Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Results do count

Going for Gold

I am not sure who reads my blog .It is a record of my training and my experiences these past few years on this Ironman journey.It is indulgent and self centred . For that I hope that it does not cast the wrong impression but as I have said before the sport is by its nature a tad self indulgent .Anyone who spends so much time training has to be a little indulgent.

Following from my conversation with Rob on Saturday we both agree there also are Triathletes who can be very egotistical or at least give that impression.it is said in the nicest possible way as I have equally met and chatted with Triathletes who give their time and wisdom freely and have no airs about their capabilities so I again emphasize these are generalisations. But I do believe there has to be a little of that ego .a self belief and arrogance to be a winner . It may irritate and rub people the wrong way but it is a necessary evil.

On the other hand I know some really accomplished triathletes who are just all round nice people.Two i will mention are Kate Bevilaqua and Bill Scanlan.Kate I know only briefly following from my cornering her at Spore 70.3 (I still think she felt a little unsure about some guy talking to her before the start about Lanzarote) but she was very helpful , inspiring and generally nice to be around. yet she is a good triathelete. Bill I have known now for a few years having swum at Bayswater in the same squad .

It took a few months before I got to know him and given he worked in the city I would often meet him for coffee at Borders to talk Triathlons .He fed my hunger and need for information. He was an elite triathlete  and I was a novice ...more than a novice a nobody . But he had the same passion and definite capability. I have followed both their tri careers with more than passing interest because they are West Australian home grown and our paths have crossed in more ways than one. With Kate , her first coach wrote my very first training programme and suggested I do Lanzarote. And Bill has been a great ambassador for the sport and a true inspiration.( see his bio on his webpage)

This little walk down memory lane stems from my little search of my results these past 5 years . The advantage of  the Internet has been the ability to google anything and everything and get instant results. I got a short mention in the Exceed end of Season report despite not being a member and a current member of North Coast . There were a few strange results as well.My record of racing Ironman japan has had a name change and country change as well  but I have claimed my races  especially the Ironman races I have done and they are all listed in the results section of Athlinks. Its useful to have a look back to know the progress made as a reminder that whilst it is a lifelong journey the results are markers of that journey , the milestones of progress. Not all improvements and many signpost of the numerous hiccups and twist in getting there.

But in the end results do count.....

Sunday, June 26, 2011

King of the Mountain

With Norm Black before the start

The start of the race

Crossing the stream

climbing after the stream

Running along the trail

The trail along the pipeline
The last km

 I ran my first King Of the Mountain race organised by WAMC (the West Australian Marathon Club ) today.I did a 1.28.27  time for the 16.1 km event despite nearly missing the start as I went to the wrong start line .It was at Helena Primary School and I went to Mt Helena Primary school some 16 km away. Got there with 5 minutes to spare and register and get a number.

Started the race with a sub 5 km pace which was too fast and my legs were still sore from the past 2 days of activity after a week of none. But I soon got into a comfortable pace despite the fatigue and passed some runners.I had a gel and water about 3kms into the race and there were a small stream to cross and so the shoes did get wet ...and that did lead to a blister eventually .

I tried to keep the pace at below 5.30 and did largely succeed accept for the last 2kms which was mainly uphill. Given the sore legs before the run it was about what I expected. Will try and do  as many runs as possible in the hills in preparation for City to Surf in August.The Garmin had my moving average and overall average at quite a significant difference even though I did not stop at all so I can't explain the difference but I think when the results come out it would be at the 1.28 mark.

The rest of the day I spent resting and taking JJ to the WA Museum .Walked around and he chased the seagulls and enjoyed the sunshine that did come out in the afternoon . Ironman France is on and have been trying to follow the progress but there is no live feed just updates which are slow.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Thank God Its Friday & Saturday

Having Abs like the Jock at 2.23 would be nice

Well not quite TGIF .Another quiet week but the training is now cranking up.Start training for the City to Surf from next week so lots of running

Friday was a really wet evening and I did a slow hour run before my swim .Got a little wet with the rain coming down at the end of the run and there was lightning but it seemed miles away .Then had the swim training , the first since Lanzarote. Felt comfortable if not slow. It was belting down and it was warmer in the pool then out of it. It really rained for the whole hour in the pool and managed a 2.5km swim despite the slow pace. I did a 500m slow cruise , then another slow 400m and 400m of drills before a 500 session of 50m build to fast pace and then 200m cruise and 100m medley doing that 2.5 times .

On Saturday I rode round the river with Rob .We followed the Exceed group part of the way but we then dropped off the back of the group.Rob is on his way to Ironman South Korea which is on next week.He was originally due to do IM China but it was cancelled so he has opted for Korea. A race I may consider next year.

Robs returned to racing after a few health issues but is looking fit and strong . He has posted a 9.37 time in Busselton and we went to IM Japan a few years ago.So hopefully all goes well especially as there are better prospects of securing a spot to Kona.

But despite the nature of the sport especially endurance races, we both agree it is all the better to have tried and enjoyed the journey then get too self obsessed about analysing everything about a race as some would such as working out everyone who is a possible competitor in your age group etc as some athletes do. I am not in that league so I don't have that worry. We chatted about suicide and depression which has no common denominator , it hits everyone including triathletes...maybe more so as there is such a compulsion to achieve that it gets in the way of everything and failure is almost soul destroying. Possibly the pain and long lonely hours of training are a form of pain relief even. All generalisations but reality is , depression seeps through all individuals from all walks.

Had breakfast at Tiger , Tiger with the Exceed group after nearly 2 months away from the group.

I plan to run in the hills tomorrow if the weather holds. And then DO it all again....

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Mystery

Yesterday is history , Tomorrow is a mystery but Today is a Gift  Grand Master Oogway , Kunfu Panda

It has been an uneventful week ...absolute,ly no training and lots of sleep. Did a ride this morning  to the hills with Keith and Tony ...struggled up Whelshpool Road to Kalamunda . It was a slow ride in the cold and a bit of drizzle . I did get wet  at the end when it started to rain fortunately I was a few kms from home.

 Vidoe of riding Zig Zag hill a few weeks ago and we rode down Zig Zag again yesterday

The rest of the week has been spent just relaxing and planning for the start of training.I am reading " I am here to win" by Chris McCormack .Half way through the book .I have also listened to the Brett Sutton Interview on IM Talk Podcast .Its long but quite an eyeopener about his background and experience. Basically he trains the athelete in the sport of Triathlon not 3 separate sports and doesn't believe in periodization . Having said that I am no more the wiser as to the ideal training plan for endurance racing or is there a coach who can understand and guide an age grouper who is time poor and has limited resources. That remains the perpectual question even in McCormack's book , how to train smart and make improvements with a systematic plan to build on the training. I still feel I am floundering around with the plans I have been following. Most coaches seem to be following a similar pattern .It is unfortunately not personalised sufficiently and to be fair it can't unless you are a pro.It is difficult without step by step instruction. I did know one thing its not about the technology or gagetry.It does come down to hard work but there are many questions and plans.How many brick sessions , how many runs , how long , how do you know what is easy and what hard is. How do you maximise getting the best results from a swim , bike and run combination.

It is all a mystery. That is the intrigue about Triathlons .It is a sport ,not 3 different sports . It is fitting the 3 disciplines together is what makes it difficult. The conundrum.

But as McCormcak said in his book , " For the general competitor the most important thing you can do is listen to your body......Most important , get some perspective .You're a triathlete.Thats an extraordinary thing no matter how old you are  - whether you finish an ironman in 8 hours or slip over the finish line at 16.59.Its worth accepting your age and your limitations if it means you can keep training , keep competing and keep being part of such a fantastic fraternity".

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Having a Plan

It has been an easy week ...lots of sleep and  not a lot of exercise.I am now  planning for the next race which is Ironman Busselton 2011 .I have been looking at lots of articles on the Internet and I came across Chuckie V piece on The here Now method. Lots of truth in being too scientific and not having the flexibility to cope with changes but having said that  I am still a believer in a plan.

Here is a Plan:

  1. Identify the period 
  2. Identify the hours of training needed or one can handle
  3. Focus on all 3 disciplines
  4. have markers along the way to measure progress
  5. identify what works and what doesn't
  6. learn to cope with changes. 
  7. seek advise
  8. follow  advice 

Not necessarily that easy. I am giving some serious thought to my training and what I need to do. If anything I have learnt after Lanzarote is that I was not under prepared just not as strong as i thought i would be despite the amount of work I did .if anything some of it was misdirected as I did a lot of speed work and riding down the freeway just to break up the monotony of the hills but in essence it was a mountain course I was doing and I should have just been doing hills after hills. (as much fun as that would be...not)

But we all learn. It will be a serious discussion with Ross and a decision as to what I should do.I think I have enough experience to know what works and what doesn't.

Besides the Ironman I will be running the City to Surf marathon at the end of August and the immediate start will be with that goal in mind.

There is next year as well .In this sport planning is now done several months in advance with races selling out in minutes.

It has been quite a change with my routine before Lanzarote.

The week culminated with a ride with Tony and just a few hill repeats up Rebolt Hill.Great fun on a cold morning. In the evening it was the North Coast Tri Club Awards dinner. Deb Kirkham ex committee member was named Club person of the year for her efforts through the year. It becomes difficult to get volunteers and they are the life blood of all clubs .

Unfortunately , for Ironman training there are few devotees and by and large I lead a more monastic lifestyle. I spent more time with NCTC in my formative years of the sport. Today it is the occasional ride and get together from the core training which is largely with the squad iam with and or the lonely training sessions.

One very telling comment by Deb Kirkham. Clubs are like families. As you get immersed into its culture and life , your circle of friends changes and if you immersed yourself totally even if you are new to the city or area , you will have a ready supply of friends to have coffee with ...but as Deb says you just have to put in the 3 hour bike ride before hand.

Video: Historic Ironman finishes remembered ( from the Everyman Tri website)  

Chuckie V Training : The here now method

Another good honest article by Chuckie V .... definitely worth a read by all triathletes

A link to a piece by a coac Wayne Smith referred in Chuckie V's article above.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Back in the Saddle

I am slowly getting back to some exercise. I had a short ride on Saturday with coffee and a play with Tony's new Goldie's Cassie and Izzie , 2 five year old Golden retrievers with the best temperament ever . On Sunday evening I did a 1.4 minute run and ran about 11.5km quite comfortably and on Monday morning I rode with Tim whom I use to ride regularly with .we rode up to the hills on a regular route he showed me and then back down to Guildford for coffee.I found $20 on an intersection at 7am in the morning .there was absolutely no traffic but I always stop at lights.So it actually pays to stop at the lights. That paid for breakfast at the cafe at Guilford. we were actually planning on having coffee at the french patisserie in Kalamunda but it was closed presumably because Monday was Foundation Day in WA

It was a good easy ride and despite the cold I enjoyed it.I took some video footage at Zig-zag but my camera has decided to malfunction and I can't download the footage

I ran again this evening for about an hour round kings Park and found the legs a little tired from the ride in the hills but otherwise it was a good little run. Will have to watch the weight a little as I want to remain under 70kgs till I start my training again for IMWA.

Video clip of Jenny Egan receiving her award.She was at Lanzarote and is the current Para triathlete World Champion.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Ironman Lazarote 2011 Video

The Garmin download from the cycle leg...not pretty at all

The Garmin download for the run ....was just in survival mode.

The spirit of sport

Over the past week I have been adjusting back to life after Lanzarote. I did an easy run and swim on Monday but with the rainy days I have done nothing else.Been catching up on the net and putting my video of Lanzarote together.Below is a collection of interesting articles and video:

A piece on Comrades from break your limits:

Comrades...A Lengendary tale

A true champion

The blog of  Russell Cox
Trains , Travels

A beautiful video about the joy of just cycling the open roads.

Rapha Continental – The Movie from RAPHA on Vimeo.

The blog of fellow Ironman Competitorand Hawaii finisher x 2 , the Lardman :