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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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