Thursday, April 12, 2012

Season (& blog) over!

So.. my first full season is over and I'm just about to wrap up recovery week 2 and get back into squad and HM training over winter. This will be my final blog installment as I've chosen to reflect on the next chapter of my life away from what is the world wide web. I look forward to reading back over this in years to come, to remember how far I've come, to stay humble and to continue to learn from each day, race and season as my journey as an age-grouper continues. 

Thank you to all of you who made my 2011/12 season what it was. To Katee P and Gillmergirl especially, your inspiration and guidance I am eternally grateful for. To everyone else, thank you for believing. You know who you are xx

Remember - "It doesn't matter how slow you go, as long as you do not stop".


Steph xx

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Gatorade Race 6 - Portarlington

The lead up
In the last two weeks I've been training with a new squad and have felt really inspired and on track both with my training and my outlook to triathlon. My new coach has been great and we've set some exciting goals moving into winter and more importantly, for 2013 (but more on that later!). It's amazing what a little belief and re-focus can do. I'm also lucky enough to have some amazing & inspiring people in my life, for which I am eternally grateful for.

Race Day
As I have never raced a 750/26/8, I decided not to set an overall goal time (even though I secretly hoped for a sub-2hr) and wanted to focus more on enjoying each leg for what it was and having fun. 
The great news is that I did that and more! I beat all expectations and had a fantastic hit out on a beautiful course. Portarlington is definitely the course of the series and combined with having a few days out of Melbourne, I couldn't have asked for a better weekend!

Official time - 1:57:42
Splits - 17:57  2:34  53:32  1:33  42:05

What I (re)learned
- Everything is relative. Triathlon has been fantastic for re-teaching me the lessons I haven't quite mastered yet. I've been working hard on not comparing myself to others and although I'm not 100% yet, I'm certainly getting better!
- A little belief goes a long way. Once the hard work is done, the rest is in your head. The key is to be in the moment.. as after all, that's all we have.
- I need to buy the most fluorescent towel around. Twice now I've lost my place coming into T2. You'd think I would have learned after Race 5!

Portarlington may be my last race of the season and what a perfect way to end it! I am feeling the fittest I have ever felt. Life is wonderful.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Running & I.

If it's good enough for Lance, it's good enough for me.


“Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.”
- Mahatma Gandi

Staying inspired is the key xx

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

New squad, new training regime, new outlook.

I've achieved lots of my goals this season. But I still have a lot of work to do. I've had a good hard look at myself, my training, my attitude... and have found inspiration outside my comfort zone (who would have thought?).

I'm grateful for everything (even if I don't blog as consistently as I should), but it's time to be a little selfish. I need to make the right decisions for myself and find a training program and squad that can support my goals. I need to structure my training efficiently and stick to a build that I know is taking me to where I want to be. And I may have found just that. Only time will tell, but if my first run session this morning is anything to go by, things are looking good. I'm excited for my first swim session in the morning. Step outside your comfort zone. It's where the magic happens xx

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Monday, February 27, 2012


A constant challenge I face is not comparing myself to others. I'll admit though, some days are harder than others. And today is one of those days. I feel like I work hard, but today all I can think about is:
  • When will I swim 100's on the 2:00?
  • When will I stay with the pack on a long ride?
  • When will I run a sub-25min 5km?

Time will tell. But right now, all I can do is keep going. Consistency is the key. After all, Rome wasn't built in a day. I just needed reminding.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!

Today was one of those days. A long ride off the back of a 16km run (and my first in over a year), was never going to be easy.. and the heat plus the headwind back from Frankston made sure of that! But that's what training it all about. You can't pick the conditions on race day and long predominately solo rides are perfect mental toughness training. I was happy with my nutrition plan, but more on that later, and I actually enjoyed myself out there today. Don't get me wrong, it was tough, but at the same time, very rewarding.  For future reference, I did feel a little uncomfortable at the 75km mark, but it was my first long ride on my new bike, so it's only upwards from here.

With lots of races of late, it's been nice to have a full weekend of training. 16km run, 30km ride and 1.2km open water event yesterday, 90km on the bike today. Happy to bank all of that!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

My big news!

If you know me, you'll know I've been happy taking my time in short course, getting fitter, faster & stronger before making the progression to long course. Suddenly, however, I've realised that in a little over 18 months, I'll be 30. Don't get me wrong, I love birthdays and I'm more than fine with getting a little older, but I thought it was the perfect time to refocus and set some goals for the future. And I'm sure you all know how organised we need to be with our race schedule, with entries often opening and selling out 12 months prior to the event.  

So, the time has come. I, Stephanie Jane Lowe, will be crossing to the dark side. 70.3 here I come! It's not until August 2013, but I like I said, I'm still happy in short course and I'm hoping that the 18 months I have on my side will give me enough time to for a sub-6 HIM. Game one!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Gatorade Race 5 - Elwood

The lead up
I had a fantastic race week which finished with the perfect pre-race session and I was like a kid at Christmas time waiting for the first hit out on my new bike. I knew Race 3 at Brighton would be pretty tough to top, but I was excited to see what would unfold.

Race Day
A home-ground advantage and perfect conditions - I could not have asked for a better morning. I was redlining the whole way, but I came out of the water in 11mins, felt super quick and comfortable on the bike and even managed to beat my Brighton run time (by 10s - it still counts!). 5.05min/km - so unbelievably close!

Official time - 1:18:00 = another PB!
Splits - 12:23  1:32  37:05  1:32  25:27

What I learned
- Redlining feels so good, at the finish line!
- There's no greater satisfaction than passing men on their 5K bikes during the bike leg :)
- I'm more competitive than I realised! The best thing about this part of the season is that you know the girls who finish near you and therefore who to mow down the bike & not let catch you on the run! 
- It is possible to get identical transition times :) I lost my place briefly coming off the bike leg, (I was thinking category 6, not row 9), so next time hopefully I can crack 1:18 with a sharper T2.

Happy to be nearly done!
I have 2 more chances this year with Portarlington and St Kilda to cap off the series. I may have to wait until next season, but I will run 5min/km pace this year!! 

On a side note, I never thought I'd be one of "those people" who finish a race & go out for more. But I am. I took the new bike out for a spin after brekky and I couldn't be happier!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Race Week - Saturday!

Perfect swim conditions!
What a morning! A good course recon is perfect to settle any race nerves and even though Elwood is "home-ground" for us,  I couldn't resist as Tri Alliance pre-race sessions are always so much fun!

I had an awesome short & sharp hit out on the new bike, some (much needed!) transition practice into a 2km run, followed by a short swim.

The legs are feeling great! My new bike is just so smooth & fast I know that it will help not only my bike time, but also the way the legs feel coming off into the run. I ran <5.10min/km pace today and easy. Fingers crossed I can hold it for 5km! Now all that's left is a little carb-loading with the TA boys and an early night. Game on :)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Race Week - Friday!

My new love!

A yoga class to start my day & I was straight to LSDsports to pick up my new bike! I decided on a Trek Lexa SLX, which is a women's specific bike. Basically it has a shorter head stem and a good frame fit. As I haven't ridden a TT bike or used aerobars before, I obviously don't want to start too aggressive and the H3 frame is perfect for that. The components are 105s, which is significantly better than what I have been riding, so I'm sure I'll feel the benefits straight away.  Not to mention that my Avanti weighed about 10 kilos, so I should be flying up the "hills" on Beach Road now.

A big thank you to Cam from LSD for the Retul and TLC. I'm looking forward to a decent test-ride in the morning and most importantly, a PB on Sunday!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Race Week - Thursday!

Yesterday I also added in a 6km run and the legs were a little tight in different places and quite heavy after my massage the day before. I'm happy that I got in early and know I'll come good for race day.  It did make my decision on today's training easy though - a perfect chance to rest the legs. A sleep in, a little Pilates and foam roller release this morning and a nice yoga class to finish the day and I'm feeling good. Time for another early night. I get my new bike tomorrow so it's a great week all round!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Race Week - Wednesday!

8.5 hours sleep and I think I've finally caught up on the sleep debt I've been carting around the last few weeks. I love waking up to no alarm at 6am & feeling ready to take on the day!

Wednesdays are always solo swim days for me and lately I've been struggling with them. 2km has felt like eternity and I almost considering making Wednesday my rest day. Today, however, was a different story. I've found my love for the black line again! And not a moment too soon.

WU: 500m build (in 12 flat - not bad considering my best TT is 11.10)
MS1: 10x50m sprints, 30s rec
MS2: Pyramid
200 buoy, 100 paddle, 200 buoy + paddle, 100 paddle, 200 buoy
WD: 3x(50m FS, 50m BS)

It's going to be a good day!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Race Week - Tuesday!

Warming up with my T&MS mag
I love my flexible work hours but sometimes it makes it hard to get up early the next day, when I'm not getting home and winding down until after 9pm the night before. Yesterday was a long day, and as I'm all about training based on how I feel, I made the call last night that a sleep-in was in order. I woke at 7am feeling a little sluggish, but loving the fact that I didn't have to rush and could contemplate my morning session over a nice strong coffee.

I usually ride on Tuesday mornings and so the hardest thing about the late start became the thought of coming back in peak hour on Beach Road and worrying about losing my life. Solution? Wind trainer! + a short run off the bike for good measure :)

WU: 10min easy spin; 5x1min @100rpm, 1min rec

MS: Pyramid
1min sprint @ 100rpm, 1min rec
2min hill climb, 1min rec
3min race pace, 1min rec
4min (2min hill climb, 2x30s out of the saddle, 30s rec), 1min rec
5min tempo, 1min rec
4min (2min hill climb, 2x30s out of the saddle, 30s rec), 1min rec
3min race pace, 1min rec
2min hill climb, 1min rec
1min sprint @ 100rpm, 1min rec
1min easy spin - runners on & out the door

+ 3x1km intervals, 1min rec

WD: 1km easy jog + stretch

What an awesome session. The legs felt great on the WT and my 1km run intervals were quick! My last interval was so close to 5min/km and even though it was assisted by a small downhill segment, I just love the feeling when I can keep the pace and still control the heart rate (max of 152bpm in the last 1km interval). Everything is coming together nicely and perfectly timed for Sunday... AND I have a massage this afternoon to look forward to - Happy Valentines Day to me!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Race Week - Monday!

8km PB! What a perfect way to start the week. I must admit, I never thought I'd be "one of those people" who like Mondays, but I do. After my schedule-free weekend, the legs feel fresh and I am excited to race Elwood SD on Sunday. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

First Oly - recovery continued..

In my previous post, I documented my nutrition and recovery post-race. I was feeling great and happy with (most of) my first Olympic Distance Triathlon. On Wednesday, however, I ran into a little road block and was feeling quite tired and less than my usual motivated self. I must admit, I do still get caught up in comparing myself to others and upon reflection, I now see that this plays more of a role than I first realised in how I feel some days.

I still swam twice on Wednesday (1 pool & 1 open water) and rode 50km and ran 7km on Thursday, so in hindsight, I was probably being a little hard on myself. It's nice to reflect though, and appreciate what I do day-in and day-out. I'm certainly not the fastest, but I am consistent. Training is in my DNA, but I also like to recognise when I need to change the schedule slightly and listen to the way I'm feeling. I took Friday off triathlon and started my day with my favourite hot yoga class. Divine.

With a lot of the Tri Alliance squad away racing or spectating Geelong or Falls, this weekend has also been the perfect chance to catch up on some sleep and train on my own clock. I've really enjoyed the break in the schedule and today, I feel fresh again after a great run session including hill repeats. I'll swim this afternoon and have an early night so I start the week fresh and prepare well for my next race, which is a sprint distance at Elwood in a week's time. My goal now is to stay focused on me, improving against myself and worrying less about others or when I'll get faster or more efficient. Patience is a virtue, as they say... (a big thank you to those in my life who keep reminding me - you know who you are xx)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

First Oly - nutrition and recovery

I wanted to document my nutrition and recovery from my first OD triathlon, so I can look back and see what worked and learn from the race that was.

Race nutrition
My nutrition plan was based on the fact that I knew I was going to be out there for over 3 hours and wanted to take on approximately 30g of carbs or 120cals per hour. This may not work for you, so please make sure you try any nutrition plan in training first - which is exactly what I've been doing over the last few months.

For training sessions longer than 90 minutes, I always eat within the first 60 and again at approximately 30 minutes intervals from there.  During races, however, my heart rate is a lot higher so I have to slightly modify my plan of attack.  On Sunday, I combined my intakes into a frequent feeding plan, which meant I consumed ~60g carbs over the bike leg. This took me up to the 2+hour mark, so it was perfect timing wise. As my heart rate is always higher in race situation, I use small bite size pieces of my homemade energy bars and dried dates, which were ready to go in my bento box. I came off the bike ready to run and the legs were surprisingly ok. My final intake just had to be a gel as there's no way I can consume solids while running, even in training. My average heart rate for the 10km was 161bpm, so needless to say, breathing and getting to each water station was my priority! I took the gel (20g carbs; 80 calories) at the 6km mark, which was enough to get me home in 58 minutes - 2 minutes under my goal 10km time. I know a lot of people, including myself, are against gels, but the practicality of them is just second to none. I personally only use them as an emergency, or in races when I have no other option. I have some fantastic natural gels which I highly recommend, so if you are interested in finding out more, please feel free to contact me.

Post-race, I was high as a kite. The endorphins were flying and my hunger was nowhere to be found. It may have been something to do with the upset stomach I had pre-race, but I'm not going to go into details. For future reference though, it was either the food I carbloaded with at the wedding, race nerves, or both. There's a first time for everything - I just hope it doesn't happen too often, as the one thing SuperSprint have to do is sort out their bathroom situation on race day!

Importantly though, post-race, I kept eating small frequent meals and staying hydrated all afternoon. I made the decision to rest the legs instead of heading out to celebrate and took Monday off training all together.

Two days post-race
The good news is that I'm feeling fresh as a daisy! I was a little tired and emotional on Sunday night and yesterday morning, but I think that was more to do with having my Mum and twin sister here all weekend, a wedding the night before I raced and nowhere near my required minimum of 7 hours sleep. So whilst it wasn't the ideal race prep, I am happy with how I have pulled up. I rode this morning (just a cruisy 35km) and the legs feel great. I'm pretty ravenous today, but the key for me is just to go with it. Lots of natural nutrition, water and sleep is the best recovery in my books.

So overall, my nutrition and recovery has been a success. On that note, it's time for lunch!

Monday, February 6, 2012


"The greatest battle is not the physical but the psychological. The demons telling us to give up when we push ourselves to the limit can never be silenced for good. They must always be answered by the quiet, the steady, dignity that simply refuses to give in.

Courage. We all suffer. Keep going."

~ Graeme Fife

Gatorade Race 4 - Sandringham

The lead up 

The lead up to my first OD has been interesting to say the least. Two weeks ago, my confidence was soaring after Race 3, but some late nights (and maybe one too many glasses of wine), had led to one or two pretty average (& tough!) long runs.... and I was starting to worry. Looking back, it seems silly to have even given it a second thought, but for some reason I couldn't shake how much the 10km was going to hurt. Hindsight. To go from worrying about the 1.5km swim (when I first signed up to OD), to feeling this way about the run was completely new to me, but lucky I have some amazing people around me to constantly remind me how I've much work I've really done. Running always hurts anyway, so I know I just have to work on my relationship with the dread "h" word :)

On a more positive note, it's so nice to have my open water mojo and be looking forward to the swim. Last season I barely got through the swim, so what a difference 12 months makes!

Race Day
After seeing 55km/hr winds forecast, I had decided against setting a goal time for the bike and instead, focused on the swim/run. I wanted to swim a 35min 1.5km and run a sub-60 10km. And I did! My main aim though, was just to finish and set a benchmark for many more OD's to come. 

Official time - 3:16:21.2
Splits - 38:53  3:14  1:33:55  2:12  58:05

What I learned
- Sandringham is a race of it's own! I raced the sprint distance there last year, but it's funny how you forget. I came out of the water at 35mins, but the hill run up to transition adds another 3-4mins it seems! I felt good though and had my heart rate under control, which is distinctly different to what I do remember from last year. I really enjoyed the swim. Yep, you heard it here first - I enjoy open water swimming!
- I have a lot of work to do: on the bike and with my relationship with pain. I knew it was going to be tough in the wind, but when my lower back flared up pretty much as soon as I faced the headwind, I was in the hurt locker. I thought I had resolved my back pain following training camp earlier in the year, but when it comes down to it, I absolutely have to get a new bike before I race again. I don't want to sound like I'm laying blame, but I know the bike really contributed to how much I struggled yesterday. I was uncomfortable, the gears are almost shot, the chain fell off - it was just a debacle really. And my time says it all. 1:33 for a 40km?! I know it was windy, but I've ridden in the wind before, and I can ride faster than that!
- Two out three ain't bad! 
- I may need to adjust my new race suit rules (from Race 3). I saw photos of me post-race and they are not pretty. So practical but possibly the most unflattering photos I've ever seen!
- What I love most about triathlons is inspiring others. We were all in the hurt locker out there, and to run past someone and offer words of encouragement, is really what it's all about. To Pete Battrick, the gentlemen in the 65+ age group who finished last, with the course being packed down around him - you inspire me! I hope I'm still doing the same when I'm his age!

First OD: check! Time to focus on speed before #2 (which I'm yet to enter) and then a big winter to get sub-3 for Noosa later in the year. But first, I have Race 5 in 2 weeks and then the BRW to wrap up February - it's going to be a big month!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Keep moving forward!

It's the night before my first OD, a goal I've been working towards all season. I've done the work and now all I need to do is put it all together and keep moving forward (thanks Chrissy!). I've decided against setting a goal time, as the conditions may be far from ideal (55km/hr winds - hurt locker anyone?) and instead, aim to finish with a smile on my face, knowing I have given it my best shot. Good luck to all those racing tomorrow - I hope you get what you are looking for x

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

'Twas the week before Sandy..

I actually can't believe I'm racing my first Olympic Distance triathlon this Sunday. It seems like a lifetime ago when I first signed up for the series and began my transition from Sprint Distance.

I'm excited, I'm nervous, I'm a little afraid of the unknown.. but importantly, I know I've done the work. I'm feeling solid in the open water, strong on the bike & I know my run will come together on race day.  The last few long runs I've done haven't been fantastic, but I had a good race specific run today and my confidence is back. All that's left now is rest, a light combo session or two and a yoga class for good measure. Bring on Sunday!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Getting my nutrition right!

Today's long ride was all about getting my nutrition right - and I'm pretty happy with the result!

Pre-ride nutrition:
1 piece of organic rye bread with peanut butter
1 protein smoothie: 250ml malt-free soy milk, 1 banana, 1 tbsp cacao, 1 scoop protein powder

Ride nutrition:
1hr mark - 1 piece of organic rye bread with peanut butter
1hr 30min mark - 1 piece of organic rye bread with peanut butter
2hr mark - 1/2 homemade energy bar
2hr 30min mark - 1/2 homemade energy bar
3hr mark - finished! No food yet as I was straight out the door for a run.

Garmin Stats
Distance: 80km
Ride Time: 3:05
Average Speed: 25.3km/hr
Average Cadence: 88rpm
Average HR: 133bpm
Calories: 2058

1. No gels!
2. Minimal back pain!
3. So close to 90rpms!
4. HR control!
5. an 8km run off the bike!!!

Overall, a great day out. It was tough as I got dropped from the group quite early, but they were hammering right from the start... and there was no way I could keep my HR low even if I tried to hang on! I made the call early to go at my own pace, particularly as today's ride had such a particular focus for me.

I'm still not quite sure I had enough food (~30g carbs & 200 cals/hr) as I felt I was fading at the 60km mark, but I must have gotten a second wind - usually the last thing I feel like doing post-ride is running!

To get in the recommended 60g carbs/hr seems almost impossible right now, but I'm willing to give it a try - I'll just need to do things differently next time, as I couldn't have eaten more actual food. 

Next time:
1. Liquid calories. Eating peanut butter and bread resembles clag glue while your moving and nearly choking on quinoa is far from ideal.... The whole breathing heavily and eating thing is something I really haven't mastered yet :)
2. More carbs/calories. I look forward to a long ride where I feel strong the whole way home.
3. Faster acting carbs (e.g a banana, dried fruit) on the way home. My bars are great but the fats are obviously better earlier in the ride..

I'm one step closer to my goal. I would love to hear your long ride success stories - after all, nutrition is the fourth discipline and I'm determined to get it right.

A little inspiration xx

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The importance of goal setting.

I frequently blog about my goals and I love nothing more than checking back to make sure I'm on track. You all know I want to run consistently at 5min/km pace, but I may have failed to mention that it has also been a goal of mine to get at least one "long run" back in the training program. With OD on the cards, just running 10km isn't enough and I must admit, that's the farthest I've run in a very long time. Until today :)

14km... done! It wasn't easy and there may have been a few swear words thrown around, but here's what I (re)learned:

1. Drinks on a Friday night are not conducive to your best long run :)
2. I can run 14km! (I know I can, as I've trained for & ran a half before - I just needed reminding!)
3. Playing mind games gets me home faster. Just like Race 3 - I used speed intervals (this time 400m on/400m off) to keep things interesting and pick up my overall pace. I'm on to a winner here.
4. Mental toughness is where it's at.
5. I can do anything I set my mind to!

I'm wrapped. A decent HM time is now my next goal. Long runs, + 10% each week, are back. And you can hold me to that :)

For now... it's sleep time. Tomorrow is all about the long ride and getting my nutrition right. In case you haven't read my Queenscliff Camp report, click on the link to read my plan of attack. Stay tuned....

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Homemade Energy Bars!

I wanted to share my homemade Quinoa, Date and Almond Energy Bars with you, as I am passionate about natural nutrition and know many triathletes out there are too! These are perfect for your long rides, morning tea or even as a quick snack after training if you're on the run. There's no need to buy expensive, processed, sugar-filled bars when you can whip these up in 10 minutes!

Quinoa, Date and Almond Energy Bars


- 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or use coconut oil spray if you can source it)
- 1 cup quinoa flakes

- 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1/2 cup almonds, chopped 
- 1/2 cup honey 
- 1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
- 10-12 dried dates, chopped

  1. Preheat grill.
  2. Place quinoa, coconut and almonds onto a lightly greased baking tray and toast for 7-10 minutes, stirring mid-way.
  3. Pour toasted mix into a large bowl and stir through dates.
  4. In a medium saucepan, add vanilla, honey and salt and bring to the boil (about 4-5 minutes until thick), stirring constantly. The key is in the honey - make sure you have a dark brown syrup.
  5. Pour hot syrup over dry mix and combine thoroughly.
  6. Grease a cookie sheet pan or cake tin with coconut oil.
  7. Pour mixture into greased pan and press firmly until flat (grease your hands with coconut oil to prevent sticking). Sprinkle with left over coconut. 
  8. Once at room temperature, cut into bars. Makes 10-12 serves or cut into bite sizes to fill your bento box with natural goodness!

For more great ideas, visit Natural Nutrition Melbourne or follow me on Twitter: @natnutritionmel

Delicious and all natural - you are what you eat!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Today's session was a ripper!

After accidentally leaving my alarm on (an unnecessary 5.30am wake up - what the??) I dozed for another half hour before I couldn't stand the tossing and turning (& grumbling in my belly) any longer. A beautiful morning in Melbourne, I decided on a nice bike/run session as I now had more time than originally planned.

A Black Rock round trip is a perfect 30km from my place and I made it down there with an elapsed time of just over 35 minutes. I'm feeling strong on the bike of late and am determined to stay as close to 90rpm as possible, no matter what gear that means I'm in. On the way back, the headwind made it a little tough, but it didn't even add 5 minutes to my time (even though it felt that way)!, so I'm pretty happy with that. Drum roll please.... my average cadence was 87rpm - so close!!

A month ago now, I set some bike goals I had actually forgotten about. Looking back, I had not only planned to stick to 90rpms back then, but also aimed to keep the HR under 180bpm - another big tick for this morning's ride. With an average HR of 134 and a max of 165bpm, I'm on a roll. Riding solo, I never get my HR quite as high as I do with the squad, but I'm certainly feeling fitter, which is the main thing. My third goal of an average speed of 30km/hr wasn't quite there this morning, but on race day, my average speed was 31km/hr! So I'm on certainly on track. It also proves to me how important goal setting is. Have you set your goals for January yet?

Off the bike and into a quick 4km, the legs felt good and I was feeling alive for the first km. Of late, I've been finding the second km quite tough, so if anyone else has experienced the same thing, I would love to hear how you tackle it!! I picked up the pace again for the 3rd km and then cruised on home for the last. I still can't get over the difference 20s/km makes. I now feel like I could run forever at 6.00min/km pace, but if I drop it to 5.35-5.40min/km, my heart rate jumps to 95%! I look forward to the day when 5.40min/km is my new recovery pace :)

What a brilliant start to the day!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Gatorade Race 3 - Brighton

The lead up

2011 ended with an awesome Hell Week and 2012 started with the TA Queenscliff camp and finding my running mojo last week -  I couldn't ask for a better race lead up!  So things were already looking good and I was feeling relaxed and ready pre-race - which is the key really, don't you think?! Or perhaps it was the home made GF spag bol and glass of red I chose as my Saturday evening meal? :)

Race Day
The first actual triathlon of the year (with Race 1 & 2 having the swims cancelled due to the weather) was the race of my career! I felt strong in the swim, I cut 4 minutes off my Race 2 bike time (and rode a 2 minute PB!) and my run time was out of control. For me to run a 25.38 is unheard of and you know what that means?! My long-term goal of running 5min/km is getting closer by the minute! Happy days!!

Official time -1:18:39.4
Splits - 11.21  1:48  38.27  1:23  25:38

What I learned
- I need to start wider in the swim. Yesterdays swim start was not my best (gotta love mass swim starts!) and I had a lovely lady swimming diagonally in front of me for the first 100m or so. I stayed (relatively) calm but let's just say it was far from ideal...
- I need to succumb to wearing a race suit. A 1.48 T1 is just ridiculous.. and all because I was putting a singlet on so as to not subject the rest of the field to me in a crop top and knicks! I would of gone sub 1.18 had I not spent that extra time getting dressed!
- 90rpm is the key. It seems so logical now I've put it into practice but prior to yesterday, I had never actually raced to cadence. A 2 minute PB and I'm obviously on to a winner here. Imagine when I get my new bike!!!
- My new Garmin rules (that lead to finding my running mojo) are here to stay. From now on I only check my pace at each km interval and if I absolutely need to in the first km if I feel I am going out too hard.
- Run intervals are the key. I broke yesterdays run into a 2km "warm up", 2km of 200m on/200m off and a 1km sprint to the finish. And it worked! I really like the on/off intervals as I can run comfortable at 5.40min/km, but that won't lead to a run PB... so a few sprints certainly help to pick the overall speed up. And for the first time this season, I really enjoyed the run. Don't get me wrong, it still hurt, but I'm pretty sure that spinning at 90rpm for the bike leg contributed to the fresh(er) legs than in previous races. What an epiphany (insert sarcasm :))!

Race of the season: check! There is now only 2 weeks to my first OD race in Sandringham and I couldn't be happier with that lead up!

Monday morning inspiration xx

Friday, January 13, 2012

Tri Alliance Camp #1 - Queenscliff

Last weekend I attended my first Tri Alliance training camp. Friday-Sunday, it more of a social camp but I also achieved some great training milestones and a few epiphanies along the way.

Friday: Brinn, Katee & I (right) made the trek from Melbourne on Friday afternoon and arrived at the lodge around 4pm. I had already done my training for the day, as tonight was more about settling in and going through the itinerary for the next 2 days.

Saturday AM: 90km ride.
0-30km - I started strong and for the first 30km, stayed right behind Coach Darren and Brinn, the little speedstar. I didn't feel like I was working too hard, although it appeared the boys were taking it pretty easy! We then stopped for a quick snack (one of my infamous home made energy bars) and to split with the beginners who were riding a shorter course.
30-60km - The next 30km were tough. Hills, hills and more hills. My back started to hurt (again) and that's when I had epiphany #1. I've finally realised why!! A few months ago now, an IM friend of mine moved my handlebars down so my wrists wouldn't be in flexion (as I was experiencing a little wrist pain), but what this did was increase my reach to hand position and obviously put too much load on my lower back. Light bulb! Secondly, prior to 4 months ago, I was working close to full-time as a Pilates Instructor, which meant lots of core work, not to mention the incidental training day in and day out. Epiphany #2: back to Pilates!
60-90km - More food along the way (1 banana & a gel as I was in struggletown) and I pretty much just battled it out until the finish. The legs felt pretty tired but it was more the discomfort I was experiencing. NOT GOOD!

Nutritionally, I have a lot of work to do. As a Nutritionist, I have good knowledge on what I should be consuming (i.e 1g CHO/kg BW/hr) but in practice, I seem to be falling short. It is more due to the fact that I really churn through the calories on a long ride (Garmin Stats: 3hrs 40mins - 2288 cals), so I need to consume more than the average Joe. I also struggle with too much fructose and try to avoid gels, so the next few long rides are going to be all about experimentation for me. My first step is to start with a more savoury bar, so I can still consume a banana without a sugar headache and sore stomach. If that doesn't work, my second step is to try liquid calories. Stay tuned!

Teaching core stabilisation to the squad

In between our double today, coach Katee & I ran a Core & Flexibility workshop for the rest of the squad. Having worked as a Pilates Instructor for 7 years, I moved into a full time role as a Nutritionist 5 months ago and haven't taught since. It was so nice to be back teaching and sharing knowledge and I felt inspired to teach again one day soon...

Saturday PM: 10km run
I was pretty much in the hurt locker the whole way but for my first 10km on a 90km bike day, I'm (trying) not to be too hard on myself. Most importantly, this week my running mojo has returned! :)

Saturday night we hit the local pub for a big feed and right is a pic of our table booking. "Trilines" - classic!

Sunday: my first 2km ocean swim!
A weather contingency plan was put in place, which led to a 4x500m swim with a 250m beach run in between. It took me 57 minutes, so it wasn't pretty, but I was just happy to be out there for that long - comfortable and strong. My first two 500's were just over 10 minutes, so quite consistent and on par with my time trial late last year. The arms were pretty fatigued by the last lap, but I only need to do 1.5km at Sandy (Feb 5), so I'm aiming for a 35min swim at my first OD tri! It was so lovely to swim at Queenscliff too, with (fairly) flat conditions and water so clear you could see the schools of fish below. VERY different to my local - Elwood Beach back in Melbourne.

The rest of Sunday consisted of a fun Olympics style triathlon, lunch and a clean up before hitting the road. The whole weekend was lots of fun and whilst the bike/run volumes were no different to what I do week in week out, I did take away a few things to work on. Time to sort of my Nutrition and keep the running mojo I have since found!! I'm already looking forward to the next one.... with increased training volumes as a great spike to my already (relatively) crazy schedule!

No regrets!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


TT Swim

This morning marked my first official TT pool swim. A beautiful morning in Melbourne, the obvious choice was to head to Prahran Pool to the outdoor lanes. We jumped in the fast lane, which I wouldn't normally do, but there was only one other guy swimming and he certainly wasn't sprinting! So everything seemed fine until Michael Klim arrived! Thankfully he was swimming in the reserved lanes, so I was safe :)

WU: 100 flip, 100 free, 100 pull; 4x50m builds
MS: 500m TT - Time: 11.10
WD: 100 flip, 100 free
TOTAL: 1.2km

Overall, I'm happy with my time. 11.10 is certainly a lot quicker than I used to be and my PB of 10 flat in the ocean was with a very helpful current on the way back into shore. 2012 is now all about monthly TTs, so I can get a good idea of how I'm performing. Thanks to the lovely Katee P for the inspiration!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Amy Gillett Ride 2012

Before the ride

This morning I made the trek to Geelong for the 7th annual Amy Gillett Ride.  For those of you that don't know, Amy Gillett was was an Australian track cyclist who was tragically killed in a training accident in 2005. Amy's ride was originally created as a memorial ride to mark her passing and has now become a “must do” event for riders who love a challenge and want support the cycle-safety initiatives of the Amy Gillett Foundation.

Happy at half way
A scorcher of a day in Melbourne, the temperature was already on the rise by the time we rolled out of Eastern Park at 8.30am. Our original plan was shortened to 70km, which I was very grateful for by the time we reach the finish at 11.45am. Whilst I really wanted to do the 120km, at 42C, it was just ridiculous!

A beautiful scenic ride around Geelong, Barwon Heads and Ocean Grove, I look forward to doing it again next year.. in hopefully slightly cooler conditions! A big thank you to Aime & Josh for a great morning!

Hot & sweaty at the finish!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Goals - 2012

I always find it really interesting looking back over my previous posts. On September 6th, I first blogged about my goals and I am happy to say that less than 4 months later, I can tick them all off the list! On November 17th, I set some new goals and whilst some are still in progress, I am very much on track.

Here are my new goals for 2012 and beyond:

1. Run consistently closer to sub 5min/km. At the moment I'm finding some days I can run 5.20-5.40min/km and other days I struggle to run sub-6. I haven't, as yet, been able to track a pattern to my inconsistency - but I'm working on it!;
2. Budget and save for a new road bike, Noosa 2012 and winter riding gear;
3. Improve my mindset and my relationship with the dreaded p word (that is, pain);
4. Inspire others and spread the love that is triathlon;
5. Complete my first full race season - faster, fitter and stronger than ever!
6. Stay grateful.

For those of you that are interested, I have started a new blog - "2012- my year of gratitude". I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I'm already enjoying creating it. May 2012 be a year of peace, love and happiness for all.....x

Time for some goal setting!

Happy New Year!

What a wonderful way to start 2012!

While most of Melbourne nursed their hangovers or slept the morning away, I took a nice leisurely ride down to Elwood for an ocean swim. I only swam about a kay - just to turn the arms over really and as a rest from riding and running so the legs are fresh for tomorrow's 120km Amy Gillett ride.

Whilst the water quality wasn't great (even though the EPA rating was "good"), the conditions were perfect. If only race days could be so flat!