Thursday, December 29, 2011

What I never thought I'd know 12 months ago!

Inspired by Tri Fuel's "So you wanna be a Triathlete", which I blogged about some time ago, here is my personal list of what I never thought I'd know 12 months ago. I hope it'll teach you something, make you laugh or inspire you to reflect on your past 12 months, as another year comes to a close and the New Year begins.

What I never thought I'd know 12 months ago:
  1. Triathlons are EXTREMELY ADDICTIVE;
  2. You will plan your weekends around your swim, bike and run;
  3. You will spend your wage on new gear, race entries, training camps and pain and suffering instead of new dresses and alcohol;
  4. You will hate swimming more than you like it for the first year; 
  5. A quick release does not need to be fully removed to access the tyre (who would of thought?!); 
  6. You will learn new words such as A-race, brick and double-knick;
  7. You will set your alarm starting with the number 4 - all because you want to fit in a longer ride before work; 
  8. Triathletes clean their bikes weekly, not annually (whoops!!); 
  9. You can ride in the freezing cold and survive the headwind of the year - it just makes you stronger and those less than ideal race conditions seem relatively easy!;
  10. It will take you a full 12 months, but you will finally find swimming meditative;
  11. No matter how much you don't want to, when your Coach tells you to take a gel to get you home, you will take a gel to get you home;
  12. You will be passed and dropped on the bike many times - but it doesn't matter unless you make it matter;
  13. You will never be the fastest runner, but as soon as you stop competing with others, you can compete with yourself.......and more often than not, you will win!; 
  14. You will learn the meaning of and love nothing more than a post-training LLD*;
  15. You will start using acronyms!;
  16. You will look forward to your swim sessions;
  17. Some old friends will drift away and your tri-friends will become like family;
  18. You will find happiness in the simple camaraderie that is a tri-squad;
  19. You will voluntarily take part in "Hell Week";
  20. Triathlon will change your life.

* the infamous Tri Alliance "Little Lie Down".

Has triathlon changed your life? I'd love to hear your comments...x

And one more thing..

The importance of mental training..

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hell Week Report!

"Hell Week" (adj): the annual, much anticipated Tri Alliance (TA) event that is about completing as much as you can during the week between Christmas and New Year.

Day 1 started well (& very early!!), which you can read about here.  I then arrived in Townsville for Christmas with the family so I set out on my own, for the inaugural FNQ Hell Week. Bike-less and squad-less, mine was certainly different from my Melbourne counterparts, but here is what I learnt:

  • Hell Week without your bike only happens once (talk about learning the hard way!);
  • It is almost impossible to run in Townsville in December between the hours of 6am and 6pm;
  • My new definition of "Hell Week" is: running in Townsville in December between the hours of 6am and 6pm;
    *Possible slight exaggeration
  • Castle Hill is relatively easy to walk up, to run up - not so much. For those of you unfamiliar with Castle Hill, the incline is something like this:
  • I can run 50+km in a week, but I don't want to do it again for some time;
  • Thank god for the foam roller!!

Swim: 10km
Bike: 110km
Run: 52km
Foam Roller: LOTS!!

A big thank you to TA for your inspiration, as always (& to Roofie for the pic, top right).

It's now time for a slightly lighter training (read running) schedule & a massage! I have the Amy Gillett 120km ride in 4 days and then a 3 day TA Training Camp. Happy days!!

 Hell Week Summary:

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7

* estimation of indoor bike distance

Hell Week Day 7!

Being the final day, I thought I'd better give it my best shot to finish on a high note. 3 sessions.... high note: check!

#1: 2km swim

#2: Brick Session at the gym
Run: 2km WU
Bike-Run: [10min progressive hill climb + 1km run] x3
Run: 1km WD
+ gym circuit

#3: 6.5km Castle Hill run

Time to recap and reflect on the week that was!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hell Week Day 6!

Determined to beat the heat, I got up at 5.30am today to run. Not that 5.30am in unusual for me... but I am on holidays!! I'm a bit of a slow starter in the morning & I do love a caffeine hit & piece of toast before I hit the road.. so by the time I did, it was a little after 6am. I also chose to run by the beach today, in another vain attempt to keep cool. 6am... 2kms in... struggletown. I completed 8km, in the format below, but boy was I hot! I just keep telling myself how easy it's going to feel when I get back to Melbourne at the end of the week!

AM: Run
2km WU
4 x (300m "sprint" + 200m run through)
4 x (300m + 200m "sprint")
Di & I
2km CD
TOTAL: 8km

This afternoon I caught up with my one of my favourite people, Di, for a Castle Hill hit-out. Infamous to Townsville, it's a nice 6km round trip and we walked, so it was good to flush the legs out.

I still had energy to burn, so I went back to the Strand for just one lap this time, so a nice 4km to finish the day.

PM: Run
Splits: 5:59 6:07 6:02 6:08 (a little slower than I would of liked, but the legs are pretty tired from Hell Week!!)
TOTAL: 4km

6 down, 1 to go!!!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Hell Week Day 5!

A nice lazy start today, hanging out with my sis and her 2 pups. A slight food hangover perhaps?? - thank god Christmas is quite low key & involves just one meal in the Lowe household!

So my day started with Breakfast #1, a 4km walk with the dogs, Breakfast #2, then off the the gym for what I hoped would be a massive brick (& Christmas calorie burning) session... And it was!

Bike: 10min WU
Bike-Run: [10min progressive hill climb + 1km run] x3; [5min spin building to100+rpm for the final 90s + 500m run] x3
Bike: 5min WD
I'm really happy with my intervals today, having completed the 1kms at sub 5:30min/km pace and the 500ms at 4.35min/km pace. Happy days! I even finished the session with a nice quick gym circuit and stretch. Seems the carb loading yesterday has paid off!!

Lunch - nap - then time for a swim! A nice 1.5km recovery to finish Day 5. More food... and I'm almost ready for bed! Today really has been eat-train-sleep-repeat! LOVE.

Hell Week Day 4!

Christmas Day, so just one session today. I opted for a short run as, if you'd read my previous posts, it's bloody hot here!!! (I'm currently on holidays in sunny Townsville and missing the official Tri Alliance Hell Week in Melbourne).

6.30am.......and it's still boiling hot. 6km in 34:10 though - much better than yesterday!!
Splits: 5:53 5:47 5:38 5:37 5:37 5:36 + a 1km CD (Total: 7km).

So an average pace of 5:41km/hr is pretty consistent for me - not quite race pace (5.20km/hr), but it certainly felt like it considering the conditions in FNQ!
Av HR: 162
Max HR: 183

And I'm feeling it. Smashed the foam roller post run and a good Pilates session, but I was walking around (and napping!) like I'd run a marathon yesterday. I'm obviously a little worn out from a big year and the body is winding down now I'm back home with the parentals. Today (Boxing Day), the legs are still a little sore but I've taken the morning off to relax a little and my sis & I are just about to go for a walk with her dogs. Listening to the body is the key, which you may or may not know, is one of my current goals. I'll think about training (indoors) a little later on today (perhaps a nice brick at the gym is in order?). After all, I am on holidays.............

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Dear Santa.......x

Hell Week Day 3!

Yesterday was tough. I knew it was going to be hot, but at 7.30am I thought I could sneak in a quick run before the infamous NQ humidity set in. Oh how wrong I was! I was fine until about 3.5km in... taking my time and running (jogging) at a relatively slow 7min/km pace. My originally plan was to run 15km, so I set out quiet conservatively seeing as a) my longest runs have been 10km for some time now, b) I live and train in a not so sunny Melbourne and c) I always aim for a negative split :)

I won't go into too much detail as I'm about to run again (it's an hour earlier so I'm hoping a quick 5km will suffice), but let's just say I ended up walking the hills, adding in a few walking (30s) intervals and then shuffling the rest of the way home when I knew I just had 1.5km more to get through. Mental training... FAIL. I have so much more work to do before long course, but it was a good learning experience to say the least!

The things I will do differently are: a) bring my fuel belt! I know you're going to say it was very silly attempting a 15km run without fuel, but I am trying to get better at utilising fat... (well that's my excuse anyway - besides the fact I didn't bring any gels with me...), b) vito a sleep in so I run as early as possible when hopefully the weather is a little more bearable... and c) next year I'm bringing my bike!!!

I also swam 2km in the afternoon, which was a lovely reprieve from the heat. I can honestly say I have no idea how I survived 18+ Summers in this place!!

Day 4 begins........ Merry Christmas everyone xxo

Friday, December 23, 2011

Loving my holiday read - so inspiring!

Hell week!

Yesterday marked the first day of the annual Tri Alliance Hell Week. What's Hell Week I hear you ask? Basically, 7 days of hell :) Long rides, runs off the bike (or longer runs in the afternoon) and a swim every day, with the length dependant on whether you're a Sprint, Olympic, half IM or IM athlete.

Day 1: AM - 50km ride + 5km run off the bike; PM - 1.5km open water swim. Off to a good start!

Unfortunately (or fortunately), I miss the rest of the Melbourne based Hell Week as I am now in QLD with the family, but I've made the executive decision to do my own modified version, without my bike, so I can still get a nice training spike in while the extra time (& nap time!) I have allows for it!

Day 2: 3km swim set
As I flew in today it was a little tricky to get in a double session, but also perfect to rest the legs before a long run tomorrow morning. I'll be honest, it's not going to be easy being bike-less and I may have to resort to the gym some days as it's bloody hot here, but I know I will certainly gain some fantastic fitness benefits over the next 5 days!

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What I (re)learned tonight....

..... to make exercise an expression of who you are, gives you freedom.... and a way to be in the world.

Sometimes, it is really nice just to move, without the pressure of times, speeds or comparison to others. Sometimes, we need to take a step back and connect with our mortality. Will people remember you when you're gone because you ran sub 5min/km? Because you were the fastest swimmer? Or because you were a positive, inspiring and beautiful soul?

Thanks Bruce Davis for the reminder - so perfectly timed...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Love a good long ride!

It's been a while since I've been out on a TA Sunday long ride. Races, spectating a half IM, pace running, sleep ins... & looking back, it's actually 6 weeks! No wonder my bum was sore!!

The ride
Elwood-Port Melbourne-Mordi, I stayed with the squad. There's nothing quite like riding up the front of the pack with the boys!
Mordi, I got dropped :( Not to worry though, they were averaging 40km/hr!!
Made it to Frankston, where those that chose not to tackle Oliver's Hill were waiting. A quick re-fuel and re-group with those coming back from the climb and we were off! The main squad were hammering home... but I opted for a nice cruisy ride back with one of the guys from the squad (thanks Paddy!). I look forward to the day when I can keep up with the main group.

The stats
Distance: 95kms
Duration: 3:46 (Moving Time: 3:38)
Avg Moving Speed: 26.1 km/h
Max Speed: 44.9 km/h
Avg Bike Cadence: 76 rpm
Max Bike Cadence: 112 rpm
Avg HR: 141 bpm
Max HR: 175 bpm

1. An average of 30km/hr.
2. Consistent 90 rpms.
3. Keeping the HR under 180 - which I was very happy to see today!

....... smashed! But such a great way to start the day!!

Monday morning inspiration xx

Monday, December 12, 2011

Gatorade Race 2 - Elwood

The lead up
If you've read my previous post, you know how my lead up had been. Not ideal... but well timed to come good the day before race day!
In the hurt locker...

Race Day
Another duathlon - 1.4/20/5 in tough conditions with a very wet and windy lead up. The rain cleared by morning, which just left us with the headwind from hell on the way back up from Port Melbourne on the bike. I ws hurting by the second lap and looking forward to T2 but never really found my legs again for the run. Lucky they held up for me though! 5kms in 26:28 is quick for me and 30s faster than Race 1, so I've gotta be happy with that.. I just wasn't enjoying it at the time and can't believe I'm going to be doing double in less than 8 weeks!!

Official time -1:18:14.0
Splits - 6:23  1:06  42:51  1:30  26:28

A big thank you to Tri Alliance as always and to Simon from Lakeside Sports Medicine for my pre-race massage. Now for some more glute work to stop my damn TFLs blowing up on me!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

'Twas the day before Race 2..

I've been a little slack on the posts lately, but mainly because I've been pulling myself back together after a mini melt-down at training last Saturday. Without boring you with the details, I went out for a 10km run with TA and couldn't push above 6:20min/km..... & I had no idea why.
Tired? No - I had a raging Friday night & was in bed by 9.30pm.
Tight? No - I've been on the foam roller religiously & am always stretching.
Nutrition? Maybe - time to go Paleo??......................
The legs were so heavy & for some reason it really upset me - mainly because I've been putting in the hard yards & know I can run at least 5:40min/km in training... Anyway, I canned the rest of the session and opted for a nice long swim instead. Just what the legs needed.

Since Sat, I've pretty much had my head in taper mode. Even though Race 2 is only SD, I figured there was no better time than now to have a relatively easier week. So here's the week that was:
Mon: 5km run (27.08 - & I was quite impressed considering); 2km squad swim
Tues: 60min WT session; strength circuit with a client
Wed: 2.5km swim set
Thurs: TA combo session- WT + 3x500m runs off the bike; more WT; ocean swim
Fri: Elwood-Black Rock ride (~25km)
Today: TA pre-race session - 1km WU; 3x(transition practice - ride into run [2x500m;1x1km]); entries & exits + 2x300m swim. Leg soak!
Drum roll................. and I'm feeling good! So I'm excited for tomorrow's race (now) - fingers crossed we actually get a triathlon unlike Race 1! Only in Melbourne.........

Enough said!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pace running is so much fun!

Yesterday, I paced the ladies at the Sussan Women's Fun Run. 5km; 35 mins... so not much more than a trot for me, but it was so lovely to give back and inspire others. I ran with one lady who has just come back from knee surgery and another who never thought she could run the whole way. I even had one lady come and thank me post-race with tears in her eyes, who had cut 4mins of her 2010 time. So warm & fuzzy!!

Quote of the day!

"On days you don't feel like running at all, tell yourself you are just going to jog around the block. Then go do it. Nine times out of 10, those few minutes of movement will be enough to kick you into gear, and you will want to keep going. And that one time out of 10? Hey, at least you've run one block. Which is one block more than most folks will run that day."
- Mark Remy, The Runner's Rule Book