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

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

Race Day Dedications

Matilda the dog

Pick me!

A few weeks ago I had the idea that I wanted to get some masking tape to stick to my bike’s handlebar, so that I could write myself a little motivation message to look at when I tackle the longest part of my triathlon – the cycling leg.

When I first thought of it, I was imagining that I’d need this reminder at Noosa, when I will attempt the mammoth Olympic-distance triathlon I began dreaming about last September.  It’s going to be a tough race, probably in the middle of a hot day, and will demand about 4 hours of effort from me.

The little message I’m planning on is very simple – it’s a short dedication ‘For xxx’ with three names of special people I will think about when the going gets tough.  I’ve chosen the names because I feel sure that the thought of them will spur me on – but I’ll show you who they are when we get closer.

As the idea became a steadfast commitment, I realised I could also incorporate a race day dedication on the handlebars of my bike at the Straddie Salute triathlon.  And I immediately knew who I wanted to ride for. Continue reading

You’ve Got What It Takes

anzacday

In the lead-up to the Bribie Tri I thought that I wrote about freaking out over the whole thing A HELLUVA LOT (see here for example)

So I thought it went without saying: I thought everyone would simply know and understand that I have also been freaking out about the impending race at Straddie.

But then I got a message from someone I won’t name, saying that they were considering pulling out of the same race (in a fortnight’s time) because they weren’t ready and they were freaking out.  As though they were the only one.

Clearly, it seems that in trying to keep the blog a little more positive and light-hearted this time around, I have done a disservice to the three or four people who occasionally stop by and gawk at the photos of how terrible I look when ‘tri-ing’.  Because apparently it may seem that my massive ego is carrying me through this ‘Tri number 2’ process as though on the wings of a confident, calm and powerful eagle.

So, dear readers, pull your chair closer to your computer monitor and let me tell you a little story.

SPOILER ALERT:  There are no eagles carrying me through this godawful and terrifying process. 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

Aldi Love

Aldi Indoor Bike Trainer. Oooooh yeaaaah

Aldi Indoor Bike Trainer. Oooooh yeaaaah

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

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

Extreme Excitement

Walking the dog

Extreme excitement whilst walking the dog

I spent a lot of time feeling very nervous and unsure in the lead up to the baby Bribie Island Triathlon (see here, for example) and I have an inkling that things will go down in a similar fashion when we get close to the Straddie Salute Triathlon 2016.  The nerves, as you know, are already kicking in.

And when writing a blog, you write about your feelings (may explain why I seem to have more female readers than male, because FEELINGS are generally terrifying for the male population) which means that, the closer we get, the more likely this blog will reflect my feelings of uncertainty and anxiety.  Sorry about that.

So as I walked Matilda the dog this morning and said to myself ‘I just can’t wait for the Straddie Salute to be here!’ I decided I should make some effort to blog about these moments of extreme excitement.  You know: share the good feelings as well as the ‘bad’ feelings.  Just in case some of you were starting to get the impression that this triathlon gig is all about stress, fear and nervous poops.

SPOILER ALERT: It’s only partly about those things! 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