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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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Tomahawk Triathlon, Waxhaw, NC Race Report

Geez, life has been crazy since I got to the US of A.  I don’t know if it’s my own lack of time management or all the cleaning I now have to do…but the days just seem to be flying by.  So that’s my excuse for not posting in a while and being so slow to post about my 2 most recent races, the Tomahawk Triathlon in South Charlotte, NC, and Eagleman Ironman 70.3 in Cambridge, Maryland.  So get comfortable and ready..here we go for the 1st of 2 race reports!

Tomahawk Triathlon 31st May 2014.

Ok so 2 days before this race I realised how absolutely ridiculous it was that I was doing a race 1 week out from a 70.3 and 2 days before I was to make a solo 650km trip to the Nations Capital on my own.  It was one of those late night spontaneous registrations and the medal looked so cool.

Never mind, I would have my TriSherpa (hubby) with me to help me drive there and provide moral support…mmmm..except the night before he informs me he has to work..oh great!  Then it started raining.  Awesome. I was so close to pulling out, but I didn’t.  These are the moments where I know the sport is going to teach me something, or give me a new opportunity.   So I packed up the car, set the alarm for 4:15am and went to bed.  Up I got the next morning, it was still raining and only relying on my car navigation off I headed in to the darkness for Cane Creek Park, Waxhaw, North Carolina!

It actually was pretty easy to find – however I was feeling a little dubious as I pulled in to the carpark through a thick layer of fog and light drizzle.  No-one else seemed to worried so I just did my thing and got ready to register and rack my bike. I felt unusually calm…With only the obligatory toilet stop left I went to line up for the time trial swim start.  Thankful to see a few familiar faces as well – it was a relatively calm start.

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The time trial fashion meant for pretty easy swimming – and before I knew it the 1km was over and I was finished and running up towards my bike.  There was still a light drizzle, but by this stage of a triathlon I’m usually not concerned by things anymore – just focused.  I jumped on the bike and my legs felt like lead, seriously they were so damn heavy, it took about 10kms for them to relax, the next 20kms where pretty good and the rolling hills were great.  Off the bike, and I start running – same feeling, heavy legs.  I knew it was a trail run, but didn’t realise it was going to be a slightly hilly, and wet trail run.  Ouch – the legs where still a bit heavy but I ran on.  It really was a beautiful run along the lake and I made sure I took the time to take in the scenery.  Few more turns and there was the finish line..always a pleasant sight no matter how long the race is.

Due to the time trial start I had no idea where I had placed, only one woman passed me on the bike (she had her name on her tri suit – a sure sign of being good!)…they had an awesome electronic timing system set up which allowed you to type in your number and get a ticket with your splits and place as soon as you finished.  My time wasn’t great compared to my previous race of this distance – but the conditions where very different. At that stage I was first in my age group – but I thought I would give it another 20mins or so before getting too excited in case someone came in behind me but with a faster time.  I packed everything up and came back for the awards ceremony – still 1st in my age group and tied for 4th overall.  Wow – this was very reassuring and a great feeling.  I was still improving even after all the drama of the last 3 months.

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I have to thank a lot of people who got me through these last 3 months.  Firstly my Mum and Dad for helping me out when I first got here and running around town with me to the pool, and gyms, then the crew at Precision Fitness for putting me back together when I almost broke (twice), my coach  Liam Bromilow for constantly adapting my training program to address my new surroundings, timings and dramas, and always making me laugh when I usually wanted to cry, to a lucky chance meeting at the Lowes YMCA Pool with the Triathlon Godess Tonya Allen, who took me riding, picked me up when I fell down (literally – twice)  and is inspiring me towards reaching my Ironman dreams – and lastly to my Hubby who doesn’t really get why I am doing this, but still puts up with all this stuff, and believes in me!

My 1st place also got me qualification to the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships in Milwaukee on the 9th of August – now to decide whether I go or not (really matter of budget and logistics). Seems like something I should do – who would have thought I would be qualified for USAT National championships??!!

I thoroughly enjoyed this race and yes – the medal was totally worth it.  So glad I went – sometimes the things that seem hard, turn out to be amazing opportunities and experiences…

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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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Work out of the week!

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So I’ve decided to share one of my favourite workouts with you each week while I am training for Eagleman 70.3 which is on the 8th of June.  This week’s workout is courtesy of Liam Bromilow, Head Coach and Owner of T3 Coaching who I am currently lucky enough to have coaching me for my next race and hopefully beyond.  Check T3 Coaching out  here http://www.t3coaching.com.au for personalised coaching  to get you to your goal.

Workout of the Week 

TYPE: Strength Bike Session   – (on a wind trainer)

DURATION:  1 hour

Warm up with:

5.00mins @ 90rpm

5.00mins @ 100rpm

5.000mins @ 110rpm

Main Set:

4.30 mins big gear slow cadence (60rpm)

3.00 mins mid range gear fast cadence (90+rpm)

2.30 rest (soft gear)

REPEAT 4 times (you will feel it on the last one trust me)

5.00 mins cool down

ENJOY – I know I did!

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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?

The walk of shame

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Last week I was lucky enough to catch up with some great old friends and enjoyed a few days of eating more relaxed and a few days with limited and less intense training.  This resulted in me feeling pretty sluggish come Saturday morning.  I got up anyway and started off on my scheduled long run.  I thought that the sluggish feeling would pass once I got warmed up and I would settle in to my run.  I managed to complete about 3kms before I started to feel really awful and my stomach was about to turn up-side down. After a quick toilet stop I really didn’t have any desire to keep running – so I decided to walk.  Yes you read right, I decided that I would just walk out the rest of my session.

What’s the problem you might be asking.  Well you see, I haven’t walked in a very long time – unless it’s along a beach or in a shopping mall. When I am training – I run.  I don’t walk, if I get tired I just run slower, I don’t walk.  So here I was walking, and I don’t know if it was in my head, or if it was real, but immediately I felt different.  I was more distracted, looking around more and noticing my surrounding, but most interesting was that I noticed no-one really looked at me like they do when I am running.  A few runners came towards me, there was no nod of understanding or approval, I even felt that other walkers weren’t paying me too much attention. I started to feel self-conscious and uncomfortable.

What the heck was happening.

I walked for about another 20minutes feeling like this the whole time, I just wanted to go home. I didn’t feel like I was doing anything and my cool factor was at an all time low.  I started to feel a bit better and decided to run the last 25 minutes, immediately I turned a corner in the path and there was an oncoming runner, he gave me the “nod of understanding” and I knew I was back in the cool gang.  I got home feeling a bit off and disappointed with myself.  I felt like I wasted a training session, and I also felt bad about feeling bad for walking.  A doubled edged sword.

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I guess I just had one of those moments where I was being way to hard on myself…but hey come on, I’m not alone right?  I think in particular women are extremely hard on themselves and often when things don’t go completely to plan or as we expected we are left feeling not good enough.  After my “not so perfect” training run I felt that nasty little feeling deep inside called “self-doubt”.  You know the one that says things like, “why are you doing this – you’re never going to win anything anyway” or “you’re training a lot but not really improving, you just must not be one of those people who can’t be really good at sport”.  It says a lot of other nasty things too but I don’t really want to go there.

Luckily over the years I have become a lot more connected with my thought processes and reactions to situations. I immediately recognised that I still have a few issues with not feeling good enough or meeting my own or other people s expectations.  I know this is ridiculous, but it’s true.  We do it often when we compare ourselves with others, and social media such as Facebook that only show the “highlight reels” of peoples lives make you believe that all your friends are living theses amazingly  fantastic  and perfect lives- but there is always a back story.  So in the usual way of the universe the next day I stumbled across a blog that suggests 7 things to remember when you are feeling not good enough.  Here they are:

1. The people you compare yourself to compare themselves to other people

2. Your mind can be a very convincing liar

3. There is more right with you than wrong with you

4.  You need love the most, when you feel you deserve it the least

5.  You have to fully accept and make peace with the “now” before you can reach and feel satisfied with the “later”

6. Focus on progress rather than perfection and on how far you have come rather than how far you have left to go

7. You can’t hate your way into loving yourself.

The last one is my favourite.

The full blog please click here http://www.trulymind.com/7-things-to-remember-when-you-think-youre-not-good-enough-2/

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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…

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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

A smile changes everything..it can change the world….