Surprise! Part Three – Smite Me

Techy stuff

The Elevation Map from last week’s race. The one provided on the website must have been from last year’s event I think, which was a different course. The Elevation gain was 339 metres, not 244.

I am smitten.  No, wait, that’s not what I mean.  I have been smited.  Yes, I think that’s more like it.

The Triathlon Gods heard me crowing and saw me strutting about my 26.94km run (is anyone going to back me up if I call it 27km?) and they decided I must be punished.

This CRETIN dost believeth that she hast becometh a runner!  We art angry!

-Triathlon Gods.  Yes they talk funny.

I spent the first few days assuring myself that I was merely sore from my epic achievement of running 26.94km, which is nearly 27km.

SIDENOTE: Yes I’ve taken to casually mentioning the distance as often as any conversation allows.  In Aldi this morning the man at the checkout said ‘that’s 93 dollars and 10 cents please’ and I replied ‘Sorry did you say 26 dollars and 94 cents?  Cos what a coincidence, that is actually how many kilometres I ran last Sunday!  Ha!’

So on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday – because my legs were ‘sore’ – I took gentle strolls and focused on my swimming to ‘let my legs recover’.

On Thursday I tried a bike ride and a short ROTB (run off the bike) which totaled 200 metres before I was doubled over in pain.

I pleaded with Matilda (an angel dog and therefore – logically – in possession of a direct line to the Triathlon Gods) to let me learn my lesson some other way.

But it was no good.

So it is time to announce: I am injured. Continue reading

Wild Horse at Night

Wild Horse at Night confirmation email

Another registration!

Thank you to the organisers of Wild Horse at Night (also known as WH@N) for providing me with the best blog post title I ever had. It sounds so romantic and dramatic, don’t you agree? Wild Horse at Night. NEIGH!! I particularly like that when combined with the previous post, the blog has developed something of an equestrian theme this week.  I should have themed weeks more often, I think.

Wild Horse at Night is a race I have signed up for, taking place this coming Saturday night. As the name would suggest to those of you familiar with the Sunshine Coast here in Australia, it is held on and around Wild Horse Mountain (which is one of the Glass House Mountains at Beerburrum)

Yes, this means it is a trail run – or a cross country run, if you are from the UK. Although POMs and ex-POMs (such as myself) should be careful if we use that phrase in other countries, because I used it myself in a conversation a few days ago and my friend thought I literally meant I was going to run across the country.

SIDENOTE: I do class myself as crazy but I seriously wonder how I must come across to others when people who know me think there is any kind of likelihood that I would attempt to run across the country of Australia.  For the record, the likelihood is definitely zero.

So anyway, what’s the deal with WH@N and trail running? 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

So, Maybe There Is Something Wrong With Me?

mask-style goggles

My current swimming garb

Swimming.  Ah, the enigma.

I haven’t grown to love the swimming part of triathlon – yet.  I remain ever hopeful that the day will come; I’ve had glimpses of it to tempt me (see here and here) and the gossip among ‘the swimmers‘ aka the dolphins is that there is serious fun and enjoyment to be had.  So swimming love exists apparently, I just have to wait until I can stake my claim.

In the meantime, I have approached my swim sessions with something like unease and trepidation.  Especially the open water swims, which I frankly dread.

The feeling I get after a swim makes it all worthwhile, so I can’t go so far as to say I hate it.  Finishing a swim produces a certain feeling of relief that I can only compare to being at your in-laws’ for dinner then hearing your partner say that it is time to go home.  Cue: absolute ecstasy.  Except with swimming you’ve also done a workout, so it’s even better than that.

Plus, I simply can’t allow myself to hate swimming.  I have already set my heart on some stupid triathlons that require me to swim stupid distances in the stupid sea.  So I have to think positive, embrace the challenge and keep at it, because as humans we tend to believe that with practice and hard work, comes improvement.

And that’s the thing.  Where is my improvement?  Aren’t I overdue? 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

Your First Triathlon

Mum and me

Yes, she can.  So can you.

I feel like a bit of a fraudster, passing on my advice for ‘your first triathlon’.

I mean, I’ve done precisely one triathlon.

But if you’re looking for advice like I was/am, maybe learning from somebody who is as new as you is the best option.  When you’ve done a few, I imagine that certain things become obvious, and you might assume they’re obvious to everyone.

So this guide to ‘your first triathlon’ is for the real beginner, and the one who is Type-A, needing to know every detail they possibly can, including the obvious.  This is for you, my friend (although the rest of you may read if you want to)

I have split the post into sections, because it is long – there is a lot of information.  If you’re OK with some sections of your triathlon journey, you can skip the parts of this post that cover those sections.  I’ve also made a special page on my blog where this post will live permanently, if you need to refer back to it – here.

Let us begin. 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

Building a Bridge

Straddie Salute

Another triathlon registration!

I have never really trained for a specific event before, and since signing up for my first triathlon I have thoroughly enjoyed having something to aim for. It has been fun to know that getting out of bed each morning to go to the gym has an end goal attached to it, as well as the greater purpose of maintaining a healthy body.

Even though I haven’t done it before, setting up a training program to complete a race has mostly come naturally, because I am at such a basic level that my ‘training’ simply revolves around going further each time. As I improve, my training will hopefully one day encompass getting faster, getting more efficient, getting better and getting more technical.  But for now, simply increasing distance and not drowning/falling off the bike/developing knee pain is enough to keep this girl happy.

Now that I have signed up for a proper triathlon, it is clear that the baby Bribie Triathlon is really just part of my training for the Olympic Distance triathlon I will be doing in Noosa in October 2016.  I guess that was always the intention, but the popularity of the Noosa Tri meant I had to bite the bullet and sign up for it before I have even done Bribie.

I personally couldn’t and wouldn’t attempt Noosa without doing Bribie first. I have heard that some people do jump straight into a full triathlon but I don’t think I could mentally take that on; I need to know I can survive it. So Bribie is smaller (easier?) and  less significant than Noosa, but still an essential piece of training to ensure I can line up at the start of an Olympic Distance Triathlon.

I could do as much swimming, biking and running as I want, but only races can really prepare you for races. The nerves, the packing, the nutrition requirements, the transition between each leg in huge areas full of thousands of other athletes’ gear, the mass swim start, the crowds of other cyclists on the bike route, the chaos and adrenalin. These are things that could overwhelm me or intimidate me just thinking about them, if I haven’t had a few mini practice runs before Noosa.

Which got me thinking that I should look into other opportunities to incorporate ‘race training’ before next October, as well as Bribie.
Continue reading

A Reality Check

don't panic

It’s not what it looks like, don’t panic

Swimming in the ocean for the first time was a bit of a wake-up call.  It is vastly different to swimming in a pool (obviously) but I also realised it’s not something that is easy to practice.  You need people around, you need to know you’re safe, you need to know a course, which changes depending on the tides… it’s not a case of simply showing up and jumping in to swim straight lines between ropes.

At the Noosa Triathlon in October next year, I have to swim 1500m in the ocean.  Not only is this further than I have completed in a pool (so far) I don’t even know how I would attempt to practice it in the ocean – that would be dangerous.  So apart from clocking up some serious laps in the pool, I decided that I had to come up with a Plan for OWS. Continue reading

The Great Pool Panic

This post, although edited, originally appeared on Instagram where I started this blog.

what to wear for your first triathlon

Ah, swimming. Or should I say ‘ARGH! Swimming!’  If you go too far wrong, you can drown or get eaten by a shark – so it’s pretty important that a triathlete gets this bit right.  I am confident that I could breast stroke just about any distance, but I would be too slow (I know this because I timed myself, in a desperate bid to convince the planet that I could be the first triathlete to complete all swim sections doing breast stroke) Continue reading