Thursday, December 31, 2009

Race report

As we arrived at the transition/start/finish area just after five most people were already there. Pumping bikes, taping power gels to bike frames, slabbing vast amounts of Vaseline on all limbs to make sure the wetsuit slides off 3.8 km later and to keep the chaffing at bay.

As we all started to make our way down to the beach, looking like a group of 1300 migrating penguins, I saw people cry. Girlfriends were hugging boyfriends like they were about to step on to the space shuttle. The guy next to me in the water with a matching orange swim cap looked at me with panic in his eyes, " I just want to get out of this alive! " was his comment as eh assured me that he felt much better now when he was in the water, moments ago when he was still on shore he wasn't far from vomiting.

Jesus people, it's just a race.

The Australian national anthem, an air horn and the race was on the way!

The swim was nice. Crystal clear water, allowing you to see the bottom all the way (but no fish or "big fish"). For someone like me who prefers to breath on the right the swim in Busselton is perfect. Just make sure the jetty is still on your right side and you wont get lost!

I was enjoying it all the way. Maybe a bit to much because it took me a while to long to get back to the bike park. Once there I took a few minutes extra to allow for the nice lady to spray my entire body with sunscreen and drink some (fresh) water.

Then it was me and "Oppy" for the next six hours. Being a slow swimmer has its perks. I was passing people from the first km. Passing big guys on $10 000 bikes wearing aerodynamic helmets is extra fun.

Exchanging bottles at the aid stations soon becomes the highlight of your day and on the last lap I started to attack chat to people, weather they wanted it or not. I was slightly bored. Going out on the last lap the headwind made me slow down a little, but hey, that meant that I would have a good tailwind coming back in to town, right? Wrong. The wind changed direction. Oh well. I was around 10 min late coming of the bike. I had eaten most of the gels I planned to and the Vegemite sandwich was almost gone. I felt ok. After a new layer of sunscreen, a cup of water and fresh socks my feet were quite happy to be back on the ground.

For every lap of the three loop marathon course you do you get a scrunchie on your arm. When you have to you are allowed into the finish shoot. It is a little bit discouraging to meet people that already have ribbons around their arms as you set out on your first lap.

It was really hot by now. The race management told us the night before that they had ordered another truckload of ice. I think we used it all. 37 degrees and a sun that did it's best to turn us all into sizzling bacon took it's toll. I didn't feel very fast, but I felt ok. I saw Nico the first time half way through my first lap. I was happy to see him running, not walking. The knees were still holding up. The second time I saw him he looked a bit more strained, but still running.

I tried to drink as much as I could at every aid station, water and High Five, and I think I managed to force down three more gels. And I kept moving my feet. I still wasn't in pain but ooohhhh how tempting those waves and that beach looked. And even if I wasn't really hurting my body was clearly trying to tell me that "hey, it's been a long day, how about some rest?" My normally almost too long step was probably down to a 10th in length and there was just room for one thought in my head - FINISH.

As I came around the last turn I saw that the person branded with the same age category and sex on her leg was slowing down (or was I possibly speeding up? didn't seem very likely) and I dug down deep for what ever powers remained. Before I knew it she was eating my dust. And then, there it was, the finish shoot. Only one problem, there was three people in it in front of me. After all the pain I put my body through that day I figured that one last stab wouldn't kill me. Like in a Hollywood production I flied over the finish line, arms stretched in the air, just centimetres ahed of all three men on that last stretch of grass.

Waiting for me was Nico, arms stretched out, ready to hang that medal around my neck. I laid yes on him, gave him a big smile and almost vomited on his feet. A quick swipe of the face and I was ready for my medal. I didn't get a kiss.

My goal had been to finish in under 12 hours. I did 11.52.

It was a long hot day and every fibre of my body reminded me of it the day after. But the truth is that once race day has arrived most of the work is already done, you just need to do what you have trained for, stick to the plan and try not to vomit on your loved ones.

Will I do it again? Maybe. We'll see.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Almost there

All that is left to do is one more pasta dinner and a few hours of sleep. Then it's showtime.
In the race briefing the officials talked about the smaller and larger "fish" that might be around ... and told us that there will be boats and planes looking for out for us in case there would be to many "visitors" around. Not once was the "S" word used. I wanted to stand up and shout "what?, are you talking about sharks?!" Anyway. I am more worried about the forecast. Doing a marathon in 37 degrees heat will be a challenge. Not mentioning the swim and little bike ride before.

Busselton is beautiful. The water crystal clear (so you can see all the "fish"). I am looking forward to tomorrow. I will be a long hot day but I am looking forward to it.

Nicolas as well. He is hot like a street vendor. Or if you prefer the french version "chaud comme une baraque a frites"!

I'll tell you all about it when we are back in Canberra.

Monday, November 30, 2009

T minus 5 days

I think the butterflies are starting to arrive. I am looking forward to Saturday but I would be fooling myself if I said I wasn't nervous. I am ready. I have done the distance (except maybe for the swimming ...), the gels and bars are bought and the bike will get new tyres and some extra love today.

We did a second skinfold test (measuring fat %) on Saturday, and this is what Steve, who did the test said "Catarina, all except one skinfold sites were lower, while all girths were also lower - indicative of good hard training and a sensible diet. Best of luck next weekend."

Think I know which site isn't going down. Some people say that hope is the last thing than will leave a person. I say it is the "Ryggskinkor" (sorry for you that might still be struggling with the Swedish language, but the translation just isn't as good... I am however talking about that area of the back just over bum that really isn't part of the bum but still like to take on the appearance of one ...)

Nico did some running on Sunday and his knees are still pretty intact. Hopefully they won't make him do a marathon walk on Saturday. But even if the pain won't stop the run, doing a marathon with pretty much no training could be ... eh ... interesting.
He is however stronger than ever on the bike, if you ask the guys riding the "hour of power" on Friday mornings anyway!

While most of us will be pacing ourselves on the bike, to be ready for the run, I think Nico will be blasting the field with not much concern of saving energy for what might just turn out to be a long walk anyway!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Testing the knees and trying new shoes

Almost 2 months after my last run, I tried my new running shoes yesterday, some Asics, more stable. The race is in 2 weeks now and I don't really feel like running a marathon after 3.8k swim and 180k ride, but I'll try this challenge.

This last 2 months, I spent most of my time on my bike, enjoying the peloton life. I feel really stronger on the bike now, but I'm not sure I'm able to run 42.2k after a long ride... Saturday 5th of december will be the Race day and I'm a bit hurry to answer this question.
I have had the pleasure to help Catarina in her training. She is really motivate and doing the things well. She has become a strong rider now. It's hard to drop her when she is stuck in my wheel !

- Nicolas

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Teddybears Sthlm took me up and down the stairs on the Commonwealth bridge several times this morning. "My style is di bom digi bom di deng digi digi uu uuu ..."
Training without music would suck. It is actually something I really dislike with racing triathlon. No music allowed. I can see why... but still!

The plan was to go swimming tonight. Decided to go and look at some 4x4 cars (need one before next holiday) and then sit on the sofa and eat chocolate instead.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Criterium Race

Nico did a crit race on Wednesday. 20 min of going round a short track with lots of corners and lots of fast people of fast bikes trying to cut you off ... not my kind of racing.


It's hot in Canberra. Tried running up on Red Hill in the middle of the day on Tuesday just to see what it would be like. It was hot. Red Hill got to soak up some more of my sweat today as I did a few reps up and down Mugga Way - Red Hill. Phew ... But I guess I better get used to it. Not expecting it to be a cool day in Busselton on Dec 5th.

Nicolas has seen a few physios and foot specialists lately. The most recent one told him what the problem is. His parents. With legs shaped like Lucky Luke and one a fair amount longer than the other there is no wonder why he got some issues.
We will go to the Runners Shop tomorrow with a prescription for a new pair of shoes, with special made soles to go in them. Maybe that will do the trick.

Long ride tomorrow and long run on Sunday. But I want to go to the rodeo too!