Monday, November 26, 2012

What it Takes to be a Champion

Meredith Kessler - Trizone

No one knows what they are doing when they start out in triathlon,
and the learning curve takes time, money, determination, and
effort. It took me over twenty Ironman races to realize that I was
floundering in the sport.
Meredith Kessler Ironman NZ /St George IM Champion 2012 and finisher of 40 Ironmans

It is good to be humble and to be objective.

In this sport of long course triathlon , there is no more a humbling experience then failure. It also throws out many great unassuming and humble Champions . It is one aspect of the sport I love .It is an equalizer of all who venture out to have a go . It respect's no one and every race is a lesson about to be served to anyone who does not respect the distance .Even the pro's get it badly wrong from time to time. Possibly for that reason they understand the sacrifice each triathlete at the start line has endured.

The best have had to face it .It I hope builds character? I may not have all the answers and certainly I have had more than my share of mistakes . I continue to make them and I continue to know , to improve , no stone must be left unturned but it comes at considerable price. One I am not able to pay.

There is nutrition , rest , training and mental and physical preparation ...all coming together. Having said that , the professionals may have the time but they take the leap of faith chasing races and sponsorship and the uncertain pay check . If you want it badly enough you will take the plunge.

I have read a recent article in triathlete Magazine ( the advantage of a subscription ) about Meredith Kessler , just such a Champion Professional triathlete and about  her triathlon History .It took her 20 Ironman's before she began to improve into an age group winner and eventually turning Pro. The piece is reproduced on the Triathlete Europe website and is well worth a read.

The Journey Of Meredith Kessler By Paul Moore

Another great piece is an article about Meredith's early beginnings in the sport and before she became a Pro by Matt Fitzgerald titled the Purple Patch .She had a full time job and a marriage and training and managed to make it all work.

Seeing Purple by Matt Fitzgerald triathlete Magazine November 2010

IT TOOK MEREDITH KESSLER  a long time - more than seven years - to find a purple patch in triathlon .She found it soon after she began working with coach Matt Dixon in 2007 , and since then the 32 year old San Francisco resident  has made up for lost time , riding that purple patch from her past status as a solid but unexceptional age-group Ironman racer to her current status as a top tier pro whose Ironman victory seemed all but inevitable . for those uninitiated in the ways of the purple patch is "a period of excellent performance , when everything seems to go right , work properly and is in perfect balance .Everything seems to fall into place and flows , making it seem like you can do nothing wrong.

Despite the challenges of endurance racing , there is an inevitable meaning to the whole journey culminating in the race. For some , they find their mojo in the first race but as I have learnt , there is always a roll of the dice and there is always something to be learnt and something to improve upon . It may take many years or for some , it all falls in place fairly quickly and then it is just the tweaking of the edges to sharpen the  result. Whatever it is , whether a top ten age grouper or the back of the pack triathlete , the race does dish out lessons as does those many hours of training. What we take from these lessons is what makes us as triathletes and more so the person we want to be.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


It s about two weeks to Ironman  Busselton 2012.

Whilst there are  many factors that have not made this the deal preparation for an Ironman . t never s and the trick is to be able to adapt to circumstances as they arise and cope. getting to the start line is one battle , achieving your best on the day is quite another battle some 1500 plus triathletes will be waging on 9 December 2012. Many to perform at their best and deliver a PB .

The preparation has been less than ideal but in many respects ideal in that I do not have any illusions of where I am at and how I will perform and any pressure on myself to achieve unrealistic times. We are always our worst enemies . It is good to have goals and objectives but quite another to shoot for the stars and miss by a country mile. The training tells me where I am. I am not running or biking as fast as early last year and I am quite a few Kg's heavier than race weight at Lanzarote 2011. On the plus side I am feeling stronger and recovering from my fall .

The week has passed quickly. I had no swimming this week so far and mainly did my run session on Tuesday with interval work and clocking over 12km.On Wednesday I did a treadmill session of 55 mins and a run of 50 minutes clocking over 17kms with 30minutes at Marathon pace. On Thursday , I followed the Exceed group round the river but did not join them on the efforts. It was a comfortable 42kms round the river and 1.40minutes on the bike. I had a massage on Thursday and my right hip was quite sore over the week although there was no particular incident. Possibly the massage the week before was just a little hard and the runs had just inflamed the tissue around the right Hip. I soldiered on but it was pretty sore after the Thursday run even though it was an easy 10km run. On Friday , I skipped swimming and had an OT session with another massage to try and get the hip fixed.

Saturday , another early start , at 4.30am riding from South Perth through Welshpool , Roe and the cycle path down the Freeway to Safety bay road and then back to South Perth via the bike path. I had 3 x 30 minute efforts.Everyone took a turn on the efforts and felt very comfortable . My heart rate was at about 145 when I was at the front which was at about 72% of my Maximum Effort. It felt good and admittedly when I was at the back the heart rate dropped down so it wasn't quite at threshold pace for each full 30 minute effort .But on the day with the swim and the excitement , I suspect the heart rate will be higher. It will be a critical question as to the pace on the bike and being realistic about times .

Untitled by cookejohn at Garmin Connect - Details

The run off the bike was at easy pace.Again I started off faster than I should and slowed down to do 5.5km in 30 minutes , keeping the heart rate below 140 . The legs were feeling pretty good but we did spin back leisurely for the last 45 minutes .

Untitled by cookejohn at Garmin Connect - Details

Two weeks to go and tapering and preparation for the Ironman are on.

Ross ,  my Coach  , and the IM Triathletes from Exceed  had a little get together at Yelo Cafe  to discuss preparation and nutrition. I will put  up my checklist as well as a link to tapering which I have found helpful.  As I am reminded again , it isn't rocket science but it isn't easy.

The training is done and not a lot is going to improve the performance but a lot between now and race day can destroy a PB.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Last Long Ride

The week has passed quickly and it has been busy. My last big week of training before the taper has been uneventful and not too bad.

I ran on Monday with a 2 hour run but split into a treadmill session with 30 minutes at Marathon pace and the rest a little slower . Managed to run 21 km .On Tuesday it was the last 1.5 hour session on the Birwood circuit and again it was a good effort although i felt I was slower with the legs still fatigued from the run the night before.I managed a 62km ride with the cycle from and back to the city from Nedlands. I had a massage at lunch time which did help the sore muscles and in the evening I did the  run was 4 x 1km at threshold pace and 6 x 600 at threshold pace with a warm up and cool down .Managed 12.5km.

On Wednesday , I got down to the swim session and felt tired but kept  up .It was a bigger session then normal and with the warm up and cool down , I did 2.9km .the main set was 500m at medium and threshold , 300m at medium and threshold and 3x 200m .

Thursday , I skipped the ride in the morning and did my run at lunch time it was an easy run for an hour  and in the evening I rode my bike home from work and again to swim and work on Friday morning. The swim on Friday was short but a little harder with a short fast set. we did a 50 easy , 100 fast , 50m easy and 100m fast , four times and then a cool down of 200m medley and 200m easy .I felt a lot better but I am still slow. I did manage to remain reasonably strong for the whole set and keep up with the middle group in the lane .

Saturday was the last long ride of 5 hours and a30 minute run off the bike .I started off with Johnny Hawkins and Mez at 4.30 am from South Perth doing 4 sets of threshold efforts. There was a good stiff tail wind down going out .We hit 80km and then turned around hitting the headwind although i felt it wasn't as bad a s2 weeks ago. we took turns at the front and that helped with Johnny being the strongest rider amongst us and pushing a higher speed. i ran comfortably off the bike although I did feel the heat. I had 4 bidons of water and Gatorade , my gels in a flask and dates and snakes for added carbohydrates  and 1800mg of salt in the gels. Had one pee stop on the bike and one on the run.

Sunday , the legs were feeling pretty good after the ride and run on Saturday and I had a good nights sleep. drove down to Coogee to swim with Les and Trevor.(Trevor didn't make it as he was watching rugby last night and slept in).  the winds was up and so the water was a little choppy .Made it hard in the beginning but i did manage to get a bit more comfortable after the initial spluttering and coughing and swallowing of sea water. did a short swim of 1.5km  and then coffee.

The week has rushed by but glad I managed to finish all the programme without too much difficulties..

Swim: 2.6 hrs/ 6.6 km
Run: 4. 5 hrs  / 48km
Bike : 9.1 hrs / 260 km
total: approx 16 hrs.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Last Easy Week

The purpose in life is to have a Good nights sleep

Sleep is underrated . I have discovered this year I have slept more and I have loved it .After Saturdays mammoth session I slept like a log and for most of Sunday other than a visit to AQWA , I just rested .Monday was a sleep in morning and I did my swim in the evening.It was a good session and felt pretty comfortable in the water.We did a 500 m warm up or 10 minutes then dills with PB and bands.I struggled with bands alone and just sink like a dead weight so need to practice more with the bands.that was 300m and then the main drill was 12 x 100m at threshold , with everyone having a turn in front.managed to keep up with the faster swimmers in the lane .cool down was a 200m swim for a distance of 2.2km.

Tuesday , skipped the cycle in the morning , just wanted to rest.It was an easy ride round the river. i did do the run session with 3km warm up and cool down  and 1.5km x 4 at  threshold and marathon pace .managed just over 13 km .felt pretty good.

Wednesday was just a swim session with about 2.3km .Again warm up and drills was 700m and then 500m at threshold , 500m at medium , 300m at threshold and 300m at medium and a cool down .

Thursday and Friday turned out to be busy work days and I just did not manage any training. had a bit of a cold or the hay fever as well. On Saturday , Bryce and I rode down Reid hwy and West coast before doing the river and Shelly loop. We jumped on the back of a group near Mt Henry and followed them all the way back to the City . they were pretty fast and my legs were pretty shattered after that. Rode home and did a bit of a loop around the suburb. Ran off the bike for 30 minutes very slowly. In the evening I did an easy ride with Tim in the rain to the city and back .

Sunday , I was planning on an easy ride but just rested as I still had a cold. I fell asleep by nine pm and don't remember anything till getting up the next morning at 5 and then sleeping again for a few more hours. It has been a week of more rest than activity but by the quality of sleep , it was needed .

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Double Paganoni - Not Quite

Breakfast at Noon at Metrio

It is a new tradition in exceed for those doing Ironman to do one of these at least once.You have to ride 200km and run for an hour off the bike all before 12 noon.
It is a long day especially when you have to be up at 3am.I had a six hour ride and an hour run off the bike .

Started off at South Perth and we rode through Shepparton and Whelspool Road to Roe Hwy and then on to the Freeway bike path all the way to the end.It was easy in the beginning with a group of us and just drafting off the group.After Roe Hwy it quicken with everyone doing Threshold efforts and again i just stayed in the group till about an hour from the end , I went out with bryce and then for the last 45 minutes on my own till the end of the freeway .I turned around and met the group of Mez , Johnny and Bryce and rode on thinking they would eventually catch up . they did probably when I turned off to Safety Bay Road for water . There was a good tail wind on the way down but that meant a headwind all the way back. I was struggling after the 4 hour mark and probably did not pace myself too well.Got back to South Perth for a quick transition and then an hour run.I managed 10km and stopped. I was glad that was done.Kevin Siah was riding past in South Perth with break your limits group after I later learnt was a 180km ride in the hills. So my 185 km ride wasn't that bad in comparison other than the headwind on the return trip.

It was a good learning curve and the bike felt good after the repairs and will just have to get the hydration and nutrition right for the race and not go out too hard.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Post recovery

Last week was supposed to be a week of continuing training but unfortunately my recovery was slower and work and just falling into a rut made it a week of little training. i did turn up for run training on Tuesday but had great difficulty running with my wheezing and i suspect hay fever.

I have put that behind as I must to focus on the last big week of training . It started with the usual Monday of not exactly wanting to get out early for a 2 hour run. I ended up running at lunchtime on a treadmill for 1.25 with 2 x 40minutes at Marathon pace which for me was at about 5.20 or just under.It was hard but I managed to finish the run .I ran 16kms .In the evening before swim training I ran a further  50 minutes and just over 8kms at a recovery pace . I then did my swim session which was all in about 2.3km with the usual warm up and cool down but we had to do a 400m time trial which was hard as I kept cramping and then 100m x 10 . I was swimming pretty slow but glad i made it through.

Tuesday was a long day.Had the 90 minute hard session on my own on the circuit.I did try to hand on to some of the groups riding but couldn't.After the 130minute session I found I had been riding in the small chain ring the whole time. my legs were wasted and it was hard trying to keep at a higher pace in the small chain ring.The run session was interesting.i was tired and the legs were hurting but did not have to many issues with the set.Did a 2km warm up and then 8 x 800 at threshold and a 2plus cool down.managed over 11kms .the pace for the threshold efforts were under 4minutes between 3.39 to 3.49 .

Wednesday .It was a good swim session .i got there for a start.We had a 400m warm up and then 200m of medley and the main set was 2 x 300m at medium and medium plus , followed by 200m and 150s and then 100s with a cool down at the end .I managed 2.3kms again. No training in the evening so it was a good day to rest the body.

Thursday.Another long day starting with a 2 hour plus ride with 8 x 10 minute efforts and 5 minutes recovery .at least i was riding on the big chain ring , felt a lot better . Did 62km all up. In the evening it was an hour on the thread mill at an easy pace finishing with 10 plus kms.

the only real big session is Saturday with a long ride/run.