Friday, September 30, 2011

Day 17: Ride legs return


The demons of Saturdays ride were still in my mind over the last few days and I was really looking forward to my ride to get some kind of confidence back in my cycling legs. My running and swimming have been fine the whole time, just that 1 pesky ride that had been playing on my mind.

A 3.5hr ride with 7 x 20min efforts was on order and out to the Queen K I headed. Fully loaded once again with my nutrition and hydration, I had my usual warm up and then started the efforts.

Making my way along the Queen K, ticking each effort as I went I was starting to gain confidence that I really did pack my cycling legs for this trip. Calculating how far out I would get and trying to work out if I had a head/tail or cross wind influences where you turn around. Being caught out previously on this trip I didn't want to got 1hr 45min out and over 2hrs back!!

Getting to Kawihae (the usual drink stop) I still had 5min to go in my last effort and 10min before I needed to turn back. I started the climb towards Hawi and felt really really great. Finishing this effort, I turned back to the drink stop filled up and headed off again. Unfortunately for me, the end of my last effort was going to be the same as the start of my next one..... UPHILL. You have to climb out of Kawaihae in either direction, so heading back to the Queen K, I started my effort a little conservative as I know now that if you go too hard early, you don't make the end!!

Back onto the Queen K, I was feeling great but knew that there were some sections of the return trip that really sort you out if you haven't had enough to eat or drink.

Just finishing my 5th effort these two guys rolled up to me and we started to chat. Discovering that they were from NZ the accent was not too strong we struck up a good conversation until I had to start my next effort. Once I began this, I noticed a little gap behind me (they said that they would just sit on my wheel) and then something that I never expected to happen, they just rode passed me and off into the distance. Confidence shattered just like that! I thought that I was going ok until this. Maybe not?!? What have I done wrong?? Why can't I sit with them?

Not trying to let it destroy my ride, I continued on my merry way thinking that I would catch them, nope, gonski! Ok, new thought process...This is the World Champs, I am only going to be a mid range here and who are these guys?? They could be UBER cyclists and can't swim or run. They were a bit older than me, so at least that they are not in my age group!

Ticking off my 6th and starting my final effort, my legs were still feeling ok, I had lost a little of my top end power, however the road back has more inclines than declines so that is expected. Getting towards the end of my ride and passing many a cyclist along the way, who did I see and was catching? The 2 NZ guys. Ok, my legs must be going well, maybe they were fresher and didn't go the whole way out as me.

Anyway as I caught them, the words, "Where the f*** did you come from?" were said. I had a little smile and said that I was just about to finish my effort. A coffee invite was also thrown my way and due to the fact that I was running off the bike, I declined and headed back to the apartment.

Getting back into Transitions (apartment) I had a reasonably slow change, made sure that I ate and had a drink before my 40min run. Legs feeling good, the entire was out and back.

I must say that it was one of the hottest days that I have trained in here to date and to get 119k's in on the bike and 9.6k's running gave me a big confidence booster.

The afternoon entailed a massage. I had organised a traditional Japanese massage to get the body going without too much trauma. Below are some of the photos and tools used.

Yes a mallet and block (apparently good for straightening out triathlete shoulders that are hunched over!)

Above: Pain in order!

Above: Pain being inflicted

The massage was amazing and I felt really great following. Booking another 3 massages before the race along with taper should see me in tip top condition.

A few more pics below!

Above left: Carla about to receive the mallet treatment
Above right: Impact into my lower back.

The pain was not intense, however you did know that you were getting some. Post massage I was once again reminded to do some core work... OK OK, maybe after this race I will look into getting a core program happening.

The next two days are lightish days and with a reasonable weekend, the time is drawing ever so close.

For Now...


PS....can't wait to catch up with Billy & Gail, their flight was delayed due to the weather back home, but am hoping that they arrive today!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Day 16: A day of nothing!

A day of nothing. Today being rest day number 2, I have done nothing and loved every minute of it!!

I have only left the apartment twice, once was to go organise a massage for tomorrow and the second time was to go to the farmer's market to grab some fresh produce for lunch and dinner.

Watching a fair bit of television with my feet up has been the general order for the day. Touching base when some friends, family & my coach back home has also occupied part of the day.

I have also been receiving some really awesome messages from people that I would never expect to receive them from and also people that I would expect to receive from, so I thank you for them. I will paste them below, without the names attached:

Hey Xavier,

I'm really enjoying your blog and hearing all about your journey in Kona. You say that people have inspired you, well I thought I'd let you know that you're also inspiring others :)

G'day Xavier,

Hope all is well over in Kona and your training is going to schedule. Keep your blog entries happening as it is great reading and is generating a fair amount of interest over here.

hey big fella,
wen you get a chance reply to this and let me know how things are going. i've been reading all your blogs and it sounds good. it's keeping me motivated mate so thanks.

Good to hear its going great guns over there.. Might have to make the trip next year to see all the action.

Best of luck buddy. Hope you execute your race the way you have planned. Must say, the training and planning have been epic and meticulous in equal measures. Looking forward to reading the race report.

Thanks if it wasn't for you i wouldn't have got that far. If only I could be there for your ultimate goal.

keep your chin up mate. its not a disgrace to be standing in your shoes. or peddling! Trust your training mate, once you are settled in you will be set.

I really enjoying receiving these, so thanks to all and for those that I have not posted (and there are plenty of them) thanks also.

I must be getting more and more acclimatised due to the fact that the a/c is on less and less and the temperature has been turned off at a higher temp now. I am also finding parts of the water cool when swimming now.

Seeing a fellow Australian guy who landed today who was sweating like I was 2 weeks ago was also pleasing due to the fact that I really did today was overly hot!

Tomorrow I resume my training with a lot less volume also, just to start fine tuning myself ready to be in A1 shape come race day. An afternoon massage is also in order.

Time to resume my R&R, followed by some dinner soon.

For now...


Day 15: Rest Day 1

Why is it that all you want to do is eat on a rest day?? The body is not training, you have your feet up and all you feel like is food. Not just any kind of food..The best kind - JUNK FOOD.

Resisting this is always hard, you try to be good and eat right, but that just never fills you up. Yesterday was one of those days for me. Maybe it was the body trying to tell me to put back in what I had been burning?!? Who knows, but for most part of the day it was a challenge to resist.

The day was perfect. Having the whole day off just to lounge around meant that a few movies were watched on the tv, a light swim was had late in the afternoon, some trigger point therapy on my legs and of course a little siesta.

I thought I did rather well not consuming a ridiculous amount of calories yesterday, although the odd 1 or 2 extra did sneak in there some how.

Today is going to be in exactly the same fashion as yesterday, plenty of nothing!

I also need to make a HUGE shout out to a few people as I had a little nutrition miscalculation for the following weeks. Bill & Gail Sinclair (Possibly the greatest people of all time), Scott Harvey, Tim T, Pete C & Justin S for trying to locate my nutrition back home and organising to get it over her for me in time for my next amount of training going into the race and also for the race.

I can say that without their help, plan B would have had to be derived very fast and tested to make sure that it would have worked. Only problem is, I never had a plan B. My nutrition has been perfect all this lead up, even in the heat here at Kona after 5hrs on the bike. So I didn't think a plan B was necessary. What I also didn't know before I got here was how much extra that I would be going through whilst I am here. The gatorade tub count is up over 5 empties in 2 weeks. Lucky it was $3.50 per tub (on sale) when I bought my tubs.

Other than that, the day was completed as required. Today will see a massage take place before my legs get put up and hopefully some more good movies to watch.

For now...


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Day 14: What time is it??

Taper time!!

After completing my last big day of training, I now enter my taper. I still have a few medium sized sessions later this week, however my big stuff is well and truly behind me.

This of course brings me to the next situation: The race is Saturday week (Hawaii Time). Something that was so far away, it is so close now, so so close. The realisation that I am here training for such a significant event has now dawned on me.

My last big run was yesterday and I was a little concerned about getting through this after my ride the day before (it is funny how much of a mental game this sport is). So, with heavy legs and doubt in my mind I headed from my apartment up to the Queen K to run the energy lab. This would be my first time running the lab and something that I hoped that wasn't too intimidating.

Another thing with the training here, you really have to be mindful about how much nutrition/hydration you take with you and when you fill up as there are not many places that are available. So if you miscalculate, things can go horribly wrong! FAST! With that in mind, I was a little cautious about taking on too much nutrition early until I established where the "feed zones" would be for me.

Getting out to the energy lab, I only really noticed one potential place that I could stop, a petrol station, which could be a little too far for the return to get there without any other hydration. Heading down into the energy lab (which I didn't realise was 3k each way!) I was still on the look out for somewhere to fill up. By this stage I was 1hr 10min into my run and starting to get stuck into what I had in my fuel belt.

Going around the bottom corner, I noticed a public toilet. Beauty, that's where I can top up my bottles and keep going. By the time I would get to the turnaround point and back would be another 2-3 k's. Perfect. I made sure that I really got filled up my body with nutrition & hydration so that I would have a fresh full load on the return run. (I knew where my next stop would be!)

Topped up and off I went. The energy lab wasn't too intimidating this time (I didn't do a monster bike ride in the conditions prior either!) and I was back out on the Queen K heading back. A few calculations and I knew that I would have to run passed my apartment (which I hate doing) to make up the full time.

Re-fuelling at a local park was the next stop and as the run went on, my legs felt better and better. I managed to find my comfortable pace being around the 4min 30 k pace, something that I would definitely take race day! This session was a massive turnaround for my confidence as at least I know my run legs are still there.

My session is below:

The afternoon session was another 30min easy run. Easy was never going to be in the equation, running 35k in the morning was always going to make the 30min run in the afternoon tough. My legs felt heavy and ugly and I really struggled to run 5min k pace for the first few minutes, not long after that I was down to the 4min 30's again and feeling good.

I would like to thank my run legs for re-installing some confidence in the training I have put into them and just hope that they talk to my ride legs and give them the same strength come race day.

The agenda for the next 2 days is rest and just rest. I might have a few little ocean swims to keep my feel in the water and enjoy the weather.

Wednesday gives me the opportunity to test my ride legs out again and one that I am hoping for not just a good ride, but a GREAT ride.

For now...


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Day 13: One I want to sweep under the carpet.

For ever!

Today was probably the worst training rides that I have ever had. Usually I know why things went pair shaped, however today, I have no answers.

My nutrition was spot on, consumed 12 bottles over the 180k journey with the usual mix of my nutrition/hydration. My heart rate was in the right zones, my legs never ever got sore at any stage of the ride.

I just couldn't get going.

This is so unusual for me. Yes I have sessions that I wish that I could repeat, but more often than not, I know why they occurred

It could be lack of sleep, a few too many beverages, wrong food the previous night or simply can't be bothered.

Not today..

No beverages :(, sleeping 10hours per night, eating better than I ever have (I mean ever!!) and I am so motivated right now and am loving everything about this preparation. My program has been tailored to give me BIG sessions, but also BIG recovery. It shouldn't be this way. I should be tired, granted, but I don't even feel tired.

As I sit writing this blog, I am not even that "wiped out" like I most likely should be. My body is feeling fine and even in my run post ride I was really happy with. My swim was great, why this with my ride today.

To add insult to my bad day, 2 of my tyres deflated during the ride and had to change them, but are fully inflated now, more than 6hours post ride. That also has questions that I have no answers for.

I am just dumbfounded why, I felt like I was towing a full peleton of riders all hanging off string behind me. Nope, not the case. I also felt like my tires were sticking to the road.

Why do I care so much? This was my last long ride pre-race. I can't get it back, I can't re-do the session, I just have to live with the fact that my last long ride was a disaster. No next week. My only hope is that I can really nail my rides later this week to redeem myself.

I have my last long run tomorrow, 2hrs 45min, and let's hope that I can hit that nail smack bang on the head and have a cracking run. Unsure how I will be if things go pair shaped in that one also. Could just head to the Bar and write the whole weekend off. (The last part is only going to happen post race regardless of my session tomorrow, have done FAR too much to throw it away now!!).

Taper starts Monday and I really want to go into that knowing that I have finished everything that I should have the way I should have.

Bed is calling my name now, hoping to wake up knowing my ride was just a bad dream?!?

For now...


PS... Even the best pro's surely have bad days? Please the answer be yes!!

Day 12: Fatigue saying "hello"

Today was a day that a few signs of fatigue were breaking through. This was the plan as taper is just around the corner.

A 4.8k swim this morning included 40 x 100 efforts which did destroy my arms towards the end. My arms were reasonably heavy at the beginning of the session and at the end, I was really happy to get out of the pool and go for breakfast. I met another Australian "kid" yesterday which was good as he was travelling totally solo and he joined us for breakfast. So between the 4 of us at breakfast we had swam a combined 20k for the morning.

This young fella does go ok also, his name Matt Burton, finished a lazy 4th outright at Yeppoon recently and we decided to hook up for our long ride together tomorrow. It will be good to have someone for company for the entire 6hrs or so.

A really easy ride followed which included a little bit of shopping for supplies for the race. A new pair of shoes were in order for me. Unsure if they will be my race day shoes, but were definitely comfortable in my afternoon run.

The run in the afternoon/evening was great, it took my legs a while to get going, but by the end of the run I was moving along quite comfortably. The heavens threatened to open whilst I was running, usually this would cool you down, but not here. It just adds to the humidity and I had sweat dripping from me like i was standing under a slow dripping shower.

The weather has been really weird so far. Nothing consistent, it has rain the last 3 nights and has been overcast for most part of the day. The humidity is crazy and when the sun does pop out the temperature rises drastically. I can't say this enough that I am so glad I got here this early as getting here just prior to the race will be a BIG shock to the system.

I have also been able to ride the course a few times (incl tomorrow), run the course in sections and become really familiar with the swimming conditions. Time will tell if it has really paid off, however for now, I really feel that it has.

For now...


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Day 11: A BIG thanks to those who support me!

Things went really well today.

A 45min ocean swim in the morning and I am wrapped with how my arms are feeling. Getting slightly heavy from fatigue, however am moving through the water better than what I expected.
What was the most enjoyable & satisfying part of my day was my brick session starting at noon.

Ticking over the 90min ride was very enjoyable and I am definitely getting used to the conditions here. Another 90min run followed, where I was able to get through 21k. That was very satisfying as my legs still felt great post session. The run can be found here:

A Monster bowl of pasta was on order for dinner and that brought a wrap to a great day training.

I want to send a massive THANKS to following people who are continually supporting me during my Ironman racing and without the listed people things would not be able to go as smoothly as they currently do:

Scott from XOSIZE for continually supporting me with ALL my sporting apparel. A great product which has definitely aided with me getting to where I am now.

Marcin from Rocket Science Sports for producing the fastest race gear going around. If you haven't tried Rocket Gear, you don't know what you are missing!

Karl from Schnell Wheels for providing me with my wheels for this race. Schnell = FAST!

David from Hammer Nutrition for providing me with my fuel to be able to compete at the level I do.

Ofcourse Coach Andrew from Triathlon & Multisport Coaching for providing the most individualised and customised program any athlete can ask for!

One of my biggest motivators during the winter was my Sister, who after 2 kids, 3 knee reconstructions & carrying a little bit extra was able to pound away on the treadmill, the road, ride the mag trainer, tow her kids in a trailer whilst she rode everywhere. She gave me no excuses why I couldn't train not having to worry about anything that she had gone through.

It made me have a good look at myself if I wasn't motivated at any time. She made me lift my game when my attitude became complacent. You are an amazing person Naomi and once you pop out number 3, we will be able to reach your goal of not only doing a 1/2 Marathon, but also get you through an Ironman. You don't know how much you helped me through winter to also get me in the shape that I am!

By you getting up, fitting in your training around your family also made me realise that I just could never ever miss a session. So I thank you so much for this!! Love you Sis :-)

All my training partners not only current ones, but also training partners that I had when I was going through my first Ironman right through to the guys that I have been training with recently to get me through to my 5th and biggest to date.

To all those that have done an Ironman race, the below picture will be a familiar sight. My toe nail next to my big toe.... It is usually post race that you lose the nail, but mine is dead and I am trying to dispose of it currently. This will mean no post race sore toes...GREAT thing!!

Below are just another couple of pics from training during the day.

I am on the left running along the Queen K and by the looks of it I might have been upgraded to an athlete!! And on the right is Carla running a little bit later, moving along quiet nicely. (Both feet off the ground!!)

For now...


PS...40x100m on the 1.30 cycle is on the cards first thing in the morning!! Ouch!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Day 10: Almost 2 weeks til race Day!

Yep, that's about it. Just over 2 weeks until all my hard work, commitment and dedication gets put to the test to see where I pit myself against the top Age Groupers across the world.

Wow, hasn't time flown, well it has for me and I can't really believe that I am here doing this. The excitement is starting to build as I know that it is close before I see my family, friends and other athletes that I know who are also competing.

The town is starting to gather some buzz now as a few shops are setting up with their Ironman apparel and there are more and more Professional athletes about the place, from the swimming pool to out on the bike to even jogging about town (haha, these guys don't jog, EVER, they are moving quickly!!).

For me the realization of what is just around the corner is still just there, however I do know that very very soon it will be right in my face and I will be in that athlete filled start line which turns into a washing machine when the cannon fires.

The days training was nothing too big as we wanted the previous days training to be absorbed into the body. So a 4.5k swim was in order in the morning under the gorgeous Hawaiian Sun. I am still enjoying swimming everyday and the variation from pool to open water is keeping my mind fresh. I still feel like my swimming is making slight improvements by doing this and it was evident by me going under 30sec twice for the 50yards. I know it is not a 50metre pool, however previous days I was only hitting 31sec.

The pool is getting more and more packed with athletes so choosing your time to get there is just about as important as the session itself! The swimming etiquette is different to back home as the general rule is that there is 2 per lane and you swim on one side of the lane up and back. If you are feeling really generous, you can let others jump in with you and swim the traditional way. This sucks for me as I haven't quite got my head around swimming on the opposite side to what I am used to.

Followed by the swim, it was time to head out for a run along Ali'i Drive. The sun was out in full force and I actually felt pretty good running under the sun. (After 180k's getting smashed by the wind on the bike race day might change my opinion of that though!!) 40mins later the training day was complete. Still sweating after 20min of completing the session you really start to realise how much fluid you lose out there and the whole drink whenever you can mindset is really starting to sink in for me.

A little afternoon siesta was on the cards post run and 2 hrs later I was refreshed again. No more training for the day, so I spent the next hour or so using my Trigger Point Therapy gear to help ease the aches and pains of the muscles that have been getting put to good use recently.

Taco's was on the menu for dinner and I must admit I did go about making a pig of myself smashing down a good 6-7 before I tidied up the remaining ingredients in a roll!!

My dessert of choice has been a banana split with Jam and Herseys Chocolate. Unusual as I am not really a big dessert fan, but I am loving these most nights!

A new day of training begins soon which will entail a ocean swim, a bike and a run along the Queen k. This will be new run for me as all my runs have been along Ali'i drive currently.

The Rocket Science Sports Swim Skin should arrive today and if they are as good as the other Rocket Gear that I use, I cannot wait to get it on. Thanks to Scott (XOSize) & Marcin (RSS) for organising this for me. GREATLY appreciated.

For now...


PS...I have a whole lot more photos to upload, however having a few technical issues, so as soon as I sort them out, I will post more photos.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Day 9: Massive Box ticked

Day 9 saw me endeavor to complete a 200k ride covering all the bike course.....and some!!

The wind was blowing in town which meant I was in for a tough day out on the queen k. I just didn't know which way it was blowing out there.

So venturing out it didn't seem to be too bad, however once I got 1hr into the ride, it really picked up and I was battling along at 20kph. Now one would think that I'd you have a head wind out, you get a tail wind back....Not always the case!!

I saw Chris Leito stop with a puncture and once he got going, didn't take him long to catch me and ride straight past like I was standing still, even into the wind. The guy can ride!! I even had to keep my ego in check as the chick he was riding with rode past me... I resisted trying to sit on her wheel as my ride being easy and I knew that I still had at least 5hrs left to go.

I continued on my way and once I got to the end of the queen k, did the normal left turn and then down a monster hill. Things did get a little hairy here as sitting on 60+kph and having gusts of wind blow you about, I just made sure that I hung on!! Stopping to refill my bottles, having gone through almost 3 in the first 2hrs.

The 30k climb up to Hawi is not that daunting as it is a step climb. However when the wind gets you, you almost stop.

I continued all the way there and a little further, turned and head home, I was now 3hrs into my ride. Back to the fill up point and I noticed that my rear wheel was going flat. That might be the reason for my slow climbing!! Or not..

This was my first real chance to change a tubular and had no issues in doing so either, refuel and off I went.

Back out onto the queen k and with the tail wind I found myself cruising along at 55, I thought that I might have a little crack and got my ride up to 60kph and ran out of gears.. My cadence was up near 120, ( must ring dad and get him to bring over a 11-23). Then what do you know, the wind changed and I was back into the head wind. That's the last thing that I needed, another headwind back into town, but as the road twisted along the coast it turned more into a cross wind.
The actual ride is here:

I managed to roll home in good condition and head out for my run, only 15min, but sometimes these are the ones that are hard to do. (it's only 15, won't hurt to miss it) wrong, every run matters and every run off the bike matters more!

After going through 11 bottles in the 6.5hrs of riding, I have come up with a motto:

If you are thirsty, drink.
If you are not thirsty, drink.
If you are unsure, drink.

Another 40min afternoon swim and the day was done.

I pulled up very well considering the condition and look forward to my next big ride Saturday.

I can say that I am loving this life of eat, sleep, train, relax, recover, repeat!

For now..


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Day 8: The perfect recovery day

So, with perfect weather greeting me this morning, I headed out snorkeling with a friend Carla. We caught the trolley bus to the Black sands to get some quality R&R, but also enjoy some of the local sites.

After swimming around for about 30min, Carla swam into the vicinity of a Trigger fish, which happened to be nesting in the area. Not happy, imagine magpies swooping, well this was the equivalent under water. Was one of the funniest thing that I have ever seen. Her crap herself and the fish stalk her until we left the area. Wanted nothing to do with me just her..

Now one would thing that these are big fish, no, not at all...see pic below:

Now they can't really do much damage:

But it was so funny that when we laughed we actually forgot we were under water and then swallowed some sea water and coughed even more both from laughter and from drinking the water. In the meantime we were still trying to keep our eye on the fish.

There were so many beautiful fish out there and at one point we even saw a sea snake. Was freaky but interesting all the same.

Once we got out of the water, I did notice this sign:

It actually reads: Trigger fish are nesting & may bite, please be careful!!

From there lunch was had and the view was shocking, see below:

Following this I met up with Brett to do an open water swim. By the end of the 40min session I had actually felt like I had completed a double swim, snorkeling without flippers felt like a technique session as plenty of sculling was had.

We swam once again down at the swim start, with going out further than before, this was quite daunting especially when Brett turned and dropped a friendly, "Watch out for the sharks further out" after I suggested that I might keep swimming a bit further. This idea was quickly squashed and I turned to swim the 15 odd minutes back to the pier. (Funny funny!)

One thing that I must say is that the Americans love doing things in LARGE quantities, check this gatorade out.

$2.99 for a 1 litre bottle....try and carry that bad boy around!!

One thing that I must say that I am looking forward to Post Race courtesy of Peter Coulson are the coronas. I will even supply the ice Pete ;-).

Now back to the serious stuff. Tomorrow is the beginning of the end. The start of my final 2 week MASSIVE training block. 200k's in the saddle tomorrow and then the week just continues in the same fashion. To do this in these conditions, below is the nutrition that I will start with:

This JUST might get me over half way where I will need to refuel (hence the Hammer powder in the bag) to get me home. It is brutal out there I am not willing to make the ride go for any longer or be any harder than what it is going to be. Along with this, I will be carrying a whole lot of sunscreen.

Tomorrow's blog might not be as cheery as this one.

For now...


Day 7: Getting more comfortable

So after being here for a full 7 days, I am definitely getting a lot more comfortable with the conditions. I don't feel like the heat/humidity is affecting me as much as the first few days and training is a little easier each day.

I headed out for a 2 hour easy run in the morning and that was rather enjoyable. Nothing really to report here, just took my time and ticked off another session. I ran along Ali'i Drive which has some beautiful beaches to look at. It is the total opposite to the Queen k where there is nothing to look at. (see pics on previous post)

Once again the day was filled with r&r, however I did wonder down to the local market and get some fresh fruit and veggies. Super cheap and super yummy!!

The arvo ride out on the Queen K ( starting to know every single bump, crest & crack) . Once again there is not much about this road that really gets you excited apart from finishing the session!!

There is one weird part about it all though....the only sign of wildlife that you see are wild goats! Yep, goats. No birds (no angry magpies!!), nothing except for a few random goats. They seem to be in 3's, mother, father and Billy. The first time I rode past I thought that I was a chance of being charged. They did look a little angry, with that scenery, i would be also!! Hehehe they are harmless and I think curious, but they do run when you get closer to them.

I will try to remember to take a photo of them tomorrow.

Another light ocean swim followed in the arvo ( oh I love swimming in the ocean here) although it did feel cooler than previous days. A pork roast followed...white meat is so much cheaper than red meat also...weird!! I am swimming every day right now, even if just turning the arms over, and it is helping me keep my feeling in the water.

The legs are feeling good and the mind is perfect right now. I will be thoroughly tested this week though and might become a little angry with the Queen if she tears me a new one and I have no lube on. Could be a nasty outcome!

On my rest day, am off snorkeling, officially not just with my goggles on! So am looking forward to that.

For now...


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Day 6: Listen to Advice, Experience is Invaluable!

Today was the day where things could have turned nasty...FAST!!

Riding a longer part of the course including the length of the Queen K and also into Kawaihae and some of the way to Hawi. As per the sign below, this is the final part of the Queen K.

From getting the right advice from Andrew before I left (having a coach who has raced here is a HUGE benefit) and also from Brett & Carla (both their 3rd time here) I learned how fast things can turn pair shaped for me. Without the advice from the above 3, it would have today. Talking to experienced athletes on a course like this is just invaluable. I will be picking their brain more over the upcoming weeks.

So after 4hr in the saddle (and some sun burn in unusual places) I must say that I was happy to be home. A solid 30min run after this felt really good and once the session was over, I was very content.

The rest of the day involved plenty of R & R and having a channel dedicated to MMA has worked well for me. I am a big fan of it, although not a sport that would ever entice me to get involved in, I am happy to watch from behind the box!!

A nice relaxing swim was in order for the afternoon before more R&R this evening. I managed to take a few more shots today, one was of this MASSIVE cruise boat (might put that on my bucket list!)

The below photos are of the start, very weird as this does not resemble anything that the whole area will look like in the upcoming weeks. This place will be transformed soon then I think the entire experience will start sinking in.

The two below photos are of the swim start area....not the washing machine that it will be at race start.

Below is the pier where transition will be set up.

Tomorrow continues what has become my normal weekend training over the last 18months or so....a long run, but this time it will be in conditions that will be new to me. I can only imagine how much i will sweat. Will update on that tomorrow.

For now...


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Day 5: Starting to feel normal

So, after being here a week and feeling some hot days, some humid days and some in between days, I feel like things are starting to feel normal for me.

The weather, the time difference, the water (first few days, let's say I was very regular!), the culture and of course training on the opposite side to what I am used to. Even in the pool you swim on the right side, is very interesting when you first get in. The other funny thing is that many people just swim side by side to prevent a third person entering the lane....Gives a new meaning for 3's a crowd!

5200yds (still getting my head around the whole 25yd pool) later and the session was done. I cannot repeat myself enough when I say how easy it is to swim in these conditions!!

The afternoon was spent either poolside (which I will post a photo tomorrow) or kicking back in the unit.

A 45min run followed with what felt like a cooling breeze (today would be perfect race conditions) then a great fish and vegies for dinner. This was finished off with:

If you can't work out what it is.....banana split with melted Chocolate and hot Jam.....Gold in a bowl!!

For someone who isn't a dessert fan, I must say that this was 'A1'.

The sunsets here in Kona are amazing, you have to be ready for them as they disappear as quickly as they appear. Here is a pic form my room:

Tomorrow is my first real test out there with a 4 hour ride including some long efforts and with the unpredictability of the weather so far (no 2 days being the same) who knows what is going to be thrown my way. Only time will tell.

For now...


Day 4: Normality begins

After a few easy days settling in the Kona, the training/normality finally kicked. I was really looking forward to this as mush as I could easily kick back and have a relaxing holiday, this is not the reason that I am here.

So Day 4 was the beginning that I had been waiting for, albeit a smaller session to start with, still something to get me going. A 2hr ride with some efforts along the Queen K, followed by a run was exactly what I had craving.

To head out onto the Queen K is a weird experience, as there is absolutely so scenery at all. On the right you have:

Absolutely nothing to look at, nothing to occupy your mind. When I mean nothing, there is nothing, no wild life, no birds, just exactly as the picture shows.

Then on the left you have:

Pretty much the same however you do get to look at picture perfect water. I got told that you can usually tell if the wind is going to pick up as you see "white caps" on the waves. this day, nothing....and there was still enough breeze to inform me that when the wind picks up, it is going to be nasty!!

The road in front looks as follows:

So after a few hours I returned via the energy lab to take a few happy snaps:

The following ones are the energy lab, entry, entry road, turnaround point, exit road!!

To be honest, once you leave town, the scenery really dies off, in town it is absolutely amazing!

Here are some more random shots from out on the bike:

The above is the airport, it is like they have just built it in the middle of nowhere!!

By the looks of the above sign, I might be getting a few fines!!

Just another few random pics along the way.

The afternoon entailed another ocean swim, which with the fish below is easy to be distracted.

Will do another update tonight about today's affairs.

For now...


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Day 3: welcome to Hawaii, the heat is on.

To be honest the last couple of days have been very manageable, if not enjoyable with the heat, or lack of!!

Today I got my first dose of it. It was hot, not very humid, but HOT! Something that I realized that I need to get used to. Although today only entailed a swim, 5500 yards of it ( very weird doing 1k efforts in a 25yard pool, that's 4 more laps than normal, try getting your head around that!!) the weather knock me about. I was also required to stroll the streets for some of the day in the heat and I am glad I did. It has given me a new perspective and respect for the place. Back when I was here watching in 2009 it was hot, but. Only flew in watch the race, got badly burnt and flew home looking like a tomato.

This time I have to get used to it, used to sweating, drinking all the time and training in it. That's if I want to have the race that I want. The afternoon involved a little nanna nap (2 hours) one that my dad would be proud of as he does after a training session on the weekend.

Tomorrow training starts properly and to be honest, i can't wait. As much as I have enjoyed the last few days, that's not what I am here for. I am here to train, eat, rest & recover.

It will be time to get familiar with the roads, the conditions and the sweat that I am going to lose. Time to start trying my nutrition plan, getting the salt tabs in and making sure that I stay hydrated out there.

Not much else to report, just got in from dinner and the evening is absolutely amazing. Sitting here on my balcony listening to live music really reminds me of how lucky my life is and the opportunity I have, and one thing for sure, I am going to make the most of it and enjoy everything that comes my way. Traveling solo has been interesting and a great experience for me. One that only builds character and helps you appreciate everything that comes across your path.

For now...

X-Man will be uploaded as of tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Day 2: time to get used to the weather..

So after an easy day yesterday settling in, today resumed some of the normality that I know, 3 sessions of training. Albeit small sessions, but enough to know that this place will take hold of you if you are not ready.

The day started with an easy 1hr ride, which I decided to ride to the energy lab to suss it out before I actually run there. I can see why that place is so intimidating. When you enter, the temp rises by a few degrees. It is ok going in as it is downhill, however coming back out is the difference. A slight rise, enough to make you understand that this place can be unforgiving. Nothing else really to report, apart from riding on the opposite side of the road is taking me a little while to get my head around, even walking the streets!!

A small 25 min run followed, the sun was out and to be honest 25 min felt closer to 50 is hard to explain. One this week is over and. Have some k's in the legs in these conditions it might be easier.

Adding sunscreen is a must also, I didn't worry about it this morning as it was only a small session, however the arms got a nice toasting today. Lunch was down the street, as the place is still quiet with not many athletes about, there really isn't any hype to talk of yet.

This afternoon was a small swim.... Instead of going to the pool (which is 25 yards) I decided to head out into the ocean with a few others. That place is amazing, reminds me a bit of the Great Barrier Reef with the fish, turtles and other sea life that you see. 30 mins of that was s easy to do (could have easily been out there for longer). The warmer weather makes things so easy t get motivated for and get done.

Kona in general is an amazing place and the locals are so nice and considerate to pedestrians and cyclists. Nothing like back home where you wouldn't dare to step out on the road without a little green man flashing at you. Here, even if you are not at lights, the carts wave you across the road.

I have been reading Mark Cavendish's book and one line caught my eye, and I believe it is so true, "passion is the difference between riding 100 percent and 110 percent. Passion allows you to suffer through pain."

This has been planted in my since I read that line and one that I will constantly remind me over the next 4 weeks when I am hurting. Remind myself why I am here and the journey and sacrifices that I have made. ( even if things don't go well race day, I would have done everything that I could) is that passion??

Tomorrow is another lighter day with just a swim in the morning and then r&r for the remainder of the day. To be honest, right now feels like a relaxing holiday with a little bit of training to do. I know as of the weekend things will be in reverse and I will be back doing 6-7 hr rides in these conditions along with 2-3 hour runs. So this week am going to do exactly what I am programmed to and nothing more, because next week the training will be brutal.

Another early night will be In store tonight to try and get used to the time difference.

For now...

X-Man this living the dream or what??

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Day 1....reality is here!

As I sit in the hotel lobby typing this blog, the town is so calm and peaceful, there is not much activity at all. I went for a stroll earlier to find a light dinner only to find most places only having a handful of diners. Of course this will change over the upcoming weeks.

It feels like I have been away for ages already, having an overnight flight always makes the time drag a little. Hawaii is 20 hrs behind AEST and the best way to work it out is to add 4hours to the time and go back a day.

It was a relatively uneventful flight/s from melb to syd with a few rookie errors made by myself. Nothing major, just things I now know what to do, this comes from experience.

The flight from Sydney to Honolulu was intesresting as I was seated next a rather good sized man, who was very nice, but also said a rather ironic statement. He was hoping that he didn't have to sit next to a larger person who took up some of his seat along with their own. Welcome to my world Dave( that was his name). Dave snored like an old steam train and was well and truly planted in his seat. My only option to get out and about was to stand up when he did and go to the toilet, get a drink stretch my legs etc. So this made for very light sleeping as I didn't want to miss any opportunity to stretch.

Getting off the plane in Honolulu wasn't as bad as 2009, where the heat and humidity slapped me in the face. This time the weather was cooler 26-28 deg and humidity was lower than I expected, however probably still around the 75-80% mark. The weather has been weird for most part as when the sun appears, it is rather uncomfortable sit the heat/humidity. When the sun disappears, it is perfect. I had a bite to ea at Lava Java (apparently the place to be, but isn't really a must "hang out" spot for me). Then I went to find the local pool which was magic, doing 100yard swims definitely makes you feel like you are swimming fast!!

From there a few little nanna naps and then proceeded to set my bike up. Noticing that the bike box had been opened and inspected, the (insert expletive here) had broken the clips on the side and the handle to wheel it. Never mind I am in Hawaii!!

Tomorrow it all starts again with 3 small sessions just to get used to the conditions. The rest of week is in a similar vein with the weekend really kicking off proceedings again, which I am looking forward to.

Now it is time to try and get some shut eye.

For now...


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Within striking distance...

Unfortunately nerves are somewhat setting upon me. I didn't think this would happen so early, however with not being much of a traveller myself this might be some of the reason. The last week has been tough with mixed emotions regarding a few facets of my life and with training still going along so well, my energy for a few things is waining. There is only so many times you can be a rock, listen to people's problems (question it really a problem in the scheme of things?), trying to catch up with many friends, tidying up some work, maintain my training intensity and still have time to myself.

Leaving so soon give me mixed feelings as it means the race is within striking distance ( I know that I will be ready! ), and gives me the opportunity to just eat, sleep & train. I will miss my normal life for the 5 weeks that I am away, however I think that I will give myself the chance to just do what I need to do without the distractions that fall our way in day to day times.

I will be lonely over there, however having my support crew coming in race week will keep me excited as I count down to seeing them. Updating this blog will also keep me occupied as it will spell the final chapter in the reason why I started this blog. To blog my journey to Ironman and beyond (Hawaiian Ironman). After this race, there will be many more Ironmans for me, however like my first Ironman and the memory I have from that, nothing will be able to remove the memory of my first Hawaiian Ironman race.

My mental strength has been tested over the last few weeks with combining everything into my life and no doubt will be tested again over the upcoming weeks as I battle the Gods of the Big Island, not only in training but also race day. Andrew has not only tested me mentally, but also physically over the last 6-8 months and is continually pushing the boundaries for both aspects. Learning to ride a Wind Trainer building from 1hr to 5hrs certainly tests out what you have along with running on a treadmill for up to 90 mins in a room of 25+ deg and humidity around the 80% mark at times. Although this has been tough, I know that it will have nothing on what I am about to put myself through over the next 4 weeks.

I look forward to taper week, however for me, that is the toughest week of all the preparation leading into a race. The week where you no longer can get fitter, faster or stronger. The week where you start questioning yourself about what you have done, what you missed and what you could have done better. For me I know the answers to all those, but I will still ask myself. I liken taper week to going through a random breath test when you haven't been drinking. You the answer to the question, however you still get nervous when you get tested. I know that I have done it all, but still doubt will creep in.

Training for over 25hrs a week has been a great opportunity and one that I have enjoyed for most part, of course there are sessions that you dread, however with the training partners that I have, I consider myself a very lucky person. There are too many of you to thank personally, however you know who you are and take credit for assisting in getting me into the position & condition that I am. Of course there have been 'the main players' but without a large group, this would have been a lot harder than it has been. Tomorrow is no different, nor will the time in Kona be. I can only say a BIG BIG THANKS!

One day I hope that I can repay the favor and help all of you get into the shape you need to be.

Another big thanks goes to Karl from for supplying me some uber fast wheels to take to Kona with me. I will post some more pics once I have them available.

Right now it is time to keep preparing my last minute list of things that I need to do before I go.

For now...X-Man

Monday, September 5, 2011

Time is just ticking away!!

Being under the 5 week mark, where has time gone?  I have been so consumed by getting through all the training I didn't even realise that it was this close.

Many people have asked if I am getting excited yet....My common answer has been that I still have so much to do before I even head over there, let alone worry about what is going to unfold race day.

Training has been going along well, as we all do, I have had a few highs and lows.  I am just so thankful of my support crew, from friends to family, training partners to my coach.  I have received a few little reminders that things are going well even though some sessions feel like I am wasting my time being there.  I am constantly reminding myself that my times are where I want them to be and my training is influencing how I am feeling.  FATIGUED!!!

Swimming with Greg, although being very very beneficial has been tough as times as I feel as if I am forever chasing his tail (which I am!!), however after many sessions we have a mini debrief about how things are going and where we are both at.  The only thing that won't lie are the times we are doing.  He has helped me get my 1k PB down almost 1min 30sec this year and one that I am thankful for.  Although a few hissy fits on my behalf and also one monster pasting he gave me (after 37 x 100m efforts, that we only had 3 to go!!) things have been a whole lot of fun.

Biking is biking for me, a few extra challenges this time round with double rides on a Saturday being introduced.  This is weird as I have been struggling in the first ride, however coming good for the afternoon session.  The previous 2 weekends has seen me cover 220 & 230k's respectively on the Saturday followed up by a long run Sunday giving me around 13hrs training for each of the weekends.  I am happy where my bike legs are at and with some fine tuning along with some freshening up, I am confident that they will be cherry ripe come race day.

My running is also going well, although a minor error on Sunday saw me cover 42.5k's in one run (only 25min too long).  This has given me some good confidence here also as my legs were very heavy from the previous day and also being a training run, I got plenty out of this run.

The next few weeks, training becomes more challenging, however not intimidating like the current has been.  The training includes very long sessions, however long recovery between sessions, unlike now where I have many sessions weekly.

Only time will tell how the whole program has gone for me come race day and this time around I can say that I have done everything in my power to been in the best shape and have ultimately have my best race (as far as training and discipline goes).  Hawaii is a different kettle of fish and who knows what the gods will throw up on race day.  All I can do for now is keep ticking of boxes and keep my engine well tuned and well maintained.

For now...