Sunday, September 25, 2011

Feeling Groovy

Some of the world's greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible."

---Doug Larson American cartoonist

Daisies of Cottesloe

Whilst Sunday is usually a rest day , today was a beautiful day and I had decided I would take an easy ride down to Cottesloe Beach for the first swim in many months with the usual swim group . It was an easy 1 hour ride down to Cottesloe and the water was perfectly calm . I did a 30 minute swim to the first buoy between the OBH hotel and Blue Duck cafe ...I believe about 6-700m and then swam back. We had coffee and muffins at Daisies of Cottesloe Cafe .Better coffee and great  muffins . Especially good after a swim and ride on a beautiful day like today .

The legs were a little sore on the short climbs but otherwise I felt good. The swim was slow but short and I just wanted to get back into swimming with the wetsuit. Water was murky again .

Whilst chatting away , Tony mentioned the impressive channel swim report by Paul Newsome .I have added the link here as it is well worth a read. . Paul Newsome's Channel Swim Report .

The elite triathletes from around the world are finishing up their training and heading to Hawaii this week. Tomorrow after the swim we say goodbye and good luck to the 4 intrepid WA triathletes that I know who are all leaving for Hawaii and all racing Hawaii for the first time. They have done the mega miles and hours and all look very CUT .

May the Kona Tri gods smile on them .

Summary for the week

Swimming: 2.5 hours or 6.4 km
Running: 4.9 hrs  or 52 kms
cycle: 225 kms or 8.6hrs
Total: 16 hrs.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Week 8 ...A Stressful Week

Jonathan amongst the flags at Kings Park

Concert In Kings Park 24 September 2011

The Narrows Bridge where lots of my training rides start from .
The Swan river on a beautiful day 24 September 2011

Week 8 Begins with last week being a bit of a disaster just in terms of work , stress and injuries and motivation. I am glad I had a rest. I felt a lot better  on Monday despite not swimming for a whole week or cycling much.

Monday morning , I actually made it to swimming .A first after several weeks of sleeping in on a Monday. I managed 2.7km .It was a 200m warm up but I did 300m with another 200 with a 100 free , 50 back and 50 breast .Then 200 with 50 m drills x 2 .
The main set was simply 100m, 200m , 300, 400m,400m,300m, 200m, 100m with a 50m kick and 50m back in the 400m and a medley in the 300 m which I skipped. No PB and the arms were feeling a little tired from the lack of swimming for a week but otherwise it was comfortable.

In the evening , I had a 1.5hr run and managed just over 16km . It was pretty nice with no rain an a light breeze. I ran along the river to Nedlands and then back through the University and Kings Park .

Tuesday Morning : the days are getting warmer and the sun is rising earlier . We can actually see the road before 6am. it was the usual hour of power and I rode with Michelle and Rod . One of the guys in another group joined us in the 2nd lap .

It was hard but I hung in there .The legs were a little tired from last night. Unfortunately with a very stressful week at work I wasn't looking forward to the training . At run training with Brad in the evening I got an early start and did my warm up and we then did some drills for a further 4 laps before the main set which was 4 x 1 km at "I "pace and active recovery ie. running at a slower pace for the same I pace period with a 1 minute plank as well. Did all my Ï"pace runs at below the pace and it felt a lot better than last week. Did exactly 10km of running.

The rest of the week was extremely busy at work and I was exhausted at the end of the day.I ran fairly late on Wednesday night starting at 6pm and did just an hour run. I had a big rest day on Thursday again as I was just feeling too tired mentally.

By Friday I was feeling better and ran 9.5 km and swam in the evening. Ross was back and we did an easy 2.3km swim with a warm up of 300 m drills with flippers for another 600m and then the main set was 200m x 5 with two 50m at fast pace and a 100 cruise. The followed bu a cool down. Friday turned out to be quite relaxing after a busy work week.

On Saturday , I managed to get out of bed and started my long ride at 5.30am . Got to the Narrows and saw Jason and Jaimie who were riding the Freeway. I continued down the Freeway cycle path and Jason caught up with me at Mt Henry bridge and I followed him till they stopped before Murdoch to wait for Jaimie. I turned off at Roe Highway and headed for Welshpool Road . Been a few months since I rode this route. It was slow but my legs felt pretty good till the end when it did begin to tire. I was still pretty slow on the climbs but I managed to pace myself and not get the legs burning on the climbs. There were 2 occasions when at the end as I passed cars on side roads where they were just oblivious to my presence and I was just careful in case they proceeded out as I passed them.They were just not looking out for cyclist .I could tell as they were just looking past me. On Mundaring Road I passed some cyclist including I presume someone from Exceed as they shouted out my name. there were lots of friendly cyclist about today ...everyone waved back as i passed and said hallo.
Did 125 km in just under 5 hours which was painfully slow but I felt good and ran at just under 5.30 pace. Legs were holding up well .

The afternoon was spent enjoying the best Perth weather for a very long time . Took Jonathan to his Sunday school picnic at Kings Park .

Friday, September 23, 2011

Taking It Easy

I am getting old . I feel it in my bones especially in the morning. I have for the past few weeks struggled with the discipline of getting up early and training and working and then training again in the evening .

Something has to give. I am tired and I think suffering from over training .

My fall last Thursday in the wet did not help .The heavy work load this week has not helped . Family commitments and all the usual family responsibilities has made me re assess my training. I have had to pare back some of the sessions. When I had a long day in the office , I have just had to skip sessions. i feel guilty but I don't think it is worth an injury or getting sick.

The weather has not helped .All the riding in the rain and training through winter has made me tired.

I lie in bed and wonder why I am putting myself through this. At times I am just too tired to want to get out of bed. It is better to lie there and just feel comfortable.

As a result I have put on 2 kg and now have to try and get the weight back down. I do know all that I feel is a reflection of where I am mentally more so than physically. It unfortunately has its desired impact. I am exhausted with work and training .

It is hard ....not to be putting the desired hours in but unfortunately work takes precedence. It isn't fun if it becomes a chore and taking it easy is the hardest lesson to learn. I am struggling to learn it.

There are clues in training . There is logic and science in divining what works .The problem not everyone can work it out and I certainly struggle. But as in Brett Sutton's piece Looking For Clues...there are some nuggets of wisdom. Similarly not all sessions need to be done at hard pace. there is some benefit in easy and there is some benefit in an easy week.(Easy Explained by Emma Bishop)

This week i learnt lots about my own body clock and indirectly about the impact of workers on night rosters and the effect that can have on the body. Hence the highest risk of accidents on the road is between 1 am and 6am when despite being quite alert on finishing work , where the individual is active and busy and in a light environment, once in a vehicle with darkness and no distractions it is possible for a person to dose and the consequences can be devastating.

The other fatigue is just being dead tired. You can gain a sleep deficit but you cannot build a sleep bank. I recall my tragic forays into training in my first year and falling asleep on a bike mid training. Fortunately the consequences were not disastrous. Just bruising , a broken helmet and a slightly dented aluminium bike.

I think if I am going to remain for the long haul , a few lie ins's once in a while won't hurt .

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Getting Motivated

A slow ride

Ride Home

Lunch time run

The week begins as always with Monday Blues. I skipped swimming as I was just tired and felt good enough to run on Monday evening doing a 75 min run with about 12-13 kms very easy pace.

It was another great evening and there was little traffc on the footpaths and it was still light at 6.30pm and best of all two dolphins were playing in the river near the Boat shed off Stirling Highway.A cyclist stopped to watch them and I watched them gliding gracefully around till they disappeared.

Tuesday was a non starter .I had a slightly sore throat and skipped the morning ride as it rained for a short while and I just went back to bed never to get up till it was too late. I should have but I didn't . I did show up for run training and it was a relatively hard session .All up i did 11km with 6 x 800m at "I "pace which was 3.28 per 800 metres .It was hard as I was feeling quite tired and I struggled to keep at that pace which was different to last weeks session. I had great difficulty breathing and was spluttering around the track and breathing heavily . unfortunately my sports induced asthma was getting worse or I was having a bad dose of hay fever given it is spring. In the end i got through the session.

Wednesday was  swimming and a 2 hour run. But I bailed. I was pretty tired and so just decided to skip the sessions.

Thursday , I felt alot better and despite the early morning rain started off at 5.20 for my ride and hill repeats .Unfortunately with the wet and oily road , I fell about 20 minutes into the ride . I had a few bruises and a sore right wrist but fortunately nothing was broken and it was quite early in the morning so there wasn't much traffic. I then saw a 200m trail of oil on the side of the wet road so it was either the oil being washed into the side of the road or a car leaking oil on the road earlier. Whatever it was , it made the road really slippery. I managed to gather myself and still got to Reabold hill at about 6 and did hill repeats till 6.40am and then rode off to my breakfast appointment at Applecross .I got there at 7.45 on the dot . It was slow moving with the traffic .I then got a lift to work .

At lunch time I did a 10km run at 5.30 pace and the legs felt pretty good .I did not push it . There were quite a few runners about. I rode home in the evening making it a pretty long training day with 3 hours of riding and just under an hour of running.

The last 2 days have turned out to be a non event . Skipped training as I was feeling a little sore after the fall.

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Perfect day

At the Beach ... A perfect day
  Yesterday beside the importance of the day was also a  busy weekend of racing. There was the Ironman 70.3 and the ITU races in Beijing and the mega -tri event in Singapore.

Many friends were participating and it was great to hear of the successes. Many deserved because I know personally of the effort put in . Congratulations particularly to fellow Exceed club members and my coach Ross Pedlow who came in 12th in his age group in Beijing in the Olympic Distance and James 45th in his age group . I believe Ross was the fastest Aussie in his age group. Not too shabby for an old bloke.

The Australians dominated the Ironman 70.3 with Alexander and Rollison winning the Ironman 70.3 World championships.

Devashish Paul in the Xtri piece ,  Ironman 70.3 Vegas , wrote of the dominance of Aussies .

 But here in Sep in Nevada, the Aussie world champions, extended a podium sweep at Ironman Championships, that started last October in the lavafields of Hawaii with the wins by Macca and Carfrae. There appears to be an endless supply of amazing Ironman Champions coming from a country that in population is barely bigger than a large American state!
The Sport in Australia is looking good at the moment.

I had spent the morning sleeping as there was no swimming . I did eventually go swimming as Jonathan wanted to go to the beach so I managed a 40 minute swim at Cottesloe. It was a beautiful spring day and there were lots of people on the Beach. I decided not to use the wetsuit and the water was pretty cold despite the warm weather. It felt good after warming up  I  had issues with my goggles so stopped lots and whilst it was slow I enjoyed being back in the water.Could not help thinking about what was lurking around as the water was very murky and there was a lot of sediment in the water .But with the bright skies it wasn't really shark weather yesterday.

In the evening took the family out to East Perth for a  Korean dinner  and to celebrate our 19th wedding Anniversary. After 19 years of marriage the great thing is that she has learnt all my foibles and  tolerates me and my obsession. It is about tolerance and being accepting that not everything is going to go my way. I learn to be flexible. There is no I in We .  I have enjoyed 4 plus years of a tri lifestyle. I recall when I was first going to the gym and she complained about the number of hours I was working out in the Gym . On reflection it seem quite insignificant to the hours of training these days.

Overall for the week :

Run: approx 44km or 4.20
Swim: 6.5km or 2.40
bike: 225km or 8.10
Total : 15.10 hrs.

A Reflection

I am always a day or so late . I was planning on blogging a  short piece on Sunday about the importance of the day . It was the 10th Anniversary of the attack on New York and Washington DC. I watched the footage and the numerous docos on Australian TV . I become numb to the real impact as I remember watching live 10 years earlier the Second plane crashing into the South Tower of the World Trade centre.

I had been up on the viewing deck 15 years earlier  on a beautiful  New York summer day.Better and wonderful memories of a summer spent in New York and Connecticut in 1986 .The 100th anniversary of the Statute of Liberty. I watched an interview of a young  Australian who survived the attack even though he was on the 92nd floor. The many families who lost loved ones and those still badly scared by the attack. The young Australian interviewed only felt sadness on the day .

No one spoke of hate . Most refocused their lives to honour those who died. They do not forget , they remember but as most said life goes on . There is an endless cycle and the human spirit seems to have an unquantifiable ability to absorb all that pain and suffering and move on. It is not a boundary anyone readily wishes to test . But each day we are possibly confronted with that ultimate test and our mortality.

Whilst I prefer not to be introspective and self absorbed by the hype of TV commercialism of  such a serious event.It is personal , it is private and so individual  to those who have lost loved ones . I prefer to give them that privacy .I do not need to intrude or gawk at the spectacle. It is tragic and sad . There is an over hyping by  media for the sake of  TV numbers . Having said that , I do reflect on what it is to be a citizen of this world and to ask , a simple question. After a decade  of the end of the cold war , the reduced tension of global nuclear annihilation, what and how can a group of individuals feel so aggrieved that they resort to such a horrific degree of violence.

Having said that , 3000 lives lost in New York and countless more wars and violence  in Africa and Cambodia and Gaza. What draws us and our attention. Whilst taking life to justify a cause is wrong . We do have a myopic view of justice and causes . The Palestine problem remains and does not attract the attention of the World as 9/11 does . The insoluble problem in the Middle East remains the catalyst because no one is prepared to invest the effort required . The United nations remains divided . Similar to the climate Change debate . It remains the greatest threat to world security. But indecision and self interest remain paramount.

We seem to always move closer to the  cliff face of annihilation . I hope we pull back in time . I hope we learn the lessons of history . I hope we learn respect and tolerance. I hope we have wisdom before it is all too late . It is on such a day good to reflect , I am safe here , a beautiful spring day in Perth .

Finally , A short poem by Brisbane Poet Rupert McCall called A Fire Fighters Dream:


His voice boomed like a beacon and it echoed in my soul

From the land of opportunity, reverberations roll

All across the mighty sea to where the Southern Cross stars gleam

I was listening…and I heard it…when he said…I have a dream…

And the dream I had was beautiful – what more could someone pray

Than to wake up in the middle of a perfect summer’s day?

An aqua blue-like canopy pays tribute to the skies

And there I see this young kid with a hero in his eyes

The hero is a humble man and not the type to shirk

A proudly spoken fire-fighter on his way to work

His profession is his passion, his adrenalin, his spark

The hat he wears to battle is his way to make a mark

And waving from a window, now the boy begins to cry

You see the hero is his father…and he hates to say goodbye

And the dream I had was terrible, from nowhere they appear

Monsters in the New York sky that choke the day with fear

It can’t be real – the questions burn with why and who and how?

Go and turn your TV on…please…just do it now…

An evil cloak in plumes of smoke replaces freedom’s gown

The flames reveal their secret truth – the world is falling down

Falling, sprawling, screaming, calling, crying as they go

A fire fighter grabs his hat and flies to meet his foe

Forward into battle now – he hears a church’s bell

Forward into no man’s land - Forward into hell

And the dream I had was powerful – the best of humankind

Courage is a heartfelt word not easily defined

It doesn’t equal ‘fearless’ as some sideline experts claim

No…courage is ‘to be scared…but to go on just the same’

To rally in the moment then to rise and climb the stairs

To save as many people as an act of courage dares

To dig and dig then dig some more – to be there for your mates

To look your leader in the eye and know the end awaits

Underneath the carnage, when the count is done and said

The only thing recovered is his hat of ‘firey’ red

And the dream I had was personal – I’ve put my kids to sleep

But the images still haunt me and reality cuts deep

I see the faces of the fallen – the tape forever runs

I see the mothers and the brothers and the sisters and the sons

And the comrades and the colleagues, they are never to return

But for every face, a candle…and tonight, that flame will burn

It burns for something precious – something every hero gave

It illuminates ‘ground zero’ and commemorates the brave

Of religion, race and rivalry, it burns across that scope

It is pure in its simplicity – tonight, it burns for hope

Yes the dream we share IS hopeful in our darkest hour of hours

Beams of light now kiss the sky where, once, we saw two towers

Of this, be strong and steadfast - Of this, stand tall and say -

There are some things that an enemy can never take away

I can feel it through the flag that flies, defiant in the gloom

I can see it through the window where a boy waits in his room

He is waiting for his hero, still, to walk back through that door

The hat he holds is scuffed and scratched but this, he knows for sure

One day he will wear that hat and pride will reign supreme

Because his father’s gift was freedom and for that…he has a dream…

Rupert McCall 2010

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Week 6

Some of the world's greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible."

---Doug Larson

Somewhere in the weekly blog of interesting thoughts and ideas , I do have to report the mundane , the regular and downright boring bits of what it means to be in training for an Ironman .

It isn't all Beer and Skittles. There is a serious,  intentional ,slow and painful build towards the Race . Week 6 is a stark reminder of the training.

Bret Sutton , the all too infamous Tri coach for many Champions including Chrissie Wellington is always accused of pushing his athletes too hard .But what is interesting is Brett started life as a  swim coach and a horse trainer.
He often says horses can't tell when they are tired or injured.It is an intuitive way of coaching .

There is a summary of his views on 3JC Triathlon. Worth a listen to the interview Brett gave on IMpodcast last year . Even the horse trainer for Black Caviar, the fastest short course horse in Australia and just 1 win from equalling Phar Laps all time record of 14 wins , says that coaching a horse is no different to coaching an elite athlete. It is an innate understanding of the animal and when and how to train them. Peter Moody in the Australian Story broadcast on Black Caviar speaks about the endless hours of track work at 4am.

Besides ability and desire , there is the volume of quality work that goes into making or reaching the pinnacle of your ability.

This week , I had a slow start with recovery from my Sunday ride. I only managed a 7km run and skipped the swim.On Tuesday it was the hour of power but as everyone had an easy week , I was alone and rode for over an hour ...more like 1.10 hard. On Tuesday evening it was an especially hard session with Brad. I did a 4km warm up and then some sprints and the main set was 400m , 800m and 1km x 2 with a recovery after each run of the equivalent time for the interval session. With the cool down I did just under 14km .

On Wednesday I got to swim training in the morning and ran 11km at lunch as I could not run in the evening. Thursday , I rode to work and did hill repeats at Kings Park .Stayed on the big chain ring and tried not to get out of the seat. I then rode home in the evening.

Friday, I did a 10km run at Lunch time and then swam in the evening managing 2.5km with a 500m warm up and then a 700m , 600m, and 500m set before a cool down.

Saturday , the legs were feeling quite sore but I finished the long ride.I wasn't at my best but got through the ride and 20 minute run off the bike. Sometimes I am  not so sure if it is over training or just having to fight through the pain barrier.

My nutrition was fine and had enough to consume. It was a great day but towards the end the legs were hurting . I managed a short run off the bike and I hope the legs are recovered by tomorrow.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Cold Wet Fathers Day Ride

Jonathan's Fathers Day Card

Bike after the 4 hour ride in the rain

Poor Bike Having a lie down in the car after the ride

Wet Sand Coated Jelly Legs

Today , was an optional training day but I decided that with Saturday being a wet morning to do my long ride on Sunday , hoping the weather would be kinder. I was wrong . Started off from the Narrows Bridge for a 4 hour ride and got a slow steady drizzle from the word go.

There wasn't too many riders about so it was a quiet ride with just the wind and rain . I did make one big mistake . I had one electrolyte tablet for my bidon and assumed with the cold weather that would last a 4 hour ride .I now know that was the dumbest idea ever. At the 2 hour mark my quads were screaming.I wasn't really pushing hard and had been consuming Gatorade , and jelly beans and Gu Chewie's. So the nutrition was pretty good. I usually have crushed salt tablets in my 2 bidons which provide my electrolyte requirements and whilst I didn't cramp the legs were hurting. It could just be the legs still recovering from the run last weekend and the first long ride in 14 days. Whatever it is , I think the salt intake needed to be higher . I was still perspiring in the rain. Had 20 jelly beans and 45 g of carbohydrate chewie's and a further 45g from the Gatorade. It was probably not quite sufficient but I did not feel lethargic or a loss of energy , just miserable for the whole ride with my spectacles just covered with rain droplets . The legs and the back of my jacket were caked in sand .It  even got into my Bento box and I was eating sand with every jelly bean I was biting into. The freeway ride is an out and back cycle path alongside the Kwinana Freeway and was just boring . Nothing was moving. I saw 4 riders on the way down and a lot more as I got back to South Perth at 10am when the recreation riders were coming out.

At least as I did my 4km run along the foreshore , it was nice and sunny but for the first 2km I could not feel my feet. Strange feeling running with no feeling from the cold.

On Friday I did my swim training in the evening again to avoid the rain .There were only 4 brave souls at training so I had a whole lane . Ross got to watch my swim stroke and he was quite complimentary about my stroke. Just have to keep my legs up and coming from a non swimming back ground my balance and positioning in the water just needs to be worked on. I hope to be back in the ocean again from next Sunday .Could not find anyone willing to swim today but given I was riding in the morning that worked out well.

Unfortunately a body surfer was taken by a shark today a Bunker Bay about 3.5 hours from Perth. The weather and overcast conditions were definitely ideal Shark weather so maybe today was not the day to return to the ocean.

Shark attack at Bunker Bay...story at Perth Now

Searching The Universe

When you stare at the night sky it looks lovely....It holds the untold history of the universe. Every Tuesday evening as I travel home after run training I listen to Richard Fidler on ABC 720 radio as he interviews an interesting guest.Last Tuesday it was Bryan Gaensler , an astronomer and Professor at Sydney University .

Radio Interview of Bryan Gaensler
I enjoy these quiet moments and the depth and breath of characters being interviewed . Professor Gaensle's profile :

Broadcast date: Tuesday 30 August 2011
Former Young Australian of the Year and NASA Hubble Fellow Bryan Gaensler specialises in dying stars, interstellar magnets and cosmic explosions.

Bryan is now Professor of Physics at the University of Sydney, and Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics.
His first book was handwritten at the tender age of seven and still, as far as he knows, sits in his school library.

Bryan has now written his first published book: Extreme Cosmos, published by UNSW Press.
Another interesting article I came across was a piece in the competitor magazine on Siri Lindley , Mirinda Carfrae's current coach . Siri trained under the great Bret Sutton and have similar philosophies and i very astute at reading atheletes . it is the one skill or intuition that sets a great coach apart from a good coach.
At times I have difficulty understanding myself let alone others and that is what makes crafting the training programme round each athlete such a great  but difficult skill . the cookie cutter programme will get everyone to the line but may not produce the best results.

Despite her lack of experience training anyone in an Ironman race Siri Lindley seems to have got it right with Mirinda in only her second outing in Kona . She says:
Mirinda Carfrae . photograph by John Segesta

“What I knew is that this was a strength race. You’ve got to be strong from start to finish. So the most important word that came to my mind in every area was strength in swim, bike, run. It was all about building up her strength to go out on a six-hour ride or a two-and-a-half-hour run.”

The Making Of a World Champion Written by: Kim McDonald

Thursday, September 1, 2011

September's Training Programme

Start of the September Training Programme

After the marathon on Sunday , I was planning on getting back to some training . At least  a light work out and swimming. But on Monday the legs were quite stiff and I decided to skip a day of training . On Tuesday I decided I would just do an easy ride whilst everyone else had the 1 hour of power session.It was raining at 5am so I decided it was just not worth the risk and getting wet but as it turned out it stopped by 5.30 so I missed another session. I did do the run training on Tuesday evening.It was an interval session at the end of it my legs were really sore.

I managed to get to swim training on Wednesday and swam with a Pull Buoy .It was a relatively good session with 2.3km .In the evening I ran 13km and whilst the legs were again sore at the end it was muscular soreness and I felt pretty good. I got to wear my Marathon Finisher T shirt . Although as we were running in kings park a lone runner who looked like a martial Arts/ body builder was running along and I had a hard time keeping up with him.I got dropped by the main group and saw Cody's group who were several minutes behind pass me after UWA as i was heading back. It was a hard run with my legs taking a bit of a pounding on the pavement.

The programme has flexibility and whilst i was due to ride today i decided the legs were just too sore and it is better to have a Rest Day. I do now have to start building the cycling strength and next week is the start of another build cycle.

Fortunately , I have no injuries and despite the soreness I have had a good recovery to date.

Ross had a look at the programme and did think I was still pushing too hard but I do have the flexibility of knowing when to skip sessions and I have missed a few so far which has made the programme quite tolerable.

Today is the first day of Spring and I am hopeful for better weather but as a triathlete Mental toughness means training in all weather . I just seem to feel I have had enough of running and cycling in the cold and rain .