Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Easy Week

Saturday's Cross fit
              Sundays Run

Like all laid out plans , the road is never easy or goes as planned. It is an easy week for those on a programme and training for the World's , Vegas or Kona. I took the opportunity to just focus on cross fit and running.

i had no bike or swimming . It was a 16km run on Monday , slow and split into 8km at lunch time and 8km in the evening . I am running about 60 to 90 seconds slower . on Tuesday it was cross fit with a weights session . My arms are my weak link so they were pretty sore. On Wednesday I had a rest day ...unplanned  but work got the better of me.

Thursday I had a nice slow run along the river at Lunchtime and dropped by to say hallo to Rod and in the evening I went along to cross fit .It was another hard session and my arms just got more sore if that was possible. The legs were surprisingly holding up .Friday evening  , I ran with Gaye round Kings Park and up Jacobs ladder . Saturday I had cross fit with rope climbs , toes to hands and dead lifts and a total of 6 exercises with rope climbs after each 2 and that repeated for 45 minutes . I managed 2 and a half sets but the arms were just toast.

On Sunday I ran with Boris and Lindsay from Hepburn Avenue to City Beach a distance of 26.5km and whilst it was slow it was hard at the end as I had not done a long run other than the marathon at IMNZ. We managed to keep to our 7minute pace most of the way.  There was a bit of undulation and so that made for a good work out. I managed about 60kms for the week.

Whilst its very early days and I have not started huge hours of training the workouts and running has been progressing well.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Uber Coach

Often Seen at Cafes

Club Championships 2010
First of the series of interviews.

The Heart Of Exceed Tri Club . I first met Ross via Rob Parry after Ironman Japan 2008 . I  started training with the Exceed squad then . As many have found since ,  he isn't the soft and cuddly variety of coach , that's why HTFU is in the Exceed charter. But would you have it any other way ...probably not.

Full name:  Ross Pedlow

Age Group: 45-49

Brief backgound :Where you grew up and what you did before triathlon coaching ? 

Grew up in the Melbourne outer eastern suburb of Croydon. Sporting wise was an average to good runner and swimmer and only rode bikes to get over to friends houses and deliver newspapers. Like most males in Melbourne you played football in the cold and wet.

 When did you realize you’d been bitten by the triathlon bug?

After my first race which was an aquathon, then did a duathlon and finally triathlon. Aquathon was 25 years ago and had not done enough swim training ( i.e. none). 2 years later I was racing triathlons and have not stopped.

When did you decide to start coaching and how did that start up?

The idea of coaching was first put to me by my coach some 14 years ago, but I was not ready. The concept of Exceed started about 9 years ago but took a year before it actually started but was very basic and more of a swim with the odd bike session. 

Your Triathlon experience:

Lots of sprint, olympic, halfs, and duathlons with 4 Ironmans over 9 years, and just having fun without being to serious. 3 x 2nds Australian Champs with state titles along the way.

Tell us about the one or a few inspirational moments of your Triathlon career. Are there any standout moments or  memories or accomplishments you are most proud of either in racing or coaching? 

Racing my first 70.3 and my mates started a few minutes ahead of me. I caught one of my best mates 1 km out and we ran together and crossed the finish line together, and had a great laugh at the end. We were sponsored by a sunglass company so we had the same kit on and without knowing it we were photographed. It was found in a magazine, and it just showed the joy of racing triathlons.

What do you enjoy the most about our sport?

Friends, they are never lost they are just waiting to find you at the next race.

What is your favourite race and why?  

Was. Frankston Long Course, it was a 2-80 - 20 , great course hills, flats, great competition. Unfortunately it would be to expensive to put on now with road closures.

Who or what in Triathlon inspires you?

I know it sounds over the top but seeing  tri-newbies get bitten by the triathlon bug. They do a couple of races then it either gets in their blood or they leave. Once it enters their blood they change. They stand taller and look at the world differently.

Do you have a favourite workout and if you do what is it? 

Transition races. Love it and it always pays off on race day.

(bonus question)  What question did you hope that I’d ask you, but haven’t?  And what is the answer to that question

Who is your triathlon hero? Dave Scott ( The Man) He just embodies the sport, hard training, clean living, looking at the races differently, smart training.

What’s your favorite triathlon discipline to compete at? 
Now its sprint, but it used to be Olympic and 70.3
What’s something people might be surprised to find out about you? I go to the theater, and am a lot quieter than most people think.
When you are not training or competing, people can find you: 
Thats easy, at a cafe drinking coffee 
What’s one race you haven’t done yet that you like to do someday? 
Escape from Alcatraz, Definitely on the bucket list.
What is the single most difficult aspect of training for most triathletes starting out.
Learning that rest is as important as training, and with a less training is best mentally.  Just do it properly

Monday, June 17, 2013

What It Takes

Do You Have What It takes ...Model Looks Optional unless you are trying out for Triathlete.com Model search

Over 5 years I have immersed myself in Triathlons . If there is one sport I seemed to have consumed myself in it has been triathlon. I still can't quite figure it .

From the impossible to the possible it has been a well trodden path for the many in this sport .Both Elite and the unbelievable unfit non athletes in the rear have a common strand of traits that I see constantly in my fellow triathletes.

Whilst my small unassuming blog is to pander to my record of training and egoistic dribble of what I feel is worth polluting the blogosphere with , I have with the help of a number of friends and fellow triathletes drawn a list of interesting characters that share the passion and have exceeded their potential.

I hope in the next few weeks or months to post these interviews (conducted by email)  and draw a few common threads of characteristics and habits that join these bunch of inspirational and talented Triathletes. I am bias and a sycophant but anyone who stumbles into my blog would realize there is prejudice in what I say and write. Anyone who stumbles out of bed , day in and out , running , swimming and biking has my admiration.

There is the common thread of characteristics .

Not dissimilar to a  piece in Triathlete magazine ....7 Habits of Highly Effective Triathletes


Sunday, June 16, 2013


Passenger - Only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low

A mixed bag of training. No swimming yet . Tuesday was my first ride with Exceed in more than 3 months . The hour of power was exhilarating and hard .I hung on to the girls for as long as I could and then had to catch up at each turn around. I would have thrown up if I had something to throw up. It was a hard session for me. But glad I did it. Backed the morning session with cross fit and a 5km run .It was a weights session which was good .Managed a maximum bench press of 55kgs and a  dead lift of 90 kgs .Others were up at 140kgs. But for me it is small steps for now.

Wednesday , I ran about 12 kms in the evening around the river . A slow session but the legs were still sore from Tuesday. Thursday , was supposed to be a ride and cross fit.I didn't make the morning ride . I ran at lunch time about 6km nice and easy .Cross fit was another hard session. There isn't an easy one. Lots of pull ups and squats with weights . I managed about 80 pull ups and 80 squats with 40kgs and the third exercise was an exercise with weights but I can't remember exactly what it was . I just know I was exhausted. Friday was run day but worked late so didn't manage the run.

Saturday , I started my ride alone. Rode to Welshpool  but the ride via Tonkin Hwy was slow and partly on the road and partly bike paths and had a lot of detours . It was not a good route. Once I was at Welshpool I rode up quite slowly till Lesmudie Road and came down and did it again and then rode on to Kalamunda Town . I was so slow I got passed by 3 young riders and a heap of faster riders .
Cross fit on Saturday was a session of about 10 exercises we did increasing the repeats starting with 2 , then 4, then 6 etc .I got up to 12 before the hour was up.

Sunday , thankfully was a  relatively late start with a mountain bike ride with Tim from Midland .A great Sunday morning even it was cold .We did a 45 km loop with the first 30km going uphill . My legs took a pounding and Tim was ahead most of the way with his new Mountain Bike . Ended the morning with scones and Vietnamese coffee .more like late brunch at 11.30.  I am now under 77kgs.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Brad Hoskings Kona 2007 race report

Ironman Busselton 2009
Brad Hoskings Race report following the 2007 Ironman World Championship was first posted on the North Coast Triathlon website.Unfortunately the article is no longer available.Brad has kindly sent the article he first wrote back in 2007 and I always thought it was a great insight to the race called the Big Dance on the Island. He is anything but slow .Whilst not everything went as planned ,  in 2008 Brad ran a 3.04 marathon and was 4th in his age group .His lead up to Kona in a few weeks is going well.  This is for all those racing in Hawaii this year and for the many others hoping to get there one day. Enjoy

It was more than a year ago since I first entertained the thought of qualifying for the Ironman World Championship in Kona Hawaii, and; now with so many miles ; hours of training, of dreaming, preparing ; focusing, the race is done and dusted.

Relegated from the realms of incredible challenge, with all the anticipation and expectation that goes with such an endeavour, it now rests comfortably alongside the catalogs of wonderful experiences & memories that adorn the shelves of my mental library…& what an incredible experience it was.

It was every bit the experience that those who had been fortunate enough to race before me said it would be…& more. The toughest and most prestigious single day endurance race on the planet - The Ironman World Championship, and I was smack in the middle of it. It was hard not to feel privileged…even harder not to smile.

Landing in Kona a full 8 days out from race start, proved to be a fortuitous move. It enabled me to partake the morning following arrival in a two and a half day training / prep camp hosted by Lifesport coaching ‘Legends’ Lance Watson and Paul Regensburg. Between them they have coached multiple Ironman victories, Olympic, Commonwealth and Pan Am games gold medalist, as well as many other high profile victories and champions. With 16 athletes from 8 countries, the camp provided for some instant friendships and some inspiring personal stories. It afforded me not only the practical knowledge to take on the course, but more importantly re-defined my entire mental approach to IM racing. This psychological revamp / upgrade is something I will forever carry with me & apply to every race of any nature and to life in general. In short, at US $ 517, it was money well spent.

The week leading up to race start as expected was full of anticipation and excitement. So many incredible athletes from more than 80 countries filled the streets. Despite the training I had done and the condition I was in, I couldn’t help but feel inferior to all the ‘Super Athletes’ that constantly ran and cycled their way around Kona. Tens of thousands of dollars of the best equipment money can buy, every helmet an Aero, every athlete seemingly sponsored. This was like no other IM. I knew exactly where I was.

Other than a 14km run, 94km ride and one and a half hours swim training during the camp, I only managed / chose to ride one more 80km ride, 5km jog and 3 by 30min swim sessions in the five days prior to the race. Despite the hours we spent on our feet, exploring the beautiful town of Kona…I was well rested. My new found approach was paying dividends. The butterflies were well at ease, I was focused but calm and; most importantly I was excited and; eager to race.

A 3.30am start heralded what would be a long, hard & memorable day. Breakfast straight away then down to the start line for the 4.45am check in ; body marking. There were people everywhere by race start. Thousands of people clambered for every vantage point imaginable. Along the vast sea wall that paralleled the 2km out & back length of the swim course, every tree, pole, tower & balcony was filled to bursting. It was an amazing site. At 7.00am sharp, a cannon fired, marking the official start, and in a frenzy of flailing arms and twisting bodies, we were under way.

My first mission which I chose to accept, was to survive. To not take in too much water, prevent as much as possible any contact with the goggles, minimize damage through physical contact, watches, nails, kicking feet etc, all the while attempting to move forward as fast as possible. Being a non wetsuit swim, my times were always going to be a bit slower. This being said however, with more weekly miles in the pool and; another year of swimming behind me, I was quietly hoping for something around the 1hr-1hr 3min mark. I exited the water in 1hr 6min 37sec. I was behind the eight ball already.

Reflecting on my swim there was much I did wrong. Most importantly I broke the cardinal rule and tried something new on race day. Talking to people before I left and then having these same conversations re-enforced at the training camp, I departed from my usual plan of finding my own water / space and attempted instead to find peoples feet. This swimming in the ‘Jet Stream’ has proven energy saving properties – energy that can be spent later on the bike / run or re-invested immediately into increased effort on the swim.

Two days out from race day I met with the Lifesport coaching staff at the expo, where one of their leading swim coaches worked with me for more than half an hour on my technique in a small jet forced training pool with underwater video analysis. It was an invaluable session that I’m looking forward to implementing on my return to the pool and; training. Stupidly though, after feeling comfortable with it after one more short swim session, I decided to apply it for my race. Looking back I wonder what the hell I was thinking. All those sessions, all those km’s in the pool and then to do away with it on race day for a new technique…Well, what can I say, approx 600th out of the water – ‘Madness’.

In tact and after a pretty slow transition by my standards (3min 33sec) it was off for the ride. Controlling the urge to go out too hard early amidst the cheering and hype of the crowds was my first short term goal. Settle in, enjoy the experience and then once out of the throng and; onto the long lonely stretches of the Queen K it would be ‘Balls Out’.

The ride out to the turnaround at Hawi was encouraging. Here I was, a cyclist of no real note in amongst so many strong riders and all I did was continuously reel them in. One after the other, relentlessly for the entire course. My hill riding is strong and consequently where I inflicted the most damage. There were quite a few riders that overtook me, but inevitably I not only reeled them back in  but managed to leave them behind. Once down from the 11km climb to Hawi and; back on the Queen K we were unfortunately greeted  by a steady head wind which did not abate for the remaining 70 or so km’s back into Kona. Whilst not a howling headwind, it did require sustained hard work. At this point of the ride it proved a good test and no doubt a telling point where prior experience on this course could have prepared you better as the question how best to tackle that last 70km’s weighed in against the impending marathon. I however, buoyed on by my vast move up the field and my knowledge that my run is my strength, decided to keep working hard into it. It seemed wrong to back off when I was feeling quite good. I had stuck regimentally to my hydration / nutrition plan & it was paying dividends. Into transition in 5hr 6min flat at an average speed of 35.7kph. On that course, in those conditions and on a road bike – I was happy. Had we a tail wind or it not been a head wind for that last 70km’s, I would have gone well under 5hrs which is where I feel I’m at with my IM bike leg. I came off the bike in 199th position overall. I had managed to peg back some 400 places. A 2min 22sec transition and it was time to really go to work.

The first 19km’s or so are through town and; the beautiful tree & hotel lined Alii Dve. The primary goal again was to refrain from getting caught up in the incredible atmosphere and going out too hard. Any thoughts I may have entertained of going sub 9 hrs had well and truly faded – my focus now, to have a solid run and; hopefully finish with a respectable time of somewhere around 9.15 – 9.20. The run leg of an IM always finds the spectators at their most vocal. They know it is the leg that the athletes require the most encouragement ; in Kona, this was no exception. There were people lining the entire 19km’s stretch and with Aussie flags aplenty, it made the early stages of the marathon pretty enjoyable. It is a shame this environment doesn’t exist along the final 19km stretch through what are the extremely long, hot & lonely sections of the Queen K Hwy and The Natural Energy Lab.

By the time I had commenced running (approx 1.00pm) the temperature was well & truly up. Typical days of 85-87deg F, were instead replaced with 95-105 deg F temps’ and nowhere a cloud to offer even temporary respite. Hot temperatures are the expectation of every athlete who comes to race in Kona and; as such these conditions presented no additional challenges. As far as one’s hydration and nutritional strategies went, it was a case of situation normal regarding what was required to finish the race and hopefully avoid any medical intervention in the process. But hot is hot – it takes it’s toll and if you’ve been unfortunate enough to lob on the door of Kona off the back of a prolonged cold wet winter like myself and I’m sure many others, then this was always going to be a tough ask.

The point where I usually find my rhythm in the run leg i.e. approx the 6-8km, never came. Although maintaining just on 3hr marathon pace for the first 20km’s, I never fell into a comfortable rhythm. In fact the opposite was the case. My condition deteriorated markedly and despite a dedicated regime of cooling sponges and ice, gels, Gatorade and even cola for the sugar kick, I was unable to climb out of what had become one of the toughest 16km’s of running I have ever done. The battle to ward of the demons of negativity was being waged and; even a Red Bull in my special needs bag at the turnaround at The Natural Energy Lab failed to provide me with the lift I had been so desperately searching for, for the past hour. Instead I began to find myself on the receiving end of an unfamiliar experience. I was being overtaken in increasing numbers. There wasn’t much I could do about it however, and instead reminded myself again where I was – surrounded by so many incredible athletes. I marveled at their strength and ability and quietly vowed to look at alternative ways to improve my running.

Those testing last 10-12k’s out on the Queen K, I will never forget. The bulk of the work was done of course and the faint wisps of the finish line aroma were starting to find their way into my nostrils, buoying me on through the final stages. I have always been a strong finisher and whilst that possibility had earlier appeared a non-event, it did come. With approximately 4-5km’s to go I found a little something and managed to slowly reel back in a large number of those runners who had earlier passed me, reminding myself in the process of an often heard statement about the changing tides of fortune in a race like the Hawaii IM. You are never out of it. Just when you thought you were having a shitty day and; Joe Bloggs is kicking your ass, you find your wind and; Joe stumbles and; falls into one of the many physical and mental holes that pepper this course throughout it’s length.

I was fortunate to not have to share my space in the final chute & in that last 400m to the finish line was really conscious of soaking up the incredible atmosphere. As with every IM race, the finish is special, but Kona truly does stand alone. It was so nice having Sonja (my wife) there to share in the experience. I couldn’t imagine the hollowness of not having someone who you love and; who loves and supports you through all the crap, not there to squeeze and hold at the end of it all.

With no real time goals going into the race, I still managed to achieve everything else I had set for myself. I finished, I smiled, I had fun, I salvaged what I thought may be a significant time blowout in my run, to still finish in a respectable time, managing also to pick up a further 74 places in the process, and I left nothing out on that course. When I had crossed that line, I did so with zero credit in the bank or to use another analogy. If my energy levels at the start of the race could be likened to a full box of matches, then I lit and burned the very last match of the box running down the finishing chute.

It was tough, no two ways about it and that’s what makes IM racing so great. ’Nothing worthwhile in life comes easy’, a favorite saying of mine and the 9hrs 34min 39 sec I spent out there in the heat and the wind of this epic race stands testament to the incredible personal reward one gets from ‘Not doing it easy’.

In closing, there were approx 1830 starters, 134 of which were pros and 259 athletes in my age division (35-39 male) the highest represented age group of the race. Out of 1685 finishers, I placed 125th overall, 69th age grouper and; 22nd in my age group. Whilst I am not disappointed with my effort, on a deeper level as I dissect my race – I am disappointed with my run. What is always my strength was today my weakness. Had I run a typical split for the marathon I would have placed considerably higher up the rankings and been up there with the very best of them…age groupers that is. As to the reason why my run failed me – I can find no reason. Perhaps I pushed a little too hard on the bike, though I don’t believe this to be the case. I just keep thinking that it must have been the heat / humidity and that perhaps my body just wasn’t conditioned at this stage to running in those conditions…But that’s IM racing. The perfect race is only a race away ; with Busselton IM just around the corner, I’m counting on this one being true.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Climbing A Mountain

A walk in Kings Park

I am slowly getting into a routine although mornings have been tough. Like any expedition , I am now at Base camp .

It is slow and hard but a necessary part of training. Not a lot of mileage and I have been doing a lot by feel . Still no swimming  but lots of cross fit and slow bike sessions and a few runs. Still carrying a lot of weight

Monday was WA Day and had a long walk again at the heritage trail and then a wind trainers session. On Tuesday did my cross fit and survived but again I was sore.

Wednesday , Hill repeats at kings park and a run in the morning and a run off the bike in the evening .
Thursday , I just managed the cross fit and it was  another stuff session called the Raining Day 

Cross fit on Thursday

Friday I ran with Nimal and Gaye , I had a slightly shorter run of just under 11km but felt good . Saturday was supposed to be a slow bike ride but a late Friday night and the run did tire me out and I decided  to just do Cross fit. It was a hard session , there aren't any easy ones. Did about 225 squats , 180 push ups and 30 sort of pulls ups with the toes trying to touch your hands ( were some of the exercises). I could only manage them one at a time . My hands and quads were burning and whilst Sunday was going to be a long run . It was raining as I was driving down and I decided to give it a miss. I did go mountain biking with Tim in the afternoon.The weather was overcast but it then started raining and I got a puncture .Managed to change the tire and continue the ride in the rain .Got coated with red mud but it was fun . Pushed the riding hard today given the first 1-2 hours were a gradual climb . It was hard with the tired and sore muscles from cross fit. The legs will thank me later . 

After Sundays Mountain bike ride
Rounded off the Day checking on the awesome results from all the Exceed Triathletes racing in Cairns . A great result for Luke McKenzie and Liz Blatchford winning  . Luke after a tough year and Liz her first IM win and possibly the beginning of a great long course career. ( see  ...Luke McKenzie Wins ahead of ...Herald Sun )

Monday, June 3, 2013

A Winter's tale

Mundaring Weir First day of Winter
View on the way down the Zig-Zag ,Kalamunda

 Another cold week in Perth but I am slowly getting back on the bike ...literally and metaphorically.

Monday was a spin RPM session.Love these as I get to see how much wattage I am pushing It was an hour session and I ran for 4 km before hand. On Tuesday and Wednesday , work got in the way so I wasn't able to do anything. Thursday I made cross fit and as expected it was a hard weights session.So hard my back was sore and stiff for the next day . I did manage a slow steady run at Kings Park on Friday evening doing 7.5km.

Saturday was a very cold morning as I rode to Tim's and then on to my usual Hills Ride , the first of the series for June and one I thought I may not make with a sore back. It was the ride Tim introduced to me riding to Mundaring and Kalamunda through Helena Valley .There were a couple of nasty climbs and then Mundaring Weir Road.It was slow and steady .Even the guys riding 600km to Quindanning were faster as they rode pass us .There was the team of cyclist being motor paced along Mundaring Weir Road as well . despite the 2 layers and woolen gloves , the head and ears were cold.
I managed to keep up with Tim , more his lack of fitness , then my fitness.

Getting to the top of Kalamunda is always a relief .The ride down through Zig Zag and then to Guildford was fast .I got back to Tim's place for breakfast and a lift home. All up a slow 80km ride.
Cross-fit work Out

In the arvo , it was cross-fit session which really tested the jelly legs and sore back. I had 1200 skips , 2000 inches of box jumps ( about 142 jumps of a 14inch high stand) and then 2400kg with leg lunges (about 240 if using a 10kgs bar ) I didn't quite make it getting to 210 lunges.

Every 4 minutes we had to do a plank for 45 seconds.I had a glass of wine after the session I needed something to numb the pain.

Sunday , the quads were sore , but managed to run with the rest of the crew along Sorrento to Trig. back to the old stomping grounds. It was a slow start but everyone just stepped up the pace in the end. That was a 10km run for me.

Made it to the end of the week feeling slow but better for it.
On the Heritage Trail watching the KEP 100km runners

Ended the week with a walk along the Railway heritage Trail with Molly and JJ watching the amazing KEP 100 runners.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

In search of A Greater Cause

Roz Savage, ocean rower and environmental campaigner, photographed in Oxford for her role as co-patron of the Greener Upon Thames campaign to make the 2012 London Olympics plastic bag free. (http://greeneruponthames.org)
Photo taken by Matt Hood.
Roz Savage (http://rozsavage.com)

"I found out that there is no challenge so big that you can't achieve it if you just take it one oar stroke at a time. It took me about 2.5 million oar strokes to cross the Pacific, and every single one of those oar strokes counted. So whether we're talking about personal challenges or environmental challenges, I keep reminding myself that all those tiny actions add up to big steps in the right direction."
Her message is clear - to get the life you want you need to step outside your comfort zone.

Read more: A greater cause by Sandy Smith SMH

I came across this newspaper story about Ross Savage .She was a successful executive when she wrote 2 obituaries ...One about the life she wanted and one about the life she was heading for if she continues in her present path.

But when I did that obituary exercise I realized that actually the material stuff wasn't going to make me happy, that what I really wanted to do was to push my limits and hopefully leave the world a slightly better place."
Roz Savage Website

Whilst her journey from comfortable middle-class management consultant to adventurer is rather drastic .It epitomizes my previous blog comment about 2 things ...
  • That Road to Damascus moment when you realize life is more than comfort and material wealth because it is important but may not bring you that happiness .
  • And the need , even desire to achieve and contribute and make a difference ultimately enriches one life.

Roz story is really as Hugh Mackay suggest , a Good life is one of achievement and what we would like to read in an obituary about what we did when we were on this planet ,who we touched and not what we had.