Category Archives: Swim

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..

 

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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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

tri sports pic

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.

louisville medals

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?

TRI Yas Abu Dhabi 2014 – Race Report

Race:  TriYAs

Date:  28th February 2014

Distance:  Olympic (1500/39km/10km)

Fit Chicks at Tri Yas

Fit Chicks at Tri Yas

ONEndurance Team pre race

ONEndurance Team pre race

As I expected it was an awesome day of racing and the atmosphere was fantastic. I had a great race with no major issues, but did make one error on the bike that could have, but luckily didn’t, cost me too much!

The Swim

1.5km in the Yas Marina with a double loop.  The swim was fine and with a wetsuit on I felt pretty strong.  As I haven’t been training with a wetsuit for almost a year I did get a bit claustrophobic at the start and for about the first 500meters.  I managed to get away from the large group and had my own space from about 750m and this helped me relax and focus on my technique and breathing.  I felt pretty good coming out of the water. My goal was between  25-30 minutes and when I looked down on the swim exit I was right on 25 minutes which was great.

The Bike

Smooth transition on to the bike.  TRI Yas Olympic is 8 loops of the F1 Circuit and the course was supposed to be 39kms.  I put my head down and was maintaining a pretty good speed, taking advantage of the corkscrew and back straight.  I was keeping count of laps as I wanted to make sure I took some nutrition in on my 4th lap.  For some reason though, after the 4th lap I stopped counting.  I was then only able to rely on my Garmin GPS for how far I had gone.  I looked down on what was my 7th lap and saw 36kms very close to the bike exit.  I thought to myself “that can’t be right” the course is 39kms – I must have to do another lap.  So off I went on another loop. When I got to the top of the hill I saw one of the ladies from my age group already running – mmm, that doesn’t seem right – was I really that slow on the bike?  Either way I pushed out the last lap and flew in to T2 and didn’t think about it again.

I'm flying right?

I’m flying right?

The Run

I was off  the bike smoothly and my legs felt pretty good.  I took it fairly easy for the first 1km then changed up gears.  My pace was good and I felt really strong so I decided to push as far as I could without jeopardising my technique.  This allowed me to overtake about 4 women (and a few men as well).  I held pace and form for the whole run and crossed line feeling like I had really given my all. I heard the announcer say I was the 8th women across the line and I was pretty happy with that!

It was then great to watch the rest of the ONEndurance team cross the line and to celebrate their racing.  It wasn’t until we started discussing times that I realised everyone else had much faster bike splits than me – and the course was only 37km on the Garmin – not 39km.  My distance was 41km and I realised that I had done a 9th lap. I was so angry at myself – I tried not to get too upset about it, but it was really disappointing  and worst of all I was sure that it had cost me a place.  I snuck off to the bathrooms to get changed and have some alone time – I didn’t want my bad/sulky mood to ruin anyones celebrations. I had a quick chat with myself – i.e. – I told myself to get over it – and went back out to the finish line.

We decided to stay and watch the award ceremony, where another member of our team won his age group.  You can not believe my surprise then when I heard my name called out for 2nd place in the Women’s 31-40 Category.  I don’t think anyone else was expecting that either (given my little error)  – so it was a surprise for me and the whole team!  I was so happy to have placed, as part of my disappointment was that I let people down – especially those that have supported my journey over the last year!  I am so glad I was able to make them proud! Then just when I thought the evening couldn’t get any better Omar Nour came to greet me as I left the stage – my goodness life is great right now!

Tri Yas Award ceremony 2nd place 31-40 age group me and Omar Nour tri Yas onendurance winnings

Final results:

Finish Time:  2.32.19 (without the 2nd loop 2.24ish)

Swim:  25.14

Bike:     1.14.45

Run:       46.56

Learning to train on my own

So I am now back in Australia, unemployed and basically kind of homeless (living out of a suitcase until the end of March 2014 anyway).  I had these visions of what I would do with all the time I would have once I was not working and how I would be able to jump out of bed everyday and train whenever I wanted and I would be so fit, and feeling so great.  Well..it’s turned out to be not quite as easy as I had imagined.

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I am very lucky as my family are being super supportive and encouraging  and helping me to train everyday. I have a 25m pool less than 2km from the house, access to unlimited bike and running tracks, and a huge number of gyms to choose from in the area. I have been doing all my training sessions and putting in the hours (well ok I may have missed a few), but something is different, for the first time since I started this journey  I am doing all of this alone.  No-one to meet up with, no scheduled training sessions with a group waiting for me,  no smiles or hi’s (or hugs) from familiar faces out on the tracks, no compliments on a good session, or support for my improvements and no-one to benchmark against  – except myself.

I am having to push through every session alone with only my own voice, and the aches and pains seem worse, every training session seems harder and longer than I remember.  I even started to ask myself what am I  doing this for, what’s the point, and my times seem slower, my body weaker? I have realised that I had come to enjoy my new-found passion through training with others, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but at the same time perhaps I was doing this sport not because I really loved it, but because it was a chance to be accepted by a group of people and because it made me interesting to some others.  When you take that away, you have to really ask yourself if this is really what you want to be doing, and what is your real goal.

Weird I know - but if you know me - you'll get it!

Weird I know – but if you know me – you’ll get it!

Well I have been thinking about it long and hard, and I’m doing all this training and racing because I believe it is making me a better person.  Triathlon makes me feel strong, in control, capable, confident.  Everything I put in to it, I get back in full – it never lies.  It has also taught me to be more relaxed about the little things, to pace myself, maintain a strong composure at all times and be in the present moment.  I absolutely love training with others, particularly those who know me, and have been with me on this journey since the beginning – but most importantly now I need to know that I can do this alone – that I can self-motivate.

I guess deep down I knew this was coming, and hence why I signed up for the Eagleman Ironman 70.3 in Cambridge MD in June of this year.  The momentum towards that race will keep me going, while I learn to adjust to training without my motivators of the last year.  For now I just need to get through this period of change and adjustment – and hopefully on the other side I will be a better athlete and an even better person. Between now and June I will be thinking long and hard about my next goal – stay tuned, it’s sure to be a  big one…

Quotation-Stephen-Richards-success-power-people-money-motivational-self-improvement-self-help-wealth-Meetville-Quotes-17649

Road to Phuket – when it rains it pours – 4 weeks till race day

when it rains it poursSo tonight in 4 weeks time I will have checked in my bike, packed my transition bags and be eating my last meal before my first half long distance triathlon. I hope I am not feeling like I do today. I feel like someone has taken all of the energy out of my body and sapped me clean of the excitement I have been carrying since I embarked on this journey 9 months ago.

You see naturally under ‘Murphy’s law’ and the idiom “when it rains it pours’, I seem to have a few things all happening simultaneously that I am absolutely certain are increasing my stress index scores. Here is what I have going on in the next 4 weeks:

  • resigning and leaving my job of 3 years
  • preparing to move out of my house of 3 years and moving to a serviced apartment
  • preparing to leave a country I have been a resident of for almost 13 years
  • selling my car; and if my calculations are right,
  • approximately 40 hours of triathlon training; and last but most importantly,
  • leaving behind an amazing group of friends, the majority of whom I only found after 12 years of being here and I have Triathlon to thank for leading me to them.

Great. I guess they say that “things are meant to test you” and “you don’t get anything you can’t handle”, blah, blah blah. I actually would have just liked to have had some stability whilst attempting the biggest physical test of my life, is that really too much to ask for?

Anyway I am being rather dramatic and I know that everything will work out and be fine – and yes what can go wrong may and inevitably will go wrong, nothing I can really do about it. I think I may have willed this when I said I wanted to learn how to better control my nerves and stress levels in times of pressure.

One thing I have noticed though is a correlating fatigue, I put it down to the increase in training, however no-one else seems to be feeling quite as “dead” as I am after our training sessions at the moment. I definitely think that major life changes and the underlying subconscious stress that they cause, effect your physical fitness and ability to recover. I am starting to have a growing interest in sports psychology, something I may pursue in the hiatus I will have while waiting for a green card in the US. The longer I am on the planet, the more I am realising the power of the human mind, and its impact on the body.

If I find any answers I promise to share them, but in the mean time…..

keep-calm-and-run-your-race

Road to Phuket – Learning to Endure

INS594ThisTooShallPass [Converted]Today is the end of 10 weeks of training, and less than 6 weeks until race day.  This 4 week block of training is called “Learning to endure”, and that is certainly what this week was all about.  

I had a HUGE week and covered 222 Kms, over 12 hours and burnt a whopping 6,500 calories (just to give some perspective – that equates to 4 and half McDonald’s Big Mac meals – that’s scary) .

I had some really challenging yet satisfying sessions this week. In particular was the long ride on Friday morning.  It went something like this – 100 km’s of awesomeness…..Everyone was so in the zone though that we didn’t take any pictures of this momentous session. We had some funny  and great moments over our 3 and half hours of riding;

  1. all 3 ladies on the ride peeing behind the red and white barriers at the end of the 1st loop – a first!
  2. the secret cafe – where Jorge did his weekly shopping and then continued to eat a whole packet of biscuits using his aero bars as a snack bar
  3. Allan having to stop to pee, then had to wait for the support car (driven by my husband with our 4-year-old in the back) as my son had to pee in the bushes as well – another first.
  4. and last but not least – the whole group maintaining a 30km/hr speed over 90- with a nice cool down over the last 10 back to the car – another first

Everyone else was wise enough to hit the road – however a few of us crazies had a 40 minute run to do after the ride – that almost broke me. By friday afternoon I was a drooling mess on the couch.  I still had an hour and half run to do the next morning followed by a 3km swim. Eek…I managed it though – but the run was very tough.  I had to dig deep to keep going as I wanted to stop from about 10 minutes in…never a good sign.

So this brings me to the point about enduring and what keeps me going. It’s not overly complicated.  As soon as I feel like I want to stop, or I feel tired, or something starts hurting – I travel to that place in my body and I send my energy there.  This is going to sound deep – but it’s what I do, honest – I then try to collectively think of all the people who are suffering every day, from people close to me, to people I don’t know and have never met. I take this pain and  I think about it – and I compare it to what I am feeling at that moment and I realise it is nothing.  I realise that I am very lucky to be doing what I am doing – there are many who can’t.  Then what I am feeling eases (it never fully disappears) but it goes away enough for me to keep going.  Then I reach the end of my training session and I feel a sense of relief and accomplishment. I always remember very clearly the chapter from Eckhart Tolles’ book “A New Earth” where he describes how every thought, feeling and situation (good and bad) in our life is temporary – it is summed up by the quote “this too shall pass...”

Endurance: It is the spirit which can bear things, not simply with resignation, but with blazing hope. It is the quality which keeps a man on his feet with his face to the wind. It is the virtue which can transmute the hardest trial into glory because beyond the pain it sees the goal.” 
― AnonymousCome Be My Follower