Thursday, December 11, 2014

And Now For Something A Little Different......

The music, the place, the memories, the inspiration, the nerve, the daring to dream, the thrill, the defeat of fear, the challenge, the ability, the explorer, the romance, the adrenalin, the vision, the desire, the death wish, the taking it to the edge, and the everything in between.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Dreaded Callala and All Things Muddy.....

For, I reckon, 3 years now I have been to 'broken' to do the Callala triathlon. But in true supportive spirit, I have made the early start and trekked down to cheer on my training buddies. Callala Beach is a lovely spot. Just near Huskisson, but quieter and with amazing views of the heads of Jervis Bay. In fact it is directly opposite the heads and so it is open to all elements, including big surf. Each year I have watched from the safety of the beach as my friends have battled on-shore dumpers that at times have been well over 6ft. I stand there thinking, 'yep, I'm glad that's not me out there!'

So the big seas were definitely at the forefront of my mind when I signed up and Callala race came into focus. And I wasn't let down. Though nowhere near as big as previous years, I managed to get myself dumped in the first minute of my warm up swim. My buddy Roberto next to me laughing. I walked out of the surf thinking, this is going to be a freaking hoot!

Standing shore start and an all female wave. I went wide of the buoy as they all scrabbled for water. I had watched the surf and as we were heading parallel to the shoreline in a rectangle course, we would be swimming side on to the forming shories and big rollers, so I headed wide and out to sea to avoid the additional work that would be needed. It paid off. I was in clear water with the occasional fast guys coming through that I could jump on their feet and work hard off of. The first of the red caps came pass me just as I was rounding the last buoy. I knew Coach would be in the front pack, just as someone grabbed me and as I looked round, it was him, big black Mo and laughing. How he was able to pick me out of all the women I'll never know.

I chased Amy up the sand and in to transition. I didn't realise it was her until I looked at the swim times, 20:42 and 13th woman overall, extremely happy. I stripped the new wetsuit off and headed out on a lumpy, slippery old road full of pot holes.

The ride was horrible. My legs took a while to warm up, but they got going eventually. The road was rolling hills which is my weakness and something I really need to focus on. My mate Sonya came tearing pass me and I felt demoralised, beaten. I worked hard at staying mentally in the game, telling myself that 'No Fat Sammi Was Singing Just Yet!' I plugged away at it, only to find Sonya stopped on the side of the road, she had hit the back of a car, dropped her chain and snapped a cable which had given her a scratch down the side of her leg and a nice bruise to come. I called out to her to make sure she was ok, and then carried on. She got me again! and only because she dropped her chain again was I able to pass her, then she DID IT AGAIN! Chicked 3 times by the same chick. Good on her, but, I have work to do! She came into transition approx. 2 mins ahead of me, but it would have been a lot more if she didn't have all of those issues. But that is racing. Also, I had chosen to stay with my training wheels, bad move in the end. Perhaps I would have had a bit better ride with them.

I was told later that when I came into transition, I looked pissed off. I wasn't cranky, I was focused and knew I had a lot of work to do to catch her.

See, I'm smiling here, I headed out with my usual, 'just run til you get out of sight of the crowds and then you can walk' attitude. But to my surprise and great pleasure, I felt great and I held my steady tap tap tap the entire race. I walked the aid stations and got plenty of hose downs. Sipped on my dextro to keep the energy up and eased the nutrition when my gut threatened to cramp on me. There were lots of sandy off road tracks with moguls and hidden trip hazards everywhere. The ITBs held and I kept focused on my form and high cadence. Finally with the finish line in sight, and Gazza checking in with me as he ran for a short while beside me, I finished strong and happy. Very Happy.

Roberto & Me, missing The Onion Man

I had a great day, finished 3rd, very happy with my swim and run, and made greater by good friends and great laughs.

Lisa MONAGHAN1:58:0045-49  (1)Female  (13)0:20:360:00:490:59:030:01:010:36:28
Nola URQUHART 2:01:5545-49  (2)Female  (18)0:20:500:01:001:00:210:01:130:38:29
Samantha BOWDEN (468)2:11:0745-49  (3)Female  (34)0:20:420:01:251:05:360:00:140:43:08
Kristen ASHER 2:15:4245-49  (4)Female  (41)0:23:400:02:241:07:250:01:510:40:19
Sonya STEWART 2:16:5445-49  (5)Female  (43)0:22:430:01:011:03:270:01:040:48:37
Kylie STEWART 2:17:4445-49  (6)Female  (45)0:22:020:01:351:08:450:01:270:43:53
Joanne MULLER 2:29:2745-49  (7)Female  (59)0:27:340:01:301:18:330:01:510:39:58
Marie CHRETIEN 2:43:3645-49  (8)Female  (66)0:33:320:02:191:16:370:03:220:47:44
Robert COULTHARD 1:56:0640-44  (10)Male  (53)0:20:430:01:370:55:590:02:080:35:37

It was a great weekend all round upon reflection. Saturday, Team Bowson hit the mud for a fantastic day. I love watching them playing and getting stuck into the obstacles.


And the final announcement for the weekend.....Gazza might do another 100km run. Back to the life if an Ultra Runners Widow. But it looks like a great course and cause and one that is close to Gazza's heart.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Off and Racing.....

Husky 1

It was supposed to be the first of a series of Olympic distance races this year, but due to the trip away, lack of training and a niggling injury with my foot (that is now all sorted) I was not trained and ready for the Olympic distance. So on advice from Coach, I did the Sprint.

I aimed for it to be the first race and to keep it relaxed throughout and not push myself but enjoy the experience and have fun. and that's what I did. the swim was relaxed and while the water was fresh, I enjoyed it and had no push and shove. The shoulder went really well without any issue through out at all. Very Happy. Bike was good, again comfortable without busting a gut, however, I did still come off the bike fully depleted.

The run, hmmm well it was always going to be tricky. But I was surprised about how hard it was to keep the run momentum going. I had to walk more than I wanted and strolled through the aid stations. This resulted in me having the second slowest run out of my immediate group.

Overall, happy the first race is behind me now and no injuries, just a concentration on the next race and the diet and weight loss continues steadily.
So all good news!


The AP.10 Crew and Friends and my ranking.

My ranking within my own age group. 5th Swim/5th Bike/12th Run/ Final result 7th Overall.
Time Swim Cycle Run
1:15:54 0:13:34 0:40:14 0:22:04
1:20:07 0:15:16 0:40:17 0:24:33
1:22:56 0:15:38 0:40:12 0:27:04
1:27:28 0:17:03 0:42:09 0:28:15
1:30:41 0:16:15 0:47:12 0:27:13
1:31:22 0:17:56 0:45:57 0:27:29
1:31:42 0:16:09 0:44:35 0:30:58
1:31:49 0:14:01 0:47:45 0:30:02
1:34:37 0:20:36 0:45:19 0:28:41
1:35:16 0:18:55 0:49:24 0:26:57
1:36:56 0:18:03 0:49:34 0:29:17
1:37:50 0:16:57 0:47:09 0:33:42
1:40:33 0:19:45 0:50:54 0:29:53
1:42:47 0:20:15 0:49:51 0:32:40
1:42:48 0:18:27 0:52:04 0:32:16
1:47:48 0:21:26 0:51:12 0:35:09
1:51:51 0:20:31 0:57:17 0:34:02
1:59:47 0:23:34 0:55:39 0:40:33


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Back to Business.........

Our return to Aus was a long haul, but I managed to sleep for the most of it by making sure we had a long day of sun and walking, followed by an on-board movie, dinner and chased down by a travel calm/1/2 a beer. The 1/2 beer so I wouldn't have to go to the toilet. Nothing like a purposeful dehydration strategy. I pulled the blanket up over my head, had the ear plugs in and the neck pillow, found a relatively comfortable position and woke up 2 hours short of Sydney. Awesome!

Another long day, determined to stay awake til bedtime in an attempt to get back into the right body clock and we were right. Sunday morning we were up, dressed in the AP.10 kit and heading down to the ITC club triathlon. Not to compete but to dominate the club in the Black, White and Red.

Photo opportunity.

The Walking Blimp

So there I am, 3rd adult from the left. I can hardly fit into my shorts! I feel bloated and fat and my legs rub and I am packing so much American over indulgence food into my pockets and everywhere else. Ok, I am standing next to Mel who is a much smaller elite level runner. But on the other side of me is Michelle and she is older than me and owns her very own 6 pack.

Monday was clearly time to get motivated and start a program. I had done some research in America, lazing by the pool and decided to give Jackie Warner's diet/program a go. That was 10 days ago.

I am very happy to say that I am below pre-America trip weight. In fact I am sitting at 62.9kgs. I was 65.8kgs when I got back from America, so a delighted Sammi. The next 10 days is increasing in calories slightly to 1200. After being on 900 calories for the last 10 days it didn't feel to bad. I wasn't hungry really. But the energy was gone. My rides and runs have been sluggish and I needed a lot of effort to get going. There is no power. But that's ok for a little while.

So the next 10 ten days I hope to continue the loss. It may slow down now as I get close to that elusive 60kgs. In fact, quietly (between you and me) I want to go below the 60 and stay there. Judy at work looks amazing and she is an ultra runner who told me she is at 53kgs. She is the same height, build, age etc so it is possible to get there and still perform. The end figure though is a side note to the real aim of getting fitter, stronger, faster and obviously carrying excess baggage is just wasted energy. I have also been 'clean eating' for the 10 days and have not missed the sugar, chocolate, lollies, chips etc and pancakes and the super sized meals of America and before America. Gaz keeps making me huge meals, but at least they are healthy. There was only 4 breaks in the diet, a banana Friday night as I was hungry and I knew I had a ride the next day, the endura energy drink I needed to take on the ride with me and the Paleo friande I had after the ride and a protein ball I got from Dan, which I didn't want to say no to.

In an effort to change things up a bit, I have also joined my old gym, Fernwood again. I want to go back and do a few classes such as Pump and Combat and Body Balance etc. I need some core work especially. They have the TRX bands there and no intimidating block heads. A bit more expensive and I am now a member of two gyms which is dumb, but at least I have my choices and don't have to stress about going to the gym and running into the meat axe that I had to terminate at work recently!

So looking forward to the next few months. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, October 20, 2014

A post about something other than triathlon..............

3 weeks (21 days) in America? you betcha!

The plan:

Big Gazza heads over to America early to acclimate and head into the Grand Canyon from Kanab to run his 273km ultra run (unsupported). Yep, he's a weirdo!

The other Plan:

Seasoned travellers - we got this!
Kezwaldo, Sparky and I head over a few days later, land in L.A and travel North to San Fran, then Yosemite and on to Vegas where we meet Big Gazza at the end of his run. A few more days in the Grand Canyon before the girls head home and then Gazza and I head off to Zion before heading home.
Where to start?

Landing in L.A at 6am driving on the 'other side' of the road and navigating our way through the streets to our hotel room, yeah. We found the hotel and fell out of the oversized ride into a scene somewhere between Karate Kid "Nothing but Palms Trees Ma." and Sons of Anarchy as a gang of bikers, including their cuts, gathered at the end of the token of a pool. The hotel reception was an 'I can't give a shit about anything you want.' Mexican teenager. Sooo, surreal. And that was the story for L.A and set the taste in my mouth for what I thought would be the rest of our trip. As we were to stay in separate rooms, I was just a little concerned for my safety and the girls. But hey, we survived and we toured the stars and took photos at the Chinese Laundry with B.B King and had some onion rings at Hooters. We toured Hollywood Boulevard and Rodeo Drive and made the pilgrimage to the HOLLYWOOD sign. We got the full L.A experience.

We headed North, first to Santa Monica Pier. Breaky at Bumba Gump's and a nice walk along the pier. What an odd beach, reminded me of England in a way. Long wide beach, no wave, token surfers catching shories. We met a waiter who served breakfast and sunshine and the girls made a friend. After breakfast, we were keen to lose L.A and follow the coast line to Monterey. I'm pleased to say that the taste sweetened the further North we travelled.
Road trippin' with my two favorite allies

Fully loaded we got snacks and supplies
It's time to leave this town
It's time to steal away
Let's go get lost
Anywhere in the U.S.A.
Watching Humpback whales from the road, we wound our way along the coast road and soaked up the sun as it dipped beneath the waves, in what's seldom seen for us Aussie girls, a sunset over sea.
An unexpected turn and we found an extra night in Monterey and a spontaneous whale watching cruise. Living the dream, we watched whales and sea lions cooperative feeding within 50metres of the boat. Simply breathtaking. We heard baby Sea Otters calling for their Mammas, we had good food, Geo-Caches and a much nicer hotel, including waffles and we were in high spirits.
Oakland A's - Go team! - We lost...

Fallen head over heels for baby Sea Otters
Budapest our morning travelling song, on to San Fran and our next adventure. We were met by a vibey, welcoming city. We toured the bridge, Mandatory! so we did it 3 times. We toured the city, rode a street tram, ate at Pier 39 and the sour dough bakery and ran up steep streets to descend Lombard street and walk in the steps of Maya Angelou. I ate an old donut and the girls downed a beer as we waved one finger hellos at the players at Oakland Baseball Park.
We headed towards the West and into the rain. Somewhere out there Big Gazza was running through the canyon in 45 degree heat. I was so acutely aware of the contrast to our trips, only a few hundred miles apart from each other. But for us the wipers were on high and Yosemite on the map. We paused and I soaked it in. The view I had been longing for after so long. A bucket list moment as we laid our eyes for the first time on Half Dome. If you can breathe in a scene, then that's what I did. I let it seep into my pores and senses so I would never forget it.

We spent a magical  day at Yosemite, we hired old back-pedal bikes and rode slowly around the monoliths and gawped up at them in awe. We drank White Russians and more beer in the shadows cast by El Capitan and spied climbers on the rock, before they lit up like bright stars in the night as they tied themselves in for the night. Truly a special place.

As I travelled with my kid and her partner, I had an unexpected gift. A realisation that I couldn't have predicted. I had my girl to myself, uninterrupted time. Even though Sparky was with us, it made it even more special to see them together, interacting, laughing, loving, relaxed! In the amazing land of forest and granite, I secretly wished it would never end. Lost time in a lost moment. Sometimes, when you watch and listen, you can hear and see the memories wrapping themselves about you. 

From the forest we headed South and on to Las Vegas. Surreal moment as we crossed Death Valley, met a hungry Coyote, ran in the wind and sand for a few steps of the Bad Water, and landed in Vegas in a Casino with air con and wall to wall slot machines, spinning tables and colour and neon everywhere.
We hit the tables for some fun and watched the years of practice with G'Dood and a box of matches pay off as Kezwaldo black jacked her way through like a boss.
Finally, it was time to pick up Gazza. Done finally, we headed to meet him. But we were turned back due to flash flooding, torrential rain and car crashes. Crazy moments, but we finally got him home, safely and satisfied in our arms.

Meeting his goals head on, Gazza soldiered on like the diesel engine he is. Never giving up, and never stopped moving forward. He has made life long friends, even if they never speak another word to each other. They shared time, precious time. Shared an experience together and lived to tell the tale.
We took a couple of days to allow time for Gazza to recoup. We did a huge flying fox through Fremont Street. The four of us hanging on wires suspended and racing above the crowds on high.
Rested and keen to go, we toured Route 66 and drove headlong into the South rim of the Grand Canyon. I'm not sure really if the word is 'awe inspiring' as I have heard the G.Canyon described as before. For sure, no mistake, it is beautiful, unique and huge. But it was not as earth moving a moment as Yosemite. But still just as sweaty palmed as they sat on a cliff edge for a photo, hundreds of feet above the canyon floor. Back to the city lights of Vegas and shows including 'O' and 'Michael Jackson' we indulged and shopped and had coffee and shared time with Rory and Susan, our special friends from Canada. How the world can move and turn and twist and land us back together a year later.
This too shall pass, and my time with the girls came to a close with smiles and neck hugs and a 'goodbye travel buddy'. We saw them off and then Big Gazza and I headed towards the sun once more and the North Rim and then on to Zion. Oh my, what else can America offer us. No way, a spine tingling, white knuckle, rock scrambling, death defying ride with Angels. No ride is complete of course without an encore and so we scrambled our way to the top of Observation Point where, for my birthday and our 21st anniversary we had lunch with a cheeky chipmunk and heard an eagle scream through the canyon as we spied on him from our perch in the clouds.
What an amazing life I have............