Sunday, November 30, 2008

Photos of my new home

My messy office. I look forward to organizing it post Busso...
The "double bike garage", that the cars probably been in only once- when it hailed!
The first time we have had a lawn to mow! All we need is 2 kids and a dog.
The second office.
Lovely, lovely SPACE!! Our TP kits can stay out all the time, and we don't trip over them...
The awesome Noosa Aquatic Centre, as you can see it gets pretty crowded on beautiful sunny days.
Our local Beach
It stretches for miles...

Taper begins again!

I'm now just one week away from my last race of the year, Ironman Western Australia in Busselton.

It's one of my all time favorite races and places to be. I feel like a kid at Christmas, I just can't wait to get there! It's my 5th time racing, on their 5th anniversary.

My training has gone exceptionally well in my new home on the Sunshine Coast. I don't feel like I'm at the end of the year, with any kind of fatigue. I feel just the opposite and am jumping out of my skin to race. My fitness has been building since August, and this time of year has historically been great for me. I've grown as an athlete alongside this race, almost always achieving PRs, which made it all the more special to have my first win there last year.

My taper is just one week long, which is perfect. I did a one week taper for the first time in Hawaii and it worked really well. Usually after a couple of weeks of tapering, I am in such a sluggish, lazy, relaxed mode that come race day, I almost don't feel like racing! And there is actually something hormonal going on that explains this. So shortening the taper to just one week allows me to be still in active mode, and on race day I feel ready to go.

If you want to come and say hello, I'll most likely be spending a bit of time helping my husband on the TP Therapy stand at the Expo.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

My Ironman Race Nutrition Plan

I want to share my race day nutrition plan.
Many people have helped me in the past and I'm now at the point where I don't have any stomach problems and my energy levels are great. We put too much time and energy into these races for them to be ruined by nutrition mistakes. So I wanted to share my wisdom!

I must emphasize that THIS IS WHAT I DO ONLY. I'm not suggesting to anyone to copy this plan. But if you're having problems, this might give you some ideas. I weigh 50kgs and although I don't look like a heavy sweater, from experience I know I loose a lot of electrolytes during races.

I've played around with different things over the 6 years, and 16 Ironman races that I've done. I've tried caffeine pills, amino acids, nuun plus different brands of gels, bars and electrolyte drinks.

I've had races ruined because of too many carbs, not enough electrolytes and too many things going in that I really didn't need. I've also had races where I've been in and out of the toilet along the way...

The best advice I can give from all of this is to KEEP IT SIMPLE!
The essentials for completing Ironman are CARBS, WATER and ELECTROLYTES and this is all you need.

Here is my plan for Ironman and Half Ironman.
It is pretty much the same plan for both races for me.
But with Ironman, you can afford less mistakes!

Race Nutrition starts 2 days prior to race day.

2 days prior is EAT DAY!

My favourite day. I eat a lot. It is too late now to be worrying about being race weight. It's now time to carb load.
I don't worry about reducing fiber intake. I want this food to be out of the system by race day!

Day before race.

Eat pretty much as normal. But I make sure that I am never hungry. I keep well hydrated but don't go nuts. I stay away from high fiber foods such as dried fruit, nuts, peanut butter and seeds. Breakfast would be the biggest meal of the day, and a moderate lunch and dinner. I don't eat a tonne at dinner like some people do.
I would have some low fiber fruits with brekkie- melon, peach, banana. And then snack on an apple mid morning, but then stay off the fruit after that.
A lunch favorite would be quiche with salad. Dinner staple would be rice with teryaki chicken with a few carrots, onions and mushrooms.(No high fiber greens, or brown rice)
This is day when I would snack on sports bars, since they are easily digested, and usually low fiber.
A new pre-race ritual has been ice cream! Its high calorie content is perfect!

Race Day

3 hours before race start;
2 x cans Ensure Plus.- you can get these from most drug stores or Safeway.
water if needed.

For the following couple of hours;
sip on water only

15 mins before to race start;
100 cals with 300mls water.- I use High5 E Source, a carb drink.

Onto the bike...

For the first 15 mins, water only.

From then on,
260 cals per hour
with 1 gram sodium per hour.

I'm pretty meticulous with my calculations. I don't trust scoops that say they are "20 grams" or whatever. I carry scales with me, and weigh all the amounts.

So my calories are all in carbs.
I use High5 E-Source that comes in a powder.
I carry one bidon with enough calories for the entire ride. I will divide the bidon using a black texter into hourly sections.
I have an aero drink bottle on the front of my bike.
I make sure that I squeeze in say half a section, and fill it up with 500mls water. 30 mins or so later I do the same thing again, and make sure I consume a "section" every hour.

Also in that bidon I have put all the extra electrolytes I need.
E-Source has electrolytes, but not enough for me. So I do my calculations and work out how many grams more of sodium I need to make up 1 gram per hour.
I use thermolytes or salt sticks.

So, all I need from aid stations is water.
I only use special needs for just in case. I don't put anything in there that I actually need. Its an emergency back up that I've never used!

Onto the run...

Around T2 and the first 10 mins of running HR is generally higher with adrenalin. So I won't put anything in until I have settled...

I alternate what I do at each aid station, since they are usually every mile, or 2 kms. I should be running at approx. 7 min mile, or 8.30 per 2 kms ish.

1st Aid station- Coke, water and 1 or 2 x electrolyte tablets. (300mgs sodium per tablet) At this point it depends slightly on the weather.

2nd Aid station- Half a High5 gel and water

and repeat, repeat, repeat!

So for me this works out at approx. 2 gels per hour, and 6-8 electrolyte tablets.(1.8 - 2.4gs sodium)
I would use the special needs on the run for half my gels, and spare electrolyte tablets.

I consume way fewer calories on the run since I have found that your stomach just can't cope with much. But you need more electrolytes since you sweat more. Advice and experience has proved that I work well with around 2gs sodium per hour on the run.

I have asked for advice from other Professionals over the years. Athletes who are experienced, yet have made their own mistakes along the way. It was a huge help for me.

I hope this is of help to someone out there!
If you want to try something different, try it in training, then if it works, in a B- priority race.

If any questions arise from this, I'll try to cover them for you.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No more Heart Rate training

After 6 years of strapping on a heart rate monitor it's GONE!
I feel free and liberated and the chaffing scars have started to disappear.

I was very resistant at first. That's an understatement! I was almost dependent on it. If I went out the door without it I felt as if something was missing- I was almost naked! But now, after 3 months without it, I couldn't imagine putting it on.

So now it is the biggest relief not to wear it. I was a slave to it. I wouldn't look at it all the time, I thought. But I would come home and write down or upload my data. Sometimes I would compare it to previous sessions, often I didn't look at it ever again. But I felt I needed it. It was an obsession and a crutch.

For 6 years I also raced with it. I felt like I needed it to know "how" to race.
What I now realize is that I know how to race. I know what race pace feels like. I'm now able to make pacing decisions based on feel. I know when I am giving too much or too little intrinsically. I'm not constrained by what my watch is telling me.

In training my directions are to go easy, moderate or hard. It's very simple, and it's all based on feel. Easy one day might be very different to easy another day, and that's how it should be. When I'm feeling good, I can give a bit more. When I'm feeling tired my hard won't be as hard.

It's very easy to follow a training plan that is so simple. An "easy effort" is very straightforward to understand. I don't get confused or annoyed that my HR isn't doing what it should be.

I now worry less, and am more relaxed. I'm free to concentrate on my training and can cut out the noise. I match my effort with what the session requires.

Thank you ironguides for freeing me from slavery!

"You know you're smashed when...

You get out of the shower, look in the mirror, and you still have shampoo in your hair"

~Kristian Manietta, 7pm Tues 18th Nov 2008.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Port Mac Half Photos

Photos by Fuse Photography.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The money shot

Monday, November 10, 2008

Victory at Port Macquarie

You may notice the speed to which good news goes to press as opposed to bad news!

Today I won the Port Macquarie Half Ironman, in 4.36. I was very happy and relieved to get the win. I was really nervous before the race as it was my first one as a defending champion and target on my head. I was pre race favourite and predicted by commentator Pete Murray to win by a country mile- even more pressure!

I’m feeling really good post Kona. I took 2 weeks completely off, and then put in a solid 2 weeks of training, more quality than volume. And it’s worked. I feel like I am somewhat back in race shape, in a very short space of time.
Thanks to husband and coach Kristian of

I had strict instructions to hammer the swim and bike. I did well in the swim, a 26.41, and not too far off the leading females.

I was really looking forward to the bike and riding my brand, spanking new Kestrel Airfoil SE, woo hoo! She is beautiful. However, it was only her second time on the road, the first being only 40 mins. I was sooo keen to ride her. I know you shouldn’t change things just before a race let alone a whole bike…

So anyway I had a couple of “mechanicals” that I am glad to say didn’t affect the outcome.

Throughout the ride I could hear scraping and scuffing. It was my front aero drink bottle hitting my front tire. A 47cm frame is too little for it. I thought about ejecting it. But with the way I organise my nutrition I really needed to have it.

Suddenly at about 25ks my position on the bike seemed to have changed. I was thinking, “What’s happened?” “Is it my imagination or am I now feeling in a bit of a weird position?”
My seat had taken a nosedive to a 45-degree angle! I was sliding forward off the front. I gave the seat a tug to see if it was going to come off. No, it seemed to be solid. So there was no way I was going to stop, I didn’t have time. There were far too many girls too close behind me. So I spent the remaining 70kms uncomfortable, continually shifting backwards, and wondering what toll this was going to have on my legs.
I did recall Bek Keat’s seat incident in IM Australia where she actually went on to win the race, so I thought I could cope for 65kms.
So after a challenging ride in pretty windy conditions, I eventually caught the leading female in the last 10ks, actually an age grouper. I really wanted to be first off the bike, and put in as big a time gap as possible between the trailing runners and myself. I have never been first off the bike before, it was a great feeling.

It was such a shame I didn’t get to fully enjoy the new bike. But it’s the first mechanical I’ve had in any race in my whole time in triathlon! I’ve never even had a flat. No, I’m not jinxing myself.
So anyway let my silliness be a lesson to you all! You don’t make changes that you haven’t had the chance to test just before a race!

I was really pleased with my run. I decided to go off quick, and really had to maintain it if I wanted the win. I was averaging just under 4 minute ks until I hit the hills. Tara Prowse was about 400 metres behind me, and I didn’t think she could go faster than that to be able to gain on me. It’s a time when you have to have confidence in your own ability and confidence that you know others. It’s a gamble. Lucky for me it paid off. I think she worked hard on that first lap to try and catch me, and faded on the second. I felt strong, and got myself into a rhythm, tapping along. I ran a 1.26. It’s a PB for me on this course.

I’m very happy post race that I don’t have much muscle soreness at all. It’s very surprising considering the undulating course. I put it down to my higher run cadence.- Best thing I ever did. Another thank you to Coach Kristian. (just trying to make up for forgetting him in my speech☺)

So I’m really confident that I’m well on track for IM Western Australia that is now only 4 weeks away. The style of training that I’m now doing under Ironguides means that I’m able to recover and back up, mentally and physically, in a shorter space of time. Which means more racing, which is what it’s all about.

Thank you to Bernard and Scody, who not only are the major sponsor of this event, but one of my major sponsors. I spent Saturday doing a photo shoot with team Scody; Tim Berkel, Adam Holborow, Bek Keat and Kristian, and had a lot of fun.

Another one of my sponsors, who also sponsored the event was High5. Again I had an excellent stomach and energy levels. Thank you.

Thanks to Craig and Nicole of Blue Seventy who were on hand race morning to make the final adjustments to my wetsuit, and to queues of Blue Seventy athletes.

Thanks to the local organising committee who are so passionate about their race. That’s why it’s one of the best. To the local bike shop, Gordon St Cycles, who helped me pre-race- and didn’t have anything to do with the seat!

Thanks to all my other sponsors; Kestrel, BioCeuticals, Nike, Zipp, Timex, Tri Travel, 3T, Oakley, Hypo2, Alkalife, Cep, TP Therapy and Compex and Daryl Philips my ART guru at Performance Health Newport.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Beautiful Sunshine Coast Queensland.

It's been a hectic few weeks.

Flew back from Hawaii.
Spent a week in Sydney catching up with the relos, (Aussie relatives) and friends whilst collecting our belongings from about 10 different garages around the city.
Packed it all into a 3 tonne truck, and set off for a new chapter of our lives in Queensland! 15 hours north, and a different time zone.

Why Queensland?
Because we can!

Sydney is a fantastic city, but its not an ideal home for triathletes. We base our rides around the flow of traffic. If you want to ride out of Sydney on the weekend you have to be in a group and you have to leave at 6am!
Whilst there are tonnes of 50m pools, to get to one you battle the traffic if you go at the wrong time, and pay for parking if there is any.
Running you can do anywhere...

So whilst we have made the best of Sydney since we have been triathletes, now that we have the opportunity to live anywhere in Australia, why not be in a location that is perfect?

Kristian is now a coach with Ironguides and his clients are all online at the moment. His work with TP Therapy doesn't require him to be in Sydney, and if he needs to get there its an hour flight and the airport is 15 mins away...puuurfect.

So we chose the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. Why?
It's hotter in the "winter". Put it this way- we'll have year round tans:)
There's great riding in the Hinterland. Plenty of challenging terrain and flats, that can be accessed at any time of day.

We are surrounded by National Parks with heaps of trails to run on.

We have an outdoor 25m pool a 5 min drive away, and an awesome 50m pool with gym 15 mins away. Almost $2 cheaper than Sydney pools, and no parking fee. Plus we can swim in the ocean year round. Noosa Main Beach is sheltered and perfect for open water swimming.
There's good reason the Sunshine Coast is home to the Grangers, the Bennetts, Lisbeth Kristensen and Andrew Johns and is known as the Australia's triathlon mecca.
And apparently soon to be training camp of Ironman's World Champion...We'll have some interesting new neighbors.

Before you ask, Kristian is adamant that he will always be a New South Welshman at heart, and will never support the cane toads.

I'll post some photos soon of Kristian in his new Queensland attire- ugg boots (sheep skin boots), wife beater (thats Aussie for cotton vest) with beer in one hand and BBQ tongs in the other:)

Happy training