Friday, December 27, 2013

where to from here and missing toenails

merry christmas to anyone who takes the time out to read my not so exciting little blog.  i am still on holidays and really do not know how i will ever be able to go back to work.

so recovery wise things have been really good.  much better than last year.  i have had a couple of easy rides, ran a couple of 5 k loops and swam 3 times.  i went for a swim with a group from my triathlon club.  i have been a member for four years but have only tried to get involved a few times.  it was at a pool that is not that far from home but i had never been to before.  well that was a revelation as it is one of the nicest pools i have ever swam in.  the swim was easy and turns out i knew one of the girls from the triathlon course i did when starting out back in 2008.  

so besides the little bit of training i have been taking the dogs to the beach and working around the house.  most of the garden is re-done and the big stuff will be finished after the new year.  i am paying my gardener to do it so there goes my new road bike.  figured it was time to be a responsible home-owner.  by the time i go back to work i will have finished the painting inside as well so that only took me a year.  but the advantage of this is that while training for cairns i will not have to feel guilty about anything.

next week i am doing a sprint triathlon.  i am really looking forward to it.  it has been a year since the last one and this is at a course i have not done before so should be as close to fun as you can get.  my training for ironman cairns starts february 3 so i want to enjoy myself and do whatever i feel like until then.  i will build back up again so when i start i am at the right place fitness wise.  i am being so organised.  i have booked my accommodation and hire car for cairns.  i decided to stay at the same place as the rate of $132 per night for a fully self-contained apartment with ocean views was just too good.  

my toes were fucked after busselton.  i am going to post photos so be prepared as they may gross you out.  my socks solved the blister problem but the size of toe box could be causing this to happen.  i am not too concerned as i think it only gets this bad if i run 42k.  but it appears that a blister forms over the end of the toe and includes the toe nail.  so i think the toe nail will actually lift off.  last night i was soaking in the bath tub and so things had softened up and one whole toe nail just peeled away.  it was like something from an episode of criminal minds.  BTW i have now watched all eight seasons and feel lost without it.  anyway i have warned you but i do think the toes look worse than in the pictures and they have improved - i just couldnt get decent photos. as you will see i really shouldnt be wearing open toed shoes this summer but at least the little ones grow back a great deal quicker.

Now you see me ...

Now you dont !! Raw toe.

i have also purchased more pictures from ironman western australia.  a big tip if you do this is to search the lost photos as i found at least 8 pictures of me that had not been included and they were good ones.  i have quite a few favourites amongst this years.

I like this one as I am actually passing someone !

Still running with my thumbs up.

I am amazed i swam faster than all the people behind me !

Saturday, December 14, 2013

pictures from busselton

the beach - five minute walk from hotel

looking the other way towards the town centre

LOVE this medal

the wonderful bike already to go

swim practice at the jetty

the view along the run course

Monday, December 9, 2013

why i feel like i won

first up I have to say just how great this race is.  it didn't feel this good last year but for some reason I cant put  my finger on it just had a fabulous vibe.  maybe because it was the 10th anniversary year ?  anyway all the volunteers were just brilliant.  everything was so well run and organised.  from the swim practice sessions to the pasta night.  all the aid stations were excellent and the supporters out on the course were amazing. especially on the run course.  it is hard work being out there that long so it really is something that they stay and cheer all day.  and all the merchandise was good quality and cheaper !!  now that is amazing.

i had a quick warm up swim and then stayed back waiting for the start.  it was a beach start but with that many people some were already in the water.  just not as far out as prior races.  i was on the right side and well away from the jetty.  since all advice says to start out wide and just swim toward to the end it is amazing that so many start further in.  the reason for this is the bend in the jetty and if you follow the jetty on the way out you actually swim further.  the first 100m were a bit uncomfortable but then i got my groove and just kept swimming.  the water was calm and the best conditions i have had at busselton.  the water was clear and you could see the bottom the whole way.  it was really enjoyable.  i decided that i would stop every 500m or so and bring my knees up to  my chest as this would relax my back.  it seems that being horizontal for so long is what annoys it the most.  as i got towards the end there were a lot of people all converging at the turn around buoy that takes you across the end to another buoy before heading back in.  i rarely got touched and i never got swam over or had any bad contact.  from the look of some of the swimmers around me i knew i was swimming okay.  i was even passing a few people but i did notice that the current had picked up and it was going to be a little tougher on the way back in.  the only things that worried me were my calves feeling a little tight and cramping and my wetsuit rubbing on my neck.  i did not want wetsuit rash.  this had happened at the city beach swim so i had smothered myself in glide but obviously something is not working.  might be time for a new wetsuit.  i didn't do as much swim training this year and while i felt like i really wanted to push it i knew my stamina probably wasnt there and i had a long day ahead of me.  i got out of the water in 1.16.09.  i secretly wanted 1.15 but this was just as good and a four minute improvement on last year.  to be honest it was probably the conditions and not so much my improved swim skills however i don't care !!!  it was a PB.

i took over 12 minutes last time in both T1 and T2.  so sticking with my decision to make different choices this year i was only wearing one outfit.  the risk was the tri pants as they did not have anywhere near the padding that my bike shorts had.  because they have a narrow chamois cut they can rub.  i had forgotten to put extra chamois butt butter in my bike bag (the only thing i forgot) so i had some waiting with my bike.  so if anyone saw me sticking my hands down my pants that is what i was doing !!!  i was outta T1 in 8.37.  being wet makes whatever you do slow.

on the bike and focused.  my plan and goal was to come in under 6 hours without burning too many matches.  the wind was light and the weather cool.  we ended up with four seasons in one day but compared to the heat of last year it did make things a bit easier. 

the first lap went well and i was well above my average speed of 30k per hour.  i started eating etc after the first 15 minutes and really only had to worry about not getting caught up with other riders.  the course was pretty busy but this would spread out over time.  there really are some real wankers out there who just cannot leave their egos at transition.  the bike is all about holding a constant pace over 180k.  not going flat out over 90k and then flat lining.  you want to do the last lap close to the same speed as you did the first.  on my way out for the second lap i had to stop for a pee.  i didn't feel like it during the swim but decided i didn't want to stink all day either.  luckily the porta loo was empty so it was very quick.  the wind was picking up and it was during the second lap that i had a dark patch.  i don't know why exactly but i was feeling tired and knew i had a long way to go.  my neck was hurting and i had some niggles in the back of my left leg and my right knee wasn't feeling that good either.  and my tri shorts were starting to rub.  i then made the decision to stop at special needs and stick my hands down my pants once more.  i had included some aussie butt cream and really went nuts with it.  the volunteers were so quick i was out of there in a flash but i think that little break did wonders for me.  i also took two nurofen to ease the neck/shoulder pain.  at least my back was fine so the little exercise during the swim was well worth it.  my average speed was still at 30.3 and while this went up and down a few times it never went below this. 

as i headed out on the final lap i was feeling very positive.  the wind was back to being what you expect from Busselton so i decided that when i was with it i would fly and when i was riding into i would just pretend i was back on campersic road and it was another training session.  head down and just fucking pedal.  the course had spread out by this time so it was easier to have your own spot to ride.  when you did come across other riders they were going slow and you could see everyone was getting uncomfortable on the bike and were wriggling about.  those last 20k were tough but i just kept riding as i knew i was going to make my goal of coming in under six hours.  i knew i was capable it was just going to be a matter of doing it.  was i worried about my legs for the run ?  sure but i figured i suck at running anyway so i didn't have that much to lose.  bike time 5.56.28.  Woot Woot !!!!!!!  i am OVER the moon and this is amazingly satisfying.  11th fastest in my age group. 

T2 was done in 7.58 so another PB.  the most time was getting my compression things on and my injinji socks.  this has been the BEST discovery of all time.  no more fucking blisters.  the wonderful volunteers lathered my up with sunscreen and i had also had the biggest pee ever so i was feeling good.  i had eaten really well on the bike and with the cooler conditions the hydration was also easier.  did i mention that it did start spitting with rain on the bike.  like i said four seasons in one day.

so i headed out on the run.  my biggest challenge and where i could really lose the most time.  this year i did all my long runs and most of my shorter ones on the road.  i was hoping that i had some toughness built up.  my right knee didn't feel great so my plan was to run as long as i could and hope that it didn't get worse.  last year this was where i basically fucked up the most.  i didn't have a plan and i flipped flopped and got overly worried about not being able to pee.  i again found i didn't want to pee anymore and after two toilet stops i just didn't worry about it anymore.  i also decided that no matter what the pace i would always run but i would walk every aid station. and so for 42.2 kms this is what i did.    i can be buried with my medals knowing that at least once i ran the marathon.  it hurt.  my legs got tired and i had various aches and pains.  i suffered some more sweat rash and grabbed some vaseline at the aid stations.  my knee held up and was fine and my feet always felt great.  at different points i chatted to different people and that kept my mind off things.  i suffered but after awhile i knew that i wasnt going to quit and that i was going to keep running. this was the biggest thing i learnt from last year.  it is actually harder to keep going if you start walking.  you need to keep running.  i think the hardest part was from around the 28k mark to 32k which is probably normal for most people.  each lap you received a wrist band and it seemed that it took ages until i got the second one. each lap seemed different from each other.  on the last lap the wind was terrible but as i headed towards the finish line about 3k out i knew that i was going to come in under 5 hours for the run.  for most this would seem pretty average but it was a massive improvement on my part.  my friend daniel from the pool was out on the course as he knew other people doing the race and he had yelled out a few times.  on my last lap he yelled out again and thought it was only my third lap.  i had been through and got the precious last black band so i screamed out that i was finishing and all the supporters cheered me on.  it was awesome.  i was so excited that i had ran so much better than last year.  i came around the last bend and the crowd was the usual yelling and screaming.  daniel had found his way to the finishing chute so i gave a high five and then just ran down the finish chute.  once again i didnt hear them call out that i am an ironman (damn i will have to do another one !!). i was so excited to see my finish time and i didnt want to give up a second.  i was totally excited to look up and see 12.23.57. You fucking beauty !!!!  i ran a 4.54.45 marathon which was an improvement on last years 5.42.11.  this meant that i had improved on last year by almost 80 minutes. i really felt like i had won.

was it the training ?  did i have more miles in the legs ?  were the conditions overall easier ?  does experience count ?  probably yes to all of those variables.  but i think above all it is believing you can do it and having the determination to then do it.  everything is relative.  some people feel like they won just by finishing.  it is by exceeding your own goals and expectations that you will feel like a winner.


becoming an ironman for the second time

I have been very quiet with my reports for the last few months and even with the lead up to Ironman Western Australia 2013.  Work was chaos and I was tired.  My family are going through troubled times and the stress has been pretty bad.  Almost to the point where I felt like I needed to just walk away.  And amongst all this I was trying to train for my second ironman and falling short most of the time.  This of course just makes it  all the more stressful.
After last year I was really disappointed with my result.  I have always believed that I had a decent race in me but aside from a couple of 70.3 races and parts of races I think I have always under-performed.  I am not talking about competing against other people because basically I don't.  I compete against myself because at this point in my life that is more important and relevant.  so I said awhile ago  that this time I would do just about everything differently.  I did however use the same coach who gave me  an 18 week program that took into account my fitness level and what I wanted to achieve.  there was a lot more repeat hill climbs, shorter but more intense trainer sessions and the running was all on the road and slower paced for the long runs.  because this time I wanted to be faster on the bike and I wanted to run the WHOLE marathon. 
in the lead up to arriving in Busselton I was tired, stressed and not very confident.  however my taper felt great and no matter what sessions I had to complete I felt fresh and quick.  the bike was awesome, swimming was easy and I had to hold myself back when running.  BUT I didn't get carried away as I started to think that maybe I had peaked too early.  while I had a great training plan I hadn't always followed it.  the weather fucked things up and the key is consistency.  I had even missed some sessions and I mostly only swam twice a week.  maybe this is a hint that I shouldnt take it all so seriously.
i arrived in Busselton on Wednesday and unlike last year my choice of accommodation was awesome.  the room is just beautiful with a nice little kitchen and a massive bathroom with a SPA !  this will now always be my choice of where to stay and worth every penny.  i don't know why but i think the stress just gets to me sometimes i felt really sick that night and really thought i was coming down with something and that i just wanted to spend Thursday in bed.  instead i went and checked out the merchandise and bought my stash of ironman gear.  this was easy considering the huge improvement on last years choice.  i then went to the shops and got some supplies before returning to check in.  this year i decided i wanted to go into the race lighter and i had dropped a few kilos down to 56.  i think this helped on the day.  after that i returned to my room for a spa bath, a very bland meal and bed.  best decision ever.
on Friday morning i headed down to the jetty for swim practice.  they have surf lifesavers and the water is patrolled.  i found out after that the helicopter had spotted a 2m tiger shark heading toward the jetty just as i was getting out.  then i just bummed around.  drove out to dunsborough and bought some soaps. i left my swim cap on them again so i had that lovely smell during the swim.  then i went to the bakery and pigged out.  that night was the welcome and pasta party.  it dragged on a bit but the food was great and they had some super stars to interview - namely luke bell and andreas raelert. 
 by this stage i was getting very nervous.  i thought after one ironman i would be done with this but in fact i think i was much more nervous.  it was hard to eat and hard to relax.  my body did not feel great.  Saturday morning i took my bike for one last ride down to the jetty and then i went out for some last minute supplies.  i  put all my gear together and checked the bike in around 2pm.  even now i can still feel the nerves playing up.  i really have no answer for this.  that night i went to the restaurant next door for some pasta before getting into bed by 8.30pm.   i hardly slept.  i woke about four or five times and i could not get my mind to turn off.  i did have a little nap earlier on in the day so this may have helped make up for the tossing and turning.  by 3.15am i was pretty happy to get up and get a move on with things.   

i got a great parking spot and then set things up on my bike.  spoke to pip and alanna before the race and wished them well.  then i went off by myself, got my wetsuit on and headed down to the beach.  i felt terrible but took comfort in the thought that once i got going the stress and nerves would go away.  i was right.  i will be back with the final race report. 


Friday, December 6, 2013

an ironman is NOT fun

if i have ever said that i have had fun doing any type of triathlon then i would be lying.  they are not fun and a full 140.6 ironman is at the top of the non-fun list.  this applies whether you are fast or slow.  whatever the speed they are not fun but i guess this can depend on your definition of what is fun.  i think there are certain parts of a triathlon that i enjoy.  i can enjoy the swim and i can also enjoy the bike.  i dont think i have ever had fun or enjoyed the run.  so why do i keep doing it ?  it is all about the challenge and doing something that makes you uncomfortable.

this subject came up because i was tracking a posting on a chat site.  a girl asked the question about what training she should do three weeks out from an ironman when she had done very little training prior to this.  i will admit that i am a type A personality and if this had been me i would have withdrawn - whatever the reason for not being able to train.  there is no way i would put myself through it and certainly not if it was my first ironman (which it will be for her).  the response varied from withdraw and save yourself a whole bunch of misery and perhaps further injury etc to the rest who said go for it and that being at the back of bunch is so much FUN.  so this begs the question of what exactly is it that you would say (being out there for 17 hours) is fucking FUN ?

i follow a few triathlon chat sites and there is a distinct difference between the australian sites and the american ones. the aussie sites have this attitude through all of them that she will be right mate whether you have done the training or not.  it actually can be very misleading but i get it as it a very aussie attitude.  while the americans sites have more type A personalities and are very serious.  i dont think i have ever read an american  race report that includes how little they trained but what the fuck i still gave it a go !   they all seem to train their butts off and i dont think fun is ever mentioned.

i went back today and read over my postings from busselton last year.  what a fucking newbie i was. probably still am.  i got the impression that i was slightly too serious, too scared to take a risk and when it came down to it not very tough at all and i crumbled at the first sign of pain.  i know the main goal of the first one is to finish but to me (reading the report) it just feels like i had a really boring race.  so while it is not going to be FUN i want to enjoy this year but i will even give that up if i means i will finish with a time i can be over the moon about.