Category Archives: Races

Posts relating to a particular race I just competed in

Going out with a bang

Hi everyone,

It’s now 3 weeks after Lake Placid and I thought it would be fitting to finish my blog with an entry after the Luray tri, as it was with that race that the blog began a year ago.

It can be a long process recovering from an ironman, but it seems to be going pretty well for me. I had trouble walking for about three days, but from then on the recovery has been pretty fast. I resumed training slowly a week after the race and the last few days I’ve felt the best I’ve ever felt. However, feeling incredible and actually performing well are two things, so I was interested to see how my performance went in Luray.

luray

Getting ready for the race start with Ben

Being a sprint triathlon I went out really hard as I began the one loop swim of Lake Arrowhead. About 100 yards in I could see there were not many people in front of me, which is something I’m not really used to in open water swims. I found someone to draft off and settled in for the next couple of hundred metres, but then I could feel them fade so I surged out on my own. When I reached the beach I was shocked to see nobody ahead of me!

I was in fact in third position – the first two guys were so far ahead of me I couldn’t even see them, but I had just completed the swim of my life! At Luray last year I was very much a middle of the pack swimmer and it felt great to know all those hours in the pool have paid off. I was gasping for breath a little, but maintained my form as I made a quick transition and got onto the bike course.

Once on the bike I quickly caught sight of second place and looked to take some time off them on the first hill. I powered up, but right as I neared the top my bike ruined the serenity of the Blue Ridge foot hills with a deafening pop. I had burst my rear inner tube! With less than a mile of the bike course completed I retired from the race.

I was frustrated to say the least, but that’s triathlon and I have found you simply cannot beat Murphy’s Law sometimes. I’ve managed to post finishing times for only 50% of the triathlons I’ve entered this year! However, I feel incredibly lucky as on inspection of my tube it would appear it was simply a burst seam, probably caused by age. This could have happened at any time and yet I managed to get in all 112 miles of the Lake Placid course before it did. Less than a mile of outdoor cycling later and there it goes – maybe on this occasion I did get the better of Murphy!

So now I guess it’s a question of what’s next for me. I still have no desire to do anything as crazy as an ironman again anytime soon. Right now I’m leaning towards focusing on running again and focusing on middle distance. While I love triathlon, it involves a lot of preparation for each race, very early mornings and the added risk factor of your bike letting you down. With running races you just rock up 30 minutes before the race, collect your race packet and off you go for a few minutes. Anything that involves more sleep seems like a much better option when you’ve got a little guy to take care of!

Nevertheless, I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to compete at Lake Placid and complete an ironman. It was a lot of hard work to train for, but it was an incredibly satisfying experience I’ll always be able to look back on fondly.

I was also glad to do my bit, however small, for hyperemesis gravidarum research. I’d like to thank everyone who donated for their generosity. Altogether we raised $1540, which goes an incredibly long way with the HER Foundation. The HER Foundation has very few overheads (e.g. it does not have a paid staff) and really makes every donation go a long way, so if you are ever looking to give to charity in the future I’d strongly encourage you to keep them in mind.

Of course, raising money was only part of the cause and I really wanted to help get the word out about HG and its effect on families. Please take the next opportunity you get to educate someone you know on HG (with the recent royal birth you have an excellent ice breaker!) So many expectant mothers are suffering from this debilitating illness and have no idea what it is – let’ do them all a big favour and help spread the word so they can get the treatment they need.

I’ve had fun writing the blog, so thanks for reading along and for your words of encouragement along the way!

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You are an ironman!

Hi everyone,

Well I did it! After a long day at Lake Placid I’m proud to be able to call myself an ironman. Overall I was really happy with my race and wound up crossing the line in 11 hours 15 minutes, which put me into 315th position overall and 23rd in my division.

The morning started early on the shores of mirror lake. As I left the hotel I saw a flash of lightning in the distance and my heart skipped a beat, but fortunately that was the last I saw of it and the race began on time. Just before 6:30 the cannon was fired and the pro males began their long day on the job.

I started about 5 minutes behind them and went out at a very solid pace on the first loop of the two lap swim, covering those 1.2 miles in just over 31 minutes. At the end of that loop we had to get out onto the beach and run a short distance before commencing the second lap, which made for a rather nauseous feeling that soon past. I went a little wide at times on the second lap and got tangled up a few times with some of the slower swimmers still on their first lap so it was a couple of minutes slower but I was still happy with the effort. Overall my swim ended up being my best leg of the day – it’s the first time I’ve ever swum better than I’ve run so I guess those countless laps of the pool paid off.

It could have ended up a bit differently though. One of the keys to a good swim in open water is finding good swimmers to draft off. If you can find someone who is roughly your ability or a little bit better you can tuck in behind them and follow their slip stream, which results in you expending up to 18% less effort. Anyway, on the first lap I got behind a girl who was swimming at the exact pace I wanted to hit so I sat in behind her for about 5 minutes. I thought I was keeping a pretty considerate distance, but I guess she could sense me and didn’t like me getting free speed. She stopped swimming, turned to me and started thrashing her arms wildly at me, so I just put the hammer down and swam like crazy to get away from her!

Once I was out of the water I ran into the bike transition area and my heart skipped a beat for the second time that day. I got to my bike rack only to find my bike was missing! There were several thousand bikes there and I had only seen one that was worth less than mine, so I wondered why would anybody steal my rigid aluminium beast with heavy alloy wheels. I ran over to the nearest volunteer to report the theft, only to find he was holding it ready for me to grab as I ran through the transition. I’m not used to that kind of service at a triathlon! I thanked him and quickly got started on the bike course.

Hammering along the big course... before I killed my legs!

Hammering along the big course… before I killed my legs!

After a couple of steep uphill miles the huge descents into the town of Keene approached, which made me a little anxious. It was raining at that stage and I knew from driving the course that the roads were in pretty bad shape on this section, so I intended on taking it pretty easy. As I freewheeled down the hill at about 60km/h I had a few athletes pass me like I was standing still. They must have been doing close to 90km/h which doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for error so I was happy for them to leave me in their wake.

I felt really good on the first lap of the bike and towards the end I started to get into race mode where I was looking at the athletes ahead of me and picking them off. Big mistake! Shortly after the start of the second loop I knew I had gone out too hard and had to conserve some energy if I was going to get through the run. On the second lap I passed two athletes and was overtaken by at least 100 others (though it felt more like 1,000,000!), which was very demoralizing and made the pain in my legs hurt twice as bad. Still I hung in there and was elated when I past the 100 mile mark. At that point I knew my bike could fail catastrophically and I would still be able to carry it into town and finish the race.

After climbing the final hill (Papa Bear) I found myself rushing through transition and onto the run leg. My transition went very smoothly and I actually completed it faster than Andy Potts, who won the pro division (I would have preferred to beat him on the bike leg, but I take what I can get). I grabbed some sunscreen on the way out and started attacking right away on the steep downhills out of town. I was a little scared to be honest, as I knew these downhills would become uphills on my way back into town!

The first 7 miles of the marathon felt pretty good, but then I started to feel a nauseous and mentally I knew I couldn’t convince myself to just run another 19 miles so I needed a new tack. I decided I would run to the next aid station a mile away and then I would walk through it and grab as many fluids and nutrients as I could. Then I would repeat this every mile until I felt better. Running a mile doesn’t seem that bad, so the strategy worked pretty well and didn’t slow me down too much and so as I came back into town around the halfway point I started to feel magical again. I started passing people left, right and centre, but it only lasted three miles before I had to slow the pace back down and return to my one mile at a time strategy.

The second half of the marathon was a real mental struggle and if it were a training run I would have thrown in the towel. But with so much preparation for this moment I wasn’t going to quit that easily. With about three miles to go I decided to suck it up, increase the pace and finish in style, but just as I convinced myself my body rebelled with an epic cramp in my left hamstring. I stopped to stretch it out, but it just kept on grabbing. However, a little massage and three stretches later (as I watched all the people I had overtaken cruise past me) I was able to get back into my rhythm. I past a lot of people coming into town as I ran up the hill, seeing as most people weren’t crazy enough to run up a steep hill after 11 hours of racing. Then as I rounded the last mile I embraced the pain and pushed myself hard towards to finish. Rounding the corner onto the speed skating track and completing the half lap of the track before the finish line was a truly electric experience (some may say Steven Bradbury-esque)

Crossing the line... what a feeling!

Crossing the line… what a feeling!

Crossing the line I felt pretty spent, but not too bad. I didn’t require any medical attention like I did on my first marathon a couple of years ago, so my fitness and racing strategies have certainly improved since then. I grabbed some sustenance and sat down for about 10 minutes before I found Brynn and got reunited with her and Benjamin. The truth is that behind every ironman there is an ironmate, who makes it all happen with their incredible support and encouragement. Brynn made a lot of sacrifices over the last few months to enable me to get in the training I needed to get to the finish line and I am very grateful for her support. She can wear my medal any time she likes!

Now it will be a big adjustment as I get used to life outside of ironman once again, but I look forward to the change of pace and the opportunity to spend more time doing things I simply haven’t had the time for. Triathlon will still be on the cards though as I have the Luray triathlon on my schedule in three weeks. I figured with all that training under my belt, I might as well get in another race!

With the end of ironman I’ll be bringing my blog to a close soon, but it’s still not too late to donate if you are able to! We’ve had a number of last minute donations come through that have been really appreciated and will go a long one to helping the fight against HG!

Sehenandoah’s Pride

Brynn, Benjamin and I are now in Lake Placid and less than 24 hours from the start of the ironman! It was a long trip up but worth it just to see the town, which is one of the nicest towns I’ve seen in America. The mountain air is very refreshing and it’s just picture perfect.

To say I’m a little nervous wouldn’t be inaccurate, but I’m confident the training I have under my belt will put me in good stead to reach the finish line. My cycling has traditionally been my triathlon weakness and with the cycle leg at Lake Placid being notoriously hard I knew I had to do something to get some extra power and endurance in my legs. I found that little something on the Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park.

The Skyline Drive was built during the Great Depression as part of the New Deal, which was an initiative to help America’s unemployment problems with big infrastructure projects. It travels for 100 miles through some of Virginia’s steepest mountains, providing some of the most spectacular views you’re ever likely to see on the east coast of America – and exhausting many an avid cyclists legs.

On the first of my three rides along the Skyline I was hooked within about five minutes. The road has 71 roadside lookouts and traffic is never heavy. Furthermore, the people driving through the park are there to enjoy it and are generally unaggressive towards bikes – a rarity in this part of the world. My only complaint was I didn’t see any of the black bears that the park is famous for on my ride.

On the second ride, however, I more than made up for it with three bear sightings. The first one I head a russle in the trees by the road and turned my head to see the top of a bears head, which wasn’t much but enough to get me excited. The second two made it seem pretty lame though as I got to see a mother and its cub walking off down a fire trial beside the road. When I first saw the mother I thought it must have been a baby, but then when I saw the baby I realized just how small black bears actually are. I have to admit I was a little scared of seeing one up until that point, but the truth is they are almost completely harmless.

Don’t get me wrong – black bears are wild animals and are both fast and strong. However, they are also very timid and the ones in Shenandoah are very used to seeing people. Provided you don’t do anything silly like chase them around or steal their babies chances are they will ignore you (there hasn’t been a bear attack in Shenandoah in 30 years).

That final ride ended as a 100 mile 7 hour epic that involved over 3000 metres of climbing (that’s higher than Australia’s tallest mountain and about a third the height of Everest). If I can get through that I know I can beat the mountains in the Adirondacks by Lake Placid.

On my third ride I was also lucky to see another three bears. One of them was a younger one that crossed the road about 30 metres in front of me and paused briefly to check me out. It was a really magical experience and more than made up for any fatigue I felt at the end of the day.

With the big day almost here I’d encourage you all to dig deep for the HER Foundation, who are really benefitting from the generous donations that have been made so far. If you’d like to make things interesting why not pledge a donation based on my performance in Lake Placid? You might consider donating a certain amount for every mile I complete or for every minute under 17 hours (the cut off time) in which I complete the course. Whether it’s a lot or a little, every donation makes a big difference and is truly appreciated.

HER 5k

Hi everyone,

Mother’s Day ended up being a very memorable experience for our family and not only because Benjamin decided to start crawling (covering about 4 feet so he could attack his alphabet caterpillar with his ferocious gums). The day began with the HER 5k, a race very close to Brynn’s and my heart given our experience with HG last year.

The day could only be better than last year’s Mother’s Day, given Brynn was in hospital fighting off an infection caused by the PICC line she had been given for intravenous feeding. That particular visit lasted five days. It was a huge contrast to see Brynn happy and full of energy this year, back to her usual self.

This Mom IS one tough chick

This Mom IS one tough chick!

The race was full of other mothers who had survived HG and it was a great opportunity for them to share their stories with each other. Given how little known HG still is I think it must be huge for these women to be able to speak to so many other people that truly understand what they have been through. While I saw Brynn suffer for the longest nine months of our lives I can only start to imagine the physical pain she went through, so it was fantastic that she was able to connect with so many strong mothers who had survived similar ordeals.

Of course, in addition to the social opportunity there was a race to be run and I was intent on having a good go at it. Once the gun went off I was all business and surged out at a steady pace. Coming around the first corner I was in the lead and settled into a firm but comfortable tempo I felt I could hold for the next 5k. The course was predominantly flat, but presented a little bit of a challenge in that a quarter of it was on crushed sea shells – not a surface I would typically run on! At the half way turn around I had about a minute’s lead on the competition. I held my pace and surged towards the finish line only to realise I actually had to run past the finish about 300 metres and then turn around before crossing the line. Fortunately I still had enough left in the reserve tank to complete the final section and finish the race in 17 minutes 49 seconds – a full minute better than the last 5k I ran over a year ago and enough to secure a win.

Passing the fan club en route to the finish

Passing the fan club en route to the finish

Once I was done I gave myself a quick breather before jogging off to find Brynn, who was walking the course with Benjamin and her parents. I found them and was able to complete the course a second time… this time at a much more leisurely pace thankfully. Benjamin seemed to be quite excited at the start of the race, but by the time I caught up to him he was fast asleep.

Benjamin gave the medal the old fashioned bite test - it wasn't 24 carat gold

Benjamin gave the medal the old fashioned bite test – it wasn’t 24 carat gold

All in all the HER 5k was a huge success and looks set to continue for many more years to come. I think we have a new annual tradition for Mother’s Day.

Half the Distance

Hi everyone,

This past weekend was my first real test of endurance on the scale of Lake Placid. And by scale I mean 1:2, as it was exactly half the distance (and theoretically half as painful). Anyway, I’m please to say it was a huge success and while it did highlight a few things I’ll need to work on for Lake Placid, it also showed that I’m on track to achieving my goal.

The race took place at Lake Monticello, just outside of Charlottesville and was aptly named “Monticelloman”. It began with a 1.2 mi lake swim followed by a hilly 56 mi bike ride and a 13.1 mi run  (1.9km/90km/21.1km).

I have to admit that the waters of the lake were a bit brisk at 66 degrees Fahrenheit (19 Celcius), but it gave me all the more reason to go out hard and put the many hours I’ve spent working on my swim technique to practice. I was wearing a new pair of swim goggles I just bought that were designed for open water and they made a huge difference. I was able to see really clearly in the water which helped me to draft off the other swimmers. The result – over 4 minutes of my previous best and my first time under 30 minutes for the distance.

Coming out of the lake into transition

Coming out of the lake into transition

It was a weird feeling to get on the bike among the leaders and as such I was bracing myself for the onslaught of strong cyclists. Slowly but surely they came and over the next couple of hours I was past by several, while only passing two myself. On the second lap of the course I was passed by someone in my own age group who was flying. I was also passed by the leading female, so I made a mental note to look out for them on the half marathon course and try to run them down.

Coming into the run my quads were aching from the hills, so I started a little slower than usual and increased my speed over time. After a few miles I was able to see the leading female so I let my speed out on some of the downhill sections to make up ground. At the half way turnaround I made my move and cruised past her and could see guy from age group ahead. All was going to plan.

But that’s when the plans changed. A few minutes later I realised the girl I had passed was still only a few steps behind me. I pushed the speed up every now and then, but I just couldn’t shake her. For the next 3 miles we were neck and neck, which was great as it kept me pushing the pace, but we still didn’t seem to be making a lot of ground on the guy from my age group. However, as we entered the final 3 miles he seemed to slow down slightly as our pace continued to increase. With about a half mile to go we were still neck and neck and now only about 40 metres behind my target.  At that point he turned his head and spotted us coming and took off like a scalded cat.

I figured he wouldn’t maintain that pace, but didn’t like my chances of closing the gap now. Nevertheless I kept composed and just held the pace. Then moments later something happened that was about 1 part strategy and 10,000 parts pure luck – the guy cramped up and had to stop for a moment. I felt like Stephen Bradbury as I cruised past him. At that point it occurred to me that the women had started five minutes after the men, so when the leading girl cranked up the pace again I let her go – I was in pain and she technically had a five minute lead on me so she could go for the glory run. I just kept my legs moving over the last couple of hills and sprinted the final downhill. I ended up winning the age group by 12 seconds – a very narrow margin after racing for close to five hours.

Benjamin was extra excited to see me when he realised I had a medal around my neck

Benjamin was extra excited to see me when he realised I had a medal around my neck

Looking back at the race I don’t see many areas where I could have done much better – I really did just have a fantastic race that pushed me to my current limits. However, on crossing the line I felt spent and the thought that I’d only be half way done if I was at Lake Placid was more than a little scary. So learning from the race I know that I need to be more conservative on the bike in Lake Placid, especially on the hills and I need to take in both more water and more calories. While I relied solely on sports drink and energy gels for this race I think I’ll need to eat something a little more substantial when I get to Placid.

Benjamin enjoyed sharing the limelight on the podium

Benjamin enjoyed sharing the limelight on the podium

Now I’m going to take the best part of a week off training, which will be a welcome change of pace after all the hard sessions I’ve put in over the past few months. However, I’ll have to be back on my game for next weekend as the HER 5k will be taking place at the National Harbor in Maryland. If anyone is looking for an excellent race next weekend entries are still open!

The Highs and Lows of Triathlon

It’s been a while since I’ve posted owing partly to a lack of time and partly to a lack of motivation for all things triathlon related. After a long winter of indoor training it was only natural that my motivation would lapse at some point. In fact, I was a little surprised that it lasted as long as it did.

My lapse in motivation was triggered by my first outdoor race of the season – a really short local triathlon in reverse order. It sounded like a fun way to mix things up by having the run at the start and the swim at the finish. Also, given how cold it was in early March it would have been difficult to go outside on a bike after getting out of the pool.

Anyway, the race was an epic disaster for me. Each of the three legs felt quite good, but my transitions in between them were frightfully slow – partly because I wore gloves which made me fumble every piece of equipment I had to touch. Also, the course was really poorly marked, which made it difficult to navigate. I ended up crossing the line in second place, just a few seconds behind the winner.

When I caught this guy I thought I had caught the leader at first, but he was only racing the aquathlon

When I caught this guy I thought I had  the leader at first, but he was from a different race on the same course

However, unbeknownst to me until the award ceremony was about to be held, I had been disqualified for cutting the course. It turns out I had taken a wrong turn on the bike course, which cut out close to half a mile of the course. I was in fourth place at the time of the incident and I was simply following 2nd and 3rd, who were just ahead of me.

It wasn’t a very serious race, but I was certainly taking it seriously, so I felt very dejected about the whole experience. For the following few weeks I trained more out of habit than desire and really struggled to find enjoyment in any of my training sessions. It made me re-evaluate what I was doing and had it not been for Lake Placid and some of the other races I had already entered I may well have just walked away from the sport and gone back to just running.

My next triathlon was part of the Virginia Triathlon Series and scheduled to take place in Lynchburg, Virginia this past weekend. After a few weeks of loathing training I approached the race with a very different attitude. It was a much bigger race but I simply didn’t care about it anymore, so I decided that I would go into it with the sole purpose of enjoying myself. If I floundered like a dead fish in the pool, rode my bike like a circus clown and failed to finish the run that was fine, I just had to feel like I was having fun.

The approach ended up having a huge benefit – I had the best night’s sleep I’ve ever had before a triathlon (I only woke up once and that was because Benjamin was crying!) As I lined up for the start of the race I felt relaxed and in good spirits.

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My No. 1 supporter was in high spirits

After completing the swim in a decent time I had a great transition onto the bike and cycled through and out of the downtown area of Lynchburg (it’s a great city to hold a triathlon because it’s completely dead on a Sunday and they can basically close the whole place down). It was a scenic and hilly course and my hours on the indoor expresso bike came in handy as I was able to cycle down the majority of people who started in front of me.

Another good transition saw me on the run course, which went out of town and onto the Blackwater cycle trail. I past one athlete early and worked slowly on another who I caught at the bottom of a ridiculously steep hill coming back into the city. I managed to pass him, but couldn’t hold him off after burning all my candles on the hill. It didn’t matter anyway, as he had started the race more than five minutes before me.

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Falling apart as the finish line approaches

I ended up finishing second place overall and given the size of the race it was by far the best result I have achieved to date. Best of all I am looking forward to getting back into training tomorrow!

For News Coverage of the Triathlon Click Here

My next event won’t be until May and will be a half iron distance race, which will be a real test. This last race has shown me that I have improved my speed and power in the off-season, but whether my endurance has improved won’t be seen until this next event. It will be a good indication of how my preparation is going for Lake Placid and how much pain I am likely to go through in July.

Off to a Flying Start

Hi everyone,

Yesterday was my first competition of the year and one that I was very pleased with. Although it was far from a serious race I took it quite seriously and managed to come in first overall! It’s the first time I’ve won anything outright since I began endurance training about five years ago and it felt good to be atop the podium again (even though there was no podium to climb up onto!)

The race was the local Lifetime Indoor Triathlon and involved a 10 minute swim, 10 minute transition, 30 minute spin cycle, 5 minute transition and 20 minute treadmill run. I started at a very relaxing 10am, which was a welcome change from the early mornings typically associated with outdoor triathlons.

My swim leg went very well. Once the whistle blew I went out a pretty solid pace, but one I felt I could sustain. A lot of swimmers were neck and neck with me for the first two laps, but it wasn’t long before the pace eased off and I was able to take the lead. After ten minutes I had completed 25 laps, which put me atop the leaderboard.

After changing in the locker room I looked up at the clock and saw it had only taken me 2 minutes the change. Wow that was fast I thought! So I took my time getting to the spin cycle studio for the next leg. Unfortunately it never occurred to me that it would have been superhuman for me to get changed that quick and the clock in the locker room was actually off by about five minutes! The bike leg began just after I walked into the spin studio, so I had to quickly jump on and get up to speed. I had trouble clipping into the bike and my shoe came flying off the pedal a couple of times, but I gave it everything I had so as to not lose my position. I managed to keep the damage to a minimum and remained among the leaders.

Heading into the run leg I felt pretty good and intended to establish a pretty quick pace for the first ten minutes and then increase my speed for the second half. However, once things got started I glared across to my friend Lester’s treadmill and saw he had it juiced up to 10.8 mph! I didn’t think he could maintain that pace (he’s fast, but he’s not Mo Farah!), but also didn’t want him to get too far ahead so I dialled mine up a 10.5 mph, a little faster than I had planned. Soon I realised Lester had accidentally turned his treadmill up too far by mistake and had settled the pace back down, but I felt good so I didn’t bother easing off. Well for the first ten minutes anyway…

After ten minutes I started feeling nauseous and began to regret my sudden change in race tactics. Ever so slightly I eased off the pace only to find the nauseous feeling just wouldn’t go away. Over the next eight minutes I kept slowing the pace until I got down the 9.3 mph, but I still felt miserable. However, I hung in there and in the final two minutes I increased my speed back up to 10 mph. When time was called I just wanted to collapse!

However, the effort was not completely in vain. I managed to cover 3.33 miles, which gave me the best run of the day and enough points to take first place overall for the day. (See final results here)

One of the biggest highlights of the day was having my support crew (Brynn and Benjamin) there to cheer me on. Brynn was only able to come to one of my races last year because of her illness, so it was great to have her and our little man there.

My new number 1 supporter

My new number 1 supporter

My legs are in a lot of pain today, which is probably mostly because I’m not used to using a spin cycle, which had me pedaling at something crazy like 130 rpm. However, it was a great workout and a nice little confidence booster as the more serious races approach. Besides, I’m sure the pain I’m feeling is nothing compared to what I’ll feel after Lake Placid in July!

HER 5k for Mother’s Day

Hi again,

I’ve been slowly getting back into my running lately and have been doing some 5k’s on the treadmill. So far my knee is holding up great so I’ll continue to increase my mileage slowly and before you know I’ll be ready for the marathon leg at Lake Placid.

Before then though I’m looking forward to a few 5k races and as the HER 5k registration just opened up I was sure to get my entry in. Being at the National Harbor in early May I’m sure it will be a very pleasant way to spend Mother’s Day. Not only that, but the funds raised go to the HER foundation, the same charity I am trying to raise awareness for with my participation at Lake Placid.

I’d really like to do anything I can to get as many people out to the National Harbor in May, so for any readers who enter the race by March 15 I will personally donate $20 to the HER Foundation (* for up to 15 people). Simply register through Active by going through the race website (http://www.her5k.org/) and then post a reply to this post below.

If you’d like to show your support, but simply can’t make it out to Maryland on Mother’s Day there is also a virtual registration option. This allows you to do any 5k course in your own time and post your results with the race organizers.

Alternatively if you’d like to show your support but just aren’t the running type the race is still looking for volunteers.  That’s exactly what Brynn and Benjamin will be doing (and I when I’m not running), so if you’d like to lend a hand please either contact the race organizers through the website or drop me a line.

Ben enjoying the cold weather with his Dad

Ben enjoying the cold weather with his Dad

On the note of upcoming competitions March is almost upon us! One of the local gyms has an indoor triathlon next weekend, so I’ve entered that. It involves a 10 minute swim, 10 minute transition, 30 minute spin cycle, 5 minute transition and a 20 minute treadmill run. Each athlete receives a score for the distance they are able to complete and then the winner is the person with the highest score. I’m looking forward to releasing a few competitive juices after a long winter!

Getting with the Program

Hi everyone,

Well it’s been a while since the last post owing to a hectic couple of weeks. Brynn, Ben and I finally moved into our own place and between the hassle of moving and the extra toll of not having Brynn’s parents around as much to help look after Ben we haven’t had a whole lot of time (or sleep). Fortunately we’re only a few minutes away from Brynn’s parents so we’re not entirely on our own, their help has been amazing!

I’ve just started running again and so far my knee has been fine. I’ve done a couple of short runs on the treadmill and will be building up slowly. Now the challenge will be trying to work out a routine that will help me maximise my training with the limited time I have.

I’ve planned out most of my races for the upcoming season as most races have price increases on December 31. The races I have planed are:

  • Manassas Tune Up Tri: March 24 (Mini distance)
  • Angels Race Lynchburg: April 14 (Sprint distance)
  • Monticelloman: May 5 (Half Iron distance)
  • HER 5k Run: May 12 (Supporting HG Research!)
  • Jim McDonnell Lake Swim: May 26 (2 Mile open water swim)
  • Philadelphia Triathlon: June 23 (Olympic distance)
  • Ironman Lake Placid: July 27 (Iron distance)
  • Luray Triathlon: August 18 (Sprint distance)

There were a lot of other races I would have liked to have entered, but they just didn’t work well around Lake Placid, which is of course my big race for the year. I don’t really want to plan anything after Lake Placid until its ove as I’m sure it will take me a while to recover. I made an exception for Luray because it’s such a good race and a great location.

Now it’s just a matter of finding the time I’ll need to do the training for all this. The real challenge will be getting in some long bike rides that will get me ready to tackle the Adirondacks in Lake Placid. I’ve been riding my bike on the indoor trainer, but I really need to start going longer. However, riding in the one spot for 4-5 hours is not something I look forward to!

Running for HG

Hi everyone,

Well the year is nearly over and I’m happy to report that we’re now over 10% of the way to our $5,000 fundraising goal for HG research. Thank you very much to everyone who has donated so far, your contribution is making a huge difference. With the end of the financial year fast approaching in America, now is a great time to make a tax-deductable donation. If you have any money to spare we’d really appreciate it!

With the end of the year approaching so fast I have another thought on my mind – returning to running. I haven’t jogged 100 yards since Benjamin was born owing to a knee injury I sustained. I decided with all the constraints on my time the easiest and best thing to do would be to go easy on the knee for a while and I decided to not run until the new year. Thank goodness I still have two other disciplines to keep training for- back when I was purely a runner I would be very unpleasant to be around when I couldn’t train!

Early in the season there are often a lot of fun running races around 5-10k in distance. However, there is one in particular that has me excited – the HER Foundation is hosting a 5k run/walk at the National Harbor in Maryland! The race will be held on May 12 (Mother’s Day), so if you’re available please consider entering or volunteering at the event! It’s set to take place on a great course all along the waterfront that will take in views of the harbor as well as the famous “awakening” sculpture.

Find out more about the race here

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If you have never run 5k before it could be a great opportunity to achieve something you might not have thought possible… or even kick start your career as an endurance athlete! 5k is roughly 3.1 miles and while that might seem like a drop in the ocean next to the 140.6 miles I plan on completing in July, I can assure you that that wasn’t always the case for me!

I ran my first 5k race the first year that I came to America. I was still competing at a pretty high level as a 400 metre sprinter back in Australia, but found that the track and field scene was pretty dead for adults in America unless you are at Olympic standard. With work commitments I was finding it very difficult to commit the time needed to maintain my standard and without any training partners or races to look forward to I just couldn’t get motivated.

The final straw was when the local Lacrosse team started taking over my track so I couldn’t train there. Rather than not train I decided to just jog around the neighbourhood and soon I was addicted. I felt like I was getting more from my workouts in a shorter period of time and as I bonus I got to explore the area and take in the scenery. After a few months I told Brynn I was going to do a fun run.

I spent a bit of time looking into races and soon had my first one picked out – the Arlington 9/11 Memorial 5k. Before the race came around I’d already started planning on running a marathon, but that’s a whole other story in itself!

I didn’t really know what a good time for the race would be or what I was capable of. I hadn’t even timed myself on my runs around the neighbourhood. I remembered someone once saying that 4 min k’s were good, so I figured 20 minutes would be a nice round goal to strive for. The race was held in the afternoon, so I expelled a lot of nervous energy most of the day (the apartment had never looked cleaner), but still felt ready to break that mark when I hit the starting line.

When I arrived there seemed to be some pretty fit looking people in the front pack, so I went into the next pack back. Then the gun fired and I was off like scalded cat. I felt good and didn’t have many people in front of me so thoughts began crossing my mind about how I was born to do this and I was just a natural. Then I hit the 1km mark and reality set in – straight away I knew I’d have to ease off the pace if I wanted to be standing at the end.

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Amongst the crowd at the start of the Arlington 9/11 5K

The new pace I adjusted to felt good for the next three k’s, but then my body had another reality check. As I approached the Pentagon the other runners seemed to be getting faster and I was ready to wind down. I really wanted to walk, but had come this far and was determined to get the best possible time I could. I threw everything I had into that final kilometre, but people were passing me like I was standing still. As I turned the final corner I could see the clock – it was still 19 minutes something! I went into an all out sprint and managed to finish in 19:49, beating my goal by 11 seconds.

After crossing the line I sat down on the curbside before I had a chance to collapse. It took about five minutes before I felt I could get up and walk, but I was hooked! I couldn’t wait for my first marathon!

I’m looking forward to running again, but it will be a while before I am full speed again. I’ve begun weight lifting with my legs again to hopefully strengthen any imbalances that may  have led to this current injury that I’m getting over.

In baby news Benjamin had his 8 week doctor visit this week, which sadly meant that he had to get his shots. It’s a big needle for such a little guy, but he handled it surprisingly well – he’s obviously a lot tougher than his old man! Owing to all the milk he keeps drinking he’s now weighing in at 12 pounds, which has rocketed him up the charts since his last check.

I hope everyone has a great Christmas and thanks again to everyone for your support!