Tuesday, December 30, 2008

IG Training Camp

In case any of you fancy joining Denis on the training camp to slot in some serious IM training with the experts you can find out more by following the link. Sadly I can't join as Santa's money won't extend to the trip :(

Starts on Jan 9th to 12th in Phuket Thailand.
Last minute I know, but if you have the spare cash, are worried about what you are letting yourself in for AND/OR are lacking in motivation and need a good kick up the butt this could be for you!

Invisible Swim

Through absolutely no fault of my own other than being a girl I could not swim this morning. I will endeavour to squeeze it in tomorrow before the festivities start...AGAIN. So today I am imagining swimming, and I guess for me, it could look something like this...

Monday, December 29, 2008

IM Fueling

I was chatting with Denis on Sunday during our brief 10minute run together (what did you do? Your car was still at Bukit Aman after I finished). He mentioned that he needed to start thinking about his race day nutrition. I don't know much about Denis's tri background, he has completed many OD distance in the UK I believe but I know that Langkawi will be his first IM as it will for many others. I also know from reading Denis's blog and chatting with him that he tends to struggle on the nutrition and hydration front the longer the race goes. I also found out that he is attending Coach Vinnies Ironguides training camp in Thailand next month - way to go Denis!
Race day nutrition is basically what we should now be practising on our long rides. I am no expert on the subject but it is just common sense isn't it? I know it is tempting to wait for the coffee shop stop and that bowl of yummy Wan Tan mee but believe it or not that option will not be available come Feb 28th. Eat, drink and pee if you must, on the bike, so that when you get off you are fueled up, hydrated and ready to attack the small matter of 42k.
Check out this link from teamTBB on long ride fueling, it may or may not help, but it makes pretty interesting reading that I am sure we can all find something to relate to on some level or other.

Ironguides Journal WK12

It’s never easy training during holidays and the festive period of Christmas and New Year is no exception. My problem of late is I feel like a naughty schoolgirl playing hooky if a scheduled training session is missed – even if it is Christmas Day! The clock to IM is counting down all too fast and after being groomed to train day in day out with no breaks and through complete body fatigue, it is difficult to ease off.
I was then very grateful when Coach Vinnie advised me to enjoy the next couple of weeks. “Do something fun; as well as celebrating Christmas, celebrate the sport and remember what it is that makes it fun for you.”
Given a free reign (within reason I guess) to alter the training I did miss a couple of sessions. I overindulged waaay to much and still am – this I predict will go on until New Years Eve or until my freezer is emptied of sugary chocolate crap. Christmas Eve saw the usual bike run brick but without any intensity. Purely a volume workout and a pleasure to execute, Gadget girl Bee was on leave and joined me on the 60minute run afterwards which made a nice change. The evening ice bucket swim was replaced with a few of the guys coming over for drinks and sugar and board games.
Christmas Day I was cooking dinner, a late morning swim that was a struggle due to alcohol and too much sugar in the system the night before proved how much you (or I) can screw yourself up in just one night. It reinforces the concept that diet is SO important when training and racing to get optimum performance out of your body. My Christmas swim was probably 30% off the usual, it didn’t bother me, still very enjoyable and it was nice to do some exercise before reporting to the couch and TV remote and fridge for the afternoon.

NO this isn't me, I wouldn't waste so much chocolate, but the tummy is pretty spot on!

If Thursday showed how one night of indulgence messes with you, Friday morning left me with chronic indigestion, heartburn and an upset tummy, I met Bee and Randy for an early run – really did not want to be there and that is why having training buddies when you’re feeling crap and allowed to tinker with a schedule is a great enforcer. I struggled for 50minutes and called it a day and finally began to feel better.
Saturday was back to normal training with a 157k ride on a rough bumpy road but with some very long flats (read 27k) to hammer. My goal on long rides is not to kill the session. The idea is to complete it strong, anything left in the tank on the return then crank it up. So Easy/Moderate is my tempo, keeping a steady ‘comfortable’ pace I avoided drafting at all times and just rode. Felt really good and posted a blasting brick run. Beetroot red from the effort, I was hot but felt great and very happy. With an estimated 30k to do Sunday morning I washed up, fed myself and returned to that indentation in my coach for the rest of the day. Any slight movement and the legs complained. Am thinking about moving the couch to the kitchen or even better the fridge to the lounge to aid recovery and save any unnecessary movement!
My Sunday run was not one I had been looking forward to. My first 2hr40min run for a few months this is something that will be repeated for the weeks to come. I started early and ran with Denis out and back for 20minutes then joined Bee and Randy. Keeping the pace comfortable – the idea is it should be a pace you can hold for a marathon (hmmmn) we did the usual route and then I coerced Randy to accompany for the little extra 30minutes at the end. Felt fantastic. I have absolutely surprised myself this weekend but will not let it go to my head. Instead I will log it to memory to remind me of what I can do when that bad week comes a knocking.
Fingers crossed it isn’t this weekend with a PD ride and New Year but you never know when the body is going to decide ENOUGH is ENOUGH! So my advice for what it’s worth; when you feel strong swim strong, ride strong, run strong. And when you feel knackered, swim, ride and run. Listen to your body, the next few weeks will get tougher and tougher, you will be asking your body to do things it doesn’t want to do, and you will question your actions and reasons for training and motivation will hit an all time low. Above all else when the body tires a strong mindset will trump your body’s complaints every time!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Malakoff Results

And so the results are out, or are they?
Gadget girl Bee was 2nd not 3rd as previously awarded. And Carmen 3rd not 4th. And Li-sar 4th not 5th. - There you go.
What about Emma?
Well I guess the joke is on me. I started at the back Lepak style, it was training, but also aware that the chip would give me my time so did not worry starting from behind. My time on my watch which I started on the mat and stopped on the mat, was 55min. Hmmmn 4th place was 55min 54sec. Me thinks I was duped out of some vouchers! Oh well ya live and learn.
My number in case you are reading this QUICK RELEASE - 3234 - WOMENS OPEN!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Malakoff Winners

Thank you Tey for emailing all the pictures! This is the one I really wanted, 4th place or was it 3rd place Ladies Veteran finisher Carmen and 3rd place or was it 2nd place Ladies Veteran finisher Gadget Girl, Bee. God knows where I placed, chip probably failed to work anyway!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Chrissy EVE

After a lovely leisurely ride and run this morning I hit the frenzy of Tesco's for some last minute cooking essentials. Finally out of there I got home and have not stopped cooking since 12.30pm. The good news is it is nearly all done. Pumpkin soup, Vanilla cup cakes with peanut butter and choc fudge topping, Macadamia nut slices and my special brownies. Yes I do have a sweet tooth and feel quite sick form all the 'testing'. Stuffed mushrooms to go and Ivie is bringing mini burgers.
The one tiny weeny chore I still have yet to tick off - the tree is up but not yet decorated! With very little sleep last night thanks to a nasty 2am text message and a 4.15am rise, I am flagging slightly so maybe I should go with today's cartoon and just say...In case I don't post tomorrow, Merry Christmas, drink, eat and be merry. Training starts again only on Saturday...or...Friday?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Rare Shot

Thank you Abu for forwarding the pictures of Malakoff. I have been trying to get hold of a photo of the two winners - Bee and Carmen who had an awesome race but as Tey mentioned the new site is a wee bit slow and my connection is even slower of late!
I treated the 'race' purely as training, I could not have approached it any other way as I simply have very empty legs.
But I had fun, Hi-Fiving all my buddies and I was also given my favourite food on route (chocolate) from Santa (John in a hat and shades) very cool and thank you! I smiled throughout the race even though inside was a grimace. A very pleasant change to the normal Sunday routine (a warm up run with Carmen and Randy before the race and with Bee afterwards) and apart from the complete (excuse the French) cock-up with timing chips where people who placed were not registered it was an extremely well turned out event. Apparently Bee was 2nd but given 3rd and Carmen 3rd but given 4th. Li-sar also came 5th - great job! We shall have to wait and see what the crappy buttons for timing chips reveal once the official results come out - so don't go spending your vouchers all at once!
ANYWAY, it was fun, Denis mentioned that he doesn't think he has seen me smile in a race before! This is proof that I do, I can but only once a year :)

2 Days to Santa

Sorry but toilet you know how the English love toilet humour, or maybe it's just us folks from Sussex!

Monday, December 22, 2008

3 Days to Santa

Excuse the toilet humor, but it is Monday and I find this rather amusing.
Have you been GOOD or BAD?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ironguides Journal WK-11

The second half of training is now in full swing with the amended get ready for IM plan. Is it doable? I recall saying that the first one appeared very doable and it was. And although once I finished counting the hours with the use of my fingers and toes and registering the intensities and volumes, I came to the conclusion that it is doable. You CAN do anything if you set your mind to it, it’s just going to be rather, very, extremely ermm, I don’t want to use the word unpleasant so let’s just say, HARD.
Well I have survived the first week but then again I won’t be in full swing until week 3 (13). Some of the sessions are already full on and some are gently easing me into it. These sessions are the ones that already hurt and one can only presume that pain and I are going to become very close confidents in the next few weeks.
My legs are still hurting from last week. Muscle pain all week; I have never experienced this before. Ask me if I am in pain and I would respond by saying YES, everything. When I go for my first sports massage next week they going to be in for a shock as my guess is they won’t know where to start first! Until then I am dousing myself in Sloan’s analgesic rub. I have tried probably everything going and this one is non-greasy and really, I mean really, heats up your muscles and relieve’s the pain a tad.

Maybe I should try this to take some relief off my legs?

Swim: It seems the first 10weeks prepared me well. Building up my strength in the pool using the paddles and pullgear, now rather than 70% I am using them for 20%. That means I have to work harder! Damn, I was really starting to like those paddles! Also now that I am quite almost nearly kind of enjoying the swim I have lost a day! Down to 4swims a week only, that means two things: The swims are harder longer and tougher and that AWOL swim set has been replaced with something else – GEORGE!
Bike: I like the bike, I love the bike, I am at one with George (well I am trying to become at one), and with 4 bike sessions scheduled each week I can honestly say that there is one part of my anatomy that is definitely going to become at one with Ol’ George! Ouch.
Run: The runs are the same number, just longer. This was to be expected. I am still not counting the K’s I would not dare although there have been times when tempted. The only numbers I concern myself with is how long is this session and what was my IM goal again?
I guess my hours per week have increased by 20%, Sadistic Santana (aka Coach Vinnie) has forewarned me that “new feelings” good and bad are going to be visiting me, all too soon most probably. This hasn’t got me unduly worried as I went through some pretty low low’s over the past couple of months and survived. But it does have me thinking...could I feel any worse than I was (guys be warned you better hide all the sharp objects when I visit)!
I guess that’s it for this week. I did the Malakoff 12k run this morning sandwiched between a 30min run before and 30min jog after. It really bloody hurt, but I started at the back, gave it as much as I could and enjoyed myself. Yes, you heard me right. I had FUN!
With Christmas next week I am trying to figure out how I can do my training while remaining sociable. Luckily on Christmas day I have likeminded friends who want to train before indulging in a homemade Turkey dinner, so it shouldn’t be too difficult.
Cheers Coach Vinnie, the final countdown has now started...let me stay strong and help me stay sane!

4 Days to Santa

A Christmas Card (courtesy of Dave Spence)

If I was sending Christmas cards - this would be it. For EVERYONE!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

5 Days to Santa

Ok, I have had enough of the fluffy wuffy cutie pie cat pictures. It's just not me. But on staying with the pet theme...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Turbo Thursday

And so Thursday nights are starting to get turbo'd up. With the help of Junior Drill Sergeant Daniel, TBB was host to some lactic legs for IM Langkawi prep. I myself had to do my turbo solo this morning at home to Tom Jones! Oh well. After my run last night I popped over to TBB to snap a shot of the guys in action and then we all went for a noodle supper. A great way to hang out after a tough workout I foresee in the future the rooftop pool playing host to the turbo sessions once numbers swell, this is partly to accommodate more people and partly to prevent flooding TBB out!

6 Days

Couldn't help myself, it is another Kitten. Ooooo he is sooooo sweet isn't he? Would love to unwrap a pressie with this little ball of fluff in on Christmas Morning, don't think my mad physco cat Coco would appreciate it though!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Spirit

It's one week until Christmas. Where has the time gone? I went Turkey shopping with Chris and Ivie yesterday and got frostbite looking for the largest bird (read:Turkey) we could find. If you have yet to enter the festive mood (I am now getting there)and the tree (thank you Ivie/Wolfgang) will be dusted off and dressed up this weekend! I will be posting a Christmas picture each day to help you on your merry way.
Cute fluffy animals are springing to mind, dressed up in Santa hats. Not my normal posting material, but ah well, it's Christmas and I know at least one of YOU (no names, Gadget Girl - opps!) will appreciate this softer side of Emma :)

Numero UNO! All together....Ahhhhhhhhhh

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dead Arms

Sunday was my first day back of proper training. Yesterday was my first full day albeit the new plan is giving me 3 weeks to eeeease into it. This mornings swim however was full on. No short cuts or reduction. A new session, I have to say I can hardly lift my arms up. Is it because of 2 lightish weeks pre and post race OR is it the new sets that Sadistic Santanna (aka Coach Vinnie) has devilishly devised. Won't complain though, that is not my style. I will just do as I am told, some days with a smile, and some days (most days) with a grimace.

Aviva 70.3

The deed is done. I have been thinking, pondering and more importantly calculating whether or not it would be wise to do Aviva 70.3 in Singapore. No going back now the credit card is charged! So exactly 3weeks after IM Langkawi I shall be carving up the pavements of Singapore (in my dreams). Mad? Perhaps. BUT. Dave Spence is also doing it (he signed up first). AND I have been told, wait for it you're really gonna laugh at this...doing an IM is actually really good training and you gain a lot of fitness over the race that will help in the 70.3! Hmmmmn, I shall name no names, yet.
So there you have it, I am either: MAD, BORED, SAD, or just can't bear the thought of not being able to put up another countdown timer on the blog! Probably a little of all three I guess!

Chin Woo Biathlon

Congratulations to Carmen who defended her biathlon title on Sunday. Sam came in 2nd after Iwata. I heard from Sam before he left on the night flight to gale force Blighty that it was a great event and even over subscribed! Never have done a biathlon myself, must try it one day but sadly Sunday required a long lonely run and very little else!

Monday, December 15, 2008

In the Doghouse

Courtesy of Ironguides/youtube

With just one weekend left before Christmas, husbands, partners, boyfriends - basically the male variety of our species will probably have left buying a gift for their 'loved' one until the last possible minute - and then it will be too late, they grab at whatever is left on the shelves and on Christmas morning you end up putting your man in the doghouse for daring to NOT think outside the box.

video

Let this little vid remind you men-folk out there what NOT to buy your loved one! ENJOY.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ironguides Journal WK's - 9&10

(pictures courtesy of Ivie in Phuket)
With so much going on last week, Phuket diaries, race report, TTH Christmas party etc. Etc. I have bundled weeks 9 & 10 together. Nothing major going on training wise, week 9 was all about a taper and week 10 was all about FUN!
The week prior to Phuket (#9) flew past and gave me a taste of what a real taper should feel like. Not at all like the drop everything, stop what you are doing and rest method I had tried out before, the tapered guide started on the Saturday and gradually went into cruise mode by Wednesday before the race. I think my real problem during these ‘lighter’ times is reducing my food intake. I was naturally not as hungry as usual but I do like my food and
can tuck it away even when full! This is something I really have to rectify as coupled with my pre-race tension; I seem to suffer with a lot of bloating 3-4days before a race. This could be due to extra fluids onboard, but most of it is jittery nerves with my stomach telling me it is full when it hasn’t even had a meal. So once I do put food in the feeling just gets worse! Still, you can’t afford not to eat so I guess I will have to put up with the bloating for now and just try and curtail my habitual ‘picking’ when not full-on training to at least try and go into a race at my magic number. We all have a magic number we want to be for a race and I have tried to get to mine all year and it has not happened :(
Week 10
At the awards dinner in Phuket, Coach Vinnie had told me to go out Monday and do an easy swim, bike or run for 30min’s. I really intended to, I did. But on Monday I felt really awful. Not hung-over so much but the attack of sea lice bites on my body had left me feeling very uncomfortable, I was dog tired and every time I sat down throughout the day I just went to sleep – the guys can vouch for this!
With Coaches words of wisdom ringing in my head all day, I still intended swimming even come evening. “Make sure you do something and when you get back home don’t just sit down, veg out and do nothing else it will be very hard to get started again,”. So even though Tuesday was a rest day (as we were travelling back), the flight was not until late evening. On waking, with the rest of the house in silence I popped into the little lap pool and did an easy 30minute swim. I then slipped on my runners and did an easy 30min run. The first few steps hurt like hell, but once into my baby step stride I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Got back and was greeted with looks of disgust from Ivie and Randy and eventually Bee, when she got up!
Wednesday, similarly light exercise, a turbo and run, even though I feel ok my legs tell me otherwise once I start asking them to work. Despite the run being a harder discipline than the bike (for me anyway) the bike legs seem to take longer to recover. That hollow feeling keeps coming back, and the lactic discomfort when warming up, those first 5/10minutes are nasty, nasty, nasty! I managed a wetsuit swim in the evening and a FUN ride on Thursday morning, (yeah for Malaysia and all her lovely public holidays!!)
It is Friday as I sit here typing this up and I have a rather fuzzy head and another very bloated stomach from overindulgence at the TTH Christmas Party last night. Will I manage anything to day? I predict not, but tomorrow is a 160k ride and there is a new plan on the horizon.
Cut to Sunday: My long anticipated Saturday ride was cut to 4hours (under instruction). To ensure a ride with the guys I decided to drive 20k out to a meet point, park up and go from there. After getting lost and severely annoyed I parked the car and set the bike up only to realise no helmet! Extremely ticked off cannot begin to explain my mood and annoyance at self. I went home and later in the day paid my penance at TBB with a 2hour; yes 2hour turbo session where my heart rate was way higher than usual due to the frustrations I was taking out on the trainer, once finished the shop had almost turned into an indoor swimming pool.
While everyone was out enjoying themselves at the annual Chin Woo Biathlon I quietly put in my 2hour Sunday run. It was not pleasant and this I predict was due to my snacking of late on peanut butter – more about what/how/why later – stupid, stupid, stupid.
Anyway the week with all its ups and downs is in the bag. Apparently it is quite natural to have a moody lull after the high of a race, with that in mind I would like to say I am raring to go, but with the new Ironguide plan still pending I am rather anxious of what I am going to be tackling over the final 10weeks. On hearing that one of Coach Vinnie’s age-group athletes just finished IM Bussleton in 8hrs26min (8th overall) I am experiencing some serious confidence issues and asking myself a lot of questions. Okay so the time was for a guy but still 8:26!!!
The first 10weeks went well, painful, yes, difficult, yes, but they were productive I found out a lot about what I can endure when at rock bottom and at the end of the day it yielded results.
Thank YOU coach Vinnie – I am at your mercy – throw me to the lions and I will endeavour to come back at you roaring!

Friday, December 12, 2008

TTH Christmas Dinner

Pictures (unsensored) on the way and once again courtesy of our official Team pic taker Ivie but for the moment here are 2 from my phone a little hazy but rather interesting!!!!
A few weeks ago an email went out asking who would be interested in attending our 1st TTH Christmas dinner/party. Well the evening finally rolled round last night. A little early in the month, but we wanted to ensure those that wanted to attend could before office parties and overseas trips took precedence. Held at Jarrod & Rawlins in Bukit Damansara we were treated to a 3-course sit down traditional turkey (vege for some) dinner with free flow until it was no more and some people (no names mentioned) felt it appropriate to ‘swipe’ the dregs and left over bottles from another parties table. Well I never, what a cheek eh!!!!!!
Anyway, I shall not prattle on today, my head is still sore, my tummy very large and my internet connection has been cut-off so I better go out and pay the bill OR go have a cup of coffee in Starbucks and hook up for free so I can post this – that sounds more like it.
It was a fabulous night, plenty of laughter and the perfect way to wind down after Phuket before we start cranking it up again next week for the final phase of IM training.

Thanks to everyone for coming I hope you all had fun.
A BIG thank you to yummy mummy-to-be Julie for arranging, booking and liaising with Kumar at J&R’s and thanks Sam for paying – I am still holding the cash and have not yet skipped town!
Cheers Everyone and Merry Christmas!!
Emma
Here are a few snaps of the evening, I leave you to draw your own conclusions. The rest can be viewed on Ivie's site.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Phuket Diaries

(Pictures courtesy of Ivie - they are on the way lahhhh)
I have decided to write the events of the race and the “holiday” in a diary of sorts. So bear with me. The race report will come but not before a brief summary of the events of Friday and Saturday.
Friday 5th December
I drove to the airport, much less hassle and actually cheaper. Picked Gadget girl up, sieved through a nasty Friday morning jam and got to the airport around the same time as Randy and Ivie. On checking in I was extremely pissed to learn that a BIKE is NOT sports equipment. Golf clubs however are!! I have paid the sports equipment surcharge on my bike twice this year; once for Langkawi and once in Miri. Now they have changed their ruling? WHAT THE BLOODY HELL ARE YOU THINKING MR FERNANDEZ!!!!! This is simply not right and not fair. I had to pay RM85 excess, and gadget girl RM70. Sam and Randy got away Scot free as their luggage totals were bundled together with Carmen and Ivie respectively that meant they did not go over. ONCE AGAIN, NOT BLEEPING FAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OK, now that is out of my system, on with the show...
After the checking in debacle everything else went plain sailing. On arrival in Phuket our designated driver was already there with mini bus and truck in tow to carry the bikes. Randy & Ivie had everything planned to perfection. This was probably the best kind of race prep I could have asked for. Nerves were creeping in but I was trying my best to keep them at bay for my benefit and the sake of my house-mates! An impromptu BBQ was held on Friday evening. Straight after dropping George off with Daniel at the TBB tent for a maintenance check we drove over TESCO’s for supplies and a spot of lunch. Once back at the house and once Sam, Carmen, Bee and I had bagged our rooms and taken in the gorgeous surroundings I set to work making a marinade and preparing the food for the evening with Carmen and Ivie. Known for my colorful language, Hell’s Kitchen is a scenario that came to mind! Sergeant Sam and Bee set up the bikes while Randy went over to the Laguna to pick up the Cross clan and bring them back for an evening of relaxation and indulgence.
Earning my keep doing the cooking

Saturday 6th December

I had a 20min easy bike penned in for Saturday morning. Everyone else the evening before had agreed to do ‘the HILL’. I had heard a lot of talk about ‘the HILL’ over the past few weeks; stories of fit looking guys walking their bikes up it, others ‘skiing up’. My confidence on hills isn’t good and on agreeing to do the hills with the guys Saturday morning and go over my 20minute meter I have to admit that I lost a lot of sleep on Friday night worrying about it. Up bright and early with my bed head still on. Sam and I sipped coffee looking out to the lagoon enjoying the serene tranquility of an early morning in paradise whilst waiting for Randy and Bee. We met Simon just outside the entrance to Laguna a little after 7am, and the five of us then set about for a leisurely ‘stretch the legs, warm up and then turn on the lactic ride’. Sam and Simon both kindly slowed down as we approached the HILLS and forewarned us again of the task we were about to tackle. I was visualizing falling off and not being able to turn the crank. Oh well, at least today wasn’t race day, screw up and there were less people to make an arse of myself in front of.
The hills Simon, Sam and Randy speak of are in 3 stages. Short steep inclines with a short break in-between, enough for you to bring the heart rate down a wee bit before the next attack hits you. Lucky for me the hills are short enough for you to climb out of the seat (my favorite style). So with Sam and Simon in front I just followed their lead. When they got out, I got out and when they got to the top, by George, I was there too just behind them. Not half as bad as I thought and I rode home happy, loving the fast surface of the road knowing that once the hills were out the way I would be letting rip on the tarmac.
An athletes breakfast was thrown together of Spanish omelets, fresh fruits and yoghurt once we returned. Great company, good food I was still feeling kind of calm – very odd! We went over to registration for 11am and also checked out the competitor board. Never have I felt so little. There are expats everywhere and they all look really BIG & STRONG. My confidence was starting to take a steep nose dive and even with Randy telling me they probably just look good and have nice clothes and gear it still didn’t help. I thought I was fit and strong well if I was – what the hell were these tanned goddesses with 6packs on display? On seeing that last years winner in my age group was there some of the pressure went away. Unless there were any other dark horses or she had a bad day, I didn’t concede the race there and then, but she was an element out of my control so I just tried to forget about it. After registration a dip in the ocean and then the lake was the order. I got attacked by sea lice in the sea and then algae in the lake. Felt ok, not that pleasant but I have put up with worse things in life.
A little fun was had in the open air shower after the swim practice, S.S (aka Sean Connery) was in fine form. Back to the house, out for Lunch, back to the house again for some faffing about and then out to the race briefing. I met Coach Vinnie for the first time. Afraid I didn’t have a lot to say; if not antsy before, now sitting in the briefing I was getting really wired. Straight after briefing we walked over to the carbo loading and although not really hungry the food was very appetizing and I managed a couple of plates. That however is a drop I the ocean compared with the 5 that Bee tucked away. I say tucked because after spending quite a lot of time with our very own Gadget girl this year I still to this day do not know where all that food goes. She eats like a horse and yet stays as slim as slim can be. AMAZING BEE. I am very jealous.
Back to the house AGAIN, final race preps were being made by Sam, Randy and Bee; I had already done mine and so bid everyone a rather quiet goodnight and snuck away.
It was about 9pm at this juncture and I thought no way on earth will I sleep. BUT I DID. AND LOTS OF IT. Woke at 3am, popped to the loo and then managed another couple of hour’s kip before I got up at 5ish.

Sunday December 7th RACE DAY

Breakfast was not the usual somber affair. We seemed in good spirits in-between the yawns of course. I had a coffee, banana and peanut butter sandwich and did my morning rituals thrice, like clockwork.
Before putting on my shoes I had to shake my new lodger out. It seems whilst staying in the house a family of frogs had moved into my belongings and on race morning a huge frog had secured himself in the dank dark, cavity of my bike shoe. YES I know my shoes are smelly – tell me something I don’t know! Anyway I didn’t mind as once I ousted him I told the others it is supposed to be good luck and I would need all the luck I could muster!
We left the house at 5.45am to get to bike check-in for 6am. Other riders were on the road out as we left and there was an eerie silence. Dark, no chatter, no drafting, eh up this sounds like a Wednesday morning ride! Except it wasn’t. Once at the transition area the place was a-buzz of activity. My little old ticker started doing major flips and somersaults that could probably have gotten me into the GB gymnastics squad!
When I racked George I didn’t realize you were supposed to go odds and evens to create more space. My Neighbours kindly informed me of this, probably whilst looking at my expensive bike and aero helmet thinking amateur, got all the mod cons and she doesn’t know what she is doing! Did I give a shit? NO. I even admitted I only started riding last year and this was my first year in Tri. They couldn’t keep the smiles off their faces at that point!!!
Went off for numbering and then before we knew it, it was time to get the boat over to the start line. Once on board, that eerie silence returned coupled with a feeling of impending doom, it was like a boat load of prisoners being sent to the guilotine, not a boat load of fit individuals about to participate in one of the most well-organized fun triathlons on the yearly calendar.

We met up with Carmen and Ivie and John on the beach, they snapped photos and gave out good wishes, I tried to stay calm but really at this point I was not doing well. I went off on my own for a dip, collected my thoughts and then went and stood in the pen. Sam wished me good luck as we stood waiting for the gun. Just as well my goggles were on otherwise he would have seen me tearing up!!! YES I was emotional, on tenterhooks and basically just trying to keep it all together and focus in the job in hand. I walked away and stood on my own. Ivie actually got a few pictures of me at this point and I think they perfectly show how I go into my own little world. Thanks Ivie.

The SWIM – 0:38:07
The first Litmus test of my swim, I had spoken to Coach Vinnie at the carbo loading about my reservations regarding how to approach this. "Stay left, hang back a bit, and get them in the bike," he said. I probably didn’t stay as left as I should have but as each race has passed I have noticed I panic less and less about been knocked about. I felt strong in the swim and sighted ok. Exiting going up the mound and ducking into the lake was not pleasant and there was a traffic jam on entry. Once swimming I took probably the straightest line I have taken all year. It was that straight that as I kept sighting the sailboat. Yup, there it is, stroke , stroke, look up, yup there it is and repeat and repeat until I looked up and was about to hit the bloody thing smack centre – opps. I could have swum underneath (haha) but decided to go left and round!

On approaching the finish of the swim the algae and slimy weeds were everywhere. I kept swimming as long as I could whilst stroking through the muck. When I finally exited up the ramp I probably resembled some sort of green sea monster. DID I CARE? NO. Did I stay and wash it off under the shower like all the other wusses? Do you really need to ask that question? I actually finished the race with seaweed still attached and stones inside my suit – don’t mind the seaweed but how the stones got there I do not know!
T1: Into transition and out again. It is never going to be great until I sort out the shoes on pedals thing. So let’s leave it at that for now.
The BIKE – 1:42:47
The hills are all done and dusted by kilometer14. My dilemma was, do I take it easy out and up to the hills making sure the legs have plenty of power?, OR, do I warm up a bit and then just get in my stride and go and not think about it?? Hmmmn, well once I got on to the road George stayed in the small chain ring for all of 2minutes. I didn’t kill my legs at all, on the contrary I am so used to pushing big gears now and having a slower turn over I just don’t think about it. This style allows you to naturally go faster on the flats and rolling stuff. When I got to the hills I dropped the ring went into the smallest gear and over took a bunch of women and fit looking guys. It was fantastic, I am pleased to report NO ONE overtook me except for the last k coming into transition where I start to slow down and think about the next leg.

I lost a whole bottle of hydration on one nasty bump that someone with a load speaker was supposed to be warning us about it. He though was having a nice chat and forgot to warn me. Over the bump and out pops my Gatorade in my nice hammer drinks bottle! This was at K 15 or 16. Luckily it was a cool day and already very well hydrated I knew if I just kept calm I would be picking up two replacements in less than 10minutes. At the time I wondered if the mishap was going to be the start of some nasty bad luck to come but I am pleased to report it wasn’t. The bike leg went beautifully. Coach Vinnie sought me out on the airport road with motivational shouts, (thank YOU). I loved it, the road was fast and I felt fast. And my legs felt fresh as a daisy. My heart rate was the lowest it has ever been when pushing hard and my cadence was very low….Avg 79!!!! It worked for me.

T2: Into transition again never great but I am getting there. And out onto the run.
The RUN – 0:54:07

As mentioned already the weather was very kind to the athletes. The heat doesn’t really bother me; searing heat would slow me down but not as badly as others. I saw Simon, Sam and Randy on the run. And only Sam I thought was in chasing distance. Covering mixed terrain of tarmac, trail and a golf course the run was scenic but personally not something my legs enjoyed. I DO NOT like running on grass. The first one k stung a fair bit but once into my stride I realized after so many weeks of running with no knowledge of distance that I was punching out a pretty good pace. On target for 51mins at the half way point I have no clue where I slowed. As I say – not liking the grass. I overtook one more lady in my group on the run – did not realize this at the time until coach Vinnie informed me after crossing the line.

Results:
Simon’s race, an amazing blinder: 3:01:05 as Swim 0:33:43, (1:34) Bike 1:35:37, (1:13) Run 0:48:59

The all too familiar Simon Cross post race finish pose - is he an attention seeker or did he TRI-HARD!

Randy’s race, absolutely fantastic – I could not catch him today: 3.15:46 as Swim 0:30:36, (2:03) Bike 1:45:35, (1:19) Run 0:56:15


Sam’s race, blitzed his field and took his 4th LPT title in 3:16:33 as Swim 0:35:16, (2:00) Bike 1:42:11, (1:38) Run 0:55:30
1st place Sam looking fresh as a daisy!
Emma’s race, 3rd place in 3:18:49 as Swim 0:38:26, (2:03) Bike 1:42:37, (1:36) Run 0:54:07
Podium was the target and I have ended the year with podium 1, 2 or 3 in all of my triathlon/duathlon races so I cannot argue with the stats.
Bee’s Race, always with a BIG smile on her face as 3:56:45 as Swim 0:53:26, (3:09) Bike 1:55:44, (3:07) Run 1:01:22
BIG THANKS to everyone who yelled out my name and cheered for me. I know I don't acknowledge it on the race but I do hear you and it helps! Thanks also to Ironguides and Coach Vinnie for his support over the weekend. Didn't get his picture but he is real and his instructions DO WORK! Also to TBB for sorting George out and teamTBB for there ongoing support. Cheers, GUYS. 80days to GO.