Saturday, 14 January 2012

2012 Updates and changes.

Of recent weeks I’ve had a lot floating around in my head. So much so, I have found it hard to write a structured blog. So, I’m determined to write my thoughts down regardless of how it appears.

 To begin, 2012 is going to be a great year. I have pretty much locked down all my races for the season and I’m happy with what I have chosen. It’s a real mix but the triathlon’s definitely out weight everything else. This season I’ve decided to add some sprint and Olympic distant races along with the usual 70.3 leading into the Ironman. Last year I trained countless hours day after day only to unfortunately fall sick and end the season managing only to finish one triathlon. That hurts and was very frustrating. I enjoy the training, but I love racing and I find racing the shorter distances throughout the season breaks up the long tedious hrs spent swim,biking or running. It also gives me confidence and points out anything I need to work on for the big races later on in the year.

   Gaining some confidence with a win in my AG at Muskoka Sprint Triathlon

   This year I’m training for Ironman Canada. Let’s hope I get there!! For some reason I feel as if I’m not supposed to actually get to the start line let alone finish an Ironman. Last year so close yet so far and back in 2009 I burnt myself out leading up to the Australian Ironman. My fingers are crossed, because unless things change I’m not getting any younger and I want to fit as many Ironmans in as possible.
 My goal at IM Canada is top 3. It’s a strong age group and going by the athletes registered it’s a strong line up. I like to set high goals. As I’ve said I have never toed the start line let alone finished so to aim for top 3 may be a little bold but not in my eyes. I’m going to be disappointed if it doesn’t happen. Ironman is it own kettle of fish. I no plenty of athletes who have raced many an Ironman and are still trying to work it out. I also no that I’m going to learn a lot out there. But I haven’t had my eyes shut for the last 6 years training for them. I’ve learnt a great deal from the training I have done and I’m confident I no what it takes to win. Let’s just wait and see.

 A new thing this year is to really focus on recovery, keeping the body healthy and the mind strong.  I’m all for the compression this year. I’m going to be racing in the compression socks and I’m going to be training and recovering in them. I’ve been reading a lot about the pros, cons of compression wear, and I’m confident it does make a difference. Stay tuned I’ll let you no how that works out. Stretching has been a real weak point for me since day dot. I’m taking the time to stretch after my training sessions and this can only benefit me come race day. Throwing in some Hot Yoga classes will help with that also. Over the years, I have focused too much on just getting the job done and neglecting the recovery, this year that changes.

 An update on my health and training, all good!! Touchwood I’ve had no recent problems with my Colitis and my training across the board has been coming along well. I’m happy with my progress in the pool, I’m a couple of sessions into the bike now, and my running is starting to take shape under the guidance of Steve. First race will be Grimbsy Half at the end of February where I hope to run a pretty slick time.

Lastly, I will be finishing my blogs with a product review this week is CLIF BAR’S
Builders Protein bar. It’s entirely natural protein bar, with no trans fats, and contains 23 vitamins and minerals. It’s a great pre or post workout snack that tastes great in an assortment of flavors to suit anyone’s needs.

Happy Training.


Friday, 23 December 2011

Training Rambles

Well things have been running along smoothly of late. This in turn has given me little to write about.  However writing about good things can only leave a positive spin on things. As far as my training goes all is coming along well. No huge improvements at the moment but in the same breath I’m not expecting any just yet. I’m happy just to get back into the flow of things and let the training sort me out. I’m 4 weeks into my first block of training with Steve (Dutriandrun) and although I’ve missed a couple of sessions for various reasons I’m happy with how it’s going and how much motivation it’s giving me. I’ve set a short-term goal to race the Grimsby ½ at the end of February so at present the training is based at building towards this race. As long as my training and health stay on track, I hope to run a fast time and gain confidence coming into the new triathlon season.

Along with the running I have been focusing on getting my swimming back up to scratch and so far so good. My only concern is I’m not far off the pace I was swimming prior to my illness and this is where it tends to stay. Therefore, I’m changing up the swimming routine a little and adding some drills and accessories. This I hope will give me the improvement I’m looking for.

But as the New Year approaches the bike has been sitting and waiting patiently and I'm starting to feel the itch to get back on it and add it to training regime once again. I’ve been quite happy to forget about the bike and focus on the other two disciplines but I feel it’s about time to get those legs pumping. I also have some change ups planned for the New Year on the bike as to give me another gear come race day.

Although we have only just hit the early days of winter, I’m starting to get super excited about the year ahead, as this year was one to really forget. Seeing fellow friends map out there race plans also has me keen to nail down my goals and races for 2012.

Multisport Canada recently threw a spanner in the works by announcing they would have an elite age division that would race for some season ending prize money. I think it’s a great idea given that it should bring out the best there is to offer and should create a very competitive triathlon scene. Money talks!! I’m sure there are plenty of triathletes getting excited about the possibility of winning some cash.  As great as this sounds I don’t think I’m going to chase any of it. I may do one or two races in the series but not enough to qualify for the prizes.

Back to the running, it was great to get together with the FMCT boys again for a run in High Park. It’s been great getting out on the group runs every Sunday morning to catch up with friends and to forget about the individual focused training. I organized with CLIF BAR to meet us there and hand out various products from the CLIF range for the boys to try out and give me feedback on. I got a feeling everyone was happy to receive some early Christmas presents. I’ve been really happy with the products CLIF BAR (especially the Chocolate flavored shots) have given me to keep me going through training sessions and also in my recovery.

Lastly a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all. It’s going to be quite the New Year for me in more ways than one! J


Sunday, 20 November 2011

Time to reflect

Over the past two weeks, my frustration has continued to grow. Battling this colitis feels like a full time job. It has eliminated any physical activity outside of work, which I’m struggling to get through anyway. It has begun to make me question why I should worry so much about getting better so I can begin training again or should I just sit back and let it happen. I don’t get paid to train hour after hour. I don’t get paid to go out and win races. So why should I worry about it so much? Is it really worth it? The stress of the training is only adding fuel to the fire. I have Colitis as a result of the heavy workload of training I put myself through to try to be the best.  Would it really make a difference if I packed away my running shoes, sold my bike, and just forgot about Triathlons?

So, I asked myself what got me into triathlon.

Well long before I started competing in triathlons I remember watching my Uncle compete in Ironman Australia at its original home in Forster, NSW. I found it exciting and I loved listening to the commentators talking about the leaders and where they were out on the course. I thought it was amazing, how could these people be doing this? He went on to compete in Hawaii and the dream has always been there for me to one day make it as a competitor myself.

                                                        Dad, myself and my Uncle Mark

That was a long time ago and although it wasn’t until late in my twenty’s before I began competing it was for many different reasons. Life was starting to slip away from me and I knew I needed to make some changes. I remember my first run was about two kilometers long and when I got home, I was proud of myself. Day by day, the training volume increased and actually competing in triathlons became a reality. My point to this is it made me happy, I was excited by it, I felt challenged and determined to be good at it. It’s not because I want to be paid for the hours of training I do, rather it’s what I love doing. It clears my head; it keeps me fit and looking healthy. I love going for rides in the country side and running along the trails or swimming 2 or 3k in the ocean.

So where to from here? How do I beat this without beating myself up? For once in my life, I really need to be patient. Patience is not one of my strengths but I know if I want to continue doing this I need to let the colitis run its path. I’m determined like nothing else to get to the finish line of my first Ironman and to make it to Hawaii. The colitis is here with me to stay I just have to make it my friend.

I managed a swim and a run over the weekend that has put me in a positive frame of mind and I’m excited about the week I have planned.

Shout out to my old boy who won his Age Group in the first race of the Sydney Triathlon Series.

On another note if anyone is planning to buy a product from Road ID make sure you follow my link to the web page by clicking on the Road ID logo on my page.


Sunday, 6 November 2011

An optimistic outlook.

   It was a tough week for me this week both physically and emotionally. My health has been far from perfect, with most days being a real struggle to get through. I found myself barely getting through dinner and then heading straight to bed. It’s difficult to cope with, my head is finally ready to go, but my body is not allowing it to happen. With no energy to lift, lengths of timber at work there is even less energy to put into any physical exercise. My Colitis is totally stress related and the best way for me to release that stress is to get out and train. So, I feel as if I am spinning my wheels with no real escape. My new diet is going to take time to get used to and I know that it is also not helping with my lack of energy. I feel no matter which way I turn there is something stopping me from eating or drinking. It’s certainly not the case, there are plenty of things I can have it’s just a matter of finding them. It’s frustrating to say the least. I enjoy coming home after a long week at work and putting my feet up to a couple of cold beers. These little things really make a big difference when they are know longer on the menu.

    As the weather gets cold here, things have already started to heat up back home in OZ. This is my favorite time of year, race season has just kicked off and we are only a month or two out from Christmas. That means holidays, surf, sun and some extra hours to train. I miss not being able to race with my mate’s and heading up and down the coast to compete in the big events. On the weekend was the Port Macquarie 70.3 classed as the Australian Age Group Championships and a win in your division would get you an entry into the Australian Ironman. A number of my friends headed North to race and all of them had fantastic results. The positive about the opposite race seasons is that it really spurs me on to train hard in the off-season and be ready to race come the start of the new season here. It feeds the fire in my belly!!

   Today was a great day. I was feeling a lot better, and was looking forward to getting out for a group run with the FMCT guys and girls. The weather was amazing and I felt good cruising along for our 10k outing. It certainly helped me forget about the week just gone and gave me a positive outlook on the week ahead. This will become a regular Sunday event for me during the off-season. It’s more about enjoying the company then it is about running breath-sapping intervals or hill repeats where your heart wants to explode out of your chest. For me it’s definitely, what I need.

I’m optimistic about my hospital visit on Tuesday a mandatory check up that puts me out of action for a couple of days. Although I am, still know where near 100% I feel that good health is not far away and as soon as that happens, lookout because I’m on a mission to be in the best shape of my life.


Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Winter Plans

      At the beginning of last week, my goal was to introduce myself to the pool again. I was a little nervous as the last time I had been in the pool was 4 months ago. Nervous that I had lost so much fitness that it was going to be a real struggle to swim 100 meters. I was right, it was a real struggle! I managed to get through a 2k session and felt happy despite the long road ahead. I swam a 1k TT to see how my times where shaping up and with an 18.05.00 I know I have a busy winter of swimming. Since the first swim I’ve been back again and in a short space of time, I’m feeling stronger and positive about my quick progress. I’m enjoying it too which is always a bonus as staring at that black line lap after lap can get highly boring real fast. Next year I plan to swim two open water sessions per week, as I have missed this a lot over the last couple of years and it has affected my race times also.

   Along with the swimming, I have hit the Yoga mats for some Hot Yoga.  I’m hooked!! Such a great way to spend an hour building your core and stretching at the same time. The amount of sweat that comes off you is amazing; it’s as though you have a tap turned on above you. It’s been a great stress reliever and I find myself having a great sleep afterwards. I will definitely continue to attend a Yoga class a couple of times a week throughout the winter months.

 At the moment, my training has not followed any real structure but I’m working on it as we speak and as of next week, I will be back on track and training with a bit more purpose.

  Speaking of next week, I will be back in hospital just for a day visit to check up on the Colitis. At the moment I am still in a flare up, one day I feel great the next day I feel awful. I’m a little nervous the Doctor may want to put me back on the steroid and if this is the case then my training can go back out the window for an extended period. So I am really hoping this is not the case.

  Whilst I’m talking medical conditions, I went to see an Podiatrist last week to try to pin point the issue with my foot. The condition I have is known as Morton's_neuroma . A nerve that feeds the third and fourth toes. Whenever I run or walk, I am unable to stride out because if I put pressure on this nerve it feels like I’m treading on a rock. I have dealt with this problem for years now so I’m happy I have finally had it seen to. So the prognosis is: get the nerve cut out or orthotics. I want to get it cut out but that means weeks off work and off my foot. The stories I have read from people doing this is that it has a very high success rate and this can only mean improved running form and times for me. I am due to see the Doctor again next week to discuss which avenue to go down.

  Other than that, I entered into Muskoka 70.3 again for 2012. I’m super excited about this race, as 2011 was forgettable due to my health. I will be racing this with the FMCT guys and girls which I’m thrilled to be doing as it’s going to make for some great pre race training weekends at Muskoka, as well as plenty of friendly competition and fun between those racing. I’m hoping it will be a successful race so as I can qualify for the 70.3 World Championships in Nevada, Las Vegas 2013. My only hurdle is seeing how I pull up after Ironman Canada two weeks earlier. But no excuses, I hate excuses!!

 Now with some sad news "The Shed" in Belfoutain will be closing down as of December 1st, 2011. I am gutted by this, it was my favorite place to finish up after a long ride and meet my wife for a coffee or stop and grab a gatorade for the hard ride home. I plan to ride there this weekend for one last hoorah! All are welcome to join me.


Sunday, 23 October 2011

"Each New Day Brings New Beginnings"

   My title is one of my favorite quotes. Back home, I used to wake up to those words staring me in the face. Why is it my title? Well this week has been hell. The colitis has been in full force with a flare up that is continuing to hang around and my mouth ulcers have all but stopped me from eating. For me it is very hard to deal with. I like to be active and continually pushing myself whether it is at work or training. However, the flare up tends to leave you weak and tied and in no real shape to do anything productive.
  Unfortunately, I had to cancel running the Pumpkin Summit 8k this morning due to my current issues instead opting to hit the trails for a beautiful fall hike. I was unable to train all week and after struggling in my last couple of races, I would let this one pass and focus on getting healthy again.

  Tomorrow is a day filled with Doctors appointments. Two weeks ago, I started to see a Naturopath. It has been interesting to say the least and has definitely put a different spin on Ulcerative Colitis and ways of dealing with it. The Doctor is confident in saying I will never have another mouth ulcer again and will never have another flare up. His goal is to have me off the drugs ASAP. It has made for some extreme changes in my diet. No dairy, no coffee, no BEER or wine, soft drink, juice, just water- two and half liters a day I might add. I’m finding it difficult but in the same breath I’m sticking to it and slowly but surely getting used to it. I want this to work and work fast!

  I’m also off to see a podiatrist about a foot issue I have had for a number of years that has progressively got worse. It is really affecting my running and everyday movement for that matter. My osteopath thinks I have a fracture around the left metacarpal area. It is very painful and I haven’t been able to take a proper stride in a long time. So hopefully this can be sorted tomorrow and it will be one less problem to worry about.

  On a brighter note this week, I will be resuming my swimming training and starting hot yoga. I have never tried yoga of any kind before so this will be a new beginning and a new challenge. I have heard it’s not that easy! I also got to catch up with Steve from, during the week to sort out the start of my training program for my running. Therefore, I will look to get back into the running side of things early next week and continue to build on that during the off-season.

 As for racing, I have one more this year the Egg Nog Jog, which I am looking forward to. Not sure how I’m going to approach it, but chances are I won’t have the fitness required to give it a hard effort so I’ll look at it as a fun run in weather better suited for sitting by the fire drinking hot chocolate!


Sunday, 16 October 2011

Return to racing

 Well the races have been run and won and I'm happy to report I've come out the other side with a good understanding of what needs to be done now. My fitness is about where I thought it was. The base is still there holding strong, but the high-end fitness and endurance has dissipated considerably. That is to be expected!

 Saturday’s race was a great experience and a lot of fun. The weather however was a different story, freezing, wet and windy. Awesome! The fire of the gun quickly had us forgetting about the weather and more about the run ahead. I could not help but smile at the beginning of the run and found myself holding back laughter as I ran around the muddy course. I felt like a kid again! The two-lap course was great with a variety of surfaces and some sharp little hills to keep you honest. My brother in-law was also running and at the 500m mark was leading the race. It was great fun having him there and running part of the race with him. As the field spread out, I found myself in third position with first and second not far away. However, at the end of the first lap, they had put a good gap on me and I knew there was no way I was keeping pace with them. For once, it didn’t really bother me that I couldn’t keep up but instead I was happy just to be out running. Part way through the second lap the lead female caught me so I paced off her until the final hill where she had the better of me and sprinted away to take third place. (I got chicked)! Not a problem she was a great little runner. So the result was an average time, fourth place overall and a win in my age group. 

  Most important thing is that I had a great time.

Sunday’s race the Turkey Trot was held inside Bronte Creek Provincial Park. It was also a lot of fun but I really found myself struggling, as I was not feeling great this morning. I was considering not running but I did not want this to get the better of me so I was determined to get through the race. It was very windy again with a majority of the race running straight into it. I tried to pace myself today and try to hold some sort of form. As the end drew closer, I was just happy to get to the finish line. Funny to look back and think that on most of my training runs 5k was just a warm up! Anyway, I finished the race and from the data on my Garmin watch, I ran exactly the same time as the day before. At least I’m consistent!  At the end of the day, I finished in seventh overall and first in my age group. Both races were small fields but as the saying goes, you can only race the people that turn up.

  So all- in- all I had a great weekend and can take a lot away from the two races.