parkrun Round 2 – The Elusive Negative Split

Running

About 500 metres into parkrun round 2

Excuse me while my ego puffs out my chest in pride at how good a triathlete I am for knowing the phrase ‘the negative split’.

I really hope you guys don’t know what it means. I had no idea what it meant either, until a few weeks ago.

I would have guessed it was something to do with doing box splits, because I used to attempt to do those when I was a little girl at gymnastics and not only did I feel very negative about the groin-tearing sensation they induce, but I always got very negative reviews from the gymnastics teacher (Colin) about my box split achievements. So negative split totally makes sense in that situation.

But no, ‘the negative split’ is not about box splits.

A negative split is an athletic achievement whereby you complete the second half of your event in a faster time than you completed the first half.  So for instance, when running a 10km, a negative split means you ran the last 5km in less time than it took to do the first 5km.

Who cares? Absolutely nobody, unless they are infected with some sort of disease that makes them want to be some sort of athlete – particularly in my case, a triathlete. Continue reading

Just Call Me Jack

running in paradise

Running Straddie!

Stumbling along on this triathlon journey, I have become something of a ‘jack of all trades’. And yes you guessed it; a master of none.

I can now proudly swim without drowning, bike without coming last (or first) and run without losing my place in a crowd of fellow runners.

My slight improvements have been consistent but not outstanding in any of the three sports required. But now that is about to change.

Because it is time for me to become a master of running. Continue reading

Straddie Salute Race Report, or The Best Thing I Ever Did

Kangaroo

Stradbroke Island and a resident kangaroo (can you see him?)

One of the draw cards when signing up for The Straddie Salute triathlon was the location, and arriving at the island yesterday was everything I had hoped it would be.

I should admit that if you had asked me my opinion in the 12 hours before arriving, I might have screamed various swear words at you and dramatically lamented how difficult it was proving to pack bags for a triathlon and a four day weekend on an island with limited resources.  But once the panic was over, it was overwhelmingly a positive thing to have a ‘destination triathlon’; the island is stunning and has a different feel to the mainland, which put us in holiday mode instantly.

As we drove the 20 minutes from the ferry to our accommodation I paid attention to the roads and felt reassured to see that they were lovely and fresh-looking, completely free from potholes and loose gravel (a possibility that had been haunting me for weeks)

Unfortunately my dread returned quickly as we travelled up and down massive hills. I was… well, gobsmacked. For some reason I had told myself that sand islands are quite flat, even though I have been to other sand islands and they weren’t flat at all. Straddie is not flat at all.

I had been planning on taking it easy on the bike and maintaining happy, under-worked legs that would be ready for an epic run.  But the more I thought about those hills, the more I realised that taking it easy on the bike was a physical impossibility. By the time I went to bed last night I’d had to modify my Race Day Plan:

New Plan: This will hurt from beginning to end and you will continue to move forward until the hurting can stop. Which is at the finish line.

Abbreviated plan: Move forward relentlessly.

Simple, really. Continue reading

Race Day Plan

Stradbroke Ferries

Boarding the ferry

Well I have had absolutely the polar opposite lead-up to tomorrow’s race, in comparison to the lead-up to the Bribie Island Triathlon (my only other tri!)

I started my new job on Monday and although I had been warned that my first week would be insanely busy, I was not really prepared for the impact it had on my sleep, my eating, even how much water I have been drinking. My ‘taper‘ was more of ‘an abrupt stop to all physical movement’ which was also not what I had planned.

So I am trying not to freak out about how badly set up I am for The Straddie Salute. Instead, I am concentrating on the things I will be able to control from this moment of arriving on the island – yes I am here! We had a great trip over and the weather looks absolutely perfect; the Triathlon Gods are shining down upon me. It is a relief to have not missed the ferry and despite the recurring nightmares, I was pleased to see our accommodation had not burned down last night.

My focus for today is to eat all the carbs I can find in the local restaurants. God help the other triathletes who might be feeling peckish. I am hopefully in control of this final rest up and going to bed at a reasonable time (sleep is not under my control)

Oh, and the race day plan. I am in control of that, and I am trying to put all of my spare thoughts into it.

So what is there to plan about race day?  Surely you just show up and do the things you have trained for!

Yes, there is that.  But as a regular reader of this blog, you know how I like to over-complicate most things. So bear with me. Continue reading

Race Day Dedications

Matilda the dog

Pick me!

A few weeks ago I had the idea that I wanted to get some masking tape to stick to my bike’s handlebar, so that I could write myself a little motivation message to look at when I tackle the longest part of my triathlon – the cycling leg.

When I first thought of it, I was imagining that I’d need this reminder at Noosa, when I will attempt the mammoth Olympic-distance triathlon I began dreaming about last September.  It’s going to be a tough race, probably in the middle of a hot day, and will demand about 4 hours of effort from me.

The little message I’m planning on is very simple – it’s a short dedication ‘For xxx’ with three names of special people I will think about when the going gets tough.  I’ve chosen the names because I feel sure that the thought of them will spur me on – but I’ll show you who they are when we get closer.

As the idea became a steadfast commitment, I realised I could also incorporate a race day dedication on the handlebars of my bike at the Straddie Salute triathlon.  And I immediately knew who I wanted to ride for. Continue reading

You’ve Got What It Takes

anzacday

In the lead-up to the Bribie Tri I thought that I wrote about freaking out over the whole thing A HELLUVA LOT (see here for example)

So I thought it went without saying: I thought everyone would simply know and understand that I have also been freaking out about the impending race at Straddie.

But then I got a message from someone I won’t name, saying that they were considering pulling out of the same race (in a fortnight’s time) because they weren’t ready and they were freaking out.  As though they were the only one.

Clearly, it seems that in trying to keep the blog a little more positive and light-hearted this time around, I have done a disservice to the three or four people who occasionally stop by and gawk at the photos of how terrible I look when ‘tri-ing’.  Because apparently it may seem that my massive ego is carrying me through this ‘Tri number 2’ process as though on the wings of a confident, calm and powerful eagle.

So, dear readers, pull your chair closer to your computer monitor and let me tell you a little story.

SPOILER ALERT:  There are no eagles carrying me through this godawful and terrifying process. Continue reading

The Ongoing Goggle Saga

In my swimming hat and goggles

The first goggles

Since I started swimming in October last year, I have had 6 pairs of goggles.  That’s nearly a pair a month – and in some of the early months, I estimate that I only went swimming about 8 or 9 times.  I’ve had more re-use out of paper cups than some of the goggles I’ve tried.

Needless to say, buying 6 pairs of goggles is adding up to serious dollars.  My first pair (pictured above) cost only $7.99 from KMart but I soon realised that you can’t swim for long in such cheap goggles – I started to get black eyes from the pressure (presumably because the padding around the eyes is not very effective) and at one point I had a small cut under my left eye from where the plastic was digging in.

 

frogwoman

The third goggles (I broke the second pair before I even took a picture)

So the quality of the goggles had to go up, which of course meant that the price tag also had to rise.  I paid $50 for one of the pairs of goggles (the ones pictured above that made me look like the evil fiend Frogwoman) but they lasted a matter of days before they broke – or rather, as Shane points out over my shoulder – before I broke them.  Which frankly I maintain was the goggles’ own fault – I wasn’t being particularly rough with them.

I knew the goggle saga was spinning out of control when, as I was shopping in Myer last week wondering whether to buy myself a new perfume, the voice in my head said:

‘Gee, a hundred bucks on perfume, Lauren.  That’s like, your next 2 months’ worth of goggle purchases.  Just not sure you can justify that.’

Yep.  When you are measuring your other purchases in terms of number of goggles you could buy with the same money, you need to sort some shit out. Continue reading