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Numbers are just numbers

July 13th, 2013 by carrielester

Numbers….

When did they become an obsession??

When I started racing professionally in 2009, I was managing training with work and every day life. I just turned up to training, did the session, and left. The only time I ever really got frustrated was if I got caught up at work and couldn’t get in my afternoon session….especially if it was one of my favourite ones! Numbers then didn’t really matter. Sure I had targets, but that’s all they were. I hadn’t attached any meaning to those targets….I didn’t have time to. And I also didn’t really care. I had just turned pro to make a bit of extra money if I could while I pulled in my income from a 9-5 job.

But as time has gone on, and my circumstances have changed, those numbers have started to take over and trick me to believe they have some meaning. Run paces, track times, swim times, bike speeds…. thank god I don’t use a power meter or else I could add that one to the list as well!

And it goes deeper…. my mind has been doing this to me for years in other ways.

As a female (and I know some males) I know at times we can struggle with the number on the scales or the size of clothes we wear, and our silly minds start attaching a meaning to those numbers. Add that to all of the swim/bike/run numbers going around in my head with their associated ridiculous meanings at times and I wonder how sometimes I can function at all!! Now, the next thing is that if you do this often enough, we start forming beliefs based on something that our own minds have made up. These beliefs are not made from true facts…they are formed from MADE UP facts. FALSE facts.

I had this epiphany during a ride here in the mountains on Tennessee last week. And it was interesting because it happened as I was over thinking and dreading the ride I had to do the following day…my mind was already hatching meanings for the pace, feelings, or outcome of the ride that was to come. When only a few years ago I was chomping at the bit to do one of these rides….I didn’t care if I got dropped by the boys or if I had a crappy day….I would give it to myself with whatever I had on the day….then walk away.

Needless to say, I have let numbers mean too much. It is not the fact that I am now I full time athlete and I need a part time job to keep my mind occupied. This process started well before triathlon came into my life….and it’s about time it stopped. Its time to look at the numbers, write them down, repeat them to yourself, and see that they are just that…NUMBERS. They have no meaning…other than of course the obvious facts that they are. 40km/hr on a bike is simply 40km/hr. 3min around a track is 3min. 130lbs on a scale is 130lbs. That’s it.

If I write the numbers down, put them in my pocket and keep going about my day, I notice that those numbers float in and out of my head all day. But most of all I realise that they have not stopped me doing anything during the day that I set out to do…because they are just a number.

Recognise numbers for what they are…just numbers…and you shall be free!

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Its all about balance….or rebalance!

June 1st, 2013 by carrielester

I am 32. Pretty young. And somewhat at the bottom end when it comes to endurance racing.

I always thought in my late teens and 20s that whatever I did to my body would not show effect until my much later years……what I did not realise then was that now even in my early 30s would I be starting to see effects.

I spent years of working full time and training fuelling myself on caffeinated drinks. I went through stages where I would never have enough time for breakfast. I was driving 1hr30mins to work after training and back again. I also had my share of body image problems throughout my 20s and my health suffered for it.

I could go on and on…but my main point is this. I am 32. And starting to see the effects of things I have put my body through in the last 10 years. These stressors over the years have created imbalances which I am now on the road to correct, but it is clear how important GOOD nutrition is and how imbalances in our bodies can be corrected by eating the right foods. Sure, sometimes we need more help than food…..but it is the best starting point.

Interestingly, Scotty (the Animal) has been dealing with correcting some of his own health issues, and some of the foods he always refused to eat have become a part of his diet because he knows the nutritional benefit he is getting from them. Broccoli is another story though……

Two huge changes we have both made are (1) reducing caffeine intake and (2) relying 100% on Ignite Naturals for our training and racing needs. Our bodies do not need processed crap. And they run like putting water into a car if we do…or they run well and then break down sometime after. Ignite Naturals products are 100% natural, and contain the extra hits we need to help balance, reboot, and repair our energy systems.
These 4 products are my absolute favourite. And using these in combination with the right daily foods is my starting point to rebalancing my body. You can order them using the code TBB0105 for a discount. Plus heaps more. Or feel free to ask me any questions:) Be happy & Healthy!!

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Moving on to USA

May 8th, 2013 by carrielester

It has been a busy few months, packed with training, racing and loads of travel. The effect of too much travel is starting to wear on me and I am very much looking forward to the next few months of not having to pack up my bike and travel around the world!

I have been based in my hometown of Mooloolaba for the past 4 months and am now in the USA planning my next few months of training and racing. One thing that has become very clear to me over the past 6-8 months is how important it is for me to have a consistent training base, and that can be difficult when you are new to the professional athlete life, like myself, and not knowing where in the world can we find this. What do we look for?? Good weather, good training (quite often finding a pool is the hardest!!), well priced housing, grocery stores, and the list goes on…

I have always said that consistency is key, but there have been many times over the past 6-8 months that I have not had this due to travel and moving locations. Even now after 1-2 months of travelling back and forward to races I am starting to feel the fatigue…both physically and mentally. My last few races have been pretty average and since Melbourne IM have felt like I have been racing on only 2 cylinders. Positive points to come from these races are that I know I have the strength to push through when I am on empty and how I keep looking forward to what is next on the calendar and planning towards that.

For the next 6 months I will be bunkered down in the USA working very closely with my coach Matt Koorey to get me back to being me and race ready. I will keep you posted on where I am racing as soon as I can confirm☺

Thanks for reading!

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It has been a while…but I am back!!

March 12th, 2013 by carrielester

It has been far too long since my last blog…..so long in fact I had to search through emails for my login and password to publish it!!!

Like most people I started the new year with a few resolutions, one of which was to blog more often…..and like most people I have procrastinated and am only now taking action!!

Now, this isn’t going to be a once off blog, like those going to the gym for the first time, killing themselves and never going back until the next years resolution comes around. I am in this for the long haul…..but I need YOUR help!!

Rather than blog only when I have a race, I would like to share with you lessons and tips I learn from training and racing, fun adventures, and also some things that interest me such as cooking, reading, health topics…plus loads more. And I would love to hear from my readers through either Facebook or Twitter where you can mail me, and hopefully your messages will inspire me to write a blog that will be of interest to many others.

So with all this said…..I have a few lessons which I learnt from my first DNF race in IM NZ last weekend. These are really simple lessons, but when you have a stubborn side like me, it is only when something really goes to crap (pardon the language!) that you take action.

Lesson 1: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Pretty simple right? Well I completely abused this one, and further more did not listen to my coach when he said not to change anything (but stubborn me…..in one ear out the other). So that’s two lessons in one – listen to your coach!!

Lesson 2: Don’t ignore any body niggles if they persist.

As athletes, we usually have some ache somewhere most days. And most of the time, these niggles and aches subside as we work through our training sessions. BUT, if they don’t, and they continue to give you grief, address it with your coach and decide what you need to do about it and who you need to see for some help. Two lessons in there as well – number 2 being communicate with your coach!

That’s all for me this time folks!

Remember to flick me a message if you have something of interest and I will be more than happy to consider your thoughts for a blog. Stay tuned and happy & safe training & racing!!! You’ll see me out on course next weekend at IM Melbourne!!

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The world is my office

September 16th, 2012 by carrielester

For the last few weeks, my office has been on the Jersey Shore, where I have been lucky enough to train in great weather and catch the last few weeks of the summer on the beach.  I even got to witness the scene of the Jersey Shore Surf Club….now that was something else!!!! Even though I spent a day in the boardroom last Sunday at Cedar Point racing the Rev3 Ironman, just being able to see the beach while I am out training makes me feel like the pressure is off training just a little, especially after being isolated in the mountains of Switzerland for the past 3 months, another one of my offices.

The time spent in Leysin has been one of the most valuable times of my life, both professionally and personally. What can I say…the training is hard…and the racing is also hard. The routine of hard training broke me many times, and I found I was having “moments” all over the mountains. But these moments, and usually they occurred riding home up the mountain, or running around the village, became my times of release from all the hard work.  Or maybe it was the long glass of good French wine! Because when you are isolated, with no means of escape, you have no choice but to work through these moments in the moment…….funnily the same happens in racing.

It appears I am also not alone with these types of “meltdowns”. I had advice given to me by many of my teammates with stories of their hard times, which is just one of the many quality attributes of our team. We are a family who supports each other through good and bad times.  The more time I spend with these people, the more I learn and develop as an athlete, and I also make some great friends.

My office next week is going to be in Cozumel, Mexico for 3 weeks.  And after that, back to the USA to plan where my next few offices will be. While the uncertainty at times can be a little frustrating, we really are living the dream while we can. This time last year I was walking into the same office every day, sitting as the same desk, looking at the same computer. Don’t get me wrong, any working experience is as valuable as anything we experience in triathlon, and I am grateful for working with such a great group of people…..but lets face it….no triathlete likes sitting behind a desk. We are always looking for new stimulation, new places, new faces…..that’s just how we roll…or should I say RIDE:)

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Getting too easy? Bonjour Leysin

June 24th, 2012 by carrielester

For as long as triathlon has been part of my life, and for me that has been 7 years, I have lived and trained on the beautiful Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. From the time I did my first Gatorade Enticer race at Raby Bay until most recently racing the Cairns Ironman, I swam in the same pool and rode and ran the same routes. The only thing that really changed over the years was the duration of the training, which of course reflected my move to race half ironman and ironman.

In the last 5 months I have been exposed to more variation and challenges on both training and racing fronts in my whole 7 years of being involved in this sport, and that has come from being part of team TBB….and brings me to my point of this blog…..

When things are getting too easy….it’s time to make some changes….challenge yourself!

Training was getting to easy for me on the coast. Before I was part of team TBB and under the wing of Matty Koorey and Brett Sutton, if I was having a bad day and could take an easy option for a swim, bike or run session, I would. More than likely, I would even take the day off…maybe even the next day if I still hadn’t pulled myself together. There were too many easy options…easy flat roll to Peregian, Caloundra, or a plod along the esplanade because I needed to look at the ocean as a distraction from how much I didn’t want to run…..gee, did it show in my race performances over the last 2 years!!

I have been with team TBB in Leysin for the last 2 weeks, and there are no easy options here. The easiest ride has long climbs, and the easiest runs are undulating and visually mundane, or better yet, try a long Sunday run ending with a 10km uphill run up the mountain to the finish point. Or the 15km climb home after a 15km track set. And the pool…..well….it’s the only pool in the village so I don’t have to say anymore about that one!

I make it sound like hell….however, Leysin and what we are surrounded by here is pretty special. Life is simple. The challenging training environment is perfect to break out of the everyday routine and the strength that will come from adapting to this new environment over the months will make training on the coast seem like a playground. I am accepting and embracing the challenges that are being thrown at me every day……and if I don’t like it, I know to keep my mouth shut and just do what I am told…that makes for a happy coach Sutto☺

Happy training and racing!!
☺ Caz

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Riding the Rollercoaster – Cairns IM

June 9th, 2012 by carrielester

As I sit here at Dubai Airport, writing this on my way to join Team TBB in Leysin for a few months, I am still not sure the reality of winning Cairns IM last Sunday has sunk in yet.

What can I say, life has been pretty chaotic for me since racing Koh Samui at the end of April, and it hasn’t slowed down yet! Maybe this is one reason why I have not had time to reflect on my win, and also that the day was such a rollercoaster for me…I am still not sure it is REAL!!

I am not going to go on and on with the details of the race, because it has already been talked about enough in the media. I would rather use this blog as some insight as to how you can never give up charging in an Ironman…because over the time that you are out on the course, ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN!!

I was telling myself numerous times throughout the day that I was looking at top 3 at best. My race plan had gone pear shaped pretty much in the swim!! Then I had 5 hours on the bike in which I was doing my own head in with all of the possible finish scenarios, and how crappy I was feeling rather than just getting the job done. It took me about 3 hours to pull myself together, and accept where I was and mentally adjust. Then the race took a dramatic turn 6 hours in when Bek was forced to pull out due to a possible calf tear. I was now in 2nd place.

I was determined to run a 3.10-3.15 marathon if it killed me, because I knew that 1) I had done the training and trusted in what I had done, and 2) If I didn’t, I would have some explaining to do to the higher powers (Doc and Matty K).

And that’s what I did. I caught the lead girl, Belinda Harper, at about the 30km mark, but had to fight until the end because she did not give up either. 6 months ago, before Team TBB, there is no doubt I would have not had the trust and belief in myself that I could have done that. When my plan went out the door during the swim, that would have probably been the end of my race, and I would have been happy with just finishing. I would have ridden over 5 hours and run a 3.20-3.30 marathon. Maybe finished top 5 if I was lucky.

The outcome of your day does not have to change just because circumstances arise that make you alter your plan. If the outcome does change, but you have dealt with and overcome what race day has thrown at you in the best way you could have, then that’s a win also. I was losing for the first 4 hours of that race.

It is critical to train and race through all the bad days, good days. We really are like a business in a dynamic, changing, and cyclical environment. It’s the ones who can be flexible and improvise and adapt in trying times as well as thriving times that survive.

Thanks for reading☺ My next blog will be from Leysin….straight back to business with Doc and Team TBB!

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Koh Samui

April 30th, 2012 by carrielester

What an experience! Koh Samui was my first race and in Thailand, and it has given me a whole different perspective on racing. And training!

I arrived in Koh Samui the Thursday before the race, and getting off the plane my first thought was “holy c&@p it’s hot!! I have to race in this!!” Then driving from the airport to the hotel I was thinking “surely these aren’t the roads we will be riding on!!!”. There were motorbikes and scooters everywhere, cars, dogs…just chaos. Naturally, a bit of anxiousness set in…but, I trusted why I was there and kept telling myself to just roll with it. It will all be good.

The hotel was absolutely breathtaking. The race organizers certainly made us comfortable…a little too comfortable!! It was difficult to focus on the race at hand as opposed to having a mini break!

In the days before the race I sampled a bit of the swim and bike courses….I didn’t dare run outside purely because of the heat and chaos on the roads. The water was HOT!! And saltier than I was used to. My head was racing thinking how it would be so easy to overheat just in the 4km swim leg….then to have to ride 122km and run 30km in rising heat!! Race day was going to be a matter of survival…I was excited!

Race morning conditions were perfect. There were only about 20 female pros, but I somehow managed to get a little beaten up at the start. It took me a few hundred metres to get out into clear water and from there I just swam comfortably trying not to overheat in the 30+ degree water.

The group of women I swam with stayed together throughout the bike. Getting water and electrolyte was a challenge through the aid stations as there was some confusion in what we meant by WATER or GATORADE….no, we don’t want COKE!! The bike course itself I really enjoyed. It seemed to have a bit of everything…fast flats, hills, some technical turns, and varied road surfaces. And the organizers did a great job in making sure there were directions and diversions where needed.

The bike-run transition was all about taking the time to get the fluids in and for me water over the head. I was out of transition with Belinda and Jo. Xena out in front on her own. Belinda dropped off about 4km into the run and Jo and I ran side by side for 20kms. A few pro men we passed and some spectators kept telling us we were putting time into Xena, but this did not change the pace we were running at. All very well to get excited and pick up the pace…but when you still have 15-20kms to run in the heat we were running in, we both decided just to keep going as we were. Unless the wheels fell off for one of us, we were not in a position to be passed from behind.

I broke away from Jo in the last 10kms, finishing 2nd to Xena. I was very happy with my day.

I am now back on the Sunshine Coast until June to prepare for Challenge Cairns. Coming back here after being in Thailand has really made me appreciate the great training environment we have here. We really do take things for granted sometimes. So when I swam in an almost deserted long course pool this morning, and rode along the coast with minimal traffic and wide roads this afternoon, I couldn’t have asked for much more….happy & safe training everyone!!

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My fresh start @ Team TBB

March 18th, 2012 by carrielester

As this is my first blog, I would firstly like to say hello to all and I am very excited and thankful to be a part of Team TBB for 2012.

I have spent the last 4 weeks training on the Sunshine Coast with Brett and the team, and I have survived! The whole experience has been a huge learning curve for me, as I have gone from working and training to training full time to meet the demands of what it is going to take to be a true professional athlete. I must say, I do not miss waking up at 4.30am every morning like I used to to train before I had to get to work. And not rushing to get myself to work, then to training, then sometimes back to work has taken alot of stress out of my daily schedule where now I can focus more on recovery between sessions and have some me time:)

In 4 weeks, I have learnt so much from Brett about training, racing, and even important things about myself. Some things have been difficult to swallow, but knowing these truths and formulating strategies to overcome these obstacles has been extremely positive and uplifting. I have been working closely with Matt Koorey prior to being a part of Team TBB, and it was great to have him on the coast with us for a few days. The support network that becomes available as being part of Team TBB is so overwhelming, and it really hits home how important it is when you are trying to establish and manage your life as a professional athlete.

Next weekend I will be on the start line at Ironman Melbourne. Whilst I don’t have the training and racing base as some I will be lining up against, I am really looking forward to race with some good consistent Sutto training in my legs and head.

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