Thursday, March 31, 2011

REALITY CHECK

Talk about all of a sudden getting very, very nervous and of course EXCITED. I was made aware by a friend Kristy that Race Bib numbers were posted on the Ironman Australia website. So upon checking it all out I found my name and next to it the numbers 7379. Barbie from Tryingatri is competitor number 7379.

How unreal does that sound.

I don't think I have ever been so excited about a bunch of numbers in my life. My Math's teacher would be so happy. This whole journey of getting to this point has been so exciting - hard and at times frustrating but most of all the most exciting thing I have done to date since participating in any kind of sport. And as of tomorrow I have exactly one month till I am wearing that sweet as Bib Number 7379.

7379 will be at the start line on the 1st May, 2011 beaming with happiness, nervousness and exhilaration. But most of all 7379 will be PROUD. Proud of the fact that I got to my goal. Proud that I didn't let my back illness get to me. Proud that I stuck it out even when at times I thought I couldn't get there. Proud of the individual that I am. I will stand at that start line knowing that I have tried my absolute hardest and that at the end of the day I will have conquered my fears and doubts to the best of my ability. For I am competitor 7379.

LETS GET THE PARTY STARTED.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I'm back

I am back to the land of the living or as one of my friends on DM said "Back to the land of sweat". And to tell you the truth I couldn't be happier. I really missed the early mornings waking up knowing I had something planned for the day. I missed the adventures and the forming of new goals and the ever constant accomplishments.

Nothing compares to it.

I missed the headspace I get into when I train. The time to zone out and think of nothing other than the sound of your breath, the sound of your footsteps on the bitumen, some of your favourite tunes, the birds up in the trees, the sound of the wind - WHATEVER. Those moments I am training are mine, I don't have to split myself into a thousand different pieces - it's just me, myself and I. I only have to answer to me and I am free to be me.

So this morning was my return from the land of boogers. I was so happy - I felt like I had won lotto. I knew I missed it all but to finally be able to get back out was like nothing I could put into words. My legs were fidgety and I was dying for 9am to come around so I could set out on my merry way with some friends. This run was more of a test run to see how I felt getting back into it. So there was to be no shinhanigans, no sprints or tempo work, just a nice easy lap around the river. And that is just what I did.

The one thing I did do was SMILE. A big cheesy smile. I swear you could see every tooth in my mouth my grin was that big. Surprised I didn't get any bugs embedded into my teeth. I just enjoyed it that much. My legs felt refreshed apart from my niggly ITB, I had a spring in my step, my lungs and breathing felt great and I was just out there enjoying every moment of it. How could the day get any better.

I'm so glad to be back.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I have an Itch

Yep, and it cannot be scratched until - well till I am better. I want to get back to training now. I'm feeling probably close to 80% better now and the pressure in my head is subsiding hour by hour. So, hopefully by tomorrow I will be able to give Jodie a call saying that I think I'm good to go. Last instruction from her was that after I feel better then I still have a further 2 days of recovery. So things are looking set for Wednesday and that will mean I would have had a week off training. Do you think I'm going to feel it when I get back?

Me thinks I will.

I tried washing my car yesterday with help from my youngest and my Mum whilst Stephen was out mowing and just the few minutes I spent doing that little bit of activity was enough to have me in sweats. The first session back will be interesting.

The antibiotics I am on are working well - although they are upsetting my guts a bit even by having them with food. Beggers can't be choosers. I just want to be 100% better NOW. Can't wait till Wednesday.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Thankyou to each and every single one of you

"Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light."
-- Albert Schweitzer

Yesterday was such a BLAH day. Talk about a flurry of emotions - almost like a Tsunami that engulfed me. I was trying to stay rational but the ever increasing pressure in my head was not assisting in a clear thought process. I know this all sounds highly emotional and believe me looking back I can see how this may have looked. However that being said I think this shows how much I love what I am doing and how heart breaking it would be if I could no longer do it. I've never wanted anything so bad in my life.

I want to thank everyone so much for all of your kind and thoughtful emails and text messages via my blog, FB, DM and personal messages. Having you guys think so fondly of me made me feel better, and I really do mean that. You all helped me keep my thought's in check and made me see that I was still going to get to reach my goal. This was merely a small blip and that in the grand scheme of things it was better it happened now and not 2 days before the 70.3.

So with that being said I made an appointment with the GP and headed there this morning and have come out with a whopping dose of Doxycycline for a very bad sinus infection and the beginnings of a throat infection. No wonder I felt so very bad yesterday and not much better today. I have already taken 2 tablets today, and have been using the old FESS spray to help clean out the old passages - with much added relief.

After speaking to Jodie my coach I am not to return to training till I feel 100% better. Upon feeling better she will revise my training plan to wean me back into it so I don't fall sick again. I'm so lucky to have a great coach - one who really listens to you and has nothing but your best interests at heart.

I am just so lucky all round to have amazing friends and family. Now it's time to rest and recoup and get to feeling like my old self so I can get to this dream of mine and NAIL IT.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

It doesn't feel like it.

When I started writing this blog over a year ago, my aim was to one day have something to look back on and feel proud of. I wanted something to show my children that whatever it was you wanted to achieve you could - all you needed was drive and determination. And above all else to enjoy what it was you were doing.

When I started this blog over a year ago I promised myself that I would be brutally honest about how it was I was feeling every step of the way in the hope that by doing so I would be able to work through it and see clearly. That whatever it was that was masking or clouding my thoughts would be blown away like a cloud on a windy day just by be able to air it in writing.

So I write this post more so to help me through whatever it is that I am going through at the moment. To help me realise that this is merely a small blip on the radar - and that there is nothing to fear. That all my training to this very point will help see me through the fact that getting myself off of this couch is the very hardest thing for me to do at this very moment.

Since yesterday lunch I have had such lethargy that it is hard to put into words. I don't know if I feel sick or if I am coming down with an illness or whether my body has just said STOP. My eyes have felt like they have been on fire for over 24hrs yet there is no temp. My body feels like a bag of Jello but yet heavy with every step. I feel so dehydrated yet I am drinking like a fish. And all I want to do is cry - because I feel like I am so close to achieving my dream but scared that I won't get there.

Is it possible for a human body to feel so high and strong one minute and so low and weak the next? Is it possible to feel invincible and ready to tackle anything that stands in your way and then in the blink of an eye feel frail and ready to curl up in a ball. The rational side of my brain says this is nothing and that all you need is rest and to not take it would be frivolous yet the other side of my brain is scared and hoping I haven't gotten to as far as I can go and this is all I have left.

I really hope not, surely I have more. Just at this moment it doesn't feel like it.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

SMASHED.

With 39 days to go till my first ever 70.3 I can safely say now that I am getting close to saying "I cant wait to taper". I am starting to get slowly more tired physically and things are starting to ache more than normal. My eyes are getting heavier and harder to open as that alarm goes off in the dark mornings and I wonder if it is normal to feel a little "I'm slightly over the early mornings".

I still enjoy the training and the feeling of getting better and better everytime I head out the door but I AM having to push myself mentally harder and harder.

Prime example - yesterday was my longest run to date and although I am happy about it I just wasn't feeling it at all. Right from the very beginning I struggled to get out of bed trying to find to excuses to stay in bed - too dark, too cold, didn't get a good nights sleep, felt smashed from the weekends training- it took so much mental strength to drag my sorry behind out of that warm, comfy bed.

Whilst sitting eating breakfast I called upon the collective strength and determination of my friends on DailyMile to help get me through this mental funk so I could do what is was my training plan called for - a 2hr run. The previous night I had a tonne of my friends on FB give me much needed encouragement too.

So as I headed out the door to quite possibly the most foggiest morning I have ever seen I really tried to stay focused. Focused on keeping my mind in the game and staying on track. The first hour wasn't too bad - it wasn't great great but it was ok. My legs did feel very heavy and it did take me a while to get into a rhythm but once there I held it for about an hour.

At about the 1hr 30min mark I started to struggle and it was then I wondered if I was hitting THE WALL. Not sure what that wall is exactly but I felt dizzy, really heavy legged, and slightly nauseous. It also coincided with this one particular hill that I even struggle to ride up. So I allowed myself to walk for 1min. No more, no less - once that 60secs was up it was time to get going.

Taking off again wasn't as tough as I thought it would be - I actually found it refreshing to have had a rest and then get moving. It was just what my body needed. I learnt something about myself yesterday even after all the lack of motivation I suffered before this run was that I am tougher and much more focused then I give myself credit for. It is so easy to just neglect things, to overlook them and say I will get to it at a later date. When in actuality if you miss that opportunity you may never get it back.

So I am really happy to report that in my longest run to date I completed 20.1km. And I did it not feeling the best too. Goes to show what your body is capable of even when you feel not your best. The human body is a resilient machine.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

What can I say.

Wettie off.
Wettie on.

This is what I spent last Thursday doing. I made my way to the Aqua Shop at Gordon with the hope that I would come back with an awesome wetsuit and well, here it is. The gentleman who served me - Duncan - was an absolute gem. Talk about knowing your stuff. I had so many amazing recommendations from the boys at Panther Cycles, from Jodie & Chris at TopNotch, and Larisa the CEO of TriShave Autralia about The Aqua Shop, and Duncan lived up to them all.

If you don't have a wetsuit and you want one and you live in Sydney - then I suggest making your way to the Aqua Shop at Gordon. You won't be disappointed.

Then Friday morning I made my way to the Sydney International Regatta Centre to have an open water swim in my new wetsuit. Well, what can I say about it. Hmmmmm, different. I didn't dislike it nor did I like it alot. Let me explain. I am so used to feeling the water all over my body when I swim that this loss of sensation feels odd to me. Add to it the intense bouyancy that I got when I already sit quite high in the water anyway, made me almost feel like I had to much movement on top of the water. My body really felt each movement I made and intensified it. I also struggled a bit with the restriction around my chest and neck. I got to the 1km mark and wasn't sure if I was breathless cause I swam a little faster than normal or if I was breathless from the wetsuit. After speaking to a few of my comrades they each said that that feeling of breathlessness was quite normal and that I would get used to it. But with all this being said, I know that it won't take much time for me to get used to it. I don't regret it at all. Come May 1st I will have it mastered for sure.

So lessons learnt from Wetsuit Swim 101:
  • Make sure when I put it on that I do so correctly or it pulls down on your shoulders and makes it harder to swim.
  • Let the wetsuit guide the length of my stroke as fighting against it makes you tired.
  • Make sure I wear BodyGlide near the zipper and under arm to stop chafing.
  • Get in first and allow some water to enter suit then get out and squish water out of suit so it moulds to body.
  • Allow the wetsuit to help with speed so then I can really focus on form.
After my 2km swim which by the way the first 1km was done in 15min and I felt like I wasn't really pushing the pace, I made sure I rinsed it well and dried it inside out and let it dry properly before packing it away. My husband said that he will take charge of the kids Friday morning so I can attend the next 3 Friday mornings before the Open Water swims end for the season. I should be able to get more accustomed to the wetsuit in 3 more swims - surely.

Then on Friday my best friend Susan wanted to buy me a birthday present - so we headed to Rebel Sport and she bought me a pair of these:
How comfortable are these. The compression factor around my upper legs and glutes feels really nice. And not sure if I am imagining it or not but it seemed to help with my ITB pain that has been emanating from my hip since last Sunday. It helped so much that I had the most awesome day of training yesterday.

I started the day off cycling with John. We did the Greendale loop and I managed to ride 52km in 2hrs. Not to shabby considering I really didn't feel strong at all on the bike yesterday. I was really struggling to get a good breath of air and couldn't hold a steady conversation. Thanks John for putting up with me. We also managed to gut it out in the rain.

When I got home it was time to put on my runners and head out the door for my 10 x 1km efforts. Here's my splits per km:
  • 4:55
  • 5:14
  • 5:05
  • 5:24
  • 5:02
  • 5:22
  • 5:01
  • 5:22
  • 5:11
  • 5:27
As you can probably notice every second one was alot slower - well I had a headwind to thank for that. Each 1km return hurt bad but I was still happy to maintain above the 5:30min/km for each which put me to a total of 51:20 for the 10km. I felt so good after this session, but I still could not rest as I had a swim set to do still.

Here it is - it was tough but good.
  • 400m Warm up - 75m Fr/s, 25m backstroke
  • 200m one armed Fr/s swapping every 25m
  • 100m Fr/s scull
  • Main set - PYRAMID
  • 100m, 200m (3min), 300m, 400m TT (5:51), 400m TT (6:03), 300m, 200m, 100m (1:17)
  • 4 x 25m sprints - this is where the cramping started.
  • 200m cooldown.
Was I glad when yesterday finished. I was totally pooped. Had nothing left and all I wanted to do was eat and sleep, which is what I did as I knew I had to back it up with today.

Today was meant to be another century ride but with a 30min run off the bike. When I set out this morning to meet Sarah I knew we were in for a bit of a wet ride. I didn't have any wet weather gear so I was just crossing my fingers hoping it wasn't going to be too wet. Well, not only did i face sheer darkness when I headed out but it started to drizzle and then turn heavy about 10mins into my ride. I was half contemplating turning around and going home but I knew Sarah was already out on the road too so thought it best to stick it out. By the time I got to he truckstop it had stopped raining and held out for about the next 35mins for the first half bit of our ride together.

When we made our way close to my home it started to rain again and got progressively heavier as we decided to head back. By the time we got back to the truckstop we were drenched - like drowned rats, but we still smiled. Gotta laugh at the situations we get ourselves into. We decided to see if by heading to the Regatta Centre by car to finish our ride off would be less wet but it wasn't meant to be - even more wet. So Sarah drove me back home, we had a nice hot cup of coffee to warm our insides and she headed back home. I headed to the shower to warm up and then got on my indoor trainer to finish off what I had set out to do this morning. 90mins and 42km later on the indoor trainer - I donned my runners and was out the door for a 30min easy run. And wouldn't you guess, when I wanted it to rain to cool me down, it didn't. GO FIGURE.

In total I did 72km cycling but was meant to do 100km. Nevermind. The indoor trainer I find is more intense as you keep a really strong and steady cadence the whole time. So am I happy with this weekends activities? YOU BET YA. Port Mac 70.3 is looking set to be a really good day. I can now say that I feel confident in my abilities to complete it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A royal pain in the derriere.

No, not a painting of my toosh, but a nice toosh nonetheless. Mine on the other hand as well as my hip are anything but. Seems I pushed harder than I thought on Sunday and now my glute and left ITB are screaming "Blue Murder" at me. Wish they would be quiet. I've kind of been there done that with them before and I am over it already.

I'm not quite sure what I am expecting though - after an AMAZING weekend I had also had my longest run to date on Tuesday. I managed to run a staggering 17.9km. And yes I am using the word staggering quite seriously, as this is HUGE for me. The whole run was perfect from beginning to end. I took off while it was still dark at 6:15am and under the direct instructions of my hubby I set out with my headlamp on. I thought it was going to be uncomfortable - but it surprisingly wasn't.

I wondered how visible I truly was, and it wasn't until later that I received a text message from a Alison who drove past me and said that I was light up well that I realised I made the right decision listening to my Stephen. Even he was happy that I listened for once.

As the run continued I found myself smiling - not a big goofy smile
But rather a smile of knowingness, that I had this run. I was going to own every ounce of it. And I did. I love this distance running business. I have so much time to think and hash things over in my mind, listen to cool music, smile at on coming traffic and chat to the workers near the truck stop as I run past. They totally crack me up. The last time one of them took to running with me in his work boots - dirt and all. He didn't last long but it did bring a smile to my face. Then yesterday the same young chap popped his head up from a trench like a Meerkat and smiled at me again - only when I questioned why he wasn't running this time - he said "no, not today, too busy".

As I finished the run I was slightly scared as to how my ITB would pull up. And well yesterday it felt ok, but this morning it is quite tender. Feels bruised, tight and painful to walk. So I went for a swim, physio and have since iced it more times than I would like to count. I missed out on track tonight not just because it stormed and the track was wet but also because I thought it wise to rest it as much as possible as I have a huge weekend in store in the training department which I don't intend on missing.

"Worry never accomplishes anything. When you have a problem, it is best to concentrate on the solution to that problem, not the problem itself."

~Thomas D. Willhite~

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The end of an era.

It is time to bid a close companion farewell. Initially when I felt the first twinge of separation I was quite shocked, saddened, pained by what was happening as this had never happened before. You spend so much time together almost taking eachother for granted, that when the time comes to finally part ways - its almost as though you wished you had of paid more attention to them or atleast showered them with some lavish show of affection.

So as the colour drains from the once vivid friendship and is replaced with a dark reminder of what once was, and the pain dissipates to nothing more than a mere dull ache - I face the hard task of having to say my farewells much sooner than I had anticipated.

The future has yet to be determined, not sure when we will meet again. But I long for the reunion with bated breath. I hereby promise to pay closer attention to the rekindled friendship, shout them to a spa or massage and hope that they forgive my lack of attention.

To my dear toenail, I promise to take care of thee when ye returns.

Monday, March 14, 2011

TriShave Womens Sprint Tri 2011.

So I am finally awake and able to post my race report from yesterday. Boy was I smashed, headed to bed at 7:30pm yesterday and woke at 5:30am this morning. After all that nervous energy dissipated from my body - I was left feeling like a heavy wobbly lump on the couch.

The usual pre-race jitters are always there. I would love to say that I will try my hardest to get them under control but I know that's never going to happen - I have always been like that. As a child I would get that nervous before a race, that I would stand behind the blocks and then feel like I needed to pee. So for the next minute or so waiting to start my race would see me crossing my legs behind the blocks wishing I had of listened to my Mum's wise words of "go to the toilet" yet again. I don't do the cross legged thing anymore, but I still need to pee.

I headed off to the Regatta nice and early this morning with Elissa. She is such a great friend, always there to support me. Sadly she was not able to compete herself as she had hurt her groin but she still wanted to come and give myself and all the other PTC girls competing support. We are forever grateful Elissa.
When we arrived at registration I caught up with Larisa (CEO of TriShaveAustralia) whom was also not only organising this huge event but also competing in her first Triathlon too. If you remember a few posts ago I mentioned having had the pleasure of meeting her at the Homebush Aquatic Centre and how inspired I was by her amazing energy and vision. And might I add did absolutely fantastic on her first attempt. Her smile could be seen from miles away as she made her way to the finish line.
photo courtesy of TriShave photographers.

I also ended up catching up with Tracy, Kelly and Mel who were all competing in the Enticer event. You girls totally smashed it. We had the perfect day for it girls.

We had a few mishaps this morning I might add. Sarah got a flat tyre and in the process had a massive gash in the rear wheel. Lucky Elissa had loaned me her Zipp wheels for today so I loaned Sarah my rear wheel. Problem fixed. I forgot my race belt so out came the mobile to ring my dear hubby and he brought it to me - love you Stephen. Nikki did the same thing so I came up with the idea of using the elastic with the toggle from her bag to make that as her race belt - worked a treat I think. We all started laughing cause I said I could be the next Bear Grylls.

In amongst all of this I had the pleasure of meeting the President of TriNSW Steve Tudjman and World Champion Triathlete Nicole Hackett and her husband. What an awesome morning this was turning out to be.

Transition set up went smoothly, all us PTC chicks ended up racking our bikes in the same spot close to the bike entry and run exit. And then it was pretty much time to just try and chill and catch up with my family and friends before the race. Stephen, the kids, Mum, Elissa, Paul and Jennie and their gorgeous girls and each of the PTC girls - Sarah and her husband Mark and their 2 mini me's (so cute) and Nikki and Susan made for a very special morning. There was also another PTC member who I had met a couple of times before -Corinna taking part. Really nice catching up with her too.

So it was finally time for the race to begin. I could finally put all this nervous energy to use. I just wanted to get out there and see if I could atleast beat my time by 2mins.
I kept going over my plan in my head - not that it was a well thought out one, but nonetheless it was to hold my own in the swim, focus on technique on the bike and maintain good form and cadence on the run. And if all went well I should be able to knock off those 2 mins.
As we made our way into the water, even though I was all smiles, all I wanted to do was get a good posi and get this ball rolling. All this waiting makes me feel sick. In amongst all my nervousness I got to meet some great women in the water - all I'm sure with their own reasons why they have chosen to take part in today. Their smiles conveyed their feelings without a single word needing to be said.
As the countdown began we all wished eachother luck and then it was GAME ON. As the siren sounded I took off in my usual form but something just didn't feel right today in the water. I felt quite heavy and really tired in my arms. I was finding it hard to find my usual rhythm in the water and my usual stroke was becoming shorter and shorter. I found myself having to tag behind the second girl and then try to navigate through the previous wave when we finally approached them. Although my time wasn't crash hot I still managed to exit the water in a time of 8:17 for the 500m but actual chip time included the run to T1 so it was 8:56.
T1 went ok, it wasn't exceptionally fast nor too slow, it just went along smoothly and I was able to make my way to the bike exit without too much delay. I have to practice leaving my shoes on the bike so I can cut some time but it still feels so foreign, so will practice this for Port.
I felt so strong on my bike, such a total contrast to my last club race. I am so used to people totally smokin' me on the bike but yesterday was my day. I have never had 20km go by so fast without feeling too much distress either. I am sure the ZIPP wheels and my new fancy aero helmet and the fact that it was ideal conditions all contributed to this.
Here are my bike splits for each 5km lap:
  • 8:29
  • 8:07
  • 8:15
  • 9:03
I usually average above the 10 closer to the 11min mark for each - but not yesterday. It was nice to feel like those who I aspire to be like from my club.
Actual 20km bike time was 34:33 but with T1 and T2 included it was 37:20. Average pacing over the 20km was 34.8km/hr. Totally unheard of for me and I can not believe it. I do need to practice on my transition in making it faster and smoother.
As I racked my bike and tried to get my runners on, both calf muscles started to cramp. Everytime I tried to push down into my sneaker my calf would lock up so I just had to bite the bullet and get them on as quickly as I could. Then it was time to try and run on very very heavy legs.
I still, no matter how many times I run off the bike can get used to that odd sensation. It's like my legs belong to someone else and I have absolutely no control over them whatsoever. But it was time to try to focus on making sure this run was something I was going to be proud of. I really tried to hard to keep the beat in my head from last weeks track session. The beat of what I knew my cadence should be to maintain close to a 5min/km pacing. But that first 2.5km really hurt. Not just in my legs but in my lungs. I took a puff of my Ventolin and just hoped they would get accustomed to the heat out there - yesterday was planning on hitting a high of 32 degrees celsius in the west and I think it did. The sun was so strong and I could feel it burning my head.
Making my way out for that last 2.5kms for me was all about trying to catch the person in front of. Sometimes it worked, and other times it didn't. And even though the out and back x 2 for the run can be mentally challenging, it was good because I got to see all my friends out there going through and experiencing the same sort of emotions as I. We were High5'ing eachother and giving eachother words of encouragement the whole way through. PTC'ers rule. I managed to complete my 5km run portion in 25:26. Holding a 5:05 pacing. I couldn't be happier. All my training is finally starting pay off.
Running through that finishing chute I was none the wiser has to what I had just accomplished. So when I finally saw my friends and family members and they told me I had completed my Sprint Tri in 1hr 11min 43secs, to say that I was elated was an understatement. The 2min PB that I was hoping to achieve was squashed royally by a total of 7mins. I wanted to cry and laugh and jump around like a giddy child, and if my memory serves me well, I think I did.

I know that by training you are meant to do well, but I never in my wildest dreams expected to do this. The feeling is something I fail to find the right words for. All the PTC girls did great. Actually the 4 of us scored in the Top 9 for our age group. How cool is that.

I was so glad that one of my best friends was able to join me for the day and give me awesome words of encouragement throughout the run leg. Thankyou Susan.
How could yesterday get any better. I can't wait to do another one TriShave event. I am hooked, can you tell?

I came 6th in my age category. Last year I came 9th. I am so proud of me and all of my friends who competed.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Proud as Punch

Twas the night before his first Triathlon and Kurt was just chillin' in his room. I am sure he was feeling that dreaded anticipation that I often feel and just look for silence to help ease the nerves. We had already prepared everything and checked over it about a Gazillion times to make sure there was nothing missing.
As he headed to bed early after spending the afternoon celebrating my 37th Birthday with the family, I gave him a big kiss and told him that we will be up nice and early and we will be celebrating his first ever Triathlon accomplishment.
When my alarm went off and it was time to wake him up I half expected the usual teenage grunt and groan, but not this morning. He jumped out of bed and came out ready, but struggled to eat his breakfast. Nothing worse that that nauseatingly nervous feeling. But he managed to eat 2 pieces of toast with peanut butter and a banana. I was impressed, I think my first meal pre Enticer Tri was a few mouthfuls of Weetbix and a coffee. Before too long we were in the car and off to the Regatta Centre.
Transition setup went smoothly - Kurt really played a major part in setting his own area up and making sure that all his gear was in the correct order. I could really feel his nerves starting to increase and could see that the telltale dry mouth of nerves were getting to him. I just kept trying to reassure him and let him know that I was going to be there every step of the way with him. I was not going to leave his side.
This mornings time before the race went really quickly for me - but I think it may have dragged on for Kurt. I was so nervous for him and really was hoping that he would be ok and enjoy it. So as we made our way to the start I really kept trying to stay up beat for him.
The water was cooler than I had expected and it really affected Kurt's breathing right from the beginning. That has happened to me so many times. It was also very dark and murky - I think there must have been quite alot of rain the night before. As the starters gun went off - Kurt and I hugged the shore and took our time. Kurt struggled to get adjusted to the darkness within the water but wanted to forge ahead anyway. I asked him on numerous occasions if he wanted to stop and he said "No mum, I want to finish". So I stayed right next to him and kept talking to him the whole way.
One of the officials told us we didn't have to swim the complete course but rather make a B-line for the ramp - which we did. I know Kurt struggled with this as it is so different to swimming in a pool and placing your face in clear, clean water - but I am supremely impressed in my son's strength of character and fortitude to have finished. I had to try really hard to not cry tears of pride as he made his way out of the water. If he had of decided then and there that he did not want to do this anymore I would have still been proud of him.
But, my son kept going and once out on the bike he managed to settle his breathing and was able to enjoy the remainder of the race. It was really nice to watch him enjoy himself as we played cat and mouse for the next 10kms.
Coming out of T2 Kurt was focused on his run. He did get a stitch but we managed to get that under control at about the 1km mark and towards the end he had picked up the pace. Was he trying to race me? So I said, lets go and finish hard - which he did.

As we crossed the line everyone cheered him home. I could see they were all so proud of him for having overcome such a huge obstacle at the beginning and sticking it out to the end. I could not stop smiling the whole way - my boy is AWESOME. When we finished I asked him how he felt and although disappointed in his swim because he knew he could swim the distance but felt distressed by the open water situation, he was already looking forward to the next one so he can lay those demons to rest. I have promised him that we will make regular visits to the lakes and swim together with a spotter so he can become accustomed to the darkness and openness of the lake. By his next one - which we will do again together, I know for a fact that he will finish much happier within himself.
I love my son to bits, and know that he has overcome such a huge hurdle. I hope in the years to come that he can look back on this and know that anything is possible. He came across a mountain and hacked away at it till it became nothing more than a mole hill. Way to go Kurt.

You are my idol.

Friday, March 11, 2011

How cool was that.

Wow, is all I can say. If you have never been to a Velodrome I suggest you make your way to one ASAP. This was my first time at one and all I can say is "I want to have a go". It looks like so much fun - I think maybe my Grandad's genes have a little to do with my enthusiasm - you see he was a National Cycling Champion in his day in Uruguay.

Anyway, the reason I went was to support a friend Andrew Mclean aka Macca as he was competing in the State TT championships for his 1km. The kids and I went to Dunc Gray Velodrome and from the moment we walked in we were gobsmacked. I never realised how steep the sides of this velodrome were. I actually got a bit of vertigo as I looked down the face of that wall - huge.

Macca is such a nice guy, a real genuine soul. He never ceases to make me smile every time I walk into the bike shop - Panther Cycles. We could see his quiet/nervous disposition from the other side of the Velodrome as he was warming up on the rollers.
He spotted us and came over to say HI and thank us for coming to support him. State Titles in my books are a huge deal. I was so nervous for him but he seemed to take everything in his stride. I almost felt as though I was participating in this event and wouldn't have missed this massive event for anything in the world.
As he made his way back down to the centre of the Velodrome we all wished him goodluck but knew that he would totally nail it. I have never seen him ride but when you hear about his passion for indoor cycling it's not hard to tell that he was made for it. His face lights up.
Before we knew it, it was Macca's turn to get up on the start line (if thats what you call it in the cycling world). The kids and I were watching intently and the Velodrome became extremely quiet as the Countdown began - 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 - Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep. He was off.

I had been watching alot of the others start and their starts seemed a bit messy - almost like they couldn't quite time their exit from the start - but Macca's start was smooth. Nice and clean and powerful.

With each loop my nerves got bigger and bigger - not sure why, it's not like I was competing but I think I just wanted him to go really well. Not that he needed my help. Macca makes cycling look effortless - he has such a strong, powerful pedal stroke and a real easy look about how he holds himself on the bike. He is not all hunched over and gripping the bars tightly, but rather its like he and the bike are made for eachother - perfect fit.
When he finally crossed the finish line after a whopping 1km effort, this was his time :
1:10:30
That is so fast, I can't begin to tell you how fast he zoomed past us all - you can actually feel the floor beneath you rattle. That humming sound is just the best. This amazing time scored him a 2nd placing and a PB of .7 secs. How cool is that.
CONGRATS MACCA.
Awesome effort - we are all so proud of you. Look forward to watching you compete again and hopefully taking part in some indoor cycling myself.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

FANTABULOUS

I can't even begin to explain how blessed I feel. Lucky that my life has panned out the way it has and that I have gone through everything I have gone through. Touched to know that I have so many wonderful friends and who despite my many crazy antics still love me to bits. Enriched with numerous possibilities to make the most of my life and great family and friends who stand by my side wanting only ever the best for me.

Yesterday at track was most possibly (along with every other great achievement for me that I have chronicled) the single most enlightening and fulfilling experience to date. How is it that things just seem to keep getting better. I never NeVeR NEVER, have felt such a greater sense of pride in my accomplishments and can't believe that I am doing any of it. I have never questioned my swimming ability, and the bike well - it is coming along nicely. However the run has been the one thing that has really tested everything. It has tested my faith in myself, my overall ability, my determination and most of all - grit.

But after yesterdays performance at track I really no longer have to question any of it at all. I have been told by my best friend Susan that I have to proclaim to the world that "I am a comfortable 5min/km pace runner". No longer am I allowed to hide behind my fear or intimidation, no longer am I allowed to doubt my abilities. I am to wear this badge of honour with pride and know that I have worked for every ounce of that title. But I have to say - that having one of my best friends there at track giving me support and a good idea on pacing made it that much easier.

So, last night the main set was 16 x 400's - coming in on 2mins and leaving on 2:15. I couldn't believe what I was hearing and felt sick to my stomach. Susan had to do 10 as she had to leave early but she kept me on track for those 10. Then after that it was all up to me. Up to me to time myself and feel the rhythm of how we had been running. Here were my splits as per my Garmin:
  1. 1:54
  2. 1:54
  3. 1:56
  4. 1:55
  5. 1:54
  6. 1:56
  7. 1:53
  8. 1:53
  9. 1:55
  10. 1:52
  11. 1:53
  12. 1:56
  13. 1:55
  14. 1:54
  15. 1:56
  16. 1:54
Then after all of this I had to do a 1km TT. Now I think the last time I did a 1km TT I did it in 4:50 - well hold onto your seats. I did 4:38 and, I still had energy at the end to come home really hard. I couldn't believe it. But I do have to own up to something about those 400's - I almost lost the plot at Number 10 and 14. I was so stuffed in my breathing that I almost felt as though I was having a panic attack - but in true Chris form - I was told to breathe deep and dig deep. Thankyou to Chris and Susan. Words cannot describe how appreciative I am of all your support and constant encouragement.

So needless to say I was on such a high when I got home, I could hardly sleep and it was close to midnight before my eyes succumbed to the droopy lid. Then today, to make things even better still, my article in the 220Triathlon Magazine Aus/NZ edition made it to the stands. Actually I think it made it earlier in the week but I just couldn't find it. When I finally got a copy in my hot little hands - a grin the size of the Cheshire cats grin overwhelmed my face. I am sure people were staring at me as I walked aimlessly with the magazine open and a huge grin but I didn't care. I was on cloud 9. now I am not sure how to attach this as a PDF but if you would like a copy to be able to read just email me and I can send you the PDF.
Everyone has been so happy for me and I have been inundated with text messages, emails, FB messages and DM messages. YOU are all totally awesome. Thankyou.

Now it is time for me to hit the sack as I have had an absolutely massive day and night. I went to see a friend at the Velodrome - stay tuned. His story to come.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

DailyMile Blog.

I woke up this morning to a wonderful surprise - my first ever DailyMile Blog post had made it's debut.

Both sides of the fence” is the second post in a series about the human side of dailymile:How We Succeed. As a part of this series, dailymilers write about their experiences as athletes struggling to overcome obstacles and solve problems with the help of their friends on dailymile. Being an athlete makes our bodies stronger, but having the support of a crowd of athletes makes our minds stronger. This series highlights the side of training that requires more than muscle power". Click here.

The response I have had to it has been truly overwhelming. Everyone has been so positive in their comments and feedback and all I have done all morning is SMILE. Never really realised how much of what I write affects people - for the better. It really is quite humbling.

I even got another surprise - 220Triathlon Mag has printed an article on me. I knew it was coming out on the stands but wasn't quite sure when. As soon as I can find myself a copy I will scan it and post it on here. This is just too cool. I feel really special and almost quite shy. This never happens to me - I am never shy nor speechless and it has happened to me quite alot today.

So in amongst the busy-ness of the morning I have also washed both bikes - my son and mine and taken his to Panther Cycles for a service. I am quite chuffed with my bike cleaning skills and really put into practice everything the guys taught me at our Maintenance night. I think they will be really proud of me. I even have the grease under the nails and in the creases of my hands to prove it. I really like getting all dirty - good thing with this is that you really get to know your bike and by maintaining it properly the aim is that you will have less things to repair. Well thats the aim.

I cant wait to get my hands on a copy of that 220Triathlon Magazine .

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Excitement

This weekend starting as of Friday, will be an action packed weekend. Why, well this Friday is my birthday and I am turning 37. I used to be concerned about what it was going to be like venturing close to the 40's but now I realise I am exactly where I want to be in my life. I am fit, happy, content at last and look forward to embracing this new year in my life with much excitement and fervour.

I am also excited because on Saturday-Kurtis, my twin son is going to take part in his first Enticer Triathlon.
I will be taking part in the event with him so we can both enjoy this awesome day. It is going to be an early start - Race starts at 7am SHARP, so not sure how this teenager will cope opening his eyes at about 5. This will definitely be a tester. I look forward to seeing his expression as he tackles his first Triathlon and the wonderful sense of accomplishment he gets as he see's that he is capable of tackling anything that comes his way - not just during the race but during his life.

Then on Sunday I tackle the TriShave Women's Sprint Triathlon. I am excited and nervous all rolled into one. I have a goal that I wish to achieve in this race, and that is to knock off 2 mins. The last Sprint Tri I did with TriShave I did 1hr 18min. I think I can do this but you just never want to get your hopes up. I am feeling much more confident in my cycling and my running ability but still never want to "count my chicken's before they hatch".

So with my recovery week underway, I look forward to resting up as much as I can so I can give it my all this Sunday. What do you guys have planned for the weekend?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Just keep climbing.

I knew when I woke up this morning that I was going to be in for a long hard bike ride. However, not knowing this new course I was definitely oblivious to the enormity of what lay ahead. You can always try to imagine and try to prepare yourself but it is never the same as actually doing it.

I was really lucky to be able to start my ride a little later today - 0640hrs, because our mornings are so dark at the moment. So it was nice to not have to rush around like a lunatic at 0430 to get myself prepared. So I plodded along nicely, ate breakfast, took my Neways Vitamins, spent time on the computer and finally headed out about 6:30am to meet them all at the top of my road.
It was quite a brisk morning, you can definitely feel that Autumn has made it's appearance. Although with that being said I still only put on a singlet underneath my cycling jersey and used my arm warmers because I knew it wouldn't be too long before I would get nice and toasty warm.

I headed out with Cloe, Drew, Kylie, Aaron (my Nepean Triathlon buddy) and Johnsy. No sooner had we set off, actually not far from the bend of the photo above, we came across a young Kangaroo bounding along on our right. I think he must have gotten spooked cause he came hopping right across the road in front of our path - so we all naturally slowed down. As I continued to look at him he was trying to find a way to get over a fence and then decided to bound right back across the road again. Only this time he bounced right between us all and got collected by a Mercedes Benz just meters from us.

All I could hear was a horrible thud and then the sound of chasis being ripped apart. We quickly stopped as did the driver and I made my way back to the poor Roo to make sure it was definitely dead - can't handle the thought of a poor innocent creature suffering. It was dead, not a single glimmer in it's eyes thank goodness. The driver was visibly shaken but ok, however her vehicle although not severely damaged, was still damaged and could cost a bit to fix. After we all got over the shock of what had just happened we finally got back on the road.
We finally made our way to meet Aaron and it was time to get the show on the road. The 6 of us were in for an awesome ride. One I will NEVER forget. I remember saying to Kylie that I was extremely nervous and was aiming to just not walk any of this ride. But somewhere deep down inside I knew that if I needed to then that was what I was going to have to do. I did it on the Cobbitty Ride and I now don't walk it anymore, so it would be okay if it happened on this ride too.

As we made our way up to Razorback I could feel myself starting to tense up. I was scared but also anxious to get it over and done with. So when the climb finally started I was kind of glad in a way. But as it started to get steeper i found myself needing to zig zag across the road (very small narrow road) I might add to make it to the top. I know this is not safe nor ideal but I was checking for traffic and did this as safely as I could to be able to make it up. I know next time this won't be necessary. All my team mates make this look so easy - can't wait till I can do the same.

Just when I thought the climb couldn't get any steeper - I was faced with something I could only describe as Mt Everest. This thing was like nothing I had ever seen before - it was like running into a brick wall face first. How was I expected to get up this? Well, like everything else I have done - steadily and with alot of inner strength and courage. And when it got so painful that I felt like I needed to stop, I kept thinking about everything I had been through and how I had never given up before, so why start now.

When I was finally making it to the top of Razorback I remember saying to Drew who came down to meet me "I did it, I made it, cant believe it, I did it". I know they were all so proud of me as I made it to the top.

The second massive hill was scarier still. Like Matthew Flinders I think but longer. It just kept going and going and I am sure I saw 5km/hr on my speedometer for most of it. Would have been faster to get off and walk but NOT GOING TO HAPPEN TODAY. I was not going to let this beat me. So as I painfully inched my way to the top I just kept repeating to myself "I can do this, I can do this" with every revolution of my pedals. Once again Drew dropped back to see if I was ok, so nice to have friends who have your back.

So when that hill was all said and done I was glad to see everyone's smiling faces at the top cheering me on again. The remainder of the ride was just nice sets of rolling hills - nice painful rolling hills. The kind that make your quads scream for mercy. The kind that make you work for every bit of it. But I didn't care - I had just ridden the notorious RAZORBACK and BARKERS LODGE. I'm the man!!!!! Well Woman but you know what I mean.
WE ROCK!!!!
So check out my ride from today, them there hills were hard.

"Only as high as I reach, can I grow,
only as far as I seek can I go,
only as deep as I look can I see,
only as much as I dream can I be"
Karen Ravn.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Awesome day.


What a day, what a day, what a day!!! Not sure if there is anything that can compare to how I felt yesterday since I have started training. I know I say this everytime I have a great training day but seriously, yesterday was tops.

My run yesterday was simply the best. After riding around the Regatta Centre 12 times, yep 12, I was surprised at how great I felt on my legs. I met my best friend Susan and she and I did my 8 x 1km repeats. The plan said to do them on 5:30 and leave on 5:45 but I did a naughty yesterday (and yes my coach is aware). I wanted to see if I could push each 1km effort and replicate each by having a longer break inbetween. I know this is not the ideal way as you want to be more consistent in your approach but I really just wanted to go harder than I ever have on each. And it was good that I had my best friend - who is a runner - to push me all the way on each. Susan has such a great ability to be dead on her pacing skills.

Anyway, I can't really explain how great I felt coming off the bike - it has never ever felt that good. Normally I struggle so bad and want to cut my legs off - but not yesterday. Yesterday - I was on fire. Even Susan was surprised at how far I had come. The last time we ran together was close to 8mths ago, just before I got injured. She was and is so proud of me. This means alot.

So here are my splits for each 1km. I gave myself about 90 secs rest between each of an toilet stop between the 4th and 5th kilometre. I also made Number 5 a recovery one:
  • 4:55
  • 4:38
  • 4:54
  • 5:03
  • 5:16
  • 4:47
  • 4:49
  • 5:02
I really couldn't be happier. This meant that for my total of 8km if I can maintain that pacing more consistently then I can do it in 38mins and average a 4:45min/km pace. How cool is that???

Anyways, after all of that excitement I had to go to our business partners daughters wedding. I don't often get dressed, heck I think it may even only be twice a year. So wearing a dress and heels is quite foreign. But Stephen loved my outfit and kept commenting on how pretty I looked - I felt so special - tired but special. And I scored a massive bargain on this dress from CUE.
The heels I could do without even though they were gorgeous.

Needless to say the trip home was spent shoeless and I fell asleep. Totally knackered. Poor Stephen had to tackle the 90min drive wifeless.

Anyway, today was another great session in the pool. I felt powerful and really consistent. Here's the session:
  • 400m Fr/s warm up
  • 300m - 25m scull, 25m Fr/s
  • 300m - 25 sharkfin, 25 Free, 25 fingertip drag, 25 Free
  • 300m - 50m focus on catch with board, 100 Fr/s (x2)
  • 10 x 200m Fr/s - meant for all to be on 3:15 and leave on 3:30. I did them all on 3:00 except for one which was on 3:02
  • 100m cool down.
Absolutely love how I am feeling at the moment. Hope you are all having a great weekend, and if you are not there yet, hope it turns out to be an awesome one.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I need.......

Stillness of the mind. Every so often I require my brain to just STOP. To have peace, serenity - a moment of just NOTHING. Free from guilt and the everyday movement of life. Do you ever need that?

Yesterday's funeral for my Uncle Jose highlighted how fragile and precious our life is. That if we don't just stop to inhale - exhale, grab tight to what is happening in the present moment, then without any real warning - it can all be gone. It makes you embrace those who are near and dear and take in every detail of who they are ( every movement, expression, gesture) and lock it away for safe keeping. I came away from yesterday feeling an overwhelming sense of how I seem to be rushing through things, without really just STOPPING for all the small things that we can at times find insignificant.

"Live every act fully, as if it were your last"
Buddha

I was kind of flat for the remainder of the day - just didn't have my usual ZING and still don't one day later. Not sure what that's about. I'm not tired just emotionally drained. The real me will pop up shortly - takes a fair bit to hold me down.

So last night PTC had a Bike Maintenance night for everyone. There were about 20 of us and we learnt so much from the guys at Panther Cycles.
  • How to wash the bike
  • What to degrease the bike chain and other parts with the proper solutions.
  • How to change a flat
  • How to take wheels off and put them on correctly
  • and many other things.




Thanks guys I learnt a whole heap.

And then after this was all said and done I got to enjoy a really nice coffee and some supper with those who attended. It was a great afternoon/evening.

As previously stated I am still quite flat this morning. This melancholy is unnerving. Have to get my head back in the game for tomorrow as I have a 2.5hr ride with 8 x 1min efforts off the bike and then a wedding to go to. BUSY BUSY BUSY.

What was I saying about needing some STILLNESS?

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