Monday, April 18, 2011

Introducing my Ceepo Katana, aka King Arthur!

I don’t think I was a ‘needy’ child. (David, was I?) But my latest acquisition has been on my ‘want’ list for a long LONG time.

The old adage “all good things come to those who wait,” is a favourite with my mum. As it probably is the same with every parent on the planet when trying to keep their kids wants under control.

I have only ever owned 2 bikes.

My first was a Scott road bike that I used for my first triathlon that happened to be an Ironman. (Yes it was a silly thing to do). I then broke the bike and having already fallen in love with triathlon I knew in my heart a tri bike was all I was ever going to need.

I don’t draft and when I do try I am terrible at it. I like to sit up front. I like to ride solo. So all the signs were there early on to invest in a tri bike.

So I sold my soul (read: got a loan) and brought myself George the Cervelo P2C. George has done me proud, we have had lots of wins and podiums but when I changed my job last year I knew it was time to change the bike also.

Fresh start and all that.

I have always had a soft spot for Ceepo bikes; there is just something about them. Their brand, their design, and the fact they are a PURE triathlon bike company. I fell in love with them much like I fell in love with triathlon...READ MORE

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Why Should triathletes beef up?

Are you a triathlete carnivore in hiding?

Time to get out the steak knives and dig into a bloody steak.

Yesterday I ate a filet steak. Nothing unusual you may think. But for someone who eats less and less meat these days but is NOT a vegetarian, steak is usually off my menu.

Perhaps down to price, convenience and also my diet is pretty raw with more vegetables than bugs bunny could handle!

But my buddy Kharis is always tweeting about the Las Vacas MEAT shop/restaurant in town. There are two outlets and one of them is now within walking distance from his new office. VERY dangerous on two counts: the pocket (he has a weakness for Wagu) and on the waistline!
My bloody lunch sitting in the chiller
But this got me thinking. I know beef is good for athletes. Well lean cuts not the fatty stuff :) So I thought why not meet the ‘Butcher’ and and listen to what he has to say about his product and outline exactly HOW good lean beef is for you. READ MORE...

Monday, April 4, 2011

Triathlete in Manila

So where has this triathlete-in-remission been for the past week?

It was a change of scenery to recharge the batteries. Now one might visualize an escape to a dessert island to do this, not a city bursting at the seams with people, traffic and chaos.
While Manila is all of those things it is also so much more. I have always a nagging doubt about getting around such a city where sometimes bad and crazy things happen and where your bag is checked with the 'magic stick' each time you enter a building. Would I feel safe? Would I become a victim?
But as with any new city, a couple of days to adjust and I am reminded why I enjoy the Philippines. The people are refreshingly open and confident, and always looking to strike up a conversation. If I had a buck for every time I heard "your beautiful" of which my response was always, (after I had stopped laughing) "I am just different."
Now who wouldn't love that! But it's not not really hard to point out the white chick walking thru the city or hailing a motorcycle taxi!!

Between the chaos and confusion of a colorful city I found clarity, a new goal, a fresh perspective and my faith...READ MORE

Monday, February 28, 2011

A Not So Funny Week

Bloggers NOTE: Apologies if you are not a cat lover. But it was that or a picture of a muscle! Plus it's my blog column - so I say what goes :)

Do you ever get the feeling you have been dealt a crummy deck of cards?

Whoa...last week was a tough week in my simple life. And I do not mean tough as in training.
I am a cat lover. Always have been. In the genes ya see (mum's side) dad took a little longer to warm up to the idea of cats, he finally got it after 6 trys and now numbers 7 and 8 are 'part of the Bishop household - UK'.
A very smart cat from a young age. She could open windows, doors, sliding doors, boxes - you name it. She even used to play 'fetch' with a tiny teddy bear I used to throw her.

She was a queen and would not give anyone an audience except me her owner or should I say, servant...READ MORE

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Road Testing: K-Swiss California

Yet to be released the Women's K-Swiss California running shoe looks cool.

But looks are not everything. Oh okay, so looking good and cool account for 90% of triathlon. But those of you who know ME, know I rarely match my top to the bottom, shoes to bike, helmet, name it.

I think that's why I get free stuff. Manufacturers take pity on me and want me looking a bit more erm...can I say 'serious' - HA!

So I picked up my new K-Swiss California's from Runnerz Circle the other day. I am road testing a sample. It says so in the tongue (I mean it says 'sample' NOT 'Road Testing' - but that would be cool wouldn't it!) READ MORE...

K-Swiss Women's California - Stability shoe

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Training 'YARD'

You may have noticed that my posts have become, slower and fewer. I have not gone anywhere, it's just that there is only so much writing I can do - Yes even I have a limit!!

Anyway, over at you may have noticed my thrice weekly (when on a roll) column called Funny Simple Life aka FSL OR Funny SINGLE Life!!

So what I shall do is post a snippet here and if you would like to read more then please hop over to my new home of BeyondTransition :)

Triathlon training in Modern Day Malaysia.
I thought I would give you a little peek into my current training backyard. It’s tropically hot and exposed but being able to handle the elements is why we train right? The plus side of training under the scorching sun is the unique landscape of this location.
For the past couple of weeks I have joined a bunch of Aussie guys for Saturday training. Since I am not really doing much long stuff this means driving to a start point to join them.

I like these guys as I no longer have to get up at 5am....readmore

Thursday, February 3, 2011

An Long Overdue LONG BLOG

Did I fall asleep? My last training post was on Jan 3rd. Today is the last day of January (that’s when the first draft was written). Oh My GOSH I fell asleep, well I sure needed it.

I am alive and have been climbing out of a very large hole. 56 days ago I had had enough. I wanted to end it. I wanted out. I was at the lowest point EVER in my life.

Looking BETTER, NO, looking GOOD!
I glossed over the New Year and with some expert guidance from Kristian and some very good friends and I KNOW things have finally turned a corner. Why you may ask? Hasn’t she done that before only to fall back and sink even deeper?

Honesty is my policy when writing. When I write about other peoples journeys they are kind enough to open up and be honest with me in the hope they can help others. So that is my policy here to.

But sometimes I have to delay what I want to say until I am strong enough to handle actually writing it down and revealing my inner weakest moments. I do this for two reasons. To prove that I am a strong person and that there is nothing to be ashamed of. And to hopefully help anyone else out there who may read this and be going through a similar experience. 

So. If you calculate correctly 56days ago was Christmas Day. Prior to the 25th on the eve I woke up and knew it was going to be a bad day. WHY? Ok briefly…

Thursday it started to build the pounding headache, the anxiety. I should have stayed at home but forced myself up and out of bed  - I cannot remember now if I span on the bike or not. It’s not really important.

I went to work, I went for a meeting. Sitting in the coffee shop I felt bad. Hard to explain but when you have CFS other symptoms that happen are the following: paranoia, anxiety, depression, as well as the inability to sleep, body aches, brain fog. Ok enough of that. So sitting there and my heart rate started to rise, I started getting fidgety and very uncomfortable. By the time my friend had arrived for the meeting I was in a right state, burst into tears and just had to run. YES, I collected my things and RAN.

Driving home with tears streaming down my face (I could also not stop crying), now I get angry with myself. I really have had enough. My head starts pounding and by the time the evening rolls round I had found solace in sugar.

Woke up Friday Xmas eve and could not move. Could not stop crying and the effort (mentally not just physically) to get up and go downstairs was immense. For 2 days I did not wash or leave the house (my bed) except to find solace in the only comfort I had become so addicted to…chocolate.

On Christmas day, well I would rather glaze over that day. But by that time I had had enough of my life. I felt a burden on friends and basically shut down, shunned anyone who extended warmth and a kind word. It is not a nice feeling to not want to live. I know I would not do anything about it. But just having the thought is bad enough.

I text a friend. I reached out and On Christmas day she became my savour as I started on the path to an honest recovery. I am by no means there yet, but I now feel strong enough that when the bad days come I can handle them. I DO HANDLE THEM, because I have had them since.

For too many months I care to admit I have run away and avoided my friends because I cannot handle being around them, the questions, the paranoia that everyone is talking about you. I know this is not the case – but this is one of the symptoms of this disease.

I have read so much material on CFS. I found forums, chat rooms where people with the same problem come together. I found this extremely uncomfortable. WHY? Because I felt the people in these forums were too negative, complaining about their problem rather than helping one another. Suggesting medications to take.

I have never wanted to revert to medication to help me through this. I do not believe in it. I believe there to be another way. And after reducing the stress, the work the training there was only one thing left to change.

This meant taking away the only comfort that I knew. Chocolate. But it was a comfort in sheep’s clothing as no sooner had I consumed the bar the feel good ‘rush was replaced with GUILT, depression and sadness.

In an email to Kristian he replied with so much POSTIVE useful information on CFS that I started to see light. He has introduced me to a new way of eating that I have embraced. He also told me not too fall to far into the black hole and that I have so much to give.

Other people close to my work and me tell me I am great. It’s hard to believe these things when so low but now I read this and I smile. Not cry :)

So amongst some serious positive thinking and channelling of energy the diet changed. I detoxed for the first time in my life and the results were not what I expected.

Actually I do not know what I expected, never having done it before or read much on the subject. You see I guess I am a kind try it first, read it later kind of person.

I have learnt a lot, I am still learning. And for someone who never EVER took supplements I have learnt that this body was way tired and I could not go on treating it the way I was without some inner damage. So now Supplements are a daily intake.  More on what I have introduced later.

Also and finally, just how did I get to this place? I know I raced last year in this fatigued state. Why? How do I know this? Because I stopped improving during training a long time ago and was finding it harder and harder to execute any training and have a solid session. And when I think back my hard sessions where hard because I was already in a depleted state – they were not getting quicker. NEVER.

It is no ones fault except my own. I take full responsibility for it. Coach did not force the training. And the work…well I just kept taking more on and never said stop, that’s enough I cannot handle this anymore!
Getting better and better EACH DAY
So now I see the error of my ways. I train lightly at the moment. I have one international race on the cards for this year already registered for :) And I am working part-time.

I believe I am 90% stress free. 10% of stress I do have is attributed to daily stuff like driving, queues and ignorant people – I let those wash over me and avoid negative people and places like the plague and if I find my self gripping the steering wheel and my knuckles turning white. I say a mantra. I take a deep breath and RELAX.

So I am not going to detail the training, there is nothing to learn there. It’s going along well and Kristian and Charlotte (who is expecting their first baby in a matter of days) have been a rock. As has my dear friend Julie and Lynn and the wonderful support and understanding of Big D.

I just completed my first full week for 3weeks. This morning as it is the first day of the Lunar New Year I chose to ride Putrajaya with Mark rather than do the turbo. We had a great chat and now I am off to an open house.

Please check out this website that Kristian put me onto: I have been sharing this with everyone I meet:

When I was viewing I just kept thinking OH MY GOSH. The next day after watching this…I detoxed.

Take care, train safe and please listen to YOUR INNER BODY – forget about whats happening on the outside – that falls into place once the inside has the warm fuzzy feeling of happiness :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

TriSpecific: New Year Blog Wk3

This past week was more about reflection rather than training.

The training was there and it got done. But this is a New Year. And while I have never been one to make resolutions – I do have a good look at what the past year has been like.

If I was to be totally honest it was a bit POOP. I qualified for Kona last year, February. Something I had targeted and worked towards for quite a while. The victory didn’t taste as good as I dreamed it would, I was never well enough to enjoy my little moment of glory. And then things progressively slid downhill from there to the point I withdrew from the October World Championships.

I struggled all year with my self-esteem, demons, one minute up the next minute down. I reduced training. I stopped training. I exercised. I put on weight. I started to really dislike who I was and what I saw when I looked in the mirror.

I thought it would all be okay if I just got back to where I was post illness and fatigue. I thought if I could make the outside look the same as I used to then I WOULD be happier and learn to love myself again.

Don’t get me wrong; last year was far, far from ALL bad. I have found when I am away racing or working at races I transform. I simply love to be in the triathlon playground. For me it is like going to church. There is so much positive energy all around, you cannot help but get high on life and being alive.

I first learnt this when I took a month out and went to Kona as a spectator. That month’s holiday was perfection. I started to heal and spiritually feel good about me again. And I am now going to make that trip (so long as financially able!) my annual pilgrimage, as a friend said to me over the weekend. You can’t take money with you when you go, so enjoy it.

So back to the outside casing of Emma; after hitting rock bottom I had (with the help of some guidance) a revelation of sorts. It all seems so simple now. Why did I not see this before? But sometimes you have to hit the bottom before you can start swimming back to the surface. This is going to be a long journey, hence my use of the swimming analogy – the swim is slow but steady as will be my recovery!!

I am trying although it is extremely hard to forget about what I look like on the outside. I now understand the real battle lies deep within. Get control of that and everything else will fall into place. It works. I am learning (and again this is VERY hard) to focus on me, one thing at a time, and to have belief that I can heal.

It seems crazy to say I find that hard, as I never had any trouble believing I could qualify for Kona. But this belief is deeper and a slower, calmer process which is totally the opposite of how Emma functions.

I went for my first Pilates class the other day. The instructor was shocked at my lack of movement and also the first comment was; you are not used to doing things slowly are you? I started laughing. "NOPE. That’s why I am here. I need to learn how to slow my life down, one thing at a time."

So training went smoothly and slowly and calmly. Kristian was very helpful with his advice and support in my woes and worries and information on CFS. The more you read, the more you learn, you can never stop learning.

Once again I cannot emphasize how helpful it is to have a coach with sound advice in your corner. When the chips are down, just a few words of encouragement are all you need to start moving forward again, or in my case get out of bed! :)

So if I wake up in the morning and feel like I have slept. That is a result, a HUGE result. In the old life I would have a list of 10-20 tasks to do in a day. WOW I am scared just typing that. These days I have maybe a maximum 5 tasks a day that includes training and meetings.

The goal is not to think about any of the other tasks until the first is finished. When that is done if I feel good to do the next and am clear in the head then I will do it. If I don’t finish everything in the day – then it’s not a problem, I will not stress and the world will not stop rotating!

I have been very lucky that I am still able to work whilst feeling so pooped. I do not think I have let anybody down and while some people have to quit work and have no income when handling CFS I count myself lucky that I am still able to do what I love.

2011 - THE ONLY WAY IS UP !!!
Happy New Year Everyone!
Train Safe, Train Smart, SMILE :)