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!