29 April 2014

Setting outrageous goals

That rest day yesterday was well deserved and a great opportunity for me to have some overdue body maintenance, in the form of a dental checkup, as well as providing time to tackle a zillion other little things on the "to do" list that had been accumulating.

So last night as we headed out to dinner with friends, I was feeling rather smug with sparkling teeth, mail sorted, bills paid, floors clean, an almost empty washing basket, stocked refrigerator and overflowing pantry cupboards.

Fast forward to this morning and it was a little difficult to rise when the alarm went off (rest day a bit of a misnomer) and there certainly wasn't a lot of shine from me at 5.15am.  

By 6am I'd pulled myself together enough to dive in and give swim squad the required attention and effort, but as the day progressed and ride time was approaching, I was feeling all out of "get up and go".

Just as I was starting to make some feeble excuses for perhaps leaving it until tomorrow, a timely tweet popped up with a link to the wonderful Witsup website and from there to a post intriguingly titled Piping Up - Pipe Dreams - Seven Reasons to Set Outrageous Goals by Lucy Piper.

It was a much needed kick in the pants and had me heading out on the bike and doing my out of the saddle efforts with renewed enthusiasm.

While riding I was able to reflect on setting my own goal, which is now fast approaching.

Back in June last year, living with the rather horrendous side effects of chemotherapy and with three more treatment rounds still to be endured, the black dog was taking hold and we decided what I was lacking was a goal.

So there I was, with abdominal scars barely healed, underweight, lacking energy, easily fatigued, struggling to swim 50 metres if and when I got to the pool, off my bike forever and leaning on my friend Irongirl to motivate me to go for a walk, now searching for an appropriate goal.

Many options came to mind and were considered - attend a cooking class maybe, finish that family tree research perhaps, take up yoga possibly.

But no, in the end I decided I wanted my life back (well as near to as possible) and that meant I wanted to include swim, bike, run and to do another triathlon.

Not just any triathlon, if I was going commit and make it worthwhile, it had to be at least a half ironman distance, something worth getting up for.

Triathlon has always been a together thing for us, so it also had to be at a location Daryl would enjoy and sign up for as well.

And it had to be warm enough for a non wetsuit swim.  And somewhere we could could soak up some sun and sand afterwards.

No contest - it had to be Hawaii!  That word motivates me and certainly put a sparkle back in my eyes at the time.

No secret that we love Hawaii and knowing if we waited until I got the medical all clear the event would probably be sold out, we signed up there and then for Ironman 70.3 Hawaii. 

Goal set:    16 July 2013
Race date:  31 May 2014

I'm glad I set that outrageous goal way back then and raised a few eyebrows!

27 April 2014

Pardon me

This week's training was pretty important ahead of Honu and required a rather single minded attitude to get me through everything on my program.

"Just get on with it" has been my constant mantra but after a long ride yesterday, following on from a week which also saw a step up in run distance, getting up to face a brick session this morning was somewhat difficult.

It took two alarms and a three-peat of "just get on with it" before my feet actually hit the floor.

But get on with it I did - with a little motivation from Daz's squad (also doing bricks of various distances).

With four heading for Ironman Australia, a couple to IM 70.3 Busselton and the rest fired up for club champs (all on next weekend) as well as five of us coming into some form ahead of IM 70.3 Hawaii the energy vibes were electric - and catching. 

Still dark and Ms Trek was set up and ready to go

All things being equal I would normally have been running off the bike ages ago, but my crash and subsequent sore neck and shoulder had delayed things a little.

I need not have worried as, much to my surprise, I was pretty steady throughout the 9km bike, 3km run x 3, particularly on the bike. 

Bike 1 done and dusted

Pretty much as expected, running off the bike was a different story.  I positively flew through the first of my three kilometres.  

Second time around required a quick pit stop on the run and by kilometre three I found I was slowing a little.

Ride three was again steady, and starting the final run I did feel as though I was struggling.  My run time was still acceptable but would have been better if the feeling was more comfortable. 

The end result ie making it through my first brick since before Kona in 2012, it was still quite a confidence booster.

From 30 min walks, half a swim squad and 30 minute rides less than six months ago, it feels awesome to have made it through this week and ticked all the boxes.

So pardon me while I wag my tail - at the end of big training week, with a rest day scheduled for tomorrow, I'm more than happy with my progress and extremely grateful for all the encouragement received. 

25 April 2014

Days are blurring

I'm in the middle of a big build in my training and the days are blurring into a familiar pattern of swim, bike, run, wash, eat, sleep and then do it all over again ~ I wouldn't have it any other way.

My new program popped up in my Inbox today (as it does each Friday) and I caught a glimpse of a couple of scheduled rest days next week.  They are well timed as this week I've found I'm heading for bed early and if the opportunity arises, also nodding off (power napping) in the afternoon.

As if that wasn't enough to cope with, I also had a bad hair day so I've added some body maintenance into the mix with haircut and dental appointment top of the list. 

With only thirty six days to go until Hawaii 70.3, I'm very focused on getting my training done but as always I don't run a step further, push those pedals even one extra revolution than necessary nor swim a single stroke more than is programmed.  

Worked for me in the past and I'm hoping for more of the same next month. 


20 April 2014

Oh what a feeling

I'm ready for an early night.

How I stayed awake while having a (well deserved) massage this afternoon is beyond me.

The Easter break has been a real challenge on the training front.

Happy to report that I met that challenge head on and at forty one days out from Honu my stats are now showing:

Longest swim:       2km
Longest ride:        72.6km
Longest run/walk:  13.3km

That's looking a lot healthier than a few months ago when I was thinking I may have been a little over ambitious.

After achieving (post op) personal bests over all disciplines during these past few days, I'm am completely wiped out and eyelids are drooping.

But, more importantly, I'm feeling very optimistic that I may just make the distance at the end of next month.

Oh what a feeling!

18 April 2014

How many are too many?

My hoard of caps and visors seems to have grown.

I did have a clutter free phase a couple of years back and bravely culled a few that were looking worse for wear.

Thinking it was time to rationalize the collection again, I started off with good intentions and then found myself going down memory lane.

I remember that one! It was a special edition made for the very first Bali International Triathlon held at Jimbaran Bay. Very feminine back then, with it's pink flower logo, it holds special significance as a souvenir of the race at which I managed an overall podium place and picked up some very nice prizes.  
And this one ... it's from Ironman Malaysia in 2008.

Over there is the Ironman World Championship finisher's cap from the same year, my first ever, so it is cherished.

Then there are the Kona caps from 2009, 2010 and 2012, no way I can part with those.

Nor that one! It's from Metaman Bintan half in 2012, the only time I've wopped Daz in a triathlon.  It stays!

Special edition Powerbar black visor from Ironman Malaysia, mmm it's also a favourite. As is the 30th anniversary edition they made in blue for that special Hawaii milestone.

This tatty old Tri Travel cap is a memento from way back when Rod sent some sponsorship product through for our NT Long Course at Lake Bennett.

The Dare2Tri is a comfy little number, so to the Compresssport visor.  OK, they stay.

The Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines red and white designs from Cam Sur are a bit beat up and battered, ditto a My List visor from Kona.  

The Darwin Triathlon Club cap and visor have meaning, not just because they are from my home club but because I initiated the Headsweats order and signed off on the design. Love them, they are so easy to spot particularly at away races and I'm reliably told they are great conversation starters. 

The yellow visor is from the most recent NT Sprint Distance Championships sponsored by a local real estate firm. I remember keeping the man behind Ray White Darwin company at running and swimming while he trained for his first triathlon.  I love that he is still passionate all these years later.

My SOAS visor is perfect for our Darwin weather and the SOAS trucker is part of our Team SOAS kit so it also has very special meaning.

That blue one is the old junior tri visor (sponsored by Cycle Zone), can't part with that.  This one was given to me by Alex back when Team TBB was still The Bike Boutique.

No way will I part with the City2Surf version, that came from Rosie and I love the blue detail.

Actually it is too hard to part with any!  Back in the cupboard they go.

So how many are too many?

Some of my cap & visor collection

12 April 2014

Slowly, slowly sneaking up there

Yes, that was me wearing the silly grin for a few days after making it through the NT Sprint Distance last weekend! Loved that I could think myself as re-qualified as a triathlete.

The euphoria was short lived!  It has been a pretty heavy week training wise and I've spent a fair amount of time on the bike. By Wednesday the grin was gone as I realised my goal race date is rapidly approaching and there is still much to be done if I'm to have a comfortable day. 

As a change of scenery, this morning some of the squad I train with headed for Litchfield National Park specifically to ride the Jump Up. 

It was great having company, even though everyone was working on their own race specific training and we all had different distances to ride and some also had a run off the bike.

It had been a number of years since my last ride out at Litchfield, and given my current comeback status, it wasn't surprising that I struggled a little on the 10% gradient of the Jump Up and on the other hills in the area.

It wasn't all doom and gloom through - I made it up 2.5 times. How do you .5 a hill I hear you ask? I bailed out halfway (gear selection was found wanting) and went back down and started all over again.

In all it was a very successful day, I ticked over my longest ride yet and can now add 60.4km to my most recent stats.

And in another plus, I believe I have the fastest speed among the girls for going down the Jump Up - a wheel wobbly 63.9kph reached!

 We all parked at Buley Rockhole

Sky watch at Litchfield

Buley Rockhole - a great place to cool off after training

I'm now 49 days away from my goal race (Ironman 70.3 Hawaii) and my status update is looking somewhat healthier:

Longest swim:  1.3km
Longest ride:  60.4km
Longest run:  12.1km

Slowly, slowly sneaking up there!

06 April 2014


It was as though I was a complete tri novice all over again.

The experience of seven Ironman finishes and countless other events flew right out the window once Super Coach decreed that I should start in the NT Sprint Distance Championships.  He said I needed to kick start my "real" training for Honu.

He thought I needed the reassurance of a race under my belt before actually toeing the start line at the end of next month.  Given the past few days, I have to admit he was right!  

That it has been a long, long time since I last competed, really was no excuse for the state I found myself in. Talk about a bundle of nerves. I think I resembled a cat on a hot tin roof.

I went into this event wearing a new tri kit (my simply awesome Team SOAS gear) untried; wearing new goggles (mine fell apart a couple of weeks ago and a new pair arrived just in the nick of time but were untested) and I had put new elastic laces in my shoes (who needs them when last few races were Ironman?).  

So much for avoiding anything new on race day.

Checking in, racking and setting up were fraught with anxiety - would I remember everything? Turns out I did, phew!

Then it was - would I be able to swim 750m?  Could I still swim in a straight line? Turns out I could, phew!

Followed by - could I negotiate the mount line without embarrassing myself? Need not have worried, phew!

Mount line success

After that - would I be able to handle 26km in a "race" situation? 

Super Coach had said "leave the race wheels at home" and take it easy, so I did and I made it through the bike leg intact. And had fun!

Dismount?  Piece of cake, phew!

Then the biggie for me - would I survive the 5km run?  

How could I not with so much encouragement? Confession time - not a piece of cake but managed just the same with lots of high fives and tons of "welcome back" along the way. 

Result - who cares really?  I. DID. IT. And had a ball!

This time last year I was suffering a toxic reaction to chemo, thinking I may never get get off the bed let alone back on the start line again, so it was a pretty special and somewhat emotional finish today.

Daryl earns a very big thank you for always being there for me and for super coaching (not just me, but all his athletes who are celebrating overall and age category wins, numerous pbs and some very special personal achievements).

As I write this, official results are not yet available (so I did forget one thing today ie to stop my watch when I crossed the line) but I'm still wearing a huge grin and that's the best result of all. 

Irongirl Kylie was on the sidelines cheering &
snapped my special moment.

02 April 2014

Sweating in style

Running this evening I thought about those team mates still posting winter themed photos or pics of rugging up in their SOAS hoodie.

That made me wonder when I may have a chance to wear mine.

Hoodie wearing is not something we get much opportunity for here in Darwin. At best there may be a handful of early mornings in the Dry Season when the temperature drops enough to raise a goose bump worthy of donning a hoodie to cover.

Mind you, many of us thin blooded Top Enders have often thought we should grab a cardi when we are going grocery shopping.    Perhaps I'll take my SOAS hoodie next time I'm heading for the freezer sections at the supermarket as ten minutes in those aisles have been known to induce blue lips and white finger tips!  

Seriously most of the time we are concentrating on keeping cool (and getting enough to drink). 

Take this evening. The temperature was 32 degrees Celsius (feeling like 36) and humidity was a mere 56%.

And it was run time. 

It is not unusual when we stop running to drip so much sweat that a puddle forms at our feet.  And we think nothing of it!

Today I can honestly say I was sweating in style as Team SOAS hit the Darwin streets!

Sweating in style!