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My Zoolander Impediment

Monday, July 12th, 2010

No, I’m not talking about being  really, really, really, ridiculously good looking;  we all know the whole Team TBB team is guilty of that!   James has the Blue Steel look down pat, and my god, Tamsin can work the Magnum look.  The Zoolander Impediment I’m talking about is the inability to turn left.  I kind of suspected it, but it became very apparent on today’s bike ride, when I was required to make u-turns on a number of occasions (due to the constraints of the Fight Club treaty, I can not expand any further on the specifics of the bike session), that I simply CANNOT TURN LEFT.   Hmmm, very frustrating.

I found the perfect t-shirt for myself:

My excuse- I’m from the land down under!!!  I’m used to being on the left hand side of the road, and can easily turn right.  But ask me to make a u-turn from the right hand side…..just call me Zoolander.  Yes, that’s the kind of sh*t that goes through my head whilst training, LOL.

I’ve also noticed that during this particular workout (remember people, Fight Club rules….), that there are two signs that I’ve done the session properly.  First sign, I get the hiccups.  I get the hiccups a lot here in Leysin, I put it down to the fact that my breathing pattern changes rapidly, resulting in the hiccups, but who really knows???  I do know, that if I get the hiccups, I’m having a good session.  Second sign, the spew burp.  Usually presents itself early in the session, and could be contributed by the proximity of breakfast.  Nonetheless, I’m saying the presence of a spew burp indicates a job well done!!!!  Today, two out of two! Yesssssssssssssssssssss.

And what sort of blog would this be without a great youtube clip?!?  Enjoy :)

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Arrghhhh, Can I press the ‘rewind button’…….

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Yes, I’d really like a ‘rewind button’ for last weekend.  Unfortunately, you can’t do that in life (if you could, I’m sure my rewind button would be worn out from overuse).  After training solidly for the past 6 weeks here in Leysin, I decided to give IM Austria a go, with the hope of having a solid race, and gaining some great race fitness.  Morning of the race, actually later than the morning of the race;  when I arrived at the race site, my stomach started going crazzzzzy.  Putting it down to pre-race nerves, I continued on the best I could.  Unfortunately, that would only take me to 30 km of the bike and after nearly falling off my bike going up the first major climb, I had to succumb to the reality that the body was not going co-operate :(   It seems I came down with the same stomach bug, that saw James not even start the race on Sunday. 

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So what now?  Well, I’m getting back up and stuck into training. 

I am a huge believer in fate and destiny, and “what will be, will be” or “if it’s meant to be, it will be”  and all that kind of stuff…..  However, given my track record in races lately, what is the universe trying to tell me?!?  I am choosing to ignore the universe, in fact, I have decided to say, “up yours, universe“, I am making my own luck from now on.    What’s that quote???   “The harder you work, the luckier you get.”

Life Moves Pretty Fast

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

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Has it been two weeks since my last blog?  That is CRAZY.  Time here in Leysin is flying by.  The past couple of weeks is now a blur of paddles (and gasping for air in the pool), lycra, and compression socks.  I am happy to report though, I think I’m getting stronger and fitter. 

This year hasn’t gone as smooth as I had planned.  At the beginning of the year, most people put down goals (and dreams) that we want to achieve the coming year, and I’m no different.  And honestly, I thought I’d be further along in that process by June :(    On the flipsde though, I feel so very fortunate to be given another shot, and lucky to have support from family and friends, and unbeatable guidance from Doc.  I am slowly learning to live in the moment and to appreciate the process.  I think it would be fair to say, that most members of Team TBB need to learn to ‘hurry slowly’.

It’s nearly a ‘full house’ here in Leysin now, with the recent arrivals of the Marsh’s and Xena.  People are fit, very fit and heading off to races left, right and centre.  I am learning patience and perseverance (remember, ‘hurry slowly!’)  In fact, I have a great teacher (and swim lane friend) in Bella, who without knowing it, teaches me about 5 lessons a day!!!

Here’s to making each day count!

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Rest Day Musings (my version of ‘randoms’)

Friday, May 28th, 2010

I’ve spent a little over a week here in Leysin, and today called for a rest day.  “Rest day?!?” I hear you all say.  Yep, that’s right, Doc ain’t as bad ass as you think he is.  For the most part, he’s smart ;)

Anyway, on a rest day in Leysin, you truly rest.  Just like the training here, you truly train and there isn’t any faking it in these mountains!  There are very few distractions here in Leysin- a perfect recipe for training and recovery and focus.  So today, I have had a lot of time with my thoughts- hmm, perhaps not the best thing.

-Leysin seems alot more busier than I remember it to be.  A lot more students- American students (there is an american school here).  Which got me thinking, is this like a place when they say on Gossip Girl, “I went to school in Switzerland for the year”?  Which means, some of these kids might be mega rich!!!  However, I am yet to run into Chuck Bass or for that matter, a Nate Archibald (unfortunately!!).

(Who would I be?  Blair Waldorf?)

-The air here is so clean, I love it. 

-I am suprised at the amount of people that smoke cigarettes, despite the lifestyle here in Switzerland to be very healthy in general.  The kids seem very active, playing on their bikes/scooters etc, the food here is also of great quality, and there is an abudance of outdoor activities accessible (such as trail walking).

-I have been here every year since 2005, with the exception of last year.  I think that year away from the mountains REALLY HURT me- the hills are definitely steeper than I recall.

-And despite this being my 5th visit to Leysin, I am still discovering great new places to run :)

-The recommendation by Wongstar’s ex number 1 fan of casttv.com has been invaluable!  I’ve been able to keep up to date with my two favourite shows- Gossip Girl and Glee. 

-I’ve spent the better part of my day researching macrobiotic diets, because that what Lea Michele (Rachel Berry from Glee) adheres to.  I concluded it would take a monumental effort to truly stick to it, and really, weight loss boils down to common sense and moderation!

 

Lea Michele For Women's Health Magazine

AND FINALLY!!!!!!!  TEAM ST BERRY! (Twilight was so 2009)

(I realise that by posting this blog, I run the risk of never receiving another rest day ever again, because clearly, I have a little too much time on my hands :) )

Square Eyes

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Did your mother ever say to you, “If you sit that close to the tv, you’ll end up with square eyes”?  Well, mine did, on numerous occasions.  Luckily this is not true, because following my trip to Leysin, my eyes would surely be square (or rectangle….). 

I flew again with Emirates.  They are one of the few airlines that allow you 30kg of checked baggage, which for me, is invaluable.  Another positive, in my opinion, is their OUTSTANDING entertainment system.  There is nothing worse than having a long haul flight with no little tv’s in the headrests in front of you.  And because I want to get my money’s worth, I make sure I’m watching that little screen from take off (and sometimes before take off), until the headphones get taken off you. 

First flight:  Brisbane to Dubai- 14.4hrs.  I really don’t think I’ve been on a plane continuously for that long before.  I think the longest for me before this was about 12 hrs.  Viewing:  “The Castle” (the Aussie movie); “Showmance- episode 2 of Glee”.  It was after Glee I started to weaken.  The eyes got heavy.  I tried to resist, but gave in to 3 hrs of very broken sleep.  This was all I needed to get going again.  4 episodes of Friends.  I then attempted to watch a new movie called “The Box” with Cameron Diaz, but couldn’t get into it.  Aborted “The Box”.  Hmmm, what now???  No matter how hard I have tried to resist the “Avatar” craze, I couldn’t say no anymore.  I hate Sci Fi with a passion.  I have refused to see Avatar, because of this sci fi hatred.  But I was desperate, I had to give it a shot.  2 hrs 40 mins later, LOVED IT.  I always cry when I watch movies on planes, and this was no exception.  I still had a bit over an hour on the plane.  How was anything going to live up to Avatar?  I accepted that nothing would, and moved on to a very cheesey, “It’s Complicated”.  Only got the first half in before we landed in Dubai. 

Second Flight:  Dubai to Zurich- 6hrs 20 mins.  After a great shower in Dubai, and clean clothes, I was ready and refreshed for round 2.  6 hrs is not a lot of time, so I had to get straight into it.  I boarded pretty early, and managed to knock over most of remainder of “It’s Complicated” before take off.  Next up-  hmmm, why not go for a favourite, you can never lose with “Twilight”!!!  And it didn’t fail me.  I forgot how much I love this movie (and Edward!).  Next up, of course it had to be “New Moon”.  Although I have to admit, I did skip through parts of this and watched only my favourite bits :)  (like the proposal!!!)   Time for a quick round of sitcoms-  3 episodes of “Two and a Half Men”.  And to finish off, I watched the first half of Avatar again, before landing in Zurich.

My eyes are very sore today- lack of sleep? Watching too much tv?  Probably both!  But what is someone to do when they have jet lag and can’t sleep when they finally arrive at their destination.  Well, in my case, I watch episodes of Glee on my computer!  Hair of the dog anyone?  And today’s mission?  I might just try and download the two episodes of Gossip Girl I haven’t watched yet.  And Jo, if you’re reading, can you buy some new dvd’s in Bali please!

Saturday In Pics

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

Just few snapshots from my day today.

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Getting cold here on the Sunny Coast. 

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Some company on my run this morning.

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This one was very interested in me!!!

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Saturday morning at soccer, watching Jarva Efendi (2nd from right).

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Half time- eating some well deserved oranges.

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A quick stop at the farmer’s market for some yummy fresh organic produce.

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Sprung!!!  Mum found the chocolate tent.

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Some hill repeats on the bike……

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My cat glaring at me, “I don’t like photos!  Just brush me.”

'Jessica' in the sky, as the teen sailor makes her way to Sydney Harbour. (AAP: Treacy Nearmy)

And some of the day was spent watching the tv coverage of Jessica Watson returning home into Sydney Harbour (even though she’s from Buderim too!) after sailing around the world, solo and unassisted.  She’s only 16 years old (actually it’s only a few days short of her 17th birthday- lucky she got home in time).  Wow, I’m in awe.  Pretty inspiring stuff.

Bad Daughter? Good Coach?

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Last week, I suggested that my mum should think about training and racing for a half ironman.  As I have previously mentioned, we are pretty similar in physiology, and she may go better as the race gets longer.  So one of my ideas for  her training was to enter a 160km ride which is being held at Noosa later this month.  The only issue was, that one must pay to enter the 160km ride.  Her response was, “I’m not going to pay to ride 160km”.  Hmmm, I thought.  My response, “Well, you can ride the 160km this weekend then”. 

So the weekend of training was all planned.  The thought did cross my mind briefly, “Am I a bad daughter, or a good coach?”  Probably both!!!

She couldn’t do her long ride on Saturday, due to Jarva’s (my nephew) soccer debut.  So Saturday morning was a long run in the trails at Ewan Maddock Dam.  Even though there was a whole week of sunshine on the Sunshine Coast, the trails were still very muddy and waterlogged.  I returned from my run, to see mum bathing in the dam.  “Oh, she must be doing that very trendy, cool thing- ice bath.  That’s what all the cool kids do.  She might want to do a motor pacing session next time”.  Nope, she informed me, “I had to wash off all the mud.  I fell over.  My feet got caught up in a twig, and next minute I was on the ground”.  My response, “HAHAHAHAHAHA”.  Yes, that’s defintely a tick in the bad daughter column. 

Sunday morning rolled around, and this was d day.  Mum’s longest ride to date has been 120km and god knows how long ago that was.  The sky’s looked omnious, but Mum has a dogged determination, that once the challenge has been set, she’ll complete it, rain, hail or shine.

The course I set was a looped course, so I could jump ahead, and loop back, with pre-determined drink/toilet stops.  I think this one belongs in the good coach column.

The weather and the scenery was great.  It’s also a great opportunity to see who else is out and about on the coast.  And like most times I head up Noosa way, I saw Belinda Granger, at about the 120km mark of the ride.  Belinda is out running along the road, facing traffic, and looking super fit!!!  As we pass each other, we shout a quick hello and continue on.  

I meet up with mum not long after, and I can sense she is getting a little bit tired, especially with the head wind home.  She then mentions that she might of saw Belinda.  I reply, “Yeah, she was out running”.  “Oh, well, I nearly ran Belinda over.  I had my head down, riding, and next minute, someone says hey, and I look up and see a brown six pack right in front of me”.

Yes, the best six pack in the business and she eats lollies!!!!  Sorry for nearly running you over, Belinda :)

With 30km to go, I said, “Okay, I think it’s ice cream time.  You need to get home”.  A soft serve cone at Macca’s went down a treat, and she made it home.  Ice cream = good coach, according to the Wongstar…..

Lest We Forget

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

Today, the 25th of April, is ANZAC Day.  It’s an important day for all Australians and New Zealanders, as it marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces in Gallipoli in WWI.  ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day is now a day of national rememberance to commerate the lives of all the soldiers that have fought in all the wars, for their country.

Ever since I was young, this day has held great significance for me.  From an early age, my parents have demonstrated a great respect for our soldiers, as both their fathers served in WWII.  And given the opportunity when I was younger, I would march in the ANZAC Day parade, proudly displaying my Poppie’s medals.  (I did have some embarrassing pics of me marching in my primary school recorder band, to scan and upload, but the scanner wasn’t working)

My mother’s father, “Poppie”, was captured in Singapore and held prisoner of war in Changi.  It’s bizarre really.  When I hear the word Changi, I immediately associate it with excitement and opportunity, because to me, it represents Changi airport, and this airport is usually a stop over for me on my way to races and training camps.  But the Changi my Poppie would have known, would of been one of terror.  Mum said he didn’t talk about his time in Changi often.  Apparently he said the only thing that kept him alive was the coconuts he would collect and eat/drink when he managed to sneak out at night.  So yes, those coconuts do have amazing nutrients.  And one horror story he told her, was sometimes after returning to prison from a day of labouring, they would be ‘greeted’ with the vision of seeing their fellow inmates’ heads on sticks.  He survived.  However, an experience like that would no doubt scar you for life.

My father’s father, Grand Dad, fought in Syria (Middle East) in WWII.  His battillion was brought back to fight in New Guinea where he fought on the (now) famous Kokoda trail, and was injured in battle, and horrifyingly had to witness his best friend being blown up next to him.  He too never spoke often of his time at war, and again no doubt an experience that only sleep (perhaps) can provide you with peace from the horrors you have witnessed.

Those are just my two stories, that go along with the many many more.  And that is why we commerate ANZAC Day.  To remember all the soldiers that fought for the freedom of our country.  To remind myself  how lucky I am to live the life I live today- lucky to wake up and have the freedom of choice to be able to throw on my running shoes and go for a run. 

 My two grandfathers weren’t the only soldiers in my family.  My great great great Grandpappy Preston fought in the Civil War for the Confederates.cimg3508

It’s an old photo, but my father has had it restored to full colour and condition.  We are very proud of our great great great Grandpappy Preston. 

I have now decided, every blog of mine, shall include a youtube clip.  Gallipoli is an Aussie movie about two guys (one of them, a very young Mel Gibson), who were really good runners, that enlist for the WWI.  When I first saw it, I was very young and the war part was sort of irrelevant to me.  What stood out to me in the film was the running and the mantra Archy (not Mel) and his uncle/coach would repeat before he ran:

Uncle Jack: What are your legs?
Archy Hamilton: Springs. Steel springs.
Jack: What are they going to do?
Archy : Hurl me down the track.
Jack: How fast can you run?
Archy : As fast as a leopard.
Jack: How fast are you going to run?
Archy : As fast as a leopard!
Jack: Then let’s see you do it!

For anyone that has never seen Gallipoli, here is the very powerful ending:

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“I Come From The Land Down Under”

Friday, April 23rd, 2010
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Everytime I return home after an extended period overseas, the “Aussieness” of my home country is at first, a shock.  However, popular media is responsible for exaggerating how raw and outback Australia really is.  For example, when I travelled overseas to the states as a teenager, I had many US teens ask me if I ride a kangaroo to school, and I have never once said or heard in it’s proper context ”Throw another shrimp on the barbie”.  However, I do live very much immersed in the true Aussie lifestyle.

No morning in complete without vegemite.  And since bread is pretty much off the menu for me, I’m so Australian, I can eat it off the spoon.  YUM. 

Within hours of landing Tuesday morning, I went to pay for fuel at the counter of the service station (not gas station).  There was a truck driver talking away to the console operator, and he turned to me and said, “Go ahead love.  I’m just flappin’ me chops”. 

And in true Australian form, a HUGE rugby league scandal erupted yesterday.  And that is all we will hear on the news for the next couple of weeks.  Past examples always include players getting very drunk and caught in compromising situations (sexual relations, public nudity).  In fact, last year, one such example involved a player getting locked out of his hotel room, NAKED, and caught taking a…..hmmm, how should I say…….in aussie terms, caught taking a ‘dump’  in the hallway outside his room.  I guess, when you gotta go, you gotta go???   Yes, the league players are full of class and professionalism, and in true Aussie form, they still upheld as hero’s.  And to tell you the truth, most people I know, myself included, thought the ‘poo situation’ was hilarious, and could relate, having done crazy stuff themselves while under the influence. 

I do see kangaroos quite regularly.  When I run track at the Sunshine Coast University, they are everywhere, and quite tame.  I’m lucky to live in an estate situated within bushland, full of wildlife (not so lucky when he have huge spiders the house though), and we feed kookaburras over our back fence.  Not all Aussie wildlife is good though.  I hate magpies with a passion.  For those that don’t know what magpies are, or what they do, check this out:

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I’ll finish up with a clip from a great Aussie movie, The Castle.  Keep an eye out for Eric Bana, who has now gone on to bigger things in Hollywood.

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Inspiration

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Being here at camp in Krabi has been unreal.  I think I have been here now for 8 weeks, but I’m not counting.  I have pretty much enjoyed every minute of it, except for the lengthy visa runs Scott and I have had to endure twice now.  Last Sunday, we had the added bonus of going to a Thai funeral on the way home from the Malaysian border (perhaps Scott can tell you all about that one). 

Anyway, being in camp with my fellow team mates is inspiring.  While all of us here have a strong internal drive to get the best out of ourselves, and often don’t need ‘inspiring’ from external sources, it is nice to have company during the sessions.  I know for me personally, I have benefitted greatly from being around my team mates, both in and out of training. 

Last week when I wrote my Seinfeld Blog, I thought I had nothing exciting to report on.  Then I realised, I had some very exciting news, and something that inspires me.  My mum had raced the Mooloolaba Triathlon the previous Sunday, and she had placed 6th in her age group.  While 6th is a solid performance and a great achievement, what was even more exciting is that she had the fastest swim in her category, followed by a strong ride.  For the past year, she has been under my instructions in the water.  I do have the advantage of being pretty much a carbon copy of her-  that is, what works for me and what Doc tells me to do, will most probably work for her, because we are so similar;  right down to the annoying wrist drop in the catch part of the stroke.  So I’m taking this opportunity to say Well Done Mum on a great swim.  The biggest take home lesson for me is, she had been so consistent with her swim sessions- 4 x week for a year, she used her ‘tools of the trade’, and she had absolute faith in what I told her, so there was never any doubt in her mind that using paddles and pb for the most part of the session was the right thing to do.   A recipe for success in my opinion.  And the good news is, I am returning home from camp with a lot more knowledge and a few more tricks up my sleeve.  Lets see if we can get the fastest swim and bike splits next year :)

Here's mum cheering me on in Hawaii in 2007.

Here's mum cheering me on in Hawaii in 2007.