Sunday, July 25, 2010

note to self: DON'T WORRY

For two years I didn’t fall sick. I was putting my body through hell, friends fell sick around me but I never even got a sniffle or headache (hangovers don’t count). It led me into a false sense of thinking that I was impervious to sickness, that I was some sort of superwomen :)

So since Langkawi which was oh such a long time ago I have struggled. Big Time. Last year work was not as demanding and I was able to execute the training and have more rest. Since Langkawi it has been Go, Go, GO with regards to work and that has affected my energy levels hugely, it has meant even when training I am usually thinking about what I have to do as soon as the session is finished.

Also post IM, physically my body fell apart, so did my head for a little while there. But the body was in tatters. I had done two previous IM’s and felt great and recovered. This one however I think the damage ran a lot deeper.

And then just as I begin to feel better and see light at the end of the tunnel and get ready to step up to the next phase – WHAM. Emma gets sick again. This time I was taking no chances and went straight to the doctors and demanded antibiotics.

So all my friends – my triathlon family, raced PD today. I accepted over a week ago that I probably would not be going, but left it until Thursday to let coach make the call. Initially it was to be a training day. I am far from fit – hence the reason we call it a training day. But going in under cooked and not 100% healthy would have me back in bed tomorrow morning – exactly where I spent most of last weekend :(

PD tri is especially meaningful to me. We all know it is a distance I rather fondly despise but two years ago Port Dickson triathlon was the very first thing I won, EVER. Never had I come first in anything on my life before (unless you count a poetry competition!!!)

Despite the emotional attachments and my desire to race, it’s no biggie, not sad at all. After Langkawi I made a list of the races I wanted to do this year. The thing is you can have an idea of what you want to do but you never know what is going to happen between A and Z. Well so much has happened that has forced me to rethink and re focus. The Philippines 70.3 was to be a target. Now it has become another training day. I have four weeks today until THAT training race. But hey, there are worse things in life to deal with and it is just a race.

And so this year has now come down to two triathlon events. One is already completed. The next stop is Kona. There are ‘potential’ things in-between but they will be last minute decisions.

After spending my first week of phase two struggling and sweating it out on the turbo wrapped up in jumpers with the air-con off, the swim was the only discipline that despite having bad congestion – carried on pretty smoothly. I have made some huge improvements in this department and that gives me great confidence for October. My fitted T’s are getting slightly too fitted these days – so all that work in the pool is paying off and I can also loosely blame this for my extra weight increase :)

So Monday I stepped up again under the instruction of build back slowly. I have a lot of strength and power. I just have no endurance. I have also switched a lot of my training around. No longer do I have earth shattering early mornings that do not let me rest. Instead my monster Wednesday starts with a swim. I love to swim in the morning. I then ride long and run in the afternoon. What about work I hear you say!

Well I figure since I work late most nights and on weekends because of the demands of keeping on top of the teams racing, if I am able to take a Wednesday afternoon for myself over the next 11 weeks then that’s what I will do.

I rode my first 4hour ride yesterday for a long time. I kept hearing the words SLOW in my head. What is slow though? How am I supposed to feel? Does it mean no pain in the legs? A low heart rate? In the end I finished the ride and took it easy in stages. If my head was starting to hurt I backed off.

My afternoon session was a mental battle. Head hurt, back hurt, arms hurt…grumble grumble. In the end I listened to that word SLOW again and at 6pm I went for just a swim. A leisure swim. For 30minutes I went up and down and the time flew by. Loved it, the aches and pains had faded and I felt awesome afterwards.

This morning I did a two-hour run at Bukit Aman. Again, the word SLOW kept ringing in my head; I have struggled hugely with my run because of an injury and my legs are just basically a mess. I was told the run is harder to get back. I was told they have lost the electricity but don’t worry we are on track.

So rather than try and kill myself this morning my goal was to finish the two hours and feel ok. Mission accomplished and even better, with a BIG smile. There was a walk/run going on as I was heading back and never have I smiled so much and said so many good mornings! It was good to get that one in the bag. I keep telling myself not to worry, it will come back, patience and as you hear a lot, hurry slowly.

I have eleven weeks to go. It seems like a long time. It isn’t. I am excited. As I was running back this morning I got REALLY excited and couldn’t stop grinning (I probably looked pretty stupid, all alone and grinning like a Cheshire Cat). The best part about this morning is it was the first run I have done since February without hip flexor discomfort. I wish I could say the same about the burning pain in my quads…but I need that pain to remind me I am still alive!

I will be taking it one session at a time and I shall not worry about it.

I also vow to blog a little more in my lead up to Hawaii :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Sorry guys, many of you have asked for the link about the Taiping Heritage Run that triggered my previous post. Here it is:

Friday, July 9, 2010

Run Malaysia RUN

Tey’s latest FB post did not sit well with my Friday lunch!

Tey EngTiong Now more local races going to limit foreigners join road races in Malaysia....cinya ! To prevent Kenyan runners ? To help promote local runners win prize money ? To promote running ?? Although PR (Permanent Residents) still allow to join, but for foreigners who work in Malaysia, can't join race already, but they really interest to join cause they love running.”

Our favorite Pix Man Tey is always on the ball with running races keeping us all informed of what’s on and where. Boy oh boy, has Tey thrown me a carrot to chew, chomp, and tear apart with his latest post. I could say thank you for the blog material. But to be honest, I would rather NOT have to write this. Writing this as a ‘visitor’ in Malaysia does not make me happy. Anyway here we go…

Run Malaysia run, run away from those who train harder. Run from those who achieve sporting success more than you. Hide your head in the sand and ignore those with a foreign passport yet are proud to call Malaysia home. Ignore those who love to take part in a healthy lifestyle. Retreat to your bubble Malaysia, that bubble where all is safe and protected. Where you can have some small glory and not lose face or have to come up with Picasso style excuses. But beware. EVERY TIME you step out side your bubble, you may as well throw your money down the toilet. If you cannot compete at home how can you ever expect to compete at an international level? This is not right. This is NOT ONE MALAYSIA. The politics between organizers of many sports events and people who think they know best for the future of sports in Malaysia should put their cigar and VSOP down right now and pass the baton to someone that knows how it should be done!

There, that’s my piece said. And…breathe…ahhhh.

On a final note, I went to the link in the Star online to read the organizers note. How on EARTH can a race be Tourism friendly when TOURISTS are not even eligible to race!! Someone get this GUY A BRAIN…or at least half of one! Then again we would need someone to teach the Neanderthal to use it. Bahhh!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Saturday Ride

I was riding to the broken bridge this morning. On my way to TBB to start my ride when something in my noggin suggested that a 3hour turbo session would be fun. My head also told me it would be a good mental workout and a very good leg workout. Far harder than going out on the road for three hours. So I dug out one of my 3hour sessions, picked up the iPod and started my date with torture.
Whoops she did it again! NO, no accident, just a little puddle of hard work

I have not done a three hour turbo since February so needless to say it was tough. But the feeling when you have finished...absolutely awesome. Not quite sure how the afternoon session is going to go but thats the whole point, one session at a time :)

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Warm Up discipline

I need to post about my terrible KL half, that can wait though this comes first...
I was told in no uncertain terms a few weeks ago to stop (insert) 'expletive' thinking about my swim. Just get in there do the time, get and and forget about it. Take whatever rest you need, forget about splits and do it. The swim is your warm up for the bike and run.
When I first read that I thought coach had finally given up on me. It is true. The swim is my warm up. I shall never be a fishy but I know I can go into every race with the confidence that I am supremely 'swim fit' NOT swim FAST just swim fit. That helped me a lot in Langkawi when the tough swim caught up with some other athletes later in the day. You never realize until later how much it can take out of you.
So it's my warm up. Last year I swam more than I ever have in my life. I got in there did the stuff and never saw any real improvements. It was mentally mind numbing, confidence shattering and at times I wondered what the hell I was doing. How, I mean HOW an earth can I ever improve? Why, I mean WHY am I not going faster?
I struggled with these questions day in day out. Up and down the swim lanes when I was going along like a tank I would be thinking over and over and over, I feel fit, I am fit. I have swimming muscles even. So why is it not translating :(
I have stuck at it. I have switched off from comments many close and not so close friends have thrown my way. I have had offers off free coaching, offers of a coach being paid for me. Guidance, advice, thoughts, everyone has given me their two cents and some. I appreciate all of the thoughts because it shows you care. It shows you want to see Emma swim faster :)
But, I am stubborn and loyal. I put my trust in one person and no matter how hard it got I never budged and stayed put with what I was told to do. 
It's very weird how when it comes to triathlon and training I do as I am told - to the T. Part of this comes from the respect you have for the guidance a person gives. I believe in this guidance, I respect the person giving the guidance and that is enough.
Now every time I get in the water I am knocking chunks of time off previous weeks sessions. I know I have a lot to knock off but when I say chunk I mean HUGE chunks, so much it is almost unbelievable.
So I get very excited about this and report back to the coach. And he says, there you are, you have stopped over thinking.
I cannot think because I am trying to breathe on my sets. Sometimes I think I will drown because I am so puffed and think I may not get to the end. During this time I think gosh this is going to be a mighty slow set. But I get to the end and my watch reads another PB. 
I know I still don't look right to the perfect trained swimmers eye. I probably look rather clumsy, I know I make a hell of a noise as I smash the water. But I really don't care. And I don't care about understanding how I am improving. When I cared about all those little things they stopped me and held me back from just swimming. So now I just swim. And you know what, I really look forward to it, and that is THE biggest improvement that will trump any PB I can ever do.
How will this translate into a race situation? I have no clue. I know I will still suffer with my anxiety so I guess I still have quite a lot of work to do with the head side of things!!
So to all you non-swimmers out there. If I can improve ANYONE can, just apply some patience and hurry along slowly :)