Sunday, December 20, 2009

Enjoying recovery.

I must say straight up that I have really relaxed this last week after a week of looking for that 1 minute. And that 1 minute I will not be able to find as I had a great race. As I have said to everyone, when someone gives you 25minutes start at the beginning of the marathon and catches you, well they deserved it more than I did!!! That is well and truly in the back round and something that I will not dwell on moving forward.

I have settled into recovery and held a BBQ for a few close friends yesterday to let the hair down and have a few quiet ones. The mid afternoon "do" was just what I needed to officially close my year off and leave it all behind. A reflection of my year will be in the next few blogs, but for now, a fair bit of R&R is taking place.

Training has been on the back burner with only a few runs done, 1 ride, 2 hours on the roadie followed by a fun and 3 hour entertaining ride on the MTB. (Entertaining for Stormy & Jas at my inability to handle to MTB!!!) 2 swims just to tick the arms over is also all that has taken place since WA.

I will have a reasonably solid week leading into Christmas and then relax for the following few days. I, like another blogger Ryan Barnett have asked Santa for a similar present this year; An improved run off the bike!!! I am hoping that mine arrives in March at New Zealand.

As for now, I have started to look at a training schedule and also a few lead in races to New Zealand. I should be able to finalise my schedule by the end of the week. One thing that I am also going to change next year is to post regularly about my training. To post what I have done and how I have felt doing it. A reflection is something that you can do so that you know what you can change in the future.

For Now...

X-Man

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

WA Roundup

Where to start?

Well I will start from the race and work backwards. So if you are not interested in all the pre race crap, you only have to read my race report:

Ironman #2, Western Australian Ironman #2.

Race day weather: 25-30 kmh winds, temp 32 deg Celsius.

A lot windier and hotter than last year.

With the pier being under construction, it made for a very weird swim start with majority of swimmers choosing to start from the left which made for a swallow start and the minority (like myself) starting closer to the pier, deep water start.

The race started and I found myself in a really good groove early with not many people around me due to the spilt start, however I did know that eventually, there would be some crash and bash. About 600m into the swim where the two groups merged, the crash and bash began. (I still to this day don't know why people engage in this, surely they realise that it is a waste of energy and you lose momentum very quickly??) Obviously not, so trying to avoid this, I slowed down to the rear of the pack so that I would continue to get dragged through the water without having to fight for position. This tactic worked fr me, as I found myself passing swimmers at a regular rate up to the end of the pier.

Race Plan #1: Stay out of trouble in swim - Check

So, after reaching the end of the pier and heading back towards Tera firma, I was unsure which direction to take, last year I took the most direct route, with minimal others. This year I decided to be a sheep and follow the pack. The thought process was hopefully a few stronger swimmer were towing my pack along and I would continue to get a good drag. I would only know the answer of this once I got to the end of the swim. A bit more crash and bash occurred in the later part of the swim, but nothing to worry me. Once I got the beach and stood up, I looked at my watch and saw 56 min 35 sec with only the short beach run to go til transition.

Actual swim time: 57min 03 sec, 30th in my age (Yes 30th, a lot of good swimmers)

I was very happy with my swim and once in and out of transition 1min 57 sec (Fastest in age) I was on the bike.

Race Plan #2: On the bike in under 1 hour - Check

So onto the bike, trying to get some sort of gauge of where I was at. The only time that I would be able to find this was by a turn around, so I decided to follow the same plan as last year and ride solid for the first hour until I found a position that I was content with. Managed to get the first 40k done in 1 hour and 35 sec. Perfect, everything was feeling right and my race plan was once again falling into place. I found myself riding with the second age group pack and when I saw the leading age group pack not far up the road, I decided that I would rather ride with them, also seeing a few Category "c" riders in the second pack, I knew that I need time at the start of the run to be any chance.

So, halfway through the second lap, I rode away from the pack and rode up to the leading age groupers. The remaining lap on the bike was making sure that nutrition was still going in as the weather was heating up and I wanted to make sure that I had a good amount (without going overboard) for the start of the run. Coming in to T2, I composed myself to make sure, no mistakes were to be made so close to the end of the bike with a tough marathon to come.

Actual Ride time: 4hrs 43min 43sec (1st in age group and 16th overall)

Race Plan #3: Enter T2 with leading age groupers: Check

So with a smooth T2, I was off on the marathon, sitting 3rd in my age, 30th overall. I had no idea of this until later in the day, after my support crew was receiving regular updates from a lot of you informing of my actual position on course. I was confident of running faster than last year even though the conditions this year were tougher. Everything was going smooth in the run, with nutrition and how my legs were feeling until the 25k mark. Things started to get really tough at that stage. The weather started to get to me and my decision making about nutrition and when to walk, when to run, became quite unclear. So after regular encouraging from athletes and supporters I composed myself to just get to an aid station, walk and consume, walk and consume, then plod to the next one and repeat the process.

At the commencement of the final lap, Carla informed me that I was still in 3rd with 1st and 2nd not far up the road and if I held firm I should be able to hold on. Heading towards the final turnaround point, I actually had visions of many Ironman races where you see a leader slow to a walk. I gained some confidence as I passed a fellow "c" category athlete which meant I was into 2nd. Never ever would I have thought that this was possible. I pushed on, maybe too hard and just as I approached the turn around point I was passed and was back into 3rd. This did no faze me as all I had to do was keep "hanging in there". I started to look for other athletes on the return to see how much time I had on them (this is a sign of weakness and my only mistake for the day.....JUST WORRY ABOUT MY OWN RACE!!!) Never will this be repeated again.

So just to aid station, I walked, consumed and consumed some more: Water, Ice, Cola, Ice etc. With having no idea of how much time I had between myself and 4th, I started to really suffer and found myself walking between aid stations. Once again I received support from fellow athletes and supporters. Benny, coming the other direction handed me some ice and told my that if I wanted the Kona spot, I had to move my ass. I ran/walked/ran/walked as best I could. Coming to the 2nd last aid station, I was still in 3rd position, however I knew that the time gap was closing, and I tried to keep going.

Ok, this is where it gets really hard:

Within the final 1.5k being still in 3rd, this didn't last for long. Little did I know, there was another battle happening behind me with 2 guys in my age group, racing each other for the last part of the run. So, by the time they caught me, the pace was just too fast for me to stay with. I knew that I had fallen into 5th place and was determined not to drop any more spots. It would not have done me justice to finish any lower than 5th.

Coming into the finish chute, mixed emotions started to run through my mind, knowing that my Automatic Kona spot was within 1.5k from the finish and I felt like I dropped it. I crossed the line in:

9hrs 23min 03sec with a run time of 3hrs 38min 13sec.

So a Pb overall by 3min 47 sec and a run pb of 3min 8 sec. Now how could I be disappointed?

The fact that Kona was only 1 min in front of me?? What about the poor guy who beat in the sprint and missed by 7 sec??

From 2nd to 5th, the gap was only 3min 40sec. So close after so long.

I have replayed the race over and over in my head since then to try and find the lost minute.....Can I????

No, I had another perfect race day with a PB in 2 legs and overall. I managed to also finish 36th overall. Not bad for my 2nd Ironman.

Will this affect me mentally? NO CHANCE, just gives me more drive and motivation.

My plans from here are to blog about the pre-race week including my Top 10 Favourite moments. I will have a few weeks off to recover then sit down and plot a race schedule leading into IRONMAN NZ.

I am also considering a Triathlon Running coach, to assist me in the later part of the marathon. So If there is anyone out there interested, drop me a line to discuss.

Other than that, nothing will be changing for me. I train to race and enjoy what I do, having a great result proves that you can enjoy the sport and get results.

Too many people stress about minor issues that gives them excuses for under performances.

For Now...

X-Man

Thursday, December 3, 2009

2 days til Ironman #2.

I thought that I would jot a few things down, now that I have settled in at Busso, WA. The week has gone really well with registration out of the way and carb loading about to begin. We (Benny & I + Support crew) have the carb loading party tonite, in which we will go and enjoy again, for two reasons. To get out of the unit and to save cooking and cleaning after dinner!!

The body is feeling good, the equipment is set up and rearing to go and my nutrition strategy is locked away also. I just have to conserve as much energy as I can now to be as ready as I can for Saturday.

My lead up has gone according to plan, with a PB at Shepparton 1/2 Ironman 3 weeks ago, running a 4 min pb after a 1 min pb on the bike. My swim was slower, however due to being a non wetsuit swim, that was to be expected. I was very happy with my swim and how I have also felt in the water since that race.

Today is a full day of R & R with 2 small session just to make sure the body keeps ticking over. I have a great support crew here with me, Carla, fresh form racing at Kona, with plenty of experience of what to do in lead ups, and Dodge (AKA Nath, my little bro) who decided to venture across to watch instead of going to schoolies. I promised him a great time afterwards to thank him for it. I know that plenty of others will be following online. My race number is 254. Feel free to send through updates to my phone as the support crew will be in control of it.

For now...

X-Man

PS. I will post again pre race.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Shepparton Roundup!!!

A quick blog to say that it was a great weekend for me, firstly and importantly, Sam, my son completed his first Triathlon. See pics below!! The best part of it for me was after he crossed the finish line he asked, "Dad, can I do this again next year?" My response was, "Yes mate, for sure"































So I might have a budding triathlete on my hands!! And I can say that I have had no greater feeling than seeing Sam cross that finish line and the grin from ear to ear. It has been better than any feeling that I have had after a race.
I will post my race report over the next few days. The weekend was all about watching Sam do his first Triathlon.

For now...

X-Man

Sunday, November 8, 2009

To Race or to Train??

The question that is in my mind for Shepparton 1/2 Ironman. I have entered the race and my final lead up race before WA Ironman. Last year I used this race to give me confidence going into WA. This year, with so much focus for me on the Ironman, using it as a training session is going through my mind.

I can sit here and say that now, however come Sunday, I know I will be out to race....that's what I do, race in races. The lead up I can control, either have a few days recovery or train right up til Saturday morning. With one minor hiccup of late, having a few days rest is prob what I need, so a small recovery week is the most likely scenario.

I don't know what to expect, have had a really good previous 4 weeks and am the fittest that I have ever been. In saying that, I should be!!!

Another thing that has popped up for me is the forecast weather for Shepparton....41 degrees!! What the??? So to race this race with no after affects will be difficult, I don't want to lose any training days post this race. I think a very adhoc week will be planned and decisions will be made as Sunday comes closer.

A MASSIVE congratulations to Jason Quigley, great mate, training partner and myo for places 3rd overall is his debut 12 hour Mountain Bike race. Things also looking like they are going in the right direction for his 24 hour solo race at the end of November. Well done mate!!!!

Still doesn't give me any incentive to ride with him in the "off season" due to the fact that now he is fitter, I will have no chance of surviving the ride.

For Now...

X-Man

Ps.....Carla is home on Wednesday, so I will be able to catch up on goss from Hawaii in more detail. Missed you :-)
X-Man

Monday, November 2, 2009

Things just rolling along!!

Well trying to....

Fatigue is kicking in, legs are constantly hurting......but I have to go on, I have to get up early and train and I have to back up of an afternoon. Running is helping alot, however it is building the fatigue.

The last two weeks have been run after run, after.....yes, you guessed it....run!! I can say that I am enjoying and looking forward to my runs, in hope (maybe pray) that it pays off this year and I can hold a solid marathon.

Seeing a few lads out on the weekend proves that to get the the start line, you have to do the k's. To get to the finish line, you have to hurt!!!! And I am hurting. This morning's swim hurt, this afternoon run, it hurt. My muscles are aching, BUT I AM LOVING THIS!!! I can't get enough, my focus is purely on the race day, WA Ironman in December. Somewhere in between I get another year older, have a Half Ironman to do and still have to work. Those things are only in the back half of my mind, the forefront is the Ironman.

Questions that continually run through my mind, answers that only race day can give. Patience that is needed to find those answers.

All I can do for now is keep training, when I hurt, I want to hurt more, I want to continue to train. I am really starting to include other training partners who are not doing such a big race and are out for a cruisy training ride, just to make sure I am going. NO EXCUSES!!

The weather has turned for the best and the cafe riders are out in their droves....for me, it is off to the deadest slowest roads that I can find (And I have found a few!!!!) not only to work the body, but to work the mind. Getting the mind used to nothing, absolutely nothing but the job at hand. No wandering off into "happy places", these roads are not fun, no happy thoughts, just the job in front of me.

I don't think that I have hit my peak fitness to date, but am not far away.

Tomorrow, being a public holiday, enables me to endure more time in the saddle, pounding the pavement and catching some rays in the pool.

The Ironman cannot come quick enough, I am looking forward to it and the pain it is going to dish up to me.

For now...

X-Man

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

To get where you've never been, you've got to do what you've never done!!

For me, this is running.

Last year I thought I ran, but didn't. I mean I did the occasional run, about 2-3 times a week for a max of 2 hr 20min for the whole preparation for Ironman. I understood why this happened, as my coach then wanted to look after my larger frame. And I must say, it worked for me.

My focus last year was my ride and ride only and spent approx 75-80% of my training time in the saddle with approx 10% spent on the other two disciplines.

This approach was fantastic for last year as I was a newbie to the sport and had no idea of how my body was going to stand up.

Now I feel that I have been promoted to Rookie!!! Still no nothing and have experience of 1 whole race, even though if I could repeat that race every time I would be pleased.

Aside from this, a bloke named Lance did write a book titled: It's not all about the bike. I know after reading this book, it has nothing to do with Triathlons, however the title is relevant to the sport. Also, some other guy that I train with did mention the same thing!!

So, after churning out 7 hours in 4 days running and regular 2 hour Tuesday sessions, my running has improved a great deal. My speed has not changed much, however my endurance is building more and more every session.

The ratio of sessions is still favoured by the bike, however the run has taken a large chunk of the pie and would be up around 35-40% of training time now. The swim is still on the back burner as I see many an athlete swim like a fish but have nothing for the two main aspects of the race. A sub hour swim is all that I am after, and then make time on the other two legs.

I have also been punished on the mag trainer the previous two nights and have found this to be beneficial at this time of training. I have left it late, as I usually do, so that I don't get sick of the monotonous aspect of this training. All is on track for now, even my weight has dropped below the 92kgs mark, which means I am on track to get down to 90kgs or just below come race day. Weight is not my main priority, no special diets for me, still a few frothies also. Still have to enjoy training to want to do it.

For now...

X-Man

Sunday, October 18, 2009

SIZE DOES MATTER....or does it??














This is the most relevant topic to me, due to my size......193cm or 6'3 on the old scale & 92kgs or 205lbs.

After doing a little research, and I mean a little, I have some found some evidence that being BIG does not neccessarily mean not being competitive. Ideally 5'9 and weighing between 145lbs & 165lbs would be ideal, however some of us are not meant to be that small.

After the Ironman last year where I went 9hrs 27 odd mins and a mate of mine went just under 1 min slower (both the same height) it has made me more aware of "bigger" athletes and their performances. So, at Kona I set out to photograph some athletes who fit my criteria and monitor their performance. Here is what I found:

This big unit: Ain Alar Juhanson #13 (13th overall last year, now thats not bad!!) Was well placed until the run, where he blew up. However to race as a pro at this size is some feat in itself.

Ain blew out to an 11hr + Ironman after a 1hour swim and 4hr 31min ride.




Ryan Barnett: #1341 (Big guy at the back of the 3) Was competing in his 2nd Ironman in 6 weeks after only qualifying recently, had a solid race finishing in 9hr 53min.









This guy: Doug Clark #1022, Won his age group, all of 6'7!!! Wow, the guy can move. Yes he is very lean, however at that height, he is still carrying more weight than the smaller guys.

His time of: 9hr 22min including a 3hr 15min marathon.



The above 3 who all raced at Kona is enough for me to say that Size doesn't matter, yes it helps being a little smaller, but you can only use what you are equipped with. Too many people make excuses for under performance, "lost my nutrition" "bike failure" "went to hard on the bike" etc. However, you don't hear many bigger people complain cause of their size, they just get on with the job at hand, even if it is slowly!!

If you put the work in, you can achieve what you desire.

For now...
X-Man





Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Appreciating the Achievement.

Well, what can I say. After landing back in wet, windy & cold Melbourne with the Temperature being 10 degrees Celsius I definitely enjoyed the warmer climate over at Kona.

After reading and hearing about how tough the WORLD IRONMAN CHAMPIONSHIPS are, I don't think I had any idea about it. It is something you have to experience to appreciate, even just as a spectator. With the temperature soaring to 44 deg out on the Queen K Hwy, it is something that reading about will never give justice.

My week was magnificent watching the best apply their trade and all the age groupers strutting their stuff, and the strutting was everywhere. And not just the strutting, the bling bling was also out in full force. Many thousands of $$$$$ were on display.

Inspiration and admiration are the first two words that come to mind in thinking about race day and the competitors. Motivation is one that soon follows along with determination. I will start with inspiration first. By seeing all the "handicapped" athletes start the race all the way to finish the race was phenomenal. The following two athletes are a prime example:


The athlete left: Rudy Garcia-Tolson. He has no hamstrings or quads, the only muscles he has from his knee to hip are his gluts. Unfortunately, Rudy didn't make the bike cut off, no surprising due to this fact.








This other athlete was obviously feeling the pain, however, he finished. An amazing effort for the day.

And these two were not the only feats of amazement, the wheel chair athletes carving up the pavement was also a great site!!






Admiration is the next phase that I want to discuss. Well, the two winners, the quality of them both. One (Chrissie) loves the crowd and gives back as she receives. As soon as she got onto the bike, the race was won. She still acknowledged every single person out there and raced with her traditional smile. Her victory speech was also one to cherish.












Craig Alexanders 2nd victory was an amazing feat in itself, coming from over 12min behind at the start of the run to win. The composure of the guy; words cannot describe. Also being an Australian added a great patriotic touch to the race for me.












Both these two champions were at the finish line for the final competitors, like many other pros I must add. What a fantastic way to give back to the sport.
As for a personal aspect, seeing Carla finish her first IRONMAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP is something that I will never forget. Knowing the training that she put in leading up to this race and getting ill two weeks out, just shows the heart and determination that she has. Her time of just over 11hr 20min made me speechless, and like Chrissie, I could tell that she loved it out there. A smile was from ear to ear every time I saw her and also the photos that I have seen. An effort that has given me motivation to drive me to get there one day. The achievement is one that she will play down, unfortunately due to the fact that this race is not just about the day. It is also about the journey from qualification right up to race morning and then crossing that finish line.












Another two small mentions to be had, one for Greer Sansom, from Geelong was the only athlete that I knew who raced. Well Done Greer (below left). And to the poor soul who punctured no more then 30 metres after mounting his steed, which ended up right in front of me. He was there for a good 5-7 minutes.













Many more photos will be posted over the following weeks, especially ones that are relevant to me, the BIG FELLAS!!!

For now...

X-Man



Friday, October 9, 2009

A Day in Kona!!

Well, after 11 hours travelling yesterday well into the evening I finally arrived in Kona. Was very happy to walk away from a plane knowing that I have 5 days without one.

I crashed heavily and missed the start of the undie run, which I still managed to take some good shots of (to be added at a later date). Just by being around the start/finish line area even made me nervous even though I am just spectating. The place is abuzz with excitement and anticipation.

The accommodation is right on the course so wont have to move far to get a piece of the action. Photos a plenty will be taken, starting from this evening at the carb loading party. Anyway a day of rest has been had and am very excited about the forthcoming days. Have been told that watching is always harder than racing for an athlete (if I can known as one), so hopefully this time next year I am on the preparation side of things opposed to spectator.

Once more photos are taken, they will be uploaded.

For now...

X-Man

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Midway throu the travels.

Just a quick one to say that am in New Zealand, for another 3 hours before I fly onto Kona. Yep going to be here for a whole 10 hours!!!

The plane flight was good, with no hassles. During the flight I started to get excited about the fact that I am not only going to see Carla in action, also I am going to see the best of the best apply their trade in the sport I am involved in.

I will be trying to get ideas of how the pros and others leaders do what they do. Also a goal is to try and obtain photos with as many as these superhumans as I can!!

Anyway off for breakfast, then back to the airport for the next leg into Hawaii, then over to Kona. Hoping to be there at about 11pm tonight.

For now...

X-Man

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Heading across to watch......this time!!

Tonite I make the journey across to Kona to watch Carla compete at Hawaii. Flying out tonite to New Zealand and then off to the "Big Dance" tomorrow. Carla has been over there for the the last week and is starting to prepare for her first crack at Kona. I know she will do well, but at this time, it becomes mental as all the fit looking people over there, some of which are not even competing.

The work has been done now for her, and it is just a matter of looking back at the work she has done. I am excited to see Carla finish and will be giving her plenty of encouragement along the way!!

Komo confirmed this last year and has given me some words of wisdom. This will give me more inspiration seeing someone so close to me going to where I want to get to.

I will keep updating my journey, starting with tonight in NZ if I can get PC access, and also will be using my trigger finger to take plenty of pics.

For now....

X-Man

Monday, October 5, 2009

Never meant to be easy!!

Last was different, no expectations, no idea!!

This year is harder. Goals have been set and expectations need to be fulfilled. Training has to be done no matter what, no excuses. I have to get up at 4am to get quality in, I have to do sessions in the evening instead of relaxing. Last year, I didn't have to, so I didn't. If I was sore at all, tired or couldn't be bothered, that's all the excuses I needed no to train

However, after my performance last year at WA I have personal expectations that I want to exceed, goals I want to achieve. I am currently tired and fatigue, this just makes me want to train harder at the moment. I am preparing for what I call two hour Tuesday. This is my 2nd long run for the week consisting of a minimum of 2 hours with intervals or hills in there somewhere. 2 hour Tuesday usually follows a 3-4 hour morning ride. Legs are toasted by the end.

My training as been going well with clocking up good consistent quality k's atm with December 5th continually driving me along the way. My weight has dropped under 92kgs and is heading in the right direction. I have been given some quality nutritional advice rather than just starving myself...WTF?!?!? Advice that makes a difference in what I eat, when I eat it and how it is prepared.

The time is currently 7.30pm and today I have been on the bike, pounding the pavement and splashing in the water. Another day in which I have made gains and enjoyed the outcome. Tomorrow is a different day, one in which I am looking for the conclusion before it starts.

I have been following another blog: http://caughtontherun.blogspot.com/ about another "larger" guy (93.5kgs) who has recently qualified for Kona and will have completed 3 Ironmans in 10 weeks. He is another that gives me motivation. If h can, so can I. Who said size matters??

For now...

X-Man

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Training Program or Training Partner??

For me, training partners are way more important. Unless you are so motivated that it doesn't matter that you consistently do 12-14 sessions a week solo, but who can say that they can do this??

I know a balance between the both is probably the best results, however, when you have training partners that are flexible with the schedule and you can utilize each other or groups, the result is usually more productive. At times I know that without a training partner, no matter if there is a program in front of me or not, I would not be able to complete a session, let alone get some quality out of it.

So, I pose the question, how many people waste money on a program that they do not entirely follow for one reason or another?? During my short life at this sport, there are very few who can say that the program is the only training they will do and not budge from that.

I am lucky enough to have developed a good training network, that covers all three disciplines and enables me to be flexible to change sessions to get some really good quality training in. In saying this, a few solo sessions with podsy (Ipod) can be rather refreshing.

I can see the benefit from having a coach for advice etc, but it is really a coach that you need, or just a mentor?? Someone to write you a program or someone you can call when things are not quite right or for re-assurance? A GOOD coach will be able to do both of these, and should be able to also. I have found that many coaches these days are going to quantity of athletes trying to develop a large group to line their pockets $$$$. I know this is a job for many, but a coach is someone who is more than a boss, it should be a partnership to achieve the goals you want.

So this brings me back to my topic, what is more important?? A Program or Partner? For me, I'll take training partners every day.

With this, my training this year to date has been more productive and consistent than the previous two years as I can call on a variety of people with a variety of levels to achieve what I want. I have also been able to have minimal time off the track due to injuries as I have not been involved in EGO training in which training becomes too competitive regulary and the chance of injuries rises and enjoyment lowers.

So for now, I have no reason to change and will follow this theory until my performance tells me otherwise. With 10 weeks to go until Ironman Western Australia, my focus is on what I can do and not I can't due to poor training scheduling. Anyway, off to finish the weekend with another solid afternoon.

For now...

X-Man

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Smashed by a Storm!!

The heading is the summary of my 2 out of 3 recent rides. One Rod Stormonth has handed it to me on a platter. First was Saturday morning and then this morning. The lad is riding really well at the moment and it has been a pleasure trying to hang onto his wheel.

Now, onto the latest and greatest news: ROD STORMONTH has decided to make a comeback to Ironman Triathlons, declaring that Western Australia 2010 is his comeback race. This excites me also, due to the fact that there will be 4 of us in the same area all training for Ironman racing. What more would you want out of training partners, i ask?? We both know that it will a long journey for Rod as it is all of us, but the fact that I/We will be able to draw enthusiasm from each other like I do with my other training partners should also make training even more enjoyable, if possible.

So where am I at? Well, training is going well and I have surrounded myself with purely positive people. As the saying goes, being positive breeds positive and likewise for the reverse. So for now I have positive people around me who are getting great results and is giving me more excitement/ inspiration every day.

Jason, myotherapist and training partner finished 3rd in his category on the weekend in the Australian Marathon Championships held in Bendigo over 105km. This was on his trusty stead, the MTB. Great effort that!!

Carla, another training partner and G/F, is currently in Cairns on her final training/acclimatisation before she heads across to the BIG DANCE at Kona.

If you cannot draw anything positive from achievements like these, you never will.

And for me, just trying to do the hard k's now to hopefully make it easier come race day.

Consistent training has been my motto so far and everything has been coming along well, with ups and downs along the way. The 4.30am starts have been good, haven't got me just yet, however in saying that, am looking forward to a sleep in, when ever that might be. I have re-equated myself with the ocean for cold water recovery sessions, and that is just what they are - COLD!!! However the legs do love it.

Anyway, will blog more regular in the coming weeks.

For now...

X-Man

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Journey Starts Now....12 weeks out!!

THE JOURNEY STARTS HERE!!

12 weeks til IRONMAN WA.

  • Time to put the head down and leave all the excuses at the front door each day.
  • Time to focus on what is ahead and not what is in the passed, too many people hang their hat on previous performances and not worry about the next one.
  • Time to capitalize on the winter training that I have done (and some that I haven't) and take the next step to be in IRONMAN condition.
  • Time to pull all resources out for training.
  • Time to get serious.

Enough of the small talk, I often hear people talk it up and not do anything about it. For me, the 12 week mark has hit and the focus has taken over.

My first Ironman Journey was really exciting last year and I hope to follow the same path to get the same result this year.

For those out there who give me support through training, recovery and morally, the time has come to step up and do it all again. I look forward to the same journey again this year.


Now a small recap on the previous few weeks:

Well, after competing at Yeppoon and being happy with my result, the following weekend I cruised down to Hazlewood pondage to compete in a 1.5k swim, 36k ride and 8k run. Cutting to the chase I was happy with that race also backing up 1 week after Yeppoon.

THE SWIM - About time I had a decent swim, still a long way off getting the best out of my open water swimming, however, I had a little bit of advice from a friend about just think that it is me out there and forget about the others. So I swam solo the whole time, probably cost me a little bit of time, however got through in a good time.

16min 59 sec

THE RIDE - Was another solid ride for me, legs started to get heavy towards to end, positive was that no one passed me on the bike and motored passed a lot.

56min 17 sec 6th overall

THE RUN - Once again happy here, due to the 1km hill climb each of the 2 laps, which drained my legs in the second lap. Legs starting to get stronger on the run, don't get me wrong, still a long way off the pace, but improving all the same.

38min 24sec

OVERALL - Another solid performance, placing 4th in my age after starting the run is 1st place. Was a good field with a lot of the athletes fine tuning for the World Champs this month.

Since this race I have been a little slack just doing enough to maintain fitness and nothing more, so nothing to really report here.

The story all starts again.

For Now...

X-Man

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Time to head back to reality..

Well, the holiday has come to an end.

After heading out for dinner last night and cleaning up $250 on the pokies, Big Boy, Carla & myself enjoyed a few beverages to celebrate a great week away.

Reality has just kicked in due to seeing and hearing about the weather in Melbourne being absolutely horrid and today being the pick of all the days here in Yeppoon (always the way!!)

The ocean is like a mill pond and wind is non existent. Never mind, I would have to say that the 3 others that I have spent the week with have made it so enjoyable and one that we have already discussed repeating again next year. Yeppoon is a great location for a Half Ironman Triathlon or just a week away in perfect conditions.

My stuff is packed and just about to cook up a storm with the left over food before we head to the Airport, back to COLD COLD Victoria.

There is one person that I have failed to thank on many occasions as he does a magnificent job getting me prepared for my races......As much as I hate him at the time for putting me through the pain, is Jason, my great mate and myotherapist. The pain of the treatment and the following day is something that I am getting used to, although my pain tolerance is minimal!!! So thanks Jas, as once again you have prepared me a treat for this race as you have for all previous races.

I will endeavour to find a picture of his ugly mug to post here, however if treatment is needed, he is someone that I recommend.

For now...

X-Man

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Race Report....

I will do this report is two parts.....The first will be before I saw the overall results and the second after I saw the results.

The short bit:

Swim: 36.07 - poor, into a strong current, hoping to still go 32ish after I heard the leading "open" swam 27.
Bike: 2hr 21min 41 sec, wanted to break 2hr 20min, so was reasonably happy with this time.
Run: 1hr 38min 50sec, legs were tired, so was happy as I felt like I held form for the entire run and didn't feel like I tired towards the end.

Overall: 4hr 36min 39sec. Wasn't what I wanted, however only 1 minute slower than last year with a 7 minute slower swim.

The long bit:

You all know the jargon, so won't bore you with it, only the bits that stick to mind.

Standing at the start, the announcer informed us that the first swimmer was out of the water in 27min, 3-4 minutes slower than expected. Was going to be a tough swim for me. They tried to tell us that it was current assisted....NO chance.

So another panic attack for me 400m into the swim and had to stop to gather myself....why does this continue to happen?? An answer that I am going to have to search for.

Getting through the swim was my goal after this, standing to see my watch 35min and still the run up to the transition meant a slow day for me.

Mounting my bike, legs felt good, did the usual hard first hour than settled back into a comfortable rhythm. Catching a lot of the swimmers as per usual saw myself towing a pack of riders as normal around the course. My nutrition plan was not perfect but still was happy with the bike.

At the start of the run, pulling out actually crossed my mind, for the first time!!! Was in a world of hurt, and was unsure how long I would be able to run for. Just get through one lap and see how I feel. So after 1 lap, legs felt alright and I continued on my merry way. The one thing different this race compared to others was that not many people ran passed me, still the pure runners did, however after the first lap, they were few and far between. I actually thought that I was having a good day on the run, even though my legs started telling me different stories.

Maybe the two snakes I saw soaking up the rays on the path persuaded me to get a wriggle on (pardon the pun!!) and avoid the fangs.

Crossing the line, I was happy with my time and considering the tough conditions, thought that I might have just broken into the top 50, but was unsure. Straight into the pool to wait for the others.

Now, report after the results shown:

Swim, still poor 23rd in age, 125th overall
Ride, fantastic, 1st in age, 9th overall!!!
Run, great 10th in age, 79th overall

Overall, 6th in age, 35th overall.

It is funny to reflect on your race once you see the comparative results of the others. Instead of losing 15-17 min on the run, I only lost 8 min to the age group winner. So my running is progressing and my bike has stabilised, just need to work on my swim starts in open water. Maybe some expert advice is needed to overcome this fear.

Anyway, a few beers with Big Boy (4th in his age) made the afternoon very enjoyable. Justin in his first half for a number of years finished 21st in his age and Carla finished 2nd in her age. A great results had by all.

A small swim and a few more beers this afternoon will cap off a great time away in the sun.

Then back to serious training for Ironman WA.

For now...

X-Man

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Race Day..

4.50am, sipping on my usual coffee, the others are having pancakes with jam and peanut butter. They are trying to convince me that it tastes good!!!! Not for me, my usual breakfast is a coffee, banana and a bottle of High 5 Energy source for the next few hours.

As it is currently dark, I cannot see the beach from the balcony at the moment, however there is absolutely no wind and the beach sounds like it is calm. The forecast is for light NNE winds with a top temp of 26 degrees Celsius and humidity of 55% - 65%. All in all, perfect race conditions.

I had a good night sleep and feel pretty good, for now!! Still 3 1/2 hours from race start, so no doubt the nerves will start to kick in soon. Transition opens in 1/2 hour, so will be heading down that way soon to do the usual bike check-in, numbering and transition set up.

My weapon of choice is of course my cervelo P2C, and am glad that to have the disk wheel and 5 spoke front to support. All I need now is the engine to fire on 8 cylinders and not 4. The fuel has been decided and am running on pure High 5 Energy Source at 100gm per hour. In the past this High 5 Octane fuel has taken me to Personal Best times and I am hoping that once again it delivers the times.

The sense of excitement is starting to take hold, or is it nerves?? And those "athletes", if I can use that term loosely, know what happens the morning before a race when it comes to nerves. Maybe once, maybe twice, but usually for me it is three times. So I am off for number 2 and I will report soon after the race.

For Now...

X-Man

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The calm before the storm.

Just a quick update:

Leg is feeling ok, will be at the start line for sure. Big Boy and myself invested in some Compress Sport socks to race in www.compressport.com.au , apparently good for delaying the onset of fatigue (also good for people calling you names in!), but as long as they feel like they work I will be happy.

These socks also aid in recovery, will give an update post race and in the weeks to follow.

Also, the last meal has come and gone, the usual pasta with rice cream etc. A relaxing beer to wash it all down with (pre-race ritual), this time I restricted myself to just 1!!!

Anyway, off to count some zzzz's before a 4.45am rise to see how my "pre-season" training has been.

For now...

X-Man

Front tyre into soft sand = head first over handlebars!

Yes the heading says it all.

I ventured out with Big Boy yesterday for a few efforts to get the legs going. After finishing off the efforts, I noticed George from Degani heading back in the other direction. I decided to join up and have a yarn with him.

So with all my bike skills, I endeavoured to cross the center medium strip.....This is where everything went wrong.

After lifting the front wheel onto what I thought was solid ground and then also lifting my rear wheel, I soon realised the my front wheel started to sink into soft sand. Well, for many a cyclist, a lot will know the story from here. For those who don't know, see the two pictures below.

If you can imagine a mix between the two, well that is what happened. Probably more similar to the first picture, however landing of a softer surface.

Yes I did suffer an injury, my right shin smashed into the the tri bar. Well, if you have ever walked into a tow ball on the back of a car, the pain of this was about 4 times as much. 92kgs going into the tri bar, not a pleasant feeling. The swelling continued to increase, so applying some ice regularly. See picture below:










After regular treatments of ice, and an easy swim in the ocean, the swelling has subsided a little bit, however the pain is still present. An easy run today will determine if I do actually race tomorrow. Further regular icing and cold water wading should assist the pain. I will leave my decision until the morning. I am confident of making the start line in good shape and if I do race, I will be 100% with no excuses if I don't race well as I have prepared well for this race.

I will update later today.

For now...

X-Man

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Glad to see some Fine Fine weather..

Today I flew to central QLD to a reception of 25 glorious degrees and very minimal wind. What a vast change from cold, wet and windy Melbourne.

Today also marked the last "normal" meal that I consume for the next 4 days or so. The chicken dish that Big Boy served up was one the George of Master chef would have been proud of. And I am no food expert, but I know good food when I eat it.

So, after arriving and checking into the house and seeing a perfect view of the ocean (pictures to follow) I set my bike up and after last year forgetting my wheel skewers, I was glad to see those little babies.

I took my bike out for a spin just to make sure that everything was tight and ready to go. An easy hour in the sun was enough to realize that hydration is my motto this weekend. After the easy spin, I ticked the legs over for 15min which felt really good.

The crystal clear water caught my eye late this afternoon and looked to good to ignore, so an easy 5min roll the arms over and I was done for the day.

An easy relaxing night and some early shut eye will help after the 4.30am rise this morning.
I will blog every night leading in and after (including the after party, might lead for some interesting drunk reading.....make sure those phones are switched off!!).

For now...

X-Man

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Season is about to commence.

Tomorrow I fly up to Sunny Yeppoon, Qld for my first proper race for the season.

Last weekend I completed a small duathlon 5k run, 18.75k ride & 5k run and achieved the goals that I set myself for the race.

Break 20min for both 5k,
Break 30min for the ride.

I finished 6th overall, however I was pleased with my 2nd run being able to run sub 4min km pace off the bike.

This weekend sees me race my first 1/2 Ironman for the season and my first since I have been self coaching. When I say self coaching, I have been getting quality advice from a few people but writing my own programs.

There will be a lot of unknown about this race as I am unsure where I am at due to a few minor hiccups along the way (see previous posts).

My main aim to try run a personal best (beating my previous of 1hr 34min) and also in the swim (29min 08sec). If I can achieve these two goals, I am confident of achieving a best time overall. I am not concerned of where I finish overall or in my age group as some quality athletes are attending who are way above my ability.

The weather will be a bit of a shock due to Melbourne being cooler by an average of 10deg Celsius per day. By flying in Thursday and the race being on Sunday, this will give me a few days to get acclimatised to the conditions. Staying hydrated in the lead up days will be a priority for me.

I am lucky enough not to have suffered cramping in a race prior and I hope that I just haven't put the mozz on me now.

I am going to post my race plan now and see how close it turns out. Based on my training and where I think I am at, I should be able to go:

Low 28mins for the swim;
Low 2hr 20min for the bike; and
Low 1hr 30min for the run

Giving me an overall time of :

Low 4hr 20mins.

For the first time I am going to attack the run early and see how long that I can hang tight for, previously I have just found a comfortable tempo and held that for the entire race. I am hoping to be able to go hard for 14-17k's and then hang on for the final 4k's. Time will tell.

I am excited to get to my first race for the season as it feels like ages since my last race in March.

I will give a small update just prior to race day.

For now...

X-Man


Monday, August 3, 2009

Where am I at??

This is something that I have being asking myself since my operation. I was curious to see if I would have lost any conditioning by having the op, and including the recover period.

Well, over the weekend I have found some answers. I commenced training 1 week earlier than originally planned with being away in country Victoria on work duties, having spare time in the afternoon/evening, I decided to get back into training. I set a condition that as long as my body felt good I would train the next day and so on. However, with any sort of discomfort, my training would once again be put on ice.

So, my week went like this:

Monday: 1hr 20 min run.
Tuesday: 2hr 15 min run. 1 k swim
Wednesday: 3.1 k swim
Thursday: 30min run
Friday: 1hr 5 min run

Come Friday afternoon I was excited about the prospect of getting back on my stead and getting some k's and hours in the saddle. I organised with a few lads to attempt a 5hour ride, hoping to cover some 150k's. Maybe a bit ambitious, but was a good way to see how my legs were.

So we headed down to Mornington....with a nice tail wind. After overcoming 3 punctures within the group we turned around to discover that the return 75 clicks was going to be a battle. I knew that my legs were not ready for that distance 1st up. So with another 2 punctures within the group and a stop at bike store as tubes and canisters were null and void.

I managed to get back to Williamstown, only just. My thoughts were quiet angry due to not enough nutrition, 5 punctures amongst us, etc etc. I soon was reminded that a 150k ride after 2 weeks off the bike was a good effort, my mindset changed and I was satisfied with the ride.

Sunday morning was a sorter ride and a long run. I was pleased with this decision due to the fact that Saturday's ride took a fair bit out of me, along with the running during the week. So getting through a 2 hour ride with 1hr 40min run off the bike my legs actually felt ok, nothing flash but ok. The only thing that I had to get through for the rest of the weekend was a 40min run in the arvo with the final 20mins being at a good tempo, was a scary thought after the weekends sessions to date. Headed out the door at 5pm (couldn't delay it any more) and headed out for an easy 20mins, wow, my legs felt really good. So when time to turn around, I had a bit of a crack to get the HR going and see how long I could hold a good tempo. The answer for me was the whole return trip.

So, after a reasonably heavy week of training, which my body coped with really well, I have no idea what to expect at Yeppoon, will it be a PB or a race to get a gauge of where I am at.

Did an easy 1hr 50min spin this morning and will head out with Benny and Stormy in the morning for another 2hr 30min spin on my TT bike to continue to get used to it. In the arvo will throw my arms over in the pool for a few k's or more and a run to finish off the day.

So with Yeppoon under 2 weeks away, I am going to head down to a local duathlon Sunday to have a good blowout. The goal is the run off the bike. To see where that is at. Am not fussed about the other two legs, although I will have a good crack at them.

Then off to Yeppoon for my first 1/2 Ironman for the season and then back it up the following week with an Olympic distance. This should help improve my race fitness fast as all training does is improve training fitness. You need to race to get race fitness!!!

My curiosity is starting to get to me as it has been 6 months since I decided to go my own way and self coach. I have been really happy with my progress, even though a few minor hiccups along the way. Although the only way to tell will be on race day.

For now...

X-Man

PS. My weight has stabilised at 92 kgs. Which for this time of year puts me about 3-4 kgs lighter than last year.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The waiting game!!

So, it has almost been 1 full week since my operation and how am I feeling??

A few words describe it: Bored and Frustrated.

For the first time, I have decided to follow doctors orders and have the full amount of recovery time off to give my body the best chance to recover.

In order to do this, I have had to mentally change my mindset for Yeppoon in 3 weeks. No longer am I looking to smash my pb, now it is a matter of getting the race under my belt to "re-start" my preparation for the WA Ironman. This is hard to take as to date I have pb'd every 1/2 that I have done and going up there with such a good start to the year training wise and seeing every leg improve in training. I am hoping that I surprise myself and have a good race 4hr 25min - 4hr 32min. Otherwise the goal will be to enjoy the race and more importantly enjoy the "cans" with old mate BIG BOY!!!

Many a time this week, I have felt on the improve until my body would decide that I am feeling to well and make me "move my bowels" and lay me flat on my back again. (For those that don't know I had an operation to correct some bowel issues) Will let you decide where the "entry point" was!!! Not a pleasant feeling.

So trying to plan when I am going to commence training has been put on hold as I will have to listen to my body for this to occur. Every day has been different to the previous as far as improvement. Tuesday, I felt like my improvements were coming along leaps and bounds, however yesterday (Wednesday) was a step back. I had a constant pain all day which lead to me throwing all plans of training out the window. Today is a different day and I hope that my improvements will continue, not only better than yesterday, but better than Tuesday.

My plan earlier in the week was to "maybe" get on the wind trainer over the weekend, just to spin my legs. At this stage the chances of that happening are zero to none!! Just walking around for 10-15min in every day life takes a lot of effort at the moment. Also, with the amount of antibiotics and pain relief tablets (some say EPO!!) my body is not handling the "highs & lows" to well with being unable to predict how I will be feeling 4 hours later, let alone 4 days time.

I travel next week for work, so this will give me another week to sit and think about the pain I have had in my ass. Hoping that everything recovers well and my body can cope with the amount of driving to be done, my aim is to get training going again the following weekend. My feelers have been out asking about the training that I will get back into. The advice which I have been given (thanks mate ;) ) has given me some confidence that I should get back to some reasonable training in the first week.

As for now I sit on my rump and think about training (some say that it is the thought that counts and not the outcome of the thought!) and wonder what others are doing and if they are making improvements whilst I loose some conditioning. Time will tell.

A positive that I can take from the operation is that my weight has dropped significantly and for the first time I have been able to stay under 92kgs consistently. My food intake has been adapted to suit my lack of training, so NO I am not starving myself either!! If i can maintain or drop some more, this will be a good springboard to resume training at.

For now...

X-Man

Monday, July 20, 2009

Try to keep the focus!!

I went under the knife over the weekend to correct a stomach/bowel problem and have come out the other side with a hurdle to overcome...mentally.

After spending the entire weekend on my back due to having a pain in my ass.....literally, when it was time to "check out" of my pool side room (view of the car park) I had to ask when I could commence training again. This is where my first big mental test comes into it.

Due to the entry point of my operation, riding a bike will not be possible for at least 7-10 days. This is variable due to how much pain I have when sitting on the saddle. Also the length of time that I can ride for will be monitored as i go. For now the forthcoming weekend on the mag trainer for 30min looks like the option.

For the run, I have the same situation, not that I will have to sit down, but due to my bowels not having fluent motion at the moment and the doctor informing me that I have to try have "easy movements". So having an emergency stop in a public toilet is not an option that I want to encounter at the moment, as if things are not right.....could be very uncomfortable/embarrassing for me.

Now for the swim, this answer really surprised me. 2 FULL WEEKS off training, WTF???!?!?
I thought originally that I could hit the water sooner that the other 2 due to the fact that I would a lot less chance of having discomfort whilst swimming. However I failed to look at the fact of infection!! The doctor told me that a public pool, with such a high percentage of urine in the water, increased the chance of infection if I swam too soon.

So, not only did the operation give me a pain in the ass, it has made me realise that Yeppoon will only be a training race as I will not be in any kind of shape to race fully fit. Having the flu recently and now this means that I will have had 20 days off training during the month of July. Not the ideal preparation leading in.

I have to go into the race with the big picture in my mind that this is ONLY a lead up race for WA Ironman in December and the result is not as important to races later in the year.

The other thought is what to do in the 2 weeks that I will be able to train just prior to Yeppoon with traditionally having 1 week taper.

Do I have 1 really hard week with a week taper, or do I put in 2 medium sized weeks so that I don't put to much pressure on the body to close?

The answers to these 2 questions are not ones that I possess, so I have 2 weeks to find out the answer which will best suit my situation.

The only advantage of not being able to train this week is that I get to sit up and watch the Tour and watch to concluding stages live without having to have "red eye" syndrome every morning. This is probably the only thing that will stop me from going insane this week.

Anyway, I will be able to test my mental toughness this week and I will be able to see where I am at from here.

For now.....

X-Man


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Small Hiccup - High Motivation

Last weekend I headed to Ballarat to "get away" and get some quality training done for the mind and body. My theory behind this was that if I could survive Ballarat's weather in the middle of winter, training in Melbourne for the remainder would not be to hard.

All good in theory as they say.

Arriving on Friday afternoon at Main Lead Comfort Inn, I cruised out for a 70min run around the old lake (i say old, as due to the drought, there is NO water at all in the lake). The weather was fresh, but was nothing compared to what I was going to encounter the following morning. Feet up for the rest of the night.

Saturday morning I awoke early and peered out the door to find wet roads, not a bad thing as I thought that it would not rain for the 4 1/2 hour ride & 30min run. I changed my original bike route to suit the weather conditions, not wanting to get too far from the hotel and have a mechanical. I managed to find a 25k loop which Incorporated the lake and a couple of suburbs around Ballarat. This was a suitable loop especially after the heavens opened up for the first 2 hours and the last 1 hour. So after being wet to the bone, I was also very cold with a temp of 5 degrees celcius and wind chill of -2 deg celcius, so riding wet in 3 deg was not pleasant.

I am sure that my hands went numb due to the fact that I thought my gloves were actually dry after the first downpour of rain!!!! Got through the session and relaxed back in the hotel for the afternoon.

The plan for Sunday was to ride 1 hour and run 1 hour in the morning and back it up with a swim session in the afternoon with another 30min run following.

So getting up early, hoping that the weather was more pleasant, I headed for the ride, and to my enjoyment, the weather was PERFECT for training, still a little fresh. BUT NO rain!!!!

Getting off the bike and running was so easy compared to the previous day with no mishaps whatsoever. The afternoon was a tough session, Saturdays session took a fair bit out of me and the Sunday morning session added to it. So off to the pool I went to try and get a solid swim set in. After a 4.8k set I dragged myself out of the pool for one more run before I headed back to Melbourne.

Ballarat was the perfect place to get away for a Training weekend and a place that I will definitely head back to in the future.

Now for the hiccup:

With training in the cold, I caught the flu, not knowing the full extent of it, I rode Tuesday morning in the cold. This did me no favours....A few days off work to recover.

So this weekend I have had a constructive weekends training without the fear of staying sick. 2 runs, 1 ride and a swim, no intensity, just k's have made me quite chuffed here on Sunday evening. Although having the flu, I am happy with how my progress is coming along with my swimming and running.

My first race this season in Yeppoon in 5 weeks has my motivation very high and my enthusiasm is sky high also as one of my good mates, James Monahan is currently competing at Ironman Switzerland. Is on the bike as i blog. My thoughts and encouragement go out to him as going through the training and the highs and lows of this game, getting to the start line is an achievement in it self. Carve it up MONAS!!!!

Anyway, I aim to put a solid week in again this week as I am going under the knife for a minor operation in the near future to resolve a stomach issue. This should not derail my training nor Yeppoon, yet see me make gains once fully recovered.

For now...

X-Man

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The right fit!

Since WA Ironman, I have been searching for the right shoe to suit my feet.

I raced in asics 2140 prior to the Ironman and had no reason to change, so decided to run the marathon in the same shoes. My feet blistered badly, which, by never running a marathon previously I thought was normal. After chatting to a few fellow athletes (if I can be classed as one!) this was not a normal thing and had a few suggestions about changing my footwear. So since then I have been on the hunt for the elusive running shoe.

So I went and tried the Brooks T4 Racer at Geelong Half Ironman, purely for racing and was happy with this for any distance up to Half Ironman, I just don't think that this light weight show would be suitable for my frame for anything over this. Also, I am unsure what the life span would be, as in, how many races I would get out of the shoe before the shoe is finished. However, the shoe is comfortable and I am very happy to wear it in the suitable races.

So, for now I was happy with my purchase for my racing shoe up to Half Ironman. Now the search was to find a good lightweight training shoe, that might double as my shoe for Ironman races. The whole 1 per year that I plan to do. I tried a pair of New Balance 749's thinking that they were suitable to my feet. Unbeknown to me, these shoes were very unsuitable and gave me sore feet into my Achilles.




So I quickly decided to try again with shoes. I stumbled on a pair of New Balance 903's which were on sale at the time, so I didn't part with much coin to test ride a new pair.


( The pair on the left are the new model the 904's which I am on the look out for now.)
So with the 903's I gave these shoes every test under the sun from track running to gravel running to pavement running and they passed with flying colours. The only downside is that because they are a lightweight shoe, they need replacing often. I failed to do this and after running them into the ground, I developed a foot injury.

So unable to find the 904's at this time I am trying 2 other type of shoes: Brooks Defiance and New Balance 749's.

So far the Brooks have been my pick of the two shoes, due to having no blisters after the first run in them. Whereas the New Balance give me constant grief with the new design and the stitching being in the wrong spot for running. The stitching rubs just nicely one my toe. So for now I will be still looking for the New Balance 904 hoping that NB haven't changed the stitching on these also.
The Brooks have taken over as my preferred training shoe. Any other suggestions are more than welcome on shoes that work and shoes that don't.
For now...
X-Man

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Goodbye Blue, Hello Red..

This was the story of today's crit at Altona. I have officially handed in my blue number (B Grade) and have graduated to the "REDS" (A Grade).

Was the perfect day to make the transition due to the weather and also a few of the top "A" grade riders at Footscray were absent. In saying this, the winner of the 3 Day Tour was racing and so to was a Porsche Drapac rider.

So after watching Komo win "C" Grade in a sprint finish, I was quite motivated to have a real crack also. Mainly just to hang on was the goal, but if I was feeling ok, would try and involve myself in the race.

The traditional 1st lap under control, then the race began with a breakaway instantly. The difference with this breakaway compared to "B" grade is that it was likely to stay away. So after a short time, the pack reeled in the 2 escapees. Soon after 5 riders went up the road and the bunch let them go, I got caught in no mans land so decided to find a tempo and see what happened. Soon after 1 rider joined me and we were working turns together, but not making inroads to the leaders.

Another 2 riders joined us and together we decided to have a good crack at chasing the 5 riders up the road. Slowly but surely we started to close the gap and when another rider soon joined not long after 5 chasing 5 become a positive prospect. This continued for a good 15 min and as we were about the close the gap, one of the riders in our group hit us hard and bridged the gap to the leader, so 4 chasing 6 became harder. A further 15min in, we managed to bridge the gap and as soon as this happened the pace intensified and my legs exploded. GONE!!!

I had to sit and wait for the bunch which took 1 complete lap to pick me up and which then the race was over. I continued to work turns for the remainder of the race. Our bunch were again catching the leaders, however as we were losing riders, the bunch became unsettled until we decided to just finish the race off and put it down to experience. Which I did.

For me, to mix it with riders of "A" Grade has given me plenty of confidence moving forward. My final position was 10th and which an average speed of just over 42kph for the 1hr 15min, I am very excited about where my cycling is at. After yesterday 4hour ride and 90min run to be able to get across the line shows that I am in a good place right now. Throw in a 13k+ swim week and things are going well.

Still injury free and loving this training caper. Only 8 weeks til Yeppoon 1/2 Ironman which will show how my progress has gone (if any) since I have been coaching myself.

For now...

X-Man

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Full Steam Ahead!

After a successful 3 Day Tour, I contested the Club Champs (Yes, still in "B" grade) and was very happy with my 5th place. Hey any of the other placings would have been better, however with the sprinter who managed to slip into the breakaway with us, I knew that I was never in with a show. So, with a quick conversation it was decided that I was going to be the "lead out" man and if he was successful, he would give me some chocolates as a reward.

The course around Granite road is tough at the best of times, throw in a nasty cross wind and the only place you wanted to be was at the pointy end. I stumbled across this by shear luck due to working turns and at one stage having a peak behind me to find that 8 of us had opened up about a 1 minute gap on the field, only due to the wind. We were cuaght by the group due to having to stop for traffic at an intersection. So after this little exercise I decided to organise a few riders to have a go intot he next cross wind to break up the bunch. This worked for me as I thought, less people in the climbs, less attacks that will hurt me.

So by the 45km mark (halfway) a group of 7 of us had dropped the majority of the field and decided that if we were going to be successful, we had to work together. This worked over the remaining climb until 2 more riders fell by the way side and left 5 of us. My biggest challenge was to hang on over the climb and from there I knew that I would finish with the leaders.

I hung tight until the top and then decided to discuss tactics with Matt (sprinter). He was happy to hear this as we both knew he was by far the best sprinter of the 5 of us, being a track rider by nature.

The 5 of us worked well together till around 15km to go when a few small attacks started to happen, my legs were hurting and I knew that for me to get to the finish line I had to dictate the pace and tempo. I told the boys that I would lead them out and they could fight the sprint amoungst themselves, this seemed to settle them down. I went to the front and tempo'd with the wind at a good speed to dissallow any further attacks. Coming into the finish I peeled off with about 400m to go (prob bit early!) but my legs were gone. I watched from a far to see Matty take the chocolates.

See race report below:

B-Grade decided to start today’s race with an unusual display of cordiality, starting at a moderate pace and not causing any mayhem; until the first corner of course! From then on it was a struggle in the crosswinds, with many riders blowing up in the scramble to stay in the safety of the first 8 or so riders and one by one some very out of breath riders fell by the wayside. With the hills looming, the pace rose another notch, and the dreaded Granite Road ascent saw the field pared down to about 10 riders. Surprisingly, after surviving the attacks on the climb, the group split into two on the descent, so by the time riders were returning to climb through the hills once more, the race leaders had made enough ground on the chasers to be clear. The five leaders then settled down to some co-operative riding until they approached the finish, when a few riders tried to make a break for it, but once they approached the line no-one could compete with the unbelievable speed of Matthew Heath’s sprint, taking the race in convincing fashion over Paul Kenny and Scott Pilson. 28 year old Heath, from Tarneit, is returning to cycling after taking a 5 year break from the pressures of cycling, having previously raced in A-grade and having represented Victoria in the Track Nationals. He only returned to cycling after a shoulder injury in a car accident prevented him from going to the gym, and he decided to dust off the bike and found himself enjoying it enough to return to competitive cycling.
1st Matt Heath, 2nd Paul Kenny, 3rd Scott Pilson, 4th Chris Pescott, 5th Xavier Coppock.

So with this, I know that I am starting to find some good legs and look forward to the next few weeks of training before Yeppoon, 8 weeks away.

I have increased my swimming to be consistently punching out 10k + per week and after a little foot injury, have started the road back on the running also.

My weight is a steady 93kgs, only 1/2 kg above Ironman weight. SO all things are positive.

For now...

X-Man

Friday, June 12, 2009

TT'd to victory

To answer all the questions from my previous post:

Yes I did have the legs, my legs felt great in fact,
No, I didn't spend to many pennies on the previous stages.

So, it all came down to the 27.5k TT, with me giving a 40second start to the leader and sitting in 8th before the final stage. What was also interesting was that 10 riders were all within 1 minute of the leader going into the final TT, with this in mind many placings were up for grabs and the podium was not sorted.

In the morning of the final stage, I actually found myself rather nervous due to the expectations that this race was well and truly within reach for me, just needed a good TT and no mishaps.

I started well and managed to pass 3 riders withing the first 5-6k and was on track to record a good time, with not knowing who was riding well behind me, I just had to focus on what I could do and hopefully the the rest would take care of itself.

Into the 2nd lap I had already passed 5-6 riders and feeling good at this stage. After looking at my clock I set myself a goal of breaking 40min for the 27.5k. With this in mind I was sure that the others riders would not be able to complete such a time and that I would be right up there in the finish. So, passing2 more riders in the final lap and having the motivation of the time, I really drove hard.

Also, remembering with Komo said about not having to "run off the bike" this time, there is no reason to leave anything in the tank. Coming up to the finish I stopped the clock in 40.03min (6th overall for the day) with an average speed of 41.2kph. Happy days!!

Waiting until everyone had finished I went to check the results and was informed that I had out rode the rest by 3min 30 sec odd for the stage with meant I won the 3 Day Tour by 2min 40 sec.

Jarrod also had a cracking TT stopping the clock in 39min 36sec (5th overall TT time) to ride himself into 4th overall. A great effort by someone in their first road race. Well done mate, even though we won't hear the end of it now!!

Another result that surprised me was the 2nd placing I managed in the sprint title, finishing on 9 points, 1 behind the winner.

Overall, was a great weekend of Cycling, with this also being the catalyst for my drive to race "A" grade from here on in.

For now...

X-Man