Monday, December 28, 2009

The End is Near... A New start beckons

I have had a very lazy week leading up to Christmas.I did aride on Tuesday morning with the group .A 20km time trial and pipped the others at the end to win ...but i just had too much of a head start for the real fast riders to catch me.Overtook Michelle and Katy who were sore from the Rockingham race as well and worked with Julianna for one lap before we were joined by Rod and Nat and worked as a group.

Still had the strength for the short rides.It was a good end to riding the Tuesday sessions and closes out the training for me till the new year.I swam on Wednesday morning in the squad and we did a short 1500 session before then ending the session with some mindless games and working in a group in each lane .My group had me to contend with as I am the slowest swimmer in the squad.Will be working to correct that next year.

I then had a break for the next few days although I was dying to go riding on Christmas day but I would have been a dead triathlete had I done that.Don't think the wife would have been too pleased if I was missing on Christmas morning.

I have learnt with some difficulty to try and go slow.It is a mindset in progress at the moment.On Saturday before flying off to Singapore I decided to ride with the North Coast Boxing day ride. It was an easy 1.5 hr ride up the coast and back and there would have been 50-70 riders .A very good turnout for the club.I did not stay for coffee or a swim after the ride as i had to get back to catch the flight. Thankfully I did not have any accidents on the bike.

It was a refreshing ride.Chatted with Dodge and Rod regarding Im training and plans for the future. Unfortunately I will not be part of the group going to China although I would like to be.Work and training to rectify the deficiencies this year will have to be the focus.

I arrived in Singapore on boxing Day and the weather was a comfortable 27 C .Did an hour run the next morning and felt comfortable .It was slow on a run trail /road and the trail was muddy and wet .The humidity was a 100%. Will try to put in a few slow runs whilst in Singapore

The plan is to start thinking of my training regime over the next 5-6 months of next year and have a plan drawn up with the half ironman in May.No long races at least till the 2nd half of 2010 and that will depend on work and benchmarks I believe i will need to set.

I will draw up my wish list of goals .

It was a pleasant surprise with the wonders of technology that this morning as I checked my facebook I got a message from the chat box and a member of the club asking about IM China . (not that I have done it) Having read and spoke to several who did I imparted what I could but given the change of dates the organisers are hopeful IM china in 2010 is not the hot hard slog it has been in the past 2 years.I would love to do IM china but it is for the best I revisit my training regime and plan for a race later but I hope I was helpful to the member of the club .

Being the first IM race for this person , we are always filled with self doubt but in the end it is like any exercise , preparation and execution are critical but the goal is so achievable. I had doubts about the task of doing my first Ironman , fortunately I was surrounded by friends and a coach who thought if you want to do it badly enough you will. Every race I have done , what I fear is the expectations I place on myself that I may not live up too .But better to try then to stay at the sideline wondering what if . For the first race the fear is what if I don't complete it...I will feel so bad and let everyone down.But oddly it is the competitor only who feels that way and it takes a far stronger person to persist through a failed attempt than one who has succeeded at his first go. That is not to say we should aim to fail ...far from it but endurance racing is more than just the sum total of a person training.Everything has to come together like one large jigsaw. But the fun is having a go.I hope I was helpful atleast to that person. Have a go what you gain far outweighs the risk.

I feel so much more a complete person for having tried...although I would like to have done a better time and beaten others in that process .But the victory is all the more sweeter after tasting failure , whatever that may be .

Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas

Wishing all Fellow Triathletes and everyone who wanders into my Blog accidentally or otherwise a very Merry Christmas.May all your tridreams come true for 2010 .

What It Takes

The week has been a relaxing week of just getting back to the root of the sport.What make me get up and get out into the cold or hot day . I have just enjoyed the freedom of riding and swimming without a plan. I did 2 spin classes which was great fun although I pushed myself for the hour .I decided not to do a longish Saturday ride and just swam on Wednesday with the group although we did just over 2.4 km and I so enjoyed the wonderful swim on Sunday at the Cott. it was a hot morning and the water was wonderful . I swam 7 laps in front of the tea house and for the last 2 ran down the beach and swam in a sort of mini aquathon.There were lots of stingers in the water and they hurt and did make me go faster every time I got stung .It was then coffee and muffins at the John Street cafe. Very civilised and my life is alot more social without the long hours . but that is what it takes .There is no escaping the simple fact ,to improve in endurance requires patience and dedication.I believe mistake will be made but over the year I have learnt so much more than in the previous year and I feel I have made some advances in understanding "what it takes".

Most of all it is not time but quality in everything I do from now. I will continue to swim and run and bike although I have no race goal for the short term other than competing Ironman WA next year and Ironman NZ for 2011 . But 4 hard races this year with 2 IM distances and no break for a year has taken its toll and my lack of sleeping properly and training non-stop has not helped me improve.

I will acknowledge that in this journey mistakes must be made but not repeated.
Its not about the bike , the run or the swim...its about the collective whole and the person who goes on that journey.I have to be self indulgent , it is that sort of a sport but not at the expense of life outside the sport.Balance is critical and I have so enjoyed the journey , the characters I have met and the wonderful sunrises I have seen .I look back at the year with disappointments in respects to time goals but these are small in comparison to the wonderful friendships and enjoyment the sport brings me and ultimately my own sense of well being .That is what it takes ... perspective

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Post Ironman Blues

Its been a quite week as I brood over results but as always it is difficult following an Ironman race to not feel some discomfort and lack of purpose.All the training be it not ideal and time is now sewned up in the past .I will need a break before looking at the next challenge.But its back to the drawing board as far as trying to improve all 3 legs.this includes refocussing on my technique and I will continue to swim regularly. I do feel I need to improve my leg strength as I definitely did not have the strength to sustain the distance and it wasn't my aerobic capacity .The heat was not a real issue just the difficulty running off the bike when my quads were hurting with every stride.

On reflection , I believe training alone is good but I may have tended to lapse into riding in my comfort zone and not really push myself as hard as I should .Again without the leg strenth and doing specific strength specific workouts I was just doing the miles .I did improve with shorter distances as my half results show. But beyond 100km I tended to be inconsistent and for that my overall result has suffered.

Now is the time to refocus and set goals and more importantly I know I can improve and learn from past errors .Probably has been a year of over training and I will try and be more specific in the goals and more importantly ride with a group to improve on my endurance.

Finally I have listed the links I have attached to my bit of the North Coast Newsletter . If I do race next year besides IMWA it will have to be a race in the 2nd half of the year unfortunately.

After IMWA I thought it would be useful to list all the Ironman distance events around the world (it seems some have caught the bug )

The 3 that vie regularly as the toughest for those wanting a new challenge are:

1 Norseman in Norway ( it is all climbing on the bike and run and a spectacular swim starting with a jump off a ferry in the dark)

2 Ironman Lanzarote

22nd May 2010
19th edition
"Your Ironman charisma is not complete without doing this race"
Paula Newby-Fraser after the 1997 race.
The normal limits don't apply

3 Embruman in France


Ironman Western Australia
By Kate Bevilaqua
The top 11 triathlon training mistakes (part 2)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pictures from IMWA 2009

On the bike along the road heading out of Busselton

Out of the water ....1.23

What a relief....

On the run , head down

Pictures from the website and will load pictures as they are sent to me by others who were on the course.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Ironman Busselton 2009...A hot beautiful Day by the beach

It was Hot but not as hot as IM China was from the race reports .Having said that the race is about testing yourself against the distance and any conditions mother nature throws up.

The day started with as usual the difficult night and a little sleep .I had gone to bed early but got up at 3 am and managed a bit more before getting ready and getting to the start line at 5am .(thanks to Norm) as my wife was fast asleep.

I wasn't particularly nervous having done the race twice before and the weather was great .The ocean was pancake flat and the temperature was a balmy 19 degrees.I felt comfortable .There was a rush to get the tires pumped and the wetsuit on before TI closed at 5.45am .I ran into Russel Cook who raced in IM Japan in 08 and we had a brief chat .he did lanzarote and Japan this year and he was doing his 3rd IM.He also had a new bike the Ceepo and there were a few more Ceepos around .

All too soon , I was in the water and warming up .Did not see the pro start off at 6am .We then got into the start area .(it was a beach start ,sort off ).The start wasn't anything spectacular .Iam chatting away and the next thing the horn goes and I let everyone move forward and wait before there is some space and start off, just to avoid the wrestling and windmill arms in the water.I get into a rhythm quickly and try and draft off someone .I stuck to Free willy and fish for a very short while but lost them within 10 mins.I then just tried to keep behind a swimmer and get round in the most direct way.The water was great and I got round the jetty which was being renovated so there were just pylons sticking out of the water , in a reasonable time .At least it felt that way.The only disconcerting aspect about the swim was that I was swimming at about the pace of someone who was breastroking the whole swim leg.She was able to keep up with the swimmers at the turn around.Soon after the turnaround the team swimmers came through.

I exited the water in 1.23 a PB for me by 4 mins from last year.More importantly I was comfortable.I did have a slight cramp getting out of the water.But it did not stop me.I got to T1 and got my gear on in about 5 mins and off on the bike.

My heart rate was in the low 150s and it stayed that way for the bike leg dropping gradually to the high 140s Imanaged a fast first lap in the 3 lap course of 1.49 and then gradually slowed and my last leg would have been over 2 hrs .I managed a 5.59 overall with a long toilet break waiting for someone before I could use the loo.but it was disappointing that I could not maintain the pace .It was getting hot and I was religiously drinking and taking my gels and eating as much as I could .I had bananas at most of the aid stations as well .I definitely ate more than I normally did and that may have helped as I did not have any cramps till I got of the bike to go to the loo and had a slight cramp.Again did not hold me back.By the third lap I was slowing down quite a bit and the winds were quite strong but nothing I wasn't used to .

I got off the bike about 7.30hrs into the race and got on the run course with a quick change of my top and shoes,suncream and a cup of water .My legs were a little sore and about 8km into the run my quads were just burning and I knew it was going to be a day of attrition .I just focused on getting from aid station to aid station.I tried to run through them but that was not happening so i walked the aid stations and ran very slowly between them .My HR was still at 140s and I felt strong accept that every step just hurt so much .It did not feel as bad last year and despite the heat I felt that if I could manage the pain I would be able to run a reasonable time but unfortunately that was not going to happen .Everyone on the course Iam sure had to dig deep .I saw lots of people walking and I refused to walk between aid stations .I did find the line "Pain is temporary , but the memories last forever " line ( which was chalked on the roadway) abit irritating after a while and it sure did not feel that way when you are running a marathon after 6 hrs on the bike.I felt annoyed that I had not done a better time on the bike but that will always be the case for me.

Back to the run , it is amazing the thoughts that flow through and the toughest thing is being positive and getting through .I knew i would finish and I was nowhere as bad as Austria.It was hot but the aid stations had lots of water , Hi5 and coke and ice and I was drinking loads and pouring lots down my top as well.

The first lap was tough but the second lap was tougher .I took two ibuprofen from the aid post in the second leg but it did absolutely nothing.I tried to spray something they had at the aid post on my quads to dull the pain only to find that it was pest repellent.That wasn't going to help me. In the end I just struggled on.despite how slow I was going I did not walk accept at the aid stations .The support was great and there was lots of encouragement.I was aiming for a 12 hr finish but by the second lap that was not going to be possible .In the end I finished in 12.31 .

As I ran towards the finish line I saw my son who had missed my previous 2 finishes at Busselton and everyone at the club who were fantastic support .There was a good crowd around and I ran comfortably to the end with Pete Murray ( I think ) announcing "John ,you are an Ironman" despite the hard day and not quite so good result ,it was all worth while.I strangely did not feel much emotion other than sheer relief I had finished the race.I ran into Russel in the recovery tent and had a chat with him about races so despite the pain I did not go through the usual emotion "never again" .I must becoming immune to pain...NOT.

I am too sentimental and myopic about the sport but every race spurts me on to improve even if I may not quite approach it in a way that leads to significant improvement .It has been a long year and probably not the most ideal way to attack an Ironman race.Having said that I would not want to miss the opportunity to race even though I might have needed the break.I will be having a break reassessing my goals next year and races I would like to do .A new job may slow that down a bit.

The good news is that IMWA will be at Busselton for a further 5 years . I have lots of time to improve.There were lots of people in the club who put in stellar performances I won't mention them by name but despite the conditions a few first timers put really solid races together. At least I have lots to improve upon and I will still be putting my name in for the lottery and continuing to dream the Ironman Dream.

For the record Patrick Vernay and Gina Crawford won IMWA 2009.fastest age grouper was Brad Hoskings in 8.52.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Night Before...

Transition area on the eve of IMWA 2009

Swim Practice This morning at Busselton Jetty was a beautiful day

Carbo Party with Simon Beaumont and Pete Murray on Stage

Well the race is almost here and it is getting exciting.The weather is good and it looks like it will be a hot day tomorrow.Only concern is the nutrition and making sure I get enough carbohydrates in and hydrate well.It was a little hectic today as well .I did a short bike 40 mins and 15 min run .I then met the guys at the Jetty
and swam for 15 mins.

Then I rushed back to the chalet and got changed and back to Busselton for the race briefing .After Lunch and a swim with jonathan at the Mandalay Chalets Pool , I checked my bike and the Bike and Run bags in.Hopefully everything is in the bags.

Then had a walk around the expo which was better than last year .Had a quick coffee in town ... got the wrong coffeshop and so missed coffee with the rest of the group.Idid run into sufian outside the expo .We all wondered what the weather and temperature will be tomorrow.It looks like a hot day.

I think the swim should be fine. Hopefully I get a reasonablle swim time and can maintain my pacing on the ride and run.

Its now just 9 hours before the start and its all in the lap of the Gods...the Trigods.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

To the Start Line

"Whatever your mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve"
Napoleon Hill

I am heading down to Busselton this morning and not sure I will be able to blog down there .The athletes are all congregating this week and Mitch Anderson and Jason Shortis are down at Busso.

Feeling good and will try to get in a short swim today.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Motivation and Inpiration

It is now 4 days to Ironman WA and Iam feeling relaxed and good and excited.

Its been a very light session today with a 30 min run on the threadmill and a 30 min swim . Ispent most of the evening getting my gear together and reading the IM Cozumelrace reports and enjoyed Joceyln wongs IM florida race report .She did a sub 10 and 6 years earlier had done a 13 hr IM time ...that is truly inspirational.

but it took alot of hard work with Team TBB and a good coach . I have followed the Wongstars blog off and on and she has done 3 Im races in 5 weeks and 6 this year .In cozumel she did a 10.37 .

There was lots of such inpirational stories and I have been feeding off the positve energy from these reports.

I have also read Chukie V 's blog on the science of Tapering.Too many atheletes have a 3 week taper when the question is whether they have anything to taper.Iam glad I have had a pretty reasonable program up to the last week and then a short taper .

It is now about the just putting together the race plan and executing it.The lesson learnt is that there is no shame in trying and putting it all out there on the day .