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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.

Drink-Safe-Drinking-Water-with-Right-Water-Bottles

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.

Runner treadmill ILLUS.jpg

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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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

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?

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

Road to Phuket – end of week 9….is it time to race naked?

swim start jebel ali tri

Today marks the end of 9 weeks of focused training for my first half Ironman distance Triathlon in Phuket Thailand.

The week didn’t start that well as I came down with another case of sinusitis at the end of week 8.  I ended up taking  2 days off from training and this was mentally really hard, but I am glad I did, as I was able to start feeling better by Tuesday.  I  trained quite a few less hours this week as I had my first two races for the season.  Friday was the Zayed Sports City 10km run, and Saturday the Roy Nasr Memorial – Jebel Ali Sprint Triathlon.  I also had my son’s 4th birthday party in between and I think this was more exhausting than the two races combined!

My goal for Friday’s run was to see how my training has paid off, run for feel and try and stay sub 5min/km for the whole run and hopefully break the 50min/10km mark.  I felt amazingly fresh and strong on the run, and was able to finish without pushing myself too much in 48.22. coming 7th in my age group.  Pretty big improvement from my last run, so run training is paying off. GOAL ACHIEVED.

For Saturday’s triathlon my focus was more on controlling my nerves, staying calm and staying in the moment.  My nerves where great and in fact I felt a little too relaxed for the  first time ever!  Swim was good, although I lost my goggles on the second loop when I dived back in the water (just swam out a bit and re-adjusted but my eyes where stinging – adrenaline kept me going though).  I came out of the water in 5th place in the women, and had a good transition on to the bike.  Legs were pretty heavy on the bike – not sure if it was from the run the day before or the 400m run from the swim to the transition, but they just wouldn’t relax and I really had to use my gears a lot to keep cadence.  Naturally at around 15km they loosened up – but that was a bit too late as it was now  time for the run.  The run in the past for me has been pretty painful and slow.  All the interval and brick training has paid off though – as I managed a sub 5 min/km on the run and finished in 24mins.  So over all time was 1.22, I got 6th place in the women and was around 5mins off the winner.  I am pretty happy as  I did feel like on the bike and run I was holding back a bit – mainly cause I still don’t know my own limits.  

This is something I need to work on  – I am starting to get a desire to get up on that podium at one of these races, and if I want to do that I am going to need to race like I want to win.  I am going to need to stop holding back and just lay it all out there – what’s the worst that can happen?  I don’t win?  I have to slow down?  I have to stop? These aren’t very good reasons because if this was the case I would never have taken this sport up in the first place.  It’s time to race metaphorically “naked” – put everything I have out there, see how far I can push myself and cross the finish line with nothing left in the tank……….This is my next big challenge…..before the big one on the 1st of December of course……

The beast looking good - race ready

The beast looking good – race ready

Feeling good on the ride - but not till 15km into the race

Feeling good on the ride – but not till 15km into the race