Professional Ironman Triathlete

Thursday, 31 January 2008

Epic days 4 and 5

Day 4 - "Easy day"

The day started with a lake swim race at Wanaka. It turned out to be around 4.4km long, and it was a 'sombiathon' for me - I wrapped up warm with neoprene cap and boots to make sure I didn't get cold, as I wasn't anticipating going hard enough to overheat. BdC paced well to drag me round the two laps. Then it was straight into a 10km running race. We had to predict our times and then run without watches - scoring points for overall position and for closeness to your estimate. I predicted a slow time, as my quads were feeling pretty shoddy, but warmed into it and ran somewhere around 39 minutes... not too bad for the volume of the previous few days.

As it was the 'easy day', we only had to ride 60km, but i was convinced to ride 90km by Clive and Tara. It was pedestrian, and involved an ice-cream stop before we headed home, hit the pool for a second 3km swim (with 20 x 100m on 1:30) and another 10km run along the waterfront of Lake Wanaka. Quote of the day was from Tara who proved that sugar lows can hit even on the easy rides ... "Where are my sunglasses??? Oh, they're on my face"

Day 4 Totals "EASY DAY"

Swim 7.4km
Bike 90km
Run 20km

Day 5 - Back in the Saddle

Had a lazy start to the day catching a ride to the pool at 6:45. Some of the other guys had opted to run from 6am and catch the minibus as we went past them to get in an early 50 min run. This meant that they could go for 6 km in the pool. I wasn't feeling too good so I did the minimum swim of 3km and headed out for a 50min run before heading back to the lodge. We rode out at a ridiculous pace from Wanaka and by the time we made it to the bottom of the time-trial KoM (about 95 kms in) I was feeling spanked. But time trial we did, and 44 minutes later I was atop the Crown Range and heading back to Wanaka. A tack-on later we'd done 180kms and then went straight out for another 50min run. Just finished getting a massage - very much needed. I can play a tune on my ITBs they are so tight.

Things seem to be becoming a little more hazy round the group ... people are falling asleep at the side of the pool, question and answer sessions involve repeating the same simple information multiple times, and hysterical episodes are becoming more freequent....

Day 5 Totals

Swim 3km
Ride 180km (about 1400m climbing)
Run 20km

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Epic days 1,2 and 3

Go hard and blow early - Day One
Man, what a day. I knew my prep over the last 3 weeks had been far from ideal, but I guess I was hoping that some of the form I had from before the lay-off would see me through. Guess again...

The morning went without hitch. I opted for the pre-breakfast run to the pool to get the 50minute run out of the way. Scott led and kept the pace easy. The swim was a 1 km warm up then a 2 km time trial. I had little intention of smcking this and managed to sit on Brandon's feet the entire way.

The scheduled ride was out to Akaroa and back (from Christchurch) - largely flat with some hills at the end where we would have some 'king of the mountains' points up for grabs. I blew on the first 'King of the Mountains' points climb about 4 km into it and suffered up the last 3km. I clearly wanted to believe that I was in much better condition than I actually am. Thinking that it was homeward bound after that I hadn't reckoned on then repeating the climb from the ther side ... which was longer and by this point a bit of a slog. It was all I could do to stay upright at the end! After the second KoM we had a time trial which hadn't been measured but was estimated at between 25 and 40 km. 43km later, going as hard as my tired legs could take me (which wasn't very hard) we stopped and everything cramped up. By everything I mean my glutes - OUCH. We finished the ride back into Christchurch and tagged on to make it up to 180 km for an extra point.

Here's to a few days of pain and riding myself into fitness again!

Day 1 totals
Swim 3km
Run 10km
Ride 180km

Day 2
We started the day with a 6am swim. The twist was that it would finish with a 400m individual medley. This is invariably highly entertaining - several of the guys here can swim IM, but most of us can't. The butterfly is a killer if you've never done it. Luckily we were in a 25m pool so there was well needed resting taken at the end of each length. My breaststroke's pretty ropey too so I didn't fair so well. I had done 1 km with bands to earn an extra point in the warm up to make up for it though.

Post swim, Bev, Mark P, Clive and I headed out for a run pre-breakfast. A good move as I knew I wouldn't feel like it later. The ride was looking like it was going to be long. The first 150km was deadpan flat and there was a good tail wind. We could have taken it easy, but Clive dragged out the pace... we were sitting around 40kph for a lot of it, then Brandon decided to kick off between 100-150km and the group splintered. This was, I'd like to point out, effort for the sake of effort - the ride to lunch was not for points. After lunch we rolled out to do 90 km of undulating terrain with 2 KoMs. I looked at my odometer at 180km and wondered why I was time trialling out to the bottom of another climb. After the first climb, the wind became a nightmare headwind and the pace plummeted to dead slow. I was absolutely spanked by this point but the last 40km were done with Johnny and Scott. We took turns into the wind which meant that at least I didn't think about bailing. At least it wasn't raining!

Looks like Tara Norton (our only female on the camp and pro) might be in for a chance at the yellow jersey. She nailed Gordo on the second climb, and has been putting in stirling performances in the pool and KoMs. Bev's been taking all the KoMs so far, but Paul (a Brit living in Rotorua) has been giving him a run for his money.

Day 2 totals
Swim 3km (1 with bands)
Run 10km
Ride 240km

Day 3
Early run with Clive and Tara at Lake Takapu as the sun came up was a beautiful start to the day. The ride set out early and the pre-lunch 90km went by on the flats and pretty mild. I was feeling good... but this all changed after lunch where I fell to pieces heading up to the KoM, which actually more like 30km flat out to the bottom of the pass where I got dropped and crawled over the top. It was about 70 km to the next aid station after lunch, and by then I was well out of water and feeling pretty bad. The last 50km was easier, mainly thanks to Clive, Albert, Tara and a LOT of coke. By the time we hit Wanaka there was about an hour to chill and eat before heading into town to do the local aquathon. A '600m' OW swim took the quickest 20minutes to finish, so we think it was more like 1200m+, into a 4km run. It was quite a painful experience - the arms didn't want to turn over, legs were unresponsive. It was great fun. Johnny took out the overall win, probably ticking off a couple of local guys who had assumed it was in the bag. Tacked on another few kms to make up the run distance minimum after the race to get my double run points.

I'm a little sore. Tomorrow's an easier day - last year I used that to fit in a 2:30 run but I'm thinking I'll give it a miss this time! Still waiting for the conditioning to come back... I might be waiting a while.

Day 3 totals
Swim 1200m open water (or more)
Run 18km
Ride 210km

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Post-virus, pre-Epic

I've been in Melbourne for three days staying with Liz, Ian and William (thanks guys!), and I've steadily been recovering. On Monday I broke the 12 day moratorium on training (on some days I couldn't walk round the house without difficulty let alone consider training) with an easy 2km swim. It helped with the jet lag too. On Tuesday I managed a 5km easy jog and did 3km in the pool. Today I felt ten times better for it so I eased out a 40 minute run, 3kms in the pool (albeit still sluggish) and an hour on the bike (the first ride in 2 weeks). Its all just to make sure I am working again while trying to avoid a relapse. Seems like I am on track to full health again. Everythings still a bit of an effort but it seems to be an order of magnitude better than the day before so I think it'll all be ok for Epic - fingers crossed I'll be back to 100% - and VERY well rested, just minus 2 weeks of training and plus a few extra kilos. Tomorrow I get on the plane to Christchurch - have three days to carry on getting back into the swing of things and remind my body that it likes this stuff before the fun begins.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Off to Oz (again)

Flying this evening back to Melbourne... due to arrive on Monday morning. Get a couple of days in back in Geelong/Melbourne to repack and sort myself out before heading to Christchurch (NZ) on Thursday before Epic starting at the weekend.

Good news is that I'm on the road to recovery I think. Not managed to do any training yet... so I'll have at least until monday morning before seeing how things are going. But at least I'm feeling a little more normal. Can't wait to see some sunshine :)

See you in Oz

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Sick as a dog...

I've been off-training for a week now. Bad virus :( I am not happy! And its not like I have even done anything very constructive with all the extra time - my brain's been mush for days which means that all I've been capable of is dribbling at daytime tv (quite possibly a positive feedback loop). At this stage I am just hoping to be 100% in time for Epic Camp! I guess at least I'll be rested. On the up side, having a chunk of time off training couldn't have been timed any better - the weather's been pretty miserable, I'm in the UK, its 12 weeks out from IMOz. It could be a lot worse. I'm certainly going to be mentally refreshed (read: GAGGING to get back into training) even if the body doesn't feel like its had any time off at all - given the virus, my body gets full credit for having been working hard just not on swim bike run.

Plus I've learnt a valuable lesson about doing two days really hard then jumping on public transport across London for the first time in a few months... how to depress your immune system then immediately expose it to everything under the sun. Asking for trouble!

Friday, 11 January 2008

EPIC CAMP NZ 2008 : The calm before the storm

Epic Camp is a triathlon training camp with a difference. Unlike most, there are entrance criteria to ensure no one ends up “tailing off the back in misery”. It is an incredibly high volume training camp which most attendees use as pre-season volume training for Ironman racing, or in a high volume phase in the run-up to a specific IM race. With around 50 – 60 hours of training in the first week, it is not for the faint-hearted!

This will be my second time on the camp, having done Epic New Zealnad ’07 in January last year. Signing up for the second round was easier given the knowledge that I had successfully finished it already. But now, two weeks out, though I am less anxious about the general unknowns, I have the same feeling of dread that I should have done more bike volume over the last few months…

But for me that is one of the points of Epic. It gives me some fear over the winter months to ensure that I get in good enough shape to try to make the most of Epic. It is about improving my biking in the run-up to Epic and then being submerged in a unique environment where it is possible to achieve a period of massive mileage relative to the rest of the year. Last time it was about survival. This time my objective has changed little – if anything, I’ll be a little more cautious! I’m starting to think that ignorance of what the camp entailed was better than knowing what we are about to do.

The camps are run by Scott Molina (IM World Champion, coach), Gordo Byrn (Ultraman Winner and Elite IM athlete, coach) and John Newsom of IronmanTalk fame (Elite triathlete and coach). Epic’s stated purpose is to “provide elite and amateur athletes with an environment within which they can achieve personal excellence”. This is done in part by having a fantastic support crew who do nearly everything for you – cook, wash clothes, transport luggage – except the training itself. The camp includes “everything but mercy”. A points system pushes everyone to put in massive volumes each day. The camp minimums to score are a 3km swim, a 10km run and the scheduled ride each day, and bonus points are available for every 3km extra in the pool, extra 10km running, and extra 30km on the bike. Yet more points can be earned by hitting other distance thresholds and doing other activities (swimming with bands, or 1km swum as medley for example). It all adds up to a group of people doing some incredible mileage, and perhaps more unbelievably, having a great time along the way.

This year’s camp will start in Christchurch on 26th January. From there we’ll make our way over towards Wanaka via Tekapo, then across to Queenstown. The route will take in the great Southern lakes, Mackenzie Country and the Queenstown area - regarded as some of the most spectacular scenery in NZ. So at least it will be pretty! I’ll be trying to post an update on how the camp’s going every few days – if I am able to stay awake long enough!

For more information on Epic Camp, go to

Thursday, 10 January 2008

new training partner

Here's the new arrival... George. He's a Norfolk terrier and now 12 weeks old. He has a favourite spot under the turbo where he does actually manage to sleep (!) but only started going oitside a few days ago so he's not much of a run partner. Second two photos are current, the first are from 3 weeks ago.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Steve Trew training DVD clip

Available now... check out the DVD clip on the link above - a few familiar faces in there :) We had a very entertaining day out at the track!

"Triathlon - Techniques in Action
This new DVD explains the techniques and training that can improve your performance in this ultimate endurance sport. Presented by an international coach and interspersed with his unique tips, it covers drills in each of the disciplines, including transitions, and also looks at core conditioning. With all the excitement of race footage from Dorney Lakes, this film is essential viewing for triathletes of all levels. DVD Contents: Introduction, swimming, cycling, running, transitions and core conditioning.This DVD is a companion to his best-selling book Triathlon: A Training Manual also published by The Crowood Press."