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.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The day before!!

So tomorrow brings my first challenge of the year, after I get over today.....Benny and myself decided to have our traditional "few" beers and watch the footy last night. Some would say that it may have got out of hand (as Benny tries to sleep some of them off now (9am). But for us this is "how we roll"!!! Nothing has changed in 4 years of racing and travelling together.

We find the lighter side of everything and ensure that we enjoy every race that we attend. I think that this gives us the balance and enjoyment that the sport brings. Don't get me wrong, we train hard, and we are as competitive as the next person, the only difference is, that we are here to enjoy the whole trip. From the plane flight (which we found some interesting reading in the in plane magazine) to the locals last night that were not impressed that we were the only 2 fit looking people in their establishment.

For those that know the quantity consumed last night, it doesn't need to be repeated and nor will it be raised again, well not in conversation, maybe after breakfast!!! he he he

So onto the actual reason that we are here, apparently we are doing a 1/2 Ironman tomorrow. The weather is magic and our gear has been set up and the training has just about been done. Registration at 1pm and then it all begins. From the lighter side of life to the serious side of racing. I have spoken to my coach in depth and we have decided a race plan that will be suitable for the conditions and also the condition that I am in. Unless a bizarre turn of events happen overnight, there is no reason why I will not create a new best time for me and improve on last years performance, both in time and placing.

I have taken a few photos which will be posted post race along with a full weekend's round up. For now breakfast is cooking, and the coffee is brewing, so I won't bore you any longer and will take myself onto the balcony to enjoy what mother nature is dishing up today.

For now...


Thursday, August 12, 2010

It's Taper Time!!!

As I sit here ready to get all my gear packed for Benny's and my 6am flight, depart from home at 4am (gotta love those red eye flights!!) I have discovered that taper week does nothing for me apart from making me have enough energy to rival a kid on red cordial!!

The training this week has eased right off, which some would think that is good, for me, it becomes harder to actually drag myself out the door. The thoughts of.... surely missing this session won't hurt, it is taper week......have appeared in my head this week as I know that I have done all the training leading into this week, but something, just something continually gets me to get to the front door and out to train.

My new found energy also annoys me as I become a frustrated little boy who does not what to do with himself. So trying to conserve energy and not driving myself crazy has been the biggest goal this week, along with getting out to train.

So with that in mind I am looking forward to getting out of this 5-10deg Celsius and head to 24deg Celsius, even if it is just for 4 days.

Benny & I are both looking forward to this hit out as it will give us an early indication of where we are at currently.

Will keep posted over the weekend.

For now...