28 October 2014

Remember you heard it here first

It has been very much head down and tail up in the quest to convince my body (and Supercoach) that entering Challenge Laguna Phuket could/should be more than a pipe dream.

Having competed in Thailand in 2010 and 2011, I can still recall how tough the course is, so I already know it isn't an easy ask.

I tossed around the team alternative for a bit, but decided if I was going to bother travelling all that way with a bike, I'd rather have a crack at doing the lot myself.

So here we are 33 days out from race day and my Comeback V2 stats are: 

Longest swim:  2.5km
Longest ride:    80.47km
Longest run:    16:37km 

The swim doesn't really worry me, it's pretty much a given that I can make it through 1.9km with the run up from the beach and down the other side to the lagoon being the hardest part.  

The 90km ride is now looking like it will be doable, albeit slowly.

And the run? 

Mmm, now that's the million dollar question.  The deal for my longest run yet (on Sunday) was to see how I pulled up after and then decide whether to enter or not.

During that run, I seriously thought of starting a campaign to add another format to the sport.

We have swim | bike | run - triathlon
We have run | swim | run - aquathlon
We have run | bike | run - duathlon

so ...

why don't we have a swim | bike format???

If that option existed, my thinking was there would be many who would jump at the chance to compete. Just think of the number of times you hear "I can't run at the moment".

As I ticked off the kilometres on Sunday, I tried to think of a good name for this new format.





Whatever the name, I believe there could be a place for the format and right now I'd be lining up to enter. 

Just remember you heard it here first.

Having amused myself with that, my run went better than expected and I came home on a bit of a high and wanted to get my entry in there and then.

Daz wasn't as keen and said to wait 24 hours to see how I pulled up.

Wise words.  

My feet haven't been the same post chemotherapy, probably from nerve damage from the chemo drugs, and tend to feel uncomfortably hot as well as swelling.

Yesterday was a rest day but by evening my feet were swollen and I was hobbling a little. But no worse than before Hawaii so that was the good news.

But still no entry in.

Off to swimming this morning and I moved myself up the order a little and lasted the whole session and that was the clincher.

With the end of October on the horizon, it was time to stop procrastinating and now it's done!  I'm in. Entry now done for Challenge Phuket - 30 November 2014.


20 October 2014

Frost risk?

The risk of frost in Darwin, Northern Territory Australia is ..... NIL.

19 October 2014

Will it happen?

At 42 days out from Challenge Laguna Phuket time is flying and my body is protesting just a little more than usual right now so I'm thinking it is going to be touch and go whether I'm able to complete my Comeback Queen V2 goal after all. 

Here's where I'm at:

Longest swim:  2 km 
Longest ride:    73 km
Longest run:    12.2 km

Everything seems to be on track but unfortunately doesn't take into account how I'm feeling.

I'm blaming the weather!

We are in full on "build up" now and it's hot, hot, hot.  

My brick this morning was completed (just ... and the run wasn't pretty) in very sweaty style. No surprise really as the temperature was already 30+ degrees C and the humidity high before I finished around 9.30am. 

But that's only half the story.  Although I could tick the box on completing my training for the week, I'm completely spent.

Here in Darwin we don't really have seasons.  Instead we divide the year neatly into three periods. "The dry" which is from around May to early September, 'the build up" which starts from the first signs of humidity in September and lasts until the monsoon rains really kick in - which this year we are told will be late.  When the rains do come (usually around Christmas) "the wet" then lasts until about April, with dragon fly sightings said to be the sign that the Dry is on its way. 

During the dry the weather is perfect,  time flies and Darwin is a real tri training paradise.

But once the build up starts we can struggle, with swim, bike & run sessions seeming so much harder to complete.  

We are tired (nights are hotter and sleep can be elusive) and within a matter of days we can be looking for excuses before realizing it is quite simply the weather!

As if to reinforce that, we had a dry season breaking storm (complete with thunder) overnight on Tuesday.  Running next morning was bliss as the temperature had dropped, the gardens and trees all looked fresh and the frangipani scent was on the air.

By afternoon and the second run of the day it was again hot & humid and it was a real struggle to run and to remain hydrated.

Another factor making life difficult is that our local swimming pool is currently closed for pump modifications.  Supposedly only taking four to six weeks it means they only have two weeks to go.  A quick peek over the fence indicates that this time frame is highly likely to be a furphy! 

We are missing being able to go and throw ourselves in the pool to cool off.  We could make the effort to go to one of the other pools but the energy required to get there and back isn't readily available. 

The weather in Phuket around race date in past years has been hot and it can (and has) bucketed down on race day.

So with this most recent reminder of the toll the weather can take on body and soul, I've been second guessing myself as to the wisdom of putting my already compromised body to the test.

Will it happen?   

If my enthusiasm is a guide - definitely!! But I think I'll take another week or so before making that call and be thankful that tomorrow is a rest day from training. 

It will be months before we get dragon fly sightings again!

13 October 2014

Rested with renewed enthusiasm

Rest day - those lovely words roll off the tongue!

And there it was in black and white to start my week - a very much appreciated rest day on my training program.  Such a nice way to start the week.

Must say I did need it after ticking all my training boxes these past couple of weeks and competing in our local club event yesterday morning at Lake Alexander.

Lake Alexander - man made, salt water & croc free

With Challenge Laguna Phuket (Comeback Queen V2 goal event) rapidly approaching, Supercoach thought I needed a shake up so I came out to play over the short 300m swim, 13km bike, 3km run distance.

My brief was just to have fun but I was also to concentrate on my transitions.

Even though it was so short, I loved the swim. For some reason I swim so much better in open water and am always pleasantly surprised to come out with people I have no hope of keeping up with in the pool. 

Had fun on the bike but did feel the previous days hills in my protesting legs!

It was first triathlon I've done since Hawaii 70.3 and running (make that shuffle/walk) off the bike after almost five months was rather a rude shock!

Although you won't find me on page one of the results  I'm happy to report my T1 and T2 times stack up with the best of them!

There will be a whole lot more running off the bike from now on and I can already see a brick dialed in for the end of the week. 

So race done and dusted, it was home to channel remaining energy into go faster vibes to those competing in Hawaii.

The women's race was riveting and although I had to dash out on a couple of occasions, I did see Mirinda Carfrae cross that finish line. I was exhausted just tracking her, can imagine she was completely spent after coming from almost fifteen minutes down and breaking her own course run record to win - again! Hats off to the pro girls, they had as almost as many finishers as the pro men.

Like many, I also had friends and acquaintances competing at Kona and watching the coverage and tracking them is next best thing to being there in person.  

As the clock ticked over, a number of the age group legends failed to make the cut offs.  My heart went out to them, in particular Harriet who missed by a mere 4 mins to make bike time. Anyone who even contemplates Ironman at 70+ is a winner in my eyes regardless where they are stopped!

So after a day off and with renewed enthusiasm following my little taste of tri and all those inspirational ironman efforts yesterday, I'm looking forward to these next few weeks.  

The decision on whether to even take my bike to Phuket will be made a little further down the track, but after receiving a phone call from my oncologist this evening to say there are no significant changes visible on my most recent scans, I'm very optimistic I'll be throwing my arms in the air in Thailand next month however long it takes!

Not quite Ali'i Drive, but any finish is worth celebrating!

09 October 2014

In Kona? Please keep posting!

It seems that most of the triathlon world has descended on the Big Island of Hawaii and those there to race are impatiently (well mostly) counting down the hours until the cannon fires and they get underway.

As I watch on vicariously through social media and via email from friends, I would love to be able to close my eyes and suddenly be transported to Kona. 

The race and the location are just magic and I count myself super lucky to have had the opportunity to compete there in the past.  

I can easily recall the highlights (and the low lights) of the course.  Nothing compares to treading water in Kona on race morning, the feeling of reaching the turnaround at Hawi, running along Ali'i Drive or emerging from the Energy Lab. And absolutely nothing compares to the Kona finish chute!

Race day will also be an anniversary of sorts.  Two years ago that was me strutting my stuff at Dig Me Beach, taking part in the Parade of Nations, trolling the Expo for schwag and just plain itching to get on with it.  

It also marks two years since I last experienced that "top of my tri game" feeling of invincibility that comes with a great prep for an iron distance event.  

Knowing now just how quickly your life can change, I count my lucky stars that I never once competed at Kona without realising just how privileged I was and never for a minute took it for granted.  

I still dream of doing another Ironman one day and perhaps even making it back to the Big Island to race in October, but for now it's enough to be looking forward to doing a small club event at the weekend and continuing my quest to be on the start line at Challenge Phuket.

Once the club race is done on Sunday morning, it will be home to kick back and athlete track those on my "favourites" list as well as watch the pro race unfold.    

So here's a plea to those there on the Big Island, please keep those tweets, photos, podcasts, videos and facebook posts coming! There are many people, including me, loving everything you post!  

Social media contributes to keeping those of us not able to be there feeling somewhat connected, part of the Ironman family and we get to experience a little taste of your excitement and energy, albeit from afar!

So thank you and please keep posting.