Monday, January 30, 2012

city of perth race report 2012

i have to admit that i am quietly content with my result at this event.  it has made every tough and hard hour, day or training session over the last six weeks worth it.  while i didnt really have a plan that was any different from the champion lakes race i knew that i would just have to take each part as it came, keep the pace around training level and just hope that i could hang on and cross the finish line.  in some ways i got lucky again.  while the wind played havoc it was easier to deal with than the 42 degree heat we experienced the previous day and during the week.

the swim

since the iron drama began the longest endurance swim was the 750m swim at champion lakes.  all my swim sessions have been around 3k but mostly short 300m sets made up of drills to correct my crappy stroke.  the swan river is known for the jelly fish and the crappy brown water.  you cannot see a thing.  because of the wind the chop was evident and you could see the current moving west.  we had to swim west, turn right and swim across before turning right again and swimming back up to a large red buoy before turning left and heading to shore.   i am really proud of this swim.  and speedy pip is right.  if this was your first event or you struggle in the water this would have been a scary nightmare.  i remember thinking again that everything i have been through had brought me to this moment where i could handle it.  while waves and chop were throwing me about i heard paul in my head telling me to tuck my head down so i wouldnt cop a mouth full of water.  when people got in my space i fought them off instead of politely going around.  damn some people swim all over the place and i am sure add metres to their swim.  so while it was choppy going west i think we did have some current assistance.  the hardest part was when we made the final turn to head back up and we were against the current and chop.  we were also swimming into the sun.  for about 10 metres i decided i wanted to head off to south perth but otherwise i really hit those buoys dead on.  i love deep water starts and from the beginning i felt pretty good and relaxed.  i really do think my stroke has improved and i while my stroke rate wasnt super fast i think my distance per stroke has improved.  again paul was in my head and i made sure my stroke height took into account the choppy conditions.  i felt great coming into transition and no matter the time i was really proud that i finished a really tough swim and was far from being last out of the water.  time 34.21.

the bike

i havent mentioned yet just how well rested i was.  last week i did 13.5 hours of training.  this week i did 6.5 including the race.  i had crashed and burned on friday and slept most of the day and really wondered if i would have the energy back by sunday.  i had a massage on monday and all the knots worked out and the legs felt great.  better than they had in awhile.  this is the biggest taper i have done since busselton 70.3 last year and i think it paid off big time. 

when i first got on the bike it felt really weird like something was broken.  but it was just the crosswind and it played havoc the whole way.  every now and then you would get a true tailwind or headwind and then without warning you would cop a gust of crosswind.  it was a little scary at times and i felt my bike really moving under me.  i still need more time under these conditions.  last year the course was 44.5k and this year it was short at 39k.  the green zone was a joke and for an area that was meant to be no overtaking that was all people were doing.  i will confess to giving in once and passing a girl on a mountain bike.  seriously if i went that slow my bike would fall over.  i didnt really push it hard on the bike.  i did stay in a higher gear, worked that and played it safe.  i did not want to crash the crisis bike doing something stupid.  at times it was hard to stay aero and that would have cost me some time.  still this was my most competitive leg. time 1.14.42. 

the run

i was glad to get off the scary bike.  normally the run is the hardest part of the race due to the heat.  last year it was a killer.  however this year it was the easiest.  and i love the new course.  while sections did cop the sun and some wind it was interesting and fun.  and the view was superb.  what a fantastic location.  i had no idea how this would go but i had my little bottle of redbull to give me wings, my feet felt great in the new shoe set up and all i had left to do was two five k laps.  just another training session.  and that is pretty much the way it went.  the thing with low iron is that while it does fatigue your muscles due to reduced oxygen moving around the body my legs felt really good.  what did not feel good was my ability to get air.  i knew that from the 7k mark i was running faster.  i felt good and thought why not.  problem was i also started to struggle for air in a bad way and running into the wind did not help.  i wasnt really worried about my overall time and was actually excited to see the clock showing just under three hours so i sprinted to the finish line.  duh - we were not the first wave !!  i really dont know if it was the effort or  a combination of stress relief as well but by the time i reached down to take off my timing chip and pip came over i was having trouble breathing and it probably stressed me out more.  i think everything just hit me at once and i forgot to breathe.  thanks pip for being there !  trievents did such a fantastic job at this event.  i was really impressed and the ice bath was awesome.  total time 2.52.27. 

in my age group i was 6/10.  this year i have noticed that there are a few new girls but surprisingly there are quite a few girls missing in action.  the front of the pack girls are still there and they are tough competitors who have been racing for a long time.  i am currently placing more in the middle of the pack.  i was 30 minutes behind the winner in my age group but i am closing the gap when it comes to the bike.  i am only 4-5 minutes slower.  my big weakness is the run.  no secret there.  but if i compare this event to my last olympic distance at bunbury on a similar course then i had a great day.  my swim was faster in rough conditions and i wasnt wearing a wetsuit.  i didnt get a 3 minute penalty on the bike so that helped.  my run was slower but only by 2 minutes or so.  i smashed my previous time by at least 7 minutes and this makes me feel good.  now the pressure is on to see what i can do once i get my iron levels back to normal.  bring it on !

Monday, January 23, 2012

IMWA week 47 - i am hanging in there

i had a great week of training.  i am still stuck doing base training but at least i am building on something.  i think back to this time last year and my legs were always tired but now i am doing more and they feel great.  my running is coming along and i have really worked on my technique in the pool.  i want some positives out of all this.  when it gets tough i keep reminding myself that it is character building.  13.5 hours for the week.  5.5k in the pool (needs to be more), 245k on the bike and 26.5k running.  mind you the house and garden are a total mess and dont ask me about anything on tv after 8.30 pm because i didnt see it. 

so this week is going to be very relaxing and very easy.  the forecast for sunday is currently 40 degrees with 28km p/h southerly winds.  this is bad.  very bad.  i really dont have a plan other than to rest up, hydrate as much as possible and come up with a plan to stay cool on the run.  i think they will need ice and sponges for the aid stations on the run.  i am tossing around some other ideas and will test them out during the week. 

i went back to my podiatrist this week and it was a very positive visit.  trying out a few different things with my shoes and so far the result has been awesome. 

i also went for my very first group ride last saturday.  mark (lbs guy) had said it was going to be a beginners group and only 30k.  so i thought great - a nice little recovery ride and an opportunity to learnt the ropes of group riding.  now that was a lie.  it was 45k and half the time hard work.  i was uncomfortable having to trust the riders in front and it was very strange having to worry about things other than yourself.  but i really liked how the ride kept you honest and no slacking off.  i LOVED the fact that i wasnt riding the same bloody course.  new roads and some hills.  this i will be doing again.  it was also very nice to be with people and i was very dissappointed that i had to rush off and could not enjoy my first post ride coffee shop hang out. 

only 14 sleeps to iron day.  the end is in sight.  on every run i go past a new park they have built.  it is based around a big hill that has three access points.  a nice set of stone steps, a set of logs to make steps and a flat pathway.  i am looking forward to the day i can bust my butt running up and down the three of them.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Champion Lakes Sprint Triathlon Race Report 2012

amongst all the doubt and worry this event turned out to be alot of fun. i really enjoyed myself.  but i also got lucky.  the conditions were the best i have ever experienced at this course.  in comparison there was hardly any wind and while it was warm it wasnt super hot.  i also had a decent nights sleep and woke up feeling like i had some energy.  but i think the fuzzy warm feeling was mainly due to having a plan and that plan coming together.  and perhaps some relief knowing that even with my iron deficient problem i can do it.

i felt terrible at the start of the swim and was quietly freaking out about actually being able to do it.  but i guess this is where three years of doing triathlon really paid off.  i started right at the back.  pretty much last.  i took it easy and did some breast stroke and some freestyle.  then i started counting my strokes.  five and then a breast stroke. then i was up to 10 and a breast stroke.  i remember being really focused on that first buoy.  i also remember that i was starting to catch up and pass people and i felt really bad for them.  as i turned the first buoy some swimmers from the next wave started coming through.  from the last turnaround buoy to the finish i felt okay.  started to really use the arms without increasing the kick.  it is always easier when you know you are going to make it.  the time was 19.53 which is the slowest 750m i have ever swum by at least 3 minutes.  but it was no surprise - just a big bonus to be able to do it.

i took my time getting through transition and probably gave up close to three minutes on the day.  but no point rushing and making things harder.  i said my plan for the bike was to push it and i did.  the bike is the easiest of the three when it comes to needing oxygen.  especially when the course is flat and the wind is mild.  when it is like that you dont need so much power and you can maintain a steady cadence pace without going into the red zone.  this is why i had to make the most of the bike.  going down the straight and with the wind i was getting up to 45k per hour and zooming past quite a few people.  it was soooo much fun.  but i had to remind myself of the plan and not go too crazy.  plus i could start to feel the need for oxygen and for the next three laps i wasnt quite so fast.  i also took it easier going around the narrow and more technical part of the course that did have some headwind.  for two laps i had this young kid from stadium tri club on my tail.  he really pissed me off as he was getting a free ride and it was so obvious.  i never saw the officials once.  the last lap i got caught up with a huge amount of riders and a couple on a tandem bike.  the only thing i could do was go for it and i zoomed past them all.  damn that was pure fun.  time 38.49 avg 33.07 km p/h. 

i have gone back and compared my time with previous results and it is interesting.  the variables are many though.  new bike, less wind, more training and low iron.  in october i did the same course on a very windy day, on my road bike and after running 5k (duathlon).  time 43.06 avg 30 km p/h.  same event last year i was on my road bike and another windy day for 43.00 avg 29.3 km  p/h.  the course was 500m shorter.  then at the duathlon in 2010 i did a 43.52 on another windy day avg 29 km p/h.  so when i look at my current result of 38.49 avg 33.07 km p/h i am not sure whether it is a great result or not.  it saved me from being completely at the back of the pack and i was up with most of the other times and for that i am stoked.  i dont want the bike to be confused with all the training i have done but that will happen.  people wont look at it and think damn she has trained hard over winter.  they will look at it and think you can buy speed.  everyone knows this argument and dont get me wrong - the crisis bike is faster than my road bike.  but you still have to train on it.  then there is the whole iron factor.  the impact of this really will not be known until i get my iron stores back to normal.  the thing i did notice is that while i struggled to get oxygen my legs were never tired.  this is strange as all muscles (including the heart) require oxygen.

and then there was the run.  once i get my iron back i can move into the next phase and away from base work.  this will allow me to really start improving my run speed so i thought about what i have to look forward to.  i was hoping for my long run pace of 6 min kms.  first two kms i hit 6.15 pace.  then i started feeling like i had a cramp or stitch.  km three and four i slowed to 6.30 pace as i walked the aid station and took another break.  i felt like i had indigestion and my chest felt funny so it was time to ease back a bit.  they say that it can feel like an angina attack and i guess that could be true.  the last km i felt better and finished it in 6.15 pace.  slowest 5k i have run since my first triathlon.  31.55 avg pace 6.23 min p/km.  but who cares.  i finished and i wasnt the slowest.  i felt a bit overwhelmed at the finish.  i also felt very happy about the whole day.  dont you just love it when a plan comes together. 

next i have the city of perth olympic distance event in two weeks.  double the distance and well known for being hot and windy.  might have to come up with another plan. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

IMWA week 48 - and then comes acceptance

okay so we all know that i am due to get my iron back on february 7.  i have the ampoule's here with me.  i am counting down the days which are 25 and a wakey.  it is going to be a long 3 weeks or so but today i feel like i am getting better at dealing with it.  i do get really mad sometimes and i know it is the frustration and lack of energy.  i think if something did not go my way i could get really ticked off.  then i am having to deal with the side effects of iron supplements.  nothing that a bit of prune juice cant solve if you get the picture.  very fucking annoying.  you feel like a keg about to explode. which could be inconvenient. 

tomorrow i have sprint triathlon.  my plan is to just take it easy.  like i have a choice ha ha.   i want to fly under the radar.  i dont care where i finish.  i dont want to talk to anyone about my iron problem unless they are already in  the loop.  i dont want to drown or choke on the swim.  if i dont relax i will have trouble breathing and breast stroke might be an option.  the swim is going to be the hardest part as it is difficult to control your oxygen intake etc.  if i get overwhelmed by fatigue i will be fucked.  the key is to relax.  i have decided to use the crisis bike and just go all out on the bike.  i know that i will not get the result  if all things were normal but i do know that it is still there.    it is a very narrow bike course in some places and the race is sold out.  so alot of dangerous cowboys.  i will have to be careful.  i will try and hang on in the run.  if i stick to easy 6 min pace i should be okay.  it will be a good morale booster to finish.  it will also be a good test to see if doing the olympic distance event in two weeks is a possibility.  i am going to have to pull out of the busselton jetty swim.  it is too big a swim and my training hasnt been enough.  i really wanted to do this before ironman as it would be a huge confidence gain to have completed the swim before the event.  i might do the easier 2.2k cottesloe to swanbourne instead. 

that is pretty much it for this week.  wish me luck and btw - prune juice tastes disgusting.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

IMWA Week 49 - action required

not much to report.  i am trying very hard to maintain my training but i am so fucking tired.  tired of everything.  tired of having the problem and tired of trying to fix the problem.  my iron dropt from 78 to 18 (over six months).  the normal range is 20-200.  so i have depleted iron stores.  and because my haemoglobin is also low i have iron deficiency anemia.  do not trust doctors and make sure you are the most well informed patient.  iron supplements will take months to bring your iron levels back to normal.  and eating food high in iron will just make you fat and give you one more thing to be depressed about.  the first doctor i saw thought this would be the most appropriate treatment.  i told him what i do in my spare time.  i am sure he never took me seriously.  when my normal doctor returned from holidays i went back and straight away she said she would send me off for an iron infusion.  yah my troubles would soon be over.  nope.  cant get in until february 7.  having low iron is not just about the lack of oxygen in the blood and the impact of that on your training.  if fucks with your mind like you would not believe.  you are in a constant battle to keep going.  being tired makes you tired and no matter how much you sleep you are always exhausted.  so tomorrow i am going back to my doctor to find another solution.  i cannot let this win.  i want to be happy again. 

later edit - no other solution available and any doctor who does this i cannot get in to see until late feb/march.  good health system.  so i am on the waiting list for a cancellation.  i have accepted that i will just have to suck it up and do the best i can.  what doesnt kill you will just make you stronger and all that crap.