Monday, 8 December 2014

A different start to 2015

A different start to 2015
                        There are far better things ahead of us, than any we leave behind.
Normally I would be writing to you about my season overview or me sitting 1600m above sea level in the clouds in Falls Creek. But this year has been different from the start.  Post surgery was about rebuilding me as a better and stronger athlete and now 8 months post, I can say we have been pretty successful at that. In saying that though, we haven’t finished yet. It has given me time too mentally and physically refresh, being in my home environment and focus solely on myself; what I needed to do, to get better.

Putting all three disciplines together, meant working on each individually to build up strength and confidence to get back and do my first triathlon after 7 months. And you know what, it felt awful! I have done three triathlons since then and thankfully, it has felt better everytime. Being able to do local club races, I have come back with no pressure to perform and concentrate on focus areas. These are all perfect build up races to start my season fresh in 2015. Thank you to Macarthur Triathlon Club for once again putting on a great presentation evening a few  weekends back, showcasing the local talent especially with the juniors within our club. Great to be part of the progression of the club and can’t wait to continue to see it grow over the years.  

Two great run and organised events, the Bondi Splash n Dash and the 3 points Challenge at North Curl Curl are both great days out from the beginners to the elites. I was happy to be involved in both and take out a wee win. I am pretty stoked that we don’t run on soft sand in triathlons as it is ridiculously hard! They were both events that I am sure will grow over the years to come as the word gets out and a big thank you to all the volunteers, supporters and sponsors that give 100 percent to these events.

With the opportunity of being home, I have taken the chance to do things I normally wouldn’t do or get to do. I came out of swimming retirement and I have completed one 5km open water at Penrith regatta centre. The burning feeling of my lats after 5km, I couldn’t lift my arms above my head to dive back into the water to cool down. I have always loved open water, even getting massive numbers burnt in my arms! I must have loved it so much, I have entered two more in the coming month including NSW state championships. I was about 1 minute off my best ever time as a 16 year old so I am looking to keep improving on that over the next two. Yeah, I think I am alittle crazy.  I have also got to do our local Fishers Ghost fun run that has been running for the past 40 years. It’s one of the hardest 10km going around. The hills surprise me everytime I come back. It is also great supporting our local community and being 10 minute run from home is hard to beat.

Racing is the best training you can do and over the past few months, I have been getting into handicap road racing and bike crits. Handicap racing is my favourite as I just get so determined to stay away. Sorry to all the people I have yelled at to roll through! It is always great when you have a great bunch of people to work with and show some of the boys, that girls can ride a bike ;) Crits are also one of my favourite sessions of the week. I have been travelling around to a few different purpose built crit circuits and my favourite so far is Heffron Park on Tuesday nights or what I call Tuesday night worlds. It is also a solid 45 minutes of racing and even better is the looks I get when I start running off the bike. Starting fresh in 2015, I want to say thank you to Anthony Cook and Neil Pryde bikes for new Nazare2.  I have only had a few rides on it but I already love it! Can’t wait to race on it next year!

Triathlon is swim, bike and run but a fourth component that I have been working hard on is strength and conditioning. I have been up at NSWIS 3- 4 times a week, focusing on weights, exercises and core work that will be help grow stronger and work on key areas that I am weak in. I actually really enjoy gym and just like anything you do, it is always a positive seeing improvements over the past 5 weeks even on small, simple things like push ups. Thanks to Jamie, Bernard and NSWIS to have the opportunity and the coaching to do this.

Triathlons 5th component is to do something that isn’t triathlon. I have had an awesome time catching up with old friends and making new ones. From having coffee, to going to the noodle markets in Sydney or just hanging out in the pool at home, its always nice to take your mind off what takes up a major part of everyday. December always is a great time to kick back with family and friends and I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I’m abit old to get a photo with Santa but my dog is never is ;)

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

My favorite places to train!

Burragorang lookout

Without a doubt, it’s a very deceivingly hilly ride out but the best tailwind and downhill back. The lookout is about 45km from home and on a perfect day, you get a view like this. When I took this picture, I left home when it was 0 degrees outside and I don’t think it was much warmer by the time I got up there. It’s a perfect ride to soak up the country roads and not have to worry about cars or traffic lights and you are bound to get a good view everytime.


Being only 5 minutes from my house, I am so lucky to be supported by such a great facility. New renovated, it has all the equipment I need for my strength and conditioning part of training and plenty of gym mats to lay on when I am tired.  I don’t know if everyone gets scared when I jump in the pool, but I tend to have a whole inside pool to myself most days. One of my favourite sessions in the pool at the moment is 4 x 100m threshold on the 1.20 cycle and with 2 x 50m faster on the minute, 4 times through. It gives me a good indicator of my fitness levels with the times I can hold for the 100’s. But hey I don’t mind swimming easy either!  

Gold Coast
I found a new love for the Gold Coast this time when I was up there. Who wouldn’t want to have breakfast over this view!  I am starting to know my way around better and I must admit I do rate my picture memory when it comes to directions as with my terrible eyesight is shocking with signs. I explored alittle more this time and got to see the hinterland of the Gold Coast and across the border of NSW. At home, I swim inside so it was nice to be out in the middle of the day sunshine and regain abit of colour. On the way home, (thank you to the best mother ever) I rode myself down the coast line from the Surfers Paradise until I saw my mum to put my bike in the car and pick me up. Saved one hour of the 12 in the car! Being at home this year, it is always good to have a small change of scenery to refresh the mind.

Camden Equestrian Centre and Bargo Track

Both just a short drive from home and both places that horses normally run around, they are both perfect options to get off the concrete. I really enjoying going to Camden for my long runs as you can either kept flat or go alittle hilly. Secretly, I just like play around on the horse jumps after.  I would like to thank my old running coach for introducing me to this beauty.  Even since I got off running on the Alter G, I have been very aware of where I run and trying to keep to softer surfaces. Bargo trotting track is 600m circles and is perfect for my sessions that I have been doing. It feels awesome to be able to start running fast and add some intensity again! Welcome back!

My house

I am very fortunate for the great location that we live in and sometimes home provides you with everything you need. On rainy days, I can set up my Sportscrafters trainer in front on the TV and cycle away. I can run out the door and have endless options of circuits and a 18 hole golf course to run on.  In my whole 21 years, I have never used the golf course for a game of golf! Don’t tell them that. I have wanted to be able to play with my dog again post surgery for ages and it feels great to be able to open the back gate and get out there with her. Home is also a great place to train my baking and cooking skills. That’s part of training right?

The last few months have been great getting back into training and I couldn’t thank everyone around me for the support they give with or without them knowing.  2014 has been a mixed up year and I might not have put my foot on the start line for any major events but I am excited to build back again for a successful 2015.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

I am on a rollercoaster that only goes up…

My rollercoaster ride definitely started with a big dip when I first jumped on at the start of this year.  There was nothing I could do but just hold on and go for the ride. Yes, it was frustrating. Yes, it was scary. But I had to start from the bottom to start my painfully slow journey up and I decided that I might as well enjoy the view on the way. I wake up every morning thinking about where in the world I could be right now, but for now my home in Campbelltown is where my ride begins.

I am not a fan of winter. My feet are ice blocks in summer as it is. I had to dig to the bottom of my drawers to find my thermals, leg warmers and winter jackets. Balmy 4 degree mornings aren’t as inviting as they sound. I now have had a chance to really explore the roads around my home going along the back roads of Camden and Cobbity. I often get quite distracted looking at big country homes and sussing out my dream house. I have already put my name on a few for future reference.  I have started doing a few efforts in my rides which is a step forward and always make a ride go quicker. Unfortunately, the weather cannot always be perfect as it has been quite windy and some days very wet. My Giant Envie and I both needed a good wash after this. My poor pink socks!

After 14 weeks of not running I started running on the Alter G. A lot of people ask me what that is. At the moment, I am using this machine so I can only run at 55- 60 percent of my body weight. It puts less stress on the bone that was shaved down and reduces the chance of picking up a secondary injury. Big thank you to Greg Cox and Emma Whitelaw for having me for the week up on the Gold Coast and Deb Savage for helping me build a strength and conditioning program.  I am very fortunate to be given access to the Alter G at the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs NRL Club which is perfect as it is only a short drive from home – so my gratitude and  thanks go to them for looking after me so well and  to Bernard Savage for organising this for me. I am eyeing out the tackle machines in their gym but. I have a feeling I might hurt myself more than I would hurt the dummy.

Being at home has allowed me to spend more time with family and friends. I can chat and laugh with my Nanna for hours. I also got the opportunity to attend West Leagues Sports Awards Night. Thank you to West Leagues and Wests Sports Council for awarding me Elite Sportsperson of the year. It is great to see their support from juniors to seniors to the elite sports people of the local community.


For now I am focussing on my recovery and in moving forward to hopefully getting race fit and getting back to racing. I can’t wait for the view at the top!

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Its been two months already?!

Yes it has already been two months! Over the past few weeks some of the no’s in my training  have turned into yes's as I turned a wee corner in the recovery process.

After my surgery I needed a change of scenery. Trust me -  I love home and everything that comes with it but being able to start the month in NZ and finish in Queensland was awesome. Spending time outside my usual environment has helped me a lot with recovery. Christchurch was awesome with its relaxed lifestyle but was quite a bit fresher than where I finished the month in Port Douglas. I decided before I left, if I crocodile was chasing me, I would fulfil my urge to bolt after 3 months of no running. Happily it did it not happen! By the looks of things, I have come back a few shades darker so there is no need for fake tan just yet ;)

For a while everyday felt like Groundhog Day. It now feels awesome to be back training and getting into a routine and the swing of things. Over the next two months, something that a lot of athletes will put second best - if they are tired or short of time - is strength and conditioning work. For me, recovering from injury and to become a better athlete in the long term, this is going to be super important to get me back on track. I have a very bad habit of standing like a banana so posture is something I am working on.  Upper body strength is also becoming a focus as my arms definitely are about 4 x smaller than most guys I sit next to at the gym. It has actually felt like Christmas in May with all these brand spanking new recovery toys to play with. My trusty sidekick of a dog never leaves my side and is always there to watch me.

Being an Aussie, I have always unclipped with my left foot and to protect my hip, I had to start unclipping with my right. My first ride back on the road could have been the most embarrassing of my life. Do not fall over at the traffic lights. Balance. Centre of gravity. Pedal up. All the basic concepts Jamie had taught me years ago. As soon as I got home I spent the next 30 minutes or so riding up and down my street stopping and unclipping. Worth every second for my dignity!

Being home like I said has its ups and I have been able to spend some time with my parents. I was finally around for Mother’s Day to treat Mum with my baking skills and my awesome company! I also got to go into Sydney to see the Vivid exhibition. It was super busy in there and amazing to see what they can do with projectors blasting over the Sydney skyline and harbour. One downfall of being home is Mum’s constant pestering of me to stand up tall and pull my gut in. Man, have I heard that a few 100 times already! Love you Mum.


Going through the recovery process, at times I have felt alittle lost and not sure where this year is going to take me. Although nothing is set in stone, it is nice to get some direction and plans to look into the future with. Might even break my urge to run over the next few weeks! I would just like to thank Triathlon Australia staff and Jamie my coach in helping me move forward. Thank you to Campbelltown Catholic Club’s, CEO Michael Lavorato and Aquafit Gym on supporting me through my recovery process and backing me for years to come! It is a great facility where I can get all my training done in the one place with world class equipment and most of the time a private swimming pool all to myself. I thought I would finish off with what two months post surgery training looks like…Tell you what - I am sleeping amazing at the moment!

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Little Steps Felt Like Big Ones

Week 1
Probably the best week of sleep I have had in my life. I soaked up 12 hour sleeps every day and with ease could have slept for longer except I was starving! I learnt a lot about how I could move, how I could get up my stairs and how to work these other 2 legs given to me. I always had an urge to swing on them as if they were play toys or just run amuck on them. Probably not the smartest idea. Big thank you to Mum who became my nurse; changing my ice pack and bringing me painkillers at all hours. A pretty scary moment for me or anyone was when my mind told my leg to lift and nothing happened. It was like nothing was connected. It was a week of a lot of ups and downs, trying to find ways to fill in my time and take my mind away from triathlon. To my surprise it actually went pretty quick. Baking, reading, movies and a little random I did a latch hook pillow.

Week 2

I got the all clear to walk without crutches and my 4 stitches were removed. Just
because my stitches were out didn’t mean I had any more movement. I still struggled to put on socks and shoes or walk up the stairs. I felt like this little lab after a day walking around. I was a lot of mobile than I thought I would ever be after a week. Just wish I was mobile enough to race my favourite race on the WTS circuit in Auckland. It was hard watching but makes me realise how important it is to recovery right and get back to being there with the girls. With my stitches being out, I was able to jump back in the pool with a pull buoy. Felt like I hadn’t swam for years. I have made regular friends in the aqua aerobic pool which are also hip and knee surgery patients. Their average age would be about 80 but man do they have some speed walking in the pool. With some extra time on my hands, I decided it was time to stop chickening out and poach my first egg. I thought I was boss because the first one turned out perfect, the second one not so much.

Week 3
To continue my randomness, I have ordered a new project to do. A few actually, with one being a rug which should keep me busy over the next few months. Mum has been teaching me how to knit. It looks pretty simple but I am still so confused. Every week is a build on exercises and getting my strength back up in whole hip area. At the moment there is definitely no Beyonce booty. Alex Price, my
physiotherapist in Wollongong taught me an important lesson about there is no such thing as I can’t; sometimes things just need a little push to get started again. To change up swimming, I did some bungy swimming where I attached a stretchy elastic to the block and a weight belt around my waist and swam for a few minutes. Definitely tests your mental strength! What’s a week without baking. I put some old bananas to good use and baked up some delicious warm banana bread on a freezing day in Sydney. Winter is not looking very warm at all!

Week 4
4 weeks post op and 2 months were I haven’t put my running shoes on. To be honest it feels like I ran out the door yesterday. I got all clear to jump back on my bike this week. I was stoked to ride 2km, let alone by the end of the week building up to over 10km. I don’t get to catch up with one of my best friends growing up much anymore as she is now in the defence force but when we can, we try and do as much as possible. We made the most of the beautiful Good Friday weather in Wollongong, jumping into the not so inviting brain freeze cold ocean pool! Saturday, we went into the city and supported the Sydney Swans. I haven’t been to a Sydney Swans game in years so it was nice to throw on the jersey and see a game live. I must have brought some good luck with me as what do you know, they finally got their 2nd win for the season. And to finish Easter Saturday, you can’t beat Sydney at night; still has some awesome views!

What will May bring? Umm can I get back to you..? April has brought me many surprises and I am sure May will too. I am looking forward to progressing my rehab with the excellent service providers I have around me. It’s been a massive learning process already and I am actually learning a lot about myself too!  

Thursday, 27 March 2014

At least I got to wear a pretty dress home...

From what I thought was a tight hip before Devonport, unfortunately X-rays, ultrasounds and MRI showed up much more thereafter. Yesterday I had a hip arthroscopy. Simply this means, I went into surgery to repair and remove a tear in the labrum of my hip (the cartilage).They also did a femur osteotomy where they shaved down bone that was impinging on the tear. It blows my mind away that it was amazingly done with only 3 small holes and only 4 stitches.
As you all can imagine, It's been a pretty big few weeks emotionally and mentally and tell you what, I am tired. I was lucky to have my own room with a big TV and internet that I could play around with. Although last night post surgery, all I wanted to do was sleep and eat. I had fasted for 24 hours so I was pretty stoked to see Mum brought me Easter eggs as I was starving! The painkillers worked there magic and the pulsing machine on my legs made it easy to sleep.

When I first got told surgery was a possible outcome on the phone, I went to swim training in tears and I didn't want to believe it. And yesterday when I was just about to go in theatre, I was still crying. The best thing over the past few weeks is that I was lucky enough to keep my mind off surgery still being able to swim and ride with the " Wollongong wizards" and what an awesome last week of training it was! My last ride in pouring rain ;)

To my family and to my boyfriend, Tom who have been there for endless support throughout the whole thing and given me a shoulder or a phone to cry on, I couldn't thank you all anymore. To my friends that I told, your kind words and positive attitude has kept me in good spirits, thank you! To my coach Jamie Turner and the Triathlon Australia staff who helped me get from one doctor to the next ASAP, it's been great being an environment with this support and help to get me the best treatment possible.

Unfortunately there is no definite set rehab time. Even if I have a few ideas on how long it will take, I am not going to put pressure on myself and it will take as long as it needs to take. But it means a few months getting back to where I need to be to put myself on the start line again! I can never get away from compression socks..


Friday, 7 March 2014