Got Grimsey?

Sunday morning

Arriving at Grimsey’s Adult Swim Fit Clinic

With the return of the warm weather, I realised it was time to get back to one of the Grimsey Adult Swim Fit Clinics.  Or maybe two or three, if I can get organised enough to fit every available session in between now and The Noosa Tri.

So I signed myself up on the website (and paid my twelve dollars) just over a week before yesterday’s session, showing amazing foresight and time management skills even if I do say so myself. However (needless to say) the closer I got to the actual event, the less pleased I felt with myself. Continue reading

I’m Not Dead

Matilda the Dog

I like this picture of Matilda The Dog

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

Shecantry Masters Swimming

A blurry pool

I may have still been asleep when I took this picture of the entrance to the Caboolture Aquatic Centre, which I could have sworn was in focus and looking pretty when I took this.

It has been 11 months since I first had the brainwave that led me to sign up for The Mini Bribie Island Triathlon.  It has been 10 months since I started this blog!  Time is moving along so quickly… And so much has changed.

Regular readers will remember that in the beginning, although I was pretty crap at cycling and it took a while to learn to run properly, the swimming aspect was the stand-out disaster zone for this particular blogging triathlete.  We were all on tenterhooks for the first couple of months, wondering whether The Queensland Government would actually pass a by-law banning me from all public pools in this great State, for fear of tarnishing our reputation as an upstanding member of the swimming community.

SIDENOTE: If they did pass such a law, I didn’t receive official notification, so hopefully I am safe to continue to frequent lane 5 at the Caboolture Aquatic Centre.  Yes, I have my own lane. That is how quiet the pool is here, if you go outside of the dolphins’ training hours. Continue reading

The Pavlova Made Me Do It

Crocs and stingers

Townsville. Where Shecantry will not go swimming in the sea, thanks anyway.

To those who follow me on Instagram, I must apologise. I promised to blog about the run I did in Townsville on Monday morning as soon as I got home on Tuesday AND IT IS NOW FRIDAY so I suppose I am officially fired as chief blogger.

In my defence, I have been getting deep and meaningful, thinking about my spirit animal. I think I am going through a hippy phase, brought on by all the meditating I inevitably end up doing on my runs.

If you are like me and struggle to do the whole ‘ohhmmmmm’ thing but you kind of know that meditating could be good for your poor frazzled brain, maybe give running a go. I think there is something about the rhythmic pounding of the pavement and sound of your hot breath heaving in and out. Or maybe it is the faintness and lack of oxygen getting to your head that makes you hallucinate that you are meditating. Either way, it seems to leave me feeling more at one with Mother Earth or something.

SIDENOTE: Individual results may vary, etc. You probably should never take anything you read on this blog as advice.

So anyway instead of blogging I was thinking about my spirit animal and hoping it might be a dog, because just like Matilda the dog who features heavily in my writing, I think I am soft, cuddly and pretty cute. I also love food and sleeping.

But interestingly, the more I pondered the various possibilities, I realised my spirit animal is not a dog. Nor a wolf or bald-headed eagle, both of which might seem appropriate to a badass triathlete.

I couldn’t ignore the evidence:

1. I am soft and sweet on the inside.

2. Sometimes a bit hard and crunchy on the outside.

3. I am a bit fruity, sometimes a bit nuts.

4. No one can tell if I am really Australian or not.

5. You either love me or hate me.

So… My spirit animal is apparently a Pavlova.

What the? Continue reading

Noosa Open Day (Not A Race) Report, Which I Won

Ready to swim

Noosa Open Day Swim

I signed up for the Noosa Open Day Swim Series back in March, when I was still recovering from the near-death experience of my Mooloolaba Swimming Race DNF (which stands for Did Not Finish, just in case you missed my triathlon dictionary post a while back)

I have never been under any illusions about the dangers of someone who can’t swim very well (IE me!) entering a real-life ocean.  I’ve maintained a healthy fear of drowning in The Deep Blue since the day I first signed myself up for this triathlon career.  The DNF didn’t actually change that at all: I was as frightened afterwards as I was before, but no more so.

If you cast your mind back, you may remember that I returned to the sea with sharks and jellyfish and seaweed and stuff at Bribie, just a couple of weeks after the Mooloolaba failure.  Then I did some more Grimsey sessions.  I even managed the Straddie Salute Tri,where I did not panic and drown myself.  So I think we can agree that I haven’t developed a phobia of ocean swimming.  Things have been progressing well.

But – yes there is a but! – I haven’t been back to Mooloolaba for swimming.  At all. Shane and I did go for breakfast one weekend and it was a beautiful day with not a wave in sight… And I couldn’t bring myself to even dip my feet into the water.

So maybe I have a thing going on with the ocean at Mooloolaba.  And what I realised after the DNF is that Noosa is really close to Mooloolaba.  It’s practically the same slice of ocean.

And if you haven’t been following along at home, I’ve already signed myself up for The Bloody Noosa Triathlon 2016, which kind of requires me to swim 1500m in the ocean there. Continue reading

I’m Riding The Unicorn, Don’t Worry

The unicorn I call improvement

Remember this?  The elusive unicorn that I call Improvement, with her fairy helpers

The deeper I get into this triathlon training, the less likely it becomes that exciting things happen on a daily basis.  That’s how it feels to me, anyway.

Maybe you guys would actually be really pleased to hear about the cycling I did on the spin bike at the gym for an hour, while watching ‘Millionaire Hot Seat’ and Channel 9 News on Tuesday night.  But I doubt it, so I don’t write about it.

Tonight I went to the gym where I did a bike ride and watched TV.  I watched that slightly weird smug guy Eddie Maguire quiz a bunch of people on the most random facts you could ever hope to not fill your brain with.  My favourite question required the contestant to finish the apparently ‘typical Aussie slang’ term ‘It’s London for a _______’ and the answer was brick.  Not a single person in Australia knew the answer to the question.  Then I watched Channel 9 News where they evidently haven’t heard of Syria or anything.  The top story was the weather ‘event’ that had passed 4 days prior.

But in spite of my training not being note-worthy, you should rest assured that I am indeed making some improvements.  In fact, the Unicorn That Is Improvement has been broken by my relentless pursuit of it, and I’ve saddled her up for a slow and challenging trek through this mysterious triathlon forest.

Take swimming for instance. 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 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

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