Thursday, December 20, 2012

my day in pictures

i think marathon photos do a much better job and offer better value for money than finisher pix.  but we dont get to choose and i generally only buy the pics when it is a first time event.  

i also have to say a big thank you to all my friends - both non triathlete and triathlete.  there is nothing like being called a legend and i just love the real excitement that i got to share with everyone.  

My Finish Time is 13.42.25

Thursday, December 13, 2012

i am so full of it

i just signed up for ironman western australia 2013.  i know, i know.  i just posted a blog about how i will not be doing it blah blah.  BUT.  i heard online that it still had entries available so i thought i would just go have a look.  before i knew it i had my credit card out and i was signed up.  i have even booked my accommodation.  

so what changed.  i cannot wait until 2014 to do another one.  i have mistakes that i want to correct.  i decided that i can have an easy summer doing a couple of small races and get the stuff done around the house now and then ramp it up for cairns 70.3 in june and take it from there.

i sent rae a text to tell her what i had done.  we had planned on volunteering.  she went to take  a look and is now signed up too.  anyone who has done an ironman does not go to the registration page to just take a look.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

in the aftermath of ironman

in the aftermath of ironman i am doing something i havent done in quite awhile.  i am enjoying a glass of wine and eating bacon. even better the bacon is part of my fettuccine carbonara that i cooked for dinner.  something i only have when i have really done some hard work and earned it.

so back to the race.  after saying goodbye to dad, stuart and mathew i wandered into the recovery tent and i was so disappointed.  i had visions of the best pizza ever, a really cold masters choc milk and icecream but not the creamy stuff.  the iceblock kind.  all i got out of that was really bad pizza and a cold can of passiona.    the chicken noodle soup was pretty good though.  luckily i had a choc milk back in my room so that is where i headed.  i picked up my finisher t-shirt and then went and grabbed my trusty bike and run/bike bags.  with the car being across the road this wasnt too hard.  

back at my hotel i unpacked the car and threw my wetsuit in the bathtub while sculling my choc milk.  i was still a bit hungry but couldnt be bothered going anywhere so i just ate anything i had that didnt have sugar in it.  something bad was going on in my shoe so i took them off and operated on the massive blister on my left big toe and also let the fluid out of the rest.

after my shower i put my skins compression on and just lay on the bed.  i was so tired but sleep was just about impossible.  all the caffeine and sugar was going to make me struggle to sleep.  

since then my recovery has been outstanding.  easier than after the 70.3 in may.  i didnt do much the next day  other than go pick up my last special needs bag and visit the merchandise store for a finishers hoodie.  i did a drive through of mcdonalds and got two gourmet breakfast rolls and more choc milk for a feast.  barely touched the sides going down.  i did go for a swim in the hotel pool but it didnt involve a swim cap or goggles.  i drove home the following day and now i am back at work.  adventure over.

so - what is next.  i did not sign up for next year.  i need to get things done and after four years of constant races (which includes 2 x 70.3 and a 140.6 this year alone) a winter off will be beneficial - to not only re-charge the batteries but to get the house organised and get a bit of balance back.  i still have some races over summer and cairns 70.3 in june so i wont be lying on the sofa.  however i will get to do things that most people take for granted.  i can enjoy a glass of wine every now and then.  i dont have to worry on a daily basis about my food and am i getting the right recovery done.  i can buy clothes that are not made of lycra.   i might actually have some extra cash.  sleeping in on a sunday is possible.  i can go shopping just to wander around and look at stuff.  my house will be clean and my clothes will stored in the closet and not in the ironing basket.  my garden will be weed free.  i can stay up past 8.30 during the week and 9 pm on weekends.  i can go out with friends.  i can ride my mountain bike - for fun.  i can take the dogs to the beach.  
my blog can get a refresh and an update.  i can think about something other than ironman.  anyway you get the picture.

in case you are wondering - yes there will be another ironman race for me.  it will either be a race in early 2014 or i will go back to busselton at the end of 2014.  i think i always knew that this would become my new path.  the first ironman is such a learning curve.  i have so much i need to go back and improve on and while i didnt make any big mistakes i want to correct the small ones.  i have ideas already and i love the fact that i will know what to do next time and have that extra confidence of knowing what to expect.  i have time to work on these things and i am really excited for the future.  

it is strange not training every day and with my legs feeling like they are back to normal i have to behave myself and rest for at least another 10 days.  i had a massage last night and mean mel says my legs felt great and she is surprised.  but i didnt win the prize for worst feet.  apparently tim won that hands down.  tonight i think i will soak in the bath and enjoy that glass of wine i keep talking about.

Monday, December 10, 2012

a big day out - imwa race report 2012

when people ask about doing a full ironman and want to know what it takes the number one thing i will tell them is do the training.  you cannot get a good result by winging it.  the race is too big.  if you have a good endurance base you will probably finish but i doubt it will be fun.  i was really surprised by the number of people who looked fitter than me, are probably better athletes than me and could very well have done the training but were now sitting by the roadside or bent over under a tree throwing up or just walking and walking a long way from the finish.

i went to bed early but i did not sleep well.  i woke at 3 am and started getting the final bits of gear together.  i forced myself to eat three pancakes with honey, a banana and gatorade pre-race drink thing.  it was not easy.  surprisingly the nerves were quite manageable.  i checked the forecast.  31 degrees with 15-25km winds south easterly.  there would be headwinds and it would be hot.

drove the 10 minutes down to the course.  parked directly opposite transition.  good score.  loaded the bike up with my nutrition and drinks.  we were racked alphabetically so guys mixed with girls in any age group.  there was no body marking.  went for a last visit to a stinky port-a-loo.  had a little gag reflux.  GROSS.  as it turns out a guy from my saturday swim group was racked next to me.  now i am not a fan of this guy as i think he tells a few porkies about his abilities but each to their own.  

tim and rae were not too far away as we both have a surname starting with P so we headed over to the street bag drop off tent and got our wetsuits on.  both tim and rae are ironman finishers and i will always be grateful for their advice and allowing me to tag along at a very nervous time.  we headed down to the start and i was disappointed to see that again the water was not the flat glass of the previous day.  it was very lumpy.  this was going to be a bit of work.  i didnt look out to the end of the jetty at any time.  the pros headed off 10 minutes prior to our start so we got a chance to get in the water for a bit of a warm up.  the water temp was perfect.  tim, rae and i then all split up, saying our goodbyes and good luck.

the swim 

i headed over to the right and at the back.  i wasnt going to get in amongst it.  now while this may look like you have to swim further across you dont.  you swim straight out and because the jetty curves you then meet up with it and avoid all the cramming of the people who start on the left and have no where to go as they are jammed up next to the jetty.  when the hooter sounded i was very calm.  i was really doing this.  it was the easiest swim start ever.  i only got one arm in the head and that was out the middle of nowhere by some guy who wasnt watching what or where they were swimming.  

i had inadvertently left my swim cap sitting on top of a box of handmade soap i had bought and for the whole swim this is what i could smell and it was incredibly relaxing.  the swim was very lumpy and blowing from right to left.  this worked well as i breathe to the left and the jetty was there so i didnt have to sight too much.  it felt good from the start to the end.  i guess the taper had kicked in after all.  i just focused on getting to the end and there was lots to see on the way there.  i could see little fishies, seaweed, the ocean floor and logs and all sorts.  the jetty has been fully restored so supporters could walk out to the very end and you could hear people cheering the whole way.  i now understand why it is ranked as being in the top five ironman swims in the world.  a few times i really got thrown about by the swell but i just kept going and before i knew it i was around the end and heading back to shore.  now the swell was coming into my breathing side so i switched and while it felt a little weird i soon settled in.  before long i was breathing both sides as it saved me having to sight as i could check the location of the jetty each time i looked that way.  the further i went the easier it got as the swell dropt off.  they say to relax and enjoy the swim as it will be the easiest part of your day.  this was so TRUE.  a few times i hung off some feet.  the water is so clear they were easy to spot.  so after all my angst and fear this was the most enjoyable swim  ever and i would love to do it all over again.  no more fear.

before i came down here i said to my boss that if people asked my time i would not tell them because you are then automatically put in a box.  and this isnt fair.  there are too many variables to automatically judge a person by the time they achieve.  now i love looking at the numbers and while i know the time i finished and approx time for each leg this report will not have the usual detail.  i have no clue where i placed.

for the swim i was hoping for around a 1.20 time.  again i forgot that the clock would include an extra 10 minutes because of the pro start so i went the whole day thinking i did a 1.30 swim.  even at the end i was still including the 10 minutes.  my swim time was 1.19 something and i am very proud of this.  i told my boss if i got out of the water okay then i would finish the day okay.

then it was the worlds longest transition.  both were just over 12 minutes so there is some major time to be saved there.  but i was happy not to be rushed and do you know how hard it is to put dry clothes on a wet body !  it was worth it.  both clothes choices were perfect.  my bike shorts are super comfy and my butt never hurt.  top was useful with back pockets and arm coolers were my favourite.  AWESOME when wet.  avoiding the sun with coverage was also a very good decision.   

the bike

the plan was to take it easy for the first 90 minutes and for the first 15 drink water and get the heart rate down to a steady pace.  riding into a headwind you had to be careful.  so it was going to be hard on the way out and make up time on the way back.  a lot of people over took me but i was determined i was not going to be one of those people burning matches on the bike so i could walk 42.2k.  i was also going to make sure i didnt get pinged for drafting.  the bike is my strongest leg and the goal is to achieve a good result without working as hard as some else might have to.  at the beginning it was very easy and i was worried that i was taking it too easy. i dont why this happened but it did and i will never know the full impact either but my lower back started hurting around 20k and pretty much did not stop until the 140k.  i made the decision to stop three times to stretch and stand up as i know this can relieve it and also make it stop.  i did this at aid stations so i could kill two birds with one stone. at the end of the day i think this put stress on my glutes, arms and abs.  as they all hurt on the run and this has never happened before.  i think it also restricted my riding because when it went away things felt really easy and i rode a little bit quicker.  anyway back to the riding.  the temperature was okay for the first two laps but certainly warmed up by the third.  i ate really well and was drinking well.  at the end of the ride i had 7 gels, 2 cliff bars, 2 bottles of gu brew, 3 water with shotz and 1 plain water.  on the last lap i was loving the cold water from the aid stations and pouring it onto my arm coolers.  everything worked well and i didnt have any gear or food  problems.  i plugged away at the headwind on the way out and increased the cadence when with the wind and tried to keep the pace up around 29-30k average.  stopping did not help.  and a wind change on the last lap didnt either.  i was a bit pissed off. it was windy on the way out AND on the way back in.  but what i did notice on the final lap was that i was passing alot of people.  i have to look at my splits but i hope i maintained a steady pace all day.  in hindsight i might have taken advantage of the ride back in on earlier laps and ridden harder before the wind changed but i didnt expect the sea breeze that early.  the turn around in town was fantastic and the crowd support wonderful.  when you stopped the flies were unbelievable and it must have been awful for the volunteers so cudos to them.  i was hoping for a ride around the six hour mark so taking all things into account  6.15 was pretty good.  i also got off the bike feeling great and even better the legs felt really good.

the run

so again after the worlds longest transition i was in my running gear and had taped my toes for blisters and been covered in the worst sunscreen ever.  this is weird as the race is sponsored by sunsmart but they really need to provide a sunscreen that is sweat resistant.  it was all over people and just sitting on top of their skin.

the course heads out along the coast to the right.  you run about 2k to an aid station and then turn around and come back.  it was here i tried to go to the toilet for the first time since the swim.  i forgot to mention that  !!  it is true.  i managed to swim and pee at the same time.  it was a very warm experience.  anyway this time i didnt pee much at all.  bit of a worry considering the amount i had consumed.  anyway i continued back and  past the finish line and the fantastic crowds.  the course then heads out to another turnaround.  you run along the coast and past houses with crowds of people out front and music being played and some with their garden hoses squirting people.  about half way was a real toilet block which i managed to visit at least four times and each time managed to pee very little.  it was nice though as it wasnt a stinking hot smelly port-a-loo and had a sink so i could rinse my face.  again though i used up a bunch of time doing this.  but i was worried about the no pee problem.  as you finish the first lap you run through and under a tent where you collect the first of four wrist bands.  i really wanted that fucking black one.  it was also located near a restaurant bar and a guy sat out there with a megaphone yelling at people as they collected their bands.

i pretty much ran the first two laps with only walks at the aid stations.  it wasnt fast but i was running and alot of people were not.  they were all the people that raced past me on the bike and who i had thought at the time that  i would see them on the run.  i also drank water, gatorade with ice (mmmm) and had two gels.  i had also been consuming salt stick tablets.  at the end of the second lap it was time to switch to just coke and water.  i had a red bull stashed in my special needs bag.

by the time the second half of the marathon came around i was tired and my feet hurt.  the road was really hot and the sun was a bastard.  the flies were very annoying.  i stopped and sat down with some ladies while i put on a compeed band aid to my little toe.  the others toes were hanging in there.  i dont know why i have started to get blisters and this is something i will have to look into.  later i knew there was something worse happening in my left shoe and as it turns out it was a massive blister on my big toe.  i choose to ignore it.  i ran most of the way up to the 26k marker.  then it was walk/run.  i was really surprised how many people were walking.  and people i thought would be running.  the guy next to me in transition i had seen earlier and was running.  well now i ran past him as he was lying under a tree.  he did finish but much longer after me.  he will not be happy about that.  i was running 2k and walking no more than 1.  at every aid station if it was a walking stage i was getting a big cup of either coke, gatorade or water and filling it with ice and sipping it while i walked.  if i was running i would just get a small drink.  i got my red bull and drank that with lots of ice.  it was GOOD.  just after 30k it felt better on the feet to run than it was to walk.  so i kept up the 2k run then walk but not for long.  i was really happy to begin my last lap.  it had cooled down a bit but the flies were still annoying.  it was at this stage that i realised that i was going to finish.  i just had to keep going and see it through.  i had seen tim and rae a few times and they were hanging in there and doing well.

just before the 38k mark i saw this guy on the ground being attended to by medical staff.  i felt really bad for him.   i was so glad that it wasnt me.  i was running at the time.  but it was also at this point that i started to feel really light headed.  i could not believe it.  to be so fucking close.  i had decided i was going to walk a little bit and then run the last three kilometres but now i couldnt take the chance because it felt really horrible.  i did not want to faint and so i kept walking.  it was here i started chatting to a girl from port mac and we talked about the swim and the fear factor.  she had seen the footage from the busso half and had been crapping herself over it.  it took my mind off how i felt.  she had another lap to do yet.  when i felt better i said goodbye and started to run again.  i think i stopped for a short while one more time but with 1.5k to go i ran.  i felt like shit and wondered if i would throw up at the finish line in front of everyone but i wanted to be done.  i had also started to calculate that i would be close to under 14 hours so i kept going.

when i ran through to get my black band the guy with the megaphone yelled out.  ' hey jeni do you know what that black band means ?  yes you are going to be an ironman' .  well it was something along those lines.  and i loved it.  i started to get a little emotional and tried to not worry about throwing up.  then as i came around the corner where the crowd starts stuart yelled out.  wahooo !!!  my dad, brother and nephew were there !!!  far out i was going to finish and i was going to be an ironman.  this experience was worth EVERYTHING.  i ran like nothing hurt anymore.  i tried to check that i didnt have any crap on  my face and i looked okay.  it was just on dusk so not dark but the lights were very bright.  it all becomes a blur.  i remembered to stop my garmin so i wasnt photographed doing it at the finish line.  as i came down the finish chute it all became very loud and bright.  everyone is yelling and tim gossage is yelling out over the loudspeaker my name as i approach.  then i heard stuart and ran over and gave him a high five.  then it was time.  'JENI PREEN - YOU ARE AN IRONMAN'.  i believe there was some arm/fist pumping and maybe arms in the air as well.  i am not sure but it was the best experience and one i will never not forget.  FUCKING AWESOME.

the young catchers grabbed me, there was more noise, cameras, a towel thrown over my shoulder and my ironman medal.  they checked to see how i was and then took me over so they could double check and  remove my timing chip. i was fine.  then i spotted stuart and dad.  they let me go and i went and spoke to them.  it was so good to have them there to celebrate.  really awesome that they got to experience the finish line of an ironman event with me.  they had to head off which was okay with me as i needed to get to the recovery tent.

the end of this big day will be completed in a second part blog. i forgot to mention that as i came through the finish line the clock said 13.56 something and i had noticed it and made sure i kept going so i didnt waste too much time celebrating.  but again as it turns out that included the pro start time so my actual time was 13.42 something.  i didnt find this out till much later.  not bad for a first timer but more importantly i finished  and i am an ironman.  only 1% of the population can say that.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

commit train pray

well i committed and then i trained.  so now it is time to pray.  i have to go to sleep in an hour and a bit so i can get up at an ungodly hour to go swim around a jetty, cycle for a bit and then run 4 x 10k laps.  a lot of things are going through my head and i am struggling a bit with nerves.  i was nervous at my very first triathlon and it took quite awhile for me to be at ease. i wonder if this is partly why i do triathlon. the fear factor.  i think after my first 70.3 things improved dramatically.  i tell myself i have to trust in my training and i have to have trust in my experience.  i have given myself the very best chance of success.  they say it becomes 10 % training and 90% mental.  i know i will be fine once i get in the water.

my beautiful trusty crisis bike

this has been quite a journey.  i could look back to the chunky girl who struggled to run 2.5k at the end of a 300m swim and 10k bike but i am not the only person who has ever come from that level to be on the verge of doing their first ever ironman.  it took me 4 years or so.  some people go from the couch to ironman in 12 months.  everyone has to go through their journey in their own way.  it is the same with the decision to do an ironman.  you have to have your own reasons why because that will determine what type of experience you will have and whether you do the training.  i did the training.  it seems so long ago that i have to remind myself constantly so that it gives me the confidence to do what i have to do tomorrow.  whether i did the right training will be answered in the second half of the marathon - along with my nutrition plan and hydration.  i know i am not going to go too hard in the swim.  it will be the easiest part of the day so i am going to enjoy it.  i am going to aim for  around 80% effort on the bike because i know i need to run a marathon after it.  the second half of the marathon will also determine if i have the mental toughness that i believe i have.  

i dropt my bike off earlier today along with the bike and run bags.  i think i have everything i could possibly need.  there is nothing new, just the stuff i used in training.  it was quite a scene down there today.  i rode down at 6 am as well and people were everywhere - either riding or at the swim practice.  water looked great which it always has the day before so hopefully third time lucky it will be the same on race day.  forecast looks good.   being around all the ironman folk can be quite intimidating.  i keep reminding myself (courtesy of 'go long') my body did the training - i belong.  is it bad to feel a little better when you see someone who obviously forgot to drop a few kilos ?  anyway.

again -  i have done the training and all i need now is to stay calm and execute the plan.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

arriving at ironman western australia

the day is almost here and i cannot believe how fast 12 months flew by.  i finished work last friday and since then have really been chilling.  over the weekend i got the final main taper workouts done.   everything was starting to feel better and easier.  my legs feel a little stiff but over the next few days i will stay off them and get some good stretches and some easy yoga done.  i feel like i havent done any training and that i have no fitness.  it feels like my last big workout was months ago.  i am hoping my taper doesnt start to kick in the day after the race.

monday and tuesday  i got all my gear organised and i have a lot.  i plan for everything and every contingency and i bring two of everything.  i finally got to wash my car.  i was up early wednesday and packed the car and this time got the bike and dogs in the right way.  the bike stood up behind the front seats with the front wheel off and the dogs had their own little area behind the back seats.  it was a stress free drive that included stopping off and getting new tyres on the car.  molly, casey and i hung out at the park opposite for the hour it took.  dropt the dogs off at the folks place.  hope they are okay.  molly still needs some treatment on her eyelid.  then it was a short 30 minute drive to busselton.

previously i have stayed at the abbey beach resort and i really liked it there.  the rooms are really nice and worth the price.  but i couldnt get in this time and i was waitlisted.  i found out when it was too late that they did get me in they just forgot to call and let me know.  i wasnt too worried because i was booked in at the broadwater beach resort which i thought was a very nice place although a little more costly.  well it sucks.  it has been the only downer so far.  i was meant to have a king size bed and no one can convince me that two singles pushed together are a king size bed.  then the room as an odour.  like the inside of an old wardrobe.  i complained about both and i hate making an issue. they could move me but it would cost me more money.  it is always hard when your expectations are not met and this was meant to be a treat for me and a bit of  a holiday. i bought some air freshener and it has helped.  they need an upgrade.  the rooms are looking very worn and most certainly not worth the money paid.  on the upside it is very quiet and i am downstairs.  

i am 100 metres from the beach and the wonderful path that runs adjacent.  so i went for my last 30 minute run and got rid of some of the angst.  that was wednesday.  then yesterday i decided to not get my last swim in at the beach practice session but went to the local pool instead.  a nice little 25 metre indoor.  afterwards i relaxed before going down to check in and pick up my race bag.  i wanted to get this out of the way early and stay  off my legs.  i wasnt the only one with this in mind and there was a bit of queue but it moved quickly.  weigh in fully clothed was 58 kilos so on target there.

in every sport there are dickheads and triathlon is no exception.  now people can do whatever they want but i have to admit i felt i didnt dress appropriately.  i did not have any compression gear on and i wasnt wearing either a shirt or hat from any previous event i have completed.  and i have to laugh at the amount of people out riding in full competition gear.  i know that you need to test run stuff but i do this before i arrive at the event.  and at most a short ride the day before.  is this wrong or should i be out riding the course with a sperm helmet on.  anyway i get a giggle from it all.  

i am taking photos today.  till tomorrow.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

an open water swim at coogee

last week i entered my first stand alone open water swim since this time last year when i did the rotto swim thru.  i had this moment of panic that my swimming hasnt been enough.  that i had spent too much time just plodding along because my legs were always knackered.   i had also never swam in my wetsuit over 1.9k so it needed to be tested.  my last swim at mandurah i felt i had struggled to breathe and the wetsuit was too tight.

these events are organised by swimming wa and are usually pretty good.  but this one took ages to start as they struggled to get the course buoys right.  the first wave was the 500m swimmers who do the course with a chaperon.  this is fantastic for getting people into the sport.  they dont start any other wave until the last 500m swimmer is back.  

the second wave was the 5k swimmers and i was in the third wave for 2.5k.  i felt good and the wetsuit felt okay too.  the water temp was around 21 degrees, very little wind or current so perfect conditions.

heading out to the deep water start i felt good and the previous warm up swim had felt okay too.  the gun sounded and off i went.  it was a great swim.  the first lap was just finding my rhythm and place amongst the swimmers.  as usual i was very slow but began to pick people off and pass them.  i was also swam over by a few of the 5k swimmers.  there were no stingers at all so it really was perfect conditions.  as usual we had the surf lifesavers patrolling the water and the westpac helicopter had been overhead checking for marine life.  

on the second lap i decided that i needed to practice swimming more to my right.  i swim bilateral in the pool but only to my strong left side in open water.  but i was so comfortable in the water and my breathing was going so well i swam the whole second lap bilateral.  this is a huge confidence boost for me and the swim overall did wonders for my confidence.  my wetsuit felt good the whole time and if there are any trouble spots i know where they are.  i really had time to think about my technique and observe.

swam past a few people to the finish line for a decent 53 minute swim.  after this i headed off to claremont for a double swim day and did an hour session with the squads.  i went surprisingly well and know that the endurance miles have been done.  got home and on the bike for a 90 minute ride followed by a 50 minute run.  and for once i managed to get home just before a massive storm (with hail) came through.

just about to finish work and head off to the pool.  i am officially on holidays for 10 days.  whaa hooo.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

nutrition and the dilemma of what to wear

everyone who goes down the path of long course triathlon has to develop a nutrition plan.  if you dont all sorts of bad things can happen.  i have read a lot of race reports and nutrition gets a mention every time.  some plans are so damn complicated you need a university degree to keep up while others are as basic as they come.  nutrition is the fourth discipline of triathlon.  recovery is the fifth.  

i have elected to adopt the 'kiss' principle of 'keep it simple stupid'.  i know that i need to consume 1 gram of carbs per kilo of body weight per hour and i know the approx amount of calories.  i also know how much fluid to take in.  i have the motto of  'drink a little a lot'.  i use gu gels and i drink gu brew.  on course they will have gatorade and i dont have a problem with that.  i use shotz electrolytes.  i usually have a couple of cliff bars or similar.  i like eating bananas.  i need to remember to drink my shotz before and after gels otherwise i can get a bit bloated and i think my body isnt processing the gels well enough.  

i can be bad when running and not eat or drink enough and this is where drinking a little a lot will be important.  i plan to continue with the gu gels/shotz/brew up until the 20k mark.  then i will stop the gels and start to include  the magic elixir of coke.  

i have three other tools in my little bag of tricks.  i always carry nurofen plus, gastro stop and salt sticks.  depending on how things go the only one i will use is the salt stick tablets.

i still havent quite decided if i will have a special needs bag or not.  for either the bike or the run.  i am thinking a frozen red bull and maybe a long shirt for the run.  i really want to keep this simple and aside from the fitness benefits training does give you a huge opportunity to figure all this out.  the only variable that has me thinking i will need emergency items is the weather.  if the weather is hot things can change and training over winter doesnt give you the chance to test it all.

when it comes to the decision of what to wear i have opted for comfort.  this event is not about time.  the only result i am interested in is enjoying myself and finishing.  it would be naive to think that i dont have a goal time in mind but i keep this in a box that i dont open until it is time.  having a personal focus ensures i dont do anything stupid and burn all my matches too early in the day.  i tested my wetsuit over a longer distance on the weekend and it  went well.  i will probably just wear my swimmers over my sports bra.  the big thing here is to apply lots of glide and avoid chaffing at all costs.  i am wearing my tried and tested bike gear.  that means my endurance 2xu bike shorts with the great padding.  i will wear one of my oldest but most comfortable bike jerseys and my zoot armcoolers.  i have to decide between the effect of being a little warmer but protected and avoiding sunburn/ sun stroke or being able to sweat freely and have the feeling of being cooler.  you cannot underestimate the impact of the sun.  the arm coolers are great and even better when you throw water over them.  sunscreen does not stop you getting sunburnt.  i am also going to wear my triathlon bike shoes without socks.  these are bigger and will be better if my feet swell in the heat.  i have pretty much assumed that the day will be hot.  somethings may change if this turns out not to be the case.  

in transition i will be taking my time.  i will re-apply sunscreen and deodorant.  i dont want to stink all day.  i want it to feel like it is just another training day.  for the run i am wearing my run gear.  a pair of short A400 skins, my nike running singlet and nike hat.  i have a spi running belt that i can carry a few goodies in.  this will include blister bandaids and my little drug supply as above.  i will rely on the aid stations for everything else.

it would be nice to be able to do the event in one outfit but the two factors that swayed me to go for a change is the risk of sunburn and while my ugly seat is amazingly comfortable i still want the added padding on the bike.

there is nothing here that i have not used before as we all know the golden rule if racing - never try anything new.  i am a little worried on the nutrition side of things.  training is never exactly the same as putting it altogether on the day.  i know i just have to be disciplined and things should come together.

it is officially taper time and it feels weird.  i feel like i am not doing anything but getting fat. i am also really really hating work at the moment. i just want to be away from this place.  i could easily just pick up my bag and walkout of here.  the girl that works here - actually that is a lie as she doesnt work she just fucks around all day.  well she is annoying me beyond belief.  i am not talking to her as i may say something i will regret.  i am really paranoid about getting sick.  i know i will start to relax once i am done with work.  2.5 days.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

ironman run course and an update

42 kilometres.  this i have not done before and especially after a 180k bike ride.  so as it is for most people this will be the really challenging part for me.  but as my dad recently reminded me i need to focus on each part and not the whole.  and for me it is 4 x 10k laps.  i never refer to it in its entirety.  they have changed the run course again this year so i hope it keeps the great atmosphere that it is known for.  it basically heads out west along the coast to a turn around and then you run back past transition to another turnaround.  again staying adjacent to the coast.  you collect 4 bands as you complete each lap.  the course is flat, probably hot and maybe a bit of a breeze.  if the bike is hot and windy it will be a little tougher.

as we know i do not have a huge run background.  i have never done a half marathon as a stand alone event and i have never run further than my longest training run (last month) which was 27k.  my programme was written with my history taken into account.  it had a bigger focus on the bike and doing longer bricks off the bike.  i also changed to running alot more on the treadmill and this certainly had an impact on me being (touch wood) injury free at the end of ironman training.  another huge positive is that my cadence has improved and along with improved fitness i am running faster.  i dont know if this will flow through to the big day but i have felt great doing short bricks after my longest rides so i can only take that as a positive.

my plan is to run as far as i can for as long as i can and see how much i can handle past a half marathon.  i will then walk the aid stations and just take things as they come.  i am expecting the end of the third lap and beginning of the last lap to be the most difficult.  after that i am hoping that the adrenalin will kick in and bring me home.  my dad and brother are going to track me live and drive down from bunbury when i get close to being half way through the run.  hopefully i will get to see them before and at the finish line.  i am worried how i will cope and this is where the mind will play a more significant role.

from speaking to other people and knowing that one of the biggest challenges is getting to the ironman start line fit and healthy it seems i have done well to get through training without a major injury (again touchwood - i am starting to get paranoid about this and people with colds/flu etc).  i think i have trained smarter and i have put a great deal of effort into my recovery.  sometimes i get a little annoyed when people say to me that i am lucky and i guess luck does have a part to play but so does the many hours i spend preventing injury.  i stretch, i do yoga, i suffer ice baths after long runs and a few long rides.  i use compression and i rub arnica cream into aching muscles.  i have a massage every two weeks and trust me this is a most painful experience and not cheap.  i get physio when i need it.  after trying everything i could google i finally got my pf under control.  that was a long haul.  

this is my last week of any real sort of training.  my two biggest weeks feel like forever ago.  this week has been tough.  i am over it all.  i am tired and sick of the smell of sweaty lycra and unwashed drink bottles.  work has been busy and molly dog has been back at the vets.  i started panicking last week about my swimming so put some big swims in and then signed up for an open water swim this saturday at coogee.  it wont make any difference to my fitness but swimming 2.5k in my wetsuit in open water will be a huge confidence booster.  i worry that i havent done enough.  i ran my last long run yesterday - 20k.  i was meant to do a 2.5 hour trainer ride today  but i have (again) swapped it for a ride outside.  i dont feel like i am ironman fit.  i really should be pretty happy with my training.  i never missed a bike session.  only two runs were cut short by 15 minutes otherwise they all got done.  i did miss a few swims and some of the ones i did do were crap sessions as my legs were fucked.  upon reflection i hope i will appreciate all this a great deal more.  especially when i am out on the course and hopefully not suffering as much as other people.  

the fun news today is that i managed to get in and sign up for cairns 70.3 ironman in june 2013.  i took a chance and did not enter busselton 70.3 for may 2013.  the bike course is amazing and i have never been to cairns.  i had already booked my flight using frequent flyer points so i really did take a chance. 


Saturday, November 3, 2012

ironman 70.3 mandurah race report 2012

this went better than expected and  at some point i am going to have to start believing in myself a bit more.  so the bike drop off was easy.    the merchandise was terrible.  all they had was a grey t-shirt or hoodie.  i actually asked if they had sold out but they said that this was the total range.  very weird.  i thought ironman loved to make money.  there was virtually no expo at all. i checked out the course and then headed back home.

i had a terrible nights sleep and was up at 3.30 am.  drove in record time back down to mandurah and arrived by 5.15am.  i got a good parking spot and into the porta loo before they had been destroyed by the men.  got my gear set up in transition and had a good chat to alana who was two bikes down from me.  also caught up with scotty from work who was doing his first bike leg as part of a team.  rick (from my physio/massage place) was directly across from me and wished him luck too.  conditions looked to be great and very little wind.  water temp was 19 so wetsuits optional.  

i headed over to the gear drop off and got my wetsuit on.  met a couple of girls doing the same thing and we walked over to the swim start together.  i had bought a $2 pair of thongs so made the walk a bit more comfortable.  we were all in wave 4.  i was starting to feel a bit nervous.  not sure how the wetsuit would feel, i didnt know if the legs would be there and i had physio on my shoulder on thursday and saturday and while it was feeling pretty good who knew ?  it was my favourite deep water start and we climbed down some stairs and into the water.  it was quite fresh but we had a few minutes to adjust and float down to the starting buoys.  this swim course is in the canals of mandurah and you are surrounded by very expensive houses and very big boats.  you get to see how the other half live and i have to say this is the easiest swim course EVER.  

we headed off and it was all very polite and so much room.  it was easy to sight as you are in a friggin canal.  my first point to point swim.   with each breath you got to see another house and people sitting out on their balconies watching the action.  i was a bit breathless and really struggled for consistency and rhythm.  i had one patch where i felt okay but then lost it.  i am not sure but i think the wetsuit is a bit tight.  its the big guns i am now sporting.  you also swim with a slight current and the water was very smooth with no chop at all. i probably wasted a very good opportunity to set a pb.

it did seem to take forever but it was only 32 minutes or so before i climbed up another set of steps. a very quick swim.  i walked while getting my wetsuit down.  training session remember.  then i felt bad and had a bit of jog into transition which was about 300-400 meters away.  i did hear that some guy got a DQ for getting naked in transition.  for the first time ever they actually had changing tents so i guess no excuse.  i took my time and had a chat to a guy taking official photos.

the bike heads out over the old mandurah bridge and out onto mandurah road for a straight ride for 20 odd kms.  this was into a bit of a head/cross breeze.  most of the road is very smooth but there is one section that  is course and a bit bumpy.  turn around is at stakehill road and on your way back there is a little side detour down paganoni road.  this is very smooth but has a couple of little roller hills.  amazing how many people attacked these small lumps like they were climbing the biggest hill in the tour de france.  i took it easy for the first out and enjoyed seeing the professionals heading back in to town.  they never lapped me either.  the ride back in was very quick and i dont know why but i turned at the very first roundabout thinking that even though there was no sign this was it.  fuckwit.  so i did a little lap of that roundabout before heading further into town and the correct roundabout.  heading back out was a different story.  the wind had picked up and it was going to be a slog to get to stakehill road.

i took it steady and easy and just made sure i was never in a position to get busted for drafting and i tried to avoid the constant surges to pass people.  coming back in was quick and at times i was doing over 40 km per hour.  yeeehaaaaaa.  i passed a few people and put in a bit more effort to get it done.  back into transition and again i did not rush things.  put my compression calf socks things on and then my socks and shoes.  grabbed my hat and my little special needs snap lock bag and headed out. the legs felt NORMAL.  the bike time was around 2.50. 

the run course took you back over the bridge and into town for a small loop past the finish line and main town centre.  the atmosphere here was wonderful.  you also collected your first band before heading back out on the first loop.  kilometre number one was way too fast at 5.20 so i nipped that in the bud.  lots of great support out on the course and luckily for me quite a few people i knew - either cheering on the sidelines or running and so i never felt lonely. including coach paul from swim smooth who always gets you going.   the first lap felt pretty good and everyone looked great.  second lap it was a different story.  and i passed quite a few of those people who smashed it up out on the bike course.  even the pumped up guy in the fluro speedos.  he raced past me on the first lap and then i ran past him as he was walking the second.  the course is a little cramped in some spots and the section up to the headland is a bit of a challenge but i really enjoyed things.  the legs felt good most of the time but i did start to get a blister on my left foot at the 10k mark.  this is new.  i just ignored it.  towards the end i was just plain tired.  nice final run past the crowds before crossing the finish line.  i got a great welcome from the volunteers and a big fat medal.  i will do anything for a medal and a t-shirt and i got both.  the finisher shirt was pretty good too. run time was approx 2.14.

so the wrap up.  at the beginning i was worried that my ego would not let me set the right pace.  i didnt want to go over the six hour mark as my previous two races were under and this had become a little bit important to me.  then i really did not know if i would have legs in the swim or even for the whole race.  i think you will always be happy with a race if you achieve beyond your expectations and this may have nothing to do with your time.  i had fun at this race and the most fun in awhile.  this was because i really had no pressure and because of the great support on the day.  and i think some of that great fun feeling comes from the fact that i exceeded my goals.  i felt great all day and it was only at the very end that i felt a bit tired.  i was disappointed with busselton last year as the weather prevented me from getting the 5.30 time i believe i am capable of.  this raced proved that i do have a 5.30 in me.  i just need the weather planets and a few other things to align at the right time.

so with a pb at a training race things are looking good for the full.  i will be back for this race next year and there will be no holding back and i will be nicely tapered.  total time 5.50 something.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

8 weeks and a 70.3 to go

when i think back to when this adventure started i would never have  imagined doing a half ironman as a training event.  but that is what i am up to this weekend and it is amazing how the body can adapt and what it is truly capable of once you put the work in.  touch wood training has been going quite well.  on sunday i was back to my normal but expanded circuit.  it is now a 77.5k lap so i completed two over a 5.5 hour period.  the wind was pretty gusty and while i was tired afterwards the ride was fun.  i have been doing some sessions on the indoor trainer (as per the training programme) but i really hate it.  i mean i really fucking hate it.  and it has made me come to the conclusion that if it really sucks all the enjoyment out of this adventure then what is the point ?  i know that it will improve my cycling and that is why i will try and stick with it 'some' (i dont mind the spinerval dvds)  but otherwise i am out on the road with the sunshine, wind, rain, birds, kangaroos and snakes.  i know my last two build weeks i cycled 11 hours each week and every ride during the week i got totally soaked in the rain and rode through one storm that included hail.  that was a personal growth time and made me reminded me that i am capable of more than i think.   

i am not happy with the ironman coach.  as i mentioned before my programme stated that i should be cycling  with a cadence around 95-100.  mine is 68-78.  i asked about this and was just told that i needed to work at it otherwise my run would suffer.  i wasnt told how i should do this.  i did some research and the consensus is that cadence is not the best bench mark.  power is.  and if chrissie wellington has the same cadence as me (or i her) then i am not worried.  but i do need more power.  maybe i misunderstood or i did not understand the extent of the relationship but i thought for my monthly payment to  coach ironman i would maybe, just maybe be asked or contacted to see how i was doing.  i can contact him and ask questions.  i may not get much of an answer or the answer i want but i do get a basic response.  last time  we spoke about my training i did the talking and that was pretty much it.  i even do test weeks but i have never been asked the results etc.  so i am really pissed off about it and while i have faith in the training programme (luckily) it would have been nice to have some support and a little feedback.  i believe it is because i am just a back of the pack age grouper with no prospect for making him look good.  my money does not buy the same thing as someone who is that little bit faster.

a few weeks ago i read tyler hamiltons book the secret race.  i have also read david millars book.  what really pisses me off about these guys is that they claim they are now just that little above it all because they have told the truth.  they are kidding themselves.  they only told the truth because they got caught.  if tyler hamilton had not been busted he would have denied denied denied just like lance. however i do believe tyler. so lance was not only the best rider he was also the best drug cheat.  it has altered my view of him.  he should not be allowed to compete in triathlon.  he will do and has done anything to win and i dont think we could trust him not to cross that line again.  it will be interesting to see what becomes of lance.  and it is a shame as he is an amazing athlete but to be a true champion he should have stood up and said no to the drugs.

i have noticed lately that not only the motorist but now runners seem to want to piss me (the cyclist) off.  they keep running along the shoulder towards the oncoming traffic.  this means that they are running where i ride.  and they dont want to move.  they want me to ride out into the traffic and get hit instead of them.  they can fuck off.  i have had enough.  and they do this where the cars coming up behind me are driving along a white line so cannot move across the lane.

the ironman journey is an experience that i am grateful that i am able to take. it has been a lonely one.  it is all consuming and i think if you are considering it you need to be prepared, organised and committed.  i dont think it is worth doing half-arsed.  you cannot miss a few sessions and think you will wing it on the day.  you will pay.

so mandurah on sunday.  i have elected to drive the 1.5 hours in the morning so that means getting up around 3.30am.  good practice for ironman day.  it also means driving down the day before as well for bike check-in.  the swim is a point to point course in the canals so it should be calm but the current might be a factor.  who cares when the shark risk there is minimal.  our beaches are being closed on a daily basis with shark sightings.  the bike course is two laps of a flat and possibly boring course.  wind may play a very big part.  the weather forecast is looking okay.  warm day though.  the run course is two laps and what appears to be a scenic route.  i have been instructed to go at 80%.  what is 80% ?  the bike will be the only leg where i have to make sure i dont go too hard.  i found myself getting a little freaked out by the prospect of doing a half without a taper.  remember it is me.  the chunky chick who started all this on a mountain bike.  but i reminded myself that i do this because i enjoy it and who gives a fuck whether i swim a little crooked or my cadence is wrong or i am fucking slow on the run.  or even if i stop and the smell the roses, smile and thank every volunteer on the course.  i just want to have some fun.

chow baby !

Thursday, October 4, 2012

the bike course

coast road out and back
this last weekend i drove down to bunbury as i had been invited to a primary school reunion and i thought it would be a good opportunity to ride the ironman course and enjoy some different scenery as well.  the reunion was interesting to say the least and i will tell all in another blog.  it had been a big two weeks and after this ride and the 3k brick run to follow i would hit my biggest volume EVER.  for the week i rode 325k - 11.5 hours,  ran 41.5k -  4.25 hours and swam 6.5k - 2.5 hours (missed one swim - me bad again).  just over 18 hours.  i must admit that by the time i drove back to perth after the ride/run i was knackered.  very hungry (still) but also knackered. 

i managed to get away from the reunion by 10pm which was a bit late considering i had cycled 50k with a 11.5k brick run in the morning.  i never sleep well at the folks so when i got up at 5am i did not feel like riding a bike for five hours.  i arrived in busselton just after six and while it was a bit fresh it wasnt as cold as i thought it might be and it was perfect weather - no rain and a light wind.  busselton may be flat but the weather can be a killer.  

while i have ridden most of this course when doing the busselton 70.3 the ironman course is a little different.  the first part you head north out to layman road.  this road is long and some sections are totally exposed.  to the sun, the heat and especially the wind.  and as it turned out on sunday to an amazing amount of bugs.  bugs that got in your hair and mouth.  this road then runs adjacent to the beach before you are meant to turn off down coast road for an out and back - this is not part of the 70.3 course.  however on the first lap i missed this as the road sign said it was forrest beach road.  by a process of elimination (there are no other roads heading left) i determined that this road was in fact coast road.  it also ran along the coast so this perhaps was another clue.  

i continued on along layman road but i wasnt enjoying myself.  it was a bit breezy with a bit of a headwind and i was tired.  i thought this was going to be a long day.  but i have also noticed that while i may start out feeling like shit i usually come good the further i go and tend to warm up to it by the 50k mark.  layman road then turns right onto tuart drive.  this is part of the 70.3 course and is a little protected from the wind and quite shady so a nice respite from the sun.  the road is long and takes you all the way out to bussell highway.  on race day the road is closed so you can ride away from the shoulder.  which is great as the shoulder is very rough and usually covered in twigs and tree debris.  so you ride on the right of the white line but as close as you can get to it.  and you need to be careful as it has white bumps that are meant to stop drivers from falling asleep crossing over it and hitting a tree.  when you ride over it on a bike it is like a jack hammer on your private bits.  this is not fun.  

i headed back and at the tuart drive and layman road roundabout i was meant to go straight for approx 3k before turning around and coming straight back but i forgot.  i headed straight back into busselton along layman road.  when i arrived back at the start point i had been riding for approx 100 mins and maybe 45k.  i stopped and removed some clothes.  i am so sick of riding like i am michelin man.  i also had a cliff bar and got a little more organised.  like reading the map correctly.  i then rode out to complete the ironman course  correctly.  on race day i will have to do this three times.  

i was right as well.  i started to feel really good and had my legs back and i was enjoying the day.  i had one toilet stop and another stop further along to remove the last of my winter gear - the leg warmers.  now i can get my tan line back.  after the full lap i headed back out as i still had another hour or so to go.  during this time i saw very few cyclists.

i finished the ride feeling really good.  i consumed 4 bottles - 3 of brew and one shotz mix.  i had a gel on every 45 and ate a cliff bar and a banana.  i need to tidy this up a bit and be more consistent.  any warmer and i need to drink more.  the short 3k run felt extremely good and i was nicely surprised.  the only negative perhaps was that i rode the day a little harder than i should have.

BUT the biggest positive is that i came away from this ride really thinking that i actually can do this.  the main challenge with this course will always be the heat and the wind.  if i pace myself well and have my nutrition dialed in then this should be my strongest leg.  my training has a strong bike focus - not only so i do well on the bike but to also help get me through the run.  this has been a good confidence booster.  you can check out the course and my ride below - bought to you by garmin.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

giving 100% all of the time

is it possible to always give 100% ?  or can you split the effort ?  i feel like i have gone through life never having really given 100%.  is it actually possible to do it or is your perceived best effort really 100%.  how do you define what is actually 100% ?

the reason i have been thinking about this is of course ironman training.  for me 100% would be not missing a session, meeting all the training goals of each session, eating well, recovering correctly, yoga workouts, massage, strength and core sessions etc etc.  for a person who works full-time this is unrealistic - or is it ?   

i completed my degree part-time while working full-time at some fairly demanding roles.  i always felt disappointed because i found it difficult to give 100% and achieve the marks i probably would have if i was just a full-time student. or is that just an excuse ? or maybe i would have had the same result anyway because instead of work as an excuse i would have been hanging out with my mates at the tavern ?  i dont think i have ever really applied myself 100%.  my mum would give me a hard time when i was younger but i dont think it was because she wanted to encourage or motivate me.  it was just one more thing to criticise  me about and make herself feel a little bit better.

my training is going pretty good and i am hitting all the session targets as far as time and distance.  i havent missed any run or bike sessions and only a few swims.  but coach ironman has included targets regarding cadence for both the run and bike.  he has also included some weekday hill rides.  it is difficult for me to get to hills during the week - i already start work an hour late on those days and i live in the swan 'valley' - you know, the flat part.  the cadence target is just ridiculous.  the range given is what elite or pro cyclists (something i clearly am not) maintain over distance.  but that is a topic for another blog.  so while i am going 'pretty good' am i really giving it 100% ?

crowie won kona and broke the course record at the same time.  so you would say that winning is the best result and he probably gave 100%.  but did he ?  was it the perfect race ?  he got cramps towards the end so did he neglect his nutrition or did he go just that little bit too hard on the bike ?  does 100% effort always mean you will get a good result ?  at the time you may feel like you are giving 100%. so is that the answer - that you can look back and think i could not have done anything else under the circumstances.  or under the circumstances did i cop out ?  i have ten weeks to go.  i hope i can give it 100%.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Week 15 and 14 Training

i have just finished week 15 and 14 of training and the following adaptation week - which i LOVE.  can you believe i have only 12 weeks left to the BIG day !!  FARK.  

but staying focused my biggest training weeks of all time have always been the peak week for half iron training.  in april 2011 i did 15.51 hours for 270k.  in april 2012 i did 15.46 for 293k.  after this i would be feeling very tired but happy  to have completed it all.  so it is quite satisfying that for week 15 i clocked 15.20 hours and 272 km and for week 14 16 hours and 298 km.  things to note here are that i missed a swim in week 14,  i was 15 minutes down in each tuesday windtrainer session and i now track my swim times more accurately.  BUT i have put together two of my biggest weeks and i feel GREAT.  my legs feel pretty good and it is monday and i am not ready to fall asleep at my desk.  this is a good indication that i am managing the training - SO FAR.  this week is an easy 10 hours and then more of the real work begins.  week 12 is 16.15 and week 11 18.15 hours.  i feel alot more settled with the programs routine and the weather is warmer so things should progress nicely.

i have finally decided what it is that really annoys me about some triathletes.  aside from the ones who come to swim squad and like to tell anyone who will listen that they rode for 4 hours that morning followed by a 90 minute run.  and THIS is why they swim slow.  i read a comment on slowtwitch (of all places) that actually made sense.  it was along the lines of how the back of the pack age grouper is in awe of anyone who finishes in 10 hours or less and much respect is given to those who are capable and have the talent and dedication to do so.  BUT the same cannot be said for the age grouper who may not be as talented, finishes at the back of the pack but is no less dedicated or hard working.  no respect for their efforts is given.  and that attitude is what pisses me off.

so i now begin another two week block.  there are three two week blocks with a recovery week in  between to go.  followed by TAPER time.  there is also mandurah 70.3 in 5 weeks time.  this will be the only occasion that  i get rewarded with a t-shirt and a medal after a training session.

seriously how good was the weather this weekend !!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

the swim

time to start thinking about the course of ironman western australia.  the busselton course is famous for a few things - one of which is the swim.  pete jacobs thinks it is the best swim course in the world.  every year there is the busselton jetty swim which is the same swim but a stand alone open water swim.  i was meant to do it but withdrew due to the low iron issue.  it would have been a great confidence booster.

the busselton jetty has been around forever and has been restored with a train that goes out to the end - the jetty is 1.8km long and straight out to sea in geographe bay.  at the end of the jetty they have an underwater observatory with an online web cam. it is probably the only open water swim course that you can walk.  i spent quite a bit of time as a kid crabbing off this jetty.  i also remember the stingers.  

so the swim starts on the right side of the jetty and you swim straight out and turn around at the end and swim back.   sounds easy right ?  while the conditions are usually quite calm this is not guaranteed.  at this years 70.3 the waves, seaweed and sun were terrible and we were only 200m offshore.  as you can see from the photo adjacent it looks like the first part would be like swimming in an aquarium - and alot of people will tell you this is true.  it is that last deep dark part that bothers me just a little bit.  

the longest open water event i have done is 2.5k so faced with 3.8k i am not concerned.  while i am not a fast swimmer i am a strong swimmer.  i plan on covering the distance as a stand alone training swim in the pool prior to the event.  i also have to test out and decide whether i want two caps or one.  i need to make sure the wetsuit is stretched and lubed up.  and i have a really good warm up.

my other dilemma is the mass start.  i have done some open water events that have been a single wave start but not this size.  i know that i will start at the back.  i dont have a problem with this as i know that i will re-gain any lost ground the further i swim. 
i have to wait until i know what the conditions are before i decide whether to start on the inside and closest to the jetty or begin on the right and allow for drift.  i want to swim with a group but not too big and hopefully i will not get bashed around too much.  

my other concern is the big bad shark.  they changed the half ironman course due to the diver fatality a bit further up the coast earlier this year.  we have had five fatal shark attacks in the last ten months.  only one was a swimmer - swimming alone at cottesloe.  sharks have been spotted around the jetty.  this supports my decision to try and swim with a group of people.  safety in numbers.  i think that if there is a sighting or an attack in this area close to the event they will not let us swim around the jetty.  they will keep us closer to shore and probably change it to a two lap course.  

Monday, August 27, 2012

howdy stranger

okay so i havent blogged in awhile.  this is not because i havent had time or that i have been too tired.  i just havent had that much to say.  even now i dont know if i really have anything that interesting to mention.  is this what ironman training does to you ?  makes you even more one dimensional ?

it is 15 weeks until ironman western australia.  it is 8 weeks until mandurah 70.3.  i was right about trying to train through winter.  it sucks.  i hate getting out of bed.  i dont have as much energy when it is cold as when it is warm.  i like the heat.  i have just completed an adaptation week of my training and it really will be the last time that i have any spare time and opportunity to do anything besides train, eat and sleep.  i have been getting things organised.  i have had both bikes - the crisis bike and the roadie correctly fitted.  i finally found someone who could be trusted to 'do' the right thing and not rip me off.  the roadie has a different seat post which gives a position that is similar to the triathlon bike.  the triathlon bike had the seat raised quite a bit and the front end moved forward and lowered.  this position means i use my glutes more and should help my legs for the run.  but it made it quite uncomfortable to ride the roadie for long periods on the windtrainer - being in a different position.  the other problem i had to resolve was the seat.  ouch.  i dont need to go into the details.  all bike riders have been there.  so coach ironman suggested i buy a selle smp glider.  it is ugly but fuck it works.  i also had to spend a stupid amount of money buying another bottle cage frame to fit.  anything x-lab is a rip off.  the bottle cages are too erect so i still have to move them back.

i have two new swim toys.  my swimming has felt really good.  i have been consistent.  the key to any good training.  consistency.  i had a wetronome but it was a bugger to use so i invested in a finis tempo trainer and i love it.  i love setting a lap time, getting ahead of it and hanging on.  i also use the stroke rate quite a bit and this $50 tool keeps my swims honest and gets me working even when i am alone.  my other toy was the  swim garmin.  i have a garmin 310 (which we all know i love) but i still couldnt justify upgrading to the 910.  the 910 basically includes the swim garmin.  this was on sale for $130 so i could not resist.  while it is not perfect (if you do not swim the whole lap it can throw the lap time out) i enjoy using it and will really start looking at the numbers in the next few weeks.  what i like the most about it is it gives an honest and accurate report on your swim performance.  so now it is confirmed in another format.  i suck at swimming.

i read a really good article yesterday about blogging.  i needed some inspiration.

1. candor - be honest.  i have read blogs where people are brutally honest and leave nothing out about their lives and i think they are popular because it is like reality television in someways.  i am honest about what i want people to know but i dont think people need to know everything.
2. constructive.  basically dont dwell on just the numbers.  while training specifics can be interesting to most it will be boring.  people want to know more than just how far you rode or ran.
3. content.  people want pictures and video.  i agree.  i love it when people include this detail.  it makes everything real and you get to see how other people live and who they are.
4. consistent.  see this not only applies to training but it applies to blogging as well.
5. catalyst.  i need to make everyone a part of the journey with the catalyst being the ironman finish line.

ironman training is 90% physical and 10% mental.  race day is 90% mental and 10% physical.  i think this is true.  i am still stuck in the mind fuck that no one thinks i will finish and i have also realised that no one actually cares whether i finish or not.  i think this pisses me off more.  so i have to prove them all wrong and then i will get a big fucking tattoo so they know that i proved them wrong.  it is a mind field of a head fuck.  i have 15 weeks to determine why i am really doing this.  i do not have anyone to train with and i will not have anyway there to cheer me on.  i am going to have to have something to get me to the finish line.

molly dog says hello.  she is doing fine.


Monday, July 23, 2012

the long ride

i really enjoy riding my bike.  especially the crisis bike.  it is just a beautiful bike to ride and it feels fast. i always do my longest ride sunday morning and i try to change where i ride up every few weeks so i dont get bored. i dont mind doing laps but i have ridden around the swan valley and the vines enough that i know most bumps in the road.  i know where all the kangaroos live and the ducks swim.  so this weekend i headed off to the  freeway bike path which is a well known ironman route - it is long, flat and car free.  

i drove to the south perth foreshore and parked the car.  got all the gear on.  seriously winter is bullshit for all the crap you need to wear against the wind and cold.  i hate wearing long gloves.  it makes it harder to feel the bike and everything else.  i had my supply of gels and cliff bars, three bottles of fluid, an ipod loaded with new music, my phone and spares tubes x 2.

i really hate the bike path from the city to the mount henry bridge.  it pisses me off every time i ride it.  the bike path is old and in some sections not very wide.  you get the most traffic here.  people walking or running, folks out on old bikes just going for a casual ride and the ones i hate the most.  male cafe bound lycra clad fuckwits on bikes. i dont understand why they insist on riding two or three abreast on a path that is a metre wide (on their side).  they dont even attempt to move across when passing.  and at this time with the tour de france on they all think they are riding in the fucking peleton.  i have no explanation as to why i think this but i am sure that they think they are hot shit as they pass me whilst riding into a headwind but doing a bradley wiggins and sitting off someone else's back wheel on their 10km ride to the most trendy cafe for coffee and a fucking croissant.  

there are roadworks just after the bridge and this is a bit of a hassle and slows the ride down a bit as the bike path takes a detour.  but once past this it is fantastic.  the path is near new and really smooth with very little traffic.  it is not the most exciting route as it heads adjacent to the freeway but it is long and relatively safe. 

the plan was to ride 65k south and then turn around and ride back for my longest ride to date.  around the 50k mark i started looking for a big tree to take a pee.  at the same time i did a costume change and off came the long gloves and leg warmers.  i was really enjoying the day.  the sun was warm and the wind quite mild.  this ride is well known for having a nasty headwind or cross breeze on the return back to the city but i didnt think it would be a problem.  i was a little bit wrong.

after having a bit of a stretch i headed back and it was a bit of a slog.  i have ridden into more headwind on this ride before but still it wasnt pretty.  i kept thinking that once i got past the exposed pathway it would be easier but then it just became like a wind tunnel.  the only good thing is the speed concept is a wonderful bike to ride into any type of wind.  it just cuts through.  about 30k from the finish i was struggling.  my neck/shoulder muscles were killing me.  i need to relax on the bike and not ride all tensed up.  my  knee was annoying me.  my cleats had been adjusted slightly and from past experience i know this can be the cause so i will change it back and see what happens.  then there is the seat.  this has improved and i have to decide whether i persevere or spend more money looking for a better option that may not be any different in the long run.

on the bike path along the freeway - the part i hate i nearly collected a dad and his little girl on her bike.  the dumb dad came off an over pass and didnt even look to see if any bikes were coming along the path.  i had the right of way.  i swore at him and then felt bad because of the little girl.

i was pretty happy to arrive back at the car.  i should have stretched but just wanted to be home.  on the drive all i could think about was a hot bath and food.  something warm and filling that i didnt have to prepare.  so i stopped by dominio pizza and got one with the lot and a hawaiian.  i didnt worry about unloading any gear.  straight into the house and immediately wolfing down some pizza.  it was seriously some of the best fucking pizza ever.  130.3k average 27.9km per hour.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

imwa week 21 - focus on the positive

i read somewhere this week that people tend to forget what is good in their life and just focus on all the things that they dont like, are unhappy about or on the things that they dont have.  and in doing this it makes them even more unhappier and miserable.  and it is true.  we do focus on what we dont have rather than what we do.  so i have been trying to catch myself out and reverse the way i look at things.  i was getting a bit down with my swimming and really dwelling on how fucking useless i am.  but when i think about it how many people can swim 3k in an hour ?  or have attempted and completed some of the ocean swims that i have done ?  i could focus on what i havent been able to achieve but instead i should be proud of what i have completed and how far i have come since i started this adventure.  

you would have to living under a rock to not know the tour de france is on at the moment.  i love watching it.  but this year i have been disappointed.  frank schleck has gone after testing positive to a banned substance.  there are constant rumours about the sky team and i just dont put much value on a win achieved off the back of another team mates wheel. and a team mate that has come from nowhere to now being able to beat the best in the world on the toughest climbs in the world.  it is hard too because last year was a great race. it was there for cadel to win or lose and through his own efforts he won it.  i might be biased but those last three stages were brilliant.  i guess it doesnt help either that the olympics are only 10 days away and many riders are already focused on that.

we had another fatal shark attack.  five in ten months.  a surfer was taken off wedge island up near lancelin.  it attacked from below and basically bit the surfer in half.  a jet skier tried to come and retrieve the remains but the shark was still there and came in and took the rest and swam away with it.   it was a great white.  most people dont want them culled but when you ask them if they swim in the ocean they say no.  it doesnt impact them so they support the shark.  i dont want them slaughtered.  i just think the numbers need to be reduced.  once the shark passes puberty they have no predator so the numbers have increased.  maybe people will change their minds once events are no longer held here and business and tourism suffers.  

last sunday i did the 80k waroona cyclosportif again.  it is very hilly and i learnt that i need to ride hills more.   it is a beautiful ride though and nice to do in winter rather than the heat of summer.  the group i was with (all guys) were very kind and we stayed together the whole way.  i only had a problem staying with them on the uphill and found the flats no problem.  the last 5-7 k of the ride is a very nice downhill and as i was enjoying the free ride i came past these young kids sitting up on a small hill outside their house.  it was here i was treated to a good old fashioned brown eye mooning.  it was quite a surprise and very funny.  

training is ticking along as usual.