Saturday, December 31, 2011

IMWA Week 50 - Alis Volat Propriis

she flies with her own wings.  that is going to be my motto for 2012.  tomorrow i am heading out early on a  long ride to the beach. i am planning on enjoying it as much as i did last week and this will bring my weekly training hours past 11 for the week.  i had a bad day on wednesday and just slept.  i am trying to figure why some days are so much worse than others.   

anyway i have had plenty of thinking time and i have come to some conclusions.  firstly i love training.  i really enjoy it.  i dont know if it is so much the training or the fact that i just love swimming, biking and running.  i could train and not compete and i would be happy.  secondly i have decided that i really prefer the longer distance events.  when i first started out i entered every event around and raced alot.  most of them were sprint distance and for my level of fitness they were perfect.  i actually miss the casual nature of the events at the power station and point walter.  when it was just about finishing rather than where you placed.  what i have decided is that i really have no current interest in the shorter events.  and finally i read an article the other week about how if you want to track your progress you should focus on you and the clock rather than whether you get on the podium or what other people are doing.  the podium is no good because you might be racing a weak field (and i have medals to prove it).   other people take your focus from what you should be doing and you start thinking more about their training and what they are doing etc.  funnily enough the only comment to this article was to ask what chrisse wellington was doing ?  duh !  so this leads me to a realisation that i enjoy events more when i dont know anyone.  it is just me, the clock and my targets. so my goals for 2012 will be to set my own PB against the clock and where i come in the field will be irrelevant.  my results pages will change.  when it comes down to it i am not suited to the individual competitive nature of triathlon.  i just wanted to do it because i love the discipline and challenge, i love swimming, biking and running and i wanted to make new friends.  and maybe i like wearing lycra alot.  why can it not be that simple. and fun.  and just for the hell of it.  my training will reflect this new approach. 

my other big wish for 2012 (besides improving my time at busselton 70.3 and finishing at 140.6) is to find a new job.  i am either going to look for another senior role or i am going to think about going in a completely different direction.  i have to do something and i have to be serious about it.  i need to put in just as much effort on this as i do triathlon.  maybe i will win lotto.  wishing.  the other big issue is my house.  it needs work - nothing major but i am a perfectionist.  but i have decided that most things i can maintain for another year and once i have given my everything to the 140.6 i will promise to take time off and do it all.

so i guess that is it for 2012.  a new approach and a more relaxed view.  happy new year.

Friday, December 23, 2011

IMWA week 51 - no one said it was going to be easy

on the health front it is not the best news.  i do have low iron which has caused problems with my haemoglobin.  it is too low and trying madly to recover.  lots of immature blood cells apparently.  both are not low enough to warrant an iron infusion or blood transfusion.  while i should be happy about that i am not because i will have to let my body do its thing and that will take time.  so i am still taking a tonne of supplements and eating food that is high in iron.  i have to be careful that i dont eat too much and end up fat.  i have to admit that when the doctor spoke to me and said that nothing could be done i was not happy.  in fact i have been miserable ever since. 

i guess the only good news is that i will probably clock up close to 10 hours training this week.  it has been very hard and would not be possible if i was working.  being on holidays i can rest.  but i am not getting much else done and the house and garden need attention - badly.  yesterday was a very bad day and i was totally exhausted.  i am extremely positive person but this is testing me.

and then there is christmas.  i can hardly wait until it is over.  i have spent far more alone than with family so i usually am okay with it.  but for some reason this year it bothers me.  kym - you dont need to comment because i know if we were in same country it would be different.  being single should not make my family responsible for what happens to me.  since my brother was married 25 years ago he has spent every christmas with my sister-in-laws family. even when i have stayed over night xmas eve so i could see my niece and nephew i have never been asked to join them.  i tried going overseas at xmas time and that was fun.  mum and dad are on their own and after eating an atrocious meal (mum cannot cook) they just have a nap and watch tv.  although they have started going to my cousins house.  i really do not like her and it is probably mutual.  i would rather have my teeth pulled.  i have never had a big xmas at my house or cooked and prepared a xmas feast.  i have thought about it but i live two hours away and i dont think anyone would want to come here.    i will probably take the crisis bike (i do buy myself the most excellent gifts!) for a nice long ride to the beach and if i dont need a nap then i may get some work done in the garden.  ho ho ho !

Monday, December 19, 2011

i swim like a crab

now you all know that i love swimming.  loving something is not going to guarantee that you are going to be good at it.  swimming gets a bad wrap from triathletes and i cannot understand the endless whingeing because one of the reasons i love swimming is that it is not easy.  isnt this what triathletes are attracted to ?  it is hard and so you really have to work at it.  especially if you are not naturally gifted.  i think it is a challenge to be good at something that does not come easily.  like every aussie kid i learnt to swim at school and during the holidays but i dont recall good technique being the focus.  i never learnt to breathe correctly and when i did i spent years only breathing to my left.  i remember the day i finally started to breathe bilateral.   it was at this point that my technique should have been clearly evaluated because since then i have only reinforced bad technique.  

about two years ago i did the video swim analysis with paul at swim smooth.  the main issues then were the cross over with my left arm, putting the brakes on at the front end of the stroke, improving my catch and rotation and increasing my stroke rate.  sadly while i have improved my stroke rate and rotation and i did work with the paddles to correct the cross over i really havent made the big gains i should have.  too much focus was put on training for fitness and endurance.  however the positive is that the saturday swim smooth  sessions have made me so much more confident in the water and around people.  getting a leg, arm or whatever in the face is not an issue and it has taught me how to draft and how to think tactics.  i have to mention here that these sessions are golden.  i mean where else do back of the pack age groupers get to swim with a group that includes ironman winners and pros.  paul said that he always waits until everyone has rocked up to the session before he puts it together because what may work for one group will not always work for another.  this is what makes the session that much better.

so i went back this saturday for another analysis session with paul and it was excellent.  i love the feel of swimming.  i feel like i swim well and that is why video analysis is so good.  because how it feels and how it looks is not the same.   i struggled with the no iron thing and lack of air for the initial swim but the drills were okay as i used fins and the pool buoy.  it was amazing because the drills clearly demonstrate how it should feel compared to what you were doing.  especially the one arm or unco drill and my rogue left arm.  what i thought was straight was clearly not and i got to feel where the arm should be entering the water and it is so much further to the left.  the drills paul gave me will now be a part of every swim session.  i feel i have wasted the time between the video analysis sessions and so i will not let this happen again.  i have a renewed motivation.  i no longer want to swim like a crab. 

this time paul recorded the analysis session.  this is a fantastic tool.  it is long but extremely interesting and please just ignore my chipmunk voice.  i cannot recommend this process highly enough and paul is really just extremely good, knowledgable and a nice guy to boot.  did i mention he swam the english channel this year !   it is long but has some excellent footage and some surprise inclusions.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

IMWA Week 52 - bite me non-believers

so the countdown begins.  i have gotten over the enormity of this decision.  which is easy to do when the actual event is a year away.

in recent weeks i have tossed around the idea of getting some level of coaching.  as usual if i am going to do this i want to do it right and give it my best shot.  but as i suspected the ones who are interested just want your money and the ones you want dont want you because you are too old and slow.  you are not worth putting on their resumes.  i get it.  so one more thing i have to do on my own.

i have stumbled upon a very good motivating tool.  everytime i dont want to get out of bed or think it is too hard or i lose sight of the big picture i am going to think of all the people who have ever doubted me or put me down.  i know who you are and i have never been sure why you didnt believe in me.  i know people get jealous of other peoples  achievements and to put that person down makes them feel better.  satisfies their lack of whatever.  you really should just be happy for the person.  ANYWAY - i am going to think of your pussy-arsed attitude everytime these friggin legs are hurting.   

lack of iron update - rang today to get my tests results and the girl said that they were normal and no action was required.  well i didnt believe her so i asked if i could get a copy.  she could not email it but i could pick a copy up or have it posted.  so i drove 30 minutes in the friggin heat and crappy traffic.  receptionists cannot be trusted.  my haemoglobin is 'quite low' and the Fe studies are not yet in.  the doctor dude wants to see me again.  fuck.  this is bad because the principal function of haemoglobin is to combine and transport oxygen from the lungs following inhalation, and then deliver it to all body tissues, where it is required to provide energy for the chemical reactions of all living cells. carbon dioxide (produced as the waste product of these reactions) is transported to the lungs in the blood and is then released when we exhale. i need a normal Hb in order to swim, bike and run.  if it is due to an iron deficiency then i can get infused.  i am not sure what the plan will be if it is anemia.   

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

the girl has no iron

things are not good in jenez world.  the week following my long ride on the new crisis bike i became extremely tired.  i took a few days off hoping that this would solve the problem.  last thursday i went for a run but i couldnt make it around the block.  i was short of breath and just felt like crap.  the next few days i would plan to do something but then i would just bail on it.  saturday i rode 20k on the road bike and it felt like a 100.  i wanted to get off and walk the bike home.  so i slept thinking that this would solve all my problems.  i was worried that i had finally over trained myself.  then i would wake in the middle of the night unable to sleep and with restless legs.  sunday i only managed a 30k ride and it was hard work.  at this stage my last swim was a week ago.  i kept making plans to go to the pool (and i have done this all week) and then bailed out at the last minute.   i rested again and then headed out for a 5k run on tuesday.  i made it to 3.5k and i only just kept up with the fat girl running ahead of me.  i was now also depressed.  any exertion left me breathless.

so at this point i was very worried but after consulting google i had a pretty good idea what was wrong.  i have no iron or very low iron supplies.  all the symptoms are there.  i read alot about triathlon and this is one topic that doesnt come up often and yet it is so fucking important.  iron transports oxygen in the blood and in the muscles.  inadequate iron in the body can impair aerobic metabolism by decreasing the delivery of oxygen to tissues and reducing the capacity of muscles to use oxygen for the oxidative production of energy.  which in layman's terms means i am fucked.  it can takes weeks or even months to recover.  i would not wish this on anyone.  if you hurt your foot you might not be able to run but you can still bike and swim.  this does not let you do anything.

so today i went back to the quack doctor and it was determined that perhaps i should be a doctor.   i was sent off for a blood test to determine iron, HG, B12 and folate levels etc  - not that i can afford to give any of the stuff away.   as it turns out it was a bit of a task to get the blood out of me - very low blood pressure so they stuck me twice.  in the meantime i am now an expert on inadequate iron levels.  i am taking spatone everyday with fresh juice - vitamin c is the bomb for absorption of iron.  i am also taking tablets and drinking a daily berocca.  my diet has changed over night.  red meat every day - but very lean.  the tannin in wine and tea is bad.  lucky i dont drink tea :).  i have taken to drinking Guinness - to be sure.  it is quite interesting which foods work and which ones dont.  there are heme types (red meat, liver etc) and non-heme (spinach - depending how you cook it, beetroot etc).  then there are inhibitor type foods - tannin, calcium etc and of course foods that increase absorption - namely vitamin c.  bit if a dilemma when it comes to breakfast.  i have iron boosted cereal with yoghurt. 

the prognosis - i find out friday what my levels are.  if they are bad i will demand that i am immediately infused with iron.  this has risks but i dont give a fuck.  i must swim, bike and run.  they dont really know but i will not wait weeks to recover from this.  i REFUSE to allow this to happen.  the good news is that i feel much better today.  i will feel even better tomorrow as i go on holidays until the new year.  the bad news is that i will not race this weekend in the opening event for Triseries competition.  this is not what i had hoped for but i will not blow the whole year on one race.  i am learning to think of the big picture.  stay tuned. 


Thursday, December 8, 2011

i have gone and done it now

i know in the past i have talked about the various things i would like to do or the events i would like to enter.  and i am well aware that i dont always stick to the plan.  next year i was hoping to finish another 70.3 at busselton and then visit my sister in the states followed by another 70.3 at port macquarie in november.  this would then be followed by the 140.6 challenge cairns in july 2013.  so what has changed ?  mainly work is too unpredictable.  it is a big risk to hand over the cash (and there is very little of that), do the training and then not be able to travel/go. 

i had decided against ironman western australia because it would mean training through winter and in someways i wanted to be different and take a chance on another course.  but at 8.15 am this morning i found myself nervously trying to log on and register for 2012.  it sold out in less than an hour.  but i got through and i am doing an ironman in 52 weeks.  yah !  OMG.  fuck.  i have already had moments when i am crapping myself.  so why the change of heart ?  well firstly it is local - no travel and i know the course.  i will have two 70.3's under my belt on the course and completed the full swim course when i do the busselton jetty swim in february.  i think i will have enough stress without worrying about travel arrangements and flights etc.  i want to do a 140.6 in 2012.  it is the year of the dragon and i am a dragon so the planets are aligned.  i want to have it out the way before i am 50.  i will be 48.5.  i need to get this done. it needs to get ticked off the bucket list so i will know if i want to do more or will i be happy with doing lots of different events eg - xterra, mtb etc. 

the interesting part is that very few people think that i can actually do it.  when i tell people the response tends to be along the lines of 'do i understand what is involved (alot more than what they fucking do) and do i honestly believe that i am capable of doing it ?'.  it appears that i am one of a select few that believe i can.  i dont understand why anyone would think this.  so far i have not failed at anything i have set out to do.  this is a massive challenge but if i do the right training and get the preparation organised then i have every chance of success.  it is amazing what the body can do.  but i guess at least the most important person believes (me) and now i have a point to prove.  i am going to quietly go about my business.  i dont need negative people freaking me out.

this is really going to be worth a new tattoo.

Monday, December 5, 2011

a crisis bike and a rotto swim

i feel like crap today and have done for the last week or so.  train one day feel like shit the next.  i am over it.  i did not think i would make it to work today but here i am.  went and had my echo cardiogram last week and will find out the results tomorrow.  they did say at the time that everything looked normal. 

i have my new bike.  now you would think that this would be a time of much excitement and celebration but for some reason i didnt feel great about it.  i felt guilty and a little embarrassed by it.  when i gave it some thought i realised the guilt is because in these troubled times spending that much money on a bike just seems irresponsible and excessive.  this purchase broke the triathlon fund completely.  then i realised that in some ways the bike is my mid life crisis.  it just feels a little ridiculous that a 47 year old middle aged woman should own a bike like this one.  like the guy who goes out and buys the sports car that is totally age inappropriate.  but perhaps the difference here will be that i will ride it and i will make sure that it is used for the purpose it is intended.  hopefully i will do it justice.  in the meantime this bike will be referred to as the crisis bike.  i have had the seat changed to a fizik (part of the deal and the one in this pic is ugly)  and over the next few weeks i will slowly lower the bars as i adjust to a more aero position. 

i had a few short rides during the week but yesterday i took the crisis out for a much longer ride and in hot and windy conditions.  it was friggin  awesome.  i really thought i would struggle and be a bit scaredy cat being aero but it was so much easier riding into the wind and the cross winds were okay.  i also thought that i would be uncomfortable after my first 45k lap.  this bike fits me better than my roadie.  my shoulders never ached once.  they always ache on the roadie.  i think the seat needs to come up a fraction.  this bike is fast but sometimes it feels faster than i can ride it so i need to do the work to do it justice.   yesterday i surprised myself just how quickly i adapted to riding it - i thought i would have to change bikes for the second lap.  i would not recommend someone buy a bike like this without experience and without owning a road bike as well.   i rode 90k and i love my crisis.

This was not the location of the swim ! Pity.....
on saturday i got the fast ferry over to rottnest island for the rotto swim thru.  an open water 1600m (or one mile) event put on every year by a local surf club.  speedy pip talked me into this and while i didnt have the best swim the beer was awesome and the company excellent.  i cannot believe this was only my second visit to the island.  what a wonderful place that most west aussies know as a second home.  it was very hot and the flies were sticky little bugars that did not taste good.  the water was quite cool and i was having a bad day.  i did not feel like swimming.  i was not well.  i was in the third wave with an estimated time of 30 minutes - which i did do last year at the cottesloe classic mile.  no wetsuits allowed - or if you did wear them you were not eligible for the cash prize.  it was my favourite deep water start so i was well adjusted to the temp by the time the hooter went.  it was choppy from beginning to end.  normally you think that if you have it rough one way you will get a break the other way.  no such luck.  i went off course a bit and wasted too much time sighting.  it was fucking ridiculous.  i would swim 20 meters and then check to see if i was any closer.  after the turn around i gave myself a few scares swimming through seaweed and thinking jaws was coming to get me.  hard not to when we have had two fatal attacks in the last few months.  it took forever to get close to the groin and the last turn.  by then i realised that i was not making any effort and had not given any thought to actually applying some sort of open water skill.  a few times i had a very feeble attempt at drafting but the feet just swam away or they were even slower than me.  in the final section to  the beach i did remember to use my legs and i actually sighted in what for me was the correct technique.  i have to stop making excuses and yes the swim was rough, the times were slower than normal and i wasnt feeling great.  i dont think i gave it my best effort and that is what pisses me off the most.  i think i can do better but i need to believe i can.  for the first time i actually felt light headed and weak in the legs when i stood up out of the water and it was like that for awhile after.  it really wasnt my day.