I’m still alive! But it has been a bit dark in my triathlon brain. There has not been much room for jokes and lighthearted blogging tomfoolery.
I’ve been pondering my existence. As in, how useless is a human being that can’t run without warming up for 20 minutes? What kind of caveman would I have been, if at the first hint of a delicious wild boar racing past my rocky abode I had to stop and limber up while the rest of my clan starved to death? Would I have been a caveman vegetarian? How did I make it through evolution, along with whichever of my ancestors cursed me with these non-natural runner genes? Do I actually deserve to be on this planet?
And so on and so forth. It has been challenging, but challenging in a way that was totally made up in my head. Continue reading →
There were moments where I was not inept, such as when taking this photo with the beautiful ocean behind me. Nice shot.
Well, maybe I wasn’t inept for the entire 100km. Because I was on the bike, and if we have learned anything since I bought my road bike in October last year, it is that the Triathlon Gods have blessed me with ‘larger’ upper leg muscles. Big old lumps of muscles that are terrible for those really cute kick shorts they sell in Lorna Jane (because my muscles create the illusion that I am bursting out the bottom of them like the un-incredible hulk) but fantastic for cycling, thus giving me some kind of natural ability to pump myself along roads as though I have been doing so for years.
Frankly, I’d rather be able to cycle well than look good in kick shorts, so I am happy with this deal. The Tri Gods done good.
So yes, although I am mostly inept, and I signed myself up for a 100km bike ride (by the end of which yesterday I swore I would never get on a bike again) it wasn’t all bad. Here’s an overview: Continue reading →
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.
You may already know I love Aldi. If you didn’t, you do now. I really like the smaller size of the shops and only having one choice of, for instance, mayonnaise. It makes the boring grocery shop much quicker and simpler for my impatient and confused self.
And the weekly specials! I do love popping in to get the week’s food and grabbing a new sleeping bag, wireless doorbell or 3D printer at the same time. I don’t need a 3D printer (does anybody) but everyone knows the rule that says if you buy it with your groceries it’s just part of your weekly sustenance requirements. We have to eat. We have to buy groceries. Supermarket purchases are basically free.
So I could probably end this post here – you’ve seen the picture above so you can figure out the rest, right?
Well OK, I can’t miss an opportunity to report back on triathlon training progress. So yes, the Aldi buyers in their infinite wisdom realised that there was a growing need from one of their most loyal shoppers. A growing need for a bike trainer. And so they did deliver. Continue reading →
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 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…
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.
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 →
Yesterday was Australia Day – a special public holiday here in Oz, when we passionately celebrate our beautiful land and the wonderful Aussie lifestyle, whilst simultaneously feeling guilty and ashamed of celebrating and partying on the anniversary of the first landing (aka the first invasion)
We are a complicated nation. And we’re not super good at picking dates for national parties.
Anyway, once again the gym was shut for most of the day, opening only between 9 and 12. Before commencing triathlon, this would have meant either working out in the heat of the day or swapping my workout entirely for a simple walk with the dog.
Now that I can run and cycle, I no longer need four walls and equipment to get hot and sweaty! And I had an excellent plan. Continue reading →
After two glorious weeks of mostly fun and relaxation interspersed by minimal amounts of triathlon training over Christmas, it was then gloriously fun although not at all relaxing to get back into my proper triathlon training this week. I guess when you find training that you love, it’s easy to look forward to it and enjoy it, especially after a well-earned holiday.
January is a tough month for those of us with nothing but first-world problems to contend with. Faced with 12 months to struggle through until we can have more pavlova and drink beer every lunch time again, it feels like we’ve got to run a work ultra-marathon 12 times over before we can even dream of having more fun.
The reality of over-spending has sunk in. My two precious weeks of holiday that I didn’t even want to take (but was rudely forced to) have flown by. And worst of all I have got to go to bed at a reasonable time and stop taking naps in the middle of the afternoon. I miss my late-night ‘Scandal’ marathons (For goondess’ sake Olivia, FORGET FITZ!!) Continue reading →