Friday, April 29, 2011

Could it maybe

Be sun I see!!!!! YES IT WAS. I'm sure it was warmth I could feel on my skin this morning just prior to getting in the water. And as the sun finally decided to stick it's bright happy face out from behind the clouds I had to get a photo. I wasn't sure when I was going to see it again.
The swim was just glorious. It finally just felt so right in the water. The wetsuit is starting to feel better and I am definitely feeling much more confident out in the open water - finally.

Among the many things to do and see here I have also registered and gotten all my goodies in my backpack. Not to mention having splurged on a few things to help remind me of the event.
I also took a bit of a walk around where the finishing chute will be to try and take in some of the enormity of what will be come Sunday.
Still looking at this photo brings tears to my eyes. It has been such an emotional journey and I feel so blessed to have been able to make it to this very day. I only hope I remember every emotion from this Sunday.

This afternoon we have Pre-race registration and I have gotten my bike and helmet set up with their stickers.
Little OCD me was getting frustrated with the fact that my helmet sticker wouldn't sit on properly without getting creases. So my first lesson for Port was - Let things be. This is the least of my worries. There could potentially be bigger things to worry about and this is not one of them.

Elissa came over last night to stay with us till Tuesday and Susan and her hubby are arriving today to stay as well. Should be a good day as it is also Mum's 64th birthday today. We are heading off to do some Strawberry picking today - so we can have it with dessert tonight.

Everytime I head out I am spotting lots of friends and their families. And this morning as I went for a quick ride with Jodie and crew I spotted Tim Berkel and Belinda Granger. Once again you have that star struck moment - they look so strong and ready to do battle. If I could have a smidge I their ability I would be one happy individual.

I have to confess - I had my first mini cry this morning as we made our way to Matthew Flinders. I got all emotional and scared and almost felt the same way I did when I did my first ever Enticer. My legs got all wobbly and I really questioned myself. Lucky for me we only did the top half as Jodie wanted us to stay fresh. Anyway after that little emotional outburst I felt better. I was in control again.

Can't believe it's tomorrow. I will be doing my first 70.3. WooHoo

I'm here

So I packed everything but the kitchen sink to come up - but in my defence this pile only has my race gear in amongst it all. My everyday clothes bag still was not packed. It's amazing how much stuff you have to pack for a family of 5. In a way were lucky we were taking the 2 cars as there was no way we would fit it all in one car plus my Mum and Father in laws stuff as well.
As we headed out for the adventure of a lifetime - to say that I had rechecked my stuff a million and one times would have been an understatement. But I decided that if something was a miss well then it could be bought up at Port. So I said Goodbye to home and knew that when I returned I would be returning a changed person. I would have reached the pinnacle of my journey and accomplished something I never thought in my wildest of dreams possible.

Making our way up to Port was well - what can I say - eventful. The weather has been a big fat BLAH. We went through about 5 different sets of rain clouds and since arriving here it pretty much has not stopped raining since. And by rain I mean - torrential rain. The kind that makes the ground so slushy because it can't soak up another drop. Oh well, should make the race interesting on Sunday if it continues.

As we were driving up I really wasn't giving much thought to the fact that I was heading up to race until I came across this sign about 60kms from Port.
Amazing how one little (well big) sign can make you quiver. Reality hit me like a plank of 4x4 to the head yet again. Arriving at Port did the much the same thing. There were sponsor signs everywhere, people riding their bikes, people jogging all over the place and just that neat BUZZ which filled the air.

When we reached our accomodation, the kids dispersed frantically to find their rooms and I walked straight out the back to admire the beauty of this place. To think that some people have this view everday upon waking makes me slightly jealous.
The house we are renting for the 9 days is amazing. This water view encompasses the side and back of the house and they even have their own jetty. If I had some dollars I would offer to buy it and live here permanently. But then I think I said the same of Kiama. Must be all the greenery that does it to me.

Yesterday morning I met up with Jodie and Chris and some friends for a swim at the swim course. Not the ideal weather conditions I was hoping for but the water was beautiful. There were only some patches that were cold but the rest was warm. Swimming out was slightly tough as you had the current coming at you, but coming back was awesome.
Can't wait to do it all again this morning. Speaking of such - I must head out the door or I will miss it. Speak soon.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

In my quest.

For positivity to alleviate my fears about my impending 70.3 I came across this affirmation

I have the power within me.

I have been repeating it to myself since this morning and am hoping that come Sunday it will ring true for me. They always say there is a strong connection between body and mind and I will use this to my advantage I think.

I will also use the collective positive thoughts from each and every single one of you - friends and family to spur me onto the finish line. It doesn't matter how much I ache on the day you will all be in my thoughts and I will feed off your well wishes.

As for all of my buddies from PTC taking part in IM and 70.3 - you are all just the best and I wish you all the best of luck. I really am part of the best club in the world. You make me feel totally SPECIAL. And it is your constant encouraging words during all of the club races and whenever we catch up that makes me proud to be a member of PTC.

As for my coaches Jodie, Chris and Eliza - what can I say. You are the reason why I am here today 4 days out of my first 70.3. If it wasn't for your programs, your kind words, your dedication in seeing me reach my dream I don't think I could have done this on my own. You have constantly believed in me - even when I didn't believe in me. You have made me see that I can reach those goals, all it took was a "chipping away" attitude. Making sure that I ticked all those boxes and left no stone unturned. Your calmness in how you approach every training session makes me realise that I can achieve anything I set my mind to. I know at times my head space may not have been good, but I hope that I make you proud come this Sunday.

Here's another good reason to smile:
What's not to smile about with those details. Perfect really. Sunday is going to be awesome.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Like a pendulum - thats my emotions at this point in time. One minute I am confident in my abilities, the next I am nervous as hell and doubting every square inch of myself inside and out. I have even found myself getting all choked up just thinking about the day. At random times too I might add. In the supermarket, driving the car, having a shower, typing this post. It's when I least expect it that I feel overcome with emotion.

What makes me tear up? All of it. Being scared more than anything I think. Scared that I won't be able to finish. Scared that even though I have done all my training that I won't be able to do it. Scared that maybe I have bitten off more than I can chew. And I know deep down that I can do this, I just need to keep telling myself that I can - I have just never been good at "feeling confident in myself". I have never been good at "tooting" my own horn, if anything ask my closest friends - I am the one who is always finding things to downplay myself.

I want to feel strong and brave but I don't want to let myself down. I don't want to put expectations on myself only to come crashing down. This whole not knowing business scares me. Atleast when I swim I know my abilities and can say without a shadow of a doubt that I feel confident, but I can't say the same thing about the other two. I think what's getting me is the fear of the unknown.

I guess after this Sunday I will have an answer to the "unknown". Come this Sunday I will have embarked on a dream. I will have made it to the top of the mountain I have been climbing for the last 6mths of training. Come this Sunday my name will be called as I cross that finish line and I WILL not be nervous anymore, I WILL not doubt myself anymore because I will have laid to rest those demons.

Until then - I AM NERVOUS.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Let the countdown begin.

As of this very moment I have 6 days and 14hrs till I participate in the race which I have been training for - for what feels like forever. I really never thought this day would ever arrive. It has almost always felt like a dream - a dream when I signed up 359 days ago that I never thought I would reach. I thought somewhere along the line that something would happen which would prevent me from reaching this goal.

But here I sit - looking back on all of the good times I have encountered, all of the goals I have reached along the way, and the pain and hardship I have encountered and feel nothing short of proud. Proud of me and proud of the fact that I never gave up.

I know I couldn't have reached this all on my own - I have my family and friends to thank for all of your support. Without you all I think I would have struggled. You have kept my head on track and for that I will be eternally grateful.

Tapering has been going wonderfully - really enjoying not doing an awful lot and when I do I am feeling superbly fresh I might add. I have started to place all my stuff in a pile to make sure I have not forgotten anything as we leave to go to Port Macquarie this Wednesday.
And everytime I pass this pile I add another thing to it. And I am sure that 90% of my vehicle will pertain specifically to all of my goods. Lucky we are taking up two cars as we have Mum and my Father in law coming up with us.

This feeling I can hardly put into words. All I can say is that I am excited. VERY EXCITED.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Do you ever have days where you don't quite feel worthy? That people's views of you far outweigh how you see yourself? That you feel so humbled by how much friends and family think of you? Well the last 2 days have been that way. It's hard to put into words how loved and special I feel - and my only hope is that I never let anyone down.

Through every step of this magnificent journey I have had each and everyone of you cheering me on and making me feel like I was totally invincible. That no matter what I could and would achieve anything I set my mind to. From doing my first ever Enticer Triathlon just over a year ago to now just days away from reaching a goal I never in my wildest dreams thought attainable - my first ever 70.3.

Six months ago I was struggling to run 2km's and now I can run a full 21km. Twelve months ago I rode one lap of the Regatta Centre and struggled so badly with pain afterwards that I never thought I would reach my goal of my first Enticer and now here I am about to cycle 90km. This whole journey and everyone's enthusiasm and love to see me get as far away from my "old me" has me so driven to be the best I can be on May 1st that I cannot even begin to describe in words.

And when I say to be the "best I can be", it's not to smash any records or be some elite triathlete - we know that's never going to happen - BUT I sure as heck know that for every inch of the way that I will give it my all, and be as proud as punch that I, Barbie, will be as far away from that sick Barbie that she can be. That I will have proved to myself that I can overcome anything.

So with all that being said - look at what my dear friend Elissa had made for me for my birthday. Whilst she was over in the States she signed off on the naming rights and had these shirt made for me. Not just one, but one for every member of my family and herself plus a few more.

How lucky am I? I have my very own special team - all there, wearing my name on a shirt. What's not to love about that? I haven't stopped smiling or wearing my shirt for that matter. I am proud as punch. Thankyou Elissa for being such a dear sweet friend. Love ya lots.

Then today, Kirsten from DM popped over with her gorgeous children. We chatted and chatted and chatted over lunch and a few cuppas. Then Kirsten popped out a present for me. I felt so blessed and touched by how my friends are supporting me through this 70.3 journey. Here is what I got!
Thankyou so very much Kirsten. I think my jaw dropped so far onto the floor I had to reach down and pick it up. Now for all of you who don't know what the initial's WWBD stand for - here is the inside scoop - click here. What a humbling experience it was to know that Kris felt that way. I really couldn't stop crying when I saw this post. To both you Kirsten and Kris - THANKYOU for making me feel so special. I will look at this bracelet and answer that question with "Never give up".

Then this afternoon Mel popped over as well. I thought to drop me off my favourite Nutrimetics Cream, however she too had a wonderful gift for me. Check this little guy out.
My very own Goodluck Buddha.

Thankyou Mel, to know that you will have me in your thought's not just on May 1st but have everyday makes me feel so blessed to have you as a friend. Love ya lots. You have a heart of gold.

With all of you by my side, how can I go wrong May 1st. Even if I come through that chute being the very last competitor I will still have won. Because I had you all cheering me on.

And I am going to have to top typing here, because I can't stop crying. You are all too much.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sparta Personal Training.

This is my friend Jen. We met close to a year ago on my very first ride out on the Northern Road. I was heading out with Maureen and at our turnaround point I was introduced to both Jen and her hubby Rommel. We connected from the very first moment we met. Jen is just the nicest person, her gentle and calm demeanour are in my eyes why she makes a great personal trainer.

I will let her article tell her story. Sparta Personal Training is the name of her business - remember it - it will go far. Check out her website by clicking on Sparta Personal Training and see all she has to offer.

"I find it amazing how life turns out completely differently from the way you anticipated it would.

At university some 17 years ago (yikes!), I contemplated doing my fitness trainers course so that I could teach ‘aerobics’ (as it was called then) to make some cash. I didn’t end up doing the course at the time. So I find it amazing that now after being a lawyer for 13 years, I seem to have come almost full circle & am now (finally) in the health & fitness industry – where I know I belong J

It was also while I was at uni that I discovered my love of strength training & being in a gym. Despite that, I let the exercise lapse when I finally started working as a lawyer. After a couple of years, I found myself carrying an extra 8kgs. After being relatively lean throughout uni, this didn’t sit too comfortably. So I joined the local gym near the office. Doing weights and using the treadmill & stepper soon led to getting out doors & walking.

Before long, I started running. When I started running, I distinctly remember thinking there was no way I could imagine running for the rest of my life. It seemed too uncomfortable and quite simply, far too hard to persevere with. But somewhere along the way, I discovered a passion for endurance sports like running, triathlons, hiking & mountaineering. And now I can’t imagine not running for the rest of my life.

Having said that, it has been a very rocky road since I started running 6 years ago. It is no exaggeration to say that I have basically been injured, or recovering from an injury, since then. Needless to say, it has been very difficult to watch my friends & family set & achieve their sporting goals in that time. Many many tears have been shed over the years. The experience has been a great lesson in determination, dealing with jealousy & humility. So I understand the disappointment & frustration that comes from being injured and empathise with people who have been unable to achieve things what they want due to injury. This has really become my driving force & main motivating factor behind SPARTA - I do not want anyone else to go through what I have.

So my mission at SPARTA is to help my client’s achieve their dreams & goals by reducing their risk of injury & helping to improve their performance in their chosen sport. I do this by identifying, and then minimising, any issues with their movement which might cause injury and/or reduce their ability to achieve peak performance. I do this in a way that takes into account everything about my client’s - from their goals, lifestyle, personality, posture, strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes and available time so it is a very customised process. Getting this much input from my client’s means that they are as much a part of the training design process as I am.

In the future, I would also expand my practice & work with older adults. I have watched family members suffer from diseases that I know exercise can help to address in some way. And I know of a lot of parents, family & friends of active people who have been inspired to become more active themselves. I think older adults also appreciate the importance of their health more than others.

I love seeing the way people change physically & mentally as they set themselves a goal they don’t always believe they can achieve and then set out to achieve it. It is an extremely gratifying role; what can I say – I honestly love my work.

Jen, I am so glad we are friends. I know your clients will benefit immensely from your knowledge and patience as well as your motivating and gentle personality. You are an asset to the industry and to anyone who has you as their trainer.

Check out her website - articles and interviews galour.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Flippetty Flop.

That's what it feels like when my heart is having it's random moments. And to say that's it's distressing when it happens is an understatement. It really only happens for a few seconds, but it's enough to make me feel breathless and like my heartbeat is about to explode through the base of my neck.

So after Sunday's pathetic attempt at Cobbitty I decided it was time to get this checked. So off to the GP I went and he decided it was time to make me have a stress test as previous ECG's showed nothing at all. So thank goodness for Sarah and her being a cardiac technician and all at the local hospital.

Sarah had me booked in first thing this morning as an outpatient and I couldn't be more grateful for her organising this. She showed me around the ward in which she works and then it was time to get all the leads hooked up to my chest. She is a total natural at her job and you could plainly see that she could do this with her eyes shut. I used to have to count each intercostal space to place leads when I did ECG's - but not Sarah.

She took all the preliminary stuff down - like my pulse and lying/standing blood pressure and then after a bit of waiting around for the resident to arrive it was time to get on the treadmill and start the STRESS test. Having never had one before I was interested to see how this would pan out.

So, basically you start on a small incline at a certain speed and then at the 2minute mark I think, your blood pressure gets taken and then at the 3 min mark the incline goes up as does the speed. And this continues until you either can't anymore or you reach 21mins. I was kind of hoping that something would happen with my heart so I could prove to myself that I wasn't imagining what was happening to me.

And sure enough as my HR got to the mid 140's I started to feel that tell tale breathlessness and then that feeling in my throat. I let Sarah know and sure enough - there it was - a couple of Ectopic beats. Another one happened a few minutes later and then nothing else. It's really funny though because I could feel like it was going to happen before it actually did it's funny thing.

I later found out that I have Ventricular Ectopic Beats - sounds scary but they are benign. According to Mikati 2010 - an ectopic beat is a small variation in the normal heartbeat that gives rise to an irregular pulse and in adults they can be common however should still be investigated.

I think the reason this had me so freaked out is that there is a huge family history of heart disease on both Mum and Dad's side. My Mum had 2 heart attacks at the age of 49 and By-pass surgery by 52.

Anyway, I couldn't be happier that even though I am experiencing some odd sensations in my ticker, that it is ok and I can get on with whatever I want. That I shouldn't fear them, just acknowledge their existence and move on. Halleluiah!!!

Now off to the GP tomorrow for it to be validated and then it's off to 70.3 with a clean bill of health.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


And boy am I happy. I never thought that it would be so welcomed, but I am embracing it with both arms - like you would a long lost relative. I remember back to my younger days feeling much the same when I used to do swim squads. I was always counting down the days to the 2 weeks before a major meet like Metrops, State or Nationals. I loved dropping the intensity of sessions and having them feel more like short sprints instead of cramming in 2 x 6km swim sessions a day. The resiliency of youth is really a remarkable thing.

I have noticed that the fatigue and tiredness is really starting to play with my mind. I am wondering if I can do this. Have I done all that I can to make sure I pull my first 70.3 off without too many things going wrong. I am starting to question my ability to make it through the bike course especially after today's effort riding through Cobbitty. I know this self doubt is normal, but it feels weird as I never experienced this as a kid.

But with 13 days to go there really is nothing more I can do. From this point on it is trying to recover the body and have it feeling as fresh as I can whilst still trying to maintain some certain level of exercise as well.

I am terribly excited about Port but equally, if not more NERVOUS. The anticipation is at times overwhelming and I just want to it here already. I have been thinking alot about how I am going to get these "NERVES" under control and have started to download relaxation apps to my iPhone. I need to focus now on really relaxing the mind as this taper will give me added time to have my mind go into free fall. I need to start visualising what race day is going to be like, the sights, sounds, feelings, emotions. How I am going to feel and how I will cope if things go slightly wrong on the day. i need to feel these emotions and work through them before the day.

I have got my bike checked in for it's pre-race service for the 21st of April and need to get my Garmin checked as well. It is not even charging so thinking maybe the battery is dead. And as of tomorrow I am writing a checklist of the things I will need so I can start packing or atleast organising for the day. I have am also going to see the GP tomorrow as my palpitations are getting worse - I especially noticed it today when I went for my ride.

It starts as a breathlessness and then a tightness around the chest wall and then I can feel my heart literally pounding but missing beats or adding beats. Hard to explain but the feeling is odd. Not sure if it is electrolyte related, fatigue or what but this needs sorting now. It makes me feel breathless and I hate it. I also feel slightly odd in the head, almost as though I am not all there. So I know this needs further investigations as there is a history of heart disease in my family.

We had a huge night last night so not sure if this aggravated the situation - it was my twins 15th birthday, and they really enjoyed themselves but I did not stop at all. There was about 30 teens at home and even though they were all so well behaved I was just trying to make sure they were all well catered for. Here are my babies:
I can't believe I have 15yr olds.

But look how gorgeous they are - I am a lucky mum. What a great but excessively tiring weekend. I also wanted to post a photo of Sarah and I after our cold, wet but fun ride on Saturday. Do we look like hard core cyclists?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

If you think you can't.

Then your obviously not giving yourself enough credit. Martin Luther King said:

"Faith is taking the first step
even when you don't see the whole staircase"

I guess it's all about realising your potential even when you think you have nothing more to give. It's about realising that your journey has only begun from the moment you set your sights on a goal. That beyond every small step you take towards realising your dream there is always a something more you never thought possible/imaginable.

I, never thought I could. I, never thought I had it in me. I, was the first to question my abilities when everyone around me knew better. I, now know better. I know that whenever I say I can't or feel that overwhelming feeling sense of inability that I CAN. I just have to allow myself to do it. I have to let myself be free - free of those negative thought's, free of the old me. I am capable. And last night I proved it to myself.

I was so excited about last night and to this very minute still feel a great sense of accomplishment. More so because I have been struggling a bit with my left hip and ITB, so to have squeezed this out in not the best of conditions definitely has made me realise my potential.

Actual track was closed to us as the local Rugby League club has booked the track so we walked a few hundred metres up the road to a 770m loop that Chris had found in the local neighbourhood. The plan was to do 5 loops with the last one being a TT. And tonight's focus was all on form.

So after a one lap warm up it was time to begin. The first and second 770m I did in 3:38. Even keel in pacing but I think Chris knew I had more in me so the 3rd one he ran with me - keeping my head focused on my form and cadence. So, consequently that 3rd one was at 3:25. Boy, I was puffed. The cold night air was starting to get to my lungs but at the same time my body was boiling.

Number 4 & 5 were both done at 3:32 but the one I am most proud of was Number 6 - the TT.
As I set off down the road I tried to make my cadence fast and light. Tried not to make too much contact with the ground and really tried to pull up using my glutes and hammies, the bits I always forget to use. Heading down the road was fun - a nice steady decline which made it feel so easy. Easy until I hit the incline on the way back up and then it was time to start using the arms. Using them to help propel me onward and upward. I shortened my stride a bit, leant forward and increased my cadence and as I turned the corner for the home stretch I gave it all I had. I didn't want to leave anything in the tank and as a result of just letting myself be free I nailed that last one in a 3:08.

Never, ever in my wildest dreams did I ever think I could run like that. I never allowed myself to realise my dream - but yesterday was my time to shine. I felt GREAT. If this is what I am capable of after 6mths of intense training I am really looking forward to the next year.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Pinch me!

Am I dreaming? Is this someone else's life I lived for 4 hrs? I almost felt as though any second I was going to wake up and it was all going to be some glorious dream I had had.

But in actual fact, it wasn't a dream - it was reality. I was sitting at a dinner for the "Celebration of Champions". Now to say that I was awe struck would have been an understatement. I think I needed a strap to help keep my jaw from hitting the floor. And it all started from the moment I entered The Intercontinental Hotel.

As usual Stephen and myself were one of the first to arrive - Stephen looked very swish in a suit and shirt - I tried to doll myself up in a red number borrowed from my best friend Susan.
And as much as I love the whole "frocked up" feeling - I kind of wished I could have worn my thongs as my feet were killing me, from the moment those heels went on. But no sooner did I lay eyes on some very important people I forgot all about my aches and pains.

As we waited around in the foyer sipping on some wine a young gorgeous girl walked in - as she turned around I said to my husband "That's Ashleigh Gentle". I couldn't get over how tiny she was. And for having competed at the Sydney ITU race held that same day - she didn't even look remotely tired - actually the more of them I saw and got to meet throughout the night - I realised how extremely fit they all were.

So as we were ushered to our table (Number 13) I couldn't help but realise that I was sitting at the table flagged for Triathlon Australia guests. Surely I couldn't have been sitting on this table - as I glanced around more times then I would like to count I came to realise that I was meant to be at this table. I met some wonderful people and realised what a close knit community the Triathlon World is. And how it didn't matter whether you were an Elite or some Mum from out west - that everyone was special because we were all just trying to do our best.

As the night progressed and presentations were handed out to the Champions:
  • Emma Snowsill
  • Emma Moffatt
  • Emma Jackson
  • Ashleigh Gentle
  • Chris McCormack - unable to attend
  • Mirinda Carfrae - overseas
I sat and watched in pure amazement at the accomplishments of these amazing individuals and how truly dedicated they are to what they do. I loved watching their faces as footage was being shown of them and how it appeared to make them embarrassed to watch themselves accomplishing these spectacular achievements. And I felt honoured to be in their presence.

During the whole evening we were being presented with an amazing dinner - absolutely delicious - believe me I wanted to ask for second helpings. I remember saying to Stephen I really wanted to get photos of as many as I could but felt somewhat shy - yes I know - hard to believe. And no sooner had I said that Stephen had stood up and started speaking to none other than Craig Alexander. I was in shock, disbelief, happiness, jubilation and had to try very hard to contain my excitement. Much like a giggly little school girl.

Craig is such a gentleman. He seemed genuinely interested in the fact that I was doing my first Half Ironman and wished me all the luck in my endeavours. And even said that if he spotted me out on the course up at Port that he would give me a shout out. How cool is that - I am positive that he would do that too.

I had also met Emma Jackson - who is a really nice young lady. Such a genuine soul who was really happy to take the time to take a photo with me.

The one thing I noticed that was similar amongst all the girls was how tiny they all were. Not just in height but size - I guess it doesn't help when I am close to six foot and wearing heels as well. By this stage I saw another Emma - Emma Moffatt. Another genuinely kind individual. So far everyone had asked me if I had competed in the ITU race in Sydney that day - I felt a bit funny saying no - but soon fixed that with saying I was training for my first Half Ironman. That seemed to make them smile. Next to Emma Moffatt was Brad Kahlefedlt - so I asked if I could get a photo with both. I didn't want to miss the opportunity to miss meeting any of the people I read about and who motivate and inspire me.

I was also able to get a photo with Alistair Brownlee, however am unable to post that photo till my friend Trent sends it to me. I also got to meet John Maclean. Check out his website here. This man is one amazing person - everything he has accomplished in his life is truly something to be inspired by and what a humble gentleman he is. I am fundraising for his Foundation here.

What a night. Still one day later I am on a high and feeling extremely blessed to have met all of those I did last night. Stephen and I spoke all the way home and I couldn't help but post photos of the night from my iPhone. Now isn't that a nifty little gadget.

Can't wait for Port - I wonder how many more fabulous people I will get to meet? Life is just too cool for words.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Second skin

Well, not quite yet, but it's getting there with the wetsuit. It still feels restrictive but it is less on the claustrophobic scale for which I am thankful for.

So when heading out this morning to the lakes you could definitely feel that typical Autumn feel. There was dew over the car and that unmistakable freshness in the air. I love Autumn. It was 14 degrees celcius and I started thinking how cold it would be in 3 weeks time at Port. Not that it would matter, I was still going to do it. But it just got me thinking.

Just before getting in I had to get a photo of our gorgeous lake that we are so lucky to train and race in. It was so still this morning. Not a single ripple to be seen and in certain sections it actually looked as though it were a mirror.
So as I started off swimming I kept telling myself to relax and to stop fighting the wetsuit yet again. This time it worked - I was able to keep a steady stroke and tag onto the back of Leigh. I also tried really hard to sight ever 6 strokes. It actually was a really good number of strokes to sight at - I'm all about keeping it even. Not sure what I swam the 2km in but I finished it feeling really good about myself. Next week is our last Open Water Swim before Port but at this point I think I am okay with doing it. And thank goodness for that - 2 nights ago I had a nightmare that I struggled to swim it at Port and I woke up bawling my eyes out.

After the swim I was meant to get straight out and do a 50min run but silly me forgot my runners - I was half tempted to run it barefoot but I didn't. I went home and went back to the lakes to do my run - I didn't want to run it at home. I met up with Susan and after one lap of 5km my left hip started to hurt so I decided it best to not push it. I have a huge weekend ahead anyway so didn't want to risk having to miss it.

When I came home I was absolutely starving so made myself the yummiest wrap. Actually I ate 2 of them - one just wasn't enough.
Tuna, ricotta cheese, salad, cucumber, mushroom, sweet mustard pickle
wrapped in Sundried tomato and basil wrap.

Anyone want one?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

All before brekkie.

Way back when, a couple of years ago - heck even a couple of months ago - if someone had of said to me "Barb, your going to be running a Half Marathon before most people have had breakfast" I would have laughed hysterically in their face. Even more so if that HM had nothing to do with a race - you were just running it because it was just something to do. I mean really, who in their right mind would do something like that?

Yep, you read right. I did. I am now part of of those people who I once thought were out of their mind. And I like it. It was such a different feeling to that last 2hr run that was uneventful both physically and mentally. I really felt like these 21.1kms helped me mentally. By the end of it there was no self doubt left, no questioning my abilities, no NOTHING. I had just run 21.1kms before most people's brekkie. And I did it in 2hrs 1min.

And I really wish I had of taken a photo of my smile - because it was BIG. Bigger than my normal smile and that's big. What was not to smile about - the one thing that was holding me back from visualising my dream of this 70.3 was the distance in my run - and I now had conquered that. It is now not a matter of IF I can, it simply is I CAN.

I kept verbalising to myself during the run that I was a capable individual. That everything I had set myself to do I had done. That whatever pain/discomfort I was feeling I had felt before, and I still managed to accomplish my set goals. This was yet another thing that I had to chip away at kilometre by kilometre until the distance was done. And yes there was a point with 1km to go that I really started to struggle with heaviness in my legs and I questioned whether I should walk - but the one thing that Jodie keeps saying to me is that the only battle you will have to fight will be with your mind. And with those words playing havoc in my mind - I just kept pushing. Footstep over footstep I pushed on till that 21.1km came up on my Garmin. And with that I did a little jig on the side of the road.

Yes, I know - if I still had energy to do a jig then I still had more energy to keep running, but that feeling of exhilaration I am sure is much like a painkiller. I walked the remaining 200m to my home damn proud of my first ever Half Marathon. I was now a Half Marathoner. WOOHOO.
I shall wear that title with honour. Heck, I even think I am going to go buy myself a medal and have the date, time and distance engraved on it to hang on my wall. Yesterday is a day I want to remember forever.

Monday, April 4, 2011

PureSport Olympic Distance Triathlon

WOW, WOW, WOW. What a day yesterday was. Every second of yesterday could not have gotten better even if I wanted it to. From the moment I opened my eyes to the very last millisecond before closing them again some 15hrs later I was on a total high. Who knew that doing an Olympic Distance Triathlon was going to be so much fun. I surely didn't. I expected to be in a world of pain, but this couldn't have been further from the truth.

I decided when I woke up yesterday morning that there was no point totally freaking out, I was going to do it anyway. The more I totally freaked out the more energy I was expending - what a waste. So I allowed a manageable level of nervousness and the rest just had to be put to good use - like alot of talking. I'm very good at that.
I had all my gear ready the night before and triple checked everything 3 times over - didn't want to have a repeat event of what happened at the TriShave Women's Triathlon. Breakfast was 3 pieces of toast with butter and honey, glass of Tropical Juice, a black coffee and 2 glasses of water - PLUS all my vitamins. As I made my way out the door I knew when I came back home I would be a very proud person indeed.

Driving in I kept saying to myself - you can do this. You have tackled everything you set your mind to do and today is nothing different. Just try to stay focused on your own pace, don't get caught up with how fast everyone else is, enjoy every experience and the rest will come naturally. So with that said that is what I did.

I got there super early which is nothing new for me. Got my usual spot - 3rd row down and closest to run exit. Don't know why I like that spot - just do. Maybe cause it's easy to spot as I come in from the swim all deficient in O2 and all. It wasn't long before everyone started showing up and the usual chit chat began. PTC club members are really the friendliest bunch of people. I am always getting "Hello's, how ya goin' Barb" - makes me really happy and confident in my choice of Tri Club. I was even offered a rear race wheel if I wanted it by Lance. Where else do you get that sort of support.

Before too long Stephen and the 2 boys turned up as did my best friend Susan. Elissa was competing in her first Sprint Distance and Mel's daughter Sianna was trying her hand at her first Junior event. I was completely surrounded by family and friends.

I decided it was time to get my wetsuit on - wise choice beginning this skilful art about 20mins before the race. Normally at home I'm all relaxed and can get it on before you blink and eye, but yesterday proved difficult. My feet were wet from the damp grass and my shaky hands from the nerves weren't allowing me to make too much headway. I felt like I needed a tin of Canola Spray to get that sucker on. With the job done it was time to make my way to the water.

Once in I made my way to the back. Probably not the wisest choice as I was soon to find out - but being up the front with those fast boys wasn't too appealing either. Before I knew it we were off. I wasn't quite ready but at the same time gave the frenzy of arms and legs a bit of a wide berth for a few seconds too. I then took off hoping I could tack onto someone's feet but all I managed to do was swim right into the thick of it and cop a kick to my forehead. Who knew my wetsuit was going to make me feel like a JetCat. In the mishmash of bubbles I sighted a familiar face - Lance - to my right. He and I matched eachother quite well in pacing so I stuck quite close.

By the time the 750m marker and turn around bouy was reached, the field felt like it had dispersed into a manageable size and I felt much more comfortable. That still didn't stop me from tapping the person in front of me or having my feet tapped by whomever was drafting off of me. As the exit drew near it was time to start thinking about what lay ahead. Time to try and remember everything that jodie, Chris and Eliza have taught me. Time to not get all freaked out.
Making my way to T1, getting the wetsuit off was much easier than getting it on - it just slipped right off thank goodness. I had visions of me rolling around on the floor like a beached whale. As I stepped into my bike shoes, I downed 2 gels and put my helmet on and I was off. From this point on it was all about trying to maintain good form and cadence and not get all caught up with the fact that before too long I was going to start being passed by everyone. Today was about setting race pace and sticking to the plan.
I was having an absolute ball on the bike. My speedometer wasn't working so I was trying to gauge my speed by feel and by the faster girls who were in front. I didn't realise until later that I was averaging about 31.5kms/hr for the 40km. And sure I got passed more times than I would care to count but the fact was that I felt really good - my legs were tired but not spent. I wasn't struggling to breathe and I felt like I could keep going at this pace. I really loved and thrived on all the positive cheers thrown my way - all I could hear was my name as I passed on my bike. There was an ocean of smiles out on the sidelines and it felt as though they were all for me.

Coming back into T2 I must confess to feeling anxious. I don't know what it is about the run but it just gets my head into a not so positive place. I think maybe because I want to be so much better at it and for it to not hurt as much - when in actual fact - everyone I speak to say's that there will always be a certain level of pain to contend with. But everyone else seems to make it look effortless. So the best thing I can do when it hurts - is SMILE.
Smiling helps me overcome discomfort, fear and negative thoughts. I am also smiling because just about everyone who was there was cheering me on - I felt like an Olympian. What's not to smile about there. I love the camaraderie out on the run. We were high 5'ing eachother and telling eachother how good we were going. I am always astounded at the mental strength and fortitude of our triathletes. Even when they are in a world of pain, they still manage to keep moving. You guys are all inspirational to me.
The 10km run didn't feel too bad. I wasn't in any great discomfort and my ITB was behaving itself much to my relief. I just have that usual odd feeling from getting off the bike. To my surprise Jodie said I took off at a really good pace - but to me I always feel like I am dying. And then when I feel good she said my pace was slightly slower. I need to learn how to judge my body alot better. I liked the out and back loop x 4 - gave me something to focus on. The countdown was exciting. The closer I got to that 10km mark the more "on top of the world" I felt. I mean 6mths ago I never dreamed about reaching this point let alone doing it at a time that I only dreamed of.
When I crossed that finish line I felt like I had won - this feeling was overwhelming. I actually felt like crying. For every bit of self doubt I had before the race this not only squashed it - it totally removed it from the equation all together. I am a capable individual.

How cool is that to say out loud.

So here are my times:

Swim 1500m: 23:09
Bike 40km: 1:16:34
Run 10km: 52:57

Total time for 1st Olympic Distance: 2hrs 31mins.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Into the swing

I am totally loving being back into the training. Apart from my family and friends, it is truly the only thing that puts a smile on my face. Even when things hurt as they do quite often, I still manage to find the ability to smile ( a potential side effect from the endorphins).

Yesterday I managed to swim a straight 2km swim at the pools with my wetsuit on. I know I shouldn't do it because the chemicals can wreck the material, however getting out for open water swims is not that easy. I made sure I rinsed it thoroughly post swim. The wetsuit still feels odd. I know this will get better but it is just a really unnatural sensation to not be able to feel the water as such. That loss of sensation makes swimming for me slightly less enjoyable but I do feel a heck of alot faster in the water. I would set off from one end of the pool and before I knew it I was at the other end. I guess I just have to keep practising in it - and practice makes perfect. Thank goodness I am a persistent creature. I finished the 2km in roughly 35mins and that was without the slightest effort - so it was quite an eye opener.

Then this morning unable to head out for my bike ride because Kurtis is sick with the same thing I had I decided to set up the trainer and rock out a 1hr ride at 70.3 pace. 30km, 65mins and 3/4's of "Never been kissed" later, I headed out the door for a 30min run off the bike. Another great run was to be had. When I set out I felt like I was going slow but I figured I was only meant to be taking it easy anyway. It wasn't until I looked at my Garmin what time it was that I saw that I was running a sub 5min/km pace and it didn't even feel like it.

I knew that it wasn't a pace that I could hold forever so I slowed it down a far bit and finished my run of 5.37km in 29mins. The two things that did bother me a bit was my left ITB but physio has that under control and a post run cough. Nothing new - post viral coughs are my thing. Just needed a dose of Ventolin upon arriving home. It has since settled and I feel fine. The ITB was stretched, rolled and iced as well. I'm being a good girl. Seems having that time off really did make me feel all spritely. Thanks everyone for your encouragement on that homefront.

During the last 2 days of activities I have been sporting a necklace. A very beautiful necklace that was given to me by a friend for my birthday. Check it out.
Thanks Tracy. I love it.

I doubt that I will ever take it off. Unless of course I have to change the leather strapping due to wear and tear.

I also had another article get printed in our local paper "The Penrith Press" about the Olympic Distance Triathlon that the club is holding this Sunday. It is our very first Olympic Distance event and everyone is so excited about it - including me. Why? Well I signed up for too. I figure I need to see exactly what it is I am getting myself into come May 1st.
I am slightly scared just between you and I. But this will be a good way to test out nutrition and pacing for Port. So I am looking at it more like a training day versus a race. I will try my hardest not to get too caught up in the pre race jitters and think about it like a Saturday training day. I know everyone doing the race so it will be comforting to have all their smiling faces around me.

PureSport Triathlon - here I come.

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