Sunday, December 19, 2010

Time for some meat on these bones

71.9kg pre-race. Under 70kg post-race. While part of me wears the 'gauntness' with pride and a reminder of how far I pushed my body in training and the race, the non-answer from my wife when I asked her how I look snapped me out of my triathlete-rose-coloured-glasses and made me think perhaps I should do a push-up or two.

Seeing as though I have locked in a number of big races next year (and a top-10 goal for Busso) I'm not going to have a proper off-season as such. So while I am training at leisure over the next few weeks post-Busso (no set program) I've decided to work in some gym time to get some of those muscley-thingy's back. Jokes aside I think it will help me get faster as there will be more muscle to recruit and get power from. So today, I hit out a leg workout. I will let you know tomorrow how much I like this idea (or Tuesday - usually takes a few days for the pain to kick in!).

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Busso '10

A week and a half has passed since the big dance in WA. I thought it was about time to check in and chat about what it was like. If I had to sum it up in one word, it would be ENLIVENING. I had one of the best days in my 30-odd year history. Al and I flew in to WA on the Thursday afternoon (ironically on the plane we were the row behind Mum, Craig and Hol - we didn't even realise we were on the same plane until a few days before). We were greated by Jen and Pete who had kindly offered their ute for us to cruise around in while we were there. Packed and into the car, we shot straight down to Busso and settled in - dropped into Fatduck Cycles to get the bike put together and then to our accommodation. What a great spot (thanks mum!). Nothing between our unit and the beach, so great views and maybe 50m's trot to the sand. Arriving on Thursday, it gave me plenty of time to settle in before the race. Knocked out a light run Thursday night (8k) to get the blood moving after the flight, an easy 30k spin on Friday and then a bit of all 3 on Saturday left me chomping at the bit, full of beans. I've gotta say, the taper plan from Reddog was spot on as I felt refreshed and ready to toe the line.

Up early on Sunday (3am - sorry Al!) and down to transition to get sorted. Air in the tyres and special needs bags sorted, with plenty of time to head to the jetty and soak up the atmosphere. 1500 nervous people makes for an electric energy in the air! The weather was great, postcard perfect in fact with glorious blue skies. A brief swim to get the body moving (and nervous pee in the water) and before I knew it I was standing in the pack of people waiting for the gun to go off. I had decided to stand in amongst it all and just go for it. BANG! We were off and before I knew it I had found a bit of space and some feet to follow. I zig-zagged a bit more than I would have liked through the swim, trying to get onto some feet that were travelling at a pace I liked. Let my body relax though, thinking about long strokes right back to my hand touching my leg. Fought the urge to check my watch as I turned around the end of the jetty and focused on getting back to land. A few 'stingers' out there, which didn't hurt but felt funny as they slide through my fingers! The last 200m felt like it lasted for ever - I was watching the sand under me and it didn't look like I was getting anywhere! However, made it to land and saw it was 1:03:xx - at the faster end of what I expected - woo hoo! 3.8k down!

Into transition, which was a new affair for me having to pick up your gear on the way in and having a volunteer to help you out. A guy grabbed a hold of my wetsuit and ripped it off for me - helmet and sunnies on and I was outta there - I kept thinking "be a scrooge with each second, be efficient". A few friendly cheers from my support crew and before I knew it I was on the bike course and spinning away! Worked on maintaining a conservative pace and started eating. It was tough not to dig in a follow the guys that were passing me at the start, but I knew it was a long day out there and now was not the time to prove who had the biggest 'you-know-what'. I got my revenge when I started passing them back after the 120k mark. Ha a great ride, got into a rhythm and felt comfortable in the low aero position the whole time. Had a little surprise when I realised I had dropped my salt tablets somewhere so couldn't follow my eating plan precisely, but didn't stress for a second as there was nothing I could do about it. Took on food and drinks from the aid stations when I needed. The only problem I had was the need to wee! I ended up stopping for 4 piss stops which was about 12mins of my time! At one stage I even tried to pee on the bike but couldn't. Something to work on in training! Increased the intensity a bit on each of the 60k laps, and finished about where I expected (5:24) though a little slower than hoped (stupid toilet breaks).

The run - the bane of many Ironman triathletes - a full marathon after a 3.8k swim and 180k on the bike. Pfft! I felt awesome! I came off the bike running pretty quick - I kept looking down at my watch and thinking "slow it down tiger, you've got a long way to go". I managed it as best I could but also wanted to capitalize on the times I was feeling good (in case the wheels fell off later!). I did the first 11k in about 45mins which was a bit on the fast side. But I was fairly careful - I had not stopped eating since I first got on the bike, and during the run always had a gel in my hand that I was slowly eating. I 'dialed in' my Ironman run pace better in the 2nd lap, feeling good passing people and using that to distract me. Also my HUGE support crew was a big lift each time I ran past them (thanks to those mentioned above, plus Keat, Jordan, Jhar, Zav, Suzie, Graeme and Lisa). Around the 28k mark I started to slow a bit, and even walked for 5-10m for a few aid stations as I took my time getting fluids into me. With just over a lap to go the energizer-bunny from lap 1 had left me, and I was running on pure motivation to succeed and the support from the crowd and volunteers. It was about survival and holding off my bodies desire to stop, by focusing on my 'square meter' around me and eating. I was able to keep my slower-end race pace for the last lap, which I justified by telling myself that I had gone at the faster-end race pace for the first 21k! With 6k to go the first signs of cramps started (my left inner adductor - oooohhh) so I started chowing down salt tablets like there was no tomorrow! My left quad decided to say hello with about 4k to go, but never a big CRAMP, just a split second grab and then it left. I think the fluid and salt tablets worked a treat. I thought I could step it up for the last 2k - mentally I felt great and physically not too bad either (other than fatigue) - I had been feeling a bit sick on and off but again nothing outrageous that could not be kept at bay with food, or water, etc. It's a bit like a baby, they cry and you need to figure out what they want - a clean nappy, food, being burped. My body was like that, I would feel off in the stomach and I would be like, "are you hungry? do you need me to slow down for a bit? do you need water? or sports drink?"
So I stepped up the last 2k, and with 1k to go both quads and my adductor cramped BIG TIME! Hhhmm, ok I will go back to the normal pace. Glad we had this conversation body... So I made it to the finish, my family going crazy, and I crossed the line in 9:48:xx with Mike Riley calling out "Scott Waters, you are an IRONMAN!". What a feeling! Under 10hrs (my goal) nutritionally managed my day well, and off for a massage and some well deserved food! (Pizza, pasta, ice-cream and fruit). I felt a little light headed getting a massage, so the girls were happy to find some lolly snakes for me and some water. On that note, the volunteers were out of this world. EVERY one that I saw on the day (hundreds) seemed genuinely happy to be there, welcomed me with huge smiles and went out of their way to look after me. I cannot give them enough thanks, in fact, they are a big part of why I entered again today for Busso '11.

Lessons learnt for next time: find a better way to secure salt tablets on my bike, learn how to pee while riding, no need to bring so much food on the bike (I ended up getting food on the course), train using the food that you know will be available on the day, walk less aid stations towards the tail end of the run (I convinced myself it was ok as I was getting fluids in properly - good idea but I think I can find a more time efficient balance). That's it. Really, I was super-happy with the way the day unfolded and how I managed it all.

A big thanks to Al - without her I would have struggled. Sweetie - you were such a HUGE support for me, making sure I had the right food in the days leading up to it, cooking dinner, getting up at the crack of dawn to be there that morning, not complaining once about me being so distracted by the day. Also, you have been very tolerant over the 6 weeks leading up to the day - 20-25hrs of training a week left me tired, absent and distracted. Thank-you my gorgeous bum!

So, I enjoyed the day so much that I have entered Cairns Ironman in June '11, and Busso '11. Bring it on!

Friday, November 26, 2010


Just a quick one. A couple of clips of Jens Voigt. The first is classic, he did an interview a while ago where he talked about when he body is saying "stop, turn around" his mind says "shut up body". This is the short version...

The second shows how much of a hard-nut he is. It is the end of a Tour de France stage where he had a massive crash... "I guess this just needs stitching together..." Ha! Remind me not to complain of a sore foot.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


This year Chris McCormack from Australia won the Hawaii Ironman World Champs. He won it a few years ago (2007) and has been pushing to take it again. What I love about this guy is his determination and attention to detail. Also, in the build up this year he talked the talk about how to knock of Craig 'Crowie' Alexander (also from Aus, and winner in '08 and '09) by busting it up on the bike so that Crowie's legs were shot on the run (Crowie is a gun runner and knocked out the 2nd fastest marathon this year in just over 2hrs 41mins) and put it into action on the day to lead Crowie off the bike by 8 minutes. Here is his run down of the day:

The more times I watch this the more motivated I am to get out there and give it a good crack! It also makes me really want to qualify for the Kona World Champs one day. In Busso they take the top 2 place getters in each age group, so it will be a few years until I'm up to scratch. But one day... If you start putting aside a dollar a day now, in 10 years you'll be able to fly over and cheer me on! Now THAT will be a wild ride!

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I'm tired. All the time lately. It has been a big few weeks of training; since last Saturday to today (8 days) I have swum about 9k, ridden about 460k and run about 75k. 26 and a bit hours of training. Take out a rest day and that is about 3hrs 40 mins per day. This is a blend of whinging (so what, I'm tired, leave me alone! haha) and also looking back over the past few days with a sense of accomplishment. If nothing else I know I am committed, determined and have a resolve to complete goals I set. Alright, now that I have blown my own trumpet...

D-day is fast approaching! 2 weeks tomorrow I will be toeing the sand looking out at the pier disappearing into the distance - "are you sure that's not more than 1.9k out? It looks a lot further..." And I can't wait! I am so excited to get out there and see how it all comes together. During my long run sessions this week I picture running past my family cheering me on, and I was so in the moment that it gave me goose-bumps. I think this is going to be such a phenomenal experience and a true test of my grit. At least I won't feel bad eating too much food and drinking too much beer at Christmas after finishing a 10 or 11 hour Ironman.

Thanks to everyone who is helping, be it moral support (Mum, Keat and clan), accommodation, vehicle (thanks Jen and Pete), putting up with me being tired all the time (Al ;o), my coach and the guys that make the GU gels (whoever you are - I am knocking off about 20 - 25 a week - yummo). A new experience for me - after some long (5-6hrs) training sessions, my brain actually stops / slows working (how do you tell the difference I hear you asking - thanks Keat). I think the energy spent and lack of carbs replacing it leaves my body putting energy into what it thinks I need (since I'm training, obviously my muscles need the food) rather than 'non-essentials' such as my brain. Now I can relate to the 'baby brain' I hear people talk about! Anyway, stay cool kiddies and I'll catch you later.

Riding in the rain

This is a spot-on philosophy.

“I made the decision years ago to never let the weather dictate what I do with my life. I made the decision and, from then on, the decision was made and now I never need to question whether to go out or not, no matter if it’s too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, it doesn’t matter, the answer is always yes, go out. Make the decision once and then forget about it. Easy.

You will never have to worry about the weather again. YOU decide when you ride, not the weather.

You will see things that most people will never see. And when you try to describe those things to your friends they won’t understand.

You will be out riding one day and it will be pissing down so hard that you can barely see the road and cars will be giving you a wide berth because they’ll be like, “what the fuck is this guy doing? He’s gonna get himself killed!” and you’ll have been soaked to the skin for literally hours and there’ll be no cyclists, no runners, no dog walkers, no recreational activity pursuing people of any kind and you’ll be alone with yourself and just existing as part of nature, as something completely normal and understandable and right and you’ll be cranking it with great effort up a decent sized hill and shielding your eyes from the driving rain when, around the corner coming down the hill, there’ll be a guy on a bike, and he’ll be grimacing and his eyes will be screwed up against the rain and he’ll be hunched down in an aero tuck and clawing onto the bars for dear life as he takes the corner as fast as he dares with the rain and wind lashing him sideways into the disbelieving tourist traffic.

And he’ll see you cranking up the hill and you’ll catch his eye as he flies past and, for a split second, his grimace will become a grin and, when you meet him… you’ll both win."

Love it.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The race that was and the week that wasn't...

Well, I've mentioned before about the rules of triathlon - don't get injured, don't get sick, and don't break rule 1 or 2. Not long ago I was trying to heal an injury through training (yes, I realize that does not work) having broken rule 1 (and 3). What happens in the week leading up to Noosa? Yup, I get sick! Woot! I have heard people say that the taper week is often one to be most careful of, eating well and taking care of yourself because your immune system does funny things when the training load is suddenly eased off. While I'm sure there is some basic science to support this, I can honestly say that I saw it coming. The week prior was out of control. We got our bathroom renovated, which involved organising 3 different contractors, getting the products on time (and correct - damn you IKEA!) and rescheduling everybody when things did not turn up on time. This also meant that the week was spent training after work, and then meeting Al at her work in the city to use the showers there, which meant dinner on the run (and not that healthy) and getting home around 9:30 each night. We caught up with my brother-in-law and his family on Friday night, which was great but late and involved the joys of Thai takeaway. Amongst that, I started working with an 'intense' group of people at work to set up a new program. I could feel it building over the week, the stress, lack of sleep, poor recovery eating after training, juggling too many balls at once, what starts as a bit of a scratch in the back of your throat and builds into blocked ears, headaches and only one nostril doing it's bit to get oxygen into my lungs. So again, against all commonsense I was left trying to balance days off training but still hitting some key sessions but wanting to get healthy... after all, I had entered Noosa 8 or 9 months ago, I want to do well! Listen to your body. Simple. Right? I don't know. I think it's easy to put pressure on yourself to do things that don't really make sense. In a way, I'm lucky I have Busso coming up, because it made me stop and say "I'm going to slow down training this week". Not because it was the smart thing to do. But because I didn't want to get sicker and miss critical training for the Ironman. Who knows what stupid training I would have done otherwise! Maybe I would have missed Noosa altogether! What a funny day at Noosa - being in a new age category (30-34) my wave didn't start until 8:53am! Which meant I had to be in and out of transition by 6am to set up my bike, then I had a couple of hours to kill. Weird. I ended up heading back to the unit and watching the news (poor timing - the first story was about that snorkel instructor who got bitten by a shark in WA!). The race started off well - I was in the 3rd wave of my age group (339 of us altogether!) and got into a nice rhythm early - long strokes back to my legs, a bit of space. Came out of the water a bit slower than I hoped (26:20 for 66th fastest split) but was feeling good. I blame it on no wetsuits allowed (when the temp is under 24 degrees you can wear a wetsuit which helps poor swimmers like stay afloat - it was 24.5 degrees - bugger!). At my bike in transition my friend's bike was gone which meant he had beat me out of the water. Time to do some chasing! I got out onto the bike course pretty quick, into a comfy aero position and started pedaling away! I found my friend about 3k's down the road, said hi and shot off. I've gotta say, Noosa is so great if only for the sheer number of spectators! There is a climb about 10k's out of transition, yet there are still people lining it cheering you on. I stayed focus on good pedal technique, concentrated on eating enough to keep me going (Endura drink - thanks Jordan, and an energy GU with some caffeine) and maintaining a constant power output. I came back into transition in 1:05:20 (15th fastest bike split in my category) and ready to roar onto the run! I took off on the run like a mad man - for the first k or two there are people right there cheering you on (Mum, Hol and Chris so I had to put on an act and run fast!) so that kept me going. Somewhere in the middle though I tuned out and the cold I was shaking off from the week started to catch up to me. It took a lot of focus to stay in the moment and push the pace. The self talk started... "Only 6k to go", "No more than 20 minutes left", "Catch that guy", everything I could do to tune out to the pain and keep the pace going. I finished the 10k run in 37:27 (3rd fastest in my category) and the race in 2:09:08 (12th). A personal best by nearly 2 minutes. While it is a great event, it simply reinforced to me that I like the longer races. Races like Noosa are done "in the red zone" with your heart pumping out through your throat the whole time, whereas the half ironman is more moderate tempo that is more endurance and determination. It makes me excited to think about Busso now, although I can wait (less than 5 weeks to go and I have not put in the long k's on the bike that I want). I guess that is how it works in triathlons. Less than a day out from a big event like Noosa and already the mind starts to think about the new task at hand. 3 - 4 weeks of BIG sessions then taper into the biggest race of my life. THE BIGGEST RACE OF MY LIFE. Cool, hey?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Belated Race Report

A week and one day ago I bashed around the relaxed and laid-back Bribie course. I'll admit, while the sun was out when that breeze hit me my teeth were chattering! I find the combination of nerves and cold weather makes my body twitch! Great preparation though - I AM READY TO RACE!

Another nice tide-assisted swim. At the start I had a splash (not as cold as my imagination made it seem) before the buzzer to get warmed up and have a wee (yes, a wee). I found my spot, towards the edge so not to get too caught up in the argy-bargy. Which worked... for about 40 meters! Then it was on, with dudes from either side coming in over the top. I held my space, pushed hard and was through in a few minutes, and once I found some space got into a nice rhythm... long strokes, fingers touching my legs each time (almost sounds erotic). Out of the water on 10:03 (not too shabby) and took advantage of my run up to transition.

Slow onto my bike, but once it was on, IT WAS ON! Played leap-frog with a guy in my age group that I know - a solid rider who works in a bike shop. It gave me the motivation to push hard (2 lap course) and by the second lap was pushing ahead. Finished the 20k in 30:24 which was scorching! Felt happy with my position on the bike, pushed hard but still had something in my legs for the run. Always good on the ride seeing family cheering me on! It makes me ride harder if only for that spot (I want them to think I ride fast!).

Shoes on, and off we go onto the run course. Feeling happy, could only see one or two bikes racked when I came back in so was guessing only one or two people in front of me. Got into a rhythm after a few minutes (as hard as it feels in the quads to start with, I remind myself that the 'full-blooded' feeling ALWAYS goes away - which it does). Again, had the benefit of seeing the guys I know are racing well at each turn around point so could measure my pace against them - slowly pushed the gap bigger and bigger and BANG! 17:30 for the 5k. 3rd overall!

Another good hit-out - my racing this season has been fantastic. Maybe all this training stuff is paying off?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Closing In On GO TIME!

Only 4 sleeps until the Bribie hit-out. I'm feeling more confident as the day draws closer, my niggling injuries have *touch wood* eased off a bit which has given me the opportunity to do some more running. A solid run yesterday with some good 1k efforts and suddenly my mind has gone from saying "you're going to struggle to knock out a fast run at Bribie" to "Woo hoo! Bring it on tiger!". So maybe that is a slight exaggeration but I'm more optimistic than I was a few days ago. With all the riding I've done lets hope I smash out a solid ride so the running is less important.

Booked the big end-of-season dance today - Mooloolaba! Given how fast the races have filled out lately (triathlon's are definitely the flavour of the month for many punters) it was easy and painless to get my spot - login, enter credit card details and voila! It's a great race with a great atmosphere and for some reason I feel like it is on my turf (given my family live there).

A hard run off the bike in the morning, a swim tomorrow night then ease into the weekend before I hunt and destroy some people on Sunday :o)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Solid Week of Training

In total contrast to what I just mentioned about injuries, I have in fact had a strong week of training. I read something earlier in the week about how to make the most of your training, especially as you try to juggle it with work and family. Something key that stood out for me was the idea that you should have a few key sessions a week that are high intensity and that you focus on. Except with swimming - the article said you can approach each swim with a 'kill it' kind of attitude. It made me realise that I focus a lot on getting my technique right when in the water, but had become a little relaxed in the intensity I used. So this week, I smashed each session and swam hard. 3 sessions down and you know what? It worked. I feel like I got a lot more out of the sessions and pulled up fine the next day. I'm still slow as but that's not the point ;o)

The squad had a 20k time trial on the bike this week*. When I saw it on my program my first thought was "What a coincidence, I was just thinking on the weekend that I would like to see how fast I can go over 20k's". My second thought was, "there is no way I'm getting up at 4:30am to do that session". It's tough man! Reseting that desire to stay in bed almost every day because you have a session to do. Fighting the urge to pull the cover up higher and sneak in some more sleep. It can be overcome. My aunty asked me during the week about where I find the inspiration from. Stay tuned - I will share my secrets soon!

* to brag, I was the fastest over a tough highly 20k time trial. Look out world!

Arrghh! The Cardinal Rule Broken Already

It's Friday - one working week into the 10 week countdown. And I have already broken the golden rules of triathlon training. For those of you that don't know, there is a common consensus that 3 rules exit in triathlon training:

  1. Don't get injured
  2. Don't get sick
  3. Don't break rule 1 or 2
To be fair, both (yes there are two) injuries are pre-existing. The first is a result of long toenails and 21.1k's of hard running at the Yeppoon half ironman. That race (which resulted in me being crowned QLD State Champ for my age group - ha!) left me with two bruised big toenails. That was almost 7 weeks ago. One feel off last week in the pool (I did find it after some looking around), but the other is resisting the natural path and decided to get infected. Stupid toenail. Being the child that I am, I tried to 'assist' it yesterday and got 90% of the way but it persistently held on. It makes it a little uncomfortable to run, but hopefully it will soon realise that it is unwanted and will f@ck off.

The second is more serious as it is having a bigger impact on what I can and can't do. I strained my adductor (inside left leg from groin to knee, which is where the muscle inserts and hurts). I had just started to increase my training volume, and had done a 5k time trial (that means quick) run with my squad. When I saw the physio, she asked if I had done some fast running lately. I said "yes". She asked if I was stretching properly. I sheepishly looked at the floor and said "uum, yeah, maybe... no, not really". She stuck some needles into it and told me how to stretch it. She also suggested resting it which I did (for two days, surely that's enough... right?? *insert sarcasm here*). A week later, it is still hanging around. I spoke with my tri coach today and we are modifying my training plan to assist with the recovery.

So lesson learnt. Stretch. Everything. Maybe that is what I should tell Al if she ever catches me having some 'private time'. "What? I'm just stretching sweetie, you know it's important to stretch".

Friday, September 24, 2010

Here I was, just rolling along peacefully in my own world, getting a nice (somewhat painful) massage, and the massage therapist comments, "Busselton Ironman hey? That's only 11 weeks away right?" 11 WEEKS?!?!Sh*t!

What a way to burst my bubble and bring me down to earth. Sure, I've been training consistently, but Busso has always just been a pipe-dream just far enough down the track to be out of my conscious mind. But now, it is back. With a vengeance. Time to buckle down, wave my good-byes to friends and family, and settle in to ridiculous hours of training and limited social contact. Will I survive? Who knows. Will it be a journey of a lifetime? For sure!

A light of confidence shining through the nervousness inspired by the massage session...

Check out the athlete of the month for August... yup, that's me. And two big toe nails less for the effort ;o)