Thanksgiving

Baby picture

Baby Lauren aka She Can Try, with mum

It was Thanksgiving in America over the weekend (I guess, because Instagram was filled with pictures of Turkeys and pumpkin pies and people with smiling faces)

So I am naming this post Thanksgiving because I have something special to be thankful for, and I don’t mind jumping on an American holiday with a fantastic name.  In fact, I think we should consider renaming Christmas Eve (not Christmas Day, don’t panic) to Hopegiving.  Or New Years Eve to Startafreshgiving.

When I started this triathlon journey only a couple of months ago, I knew that finishing a triathlon was an impossibility for me.  I knew I would have to change physically and mentally to withstand the requirements of a proper triathlon, which I will be doing in October next year (please note that I keep thinking it is November next year and I have been saying that aloud to lots of people, but that is just some bizarre internal wishful thinking and I apologise for misleading you – the Noosa Traithlon is definitely in October 2016)

To say ‘triathlon is impossible’ was true for me – I could not swim, I did not own a bike, and I could not run.  I thought I was starting from scratch, but I have slowly come to realise that I did have some advantages behind me that would help me towards making it all ‘un-impossible’.  Like my weight-lifting, which I wrote about yesterday.  And my champion eating skills, which I will write about tomorrow.  And my family, which I am thankful for today. Continue reading

Lifting Heavy Things

weights

Lift these up. Then put them down again.

Eight and a half years ago I joined a gym and picked up a dumbbell for the first time.  I had previously been scared I would ‘bulk up’ or start to look like a body builder if I started lifting weights, but Shane insisted I was wrong and now, many years later, I can confirm that the only change to my body has been slimming down, getting toned and successfully creating shape in my bottom where there was none before.  So don’t tell Shane, but he was right.  Again.

I had a short interval where I left the gym and popped out for sweet treats (for about a year) but I have been going to my current gym for 5 years, no quitting.  It is almost like cleaning my teeth now – I go there on auto-pilot, and feel yucky when I haven’t been. Continue reading

Rookie Lessons

bike grease

My bike loves me so much she kisses me on the leg as we ride. But her mouth is dirty.

I’ve been cycling on the road for just over a week now, and am enjoying it immensely.  By acting confident, I have gained real confidence and I feel as though I belong on the road just as much as everyone else.  I take pride in being a courteous cyclist, helping to enhance the good name of road bike riders everywhere.  I make sure to keep as far left as possible, I ride safely, I don’t do anything that would scare my fellow road users.

I actually feel more comfortable on the road than riding on the path, where I always worried I’d suddenly run over some pedestrians as they stepped out of their front gate.

I know I have the telltale ‘rookie’ signs, of grease on my leg (see above) and a distinct lack of lycra.  Thankfully I do have a pretty helmet that matches my bike, as well as very nice clippy shoes, but that doesn’t really make up for my ‘rabbit hopping’ up and down on the bike when I start trying to pump my legs extra hard.  Apparently the pros pump the legs and not the neck, but for some reason as a newbie I find bobbing my head up and down in time with my legs makes me go quicker.  I’m trying to stop this; the more time I spend on my bike, the more I will improve.

Conversely, the more time I spend on my bike, the more likely two ‘not-so-good things’ become.  The first is that I will get an extremely sore bottom, lose the dare set by The Other Lauren and buy some cycling shorts.  The second is that I will fall off the bike.

Apparently this morning, the Triathlon Gods decided that I had spent enough time on the bike to warrant the ‘Likelihood of Things’ to become 100% guaranteed. Continue reading

Acronyms

Triathlon Acronym Book

A book like this would be really useful

I have mentioned before that learning to become a triathlete entails more than learning to swim, bike and run.  You have to learn how to mash those things together somewhat seamlessly.  You have to learn how to pace yourself and ‘keep some in the tank’ for the next portion of the race.  You have to learn to fuel your body with food and drink at the right times without throwing up or spilling it all over your bike as you try to move forward.  You have to train your mind to stay in the game when everything is hard and it hurts.

All of these things I have been Googling and reading about over the last few weeks with enthusiasm.  I like the idea of learning how to employ a fueling strategy and devising plans for approaching each leg of the race; it makes me feel like a proper athlete.

I also like learning the triathlon jargon.  I am hoping to start throwing it into conversations; I’ve been practicing with Matilda the dog.  And I am discovering that the world of triathletes is particularly passionate about acronyms, of which I am compiling a list… Continue reading

The Mass Swim Start

the Burpengary Pool

The pool, not at ‘rush hour’

From my obsessive research I have learned that at most triathlon races, the event begins with the sound of a gun firing and the athletes sprinting down a beach to crashing waves, where everyone must dive in to the water and start swimming toward a buoy or some kind of marker. As a result of this mass start, you have 200-odd people pushing towards one small spot in the distant water, trying to swim in the exact same patch of water. Inevitably it seems, I will be kicked, punched, swum over.

I didn’t know I was going to get a chance to train for this, but the opportunity was thrust upon me yesterday morning.
Continue reading

Cycling On The Road

Arriving home

Arriving home after Friday’s ride. Not dead.

One of the ways in which my brain has changed since commencing triathlon training is that when driving along roads I am constantly assessing them for bike-ability.  I watch how narrow the bit on the side of the road gets, I create imaginary routes around dodgy-looking sections, I ‘tut’ like an old woman at the rubbish strewn across bike lanes, and of course most importantly I take mental notes of where there are coffee shops that I might stop and refuel at.

I have also been paying much more attention to other cyclists I see on the road – how are they going to navigate that treacherous-looking intersection?  How do they go right at a roundabout? How do they know where to park themselves at the lights?

In my head I have asked these cyclists so many unheard questions that I think I have come up with their unheard answer by myself. Continue reading

A Tale of Two Swims

Matilda the dog, swimming

Matilda offered to demonstrate some swimming to help me see how it should be done.

It was the worst of times, it was the best of times.  Yes in that order, sorry Charles Dickens.

Last week I did two swimming training sessions, as usual.  Ideally I should probably do more because swimming is definitely my weakest link, but I also have to squeeze in running, cycling, a mash-up session (which I have brought into the training mix earlier than I originally anticipated, following the disastrous first attempt) as well as strength training.  So basically I have found that for now, two swims is my limit.  Maybe when I’m good enough to do more mash-ups I’ll be able to increase the swimming because I’ll get my running and cycling done in one hit – stay tuned on that I guess.

[Incidentally, I did my second ever mash-up last week and the best way I could describe it would be to say that it was like I had turned into a chicken trying to climb a tree.  Leg coordination = non-existent. Approximate distance gained = negligible. Hilarity factor = medium. Oh who am I kidding, hilarity factor was high. There is muchos work to be done on this element of my triathlon training; it aint pretty.  Look out for a report after next week’s attempt.]

So anyway (last week, two sessions of swimming, stay focused Lauren) my first session of swimming was – how do you say? Sh*thouse. Continue reading

My Wallet Hates Triathlon

internet shopping

Goodies bought on the internet, delivered by the postman

So far, my favourite thing about triathlon is the shopping.  Even buying a hideous lycra suit has been a joyous experience, particularly in comparison to my futile attempts to improve the triathlon vehicle I am building (that is, my body).

Subscribers to this blog may remember that I mentioned a few weeks back that Google had lied to me insofar as it promised me that having a functioning human body and being prepared to spend 50 bucks on a triathlon entry fee were all the attributes I needed to qualify myself as a bona-fide triathlete.  If you missed it, I proved this to be Google-branded lies and deception here, here and here (well, everywhere really)

Unfortunately today it is my sad duty to inform you that another great lie is circulating on Google regarding triathlons.  Continue reading

The Camping Triathlete

my packing

Yes I am taking a suitcase camping

The only time I ever think to buy magazines is when we’re going on some kind of a holiday.  It has become a kind of tradition and these days, no matter how long or short, it just doesn’t feel like a holiday without a few magazines to flick idly through as I sip a beer and stretch out in the sun.

We’re taking the dog camping for a couple of days this weekend and as I walked into the newsagents last night to get my magazine haul, the one that caught my eye was, of course, Triathlon Magazine.  I’ve never read or bought this magazine before and I was quite excited to spot it in my local newsagent.  There is even a story about the Noosa Triathlon course!  I don’t know what secrets I may find out from this article but I am pretty sure it will make all the difference to my race, so thank you in advance, Triathlon Magazine. Continue reading

The Noosa Triathlon 2016

Triathlon problems

I am hooked on the silliness

Let’s recap: In September I put my name down for my first ever triathlon at Bribie Island, scheduled to take place in February and for which I need to be able to swim 300m in the ocean, bike 6km on crowded streets and then run 3km with wobbly legs.  Having trained for 7 weeks now, my progress towards being able to do any of these things is marginal, although I can at least confirm that I will look hideous while attempting it.

So when I heard that the tickets for the infamous 2016 Noosa Triathlon would be going on sale on the 19th November at 11am and you had to be online at THAT VERY MOMENT if you wanted any hope of securing one, I decided to clear my schedule and be ready. Don’t ask me what the exact thought process was; I simply don’t know. Continue reading