19 December 2014

Recovery can't be hurried

It is nineteen days since Challenge Laguna Phuket and I can finally say that I appear to have recovered!

I've been feeling the changes occurring, going from exhaustion to tired to just a little pooped until finally this week the energy started to return as did the enthusiasm to get back on my bike, go for a swim and also to head out for a run. 

Recovery can't be hurried but living through the past couple of weeks in Darwin where the weather has been simply foul, hasn't helped.

Records for highest overnight minimum temperatures were equalled as we continue to swelter through the nights as well as the days.  We did have a storm roll through at 2am last night but that didn't bring any relief at all that I could feel and the forecast for the next week is showing that overnight temperatures will again hover around 28 deg C and we'll be maintaining our 32-33 deg C during the day.

With our home taking on oven like qualities it is now a relief if there is a slight breeze, to be able to go for a ride in the evening or stroll over to the nearby pool for a swim.  

Any exercise is best done in the early hours or late afternoon as the  UV index is at a constant extreme. 

Bring on the monsoon!  It usually arrives at Christmas but has been forecast to be late this Wet. 

Being in recovery mode I've been concentrating on getting all those neglected items on my to do list done.  One of those was updating Daz's calendar on his website and that of course started me thinking seriously about what event/s I want to do next.

We have some interesting local races coming up in the new year and there are so many added choices for destination races in our region, I believe it is going to be a case of getting blindfolded and pointing!

The only sure thing is that now that I'm recovered I need another goal and soon so looks as though Comeback Queen campaign V3 might be happening!




12 December 2014

Follow Ups

How lovely to share a little space with all the 2014 Kona superstars!

I've been followed up in the recent November/December edition of the Australian Triathlete magazine.

Made me feel very, very special. 

Thank you so much. 

A re-post for those who couldn't read it in Chuffed!.







This edition has been out for a while now, but I hadn't actually seen it until we returned from Phuket.  

As with many things, it takes a while for Australian Triathlete to reach the shelves here in Darwin.  I subscribed to the magazine for a few years, but for some reason that took even longer to arrive, snail mail is just that in this part of the World! 

Joys of living in the Top End of Australia!


09 December 2014

What was important was that I was still smiling

Had a rapid heart rate rise when I got up during the night before the race and found it was bucketing rain. Luckily the weather cleared by alarm time and the early hours panic about wet roads proved to be a waste of good sleep time.

We caught the shuttle bus (very convenient) from the Dusit Thani to the transition area, and proceeded to be body marked and then set up my bike and lay out my gear. 

It was rather soggy under foot and for some reason I was also a little rattled. Setting up on race morning used to be second nature for me but I believe my lack of racing finally caught up this time and I really had to think about everything I was doing and triple check myself.   

Daz was able come in and pump up my tyres (courtesy of his pass - thanks Stef!) and he then proceeded to do the same for numerous random competitors until I had myself sorted.  

We then made a hasty retreat and jumped on the next shuttle back to our hotel. 

Away from the pre-race stress of transition I was able get my head together. Being the oldest female in the field brings a certain amount of self induced pressure including questioning myself - "will I be able to do this", "why am I doing this", "whose idea was this anyway"?  

So back in the quiet of the room I was able to convince myself all I had to do was start and the rest would take care of itself, that I was doing it because I love the challenge and it was very much my idea. 

Making the start line had also become a kind of celebration, being two years to the day from being told that colectoral cancer was again part of my life and would be my main focus and still is to a certain extent.  

So I decided to get out there because I could and to remember that lots of people can't and to jolly well rejoice in doing what I love!

That mental prep sorted, it was time for a stroll along the beach to swim start, there to catch up, chat and wish everyone good luck before our respective wave starts got called up. 

  
Challenge Phuket starts with a very pleasant ocean swim that got a little tricky navigation wise when swimming back to shore directly into the sun.

Once the ocean swim is done, there is a steep sand bank to negotiate and also a good time to give a quick wave to those supporting on the sidelines .... 



... before running down to the fresh water lagoon.  

This section was also tricky as it too required swimming directly into the bright sun.  Although there were plenty of them, the buoys were hard to see and I resorted to lifting my goggles at one stage to make sure I was heading in the correct direction before I eventually reached the swim exit chute. 

With the 1.9km swim done, I took the time to rinse off under the sprinklers.  It was going to be a long day anyway so those few seconds were worth wasting I thought.

Years of habit kicked in then and I took off to run to my bike, only to have Daryl yelling at me to walk (all part of the plan).  I believe that was the hardest part of the day, every fibre in me wanted to rush and hastening slowly doesn't come easy on a race day.

Loved that I still nailed getting on my bike and that I got my feet in my shoes in the shortest possible space.  No wobbles yet for this veteran! (Grabbing every positive here).

The bike course at Phuket isn't for the faint of heart but it was one of the cleanest, best marshalled courses I've ever done in Asia (and looking back, that's a lot of races).

Add in the local support along the way, the awesome aid station volunteers,  a bloke on a scooter shouting encouragement to the back markers as we struggled up the final big hills (yes, barefoot and pushing Ms Trek) and some awesome views along the way and this race gets a big thumbs up.

I won't even try to describe those hills.  This photo by AsiaTRI.com of some of the pro competitors struggling says it all ...



... but trust me it's safe to conclude that my satisfaction rating on finally reaching the dismount line was off the scale!

I had been out there on the bike course taking in the sights for long enough for the winners to have already crossed with Candi the elephant but  I did see a number pros coming in as I made my way slowly (also part of the plan to walk the first kilometre off the bike) through the elephant park.

Having Daryl, Dave and Kylie on the sidelines meant I'd caught up on the progress of most the Darwin crew before I was through the first km and a half.

Many people comment that coming from Darwin we must be used to the heat and humidity.  I guess we perhaps have better coping strategies but hot is hot wherever you are and the 21km run at Phuket requires a survival mentality.

Again the event organisers at Challenge Laguna Phuket are to be congratulated. As a back marker to still be handed iced sponges and cold drinks by volunteers, many of whom have been out in the sun and heat for as long, if not longer than me, is something not guaranteed at other events.  So a huge thank you, it makes a world of difference!

Being covered in sunscreen and cooling off with ice sponges is definitely the way to go in Phuket ...




When you are a 60+ female and gut challenged to boot, it isn't a given that you will have an easy day out, and a finish isn't a finish until you have made all the cutoffs and crossed that line. 

Supercoach Daryl's words of wisdom were resounding as I ran/walked (just as I trained) and I was happy to come in spot on at a smidgen under 3 hrs for the run.

Getting that finisher's medal and an ice cold dunking at the same time was a great feeling and I was pretty stoked all round.

My time wasn't important on the day, starting and finishing was, but for the record I clocked my slowest ever half iron distance time of 7:29:52

What was important was that I was still smiling, not limping and able to collect my finishers shirt, then my bike and ride back to the hotel!

There were also no black toe nails this time and courtesy of my comfy team SOAS tri kit, no chaffing - anywhere!!

As always I have Daz to thank, without him I couldn't possibly do what I do - he sets me just the right amount of training as well as supporting me 100%.

It's great to have done this race with such an awesome group of people all supportive of each other.

It was also great to catch up with fellow SOAS ambassador Holly (who passed me on the hills giving me lots of encouragement as she flew by) and who also won her age category and we both collected elephants at the awards night ... 




I really don't have the words to accurately describe this brilliant race, but if you watch the following video report and you like a "challenge", you just might be inspired to sign up for 2015!


I'd say that was Comeback Queen V2 campaign successfully completed and Kylie (forever the motivator) is already plotting where I should be heading next!



29 November 2014

Racked and ready

One more sleep and Challenge Laguna Phuket gets underway.

I'm racked and ready to go but a little apprehensive about what the day may bring.

The hills seem higher than I remember, the descents steeper, the roads rougher and I swear the locals are all driving just that much faster these days.

Cross your fingers for me, tomorrow has all the signs of  being a toughie which will make getting to the finish line so much more rewarding, however long it takes. 


23 November 2014

Chuffed!


Chuffed (that's an Oz chuffed - very pleased - not a Canadian chuffed - ticked off) to get a mention in the latest edition of Australian Triathlete magazine after being contacted as part of a follow up on a number of people featured over the past year or so (you may remember 15 minutes of fame). 

It's kind of the boot on the other foot as I'm much more comfortable getting the word out about others in our sport!

The November/December edition has Mirinda Carfrae winning Kona (again) on the cover and I take it as a huge compliment to firstly be deemed worthy of a follow up and secondly to share space with such a superstar.

A big thank you to David Gurvich and editor Stef Hanson and a big shout out to David's mum who apparently read my blog from start to finish! 








19 November 2014

Good to go!

My bike is sitting quietly in our shed waiting to be packed for the journey to Phuket next week.  

Ms Trek has been through the Cycle Zone Darwin day spa treatment, has her Zipp wheels on and looks a treat. 

It is very much a pre race ritual for me now that my bike gets booked in for a service, wheels put on, brake pads adjusted and everything else checked and I'm not happy until Aaron has confirmed that I'm good to go.

He tells me I'm good to go.

But, then again, he is referring to my bike!

After shuffling my way through my last long run (my longest) today, I'm not so confident the same can be said about my body.

Bring on some recovery time I say and a quick glance at my training program says supercoach agrees!

So with just 11 days to go my ...

Longest swim:  2.5 km
Longest ride:    80.47 km
Longest run:     22.22 km 

Countdown to race day begins.





10 November 2014

I'm Still Standing


It has been a big week and then some.  

Time challenged would be an understatement!

Throw in family commitments, travel arrangements (event & personal), upcoming birthdays & weddings, catching up, farewells, a good dose of athlete tracking along with a serious training week and there's not many minutes left on the clock.

After wading through baggage allowance guidelines which seem to change on a whim at times, dealing with some airline flight time changes which were advised by phone and followed by no less than eight separate emails, then managing the seat allocations for those flights again,  I believe any travelling triathlete would be a good candidate for the front desk at a travel agency!

Aside from airport transfers, think we have it all sorted.

Have now decided to work on the "have passport, credit card & bike will travel" approach!

Now less than three weeks out from Challenge Laguna Phuket my confidence is high that I will complete the course.

(Did you notice my fingers are crossed behind my back?)

How the training is stacking up:

Longest swim: 2.5km
Longest ride:   80.47km
Longest run:    21.1km

That longest run post was accompanied by great surprise - I'm still standing!

And this is how I feel about it .....

05 November 2014

Eat, sleep, train repeat

I confess to feeling a little like a squirrel in a cage right now.

The days are flying by. My training is pretty full on (for me) ahead of Challenge Laguna Phuket, which is now only twenty five (yes just 25) days away.

Mentally I can knock over 80+km on the bike without too much fuss but it is the run or in my case, the run/walk which is causing a little worry. 

My right foot has decided to give me some grief this past week.  Should probably get it looked at but, ever the optimist, have decided that will be held over until after the race so long as it doesn't escalate on the pain scale.  A good excuse to put my feet up for a bit!

On the weather front, the Wet Season has officially arrived and last night we had a fantastic storm which rumbled through from around 3am.  Lots of thunder, lightning and a great downpour of rain so everything was looking much cleaner today.

That first good storm of each Wet is always cause for celebration.  A quick look at the weather radar shows we could be in for some more rain. We only need a few good downpours and the grass starts to grow and before long Darwin turns from dirty & dusty to cleaner and green.

Also earlier last night our neighbourhood was involved in a search for a missing child.  Thankfully it was a good news story for the family and the hundreds out searching!

I've eaten, it's time to sleep but not before setting the alarm for more training, this time swim squad!

So looking forward to being on that start line in a few weeks. 

28 October 2014

Remember you heard it here first

It has been very much head down and tail up in the quest to convince my body (and Supercoach) that entering Challenge Laguna Phuket could/should be more than a pipe dream.

Having competed in Thailand in 2010 and 2011, I can still recall how tough the course is, so I already know it isn't an easy ask.

I tossed around the team alternative for a bit, but decided if I was going to bother travelling all that way with a bike, I'd rather have a crack at doing the lot myself.

So here we are 33 days out from race day and my Comeback V2 stats are: 

Longest swim:  2.5km
Longest ride:    80.47km
Longest run:    16:37km 

The swim doesn't really worry me, it's pretty much a given that I can make it through 1.9km with the run up from the beach and down the other side to the lagoon being the hardest part.  

The 90km ride is now looking like it will be doable, albeit slowly.

And the run? 

Mmm, now that's the million dollar question.  The deal for my longest run yet (on Sunday) was to see how I pulled up after and then decide whether to enter or not.

During that run, I seriously thought of starting a campaign to add another format to the sport.

We have swim | bike | run - triathlon
We have run | swim | run - aquathlon
We have run | bike | run - duathlon

so ...

why don't we have a swim | bike format???

If that option existed, my thinking was there would be many who would jump at the chance to compete. Just think of the number of times you hear "I can't run at the moment".

As I ticked off the kilometres on Sunday, I tried to think of a good name for this new format.

Wetwheelathlon?

WheelieWetathlon?

Aquabikeathlon?

Aquarideathlon?

Whatever the name, I believe there could be a place for the format and right now I'd be lining up to enter. 

Just remember you heard it here first.

Having amused myself with that, my run went better than expected and I came home on a bit of a high and wanted to get my entry in there and then.

Daz wasn't as keen and said to wait 24 hours to see how I pulled up.

Wise words.  

My feet haven't been the same post chemotherapy, probably from nerve damage from the chemo drugs, and tend to feel uncomfortably hot as well as swelling.

Yesterday was a rest day but by evening my feet were swollen and I was hobbling a little. But no worse than before Hawaii so that was the good news.

But still no entry in.

Off to swimming this morning and I moved myself up the order a little and lasted the whole session and that was the clincher.

With the end of October on the horizon, it was time to stop procrastinating and now it's done!  I'm in. Entry now done for Challenge Phuket - 30 November 2014.

Yikes!

20 October 2014

Frost risk?

The risk of frost in Darwin, Northern Territory Australia is ..... NIL.



19 October 2014

Will it happen?

At 42 days out from Challenge Laguna Phuket time is flying and my body is protesting just a little more than usual right now so I'm thinking it is going to be touch and go whether I'm able to complete my Comeback Queen V2 goal after all. 

Here's where I'm at:

Longest swim:  2 km 
Longest ride:    73 km
Longest run:    12.2 km

Everything seems to be on track but unfortunately doesn't take into account how I'm feeling.

I'm blaming the weather!

We are in full on "build up" now and it's hot, hot, hot.  

My brick this morning was completed (just ... and the run wasn't pretty) in very sweaty style. No surprise really as the temperature was already 30+ degrees C and the humidity high before I finished around 9.30am. 

But that's only half the story.  Although I could tick the box on completing my training for the week, I'm completely spent.

Here in Darwin we don't really have seasons.  Instead we divide the year neatly into three periods. "The dry" which is from around May to early September, 'the build up" which starts from the first signs of humidity in September and lasts until the monsoon rains really kick in - which this year we are told will be late.  When the rains do come (usually around Christmas) "the wet" then lasts until about April, with dragon fly sightings said to be the sign that the Dry is on its way. 

During the dry the weather is perfect,  time flies and Darwin is a real tri training paradise.

But once the build up starts we can struggle, with swim, bike & run sessions seeming so much harder to complete.  

We are tired (nights are hotter and sleep can be elusive) and within a matter of days we can be looking for excuses before realizing it is quite simply the weather!

As if to reinforce that, we had a dry season breaking storm (complete with thunder) overnight on Tuesday.  Running next morning was bliss as the temperature had dropped, the gardens and trees all looked fresh and the frangipani scent was on the air.

By afternoon and the second run of the day it was again hot & humid and it was a real struggle to run and to remain hydrated.

Another factor making life difficult is that our local swimming pool is currently closed for pump modifications.  Supposedly only taking four to six weeks it means they only have two weeks to go.  A quick peek over the fence indicates that this time frame is highly likely to be a furphy! 

We are missing being able to go and throw ourselves in the pool to cool off.  We could make the effort to go to one of the other pools but the energy required to get there and back isn't readily available. 

The weather in Phuket around race date in past years has been hot and it can (and has) bucketed down on race day.

So with this most recent reminder of the toll the weather can take on body and soul, I've been second guessing myself as to the wisdom of putting my already compromised body to the test.

Will it happen?   

If my enthusiasm is a guide - definitely!! But I think I'll take another week or so before making that call and be thankful that tomorrow is a rest day from training. 



It will be months before we get dragon fly sightings again!

13 October 2014

Rested with renewed enthusiasm

Rest day - those lovely words roll off the tongue!

And there it was in black and white to start my week - a very much appreciated rest day on my training program.  Such a nice way to start the week.

Must say I did need it after ticking all my training boxes these past couple of weeks and competing in our local club event yesterday morning at Lake Alexander.


Lake Alexander - man made, salt water & croc free

With Challenge Laguna Phuket (Comeback Queen V2 goal event) rapidly approaching, Supercoach thought I needed a shake up so I came out to play over the short 300m swim, 13km bike, 3km run distance.

My brief was just to have fun but I was also to concentrate on my transitions.

Even though it was so short, I loved the swim. For some reason I swim so much better in open water and am always pleasantly surprised to come out with people I have no hope of keeping up with in the pool. 

Had fun on the bike but did feel the previous days hills in my protesting legs!

It was first triathlon I've done since Hawaii 70.3 and running (make that shuffle/walk) off the bike after almost five months was rather a rude shock!

Although you won't find me on page one of the results  I'm happy to report my T1 and T2 times stack up with the best of them!

There will be a whole lot more running off the bike from now on and I can already see a brick dialed in for the end of the week. 

So race done and dusted, it was home to channel remaining energy into go faster vibes to those competing in Hawaii.

The women's race was riveting and although I had to dash out on a couple of occasions, I did see Mirinda Carfrae cross that finish line. I was exhausted just tracking her, can imagine she was completely spent after coming from almost fifteen minutes down and breaking her own course run record to win - again! Hats off to the pro girls, they had as almost as many finishers as the pro men.

Like many, I also had friends and acquaintances competing at Kona and watching the coverage and tracking them is next best thing to being there in person.  

As the clock ticked over, a number of the age group legends failed to make the cut offs.  My heart went out to them, in particular Harriet who missed by a mere 4 mins to make bike time. Anyone who even contemplates Ironman at 70+ is a winner in my eyes regardless where they are stopped!

So after a day off and with renewed enthusiasm following my little taste of tri and all those inspirational ironman efforts yesterday, I'm looking forward to these next few weeks.  

The decision on whether to even take my bike to Phuket will be made a little further down the track, but after receiving a phone call from my oncologist this evening to say there are no significant changes visible on my most recent scans, I'm very optimistic I'll be throwing my arms in the air in Thailand next month however long it takes!


Not quite Ali'i Drive, but any finish is worth celebrating!

09 October 2014

In Kona? Please keep posting!

It seems that most of the triathlon world has descended on the Big Island of Hawaii and those there to race are impatiently (well mostly) counting down the hours until the cannon fires and they get underway.

As I watch on vicariously through social media and via email from friends, I would love to be able to close my eyes and suddenly be transported to Kona. 

The race and the location are just magic and I count myself super lucky to have had the opportunity to compete there in the past.  

I can easily recall the highlights (and the low lights) of the course.  Nothing compares to treading water in Kona on race morning, the feeling of reaching the turnaround at Hawi, running along Ali'i Drive or emerging from the Energy Lab. And absolutely nothing compares to the Kona finish chute!

Race day will also be an anniversary of sorts.  Two years ago that was me strutting my stuff at Dig Me Beach, taking part in the Parade of Nations, trolling the Expo for schwag and just plain itching to get on with it.  

It also marks two years since I last experienced that "top of my tri game" feeling of invincibility that comes with a great prep for an iron distance event.  

Knowing now just how quickly your life can change, I count my lucky stars that I never once competed at Kona without realising just how privileged I was and never for a minute took it for granted.  

I still dream of doing another Ironman one day and perhaps even making it back to the Big Island to race in October, but for now it's enough to be looking forward to doing a small club event at the weekend and continuing my quest to be on the start line at Challenge Phuket.

Once the club race is done on Sunday morning, it will be home to kick back and athlete track those on my "favourites" list as well as watch the pro race unfold.    

So here's a plea to those there on the Big Island, please keep those tweets, photos, podcasts, videos and facebook posts coming! There are many people, including me, loving everything you post!  

Social media contributes to keeping those of us not able to be there feeling somewhat connected, part of the Ironman family and we get to experience a little taste of your excitement and energy, albeit from afar!

So thank you and please keep posting.


28 September 2014

Purple patch of progress

Going to touch wood and say that there has been some progress in my training lately.  

As much of the improvement has been with my running, that's a real bonus.

Since Hawaii 70.3 I was still struggling to run, unable to find the required head space to move from my comeback pattern of run/walk.  

Not sure why the change has come about, perhaps those interesting runs in London helped. Whatever, sure hoping that this new found feeling of being comfortable bopping along for an hour or so will continue (and increase as I've 21.1km to get through in Phuket)!  

Nothing earth shattering really, and probably laughable if you are fit, feisty and under 50 but having struggled to find that run zone again it's big deal territory in the Comeback Queen V2 stakes.

This week also saw a move back to open water swimming and my swim distance is now picking up.

It was a "gulp" moment when I first saw my training program for this past week but have zoomed through nicely with no ill effects.  More progress.

Next week brings more of the same on my program and there will be no putting off if I'm to be ready to toe that start line on the beach come race day.

Noticed also that our weather has well and truly turned. We are definitely getting more humidity and temperatures are increasing now. Makes for sweaty workouts and lots of washing. As well our nights have really warmed up and that has meant the return of restless sleep.  Fans have been turned up a notch at night but we are trying not to use air conditioning too much.

Word from the long time locals is that we are in for a very wet Wet! As much as I like the rain and the clean green it brings, can't help but now hope it doesn't kick in any time soon and disrupt this purple patch of progress.   What a difference a week makes, in my last post I was pleading for rain!

At 63 days out from Challenge Laguna Phuket here's a V2 update:

Longest swim:  2 km 
Longest ride:    61 km
Longest run:     10.07 km

20 September 2014

I love where I live - but sometimes more than others!

I love where I live - but sometimes more than others!

And right now, this end of Dry Season build up to Wet Season period is the time I feel most uncomfortable living in Darwin.

Everything is dirty, most of the grass has died off and cars are covered in a thick layer of dust.  

Every surface inside our house is covered in dust and one can live in a perpetual state of "spring" cleaning,  unless of course you are a seasoned iron person and prepared to live in less than spotless in the name of getting the training done!  

I do draw the line at actually being able to write my name in the dust on the windowsills!

And Darwin ... well it looks just plain ugly and dirty. Nothing at all like the clean and green Darwin of the Wet Season. 

It's hot (we had the second hottest September day on record yesterday) and it hasn't rained in forever.

Burnt out areas are still smelling, well, burnt.  

These are the patches that sprout new growth as soon as the rains come, but when that will be this year is anyone's guess. 


Perhaps a little rain is possible towards the end of the month (please, please, please)!

Added to that the nights are getting hotter and sleep is harder to come by.  We have always tried to resist using the air conditioner until at least October but have already given in a couple of times.

It's too early to think I've gone troppo so that's just a little grizzle and it's over! 

In an effort to be positive, I'll move on to the high points.

I've nailed my run and ride training sessions this week.  Can't say the same about swimming and I'm clinging to the hope that next week will bring better news on the aquatic front.

So marching on towards Challenge Phuket some 71 days away, I've got the following stats happening:

Longest swim:  300m 
Longest ride:    60.20km
Longest run:     8.08km

In awe of Jens' Hour Record of 50.115kph (flying for an hour on his Trek) I checked my top speed today.  43.6kph which must have been attained when I was going downhill and probably maintained for all of 30 secs!!  

12 September 2014

Self talk

I've shouted it to the world over the past few days that, yes, I am going to try to make the start line of Challenge Laguna Phuket.

That announcement was on the back of a swim, a ride and a little run that had all felt OK given the jet lag I was experiencing at the time.

Since then I've repeated those sessions and wondered if perhaps I wasn't just a teeny weeny bit premature in putting it out there, having found myself almost swimming on the spot, struggling against the wind on the bike and thinking a 3km run without stopping was a big deal!

So it was time for some serious self talk and then, as if they knew I was in need of support, Challenge posted this little gem on Facebook ....



Not long afterwards, my training program for next week turned up in my inbox and I found myself thinking that just maybe I could manage those sessions after all.

Following the stern self talk and armed with those two motivating "out of the blue" signs, I have my bike light charging, the cycle gear out ready and will hit the road tomorrow.

A current sit rep post London holiday update for my bid to become Comeback Queen V2:

Longest Swim:  300m
Longest Ride:   23km
Longest Run:    4.5km

As always, a run for me is a run/walk combo.

Event distance:

Swim:  1.9km
Bike:    90km
Run:    21.1km

During my self talk, I reminded me that the big bonus for V2 is that it's only just three months since I raced that distance so I'm not starting from complete rock bottom fitness wise, and have merely had a cessation of swimming and riding for a month.

I can do it, I told myself ... easy peasy!







10 September 2014

Reality check

My event countdown has Challenge Laguna Phuket at 81 days away!!!

But with the goal dangling, I've already been back in the pool, out on the bike and managed a whole 3km run (without stopping) since shaking the jet lag from the long haul flight back from London at the weekend.

The reality check - jumping on the scales for the first time in 3 weeks - shows I've some work to do there as well.

Another reality check, this time, the weather!  Our dry season (where we have stretched out to at least 102 days without rain) is coming to an end.  The humidity is starting to kick in and the weather boffins are saying ridiculous things like "it is the build up to the build up".

So here we are at 10pm and it's still 25.7 degrees C ... considerably warmer than our last few weeks in the UK ... and warmer than our southern cousins now coming into Spring are experiencing.




This Comeback Queen V2 effort is not going to be a walk in the park in the build up to the Wet Season but I will give it my best shot and see what happens.







30 August 2014

August in London

We have just under a week to enjoy London's perfect weather and all this vibrant city has to offer.

There has been more sightseeing, shopping and celebrating than training happening but hey, Challenge Phuket doesn't take place until the end of November!

Writing that is all the motivation I need to head out for run in Victoria Park!

Back to reality soon enough. 

21 August 2014

Twelve months later

This time last year our daughter & her husband were awaiting the birth of their first child.  

It was an exciting time for the family but one we had to share from the other side of the world as I was completing my final round of chemotherapy and cursing the cancer gods for not allowing me to be there on the spot. 

So it is doubly wonderful to be here in London to celebrate with this beautiful little person as she turns one.

The weather gods are smiling on us, and with Comeback Queen V2 in mind, I'm appreciating being able to run in the perfect conditions and being able to enjoy all the magnificent summer colour still on display. 





15 August 2014

Not racing just ringing cowbells

We have a new triathlon event happening here in Darwin tomorrow.  

The Darwin Long Course Triathlon is a revamp of our traditional NT Long Course and is based around Mindil Beach (famous for its Dry Season markets and spectacular sunsets).  

Conducted at various locations (Katherine Gorge, Berry Springs, Lake Alexander), for the past few years the event had recently been at Lake Bennett, some 80km down the track from Darwin so this is now a whole new course for athletes to enjoy. 

Previously a 2km swim, 60km bike, 16km run, tomorrow's race also ups the distance to 2km run, 80km bike, 20km run.

The field is small (to be expected with a new event) and everyone involved is hoping all goes well and the word spreads far and wide about this little gem on the Down Under tri calendar. 

The interstate competitors appear a little bemused at the smaller field but that's not to say the competition won't be fierce.  

Kilo for kilo we have some of the best age group athletes in the country right here in Darwin and the competition for category honours will be fierce.

Me? Not racing unfortunately.  Going into holiday mode for a couple of weeks after Hawaii 70.3 and then being knocked out not long after for another three or so weeks with the flu meant, with my lack of training, it would be very foolish for me to line up for this one.  Somewhat disappointing!

So I've spent the afternoon giving back as the Technical Official in transition for bike check in instead.  

 
In all seriousness, after four hours on my feet it feels as though I've already gone the distance so I'm looking forward to finding a shady spot somewhere tomorrow and doing nothing more strenuous than ringing cowbells. 

10 August 2014

Out and about

Somehow fitted in most of my swim, bike and run sessions this week which I'm happy about given it was one of those crazy weeks with lots happening.

Highlight of my week was a wander around the Darwin Indigenous Arts Festival.

Here's a little glimpse:








07 August 2014

What's happening?

My blog has been a little neglected of late.

I can blame being stuck in that limbo land where things are happening but my target event seems a long, long way off. 

30 November to be exact!  

That's forever away and for now it is a matter of staying motivated to get to the pool during the last of our cooler dry season weather (who would ever have thought I'd be huddled gratefully in a cosy SOAS Racing hoodie on swim mornings in Darwin?).

The temperature drop this morning had me shivering by the end of swim squad even though the water temperature was around 26 degrees C.  We mature Darwinites feel the cold!

It doesn't seem that long ago when there was a general rule of thumb here that most sane people stayed out of the water during the dry - at least until the 1 September!!

Riding is saddle time with a purpose each time I venture out on Ms Trek and I'm back to off road and beach run/walks to try to prevent my feet from protesting too much. 

So step by step I'm slowly building toward Challenge Laguna Phuket and also enjoying the long slow jogs on the beaches close to home as well as taking the opportunity to explore a little while out on the bike. Love where I live!


Military dump leftovers on the beach

27 July 2014

Comeback V2 underway

Finally I have ticks on all my sessions - the first full week of training I've done since the end of May. 

A few lazy weeks post Hawaii 70.3 followed by flu certainly put a dent in my fitness, so those ticks are proof positive that Comeback V2 has started. 

Friday was a public holiday here due to the Darwin Show taking place and the long weekend was the perfect time to be out riding as there was not a lot of traffic on the roads. 

My sessions have been focused on easing back into training and I'd been using my old bike up until the weekend but have now decided that I'm going for comfort from here on in.

The old bike will still be there when the wet season returns but until then it will get to hang on a hook. 

Ms Trek is going to Cycle Zone for some TLC tomorrow as the gears need a little adjustment after being tuned for my race wheels.  



Ms Tek has an appointment for some TLC tomorrow

Once that's done we will be seeing a lot more of each other in the four months leading up to Challenge Phuket. 

Our local long course triathlon takes place in three weeks.  After Hawaii I had half thought I may have been able to continue on and take part, but after being sick that's not happening.

In the meantime, I'm happy to have the Challenge Phuket Comeback V2 carrot dangling out there as something to work towards.






21 July 2014

Add a little determination

In an effort to impress our accountant, this past week I made my way through a pile of statements and receipts hoping to get a jump on tax return preparation. 

Commenced with the very best of intentions, those return details are still incomplete but please don't let on about that.

You see, I got sidetracked when I happened across a box filled with an eclectic collection of old triathlon related "stuff".  

Newspaper clippings, magazine articles, jokes, photos etc saved from the now long gone days when I produced newsletters using the cut and paste method with real scissors and glue and then spent hours at the photocopier!  

So there I was off on a tangent and one thing lead to another and suddenly I found myself flicking through a pile of old triathlon results.  

Which then got me thinking (as I followed my shaky progress through the various age groups via those results booklets) about when is the right time to give it all away?

I've kept thinking about this, on and off, as I recommenced training this week and my body moaned and groaned a little under the strain.

Then last night I was keeping half an eye on the live race tracking from Challenge Roth.

I've a soft spot for both Luke McKenzie and Daniel MacPherson and both guys were competing, as was Sister Madonna Buder, Stef Hanson of Witsup.com fame, Holly Bennett (Triathlete mag & fellow wearer of all things SOAS Racing)  and there were two in my category (one I knew from Kona).


Kissing my cheek brings good tri luck (seriously)

So there I was up late and tracking, hoping to stay awake long enough to watch Luke cross the line, which he did in 8:37:33 for 10th Pro Male. I'm sure he wanted to do better but it seemed he didn't have the best of swims and then lost his nutrition on the bike.  

Around the time Luke finished, Dan kind of dropped off the tracker so that was when I called time and headed for bed straight after Mirinda Carfrae won in 8:38:53.

Checking results & updates this morning, it turned out both guys ended up in the medical tent, and Dan recorded his first ever dnf. 

Stef had a not so perfect day, going 12:37:33 and Roth also hurt Holly who came in at 13:58:14.

My fellow age grouper acquaintance was pretty stoked to finish in 14:48:10 but it appears to have been a very tough day at the office.

And what of Madonna Buder, participating at 80 something years old?  


Madonna Buder at Kona in 2012

The woman has been inspirational but given my thoughts during the week, I wondered if her body would again say enough is enough as it did at Kona that year.

Although there is a finish time showing on her record (16:48:00) and as much as I'd love to think she did it, there is a grey area & some conjecture over that time.

The cut off for the bike is 9 hrs 30 mins.  At 8:30:19 she still had 60km of the bike to complete. Twitter world says she was picked up during the bike and taken to the finish.  Some social media reports then say she did 17km of the run.  Photos have been published of her in the finish chute accepting the accolades of the crowd, finisher rose in hand. 

I hope there is clarification on this soon.

But back to my pondering on when do you call it quits.  Madonna Buder may turn out to not have finished Challenge Roth but at the tender age of 83 she started it, which is more than many ever do!

So I'd still like to think that ...



I've got my Challenge Laguna Phuket goal in place for later this year and Modonna Buder was inspiration enough to add a little more determination to that dream. 

13 July 2014

Tickled pink

I went for a run/walk this evening!

So tickled pink to write that I almost used CAPITAL LETTERS.

The last three weeks have passed in a blur of ill health, so it was nice to finally wake this morning feeling completely well again.

I've emerged from the horizontal looking rather pale with absolutely no trace of my Hawaii tan remaining. Sad that.

More importantly, my fitness has understandably taken a rather steep nose dive.  There really is truth in the saying, "if you don't use it you lose it".

I won't panic (just yet). 

Challenge Laguna Phuket isn't until 30 November 2014 so plenty of time to invoke my inner Comeback Queen again.  

Although I've definitely lost staying power, at least this time I won't be starting at complete rock bottom.

Good news also that my most recent scans, bloods and colonoscopy (all completed last week) have been OK'd and I have three months reprieve before my next check up is due.  

The one positive thing about having endured a couple of weeks of flu symptoms and being incapable of contemplating exercise in any shape or form is just how great it feels to finally get back out there!!

Dry season in Darwin is the very best time of year and I'm happy to be able to be out and about again.  Magic.



10 July 2014

Recharging

It had to happen!

After what seems to have taken forever, I'm finally feeling a whole lot better.

Not completely 100% (still the odd cough and splutter), but well enough to contemplate going for a little spin on the bike.

With that in mind, I grabbed my Garmin to make sure it was charged.  

Once plugged in I really couldn't remember if I had downloaded my last session so decided to check.

As confirmed by Garmin Connect, my last outing was on the bike, 24 June & that's well over two weeks ago!

Going to have to recharge my Comeback Queen attitude as well as my Garmin, bike lights and my iPod.