Tuesday, March 24, 2015

One step forward, three steps flying backwards.........

Coach was racing Ironman Melbourne this weekend. On a last minute, spontaneous, let's go idea, we headed South. A quick oh geezus whose going to feed the dogs, sorted and we were off. I threw a few things in a bag after a huge couple of weeks at work, I was shattered but looking forward to the distraction. Big Gazza had done most of the prep around bikes and sorting out Steve to hang our new internal doors while we were away. Nothing like cramming it all in.

A quick 8-9 hour run and we were snoozing on a hotel bed in Brighton for an hour before heading into the city for a catch up with Gazza's dad, sister, her partner, brother and step mum. I had a great night. The stories from Gazza's mum set me up with a nervousness that was not required and soon dissipated. We laughed and talked of Africa and the Father-in-Law told a few small stories about Gazza when he was little. But we mostly kept the conversation on general topics of adventures and good times. It was relaxed and it flowed, just like the two glasses of wine. We finished the night with a fun stop in a lolly shop and final goodbye hugs. I fell into bed.

Sis, Bro and Big Gazza
We woke on Saturday and headed out on the mountain bikes to The Brown Cow CafĂ©. I love the food, the feel, the click clack of bike cleats as the MAMILs of Melbourne rack their bikes and laugh and tell tall stories while drinking their lattes. We rode along the bike track and stopped by the beach huts. I felt relaxed and happy. I realised just how hard I had been working and how much I needed the clear head space.

Trading Roadie for Fat tyres and bike paths
We then hit the big smoke once again for some shopping. I found some ASIC DS shoes in hot pink. Woot woot, I hope they work and go fast. A couple of nice deals on a jacket and some tops. We had a nice meal at a Tapas bar before an early night and Ironman the next day.

The swim course follows along Frankston Pier
 We woke early. I knew Coach had pulled out of the race due to his ankle not being up to running a marathon. I was tempted to roll over and enjoy a morning with Gazza lazing in bed. But pushed on. I wanted to see Coach. Race start is always crazy, but particularly so when you don't know the layout. We found a coffee van with a queue a mile long, literally. We searched for Coach and the rest of the AP crew, but no good. In the end I called Megan and we found them waiting at the bike mount line. No Coach. Then I heard his big voice, "Gaz, what are you doing here?" We had still surprised him. And then I turned and spotted him. He walked straight up to me and we hugged. He was so disappointed. I broke the hug first. He was gutted. Gaz was thinking by Kona he would be ok, chin up buddy. But Coach and I both knew that Melbourne was his A race. Kona would always be a fun day, not a race. Coach was in the fittest condition of his life and he was hoping for a sub 9hr race at Melbourne. Now he was left frustrated and pissed off as he watched the athletes in his age group scream past us.

Sometimes you eat the Bear, and sometimes the Bear eats you!
 In true, "I'm with you Coach!" I ended up flat on my arse with knees and ankles screaming under the weight. Yep bruises and scraped knees later, I hobbled off to find an ice pack!. I strapped my knee and was determined to soldier on and not ruin the rest of our weekend. Rolled ankle, Bloody knee, and a bruised side of the knee a little concerning. But don't worry Coach, I now literally feel your pain.

We cheered and spent time with the crew and Gazza got cuddles with Ava, before heading off to Melbourne again for an afternoon of culture and Strictly Ballroom. We loved it and had a wonderful time.

Another fantastic meal at a lovely restaurant in Brighton Beach and an amazing view of the athletes running along the path towards St Kilda and the finish line with the sun setting behind them. We went out later and cheered on a few runners, that by my calculations were at about my time for Port Mac. Its always scary and inspiring at the same time. Time to set some goals and get organised!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Good Talk Coach......

Coach asked after the race for me to write some Micro goals down for him. I couldn't think of one!
So the next time I had treatment......Well, it got a little intense. Laying on the slab in the most vulnerable position. Coach with an elbow right in my ITB giving it the works, and me trying to describe how I have been travelling over the last couple of months in between gritted teeth and long gasps.
With the Gong Tri behind me and not keen to go to Port Stephens, I decided it was time to have 'The Chat.' I was not sure how it was going to go. My head was spinning. The usual salutations and climb on to the physio table. Usually Coach gets to work on the old legs and ITBs and I sit and chat and joke around. But today was different. I asked for a serious moment and he put his game face on. He listened carefully to what I was trying desperately to say, but not sure I was getting it out right.
I'm flopping around with no real direction. My frustration at not being able to run and therefore, train as hard as I would like was...is doing my head in! I feel like if I was just happy being a weekend warrior then really I wouldn't need coaching as I would just roll up with what ever training I had under my belt and do the race. But I am also shit scared that if I stop training with a coach then I will stop. And literally as I would become a workaholic (and it seems like my boss would encourage that to happen) Perhaps I would get ahead at work more, but work is not what spins my wheels. Training and being with my friends DOES!
He gave me a hard line speech. Sammi I am not going to wipe your bum for you!
ok then. What I took away from that was.....

Find something you want to aim for and go for it and work hard at it and embrace it 100%. You're either in or you're out. He is dead right, no one is going to write the menu, do the work, choose the goals, wipe my bum. I just need to find something to aim for, a goal that excites me and challenges me and keeps me moving forward.
And then I went home and brewed for a few days. No I wasn't offended by the hard line taken by Coach. It was called for....
Ironman 70.3

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Racing in My Own Backyard........

For years, I have never made it to the start line of Tri The Gong. An Elite Energy Race and part of the series. It's in my own backyard so it is very frustrating having not been able to participate.
Harbour swim course and the grass edge was the run course
For one reason or another, Usually...yeah you guessed it, the ITB meant no running. As it was, I was only doing the Sprint. I had signed up to do the Oly series, but when Husky L.C became a team, I also dropped back to the Sprint distance due to the legs.

Well, as with all things, all things can be unexpected and the next minute I am standing on the shoreline in the Basin with Nikki, Sonya and Michele and of course my best buddy Roberto staring down an Oly. Ok, let's get this done. (No Onion Man today, injured Achilles)

Big Gazza had given me a tap on the butt and sent me on my way. The swim start was good. I jumped over the waves up to my knees and then went the dive as there was still some space. I kept the momentum up but my crop top (which I had second thoughts about when I put it on! should have gone with that) was way to tight. Suddenly I had no air to breathe and the usual loss of breath turned into a panic attack and a breast stroke to recover. I never really did recover. I got out through the harbour into the open water and the huge rollers brought me undone. They were massive and I struggled as much with my head as I did with my breathing. I turned the two buoys and then headed back in shore. I wanted to get out! But there was still another lap and it didn't go much better than the first, except throw in more bouts of breast stroke. When I finally touched sand again I was very happy and relieved.

The gap, looks like I'm winning, but no way....losing. Lots of bikes in transition still though.

Out on the bike I felt a renewed strength. I never gave the swim another thought. I just focused on the road ahead and worked hard. The road surface was beautiful and we hammered along at a great pace. I saw Coach and Megzy and lil Ava walking in to town. Coach yelled Go Sammi...and then realised 'hey why is Sammi in the Oly?' "Ill explain later" I yelled as I went pass him. The heading out of town leg was fast, heading back in, a little slower as there was a slight head wind. Heading into town there were hills and I just sat and did the spin up them.

Once out on the run, I really didn't know what to expect. I was ready to pull out at any point, even in transition. I walked all the way out of T2 and then gingerly started to run. I felt ok, the legs were fine. I even had my brand new shoes on that I had only done a 1km run in. Way to take a risk on a blister and kill the legs. BUT they just kept ticking along. Again I saw Coach and Megzy and I heard Megzy say to Coach "Isn't she supposed to be doing the Sprint?" I laughed and kept running. Most of the run leg was on grass and with a bad camber but the legs kept going. I stopped and walked mostly due to lack of run fitness. But about the 7km mark, the familiar tightness started. Oh well, It's a 3km walk home, not to bad I thought. But 3 became 2 and then became 1 and I yomped it home. I high 5'd Spence as she went out for her run.

I walked while I was hidden from the crowd and on the very final corner before the run home a guy came up beside me and encouraged me to run it in. He was so nice and we had a laugh as we crossed the finish line. He shook my hand and he disappeared. SEGWAY - you meet the most encouraging and supportive people in triathlon. I have lost count of the many people who have given a kind word to pick you up and get you going again.

Race done!

Love the red carpet

Take home thoughts.

  • Roberto and The Onion Man have become such good mates, embrace that.
  • You need to do the open water swims and get out there.
  • Give that crop top to Kez.
  • Coach - wants your micro goals.
  • Linda is amazing. My legs were tight and tired and the burning was starting. But after a spontaneous massage, my legs are fine. Try and work out how to do the hip stretch at home. It worked a treat.
  • I liked the Oly distance. I think it is where we might be best suited.
  • My bike time was a little disappointing. Michele hhad2mins on me. I could have worked harder on the hills and overall. Go hard Sammi!

Tracy FOYSTER (297)2:22:380:26:240:01:461:08:120:01:160:44:58
Karine PRADIER (330)2:31:110:29:460:02:371:11:250:01:460:45:36
Jennifer MCDONALD (319)2:31:270:29:370:01:351:08:260:01:330:50:14
Francoise COIRIER (290)2:37:140:25:380:02:061:12:420:01:250:55:20
Fiona BENNETT (278)2:37:360:31:280:03:151:12:000:02:460:48:05
Danielle SYME (342)2:41:180:28:200:02:081:11:040:02:000:57:45
Bronwen THOMPSON (343)2:49:240:35:370:03:051:13:420:02:300:54:28
Samantha BOWDEN (283)2:59:560:31:570:02:391:17:200:02:491:05:10
Paula GAUDRY (299)3:02:170:38:370:03:291:27:450:02:030:50:21
Sonya STEWART (338)3:02:370:34:000:02:161:18:020:02:131:06:04
Lisa KRUGER (311)3:03:050:38:150:02:481:23:060:03:130:55:42
Christine PEARSALL (327)3:09:040:38:340:04:531:17:540:03:161:04:25
Lisa MACFARLANE (315)3:09:360:38:540:01:531:20:310:01:571:06:20
Lynne BERSON (279)3:11:110:40:070:03:061:27:350:03:230:56:59
Caroline JACONELLI (309)3:15:470:36:400:03:091:27:120:03:161:05:27
Polly SEIDLER (335)3:23:440:38:420:02:441:35:490:02:051:04:22
Sharon PROSPERI (331)3:49:070:45:090:03:341:35:460:03:201:21:16
Michele ROCHE (334)2:46:270:30:470:02:251:15:290:01:420:56:02
Robert COULTHARD (112)2:35:590:30:200:02:231:09:340:02:220:51:17

Happy with my bike staying in front of Sonya - ha, race wheels. But need to improve.
Swim - 2mins behind Roberto suggests how badly I swam.