25 April 2017

Not Going to Happen

That goal set in November appears to have gone out the window.  (Is it really that long since I posted here?)

The mind is willing, and indeed craves it, but the body just isn't playing ball.

A change in my chemotherapy treatment has taken fatigue to a whole new level and along with a raft of other side effects, has put my fitness level at a new low.

So while I'm officially acknowledging the "Comeback Queen V4" ie Bali International Triathlon, is not going to happen, I'm busy concentrating on the things that I can do.

The weekly goal of making Parkrun each Saturday morning is ongoing.

This Saturday will be my 60th Parkrun and while I'm often found at the very back of the field, it doesn't bother me one bit.

It's actually quite the place to be, as we Parkrunners bringing up the rear chat to pass the time and I've made some lovely new friends while at the back of the pack.

I also try to get out on my mountain bike (Miss Trek is now hanging from a hook in the garage) as much as possible.  My rides are a smidgen of the distances I was once able to do, but I still enjoy them just the same.

Taking photos at various events and places and sharing them (hopefully for others to enjoy) is also another of my favourite things to do and I'm really looking forward to heading for Cairns in June and taking lots of happy snaps of those competing in Ironman Cairns and Ironman 70.3 Cairns.

If you see me there, be sure to smile!

10 November 2016

"Get Wet" Day

My postings over the past year have been sketchy to say the least.

From the high of participating at the Bali International Triathlon (over a year ago now) just a few weeks after finishing  a course of chemotherapy, things have kind of stagnated in the area of goal setting.

Aside from a weekly, very welcome goal of getting myself to a Parkrun for a 5km mostly Parkwalk, but occasionally a Parkshuffle, it's time to take a leap and rekindle my inner Comeback Queen attitude.

Again fortnightly chemotherapy is a constant in my life, so there are some days when it's not that easy, but looking back over my Garmin activities I've managed to walk/shuffle or ride (mtb) fairly regularly so I've decided I need another triathlon goal.

Drum roll, the 2017 Bali International Triathlon will be the target of this comeback effort.

It's far enough away (date to be announced but expected to be early September) to provide a carrot to get me out there to rebuild some fitness.  It also has a number of options, the Olympic Distance, a Sprint Distance and a 5km Fun Run

Swimming hasn't been happening mainly due to having a portacath inserted early this year.  It's accessed for 4 days a fortnight & then I need to allow a couple of days for healing so this has meant no swimming on those days and consequently it's resulted in virtually no swimming at all.  I can count on one hand the number of times I've been immersed this year.

So as a kickstarter for Comeback Queen V4, today was "Get Wet" day.

Success - I made it to the pool.

As if to prove how unusual that has been, I forgot to take a towel!

Never mind, I got there.  I swam a little. I kicked a little. I floated and watched the clouds.

And I wondered why I had left it so long.

03 May 2016

Trials of a triathlon fanatic

Ironman Australia took place at Port Macquarie this past weekend. 

My very first IM was in Forster in 2003 before the event shifted to Port Mac, so it always holds special interest.  

With two VIF's (very important friends) on the IMOZ start line and with Ironman 70.3 Port Macquarie & Ironman 70.3 Busselton on the same day, it should have been a red letter day for this self confessed triathlon tragic. 

Unfortunately, visions of athlete tracking of all three events providing comic light relief from chemo side effects pretty much went out the window - immediately!

Ironman Live blog is all well and good to follow the race leaders, but why can we now not rely on up to date tracking of other pros and the age group athletes?

Surely it's not just me wanting to know those we are following are safely out of the water, off the bike or where they are on the run, without having to wait forever for the info? 

Back in the good old days we could rely on tracker to be refreshed often enough to maintain our interest.  

We would have tracking parties and follow the progress of family, friends and club mates from start to finish, however long it took.  Next best thing to being there!

Now it is essential to have someone on the sidelines to relay sightings just to know those we are following have actually started the event and survived the swim, while whoever's job it is to refresh the timing, is on a go slow campaign. 

Remember when you could check by age groups and know who was where and if really interested, produce a spreadsheet to follow time gains and losses just to help pass the time?  Not anymore, now it's ...

The video coverage provides some insight on conditions but lets face it, if your interest is focused mainly on just a few key competitors, an accurate tracker would allow tuning in at the right moments. 

And as much as I love hearing "..... You Are An Ironman", without the tracker updating, sitting glued to the coverage meant I had to hear Mike Reilly or Pete Murray say it over and over and over and over and over just so I didn't miss seeing those special people finish.  

Why didn't I turn down the volume? ... very tempting but listening as well as watching at least gave a slight chance of hearing that the VIF's were in the finish chute because you sure as hell couldn't tell from the athlete tracker!  

Judging by social media, I wasn't alone in my frustration but I'm not sure anyone in the Ironman organisation is listening.

Rant over.

25 November 2015

Dreaming of a white Christmas

Shout out to NT News journalist Kylie Stevenson who recently did this feature article in the NT Frontier section: The Big C - Dealing with Cancer, and yours truly got a mention.  

It is certainly motivating me to get out there on my bike and in the pool this week - obviously have to live up to that!

What is not motivating is the current heatwave conditions in Darwin - overnight minimums are hovering around 27-29 degrees C and the thermometer topped 36 degrees C earlier this afternoon.  

Water coming out of the cold water tap is around 30 deg C - ditto the water in our local pool. Neither are very cooling or refreshing.

I have a friend who brings a container with ice in it to the pool so that she can splash herself to cool off in between sets.  And that's at 6am in the morning. True story!

In the meantime we await the arrival of the monsoon, praying for rain before we all go troppo and dreaming of a white Christmas. 

31 October 2015

I.DID.IT. Comeback Queen V3

I've avoided posting anything at all for ages as chemo side effects got a little tough at times, but that's all past now, so here's a Comeback Queen V3 update:

With those same pesky side effects also meaning virtually no running was possible, Supercoach insisted I leave entry for the Bali International Triathlon until the last minute.

I think he knew and wanted to let me down lightly, as it became increasing obvious that as much as I wanted to do it, the 1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10 run distance was going to be too much, too soon.

I was swimming ok (just) even managed to rejoin squad for the final two weeks before the race.  Being at the back of the latte lane never felt so good!

Riding was coming along well thanks to getting out mostly on my mountain bike (more stable than Ms Trek on those dizzy days) but the distance in the ride bank wasn't really enough for a 40km ride.

Running - well think walk + moments of Cliff Young shuffle - and you will get an idea of where I was when chemo finished. Admittedly my shuffle time between walks was increasing, but with the increased effort, so was my huffing and puffing.

So from then on, with fingers crossed that I wasn't still biting off more than I could chew, the 750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run Sprint option became my focus.

I approached my final week of training (two weeks post chemo) with all the dedication of a true Ironman - gritted my teeth and got on with it.

Swimming and riding boxes got ticked off as good to go, but running was still dodgy. Unlike me, at least Ms Trek was in tip top condition thanks to the Cycle Zone Darwin crew.

We knew the run course in Bali included a few long steep sections, but I found I still really, really, really wanted to do it.

So granted Supercoach approval to enter the  Sprint distance, my race plan became: start swim, assess body at end of swim, start bike, reassess body, start run and see what happened.

It was a given that I would pull the pin if I was distressed in any way.

More pre race good news was that race organisers really concentrated on get the ride course flowing smoothly again this year and to do that enlisted the help of hundreds of police officers.

Here's me letting some the guys know their assistance out on the bike & run courses would be appreciated. 

And then, finally some three weeks & two days after finishing six months of chemo, I found myself in Bali & on the start line at Jimbaran, feeling no pressure, totally excited to there and just wanting to enjoy every minute of this amazing course.

That's me in the SOAS Aquarius kit, 
getting a few pointers prior to my wave start

Didn't swim too badly after all it turns out!

Off the bike and on to the run in under an hour, 
no wonder I smiled!

Done & dusted in 1:39:41 - can't begin to describe
how awesome it felt to complete my first triathlon since Challenge Laguna Phuket 11 months ago!

Meanwhile the main event was still underway and I was stoked to be able to cheer home my good friend & prime motivator Kylie (who raced on a borrowed bike, in my spare tri kit, and in sundry other loaned and/or hastily purchased items after Jetstar left her bike bag containing all her race kit back in Darwin). First woman home she is now Female Champion of the 2015 Bali International Triathlon!!

Congrats Kylie!!

And it was great to be there to cheer home the rest of those racing from Darwin

Daryl finishes 3rd in category!

When results were confirmed, we had all done well and featured in our local NT News:

15 seconds of fame

After being in doubt just a month ago, it was such a good feeling to know that this Comeback Queen had nailed Version 3 and truthfully I've still got an inner glow happening.

Its been a long year and it seemed to take forever to get from my surgery at the end of January & through the six months of chemotherapy to finally reaching my Bali goal last weekend and I couldn't have done it without some very special people.  

Daryl (my calm in the storm) has been there, always supportive, every step of the way and likewise Jess & Peter and their families have been my anchors and I love them all dearly.

Flora & Di keep me sane, grounded and listen to my ramblings however long they take; Kylie keeps on my case and many a time has managed to get me from horizontal to vertical when I needed it most and also much appreciated is Ali's empathy, we are both looking for brighter times in 2016! Daryl's squad offer me so much encouragement, as do fellow Darwin Triathlon Club members - a big thank you to you all.

I can't bring my Comeback Queen V3 to a close without thanking the wonderful SOAS Crew who have been so supportive and generous throughout the year. Thank you! Then there are the Team SOAS members who are a delight and have enabled me to participate vicariously through their posts!  Well done to all you totally amazing women!

No way I can overlook the Cycle Zone factor either. Their VIP service and ensuring both my bikes are in perfect condition whether I was just up for half an hour around the block or heading for Bali is appreciated, always.  Thanks guys!

So there it is - I DID IT - and it feels great!

What's next?  

I'd love to say a half iron distance somewhere, but I'm booked for another scan & bloods sooner than expected, so no plans until those test results are in.  

In the meantime I'll concentrate on getting stronger on the bike and ditching the Cliff Young shuffle asap and have crossed my fingers  there won't be a version 4 required for this Comeback Queen. 

If you haven't yet, I recommend putting Bali International Triathlon 
on your bucket list.

29 August 2015

Happiness is

Having commenced my penultimate round of chemotherapy yesterday and with latest CT scans & bloods indicating I'm "stable", what better time than now to revive my inner "Comeback Queen" for the third time!

The goal is locked in as the Bali International Triathlon which is some 56 days away (race date 25 October 2015).  

Yikes, that's really not that far away for someone starting over again.
It's "only" an Olympic Distance.  I say "only" because my brain still thinks I'm up for an Ironman, unfortunately my body tells me otherwise right now.  

If 1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run proves to be beyond me come race day, there is a doable (surely) Sprint Distance and if all else fails, there is a fall back 5km run.  I'll be up for one of those in 56 days time (said with fingers crossed behind my back).

This race is a personal favourite - in 2007 we competed when it was the first ever triathlon in Bali and have returned most years since.  Billed the "triathlon of the soul", it has always been a wonderful feel good event and having your bike blessed is not something that happens at other triathlons.

The event wasn't held last year (the date clashed with Indonesian elections) so it is great to see it back on the calendar.

Bali is so close to home (just a 2.5hr flight) & the timing coincides with the finish of my six months of chemo treatment, so I think it is a perfect goal for this wannabe Comeback Queen!

On a high following a treatment "rest week" and with a couple of weeks on a very light (alternative to being permanently horizontal) program set by Supercoach Daz backing me up, here is where I'm currently at:

Longest swim: 700m (we won't mention how long that took)
Longest ride:   26.87km
Longest walk:  5.97km (we won't mention how long that took either)

I'm on the lookout for new speedsuit to wear in the swim as I need all the streamling I can get!!

Happiness is:

loving family, supportive friends, a bike ride, a new Comeback Queen goal and an end in sight to latest cancer treatment.

Life is good!

10 July 2015


Just happens that today is a milestone day so thought I'd celebrate with a blog post (it has been awhile). 

The occasion?  It's hump day of my chemotherapy treatment. Woo hoo!

Four chemo cycles are done and dusted and I now get a recovery week.  Chemo brain is real - just saying!

On the positive side, it also seems so much closer now to that final dose so I'll continue to pop those pills very much looking forward to that next milestone.

I've lived with cancer long enough though, to know that nothing is a given.  

This treatment milestone point also signals time for some check up scans and some extra blood tests - all scheduled during my upcoming "rest" week. 

My next oncologist appointment will have some added stress attached until we know those results. Fingers will be firmly crossed (along with legs, ankles, eyes and arms).

In the meantime, I'm a little down that my fitness is once again slipping.  However much I try and keep active, each cycle brings a period of inability to get out there and exercise effectively.  

One of the side effects of my treatment (tailored to meet individual need) is hand and foot syndrome which appears in the later stages of my cycle.  

When that happens it's best to avoid any friction on the feet (ie I need to avoid too much walking, running etc). 

So no surprise then that I was limping after we travelled over to the east coast to watch Ironman Cairns recently (and the associated 70.3) as Daryl coaches a number of athletes who were competing and it seemed a good opportunity to get away for the weekend.

The extra walking, especially up at the Palm Cove transition areas the day before the race, really didn't agree with my feet, but I wouldn't have missed it for the world. 

On the race results front it was a super day for coach Daryl, and I loved being on the sidelines supporting and taking the odd photo. 

I was stoked to see my favourite triathlete Luke McKenzie achieve another milestone result when he added a second Cairns Ironman title to his impressive list.  

Congratulating Beth & Luke on their engagement & wishing them good luck!

It was exciting as well to see friends Ange Castle and Hannah Johnston grab 8th and 9th overall in the women's field.  

For Hannah it was a huge milestone, her first iron distance race, first in age category, first age grouper home and a Kona slot at the first attempt!

Ashan's result was also fantastic - a 5th in his age group and 21st Male overall (in such a huge field, I'd call that a milestone in his development as well).

The 70.3 men's field was totally stacked so it was awesome to see Tim Green come through and finish in 10th.  

Now working in Cairns, Tim was the first hometown guy to finish - yet another milestone for him - this time in his own backyard. 

The others all did so well too, with a number achieving their milestone first Ironman or 70.3 finishes.  Always an exciting moment! 

We stayed out on the course until my feet finally sent a message loud and clear in the form of a limp that I could no longer ignore.

For a few days after that I felt like I had done an Ironman rather than just watching!

Once my feet were back to near normal a few days after we returned home, I was totally inspired to get out and walk/run and ride but I don't think it's nearly enough to maintain real fitness.  So I've just resolved to do what I can, when I can and enjoy it!!

I did pretend to be a real triathlete though when I got asked to be in a Territory Day feature for our local newspaper.  I confess to trying to palm them off to someone else, but no go!

It was one of those quick little vox pop interviews and a photo to add to those of a number of Territorians of all walks of life, so you can imagine I did a back flip at this ...

... a milestone day to experience 15 seconds fame!

Even more milestones (in the form of special "0" birthdays of a number of friends & an engagement) have also meant we have had some enjoyable social occasions to attend lately.

With more of the same on the calendar over the next few weeks, I'm really looking forward to sharing the moment with those friends who will be reaching their own special milestones.