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Thursday, January 29, 2009

What I did on my holidays

More anon, Ni-Van fans! Viva Vanuatu!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Race Report: Sandringham Olympic Distance

Event: Sandringham Olympic Distance
Time: 3.28.10
Rating: thrilled

My poor bike Minerva got the shock of her life when through sheer desperation I actually cleaned her chain and gearset on Saturday. Toothbrush, degreaser, bike oil, the lot. It took ages and I got filthy but once finished, I felt that, when I was pulled weeping from the course on the morrow for being too slow, at least I would have Done All I Could. After that, Noddie and I drove down to register and to reconnoiter, as I hadn’t raced in Sandringham before. I was terrified of missing the bike cutoff so it was handy being the only entrant in my category - the good people at the enquiries table were kind enough to heed my pleas and move me to a wave 12 minutes earlier than my original one. Then again, seeing as they had lost my race pack and told me I might have to set up on the late entry rack, it was probably the least they could do. Then Noddie and I went down (and down and down) to the beach. I had heard Bad Things from my friend M about a virtually vertical 1.2km run from the swim finish to T1. They were true. I decided on my strategy on the spot: channel Godzilla. I would stomp and roar my way up (and up and up) the ramp and the road. Fearsome mutant reptiles don’t fear hills, and they don’t run up them either. I felt like a fearsome mutant reptile watching some tri-chicks emerge from the water after a swim and strip down to teeny string bikinis arranged over bronzed, toned, magazine-cover bodies. I wanted to go home and hide under the doona until July but Noddie hadn’t finished building her sandcastle so I just ate my sandwiches and tried to feel fabulous. That evening I worked my way through The List TM; what to pack, where to park, what to wear, what to eat, what time to leave. Do my race nails. Don’t forget my bike. Eat some pasta, cry over the Dick and Ricky Hoyt story on Y0utube and off to bed. Next morning was the old stumble about slurp tea drive across the city wander vaguely into transition in the half-dark routine. My friends M and G-the-super-racer were there and very encouraging as always. I could hardly speak for Not Worrying what me, worry? My head was filled with little sums ok start at 7.23, 30 minutes for the swim, 10 minutes to get up that hill and out on the bike and that’ll be...ummm… The water was almost flat calm; G was going on about how last year there were 2-metre swells but I am LBTEPA Goddess of the Ocean so I just smiled at him. A quick warmup and then off we went. I was enjoying the swim, apart from my wetsuit trying to bite chunks out of my neck ow ow ow - I’ve had it for years so I don't know what happened. I clearly enjoyed it too much; when I glanced at my watch as I came out of the water my mood came crashing down. Thirty seven minutes? WTF? Nothing for it but to stomp like a slow-motion Godzilla up that everlasting ramp as thousands of lithe speedsters flitted past. Stomp stomp stomp. Minerva where are you? Into my socks and shoes and off we went. I haven’t been using my bike computer lately as I’ve been in an easily discouraged phase, but this day I thought it might cheer me up to see that I was hitting my time targets. No. Wrong. Within 8km I was almost crying with agitation. Too slow, too tired, legs too sore. Too heavy, too underdone, too sooky. I wished for a flat so I could give up without having to admit I’d given up. Then I thought, what would I say to Noddie? I couldn’t tell her she has to keep trying when things are hard then crumple like a damp newspaper myself. There was nothing for it but a good big swig of HTFU - and to put that mind-f$&%er of a computer away. My glove fell out of my bento box as I did this but I wasn’t stopping, I was too convinced that the sag wagon was lurking behand me, just waiting for an excuse to snatch me up. Up and down the beach road hills I went (don’t laugh Mark, if it’s not flat it’s a hill to me). I started to cheer up after the first loop as my little sums seemed to be giving me a bit more of a time cushion, but I was still riding on wings of terror. Then all of a sudden, I was Saved! My Song saved me – my everlasting, all-purpose, add the bits you need riding and running song.
Turn em over turn em over turn em over turn em o-o-over
use your gears use your gears turn em over
use your core use your core turn em over
just relax just relax turn em over
0ne hill at a ti-ime
As I approached the cutoff point, I knew I was going to make it in time. I was grinning, baring my teeth at my burning quads and the rising road that wasn't going to stop me. I even passed some people! Ok, two. On mountain bikes. But still. How happy I was to hit Bluff Road! No matter what, I would finish now! Even if I had to walk! Fateful words, it seemed: I’d been slugging down sports drink every ten minutes and a gel every 40-50 minutes, and by the time I was approaching the bike-run transition it was clear that this was Not Agreeing with me. Can anyone say GI Issues? Oooh my tummy. I felt very gassy and crampy by the end of the bike. Once I’d racked my dear companion Minerva and set off happily on the run-they-couldn’t-make-me-stop (grinning like a maniac the while) things became More Urgent, if you know what I mean. I would like to extend heartfelt thanks to the Hampton SLSC for their well-maintained and convenient facilities, and if the race officials and other competitors were aware how narrow was the avoidance of an Unpleasant Incident, I’m sure they would too. The run was two loops, along the beach road and back along the foreshore. Once the threat of not being able to Keep Myself Nice was averted, it was rather pleasant, in a perhaps I should think of a new hobby sort of way. There was a steep ramp to get back up to the road, which I walked both times. If I wanted to run up hills I’d do the Tan. I kept being surprised at how strong my legs felt. Lately a lot of my training ‘runs’ (in the absence of a more pejorative word) have been slogfests whose sole value has been to teach me that I can keep moving when I really want to stop. Because of them, I knew what to do. Hold your form and relax. It's not meant to be fun. Keep moving.
turn em over turn em over turn em over turn em o-ver, hold your hold your fo-orm.
At the 6km mark I attempted a bit more metal arithmetic. 6km to go, that’s 45 minutes-ish…..if I keep it up and don’t go all sooky la la I could come pretty close to my Bairnsdale Olympic time! Cool! On I trotted. Hang on (more astute readers will have noticed this already) ….6km means there's only 4km to go! If I keep this up I can do a pb! It’s amazing how cheering such a thought can be. On and on I went. Past the drink station, up the ramp, along the road, through the carpark….into the oval…the racks were almost empty and presentations had already started but I didn’t care. I was so happy to have crashed through those walls of fear and I can’t and it’s too hard and I’m not good enough that I charged along that chute like I was Emma Snowsill. That buzz, that I did it, I did it I did it! buzz...…it’s intoxicating. You can’t stop grinning. Your legs hurt and your chest heaves but it’s like floating on air. That’s the sensation that brings me back again and again – those euphoric seconds of seeing the clock and knowing that I’ve chased down a dream this morning. I’m smiling now, thinking about it. It’s what gets me out of bed of a morning, or off the couch. Hard-earned bliss. I didn’t think I could do it, and I had a crack, and I did it.
Ever the tragic bling-ho, I panted over to the presentation people and let them know I’d finished. I was ushered up on to the podium and festooned with goodies. It was all such a blur. My friends M and G were still hanging around waiting for me, bless them, and they had remind me to look at my prize! More awesome swag – some paddles, a silicone cap and some new goggles so fancy that it took me a couple of minutes to open the box LOL. What a lucky girl I am! I got talking to another woman who’d wanted to enter as an Athena but hadn’t because she was trying to lose weight and her husband told her she should go in her age group. I said it was about being proud of what you could do, no matter what your current size. I hope she’s racing me next time and here's a big *raspberry* for her husband too. After that it was a matter of liberating Minerva, finding my car, driving home via KFC....I know, I know.... and spending a dreamy afternoon in the sunshine with Noddie, feeling very tired and very very happy. My medal rubbed against the chafing on my neck, but it didn't matter.
THE ENDMore anon.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

It's just a jump to the left

As I have pointed out in the past, the world needs more fabulousness, which is why this is the Best Show Ever. iOTA is essence of Tim Curry channelling Freddie Mercury , with just a dash of RuPaul. I came out of the theatre and bought my brother a ticket. You need to get a ticket. Buy a ticket. Beg, borrow or steal a ticket. Just go and let's do the Time Warp again!
The race report is almost finished, but I've been having too much fun doing summer things like taking Noddie to the pool, reading fashion mags from the library and watching the tennis. We're going to Mum's again this weekend, and leave for a week in Vanuatu next Wednesday *grins*
More anon, sybarites!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

LBTEPA ATHENA 4830 S 37:12 B 1:32:58 R 1:11:52 3:28:06 = 10min PB!! My mantra, plus graffiti from friends - thanks M, you and G are solid gold.
On my other arm I had a soppy message from J - when things got hard I imagined him and Noddie cheering me on
Excellent race t-shirt plus first place Athena medalOur fridge, after a couple of celebratory sherbets
This was a race of technique and mind games. I'm glad I did it and it's over: I've learned a lot and have a bit to prove this summer! Race report in a couple of days.
More anon, wingers and prayers!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

what's the worst thing that could happen?

That's what I said to the Spousal Unit after I entered the Olympic distance triathlon this Sunday even though, as you know, I've done bugger all training lately. What's a pleasant 1500/40km/10km between friends after all? *laughs maniacally; rocks back and forth, twitching*
Excuse me while I hyperventilate............
The comment followed one of those on-and-off through the evening should I shouldn't I, I dunno, what do you think? conversations that ended with my asking the Spousal Unit if he thought I should do it and him saying yaairr, why not? (he doesn't know how much the entry cost).
So what IS the worst thing that could happen?
I could DIE (unlikely...probably)
I could come last (very likely, after an inspection of last year's results. Also see 'amount of training since November')
I could miss the bike cutoff (better HAMMER it (see 'entry cost'); although there is no bike cutoff posted in the race information so I'd like to see them try enforcing it)*NOW they've posted it....it'll be a stretch....oh dear oh dear oh dear oh dear....breathe in, breathe out....
It could hurt a lot (very very likely)
I could have a really crap time - but that's up to me, eh?
Excuse me while I hyperventilate............
Goals, goals, I need some goals! And a plan! I need a Plan! How about this? 1. Show up. 2. Start 3. Finish, upright and smiling 4.(I bet you knew this one) Wear the t-shirt. Time goal: under 4 hours.
I need a nutrition plan too. Having not practiced anything longer than two hours for ever, I've forgotten what to do! Gels and sports drink? Just gels ? Just champagne and canapes on a chaise lounge? Help! J would like some help too - he's preparing a list of answers to the repeated anguished wails of WHY do I do these things again? coming his way over the next few days.
While I hyperventilate a bit more, here's what we did on our delicious long weekend away at Mum's

More anon, justifiers of lunatic decisions

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Happy new year

all the cool bloggers are doing reviews of 2008 and goals for 2009 and I am nothing if not a sheep *baaa* I was actually born in the year of the sheep and collect sheep figurines so I have an affinity for our ovine friends: however, I digress. I set quite a few goals for 2008. Because Noddie was at kinder and I wasn't studying, there would be actual free, unallocated time! It was my 'gunna' year - I was gunna do so many things, so many...anyway, here we go
Goals for 2008
1. complete an Olympic distance triathlon
2. run my first full marathon, on the Gold Coast
3. complete the 210km Bay in a Day cycling event
4. run the Melbourne half Marathon, finishing at the MCG
5. have piano lessons
6. read lots of trashy novels
7. lose 10kg
8. be accepted in a Masters in Clinical Psychology at my old uni
What I actually did
1. Bairnsdale Olympic distance triathlon completed!
2. Ran the Gold Coast half marathon
3. DNS. Let's not go there.
4. CR cheer squad again.
5. huh? Crap, I forgot
6. Oh, yes...
7. lost 6kg. gained 3kg of it back.
8. decided on a Masters in health psych at another uni
There are two ways to look at this. It could be seen as utter failure (except for 1, which was ace, and 6 - that went really well). Hardly any of my grand dreams came true. Should have, could have, didn't could be crushing me right now.
I choose to look back at an exciting year. I learned so much. I started a new career in the field I have been working toward for a long time. I continue to learn that working as a psychologist will be far more complex and demanding than I was expecting. I started to learn how to race beyond the point where you want to puke. I learned - AGAIN - how to suck up huge personal (aka ego-driven) disappointment and admit that there are things you just can't do anything about. I found out who my friends are, and put more effort into appreciating them. I hope I never lose that. I walked my talk, and put my family first when I had to, and didn't mind. I stopped wearing a watch or a HRM or using my bike computer or recording my training distances because the numbers were freaking me out instead of motivating me. I did stuff because I said I would. I became more aware of why I do things; I did what I love (apart from nearly drowning a good friend, ahem, sorry about that Secret Sara). I had fun.
I don't have many goals for 2009*. I will support Noddie and the Spousal Unit and work to make our little family even stronger and more loving. I will seek the good in my nearest and dearest rather than only seeing their faults. I am going to shed those pesky kgs again, and pass uni. We are going to the Gold Coast again in July because I have a bone to pick with that half marathon (and we love theme parks); and I'll be really pleased if I can finally run into the G in October. I'd like to do at least two more Olympic distance triathlons this summer. I'm really enjoying this calm feeling. It's hard to describe - something like maybe I am good enough and I do work hard enough? - but I'm hanging onto it as long as I can. I'll train as often as I can and race when I can. I can feel a good year coming on. I can.

Can you?
*Thinking about this overnight, it is not actually true. Check the sidebar. Next post,eh?
More anon, cheerful anticipators!
NEXT: LBTEPA decides a week is not enough preparation for an Olympic distance triathlon