Welcome to the pointy end! Only 4 Sundays left between now and that magical red carpet of the Ironman finish shute. It’s getting real close now.
With the latest outbreak of COVID-19, we’ve had to adapt these last couple of weeks! At the last blog RTT were just gearing up for our annual training camp on the Sunshine Coast, which we began and then unfortunately had to leave due to a snap lockdown. The time that we did spend together was fantastic, and there’ll always be next year! We did squeeze in an interval session (aka a flogging) at USC’s Athletics Track up on the beautiful Sunshine Coast, and a stroke correction class with Duane Cannell from Makin’ Waves Swim School at the USC Aquatic Centre! Since then, pools have been closed down so we’ve had an opportunity to focus on our bike, run and strength pretty solidly.
Here’s what we got done over the last fortnight!
So we’ve talked about running (my favourite), cycling (second favourite), let’s talk about the last triathlon discipline: swimming (can I run again instead?). As you’ll no doubt appreciate by now I have not come from a sporting background. Growing up as a kid we were lucky enough to have a swimming pool, but I’d rarely go in there alone, if ever. I was pretty scared of the water. Swimming lessons were the norm going through school, so I had a rudimentary knowledge of pool swimming but open water was definitely a no go zone. Funnily enough it’s not the big bitey things that worry me – it’s not being able to see the bottom, being out deep and dark/murky water. I don’t even watch the screen during a movie when there’s an underwater scene. Deep water is just terrifying. Love looking at the ocean though. Looking in the water? No thanks. God knows how I thought I was going to swim in the open water … but yeah. I signed up for the #trilife anyway.
It’s taken a lot of work to build my confidence with swimming. Starting out with RTT my first gig was a swim at Enoggera Reservoir. That’s right, a dam. Deep? Tick. Dark? Tick. Murky water? Tick. Terrifying? Extremely. But Stu and the crew were amazing at making me feel safe and comfortable. To kick off the swimming journey, I joined a swim squad at Ferny Hills Pool with Codie Grimsey. Think that swim squads are just for elite athletes? That’s what I thought! No – they’re for everyone. All shapes, sizes and fitness levels. I had to make sure I was up to swimming 400m continuously before starting, but then I was grouped with swimmers of similar ability and we got to work. I also joined up with Grimsey’s Swim Squad out at Sutton’s Beach which was an open water clinic. Dolphin Fit now run the session every Sunday fortnight, and honestly, spending the time practising swimming in the open water has made an enormous difference to my confidence levels. I love ocean swimming now. I’m still not a fan of being out deep, and I prefer to have someone with me but I can now swim in the ocean and I am so immensely proud of myself that I’ve stuck with it.
I’ve also genuinely found it to be something I now enjoy. I wouldn’t say I’m over my fear, I have a very healthy respect for the ocean, but I’m capable and the confidence will only continue to grow. I’d say I’ve also never been happier to be mediocre at something in my life! Being in the middle of the pack during a swim leg in a race is actually a blessing. I don’t mind getting hit, knocked about, or pushed over! At least there’s someone around me, and I’m cool with that! So just know that if you aren’t a confident swimmer, it doesn’t mean that you will always be that way. It takes time and work to develop the skill set for swimming, but it is just another thing that practice makes perfect and everyone starts somewhere. Plus, after all of the kilometres running and cycling, it’s actually nice to be off your feet and floating along in the pool. It’s great for recovery, easy on your joints and a great way to get some quiet!!!
So what’s coming up? Our next event is the big kahuna. Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast is in 30 days. With the COVID restrictions in place the Sunshine Coast Marathon Festival is unable to go ahead so there’s no more events now until race day. Our crew will be holding a Race Rehearsal on the weekend of 21 & 22 August, which will be a great opportunity to put the race plan into action and make sure gear and nutrition are locked and loaded. But until then we’ve got just a few weeks of training left to go! Honestly, I’m excited to do this thing now. When it comes to race day, I just want to enjoy every moment of the race and soak up the atmosphere. I’m under no illusions that it’s going to be a mighty effort to get this thing done. If I had one concern, it would be finishing the race in the middle of the day so potentially it could be quite warm out on the run. If we start around 6am, you’d start on the bike around 7am, finish that anywhere between up to 11am, then start the half marathon run, taking up til 2pm to finish. So it’s going to be imperative to keep hydrated and the electrolytes up. More on race nutrition in our next episode! Other than that – what will happen on race day will happen. I try not to think too much about whether or not I’ll be physically capable of completing the race, and just focus on the work we’ve put in and breaking it down into manageable chunks. No use stressing over it …it’s coming. We’re doing it. It’s going to happen!
How does this all affect endurance sports? Well, in order to sustain long efforts, we need to fuel our bodies to give it energy to replace what we’ve spent and keep us going. It’s also really important to keep hydrated, and get enough salts into your body so your muscles can continue working at that level. I have found for myself personally that fuelling through using carbohydrates gives me staying power. Thanks to years of dieting though I’ve always associated carbs with Satan. Most of my success in weight loss over the years, and for the first year post surgery were due to low carb diets, and being in and out of ketosis. So to first of all understand that 1) carbohydrates were indeed not Satan and actually a very helpful tool for energy and 2) that you could eat carbs and not scream after jumping on the scales was something I had to work through mentally. But it’s true! The body naturally excels at using carbs for energy and there’s so much variety in how we can get the energy we need.
I tell you what though, I have got that finish line firmly in view in my mind . While up on the coast for our training camp I went for a wander down to where that shute will be. I have visualised running down that last hill and into the shute over and over. And for the next few weeks I’m keeping my eye firmly on that prize. The reward of 18 weeks of hard work and long hours. The celebration of losing over 90kgs and having a second chance at life again. The gift that I’ve given myself – the ability to do anything you set your mind to. Until next time!
Elyse is a 33-year-old, North Brisbane local diving into all things triathlon! Starting January 2021, as an irregular Parkrun-er, definitely not a cyclist or a swimmer, to going out on a limb in the world of Ironman. Elyse has struggled with being overweight most of her life, and eagerly sought ways of getting out of PE throughout school but as an adult, has tried to reinvent her relationship with food and sport for a better life. 92kgs down post gastric sleeve, Elyse loves a challenge and seeing what magic this new life holds.
Elyse is coached by Stuart Payne
Stuart has competed in triathlons from Sprint to Ironman distance. As a qualified Triathlon Australia, Australian Athletics Run Coach, and a certified Ironman coach, he is aware of the importance of balancing training with lifestyle, thus complementing other important aspects of an athlete’s life (family, work, study commitments, etc.).
Contact Stuart at firstname.lastname@example.org
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