“Most people, they raise a family, they earn a living and then they died. They stop growing, they stop working on themselves, they stop stretching, they stop pushing themselves. Then a lot of people like to complain but they don’t wanna do anything about their situation. And most people don’t work on their dreams, why? One is because of fear, the fear of failure, “what if things don’t work out”? And the fear of success, “what If they do and I can’t handle it”? These are not risk takers.” Les Brown curtesy of YouTube Mateusz M – DREAM.
Six years ago today I had just recently arrived to Alice Springs as a relatively triathlon newbie. I had completed 2 Olympic triathlons and 2 70.3’s in the USA in the prior 6 months but this was my first sprint triathlon. I was welcomed openly and asked to introduce myself. 6 years later, today, I competed in and won the Valentines Day Sprint Triathlon. I invented this race 2 years ago and was the Race Director for it while I was a member of the triathlon committee. Today, I competed alongside my wife Fiona who I had met at a club event, and we also welcomed Fiona’s sister Jennifer across the line in 2nd place. Jennifer is a multi-time Ironman finisher who was first off the bike in Ironman Malaysia, has done cycling trips around the world, and just spent another trip in Thailand at Chris McCormack’s training camp.
There are 20 days till Ironman New Zealand and Mark Russell, Duncan Rogers, Fiona, and myself just completed Build 2 rest and test week. It was an interesting week that had me cover 19 hours of training after Build 2, week 3 of 26.6 hours. Body fatigue was quite high as I entered which is historically my worst week of the season. But, coming off the best ride/run of the season, last weekend I knew what to do: listen to my body and use a lot of active recovery. My swims were shit and failed at 2 of my main sets from Coach Robbo. And by Friday my run volume only totaled 15km. Friday only involved a 35min trail run to set me up for the weekend of training and racing.
ASRWC Time Tease 5.1KM Race
Saturday Fiona, Jennifer, and I competed in the ASRWC Time Tease; guess your 5.1k race time and the one to come closest to it wins. Fiona and I came across the line together in 2nd place overall but were way off our predicted times of 22:45 and 23:00 with a 21:47. I definitely felt like I was working just below threshold Zone 4 but I figured the heat (30C) at 7AM was playing on the perceived exertion so I just went with it. Besides being the fastest run of the season, it exactly tied a 5K race Fiona and our family had done 2 ½ months prior in the USA in freezing 7C conditions. So, with lower HR of probably 5bpm and lower intensity factor, I’d say we have improved in our fitness. The race was great with Glen Edwards RD but hardly saw any familiar faces or triathletes. And it was weird to see maybe 30-40ppl when the Australia Day Fun run brought in over 400…
After the run we headed out at 11:30AM in the heat of the day for our long run. The goal was 2hrs at race pace HR on Outback Trails but ended up running for 2hr30min at Race Intensity. I wore my Darwin Triathlon Club top/bottom since it’s much better than a singlet and shorts in those temps. HR was 136 for the 25km, about 3BPM higher than race pace and even though temperatures were 40C at the finish, it was my best run in 7 months when I went 37K on the mill at Anytime Fitness in 3hr8min. And, it equals the intensity I held at Ironman Western Australia in 2015 when I ran a 3:26 marathon. Between the race and that run, Fi, Jennifer, and I got in a recovery swim set from Coach Robbo including 5×100 on 2:10 going 1:29, 1:31, 1:31, 1:31, 1:30.
Later in the day I registered for the Valentine’s Day Triathlon having received permission to use the pool for the race from the Alice Springs Town Council on my limited ban of the public pool which has been in place for nearly 6 months. The drama once again continued and it wasn’t till the next morning that I realized I officially was allowed to race from the club. But now I’m banned from all triathlons until the end of my ban. So I was nearly banned from the club, had to have the CEO and Olympian of TA come all the way to Alice Springs Miles Stewart to fix up the mess, then banned from the pool in which a new Manager was hired, I’ve been banned from the FB page, now banned from races for the next month, I left the club committee, and then I even joined the Darwin Tri Club. Thankfully I won’t have to deal with this for much longer; I didn’t get the job I applied to for another 2 years which means we’re leaving Australia in July. And where are we heading? I’ve applied to jobs in the Triathlon Meccas: Colorado and Tucson, AZ. I also threw in Huntsville, Alabama (IM Chattanooga and IM Louisville are close!)
Valentine’s Day Sprint Triathlon
We rode our bikes the 10min to the race this morning, rego’d, and then split lanes. Jennifer took Fi’s draft and I shared the line with a relative newbie. I said we’d stick to the same sides but that wasn’t clarified and we had a head on collision in the first 100meters. I was wearing my ROKA Swim Skin (why not?) and my USA Scody Sleeved suit down to practice pulling it up for IMNZ. Half way through Fi had 30 seconds on me and then Jennifer over took me. Out of the 750meter swim in 12:12. At 1:38/100 it was pretty poor performance and my body felt like shit at the start. It was well off my PB of 10:57. Brekky was a banana, piece of white toast, and an ARO 200mg Caffeine drink.
Jennifer was out of T1 and Fi and I were next to each other trying to pull up our suits. I played around calling out for a volunteer to help me pull up the suit like I’ll have at IMNZ. I left T1 before Fi and had the rubber band and shoes in place for the flying mount. Lol yea right.
On the bike my goal was just to work hard. I was well below FTP holding 281NP or 90%IF and HR was in Z4 on 140 but cut out half way through. I yelled out to Jennfier who decided to take the scenic route past the Memo Club and missing the turn. I thought I held my own pretty well on the bike but started to feel it on the 4th and final lap. I covered the 23km course in 34:09 at 25.21mph or 40.5kph. But, it wasn’t my fastest. I went .3kph faster 11months prior where I won the 32nd Annual Alice Springs Sprint Triathlon for the 4th time.
On the run, again. Just work as hard as I could. There was no one in my timezone, Fi would finish maybe 4mins behind me in 2nd and Jennifer would finish maybe 5min after that 4th overall I think. So while it’s hard to only have your wife being your main competition, I still go out there and work as hard as I can. The pace of 7:21mile or 21:51 for the 4.8km was just ok but similar to the times I was doing 3-4 years ago.
But I got it done, cheered in Fiona, then her sister. We did a 2.5km cool down lap cheering in others. Thanks especially to Megan RD and Andy/Lani who I expect would have loved to be racing.
Back at home I cranked up the music, UFC 206, and Ironman Hawaii 2009. We knocked out a 5hour session in mostly zone 2 and I started feeling it 2hr30min in. I suffered through the last 2 hours knowing that I needed this to build that confidence for NZ. I held 201NP on 65%IF and guestimate 152km.
When we leave in 5 months there are some people I hope to never hear again from in my life which makes me think I’m literally back in high school. People that hate me for no reason. People who have stood an arms length away from me after qualifying for Kona who have completely disrespected me by not even acknowledging me. But like the advice of my inner circle, these people are not worth my time. However, like any normal human being, this hurts and is painful, stressful, and unhealthy. Later at Church when I was sharing a phew with Deb, a member of our inner circle one of the few special people I have come to truly love and have the utmost respect for made me remember something that I didn’t cover in my Ironman Cairns Report, when I qualified for Kona.
I remembered about the surprise of Deb, Tami, Lynn, Pete, Susan. Some of our closest friends who have grown in love, friendship, and respect over my stay here for the last 6 years. Before Cairns they came to church which they know is a value to me. We prayed together and Deb of all people knew it was my time; that Kona was meant to be… and she war right. It’s these relationships and the love I have for these people that makes me smile to the opening hymm at tonight’s mass. Fr Raas encouraged the clergy to sing it again and Deb nudged me knowing how it resonated. “Let my love be perfect and turn the other cheek”. Of course, the closing of the mass was the song “Let there be peace on Earth.”
I need not look farther than my arms. The left tattooed “Passion and Love”. And the right, “Grace and Peace”. It’s hard to be like Jesus, to “extend a hand” but I also have to realize as I should by this point in my life that you will meet people in this life who just do not like you. So happy are those that can look past the petty high school bull shit and “turn the other cheek”.