Wednesday, December 31, 2014

the inevitable race report - busso 2014

I have all my race wrist bands !
i finished. we all have our own personal expectations but in reality and keeping the whole ironman thing in perspective then finishing is a pretty good achievement.  my training wasnt great and i made some dumb decisions on the day but when it comes down to it i think i went okay.  there are alot of people who would not complain about a 12.48 finish time and i am not going to be one of them.  as i have said to everyone it wasnt my best effort but it wasnt my worst either and i will always be happy with anything under 13 hours.

i am really not sure why but this year i let my nerves really freak me out.  i had dinner with my friend daniel (who was also racing) the night before and as i headed back to my room i told him that i felt so bad that if i woke up like that in the morning i would not make it to the start line.  my stomach was playing up and i felt like i was going to throw up and had the shakes.  i had been pretty good at cairns and thought that experience had helped me calm them down.  i think i was putting more pressure on myself as i had walked away from the group training thing and i only had 2-3 long runs in my legs. so i think the fear of failing and then being given the i told you so looks was freaking me out.  i need to not worry about what other people think and trust in my own ability.

anyway i woke in the morning and felt fine.  maybe a little low on carb loading pig outs but otherwise okay.  i had slept reasonably well so that was a surprise bonus.  i was pretty organised so i was out the door early and got my usual parking spot directly across from transition.  i set things up and then wandered around and spoke to a few people i knew.  eventually i headed over to the same spot as last year to get into my wettie.  turns out i was next to a guy who did the whole race in a santa suit.  it was awesome, he had a really tight one that went over his wettie and then changed to another one for the bike and run.  he even had a small beard for the swim but i dont know how that would have gone.  he was raising money for the smiddy charity.  as i am getting ready daniel finds me and we head down to the water.

the swim

i start at my usual spot.  out wide and to the right.  i let most people head off before i start swimming.
this is truly the best swim in the world. it is clear with some chop which gets worse as you get close to the end of the jetty.  i end up swimming way too wide and have to head back closer to the jetty. even the surf lifesavers are telling us to get closer.  i think where i went wrong was the larger field this year.  there were 500 extras competitors due to the changed bike course and so i think i just got pushed out a bit more.  after turning around the end of the jetty i noticed that my wetsuit was starting to rub badly on the back of my neck.  i put a tonne of glide on but not enough it seemed.  i was also wearing my compression sleeves on my calves but they still started to cramp with 1k to go.  it started to feel uncomfortable.  i really tried to speed things up towards the end just to get it over with.  my wetsuit is close to 5 years old and moves around on me a bit so time for a new one.   when i get out i have no idea what time i have swum but i dont see anyone i know and i just have this feeling it is not good.  time 1.15.33 (ha ! turns out it is the same as last year in more choppy conditions so okay after all)

again no one helps me to get the wetsuit off so i am left to fight with it again.  the womens change tent is a quarter of the size of the mens and very little room to do anything.  i manage to get my arm coolers on, food in pockets and head out the door with my shoes and helmet.  the time i seem to waste here is no longer funny and is starting to piss me off.  time 9.33

the bike

i feel good to start and head out at a quicker pace than in the past.  after my 'terrible' swim i feel like i am chasing the pack.  there is some wind but not bad.  in the past this has been 3 laps of 60kms.  to get more people signed up they have changed it to 2 laps of 90kms with a promise of a new road with freshly laid hotmix.  the bike went pretty good and not that eventful really.  usual draft idiots out there.  the new section was a mix of cross winds and was not smooth at all.  it wasnt terrible but compared to the old part it was rougher and i think i had expectations of this super smooth road.  i think i found it frustrating too as you just wanted to get to the next turnaround and be done with it.  on the way out for the second lap i stopped at special needs and grabbed some extra glide for the chaffing.  so worth it.  my back had played up a bit and my neck was a bit stiff and i had a few other niggles but i did feel better on the second lap.  the wind changed as is usual in busselton and coming back in was a tough headwind on tired legs.  on the first lap i averaged 32.53 over the last 29k but on the second i only averaged 30.84. still not a bad effort with the wind.  my bike is the highlight of my race and i managed to get a PB in tougher conditions than last year and fifth in my age group.  this makes me happy.  time 5.52.47.

i just went through the motions. porta loo stop then compression and socks on. more sunscreen and some vaseline for the skin missing from my neck after the swim.  i grab my hat and race belt and head out. time 8.12.

the run

i felt okay actually and the legs were alright.  i think if anything i just felt tired.  i started out well but that slowed quite quickly.  it was going to be a long day.  i just tried to keep running and walked the aid stations.  i really wanted to get it done and i really wanted those race bands you got for each lap.  i had lap band envy whenever i saw someone who had one and i didnt.  i saw some familiar faces and tried to stay ahead of them.  the crowd around the finish line area was huge and very vocal.  it was the one part you made sure you were running.  the most exciting part was when i was heading back out to the furthest part of the course and a snake crawled out in front of me.  it was about 1.5 metres long and a light green yellow colour.  scared the fuck out of me and it was the fastest i ran all day.  it was between the path and road that i came from so very strange as snakes do not like noise and usually would be miles away.  i hate snakes.  i didnt feel good coming in for the last couple of kms but i tried to run as hard as i could.  i had all sorts of things hurting.  my knee was sore.  when i run long sometimes i get this terrible pain in my groin.  well that hurt.  i had a stabbing pain in my chest and so then started worrying about having a heart attack coming down the finishers chute.  my feet were not great and the back of my right leg was playing up.  still is and i am trying to decide if it is my glutes or my calves. time 5.21.57 (yuk)

the finish

i was very happy to turn down the finish chute at the end of the four laps.  all the pain seems to disappear  and you begin to realise that very soon you can rest and it will all be over.  i never know what to do when i run down the chute.  i dont see any familiar faces and i have no clue how to celebrate.  i do remember simon beaumont saying that i wasnt smiling and i wasnt.  i was relieved it was about to be over.  not just the race but the training and the stress and the worry.  but when he did say that i realised how stupid it all was and i smiled and gave a fist pump and crossed the line.  the volunteers took me away.  they were all awesome and seemed to know me.  one guy knew it was my third IMWA.  i got my towel and medal and standard photo opportunity.  i then realised i didnt know my time.  the volunteer told me 12.48.  the volunteers took me to the recovery area and asked me what i would like.  i didnt want anything to drink and the food looked terrible.  i did have some watermelon and that was awesome.  daniel came over. he had been waiting for a massage.  he had a very good day and made sure to post it on my facebook page which to this day i still find strange.   in the end i didnt hang around very long.  i grabbed my ugly and manly finishers shirt (again it doesnt fit - i am getting quite the collection) and headed off to get my bike and bags.  it was then i bumped into alanna and this was a reminder that it can all go peared shaped so easily.  alanna is a much better athlete than myself but she didnt finish.  she collapsed on the run and they took her off course.  she was very upset and i dont blame her.  just shows how lucky i really am.

got back to the hotel and i unloaded the car and got cleaned up.  i actually felt quite good.  i had a choc milk in the fridge and it was fucking delicious.  i wasnt that hungry but ate some salted chips and a few other snacks i had.  a nice shower and then into my skins compression gear.  i slept better than in the past and it looked like i wouldnt lose any toenails this year YAH !  in the morning i was up and out the door to get my two bacon and egg burgers and another choc milk.  i then hit the tent for some finisher gear.  it was kinda crazy busy.

that night i went to the awards dinner and really enjoyed it.  daniel came with me and the food was just fucking awesome.  they had this chicken curry that i think was the best i have ever eaten.  they also had little plum sticky date puddings.  i had two.  and a glass of wine. the food was much better than at the welcome dinner.

this is truly a fantastic event and i am happy with the way things panned out.  however i have learnt my lesson and i will not be back next year.  i have recovered and now i am focusing on ironman australia.  some exciting things in the pipeline so port mac here i come.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

getting ready for ironman number four

farout.  who would have EVER thought that i would be up for ironman number four within two years. well i am and who knows if it will be my very best or not so great and does it really matter ?  i will be out there trying my best and that is all i can ask of myself.  i recently posted on facebook that this ironman will be for the people who do support me rather than me proving the naysayers wrong.  i also want to make the time i gave up to live this ironman dream rather than hang out with my molly dog worth it.  it is time i stop giving energy to people who do not have my best interests  at heart.  there are two big things i have learnt so far from this ironman.  firstly stick to your own plans and do not be swayed by what other people do and secondly i do not like training in groups or with people.  i am not a fan of triathlon clubs.  well not the ones i know anyway. i do not like to be made to feel that what i am doing is not valid or has no merit just because it is different from everyone else.  i get the feeling that some people are more comfortable when they think you are all on a level playing field and you are not sneaking off doing something that may actually make you faster.  i not only like riding on my own i LOVE it.  dont get me wrong.  i enjoy social rides but i like to train on my own.  people may find this strange but then i find it strange that some people will not head out the door unless they have someone with them.

i love coming to busselton.  it is just a beautiful place and a nice little town.  i love race week.  the whole vibe and atmosphere of it.  it is almost worth the training.  i really dont know how i will go.  aside from the usual nerves i am feeling good. my legs are feeling fresh and the taper has kicked in.  i have done enough swimming and my bike is great.  but i am way short on the running which when it is your weakest leg then that is not good.  i will give it my best shot and it  will be what it will be.  the weather should be pretty good at least.  i will  head off shortly to the welcome dinner.  here are some pics i took yesterday and after my warm up swim this morning.  this is the best swim in the world.  crystal clear water.  you can see everything and i just love it.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

when things dont go to plan - a 70.3 race report

i dont know why but nothing is going to plan for me.  i have to stop myself from indulging in a pity party because i know there are people who have bigger problems and i really should just suck it up. maybe it is because i am on my own that it always feels harder or maybe it is because not one thing is going well. training has sucked, molly dog is gone and work is very bad.  

no taper and lots of fatigue in the legs.  another 70.3 as a training day which i am in two minds to never do again.  there was nothing controlled about yesterday and besides the swim there was nothing relaxed about it.  i dropt my bike off on saturday and had not been feeling great.  i felt like i was getting a cold or flu.  it was early so the bike was going to be sitting out in the sun and as i walked into transition they told me to let some air out of my tyres.  my bike shop guy says this makes no difference but i did it anyway.  i never pump up my tyres in the morning.  i always do it at night so then if there is an issue i will know in the morning.   being an awa or all world athlete had the first big bonus.  i had priority check in and did not have to line up for 30 minutes.  i drove back to perth, got my gear organised and was in bed pretty early.

i left home at 4.15 am which was early enough but i seemed to be rushed all morning.  i saw daniel (who i had given a lift with his bike the day before) and then caught up with pip which was awesome.  i felt unorganised getting my stuff set out and i pumped up the tyres and at this point i think i put one pump too many in the back tyre.  headed off for the swim and did not not feel great.  i was not relaxed at all and the swim pretty much sucked.  i couldnt breathe very well and it took to the last 500 metres to feel normal.  lucky it is current assisted and i got out in just over 33 minutes.  

my goal for this race was to not piss fart around in transition and other than finishing this was one of the few goals i achieved for the day.  T1 was 4 minutes and T2 was 3 minutes.  this is lightening fast for me.  but as i got out of T1 i realised my back tyre was totally flat.  FUCK.  i moved my bike off to a grassed area and started getting things done.  as i was just out of T1 ALL the technical officials were there and lined up all ready to go out on the bikes.  i got the back wheel off and the old tube out and new tube in.  one of the technical officials came over and said the mechanic was out on the course but was heading back and explained that they could not help.  i said fine as i knew that you cannot receive outside assistance.  so i go to use my canister to put air in the tyre and the adapter will not grip the valve and while i am trying to do this the air goes out but not in the tyre.  i get my second canister out and the adapter will not pierce it.  so i am fucked unless i can get a pump.  the technical official comes over and i tell her i need a pump and she calls again for the mechanic.  then three officials are standing there all with pumps but they explain to me that they cannot help.   finally a mechanic runs over and he grabs my wheel and uses his pump to pump the tyre up.  he then puts the wheel back on the bike while i hold the bike and i am on my way.  the technical officials are there the whole time.  total time lost is about 27 minutes.

i rode harder than i would have liked but i was lucky the wind wasnt too bad and my legs felt okay. daniel rode up behind me with his dumb golf ball sperm helmet on.  i thought he was going to keep going past me but he and another guy slowed down and i went past and dropt him.  made it back to T2 without any further incident and i was quickly out on the run.  

by this stage it was hot.  my legs felt okay but i was just tired.  i didnt know how i was going to get through 21k and i was worried that i was so far behind everyone.  so i ran from aid station to aid station.  i found that after walking through them and gathering my ice and water that my legs felt refreshed and i was good to go to the next aid station.  it was hot, the flies were terrible, i was covered in crusted salt from the swim and things were started to rub raw in a few places.  people either looked good or looked terrible.  daniel was walking whenever i saw him.  pip looked fabulous and had an awesome day coming in third place in 45-49 age group.  YAH pip !  

i saw one of the girls from swim squad walking and i walked with her for a bit.  it was her birthday and i hope i gave her some positive vibes but i wanted to get it done so i headed off for the last lap.  coming back in there were some pretty miserable people heading out on the last lap.  as i came over the bridge i increased the pace and saw a couple of girls ahead of me that i usually come in before and even though they are not in my age group i decided i was going to run past them.  it nearly killed me but i got there.  run time was 2.26 and finish time was 6.20.  not too shabby considering.

but just as i crossed the finish line an official came up to me and confirmed who i was and asked if i had problems on the bike.  i said yes i had a flat and he then claimed i had received outside assistance and should be DQ'd.  i immediately got very upset.  after everything i had been through i was just a fucking mess.  i explained to him what had happened and how many technical officials had been standing around observing and had directed me in what i should be doing.  he claimed that the mechanic had provided outside assistance and if not for that i would not have finished and it was an unfair advantage.  i have since looked at the rules as i understood that you could receive assistance from the course mechanic (otherwise why have them ?!!).  the athlete guide states that you must not receive outside assistance from anyone other than race personnel and if you do will result in a DQ.  so i went and looked at triathlon australia race rules and it basically states the same thing.  i think the rule he was trying to use was that i received an unfair advantage.  what i explained to him was that i did exactly as i was directed by his officials and the bike course mechanic (who should have also been made aware of the rules).  people have since told me that the mechanic can give you the pump but you must pump the tyre up yourself.  he can give you spare parts but you must put them on the bike etc.  this is not made clear in any of the rules.  so it is very confusing when they say you can receive outside assistance from race personnel or officials.  in the end he couldnt DQ me because his own officials fucked up although he did say it is my responsibility to know the rules and i agree. however i think the rules should be a lot clearer and not generalised in that you gained an unfair advantage (as that could be applied to a number of situations) and list what type of assistance you can receive from race officials.  this was a horrible experience and one in which i was made to feel like i cheated.  i was told that i would not be allowed to take a roll-down spot to the 70.3 world championships.  i said that was fine as i had no intention of doing that anyway.  my friend daniel who was slower than me on the bike and run and finished with 6.07 and ranked 88 in his age group did manage to score a roll-down to austria and he took it.  next year when the worlds are on the sunshine coast i dont think he will get so lucky.   

so i chatted to a few people and recovered from my drama with officialdom.  it was stinking hot and i just wanted to go home.  it was a long drive back and i was starving.  walked straight in the house and scoffed down the left over pasta cold.  i then got into an ice bath and ate a white magnum.  after that i ordered pizza and it was the best pizza ever.  now today i am a bit sun burnt and a little tired but have some things i need to take away from yesterday.  mainly that no matter how long you have been in this sport you can never be complacent and you are responsible for everything that happens.

now onto busselton.  i am too tired to read over this so i hope it makes sense.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

the ironman journey is BS

to get straight to the point life has sucked.  i have lost my mojo.  nothing has felt right.  i miss molly every day.  as mentioned in my previous blog i had signed up for ironman western australia and was training with a squad.  that lasted eight weeks. i hated it.  i did not like the programme and i just didnt click with the group thing.  i dont think one programme can be used for a squad with a number of athletes all with different levels of ability and fitness.  what i hated the most was having the long run on sunday after riding long on saturday.  there was no progression in the volume of the training sessions.  we jumped from running 80 mins to running 21k the following week.  i hated that everything constantly changed from being time based to distance based sessions and back again.  when i said i could not run long (and i am talking 30k long) after a hard long bike and brick session the day before i was told that i should walk instead.  i am not fucking walking anything.  i dont intend to walk the marathon on the day so i am certainly not going to walk during training.  so i pretty much hated everything.  when i quit the squad people assumed i had quit altogether.  when they realised that i was still going to do the race the assumption changed to that i will just flunk out on the day and will be happy to make it to the finish line anyway i can.  what the fuck is wrong with people.  yes the first eight weeks of training has not been good and nowhere near close to being consistent.  BUT i am now working really hard at getting things back on track.  my swimming has been the most consistent than it has been in a long time.  i have been riding hills  more and i think my bike will be on par to last year.  my only concern is running.  i am behind with this but if i can string some good long runs together over the next six weeks i might be okay.  i just need to be consistent.  what i do have in my favour is my ironman base. i hope over the next six weeks my fitness starts to really build and get back to my previous level.  

one thing i have learned from this experience is that when you make a plan stick to it.  i never intended on doing busselton this year and signing up for it was wrong.  i should have taken the break. i needed it.  not only the break from training but i needed time to deal with molly dying.  the whole process was horrible, heartbreaking and soul crushing.   people talk about the ironman journey and that you will experience things so challenging that you will be a changed person blah blah blah.  i think it is utter fucking bullshit.  like any process you embark on you learn from it and hopefully develop more insight about yourself as a person.  but nothing like some of the crap i read.  maybe i dont train hard enough or maybe i dont race hard enough.  i know this time around i have learnt that group training does not suit me, i love riding long on sundays and not saturday and that perhaps i have mistaken training consistently with training hard.  i will think more carefully before changing my plans but if this is my ironman journey i dont see how it is going to be life altering.  i know the race is going to be hard and maybe i will take myself to a place i havent been before.  like the long day in the rain at cairns.  still i dont think that was life altering either.  hyped up BS.  

so besides the ironman BS and sweet molly dog the other parts of my life are as follows.  work has sucked, my house is a mess and the garden a pile of weeds again.  i still havent spoken to my parents and it saddens me that life has been far less complicated without them.  my car has needed a wash and clean for the last three months.  my back is still painful and i also have tendinitis in my elbow.  i really would like to sleep for 8 hours straight without waking up.  i have a cat.  he is called ned or the nedster.  he has no balls as i got them cut off.  i got him because i thought casey would be lonely without molly.  but as it turns out casey is quite happy because molly was a very dominant dog and casey is now free to get more attention.   molly rarely ever barked.  casey barks all the time as she is the little guard dog.  whenever i left the house casey would bark for a good five minutes or more.  i never paid much attention to the bark.  as it turns out it was never casey who was barking. it was molly dog. there is no bark anymore when i leave home. 

The Nedster

Monday, August 11, 2014

eliminating the compromise

last week was my first week of the 18 week training programme with the tsd squad.  i sucked.  i missed more sessions than i did.  i didnt tell anyone because it is not a good look coming from one of the more experienced members.  i am having trouble staying focused  and sometimes i just didnt want to get out of bed.  fuck it.  i am human.  i had a big day on saturday.  we rode as a group but spread out for three hours followed by a 10 minute run.  the ride was a little windy and had some nice rolling hills.  it was probably a little quicker than i would have maintained considering it was the first long ride.  i felt for a couple of the less experienced whose longest rides have only ever been around three hours.  after this i drove home and managed to scoff six golden crumpets with honey.  pretty fucking awesome.  i then had a 30 minute power nap before heading off to claremont and swim smooth.  paul was going to be taking the session and he always sends out  a blanket invitation so the squad had 30 people and in his words it was a cracker.  i died in the legs towards the end.  

this week i am hoping to stay a great deal more motivated and focused.  the risk is i fall behind and when i really need to be able to manage the work load i will fail.  i will be called out as a fraud.  the work will get tougher.  it will not be so much about the volume but the intensity - although this week is 14 hours.  so i started the week off by actually getting out of bed and going for a run.  i do not like monday morning runs. after work i am heading off to the pool.  then i have to get organised for tomorrows ride which starts at 5.40am.  i get up at stupid o'clock for that.  this week i have smartened up and have all my gear ready to go, work clothes are ironed and food is planned and in the fridge.  ironman training is all about being organised.  

one of our little projects for coach ironman was to put onto paper our goals for this race.  i like this and think it is especially important for me (being my fourth) to have a focus and something to work towards.  i have some time goals and for once i want to get my transition right.  but the big goal is to eliminate the compromise.  i will not be making any deals with myself.  there will be no 'if you do this then you can do  that a little easier'.   there will be a plan and unless the wheels come off completely and there is a huge need to change the plan there will be no compromise.  no matter how much it hurts there will be no compromise.  if i want it bad enough i am going to have to suffer.

i will keep you posted on how training goes this week !

Sunday, August 3, 2014

when life fractures

it is winter here and i hate the cold miserable days.  i couldnt live anywhere that had real winters.  it doesn't help that molly dog is getting progressively worse.  she has scabby and scaly skin lesions all over her body. you can feel them when you pat her.  they are not painful - just irritating at times.  she has lost fur from her legs and near her mouth and some of her eyelashes have gone.  i dont want to take pictures anymore as i dont want to remember her like this.  she has really gone off her usual food and it is getting harder to find the food that she will eat.  i have found it difficult to want to do anything.  i just want to run away.  i dont know how to do this.  jesse dog was hard but you could accept it from a dog who had lived a full life.  i dont want to train as  it just seems such a stupid waste of time.  i was thinking this morning that i have to find a better way and it was at this point that i realised that with molly i have stopped living.  like i am just sitting there waiting for her to die when i should be making the most of every moment we have.  while i am feeling sorry for myself molly isnt getting to enjoy the life she has left.        

i wrote this on 10 july.  my sweet molly dog passed away on 24 july.  it makes me cry to write that so i am trying to think of something else.  saying i miss her is major fucking understatement.  molly was the heart and soul of my house with her big personality.  and to be honest it breaks my heart so much i dont want to talk or write about it.

for the last month of my training for cairns i worked with a new coach.  it was a little strange because i was working with a different programme but felt the support and input was well worth it.  i also knew that going forward i would work with him 100 percent.  so new ironman coach comes with excellent credentials having placed first overall age grouper at busselton.  each year he runs an 18 week training squad leading into busselton.  i was going to join the group but only do mandurah 70.3 (which the squad would be doing as well).  i attended the first meeting and it occurred to me that i was going to be close to physically doing the same training for mandurah as you would for busselton so why not do it ?  it is only 4 four weeks further down the track.  i could risk injury or burn out from too many ironman races and so i questioned ironman coach and the usual response - all good as long as you get the right recovery.  i would have five months between busselton and port macquarie.  i eventually realised i would never now if it could be done unless i tried.  and seriously - what have i got to lose ?  so i thought about it over the weekend and then signed up. so ironman number four is coming around alot quicker than i thought.  the training programme starts today and i am excited.  i do various sessions with the squad, no long rides on sunday (first in about 4 years !!). long runs instead and some really different workouts including hill rides on the road bike.  and we have a two day training camp in busselton leading up to the big day.  i think i am going to work harder than i ever have before but if it all comes together it will be well worth it.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

the post cairns wrap up

so after collecting my towel and medal i wandered into the recovery tent.  it was nice to have the towel to warm you up a bit but it was soon quite damp.  i went and got some hot soup.  i really want to know why the food is always so bland and boring ?  then tim yelled out as he had finished about an hour earlier and was waiting for rae to finish.  i grabbed my gear bags and finisher shirt (another ugly one) and sat down to wait for rae and to eat some food.  once rae came in we all headed back to their apartment as they were kind enough to let me have a shower before i called a taxi to take me home.  if the weather had not been so miserable i would have stayed to watch people come into the finish line.  

once home i had another shower and warmed up.  i put ice on my knee.  it had bothered me for the whole run.  not enough to stop running but it was there the whole time.  i didnt sleep well and was up early to go and get my hire car.  i was worried that i would not be able to get it out of the car park area because it had turned to a muddy mess.  my legs felt okay and only a bit sore going down stairs.  my toes were a fucking mess.  the big one on my right foot looked like it had lifted straight off and had shrunk.  thank goodness the car was okay and aside from a bit of sliding i managed to get back onto the main road and  drove into cairns to pick up the bike and run bag.

Mud Transition
i was early so i headed to mcdonalds and had two bacon and egg rolls.  fucking awesome..  i then purchased an umbrella - yes it was still raining.  another trip to the merchandise tent to give WTC more money in exchange for a really nice finisher jacket.  then i had to once more wade through the mud pile that was transition to get my bike.  after this i then had to spend $30 on a new pair of thongs as my shoes were trashed.  somehow i managed to get all this done and i made it to the roll down ceremony just in time to see the girl who won my age group take her spot to kona.  it was worth the effort on the off chance that it rolls down to sixth.  it rolled down to fifth in the age group above mine so you never know.  it was also interesting to attend a roll down ceremony as i never have on any previous occasion.

i didnt get up to much else while in cairns.  i went out and had some wonderful meals and enjoyed a glass of wine and a few beers for the first time in many months.  i packed up all my gear and the bike and got to the airport at dawn to catch my flight home.  the last day was a beautiful day weather wise but it was raining again when i left.  now i was worried about molly and just wanted to get home to make sure she was alright (which she was).

so what did i learn from cairns.  i am not as disappointed with my overall time as i am with my run.  i really let myself down and i dont want that to happen again.  for the first time i was really unprepared for a race.  to be honest i was getting a little tired of pretty much everything leading up to it. but this was the challenge and i think i did okay but not great.  when you get tired you take your eye off the ball and you get a little more casual about things.  my run training wasnt up to par and i got what i deserved.  i am not experienced enough to be able to just wing it.  i seriously have to think about what i wear, what i eat and drink and how i can improve my transition times  because none of that really worked for me at cairns.  i never want to be one of those triathletes who sign up for races and just show up with the only goal being to finish.  i always want to compete at my best level possible.  i have also come to the realisation and this has been naive of me to think otherwise but no one in this sport can say that they are not competitive. everyone is and everyone knows who they are competing against.  it is bullshit to pretend otherwise.  so lets all just be honest about it instead.

Down comes the finish line.

so what is the plan for the future ?  my next race is mandurah 70.3 in november.  before then i have a half marathon (first stand alone run) and a mtb event just to mix things up for a change.  i have to sort out some niggling injuries.  then i have some changes to make to my training so it takes my out of my comfort zone and into some different routines.  and it all starts now.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

waterlogged cairns - an ironman race report

i really have no idea where i begin this report.  it was two weeks ago but feels like forever.  i will just say now that i am disappointed with my result and yet i have no reason to be.  at the time you feel you are making the right decisions and giving it your very best but it changes once you are done.  the fact that i am disappointed shows that i have lost perspective.  people say it is a huge achievement just to finish and you should be happy but that is bullshit.  you do your first ironman to finish and your second to go faster.  i wanted my third to be on a hard and challenging course (which it was)  but i wanted to have a good result  as well.  i wanted to be able to handle whatever it threw at me and i dont think i did that.

Trinity Beach
it is a mission to pack up all your gear but i did this on the sunday and dropt the dogs off at the kennel. i was very worried about molly but it was out of my control and i had to trust that the owners would do the right thing.  up at 2.30am and a drive through terrible fog and i could barely spot if there were any kangaroos around or not.  the flight over was uneventful and i just prayed the bike would make it in one piece. picked up the hire car and drove out to trinity beach.  sadly they had put me on the third floor and i had to lug all my gear up the stairs.  checked the bike and things looked okay. grabbed some dinner and crashed not long after.  

tuesday i dropt the bike off at the local trek dealer so they could check everything and i then headed off to the local supermarket to get supplies for the week.  after picking up the bike i headed out for a 30 min run. this was to be a test to really see how the legs felt.  last year at busselton this run felt awesome.  this time it just felt okay.  my back was stiff but i was doing my exercises twice a day and knew this would improve. my elbow (which had been a nagging problem for quite awhile) was really playing up and i was worried.  but what was also very strange my knee did not feel good.  i was trying all the tricks and i just had to hope these niggles would go away on race day.

early wednesday i headed out on the bike and it did not feel right.  the tri bars were off and the gears were not smooth.  i rode down cook highway and started testing the gears.  then the chain came off and got stuck between the brake.  luckily a guy stopped and worked it out and i rode back.  i put the bike in the car before heading back to the bike shop.  the guy was extremely helpful and sorted it out and also found where the tri bars were out.  they had obviously been knocked during the flight  and it was just the smallest variance but it felt like a massive shift.  so i went away happy that my bike was back to normal.  i wasnt going to come all this way and not finish because of a bike problem.  

I am behind the girl in bright orange.
up very early thursday as i was heading over to green island for the open water swim.  last year this was quite rough and a bit of a challenge and i didnt get to see any of the great barrier reef.  the weather didnt look very nice this time either and  there were already  a lot of rumours going around that the ironman swim at palm cove was going to be cut short or cancelled due to the extreme wind conditions that were forecast.  caught up with pete and crew that i met at this event last year.  i had bought my wetsuit this year and while i started off a bit rough i ended up having one of my best swims.  it was quite choppy like last year and when heading back in it was very difficult and i could only breathe to my weaker side but by the end of the swim i was still breathing to this side and didnt realise it.  this was a good sign for sunday.  i think my time of 29.20 was also my quickest for this distance (1.5k). after the swim sat around chatting to pete and crew.  it turned out to be a nice day.  after arriving back i went and handed over some cash at the merchandise tent and then checked in.  it was great to get it all done. walked around the expo a bit but it was all the same stuff from last year.  did i mention i got another back pack ?  they made you go to the merchandise tent to pick it up and you had to walk the whole way in past all the racks of m-dot stuff.
They had the brightest swim buoys. 

friday was a rest day from anything swim-bike-run.  i had arranged with tim and rae to pick them up and drive the bike course up to port douglas. so after a nice sleep in that is just what i did.  once in port douglas we did a walk around and had some lunch.  it is a nice little tourist town and  very much like dunsborough.  i was pretty knackered by the time i dropt tim and rae back in cairns and i headed home.  i had a power nap before a shower and heading back into cairns and to the welcome dinner.    the food was pretty good and sat at a table with daniel and a friend of his.  i enjoyed the presentation and the speech by sharni and john mcclean was beyond inspirational. amazing, amazing people.  actually the best welcome dinner i have attended.  i was happy to go home to sleep though.

up early saturday and a final ride and check of the bike.  everything was perfect so i polished and cleaned it with a final check of the repair kit.  headed out to the shops for  some last minute supplies and then it was just about putting together all my gear for the bike and run bags.
loaded the bike into the car and headed into cairns first to drop off the run bag.  also stopped by the expo to buy a couple of shotz bars and extra glide cream.  then drove back out to palm cove to drop off the bike and bag.  there were people everywhere and transition was tucked away behind the beach foliage.  it was very crammed and less than a metre between bikes to run through.  as it turns out this would not be what i was worried about on the day.  the bike next to me in transition belonged to a japanese competitor and was probably the smallest bike i had ever seen that was ridden by an adult.  it was also desperately in need of some tlc and replacement parts. the arm rests were just about falling apart and the drink bottle was tied on with multiple old elastic bands.  as it turns out the girl on my left won my age group and the little japanese competitor on my right finished last.  i had to get the event guy to come over and sort out her bike as it wasnt racked properly and would have fallen off during the night. i wasnt taking any chances.

compared to last year at busselton i slept really well.  i had decided that rather than get up at 3 am to drive to cairns just to catch a bus back up to palm cove i would drive directly to palm cove at 5.30 am and sort out a taxi after the race.  from the moment i walked out the door the whole day just seems completely surreal.  i was also totally unprepared.  busselton is an easy race.  not only the flat course but just the logistics of transition and the finish area.  at busselton i parked 100 metres away from transition.  this alone gives you much less to worry about.   i looked at the weatherzone radar before i walked out the door and i have never seen it where all you can see is green.  there was no brown at all.  all anyone had been worried about was the day being windy and hot.  instead it was going to be wet and cold and i was unprepared and could not do anything about it.  sure rain had been predicted but only the odd shower.  the only consolation was that i would not be the only one out there. and to start i had no umbrella and no wet weather gear.

confronting drive in the rain to transition.  it was still dark.  the race doesnt start until 7.55 am because sunrise isnt until 7 am and the 70.3 race goes first.  the walk towards transition from the car park was miserable.  the ground had already turned to mud.  they do not have lawn in cairns but a ground cover that just disappears and is replaced by mud when it rains.  i was at somewhat of a loss as to what to do so i just headed to the bike and dropt off my drinks and food.  there was no cover at all so i managed to find a section of tent to stand under and think what to do.  then daniel came along and he was feeling the same as me.  he had his family with him and decided he was going to find a spot and get his wetsuit on.  it would probably be warmer that way but how to do it without get mud everywhere.  i decided to walk further down to the swim start and see what i could find which turned out to be a good move as i found a hotel lobby that had a large number of other people seeking refuge.  i managed to find a toilet and then decided it was time to get the wetsuit on.  at this stage i also did not bring enough to drink with me and had to wash down some cliff bloks.  i walked back up to drop off my gear bag and special needs.  then all i had was goggles and cap and thongs on my feet.  i walked down to the swim start.

Cairns 2014 Swim Highlights

ten  minutes out from the start i started burping really bad and i could the feel the start of a stitch pain in my diaphragm.  great.  i was going to choke in the swim.  i burped like you would not believe.  not sure what people around me thought but i did not care.  i had to force it out.  the rain had eased off a bit and the water looked okay.  you could see the swell and chop but it wasnt going to be the worse swim i was going to go through.  initially i was going to start from the right and try to avoid the mass gathering at the first buoy.  but when i looked at the current i decided that i didnt want to risk getting sucked too far over so i stuck to the left and when the hooter signalled the start i dived through the initial waves and started swimming in a direct line to the first buoy.

so no sharks to worry about this time.  the water was fine but murky.  it was going to be a tough haul to get through the 3.8k.  i felt pretty good though and just made sure i kept my stroke rate up a bit more and tried not to swallow any water as that can cause so much trouble.  getting out to the far buoy was probably the hardest part. swimming across the top part of the course i had to breathe to my right to avoid getting a mouthful of water.  i think i am faster swimming on my more uncomfortable side.  it feels faster anyway. apparently you have less bad habits on your least favourite side. swimming back into shore was okay and you had a bit of a current and swell advantage.  then it was back across and around again.  i kept track of people swimming around me and tried to make sure i was passing people or at least maintaining a good pace with them.  i was pretty glad to reach the last turn around and head into shore. while it did seem to take forever it was the easiest part of the swim. at the beginning of the swim i had this thought go through my head that having tough conditions like this was really what ironman was all about and that i really was going to be tested.  i was pretty happy with myself when i got out of that water.  i had survived another challenge.  i never know my swim time as i leave my garmin on the bike and i didnt spot the clock when i came up through the swim. my swim time was 1.19.59.  compared to my other ironman swims in MUCH better conditions this was an excellent swim.  and 4th in my age group.  the advantage of being with the old girls.  there were only 20 in my age group.

This is how bad it got.
transition was a nightmare.  i had to go pee and should have done so in my wetsuit but it didnt hit me until i saw the loo.  again i had no one to help me get my wetsuit off and there were people everywhere and the tent was the smallest area i have been in.  the mud did not help.  i decided i would not put my shoes on until i got to the road.  i also decided to carry my bike from where it was racked to the red carpet that the pros had laid out for them.  it was here i put my shoes on and realised i had left the glide chamois cream in the shoe so that came for a ride and as it turned out a run as well !  i took too long here (again) and have now committed to re-thinking everything i do and use as i am losing much needed free time.  and it is no longer funny.

the first part of the ride was nerve racking.  they had covered the cobble stone speed humps with black rubber so as you went over them you could feel your back wheel sliding out.  a lot of people were losing bottles and gear from their bike.  i just wanted to get out onto the road so i could get this thing done.  i didnt know how i was going to do it and all i could think was it was going to be a long day.

Heading out from transition.
i learnt a few things from this bike leg.  that i no longer hold any fear of riding hard for 180k and that i can suffer even more on a bike.  at the start i was actually feeling a little sorry for myself.  maybe it was good that i didnt start out too hard but i needed to get my shit together and that is when i came across sharn and her team.  i yelled out to cheer them on and then nearly had a little cry before thinking to myself that i had NOTHING to complain about.  it was at this point that i started to ride.  if you want to know what sharn and her team are about go to this website.  truly inspiring.

after riding over rex's lookout the first time and hitting the flats i really upped the pace.  things were very wet and a bit cold and i couldnt see shit because my glasses dont have wipers and since they are prescription taking them off was not an option.  i wiped them down every now and then and that was enough to get by.  the only plus with the rain was that the wind was staying away.  if it got windy then it would truly be a miserable day.  i like how the ride goes up to port douglas as you have something to look forward to.  sadly with the weather there were not as many people around.  but those who were it was a fantastic effort to stay out in those conditions.  the volunteers were amazing.  i ate really well on the bike but again my downfall was not drinking enough.  the weather did not help and the high 5 mix on the course was so diluted it didnt taste anything like mine.  this probably explains why i felt as bad as i did later on.  another big lesson learned. however i did manage to pee on the bike for the first time ever and trust me i only did this because it was raining.  the hilly section of the course never bothered me and actually broke up the ride.  once back in port douglas again i could now just focus on riding from there back down to cairns and i needed to only get over the hilly part one more time and i would be relatively safe.  it was a lonely ride back.  the field was quite spread out at this point and once past the turn around you no longer had any riders coming the other way.
my face says it all.

i saw the sharn team one more time and they were making their way back up rex's lookout.  AMAZING EFFORT.
once i hit the flats after ellis beach the wind picked up big time and the rain and so did the people sitting off my back wheel.  seriously guys are you not embarrassed drafting off a chick ?  i knew i had to ignore them and concentrate.  that last 20k was the hardest i have ever worked on a bike.  i was cold and my legs felt like they were starting to cramp.  i had felt it when coasting on the downhills but at least now you had to keep moving.  ironman coach said that the race would be a test of your training and if that is the case then my training on the bike paid off - especially in this last section. and funnily enough it is all because of a little game i play with myself in the last 15k of every long ride.  who knew.

as you head back into cairns you turn off at yorkeys knob to take some back roads similar to the run course from last year.  i was very happy to reach the esplanade and to know that i was only going to be a minute or two over six hours (6.01.52). this was an excellent ride and 4th in my age group.  i had actually moved down to fifth spot overall as one girl was quicker in T1.  if this doesnt motive me to stop fucking around in transition then nothing will.   when i first got off the bike i felt okay but i then headed into the porto loo and this is where things went very strange.

bike highlights

transition here was also a mud pit and the porto looo was not stable.  as i got in it started swaying and after that i did not feel right.  i sat down in transition and all i could think about was coach ironman telling me not to waste time by trying to avoid heading out onto the run.  i was meant to get my socks and shoes on and head straight out.  instead i was jibbering shit to the volunteer.  who knows what i said.  something about not being able to see and the rain.  the fucking never ending rain.  i poured water on my feet to clean them off and managed to get my compression on and my socks and shoes.  the dizziness had improved and so i headed out into the rain again.  but from the very beginning i knew it was going to be a long day.  i hoped that it was just that initial transition to running but deep down i knew it was more than that.  the course is three laps and there were some sections with lots of people and other parts that were just miserable lonely affairs.  the positive i can take away is that i did keep running and only walked at the aid stations and i had 3 toilet stops - the last one of which i had a really good pee and things felt much better.  i just wasnt running very fast. i did feel better running than i did walking so this was motivating.  at the beginning of the third lap i did a time check and knew that i was very close to coming in under 13 hours which was my goal.  i had a very tough time around the 27-32k mark.  but i kept going even though i really wanted to stop.  it was still raining and i was trying to avoid all the major puddles and mud piles and because of this my feet stayed relatively dry.  i couldnt see crap through my sunnies and some parts of the course were poorly lit.  so thinking on my feet i took the tinted lenses out and stuck them in my back pockets - along with the chamois cream i still had and never had to use.  so it may have looked strange with just my clear prescription inserts but at least i could see.   i saw tim and rae and daniel on the run course and it was great to know they had all made it through. i also saw pete on  the lonely part of the course and he was doing it tough so i walked a few hundred metres with him.
Only on my first lap.

Run highlights

the last 3k were the hardest i have ever run.  you think you are running fast and i guess compared to some parts of the marathon you are but it feels like you are putting in a sprint effort.  the finish line could not come quick enough and it wasnt until i reached the end of the esplanade that the pain was forgotten.  what i learnt here was that i could run 42k when i felt like shit.  i couldnt believe my wet and cold day was about to end.  my first two ironmans i do not really recall the guy yelling out my name and saying ' you are an ironman' !.  i always felt like i didnt really get to enjoy the experience so this time i was going to enjoy it.  i took my time running down the finish, there was some fist punching and then i did a bit of an aeroplane and high fived a lot of people i could not even see because of the blinding light they had set up. however i did hear pete murray yellout my name and yes i am an ironman !!!!! a three peat ironman.

my run time sucked.  it is not my worse effort but i feel like i let a good result slip through my fingers.  my finish time of
13.01.47 was just short of my goal.  i had many opportunities that could have made the difference.  but that is ironman.  i will finish the wrap up blog in the next few days.  even with my hideous 5.20 run i managed to finish sixth in may age group.  my run was 11th in my age group so my swim and bike gave me quite the buffer.

a nice downpour on my 2nd lap

the rain eased off a bit for my finish

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

ironman number 3, being 50 and cancer

i will get the bad out of the way first.  molly dog has been having chemo for her skin lymphoma for the last few months.  before anyone thinks i am being cruel chemo does not impact dogs like it does humans.  there are very few side effects and unless i mentioned it you would not know.  there are a few things i have learned recently.  sometimes no matter how much you might want to change the outcome it is out of your control.  this is worse for me than it is for molly. she gets spoilt everyday and i get that little bit sadder.  i have come to realise that i have no idea how parents cope with sick kids or people cope with sick loved ones.  or how anyone copes knowing that perhaps there is nothing that will change their outcome either.  i find this very hard to process and these parents are amazing.  molly will always be very, very special to me and my heart will be broken when she goes but eventually i will be less sad and eventually i will go out and buy myself another dog.  what do these parents do ?  molly has scaley things all over her body but her fur hides it and it doesnt bother her.  she had a lesion on her tongue which freaked me out but that seems to have improved with her latest round of chemo.  fingers crossed.  this is just a battle to keep the disease at bay for as long as we can.  once molly no longer has a comfortable quality of life then we need to think about what is best for molly. it is so very hard seeing and watching how this horrible disease can bit by bit take away such a sweet and innocent creature.  bad god.

i was 50 a few weeks back.  it is a strange thing being this age but feeling like i am a lot younger.  in a few years i will start qualifying for aged discounts.  i find this very funny.  i bought myself a trek madone 6 series project one.  i picked it up the day before and i have only ridden it once.  the weather hasnt been great , i am still training for cairns and the wheels have to be swapped over for an upgrade.  i took it up into the hills and i love it.  worth every freaking penny.  as soon as i get back form cairns this baby will be in the hills alot more.

so for my birthday my sister and brother were awesome and made sure i didnt feel forgotten.  in actual fact the only people who did neglect to call or send me birthday wishes were my parents.  there is no simple explanation for this.  my family, like most, has its problems and is dysfunctional.  they didnt forget.  they chose not to call me.  this actually doesnt bother me and i wasnt surprised by it.  it is all the other crap that we have been forced to deal with that bothers me more.  i could set up a whole blog and talk about my shitty parents and the crappy childhood but there is nothing to explain the way they are and why they have always chosen to put themselves first every time.

on monday i fly out to cairns for my third ironman.  at the moment i am struggling with feeling confident about it. i dont feel like i have done any training AT ALL.  it is very strange.  i look back over my garmin and i know i have had some good sessions.  has my training been perfect ? no - not at all but i have trained.  my swimming is much stronger and my bike has improved and i am riding longer distances with a higher average pace. i havent felt as comfortable running so i am hoping that i will carry over some endurance from busselton.  i cannot go into this race with the same expectations as busselton.  it is a hilly bike course and the swim is exposed. there is every chance the bike will be into a headwind and if the conditions are not great it will be a very long day. the logistics have changed this year but i am staying at the same place and will again head over to green island for the open water swim.  it has been a long haul to get here but the plan was to challenge my self with two ironman distance races within six months.  i looked back over some old posts and on my 46th birthday i rode my first 100k at an average pace of 26 km per hour.  things certainly have improved.  i also wrote in 2010 that i thought it would be a good idea to go to cairns and do the ironman event for my 50th birthday.  i forgot i wrote that but here we are and the closer it gets the more excited i become.  

in the meantime i have signed up for ironman 70.3 mandurah in november and ironman australia in early may next year.  it is the 30th anniversary and a challenging course.  why wouldnt i want to do it ?


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

back to where it all began

busselton 70.3 in 2011 was my first long course race.  like everyone else when they first step up i was a total novice and thought the whole thing to be quite daunting.  i did it on my road bike with aero bars and was so excited when i finished in 5.59.47.  i think i will always remember this time.  the next year i went back with huge plans for a pb.  instead i learnt that there will always be things you cannot control.  the weather turned nasty the night before and it was the swim from hell.  made up the time on the bike to only get done for a soft drafting call.  hard lesson to learn but it has made me a better informed triathlete.  i still came in with a pb but only in 5.55 something.  i didnt race in 2013.  instead i did IMWA and went to cairns to do the 70.3 instead.  this year i wasnt going to do it either as it is only five weeks out from cairns.  then friends who are also going to cairns said they were doing it and i succumbed to peer pressure.  

when it comes to doing these events as a 'training day' i am in two minds.  i do think it is a great training day but i dont like how much time it can take out of your training programme if you rest up prior and then take too long to recover.  how many people can go out there and just train at the required pace or fail at that and instead get caught up on the day and race it ?  i did mandurah 70.3 seven weeks out from IMWA and being a new race and there being no hype i paced myself quite well and really only pushed it a bit on the bike.  but this was busselton and the biggest event outside of IMWA.  i raced it.  well i raced the swim, bike and run but slipped back into training mode for transition.  another missed opportunity.

so long story short.  the week before i trained 19 hours.  six days prior i rode 175k on my long ride.  i had a massage on monday.  ran tuesday, rode and swam wednesday.  it was a recovery week so i stuck with my programme but had thursday off and quick swim friday.  felt okay saturday morning and the weather was perfect.  bit cold but no wind.  the water looked like glass and it was the best swim conditions i have ever had at busselton.  hung out with rae and tim and i was so very relaxed.  the water was cold.  missed the start and then got caught behind some bad swimmers.  moved to the outside and got going passing a few people. but i had slipped into that cruise pace i seem to adopt.  when i realised i was going off course i got really mad with myself and started swimming.  i mean really swimming.  aside from a few leg cramps i felt great with very little fatigue.  i need to get mad with myself more often.  PB 36.10.  

the bike is where it is at for me. i just got on and rode and if it felt okay i stuck with it.  the first lap was a bit tricky with too many riders but it thinned out on the second lap.  i worked hard to keep myself away from any packs.  6 minute penalty and people got caught. heading out on the second lap was the hardest for me and i had to work hard.  lost a little bit but i think i made it up on the way back in and both laps were within a minute of each other.  PB 2.43.02 Avg 33km per/hr and 6th in age group.  

heading out onto the run my legs felt GREAT.  i was surprised.  i stopped at the port-a-loo for a wee.  i stopped and chatted for tim as he wasnt well and was walking.  i ran with a guy called chocky for awhile.  he is in my triathlon club and is going to cairns.  he decided to walk for a bit.  i then caught up with rae and we ran together.  we found tim had pulled the pin and was at the finish.  on the third lap rae decided she wanted to walk so i kept going.  by this stage i knew i had gone okay in the swim and bike and was on track for a run PB if i pushed it.  so i decided that although it was only meant to be a training day and that it would be silly to risk injury it was a good time to see if i could suffer a bit.  the average pace per kilometre for the last five was faster than all the rest.  the course was slightly different so while i ran a bit further i missed the PB by 30 seconds.  2.12 something.

my overall time was 5.45.21 which was a PB but i let a very good opportunity go by being incredibly slow in transition.  i just didnt rush.  i put a long sleeve top on before the bike.  after the bike i had to get my calf compression socks on and then my socks with all the little toes.  it was ridiculous how long it took.  i keep saying i wont do stupid shit like this again but i do.  it was just a training day right ?  the positive is that i dont have to train to improve my transition.  and the huge positive is that all my times were great and that was achieved with no taper and training fatigue in the legs.  yes the conditions were perfect but still a great result.  

i swam the next day and day after before i was back on the bike and up and running.  i did my longest ride a week after - 185k followed by a 5k run.  my running has suffered and this week i expect to get some more running in while i back off the bike.  only 4 weeks to cairns.  my swim and bike feels better this time but i am worried about my running. it doesnt feel like i have done enough really long runs.  i will find out soon enough.

Rae and I at the Finish.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

a race report and the reality of ironman

since the kona FIASCO i have done some research and probably should have when i entered the lottery. my bad but i didnt and just thought it was drawn in april and obviously they would send me an email when i won. what really happens is that the lottery and legacy lottery are drawn at a very specific time and the list is published on the website.  it is up to you to go and have a look and then if your name is there you contact them.  i also found out more about the legacy program and even the lottery itself.  i dont think the process is transparent enough but it is big business so what are you going to do ?  and huge surprise - i didnt get a spot either.

i am at 8 weeks to go until ironman cairns and i am having good days and bad.  some days it is a mental battle and others a physical one.  this was the challenge in backing up from busselton in december to doing cairns six months later.  i had a good break and for the first few weeks i felt great.  i felt stronger and my fitness picked up quicker than it had in the past.  but over the last couple of weeks i havent felt great and my legs have felt terrible.  i find myself for the first time in ages just wanting to sleep in.  i have to go swim shortly and then a session on the trainer.  i am actually looking forward to it and the weekend training is fine.  maybe i really just dont want to go to work.  

so a few sundays ago i did the hillaries sprint triathlon.  this was the location of my very first triathlon and i had not raced at this course in a few years.  it can be very windy but i think this was the best conditions i had experienced ever.  especially on the bike.  the week was a recovery week and i had done my longest ride (90k) the day before so my legs were not too bad.  i had the most fun catching up with my tri mates and this was the main reason why i signed up.  i miss the people and the race day atmosphere.  and all my favourite people were there so it was great.  

without going into detail yet i have sourced a new coach and one of the main areas of focus will be my lack of confidence and the mental approach to triathlon.  in the swim i really wanted to throw caution to the wind and get in amongst it but i didnt.  i chickened out and started at the back and worked my way through the pack.  i did do this more aggressively than normal and got a bit physical when a few girls kept swimming across my line.  a 16.10 swim was the best swim time in quite awhile.  the legs had felt okay and not so much like a dead weight. i was in eighth place out of 28 girls in my age group.  this was the last time i raced 45-49.

a fairly quick transition (something else i can seriously improve upon) and onto the bike.  i decided right from the start that i would go as hard as i felt comfortable with so i could have fun but come up with a time that reflected my bike ability.  it is hard racing while you are training because you always feel like you have to make excuses for yourself.  and it really is hard work.  my time was 37.27 which was sixth in my age group. it is a three lap course and with each lap the wind coming back was stronger but nothing like it can be.

i felt okay going onto the run and the plan here was to take it easy and just come in under 30 minutes.   the first couple of kms didnt feel good but then i got into a steady rhythm and i felt like i could just keep running. i did the 5k in 28.23 and 14th in my age group.  this got me ninth place overall in my age group and a total time of 1.27.29.  between myself and the six girls above me in the placings the difference is only minutes.  so yes it would be nice to do it fresh but i have bigger fish to fry.  it is only three weeks until busselton 70.3. another training race where i will feel the need to make excuses.  i have a simple plan for that. under six hours and finish without injury.  almost forgot to mention that my time at hillaries was my quickest ever so i have either improved or the conditions on the day helped.  probably a bit of both and not bad on tired legs.

it is good friday tomorrow so let the four day training camp begin.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

crushed dreams

today i received an email from the world triathlon corporation that was headed with 'congratulations you are going to kona'.  my heart felt like it was going to explode.  i had entered the lottery program and so what this appeared to be was my winning notification.  i read through the email and could not believe it.  i got some of the guys in the office to read it. i kept looking at it as i tried to detect if it was a scam email but it looked authentic.  i sent text messages to a few of my triathlon friends who were understandably just as excited as i was.  i also sent one to a friend who had actually won a legacy spot and knew more about these things than i did.  in my head i was trying to figure out how i was going to pay for it and how would i manage doing cairns as well as hawaii.  i told my boss i would need some time off in october.  about 90 minutes later when the initial shock had settled down i started to think and no matter how many times i looked at the email i still could not believe it.  so i went to my go to for all news triathlon and looked at the transitions website.  and sure enough my suspicions were confirmed.  wtc had sent the email to all lottery entrants in the asia pacific region.  apparently it was a data base error.  by then one of my tri buddies had also called to let me know. wtc finally managed to send out an apology email two hours after the fact and even then included a back handed slap in the face by saying it was only intended for those who had qualified through race performance. 

i understand that mistakes can happen but how do you fuck up and send the most anticipated email in the entire triathlon world to the wrong people.  the mistake i made was not understanding that the email wasnt correct but unless you have received one before you would never have known.  but what i did know was that it was too good to be true.  good things like this do not happen to people like me and this is what i kept coming back to and why i didnt post it on twitter or facebook.  luckily i had only told a few people.  i would imagine that some people might have got carried away.  it was amazing the thoughts that went through my head.  it is a tough course but you know that no matter what you would be out there giving it one hundred percent.         

the official lottery draw is yet to happen so who knows.  maybe i could get lucky.  maybe the world triathlon corporation will learn how to write a proper apology.