Wednesday, April 1, 2015

marathon in the making

So I’ve tested out my legs twice now in a marathon and so far I’ve been pretty stoked with my results. Running has always been my jam, way back when in year 3 I was oh so excited to be asked to represent our school in the year 4 category in cross country, and even more so when I placed 7th. I would have loved to see my splits for that.

 living the dream in year 3... that ain't no lululemon top.

Now it’s time for me to ditch the 7hrs of exercise, yep that’s right the only marathons I have raced have been at the tail end of an Ironman, and see what I can do in 42.2kms. With Melbourne Ironman being my first marathon, I had only ever ran 36km in training and managed to whip out a 3:27hr and in Hawaii after an epic 7hrs on the bike alone I ran a 3:47hr.

No surprises here, I’m setting myself a challenge. I want to bring this soul marathon in under 3hrs, and because what you say you create, my goal time is 2:55hr. I’ve literally just done the math for the first time and that’s looking like 4:14min/km, haha love it! I’ve totally got my work set out for me.

I’ve picked the Traralgon marathon on the 21st of June as my mission. Keeping it country and humble. I’ve heard it’s a decent course and not too busy, and I like the sound of that. I’m 3 weeks into a 16 week program and already, just from consistency and a gradual build, I can feel my body regaining that fitness and the speed I had a fair few months back. Just as if you were building up from 0-5km, it is in small increments that you see the improvement and benefits; one giant quantum leap would only leave you in a lot of pain and hating it completely. I’ve learnt to be patient and trust in the process.

Whilst I do love running I feel, that on it's own 4-5 times a week, it’s too much impact on the body. So even though triathlon isn’t in the forefront of my mind I'm enjoying the fact that I am cross training, mixing it up with a ride and a swim once or 2 a week; keeping it nicely balanced.

Alrighty, so 2:55hr is it … wow, baby steps (a lot of them) consistency and keeping it fun is what’s going to get me there.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

live into that greatness

It’s uncanny, yet I’m not surprised that it’s been a year, nearly to the date, that I was getting prepped and psyched for the biggest day of my life to date, Ironman Melbourne 2014.  

Since that day life has continued been a non–stop journey of ups and down, and as per usual I keep finding that next challenge to elevate me and to take life to the next level.

For a good 4 months after racing Kona, I was done, mentally and physically. I didn’t want to look at my bike, the idea of a 30min run was hard work in itself and I found myself finding it hard to comprehend what I had achieved not too long ago on that deceivingly blissful, tropical island.

From 2 years of vigorous training, my body had built up imbalances in my muscles that left me with an out of aligned pelvis which my osteo so beautifully summed up when asking ‘when did you have a fall?!’ leaving me in pain on the shortest of runs.

So whilst it may have looked like I had retired from my athletic career, which at times, I myself, even thought I may have done, I was truly listening to my body. Feeding it with things that it needed and things that were right for me at that time.  Yoga, pilates, meditation, cooking classes and not living by a regimented training schedule.

So here I am a year on. I’ve gone to France to follow the Tour de Frace, to Kona to compete, or should I say survive, with the best and now I’m stepping up and building my career at lululemon, and I’m even more grateful for the life I lead than I was last year. Better yet, through all of this I have been going through the process of finding balance in life and doing things that have made me feel alive.

Just as yoga is an on going practice that never strives for perfection, I’ll always be learning and practising the divine art of drawing life toward me, always discovering those things, people and opportunities that light me up and that call me into action. This year I am up to big things; aiming to run my first marathon sub 3hr (2:55), to be the best version of myself at work and to continue to creating amazing relationship with the people who me the most to me.

For that reason I have found myself a mentor. Someone that I admire and who I know sees the greatness in me, creating a space for me to live into that greatness. That’s a powerful thing, having someone cheering for you when you yourself are finding it hard to stay focused and motivated. Just as I have a coach to elevate my training and race performance, I figured why not do the same for other areas of my life that are important to me.

Thankyou Emma for your generosity and skills to see straight into my soul, I’m so excited about what I will create this year working with you.

I learnt last year how fragile, short and fleeting life can be so why not set yourself up the best way you can to create a life you love?!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Blue Line.

The blue line. It’s quite, it’s meditative and it’s becoming my friend. Thinking back to when I first started swimming now a year and a half ago I would have never stated such a thing! My swimming history, previous to triathlons, consisted of the novelty races a school swim carnival and a good game of Marco Polo. My mind would race a million miles, my breath would be short, and I battled. In my mind I was not a swimmer. I am proud to say now that that statement no longer exists. My swim stoke is getting stronger, I am able to clear my mind, and breathe strongly even through the harder efforts. It’s an awesome feeling to be able to turn that belief of myself onto it's head and smash it. We are all guilty of putting labels and limitations on ourselves; I can’t run, I’m not fit, I can’t save money. This enables us not to take responsibility in areas of our lives that either aren’t working, are ‘too hard’ to deal with or we just don’t wanna! The key to breaking through is action, sweet, sweet action. Taking action no matter how you feel or think. I can assure you what’s on the other side is so worth the short lived pain of whatever you have to give up – an extra 5 mins in bed, that must have bikini for next summer or that well deserved serve of schintz chips ( in my case!)

So training is back in full force with a 7 day schedule. It’s been a long time coming however this past week has been the first week of my training that A) I’ve looked forward to B) Have kept a positive mindset through all sessions C) worked hard D) got excited about what’s too come.
I’m so excited to be back in action.

This week’s game plan:
Mon – Wind trainer session 1hr
Tues – 3hr ride into /.5hr run
Wed – 2 hr ride (totally forgot I was working so this didn’t happen and I was an hour late to work) & swim squad 1hr
Thurs – 1.15hr run (20min easy – 35 solid tempo – 20mins easy) cut this a tad short to get to yin yoga
Fri – Swim set – 1.15hrs
Sat – 100min run
Sun -  4hr ride
What is an area of life that you are limiting your potential in? And more importantly what action are you going to take?! 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Life lessons

Life is, weird, crazy and beautiful. It doesn't always make sense, yet it's always creating lessons to be learned.

It's safe to say the past few months have been like no other I've experienced before. A roller coaster of life altering events have occured to the point that Ironman feels like a life time ago.

I haven't posted on here for quite some time. I got stopped. I got stopped just when things started to get interesting, challenging and hard. The all so common internal dialog prevented me to keep sharing and documenting my road to Ironman and all that was in between. I'm dissapointed that I allowed the "who's reading this, I have nothing to contribute, what do I know" get in the way of my initial intention of: "I intend to share my trials, tribulations and tips of training, my good days and the bad. I'm so far from an expert in any of this, but I hope through sharing my experiences along the way I can inspire you, maybe even igniting a spark, to go after your goals no matter how BIG or small."

Yes the last 3 months leading up to it were tough, mentally and physically. I really found it hard when people would ask me questions and say "Oh you must be so excited!" to respond in the way I thought they wanted me to. Truth was, for the most part I wasn't excited. I was doubting my ability, coming in and out of focus and interest, and questioning why the hell did I start this in the first place! No one wants to hear that, I thought. However, whilst I got stopped in sharing what was really going on for me, I am so proud that against all of that I kept the big picture in mind and got to the start line with a clear mind. For the big day I created the possibly of Strength, Determination and Joy and made damn sure I lived into it. My mind was clear from start to finish, not a negative internal dialog in sight.

From the highest of highs, crossing the infamous finish line of Ironman, smashing a year long goal, my world turned upside down and hit the rock bottom of lows within a week. One of my dearest friends, Elle, had taken her life.

I really wanted to get back into sharing via my blog now I'm on a new adventure to Kona, Hawaii for the World Championships, but how could I do that without acknowledging this. I couldn't have. For a short life, 24years, Elle live a big life. She was intelligent beyond her years, bubbly and vivacious, a true friend, and behind all of this suffering from a silent illness of her mental health. One thing that we can learn from her beautiful life, among many others, is that mental health need not be a taboo topic nor something we should be ashamed of. We all have our struggles no matter how big or small, and we all find way to deal and cope with it. In Elle's case her decision was final, but we need to respect that is was hers. I think of her daily and even though now she's gone on a trip beyond a life time, we'll still be friends for life.

It's been over 6 weeks now since Ironman, and I really haven't done a thing. Without a strong, focused mind even the thought of getting up to go for a 30mins run feels like a giant battle. But this is the turning point. I have 5 months to get into to tip top condition for Hawaii Ironman after qualifying having finished 3rd in my age group, female 25-29yr old. I haven't set my goal up for this race. Top 20 in my age group is sounding pretty good. :)

So it's begins again, new challenge, new year, let's go.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Fancy Footwork...Fun!

Vibrant community... I think so.

I was really hoping to write a post before Fancyfootwork for Hope Fun Run happened on the 19th January...mmm that didn't happen! There are seriously only so many hours in a day! haha and right now sleep is becoming somewhat of a priority.

I really wanted to share why, how and the results of my first grand scale (in my reality!) charity event. On my journey to Ironman I wanted to remain grounded and not let it totally consume me, so I decided early on that I would make this challenge bigger than me by choosing a charity to raise awareness and funds for.

Find out more about the beginnings of this adventure and the charity in my previous post, Bigger than me.

Along with raising funds and awareness for a unique cause, I wanted to create an event that would bring a vibrant community of people together, whilst being active. I'll let you in on a secret....I had no idea what I was doing, nor what I was getting myself into, but in order to make anything happen you have to put yourself and your idea out there! Before long I had rallied an amazing team around me and got the right people to see the possibility. 
Coffee - before, during and after... why not!
Registration on the day, nothing like last minute fun.

My initial conversations about hosting a fancy dress fun run were quite entertaining. Most responses were along the lines of, 'oh that's a nice idea' what they were really thinking, 'damn she's crazy and she wants me to help her out.... as if this is going to float!' Well that's what I put together from the tone of their voices :)

However once I secured the venue, Woodleigh School, got public liability and created a logo, flyer and online registration page, people were getting the jist that my team and I ment business! Before long we were in the local Leader paper and on the local airwaves RPP FM; I stuck to my word and made it happened! 
Now that's a fancy start line :)

I set my sights high: 200 people and $5500 raised! 

Our morning resulted in 60 people dressing up and galavanting past the sheep and kangaroos around the gorgeous course, and we raised an awesome $2,350 for Send Hope not Flowers!

Nothing ever 'Grand' happens when you stand alone....
this was the amazing team behind an amazing morning!

Yep I could have been down hearted with this result after setting myself such a big goal but where would that lead me? Instead I stayed in the possibility of a vibrant community whether that be 10 or 100 and for that we had an amazing morning. This whole event was beyond my wild dreams just 6 months ago. However with the support of the community, our sponsors: Woodleigh School, Trispecify, Mornington Peninsula Magazine, Lilly Belle, King Creek Hotel, Hydralyte, I Do Aircon, Coles, Main Street Mornington, and C Max Communication and a superstar team of 14 friends and family who took ownership of the event. This resulted in the transformation of a crazy possibility to an incredible reality.

We also want to make a huge shout out to Lucy and Nathan from Fraklin Coffee and thier adorable caravan for donating their Sunday morning, Daniel Wormell from Calibre Entertainment for supplying the mornings soundtrack, Start to Finish for donating an impressive Gantry and Tully's fresh fruits for donating copious amouts of oranges and apples!!

This is what it's all about, puts such a smile on my face.

It going to happen again, bigger and better! So keep and eye out for us Fancy Footwork for Hope and get your thinking caps on!! Again we couldn't have done it with out our incredible sponsors who believed in us from the get go! 


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Hello Wall!

I met the wall these last 2 months. I knew it was inevitable in the lead up to Ironman, and I had an inclining that it would show it's face sometime around this time of the year.

It's safe to say that I have had on on the most full on last 2 months. Not trying to be a hero (but sort of) here is the break down of what these weeks have consisted of:

I have ventured up to Noosa and competed in the Olympic distance, road tripped to Shepparton and finished my first Half Ironman,
Morgs at the Kinglake start line

a week later covered 115km in the Kinglake ride then backing that up with a Sprint distance tri in Mordialloc,

The Trispecify Seals! At the Moordialloc sprint tri

did the cheeky colour run, then rounded it off by hitting a PB in the Susans half marathon finishing 4th overall in 1:28mins.

Alex, Myself and Mish dressed in pink, 'Doing it for the Ladies'

Running into the finish to place 4th overall

That however is just the list of event I have competed let alone the training that has surrounded that. The following weekend after the Susans half marathon I backed it up with a double 15 +/- run. For those who know the area the run loops up Olivers hill, down to Daveys bay, up canadian bay road pass Toorak collage, up Humphries road then down sweet water creek, than repaeted it in reverse, overall 27kms. This was done on the Saturday, only to be backed up on the Sunday with a 4hr ride followed by a 45min run!

I'm buggered just thinking about all I have covered. For the most part I have bounced back, the body not suffering too much. However, the mind has been a completely different story. Not getting adequate sleep, and not focusing on the right nutrition, at this level of training really started to take a toll. A mental toll. It was on this weekend of training that I began to question what the hell I was doing, what was it all for, why am I doing this, I can't do it. Not only did this effect my training, it effect all aspects of my life. Work became hard, I lost interest in maintaining my blog (obviously!) I just wasn't functioning well at all.

Fast forwarding. It's January, fresh year, fresh start ... only 11 weeks till Ironman! and 100% of my training left to do. This last week I have focused on my nutrition. My boyfriend Morgan is also training for Ironman this year. After his experience last year, which left him in hospital with gastritis, he now sees a nutritionist and has curbed his lifestyle and training around being Vegan.

I am learning so much from him and I'm now experimenting with what works best for me. Gosh there is so much information, theories, facts, faux fact, floating around out there when it come to nutrition, it's confusing. So my approach is to be mindful with my food, considering I am asking so much of my body it's only right that moving forward I think twice about what it is that my body really needs. To date, I really haven't respected this fact and the last month of hitting the wall is a result of that.

A beautiful still morning as we set off for 6hrs on the bike.
Training is seriously moving to another level. This last weekend saw me riding for 6hrs, the longest I have ever been in the saddle, and I felt great. Seriously, I got a good sleep, ate a big dinner before hand and had a hearty breakfast of quinoa, quinoa flakes, rice milk, berries, banana, honey heated up in a saucepan. It's delish and set me up perfectly for the day. Out on the ride I took bananas, dates, and clif bars and drank water and hydraltye. We rode 4 hours through the Danadenongs which was magical, the hill climbs were tough however the S- Works Amria handled them perfectly with a 27 ring on the back (I had no idea but I have a few extra gears that a few other people which made is easier for me to spin).

The real challenge was when we got back to Berwick and headed out to Tooradin in the strongest head wind I think I have fought. Perfect experience if last years Ironman is any indication of what we may face.

So yep I've hit the wall, jumped over it and have come back stronger. I'm so sure another wall is not too far away however I'm now mindful of that along with a few other things, so I just may be better prepared :)


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Holy Shep!

Heading to set up my gear in transition.

The swim in the lake was like flailing about in a big cappuccino. As soon as your head was submerged it was lights out and quite confronting. In our practice swim on Saturday, the dark water literally took my breath away. I hadn't swum in anything like it before.

I was considerably calm trending water before the siren went come race day. Knowing what I was in for help somewhat. I really hadn't given this race a whole lot if attention in the lead up. I was still on a high from Noosa. To be honest I would have loved to have stayed focused on getting quicker at the olympic distance. That, as well as organising a charity fun run 'Fancy Footwork for Hope' (a post about this exciting new project is on it's way!) didn’t leave much room to think about doing a half ironman!

Since Noosa my training had been light, easy T2 runs and rides with a tough swim squad session in between. It has taken me a whole year to grasp the concept of T2 ' easy' training session; much to my coach’s dismay. I don't know about you, but in my former years (without a wise, knowledgeable coach that is) I had created the notion that in order to ‘gain’ or ‘improve’ I had to go hard or go home. This is what led to my yo-yoing interest in running over the last 6 years. I’d hit it hard everyday for 2-3 weeks and then crash and burn. I’d then not do anything for a month or so only to start from square one, like a bull at a gate, all over again.

On my flight to Noosa whilst reading Rich Roll’s ‘Finding Ultra’; an amazing tale of a man who had a life changing wake up call in his mid 40’s. In it, he speaks of the importance of T2 training, which is all about ‘building the efficiency of the aerobic, “go all day” system. I was with Rich when he reluctantly said “…if all I do is go slow, how will I ever get fast?” Clinton has told me this several times, but it never really sinking in. As an endurance athlete it is curtail that we really value the T2 session and avoid training in the ‘grey zone.’ The ‘ grey zone’ is where your hard work falls short of the intensity to build speed, yet exceeds the required effort to develop the aerobic system. As Rich Roll found out, it’s the ‘most common mistake made by amateur endurance athletes.’

So having not run anything near 21kms in weeks and really focusing on T2 training in the 2 weeks after Noosa it’s safe to say I had no inkling of how I was going to perform come race day.

The siren went and it was limbs galore as was all took off on the swim; beginning what would end up being a 5:03hr effort. This was something I have never attempted before. I was short of breath as soon as we started. Adrenalin, anxiousness and excitement, combined with being knocked about unintentionally left me unable to get into a rhythm until well into the swim. I stop to yell 'let go of my leg!' as we rounded a buoy, a hand griped my ankle, a phantom swimmer in the dark water pulled me back. Dramatic I know, but it was at that point I thought 'what the hell have I gotten my self into?!' Once I had calmed down and gotten my rhyme I felt a lot more comfortable. Well as comfortable as you can feel in a full-length wetsuit, in a murky brown lake, surrounded by bodies that you accidentally collide with every now and then. I made sure I kept popping my head up to sight the next buoy and that I was constantly passing more people than those passing me. Once I was in the zone, I then got a surprise when the swim exit quickly appeared.

It's such a confidence booster reaching transition, it's like a mini celebration of one leg finishing for only the next to begin. Running up the swim exit shute I was engulfed by the cheering and encouragement from the sea of blue on the side lines. The Trispecify and MPTC supporters were out in fource! I looked at my watch, 36mins and ticking, that’s not too bad. 

A speedy transition saw me out on the bike under 2 mins. Then reality hit, ‘how on earth will I be able to keep race pace up for a whole 90kms?!’ As this was a morning of first, setting out on the bike was an unknown. I have never sat on a bike for 90kms in one straight go, not stopping for lights or cars, and having to keep my mind in a race pace zone. All I know was that I had to get my nutrition and hydration right in order to have a chance of a killer run. Eat on the half hour (I had 3 clif gels and 2 clif bars) and take a drink ever 1km. I had set my Garmin to track the time of every 1km cover. This turned out to be a curtail tool to stay on top of hydration. It is so easy to get caught up in thoughts of racing or working through the pain and forget to drink regularly. 

The bike isn’t my strongest leg by far, but I’m working on that. It has developed with the aid of my trusty Speacialized, S-Work, Amira and has improved five fold from 12 months ago when I first began. However being one of the first waves out, leaving 7mins behind the pros, I prepared myself to be overtaken…a lot! I set out with a good pace and my goal was to hold that, I was clicking 1;50min kms and this was a great mind game to keep within this time frame, especially when it got tough. The road was dead flat; the wind was minimal, perfect riding conditions. The back roads of Shepparton aren’t completely seal and on the second lap of the 45km course, I felt every single bump and vibration! 

I was slightly nervous when I approached my first aid station where I need to refuel with a new drink bottle of electrolytes. You first had to though away your empty bottle in to a trailer with a target board on the back; I like the novelty yet I was way off a bulls eye! Then you call out to the fabulous volunteers what it was you wanted, water, electrolytes or coke. As they ran along side you, you whisk the bottle from their hand and away you go. My goal was to get through 4 bottles 2 x water and 2 x electrolytes, which I completed very successfully. 

half way turn around, 45kms to go!
Again I got such a buzz coming back into town to the turn around for the second lap; to hear a roar of cheering and my name being called out from our teams supporters was amazing. I tried to savor it, as I knew from then on I was going to be out on my own for 45kms in a lot of pain. It didn’t take long before girls who looked to be in my age group were passing with what looked like ease. It was then that it became a mind game to stay positive, to stay focused and to stay committed to the cause. In order to not get down about being overtaken on the bike, I focused on the run, noting everyone that passed me and playing a game as to how quickly I thought I could find them on the run! 

Riding back in to transition was a huge relief, there were times out on the ride that my butt was so sore I could have screamed and when my little legs just couldn’t push any harder or faster! I passed my isle only to do a quick u-turn, rack my bike and switched my helmet for my visor. I chose to put socks on for this run, as at the end of the 10km at Noosa, little blisters where starting to form. And with that I took off out onto the run with a huge smile on my dial! Getting a boost once again from our fabulous band of supporters. I was so happy that the hardest part was over; the run is what I can do. I always surprise myself when I first set out on a run after a ride. My first km clocked in round 4:06mins. Not a sustainable pace but an awesome way to kick off the next 20kms. 

Keeping pace, having a clear mind seriously helps.
I had bought a gel race belt the day before at the expo. It was the best thing I could have done. In the little pouch I stored 2 gels and took another one when I first set out. The run course, like the ride course was quite flat. It took us around the lake and then out along a tree lined path. The shade was a great break from the mid-day heat. As coach had suggested, I took 2 cups of water from every aid station one to drink the other to pour on the top of my head. It worked a treat. I stayed fresh on the run and really utilised the good old, ‘passing on the left’ and ‘coming through on the right,’ and I forged my way through the crowd of weary bodies. I new I was making good time when by the last lap of the 7km run course I was holding 4:25min – 4:35mins kms. A 5-hour finish was in my sight but I had to keep up this steady pace. Having this now as a realistic goal to reach enabled me to stay strong, I was starting to hurt now, and was really digging deep to keep my focus. My body and my mind were now starting to fatigue and wander. I find the best way to keep my self-motivated is by motivating other. Yes, I’m that person out on the track encouraging those who are starting to drop off and panting ‘good work’ as I run along side others.

Running back around the lake for the last time, I got my last wind of energy. Across the water I could see the finish line and hear the commentator congratulating each athlete as they crossed the line. I couldn’t get there quick enough! I looked down just as I ran over Michelle’s chalk message on the path, ‘Madeline Lucas #1’ that put a smile on my face. Finally I was running into the finishing shute, our faithful supporters in blue still cheering from the side lines. That 4:30hrs of cheering from when they first boosted my spirits out of the water! 

Inspiring team mates, Bethan and Deb

I crossed the line in 5:03:16. 

What an achievement, I had not only survived, but powered through to the end of my first half Ironman. I couldn’t have been more happy 

Love the sea of blue, awesome support on and off the course :)