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


  1. Great post mate. Sounds like a fantastic experience.

  2. Great reading! How did you get this opportunity to live and train with her or a week?