Monday, May 30, 2011

Iron journey

Lava fields on Lanzarote

Finishing Ironman Lanzarote

I made it home on Saturday evening after an epic flight first to Singapore and then connecting  from Singapore to Perth . It was a long flight and great to be home.

I was feeling a little lethargic and tired on Sunday and slept a fair bit. Its always somewhat difficult getting back into the swing of daily life and there is always a slow period of adjustment. I did have the Triathlete Magazine waiting for me at home although I did not put in a recent subscription.

The editorial was on Rest , Rehab and Recovery very apt for me.There are several; pieces in the magazine on recovery by various professionals as well..I haven't read all the articles but Andy Potts had  FIVE suggestions:

  1. Sleep ...a lot of it like 11 hours but even 8 for a triathlete would be a good start.
  2. Balanced Nutrition. A balanced diet trumps any dietary supplements.
  3. Fresh running shoes .Change the shoes when the wear is noticeable as it prevents shin splints or worse stress fractures
  4. Compression gear ...using compression socks when doing a long ride or run but the benefits are wearing them post work-out for recovery,
  5. Real rest . Real rest takes place when you are not consumed by the exertions of work or the physical toll of training.
At the last page of the magazine on page 192 is the column by Bob Babbitt titled Iron Journey.Bob is a co founder of the Competitor magazine , CAF and a legend in Ironman having competed the 2nd Ironman Hawaii race in 1980. His piece was on the pictures and the programmes and other items from races he has kept over the past 30 years. In the first ironman race he did he was expecting it to take 2 days but as we all know the race is now limited by a cut off of 17 hours.Bob states in his piece :"I had no idea I could complete this unbelievable event all in one day.So when I did , I felt like I now had this business card in my pocket for the rest of my life that let me know I could accomplish anything I set my mind to - whether it was in business , sport or life".

It is back to a routine be it a relaxing and easy one. I ran for 30 minutes and swam for 30 minutes. It is the gradual start back to training and my next journey.

I hope to update the donations made soon and again wish to thank all those who have supported EDAC and the cause .

Friday, May 27, 2011

Passionate Spain

Yesterday , I spent another day sightseeing in Barcelona. The legs are much better and whilst still sore , I am able to tolerate the walking . We ended the day watching a Flamenco concert at the Palau Musica Catalana which is a beautiful ornate Theatre .

Palau Musica Catalana (pic from the Palau website) Built between 1905 and 1908 by the architect, Lluís Domènech i Montaner, as a headquarters for the Orfeó Català and funded by popular donations, it constitutes a symbolic and sentimental heritage of an entire city that identifies with its history. In addition, the Concert Hall - one of the most unique ones in the world - has been the privileged stage for the national and international concert life of the city of Barcelona for one hundred years.

The music and acoustics in the theater was exquisite.The audience was attentive and the 1.5 hours passed in a moment .There was not only skill in the performance of dance , music and singing.there was real passion which was reciprocated by the appreciative audience.

Earlier in the day , we went to Guell Park created by Antoni Gaudi who died in Barcelona in 1926 .He started building the Cathedral in Barcelona which is still under construction and hopefully will be finished in 2026, the anniversary of his death.( article on Gaudi's grand cathedral by Stephen Sparrow)

The gardens and ornate structures may not be to everyones taste .But again there was beauty and color and passion in the structure.( Guell Park)

My trip to Spain is nearly at an end. After a short break , its back to training with the next race IM Busselton .
I take away the great memories of this trip and the passion in the sport which is shared by many.Without 
passion there is life but no joy , without passion there is function but no beauty. Passion is what sustains.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Points to ponder

The day after ...

What do you do the day after a race.

I sit down and ponder the good and not so good aspects of my performance.
Well while everything is hurting , I am not going anywhere fast.

The good points.

  1. My race preparation was good.
  2. I was rested
  3. I managed to get my puncture sorted out and I had it before the race
  4. I travelled well despite the tyranny of the distance
  5. I had friends at the race
  6. I got a pros guided tour of the bike course
  7. I swam well and the water was very comfortable for me
  8. The atmosphere was good
  9. The course was spectacular
  10. The hotel accommodation was good and close to the race start
  11. I had great company on the trip
  12. No injuries
  13. I had lost 5 kgs
  14. I was mentally ready for the race.
  15. Met the lardman     (
  16. substituted and took on the electrolyte and nutrition on the course when my gatorade was finished .
  17. persisted with the run despite the extreme pain 

The Not so Good Points

  1. I had not done enough hill work and whilst my biking had improved it was ill directed(I was much stronger on the flats as shown by my Spore 70.3 bike split)
  2. But when it came to hills I did not have the strength.
  3. I miscalculated my calorie intake for the ride and did not bring sufficient gatorade on the trip
  4. I had to use the power electrolyte drink and coke on the course
  5. I dropped my power bars and had to get some from the aid station much further than I wanted.
  6. I was not consistent on the ride
  7. I got the wrong bag at T1
  8. I was slow in Transition
  9. I should have put in more salt into my gatorade mix
  10. Rode more hills before the race
  11. Done hill repeats for the whole training period
  12. lost more weight
  13. Built up my strength on the bike for the run
  14. learn to run through the pain
  15. Not so good core strength.

Barcelona Post Race Recovery

View Larger Map

I am now in Barcelona . Arrived late last night with Enrico and Mel.Late night and fortunately no early morning training for a while.Got breakfast at 9 am and then headed out on a walk around the hotel.Took us 5 hours to make our way back.the legs got a good work out and are still tender.

It was a beautiful day and quite warm in Barcelona. I have downloaded pictures I took today on my training free day but with the warm day and the walking I have done I am sure I have burned some calories.

I am not really drinking at 1.30 am when beer is cheaper than coke

Staying at the hotel in the Ramblas , Barcelona

Signed up for the Wrong Triathlon

The markets near our Hotel

A Real Ironman in Barcelona

Enjoying the lively street life 

Getting lost 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ironman Lanzarote :Tales of an Endurance Junkie

Lanzarote ...Tales of an Endurance Junkie

I finished the race . That sums up the experience , the journey that started last year , even before Busselton Ironman..
Ironman Lanzarote Poster .Picture by Melina Chan

Heading to transition for bike check in .Pic by Mel Chan

Ready for the swim .Picture by Mel Chan

Swim Start Ironman Lanzarote Pic by Mel Chan
Running to Transition .Picture by Mel Chan
Coming into Transition 2 .Picture by Mel Chan

Ironman Lanzarote Medals .Picture by Mel Chan

After the race with Enrico.Picture by Mel Chan

With Finishers is all a blur .Picture by Mel Chan
The seed for racing Lanzarote was planted in 2007 when Andrew Budge who wrote my first programe for an Ironman race told me if I never got to Hawaii to race Kona then the next best thing was to race Lanzarote.(Read Brad Culp's story on training in lanzarote : Mars Rovers)

At the time it seems that lanzarote would be beyond my capacity having never done an Ironman and just finishing was a goal.At the awards night , Kenneth Gasque ,race director mentioned that one competitor told him at the finish line " If i sign up for this race again , you have my permission to shoot me" . Another said , I will rather give birth to twins .

This weekend I completed what is arguably the toughest of the ironman races . I finished in a time of 13:54 with a swim time of 1.15 , a bike time of 7.26 and a run time of 4.58. My worst ironman time but by far the most satisfactory race I have had. Is it really about the time ..Yes it is .It is the only measure of performance and thousands of atheletes religiously monitor and measure their performance by it. It is the currency of result.But what I learnt in my training and in this race goes beyond the time.

This weekend I tested myself and saw what the human spirit can achieve. I met fellow atheletes with numerous tales of sacrifice and unbelievable courage and strength. I saw that raw energy at the start line .It is etched on every face . It is seen on the course and recognised by the people of every village and town we rode by and the cheering crowds at the finish line on the run course. The joy and relief at finishing.They all tell a story ...but basically anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

I was not disappointed or devastated with my result.I gave it my all and I knew I tried my best .If anything I had to dig much deeper in the run to not give up .Every fibre of my body hurt . It was so easy to walk but I wanted to finish and I wanted to try and get the best result I could. As the well trotted out cliche goes , the pain is temporary, the memories last forever.

As the week leading up to the race  rolled by , and the information gathered in the months leading up to this race and having seen the bike course I knew I may not have the strength necessary to get a good bike time ie anything around 6 hours.

The week before the race is one of excitement but a nervous grinding wait. the day finally arrived and on the morning I got to the race site early , the advantage of staying 300 meters from the start line. I got my bike set up done quickly.Pumped the tires despite the darkness.

Enrico and I got suited up and headed to the swim start for a warm up .The water was comfortable.There were approximately 1500 athletes at the start line.It was a mass start . There was no fanfare at 7am the gun went off and  everyone went . we were both at the back and it took about 45 seconds or more to get to the water .

It was a good swim by my experience.There was the usual push and pull but nothing excessive.I got into a comfortable pace and tried to draft off the feet of swimmers with some success.The water was
clear and I could see hundred of swimmers around me.A very new experience. The swim was a two lap course.To my surprise I did the first lap in 35 minutes.A PB for me if I was doing a Half Ironman swim.
I did have a cramp and slowly walked round the turnaround before getting into the water .The 2nd lap was less congested and I hugged the buoys  to the turnaround buoy.

I was out of the water in 1.15. A PB by more than 5 minutes.It was through the showers and off with the wetsuit.I then ran to get my bike bag but unknown to me the volunteers had hung our warmup bags on the same hook so I had to run back and get the bike back losing about 2 minutes.I slipped and fell on the wet transition floor as well..I got changed as quickly as I could and ran out to the bike a very long transition on the main road up from the beach where the T1 was located.

I wheeld my bike to the start and spent about 8 minutes in transition.I was off on the bike course which skirted round the town before heading west and than basiclly going round the island .It was
a 1 lap course. Immediately as we got on to the main road leading out west we were met by a headwind and then the long slow climbs around Yaiza and El Golfo with the desolate lavafields and winds.It was a
slow painful ride.I just had to put my head down and keep at it. I kept my drink and food intake up. Whilst there were no hard gradients it was relentless and continous.As we got to La Santa in the north there was the first relief of a fast downhill ride. That was around the 50 km mark. I was travelling very slowly and it was worrying.As we turned away from La Santa in the North it was now the 2 major climbs that were ahead I passed through quaint villages with cobbled roads.There was a particularly bad stretch of road  after La Santa  as well and everything on the bike  rattled and the arms took the pounding of the uneven road. But the lasting memories of that section would be the villagers standing and clapping as we rode past literally their houses while other villagers sat at tables on the roadside drinking and eating and cheering us along.

In the first half of the ride as we rose up,the sky was overcast and it was quite cool .I felt cold . As we headed for the first climb , the weather was still overcast and the wind was unrelenting.

The first climb was hard and I started to cramp. It was at a place called Haria in the North I just had to take more salt and hoped I could just soldier on.I think in hindsight the lack of more hill work and having a higher salt intake than my usual salt intake were issues but how do I estimate the amount of salt on a specific course? It possibly could be the combination of the physical activity and the cold. I got to the top despite a stop to get the legs back . It was then down hill through a series of hair pin turns .The speed and wind made for some white knuckle moments especially when a gust shook the bike. I had also lost my power bars and my gatorade was not sufficient to last the ride but I managed to get power bars on the aid stations and started taking in coke and even the power electrolyte to just get enough electrolyte and calories. At the 110 km mark I  had the second climb and that was at a place called  Mirador with the spectacular views of the ocean below. I had a short break at the aid station here before the 10 km downhill run. At the top I chatted with a fellow competitor.At this point I told him I was asking myself why was I even doing this? He said he was thinking the same thing but at least it is the last big climb. (pictures of Ironman Lanzarote fromLava Magazine)

The run downhill was  short but exhilarating . It was a white knuckled hand on the brakes moment but a great thrill with the plains at the bottom .The one unique feature about lanzarote...there are no trees . The next 60 kms or so were basically undulating roads and again there was wind.I got back in 7.26 and again it was a longish transition because of the lay out.I got my shoes on and was out on the run course.

The run was a blur of just struggling to finish. the legs were spent despite the food intake and all the coke and electrolyte and gels .Nothing seemed to work .I just had to knuckle down and get through it..The crowd support was great.The first run was a 10.8 km run out past the airport with aircraft landing just over the run course.Loud and spectacular .I ran past that bit just as a plane landed over me.Again the winds were about.Gaye later told me that the winds are good as it keeps yoi cool.I thought it was like running into a wall.

I did the first 3km in 5.39 per km pace but that just fell into 6 and 7 and then 8 minute km. The next 2 laps were about 10.5 km and after 25km I started to walk a minute for every four minutes I ran .It hurt a lot more and after 10km of that i just ran the rest of the way back to the finish line.

Finishing an Ironman is the one emotion I cannot describe. You have overwhelming relief mixed with joy and sadness. It is cathartic .It is transforming. As Enrico said in his blog.the end of the world was predicted by some to occur on 21 may 2011..the world didn't end but for 1500 individuals it was a life changing day.

What did I learn ? Well Enrico sums it up in his blog Lanzarote Part 6 lead by tri Enrico Varella .Life is short  , enjoy and help make a difference. The event in itself is to meet and be inspired by like minded atheletes who in their own quiet way transform their lives and others .The parent who helps his Retts syndrome child, the many individuals with a disability but really just see it as another obstacle they can overcome, the many who year in year out test themselves against nature and the course. What do I have to complain about .The world did not end .It just seems a lot better for having been part of Ironman Lanzarote.

Finally , I would again just thank the many who support and follow my blog.My family , Suzanna despite her cruel text about "did I get my Kona spot" (and she will be going to Kona even if its to spread my ashes on Digme beach) , my children Caitlyn and Jonathan for being tolerant and supportive, my friends , Ross Pedlow , training mates  and club. A special thanks to Enrico , Mel , Gaye and Kate Bevilaqua , and the many wonderful people I met on this trip for making this journey what it has been..

Saturday, May 21, 2011

All Ready to Race....Living the dream

bike and gear ready this really a TTbike course?

run rack 1254

bike all racked up in a covered area...lucky

2 paratriathlete world champions and cute dog....inspiring

I did manage to sleep but got up at 3am when the phone rang . I did get back to bed and slept till 7am .
I then went for a short swim .There were triathletes about and it was overcast with storm clouds gathering .
Did the swim  and then went for a short 45 minute bike ride with some efforts.Rode to the airport and back .There was wind about and riding back managed to hit 48kph. I then did a short 10 minute run round the town.

That was the preparation for the day.The rest of the day I just hung around waiting for Saturday to come round.
I have checked and double checked my bags and bike . Nothing else to do but wait. It is the worse and the best time. I feel good , a little edgy and nervous yet so glad I am finally here. Whatever happens I have done everything  I can to make the race as enjoyable and successful.

The only thing is to soak it all up and put it all out there . I am surrounded by good friends and family and I am thankful for the opportunity to be here and to be able to race. For me it is as much a religious experience as it can be and this is the culmination of a sojourn , a Road to Damascus experience I have at each Ironman race.

That is reflected in the energy at these events .Each athlete has his or her own story , emotion , pain and sacrifice woven into the journey that makes it more than a race , much more than just a day in each of their lives. The day is just the by product of the experience each day for the past several months. For me it is not just my training but the friendships I make with the people I train with, my friendships with athletes I have met and the new friendships I make along the way.

After check in we hung aound watching the myriad of expensive bikes going through to transition.lots of fast looking bikes and atheletes.Ran into Mark and Helen from the UK whom we met at the registration yesterday and got introduced to Jane Egan a paratriathlete and current world champion and next to her was the former world champion in the sprint event for 2 years with her adorable dog.She doesn't race anymore but does wheelchair marathons.With so many inspiring people around  ,it is uplifting and puts everything in perspective.

Whatever happens it is an experience from standing with 1500 other people at the start to hopefully crossing the line and all the issues and dramas that may confront each person out on the course. It makes one stronger for trying .Facing the demons is half the battle. Good luck to my fellow West Aussies out on the field particularly Gaye Mckean for her strength and fortitude and  to Enrico for the leadership and motivation .They all have a story to tell and are an inspiration to have known and shared this journey with.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Two Days to the Big Dance

With Enrico Varella ,Ironman number 11

At race registration

Race briefing 19 May 2011

The Lardman

The nerves are setting in..This morning I swam with Enrico for 20 minutes.The water was again great but a bit cold.. I swam without my wet suit and felt good .i managed to keep up with a few wetsuit swimmers and drafted behind another swimmer who was swimming without a wetsuit, till she realized I was behind and slowed down .

We then hired a car and drove to La Santa a 30-40 minute drive on the other side of the island for Enrico to register and attend the race briefing. I managed to find a valve extender and have now got a spare tire safely attached to my back bidon holder .Hopefully I don't get a puncture.

The race briefing was pretty short and there was only a brief mention of drafting. It is odd it is 10 meters here .

Aside from travelling across the island I did nothing else. I did do a short run with Enrico along the run course . Felt comfortable although a little lethargic.Tomorrow I  have final preparations and just final checks. the town is full of triathlete's running ,swimming and biking . The tension is rising. The training culminates with one day of effort. The biggest worry is nutrition and technical breakdowns. I have sorted out my nutrition and hopefully I can get all the nutrition I have on the bike down .I will need the energy on this ride.

Met the Lardman by chance at dinner at the hotel I was staying. He has won 2 lottery slots consecutively . How lucky do you have to be to win it once , let alone twice. There is still hope for me.We all need a bit of luck even in such a race.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Bike Course... Ironman Lanzarote

Driving the course

First 45km of the bike course

Gaye and kate at the start of the course

I had a nice long sleep in but did get up at 3am as some of the guest wandered in from partying all night. There is a mix of tourist and triathletes staying at the many hotels at Carmen del Puerto.

As gaye was mentioned there are lots of British Tourist with really sun burnt skin from sunbaking the whole day wandering the main strip of the town.It is a mish mash of shops selling kitsch and restaurants and lots of pubs.

The main strip is also the start of the bike and run course. The tents and fencing has started to come up. I went for another swim in the morning .A short 20-30 minute swim with Kate and Gaye.

Then met up again with Kate B who drove us around the bike course. It is a spectacular bike course. Lots of lunar type landscapes and coastal roads with many small towns along the course.

Then there are the climbs and wind. There are a few climbs but nothing too steep. Yet the wind can and will probably be a factor . My biggest concern is that I do not have a spare tire and although I bought a new tire not expecting I will have a puncture on my first ride with my new tire. I now need to get an extender for the tire as the extenders I have don't fit.

Hopefully I can sort this out . We went to Club La Santa ,the HQ for the organisers and on the opposite side of the island from where we are staying .Got my registration pack and went to the expo and had the Ironman pizza for lunch. Couldn't  eat the whole thing.

Enrico arrived today as well and we all went down to a restaurant . Looking forward to racing on Saturday but hopefully I don't have any punctures.

Swimming again today.

camel rides on the bike course

Expo at Club La Santa

coming down one of the switchbacks..brakes better be working

At the top of one of the climbs on the course

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Puerto del carmen ....Lanzarote

Air Europe plane to Lanzarote

Iam really here .Finally. What a feeling. After two days of transiting and flying I arrived at Lanzarote at 7.15  pm local time on Monday evening.

I got my bike case and took a taxi to my accommodation .It is Apartment Loco Blanco.A hotel in the town of Puerto del Carmen.It is also the start of the race and transition and finish of Ironman Lanzarote.It is pretty much a small town with lots of hotels and apartments , and a chaotic road system.Everything else outside the town is just a bit like a lunar landscape.White ,Greek style houses in a very start barren landscape of volcanic rock.

I got up pretty early today but Iam still adjusting tot he time difference.I did sleep really well last night and I got a fairly large room .It has a bedroom with 2 single beds , a bathroom and a living room for my bike and a kitchenette with a fridge and cooker and oven.(Not that I will be doing any cooking as dining out is pretty cheap.) I did a 45 minute easy run along the coast.It was pretty impresive with an undulating run and some drops to the sea below. There were only shopkeepers and restaurant staff and the road sweeper out and about..I did see Gaye coming back from her run .She is an early riser.I got up at 5am and went out at 6am but it was just too dark to run in a strange new place so I went back to the room.After the run I rushed back to get my swim gear and went to the beach.Gaye couldn't wait any longer for me as she had arranged to meet Kate Belaquava at 8am.I got there and we all set off for a lap of the swim course .Took 40 minutes but I felt very comfortable and the water was perfect.It was nice and fresh (cool) but very clear .There was lots of marine life.I saw schools of blue colored fish and even a baby octopus half buried in the sand as I swam over it.
After the morning swim JC , Gaye and Kate B
riding back to town

Gaye Mckean

After the swim we all rode for about 60 minutes .I had a puncture midway and had to change my brand new tubular.Will now have to get another tubular as a spare for the race. But I did manage to change it in under 12 minutes. Did not have any gas cannisters so I used my pump. Hopefully that is the last puncture I have.So much for the competition kevlar protected Tubulars I got.. I had a few mishaps on the ride .I dropped my camera whilst trying to take pictures and ride.Kids don't try this at home.Whilst changing my tubular my cannister flew onto the road and I had to try and retrieve it and fortunately there wasn't any cars about as I slipped on my the middle of the road. Still trying to get used to riding on the right side of the road .I was caught out a few times riding on the left but the car waited patiently for me to get over onto the right side.
It was suppose to be a pic but camera was on video mode 

Today was especially a thrill as I spent the whole morning doing what I love and had great company especially  getting a commentary from Kate B on the course.Its not too often that I get a guided tour from a pro. I did mention to her mom that Kate probably got a bit worried as I approached her at Singapore and Busselton and look like a demented Tri stalker. We spent the rest of the morning having coffee and then lunch and chatting about all things Tri..Life didn't get any better today accept for the puncture. (no cameras were damaged in the making of the pictures or video clip)

Monday, May 16, 2011

The journey begins....

Barcelona Airport waiting for flight to Lanzarote 16 May 2011

I left Perth on Saturday night on a Tiger Airways flight. It was a no frills flight and arrived at the budget terminal at Singapore at 3am .I hung around the airport till 6am and had my breakfast before catching a taxi to my wife's aunts house.Had a chance to have a shower and sleep for a few hours.

It was pretty hot in Singapore .My bike looked Ok and left it at the Left Luggage section at the Airport so I did not have to lug the bike case around. It was only 9 Sing dollars for the day . I had a really short haircut and then did a run in the afternoon .It was humid as and I sweated lots.But it was good to just be moving around. It was a really slow run.

I met up with Enrico at Parkway Parade on the way to the Airport.Spent 3 hours talking about Triathlon.We both joked that like any addiction when we go to Addiction counselling session, I will start with the line, "Hallo my name is John....Iam an addict...I am addicted to Ironman". Not so funny when Enrico will be doing Ironman number 11 and i will be doing number 7.

It was really nice to finally be on the way. It will be a long trip.

I got to the airport real early and again had no problems getting my bike into cargo.It was weighing 23kgs. I managed a small bag of clothes as well and carried the rest as hand luggage. I am travelling real light..the flight to Barcelona was about 13 hours. I kept falling asleep for short 30 to an hour periods. The flight was great and food was good . Just a long flight. Did get to see the island of Sardenia as we flew past . I was last in sardenia 11 years ago. Looked really beautiful and green from the air.

I booked myself into a room at the airport for 5t hours and had a light nap. Lunchat the cafeteria and then checked into the last leg .Again got away without having to pay for the bike.

looking forward to arriving in lanzarote.the weather in Barcelona is a very comfortable 15 to 23 C

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Effort ....

After 5 months of training I am finally heading to Lanzarote in the Canary ISLANDS . It has been a learning experience and all the cliches we hear about on embarking on a journey . As I rode today before flying off , another lonely ride in the early morning ( well not as early as past training rides but I slept in and left at 6.20am) I still do not know what drives this .

I thought of all the rides I had done , the training , the many aspects of racing and the many more areas of improvement.It is one big jigsaw puzzle . I don't have it down pat yet. I weigh 69kgs and that seems to be the weight I will be racing at .Just short of the 68kg I was aiming for.

I am excited and nervous. Same feelings different race. Leading up to the last week of training I am especially cautious as there is a tendency to have a few accidents and one tends to be more vulnerable just before the race. But fortunately no accidents. A few near misses. I had a few yobbos yelling at me at the road as well. Not sure what the thrill is in screaming as you drive by at 100kph past a cyclist.I can never decipher what they are saying.

The thrill is in racing but it is not without meaning but for the journey  the sacrifice, the effort .I don't think I can learn without taking all the small steps and making my own mistakes.The best is yet to come  . It is with effort and hard work but I would not have it any other way. Just dare to dream.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The training is done...1 week to Lanzarote

card from friends ....Go for it

As weeks go this has been a joy. I am now in my last week before a full taper for Ironman Lanzarote.despite the cold that I had last week and missing my Saturday ride, I am feeling good again. I had a short run on Monday of 30 minutes and my swim in the evening. It was an easy session and did approximately 2.3 km. There were a few souls down at the pool after Busso but most were having a deserving break.

Tuesday morning was even quieter.I got to Nedlands early and did a ride round half the course before meeting up with Rob P and Michelle showed up tin the hope someone may show up to ride round the river. It was just Rob and me doing laps and Rod showed up later.I forgot my programme had me doing a half hour at pace but i did a full hour. The nose was feeling better but I had a few coughing fits in the cold morning air. We did quite well and managed a solid session . I had about 53km on the clock for the session and the ride out to Nedlands.

On Wednesday I swam in the morning and ran in the evening.I did a solid session in the pool .It was cold but nice in the water.Felt ready much better in the pool. Did some drills with the fins and a warm up session with  a main set of 16 x 100s .All in about 2.5km .The run was a mix of easy with 2 x 10 minute at threshold. I did about 13 km in 1.15.

On Thursday I rode by myself round the river and it was an easy slow ride. Friday was another good session in the pool .I swam 2.7km with a main set made up of a build of 50m to 75m up to 250m for a total of 1300m .  I ran in the evening around Kings Park again nice an easy ..Winters here with the footpaths becoming really hard to see by 6pm .

Saturday morning I did an easy 78km ride up the coast with a stop over at McDonalds to pick up my cycle jersey and chat to everyone.

Got everything packed . Just worried about the weight . But all the hard work is done. I had lunch on Friday with Gaye Mckean who is also racing Lanzarote and so there will be  a few familiar faces at  Lanzarote.


Busselton 70.3 Highlights

A short video clip of the Busselton 70.3 race last week .....Congratulations to everyone who was out there racing , it beats watching it.So a big thank you to the many partners, family members and supporters who sat or stood for 7 hours cheering the triathletes on.Takes more than racing to do that as I found out last weekend .

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Busselton 70.3

At the start line Busselton 70.3 2011

It is now 2 weeks before Lanzarote and I have started to taper. It unfortunately went a  little flat . I had a good work out on Monday 1 may with a run and a swim session. Again holding my own in lane one. On Tuesday everyone had a ride round the river but Rod , Rob and myself rode the Nedland circuit and I stayed with Rod for the hour .It was hard and I did not have the strength to take a turn in front but I wasn't exactly struggling more trying to conserve my strength in case there was a surge .it did not come and Rod did slow a slight bit on lap two. It was a good hard workout for me. In the evening it was run training and I had to do 1.15 of laps.I managed about 12.5km although i did not have my Garmin. I was coughing a bit and it was quite cooling the morning and evening.I started to cough that night and was sick for the next 4 days.

I decided not to do anything and largely just had to let the cold take its course. I did go down to Busselton to watch the race. I decided to do my 120km ride in the morning and set off at 5.30am .It was very cold and dark. Not a great plan. The temperature was 7C in Busselton. I was trying out my zipp wheels and my bike after the bike had been serviced. Unfortunately about 10km into the ride , my back wheel went flat , there was no sign of a puncture so I used a gas cylinder to inflate it. I then discovered that the extender valve wasn't firmly attached to the tire valve. the Presta valves were a real problem .it was freezing cold and I had to change a tubular for the first time. I managed to get the wheel off and inflate my spare wheel with a good extension valve on it. I rode back having used my 2 valves and not having a glued Zipp wheel on. I decide to not to do the rest of the ride. It was cold and whilst I felt comfortable I was still coughing  with the cold air. I got back and headed to the start line for the Busselton 70.3.
Got some good pictures and watched the race . it was hard watching and I would have preferred to be racng the weather was cold but otherwise good. There was wind on the bike course but there always is.

A lot of guys had good solid PBs and I would liked to have had a go to see if i would have been able to break the magic 5 hour mark. But with my cold and Lanzarote 2 weeks away , it was time to start resting. I saw Kate Bevalaqua and I assumed she was racing but did not see her name . I had a brief chat with her and hope I will be able to catch up with her in Lanzarote.

All the work is done and the focus is getting well and to Lanzarote ready to race. The experience at Busselton was great but it is always lots more fun to race then to watch. Whilst time , records and PBs are important , the sting of results or the lack of them soothes with time and the afterglow of memories of the emotion leave a more long lasting impression.

It is difficult explaining to someone what it feels like crossing the finish line of an endurance race like an Ironman.It is the totality of my training this past 5 months. For some this weekend it was no less the outcome of hardwork but just more clinical , for others coming through 6 hours later it is no less an achievement .

It is difficult separating the true winners . Those who have talent and win or those who have had to overcome every obstacle to just get to the line. At Busselton there were the professionals and the extraordinary  such as a blind triathlete Jeremy MCCLURE who did  the Half on Saturday in a time of 5.03. then there are the many between the two. I also have a new profound respect for the supporters .I could not stand and watch a race for 6 hours.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Photo Shoot


Photos taken by Lajos Varga fromVargamurphy

I had a set of pictures taken last Saturday by Lajos Varga. We all train in the Exceed group. Most of the group took the opportunity to get pictures done. I told my wife it was a couples photo shoot , my bike and  I ...she wasn't impressed at my infantile humour it a very telling line. I estimate I spend as much time with my bike . I do kid . My son Jonathan who tagged along found the studio in his words "sketchy" which in his speak means not quite sure about the place or looks a little scary. He did report back to my wife there are at least 2 adult shops whilst he was walking with me to the studio .

I cleaned my bike on the weekend and it looks much better after the heavy workout it has had in the past few months. Its in the bike shop getting the final check up before Lanzarote.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Laying it all Down

Sunday by the River 1 May 2011
 The week has rolled by quickly ,particularly as I had 2 days of no training partly as a result of work and meetings and just needing a short recovery.I skipped my Thursday ride and it was probably the right thing to do. I felt a lot better on Friday and had a good swim session. Did a 500m warm up with the Pb with 100m medley.then 300m of swim with breathing at increasing strokes up to 8 . The 4 x 200m building to fast and 100m x 2 and cool down of 300m .Altogether 2.4km.

I ran in the evening along the Swan river and really felt comfortable even though it was an easy run ,I did run 1km at 4.56pace and the rest around the 5.10 minutes pace. But I never felt it was hard.

Saturday 30th April was my lazy long hard ride .it was 160km on the flats . I started off really early.Left home at 4.20am and got to the meeting point with Rod a good 10minutes early. We then took off to meet Rob and then on to Fremantle and round the River to the Narrows Bridge where we joined the exceed group and rode again back to Fremantle and round the river to Shelley and back through Curtin University to the Narrows where we left them and Rod and I rode back via Fremantle again.I had been round the River 3 times .It was a cold day and I had my arm warmers out for the first time. Rod dropped me at Cottesloe as i could not keep up. I made my way back and about 5km from home got a puncture from a 1inch nail on the road. I managed to change the tire but the 2nd tube blew as well and my inflator would not work.I had no pump so my trip ended prematurely at 159.4km I got a lift home and a cyclist and a driver both stopped to see if I needed help. That was nice . I managed to keep up for most of the ride and the legs did not feel too bad. I ran when I got home and did 6km at about 5minute pace. It was a good last session.

It was a good quiet day for the remainder of the Saturday.

Sunday , I was feeling lazy but I did get out of bed and swam at Cott. It felt comfortable and the ocean was nice and calm. Fairly large groups were out for the last swim before the Busselton Half.

I got my programme for May from Ross . Lots of words of encouragement and a short quote:

On that I will leave you with my favorite saying at the moment.

“ I didn’t come here to wear tread off my tyres, I came here to lay it down”

Craig Gordon 24 hr Solo World MTB Champion 2006

After the long hours of training , I am as prepared as I will ever be. Lots more to learn and develop but at this point I know Iam as prepared and a lot stronger than I was in January. I am encouraged by the weight I am at and although I have a few more kg to lose ,it has always been a slow process for me. Even my strength in all disciplines has been improving at a  slow and steady rate.

Ultimately , the major lesson in any IM race is know your own capability and pace ,pace and pace. The only other minute details are nutrition and equipment .I have done all my rides with less than optimum, nutrition but I have a fairly good idea now of what I need to consume and subject to the weather I should be able to manage that .