Tuesday, October 18, 2011

i am in !

yah !!!!  i am going back to busselton for 2012 ironman 70.3 !!!!!  i worked myself into a nervous wreck waiting to sign up for this but i am IN !!!  this is going to be interesting - my race schedule for the year (2011/2012) is now final.  i am only going to do the triseries events and the longer course events at bunbury and karri valley - two courses i am yet to do so that will be fun.  i am so excited and now i can relax and enjoy the next four days of riding.

this is friggin AWESOME.

Monday, October 17, 2011

cape to cape western australia is just days away

only three two days until the adventure begins.  i dont know how i feel - excited for sure and looking forward to getting away from the city and work.  my legs are not great and i have really backed off the workouts.  i am hoping they come back to me real soon.  i am not worried about any stage of the event - but i am worried about having four stages back to back.  for the elites this will total 10 hours or less of riding time over four days - a sprint really.  for me it is an endurance event that over the four days will probably total around 15-16 hours.

just part of the stuff one needs to ride a mtb

i started getting organised a few weeks back - ordering shotz/gels, got the bike serviced, spare parts and tools, waterproof jacket etc. i dont want to spend anymore money aaghhhh.  it is amazing how much gear is required.  i am so glad i decided not to camp.  anyway i started putting it all together yesterday and friggin hell there is so much stuff.  mountain biking burns the calories so i have to make sure i have plenty of food and drink.  pre-race, during the race and post race.  it can get pretty rough out there so i need to carry tools and spares.  the weather doesnt look good - rain is forecast for three out of four days and it is always colder and wetter down there than here.  so i need clothes for all conditions.

stage one - cape leeuwin lighthouse augusta to hamelin bay 39.86 km

the event starts at the cape leeuwin lighthouse which is situated at the southern tip of the capes region where the indian and southern oceans meet.  we start with a tough 4km climb before heading into the forest west of augusta.  at the 7km mark we reach heartbreak hill - a tough 1km climb that (apparently) has recently been graded.  we then ride through private farmland before reaching the stage highlight - deepdene beach.  depending upon the elements the beach ride of 1.5k can either be a breeze or unrideable.  once off the beach there is a series of back tracks through cosy corner where some finals hills will test the legs before reaching the finish line at hamelin bay.

stage two - hamelin bay to xanadu winery margaret river 62.42 km

stage two begins with a road climb before heading into boranup forest and 25km of amazing track featuring every type of trail imaginable. sections of the trail include emu's, vincent, tunnel run, three rocks (not more fucking rocks!), lord of the rings, donovan, and the quarry.  this stage has spectacular scenery and once out of the forest we head north towards the vineyards of margaret river.  there will be backtrails (hope i dont get lost and the elves hold me captive) and water crossings that could vary in depth.  apparently the chances of reaching the vineyards DRY is very small.

stage three - xanadu winery to colonial brewery margaret river 51.34 km

who doesnt want to ride from a winery to a brewery !  this is the toughest stage and coming on day three will be the challenge.  it is also the charity day where we ride for people on the transplant waiting list - cool !  the stage starts with a ride through the cape mentelle winery before entering the rails trails or pines of margaret river.  this is a 30km mixture of single trail and disused fire breaks and will offer the best technical riding of the event.  my nemesis.  yah. 

stage four - colonial brewery to dunsborough 68.83 km

traditionally this is a fast stage but it is also long.  we start by riding across a series of private properties before connecting with the rails trails north of cowaramup.  this is a mixture of farm tracks and back roads.  this will suit me being open riding on hard tracks.  however once we reach dunsborough a technical finish awaits.  the final 5km runs through meelup park which (apparently) bought many riders undone last year.  once the pea gravel and boulders (what ! fucking BIG rocks this time !) have been negotiated we will see the blue waters of geographe bay and cape naturaliste.   

this is a map of the walking trail but it gives you the
overall picture.

i am staying at a nice (hopefully) b&b in margaret river.  at the end of each stage my bike gets locked away in a secure compound (for $10 per night) and i catch the event bus back to the start.  i drive home for the night before heading back to the previous days finish line to then start the next stage.  margaret river is very central and  the longest drive i will have is at the start on the first day in augusta which is 50km away.  

i hope to take plenty of photos and while i will not have internet access i will take my laptop so i can write up a stage report every night.  while i chill out in my compression gear and refuel on pasta (sob ! no wine).   my goal is to really enjoy myself, meet plenty of people, soak up the scenery and location and FINISH all four stages.  i would also like to see if i can locate my sense of humour.  i feel like i have lost it recently and dammit janet i just want to have fun.

 wish me luck !

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

the realities of open water swimming

i swim at this beach for training as well as open water swim races and triathlon.  my saturday swim group from swim smooth was down there the last two saturdays.  i didnt go because i believe it is still too early in the migration of the whales and the sharks that follow them along the coast.  wearing wetsuits would only assist in making us look like a pack of seals. 

when i heard that a swimmer was missing at cottesloe i said straight away that a shark had taken him.  they reported he swam everyday so he was a strong swimmer but even if he got into trouble they would have found him pretty quickly.  no one saw it happen.  he was 300m off shore which is a fair distance.  what is strange is that shark attacks in perth have only happened at cottesloe and not any other beach.  might have something to do with the reef. 

it must be terrible for his family. they have accepted that it was a shark and that he died doing what he loved.   for the rest of us it is scary and  frightening to let your imagination run wild.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

growing a pair ...

i have always wanted this blog to have a positive vibe and to never be a place to bitch and moan.  but for the last few months and maybe more my life has not been going to plan and while i have alluded to issues i have never come right out and talked about it.  well this is my blog and i am going to start telling it like it is.  time to get something outta my head and off my chest. 

first up i love triathlon.  i am mad about it.  i love competing, i love talking and reading about it and i love watching it.  i am a big fan of the sport - both the itu and ironman.  it is a passion.   however i am not very good at it and i think at 47  i am not going to get much better.  but that is okay because i am not doing it to be the best.  i am doing it to be the best that i can be.  i do it because it is fucking hard.  i do it because sometimes it scares me.  i believe triathlon makes you a better person and that is what i want.  call me naive sometimes but i realise that what motivates me is not going to be the same for everyone.  some people are in it just to win.  not to get the best of themselves but just to win.  that is how i see it anyway and it is okay.  there is nothing wrong with wanting to win.  i guess it is how you win that matters.  i grew up playing team sports so i may have developed a different outlook.  one where you watched out for team mates and you helped them out and you didnt win as an individual - you won as a team. 

so when i started this adventure and since i have met some really great people who are positive and wonderful individuals.  but i have also been disappointed and this is what i want to get off my chest.  at the beginning i was always catching up with this one girl at each event.  we are in different age groups as i am five years older but we are pretty close in abilities.  so we became triathlon friends and it was fun.  i always knew what races i wanted to do and i had a plan.  sometimes i talked my friend into doing the same events.  it was even more fun to have company.  after that first year the only race that i finished ahead of my friend was our first olympic distance at point walter.  most races played out with me out of the water  first, ahead on the bike and then i would get past on the run.  my friend even said that at times i helped motivate her to run faster and that is fine.  i could tell where i was in a race knowing where she was so it worked both ways.  and remember we are not in the same age group.    

then last year it became a little more serious.  i knew i wanted to do busselton 70.3.  it was all i had thought about since the year before.  it was what i thought about during every run, every bike and every swim.  i talked my friend into doing it.  i said we were ready.  i had my races picked out and my training plan ready.  if you have followed this blog then you will know that my season races didnt go well.  i was always competing on tired legs.  my friend came in before me at every event.  i was now behind on the swim and the bike.  but i had a bigger goal and that was busselton.  i am a competitive person and at times it was difficult knowing you could get a better result if it wasnt for the training.  but i kept reminding myself of the bigger picture.  having people beat me all the time wasnt as bad as just being disappointed in your own personal result.  i wanted to run faster than i had before - not run faster than someone else.    i wanted to have that swim that i know is in me.  i wanted to have that fast bike split and see the improvement. 

i read a great deal,  i have done alot of research and being a newbie i have spent a lot of time learning everything i can.  i love doing it and i dont mind sharing what i know.  at the start my friend and i discussed what would be required for a 70.3 race.  then during the season we caught up a few times outside of race meets as she wanted to discuss my plans further.  at this point i started to realise that i was probably being pumped for information but i truly did not mind helping out.  why would i ?  we were friends right.  then i found out that my friend was doing things and not mentioning it.  things that you would talk about.  still i told myself it didnt matter and it wasnt important.  i will be honest and as busselton approached this started to do my head in a little bit.  i was confused about why i was competing and wondering why i didnt have this mad drive to win.  win what though ?  i just wanted to finish my first 70.3 event. 

so the race comes around and after everything was said and done and written about here i had a truly great day and an awesome result.  all the hard work, training, bad results, no support, money, falling asleep while reading another tri book, sore feet, fear, doubt  - it was worth it.  i could not get the grin off my face.  it was one of the very best days and a highlight in my life.  it felt fantastic to  look at where i had come from - a pack a day smoker.  however i finished ahead of my friend.  and since then things have not been the same.  i am not a complete dummy and i can tell when a persons attitude to you is different.  this is very different.  i have given it time but nothing has changed.  i love this sport and i am really proud of my result at busselton.  i dont want to feel bad about it.  we should be celebrating.

i guess the other factor that needs to be considered is each persons perspective.  i considered this person a friend but my world consists of a very small circle.  i dont have a family and most of my friends do not live in perth.  so while i may look at her as a friend the reverse is that i am probably just seen as an acquaintance. 

i recently finished reading macca's book and i like what he has to say and that he is not afraid to say it.  he has these insights and includes comments that i think sums up how i feel -  'íf you dont have the passion and love the process, if the results are all that matter to you, then there is no depth to what you do.  there is nothing to pull you out of the dark hole when you fall in.  training, surpassing limitations, developing strategy, finding the strength to endure the suffering is trans formative.  you become a better person when you manage to do something as insane as swimming, biking and runing 140.6 miles in the same day''.

while reading back over this i noticed that i was hearing my brothers voice in my head.  clear as a bell and  he is telling me to friggin toughen up and grow a pair.  and he is right because when it comes down to it i am not the one with the problem.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

champion lakes duathlon race report 2011

this race was kinda disappointing.  the folks just didnt turn up. i dont know if there was alot of other events on or what but the numbers were small.  it is well run and the course - while flat is still challenging with the wind and heat.  my age group 45-49 is usually one of the most competitive and this is the state championships for long course duathlon.  so why did only four girls sign up in my age group to then only have two show up and compete.  there is no swim ?  that has to be a bonus for some.   then they had new timing chips attached to the back of your race number which then malfunctioned.  they resolved it pretty quick but the girl who came second to me is showing as a dnf.  so now it even looks like i had no one to compete against and won totally by default.  it was funny last year when i came third but this is just embarrassing.  but now you do know who i am - i am the state duathlon long course champion in the 45-49 female age group.  just remember that and be very afraid.

now to the race.  no rain this year but only just as black clouds hung around for awhile.  it was hot and the cross winds were annoying - you never got a true tailwind.  i havent run much in the last few weeks and my training has been all about the bike.  i didnt rest up for this so the legs were going in tired.  this is probably more a 'c' race or training day.  the first 5k run started fast and i hung on for the first 2k running 5 min pace.  my legs felt okay.  they felt terrible the day before and i had slept in my skins which had really perked them up.  so while my legs felt good my breathing didnt.  i had my heart rate monitor on for the first time in a race and i was surprised to see later that i wasnt racing in the red zone - even though it felt like it.  by the 4k mark i had slowed down and just wanted to be on the bike.  besides being hot and windy you can actually see how far you have to run and that does your head in a little bit.  i wont look next time and will focus on the ducks.

i think i was hoping for a miracle on the bike and while i did pass quite a few people and it got me closer to the middle of the pack i wasnt going to break any records.  i did feel good and even with the crosswinds i enjoyed the bike.  with the lower numbers the course was easier and you didnt have to watch out for the maniacs. 

at this point i could have quite happily called it a day.  the second run was a short 2.5k and the first k was very slow but after that i got back on a normal and easy pace.  my goal for this race was about training and really showed that while you may log the hours nothing beats race fitness.  i suffered a bit on the runs and it was good reminder that i pretty much suck at this but more about that in a later blog. 

after the race i discovered i was in first place but actually didnt believe it.   so i hung around for the presentations and i was hoping to score some free stuff in the spot prizes - no luck.  it also gave me a chance to catch up with another friend who also came first in her age group.  then i headed home to bask in the glory of being a state champ.  as for the result i was first in run, first off the bike and first in the second run.  my only other competitor was obviously last.  i was faster than last year.  that is actually more impressive.