Since I was eleven years old and scored my first soccer hatrick 14 has been my lucky number. I am a pretty superstitious guy so I was expecting some big things for 2014. I decided to set myself some big goals and while it hasn't been as successful as I would have liked it has definitely been an amazing 12 months.
At the start of the year I decided that I wanted to go sub 4:30 for a 70.3 triathlon, run more, find a good balance in what I eat and just have a bit more fun. I started the year at Challenge Melbourne and was surprised to achieve my first PB of the year with a 4:44. I rode my fastest ever bike split but swam shocking 41 minutes for the 1.9km. I realised that I had gotten myself to a pretty good level by myself but now it was time to get some help. Quite literally about an hour after finishing the race I sent an email to my now coach, Ben Hammond and said that I wanted to work with him. This has proved to be one of the biggest successes of 2014. But more on that later.
Me and and my wife had moved into our new apartment in December and we spent the first 6 months settling in. We chose to buy our apartment where we did because we thought it would be a good place for property prices to increase. What we didn't realise was how much we would enjoy living there. For those of you not familiar with Sydney, I live in North Parramatta and Parramatta has always been a real western suburb, a bit rough, a few bogans and not necessarily somewhere you want to go out at night. Well I love living here! The training facilities are incredible with a great pool and park as well as a path that follows the river almost all the way into the city. The love of my new training ground and my new coach meant that my training volume for 2014 was almost double that of 2013 (and for 6 months of 2013 I was unemployed and not at uni). There is good food and I have made some really great new friends all who live in the area. Moving here allowed me to find a good balance in my life.
Now to my training and racing. I ultimately failed to hit my sub 4:30 target for 2014 but I came tantalisingly close 2 times and am certain I will smash that time in 2015. Plus I had a bloody good time doing it. I spent a lot more time making friends with some of my triathlon teammates and am truly grateful for all their support and friendship during 2014. You know who you all are. I also got to travel to Thailand and attend a proper triathlon training camp at Thanyapura. This truly cemented my desire to achieve my goals in triathlon. I loved the people, the training and the country. I fell in love with triathlon training in Thailand! I PB'd all but one of my 9 races this year and the one shocker that I had taught me a lot about myself. It sucked going through it but it has made me a stronger person.
I started working with other people wanting to lose weight and this is something that I want to work more with in 2015. I had a rough period towards the end of the year where I was feeling a little overwhelmed with my work, uni and training load but with the help of my family and friends I got through it. Uni has been intense in 2014 but I have been really happy with my results and I am also happy that I am still really enjoying it.
I think it is nice to reflect on the year that has been and by doing it, look towards the future. In 2015 I am going to focus this blog a lot more on weight loss and the food that I eat on my journey to weight loss and triathlon success. Thank you to everyone who has followed this blog and I hope you all continue to enjoy it in 2015.
I hope you all have a happy new year, set some big goals, give them a crack and remember to TRI!
So it is my favourite time of the year, Christmas! But for many of us Christmas can be psychologically tough. We feel guilty because we eat and drink more than we usually do and maybe train less than normal. I have been in Melbourne this weekend and I feel like all I have done is eat and drink. I know that I have done a good amount of exercise this weekend. It is just a matter of telling yourself it is ok to take a break. So that's what I am going to do today. Tell you all to take a break and take it easy on yourselves.
If you are someone trying to lead a healthy lifestyle you probably spend a lot of time watching what you eat and avoiding certain things. Lets face it, it is hard to be good all the time. That's why I have decided this year that I am not going to feel guilty about it. The funny part is that while I am eating and drinking more than normal the quality in my training is really high. I am running fast, riding well and I did a solid open water swim yesterday. This may also be because I have been training with a number of my Team MaccaX mates who are based in Melbourne. Either way, I feel like I am doing some really high quality training at the moment leading up to Challenge Melbourne.
On Saturday I had my first ever (non-racing) ride along Beach Road and it was incredible. There were thousands of other cyclists, with huge groups constantly going past. There is nothing like that in Sydney. As a Sydneysider I avoid riding on the roads because it is dangerous with people yelling at you and throwing stuff at you. Here, there were no issues, as long as the cyclists followed the rules and didn't take up the whole road the drivers seems to be ok with it. It was a really great experience. Throw in the fact I got to do a solid 15km effort with another cyclist who rides at similar speeds to me. It was just an awesome experience. I am actually amazed at how good the training is here for triathlon with Port Phillip Bay being an ideal location for open water swimming as well. I did get stung by a jellyfish but I think that is all part of the experience. Anyway I am getting off topic. People of Melbourne I am giving your fine city a plug but the reason I am saying it is that I think one of the reasons I have not felt too bad about the increase in food and drinks is because I have surrounded myself with like-minded people this week and I have focused on having some fun.
So this week whoever you are, take it easy on yourself. If you put on a few kg's use it as motivation to train even harder next year. We work hard most of the time so enjoy the break! You probably earned it!
Have a Merry Christmas, stay safe and remember to TRI!
Im gonna hit you with some truth. I have been really shaken up since Western Sydney 70.3. I don't know why, but it scared me. I never thought I could feel that way again because I felt just as hopeless and out of my depth as I did at my first ever triathlon all those years ago. Maybe it brought back feelings or memories of being overweight and unfit? As I have said in previous posts, I do not believe it is possible to go through the kind of massive physical change that I went through and not have some issues as a result. Regardless, something happened to me after that race, I haven't been myself and I don't like it.
So in an attempt to remedy the situation I decided to race a small local sprint triathlon yesterday. I have done next to no training in the last 2 weeks after the race and have spent way too much time eating and drinking. So I went there yesterday and thought Im just gonna have a hard hit out and make sure I can still do a decent swim-bike-run. I had no expectations, I just wanted to feel good. I admitted to my wife after the race that I was actually really scared before the race. What would it mean if I failed once again? A big part of who I am is a triathlete. Not for the reasons non-triathletes may think, but instead because of the healthy lifestyle that it promotes. The part of triathlon that I enjoy the most is the training. The structure it gives my life and the motivation to bury myself on a regular basis and know that as bad as it hurts while I am doing it there is a purpose.
Anyway I will spare you all the details of the race but the main thing is I felt really good. I had a few little issues throughout the race with my goggles filling with water constantly and having to adjust my shoes on the run but I walked away with a 1:04:09 a new PB and I won my Age Group. All that stuff is great but the thing that makes me the most happy is that I enjoyed the race. I smiled on the run, crushed the bike and had fun. I remembered why I do this sport and why I love it. I got my confidence back.
It's amazing the impact that the race has had on my attitude and mood. It really demonstrated to me how down I have been since Western Sydney. So now I am ready to rip in and get ready for Challenge Melbourne in February. I did this race last year and it is brilliant. The roads are amazing and it is a super-quick bike course so I am looking forward to the race. I also think I have sorted out my 70.3 race schedule for next year:
February - Challenge Melbourne
August - Cebu 70.3
September - Sunny Coast 70.3
November - Challenge Phuket
December - Taupo 70.3
Next year is when I really start my work towards the 2016 World Championships. Cebu is one of the first qualifying races and it looks like there a number of very strong Australians heading there to do the same as me. I also have the Taupo race to try as well. I have done a lot of really solid ground work in 2014 to get myself to a fairly competitive level and I am looking forward to taking it to the next level in 2015. I know there is plenty of room for improvement especially on my swim and run and I am looking forward to working with my coach to get there. I also have a number of my friends who are looking to complete their first triathlons in 2015 so I can't wait to work with them towards their goals.
So like my friends, good luck training, have fun and remember to TRI!
I want to start this weeks blog by saying a huge thank you to everyone who has sent me messages of support over the last week after my less than perfect race. I have literally had people from all areas of my life reach out to me. In particular I had one person who shall remain anonymous tell me that on Sunday they did their first ever triathlon because of me! This is why I am writing this blog. I want people to give this crazy, amazing, life changing sport a go! So from the bottom of my heart thank you everyone!
After last weekend the last thing I felt like doing was training. It also worked out well as my Wife who is an only child has her two cousins over from Norway at the moment for her birthday. So last week I did almost anything but train. I drank too much, I ate too much and I didn't move enough. It was nice... for a couple of days. But then I started to get cranky and frustrated and I realised something, I hate not training.
3 days of no exercise was nice. I felt like I definitely needed it. So I started easy with a little 7km run on Thursday. It was tough. I ran slow but man I felt good. I then backed right off again on Friday and put out a 21km run on Saturday. Now no offence to anyone who is reading this and isn't very active but man I can't understand how you do it? I felt sluggish and disgusting. I struggled to concentrate at work and even started snapping at my family.
I wonder whether people who do not exercise feel the same way? Maybe they are used to feeling like that and that feeling I hate is what they are used to? Maybe if you are reading this and are someone who doesn't do a lot of exercise and you are someone who finds it hard to concentrate or you feel lazy or sluggish or even cranky, try getting active. It doesn't have to be hours and hours but even just 30 minutes a day. I am sure everyone can manage 30 minutes a day. Go to bed 30 minutes later, get up 30 minutes earlier. Do it for a month and then stop. See how it feels and I reckon you will be rushing back to the gym or out the door for a run quick smart. Change is hard and just as people need to learn to be more active, I need to learn to relax when it is time to relax.
I hope you all have a good week. I have signed up for a little sprint tri this weekend to try and get me confidence back. Nothing too serious.
Have fun, get moving and remember to TRI!
So yesterday was my big race for the year. The Western Sydney 70.3. I went into this race honestly not hoping, but expecting to finally crack the sub 4:30 barrier that I have been aiming for. By the title of this week's blog you can probably guess that things did not go according to plan...
I went into this week determined to rest and make sure I hit the start line at 100%. I took it easy and followed my program like a saint. I kept saying to my wife how calm I was about the whole thing and I was surprised by the fact I wasn't nervous or anxious. I felt good, real good. On Saturday I went out to rack my bike and bought a new swim skin as it was not going to be a wetsuit swim. This made me worried as I know I can swim a lot faster in a wetsuit, but I also thought the fact that I have swam at the Regatta Centre so many times and know the tricks (follow the lane ropes from the rowing) meant that I could still swim fast. Anyway come Saturday night and I was suddenly really nervous. Nervous about a mechanical or getting a puncture. All I kept thinking was get off the bike at about the 3 hour mark and with fresh legs I could run a sub 1:30 half for the time I wanted. I couldn't sleep on Saturday and probably had about 3-4 hours. I got up at 3:15 and was on the road at 3:45 with the music playing and I was genuinely excited. I set up transition and did a practice swim, I felt really good. I knew I was going to kill the race.
The swim started and I took off at a solid pace. I had my plan to follow the line and it was working well, until I realised that my 'local secret knowledge' was not so secret. Everyone seemed to be following the wire and it meant I was constantly overtaking people. Anyway the swim felt good, I didn't swim as well as I wanted but I felt like it was ok. I got out of the water and my garmin had me at about 32ish minutes. OK, not as fast as I wanted but acceptable, it was a non-wetsuit swim after all.
I raced through transition and onto the bike. I noticed straight away I was working a little bit harder to get to my cruising pace of about 40km/h but I got out onto the road and pushed a little bit harder. I was flying now. Considering how flat the course was, I found it a lot more difficult than I expected with some tight turns and other riders practically slowing to a stop to go around the turning points. The road surfaces were rough in parts but I was only slightly behind where I wanted to be. I realised that I wasn't going to ride the 2:15 that I wanted to so instead starting aiming for a 2:20. I was going ok and looked like I would make the time until about the 60km mark. This is when my day started to fall apart. I noticed I was getting a bit of a stitch, I never get a stitch on the bike. I figured, it is hot, I will just drink more water. My pace dropped right off at this point as I was dealing with it and therefore really pushed the pace for the last 15kms. I got sick of sweet stuff about 75kms into the ride as well and stopped using my redskins.
I came off the bike and again had a quick transition. As I crossed the timing mat my Garmin hit 3 hours exactly. I could do the sub 4:30 but I was going to have to suffer for it. I didn't think it would be a problem. I started running and felt a bit off, this is normal off the bike. I was running sub 4min pace but it was really hurting. I ran past my family (the first time they have all come to see me) and I realised I was in a bit of trouble. The stitch from the bike was back and had gone form being on my right side to all across my diaphragm. 2kms into the run it became so bad I could not run. I stopped. For the first time since I was over 120kgs I was walking on the run. I thought, its ok, get it sorted and push the pace. I breathed deep and started running again, BANG, it was back and even worse. It brought tears to my eyes. I made it to an aid station and stopped again, walked and drank and iced and drank. I took off to run again and it happened again. My day was over! Goodbye sub 4:30, I could not run.
I went to a negative place. What should I do? walk the run or make it to the turn around point, hand in my timing chip and hide? I had literally a hundred competitors during the day ask if I was ok, ask if they could help, encourage me to keep going. I kept going and realised that I could run, just a lot slower than I wanted. At the same point, one of my mates, Ali, spotted me and started cheering "Go Fordy!" I kept going. I wanted to quit. But my whole family was here. I started to jog and I walked the aid stations. As I started heading back to where they were the stitch became even worse. I sat down and started to cry. Another mate of mine who was racing came past and said "One foot in front of the other" I kept going. The worst part was when I came to where my family were. My wife knew that something was wrong because I had not come past and my splits were so slow. She saw me stumbling through an aid station and all I hoped was that she wouldn't spot me. She came and said "Whats wrong?" I burst into tears again "I can't do this". She said "Yes you can" I kept going and as I ran past them all I really started to cry. What the hell was going on? I am not a crier! At this point I was about half way. I was starting to be able to maintain about 5:30 pace. I kept going and only walked the aid stations. The second time I passed them I even managed to give them a thumbs up. I realised that I might be able to make a sub 5. The last km I gave it everything and crossed the line in 4:59. I collapsed and had the medics come over to me. It took me 15 minutes to get form the finish to the recovery area with a combination of me crying, cramping and collapsing. My wife and mate came in and kept saying how proud they were. I was embarrassed and when I came out of recovery my Mum was there. For about the 10,000th time I cried again. I had finished. I reached the lowest point I ever have doing sport and I had finished....
As I am writing this now my stitch is still there. My legs are not sore but I am still gutted. I am absolutely motivated to train even harder so this never happens again. All of my family kept saying how proud they were of me and Dez told me she has never been prouder of me because I did not give in. Its funny because I was really worried about contacting my coach and telling him what happened. Luckily he reached out to me and simply told me he was gutted for me but told me to remember I have had an amazing year. It meant a lot. I know I expect a lot of myself and hold myself to a high standard. It didn't work yesterday but I learnt a lot about myself as a person and athlete. I know I can't put everything that happened in a blog but yesterday I quit triathlon about 10 times. I was in a negative head space and managed to work my way through it. It was horrible, but in some ways it is good that it happened. Everyone has a bad race. I have had mine. Onwards and upwards!
Thank you to everyone for your messages of support both before and after. It really means the world to me.
If you are reading my blog for the first time ad thinking of doing a triathlon don't let this put you off. It is the greatest sport in the world. So go on give it a go 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.