Monday, April 29, 2013

The Professional Life - With Lisa Marangon.

NO, I AM NOT TURNING PRO! Just have to say that, have no ambition to either, I just wanted to experience the "Professional Life" for a week.
Well, after chatting to Lisa and floating the idea of coming Sydney to learn a little more about the “professional triathlete life” the flights were booked and the week of cough cough *hell* cough cough learning was upon me.
Lisa, with one of her many wins to date.
Coming off a monster weekend with all the boys and flying to Sydney on the Sunday was always going to be hard work.  But I was packed ready for the unexpected….Discipline, good eating and hard training.
Well, if I was going to get benefit out of it, I just had to follow her lead and just put up with what was thrown in front of me. 
That meant no KFC, pies, alcohol or soft drink for the week…..That was going to be tough.  So arriving, slightly seedy from the weekend, Lisa picked me up and took me back to her apartment.  I did ask her permission to jot down some notes about the week for this blog and after coming to an agreement about the details, we found a happy medium.  So, Firstly thanks for the opportunity to follow and live the pro life for the week.  Lisa also works full time and took a week off to show me about and run me through everything.   I am so appreciative!
Being explained the week ahead and me asking for that to be repeated as I didn’t quite expect what I heard.  The first bit that got me was the 4.20am Wake up on the Monday morning for swimming…. You want me to get up at what time?? WOW!!
The promise of good coffee post session was almost enough to convince me to think it was a good idea.
With that in mind, was early to bed for me… My bike box as my pillow and my garmin as my alarm, it was bed time.  Didn’t take long to fall asleep as having a total of 8 hours sleep on the previous two nights, I was looking forward to hitting the hay (or bike box).  I was certainly more excited about the coffee then the swim!
I wasn't looking this cheerful when the alarm sounded!
And true to her word, 4.20am not a minute earlier or later I got the, “It’s time to get up.”  Shocked from being in a deep sleep and in a strange location (been in many of them in my life!) it was time to get up and head to the pool.  No Coffee in the house…..hmmmmm, Lesson 1 learnt…Drink less coffee. 
I was privileged enough to get a small amount of nutrition to fuel my session,  I could only keep thinking, I could die, I can’t train without coffee or a bucket of KFC. 
Just a Standard Post training meal for me.

In the pool at 5am, still blurred eyed and probably over .05, I looked at the session plan and my first words were, “Do you guys do a standard warmup before we hit that main set?”
With a joint laugh, Lisa, Angelo & Gai (Coaches) turned to me and responded as one, “No, No, that is the warm up!”
Ouch, I could drown, first swim since Ironman Melbourne and with the warmup at my main set speed, I was always going to be in trouble.  Gai then threw the line out there, “If you need a longer rest, feel free.” A longer rest, I was happy just to be able to get through the warm up and then get out!
The session was 4.6k and I can honestly say that I got through 4k….Longest swim since Oct 2012.  Lisa did chuckle and say that my arms were going to be sore.  Getting the session done before 6.30 was a bonus though, the whole day ahead.
A quick spin on the bike followed after breakfast and then a long awaited nap for me…
The afternoon involved Yoga….hmmm does that come in banana and chocolate flavour?  The only thing this did confirm (which I already knew) was that I have no core or balance.  Something to work on.
Survived Day 1.  Tomorrow seemed like a lighter day, Swim, Pilates and Run.
Alarm set for 4.20am….I actually woke up feeling very ordinary, so after being called weak, Lisa let me sleep in whilst she went to swimming.  I was out cold.  When she got back, I was still feeling very average so I knew that I had made the right choice.  The easy run was what I thought is what I needed, how wrong was I??  I crashed hard that afternoon with the dreaded man flu and spent the whole afternoon asleep.  Maybe the weekend had finally caught up with me.  Missing two sessions that day was not what I had in mind however I know I was going to be better for it.
Day 2: Not a total disaster.
Wednesday was my day of bouncing back, I wasn’t going to let this chick or the man flu get the better of me.
Lisa runs an open water swim in the Morning which was amazing, having the sun rise, the warm water (yes still had wetty on) and a group of enthusiastic swimmers there eased the disappointment from yesterday.  Getting through the session was my goal without putting myself in the box.  Mission Accomplished.
From here, we headed to the Athlete Lab (spin room) to do a pretty solid 90min session.  Once again, I didn’t want to have to much intensity so only got to 350 Watts in some of my efforts, a bit short of what I was pushing in my last lab test.  90min done, shirt drenched, 2litres fluid consumed and we were off to the track for a speed session.  This is not something that I would usually do, however  looking back, it was definitely beneficial.  Doing some pretty hard and sharp 1k efforts, I was surprised at the times I was doing, albeit, still chasing tail.
Victory at Canberra 70.3 2011
Day 3: Back on track – TICK
Thursday was a mid-long ride with some undulations.  I have no idea where we started from or where we went, however the best way for me to describe the ride was amazing, the scenery was fantastic and the weather once again put on a show.  It reminded me of the great ocean Rd back home, just stunning.  And this was the day of my secret mission to Sydney was busted by Matt Palmer, who spotted me out there…unsure how, but hats off!!
Pilates followed in the afternoon, which was my first time doing this.  I can say that I did enjoy it and saw the benefit from just one session, will consider this for future programs/training blocks that I do.
Day 4: Energy coming back, and had a great day.
Here comes Friday, another run, another swim.
That’s right my 3rd swim for the week (should have been 4th) but a pool set.  3k in the arms for me (Lisa easily disposed of me covering over 4) but my arms felt ok.  I did notice some tension from another female pro that started swimming after we started and took more notice of our times then her own session.  That entertained me more than the hurt that my arms felt. 
It still baffles me how much people are more worried about what other people are doing rather than the square that they are in.  Lisa was in a zone and had no idea what was going on until I told her post session.  Good luck trying to talk mid set.
I was still pretty happy with the times I was coming in on after only my 4th swim since Melbourne….There might be hope for me yet!
The run was pretty sharp, some high intensity and some easy running, once again, I was feeling good and better everyday.
Friday – All going well.
Saturday involved a longer ride with a 40 odd min off the bike.  Meeting up with her riding group, we heading off on some unknown direction for me.  Everyone was once again so welcoming and made me feel like I was in a bunch from home, not an invader up here…Maybe they didn’t know I was a Victorian?!
Heading out the old highway, a few of the boys increased the work rate, I decided to jump on board and follow their lead.  Todd Israel was driving the bunch with a few other following.  I was enjoying the ride and the atmosphere.  One the return we caught up to Craig Alexander and I was star struck, instantly I whipped out my camera and took some photos of him.  Once again, this guy has so much time for everyone, I quizzed him about a few things and the honesty that he responds in is WORLD CLASS.  He has no issues giving advice and offering tips of you want to listen….That’s exactly what I did.  WOW, another great moment.
The nicest guy in the World 3 x World Champion - Craig Alexander
Once the heart rate settled again, I started to think about the run ahead.  I had a feeling that I had left something at Lisa’s….Yep, my runners…ooopppsss, I can say that I was disappointed as I wanted to get every session done with her.  Todd & I were going to do a few laps around Centennial Park, but he had a better idea….Have a coffee.  Bingo.  This would also give me the chance to quiz him about his transformation from a/g to pro.  And this is what I did.  Asking about what he has done differently now to the guy whom beat me at IMWA a few years back in 9hr 14min to the 8.39 he did at IMMelb 2012.  Asking, listening and absorbing was my task and was something that I did with success.
30min come and gone and more advice and experience thrown my way.  Thanks heaps Todd, value there.
Todd Israel - On his way to a Podium in Hawaii, now a Professional
The PM session was an open water swim again…4 in 1 week, Did I have rocks in my head??  But with the weather being so pleasant, it was always going to be fun.  Having 16 in the group meant for fun times.  Scott McKenna started a little banter after the Wednesday session and the mornings ride.  I almost felt like a local.  The session was great fun and I got plenty out of it.  I am just hoping that it gives me the kick start that I need to get into the pool on a regular basis.
Saturday: Where has the week gone?
And the final session of the week was an easy run….got it covered, could have run for 2hr 30min however getting just under 20k in the legs was enough for me.  No need to kill myself first week back.  Having another quick chat with Todd and thanking him for his time again. 
So, Overall what did I learn?
Not all pro’s think their shit doesn’t stink.  That there are actually ones out there who are happy to tell their story and help out where they can. There are many “Pro’s” who should follow this lead and give more time to others around them.
The difference from hearing about how they go about things to actually living it is totally different and a lot harder than you think.  Throw in that many of the pro’s work to support themselves just makes the respect that I have for them even greater.
A Bucket load, following Lisa around for the week, shadowing her sessions, partaking in the open water, bike and runs that she did was great.  The training itself is not really that much different to what I do, just tweaked to her needs.
The major difference is the mindset, attitude and the way the sessions are completed.  There are no excuses, no short cuts, just sessions getting completed exactly how they were meant to be. 
The 4.20am starts, the mid day naps, the clean eating & the regular body maintenance really opened my eyes about what it really takes to compete at that level.  Not just to compete, but also to be successful.
This is an experience that has armed we with tools to make me not only a better person, but also a far greater athlete.  It is now just up to me what I do with them.
Armed with all the tools now.

* Session details were not included in the above to support the confidentiality that I agreed with Lisa.

If you want to know more about Lisa Marangon, click here. 

For now...

PS.. If you ever get the chance to do what I did, go for it. Just be prepared to watch, listen and do.  It is an amazing experience

Monday, April 15, 2013

Life since Ironman Melbourne.

Well, it really hasn't stopped.  I had committed to going away with the Family to Maryborough (Central Victoria) for Easter and to do some Road Racing there with the Veterans. 
Yes the Headstem has since been cut down!

Yes, unfortunately I am in that category now.  So I had entered 5 races across that weekend ranging from a 300m Sprint (pfft, me sprint?!?) to a ITT, a Criterium race and 2 x 65k road races, one being a scratch race in my category and the other being a handicap on the final day.

43kph ave was still not enough to win the TT.

For a full run down and a great read, check out Shane Millar's blog below. He handed it to me in every event, so better reports form him.

Was good to have such a gun cyclist there, not only to show me how far off I am, but also to learn a lot from him.

I prob should have ticked the legs over post Melbourne before I went straight into a road race and an attack 7k in....

My legs finally came good in the handicap, was placed off 3rd scratch 4min ahead of scratch and when 3 riders failed to show, 1 wasn't up to it, having 4 of us try to chase 9 was going to be hard so we made the decision no to kill ourselves but to pace ourselves until scratch & co caught us.  I rolled in with the scratch group as it was safer than sitting near the back of the 70 rider peleton.  I then decided to save my legs from about 15k to go until the final attacks started to happen and was going to have a crack at the sprint.  In the end we didn't catch all the riders, but I still managed 6th in the bunch sprint, great end to the weekend.  

From there, I entered, along with a few of the athletes in the Geelong Half Marathon.  All the talk was whether I was going to be repeat my time of 1hr 18min from a few years back, but I decided to help pace Jody to as close as we could to 90min.  We compromised and decided on 92mins (4min 20sec per k).  Her instructions were to just run with me, no watch, no garmin, just run.  2 gels and focusing on running a very even 1/2 Marathon. 
Almost done

The plan was to start out a little slower and work into it.  

The splits were as follows:
 Km  Time
1 4:24.0  1.00   4:24
24:22.5  1.00 4:23
34:24.6 1.00 4:25
44:20.7 1.00 4:21
54:09.3 1.00 4:09
64:17.3 1.00 4:17
74:16.0 1.00 4:16
84:14.3 1.00 4:14
94:20.0 1.00 4:20
104:19.3 1.00 4:19
114:15.7 1.00 4:16
124:16.9 1.00 4:17
134:13.8 1.00 4:14
144:24.8 1.00 4:25
154:13.5 1.00 4:14
164:18.6 1.00 4:19
174:16.4 1.00 4:16
184:17.6 1.00 4:18
194:28.3 1.00 4:28
204:29.1 1.00 4:29
214:17.3 1.00 4:17
22:56.3 0.23 4       
One final time check to make sure we hit the mark!

This was a time of 1hr 31min and 36sec...right on the money.  And speaking of money, that's what Jody got, a 1st place finish in her age (won't disclose) and her fastest 1/2 Marathon time in 15 years.  Happy people all around.  Tim, Daniel, Paul and Harley also ran with Harley breaking the 2hr mark and recording a 25min pb.  Well done mate!
Just telling Harley to get to the finish!

From there I hit a few sessions with Scott Slater (doing his first IM at Port) and we rolled around for a few hours (5 1/2) and ticked off just under 180k's.  Throwing in a run and he is in for a good race in the upcoming weeks. 

A few days off and then back to Vets racing on the weekend.  I signed up Geelong as Dad has been a member there and it is an amazing feeling being able to compete with and against your Dad in a sport, so I was a bit overwhelmed about it all.  He is also a Club Legend there....Big shoes to fill!

Photo: Whats wrong with this picture
Just tucking his laces into the new Giro Bike Shoes!
We were both in A Grade and I had the no. 1 on my back, not much pressure there.  Dad left his bike shoes at home, so was never going to last long.  I knew who I had to watch as had a bit of insight from the Fos and proceeded to play the cat and mouse game for a while until the main break went and I had to close the gap and move with them  The pace remained high for the 43k and after all the attacks, it finally go the better of me and I got dropped by the 2 leaders.  Not to ever give up, I tried to settle into a rhythm and chase them down. 

I could see a bit of fluctuations up the road and was positive that I could ride them down.  Steve Young noticed me closing the gap and jumped away, all of a sudden it was a 3 way Individual TT to the end.  I closed in on 2nd and now had my eyes firmly set on Steve.  I was closing in ever so slowly until Steve hit the tail wind.  

Nek minut....... He was gone.  I continued to the end and tailed in about 1min behind with the same gap to 3rd.  The bunch rolled across the line about 1min further back.  So a good entry into Vets racing.  I will be back at Footscray again soon and with a few other tweaks, I am looking forward to a solid winter's base heading to Hawaii.

The athlete numbers are continuing to grow which I look at as a compliment & reward to the work I put in and the results that are coming through.  Planning with other athletes about how to move forward post Ironman and how we plan for them to improve and it has been a pretty hectic time.

I do just love it though.

Throw in a few interstate trips for training and supporting at some races and the build will be up and going before I know it.

Back to planning and looking at ways to improve.

For now...



Saturday, April 13, 2013

Back into the Blogging world - IRONMAN MELBOURNE race report

It has been a while since I have updated my blog and do apologize for that.  Since my last post things have just been busy, getting through Ironman Melbourne, not just me but the 13 guys that I coached also.

Heading away for Easter and having my first foray into Veterans Cycling Racing and then Running the Geelong Half Marathon a week later.  I have loved this entire experience and it has continue helped me develop as a person and more importantly as a coach.

The results of this have been evident with more and more athletes coming on board with myself and TMC.  We are continue to grow every week which is a testament to the way we conduct ourselves as coaches and the successful programs that we deliver.

With everything that has happened since my last post, it would make for one almighty blog post this time, so I will do my best not to bore you with insignificant details.

Ok, let's start with IRONMAN MELBOURNE.  This was a very exciting time for me having so many athletes hit the start line including 6 1st Timers.  For me, I had no expectations apart from wanting to have a crack at riding 4hr 35min on the bike.

The Short and curly:

Swim: 25min 31sec, this was reduced to 1.5k due to the weather conditions.
Bike: 4hr 42min 50sec, I did go out hard and then realised that I wasn't going to get there, so finished with petrol in the tank
Run: 3hr 15min 20sec, a time that I knew that I could run no matter.  I did post this time on my last post.
Overall: 8hr 27min on a reduced course, I think I still would have pushed the 9hr mark.

4th in 35-39, 31st overall.....and my 3rd Hawaii Qualification.

The Long and Juicy:

The weather conditions down at Frankston this year were always going to make the swim tough.  When the swim directors decided to make it a reduced swim, I really had mixed feelings.  I knew that this would suit me better than most as I would be able to catch the lead swimmers earlier on the bike, however I wanted to race a Full Ironman, that's what we train for, that's what we race for.

I understood the reasoning behind it, however my feelings are that a lot of people enter these races without giving the sport the respect that it deserves.  They fail to train under those conditions and therefor create a safety issue for the sport.

I decided to start a little way left from the pier to get a clear run to the end of it and to the turning buoys.  Once again the creeping was there, it was suppose to be a beach start, however, many people were up to their waste before the race started.  I am all for following rules, but when you look across and everyone is 20-30m in front of you and the officials are not doing anything about it, well I play that game.  I went and stood in line with them so that I could start on a level playing field.  I created a trend from the people furthest from the pier and before I knew it we were all in the water.

When Mike Rielly signalled the start, it was on, I had a really good clear run into the water and into my swim stroke.  The conditions were really swelly and choppy and was hard to find a rhythm and caused me to stop every so often to get my bearings.  As I got near the end of the pier, the pros were swimming back in, I managed to have a head on collision with one of them, unsure if I was off track or he was.  I got to the first turning buoy and there were people everywhere, I stopped to find my bearings and heard Clint Van Beveren yell out to many people to swim to the next buoy, I never knew how bad people cut the course until I saw this:

I find this disgraceful.

On my return to the beach, I even passed someone who was doing breastroke, struggling to even swim, that's when I knew that people didn't do the whole course.  I also spotted on of my athletes Adam McCarthy (no idea how) grabbed him, gave him a quick rev up as he was heading out and I was heading in.  Getting back onto the beach and heading into T1, I had no idea how much time I was behind, nor the position I was in.

Getting in and out of T1 in a pretty sharp time, I was onto my bike and ready to have a crack.

I found rhythm really early and just worried about applying pressure on the pedals the entire time.  I was passing many people on the way out and when I started to catch the pro females, I knew I was having a solid first 45k.  There were a few athletes trying to ride with me, even rolled passed, but blew up pretty quickly.  The only one who managed to hang tough was Matt Ledgar, we rolled a few turns to maintain the pace.

Riding Legally
At the turn, I always pay attention of who is heading the opposite way, when I saw Damien Angus, Ross Young and then Sam Hume, on the turnaround side of the tunnel, I knew the time gap was not that big.  I passed Big Stephane VB at the turn and then focused on getting in and out of the tunnel as fast as I could to then settle into a good pace heading back to Frankston with the tail wind.

Tail wind 47kph ave for the 2nd 45k
I really wound up here and got going.  I saw Sam, then Ross and then the lead female pros.  It is always hard passing the females as they have so many motorbikes around them and can be a pain trying to negotiate going around them safely.  I got back into Frankston and noticed Damien Angus not far in front.  That's when I knew I was at the pointy end.  As per my report last year, being in the same race as Sam Hume & Damien Angus is great, actually being competitive against them is amazing.

Bike Turnaround

I managed to catch up to Damien, and had mixed thoughts, I was reasonably confident of out running him, however was unsure if I should stay with him, work with him or try and out ride him.  I still don't know what I tried, we traded the lead a few times and then he left me out in front for a bit....As per the below photo.  Unlike many other photos that are circulating, you will never see quality guys such as Sam, Damien & Ross sitting on a wheel, it is all fair game.

He left me out there for about 10k's, my mind knew what was happening, so I slowed to try and get him to do some of the pacing.  That he did, he attacked me and rode straight off the front and into the distance.  The same thing two years running, I catch him, he regroups, then goes WHACK!  Goodbye.

I was still feeling good, so instead of trying to chase, I just settled back and rode my own race, knowing that there was a quality runners in the field behind.

About 20k from the end of the bike the wind changed again.  I was happy with this as it meant a favorable wind for the run.  Also, if I had the wind for 20k, others had it for more.

Sam Hume caught me about 10k from home and I hit T2 with him, in a great spot to start the run, I knew I was in the top 5 in my a/g, just had to rely on my run legs to get me home.

The 4 splits on the bike were:

45k (head wind) 1hr 19min (34.18kph)
45k (tail wind) 56min (47.8kph)
45k (head wind) 1hr 20min (33.8kph)
45k (tail and head) 1hr 6min (40.65kph)

So you can see I maintained a consistent pace into the wind and when the tail switched to head, It affected the time!!

Start of run - strong
Onto the run, my plan was to head out for a 3hr 10min, as per last year.  My goal was to maintain my position or even try to run down Damien again.  I headed our feeling great and was on track for the 3hr 10m

I was picking off a few of the guys that over rode and had a few of the pure runners pick me off.  My only concern was which one of these guys were in my age group.

15k deep
Dad & Nathan were giving me splits to the guys in front and the guys behind.  I never really gained time, nor lost it for the first 21k.  Running with Kev Ferguson this year was great, he got me out of a little hole that I found my self falling into.   At the special needs, I was lucky and managed to grab my stuff and go without too much hassle.  Kev had to stop and find his.

30k and suffering
I swapped bottles, re-fueled and picked up a little bit.  By the 30k mark, I started to hurt.  A few of the pro females incl the great Caroline Steffan (who has been giving me stick on facebook about this pic) and Yvonne Van Verklen both ran by, that looked like a great race.

By 32k I was walking...Brett Dunstan rode up and told me that my slowest jog was always going to be faster then my fastest walk, so start jogging.  This was exactly what I needed to get me going, so thanks Brett!

I had loads of support out of course, but that 1 comment turned it around for me.

Once I got to 36k, I said to Dad that I am not having someone pass me this close to home this year.  His reply was, well there are two guys 40 sec behind, you had better get a move on.  Thanks Fos, I increased my pace and found a good speed to run at.  I was comfortable and knew for them to catch me would me 4min k pace at the death...not many can do that in a/g racing.
Dad telling me final time check
finishing off the run

 With 2k to go, I did ask a few people in the crowd if their was anyone behind me, to which to my pleasure, they said no.  I still had to look though.  Entering the final 1k was great, yet again, it is the best part of the race.  The high 5's start, the noise increases and you know that you are about to cross that line.  Which I did, smile from ear to ear.  I saw Darryl from Shotz Nutrition and gave him a great kiss on the forehead and thanked him for everything.

Once over the line, I went to see Dad, Brian (bro), Naomi (Sis), Nathan (Bro) and Karl (SCHNELL CARBON WHEELS) to thank them for all the support yet again on race day.

I had so much support out there and the road marking were fantastic, so to who ever wrote my name on the road and gave me support, thanks so much, it doesn't go unnoticed even if I don't respond!

So I finished 4th in my age group and once again could not be happier, although I am determined to jag a win one day soon ;)!!

Once I was done getting a massage, I started looking for my athletes to see how they were going/went.

The results from them were:

And yes we are not getting carried away with the times due to the short swim, however there are still some pretty good times below.

Rees Hughes 9hr 14min (1st IM in 12 years)
Ben Robinson 9hr 21min (pb on the run)
Tom Lazarus 9hr 45min (pb on the run)
Kane Roach 9hr 58min (1st IM)
Lee Martin 10hr 12min
Ben Hughes 10hr 19min
Mark Steers 10hr 19min (1st IM)
Archie Ball 10hr 23min 10th a/g 2nd fastest run time in a/g
Dale Smedley 10hr 28min (1st IM)
Dan Palmer 10hr 54min (1st IM)
Clayton Stairmand 11hr 2min (1st IM)
Damo Harris 11hr 7min incl 3 punctures (1st IM)
Jerome Peyton 11hr 23min
Adam McCarthy 12hr 10min (1st IM)

So in real numbers, there would have been 2 sub 10hr performances right through to sub 13hrs.  A credit all the above who committed themselves in training over the entire preparation.  Now just need to replicate those times in a full IM ;)

I won't bore you with anything else for now, but there is plenty happening, I will just have to blog a bit more frequently.  Next one will cover being a "Veteran Cyclist" & the Geelong 1/2 Marathon and a few other updates.

For Now....


PS. I am 100% going back to Hawaii for my 3rd time & to have my best result.  Have already looked into ways that I can improve and make it 2-0 over Leigh Chapman (PIS)!!