Thursday, February 13, 2014

Livin' the Dream..

5 weeks til Ironman. Five weeks!! Time will fly, I know. I'm starting to get the "Oh crap am I doing enough?" paranoia already. But alas, in reality there are many days to remedy that. I should really wait until the week before the race to go there...

Sunday in Geelong was rough, really tough. The weather conditions were unpredicted and affected all legs of the race. Heat, wind-the only thing we didn't experience was rain..that would have been much more of a mess and probably stopped the race way before the race officials actually decided it was too dangerous to continue. We are still fighting with IM powers that be, to get H's 2nd place award. I mean we are one of the subjects of the TV special they are making about the race..shouldn't H get some credit? Plus, to arbitrarily stop people from going on the run wasn't right...I can see they didn't want racers out on the course all day but what if the slower riders could rock the run? Well, can't rewind so we wil go with what will be, will be. 

There will be an hour long special on "Mate7" (Australian TV) TV on February 23rd at 2:30. It is the special about the Geelong 70.3 race that will include the interviews and stuff about us. We got an email from the Ironman Asia Pacific people that this is when the special will air. I have no idea if we will have just a snippet or our full interviews or what exactly. All I know is I look pretty messy most of the times they got me on film. I am awaiting an answer if whether or not I can get a copy of the Special to take home with me. The interviewer did tell me our interview would be directly following the interview with Craig Alexander, the Pro who is very famous in the Ironman Triathlon world. He actually won the whole race on Sunday. He said he raced in the poorest conditions ever and his 4:05 time was way off his previous times (sub 4 hours). My race took me twice as long as his and I was off my previous times also so pretty much Craig ("Crowie" is his nickname) and I are the same...haha!

So onward to Ironman Melbourne training which looks something like this for this week (we are recovering from Sundays race the first couple days):

Sunday: 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run (Geelong 70.3)
Monday: off
Tuesday: Bike 1.5 hours easy AM, bike 1 hour PM, run 10 minutes off the bike (brick, my coach likes bricks, a lot of bricks..), weight training
Wednesday: 2 hour easy ride AM, 15 minute run off the bike, swim 1 hour, walk to and from gym to swim (around 3 miles)
Thursday: 45 minute run in the AM, 20 min run  in the PM, weight training
Friday: laundry, cleaning our disgusting dirty apartment, shopping (well, maybe I added these things), resting-we are off!
Saturday: bike 5 hours easy, include some "short race pace" segments, 20 min. run off the bike, stand in the ocean for 15 minutes for recovery (this is my personal favorite-something very soothing and healing about sea water..)
Sunday: run 1 hour 55 min in the AM, 30 min. PM, 30 min. easy swim.

When I see this on our training plan, it looks easy but when I actually write it down here I think damn! That's a lot of hours of training. The training plan will consist of many 2 a day training sessions, which is good for me. I can train in the PM heat, but not too long (yet), plus I get the sense of running during the time of day I probably will be out running for the actual race. Mental preparation is good for the soul! So far, so good on the training. I did cut the swim short on Wednesday. We swim laps in a gorgeous 50 meter pool at the gym. There is one such pool outside and one inside. Little did we know when we planned to go, there was a swim competition in the outdoor pool and very few lap swimming lanes in the indoor pool because of kids' swim classes. I was asked to move once for a class, then had to share a lane with like 5 people (OMG the little old ladies at the gyms in ABQ would freak out at this arrangement!) Well, I guess I was one of those little ole ladies because after 30 minutes, I was totally over kids screaming, trying to figure out if I was in the right lap lane, blah, blah I got out. I wished I had opted for an ocean swim, right out our back door! 
Note to self: call gym before we go to swim to check if classes/swim meets are going on. 

I mean don't get me wrong. When I see a million kidlets swimming or learning to swim as part of a school program, I think How civilized getting kids out to exercise! In the US, I do not see much of that, at least in our little corner of the world. So Bravo to the Australians for getting their kids out there!!

Our biking is mostly down Beach Road, the main thoroughfare north to south from Melbourne, all the way down the Phillip Bay coast. It is very busy with cars, especially certain times of the day but we are actually handling riding on the left in traffic quite well. We can go for miles and miles on this road. 26 miles down the coast is Frankston, the site of the beginning of Ironman MEL. The bike portion actually goes on a very busy freeway for the race, the road is shutdown for the race, 3 laps on a supposedly very fast highway loop. So no practicing for race day on the bike course however the run course is a different story. After the bike portion in Frankston, we run from Frankston to St Kilda, up in our neck of the Melbourne woods. A 26 mile run along the Port Phillip Bay, using the beach running path that has stunning views and happy, healing ocean air is my idea of a good ending to Ironman. If we can figure out the train system to Frankston, we may do public transportation down there and run back for a training run this Sunday..nearly everyday is an adventure for team Wess these days...

In other news, today is Valentines Day in Australia. We may even venture to the "CBD" (city) on the tram for dinner, a very early dinner. H and I will be missing our annual Valentine's dinner at Villa de Capo, the restaurant we had our first date at exactly 25 years ago today. We have had the last 25 years of Valentine's day dinners there, every year without fail. Wow, is this bad luck that we are missing this year? Will the restaurant notice? If only the restaurant walls could talk, it would have some stories to tell of team Wess over the years! We will have to "settle" for dinner in lovely Melbourne, not a bad second choice..For V-Day, H bought me flowers and "TimTams", my favorite Australian dessert. Seriously, I think TimTams should be a food group here, they are so awesome.. Speaking of food, I am hungry all the time, I mean all the time! It is hard to make healthy food choices when all you want to do is eat and in the evening the craving for ice cream and chocolate makes me feel like a pregnant woman again after all these years. I am Ironman hungry! Doing my best to eat right but it is hard..

Tomorrow AM., we are planning to meet some folks from the "TEAM" to bike in a new place west of us. A 6:00 AM start is mighty early even for me, who basically doesn't sleep past 4:30-5:00 anyway but need much coffee for early workouts. It brings back memories of years ago when my training buddies were always wanting to start biking at the crack of dawn and me dragging my ass out of bed many, many Saturdays! Tomorrow morning, we are taking a taxi for the 6 mile trip to the meetup since we do not really feel up to riding to a new place, in the dark trying to follow google maps along the way. We will probably stay with the group only for about 15 minutes but that's OK. These folks are fast!! We get to try a new bike on..

The apartment continues to be a challenge. We have complained more to the owner than any place we have ever stayed as far as a VRBO kind of rental. Granted we are here for 10 weeks so others may not mind no air conditioning, hot water or disconnected internet for a night or 2 but for us, not so much..the temps have soared here some days to the 90s. So when the a/c stops working at those times, especially at night, team Wess gets grumpy real fast..

The owner is very responsive to our needs. I complained that the drawers in the kitchen were dirty (I mean crumbs in them, grime, etc. kind of dirty). She came right over with help, bucket in hand and spent the next 3 hours cleaning-just the kitchen! She fixed the dirt and clutter in the kitchen. We have had a/c people here 3 times now, this afternoon they are promising to fix it. We have to leave all the windows and doors open at night just to sleep, the windows have no screens, not unusual for the area, I think. Last night it was exceptionally humid so mosquitoes or whatever version of biting Aussie bugs were coming in and having a feast on our bodies. I finally had to go into the extra bedroom, shut the door and window when I couldn't take anymore bug bites...I was Googling "bed bugs" this AM but I can pretty much rule these out so yes, they must be mosquito bites on both H and me.
Note to self: get mosquito spray

The Internet stopped working randomly one day, as did all the lights and appliances in the kitchen. The other owner, or partner of the owner fixed the electrical thing, all the time complaining how much money he had spent on this apartment; the a/c, the water heater, etc. Uh, after what we pay, we really don't care about hearing that! 

We spent a couple of hours on the phone with the Internet company getting it fixed. Not a huge deal but just another annoying thing to deal with. In these moments, I miss our home in ABQ, where I take long luxurious baths and have cold a/c and the lights pretty much work all the time! 

I am very hopeful we will get some relief tonight with the a/c fixed. Fingers crossed..we are paying top dollar for the absolutley stunning view of the ocean and bay, the access to the beach and shopping. We know this and when you rent a place overseas, it is always a crap shoot. I am learning the right questions to ask now that we have opted to do these long term rentals in a foreign city as part of ourtravel  experience.  Like I said, always an adventure!

Sometimes, I feel guilty that we are able to travel and play like we do. We are young enough to do all these things and are fortunate to be healthy enough to continue to train and race like we do. Should I feel guilty and say we are so lucky? Well, partly we are lucky. But then I remember that we worked our asses off to get where we are and do what we do. H and I worked our butts off for many, many years in successful careers and child raising. Our plan was always to save money to retire early, in our 50s. Well, H was 59 and I was 52 when we retired. Life happens, we were able to spend time helping take care of/with H's mom for a couple of years before she passed. This was not in the plan but looking back I am so grateful we did. After that, we started livin' the dream. That's what we are doing-lucky, probably. Grateful for our health, always. But by golly, we earned it!

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