Archive | March, 2018

Bribie Tri “Long Course” – 750m/20km/5km

25 Mar

Yesterday as I took my bike off my wind trainer to prepare it to race, as I put my back wheel on I ran into a significant problem. My brakes locked on. I played around with it for a bit, but nothing I could do would fix it. It was like my brakes were no longer connected to the brake pads/callipers. I thought, I’ll give it a clean and if I still can’t fix it then at least I can ride my old bike. So down to our lock-up storage unit I went. When I got downstairs I realised that someone had tried to break into our storage unit. They were unsuccessful in getting in, but successful in breaking the handle of the door. So now my cleaning gear and my back up bike are stuck, secure behind a door I can’t get through (and thankfully neither could the attempted thief). At this point I started to get mighty anxious.  Now I effectively had no bike to ride in approximately 14hrs. A frantic SOS to the crew at Swim Ride Run Faster had me on their door 30 min later, and my bike being looked at by Damian. While it comes as no surprise to anyone I train with, I sweat – a lot. It turns out that sweat had made its way down into my brake callipers, corroding then, and effectively seizing them up.  With a lot of work, Damian was able to get them functioning ready to race, and I was suddenly able to breathe again… While my restful afternoon had become the complete opposite, I was thankful that I was going to be able to race, and made my way home to pack the rest of my gear, eat dinner and have an early night.

Race morning and a 0430hr start. Dave is away for the weekend so I had only myself to bundle into the car and commence the hour drive to Bribie Island.  I made good time, finalised my gear and headed to transition. It was here I found a few good mates. All who were able (that is, more than 70kg) had decided to join me in the Athena’s category and it was starting to sound mighty competitive… there was even talk of letting tyres down… but, when push comes to shove (as it almost did 😉 ), we’re friends first and I found myself dishing out my spare goggles, my spare race belt, and even pins (because I only have one spare race belt and two were needed!). Once transition was finalised it was time to head to the start.

Swim – 750m. It’s been a while since I raced a swim distance where I could see the finish line from the start line, and I have to say that I liked that fact! Bribie was again a downhill swim, and I was looking forward to giving it a good go.  While swimming is one of my strongest legs, 750m isn’t long enough to get any significant advantage on anyone else. So my goal was to swim as best I could and make every effort getting out of the water (I can sometimes be a bit slow transitioning from swim to wading out of the shallows to transition).  I couldn’t find any space in the swim. While my stroke was okay and the conditions weren’t worrying me, I just couldn’t find another gear. I was breathing to my right, Ki was breathing to her left and we were side by side – almost the entire way. Darn I thought, this was where I was meant to be a bit stronger, but it was not to be today.  Still, happy to be out of the water 3rd in my category and in 9:54min – my Garmin telling me my pace was 1:35/100m (yep, that tide assist was significant!).

Transition one. My goal? To not make a cup of tea. Today’s time was 3:20, almost a full minute quicker than the same transition last race. Yes! Progress.

Bike – 20km. My goal, was to just go as hard as I could. I also wanted to focus on my cadence. I wanted to push a lighter gear but turn the pedals a bit quicker. I was aiming for 80, and I ended up with 79. I tried. There were times out there when my mental strength wavered.  Times when, after coming out of the swim ahead, pretty much everyone had passed me. Times when, I could no longer see anyone in front of me. I felt defeated. But I worked hard to soldier on. As I came back into transition I saw Elle and I think I may have told her I didn’t want to play anymore. But, one doesn’t come this far to quit and I was gearing up for the run. So I headed in and dropped my bike off. Bike time: 39:53 – 29km/hr average. Good for me.

Transition two. This time I managed a 2 minute transition, a slight improvement from 2:20 last time. I’ll take it.

Run. 5km. My goal? Catch the others. This was always going to be my goal as I had correctly expected that they would have had great bike legs. By my calculations I was now sitting in about 6th spot. I had to peg a few people back to get on the podium. Time to give it my all. As I started the run I could see Kim just ahead of me – it was time to ramp up a gear and say g’day. Radish was on the sidelines and suggested I do just that, so I thought I’d give it a crack. When he saw me next I had just passed her (a first for me!) – and he was quick with the high five (sorry Kim). The first three kilometres I was sitting at a fraction over 6min/kms. A good pace for me. My HR was sky high, but I had managed to gain two places back. I could see the others ahead of me on the turn, but at this point knew that I would not be able to catch them. I started to fade a bit on the last two kilometres and my pace dropped off a little. It was here I appreciated some encouragement from a fellow Smiling for Smiddy competitor (whoever you were, thank you!), and from Elle – forever smiling, and forever an encourager (thank you also!). I was pretty pleased to overall finish with a 6:11min/km average. Second fastest run in my category – by a massive ONE SECOND!

I crossed the line in a time of 1:26:44. A new PB for me over that distance. I had to remove myself from the finish area, sit by the water and tell myself that I was pleased with my race. When the truth is I cried. I sent a message to Dave and he called me back, only for me to cry on the phone as well. Great work Jen (what a princess!). I have discovered I’m a bad loser. I so wanted to do better out there today. But, given it was a PB I can hardly complain. I pushed hard (my average heart rate was 170 for the race), and I did everything I could. I need to work on my bike fitness. It’s letting me down. It is also concerning me a little as I have signed up for a 155km ride. I’m really second guessing myself on that one.

Today the podium was full of mates – Ki, Jane and Leah – congratulations on a wonderful race. You did so well out there – I just couldn’t catch you, so it was 4th for me. Stubbo, thanks for racing with us, it’s so nice to see other faces out there. Kim – what a treat to have you race again – I love seeing your smiling face on course, you never know exactly what’s going on in that head, but gosh I wish that I could smile as much as you when I race, when the best I can do is try not to die.

Having raced three of the four Bribie events this year, and placed 2nd, 3rd and 4th, those results were enough for me to secure a 2nd place in the series – and a little trophy. Next goal is to get one of those mugs that have a “first” on it – but I’m going to have to do a lot more work if I want one of those… but next year I might just have to try!


A decade… Ten years… 3650 days (ish)

20 Mar

What were you doing ten years ago? Ordinarily I wouldn’t be able to tell you what I was doing a decade ago. However, today, my brother posted that 10 years ago he was diagnosed with a DVT and taken to hospital.  Immediately I knew exactly where I was ten years ago. I was at work, Oxley Nursing Head Office at the time – 87 Wickham Terrace, Spring Hill. I can even tell you where in the office I was standing!  Funny how some pivotal life moments are captured, just like a photo, in the memory album of life.

You might perhaps wonder why I found it so significant at the time. I didn’t have a nursing background back then, but I did have a recollection of my Dad having similarly been diagnosed with a DVT when I was a bit younger. I also remembered the worry at the time, and the restrictions placed upon him. So, my only frame of reference when I heard the words DVT were from a previous experience, and it wasn’t a good one. I remember being scared for my brother.

As it turns out, David’s DVT was worse than Dad’s (if you’re going to do a job, may as well do it properly…). David’s DVT was umbilical all the way down his leg. It was a life changing event. There were some moments of very real concern for his life. He has not ever been able to return to full time work.  He has been living with chronic pain for a decade now. Ten years. 3650 days. That’s a long time!

But I don’t write this blog to focus on the negatives. I write this blog to celebrate my brother.  See, 10 years ago, his life direction altered drastically. But Praise the Lord, 10 years on I still have a brother. So here’s just some of what I love about my brother.

He’s fierce. Okay so perhaps if you know my brother you are wondering where I’m going with that… I don’t mean fierce in the violent manner, rather I mean fierce in that he shows “heartfelt and powerful intensity”.  If you want to see this, you just have to have him talk about his family or his God.  He loves both with a passion. He would bend over backward to defend either. You want a bone crushing bear hug – he is the guy to see. He knows how to wrap you up and envelope you in a warm, comforting, fierce hug. For the last 37 (ish) years he’s been my protector, making sure that I’m okay.

He is resilient. Under difficult conditions he has continued to stand.  Some days he has struggled to stand… but stand he does. He’d never have reached ten years without a determination to keep going. He has adapted to change, he has not given up, and he is stronger because of it. He’s been a stay at home Dad and a school helper, and I know that the school community is blessed because of it. He ensures the lives of the children around him are enhanced – I think he’s read every children’s story… multiple times (perhaps stretching the truth a little but not by much) and he’s a decent Uno player (second only to Josh of course).

He is courageous. I’ve heard it said that courage doesn’t always roar, sometimes it is the quiet voice that says “I’ll try again tomorrow”.  Or perhaps as Theodore Roosevelt said “Courage is not having the strength to go on, it is going on when you don’t have the strength”. I know that there have been times when the strength David has found has come only from God, and not in his own steam. However, go on he has, and I’m incredibly proud of him for that.

He is encouraging, he is supportive. There are days when he’ll flick me a message just to let me know that he’s thinking of me. If I have an event, or even in my mundane training, he’ll take the time to encourage me. He’s in my cheer squad. He’s in my corner… and while it’s enough to know that as my older brother he’s looking out for me and supporting me, he makes sure I don’t forget it, by reminding me often. I appreciate it greatly.

While I could continue this all day, I have a gazillion chores to finish today so I better wrap this up…

Today, my brother hit a milestone that I am sure he would rather he not hit. 10 years with a chronic medical condition. BUT, I’m so very thankful he’s hit it – because it means for the last 10 years I have still had a brother. Our world would be a vastly different place without him. This last 10 years has shaped him into a determined, fierce, resilient and courageous man of God. A man who absolutely has been moulded by the circumstances of life, but a man who has undertaken new challenges, sought new direction, and has come out the other side – making the very best of the time given to him. I’m so incredibly thankful and blessed to have him in my life. So today, I celebrate you brother bear. 10 years ago I made a mad dash home to visit you in hospital, wondering what the future held. 10 years on, I know just as you know, that our future is held in the hands of a loving God. A God who can use desperate circumstances to build character and create in us a wonderful new story. May the next 10 years be a celebration of triumph, healing and joy!