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

The Trial Tri

mail

Receiving very exciting mail. I Have DEFINITELY WON!

After receiving confirmation in the mail (totally unexpectedly, mind you) that I had “DEFINITELY WON” lots of money, I took the plunge and quit my job.

I told my boss where to stick it and decided to dedicate a small portion of my first day of freedom to a trial triathlon.

What is a trial triathlon?  Well of course, it’s the swim-bike-run mash-up malarkey I’d been planning on doing prior to my next tri, to make sure I have my transitions figured out and that I can actually survive something close to the distances I need to be able to do. Continue reading

On Sundays We Are Fit

beautiful

Arriving at Redcliffe on Sunday morning

Ah, remember the days when a Sunday Session meant a few beers (or more) in a sunny beer garden?

In my quest to become a triathlete, many things have taken on new meanings. For instance, ‘a short bike ride’ now means anything less than 90 minutes, ‘I’m going for a run’ is no longer the punchline to a joke I’m telling and ‘doing the laundry’ means untangling 20 pairs of sports socks, 7 pairs of leggings, 2 pairs of cycling knicks, 3 of running shorts, 9 sports bras, 10 fluorescent-coloured lycra tops and a swimming costume, whilst holding your breath to avoid the stink.

And so it is that, thanks to triathlon, the phrase Sunday Session now involves less beer* and actually refers to training sessions of a Sunday nature, which means that they are a bit longer, or require a special journey to get there, or are conducted in a group I can’t catch up with during the working week due to clashing schedules etc.

*I won’t claim zero beer is involved in these new Sunday Sessions, but there is definitely less beer. Continue reading

The 14km Run

A brain snap occurred

That face you make when you come up with a much better plan…

We all knew that the run I planned for Thursday (yesterday) wasn’t going to happen.  Because that is life.

I ended up doing a bike ride session on the indoor bike at the gym instead (for various reasons – namely that I got home a bit late and then my elderly neighbour came over to see me about a problem with her phone and it took me a while to understand the issue as her English is not very good, which also meant that she failed to understand that I really didn’t care about her phone or that I needed to go for a run, which resulted in lots of hand signals and a charades-style discussion about fishing – yes, fishing – before I realised it was dark and Shane banned me from going out in the pitch black)

SIDENOTE: For interest’s sake, I’ve been documenting my completed workouts on the same calendar as I put together and posted a few weeks ago, so that when we get to The Straddie Salute tri you can see just how wrong and off-schedule my training goes – almost every day.  I think it is good to see the reality of how you can adapt and go with the flow.  Stay tuned!

BUT the run needed to happen this week, because I will then have 4 weeks to practice it and have it down pat before THE TAPER starts for Straddie.  So today had to be the day.

SIDENOTE AGAIN: For those who are new to my super-dooper triathlon lingo, according to trainingpeaks.com, ‘The taper is the controlled decrease in training load required to bring an athlete to that pinnacle of a focused mind, and a body that has shed all fatigue and is fresh to go’. I can’t wait! Continue reading

Such A Show-Off

Chocolate cake from the Grimsey Brothers on Easter Sunday. Well worth the tortuous swim.

Chocolate cake from the Grimsey Brothers on Easter Sunday. Well worth the tortuous swim.

Happy Easter, Homies!

Don’t panic; I haven’t turned into an American hipster over the course of the long weekend (although I did have a nightmare in which a really rich potato with a toupee was running for president and I had an uncontrollable desire to vote for him, so…)

I’m still an average-Joe Queenslander.  It’s just that I was sitting here, staring at my screen ready to type and had no idea what else to write except ‘Happy Easter, Homies!’

Which is when I realised that I am trying to avoid a certain topic.  A topic that is actually unavoidable on a triathlon blog. Continue reading

Training With Gels

Endura Gel - Raspberry and Grape flavour

My gels of choice

You may remember that my report on the Bribie Island Triathlon included a mention of the very glamorous moment that I had a little vomit.  Honestly, this sport of triathlon is just perfect for ruining any image you had of yourself as being sophisticated and lady-like.  You should totally try it.

Anyway I thought that the ‘issue’ was caused by a number of factors – including nerves, swallowing copious amounts of seawater, prolonged jiggling up and down and trying an energy gel for the first time.  Which was a silly thing to do, by the way – never try anything new on race day!  How many times do I need to say it!

In fact, most people I spoke to about the race felt that the gel was mainly to blame for my tummy trouble.  But I usually have an iron stomach that can handle all sorts of gone-off milks and whatnot (apologies to those who have dined at my house, but I tend to treat ‘Best Before’ dates as ‘Buy Me Before’ dates and ‘Use By’ as ‘Begin Using By’)

So I don’t know if it was the gel’s fault.

The thing I do know is that I should train the way I plan to race – which means incorporating some gels into the longer training sessions that need it (sometimes forgoing my beloved Sesame Snaps for a gel) 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

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