Sunday, January 26, 2014

Comfort Zone - that place where ZZZZZZZs happen.........

Riding the high of a great race finally, I stepped into this week with renewed energy and commitment. Finally, it feels like the drought has broken and while I know there will always be some hurdle to jump, it sure does help when you are walking a little taller.

Monday was rest, swim/stretch and treatment. I caught up with Coach for treatment and as he worked on autopilot on the legs and lower back, I yammered on about race day and ran him through the race by recounting bee stings, murky water, having to work hard to stay in front of Sandra and birthday cakes. We laughed. We also talked about coming back to team run group training. Ok, now I'm worried, but ok, let's give it a crack.

Tuesday, on the wind trainer. The little ride looked so cute sitting up there on his race wheels all sparkly. The legs ticked over for an easy 30min roll. All good.

Wednesday morning and I am up with the sounds of sparrows farting. I packed all my work gear, shower, and personal gear the night before. Talk about practice in visualizing, walking mentally through the day so I didn't forget anything. I rolled up to running group and the gathering of black red and white. Due to my many costume changes on the weekend and the fact I only do a load of washing twice a week, I had no run top clean so I looked like the odd man out. Lesson learned. I did the warm up and then ran with Megz for the first few rounds. I was chatting so much I forgot I was supposed to be walking every 5 mins. oh, well the knee was ok, let's keep going. In the end Coach told me to stop, not the leg. That was so good in my books. Although I had been in comfortable pace the whole time, I had been pushed outside the 'comfort zone'. That place where my mind starts stressing. But I pulled through ok and walked to cool down before a long stretch. After the run, I went back to Coach's place for an update on my strength training sessions. We looked at what I was doing now and he made a few alterations and so now I have new exercises to focus on and again, some renewed energy towards it. I love 1/4 squats - don't you?

Thursday, due to a sewerage pipe leaking into the harbour where we normally swim, yew..... we moved the swim to North Beach. Well, I have to tell you I reckon most of the Crew opted out due to the swim being moved to the surf.

The postcard version of North Gong Beach. Far from actually what it looked like for our session.
There was a big rip in the middle of the swim which swept us out quickly and we had to dive under the waves. Some big sets had me breathing and working hard to get out behind the breakers, but once we were out the back, we bobbed about waiting for the boys to set the buoys. Once set, we swam, headed for the harbour and used the smaller lighthouse as our sighting point. Hard to do when the waves were choppy and I ended up in the troughs. I stuck with Skip, as she and Katie and I were the only girls that had turned up. Megz was waiting on shore for us. We did turns around the buoys and came in and back out 3 times. One of the returns to shore saw me catch a wave and bodysurf a good 20 metres. Another wave picked me up and spear tackled me into the sand and I found myself rolling under the water, holding my breath. I shouldered the sandy bottom, screwed up into a ball and sideways washed up a good 20 metres down again, just not so classy ;) Ha, I hadn't been dumped in years and I always hated it as a kid. Fix the cozzy, pull the sand out of your pants, salt water stinging our eyes. But in a wetsuit and goggles it wasn't as bad as I expected. All good.  On the last time in, I could feel I was getting tired and I really thought Coach would give the girls an 'all done' signal before heading back out one more time with the boys. Nope, he started calling the set and looked at me. We were going in. Dig deep Sammi. I headed out and punched through the waves. Every breath was part salty water, part air. I grabbed at water and pulled hard through it. Skip and I made it back out to the buoys and by crikey we were going to get the set done. Twice round the buoys. Both of which were now drifting as the weights bounced on the sandy bottom. We finally finished and headed back to shore. I knew the waves were settling as the night drew in. They always do. I learned that from my sailing days. So in my head I was battling the exhaustion with calming reassuring thoughts that the sea wasn't as rough as it had been when we first ventured in. It was a good feeling, standing on shore chatting with the boys and Skip and looking out to sea. Sammi once again outside her Comfort Zone, pushing past where any Sammi had been for a long time.

Friday, Swim with Roberto. A great swim and while my shoulders were tired, pool swimming was a breeze compared to what I had done the day before. Bolstered, alive, reassured, confident, HAPPY!

Saturday, I rode with Roberto and The Onion Man. After a false start with a mechanical issue I rejoined the boys and finished with a 60km ride and sat comfortably the whole way with some Time Trials and hill climbs thrown in too. The hardest part of the day was leaving the house for the second time after we had fixed my bike, when all of me wanted to go back to bed with Gaz. Out of my comfort zone again and doing the job.

And today, a 7km run 1hour with a 4min run/30sec walk throughout. I was comfortable and threw a few hills into the course. Hot, happy and content with the itb once again. Toooooooo goood!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Yes, I actually have a race report...........

Nowra Sprint Triathlon. It aint long, but it was goooooooood.

After Thursday nights shocker in the harbour swim, I feel today I managed to crawl my way back. The lead up to this race had a lot of my pressure on it. All my own doing. Coach's words were go out and have a ball. My words were, get fucking serious or go home. So the morning of the race I had a little inspirational talking to from Eric Thomas - coincidentally the title to this chat is - I dare you not to go home!

Thanks to E.T, I was ready to go. The 45min drive down the coast was filled with nerves. But I tried to still them with some visualization. Mostly about my flying mount onto the bike. Ha, I had set my bike up for a bare foot run to the start, mount and get the feet in the shoes before they spin round and the bike bucks me off. I opted for this start rather than my usual shoes on start to try and protect the itb as much as possible.

Anyway, I'm too far ahead. Bike racked, time to sit and have cake pre race for Megz' birthday. We sing happy birthday to her and before long it's time to take the walk down to the start line. It's a straight swim for 750m as the tide is flooding in. It will be a quick swim. In fact 30secs before the gun I left the shore and started my race. I was high up the bank so that I timed the start perfectly and it was on. I went hard, digging deep into the water, turn over high and we all flew down the river with murky brown/yellow reedy water and an awareness that we may run face first into a 6' bullshark that had been spotted in the area several times through the week. I left the swim hot (as the water was 23degrees) but happy. 10:10 and 13th place in the females overall. Very happy.

Struggling to get the wetsuit off.
Ok, good run into T1 with The Crew and Gazza calling encouragement. Grabbed the bike and headed for the mount line. I promised myself that I would take my time with the mount, get the shoes on properly.....doh! completely ballsed it, the shoes flipped and I wobbled over the road having to leap off the bike and start again. All the practice out the window, it was now fumble and pray I got going. Gaz said later he thought I was gonna lose it. Ha.

Not the prettiest mount that's for sure.
The ride is a flat course with some pot holes and rough surfaces along the way. The wind was lifting and I felt like I was making good gains as I was over taking loads of guys. Woohooo always a good feeling to chick a few fellas ;) And then I got over taken by Caroline grrrr. Got to give it to her, she is strong. I was waiting for Sandra to catch me too. I kept this in my mind and used it to stay focused on not being caught. If I found myself sitting behind someone, I pushed hard to over take. I even got a weary eye passed over me by a T.O. First time ever. She watched me pass and waved me to pick up the speed to do it in the right amount of time. Satisfied she moved on. Finally, the turn around in sight and I thought you beauty a tail wind home as we had been punching into some heavy wind, but the tail wind was short lived and was exchanged for a stiff side action. Suddenly, 3 hits, 1 face, 1 shoulder, 1 knee and now a burning sensation on my right knee caught me off guard. I looked down to find a little bee stinger and sack sticking out of my knee. Random! I scrapped it out and was shattered to think it might swell and stop me from racing. Noooooooo! 

Coming in off the bike, I opted for a shoes on dismount
Back in transition after an uneventful dismount and a quick whip off the helmet, I was on my way again. 39:25 and 14th girl. Ok, run, it wasn't fast, but I was moving. I ran past Megz and Ellyse again and headed out for the bridge. Once out of sight of the crowds, I stopped for a 30sec walk. I needed to calm down and focus. I set off again and fell into step with a guy and tried to focus on cadence and form. I lost the guy when I needed to walk up a short sharp hill on to the bridge, but I had spotted Sandra and the other girls right behind me. OK, Sammi, you are going to have to dig deep as she is closing the gap.

Heading out for the last 1km
As I headed back along the bridge, I dropped my head a little so my hat hid how far I needed to go. I just focused on my feet and form and chipped away. Finally the last long straight out and back. Past Gazza who snapped a few shots. Not sure how my race belt ended up down below my ass. Never noticed. I'm pleased with that, cause I was so focused on going hard rather than fidgeting, which I often find myself doing when I am not focused. 
I'm actually 'ok' with the backside shot. Ha!
I reached the final turn around point, looked up and there was Sandra only meters away from me. Holy Crap! This is going to hurt. I needed to work hard. I dumped a cup of water over myself, one down my pants to cool me down. I stopped listening to the blister that was starting to whinge in my head and I put the foot down, literally. I could see the flags of the finish chute, but they seemed so far away. I looked at the pavement in front of me, put more pressure on the legs and came home, all the while listening for the familiar heavy footfall of Sandra. 

All business in the Hurt Locker
I crossed the finish line and took a moment to get my breathing and stop my head from spinning. There was no sprint finish in me today, but I did hear my name and I had given it a bloody good go. I'm pleased with that. And I came in under 30mins for the run, with 29:09. and final time 1:21:01. 

Sweet relief - I am racing again
Boom 3rd place! Yep, that was a great outcome. 7 in my age group. Happy days. But most important about today was that I finally pushed out of my head all of the negativity that had been plaguing me for so long. I didn't let things get me down or frustrate me. I didn't hear the voice in my head saying - can't. I stayed focused and in the moment the entire time.
A new buddy - Eirene
Most importantly is that I spent time with new and old friends. My old friends that I have known for so long now. We all had such great races. Scooped the medals. Luckily we are all in different age groups lol.

Lloyd, Sandra, Eirene, me, Gail and Deb
And of course my newer family, the AP.10 Crew. What an amazing bunch of people. All having fantastic races.

AP.10 Crew
A final word from Coach.
Podium Girl - Hey there lady, Really proud of you. Not necessarily just the result, but more so the effort and application that you put in and have done over the past months. This effort makes podiums possible. So well done!   

Special thanks to Gazza for being chief cheer squad, bike handler and photographer. x

Friday, January 17, 2014


Definition: To receive a swift, sideways, glancing blow across the side of the head from someone, usually with an open hand. However, a Makatush can come in a range of variations and ferocity as the intent is to remind the receiver that they have fucked up rather than to cause pain or discomfort.

Origin: Source, the Boland family patriarch, a derivative of the word, slap and often the action of a Makatush is used in conjunction with a single word such as Troon, Dickhead or Idiot. To Makatush is ammunition to penetrate armor, or get your point across, more efficiently than standard armor-piercing ammunition. Why reach for the BB gun when you can use the Uzi?

Today at our open water swim session I received a Makatush from Coach. Skip got one too. But the result was a water filled Makatush, the look, and a sideways directed comment about taking too long a rest and perhaps it would hav
e been better to do the 1st groups set first and then go the 2nd groups set after that. The Makatush came as a variation of the better known open handed swat, but packed no less a reminder that I had fucked up, with a swat at the water sending salty water in my direction. Ouch!

What was Coach trying to say? Hmmmm, "You're not working hard enough, Sammi!" Imagine an 'M' that was the set. Swim out to a boat, round it back to shore, run out of the water round a lump of seaweed on the ground, back in to the water before heading out to round another boat, then back to shore for a 30sec rest. Go! That was Coach's groups set The faster group, full of great swimmers and mostly boys and a couple of girls. Megzy's group would do a smaller 'm' shape round some buoys that were closer to shore, the girls group and the occasional male swimmer such as Gazza when he comes.

Problem is Skip and I are somewhere in the middle. We are left hanging off the disappearing feet of the 1st group, sometimes scary when we are out of the harbour in deep water. But too quick for the 2nd group. So when Coach said self seed. I planted myself in the 2nd group and so did Skip. Skip had a legit excuse in my books, she was shattered after huge training sessions getting ready for I.M Melbourne in just a few short weeks. You could see she was exhausted and so it would make sense to drop back. But me, fresh, easier program this week and after all, better to come first right? WRONG!!

What was my brain doing? Well, it was in conserve mode again. Racing on Sunday, don't push to hard. Don't want to get too tired. Just take it easy and cruise through the session so you are right for Sunday. Stay with the girls and just dissolve into the group. No need to go hard. WRONG!!!! Perhaps if it was a critical 'A' race or a longer race that required a taper, this thinking would have been ok and Coach would have given me the signal that taking it easy in this session was ok. But I took it upon myself to ease. I have to stop applying this thinking to my training. Always holding back, always avoiding going hard during a session for fear that I wont back up the next day. That if I go too hard I wont make it home......or it will hurt, or I will fail or come last.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

And now for something completely different..........

A fantastic adventure, liloing in the Blue Mountains with Big Gazza, Wishy, Wishtin, Lil and Sal my Gal.

The planets had to align to get this one off the ground and when they did line up, it was amazing. 

We headed for the Bluies in the rain and fog. It wouldn't stop the day, but it wouldn't be as pretty and you need a bit of sun for warmth when you're in water all day. But when we finally arrived at our parking spot the blue sky was peaking through the clouds, and by the time we started to hike, the summer sun was warm and the smiles were wide.
Me, Sal my Gal, Wish, Lil, Big Gazza & Wishtin (crouching)
We took some time finding the trail head as the bush fires that hit the area in October had taken its toll and the terrain looked so different. We eventually got going and followed a ridge down to where we needed to repel into the canyon. The look on my nieces faces as they eyed off the knotted rope and realised they were going to climb down, no harness, priceless! and they did it with confidence and ease.

Me descending into the canyon
Once in the canyon we quickly blew up the lilos and pulled on the wetsuits. A quick mars bar for energy and we were off floating down the creek. They loved it. It was a long hike through so many different types of settings. Long slot canyons, sandy river beds, pebbly bottom, tree covered waterlines that you needed to bushwack through, huge logs and rocks that needed to be launched off from height and finally large boulder scrambling. It was a taster for canyoning and the girls handled it amazingly. 

Lots of laughs and quality time and a hard hike out and we were done. Good times and fantastic memories.

Getting ready to launch off the log

Mexican stand-off