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.