Sunday, March 19, 2017

Week 10 Are we there yet

 Keep On Running 
Steve Winwood and the Spencer Davis Group

More of Mount Street


After the five hour run on Sunday , I am thankful for the Labour Day Monday Holiday and late start.I ran at Reabolt hill doing an easy 8km run it was supposed to be 10km with 600m of elevation but just managed about 300 m.The legs felt tired but mentally I was tired

Tuesday , an easy day with an evening wind trainer session on Zwift riding 20km with 1 minute efforts at over 200 watts.

Wednesday , back at Mount street running 2 minutes up  and easy down for 60 minutes .I managed 13 repeats of Mount street (nearly to the top) for about400m of elevation I would expect and then coffee at the Mount Street Breakfast Bar .

Thursday Crossfit in the evening with 100 squats , 15 toes to bar , 30 GHD , 100 crunches , 70 hollow rocks  , then followed by 1 to 8 repeats of clean and jerks and snatches for a total of 36 repeats of each exercise .

Friday Stairs with the run pack and did 10 repeats of Jacobs Ladder and then coffee at Mount Street. Total distance was just 3km and 450m .Ran a slow 4km in the evening as well .

Saturday had a rest day as my daughter was graduating and so missed the CRT ride.

Sunday .Long run at Kings Park at 5.30am covering 4.5 hours . I ran and walked for 4hr 20 mins and managed 22.5km with 1250m of elevation including 12 repeats of the Kokoda Trail at 71meters and then 10 repeats of Mount street at 40m . The weather was nice and cool and so found it a lot more comfortable than last week.

This week slightly less running with about 43km and 2400m of elevation .

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Week 9

Its getting really hot in Perth and I still weigh 75 kgs although the weight fluctuates depending on when I weigh myself . But I have started to lose some fat and feel stronger . The amount of walking up hills and steps is a  lot more than last year.

I am running a lot slower as well


started with a slow 10km run which I took 78 mins to do so it was really slow.Irondog ran for 3kms with me.

Tuesday I missed cross fit but rode on the wind trainer doing a 15km ride on Zwift .

Wednesday it was back in Kings park running along Forrest and down to Stirling Hwy for as many repeats of a 2km  hill run I could get . Managed 10.5km in 80 mins .


Back to Cross fit with a hard session of various exercises over 40 minutes with 5 medicine ball squats after each exercise which included cleans , push press, snatches  ,crunches etc .

Morning start at Jacobs ladder with 30 minutes of climbing then 10 minutes of hills ( mount street ) and repeated that for about 4.2km in 70 minutes only. Saturday back with the CRT ride around the river .It was a hot day at 39C and a fast ride with 75 kms . Managed to sneak in the sprint finish at the end of the Stirling Highway section before heading back to Subiaco for coffee.

In the afternoon  crossfit did a 30 minutes session of 75 squats followed by 25 clean and jerks and bur pees and then 25 crunches followed by 20 of the same, 15, 10 and 5 before finishing with 75 squats.

On Sunday , longest run so far .I did a 4.50 mins run with the first 3 hours we ran along the river from Kings Park and back before I did 9 repeats of Kokoda and a few short runs along the paths in Kings Park for a total of 28kms and about 700 to 800 m of elevation and it was really hot at the end .Started at 5.30am and finished at 10.30am.

The weeks are progressing with about 50km in running (low by last years standards ) but with a lot more elevation .This week I hit about 1600m of elevation. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

UltraTrail Australia Week 5-8

Somebody Told Me -The Killers

A Walk in the Park

Sunday's run
Kings Park Every Sunday

The amount of vertical elevation is getting harder and it has been getting hotter.

The second month of training started to ramp up with still low mileage but more elevation .A different approach to last year's trainning. I have also not ben religious on the diet and have lost a little weight more notably around the waist but at 75kgs I am fairly stable but needing to get closer to 70 kg .

Week4 Jan 30th to 5 Feb

Matilda Bay run

Slow start with a 7.5km easy run .Just tired from Sunday .Was suppose to be a 12lm easy run .


Crossfit session


Hills run and ran from the office to Kings Park where I ran along the bike path ,Malcolm street  and Mount street  all with gradients varying between 5 to 8% and managed just 9km in 80 minutes of running in the heat .


skipped crossfit

Jacobs Ladder

Jacobs Ladder with 10 minute warm up then with the running pack did 30 minutes of stairs and 10 minutes running flat before returning and doing another 30 minutes . Managed 10 repeats of Jacobs Ladder which is 240 steps or 45 metres .Distance a miserly 4.5km


I was supposed to ride but slept in


Long run with 3.5 hours at Kings Park starting at 6.30am and we did a run for the first hour then repeats of Kokoda and Mount Street getting to about 1200m of elevation although the Garmin says 975m.Distance run 18.5kms only .

Week2  Feb 6 to 12

Pretty much the same with 15 km easy on Monday which I did along the river in the evening.
Then on Wednesday did the same hill repeats but in Kings Park running along May Drive for 11km on a gentler gradient and 200m of elevation .Friday Jacobs ladder again with about 5kmsof running on stairs and nearly 500m of elevation

Sunday 3.5 hours with only 15.5kms but managed 1200m of elevation and lots of repeats on Kokoda

Week 3 Feb13 to 19

Same routine as week 2 and on Sunday was a 4 hour session with 1400 m of elevation and only managed 16kms again with lots of Kokoda trail repeats and some at the DNA tower . I started late and ran by myself for the first hour .

Week 4 Feb 20 to 26

Monday was an easy 16 km run which I did in 2 hours slow. Wednesday hills with 80 or 4 x 20 mins with a rest between and 11km with 200m of elevation .Friday the stairs with 5 km and just 75 minutes with a break along the way.Did Jacobs for the first 30 mins and then ran Mount street for 40 minutes or really hiked up the hill for a distance of 5kms only and 500m of elevation.Saturday started riding again with CRT and did a 75km ride and managed to hang in with group 5 .Then in the afternoon a cross fit session at BorisFit.Sunday the long run but not so long this week with a 2 hour run at Reabolt and coffee at Georges after the run.

The first break in the programme with elevation being the key. I managed about 1500 to 2000m of elevation each week in the past few weeks .  It hopefully gets better because it doesn't get easier.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Ultra Trail Australia...the journey begins Weeks 1-4

My Support Crew

Back on Jacobs Ladder, Perth

Not a bad view

King's Park circa 2017

Its more than two months into the new year , new goals and not so new challenges. I have been slow and tardy in getting my thoughts together and blogging about the start of preparation for the next challenge . The Ultra trail Australia 100km run or NorthFace 100 .

I have had a few easy months off and the weight has come back on . Like me Irondog aka Molly has got lazy . The great challenge is to motivate and move and learn to improve.This race has been a challenge. Despite the best efforts and lots of run training it has thrown up lots of twist...last year the heat and the lack probably of elevation in the run programme made for legs that didn't quite have enough steam to get me through the last 20 kms . I made the cut off but just. This year hopefully with the vertical elevation done , I will get a PB .

The month of January is always the start for the last 3 years at least ,of run training for the ultra trail and with Perth's summer in full swing it is always a shock to the system.

Week 1

Monday 2 January started off with an easy 10.5km run on the flats going slow and taking 95 mins to do it . Tuesday 50 mins cross fit session . Wednesday first hill session at Mount Street with 15 min warm up and then 7 x 2 mins up Mount street and 2  mins recovery followed by 20 mins cool down
Thursday 45 min cross fit session just doing clean and jerks .
Friday Jacob's ladder with 3 x 10 min going up the stairs 2 at a time with 10 min warm up and cool down .Sunday 2 hour session  around Kings Park with trails and not as much vertical elevation.
Total distance 30 plus km .

Week 2

It starts to get harder . Monday an easy 10 km in 80 mins. Wednesday 7 x 3 mins hills with easy recovery and followed by 20 mins cool down . Friday Jacobs ladder with 3 x 12 min up the stairs with a warm up and cool down I managed only  4km . Sunday  2.5 hours with 500m of elevation. Did 8 repeats of Kokoda Trail , 8 repeats of the DNA Tower and One repeat of Mount street with a total of 10kms  In between the runs I rode on Thursday and Saturday and had cross fit on Saturday afternoon.

Week 3
Monday easy run 12.3km done in 100mins
Tuesday had a rest day
Wednesday warmup of 15 mins followed by 7 repeats of Mount street on for 2 mins up and then recovery of 30secs at the bottom and 30 min recovery .Total 65 mins
Thursday rested
Friday 85 mins at Jacobs Ladder with 9 climbs up Jacobs or 12 mins x 3 repeats and 90 secs recovery followed by 30 mins slow jog/recovery.
Saturday Did not ride
Sunday 15km in 3 hours around Kings Park with 5 climbs up Kokoda Trail and 6.5 climbs up Mount Street for an elevation of 685 metres (est)

Week 4

Monday easy run 12.3km done in 100mins again
Tuesday rode 17 km on the wind trainer
Wednesday warm up of 15 mins followed by 8 repeats of Mount street on for 2 mins up and then recovery of 90secs at the bottom and 15 min recovery .Total 65 mins and 7kms
Thursday wind trainer of Zwift with 27kms for 60 minutes.
Friday 90 mins at Jacobs Ladder with 12 climbs up Jacobs or 15 mins x 3 repeats and 90 secs recovery followed by 20 mins slow jog/recovery.
Saturday 70 km ride round the river and got dropped .
Sunday 15km in 3 hours around Kings Park with climbs up Kokoda Trail and climbs up Mount Street for an elevation of over 1000 metres (est)

A start to a 5 month training schedule .It only took me a year to forget how painful this race is.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

A sort of Race Report for 2016

Smelling the Roses

Have Faith

It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured. I realized, somehow, through the screaming in my mind, that even in that shackled, bloody helplessness, I was still free: free to hate the men who were torturing me, or to forgive them. It doesn't sound like much, I know. But in the flinch and bite of the chain, when its all you have got, that freedom is a universe of possibility. And the choice you make, between hating and forgiving,can become the story of your life."

The opening lines to my holiday read , Shantaram ( Man of God's peace) by Gregory David Roberts.
(A quote I took from the book ,Shantaram and referred to in my blog on this day back in 2010)

 Beyond Kona which was the whole purpose of  or at least the start of this Blog on triathlons , training , what next .Well after a bit of recovery it was on to finishing IMWA 2016 my 10th Ironman at Busselton .

This blog is more a brief summary of that race and an overview of the year of racing and the lessons I think I have come away with .No overwhelming truths and no real Eureka moments .

The IMWA was a lesson in how the mind is fundamentally critical in any endeavour .The desire to race was waining but having signed up last year as a requirement for the legacy programme I decided to atleast start and finish .No objectives other than hoping that I would be able to finish in a half decent time .I had a surprisingly good swim despite the lack of keeping up with the training .A 1.25 hr and on par with my swim at Kona with a wetsuit so I had lost a bit of speed .The ride was slowest ever and again my legs just did not work and then translated into a very slow run .No major issues with my nutrition although I struggled with the choices on the run and did not quite like the Endura on the aid stations but I did not carry any Tailwind for the run this year .

Something I will need to consider in future .I finished just under 14hrs and glad I did finish but it was by far ,keeping with the slow times this year , reflective of the dysfunctional way I trained and lacked the focus.. it is time now to recharge and really have a break and rebuild .Life is about accepting that nothing really runs to plan but also trying to learn from these experiences to be better in the future.The hardest skill in this day is the overwhelming amount of information at our disposal and what to take on board and what to ignore.Life is more complicated for that when it is necessary to de-clutter ones training and refocus on what is important.

What the year has taught me is more easily discernible in a not so great year results wise but overwhelminly I take the positives in everything I have experienced .Our lives by the nature of the world and the speed in which information and knowledge (both good and bad and true and untrue ) circulate in this 24 hour cycle of the Internet /electronic media world means that we have to be so much more diligent in cutting true the rubbish and being so much more disciplined.

Irondog with her Kona Finishers m

From my perspective only .What I learnt is both applicable to life as a triathlete and life in general .It is my take on all the lessons I have had to learn and will continue to learn .

1 Be Kind most of all to yourself. Life is far too short and at times hard , to punish yourself when things don't go to plan .Not an excuse for mediocrity but realism.If anything be kind because it is good for the soul and if you believe in karma it surely is the right thing to do for yourself and all around.


2 Focus and Desire are critical in making any goal work.Sometimes the hardest thing is taking a step back or accepting that life's desires change . The lack of desire and that inner strength to persevere is what makes the difference between a well executed plan and just going through the plan.

Terrence Bozzone ,me and Craig Alexander ,Kona 2016

3 Have a Plan and keep to it.Sticking to it means closing out all unnecessary information and opinions which is harder than you think in this Internet world. lots of great coaches and triathletes to follow but ultimately settle on one and stick with it .

4 following from 3 , once you have a plan then be consistent .Another hard one.My biggest failing this year has been the lack of consistency .


5 Sleep more.

6 Eat well and spend as much attention on food and recovery as you would on training . Everyone is different and don't ever diet .In anything a balance measured nutrition plan is always going to be the way to go.The Paleo diet I had at the beginning of the year wasn't really Paleo as I still had about 25percent of my food intake broadly as carbohydrates and I wasn't religious in my nutrition.
The low carb high fat diet

7 Play with your dog .Get a pet.It keeps the Heart rate low. if anything else you learn that there are more important things in life than swim,bike and run.

Underpants run Kona 2016 Having Fun

8 Sometimes just learning to breathe and shutting out the world is a good thing .Meditate .very hard in this frenetic hypoglycemic world.

The list is not a complete panacea for everything ,stress is a real part of life and there is stress I can control and stress that I can't . Just roll with the punches . Heres hoping for a more productive 2017 but everyday Iam just thankful for being able to swim bike run and play with my dog.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Ironman World Championships 2016 Race Report

Kona : Adventures in Disneyland with Super Grannies

One of the Bill Boards on Ali'i Drive on the History of the Race
Anna , Carrie , Dave Scott , myself and Mark Allen at the Legacy Reception

The race is done . Finished in 14.59 and probably my slowest bike time ever .Not the fastest and certainly not my best but I finished and more importantly I enjoyed the experience. The build to Ironman had been difficult with the cold and wet winter and the flu but I think overall I had as good a prep but the legs were just not as battled hardened for the tough conditions of Kona and I knew that. After 14 races the spirit to put in the volume needed particularly in winter was  hard and my motivation despite it being Kona a little thin. I am glad I had no expectation for a target time .It would have been deeply disappointing otherwise and with only one chance it was far better to go out and enjoy the event as best I could and remain relaxed and focused on just competing and finishing. Actually Kona surprisingly was one of the most relaxed races I ever had .I actually slept well the night before the race and despite some soreness I felt pretty good the day after which probably had more to do with the fact that I did not really push as hard.

What I take with me are good memories of the race and the taper week and Hawaii. I arrived with my wife and son on the 25 September a good 13 days before the race with the intention of acclimatizing to the heat and humidity.The first 6 days were spent in Honolulu and I ran or swam everyday and felt a lot better at the end of the week in the heat.

The week before the race was spent in Kona and it being my first trip to Kona I got down to  Alii drive and had a good run around the town on the first day. I actually did a 16 km run ..On Sunday I rode the great Queen K or at least past the airport and back .There was wind but nothing I could not handle. The legs felt good. There were lots of athletes  riding the Queen K  and they were all fast. For the  week I enjoyed the Expo , the 2XU talk with Anja Beranek, Craig Alexander and Terrence Bozzone imparting words of wisdom about racing Kona. As a legacy participant it really didn't matter but one piece of advice was simply as a first timer don't have any expectations. Kona is tough. Attending the Legacy reception and pictures with Mark Allen, Dave Scott and Julie Moss the highlight .

As it turns out the weather was not as bad but I found the winds hard and my legs were pretty dead for the bike . My output through the bike leg was pretty low and whilst it was windy I think I just did not perform as well as I would have expected . I did take a lot more salt directly and in the nutrition and had no issues of cramping and no gut issues fortunately.I found the climb to Hawi difficult even though it was not steep but more rolling and whilst there were gusts of winds they were manageable.

The return  was just as hard and made tolerable with the beauty of the course , the black lava fields and the green layered mountain with the peak hidden by clouds and on the other side the ocean with the white tops as the wind blew . I was passed by loads of riders and many much older participants but it being a world championship and there is no shame in that.

The great memories will be the swim course and the stretch starting from the pier out to the bay .The water wasn't crystal clear but there were lots of fish and the water was warm . The fast sleek bodies torpedoing past  me , the coffee from the coffee boat anchored on the swim course and the hundreds of triathletes parading each morning around the town , Alii drive and Digme Beach of course.

I will remember the long queues for body marking , getting into the water and taking the time to look around me before the start. It was a race where I strangely had no nerves. I started from the left and managed to find feet quickly .the odds were that anyone I stuck to was faster than me and after about 800m I jumped on to another swimmers feet and remained with that swimmer till the end .After about 300 to 500 meters after the turnaround the lead age group women passed us and I came out of the swim at 1.24 hr which was a great swim for me .

Memories on the course  :
The blind triathlete and guide climbing towards Hawi as I head back and Agar and his son in a specially made cart climbing that same stretch , unfortunately failing to make the cut off.
My very first puncture a km from leaving T1 .A real shock but I just knuckled down and changed it and the fix lasted 180kms . The big bunches of bikes on the Queen K returning to Kona with no Marshall in sight . They were probably monitoring the pros closely. The strange episode of 3 aid stations after Hawi running out of water completely stuffing up my nutrition plan as I had no water to dilute my tailwind concentrate. I turned to taking some Gatorade with concentrated tailwind for the next 20 miles and whilst the gut did not collapse it wasn't great.

As I get back into town in the late afternoon , triathletes are finishing and I am just starting the run. Its here that everyone digs deep , the back end of the race is where I like to think the backbone of the sport lies , we are the ones that make the elites look even better  .There is no first in a race of one but there is a first in a race of many . Here the atmosphere is more lets enjoy the suffering together ,we are not competing we are helping each other finish. There is time to exchange words of encouragement and cheer each other on.  The crowd is still around Ali'i drive and the first 16km is in town before swinging out onto Queen K and the famed Energy lab. By now it is dark and I have my own small head lamp . There are fewer triathletes on the course and it takes a quiet slow death march feel. At the start the music is blaring and then it is quiet and then as I approach another aid station there is activity and music. The Cliff Bar camp were stationed at the turnaround at the Energy lab and after that it was another 8 miles or 14 kms to the finish line . Throughout the race I was taking salt over and above the salt in the tailwind. I had managed to drink the Gatorade every other station and take some tailwind till the 20km mark before moving onto the coke. By the end of 15 miles I was also having some chicken soup which made a change. The pace was slow but steady .I ran and only walked the aid stations. Still was one of the slower runs but surprisingly , the legs were not hurting just dead.
The last stretch winds through the town before hitting  Ali'i drive and the stands built along the drive for the finish .After 42 kms I did have a cramp but a minute of stretching sorts that out .The course is nothing fancy other than that history of 35 years on the big island. My son Jonathan catches me  200m before the end . His first words are, "Dad do you know how many Grannies have passed you" . But they are super Grannies. After all it is the best in the world. For the many finishing hours earlier it is a passion and a life of tireless hours of training and probably some talent in endurance sports for which I have none . I understand the devotion it takes to reach such a pinnacle in the sport and to get to Kona. There are those who are repeat offenders because they can .For many it was hard work and single minded desire and some talent. For us mere mortals it is the enjoyable experience of a lifetime it was meant to be and the philosophy of Commander John Collins to allow a small group of “average” triathletes to compete in Kona..

Terrence Bozzone Myself and Craig Alexander

As Craig Alexander in the 2XU talk said Kona is like Disneyland for triathletes and he is correct .The best in the world in Endurance triathlon sport is here , the major sponsors the elite professionals Triathletes  and some serious age groupers  For me it did feel  like Disneyland ..

A more comprehensive race report by others are:

Turia Pitt : Kona becomes reality

Beau Waters Ironman: If you tip over the edge there’s no coming back

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Ironman Hawaii Preparation

On the famous Queen K

On the Queen K

The Participants List

A Tough Road

The last week before the big Dance at Kona .I have no expectations because after 14 ironman races I know what it takes and unfortunately I haven't put in the work.As I had  drinks with the other legacy participants it takes a special person to win a slot and tons of focussed almost OCD mentality plus possibly some talent .All I don't have in spades and more than I can commit. The desire and the mental strength to race and win is critical.But having said that it is good to be prepared and to know what is doable and to enjoy the journey which I have .Being here is great.

The final piece is to get the nutrition and mental frame sorted.

This is mine:

Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose
         Star Wars YODA
Preparation’ is vital for running ultras. Physical health, nutrition, water, feet, support, weather, mental health and focus are all essential, but the fine line in racing, leading to dictate a DNF after your name or not, is what you do when your ‘preparation’ doesn’t go to plan. After all, even the best ultra race plans won’t go exactly to plan, that’s why we love them.

Matt Cooper
Preparation for any ultra race is about putting together many facets that will ultimately come together on Race day. There is the physical training and that is important. The logistics of getting to the race , getting the equipment/gear together and the necessary gear ,food and nutrition. What we most often spend the least time on is the mental preparation .

What is great about such races is the challenge .There is no doubt about that . What makes it interesting is to be able to test the plan and hopefully pull it off on race day. The article by Matt Cooper called the The mental side of Running is a good start. It is important not as he says when everything is going well but when it is not . When it all doesn't go to plan . The negative thoughts pile in and its easier to give up then go on.As Chris McCormack says in Ironman racing we have to Embrace the Suck because at some stage everything will hurt and thats when you have to find your happy place. (see my blog piece My Happy Place )

Chrissie Wellington provided some advice in a piece called 10 tips from the Worlds Top Female triathlete She said :
It amazes me how little time people spend on mental training. 30K into a marathon on race day is too late to figure out that you need to train your brain. There are many different tools you can use. Have a bank of positive images and songs. It doesn’t have to be related to sport at all. That way, when the going gets tough—and it will get tough—you can draw on those images and have peace of mind.”

She suggested having a mantra or two. Finding a happy place and not allowing the mind to wander or to be filled with negativity .That is the slippery slide to the DNF . Our mind is our most powerful tool and can be used to overcome all difficulties and equally is the most vulnerable link in bringing the whole game down. Chrissie Wellington used  Rudyard Kipling’s If.  
It encapsulates everything you need to do to be a good athlete, especially the mental side of the game. ‘If you can keep your head when all about you/Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;/If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,/But make allowance for their doubting too…’
There are many more great words/thoughts or visions to race by and to use as a mantra/a focus when times get hard . Just think of that Happy Place.

At the Legacy Reception ,kona 5 ocotober 2016 with the legends Mark Allen and Dave Scott

At 2XU talk.Terrence Bozzone and Craig Alexander

These are from my previous blog in preparation for a race but it was comforting hearing the same thoughts being repeated first by Craig Alexander , terrence Bozzone and Anja Beranek at the 2XU talk in kona on5 October 2016 and again by Julie Mossand Dave Scott at the legacy reception. Its knowing that it is going to be tough and being prepared forthe challenge ,not shying away and keeping to the plan as best as possible and breaking it up into segments. if Ironman teaches you anything  , it is their motto Anything is possible and you eat an Elephant one bite at a time.

The Nutrition Plan For IM

AM : Breakfast Toast jam coffee
          Bidon Tailwind 200calories/ 50gms carbohydrates .
          Before swim a cliff bar and  water sip throughout before the start

           Water as going thru transition
           Start nutrition regime on bike
           Bidon of concentrated tailwind 2 scoops per hour for 7 or 14 scoops = 200 calories
           per hour     Add every hour to Aero bottle and dilute
           down with water from aid station .One bidon every aid station
           Salt 300mg per scoop so 600mg per hr plus extra salt to make about
          1000mg  per  should  be    about right . In case it is warmer have added
           salt tablets available May add 600mg to make it up to 1000mg per hr
           Also take on cliff bars and whatever is on Aid station for something different on the bike.
           (I have eaten everything on the aid stations before )

           Off Bike/Run
           Carry 2 flask of  tailwind powder to make a concentrate at first chance and again   
           taking bars on the run course (cliff) and  electrolyte (endurance ) plus water at
           aid stations  to make up about 200-300 calories per hour plus food on the aid stations to make
           up another 100 calories .I usually aleternate electrolytes and water but given the heat will be
           drinking a lot more . Finally if I can mange it only taking Coke at 20km point if  I can hold  
           out till then.