Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Perfect triathlete

REM Shiny Happy People ...Triathlete

We should strive to be as good as we can. That is the to be the perfect boss , worker , triathlete...The Sydney Morning Herald did an article in their business section on the top ten traits of the Perfect Boss by Sylvia Pennington 

The Perfect boss

I wondered what would be the top Eight traits of the Perfect triathlete.

Here is my take although it really comes down to perspective. A coach would say someone who listened and followed my instructions and did not chop and change the programme.

A fellow triathlete would say someone who stuck to the plan and executed every instruction to his fullest capacity.

A wife would say someone who wasn't out all hours of the day .

Here are my top eight traits I wish I had  :

1. Having a Plan ?
Understanding the purpose and having a master Plan for the year with a major A event and a few B events and revisiting that Plan.

2. Where are we going and are we there yet?
Setting goals and measuring them as best as one can.

3. Getting a Coach:
Knowing what and when to have support is critical. That is what a coach is there for to guide and take some of the thinking and planning and silliness out of the journey.keeping to the plan is the next hardest thing. We have to have complete faith in the Coach. It is hard especially as we sponge up so much information and not everything is right or will work especially for the busy working Triathlete.

4. And being able to do the Plan…
Being able to put into practice what is on paper is hard.i am still struggling with translating it into action . I have no instinct for just knowing internally what my body is doing and what is my pace.All crucial internal mechanisms that definitely sets the perfect triathlete apart. These guys don't bonk and don't fall apart in the race.

5. Shiny happy people / a positive mental attitude:
Getting things done is easier if you love what you are doing and you enjoy the challenge .When it all gets too hard , its just time to have a break and freshen up. I have felt like this for parts of the year .it happens to everyone and its how we pull through that makes the difference.

6. Steady and Consistent training:
Whilst there is pressure at home and at work and just not enough hours in the day , keeping focus on the core training always trumps start /stop and inconsistent training. I have fallen down badly in this area with just getting sick and not having or being in the right frame of mind.

7. Learning to Relax and Sleep:
Another Achilles heal for the average Triathlete. I do not sleep or rest enough. Particularly as we get older .
"Without proper recovery, training is only going to put an athlete into a hole that he or she will eventually find near impossible to climb out of," says Fisher. Hunter Kemper, a two-time Olympian, six-time U.S. elite national champion and the number-one ITU-ranked triathlete in the world in 2005 and 2006, learned the importance of recovery the hard way. 7 Habits of the highly effective Triathlete. (Active.com)

8.Be Humble and Thankful
Not really going to get you  a record breaking Kona spot but if you believe in Karma , then enjoy the ability to swim , bike and run and be thankful we are all out there able to enjoy the abilities and strengths we have and the environment around us. I have stood at the ocean edge , nervous but so in awe that I can do and enjoy that nervous moment for it makes me feel so much alive and part of that moment. as is going downhill with the adrenaline rush and running and crossing that finish line.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Aging Athlete

What a difference a Year makes.This time last year I was running the City to Surf and did a PB without much training.

A year later I am slowly trying to recover from a crash and just general De-conditioning.I had a rest day and I was really pretty tired last night I was asleep in minutes and did not wake till 7am .I decided not to ride which was the intention to make up for Tuesday's session but did ride to Bayswater waves in the mountain bike and did a Pump class, my first in a few years . It was fun but my poor left shoulder did hurt and showed up how weak the left arm is. I was using 2.5kg weights and it was hard .With the triceps and general arm work I could only manage a 1.25kg weight on my left arm.

But it was a satisfying week for the fact I finished it with no injuries and illness and I managed all my sessions bar the Tuesday cycle (because of the weather and my fear of getting sick again).

Lesson learnt , is simply as Ross says to tap out the sessions.not worrying about performance and the data too much at present.

For the week:
Cycle : 7 hrs or 175km
Run: 4.30 hrs or 45km
Swim: 3 hrs or 7.3km
Core work : 1hour

total: 15.30

Read Joe Friels blog piece on the aging athlete and whilst there is so much truth in what he says following the advice will take time to change the habits formed over years  , particularly in relation to nutrition and sleep. The Aging Athlete 

This is reflected somewhat in another piece in Triathlete.com called Six common mistakes triathletes make

For the moment , it is just trying to build a good base .

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Getting back into the Groove

The View running in Kings Park on Thursday Night

Training again and Monday was a easy run of 50 minutes and a swim session .I managed the main set and a warm up but called it a day .Did a 1000m warm up with some back stroke and then 8 x 150m at threshold and using a PB .Managed to keep up with everyone but just.

On Tuesday, it rained in the morning and I was not going out into the wet after my Flu . But i did run in the evening and did a 2km warm up and then 8 x 600m building to threshold pace.Cool down was another 2.5km .it was dark and wet and very lonely as i started late .it also got windy and was hard running at time s with the wind. Did not enjoy the session at all.

Wednesday , I got up . A big plus for me and did the morning swim session. Warm up was 400m and then did 10 x 200 m and a 200m cool down for a 2.6km session. Felt good. in the evening it was a wind trainer session with a warm up and 5minuts x 10 with a heavy gear at 80rpm.I skipped the cool down .it was the usual sweaty session whilst watching 2 episodes of the Good Wife .

Thursday is always a hard session.i had the morning brick session.I did a 30 minute easy bike ride to Nedlands and a bit of the loop and then met everyone at the car park and did 40 minutes at threshold the last 10 hard. I was pretty much at the back and then ran for 20 minutes .

Had breakfast at Zekka which is sadly closing and we will be looking for a new breakfast hang out on Thursday.

In the evening I headed for my 15km run .I ran up to Kings park and whilst in the Park ran into Gaye McKean , who had just done IM France. it was a good run , slow and steady but no  injuries and it was a hilly course . It took me 1.40 to do the run and it was quite a nice evening.It was cool and the lights reflecting of the river and the city lights made it magical .As I headed for the Park entrance there was a line up of stretch limousines ferrying the High school kids in their best for the prerequisite photo op at Kings Park before the Ball. Had to weave my way through the crowd. The city of Perth is so different at night and you feel and see so much more in the dark  of night just a kilometer from a city and its lights. It was a little harder running in the dark and the undulating paths .Made it back to the office in the city.

Friday was swimming and again I did the morning session. It was a 900m warm up .I didn't quite do the set drills.Just freestyle for 400m and then a 50m backstroke and then a 200 free with a 50 back .Then drills were 50 finger drag , 50 point and 50 free x 4 but managed only 3 sets before doing the main set which was 100 free, 100 medley , 200 free ,100 medley , 300 free , 100medley , 200 free , 100 medley 100 free and 100 medley. it was seven so did not have a cool down.But managed 2600m.

Picture from Flickr on Clenton Road  in Death Valley at the accident scene where  Peter Brock , racing legend lost control of his car. .Rode past the site this morning.

Saturday was another Hills ride with Bryce.we started of at 6am and decided to ride death Valley , known by its name for the simple fact you cannot get mobile transmission in the Valley . It was a beautiful Perth morning .The climb up Red Hill was slow and Bryce motored ahead. We re grouped at O'Brien Road the start of a 40 km loop .there was little traffic and we only saw a group of cyclist as we exited from Reserve Road.it was then a quick ride back Home. It was 100km in just over 4 hours .a slow ride but a little more climbing with 1250m .

in the arvo it was a slow run for an hour.the legs were definitely feeling it . I fell asleep watching TV in the afternoon as well.But it was a good week just tapping out the sessions.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Trying Hard

Greatest Sports Pep Talk Ever

It is 6 weeks into my program although I have missed 3 with the flu . I did manage a 4 hour Hill ride on Saturday and a 2.5 hr ride  on Sunday with my mate Tim doing hill repeats in Kings Park .

It has been a struggle getting back into training but I think I am over the worst of the flu. I had a bad cough and just coughed my lungs out for a week. Since the fall I have De-conditioned a lot and have been very vulnerable to various bugs in the community.I think it is a combination of the body just not feeling well and mentally struggling with training.

Like Life there is a cycle in training and I think I just have to weather the down side of this cycle but find the enjoyment in training again .It has been very trying and the motivation has been hard.

It is times like these I could use a Pep Talk . A reminder of what is so good about starting a 16 or 20 week program for one event .What is the Goal ? Motivation is a funny thing. If you are a back of the pack triathlete , it has to be  the really intangible outcomes only significant to you. It makes it difficult striving for an event so far ahead . It is more difficult in Winter with the added stresses of work .

Its times like these it helps to have a bit of support and external motivation.

Someone to give me a pep talk . to say , it happens to all of us.We are not machines and it is OK to have an off day , an off week . even an off year.What counts is can you bounce back. Find a way out of the hole. Like everything , there is a solution , it is whether it is within us to find the motivation to just get on with it or getting some support to get out of the rut.

After the rides on the weekend , I was tired and I knew it was one of my slower rides but  I was glad I had got out into the hills , dreading the climbs , but getting home strong and feeling I accomplished a very small step in trying to get back to being fit and motivated.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


 Gold Medalist Tommie Smith, (center) and Bronze medalist John Carlos (right) showing the raised fist on the podium after the 200m in the 1968 Summer Olympics wearing Olympic Project for Human Rights badges. Silver medalist Peter Norman from Australia (left) joins them.Source Wikipedia

In the fast moving world of Facebook , twitter and social media, the modern sportsperson has much to contend with and with it the pressures of and weight of a nation as seen in the Olympics.Australia did not fair as well but as I have blogged I think it was an unrealistic view of  what was demanded of our athletes and the resources and population of a country like Australia.

Having said that , my only means of venting any opinion is this blog read by few and more an indulgence of my record of thoughts and training as a Triathlete .

But with the social media hot spots and access , our thoughts are melding into the screens and iPhone and Ipads of millions if not thousands of people we would otherwise have no contact with.It is a reflection of the speed of comment both sincere well thought and vitriolic bordering on the psychotic crazed mumblings of a madman.

I have steered away from adding my comments mainly for fear of the fact that not all comments may be understood on the one dimensional world of  facebook or twitter.More so everyone has a right to an opinion but am I really that passionate about everything sifting thru the web.

Yet because of the fence sitters and the side liners like me, the world of social media seems littered with the extremist of the world sitting at their extreme corner .They run the jihad of social commentary and abuse .It is angry and sustained and vile.

For the most part it is time wasted and energy misdirected.Will it make a difference , probably not .Sometimes , I wish I could in a world so different calmly explain a rationale point of view and hope to enlighten those whose views I disagree with .But the energy and likely response puts one off trying.Not a good attitude.

Like Sports , we learn to take the hard road and struggle thru the tough spots .Taking the flak and riding the storm are great euphemisms for confronting and taking a stance.

Possibly the one great lesson during these past 16 days , I like many, spent a little less time on social media whilst watching the Olympics ,whilst the sportsmen seemed to have been swamping it.

And one last thought , whilst sports and politics don't mix , it isn't either chalk and cheese , there is a minimum standard or values and decency we must all stand for and make a stand for. It is not for the recognition but for our own soul. For all good comes from all individuals who make that small stand for mankind and common decency. As  Peter Norman did 40 plus years ago and whilst I don't share all the points in the article and by the writer , I do share the view that we do sometimes have to take a stand possibly not popular or against the rules and etiquette of bureaucratic Sporting Bodies .

 The hero too many of us still don't Know -Sydney Morning Herald

In the Sick Zone

Coolest Sports Pictures of the Week from Totally Coolpix.com

This is rapidly becoming a nightmare start to training. I have had more sick days then training days.The flu has been quite bad. I am weak and coughing constantly with little sleep. I haven't been able to train and the only consolation is watching the Olympics.

Lots of great pictures and the link above is a collection of absolutely fabulous picture mainly from the Olympics.

I am hoping that this will be the last of the flu bug and I will have an uninterrupted run to the end of the year. I definitely need it . 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Back In the Saddle...Just

My first week back training after 2 weeks of the Flu and all sorts of gastro issues. It was hard but good to be back.

Monday saw me running in the rain.It was an easy run and I did about 9.5km in the hour so it was slow. I found breathing hard with my lungs having had a bit of a work out with the flu and just feeling really tired . Swim session in the evening was really just trying to keep up in lane 1. I had a warm up of 500m and then did 14 x 100m at different paces.towards the end I was cramping abit. i swam with a pull-buoy just to rest the legs . Cool down was a200m slow swim and that was me for the night.2.1 km

Tueasday I was up early and thank fully no rain .It wasn't too cold and I did a 45 m ride before meeting the group and doing 5km efforts x 4 with a cruise between efforts. Rode back into the city to make that a 2.10 session. Got dropped at every turn .It is a long road back to fitness.

In the evening did my run intervals .had a 2km warm up and then 400, 600, 800, 1km ,800m, 600m ,and 400m run at threshold pace of about 5min/km.I managed to hold the pace and did not feel too bad but the legs were feeling it after the ride . did the cool down with the newest member of the squad , Leila , another lawyer training for the Mandurah Half. in October. It did drizzle a bit towards the end so I haven't had a dry run yet.

Wednesday turned out to be a rest day as I was just tired and wimped out on the swim and wind trainer session.So it is moved to Sunday.

It did a world of good as I felt a lot better on Thursday .it was a cold dark morning ...no change .I rode out to Nedlands and we did a brick session with the first ride being easy and then the remaining 3 sessions hard. It was a 4km bike and 1 km run ...not long but it really knocked the stuffing out of me. I was last in the group and got lapped by the front group but not too bad when there were 2 age group champions and a pro(well part -time at least) and I was still huffing my way through the cold and recovering from the flu. The legs were smashed and they just hurt the rest of the day , just shows how unfit I had become. In the evening , it was a 13km run 9easy) up to Kings Park and to the University of WA and then back through the cyclepath by the river.It was pretty dark running along the Park. Did that in 1.27 with stops at the traffic lights.

Ross keeps saying its getting lighter in the morning and its not as dark in the evenings but I find it pretty dark still.

I was in bed by ten and i don't remember a thing till I got up at 5am .The first time I had an unbroken nights sleep .i usually will be up at different times and watching the Olympics. I was so tired I just fell asleep.

Friday.I got up and made it to the swim session .Another first in recent weeks . It was a good session.i felt better and although the left arm is still weak I held the stroke and managed the session.I am still favouring breathing on the left as my right dominant arm feels so much better outstretched when I turn to the left for a breath.

Did a 100m free and then 3 x 200m with 150 free and 50 backstroke and then another 100m followed by the main set which was 3 x 600m made up of 100easy with PB , 400 threshold and 100easy and then I only managed a 100m cool down. I was at the back of the pack but kept up and was only 200m behind the front swimmers.It was a 2.7km session.

That's where the week's training ended .On Friday i started to have a sore throat and had a head cold and flu symptoms on Saturday morning .That put an end to the hills ride with Bryce. I stayed in bed the rest of the day and at home on Sunday with a cold but feeling better by Sunday. It was a wet rainy day and reflected how I felt. I have not had a good start.

Hoping that is the end of the issues for training .

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Olympic Dreams

The Thrill of Victory and The Agony of Defeat .My Memory of Sports on TV in the 80s

My training week has taken a bit of a holiday with the lingering Man flu keeping me from training for a 2nd week and having a bad cough and just being sick.

I did get to watch and read  a little more than I would have during the week if I had been training, I got my monthly programe and it looks good if not a lot more serious.I am not sure if I am going to live up to it but I am looking forward to just getting out of this rut.

Having said that and keeping to the theme this past few weeks, Australia and its Sportsmen have not really had the start it wanted .There is already a string of commentators and sports personalities sifting through the entrails of Australian Sports at the London Olympics.

It has also been a real insight into the pressure and personalities of our sportsmen.Many very young and for whom I have great sympathy to a degree. I do level some criticism at the media though. I am not so sure as sports mad as Australia is we would think any less of our Athletes for just giving of their best. I don't seem to recall it being in the Australian Ethos not to give it ones best but leaving it all in the field . The one great difference is that the Games swing round once in 4 years .It is 4 years invested and there is I am sure a lot invested. You can't really pick yourself off and not be emotional about the result ,But I do not think the Press and media help by emphasizing the imagined disappointment of a nation.

I and many others I know did not voice such views.I haven't heard anyone curse the failings of the Australian Olympic Team. Maybe it is about a cycle and as other countries improve  we need to rebuild. I already think because we are a sports mad nation we punch way above our weight,

It is sad that there is no broad reflection of a more mature view in the Press.(other than a few good pieces about the individual cost and the individual sacrifice we should be proud of) We should highlight the effort and everyone is allowed to have a bad Hair day. A few moments worth remembering , Anna Meares losing in the Keirin which is fast and furious and well stuff happens.Our pursuit team beaten by the British team , World Champions. In the swimming competition despite the prediction , we were beaten by better swimmers on the day .

Is that so hard to accept. Possibly with such level of competition there must be equal preparation for the athlete and possibly the nation ,it is alright to lose once in a while and be a good sport about it. It is a fine line as that mental desire and belief probably should not be tempered by any self doubt . Clearly in the swimming and cycling and rowing Australia has just not had it its way but to medal is an achievement and whilst I do not pretend to understand the effort and immense desire and let down these athletes feel , I hope that in time they and the Country will put it in perspective. Obviously there are sports fans (more idiots) who take their sports seriously and the individuals heckling and abusing the family of McCulloch is just being loutish and not appreciating the Athletes for the fact that they are the best in their country.
In a series of exchanges that Channel Nine is understood to have captured on film, three male spectators and one female fan directed streams of insults at McCulloch's mother, Karen, and her partner, Ken Bates, after they watched McCulloch contest the team sprint with Anna Meares.

Nothing brings to sharper focus the emotion in Olympic life than the story of Jake  Andrewartha
Australian Judoka who was out of the Games in 24 seconds.life can be very cruel and .

Seeing such a big man reduced to tears is confronting; one day Andrewartha will realise that merely stepping onto an Olympic judo mat was a victory but this was not that time.

Read more:
All over in 24 seconds, as bout ends in tear SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

Maybe we all need to grow up a little.I love my sports and it reflects who we are . It is good for the soul  of the  country for others  to have a turn in front of us once in a while. I will console myself with the fact that we have a Springsteen Loving World Champion Treasurer and we are on the Economic leader Board . Take that World.