Writing by Sheridan on Tuesday, 19 of July , 2011 at 1:17 am
Tried Run Melbourne on the weekend. Went poorly, despite months of preparation. Very disappointing.
Never mind, though. Now I have to do the Sandy Point half so I can achieve a good time.
Plans are also underway to do the half-IM at Busso next year. Haven’t told the coaches about this so I’m sure there’ll be some resistance from their end.
Kinglake ride (the long one) is scheduled for early September, followed shortly by another half-marathon the next weekend in Geelong. This is what goes on for the moment.
Writing by Sheridan on Sunday, 1 of May , 2011 at 8:20 am
It’s over. After months of slow-burning fear and trepidation, 21.1km is over in just a little over 2 hours. Which sounds like only a heartbeat, but I can tell you it’s slightly longer when each and every cell is screaming for mercy.
Race day started out nicely with an overcast sky and a few specks of rain. I love to run in the rain so I was all for this developing shower scenario. Drove off to Geelong in hardly any traffic since most reasonable people were still in bed asleep (unless they have neighbours like mine).
More than 700 people showed up to run around for a bit, which was a good 600 more than I expected. People of many shapes and sizes and of all ages. Running doesn’t discriminate. The greatest part of the day would have been the sound of a good few hundred feet stomping on gravel just after we started. The crunching was phenomenal. It was not as phenomenal 5kms later when we again had to run on gravel and a large stone went into my shoe.
The first 10km flew by in a blur, which is the appeal of running in these events. You just don’t get bored, and you normally end up running with the same folks most of the way, either in front or behind them. Kilometre 19 saw me unravel and begin losing a lot of time but at that stage I was just focusing on putting one foot in front of the other.
It was all over in just over 2 hours, which I am most happy with. Now I go back to lay on the couch.
Writing by Sheridan on Saturday, 30 of April , 2011 at 8:23 am
Tomorrow, I go for a run in Geelong. A longish run of 21.1km. It’s the first time I’ve done this in an organised fashion (I have run the distance a few times before and it’s not been pretty). I worry most about coming last. It’s not actually coming last that is the worry for me, but the fact that without the marshals I have no idea where I am going. I do get a free cap, though.
Writing by Sheridan on Thursday, 7 of April , 2011 at 10:00 am
What a good idea it is to come in here and tune up my writing skills prior to university returning! I’m sure there is no better preparation for academic writing than up-dating my blog. And a tricky thing it is, too, since I pretty much train, work, eat and sleep. Fairly hard to make a story out of it…..
A few months back someone asked me if I’d be keen to partake in a corporate-style triathlon. I responded in the negative and went on about my business.
A few weeks back, someone else asked me if I’d be keen to partake in a little corporate-style triathlon action. She caught me unawares and for some reason I said ‘yes’ when I actually meant to say ‘no’. This seems to happen a bit. In fact, sometimes I hear myself saying ‘Sure, Commercial Rd is the next tram stop, sir’, when I actually mean to say ‘Get away from me you smelly old alcoholic man’. Just the way it is, I guess. So I made a commitment to do this triathlon, racing under the corporate guise of Kraft Foods. My own place of employ would have a hard time scraping up one employee who could manage even one leg of the 400m swim, 10km cycle and 4km run, lest all combined. My corporate team comprised 2 others (also non-Kraft employees), and we were to each complete the entire triathlon. The original team members pulling out of the event not only afforded me the opportunity to compete, but also provided me with the team uniform. In their sizes. Which are 2-3 sizes too big for me. Nonetheless, after trying some strategic knots in the shirt, it covered most of the appropriate parts. And the pants, well who really cares what goes on down there? I swear, I just love putting lycra against my skin so I’ll wear nearly anything. Even if it happens to be Kermit-green and advertise cream cheese (which I hate, by the way).
Anyhow, we turn up at said venue (home ground advantage!) at the allotted hour and ‘warm up’ (sit in bean bag and eat banana whilst taking pictures with iPhone of others on exercise bike). There’s a lot of body-prep involved with triathlon, and I, along with may others, took great joy in defacing other people’s limbs under the pretence of writing on their race number.
Due to Melbourne-style weather the swim part of the triathlon was cancelled in favour of a beach run. Has anyone run on the beach before? I may have seen this in Baywatch and various movies, but I don’t recollect actually doing it myself. And good reason for that, too. It’s a shit idea. Especially early in the morning, but probably any time of day is poor. I was secretly pleased when I heard this as I am a nonsense swimmer and an ok runner. This pleasure evaporated shortly after starting. I had to wait for my teammate to come into the team transition area, which was a cattle-storage-like arrangement pen, take off the timing band and pass it through the fence to me. Has anyone ever tried to take one of these things off after racing? I think not. That’s why they always have those people there to do it for you at the end since you’re completely unable to bend over, let alone have the motor skills required to undo velcro. Anyway, I put the timing chip on and off I go amidst thunderous applause towards the beach, where I am to learn that running in sand makes you wish you were still in bed.
After being overtaken by people who looked as if they were walking, I stumbled into transition and got my bike. The rest of the race was like clockwork. The element of the BRW which most appeals to me is the performance aspect. This is one of the largest triathlons in the Southern hemisphere, evidenced by the difficulty I had in finding a car park. The team transition area is the place to be. Quite literally for many, who weren’t there at the appropriate time. I can count on several hands the number of people who finished their race and took off their timing band only to stand there holding it as their teammate was nowhere to be seen. They were probably off in the coffee line or something, completely unaware that they were contributing to the longest transition time in history.
Overall, it was a great day and good preparation for Elwood in a few weeks.
Writing by Sheridan on Friday, 26 of November , 2010 at 8:09 am
Ah…I love this time of year. Not for the pen-in-ear inducing Christmas music in the stores, nor the incessant chatter about Kris Kringle, or even the fact the Hot Cross Buns will be back soon. November (in Australia, and for mere amateurs) heralds the start of triathlon season. It may not seem like a big deal, but when you train from April to October with barely an event to compete in, it is a huge deal. That extensive 2XU wardrobe is not going to show itself off, is it? And how many other times during the year do you get to wear a skin-tight one-piece suit? Not often, if you’re anything like me. Speaking of which, how many outfits do you have which can take you from ocean, to bike to track and then to the bbq?
I love everything about triathlon. Nothing at all I hate (apart from the physical feeling whilst actually doing one). I love the early mornings, and having everything on de-mist in the car so I can partially see where I’m going. I love wiping the outside of the car windows with an old screwed-up Safeway receipt, again in an attempt to see the road. I love trying to get my bike into and out of the back of a 3-door hatch. I love going in to set up my transition area and obsessively going over whether to put my sunglasses in or on my helmet, even though I never actually put them on my face during a race. I love the nervous banter that goes on with the person who writes my number on my leg. I love going down to the beach and checking out where the turn buoys are and reassuring myself that it’s not that far – I can make it. I love to tell other people who are nervous that they can make it, too, and that they’ll have a great time and there’s no need to be nervous. Then I love kicking really hard and erratically when I swim in an attempt to slow the people behind me, mainly so I’m not dead last. I also love to sprint up the beach past the people who overtook me in the swim on my way to transition. I love to run past them with my bike on the way out as they struggle time-consumingly with their wetsuits.
I love the sound of carbon being deposited on bitumen as people make clumsy attempts to get on their bikes with their shoes already clipped in. Then I love to pick people off, one by one, as I show off my speed-demon skills on the bike. I love to snigger internally each time I do this. I take particular joy in coasting past someone on a mountain bike with wheels comparable in size to those of my car. I love to corner like I’m a pro even though I have very little idea what I’m doing. I love to romance the idea of getting off my bike in a pro way to save a few seconds. I love that I don’t have to do this, and that I’ll still overtake heaps of people who can’t run in their cleats.
I love to head out on the run because it means I am nearing the end and with any amount of luck, I might get the chance to overtake a few more people. Plus with each step I am closer to the time when I have an opportunity to empty the sand and grass out of my runners. I love the kids at the drink stations that hand out drinks as well as what sounds like sincere encouragement to people they have never met. I love to take the run as my chance to work my pain face for the photographers and they lap it up. I am particularly amused that my Garmin seems to shit itself around this time. Or it might perhaps be a user problem. But I love that it distracts me from the jelly feeling of my legs. Garmin – I would love to know how fast I am running at this stage please. Thanks. I love that there are people in the squad cheering for me, even though they have no idea who I am. I love to compete in squad uniform.
I love the velcro rip as a timing assistant removes the timing band from my ankle. I then like to stagger around for a bit with my hands on my hips like I have recently completed an Olympic marathon, just for the crowd. I think they kind of expect it, and they seem to enjoy it. I love to get three partially-full cups of Gatorade and tip them into one cup and have a mega-full cup (why don’t they fill them up more???? Are we that un-co?) I love to get at least 3 free apples and sit and read my free newspaper whilst I watch other people race. And then I love waiting in a huge line for a mediocre coffee that costs $5. The whole experience is just a bundle of aceness.
I love it that people have amusing nicknames, and I love that we all get to learn about them through the wonders of cheering and barracking (GO RISSOLES!). I love it when kids yell out ‘Go Daddy!’ at their fathers (obviously) and that dogs seem to love triathlons as well. Heaps of them always turn up. I love that it presents free and wholesome entertainment for the entire family, and parking is free too. I love it that anyone can have a go, it’s all-inclusive and age or fitness level poses no barrier.
Most of all, I love it that random people shout encouragement to other random people and this is viewed as completely normal behaviour. Makes a nice change from the rest of the working week.
Writing by Sheridan on Friday, 1 of October , 2010 at 5:47 am
I have just sighted precedent to previously-mentioned shoe-signing request. Allegedly earlier this year, a ‘bold French cycling fan’ stormed Cancellara (on his way to coffee!) and asked for a shoe signing. Granted, this guy has better shoes than me but I’m not sure that’s relevant.
Writing by Sheridan on Friday, 1 of October , 2010 at 5:42 am
After managing to secure a prime spot only metres from the start ramp, I managed to yell myself hoarse and make a fool of myself trying to shout out encouragement to men whose names are not easily pronounceable. And after standing in the same place for what felt like 7 hours I managed to catch a glimpse of the moment Fabian crossed the finish line. Just as well too, or I may have felt bad about shoving all of those people out of the way to get some half-decent photos.
Now I cannot rest until I can get Fabian to apply his autograph to something of mine. Preferably my shoe (cycling, not stiletto), since I have carried it around for days and it takes up heaps of room in my bag. SIGN MY SHOE!!!!
A couple of observations from the day:
1. An Elite male rider, after his time trial (no idea who, possibly someone Dutch), rode up onto the footpath, got off his bike, leaned it against a wall and went into a music store. If this kind of thing was done at ANY OTHER TIME in Geelong or Melbourne, you could have read about it on Ebay within the hour. But instead, people gingerly approached the bike as if it were a newborn baby. Some people took photos. Nobody touched it or so much as even breathed on it. The rider came out of the shop 10 minutes later and rode off. It’s not that big a deal for him since it’s not really his bike anyway and I’m sure there are plenty more where that one came from. But it was a big deal for the spectators, who realise you can’t even leave a Huffy unattended in the street.
2. People who have nothing to do with cycling and no knowledge of it whatsoever will still come along to the event and cheer. They’re not sure who for, but some guy’s putting in the hard yards riding up a steep hill and he looks puffed, so we should all clap. Cycling (and this event, in particular) is inclusive – anyone can watch because it’s free. So even though the AFL Grand Final is on tomorrow (again), I’m fairly sure there will be plenty of people in Geelong to watch the women ride around. After all, they do look better in the lycra.
3. Yesterday I teamed up with a girl from Sydney and a guy from Colombia to stake our claim on the railing near the start ramp. You need to forge these relationships so you have someone to watch your spot if you need to go to the bathroom or get a coffee. And in the brief time prior to the race that I wandered about, I heard all kinds of languages being spoken. People have flown from far and away to go to this event. These people are a bit hard-core, too, and they have no idea what AFL is! It’s great. And it doesn’t even really matter if you come upon a conversation in another language – if you think you hear ‘Alberto Contador’, you can still participate by shaking your head in a dismissive and disappointing manner. There were folks bearing flags from Belgium, Norway, Ireland, Great Britain…even a Swiss flag. I tried to find one so I could climb on the Cancellara bandwagon but sadly we only have Australian flags for sale in Australian ‘Mainly $2′ stores. At one stage I considered scratching a cross into my arm (or forehead) but the colours would have been all wrong and realistically, I don’t think I am at that level of committment yet. No shoe has been signed, so…
4. Being relatively new to the idea of professional cycling, I pondered yesterday the vast cultural divide these riders must come across when moving between Europe and Australia. From the excellent SBS coverage of the Tour this year, I noted that most of the time there were no barriers in place in the small towns or rural areas. Yet here we are in Geelong, which evidently is a city, but which has parts of the course that may be considered ‘outback-like’. Obviously we lack in cycling savvy and have to be restrained. The cyclists must love that no stray pedestrians or dogs can get on the course. And it goes both ways, because I believe some athletes got a bit of a grilling for going through red lights, which some motorists don’t appreciate.
5. I look forward to seeing Cadel ride about for a bit in a couple of days. I also look forward to being approached about someone signing a shoe for me.
Writing by Sheridan on Monday, 2 of August , 2010 at 11:49 am
On the back of persistent nagging, here is the story of the past few months.
In opening, I’d like to say that it’s Winter and that season is not particularly conducive to writing. In fact, it’s not conducive to many things, including cycling. I do cycle, but not in the wind. Or rain. Or if it’s really cold (I lose feeling in my fingers and cannot operate the brake. Or steer. Or see, really). I do cycle on clear, sunny days. And always towards coffee shops.
After having a few cold months to consider things, I have jumped the chasm from recreational cyclist to a cyclist who is purely recreational but wants to look pro. And I have plenty of people close by to show me exactly how this is done. Recently I have installed ‘captivity’ pedals. (Of course I didn’t put them on, I had someone else do it. I’m only a recreational mechanic and my skills are reflected in my status). These pedals are stupidly also referred to as ‘clipless’ pedals. I read the supposed background of why this is and it remains stupid. So I got some shoes to facilitate these ‘pedals’ and the shoes are actually ok. Although not designed for walking, I might prefer these on a stroll down a dark alleyway late at night due to the damage I could inflict if attacked. Especially from below.
The funny thing about these pedals is learning to use them. It’s all well and good to go out on a quiet stretch of road and clip in and out, do a few corners, etc. No one ever falls off doing that (except for me that time in the garage but that’s a path we’ve already been down). It’s always the unexpected occurrences that will get you in the end. For example, a bike pulls up beside you and scares you and you fall over, even when you were completely stationery. Or due to some neural defect you go to put your foot down at a stop and have unclipped the wrong foot. Or (and more likely), whilst trying to get the second foot to clip in, you look down (because that helps…) and accidentally ride into a tree. Or a Ford Falcon. Neither is real good. Mentally, the stress of the situation has not been lost on me, and I have spent many an anxious hour (mainly in the dead of the night) fantasizing about not falling off, or fantasizing about falling off onto a nice patch of thick grass at very low speed with no bystanders in sight. Or, falling off gracefully like a feather at low speed and with a great hairstyle and flattering outfit into the awaiting arms of Fabian Cancellara.
When I am not thinking about the above, I sit in front of my physiology textbooks and try to work out matters of the heart. I completely understand now why it takes so long to be a medical doctor. The stuff they have to (or should) know – it’s just incredible. And it’s not like they get to practice on real humans – the first time they do, for example, open-heart surgery, is the FIRST TIME they have actually done it. I suppose they get to cut up animals and occasionally see a few deceased humans whose bodies have thankfully been left for the good of education. But think about it – there comes a time when a surgeon has to make his or her first incision on a human body – who wants to be that body? Compare this to another relatively-important job – commercial airline pilot. These people quite literally have the lives of their passengers in their hands. Do you think they get the work experience guys up there in the A300 (or whatever it is these days)? Of course not! The guy flying the mega planes with the good tv’s in the back of the seats is normally someone who started out at the tiny airfield with maybe a kite or perhaps a helium balloon. From then on, it’s a slow graduation from small craft to maybe short domestic routes and if they’re lucky, maybe international, long-haul. The point is – the pilot gets practice before the real deal. They get to learn all about the planes. They can play with the planes and look at all the parts. They consider physics (hopefully, depending on the airline…). But these medical guys, they read about it, talk about it and then just do it. Logistically, (ethically, morally, reasonably) you cannot study the human heart directly. Sure, you can take pictures and even see the effects of the heart indirectly. But how much more could be learned if you could just get one out and watch it perform? Of course that’s not possible (I have gleaned some things from the books). But with each training session I do, and whenever I stand up from a seated position, or when I get a small fright or even when I feel cold, all I can think about is what my heart is doing at that exact time. This is quite annoying because at night, when I’m just laying there with nothing better to do, I’m thinking about what my heart is doing, and for some strange reason I’m trying to go through its motions in real time. Which is difficult, mainly because it’s going so bloody fast from stressing about falling off my bike. I’ll be glad when the cardiovascular unit is over. It’s almost as bad as the bioenergetics unit. I’d almost convinced myself I could actually feel a molecule of pyruvic acid converting to acetyl-CoA.
Writing by Sheridan on Wednesday, 14 of April , 2010 at 9:57 am
Times are changing a bit for me at the moment, so on the way home tonight on the train I thought I’d just skim the horoscopes, just to see if they shed any light on what to do next. The first few sentences were just nonsense and I discarded them instantly. But the last sentence has stayed with me and confirms that stars are really just bullshit. It said:
‘Your health and fitness needs attention’
I DON’T THINK SO!!
I mean, seriously, there’s nothing more suitable for the definition of complete inaccuracy than that sentence. I threw the paper in the bin. Just what I needed, too, since I planned to go home and demolish half a block of Top Deck.
So…I sit here doing what I can to avoid essay-writing. I’ve just been in the spare room knocking out Crowded House’s ‘Better be Home Soon’ on the piano (which was partially obscured under all of the bicycles) and gym gear (from my health and fitness obsession). So now I will go and procrastinate for a few more minutes before I come back and do some work. It hardly seems fair – I’ve been at work all day.
Writing by Sheridan on Thursday, 1 of April , 2010 at 10:46 am
Easter is here and the supermarkets are crowded with idiots. I have enough chocolate supplies to last so I should be ok. In terms of local news, there is only so much, most of which can be expressed in dot points:
-I hurt my arm trying to be a swim hero. Who saw that coming? Who knew you use your arm for so many things? I have a guy who’s sorting it all out, hopefully. Either way, we have a very nice chat and I get to leave work for half an hour. It’s a win-win.
-Missed the last triathlon due to above. Now I have to wait nearly a year to go again. Plenty of training time to knock off that bitch at the top of the pack. (I’m coming for you.)
-Work continues. I am having loyalty issues with the various coffee distributors in the region, and have boycotted the coffee machine at work.**
-New bike needs shoes and pedals. I found some really ace shoes called ‘The Dominator’ or similar. Possibly not made anymore, but I will seek out shoes with a cool-sounding name. It’ll remind me how cool I really am as I lay in the gutter after one of probably many stationary falls.
-Uni goes on. Many assessment tasks looming. Mounds of paperwork in various rooms of the house. I’m having a fun time in class as we have cool tutors who do strange things and can somehow back them up with science. I’m fascinated.
-The gym is still there. I go to it often (like a secret lover of sorts). Swimming, in particular, has completely annihilated any body-related inhibitions I used to have. I have no problem getting my kit off. (Just so there isn’t a rush at the gym, I don’t swim completely naked. Just to clarify).
-I’m not sure what to do next. Moving house is on the cards. It’s a bit pricey here and I want to do something else with my money. I spend only a little time here. If the university gods allow, I may take a side-step next year into a different course. Or I might run off to Peru with a goat-herdsman’s son. Who knows?
** Disclaimer – Ms Brown appreciates the value of place of employment’s coffee machine and extols it’s virtues daily. She will not, however, suckle at it’s milky teat. Ever.