pain when you havent trained.  this pain was miserable.  and it wasnt just the body but the mindset.  i think  my body could have gone on after a sit down in transition but the mind wasnt interested at all.  and the body will only go where the mind leads it.  the mind controls the pain and not only had i not trained my body but my mind and heart wasnt in it.  i chose not to walk a marathon in the mud and rain. i dont see anything redeeming in it. there is no fun in that and if i am going to do anything i would rather do it well than very badly.  i think of all the people who keep going no matter what and stagger across that finish line with 15 minutes or less to spare and i didnt want to be one of them.  i didnt want to finish the race that badly.  i saw the medical people and they had no idea what was wrong with my mouth but said i could continue if i wanted to even though i was shivering my butt off as well.  if this was my first or maybe second or even third i might have gone out and tried to finish at all costs.  but it wasnt and i knew i had no one to blame but myself.  i thought about the medal and the towel and the feeling of not quitting and then i thought of a hot shower and the left-over pasta in my room and i handed over my timing chip.  it is the strangest feeling ever.  knowing when to call it a day is hard.  you lose a certain amount of perspective and that is what can keep you going but i think i knew all along that it was going to be a long shot to finish.  the weather certainly had not helped and maybe things would have been different but you need to train to survive bad conditions and i barely did enough to handle a good day.  7.5 hours is a very long time on a fucking bike in the rain.  this is called the ironman journey.

so am i going to make the same decision as last year and try to go back to port mad for a third attempt at redemption ?  no fucking way.  i am doing busselton at the end of the year and compared to this it will be awesome and i am really looking forward to it.  then i am going to enjoy getting back into the shorter races and doing different events and some serious bike rides.  at this stage i have no plans to do the 70.3 in may.  i doubt that i will do busselton IM again at the end of 2017 but i am going back to port mac in 2018.  the event is licensed until then and you never know it could be my last chance to give the toughest course in australia a proper crack.

i am feeling good about getting back into training.  i have had a good break.  i got this photo and framed it and it is on the wall next to the race number i never wore.  i had to put one second in for the run so it would generate.  this is to remind me every single day of my one and only DNF.  the background is the rain coming towards me from the coast.  normally you would see ocean.    and i am looking forward to blogging more.





the weather after race day was magnificent and these are some pics i took of the course the day after. and believe it or not qantas managed to damage my bike again on the way home.  fuck you qantas. somehow they pulled the seat from the seat post.  at this stage it appears that only the stem needs to be replaced. but hey according to qantas that is what insurance is for,  









Thursday, January 28, 2016

a decent swim and a podium dq


i pretty much suck at open water swimming.  i am pathetic and i think i have made that quite clear through previous posts.  i think i have had like three swims that i was happy with and this was one of them.  i have always promised myself that one day i would grow a pair of balls and get out there amongst it.  sadly this wasnt going to be one of those times.  i have swam at sorrento three or four times and have always enjoyed it.  i love the australia day swim as they get such a great crowd and the weather is always stinking hot.  quite a few people were swimming from squads so it had a real friendly atmosphere about it.  

i found cobie who swims in the same lane with me at squads.  while cobie was putting tubes of sunscreen all over herself i got my wetsuit on. the stingers have been extremely bad this year with people having to pull out of some events so i was feeling pretty good about having the wettie. they had various distances swimming and our all female 2.5k wave was one of the last to go.  the water was crystal clear and perfect temp.  we swam out to the start buoys and i was right behind cobie but then she moved forward and i stayed at the back of the pack because i am weak and have no balls.  
then we were off.  i started okay and didnt feel too bad but then i went through the normal this is too fucking hard, i am tired and why do i put myself through  this phase.   i kept going as usual and was just hoping to get to the first turn around pretty quick.  i got caught up with some people at the first buoy where we turn and head out to sea for a further 50 metres.  it was about here that i got stung a few times on the chin and face.  didnt hurt too much so i kept going.  the current kept pushing me further out so i had to constantly correct and head back in.  about half way along here i got  stung pretty bad.  one got me on the mouth and the lip and then another wrapped itself around my neck. that stung.  one of the guys on the surf skis saw me and came over and i had a little chat and relaxed for a bit and then went back to swimming. 

i got a little excited when i saw some buoys as i thought these were the turn around buoys to head back closer to shore and i actually turned before realising it was too soon and i had further to go.    so off i went in the right direction.  by this time my stings had settled down and i was feeling pretty good swimming.  i then began to notice i was passing people and was swimming past some of the male 2.5k swimmers who had started in the wave ahead of me.  i thought fuck they must be slow.

then i was at the turn around and not far to go until the final turn and straight back into shore.  i was using a pretty decent kick by now and going with the wind so it felt quick.  finally crawled out of the water and up the beach to cross the finish line.

got back to our spot and cobie had just come in ahead of me.  i was feeling the neck sting by now and cobie had been attacked in quite a few places.  we decided we wouldnt hang around as cobie was an invited vip to the wa swimming tent and i was her vip guest and we could have stayed for a feed.  we told a few people we saw on our way out that they could collect our medals but only as a joke.  it wasnt until later in the day i looked at the results and cobie had come in second in our age group and i was right behind her in third. and yes there was more than three swimmers.    mine doesnt count because of the wetsuit but considering i basically swam right through the whole pack and had a little rest on the way then i did okay.  this was a huge pb for me and just shows you what consistent swimming can do for you.  last year i swam 51.48 in a wetsuit but the conditions were a lot more lumpy.  this year i swam 45.59.  that is almost six minutes quicker and at 1.50 per/100m pace.  now if i could only get my shit together at the start !



Thursday, January 21, 2016

it is a new year and i am back

it has taken me a long time but i think i am back on track.  tomorrow could be different though and that is the struggle.  maintaining focus and consistency on the bad days.  

my christmas and new year was not great.  to be honest it basically sucked.  dad went into hospital on christmas day with a chest infection otherwise known as pneumonia.  and we all know what that means in older people.  that night we got a call from the hospital and the doctor was wanting to know what our wishes were regarding advanced health directives.  WTF.  meaning how far did we want them to go in order to save dad.  that freaked me out.  my sister and i had already decided we were going to pack up and go back to perth early.  i think it was boxing day that my mum decided to break her hip. and i mean that.  so both parents were in hospital.  the doctors told us that dad had a 50/50 chance but it was now no longer the chest infection but the fact that he wouldnt wake up.  long story short they took him off some drugs he should never have been on and he woke up and it was like old dad and he was back for the day.  i was very happy for my sister who was leaving that night to go back to the states and got to really talk to dad.  mum has since had surgery and been back to hospital twice. once for another fall and again to have her head stitched after falling again.  the woman is crazy.  dad has since settled down really well and is doing okay.

so now it is time again to focus on me and my sporting endeavours.  i did the hillaries sprint triathlon and always wanted to do a short race without fatigued ironman legs but this turned out badly anyway. the swim was okay although i was really tired and it was a real effort to finish.  onto the bike and while i wasnt super fast i was okay and it felt good.  however it was the run that really sucked.  i couldnt breathe and i could only run 200 metres before having to take a walk break.  it was really pitiful and by the time i got to the turnaround i realised that something was wrong and it was more than just not being fit enough.  as it turns out my sister had bought a nasty bug on the plane with her and had given it to me and the next few days i was pretty sick.  at least i knew what went wrong on the run and probably the swim.

so since then i have struggled for motivation and any type of consistency.  i have struggled with the distractions of work and aging parents.  the stress.  i know exercise is meant to be good for stress but it is hard to exercise when you are stressed.  like a catch 22 situation.  anyway my swimming has still remained constant but the running and bike are only now just coming together.  in many ways i have had to re-discover my love for triathlon.  and for training.  i am using every tool i know to make myself get out of bed and into training.  i have four days off and it is just going to be about the training.  tonight i have a hill repeats run.  tomorrow i have a brick session and then a swim session.  sunday i have a 4 hour bike ride followed by a visit to the gym.  at least to check out the place and see what is available.  monday i will go for a recovery ride and then some yoga later in the day.  tuesday i am doing the australia day 2.5k swim down at sorrento.  this will be alot of fun as most of the crew from swim squad are doing it.  surely i can find someone to draft off.  i will then run later in the day.  amongst all this i hope to finish tidying up the house and culling the amount of crap i have. i will also visit dad on saturday.  the last few weeks i have taken jingley cat to see him and then casey dog.


last weekend i was meant to ride saturday morning and then swim squad in the afternoon.  sunday i had the choice of doing the first of the five trail series runs or the rockingham sprint triathlon.  i signed up for the triathlon before the perth trail series races of which there are five.  i am hoping this is going to make me a stronger runner.  but i didnt do any of it and i am not quite sure why.  instead i went nowhere and saw no one.  may be that is what i needed.  time out.  it certainly feels like that is what i am looking for over the next four days.  time out to just worry about me.  not me and everyone else and work and not training and ned the missing cat and casey the old dog blah blah.  i am going to train and eat less. i am officially fat after i got on the scales the other day.  i have given away most of my chocolate stash from christmas and eaten most of the icecreams.  no more excuses.  i am also going to watch everest the movie and mad max fury road.  i have had that movie for months and instead of watching it i just have re-runs of csi on all the time.  i dont know why.  

anyway 14 weeks till ironman australia and if things are going to change they have to change now.



Monday, November 23, 2015

the realities of growing old

i prefer to keep this blog about my triathlon adventures but a big part of the process is trying to achieve your goals while managing what goes on in your other life.  and my other life has been extremely difficult and very stressful.  not only has work sucked and continues to give me major stress but my parents are at the point in their lives where they are really struggling with their health. wrapped around all of this is the break down in the everyone's relationship with my brother.  i call him 'the snake' and will just leave it at that but our family is no different from many others.  it is not perfect and it is very sad to think that the people who should look out for you the most can be the ones that cause the greatest harm.

my  mum has been diagnosed with parkinson disease for quite awhile now.  we all handle the challenges that life presents differently from the next person and my mum choose her path.  which to me it looked like she just gave up right from the start.  my mum is now living in full time care.  she has her good and bad days but she is not the one we worry about the most.

my dad has been diabetic for awhile and it is managed by diet and drugs.  he has never done this well. then two years ago he had a pacemaker fitted.  this doesnt seem to cause too many problems.  then earlier this year he was told he had prostate cancer.  dad decided he didnt want to do chemo or radiation.  it is not the aggressive type and is very common in his age group.

in july he came up to perth and we went to the wafl hall of fame dinner.  we had a great time but the next day he fell at the perth train station and ended up in royal perth hospital for five days.  he was having issues with his balance and blood pressure and they needed to make sure he had not broken anything or banged his head too hard.  he did have a few scrapes and bruises.  they then diagnosed him with parkinson disease as well.  seriously.  i could not believe it.  the thing i hated the most was that they just came out and told dad without consulting anyone.  dad has always had a confused idea of what was happening with  mum.  some days he had this idea that she was going to get better and the next he needed money to pay for the funeral.  there are many different types of parkinson but my dad doesnt understand this so mums future became his.

so dad came home with more drugs and things just went a little downhill everyday from there.  in the last six months my dad has been separated from his wife of 55 odd years, was moved from his home of the last ten years, had his car taken away, gave up his dog because it was too difficult in his new home, had all his possessions taken out of his control, diagnosed with cancer and then parkinson disease and then struggling everyday with his memory and health.  some of these things should never have happened and that is on someone else's conscience.  my sister and i were left with picking up the pieces.

dementia comes in different types and is caused by many different things.  parkinson disease can contribute to it.  dad had a few episodes of wandering off and some times he was confused and wasnt making sense.  his short term memory was terrible but his long term memory was unbelievably good. then you could get him on a good day and everything was fine.  but then it just started getting bad and there were less good days and then none.  my aunt called me and dad was being taken up to hospital as he was not making sense and was being aggressive.  i left work and drove down to bunbury.  when i saw dad he did not look the best.  he looked very tired.  but he knew who i was and he was still aware of his surroundings.  at first we thought he was suffering from delirium. i stayed for a few hours and talked to him and made sure he was okay and told him that i was going to look after his cat jingles and he wasnt to worry.  that was the last real conversation i may possibly have had with my dad. later that night he had a major shift and became very aggressive and virtually sunk into severe dementia.

my sister was meant to be here but had broken her ankle and had to delay her trip.  i had to email her and tell her that the dad she knew wasnt around anymore.  i had to go back down to bunbury and meet with all the doctors.  the news wasnt good.  they had tested him for everything and changed his medication.  but there was no explanation for the immediate and sudden loss of dad's ability to look after himself and communicate.  he was talking but it was stuff from his past and it was all over the place.  i went back a week later and he knew who i was for a moment.  that is such a huge thing.  we sat and watched the cricket and i got glimpses of the old dad.  a small positive.

my sister and i are now looking for a place where dad can go.  he requires a high level of care and secure care.   we are hoping that once he gets settled there will be more improvements.   i am looking at places in perth so at least i can visit on a regular basis.  there is much more to all this but i dont think i need to elaborate here.  i miss my dad.  like anyone you find it hard to see them like this because he was always so strong and healthy.  i was lucky that day that i could get away from work and that i could talk to dad before his mind went into a tailspin.  you never think that it will be the last conversation though so i was very lucky.  i have always had a better relationship with my dad than my  mum.  i have some really great memories and for now they will have to do.