Sunday, October 31, 2010

TriShave Womens Triathlon.

I did it. I can't believe it! Actually I can, but I am still flying on Cloud 9. What an awesome experience. One I wouldn't trade for anything in the world. From the beginning right till the very end it was all an experience that words cannot really give due credit to. Even though I was as nervous as hell to say the least I think I did really well.

So let's start from the beginning. All I can say is that "sheesh, I better learn to get my nerves under control". The drive in this morning was fine, I felt nervous but not too bad. It wasn't until my race got closer that I could really feel my stomach start to almost ache. You know that empty hungry feeling, that makes your stomach feel bruised.

I got to the Regatta Centre early to watch all my friends race in the previous 2 races. And I am so proud of them. I was glad I got there early, if I had of stayed at home I would have totally freaked out. So getting there early gave me some time to distract myself. I got to chatting with everyone and totally enjoying the vibe of all these women whom were either first timers or repeat Tri enthusiasts.

I also got to catch up with other members from the club who were doing the Sprint Tri with me. They were never short of a positive word to give to me and made me feel confident in my abilities even if for a little bit. I am eternally greatful.

The time came for me to start my race and I was tossing up whether to wear a wetsuit or not. I chose not to after my last club race and how claustrophobic it made me feel. I didn't want to have that feeling on my first Sprint Tri. So even though the water was cool (21.9 degrees celsius) I was happy with my decision.

I started the swim leg close to the centre bouys. There is a nice fluorescent under cable which unites all the bouys in one straight line - I hardly had to sight at all until I only had about 150m to go. My stroke was nice and even and I used a combination of bilateral breathing and breathing every 4. I was having real trouble shaking this one girl off my feet, every so often I would feel her tap my toes, and when she did I would give a couple hard kicks to let her know I was onto her. I ended up overtaking a few of the previous age group who had started the swim a few minutes before.
After circling the finally bouy it was game on and I upped my kick rate to try once and for all to shake that girl off but she stuck on like glue. And ended up passing me in the run through transition. Not happy Jan... 500m swim time including transition 9:27.

Made it into T1 without too much problem. Had all my stuff ready and in good order so it all went really well. Once again though wish I had a drink at this point but really wanted to get going on the bike. And even though I had the bottle on my bike I keep not wanting to lean down to get it out of the cage. So I think my next investment is a drink bottle that sits between my Tri bars, so all I have to do is tilt my head forward and suck on the straw.

Out on the bike, I had a total ball. I kept my legs ticking over at a cadence of 90 the whole time and averaged about 30km/hr. There was hardly any breeze at all and the storm which had been promised was nowhere to be seen. The sun was out in full force. Just the best ride. I got passed by my club mates who are absolute guns on the bike and I just find their prowess out on the next two legs just totally inspirational and hope to one day be like them. A few more people passed me but I just maintained my own race and kept the legs ticking over the way Jodie & Eliza said to do.
I averaged between 9-10 minutes per 5km loop and felt really good. I had family and friends at every vantage point screaming out words of encouragement and making me feel like I was super woman. It was what I needed to hear to keep pushing forward. I even manged to smile and lift my hand off my bars to give a wave.
Coming into T2 I got all brave and took my feet out of my shoes and rode the last little bit airing my feet and resting my legs a bit for what lay ahead. I was not looking forward to the 5km run.
20km Bike Leg + transition - 41:47
So it was now onto the run leg. The bit I had been dreading the whole race. I had been dreading it because I had only run 5km x2 the week before, and even though I knew I could do it on it's own, it's a totally different ball game on heavy bike legs. Oh well, it was time to either put up or shut up.

All I can say is it was hot, hot, HOT. The sun was out and it was humid as hell. I could actually feel the humidity rising up off of the pavement. First port of call was a quick drink of water at the aid station and then the rest went down on my head to cool it off. I then ran straight through the over head shower which was spraying out a fine mist of beautifully fresh water.

The run leg lined the edge of the water for a 1.25km stretch up and back x2. It is a real mind game coming back on yourself for 2 turnarounds. But I tried to play it cautious and not run too hard and get caught up in the run frenzy - afterall my aim was to not walk any stretch of this 5km run. So I maintained a constant turnover of the legs and just kept a forward momentum - no stopping allowed.
As I started on my third 1.25km my best friend told me that the girl who hung on my toes in the swim was just in front of me. It was then I knew I would get my own back. So I focused on her back and made sure that the distance between me and her got shorter and shorter , and I got her. WooHoo. That put on smile on my face.

Even though I was being passed by much better runners I was happy that I was coming to the end of my run and I still had a little kick at the end to be able to overtake a further 2.
5km Run Leg - 27:23. Who would have thought. The last time I ran 5km it was on fresh legs and I did it in 30 mins. This was too cool. This training stuff really does pay off.

9th in my age group
24th overall
Total time : 1:18:38
Even though this day was great for so many reasons, it would not have been the same if my family and friends were not there to share in it. They were constantly shouting words of encouragement to me every step of the way. Even my club friends who were doing the race with me gave me strength to get through it all. One of the club girls even took my timing chip off my ankle so I didn't have to bend down. I will never forget that. Thankyou.

I can't believe I did it. Now onto many more.

Pre Race thoughts.

As I sit here typing it is approximately 6:40am on the morning of my first ever Sprint Tri. I am nervous but funnily enough not as nervous as yesterday (I am sure this will change). I am trying to stomach two Weetbix, a banana and my usual morning "get up and go" black coffee. I have clipped my toe nails as yesterday marshalling at our club event I realised how gross my toenails were looking.

The weather forecast has now changed from full rain and lightening to showers with a LOW-18, HIGH-27. This is much, much better - I am so happy.

I always think it's amazing how peaceful and calm the world looks this time of the morning. You could hear a pin drop. I am going to try to channel some that calmness and try to go into this race with a clear head, knowing full well that this is what I have been training for. Knowing that today's aim is to do the best that I am able to do and to race my own race.

My coach has given me some wise words on how to tackle each leg knowing full well that I have only run 5km twice and that this may be a bit of hard work - but she has nothing but confidence in me. And I too know that the most difficult part will be when I get off that bike to run - but if I can just keep those legs ticking over and not walk once, then I too will be proud of me.

So wish me luck all.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


It's not a blogger issue, it's my laptop. Need to check settings. Will try to catch up on everyone's posts on my very very old and slow kids computer.

Ughhhh, computers.

I haven't been neglecting you guys. I have been trying to post comments but all I get is a big white box pop up and no where to post. Annoying. The same happens with posting photos, cant do it through blogger - that same box pops up so I have to post my photos an associated comments through Picasa.

Any ideas? I have sent Blogger Help an email and no response. This is annoying me.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Sunday's Race Gear

Seeing as my first Sprint Tri is this Sunday I thought it wise to lay everything out again and see if anything needed fixing, or if I was missing anything. Nothing missing and everything in tip top shape. Can't believe how well all the colours match. Totally freaky that I had the bike on layby before I even knew the new club colours.
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Recovery week - the best.

This week has been just the best and definately what I needed after 3 weeks on my new training program. There is no pressure to have to perform at a certain level, no speed work associated with the swim or bike, no hard efforts. Just you and the pool, bike and runners. No pressure. Just about doing the workout at an easier tempo and letting the body recover from what it has just experienced.

I especially noticed it in the pool yesterday. Normally my 3.5km sessions although feeling easier were still challenging because of the extra effort I put in to perform it at a certain level of intensity. But yesterday I dropped it a notch - actually dropped it a few notches and wore my fins for alot of the session.

  • 400m Easy Fr/s
  • 6 x 50m kick with fins
  • 4 x 500m done as Fr/s without fins, Fr/s with fins, Fr/s with paddles and fins, Fr/s with pullbouy
  • 8 x 50m Fr/s with fins
  • 400m cooldown kick
It was so nice to swim without feeling like my shoulders and arms were doing it all. Just nice and cruisey. There was actually a moment there where the sun started to peek through the clouds and it set such a pretty pattern on the pool floor. I really didn't want to get out - brought back memories of when I was younger and training in the outdoor pool at Guildford. It's amazing what little things trigger the old memory bank.

So today is meant to be a spin class but may be going to have another road ride with a friend. A week ago she had her bike stolen from her garage and it got replaced yesterday. She has never had cleats before so today she may go and practice getting in and out of them before Sunday as she too is doing the Tri. Karma will get it's own back on those that stole her bike I am more than sure of it.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My new and improved Tri Bars.

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My hubby helped with wrapping it. Stephen is a retired tennis coach and has had many years of practice at getting the tension of this wrap down pat. With his expertise and my creativity I think we got it looking pretty hot.

A girl's gotta do, what a girl's gotta do.

I couldn't help it. Blame boredom, inner creative flair wanting to escape, wanting to enhance natural beauty - whatever - the black Tri bars just weren't doing it for me. Yes they looked sleek, racie and ready to go. Sure they would have felt like a part of the group, but I have never been one to really conform and I like standing out from the crowd. So I gave it a little something - al la Barbie.

Now I feel like this bike is starting to reflect who I am as well as stand out from the other bikes on the rack. I would love to see if I could get into the minds of the producers of these tapes and see if they could come up with magnificent designs to reflect each individual owner and their bike. How cool would that be. Maybe today is the day I send some emails out to see if they a) have these available already and I just haven't seen them or b) they think it's a cool idea and I could be a part of the process.

I guess your probably wondering why I am bored - what with the training I am doing. Well this week is a recovery week for one, and secondly last night was supposed to be my track session - but the rain and wind god's decided to attack so track was was cancelled. I was really looking forward to it - I know crazy huh. But maybe it was meant to be. It took me a good 5 days to recover from last weeks track. My calf muscles were so tight I could hardly walk and they were in dire need of my recovery socks daily and a good old hit of ibuprofen as well.

So today I hit the pool and what a crappy day awaits me. Thick dark cloud cover and bucket loads of rain. That's the one good thing about swimming - I will be wet anyway. It's just getting from shelter into the pool that I hate and getting back out again.

Will have to post the photo of my Tri bars seperately has it won't let me post a photo in this post.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wish I had of known sooner.

Tri bars make you faster. Or atleast they make ME faster. I cannot believe how much of a difference it made. If I had of known how much more powerful I felt in this position I would have purchased a set with my bike. I am still no Pro on the bike, but even a couple extra km's an hour works well for me.

I must admit though it took me a bit to get used too, and by a bit I mean maybe all of minute. If I could try and describe the feeling - I guess it's like trying to balance on a tightrope. If you lean either way a little too much you find yourself totally going in that direction. Engaging my core was of absolute importance to maintain a balanced posture on the bike.

There were a couple of downsides to being in this position:
  • Sore shoulders
  • Stiff neck
  • Sore under-carriage
  • Dribbly nose......++++
The positives:
  • Increased speed
  • Reduced pain in my back
  • I finally felt Tri worthy
  • Love the power in my pedals - could feel the bike surge forward with each downstroke
  • Reduced fatigue
I spent most of my 55kms today in that position, apart from the occasional "butt in the air" stretch. That always feels nice to do but not sure if it looks good from behind. Who cares anyway, my poor little toosh needs a break every now and then.

I remember back to when I first started riding my legs and butt would get super sore after 5km, now it's closer to the 50km. Everyone was right when they said it takes time in the saddle.

All in all, today was a good day. Glad I got to practice on the Tri bars before Sunday. Now I can really attempt to push hard on the bike leg. This is going to be fun.

Monday, October 25, 2010

I'm in love.

Yep, you heard it right here. I have found another love - my bike set up. Wow, is all I can say. I woke up so excited this morning because I knew today was D-day, the day I would have "Aaliyah" set up like Xena warrior princess ready for my first sprint battle.

Before I put up some photo's I must own up to another day of rest first. Last night I woke up with a real attack of the butterflies and couldn't sleep for ages. I kept going through the race a hundred times in my mind. This is what was going through my mind:
  • What would my set up look like.
  • How would I tackle the swim.
  • Should I have my shoes on the bike or on the ground.
  • What sort of speed should I hold on the bike.
  • Do I aim to run the first and third 1.25km slightly faster then the second and fourth.
  • Or should I aim to just make it to the end.
I finally fell asleep but woke up this morning excited about my bike but feeling a bit seedy. So I opted to just take it easy today and make the most of my outing to Panther's Cycles.

I wish I would have taken a snap shot of my excited face, I am sure it would have looked like this:
Thank god the guys at the shop are used to it by now and they just go about their merry way.

So here it is: DRUM ROLL PLEASE............................................................................

I noticed too that everyone's TT bars are wrapped. But I had forgotten to ask if the guys could do it at the shop, so I rang hubby and asked if he had any wrap left from the one's he used to wrap the kids tennis racquet handles. He said he did so I set about wrapping it myself after searching for it on YouTube. I know, there is not art or science to it, but if I wrapped it the wrong way it could come undone. And i can't have that happening. What do you think?
I know the wrap says "Wilson" on it, but beggars can't be choosers. Feels nice to the touch, just like the white wrap that is on my drop bars. I think Aaliyah looks the part now.

So tomorrow is my 2hr aerobic ride. Perfect timing, can practice riding using the bars and checking on my cadence too. Have to keep it at 90. Can't wait.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Week 3 totals.

Swim: 8.5km in 4hrs
Bike: 70km + 1hr spin class in 3hrs 43mins
Run: 15.63km in 1hr 36mins

Good news is I have more kilometres under my feet in the run department and I hit a new distance for my bike leg even though I had an off beginning of the week. Things are definately looking up in Barb's training world.

I often wonder if people look at me and wonder why I get so excited about the little things that I accomplish or do, but I just keep going back to what I was like at the end of 2008 - 2009 and how far I have come and cannot help but smile.

I forgot to mention yesterday too that I used a new cream on the Chamois of my cycle shorts.
Chamois Butt'r is really nice. It's easy to apply (not thick at all), has no smell to it and it washes out super easy. I took this 9ml satchet with me on my ride but was not able to re-apply on my journey as there was no-where for me to hide and do it. I knew far too many people out on the road yesterday.

I was sent these satchets by my friend Denise whom I met out on my Kiama ride a couple of weeks ago. Go to the website and check it out.

Also looking forward to tomorrow. I get my Tri bars fitted, my new seat post and my new bike computer. I feel like a kid in a candy store. Stay tuned. Photo's will be in abundance tomorrow.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Oh yeah Baby!!!

What a stark contrast from the beginning of the week to the end of the week. Could it get any better at all. For the time being - I don't think so. I am so proud of me and this post is all about sharing it with YOU.

Yesterday was my first modified brick session. Modified because even though I rode a bike, it was stationary. I attended a hardcore 1 hour spin class that left me dripping with sweat from top to bottom and then followed it with a 4.8km run (meant to be 5km).

This new series at spin is a doozie. From the moment that first song starts to the very last cord of the last song you are working hard, hard, hard. And I LOVE IT. There are times it's so hard I find myself closing my eyes and imagining myself at the 70.3 and feeling this feeling and wondering what exactly I would do. And I always come to the conclusion that I will succeed at pushing through whatever wall/obstacle comes before me. It always feels good to come out the other end knowing that you are strong - not just physically but mentally as well.

So when class ended I swallowed a Gel (disgusting), dumped my bag in the car and took off for my first run off the bike in a training session. It wasn't as bad as I imagined. Even though my legs felt heavy and still tight from Wednesday's track session - within 1 kilometre they felt really nice and loose. I chose to run around the local football field and pretty much just guessed my distance by time. I chose to do 12 laps of the outer perimeter of the field and did it in 27 minutes and thought it felt about right. The only thing that made this run hard was that the sun was fully out and it was HOT. After finishing I drove around the perimeter to see if I guessed right and I was only out by 200m. I am getting better at judging my pace.

So this morning I backed it up with a 70km bike ride. This is a new distance PB for me and I am stoked. The time wasn't crash hot - 2hrs 43mins but I just wanted to make sure I could go the distance. I stopped once as well to take an Ibuprofen and have something to eat with it as my back was hurting a bit. I couldn't have chose a nicer morning to do this. Blue skies and full on sun. Totally the best. The only down side was that I couldn't share this ride with anyone as my program has me riding on a Saturday. Next program though I am back with the girls.

I was totally smiling the whole distance - lucky there were hardly any bugs or I would have looked like this :

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Nailed it.

I totally nailed it in the pool today. I can't really explain why I felt so strong in the pool today other than it was just meant to be. I guess all the planets were in total alignment for me today, pushing me forward to a much stronger, relaxed and more graceful stroke. I really felt like for the first time in ages that my swim is 70.3 ready.

My arms were just cutting through the water with minimal effort. I had a total feel for the water that I have not felt before. Could this be the beginning of an awesome 6 months of training. I think so. This is going to be so exciting. Even though I had 1 1/2 days off for rest I still think I am making really good progress and this is only after 3 weeks on my program.

As per my Set B program, it called for a 3.5km. This sort of distance doesn't really bother me anymore. It's almost comforting to know that I can knock these sets out without too much effort now.
  • 400m Warm up
  • 6 x 50m drills with 15 sec rest
  • 4 x 500m - 1st 100m hard (I did them all between 1:15 & 1:17) the following 400m aerobic.
  • 8 x 50m (odds hard, evens easy)
  • 400m cool down
I had a really nice compliment today from a friend of mine in the pool. He said " I know you could swim Barb, but I never really knew how well until today. I had real trouble trying to keep up with you". What a sweet heart. It's not until I hear stuff like that, that I feel really good about myself. I see him as a good swimmer, so to know that I can swim faster than him makes me feel strong.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I survived.

Thank goodness I have done nothing but rest over the last day and a half as this evening was reserved for my track work with Panther's Tri Club members and TopNotch coaches. I must admit I was extremely hesitant going into this for numerous reasons:
  1. Never done track work before
  2. Feel self conscious of my running dis/abilities
  3. Worried I would get injured
  4. Hate feeling out of my depth
I tried to keep my self defeatist attitude in check by repeating to myself that this is what was going to help me to get better and faster and fitter. By doing this I was going to finally get my running under control and I would be able to hold my own in the run leg instead pulling all out on the swim and bike and dying a slow painful death on the run. I was hopefully now on my way to becoming a worthy competitor.

When I got down to the grass track as usual I was early. This is another unmistakable Barbie trait. If I am not there early at any training or meet then there is something wrong - so come looking for me. Within 10 minutes the coaches pulled up and shortly there after other members started turning up one by one. Always nice to see familiar faces who can share in the joy and torture.

We started off with a 1200m warm up - nice and easy we were told. Running on grass is so very different to bitumen. It's uneven and really soft underfoot so I really had to focus where I was placing my foot. The lines on the track have no grass so it kind of hollows out inbetween lanes. I found myself running in these grooves just trying to find stable footing. When we finished the warm up it was time for some dynamic stretches. We did a couple 20m high knees, kick backs, and some side running where you kind of do a zig zag with your legs (not sure what that's called), sorry for the lame description.

We got to have a bit of a rest and then I got hit with our main set. I nearly keeled over - 10 x 400m continuous done as 200m race pace and 200m recovery run. Never ever in my wildest dreams did I think I would be asked to do this. I was having trouble digesting that piece of information until it finally hit me - I was going to have to run that oval 10 times. Did they get me confused with some All Star track athlete? My name is not Florence Griffith Joyner, it's more like Elmer Fudd!!!!

After procrastinating like a big girl, Chris the coach said to me "it's only 4km, you have run 4km". He was right - I had, it was just the way it had been presented to me that scared the living daylight's out of me. So, I finally sucked it up and started.

As usual I went out too hard and did my first 200m a bit too fast and knew that I would not be able to maintain that tempo for all of them. The recoveries felt really nice and it's funny cause after you have run a race pace 200m when you get to go slower it feels like you could almost walk faster. As each race pace 200m went by I could feel myself getting slightly slower but not by too much. What was really starting to show was my lack of form.

I think I have described my running style previously as a bit of an Olympic walker, well it showed again tonight. So what Chris got me to focus on was trying to place my feet on either side of the track line versus on the line - which is what I was doing. It seemed to work but it was not an easy thing to do. It really took all of my concentration to master. As did relaxing my shoulders and pumping my arms in a forward motion versus swinging them from side to side.

In saying all the things I did wrong, I did do alot of things that I am proud of:
  1. I didn't quit
  2. I smiled and laughed ALOT
  3. I attempted everything
  4. I ran faster than I ever have before
Am I looking forward to next week? You bet your bottom dollar I am. I had a ball. I can really see how this is going to benefit me. I am already sore in my glutes, hammies and quads. But not a bad kind of sore - more like a 'your muscles have been lying dormant kind of sore'. The only thing that is sore that I am now icing is my left Achilles. It is not horribly painful but rather a bruised sort of feeling. Other than that - I am on top of the world.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

40 Winks

Think I have had about 100 but who's counting? I'm certainly not. My body has never required so much rest and sleep, it has actually taken me by surprise.

I thought last night after going to bed at about 7:30pm and leaving hubby with the kids that I would have a decent night's sleep and I did up until 11pm. And then I kept waking up crying. Not just a little boohoo kind of cry, but a full on wail. I can't even remember what I was dreaming about to make me cry like that, the only thing I remember is waking up and being all chocked up and my face was wet with tears. This happened about 4 times and it would take me a a while to get back to sleep and then the process would begin all over again.

But when I finally got up this morning I surprisingly felt refreshed. My eyes didn't have that burning feeling anymore and I was feeling slightly back to my usual self. So I took full advantage of what energy I had and did the usual morning routine with the family, did the grocery shopping and then came straight home and rested some more.

The couch and I have had a close relationship over the last day and it's not often we spend quality time together - so it was nice to snuggle and just be at one with another whilst the kids were at school. Once again I found myself dozing in and out of blissful sleep and making the most of this recovery process. I must have really needed it.

So as I write this post I find myself feeling sleepy again and know that I should really get a set of fasting bloods done tomorrow. A good set of baseline bloods will pick up any deviations in blood chemistry, and it will help me in the future should I start to feel fatigued again. I need to pay close attention to my body inside and out.

Tomorrow is also my first Track Session with TopNotch. Should be interesting to say the least. I am afraid that Chris will have his work cut out for him. It will be like trying to teach a giraffe to run like a gazelle - never going to happen. But maybe this giraffe could get close.....

I also want to give a shout out to one of my blogger buddies Dawn at Puzzle Pieces, her postings always put a smile on my face. She has such a unique way of viewing the world and life in general and as such pieces it together beautiful in the written form as well as visually through her pictures. Jump on over and enjoy her blog.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Energizer Battery anyone???

I am sleepy, sleepy, sleepy. Haven't felt this tired since becoming a new parent. I was tired when I woke up this morning but put it down to waking up at 5am for my pre-dawn run. Which I am pleased to say I completed a new distance for me - 5km. But I was still so very tired. The fatigue is ridiculous - my eyes are burning like I haven't sleep in I don't know how long. Didn't know how I completed it really.

I am also struggling a bit lung wise, as after this run I was coughing for about 10 minutes post run. Not sure if it was the cold air - which is was quite chilly this morning or my exercise induced asthma playing funny buggers again. Will have to keep an eye on this cause if it continues may need to go back on my preventer.

This fatigue I am feeling is really unnerving and I wasn't quite sure how I would pull out a 3.6km swim. And the fact is I didn't. I got to the 2km mark and my arms just did not have anything more to give. It was like watching a steam train run out of fuel. The plumes of smoke which were initially nice, strong and consistent were now fading to intermittent little puffs until finally - nothing. I thought I would atleast try to squeeze in a 500m kick with fins but I started cramping too. So the only thing I could do was get out. Not my desired outcome at all, but I had nothing left to give.

On the way home I rang my coach and told her what was going on and the first thing she said was "I am glad you didn't keep going". I was instructed to go home, have something substantial to eat and try to get a nap. Which is what I did. But I must say I still don't feel crash hot. I am still super drowsy and after enduring 30 minutes of physio this afternoon I am also sore. Coach also said that if I wake up in the morning still fatigued to give tomorrow a miss as well. There is no point pushing myself too far or I will just end up caving in and not reaching my goal.

Good thing that happened today though was that I got my bike fitted for some TT bars.
Will hopefully have this baby paid off next week and I can start practising with them. I will also be getting a different bike post as my saddle needs to come closer.

Hopefully this tiredness will settle or I will just get used to it.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Totals for the week.

Have decided to start adding this as a regular section to my blog postings. Will be good to see the km's going up.
  • Swim - 10.2km in 4hrs 58mins
  • Cycle - 50km on road and 2 spin classes in 3hrs 28mins
  • Run - 11.9km in 1hr 12 mins
I really should have started this in Week 1 but it hasn't changed much yet so what the heck. End of Week 2 it is. The cycle leg this week wasn't a good representation of what I should have done just simply because yesterday's ride was missed. I would have actually ridden 115km. Next week should be a good number's week.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

What an obstacle!

This morning was meant to be a 65km aerobic bike ride, however yesterday afternoon the winds started and they did not look like they would subside. So I organised with Mel to do an indoor spin. We did a 1hr 30min Spinervals DVD, but cut it short to 1hr 10min as per my coach. It was hard, hard, hard. But I loved every minute of it. After that I was treated to a scrumptious poached egg and avocado on toasted bread x2. Your the best Mel - THANKYOU. We were joking (not really) about downing a T-bone steak at 9 in the morning. When I was younger and in heavy training Mum would make us steak and pasta for breakfast, or pancakes with rice. YUM.

Then when I got home it was time for stretching, shower and time to get ready for the afternoon swim session with TopNotch. Another good session and even though I was feeling tired I still managed a really good, strong set. I am really starting to feel the difference in my strength and stamina in the pool. The longer sets don't seem to bother me as much as I am really able to maintain good form in my Freestyle.

Here's my session:
  • 300m Fr/s Warm up
  • 200m - (25m Front scull, 25m Fr/s)
  • 8 x 50m Fr/s with 5 sec rest between sets
  • 400m Fr/s (using kickboard for 50m, then board tapping for 50m)
  • 7 x 200m Fr/s on 3:30. 1st one I did on 2:40, rest on 2:55
  • 4 x 25m Fr/s sighting every 4 strokes
  • 2 x 50m Fr/s swimming blind for 10 strokes, then normal for 10 strokes
  • 200m cooldown
I am starting to get really excited about how I am progressing. Loving this strength and endurance I have in the water, just need for this to transfer over to the run. I am definately getting stronger in my legs in the cycling.

This is exciting.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Close call.

Yesterday was another tough session in the pool as it called for another 3.5km, with the 500m sets. I do feel though that I am getting better at the longer sets and seem to fall into a good pattern of breathing by about the second 500m. The first 500m always feels like a bit of a hard slog but once that initial warm-up is done it feels better.

I also had some sprints in there as well just to see if I had some left in the tank, and surprisingly I did. I have noticed that my shoulders are starting to get broad again, like when I was younger. I was a really skinny kid but had these very broad shoulders and my ballet teacher was always making me choose between swimming and ballet. Guess what I chose? Yep, you guessed it, I am a fish at heart.

So here is my session:
  • 400m Warm up
  • 6 x 50m Drills with 15 sec rest
  • 4 x 500m. 1st 100m hard then the rest aerobic
  • 8 x 50m Odds hard, evens easy on 50 secs
  • 400m Cool down of choice - I chose kick with fins.
Those last 50's were hard and my times weren't to different from the easy to hard. I was kind of finishing them all on about 35-40 secs. When I finished up with it all and was heading to the change rooms my right ear started to ache. Not a piercing earache but rather a deep nagging pain that branched down into my neck. And as the day progressed it got worse to the point that I was feeling slightly deaf in that ear. The glands all on that side of my neck were tender to the touch, so I took some Nurofen, got a gentle neck rub and applied some heat. And this morning - hey presto, all gone. I know it's quite common to get sick when you are in training but I didn't want it to happen so early on in the piece - so I am very relieved that it has subsided.

Next on the program called for another 4km run. I chose to do it early this morning and I have decided that early morning runs are on the list for me. I felt so alive and my breathing was not at all laboured like it has been. It was cool but not too cold and there was just the right amount of humidity to make it okay on the lungs. There was one point at about the 3km mark where I was starting to get a bit tired and my favourite song came on "I am a woman" by Gabrielle Cilmi and it spurred me on and made my last bit feel effortless again.

I followed this up with a 1hr spin class and boy did this hurt. I could tell I hadn't been to a spin class in a while. And the fact that it was a new program didn't help one bit. The 3rd last song was one continuous hill climb with no recovery at all. You were either up and out of the saddle pushing hard or climbing that hill seated. It was murder but I kept repeating to myself - if you can climb the hills at Kiama you sure as hell can do this. And that is what I did. I drank 1.2litres of water during this session - I was dripping like a leaky faucet.

Needless to say when I got home I had a much deserved shower. One thing I have also noticed since upping my training is that my veins in my arms and hands are becoming much more pronounced. Not sure if it's a look I like but I think it may only get worse. What do you think?
I thought I should also post a photo of my Tri Club. Take a look at yours truly - eye's shut. What a doofus.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The rains are here

The weather has been getting gradually warmer and alot more humid, so it really was just a matter of when- not if it would rain. I have noticed it especially on my last two runs. I leave the house looking all fresh and fine and come back looking like a drowned rat.

This morning I went out a little early, not long after the kids left for school and it was so hard to breathe. I could make out a bit of a haze in the air and knew that the air was thick with moisture. I will need to remember to take my inhaler with me for all my runs from now on - just in case.

My program called for a 25min aerobic run today. Jodie wants me to be able to speak the whole way through my runs for now. I find talking to myself slightly embarrasing and a little one sided really. So instead I choose to sing songs. I can still keep track of my breathing that way and find it far more distracting then listening to my feet pound on the bitumen.

I am still wearing my SLS3 compression socks and really don't know what I ever did without them. My lower legs feel absolutely awesome when I wear them and I don't have that soreness and fatigue afterwards. I guess that's what they are meant to do, but I just guessed that maybe it was all a big gimic. Turns out they work so well on me I now want another pair but in black now.

The rains started this afternoon but only lasted briefly. So it is now even more humid BLAH. Predictions for summer in Australia are wet, hot and humid. Will be a challenging training season for me, but what doesn't kill me will only make me stronger. Atleast that what I keep telling myself.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Started with a bang.

Week 2 has been an eventful week so far and we are only on Tuesday. I am starting to think that this feeling of tiredness will be a part of me for a while, atleast that is till my body gets accustomed to the workload and the new stresses I am putting on it.

Yesterday had me doing 2 sessions in the one day. And in hindsight I should have started earlier but kids were not starting school till today. So I headed out for my 4km run at around 1pm and even though it was cloudy, the bitumen was hot and the steam from the previous night's rainfall was rising up and I was hot. Sweaty and hot. Not the most pleasant situation but I figure we are heading into the warmer months so i just need to get used to it.

Later that evening I went to the local pools and did my swim session. Remind me never to go in the afternoon again. There were swim squads everywhere. So I had to do my 3.6km session in the lane which held the big boys from the Tri Club. It wasn't until I was almost finished my set that the lanes started to become empty.

Here was my session:
  • 300m Warm up
  • 6 x 50m Drills 15 sec rest
  • 8 x 50m Hard on 1 min
  • 4 x 100m Tempo on 1 min
  • 2 x 200m Easy on 3:30
  • 1 x 400m TT with 2 mins rest afterwards. I did it on 6:10
  • 2 x 200m Easy on 3:30 with pullbouy
  • 4 x 100m Tempo on 1:40
  • 8 x 50m Fins (25m easy, 25m hard)
  • 200m cooldown
  • 3.6km Done and Dusted.
Today when I woke up it was the same ol' same ol'. Kids back at school so the usual rush in the morning began. Hubby got them off to school and I prepared myself for my 2hr aerobic bike ride. In this ride I needed to do 8 x 2min Zone 4 efforts with 5 mins recovery inbetween. This was hard. Everytime I was ready to do effort I would encounter a hill or a long slow insignificant rise which made it all the more harder. But I did it.

I also managed to ride this all on the main road on my own. One thing I noticed that is very different from riding on the weekend to the weekday, is how impatient drivers are. I had 2 trucks turn left right in front of me as I was cruising down a hill. I literally had to slam my breaks on - boy did I let them have it. Where is their brain?

So anyway, I rode 50km in just under 2 hrs and was happy with my effort. I rewarded myself with a beautiful hot shower and loads of stretching as my left knee was starting to hurt and click a little. I think my ITB is getting a bit tight.

Bring on tomorrow.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Kicking back.

Yesterday was my designated day off from training and it was such a welcome change of pace. On Saturday after heading back from Kiama I went for another swim session with Top Notch Performance and Health which put my swim total for the week at 10.2km. The last time I had done that sort of distance, I was a child in the senior swim squad. I am pleased though as my body seems to be responding nicely.

The swim session was 3.1km long with the main set consisting of a 500m, 400m, 300m, 200m, 100m with roughly a 2 minute break inbetween. Doesn't sound to tough only that we did it as a handicap race and yep, you guessed it I started last. My job was to try and catch them all before they finished the distance.

The 500m saw me starting with a 75m deficit and I managed to get two of the other swimmers but just couldn't quite get the other. In the 400m and 300m I had a 50m deficit and caught them all. Kind of fun really - It reminded me of the games we used to play as children at the pools during training. In the 200m I had a 30m deficit and got them all but it was a tough challenge. The fastest guy saw me coming at the 150m turn and decided to start up his legs and I battled him all the way to the end - and just pipped him at the post. He was cramping bad though so he opted out of the last 100m and went to go stretch with Erin who was also cramping bad. I hate cramping.

So it was up to me and one other. With a 25m deficit I knew it was going to be tough and I just needed to stay focused on keeping my legs moving at a good momentum and staying strong through the shoulders. At the 40m mark I finally reached him and it was time to slam it home. DONE. A tough but fun set was accomplished. I thought I would be more tired but I seem to be recovering really well inbetween. I have my breath back within 20 secs of each set and am good to go. Feels like the old days.

Yesterday being a rest day I did just that apart from go pick up the new clubs uniform. I would have just loved to purchase it all but my poor husband will disown me if I spend anymore money. So, I ordered the Tri jersey and nicks and arm warmers. What do you think?

Yes I am a total dag. I absolutely love my uniform. I love the material, how it fits, the design, you name it. But most of all I love the colours. It totally matches with Aaliyah. She is gun metal grey, red, black and white. Seems like I was meant to be a part of this club. We also got a group photo so when I get a copy I will post a photo of all my friends from the club on here.

So today is Monday, and with that I start Week 2. Wish me luck.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Oh boy, that's all I can say.

Well, today was the day. A memorable day. An epic day for many reasons.
  1. I met a bunch of great people
  2. I conquered some of the biggest hills that I have ever seen
  3. I realised my strength/weakness as a fairly new cyclist
  4. I need to give myself more credit
  5. I clocked my fastest downhill speed to date
  6. I want to retire here
Upon arriving at the local Fire Station here at Kiama at 0815hrs, 15 mins early as usual I was half contemplating turning around and going home. Not because I was worried about meeting up with everyone but simply because I wasn't sure if I was really ready to do this. You see the FireStation is situated at the top of that hill that I showed you the picture of and I knew deep down that this hill was going to be the one I would have to tackle. But soon after I arrived, another cyclist turned up and it was too late to back out. And not too long after that the rest turned up.

They are all the nicest group of people you could ever meet. They really took me under their wing and made sure I was well looked after. I was even happy to hang on the back of the line but they told me to hang up with the group so as to make sure I wouldn't get left behind.

Pretty soon we made our way onto the Motorway and we were riding along the coast weaving in and out of the local 'burbs'. The sights were just divine.
I was never short of someone to talk to along the way. They would keep dropping back to have a chat and ask how I was going, how I found out about the group, where I was from. They were so welcoming and made me feel like I had been truly accepted into their community.
As the ride continued I found myself venturing further into the hillside. This is truly the most majestic landscape ever. I almost didn't feel like I was in Australia anymore, more like I was in Ireland or some other pristine countryside. It was just hills, hills and more green hills with loads of cows everywhere. Jerseys, Murray Greys, Belted Galloways, Freesians - you name it, the hills had it. Even the air changed aroma - from a cool salty sea breeze to the beautiful aroma's you would either love or hate from the countryside.

At the beginning of the ride I had decided that I would not do the massive hills but as the ride continued and we reached the roundabout that would decide whether you went the less hillier route or the scary hill route I chose to ride with the pack and see what I was made of. I was scared that I would not make it and make a total fool of myself, but there is no other way to find out then to just do it. So with that said I was faced with the first mammoth task. The next lot of photo's were taken from the car. I asked my husband if we could drive the route so I could take photo's to show you because there was no way I could take photos and struggle up these hills.

This hill went on for what seemed like forever. Just when I thought it was nearly finished we turned another corner and there was more. My legs were just trying to turn over and it was I must say very hard. I even had to stop at the halfway point just to regain my breath and take my inhaler. After a couple of minutes I was fine and managed to drag my sorry behind up the remainder of this hill. The upside to every hill that you climb is the downside and at one point my speedo clocked 60km/hr. I was flying and the others were flying so much faster. They are so much braver and stronger than me - I am in total awe of their strength and grit.

The next couple of hills probably weren't as bad in steepness value, but they just seemed to go on forever. The good thing was that everytime I got to the top there was someone there waiting for me. Not that I was ever left alone on any stretch of the ride. I always had someone riding behind me or to my side giving me words of encouragement.

The last hill had me seeing stars. One of them told me it was a 16% gradient hill. It was just insane - the next photos are snap shots along the way up taken in the car. Note the white car we were following even had to pull over for a rest.

When I finally made it to the top they were all congratulating me for having accomplished a really tough ride. I felt like I had just accomplished my 70.3. But the best was still to come - COFFEE.

After 2hrs 45mins and 63km of riding I finally got to stop and enjoy a wonderful long black at the Kiama Lighthouse Coffee Shop. My coffee has never ever tasted so good. It was also a good chance to chat with them all without feeling totally stuffed and short of breath.

I also got to do a little networking with one of the riders Denise who is the sole distributor of Chamois Butt'r. I will definately be testing this product out for my sore hinny.

I would like to send out a sincere thankyou to you all for your kind nature and welcoming hearts. I will definately be coming back and hooking up for more rides in the future. You guys rock.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


I knew last night when I went to bed that the following morning would see me doing something I haven't done in a while in the pool. I was going to be looking straight down the barrel of a few hard, long sets, and as a sprinter - I knew I would struggle. But if this is what my 70.3 training session was saying I was going to have to do, then so be it. I was going to have to suck it up buttercup.

I woke up this morning and fuelled up adequately before making my way up to the Leisure Centre. And as I started on my 400m warmup I already found myself thinking of ways to cut my long sets short. The distance as a whole didn't have me worried but I know how much mental toughness is needed for long sets. So trying hard to ignore the negative thoughts I just focused on doing one set at a time.
  • 400m Fr/s Warm up
  • 6 x 50m Drills - 15sec rest
  • 4 x 500m Fr/s - 100m hard then the rest aerobic
  • 8 x 50m Fr/s - Odds hard, evens easy
  • 400m Cooldown. I chose Br/s kick.
  • Total - 3.5km
Now that I have done it, I have realised that I do not give myself any credit whatsoever. And although it was tough, I am tougher. I know that when I encounter this set next week, the only tough challenge I will now face will be to do it in a faster time. And by that I mean, doing it faster than an hour. This means shorter breaks inbetween sets and setting myself a slightly faster tempo.

After the swim my husband shouted me to an hour long massage. Need I say I almost fell fast asleep on numerous occasions. I know I keep saying that I need to do this more often, but I really do need to make this a fortnightly ritual. The muscles in my shoulders feel like they are made of concrete and at times I feel like my shoulders are up near my ears.

Tomorrow is group ride with the locals. Am I scared? Yes. I don't want to make a fool of myself.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Get a load of them hills.

As promised, here are some pictures of the hills in the area.
I am not sure if you can make out the top of the hill but it is right up there I promise. And this hill is probably not on my list of to do's while I am here. My fear would be that I would get half way up and then start rolling backwards in some uncontrollable fashion. But I did manage the next hill:

For which my gluteus maximus is still paying the price for. I was almost halfway up and the little bugger of a devil got on my shoulder and told me to stop, but I am lucky that I am very good at ignoring annoying things. The next photo is of the other side of this hill:

This photo really does not do it's steep decent any justice whatsoever but it's even slightly unnerving going down it in the car. the next photo is one I think I am climbing on Friday with the locals:
If you can focus your gaze right on the very last white car that hill continues for atleast another kilometre further down - and I will be expected to ride it. It will be a huge task but I am looking forward to the challenge.

This morning I continued with my 70.3 training and did another 4km run. It still feels hard and I think the more tired my body becomes the harder it will become. But I am also hoping that my body will somehow become accustomed to the increase in workload and do me proud.

On a lighter note we all went fishing today and caught 4 fish, but they were too small and subsequently had to get thrown back in. But the kids were happy.

The look of concentration on Taillah's face is hilarious. She was so determined to catch one and she finally did - a Leather Jacket. I was happy just watching them and putting the bait on the hooks.

Tomorrow is another 3.5km swim session and a well deserved massage. Can't wait.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What a day!

I woke up this morning feeling quite sore in the shoulders from yesterday's swim and was thanking God today was a cycling day. And what a day I was blessed with for cycling - blue skies and not a single cloud over the ocean. The kids had been begging us to go to the beach so we decided to go and enjoy some rays before I headed off for a ride.
I can't remember the last time we actually just sat around and played in the sand and enjoyed quality time as a family. It felt so nice to just sit back and let my feet soak up the yumminess of the cool ocean water.
Stephen and the kids played beach volleyball and it was fun watching the kids, who are now almost as tall as their father try to beat him. I really am blessed to have such a great family.
After spending a great morning at the beach we headed back to the apartment and Kurtis and I headed out for a bike ride to tackle some of these hills that engulf the surrounding regions.

After tackling about 6kms worth of decent hills Kurt decided to head back home and I ventured out on my own to see how I could tackle the hills behind the units we were staying at. These hills are unlike anything I have ever seen, suffice to say that if you are driving them in your car, taking it down to your second gear is what is needed to get up and over them. I wish I had of taken a photo of them to show you today but I am heading out for a bunch ride on Friday with some of the locals and will aim to take loads of pics for you then.

I will be aiming for a 70km ride with them and hopefully they will show this newcomer some mercy on the trip.

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