Category Archives: Bike

First Xterra (almost) Done and Dusted

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Yes, before you ask, I decided to do an Xterra Triathlon 7 weeks out from Ironman Texas.  It may seem a little crazy to some, but to be very honest, anyone who knows me would not have been surprised I decided to throw this little gem into my training mix.  You see I love to race and well technically I actually didn’t even sign myself up for this race.  Someone who shall remain unnamed (Travis Beam) signed me up!  Who needs enemies when you have friends who sign you up for an Xterra when you’ve only been on a mountain bike once in 9(ish) years.  He knew I wasn’t lying either when I pulled out my mountain biking shoes and they looked like something that could go in a cycling museum.

Ready for the cycling museum??

Ready for the cycling museum??

So maybe luckily for me 2 days out from the race start the weather had not played in our favour and the ride was changed to a mountain bike on the road.  This took away a little of the worry over mountain biking in a race format, but I was still going to have to work hard on the road on a mountain bike.

Race morning started with a light drizzle, but luckily slightly warmer temps.  The water though was still pretty chilly and to be honest I wasn’t looking forward to it.  However I knew it was only for about 10mins so just got over myself and got in for a little warm up.  After a short race briefing it was 1,2,3 GO! and we were off.  I felt ok for the first 50 meters then got stuck between two guys who were trying to turn me into a wetsuit sandwich.  I had to navigate around the side of them and by that time I started to feel a bit rough…Like freaking out, I don’t wanna do this, rough.  I just kept telling myself, it’s only 800m just do it.  After going a little further to the right on my second lap than I expected I saw that red muddy bottom on was on my way into T1.

So this is when the frezzingness (I know it’s not a word!)  hit me.  My feet were totally numb, my hands weren’t much better, and this made for one of my worst exits from a wetsuit ever. I just couldn’t get the thing off, it was like it was literally stuck to me.  Finally after some wiggling and pulling and grunting I got it off, grabbed the bike and was on my way.  The bike leg was relatively uneventful other than a marker on who was in front of me and who was behind me.  There was one group of about 5 men who were lucky enough to get in a draft, but the rest of us just hammered it out solo. I was in 2nd at this stage and I made a decision that I was not going to be 3rd. I put my head down and went for it, just like I would in a road tri.  It paid off and I had the fastest bike split of the women.  Not quite enough for me to catch 1st place, but enough for me to get a lead on 3rd going into the run.

Back into T2, fastest transition this time and up the hill for about a 1 mile run to the start of the trail. I knew I had to take advantage of the road as I would be slower on the trails so pushed pretty hard on this section. The trail was nice, very loopy, not too many long straight sections, and a pretty slippery muddy section at the back side. It was 2 loops and that made it great to be able to see some other athletes on the run.  Best part was other athletes coming across me as they were exiting the trail and giving me a heads-up on how close 3rd place female was to me.  This was the motivation I needed to dig a bit deeper to make sure I didn’t get overtaken.

Newtons got a bit muddy

It definitely wasn’t a race for the faint hearted, I’m so glad I did it though and already looking forward to the next one.

Pretty good race swag!

Final Results:

Swim 800m: 10.55

Ride 26.5km: 5835

Run 8Km: 46.40

TOTAL: 1.56.10

2nd Place overall Female!

So – now I need to get back to training for Ironman Texas…less than 7 weeks away..

 

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They can’t all be easy – Challenge Dubai held up to it’s namesake!

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Mentally I had prepared myself for the possibility of a hot race at the inaugural Challenge Dubai. What I had not prepared for or expected was the extremely windy conditions which I woke up to Friday morning.  As I walked to the transition area the wind was unbelievable, flags and signs where blowing in all directions and I felt a sense foreboding – dreading to imagine what the sea would be like.

 

You want me to swim in that..for real??

You want me to swim in that..for real??

There was a lot of tension and anxiety at transition, high winds can send you a bit mad as everything was blowing every where and I could hardly hear myself think.  A short walk to the beach confirmed my suspicions that the seas would be rough. The swim course had already been changed to account for the rough seas and was now a 2 loop course.  There wasn’t the normal excitement on the beach, this had been replacement for most people by shear terror at getting into the salt water washing machine that awaited.  As usual before I knew it I was somehow in my wetsuit and standing on the beach looking out to the first buoy that all of a sudden seemed so far away – contemplating my race.

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Bang –  next minute I was diving into, under and over waves.  I imagined that this would only be like this for a few 100 meters and then calm down. I was wrong. The swell and waves continued to beat against my head and left side for the 350 meters till the first buoy. At times I would sight and couldn’t even see the buoy due to the swell.  I just tried to keep swimming, and to keep the saltwater out of my mouth.  I’m not going to lie, I had a few moments where I was starting to get a bit freaked out – mostly as I started to feel a slightly sea sick. This passed though and before I knew it I had reached the first turn and the waves were not quite as bad heading horizontal to the shoreline and on the way back in, for the most part they were not quite as rough. I did have to do it all again though – it was actually quite hard to come out of the ocean and then get back in to conditions like that. The second loop was no different to the first, and I was more than relieved when I started to head back in to shore.  Happy to have finished the swim in 37 mins considering the conditions, but already wondering what the bike leg was going to be like.

Transition was quick and I was on my bike in no time.  I felt pretty good and settled in to the bike straight away.  I could immediately feel the tail wind, and decided to go as hard as I could while it was behind me – I knew it wouldn’t last.  The first 50km’s (31mi) were reasonably nice and I was averaging between 36/38kmph (22/23mph).  There were a few turns that took us into the head wind which got me a bit worried about the 40kms (25mi) back into transition.  I reached the turn around and was feeling very solid, and happy with the time I had made up on the bike.  Then BOOM – the headwind hit me like a freight train.  I wasn’t expecting it to be quite that strong. My average pace dropped significantly – I felt like I was pushing up hill and struggled to find the right gear to not be grinding but still be moving.  The gusts of wind were hitting the bike so hard I had to come up out of aero at times just to stay upright. I heard later that the winds were combing through at up to 50kmph (31mph).  It was like this with no break for about 40kms (25mi).  At this stage I didn’t know it but I was in 3rd and had been following 2nd place for quite some time. She seemed to have a lot more power and endurance for the headwind section and pulled away out of sight. I managed to pass a few other people and not get passed again – with about 20kms (12.5mi) to go I started to mentally come undone.  I was getting frustrated with the constant wind, and sand in my face. I felt awful and grumpy and just wanted to get off the bike. It took a lot of strength to keep pushing those last km’s and I really wondered what I had left in me for the run leg.

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Another quick transition thanks to some great local girls in the changing tent to got my shoes on for me, cap on my head, drink and off I went.  Legs felt pretty good and I decided to try and hold a just above a 5min/km pace (8min/mi).  I was determined to break the 1hour50min mark for my run time, and I felt like given the time I lost on the other 2 legs today I was gonna just go for it. I had nothing to loose. I settled into about a 5.05min/km pace and just held it there.  5km down, pace still on, 10km down, pace still on, 15km down pace still on, time to pick it up a bit. I dug a bit deeper and tried my hardest to get a sub 5min/km pace going. I had a guy on my tail who I could hear running about the same pace as me and as he passed me with 2km to go I decided to go with him – it worked and I was able to hold on, sprint out the finish and get a flat 1hour45min run.  I had unfortunately dropped from 3rd to 5th place on the run when 2 women in my age group flew past me – I couldn’t have been happier with my run time and truly couldn’t have given it any more. The swim and bike were another story and I wonder if I had not lost the mental edge on the bike maybe I would have had a bigger lead on these girls and held my spot – who knows.  That’s racing right?

not a bad spot for a PB half marathon...

not a bad spot for a PB half marathon…

The next best part after crossing the finish line is then getting to be there when my friends and teammates come through the finish line.  It’s always a celebration and a special moment to share, especially with the first timers!  Great to be there with some amazing FitChicks who amaze and inspire me with their dedication and hard work!

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Will I be back for Challenge Dubai 2016 – heck yeah, it was a great race in an awesome city.. and I want to do this race without the wind!

I want to thank my coach who has taken me from “an ok ” triathlete to someone who now believes anything is possible. Liam Bromilow  www.t3coaching.com.au you rock and I couldn’t do this without you! Amanda Borlotti – seriously I can see us as old ladies and still doing this together, the races mean so much more when you’re there!  Luis Quiñones – thanks for creating team OnEndurance – seriously meeting you guys changed my life!

Now on to Ironman Texas – 9 weeks to go!

 

 

The things we go through to Tri!

So I had a bit of a hiatus from writing/rambling about my TriLife.  I’m back now and hopefully you’ll be hearing from me a whole lot more as I make my journey to my first full Ironman in Texas on the 16th May 2015!  I’m going to kick of my return to blogging with my top 5 “Yep – I’m a triathlete” moments.

Triathlon is the weirdest sport ever. I mean why on earth would you swim, then in your wet clothes get on a bike and ride in a circle back to where you swam, then after that run in another circle back to where you swam in the first place! Not too mention the countless hours of training that you did, just so that you could do that! And all for what, a medal and a t-shirt (do not kid yourself that the t-shirt was free by the way).

these are kinda nice though  right??

these are kinda nice though right??

But we still do it right? For me, I don’t really care about the medal, or the shirt, or even sometimes my race time…I just love the feeling of accomplishment when I cross that line. When the realization of what I have achieved and conquered hits me – it gets me every time.

Along the way though there are so many things that happen to test out your commitment to this sport.

Below are my top 5 moments where you’ll really find out just how committed you are to triathlon and your training:

1. Good hair days:You wake up and your hair is just awesome, then you see your coach has scheduled a swim session – you  do it anyway.

2. Water Bottles that are out to ruin your life: We all have that one water bottle that constantly leaks, and it always seems to be the one that you grab when you’re rushing out the door to train, only to find later that it has leaked all over your dry clothes and you end up having to drive home in wet undies.

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3. Getting Dirty: There always comes a point where the amount of training you are doing is more than the amount of training clothes you have. You can do the math on how that works out.

Yep - that actually happened

Yep – that actually happened

4. You’re really gonna eat that?: Some days things get desperate on the nutrition side. I’m not gonna lie I have eaten some things out of the bottom of my gym bag or out of the back of my cycle top that where probably no longer fit for human consumption.

5. Please don’t stop the music: Weather is bad, you jump on the treadmill to start that killer 1 hour tempo work out. Water bottle, towel, and of course some good tunes ready to get you through the dreadmill. 5 minutes in, battery goes dead on the iPod… that means you have 55minutes of listening to yourself breath (puff, gasp, etc) and that awful gym background music.

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The things we go through for triathlon……

Stick around..I’m off to Dubai next week in preparation for Challenge  Dubai 70.3.  Once thats done, I start my big training block for Ironman Texas on the 16th May!

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Miami Ironman 70.3 – The race that almost was

I’m sitting here wondering where 5 months have gone between my last race report after Eagleman Ironman 70.3!  How is it possible that 5 months could have passed so quickly – and what on earth have I been doing?

Well, it wasn’t on my plan but not long after Eagleman I got an itch to do another 70.3 race before the end of the year. I felt like I had a great race in Maryland (a 5hour20min 70.3 isn’t anything to be upset about) – but felt that I didn’t go in to that race as fit and as prepared as I could have. I wanted to see what I could achieve if I truly focused on my training, worked hard and pushed outside my comfort zone a bit.  To do that, as I’m sure most of you know, somethings have to give. For me, I decided that to go into this race in the right “place” I had to be quiet for a while – virtually I mean (cause anyone that knows me personally knows that I am not often quiet). So to some extent I played this race down, didn’t make a big deal about it.  In reality I was placing my whole heart in to this one to get a slot to the World Champs. Did I get that slot – No.  Did I get damn close – Yes.  Here’s how my race went.

Anyone who’s been to Miami knows it’s a pretty crazy city, for me it was like going home. So familiar to Dubai and Abu Dhabi – I was right in my comfort zone there.  This was my first major race without my Tri Bestie Amanda  so there was definitely something missing in terms of having someone to bounce concerns off and go through the pre-race motions with.

Pre-Race!

Race Morning arrived, I was strangely calm, with a 8.25am wave start I knew I had plenty of time to hang out and get ready before the race. So I headed to transition about 6.15am to have time to get everything in order.  Luckily I have inherited a buffer for the unexpected in all my timings (thank’s Dad) and after getting everyting set up at the front of my bike, I leaned through the packed racks to check my rear tire. It was totally flat, my heart stopped, then when it started again it was through the roof.  F#@K!  It was now 6.40am and I have a completely flat rear tire and I started to feel that this could make me come unstuck…I had to dig really deep to just take a breath and do what I needed to do. Just change the tire it’s not a big deal, happens to a lot of people -right?

I start fumbling in the dark to get the rear wheel off, get my crappy bike repair kit off from the back of my seat post.  I realize that the spare tube I have doesn’t have a long enough extender on it..WTF.  I started to panic, they are starting to call for closing the transition and I have my shit spread out everywhere. This is not a good start.  I ask a girl who is next to me “you don’t have a spare tube do you”, she says no.  F#@K.  Luckily this crazy accent of mine has a tendency of getting me out of trouble (it also gets me in to trouble as well but that’s another story). I then feel a tap on my shoulder and there standing before me is a tall, hot, lycra clad frenchman.  “Euhh, you need some help” – he says.  “Ah yeah” I say back. Next minute I have 3 french dudes working on my bike, getting me a spare tube and just all round getting me out of the crap situation I was in.  Volia – my bike is fixed and the french dude tells me  “we love Australia  – and Australians – and with a wink he says “have a good race” and walks off.  Oh being Australian is seriously great sometimes (ok – all the time).  So my heart rate is through the roof, not sure if it is due to the french dudes or just all the excitement in general. I am literally getting kicked out of transition – to hurry up and wait for an hour and 25 mins till my swim wave start!

The Long Wait

I needed to find somewhere quiet to recover from my ordeal.  I found a place on the rock wall a short distance from the swim start and just started working on getting re-focused. This is when I realize I don’t have any water with me, and nothing to eat. I left it all in transition.  F#@K!….After about 5 minutes a guy comes and takes a spot next to me. I get the impression he’s feeling about as good as I am.  We don’t talk for about 20 minutes – just sit there in silence waiting for the pro’s to start.  That’s a long time for me to not talk, I couldn’t stand it.  So I struck up a conversation and the next 50 mins flew by as we talked about his native South Africa, his life in Holland and his 6 Ironman Races that he’s completed this year!  Luckily he was too wearing a HUUB skin suit, and so as the time got closer we both prepared to go through the 10 minutes it takes to get those things on – and thankfully we both had someone to close those zippers without putting our back’s out.  Right.  Finally lets get this thing started!

The  crazy swim

I had been watching the swim waves go before me and I was feeling pretty happy with the way the water was looking and also pretty comfortable with the navigation.  We jumped in and swam over the the bouys for the deep water start.  Next minute the bouys where moving one way and we were moving another, even the swim marshals where having trouble. I hear a guy hell out, “I think the current has picked up”.  Seriously. Bang, and we’re off.  I immediately felt the benefit of the swim suit, I felt very streamlined and great with the added bouncy of the salt water. I could tell already that I was out the front, maybe 2 girls in front of me,  I called on my training with Rich Allen and went over for the draft and managed to hold in  a pretty good tight position until we hit the first batch of slow men from the previous wave.  After that it was pretty usual swim and dodge. I could feel I was really moving through the water well, I was passing so many people. I made the turn that would bring me back down to the rock wall for the last 600 meters stretch in. I could see the bouy, but it just wasn’t getting any closer. I felt good – why was I not moving.  Oh – there’s the current! I finally reach the stairs and look down.  40minutes..are you kidding. I had that terrible thought that my race was over. How could I possibly be competitive with a 40 minute swim.  It’s funny how in the heat of a race you forget that everyone else is facing the same conditions as you – maybe everyone else’s swim would be slow as well – I hoped.

Gee - that took a long time! Now I have to get this swim skin off!

What head wind

I got on the bike (tire was still ok thank goodness) and started to feel a bit better as I realized there were a hell of a lot of bikes still in transition.  Time to see if all that riding around Lake Norman was going to pay off.  First 20kms were great, I could feel a slight tail wind advantage and average pace was about 33km/hr.  Awesome.  We were finally out of the city center and heading towards the everglades, and came to a slight turn in the road. Bam – hit with a pretty strong headwind – and I knew there were no more curves in this road so I had to settle in and deal with it until the turn around.  It was like riding uphill for about 45 mins. So many people were cheating drafting and it was making my blood boil.  I told about 3 guys to “get the fuck of my tail”…not sure if they understood my Australian but I think the look on my face was enough.  Finally reached the turn around and got to feel how strong that head wind really was.  Speed went up to almost 40km/hr and I felt great knowing that I was going to make the time I had lost up. I got as aero as I could and just went for it! No more drafting was to seen after that!

What head wind?

No-one mentioned there was a bridge!

I arrived  in T2 feeling pretty fresh to be honest. Temperature wasn’t too bad and I didn’t feel overly fatigued.  I did have trouble getting my nutrition in – I just couldn’t get it down and although I got my liquid calories done I was a little short on the solids as I tried to stomach some chomps and they weren’t going down well and then did my usual dry retch with a Gu Gel!  Off I went on what was to be the most chaotic half ironman run I have done to date.  At the race briefing it was explained quiet a few times that it was a left side run.  Do you think that people followed this – nope.  There were quite a few turns and blind corners on the run and I again dropped the F-bomb at a few people and one poor guy got a push in the chest as he came at me around a blind corner on the wrong side.  I hit the bridge feeling pretty good – it was starting to get pretty hot though and there was no escaping the sun over the bridge. Half -way over – still feeling good, and then I starting feeling like some-one was deflating my tires. Man  – I was struggling, got to the top, got the heart rate down and attempted to recover as much as I could on the down hill. All I could think is, “I have to do this another 3 times” – try to not freak out.  The run wasn’t my most pleasant and I knew that I wasn’t going to have my best half marathon time, but I was also determined to not give in to my “internal voice” that was starting to say things like “why are you doing this”, “let’s stop”, “you haven’t got a a place anyway so just take it easy”.  I got to about 1 mile out and I decided lets just go and empty the tank.  I picked up my pace and I pushed as hard as I could to recover some time and at least get my half time under 1.55.  It worked and I pulled off a 1.53 – but I was certain it just wasn’t enough for today to be “that race”.

Are we done yet?

I crossed the finish line at 5.25 in to further post race chaos and waited for my parents and son to find me!  It was over and as usual I felt a huge wave of relief, followed very quickly with a tiny pang of disappointment.  My time was 5mins slower than Eagleman, no PB, no place, and no world champ slot.

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Through the madness I see my Dad I give him a big sweaty hug and he tells me I was 5th out of the water.  Wait, what?  Well if I was 5th out of the water, only 2 girls passed me on the bike and then I passed 2 girls on the run. So could I be 5th?

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We packed up and headed back to our hotel – on the way there we checked the results again. I was now 4th.  Ok, I started to think that maybe, just maybe I could get a roll down slot. Quick shower and back down to the race finish for the event ceremony.  Age group winners were announced before the roll down and we reach my age group.  Third is called out and goes up on stage, then there is some chatting and paper shuffling and then I hear “is there a Leyla Porteous here” – hell yeah I’m here.  “you’re 3rd honey get up here, there is a male by mistake in your age group”.  Holy crap!  I can’t even begin to tell you what it felt like to get up on that stage.  Third – so now that slot seemed even more real. If one of these girls beside doesn’t take her slot then I’m there – Austria 2015. The dream becoming reality. My heart was racing.  Roll down started and 1st place already took her slot, they call out for 2nd and….she takes it..heart sinks.  I had one last chance, if another female age group has a slot that is not taken then it will go back to the next largest age group.  We reach the 50-55, no-one claims the slot. It’s going to be reallocated – heart is pumping – as they flick through papers and chat and discuss I seriously thought my heart was going to explode out of my chest. This is it.  Seriously I’m going to the world champs…and then they announce the slot is going to age group….40-45.  Oh….that’s it.  My Mum gives me a huge hug.  So close, yet still so far.

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So my journey continues. I’m not sure when or even if I will get that close to my dream again. But I can tell you this much – I’m going to keep working my arse off in the meantime. I still have a lot to learn, and develop and I’m excited to see what my triathlon journey is going to throw at me in 2015!

Stay tuned to follow the “fitchicks” journey to Ironman Texas in May.

 

Eagleman Ironman 70.3 – 8th June 2014. Race Report

Eagleman Ironman 70.3 – pretty much a perfect race!

Swim 1.9kms, Bike 90kms, Run 21.1kms

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I’ve been trying to reflect on the days leading up to, and including race day to try and find some kind of interesting story, or drama to entertain you with.  But I really can’t.  It was just completely drama and incident free and a great race.  I’ll take you through my race day anyway – as there is always something to learn and reflect on (and laugh at) – and it may help those of you out there who are looking at doing this race.

So Eagleman is held in Cambridge Maryland – about an hour and 40mins drive out of Washington DC (depending on traffic of course).  It’s an absolutely stunning location on the Choptank River.  By the time we (that’s me and my partner in TriCrime Amanda aka CaveGirlTri’s) signed up for this race all the cheaper accommodation in town was sold out – so we were (luckily) forced to stay at the Hyatt which was just stunning.  Anyway back to the race…

Race morning - beautiful

Race morning – beautiful

Eagleman is quite a popular race as it has 30 slots for Kona along with 40 slots for the 70.3 World Championships. It is also a very flat bike and run course which appeals to a lot of people.  So this race sells out pretty quick every year, and this year was no different with around 2100 competing on the day.  Race morning was a crazy sea of activity – with everyone setting up their stuff next to their bikes – and then the blind panic from some competitors when it was announced that it was NOT a wetsuit swim.  Apparently it can vary year from year – and this year the river was very shallow so the temperature was in the “no wetsuit” zone.  You could see some people  getting very anxious at this stage – for me it was a relief.

The Swim

I actually hate swimming with a wetsuit on. I feel like it’s slowly trying to squeeze the life out of me and it makes my arms feel like they are made of lead for about the first 500 meters (yes I know I should practice open water swimming with a wetsuit on more – got it.).  So I was relieved to be honest, but not overly excited about having to do a shallow water start in what I still considered cold water (such a baby I know).  Anyway the adrenaline kicked in and I hardly remember the cold water.  We were off and I felt like I was having a pretty good swim, rhythm was good, breathing was good, no-one passing me, I was passing a few people. All seemed good. I reached to the last bouy with 100 meters to go and realised that people where standing up next to me and running to the swim exit. Was the water really that shallow – wow. I kept swimming as I think it takes more energy to try and run through water than continue to swim, but at about 25meters this was impossible so I had to run with everyone else.  This is where I looked down and saw 36 minutes.  What!?  Crap…why so slow?  Anyway I got myself on to dry land and just headed for the bike – I hope there was some kind of weird current to explain my swim time (there wasn’t – I was just slow).  Then to add insult to injury on my swim time, I apparently somehow picked up an after five shadow of river scum on my face – which made for some interesting finisherpix shots – great!.

me with my cross fit beard..

me with my cross fit beard..

The Bike

On the bike and off – no issues.  It was pretty much like that for 90kms.  Flat – yes, windy – kind of.  I felt really good on the bike – probably cause I took it so easy on the swim.  So I passed a few other women in my age group on the bike in the beginning, then as the ride went on a few caught me. Everytime a chick would go past me in my age group (oh in case you’re wondering they write your age on the back of your calf) I would be like – damn it. I think about 5 chicks passed me, but I must of passed about 7 as I went down in my category position.  There was one nice chick who caught me at about the 80km mark. As she went passed she spoke to me – she said “are we there yet?”..it made me giggle – then she turned and she said “you’ll catch me on the run – see ya then”.

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The Run

As usual – ouch –  when those legs hit the ground coming off the bike.  I kind of fumbled around in transition, trying to get stuff in my pocket, put on some sunscreen and of course most importantly my shoes and hat.  Off I went and I was surprisingly able to to hold a nice sub 5min pace for the first 2 kms.  This seemed to get the legs sorted out and I settled in to a more comfortable pace at around 5mins to 5.15mins.  All felt good – just needed to keep my head strong, I was technically done and I had some chicks to catch that passed me on the bike.  I caught a few of them and that felt good – but I hadn’t seen my chatty friend yet.  The run at Eagleman is an out and back – the reality of this hit me just before the turn around – crap I have to run all the way back now. I looked down and of course, my pace was slowing.  My mind was getting lazy and straight away everything slows down.  Then who should I run up next to – yep, my chatty friend.  She asked me “what’s our pace”  of course I only know metric so I said I had no idea what we were doing in miles  – luckily she had lived in London for a few years so knew the metric system. I told her we were holding a 5.20 pace.  She said “cool – we are going to finish in 5hours 25min if we can keep it up”. Wow – really. I hadn’t done the math, so if I could just keep this pace for another 10kms I will come in under 5hours 30mins. This was awesome news – kind of.  Anyway we chatted about where we were from, other races, etc etc….but for the most part it was a great mental distraction and I knew we had to keep that pace up.  After chatting for a while, we ran side by side for a long time in silence. It was comforting in a strange way.  We hit an aid station about 3kms out from the finish and she had to stop, she told me to go – that I should have my moment on the finish line alone.  What an amazing person, and to add to it, she had told me just before the aid station that she suffers from Lupus.  Geez this sport attracts some amazing people.  Anyway with the hard part over I focused on the finish and pushed my pace as much as I could.  2kms out my legs, knees and hamstrings where screaming at me – I didn’t listen.  After almost tripping over some random dude who cramped up 10 meters from the finish line (that’s got to suck) I finished in 5hours and 20mins.  41 minutes faster than Phuket only 6 months earlier.

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I was so happy to see Kaden and William waiting in the crowd.  The first thing William asked me was – so could you do that all again (i.e. do double the distance for a full Ironman) I said “no F%@ing way – I’m never doing an Ironman”.  We then waited for Amanda to come through – she did an amazing job and shaved almost and hour of her last time.  Wow.  I went to give her a big hug – guess what was the first thing she told me?  She said “that’s it Hon, I’m not doing this again”.  I laughed!

 

Fit Chicks do it again...

Fit Chicks do it again…

Funny…….it’s now been just over a week since the race…and we have both already picked our next races……how quickly you forget the pain and agony, but you can not forget that amazing feeling of personal accomplishment that comes with long course triathlon racing.  It’s addictive – and I love it.

Race Breakdown:

Swim 1.9kms :37.02 (PACE 1.55/100m)

Bike 90kms:   2.47.33 (PACE: 32.2kmh/20.05mph)

run 21kms:     1:50.33 (PACE: 5.15/k, 8.23/m)

Transitions: T1:    2.23           T2: 2.45

Finish Time:    5.20.16

Age Group Place 23rd/165

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“the crash”

A re-enactment of crash - I gave the peace signal that I was already for some reason

A re-enactment of crash – I gave the peace signal that I was already for some reason

 

I managed a smile in our post ride photo - little did I know that the helmet was cracked at the back and I was about to have 3 days of concussion...

I managed a smile in our post ride photo – little did I know that the helmet was cracked at the back and I was about to have 3 days of concussion…

So what the heck am I talking about. Well it kind of goes like this.

Girls decides to do a triathlon, doesn’t do particularly well but feels the coolest she has in years. Girl gets addicted to triathlon, buys all the gear along with a ridiculously expensive bike and colour coordinating kit and helmet. Girl signs up for a 70.3 after only doing 2 sprint triathlons. Girl does well. Girl gets an online coach and goes to Australia for 2 months – trains like a beast. Girl starts doing some races and gets on the podium twice. Girl gets cocky – thinks she’s awesome. Girl moves to the USA. Girl falls apart, gets injuries, falls off bike while stationary – and then has the biggest crash for absolutely no good reason – breaking favourite (and expensive) Fluro Pink Rudy Project Helmet and obtaining a concussion.

the devastation - no matching fluro pink helmet with my fitchick Amanda at Eagleman - it saved my head though

the devastation – no matching fluro pink helmet with my fitchick Amanda at Eagleman – it saved my head though

So is that the end of the story – no way.

After “the crash” I had to take 2 full days off training and maintain a pretty low heart rate for about a week to ensure that I was fully recovered from my mild concussion. I think this was the rest I was needing and I bounced back in to my training with enthusiasm and energy for the last 12 days. I have had some of the best session so far and am feeling quite good (considering). Wish I didn’t need to bang my head to get this outcome – oh well.

I now have just under 3 weeks till Eagleman 70.3. Realistically the likelihood of me showing up to that race as well conditioned and prepared as I was for Abu Dhabi International in March aren’t great. But I have luckily been able to test my mental toughness over the last 8 weeks, and with a few ups and downs I have managed to keep going and keep trying and to stay strong.

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It’s not the fall that defines you, it’s how well you recover and get back up from the falls and set-backs that we all face from time to time. I think this has been a great lesson that will only make my triathlon racing better. Hopefully next time I don’t need to hit my head quite that hard to realise when I need some rest and recovery time.

Keeping Tri’ing Chicks x

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Has triathlon saved me again?

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So I have now officially “moved” to Sherrills Ford in North Carolina!  It feels to me like I am in the middle of no-where, surrounded by cows, churches and a lake that seems to be everywhere you look.  The weather has been well below my likings – cold and rainy.  Something I have not experienced in over 13 years living in the Middle East, and experienced rarely in Australia.  Needless to say – I am not exactly over the moon with my change in location (not my idea – but that’s another story).  I started to feel like things were really unraveling in the first few days – a sense of dread and unhappiness was washing over me.  This change, combined with post race blues (after ADIT) and a full recovery week resulted in me being a pretty unhappy camper. I knew I needed to do something pretty quick to get back on track.

First attempt was to go for a run – well not sure if anyone else has experienced suburban America but it is not set up for pedestrian activities – after running around in circles for a while I decided to head home – frozen and feeling even less than excited about being here.    Second attempt was to go to the local YMCA in town.  I was already behind in my training so I  decided I would  do a little mini Triathlon but with a bike, run and then  swim.  The place was better than I expected and after 45mins on the bike and a good solid 30 mins on the treadmill I was feeling ready for a few kms in the pool.  I was starting to feel myself again, more optimistic, positive and…well happy.  I got changed and jumped in the pool and on one of my rests I got to chatting with the lady I was sharing the lane with. Turned out she is training for a her first triathlon in the summer, and had only been swimming for 2 months. I also noticed a very fit “chick” in the lane next me – an obvious Ironman finisher as I noticed her M dot bag and swim cap.  Things were looking even better – I was surrounded by my “people”.  On my next rest I then met the “fitchick” in the lane next to me – turns out she is the wife of a recently retired British Professional Triathlete ..whoah…Ok – so not only have I just had a 2 and half hour kick butt work out – that has my endorphins flowing, I then get to meet and chat with like minded people.  I feel better than I have in weeks – Triathlon – again has saved me from slumping in to the darkness.

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So it seems that for me, Triathlon (and all the training that goes with it) has given me an identity, and a common passion that allows me to connect with people. Not only that, it has given me direction and passion that allows me to connect with myself.  It gets me out of bed in the morning, it gets me to jump in the car and go looking for places to run and ride, places I would maybe normally not visit.  It keeps me moving and working, especially when you sign up for a race.  The best part is that it allows me to start-up conversations, meet and connect with people who without a triathlon connection I may not have gotten to know.  My point isn’t that triathlon specifically did this, it’s more that when you find something you truly love to do and you put your heart and soul in to it, even sometimes when maybe it’s hard or you start to lose interest, well this is where the magic is.

I know that it is going to take a while to find my way here, and that it’s not going to be as easy as it was in Abu Dhabi, and definitely not as easy as it was in Brisbane – but what I do know is that I am going to keep training and TRIing…..

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Abu Dhabi International Triathlon 2014 – When a dream becomes reality!

Saturday marked the 5th anniversary of the “glamourous” Abu Dhabi International Triathlon.  I was lucky enough to be one of the 2400 competitors this year, and took on the Short Course distance which consists of a 1.5km swim, 100km bike ride and 10km run.

One year ago this was my second triathlon and I did the sprint distance (750/50/5).  I remember seeing the competitors lined up for the short distance race and thinking to myself – I am going to do that next year.  That will be me.  As 2013 rolled on, my ambition grew stronger and my goal was not only to be there, but to attempt to finish in the top 10 women.  It seems that Triathlon brings out my ambitious side – and after only finishing 2 sprint distance races I signed up for the the Phuket Challenge half ironman distance and already had my eyes sharply set on ADIT short course for 2014.

On Saturday my dream become a reality as I finished 8th in the 30-39 womens age group and finished 3mins faster than my goal  – at 4 hours and 27 minutes.  Trust me though – this didn’t just happen by luck…it has been the amalgamation of fully dedicating myself to my training, completly changing my mindset, and keeping my nutrition as clean as possible.

So how did my race go.  Perfectly. Here is how it went:

1.  Swim – that’s what I did, with my everything

ADIT Swim

2.  Ride – yep – I did that to and I pushed those little legs to their maximum (there is still more room for improvement there though)

ADIT bike

3.  Run – yep I sure did….Although I have run faster 10km’s – under the hot conditions and after a 100km ride I was happy with my 5k/min pace.

ADIT Run leg

That’s it- shortest race report ever.

What really inspired me on Saturday was the amazing women that were their giving it their all. We are still so small in numbers compared to the male entrants – this was obvious on race morning when the men were sneaking in to the ladies bathrooms due the huge line up for the mens – we also had a transition tent that was about 1/4 of the size of theirs.  But..the ladies who were out there racing were pushing out some awesome times, showing guts, grit and mental strength that gives the boys a run for their money.

Keep pushing ladies –  because Fit Chicks Tri!

This race also marked the end of my time in Abu Dhabi and my final farewell to amazing group of people who have enriched my life considerably over the past year.  I hope to take everything you all have taught me, and bring to my new life in North Carolina. Any new group I join is going to have a lot to live up to – I know that much.

Move-Eat-Tri-Love

The FitChick  x

Do you have a theme song?

Do you have a song that you use for inspiration or one that gets you in the right frame of mind?

I had never really thought of it before – but during a fitness modelling program last year I was asked to pick a motivational song each week – mine was Titanium by David Guetta – every week!

Tonight while I was driving it came on the radio, and I know its the perfect song to get me pumped for the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon this weekend.

I’m bulletproof, nothing to lose, fire away…

What the heck is this Triathlon madness anyway? – Part 1

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So I have recently realised that not everyone actually knows what is involved in a Triathlon, or much about the sport in general.  It’s easy to forget when you are “in” to something that not EVERYONE knows what’s involved.  I thought I would write a series of posts that gives a general background on the sport and my take on why so many people are starting to take up triathlon and also include some of my personal tips and hints for newbies (i.e. all the things I learnt in my first 12 months in the sport)

Definition of a Triathlete (i.e.: one who competes in Triathlons)

Yeah - that sounds about right?

Yeah – that sounds about right?

So if you like the sounds of the above definition then read on!  No seriously triathlon  is basically a race that involves a swim leg, followed by a bike leg, followed by a run leg.  The point between the swim and the bike is call Transition 1 or T1, and from the bike to the run its called Transition 2 or T2.  So it goes SWIM-T1-BIKE-T2-RUN.  Triathlons come in varying distances but the traditional ones are:

1.SUPER SPRINT DISTANCE TRIATHLON:

350swim, 10km bike, 2.5 km swim – this distance is great for kids and nervous/just returning or starting fitness adults

2. SPRINT DISTANCE TRIATHLON:

750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run – great beginners distance triathlon (worth getting out of bed for)

3. STANDARD/OLYMPIC /5150 DISTANCE TRIATHLON:

1500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run – Great for starting to push the limits, perhaps after a few sprints. This is the standard distance of Triathlons at the Olympic games

4. HALF IRONMAN/70.3/HALF CHALLENGE  DISTANCE TRIATHLON

1900M swim, 90km bike ride, 21.12km run(half marathon) – so now we are getting serious.  This is the start of long course/endurance triathlons (and were the fun starts if you ask me). You need a minimum of 4 months really to train for this, less if you have a good level of fitness already and well skilled in each of the disciplines required.

5. IRONMAN/CHALLENGE TRIATHLON

3800M swim, 180km bike ride, 42.2km run (full marathon) – so this the big one.  This is what most people have on their bucket list due to the challenge and effort required to complete this distance.  you are looking at least 4-6 months of pretty intense and focused training before you should attempt this distance.

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Triathlon has a distance for all levels of fitness  and I highly recommend if you are remotely curious to give one a go.  They really are quite fun and give you a sense of accomplishment when you cross the finish line.  You don’t need anything particularly fancy for your first one, and many items can be hired (i.e. a wetsuit if required and even the bike).  Once you have tried it you can then decided if you want to make the invest in these items (and many others that are nice to haves).

To get started visit the following website that give you more information on the sport of triathlon :

http://triathlon.competitor.com

http://www.slowtwitch.com

http://eu.ironman.com/#axzz2vXjtwH5D

Watch out though – if you like it prepare to become ADDICTED.

PART II – What do I need to get started?