Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Somethings In Life Money ....

In keeping with the need to record all the statistics in training.I have recorded the cost of my recent mishap:

My Cost of a bike fall:

Bike service $120.00
New helmet $79.00
Medication $ 57.00
New spectacles $230.00
Cycle knicks $100.00

Three days in Hospital, no meals for 2 days , being on a saline drip for 2 days , gravel rash , a scar , wrath of family ,
(although they were glad I was alive) , little sleep for 10 days (painful shoulder) ,10 days with no training, and several visits to doctors and radiology .The Experience : Priceless

There are somethings in life money can't buy.

For Everything Else there is MASTERCARD

Chrissie Wellington

Roth and the World Record

I read her autobiography whilst in Hospital. It wasn't the best book  but it is a very specific story about Chrissie and her journey so far . As a triathlete I found it interesting and it will only appeal I believe to that small minority.

Its a real account of her life in her words with the assistance of a professional writer. It wasn't a book you would not drop but as I was a "captive audience"particularly as I could not sleep ,I read the book in one sitting..

There were some interesting glimpses about her psyche and I came away with the view that she had the makings of a world champion by the sheer fact of her mental toughness.She was extremely competitive in her studies by her own admission and she did get a first in her degree .She was competitive and when that energy and drive was channelled into sports particularly triathlon , the results were evident. It is interesting that as a casual jogger her first marathon was the London Marathon which she ran in 3.08. I know what I would give for a time like there was also the semblance of the natural talent.She grew up in a loving family and swimming was her main sport.She skirts through her episode of bulimia and image conscious issues as a young teen and adult. But by her own admission she was driven by these dark thoughts and Triathlon was a form of obtaining acceptance and recognition .

There isn't much of the Macca commentary on strategic planning and tactics.Her plan was simple , stay in front from the start and just keep getting further from the chasers.

There are a number of memorable lines and the chapters about her training with Brett Sutton and TBB and the politics behind the scenes are fascinating for someone who follows the sport. She refers to a series of exchanges between her and Brett and clearly the antagonisms in particular when she first started at TBB. She was the new kid and bullied by the others at the behest of Brett she suspects. It was meant to toughen her up.The training was brutal but  like water off a ducks back for Chrissie.

Of the many quotes was one from Brett in an email after Chrissie contacted her old coach , Tim Weeks , who had trained her for the ITU World championships when Chrissie raced as an age grouper and won . Brett's email included this comment
:"If I am wrong let me know , but she smells tough to me under the cosh , but bloody pathetic , fragile , in normal , no problem shit."
There are many snippets about the Champion affectionately known as Muppet as she is accident prone but there is no doubting that she has the ability and the toughness. I enjoyed the book for the little gems about her , it was a good light read .It is about a person greatly admired in the Triathlon World and for me adds another layer of detail about her. She rightly is the person we should aspire to be .She gives it 110% and has her heart in the right place with a balance at least of the security of wealth and doing good in this world.She has obviously ruffled feathers and her rapid change of coaches in the past few years apparently has left a sour taste in some of her pro friends whom she was suppose to train with but all these are trivial in the big picture of her life and racing. Even bigger is her desire to look at triathlon as just one aspect of her has not become encompassing and everything. It is a love and a vocation but also one she sees as a means to other goals. the book is a good read but not a best selling thriller..

Chrissie's AVERAGE Training schedule

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Craig Alexander winning the inaugural Ironman Melbourne 2012
I did nothing today other than follow on the Internet the progress of friends and acquaintances racing Ironman Melbourne.

I can't help feeling a little envious of those racing. I prefer to be in the thick of it than on the sidelines. I wasn't even able to race at Hillary's today despite entering the race  before my fall.

But it was meant to be , the body has taken a  bit of a battering and  I will be coming back in careful measures.

I am sure there are lots of stories of the journey these  triathletes have taken. I know of several and I am full of admiration not just of the times achieved but the dedication. I sent the usual messages of Good luck , its more than luck and its more than just a race , it is the journey ( cliche as it is)  . You need to enjoy the journey to truly understand the meaning of racing an  Ironman. I remember all the training and the time spent in preparation. For me , not being in contention for a Kona spot , it is about the preparation and achieving a personal best .For many others it is a serious run at a slot.

Some achieved the almost unachievable.All credit to them as there are a 1000 stories of sacrifice and perseverance.where  many  miss out despite their best efforts. Others take years and that achievement is all the more sweet. I know a few today who have got the elusive slot.Some for a second time and others for their first trip to Kona.

It is a privilege and a thrill to share in their joy and triumph , as it is the many who have done their first Ironman  race today.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Pain Cave

No training for a whole week . A real rarity.

After my release from Hospital on Monday , I have just rested .It was back to work on Tuesday. The skin is still very raw and the left arm is weak and painful.otherwise everything is healing.

It is tough doing nothing and the arm is the real worry.  There is no torn tendons or muscles. just swelling and weakness. Patience is not an attribute I am endowed with .

With the pain unfortunately sleep has been difficult . But everyone including my Doctor has just counselled patience and I will have to take fairly small steps . Riding may still be a problem if the arm remains weak and I may only manage sessions on the wind trainer as it will be a more controlled environment.

The scar is healing well and hopefully I will be able to return to swimming next week if the arm is strong enough.

What the week has left me is a perspective .It is not good nor bad. Life goes on and there are throw away quotes for such events , the most common and a great song for motivation , What doesn't kill me makes me stronger. It is glib and  it is good motivation fodder.  Reality is I am where I am . I  just have to get on with bearing the pain , the recovery and hope for the best.

Possibly having positive thoughts may unscientifically hasten the healing process. Fighting through the pain as well but  possibly not. What it does do is creates a new experience and as no one wishes injury on themselves ,  it is just the reality . We all will have some form of trauma visited on us both physical and mental.It is part of living.

Whilst there is no comparison , Christopher Hitchens death from cancer and his writing about it is an interesting look at life and the reality of the quote "whatever doesn't kill me makes me stronger"

This week Jim Stynes a Football legend in the Melbourne Football Club (Australian Rules died and his life personified that desire to live even as the disease weakened him. He tried all manner of therapies and prolonged his life . Ultimately , if he gave up would he have gone quicker , I do not know. What is clear from the blurbs of print and newsreels is that he put in a lot into his relatively short life.He personified what he was on the sports field and that translated in his post sporting life. He was remembered for being a good man and fighting to the end.

Friedrich Nietzsche who is credited with the song title"whatever doesn't kill me will make me stronger " may actually be just a lot of drivel and just a nice motivational one liner. Ultimately , after this week it is far better to take what is thrown at you and at least try to live life to the best of your ability , with that mental attitude of picking yourself up and getting on with it.

As Christopher Hitchens in his confrontation with death writes , Nietzsche's words sound better in German but they are what they are:

And then once or twice, walking away from a car wreck or a close encounter with mayhem while doing foreign reporting, I experienced a rather fatuous feeling of having been toughened by the encounter. But really, that’s to say no more than “There but for the grace of god go I,” which in turn is to say no more than “The grace of god has happily embraced me and skipped that unfortunate other man.”Trial of the Will January 2012 Vanity Fair

I count my blessings and hope as the song and Nietzsche suggest , it will make me stronger but reality is as Hitchen's writes so eloquently ..."The grace of God has happily embraced me ...".

Monday, March 19, 2012

Life's little bumps

At the emergency room RPH

After Suregry
In the Ambulance

Saturday was one of those days I should have stayed in bed. But as a motivated triathlete that's was hardly likely . I was at Hepburn Shopping Centre before 6 and the group of us with Brad leading started off just after 6 for Death Valley which was about 30 km away and was a 34 km loop I had done quite a few times. It was my first hills ride for quite a few months.

Unfortunately , I never made it.

It was quite a fast group and I stayed at the back.Somewhere along Reid hwy as we headed towards the intersection with West Swan road ,  I went down .It look like I went over my handle bars and fell head first into the road with my face and shoulder also coming into contact with the Road .

At the time I was travelling just over 35Kph and I just remember going for the brakes as the guys were slowing down and the next thing I was on the road.I was dazed but managed to get up .The blood was just coming out and Reuben one of the riders got me to sit down by the side.. A car stopped and the driver Ray  had a first aid kit and took me to Swan Districts Hospital.

After that everything seemed to slow down. I had X-rays and the Registrar at the hospital was satisfied there were no fractures. but the cuts in the face were deep and had hit bone so they were sending me to Royal Perth hospital for the plastic surgeon to stitch me up.

I got a ride in the ambulance and through out the experience , the professional staff of nurses and orderlies and ambos were all very good and positive. It was about 12 noon by the time I got to RPH and then another routine of checking the wounds , information taking and eventually the plastics registrar having a look and deciding I needed to go to Theatre for the wounds to be cleaned and sutured properly. I got a bed in a ward and began fasting although it was unlikely I would get to the Theatre on Saturday.

By 10pm I was told it would not be done tonight but tomorrow. I could have a sandwich and a drink. I began fasting again at midnight with just a little water for some pain medication. I was on a saline drip for the whole 2 days.

It was a little dull just lying in bed with nothing to do. My wife managed to bring me my Chrissie Wellington's book and I read the book over the weekend. She has had her share of injuries in the lead up to Ironman races .But she was able to bounce back .

I took some comfort in being able to read and just be quiet for the few days .The pain was there but bearable.Sleeping was hard as I was sore and moving was painful. The face looked like I had been in a boxing match with me the punching bag.

I had my Heart Rate and blood pressure and temperature monitored constantly and I  had to explain to each new nurse on each new shift how I got there. They all remarked at my low heart rate which on one evening was 39 but usually hovered around 40 to 42.

The surgery was at 10pm on Sunday by the time I got to theatre. I just remember the injection and then it was all over and I am at the recovery room  . It was good to be able to eat something after the operation and the next day the Registrar came by and  I was allowed home.

Everything still hurts and I am on antibiotics and anti inflammatories.I probably will not be able to do much for the next week but hopefully as the swelling goes down I will be able to get back to training.

I will not be swimming till the sutures  come off next week in any event.

I have thanked the many who have assisted and sent words of encouragement.

As I sat in the dark thinking and wishing I was somewhere else  I also realised that it is pointless regretting or wasting energies  on the what ifs. Deal with the issues head on and get on with the problem. I am injured and there will be lost time but try to take the positives away.

I sent an email earlier thanking everyone and I rang the driver who stopped to render assistance and thanked him again. It was heart warming for me that so many people cared and did their best. I thanked them all the time even though it was their job in the hospital they did it well and with a lot of empathy. You can't teach that and I was most impressed.

The other positives that I set out in my email were:

On the positives ,

I could be worse . I was a Little worried as I did not have any vision in my left eye for a short while .

I will be back soon

I managed to read Chrissie Wellington's book Life without limits on the weekend. (whilst waiting )

No TV or Internet access whilst in hospital and I had to learn to just lie still. That's harder than training .

I have never ridden in an ambulance till last Sat when i was transferred from Swan Districts to RPH.The first Time in a hospital for a stay in over 40 years. the ambo officer told me of the cyclist he picked up from a crash in the area earlier with similar injuries as me .

The first Emergency Dr I saw at RPH was doing IM Melbourne the following week

never had my temp, blood pressure or HR taken so many times in my life . I now know I have a low resting HR.39 to Lances 32 but that is where the similarity ends unfortunately

Bike seems fine

Lots of Drs and Nurses at RPH know a litle more about Triathlon after the weekend as well.

What is life's journey if there are no bumps along the way . What life is about , is how we handle the bumps along life's journey. it certainly isn't meant to be a bed of roses.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Learning To Be Uncomfortable

Being Comfortable....

The week in summary

It is boring and very much the stock standard life of a triathlete training.There is only one way to swim , bike and run and only one way to train.

I can't dress up the training .it is long , hard and monotonous.So why do so many of my friends and acquaintances  love it.Why do races still sell out.

I can't explain it and for those who stumble here , I apologise.this is a boring piece of writing about triathlon and is about my week and preparation for a race, my life and commitments are thrown in for added obstacles to manoeuvre

Outside training and triathlons , work and family commitments are just as important .I am reading Chrissie Wellingtons Book "Life without limits"and surfing triathlon sites for scraps of information. There is one important message coming through , Life is a triathlon and the way you lead your life is a real reflection of how you will do a triathlon and vice-versa. It is as much the mental preparation .All sports teach the nuts and bolts of skill in the sport but the mental attitude that has to come to be good.

On Monday , I had a run in the morning doing a short 5km and then swimming although it wasn't on my programme. I was glad to do it a good 2.5km session. In the evening I ran 7kms and I felt slow but better than my morning run. It was warm but thankfully not too hot.

It was the hill repeats at reabold Hill and i got there early and finished as the rest of the squad were piling up Reabold Hill .There were quite a few cyclist riding up . I managed to stay on the big chain ring but not at the smallest gear. The legs were tired as i rode back via the west Coast Hwy which was busy with Utes and trucks. Sadly a cyclist training for the Youth in focus Albany to Perth ride was killed the night before not far from where I was riding. I rode back to the Nedlands and ended up with friends riding the circuit at Birwood where Exceed were out for their 90 minute hard session.

In the evening it was running intervals with 16 minutes at Ï "pace of 4.42 pace per km. I managed to keep at that pace and ran just under 9km for the session.

It was swim training and I was tired but managed to finish the session. Swam 2.3 km . In the evening the squad had a discussion and presentation by Brad on Nutrition.

by far the hardest day for me. We practised transitions and then it was 4 x 15 minutes bike and 5 minutes run brick sessions. These are hard sessions .

In the evening ,we all gathered at Cam build in Osborne park for a wind-trainer session. The legs were tired and I was really tired at the end of the 90 minutes on the wind trainer. Friday I decided would be a rest day.

What does this all teach;

Christian Manetta in his blog recently spoke about fast tracking your best :Fast Track To Your best

In the video clip about Baseball pro Evan Langoria , there is a quote: "Learning to be comfortable with being Uncomfortable"

That is what these sessions are about.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Build Phase

War wounds from bike fal on saturday

Standing in the Swan River after Saturday's training .It was hot

The next stage of the Programme has begun .

Fortunately it was a Public Holiday on Monday and I got to sleep in. It was hot as well and I  did my run in the morning .A total run of 14 km which was pretty sluggish . In the afternoon I swam by myself with paddles , Pull buoy and did 2.8 km with th elast 1 km free style.

Tuesday Morning I drovew to City beach and then rode to hillarys where we did 7 hill repeats and I rode back for a distance of 40km.In the evening we did our Interval runs with 5 x 800m at I pace which was 3.44minutes for each 800m. Ended up running 10.5kms.

Wednesday , I was pretty tired and again slept in and swam a 4pm as I had a meeting at 6pm. Did about 2.8km and again had a session with the paddles and Pull-Buoy. Thursday.I skipped the morning brick session and did the wind-trainer session in the was hot and it was by far the longest session yet.90 minutes with a warm-up , 4 short sprints and then 5minutes x 5 at hard pace . I sweated a bucket load and despite 2 Bidons of water , I dropped over a kg .

On Friday I skipped swimming and instead in the evening did my brick session with the bike leg on a wind trainer.It was hot in the room and the run was refreshing but it was dark and lonely being out there at 730pm. Got through the session and felt really tired .

Saturday.Well I managed to get out of bed and to Deepwater point at 5.20am .This time round there wer at least 5 riders .I left with June  Ward  ( who happend to have won her age group at Busselton) .It was a steady and slow start through the detours and road works.Once we got past Lakeside Shopping centre we were going to start our first of 3 efforts of 10 minutes. Unfortunately , there was a ball of cyclone wire rolled up and june passed it geting a nick on her leg and i tried to get round it but the wire got caught on my crank. I wobbled a bit but managed to slow down rapidly and came down on my right side tearing my knicks and getting a bruise on my elbow and hip and a few scratches on my leg .The bike was fine as I took the brunt of the fall. I dusted myself off and we continued. I got dropped by june in the first effort and she was 500metres down the track at the end. I maintained my pace and really worked hard on the efforts but my Heart rate remained low , possibly from the fatigue of the Thursday and Friday sessions. I rode 50km with the last effort with Gary , another person in the squad . We turned around and I followed Gary back and then after 15km took a turn at the front but gary probably put in a larger share till we hooked up with the road cyclist and he dragged us along for 10km before he dropped us on a short climb. I rode the rest of the way back to deepwater Point. Just before we got to the car park i got a cramp and had to ease up. The run of the bike was tough . I managed in the end to maintain a 5.30min pace and did the 10km in 55 minutes. I finished my 3rd Bidon of cordial and then got a drink from the cafe .I had 4 bidons and I was still thirsty.On the way home I bought some cans of coconut juice and had 3 cans and another bidon of water. I think it was over 35 C when I finished my run . I then just got into the river and cooled down .

SUNDAY: I was sore but managed to get to City Beach where i rode down to Coogee with Trevor and Les . The conditions for the swim were great and did a 28.34 a PB for me by just over 2 minutes from 2 years ago. I had a good swim as I managed to draft behind a female swimmer and then tried to jump onto the legs of a swimmer coming by but got dropped pretty fast .I then jumped onto another swimmers feet for the last 400meters  and felt quite comfortable in the swim. The ride was a bit of a struggle.It was pretty hot and riding my heavy road bike was just no fun.

It has been a good week of training .As Brad says it is now in the bank. Just have to let the war wounds heal.

The week so far: Swim : 2 sessions , 2hours or 5.6km ( with Coogee swim  1.5km or 1/2 hr)
Bike : 6 hrs 50minutes or 212km ( and 50 kms for the ride down to Coogee a further 2 hours )
Run: 3.52 or 39km Core/Yoga: 1.5hrs

Total : 15hrs 52 minutes

Friday, March 9, 2012

People Are Awesome

It has been a hard week with the weekend full of training.But as always there is a Big world out there and every momemt there is someone or somebody out there doing something AWESOME. As the video clip shows the world is full of inspiring people in Action. I am reading aboit one now.Chrissie Wellington's Book "A LIFE WITHOUT LIMITS ".
Another interesting newspaper article on Chrissie: The-real-iron-lady

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Tuesday morning at Reabold Hill 6.15am

Swan River Deep Water Point at start of Saturdays Ride

JJ at Hilary's

Sunset at the Boat Harbour

Win Trainer Session 1 March 2012

Recovery week is really not that easy .it is actually a reduction in volume for the the body to adjust with no let up on the intensity of the work out.

After Tuesday's run session which was not a high volume session legs did feel quite tired with the 200m sprints and after Thursday's session I was really tired. Saturday was a 90km ride .Riding as you feel. I headed to Deep water point but there was no one around so i rode on my own. Unfortunately i changed my tires the night before and the back wheel was flat. I sacrificed one of my canisters and it seemed firm was a slow leak and i did not have a pump .The tire was probably not at the right pressure and it felt a little flat but better a ride than none. It was pretty comfortable for the first 45km with some wind . i got passed by a group but they then slowed up so i had to work pass them again and caught a rider on his won (part of the group) Got some relief riding behind him but then worked passed him for the rest of the distance.he dropped off before the end of my turn around.

The ride back was harder.I was feeling it in my legs at the end. Lingering concerns about whether the tire will last as well did not help.
By the 70km mark i was hurting . partly because of the tire and the wind was just stronger . Finished with an average of 30kph. not the fastest but it was harder than normal . the tire was flat by evening I

In the afternoon I had my 1.5hrs of yoga.That really hurt my legs and I was pretty sore in the evening. I slept like a log and fortunately I had a rest day on Sunday . I wasn't racing but lots of friends were.

IMNZ was the main race this weekend . It was shortened to an 70.3 race after the difficult weather conditions forced the cancellation of the race on Saturday. It seemed from the times that it was still tough out on the course .

Whilst everyone racing NZ were disappointed about the cancellation, it was the only obvious decision to make. Despite the sacrifice and time devoted to training , it is only a race. Taking unwarranted risk is just not on the cards. The organisers must and did always have safety as the up most consideration. There are now too many endurance races in difficult terrain where safety corners are cut or not enough resources devoted to ensure total safety with horrendous consequences.

Racing , like training is about challenges but also about keeping a perspective about LIFE.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Recovery week

Cottesloe Beach On Sunday Morning after the swim

TXT SHOTS CAFE where we have breakfast after swimming some days

This is a collection of stories and interesting facts for the week., starting with the fact it is a recovery week in the programme. There is lots on as well with IMNZ on Saturday and races in Rockingham and Albany.

Its also a long weekend so it will be nice to relax and probably swim on Monday at the Cott.

The week started with a sleep in on Monday morning.I only had running and did a short 7km run followed by a 6 km run in the evening. On Tuesday had the hills and riding at Tempo. i rode from the city and met the group briefly at Reabold hill.Climbing that hill does not get easier.Did about 47km and saw a bit of the Exceed Club v Running Centre 20km Time trial comp which was won by the Running centre beating the top Exceed riders by 2 mins.

In the evening had running intervals .I did 8km with 20 x 200m at "R "pace or for me 54 seconds. I was constantly running 42 to 47secs and the next day I was quite sore.

Wednesday , I was quite sore so I skipped my swim session.

Thursday morning , I had a slightly lighter session of 15min bike and 5 min run x 3. i got to City Beach early and started my sessions alone before the guys arrived and did the last 2 cycles with the group. It was a hard session and the legs felt a little tired. In the evening it was the wind trainer session  with 60 minutes .it was rather warm and I was soaked after the session.

Lastly , I came across a short piece in the Sydney morning herald about the Steve Jobs of Yoghurt in the USA. His advise on the five tips for success applies to everything:

Hamdi Ulukaya’s five tips for success

1. Have passion for what you are doing.

2. Be real. Consumers are smart. They can tell, or easily find out, when you are not.

3. Surround yourself with good people, take good care of them and lead by example.

4. Invest in your core. For us that’s production - the heart and soul of what we do.

5. Keep it simple, both your products and your business, and know what you make and how to make it better than anybody.

Read more: Morning herald -The Steve Jobs of Youghurt