29 December 2013

Memory lane

After my post yesterday, it was time to retreat and regroup and have a little chat to the inner self!

That done and armed with my lovely new Garmin I hit the road late morning and headed off to explore a little more of Singapore.

Amazing what reaffirming your goals can do for your motivation even when your mind tells you it would prefer to be horizontal.

I started out just to walk, progressed to jog/walk and then managed to run two kilometres at my IM pace - I so wished there was someone around to high5 after that comeback milestone.

This was all done on what was the run course of the second edition of Ironman 70.3 Singapore so it was also somewhat of a trip down memory lane. 

Great memories of being healthy and fit and a little faster than I currently am.

28 December 2013

I have them

From a total high following my last run I've crumped a little.

Perhaps I'm catching something - getting around Singapore by bus and MRT, it is highly likely!

I have them too - those down days when it's hard to get out the door- wish me luck with that.

26 December 2013

Temporary relocation

A few months ago we were discussing plans for Christmas and to cut a long story short, we are spending our festive season in Singapore.

One of the great advantages of living in Darwin is that Asia is right on our doorstep and we can take full advantage of that.

So Christmas dinner for us was our favourite, chicken rice, washed down with Tiger beer.

This temporary relocation has also meant a lot of exploring can be done while training.   The East Coast recreation area is always an awesome place to run and dashing up & down the under/overpasses that crisscross the Parkway motorway makes it even more interesting (and challenging). 

The various pedestrian overpasses to be negotiated while shopping as well as the MRT stairs are also great fitness aids.

The hotel pool is reeling under the strain of a couple of crazy people doing laps rather than just wallowing.  Trick is to get it done early before the wallowers roll out of bed!

Singapore also has embraced the public fitness station concept and they are strategically located, and close enough to add into a session for variety.

That's swim & run covered.  

We do have a bike hire close by but the thought of joining some of the craziest cyclists in the world on the busy bike paths doesn't yet appeal. 

The bike paths in Singapore are crazy busy

The hotel gym will be the place to get some pedalling done.

The weather here is cooler than Darwin and, at this time of year, that's a huge plus. 

So from our temporary abode I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and happy hunting if Boxing Day sales are your thing.

I will be avoiding the crowds as I try and master the workings of my new Garmin - it is going to tell me just how fast (or slow) this Comeback Queen is putting one foot in front of the other these days.  

22 December 2013

Declutter fever

An hour of power I call it.  It's the domestic challenge I set myself ... see what you can get done in an hour going room to room!

Developed as a coping strategy when training for my first Ironman I am still functioning on that principle.  It has served this household well through eight Ironman and numerous shorter campaigns.

Being clutter free is another of my grand plans and I have fits and starts at achieving this, mostly after being inspired by a new post on Slow Your Home.

What has this to do with triathlon?  

I want to have the best shot I can at being able to concentrate fully on getting my training done for IM 70.3 Hawaii in the New Year. Some early preparation and household organisation can help achieve that and ensure that home retains some semblance of order as I'm out and about more and more getting my training done.  Much better to come home after a long ride and be able to put the feed up with a beer on the balcony than have to dash around with a duster. 

My decluttering desire started a couple of years ago after a number of failed attempts to reduce the piles and piles of triathlon magazines hoarded over the years.  I would start to sort them and end up putting them all back but for the most part they were just gathering dust, flicked through only when there was a tri argument or trivia question to be won. 

It was hard to part with my tri mag collection

They held a lot of memories and it was hard to ditch them.  That is until Jane Hunt started researching the history of triathlon in Australia.  The realisation that all the information in those magazines would end up in a book or on a website somewhere was all that was needed for me to finally let go. 

Haven't missed them, or having to dust the cobwebs off them.  

So now when I'm gripped by the odd bout of declutter fever, I think back on those tri magazines and use them as inspiration for an hour of power!

20 December 2013

It must be Christmas

The weather in Darwin is hot and humid and it must be Christmas time because the BoM is talking up the possibility of another cyclone forming in our region as early as Monday.  Wouldn't be Christmas in Darwin without a good spell of monsoonal rain and/or a cyclone watch to keep everyone on their tinselled toes.  

Those in the business of selling all things Christmas have been trying to entice our hard earned $$$ from us since way back in September so it's little wonder that I'm among those who have been slow off the mark. 

This year I made a few promises and, so far, I've managed to stay true.

I have delivered on a goal to get a Christmas catch up note distributed and there are some special people in our life who will be thrilled to receive actual snail mail.  

And before I dashed out shopping for wrapping paper and the like I did a quick search of the various places I stash things and gathered together all things Christmas.  That proved to be a good move and considerably reduced the length of the shopping list. 

This year I also did what I have often thought would be an awesome idea and that's get those "hard to buy fors" charity gifts.  So some of our friends and family will find they have a chicken heading for South Africa or they are contributing to clean water in Sri Lanka via Oxfam this year. I hope they feel good about that. 

As well as getting sorted for the festive season, there are still my various swim, bike, run sessions to tick off. 

We had our annual swim squad Christmas breakfast yesterday.  It has become quite a tradition and a great way to end the year. 

Most things shut down over Christmas and New Year as it is amazing how many people take the opportunity to get out of Darwin.  It can be the best time to train with very little traffic on the roads!

I haven't been neglecting my riding, in fact its actually gone up a notch.  My rides are getting longer and as a result I'm getting out to many places on the bike that I haven't been near for over a year. 

When I started this comeback attempt, I did wonder if I'd ever be in a position to reach Crocodylus again - I did today, and it was a great feeling.

Reaching the gates of Crocodylus again - celebration time

That's a round trip of about 26km.  Not much granted, but I'm racking up that distance more and more - little and often, is the key.

Those sessions will eventually join together and become longer sessions and when they do I'll be ready!

Hawaii here I come but first I'll enjoy this festive season and give thanks that I'm here to do so!

18 December 2013

I'm at where?

This time last year:

Following an appointment with my surgeon and review of scans, xrays, blood tests etc it was decided to that an attempt would be made to insert a kidney stent and a colonoscopy was also to be performed.  Surgery was scheduled for 20 Dec.

This caused a flurry of phone calls and emails and much angst as we were supposed to fly out for our daughter's wedding on that day. 

I coped with this news by plugging in the iPod and going for a long, long run along Casuarina Beach.

Where I'm at today:

165 days out from Ironman 70.3 Hawaii my comeback progress update reads like this:

Longest swim:  500m
Longest ride:    29km
Longest run:     1.3km

This morning's run/walk was also done along Casuarina Beach and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience (and the breeze).

17 December 2013

Fifteen minutes of fame

I am seriously humbled to share space with Craig Alexander in the latest edition (Dec/Jan 2014) of Australian Triathlete Magazine.

A huge thank you to Editor Stef Hanson and Nathan Scolaro for getting in touch and thinking my tri story was worthy of space.

My very own fifteen minutes of fame.

From the sidelines

Ironman 70.3 Canberra is done and dusted and we have returned home to hot, sweaty Darwin.

Being on the sidelines on race day again provided many interesting tri insights including:

1. Making that start line shouldn't ever be taken for granted.  A 4.30am SMS on race morning carried the jaw dropping news that Tim had been up all night with food poisoning and was in no condition to venture out the hotel door, let alone race.  

2.  Athletes do miss their wave starts.  Unbelievable the number of people happy to stand around navel gazing when they should have been walking down to enter the water.  Canberra also requires athletes to swim up to the start line for a deep water start.  Wave after wave had people missing the gun.

3.  Mounting and dismounting training is definitely required.  After witnessing a large number of athletes injure themselves mounting and dismounting the bike, I highly recommend spending some time mastering this skill. 

Unbelievable to watch guys with all the expensive toys land on their backside or topple over into the shrubbery because they have no idea how to get on their bike going up a slight incline, or as in one case, because they had their shoe tethered with a very thick elastic band.  No 16 is about the correct thickness for an easy break!  

Women, in the main, didn't have as much of a problem but did tend to wobble a little, occasionally causing some havoc behind them.

Dismounts were in some cases, excruciating to watch.  One athlete is probably still hobbling after his effort - as a dive it would have scored 9 out of 10!

Individual dismount style

4.  Discarding water bottles on the course is down right dangerous.  Throwing bottles outside of the zoned area doesn't sound like much of a crime (aside from littering) but watching those bottles hit the gutter and roll back in front of following cyclists shows just why athletes are asked not to do this. That they do, without any thought of the consequences, is rather frightening. 

5.  Making that finish line shouldn't ever be taken for granted. Athlete tracking becomes stressful when one of those on your radar doesn't show up when they should and that was the case in Canberra.  Allowing for a puncture or even (heaven forbid), a drafting penalty Haydn was well overdue. 

Where was he?  Taken to hospital by ambulance after a motorist drove on to a closed section of the course and collided with him and another competitor. Hayds couldn't remember a thing but scans and xrays eventually cleared him of anything serious and a night in hospital thankfully saw his concussion subside.  He still doesn't remember anything about the accident, but does recall seeing the 83km mark on his watch. 

6.  Always, always, always wear a cycle helmet.  They do save lives.

7.  Always, always, always fill in correct "In Case of Emergency" details, they are sometimes required.

8.  And one last observation - one wonders why athletes attend an awards function if they talk all the way through it and show no interest at all!

This race saw the last, we are lead to believe, under the 70.3 banner in Canberra.  2014 will be a whole new story. 

14 December 2013


Daz and the Darwin crew have been for a ride over the course and had a swim this morning. Registration is complete and now all they have to do is bike check in later this afternoon to be all set for Ironman 70.3 Canberra tomorrow.

While the pre race excitment builds, I've been driver, chief shopper, bag lady, photographer and gear guard.

Nothing like being on the wrong side of the fence at an event to provide added comeback incentive!

Cloudy morning in Canberra for bag lady / gear guard duties

10 December 2013

Not a centimetre more

I'm happy to report that a few small personal achievements have happened over this past week bringing me ever nearer to my goal event. 

My sessions haven't been long but they have been increasing in frequency and slowly but surely my fitness level is increasing.

It was high fives all round when I ticked off a 500m non stop swim over the weekend and just today I had the satisfaction of seeing my bike computer tick over 29km indicating progress there as well.

Goal Event:      Ironman 70.3 Hawaii
Date:              31 May 2014 (172 days away)
Distance:         1.9km swim, 90km bike, 21.1km run

Progress update:

Longest swim:  500m
Longest ride:    29km
Longest run:     1km

Given that I was so close to a round 30km ride, you may wonder why I didn't go around the block to achieve that milestone as well.

I have this theory, well tested during training for eight ironman events, that it's best not to swim a stroke more, turn the pedals one revolution further or run a centimetre more than programmed, and I don't.

Works for me!

Not a pedal revolution more than needed 

09 December 2013

Congratulations Yanti

She did it!

I choked up watching Yanti cross the line at Ironman Western Australia late last night our time.

She swam 1 hr 11 mins 32 secs, slowly went through T1 in 14 mins 39 secs, nailed that 180km bike in 7hrs 17 mins 51 secs, prepared for the run with a T2 of 8 mins 48 secs and then covered the 42.2km "run" in 6 hrs 57 mins 09 secs.

That the winner of her category had finished over 6 hours before made no difference to her personal achievement.

Yanti had tried, tried, tried and tried again to become an "Ironman".

There were unsuccessful attempts at Ironman Melbourne & WA in 2012 and earlier this year Ironman New Zealand and then Ironman Japan defeated her.

She never, never, never gave up and yesterday her dream came true.

And I do believe she is the first Indonesian female to achieve an Ironman finish.

Yanti I salute you.

Yanti in Bali last year.

08 December 2013

Ironman tracking inspiration.

Another inspiring day in tri paradise spent firstly bike & gear minding for those doing Daz's training tri early this morning. 

It was hot, humid and still but they got it done and appeared pretty pleased with their efforts.  

Top End tri training in build up/wet season conditions is a tough ask - and you become very accustomed to sweating lots and drinking enormous amounts of fluid trying to replace the loss.  It's nothing for us to be wringing wet and dripping!

You know you are a real Darwin triathlete when all the glasses in your cupboard are at least 500ml size and you can empty it in one go and front for a refill. 

The training (by others, I had a rest day) done and dusted, we head home to check on the tracker for the progress of those doing Ironman Western Australia.  

Coach Daryl had three athletes in the field, all first timers. Happy to report they are all safely across the finish line, having heard the magic words "You are an Ironman",  after knocking over the 3.8km swim, 180km bike, 42.2km run in 9.24.32, 9.45.30 and 11.03.58.

But there are still more of interest and one in particular that I'm biting my nails over.

Yanti is attempting to become the first Indonesian woman to complete an Ironman event.

No biggie, except that this is, well maybe attempt number five or six that I can recall.  

Yanti has some health problems and is kind of accident prone so to see the ironman tracker tick over 34.3km of the run at 14.25.13 is nail bitingly inspirational not to mention emotional so I can only imagine how she feels.  

Go Yanti!  You can do it!

06 December 2013

Will I swim or ride?

A year ago I had just been informed that colectoral cancer had returned, this time growing on the outside wall of the bowel and involving my right kidney (which proved to be non functioning), the major vein and other organs.  

Given that I had suspected something was happening, the diagnosis wasn't really a surprise. The prognosis - inoperable and serious - was.

So a year ago I was facing a barrage of tests, scans, ultrasounds and procedures and had been referred by my GP and booked in for an appointment with an oncologist (a fairly scarce bred in Darwin).

Most upsetting at the time was the possibility that we may miss our daughter's wedding.

Me, finisher at 2012 Ironman World Championships only 2 months before and already entered for Ironman Cairns 2013 - found my world turning upside down. 

So today as I procrastinate over whether to swim or ride, I'm just thankful to be here and for having that decision to make. 

05 December 2013

Backpacker habits

Yikes, there are only 177 days left until race day!

Goal Event:      Ironman 70.3 Hawaii
Date:              31 May 2014 (185 days away)
Distance:         1.9km swim, 90km bike, 21.1km run

So far I've managed:

Longest swim:  300m
Longest ride:    25km
Longest run:     1km

Spent some time day dreaming today and realised, other than doing our entry and having a race outfit sorted, I have done very little else towards organising the actual trip.

I think I need to use a few of those 4248 hours left to actually make our travel and accommodation arrangements.

Having done a number of previous trips to the Big Island, we know we should get on to it. 

Travelling on the cheap requires a bit of forethought and luckily we have never really managed to ditch our backpacker mentality formed years ago - pre internet, iPads and credit cards.

Our first trip as fresh faced, rather naive youngsters was to Europe (a rite of passage) undertaken in the early 70's, after much scrimping and saving and with a well thumbed copy of Frommer's Europe on $5 a day tucked under an arm.

It was a bible, to be followed exactly, for fear your hard earned traveller's cheques may not last the year out. 

So here we are years later, with those travel principles still firmly entrenched and I'm extremely happy they are as we have travelled to some amazing destinations for races and up there, as one of the best trips, is Hawaii 70.3.

This trip has a touch of deja vu about it as we also competed at this Honu race in 2008. 

Then it was a plot hatched sitting down after a training triathlon at Lake Alexander that coach Daryl had organised. 

Ali, Michelle and I were shooting the breeze about where we would like to race (as all good triathletes do), and decided it would be a good idea to compete in Hawaii together. We had some fast talking to do, some detail to sort, but the idea took hold and it happened and we had a ball and I miraculously qualified for my first Ironman World Championships.  That you never forget!

Three Darwinites on the Big Island in 2008.  Photo by Daz

In May next year there will also be a number of others from Darwin competing and as well there will also be a special birthday to celebrate.  Thanks Rosie, for being the one to spur us all on this time! 

As mentioned, I'm pretty sure everyone else is much further ahead with travel arrangements than us, so instead of consulting Frommer, I'll drag out the Lonely Planet Hawaii guidebook and have a read.  Then I'll probably spend hours googling all things Hawaii travel related. 

Backpacker habits die hard, but thank goodness for the internet to help sniff out a bargain and credit cards to pay for them. 

01 December 2013

There's a big difference between murky & clear

It has been a whirlwind weekend and a big week of training for me.

Although none of my sessions are long, they are frequent.  A kind of "less is more" approach which is allowing my body to adapt slowly but surely.  

This approach is also a winner mentally, as no session has yet seemed difficult and I've found I'm happy to get out there and just "do".

Darwin Tri Club had a Splash N Dash event yesterday evening and as self proclaimed paparazzi, I spent an interesting couple of hours watching the race, taking photos for our Facebook page and some video footage for Daz's website.

The format (200m swim, 2km run x 3) was a repeat from a fortnight ago and it was interesting to see the different approach taken by many of the competitors.  It's a tough hit out and the guys took a much more conservative approach this time, saving themselves for the second and third round, rather than hammer the first.

It was a fabulous evening, great conditions and we even had a huge cruise ship docked at the wharf which made a spectacular backdrop for the event.

Cruise ship backdrop for Splash N Dash

I haven't swum at the Waterfront (a supposedly netted basin) in a long, long time and with the reported sighting, just before race start, of a fish a around a metre in length, it's a fair bet nothing is about to change any time soon.  

Blame Ironman Malaysia (2009 & again in 2010) for my fear of all things piscatorial, as I copped severe jelly fish stings both years there.

With scars still visible on my wrist, the possibility of bumping into anything in the water, even a leaf, is enough to make my heart race. 

Still bare the faint scars  from this encounter 3 years later

The thought of encountering a metre long monster in murky water at the Waterfront doesn't appeal in the slightest.

However, there is a big difference between murky and clear, and swimming with turtles in the waters of Hapuna Beach in Hawaii in 182 days time, is on the other hand,  a huge motivator!!