Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Mentone Open Water Swim Race Report

Couple of Saturday’s ago I completed my first Open Water Swim race of the season. I have ridden, driven and run past the Mentone Life SavingClub more times that I can recall. I have also swam there with Ellie many times, the countless times I have seen their open water swim notice; so it was familiar waters and why not do the event. This year there are so many events on that they are doubling open on the same day or the day after. This was a perfect opportunity to get a long distance swim in before the season became very busy. To top it off it was a perfect chance to test our my new 2xu Project X Wetsuit.

When we showed up to rego the wind was blowing hard from the South West and the Bay was very lumpy, after registering and walking down to the turnaround point the wind had claim down and so had the bay. It was going to be a hard effort down the bay to the turnaround buoys.

View from on top of  Mentone LSC

Finish line area and white caps on the bay

Ready to go in my new 2xu Project X2 Wetsuit
I put on my wetsuit got into the water and did my warm up swim out to the start line, which was a deep water start. You could feel the push up the bay, so some work was going to be needed going down the bay. All swim competitors headed in to listen to the race briefing which is where I bumped into Stephen and fellow Tri Alliance Member who had just shown up at the last minute who was also doing the 2km Event.

We all headed out to the start buoys and waited for the horn to sound and off we went, the standard washing machine of bodies as we headed down the bay. I lost count of the number of people who swam over, into and kicked me. I managed to find some clear water and push on to the turn buoy and headed back towards to the finish line. Coming back was far easier than going as the push was back up the bay. I found the last buoy and headed into the beach and short run up the sand to the finish line.

Stephen and I after the race
My time, 40m 24s. A few days later I swam a 2km loop at Half Moon Bay in 37m and 26s in very flat conditions clearly the difference in conditions shows in the times.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Belated Noosa 2013 Race Report

Approximately 5 weeks or so ago I race Noosa Tri for the 2nd year I loved the event and registered as soon as the race entries opened.

On the Monday before Ellie and I spent a few hours packing up bikes, then packing suitcases before heading out to the Airport  to Sunny Noosa. Last Year was a little bit of effort on my own with 3 bags (1 x Suitcase, 1 x Bike and Back Pack) This year it was two of us so double everything.

Bikes Packed

Virgin where pretty good with the bags and everything with checked in. When we left Melbourne it was around 16c Cold and  overcast. Walking off the plane the first thing that hit was the heat. As soon as I got into the Terminal off with the jumper  - Ahhh Tshirt Weather. After collecting our bags and finding the transfer bus we headed off for the 45 minute bus ride up to  Noosa. We arrived at our Hotel (The Outrigger Noosa) did a little bit of unpack changing into shorts and then headed down to  the main street for a late lunch and then a walk to the Supermarket for some supplies then back to the Apartment to unpack and put together 2 bikes.

That evening we spent down at the local Life Saving Club for Dinner followed and an earlier night after a long day of travel  and everything, during the night I heard the rain come down and it was heavy. The next morning we woke to sunshine warm weather - ahhhh paradise. We headed out on our bikes to ride part of the bike course basically out and up Garmin hill then back into town. It was good to be out on a bike without lots of layers of clothes. First ride over we headed out to check out the scene of Noosa get some coffee and see the sites. That afternoon was the first of the our Clubs planned training a swim over the swim course in the canal. The water was warm and salty as, this was Ellie's first Open Water Swim without a wetsuit but as she was doing a part of the Team event it was important for her to learn this course. With our first Open Water Swim of Noosa done we both felt ok with the swim. We then head back changed and down to the Life Saving Club for another meal with some of the Melbourne TA Crew.

View from the Coaches House towards the swim start

Thursday morning saw us up earlier for the Team Ride over the bike course. The Melbourne Crew was split up into 3 groups - Advance, Intermediate and Beginners. We all rode the bike course right out to the turn point and back in. I felt good to re-ride the bike course. The rest of Thursday was to ourselves until late in the day a light group run.

TA Melbourne Crew Ride

Friday morning again back on the bikes, instead of riding the bike course with the TA crew we headed out for a long ride, we headed out down south towards the Airport (some 25km away) at the turn around Ellie split the sidewall of her tyre and we change the tube but blew that out. The 2nd time around we didn't pump the tyre up all the way and headed back towards Noosa. On the way back we stop at Coolum at a local bike shop got a new tyre and we filled back to normal tyre pressure and then headed back to the apartment. After a shower and a feed we headed down the Expo to check out what was on show along with picking up some spare tubes from for Ellie. Later that that afternoon we meet the rest of the TA Melbourne crew for a Swim over the course followed by a Race Briefing from our Head Coach Ollie. After the Briefing we headed back to the expo to collect my race kit, this year we got a towel and bag, much better than the retro 80's back pack from last year.

On the Saturday we headed down the team tent for our standard Saturday pre race day training. Sarah too pics of everyone as a promo shot then followed by a Team shot of everyone from Melbourne and Queensland, before we broke up into different groups.
My Bike Promo Shot

Ellie's Bike Promo Shot 
Vic & Qld Group Shot

We did the ride over the run course, followed by a short run off the bike. After the session we headed back to the apartment where I prepared my bike ready for the race, race number on, remove all unwanted gear such as lights. For lunch we headed down to the main street of Noosa to catch up with some friends from Brisbane, Rebecca and Brian. They too were racing and was good to catch up. Later that afternoon we took my bike down to the transition area, after racking the bike and dropping some air out of the tyres we took it easy before meeting Ellie's Dad and his partner for dinner followed by and early night.

Transition Area - Where is my Bike again?

Sunday - Race Day!

I didn't sleep well Saturday night, I sometimes don't before a big race, I got up had some breakie then headed down to transition to check the bike, put water, feed bag, air in the tyres, etc and get ready to race. The transition area had to be cleared out by 6am but as my wave start was not until 8:18 we went back to the apartment for a bit for a shower and change into my Trisuit. As Ellie was meeting the rest of her team at 7:30 we headed down to the team tent, Ellie went off to check out her bit while I went and watched some of the racing. Just a bit before 8 I started to put on sun cream, getting my Garmin ready before I started to walk over to the swim start, the weather was hot, around 28c. Once I made my way in the start area I jumped into the canal and did a warm up swim and see watch the tide was doing, it was not longer before our wave was called up and off we went. The swim felt strong and I held my own. During the second half of the swim I managed to catch up on other people from previous waves and in turn I had people from the next wave catch me.

I exited the water run into transition dropped my swim cap and goggles put on my helmet and sunglasses grabbed the bike and  headed out of transition. After getting over the mount line I jump on my ride and headed out on the bike course. I felt great on the bike I hit Garmin hill got out of aero and started the climb up, at the end of the hill we hit the highway and headed out to the turn around, back in aero I was heating up the sun was warm. I took the water bottle out from the frame and poured some water over my head to keep me cool. My race plan was to drink every 15mins and eat every 30mins. After turning around and heading back into town I could feel the head winds, it was nice to have some wind to cool me down. When I came to the back of  Garmin hill I took my time down the hill not speeding down it. The last thing I wanted to do was to come off the bike at speed. I have heard of people come off and not in a good way. I headed back into Noosa feeling good, little sore in the back and feeling hot.

Swim over

Once I got back to transition I jumped off the bike and run back into transition racked my bike took off my helmet I heard from the side lines someone yelling go, it turned out to be Rebecca. I put on socks and my shoes, grabbed my visor and headed out on the run. It was hard going I was cooking and I looked for water at every aid station to cool me down and sipping a little. During the run I had the need to pee. Every step hurt more and more. around the 6km mark I came across a Portaloo and I made quick use of it before rejoining the run. During the courts I had and aid station worker tip a whole jug of water over me, it was perfect to cool me down but the only downside was now my socks and shoes  where soaked. Oh well. I kept on running trying to push through the hurt I passed the team tent and up to the finishing line. After finishing I enjoyed a shower under a plan old garden hose followed by getting some fluids and food into me.

Heading back into Noosa


I headed back to the team tent took off my totally wet shoes and socks and put on my thongs followed by taking the top apart of my Trisuit and putting on a T-Shirt. I grabbed a beer and snag from the BBQ and enjoyed the race talking to others who had finished and cheer those on who where only a few hundred meters from finishing.

Ellie had been catching up with her Dad and his Partner I hugged her and told her that I had just taken 2 mins off last years time. She was so proud of me and then I ask how her swim went. While happy with the swim she wished she did better, but later on after reviewing data and been told that the Pros where 5mins slower than last year due to the tide and the wind over all she was happy, but I have told her I will help her improve her Open water Swimming.

Ellie finishing her swim

After cheering the crew home we head back to transition to grab my gear and then headed back to the apartment for a shower. As per last year I had a beer while having a shower. After getting out of the shower I could see that I was little burnt, on well the sun cream didn't work too well! On with the After Sun followed my a clean T Shirt and my recovery tights followed by another beer and hit the bed for a while. Ellie went off for a run and I fall asleep with the TV on having a beer.

Recovery Time

Sunday night we went out to the TA After Party followed by a walk along Hastings St enjoying the party life.

TA After Party

Monday we slept in and we spent the next few days enjoying the local sites and the food. It was nice to have some downtime after racing with each other with our a time table to live by.
Ellie waiting for Coffee and Food.

The Final Race time, it was 2hr 56mins just over 2mins off last year's race time. While Geelong still is my PB, I improved on last year Noosa time by 2mins in a 5mins slower course. I am happy with that. Thanks goes to the Coaches, my Trainers and Recovery peeps, my Training buddies and most of all Ellie to her support.

So the final question am I racing Noosa 2014? Here is the answer!

Yes I am.

In other news I finally got my Level 1 Tri Coaching accreditation which means I now am certified Triathlon Coach, next two things to complete is Technical Official and Spin Class Level 2

Sunday, August 25, 2013

De Castella Run for Mental Health Race Report

Second race in 1 week, this one is important to me as it’s raising funds for Mental Health and secondly as my Tri Squad are supporting the event through Mizuno Running Shoes.

Both Ellie and I signed up for the 5km event for a bit of fun. We showed up about 1 hour before our kick off found our way down to the main oval and where the team tent had gone up. We caught up with a few people while waiting for our event to start, laughing at the Zumba instructor doing her thing. With about 15mins to go Ellie and I head out for our warm up run. We headed out on down to the first turn and then headed back to the start line. At the start line we placed ourselves close to the start line as we could. I always find these type of events you end up with Kids, pushers, etc at the start of the line that get in the way of you running.

Start line Koas

Ellie and I did some stretching, then butt kicks and leg swings at the start line. At 8:15am off we went and within the first 500m I had kids, dogs and pushers all in the way of me. I had to jump out of way so many times I lost count. I saw Ellie take off, she was some 100m in front of me, she is a far better runner than me and I accept this fact. The course was an out and back mainly downhill with a few minor rises for the first half but it also meant a hilly return. At the turn around I felt good, no major issues I kept on pushed all the way back up the hills. The final push for last 1.5km was hard it just keeps raising and at the end you turn left and there is still another 200m of the hill to go until it flattens out and you head back into the school grounds.

I sprinted around the oval to the finish line passing the TA Taj and coping abuse from the team (Ellie had finished before me).

At the finish line

Ellie and I post race

My time was 25m 19s I was very happy with this time, very fast for me.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Hazelwood Winter Tri Race Report

With Noosa some 8 weeks away and only two other Tri’s only some 2 to 3 weeks prior to Noosa this was the only race that I could do as a warm up or brush out the cobwebs before Noosa. Ellie and I liked the idea of a country race so we both signed up for the Hazelwood Winter Tri. Hazelwood is aPower Plant in country Victoria in the town of Morwell about 2 hours out of Melbourne. The Tri is held in and around the cooling pond of the Hazelwood Power Plant; the temperature of the water is around 21c all year around. So the swim is in the Pondage (aka lake) bike around the pond and the run is next / near to the pond.

Hazelwood Power Plant

Ellie and I headed down to Morwell Saturday afternoon and found the pond and checked out the course. The few days including the Saturday were quite windy in Melbourne but the lake seemed not too windy and the pond water felt warm should be great for racing.

We found our Motel unloaded the car and took it easy for the night. Nice pasta meal followed by bit of TV and an early night, Ellie painted here toe nails in team (Tri Alliance) colours.  Sunday morning we left for the course around 7am and we noticed the wind had picked up at the pond it did not seem too bad. We found the transition area put out bikes in and setup our space (we were next to each other) then registered and killed some time. We caught up with few other Tri Alliance people and other Triathlete’s we know. We went and watch the start of the Olympic Distance and cheer on others then it was time to put on our wetsuits and get ready to race.

Ellie's Team Colours
 When I jumped into the water for the first time and swam out to the turning buoy it felt great to be back in open water, last season I felt really comfortable in wetsuit in the open water and I loved the feeling again, I missed this feeling and I love it.

We all sat around near the start line as the race officials came down gave us a little briefing and without too much fanfare horn sounded and off we went. The swim felt ok not great. I came out of the water run across the grass into transition off with the wettie on with the Aero helmet grabbed the bike and out towards the road. The mount line was not well marked and I stuffed up the mount, that was ok this was cobweb clean out race. Up the hill out on the road, the first thing I noticed was it had become super windy. Great Aero bike, Aero Wheels and Aero Helmet. Down long the bottom of the lake and up the hill felt ok nice tail wind or out of the wind but up the top of the hill and around the rest of the lap it was windy. In addition the roads were not closed but the traffic was very light or next to none. On the second lap I felt my bike move sideways in the wind and I did not like the feeling.  I had no choice but to back off the speed or come off. Some guys were running disc wheels and I really don’t how they coped with the wind. I made it back to Transition on with the socks and shoes and off on the run.  As I was leaving transition Ellie came back in from the bike.

Race Briefing

Race Start

Out of the Swim Heading for Transition

The run was not pretty I hurt and felt sore in my left shoulder basically pushing up my body against the wind. The run felt ok going out about 1.5km Ellie caught me in the run and we run together. We turned onto the dirt road and headed up 1.5km hill. I was glad to be at the top and heading down back towards Transition and the finish line.

Both Ellie and I finished together which was nice. 

Ellie and I at the finish
 After getting some water, etc. We used the showers in the park to change and warm up. We put our gear in the car then what the awards and the headed back to Melbourne.

Hazelwood was a nice little race except for the wind and I enjoyed the hit out. The following few days my shoulder was a little sore but thanks to Kim’s major hands she made my back and neck feel less sore.

In other news 12 months of work and study finally paid off with Coaches Emma and Ollie signing off my Level 1 Triathlon Coaching Assessment. I’m now wanting for the paper work to be processed but I’m more or less a certified Triathlon Coach.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Run Melbourne 2013 Race Report

I raced Run Melbourne 2013 today it was the 2nd time that I completed a Half Marathon, but 1 week ago I feared that I would not be on the start line. Last Sunday during my last long run my left calf started to tighten up. It felt like compartment syndrome I had one of those horrable feelings that I just blow weeks of training as well as the race.

I spent time looking up compartment syndrome and what I could do. I started wearing Calf Guards around the clock. On Tuesday it felt a little less tight but still not right. After txting my Myotherapist and made an appointment, Kimbo run some moveablity tests followed by a massage and dry needling. The next morning it still felt tight but a little looser, by late that today just like turned off a light the calf suddenly felt loose. I was meent to do 2 final runs before the half but I canceled these and just kept on foam rollering and stretching while contuining to wear the calf guard.

Thursday after doing my gym program I spent 5 mins on the treadmill with 90 second run. The Calf did not feel sore at all, I called this a win.

Saturday I did a light 2 minute walk on the treadmill followed by a stretching and foam roller. After dinner I posted the following on Facebook and went to bed "Training is done, taper time is over, training program has been followed, carbo loading is on board, time for bed and bring on race day" I woke about 4am this morning unable to sleep I checked out the weather it was cold but light winds and no rain perfect weather for a run. After breakfast and a shower then changing I left the house and headed over to Ellie house and picked her up. Due to sickness and injury Ellie was not racing but standing on the side lines supporting me.

We got to Southgate parked headed up to the startline, this year it was a new course which I was excited about. With around 20mins before race start I did a warm up run and caught up with a few TA crew before the race started. I felt strong heading towards the city then down past Flinders Street Station, my plan was to let all those who wanted to run fast go and stick to 5:15 pace and if my calf started to play up, back off or pull out. After turning onto Southbank running past all the shops I saw 2 of the TA crew (Lisa and Paddy) out supporting. As we run past the rowing clubs along the Yarra people seem to be everywhere, the biggest problem I find is the traffic, people traffic, everyone seems to run in the way of others. We headed up towards St Kilda and then down to the Shrine down to Toorak Road then up to Tan and Anderson Hill and along the Tan towards Swan St Bridge and back up towards Morell Bridge and across the Yarra.

At the Startline

Ready to Race
We then headed down along Yarra and under the Swan St Bridge and up Batman Avenue towards the city before the turn around and the half way point the leader of the race passed me on his way to the finish line. We headed back down towards Tennis Centre, up over the foot bridge towards the MCG. After heading up past Jolleymount it was back to Flinders St and down to St Kilda Road. As I passed Federation Square I saw Ellie, Paddy and Tim and further 100m I saw Steve then onto Lap 2. Same course, my legs felt good but my tummy was not the best regardless I pushed on the best I could. Crossing the Morell Bridge I could feel my calf tighting but not too bad like the Sunday before. I crossed under the Swan St Bridge and headed up Batman Avenue towards the turn into the finish line. With the finish line in sight I pushed as hard as I could over the line. While it was not a PB I'm still happy with the result all things considered. After crossing the line getting some water and a bag I found Ellie, Tim and Steve had a photo taken then Ellie and I headed off for coffee.

1st Lap Done

Ellie and I at the finish line

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Tri Alliance End of Season Party

Last Saturday night saw my Tri Club’s End of Season Party funny about this the event is held on the first day our new season, go figure. This was the 2nd time I had attended and I was looking forward to seeing who would cop the Zooland’s spray. This season has been a big year few PB’s lots of different and lots fun and lots of good memories.

Ellie and I headed off to the Belgian Beer Cafe once we arrived we bumped into Steve and Luca both top blokes who we train with got our names ticked off and purchase some raffle tickets with the cash going to Smile for Smiddy. We caught with many of our follow training buddies and got our pic taken. Before too long we were shown into the dining room. Sitting with Jo Jo and her Partner Linda, Ryan, Coach Darren and his Wife Kylie and Steve.  During dinner they showed pics of the season that was, lots of pics of everyone, lots that I had taken and somehow lots of me were taken too.

Ellie and I

Tri Alliance Family

The Awards and winners for the night were;
SC Athletes of the year: Lisa Dominquez & Xavier Flynn
LC Athletes of the Year: Brianna Scarlett & Nathan Sims
Best Newcomer: Jessie Waugh
Most Improved: Belinda Griffiths
Team Players of the year: Ryan Kidd & Simon Gronow
John Cornish Memorial Scholarship: Brett Archbold
Zoolander: Brett Archbold

I must say to win Best Team Player aware is humbling, 2nd year in a row to be nominated and to win it with Ryan I could not be happier.

Ryan and I

My Prize Pack

Towards the end of the night Ollie called up all the coaches so that we could thank them. Sitting with Darren was funny as, he said “his not!” as Ollie does Darren said a few choice words and got up. Darren is a top bloke and I have a lot of time for him along with all the coaches. This makes why Tri Alliance to me is family.

Some of the Coaches

The last bit of the night that I love is the Zooland award, basically Greg gives us all a lesson in dress code while racing. Last year it was won by Ollie this year by Brett.  Greg's lesson's I remembered well in Geelong. A bunch of the TA guys (me included) who had finished were standing around Trisuits unzipped or around our waist then we were asked for our photo, so we all zipped up and commented that if Greg get’s hold of our “undress” we will all cop it. Greg gave many people including himself a spray as the photo’s are shown, even bring up a dog!  As he called it’s an epidemic, everyone is in it. Lucky for me no photos of me where found. It always the fun part of the night lots of laughs. After dinner and the awards the party and dancing. Ellie and I mingled around talking and catching up with people.

Bring on Winter Training and the new race season.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Puffing Billy Race

Today I raced Puffing Billy for the first time. For the last two years I have wanted to do this race, it’s one of those events that sells out quickly and has a limited number of entries but it was on my bucket list.

The morning of the race we headed up to the start line early with parking likely to be tight get there early was the go. After parking and walking around killing time before the event it was time to assemble in front of the fire station. I placed my hoddie into a bag attached the BIB baggage label and placed it on the truck.

The morning was cold and Ellie had stolen my jacket to keep warm (her 4th layer) plus she was have a coffee too to keep warm. I saw at least 6 or so Tri Alliance people racing this event so not a big turnout but as we waited I caught up with JoJo, Linda, Jesse and her Partner Glen and Sally, then I saw my new PT Luke and said good morning / luck for the run.

Ellie and I at the Start (Me with my jacket stolen back)

Well got in our wave starts chatting away to complete strangers (as you do at these events, great way to claim the nerves). Over the PA you could hear the announcer welcome the 2 train drivers and a big boo from the crowd, follow by  the Australian National Anthem was sung and then a minutes silence for all this killed or injured in the Boston Marathon Bombing. We all moved down (as much as could) toward the start line the horn sounded and off we went.

After I turned the corner and saw the start line all I could see was a mass of color across the whole road of people, like a human carpet. The first 3km’s are downhill so you feel really fast before the hill. As we all came down to the bridge you could hear the first train tooting I had a look and I had beaten the 1st train to bridge. I was happy with that I knew that I would not bet the train to the finish but felt good. I only had two goals, 1. Finish and 2. Beat the 2nd Train, as I started the 1st of the hill climbs I could feel my calf muscles tightening.  As I came down a hill I could see the race organizers open a crossing to let the runs past – good news the train had just been through, I was doing better than I thought. At the top of the longest hill I felt spent but it was downhill into Emerald then along the train track towards the finish line, speed time. The track seem to go forever than the park land opened up down a little trail, switch back to the bottom towards the park. People flew past me I kept it simple and tried successfully not to fall over or down the hill. At the bottom it was across the bridge up the hill for the last 50 or so meters to the finish line.

Sea of runners

Under the Trestle Bridge

It was one of the hardest runs I’ve ever done, I’m glad I did do some hill training and I loved it. My time was 1hr 16min 10 secs and yes I did beat the 2nd train.

Me at the finish line

After the race I caught the first train back to Belgrave, the train was freezing cold but when I got back to the station Ellie had a Hot Chocolate waiting and as soon as we got back to the car I did a change from a cold wet sweaty T Shirt into something a little more warmer. Followed by heater on in the car and feed at Pancake Palour. I love Pancakes!

Elevation Map of the Course

Course Map