Welcome to my world.

A quick snippet from my world. I started triathlons when i was 12 in the northwest of W.A and never have looked back. The bikes and gear were pretty simple back then but it was great fun. Now the gear is a bit more high tech but just as much fun. In February 2010, I took the next step in my racing and full filled a small childhood dream of mine, I gained endorsment as a pro triathlete. Now the fun really begins and the training intensifies 10 fold.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

So you think you have strong corre?????

Once a upon time I thought this was me - training 12-14hrs a week which included going to the gym 4 days a week I thought I had pretty good core strength but it turned out that wasn't the case. While playing touch football one day at lunch I twisted wrong and strained my back (which to most of us wouldn't have battered an eyelid and I wasn't the same) I then continued to train and race with it. Just like any other injury you manage it and adjust your training to suit your pain/discomfort level... After a race in WA and then flying/travelling back to NSW - which took 13hrs - I woke up with lower back pain which continued down through my ITB, calf and ankle. After trying to run to the gym my foot was going numb with pins and needles, that was a fair indication that something was wrong. After seeing the doctors and physio it turned out the pain wasn't supposed to be there (who knew)

After a MRI it turned out that it wasn't just a strain, I actually had a bulged disc and it was pressing on my nerves which was causing numbness in my left foot as well as weakness in my left leg - which was causing a few problems with balance. Two weeks after seeing the docs I was in surgery and getting the bulged section removed which relieved the pressure on my nerves and helped the strength to return.

The first 2 weeks after surgery were the worst, struggling to walk further than 100m without feeling tired and tight, not being able to shower properly even getting out in and out of bed was not the most easiest of things. Eventually the pain subsided and I could begin the road to recovery.

3 weeks after the surgery the swelling has gone heaps and I'm more mobile than ever. I'm back in the pool (tumble turns are still a bit tricky) trying to regain some fitness. I have got a physio plan to work to and have just purchased a TRX suspension and RIP trainer (www.trxtraining.com) which will definitely get me and core back on the right track. I'm allowed to be back on the bike in January but only on the ergo for short sessions at a time while by core/back gets strong but the big problem is that I'm not allowed to run for a further 9 weeks - I'm running in the water now but not too hard so as I don't over strain - I can walk which I'm doing 4 times a weeks but to be honest it is really starting to shit me but hey that's whats you get I supposed.

Hopefully with the help of the TRX trainers I can come back stronger next season injury free and start kicking some arse. At this stage my first race back will be Shep 70.3 which is 18 November 2012. It does however mean that I won't be qualifying for the 2012 Worlds in NZ which is very disappointing because I was looking good to place well.

For now my days consist of swimming, TRX dry land workouts and walking.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A new feel

If you don't want to feel comfortable while running and have all those little niggles stop then don't read on.... For those who are sick of those little injuries while running and can't seem to catch a break, you in luck I caught a break last weekend. While sitting the Qantas lounge I was surfing my sponsors web sites - www.xosizeactive.com.au - and I spied something new, a pairs of shoes that looked funky. It just so happened that my other long time sponsor - www.bngsports.com.au - had them in stock.
They are ON Running's Cloudsurfer and I got say they are the bomb. I borrowed a friends pair and ran in them on the Friday for 2km and said "Yep I'll have a pair." I grabbed a pair that afternoon laced them up and waited till race day. Saturday morning I vassed them up then away we went. My first run was race day. I loved them and no dramas at all, I went for a other run last night just to check on my first impressions and I was right, they are the bomb.

Check out this little vid - http://vimeo.com/25867424 - Check out the website - www.on-running.com - and the read all the facts on how they work and why, try a pair on and I promise you you won't be disappointed.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Time heals all wounds???

Time heals all wounds? Really? To a certain extent it does, but unfortunately as triathletes we always seem to be short on time no matter how well prepared we are for a race we are always short of time. Then along comes an injury. What do you do? Do you stop training and rest it completely, do you slow your training down and try to make a comprise between resting and training. Do you seek help, do you get an ultrasound, do you see a physio, do you get a massage, acupuncture, chiro???? All these questions start racing around the mind and you slow tare yourself apart on what you should do next.

I know, the last 3 months have been like that for me. While trying to get ready for the start of the season (which is in 7 days for me) I thought it would be a good idea to do physical instructors course to help out at work. The course went for 2 weeks where we were shown and took circuits classes and resistance training. Doesn't sound so bad.... after 2 days of intense circuits - 12 x 15mins circuits back to back - my ankle wasn't liking me too much. Turns out that because 99% of my training is done in one plain - forward and back - I wasn't used to doing a lot of agility work and developed crepidus in my left Achilles. Best explained crepidus is an inflammation of the sheath that surrounds the muscle, along with a lot of fluid build up felt like I had a cheese grater in my ankle. Needless to say it wasn't much fun and it put me behind the 8ball massively in my running.

I have had this problem before in my right ankle so I thought no dramas, I'll just do what i did last time and it'll be gone in no time...WRONG. It took 3 months to get it to a point where the fluid is slowly going and the cheese grater has gone. I had an ultrasound to make sure there was nothing major wrong and thankfully there wasn't. I just had to continue with physio, a lot of ice packs, wrapping my ankle in glad wrap with DOMOSO ( check it out good stuff), run in the pool for 2 months and then try to manage my training accordingly, which can be very frustrating indeed.

From all of this I have learned a few things - 1. Don't stop training completely, just modify it to minimise the pain and to a point where it won't inflame it, 2. See a physio, chiro, massage ASAP and continue with 3. Google the shit out of your problem, because there is always someone out there that has had the same problem as you but might have tried something slightly different that might be worth giving a go.

Happy training

Friday, July 29, 2011

"To bike fit or not to bike fit" that is the question

Like most people, when they here "you should go and get properly fitted for your bike" they say "nah, I'm comfortable as it is, why do I need to spend that extra money for someone to tell me I'm sitting on my bike right." I was one of those people until 1 month ago. I'm not going to lie, as part of working in the industry of bikes and racing for a great many years - 20 and counting - I was pretty confident that I had set myself up on my road bike and TT bike pretty darn good and wasn't really keen to spend a few hundred dollars for someone to tell me "that looks pretty good".

As part of a new sponsorship deal with Nic Arney at Ismotion/Unovelo - ismotion.info and www.unovelo.com - I had to (well not had to, but it was strongly recommended that I did)
go and see Aaron Dunford at Fusion Peak -
www.fusionpeak.com.au - to get fitted out for my TT so that I could get the most out of my body and bike, it is also part of Nic's company policy and quality control, that when they sell a bike they would like you to go to Aaron and fitted out. So I figured why not, I'll go just to see what all the fuss is about and maybe get something out of it.

The week leading up to my visit with Aaron, we had spoken a few times about what was going to happen and if had any questions or anything that I specifically wanted to have a look at, which I said yes as I am running Rotor Q-rings and have never had the opportunity to get set up properly on them and Aaron was open to the idea. I arrived at Aaron's place of work, with a glimmer of hope that I was about to gain some extra power and reduce time in my racing without any extra training and I happily not disappointed.

To start the day off I was on the bike measuring machine - is about the best name for it, Aaron can adjust anything while you ride so you can get a feel for it, as well as being able to see your pedalling power discrepancies and overall power. 5hrs later and many adjustments later, including cleat position, Esoles in my shoes with a wedge in my right, different crank lengths - to see if there was any power change between 172.5 and 175mm and the verdict was nothing, not a single watt of difference - we had the measurements for my new TT bike, that I'm able to transfer across to the bike when I finish building it.

We then put my road bike on his computrainer and did a few adjustments, mainly to the front chains. Using the power scales and graphs we able to find the proper position for my Rotor Q-rings.

All said and done, I will happily stand up and say " the money I spent on getting a bikefit carried out was totally worth it". I am now getting more power to the pedals than when I first started - with the adjustments Aaron made I increased 20-30watts just like that - and my legs are loading up evenly. In my case - I had no TT bike to do adjustments on - Aaron has done a CAD drawing with my new frame and all the required measurements on it for me to set up my bike with. Once I have done this I will be going back to Aaron just to double check my setup - as he has as the fan dangle tools to get it spot on - and to finish the build, as he has a complete workshop there - which is awesome for people who are not bike maintenance savy, Aaron will help build the bike as well.

I will go on record now saying - if you have a bike now and are quite sure on your setup or getting some lower back pain, knee pains or you are getting a new bike go see Aaron and get fitted out properly, you won't be disappointed at all and you should gain a few extra watts of power without even training.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A good end to a long season

The 2010/11 season was long and trying and I'm kinda glad that it's over. I had a few ups and downs, move state and had to get to used the cold weather again (still struggling with the last).
The last race of the season was in Darwin as part of the ARAFURA Games, which is on every 2 years. It's a week long that comprises a variety of different sports, with people coming from all over the Arafura sea. This games was my 5th time their and my 4th time racing the triathlon.

Usually the swim is in a man made lake, 2 laps, but unfortunately this year the Darwin government decided to flush the lake out and try and clean it with harbour water but what they didn't check was how dirty the harbour water was. Bzzzzzz wrong. Turns out the harbour was full of shit - literally - the amount of ecoli that ended up in the lake was too much to risk it. The change to the swim from the lake (1500mtr) to a pool (500mtr) was announced on the Thursday before race day, which changed the complexion of the race dramatically.

Race day - 150 people in a 8 lane pool, should be fun. To be fair the organisers had a good job. The ladies went first, 20min in front of the guys. In each lane there was about 6-8 which made the turns tricky but we worked it out pretty quick. I came out of the 3rd only 15sec down on the leader which I pretty stoked about. It didn't take too long before I caught the lead guy on the bike and pass him, along with 7 others, not too far behind me.

The bike was its standard 40km, 4 laps of a undulating course - lets face it, there isn't many hills in Darwin and they used most of them. I had 2 other team mates in the pack with me and we worked well together. The main worked for me, Peter Hughes did a fantastic job, attacking every lap and making the rest of the guys chase him down and pulling me along quiet nicely. Coming to the end of the bike leg we had dropped a few off and were down to just 4. Feeling confident and stoked on how the team helped me out, I was looking to put all their effort into the run and hopefully bring home a medal.

I came off the bike in equal 1st. I decided to sit on the other guys back and let him drag me around, all well and good in theory. All was going well until about the 3km mark when the body started to stumble. I lost the leader and was passed again a little later on. All I could do was buckle under and try and hold on to 3rd place.

I was a little disappointed and stoked at the same time. It was a great way to cap off the season and gives me more drive to go even better next time.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Back page spread

It's always nice to put the proof in the pudding. When you tell prospective sponsors you have the backing and a good chance to get your mug on the back page of a newspaper in their colours. This is the Navy Newspaper that did a story on me as part of the Defence Nationals. I took out the Sprint, Long Course and Olympic distance Championships.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Huski Weekend Part II

Sunday rolled around pretty quick, I woke hoping that I had done enough the afternoon before to minimise the hurt from the race previous. I gotta say, the body didn't feel all that bad, there was some tiredness in general but there wasn't anyone spot that was sore or any little niggles, so I figured there was some hope that I might be able to finish the race. This was my first long course race since Gold Coast half Ironman, October of last year, it was going to be interesting to say the least.

The swim start was fairly sedate compared to the other starts that I'm used to in the shorter formats, not that I was complaining. The group stayed together until the first buoy then it slowly broke apart - which was weird as there was no surges of any kind, one minute I was sitting on someones feet and then the next thing open water. In my group there was 3 of us and we set a fairly comfortable pace which was nice (during this pace setting we swam side by side, breathing in unison at time and you would think with all that ocean out there that you could get some space while you were swimming. Not, we kept on hitting each other the whole way round) we didn't loose to much time to guys in front and I came out of the water feeling fairly fresh ready for the ride.

The ride started off bad, coming out of transition I lost a water bottle, I stopped to pick it up, put it back in the water bottle cage and it fell it out again, needless to say it stayed there. The beauty of racing open is there is no one on the roads while you are riding, which meant the 2 other guys that I was riding with could work together and try and chase the guys down. We worked like a well oiled machine, as if we had been Team Time Trialing together for awhile (Phil pay no attention to that last statement). Unfortunately the bad luck didn't stop for me, I lost a second bottle - the one with my nutrition in it, which leads me to a digress for a bit, don't put your eggs in one basket, always have a backup plan. I lost my nutrition with still 60km to go on the bike and no gels to see me through, I can hear people say "they supplied some there" but they only supply electrolytes which as I will tell you is not going to get you through 82km's on the bike and then 20km's of running. I came off the bike gingerly and feeling drained, empty and not knowing if I was going to be able to finish the run.

The legs very wobbly at the start of the run and the quads were starting to cramp. I had to find a pace that would allow me to run, without walking, to finish the race. Happily I found that pace and away we went. Using the aid stations fully, I was grabbing coke and electrolyte every time and when they finally brought on the lollies I was grabbing all 3 every time. I can safely say that my stomach wasn't liking me at the end of the race but my legs didn't stop moving and I was able to get through the race without walking (although at times I sure my running would have looked liked a walk to the spectators). The beauty of the run at Huski is that it is 2 two laps and there are that many aid stations that you can break the run up into sections which takes your mind off the overall distance.

I finished the race in a time of 4hr 9min and placing 12th, a little ways off the pace but happy knowing that I finished without walking and I had a weekend of training that will hopefully see me in good sted for Nationals in 2 weeks at Mooloolaba.

I would like to thank the guys and gals at Elite Energy (www.eliteenergy.com.au) for putting on this event. It was another success and hopefully it will grow to be one of the premier races on the calender. I would also like to say thank you to the Huksi locals for turning out and supporting the whole weekend, without your support this weekend wouldn't be possible.

Huski weekend Part I

Well it was on again the Huski Tri Fest. The weather and the people turned up for what proved to be another successful weekend of racing and another big weekend for myself (which the jury is still out on whether its a good idea to do races in as many days). But here goes. Saturday morning was the Pro Tour, and the guys and girls didn't disappoint (I hope), there were a few big hitters turn up - such as Kemp, Aernouts, Choi for the guys and Norton and Luxford for the girls - to get some race practice in before the the ITU season kicks off in Sydney in April. This made for a fun and tough race, all the young guys were out to prove a point and me, I was out to hang on as best I could and not come last (which is always the goal in these races).

The swim was like any other, fast and furious and didn't let up until the end. I came out of the water in a small group about 30sec done on the lead pack. The race then started in earnest, on the bike. Where I started to chase down the lead pack. Mr Aernouts and one other caught up in the first 5km, which made the chase a little easier, not much but a little because I got say the man can ride, he did a lot of the work and pushed it all the way until we caught the second group on the road with about 6km to go. The pace didn't ease off by any means - it felt like I was in a road race, flat knacker the whole way only this time I was hoping the legs would hold together for the run.

Then what do you know along came the run and we were off. The legs held together better than expected and I managed to catch one guy on the run and hold off another who was catching. With all the injury woes I've encountered this season (not making any excuses here, any injury is, 95% of time preventable from the start) I was very happy that the body held together for this race, my time was down a little, but I was happy that I could finally see some improvement and glad knowing that there is still more improvement to come. I finished in a time 1.01 and finished 10th. Then the worry and self preservation started., hoping that I would recover in time for the next day's Open long course

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What do you do inbetween races?

That's right you do some more racing. In between races it's a good idea to get involved with your local cycle club and get some road racing under your belt. While in a triathlon you are usually holding back slightly in the ride saving your legs for the run, which means you are riding within yourself and at a steady pace. During a road race there is no holding back, its all or nothing from the start otherwise you loose the pack and it'll be a long lonely road till the finish. My last race was just this, flat knacker from the gun. With tight corners mix in a little rain provides for an interesting race. I managed to stay with the pack for the most part until the 4 laps -about 20km - where I just couldn't hold the bike in a straight line going around the corner, it felt like I was riding on ice, so I dropped off the back slightly and just tried to keep the same pace for the rest of the race. It wasn't too bad, a good time trial workout.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Callala Bay open water swim

As always these days, there is an open water swim before a triathlon, just for a bit of fun and sometimes can be a good way to blow out some cobwebs or just good for a recky for the next days race. This open water swim was 1000m, which in respect to the training we do isn't all that much. But when your used to chasing that black line day in day out and you turn up for the swim to see the wind is up, the weather has come in and threatening to rain and there is a 2-3ft swell hitting the beach that 1000meters changes dramatically to something resembling a massive 5km set from hell.

Fortunately the swim didn't out to be all that bad, it was actually fun. The beach had an easy entrance with no surprises under the water and you could get out relatively easy, the biggest drama was the dumpers coming through - you just had to time it right. There was a nice current running up the beach which helped out quite nicely, so there wasn't too much thrashing and bashing the water. Coming back into the beach for the finish, if you timed it right, again, you could catch a nice little wave and body surf it in.

A nice group of 45 people turned up to enjoy this little paddle and by the looks on their faces as they came out of the water, they all agreed that is was tough but enjoyable. My swim was relatively comfortable, coming out of the water 2nd overall and 1st in age.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Has winter come early??

Unfortunately with the fickle weather that the south coast of NSW tends to deal us, it makes training on the roads a little tricky and very unpleasant at times. As in the case of today I had to pull out and dust off the cobwebs of the home trainer and try and get a descent set on the bike in the comfort of the lounge and hope there is something good on TV to watch while you work up a nice sweat. The benefits of getting home trainer session in, sometimes out ways the benefits of actually geting out on the road. There is some conjecture - depending who you ask - between the relationship of time on the home trainer (HT) to time on the road (R). It can vary from 1hr HT = 2hr R or 1hr HT = 1.5hr R or even 1hr HT = 1hr R. Either way the control of your pedalling and hips throughout your session are invaluable and will aid your training/racing once you get back on the road.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Say hello to my little friends

Once the Christmas holidays are done and dusted and all your left with is the chrissy cheer around the hips, all you want to do is get your arse back in the saddle and work it off. Only problem is that this time of year its either raining, windy, humid and nice and warm or if your really lucky it'll be a combination of all four - like it has been over the last week. Don't get me wrong, I love the heat and humidity and much prefer it over wet and cold, but when your riding everyday, you start to get a bit tender in places that are best not mentioned (but you can use your imagination) and you require something to give a bit of relief and here it is - Beljum Budder. This fantastic cream helps soothe the current saddle sores, relieves the rubbing, stops the chaffing and helps prevent the sores from coming back.
When using it don't be sigh, splash it in there and give it a good rub, you won't be disappointed.

Here is a my other little friend. We all know about the
joys of compression garments, some say they work
some say they don't but I'm gunna have to say that
they do. After a hard days training I've been relaxing in
my Linebreak compression shorts and calf guards
and even wearing them to bed. There's nothing better
than waking up in the morning and having little to no
soreness in the legs and feel like you can do it all over again.
I'm going to have to put a little plug in here for Linebreak and say that the quality of the garment is far better than other compression garments that I have used in the past. They hold there tightness really well - I'm still on my first pair and it's been just under 2 years now. A definite must for the semi serious athlete.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Nowra Pro Tour

For the first Pro Tour race, I didn't have the training I would have liked, but hey what ya gunna do. The main aim was not to come last. The week leading up to the race was pretty terrible, weather wise, It was windy with a bit of rain thrown, which was not going to lend for an enjoyable race. Come race day, it was calm, dry and sunny. The river wasn't real flash, pretty dirty and a fair whack of weeds floating around. The start of the swim went pretty well, until about 3/4 of the way around when i tightened up slightly and lost the feet of the lead pack, coming out of the water 40 sec behind them.

Luckily I came out of the water with 3 others, which made for a nice little group on the bike.

We worked well on the bike together, taking turns as if we have ridden together for a while, which was nice - sometimes you get the clingons in your group, which doesn't help when you are trying to catch the lead group. Through the ride the pace was high, but we just couldn't close that gap to the lead pack, which hovered around that minute mark. During races like this you always wonder if did too much on the front of the pack and you get slightly worried, coming into transition, that your legs will hold up.

Coming off the bike the leg felt alright but knowing before the race that there wasn't much speed in them and I was just hoping that I could hold a descent pace through the run. Legs the held up, it wasn't quick but I didn't loose any spots and went sub 19min, which is always good.

Being that the aim of the race was not to come last, I was pretty happy crossing the line in 9th and only a few minutes behind the leader. Knowing that there is plenty of training to come and a lot more fitness to be found for the up and coming races.

Emmo and the team at Elite Energy organised and held a really great event. It was nice to see Nowra holding a triathlon again, after a few years in the wilderness. Alot of people supported the race, competing and spectating which is great to see.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

One down many more to go

My first race of the season was not a bad race to do (just to double check what I thought was true - Christmas was GOOOOODDD but it was time to train). The race was the second in the Hills Tri Club race series. The turn out was awesome - another sellout field, which is 200. The weather wasn't too bad for a race, slightly over cast, breezy and the water temp was 28.

The swim was pretty straight forward, 750m down the rowing lanes, coming out of the water 4th wasn't a bad start, slightly knackered but I felt pretty good.

I lost a little of time on the bike against the other guys, but it was all about holding a steady pace in to the wind and the making up for it with the tail wind. Coming off the bike the legs were a little wobbler, as I haven't done little to no transition training, where would the fun in that be. The run wasn't much fun, I managed to keep a steady pace for the most part and was slowly bringing down the gap to the guys in front.

Overall the race went well, finishing 7th overall, in a field that contained some good hitters and some younglings that I will be racing next weekend (16 Jan 2011) at Nowra in the Pro Tour, should be fun.