Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter 2009

Easter's a time of treats, right? Hmmm not so much in our household this year! Easter was a lot of hard work for us this year, not a lot of chocolate and even less hot cross buns!!!

Good Friday started with a bike ride for both of us down to Bibra Lake (about 3okm), then a 16km bike time trial for me. We then biked home again. I was feeling a little off in terms of cycling that day and I never got into a good rhythm for the time trial and didn't really do as well as I would have hoped. I came in7th place for the females behind some good riders but it was a little disappointing for me considering I won the last time trial in record time. I still had a 38kmh average though so I can't really complain.

Good Friday was a real scorcher and it hit 36 degrees in the afternoon. We went to Subiaco oval for the Hurricanes vs Western Force game early evening and it was very, very weird going to the rugby in a singlet and a mini skirt! No scarf, polypro, gloves, down jacket or beanie.

It was also the first game I have been to where I have been the minority in the supporters. The canes were being boo'd all over the field. But we had the last laugh winning the game with 2 tries in the last 4 mins! Yay.

Subiaco Oval left me a little underwhelmed though. The stadium is built for AFL so the rugby field is all in the middle of the park, I almost needed binoculars to see the game. The speakers weren't very good and the big screen was too small... hahaha I guess I am being a bit picky. It was great to see the rugby though and a nice night out.

Saturday started with a bike/run brick for Jason and I. It was another tough day out there. The ride was at 80% of our maximum heart rate (the whole ride on aero bars) and the run was to include 3 * 2.5km intervals. I haven't told you yet but I have been injured lately. I strained my LCL ligament in my knee so I haven't been running for over a week. Saturday's session was my first back and my coach was still ok with me attempting the intervals.

Again Saturday was another hot day out there and we were both pretty tired after the ride, more from the draining heat than the ride itself. The run started well, I did 2.5 good intervals but then my knee started to go again so I stopped the run while the knee was still intact.

Saturday afternoon was spent fighting the hoards at the supermarket (all shops closed Sunday and Monday) before a quiet evening at home.

Sunday was our lightest training day of the weekend with just a 2km swim time trial. Its still really hard though, even though it was only a short session... We were both pleased with out effort and again had an easy afternoon, me recovering for Monday (and what was going to be the hardest day of the whole weekend).

Easter Monday was an 82.4km cycle time trial for me... arghhhh. An 8 lap course out at Wandi. This is the course that I did my record breaking 41.2km time trial in February so I knew the loop well. Unfortunately today was pretty windy (unlike the first time trial) and it was a whole lot harder out there. This tree shows the wind... not windy like Wellington windy, but windy in terms of Perth standards!I started out conservatively with the goal of riding consistently across all 8 laps. I was stoked with how I ended up:

Lap 1: 16 min 45 sec
Lap 2: 16 min 56 sec
Lap 3: 16 min 53 sec
Lap 4: 17 min flat
Lap 5: 16 min 48 sec
Lap 6: 16 min 45 sec
Lap 7: 16 min 53 sec
Lap 8: 16 min 43 sec
Total 2.14.43

I was really happy with my pacing and was even happier to see that I won the women's race by 2 minutes! SO I am the 2009 80km TT champ!!! Yay.

It was a hard fought day out there though and I really wanted to pull the plug at 40km to be honest. The result bodes well for the Busselton Half Ironman in 18 days time (well the cycling bit of it anyway... not so sure about the run!).

The last pleasure (note heavy sarcasm) of my easter weekend was a recovery ice bath! They are torture, but to be honest it really does help the recovery in the legs... which I will need as I have a 10km run time trial tomorrow.... arghhhh what a hard few days I tell you.

Kite boarding lessons for Jason

Jason was lucky enough to get some kite boarding lessons for his birthday from his parents and sister. The lessons were held down in Safety Bay, Rockingham by WestOz Kite Boarding (
Jason's lesson was spread over 2 sessions of 3 hours. The first day was mainly on the land, but he did get into the water for some body dragging. The second day started with the body dragging refresher and then the Board was introduced.

Jason went off to Rockingham by himself on the first day as I had the 5 hour killer of all bike rides to do! SO there are only 2 photos of the first day... as it happened it was the better day of the two.A pro out on the water.
The second day of lessons started pretty early for us as I had a triathlon race to do in the morning before driving down. My race finished just on 9 and we had to be there by 10am for the most optimal wind. So the pressure was on for me to race well and finish within my estimated time. I had a good swim and cycle and as I went onto the run I heard Jason say "there's no time pressure". I interpreted this to mean that as I was racing well we had heaps of time up our sleeve. I didn't pull back on the run portion of the tri though.

Once I finished the race Jason let me know what he really meant... he had heard from WestOz KiteBoarding and the lesson had been delayed due to lack of winds!!! So we managed to stay around for the triathlon prize giving.

It was pretty windy in Perth so we headed off down south with high expectations.... unfortunately the wind never eventuated and we sat round for a few hours waiting for it. At about 3pm we decided to call it a day.

At 7am Monday morning, Jason heard that it was on for 3pm Monday afternoon. We both managed to get out of work early (f0r a change) and drove to Rockingham for the third straight day.

We arrived and it wasn't a disappointment like Sunday, the wind was definitely blowing. I set up camp on the very windy beach... mmmm sand in the mouth, and Jason started day 2 of his lesson. I thought this was an apt warning sign for some of the wipeouts to come hehehe.
Here Jason is blowing up his kite.
This is Jason's kite for the day. The only problem was that both Jason and the other learner had blue kites so I was getting worried about taking photos of the wrong person. I didn't need to worry as the other guy wasn't very good at all and hardly got off the beach.
Here is Jason buckling up into the harness.
...and the helmet (which had a in built microphone so that the instructors could talk to the students while they were out on the water).
It looks like quite a handful to me, but Jason was managing fine.
Here it is, all ready to go.
A few last minute pointers from the instuctor.
And Jason was off... here he is concentrating hard.
After a few body drags through the weed Jason was itching to have a proper go at it.
And before I knew it he was off on his first ride. The instructors were very impressed and said that he was a natural... hmm any surprises there anyone???? A few of the other students looked on with disbelief and jealousy as Jason made it look a lot easier than anyone else out there learning.
Direction wise, for a beginner it is easier to go one way over another so for the first few runs, the students bring the Board and kite back up the beach rather than trying to fly it back.
And just like that he was off again.
Kite Boarding is very hard to take photos of I discovered. I had to take shots on an angle to get both Jason and the kite in.
Finally the kite waqs a little lower so I could take some better shots.
This shot really says it all... look at how much Jason is enjoying himself!!!!

I got it!!! I cought Jason's first jump on camera. The shots were blurred but I got it, which was the main thing!

Wipeout after jump number 2!
All in all Jason had a primo time and the instructor told me that Jason was an absolute natural and that if he didn't take the sport up it would be a waste of talent. Uh oh... there goes the budget I think, I can see a $2500 kite board trying to fit in sooner rather than later!!!

Evening walk on the beach

Western Australia often provides us with great sunsets and sunrises. The old saying "Red Sky in the morning, shepherds warning" is not correct here though. We often get red sunsets and sunrises and still not a lot of rain...

While trying to catch the gorgeous sunset a week or so ago we raced down to the beach... however we missed the best of it which was a shame. As we literally raced out the door we didn't grab any warmer clothes... and here Jason is showing how "cold" it was... all of about 25 degrees I think!!!
In this shot, right at the far end of the beach you can see Fremantle Port. Here Jason is on the collapsing sand bank.
It was such a beautiful evening and a great way to relax before going home! There were lots of kids and dogs playing, and people walking, running and fishing. I really like living close to the beach and being able to get out and about regularly. It is also pretty refreshing as the Fremantle Doctor is often blowing so its a good way to cool off before heading inside after work.

I think Jason is moaning about how cold it is... boy how things change hahaha

The tide was out as far as I have ever seen it this evening, we have never seen these rocks before...

As you can see, the sunset was putting out a lovely light for photos...

Aussie National Surf Lifesaving Champs

The weekend after we got back from New Zealand Scarborough Beach was the home of the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships ("The Aussies"), bringing together more than 6,000 competitors and officials from all over the country.

The Aussies marks the climax of a busy season for surf lifesavers. Clubs and individuals pit themselves against the elements and their peers to prove they are the best rescue and resuscitation outfits, ironmen, swimmers, boat crews, march past teams, ski paddlers, board riders and runners.

A number of the NZ team heading to the Aussies were on our flight back from NZ so Jason and I decided to pop down to the Beach and see the action. The great thing was there was a free shuttle bus service set up from from the car park (about 2km from the main beach). So many people were trying to find the closest park to the beach and not utilising the services on offer. We were parked and shuttled to the beach while other drivers were still circling as close to the beach as they could get.

There was so much going on at the beach, sprints, flags, paddling, rowing, swimming and more... how they keep track I don't know!

We watched the beach sprints for a while, they can run sooooooo fast on the soft sand. I was tired just walking in the sand. It was amusing to watch the younger competitors and their reactions when they muck up and drop the baton... its hard to work all season and then one tiny mistake means that a title is out of your grasp. At least with triathlon if you make a mistake early on in a race you can get your way back into contention... not so in a beach sprint relay!! We spent a bit of time trying to work out who would be the best sprinters...

Here's a ship way out to sea... but worth a shot.

Next on the spectating were the boats...The row boats always provide lots of photographic opportunities, especially as they try to get in through the surf.... great to watch all the action.Here they come...
They ended up crashing into each other!
I got heaps of great shots, it was hard to choose which ones to publish...
After the boats we caught the mixed double ski paddlers.... it was about now that Jason thought he might do surf again next year.
We had a great view of the men's belt race... and I don't mean the bum shot I have here :-)
What I meant was we were right by the mighty Zane Holmes... a legend in surf circles... and we got to see him first hand in action... he mowed the field down in the race... here he is on his way in. Yeah, he looks like he is in shape :-)
All in all good day at the beach.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

I hit the wall...

Sorry for the lack of posts recently. I have been really busy at work and when I get home I just don't have the energy to get straight back on the computer! So now its Easter I have a bit of spare time (not so sure about the energy though) to catch you all up on the goings on from Perth. I apologise for the lack of emails, text messages and phone calls as well. Hopefully things settle down a bit.

A couple of weeks ago Jason was lucky enough to head down to Rockingham to do his kitesurfing lesson (this will be the subject of another post soon). SO I faced the prospect of a 5 hour hills ride on my own. On the Friday at swim squad I put my feelers out for a group doing a long ride so that I could have some company. My coach found me a group (that were leaving from the Narrows bridge at 6am!) and then when he heard who it was he said "that will be a time trial!"... Hmmm how hard could it be!

I got to bed nice and early as I needed to be up at 5am (at the latest!). Poor Jason also had to be up early to drop me off at the start destination. I started to get a little concerned as all the other riders for the session turned up... now I know flash bikes don't necessarily mean good riders, but REALLY flash bikes combined with ultra skinny cycling types with leg shaves better than I ever have start to ring some warning bells. I was the only one on a tri bike, the rest brought out their roadies...

A little after 6 am and we were off, down the bike path by the Kwinana Freeway.... and from the minute we left we were on a mission to where ever we were going... lucky it was dark so I didn't see how fast we were going, but I tell you what, I was lactic within 5 minutes and I was truly wondering how I was going to sustain 5 hours of this.

This pace was maintained for the first hour as we headed from the CBD to the hills... so many times I considered pulling the plug but I seriously had no idea where I was going so I had to stay with this bunch, or get lost in the middle of nowhere.

As we neared the hills another one of the girls mentioned that she was only just holding on as well and when I stopped to check we had lost two riders on the trip already! SO at least I made it to the base of the hills. Apparently they like to ride fast through the town streets to get out of the traffic (what traffic at 6am on a Saturday I thought...) and then the pace drops somewhat in the hills.

One of the riders let me know what hills we had ahead of us... apparently just 4 main climbs, one at 14km but moderate grade, the second at 3 km but really steep- so steep that a zig zag technique is sometimes applied... and then two 4 - 5 km moderate to hard hills to finish. I was pleased to note that they regroup at the top of all climbs as well.

As we set off up the first hill we pretty much all split up... I was in the middle so was pleased with that... My biggest fear was coming in last!!! My legs were pretty shattered but I got into a good climbing rhythm and we were soon at the top. We had a rest at the top while waiting for the other riders to catch up and then we were off again. Now when I say 4 main climbs to a ride that doesn't mean the rest is flat... there were hundreds of undulations... some that should definitely been classified as hills I thought!

We stayed together for the next hour or so and then we hit this amazing down hill... I hit an all time high for me of 78.6kmh!!!!!!!!! SO close to the 80kmh!!!!!!! The bike was wobbling a bit though!!!!

The second hill was a killer... more so on a tri bike! I wanted my road bike SOOOOO much through this section.

About 3.5 hours into the ride I was starting to get a bit tired so I was consuming as much food and fluid as I could... and then I took a sneaky caffeine pill. Yay for being a responder. As the caffeine flowed I immediately felt much better, the next two climbs were great for me and the guys who were leading the pace at the start of the day were suffering (good to see I wasn't the only one having a tough day!).

Finally after the last main climb we hit Kalamunda and most the group stopped for a coffee and muffin. There were a few of us that wanted to keep going though (I figured if I stopped I would struggle to get started again)... so we headed off down the hill and then flat back into down... and smack bang into the head wind (from the West) that plagues Perth late morning early afternoon!!!

By this stage I was out of fluids and it was heating up a lot!!! We were still riding at about 35kmh so the pace was still hot! 2km from the city we all went our separate ways and I had 15km to get home... the first 3 km were ok and then that wall snuck up on me and smashed me in the face.... I was shaking, I got lost (on a bike path!!) and I had no idea how I was going to get home!!! I was dehydrated, needed food (I had nothing left) and I started crying. There was no one to call to help either as Jason was an hour south of Perth on his course. I was on my own....

Its so hard to truly get across how bad I was... I have never, ever hit the wall like this. This day I was worse than my race in Canberra even. A combination of the heat, lack of food, dehydration, speed, long ride and not as much sleep as usual all culminated in one big ass wall that I needed to climb to get home....

I was never going to make it all the way home so I focused on getting to the petrol station 6 km from home, there I could refuel and hopefully regather my thoughts and energy!

I was reduced to a crawl nearly and at one stage thought that I might get off my bike and walk it! Every pedal stroke was a mission for me..... I wanted to curl up in a corner and die!!! All I could think about was how pleased I was it keep it together while with the new riding crew! Ahahaha pride is a funny thing :-) Especially as a triathlete/cyclist!

Finally I got to the garage and I hit the coke (not diet but real coke!!) for the caffeine and sugar, also powerade for the dehydration, and a trail mix of fruit, nuts and chocolate. I sat down out the front on the garage and seriously just wolfed down my stash... I was shaking so badly so food was going everywhere, I must have looked like a homeless person who hasn't eaten for weeks!

I demolished everything is sight and then pulled myself together for the last 6km... it is amazing what food can do... The next 6km were much easier than I thought that they would be... and finally I was home..... HOME SWEET HOME!!!!

Needless to say the next few hours were spent on the couch.

Now the real kicker was my programme for the Sunday... my coach had a race in there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How on earth was I going to do that I wondered.

Well this is the amazing thing about the human body... I got up the next day, had a little residual soreness from the ride to day before, but nothing to write home about! We arrived at the race course (Point Walter- a subject of a previous blog) and I wondered what I was getting myself in for.

The course was going to be tough! A relatively easy swim, but then a 1km uphill run from the water to transition... then a 20km hilly bike course, followed by a 2 lap hilly run! Hmmm

Well I started the race with no expectations, I had no idea how the body would react at all. Well it reacted well as it happened! I led the whole race from start to finish... picking up about a 20 second lead in the swim/run to transition, then pushing this to a 2.5 min lead at the end of the bike, which I further extended in the run (only by 15 seconds...)... so all in all nearly a 3 min win for me.

I felt AMAZING on the ride and just wanted to keep going... I then ran a good 5km and only 20 seconds slower than my 5km triathlon PB (from a flat course). All in all it was a sprint distance PB as well...

SO all I can say is, that wall can be scaled and its amazing what we can do once we get to the other side!!!