Tried Tri Again

So here I was about to attempt my 3rd Triathlon – Tri the Gong, being run by Elite Energy and I was again tackling the Enticer distance.

The morning of the event Hubby was flying in from overseas bright and early so his parents were picking him up from the airport and on the way picked up Miss 3 at 5.30am.

For some reason I felt no pressure or anxiety and was really relaxed before this race and got a good nights’ sleep.

I was getting ready and loading in the dark. There was 1 benefit of going alone was it didn’t matter too much where I parked as I just got on my bike and rode to the registration tent. I had trouble at the registration area as I stood in the 40+ line and they couldn’t find my information. I spoke to an official who advised me that you are categorised based on the age you were last Dec, which was 39, yeehaa, so still with the younger gals.

I met up with my friend Colleen near the registration area and we hung together for most of the day. We stood in the transition area to listen to the briefing and then headed down for the start of the swim. Our swim start was delayed 10 minutes due to an excessive amount of bikes on the bike course. The swim was in the harbour a bit of argy bargy for the first bit and some congestion around the buoys but mostly open water. Colleen and I swam almost side by side for the whole swim and she got out about 3 steps in front of me. We certainly didn’t come last, as I turned around coming out of the water there were still a few behind us.

I jogged and walk to my bike and had a really slow transition, I was a little bit too focused on getting all the sand and grass off my feet and putting on my shoes and socks, meanwhile people were coming and going. This is something I really need to improve on.

The course for the bike leg was 4 laps and my main concern was forgetting how many laps I had done, someone said to me you will remember that hill 4 times and they certainly weren’t wrong. The course was mostly flat with 1 big uphill but then you had the added benefit of 1 big downhill, winding around the beautiful Wollongong lighthouse and to a roundabout at the other end. I did enjoy the course, getting up out of the seat up the hill and putting on the speed going downhill whilst gasping and grasping for water. I overtook a few people on the bike leg and there was 1 section that was quite narrow which always seemed to be where I needed to overtake, with a little bit of caution I managed to get past and not fall off or knock anyone else off their bike. I was having a laugh to myself doing a bit of Sesame Street counting, as each time I would go past the Start/Finish of the bike leg I would count like “The Count”, 1 ha ha ha haaaa, 2 ha ha ha haaa, etc etc and would do that a few times on each lap so I knew where I was up to, small things amuse small minds as they say, but it seemed to work for me. I still had that doubt when coming into the finish line – “did I finish all my laps?”

I hate getting off my bike because it only means 1 thing THE RUN. I kept telling myself, its only 2k, you can run this far. My friend Colleen had said something to me earlier in the week which was “I don’t want to be the skinny person walking” and I must say, seeing people slimmer than me walking during the run leg at my last Triathlon almost gave me permission to walk and I did. This time I was determined to not walk at all. I remembered to grab my security blanket which is my water bottle, that way if I got a dry mouth I would have a swig and be happy and not feel the need to walk to catch my breath. I also didn’t feel the need to walk through the drink station and reward myself with the water and a walk, so I was set. I declined the drink station and kept on running, there were many many times I wanted to walk, especially when I saw all the skinny/ier people doing it. I just kept up my shuffle, I was being overtaken, every 2nd step but I didn’t care. I wanted to pick up the pace a bit but waited til I turned the half way mark and then up a small incline and once I got beyond all of that I went from a shuffle to a jalk (jog/walk as fast as a walk but still jogging – I made it up myself). In my speed terms a jalk is a nano second faster than a shuffle per kilometre. I was super excited to see the finish line and run under the giant inflatable NAB sign and then onto the official finish and even managed to pick up the pace to a Rachael Sprint (not as fast as anyone else’s sprint but faster than a jalk). For the first time in my Tri history as I was coming up to the finish line the announcer called out my name, so with a double fist pump in the air I crossed the line. The satisfaction of running the whole way was awesome, I was out of breath but excited. I had done my best and even if my best was last place, this time I was not concerned.

Crossing the Finish line

Crossing the Finish line

So the results were in, official 2nd last position (secret little cheer about not coming last), and finished in 46:28, now I was thinking that I must have broken some land speed records to improve from Husky Tri by over 12 minutes but then checked the distances and the bike leg was 1k shorter, but given that my average cycle pace is about 3min per kilometre I still made big improvements. I am not sure how accurate the courses for these events either but this race felt better (except for my swim/bike transition).

With my friend Colleen, she inspired me to keep on running.

With my friend Colleen, she inspired me to keep on running.

So for my age/sex category I came 29/30 and overall female 165/184.

Happy happy happy.

 

Gasping for air at the finish but somehow still smiling.

Gasping for air at the finish but somehow still smiling.

BirthdayTri – the gift that keeps on giving

Getting ready to start the swim. That's me in the RED cap 157 from the back left.

Getting ready to start the swim. That’s me in the RED cap 157 from the back left.

What crazy 39 year old decides to do a Triathlon for their 40th Birthday? Yep that’s me.

A year ago I tentatively marked the calendar with an event, Husky Triathlon. It was very very tentative booking, but what caught my eye was that it was 4 days before my 40th Birthday and I had a crazy idea that maybe in some alternate universe I may just be able to do this.

You may or may not know from my previous post about my 1st triathlon, that a year ago I was in no shape to tackle any of the Tri elements on their own let alone doing all 3, (I may have managed the cycle). So doing a “proper” triathlon was a freaky thought. I say “proper” triathlon because 1st one I did was Triathlon Pink which was a women only fun event fundraising for Breast Cancer, plenty of people in fancy dress and a more relaxed atmosphere.

The Husky event was from the Elite Energy series with a variety of different distances ranging from the Long Course (half Ironman distances) to the Enticer which I was having a go at. The Enticer distances are 300m ocean/bay swim, 8k cycle and a 2k run.

When I arrived I headed off to register and collect my timing chip and numbers and was pleased to see they gave you a free swim cap. I preferred to swim in my own yellow cap, so grabbed what I needed out of the pack and handed the rest to my mum to mind (good ole mum’s handbag still being used even at my age). I went to the bike area with my dad and racked my bike and set up all my gear and then wandered back to all my supporters (mum, dad, hubby, Miss 3 and Aunty Mar Mar) to give them a kiss before I headed off to the start.

Mid swim, rounding the last turn.

Mid swim, rounding the last turn.

I ran into some friends at the briefing area and got chatting and noticed they all had their matching caps that came in the pack and I said I was going to wear my own, they then informed me that I had to wear the “coloured” cap that I was given in order to start at the right time. At this point I had no idea where my family were, I needed what was in mum’s handbag desperately. I found myself an Event Marshall and explained my situation and he confirmed I needed my swim cap to start, so I kindly asked if I could borrow his mobile phone and I called dear ole Dad to bring it over to me. So he sweet talked other Marshall’s to be allowed through restricted areas, hurdling barricades to get to me quicker with the red cap. Success! I got it just in time and missed the race brief but at least I was able to start.

So everyone competing in the Enticer headed down to the beach for the swim start and they had groups starting at about 5 minute intervals corresponding with their cap colour (pretty important to have the right colour cap now that I think about it). The gun went off and I went out fast and then settled down a bit and I was remembering my pep talk from Miss 3, “big arms and lots of kicking” and from Hubby “if you get crowded in, use the People’s elbow”, I do tend to use mostly arms so the pep talk came in handy to remind me to kick. The swim was hard but I felt good, my arms were tired at the end. As I was coming into shore I overtook a lady wearing flippers and as I ran up the stairs to my bike I looked back at the water and there were still a lot of red caps, so I must have done ok.

I took it easy heading back to the bike, it was up hill and stairs and I heard my trainer yell out to take it easy so my decision was right.

I took my cleats off my bike before the event because I didn’t think there was enough advantage for an 8k ride to warrant using cleats and a 2nd change of shoes, so I put my socks and joggers straight on, sunnies and helmet and off I went. I wanted to go hard on the bike and try and get as much advantage as I could, but my legs felt like concrete stumps, the ride seemed to take forever until I got to the turning point and by then my legs had limbered up a little bit. By the time I headed back down the main street of Husky I was going hard and overtook a few people, rounded the last turn and I heard my family cheering me on and it spurred me on to finish hard.

The last turn on the bike leg, I look happy..... happy to be getting off my bike.

The last turn on the bike leg, I look happy….. happy to be getting off my bike.

I threw my bike back on the rack and headed off for the run, my leg muscles were burning, I had really lacked the transition training leading up to this event and I was feeling it now. I wonder if I went too hard on the bike or if I would have felt like this anyway, it is hard to know. I ran (so slowly) as much as I could but it did walk a bit, I think my mind let me down in the run, I need music to keep my mind off the pain and next time I will be packing my Ipod. Once I rounded the half way mark my mind joined the event and I managed to run more on the home stretch and even had a sprint to the finish line. I was exhausted and a bit wobbly.

So my personal goals apart from finishing this race was to not come last and to complete the race in under 1 hour, the official times and placings are on the web and I came 3rd last in my age group 35-39 year old females and I scraped in with a time of 58:01, yay.

Finally about to cross the finish line, the run felt like the longest 2k.

Finally about to cross the finish line, the run felt like the longest 2k.

My one regret was having Gatorade a few hours before I started and I sipped the last of it on my bike leg, By the time I hit the running leg, my tummy felt like it had a rock in it, not a good idea, next time will be water all the way.

After getting congratulated by my family I headed back to collect my bike and they were not letting anyone in yet as there was still a cyclist out on the course, it was announced that it was a 79 year old lady who was competing in her first triathlon, so inspiring and she got the loudest cheer as she got off her bike.

My biggest supporters.... love these 2 with all my heart.

My biggest supporters…. love these 2 with all my heart.

We were staying in a house nearby and the plan was to have a little birthday gathering. When I arrived back some friends of mine had decorated the house with Fit Fab Forty picture collages and it looked amazing. My brother also arrived with his 3 kids and my family and friends prepared a fantastic seafood feast with some salads and after guzzling some water, having a shower I had a well-deserved glass of champagne, in a specially selected glass.

It was a lovely relaxing meal, great company and I received some of the best presents. I had a fantastic birthday weekend, I am one lucky girl.

The Week that Was – Cranky Pants

Monday – a public holiday here but I was supposed to attend my last week of Circus class, I really didn’t feel like it so I plonked on the lounge and didn’t go. I was disappointed with myself as I did enjoy the previous weeks.

Tuesday – after Miss 3’s swimming lesson, I headed off to my gym EnVie to do a cardio and/or weights session, when I got there it was packed because the mums and bubs outdoor class had been moved inside due to rain, I joined the group and the class was modified to a combine boxing and abs, due to odd numbers I had the blessing (or curse) of boxing with 1 of the owners Alex and where everyone else was getting a bit of a rest when they alternated between boxing and catching with the pads, I was getting a double dose of boxing. The 2nd part of the class was squat jumps on the Bosu ball, planking with a buddy whilst slapping opposite hands and then sit-ups whilst throwing a few punches. As the Class Trainer Alita wandered around whilst we were doing abs, she was poking around making sure each persons’ abs were doing their job. As she poked at mine and said “engage those abs” to which I replied “if they were any more engaged they would be married”.  Yes I made a funny. Everyone had a chuckle and it made it onto the EnVie Facebook Page.

Wed – Swimming was cancelled due to pollution in the harbour.

Thursday – I headed to EnVie to tackle 5k on the treadmill. I had never done more than 3k continuous running on any treadmill. My goal was to do it non-stop and in 40 mins. Well I managed a 40:36, not too shabby for a first attempt. I also did my good deed for the day. Whilst my darling Miss 3 was behaving herself in the unsupervised kids area, there was another little Miss 2 who was whinging non-stop, upon enquiring with her mother it was her first time, I said it should get better in 2-3 months and laughed. I hope for her sake that she settles in quicker. So after my run I went into the kids area to finish off with stretching and entertain the children so that the other mother could finish her workout in a tiny bit of peace. It was very cute as the 2 girls watched me and tried to copy my stretching moves.

Friday – was my 8 week review at EnVie, I was given a kick-ass and (a little bit confusing for my simple brain) weights program and some new cardio progams to tackle. Jem (trainer setting my program) asked if I knew the benefits of doing weights, I am sure then are many, but she said weights provide an ongoing calorie burn of up to 80 extra calories per hour for the following 36 hours. I think I will research this more, stay tuned.

Saturday – I took Miss 3 to EnVie to have a go at my new weights program, she was in the kids area and I packed her a stack of stuff, put on a DVD, gave her a Galaxy Tab with all her games loaded on it (I swore I wouldn’t give her a gadget, bad mummy), also packed food and colouring pencils. Well she just was not in the mood to entertain herself. My new program consisted of 3 different weights or exercises for 1 muscle group and then doing each 3 times. It involved a bit of set up with bar bells and dumb bells and benches and all sorts of new stuff that I was not used to. I was a bit lost. Then with Miss Whingy Pants not coping well in the play area, I quit, my earlier good deed in the week had come back to bite me in the butt, she wanted me to go into the play area and exercise in there. She just didn’t get it. I got through about 2/3’s of my program and was in a suitable amount of pain.

Miss-Cranky-Pants For some reason every little thing Miss 3 did for the rest of the day just pushed my buttons, I turned into cranky crying mummy. I would hear a song on the radio and cry. She would spill some food, I would yell, she would cry, we would cuddle and all was good for 5 mins and then something else would happen and we would go in a vicious circle, this went on for hours. Then we had to go to a kids’ party at a Play Centre, HELL, if you are in a bad headspace. I sat like a cranky pants just wishing it to be over, which was a shame because I really wanted to catch up with my friend whose daughters party it was.

Best not to rule this out as a possible cause.

Best not to rule this out as a possible cause.

By the time hubby got home at about 6.30pm I was more of a basket case if that was possible, Miss 3 was put to bed at 7.30 and I enjoyed some Champagne, chocolate and dip, I hope the other parents out there will understand when I say “it was just 1 of those days”, please tell me this happens to everyone. There were comments on Facebook that suggested it was PMT, well since I have never suffered from it before (in my honest opinion) I don’t know much about it, time for more research, must prevent near death of a 3 year old at the hands of her mother.

Sunday – after a nice Breakfast with the Outlaws, Miss 3 fell asleep on the way home and I took off for a bike ride and swim. 2 hours of me time, something I clearly desperately needed if yesterday was any indication. My cycling was difficult on the way out super strong headwind, but I guessed that conditions will not always be perfect on race day and I must train in all conditions. Then I stopped at 1 of the local Ocean Pools to do a few laps of training before a short ride home. I was happy to get a bit of Tri training under my belt.

So with less than 2 weeks until my next Tri and 16 days until my big 40th birthday, I am beginning to wonder if I am ready.

The Year that Was 2012

To look back upon a year it is often hard to remember what you did, how you felt and just how far you have come, especially when you have mothers brain (yep blame the poor child for my lack of memory). Thankfully in this era of gadgets, social media and mobile apps it can help to trigger my memory.

The year started with some very vague ‘gonna lose weight and get fit’ resolutions, just like every other year.

January my trainer starting me on running in our regular weekly session – hell but I wanted to try.

When February came around and I had my 39th Birthday I think a bit of impending OMG I’m 40 next year hit me and I wanted to achieve more than just lose weight and get fit, I needed some goals. So apart from wanting to be able to run, I wanted to be able to do a Triathlon like my trainer had been bugging me about.

I was not in a great state mentally, my relationship with my husband was not all rosy, it was not all bad either (probably difficult to be perfect when you are comparing it to my daily half hour of Bold and the Beautiful). I had not been diagnosed or medicated for anything but I was a little bit sad a lot of the time which was very unlike me. I had seen a counsellor a few times which helped, basically I talked (a lot) and she listened and gave me some non-judgemental guidance on how to turn negative thoughts around. It’s not something that is easy to tell people, but it should not be taboo to talk to a professional, without which I would say was a potential trip to the loony bin. We seek out professionals them out in all other aspects of our life so why not our mental health.

Exercise also became an outlet as did my reconnection with music once I figured out my gadgetry. I went from running/exercising with my Android phone for GPS/distance, Ipod for music and Heart Rate monitor and managed to get it down to HR monitor and phone with music/GPS on it.

Some people will say why all the gadgets, I am a numbers person, I need to know my numbers which is why I have enjoyed my Indoor Rowing for the past 6 years, it is all numbers in front of you and you can constantly adjust to improve your time/speed/distance. So I wanted the same from my running and cycling. We have all this modern technology so why not use it.

I know that exercise has all the medical benefits of improving your heart, lungs blah blah blah, but I was also enjoying the improved mental state. I am pleased to say that this year and my exercise has improved my ‘head’ and I am back to my happy self (most of the time).

So continuing on with my training and goal of doing a Triathlon, I won’t bore you with all the details of how I got to be able to run you can read about that in my Couch to 5k post but it was a big achievement to do and if I can do it anyone can, you may do it slower or faster than me but just keep trying.

As the year cracked on so did my desire and panic about doing the Triathlon, I had bought myself a new bike, I went from a super cruiser heavy weight to an ultra-light racing bike with the skinny wheels and those hanging down handles (yes very technical I know but upon researching bikes I realise it was like learning a whole other language, I don’t have time for that). I loved the new bike, once I got used to it and again plugged into my music would enjoy going for a ride. I have not really ‘trained’ for the bike, I just get on and ride, I assumed that all other training I am doing would improve my cycling as well.

The 1 thing I left til last was my swimming; it is such pain to swim, shower, wash (long) hair, style hair, get ready for work not in the comfort of your own bathroom and if I didn’t get it done in the mornings then I wouldn’t do it. Not to mention I found it boooring, no music to keep me company. I started back swimming in June 2012 and only did 1-2 swims each month, my goal was to just get through the swim leg of the triathlon alive, awesome goal setting. So I would dive in the pool, swim 300m and then go, ok I’m alive, do a few more laps for ‘training’ purposes and call it done. I am pleased to say I can now do 500m no problems (not fast) and a training session usually consists of 1500m before I get bored, I have been swimming in Ocean pools, indoor heated and outdoor heated Olympic pools and 1 time in a harbour. My next challenge is to do some Open Water swimming to train for any Triathlons that may not be in the luxury of a Harbour and certainly very very few are in the “Princess” comfort of an Olympic pool.

So to look at my milestones this year:

Running – I could not run more than about 200m without stopping to walk and have now done numerous 5k training and even a 6k training run. Even managed to do some treadmill running which I vowed I would never do.

Swimming – I used to swim 50m and stop every single lap for a rest, can now swim 500m non-stop, probably more if I tried and can do 1500m in a training session.

Bike – New bike, much faster and easier to go longer distance, my cleats and I are having a love hate relationship. I don’t train for the bike, just get on and ride. Biggest ride was only 24k from memory, I just lack the time to do more. Mostly my bike ‘Juliet’ and I are happy together.

Indoor Rowing – Held onto my State Championship title in the 500m and 4 minute distances and at last glance I still held my World Rankings of 22nd and 4th respectively (the Rowing year has not finished yet). See more about that here.

Weight Loss – I dare not go there but I will, I have to. So according to my weight tracking app and cross referenced with my own spreadsheet, it would appear that I started the year 2012 at around 110.5kgs, I dropped down to about 105-106 at my lowest throughout the year but finished it off after the Christmas binge at 109.8, however I am please to report that the Christmas Kilo’s are coming off almost as fast as they went on and I am really trying to eat well.

Goals – when I actually put my Goals out in Blogland in August 2012 I had already started working towards them, but never fully believing that they will all happen and like anything need to be tweaked.
No.1 was the work, life, workout and family balancing act. I am hoping I have done that Ok (I won’t profess to being mother or wife of the year), perhaps I should ask Miss 3 and hubby to comment on this.
No.2 was the Pink Triathlon, read about it here, but in short I DID IT!!.
No.3 was the National Indoor Rowing Championships, my training was not optimum for this event, too much focus on the Tri but I had a good crack at it, read about it here.
No.4 was the Mud Run a 7+ klm trail run with mud and other obstacles, heaps of fun, I finished it, read about it here.

Full length photo taken in Dec 2012

Full length photo taken in Dec 2012

I am pleased to say that apart from my weight loss goal I have achieved all my others, through many ups and downs that life throws at you and battling my own emotions and insecurities.

I must say I have never had as many compliments as I have had this year regarding my appearance and I appreciate every single 1 of them. I know with all my training I am changing body shape, however it is sometimes hard to receive a “you look great, how much weight have you lost” compliment when you have lost only a miniscule amount or nothing. Weight loss is something I hope to seriously tackle this year (yes I’m saying it again like I have for the last 20 years).

Happy New Year to all my friends, family and followers and I hope 2013 is your best year yet. Set some goals, you never know what might happen.

TheThe Week that Was – Finally kicking it up a notch

So finally I got off to a great start this week.

Monday, I did a morning swim, 1500m including drills. Afternoon I did a mixed cardio and strength session with my PT.

Tuesday a hectic morning/day, took Miss 3 to her swimming lesson and then headed to post office and gym, so picture an armful of different bags, parcels, her swimming bag, my gym stuff and her snack bag and my handbag, (I looked like a pack horse when I left the house). Did a good 30 minute cardio including 15 mins interval running on the treadmill which up until 2 weeks ago I vowed I would never do. With a bit of persistence from my trainer at the Gym she said just do 5 minutes, which I have now built up to 15 minutes and I have to eat my words because I am enjoying it.
I headed home for a quick shower and then drove an hour to visit my nephew for his 13th birthday and took him and his bro (9) and sis (14) along with Miss 3 out for McDonalds and then to the park for a play. I love that these kids are so energetic and a little bit competitive. I was telling them about the Mud Run and convincing them to do at least the kids run next year and they wanted me to time them doing obstacles around the playground, over the logs, across the monkey bars, up the ramp, down the slippery dip and running around the swings and up an over picnic chairs. It was a stinking hot day and we were the only group at the playground, they had so much fun and Miss 3 was following them around like a mad girl. The funny thing was every time they went to go down the slide they got a static electric shock off the metal, I told them to toughen up. Then they did running races with Miss 3 and pretended to fall over so she could win. Such a fun day, I wish I saw them more.

Wednesday after work I headed out to Wollongong Harbour where the local Tri club was doing a training session for the upcoming Aquathon, a swim/run event. So the full training was a 500m swim and 5k run. I asked hubby if he would like to come and bring Miss 3 to the playground nearby and take her for Fish and Chips.
The swim was in the harbour but there was a wicked wind blowing and there was a pretty good swell. I can’t remember the last time I SWAM (properly) in anything other than a pool, so this was a struggle. I managed to do about 350m, I probably could have done the whole thing but I was conscious of my family waiting for me and that I would be the last 1 in the water if I didn’t cut my 2nd lap short, something that was not appealing to me right on dusk. Then I headed out for the run, I could see Miss 3 was really whingy and tired so I made the decision to cut this short as well and probably did about 3k, again I struggled, a few little hills really got me and I tried to go a bit faster than normal so got puffed and had to do a few walks throughout the run. But it is all training so glad I did it.

Thursday I headed to the gym for a weights and abs session and then took Miss 3 to the local pool for a swim and catch-up with some of my Mothers Group friends. Myself and another mother did some swapping babysitting and she headed off to do some laps and then I did the same, such a great way to train when 2 people have like-minded goals. I just did a quick 500m.

Friday I allowed myself a day of rest.

Sat and Sunday, no workouts but a massive amount of cleaning and incidental moving, getting the house ready for Christmas. In honour of my family descending up on us on Boxing Day I wrote a poem in appreciation of those who host Christmas each year especially my mum and MIL, both amazing ladies.

Twas the weekend before Christmas
and all through the house
nobody was relaxing….
We were cleaning the house

The cooking and baking
created a mess
So we clean again?
Again, I said “Yes”

We normally go
to somebody’s house
And this year they say
We’ll come, it’ll be grouse

I clean out the shed
For somewhere to dine
Our house is too small
The shed will be fine

Plotting and planning
How many to seat
To make it look pretty
I’m gonna be beat

The toilets are scrubbed
I’ve added blu-loo
And we’ve cleaned the spiders
Off the furniture too.

“Don’t do that
stop making mess
Mummy get cranky
And have a big stress”

So thanks to our mums
Who do it each year
To keep us all fed
And we say “Were Here”

To finish off my Weekly Wrap I managed to get Miss 3 to visit Santa and convince my friend Cindy to bring her son Brae for our 2nd annual Christmas snap with Santa, it’s not getting any better, but it’s still funny, hopefully next year……..

Is it sad when the mum's are having more fun than the kids?

Is it sad when the mum’s are having more fun than the kids?

Fun fun fun on the Mud Run

When I started this Blog I set myself some goals and 1 of them was to complete the Mud Run. Now at the time it all seemed like a whole lot of “as if that is really gonna happen”. Just over a month ago the alarm went off in my Outlook Calendar to tell me that it was time to registered to get the slightly cheaper rate, nothing like saving $5-10 to stop you from “NEVER EVER” doing it.

I must say that this last month went Super fast and the last week, like a rocket. Before I knew it today was the day. Now it was a bit of a weird day because normally with an event you are out the door early ready for a 9am start. Today was different because our start time was 2pm, so fluffing around the (air-conditioned) house waiting to leave was a weird feeling and I may have been in La La Land and not really comprehending what was ahead of me.

So I rounded up the troops, picked up a few gal pals and hit the road. We ended up with a team of 8 and were called Southern Commercial “Mud” Divers due to a bit of sponsorship from my wonderful employer who is also my MIL and FIL.  They provided our fantastic singlets for the event.

The team showing off our Shirts.

We arrived in the 40 degree heat (Celsius) at the Mud Run venue and headed straight to the registration tents and grabbed our number bib, pitched ourselves a sun shade and I tried to chill out and relax before our time slot.

It was not long before it was time to head down to the starting line. With a 2pm starting time they were letting groups go at 5 minute intervals, we were out of the blocks at 2.05pm.

The mob ready for the 2pm start time.

Of course you have barrels of energy at the starting line and we powered off over the first obstacle which was hay bale steps and then up and over a brick wall. Then it just seemed like an endless mirage of hills with not a drink station in sight. I think the first run/walk and hurdling over a few obstacles to the first drink station was the hardest, it was sooo hot and dry. I am not going to sugar coat this for you it was hard and hot and I must say I walked ¾ of the course. I was the slowest in our team and really felt like I was holding everyone back.

The team ready to start the event.

I’m going to head off on a tangent at this point and give you some background info on what has happened this week. Monday morning I woke up and my world was spinning, literally. My head had not even come off the pillow and I felt dizzy. When I tried to walk I was bouncing off the walls like a pinball in a pinball machine. I have had this problem before and it was diagnosed as low blood pressure and mild ear infection (among other things). Before I lifted my head off the pillow I got on the phone to my Medical Centre to hook up an appointment ASAP. So the doc checked me over and my ears and blood pressure were fine, she sent me for blood and urine tests and after some other testing suggested that it could be Vertigo. She also said that my neck and head were very tense and that I should see an Osteopath, usually when I feel this tight I see a Chiropractor, she said Chiro was not a good idea. Long story short, I managed to get myself a late appointment on Monday to see Osteo and by Wed I was starting to feel slightly better, Thursday I got my blood results and nothing was out of the ordinary, I also managed a cardio workout and by Friday I almost felt normal.

So back to Mud Run I was a little reluctant to push myself tooooo hard and took it easier than I might have, if I hadn’t had the medical issues of earlier in the week.

My goal for the Mud Run was to finish, have fun and have a go at each obstacle.

I lost count of how many obstacles were on the course but some of the memorable one’s were; the first water/mud pit where my friend Colleen jumped in with a giant splash; the big pipes called Birds Nest which had wasp and other critters nested all over them.

My friend “Claustraphobia” and I could not start nor complete an obstacle which was a water filled trench with black plastic over the top where you could not see daylight at the other end, my issues with this was if it was a black tunnel with no water I may have considered, but the combination of water and enclosed space was not on my fun list. The only other obstacle I did not attempt was a balance beam which was barely 2 inches wide and if you fell off it was into a dry pit which looked like a 6ft drop. I didn’t think it was a good idea after having dizzy spells earlier in the week.

Some of my accomplishments were the cargo net, wobbly as hell, higher than I thought but once I was on the downward side I was relieved and satisfied that I completed it. My favourite was the Commando crawl through a watery mud pit which had low flying bunting hanging over it, second fave was the giant Slip ‘n’ slide, there are some benefits to being heavier, you get way more speed on the slide and I managed a graceful or disgraceful tuck ‘n’ roll at the end as I was still travelling at a great speed when the slide ended. I also enjoyed the giant inflated pillows near the end, bouncing over and the horrible last obstacle that was a wooden ramp with a rope to pull yourself up and over. My upper arm strength was just not good enough to get me over it, so after splattering and sliding back down the ramp I walked around. I didn’t want to bruise and batter myself on the last obstacle.

So all in all, out of the 20 or so obstackes, I didn’t attempt 2 and was unable to complete 1. Everyone on the team had fun, I was the slowest of our team but didn’t care too much because of the week I had and the heat I wanted to finish, not collapse. I consider this type of event a “Fun Run” and loved getting down and dirty in the mud. I will be booking into doing something similar again soon.

PS: I hope to get some action shots on here when the Event Photographer’s release them.

I finished, still smiling but a little bit tired.

Here we are crossing the finish line. This picture certify’s that it actually happened.

The truth about Indoor Rowing

When I talk to some people about Indoor Rowing, they often look at me quizzically and ask where I go to do something like that and how far do I row, when I say we row 2 kilometres they are astounded that there are “Indoor” venues that can accommodate that kind of thing. They thought that I rowed on water indoors and that there are massive lakes or pools undercover for us rowers. Pretty funny, when you think about it. So to dispel any myths you may have, Indoor Rowing is contested on a stationary Rowing Machine.

At my first Australian Indoor Rowing Championships in 2007 with my bronze medal. I was “Fat and Fit”.

I have learned that being fit in 1 exercise does not make you fit in another. Since starting with my Trainer in 2006 our focus has been on Indoor Rowing on the Concept 2 Rowing Machine. Getting fit in Rowing does not give you the fitness to run, swim or do anything else you desire, it helps. You must train in the sport/s your desire. Likewise if you can run, swim, cycle it doesn’t mean you would be “row fit”.

Indoor Rowing has been great for me; it gives you a great Cardio workout, using more muscles in your body than all other stationary equipment and is low impact.I have competed in numerous events in Australia over the years, winning 2 Bronze Medals at the Australian Championships in 2007 and competing again in 2008 and recording 2x PB’s, I was “Fat and Fit”. In 2009 I went to the NSW Indoor Rowing Championships at almost 9 months pregnant, I went along to support the team and found out there were only 2 others in my age category, so I decided to have a row, I was huge (nearly 150kgs) and wasn’t there to break any records and of course secure last place ie a Bronze Medal.

Indoor Rowing @ 9 months pregnant, 6 days before Ella was born. Blossoming at 146kg’s.

I have racked up well over 1 MILLION metres on the Rowing machine which is quite an achievement, for which you get a T-shirt and a Certificate from Concept 2, unbelievable, all those hours on the rower and that is your reward.

Post baby and lap band surgery I got back on the rower and trained to compete at the NSW State Championships in 2011 and scored 2x Gold Medals and both PB’s in the 4 minute event (placed 4th in World Rankings for 2011-2012 season for my age category 30-39 years*) and the 500m (placed 22 in World Rankings for 2011-2012 season for my age category 30-39 years*), I was also part of our team relay who secured a Bronze medal in a highly contested Open Relay event.

So my next challenge is the upcoming NSW Indoor Rowing State Championships on 17 November 2012 (only 3 sleeps to go) where Pioneer Fitness has a 10 strong team. My goal is to do PB’s in my 2 events the 500m and 4minute and for our Relay team to place in the medals.

I am also on the Event Committee for the National Indoor Rowing Championships being held 14 Sept 2013 in Wollongong Australia. Don’t think you have to have years of experience to contest this event, it is open to all levels, all ages from school kids to 80 year olds. The events for the NIRC are 500m, 4minute (how far you can row in 4 minutes), 2000m and the relay event where 4 competitors each row 500m and change over. There are many online training programs out there, especially on Concept 2 websites including technique videos. If you are interested in learning more feel free to contact me and I can point you in the right direction or follow NIRC on Facebook. Next time you go to the gym, get on and have a row.

*Researching these Rankings have just blown me away, never looked at them before, 4th in the World – wow.

Running – Couch to 5k

So recently I had a lovely catch up with Miss 3’s Mothers Group (yes she had a birthday). It was a bit chaotic in my back yard with 6x 3 year olds, a 2x 1 year olds and 2 under 3 months. So after some cake, coffee, dip and carrots the conversation got onto the topic of fitness, Triathlon, tough mudder and running and some of the girls were asking how I did it, so I thought it appropriate to write this post I have been thinking about for a while.

Now I know there are many websites and blogs out there that have a training program for “Couch to 5k” and being fairly time poor and time limited (after Facebook and Pinterest) to troll the internet for a proper program (that you don’t have to pay for), I just had a crack at it myself.

I never thought I could actually do it.

So around January 2012 my trainer started me running during our weekly session completely out of the blue, as his main focus up until now was Indoor Rowing.

Initially I could not run a full lap around his block which was about 300m (I found out later), I could make about 200-250m non-stop. So over the course of the hour I was with him, I would do some rowing and then head out for a lap around the block and then repeat this 3 or 4 times. It is hard to remember the exact amount of time but it was probably about 2-3 weeks of doing this before I could complete a full lap around the block. I was also trying to do a bit of run/walking myself pushing Miss 3 in the jogger pram maybe 1 other time a week.

At the time of doing my laps I never knew how far it was, to me I guessed it was about 1k, when one day I calculated it to be approx. 400m (actually 300m) I was devastated, I thought I was going further. This was getting too hard.

Alas, I pressed on, we began to deviate from running the block and ventured to the local bike track. To get from my trainers house to the track was 700m, this at the time, felt like enough for me because I always kept thinking the further away I get the further I have to get back. Negativity was constantly creeping in.

Then we began using the run “to the” bike track as a warm up, have a stretch and a run along the path, so each week I would try to run further than the week before, 1st time clump of trees, next the bridge, next time 2 telegraph poles past the bridge and so on. I was also doing this other times myself without my trainer.

One thing I figured out early on was I had to WANT to be a runner and despite what people may say they probably want to as well. I used to say “oh I have no desire to run”, because it always seemed too unachievable. I had to keep getting out and testing my mind more than my body. Some days I felt better than others and some days my mind made me stop before my body wanted to.

So to give you an idea of timeframe I started running around late Jan 2012 and by beginning of March (about 6 weeks after I started) I was running 2k non-stop, then about 2 weeks later I was running over 3k non-stop, and by mid April I had cracked 4k. By the beginning of May I had cracked the elusive 5k and did it a second time a few days later to make sure it wasn’t a fluke. So basically those first 2k seemed to take forever but the progress after that I seemed to be able to go further distances a lot quicker, do don’t despair in those early days when you may feel that you are getting nowhere, just try to go a bit further than the last time and then keep up run walk and each time try to reduce the distance of the walk and increase the run intervals. So achieving MY first 5k took just over 3 months.

After successfully conquering the 5k a couple of times, I would go out wanting to do it again and not be able to, there were days when it just didn’t happen. I tried not to let it get me down and would just think “well I didn’t make 5k this time but hey I did 4k and look how far I have come”. Also a lot of my initial running was on really flat ground and when I added hills I would get disappointed with my distance.

Over these months something that I hadn’t felt before had clicked in my head and I had found some determination. I went on a few holidays: a week with the girls to Bali, booze, food, laughs, shopping and just a general good time, but I still managed to go out and run a couple of times; a scrapbooking weekend, where normally I would sit on my rear end for 2 nights and 2 days and only get up to eat and sleep, I managed to take an hour out of my day to go for a run; a family trip to Dubbo Zoo I got up before the crack of dawn and in the bitter cold and managed a 3k run (it was sooo hard to warm up, my body wouldn’t go any further). Now it seems first thing I pack is my runners.

I very rarely run with anyone else, I run with my music, I have a great playlist on my Ipod and Smartphone and certain songs really get me going, I think that I will share an entire post about my Workout Music soon. I also love Runkeeper app and website to keep track of distance, time and speed, although I don’t know if it is completely accurate it is a good guide.

Another thing I need to say is I am not fast at all, actually there was a time (in the early days) when an elderly lady power walking overtook me wearing sandles, plenty of people walking their dogs have overtaken me especially up hills, but I just keep LMFAO in my head 

Try Tried TRIATHLON

I did it I did it, I completed my first Triathlon, here is my story.

The 2 nights leading up to my Triathlon I had great difficulty sleeping. If I woke up in the middle of the night, either of my own accord or by Miss “Almost 3”, I would have great trouble getting back to sleep. I had so much doubt in my mind. Would I be able to do it? What if something went wrong? Will my ankle hold up? Will I look fat in Lycra? Well I know the answer to that last 1 is “yes” but I had to ask the question.

The picture I was reluctant to publish, but this is me wearing Lycra. The suit was really good for the event, just not good for hiding the lumps and bumps.

To de-stress a little I arranged for Miss “Almost 3” to go to my Brother’s on Friday night for a sleep over with her 3 cousins, whilst hubby and I got a hotel room right where the triathlon was being held, walking distance. We had a very rare relaxing grown-up meal and I was alcohol free and in bed early.I got organised early and headed off to the marshalling area, as I was walking over I saw the start of the kids (under 10yrs) Fun Run 1k event, I was so inspired by the kids, 1 little girl was either exhausted or scared running towards the crowd and the Event Marshalls got her moving and helped her and it brought a tear to my eye and a giant cheer from the crowd.

All set up for transitions before the event.

It was a bit daunting not knowing what to expect with my first Triathlon; however once in the arena the organisers were very helpful and guided me to where I had to go. There were over 700 competitors in the Long Course event which involved 300m swim, 9k cycle and 3k run. What amazed me was that there were all shapes and sizes ages and abilities and to be honest there were some quite large ladies. Before the event I asked Hubby what he was going to yell out to cheer me on and he said “Run Fatty” which I thought was amusing, however once I saw the variety of competitors we both agreed this may not go down well.

With my Facebook friend Christine who I only met IRL a few months ago because of our like-minded goal of doing a Triathlons.

I was very pleased to run into a friend of mine who I met IRL a few months ago from a Facebook Group so we stuck together and headed to the briefing poolside. The swim was in an Olympic pool, zig zagging around buoys to complete 300m, at the start you could dive off the side of the pool, it was staggered at 2 second intervals however once in the pool everyone seemed to bunch up, the water was really choppy. Before I got in I noticed that plenty of people were doing breast stroke, back stroke and doggy paddle and some even stopped at each end to catch their breath. I don’t propose to be a great swimmer however I managed to mostly keep my head down and did freestyle the entire way, even though I was very slow, I was happy with my result when I got out.

Pounding out the swim.

I had no real plan of attack, however once I got out of the pool everyone was walking to the transition area, I decided there would be no harm in running a bit, so I got moving and ran what felt like an eternity to get on my bike. The bike leg is my favourite, I feel like it is more of a cruise, with more of a muscle burn than a lung burn. The first lap of the circuit my legs felt like concrete stumps struggling to get moving after the swim but the final 2 laps of the course I felt better. The weather was a bit drizzly so I was really really careful on the corners not to wipe-out. I really enjoyed the cycle.

Exiting the bike leg to hit the run.
Oh look I’m winning ………….. oh no I’m not, but I am still smiling.

I jogged my bike back off the road and parked it ready for my nemesis “running” leg. Because of my sprained ankle I had not run for 4 weeks until 3 days before the event so my running fitness was not as good as it should have been. I took the extra second to put on my Lorna Jane sweatband “Never Give Up”; it is funny how looking at that can truly inspire you. The first part of the run leg was horrendous, straight up a long gradual hill, legs still getting the hang of running after the cycling. I wanted to quit almost straight away, I just thought to myself, don’t keep up with everyone else and I shuffled along at my own pace. I had to tell myself I could do this, the first 1.5k just felt so long, but when I hit the turn-around I was a relieved to know it was half over and managed to find a spring in my step for the last half. I ran most of the way, only a few walk steps after the water table to have a quick drink and about 20 steps up a hill near the end, I picked up the pace again to run up the long gradual hill which was just before running back into the Athletic Centre where the finish line was, it felt like I was finishing a marathon, running down the straight of the athletics track towards the finish line, once I shuffled into the arena I had my trainers voice in my head which said, “leave nothing in the tank” I sprinted the last 150m to the finish line, even overtook some people.

Sprinting down the home straight.

I freakin’ finished, I was still in disbelief that I had done it. I was a little teary after the finish until I found hubby and gave him a big cuddle (he gives great hugs).

To be honest when I got the idea in my head earlier this year to try to do a Triathlon I had so much doubt I never really thought I would do it and I seemed to have a stack of obstacles thrown at me in the last few months, with a never-ending cough, full on sickness, 2 funerals with friends and family, hubby away for a few weeks and a badly sprained ankle, I think these things were sent to test my dedication.  Once I registered for the event I was not going to let myself down.

I am pretty pleased and surprised with myself for finishing and now I know I could probably push myself a bit harder next time.

Finished and pretty proud of myself.

 Update 9 Oct 2012 – So the results are in for the Triathlon Pink I came 681 position out of 774 competitors in the Long Course with a time of 1:09.57, pretty happy with that, I achieved my goal of not coming last, woohoo.

Tri Training – nothing like cramming for a test

I am attempting “photo a day” for Oct and today’s topic is “where I stood”, my thought was – in these shoes, that is where I stood today.

Those that know me will know I can have a potty mouth if it is warranted (more often than not), so those who don’t hold on for the ride.

I arranged with a friend who is also training for a triathlon in a month (not 5 days like me, aaargh) to have a little swim/ride training this fine and sunny morning, I had recently purchased my all lycra tri-suit (the most unflattering garment on the face of the earth) and thought I better test it out before the big day, so not wanting to pay to attend a heated pool for just 300m of swimming I suggested a dip in the Ocean pool at Thirroul a lovely seaside town just 1 suburb away as they have a nicely tiled pool that they pump in the sea water every few days (I think), brilliant I thought to myself and then take off for a cycle.

The water was FUCKING FREEEEEEZING, hence why there was only 1 other crazy in the pool and a few others dangling their toes. I mean take your breath away COLD, unable to swim with face in water COLD, gasping and squealing COLD, people laughing on the sideline COLD…..

Being the greatest friend on the earth I opted not to wear a wetsuit over the top of my all flattering lycra ensemble as my friend didn’t have one and that would be unfair to her …..  who is the idiot now …… MEEEE.

FUCK ME….. I wanted out almost instantly and it took 2 laps (of the 6 that we were doing) to even contemplate swimming with my face in the water, of course it warmed up as we swam or our internal organs started to get used to it and shut down but as much as I wanted to get out every single lap we persevered an then had to swim more than half way across the pool to get out at the stairs, my freezing arms would not have lifted me out.

Upon Googling right now the data I have retrieved is the water Temp at Thirroul on this fine day ranges from 16.4 °C to 19.4 °C, given that we were there in the morning and for drama purposes I am going to say it was on the colder end of the scale and had I have thought to Google last night I am guessing that I would have paid big bucks for a heated pool.

Ok enough of the swearing, oh there might have been a bit more as we struggled to get our limbs moving and dress to get on our bikes.

Then we headed up a hilly route to get in a bit of a cycle, the aim of the day (well for me anyway) was not to do a blistering pace, but to quote NIKE, just do it, I had not practiced these 2 elements together before so I am glad I did. There was 1 “Nemesis” hill enroute that was right at the end of our ride and previously I have had to get off my bike and walk up, albeit I used to do it towing Missy around in a little trailer so it was more difficult back then but I successfully conquered it and plan to tackle it more often. So 11.5km later our training was done and I headed off to the kiosk to grab a Chai latte and bring something home for hubby.

Quick change of topic to food, something I seem to always do is buy some sort of food item with the coffee order and today was no different, I bought a raspberry and almond muffin with the intention of sharing it with hubby. Well not paying attention he proceeded to devour half of it before I mentioned to him that it was sharesies, and in act of “I don’t know what came over me” I said don’t worry you have it, and I was OK with it, no FOMO* at all. *See my previous post about FOMO.

Who is this girl and where did she come from?

* I revised this post and removed over excessive use of F-bomb