A Bike Race. Only Kidding. Kind Of.

At Redcliffe

I made it all the way to Redcliffe on my bike, finally.

I didn’t do fantastically well at the first Grimsey’s Adult Swimfit (the open water clinic) I attended a few weeks ago. Although I did survive it -and the jellyfish stings – and the only way to get better at swimming in the ocean is to do more of it. Which seems terribly unfair, if I’m honest.

The main point I clung to was that even though it was horribly hard work, I did better with Grimsey than I ever would or could do on my own.

So the day after the Bribie Island Triathlon, while I was still on a high from not drowning or getting eaten by a shark in the Bribie passage, I signed up for the next clinic, due to take place this morning.

And last weekend we heard the awful news that Fiji was suffering through a deadly cyclone.

Seemingly unrelated, these events. But no.

Since Wednesday the TV and radio news have been excitedly reporting that the colossal winds in Fiji were eventually going to have an effect on our own island paradise. The main message was that the Eastern seaboard of Queensland should expect to experience freak waves and rip-tides all of this weekend.  Beaches would be closed.  Surfers from all over the world were scrambling to fly in to Queensland and tackle the deadly waves.

Surfers are so weird.

Indeed, yesterday morning I awoke to strong gusty winds that blew all our doors shut and dried my washing in 0.3 seconds. I quietly panicked all day, wondering whether Grimsey has a mother who hounds him about not doing unsafe things, or whether I should get my own mother to ring him.  Until finally at 7.00pm I received an email and text message from Coach Grimsey – the session was cancelled.

So, today would be a bike ride kind of day instead. Continue reading

A Half Marathon, or She Does A Stupid Thing

Don't panic

Don’t panic until you have actually read the post, mum.

When I commenced this journey of triathetising myself and my life, I felt confident that the running portion would be my favourite part of the sport. Dare I say it? Ok yes, I thought that running was the easy bit.

Regular readers may remember the reality check the Triathlon Gods cast down upon me, which helped me to realise that I could not run for sh*t.  Really, I look back on those early days and marvel at my naivety; back then I never expected that simple cockiness could earn spiteful lesson-learning from the now-dreaded Triathlon Gods.  Imagine how much easier this sport would be without an ego!

Anyway, even though I should have known better, I clung to the notion that once Jake the Physio had fixed me up and made me pain-free, I would be a running machine. My lesson would be learned: I would not be cocky.  I would be able to run again.

Even in my baby Triathlon (aka my first triathlon, aka the tester) when the run truly sucked and I briefly experienced a truth – that physically being able to run might not be enough, I felt sure that I would eventually emerge to be a natural runner.

Because my mum was a fantastic runner. Surely that counts for something? I basically grew up thinking I was from a family of running people.  And once upon a time, years ago, I did a 10km run with my sister. Granted, I couldn’t walk for three days afterwards, but I did it!

And let’s not forget of course the fundamental, underlying, omnipresent reason that I thought the running side of triathlon training would turn out to be alright, which is that I am actually a complete moron. Continue reading

Your First Triathlon

Mum and me

Yes, she can.  So can you.

I feel like a bit of a fraudster, passing on my advice for ‘your first triathlon’.

I mean, I’ve done precisely one triathlon.

But if you’re looking for advice like I was/am, maybe learning from somebody who is as new as you is the best option.  When you’ve done a few, I imagine that certain things become obvious, and you might assume they’re obvious to everyone.

So this guide to ‘your first triathlon’ is for the real beginner, and the one who is Type-A, needing to know every detail they possibly can, including the obvious.  This is for you, my friend (although the rest of you may read if you want to)

I have split the post into sections, because it is long – there is a lot of information.  If you’re OK with some sections of your triathlon journey, you can skip the parts of this post that cover those sections.  I’ve also made a special page on my blog where this post will live permanently, if you need to refer back to it – here.

Let us begin. Continue reading

Phase 2 Training

Nice medal

Are medals and necklaces interchangeable? Can I wear a medal out to dinner if it goes with my outfit?

I have received my medal and t-shirt from doing the virtual race in early January, in aid of Project Semicolon.  The t-shirt is not really my ‘thing’ but I absolutely love the medal – it is so glitzy and heavy!  I am looking forward to taking part in more virtual races this year, and thereby supporting more charities in a small way as I go about my training.  And getting lots more glamorous medals.

Incidentally, if you love Harry Potter, check out this virtual race running club!! I might sign up for one of theirs later this year.

So anyway, on with the blog.

I have spent the week since completing the Bribie Triathlon Short Course in a bit of disarray – still training every day but very haphazardly.  In Phase One training (leading up to Bribie – i.e everything I have done thus far) my focus in training was simply getting more comfortable and going further each time.

I knew from the get-go that I could manage a 300m swim (although it would have been breaststroke at first) and I am pretty sure most humans over the age of 12 can manage a cycle of 10km.  I could have walked the 3km run if needs be.

What I mean is, my training was pretty basic.

I had assumed that I could stick to the same type of training (monitoring my confidence and capability each week, adjusting as necessary) for Phase Two.  But by Wednesday this week, I realised that would not be the case. Continue reading

Bribie Island Triathlon Race Report

Smiling

The finish line at Bribie Island Triathlon

So here it is!  This post is loooong.  Get a drink first.  Maybe get two.  If you can’t be bothered reading: I survived it.  If you want to know the juicy details, well read on…

The Lead-Up:

I decided that the day before race day I would just stay home and act normally, cleaning the house and mowing the lawn. This didn’t get off to a great start, because it was frankly very weird to wake up without an alarm clock going off – I simply woke up naturally and went and sat on the lounge chair with a book.  Yes, an actual reading book that you read when you have a thing called leisure time.  The dog looked at me as though the apocalypse was probably coming, and went to hide under the bed.

She was kind-of right.

From my triathlon research days (they seem so long ago now!) I had heard of the term The Taper – used to refer to the rest period prior to a big race – so I knew people speak of it with a mixture of hatred and fear, but I thought they were all triathletised fools who couldn’t appreciate a well-earned rest when they finally got one.

Until yesterday, when I suffered my very own Taper Day fear and hatred (note that The Official Taper for a proper triathlon is around a week, not a day!  How will I cope?) and I practically had to tie myself to the chair to prevent myself from rushing out the door for a quick run to the pool, where I thought I might try a 4km swim and then run back home to do a 70km bike ride.

Because what the hell was I thinking, that I could take a day off from training when I was about to do the ultimate training the very next day?!  It seemed so illogical!

The panic that bubbled just under the surface of my skin was quite frightening. I hadn’t done enough training. The training I had done was not good enough. I was too heavy to reach maximum speed on the run – I needed to lose 37kg within the next 3 hours. I hadn’t practiced clipping in and out enough lately. I needed to check my goggles and cap still worked.

I was on the brink of a breakdown. So at 10am I went shopping. Continue reading

Final Ramblings

You train so you can tolerate it

Found this on Pinterest

It’s no secret that I am swinging violently between 1) feeling sick and fearful of the race on Sunday, and 2) being super excited to finally put my training to the test and see whether I’ve got what it takes.  Sometimes I am experiencing both extremities at the exact same time.

I have struggled with the blogging this week because of it.  I just can’t make my mind up what I am trying to say – am I sh*t scared and whingeing?  Or am I absolutely stoked and spreading positivity?  I am both.  I am neither.

This morning I completed my final training session – a swim that started hard and fast, and then progressed into breast stroke and enjoyment, in a last-ditch attempt to convince myself that I love and adore swimming.  It kind-of worked.

I will take the dog on a walk tonight but tomorrow’s schedule is complete rest and relaxation (aka cleaning the house and mowing the lawn)

Side note: This morning my swimming cap did not pop off my head, for the first time in about 3 weeks.  I was overjoyed.  The swimming leg has been (and probably always will be ) the hardest part of this sport for me.  Sometimes when I imagine myself stumbling out of the water at Bribie, after completing the swim part, I get tears in my eyes.  Because even envisaging it feels like overwhelming, pie-in-the-sky stuff.  I am not ashamed to say that I will be trying to make a deal with the Triathlon Gods in the lead-up to Sunday, to give me some kind of a break in the water. Continue reading

5 Days Til Race Day!

He can't fix me

Feeling pretty dubious about my fourth Physio appointment

So Jake the Physio inspected me at lunch time today and advised that my brand-new back pain is caused by a strained joint, around L4 and S1.  Which wasn’t a groundbreaking revelation because I did it whilst straining my joints, trying to pick up some wood that was far too heavy for me to lift.

Was it self-sabotage?  No, I genuinely thought I could lift the wood – and I threw an epic tantrum when I not only failed to lift it, but collapsed to the floor and had to crawl back to the house in pain.  I phoned my mum in tears to complain about the unfairness of my stupidity.  Why couldn’t she have endowed me with smarter genes that knew not to lift heavy things 7 days before a race?

Anyway, I knew my back felt really really bad, so I had been ready to hear a really really bad prognosis.  But then Jake said ‘strained joint’ and that sounded pretty mild to me and I thought everything would be OK.

Plus, even though I couldn’t bend over and had to roll out of the car to get to the gym, I had been able to cycle, run and swim in the 36 hours between injury and Physio appointment without the pain getting any worse.  No better, but no worse either. Continue reading

Time to Freak Out

Go Away World!

This is me trying to suffocate myself or something

So the triathlon is on Sunday and I am trying really hard not to think about it, frankly.

But at 3am, when I usually either 1) lie awake regretting that dumb thing I said four years ago or 2) sit at my laptop typing my next blog post, it is hard to not let my mind wander straight into the arms of Triathlon Remorse.

It’s like the hot darkness of the living room breeds fear.  I listen to the possum in the roof having its nightly rave (because apparently if possums get their hands on rat poison it’s like the equivalent of ecstasy for humans or something) and my stupid brain starts THINKING.  Of all the things for a brain to do!

It doesn’t stop until I reassure myself that hopefully I will crash my car into a flaming wreck on the way to the race and everything will be ok.  And finally sleep takes hold.

So what am I so worried about? Continue reading

My First ‘parkrun’

parkrun registration

My parkrun registration

I initially heard about parkrun (intentionally spelled with a small p, NEVER a capital!) about 2 years ago when a lady I worked with announced she’d done her first parkrun on the weekend. I had no idea what parkrun was – but from the way she said it, it was clear it was ‘a thing’ so I nodded enthusiastically and said ‘Well done! Go you!’ or something like that. Then I snuck back to my desk and Googled it. Continue reading

Represent!

I Tri T-shirt

Triathlete T-shirt. This way I don’t need a tattoo on my forehead announcing it. Yet.

I got this t-shirt for Christmas, but I didn’t wear it straight away.

There is something about declaring your sporting commitments publicly, such as wearing a t-shirt that states ‘I Tri’, that means you have to be ready to represent and be an ambassador of your sport.

I don’t look like your average triathlete; I look like I spend most of my days sitting on the couch watching re-runs of Friends and eating chocolate ice cream.  Which is why I knew I’d make a good triathlon representative and that it was worth waiting until such time as I was ready to take on that responsibility.

Yes, I dare to think that I might inspire other crazy weirdos to have a go at this sport – because I am part of a minority of un-athletic, un-talented morons doing this for fun, as opposed to the generally intimidating triathletes you might normally see or hear of.  I have visions of some other average joe lunatic standing in the checkout queue at Coles, noticing my t-shirt and asking me a question about triathlon.  And me, enthusiastically telling joe how terrifying and challenging yet ultimately achievable it is, before he or she scurries off to sign up for the Bribie Island Triathlon that very afternoon.

I will be kind, welcoming and encouraging.  Average Joe Lunatic’s world will be a better place.

So, I knew I had to be ready to represent seriously.  Therefore, I didn’t wear my t-shirt straight away, even though I was swimming, biking and running – and tri-ing – really hard.  I was definitely a triathlete, I had no issue with that.  You don’t have to enter a race to be a runner.  You don’t have to publish a book to be a writer.

But I wanted to make sure that I could wear my t-shirt with my head held high, ready to answer questions if needs be.  I waited patiently for that time to come, thinking it might be after the finish line at Bribie. Continue reading