Thursday, December 31, 2009

Our last week in pictures...sunsets, macros and water polo

So over the last week or so I have been renewing my interest in taking photos again. I had a wee setback once my camera was stolen but we managed to replace it with a better lens and the same body from the insurance.

I was so disappointed when my camera was stolen, I felt lost for a few weeks. The new camera set up has taken a bit to get used to as the lens is much heavier than before.

On Christmas Eve Jason and I had a lovely walk down at our local beach. It was a nice balmy 25 degrees and the sun was setting. In Perth you have to be in the right place at the right time to get any of the sunset as it just goes down SOOOOO quickly. So if the sun is setting when we leave the house we will be too late to get there for photos (and its less than a 2 km drive!).

But this time we made it. We got to the beach and funnily enough I was going to leave the camera in the car, but just that very day I had been reading a photography magazine in the shop (yes I know its bad not to buy but it was $18.95). In the magazine it said that you have to get into the habit of taking your camera with you at all times... and its true. I would have missed these three wicked pictures otherwise.

This is the sun setting over the Groyne at Cottesloe Beach with the fisherman off the end. It took a few adjustments to get the lighting sorted though...
I do need to learn how to photo shop my photos so that I can make the horizon a horizontal line, instead of having the ship head "uphill".
This next shot is perhaps my favourite shot of recent times. I am so pleased with it and it is not a close up of a flower which is what I had concentrated on in my first 5,000 photos. This is now printed (on my new birthday photo printer) and framed on our wall.
On Christmas day I spent a bit of time trying to master the macro lens.... it is HARD. So, so hard. No wonder not many people get into it. Here is a couple of shots for you. This is one of my new Christmas earrings.
A dying hibiscus.... as you can see I still have focusing issues with this one. But I will get better with practice!
Check out how clear this is of the spider web on the succulent....I can't wait to try and get some insect macro shots.
This is the pot that my succulent plant (from Melanie Xmas 2008) is in.
I did do a macro shot of my scabby knee after the fall in the trail race a week ago to see how it came out.... but it was too gross to post. I did get a shot of Jason's eye though. It was hard to not blur it as he moved each time... its wicked to play with the new gear and as I get better I'll keep posting photos...On 30 December Jason and I had tickets to go and watch the bronze medal playoff and the final of the Tom Hoad International Water Polo competition at Jason's water polo club. There were hundreds of spectators and it was heaps of fun.

This is the Hungarian team warming up before the match. Some of the men in this team were so tall that they could stand on the bottom of the pool (2m) and there heads and sometimes shoulders were out of the water!!!!!

The goalie stopped this shot... even with his eyes closed.

And this one.... with his eyes closed again :-)
Check out what this guy can do with his shoulder!!!!
This is the Hungarian team against the Chinese national team in the bronze medal match. The Hungarians won in the end. The poor Chinese man looks like he is nearly being drowned here...
This is the Chinese winning the charge start.
And this is about the only shot I got of the final match... between the Fremantle Marriners and the Barbarians team (which had three Croatian national team members in it).
So there you have it, my week in pictures. Its New Years Eve right now and I am heading into town to run a running race tonight. Although I have had a BIG run today already. The West Australian Marathon Club has a 4km and an 8km race every New Years Eve. I am only doing the short race as I did hill repeats this morning... and it will be a slow race at that!!!

My next post will be from 2010.... enjoy the rest of 2009 (or should I say Happy New Years to my NZ readers as it is nearly midnight NZ time as I finish writing this)...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas a la Perth style...

Christmas for 2009 went like this... firstly, it started warm and its was just got warmer:

Dec 25
mostly sunny
Mostly sunny: 35
Dec 26
Sunny: 33
Dec 27
Sunny: 33
Dec 28
mostly sunny
Mostly sunny: 40
Dec 29
mostly sunny
Mostly sunny: 40

A whole heap different to New Zealand Christmases. Jason and I started Christmas Day at around 5am (as it was a Friday and we are usually up for swimming at that time). We opened our presents and we were lucky to get lots of goodies...

Graphics card
Gaming keyboard
Assassins Creed
Two t-shirts
Two books
Two DVDs
Bottle of bourban
Coffee grinder (and some coffee beans)

New togs
A new book
A new top, singlet and fancy nightgown
2 glassons cardis
New sunglasses

After presents Jason had a special treat breakfast of corn fritters and bacon.

Around 9.30 Jason and I went off to City Beach and joined Geoff and his family for a bit of morning beach fun. It was great fun and a lovely day. A much better experience than last year's trip to the beach when we were truly orphans.

After the beach it was time for our Christmas lunch. We don't have a dining room table in Perth so had to do lunch Japanese style. On the low table sitting on cushions.

Our Christmas day menu started with some snacks and Moscow Mules (perhaps a few too many Moscow Mules in hindsight)...
Our lunch menu was rolled pork loin stuffed with rocket, pistachio and feta, apple sauce and gravy, the worlds best roast potatoes, balsamic glazed carrots, roast baby beets, asparagus and corn.... mmmmm. It was perhaps a bit much for the two of us though.
About 4 hours later we decided to have our dessert tasting plate. Just a mixture of all sort of yummy desserts for us. But again, it was a bit too much for us!!! No dinner needed on Christmas Day.
Boxing Day started with a little run (just to try and shake off some of the Christmas Day excess). We then headed off to Richard's house for a pool party... and what a party it was. We had lots of fun in the pool and sun. We stayed the night and were treated to a great BBQ breakfast the following day.

So that was Christmas in Perth for 2009.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Trail run

Well its been a while since the Worlds and it is about time that I got back into training... I have put on a few kilos and need to start training again. So the big news is I am not training for a triathlon this time, I have decided to do an ultra marathon run. 55km of running... eeekkkk! Its a big race and stepping into the great unknown for me. My longest run to date as been about 35km off road... so an extra 20km on top of this will be a mission.

The race is on in New Zealand in March when we are over there for a wedding in Rotorua and is called the Tarawera Ultra Marathon. Jason was a bit mad at me for finding a race for our next holiday but it wouldn't be me right???

Anyway, it will be the biggest challenge in the world for me I think!! But I am looking forward to it.

Anyway as part of my training I did a local trail race on the weekend just been. It was just 11km in total but it was a wicked race. I LOVE running in the bush (even Australian bush- with snakes rustling away from you).

The great thing about this race was that it was an awesome local race, with very few competitors and wicked homemade race identifiers... check this out, written by a 4 year old, yip thats me.
When I said before that there was very few runners in this race I wasn't lying, and here's the proof. I am at the start line waiting for the other 2 (yes two) competitors to turn up.

And the three of us are off for a wicked 11km of trail running. I definitely heard to snakes in the bushes (scary) and I had a few roos cross my path... which was cool
The organiser told me that even though it was only an 11km race it was pretty hilly and technical and that I couldn't expect to finish in under an hour... Well you all know how competitive I am with these things- I was out to make sure no matter what, I finished in less than 60 minutes hehehe!!! So even though there was no competition (I won be 45 minutes... the other girls were just out for an easy day) I still had a great run and I had about 3 minutes to spare under the 60 min threshold. Here I am speeding to the finish line.
And here's the finish line... don't blink or you will miss it! For my efforts I got a really nice t-shirt. So all in all a great day out....
Well nearly a totally wicked day out... unfortunately very early on in the race I took a bit of a fall on some loose gravel and did a bit of damage. I didn't realise it was bleeding at first which is good and it never hurts when you are racing... only when you finish.
This next bit is a bit gross, but the race finished out in Dwellingup and as it was in the middle of the country there was LOTS and LOTS of flies, which were very attracted to my wound!!!!
Post race... a day on from the race and my knee is really swollen now and hurting like crazy! Hopefully I can run on it tomorrow and that I haven't done any major damage, as it did hurt at swimming this morning.

Margaret River and Ironman WA

A couple of weekends ago Jason and I decided to spend a weekend out of town for a bit of a break and also watch Ironman WA as well. This break was to ceelbrate out 5th year wedding anniversary, my birthday and winning a world championship medal (Since we didn't do anything to celebrate these at the time).

Therefore we decided to stay somewhere really nice. After a couple of good searches on the internet we decided on Windmills Break. Windmills is a 5 start luxury small hotel near Dunsborough that doesn't cater for children and only ever has a maximum of 20 guests.

The facilities were great, we had a beautiful swimming pool (below), and as part of our room rate we got cooked breakfast, unlimited internet, choice of about 120 movies, free port and chocolates, a gym, tennis court and all day afternoon tea. Check this beautiful pool out, it was lovely to swim in and the gardens were just stunning as well:

We arrived in Dunsborough on the Thursday night and after a nice sleep in we headed out for a good lunch at Amberley Estate Winery. It was a nice lunch and although it was 30+ degrees we had a great time. The gardens at Amberley were really lovely and cooled the air off due to the leafy greenness.
After the winery we went to the beach at Dunsborough, here I am talking on the phone and cooling off in the multicoloured water! (I thought I would add a photo of me as I am never on here)
After lunch we headed back to Windmills for some down time, which was great. We just relaxed.... for the first time in ages. As we had just been able to replace out camera I thought it would be great to try and get a nice sunset shot (as the night before there was a wicked sky). Alas, the Friday night sky was no where near as spectacular at all... after I made Jason speed to try and get to the viewing spot! We took a couple of shots though... but nothing spectacular. It reminds me that so much about photography is about being in the right place at the right time... and unfortunately we just missed the right night this time. I wasn't too worried as I have many a sunset to photograph.

The next day was Ironman Western Australia and we had some old friends from New Zealand (Angela, Anna and Terry) and some new friends from Perth (Nera, Lisa, and Geoff) racing. We also had some friend to hang out with to spectate as well... Here they are... Rich, his sister and his girlfriend.
They had a paddling pool, which we had to fill with buckets and about 30 trips to the beach. Here's Jas with the girls and the water gun.
Lots of the men racing said that the girls gave them a second wind while racing.
It was a good day of spectating, I did have a pang or two about not racing but as the day soared into the 30's I changed my mind hehehe. I enjoyed seeing Ange do an Ironman Personal Best and Nera qualifying for Kona. Here I am running with Ange and Anna in my dress and barefeet. Lucky the roads are smooth over here, but the black asphalt was hot!!!
On the Sunday morning I went for a run, hoping to be out for about 16km but unfortunately I got a little lost and ended up running 22km and getting a bit dehydrated. After the run Jason and I went off and took a few more shots of local scenery (taking our car off road to a few hidden spots as well).
Here's Jason just passing the time of day... I LOVE this shot of Jason. He thinks its stupid though!
And here is my best ever wave shot. Its sooooooooo hard to get good wave shots but I managed to get this one curling over! Our new lens makes the shots look wicked. Well worth the upgrade.
Finally a couple of shots of the rocks for you all (can you tell that I am happy to have my camera back!)
After we got home we put up the Christmas tree, which just topped off a wicked weekend away. How cool is our tree! Its fiber optic as well and I love it!
That's all from our weekend away. Till next time!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

My rowing career...

So sorry for the long delay in posting. It has been a horrible busy month at work. Anyway during November while I was on a break from Triathlon I joined the work rowing team for the corporate rowing challenge.

This involved 2 teams of 4, with 8 training sessions and then the race. Our two teams were based around teams at work so there was a friendly rivalry between us as well.

Well I found out that I wasn't particularly coordinated at all during the first few sessions... there is so much to remember with rowing. But by about session 6 I was finally getting the hang of it.

After our 4 weeks of training we got to race out at Champion Lakes (mam made, purpose built rowing, dragon boating and kayaking course in Perth). Apparently it cost $34 mill to build and is one of just two purpose built courses in Australia. It also hosts cycling, triathlon and open water swimming events.

We arrived nice and early, about 7am (which meant leaving home at 6.15am). The regatta consisted of 1 heat per team with your time in the heats dictating what final your crew made (A - F finals).

The first IMO crew was up in the first race and won by a long way. We raced the third heat and it was a close race between 3 of the 4 teams. We eventually took it out and were 0.02 of a second faster than the other IMO crew. This was great as it meant that there was a high probability that we would make the same final.

Meanwhile, Jason was enjoying the bar that the East Fremantle Rowing Club were manning (it was the only way to get him there hahaha).

After about 3 hours we got to race the final and the exciting news was that both IMO crews made the A grade final. Our coach was very pleased.

The weather had turned during the morning and instead of the beautiful flat calm waters we were faced with a lot of chop. Our crew drew an older training boat which we were pleased with as it was more stable than some of the racing boats.

The race start was non eventful for us, but the other IMO crew got caught up with another boat going the wrong way. Unfortunately they didn't make it back from that! We managed to get 4th overall, about a boat length from third place.

All in all a fun day and a different experience. Check out the video from our heat (we are the team in black and white singlets and I am at the front of the boat- its a little hard to see but you get the picture)...