Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ironman on the agenda again!

I realised today that it's the 9th of November - exactly a month since we were standing on Ali'i Drive experiencing out first Hawaii Ironman! I also realised that I have not written a blog post since this experience - although keeping up my tweets :-)

The day was quite overwhelming and exhausting for not only the competitors but also the supporters. I was literally triathloned out! We took a week of R&R still in Hawaii and then returned home for some more time off work and easing back into routine. We took a break from living the triathlon lifestyle :-)

We have a lot of memories and I have a lot to write about Kona and our experiences which will fill a few pages on my new website - promise it will be soon!

My Ironman has been on a interesting journey post-Hawaii. It has been like this:

  • Day of race, exhausted back in condo, IM exclaims "Mission Complete. I am content. No more Ironman for me" My response (as after every other IM he has raced)  "Talk to me tomorrow!"
  • Week after lying around Hawaii Resort which gave us time to contemplate our experience and the race, questions arise - "What do I do next? What goal can I have now?"
  • Back home in Australia amongst family and friends who want detailed account of race and experiences, excitement builds again. Suddenly Ironman website is being perused again and discussions being had with friends on what races they are planning next. 
  • Still on holidays, long discussions are being had with other IM friends including ones who were in Hawaii and they are trying to get answers on when training will begin again and what for - like me they don't believe the new talk from IM "I may do it again one day (I knew that ) but I need a break from the full on training for a while..."
  • Back into busy corporate job dealing with back-up of 1000plus emails, Ironman now regularly running and riding and watching past IM races. Thoughts on a huge sea change results in realising that if we did not have the busy lives we do we would not have the money to spend on all the tri accessories or to go on holidays overseas to IM events. 
So, we arrive at tonight -   it is official, my IM is back on the Ironman bandwagon! This time, trying to convince me that Cozumel is the perfect destination for a romantic getaway for my 40th birthday next year - fact that the Ironman is on same time is just by coincidence!

None of this surprises me! When I first started this blog and wrote My Story I wrote that once someone starts racing Ironman, they tend to get addicted. I have accepted that triathlon will always be in our lives.

So, we decide on the next race which is hopefully at a new and exciting destination (not yet convinced on Cozumel), save the money, fit the training schedules into the daily routine and hope that the next Ironman experience we have will be as amazing as the last!

Anyone else relate to this? What race are you next heading off to in support of your Ironman?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Day Before

The day is just beginning and kids are still asleep. I don't find it easy to sleep in this heat. The sun rises early and IM seems to be up. Now he has headed off for to Dig-Me beach for a final stretch of his swim arms, some ART (active release technique - whole tent of practitioners here to work on athletes every morning) and soak up the the tension filled atmosphere. I sit and contemplate the day.

The day before is one of organising and planning for the support crew. IM needs to be well feed and hydrated. The race bags need to be packed and often you can help by talking thru what is needed and rechecking before they head off for check-in. They need to rest, ideally stay off their feet and start to focus on the big day ahead.

At the same time, you may have kids who need to be entertained and other family and friends who want to be organised for race day -  planning view points, meetings points, and cheer squad essentials!

When you have young kids, these days can be stressful no matter how much you organise but you do just need to take a deep breath and go with the flow.

Our kids - aged 4 and 7 - are at age where unfortunately they just don't quite get it. They are on holiday and just want to chill out, while mum and dad drag them off to expos and parades and shops and dinners which mean late nights (and often grumpy kids). They do have fun most of the time and they are having experiences you hope they will cherish but what I have rediscovered this week is that you can't fit it all in and you can't always be with your IM soaking it all up as it just doesn't work for the kids. Ideally, with kids this age, having other family members with you helps to manage this, but it's not always possible. It's also great if you have other families you know nearby with kids of similar ages, so together you can manage the kids and give each other some adult time. So you work it out as best you can.

Come race day, kids also require planning. Waking them up early for swim start can be tricky, too much time out in the sun and on their feet results in moody kids, the crowds can be overwhelming (and the stress of thinking you might lose them!) -  so there is a lot of coming and going and making sure you have food, drinks and entertainment (apart from the crowds and the race!)

Today, we will think this all through. Work out best viewing positions, head down to the expo to make supporter signs, iron-on names and numbers for our supporter tees, take kids out to write colourful chalk messages on the roads, and keep IM as calm as possible. Head is spinning but it will all fall into place and I just remind myself that at least I am not racing! There is a lot more for the IM to think about today in preparing themselves to tackle one of the toughest races on earth.

So now I will get stuck into my supporter role, knowing that for all of us -  the wives, kids, families and friends, as well as our IM - the day that has been planned for for so long is finally upon us, and I am sure it will be filled with memories that we will cherish in our lifetimes.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Entering the Race Zone...

Well here we are in Kona with just three sleeps until the Big One! I can now say we are officially entering and experiencing the Ironman Race Zone.

I wrote a while back about my IM entering the zone - the zone of serious training, watching what he eats, thinking about the race and planning the road to Kona. Now that we are here and so close to race day, a new zone is upon us.

This is the period of serious focus and planning. Final short taper sessions in all three sports, checking and rechecking race kit, registration, the hype of expos and race banquet, a fair bit of pro-spotting, relaxation when you can get it and a lot of thinking through the experience they are about to endure. The hype, the talk, the build up - it results in an energy around town that is hard to describe and a focus on one day not like any I have experienced before.

As I heard a Pro say today, your race year all comes down to your performance in Hawaii - and I think the age-groupers probably feel just the same.

You hear it all - it's like no other, everybody suffers, it will strip you down to your core, you need to focus to go beyond the pain, you may go to where you have never been before, leave your time expectations on the pier....yet the competitors are saying just Bring It On!

I can't even imagine what I might be writing about come Sunday. In the meantime, we are trying to remember to soak it all up, take it all in and get all we can out of our first Kona experience because as we all know, the first time is always the best.

See our latest snap shots from our day in our Flikr Album

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Well it still seems like a dream but we are here! -  and today it all became very real. It's hot and humid, there are fit bodies riding and running everywhere, Kona is swelling with people and the atmosphere is building. Today we had the Athletes Parade and opening of the Ironman Expo. I will write a more detailed post soon of what is happening in Kona and what we have been up to, but in the meantime, check out my photos of our first few days in the new TriCrew Flikr Album.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Weighty Issue

I bought a great little gadget this week - and very cheap compared to most gadgets in our house! It's a bag weigher....

This is not so I can cram as many clothes as possible into our suitcases (or to take with us so I can keep track of all the things I can buy while away) but to make sure our bags are not over weight and we don't get slammed with a huge excess baggage bill - like we did going to China Ironman earlier this year!

Big lesson to be learned from China trip was to ALWAYS check and double check with travel agent and airline about their polices on baggage allowance, excess and oversized items like bikes! Seems all airlines handle this slightly differently...

We are flying Hawaiian Airlines and they charge for an oversized item but then it has it's own weight allowance and does not need to be considered when packing our bags - and their bag allowance per person is huge! On the other hand, I know when we went to NZ the weight of bike in box was part of our baggage allowances with QANTAS  - which works alright if you have kids but tips you over if there is just one or two of you. Result is bags being filled with all the tri kit and gadgets and very little of anything else - who needs extra undies or high heels or toiletries?!?

This is the frustrating thing travelling with a triathlete - there is so much kit to be considered with it's own list required, that competitor concentrates on this and the other half (ie; wife/me) thinks about the rest!

My lists are currently out of control, as is our bedroom floor that has last years summer clothes spread across it for contemplation. A holiday in Hawaii does require some thought re.clothes, kids and r & r  - not just the race!

Back to packing and weighing bags. Best to weigh at home so you don't have to juggle between bags in check out or pay a huge excess. Make sure competitor has list to go by for all the race essentials - and suggest you double check them as all you all need is a melt down about forgotten items when on the other side of the country or world! I have put together a support list for cheer squad items and supporter gear you may need on the day.

Today is our packing day - I am almost done but IM just starting! Below are a few useful things I mustn't forget when travelling OS and a few tips when packing competitors bag - will help me today also :-)

Don't forget:
Documents relating to all bookings.
Web addresses and passwords to access email,etc
Electricity converter for country you are visiting
All charger cords for all the gadgets.
Bike :-)
Kids :-)

Remember when packing Tri Gear:
Don't overpack bike bag.
Put all gels, powder and creams in sealed plastic bags.
You can buy some things over there!!

Have a few funny stories to tell about travelling with bikes and kids but that's another post one day - would love to hear your stories or tips too.

Must sign out - and get packing!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Enjoy a few facts and figures?

Ok, this is a quick one - I have to admit I don't mind a few stats to get me thinking...

Just discovered a few interesting links that give lots of stats on the Hawaii Ironman this year.

Check out Run Tri's page listing every qualifying time at every qualifier race, and Tri Juice's stats on numbers racing, age group numbers, oldest, youngest, etc - am always impressed with the 70+ who are racing - eldest is 80!

157 Aussies racing - that's the third largest group of country men and women.

To top it off, imAthlete have just announced the launch of their new race results system which allows you to look up your race history, compare results, track your friends, and post to Facebook and Twitter. Someone had to come up with it  - just feel sorry for the data entry person :-)

What a tool! It's sure to be a hit.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Race Kit

It's been a a much discussed topic for quite a while - what to wear during the race?

Now obviously the most important factor for the competitor is comfort (and look good) and for me as a supporter I try and put a request in for something that stands out so I can easily spot amongst the crowd!

Today we hit a milestone on our road to Kona...the race kit has been chosen!

Another outfit had been chosen which has been worn before and does look great - but black is not supporter friendly so I was trying to get a bit of colour thrown in. Then, along came a new friend of ours who has plenty of Hawaii IM advice now that he is heading there for the 6th time and he also has friends at Cannibal.

So here it is!

IM and wife are happy - it's comfortable and stands out and looks good - thanks Cannibal!

It reminds me of an Hawaiian Tribal Warrior - might get a few comments on race day :-)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Our Connected Community

Just had to make a quick observation...what an amazing world we now live in!

Combine emails, texting, Facebook, blogging and Twitter (as much as I can cope with for now) and in the final days leading up to Hawaii Ironman I feel like I have already arrived in Kona.

Once you are connected to the community you are involved in, the word spreads fast. Photos, observations, thoughts, ideas, training plans, travel plans....I could go on. This increased knowledge focussing on one event builds the excitement. We don't leave for another week yet everyday involves Ironman talk.

To top it off, we are on a run this morning when we hear out of car window "Imagine you are on Ali'i Drive" - who needs to travel to Kona? The race has come to us!

 I almost can't imagine how I will feel when the plane lands and we are living the dream :-)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Can't wait!

Counting down the days now.

The excitement is building in this household. Kids about to be on school holidays and IM tapering down the training with the nervous energy on the increase!

Has been great getting some good tips on where to go and what to do around Kona.

Thanks to our friend Celeste from Trix Gear for her great tips on where to take the kids. Just had to add this pic she sent of her kids favourite Kona treat - a Hawaiian Shave Ice - can't wait to try it!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Hawaii Ironman Tips Required!

Have just posted a new page. Now I need your help!

Have you been to Kona? Have you been to Hawaii IM? I want your tips. Please add comments and pass on to friends who are in the know also.

My aim is to build a thorough report for friends, family and supporters on travelling to Kona for the Hawaii IM. I am a newbie - all I have is a few tips form friends - but I want more!

I don't want to know about the race and training - I hear enough about that!

I want to know about the town, where to shop, where to eat, what to see, what is good for kids, what secret locations we should know about, what fun things there are to do during IM week, how we should manage race day, what resources and assistance there is for supporters on race day, what we shouldn't miss - and what sight seeing we will drag our competitors to pre or post race so we don't feel like we have visited but not experienced it all!

I look forward to all your comments  thanks!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Ironman Daddy

Today was Father's Day - hope all you dads enjoyed your day!

I find Father's Day, Birthdays , Valentines Day and Xmas all pretty tricky when it comes to presents for my IM - or in fact any of the males in my family apart from the little ones :-)

So what did IM receive today?

Well, I must admit that most gifts tend to relate to training or triathlon but I do try to think outside the square, as they say, but I had to laugh today as he tried to guess what a certain package was, that the comment was "Well it has to be related to triathlon" -  am I allowed to say 'one track mind'?!

Well, it wasn't related to triathlon because really what could I get that he hasn't already bought for himself?! In saying that, I was pretty pleased with my online order of a drink bottle saying "Ironman Daddy" from Aussie website Wipsnapa (although it was not as big as I hoped and is metal rather than the usual plastic but am sure it will be used with pride by dad).

However, the big present was actually bought over a month ago because it was really needed and couldn't wait - and in fact I have to admit it is one of the most used gadgets in our house at the moment!

It was a Garmin Forerunner 405 GPS watch - and don't we love it! Could rave about this watch but will leave that to another post, so will just say it was great purchase for daddy (and mummy) and we were very happy with the good price and fast delivery from Ryda!

Of course, Father's Day began with a training session finishing at our favourite cafe for a relaxed breakfast and then a training free afternoon including pizza and beer for dinner - even an IM daddy needs a splurge day!

So in signing out on Father's Day, I think I should reflect on all the IM daddy's out there.

I see my IM as such an inspiration to our kids. We teach our kids about life and living by being a role model. We all juggle busy lives and there may be some days that we can dedicate less time than others to our kids, but what we show them is how to balance our lives with what has to be done and what we want to do.

Set goals, believe in yourself, do your best, stay fit and healthy, set yourself challenges and follow your dreams are some of the things we like to say to our kids - and what better way to illustrate this than competing in Ironman.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Contemplating Ironman

I often wonder what are the driving forces for someone in deciding that they want to challenge themselves to race the Ironman distance?

Tonight as I pushed myself through an hours treadmill session in training for an upcoming half-marathon, I watched last years' Hawaii Ironman World Championship coverage.

Now you may wonder why? I have watched it before. In fact, I have watched almost all of the years gone by (IM has an impressive IM and Tour de France DVD library also for indoor training sessions :-) -  yet I do not compete in IM.

Firstly, I find them motivating and I mange to push thru my training session thinking "Gosh, I do nothing compared to these people - get moving!!"

Secondly, it helps me to understand why my IM wants to race this distance and the experience he has when racing.

Thirdly, it gives an insight into all the different people who race IM and the reasons why. Every year the Hawaii IM coverage does not fail to bring a tear to ones eye and leave you inspired by the stories told.

Of course, watching tonight also made me realise how close we are to experiencing it ourselves - "Living the Dream" as my IM says - and it does get you very excited!

So many years of watching and talking and dreaming has meant we as a family are ready for the experience. In fact, by the time we arrive in October despite never being there before, I have a feeling I will know all the names and places and even recognise the famous faces!

So back to why?

When you watch the coverage there are many reasons why and so many inspiring stories. As you listen to the physically challenged, those who have suffered from sicknesses or who have lost a loved one, talk about what it means in their life to compete in IM - and particularly in Hawaii  - you realise what a positive effect a special event like this can have on so many people, and not just those racing!

I am yet to pose the question to my IM yet I feel I know the answer. There are those who like a challenge and want to push their bodies beyond it's limits - and those who don't.

As you listen to competitors talk about the high they get when crossing that line it almost stirs a desire in me to want to experience it myself - the problem is the mind. That's what has to be talked into it before you can dedicate the time and energy. In the meantime, I am happy to play my part as spectator and be part of the experience.

I will sign out with a quote from last years Hawaii IM coverage:

"You can learn so much about life, at this place, on this day"

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Trading Places

Today was an unusual day for two reasons:

1. IM did not go training first thing in the morning - and it's sunday!
2. I competed in a race and IM and kids were the supporters!

As background, I will begin by saying I have never been a sporty person. I did do quite well in some short distance running races at primary school, I then avoided sport in high school, became a gym junkie in my twenties, took up walking and yoga in my early thirties and only a few years ago after having two children, did I come to the realisation that I needed to do more aerobic workouts to lose the extra kilos from pregnancy and keep fit and healthy as I get older.

I could never be a runner I declared to my ultra fit IM husband! Famous last words...

I have to admit that having a fitness obsessed husband probably helped me to change my thoughts on running and a trainer at home who was able to slowly convert me from walking to my first 5km race was a bonus! Once I strapped on the heart rate monitor and started to understand how to train myself to be running fit,  I did not look back!

So, 4 years on and I have finished two half-marathons, training for a third and seriously contemplating the challenge of a marathon for my fortieth year.

Back to today. It was not a long race. 11.5km. It was local and didn't start early. It did not require a lot of support apart from kids being looked after and being cheered on at the end - and some TLC for the rest of the day. But it feels good.

There are partners who both train and race for long distance events and mange to juggle family and work life - and I take my hats off to them! However, I would guess that in many IM families there is one who competes and one who supports. Like ours. As I discuss in the page about me, this works well in our family and you respect each others needs and balance as best you can. What I do think is important however, is that the supporter has their own passions and goals that they can have time to spend on. This may be anything, not necessarily related to health and fitness.

Running for me seems to be a good fit. I have my own personal trainer at home, and I now have a better understanding for IM's love of running, triathlons and racing  - I even tried a mini Tri just to have that feeling of bobbing in the water at the start!

I may not have the desire to do an IM triathlon but I now have my own health and fitness goals that we can share together - and just occasionally we can trade places and I can be the competitor for the day!

Still don't think IM quite understands what it's like to support someone through IM but hey, never say never, maybe one day the desire may come for something bigger and more challenging.....

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Preparing for the Unexpected

IM packed his bags and headed up North for a Half IM over the weekend. Good preparation leading into Hawaii I was told....also good to practise the bag packing and weighing. (will dedicate other posts to packing lists and the weight issue!)

What I want to focus on now is preparing for the unexpected. Or really, the question of whether you can prepare yourself for something that happens which is out of your control?

Our household had some nasty tummy bug doing the rounds last week and IM stayed as far away as possible. A few days before he felt like he had something but it didn't seem to take hold. Training kept going and the excitement built as it always does in the lead up to a race.

The support crew did not have tickets to this race (can't always be there) but there were other friends attending and we were there in spirit.  In fact, maybe we were not meant to go, as the weekend may have been even less manageable if there were kids around.

In a nutshell, IM came down sick with gastro type bug night before race, attempted to race next day and ended up not finishing as was so ill. Then he proceeded to be stuck in bathroom of hotel room for next 24hrs and only just managed to make it home in bus/plane/car. (really felt for his room mate!)

Still not feeling well three days later, IM has been fairly accepting of the situation and is now just focusing on feeling better and getting back on track with the training plan.

What else can you really do? It is something you cannot prepare for and you cannot dwell on too much.

You can have a healthy diet and lifestyle and take all precautions to not getting sick, and you can pack in your bags all sorts of medication, but really when something like that hits it is just the unluckiness of it that it happens to be on race day.

It reminded us both about our China IM experience - well the fact that we were lucky not to get food poisoning in China when so many did (and many attempted to race or managed to race through it but it was not pretty!).

This was a first time experience of this sort for IM. Was there lessons to be learned?

Maybe he shouldn't have raced and it just made the sickness and dehydration worse but thats a hard decision when you have paid money, made the journey and planned so much for that day.

Maybe a few more medications could have been packed - we have since discovered that Gastro-Stop  is a great one to have in the medical kit (think Imodium is similar).....but actually the one most important thing you need is rehydration and most triathletes will have some sort of hydration drink or powder in their kit - perfect! I think a few satchels of hydralyte is also a must for a travel medical kit.

I did find a good rundown on what to do for diarrhea on a US website which talks about natural remedies and diet  ( and I learned a very useful acronym everyone should remember: BRAT - only eat Banana, Rice, Apple and Toast (lots of other useful stuff on this website!)

Back to the point of this post...

There are a number of things that can happen (not just sickness) that may result in not racing to your full potential or not even making it to race day. You can not be prepared for all scenarios. 

However, what you can do (this is not just for the competitor but his supporters too) is to accept the outcome, try to look at the positives of maybe not such an enjoyable journey and try not to dwell on it too much post-race day.

There will be another race. We all know that the most important thing in life is our health and that of  our families, so we need to remind ourselves of this, be thankful when health returns and all is well again, and just look ahead and plan for the next challenge.

In signing off,  I just have to say, that although we may now be slightly more prepared for the unexpected, I really hope we don't have a repeat performance in Hawaii :-)

Here's to our health!

Monday, August 9, 2010

The BIG One

Ironman keeps telling me about conversations he has been having recently with people he has come across through work or just out and about, and I have had a few similar ones.

Basically, the conversation begins on a comment on sport, exercise or something related and ends up with "Wow. Your going to Hawaii. The BIG One!"

Now although the excitement is rising in our household as we get closer to the date, and there is a lot of swimming, biking and running going on, it's not as though we are out there announcing it to the world!

What is interesting, is that people are so fascinated with someone wanting to swim, bike and run the long distances of an Ironman race and in particular, they have all heard of the ultimate race in Hawaii.

Even if people are not athletic or into triathlon, once they realise you have raced the long distances and that you are going to (or am sure if you have already been to) Hawaii - they want to know more.

The fact that often Hawaii is referred to as THE BIG ONE just goes to show what prestige the race has created for itself over the years. And, it's not just the reputation out amongst the general public, but also amongst triathletes themselves.

You only have to watch a couple of the past Ironman race DVDs to get a feel for how big it is in a triathletes life to race in Hawaii. There are many stories and many dreams - and you cannot fail to have tears in your eyes once you hear them and see the experiences every competitor has, whether a professional, an age grouper, physically challenged or a lottery competitor.

What I am feeling now as the weeks go by and we have these conversations, is that the Hawaii Ironman is a race that is so big, not just because of the distances raced and the difficulty of the course, but because of what it represents to us all and the effects it has on everyone who is involved. 

It is a challenge many people would not want to attempt, let alone have the ability to undertake. It requires mental as well as physical strength to both train and compete. It requires focus, commitment and drive that many of us do not have. 

Yet, when we see people race it, some who seem just like us, it also helps people to dream and set there own goals and think maybe I could have an experience like this if I put my mind to it. For some, this may end up being a shorter race or just getting out there and challenging themselves to try something new. 

It is an event that engulfs everyone involved and announces to us all that this is what life is all about. Challenges, goals, dreams and uniting together to celebrate life.

I am sure that being involved in the Hawaii Ironman as an organiser, supporter, volunteer and spectator - not only as a competitor - holds special lifetime memories for all - I can't wait!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Loads of Lycra

I often wonder what a stranger would think if they saw the amount of lycra hanging on our washing line - and most of it is for men!

The pile of lycra that seems to be a permanent fixture on our laundry floor often astounds me but I suppose when so much training is going on it means lots of stinky sweaty clothes.

What I still haven't quite worked out is what the perfect wash cycle is to get rid of the smell and the stains and keep the whites bright!

What I do know about washing lycra is:

1. Wash with gentle detergent.
2. Don't wash too hot or may shrink to baby size.
3. Don't put in anything with velcro - disaster for lycra!
4. Check pockets carefully as either broken bags of GU may give you a sticky wash or your iPod may be forgotten  - our shuffle lasted about one use!

I would call myself an eco-friendly washer as I always use the washing liquids and powders  from my friends range - Solution Living.  Her Lavender Liquid Wash and Eucalyptus Wool Wash  is gentle and the smell seems to over power most of the sweaty odours. There is even an eco-friendly whitener !

HOWEVER I have to admit when it comes to giving the whites a good boost I still can't get past an occasional soak in Napisan and maybe a bit of warm water.... but still the whites are never as bright as when they are new and bike chain grease is tricky!

Any tips would be much appreciated.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Entering the Ironman Zone

"I am now in the Hawaii Ironman Zone" is what has just been announced to me this evening!

Should I be scared? What can I expect? What is The Zone?

Well. Will let you know once I have experienced it. Guessing the Hawaii Zone wont be much different to other Ironman Zones I have experienced in the past.

More training, better diet, attempting to avoid the winter lurgies, early nights, re-watching of every Hawaii Ironman race to date, serious study of training plans and revision of days training, numerous triathlon gadget discussions (remind me why an SRM is worth that much!?!) and the ongoing countdown to D day!

I better get in The Zone too!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Better get training....I mean writing!

It has been a while...

Don't know why it has taken me this long to get writing again. I guess after the build up to and experience of China and then the celebrations following, I was triathloned out  - if that's a word!?

Now, we have hit under 100 days to the BIG one and things are starting to rev up at home.

Serious training program is in progress, diet is becoming important again and the past years Hawaii IM dvds are dusted and being played regularly.

A few weeks ago, it was announced that China Ironman will no longer be on Hainan, instead it has moved to the mainland. This was disappointing for us, as if we ever planned to return at least we would have had some knowledge on the race and the locations. Now all the information I logged, to eventually post on this blog, is obsolete. However, I think it may still be useful to some if I post a page on the experience of China with a  few general tips  - will get my head into this soon.

So for now, just wanted to sign on to say I am back and writing and to watch this space - subscribe now so you can follow our Hawaii IM journey!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Surviving the Post Race Come Down

It has been almost 2 weeks since our return and still I don't feel we are back into regular routine. It probably didn't help that we both returned with chest infections, children needing our attention, work to catch up on, a blocked sewer to add to the chaos, and lots of phone calls and emails to send reliving the race and our China experience.

The elation of grabbing that Kona spot remains (flights, accommodation and car hire have been booked - it may be early days but we have been warned to get in on it as soon as you can as places book out and prices rise!) but Ironman's body is suffering and general enthusiasm for life is rather low.

The days after the race are ones of mixed emotions which obviously depends on wether the race was considered to be successful or not (which all depends on your goals) and most significantly, the body is in shock and in need of desperate re-cooperation

I have come across a few articles about how the race effects the body and mind. One I must mention (after discovering it on our trip to China) is by UK triathlete Mark Klentheaous titled "Beating the Post Race Blues" who has a great website (will dedicate a separate blog to this website one day soon).

Mark reminds us that after an Ironman race, which is "one of the most physically and mentally demanding challenges of the sporting world", the body will suffer both physically and psychologically. Even after the soreness in the body subsides there is a lot of internal recovery still happening. I remember reading a while back it takes six weeks for the body to be back in condition and ready to take on the next challenge!

My Ironman returned home with a chest infection, the usual aching limbs and a body that needed readjusting, toenails sore and black and ready to drop off and a bit of chafing (thank goodness it wasn't as bad as our NZ experience!).

What you can't see - I keep having to remind him- is a the massively compromised immune system that can't fight off the infection and a come down from the highs that any major event in your life can bring. It didn't help that he had to jump straight back into a suit and tie and deal with end of quarter sales stresses at work. This is the reality that is easy to forget.

This is the time that you must continue to eat well, fill up with vitamins and herbal supplements to boost the body back to health - and rest as much as possible!

The rest part is not easy for someone who has been training so hard for so long. They can't sit still. Exercise is part of daily life. A stress relief. A time of oneness to reflect or time of togetherness with  mates. It was also the means to a long time goal that is now no longer. It is not easily given up even when the body tells you to take time out.

It's now that I realise I have an important role to play. To remind him to take it easy, keep exercising but easy and short sessions, fill him up with good food, spend more time with the kids and around the house, discuss the race (the outcome, the highs and the lows), set new goals, and make plans for how we manage the next Ironman challenge.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Home with ticket to Kona in our hands!

What an experience!

A week has past and thanks to the China government I was unable to post any blogs so apologies to those who kept on checking in. (Something to remember if visiting - blogs, chat sites, facebook etc, censored in China!)

Have so much to tell so will post a few blogs and photos over the next week, and will create a page filled with all the useful information I have acquired on the trip for anyone who plans on traveling to the China race next year.

But what I really wanted to shout out in this short post is "WE ARE GOING TO KONA!!!"
Those were the exact words I screamed at the top of my lungs amongst an amazed and smiling group of Chinese as I watched my dazed but determined husband run down the finish chute and under the arch, grabbing the banner high into the air!!

He did not quite realise his goal had been achieved but his coach, family and friends who had kept an eye on the stats throughout the day were already jumping for joy and downing a beer (as he lay in the medic tent with IV and ice packs all over him - more on that in another post)!

He had pushed himself physically and mentally more than ever before in one of the toughest Ironman races. (The Pros were saying that with the heat and wind on the day it was Hawaii on a bad year!) Despite a few set backs before the race, he pushed through with only positive thoughts and the belief he had it in himself.

I am one proud - but exhausted - Ironman Wife!

Will sign off so we can recover from trip and come out of the daze and disbelief but will be back soon with many stories to tell.

A favourite quote of mine to consider (one I have heard around the tri traps) which I know was going through my Ironman champions head last Sunday:


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Off we go!

Bags and bike are packed and waiting at door. Kids have relocated to grandparents and cat at local vet. So quiet. Can't really believe we are off in only a few hours!

Ironman was ready to go 2 days ago.  "Bring it on" he says after yet another training session - and then he remembers what he is up for!

Past Ironman events have been watched and re-watched, nutrition calculations have been made and purchases of just a few more essential triathlon accessories and extras are all in the past  (how much for chafing cream? I exclaim!)

Next challenge is getting a guaranteed ride to airport in taxi big enough for a bike box (refuse to rely on local maxis taxis again!), glide through airport as everyone watches you maneuver box and bags (at least no prams and kids trailing behind!), get on and off 2 planes and through Chinese customs with bike intact! Then we can tackle Ironman.

Recently my girl friend and I joined the local triathlon club (thought we might give a few mini ones a try) and yesterday I asked my friend if she was getting the fairly regular chit chatty emails that now enter our inbox since we joined up. When asked wether the amount of them or subject matter was bothering her (I personally had deleted a fair few without much of  glance) she replied - not at all! In fact she was enjoying them. When we quizzed her on this, she commented that she enjoyed getting an insight into a new community of people who have a passion for their sport and she could feel the comradery amongst its members.

When I reflected on this today I thought how true it is that the triathlon community, wether it is your own local club or the wider community of Ironman organisers and competitors across the world, is one of acceptance, friendship and encouragement. (am sure I would have come up with many more positive descriptive words if I was not so tired!)

We have made some great friends over the years through triathlon, and we have always felt welcome at events, supported and encouraged by other competitors and their support teams, and walked away from each event (wether as a competitor or a spectator) feeling as though we have just been part of something special.

As we venture to China tomorrow I know that even though we know no one else going, once we arrive we will be swept up amongst it all, welcomed into the Ironman China community, and leave a week later with special memories - and maybe even some new friends.

We also know that so many of our triathlon friends who won't be at the race - as well as our own family and friends  - will be there in spirit sending vibes of encouragement and best wishes. We are already feeling it - thank you all.

I will do my best to post a few times (maybe even with pics) and don't forget to follow the race on Ironman Live!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Putting it into perspective...

Had an interesting conversation at the beautician today. As conversation led into body hair and men and yes, my husband shaves more often than me!  - it then went a bit like this:

Her: So he is a cyclist. Does that mean you are woken at 5am in the mornings as he heads out for a ride?
Me: Yes, but I am used to it and I just turn over and go back to sleep.
Her: I get that too when my husband goes for a surf. How often does he do it?
Me: Most mornings - actually he races triathlons so he doesn't just cycle.
Her: Triathlons! Wow! They are true athletes.
Me: Agree. Takes a lot to master 3 different sports.
Her: Does he race often?
Me: Actually we are heading to China next week for Ironman China...
Her: Ironman! Now that is not just about the body, it's about the mind.
Me: Absolutely agree - and the conversation goes on....
Her: I really admire people who can do that!

This is not the first of this type of conversation I have had over the years with people I come across during my daily routines.

It reminds me that those people who are not amongst the triathlon community or who have not had a loved one race an Ironman event are often in awe of the people who compete in these races. Some may think they are crazy to put themselves through so much training and push their bodies to the max, and they may not totally 'get it' but they appreciate the distances and what it takes to compete in such a race and view it as the ultimate test for body, mind and soul.

The effect a conversation like this has on me?

I remind myself that those of us whose loved ones are training for an Ironman may sometimes need to put things in perspective. When we are managing the daily training schedule in our lives we don't think much about what this race means to our loved one and what an achievement it is.

Using the words of current Hawaii Ironman Women's World Champion, Chrissie Wellington, it's hard work, dedication, discipline and sacrifice but it's worth it!

Wether your loved one is a Pro, a dedicated age grouper or training for their one and only Ironman event, you have to admire that they are willing to challenge themselves physically and mentally to achieve an ultimate goal and have an experience of a lifetime.

We could trudge along in the regularity of daily life quite happily but what life is about is challenges and experiences and doing something different. Although racing triathlon is not my passion, I am very proud  and happy to be taken along on my husband's journey and be part of the adventure and experiences it brings to our life.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Can't Sleep...

Woken by kids and high mind is racing about China! What am I worrying about since I don't have to race?

9 sleeps until we leave and I my thoughts are jumping between what has to be done for work and home before we go, schedules for kids while we are away, packing list to make sure we are all organised and there is no last minute panic and what will we do while we are there?

I did quite a  thorough Google search earlier tonight and was shocked by how little information there is to help us with our planning.

Ironman China website has all the race info and some basic travel details, sponsor hotel website has usual hotel stuff, TriTravel who we have booked with (great idea for travel company) really does not provide anything other than bookings and essential travel documents, not found as yet any good Hainan tourism information websites and all the blogs found are focused on the race!

Makes me even more determined to provide a thorough report on this trip and my experiences as a supporter so I can help others who go through the same next year and beyond!

Monday, February 22, 2010

20 days and counting...

The clock is ticking and training has ramped up in our household!

Now the diet is being questioned and there are special meal requests - this does not happen often.

Have also decided it's time to write a packing list. You would have thought by now we have a excel template  - and I am sure we have written them before but do you think I can find it anywhere?

China will require extra consideration but at least I don't have to worry about kids stuff this time! Bussellton (West Australia)  was our first experience of packing for a flight which was not easy with pram and baby stuff to consider, although only one child.

More recently, New Zealand, we had both children and had to pack for a beach holiday after - wish I had jotted down all those little things I thought I must remember next time!

Once I have compiled and then edited list I will publish as may be useful to others....and then when we return will note what I wish I hadn't forgotten!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ironman China here we come!

Just on a month left until the 3rd Ironman China is raced and we will be there!

I am getting quite excited now(and hence I have started this blog to get myself more involved in the whole process again and tell a few tales of our travels...)

It has been an ongoing discussion in our household for a number of months now. The Polar watch has been counting down the days, the flights were booked early and paid for, and we even managed to convince my parents to take on the two kids for over a week - quite an exhausting prospect for them. Aiming for the race in China would be nice change from the local races, a bit of adventure and holiday for us, and maybe a chance to grab that illusive Hawaii spot.

However, life has taken over a bit what with Xmas and school holidays and work...and the training has probably not been up to the standard hubby expects from himself - although from my perspective training has been ongoing and fairly consistent. The 4-6 hours disappearing act on a Saturday morning has not been a regular event of late, and of course couldn't happen while we were on holiday, but at least he could focus on his swim stroke everyday.

So discussions have been on a daily basis for a week or so, will we, won't we, and then - why not!?! Lets go and enjoy the adventure, give it a go and see what happens (and time without kids will be appreciated even though we will miss them!).

So now we are in Ironman mode. Good friend and triathlon coach has sent through the final months training schedule, parents have been told its all on, and I get to watch Ironman China 2009 with a glass of wine on a Friday night!

Few tears flowed watching our friend Charlotte Paul win the pro women's race last year (and I do wish she was going to be there this year), a few notes were taken, and bit of excitement (as well as nerves) can be felt in our house tonight. Better start that packing list....