You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks
What a crazy week it has been for me here. My last two blog posts have gone a little mental with literally thousands of people reading them as well as some incredible triathlon experiences over the weekend at the Nepean Tri. I love to write race reports and this week will be no different. I intend to give you all my version of events. There is however so much more to the day than my swim, bike and run. I don't say this lightly but it was probably the greatest triathlon day I have ever had so I want to try and incorporate that into it a bit as well.
My good friend who I am incredibly proud of, Andy Castellano, like me had let life get in the way and let himself go. He had put on a bit of weight and wasn't happy about it. On Sunday Andy completed his first triathlon. That alone is an incredible achievement. Especially considering that he is still weighing in at 100kgs. However the real reason I am so proud of him is that he has done what many people are unwilling to do. He acknowledged that he was unhappy with his health and weight and is taking active steps to do something about it. Andy came to me to help get him ready for the race and has gone from not being able to swim 25 metres without a break to sending me messages saying "I only managed 1km of the swim". I have been blown away by his dedication. There have been ups and downs, but there has never been the slightest chance that he wouldn't get it done. I knew from the moment I saw him riding his bike on Sunday that he was going to finish. Watching him come across the line was freaking epic. He smashed the race and is already looking for his next triathlon.
Now to my swim. The Nepean swim is held in the Regatta Centre completion lake. It is warm and still. I have raced here many times and I have never ever swam quickly. I am twice the swimmer I used to be so I was expecting to manage about 14 minutes for the 1km swim. This was considering it was a non-wetsuit swim. We were called into the water early and told there was a minute until the race start. This happened 2 times and in reality it was more like 6 minutes. I noticed that it was getting very crowded on the start line which is never good. I also noticed no one had gone the other side of one of the lane ropes. So I moved over and found myself with plenty of room for the start. When the gun went I went out hard and found sighting very easy with the lane ropes at the Regatta Centre being easy to follow. There were people around me the whole swim meaning that it was difficult to get into a rhythm and the one time I tried to draft someone I noticed that they went way off course so I decided to just go it alone. As with most races the closer you get to the swim exit the more people there are and this was no different. There were people everywhere and I was struggling to swim a straight line. I had also had my customary panic in the water at about 450 metres where I had a spike in heart rate. All this meant that coming to the swim exit my HR was higher than I would have liked. Considering my swim time I was disappointed with how much effort I had exerted for a fairly disappointing time. I came out of the water in 16:42.
There was a bit of a run up to T1. This was good for me though as I was wearing my new sleeved tri suit. The only problem with a sleeved suit is that you cant have your shoulders covered for the swim leg. So I had the top of my suit wrapped around my waist under my speed suit. When I exited the water I ripped the top half of my suit down and tried to get the top of my race suit up. Let me tell you, putting on skin-tight lycra on wet skin is not easy. I managed to get it on but found I was spending a long time getting my gear together in transition. This meant that I took longer than expected. I was glad this was happening at a local race rather than at a big 70.3. All lessons for next time! T1 time was 2:02
Another person who I was incredibly proud of on Sunday was a person who I have met through the sport and is quickly becoming one of my very good triathlon friends. That person is Morenna "Momo" Burn. Momo is tackling Noosa Tri this weekend and up until about 2 weeks before the start of Nepean Tri was struggling to ride a road bike at all. I have been on a few rides with her and I know that she is a good rider. Her technique is solid it is just that she has had a mental block with the cleats. It was awesome to meet her fella, Vince, after I finished my race and we had a chat about her. I knew she had been doing it tough but I don't think I realised how tough she had been doing it. He told me of her struggles to master it. Again, it is that never give up attitude that made me so proud to see her cross the finish line looking so strong. She not only struggled with the bike but much like Andy has had huge issues with swimming. I know she will crush Noosa Tri this weekend and will continue to see big improvements in the sport.
The bike is my favourite leg. Ever since I started this sport I really look forward to getting out on my bike. The beauty of this course is that the ride is only 30km long. This means that you can absolutely punish yourself and it lasts less than an hour compared to over 2 hours in a 70.3. When I got onto the bike I was feeling a little flustered after my less than stellar swim and transition but forced myself to focus on spinning those wheels. There were a number of areas with some very tight corners on the course which I feel really impacted on my overall speed. On the flat sections I was pushing anywhere from 40 - 45km/h. On top of this it felt relatively easy. When I was coming back into town there were a few false flats but I found myself getting distracted trying to spot other people that I knew on course. By not paying attention my speed dropped. This part of the course was the same as the back end of the 70.3 course I did last year. I managed to ride my last 15km there last year at over 40km/h so I expected to ride faster than that on Sunday. I identified that I had dropped pace so focused again on my ride. The only criticism I have of the race was those tight little technical turns in and around the Whitewater stadium. Also at the end of the bike leg there was a section on really rough road with a series of tight corners. That was no good. Otherwise a good fast course with some sneaky little climbs. I managed to come off the bike with a split of 47:14. This was maybe 2 minutes slower than I had hoped.
This transition was also a little slower than I would have liked. I made sure there were no stones on the bottom of my feet and that my shoes were on properly. I also wanted to rock my Thanyapura visor to give them the maximum amount of exposure I could on course. Coming out of transition there were two paths, left and right. I assumed the left was the correct path as the path we follow is on the left. But I was told I had gone the wrong way. I slipped over trying to turn around and feel like maybe a simple sign could have helped here... T2 time of 57 seconds.
The highlight of the day for me without doubt was that my younger brother, Luke, rocked up to race without telling me. After I registered in the morning I was about to head into transition and there he was with his bike. I could not comprehend what was happening. My brother has always been the sporting person in my family. Even though I am the eldest, I have always looked up to him in many ways. As such, when I started racing triathlon I tried to convince him to come and do one too. Literally for years I have been telling him to do one. When we were younger Luke was a very good sprinter. The 100 and 200 metres were his pet events and he had a lot of success. However as he started to get older he had increasing problems with his calf muscles. He was diagnosed with compartment syndrome. This is when the bags of fascia that contain your muscles are not big enough. This leads to a build up of pressure and agony. Luke underwent surgery for the problem which was meant to fix his legs. Instead it ended his sprinting carrier. It has taken him a long time to build up the strength to be able to run at all. So to see him there ready to race with me was incredible. He told me he had signed up for the race 6 months prior and had been training in secret because he didn't want me taunting him for 6 months about how badly I was going to beat him. All day when I was out on course I was trying to keep an eye out for him and after the race I told my Mum that I was going to be at the finish line when he crossed and became a triathlete. I was so lucky to be there when he crossed and that moment is honestly one of the greatest of my life. I was so proud of him. Like Andy and Morenna, Luke has faced his fair share of challenges to get to that start line. He also did it all by himself without any help or guidance. Even thinking about it now gives me goosebumps.
As the Nepean Tri is an odd distance I was always going to post a PB because it was the first time I raced it. However I have really been struggling this year (ever since the crash in Bintan) to run well off the bike. So I decided if nothing else, I wanted to go under 40 minutes for the 10km. My coach Ben told me that the Regatta Centre run is hard both physically and mentally. He told me to pace myself the first lap and then go for it on the last lap. I have a bad habit with all the runs I do of going out too hard. Sunday was no different. My first km split was around 3:50 and I knew that if I didn't pace myself I could get into trouble later. I intentionally made a conscious effort to run around 4min/km. I really tried to focus on my own technique and as a few runners passed me I forced myself to stay consistent. I also had some blisters starting to form under my feet which started to give me grief after about 3km. I told myself to worry about them after the race. I completed my first 5km in 20:02 so my pacing was pretty much spot on. Running past the grandstand was incredible as I had so many friends and family there (I now realise cheering for Luke) but it gave me a real boost. Onto my second lap and I though if I can get to the far end of the lake, about 2km from the finish I will bury myself coming home. That is what I did. I stayed fairly consistent for kms 6,7 and 8. I did start to drop off a bit and had to yell at myself to get on with it a bit. I also passed a few friends and was cheered on by people who I had not met. It was brilliant. The last 2km I decided to drop the hammer and by the last km I really picked up the pace. I think my last km was around 3:45 I was really moving. I flew past my family and crossed the finish line in 1:46:26 with a 10km run split of 39:28.
I had hoped to go under 1:50 for this race and was thrilled to see I did that. I finished 6th in my age group and 50th overall which for me is a great result. But definitely the highlight of the day was getting to share the experience with so many other people. Rob, Kon and Morgan were also out there and it was brilliant to chat with them throughout the day. Kon recently joined my tri team MaccaX and was rocking the same tri suit as me which was great. Chris from MaccaX was also there and I gave him a slap on the ass as I ran the last 2km home. Last time we raced there together he saw me as a blubbering mess on the side of the course. But why did I decide to name this post "You can teach an old dog new tricks?" Well I realised that the reason my brother did not want to tell me I was racing was because he was worried that I would give him a hard time. I admit that I am very competitive with my brother. More so than anyone else. However I hate the thought that anyone, especially Luke would feel like they cannot approach me or ask me questions about training or racing. So having said that I am determined moving forward to not only focus on my success but to also display my failures. It is easy to share a successful swim or run session. It isn't so easy to share an unsuccessful one. I always say this but I am the definition of ordinary. There is nothing special about me at all. It is why I call my blog "My Extraordinary, Ordinary Life" because I really believe that if I have been able to achieve what I have then anyone can. I want to include as many people in the sport and process as possible. That is my goal, to introduce this sport to people who never thought it could be possible.
Another big thing that happened for me this week was that I was interviewed by one of my true sporting heroes, Chris 'Macca' McCormack. To be the first guest on his podcast was surreal and seeing the reaction to it has been incredible. There has been so much support and no criticism, something I was a little nervous about. So to everyone who listened and shared it and posted encouraging comments, thank you. It has literally been shared nearly 5000 times!!! It is funny but when you are in something it seems normal. It isn't until others react to it that you realise it is something different. I lost weight because I hated how I was. But if I am able to motivate others now that is like winning the lotto for me.
That's it for this week!
Stay safe, congratulations to all the new triathletes and if you haven't already, remember to TRI!
Why So Serious?
I think I might be having a bit of a rant this week but there is something happening in triathlon at the moment and it is rubbing me the wrong way. What could it be you ask? Well I'm not going to get into it right away. This weekend I am racing Australia's oldest triathlon, the Nepean Tri. This is a truly iconic Australian race but not one that has ever really been on my bucket list. One of my good friends decided earlier this year that he wanted to do a triathlon and I thought the 1km swim, 30km bike and 10km run would be a good distance to start at. The fact that the swim is in the regatta lake also means that there is no tide, current or sharks for him to worry about. So I agreed to sign up and do the race with him.
Over the last few months I have been privileged to meet a number of other people who are also attempting their first triathlon out there. To the point that this Sunday when I line up I will be racing with no less than 5 triathlon first timers that I know. When I did my first triathlon I would not have finished if it wasn't for the support of my crazy English friend, Rob. It is literally the reason why I crossed that finish line and am still in the sport today. So I am really looking forward to cheering on all the people who I will know out there on Sunday. I am genuinely looking forward to racing this weekend.
Triathlon like most endurance sport is incredibly encouraging. Lots of us don't like the swim which can be one of the biggest fears for new athletes. Many people including myself feel self-concicious wearing skin tight lycra. We all understand the commitment it takes to not only finish a triathlon or go fast but to simply get to the start line. So to all of my friends who are reading this and are racing on Sunday congratulations. It takes guts to put your hand up and say this is something that I want to do. It takes determination to do the training to even get to the start line. Trust me when I say the hardest part is behind you. On course athletes support each other. If you are struggling you never see people laugh or mock. When I was broken last year at the Western Sydney 70.3 on the side of the course crying I had multiple people stop their race to see if they could help me. I was inundated with support. It helped me keep going and eventually finish. Even the professionals of the sport. We are so lucky that we have so much access to the best of the best. You can walk up to most of the pros and have a chat and they are always friendly and more than happy to have a photo or a chat. In fact I am yet to meet one who has been a prick. But this is where my problem lies. There is a growing trend lately for age group athletes to become incredibly arrogant and take themselves too seriously. To the point of being rude to other athletes. I feel it is important here to take a moment and state I understand that there are some age group athletes who compete at a very high level and some who are trying to qualify as a pro. But in reality this number is low. So if you are one of those people I am not talking about you.
When I was in Indonesia for Bintan 70.3 there was another age grouper there. They had all the gear. Wearing a branded shirt, hat and everything. If you didn't know where they racked their bike you would have thought they were a pro or at the very least, sponsored. After this person was done setting up their transition another athlete who was racked near me was obviously struggling with their bike and asked this person for help. The wannabe pro literally ignored them. I couldn't believe it. I stopped what I was doing and helped them pump up their tyre. It took less than a minute. It wasn't just that though, it was the way they conducted themselves in general. The same person was in my age group and was very forceful pushing to the front of the swim start. I was nervous because I was there trying to qualify and I thought this person might be a seriously good athlete. That was the last I saw of that person all day. Where did they finish? Much lower in the rankings then I did and I crashed my bloody bike! You see it in training too though. At the pool, at the track, the age group athlete who takes it all too seriously. I get it, you want to go as fast as you can. But come on, we aren't racing for money, in fact more often that not we are spending lots and lots of money to do this. We do it because we are meant to enjoy it!
I train hard and I have big goals in the sport. But maybe my perspective is different because I have taken the long way to get where I am (and I am far from the top of anything). But one of my favourite things is to spend time with triathlete beginners. I try to let them know the things I have leant along the way. I love the sport and I want it to grow and become one of the most popular sports in the world. Triathlon encourages a healthy lifestyle so the more people doing it, the better the competition and the healthier we will be as a society. So why has there been this shift lately for people to stop being friendly to one another? Why do so many people forget that it is a hobby, something that is meant to be fun. Bad news, but if you are over 25 you will struggle to truly make it as a top professional. Again, I am sure that some of you out there are capable of it. But not all of you. I see it all the time. Someone does a tri, they love it. They get right into it and at some point the though crosses their mind, "I could go pro". Maybe it is because the gap between top age grouper and lower tier pro is almost non-existent. But the time gap does not represent the amount of effort that goes into going 5 minutes faster. I am getting angry just writing this and am worried that I am getting off track. This isn't about having a go at people for their goals or their training volume or even about what the sport means to you. What I am trying to say is that triathlon is a beautiful sport because it encourages like-minded people to come together and achieve something extraordinary. But at the end of the day for 99% of us it is a hobby and that is all it will ever be. Going faster or winning your age group will not make you a better person. Lots of the top age groupers out there are amazing friendly people.
So lets all try and take the time to have a chat with the person next to us in transition. To answer the question of a person at the track or in the pool. By being encouraging and welcoming we will grow the sport. More races are better for everyone and at the end of the day, most of us are only ever racing ourselves. So enjoy the process, enjoy the sport. Appreciate the effort you put in and understand that other people are pushing themselves to achieve something incredible as well.
Sorry if this week is a bit ranty but by having so many people I know doing their first triathlon made me realise that it can be really intimidating for people entering the sport and we all have our role to play. Whatever journey we are on within triathlon, unless you are racing for your living, your race is not more important than anyone else's. Lets all race hard and race fair and remember why we do this sport, because we choose to.
Good luck to everyone this weekend!
The race is your reward so enjoy your first TRI!
The Secret to My Recent Success
I am sitting here about to write this post a little reluctant because the topic this week is on food. Now I know that this is something that people feel very passionate about so please, keep in mind that I am not giving advice or saying one thing is right and the other wrong. I am simply talking about what I have done over the last 4 weeks which has seen me drop a surprising amount of weight. So no jumping down my throat or anyone else's and I don't need to hear about how paleo is the greatest or we need to carb the fuck up and go vegan. This is not about diets or ways of life. It is a story. SO CHILL!
With that little disclaimer out of the way lets get into it... After my less than stellar performance at Sunny Coast in September and looking at my race photos compared with last year I realised that I had put on a bit of weight. I wasn't as slim as I thought I was and when I jumped on the scale I was surprised to see that I was 81kgs. While I do not think the number on the scale is terribly important and is by no means the best indicator of your health or your shape, I know I sit around 78 comfortably. So I said to my wife, we need to get on top of our diet. I train a lot and I train hard. So to me it seemed like diet was the obvious problem. The problem that I have with dieting is that I LOVE food. Eating is one of my favourite things and as such I need my food to taste good. Earlier in the year my soon to be sister-in-law gave me and Dez the recipes she had used from a particular calorie controlled diet. Typical Tim looked over them and declared "Rubbish, it all sounds crap and I wont eat it" so we didn't really use them. However what was undeniable was that both my brother and his fiancé had lost a noticeable amount of weight eating this food. This is where my wife's genius came through. There were a lot of recipes, I can only guess that there were anywhere between 50 and 100. So Dez had the brilliant idea of numbering each and every one of them, then drawing the numbers out of a hat each week to know which dinners we will eat. I was not allowed to know what the dishes were and each night Dez would simply ask me to choose one of the numbers.
Something that I am really happy that we do is one big grocery shop a week to cover our meals for that week. Not only does it encourage you to cook more because you want to eat what you have bought, it works out to be a lot cheaper. So every week Dez goes and does the grocery shopping without me. I literally cannot be trusted. I think as an adult the fact I can literally buy whatever I want is still too exciting for me and I buy the most ridiculous unhealthy stuff you can imagine. After our weekly ritual for the past few years though it has become an issue for us. Every Sunday, "What do you want for dinner this week?" had begun to cause a bot of tension as we tended to just recycle the same recipes. I was finding by Thursday or Friday I didn't really want to eat some of the meals we had planned. Ha ha! Dez cracked the code. By randomly drawing the numbers from a hat we had no say over what we ate and by me not knowing what was for dinner until it was put in front of me, I couldn't turn my nose up at it.
Now these recipes are very specific with their quantities. 60grams of this and 180 grams of that. That is not how I cook. I cook with no guides and consider recipes more a set of suggestions. So Dez has stepped up to the plate and is cooking all of our weeknight dinners. What a rock star. But as I mentioned everything is weighed and aimed for exactly 2 portions. 2 small portions. 2 portions for someone on a diet of 1200 calories a day.... Are you sensing a slight problem here? We quickly realised that there was not enough food for me. I was ravenous both before, during and after dinner. So with a little searching on the internet I discovered what was a good number of calories to aim for a day and we adjusted the quantity so there was a more reasonable amount. It is funny when I do venture into the kitchen while Dez is cooking. A few weeks ago she was making a version of mac and cheese. When I would cook that, the whole 500g box of pasta would go in. Instead, Dez weighed out a measly 60 grams. When I looked at it I literally laughed at her. She told me to get out of the kitchen and have faith.
We started this 'diet' the Monday after I returned from Sunny Coast. It was the start of a 2 week period where I would do no exercise. I hate not exercising but I was tired and it felt like the right thing to do. I of course assumed I was going to put weight on. At the end of the first week I had lost 3kgs. I could not believe it. Literally 3kgs down without any exercise, just eating smaller portions of healthier food. I was concerned that when I started training again, the extra demands on my body would make me even hungrier but since then it has not been an issue. We stick to the same numbers and low and behold, the number on the scale keeps dropping. I am starting to do some resistance training as well so I do not think the number on the scale is incredibly important but while I am writing this I weigh 74kgs. That is 7kgs lighter than when I got back from my last race. Now to say it is just dinner would be a lie. I have also stopped eating things I know I shouldn't like chips and pies. I am also striving to find healthy lunch options when I am at uni. It is surprisingly difficult.
We have been going with our new way of eating for about 4 weeks now. We relax on it on Sundays and eat some of our favourite food on those days. But the rest of the week we behave. As I said, when we started there was not enough food for me and even after we adjusted the amounts, I still constantly felt hungry after eating. The first 2 weeks were a little difficult. But now I am fine after every dinner and when we went out for dinner last week I ordered what I always do and I could not finish it. This told me that my body had adapted. But what this whole exercise showed me was how ordinary my actual diet was. I think one of the problems endurance athletes have is that we think we can eat whatever we want because we train so much and while there is some truth to it there is no denying that you cannot outrun a bad diet. On top of my weight loss I am feeling much more energetic and positive.
So what are some of my observations about the sort of food we are eating. Well firstly there are very few refined carbs like pasta or rice. When they are in a dish they are accompanied by other vegetables to give more volume. The mac and cheese I mentioned had cauliflower and broccoli in it too. There is some clever use of ingredients to turn some of your guilty pleasures into healthy dinners like baked mountain bread instead of chips. There are a lot of dishes which are meat and salad. Whether this is a marinated pork fillet with a salad or steak with veggies. The veggies always make up the majority of the plate. It is also interesting that in a lot of the dishes the vegetables are served raw. Not just in salads but added to a hot dish as you serve it. The biggest surprise for me though after being so sceptical at the start is that the food is really really delicious. After each dinner we give them a score out of 10 to know which ones we like the most. We move the numbers from one bowl to the other as they are drawn and we will continue with this.
The best part about this whole thing though is that both Dez and I are genuinely excited to come home and have dinner. We don't know what we are going to eat that night or how it will turn out it has become a bit of a game. We will literally go out with people and not eat so we can go home and make one of our mystery dishes instead. It really is a success for us. As I mentioned, food is something that I have always struggled with and I am sure I will continue to struggle with. I am constantly craving things I know I shouldn't. But I am motivated to up my performance and I know that what I eat is just as important as how I train. I am planning on visiting a sport nutritionist to make sure that I am being healthy and to maximise my performance as well.
So thats it. when I see how much I used to eat each night I am not surprised that I have lost so much weight so quickly. I am also not saying this is something that will work for everyone. But if you are struggling to lose that final bit of weight maybe look at how much you are eating and how much you need to. A food scale is a brilliant investment because it really demonstrated to me how much I was over-eating.
As to training, I am really starting to get back on track with it. I am finding my run form returning and have a half-marathon coming up this weekend. I have literally no expectations other than to try and focus on form and stay in control. Next weekend is the Nepean Tri as well. I have always wanted to do this race and will be excited to line up. In other tri news, I am very excited to announce that I have signed with Thanyapura as an ambassador. What this means is that I will represent Thanyapura when I race. My new kit has their logo on it and I will wear their clothes when I train. I am also going to be writing some content for their site. Now there are many products out their which sponsor age-group triathletes and I have had some approach me. But I am only going to agree to represent a product or brand which I believe in ( I know this is what everyone says) but I really mean it. So I would encourage you all to check them out on social media and have a look at what they do. They have got the best training facilities I have experienced. Some of the biggest names in global sports train there too. Not just triathletes. So if you are looking for a getaway to do some training or to lose some weight I cannot recommend it highly enough. Tell them I sent you!
That's it for this week.
Train hard, have a look at your diet and remember to TRI!
I thought I would put together a race report from the Western Sydney Half-Marathon I ran on Saturday in Penrith. While it wasn't my best performance ( a theme lately), I enjoyed the race a lot. For a run which literally just goes around the Regatta Centre it is quickly becoming one of my favourite local events. Leading into this race I expected to make a serious improvement on last years result of 1:25 but after Bintan and Sunny Coast I started to re-evaluate my goals. I instead wanted to go out there and give the best performance possible. The key for me was to run well on the same course where I broke down last year at the Western Sydney 70.3. It was also an event where I knew a number of other people competing, including my wife and one of my best mates.
We headed out to the race on Saturday feeling nice and calm. After registering I did a quick warm up and stretch and I was excited to see that the field looked bigger than last year. I positioned myself at the front of the start group knowing I have a stupid tendency to go out too hard. Anyway I was feeling quite calm while waiting for the start of the race. When we started I went and was shocked and horrified to find myself the leader. I am not a lead runner, I am a bloody triathlete for crying out loud. Instead of being good at one sport I pride myself at being mediocre at 3! I was leading for a good 800m and was starting to panic a little. I knew this meant I was going to hard. I made a conscious effort to back off a little and no sooner did I do this and a number of other runners started to pass me. I was relieved. I felt really good all day but the first 3kms I felt invincible. I was running well and I felt like I could maintain the pace. As I made my way along the lake at the Regatta Centre I identified the spot where I ran past my family in tears last November and vowed to run strongly there on each lap. I was surprised to find that my mind started going negative about 4km into the run. Nothing too serious but I noticed that my pace had crept to over 4min/km which is slower than I normally run a half marathon. I started thinking that this wasn't going to be my day and why bother. I actually thought to myself "You couldn't give me one lap before going negative". I am pretty happy to say that I managed that period quite well. Refusing a repeat of last years 70.3 got my head into a more positive spot.
I realised early on that my legs were not capable of running a fast 21.2km and to be honest I was ok with it. I just wanted to run well. My training has been a bit all over the place the last month and I had only really done one old week in the last 5. So I just wanted to focus on my technique and spotting my friends. On my second lap I had a friend cheer me on. Kay also posted a glorious running photo of me on Instagram. I firmly believe that if you look good running you aren't doing it properly. Needless to say I must have been running very hard! Then as I came to the end of my second lap I heard my Aunty call out my name. Forget the science or any data, I am convinced that a friendly voice cheering for you is one of the best energy boosts you can get. It gave me a lift. I started my 3rd and final lap in high spirits. The race felt easy. I also spotted my Dad on the course cheering me on too. How good is this! 2 members of my family cheering me on. On the last lap my pace was starting to drop so I decided when I got the bridge on the far side of the river, maybe 1400m from the finish line I was going to put the hammer down and try and smash the last km. I also started to pass a number of other runners who had passed me early in the day. It was starting to get hot out there and there was a fair bit of wind around. I just wanted to finish.
As I made my way to the finish I ran past my mate Andy, who cheered me on and high-five me. This literally gave me goosebumps and I surged to the finish line in 3:30 pace. I crossed the line with my Garmin saying 1:26:49 but the official time saying 1:27:13. I noticed that everyone had about 20.95km on their Garmin so not sure if they adjusted times for the shorter distance or what. At the end of the day it wasn't critical. I was the 7th athlete over the line which was 2 places better than last year and was 2nd in my Age Group. At the finish my Aunty and Dad were there and were both impressed. Another mate crossed shortly after with a time of 1:29. Finally managing to crack the sub 1:30 he wanted. My Dad even told him he was proud of me. I could hardly believe it.
After finishing my race it was time to cheer on my friends and family. My wife Dez crossed in 1:55 which was 10 minutes faster than last year! My mate Andy who wanted to beat 2:30 came across in 2:20 and man he looked good. Andy is a really inspiring guy. He used to play soccer at a very high level but after leaving that behind put on a bit of weight. It would have been easy for Andy to use an excuse to either not race or not finish on Saturday but he raced and raced well. He is aiming for his first triathlon at the Nepean Tri and I am certain he will surprise himself there. I was impressed with how well I pulled up after the race. I am normally ready to vomit after finishing but I was fine. The next day I even went for a run.
I think I am learning more and more about myself as an athlete. It is ridiculous to expect to be at 100% all the time. Not only that but it is also how you get injured. I want to compete for as long as I can and I want to keep improving. In order to do that I need to allow time where I recover and do not train as hard. The more I understand this the better I am feeling about the sport. I hope everyone in Australia made the most of their long weekends and everyone else still had a good normal weekend too. Kona Iron Man World Championships is on this weekend and I am excited to see both the men's and women's races. It is a truly stacked field this year. I also enjoyed the half-marathon on the weekend that I signed up for another in 2 weeks. So did Andy and Dez.
So there we have it. I managed to return to the Regatta Centre and remain in control on the run. While I didn't run as fast as I expected I was incredibly satisfied with the result. I would highly recommend this race to anyone in the Sydney area. Because there are next to no road closures the race is super cheap and very well organised.
So enjoy the warmer weather, keep pushing and remember to TRI!
I lost 50kgs though triathlon and completed the 2016 70.3 World Championships. Aiming to hit 4:05 for a 70.3, the same time it took me to complete my first Olympic Distance Triathlon. I want to bring as many new people to the sport as possible. Whether you are fit and active or want to make positive changes to your life.