30 May 2014

Aloha

We flew Qantas all the way from Darwn via Sydney to Honolulu - incident free, on time and comfortable. Ditto the inter island flight to Kona.


The view from the Qantas Club in Sydney is pretty special


Sky watch in Kona

There was some drama with our condo which resulted in a late change (personally think it is an upgrade, at the very least much better equiped than the one we originally booked).  As we had already moved in, it was a case of having to pack all the gear back in the car and drive round to the new unit.  In our jetlagged, tired and emotional state we thought we handled our end of staying calm extremely well in the circumstances.

Needless to say, we were tucked up in the four poster bed very early and slept the clock around.

The bikes arenow together, we have had a ride and been out to register, check in  our run bag and attend the race brief.

As luck would have it, reached registration table with Craig Alexander and had a bit of a chat.  He starts as race favourite for the men's event on Sunday.

The weather, temperature wise, is perfect.  The sun is of the burning variety so have to remember to slip,slop, slap before going out.  Main concern is the wind.  The headwind going out on the Queen K this morning saw the speedo registering teens (and not high teens).  

At race brief this evening they told us the forecast for Saturday is for high winds and they have extended the race cut off time in anticipation of slower finish times.

Yikes!


The wristband is on - must be real. 

27 May 2014

Thanks Doc

Currently in a whirlwind of packing, cleaning (don't want to arrive home to find a mob of cockroach squatters have taken over) and for some reason, stressing!

We are on the way tonight and this Comeback Queen is beginning to think that wishes do come true and I will be on the start line at Hapuna Beach on Saturday morning (albeit shaking in my boots).

I remember thinking when I entered that it would probably turn out to be a pipe dream.

Sure I needed the motivation just to get up in the morning, but to actually think I could regain enough fitness to seriously contemplate doing another half ironman, was a little unreal back then. 

I entered and talked the talk but all the while thinking I'd just be happy to make it over to the Big Island for a holiday.

But little by little I've gotten fitter and fitter, and somehow I do believe that it will be possible for me to finish this event come Saturday.

Fittingly the publicity for Bowel Cancer Month (June) is gaining momentum and just today I saw a link to a news segment that features Dr Lumley, the brilliant colectoral surgeon who operated on me in Brisbane last year.

I am so grateful that he undertook the challenge to carry out my surgery, and his skill is surely the reason I'm still here.  He sure overturned my original diagnosis of inoperable made when they found my cancer had reappeared!

When I cross that line, I will be thinking of him and I intend to send him a finisher photo and a big note of thanks!!

23 May 2014

Busy week

This week has so far included a blur of training, checking travel arrangements, birthday celebrations, meetings, lunch dates, massage, fantastic dry season weather and realizing that departure day is rapidly approaching. 

So our bags are out and packing has begun, albeit it at the "think of it - throw it in the general direction" stage.

A most important item, my bike aka Ms Trek, has already visited Cycle Zone and is totally race ready, and like us, I swear is looking forward to heading to Hawaii again.   

For good measure during this busy week, I've also thrown in some future planning - those few final long bike sessions have been an ideal opportunity for reflection!

Between Daz and I, we have a bucket list that is getting longer, not shorter and I'd like to think we can make plans to ensure some of those "I've always wanted to ..." moments happen sooner rather than later.

This time last year returning to Hawaii to compete had rocketed to the top of my list.

It is hard to believe that before I know it, race day will be here (now just eight days away) and very soon my comeback goal (successful or otherwise), will be done.

What then?

I can't imagine my life without swim, bike, run so those elements are sure to stay somehow.

Just when, where and in what form is also something to think about - perhaps post race while staring out to sea lying on the sands of Waikiki.

But before I have to decide, there's a final bike/run brick tomorrow, a couple of days travel and Ironman 70.3 Hawaii to be done!

Excited much!!

19 May 2014

Countdown - 12 days to go


Backed up my big Saturday brick with spectating/supporting yesterday morning at the NT Olympic Distance Championships held down at beautiful East Point Reserve here in Darwin.

It really is a top notch triathlon venue, although with the Dry Season now upon us, traffic is increasing somewhat and it certainly picked up as the morning progressed.  

Many sightseeing Sunday drivers are distracted by the views, and completely oblivious to what is happening around them.  

Having knocked over my five hour ride/run brick the previous day I was content to be on the sidelines watching the action unfold but do admit that I did experience some "I can't wait to be competing in Hawaii" moments.

And that has to be good news with the countdown now at twelve days to go!

Recovery swim yesterday evening was enjoyed as was my 70 min spin late this afternoon.  

Here's a video I put together of some of the action down at Lake Alex yesterday morning .... 


17 May 2014

Seventeen!

With this week's big sessions (including a long midweek run and a five hour brick today) over and done with and only a recovery swim scheduled for tomorrow, I took the opportunity to have a further read through the race handbook and check out the website for Hawaii.

That then resulted in a curious glance at the entry list (as you do). I was adding up on my fingers first but soon had to resort to pen and paper.

Then a quick comparison to other events.

In my age category at the recent Ironman 70.3 Busselton there were two; at 70.3 St George the grand total was five; Putrajaya in Malaysia came up with zip, zero, zilch; Florida a whopping six, Geelong could only muster three and over in Auckland, New Zealand at the Asia Pacific 70.3 Championships earlier this year, they also managed to attract a half a dozen.

And Hawaii 70.3?

Seventeen!

That's right a massive 17.  

Now I'm very much looking forward to meeting some of these like minded women when we get to the Big Island. 

14 May 2014

Badge of honour

The countdown to Honu is well and truly on with just 17 days until race day and even less until we fly out.

Looking at my training program for the rest of the week tells me I still have some tough sessions to get through before the big day.  No mythical two week taper for this little underdone wannabe Comeback Queen.

The training stats are slowly creeping up and now sit comfortably at:

Longest swim:  2km
Long ride:        77.4km
Longest run:     16.43km

That longest run was achieved this afternoon in 32 degrees C, starting out fresh faced and looking good in my SOAS run kit but ending up as a rather grubby, sweaty, dripping mess after a couple of hours which included negotiating some roadworks, and some off road running.

I've managed to pull up with a throbbing, blackening toenail as well.

Given that I haven't had a dead nail since Kona in 2012, I'll wear this one like a badge of honour signifying a long run done well at last!



True that!

12 May 2014

Sunday morning serenity

No wonder those doubts started to creep up on me!

I think I had pretty much run out of gas by yesterday and, as much as I really wanted to complete it all, had to halve my run session.

The weather has been hot, hot, hot and I was probably somewhat dehydrated now that I think about it.

I promised myself way back in this comeback campaign that I would take time to "smell the frangipani" so that's what I did as the others all completed their run intervals.

I wandered around, taking in the sights of East Point and snapped a few photos:








I love where I live, and while disappointed not to tick a training box I'm happy to have unexpectedly had the time to take a deep breath and enjoy the Sunday morning serenity. 

10 May 2014

Time flies when you are having fun

One should never look back.

But I did.

Back through the photos taken of our trip to compete in Ironman 70.3 Hawaii in 2008.

And that triggered a lot of memories about my very first experience on the Big Island.

I've been remembering how beautiful it was to swim at Hapuna Beach, and how exciting it was to be riding for the first time on the famous Queen K Highway followed by the exhilaration of reaching Hawi and then riding back down. 

I recalled thinking then that it was only a small portion of the Ironman bike course, but it was enough to build a very healthy respect for those who had ever done the full distance.  

It is the run course which remains etched most clearly in my memory - quite simply because it was so difficult - all twists and turns and ups and downs, over a variety of terrains (asphalt, sand, grass, cement) followed by a long out and back stretch that seemed then to go on forever and ever. 

Recalling that run course has triggered a little anxiety.  You may recognise the inner conversation - 

"What on earth was I thinking?"

"Whose idea was this anyway?"

"Why didn't I just choose a shorter distance?"

"Will I actually make it through this goal race?"

I'm quietly confident that I will manage the swim distance.  




My feet aren't nearly as tough as they used to be and it will be interesting to see how long it takes to make my way up the hill from the beach and into T1. 

Right now with enough longer rides (though not yet an actual 90km) under my belt, I'd say I'm also a fair chance to make it through the ride, providing of course, that it isn't one of those extremely windy days (that can and do occur) where you can be blown across the road or heaven forbid, off your bike. 




But looking at the run course map today has put me a little on edge and a sneaky little slither of doubt is niggling away at my confidence about my ability to get through the run.



So there, it's out in the open.  

What to do?

Get the alarm set, get the gear ready, get out there tomorrow and do my run program to the best of my ability and trust that Supercoach will once again have me in good enough shape to get through.

And those questions ...

"What on earth was I thinking?"  

A: How wonderful it would be if I could be fit enough again to make the start line at Hawaii 70.3

"Whose idea was this anyway?"

A:  Mine.  Well OK, perhaps also a certain friend who was thinking of making a birthday celebration of it and yet another who will now be on the start line of Alcatraz instead. 

"Why didn't I just choose a shorter distance?"

A: Originally I wanted my comeback to be an iron distance event but common sense prevailed.  

"Will I actually make it through this goal race?"

A:  Not long now until I find out!

Twenty two short days in fact!  Time flies when you are having fun. 

07 May 2014

Check in

This is an overdue update on my progress, with just twenty five days between now and race day in Hawaii, things now stand like this on the training front ...

Longest swim:       2km
Longest ride:         77.6km
Longest run/walk:  15.5km

Having just recorded that run distance, it is early to bed again for this exhausted Comeback Queen!


05 May 2014

Long weekend

We are having another long weekend in the Territory.  We seem to have a lot of them at this time of year.

First there was Good Friday, followed Easter Monday, then by Anzac Day and now today we celebrate May Day. Soon it will be Queen's Birthday weekend.

It is a great time to be in Darwin given it is before the full influx of dry season visitors and also the time when locals head out to get some camping done - making around our neck of the woods a relatively peaceful place to be these past few days.  

Translated that also means that it is far quieter on the roads ~ a plus for longer rides!

Speaking of longer rides, mine are getting longer and longer ahead of Hawaii 70.3, now only 27 days away!

My key training sessions are increasing in duration now. After I made my cautious way through a long brick session over the weekend, I was pleasantly surprised at just how much enjoyment I derived from completing it.  

The couple of hours on the bike passed without incident aside from having to pull up to negotiate around a few human speed bumps sleeping across the bike path and dodging some broken glass.

Off the bike and onto the long run (ok I'll come clean .. it is still a run/walk) also had me thinking that I was starting to find that magical "zone" again where you are unaware of time passing by and suddenly it is almost time to finish! 

With that done and dusted, I was free to athlete track Ironman 70.3 Busselton and then help out at our annual club championships yesterday morning (a rest day for me).  

I took a zillion photos for the club social media and also Daz's website. This is my pick from the swim ...


Once the event gear was packed away, we headed for home there to resume athlete tracking - this time for Ironman Australia. Daryl had four athletes competing and we also had numerous friends racing.  Also on my tracking list was fellow SOAS Ambassador Jo Homer.

With athlete tracker not up to the task (throwing up seriously weird splits, times and averages) it was a case of one eye on Twitter and one on live coverage, with intermittent searches on Facebook followed by another hopeful search on tracker - over and over again!

My awesome motivator Kylie was in field - nine months after the birth of her gorgeous little tri baby and having made the call to compete only nine weeks out.  

To be fair, she had started training again after getting a spot at Alcatraz (1 June) but all the same to see her lining up for her 8th iron distance event, this time heading off with a baby on her hip, was amazing. 

With her partner and this gorgeous little bundle of love on the sidelines waiting, Kylie pulled out a super effort to finish well under 12 hours!  



I was stoked also for M who went 9.30 (again) and A who clocked a huge pb. H was in it for a good time, not a fast time and was charity fundraising on the go. Supercoach Daz is a happy man! 

And those friends? At least three have qualified for Kona (that I know of), a couple have already signed up for the 30th anniversary event next year, one got blown off their bike (it was very windy) and wasn't able to finish and one finally made the finish after a few attempts. 

SOAS girl Jo also finished, looking great the whole way.

I find a good dose of athlete tracking so motivating.  Have already been to the pool and ticked a swim box and as I have my program in front of me for this coming week I can see I'll be drawing on that motivation just to make my way through it.

Have to love a long weekend!