Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A New Year

Being on vacation has the added advantage of being rested and relaxed and reflective of an interesting year from a triathlon perspective.

There were no PBs and no achievements of note . A few lows at the beginning of the year and  just mental exhaustion from a difficult 2012. I did manage to come back from these lows and that was the single high .
There wasn't much racing , just 2 Ironmans and a Half Ironman .The results for the record were

IM New Zealand 15hrs
IM Busselton  12.14
Mandurah 70.3 5.36

It shows a progressive improvement from the beginning of the year and after New Zealand. I could not get any lower in terms of results . Lots of mistakes were made a long the way but it was a reflection of the sheer tiredness of the routine and lack of enjoyment in training with no real motivation.

That changed with my changing my routine and I have cut down the volume of work outs and refocused back on my core .Cross fit whilst not for everyone has helped me significantly and whilst I am still a baby in training , I feel stronger . 2014 will be a year of consolidating the improvements and building on it.

Where I lacked any improvement has been my speed work and the periods of just having viral infections. I lost about 7-9 weeks in training  over the last 6 months and that has been a drastic dent in the build. But with all these experiences have come lessons . I feel stronger mentally and with the focus on building a core as the starting point towards a solid base for harder but shorter sessions of running and biking. That is the plan.

Whilst not earth shattering crossing IMWA at 12.14 was a highlight and whilst all races are tiring , I felt good .I had no issues with my feet or gut and raced my own race. What it did highlight was the need for my continuing to get stronger in the core and that will help my SBR sections  and to start more interval work .The planning begins after New Years with my A races planned and a refocus on getting the basics right. There is no great recipe for improvement , just lots of small steps and some missteps along the way . I read a post again on the great Arthur Lydiard and his running programmes. Every great coach bar a few , just re package the basics , but at the core , there is the build ,  periodization , there is the interval work and speed work . All the articles I have read now emphasize to the endurance athlete the importance of speed in improving their results see :

Arthur Lydiard's Athletic Training : http://www.fitnesssports.com/lyd_clinic_guide/Arthur%20Lydiard.pdf

Outside Magazine: The secret to High Intensity Interval training

But at the core , the year has for many been one of ups and downs .I read the achievements of my many endurance friends and I am in awe. The core of all this and the blog is , there is nothing if you do not love what you do and who you are. Like all training programmes , I learn one inevitable truth even for endurance, there is a challenge but you fail if you do not know yourself , love yourself and embrace yourself. At the core is a simple truth .

At a recent get together with a friend of 30 years , he mentioned how he has started back running and working out and he follows my blog on Facebook and is depressed every time he checks on the volume of training done . Whilst said in jest , at least he has made a start and I told him that everyone has to make a start somewhere .Whilst full of admiration for my pursuit of triathlon , I hope he is not blinded by the worship of the endurance junkie pursuing volume. I have learnt after multiple races to feel comfortable in my own skin , warts and all. Mistakes are made but that is part of the challenge . Whilst trite , it is not just the destination it is the adventure of getting to that finish line. Have a goal , challenge yourself and embrace that challenge. The sunrise over a training session is always so much sweeter when you are chasing a goal.

For 2014 , It will be completing my 12th IM, the Rottnest crossing in a team and improving my swim to a low 1.15 and a 5.30 bike and a 4 hour marathon run.

I wish all my friends , colleagues in sport and just the dreamers , the very best for 2014 . I look forward to enjoying the triumphs and the lows that will inevitably be part of 2014 .

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Post Ironman Training...Merry Christmas

At the start Metrio Cafe North Perth

Santa Can Ride. Pic by Graham
Coode Street cafe .Pic by Graham

Riding to the next cafe Pic by Graham

Heading back to Metrio thru the City
300 Burpees

The Cross Fit crew


The first 2 weeks have been pretty easy. A few easy rides and short runs and cross fit . It has been a time to just chill and take stock with a short break.Surprisingly , I have had no issues post Ironman WA . My legs were good after a few days and I went back to cross fit within 4 days . I did find my legs fatigue pretty quickly once I got up to threshold or harder pace even for a short distance and so I just slowed down the pace. I have been swimming in the ocean but have not got back into the pool.

That will be after a short break and holiday and then a stock take of the year and planning for the next. The tough bit is reflecting honestly and distilling the core training that worked and the training that didn't.

Exceed had its carbon free ride on Saturday and I rode my pretty steel fixie. It was hard work riding up hills but great fun with  some Exceeder's on a 4 wheeler with Santa (Jason) riding at the front and a great site on Perth roads on Saturday morning. A great finish to the year .

Sunday, December 15, 2013

IMWA 2013 Race Report Part 2


Busselton Jetty

Pic of the jetty ,the day before the race

Molly recovery with the medal

Running with the flies .Pic by Wilson Mcneil
Bike Course. A 3 lap course of 60km was tough mentally as it was going to be a long day mentally. I managed the first lap comfortably and not going too hard . the wind was in every direction and the Exceed group were cheering at the far end about 7km before the turn around in the forest. that perked up the drudgery of riding. I think I managed a 1.52hr first lap and pretty much did the same for the second lap before slowing a bit in the last lap.I got off the bike in 6 hrs flat although on my watch I thought I had done a 5.54 hr. On the second lap I was tiring and got close to a front cyclist and was warned to back away by the TO on the bike .Thankfully I was still a fair way off .there were a few groups riding and did see some professionals who did not seem to be complying with the regulation 12 meter space between riders.

I got into transition and was given the wrong run bag so I lost a minute getting the right bag. I lathered Vaseline on my feet and got my Hokas on and race belt and drink belt and I was out. Ross Skelton came in just after me and was out just a head of me. He went on to do a PB and was about 30 or 40 minutes ahead so he ran a much faster run than me. I started with a 9 minute mile and held that for the first 5 miles and then slowed into a 10min mile for the next 10. I walked the aid stations but ran consistently throughout the distance. 

On lap 4 I caught up with Boris and ran past him only for him to catch up with me . I slowed a fair bit in the last 4-6km mainly with just fatigue in the quads . I hadn't had any cramps and no nutrition issues. the crowd support in the centre of the laps were great . At the turn a rounds it was less so. I remember it being rather cool and oddly preferred it warmer. The legs held up well. Boris caught up with 6km to go and we ran together and for the last 1.5km he led me through to the finish chute . It was a great finish to the race and the year. It never gets dull when you are called an Ironman. Lots of people beat me and had PBs , but I was very happy with the result. It was a build year and from a 13.10 at last year's IMWA and 15 hr IMNZ time this year , it has been a good solid performance.

The legs were very sore and cramping after the race .Monday there was the mandatory Ironman shuffle but with some soaking in the sea and just walking , the legs slowly settled. I had no blisters , no black nails (other than the one from Mandurah 70.3) It was a good solid performance. I have been back doing cross fit sessions and a little running and biking. I now have a good base to build again and more importantly the mind is in the right place after a really hard start and bouts of just being ill.

The report would not be complete with out the mandatory thanks . Family is everything , their lack of interest is understandable , the hours of selfish training and suffering will put anyone off an Ironman but they persevere and forgive my one vice of Ironman racing . For that I am thankful. 

I must thank my fellow Exceeders and Ross Pedlow for continuing to allow me to make mistakes and ride and run and swim in the periphery of the core training they undertake. I enjoy the camaraderie and the striving to be competitive and race. The support of the members of this small club is invaluable . 

Most of all this year , I must thank Boris , and my fellow cross fitters , they brought back the fun , the variety and the strength I sorely missed . It has revived the spirit and made this race so much more enjoyable. Finally my dog Molly , she has been there for most of the wind-trainer sessions and the easy runs , she deserves the Mdot collar for her unfailing loyalty in the face of just wanting to be taken for walks and smelling stuff  and not training.

Week 20 Ironman WA 2013 Race Report

Outside the Merchandise Store

How long is the Busselton Jetty ?

View from the Busselton Information centre
Molly with Medal and Mdot Collar

Outward journey to Tuart Forrest ,Race Day

Finishing with Boris

Running down the finishing chute

Mandatory Pic with medal


Rank: 60
Overall Rank: 805
BIB: 1135
Division: 5054
State: Noranda Western Australia
Country: Australia
Swim: 1:22:11
Bike: 6:00:42
Run: 4:39:21
Overall: 12:14:39
Mission Accomplished . It wasn't slick and it wasn't pretty . But it very much went to plan . Like all 6 previous Busselton Ironman's I was expecting a reasonably hot race and preparing for it . But as the day dawned it was going to be a beautiful cool but windy day . I can't complain. 

I got up at about 3.30am .I had had a restless night sleeping about 2-3 hours.Not a good start to a long racing day but it is just hard sleeping before a race.I wasn't nervous ( done too many now) and got about getting ready for the race. I had toast with cheese and a cup of tea , a 750ml bottle of Infinit and 600ml of water . Norm and Sarah Black gave me a lift to Transition. Unfortunately the 
family have never been to a start of an Ironman or 70.3 race yet ...just far too early to get up for most people.

I got to my bike set up , having placed my bike and run and bike bags at transition the day before. I pumped up my tires in the dark . Must remember to bring a head torch next year . brief chat with my neighbour who recognized me from the Mandurah 70.3  race. lots of familiar faces this being 
a local race for me and my 7th . Got my Infinit concentrate on my bike cages and then got out after a quick toilet stop. Spent some time with Rod and Julianna from my club as we just counted the minutes down. For lots of first timers , it is this gap in time which ties the stomach in knots and the what ifs and doubts fester. All i could think of was getting ready for the swim and being 
amazed at how flat and calm the sea was. 

The foreshore was swelling with people as T1 was closed. I got my gear bag in and got ready .Wishing the many i knew headed to the Far right of the mass start. One of the more spectacular Ironman swim starts has to be Busselton .The aerial pictures of the jetty and the swirl of water as 1600 swimmers surge forward is spectacular. 

Swim Start from IMWA Website

There was the mandatory Australian national Anthem , more waiting and then the professionals were off . I got a quick warm up in the water and then off we went . I stayed out of the major assault and it was a relatively smooth swim start. I tried to stay on someones feet most of the time and succeeded in the main. I had a few issues with the goggles leaking but managed to get that sorted . The first real choke was at the turn around but that was quick and then I was heading back. I was hoping for a better time but concerned  with the lack of swimming I had done this year would translate to a slow time despite the good conditions. I got out of the water in 1.21 and was pretty pleased . The mat time was 1.22 plus . Got into transition and got my wetsuit off , there was no help . Got my bike shoes  and socks on , jersey and out to get the bike. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Week 19 Busselton Ironman 10th Anniversary

 At first dreams seem impossible, then improbable, then inevitable.” – Christopher Reeve

“Athletes visualize winning 1000s of times before they step on the track. They’ve already won. Other people just don’t know it yet.” – Anonymous

“The size of your success is measured by the strength of your desire; the size of your dream; and how you handle disappointment along the way.” ~Robert Kiyosaki

Its 3 days to the race. Heading down after a great week of tapering. No long rides , just a run and easy bike and cross fit session . All packed and heading to Busselton. The focus is on finishing strong and keeping to the plan . As all the preparation has shown I can probably belt out the distance but unfortunately don't have the speed .That will be on the drawing board for next year.

Like each pursuit , each race it germinates from an uncertain idea , a dream and lots of effort and pondering steps to conclude in getting past the finish line . This is one step in that journey  started in 2006 .

Very happy that my weight is around 72 - 73 kgs so not quite the target of 70 but it had dropped to 71kgs .

Everyone I know will be heading down and it will be a great day out especially for the first timers. The course is looking hot and hopefully not too windy. The past several weekends the swim has been a little rough but I am hoping that with the shelter of the bay the swim leg atleast will be consistently flat.

Looking forward to catching up with many racers and just having a fun day.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Week 18 Taper and Interclub Championships 2013

EXCEED TRIATHLON CLUB ,Mandurah 2013 with Molly
On Monday 25 November it was the start of a 2 week taper before Ironman Busselton 2013.(The tenth Anniversary of the race and my 7th ) Not a lot of training left and not a lot that would make a hold difference. I didn't do anything for the first 3 days with work and Molly  my dog having an accident and cutting her paws.

Thursday , did a  treadmill session with 4 x 500m , 2 x1km and 4 x 500m at threshold and ran 10km .I then rode to cross fit did a session and then rode home. On Friday I rode to work and on Saturday , did a 2 hr ride down the coast and back . In the afternoon I had cross fit .It was a good work out .

Sunday was the 2013 Inter Club Championships. Jonathan and Molly came to watch. It was a good hit out a week before the Ironman. The race was a 750m swim , 22 km bike ride and 5 km run. The swim was a little slow although I don't really know what time I did as I did not race with a watch. I found it difficult with the swell to sight .Once out of the water , I had a better transition and felt good on the 2 lap bike course. I averaged about 31 kph and did better than last year I thought  .The run was 5km and I finished pretty strong but again without a watch I slowed down a bit so I wasn't running as hard. The results did come out 2 days later and I did a 1.19.49 which was about 3 seconds faster than 2012 but slower than a shorter 2011 and 2010 course by about 8 minutes.  I had identical swims even though it was a little rougher this year and I thought I had a good bike leg but the time was slow and about 20 seconds faster than last year ( I did a 40.54 ride) and the run was 10 seconds better ( I ran 23.12 mins) .But overall I felt good .I did have a sore back from my Cross fit work out on Saturday but other than that it was a good race before Ironman next weekend.

The challenge is for Exceed Tri Club who retained the Rob Pikard Trophy (for fastest Club or the most points from the first 10  triathletes from each club)  to get more members racing next year as the club has consistently been increasing its membership and participants each year . North Coast won the Presidents trophy back from stadium with the highest points this year . Nothing like some friendly competition. Molly and Jonathan had a great day out and Molly particularly enjoyed playing with Ruby the Goldie in the UWA Tri Club Camp .They were both wearing their club colours and were both 2.5 year old Goldies.

 Short clip by Jonathan

Molly in her true colours as I get ready for the swim

Jonathan and Molly at the Exceed Tent
Picture By Dennis Tan

Happy Dog after a swim

Run : 15km or 1.20hr
Swim: 750m or 15 mins
Bike: 110km or 4.5 hrs
Cross fit : 1.5 hrs
Total: 7hrs.

Week 18 ... What I fear Most

Closed beach ...Pic from the west.com.au

The past weekend was marked with the tragic death of another surfer on our coast in the South West by what is most likely a great white.

Lots of Facebook post and on Sunday morning at Cottesloe there was noticeably less swimmers but that may have been the choppy seas as well.I lasted 10 minutes before heading for coffee.

What is clear is there is a dichotomy of views .Those who want a shark cull and those who don't.

I am ambivalent as logically I can't see a cull making a difference. I think the numbers possibly are on the increase and we are taking to the ocean in greater numbers . The  greater interaction means more casualties possibly .It is their domain and there is no evidence that these gray buses are human killers.

the killing by sharks is very emotive and has its beginnings from Hollywood movie Jaws .It has instilled the fear and horror of these predators of the ocean. But really statistically even in Western Australia , I am more likely to be hit by a car then bitten by a shark.

Some articles that touch on how a leisure pursuit and love of the ocean can go wrong :



Then in the same week there were a number of articles about the tragic death toll of cyclist in Australia this year . That is the true tragedy , it doesn't seem to register in the psyche of the public that whole lives and families are destroyed by the careless selfish behavior of some road users. 

See Uneasy riders as cyclists rattled by steep rise in deaths 

Cycle Safe WA

Is it OK to kill cyclist NEW YORK TIMes

The writer does provide some advice which I think cyclist should follow and there are moves to introduce tougher laws in all states to protect cyclist but cyclist will have to do the right thing:

So here’s my proposal: Every time you get on a bike, from this moment forward, obey the letter of the law in every traffic exchange everywhere to help drivers (and police officers) view cyclists as predictable users of the road who deserve respect. And every time you get behind the wheel, remember that even the slightest inattention can maim or kill a human being enjoying a legitimate form of transportation. That alone will make the streets a little safer, although for now I’m sticking to the basement and maybe the occasional country road.

With 46 deaths this year compared to 32 last year , it is unnerving and I have experienced far too many cars coming within  an inch when there was no reason or need. All it takes is that gap to close and paths collide forever.

Saturday morning's easy ride was no different with a cement mixer coming far too close when there was no need with a second lane to filter into . I continue to ride and swim , conscious that there is a big wide world of terrible out there but thankfully I am here still and ever glad I have been able to enjoy the experience and the thrills of our sport . I am still counting my blessings.