Saturday, February 28, 2009

My family is the best!

I too wanted to say that my family is the greatest. We had a blast at the parks and I thank my husband for keeping things together for the week I stayed in Florida!

More pics!

A run on the beach!

Kevin relaxing after a late night and long Mt Dora ride!

Me, thrilled to be running on the beach!

Christine looking good after a hard ride!

My South African friend Nick chillin!

Me relaxing after my 5 hour Windermere ride!

Back in New Jersey!

Well now that I have had some time to reflect on my Florida trip and have been back in NJ for a week I have definitely had to push myself to get through this week. Thank goodness it was an easier recovery week as the last few weeks were alot more volume. The trainer has not looked appealing nor the cold windy temps inviting. It's amazing how inspiring a little warm weather is.There are endless different training opportunities in Florida.

I spent alot of time in Orlando, Claremont and a few days in Sarasota. I got to run on the beautiful beaches and through orange tree farms and on endless trails. I got to swim at the spectacular NTC training center where Sara Mclarty has her well known master workouts and plenty of pro's come to swim. I too swam in just about every YMCA in Orlando.I thank Carlos for his guest passes and Mr Mark Russel for letting me use their gyms! It was great having my swim partner and friend Maggie from NJ there for a week to make sure I was working hard in the pool!

The riding was the best! The hilly Claremont rides were amazing with open roads and no traffic lights. The Windermere ride was fun and I enjoyed having good company to ride with. I was thankful to Kevin Lenk who pushed me on my 5 hour ride reminding me to keep good form and push hard on my intervals and my friend Nick who put his bike together and came out for a few rides. I loved the easy 2 hour roadie ride that turned out to be a bit of a hammer session...a BIG breakfast or two was definitely in order after that ride. It was fun to see Patti down there too even if she wanted no part of my hard workouts.
Laura and John came down from NJ too and it was good to get an amazing ride in with them. It was great to see my friends Tom and Christine. Christine, I thank you for that amazing ride we did in was so windy and you hung in there and worked hard and kept that great attitude up all day even when we thought we were lost a few times. I know that you really did not want to swim after that ride yet you found the energy and kept me motivated to get the work done. I too thank you for making sure I was not attacked by pigs,snakes,or scary figures out in the orange got me through that long run safely.

It was also good to see Nick come out of running retirement, dust of his sneakers and decide to do a short 1hr30 run with me. I tried to warn him that it was a long run with a long interval in the middle. I thought he might turn with Kevin but instead he was in for the long haul...even running up walls and throwing in a few sprints. I was impressed by his speed for sure!
Nick I thank you for letting me crash at your place, eat your food, drinking all your South African tea and eat your cookies and chocolates. Thanks for getting me to drink coffee again after 15 years of no coffee. It was fun to talk about the old days growing up in Durbs and all our old hangs..!
I too enjoyed meeting Paul and the guys from the YMCA guys are all inspiring! It was great to ride with Danielle and Heather Gollnick too. It was good chatting to another pro women who is in the same position as me as far as training and having a family. Good luck to you all this season! I definitely hope to go back there and train again!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Florida Pictures

Patti and Kevin heading out on the Mount Dora Ride

Early morning ride...

Watching the sunrise

Danielle Sullivan and I after a 3 hour bike.

Orange Tree trail...16 miles of hard sand...

Christine and myself after a hilly Great Floridian Challenge 60 mile windy ride!

My first outdoor swim in Florida...the local pool water was 91 degree's...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Great Escape to Florida!

I have been in Florida for 10 days now training and things have been fun and busy. The weather has been amazing and it has been a great escape from the cold snowy New Jersey. Just to beable to ride in shorts with the sun shining makes all the difference.

I arrived back today to stay at my new South African friend Nick's house. He has made me feel quite at home and we have shared some good stories about growing up in SA and our old stomping grounds. He is a rep for Look,LG,Skins and a few other companies and thus was quick to let me know that I cannot train another day without a pair of Skins. After all the hype with compression socks I was sceptical but after a week of wearing them after hard workouts I am now starting to be a believer. The secret to the Skins is that the technology built into the fabric enhances the circulation and thus reduces lactic acid build up. You can use them in training or as a recovery tool. So far I have only used them in the evening after a hard days workout and it has definitely seemed to help. I wore them after my race yesterday and last night and my legs feel pretty good today....although I am yet to workout today.

Yesterday, I raced the Great Escape to Florida in Claremont. It sounded like a great idea a week ago when I suggested it to Paulo and he agreed. But of course as I am here training it was put in as part of my workout with no taper. This sounded fine but then as the day got close and I realised how fatigued my body was I started to get a little nervous as it's still a race. I was happy to rack my bike next to Nicole Guembal who I had met a few days earlier on a ride with my friend Danielle Sullivan. She too was using this as a workout...neither of us had any race gear and we looked around at the 22 pro's that had showed up and wandered what we were doing there. She didn't realise until the end of the race that it was no longer a sprint but was now a 1 mile swim,18 mile bike and a 5 mile run. She thought she was going to be done in an hour and was not happy at the end of the race. I however knew that the effort was going to hurt. The swim,which was more like a run,swim,run was a challenge for me. With my fiirst wetsuit swim of the year it was painfuly apparent that not only were my arms fatigued from swimming every day but I realised that I had made the stupid mistake of not pulling my wetsuit up far enough so I was getting that sensation of being strangled in the water....always a good feeling :-) After a big effort beach run in water for at least 200 meters,dive,dolpin swim,keep running as its still to shallow, dive...still hit some more..we were all eventually almost walking 3-400 meters out some of us hyper ventilating. Then the swim seemed like a long swim. Racing with good swimmers like Sara Mclarty and Joanna Zeiger is always humbling as you watch them pull away with the guys and you seem to go no where. As the swim came to the end it was the same situation and like the age group guys behind me I kind of half walked ran in the last 200 meters. It felt great on the bike and I could feel all Coach Paulo's bike trainer workouts paying off. I passed a few girls on the bike and then headed into transiton for the run. I had heard the run was mostly off road and that it was. We headed out into thick beach sand which jacked my heart rate up to 200 for sure and then the terrain went from a small portion of black top to dirt road to gravel and rocks. I imagined this would be the closest I got to Xterra. It was definitely a strength run and I pushed hard to the finish passing one more girl to finish 4th. All in all I am glad I did it as it was FUN to race,and brush the cobwebs off in preparation for a different kind of effort at Ironman. I had the pleasure of riding around Lake Louisa for another 1.30 hours after the race which actually felt good. I then met my family in Disney for an afternoon of fun.

So far the trip has been filled with lots of fun and good friends. My swimming partner Maggie was also in Florida so we got some good swims in at the Aquatics YMCA Pool in was nice to have a change of scenery and have her still there to push me. The YMCA's here in Florida are awesome. I too met Carlos a good age grouper who I have the pleasure of biking with and he has introduced me to some great athletes in the area that tri or run. My friend Patti from New Jersey was down and we got some good rides in with my friend Kevin and some of the roadies. Its been a nice mixture of training and lucky me,I have one more week left.

My family left last night and it was so much fun as usual going to Disney and do the parks with them. I miss them already! I love you guys!
I shall post some pics soon!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Understanding the nature of the beast!

People that don't know me may mistake me for being too serious!

I sometimes get the question of "Why do you always have to push on the bike? Why can't you ever stop for a coffee break? Why can't you just ride easy for once?" When I swim masters it's," Why the short rest breaks? Why do you always have to just go go go? Why can't you deviate from your training plan. Why don't you take a day off? Why don't you come do our race?"

I love to train and have fun doing it, but in order to make the most of my workout and justify the time and commitment I put into my training, I really need to focus. This often means working harder than what's comfortable. It means following a training schedule and not deviating from it!
I love to race and I get great satisfaction from making strides and knowing I am getting closer to my dream of being the most succesful triathlete that I can be.

I have a strong set of motives and I am very commited to my training plan.

In order to achieve I believe you really have to always keep your eye on your goals! You have a goal in each training session, a goal for the week, race goals,yearly performance goals. These are all things that you can work towards achieving. These keep you motivated and wanting more.

I appreciate my friends and family that understand where I am coming from and respect my commitment to my sport.

January Is OVER!

It's been a cold January which has kept things indoors alot or outdoors but short! Training is going well and I am happy that in 5 days I head to Claremont Florida to get some warmer weather training in. I am excited for a change of scenery and a break from the snow,wind and ice. Today was a pleasant surprise with temps in the
40's and a 3hr30min outdoor sunny ride. Energy was good and spirits high! I have been dreaming of rides with shorts on and outdoor swims. Soon enough....