Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 - The Year in review......Part 1

I say part 1 as this was how my year really was....In 2 parts and it would be unfair to really include both in the same review.

I started 2010 with grand dreams after a near perfect 2009, after just missing my Kona spot at WA, I really thought that getting that spot at New Zealand Ironman would be a walk in the park. I started the year thinking that it would just happen, little did I know in this sport.....nothing just happens. I was very complacent with my training and only swam three times for the year leading in. I did a lot of cycling (as I always did) and was very inconsistent with my running. I would run 20+k on consecutive days but then would be forced to have days off due to being exhausted. This was my pattern for most part of the months leading into IMNZ. My weight was also up on previous years, started the race at 96.5kgs. 4kgs more than the first 2 Ironmans that I had done.

Hence you could say that I was always going to struggle to have a good race let alone get my kona spot. Below is the race report of the race :

So after that disappointing race and not reaching my goal, I did some soul searching and decided it was time to find a coach who could take me to Kona.

The search begun, contacting no less than 6 coaches and seeking advice from many an athlete about various coaches, I was determined to find the coach who not only could take me to Kona, but who was also one that I was more than comfortable working with.

This process took a few weeks, which didn't bother me as I had no idea what was next in store for me. A lot of research went into my search for the "right" coach and I was determined to find him/her. I had my criteria, whether necessary or not, but I was adamant to make sure this coach was going to suit me, not just sell me a program and only want something to do with me once I started showing some potential.

After going through my process, I decided to take the next step and meet with Andrew Sinclair, from Triathlon & Multisport coaching, to see if we suited each other. After meeting up with him and talking about goals etc, he was my man. We then sat down and worked out goals for 2010 together in what we both thought was achievable and set about designing a program to suit this.

It would be easy to say the rest is history, but the year was way to successful to leave it at that.

For now...


Part 2 to follow in a few days.

Have a happy new years and a better 2011!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Good....The Bad....The Ugly....

So, after sitting down with Andrew last Monday night and deciding that I would start training again last week, it has not gone according to plan. But.....I DON'T CARE!!

I have had 1 session of each since WA and have hated every minute of it so far. What does this mean?? I am done for this year. I originally had plans to race next week up at Benalla but have also decided to scrap that idea. I know that I am done for the year due to the fact that training seems like a chore. Nothing seems enjoyable about it...even though I haven't been, just the thought is tiring at the moment.

Plans will be re-adjusted to start again next year, so for now I am just all about enjoying the festive season. Anyway....what do I care?? I am off to KONA 2011!!


Qualifying for KONA 2011 - can't say that enough!! Sorry if it bothers you, because it is not bothering me.

Not having to stress about a race early in the new year as I reached my goal.

Enjoying the festive season and I have been on the Corona wagon, drinking beers that rhyme with that Kona you can never complain about that!!! And plenty of them.

Being on the receiving end of a fixed wheel bike....this completes my set now. And to get out on it when the weather improves will be some fun.

Having an appearance in a local paper:

And an article about the race:

And finally, being notified that I have won the Australian Half Ironman series in the 30-34 a/g.


The me no incentive to train!!

The amount of Coronas that I have consumed since WA!! (well maybe not bad)


The 5kgs that I have added since WA!! All well paid for mind you!!

For now...


PS. I would like to add that I have received well over 4,200 page hits spanning across 20+ countries. So, feel free to through a comment in good, bad or indifferent!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The year is still going strong!!

So, after finally qualifying for Kona, my goal since I started this caper. I am still enjoying the conversations about it with every friend I see. It is amazing the support you have even when you don't realise that it is there.

I do want to thank every for their well wishes and congratulations since I returned from Busso. With Kona not being until October 2011, I extend an invite to ANYONE who wants an excuse for a holiday to come support.

I met with Andrew Monday night to go over the race and have a de brief along with planning for the next few months (what I thought was the next few months!!) We have basically planned right up until October, without the finer details put in place yet. WTF?!?!? I cannot plan next week let alone 10 months in advance. I suppose that is why I have him as my coach!
After the 2 1/2 hour meeting a rough guide was penned and it was decided that I needed to get back into training not only for my sanity (is a shock going from 18+hrs per week to nothing!!) but also for my liver & kidneys after many a celebratory ale.
So, to date a ride, run and swim has been what I have encounted. Not to much joy, but with the summer about to hit (I hope), I know that it will be more enjoyable having coffee/catchup rides with mates. Having a chin wag and a laugh will be the order of the rides.
Flowing on from my successful year to date, I have also been asked to test out some new running shoes. It is a relatively new shoe, with having some success overseas, it has been introduced to Australia. You can check it out here: Below are some photos of the shoe. I am curious and excited to give them a go and am confident of a good report from them.
I have one more race left for this year and will be back into some reasonably consistent training again.
For now...

Friday, December 10, 2010

What to say?!? Where to start?!?

I have been thinking of where to start my race report. Realistically it should start back in March when I spoke to Andrew Sinclair ( about the prospect of coaching me. I can honestly say without him, I would have had to wait another year as the field for this Ironman was a lot hotter than my first two attempts and without the trust and respect I had for Andrew and his coaching, I know that my race report would be a lot different to the one that I am about to write.

So, firstly, a MASSIVE thanks to Andrew for instilling a program for me and my ways to get me where I wanted to get to.....KONA 2011!!

Coach Andrew Sinclair & his coaching.

Onto race day:

Pre race went according to plan....Ate some "real food" this year as previous years I had only ever had a liquid breakfast. I did have my usual race morning vomit, which I was happy with as there is nothing better than sticking to routine!!

Once we arrived down at transition, got numbered and prepared I was quite relaxed about the day ahead. I knew that I had done everything possible to be in the shape I was....FYI I raced at 92.5kgs.

The Swim:

I positioned myself at the front on the right hand side of the pack, thinking that I would have a direct line to the turn around. After conversations with others after the race, the general consensus was the pier side was the fastest. I had a really good start and got settled early, after about 15min or so, it got a little choppy and I drifted on top of another swimmer who gave me a nice elbow in the eye. Without panicking, I quickly stopped fixed my goggles as got going, cost me not time at all. After that I copped one on my funny bone, great tingle up & down my right arm. Didn't need to stop, but made me wonder if I was swimming straight to was it me going all over the shop?!?

Up to the turn around, where the chop was very apparent, I was still comfortable how I was going, hanging onto a group....No idea which one it was at the time!! With about 1.5k or so to go, I once again drifted on top of another swimmer, this time a lovely kick to the face.....Startled, but determined not to panic, I had to stop again to fix my goggles, but unfortunately I lost the group once done. I really didn't want to bust a boiler this early trying to get back to them. So I found my rhythm again and just plodded along until swallowed by 2 guys. I had a quick look to see if there was a pack coming, which there wasn't, so sitting with 2 was always going to be better than swimming solo.

I held these guys until the end of the swim and exited in 56min 31sec.....A pb by 30secs and was feeling really good.

In and out of T1 without hassles, I was pretty keen to get onto the bike.

The Bike:

I settled quite early and got into a good tempo. Once everything got going, I found myself riding with Luke Goard (Hawaii 2010 finisher in 9hr 14) and I knew that he would be a really good guy to stay with on the bike.

With Luke and another guy from an older age group we decided to each do 5min intervals on the front to make inroads to the respective leaders in our age group. With a few time checks, after giving 5min start, we quickly got that down to 2 mins after approx 60k. Things were going well and I felt really good. I got in plenty of nutrition and the three of us were going along very smooth until the "older" guy decided that Luke & I were going to hard for him. So, now it was2 chasing 2, as Brad Bullock and Tim Kitching were both in the same group up the road.

We eventually caught these two on the last lap with around 50k to go. I was still feeling good and happy where things were headed. We hit the turn around with 40k to go and once this happened, something happened to my back which forced my lower back and legs to go numb. I lost power and speed and could no longer work with Luke. He rode off and I decided to try and find a rhythm again, to no avail. I could not get going. My speed dropped from 39kph to 33kph and had no luck going any faster. Brad and Tim then rode passed me and my mindset was not to panic, but to try and limit my losses from there. I held Tim within sight all the way into T2. I had never been more happy to get off the bike and start running.

Ride time: 4hr 46min 13sec

Once again in and out of T2 without any issues.

The Run:

So, out of T2 and onto the run. I left with Tim Kitching, only to see him leave me for dead instantly. My mind set was, there is still 3+ hrs to go, no need to panic. Apart from the first couple of k's which were all around the 4.10k pace, I settled into a comfortable tempo, with a time looking to be around the 3hr 15min mark.

After around 5k, I caught Tim and knew that I was into 3rd. Still a long way to go was in my head. I was confident of running the whole distance as the training that I had been doing prepared me for this. Nothing else major happened for the next 10k, then Nathan Ashton caught and passed me. With seeing Carla in the opposite direction, see gave me a good old fashioned "rev up" and I told her that she was in 1st for her age. Nath stayed out in front of me for around 3-4k but never seemed to put much gap into me. Staying calm I caught him around the 22k mark and found myself in 3rd again.

I knew that I had to maintain my form as I still had the other half to go. I went through the first half in 1hr 37min, very happy. I was confident that if I did everything right, I would be able to hold Nathan at bay. At the end of the third lap the support crew got cheering (see pics) and I was still going well. The little whippet Nicolas Hemat flew by, causing my to drop a few OMG's!! He ended up running a 3hr 4min marathon and broke the 9hr mark.

Still refusing to panic and getting updates from the crew, I was still in 4th, holding 5th at bay. From here I decided that unless one if the guys in front pop, I am going to finish 4th. At the time I thought that there was only 3 slots in my a/g and 4th was more chance of getting a spot than 5th!! I made sure that I kept eating and drinking without jeopardising my position. The aid stations were easier to jog through than walk as my quads were well entrenched in the hurt locker. So the plan for the final 6-8k were a slow jog through the aid stations getting plenty on board.

Entering the final finishing chute I did something that I thought I would regret.....I kissed the M dot on the ramp...What was I thinking. I got announced as Zaviere Kopek, you are an Ironman, which is still bringing reminders from the lads!!

My run time was 3hr 20min 16sec.....A pb by almost 20min and a finishing time of

9hr 6min 52sec....4th in age group....24th overall and a pb of 17min.

After seeing everyone else finish, and watching Carla take her Age group and get an automatic spot for Kona, I was unsure where I was. Previous years only 3 in my age got spots. Did I have to rely on a roll down?? I had no idea. Tammy spoke to Luke's wife who said that he wasn't taking his spot, but you never know until acceptances are taken or refused.

Many a beer was had that night to celebrate not only my race, but Travs (9hr 38min) and Archs(11hr 47min) first Ironman along with ol' mate Benny's 3rd Ironman Finish.

The next morning, breakfast was on order before the 9am acceptance notification. We strolled down to this, trying to be calm but hoping for the best. Into the tent we went just hoping to see my name above the line. An instant smile and cuddle for/from Carla after seeing 4 spots in my age group. WE ARE GOING TO KONA!!

After going to roll down to see and pay for it, I realised that I had achieved my goal from 4 Ironmans ago....A Kona slot. After missing by 1 minute last year, I finally made it.

The awards night was fantastic and the smile on my face was always there.

I do have many people to thank to helping me get there and I do hope that these people will be there to see me finish KONA 2011!!

Benny, My training partner and 3 time Ironman finisher with me!
Stormy, just for keeping me honest about reminding me my goals!!
Jas, see above with Stormy.

The above 3 guys have been there for the 3 years and without them the training would have been very lonely.

Travis Atkins & Archie Ball for joining the journey this year and completing their first Ironman, rumour is Challenge Cairns for them....hooked!!

Coach Andrew, see first paragraph.

Scott from Xosize, David from Hammer, Florian from Erox amongst many others for looking after me with product.

There are many others who have assisted along the way and I thank ALL of you for this.

For now...



Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's going to take a while for this to sink in!!

Just a quick one before I do my main race report. I am going to have a few days to really reflect on the significance of the weekend. Not only for myself, but for Carla, who won her age group and is going to Kona for the 3rd consecutive year.

Both very happy after accepting our Kona Slots!! (No roll down for us either, just automatic qualifying!!)

Now for me, everything was amazing....I will wait until I get some photos from the whole day to post and it will probably indicate more of the happiness and excitement of what I have achieved. I do have many people who did play a BIG BIG part in me qualifying for Hawaii and will ensure that they are acknowledged.
Me after my name was to accept my spot.....VERY VERY happy!!!

The calm before the storm..

For those who have never experience the site of an Ironman swim start, it is one amazing feeling.....Check out this pic below, this would be 30 sec after the gun went.....

For now I will just leave it at that until it actually sinks in and then post a race report.

My times were: Swim - 56.31

Ride - 4:46.13
Run - 3:20.16
Overall - 9:06.52
Age - 4th
Overall - 24th
For now
We're going to KONA baby!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

T's crossed and I's dotted

As I sit here the day before the race at 5.20am local time, I have been trying to keep my sleeping patterns the same. Perth is 3 hours behind Melbourne and since we arrived I have been making sure that try to I maintain the same patterns. With the early start tomorrow 5.45am local time and the transition opening at 3.30am, this does not seem like a big deal due to the fact that it would be race start at 8.45am and Transition open at 6.30am.

So, in saying that I missed the pre-race briefing at it started at 8.30pm last night. This morning includes a few small final sessions then carb loading continues, which has not seemed as bad this trip as we have added a lot of sweet things in....mmmmmm

The weather for tomorrow has continually changed and I am hoping for a little wind not long after race start, as along with this and the new 12 metre drafting rule, I think that it will be a little more advantageous to the cyclists. But really at the end of the day, if you don't nail the marathon, who gives a 5h1t what you did on the bike.

It is a good field across most age groups and also in the pro's, with reigning champ, Patrick Vernay back again, Pete Jacobs racing after another fine Kona effort including a 2.41hr marathon off the bike. Luke Bell is trying to regain some IM form also. This is just a few top quality pros going around tomorrow.

For me, my age group has some real quality age groupers. All the 1/2 IM winners so far racing, Luke Goard, who recently did Hawaii in 9.15hr or so along with other familiar names to me. But really at the end of the day, I can only control what I do on race day and am confident that if I only worry about what I do, my result should be what I want it to be.

I did get some advice from Kristian Manietta yesterday about a few little things as he went 8.57hr here in 2008 and only got a roll down slot...WTF?!?! But anyway, he is a well respected coach and had 6 athletes recently compete at Kona with 4 podiums.....A guy worth listening to!! So I did take those little things on board and along with his Trigger Point therapy which he showed me, Kristian was more than happy to lend a hand.

Good Mates Trav & Arch are venturing into unknown territory tomorrow for there first IM and I am very excited to see them cross the line. I have been assisting them all year and have seen them improve rapidly over this time. Trav clocked a 4hr 15min at Shep recently (30-34) and Arch broke 5 hours for the first time 4hr 53min (50-54). I can see the nerves building with these two guys and have been trying to give as much advice as possible, like Ronny did for Ben & I in our first.

Ol' mate, and great mate Ben, although after this race we did decide to have a break from each other :-) is going well and is as calm as I have ever seen him pre-race. We both know that he has been more consistent than the previous 2 IM's we have done together. The nerves might kick in later once we check all our gear in, but for now things are calmer in the hotel. There has been no items in fans, no mystery drawings about the place. Things are looking really good for him also.

For me I am excited, relaxed, but edgy all the same, wanting more to start the race than to wait much longer. All that I know that all the t's have been crossed and the i's dotted.

For Now...


Woof Woof

Friday, November 26, 2010

"Painful, but not serious"

This was the quote from my chiro, Dr Peter McGlynn on Monday when I 1/2 walked, 1/2 staggered into his clinic on Monday.

I write this, as I am never one to make excuses...either I was good enough or I was not!!

Last weekend after punching out a solid 36k run on Saturday with Trav, Arch & Benny followed by an open water swim and an easy hour on the bike in the afternoon I was all pumped looking towards Busso in two weeks (at that time). Headed off to the movies in the afternoon and conceded to bed early with the plan of a 6 hour ride on the Sunday with the boys. (Last one in training for the year).

Feeling like I needed a sleep in, and having nothing planned for the day, I decided that I would get my ride done during the late morning/mid afternoon. This is where things went wrong....I did a quick sweep of the lounge floor and moved a few chairs. On returning the chairs, which I did incorrectly, I slumped to the floor in extreme agony after hurting my lower back.

Lucky I had great support there to help me get over to the couch to try and lay down. Thanks Carla :-). Our conversation soon turned to the Ironman with both having experienced a few ironman's between us (10) our focus was not about the training that I have done (every boxed ticked until that point) it was more about getting treatment to get me there in the best shape.

My first phone call was to Andrew (Coach) who reassured me that the training had been done. From there he rang his good mate/chiro Dr Peter McGlynn to org to get me there first thing Monday. Pain killers were my food of choice Sunday to try and get the body to relax and the pain to settle.

That night I headed to bed and looked in the mirror only to realise that my head was directly over my right side of the body as my back had spasmed to that point. I headed in to see Dr Peter who diagnosed me with a L5 Vertebrae injury which resulted in reaction to my S1 nerve system, which decides if you have power in your legs or not.....something that you need in a Triathlon. His quote (which did ease my mind) was "It is painful, but not serious." Dr Peter has been fantastic in explaining how it happened and what I need to do to recover from it and has given me full confidence that with the right treatment, both by him and myself it will stay in place moving forward.

After 2 Chiro treatments and 2 massages this week, my back is close to 100%. I have been well looked after and know that I am going to hit Busso as originally planned. I have a couple of small testers over the weekend and have already completed a couple.

My week has been an easy one and this has forced an early taper, albeit by a few days. But with plenty of swimming, a small ride and run to date, things are back on plan.

For once I have been smart about recovery and listening to what I should be doing to aid this....maybe I am getting wiser!?!?!
The weekend involves a med-long ride with a small run, followed by a sprint distance race on Sunday. After lengthy discussions with Dr Peter and Coach Andrew, I know that this is the best thing for me, both for confidence and for race strategy.
For Now...
PS.....The definition of stupidity??
Doing the same thing over and expecting different results.
I can relate this to triathletes who stick to the same coach and the same program and expect a different result.
Woof Woof

Monday, November 15, 2010

Final Lead up race completed....

So, my final lead up race for 3 weeks....has been done and dusted in what was rated as a reasonable success even though I didn't feel as if I had my best performance.

The short stuff:

Swim - fatigued early 28.48mins (not quiet where I wanted it)
Bike - took a while for the legs to get going 2hr 15min 12 sec (9th fastest for the day)
Run - felt like I struggled, although only 1 min from pb 1hr 27min 28sec.
Total - 4hr 11min 28 sec, although a pb by 7min, not my best race so far.

7th in age group....23rd overall....(Tough age group this year.)

The long stuff:

Although I was not entirely happy with the feel of the race, I am extremely happy that even though things did not feel like they were working in my favour, I still managed to achieve a PB, albeit a fast day all round.

The Swim:

Found myself up the front at the start and was very comfortable starting here. With the horn sounding, I did my usual thing and started strongly. I found myself sitting on the 2nd place person at the start of the swim and felt really comfortable, HR was low (on reflection of garmin), arms felt good and I avoided the rough and tumble of a mid pack start.

I rounded the first buoy, still sitting in third and with a little bit of mis-direction had to fight to find the feet again. The zero visibility in the water did not make this easy and with catching the group in front, I lost the feet. So, holding pace and concentrating on technique, I cruised through for the next 200-300metres comfortable, then my arms began to fatigue fast. This was a new feeling for me as I have been swimming solidly in the pool, punching out consistent times. I then decided to ease a little and wait for the next pack to swallow me up and drag me around the reminder of the course. Now for some reason, I struggled to even hang onto this group and my arms kept fatiguing.

I managed to grab the third group and exit the water with them. I had a good transition and got onto the bike, feeling ok, but not quite happy with my swim.....28.48 sec (about 1 minute behind where I wanted to be)

The Bike:

The plan was to try a different race nutrition tactic with a high intensity. If it worked at 1/2 Ironman intensity, I would be confident of it working at Ironman intensity. I found the drafting to be terrible as the conditions were perfect for racing and I dragged a pack of 25-30 riders around for most part to the point where I caught the leader in my age group and he asked "How many friends did I bring with me??" My response was, "Only about 30 odd!!" The TO was with us and she did absolutely nothing except ask me to ride faster so that they could not sit on my wheel??? WTF is the go with that?? Ave of over 40kph, my legs don't go faster than that!! So I just stayed on the front to keep my race honest. But don't you love the clowns that think that 40-41kph is not fast enough and they come to the front and then realise that they can only ride 38kph solo......hmmmmmm!?!?! So anyway I was happy with my bike time and the new race nutrition that was tried and tested for the race.

2hr 15min + change (including transitions)

The Run:

I started out feeling ok, but admittedly the legs were heavy(from the heavy training in the lead up) and started the stitch around the 3k mark...I managed to run it out, but I just never really felt comfortable all day in the run. I did try different nutrition also and was happy with the result and know that it will help in the Ironman. I did blow out a little towards the end and the goal was the hold sub 4.30min k pace when I did "pop". My worst km time was 4min 26sec and was very happy that was where I found some comfort. If I can hold that pace for the Ironman, I will be happy.

Although I was only 1 min behind my pb time from Gold Coast 4 weeks away in the run, it was a surprise as I thought my time would have been lucky to break 90mins this time round. There is positive and negative results here for some, but all positive for me. Feeling like crap and still not far from my pb in the run after a pb ride and an average swim, I am happy where things are at.

The overall:

Another pb for all courses and a 12min pb at Shepparton gives me confidence that there is still room for improvements in the final 3 weeks, although I am very happy with where things are at.

4hrs 11min +

As we all have leading into an Ironman, I have sussed out the main rivals for Ironman and have come to the conclusion that to ensure a spot this year, a SUB 9hr is required. The big question is.....Do I have that in me??

From last years field, 3rd, 5th, 6th & 11th are racing. Along with a few who recently completed Hawaii a few weeks back and the winners of the 1/2 Ironman races this year. I know for sure that my age group is going to have a cracking field and a perfectly planned and executed race plan will go along way in obtaining the goal.

For now I will keep listening to the Dogs barking away whilst I fine tune my reace plan.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Another week done or Another week closer??

Depends which way you look at things.....for is another week closer to WA Ironman, another week closer to have a crack and at that Kona spot that has eluded me for the past 3 attempts. Another week closer to putting all my hard work to the test, the new program, the new direction and the new result!!

I have set goals for the race, which are very achievable and with 4 more weeks of consistent training at the right levels, I am 100% sure that these will be ticked off race day.

For someone who hasn't done the work, I know that they will be thinking that it is closer for a bad reason as it means that time will be catching up and the mind will start to wonder have I done enough work??? Did I really need to miss that session??? Why didn't I get on the mag trainer when it was wet???

How many boxes have you ticked??

Me....I can tick off every single box that has been placed in front of me. Sometimes the training has not been pretty, but I have still managed to get the most out of the session based on how I felt. The previous weekend was the summit of the training which included a 190k ride with a 100k TT Ironman effort (including 3 punctures), followed by a run on the Saturday. That afternoon I was treated to a fantastic picnic for my birthday in the botanical gardens in Melbourne. That evening was spent at a Greek restaurant in Richmond followed by many a cold beer at a nearby Hotel after.

Sunday began with a sleep in, followed by a fantastic breakfast, then training commenced again. A 33k run around the city of Melbourne, which included the gardens that we spent time in the day before relaxing. Not this training day. A ride followed shortly after, then a cold water recovery. A great weekend was had and thanks :-).

Things are still on track, last Thursday I decided to have a crit race to get some idea of where my legs are at. The short story goes.....Tried to help Stormy escape for the first 30 odd mins by holding up the bunch, but to no avail as they were determined to keep him in sight......The final 30 mins involved me breaking away to take a solo victory. I know that Stormy did the same for me what I tried to do for him. Cheers....again!! So for me, no more B Grade EVER, so I was told....Next race will be A grade, just unsure when that will be!!

This weekend will be my final lead up race, being the Shapparton Half Ironman. This race holds no real significance to me. I am going out there to finalise a few new ideas that I have been putting into place in training and will give me a good indication if these will be going forward into Ironman. A solid performance is what I am after, I don't expect to have a result like my previous 2 races as this is far from my "A" race, prob more of a "D" race, a hard training day in race situation.

Regardless of the outcome (time), as long as I complete all the little testing and am happy with them, the race will be a success, not for the season, but for the lead up.

Anyway, the weather is nice and I have punctures to replace. And I am loving the fact that the dogs are barking louder and more as the races get closer.....They must know everything is going fast and strong.

For now...


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Training Camp Round Up.

So, after attending my first real training camp at down at Lorne I have felt like it was definitely a worth while experience. Matt and crew did a fantastic job in hosting us and running a fantastic four days. The only down side was the weather on the first two days making some of the training a little less intense than originally planned.
Without going into too much detail, the camp was solid and the legs definitely were feeling the pinch on the last day especially after a 10k TT effort up a 6% gradient hill, then followed by a race pace 1hr 30min run, in which I managed 21.12k. I was very happy with this after the weekend which involved over 300k riding, 80k running and approx 8k swimming.
The crew that went to the camp were good fun which made for a relaxed atmosphere and with Special guest Greg Stewart (First Australian to Podium at Kona) along with Dr Ken Davis who went through some mental aspects of triathlons, the camp was more than beneficial. I cannot forget to mention Ironman guru Peter Coulson, who was very insightful in many aspects of triathlons along with life and then also Matt "Dr Phil" Pascall, who not only ran another very successful camp but did some relationship mentoring with Eugene....(Those who were there will understand).
I would be more than happy to recommend this camp to all levels of triathletes who want to get away in the most suitable environment to train, recover and relax.
So with 4 1/2 weeks away to WA, I am just starting to feel like I am in the shape that I want to be in, still knowing that I have more to give and more to improve over this time.
I know the dogs are barking a lot right now, so I will leave that to them, whilst we go and train and prepare.
For now...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Day 1 complete...

So, a quick camp has started well....after setting up this morning, we completed a 3k swim then into a 80k ride with a 40k tt on the return trip. Suffering 2 punctures didn't help my cause, but survived all the same. The weather has been crap and tomorrow looks like it is going to be no better. This evening involved a 90min in the beautiful country side and the hills.

The day has been tough but is nothing compared to what the following days have in store. Tomorrow is a 7 hour brick fest.... 3 continuous brick sessions with the final one a max effort. Then to top it off, we have another swim in the Arctic conditions in the ocean.

The lights have been switched off and the everyone is looking forward to quality shut eye.

And remember....whilst the dogs are barking we are out training.

For now...


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fatigue vs Exhaustion - recognising the difference.

This is something that I often have conversations about with Andrew (Coach). He often tells me not to cross the line into exhaustion, yet to maintained being fatigued.

So, the question I often find myself asking is......Where is that line?? How do you know when you have crossed it?? Or, better still, how do you know when you are nearing it so then you can change your course and not go over it??

Exhaustion is something that many Ironman athletes, from all levels have encountered at one stage during the training, the smart ones just know when it is approaching and find a way to avoid it and the uneducated ones (me included in previous years) just dive head first into it without knowing and suffer the consequences there after.

This year, for me, has been a year of education from Andrew in all aspects of the triathlon caper. He has been able to obtain information from me that I didn't even realise that I was or was not doing correctly and from this info we have been able to identify aspects of the training that is or is not working. This has been a huge advantage for me compared to previous years. Sitting down with him monthly to pen a program that works for both of us and also relevant discussions on how we are going and if the direction that we both decided on is still the direction we both want to go.

Back onto the topic...

So in having these meetings and discussing the previous months training and the next months also, we can identify if I have hit exhaustion or ways to identify it and avoid it. I have been lucky enough this preparation to identify and avoid with the guidance if Andrew.

So, how can you tell??

I have been doing some reading on the topic as I am no doctor, nor do I hold a degree in either topics, but one thing I sure do know, is that I would rather be in a state of fatigue than a state of exhaustion!!

To save further reading with countless links to articles, I will throw my version/understanding with the difference:

Fatigue - is the body becoming weary from constant training, however you still the capacity to continue training day in day out even though you are tired. You can still achieve the relevant training goals.

Exhaustion - totally stuffed!! Other words, crossing that line and over training, trying to do too much, not being able to complete sessions as necessary. Failing to start a session due to tiredness.

For me, not being a rocket scientist or brain surgeon, I am able to identify when the line is approaching and being able to, under advice, alter what needs to happen to achieve the desired result.

As for my training, all is going well. I am heading down to Lorne for a training camp over the long weekend with a few others as set up by Matt at This is something that I am looking forward to and I am very confident of having a very beneficial weekend. The only downside that I can think of is the open water swimming as the weather has not been up to previous October Temperatures to date.

With only 2 1/2 weeks until my final hit out before the Ironman, I am making sure that all the boxes continue to be ticked and the excuses are left at the door.

As I stated previously, whilst the dogs are barking, we are out training.

For now...


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tick, tick, tick, tick & tick.

That's the sound of my weekly training schedule as I go through the program and tick off the boxes. Rain, hail or shine, I have been out there doing my thing whether or not with my regular training pals or podsy.

With the weather being terrible for this time of year, no doubt it has been a battle sometimes to get out in the rain. The motivation is there, sometimes realisation kicks in and I wonder if the session in the terrible conditions will do more harm than good. This is where Coach Andrew comes in and confirms, denies or changes the training schedule. Most times, it's a case of getting out in the conditions regardless to gain that extra mental edge also. "If I can train is these terrible conditions, I can train in anything" mentality.

Training has been going really well, and the body is holding up also. Benny & I discovered a few new running trails around the area which are on dirt, so that can only be another good thing for the body. Getting out with Trav, Arch, Stormy & Jas is also always good fun even if one of us gets angry cause it is not our day.....But overall, I could not ask for a better preparation at he moment and with the new program "in the mail" I look forward to the next 7 weeks (which some people find some what disturbing that I am actually looking forward to it!!).

My next race is in 4 weeks which will be my final preparation for the Ironman and after last night's discussion with Andrew, we are going to try a few new things over the next 7 weeks in the lead up.

Only a short blog this time as not much has changed. I will say one thing.....Whilst the dogs are barking, we are out training!!

For now...


Oh yeah, the new Erox Wetsuit has arrived and I am looking forward to getting into it at the training camp to give it a good test. Thanks again Florian. Will post some photos once I get some!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Season going well, but along way from being successful..

So, after a few days reflection on the weekend and the outcome of my race, I thought that I would pen a race report.

I am still in a little disbelief that I won my age group, yes that's right, had my first "W" in tri's. This follows up from my 2nd place at Yeppoon 1/2 Ironman 6 weeks prior.

The conditions did not ease up at all over the weekend and on race morning, it just continually rained and rained and rained. I was lucky with the way the transition was set up that I didn't have to worry about my gear getting wet as I was in the underground car park.

So, with the worries of the cracked frame from the previous day, good mate Ross from suggested that he bring his bike along for me in case mine was deemed unsafe to ride on. A quick dash into transition to grab my bike and get some expert advice from Jason Shortis it was decided that my bike would not crack anymore and that it would be better for me to ride my own bike instead of riding Ross's.

From there I added some tape to the frame as oer the following photos, more probably for piece of mind opposed to preventing further damage!!

So, wheeling my back into transition, I was told that I couldn't check my bike in on race morning. After convincing the Man on the gate that I had to get a safety clearance on my frame before I could race, he let me through to set up my transition area.
With the confidence from Jason Shortis and the little bit from the tape, I was pretty sure that I would get through the race with the bike in 1 piece.
With the transition area set up and having a good location for exit and entry I left to put the wetty on and get ready for the race.
My swim training had been coming along quite well and I was sure that I could find a good group to start with and hold for the entire distance. Once the horn started and with arms and legs going everywhere, I held strong and found some feet to jump on for the swim. Once around the first buoy, as per normal the swim settles down and I was able to find my rhythm. Little did I know that I wasn't in the front group, but lucky my tow took me there by the time 500-600m had passed. I had to work to stay with this group, however was comfortable enough to know that I could hold them until the end. Swim time PB for me.
So with exiting with a group of 8-10 guys, I got in and out of T1 in good time to allow myself a clean start on the bike. The rain was now pouring and vision was very minimal. Taking the corners easy was my mindset as I had no intention of laying my bike down on its side at all. Being a 2 lap bike and not quite an out and back course, it was hard to get a gauge of position. Knowing that no-one had passed me for the bike ride I was confident that I could start the run in a decent position. Bike time 2hr 24min + some. Not my fastest bike time, however was fastest in my age and due to the conditions, I was very happy with this split.
Onto the run. I found legs really early in the run and managed to get into a good comfortable stride. By watching my Garmin, I went through 10km in 39min 20sec and felt really good doing this. I knew from not having a taper that at some stage my legs would get heavy and I would have no choice but to slow. After going though 15k in under the hour mark I was really happy with how things were progressing. From 16k til 19k I hit a flat spot and my mind was arguing with my legs about trying to get back into 4min k pace. So I pumped in some HAMMER gels and my legs and body came good. Around the 18.5k mark and with only 2.5 k's to go, my mind won that battle and I was able to finish off strong. Crossing the finish line, I knew that I had a great race and I would be in contention for the top couple in my age, however did not even consider that I might have won my age group. Run time 1 hr 26min + some PB by 5min.
Total time 4hr 18min + PB by 5min also.
Once the race was done and dusted I packed up and made my way back to the hotel, where Scott from text me to inform me that I had won, not just won, but by 7mins. I was in a little disbelief, but satisfied with his message to know that I had just won my first race.
After having a great start to my season, I am satisfied at my results, however these two races only show me that things are headed in the right direction. I have one more race in my Ironman preparation before WA Ironman, where my result in the Ironman will determine if I have had a successful season.
A quick thanks to David from Hammer for helping me out with some goodies on race weekend, Ross from the running shop for the shoes and the stand by bike. But most of all Scott from Xosize for his ongoing support.
With regards to my "flying machine". Well she has been taken to the shop for an upgrade...Sorry girl but we did go out in style!!
For Now...
Also, I look forward to my new Erox Wetsuit which should arrive in time for Shepparton, cheers Florian!!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Who would have thought??

Sitting here after race rego and briefing a few things have come to mind regarding this trip to the Gold Coast for the 1/2 Ironman.

1. That is is raining here on the Gold Coast, and beautiful in Melbourne.

2. That I would be watching a replay of the AFL Grand Final.

3. That on a harmless training ride this morning and brand new tyres, Trav would puncture.

4. And finally, after going through all the training and pre race checks, that I find a crack in my top tube as I affix my race number to it.

Where to go from here. Well the first 3 are either happening, been resolved or out of my control. Number 4 is the concern. I should have taken a photo of the crack for future, however it is on the seat end of the top tube ans easily over 1/2 Inch long. What am I going to do?? I simply have two options. Withdraw due to this issue or race and see what happens. Now me being the punting man and also committing time and effort for this race I am going to race and see what happens.

So, I am going to strap the bike up over the crack with the below tape for this race and deal with the issue once home. I will find out the result/effect of this once I mount my stead tomorrow and fingers crossed that it gets me through...In 1 piece.

My theory behind this that if it can hold body parts in place during a physical game of AFL, NFL or other contact sports, I am sure it can hold my frame together with a 90kgs rider pushing the power through it.....(Hope that I am not being to naive with this!!)

The rest of the afternoon is sitting back watching the AFL grand final turn into the result that I really don't want to see....So maybe I will switch it over to the World Road Racing Championships for the Women.

Any way enough for me, I can feel myself going greyer with stress over the crack.

For now...


Monday, September 27, 2010

Training is in full swing.

Whilst at this time of year I would have rather been tapering for Kona, like many others who I know over there, and a BIG shout out GOOD LUCK!! (damn that 1 min)...I am in full swing Ironman training, and am loving it.

Loving it for a few reasons, everything is going well, I am in good shape and I get to see where I am at this upcoming weekend at Gold Coast 1/2 Ironman. There is no reason why I won't be able to replicate my performance at Yeppoon and have a really good race.

The training has been consistently 20+ hours per week at the moment and looks to increase once this race is over. The body is holding up really well and with the assistance of good training partners again, training is not only getting done correctly but is very enjoyable whilst we are out there.

Yesterday was the launch of Team XOSize Triathlon Team, which I attended along with training partner and mate Greg Farrell. Scott at XOSize has done a wonderful job setting up this and I do want to thank him for inviting me to join this team and also for the sponsorship that he is providing for me. I look forward to repaying him along the way with good performances and will be doing my best to wave the XOSize flag high.

The gear is really comfortable and have been training in the tri knicks for the last couple of weeks. I am looking forward to wearing the 2 piece kit on Sunday.

Along with this, I am really enjoying the Hammer nutrition, not only does it have a really good taste to it, but also is great on the stomach and I have found that I can use less but go for longer.

So, another thanks to David for looking after me on the nutrition side of things.

The swimming is still coming along nicely, with another beep test tomorrow night, I will be able to gauge the improvements over the last 4 weeks. Paul at Werribee Sharks has been putting a big effort getting large improvements out of who attend and this is something that will help me now and in future races.

This week holds no taper for me, apart from an easy day Saturday due to race registration and all that goes along with it. I am looking forward to this weekend as a few fellow training partners are also going to race, Archie, Trav & Justin. Coach Andrew & myself have slightly different views on the race plan but for me, racing is racing and no holding back. He has been fantastic since I joined his program and has provided qualities that you want in a coach....leadership & direction. I can see a long and successful partnership with him and I also look forward to repaying his time with great results.

So for now, I will continue to enjoy the training that is put in front of me and hopefully punch another solid beep test tomorrow night followed by a good result on Sunday.
For now...

Monday, September 13, 2010

My training starts now...

So the official Ironman Preparation has kicked into gear. I find this funny as what it means is that I have been training to get into shape to train some more...What the??
Anyway, with the occurrence of this and my commitment to stay alcohol free for the duration, I am looking forward to having a great lead up in the Ironman. With 12 weeks until Busso, and the new 12metre drafting rule, my mind is solely affixed to training and what I need to do to do what needs to be done.
The last two weeks have been making sure that I have fully recovered from my Achilles niggle and I can confidently say that I have. So the training was altered to suit my condition, and I managed to cover 38 & 43 pain free k's in the past two weeks. Not much for what is in front, but still enough to keep my legs ticking over without the stress of re-injuring myself. My swimming was 17 & 15k respectively. The riding side of things is still ticking over with nothing major to report as far as the training goes.

So with the training about to really kick into to gear, I would like to announce that I have signed sponsorship offers with Scott at XOSize Active and David at Hammer Nutrition Australia.

I am looking forward to this opportunity not only to be supported by the above brands but working with both to actively promote the quality products and also have success by using the products.

Along with these 2 who are my main Sponsors, I cannot forget Florian at Erox for his continued support and look forward to working further with him so we both can benefit in the future.

I will be able more photos once I complete my next race in 3 weeks being the Gold Coast 1/2 Ironman.
For Now...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Back in the game!!

So, after the minor achilles scare, I have managed to complete two runs since the weekend, albeit small. But as they say, Rome wasn't built in a day and for me, the actual Ironman prep begins in just under 1 week. So to get a few easy runs in this week without pain will be a huge bonus and confidence booster once the "real" training kicks in.

For now...


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Paying attention to detail!!

I write this blog as I have endured my first injury of the season. Although not a major one, it has been me realise that I need to pay more attention to detail. The injury that I have suffered is a minor Achilles strain. One where I wish never occurred.

So, how did it happen??

Well after my race, I went for my first jog on the Tuesday and was aware that I needed new training shoes. So, I put on another pair to go for this easy run, 25 min in felt this sharp grabbing on my right Achilles. Being an out and back run, I had no option to jog back, although the run was an easy run, I still managed to injure myself.

So after receiving treatment on the Thursday night and feeling good on the Friday, I tried my hand again at an easy jog. Once again, same deal.

What are the consequences??

After meeting up with Coach Andrew to discuss the situation and soon after discovering that my shoes were in desperate need of updating, this is usually evident when you have run the rubber of the sole. But I am not one to look at the base of my shoes. After a lengthy conversation, it was agreed that I have the week off (some say grounded for being naughty) and for me to invest in new training and racing shoes as soon as possible. This for me is on my to do list for the weekend. Also Andrew informed me that if I don't invest in new shoes, I won't be running until I do. It is great to have a coach that is seriously interested in his athletes and making sure that all is good!!

Although it is doing my head in, I would rather get it right now before the serious Ironman training kicks into gear in 2 weeks. So doing all the right things between now and IMWA is on the agenda along with paying attention to all equipment that influences my training and racing. This is one injury that I want to fix as from stories from fellow athletes, the Achilles is not an injury you want to try and train with.

So, for the non running this week, it means that I have had an increase in swimming. 6 sessions this week for me, which should total around 25kms. This will not only being the biggest swim week for me, but the quality that has been introduced prob equates to 30+k's of junk swimming.

At swim squad last night, we were put through a swim beep test. For me this was new and was going to be a good indicator to start with and base any improvements form in the future. It went like this:

100m efforts on 2min, 1.56, 1.52, 1.48, 1.44, 1.40, 1.36, 1.32, 1.28, 1.24, 1.20, 1.16, 1.12. For those who are unawares what a beep test is. You have to start the next 100m effort on the next time. So the first was done on 2min, then 1.56min until you cannot get the goal time. So when you hit the wall under the time, you get to go again, however as soon as the time expires, you are out and the last recorded time is where you are at.

Being new to this type of testing, I made sure that I was going conservative early and wanted to at least get to 1.20min. This would mean 11 x 100m efforts with decreasing rest. Sounds easy considering that I can easily swim sub 1.20min per hundred fresh. So with a 2.5k w/up including some paddle work, and with 5 consecutive days of swimming, I knew that my goal would be a challenge.

I easily managed to get down to the 1.28 and had to work a bit harder for the 1.24 due to a 5sec rest that I allowed myself (still trying not to go too hard). So going into the 1.20min I pushed hard early and knew that it would be touch and go, with the mindset that if I did actually do it, I would be straight into a 1.16min 100m effort. I managed to get in on 1.18min and decided that was enough for me. Is it definitely a session to try and see where you are at. Sounds easy, however if you are honest with yourself, does give a great workout.

I am keen to do this again in 4 weeks to gauge my improvements. This session also made getting up this morning even tougher, however, didn't get to the swim squad but still managed a controlled 3k in the pool.

I have to stay in the pool until I am 100% recovered from the Achilles. Might as well enjoy it, as I am doing it a lot atm.

For now...


Thursday, August 19, 2010

A GREAT start to my season!!

So, after a few days of reflection about the first race of my season, I thought that I would put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard and write a report of the entire weekend.

After enduring a few tough days with the weather pictured below.....Benny and I did do it hard!!! :-) One that did enjoy was the weather getting away from a Victorian winter and into 24deg + conditions. One race day the conditions were going to be similar, so was a joy to be there.We spent most of Friday setting up our gear and as by the photos below, Benny is clearly a more organised person with his gear.

So with the Bike setup and looking the part, unlike like what we looked liked when we arose Saturday morning, we had a final few little sessions to complete, which were, in the conditions quite tough to complete.My mess above and Benny's nicely organised setup below:

So, on race morning, we awoke to conditions on the left.....You can't see anything, cause the conditions were ideal for triathlons and also our first hit out for the season.
We packed our gear into the car and headed down to transition and both of us were relatively calm, excited all the same but calm.

Once our transition was setup we made the 1.8k journey down to the start line in which we were informed that we would be swimming with the current and times should be reasonably fast. This was something that was music to my ears as I new that I had been doing all the right things in the pool, not "smashing" myself or "red lining" it every training session. For me it was purely quality over quantity at this time of year.

My race plan was to back my swimming in and try to start with the leaders in my age group. I was familiar with one guy Brad Bullock, who ripped out a lazy 4hr 5min at Geelong 70.3 this year. He was definitely the man to watch in my age group. I positioned myself directly behind him at the swim start hoping to be able to follow him into the water and get a good start to my swim, even if I couldn't hang onto his feet.

So with the horn sounding for the start, I did just that. Got a great sit going into the first turning bouy and although I was unable to hold his feet for much longer, I managed to get in with the leaders in my age group. I was really happy with my early position and decided that if I sat on their toes for the swim, I would position myself nicely for an assault on the bike. So after the 1.9k swim, I exited in 4th place in my age in a time of 33min....Current assisted my ass. Post race when I found out the fastest swim for the day was 29min, I was very happy in reflection. However during the race, the time was irrelevant, it was the fact that I was up with the leaders in my age and with the bike to follow, I was sure, that without any hiccups I would be well placed going into the run.

So onto the bike, my instructions were to ride a 2hr 24min by my coach, slower than I wanted but also wanted to have a really good run. After going through the first 40k in just under 1 hour, I was in good shape and the legs were feeling great, but also saying this my instructions were to have a really good run and see where that is at. I decided to slow and at this point, I picked up a hitch-hiker in my right eye which stayed there until race end. So at the conclusion of the third lap, I could barely see out of my eye and had to ride at time with my eyes closed. (Very scary at 40kph!!) Once near the aid station, I was forced to stop to wash my eye out to regain vision. This worked for a short amount of time and I decided the best way to get vision back properly was to ride holding my eye lid off my eye and try and get off the bike as soon as possible.
So, with the eye issue and the stopping, this actually made my time look more like it should as per instructions. I lost under a minute on the bike and still managed a bike time of 2hr 19min, throw in transitions and recorded a 2hr 22min. Happy, not too hard, legs feeling fresh and still a good time. I had the 2nd fastest time in my age and was in 2nd off the bike.

So after racking my bike, grabbing some more water to try and flush my eye out, I headed out on the run to run a sub 90min. The legs felt great and found rhythm instantly. Brad Bullock caught me after 4k which put me into 3rd, with 17odd km to run. My goal from here was not to be passed by anyone, let alone anyone in my age. With the pre race plan of my coach, I was confident of being able to break 90min if not a fair bit lower than that.

With the legs still feeling good, I almost finished the first lap when my eye started to burn like someone had scratched it. This forced my to stop and once again try to flush it out. The officials came to my aid and asked if I wanted to pull out. I won't repeat my response but did thank them for their concern and went on my merry way. Little did I know that I blew that km out from 4.05 pace to 6.44. Lost some good time there. So after re-passing the people who over took me in my moment of pain, I once again found really good rhythm.
This lasted until 4km to go when I had to stop and flush my eye out once again. With such little time left to run, I was determined to finish the race and podium. I knew that I was in 2nd at the time and my thoughts were that I had come this far, what's another 4km of pain. Just run. Managed a 1hr 31min, which was satisfactory considering the stops the I had.
Once crossing the finish line in 4hr 27 min, I knew that I had still performed solidly and recorded a 7min pb on that course. Off to first aid I went to continue to get treatment on my eye. This resulted in a trip to town to seek further advice and with the guidance of my "handler" Benny, who did a great job looking after me, except the part where he let me walk into a sign which got me fair and square on the collar bone. A big burst of laughter followed, then with a concerned; "There's a sign there!!" But seriously Ol' mate did a great job helping after the race getting around and packing up.
So I finished 23rd overall (Best finish to date) and 2nd in my age group (First time in top 3). What I was most pleased about were the positions in each leg, 4th swim, 2nd bike and 3rd fastest run. I have never been more competitive and want to thank Andrew for giving me the program and confidence to be able to compete in all 3 legs not just the bike. Also, Paul for helping with my swimming which has improved leaps and bounds so soon.
I have also attached some photos of Benny in action. Unfortunately, Benny was victim to the road surface and lost his entire nutrition along with his rear cage, which was still attached in the below pic.

The pic on the left is the sunset from our balcony, great spot to kick back!!

Once again I have to thank Florian at Erox for looking after me with my wheels, as I have done a lot less riding in comparison the previous years and still rode the same time on a set of wheels that I can only describe as,"If they had wings, they would fly!!" So thanks again. I also have some more news in the pipeline once confirmed and am looking to enjoy more support from Erox!
For now...
Ps. Only more positive results to follow this year.