Sunday, December 20, 2009

Rockingham TriSeries Sprint Triathlon

after seven weeks of events every weekend this is the last one before xmas and a two week break. it is also part of the triseries which is supported by triathlon wa and gains you points to be the legend of all triathletes for the year. it is very well organised and has the dudes riding around on motorbikes to ping you for drafting. it is going to be a hot day and the drive to rockingham takes over an hour and i get lost following a dude with ironmanwa number plates. i have heard about the venue and didnt have time to check it out. the swim is flat and shallow for 40m, the bike flat and fast and the run HOT. i meet up with elizabeth and silke. transition is allocated so no drama about getting first spot. we hang out down the beach as it is getting really warm and they are taking their time setting off the enticer waves. so with time to spare i go for a swim and the water feels great. i am hoping i have a positive start but will not get overly excited. people are walking around with wetsuits on and this i find bizarre. i cannot believe it is a wetsuit legal race and that you would bother for 750m. which reminds me this is the first full sprint distance i have completed since my virgin event in march. they send the guys off first and then my wave starts. i have new goggles so no FOGGING. i walk the shallow section as i figure all the numb nutts who are running are sending their heart rates through the roof. get deep enough to start swimming and yep the start is rough for me. so i think make it to the first buoy and see what happens. i see elizabeth 30 metres in front doing breaststroke like her life depended upon it so that is weird. around the first buoy and things get better and after next buoy i am hooting along again and drafting off some guy. i keep swimming in the shallow and the guy pulls me along when he gets up to walk. learnt this from swimming next to the water aerobic ladies. i get up and i am level with elizabeth and silke so good catch up job. confirm that i am quick in transition as i am on the bike before elizabeth and silke. two lap circuit and it is a cross breeze and hot. no advantage or rest either way. some guy tells me to keeping working at it. WTF ? is he my new coach. another guy goes to take off after passing me at a turn around whilst changing gears. i then hear his bike make that noise where you know the chain is coming off. hehe. elizabeth, silke and i change positions for awhile then elizabeth finally gets in front. i come into transition with silke. out for the run and all i can say is HOT HOT HOT. make it to the first station 1km out and they have NO WATER. they have run out. this is very bad. i keep running to the turn around and they have water. i felt like i was crawling along and i may have even walked for about two metres before the brain took back over. someone turned one of the showers on and everyone was running through it. i did a sideways thing so my shoes would stay dry. i didnt care if everyone overtook me. we had to run past transition and then on for another 1km. this was past and then back past all the coffee shops and cafes where people were sitting back relaxing. just before entering the finish line a nice couple were cheering everyone on and saying great supportive things. it was encouraging. saw elizabeth go by after the turn around. cannot remember anyone else. it was a good feeling to run through the finish line and hear simon call your name. had a post race chat to elizabeth and silke. we had all felt the heat. i hung around for the presentations. not that i expected anything but to see who the elites and age group winners were. and to hear their times. back home, shower and relax on sofa out of heat. the times are out early afternoon and i am so excited and chuffed. the first sprint in march took me 1.47. i was happy that i finished and i wasnt DFL. so nine months later and i am twenty minutes quicker. i will concede that i have a new bike but i have trained and clocked the miles on it. total time 1.28.13. swim 17.21, bike 41.40 (previous PB was 43.15 - i was sizzling :)) and run 29.11. MASSIVE FREAKIN EXCITEMENT. this is 5.50 per km - UNDER SIX MINUTES. in the friggin sahara heat as well. this is what it is all about. and i dont give a fuck that for many people this is not impressive. i cracked six minutes and i know that i will run five minute k's and then who knows. whaohooo. p.s. swim has room for and needs improvement :(.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Open Water Swim Champion Lakes

this was the day after the womens power station triathlon. the theory being that the distance was only 1.25km, i had slept after the event yesterday and then it wasnt an extremely early start. the open water series are organised by swimming wa and adhere to FINA rules. that means no wetsuits - ever. they also check your nails and no jewellery or watches etc. if you swim in a wetsuit they will not time you and your are recorded as DNF. this one included a 2.5km, 5km and 10km distance. i was surrounded by very good swimmers - most of the 10km swimmers would be rotto contenders. the lake is man-made and advertised as crystal blue waters. this is so not true. while not bad it is more like bracken brown waters. they regulate the temperature and have all number of things installed to monitor it. they also leave the rowing lanes up so it is very easy to sight but very boring as you cannot see anything. no fish to check out. so the 1.25km swimmers are going first and it is a deep water start - straight down 600m, across 25m then straight back down 600m with another turn into the shore. most of the people are either 12 or 60 years old and a lady with goggles and snorkel ??? this could be embarrassing. i have only swam 1000m once and that was only a few weeks ago but think that another 250m will be okay. very nervous and extremely thankful the toilets are close by. the event starts and i am out the back (as usual). the start is bad - really bad. i feel like i cannot swim 25m let alone 1250. i am tired and feel like i am going to sink. i dont think i put my head under before the start. i cannot remember. i struggle along doing breaststroke - this is very embarrassing. then my goggles fog up. i get mad. i must look like i am drowning. this course allows people to walk along with the swimmers so it is not like i have disappeared from view. i look behind me and there is maybe the lady with the snorkel and the 60 year old is passing me. i stop and try and fix my goggles. then i decide to just friggin swim. i go around the first buoy so half way there and i pass the 60 year old. i start feeling better and as i go around the next buoy i start feeling the rhythm. then wham everything comes together and by the time i get to the last buoy i have been hooting along and passed probably a dozen people. you would have seriously thought it was two different swimmers. i sprint to the shore and the result is 29.23m. the lesson gained is that i KNOW i can swim in open water. but what i cannot do is have that form for the whole race. so i will stick with what shelley taylor smith advised. experience, experience, experience. i went home and signed up for leightons and sorrento. p.s. it was a bloody hot day and most of the 10km swimmers got roasted along with their food/drink suppliers. the fastest 10k swim was a young guy at 2h9m. amazing - he is off to nationals.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Women's Power Station Triathlon

so i had been at this venue only four weeks previous. it was another saturday event and i wasnt sure if i was rested enough but figured i would just enjoy it. weather was great and got my usual spot on the bike rack. the water was flat and calm- perfect. a good crowd had turned out and hopefully they would behave on the bike course. again a sports performance event of organised chaos and they never monitor drafting. they only mention that if you do it your are cheating and rely on the competitors to do the right thing. i dont really care if people draft. i just hate it when they ride in the middle of the road. caught up with elizabeth prior to the swim and had a good chat while waiting in the water. the water was flat as a pool (unlike waves, seaweed and stingers from first event). all i remember is really enjoying this swim. had my usual struggle at the beginning of lethargy and getting the rhythm but it felt better. this swim was 9.59 compared to the 12.31. it was different conditions but a 2.30 saving in a swim over 400 metres is good so i was happy happy. i had also read about poeple who suffer from a temp variance. essentially putting a warm face in cold water forces their body to have a negative reaction. so while i had been busy dipping my head in the ocean i dont know if this is the reason why the swim was improved. the bike ride was different as the winds were not coming from the same direction and you didnt have the easy coast along the bigger section but then again didnt have to ride against it either. swapped places with a number of girls during the race and elizabeth ended up in front of me. i think some of the girls drafted behind me heading into the worst of the wind so i think i need to be a bit smarter about that. bike was 44.09 compared to 44.50. these times include transition but i cannot remember where the mats were. organiser does the timing on the cheap. give me blue chip timing anytime. so we are down to the run. from this race and others i am starting to come to the conclusion that i am actually quick in transition. elizabeth was off the bike well in front but i ended up out on the run first and then stayed in front ! this is a new experience. the run felt hard and the first lap was the tougher one. i have also noticed it takes me awhile to get my running rhythm. run was 24.43 compared to 25.50. total improvement was 4.20. i was so excited and happy happy. especially with the improved swim and run. getting closer to cracking the six minute km. great day out.

results 10/29 AG. 9.59 swim, 44.09 bike, 24.43 run. total 1.18.51.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Volunteer Busselton Ironman

after volunteering at the World Long Distance Triathlon i thought this would be a great experience. seeing an ironman up close and personal and a good opportunity to catch up with dad. managed to talk him into coming down to busselton with me and knew that he could at least have a nap in the car until i was done. i had scored the first up swim transition shift so we were up at 3am for the half hour drive to busselton. probably could have gone to bed a bit earlier and maybe the two bottles of wine we polished off didnt help but that is what nurofen is for. initially i helped with storing the street clothes bags and then had time to head off down to watch the start. the professionals took off (34) and then the age groupers. from memory 1000 individual competitors of which 400 were international. the swim was around the busselton jetty and again this was a place that as a young kid i spent plenty of time at. either swimming, fishing or crabbing. but it is along way out and while beautiful and calm in close it got a bit rough 2km out. i was then assigned the task of keeping all the brainless people from crossing in front of competitors coming out of the water. this was great as i got to see everyone come in. highlights - 74 year old lady who finished swim under two hours, guy who sat down beneath the fresh water shower while he took off wetsuit, daniel kowlaski who swam for a team and finished under 45 minutes (amazing), the guy who races with his mate who cannot walk (he carries him through the transitions), the girl who swam in her speedos (who needs wetsuits) and the last five people - while they only had minutes to get in under the cut-off they waited for each other and came through as a group. i then helped set out the bags for run transition and my shift was over. stayed and watched the bike leg for awhile but dad wanted to get back for the cricket. had to drive out on the bike course to leave and by then the heat had started to set in. it was going to be long tough day. turns out only 20 professionals finished. it reached over 35 and they ran out of most supplies. here and now i will make the pledge to be a volunteer every year until i am a competitor.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

left bank triathlon

okay so yesterday i swam the west coast 1000 so i was feeling pretty good about myself. however i was a little tired because i had dropt by charmaine's last night. being her 40th it was the right thing to do and while i am way over the wild pissy nights out the drive to her place was a mission. so i am up at 4am and off to east fremantle and the left bank triathlon. it was just up from point walter and in preen family territory. i rode past nana's old house and the cousins house four times that day. being a sports performance event it was the usual organised chaos. i got a great spot on the bike racks in transition - advantage of being early. that and great parking. the swim was in the river and didnt look inviting. i was thinking that i was going to do great in the swim since the 1000 swim yesterday. i should have known better. chatted to a couple of the regular girls in my age group (or the one below depending on size of grouping). at the start of the swim half the girls were well into the course as the horn sounded. totally unfair but this is the organised chaos i mentioned. so i was behind from the start and tired from the start. it was the worst i have ever felt. it was only 400 metres but felt like 4000. i got worried that the event every weekend and the extra swim had caught up with me. i have no idea of taper and have some crazy plan that these events are actually training sessions for something bigger. this is part of the experience and learning curve. i was extremely happy to be out of the water. stupid timing chip was coming off so had to stop and fix that. got on the bike for four laps and 20km which included a nice hill climb. there were far too many turns and far too many people. the course was too compact and small and the fun and novice people really did get in the way. remember seeing one guy who was huge and just about smothered his bike and his bum ate up his bike seat. but he is giving it a go. i maybe would have gone for some weight loss prior but that is me. okay so into second lap and i get stung by bee on my finger. it must have landed on my handle and then i squished it. stung like HELL. it put me off a bit. then back started to hurt. WTF ? i was passing a few people in my race and appeared to be holding my own so i figured i just needed to hang on. as it turns out i wasnt doing that badly but i was thinking of all the things i would NOT do next time. one girl came up behind me and said that i was making her work too hard to catch me. after that she never got more than 10 metres in front. got off the bike and into the run only to discover i had picked up something on my foot and it was now digging in. again WTF ? i could either stop and take shoe and sock off or just HTFU. i opted to HTFU. the run was 4 km and involved running up the hill climb - twice. that really did me in or felt like it did. i got passed by a few girls and just wanted it to be over. i learnt alot from this race. i have always had things go my way so to have things crop up was a good learning curve. for the course my times were not that bad so it was encouraging. went home and had a nana nap. 400m swim, 20km bike, 4km run. results 1.23.45 11.22 s, 43.15 b, 29.08 r. terrible run but considering the overall tired legs etc. until i start putting the training time in running i cannot complain that i am crap.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

West Coast 1000 Swim

okay for this i was seriously nervous - throw up nervous. swimming 1000 metres is not an issue. swimming 1000 metres in open water and at cottesloe was. plus (again) i was nervous because being a swim only event all the 'real' swimmers would be there. i did not sleep well and did not want to do it. but i kept telling myself that this is what it is all about. facing that which scares the shit out of you. so i get dressed, go to the toilet, organise my gear, go to the toilet. i hope the toilets at the surf club are nice. i drive the hour to cottesloe. this beach is famous for many things (shark attacks being one) but this is where the friends and family of heath ledger said a public farewell. it is a great beach. i get there and it is flat and very little wind. then i see the buoys and the distance to swim is right there in front of me. it looks so much further when you can see it all. i drop by the toilets. i get to sit and watch as the 1600m folks get ready and they go through the race briefing. huge plug for the cottesloe surf lifesaving and organisers. there were about 40 in the water on surf skis, speed boats and jet skis out and about and the westpac helicopter overhead shark spotting the whole time. then the 1000m people are called up and we walk down to the start. now you get to pace out the distance. i have put myself in the 30 minute wave and notice that not everyone appears to be grant hackett. i now figure that i will just give it my best shot and have fun. it is a beach start and i just hang out the back. it is rough getting out the thirty metres to the first buoy and what has become the norm i struggle to get my head in the water,breathing relaxed and my stroke going. so i resort again to breaststroke until i turn that first buoy. then i start freestyle and maybe for 100 metres alternate. then it is all freestyle. then i am relaxed and i am sighting and i am LOVING this. some people get in my way and this takes up some time and maybe i sight too much and i notice i go crooked when breathing to my weak right side. but i am LOVING it. about 400 metres to go i actually start putting on the pace. i can feel myself pulling the water back and i feel the strength in my stroke that i have in the pool. i pass people. i feel like i could swim forever and i am kicking strong. i turn the last buoy and sprint for home. i even catch a wave in and get up at the perfect time and cross the line. i remember saying to timing chip girl that was beautiful. did i mention that at the beginning a stinger got me on the arm. while in the water this doesnt hurt so much but it sure kicks in when you get out. grabbed some ice and watermelon - ice for arm and watermelon for me. i was so excited and so freakin pleased with myself. i did it. 23 minutes. whao hoooo.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Great Bike Ride

i was nervous about this. it is a 53 km circuit around the river with closed roads. i think i was nervous because i like to be prepared and anything new involves the unexpected but mainly because my idea of who 'real' bike riders are would be there and would mock my lame everything. yes this is being very insecure. but i had only be riding my 'real' bike three months and i was still not comfortable with the pedals and shoes etc. i also have to work out the mechanics of parking etc as 4000 people are entered. i get to south perth early and no problem parking. i ride around the river to langley park and while it is chilly the wind is almost nil. it is going to be a beautiful day. people rock up constantly and some of the bikes are just magnificent. the guys/gals/groups doing two circuits or 106km start first and most are on their second lap by the time we start. i had put myself in the 25-30km range but by the look of some bikes not everyone was as honest. our group is called up to start and i get away without falling off. this had happened to other people and believe me i had images of me being sprawled all over the start line. i get going and start to relax. it is going to be fantastic ride and turns out it was. best fun i have had on a bike. there were hills -up and down, great views, fast sections, people to ride with for awhile and the challenge. i loved every moment. lots of folks had been talking about 'the' hill at mosman park. even the commentators at the start. gweeds (friend) talked about how he didnt make it up the whole way and so i was very nervous about this. plus i have no idea how you unclip while climbing but this never occurred to me until i got to 'the' hill. so we are climbing a hill and i ask the guy next to me if this is 'the' hill and he says yes. i am surprised as it is not that bad. then we go around a few corners and i look up and see 'the ' hill. i know this to be true because it is littered with people getting off their bikes and pushing. luckily i get to the right gear quickly and start climbing. it is straight up for 150 metres. it is at this point that i realise i have no idea how to unclip without falling straight over so i know i have only one option - make it to the top. i did - couldnt let my bike get damaged falling over. i was so excited and completely knackered. results 1.53.28 AVG 28 km Overall 991/2167, Gender 82/459, Cat 7/65. good day out.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Power Station Triathlon

strange preparation for this event being on a saturday morning. managed to get away from work early on friday but not for a good reason. the idiots running the asylum made rosanne redundant and it had an impact on everybody. so i mowed the lawn, veged in front of the tv then got my gear organised. i had to have a glass of wine and then felt guilty for it. then reminded myself that i am not an elite athlete :). up at 4am for the drive that would need a cut lunch and a waterbag. i was not feeling motivated at all and a bit nervous. it was going to be an ocean swim and the weather was looking just okay. they had forecast light showers. i am now over being worried about cold weather and now seem to focus on whether it will rain or not. i am early so i get a great parking spot and first choice of bike rack location. i register and then start chatting to the girls around me. sometimes this has been slightly maniac to keep my mind away from the race but i appeared normal and coherent. this race had the serious triathletes. i was in the sprint - 400m swim, 20km bike and 4km run. there was a super sprint so helped lower the numbers in my event. the water was very choppy with waves around a foot. the swim started up the beach which worked out well as we would be swimming with the current and i would be able to breathe on my favourite side. there was the obstacle of the old jetty which needed to be avoided at all costs. the fun event went first and then the guys in my event. i had on my long sleeve speedo rashy and i still think at the beginning of every cold swim the best $90 ever spent. we all run into the water and swim out to the first buoy because it was a deep water start. weird and made it hard as people drifted past the start. i was to the edge and back and i was still getting my breathing settled after the shock of the cold water. started off with a bit of freestyle and then had to go back to breast stroke and again had the thought go through the head that i couldnt do it and it seemed impossible. but i kept going and it wasnt made any easier by goggles that fogged up and i couldnt see jack shit. it was tough but in the end i did enjoy being in the water. found out later that alot of people got stung but i seemed to avoid them all. did come across alot of seaweed. my latest theory on poor ows is that my brain wont let my body breathe because it cannot see where it is going. when i got to the last buoy i took off freestyle and passed people and got out at the same time as some guys. i am not the worst and i am so determined that i will find answers to this. felt great when i got on the bike and just took off and really enjoyed the ride. averaged 29k and considering all the turns i was happy. then came the dreaded run. started off rough but by the second lap and last 2km i realised i was feeling comfortable and had found a rythmn. i also notice that at this point that is when people stop passing me or is it that noone is left who can pass me ? the run is dissappointing but until i start devoting more serious time and effort to the training i need to shut up. the goanna that jumped out at me (and if you know the animal then jumping maybe an exaggeration) but it did scare the crap out of me and sent my heart rate up a notch. i felt great at the finish and i think i benefited from having done the pinkie tri. 400m, 20km, 4km. 1.23.11. 12.31 swim, 44.50 bike, 25.50 run.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pinkie Race Report

so after seven months of winter training which included getting a new bike (i love my bike), the City To Surf fun run and video swim analysis etc i finally got to try it all out. this event is for the serious beginner which was going to be excellent for testing the new equipment and getting comfortable with it. the swim was in the pool and this had me very excited as i dreamed of fast times. i had a plan about swimming my own race. i am a smart person. so WHY then do i ignore every smart thought in my head ? i was meant to start at a reasonable pace and build and come home fast. instead i take off with the pack at sprint pace, struggle with the distraction of my speedo top dragging like the puppies are on display (had sports bra on so logic told me not to worry), bring my heart rate up so quick that i could hardly breathe and had to slow at the end of fifty to a snails pace. this was a huge lesson and i am glad that it happened in this event. it has led me to believe that i am always starting off too fast and this is why i get fatigued quickly. my next swim in the pool i tested my theory and the first 600 felt better and built up to a decent speed while still feeling fresh. this could be the answer but the start has to be slow and relaxed. anywho out of the pool ran a mile to transition and the heart is still racing. got shoes on, race belt, sunnies and then do you think i could clip my helmet on. NNOooooo. ran another mile to mount area and thank the tri gods i clipped in quickly and then proceeded to pass so many girls that i think i started to laugh hysterically. while still trying to get the heart down. i LOVE my bike. the bike is KING. it truly was worth the wait. i was doing the passing and grinning like the idiot i am. while avoiding the car humps i managed to get feet out of shoes and through dismount. racked the bike that must be worshipped, running shoes on and then ignored small tip to put hat on while starting to run toward run exit. i thought i would feel better in the run after training has improved but i think heart rate was still up and so stuck on 6 minute kms. struggled a bit at the end. i have to start doing interval running. i hung around after and actually felt like going for a swim. when i got home i felt pretty good and had some lunch and watched a movie. then i checked my email and the results were in. in the past this has been rather pitiful but improvement at last. always taking into account that the competition wasn't exactly stellar there were some very competitive girls there. in age group i was 5 out of 30. overall i was 68 from 540. for the bike leg i was 24th fastest overall and second in age group. i went stupid excited. the person in age group faster than me won the whole thing. my swim could have been better and my run still lets me down. but i have IMPROVED. then i got on the bike and rode my 40km training circuit. slept well.

Monday, August 10, 2009

no quitters here

i had no life balance and keeping fit was a distant memory. then a pool opened five minutes from home. i signed up for a swim fit class and got back in the pool for the first serious swim in maybe seven years. i struggled my way through 1000m and i was sure everyone could hear me heaving to get air. since then i have swum three times a week without fail and i am again a swimming maniac. drill work, stroke technique, everything but butterfly and what i love most - interval training – the whole bit. luckily (and i will admit) i have a decent but untrained stroke. times are hard to compare when you take into account short course v. long course, diving, turns etc but i can swim a 1500m under 28:00. got to be happy with that. especially where i had come from. i wasn’t overweight, i was active but i smoked. and had done for a very long time. in some ways i think past swimming etc had helped lessen the damage but two months into my renewed fitness campaign i realised i had a choice. i could either seriously improve my swimming or i could struggle along and be left behind. now smoking is a strange habit. i had given up a few times before and i knew the pitfalls. when i listed reasons for quitting death was never at the top. you get lung cancer and you’re gone pretty quick. how foolish to do that to your life but what i feared most was the wheelchair and oxygen bottle. but still that wasn’t enough because it is always tomorrow. two factors are the reason i no longer smoke. i didn’t quit and i didn’t give up. i no longer smoke. firstly i removed myself away from people who do smoke and it was all about the swimming. i wanted to do that more than i wanted to smoke. every time i even came close to thinking about smoking i reminded myself what i would have to give up. i couldn’t do both. i wanted to be the best i could be. at the end of the season this year i had completed five sprint triathlons and that in itself has become a whole other story. i know i will never smoke again and maybe that is my biggest achievement.

i wrote this awhile ago and have now come to the conclusion that while it is very tough to stop smoking it no longer defines me as much as it did. i dont believe it is my biggest achievement but just a part of how my life has progressed. the next phase is about me and my efforts in becoming a triathlete. i find it hard to describe myself as an athlete (with any confidence) and at 45 firmly believe that people think i am nuts, delusional and are having a huge laugh behind my back. i dont care. i love the training and i love the challenge. i will believe.