Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Samoa Half Iron

I can not describe how beautiful my adventure Samoa was. We arrived in the early hours of the Thursday  before the race and we welcomed with some local musicians. I was then greeted by two local triathletes and was transported to a nearby hotel. I was brave and agreed to get up in 2 and 1/2 hours to go for a ride over the course...literally we rode about 70km. I prepared my bike and fell asleep waking to the phone ringing as the pick up was waiting out front.

The ride was great and really worth while. We headed out along the coast road passing though the villages that were preparing for the weekends race. There was a competition for the cleanest village that could also tie up its pigs, dogs and chickens. Each village was given a country to support which added a lot of excitement and vibrancy on race day. The verdict on the conditions was hot (bloody hot) and a little bumpy on the roads but generally good and very well organised, scenery spot on.




I spent the rest of the day relaxing before registration, race briefing and dinner. 

The next day was a blast. After a long breakfast we headed to sliding rocks for a wade in some cool water.

At midday we had a parade of nations led by Apia police band. I have never felt so welcome. Samoans had never seen a triathlon and they really got behind it. We were welcomed at the end of the parade by the president and were left to do a open water swim and make our final preparations.

Race day

I woke up ready to go on race day. It was a pretty relaxed vibe. No wetsuits water temp was around 27. It was a brilliant morning and the sun left a fantastic hugh over the water. I exited the swim about 2m down (not bad for me). In transition I wasted a further minute putting on socks and cycle knicks. I was happy I did this as the bike course was a little bumpy. Out on the bike and I settled into a rytham. I was not aiming to tear the bike up as I was heavily focused on completing the run.

The cycle was incredible, there were sweeping landscapes of a tropical paradise. We passed through staggered villages along the way. All the villages had been given a country to support and were to be rewarded if they could demonstrate they were the cleanest, showed the most decoration and spirit and tied all their animals up. We the athletes were to vote. I was very impressed with the vibe it gave the course. There were supporters the whole way along. Special thanks to the lady in the village supporting the USA for the large bucket of cold water you threw on me!!

What to do about nutrition in extreme heat...
Returning to the transition, I was becoming cautious of the heat. By now it was approaching 10am and the sun was starting to bite. I left transition well hydrated (I used 3 bottles on the bike 2 with Endura, 1 with water to utilise my gels). For me the nutrition plan was working. I had the theory on the run to use every station, there were 3 on the course, each of which you could access twice per lap. The first was just 1km after transition. I took water and ice. I then commenced taking water at EVERY station. I rubbed the ice on my neck and back and it seemed to be melting in my hand faster than it was cooling me... so hot. After 8km I took my first Endura gel. I then started drinking sports drink and water at each station there after. It was by no means my fastest ever run but I did not seem to fade on the run. I also found that the next day I was not as sore as I had expected. I was very pleased with third and feel I can take a number of things away from the race for the US.

I head to America next week to race Des Moins and Vegas. Thanks to all the support from Endura, Avanti Plus the Valley, CompresSport, Orca, RedDog, Brooks and AllSports Toowong.


Thanks to Scottie T photography for snapping these images of me in action. Visit Scottie's site at http://www.ScottieT.com/. If you are  a keen photographer Scottie offers regular tips on his newsletter so get on it!








The presentation ceremony was outstanding. We were treated to a traditional dance, a fire dance (shown below) and a traditional meal (with plates made of palm leaves)!





video


Yes the place is just as beautiful as the photos they were taken on my IPhone so no special effects here! If you are keen on going next year check out the race website http://www.samoahalfironman.com/ 



For all those interested in Strava links are below: 



Monday, August 19, 2013

Run June




After returning from cairns running was my priority. I set the goal of doing a fun run each weekend in June culminating in the Gold Coast half in early July. Races included the new city2south, the run away bay series, the Sunshine Coast run series and the Gold Coast half.

The inaugural city2south was great and I recommend the race next year. It was hilly and challenging but rewarding also. Emma Jackson took the race out in a fantastic performance running through ten in 34 minutes. I ended up with just on 4m Kim's which was pleasing at the stage of rehab.

I improved the run by 1m per 10km run for each of the runs and ran the Gold Coast half in sub 4m Kms. It was a swift curve driven by a bucket load of running.




Ready for the next phase... Putting it together in July/August before Vegas.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Coral Coast 5150 and Cairns 70.3 2013

I write this blog with mixed emotions. I worked extremely hard to get back into shape after surgury for the cairns campaign and was really pleased with 3rd at the Coral Coast 5150. However, I was extremely disappointed with what happend in the second race. It was always a tall order as to whether i would make the 70.3 but to have the outcome taken out of my hands was shattering.

I went into race 1 with "control" as the goal. There was an amazing standard on the start line with a mixutre of atheletes from all forms of triathlon. I had a good swim for me exiting in 4th. I was a little disappointed on the bike and felt I was loosing power. After the race I learned I had a small hair line crack in my seat mount. Thanks to Avanti Plus cairns for fitting a bracket from one of their own bikes and then accepting a new one shipped up by Matty Hopper and Sam Valkers at Avanti Plus the Valley. I must say it is fantastic to have the support of the Avanti team. This is the second time I have requried assistance while away and they have certainly pulled all the levers to get my bike back for game day. ... back to the race... I gained two positions on the bike and the lost one going into transition to Ange Castle (who had a great race). I was mostly concerned with protecting my leg on the sand. I was also very aware of the talent baring down on me and set out at a consistent pace knowing the at the heat would be brutal and would punish an agressive first half to the run. I had a solid back end and held on to third. I achieved what I set out to and got 400 points for Des Moins.

Ladies start. Im in the middle in the Orca Apex wetsuit with the blue on the sleaves


About to head out on the Scott Plasma Premium 3. 


I am pretty pleased to be on the podium


Partners in crime. Sam Betten finished 5th. Great result given his recent racing block. 

I spent the next three days working from tropical north Queensland. Thanks to the Lamason's for having me.

The Red Dog team arrived on Thrusday and the vibe started to build in town. I had a few media commitments such as a radio interview with Sea FM and the official press conference for the event.

With Matty White and the Sea FM crew on the Tuesday. 

Checking out the wild life at the Cairns Casino Zoo after the press conference on the Thursday

Links to the media: http://www.hansonmediagroup.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1343&Itemid=36

Race day came and I did have some doubt about the leg. I had not ran 21K yet and was hoping to make the best of the swim and bike. When the race started I concentrated on maintaining a steady swim. I was dropped initially but had a strong second section to catch back to third. I exitied the swim only 2.30 down in 4th. Onto the bike and I moved into second by the 20k mark. I was out on my own. I was very excited about what I had acocmplished in just 8 weeks from surgury. I was confident I could run about a 1.30 - 1.35 half and was trying to push as hard as I could on the bike to help gap the field.

At the turn around I was alone but soon realised that AG males were moving through the field. At about 75k these men caught me. They passed me and then I passed them back. We then approached rolling hills and I felt that it was not worth the effort playing leap frog. I held back and was around 10m back when I was given a penalty, without warning or appreciation of the hills and headwind. I was disappointed and could not believe what had just happened. I understand that 12m is the rule and was not intentionally wihtin this zone nor was I there for long. However, distance is very hard to judge in these conditions and I feel a warning or a curtasey would have been sufficent. I will digress here to make a point. I now understand the reason for the fight to have the AG field start at least 10 minutes behind the pro females. It is critical this is addressed to make a clean and fair race without interference. I lost my head. This was the first time I have ever been penalised and was so upset. I then spend 4m in the box. I did not finish the race. For me leaving transition now in 5th and having to fight for a place with my leg would have only been distructive.

I am now very hungry to return to peak form and can not wait until the world championships in September to set things straight.

Byron Tri 2013

Byron this year was a dead rubber. I was the only entrant in the open field, which did not make for much of a race. Given it was only six weeks post surgery I was happy not to have to work too hard on the run but rather apply myself to a steady race. It was my longest run since the op and I wanted to ensure I stayed steady throughout.

The open field were not privileged with a wet suit which made the swim a little tough given the rough conditions. I had to take the sand run pretty easy into transition because it really does stretch the achilles area and the calf. I had a plan of belting the bike as I have been able to maintain a good level of fitness on the bike despite the injury. I came off the bike in a great position and had no challengers for the run so it was a matter of doing the minimum necessary for the win. It wasn't pretty, with mud on the run making an already challenging experience just that bit tougher. A 40m run was the result. It is amazing what can happen in around just 12 weeks from New Zealand. At least now it is fixed an I can concentrate on my fitness.

As you can see below the fitness impact of an injury was an eye opener for me. Not exactly with it at the finish. Thanks Veloshotz.com for the photo.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Back being bilateral

Some of you may not be aware that before Auckland 70.3 I was having some trouble with my right Achilles (so I thought). I had some treatment to get me though that race but it re-emerged after some hard core riding at the TDU in Adelaide.

I raced Goodiwindi, but pulled up sore. I was happy to come away with the win again this year but my run was a little sketchy. I had a two week break following Goondi but still faced some soreness. I was on and off water-running and light running for the end of Feb.Then the usual process started, sports doc, MRI, sports doc, surgeon, surgery, return to run, running...in just 4.5 weeks I am back running (and racing).

One of the most important things that I learned in the QAS is to get the diagnosis quickly and plan ahead. Most atheletes are focused. So to avoid getting down about it you need to be following a plan such that you can have things to look forward to that contribute positivily to getting better  (I digress). Following the MRI diagnosis, I was able to get the surgery at the start of April which is quite remarkable.

I have not mentioned the interesting and quite novel issue I was facing in my leg. I had what can only be described as Plantaris Tendon Friction Syndrome. Quite rare I hear. If anyone out there has Achilles pain (particularly medial pain) I suggest considering this as an issue. The plantaris tendon is a small tendon that inserts on the right at the back on the knee and extends down the leg (crossing the Achilles) inserting medially near the ankle.

Some how I had managed to make it angry near the Achilles and there was no-way (quickly) that I could settle the inflammation other than to remove it. Often tennis players snap this tendon further up the leg. It is not extensively used for anything and can be harvested to repair knee issues etc. I had not boot, cast or anything. It was weight baring as tolerated and then back into it after 10 days to let the incision heal. What could have been a long drawn out back and forth battle with presumed 'achillies tendonitis' was quickly fixed, with minimal disruption to my training as a result of the detailed analysis of my MRI by my doc.

I am now killing the eccentric calf raises. Last weekend my team took out second in the informal category of the Corporate Tri (thanks Court and Ryan for a great effort). Next step is the Byron tri which will be the real test. It is awesome to be back running, it truly is my passion. I am excited to be able to focus on it for Vegas and Des Moins in September.

I am extremely thankful of Matt Hislop at Brisbane Sports and Exercise Clinic and my surgeon, Jeff Peereboom at the Brisbane Private, for moving on this quickly, precisely and professionally. Thanks also to Chris Gillies at the Toowong All Sports for working on it every couple of days pre and post op. Thanks Trent Patten my coach at Reddog Triathlon Training, for adapting my training and putting up with me going insane not being able to run for a while there. Thanks Sally Garrad for keeping me from getting fat while unable to run and being my ear, my husband Mike for letting me poor the bucks into getting fixed and all the other Reddogs for being such a supporting bunch.

Onwards and updwards :)



Tuesday, February 26, 2013

We Name You FireFox

Well it has been an exciting week. I have just picked up my new Scott Foil Premium from Avanti Plus in the Valley. This bike is some kinda machine. I feel this time round there really has been an incremental improvement in technology. The bike not only looks very cool (it's a mat grey), it also has Di2 and it is 11 Speed.

I remember when I first went to a carbon frame. I noticed an immediate improvement in performance. I feel a similar incremental improvement with the new Di2. It is very smooth, with clear gear changes, including multiple changes by holding the button. I have a greater range of gears, 11 - 27, crazy range. The bike is only 6.5kg, which is quite remarkable.

Scott has recently acquired their own bike wheel brand. So this bike came fitted with 40m carbon clinchers operating with DTSwiss Hubs.

Its a nice setup, slightly aggressive, with the seat angle forward. I had my set up checked (and changed considerably)  at Avanti Plus. They have a computerised set up system that seems to get it right first go. I have had no issues with my TT set-up which was also done in the store. Matty Hooper and Mel have a lot of experience (ex Pro Triathletes themselves) so they add a lot of value when looking at the set up detail.

I am now on the hunt for some nice red chrome dust covers and bar ends to detail the machine. This bike fits nicely in the stable which includes my Plasma Premium TT and Scott MTB.

Thanks to Scott Bikes and Avanti Plus for the awesome machine. Feel free to ask me about the bike. Sneak peak below. I'm sure you'll see it out on the road (so long as the QLD rain stops!).


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Auckland 70.3 Ironman



I was reasonably happy with my preparation into this race. It followed the Christmas period and despite working through,  I took advantage of the extra public holidays.

Mike and I flew into Auckland on the Thursday before the race. We stayed with some friends, Nige and Leah, which made things a hell of a lot easier, local knowledge of places to eat, train etc.

Friday we went for a ride and explored the harbor area (noting the wind)! Most of this day was then spent taking it easy and chilling out at cafes. 

Saturday was an adventure, Mike and Nige rode up to the Waitakere Mountains. I was feeling a bit sketchy so I drove behind in the car. The scenery was breathtaking. The rest of pre race day was pretty low key. I said hello to Tim and Jordi at the CompresSport stand and registered, racked and was briefed.


Photo: Mike and Nige ride the Waitakere Mnts just outside Auckland. I was in the car and very jealous. 

Race day rolled around quickly, as it does. I read all the messages from my training buddies at RedDog in the morning and then headed to the race site early and ready to go. 

The only issue I had leading in was that i felt sleepy , I had been sick the day before and I was up with stomach cramps and sickness in the night. I knew it would pass, a 24 hour type thing, but i was cutting it fine. Surprisingly I felt good in the morning. I have a good and tested
plan with my Endura nutrition, but on Sunday i had to make sure I stuck to it.

How awesome was the start to this race. A traditional Maori boat entered the small harbour at the Maritime Museum. Then a group started a Haka from the boat. Jez it sent shivers down my spine! I was pumped. The men were off with a cannon, we closely followed. The day had started!

I had an ok swim. I was in a group, it was slow but within myself. I was trying to make sure I didn't spike my heart rate to early because of feeling ill the day before. 

I was well down after the swim but not last, somewhere in the middle. Very happy with the Orca wetsuit. 

Out on the bike and it was me, my Scott TT and the Auckland city scape. I was on my own as I left the bunch I had swam with. 


Photo: Scottie T Photography Ltd, scottieT.com


It was not until after the highway section of the bike that I stepped it up a gear. Thanks to my time in the NRS I was confident with the technical bike sections and used this section to attack and gain back some ground. By the end of the second lap I had regained three more positions and was sitting in about 6th. On the last  lap I moved into fifth. My race seemed to be building so I remained confident of holding on to fifth so long as I could stay in control on the run.

I headed out onto the run in fifth, I was not sure of the gap I had in front or behind me, I just knew I had to remain patient and calm. Mel had a muscle strain on the second lap of the run. It's tough to run past someone that is left with no option but to stop. Mel was clearly in trouble. Unfortunately that is racing. 

I finished the day in fourth. I was very pleased with the way I stayed in control on the run. It is very easy to let questions come into your head that can quickly fault your game plan, especially with such a strong and talented field, respect for your competitors is essential. On that, Congratulations to Annabel Luxford what a great race, leading from start to finish. 

Photo: Out the front of the convention centre after the presentation, I was wrapped. 

I had a great time and would recommend this race on the to do list.  Goondi Hell of the West is next for me then some time off and then back in base training. For all of you interested in Strava, below is a strava link for my ride. 


Thanks to my support crew Brooks, Endura, Compressport, Avanti Plus the Valley, Oakley, Orca, Justin Jalenkavic, my husband Mike and everyone at RedDog.