Saturday, December 22, 2012

My Carbon Free Ride

Tanjung Beach ,Sentosa
After the Swim ...3 km plus slowly

About to Start the run
Slow and steady in the heat

After the run

The past 10 days post IMWA have been very much vegetating as I got over the soreness and fatigue.A lot of sleep and mulling over the race as I try to gather up the motivation for IMNZ 2013.

It has been largely a year of survival rather than of improvement or consolidation , regrettably but an unfortunate reality for many in Triathlon I am sure.The focus will have be to gaining strength and reducing weight but that will be long term goals and IMNZ will be more just getting through the race .

The next 2 weeks is more enjoying the holiday and travel and trying to do some strength exercises.

I catch up each year with a group of triathletes in Singapore and made it to the regular Saturday swim at Tanjung Beach , Sentosa. I did a slow 3 km plus swim and a short 4.7km run .It was a little humid but the water was nice and calm .After the swim /run brick session it was a late brunch at the nearby food centre .
This session was my version of the Carbon Free ride Exceed were having today which I miss each year because I am away. The swim /bike made up for it as it was really quite nice swimming in the lagoon with the water nice and warm and flat with the many ships anchored of the island . the run was a little hot but I just kept it easy and hoping that I will be able to shed some weight by March.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ironman Western Australia 2012

Photographers know that the first and last hour of the day is always golden. But add in the warmth of a young girl comforting her father to not quit after racing for 14 hours in the West Australian Ironman Triathlon, and you get a special image that tells a special story. From The great Delly Carr's Facebook Page Pic taken by Delly Carr
Finishing ...Pic By Dennis Tan
On the run coated with sunscreen ...Pic by Dennis Tan
Before the start with Clifford Lee , Kona Finisher 2012

What a difference a Day makes particularly when it falls on 9 December 2012 .For a triathlete it is Ironman Western Australia 2012 . The weather was great one minute with mill pond water and windy and rough conditions next. Anything can happen and it does often.

It is a day that usually brings out the best in everyone.From volunteers , to competitors and the many who come  to support family and friends. It is a hard day .There isn't ever an easy Ironman race regardless of the conditions.

For me , it was a hard day with the swim setting the tone for what has been a difficult year . But as they say if it was easy everyone will be doing it. Having said that , I was hoping for a better result but they are what they are. At the end of the long day , I crossed the line at 13.10.53

HH : MM : SS
HH : MM : SS
HH : MM : SS

My slowest at Busselton yet but every race is different and in every race I learn something new possibly not profound and not Life changing.

I don't plan to provide an in depth analysis of a lack lustre race other than to say going into the race I was quite under done and lacked the preparation I needed .

I had not really got my swimming back to early 2011 levels and that is something I will have to work on. I assumed I could get by with the minimum of work and the shoulder injury demanded I rest it but I will have to work on strengthening the left shoulder . I will also need to work on swimming in all conditions I swam a few hundred meters extra which was just silly.

That really set up the rest of the race and I pretty much just did not have the strength to sustain myself on the bike and run .It was just trying to survive the rest of the race . I really had some slow times and unfortunately with the extra weight I was carrying , I really just wasn't able to maintain any reasonable pace.

The really good points were , I did not panic and had my best start ever .I stayed away from the main groups and did not have any real issues other than drinking a bit of seawater and the choppy conditions which I find hard to swim in but that just slowed me up and did not really cause me any concern as past swim legs would.

I followed my nutrition plan to the letter and ate all the time and finished my gels and had at least 6 bi don's on the bike and lots of lollies and dates . On the run , 2 gels , coke from the 5 km mark  at every aid station and electrolyte as well , lots of water 2 cups at least per aid station and lots of ice . I did not feel the heat other than my legs were just cactus. I had no intestinal issues and had only 2 pee stops on the run and one on the bike.

It was just a matter of toughing it out.The brain was screaming for me to walk and I just had to focus on getting from one aid station to the next and from one lap to the next. I walked each aid station and shuffled in between . In most races if well prepared I would usually be able to maintain my race pace up to the 20km mark on the run , at about 6km I was already struggling , but in all this , I never forget that it is a race , it is about finishing , and it isn't the end of the world if you don't. Like everyone there are goals and times and all the sacrifice etc but in the end , S@#t happens . I survived and I will move on.

What was enjoyable was the crowd support , the many volunteers I knew and the great atmosphere. I was in far too much pain to truly appreciate it all but I am thankful for the support from total strangers .As I finished my last lap , I thanked some of these total strangers and the response no worries all we did was just cheer you on.Well it was more than that , it uplifted and encouraged me and I am sure 1500 others. On the positives I raced at my heaviest weight and probably my least fit state and still made it so there is hope yet.

Despite the results , it is still an experience and whilst many had hard days , I know of many ,whom I won't mention who had a spectacular day . They not only guts it out but really had the results they deserved . Ironman Western Australia Age Group Highlights . First off the Bike

I will mention one story in thousands told on the day .My blog is about training, about triathlon and about my experience but it is not meant to be a "look at me " story  but more so the experience and wonder of this sport many love. A colleague whose sister was entered for her first Ironman ,  tore her calf muscle on the bike leg ( I don't know at what stage ) and still finished with 20 minutes or so to spare. I don't advocate killing yourself to prove you are an Ironman but  that is partly what is so inspiring about the race .Ordinary people testing themselves. There are many stories of sacrifice , tears and goals achieved and goals just slipping through or missed by miles .The true nature of the race is to be able to survive that and move on.

Entries opened today for Ironman WA 2013 . Whose up for another bout with the IronGods.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The pointy End

Busselton Jetty 

The great thing about a local race ie Ironman Western Australia is that it is just down the road.I head down to Busselton tomorrow morning and the car is packed with all the gear and much more.The accommodation booked and all the training is done. It has been a very relaxing week training wise and a hectic one at the office so there has been no time to become anxious about the race or sit and fret .

It will be interesting for the fact I have gone into this race very much under done but that may be a good thing.I will know on Sunday evening baring any mechanical failures .

The weather is shaping up to be quite qood this weekend .I have done all I can and it is just now staying focused and executing the plan. I plan to enjoy this race as much as I can.

At the inter club race last week  , the race director asked all the triathelete to do 3 things:-
  1. Smile as you cross the finish line 
  2. Thank a volunteer
  3. Cheer a fellow triathlete on
I plan. to try and do all 3 on Sunday.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Chrissie Wellington

Superwomen Wellington ...with her Superman. Picture from Everyman Tri

There must be a collective sigh of relief amongst Professional male triathletes that Chrissie Wellington has announced her retirement from the sport of Ironman racing.

I say this in jest but only half jest as she has dominated the sport like no other female athlete and shows that endurance sports can be an equaling  force to the usual unequal results between men and women.

I have mixed feelings.She has been part of the Ironman landscape since I came into this sport and  she was at the 2007 Aviva 70.3 ,(only my second half) then an unknown just  after winning her first Ironman event ,IM Korea 2007  .She went on to win her first World Championships later in October 2007.  She holds the fastest time for the distance in Roth in 2010 at 8.18 h .

I read her book , A life without Limits as I lay in hospital in March this year . Memorable for all the wrong reasons.She is one of my heroes no doubt for her tenacity  and determination. On the other hand , the feelings are mixed for the fact she is retiring . She has conquered all she has seen and there is just no spark to train for another Ironman.She has more challenges that get the stomach juices flowing , Ironman and the Endurance lifestyle isn't one of them.

One of the better interviews on her retirement at
“I remember saying to Brett (Sutton, her coach from 2007 to 2008) when I first started, “I want to achieve success in five years. I don’t’ want to be in the sport for a very long time. For me it wasn’t a lifestyle choice … No disrespect to anyone who views it as such, but for me it was how good can I be at this sport and I answered that question.”

In a way I understand that . It takes a lot out of you and it surely isn't necessarily all good as she points out particularly for a obsessive triathlete chasing perfection. for the back of the pack age groupers who have jobs and families , the contrast isn't so stark , it isn't all or nothing and so it is a lifestyle choice without the commitment to making a living and winning races. 

But is makes everything seem relative. For a smart cookie like Chrissie to step away from the sport at this time must say a lot about how much it does take and the sacrifices to be on top ,both mental and physical. ( Another study points to the dangers of endurance events on the heart Endurance athletes may be harming hearts )In my own way I have felt that acutely this year , the commitment to training and balancing all life's pressures and results and outcomes suffering for it has made it difficult to sustain the commitment to training and more importantly the enjoyment.After all I am not earning a living from racing. I don't podium and people still ask why do you do it.Even this morning . there is no easy answer and ultimately distilled down to the essence , I still have not run the perfect race and I still want  to .Those emotions overwrite all the other sensible feelings of slowing down and taking a break

But as I have learnt  there is a fine balance between OCD behavior that is destructive and counter productive and the wholesome balanced life we all wish for.

Chrissie Wellington has obviously decided , that balance is a life without Ironman racing .Five years dominating the sport is sufficient and time to move on.I wish her well but I am sad to see her leave .It was fun , inspiring and she was all I would like to be.

Her parting comments on the perfect race sums up the whole ethos of endurance racing and Ironman
It was perfect in it’s imperfection. You never get a perfect race. Even something small can affect your predetermined plan. I think the only measure of perfection, in our sport, is the way you overcome the things that are thrown at you. For me I believe I did that as perfectly as I could in Kona in 2011. Could I go faster? Yes, I think I and other women can go faster. But I don’t want to internalize other people’s version of perfection – as soon as you go 8:50, then you start thinking “can I go 8:48?”
It is overcoming all that is thrown at you. that is what it is about and if you can face that and make a good fist of it , that is all anyone can expect .So as in racing , that is what its about in life.

I do wonder what happens to champions when they retire. Is there a proverbial elephant graveyard of Ironman champions . They never die they just fade away to appear each October on the beach sands of dig me beach or Kailua Bay or along Ali'i Drive in Kailua-Kona.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

WA State Inter-Club Championships 2012

Transition at 6 am Pic by Dennis Tan
North Coast Tri Club Pic by DennisTan
Before the Race At registration .Pic by Dennis Tan
Motivating the troops Al Presidente Ross Pedlow Exceed Tri Club Pic Rod Marton
Cup Cakes at The Exceed Tent Food by Rob Parry

Presidents Trophy for the Highest average points in the Race 2012


148 John Cooke  SWIM : 15:36.

 BIKE 40:54 RUN: 23:21 TIME: 1:19:52.0

The State Inter-Club Championships were run today .The first time they were held before Ironman Busselton. It was a good hit out before the main race . I was expecting it to be cold in the morning and didn't have my jumper. Exceed had it's biggest turn out in its short history.

We won the Presidents trophy again , retaining the trophy from last year . There was the usual banter between clubs and hopefully everyone took it in the right spirit .It is the only race on the calender where we triathletes race for our club and as a fairly small sporting community in the State it is good to get together and just have a fun race despite the rivalry that exist .It is the participation that counts. Mandurah Triathlon Club put on a great event and it is heartening to see all the clubs growing and the sport becoming popular. I enjoyed the hit out .Times weren't terribly important . It was hard to compare as the bike course has changed and last year I did a 1.13 on a shorter bike course but ran a slower run. This year the swim was partly a run although I was in deep water and managed to swim the whole length. I did like the bike course and managed to keep at a pace that was slower but manageable. The run was an out and back course and was happy with my effort of 4.41 pace. Next week it Busselton Ironman 2012. Looking forward to the race and just enjoying it .
State Inter Club result

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Thank You Lord ...

 Taper is in Full swing .It has been a light week by comparison.

 I had swim training on Monday evening so I slept in for Monday Morning. On Tuesday it was an hour of sitting behind whilst everyone rode hard .it was still hard keeping up with Ross and Stu but I managed for 45 minutes before easing up. Rode for 1.40 hr .In the evening had run training with 2km warm up and then 4 x 500m at threshold and 2 x 1km at threshold and 2 x 500m at threshold and a cool down of another 2km .

On Wednesday I had  another lie in and after a meeting rushed to swim training in the evening , there was a storm front heading to Perth and the winds were pretty awesome . Despite the conditions managed to complete the swim training . It was a 50 minute session and did about 2.2 km with the main set being 800m at medium pace , 400m at threshold and 200m fast and 400m medium followed by cool down.

Thursday the weather was bad so I did no training and on Friday I did a 1hr session at lunch time and a further 30 minutes in the evening running slowly at easy pace.
Saturday was a very easy ride with 2 hours on the bike at sub threshold pace and then 30 minutes off the bike. I felt a little sluggish but comfortable on the run.

As Exceed were doing a short swim /run session at City beach , we rode from there and did a river loop. Lots of cyclist were out and it was a nice but cold day.

I have started to assemble my gear and will finalise everything for the race after the Inter Club championships tomorrow . it will be a fun race which will help with the preparation for the Ironman.

Finally had a quick look at some website on the mental approach to a Race . it helps to try to focus on the positives and have a few mantras come race day . it is more mental than physical at some point in the race .  Whilst the preparation is less than ideal , I will still approach the race in the same way as I do:-
  1. I will write down my nutrition plan and go through it 
  2. I will try and prepare for the race Mentally ( read :How to Get the Winning mentality )
  3. Go through my checklist and tick off all the items I need
  4. Execute the Plan and the training i have put in
  5. Enjoy the Race.

Words to Motivate

You Can If You Think You Can!
If you think you are beaten, you are,
If you think you dare not, you don’t.
If you like to win, but you think you can’t,
If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost,
For out in the world we find,
Success begins with a fellow’s will.
It’s all in the state of mind.
If you think you are outclassed, you are,
You’ve got to think high to rise,
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.
Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man.
But soon or late the man who wins,
Is the man who thinks he can.
~ C. W. Longenecker ~

All the work is done and nothing else left but to organise and put into practice the months of training .
When out there it always helps to remember a  few mantras to get by when the going gets tough .At some point it will happen .
I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.
Michael Jordan

Winning isn’t everything, but the will to win is everything.
Vince Lombardi

Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.
Arnold Schwarzenegger

Success is almost totally dependent upon drive and persistence. The extra energy required to make another effort or try another approach is the secret of winning.
Denis Waitley

There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.
Napoleon Hill

Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.
Napoleon Hill

Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness.
Napoleon Hill

Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure.
George Edward Woodberry

Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.
Dale Carnegie

Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.
David Frost

Failure is success if we learn from it.
Malcolm Forbes
Flaming enthusiasm, backed up by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success.
Dale Carnegie

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no point in being a damn fool about it.
W. C. Fields

Most people give up just when they’re about to achieve success. They quit on the one yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game one foot from a winning touchdown.
Ross Perot

Nothing recedes like success.
Walter Winchell

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
Winston Churchill

Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.
Bill Gates

Success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiam.
Winston Churchill

Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.
George S. Patton

A champion is someone who gets up, even when he can’t

Motivation is a fire from within. If someone else tries to light that fire under you, chances are it will burn very briefly.
Stephen R. Covey

The difference between a mountain and a molehill is your perspective.
Al Neuharth

The dark Art of Tapering

If triathlon wasn't confusing enough at least the science of getting the training at optimum balance for that minute improvement , the dark art of tapering is a whole new level of confusion.

I have never quite understood why and when but I have been just thankful for the drop in volume . I have been letharrgic and tired at the beginning and then by the week before the race , began to feel more lively and fresher. having said that , there are lots of great articles on tapering.

It is a necessity to freshen us up for the Big Day but as Chuckie V points out so eloquently , there must be something to taper. That is , have I put in the hard yards to justify the taper. I am not so sure but if anything i aim to enjoy this race and not sweat the fine detail of times and goals.

My personal view (which is often obscured by a murky memory and visions of grandeur, though we'll overlook that for now) on tapering is this:

1) It is more art than it is science and…
2) You better be sure you first have something to taper from.
Chuckie V on Tapering

"The primary aim of the taper should be to minimize accumulated fatigue, rather than to attain additional physiological adaptations or fitness gains." In other words, it's time to chill. 
Its Taper Time Runners World

 If I haven't already been chilling for the whole training program for Ironman Busselton 2012 , I certainly will be for the taper.