Sunday, July 31, 2011

Race Report - VineMan Full AquaBike

Ta-da...another race under the belt on the way to IMAZ this year. I feel so freakin' amazing right now. This was a major achievement for me and a big improvement in my overall fitness form Wildflower. What a rush!

Here's my race report with what happened...

The Race Mindset
I considered this race a "C" to keep me progressing in my ability to complete an IronMan, but no pressure for a certain result or time. I selected the Full AquaBike of which there was 2.4 miles swim and 112 mile bike.
Still saying all this, I can be competitive and like to see myself improve over time...those who know me are smiling right now. Competitive? Lucy? No....
And I felt I had something to prove after my Wildflower race in April.

Race Day
Waking up at 4am is no mean feat...but as I was tired from a busy work week I had no issues falling asleep the night before at 9pm - giving me a healthy 7 hours of sleep.
I'd prepared myself with a checklist for the morning {drink ensure, take allergy tablet, fill cycle bottles, ...} which makes my 4am activities a clean system.
I was feeling the standard nerves and unsure if I was going to be able to finish the race - but also excited. I knew I'd trained for this and others had given me confidence and Facebook race cheers that it was definitely possible. Hooray for my virtual support group!

Breakfast and race snacks
Race Day Breakfast - Chocolate Ensure

Arriving at the beach area in the morning and the race day buzz started...tons of cars driving...and seeing the racers get their stuff together let me know "this is it, it's real!"
Walked to the race event and entered the prep area. The usual scramble of people in their morning panic... forgetting this and shouting at someone if they walk into them. Having done a few races and having a mental / written checklist means I still fuss and panic, but way less than I used to, and now I can take the time in to enjoy all the mayhem and beauty around me.
There was a small mist to the morning that made me feel like I was part of nature's morning cleansing routine. And the Napa location at the river was so ideal that I focused on making sure I enjoyed this race and it's surroundings.
I got myself body marked and prepared {body glide, drink red bull, eat banana, ...} as I heard the first gun go off for the Full IronMan participants.

Arriving at VineMan
Body marked up for the day

Personal Note - I would NEVER have worn a sleeveless top a few months ago, so a big positive step for me in my self-image and fitness level to be wearing one AND taking a photo!

6:48am - Bang! And the swim was off! A perfect 72 degrees water temperature meaning full wet suit was not too hot to be in but I also got the full effect of buoyancy. My wave was maybe ~50 women and I stuck to my usual back of pack. I heard a woman shout with 30 seconds to go "back of pack means a last place finish". I wondered why she'd say it, but it still caught my competitive action and I thought "I'll show her"
As the wave started, I had the usual thrashing and kicking and jostling for a comfortable position....taking a good few '00s yards to get there.
But then it was just perfect. I swam an even rhythm and counted and sang and thought of beautiful things and people in my mind. It was a magical moment when I felt like 2 angels were watching me and talked to my Mum and Dad for their spirit and encouragement in the day. I raised my head to breathe and saw the green lushness of the trees lining the bank. A very Zen moment.

I was told the water depth was between 3 -7 feet and was not sure how that would impact my swim. Would I freak out at seeing the bottom? Turned out the water was not very clear, so depth didn't matter for the most part. There were a couple of parts that my hand skimmed the bottom - of which I just thought "how cool is that!" and enjoyed it. I also took advantage of standing up a couple of times - not really for any leverage but just because it seems so at odd to be standing in the middle of an IronMan swim!

Elbow to the Face - Ouch!

After 1 lap I checked my watch and saw it was at 45 minutes. Nice! I ate my TOP TIP Stinger Honey Gu that I had placed in the arm cuff of my wetsuit to give me some energy for lap 2. And off I went! It was busier in the water this time (the relays and Barb's racers were now in the water) and I had to get a bit more jostling in. I met a guy who really had an issue keeping a straight line and as I tried to pass him, he decided to swim over me twice, kick me, then elbow me in the nose. Ouch! as my eyes streamed and I just kept on swimming, knowing I'd leave him for dust.

I came in at a time of 1:35 minutes which beat my expected time of 2 hours by quite a margin!

Only 1 key thing to say here - wetsuit strippers!!
Man how I love thee volunteers for the job they did. I was running out the water, trying to make a pose for the photo, and suddenly yelled at by people to turn around and zip, flash, off my top half. "sit down" they yelled and next it was off my legs. Fantastic!! It would have taken me a good few minutes to do the same job - so hooray!
The whole transition still took 6 mins with the wet suite strip, changing clothes (shoes, socks,..), eating, and getting bike out of transition area...

It's not me...but a picture of what the wet suit strippers do. Fantastic help!

I was a bit nervous here and it was cold at 8am in the morning with the fresh morning dew still out there. Was it going to rain or would the predicted 90 degrees weather arrive? I was wearing a sleeveless top after all...

I had my plan to take a sip of my CarboPro every 10 minutes and to eat something every 45 minutes.I also planned to keep the first 56 miles at an 'easy pace' and then start increasing towards a big push from 90 miles + for a strong finish.

Turns out that my legs felt great, but my stomach was not accepting much food. Good thing I ate a lot at breakfast to keep my calories high. I ate 2 bananas, 2 Stinger GUs, 1 Cola Chews, and Carbo Pro drink. I stuffed what I could at the 60 mile special needs pick -up where I had a peanut butter sandwich made. But I paid the price after mile 70 when I felt my energy deplete.

A glimpse for what I look like after 9 hours of racing

I took salt tablets to keep the dehydration at bay and plenty of ibuprofen. I usually get knee pain after 40 miles and this time the perfect day continued. No pain! At mile 70 I felt some twinges but it never got to the pain I've had for the past few months....cue "time to start running" music.

So by mile 80 I was flagging. I kept my mind positive and knew I'd finish, but when I started to face strong headwinds in the 2nd round, I knew the negative split was not going to happen. I also felt quite delirious for the last 20 miles and have to work out how to combat this in future training rides...seeing non-stop black tarmac and white lines made me dizzy!

I finished Chalk Hill at mile 100 (what a place to put this hill!) and then pushed through to the end. Got to the main town and as I turned the corner was excited to get my name announced and photos find that it was the standard transition for the full IronMan nothing!
I crossed the line and no cheering, just a random person crossing the line. Big disappointment!

Nigel took my photo instead...
The finish!

I was Bottom 5% in Wildflower and so far this is an improvement to be in the bottom 50% overall. Maybe I could even squeeze a top 50% if I learn how to run? Hee hee...gotta give me something to work on for the next 4 months!

Race Results

Focus Areas for IMAZ
Based on the 9 hour time, I would have another 8 hours to complete the run. I feel comfortable I can build up the legs to do that...but now of course I want to be competitive and go for the best time I can! Maybe beat some of my team mates...
  • SWIM: Get the swim time down to a target 1:10 - 1:15 hours
  • BIKE: Proud I finished strong with no pain, so now about getting more speed. Perhaps a crazy 6 hour (19 mph avg) target??
  • RUN: Guess I better start adding some run/walk into my schedule now and see what pace I can get....
Could I target a 13 hour finish? Would that just be crazy? Let's just see what happens...

Friday, July 29, 2011

Pre-day Race Jitters

It's 7pm and there is less than 12 hours to race start....of a full ironman aquabike distance.

I'm definitely in "OMG" mode!!!!

Had a busy week at work meaning I've planned for the travel here for 0% of the time ...

Packed at 2pm this afternoon and printed a list from the Internet of what I need.

Realized I had no food other than GUs and CliffBars. Hmmm.
Quick trip to the store to try and plan out what my body might allow on this mammoth bike course...

Food choices include banana, vitamin water, and PB&J on muffins. Do my stomach proud guys!

I'm pretty exhausted too right now, no sleep last night from a work outing (very fun but paying the price!). Slept somewhat in the car and trying to keep my eyes open whilst I get some dinner (pizza, mac n cheese)...and then find the local hotel I'm booked in.

Have not done any practice or scouting of the course - that makes me nervous as can't plan what to expect. Guess I'm going to treat it like an Adventure'll end up at the end somehow and just plan for the unexpected!

More to come with the race report.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:McClelland Dr,Windsor,United States

Monday, July 11, 2011

10 pounds in 10 weeks!!

This weekend I broke the 140 pounds (10 stone) mark!! First time I've weighed less than 140 in 15 years!

Been focusing on overall fitness more for 10 weeks. Weight not the 'goal' as rather the ability to have mote muscle, strength, and power in my fitness.

Watching my food intake in terms of ratios - more protein, less carbs, lower glycemic index foods, and healthy days.

Happy to report the 10 pounds weight loss!!! Woo hoo!!

I did get my BMI done 2 weeks ago too from my new physical therapist...not good news here...31% body fat. Ouch!!!

Why does it have to measure all my weak spots (back arms, stomach) rather than my wrists or ankles???

So I'm taking the diet advice to allow next focus to be about BMI. This means lowering my fat weight, but if I put on more muscle my overall weight may not go down.

Happy with that goal is to be fit and healthy. The scale is just a number!!!

Location:San Francisco

Swim, Bike, and Cough

So I was feeling slumpy in my workouts and found out 1 reason for this last weekend...

July 4th weekend, taking an extra day for a full 4 days away from work. Travelled to San Diego for some sunshine and all was well in the world.

Friday began with swimming in Sail Bay, the standard route of to the pier and back. The boys were done at 2 returns but I pushed for a 3rd to practice longer distance. I had thought it was only 0.5 miles return a total of 1.5miles.
Decided to do a little google map action at home and found it was actually a total of 2.2miles!!! Wicked! I was nervous before as the total time was 1:30 hours with some decent rests and was starting to panic that I wouldn't be able to complete the 2.4 mile swim at Vineman on July 30th in time at that pace...but sighed a relief when saw I was at 2.2 miles. Phew!

Saturday was the long bike ride. Rented a tri bike from Nytro (sweet bike and cool to try a different type out) and did the long slow ride on PCH (pacific coast highway).
Did the first 20 miles with our biking crew to fiesta island, and then we turned back for the rest of our ride.
I could tell I was coming down with something and it came through in being massive hungry. Kept eating my bike food (kind bar, chews, carb drink) but had the urge for REAL food. In-n-out burger loomed and decided to get a good burger and fries in to fuel the remaining 50 miles.
Did feel a bit strange sitting eating a burger in our bike gear...

The ride overall was amazing, gorgeous views of the beach, sand, palm trees, and all the people watching.

Halfway at 47 miles I learnt what it was like to bonk. No energy whatsoever. I sat down at Nytro and tried to eat - body said "hell no". Same with drinking. it was hot but I didn't feel overheated, just completely drained.

Long rest for over 20 minutes, eventually gig food and drink down. Then back on the bike North up to Oceanside.

Gorgeous!!! Palm trees galore that just inspired you to ride 1 more mile to see more...

When we returned back to Nytro the clock said 74 miles...and we really wanted to see an 8 at the front so carried on for a 6 mile loop.

Total distance 80.1 miles, time 6:25 riding, 8:00 hours total with rests and photos etc...

So Swim, Bike, Cough...

Sunday - felt like I got hit by a truck!! Couldn't move for the soreness in my chest. My legs felt fine so no issues from the ride, just overall completely whacked.

5 days of being out for the count with a chest cold. Worst sickness for a while...

So my tri turned into a different set from the expected...
Swim, Bike, and Cough

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:San Diego

Monday, July 4, 2011

P90x 60 Days

60 Days have passed since I started p90x...60 days of Tony Horton saying "just push play" and "this is the X in p90x" Dreams of doing the Mason twist...thinking will I ever be able to a full push up...or even the coveted un-assisted pull up?

I have hit a recent slump where I skipped one workout and then another....there started to be more "X's" from me skipping workouts than from the ones I had done.

So day 60 of P90x was upon me and it said "take photo". hmm not really looking forward to it. I took them anyway and was surprised to see some difference. Smaller boobs, less spread across the middle, and slimmer legs. A total of 8 pounds lost.

Some things to be proud of indeed.....

At the same time I had a fitness test with my latest doctor...results show a 31% body fat! OUCH! There is just no way you can look at that number and say it's good. Followed up with a stern look saying I need to lose 10-15 pounds minimum to get to a healthier 20% body fat.

So 60 days down and 30 days to go....I'm not gonna be on the infomercial with my results...but its a good start to getting some body in shape.

Sunday, July 3, 2011



I'm guessing this is a normal feeling for anyone training hard for anything. You get to a point where the initial excitement dies...and then the drive and determination fade...and then you question why? It starts with just missing 1 can do it later, right? Then you miss a whole day...then it turns into a week. You look back and notice that you don't feel any different after a week, so it must be ok that you missed a week, right? That's where I am...


I remember studying for my actuarial exams...6 months of studying to have a 40% chance of passing. It always seemed crazy but I'd spend hours every week sitting at a desk reading materials, highlighting reams of text, and practicing hours upon hours of mathematical proofs. Every Sunday I'd delay studying...saying I'll start at 12 noon...then it would be 2pm...then eventually forcing myself to sit at 6pm for 4 hours. Same pattern every week until 4 weeks before the exam of which I'd have a panic attack at my lack of knowledge and start studying every minute available....
It took 7 years, 30 exam attempts, and 00's hours to finally be called a qualified actuary.

Now here I am in the same position but instead of the intellectual challenge of being a member of a club of 60,000 people in the world...I'm facing a determination of the body. To push the muscles and fibers and endurance of my body for 1 second of crossing the finish line and be called an IronMan along with likely more than hundreds of thousands of people that have gone through the same thing.

Getting out the Slump.

So I'm accepting the fact that this is a normal pattern I go through...and maybe others do too?
Acceptance is part of the way to get through this...but then what?
I'm looking for that motivation again...why am I devoting so much of my life to this? Why am I dragging the husband here too?
What is so important to push myself through hours of squats, sit-ups, cycling, swimming...for that 1 second of exhilaration?

How do I push through all the challenges I am facing with the body...the broken down knee, the 31% body fat (ouch!) leading to me facing my beloved food choices, and the shoulder knots that make the masseurs go "what are you doing to get these!?"

hmm...guess these challenges are what makes life interesting...if it was all easy then everyone would do it.
and I don't sign up for the things that "everyone" can do.

So I'm working my way The Slump. Wish me luck!