Monday, May 28, 2012

Small steps

Most often the greatest victories come from those with which you have had to start with the smallest steps. I think I am getting pretty good at starting from scratch - and don't seem to be too phased by this fact. Yes, I am bored out of my brain for the time being, however I know that in a very short time this feeling shall pass and I will be right in the thick of training trying to get as prepared as I will be for Yeppoon. 

Starting from the 11th of June I will have precisely 9 weeks to get myself - with the help of last years Yeppoon program from TopNotch which I will have to tweak due to the circumstances I find myself in and Jen's strength and conditioning program from Sparta-PT. I think I would really struggle if I didn't have the help from both.

I hope I can do them both proud when I finally make it and smash Yeppoon 70.3 for good.

It is now 11 days post-op and I have now done 2 walks. My second walk was 3km and  felt great. I'm not nearly as swollen - although there is still a little bit of tenderness and a slight bit of bruising but nothing compared to a few days ago. I am really happy with how the recovery is progressing and if I continue at this rate then I should be good to go when I see the surgeon for my post-op check up on the 8th June.That will make it 3 weeks.

I am hanging to get out on my new Cannondale SLICE which I have named "Bubba". Not sure why that name but the name just seems to fit. So I am sticking with it. So am looking forward to the week of 11th of June where Bubba and I can spend some quality time together. Shhhhh, don't tell Stephen.

But for now I shall be content with adding a few more walks to my repetoire. The funny thing is I am starting to think distances again. For instance, if I walk 3km's a day for 7 days then I have reached my 21km and I know it's not the same but for me I have still will done the 21km. Then I will just need to turn that into a slow run walk initially which I know I can do in 9 weeks. No probs. I will have this sorted even though at this stage it still sounds so elusive.

Friday, May 25, 2012

And so the journey begins.

Well continues really. But it almost feels as though I am going to have to start from scratch again. The hernia that I keep referring to as the "little thing" is actually a bit of a big thing it turns out. I somehow thought (and silly me because Im a nurse) that I would bounce back from this like some spring chicken - WRONG. And yes, I know it has only been 8 days and I am wanting miracles to happen, but realistically - this is going to take me a bit to bounce back from.

It's amazing really how quickly your abdominals decide to give up on you the moment you stop using them. Which is why if you have functional abdominal muscles you should treat them with a healthy respect. They do so much for you and don't ask for anything in return really. Since my abdominal muscles have become impaired my back has decided to start aching again. I guess its had to start working hard again to support my torso in the upright position. All I want to do is crack it in the backwards fashion and could easily but am scared I will stretch and hurt my stomach. Argghhhh, annoying. But I should stop complaining because this surgery was needed and I asked for it to be done. So here's to me stopping the complaining - NOW.

Complaining is the absolute worst possible thing you could
do for your health or your wealth.
The worst.
~ T. Harv Eker ~

Now to the BIG news. Well for me its HUGE and I am STOKED. And I can't wait to get started on what is to be the biggest thing I have embarked on since....... well...... 2010 when I decided that Triathlons were going to be what would help me get myself back. I have signed up for - drum rollllllllllllllll

IMOZ 2013

It just doesn't seem to get old saying it. I have just signed up for an IRONMAN. How damn awesome is that. And I know I could possibly say things which will be to the contrary when I am in the thick of training, but for I will relish in the fact that in less than 365 days - I will be a part of those people who cross that line being called an IRONMAN. And I can't wait. Mind you, I think the sign up process was stressful enough.

I had sweaty, shakey hands, heart palps, dry mouth, all signs of adrenal overload. My adrenalin levels were red lining.I couldn't believe how many times I re-typed my name on the sign up page and it kept kicking me out. And I think, actually I know I let a few expletives slip. But I was frantic. Funny thing is, I was going by last years signup which sold out in 5 mins flat, so I thought the same would happen this year. It is now - close to 72hrs post opening of sign-up, only 92% full. So I could have stressed less. Oh well, Im IN. God bless all my friends who were frantically trying to get me on too. And a HUGE thankyou to Ruth for getting me signed up. You are a TREASURE.

So I sit here now, scratching my itchy healing buddha belly and all I want is to swim, bike and run. And I know the time will come. But for now I must be content with short walks. And by short I mean short - 800m. Easy does it tiger.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Taking steps

For those of you who have been following my blog for some time now, you will all remember the mishap and drama at Yeppoon 70.3, 2011. Quite frankly probably the most devastating and upsetting thing to have happened to me in quite some time. Well I have since moved on from that upset and taken measures to ensure the swim will be the least of my worries and the part of this years Yeppoon 70.3 that I will be most proud of when I head back this coming August.

Not being one to let things get the better of me for too long, I started doing Ocean Swimming with Spot Anderson and Sarah and BondiFit to help overcome a few issues, and I must admit I think I am well and truly over them. I no longer look at the ocean in fear and doubt, I now look at it with a new found fondness for the things it can help me achieve. I am getting better at reading the ocean and where the rips are and how to use them even though in one of my earlier classes I inadvertently misguided everyone back home through a rip. I still know that there are plenty of things to be gained by continuing to attend these amazing classes. So I will be back after I recover from a little thing called a repair of an Epigastric Hernia Repair.

Talk about a right royal pain in the derriere - well wrong body part but you get the gist. Something I needed to have done but was trying to find the right time to squeeze it in. And now that the ride to Melbourne with the Cycling Cerebellums is over it was high time to get it repaired as it was bothering me when I ran. So I now have a cut just above my belly button with 7 internal stitches to hold mesh and repair the hernia plus another one he found and 3 external stitches. I found all of this out this afternoon after receiving a letter in the mail from the hospital. But Doc was really happy with how it all went and how I recovered immediately post surgery.

So now I have to recover and take things very easy for a while so it can all knit together. But let me tell you I am quite bored. I have my new Cannondale Slice sitting staring at me and I so badly want to ride it but can't for now. I am able to start walking in a few days very gently and then have a check up in 2 weeks and fingers crossed all will be okay to start riding my bike gently. Looks like I will be back out at the Regatta for some easy laps to wean myself back into it all. Because there's a little thing called Yeppoon 70.3 I have to start training for and I wont have an awful lot of time to get it all done in.

And then tomorrow - after watching Port Macquarie IM 2012 I have decided to sign up for IM 2013. Registration opens at 11 and you can bet your bottom dollar I will be at the computer trying to get in. Am I nervous - yep, excited - yep, ready - you bet ya. I can't wait. Fingers crossed all.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Port Macquarie Ironman 2012 - My spectators perspective.

Since starting in this amazing world of Triathlon's - I have always been a competitor. I have experienced the happiness, pain, doubt, fear and everything inbetween. Racing, although being surrounded by a multitude of your friends whom give you encouragement is still a SINGULAR sport. You spend hours in your own head talking to yourself making sure you get yourself through your challenge. The journey of racing is your own and you have goals to meet and dreams to fulfil.

I have realised though - now that I have spent the day at an Ironman race as a spectator - how mentally challenging it is for family members and friends. Having heard my husband, Mum, children, cousins and friends last year say to me how exhausting it was - I never really grasped how exhausting it TRULY was. Physically you are tired, but mentally and emotionally it is by far harder than any race I have done.

Lets start at the beginning. I woke up yesterday morning after quite a sleepless night. Mind you - the night before I had a great night spent with Sarah and Mark. Dinner was FAB and so were the drinks. So you would think after a few nice Cab Sav's I would have slept like a baby - WRONG. I was so excited and nervous for everyone I just couldn't settle. I kept saying little prayers and hoping that all their dreams would be realised and very selfishly of me I was kind of wishing that I was doing it too. But I was not here for me - I was here for my friends. And I couldn't wait for it - hence my anxiousness.

The next morning, I woke up before the alarm went off and I was ready before I made my first cup of coffee. I was chomping at the bit to get down to the start line and see as many of my friends as I could before they started. I saw Paul, Ruth, Peter, Glenn, Leigh, David, Josh, Andrew, and many others from a distance. I wanted to hug everyone and wish them all the best but had to feel satisfied knowing I would soon see them and cheer for them as they exited the water or passed me on the bike and run.

Watching the swim start I felt quite shocked to watch the ferocity of it. I knew it was bad when I did the 70.3 last year - but seeing nearly 1500 competitors take flight was quite a shock. Their arms looked like a flock of birds in flight - quite majestic to watch but knew full well that the reality was it was a full on fight for the fittest in that water.

As they exited the water I was overwhelmed with excitement. Not only because our PTC members were going to be coming out soon but because I got to see the Pro's up close and personal as they flew past me on the bike. Now it was a countdown to see all our clubbies exit the water and cheer them on. I sure didn't want to miss anyone but knew I had, and felt a bit sad that I had. However I still knew that I would be able to catch them on the bike and run.

Stephen and I made our way up to the hill where the PTC tent was set up with Sarah and her children. Up there we caught up with heaps of other friends and I got my mug on film with my PTC get up. Not sure what all the fuss was about really?

Seems I must have done a good job with my artwork because I got so many wonderful comments from strangers. Kids especially loved it. Anyways......

Watching everyone come back from their first 90km on the bike was awesome. They all looked amazing, so fit and strong. But we were missing one of our riders. We heard there was an accident and that Fiona was involved. Our hearts dropped because we didn't know the extent of the accident. We knew she had been taken to hospital but didn't know anything else. I didn't find out till I saw her at the end of the day what had happened. She was so badly bruised on her right side of the face - thankfully nothing broken but still a whopping injury. So glad apart from the swelling and bruising that she is ok. I also noticed that one of our other girls Kate had heaps of scratches on her shoulder. She too had been injured on the bike. But was able to resume the race. 

It was now almost lunch so Stephen and I headed down to get some food and then make our way out to Settlement Point to support the runners. I knew having done the half last year that that was the loneliest stretch of road ever. There are some supporters but still so quiet and I guess the stretch of road where your mind has too much time to think - and I wanted all of my friends to know that myself and Stephen were there for them if they need moral support - a chat - or even just a familiar face.

This was most definitely the hardest part for me emotionally. Knowing full well you cannot assist it goes against every grain in my body to not help them when they are hurting. But I guess thats where just being there for them with a few kind words can make all the difference in the world. I tried to think of new and wonderful words but found myself repeating the same ol' same ol'. However as each and everyone of them came past me for their last lap I told them how proud I was of them. That they were the most inspirational human beings I had ever met. I remember saying to Paul that I was going to have to leave my spot as he headed out to the point for the last turnaround because I wanted to be at the finish line for him. And that before too long he was going to hear those famous words "Paul, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN". So as I left him and those that remained out there I could feel myself getting all chocked up. And I couldn't walk back quick enough.

As we started to walk back to the finish line I looked back and could only see a sea of fluoro lights heading off into the darkness. I hoped I had done my part to help them a little bit on their journey. And with that I turned back to town and to the increasing sound of music, cheers and a waiting party of supporters.

The finishers chute was alive with activity. Those that had finished and been allowed out of the finishers compound were now revelling in their outstanding accomplishments. As I congratulated them and made sure that they were all ok I could feel my own inner flame grow bigger and brighter knowing that I was wanting to be a part of this next year - but as a participant. Seeing how bright their eye's shone with jubilation regardless of the pain that they were feeling made me want to feel that too. I found out that Bob had come 8th overall - how awesome is that. And that all of them had either come out with a PB and those that had done this for the first time realised their dream and the enormous potential that each and every single one of them has inside to conquer anything they set their minds too.

So it was soon time for Paul to pass through the finishers chute and accomplish a dream of his. I remember looking down and seeing him come closer and closer and his smile was bigger than the grand canyon - I am 100% certain at that point he felt no pain anywhere - only pride in himself. We were all banging and cheering and as I stretched my arm out he grabbed hold of it and kept running. He said afterwards he wasn't sure if he grabbed hold and I said "You sure did". And with that I saw him give his beautiful wife a kiss and up the ramp he went. He took one look back at the stopwatch and with that he was wrapped in his towel, given his medal and then he disappeared.

I later saw him and gave him the biggest cuddle. So proud of him I am - Paul is like my brother here in Aus. He looks after me like my other brothers would if they were closer to home. We were both teary. You SMASHED it Paul. I then saw Glenn and equally gave him the biggest cuddle I could as I didn't get to see him finish but did spur him on as he made his way back at Settlement Point. His time was awesome too.

I then saw Ruthy cross the line knowing full well this girl from the moment she said she was going to do Ironman was going to make it to the end. So to see her run up that ramp and take in all of the bright lights and cheers was awesome to watch.

Now when David crossed that line even the commentator got in on the action. By this stage the finish line had become one massive dance party with every finisher being welcomed home to the famous PTC dancers. Once again I think I could be on TV as the same cameraman was roaming up and down the bleachers we were dancing and singing on. Can't wait to see - should be hilarious.

We kept screaming - David, David, David and banging our feet and making as much sound as we could. I saw him pass behind us for his last 3kms and we told him we were waiting for him. So as he made his way onto the carpet I could see THAT look in his eyes. The one that showed that he was about to be called an IRONMAN. His smile grew bigger and bigger and as he gave his beautiful wife a kiss and made his way up the ramp he turnaround and pumped his fists in the air with such a sense of fulfillment it was a real honour to watch.

A few more competitors came through and then it was time to bring the last IRONMAN home. Even though cut off and been called we still stayed on to welcome him home. I know his name was Bob and with that we welcomed him home we our arms all making an arch for him to run under. We are so proud of you Bob. Your a legend.

And so after many hours of being awake I headed home with some very sore feet and hips. Sheesh, anybody would have thought I just did an Ironman. Emotionally I don't think I had anything left - what a rollercoaster day of emotions. But would I trade it - only if I get to compete. I loved supporting everyone but knew that if I was feeling emotionally drained - how were their close family members feeling. The mind boggles.

So am I going to do next years Ironman????? Damn straight I am. And I can't wait. Fingers crossed I get in within the 5mins. Cause thats how long it took to sell out last year.

Barb's back.

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