Thursday, September 07, 2006

 

My MRI experience

Hello everyone!! Much has happened since my recent absence from the
blogosphere... I'll attempt to post up a few updates on happenings over the
next few days.

One of the major events was a hip/groin injury that I managed to get from
water-skiing (of all things!!). I did some water-skiing in the Pumicestone
Passage off Golden Beach (in Caloundra) - the first time I'd tried that in
about 20 years!! I had some serious right groin pain that just didn't go
away for a couple of weeks afterwards, so I headed off to see the physio.

The physio, after much flinging around of my leg, said that he thought it
might actually be joint pain in the hip. So off I went to see the sports
doc, who diagnsed a labral tear in the hip joint - which meant
arthroscopy!!! :( But to confirm this, I need to get an MRI &
arthrogram...

Had all my MRI stuff done yeseterday. The arthrogram & MRI were fascinating
- I was able to watch as they used the x-ray machine to stick the needle
into my hip joint and pump it full of dye, and it felt like my hip was
selling up like a balloon!! The MRI itself was easy peasy. They gave me a
set of headphones tuned into the FM radio station of my choice (JJJ), and I
lay there all relaxed while the MRI machine clunked and buzzed around me.

Best news was the outcome. The sports doc got me to waddle around while the
local anaesthetic was still working, which I could do painlessly. "Oh, I
didn't think you'd be able to do that..." he said... Then he did some
strength testing, which revealed a 20% deficit in lateral muscle strength in
my right leg.

After poring over the films, and talking to the radiologist, the verdict is
- its muscular!! Woohoo!!

Turns out I have ripped the bejesus out of 3 little muscles that cross under
my right hip, which he called the 'short external rotators'. Apparently its
an unusual injury to get, especially to the extent I've got it. But its
gonna be a case of physio, etc, rather than surgery, which I am totally
stoked about!! A big relief, and a huge weight off my mind!!

So what does it mean?? I can't run for 4 weeks - apparently its possible to
manage it if I have a big race or something, but I don't, so a 4 week break
is fine by me. Cycling is a-ok, which is the most important news to me!! And
if I do any swimming, definitely no breast-stroke kicks...

Now, I just have to call the physio, and let him know to make a downpayment
on his next BMW... *grins*


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

 

Short course specialist

If only there was a bike race that covered my exact cycling commute!!
*laughs*

I had a super-quick cycle commute in today - I averaged 27.2km/h, and it
took me only 28:42 from my driveway (at Mt Gravatt East) to the basement of
my building in the CBD (that's riding time). I had a few slow-ish sections
too due to some road works, so I'm especially pleased with the quick time.

I actually got rained on briefly, which was a surprise!! I felt the rain,
but could only see blue sky - but directly above me, there was a smallish
group of grey clouds that had obviously found their mark...

Best news for me today is the total lack of any muscle soreness after
yesterday's run. Normally I have at least 1 day of soreness, but today I am
totally fine. The softer surface for the run was probably the key to this -
a lesson I won't forget!!


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

 

Consistency!!!


I'm feeling very pleased with myself after last weeks effort. I've been
struggling with putting together a consistent week of training for a while -
not so much distances, but stringing together consecutive days of exercise.

Last week, I finally achieved my aim. On Monday, I did a 6.5km river loop
run. Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday, I cycle-commuted into work (which is just
over 30min each way). And on Thursday I had my first ever bootcamp
(generously organised by Tam).

I felt great at the end of the week, and very pleased with myself. Hopefully
I can keep this up and gradually increase the distances involved....


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

 

Dumb Doms

I'm walking around today like I've been riding a horse!!!

My run yesterday (after about 2 months off) felt fantastic. A nice easy
effort that I seemed to cruise through with some decent form. However, the
DOMS monster obviously worked my legs over as I slept - I woke up this
morning with very sore legs!!!

Both my calves, and the top of my quads are sore. I'm going to assume that
this is just from the shock of having not being pounded for a while... To
help with recovery, I cycle-commuted in today at a slow, relaxed pace, and
I'll do the same on the way home this afternoon.

Hopefully my poor legs will recover relatively quickly!! I'm keen to get out
and run again, but I won't be heading out if there is still soreness from
yesterday's effort...


Monday, July 17, 2006

 

Back to the soft shoe shuffle...

Back into running again today, and loving it!!

I had decided to head out for a lunchtime run today for my running return,
but was unsure what to do - a short 4.5km out-&-back along the floating
walkway, or a 6.5km river loop around the Story/Goodwill Bridges. Tam
complicated my decision further by suggesting a run around the gardens and
some drills up and down the grass riverstage hill!! Decisions, decisions...

After getting into my dodgy running kit, I walked down to the Riverside
Centre. I was feeling really good, and was almost jumping out of my skin I
was so keen to run!! So I decided then that I should make the most of the
good feelings, and do the 6.5km river loop.

I deliberately took it very easy, and focussed on a steady, relaxed pace and
keeping up as decent form as possible. I finished the loop off pretty well,
and ended up clocking a good 41min 30sec for my first run back. I feel
great, and am very happy to be back!!


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

 

Tapering for commute performance??

I had last week off work, taking a week of annual leave to coincide with the
second week of the school holidays. I had an absolutely awesome time - spent
the whole week doing stuff with my wife & my two girls. And I was very sad
to be coming back to work this week!!!!

I didn't spend any time on the bike, plus I ate a heap of chocolate & corn
chips (yes, I was truly on holidays!!), and so I wasn't expecting much when
I saddled up on Tuesday for my first commute into work.

The ride in, though, ended up going very well. I averaged 26km/h
comfortably. About a year ago, I would've been pumped at such a fast ride,
but now this is my 'normal' speed for the commute. How times change!!! On
the ride home that evening, I decided to put a bit more effort in - and
cracked under 30min for only the 3rd or 4th time ever!!

Going back over my training diary, I've noticed that after any sort of
lay-off (whether it be because of rain or holidays or whatever), my commute
performance on return is almost always very, very good (for me, that is!!).
This doesn't seem to be right - even if the lay-off is the equivalent of a
'taper', then for such a short commute, you would think there was more risk
of detraining than actual tapering..... In the meantime though, I'll have to
try and work out what this means for when triathlon season rolls around in
summer.

Also, I'll be piling back into running again next week. I've been off it for
about a month for a variety of reasons (none too serious!!), and so will
start back into it with a couple of short lunchtimes runs to see how I go...


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

 

LA de femme

After 10 days off the bike due to a week of rainy BrisVegas weather and some
early morning World Cup action, it was time to clip back into the pedals
again. The LA girls were doing a river loop this morning, and they
graciously allowed me to tag along... :)

So I was up at 5am, and headed out the door at 5:30 - it was so cold!!! I
warmed up reasonably quickly once I got going, but it was definitely one of
those cooler mornings. Fortunately, I was fully rugged up with leg warmers,
arm warmers, full gloves, and wind vest. Made it to the Goodwill Bridge meet
early for a change (I think the girls were in shock!), and we headed off
shortly after 6am.

Ride itself was uneventful - we kept up a steady relaxed pace, and finished
the circuit averaging just under 25km/h - a perfect comeback after my lazy
10 days off!! Plus the terrific company of the girls (Lotte, Tam & Karen)
meant it was a heap of fun! Finished the morning off with coffee and some
brekky at Southbank - all days should start like this!!

Final stats for the day - 47.5km dist, at 24.8km/h ave.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

 

Neighbour warfare commences.....

> Got home last night, and was cranky to see that my "kerbside compost"
> collection STILL hadn't been done. *grrr*
>
> However, the pile looked a bit different. Was it bigger?? Closer
> inspection revealed that someone had chucked another half-dozen or so palm
> fronds on top (*shrugs* that's OK, I guess) - but they were HIDING an old
> table that someone had pulled apart and hidden amongst the fronds!!!!
>
> I was pretty peeved about this. Its a green collection, ffs - they won't
> take it if there is any hard rubbish amongst it!!! *grrrrrrr* Went inside,
> and out into the backyard - to check if the old table that has been
> sitting in the neighbours yard was still there - and it was GONE!!
> Fsck!!!!!
>
> So I asked my daughter to come out the front with me to hold the torch (it
> was already dark - about 6pm??), while I pulled all the parts of the table
> out, then neatly stacked it all in the middle of my neighbour's driveway
> (so they wouldn't be able to get their car out this morning... *heehee*).
>
> I thought to myself while I was doing it, "I'm pretty sure Lotte would
> approve of this - but does that make it a good idea??" - but I did it
> anyway. ;-)
>
> Anyway, hopefully the unemployed housing commission fsckers won't have
> extracted revenge while I'm off at work today.... *grins*
>


Monday, June 19, 2006

 

Race Report: Murarrie Crits, on Sat 17/6/06

On Saturday morning, I headed back out to Murarrie for another attempt at
the criterium bike races. I was racing in Cat 2 Div 2 (which is roughly
equal to D-grade).

Got there with about 15min to go until start, signed on and handed over my
$8. Tam was racing as well, in Cat 2-2, so I was pleased there'd be someone
else I knew in the race. I quickly unloaded my bike of unnecessary stuff
(lights, saddle bag, pump), and soon enough 8am rolled around for race
start.

The race was scheduled as 40min +3 laps. We set off, and I settled into the
front third of the pack. Looking around, I guessed there were maybe 20-25
other riders in the race, with almost a third of them females. My primary
goal was to finish with everyone else (ie. not get dropped!!), so I decided
I'd try and sit in the front third for as long as I could, and see how I
went.

As expected, the first 15 minutes had quite a few surges as the stronger
riders tested everyone's legs. I nearly got spat out a couple of times, but
gritted my teeth and was pleased to be able to hold on. A little later, I
even pushed forward and took a turn out the front!! I didn't hold a strong
pace or anything, but it was fun to ride in some clear air...

The whistle blew for the Prime (halfway sprint lap) at about the 25min mark.
I decided I'd try and stick with the 'sprint bunch' - not because I thought
I could win, but just to try and hold their pace, plus it would give me a
chance to hold on if someone tried to attack post-sprint. I was pleased to
make it around with the sprinters (although I was well and truly at the back
of their pack), and was relieved when they all sat up and waited for the
rest of the pack to come through.

At some stage (can't remember the timing), a small pack of 3-4 broke away
for a while. I was impressed that Tam was in that group - she had already
spent half the race taking turns up the front, and now she was in the lead
group!! However, after a few laps, the peloton caught up and sucked them
back in...

Eventually, after about 45min, the '3 laps to go' sign went up. I was stoked
to still be there, and resolved to stick it out to the end. Over the last
couple of laps, the pace slowed a little as the stronger riders played out
there strategies - I had my eye on two or three of them, and was ready to
jump on their wheel as soon as they started moving.

Sure enough, with half-a-lap to go, the move came. Around 10 riders jumped,
and I managed to stick onto the back of the group (woohoo!!). I pedalled
like crazy, stuck with them down the main finishing straight, and rolled
over the line in 9th spot.

So overall, I was very, very happy with how the race went. I was stoked with
my own performance, plus the race itself was a lot of fun, with everyone
racing in good spirit and none of the nastiness I've seen in some other
races. The 9km ride home up & down the hills of Creek Rd was pretty painful,
but the good result helped to numb that (almost!).

Final stats for the race - 36.5km/h ave, dist 31km.


Friday, June 09, 2006

 

Politeness, and an oddity...

Last night, when I was riding home, a roadie dude (who was clearly much
fitter than me) sat on my wheel for a fair stretch of Logan Rd. Up the 'big'
hill to Holland Park, through the shopping strip there, and then past the
big park up to the start of the Zupps car yards.

He slipped past after that - no thank you or anything - and started to move
away. I was a bit annoyed (but mainly at myself for not being able to keep
up). But then, he turned around to see where I was, and slowed down to let
me grab his wheel!!! *gasps*

I was a bit shocked, and said "thanks!". And he said, "No worries, only fair
after I wheelsucked on all those hills!!". Left a big smile on my face for
the rest of the ride!!

---

Also yesterday, but in the morning. As I rode up the hill from Stones Corner
to join the bikeway, a girl in a "Spike Triathlon" uniform rode out from the
bikeway (going the opposite way).

She was riding a very unusual looking bike - one piece bright yellow frame;
no top tube, but a very large/tall vertical downtube (if that makes
sense??); with "Superbike" the only marking on it in small writing (oh, and
"Campagnolo" on the tube near the rear cassette).

Not sure if it was a fixed or single speed (didn't check), but it sure
looked pretty swish!!! A lot like the Aussie team track bikes from the
Olympics in previous years..... Cool!!


Monday, May 22, 2006

 

Searching for consistency

While I have been putting in some good rides & runs lately, I haven't been
happy with my training consistency. The 'sessions' themselves have been
good, but I've only been getting out for 2-4 sessions per week, which I just
don't think is enough to make meaningful progress.

At the start of the year, I decided that this would be a year of
base-building. One of the things I was aiming for, was to develop the
ability to train for multiple days in a row - not needing to have a total
recovery day off after a run or long ride. I figure the only way to do this
is to be able to train every day in a week - which is what I will try and do
now.

So this week, I'll be aiming to do 'something' on each working day - Monday
to Friday. None of the sessions will be huge - I'll be sticking to a couple
of 6.5km river loops for my running, plus a few days of commuting on the
bike (with maybe one of those extended to a longer ride). But the main goal
will be to make sure I do something every day, so that the legs start to
learn how to back-up day-after-day.

I'm starting off today with a lunchtime run. Fingers crossed that on Friday
I'll be able to give an update on a successful 5-days-straight of training!!


Thursday, May 18, 2006

 

Another PB - this time on the bike...

Two PB's in one week, covering both running & cycling!!

This morning, I was supposed to head out for a bike ride - looping out to
Wynnum, and then back into the city. However some early morning showers and
wet roads put paid to that idea, and so after a brief flurry of texts to my
cycling companions, we cancelled. I was wide awake by then, and didn't want
to wake up my wife or kids by heading back to the bedroom, so snuggled into
the couch to watch the UEFA Champions League final between Barcelona &
Arsenal...

After the match, I suited back up into my lycra, and headed out the door for
a straight commute into the city. The trip itself was uneventful - a
straightforward 13km commute along Logan Rd, and then into the CBD. I
initially felt a little sluggish, but by the time I reached Stones Corner I
was thinking about how easy it was all going. I wasn't pushing myself hard
at all, but it seemed as if I was moving quickly and easily.....

After making it into the CBD, I headed down Adelaide Street and headed down
the driveway of my building to the basement bike racks. Checked the bike
computer and it read "13.05km; 28min 43sec; 27.2km/h average" - I couldn't
believe it, it was a new PB!!!!! Only the second time I've gone under 29min
for the commute, and the first time I've averaged more than 27km/h. I was
(and still am) totally stoked!!

Of course, I'm not sure why this happened. My riding mileage has been down
lately with my attempts to better my running. Maybe the running has given me
better leg strength, which helps me on shorter rides like my commute??


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

 

Injury prevention

One thing that has been holding me back a little with my running, has been
my 'troublesome' calf muscles.

Back in December last year (I think), I badly injured my left calf just
after I started back into running. Ever since then, I have been troubled
with calf tightness and general soreness after longer or harder runs. And as
a result of that, I usually have to give myself a clear recovery period of
at least a day or two in between runs. It has been frustrating, and I think
it has stopped me from progressing more quickly to some sort of running
competence.

After yesterday's terrific lunchtime run, I was worried as to how long it
would take me to recover. I could feel a little bit of general soreness in
my left calf, but they didn't feel too tight. When I got back to work, I
decided to really focus on giving them a good stretch, and so I spent 10
minutes dedicated to calf stretching. They felt better almost instantly!! It
was a great result, and I will definitely be incorporating that into my
post-run routine from now on.

Last night, before bed, I decided to take further action. Even though my
calves were already feeling significantly better than normal post-run, there
was still a little bit of lingering tightness and soreness. So I put on a
tubular compression bandage over each calf muscle (I had them from the calf
muscle injury last year) just before bed, and slept in them overnight. The
end result being that today, my calves feel absolutely, 100% OK!!

I'm not sure exactly what worked best - the stretching, the compression
bandage, or the combo of both - but it worked. So from now on, I will be
ensuring that I stretch the bejesus out of my calves post-run, plus
experimenting with wearing my tubular compression bandages as well (post-run
only, not while running).


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

 

Lunchtime run breakthrough

After missing out on doing my long run yesterday or today (due to having the
kids having school excursions and other stuff), I brought my running gear
into work today for a lunchtime river run, looping around the Story &
Goodwill Bridges.

I didn't do too much last week - just a long 13km run and a 50km bike ride -
so I wasn't too sure how I'd go today. I decided to take it out easy and see
how I felt. After leaving the Riverside Centre, I very quickly settled into
a good rhythm. I was running along at a healthy, relaxed pace and feeling
great!! I was a bit surprised, given my low volume previous week, but
decided to go with it and see how long it lasted.

The run itself was uneventful - after leaving the Riverside Centre and
running along the 'boardwalk', I ran up to the Story Bridge, crossing it on
the New Farm side. After ducking through the tunnel at the other end, I
descended to the Kangaroo Point side of the river, and ran along past the
Adventure Club, the Cliffs, and then up to the Goodwill Bridge. I gritted my
teeth as I headed over the GB, then turned right and ran through the Botanic
Gardens and back to the 'boardwalk, finishing back at the Riverside Centre.
According to the "Running Post" at the Southbank end of the Goodwill Bridge,
that's a 6.5km loop.

I kept up that strong but relaxed pace up right through the run, and when I
finished felt as if I could have kept going for another loop. So I was
stunned when I checked my watch and realised I had run 39:45 for the loop -
a PB, absolutely smashing my previous best by over 2 minutes!!!!

Ever since I started running this 'lunchtime loop' regularly, I have dreamed
of breaking through the 40min barrier. I knew I would do it one day, but
definitely not so soon!! I feel absolutely terrific, and it has given me a
huge motivational boost for my running!!


Friday, May 12, 2006

 

Pleasant early morning

Well, it was a great morning for a ride...!! Woke up just after 4am. Not
long after, Caitlin (my 8yo daughter) came running out of her bedroom and
into the lounge room (while I was abluting in the loo), then went tearing
into our bedroom, where she shrieked, then ran back to the kitchen. I
stumbled out and asked her what was wrong, and she'd had a nightmare about
zombies - "Heaps of them, Dad!! They were everywhere! And then you weren't
in your bed, so I got scared, and I didn't know where you were so maybe they
got you!".

All pretty funny - I took 5min to calm her down a bit and tuck her back into
bed (love parenting!!), then back to getting ready.

Left home just after 0445, and headed along Cav Rd. First time I've ridden
along there, and the hills weren't as bad as I was imagining, which was
good. The chill on the downhills was a bit hairy though!! Traffic was pretty
much non-existent, and I rolled right into Old Cleveland, then left into
Bennetts. Up the hill and to the roundabout, then took a back street that
spat me right out at the corner of Lytton & Hawthorne Rds - 10km exactly!.
This is where I'd arranged to RV with Tam & Lotte for a loop out to Wynnum.

"Cool, I'm early for a change!" I thought... Remembered that I hadn't turned
my phone on yet, and it sprung to life with two waiting text messages...
Lotte wasn't feeling well, and Tam was sleeping in and had proposed a later
start. Couldn't reply to Tam as my phone was out of credit (I am an
idiot!!), so rode down Lytton Rd to the BP servo on Latrobe Terrace and
charged up. Texted Tam to let her know I'd go solo, and prepared to set off
again.

So what to do now?? I headed off to the city. Thought about heading across
the Story Bridge (then I'd be a MAN!!), but a 4WD shaved passed me on the
way towards it, and I lost my nerve. So headed along the top of the Cliffs,
and then around to Southbank. Went over the Goodwill and towards UQ, then I
checked the time, and it was almost 0600 - so decided to check out the Park
Rd bunches.

Arrived just before they left - a HUGE peloton of at least 60 people. Way
too big. I rode with them along Coro Drive, through Uni, and out to
Indooroopilly, but decided to bail. It was a very messy group, with riders
half-wheeling and weaving all over the place - an accident waiting to
happen!! So spun around at the bike bridge, and headed back to the City and
work.

45km all up, which was a nice mornings effort.


 

Pleasant early morning

Well, it was a great morning for a ride...!! Woke up just after 4am. Not
long after, Caitlin (my 8yo daughter) came running out of her bedroom and
into the lounge room (while I was abluting in the loo), then went tearing
into our bedroom, where she shrieked, then ran back to the kitchen. I
stumbled out and asked her what was wrong, and she'd had a nightmare about
zombies - "Heaps of them, Dad!! They were everywhere! And then you weren't
in your bed, so I got scared, and I didn't know where you were so maybe they
got you!".

All pretty funny - I took 5min to calm her down a bit and tuck her back into
bed (love parenting!!), then back to getting ready.

Left home just after 0445, and headed along Cav Rd. First time I've ridden
along there, and the hills weren't as bad as I was imagining, which was
good. The chill on the downhills was a bit hairy though!! Traffic was pretty
much non-existent, and I rolled right into Old Cleveland, then left into
Bennetts. Up the hill and to the roundabout, then took a back street that
spat me right out at the corner of Lytton & Hawthorne Rds - 10km exactly!.
This is where I'd arranged to RV with Tam & Lotte for a loop out to Wynnum.

"Cool, I'm early for a change!" I thought... Remembered that I hadn't turned
my phone on yet, and it sprung to life with two waiting text messages...
Lotte wasn't feeling well, and Tam was sleeping in and had proposed a later
start. Couldn't reply to Tam as my phone was out of credit (I am an
idiot!!), so rode down Lytton Rd to the BP servo on Latrobe Terrace and
charged up. Texted Tam to let her know I'd go solo, and prepared to set off
again.

So what to do now?? I headed off to the city. Thought about heading across
the Story Bridge (then I'd be a MAN!!), but a 4WD shaved passed me on the
way towards it, and I lost my nerve. So headed along the top of the Cliffs,
and then around to Southbank. Went over the Goodwill and towards UQ, then I
checked the time, and it was almost 0600 - so decided to check out the Park
Rd bunches.

Arrived just before they left - a HUGE peloton of at least 60 people. Way
too big. I rode with them along Coro Drive, through Uni, and out to
Indooroopilly, but decided to bail. It was a very messy group, with riders
half-wheeling and weaving all over the place - an accident waiting to
happen!! So spun around at the bike bridge, and headed back to the City and
work.

45km all up, which was a nice mornings effort.


Monday, May 08, 2006

 

Longest. Run. Ever.

Sorry, its been a while since I've been blogging - but work and family life
has been mega-busy over the last few weeks, so I've been flat out!! Luckily
though, I've still had time to fit in some running and cycling into the mix.

I decided that I needed to up the ante when it comes to my weekly long run.
I've been doing 2-3 'Goodwill/Story Bridges circuits' each week, which are
roughly 6.5km each. That's been good, but obviously not enough for my hopes
of achieving a half-marathon.

So this morning, I decided to start a new regimen - Mondays will be my long
run day, incorporating a long, slow run to work!! I live at Mt Gravatt East,
and so the run from home to work (in the Brisbane CBD) is approx 13km. At
least, my normal bike commute is that distance - I'll have to ride over my
exact running course during the week to get a more exact measurement...

Until this morning, my longest run EVER was 10km. So I was very, very
pleased to get through this mornings run. I kept a very, very slow pace
(around 7-8 min/km pace), and managed to run out the entire distance. My
legs felt great for the whole run, although they did start to feel a little
'pounded' as I headed through the Botanical Gardens. I'm not sure if that
was due to the paved path being very 'hard', or just my legs reaching their
limit - but in all likelihood it was a combo of both.

Not surprisingly, my successful run has got me all excited about achieving
my half-marathon goals. After some soul-searching, I had previously decided
to scale back my running goals for the year. Not because I didn't think I
could get through it, but more because I wanted to spend more time building
a solid running base without the pressure of trying to build quickly for a
race. But I must admit I'm now thinking of doing the Qld Half Marathon out
at Doomben, held at the start of June. Most probably I won't be ready, but
the thought is there, and I'll see how my legs are handling the longer runs
closer to the end of the month.


Monday, April 10, 2006

 

Race Report: Murarrie Crits on Sat 8/4/06

I finally managed to make my crit debut for 2006 on Saturday morning, and
boy am I glad that I finally got there!! I had a great morning, and it
reminded me of how much I enjoy crit racing...

After a slow start to the morning, rode to the Murarrie circuit arriving at
7:50am for an 8am start - I don't like to arrive too early, but this was
pushing a bit much!! At least I knew my legs would be warm for the race...
Signed up for Cat 2/Div 2, and got myself organised.

Race started at about 8:05 - 40min + 3 laps, with about 30 people in the
field (by my rough count). Pace was very slow early, with the field taking
the first few laps at only 31-32km/h. I was sitting at the back of the front
third, and it seemed that no-one wanted to take charge up the front - but
eventually things got 'organised' and the pace picked up to around 38km/h.

Cat 2/Div 1 (equiv. to C-Grade) was on the course at the same time as us (I
guess we were equiv. to D-Grade), as well as Cat 3 (E-Grade??) - so there
were 3 packs circling around the 1.5km circuit. This had the potential to
get a bit confusing, and ended up making for some interesting times when the
packs were overtaking.

I had managed to keep a position around mid-pack, sometimes a little bit
more forward. The first time Div 1 passed us, the front riders in our race
sped up and tried to retake them straight away!! Luckily, being in the front
half, I was able to sit on their wheels as they headed passed. The peloton
split in two, and the 'chase group' had to work hard to catch back up to us.
A good tactical lesson for me (without the hard work!!) about staying in
touch with the front-runners.....

This same 'trick' happened again when Div 1 inevitably caught up to overtake
and the front riders pushed past again!! I was wondering if it was ego or
adrenalin - but at least their tactics were clear and I knew what would
happen each time!! We reached the 20min mark and the whistle blew for the
Prime lap. A guy in Credit Agricole kit took off straight away, but no-one
seemed keen to chase (definitely not me - I just wanted to finish with the
group!!), so he did a one-lap ITT to take the Prime - well done!!

Just passed 30min, and I was starting to feel the effort. We got passed
again by Div 1, and once again the leaders of our group took off - but I was
two-thirds of the way back in the pack and missed the jump!! So much for my
being super-aware of their tactics!! Lots of yells by people for them to
"calm down - let Div 1 go!!", but they took off.... So I was stuck in the
chase group - we all worked hard, and I even took a long turn trying to
bridge the gap back. Eventually we made it back on, which was very
satisfying (don't know what Div 1 thought of all this though - they must
have been getting dizzy!!).

The chase effort had knackered me a bit, and so I drifted to the back of the
field. I nearly got gapped off the back a few times, but thought there was
no way I'd let myself get dropped, so I gritted the teeth and worked to get
back up to mid-pack. Things felt much better once I settled into a rhythm
there and a quick drink plus a few more steadier laps had me back and
feeling good again. A few people were obviously getting nervous though, as
we had to drop two separate dropped bottles by the leaders (hope that wasn't
a tactic to thin the field!!).

The "3 laps to go" sign came up, and I was feeling very happy to be sitting
back up in the front third. The pace slowed again as people started looking
around and waiting for something to happen. Then suddenly we had reached the
bell lap and we were all still together!! I saw the guy in CA kit who won
the prime moving an inside line, so I jumped on his wheel as I figured he
might be a good bet to go at the finish... He moved up the front pretty
quickly, and so I was sitting at 2nd wheel heading down the back street,
halfway through the last lap!!!!!

I soon discovered the tactical problems with this though, as I couldn't tell
what was happening behind me. Who was gonna jump?? As we turned the corner,
about 6-7 riders went flying past. Luckily, I was able to jump onto the last
of them, and the pace went berserk as everyone else tried to come with us. I
was happy to be holding their wheels, but had no more speed to add for a
final finishing sprint..... As we came down the final straight to the line,
two guys in front of me went all "Robbie vs Stuey" and started leaning all
over each other - so I sat up and backed off just in case, and cruised over
the line in about 10th place (although I don't think I would have made up
any places if I'd sprinted any further!!).

Final stats - 31km at 37.4km/h average. I had a very fun morning, and was
stoked with my efforts. It was great to be an active participant in the
crits for a change, instead of just hanging tough at the back trying hard
not to get dropped!!!


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

 

Wondering where to go...

Well, I don't think you'd call it post-event blues. But maybe just a mild
malaise.... Its been a week and a half since Mooloolaba. I've only been on
the bike once since then, and that's it. The race knocked me around a bit,
and so I have been careful to allow myself a full recovery period so I don't
get any post-race injuries.

So now we are into a bit of a weird period for me. Looking back at when I
used to train in my previous life (8-12 years ago), autumn/winter was a
period of basically zippo training. I would aim for a big race around
March/April, and then shelve the bike and all other training until
September/October. And then start all over again!!!

I look back now at that and shake my head. I really enjoyed the training,
but I do wonder how well I could've gone had I trained through the triathlon
"off-season" and hit just one summer with 6 months of work behind me,
instead of starting from zero again.

So I find myself here again. Even after a decade off from the sport, I think
my body remembers!! "Oh, we've just worked hard and made it through
Mooloolaba. That means beer, corn chips and couch for the next 6 months...".

But things are different now as well. I'm 'training', riding and running,
for many more reasons than before. So mentally, I am instead planning on how
I'm going to structure the next 6 months. I know I'll be riding heaps. And
I'll be seeing how far I can bring my running in that time. With my "slow &
steady" build-up, will I have done enough to go for a half-marathon in June
or July?? And will I be ready to have a shot at a Half IronMan later in the
year??

I'm heading out for a lunchtime run today, to officially mark my 'return to
training' post-Mooloolaba. Its a strange place to be. I've achieved
something - finishing Mooloolaba - that 6 months ago seemed like a laughable
goal. And now, instead of resting on my laurels, I'm going to keep going and
try and focus on some more laughable goals - a half-marathon, a half-IM, and
going sub-3hrs at Mooloolaba next year. I've never been here before. But its
an interesting place, and I think I want to explore it for a while.....
Another interesting adventure beckons!!


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

 

The Longest Day - my Mooloolaba Tri Race Report!!!

Paul GUARRERA 30-34 Male 3:10:34 0:31:23 1:28:53 1:10:16

Yes, I finished!!!! Had an awesome day, and was totally stoked with the
result....

1.5km Swim - 0:31:23
Swim was moved from the beach to the river - due to huge surf thanks to Tropical Cyclone Wati - so it was a triangular course in the river bend behind Mooloolaba Wharf (where Underwater World is). There was a HUGE tidal current sweeping around that bend, which
made navigation pretty tricky.

After watching all the other individual waves go off, and seeing them
all swept to the left, I swam way out to the right hand side. A bit too
much though, because I almost missed the first RH turn!! I went 10m
passed it *doh!*, and had to swim back against the current to get back
to it. Got bashed a few times around the buoy, but then got back on
track. Missed the final buoy as well, for another 10m swim against the
current, but I figured I was getting my money's worth... *grins*, and
was pleased to finally make it out of the water. Time was slower than
anticipated, but I was feeling OK.

T1 - approx 0:07:30
A long T1 time - but that was due to the 500m (yep, half-a-km) run from
the swim to transition. It was mostly on bitumen road too, which my bare
feet didn't appreciate!!

Finally reached my bike, but when I stopped running, I thought I was
gonna hurl. So took my time and did some deep breathing - by the time I
was dressed and unracking the bike, I felt fine again.

40km Bike - 1:19:30
Had a great bike ride!!! Nic and the girls were waiting at the top of
the first hill on Buderim Ave (next to the apartments) and gave me a
huge cheer! Wind wasn't too bad, but built up over the morning. I was
comfortably holding 32-38km/h over most of the first half. Turned
around at the 20km mark, and straight into a headwind - yuk!! I was in
the little chainring the whole time on the way back, sitting on around
27-31km/h.

Lots of packs formed into the headwind on the way back (cheats!!), but
when I passed the drafting 'penalty boxes', they always had at least
half-a-dozen people in them, so the draft-busters were pretty busy!!

Flew back into Mooloolaba, and saw Nic & the girls again down at a cafe
on the Esplanade. Nearly stacked it trying to wave to them as I was
getting my feet out of the bike shoes, and was very pumped to crack 1:20
for the ride. I wanted to average at least 30km/h and stay relaxed - and
achieved both.

T2 - approx 0:01:30
Nice quick T2. Whacked the number belt on, put socks on as well for the
10km run, and dashed out for the final leg...

10km Run - 1:10:16
This was HARD!!!! Ran out feeling OK, but with legs feeling a bit heavy
from the bike. Then straight into the long climb up the hill, which
totally killed me. Legs just died on me, and I struggled to keep any
sort of pace. I knew though that I had heaps of time, so I just mentally
locked myself into that slow, 7min/k pace and kept on truckin'...

Legs complained heaps, but after a couple of laps, was very pumped to
climb the hill for the last time on the way home. Saw my 7yo daughter
Caitlin, who said,
"Where have you been, we've been waiting for HOURS!!" which made me
laugh. She ran with me down the hill for the last time, and then I saw
Nic who was cheering like crazy. Finally made it into the finishing
chute, and pumped the air like crazy with joy and elation at finally
making it!!

Total - 3:10:34
A slow time, but the goal was always to finish, and I was very, very
pleased with the result. Learnt heaps about where I'm at with the 3
components, and what I need to do to get better. And most importantly,
had a great time at the race, and an awesome long weekend with Nic and
the kids.


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

 

The countdown begins...

I am officially in taper for Mooloolaba!!!

Monday was my last day of training. I woke up early and, after a warm up,
knocked out a straight 1500m set in the pool at Hibiscus. I took it slow and
steady, and finished feeling relaxed and strong - a great confidence booster
leading into the race.

At lunchtime, I headed out for my last pre-race run - a lunchtime run
looping the Goodwill/Story bridges again. I clocked 42:20 for the 6.5km loop
- a PB!! What a terrific way to finish my run prep. After the enforced
two-week break due to illness, I was worried that I'd stuffed my run form
totally, but this run has really lifted my confidence for race day.

Being in taper feels a bit strange. Today (Tuesday) I have left as a rest
day - and I feel a bit lazy!!! All I have scheduled for the rest of the week
is a bike ride tomorrow, and then my final swim on Thursday. And that's it!!
Hopefully, come Sunday at 7:33am, the body will be a well-rested machine
ready to perform at its best!!


Thursday, March 16, 2006

 

My "week of pain" update

So far, this week is going OK - maybe not as full-on as I was initially
planning, but it has been a better week than others lately!!

On Monday, I cycled to & from work, plus knocked out a lunchtime run. The
cycling went fine, but I had a nutritional stuff-up that seriously affected
my run. I ate hardly anything in the morning (just a small bowl of natural
muesli early on), and suddenly it was lunchtime and time to dash out for the
run!! About halfway though it (just before I reached the Story Bridge), I
got the shakes and seemed to lose all power in my legs. It was an awful
feeling!! I ended up getting back for a total of 48:30 for the 6.5km loop
around the Goodwill & Story Bridges. I think that's a good 6min off my PB!!
But it was a good lesson to learn...

On Tuesday, the plan was to swim in the morning, plus commute to/from work
on the bike again. Family life intruded though, with my poor wife having a
shocker with her cold. So all my plans were thrown out as I covered for her
in getting the kids ready, etc, and I got no training in at all. That wasn't
such a bad thing though, as the legs felt a little sore from the run.

Wednesday saw me back on the bike. I only really had morning time to train,
and so I rode my bike to Mt Gravatt for some hill-climbing repeats. I rode
the winding 2.1km road to the summit a total of 3 times, which I was pleased
with - equalling my best number of repeats ever!!

Today, Thursday, saw me lacing up my running shoes again. I headed out for
another lunchtime 6.5km Goodwill/Story bridge loop. But this time, I looked
after my pre-run nutrition much more carefully!! And it showed, too - I
finished in a time of 46:30. Two minutes faster was great, but the most
telling factor was how I felt at the end. The run was very easy and I felt
relaxed - as opposed to Monday when I thought I was going to spontaneously
combust!! Much, much better.

Tomorrow I'm linking up with "the usual bunch" and heading out for LA(7) -
the weekly 'lard arse' bunch ride around the river. We meet at 0530 at the
Southbank end of the Goodwill Bridge for a spin around the river. All up,
that'll be about 50km in the morning for me, which should give the legs a
nice workout.

So its turning out to be a good training week. Not necessarily the "week of
pain" I'd initially envisaged, but probably a good one for the 2nd last week
before Mooloolaba!!


Monday, March 13, 2006

 

My week of pain - pre-race bootcamp...

With two weeks to go until the big race at Mooloolaba, my revised prep
(after the unscheduled fortnight off due to illness) has this week as a big
"week of pain" before a final one week taper into the race.

I wasn't sure whether or not to blog this week's efforts - I'm sure you'll
all have a bit of a chuckle when you see how my "big" week plays out (I'm
sure its the equivalent of a recovery week for many of you, or even less!!).
But I figure it will be a good week to come back to and review in a year's
time to see how far I've come.....

Anyway - Day 1. Today is a Bike & Run day. The bike component is just my
regular commute, but I structured the morning ride in as a 'hard' ride to
really punch the legs out, and pushed myself hard up the few small inclines.
At lunchtime I'll be doing my 6.5km Goodwill/Story bridges loop. Then
finishing the day with an easy ride home to try and keep the legs loose for
tomorrow.

Fingers crossed the week goes as planned!!!


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

 

Plans gone awry - challenges ahead...

Well, even the best laid plans of mice & men can sometimes go astray....

Last week and this week, according to my training plan, were going to be two
of my biggest training weeks load-wise - before easing into a two week
'taper' culminating in my first "A-race" of the year, being the Mooloolaba
tri. Instead, these two big weeks have ended up being devoid of training as
I tried to shake a persistent cough & cold that knocked me off my feet for a
while.

So where has that left me?? I was feeling extremely frustrated and upset
about it all. I was cranky that my training plan had gone to pieces, and I
felt that my hopes of a sub 3-hour finish for the race had been blown away.
And I didn't know how to approach this final 19 days leading into the
race...

Luckily, my wonderful wife was able to slap me with some reality. "What
would you say to me if I was whinging about being sick this close to the
race?" She demanded. "You would say - 'its not the last few weeks, but the
last few months that make the difference...' ".

Of course, she was right. I was pretty tied up in the loss of a couple of
big training weeks. But for the last few months I've been sticking to a good
training plan, and training consistently. And I had a great race up at
Caloundra as a result. Sure, I might not be as 'finished' as I would like
because of the unscheduled break - but I'm still in a pretty good position
fitness-wise to post a decent result (for me).

So how to approach the final couple of weeks to the race?? Well, I got back
on the bike this morning for the first time in 10 days. I've still got the
'tail end' of the cold, so just had an easy spin into work to make sure I
didn't overstress the cv system, and will take the same approach home this
afternoon. The rest of the week will be the same. Very easy & short swims,
rides and runs to ease the lungs back into it.

Next week will be a 'hard' week. I'll aim to push myself through some long
runs and bikes, and pump out full 1500m sets in the pool. Then the final
week will be an easy/taper week.

Is that the best program for me? I don't know!! But I think that it'll get
me to the start line in pretty good shape...


Tuesday, February 28, 2006

 

Sick!!

Have been struck down with my first real illness of the season... But that's what you get with two young children in the house!!

I'm stuck at home today. Sore throat, sore head, achy joints... Not very fun. I've been maxing out on Panadol, and trying to drink heaps of water. Don't want to eat, but am trying to get down fruit and some honey toast.

I don't like feeling sick!! I've been trying to think of it as an enforced rest, but I've hardly been training in large enough volumes to make that credible. But the power of the mind is strong, and self-delusion is still one of my strong points, so I'll give it a shot...

Hope everyone else is well!! I'd better go and have another lie down...

Thursday, February 23, 2006

 

A good week!!

This week is going well performance-wise - I recorded another PB yesterday
with my cycling commute into the CBD.

I didn't expect it to be a quick ride, as I was starting later than usual
(which meant more traffic, plus slightly hotter conditions). Even the first
couple of km's felt awkward, as the legs didn't feel quite 100%. Obviously
that got better though, because by the time I reached Stone's Corner I was
feeling pretty quick.......

I ended up recording an average speed of 26.9km/h for the 13km commute,
cracking the 29min mark (28:50) for the first time!! That probably doesn't
sound fast, but that includes a LOT of stopping and starting at red lights
and ped crossings, plus a significant section of shared ped-bike path where
I always slow right down to a safe speed.

Going back through my training diary for last year (to check if it was a
PB), I noticed that the fastest times I have recorded for my cycling efforts
were the ones that I didn't set out to do so - that is, they were often
performed at a perceived effort of only, say, 8/10 rather than totally flat
out. I'm not sure why this is the case. Maybe if I go flat-out, I fade
later?? Or maybe I lose form (and thus efficiency) in an all-out effort??
I'll have to think about that... But its good to know that my body seems to
respond better when asked to perform at 'a bit below max' rather than 'flat
strap'!


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

 

Lunchtime Run

Knocked out another lunchtime run today - a 6.5km riverside loop crossing
the Goodwill & Story bridges.

I was lulled into a false sense of security - the weather forecast was
tipping a max of 'only' 29 degrees, and a quick check of bom.gov.au before I
headed off to the lockers showed a temperature of around 28 degrees......

Warm up was the 5-10min walk down to the Riverside Centre office building.
There was some cloud cover and a light breeze, which was very pleasant. But
of course 5 minutes into the run the sun broke through, and for the
remainder of the run it beat down mercilessly. It felt like on of the
hottest runs I'd done, and I was saturated by the end of it!! To make things
worse, I wore a t-shirt instead of my usual singlet, plus I forgot my cap...
not smart!!

I finished back at the Riverside Centre clocking 42:30 for the loop, which
was another PB, taking 1:30 off my previous best!! One of the benefits
during the early stages of a running comeback is that almost every run seems
to yield some sort of PB, which is very motivating.

---

I've neglected to follow-up a couple of questions people have raised in past
comments.

Re: the practicalities of squeezing in a lunchtime run
I am very fortunate in that I work for a federal public service department,
and so I have access to flextime provisions. Of course, this isn't an 'open
cheque' to take long lunches - but it does mean that if my run takes longer
than expected, I can easily make the time up by working later & longer in
the day. That said, I only squeeze a lunchtime run in 1 day /week, and my
manager is aware of my running and triathlon goals (I am the resident office
"fitness nut") - and so I'm not just 'disappearing' for an hour or so.....

Re: the awful humidity & heat of a midday run
Well, I have no credible, sane answer that would make any sense!! As I'm
running along, losing half my body weight in sweat, I tell myself how
"character building" this is... *laughs*
Ok, maybe not - but practical considerations mean that the midday run is
crucial for managing to fit all my exercise goals into my weekly timetable.
Hopefully the 'extreme' conditions will help me down the track if I ever do
any races in the heat of the day, or maybe I'll even see a decent
performance jump when the weather cools and conditions become much more
favourable for running!!


Monday, February 13, 2006

 

Mission Accomplished!!

Hi all,

Well, Veni Vidi Vici!!! I had an awesome race, and exceeded all my
expectations for the day. I won't bore you with all the gritty details, so
here's a quick version of events. Many thanks to everyone for all the
messages of support (both through the blog and otherwise...), as they all
helped to spur me on to a dream result!!

Pre race:
Registered on Saturday afternoon. Discovered my age-group wave was last to
go at 8:45am. Given I had to check bike in and get numbered before 6:30am,
this somewhat stuffed my pre-race plan!! Then had an anxiety attack about
being the last person out on the course.....

Sunday morning, rode the bike down at 5:30am. Got a perfect bike rack
position, numbered up, then walked back to the house (about 15min walk).
Tried to eat breakfast, but nearly threw up multiple times (nerves?? what
nerves...??). Had to, err, ablute about 5 times. Walked back to the race
start eventually, arriving at 8:15am. Yet another dunny stop, then splashed
about in the water to warm up for 5min.

Swim:
Messy!! About 80 people in my wave. I hung back, and let the washing machine
sort itself out... Managed to keep fairly on course, and only got jostled
around the two turning buoys. Finished the 400m in 9:10 - slow, but OK for
the open water...

T1:
Absolute disaster. Fell over putting my running knicks on. Had to take my
shirt off when it got stuck, towel dry my back again, and have a 2nd go.
Pulled my number off in the process, and had to re-pin it. Over 4min -
appalling!!! But it was a good lesson to learn before Mooloolaba...

Bike:
Excellent. Was aiming to beat 30min, and covered the 15km in 29:10. It was a
very fast (lovely hotmix roads) & flat course, and I found a very relaxed
rhythm sitting on 31-32km/h. Lots of drafting (even though there were plenty
of marshalls around), but I managed to avoid it (so why couldn't the
others???). Even though the plan was to 'hammer', when I realised I was able
to hold a pace above my 'goal pace', I decided to keep it at that and stay
relatively relaxed and calm - and that would hopefully pay off with a
quicker run...

T2:
Perfect. In & out very fast, still wondering how it went so horribly wrong
in T1!!

Run:
PB!! Flat out & back course. Took about 1km for the legs to start feeling
normal again after the bike, then I found a great running rhythm and reeled
in a few runners (but not in my category!!). Had this stupid freakin'
"Sugarbabes" song in my head which I couldn't shake, but at least the beat
was right for my running cadence!! Aiming for 25min for the 4km, but smashed
that to pieces with a 23:06 result!! I was thrilled with the time - a real
breakthrough for me, being my first time below 6min/km pace...

So the final result was about 1hr 7min (76th out of 78 for my category, and
590th out of 692 overall). Easily beat my pre-race goal of 1hr 20min, and I
felt terrific!! Some good lessons learnt for Mooloolaba, and gained a heap
of confidence from my performance. I had a terrific time too, and enjoyed
the race & atmosphere (they had a total of over 1200 competitors)...

Many thanks again to everyone for their words of support. And a special
thanks to my wonderful wife & my beautiful 2 daughters. Without their
tolerance and support, I wouldn't be able to get up early in the mornings to
go and knock out some training. And their cheering on the side of the road
on both the bike & run courses made all the difference!!


Friday, February 10, 2006

 

Race day plan: Caloundra

OK, so its Friday afternoon and I'm sitting at my desk at work getting
twitchy and excited about race day on Sunday (Gatorade series, Caloundra tri
- 400/15/4, for those who haven't been paying attention!!).

So I figured that it would be a good idea to think about my race plan and
goals for the race.

Basically, I'm gonna go for it and see how quick (or slow!) I can go.
Swim (400m): I'm not going to panic (hopefully!) at the start of the swim,
but will use the first 50-100m to try and get a rhythm and feel for the
water. Then the plan is to push as hard as I can through the remainder. With
50m to go, I'll try and remember to up my kicking rate in the hope of
getting some bloodflow back to the legs so I don't fall over to many times
when I get out!! (GOAL TIME: ???? maybe 8min?)

Bike (15km): Again, the plan is to go hard. I'm not leaving my shoes on the
bike - so I won't rush transition and I'll make sure I get on the bike OK.
Once I'm away from transition and onto the course proper, I'll try and
really work hard... Ideally, I'd like to try and hold around a 30k/h average
for the 15km - but we'll see what the legs are capable of, I guess!! (GOAL
TIME: 30min)

Run (4km): Ah yes, my old nemesis - the run... This will be a big unknown
for me, coming off a hard bike and straight into a run. So I'll try and
spend the first half establishing a comfortable rhythm and holding it. At
the halfway mark, if I'm feeling really good, then I'll up the pace and come
home hard. Otherwise, I'll just hold my pace, and save the final dash home
for the last 500m-1km. (GOAL TIME: 25min)

Overall, if I can finish without having to stop anywhere (especially on the
run), then it has been a successful event for me!! So overall goal 1 is to
finish. Keeping transition times in mind, then if I can finish in less than
1hr 20min, it will have been a raging, over-the-top, unbelievably fantastic
result!!

So that's
GOAL 1 - Finish
GOAL 2 - 1hr 20min overall

Whatever happens though, it'll be a fun day... Come on Sunday!!!!


Thursday, February 09, 2006

 

My baby is back...

Picked up my faithful Orbea from Peloton Cycles after its service yesterday.

I could definitely feel a difference in how she rode. Seemed a bit more free
and responsive (how are they for vague, meaningless descriptors??
*laughs*)... The only downside is that I don't think they did a particularly
good job of truing the wheels..... But I'm swinging past Peloton on Friday
morning anyway after doing a river loop with some others, so I might ask
them about that then, and see what they think.

After I collected my bike, I swung past Intraining as well. I wanted a pair
of 'elastic shoelaces' to make it easier & quicker to get my shoes on during
the bike/run transition on Sunday. The guy who served me asked if I was
doing a triathlon, and I said, "Yep. In Caloundra this Sunday. My first
triathlon in 8 years...". He grinned and said, "Welcome back!".

It took me a while to wipe the goofy grin off my face afterwards........


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

 

Removing an excuse...

Hi all,

Sorry about my erratic blogging - but I've been too busy training!! How's
that for an excuse!! *laughs*

Over the last few weeks, my bike has felt a bit "off". Don't know why - it
just has. I've checked it out as well as I can, and I found I was getting
some vibration coming from the front hub when I spun it, plus my wheels (esp
the rear) have been out of true as well (not side-to-side, but
egg-shaped...). I reckon the bottom bracket is getting a bit tight as
well....

Of course, all this could just be in my head. I don't know. But I figured
that it would be money well-spent to give my bike (which is now 1-year-old)
an annual service by someone who actually knows what they are doing. So
today my darling Orbea is in at Peloton Cycles getting a full service done
(ie. being pulled apart totally and overhauled). Its not cheap, costing me
$125. But I figure I do at least a few thousand k's on it per year, and am
hoping to knock out at least 5000k this year. And so its probably
worthwhile.... I'll know for sure when I ride home this afternoon.

The only downside is that I now won't be able to blame my bike when I get
dropped at the Murarrie crits, or average in the low 20's on a river
ride!!!!

---

On Monday, I knocked out another lunchtime run. I shaved over 2 minutes off
my last time, and recorded a PB of 44:30 for the 6.5km loop around the
Goodwill/Story Bridge circuit.

I'm a bit wary of my calf muscles again (mainly the right calf). They've
been pulling up from the lunch-time run feeling pretty stiff & tight, and I
get some slight soreness that lasts a day or so afterwards. I think it might
be a combination of it still being early days in my running, plus the harder
surfaces around the river - and so I'm changing my other runs during the
week to grass/dirt tracks only to see if that helps.

The very last thing I want is to go through another calf injury episode like
I did late last year!! Fortunately, I've noticed that a bike ride often will
loosen the calf muscles up considerably - so I'm making sure I do an easy
ride the following day, which seems to help...

---

Finally - the Caloundra Triathlon is almost here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am very excited - this Sunday will be my official triathlon comeback race
after an 8 year absence from the scene. While I know I won't be fast, I know
I am ready to tackle the distance without any concerns about finishing, and
can give it a red hot go!!

Its a 400m swim, 15km bike, 4km run - and will be based around the Powerboat
Club (Woorim Park, I think) on Golden Beach in Caloundra. Hope they keep
those powerboats out of the way during the swim!!!

We often spend weekends at my wife's aunt's holiday home on Golden Beach, so
it feels like a "home race" to me, which I think will help me through any
first race jitters I might have. I'm happy with how I've prepared - the only
gaps are transition practice (which should be entertaining on the day!), and
practice on my new tribars. But there have to be a couple of surprises on
the day, right??

Can't wait until Sunday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Monday, January 30, 2006

 

The inaugural "Lunchtime Run"

Woke up this morning unsure of what the weather was going to do, so I
eschewed my bike, and instead packed my running gear in my bag and jumped
onto the bus to head into work.

I've never done the "lunchtime run" thing before. Not sure why - but I
figured that this was as good a time as any to get into it, and if it works
out it'll certainly help me to fit in all the training I'm hoping to squeeze
into a week!!

At lunchtime, I headed down to the locker-rooms in the basement carpark and
got changed. I used the 5 minute walk down to the Brisbane River (near the
"Riverside Centre" office building) as my warm-up. What to do next?? After
bouncing ideas off some others while at work as to which route to take, I
still didn't know what to do. I didn't want to go too far..... I ended up
deciding to run along the river, through the botanical gardens and over the
Goodwill Bridge, and seeing how I felt then.

As I ran over the Goodwill Bridge, I felt terrific. Had a steady (albeit
slow!) pace, and wasn't feeling stressed or straining. At the Southbank end
of the bridge, there is a "Brisbane River Run" post - it is bright blue, and
has a map showing a few running routes plus there distances. One of them
showed a river loop that incorporated the Goodwill Bridge & Story Bridge as
crossings - for a total of 6.47kms. My run so far had tracked the 'final
third' of that route... I thought, "Bugger it - I can do that!!" and headed
off towards the cliffs and the Story Bridge.

The route itself was lovely - following the river through the quiet park in
front of the Kangaroo Point cliffs. I saw heaps of runners, and a few
cyclists, and that made me smile - both to see lots of people out
exercising, plus making me feel like part of the 'running community'. I made
a very brief toilet stop (I hydrated well this morning!), and grabbed a
mouthful of water at a couple of bubblers as I went along...

The only 'hill' along the run was a short, steep climb up to the Story
Bridge. I jogged up, but I think next time I'll walk up - its only a less
-than-50m climb, but the knees felt it. I ran through the underpass to the
opposite footpath of the Story Bridge, only to find it closed!! So I
backtracked to the city-side footpath and headed across... Its a very
exposed footpath across the Story Bridge - great for the breeze, but I
really felt the sun beating down on me. I made it across, only to be greeted
with another short but very steep downhill to the riverpath. I walked down
it this time, in an effort to save my knees a little pain!!

The final part of the run along the river to the Riverside Centre was flat
and shady. I felt terrific to be finishing off the run strongly, and felt
sure that the "lunchtime run" will be a permanent part of my weekly
schedule.

Final stats: 6.5km taking 47min (including brief drink & toilet stops). My
longest run for the year!! Yay!!


 

Race Report: AusDay 4km Fun Run

Apologies for the late report.....

I woke up on Thursday morning full of both excited and anxious nerves for
the morning ahead. My wife & kids all got up early, and we headed into
Southbank, arriving at abut 8:15am.

Nic & the kids headed off on arrival to queue up for a free bbq brekkie on
offer, thanks to a local radio station. Meanwhile, I started off doing some
stretches while hanging around the finishing chute to watch the 8km runners
come in. The waiting time came quickly, and soon enough it was 9am and time
for us 4km runners to take the stage.....

At the start line, everyone seemed to hang back. I had planned to start
'mid-field' so as not to get in the way of the faster runners, but the lack
of people up-front meant there was plenty of room there. "Bugger it," I
thought, and I ended up only a metre or two behind the front-runners. After
a few words from Kerry McCann (who I believe won the silver medal in the
last Commonwealth Games marathon), the gun fired and we were off!!!!

The start was a bit of a mess. Some people who started at the back
absolutely sprinted off from the start. I got jostled out of the way a few
times, but to my amusement I passed most of these people less than 500m
later - they were all reduced to a walk!! They were obviously keen!! I was
very happy with my start. My goal was to try and settle into a steady pace
that I could hold for the entire race, and try and keep it constant.....

There is only so much race report I can fit into a 4km run!! Needless to
say, I accomplished my goal. We ran along Southbank from the 'cultural
forecourt', headed over the Goodwill Bridge, thru QUT and into the Botanical
Gardens. We looped through the Gardens, and then followed the Brisbane River
back to the Goodwill Bridge, following Southbank again back to the finish. I
think I spent most of the run with a big smile on my face. My legs felt like
they were working hard, but feeling good at the same time. At the 2km
turnaround, I checked my watch and saw I had only been out for 13min, which
was better than my hope of 7min/k pace.

As we approached the finisher's chute, I saw my wife & kids waiting there
and cheering. It gave me a big lift, and I gave them all high-fives as I ran
past. I crossed the line in exactly 25min - a time which I was very, very
happy with. A slow time in the overall scheme of things, but a big step in
the right direction for me.

I had a fabulous morning, and definitely enjoyed the feeling of both running
and being in a race-type environment again. Lots and lots of positives to
take out of the day, and I'm looking ahead now with great anticipation to
the next event on my calendar.....


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

 

The day before...

I am in shock. Tomorrow is the Australia Day 4km Fun Run, and I have just
about made it injury-free!! I am actually going to get to a planned
event!!!!!!

Am I nervous? Yes! Am I excited? Very!!

I do feel a bit silly getting all pumped about a 4km run - but this will be
my longest run for the year, and will mark for me the end of my "adaptation
phase" to running, and be the launching pad to some more decent long runs.
Its good to have a "symbolic event" like this fun run to mark the end of the
initial phase and the beginning of my building phase to Mooloolaba.

I'll be bright and colourful on the day. I have a brand new pair of royal
blue running knicks that I'll christen, plus I'll be wearing my fluoro
yellow Mooloolaba singlet, my bright red Nike shorts, and my white Nike hat.
At least I know that my wife & the kids will be able to spot me in the
crowd!!!!!

Can't wait for tomorrow!!!


Monday, January 23, 2006

 

A hesitant start.....

Well, its been an interesting start to 2006 for me training-wise...

Most interesting has been how I've been mentally handling the "training mix"
that I've given myself. Its been trickier than I thought it would be.

Last year, the overwhelming emphasis for me was cycling. It was relatively
easy for me to make sure I did all the things that I wanted to get through.
The running that came through at the end was just a side interest, and
spliced in easily....

This year, I've been trying to give each of the three discipline's "equal
time" - with swimming maybe trading a little off to cycling. But its been
hard!!! My goal has been to do at least 2 sessions of each discipline per
week, and then just leaving any remaining sessions I can fit in to personal
preference.

Thing is, I feel like I haven't really been doing anything!! I've been
getting my minimum sessions in, but when I look back at my training diary
for the week, I always feel half-surprised to see it all written in there.
Its like I don't feel like I'm working very hard.... I'm guessing that maybe
that's due to the beginner nature" of my swimming & running - I figure that
this early "adaptation phase" means that I'm not working particularly hard
in a cardiovascular sense, but instead the limiting factor is more my
muscles getting used to the new activity.

Its a disconcerting sensation. Last year, during my cycling only focus, I
always felt "well trained" - but lately I've just been feeling lazy because
I don't feel like I've been "going hard". I'm hoping this will change as the
legs and arms adapt and I move into a "base-building" phase.........


Thursday, January 12, 2006

 

The official start...

I marked yesterday in my Training Diary as the official first day of my 2006
journey...

I started off with a run/swim combo. Its about 3km to the local 50m pool, so
I walked the 1st km, then ran the final 2km. My dodgy calf cruised through
with flying colours, and I enjoyed the feeling of running again. Going by my
not-so-accurate analogue watch, the running component was at roughly
7min/km. Slow, but good enough for a beginning!!

Similarly, in the pool, I just wanted to roll the arms over and get some
feel for the water again. I swam a total of 1100m, made up of some freestyle
sets, and a couple of hundred metres of some kickboard work. It was fun
being back in the water again, and I really enjoyed myself.

Today, my quads are a little sore, and my shoulders are a bit stiff, but
that's it!! I was anticipating a bit more soreness (especially in my claves
- which have no soreness at all!), so I'm very happy with my tentative first
step on the journey.

Oh, and in a 'leap of faith', I booked accommodation for the Mooloolaba
Triathlon weekend today!! Yay!!


Friday, January 06, 2006

 

Let's get speciphysical....

That post-title seemed to be a good idea at the time - but doesn't look so
good in print....

After some contemplation, I've decided to post up my SPECIFIC RACE GOALS for
2006. I've had a bad run at this - every time I've stuck a race in my "Next
Big Event" section (see the sidebar on the left!!), I've had to miss it due
to injury!! Talk about the 'kiss of death'!! But I'll laugh fate in the
face, and put my goals out there for all to see....

Paul's Race Calendar for 2006:

26 January - Australia Day Fun Run (4km), Southbank;
12 February - Gatorade Triathlon Series, Race 5 (400m/15k/4k), Caloundra;
26 March - Mooloolaba Triathlon (1.5k/40k/10k), Mooloolaba;
14 April - Intraining Easter 10km Challenge;
30 April - Brisbane Half-Marathon, Southbank;
4 June - Qld Half-Marathon, Doomben;
2 July - Gold Coast Marathon, Coolangatta;
1 October - Gold Coast Half-IronMan, Coomera.

My "Triple Crown" - the 3 races that I will be specifically setting myself
up for - will be the Mooloolaba Tri, the Gold Coast Marathon, and the Gold
Coast Half-IM.

My "B races" - races that I will prepare for, but won't go nuts about
tapers, etc - will be the two half-marathons, the Brisbane and the
Queensland.

The remaining races, plus any others that I decide to do over the course of
2006, will be 'training races'. There'll be no specific preparation for them
at all, and they'll either be 'dress-rehearsals' (eg the Gatorade tri series
race), or just racing to spice up my training (or just for fun!!).

Its strange for me to look at in print. I feel both excited, anxious and
intimidated all at the same time. But the emphasis will be remaining on
finishing & having fun, so bring it on!!


Wednesday, January 04, 2006

 

Looking forward: 2006

I am very excited about 2006 - especially when it comes to my sporting
goals. The theme for me, given that I am really still in the early stages of
my re-emerging cycling/running/triathlon passion, will be "LONG, BASE
TRAINING".

Now that I have managed to kick over the initial hump of getting some
initial fitness, becoming comfortable with the sports, etc, I really need
to focus on giving myself a super-solid base. So my goal is to consistently
do longer rides on my bike, and build up to long runs. I'm a little reticent
to use the "long, slow distance" catch-cry (I don't want to be slow!!), but
it is probably appropriate in a lot of ways...

What are my more specific goals??
CYCLING:
- Do a 100km ride
- Complete the club's 100-mile Century Ride
- Complete my 'personal triple crown' - Bne-Gold Coast, Bne-Sunshine Coast,
and Bne-Toowoomba rides.

RUNNING:
- Run a sub-1hr 10km
- Run a half-marathon (looking at the Brisbane or Gold Coast events)
- Run a marathon (Gold Coast if I have a good year sans-injury!!)

TRIATHLON:
- Mooloolaba Triathlon (1.5/40/10km) at the end of March
- Gold Coast Half-IronMan (Sept/Oct I think...)

I'm very excited and keen to achieve these over the course of the year. I'm
already planning my personal milestones to see how I'm progressing. I'm not
too worried about how I'll go in the above events time-wise - I'm doing all
these just as personal challenges for myself, and so the primary aim will be
to finish each one. I figure I can worry about speed in 2007, assuming
things go well (and that's too far ahead to think about for the moment!!).

Many thanks to all for their supportive and encouraging comments throughout
the year (especially when my dodgy calf gave way!) - I hope you can stick
with me on my journey to bigger and brighter things!!


Thursday, December 22, 2005

 

My Christmas Message!!

There is still over a week to go for 2005, so I won't bore you with my "Year
in Review" just yet....

But for now, I'd like to wish you all a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Whatever your traditions, religion or culture - I hope that you have a
happy, safe and 'quality' time with those people who are important to you.
Oh, and I hope Santa brings you a pretty trinket as well!!

Cheers everyone!!


Monday, December 19, 2005

 

A milestone effort

This morning, I walked to work.

Not normally the sort of thing that would be considered a 'milestone
effort', but it was a longer walk than I'd normally do - 12-13km from Mt
Gravatt East to the Brisbane CBD, taking me 2hrs 10min for the journey.

I've always wanted to do the journey from home into work on-foot. Not sure
why it had such allure, but I think that I considered it a measure of my
ability to be able to get there.... I've been deliberately building up my
power-walking with that goal in mind.

On Sunday night, the weather reports were suggesting that this morning would
be quite cool (a nice change!!), with some pleasant southerly breezes
keeping the temps down lower than the humid, hot preceding week. So I
figured it would be foolish not to take advantage of the ideal conditions!!
I woke up early, laced on my New Balance shoes, and headed in.....

The weather was perfect for walking - sunny and cool. I concentrated on
trying to keep up a strong, steady pace for the whole journey. I did notice
in the latter stages that I mentally 'drifted away' a few times and slowed
down a bit - but that didn't worry me too much. Its all part of the
enjoyment of the walk!!

---

On a related topic - I think that maybe that calf injury I had a month or so
ago may have been a blessing in disguise. It has forced me into this regime
of looong walks - and I think they are providing me with a much better
'base' than I had previously given myself. As an additional benefit, the
longer walks are also beneficial to my cycling performance - I've noticed
that I'm not fading on longer rides as much as previously.

I guess sometimes you need to take a step backwards before you can move
forwards again??


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

 

Banking my gains...

Saturday's Murarrie crit effort has my motivation still up on a high - so
I've tried to translate that into some good 'sessions' to start off the
week.

Yesterday (Monday), I laced up the running shoes for another power-walk. The
plan was to walk into Stones Corner again from home, and then catch the bus
into the CBD from there. It was a warm, humid morning again *groan*, but the
legs were feeling great!! I reached Stones Corner in just over an hour, but
decided to take advantage of my 'momentum' and keep on going.

The legs had a very pleasant 'working hard ache' going on, and I had a great
stride going. I eventually reached the Woolloongabba busway station, and
decided to call it there. That made a total of approx 1hr 35min of walking,
which was probably (roughly) 9-10km. I felt great afterwards, and am really
very pleased with how my walking regime is going. My previously troublesome
left calf is feeling strong, and I think the looong walks are conditioning
the rest of my leg muscles well for the transition to running over
Christmas/New Year.

---

Today, I jumped onto the bike. I was a little worried about the heat, but it
turned out to be quite cooler morning than predicted (34 degrees!!). Over
the weekend, I had given my Orbea a thorough cleaning - so it was looking
good, plus the drivetrain seemed quieter too, so it was obviously overdue!!
I changed my rear tyre to a not-so-worn spare I had, so was happy not to get
a pinch flat on the ride...

I got up nice and early, and had a peanut butter and jam sandwich on some
multi-grain bread for breakfast (plus a few bites of some mango I cut up
last night - yum!!). Left home just before 6am, and headed into the city.

I was feeling a little bit flat early on, but that seemed to improve as the
ride went on. After crossing the Goodwill Bridge to the city, I continued on
to UQ at St Lucia, then completed a full River Loop. I concentrated on
maintaining form and an easy, steady pace. I felt much, much better than
when I did the same ride last week - finished up with stats of 45.5km @
26.3km/h average. A bit quicker than last week, but I am in much better
shape post-ride this time. A good sign!!

Now all I need is a tailwind home to cap off a good couple of days!!


Monday, December 12, 2005

 

Race Report: Balmoral Crits, Sat 10Nov2005

On Saturday morning, I rode out to the Murarrie crit circuit for another go
at the Balmoral Crits.

The morning started awkwardly - after riding 5 minutes down the road, I
realised I had left my CA licence at home!! So I had to ride back quickly,
grab the licence, and take off again. As a result, I arrived at the track
only 15min before the start of the Cat 2 race....

I walked over to the sign-on tent, and handed over my $8. They were
splitting Cat 2 into two divisions this week (which they have been
apparently doing for a while, due to large numbers!) and I was placed in
Division 1. I got my bike ready, and watched the finish of the Elite & Cat 1
races. Soon enough, it was time for me to start.....

I wasn't expecting much from myself this week. Last time I raced, I only
lasted about 12min before being dropped. And even then, I struggled to jump
back on each time the peloton swept past. So I was just hoping to improve on
that performance.

And at 8am we were away!! 40min plus 3 laps. I settled into a rhythm pretty
quickly, probably due to my late arrival (I figured my legs were still
'warm'). A quick count of the group, and I reckon there were only 17-18 in
our division. A smallish field, but I thought that might make things a bit
easier to judge. For the first 15min, I held on easily. We were cruising
around 37-39km/h, and had overtaken the other Cat 2 division 3 times
already.

As we neared the 20min mark, we swung onto the home straight. I was near the
back, and cruised up along the outside of the group. Before I knew it, I had
eased up to the front few riders in the group!! Strategy wise, that was a
bad place to be for me. But then I thought, "Hey, I've never actually taken
a turn before in a crit race - I wonder what its like up the front...??". I
figured if I was gonna take the lead, I should do it properly. So I got out
of the saddle, and took off as hard as I could past the front few riders!!

When we reached the back straight I looked back, and saw a line of 5 riders
chasing me down (easily, may I add!!). So I sat up, and eased back to about
35km/h. The pack settled back in behind me, so I still had lead wheel!! Just
before reaching the home straight again, I figured that I'd gained enough
experience of front-running, so slowed back down to the low 30's. No-one
came around me though, so I happily 'controlled the speed' around 31-32km/h
for the remainder of the lap... As we crossed the start/finish line, a few
of the quicker riders obviously got jack of the slowish speeds, and took
over, moving around me. It was great fun riding up the front for a little
while, and great experience too. But next time, I'll be staying safely
hidden away in midst of the peloton!!

The race continued on, and at the 25min mark, I got dropped!! Nooo!! We were
on the '3rd straight', and I had drifted off the back slightly while I was
gulping a few mouthfuls of water. Great timing as always - there was a
surge. I quickly fumbled my bidon back into its cage, and took off, but I
couldn't bridge back to the group. D'oh!! I cruised around for a couple of
laps in the mid-20 km/h, and then tacked back on as the group came past.
Unfortunately, that meant I missed the Prime sprint - but I was never
actually going to be a part of that anyway, so it wasn't a disaster.

The final 10min was pretty tough. The usual suspects took control of the
group, and pushed it hard the rest of the way. I was working my butt off
trying to stay with them all, and was pleased to see the "3 to go" sign come
up! I stuck with them the rest of the way, dropping off as we hit the home
straight to the finish for the very last time. I actually felt nauseous from
the effort of holding on! Fortunately, my peanut butter & jam sanger from
breakfast stayed down in my tum-tum....

So, all up a great result for me - I was very, very pleased with how it
turned out. A big improvement on last time too!! My final stats were 50min
total time; 30km distance; 36km/h average speed.


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

 

Oh what a beautiful mooooorning!!

Great ride in this morning - much further than anticipated!!

Ride Report:
I actually woke up on time for a change, and so was looking like being
on-time to the Sherwood Rd RV for once! But got the obligatory message from
Lotte, and then Glenn, bailing out. So I took advantage of the pre-7am time,
and watered in some 'Charlie Carp' fertiliser on my vege patch (I planted
out some cos lettuce seedlings last night).

I donned my sexy new sleeveless jersey, and rode straight into the city. Was
feeling pretty good, so decided to do some secret training, and kept going
out to UQ. Still felt good, so thought, "bugger it", and decided to do a
full River Loop.

Saw Tam just after UQ, and had a wave of mixed emotions. 'Guilt' when I
realised I must have stood her up at the Sherwood Rd RV; 'Busted' for doing
secret training; 'Embarrassed' at being spotted in my sleeveless jersey (I
felt nekkid!!).

Rest of the ride was freakin' hot!! Must have lost half my body weight in
sweat, and I only had one bidon (luckily full!). I kept most of the ride at
a very easy pace, seeing as I hadn't ridden since last Monday. Had some
lower back pain in the last 15-20min (WTF?!), so might have to stop slacking
off on my core strength exercises...

Final stats: 45.6km @ 25.5km/h ave.


Monday, December 05, 2005

 

Back in the saddle!!

OK - maybe not the best running metaphor, but it'll do!!

For most of last week (after the impromptu leg test!!), I headed out at
lunch times for an easy 20-30min walk. I figured that some very light, but
continuous, exercise would help ease the calf into some more serious work.

Well, this morning I started the more serious work!! I was planning on
walking the 3km to the Hibiscus swimming complex, and then swim some laps.
But I slept through my alarm (again!), and didn't have time to fit the swim
in. Thing was that I REALLY didn't want to skip the walk, so I got dressed
into my exercise gear, packed my work gear, and started walking into the
city.

I decided that I'd walk for at least 30min, but not longer than an hour, and
see how I went. The calf felt GREAT!! It loosened up very quickly, and felt
strong (as did the rest of me!), and I found myself powering along Logan Rd
with a grin on my face. It took me a smidgin over an hour to reach the
Stones Corner shops, where I decided to stop. I was still feeling good, but
didn't want to overdo it. If I'm still feeling good this arvo, I might do a
shortish 30min walk across to the Mater Hill or 'Gabba bus station to help
the legs recover a bit (and not stiffen up too much!!).

I am VERY pleased with how my walk went. After the initial warm-up phase, I
really stretched out, and pushed myself up the hills, etc. However, I don't
want to over-excite myself into doing too much, too soon. So I reckon I'll
stick to power-walking for the next three weeks, and then start to introduce
some running around Christmas Day (it'll be like a little present to
myself!).


Wednesday, November 30, 2005

 

An unexpected test...

On Monday night, Nic and I headed out for dinner and a concert. My
sister-in-law kindly came over to baby-sit the kids, so we headed out on our
date!! Yay!!

We decided to drive in to West End and find a restaurant there to eat. On
the way in, saw Tam riding home down Logan Rd, with a big dude in a yellow
jersey trying hard to wheelsuck - so that's what I must look like trying to
hold her wheel!!

When we made it into West Ed, we headed into a seafood place and ordered a
'platter for two'. Very nice - some grilled and beer-battered fish, sea
scallops, coconut prawns and salt-&-pepper squid, plus way too many chips.
It was absolutely delicious, and was well-matched to my schooner of James
Squire Golden Ale. Nicole really enjoyed her glass of Stella Bella SSB (from
Margaret River, WA).

We were feeling pretty full and contented after dinner, so we walked the
short 20-min walk from there to the performing arts complex (QPAC) at
Southbank. We had tickets to see "Johnny Clegg", which we had unexpectedly
won in a newspaper competition.

We weren't expecting much from the concert - all we knew was that Johnny
Clegg is a world music performer from South Africa. But what a show - he was
absolutely fantastic!! Turns out that he is an anthropologist, who did his
Masters thesis on traditional African dance. As part of that, he travelled
through Zululand talking to the tribal elders and recording their dance and
music styles.

When he had finished his thesis, he started writing music that blended
western-style soft rock with the traditional black African music. It was
controversial at the time, because this was at the height of the Apartheid
era in South Africa. He then set up a mixed-race band, and toured South
Africa...

If you get the chance to see this guy on tour - DO IT!!! Amazing music, huge
amount of energy on stage, and fascinating stories & anecdotes on how each
of the songs developed. I truly can't recommend him enough!!

Anyway - the story continues... Later in the night, Nic got a phone call on
her mobile - her best friend had gone into labour!! As Nic was her 'birthing
partner' for the delivery, this was big news! So we ran all the way back to
the car at West End so we could drive to the hospital.

And there was my unexpected test - a 5-10min run from Southbank to West End!
How did the calf stack up?? Well, it seemed to fatigue pretty quickly, and
felt kind of 'heavy' (if that makes sense??). But there were no twinges, and
definitely no pain - so that was good!!!

Oh, and "Harry Alexander" was born the next morning at 1:38am, weighing a
whopping 4.1kg. After being on the 'working side' for our 2 daughters,
Nicole enjoyed playing the alternative role for Harry's birth. She even got
to cut the umbilical cord, which she was very excited about. Welcome Harry!!


Monday, November 28, 2005

 

Update!!

Been busy with work and such for the past week, but here's what has been
happening:

1) @#$% Calf Injury
I have been a scaredy-cat girlie-man (apologies to any actual girlie-men out
there!!), and have been scared to do any serious walking (or running) on the
dodgy calf. I've been doing lots of mucking about with the kids in the park,
and there is no pain there, but by the end of the day I feel like my left
calf has fatigued more than the other one. Plus I get the occasional
'twinge'.

What does it all mean?? Do I push on with a back-to-running program, or give
it more time?? I wonder if this is my Mediterranean heritage playing games,
and I've developed some 'Italian hypochondria" that is leading me to be too
cautious... *grins* I think I'll try and grow some kahunas, and start the
return program this week.

2) Cycling
Have been keeping up the cycling, and it is going well. Had a great ride
with Lotte and Glenn last week, where I met up with them at Dutton Park, and
then finished off their River Ride with them. Meant to race on Saturday, but
was disappointed when there was some drizzly rain on the morning. Not so
disappointed with the resultant sleep-in though, so I guess every cloud has
a silver lining!!

Went up Mt Gravatt again this morning too, and clocked 8min 47sec - a new PB
(but only just)!! The rides don't seem to trigger any calf probs at all, so
maybe I should take that as a sign!!

3) Triathlon goals
I think I'm going to have to face reality, and skip the anticipated December
tri. I definitely don't want to have to walk the run component, and I don't
think I'll be ready for a 5km run in 3 weeks time... I'm pretty
disappointed, but I'll pick out another race in January or early February
and aim for that instead.

The big goal of the Mooloolaba triathlon still remains though, and I'm still
very motivated to get there. If I can start and stick with an injury-free
preparation from here, that gives me a good 4 month prep until race day,
which is plenty of time to get myself into decent running form with some
consistent training.

---

So that's that. I'll re-focus my goals, and pull my running shoes (or
walking shoes!!) back on and see how I go...


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