Thursday, October 29, 2009


Monday, October 26, 2009

Part of the members of North Coast Tri Club participating at the World Long Course Championship

World Long Course Race Report

What Can I say .It was a great race but very mixed feelings regarding the results.I finished in 5hrs 58 mins and 56th in my age group of 59 .
I think the results just show how poor a swimmer I am particularly when there is some chop in the water .The river was fine but the winds were strong and they were blowinghard onthe river and causing some swell headon.It was a great experience being part of the World Championships and I enjoyed the race just not the result.

I had a tough week not so much on training but noticably after Saturdays ride my output on Tuesday was surprisingly not up to par and a week of itchy eyes and sneezing and hayfever was not the ideal.The day before the race was particularly bad after a practice swim in the river . having said that I felt alot better on Sunday morning and woke early and made my way down to Transition very early .Got ready very early and it was a good chance to practise my nutrition on the bike even though it was a shorter ride.

The swim started at 8am after the sprint race for the Triathletes in Perth.There was a lot of support and lots of people I knew were volunteering on the course. My wave went off at approximately 8.25 .It was the usual mad dash I stayed at the back and managed to keep up for a 100 meters before the lead group stretched off and I was left with a few stragglers who then slowly got further away .I swam alone for the most part and think I was reasonably good at sighting. Had a few coughing episodes with the amout of river water I swallowed and for the swim out to the turnaround ,1.8km evertime I turned and moved my arm forward , my head smashed into the next wave and that continued constantly .I just could not avoid the headon wave / chop and it certainly impeded my progress .I came out of the water in 1.18 and with a wetsuit I thought I was capable of a 1.05 or maybe that was just wishful thinking.

Once out of the water my transition wasn't great but reasonably fast about 3 or 4 mins and it was just running to my bike and getting my wetsuit off, putting on my shoes and off I went.

The cycle leg was hard with the wind whipping around and it was 4 laps of 20 km partly on the freeway .I had a very bad ride averaging 30kph when I was and should have been going harder and faster.It was mentally a struggle and I knew I was going to be slow.I couldn't give a single reason other than I just could not find any strength in my legs .It may have been the hard swim or just that the hayfever and training week took alot out of me. I was getting passed alot as though I was standing still .It was only in the last lap that I began to pass cyclist and most of the athletes were on the run course.

My T2 was pretty quick .Just got my shoes on and off I went.The run was good and it was 4 laps of 5km .I did the first lap in just over 26mins and the rest consistently in 29 plus mins .My last 3 laps were just 30 secs apart in pace so I was very pleased with the consistentcy rather than the time of 1.55 .It was hot out on the course and I did not have any cramping issues which was good. I took a total of 5 gels and about 100gms of gatorade( for the run and cycle) and coke and sports drink on the run so i think I had the nutrition about right .I did get the consistentcy wrong as squirting the concentrate and mixing it with water was always not a perfect system .I had a bit of stomach pain but nothing terribly debilitating.

I finished strongly but was glad it was over. I did have a really sore throat and probably a bit of an infection in the chest and throat as it really was hard swallowing in the evening.

Overall it was always a training brick session and I am glad I did it but wished I had put on a stronger swim and bike time .I do feel I am overdone as far as training goes and I think I just need to slowdown before Busselton or I will not do too well .
As for swimmimg there aren't any short term solutions. On the positives , there was alot of support on the course and I thanked the volunteers on my last round they did a great job in hot conditions. I passed lots of runners and felt good throughout the run. Despite the slowbike time I kept to threshold of between 140 -155 bpm.

I got alot of support from the crowd who mainly thought I was a kiwi athlete because of my black trisuit and I was announced as a Swiss triathlete by Simon Beaumont at the finish line.Apologies to the Swiss Team. Most importantly despite the poor swim time I survived and wasn't last in my age group. Congratulations to Lyold Ngoh who had cramps on the run but had a good swim 1.04 and finished 3 mins ahead of me . The other Singapore competitor did a credible 5.43 but never got to meet her (Jacklyn Lim) .

I will try to get some pics posted soon .

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Learning To Cope

It has been a reasonable week training wise .I only had two swim sessions not that it was going to make my swimming any faster.It just has been a busy week and I have had a few long days so i have had to skip a few training sessions to maintain some sanity but I don't get too worked up about it.I have made some interesting discoveries about my bodies physiology during the training week.

The Monday run was tiring but I seem to be travelling OK.Tuesday was a hard ride and pleased that I managed to average in access of 32 kph (this included the slow ride out to Nedlands) so I was averaging more during the solid 1.5 hr block.There has been a definite improvement.

Wednesdays swim was a miss and I slept in and ran in the evening another 1.5 hr session round the river .I did a 10min x 2 at threshold session with 10 min recovery .Still got passed by the runners from the WAMC (marathon club) I suspect as some were wearing T-shirts that said sub 3.30 runners.It was a really boring session as there weren't many people running.

Thursday turned out to be a fizz er as I worked late and didn't get a chance to ride in the morning.I did do a brick session on Friday with a run to the swimming pool and then a swim session and a run back .Felt very comfortable despite not having eaten anything for two hours. The swim session was about 2.2km with 26 x 50 m swims .

I went to bed early as I was planning on riding at 5am .Got out the door before 5am and rode to the Narrows bridge where I waited for john and Meredith and then we started down the freeway.Managed a good speed at times in excess of 40kph and at one stretch for the first time I got up to 50kph.I did the 87km with traffic lights and all the stops in over 32kph .I was feeling quite good. It was pretty warm by the time we got to the end of the freeway which would have been about 8.15am. I was running out of water having carried only 2 bidons . We now had to ride back the 72.5km to the narrows. It started well and I had already done 2 sessions of 20 km at threshold but even when I was sitting behing john my heart rate was at 140 plus.

John started to lag behing and I did a few sessions up front and meredith did a session of 10 mins and then slowed down for john and that was the last I saw of them although I was now in serious trouble my work rate was slowing , the temperature was rising and I had drunk all my water .That also made any eating a problem and so my energy levels was dropping . It was about an hour and half and it was an absolute struggle . I passed a rider who had followed us down to the end but started off first as we waited for meredith .I caught up with her during this period but she soon passed me and I just kept eyeing her drink bottles. It was that warm.

I eventually got to cockburn station not before being passed by 2 other cyclist and warned by on coming cyclist of a snake on the bike path.When I got to the station I had at least a bidon of water and then filled my two bi dons .I then felt better . I was finding it difficult to eat anything having only taken 2 gels.(silly me).

I had enough bars on me but I just couldn't hold anything down and I began to get a few twitches but fortunately no cramps.

I realised like in Austria I had become quite dehydrated and that had a direct effect on my ability to hold down food. At the narrows I had a banana and 2 bidons of water and slowly got home .Did not meet up with john or meredith .I was pretty wasted .My average had dropped to under 30kph by the time I got to the narrows and with all the traffic and lights home , it was under 29kph .I did manage to run my 15 mins easy off the bike and felt reasonable but dead tired and quite burnt .

As the ride wasn't quite 75 km from the narrows to Pinjarra , I had only completed 174 km . I plan to do another long ride after the worlds and hopefully with more fluids and gels I will be able to get a good handle on trying to avoid dehydrating and keeping up with the nutrition levels.

The rest of the day was tiring and I took JJ to the baywater pool which meant being on my feet for the next hour so i didn't do an easy run in the evening.I was also suffering from a very high pollen count and my nose and eyes were just so sore.

Sunday was just a complete rest day .I plan to continue with the training right up to friday and have a rest day on saturday and then it is the Worlds at Perth.

Monday, October 12, 2009

World Chapionship in Hawaii

A very quick note after the greatest Race in the world ...atleast for a triathlete.
There is so much to learn from the sport it is mind boggling .
Afew notable comments in the wash up of another race and another year.

1 All the training for 1800 plus triathletes comes down to one day and so many factors .My friend rick had an amazing race but with the heat and the rough swim ...they are all new experiences despite being an experienced triathlete . What and how you react makes the person on that day as does life .

2 rebekah Keat get disqualified.It is believed she got two offical warnings for drafting . Luck plays its part and s*** happens. deal with it and move on as Iam sure she will.She is down to race the worlds long course in perth in 2 weeks as is Craig Alexander.

3 Chrissie and Craig winning the championship twice in a row. It comes down to talent and application both physical and mental.Being so well versed in the exercise of the plan but being able to adapt to the conditions
Craig Alexander at the press conference:

I certainly feel an obligation to the people in my family. You want to race well to give something back. I try to draw on that. I think this race is mental. You draw on what you can. You need to take inspiration from what you can. For me it's my family, my wife. All the things she does to support us and my career. If they didn't travel with me, I wouldn't come.

Worked a little bit with Chris Carmichael, one of the coaches who works with Chris Carmichael. I definitely outsourced – the second you think you know everything is when you get in trouble. I talked a lot with Dave (Scott) and Greg Welch.

4 Why do 1800 people spend so much time and energy to get to a race the rest of the world hardly notices.For me it is a raw desire to strive to push myself physically and mentally .To challenge that boundary . I am sure it is the case for all those who yearn for their chance to race in Kona.I realised looking at a few blogs over the last few days Iam not alone in the feelings i have expressed on my blog .lots of triathletes have been wishing they were over in kona.

I congratulate those who have lived their dream .It has inspired me for another year .

Now on to the training block and then the worlds . Just have to make sure that TAS has got me entered as I am still not on the start list .

Sunday, October 11, 2009

World Championships in Kona

It was an easy week this week and I did alot of swimming and less running and riding.The saturday ride was an easy 3 hr ride and it was a little slow.Ended up doing approximately 80 km and felt good .Did crank it up a little at times but overal was an average 29kph.

I did not manage to watch the start of the championships as I fell asleep . But got up this morning to the pros hitting the run leg and Chrissie and Lieto ahead.But I had picked craig alexander and as expected his blisterring run got him a 2nd title .Lieto wasn't on anyones radar although I read on Xtri he had done a lot of training with Ryan Hall in CA this year.

The conditions were tough. Rick Twine did a respectable 11plus IM race .Well done Rick.Did not see him finish on the live link as it was loading so slow and I went for a swim this morning .

The sea was a little rough so we all went to the boat harbour and swam laps .It was slow going but managed to try the trisuit for the worlds which arrived this week from Singapore.Looks and feels good and importantly fits.Two hard weeks begin and I will not be tapering for the worlds will just be a long brick session on the road to busselton.

The New World Champions

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The audacity of Hope

Besides work , sleeping , family and training lots of training , I have been reading Baraks Obama's book the Audacity of Hope. It is a telling insight into the President of United States perspective of politics in the US , the Democrats , the Republicans and his ideas , how to change the politics and civic life in the USA and the consequences if the United States doesn't change.

I like the title and I have just begun reading the book so I will not be providing a synopsis. What does shine through in the first chapter is the vitality and values Obama seems to have been imbued with by his mother and grandparents who cared for him.Hence I presume the title .

This week leading to Kona , I have been getting updates by Rick Twine who will be racing .I am torn between the excitement of Kona and the sadness at not being there.But it continues to be a dream and hence one must have the audacity to Hope .
How much sweeter the experience of kona for the many who are there after years of endeavouring to qualify.

I have been watching the you tube clips of Macca ridng the Queen K at 50kph and the buff triathletes on Dig me beach .

This has been an easy week for me so I have been able to fit in the more normal aspects of life .Monday was a swim and easy run for 1.15 which was in the evening along the river.The wind was as strong as ever. Swimming was fine , managing approximately 2.4km but as always I have a long way to go with my swimming.

Tuesdays ride was fun as I rode easy with Meredith and only pushed a little harder towards the end and we were not that far off from the middle pack. We welcome a new member into tuesdays ride a world triathlon sprint champion no less.Its the coffee after the ride that makes it all worth while.The tough stuff starts next week as I ride alone at 5.30am for a 1.5 hr hard session.

Wednesday swim was harder with a 600 m warm up and then 5 x400m set with each set 10 secs less.I swam with a Pullbuoy for the last set.Did a 2.6k session. The evening run was fine with only 6 x 1min sets at threshold and the rest easy. On the way back I was overtaken by a girl and managed to stay with her till I got back .saw kim Vivian on the foreshore.

What all this training achieves is i believe a slow and steady improvement.Iam sticking to the plan and not doing more or less.I do know that I have to take a long term approach.i enjoy reading Cuckie V , Gordos and Alan Couzens blogs.
I have attacehd a small part of Alans piece :What it Takes on his blog

So, what does it take?

• Persistence (irrespective of bad races)
• A lifestyle that supports 6-8 years of ‘serious’ training. What is serious training? 18-24hrs/week of aerobic training (3hrs/day, 10 sessions a week, 48 weeks a year).
• A deep love of the process

That means that, to achieve ‘your best’ in triathlon, for almost a decade, you need to be willing to put other aspects of your life in maintenance mode. It is difficult to climb the corporate ladder and the AG ranks at the same time. That doesn’t mean you need to ‘drop everything’, it just means you need the type of job (and the assertiveness) that enables you to block out time for a morning and evening training session most days for the next 6-8 yrs (see Gordo’s latest blog for more on this).
It also means, as an athlete with nothing better than an 11-13hr IM to your name, you need to have the courage or the naivety to ‘back yourself’.

This is a common decision among the majority of the guys (top age-groupers and pros) that I know who have ‘made it’. My buddy, pro triathlete, Justin Daerr comes to mind. At our last camp he recounted how, as a 12hr IM guy he planned his college class schedule around the needs of his 20+ hr training week not because of his pro ambitions, or an impending Kona goal but simply because “he enjoyed riding his bike

So there is hope of improvement .Slow and steady but possible.

Safe training

Sunday, October 4, 2009

What It Takes

At the Royal Show on the Ferris Wheel

It has been a great training week with me missing one swim session and Thursday mornings cycle but these days I don't sweat the missed sessions so much and there is more to life than counting every session religiously.

The week began with a holiday in Perth so I had my run (map posted below) Slow and steady and comfortable .Tuesday was the usual hard ride and rode with Ross and the rest (without the fast guys like Lajos ) I managed to keep up and take my turn in the front till the end but after 3 laps or 30km I lost touch in the last 5 mins of the ride .We averaged over 34kph so by far my best result for a Tuesday ride . Wednesday was swimming and did approximately 2.4km and then in the evening did a 1.15 hr run with 6 x 5 min at threshold and that was hard .Thursday I took JJ to the Royal Show so I really just did nothing and was quite tired .Friday , I skipped the swim and ran at lunch time for an hour and managed to run round to South Perth and back through the Narrows bridge in just over 54 mins .It was a windy day .

My sat started a little late with a 6.45am start and I headed to Fremantle via West Coast Hwy and averaged 30.9kph till Applecross .It was undulating but otherwise good .Raced a few riders along the way which wasn't so smart as my heart rate did hit 150s a few times especially climbing the hills in Bicton and Point Walter .

Had a brief stop at Applecross as I ran into Tim and Pixie riding round the river.I then headed to Mt Henry and then down the freeway .I tried to keep it steady doing 20km at threshold x 3 and my heart rate was steady at 144-150 but the heartrate would drift down as the mind wandered. After each session I wasn't able to relax as I was still pushing hard and so the 3 sessions merged into one large session in the end . This was especially after I passed baldivis and turned around 89km from my start ,the wind was hard on the way down.On the way back it wasn't too bad but the wind did hit me head on on occasion .I managed to keep good time and was averaging just above 30.4 kph by Mt Henry . The ride back home was slower with the traffic and the stops and starts along the way.Got back happy with he ride and ran easy for 20 mins.It was a nice day after all the rain we had .So 2 great Saturday rides in a row.The run in the arvo was more a walk and run as JJ decided he wanted to go to the park so I jogged beside him but he had to have breaks on the way so turned out to be a walk and sprint session in parts.But my legs were feeling alittle tired and Iam not sure if the sprinting bits did me any good. Atleast he was happy and after the hour long bike ride he did fall asleep earlier than normal that evening.

Sunday was a rest day but I swam with the rest of the members at North Coast that turn up for the Sunday morning swim .It was a nice morning ,and not too cold.I was a little stiff and slow but after having to change the hood I was wearing for the swim I was way behind the rest who had taken off.There were a few stingers but otherwise pretty good conditions.It was a little swelly but fine. If there was one wish it would be to be a better swimmer.

I saw Paul Newsome on the Sat ride down the freeway and I may just have to go for the video analysis.Speaking to N today at the breakfast about kona and how hard it is to qualify reinforced the view that dreams don't come easy and it will probably get harder but it doesn't stop us from dreaming.

It reinforces the fact that it tales alot of hard work and time .There is the piece from Alan Couzens blog about just how much training for an endurance athlete to achieve the times they need :

Alan Couzens says in his blog:
So, I decided to write this piece as a bit of a ‘reality check’ for those athletes who do aspire to reach their full performance potential in the sport of triathlon. This is in no way suggesting that reaching the front of the pack or the top of your age group is the only worthwhile goal. As Molina says, “take a look around, the fountain of youth doesn’t come easy”. Staying in fantastic shape and having fun are worthy goals.

“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic. It takes sweat, determination and hard work”
- Colin Powell.

It can be discouraging or inspiring . It depends how you see it .Putting aside natural ability which I have none , it is possible with time to make some improvement .Whilst some consider me a little obsessive , I have everything in perspective . The primary purpose is to participate and it is a lifestyle choice with the emphasis on Life .The Kona dream is possibly the icing on the cake , if it happens .It is a moment in life it doesn't make or measure the person. As defined in the sport is about Endurance.To last the race , to make it to the end be there at the end. Similarly with life , will you make it to the end , achieving your full potential.