Friday, 24 September 2010

The Comeback Begins

Thursday 17th September 2009. Thanks for picking me up at the airport Dr Phil and Prince Donger!! I cannot believe how quickly the last year has gone, but also what i have done and achieved in that time! I don’t think i could have done it without the motivation of BMMC training buddies! Looking back at my training diary i somehow even managed to do the Tuesday morning Sun Valley loop that Thursday afternoon after a mammoth flight “home”.

And so a year on, with fond memories of the Long Course Worlds in Perth, Ironman in Port and the North Face 100 in the fond surroundings of BMMCs heartland the focus shifts to expectations and targets for the 2010/11 season, which effectively kicked off with a Half Marathon at the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival on Sunday 19 September 2010. It was a year ago (5th Sept 2009) that i set my HM PB, at the Half Iron Aquathon at Eton Rowing Club. This was on the back of a summers (British) training and racing so form was good. Now, with the last race being North Face way back in May, and with 47km being the most kms run in a week, expectations weren’t particularly high!

After pre race carbo loading with Scam and the Big Unit (SWMBO), it was off for a 6.20am start from Milson’s Point! Scam doing the Marathon came in with me despite his Marathon not starting until 7.30am. Having only registered a week out i was at the back of the pack which didn’t impress me, and so it was with much haste as i crossed the start line 9 minutes after the gun, that i set about trying to work my way through the congestion that 8,500 people generates! I spent most of the race running around people, but managed to get into a bit of a rhythm when i could. It was hard to judge my pace, and with no watch i just ran my own race and settled into what felt like a consistent pace. I felt quite good for the most part with the legs holding up much better than expected considering lack of training! The clock read 1.34:54 as i crossed the finish line, which i was happy enough with take a few mintues for delay at start! However, chip time came through as 1.24:59 which was a much better time than expected given lack of training! So, its given me a bit of motivation to take the suprisingly good early season form forward starting this weekend with the Woodford to Glenbrook (not a race), followed by a Tri Club race on Saturday arvo and The Running Wild Race 1 at Glenbrook NP on Sunday!

Spent the rest Sunday morning running between the Marathon course to catch bits of Scam and Dave Northey and the 9km course to catch bits of Earl, before meeting up for a much needed coffee with the Big Unit! Great turnout at the BMMC post race BBQ race report session, all the main athletes were there!

Hopefully this is the start of more blogging on training and racing for this season than last! And maybe one day i'll even get round to doing a race report for NF 100! We'll see!

Friday, 30 April 2010

Ironman Race Report

Well, its been 5 weeks since Ironman and I've finally finished processing my thoughts and put pen to paper. I've never experienced anything like the weekend of the 27/28 March 2010 - Ironman Port Macquarie.

I traveled up on the Friday morning in convoy with the Doctor (Phil) and his family. Not the greatest of starts getting to registration 10 minutes before it closed, having just ripped half my toe nail off my small toe. Ouch! Stayed in Lake Cathie about 20kms from Port on the bike course, in a beach house right on the beach! Beautiful spot! Went for a run on the Sunday and encountered all sorts of problems running on a manky toe. Bit concerned about this but figured that i would be hurting alot more in other places on race day! With a little help from Sleep Train, i managed to bandage it up and hope for the best.

And so to race day. I had a general plan, which was mainly to finish! In terms of time i was looking at about 10hrs 30mins, but in reality had no idea and no experience of such an generating such a target. What a beautiful morning though! With the sun rising over the inlet where the swim was to take place, i made myself down to the mass start and soaked in the national anthem. Although not Australian it was a poignant moment and was followed by a hooter set off in the crowd which ignited a mass start prematurely of the official cannon start! Found myself heading off in the middle of the crowd mainly by accident due to the massive amounts of people bobbing in the water and lack of ability to orientate myself - I didn't really have any idea where the start line was! Managed to get out to the side, find my rhythm and start feeling comfortable! Nothing of note on the swim except a terrible start for the foot with swimmers hitting my toes with their hands leaving me in great pain and kicking out at those behind who would have had no idea how much pain they were inflicting on my weeping toe! Out of the water in 59.14 just under the 1 hour target and proceeded through the fantastic support of 5 or 6 people deep crowd either side of the swim exit shoot! Managed to get through transition without too many problems although for some random reason found it hard to actually get on my bike and then 500m later dropped my sunglasses which had been wedged between my bottle and holder. A quick turn around and i was back on my way! 5:49.51 later after three laps of 60km and i only had a marathon left! Happy enough with the ride although lost some time late on as the body tired, but happy to have got around without too much incident on my weakest leg inside the 6hr target!

I've run more kms in the last 4 months than ever before, and had been feeling really strong and positive about this leg! The Thursday before the race was the NSW Police Games where a PB 18.29 5km run helped me to a 4th place finish in a race in which i had taken easy, and so running out of the tent onto the run course i was looking forward to making up some time! Very difficult to explain how hard that run leg was! 42.2km of pain! The foot held up fine which was a positive, but i may have been just numb to the pain due to the mess the rest of the body was in! Three laps of 14km. 1st lap was spent trying to feel comfortable and get into a rhthym. Never really found it, and became more of a mental battle setting small targets to get to! 2nd lap and the stomach cramps set in! Had to stop at the toilets twice and sit down to try and relieve the pain! I then ditched the food and electrolyte for simply water in an attempt to feel better! The sun was hot by this time, but the head wind out to Settlement Point helped keep the body temperature down! The last lap was the hardest ever but with the finish line in sight was mentally alot easier! With 5km and the finish in sight i decided to switch to electrolyte again and decided that i may as well give everthing. As the legs started to move a bit quicker and the heart rate increased, the stomach cramps went and i started to feel as good as i did at the beginning to complete a sub 20mins final 5km, a 4:15.19 marathon and a total time of 11:04.25 for my first ever Ironman. The feeling coming down the finish shoot was incredible and finally in a race i let out some emotion punching the air in acknowledgement of what i had achieved! There was much discussion after to how people react to finishing races, triathlon or other, and levels of self satisfaction and/or achievement. Personally, i am often a little disappointed if i'm not seeing improvement but love racing and competing because i enjoy the experience, the atmosphere and the motivation behind training for something! Even though i was 35mins behind my target and well behind good training buddies, i can't deny that i loved the feeling of completing the race and joining an awesome club of athletes. Any possible disappointment was by far outweighed by being an Ironman. It will be something that will be etched into the memory!

And to the support! It was a great week spent up there with Scam and SWMBO and the Docs family! I have to give it to the Doc for doing so well after being disturbed from his much needed sleep by two young restless children! Don't think it will be much easier next year Phil! Was also great to have the Prince and Sleep Train with us briefly who were also of great support and a reliable source of advice from a vast locker of experience! Was also fantastic to have Dylan & Alisha and Jez & Elise up there supporting us. For me, its not just about the day but the months building up to the day! Had some great sessions training with BMMC (Upper and lower chapters), and especially the Animal, Scam, Sleep Train and Dr Phil, whether doing the bridges swim on a hot summer Saturday afternoon in our wetsuits, or being dragged around Bells by the Dr, or drinking soft drink at the Ori with ST, or running to the Cox's River or out Narrow Neck with Scam, 2010 has been a truly great year for training with quality athletes and an experience that is a rarity. I have enjoyed it thoroughly and tried not to take a moment of it for granted, although easier said than done when trying to drag myself out of bed at 5am for 7 hours of riding in the rain! The advice from various sources has also been invaluable, with particular note to 20mins of advice provided by cedric on a chilly night in March the evening after the Six Foot track marathon! Many thanks!

Anyway, apologies for not getting this blog done earlier and for whoever gets this far thanks for persevering with my waffling's! Ironman 2010 done..... next North Face 100!

Monday, 8 March 2010

Australian Long Course Champs - Huskisson 21st Feb 2010

Week 7 wasn't the biggest of weeks with the Oz Long Course Champs (2km/80km/20km) at Huskisson concluding the week, which resulted in a few easier days in the lead up to the race on Sunday 21st February. Having competed here two years ago, still in my early Triathlon days, fond memories of the place, the course and the weekend away with a few friends came flooding back! As always the weather was super, conditions fantastic (initially), the drive down congested, accommodation every bit deluxe as the cabin description suggested and the company also enjoyable, with The Animal and Dr Phil being the companions (along with Ness for one night) for the weekend.

And so to race day, and my last race in the 25-29 age group. It only gets harder from here so was hoping for a decent showing before it gets harder to place in the higher age category! Firstly, to 2008, a few months after the first big race i had competed in down at Canberra (see previous blog), and i donned a new tri suit so i didn't have to race in Speedos and change in the change tent during transition! Still not at wetsuit stage but a step in the right direction. The newly purchased Tri bars were put on the bike and off i went to get around the course in 5hrs 8mins. If i didn't improve on that there was definitely something wrong and i may as well quit! Fortunately i did improve but with mixed emotions.

The Swim start i found a bit hectic, in trying to go off hard i found myself gasping and fighting for air with the rest of them, so once again attempted to pull out to one side and find my rhythm, which i did quite quickly and felt strong for the rest of the 2km swim. Was please to hit the beach in just over 31mins and clocked 32.31 to the timing mat at transition. Sluggish getting the wetty off but got out and on the bike and felt fairly good.... until the problems began! More lessons to be learnt here! The seat post problem was unforeseen! After 17km, my seat post came loose and every time my weight shifted forward so too did the seat post to the extent that it was almost hanging off. I have no idea what was holding it together! So, i shifted my weight to the back, and tried to stay as still as possible, which didn't allow me to relax and provided a slightly awkward position. Fortunately i didn't get worst (i.e. come off) and i would be able to get around the bike course with my bike in one piece! I wouldn't normally check my seat post before every race, and i still think i was slightly unfortunate, but the seat post nut will certainly get a quick tighten before every race from now on!! The second problem can only be described as embarrassing and barely an excuse. Its so hard to describe the pain and complete irritation i felt! I had the old tree trunks waxed the Thursday before the race and man did they itch! As the sweat increased so too did my ability to contain the irritation as i increasingly had to reach down and scratch the knees to the extend that blood was being drawn and vocal noises could be heard by passing riders! It didn't get much better throughout but i slowly got use to the pain and the repetition of having to itch my legs! Like i said, its hard to explain how annoying this was, but again broke my rhythm and concentration. All in all an average ride to go around the 3 laps to complete 80km in 2:25.57. And so to the run, my favoured leg. Started off flying in an angered attempt to make up lost time, but the sun quickly took its toll, my body temperature increased, and the pace dropped and attitude changed to just getting around! This recurring theme is a little too recurring for my liking! Another hot day with not enough shade. Given the average weather we've all been training in over recent months it was ironic it was going to be a hot and sunny race day! I think one of the biggest things i am anxious about with Ironman is if it is a hot day! I know i'll struggle if i can't get out of the sun! I've discovered i find it hard to get my body temperature down on hot days so lets hope its a cool day on 28th March otherwise i'm in trouble! Run leg was completed in 1:29.40, still along way off the speedy runs over Half Marathon Distance in 2009, but then that was in the British climate.

All in all, a 15th place finish in the 25-29 AG category and 131st of 700 finishers overall! A few things still to be disappointed about, a few (more) lessons, but still seeing very gradual improvement, and i guess that's all i can ask - 37 minute improvement on 2008!!

2008: 5:08.21 - 2009: 4:31.00

Swim - 39.50 - 32.31
Ride - 2:51.52 - 2:25.57
Run - 1:36.52 - 1:29.40

Monday 15 February

Rest Day - not sure why, wasn't exactly a big weekend!!

Tuesday 16 February

BMMC Run from Artups in the morning with Scam and Terry. A rather quick 55.46. Rode home from work via the Nepean river for the tri club handicap. A very slow 26.15 in warm conditions, and running late was straight off the bike. Good session to do, but meant i was a bit slower. 5th fastest time for the 6.7km loop. 49km on the bike too!

Wednesday 17 February

Rode back into work without any issues. No time recorded. Lunchtime Swim, only getting in 1.7km due to time, and a rather sluggish in that for 17.21.

Thursday 18 February

Another disappointing day. Managed to get to the River on the way home from work for a solo two laps (13.4km) in 57.07. 29.12 for the first, 27.54 for the second.

Friday 19 February

3km swim at the pool this morning after receiving some unwelcome stick from departing fellow BMMC members. Thanks to Sleep Train for the follow up apology. Easy and slow 45km ride after with The Animal and Dr Phil, to Yarramundi and back, and down to Blaxland and home. Very slow, easy and comfortable. Drove down to Husky in the afternoon.

Saturday 20 February

An easy 30minute run in the morning with Animal and the Doc (approx 5km) followed by breky and an easy ride to turn the legs over before tomorrow's race. About 20km. Spent the afternoon in husky and then the evening carbo loading after a splash in the "resort" pool!

Sunday 21 February

Australian Long Course Champs 2km Swim 80km Ride 20km Run

Weekly totals:

Swim 6.5km
Ride 239km
Run 55.1km

Not quite Ironman training!!!!!!!!!

Monday, 22 February 2010

Week Six - 8 to 14 February 2010

Slightly better week this week but still missing a big LSD on the bike. Not having much luck in the saddle either as the 3 flats over the weekend have been swiftly followed up by another two flats at the start of the week to give me an average of 1 flat a day for 5 days. By Thursday i was getting a bit fed up of this so put a new tire on the back wheel and things seemed fine. Went out for what was meant to be a decent size ride on Sunday morning no notice the front tube coming out of the side of the front tire after maybe 3kms to bring an early end to another ride! Pleased to say i've finally pulled my finger out and got my bike setup more or less sorted so hoping not to get too many more problems in the run up to Ironman and a few very important weeks of training. Swimming kms did improve a bit this week in an effort to spend more time in the pool. Here's a quick run down of week 6:

Monday 8 Feb

10km Treadmill run at lunchtime. Steady build for first 5km in 22.55, picking it up for the second 5km to go 19.50 and complete an overall 10km in 42.45. Not particularly quick but felt good and managed to stretch the legs out in the last few kms. Got home and decided to jump on the bike and head up to Woodford. Got a flat just a the station at Woodford, ripped my bike pants somehow trying to get off the bike in the middle of the highway as i crossed to the other side to get the pedestrian bridge to the station to see a train pass by and miss it by 2 minutes. Thanks to Ozone for the lift home, and was great to have a yarn to Mum in Wales while i was waiting. Clocked 12km on the bike. If it wasn't uphill it definately wouldn't have been worth it!!

Tuesday 9 Feb

Swim at lunchtime at Blacktown. Solid 2kms, not particularly quick, trying to preserve energy for a big week of swimming so splashed around in 36.24. Bike still in pieces, so no ride home tonight. Instead drove to Nepean River for the Handicap. A slowish 25.40 was a bit of a suprise, but it was fairly hot! Still haven't gone sub 24mins this year, and was fairly consistently (3 weeks in a row) going sub 24 towards the end of 2009. We'll keep working on this one and keep blaming the heat for now! Didanother lap of the 6.7km loop, running with Thomo for the first few kms to go round in an easy 30.31. All up 13.4km for the evening!

Wednesday 10 Feb

Got to the pool again at lunchtime but only managed 1.7km. Bit time constrained today! Brought the bike to work and rode home, but got a flat at Warimoo. So close!! Quick change of tube and back on my way for 45km. Forgot to time it!

Thursday 11 Feb

Had grand plans for today! Riding to work, was going to get up at 5.15am, ride to Scams for the BMMC Thursday morning run, then ride onto work. At about 11.15pm the night before i decided for a change of plan and to scip the run giving me an extra hour in bed! Was well worth it but struggling with the guilt of missing certain sessions! Got to work in 1:23.13 (45kms), then had a swim at lunchtime, 3km (another easy 2km at 36.52 before some drills) and finished the day off with 11.6km local loop run, via Lady Ga Ga's for a quick glass of water and a calf injury update, to go round in 53.10. Wishing Lady Ga Ga would hurry up and recover to get some running in with him now he lives so close!

Friday 12 Feb

Much easier day than yesterday! All the training was in the evening after a busy day at the office. Unfortunately missed the BMMC lower chapter stress fracture update meeting at the deli in Glenbrook so headed to the aquatic centre in Blacktown for a 2.3km swim and a 5.5km loop run at 22.05.

Saturday 13 Feb

Headed up to Explorers Tree for a run on the Six Foot Track having missed the chance last weekend. A 7.20am start (i was late, which proved to be costly to the post run coffee) down to the Cox's River and back, covering about 30km in 3:54.25 all up! Ran with Scam the whole way who is looking stronger and stronger with every run and looking forward to sharing some of his beer with him at the finish line on race day! 1:32.29 down to the river, 10.05mins at the river while Scam emotions fluctuated from ecstasy at the sight of the toilet block at the camp site to the forlorn figure that emerged 3 seconds later with the facial expression of a man that needs to drop the kids off at the pool but they've forgotten to take their towells to dry off after! Not a happy man! Avoiding toilet jokes and bees nests we got back up to the tree in 2:11.40, feeling the steepness of Nellies Glen at the end! Happy to have gotten out and given part of the Six Foot Track some attention but that could be the last hilly LSD for a while, as the legs really felt this one and the hills aren't really going to have much more benefit, as running now really needs to be tailored to Ironman and particularly running off the bike. Great run today though! Had a quick ride with Dyl and the prince in the afternoon, about 30km, then a 1km swim with the Prince, although we spent more time in the spa than the pool, as i tried to get the Prince to relax his back in a quest to get him fit for Six Foot!

Sunday 14 Feb

Terrible day! This is the day the tube popped out of the tire after 3kms so not a happy cyclist! Got in 3kms in the pool during the afternoon following the highlight of the day, seeing the Welsh come back from the jaws of defeat against the Scots! Ended the week on a high!

Swim - 13km
Ride - 132km
Run - 70.5km

Monday, 1 February 2010

2009 Review and 2010 Outlook

I'm now 5 weeks into Ironman Training and for the first time feeling pretty good about my training, my body is beginning to keep up (it helped that week 4 was a minor rest week) and I've finally overcome a few mental hurdles. This is the big target for 2010, and its only less than 8 weeks away, with a long course race in Huskisson included in the middle for good measure. Beyond the end of March who knows, i think its just getting my head around actually competing and hopefully completing an Ironman distance event that is occupying the entirety of my 2010 goals at this stage. Anyway, more on Ironman and associated training to come.

Lets quickly look back on 2009, which started in Wales at the beginning of the year, in freezing conditions. Having been training and working hard training and racing for the months leading up to December 08 and January 09, i found myself in reasonably good shape in the middle of the UK off season. With no pressure and no races planned i continues to train well and feel good in the pool and gym (getting outside in the cold and dark was a bit of an effort). All the good work was pretty quickly undone as i headed to Romania Thailand Cambodia Vietnam and Laos, where i ate far too much fried rice and curry and drank most Asian beer. I can count the amount of exercise i did on one small finger. And so, returning to the UK at the end of April i certainly feared for the worst! Intentional training hastily commenced and we were soon back in the grove and the body started to adjust (slowly) to this previous active lifestyle. Racing commenced with a Half Ironman Aquathon in June and the purchase of a new bike for the tri season ahead. I was looking forward to the new experience of racing in the UK having never been involved or interested when i first left in 2004.

Highlights of the summer included a new Half Marathon PB and a good enough performance over Half Ironman distance to gain a place at the Long Course World Champs in Perth in October, which promptly resulted in a return to the Burnt Country at the end of September. Having been running really well in the UK i was more than disappointed with all my run splits at races back in Oz. Perth (October) was the worst 20km run i can remember in years, at Forster (November) i struggled with the simple 15km course and Canberra (December) capped off a poor second half of the year for run splits with a 1.39 half marathon time compared to a 1.27 split at Eton in September (albeit no bike). I was unable to explain such a dip in form until i did a bit of research and discovered that the temperature during each of these later runs never dropped below 29C, whereas racing in the UK the temperature never climbed above 26C. add to this the lack of shade (clouds are a great form of shade in the UK) and its easy to see why i was suddenly struggling! I thought I'd mastered racing in a warmer climate after 3 years or so but also discovered how quickly my body seemed to have forgotten how to race when the sun is out and the air is hot! And so, being back in Oz during the peak of summer, I've tried to get out and train in the heat whenever possible, which has often resulted in a few lunchtime runs and a soaking shirt for most of the afternoon!

Coming back to the Canberra race in December for a quick race report. I had unfinished business with the Canberra Half Ironman after the embarrassing and inexperienced episode that was Canberra in December 2007 as mentioned in a previous blog. This time i turned up with a tri suit, wet suit and decent bike and had a fairly solid race, which includes a challenging bike course, but again struggled on the run in hot conditions to leave me disappointed with certain aspects but satisfied.

2007: 384th in 5hrs 55mins (S:44.34/R:3.25.56/R:1.44.44)
2009: 112th in 5hrs 06mins (S:33.46/R:2.53.44/R:1.39.18)

And so to 2010. The big one for this year is Ironman australian and we're only 7 weeks away. I've been training intentionally for 5 weeks and finally settling into a pattern and beginning to enjoy it. Its taken a while to get the attitude and mental space right to attempt something on this scale. Over the first four weeks i had no idea of what i wanted to achieve and no idea how to achieve it! I was looking at how others were training and generally their loads reflected what they wanted to achieve and the sacrifces that are necessary to achieve it. Having no real goal in mind my training has been unstructured and eratic and on occasions enforced and unenjoyable. It has taken until now (start of week 5) to work out that for me, completing ironman will be a huge achievement and experience in itself, and to complete it within 10:30hrs would cap off a fine day. The part i'm looking forward to the most is the run, and i want to feel good on the run and enjoy it! I find running the most enjoyable and easiest to get out of bed for to train and thus now don't feel guilty if i spend more time running than the time i give to the other legs. I want to enjoy this experience of preparation and attempting the race itself and in order to maintain the enthusiasm and motivation its important that i continue to enjoy it, and that my life doesn't suddenly revolve around training, and have a negative impact on my relationships. And so, with a renewed focus, motivation and head space week 5 (ending Sun 7 Feb) looked like this:

Monday 1 Feb

Went for a lunchtime run with Lee from work around the beautiful streets of Blacktown. Only amounted to about 7km which was slightly disappointing as we tried out a new route rather than my standard 11km double loop. In the evening i jumped on the bike (solo) and rode up to the rfs at Woodford, rode back home totalling a quick 28km ride and then had a quick 4.5km run off the bike. Good start to the week.

Tuesday 2 Feb

Felt a bit tired this morning and struggled to get out of bed for the morning BMMC run. Lack of being organised the night before didn't help either. Took the bike to work and rode home via Tench reserve at Penrith for the Tri Club Handicap. A sluggish 25.37 (4th) 6.7km loop and it was back on the bike up the hill for a total 49km ride. Good session this evening.

Wednesday 3 Feb

When i awoke this morning the rain was coming down pretty heaving, and to my regret i chose not to ride to work and ended up on the train! I annoy myself somtime with these stupid decisions, and although the thought of riding along the m4 to Blacktown in heavy rain isn't appealing sometimes it just has to be done! Anyway, ended up being a fairly easy day with just a 10km treadmill run at lunchtime. Tried to slowly build over the course of the run and finished with a 42.56 10km. First 5km was 22.44 and second split was 20.12.

Thursday 4 Feb

First swim of the week and far too late in coming to get adequate kms in. Quick 2kms at lunchtime, with a very slow 1.5km swim at 27.26. Met up with the Prince in the evening before his "business" trip to NZ for the standard Marty's lookout return 10km run. The pace was fairly quick for this one, not much conversation on the way back in particular, as we pushed each other (or the Prince pushed me anyway) to get back in 45.42. Happy with that, out in 23.47, back in 21.55.

Friday 5 Feb

Again meant to do more today but ran short of time. Need to start taking Friday's off to train. Only had time for a quick 2km Swim at lunch with 5x400s on the 8mins. Getting back in about 7 so plenty of rest in between. Don't really know how to describe the club race in the evening in weather that's not designed for humans. It was crazy. The swim was canned before we started, the ride abandoned when we weren't even half way through and a few hearty soul's (Panthers Elite) continued on with the run. Special thanks to the stewards on the night for the committment to helping us avoid a few big puddles, or minor rivers at the time.

Saturday 6 Feb

Not good weather to get one out of bed!!! Had a sleep in this morning, before heading out on the bike with Dyl. Lasted about 34km before a late signal resulted in a dented rock and two flat tires. A few changes and we were back on our way without spares but only get as far as the Gross River at Yarramundi before another flat ended proceedings for one of us. Thanks to Dafydd Filmer (Pete's brother) for the lift home who just happened to be passing to check out the height of the gross. I'd convenently managed to get to that point to check out the height of the river too! Afternoon saw a 2km at Penrith with Paul Scin which was cut short when the pool closed.

Sunday 7 Feb

Well, what an interesting day. I was committed to getting up today as i've been looking forward to the Megalong Mega for a while, and seeing as i'm not doing the Six Foot this year, this was the closest i was going to get. Been a few years since i've attempted the 36km run from Megalong Road to the Pluvio at the start of the Black Range and back again. From what i can remeber this was possibly harder than doing Six Foot itself, mainly because of the solid 8km run generally uphill from the Cox's River to Megalong Road when you're feeling pretty tired after the climb and decent to and from Pluvio. Anyway, what greeted us on the Morning of the 7th and the events that unfolded were quite incredible. I turned up to be greeted by Scam talking of not being able to cross the ca

useway due to the raging torrent (and it was a raging torrent). I guess initially i thought we'd find a way across somehow, but didn't envisage what unfolded next! I reiterate Scam's thoughts of i'm pleased everyone got across and back safely but it really was a bad decision, there certainly wasn't much thought given to the potential disaster that could have unfolded! I think if i hadn't had Scam and Mrs Scam alongside i certainly would have followed, like a sheep to the slaughter, except fortunately for everyone it ended up being to the top of Pluvio and back across a creek that again fortunately hadn't risen!

Anyway, enough of that becuase we ended up having a great morning running out amongst the mist on Narrow Neck to the end of the fire trail and back. I remember at one point hearing how Mrs Scam hated running, but she pushed through for a solid 15km, and we all enjoyed a hearty post breakfast and some decent coffee, joined by Sleep Train, at Norman's after a brief visit to Princess Donges in Leura. Overall good morning! Brief break in the day and a solid 3km wetsuit swim at Glenbrook (solo) in 52.29 followed by a BMMCSocial afternoon/evening at the Mansion for a rugby game that i care not to discuss at this point in time!! There really is nothing worst than loosing to the English!!

Overall, not an aweful week but insufficient riding not aided by bad weather and far too many flats! 9km in the pool, 122km on the saddle and 66km of running. Need a much bigger week next week before Husky the weekend after!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Nepean Race Report (Half of it anyway)

Been a good couple of weeks training recently with the BMMC boys (and girls). Starting to really enjoy it and finally beginning to see some early signs of feeling good! The running feels like its improving and on the new bike am beginning to feel slightly competitive.

After having a good ride at Perth, it was the NSW Long Course Champs in Forster. Love that place! After a nice morning ride with Prince Donger on the Saturday morning, i headed up to Forster, registered, pitched the old tent and settled down for the night and watched the sun set over the river! Lovely! Race day came after a good night's sleep courtesy of Mr P (Sherro), and his inflatable air bed (that's just me and the bed, not me the bed and Mr P just to clarify) and i woke to clear skies and the beginning's of what was to be another hot race day! To keep it brief, didn't have a great swim about 3 1/2 minutes slower than 2008, had a great ride, about 12 minutes quicker than 2008, but again felt terrible on the run in the hot conditions, coming in 6 minutes slower than 2008. All in all the bike leg helped me to a disappointing 3 minutes quicker on the previous year in 3:41.05.

Two weeks of training and 12km of swimming, 260km of riding and 110km running later and it was time for the Nepean Triathlon. Again, average swim, 1km in 17.42, although that was to be expected with it being a non-wetsuit swim, and then another strong ride, at least what felt like a strong ride until a flat ended my race at the furthest most point on the course from transition! Was really annoyed at the time as there was only about 8km left of the 30km ride and was desperate to finish but the walk back helped the temper cool off before i enjoyed the relaxing process of watching the others come in including The Animal, Mrs Scam, Lady Ga Ga, LL#2 and a fine performance from Sean. Well done all!

This week has been a bit mixed with a birthday in the middle breaking up the prior consistency! Highlights so far have included a PB at the Tri club handicap on Tuesday with a time of 24.39 beating my previous best of 24.51, and another solid effort at the BMMC High altitude training camp up Kadumba pass with a 49.00 climb from creek to finish. Looking forward to the Royal National Park run on the weekend to hopefully take me over 80km running for the week for the first time EVER!!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Race Report - ITU Long Course World Champs

Ok i lied, its taken nearly as long to blog again. Its been 3 1/2 weeks since Perth and in that time i've driven home from Western Australia (WA) and raced up at Forster at the NSW Long Course Champs. Both didn't go quite as planned but i did manage to get across Australia in 5 1/2 days.

Training up to Perth had been going well. There'd been some good runs in the National Park, and a few good sprint sessions with Dr Phil and the Animal (and Coburn on one occasion) at Glenbrook oval. I think these sessions will be key to future training. Got a couple of solid rides in too, most notably a solo 115km ride in testing conditions up to the Southern Highlands for the Fitzroy Falls Marathon. Swimming felt ok if not great, but a couple of good 3km swims gave me a bit of confidence going into the real thing. Kms covered during 4 weeks back in Oz leading up to week of race:

Week 1 - w/e 27 Sept
Swim - 9km
Ride - 140km
Run - 65km
Club Race on Sunday

2 - we 4 Oct
Swim 6.5km
Ride 97km
Run 29km
Week included 4 1/2 days rafting down the Colo River (when there was enough water to actually raft).

3 - we 11 Oct
Swim 10.2km
Ride 115km
Run 65.8km
Fitzroy Falls 10km Race on Sunday

4 - we 18 Oct
Swim 6.5km
Ride 208km
Run 55.5km

All in all kms should have been greater and that's something to be learnt from preparation a month or so out from a big race. The week of the race involved heading over to Perth on the Thursday morning at stupid o'clock, and thanks again to Prince Donger for driving me to the airport at 3.30am after no sleep due to staying up all night on the Cool Running website! After covering 12km in 5 days in the pool it was time to taper, although a wetsuit swim in the Swan River gave me a taste (literally) of what to expect on the day which was strong head winds, lapping waves and dirty water. A few runs around Subiaco with Paul Skinner (Dr Phil's Brother in-law) and a 40km easy ride in the middle of the day complemented the tapering. Sherro (Mr P)arrived Saturday morning just in time for the Cox's Plate, which was duly observed at a local TAB much to my delight after a last minute $5 bet on the winner. The rest of the day was spent relaxing and carbo loading.

And so to the race. An 8.20 start for my wave meant the sun had already been up for nearly 3 1/2 hrs. After a few waves we were off for the 3km swim. The swim wasn't as rough as it had been the previous day but nevertheless was still pretty choppy as described by male race winner Tim O'Donnell. “Man, that swim was rough; I was happy to get out of the water, the wind just threw up so much chop you could hardly see where you were going". I hit a wall once or twice but had started off pretty hard but could see the leaders pulling away and decided to maintain a pace i was comfortable with to get through the big distance. Got out in a disappointing 56.45mins, over 10 minutes behind the Age Group leaders. The bike (usually my weakest) felt great! The new bike and a bit of training finally resulted in a ride i was happy with. Some strong headwinds, and kind tailwinds helped me to a 2:19.09hrs ride providing me with a nice platform to run off the bike hard and make up places (places i have usually lost on the bike). Running off the bike had been going well in races over the British summer and i was feeling in fine running form. However, the run was probably the worst 20km i've done for 3 or 4 years. 1hr and 39 minutes later i stumbled across the finish line waving a little British flag to suggest i was delighted with the 35th place Age Group position i later found out i had achieved. That run was hard. Instead of the usual tactical effort i put in on the run to chase competitors down, all i could think about was just completing the race. The temperature registered 32.5C at the end, and the cloudless sky and complete lack of shade contributed to the hardest run i've ever done. Total time for 3km/80km/20km was 4hrs 59mins. 251st overall out of 673 and 35th of 48 in the 25-29 Age Group, my last year in this category.

And so, overall i guess i've got to be happy with representing my country even at AG level (and i am), but its made me more determined to go back and give it another crack. Still lots of work to do on all 3 disciplines, and hope to see continued improvement over the summer tri season in Australia training with the BMMC boys. Anyone up for Immenstadt 2010??