Sunday, December 26, 2010

TriSpecific: Training Blog Wk2

Well it's been Christmas hasn't it, so I treated this week with the holiday respect it deserves and had a little break! Totally back to normal next week I think. But a few of you have been asking questions about the new training, how it is different, numbers, hours, volume etc. 

So I asked Kristian to document his thoughts for you, so there is something for you to read this week and it is probably much more interesting than my waffle!!

Remember we are in the midst of putting together plans for Malaysia. If there is an area or something specific you want to target then let us know and we may be able to help you shape your goals.

TriSpecific Head Coach, Kristian Manieta explains in more detail the Low volume Vs High volume training and how it all works

I was previously an IG's coach running operations and coaching in Australia and NZ. I continue to use many of the concepts I learnt with IG's and couple those in with previous knowledge and also new knowledge I acquired from learning via my talks with many athletes and other coaches and of course the experiential learning part of it, from my own training. Learning and application is a never ending pursuit. 

TriSpecific was around before I partnered with ig and I relaunched TS due to the stress involved with ig.

My goals are quite simple with my coaching. Provide athletes with the tools and education to not only perform but to ensure a holistic approach to longterm sustainable health. When we provide a foundation of health, performances will come.

There is also way more to coaching than the plans we write and there is way more to results than just following the plan. The plan becomes just a small part of the picture. In one2one coaching we take in the athletes life circumstance and develop them in line with those circumstances and make sure their stated goals are congruent with their current life circumstance.

When it comes to athletes that follow a generic download plan or membership site plan we will see vastly different results for the same plan. Talent doesn't really count that much. How those athletes apply themselves in each and every sessions counts big time as does there day to day nutrition, recovery methods and their attitudes also play a major role.

Coaching whether its one2one or a generic plan or membership site, needs to contain other important knowledge transfer such as the role of nutrition, the role of sleep, stress reduction, regeneration, among other things.

Results come from consistency. Not just in the plan but the above factors also. Many athletes that train 20+ hours/week lack the long term consistency to get great results. Typically they get so aerobically whacked they will miss sessions, due to excessive fatigue, sickness or injury. You'll get better results following year round training at a sustainable volume than you will from 12-20 weeks of higher volumes. There will always be outliers but I talking about the typical age grouper.

When it comes to iron distance racing there is a commonly held belief that you need big volume to perform. Over the years I have found that not to be true. Your base grows from session to session, year to year. This year I have had some major success with athletes doing a lot less volume than most of the age groupers out there.

Out of the five athletes I had in Kona in 2010, four of them where AG champions in the 2010 season and I had three podiums from those five in Kona (1st, 2nd, and 3rd). The volume these guys and girls do is totally linked to their current life circumstances and even so for the most part it stays under 15 hours. Even my pro athletes train under 20 hours/week.

Its all about getting the best return on investment for your training buck. If you had to do 30 hours per week to go 9:30, I would say that is a terrible ROI when I see athletes going that on 8-10hr/week. I know some athletes who train in the 14-15hr bracket and have gone mid 8:30's! They don't miss sessions and each session is very focused and has a purpose to it.

The major issue I see with volume is with the so called 'base' training. The norm is to do long slow sessions early on and then upping the volume and adding in a speed element. The problem here is that excessive volume coupled with high intensity will kill an athlete quickly. Its just so catabolic on the body. With all the long slow stuff, you essentially train the strength and speed out of your body as you wreck your immune system.

Flip that on its head and do more strength and speed work early on to develop those crucial skills and you develop aerobic capacity anyway. Repeat that for the long term and then in the lead up to the race, 6-8wks out you can up the volume in some sessions to marry the specifics of the race.

This works so well, because you have increased not only your cruising paces but have more efficiency and will complete the longer race specific work faster and using less energy expenditure.

In terms of hours, unfortunately there is no magic number of hours that will see results. As I mentioned above, it's so much more than the training. Everything counts. Looking at my generic 20 week Ironman plan we see an average training week across the board of 12.5 hours. But there is 8 weeks where the volume is between 16-17.5hrs on the advanced plan.

For between 14-15hr/week you can get:
SWIM: 3-4  40min sessions
BIKE: 1x70min, 1x 90min, and 1x4hour
RUN: 4-5-  2-3x 40-60min, 30min and 1 x 120min. 

What's important here is how these sessions are placed and what they contain. ie intensity and quality are very important. Quality does not always mean intense effort. Quality can also mean intense focus on form.

So I believe we start talking lower volume when we are under 15hours per week. Between 12-15hours is a very sustainable model for the majority of athletes competing over the iron distance. I know others that successfully train and race with much less than this. For example: 8-10hour week. When we train under 14hours, each and every session is very much key.

I do emphasize swimming as it is so important to your overall results. Even though its the shortest part of the day, it can take massive amounts of energy away from the bike and run. Being swim fit is a key component to triathlon success.

As Emma mentioned we're working on a Malaysian part to the TS site and will have that up and running soon.

Hope you all had a great Christmas and have a Happy New Year


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Chrishmush Cake anyone?

Courtesy of Disco:

recipe :

2 cups flour
1 stick butter
1 cup water
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup sugar
1tsp salt
1 cup brown sugar
lemon juice
4 large eggs

2 bottles wine
2 cups of dried fruit

Sample the wine to check the quality. Take a large bowl, check the wine again. To be sure it is of the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink. Repeat. Turn on the electric mixer.  Beat again. At this point it's best to make sure the wine is still ok.  Try another cup....Just in case. Turn off the mixerer thingy. Break 2 eggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.

Pick the frigging fruit up off the floor. Mix on the turner...If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers just pry it loose with a drewscriver. Sample the wine to check for tonsisticity.  Next, sift two cups of salt. Or something. Check the wine. Now shift the lemon juice and stain your nuts. Add one table. Add a spoon of sugar or some fink. Whatever you can find. Grease the oven . Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over. Don't forget to beat off the turner. Finally throw the bowl out of the window. Finish the wine and wipe the counter with the cat. Go and buy a cake
Bingle Jells 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

TriSpecific: Training Blog Wk1

Well I am still alive and kicking (even though now that hurts). The idea was to ‘gently’ ease back into things, so actually I have done less this week than I have been doing previous weeks past.

So what's the difference? Now I execute with meaning and with the effort required, this can also be determined as effort available!

While my new routine and work pattern have heaps LESS stress I sometimes have the tendency to try and fit too much in. When the afternoon rolls round I am pretty much useless and so if able I will take a nap. I think it is much wiser to do this than to carry on in a zombified state and go to meetings with a trance-like glaze over your eyes! (sorry Denis, and everyone else).

I harbour no secret desire to qualify for KONA next year. Lets make that clear. While I would love to race and race well, at present I am happy to have renewed motivation.

I have enjoyed my swims this week. Something a little different but not too different, remember what I do now is similar to the old stuff just less volume.
I got through Monday unscathed from a 1.5k swim set.

Tuesday morning and I am reunited with my friend the bike trainer. The bike legs are still there, just under some extra padding, once again, I escape unscathed and went off to work.

Another short 1.5k but rather odd swim set that I really enjoyed, with that in the bag my first double session (a run) was in my mind for the afternoon.
The run is my first of the week and my first run of any intensity. For months I have just being going out and trying to maintain some sort of fitness, never really pushing it.
It was only 40minutes (the idea is to ease into things), but the intention is negative splits, (this HURT).
Not sure if I started off too quick, I guess time and trial and error will teach me. But I managed a final set of negative splits and also managed to nearly throw up. I think this affirms the fact that I was trying (or was it the litre of ice cream rolling around in my stomach before hand?)!! NO NO NO JOKING!!!

The good thing about the session is while it is short, it allows me concentrate and to have the confidence to PUSH into the nasty uncomfortable pain box. You just have to keep telling yourself…it’s just for a little while. It will soon be over. Spittle flying, heart popping, the legs didn’t actually hurt during this session…then again it was their first real outing!

We get back on the trainer. I looked at the session and thought piece of cake. But with a warmer morning, no fan or air-con as I was out on the car porch I was overheating. Short 1minute efforts are no problem in the heat. Longer efforts take their toll. Lydia and Dave revived me with ice water that I poured over the head to cool down and before the last effort I had to get off before I fell off and let my body temp come down before I started the final set.

Power is there, legs a little queasy after Wednesday run and a note to self…put a bloody fan out next time!

Friday morning and swim time again. I am swimming a little without the buoy and paddles. It feels weird but trust in what I have been told and just execute. I really do not question much at all. I just do it. What I am doing different though is making sure the coach knows how I FEEL.*

Friday afternoon I had a short run dialled in. Friday was a mentally mind numbing day. The brain was mush from work and it rained for most of the day. But it was just 30minutes and sometimes/most of the time when I get my butt out there I DO fell better for it. Now in hindsight, maybe I should have skipped it, because Saturday came and kicked me swiftly up the butt!

When you only have a short time allowance for your only road ride of the week, one word of advice. Make sure you ENJOY it. So what if you have to drive to a scenic loaction and spend 45min’s in the car. The pleasure you get is so much worth the drive and you still get home earlier than if you were doing a 100plus k ride.
Mother Natures perfection can be found just a short drive outside of Kuala Lumpur
I drove to Ulu Langkat. Easy is on the menu with my last 20mins moderatly hard. I still have a tough time determining what is easy, easpecially when on the bike. It being my strength even in my current level of fitness I never quite know what to do. Does it mean not pushing any resistance? Or just keeping an extremely low heart rate, which funnily enough while the weight increased over the past few months this is the one factor that has remained a consistent low.

So I kind of keep it on the small chain ring. Yes you read correctly. For a short while at least. I do not gun it up Perez (a 9km climb). The final TT section back to Batu 18 I push so I am uncomfortable. Nasty headwind yesterday but I believe I still averaged 38/9kph from the 12km marker.

I ran off the bike. This was my first run off the bike since August. I was ready for pain, for serious discomfort.  Imagine my surprise when it never came? Hip is pretty uncomfortable but after four minutes I was shuffling away and enjoying the scenery. Drove home and that is where the day ended for me. The week caught up and the body gave up for the rest of the day. So I accepted my fate and vegetated.

A short run (Read 50minutes) this morning over rolling hills, so I went to Bukit Aman. I started out really REALLY easy. I have never truly followed a Sunday run plan to a T, so now I am going to try and execute. Nothing to lose I figure. After 25minutes of really easy I ramp it up (well try) for just 15minutes. I make myself uncomfortable and just keep telling myself it’s only 15minutes. I felt good. My legs are killing me from the week and the fatigue in my system but my breathing that usually poses such a problem was not a hindrance today.

So the week is done, tomorrow it all starts again with a slight increase. It seems a bit bizarre starting training with Christmas just around the corner. But I think I have had enough eat-whatever-you-can-lay-your-hands-on time and now I need to start moving gently forward again.

*If you are embarking on online coaching, remember your coach cannot SEE YOU. A lot can be revealed in seeing an athletes face; fatigue, tiredness, sickness, health, your spirit etc. So it is your job as an athlete to relay how you feel to your coach.

I get this now. Some coaches can read it through how you write. You feel good training is all hunky dory and you are blogging and face booking up a storm, simply put, the world could not be rosier.

But then come the crossroads, the doubt, and the tough days. You are having a rough time and you shut down, close out the virtual world. When this happens they can only help you IF you seek them out and explain what’s going on and how you feel.

Never think you are being a pain in the butt (I always thought this, so didn’t ever bother my coach much). But this is the priceless advice that you are buying into: The guidance. It’s not so much about the plan and what to do and how to do it.
It’s the support network, the understanding, the peace of mind a coach can deliver to you.
Use it!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Zeal for Christmas

I should have blogged these a couple of weeks ago but have been rather busy and now the 10 pairs of samples I received from Zeal Optics are reduced to 6 pairs!

If you are looking for a last minute Christmas gift then a pair of Polorized sunnies could be just the ticket item! For a long time I have used Oakley to train and race in because nothing else fit and felt comfortable. Thing is only one design worked!! 
I want a sunny that I can run in and race in, bike in and socialise in and Zeal offer all of this and more.

Lifetime warranty, ALL designs are polorized and prices start from just RM350. Designed in Boulder, Colorado, USA by outdoor sports enthusiasts, these guys know their stuff. 

I am in the midst of putting a larger order together now, but that will not arrive until the new year, this however is what I have left. Interested? You know where to contact me!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

TriSpecific: Because the answers have changed

This Monday 13th of December training resumes. Since August 22nd I have not trained. I have tried to stay healthy and exercised when the body allowed but there has been no structure what so ever. This was hard at first to get used to, but since returning from the states I have relished not having the pressure to train for a race or do certain things and just go with the flow.  I have a lot of people to thank for showing me how to think and live this way; once you ‘get it,’ each day without structure gets easier.

On December 1st I started the next chapter in my life. I am not quite sure how many chapters we have got to by now. And while not exactly the riveting page turning stuff of ‘The Girl the With Dragon Tattoo’, each journey on a very personal level, has been a huge learning curve.

While I am no longer working with The Bike Boutique I have relished the time I spent with them. It was sad to leave, but necessary for me to move forward and get well. The plus side about working in triathlon is that the world is so small that you never really say goodbye. And so while I am not in daily contact with my old team I will always see them at events.

Starting a new job (or jobs, I am now doing a few different things) was just one of the changes that had to happen. I needed to also make changes to my training life and racing decisions. Just like it was time for me to move on in my career it was also time for me to try something new for training.

TriSpecific has elements of familiarity that I am used to, the big difference however is I will no longer be doing large volumes. This is so important for my body to heal and hopefully with a good diet will enable me to finally get this CFS under control. I still have days when I cannot get out of bed, but now I usually know when they are coming on and as such do not let myself feel guilty about sleeping for a whole day. I wish I could say the same about the depression that comes with those bad days, that’s pretty tough to handle and that is also why I have done something else totally new and moved house and now am cohabitating with two VERY outgoing people. I am hoping when my dark days come they will just give me a good kick up the backside and help snap me out of it!

So back to the coaching, I first met Kristian Manietta last year at the 70.3 Philippines. He is an awesomely fast age grouper and also happens to be husband to the lovely Ironman champion of China and Busselton, Charlotte Paul. We all got on like a house on fire last year and had lots of fun. I met them again in Kona this year and then again in Maui and that’s when things started happening and wheels began turning.

I have always wanted to help the tri scene here in Malaysia. And I am amazed in the past couple of years at how triathletes here have started taking training more seriously. I personally think most people can go faster with a little help and A LOT of self-discipline but my old large volume training was admittedly scary and the biggest problem with working triathletes is precisely that, WE WORK. We have FAMILY. We have other COMMITMENTS. And so while triathlon is our lifestyle it has to be balanced in with everything else we do.

Not everyone has 20 plus hours a week to train. Not everyone wants to or physically can train for this amount week in week out. So how about training less with exactly the time YOU have allowed for your sport but also the knowing that you can be faster.

Sounds good right? But remember. Just like a diet, unless you follow it with the discipline and willpower it deserves you won’t get faster. That is your choice.

My choice is to try something new and I feel with Trispecific I have the opportunity to train again and be fast while not over extending myself. My life next year will entail a lot of travel, training will not be easy, so it is all about balance (there’s that word again, admittedly I have not been very good at this in the past!), huge trust in what you are given to do and execution on those sessions.

After much discussion with Kristian about how we can offer help to Malaysians at an affordable price we came to the conclusion that a 20week IM program as an introduction could be just the key.

The program is targeted at IM China 2011, but even if you are not doing an IM maybe you want to do a half or an Olympic distance. Maybe you just want to get ‘tri-fit’. Programs are customised to cater to your time available. There are all sorts of other perks that will be made available to you should you be interested.

As for me, the idea is racing China but I am honestly not thinking about that right now, it is just an idea. And if I do not race in China I will still do the training at a lower intensity so that I can train and follow anyone that is with TriSpecific, think of me as the one holding the whip, your conscience on the ground!!

So my training starts on Monday and I will be doing a weekly blog to let you know what is going on in my tri-training world – good and bad! Interested in joining me and getting more TriSpecific? Drop me an email or go to to find out more.

See ya on the road!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Going Beyond Transition

Beyond Transition (formerly Go-triathlete) is a new website (Launch Date Jan 2011) that aims to give a unique service to triathletes around the world. A place where you can visit and find out about global races on one site rather than hop-scotching across various dead-ends.

BT will serve to answer all your race needs, from the simple stuff as how much, where and when, to what is the goodie bag like, what's the bike course? Where can I stay, where's the best place to eat, carbo loading, awards, race nutrition, the list goes on and on and on.

Why are they doing this? Becasue there isn't anything like it out there. It's a monumental mountain to scale and data capturing of all these races is a headache waiting to explode! So BT are taking baby steps and it will be a while before we are up and running at full speed so please be patient :)

Whilst all the data capturing is going on the BT blog will be live and ready for you to check out within the next week. The blog will keep you updated of what's going on, how is progressing as well as giving some awesome contents to read over your morning coffee.

Motivation should not be a problem when you drop by, BT aims to inspire and turn the "I cant's" into "I can's". BT has some super stuff to unleash on the world but they are trying to apply the 'pacing' theory for the moment :)

Next year BT will be regularly on the ground at selected races around the world. So watch this space, or even simplier pop over to this space :

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Big Brother Comes to Malaysia

Well sort of. I have had enough of living in a condo and also had enough of the rental price hikes. I needed to cut back on my outgoings and the easiest place to do this was to move into a house.

Trouble is I have always been a little wary to stay in a house alone. No security, blah, blah, blah. So I mentioned this to Lydia a few months back when out on a run, that I was thinking of moving and would like to stay in a house. She said yeah me too! There is a third party. Disco Dave. So I ran the idea by him and as if by chance our leases were expiring within a month of each other.

Now I have not shared a home (not counting when I was married) since my student days. And that didn't last long - the sharing I mean!! So Lydia has been a star and found the perfect house while I was away slogging it in Kona, Napa and Maui. I viewed the house for the first time last week. I can not believe how relaxed I have been about the whole process, virtually horizontal I would say, but then I am supposed to still be resting! 

When I was away I also realized that on our moving date, December 1st - I would not be in the country. I am off to Phuket to cover the LPT and IM 70.3 Asian World Champ's. Whoops! A quick mail to Dave and Lydia to the effect of. "Guys, if I pack everything up nicely and leave the keys with you, do you think you could let the movers in to shift the stuff to the new place on December 1st?"

Oh it's good to have friends. Now they probably said something to the effect of "Blooming Cheeky B****" but their reply was, "of course we can." Wonderful, wiggled out of that one didn't I ;-) But I will play chef to show my appreciation when I get back - now you know I am a GREAT cook!

This will be my third move in just under 3years. I plan on traveling rather a lot next year if all goes well. So no point throwing money down the drown at a place you are never in. 

Now lets rewind to my comment about "Now I have not shared a home (not counting when I was married) since my student days. And that didn't last long...!!" Reason being, I couldn't get along with my roomies at all and just had to move out before I went cuckoo. 

Since then and these days I believe I am much more relaxed about life. I certainly have less stress in my life. And while there are a whole lot of opportunities that keep coming along, I do not have to do them all. I am learning to say the words, "No thank you. I am too busy." Mind you, I haven't used them yet!

So it's going to be a little like big brother I feel. We have even spoken about hidden cameras!! Hey! If someone offered money I'm in, are you?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A time & A Place for Everything

There are lots of people including myself who want to extend their lifestyle of triathlon into their workplace. It’s about enjoying what you do so that word work is actually irrelevant, as it doesn’t seem like work.

I like writing stuff. I love meeting people. I get paid for this. Don’t tell anyone but I would actually do this for free. But then again I have bills to pay so need a little money!

So, back to Trix-Gear. My friend Paul who raced Kona this year and his lovely wife Celeste are the people behind this funky label of casual tri apparel. He threw me some free T’s and asked if I would not mind modelling them, of course not I said, my pleasure. Although I was and am still a slighter rounder version of my racing self they fit well, and when I say fit I mean as in a chick fit – not big and baggy :)
I love the pink PaperDoll one and also the aero T that was featured recently in what 'we have noticed' on slowtwitch. And for a snug sexier look the ‘Triathlete” vest is a nice look. I have a little story about that, here we go…
So I am in Kona and have got my special VIP pass for the awards. I have absolutely nothing to wear. Now I know chicks always say this as an excuse to shop, but when my MALE roomies look at me with the “your not gonna go out in that are you” look, I honestly had nothing to wear!

So I put on the trademark skirt and paired it with the Trix vest. Looked pretty cute and we were going to the K-Swiss party after so, sexy casual-ish! But this look still got a sigh. Yeah it will do, its fine!
It's not me modelling, sorry to disappoint you!!
So we are walking down to the awards, and we get to one of those ABC (711 type) stores and he pops in to pick up bevy. Next door there is this really cute clothing store. He mentions that they have some cool stuff, so I took that as a blatant hint.

Shall I go get something then? Yeah sure! He says. So I go in, straight to the tops, pick the first thing I see, try it on, keep it on, go to counter, pay, get the guy to cut the label and just as this happens the roomie walks in and says “I didn’t mean it”!!! Yeah right.

Anyway, the top stayed and I am sorry Trix, your top didn’t get to be paraded at the awards, but you know, there is a time and a place for everything I guess and that this was a time to be subtle and girly!!!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

And the Tan Lines are Fading

Okay, so I didn’t get much of a tan. I think we all know that Emma doesn’t ‘brown’ very well! But for me I did turn a darker shade of pale and now my skin is shedding and returning to its normal magnolia self.

I took a lot of pictures on my trip. It has been years, around 15 to be exact of when I last took so many pictures. Not quite sure why I stopped, maybe I just got lazy. And as much as I love to write, sometimes a picture is all you need to say those thousand or so words that routinely flow from my fingertips.
I will never tire of looking at these Maui sunsets
So, back to normal or is it? It actually is not back to normal. Back to normal for me would mean going backwards and getting lost again. So I am taking everything I learnt while away and applying it to my new journey. It started yesterday when I rode with the guys. They said it was just 100k. I said I am just going to the toll – for me that is a nudge over 70k. Wet and punctuated with 3 punctures before we reached the toll I was asked to go a little bit more, just 15mins they said.

Yes, but 15minutes out and 15 back is 30mins. That’s an extra 15km roughly, so why not 30mins out and 30back? When and where do you draw the line? When is enough, enough? Before going away I was easily talked into doing a little bit more and then finding out all about it when the effort would come and hit me up the bum.

No one else knows how you feel except YOU. But sometimes the toughest challenge of getting well is listening to YOU. Another person who I do not see much asked how my ‘so-called illness’ was. Well that made me feel like crap, like I was a faker, because from the outside I am functioning so much better than I have for a long time. But inside the workings are still pretty rusty. But only I know this, I FEEL this. No one else can SEE it or FEEL it.

So if training and doing an IM is about mental strength so is getting better. I could ignore group rides and runs and just do stuff on my own but that isn’t fun so until I am ready to go longer I will join to the best and as far as my body will allow and I will do no more than that.

When I am ready to make my switch and start again you all will know about it. And if you want to come along for the journey you are more than welcome. But until then Emma’s mission is to reduce weight and have a healthy clean engine so she is primed and ready to go faster and better than before :)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Running in Lava Fields

I am on my way home. I wrote this aboard JAL going to Narita and this time I was not in Business Class. It doesn’t matter though because as far as I am concerned I have had a first class experience. Thinking about when I last had a holiday of any sort (without a bike) I worked it out to be 3years ago. And while I have still been touching base with work and doing some correspondence during my travels it has been a holiday, I feel it and more importantly my body after eleven months is finally telling me so.
Good Morning!
We are in this sport because it is our lifestyle. It is a healthy lifestyle and if your health is at anytime put into jeopardy because of how you live the lifestyle then you need to step back and re-evaluate. It doesn’t mean you cannot reach your dreams but you must be able to smile every day and love what you do even when you are having a tough day.

After months of feeling depleted, exhausted, fatigued beyond recognition I came to the silly conclusion that what I was feeling every day was normal. It was how one is supposed to feel. I now know and understand how wrong that mindset was. I am embarrassed to say how long I have been ignoring this. As someone who noticeably trains hard so she can race hard and be the best she can be I got lost. I lost myself, I lost my passion, I took on too much and I stressed about everything. I lost my smile.

Sunrise in paradise
I achieved my goal but not without a huge sacrifice that resulted in my not being able to go and enjoy the goal I worked so hard towards. I am not particularly impressed with how things turned out but one thing I will always be, is honest. I always seek out the positives from every desperate situation because no matter how hard things are, whatever life throws you, there is always a positive to be found. It is not always going to stare you in the face. But they are there; you just have to decide whether or not you are able to accept it when you are at your lowest and be ready to move on because it is so much easier to wallow in your own self pity.

You do not have to look far, it is right there within yourself. Just as doubt and fear of failure can cloud your mind, the power of positive thinking is there too. A bit harder to grasp and control, that ebbing feeling of doubt is always going to try and override any good thoughts about yourself, your situation, your current place in life.
Oceans and Islands
I am currently the heaviest I have been for two years, (stick with me, this is leading somewhere!) My jeans are tight, my face is full and I feel heavy. But it is nothing compared to the weight that I have lost from my shoulders and my head. I can start to control my real weight again as soon as I want, I have been on holiday and it is to be expected so I am told:) The weight that has taken so much longer to remove is the one that does not register on the scale but has been there, etched on my face for far too long.

I have many decisions to make about my future and I did not want to make any decisions until I was clear in my head and thinking straight again. I did not want to rush this decision-making. For me there is no rushing any more. I can only do so much. So the goal is to be in control of what I decide to do next, sounds simple enough!

I have spent some time with old friends and made many new friends on this trip. I have laughed so hard I have cried and my jaw sore. I had one meltdown, that’s all. And that was promptly nipped in the bud with the help of a friend - where would we be without our friends?

I have watched, I have learnt, I have questioned all things life and triathlon related. I have had the pleasure of meeting and spending time with some of the sports greats as well as some inspirational amateurs. I no longer have this ‘need’ to go and race Kona, bizarre but true. I can honestly say I would be quite happy to play the same role as spectator and supporter in 2011.
Inspiring landscape
But also I know I can qualify again if I want to. Nothing is ever guaranteed but I can put myself in the best position to give it a shot that much I do know. So the new challenge for me will be in trying to qualify a different way. By taking a lighter approach that’s what I am really excited about.

So I got to ride on the Queen K but I never got to run in the Lava fields. The one thing I love about IM is the soul searching, the lonely road. Nothing gets me more emotionally charged than seeing long stretches of nothingness. In a car whenever I see such roads I imagine riding these roads and sometimes running. All alone with just my thoughts and silence, no music required. Why would you need music when you are with the perfection of Mother Nature? To handle such isolation is all about your mental strength. Total isolation such as running through Lava fields is for me like attending church. It is where I learn to be thankful and appreciate my life.

And so while in Maui for Xterra I ran and I swam. I ran for 4 days in a row at one point, just one hour at a time. I ran out to the lava fields and got to experience that isolation I so crave at times. I got to experience it at sunrise, sunset and with a friend. With the Pacific Ocean on one side of the road and mountains on the other and black fields of lava rock in between it is hard not to feel inspired and moved by such landscape.
Isolation road
And so each day I would start my run just for 30minutes and it would turn into 60minutes, just because I wanted to see more. And each day I felt better. I still have my aches and pains, and most of the time I was sweating out the previous nights alcohol intake and it was never fast but it was always enjoyable.

I look forward to running those Lava fields again next year, maybe this time it will be in Kona. Until then my mission remains the same. It is my passion to inspire and to motivate and use my mistakes and experience albeit short but extremely well equipped to hopefully helps others to believe that they can do anything.

That little dot is not a smudge but the moon:)
I have said it many times throughout this trip when explaining to others what I love to do. And that is find out peoples stories and help turn ‘I cant’s into ‘I can’s’.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Halloween Shopping

I guess I could post this on Gotriathlete as it is Xterra related, but thought I would add some spice to Emma's page ;-)
So was I the only one that didn't realize there is a Halloween party after the awards on Sunday night? Apparently it is THE party and we all know how I like these occasions, more so since I have not been racing and am in cruise phase until...(to be determined)!
So I am out at dinner the other night with the crew and they are talking about their costumes. I mention how huge Halloween is here that it blows my mind. All the houses in Napa were decked out with caldrons, cobwebs, pumpkins you name it. So I said, oh shame I will miss it as I am back home on October 31st.
What do you mean they say. The party is on SUNDAY! Didn't you know?? Whoops! 
Okay so after meeting Charlotte and Kristian and discovering they already have costumes, and then Whit tells me he has a costume. Why the hell didn't you tell me about this!!! Last night CP & KM pick me up for dinner and a spot O fancy dress shopping. Now CP is pregnant as I have already mentioned. We were laughing so hard at the costumes that I was putting on that the tears were flowing and our sides were hurting. I was at one stage concerned CP may go into labour rather early right there and then.

As I was making a complete and utter fool of myself (BUT, having FUN) trying on all these 'saucy' numbers. Ya see as a single girl CP & KM inform me a plastic garbage bag with a belt tied around the middle is not going to do the trick! If I wasn't single, it didn't matter.
So with my stylists in tow we had a hilarious night. KM admitted it is THE most fun he has had shopping EVER with girls. And then the icing on the cake was when CP picked out a little number and tried it on. All we could hear was squeals of laughter from her pink boudoir booth. So we pulled back the curtain and....AH! You shall have to wait for Sunday's photo's for the unveiling of CP's frock!
You will also have to wait until Sunday's Party for the unveiling of mine too. But to keep you entertained I have posted all the others that didn't make the cut because of fitting or cost. (sorry, but I was not going to spend RM350 on a halloween frock - unless of course I can use it more than once). Hence the search for a saucy number!!!
Excuse the blurry images, all KM's fault, he was laughing too much!
A la Co Co the clown...check the arm ruffles!
Sexy Back...I wasn't shy!
This one nearly won but was way too expensive!
French Maid anyone?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Hawaii, take II

So I am back in Honolulu airport awaiting my connection to Maui to the Xterra World Championships. No, of course I am not competing, I have never even ridden a MTB off-road, but I was given the opportunity/invite to ‘pop over’ and so here I am!

I have no clue what is in store for me. All I know is that I am volunteering my services, be they brute strength as in hauling stuff around, running as in fetching and carrying etc, etc. I think the term Gopher would more accurately describe my position in waiting and I am ok with that. I am here to watch, learn and help and see how a World Championships is staged from the word go.

I hope to bring you some behind the scenes footage, interviews with organisers, age groupers and chat with a couple of pro’s and generally try to paint the picture as real and colourful as I expect it to be so you too can experience it all the way from wherever you are reading this.

Anyway before I slip back into Aloha life let me tell you about my day thus far. Because it very nearly didn’t happen; if I am going to be doing more of this travelling malarkey I really need to sort out my timing otherwise I am going to miss one of these flights!!

OK. So my flight out of SFO this morning was 9:05am. I had to get a taxi to the airport shuttle that left at 6am. So I booked my ‘cab’ (sorry I am in the USA after all) for 5:30am. I went to bed and set my alarm for 4:30am.

Things to do in the morning were:

Get up and move straight to kitchen and make strong black coffee.
While this is brewing have a shower.
The next sequence of events however was NOT planned…
I am in shower just washing soap out of my hair and I hear Rocky the RockSTAR dog barking.
Hmmmn? Weird – I say weird because that big ol’ dog was still snoring his head off when I got up!
He carried on barking and then I felt a rising panic starting to build beneath the suds.
For a split second I stood in the bathtub frozen in panic. I then jumped out wrapped a towel around me and opened the front door.
There was my cab – YIKES!
Is it 5:30am? I ask in REAL surprise.
Yes replies my large and very tall female cabbie, that’s what time you booked.
SHIT SHIT SHIT (Actually I think I was probably a little more colourful than this), I thought it was 4:30. You guys have daylight saving??
ME again: Wait, please can you wait…I will be 5minutes?
Oh, yes of course, she says. (Yeah, the more she waits the more money trickles out of my pocket at a scary rate – For every 15secounds an extra 25sen (American!).

I dash back in. Into the bathroom and get dressed. Soap still in hair, it is staying, pack up wash stuff rush into bedroom, throw everything in the case. Zip everything up. Feed Rocky The RockSTAR dog as he looks on in bemusement.

Sadly look over at the coffee pot of freshly brewed coffee. Switch it off and sigh. Have a look round make sure I have everything. And then I am out that door.
Okay, so I took 7minutes!
Put the case in the cab, my driver could not lift it! She was twice the size of me.

Made it in time to the Shuttle place and was on the bus with 5mins to spare.

But boys and girls the adventure doesn’t end there! When I changed my Hawaiian flight they told me to be there 3hours ahead – I guess it’s all the rigmarole of going through security, thank god for lock laces and my current need of late to NOT need a belt (my stomach and butt is doing a perfectly good job without, thank You very much). Well of course I was not going to be there 3hours ahead since the earliest bus from Napa was 6am and due to get to the airport at 8am – it was gonna be tight!

So we are on the freeway and the bus slows down. I was half asleep but I open my eyes a little and see a lot of flashing lights and highway patrol cars. CRAP. An accident. Luckily not too many rubbernecks and just a slight detour and we are on our way.

I arrive at the airport at 7:35am (It’s Sunday and traffic is light)! RESULT :)

Now what should have happened is a nice proper shower where I could wash and dry my hair and make myself presentable to the public. Wash my face. Have a nice cup of coffee or two, perhaps some fruit. Feed the dog, let him outside and clean up all the dirty dishes.

Very VERY sorry I was unable to do this! Bad, BAD HOUSE GUEST!

But the car is still in one piece, as is the house, as is the dog, although I expect he is still wondering what hurricane came through the Valley this morning and disturbed his beauty sleep!

Ok, now I can say it…

Sunset in Maui

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Running in the Wine Country

I do not think anyone can argue that I am not having a great time. The trouble is when you feel good and relaxed I still get tendencies to think I am superwoman and can do anything. The landscape here is Godly, I just want to run and run and run and ride and ride and ride. BUT my body will not let me:( So I am doing little runs and little rides and trying not to overdo it.

Training is a word in the dictionary. It is no longer in my vocabulary. It will be back but not until I know my body is ready. My mind is in a pretty good shape. I am having ideas, brain waves, I do not forget stuff (much), I am functioning :) But the body is taking longer to heal and mistreat it and it comes up and whacks me in the butt as a gentle reminder that I need time out away from races and structure but not necessarily the sport. That is my life :)

SO. I did a short short run the wrong way last night, nothing to speak of so I will not go further than that. I checked out exactly where I had to go today and my 9am run got pushed to 11am. Out the door and I only need to run for 10minutes at my snails pace to be in the wine country, now how blooming super cool is that??? I ask YOU! HOW COOL IS THAT???!!!

I will TELL YOU! Extremely super duper cool, pretty, inspiring, luscious, scenic, calming, tranquil. If you believe that God made the world in 7days, I reckon he spent a good six and half days in this neck of the woods!

Ok enough, I think you get the picture, for more just pop over to my Facebook page.

Tomorrow I will be tackling Atlas Peak solo, I have the destructions written down and I also worked out how to drive the Prius today and use the GPS because I got ruddy lost! All is good though and I because there is no milk in the fridge to make a hot chocolate (it is friday night) I cracked open a bottle of white. A Napa label of course!