Thursday, September 30, 2010

Should I start the two a day today?

Of course. I wanted to take advantage of the yummy weather I was blessed with today. So I headed down to the pools and just did a nice easy 1400m swim. Can't exactly say why my swim was so short other than a coffee and my best friend were beckoning, and I thought that seeing as this is my last week before I start my training in earnest I would be allowed to make it easy. So I just did a few 100's, some kick with fins and some Bk/s mixed in for variety.

As I was getting changed I realised how much of a patchwork quilt my body looked like with all its tan lines. I have the cycling/tri short marks on my legs, a nice white belly, the swimmers "O" on my back and singlet marks on my shoulder. Not a glamorous look at all. So I was thinking in the name of beauty I had to get myself a cossie that I could wear for training as well as at the beach and hope that it would blend some of the lines.

I also decided to get myself a new pair of goggles as my last pair although totally awesome are probably a bit too dark for open water swimming. So I got myself the AquaSphere Kaiman. They have tinted lens but nothing like my Vorgee Missile.

I also received in the mail today upon my return from my swim my compression socks. Talk about impeccable service from EziSports. I put in my order and in less than 24hours it is at my doorstep. So I thought I would try my 3km run with them and see how the legs pulled up. They are so super comfy. Not too tight and not too loose. They are thick enough to assist in compression but light enough so you don't overheat. And my one concern was that they might slide down as I ran, but they stayed put.
I also wanted to see if it helped with my ankle swelling, and I am pleased to announce that my ankles came back from the 3km run this afternoon nice and slender, not an ounce of swelling was noticed. I did get some strange looks as I was out running. Not sure if it's because they liked my new socks or because I looked like a 70's basketball player. I like to think it's because I looked like a professional runner. A girl can dream.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I received an email yesterday evening from my coach. This new email held the contents of the beginning of my new program to get me to the 70.3 next year in May. Am I excited? For sure. I actually cannot wait. Never in my wildest dreams some 18mths ago would I have ever contemplated being excited about a long arduous journey like the one I am about to embark on. But there is something reassuring and calming about having a program set in concrete to follow. I know that step by step, day by day, week by week and month by month I will inch my way closer to the my goal.

My new training works on a monthly basis with slow increments being made in the running department. By the end of October I will have made my way to running 5km which will coincide with my first ever Sprint Tri. Another goal I am looking to conquer. This months training program goes something like this:
  • Monday: Swim/Run
  • Tuesday: Bike ride
  • Wednesday: Run
  • Thursday: Swim
  • Friday: Spin/Run
  • Saturday: Ride/Swim
  • Sunday: Off
Kind of looking forward to the 2 a day sessions as it will definately improve stamina. Must get really cracking on my vitamin supplementation and not forget any of them or run out, as it always takes me a week or so to get some more.

Today I had some more physio and I am pleased to say that my paraspinals have a little more movement in them. And why shouldn't they when I am getting a really good workout once a week. I haven't felt that horrible nerve pinch in a while so even though the pain at physio can at times be unbearable I will continue to endure it because the benefits are unreal. My back feels great.

Things are looking up so BRING IT ON.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Feeling good.

After Saturday's Triathlon and the euphoria that went with it subsiding, I decided to keep my word in going for the long bike ride on Sunday morning with the Panther's girls. I am happy to report that I rode a new distance - 64km to be exact. Not a great deal more but after Saturday's effort my legs were just about toast. Once again I confronted the motorway and on the way back I even headed back to my car on my own. I felt confident enough to be able to manouevre myself around a roundabout and when I got back to the car I was even tempted to ride straight past it and head home. And if my legs felt fresh I would have gone straight home and gotten Stephen to take me back to pick up the car. But I piked out and drove home instead.

Yesterday was a much needed rest day and I am really considering buying some compression gear for my lower legs. They felt so tight and full of fluid that I think my circulatory system needs some help in shunting it back. My ankles were/are also quite swollen and tight which seems to coincide with the warmer weather. I had much the same thing happen last year around Christmas when my ankles became cankles. Not a pretty sight at all.

But this has not put me off still getting out and keeping up with my training. I did another 3km run this afternoon and felt surprisingly fresh in the legs. I tried to pay attention to my form as I noticed in my photos that I am a real heal striker. It is not so bad when I feel good but as the run continues it just progressively gets worse. Have a look:

Atleast I am still smiling. It could be worse I guess.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Light up the Lakes Triathlon.

I woke up this morning to the best weather ever for the "Light up the lakes" Triathlon. Weather forecast was 27 degrees celsius with slight winds and some cloud cover. I could not have asked for anything better. I was excited and nervous but most of all just itching to head down to the lakes to get it started. But first thing was first! Anyone who knows me knows that my hair is probably as uncontrollable as a 2 yr old child who has just been denied a lolly pop at the candy store. It will not behave for anyone. So I headed to the hairdresser to get my hair braided into 2 cute little pigtails. I thought I looked neat, my kids thought I looked like a kid. I think it was because it was so tight I had an instant face lift - I wasn't complaining.

Once at the lakes I racked my bike in a fairly decent spot I thought, right on the end not too far from the bike exit and only a stones throw away from the run exit. I knew I could get to my bike without too much hassle. After that it was time to get suited up and head down to the water to get a bit of a warm up swim. I had to borrow a wetsuit as my new suit had still not arrived, but this suit was sleeveless and because the water was so cold - 19 degrees celsius I first had to dunk my arms into the water and get my face wet to acclimatise to the briskness of the water.
No sooner did I get my face wet I just dove straight in and tried to not let it affect my breathing. It was just so cold so I kept swimming to warm up. Before I knew it it was time for race briefing and then time to get back in the water and get ready to start. I was pumped, ready to just get this happening - my nerves were making me feel sick.
The starter set us on our way and I took off. Not quite sure what my speed was like but I did feel so much more tired. Not sure if the cold water and it's vasoconstrictive effects on the human body affected me but I got to the 200m mark and was pooped. I had no problem sighting but the tiredness I was feeling was little unnerving. Maybe the tightness of the wetsuit was another possible cause. I just couldn't get my breath properly either. Before I knew it I was turning at the buoy and heading for the ramp. Exiting the ramp was slightly difficult. Moss had covered a section of it so I couldn't actually stand. I had to grip and crawl up it.
However once on my feet I headed for T1 in a bit of a frazzle because I couldn't find my cord to unzip.

Once I found it I broke into a good stride and headed straight to where my bike was racked. Off came the wetsuit, on went the shoes and helmet and off I headed. Not a bad first attempt at trying to remove the wetsuit I thought.

The bike leg was great. I averaged about 30km/hr through the 10km ride. On one side it was slightly easier as I had a tailwind, however coming back saw a considerable decline in the speed, so I clicked into an easier gear and just tried to spin the legs. By the end they were hurting quite a bit.
T2 was alot easier and I think I dismounted my bike fairly well, atleast there was no wall for me to stack it into this time around. So off I headed for my hardest leg. The run! I was actually quite surprised how once I started running, my legs didn't feel too trashed at all. I was tired but not completely knackered.

So I headed off for my run and was just hoping to complete it without having to stop to walk for any length of it. What I didn't expect was to have PR'd in both my bike and run legs.

  • Swim 250m - 4:06
  • T1 - 30:12 secs
  • Bike 10km - 19:33
  • T2 - 18:81 secs
  • Run 2.5km - 13:32
I have not gotten my official finishing time yet but I think just by looking quickly I have beaten my last time by about 3 minutes. When I get the official times I will post a comparison of the two. Should be interesting.

So now I can safely and proudly safe I am no longer a one time line crosser. I have just completed my second short Triathlon and loved every aspect of it. Can't wait for the next one.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Kids, don't try this at home.

Seeing as I had my son home sick yesterday I decided to keep my run close to home. Just 3km is what was on the books and even though my body protested I still managed to run it all bar 30 secs, which I dedicated to trying to walk out a stitch. And when walking didn't help I continued running but at a much slower pace until it finally decided to relent. There is nothing worse than a stitch, feels like your about to split in two.

When I got back I asked Kurt is he could time me in my transitions. It was right about that time you all would have wished you were a fly on the wall. I had said to Kurt "time me from the moment I get to the gear and stop timing when I click onto the bike". Cool, didn't seem hard the last time I practiced it, but this time I had new shoes and a new bike. Aliyah and I are still getting to know eachother, even though all of our rides to date have been absolutely awesome. But she was just about to teach me a lesson I would not forget.

All went well up till the moment I went to clip in, and without thinking as I pushed my right foot down to clip in I took off like a lightening bolt straight into the wall in front of me. I had forgotten one crucial key step in mounting a bike indoors or anywhere for that matter, keep your hand on the brakes. The momentum with which I took off with gave me absolutely no time to fumble for the gears and before I knew it the wall and I were getting better acquainted. But then it seemed the floor didn't want to miss out on the party so I soon greeted it with a tentative thump.

Of course I couldn't floor to the side that was unclipped - Noooooo, that would be asking too much. Never mind lesson was learnt. Practice drills on bike outside.

Kurt came running over asking me if I was alright as I was not answering him. If I had of stopped laughing maybe I could of. I still am laughing everytime I think about it. The only injury out of this mishap was that my right back break is now making contact with the rim. Nevermind, will get that looked at soon enough. It's not making total contact, just slightly.

Tomorrow is my first Triathlon of the season. Wish me luck everyone. Only doing the Enticer again - trying to wean my legs back into it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Parenting and training.

I always thought that juggling parenthood and work was hard, that was until I found out that juggling parenthood and training was harder still. When I was at work if one of my children were sick I would just call up work and the have the day off and not feel too bad about it. Sure I hated leaving my colleagues short staffed but I didn't have that intense guilt or heartache that missing training gives me.

When I miss a day training I am constantly thinking 'what a waste of a day" but then I feel guilty thinking that way too when one of my kids are sick. Sometimes I wish I could split myself in two when needed and have the "Stay at home Barbie" for just these sort of days when a child is sick and then send my alter ego "Triathlete Barbie" out on her merry way to galavant around the countryside.

I was hoping that yesterday I was going to get a 40km bike ride in but that wasn't the case as 10km into the ride the inevitable ring of the phone followed by "hello, this is the school nurse, your son is sick, he needs to go home" put an end to that. Poor guy, when I got to school he was just lying flat out on the bed and just looked so tired. It's amazing how even at almost 15yrs of age and my height, I still manage to see him as a little helpless thing when he is sick. So, I took Mr K to the docs and then home.

Looking back on the short ride I still managed to maintain a fairly good speed throughout. I averaged about 27kph and felt strong in the legs. And I practiced constant gear changing going around corners so I could pull out of the corner strongly. I have since realised it feels much like driving a car. And because I drive a manual I should have thought of this ages ago - duh!

So today will be designated as a 3km run but nice and close around home should my son need me and hopefully this time I will not have to tackle Miss Queen B and her entourage. I am also going to try and practice my transitioning. Should put a smile on my son's face for a while.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Spilling the beans.

Okay, so now that's it been made official and all, I guess I can open up and tell you all what has been transpiring over the course of the last 6 days. It all happened in a whirlwind fashion - like an unexpected romance that just knocks you off your feet. And it all started over a comment that I made on FaceBook. A comment, which I thought quite innocuous has now gotten me to where I am today. I am a firm believer in that if you just put it out there - whatever it may be - the universe will take care of the rest.

So, my comment on FB went something like this "Barbara, wonders why there is no AquaBiking here in Australia" followed by a clarification of "Barbara, wonders why there are no AquaBike events here in Australia" as I found out that there is AquaBiking only it's not a long course event but rather the big floaty bikes in the water - thanks Anita. This comment seemed to have gotten the interest of the Panther's Tri Club President and it was from that point on that things snowballed.

He too thought it would be a good idea to try and get some AquaBike events incorporated into the club races. This would not only benefit those who are injured but could help prolong the longevity of our Triathletes. Well, need I say I was so excited I ran around the house acting like a total shmuck and then broke out into the running man. But of course I needed to submit it to the committee and within minutes of receiving the president's interest I was on the club website
submitting an agenda item. Club meeting was on Monday night and I needed to make sure that this idea got given adequate time for discussion and I was going to attend.

The club president also stated that he really liked my blog, and wondered if he could link it within the club's website. Wow, that was just more than I could handle now. I was kind of in two minds about my blog going "local". Excited because now it meant I had friends from my club viewing my blog and hoped it would maybe show them how far I have come, but I was also a bit nervous about what their reactions would be and if they would think that maybe it was stupid. But I thought, what the heck, this was my life and if they thought it silly well they are welcomed to have their own opinion but I am proud of me. So I accepted the offer.

I was also offered in amongst all of this, a position as the club's 'Media & Public Relation's Director'. Can you believe it, this train had no brakes and was rolling full steam ahead. I mean okay, what does this position entail? Well, there was no better way than to find out by accepting, so I did. This was just too cool and offer to dismiss. And as my first port of call I now have my first article going into the local paper on Friday. Obviously it will be edited by the local journo, but essentially the info is mine with some added tweaking from the club president. I cannot believe it, my dream of writing in someway is going global in a local sort of way. I am also hoping that in the near future I will have written an article and it will go in a Triathlon Magazine.

So as of last night I am now officially Panthers Triathlon Clubs Media & Public Relations Director Extraordinaire. Am I excited, you bet. Am I nervous, yep. But what a journey this will be.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Spring has sprung.

September 1st 2010 brought forth Spring in Australia. And with the warmer weather and longer days, came all the animals and insects. I am not an insect person at all, in fact if you ask my kids they would tell you that my biggest fear is the Christmas beetle, and then not far behind that are bee's. Well, today was the day that I was to have a first hand encounter that I will never forget as long as I live.

My coach, Jodie told me for this week that she wanted me to run 2km x2 and 3km x1. And so with the beautifully warm weather I thought I would do the 2km one today, the 3km on Wednesday and my 2km as part of my Tri on Saturday.

Well, it seems the bee's had the same sort of idea about getting out and about. On my 1km trip out all was good, not a single sound apart from the scurrying of possible snakes in the shrubs. This didn't bother me at all, it was what lay ahead that was going to have me running for my life - literally.

On the way back I was just so caught up with listening to my laboured breathing that I didn't realise that I had run straight into the midst of a swarm of bee's, either migrating out of their hive or going back to it. Who cares which direction they were heading in, the fact was I was now running to get out of it. They were hitting me absolutely everywhere - my cheek, legs, arms, glasses and I in turn hit them as I flailed my arms like a lunatic trying to get through it all.

It seemed like I was amongst it all for atleast a minute but I am sure it was only for about 15 secs. I even tried to flag down a passing motorist but do you think he would stop? Not on your life. Not sure if I would have either - I mean the thought of a 6 foot lady running around like a crazed lunatic doesn't really foster thought's of wanting to be helpful.

So as I got home I checked on my watch and you would have thought that being chased by a swarm of angry bee's would make me run like Hussein Bolt. I still managed to run 6:07min/km pace. Sheesh, what's it going to take?????

Not sure if I will be heading in that direction for a while.

I cannot change.

I have been trying ever so hard - like a diligent student, to listen to everything my swim squad teachers say. And I always try - like a diligent student, to implement the changes to my stroke. I am a firm believer that there is always room for improvement. But it seems the more I try the worse my stroke gets. My head just cannot cater for so much information during the swim. I like the whole concept of nice high elbows (out of the water) as it gives me a nice clean catch but everything inbetween just seems to make me lose form. I guess after 30 yrs of swimming the saying "you can't teach an old dog new tricks", must ring true for the most part.

I think they could see my dilemma and have since just told me to swim. To forget about what it is I heard and just swim, because essentially however I swim I still move water, which is good, and I can hold about a 1min 30sec/100m. When I was trying to do as they were instructing my head was in constant dialogue with my arms
  • nice high elbow on exit
  • place hand directly in front of shoulder, don't cross over
  • clean entry
  • don't dip shoulder to get good catch
  • but then forget what the rest of my body was doing
And then in an instant my mind would have to refocus on the other arm. Physically it was challenging but mentally it was exhausting as I just couldn't enjoy swimming. So I was glad when he told me to just have fun and swim. Here was Saturday's session:
  • 400m Fr/s Warm up
  • 400m - 25m front entry scull, 25m Fr/s, 25m middle entry scull, 25m Fr/s
  • 100m recovery Fr/s hands were cramping from the scull
  • 8 x 50m Fr/s counting stroke for 50m
  • 300m - 50m Finger trailing, 50m Fr/s
  • 4 x 200m Fr/s on a 1:40 per 100m then 50m active recovery breastroke between 200m
  • 8 x 25m open water swim sprints
  • 100m nice easy Fr/s sighting every 4 strokes
I absolutely love and detest the open water swim starts. Love it because it's fast, furious and fun and hate it because I really can't see where I am going and I am grabbing at body parts in a blind panic (sorry boys). I guess that's half the fun but it's not something I am used to, so the more we practice these the better I will get at getting tougher and using my sighting techniques to see over the whitewash.

Yesterday was supposed to be the day where I would head into the city to see my friends do their Half and Full Marathon but after checking the website, the road closures were just too vast to even attempt getting in there in the morning. So we gave it a miss but I have since found out that they did really well. Congrats to you all, you are all totally inspirational.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

So not confident.

But I did it. Today I managed another road ride with the Panthers Tri Club gals, not as long as last week but in someway more challenging. Instead of doing a straight run out and back on the same road, we actually took some other roads. These other roads meant I had to join forces with real traffic to gain access to the motorway. All I can say is thank god I rode behind Cloe as she made me feel less stressed about verging with traffic.

I still have trouble trying to look over my shoulder without veering all over the place and the whole concept of "holding your line" is out the window when I am riding the bike. I also found because I got nervous when I was getting closer to a set of traffic lights with the possibility of having to stop, when the lights changed I couldn't get my left foot clicked back in which then made me get even more nervous.

Need to get the nerves under control quick sticks. We also had a tire changing session out on the freeway. Renee got a flat and we all got to watch as Cloe instructed us through the process. It was good because it re-inforced what Macca had shown me at the bike shop. But I guess there is nothing like learning on the job, so I think in the next couple of days I am going to deflate my front and rear tire and have a good couple of hours of doing it all on my own without the pressure of a race or needing to get home.

Yesterday I signed up for the first Tri of season. I was half contemplating signing up for the sprint but because I have struggled so much with the run component I opted to do another Enticer like the one I did in March. I am kind of glad because now it means I can give it my all in the swim and bike and just finish the run with no real emphasis on going good. I also had to take my wetsuit back as once in the water it did not fit well. On land it felt like the perfect fit and looked like it too but the moment I dove in I got water and air go in through the nape of the neck. So, the legendary boys at Panther Cycles took it back from me and now are in search of a smaller one. God love em, all to see a smile on my dial.

This afternoon I shall head to the pools for a swim and hope I don't cramp like crazy, which has been happening quite alot lately. think I may just have to purchase some Crampeze.
Worked wonders the last time I bought it. I hope you are all having an awesome start to your weekend.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Big wheels keep on turnin'

It seems this little dream of mine has grown wings the size of the new Qantas A380 and has branched out to include a much bigger and brighter deal. As soon as I get given the green light, which should be Monday night I can spill the beans on it all and invite you into this exciting venture. Believe me, I would like nothing more than to tell you all now about what has been going on in the last 36hrs+, but I think I should wait for certain proceedings to take place. Are you excited? I am!!!!!!!

So, in the meantime whilst emails are being sent backwards and forwards all day long I went back to the pools after 2 days rest and belted out a 2.5km swim. It felt so easy, like the last two days of trying to recover from a dreaded illness had never occurred at all. My session was more about drill work and trying to focus on high elbows, nice long strokes and clean water entry.
  • 500m Fr/s Warm up
  • 8 x 100m Fr/s scull for 25m, Fr/s for 75m
  • 10 x 50m Fr/s sighting every 4 strokes
  • 10 x 50m kick with fins
  • 200m cooldown
It's amazing how when things start looking up in your life, doing some good old fashioned work feels easier than you ever thought imaginable.

I also came across a lady swimming in the lane beside me who had taken to talking to one of my friends. She stated that she was doing the swim leg of the GoldCoast Half Ironman and was very nervous about not being able to stand or see the bottom. I tried to give some words of encouragement. I really think we are all capable of alot more than we give ourselves credit for. I also found out her husband is part of Panthers Tri Club - didn't get his name though Duhhhh!!!!
I told her that she should join the club so I think in the process of trying to encourage her, Panthers Tri Club may have just gained itself another prospective member. Yay me.

Tomorrow is physio day and then Saturday is another bike ride with the girls. Can't wait - they truly are a great bunch of gals. Sunday will have myself and family off to Sydney to support friends who are running the Half and full marathon in the Blackmores running festival. Should be an awesome day.

I am bursting at the seams to let you in on my little venture.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Do dreams come true?

Yesterday was a totally flat day. I woke up feeling so under the weather it was hard just trying to get going for the kids. All my joints hurt as did the ligaments in my legs. Could it have been that the 2km run - which is seemingly such a speck in the grand scheme of things, caused this pain? Not sure. All I am sure of is that whatever was happening, was not going to let my usual bubbly self surface.

I only had enough energy to sit on the couch and literally veg for the whole day - oh and catch up on emails and responses on DailyMile.

Today, although I have had more energy I still designated it as a rest day to make extra sure that whatever it was that was lurking around would disappear for good. I had too much on anyway to try and fit in some form of exercise so it kind of came in handy.

I have also been working on a little idea that I feel passionate about and it looks to be on the forward march. I will let you know sometime next week after a Club meeting if my dream will come to fruition. Fingers crossed guys - this will not only benefit me but my Aussie compatriates. You guys in the States have these up and running already. If I can get it up and running here I will be the happiest women in the universe.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Triathlon NSW Female Camp 2010

I am definately signing up for this next year. Looks like heaps of fun.

Monday, September 13, 2010


No, this is not a photo of my legs - these legs look nice and fresh. My legs on the other hand today feel trashed. It is not a muscular ache like after you have climbed a thousand stairs, rather a blood filled heaviness. They feel swollen and tight and just heavy to walk around in. But, because I woke up feeling this way, instead of just sitting around today and giving them a rest I thought it best to go for my very small run. Yep, it was small, 2km to be precise.

Did I feel good at the end of it? No. My legs still felt heavy but I was happy that I got out there even when I really didn't want to.

During the run though I got to experience my first taste of warmth on my skin and wondered if I was feeling hot now and we are in the first couple of weeks of spring, then how was I going to cope in Summer running. I was dripping sweat and once again I stunk like the proverbials. So it was off to a nice hot shower and some stretches. My back thank goodness has not been bothered by the run and for that I am so thankful. So I will now give myself a few days inbetween and go for another run towards the end of the working week.

I am also looking forward to commencing my programme with Jodie & Chris from Top Notch Performance and Health. I spoke to them both last Saturday after the swim session and they are both going to help me get to my goal of the 70.3 in port Macquarie next year. They are fully aware of the hurdles I have faced in the running department and are happy to work with me ever so slowly so as not to get me re-injured. I really like their coaching style. Most people see me as a good swimmer, and it's because of that they don't really think that I need to get better. But one thing I have noticed with them is that they don't let a single thing go by when I am in the water. I am critiqued both good and bad, and I really like that. So, my programme starts in the first week of October - new month, new goals. I like it.

Also, I was watching the Port Macquarie Ironman on YouTube and many other IM's and was listening to the gentleman who has the microphone call out everyone's name as they pass through the finsihing chute and tell them all that they are Ironmen. Question: What do they say when you go through the chute of a 70.3?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The force is with me.

That is the Panthers Tri Club force is with me. Today I went out for my first ever morning ride on a real road for 56km. It has to have been one of the highlights of my shortlived cycling career.

As usual my excitement is too much to control and I arrived super early. However, arriving early also gave me the opportunity to get myself together and breathe - I didn't want to look like a total bundle of newbie frenetic energy. There were a few members from the Tri Club - Drew, Cloe, Kate who arrived not long after and they called me over just to have a chat. And then Kylie, Matthew, his brother and another couple arrived. They asked if I wanted to join them, however they all looked way too fast for me and the last thing I would want is to hold them back. I was also looking forward to my ride with my new riding buddy Maureen.

Maureen is a fantastic lady and a great person to learn from. We spoke pretty much the whole entire 56km distance about life, family, children, sports, anything and everything was up for discussion. I learnt heaps about my gears and what I should be riding in when going up an incline and what I should be in going down the hill. I learnt where to position myself when going into a roundabout which was one of my major concerns. This may sound minor to some, but for me it was a huge reason as to why I was holding back from getting out there.

So now that I was out there riding, it wasn't as hard as I had made it out to be in my head. The traffic although constant, and I was fully aware of every car and truck that was passing me, I was not bothered by them. They did not scare me the way I thought they would. I could not believe I had not done this earlier. But, good things come to those who wait.

On my journey I was introduced to some other people like Ted, Rommel and Jen. They are such lovely people and I got to spend some time with each of them. They took a genuine interest in me and my first experience out on the road. I also passed Drew again on his journey back and Shane who was heading out for his morning ride. So many familiar faces and they were all happy to see me out and about.

With about 10km left Maureen and I stopped for a well deserved coffee break and once again I felt like part of the cycling world. There were other cyclists all enjoying their Sunday morning ride and cuppa too and it's amazing how nobody is short of a hello. So, with our belly full of caffeine we headed off for the final stretch home. What a glorious morning I had had and I really did not want it to end. I had no idea of the distance but am happy to report that after checking with google maps I rode another 56km stretch. And, to tell you the truth I felt so good I could have ridden for atleast another hour. Oh well, next weekend is set to be another road ride with more distance attached to it. Can't wait.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Foo Fighters - The Pretender

This is my interval training song in spin class. Love it.

I didn't flatline.

Yesterday was just such a great day, I would have to rank it right up there. I finished it off with meeting up with Eoin and Jaydub who are not only fellow blogger friends but also Daily Mile friends. It was almost a surreal experience and they are just the loveliest guys. Eoin loaned me his book called "Heart Monitor Training for the Compleat Idiot" by John L. Parker, Jr.
See, I didn't spell the word "complete" wrong. This book speaks about how to get the best out of your training by using your HR as a guide. I will be reading it from cover to cover to help me get the best out of my running when it begins in earnest. Anyway when I went to bed last night I was the happiest girl in the universe. Nothing, and I mean nothing could wipe the grin from my face and happiness I had inside.

So I woke up this morning ready to tackle the world in my spin class and use my HR monitor to see what my body was doing. And to my surprise my ticker coped really well during my hard class.
  • During intervals I maxed at 138bpm
  • During hills I maxed at 146bpm
  • During the mountain climb I maxed at 157 for 2secs and then recovered to the early 140's
  • During active recovery I was a happy 118-late 120's.
And I also woke up with a resting heart rate of 54bpm. Looks like my body is holding up to the rigors of spin class. I am happy with the results. So no sooner did I finish class I rushed back home to quickly shower, cause I stunk big time and headed to physio.

I saw Steve the boss this time and oh boy did I get a working over on my lower back. Hurt like nothing else I have ever felt but in saying that now that I am sitting here typing, my back feels remarkably loose and the nerve pain has settled. So no core work over the weekend, but I can cycle and swim. Great news cause now I get to test out the wetsuit in the water versus on land.
Do I look the part?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Speechless....that's what I am.

Today was a day that will forever stay etched in my mind for as long as I will live. I am sitting here trying to find the words to describe how I feel and simply cannot to give that it the justice it deserves. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would encounter such generosity and I have been totally taken back and still to this moment have a knot in my throat.

You see I started out the day like any other day. Got the family ready for school and work, tried to work through a bit of stretching to get the old back feeling somewhat human, got my gear together and headed down to the pools. I worked through a 2350m session which went as follows:
  • 400m Fr/s warm up
  • 8 x 100m Fr/s did them between 1:15 and 1:20 with a 30sec rest inbetween
  • 300m alternate kick/pull with fins
  • 2 x 200m Fr/s with pullbouy
  • 300m Br/s glide
  • 10 x 25m Fr/s sprints
  • 100m cooldown
During my swim I met up with the Pathers Tri Club president as he was testing out a wetsuit and I asked him if he knew of anyone who could loan me one because I wanted to do the first club meet back but the water would be freezing. He said he would ask his wife if she could loan her spare one. How nice is that, it never ceases to amaze me how forthcoming people are in the world of sports.

Anyway after finishing the swim session I went to go to Panther Cycles to pay off my helmet and ask about wetsuits and if they could get one in so I could possibly put one on layby. My poor husband Stephen, never knows what I will do when I walk in there. I try very hard to behave but my passion for my sport is a little too consuming at times. So, anyway's - Dave was willing for me to try his wetsuit and loan it for the Triathlon but Macca also gave me a new one to try on to see if it would fit. I go the low down on how to get it on but after bouncy around the change room and almost falling on my backside numerous times - I am thinking I need a Master's Degree in "wetsuit navigation".

I was all hot and bothered and was ever so vigilant in not putting my nails through the material. Hard work, but once it was on, it fit nice and snuggly everywhere, but I was now knowing how sharks could mistake humans for seals. I was feeling like an elephant seal in the suit, it shows off all the areas we woman would much rather hide. Nevermind, if that's what it is supposed to look like then that was what I was going to put on layby. Taking it all off was just as funny as trying to put it on. This will definately take practice.

So as I walked out I was now about to be made speechless. I was told I could take it home and practice training with my wetsuit whilst continuing to pay it off. My jaw almost instantly hit the floor and I got that knot in my throat. How does one repay that kind of trust and generosity. I wanted to give them all a hug, but not sure if some 36yr old lady going "all emotional" in the bike shop is good for business. So all I could do was say THANKYOU a million times over. You guys rock. Never did I think I would find such a great group of guys whom I not only call friends but I feel like in a way they are my family. You all hold a special place in my heart and for all your kindness I am eternally greatful.

So now, I was not only walking out of the shop with my new awesome helmet, I now had my very first wetsuit. What do you think?

I am now well on my way to being a fully fledged Triathlete. I can now compete in the Club comp at the end of September and not come out feeling like a popsicle. I can now feel like a real part of this wonderful community who has embraced me with open arms. I have been blessed.

Panther Cycles,
you guys rock.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Bite me.

Yesterday was a really nice day. The sun was shining, there was a bit of a cool breeze and I had my mum's company. She wanted to join me on whatever it was I was planning on doing for the day, so off we went for a walk around the block. Mind you, my block is 8km long. Before we took off I kindly asked if this distance was okay and mum was like "of course, so long as we spend time together".

So off we set and it was the most fun I have had in ages. Mum and I get along like a house on fire and we are pretty much always laughing, apart from the occasional mother/daughter spack, but all in all we are best buds. The 1hr 20min walk went by pretty quickly and as usual mum didn't complain not once - not even as we tackled some hills which I thought would flair up the arthritis in her knees. She managed to make it to the top, take a breather and then keep going strong.

I didn't feel the walk at all and was just using yesterday as a relax day. However as we got to the 7km mark I could feel my back and hip start to play silly buggers again. So, no sooner did I get home - I took a shower and did my stretches and felt ok. That was until this morning.

As I rolled out of bed and tried putting pressure on my left leg my back went into spasm. It gripped me for atleast the first 10 or so steps and then settled to a tolerable pinch just above the iliiac crest which is the usual spot. After sitting at the computer and checking my emails and trying to get back up, it did the same thing - spasmed for about 10 steps and then settled again.

This time I walked straight to the kitchen and took my dose of Ibuprofen and did some stretches. It eased enough for me to be able to go for my bike ride however I altered the route and just did a nice flat route instead of my hills. I was a bit disappointed but I figure any riding is better than no riding. So I did 18km only and it was nice easy riding, no breeze to speak of and just glorious sun - which felt nice on my back too.

After getting off, my back stiffened up again so I quickly drove home and jumped in the shower. It is still a bit tender but I have pretty much told my back to "BITE ME". I was not going to let it get in the way today. But physio is booked for Friday and am looking forward to some good old fashioned stretching.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Michael Paynter "Love The Fall" [Official Video]

I absolutely love this song and it's lyrics. Has obviously nothing to do with Tri's, but somehow the words really struck a chord with me (no pun intended).

Yep, I ran.

Yesterday was a great day for 3 reasons.
  1. I did my first 2km run
  2. I started my new diet from Rick Kattouf
  3. I wore my HR monitor.
Okay, so first things first. Today was my welcome back to running day. Need I tell you how excited I was? Okay, you twisted my arm - I will tell. I could hardly contain myself. All I wanted to do was go like a bat out of hell and run like the wind - but you will all be proud, that's not what I did. The pace at which I started is the pace at which I finished, nice and slow with very small strides to match. Nothing about it resembled the stride and form I was teaching myself to keep before I got injured. It was all about just feeling every inch of this run and seeing if my body was ready to start making the progression forward. And I am happy to report that apart from the usual tightness that creeps around your calf muscles nothing hurt and to this very minute still doesn't.

My back, which was really tender in the morning - after the run felt all nice and loose and the sharp stitch that gets me in my lower back had abated. That's not to say it didn't return after I had cooled down but the intensity was far less. Now, some 24hrs post run my back is back to it's usual twingy self but I think I just have to ride it out and continue doing everything I am doing in terms of strength exercises. I was meant to go back today for more injections but can't afford this lot this time around. It'll be right.

So before starting my run I thought I would test out my new HR monitor. My resting HR before jumping out of bed was 59bpm but I had already been awake for some time before I remembered so not sure if it was truly accurate. By the time I hit the end of my 50m driveway my HR was already at 84bpm - I think it was the excitement that was making it do a little jig. Within a minute I of running I was somewhere near the 110bpm mark and remained around the 118-129bpm mark for the majority of the run. That was until I got to the last 200m and it was then my HR quickly shot up to 147bpm on the slow incline up to home. I didn't know what all of that meant until Eoin told me to jump on his blog to figure out my MHR and Recovery ceiling. So that's what I did:
  • MHR: 187bpm
  • Recovery Ceiling: 154bpm
So the good thing was I am well within my limits. I haven't tested my MHR threshold properly but this was a guesstimate till I gathered the courage to test it running up a hill or some other crazy way. I must admit though even though I was running at a fairly slow pace 6:07min/km I was totally spent lung wise. My lungs were feeling the pinch for much needed oxygen but I guess that's what happens when you have been out of running action for a while - the body forgets how to redistribute the vital air it is sucking in. Nevermind, I know the more I run the better it will get.

I also started my new meal plan through Training Peaks by Rick Kattouf. I really enjoyed the variety of Day 1's meal plan. The only glitch and it's not really a glitch is that I had to substitute certain foods as it is an American Meal plan. No biggey, the meal plans have a detailed description of what is in them, and just so I had an even better idea so when I go food shopping I looked up the ingredients on the internet and tried to find a suitable substitute.

I was really full after each meal and wasn't looking for anything else to top up the stores. I also had to drink a protein shake which I am generally not too keen on. However my husband found me one that I don't mind. Body Shape by Nutralife in a yummy Strawberry flavour.
It has similar constituents as MuscleMilk, maybe a few extra but in differing quantities. I really like the flavour but I have to have it in icey water. I don't like milk at all so this was the only way I could drink it. I think I am on a winner with this one.

Yesterday was a great day, and today is looking set to be another.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Ass whoopin'

I do believe yesterday I wrote down that I thought the swim session was going to be tough. TOUGH? Not quite sure if the word 'tough' clearly defines how I found yesterdays swim. It wasn't the total distance that blew me away, it was how we did those 3000m and the fact that we used the pullbouy alot - leaving my shoulders and arms screaming in lactic acid pain.

Here is what we did yesterday:
  • 300m Fr/s warm up
  • 200m Rock n' Roll for 50m, Fr/s for 5om.
Then this is where it all started to hurt. We did a ladder set.
  • 100m - scull for 25m, Fr/s for 25m
  • 200m - 4 x 50m Fr/s stroke count. Decreasing the stroke count on every 50m
  • 300m - Easy Fr/s with pullbouy
  • 400m - 4 x 100m on 1.40. I did them on 1:16, 1:18, 1:22, 1:19
  • 500m - Fr/s with pullbouy. 50m hard, 50m easy
  • 400m - 8 x 50m Fr/s on 1 min. Coach wanted them all under 40s
  • 300m - Easy Fr/s with pullbouy
  • 200m - 8 x 25m open water swim start drills
  • 100m - cooldown
I have never ached that much in my shoulders before. I always thought I was strong in my upper body but this highlighted one critical flaw in my stroke - I lose form when I fatigue. I start to bounce through the water losing the front part of my catch and then trying to pull through with about 60% of my pull to go. This makes me dig hard and makes me drop my shoulder. I also start to cross my arm over the halfway point which makes me zig zag slightly in the water - which makes me lose momentum. NOT GOOD.

Oh well, good thing now is I know what I am doing wrong so I just have to fix it. Which means I need to focus more on form in all my sessions. I know I worked hard yesterday cause my shoulders, lats and deltoids are aching this morning. I haven't felt that in a while.

Off I go now to cook up some pancakes for breakfast for Father's Day for Stephen. Happy Father's Day to all you daddies out there.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

HR training.

ALDI was selling these HR monitors for a measly $20, and seeing as I have never known what my heart is doing during activity I thought it would be wise to find out. And what a bargain I got.

So on looking at it and assessing the pro's and cons:
  • PRO'S
  • the design and colour are nice. Big hit in my eyes.
  • the watch band is not made of very hard plastic and sits nicely on my fine wrist.
  • chest strap is about 2cm in width and made of soft rubber.
  • has adjustable elastic to be able to get the right fit around your diaphragm.
  • comes with a bike clip so you can check what your doing cycling. BIG BONUS.
  • CON'S
  • The part on the chest strap that holds the battery is hard and slightly uncomfortable.
  • I know this works on the principle of moisture to conduct a signal but it's going to make me sweat even more than I already do.
  • How does one go about disinfecting it.
I am sure I will find many more things to like and dislike when I get to wearing it properly for the first time.

A friend of mine Eoin from Eoin's journey - jump on over and become a follower of his great blog, will be loaning me his book on HR training. We will be meeting this Thursday with other fellow DailyMiler's Jaydub - another great Aussie blogger who is documenting his training to his first marathon and beyond, Andrew - who also documents about his running and some of my other DailyMile friends as well. I can't wait to meet them all, should prove to be an interesting night.

I wish I had the heart rate monitor yesterday when I did the spin class in the morning. It would have been screaming warning alarms throughout our hill climb I'm sure. Everytime I go now I try to increase the intensity and not miss a single gear change when the instructor ask's of it. I stick hard and fast to all my sprints and hill climbs. If my legs start to burn I simply close my eye's, regroup my thoughts and keep repeating in my head "this will make me stronger, this will make me stronger". And before I know it interval one is over and I have another one to look forward to. I love it.

So swim session is on for this afternoon. Looking forward to more hard sessions in the water - or maybe not. I am thinking it is going to hurt this afternoon. Oh well, suck it up princess .

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Chock-a-block day

What a day, what a day, what a day!!! It started off with a fairly decent swim at my local pool. 2.2km later and I got out feeling refreshed and feeling great. Shoulders are still a bit stiff but I am hoping to get another massage. Today's session went as follows:
  • 700m Fr/s Warm up nice high elbows
  • 3 x 200m Fr/s for 50m, Bk/s for 50m increasing speed over 200m
  • 12 x 50m kick with fins & board. 50m Fr/s kick, 50m Fly kick
  • 3 x 100m one armed Rock n' Roll for 25m, 75m Fr/s
On returning home I checked my emails and I got an email from Rick Kattouf in regards to starting my diet plan. I was ready to get this started so I shipped him an email yesterday and I signed up today seeing as I now had recovered from my Cannondale splurge. I have picked this coming Monday 6th September as my start date so I have time to purchase my groceries over the weekend. Can't wait, looking forward to this 6 week journey.

I also managed another 2km run/walk today but this time with the added benefit of my youngest son Kyle keeping me on my toes. We ran for 2min and walked for a 1min and completed it in about 14mins, 2mins slower than my last attempt but that's what I get for having a good time with my baby.

And I must admit I have been a bit of a slacker in regards to my core stuff. I know, I know - I should know better. So that's why I gave it my all.
  • 3 x 20 ab crunches feet raised
  • 3 x 30 super-sets dumbbell twist (5kg), bicycle crunch
  • 3 x 30 ab alternate heel touch
So with all I this accomplished I now bid you all a goodnight. For all of you starting your day, I wish you all the best in your travels.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What hill?

I cannot get over how much stronger I feel in my legs. The combination of a great ride in Aliyah, my spin classes, the long ride and my hill training is all paying off. I noticed it especially today when I tackled my hill here at home. Three times I tackled that hill today with a total of 24km of riding and I felt strong in every part of it. Quite the difference from when I first started riding. When anything would scare me, when even the smallest bump in the road would make me get the wobbles.

My first 8km was done nice and easy, on easy gears and on the small chain ring. I just wanted to get my legs all warmed up and feeling good. I sat on my saddle the whole way up and just rode the long continuous climb - spinning the legs and quite a high tempo. The second time around I decided to still keep it on the small chain ring but on a harder gear which made me get out up and out of the saddle. I didn't realise I would like climbing the hill this way - I felt more in control and alot stronger I might say. It was as if every revolution I made had purpose, a new strength which I never had before. I liked it.

On the 3rd climb I made it a bit harder yet again. I made the gears harder yet again and this time by the time I made it to the top I knew that I had had enough. My legs were burning and screaming out to stop peddling. But did I give in? Are you for real? No way! On the home stretch I dropped down into the drop bars and gave it whatever I had left. In my little world I was hooning it. In Barbara's world, I was riding my bike at light speed. For the first time in ages I felt invincible climbing hills on Aliyah.

I know that at this pace I should be able to tackle the hills x4 times next week. And with that I will try to find another hill to tackle. Another challenge to overcome.

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