Archive | September, 2016

Raby Bay – Queensland Triathlon Series – Race 1 – Sprint 750/20/5

26 Sep

 

With excitement (and a little fear and trepidation) I can confirm that this year’s triathlon season has now kicked off! Yesterday saw me do my first race of the season.  What better way to enter race week than sick… again… these days it would seem abnormal to arrive at the start line of a race feeling healthy (this is the last time it is going to happen!!).  I spent a good part of the week coughing up both lungs – a hacking cough that sounds like I’ve been a smoker all my life (I’ve never smoked….).  Saturday Dave was encouraging me to think again about racing, Sunday morning he was still encouraging me to think again… but this stubborn individual wouldn’t have a bar of it.  It is so frustrating to train consistently (well when I’m not sick) and then not be feeling well on race day – so having decided I’d worked hard to be here I did it anyway…

I’d love to say that the alarm woke me at 4am – reality is it didn’t… a) I was sleeping on the recliner in the living room and no-where near the alarm, and b) I was coughing so regularly I was awake anyway… so, I got up and got the day underway.  I pulled on my brand new sleeved Smiling for Smiddy Tri-suit, keen to give it a test run today.  Packed the final few things and headed out the door. I took a slight diversion today to pick someone else up, and headed for Raby Bay, Cleveland. transition

Check-in was remarkably smooth, and in no time I was headed for transition to set up.  I spent forever in transition, checking and rechecking that I had put everything out. Ride: helmet, glasses, socks, shoes….. Run: belt, number, visor, shoes…. Some nutrition, a small bottle of rinsing water if I wanted it… yep, that feels like everything… take the obligatory photo and walk away.

Having never raced at Raby Bay I went about the process of checking locations of transition entries, exits and flow through the transition area (which direction you come in from the swim, out with the bike, in with the bike, out with the run… it really is a jigsaw puzzle and you have to go the right way!).  As I watched the kids start the swim I was horrified to see them jumping into the water first… what kind of entry is that? Do I have to jump in?? I like a deep water start (it gets my warm and into race mode) but I like swimming out to a deep water start… the concept of jumping off the pontoon was a little daunting to me…  As I looked around hoping to confirm this with someone else I found two friendly faces in T-Zero caps! It was here I met Tina and Rach – two awesome chicks coached by my amazing Coach Emma – they were feeling a little nervous as it was their first triathlon (however, I’d seen some of their training via Instagram and I was confident they’d nail it – which they did…).  As it was their first triathlon Tina and Rach had been to a clinic the day before (great idea) – they could not only enlighten me on the fact that you do indeed have to jump in, but could also give a bit more clarity on the swim leg itself.  So while I assured them that they would really enjoy the triathlon experience, and that they would be just fine, they helped ease some of my fears.  Two awesome, friendly chicks right there!!

I had a 2hr wait between transition closing and my wave start. It was a bit weird to nottzero have Dave around, or others who I’ve done a few races with… but I found some other awesome T-Zero crew and hung with them until race start. Thanks for the company Michelle, Nikki, Cathy, Sandii, Jade and Amelia (and all your parnters)!!  Was a nice little community there!

Before I knew it…. Or perhaps finally (it was a cool morning and starting to rain), it was our swim start.  As it turned out I was joined in my wave by Nikki, Cathy and Tina!! So together we headed down to the pontoon.  After being told we were able to enter to get warmed up I had the big decision of how to enter the water…. If I was an extrovert perhaps I could have done a running leap from the pontoon and bombed in… however, that isn’t me, so I gingerly sat on the edge, and slid into the water…  A bit of a warm up, the race before us set off, so we knew we had 4 mins to start time.  I found my place at the back left of the pack (where I always choose to start) and awaited the starter’s hooter.  The swim is my favourite leg (this is not normal in the sport of triathlon – most people endure the swim and look forward to the bike/run). As I started my swim I realised with horror how poor my lung function actually was. I really struggled to get a good breath in when I turned. I was breathing every stroke but found even with that I couldn’t manage it.  Feeling slightly devastated I switched to breaststroke for a bit, coughed up my lung, and tried again. This practice continued for a little bit. My horror was further magnified when a lifeguard asked if I was okay!!! I assured here I wasn’t drowning, or taking on water, but simply haven’t been well in the lead up to the event.  Both Cathy and Tina also checked in with me at various points – I am thankful for their care, and assured them both I’d be okay.  Eventually I was able to find a slower pace with which I found I could generate enough air to maintain my freestyle stroke without gasping.  When I found this rhythm I stuck to it.  The faster swimmers from the wave behind caught up with me (not a good sign) and I was sure my swim was going to be about 20 min…. I was somewhat happy to see 16:30 – not a good time, but a lot better that I thought it was going to end up mid swim! 750m swim, done!

Next stop transition. I took longer in transition than I should have (and could hear Dave in my head asking how I wanted my cup of tea…). When I put my hair up in the morning I wasn’t thinking – I had gone for a higher pony tail (which I couldn’t get my helmet over… so I had to take my hair out and put it up again – shouldn’t have taken as long as it did but I couldn’t get the hairband out!!) However, once I finally had my helmet, socks and shoes on, I was ready to head out.  300m of transition, 4min.

The bike… I’m not one who can do this whole flying mount thing… so making sure I wasn’t blocking any traffic behind me I pushed my bike over the mount line and carefully got on.  Once on, it was around the round-about and heading out on a 4 lap bike course.  I don’t normally like laps however, it was great to see faces you know out on course.  It was a fairly flat ride, with a few corners to slow for, and the turn-around points you really had to slow down for (I’d seen someone come off while waiting for my wave start so I had decided I would take all my speed off and just try and push hard again out of the corners to make up for it).  I had my new tribars on my bike but having never used them was a little reluctant to do so – there were lots of twists and turns to the course so not heaps of opportunity, but on one of the longer stretches I did get down on the bars to see how it would feel (and if I could get on and off the bars….) – it took a little coordination but I was able to do it – I look forward to working on this skill and the muscles this week so I’m good to use them for Noosa.  Overall, I averaged 27.1km/hr with a top speed of 43.9km/hr. 20km bike, done!

Transition back from run into ride was slightly better… Running in cleats is a slippery job so I always take it nice and steady.  Much easier though to rack the bike, ditch the helmet, swap the shoes, clip around the race belt, grab the visor and go.  Still – that process took me 3 min 30 – though it was a slightly longer transition (400m).

The run… hasn’t been my favourite leg for a while but I didn’t want it to defeat me today.runraby The run was a 2 lap course.  I could see Cathy not far ahead of me on the run so I wanted to try and stick with her and not let her extend her lead.  I was able to see Rach, Tina and Nikki all at different points on the run route – I had to clap them as I just didn’t have the breath in me to call out to them!  They were all looking strong and fit and I was so happy for them!  I managed to come up alongside Cathy about 1.5km into the run.  She too was looking good! Somehow though I managed to slightly edge in front of her.  I got to the end of the first lap having run the first lap in what for me is a pretty good time. I was breathing like a freight train (even louder than normal!) as I tried to get air into the bottom of my lungs.  It was as I came around and headed out on the second lap that I really decided this was not going to defeat me and I would be running the whole way. With my pace as it was I still had plenty of scope to drop it back a bit if I needed to, but ultimately I wanted to try and just hang tough.  In the run leg it quickly became apparent that there are a couple of points on the new tri-suit that rub that I didn’t put trislide on…. This is a very useful piece of information for Noosa – and I know now where I need to put extra protection to prevent chaffing!! The T-Zero support crew was about 500 or so from the finish so I knew if I could get to them I’d be okay.  It became a matter of putting one foot in front of the other and just going for it.  So absolutely stoked to finish the run in just over 30 mins, with an average pace of 6:26min/km (although my garmin does tell me it wasn’t quite 5km…)

So overall, my official time was 1:37.09.  I was going to be happy with sub 1:45 so definitely achieved this.  While my swim was disappointing, I was happy with my ride and my run.  I was literally last out of the water from the swim for my age group, but managed to pull back a place in the ride and run. I finished 593/629 (Sprint Distance), 176/198 (Females doing Sprint Distance) and 25th out of 26th for my age category (35-39 F Sprint). Woo hoo!! Not last!! But even if I was last, I would have been happy with these results yesterday!

So, the next triathlon will be Noosa – twice as far, twice as fun! If I can maintain similar pace to what I did this week in Noosa I will be ecstatic!! I’ll have to take it as it comes. The goal is to continue on with consistent training, to get over this virus and to not get sick again before Noosa!!

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So it begins

23 Sep

Today Adelaide felt a long way away… I so much wanted to see Dad and Peter set off today, to see the commencement of Dad’s 2100km ride to come and visit us here in sunny Queensland.

However, with modern technology I was bought closer…I was able to see Dad and Peter meet up with a group of selfless souls who were going to help make the long ride from Adelaide to Waikerie that much easier, by riding with Dad and Peter. I got to watch Dad’s reaction as he saw, in a very practical and real sense, how much support he has behind him – people came out to wish him well on his way, and I would be lying if I said it didn’t bring a tear to my eye to see the support our family has received.  Thank you David for videoing that for me, and others to see.

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So, after a few false starts, the expanded crew set of for Waikerie with two stops – Truro and Blanchetown. Arriving in Waikerie at 2pm after 160km of cycling into headwinds.  I know at both of those stops there was going to be more support for Dad, and even from what I hear there may have been a few signs on the highway to cheer them on… On arrival in Waikerie they were welcomed by another cheer squad (part of the crew to ferry the extra cyclists back home again – thanks again David).

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This is probably the smallest blog I’ve ever written (I hear you breathe a sigh of relief) but I just really wanted to send a MASSIVE thank you out to all who have supported our family not just for this ride, but in every sense over many years.  Sometimes family does feel a long way away, but it is a great comfort to me to know that they are surrounded by such a great bunch of caring, loving people who support them in all kinds of crazy endeavours.

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Home again

19 Sep

Any trip home to Adelaide feels like a case of how much can we fit into the 48hrs or so between touch down and take off… and there are always more requests than time available, but no matter the short time, it’s always a pleasure to go home, even though I’m exhausted when I get home!  This trip home was primarily for the dedication of Emaline, my gorgeous niece, Peter and Mandy’s little girl and Josiah’s little sister (who he just seems to adore!).

In the lead up to going home, I knew Peter and Dad were being interviewed for an “inspirational” segment on the SA Sports Show, but I didn’t know when it was going to be aired. As it turned out, it aired the night we flew home and we were therefore able to sit in the living room with Dad and Mum and watch it. For those who didn’t get to see it (I’m aware that not all TV’s were tuned to channel 44… I didn’t even know there was such a channel…and not everyone is in SA) it is our understanding it will be available online at the end of the week, so I’ll endeavour to post the link then.  Ultimately though, it was a segment to raise some more awareness for Motor Neurone Disease, and for Dad and Peter to talk about Dad’s big ride up to visit me.  He leaves on Friday, and by the time he reaches me, will have cycled approximately 2100km (not bad for a 61 year old!). Since the interview, the fundraising has surpassed the $20,000 mark – a total that blows us sasportshowaway, but is still not enough to get a single person onto a clinical trial – it is amazing how much medical research costs!! The interview was very much a fairly candid chat, and was completely un-edited – I was so proud of Dad and Peter.  Peter in particular speaks so well off the cuff!!  Anything I say here will not do it justice, so when it’s available I’ll post the link.  Peter – you do an amazing job of “living life so no one would know you had been diagnosed with a terminal disease”.  My heart hurts a little when I watch you pick some things up, or have to rest between doing things with your hands, but you carry on and just get it done in your own way, or very graciously accept help offered. While I know I only see snippets of your life, I still see you having a go at everything and giving it your all, and I’ve only heard you complain once (and that was a one second complaint about a muscle twitch that annoyed you). I so wish I was there to see you and Dad set off on the first leg of the cycle journey – I’m so incredibly proud of you both. Mum – you better take at least one photo!! (Any donations can still be made at: Cycling for Peter)

Saturday saw us leap out of bed (slight exaggeration here) and make our way to one of the only parkrun’s in Adelaide (and one of the only one’s not flooded out in Adelaide’s recent episode of some fairly decent local flooding!).  My training had me scheduled not just for the 5km parkrun, but a 20 min warm up and a cool down up to an hour – so for me that was a 9km session.  One of the best runs I’ve done in a long time, maybe partly because I had my running buddy back (thanks Dave!!).  It was nice to get out and see a green, springtime Adelaide.

The rest of Saturday was filled with other important things like – helping Mum get set up technologically to keep us all updated as Dad makes his journey, Dave “helping” Dad by suggesting alternate ways to rack his bike for the trip home (this just created more work for Dad – although did ultimately mean both bikes could be carried externally), catching up with my buddy Karen and Godson Hugo, babysitting for Peter and Mandy (I’m not around often so I’ll always put my hand up to do something with the kids).  And finally family dinner at David and Narelle’s (epic Roast Dinner with Sticky Date pudding – winner winner!!).  I was super excited to receive a belated birthday present from all my siblings – some tribars for my bike!! Again this simply reminded me that I belong to a family who care for each other, support each other in their crazy endeavours, and will do something within their means to show that support.  So, while they wont be fitted for my next tri (as it is on Sunday!), I hope to get them on the bike ASAP so I can utilise them in Noosa and beyond! Family dinners are always a boisterous occasion (with children aged 11, 5, 4, 3, 3 and 10 months – hopefully I got that right…) the noise level is sometimes off the charts… however, often I just find myself looking around the room, and appreciating that those faces are all still in my life.

Sunday was Emaline’s dedication, and if the catering by my family is normally any indication it was a good idea to do a run prior to church… (NB don’t come looking to me for catering – this is something nailed by the rest of the family!). A 45 min strength session with a few hill repeats sorted me out for the rest of the day… who needs to walk anyway… The dedication was great. It was wonderful to have some extended family present, and IMG_2791.jpgmany of Peter and Mandy’s friends. It is always a great reminder to me of how well my family is supported back home, and it is a blessing to me to know they have such a great bunch of people around them to encourage and help them. When Josiah was dedicated, Peter shared his story. This time, Mandy shared and she spoke so well!  Nothing in life is guaranteed, not faith, health or life. However, how awesome is it to be able to thank God for the blessing of Emmie, and re dedicate her life into his care, knowing that his plans are far greater than anything we could ask or imagine for her.

And just like that, after having lunch with some of our extended family, the weekend had indeed evaporated and it was time to come home.  As I said goodbye to Dad and Pete, I wished them well on their cycling journey – particularly Day 1.  Next time I see Dad hopefully it will be on my bike when we ride in to Brisbane together as he completes his epic journey.  Then I think he’ll probably want to sleep for a week… which is similar to how I feel right now…

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If there is an extra person available, there is an opportunity for a family photo

My Dad

1 Sep

Father’s day is fast approaching… and with plenty of advertisements reminding us of this very fact I managed to get a card sorted and posted – and hopefully it will make it before the day…

But it has me thinking about my Dad (which let’s face it isn’t all that unusual, I think about him quite often anyway). I’m thankful for my Dad. I know that I am well and truly blessed by my whole family, and I am forever grateful to have been born into the family I have – and thankful that by the grace of God they are all still here to love. But as it’s father’s day coming up, I’m just going to focus on him for a second… because normally he’s not an in the limelight kind of a character…

He’s kind… I might be biased but I reckon he’s the type of guy that will go out of his way to be kind to you, and help you out if you need something. I’m pretty sure there are one or two people out there that could attest to that fact.

I have so many memories of doing things with Dad, mostly hands on things because that’s the kind of Dad he’s always been.  Sure I remember him getting cranky at me when I didn’t quite obey him as a child. His arms always seemed to be so long… no matter how far up against the door you pushed your legs in the car, his arm still managed to reach back to point out the error of your ways if required… However really my Dad is a pretty patient man and he’s never angered easily.

Dad has always been our protector, he’s looked out for us and provided for us – and he still does just that. He’s worked hard to earn money and make a living to put us through school, put a roof over our heads and food on the table (well, Mum put the food on the table literally… Dad’s cooking repertoire is perhaps not one of his strengths…).

My Dad has accomplished a lot, he’s very handy, he can build and create things with his hands that I’d never be able to do. If there is a problem, he’ll think until he finds a solution (and that solution might come at a random time but once he’s thought of it he’ll get it done). Sometimes the solution may be a little “agricultural” or perhaps “over engineered” but it will be a solution! However, you don’t often hear Dad harping on about all his achievements – he’s a quiet achiever.

I can also distinctly remember a time when my Dad was wrong… (I know – I should have the date written down because it really doesn’t happen often). But I remember being angry at him. It is never easy to admit when we messed up, but I think it speaks volumes of my Dad that he got up, came to me, gave me a great big hug and apologised.  I can still tell you exactly where I was when that happened, and it still brings a tear to my eye. Because in that moment Dad showed me that love admits when they are wrong, that it is important to restore relationships promptly and ultimately that love forgives when life isn’t perfect – because let’s face it, no-one is perfect.

Dad is a peaceful kind of a guy – we don’t call him Rowdy for nothing… he takes life in, and, apart from teasing Mum (which he is the MASTER at!) he’s not really a talker for the sake of talking… but when Dad does talk, it is almost always worth listening to – he’s measured, wise, and I value his opinion.

When I think about Dad I think about the fruits of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control. I’m really thankful that my heavenly Father gave me an earthly father who could role model these traits. I know that I am so blessed to be in this position and not everyone is as fortunate.

There are some things that, amazing as my Dad is, he just can’t fix. One of them is my brother’s condition – Motor Neurone Disease. But not being one to sit on his hands, Dad is even trying to do something about that – raising awareness and money for this condition that we would love to see cured (medically or spiritually!). The time is fast approaching when my Dad embarks on a really big journey.  He’s been cycling for a few years now, and has decided to cycle from Adelaide to Brisbane and while he is at it, he is going to do it to support Cure for MND – a not for profit organisation who put all the funds raised into research into MND, and into making the lives of those living with MND a little easier.  Dad will ride 2100km (anywhere from about 100-170km a day), the first day with Peter (my brother who, has MND but is a better cyclist than I could ever dream I’ll be), and hopefully the last day with me (if he can slow down to my pace).  In between he might even get a guest cyclists, like his brother, or my brother-in-law. I have to admit there are times when I think about him making the trek that I do worry a little for his safety. The highway is a long road, with plenty of vehicles large and small, but I’ll keep trusting that my God will protect him on his journey.

So today, in the lead up to father’s day, I want to honour my Dad. For all he has done for our family, and for all he continues to do for us. For being available in every sense of the word. For really caring for us individually. For welcoming into our family our spouses, for loving his grandchildren, for taking the time to care for so many others, I just want to publically thank you Dad. I’m blessed beyond measure.

Should you have the means and the inclination to support Dad in his latest quest, the link to help his fundraising for Peter and MND research can be found here: Cycling for Pete  All donations over $2 are tax deductible.

Love you Dad xoxo

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