Monday, March 29, 2010

Leader of the Pack...for 5.5km anyway...

The first race of the year done.

Here’s a quick summary of the race:

Swim: Awesome start, got through the surf unscathed and out front. Couple swimmers to my left that came to the first buoys first, so I tucked in behind. It was probably the most civilized World Cup swim I’ve ever been in. It’s so much nicer at the front of the pack! Only problem was around 1k, my swim cap came right off my head, so I had 500m of swimming with my hair swirling around my eyes and face. I screwed up my exit from the water (mainly due to the fact that I had a mat of hair blocking my view!) and it put me a bit farther back on the exit but still front pack.

Bike: I had to work a bit to make up the ground I lost coming out of the water but got on the lead pack fairly quickly. The ride was a bit disappointing, no one really willing to work. I tried to get the group going but the effort seemed not to work. This lead to the chase pack almost catching us in T2 and bringing along some strong runners with it (& the eventual winner).

Run: I came out of transition slightly behind and worked hard to run up to the girls ahead. I was running in a group of 5 women at the front of the race (!). I was feeling great, relaxed and positive—then around 5.5k I had a small lapse in concentration and a gap opened up between me and the other girls….I wasn’t able to close it after that. I managed to stumble my way around the course, the heat was having it’s way with me, tried to minimize the damage, but was passed by 4 girls in the last 1km, but I managed to steal a spot back at the line with a sprint to get in there for 9th.

Since this finish equals my best world cup finish, I’m happy with this result. Also, as my first race back post-stress fracture, I wasn’t expecting much, I also know that I can run faster and just need to tweak a few things before the next race.
I’m trying to find some photos that I can post, but if you go to there a couple good pics in there.

Now, I have 10 more days in Noosa, a short flight to Sydney, and then the first World Championships Series race on April 11th. The competition is sure to be even fiercer but after last weekend, I know I’m ready for that step up!

More later,

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Great Aussie BBQ

Ahhh....the rain has subsided for a the last few days...cross your fingers it stays away for the next fortnight (had to use that word, they use it here all the time!)!

Here is the beach where we jump in the water at 5:30am for our surf swims:
The gang also took advantage of the break in the hurricane winds to have a BBQ. Coach Paul trying to figure out the grill....
He got it sorted and grilled up a feast for all to enjoy:
Up next: Mooloolaba World Cup on Sunday (Saturday evening for North America). Check out for live coverage and details. Should be a good hit out...first big test of the season!!
Hope everything is well back home!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Riding The Wave

Training camps are a bit like our surf swim sessions out here. You head out from the beach full of energy and optimism, working hard but feeling good, ducking under the waves as they roll towards you. Finally you emerge on the back side of the break in the open ocean, enjoying the swells as they roll by. Then it’s time to swim back to the beach. Sometimes your timing is perfect, you catch the best wave and ride it all the way into the beach, sometimes you try your hardest but just miss the good ones and have to swim it in without the help of a wave. Other times you go for a big one and realize, a moment too late, that you aren’t going to make it and have to let the power of the wave have it’s way. Sometimes you make it out with little damage, other times you get smashed hard into the sand and aren’t sure which way is up! No matter how you get back to the beach, you turn around and do it again.

My camp here in Noosa has been a bit like that. Ups & downs and a few smashings. I’ve had some epic days out here. One day, while doing hill repeats solo on my bike it started to pour. As soon as I finished my workout, the rain stopped, epic. The only other person out there was a local who I would pass going the opposite direction every 10’ or so and wave at. We ended up riding together a few days later, again in the rain, and bonded over our rain/hill riding day.
Corner 7 on Noosa Hill:
Then there are the epic workouts that you wish someone else, even a stranger, was there to witness. In the driving rain & wind I headed out on my scooter to a quiet dirt road to run my intervals on (I’m sticking to softer surfaces here, since my bones are prone to stress fractures!). I got there soaked, cold and not very motivated. I managed to pull myself together and had a fantastic workout witnessed only by Red, my scooter! Another epic one.

My legs covered in sand post run.
Then there was what I call the ‘Misery Loves Company’ workout. Mile repeats on a sandy track in the national park, complete with wild Turkey’s running around. We were all in this one together, in the pouring rain, slugging out mile after mile—but this time, no camera--I couldn’t have done it without my fellow training mates out there suffering too! I also had a chance to return to that gravel road, with Heather & coach Paul, and in the hot sun we toughed out a long tempo run while Paul provided the aid station, again epic.

Along with these epic days, there were also the smashings, a swim where I thought I might drown if I didn’t have a pull buoy, a 4 hour ride where I had to ingest way too many Power Gels just to keep the pedals turning in the gale force head wind that appeared the last few kms! These days make you stronger too, mentally & physically.

Anyway, training has been going well for this time of the year, and it looks like cyclone Ului that has been causing the torrential downpours is almost gone…I also finished my first race of the 2010 season…the Splash & Dash 4 Ca$h! Unfortunately, I finished second to a young Aussie whipper snapper, but it was good to get a short race in before Mooloolaba next weekend, I haven’t raced since September last year…almost forgot how! More on the upcoming races later.

That’s all for now!

Lisa’s guide to Dealing with Australian Wildlife Encounters

What is it? Something like 9/10 poisonous snakes live here? Killer spiders, evil ants, & sharks…My rules for Australian wildlife are simple; never touch any animal/insect I come into close proximity to, never walk barefoot in the grass, never be the first one down a pathway in the morning, and always pretend that shadow you saw in the water was just a friendly dolphin.

We named the giant spider that lives in the garden Charlie (see photo in last post). We thought this would make him seem less of a threat, more like a friend. My friend Charlie decided to try to trap me in his web the other morning…that’s what I get for being friendly I suppose. The wind and rain destroyed his normal garden entrapment during the night, so he decided to build a new one ACROSS the driveway and wait for me to walk into it in the morning! Luckily, my roommate, Birgit, was there to save me and took down the rest of the GIANT web with a stick! Thanks Charlie.

The next day, while running down the pathway deep in my own thoughts (well, more like in a world of pain since my legs were killing me that day!), I nearly stepped on a Brown snake…one of the most deadly snakes in all of Oz….I startled it and had trapped it between me and a steep sidewall…..
Here is a pop quiz. When you see a strange animal in Australia, likely poisonous or just wants to eat you, how do you react? You:

a) Freeze in your tracks, stay as motionless as you can…maybe it will think you are a tree and go away.
b) Stop, whip out the camera, get as close to it as you can for the money shot and post the pic on your blog. Poking it with a stick & aggravating it to get a better photo is ideal.
c) Jump up & down, wave your arms, show your teeth and charge the animal. Use the “I’m bigger & louder than you are” technique to try to scare it off. Doesn’t that work for a Grizzly??
d) Scream like a girl, shout profanities, and run off faster than you ever have, never looking back!

If your answer is d) that is exactly what I did when I saw the snake start to slither beside my foot! Her name is Maggi and she lives just off the pathway (I had to return the same route and was on high alert, but only found the entrance to her den). Hopefully Maggi and I never meet again.

Till my next wildlife encounter...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Meet me at the grass track, high noon....

It’s been just over a week in Oz. The rain has taken a little break and the sun is shining, bringing with it the heat. The other day Coach Paul had a special track session planned between my morning bike with the group (always a good leg burner) and my late afternoon pool strength (pull) session. That left the only time to run around noon. Cruel you say? Yes, but not on Paul’s part; our ITU races are always set for the heat of the day, so these sessions are good for me to acclimatize to the heat & sun that will probably be out for race day! To make the run session extra fun (sense the sarcasm) the track here is grass… it was wet and muddy and slopes to one side. Ahhh fun!

Now training is in full swing and the first race of the season is approaching fast. Mooloolaba is March 28 & Sydney is April 11th. I will post more on those later. Just a short update for now.
Hope all is well at home!The guy above is our gives me the willies just looking at this picture...I have to sprint by him at night!

Friday, March 5, 2010

No Worries Mate!

Well, I've been a bit AWOL the last week or so. I made it to Australia and the internet situation is a little dodgy....apparently my email account was hacked and sent out a rather random email to everyone in my contacts list!! So, if I haven't chatted with you in awhile and you got that email, HI, and I'm sorry, delete it!!!

Anyway, I'll write more later. All is well here, lots of rain but it's warm and I'm outside, so I can't complain!