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.