Friday, December 31, 2010

Gobsmacked Part 2

This holiday just keeps getting better. Not only am I enjoying the benefits of being able to train at Port Macquarie but we are all just relaxing and chilling and seeing different places around town. My children are not avid beach goers but they do love the pool so they have been taking full advantage of the resorts beautiful pool. We have even had games of tennis and gone for nice relaxing walks. I think the kids are just really enjoying not having a schedule and being able to sleep in to whatever time their bodies dictate.

It has been serving me kind of well the past two mornings as I have been able to get my training out of the way before they have even risen. Yesterday morning I was able to join forces with Port Macquarie Tri Club for one of their swim sessions thanks to Nicole from DailyMile. What a session! It was tough but so glad I got 3.9km out of the way. It went something like this:
  • 400m warm up
  • 10 x 50m Fr/s
  • 9 x 150's (meant to be 10 but I died on 1 of them and only did 50m)
  • 1 x 50 from the previous 150's
  • 12 x 100's - 4 with band, 4 with band & pullbouy, 4 with band, pullbouy, paddles
  • 12 x 25m sprints - 4 Fr/s, 4 Fly up Fr/s back, 4 Fr/s
  • 100m cool down
I was totally stuffed at the end - but I had met some really nice people and was thankful that they took me under their wing for one session. By 1pm yesterday arvo I had to have a nanna nap to recharge my batteries - whilst I napped Stephen took the kids back to the pool for about 2hrs.

Then this morning it was back up at 0445hrs to go for a bike ride with Nicole. I wanted to end 2010 with a BANG, and that is just what I have done. I met Nicole out the front of the resort and we made our way out towards Lighthouse Drive. As we headed out I was thinking to myself, today is the day - today is the day I do Matthew Flinders Drive.

Making the way out there from the resort there are a few hills, nothing major but enough to get the blood shunted to your quads. I remember thinking to myself "if I am struggling now what am I going to do when I hit the big one". Oh well, there was no time to focus on that I was going to use the ride out and back as a warm up and try to get my mind focused on the fact that I could do this.

As we hit Lake Catheye - we stopped and had a drink - more for my sake because my back was a bit sore. My husband and his family used to holiday down here so it was good to see it. Will most definately take the kids down so they can go for a swim.

On the way back I started to fret - was wondering what gear I needed to be in to tackle that monstrosity. By the time we had made it to the first little turning hill which signalled what lay ahead, Nicole said to me "Barb, you can do it, just don't look too far ahead". Okay, it was time to grin and bare it - have some faith woman.

I could feel it start to ascend and I started changing gears to make it easier. No sooner did I do that, the road did another little kick up and it was time to get out of the saddle and start peddling hard. I could feel my legs really working hard to turn over a revolution and I was leaning so far forward I think any lower and I would have been kissing my aero bars. Just when I thought to myself I was going to have to stop - and believe me if I stopped I would have either rolled backwards to my death or fallen off, it was time to turn onto Davis Cres. There was a slight reprieve and then another short, sharp climb back out onto Lighthouse Drive. I have never been so happy to see a small easy climb - it almost felt like I was riding a flat path.

When I got to the top, I was sooooooo happy. I could not wipe the grin off my face. I rode past an elderly couple and said "I just rode up Matthew Flinders", they both smiled and said "Congratulations dear". I wanted to scream it at the top of my lungs and let the whole world know how far I had come - but being early in the morning I thought BEST NOT.

The rest of the ride was pretty much downhill apart from a few dispersed hills - spaced enough so I could recover. We rode through the heart of Port and I was shown where transition will be and where the swim entry and exit are.

What a way to end 2010. I have done so many things here at Port and the one thing that had me spooked beyond all words I conquered. Thanks Nicole. I look forward to Sunday's ride and seeing so much more of this beautiful countryside.

I want to wish everyone a HAPPY NEW YEAR. May this new year bring you lots of love, joy, happiness, contentment, new goals, new dreams, and most of all a happy healthy self.
I know it will for me.
BRING ON 2011.

" Be Yourself... There will be challenges to face and changes to make in your life, and it is up to you to accept them. Constantly keep yourself headed in the right direction for you. It may not be easy at times, but in those times of struggle you will find a stronger sense of who you are."
Author Unknown

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Gobsmacked - That's what I am. Part 1.

I was gobsmacked for many different reasons yesterday. Firstly because the sun was out - there was not even one sign of the previous day's clouds. Once again the meteorologists had gotten it wrong and the predicted forecast of a full weeks worth of rain and cloud had disappeared. Port Macquarie was going to give me gorgeous days to train in and I am so greatful.

Secondly, we drove around for a bit to find Matthew Flinders Drive. I have heard alot about this hill but nothing was going to prepare me for the enormity of what I was going to have to do. As we drove down it I suddenly heard a THUD, it was the sound of my jaw hitting the floor. I just looked at my husband and said "what have I gotten myself into", "I don't know if I have what it takes to tackle this". I almost felt teary and already defeated. As we turned around to take one last look I asked my husband if he could stop the car so I could get a photo. My son caught one of me taking a photo.

After a few moments of silence and regaining my composure I decided I needed alot of

I can do this.

Thirdly, I got to run again - only this time I decided to take the coastal track which led me straight out onto the Breakwall. For obvious reasons I did not run the whole lot - but, I got another taste of what I will be seeing when I am here again on the 1st May. Once again I saw a stack of people - some walking, others running and some even wearing Ironman T-shirts doing their thaing and I was a part of it.

I took this path all the way into Town Green and stopped for a little bit to take it all in. I was standing on a path that many had taken before me and I too will take before others. How exciting. Yesterdays run was all about recovery so the pace was nothing fast and kind of glad in a way as my legs were a bit sore from the previous day's run.

Fourthly as I made my way back to the resort and entered the unit I could feel the heat of my body rise to an all time high. I think I was a few shades shy of beetroot red and I was really looking forward to a beautifully cool shower and getting ready to go out to dinner for our 8th Wedding Anniversary. Stephen and I have been together for 16yrs - amazing how time flies.

We have 3 beautiful kids and a great life - and I feel blessed to have found a person who tolerates all my craziness. The kids came to dinner with us - they have pretty much shared in all our anniversary's - they were even part of the bridal party when we got married.

After heading home with a belly full of food and totally content with my life I fell asleep like a baby knowing full well I was going to be awake at 0500hrs to go for a swim with Nicole B from DailyMile. She is part of Port Macquarie Tri Club and has been so kind to let me tag along for a swim and a few bike rides. Just the loveliest person, felt like I had know her for ages.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A great mix

Holiday and exercise - what could be better. Is it challenging to be able to find the time and inclination to get out and about - YES. I am not a creature of comfort but I do sometimes find it a bit daunting to get out on my own in a strange place. But yesterday's run was just awesome.

You see, we have headed up to the town of Port Macquarie. This place holds special significance as it is the town of my impending first ever 70.3. My darling hubby thought it would be a good idea to go visit the place that I would be racing in to see what it is exactly I would be getting myself into. And I am so glad he did. In all my years of swimming comps - I always felt better and did better when I knew the area. It was almost a sense of kinship that I felt in the areas that I had been at before.

As I headed off for my run with no real idea of where I was going other than following the coastal road, I started imagining what it was going to be like on the day. How would I feel, what words would I be saying to myself when I felt tired, where would my family be positioned, who would I see whilst out on my journey. Thinking about all these things made my run feel really real. Nobody I passed knew the thought's going through my head or the fact that I had such a huge goal to get to - but their smiles made me feel good nonetheless, and I used their energy to continue with my run at quite a tolerable pace.

I did have a few pitstops along the way of no more than a few seconds to get some shots of the beach as I ran.

Although cloudy and drizzly the air temp was really nice to be running in. Towards the end of the run I got a really good headwind which made it a little more challenging, but from everything I have heard about Port Macquarie and the winds that frequent this place I am more than 100% sure I only got a taste of it.

Upon returning home I saw this gorgeous flower near the apartment units.

"Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not because they never found it, but because they didn't stop to enjoy it."

~William Feather~

Monday, December 27, 2010

Garmin Forerunner 110 - How I love thee.

How nifty is this little gadget. Not only is it stylish in design (black, sleek, non-cumbersome), the actual things you are able to do with it are just awesome. I have just spent the last hour and a half setting up my GarminConnect account and downloading my first ride on it. Being technologically challenged it took me a while to figure out how to change the run mode to the cycle mode but I finally figured it out.

Today's ride was awesome - hard but awesome. I didn't do the distance I was hoping for - I was spent on the first hill, but nonetheless I still completed about 52km.

I have never ridden in such a huge group. There were about 40 cyclists - give or take a few - another thing I find challenging - guesstimating numbers. I think I did well holding a straight line, what I struggled with was my timing in letting those behind me know there was impending debris ahead. I too was aiming for everything that landed in front of me - very surprised I didn't get a flat. Elissa and I just kept laughing saying "Ooops, did it again". She kept hitting the cateyes.

I was in the front pack on the flat but as soon as we hit the first hill, that was it - I dropped off - quicker than I could say "dropping off". Frustrating, I totally suck at hills and wish I could be half as strong as my colleagues. They just zoomed past me like they were riding downhill. Drew once again gave me a push up that hill and as soon as I got to the top I stopped with Elissa. I then made the choice that I could not go the remainder of the hills and we both along with Matt took a detour to take us back onto the main road. Thankyou Matt for joining me on the ride back and having a great chat with me - you are a true inspiration. And Elissa, my aim is to ride like you one day - YOU ROCK.

Upon returning back to the Coffee Club I had the nicest 2 cups of Long Black and 2 Cinnamon toasts. As I watched everyone return from their full distance they were all saturated. They had hit rain on the way back and were completely soaked. Kind of glad that I turned around when I did but sad at the same time that I didn't feel up to tackling it. There is always next time I guess. I know when I get back from my holidays that my long rides with the girls are going to be hills after hills. The only way to get better at them is to do them. And that is what I shall do.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The whirlwind has stopped

Okay, I'm tired. Probably mored tired than I am after a good race. The tiredness though has all been worthwhile though. I have been totally blessed to be able to spend it with family on all 3 days and eat more than my fair share of good food and definately more than my fair share of alcohol. But, if you can't do it over the festive season - WHEN CAN YOU DO IT.

On Christmas Eve we all spent it at Dad's. I had a great night - food was just delicious. Dad's partner is Lebanese and the food is always to die for - and one is never short of a good feed by any stretch of the imagination. There was Taboulleh, baby lebanese sausages, hommous, salad, My potato bake, BBQ chicken, Kibbeh (a national Lebanese dish which consists of raw meat, ground onion and wheat). Sounds gross but totally the most delicious thing I have tasted in a while.

Kids got to enjoy spending time with their friend and they really enjoyed the evening. We didn't get home on till 1:30am and by that stage I was totally knackered. Christmas Day we all woke up a little later than usual and had to wake the kids up to come open their presents. Stephen and I were chomping at the bit to see their faces when they opened up their presents. The eldest 2 got a new mobile as their last one's we bought when they were in Yr 7 and were just about on their last legs. Kyle got a PS3 game which he had been hanging out for. They also got clothes galore - will they ever stop growing.

At 11:30am we made our way to Stephen's sister's house with my Mum and once again the feast was laid out before us. BBQ chicken, Ham, x3 salads and the best damn desserts I have ever tasted. After we all rested it was time for the kids to play some classic catches whilst I got roped into it by means of just being in the way. They also played backyard cricket and tennis - that I had to play. I totally suck at tennis, so I had them running all over the place.

By 7pm we headed home and it was time to just put our feet up and rest. Another great day done and dusted. I headed to bed rather early knowing full well I was to get up nice and early for my morning girls ride.

That was not to be. As my alarm went off at 5am and my brain adjusted to being awake, I could hear the faint pitter patter of rain on our tin roof. However as I opened the window it was not a faint sprinkle but rather a decent drenching. After a text message to all - I rolled over and went back to sleep till 8am. I had slept in for the first time in ages and now I had to rush around like a headless chook to tidy everything up and get food prepared. I had another family gathering, only this time at home.

My cousin and her 2 children, my Aunt & Uncle, Mum, Stephen's Dad & brother and us 5. Only this time we did a South American BBQ - that we call ASADO. Basically the cow ribs are cut cross ways - so different to the lengthy American style pork ribs.

We also had salad, ham, chorizos, desserts - you name it and it was on the table. Mum also took the opportunity get group shots. My mum is always snap happy.

3 generations - Mum, myself, Taillah
Mum and I
My cousin Rosario and I
The clan - Top Row, mum, myself, Stephen, Evan (Stephens bro)
Middle Row, Barry (Stephens Dad, Aunty Sonia, Uncle Elbio, Rosario, Sebastian
Bottom Row, Taillah, Kyle, Kurtis, ChiQui (the dog), Lorenzo

Boxing Day was done and I am shattered. Fingers crossed the Panthers Tri Club bunch ride is on in the morning, although with the storm we have just had and the fact that it is still raining - I am not sure I will go if it is bucketing down.

I also forgot to mention the most important part of the post - and that was my Christmas present. CHECK IT OUT.

Garmin Forerunner 110
I am stoked, stoked, stoked. has to be the coolest present ever - thankyou so much Stephen for getting me this. I have to also thank Dave from the bike shop for giving my hubby my TriSuit and for both of them keeping it a secret from me. You are very, very cheeky. THANKYOU. Even my friend Sarah knew about it and held onto the secret. Wish you could have seen my eyes as I unwrapped the present. I had the best morning.

How was everyone's Christmas?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas to all.

Christmas has come around quite quickly this year. And with the usual organised chaos comes the inevitable questions from the kids - "which presents can we open tonight, do we have to wait till midnight, do we get to open the others as soon as we wake up on Christmas Day". All of them answered "you get to choose, yes you have to wait and yes you can apart from Nan's one".

My husband is probably the worst but not in regards to his present but wanting me to open my present. Last night he was all like "Ohhhhhhh go on, pleaseeeeeee open it, your gonna love it". What fun is that I said, I want to open something on Christmas Day. So he finally relented and walked away like a sad little boy. I hate breaking his heart, but the one thing I love is opening presents Chrissy Day, after all it's only tomorrow. Before I know it, I will be up to my eye balls in unwrapped Christmas paper and enjoying seeing the kids faces light up as they see what we have gotten them.

I spent up till about 10pm last night wrapping presents, and the whole day cleaning up around the house. The kids helped heaps and in the process they got to re-arrange their rooms - I don't mind, it means I get to cull alot of the garbage which has accumulated over the year. My motto is "if it hasn't been used in a year atleast once - then it has to go". Alot of the clothes they had outgrown which were still in decent shape got given to St Vincents de Paul for people who really do need it. Each of us had about 4 bags full - Merry Xmas to whomever receives it.

Then this morning I woke up nice and early with my eldest son Kurt and I got in a 7.6km run whilst he rode his bike. God love his cotton socks he said to me as we arrived home "Wow Mum, your getting faster". Do you think he wants an extra special present..... In all honesty, he was really impressed with how far my running had progressed since the last time we did any exercise together. I feel good knowing that my son thinks so highly of me - makes me feel special.

I have also noticed my energy coming back with avengance as I have been sticking to my new eating plan and have also started back on my nutritionals from Neways. I absolutely love Ming Gold and Revenol and can't speak highly enough of how they make me feel and how much more stamina I seem to have. I can really notice when I am not on them. As with any good plan it is all about sticking to it so you can make full use of their properties.

So it is here I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and thankyou all for your kind support since I started in this blogger world. I hope each and everyone of you get spoilt rotten and share in the love over this festive season. I get to have tomorrow off and then back at it Boxing Day.

(Photo from Sabinche - Flickr)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Here I come!!!

Ok, so I have signed up for my second 70.3 - Yeppoon, without having done my first. Not sure if it was a wise decision, but something in me told me to DO IT. It had been playing on my mind for a while now and I thought if I was going to do another one after Port Macquarie then this would be the one. Heck, if I totally sucked at Number 2 then I could atleast rest and recoup at Capricorn Resort, Yeppoon.

Look at this place, it is spectacular. Capricorn Resort is nestled on 20km of secluded coral reef coastline (Great Barrier Reef) and looking out towards the neighbouring Great Keppel Islands. It has a host of things to do and see with over 25 free things to do or for extra costs you could go beach horse riding, canoe adventures and the list goes on. My kids will love this place and so will hubby. My daughter even said "whilst your out doing you stuff mum, we can rest and relax in the pool and watch you run over the bridge". Gotta love teenage motivation.

I have also calculated it to be 105 days after my Port Macquarie 70.3. Three and bit months of more training should see me get a little better at it hopefully, or atleast make it not hurt as bad. The course at Yeppoon looks really manageable too. The swim course is a straight out and back with water temps being around 22-23 degrees celsius PERFECT. Funny thing about it is that you have to walk about 1.7km to the starting point - one could use that as a bit of a warm up.

The bike leg is a 5 lap flat route. Should make for some very fast times but it could also make for some real challenging mind games. 70% of the ride is along the coastline on closed roads or closed lanes. Can't wait - if the images are anything to go by I should be totally distracted along the way.

The run which will be my hardest leg as always is set entirely within the resort grounds. It has a combination of hard and soft terrain with plenty of shade and finishes right in the middle of the resort. Once finished you get to cool down those weary muscles in the pool.
What more could I ask for in a race. Yeppoon 70.3 HERE I COME.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tryin' something new

Since the kiddies have been on school holidays it has been a bit of a juggle trying to do the required training on the appropriate days. However, I took heed from all of your comments and am trying very hard to not stress and just make do with what I have available - and if that means mixing my days up to get it done then so be it. This creature of habit is learning a new trait - flexibility of the mind.

So with the kids home and it being the windiest day I have seen in a while, as well as the fact that I slept in I decided to change my swim/run day to my Tuesday bike/run day. Now, I know that sounds crazy, but I did a windtrainer/run session with TopNotch in the evening. Absolutely awesome. I learnt so much - like when I get tired I start to bounce around on the saddle. This is turn makes my upper body wobble around and waste more energy then I need to. This took more focus then I thought. I had to squeeze my butt cheeks and hold my core so tight I almost forgot to breathe. Eliza would just keep saying "your bouncing Barb". One good thing is I don't toe point when I ride.

We ended up doing some one-legged drills which I had never done before. I think I held the momentum quite well as there were no clunking sounds when I would turn the peddle over. Guess that means I was using both my quads and hammies effectively. Hoping this will be part of my next month's training plan.

During the session we did a pyramid workout which consisted of 2, 4, 6, 8, 6, 4, 2 mins at race pace holding a cadence of around 90 with a 1, 2, 3, 4, 3, 2, 1 min recovery inbetween. Not bad, I think I did well. I know I am definately finding a 90 cadence much easier than I used to and I am recovering alot faster inbetween too. In 1hr 7mins I did 31.6km, not bad. Didn't feel like it.

After we did the last cool down it was then time to get off the bike, put on my runners and go for a leisurely jaunt around the oval 3 times and then up the hill and back. My legs felt heavy and wobbly but within 600m I felt okay. Either my legs are getting used to that funny sensation or I am getting better at ignoring it. Either way, it was done at a nice leisurely pace, one I would have been able to speak through.

Since starting in this wonderful world of Triathlons I have been keeping track of my kilometres through DailyMile and last week saw me accomplish the most kilometres in one week to date.

196km in one week.
Never in my wildest dreams a year ago would I have ever thought that I would accomplish so many kilometres in a week - and I know this will only grow as my training becomes for focused in the New Year. This is terribly exciting.

My swimming is coming along nicely too. Today I did a 3.6km session without too much fuss.
  • 500m easy Fr/s
  • 500m Fr/s with pullbouy
  • 4 x 50m Fr/s building speed, 10 secs rest
  • 16 x 50m Fr/s 2 x 50 on 1.20
  • 2 x 50 on 1.15
  • 2 x 50 on 1.10
  • 2 x 50 on 1.05
  • 2 x 50 on 1.00
  • 2 x 50 on 55
  • 2 x 50 on 50
  • 2 x 50 on 45
  • 6 x 200m 3 with pullbouy 3 without on 3:30
  • 400m cooldown
Feeling stronger, more controlled and focused - just how I like it.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Panther Cycles Family Race Day/Enduro Race

What a night. Probably the best night I have had in a while. Not just because I got to race but because I got to spend it with the best club in the world - PTC. Yeah, I know I'm biased, but what can I say - never in my life have I had that much support out on a race field. I am used to the whole solitary, water in the ears, can't hear a thing kind of environment. So to be part of a community where all I can hear is "Go Barb, doing good" spurs me on to no end.

What made it even more fun is that I got to dress up my helmet.

I even had a pair of Jingle Bells just under my bike saddle, kind of cute and happy sounding initially, but by the end - those jingle sounds were driving me a bit batty.

The Panther Cycles Family Race Day is a yearly event. The aim of the day was to get the whole club together all at the one time - enjoying the atmosphere, spending time together, having a race and then a great feed afterwards. The race I had signed up for was the Enduro Race. Basically, it was a 250m swim, 10km cycle, 2km run TWICE OVER.

Hard as!!!!!
My heart rate had not one minute to drop to within normal realms. But really, I didn't care. What I liked was that because I knew this was a fun event there was no pressure on me (by me) to try to go all like a crazy person. In the first swim, I always position myself out in the front, but this meant I was up with all the guys - fast guys and their arms and legs. Kind of felt like a huge washing machine. Couldn't really see a thing so I followed the bubbles. I even scored a kick in the forehead which didn't hurt too bad but it left me a bit bewildered.

Not sure of my swim exit position but I do know there were a tonne of people in front of me, so by the time I got to T1 there alot of bikes already off their racks. Out on bike number one I felt okay apart from taking one corner slightly wide which saw me come face to face with the grass for a couple of seconds (what a dill). I couldn't even hide from that as one of the guys rode past and said "took that one a bit wide" - yep, sure did. Don't know what happened other than I was already tired or my manouvering skills are up S*#t creek.

As I continued cycling the normal thing happened - I kept getting passed by the guys and girls. It's amazing all I can hear is the deep swooshing sounds of their tyres as they so elegantly ride past - making it all seem so effortless - whilst I peddle like a maniac. But for all of those that passed me they all had praise to give to me. What more could a girl want.

Back into T2 and it was on with the sneakers and out for the 2km run. I was feeling okay actually. I was enjoying watching everyone as they ran past me or towards me (depending how far ahead they were). Love being in amongst the atmosphere. The camaraderie is just more than I have ever anticipated. No-one was short of encouraging words even whilst they were all hurting and pushing themselves, they all looked my way and either smiled, gave me a much needed tap on the shoulder or told me how good I was doing.

As I ran back into transition I was contemplating whether to put my swim cap on again - I decided not to - too much energy so I grabbed the goggles and headed back out. Cal (one of the officials) said "give us your best dive". With what little energy I had left I mustered up a "horsie"

This time in the water I didn't feel like a speed boat - more like a barge. My arms felt so heavy and I just couldn't get my breath, so when I finally exited the water it was a welcome relief - I know shock horror. I have never said that before. The next bike leg I think went a bit better than the first. I got to enjoy some great company for a brief period along the way - Compression Man and Shane kept me laughing.
Compression Man Rocks.
I even got to run arm in arm with this handsome chap. How lucky am I. He truly was a sight for sore eyes - those long golden locks flowing in the breeze. I was a happy girl - all the pain in my legs forgotten. Underneath all this gear is a really nice person to boot - Jason.

I didn't finish with any great times - lord knows I am no wonder triathlete - but F.U.N I had in abundance. My finishing time was 1:08:28 - I am happy. After all was said and done and I got to enjoy some great food and mingle with everyone. Unfortunately hubby got stuck at work and couldn't see me race but he made it just after I finished. We didn't end up leaving the Regatta Centre till close to 9pm as we ended up chatting (another passion of mine).

Yesterday I did my usual Saturday swim session with TopNotch. It was a really good session - we focused alot on drills - you can never get enough drills I think. Constant repetition makes for better and faster swimming.

Then this morning it was our usual bunch ride. There were 8 of us today - Me, Cloe, Elissa, Kylie, Drew, Josh, Matt and Sarah. What a great ride. Was not expecting the fella's - but it sure made for another fun ride. I got helped up one small mole hill by Drew - thankyou. I am even contemplating attempting Yarramundi. Maybe early next year. Yes I know next year is only 12 days away. Give me a couple more attempts at Cobbitty and then I will try it. But like I have said - you all will be waiting forever for me to climb those hills and you will have eaten lunch and afternoon tea AND had a nanna nap before I get to the top.

113km under the belt
I have to give a massive shout out to both Sarah and Elissa. To Sarah because she did her longest ride to date and did stupendously. Well done. And to Elissa because she did her first century ride plus some. What a great morning. My second Century Ride in a week. Too Good.

Upon returning home there was no rest for the wicked - Grocery Shopping was next on the list BLAH. But I did get spoilt by my daughter after it was all said and done - she prepared a wonderful Radox bath to soothe my weary muscles. Love you Tails. What a great weekend.

Friday, December 17, 2010


This was yesterday's insane weather here at home. Aren't we supposed to be in Summer? Atleast that's what I thought until I saw these dark grey even sickly green clouds come over the horizon. Haven't seen anything like this ever - it was almost like seeing a scene out of "The Day After Tomorrow". Just glad I was scheduled a rest day or I would have been out there in that doing a run.
Can you imagine getting hit in the head with one of these!
The wind was so strong and fierce and coming in horizontally that these babies were hitting my windows, making holes in the courtyard roof and denting my car so bad that it now looks like it has cellulite - poor little Jeep. So after it was all said and done the clean up around the home began and taking loads of photos for insurance purposes was a definate must.

The poor dogs didn't know what happened - they had scurried into the cubby house and not a peep was heard from them until it was all over. When they finally did emerge, they tip toed through the backyard smelling all the hail and looking up at the sky. Don't blame them really, there was still lightening and thunder to be heard and seen in the distance.

There were reports of flash flooding everywhere, roofs collapsing, power outages, and lots of debris all through town. Fingers crossed we don't get a repeat of this weather today as we have our club race. It's known as the Panthers Cycle Family Race Day - all for fun and we get to dress up too. Will post photo's on next post. Lets just say my helmet is very cute.

My main concern though is if I can run. My legs are totally trashed from Wednesday's track session. Why is it my calf muscles always feel as though they have been ripped to bits after track? I guess after 14 x 200's done on a constant 48-49secs would do it. I know, they don't sound fast but that's holding a fairly decent pace for me - so I am super happy with my efforts. And I think I am recovering alot faster inbetween sets too. Good thing too Eliza said to me only on the 10th 200 that I was starting to look a bit tired and sit in my stride versus being nice and upright. A couple of months ago I would have been tired on the 2nd one. So things are definately looking up.

I have also been very busy putting together a Playlist for the club race. Fingers crossed everyone likes it. It's quite an eclectic mix of favourites as well as requests from our clubbies. I think I am now well rounded in the Top 100's list from the 70's right through to today's stuff.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Is it any wonder.

All I can say is "can't believe I was actually able to do what I was doing" considering my carbohydrate intake was well below par. And it's no wonder I was feeling so down mentally but most of all physically for a while. My nutritionist Rebecca said my carbohydrate intake based on 7gms per kg of bodyweight should be 469gms. After filling out my food diary for a couple of days it was estimated that I was only getting around the 160-180gms - RIDICULOUS.

I wasn't doing it on purpose - I am just not a big bread eater, or pasta eater, or potato eater. And really not having a big knowledge of foods I was just not going for things that were going to be fuelling me for my next workout. And so instead of going into each workout with my muscle glycogen stores all topped up I was trying to squeeze out most of my workouts on depleted muscles. No wonder everything hurt and I was starting to hit the proverbial wall earlier on in nearly all of my workouts.

So now I am armed with a Meal Plan and a list of Carbohydrate Foods for Fuelling and Recovery that I can eat whilst I am on my longer training sessions. It states that endurance athletes should be trying to consume between 30-60g of Carbs every hour after the first 60mins of exercise. So now that I have my list it is time to start getting creative with the different types of foods I can eat whilst on the bike and order myself the High 5 Energy Gels (these are the only ones I like). Two of these gels would give me 46g of carbs without that disgusting aftertaste that most seem to give me. I also really only like the Orange Flavour, but Summer Fruits are too bad either.

I also need to weigh myself a few times pre/post long activities. The goal is to lose less than 2% of my total bodyweight in fluid. Anything over that is not acceptable. And of course I forgot to do this this morning when I headed out for my bike ride at 0600hrs. Brain wasn't in gear at that time of the morning but I did do a 2hr bike ride before hubby left for work and managed to ride 48km. I also ate an Uncle Toby's Muesli Bar which gave me 20.2g of carbs and had 500mls of Staminade which gave me 30.4g - a good total for the hour of 50.6g. For breakfast before I left I also had 3 Weetbix, a cup of coffee and a glass of water. So I think I was pretty set for the first hour.

Needless to say I also need to hydrate well which I have been doing religiously now. My hubby ended up hiring one of those Water Cooler Stations and it is perfectly positioned next to my computer considering I spend alot of time writing - remember this is my passion. So, no sooner is my glass empty I just turn around and refill it. Rebecca has also said that hydration is really important not only for the obvious reasons but also because I am increasing the intake of fibrous foods this could upset the gut - so fluids will keep things happening - literally.

~Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they're supposed to help you discover who you are.~

~Bernice Johnson Reagon~

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Century Ride.

I did it, I did it, I did it. After all my whinging and whineing about how tired I have been and how I needed heaps of rest, I finally squeezed out my first CENTURY RIDE.

Was this my plan upon waking up this morning? No. The aim was just to go out for a 3 hour ride and just spend quality time in the saddle. After speaking to my coach she made it very clear that Aerobic means Aerobic. She doesn't want me giving 100% on every training session - and I know she has never expected it - the pressure I feel to perform is all in my own little head. It was good to hear her reinforce those words yet again. This gives me the permission to just go SLOW.

So I headed off at 5:45hrs to meet the girls at the Truckstop at 6:15. The air was unusually crisp at that time of the morning which made it a bit tough on the lungs initially, however as we headed off with the destination of Richmond-Windsor in mind it didn't take long for the lungs to feel better. Group riding is so much better than doing it on your own. Conversations along the way make for great distractions and moral boosting.

Most of the roads were sealed beautifully - that was until we hit just past Castlereagh/Agnes Banks and then it was as though the council decided "can't be bothered maintaining them". Pot holes, uneven surfaces, no bike path - no room for error. The majority of the outback roads were shared space with vehicles - so lucky it was a Sunday morning, it wasn't too bad. Would hate to see it weekdays - SCARY.

A section of our ride was a bit of an adventure - not quite sure if anyone knew precisely where we were going - so it made for a fun ride. We rode past alot of Turf farms and market gardeners doing their thing and a group of joggers getting in their long run before the heat of the day set in. The usual "Hey, how ya goin'?" is said as we rode past them with a prompt response of "Fine" as the sound of their footsteps disappears into the distance behind us.

Photo taking and navigation on a bumpy road requires a degree.

We finally made it back to civilisation and stopped at the local servo - one to refuel and secondly to stretch. At this point we were at the halfway mark and I had already clocked 55km. I mentioned to the girls (as I did a little jig) that I think today was going to be the day I did my first 100km ever - much to the amusement of some random guy who was walking into the service station. I was so excited - I could taste the victory of my first major biking accomplishment. This was HUGE.

The ride home saw myself and Bernie get chased by some dog who thought we looked too good to eat. I have never, ever pedalled so hard and fast in my life - and boy - can dogs run like the wind. I was even contemplating should he catch up with me in unclipping and giving him a swift kick - but I didn't need to thank goodness (don't like animal cruelty) but he was scary.

Coming through the main town Cloe, Renee and Kylie headed off home and Bernie decided to stick with me back to home - thanks Bernie. As we got back to the local shops I had only 2.5km left to reach my first ever 100km ride. So I said BYE and made the last little stretch home - I even rode around the estate for about a minute just to make sure I didn't get home and be just shy of the 100km mark. When I finally pulled up the driveway - this is what I saw on my bike computer:

100km in 3hrs 49mins

Am I excited? You bet ya. Looks like I needed those days off to pull this one off.

Friday, December 10, 2010


Baby steps forward, that's what I have been taking since my last blogpost. No activity has been the flavour of the week, and might I say - although I was quite down in dulldrums, I have since tried to focus on the pleasures to be had by not trying to squeeze in a workout whilst tired. I am refuelling the mind with comforting words from many sources (friend and literature alike) and the body with fresh fruit and vegies and a bucket load of the good stuff H2O.

I have taken walks through my garden, and although at first my steps felt dull and lifeless due to fatigue.
The beauty to be had brightened my perspective immensely.

I mean look at the little guy. Working tirelessly - fleeting from one flower to another with one goal in mind. Talk about devotion and dedication to a cause. Lesson to be learnt from this little individual.

I also got to focus on writing some Chrissy cards on these beautiful little cards sent to me from Kirsten at paperbyforgetmenot. How cute are they!!! Kirsten is so gifted and talented - make sure you check out all her wares. Thankyou, your a gem.

During this downtime I also got to focus on my nutrition and have been eating really well. But I still think I need help - so I have enlisted the help of a Sports Nutritionist. I really need someone to hold my hand and guide for me a couple of weeks atleast so I understand exactly what, when, how and why of what I should be eating to get the most out of everyday.

Look forward to meeting up with Rebecca on Monday. Should be an eye opener. From now until then I have to fill out a food diary so she can see my daily intake and exercise regime. I wonder what she will say.

Barb's mind is back on track.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Not much week.

So far this week I have only done 47kms. Tuesday as you recall I was hot, bothered and tired but I mustered up enough strength to get it done. Yesterday I was meant to do my swim and track work - but just couldn't. Apart from kids piano lessons and Kyle going to an end of year pool party I just didn't have enough "get up and go" for my at home 40min run that I was supposed to do.

I am also mentally in a slump today. Which is why I am having another day off. If there is one thing I am getting good at and that is listening to my body. But at the same time I am feeling very upset that I am missing out on all my training. I would have dearly loved to have gone to track last night but even if I didn't have any other prior engagements the quality of my session would have been poor. I am frustrated. Can you tell?

I am over being tired and complaining about it.

Will this get better? I sure hope so. This taking 2 steps forward and 3 steps back does my head in. It never happened with my swimming - but then again I was younger and the distances were alot different and I was only focused on one discipline.

So thought I would just vent for a bit and get it off my chest - has it made me feel better - not really. Would a catnap help - probably. Can I get a catnap - NO, children have now finished school for the year. This is another thing I am starting to fret about. How am I meant to get all my training in without it interfering with family and life. How am I meant to split myself in two pieces let alone 2 thousand pieces and still leave a little something for me at the end so I can recover. I don't know how to do this and it is making me feel anxious as well.

How do you all manage it once the kids are home for the holidays?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Drippety Drip.

The weather is Sydney has been absolutely atrocious for a couple of weeks now. If it's not raining torrentially then it's sunny and humid - which makes for very hot and sticky training. I think this has been half the reason why I took that little turn on Saturday at swim training. The earth's atmosphere feels really heavy and thick - and most mornings I am waking up to a decent amount of fog and haze which signals another day of heat and high humidity.

Sauna Training
Makes me wonder how people who live in this sort of weather year round do it - or even though professional triathlete's who compete once a year in it cope. Heat and humidity are probably my worst enemy and if I could have a choice as to the time I year I would prefer to train in it would be Spring or Autumn - perfect weather really.

Even my Doc who has now put me on a preventer for my Asthma has mentioned the increase in people coming in with complaints about allergies and ailments related to our crazy weather. I am now on 1 puff twice daily of Seretide. Hopefully this will reduce my need for Ventolin (reliever) during my workouts by helping strengthen my lungs. Don't really like being on steroid again but this gets right to the problem versus being systemic like the Prednisone I was on for my back.

So yesterday I went for my interval bike ride. It was meant to be 2hrs worth but I just didn't have it in me. 1hr and 35mins later I pulled up home after doing 5 x 10min Zone 3 intervals and just felt BLAH. But I knew I still had a 20min run off the bike to do. So I got changed even though every fibre of my being was yelling out to have a shower and rest and headed out the door in this oppressive humidity.

Every step was painful - not because I had injured something - I just was really struggling to put one foot in front of the other. The only thing that really got me through was knowing that when I got home I could have a super cold drink of water and a freezing cold shower. I also noticed something else during this run that is a slight cause for concern in terms of how my body handles heat - I was getting goosebumps (yep the kind you get when you are freezing cold). If didn't just happen once, it happened a few times which made me hurry home even quicker to cool down. I couldn't even rest on the side of the road to cool down as there are absolutely no trees where I run. Will have to start looking at different times of the day to train for running which is hard when I am expected to do those bike/run bricks.

Then last night I went to have dinner with a dear friend who I haven't seen in ages. We ate yummy pizzas and salad and better yet we laughed a whole heap. Thanks Marisa for a beautiful evening. I have never eaten so much as I did last night. I almost devoured a whole pizza by myself and although my stomach was in agony after eating it all cause I was that full - I enjoyed every morsel and did not feel guilty. In fact I have to eat like crazy to regain the 2kgs I have dropped in the last week. I am now teetering at 64kgs on a 178cm frame and vowed I wouldn't drop below 65 so it's now time to just eat, eat, eat.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Where'd that come from?

How is it you can go from feeling so good one minute, to totally BLAH the next back to okay in a 20 min turnaround? Seems my body wanted to give me a wake up call and let me know who was in control.

Saturday was a pretty regular day - woke up - didn't do much at all apart from the usual house stuff and then headed off to the pools in the afternoon for my swim session. I felt fine through the warm up and 900m worth of drills - nothing, not an inckling of what was about to happen. The only thing I was feeling were tight shoulders however I even went so far as to let Chris the coach know how good I was feeling and how I had run a total of 23km for the week and felt good.

As we headed into our main set of 6 x 300m (done as 50m, 100m 150m in 40, 1:20, 2:00 respectively) I knew something was amiss. I just wasn't able to get my breath effectively in the first 300. I put it down to that initial need for added oxygen when you increase your workout. But as the next one started I really, really felt myself gasping for air. No matter how hard I tried to get a decent breath I just couldn't. It was as if I had a belt being tightened on every inhaled breath.

It got to the point where I could literally hear air moving loudly through the air passages. I signalled to Chris and he asked if I was alright - all I could do was signal for my puffer. Man, can he run like the wind. I made my way out of the pool to meet him half way and quickly took my inhaler. It has been ages - I mean years since something has happened like that to me. It's really a frightening experience and has just made me realise that I need to never, ever forget my puffer EVER. One of my friends mentioned about having it with me (onboard) when I do my open water swims. Definately makes sense - which more than likely have to put it in a zip lock sandwich bag to keep it dry.

After some rest on the side of the pool I took off again but at a much slower pace - just trying to relax the airways. It's something I was always taught to do from a young age. My coach back then would make me do kick when I was having a minor attack - just so I could focus on my breathing. He would walk beside me until it settled and then I was expected to just get back into it once it was done. So I guess that mentality stuck - keep moving.

After squad was done - I was left sort of feeling a bit flat but other than that the lungs felt good - like nothing had happened. But I did realise that maybe I needed to go back on a preventer like in my younger days. The fact that I am pushing myself harder and harder everytime indicates to me that the possibility of my exercise induced asthma reering it's ugly head again is extremely high. So that's where I am off to today apart from a swim and run of course.

Yesterday, I started the Sunday off with a really nice 60km ride with 2 friends. This ride was interspersed with some tempo stuff but all in all it was quite a nice and enjoyable ride. The weather was perfect - really still apart from the loud laughs and chatter of 3 women out for a ride at 0630am. Thank goodness where we ride is fairly rural so the houses are positioned quite a ways back from the road, otherwise we would have heard some colourful language.

After getting home we decided to pop the Christmas tree up. A little late this year but better late than never. Mum decided to bring her presents over as we will be spending Christmas Day together this year - last year I think we did Christmas Eve together.

What are you guys planning on doing for Chrissy?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I'm back - now for some photos.

I have been searching through the Hills Tri Club website for the last week awaiting these photos and they are here. I really like my cycling shots but my running ones always seem to accentuate how little I actually raise my legs off the floor.
Talk about popping veins on my neck.
Nearly done.
Critique away.
Even the guy behind me seems to be questioning my running style.

I am trying to get better at improving my style but I guess some things take longer than others. I think I also need to relax my arms - I look like I am going into battle.

Yesterday when I went for my bike ride I came across a very unfamiliar sound, the river that runs near home which has usually been still and dry was now full of running water thanks to all the rain we have had over the last week or so.

There's just something about the sound of running water that I find really relaxing. I stood at this bridge for a while and just took in everything - the sounds, the smells, the beautiful view - I am sure the motorists driving by where wondering what this woman was contemplating, all alone staring out over a precipice. I have driven this road many a time and never really stopped to take in all of what it has to offer, and now that I have I will be stopping more often.

When I got home from the ride I quickly stopped by the local newsagent hoping that one of my friends from the Tri Club had made it into the local Penrith Press. His story is truly one of remarkable strength - not just physically but mentally as well. Here, have a read:

100km later and Luke's still smiling - priceless.

And for more news within our local circle my friend Andrew aka Macca scored himself some first positions in the Clarence St Cyclery Cup 2010.
  • 1st Open Men's Combined Scratch Race (Div 3/4)
  • 1st Clarence St Cyclery Cup Wheel Race Repechage 1.

Congrats Macca.

I was meant to go and watch this race but I had my Sprint Tri on at the same time. I have never been to the Velodrome before and I am more than 100% sure I would love it. The insane speed these cyclists get up to has my jaw dropping to the floor. My question though is How do you stop? There's no brakes - my fear would be coming to an abrupt stop by means of a collision - which I know has happened more times than not. And if I was to have a go at the Velodrome I would need the St Johns Ambulance there to pull me out of a mass of mangled bike metal. I take my hat off to you Macca.

My see if we can sort out having a go at it - would be fun.

Your hard work will be rewarded.

"The path to a dream is paved with sacrifices and lined with determination. And though it has many stumbling blocks along the way, and may go in more than one direction, it is travelled by belief and courage and conquered with a willingness to face challenges and take chances" Barbara Cage