Friday, December 31, 2010

the small section of my brain

i dont know exactly why but life seems really strange at the moment.  they granted me my most hopeful wish and let me go a week early from my job.  so i got an extra weeks paid holiday.  as you can imagine i immediately had visions of all the training i could get completed as well as catching up on a years worth of neglected chores around the house.  what i have learnt is that it is hard to shovel and distribute 3.5 trailers load of mulch whilst also trying to swim, bike and run in 35-40 degree heat.  it has me wondering how people who have physically demanding jobs manage to do both.  the garden looks great, the retic is complete and even inside the place seems less messy.  i am really worn out and yet the guilt is terrible.  it is 1.23 pm and i have done nothing - all day.  i have slept in, read my book and watched some mindless tv. 

the sensible part of my brain (it is a very small section) tells me that it is good to sometimes do nothing.  i am  racked by the guilt of maybe not making the very most of my time off.  did i train enough ?  did i work hard enough around the house ?  did i make the right choice everyday ?  

the other thing that is worrying me is my swimming.  it has sucked more than normal - even in the pool.  i have a 2.5k open water swim tomorrow and i think that the other small section of my brain is FREAKING out about it.  the course is 1.25k and i swam that last year.  so it is two laps this year.  it is going to be really hot tomorrow and no wind.  perfect conditions.  what is the very worst thing that can happen ?  i only do one lap ?  i get tired and have to swim to shore ?  i know it is all  in my head and i need to believe in me.   i can do it.

and maybe because i start my new job on tuesday and it is now a very real thing i am also secretly stressed about that.  i think i need to go do some ironing or something.  happy new year.

Monday, December 27, 2010

a sizzling hot christmas

merry christmas to all !  it has been a christmas of extremes.  snowed in airports, flooded towns and just plain hot.  i cannot complain because we got the best of the bunch - just hot.  today it is 40.  i am now truly living in my speedos.  so christmas day went like this.  got up super early and went for a 75k bike ride.  it was beautiful and quiet.  took the girls to the beach.  this was around the time that most people were heading home for their big christmas lunch.  after the beach it was home for a pasta lunch, a movie and a nap.  now you may be thinking that something is missing - namely a family.  while i would love to spend the day with family having a relative free christmas is not that bad.  i rang my sister who lives in portland oregon.  kym, thom and lucas - thanks immensely for bunnings g.c. and awesome hobo bag.  still trying to guess the secret surprise.  and the pig is now known as pete.  mum and dad are two hours south of here and were going to my cousins.  i would rather have all my teeth pulled.  besides dad worked early for my brother and after lunch they would have been home and in bed by 5.30 pm.     my brother had gone to melbourne with my nephew for the boxing day test match which  i bet they are really glad about.  my sister-in-law and niece went to her family which they do every year (this i have always found to be very sad).  so it was just me and the girls and a beautiful day at the beach.  and when you think about how bad it really could be then my christmas was sizzling hot.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Rockingham Triseries Sprint Triathlon Race Report

part of what i love about triathlon is that you learn something new everytime you pull on the lycra and no two races are ever the same - even if it is the same course.  in a nutshell i had a shocking swim, a decent bike in windy conditions and i think i ran as hard as i could.  compared to last year i set a new pb by just over 5 minutes.  1.22.26.  i am officially a MOP triathlete. 

i warmed up with a good short swim and it felt great. i dont know why then that once the race started i felt so tired.  it was a struggle and there were a few times that i thought i was never going to make it - again.  i changed my routine around for this event but that will not be repeated.  i will take my preparation a little more seriously.  i swam and had a ride on friday.  normally i rest the second day out.  i have always swam on the saturday if the race is sunday.  i rested saturday with just a quick test ride in the afternoon.  i ate dinner too late on saturday night and found it hard to eat sunday morning.  so i was pretty happy to be out of the water.  it was quite choppy out there so i was surprised to see that my time was slightly quicker than last year. 750m 16.59 (last year 17.21).

transition went well.  love the new numbered flags as it sure makes it easier to find your bike rack.  trievents have made some improvements.  the course is two laps and it was windy on the way out and a bit easier on the way back.  i had a bike fit earlier in the week and was a little concerned because although it felt comfortable while i was on the bike for a short period once i got off my lower back was fucked.  i didnt have time to go and get it sorted and figured over such a short distance it would be okay.  and it was okay until i went to run.  this bike leg is the first time i have really thought about tactics.  my arch nemesis was closer after my bad swim and we swapped positions a few times.  i kept reminding myself that i had to race my own race and i knew the arch nemesis must be pushing herself to keep up and would she have the legs left for the run ?  on the last lap i decided to push it but stay close and i past her a little before transition.  20k 38.20 (last year 41.41).

i flew out of transition.  i had my feet out of my shoes before i hit the dismount line.  helmet off, shoes on, grab the watch, hat and run.  it was hard to straighten up and my back was having little spasms.  legs felt okay though.  i knew arch nemesis was not far away and for the whole 5k i kept waiting for her to pass and then realised she was pacing off me and it would come at the end.  i was hoping for quicker splits but i felt terrible the whole way.  i should never have mentioned the puke at the finish line as that is what nearly happened and i dont know if it had anything to do with pushing myself the way i was feeling or more to do with what i ate and drank.   200 metres from the finish i had to stop running as i thought i was going to spew.  in that time (10 seconds) arch nemesis ran past.  i was sad but busy trying to feel better.  i did manage to finish strong and will just have to put it down to experience.  and being a pussy for not really taking it to the puke zone.  5k 27.07 (last year 29.11). 
total time 1.22.26.  Overall 79/162 Age Group 7/10 (lower numbers from last year).  arch nemesis beat me by 14 seconds -again.  last year total time was 1.28.13 so i was pretty happy with the result.  and at  least we made it onto the run course while the faster girls were still ON it.  but i would like a better swim and a faster run.  next time.  this youtube was just posted so i have edited to include it.

i stayed behind with the arch nemesis for the presentations and spot prizes.  more FREE shit for jeni !!!!  my number was drawn out again and i won a bikesure tri suit that fits perfect.  stayed tuned for the next event where i will model and test drive the suit.  it is part of my overall plan to wear a different outfit at each event so my arch nemesis and other competitors cannot keep track of me.  i have never had a trisuit before and i must admit they appear to be very comfortable.  it was a great day out and worth it for yet one more reason.  jenson button was racing.  i beat his girlfriend.  that counts for something right. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

shut up and swim

as you all know i have recently taken to swimming in a different pool - a 50m outdoor pool where i have to share a lane with the general public.  as far as pools go it is a nice pool.  i have a thing about trying out different pools.  this christmas break i am going to do a double swim.  in the morning i will go to one pool and swim 4k and in the afternoon i will go to another pool and swim 4k.  obviously i will eat humongous amounts of food in between the sessions along with a nap.  i am very interested to know what this is going to feel like.  it is a swim smooth suggestion.  but back on topic.

so my most favourite pool i have swam in is the north sydney pool.  it is located just under the sydney harbour bridge and next to luna park.  it  has an amazing history.  i was in sydney for work and staying within a 20 minute walk.  after busting out of the conference i raced over there at dusk and swam in 16 degree weather.  it was glorious.  here is a picture i stole off the internet earlier. 

i used to be one of the fucking idiots that turn up at the pool and think they can swim.  however my only annoying habit was sitting at the end of the lane too long. crazy to think that my whole swim session was 1000m and i do that now as a warm-up.  transgressing AGAIN.  these are the things that have pissed me off in the last two weeks -

1. people in the wrong lane.  the sign says to 'pick your lane based on your ability'.  it should say 'pick your lane based on your ability then drop down one level'. or maybe 'picking your lane is based on ability - NOT based on how many people are swimming in the lanes'.  i pick medium and then spend the whole session passing people.  if i go in the fast lane then i will stress that i am slowing down the fast people.  in reality the fast people are all medium and there are no fast people swimming with the general public. this is my biggest bitch.
2. i have seen things people should not have to see - underwater or above.  some people have bellys that look like jelly and move like jelly.  breaststroke is just not up for discussion.
3. it is a golden rule that if you reach the end of the lane and the person behind you reaches it at the same time and they are actually faster than you - then you let them go in front.  so to the loser guy who was not happy with a chick swimming faster  - eat them bubbles.
4. again to the boys - you do not speed up when someone is tapping you on your toes. it does not mean 'go faster'.  if you spent less time hanging at the end of the pool and more time swimming maybe then you would not get 'chicked'.
5. the aim of doing a lap is to swim from one end to the other.  there is no stopping for a breather in the middle.  do i need to say more ?
6. to the people in the adjacent lanes - if you are going to race me then lets make it a fair race over a distance greater than one lap or part thereof.
7. please realise that while i may not do tumble turns i do like to kick off from the wall at the end of each lap and feel like i am doing one.  the centre does have a spa or wading pool that will meet this need to just sit.  please be aware that this habit is not going to improve your swimming.  actually swimming will do that and i can attest to it.  and sitting in a spa with goggles on will look strange and slightly creepy.
8. and big, fat hairy old dudes - i am not interested nor am i desperate.  still having fucking nightmares.
9. to the couples that swim together.  why ?    
10. i am sure the pool attendants are there for a number of reasons including saving drowning people and  checking out the talent.  i have just never seen it.  and come to think of it this includes saving drowning people so that just leaves checking out the talent.  cool job.  

okay i am done. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

third time lucky

i got the new job.  how lucky have i been.  some people cannot get one job and this is my third job change in one year.  in some ways i have not been lucky and  this is my last shot.  i cannot afford to change jobs again as it will truly fuck up my resume.   one job i do not even mention as it was such a short stay.  i dont feel excited - just relieved.  i am here until christmas eve.  i was hoping that they would pay me out claiming a conflict with my new employers but no such luck.  they were all nice about it and said i could still take the three days between christmas and new year as leave.  it will be wonderful to have a ten day break before starting the new job. 

as discussed in a previous post i had a tough week after the great bike ride so the following week i took it a day at a time and just relaxed about the whole thing.  so from an easy week to a blinder last week.  this is probably one of the biggest weeks i have ever had and the good news is that i feel good and more importantly my legs feel good.  i will admit to having a nap saturday afternoon and then again sunday.  maybe naps is what i am missing in my recovery.  i enjoyed the week and it is doable if you are organised.  

on all my runs i decided to use the virtual partner on my garmin.  this is perfect for me.  i am one of those people who if you give them a target or challenge then i will bust my butt to achieve it.  i also have trouble slowing down for the longer runs so this will enforce the right pace.  i love my garmin. 

i met up with the guy from my tri club that is going to be guiding the novice 70.3 people through their preparation and training.  i have a plan and his plan is quite different.  mine is longer and based around build and recovery every four weeks and three sessions per week for swim, bike and run.  the sessions are also time based.   his is all about volume and distance.  only two sessions per week for swim, bike and run but no build recovery - only a gradual  taper at the end.  i go from 2 x 10k runs per week to 2 x 15k runs and then 2 x 20k runs over twelve weeks.  this worries me.  the running always worries me.  my other concern is how to fit the second 90k bike ride in during the week ?  my dilemma is not helped by the fact that this guy has been competing for 20 years.  he must know right ?  i dont start the program until 24 january as my base is already pretty good so time to think.  my first step is going to be to check out my bike fit and i am doing this on wednesday. 

this week i am back to basic training in preparation for the first sprint triseries race at rockingham on sunday.  i really want to see how hard i can push it.  i know my arch nemesis will be racing.  i am thinking i need to run to the puke zone.  hopefully not right on the finish line.

Monday, December 6, 2010

the banana table at ironman western australia

what a great year for aussie ironman.  first we claim the double header at kona and today the two winners at ironman western australia - courtney ogden and kate bevilaqua - are both from western australia.  home grown winners. 

i drove down to my folks place late saturday afternoon.  they live in bunbury which is 30 minutes from busselton.   last year i was in transition so this year i decided to be part of a bike course aid station and  i was assigned to the barnard park aid station - about 500 metres out from transition.  another bonus was that this station would not open until the riders came back in from their first lap so we had time to watch the swim start.  last year it was really hot - around 35 degrees.  while cooler this time it was a little humid and the sticky aussie flies were around.  it rained for a short while and we heard the wind was at cross purposes out on the course. 

this year they changed the course around.  transition moved further into town and with it the finish line.  this proved a popular choice.  instead of swimming out to the end of the jetty and turning right this year they started on the other side and turned left at the end.  i love watching the start of the swim.  i also think this swim course would have to be one of the best and most challenging in the world.  you have to swim 2km directly out to sea and while it may be calm at the start further out you get the swell and it gets very, very deep.  in february you can do the busselton jetty swim as a stand alone event. 

the swim - dive in, swim straight out to end of jetty, turn left and swim back to shore.
 what is so hard about that !

your best friends

the pros start

prior to the swim start all the competitors cheered and put their hands together for the volunteers.  this was wonderful and continued on for the whole day.  without the competitors my day would have sucked.  sadly i was at an aid station that is run every year by the same people.  two of which turned out to be my cousin and her husband however this made no difference.  not only myself but any other newbie were certainly not made to feel very welcome.  there were a couple of very bossy people who were at cross purposes and we got told off for the most minor things.  it was very disappointing.  i finally lost it with one and told her to get a fucking grip on it.  we were not there to ruin a competitors day. 

i was working with two other newbies at the banana table.  we had to cut them up, give them a slit and then hand them over as the rider passed.  at the end of the day i was dirty, sunburnt and my shoulder ached from having my arm in the air holding a banana.  you had to run with the rider and some were moving fast.  i liked the ones that slowed down.  however my highlight was my super fast handover to patrick vernay and then kate bevilaqua.  they do not slow down at all but at least they know exactly what they want.  we didnt lose too many bananas and we did not assist in taking a rider out.  the table up from us was cola bidons.  bossy boots had young girls working it and one gave a very awkward and lazy handover to a competitor who was moving fast.  this caused him to lose direction, he veared off, lost control and directly hit the aid station table, flew head first over the top of it and a girl who was sitting there.  i was certain his bike and race was over.  it was a terrible feeling.  he got up and retrieved his felt bike.  the wheel was okay.  it must have gone under the table and the impact was taken by the stem.  he hobbled over to the shade, changed his tube, patched his knee and was back on the road within half an hour.  i dont know if he eventually made it but i hope so.  they took the girl off drinks.  the other weird thing was the set up of shade shelters out in the middle of nowhere that were never used. 

wasted shade

the banana table

cola table that was hit by a competitor

my day had started at 4am so by 1pm i was knackered.  it had really slowed down so i headed off.  i was glad to get away and  i will not be volunteering  there again.  body marking the men will be more suitable.  i walked over to transtition and took some more photos and walked back along the run course.  one runner thanked me for my efforts and that made my day.  the competitors were truly wonderful and some of them extremely funny.  one guy asked for a hamburger every time he came past the banana table.  another decided he would only speak with a jamacian accent.  forgot to mention we also had the naughty corner (penalty box) across from us and it was very busy all day.  one girl rode past crying her eyes out.  i dont know why.  anyway i loved being a part of it and took some great tips away for what to do and what not to do on the bike !  btw - kate bevilaqua's finish is a classic brave and desperate crawl.  guts and determination.  she did make it back later in the night to welcome in the final finishers too !.

team bikes in front

miroslav vrastil - pro