Sunday, March 27, 2011

the long run - a book report

camp jeni is now in training lock down and there will be no further updates on busselton 70.3 until THE day.   but i did promise a report on the books i purchased from  firstly they arrived within 10 days and i cannot tell which are the used books.  excellent service, price and products.

i first heard of matt long when i was slothing on the sofa one saturday afternoon channel surfing foxtel and came across a program on ironman lake placid.  within these programs they always have a focus section on competitors with a story to tell.  this one was about matt long.  he is a new york firefighter who lived though 9/11, had finished ironman lake placid a few years before in 11 hours and had qualified for the boston marathon by running a 3.15 in the new york marathon.  he qualified for boston the week before he got on his bike to ride to work because the city transport workers were on strike. 

on the way to work matt was hit by a bus.  he was virtually impaled by his bikes seat post and suffered horrific internal injuries.  it was a miracle that he survived.  in the book he tells you just enough about his injuries for you to realise how bad it was without it becoming the focus.  aside from his internal injuries his left leg was badly damaged along with his shoulder.  being fit and able to run marathons and compete in triathlons defined who matt was as well as being a fireman.  that was his life and who he was.  and it goes without saying that matt's fitness level played a very big part in his ability to survive the initial trauma.

watching the show on foxtel i had a good boo hoo cry as matt long beat the odds and once again became an ironman.  this time it took 16 hours and 58 minutes but he was still an ironman.  the book was written with the help of a ghost writer and one of the main themes that stood out was the extraordinary support that matt had from his family, friends and the n.y. fire department.  this played a huge part in his recovery and i think help matt realise that there was more that defined him than just his ability to swim, bike and run.  i guess it is also a reminder to enjoy the moment because it may not always be there and life can change in an instant. 

matt has a foundation called 'i will' based on his approach to the challenge he faced in being able to do what he loved.  i cannot remember who won the event but i have never been able to get matt long's story out of my head. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

to be my fathers daughter

i was talking to my dad the other day about race tactics and race goals. i said that if i was near the finish and a close friend or training partner were only 10 to 20 metres behind me that i would wait so we could cross the finish line together. i wouldn’t do this in a sprint or olympic distance but a HIM or IM i would. dad said no way – he would be across the finish (alone) as fast as his legs could muster. but then again if my dad was competing in a triathlon he would go out so hard in the swim, hammer it on the bike and even though he probably blew up on the run there is no way you would catch him walking. he would only make this mistake once. i have always considered myself a competitive person and so i am wondering where my killer instinct has gone and why i dont think i am in a race ?

to go back to the beginning you have to know my family or more importantly my dad. he was always good at sport. a state cricketer who earned a living playing professionally who was also a state footballer inducted into the w.a.f.l hall of fame. it had its advantages and disadvantages growing up. probably harder for my brother as people naturally have expectations. so sport has played a very significant part in our lives and we have always been competitive. dad gave us different footy teams to support and sledge about. he would set us up with a staggered start for sprint races on the front lawn. our cricket matches in the back yard on xmas day have had their fair share of dummy spits. dad has a natural and gifted ability but more importantly he has a sportsman’s brain.  it is what separates the good from the very good.

so where has my competitive edge gone ? when i think about it i don’t know if i ever had one. in year 7 at primary school i was the captain of red and i remember i dropt our best player in a hockey match because she didn’t come to training. i had a rule that if you didn’t train you didn’t get a game. that is not exactly  competitive. it is good discipline but weird for a 12 year old. but i did want to win and i thought if we trained really well we would win. i wasn’t popular until we bought home the trophy for the school athletics sports carnival and then all was forgotten. i played hockey for such a long time and liked to be competitive as a team but was i as an individual ? in my last year at high school i was runner-up champion girl. i did okay at high jumps, long jumps and sprint distance running - so if it does come down to that last 10-20 metres i have a pretty good chance of coming out in front. i think i was pretty aggressive or did it just come naturally ?

so where am i at with triathlon ? at the beginning it was all about finishing so i couldn’t afford to go out too hard not knowing my limits. now with the HIM i still have to keep that in the back of my mind until i complete a few. i know i don’t go out hard enough in the swim. being competitive is closely linked to confidence and in the last few years i have lost some of that. i am just as serious with my training as i was when 12 years old and the captain of red. i have spent a great deal of time learning and researching the sport. experience counts for a great deal so i have a long way to go but i don’t mind sharing what i do know. is this smart and competitive ? should i be thinking more like my dad. he would have given nothing away to his competitors. in actual fact he would have been pumping them for information to use against them on game day. is it possible to compete against your friends the same as you do against strangers ? do i want to ?

over the last few days i have come to the conclusion that i  need to decide whether or not it is a race.   the reality is i think i would find myself skipping to the finish line alone while my friend ran by.   it's a race and i am running my own.   

Thursday, March 17, 2011

i am not willing to ....

this is my new way of motivating myself.  instead of thinking 'i dont want to' i have changed it to 'i am not willing to'.  it is much harder to stay in bed when you say i am not willing to ride my bike rather than i dont want to ride my bike.  when it comes down to it you do want to ride your bike - just not right then.  

i am currently feeling less stress as far as the evil job goes and i think i have just about broken the camels back with training.  one more week of build, one of recovery, two major build weeks  and then taper time !  whoot hoot !  not to mention the five day break over easter.  i am/was starting to think and feel that my life had become one dimensional.  i am looking forward to getting some balance back and having the time and focus to really resolve the work problem and do something other than swim/bike/run.

silke (arch nemesis) is coming out to ride with me on sunday and i am really looking forward to having a training buddy.  in the meantime if you are really wondering just  how i have been going then the pic below sums it up.     

Sunday, March 13, 2011

HIM Training Week 9

i did not compete in the 2xu womens event on sunday and it was a great decision.  my first DNS.  instead i had a comfortable 70k ride in perfect conditions followed by an easy 5k brick.  on monday i was meant to do absolutley nothing - being  a public holiday and all.  instead i got carried away with cleaning the house and yard (hate being responsible) and really messed up a great opportunity to rest.

tuesday - swim 2.5k am - run 8.5k pm
i woke and felt like crap and really tired.  not a great start to the week.  so i decided to delay the run and/or miss the swim and slot it in further down the week.   i just kept thinking about focusing on one day at a time so after work i headed to the pool and had one of my better swims.  i am starting to like my new pool and the water was nice.  i was home by 7 and running gear on by 7.15.  the weather was cooler so it would be a nice run.  8.5k at an easy 6 minute pace.  then shower, eat and sleep.

wednesday - bike am 120 mins
i did not feel like doing this and tough when it is two laps and easy to just call it quits after one.  but i turned around and headed back out.  towards the top end of the golf course i rode past a kangaroo on the side footpath and as i came by it looked up at me with its sad brown eyes.  it had been hit by a car and could not move.  it really stressed me out.  i stopped and talked to a guy walking his dog and he said the security people usually took care of it.  then as i rode past the maintenance shed for the golf course i decided to pull in and speak to the guys.  one was an idiot and the other said he was too busy and unless it was on the golf course he didnt have to take care of it.  i wasnt expecting anyone to carry the animal off to the vets - just for someone to care enough to put the animal down (and i told them this just in case they thought i was a dumb blonde on an rescue the animals crusade).  if noone helped the animal then i hope it wasnt long before it passed.  i guess the person who hit the roo did not think to stop or didnt care.  for the future i am going to find who i can call and always take my mobile.  legs felt like crap all day at work. 

thursday - run 15.5k pm
well my plan to swim early this week was a massive fail.  decided the legs needed extra recovery time and i would move the swim to friday pm.  work is just a mind numbing joke.  when i got home i did not want to do this.  put my gear on and walked out the door at 6.15 trying not to think beyond the first lap.  i need to change my course up as it is getting boring.  lap 1 - 3.5k 6.00 pace.  too fast.  lap 2 - 4k 6.10 pace.  starting to feel okay.  lap 3 - 4k 6.20  pace.   all i could think of was one more lap to go.  lap 4  - 6.25 pace.  legs started to feel better.  i was actually going to do it.  total run 15.5k.  average pace 6.16.  i have never run this far before.  i am in unknown territory.  picked up a bag of ice and threw it in the bath with cold water.  got in for 15 minutes and it was hell and wonderful all at the same time.  waited 30 minutes and then had a warm shower.  on with the skins, food in the belly and to bed.

friday - bike am 90 mins - swim 2.6k pm
i was amazed when i woke up and i could walk.  it is an ice bath after every long run from now on.  i again thought about how i could get out of training and instead lie on my bed and watch karl and lisa.  but i noticed there was no wind.  one must always ride when there is no wind.  so out the door i went.  it was quite humid as my glasses kept fogging up.  had a major encounter with more kangaroos and saved one.  i had stopped to let a group of large ones cross and/or clear the road.  i didnt see the big boy i had practically stopped alongside.  a group of cars came by and my friend decided it was now a good time to make a move.  i waved at the first car and they managed to slow down just in time.  i find it strange that people who live at the vines are not more careful when they know the roos are always around - especially at 5.45 am in the morning.  i changed my mind about 50 million times while i was at work about the swim.  on auto pilot i drove there and actually got a good swim in.

saturday - swim 3.5k am - run 9k pm
it was tough getting out of bed.  i did not want to - at all.  but still i was at the pool by 7 and really pissed off as they had a squad session when it is normally just me and a few slow swimmers.  i had to share my lane with a guy doing side stroke.   seriously - why bother ?.  i wanted a nap before driving down to bunbury but instead just took it easy getting the car, gear and dogs organised.  in bunbury by five and headed off to a local trail that i knew was close to the folks house.  nice 2.3k loop that i completed three times and with the run there and back i had my third run ticked off.  i think i slept about five minutes on the rock of a bed in the spare room. 

sunday - bike 180 mins busselton course
up at 5 and in busselton by 6.  headed out on the course on very quiet roads.  it was a beautiful morning.  the local triathlon club must have been having an event as a sign was on a side road off layman road.  i rode down tuart drive for only a short distance as the shoulder is a rough ride and i didnt want to risk a puncture.  come race day the actual road is smooth enough.  so instead i did three loops turning around at tuart drive for a 90k ride.  it was well worth the trip.  yes the course is flat and fast but has its own challenges and we will see come race day. 

fuck i was tired.  desperate for food i scoffed a big angus burger and headed back to bunbury.  packed the car up again and said good-bye to the folks.  i drove without thinking about how much i wanted to rest.  made it back by 3 and was then too tired to take a nap. 

back at work and all i want to do is go back to bed.  now it starts all over again.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

mother nature has (another) hissy fit

it has been hot all month. we have had 26 consecutive days above 30 degrees with the average for february at 34 degrees. we have had 16 nights in a row above 20 degrees with an average of 22.7. running has been the hardest – whether it is 6am or 8pm. on monday i decided the girls could stay inside as it was going to get to 38 and the house would be at least 10 degrees cooler inside. i set the air conditioner to come on around 3 as well. about that time a massive storm hit my suburb. i was tracking it on the radar but it wasn’t until news reports starting coming through that i realised just how serious it was. i left work early but it took me 90 minutes to get home – normally a 45 minute drive. there were trees down everywhere. and not small trees. i am talking 30 metre trees that were either snapped in half or were completely uprooted. one of my favourite roads to ride is adjacent to the gnangara pine plantation and 30 metre trees lay like dominoes. one after another. it was amazing. my girls were safe inside and while some water had got in both back doors and i lost my oldest bougainvillea off the side fence there was no other damage. i was lucky.

just around the corner from home and part of my normal run

the start of the domino effect

awhile back i mentioned that i had changed mr garmin over to the quick release version 2 set-up. i love having mr garmin front and centre on the bike. command central. the improved band attachment is more secure but the unit now sits up really high. it is much wider on the wrist and moves around more and i don’t like it. it would be okay if you had bigger wrists rather than my chicken wings but it would not make any difference to the increased height. while the risk of the strap breaking is reduced the more exposed position brings other concerns – like scratching and knocking it and i scratched mr garmin.

i kept to my plan and signed up for the HBF Run For A Reason 14k and the City to Surf Half Marathon. Check out the event page and

with nothing much to do at work i spend quite a bit of time on the net and came across this website - they sell new and used books and have FREE international shipping. the best part is they help fund literacy and library projects around the world. i ordered five running books (new and used) and will give a report on them in the future. i can hardly wait for them to arrive.

this week has been a recovery week in my training program and i was pretty happy to get here. going forward i am going to make some changes to my training in as much as i am going to use different locations and shake things up a bit. it has been a long hot summer and i want to keep things fresh. only 10 weeks to go. i have to admit that i am over racing. this weekend is the all womens sprint triathlon which was my first ever race two years ago. so it has some sentimental value but i just cannot get excited about it. what i really want to do is go for my long ride and then chill out at home. then i think maybe i will ride to the event, just do the swim, hang out and then ride home. what really turns me off is the thought of being out on the bike course and having to deal with girls on mountain bikes wearing pink tutu’s. so it is pretty much a given that i will not be at coogee for the long course event either. 8 laps of that bike course (with all the newbies) would just do my head in. so my last event before busselton will be the last race of the triseries at hillarys. i do plan to take the dogs to the beach saturday and pick up my race pack anyway – just in case. it will be interesting to see if i can make the right decision and live with a DNS.

the last few weeks i have been using facebook and i have confirmed that i am still of the same opinion. it is lame and i just don’t get it.

sunday i was heading home on the bike having ridden 90k of a 95k ride. it was around 9.45 am and really warming up. i was down to my last few mouthfuls of my secret energy drink. i came out of a roundabout and thought my bike felt weird and i wondered if I was getting a bit faint. it really wobbled. i look down and realized that i had my first ever puncture. 18 months of riding (and now with new tyres) i get a flat. i was next to a park so i pulled up under a tree and set about changing the tube. i don’t have a problem with this and thought it a good opportunity to practice things but i only had one tube and one cO2 canister (which i have never used). i figured if i screwed up it was only a hot 5k walk. i made a few basic mistakes. i didn’t put the bike in the right gear to get the chain off easily. then i got dirt in the back wheel where the chain goes – i really need to do a maintenance course or at least learn the names of the parts on my bike. so i get the new tube in, check things are good to go. i have the instructions for the cO2 canister and follow them. it scared the crap out of me and it was so fast i thought the tyre was going to blow up. it was rock hard so i let some air out but at least it was done. i get the wheel back on but have some trouble with the back brakes rubbing so i figure who needs them and i can fix that later. whilst doing all this i did manage to get as much grease on me and my clothes as possible. mr garmin tells me it took me a leisurely 30 minutes to complete the task so obviously in a race i would have to get my crap together. but i was so happy to make it home and pretty much did SFA for the rest of the day.

have i mentioned that it is a long weekend this weekend ? hallejuah everyone.