"Why are we doing this", I thought, aloud. "Because we’re mad," said the stranger next to me in the start chute. He wasn’t wrong either. The swims for the shorter events the day before had been cancelled—because of these conditions. My wave was huddled together trying to stay out of the wind blowing at us on this exposed point from across the bay. The current in the passage we were about to run into was running strong—in the right direction—but the chop forced up from the wind would be pushing us back into land, away from the buoy marked 1km course. Pumicestone Passage runs between Bribie Island and the Queensland Coast for about 35km. The course for this day went out about 20m around the first buoy, along the coast, further out around a second buoy under a major bridge before a hard right 90 degree turn back to shore and transition.
Taking the conditions in, I decided to line up far left—but remembering what exitrowiron recently posted, I took care not to use the first buoy as a pinch point. Given the choppy conditions, I was a bit nervous when the siren started the race. I started strong and over swam the distance out from the shore to account for the chop that I knew would be pushing me back in.
The chop was considerable, but as I breath to the right, I faired alright—and then 100m in, it happened. I passed someone. SWIMMING! While it added a few meters to the overall distance, the tactic paid off as I watched other swimmers having to try to swim against the current and the chop to make the second buoy. About 500m in, as we passed under the bridge, the chop was gone and I was able to settle into a good rhythm as I snuck pass another couple swimmers and caught up with the main group at the final buoy. This was the toughest part, as we had to turn hard right and fight against a strong current pushing us further up the passage for the final 50m to shore. I shortened my stride and pretended I was back in the 50m pool trying to get to the wall in less than a minute. It worked, because when I finally put the feet down, the exit chute was right in front of me leading me back to transition and my waiting bike. All done in 15:55
It’s raining here today—we need it so no complaining here—so long as it clears up before tomorrow’s tri. Speaking of which, I decided—despite the rain—to go for a bit of a slow run to shake the cobwebs off for tomorrow. I used the run as an excuse to explore some of the forest tracks around our place.
Now as a runner there’s a few things that make you stop in your tracks; a cement truck, a bus and you know, a two meter BUSH PYTHON!!
I was about 1km in to my run sticking to the sides of the track to avoid the puddles when I came within a meter of a fellow resembling the guy above (I didn’t have my phone with me so I had to find a resemblance). I almost stood on him. He didn’t miss me though. He was coiled up in an “S” position ready to strike.
Just for context, I’m not native to this sunburned country of Australia. I came here from Toronto, Canada about ten years ago, so I didn’t grow up with these critters. The closest I’ve been to one of these guys is seeing them as road kill or at Australia Zoo.
So, I carefully (read nervously) edged my way to the other side of the path (after pausing my Garmin of course) and watched my new friend as his head and (rather large body) tracked me as I moved. I didn’t need much encouragement to step on the gas to leave him behind and strangely enough, for the rest of the run I ran in the middle of the track—puddles and all—and kept a very close eye on the edges of the path.
Happy running (even if yours involves a bush python).
Given the distance, I’m really happy with this squad swim. There were no paddles or fins—just me thrashing away at the water.
This Sunday is a few things. It’s the third tri of the season (second at Bribie Island), it’s the longest distance I’ve ever gone 1km/29km/8km (strange distance, I know).
It also marks exactly one year since my first tri—and what a journey it’s been. Just to recap, in 2012, I, as an occasional swimmer, cyclist and only a little more experienced runner, set myself the target of doing a triathlon before the year was out. I did this because I was overweight, out of shape and had cholesterol levels that could fell a horse. More to the point, given the family history of heart disease, the doctor told me that I’d have to go on medication to control it—she all but told me that there was nothing I could do to change my levels.
Since I first decided to descend into the madness that is triathlon I’ve competed in about five 5km races, a couple of 10kms a half marathon and, in total, five triathlons of various distances. I’ve lost about 14kg (30 pounds), I’ve become a morning person, I’ve become fitter and stronger. I’ve become disciplined, more relaxed and I hope, a better husband, dad and all round person.
In a year, I’ve met a tonne of new people—I’ve joined a tri squad and seen my times in all disciplines improve.
I also proved my doctor wrong.
In the year ahead, I plan to do my first Olympic distance at Mooloolabah, compete in my first Noosa and do a half IM. I want to run my first marathon and start training for a full IM. I want to continue to improve my fitness and internally I want to rediscover peace.
To those of you who have answered my—at times—inane questions and offered support, thank you. I promise to pay it forward if I ever get to a point where people are coming to me for advice or encouragement.
I look forward to sharing this next year with you all.
Spinstir update…she’s just passed the 13.1mile marker holding a great pace. She’s 44th in her category and has made up great ground through the ride and run…most importantly, she’s gaining on her boyfriend!!
Almost a full year out—in less than 20 minutes, all the spots reserved for Triathlon Australia members have been sold for Noosa 2014.
But I got a spot!!
I’m trying to get smarter about how I train, rather than just training hard. The goal in mind is to finish an IM late next year(ish). However, because of the serious time pressures (high stress job, three kiddies under six) I need to make every minute of training count. If anyone has any advice/training regimes, I’d welcome them.
There you go Spinstir, my foot is on the sticky paper now! Only a matter of when, not if!!