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

A Post About So Many Things, but also nothing

Kyle Chalmers gets gold

Watching the Olympics any chance I get – including at the Brisbane domestic airport. And yes I cried when Kyle Chalmers put this medal on.

One of the strongest memories of my childhood is standing in the kitchen having an after-school snack of apple and cheese with my mum and sister, singing-yelling the anthem of the Barcelona Olympics (surely one of the best Olympic anthems ever?) and watching Sally Gunnell in the hurdles. The northern hemisphere summer was in full swing – I remember hazy golden rays beaming through the window behind us and birds tweeting in the trees outside.  Although in saying that, all of my memories of English summer weather feature hazy golden rays of sunshine… And that obviously can’t be true because English weather is shit, so maybe I added the rays of warmth and light to the memory, for effect. Continue reading

Hello, this is Your Mistake calling…

 

Will you be on the startline? email from Sunshine Coast Half Marathon

Is this email a coincidence or has the Sunshine Coast Half Marathon somehow got wind of my injury?

I am really trying hard not to beat myself up too much about taking on the ludicrous 26.94km trail run, which resulted in eternal glory but also an injury which may prevent me from taking part in the upcoming Sunshine Coast Half Marathon.

Boy, even typing those words makes my eyes prickle and stomach churn. I haven’t come to terms with the possibility of pulling out, yet. But I am still stumbling around in pain, only just able to walk properly, with no hope of running. So it is important to start facing up to it.

Needless to say, it has made me wonder if the trail run was a mistake and this is my comeuppance. Did I get greedy? Was it an utterly stupid thing to do?  Was the feeling of being ready based on anything other than hope? Continue reading

Moving On and Lessons Learned

should have known better

About 20 minutes before the start of the race, mum took some pictures of me warming up

We all know that I am a bit of a baby.  I put my brave face on for Saturday’s Mooloolaba Ocean Swim failure as much as possible, but at about 3am on Sunday morning (the day after my big DNF) I woke up and cried.  It finally dawned on me how scared I had felt and how much danger I’d been in.

I suppose when you need to talk yourself into doing something scary, you turn off the voice of logic and reason in your head.  Then at 3am the next day when it turns itself back on again, you have to go through the emotions of what happened.

pre-race

The pre-race photo.  Brave face enabled.

After tears and fears (and rocking back and forth in the corner for a little while) I managed to pull myself together and had a good day on Sunday not thinking about swimming too much.  The things I feel now are 1) a pride at having had a roll of the dice and maintaining my composure – not panicking! 2) an eagerness to improve and 3) a quiet confidence that the swim in my upcoming Straddie or Noosa races can’t be as bad as Saturday’s was, because they only require a ‘once out and back’ swim rather than the M-shaped course I tackled at Mooloolaba.

Granted, there will be further to swim (once I get out past the waves) in those races, but my experience on Saturday was that I could have kept swimming quite happily in the deep blue ocean – it was the breaker waves that got me.  Even faced with the same rough conditions, if I only have to go once out and once back then I should be alright.

This coming Saturday, I am going to do a short 500 metre swimming race in the passage at Bribie (the same slice of ocean in which I did my first triathlon).  And I’ve signed up for the next Grimsey’s Adult Swimfit, on Easter Sunday.  Yep, I’m getting ‘back on the horse’ so to speak.  And yep, I feel a bit apprehensive (deep down) which is why I knew I absolutely had to do these things. Continue reading

The Stupid Swimming Race

smiling

At the pool, smiling peacefully as I begin the final training session before my race

Of all the things I have signed up for, and of all the things I am planning to sign up for – oh my goodness you guys are going to think I have gone absolutely batpoop insane when I blog about some of the things I am planning for the future – the stupid swimming race has got to be the absolute stupidest.

By a long, long way.

One kilometre more stupid, in fact.

I don’t know what I was thinking.  Well, actually I do – I was devastatingly unaware of the existence of the miraculous Grimsey’s Adult Swimfit when I signed up for the Mooloolaba 1km Ocean Swim.  I thought that entering a swimming race would be the only way for me to practice swimming in groups around buoys in the ocean.  Google had really let me down on that front.

Always blame Google.

I sat at my computer, a few hours after my first Open Water Swim session with soon-to-be-ex-Coach Kirstie.  It seems so long ago now.  It dawned on me that swimming in the ocean is my own personal equivalent of wrestling with bears – there is a high likelihood of death, nobody enjoys watching it much less doing it, the cruelty factor is high, it’s entirely pointless, and let’s not forget there is a high likelihood of death.

Yep, I know I mentioned it twice.

So what to do, when you have already signed up for a triathlon that involves a 1.5km swim in October but your new coach is moving to Tully and Google tells you that you have no other way to practice ocean water swimming?  Of course, you sign yourself up to do two thirds of the required triathlon swim distance 7 months beforehand.  Yes that’s right, sign yourself up to swim one whole kilometre, seven whole months before you actually need to do it.

Of course that’s the answer – if you have no actual brain cells left from your bear fight. Continue reading

Swimming at Lightening Speed

extreme excitement

Extreme excitement at swimming super fast

If anyone other than my Grandpa is following along with the training calendar I posted a couple of weeks ago (unlikely) you will know that this morning’s session was to be a one kilometre swim.  And for once, I was able to actually stick to the plan – and a 1km swim is exactly what I did.

The idea behind the 1km swim is that I have a 1km swimming race a week tomorrow (Saturday 12th March) and I just wanted to have the confidence of swimming that distance comfortably in the pool, to assist me in maintaining a positive mental state in the race.  Because I have pooped my pants a couple of times, thinking about the 1km swim with sharks and jellyfish and seaweed and thrashing arms and legs that is only a week away. 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

Grimsey’s Adult Swimfit

Suttons Beach

Suttons Beach at Redcliffe on Jan 31, 2016

My blogging habits are the stuff of great mystery… and will remain so because it is a very boring mystery that no one would care about.  But today I can reveal that I usually follow a fairly un-magical blogging routine.

Knowing what training sessions I have lined up each week, I generally have an awareness of what to expect in each of them: what challenges will be playing on my mind; how I am feeling towards the session; etc etc.  So I lay down the ‘skeleton’ of a blog post in draft form a few days (sometimes weeks) before I am going to post it. I write in my calendar which post will go live on which day, and make a mental note of what pictures to take when the time comes, to accompany my verbal spewage.

These opening sentences you’re reading now, where I set a scene or give you the background info to help you understand what craziness I have landed myself in, are the best bits to get down early in order to ensure I’ll be off and typing at lightening speed when I get the time.

Even with ‘surprises’ like getting my first flat tyre, I had known in advance that I was going for a long ride that morning, so I had some of the information already written down as a jumping-off point when the big day arrived (although the nitty-gritty turned out very different from what I had anticipated writing the day before)

What I mean is, each day I have the bare bones of a post ready for details to be added after the event.

But today’s post on Grimsey’s Adult Swimfit is different. Continue reading

AWOL

It's not Christmas without pav

There is a pav under all that fruit and cream

I had two weeks off from my job over Christmas, a break enforced by my esteemed employer who staged a company shutdown, presumably to remind us all that our our work is worthless and entirely expendable.

In the first week, I enjoyed logging in to my computer to write my blog posts… But as the second week arrived and the dreaded return to the coal face loomed ever closer, I frankly couldn’t bear the sight of a keyboard and computer screen.  So I escaped to a small cabin in a campsite out past woop-woop with Shane (my partner) and tried to pretend that the only existing technology was beer factories, microwaves and Instagram.

So if you were wondering where I had gone, you can rest assured that I simply had my head buried in the sand – in complete denial that I have a job or need money to buy beer and expensive triathlon crap.

But I am back now and there is no escaping the fact that this week I am working.  And the blog is back on track. So how was Christmas training?

As expected and completely permissible during the most fantastic time of year that is Christmas, the gym was closed for a few days and open for only a couple of hours on certain other days, and I had friends or family commitments and hangovers to deal with on the days in-between.  So the consistency of my training was nowhere near as high as I usually commit to.  Twice a day 5 days a week and once a day for the other two days a week is a high standard to maintain, so I wasn’t concerned that I didn’t maintain it during my holidays.  In fact, I effing loved it. Continue reading

Still Swimming

Back at the pool

Don’t give up

Despite the extreme regret after my ocean swim at Caloundra, and contrary to my predictions, I have not actually died of embarrassment; I am still here.

And after a few days of stewing it was time to get in the pool and set the record straight on my swimming abilities, because one bad session does not define me as a swimmer.  I decided I needed to simply absorb that day into the melange of days that is my Triathlon Training.  I am in the middle of a long, slow haul to the finish line of my first triathlon.  I am not done yet.

I will admit it wasn’t easy; I didn’t want to go to the pool.  I tried to find excuses not to go, and I don’t normally struggle with that.  After years of working out, not going to the gym is like not cleaning my teeth – the dirty sensation looms over my head all day.  When I’ve been to the gym, I feel energised, ready to take on the world.  I knew this to be true.  But I did not want to get back in the pool. Continue reading