Sometimes things just don’t go to plan…

The Runner’s race today is a great example of a day when things just don’t go well.  There was nothing he did wrong and nothing he could have done better- but the triathlon gods just didn’t smile on him today.  Going into the race, he felt fitter than ever, confident and strong.  He had been eating all the right things, training hard, and mentally in the zone.  He knew the course well- in fact, Western Sydney was the race he qualified for the world champs for last year.  So there was no reason to think the race would give him any trouble.

However, it did.  Lots of trouble.  So much trouble in fact I’m proud of him for not giving up and just going home.  First, he lost his goggles during the swim- so he couldn’t see where he was going.  Not ideal.  Then, he hit a pothole and came off his bike and is currently sporting “racing stripes” down the side of his shoulder, side, hip and hands as a souvenir.  Then, he got busted for drafting- and had to sit for 5 minutes in the penalty box.

It was in short a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.”

But on the bright side, he’s in relatively good spirits as he sits here and patches himself up.   I know he’s disappointed but who isn’t when things don’t go as we’d hoped and planned for.  But how often does life really go to plan?  Sometimes, when things don’t go plan, they wind up absolutely perfect.  I’m not sure today’s an example of that (in fact, it’s not) but it is an inspiring example of what to do when things aren’t what we expect:

  • Just keep swimming—even if you’re not 100% sure where you’re going.   Staying still isn’t really a great option.
  • Pick yourself up, dust yourself up and get back on your bike. Even if your wife winces when she sees you later, a bit of blood and a few scrapes aren’t the end of the world.
  • Take 5 minutes and think about things….it might help.

And finally, stay positive and keep smiling- there’s always next year.12314335_10153109755996879_7681138627121084989_o

Let the adventure begin!

On my way to the airport and we’ve already passed the first hurdle…. The bike fits in the Uber car…. Just!!

Fingers crossed the luggage gods smile upon me and I’m under my 30kg allowance…otherwise it’s $100 per kg and I’ll have to wear layers onto the plane!   
   

The Final Countdown…

Fun Fact:  The Final Countdown is a song by 80s group Europe.

(sorry if you actually clicked the link and watched the video, it’s not a great song or video unless you’re into 1980s hair bands and men with leather pants and makeup).

Fun Fact #2:  The Runner leaves on Thursday for Europe where he will compete in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Austria

Super Fun Fact:  I’m going with him

I’m excited because I’ve never been to Austria or Germany, and to be honest, I would never have put Austria on my list of places I’m dying to go. No offence to any Austrians who are reading this but if this opportunity hadn’t come up, I don’t think I would ever have planned a trip there.  But now that it’s less than 2 weeks away, I’m getting really excited to see the country and already feeling like we’re not going to be there long enough.  There is a lot to see- castles, palaces, natural wonders, art museums, musical attractions, you name it…. but we’re going there for the triathlon.  The Half Ironman (or 70.3 if you’re in the know) World Championships are being held in Zell Am See, Austria and that’s where we’re off to.

**You may remember that The Runner qualified for them back in December last year, if not, well you know now!

Obviously, I’m proud and excited to see The Runner competing in the triathlon itself- it’s a huge achievement to qualify for the World Championships of anything let alone an individual sport like triathlon that pushes your body to its limits.  I mean, I thought I deserved a medal for walking/running the City to Surf last week and I didn’t even finish in the top half of competitors!  (Actually, I did get a medal, but everyone did so….)

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Anyway– qualifying for the World Championships – and in a sport that requires 5-6 hours of exercise at once, well, to me that’s just off the charts!  He’s been preparing for it for months and I’m excited to see how well he does.  It seems like it was not too long ago that I accompanied him to his first triathlon up in Maitland, NSW (near the Hunter Valley- my main reason for going).  In fact, it was 5 years ago and much has changed since then.

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He’s come a long way and Austria really will be the culmination of years of effort and training on his part.  Austria will also be the first time his family gets to see him compete-and I’m thrilled that they’ll finally get to see him—especially on such a big stage.  A big downside of living so far away is that our families often miss the medium sized events—the things not important enough to come visit for, but that are big events for us nonetheless.  It will be great for them to be finally see him race in person– especially since this is SUCH a big race.

I’m also excited to see what a World Championship race is like.  We’ve been to so many races over the last 5 years of so many different sizes and varieties, that I’m excited to see what this one is like.   We’ve been to races like Maitland where there’s barely anything (or anyone there) and others (like Noosa) which are full blown multisport festivals with lots of sponsors, lots of people, television cameras and a whole city full of triathletes.  I’m expecting Zell Am See to be next level.    First of all, there are 12,000 age groupers (every day competitors) competing on the Saturday before the big race on the Sunday.  The Sunday race is the one you had to qualify for.  So, there will be about 14,000 athletes  and their supporters, sponsors, and other curious onlookers.  You have guess there could be 50,000 people there over the weekend- which is a lot.  Now I don’t know a lot about Zell Am See, in fact 12 months ago I had never heard of it, but 50,000 people sounds like a lot.  According to Wikipedia, the town of Zell Am See has a population of 9,573; so, 50,000 triathlon related people will be pretty noticeable.  I’m predicting a lot of shaved legs (on the men), ironman calf tattoos (also on the men), and a lot of talk about nutrition, transition, and lots of other –itions.   But I’m excited to see the spectacle—and I’m excited to see an Alp….

Actually can you see just one Alp or do they come in groups?

I don’t know because I’ve never seen one.  As much as I hate snow and cold weather, I’m super excited to see snow capped mountains (even in the summer) and excited to see what a real Alpine ski village is like (but so happy that skiing is not on the menu!).  For a girl from DC (the flattest place ever) who has moved to Sydney (the least wintry place I can think of), seeing an Alp (or multiple Alps) is a pretty big deal.  Even for me, a girl who HATES the Sound of Music (yes, I know, it’s weird and a long story), I’m excited to see the rolling, green hills and majestic mountains of Austria.   I’m kind of also excited to stand on top of a) hill and twirl around and sing….

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Ok, maybe not,  but I’m definitely getting excited for our trip!

It’s that time of year again….

I don’t know where time has gone, but it’s time for the Noosa Triathlon again!  I can’t believe how quickly this year has gone and that we’re heading up to Noosa in just a couple of days.

Hopefully there won’t be a repeat of last year’s drama– you can relive the adventure if you’d like.  Fingers crossed this year The Runner stays on his bike and finishes the race without any issues.  I’m looking forward to our first trip together since our honeymoon… and ice cream.   You know how I feel about ice cream.

I love ice cream like a fat kid loves cake.   No offense.  I know, it’s not very PC, but neither is my love for ice cream.  I blame my mother, she ate ice cream sundaes every day that she was pregnant with me (apparently).  I was probably born addicted to ice cream. I can’t help it.  I have a problem.  And I know just where to get my fix….. Noosa.

Noosa has more ice cream places in one 500m street than I can think of in Sydney CBD.  I’m not joking, I can’t think of a single ice cream place within a ten minute walk of my office.  Noosa has 4 or 5 ice cream shops that I know of within a 2 minute walk of each other.  Ice Cream Heaven.

Last year’s highlight was the Nitrogenie liquid nitrogen ice cream.   AMAZING…. it almost made up for the drama during the race (just kidding!!!).  Actually, it was the highlight of my trip to Noosa last year- I’m not joking.  I probably should have been going to the gym this week in preparation for the ice cream avalanche that I’m planning up there. Seriously, have you seen their flavours?

The Runner is busy studying run splits, max heart rates, training outputs and all sorts of other pre-race preparation to ensure he has the best race possible.  Me, I’m studying the Nitrogenie flavours and hoping that they have a good selection for the days that we’re there.  Seriously, how is a girl supposed to choose between Chocolate Mint Leaf vs. White Balsamic Strawberries or British Banoffee Pie vs.  Italian Tiramisu???  And don’t get me started on After Dinner Minty vs. Black Forest Frosty…

Rest assured, I’ll give you a full report from Noosa in between scoops!

One more Tri

So we were down in Wollongong this weekend for what will be my last race of the season.  The Runner is doing one (or two) more but this is my last one.  With 5 months until the wedding, and after a conference call with The Mom and The Wedding Planner as well as a dinner with the BFF,  it’s time for me to focus.

However, for today, there was one more tri to get through. 

It got off to a bit of a rocky start—I won’t lie, this morning I thought the H-Curse might be in effect.  For more information on the H curse, please see the Noosa race where The Runner came off his bike, 2 races in Huskisson where there were “issues” and you’ll see that the common denominator is The H.* 

*The H is a good friend of The Runner’s from Ireland- they grew up together playing tennis and now do triathlon together but literally every race they do together one of them has a race injury, fall, or major malfunction that affects one or both of them.

Anyway, we had a bit of a late start this morning—totally and completely not my fault.  No, really, it wasn’t- I promise.  We got to the race a bit late considering The Runner and The H hadn’t actually signed in yet to get their timing chips, numbers or anything related to the race.   It was still dark.  Very dark.  Pre-sunrise dark, and there was a bit of illegal driving to get there but we did get there in the end.  And when we got there, there was a queue—a line, for all of my American readers.  Quite a big queue (line) actually, of other athletes who needed to register.  The race was due to start at 6:30am…. (so early!) And at 5:55, we were in the queue.  To be more precise, we were the last people in the queue.  And it wasn’t moving at all.    The Runner and The H were a bit nervous.  Imagine going all that way (Wollongong is only 90 minutes from Sydney, so it’s actually quite close) just to miss the start of the race.   I was too tired to register that I had woken up at 5:25am on a Sunday morning for something that might not happen.  (Really??  Is this my life?)  Thankfully the line/queue moved and eventually we made it to the front with minutes to spare.  I wish I could tell you that everything was fine and that was that- but THAT wouldn’t be a great story now would it?

Well….we got to the front of the queue and The Runner handed over his ID and nothing.  There were a few minutes of paper shuffling, and then nothing.  They couldn’t find his race pack.  Time is ticking by, his name is on the list but his pack is missing.  Tick Tick Tick goes the pre-dawn, pre-race clock.  The older woman who has been handing out packs seems to think there is someone with the same name in the race.  There isn’t but she’s given The Runner’s race pack to someone else.  To Lucas Madar to be exact.  Those of you who know The Runner, know that neither of those names are his- or really that close to his name considering you have to show ID when you collect your pack and presumably Lucas would know his own name and know that The Runner is NOT his name.  Now, I will cut Lucas some slack because it is 6:05am and I’m not sure I knew MY own name at the time.  If I had been pre-occupied with swimming, biking and running, I probably wouldn’t have taken much notice of the name on the pack.  I understand how it happens but….it’s a bit awkward.

The solution was obviously to take the other person’s number and race under that number- which means that when The Runner crossed the line, they announced the other guy’s name and vice versa.  It was only really funny when a friend who was in a later race heard The Runner’s name called out about 10 minutes after he had finished.  It’s also a bit funny because in transition- where you keep your stuff—everyone is in numerical order .  Technically The Runner and the Fake Runner had all of their bikes and gear next to each others.  Clearly, I would have had words to The Fake Me… but The Runner is a better person than I am and had bigger fish to fry!

And actually, The Runner had a fantastic race.  It was probably one of the best ones that I’ve seen him run and I couldn’t be prouder.   He did a record time over the distance and other than a small problem of not turning around in the right spot (he blames me for distracting him), he had what I think is a perfect race.  The H curse isn’t broken-  he had the wrong name!!!  But it was a really good day and I’m really proud of him.  He did amazingly well today and as much as I hate the early starts, I love seeing him do well and do what he loves well.  Just don’t look up his results, they haven’t switched his time yet and the Fake Runner did a rubbish time!!!  

Visit our Flickr site or Like He Runs, I Cook on Facebook to see photos from our day!

4th times a charm?

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since we were last here but it’s husky long course race day again! We’re two thirds of the way in (The Runner is running) and so far he’s looking good! Will this be the year the Husky curse is broken? Fingers crossed !!

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A Typical Saturday- He Biked, I Learned to Cook Mexican!

Happy February!

Today was a fantastic way to start the month.  The Runner did a VO2 Max/Lactate Threshold test and is busy analysing his results.  He is exceptionally pleased with them and now is just trying to work out how to use them to improve his training.  Husky Long Course is a mere three weeks away and this year he’s either going to get an awesome time or possibly die trying.  He’s had three bad races there in the past three years he’s done the race– a torn Achilles the first year, a crash and a lost watch the second year, and bad cramping last year.  This year we’re hoping the curse has somehow been lifted!

While he was out testing, I was at a Mexican Cooking Class at The Essential Ingredient in Rozelle.  It was a Christmas present from The Runner and it was fantastic!  

First of all, I love that shop, it’s basically a cook’s paradise in Sydney.  They have lots of ingredients and cooking equipment and Le Creuset pots, and Kitchen Aid mixers and all sorts of other kitchen related things.  From obscure ingredients to obscure equipment, if you need it to cook with, they probably have it.

Secondly, the chef, Travis Harvey, who led the class was absolutely fantastic.  He’s just gotten back from filming an SBS series on Mexican Cooking with Peter Kuruvita and his passion and knowledge of Mexican cooking was fantastic!  He was really helpful and gave just the right amount of help but also let us play and cook ourselves.  The food was TO DIE FOR.  Literally, some of the best Mexican food I’ve had in a very long time.  I’m not a fish person, but the fish tacos we made were the best ones I have ever had in my entire life.  We made Baja Beer Battered Fish Tacos and the recipe is here on the SBS website along with 10 of his other Mexican recipes which are related to the show which are on the web as well.  

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Actually, everything we made in our class was tasty.  We made Ceviche with the Snapper that we learned to fillet in class– actually I watched other people learn, I have a thing with dead, whole fish.  (It’s their creepy, dead eyes and the thought of their scaly skin…I shudder just thinking about it).   We served it with tortilla chips and they were beautiful and tasty.

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Also, we made mini spit roast pork tacos with pineapple which were yum!  We learned how to make corn and flour tortillas and various salsas as well.Image

 

I was responsible for making two types of Chicken Tamales- one with salsa verde in banana leaves and the other with salsa roja in corn husks.  And they were fabulous!!!

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Best of all, everything we made were things that I could easily make again.  In fact, I bought a tortilla press, black beans and masa harina and tomorrow I’m going to make vegan tacos from scratch!  I think it should be pretty easy but of course, no cheese or sour cream to go with them but hopefully with guacamole, pico de gallo, and maybe even salsa verde we won’t even care!!

If you’re in Sydney, I highly recommend taking one of his classes-  I would do one again just to eat the delicious food!  You can book for yourself here.

Another Sunday, Another Race

Greetings from the Nation’s Capitol! No, sadly I’m not home for Christmas in Washington, DC. We’re in Canberra and it’s 5:35am and we’re here for the 14th annual Canberra 70.3 half Ironman race.

If you’ve never been to Canberra, it’s worth a trip for a weekend if you don’t have anything else to do. I’m biased when it comes to Capitol cities and on a scale of 1 to 10, Canberra is there somewhere. It’s not Washington, Paris or London but it’s well laid out and well planned. Even amongst Australian cities, I can’t say it’s in my top 4 but I have to say watching the sun come up over Lake Burley Griffin is pretty special.

But that’s not why we’re here or why I’m up before the sun. A half ironman, if you’re new here is just what it sounds like. It’s half an Ironman. So 1.9 kilometers in the water, 90 kilometers on the bike and a half marathon (21 kilometers) to finish!

For The Runner it will be an exciting day pushing himself to his limits and taking in Canberra’s best landmarks. For me, well not so much. It’s a day of watching, waiting and wondering if there’s any good coffee in walking distance— so far unlikely! Luckily, I do have a chair and a newspaper and late checkout at the hotel which is only a 2 minute drive away. Hooray!

Wish us both luck and see you at the finish!

The race that stopped The Runner

Greetings from Noosa! Unfortunately this year didn’t go to plan in the He Runs, I Cook family. Not only did we miss out on a Melbourne Cup booking at our favourite Bistro C but The Runner had an awful race- and by awful I mean didn’t finish. In fact, for the first time ever, I never even saw him race!

I somehow missed him coming out of the water by a matter of seconds- literally I must have blinked and missed him. I was waiting with Mrs H and her daughter because we had a few friends competing this year and we saw nearly all of them come out of the water in varying states of exhaustion. While we were waiting I had a missed call from a number I didn’t know but didn’t think twice and kept watching the race. We moved to watch the bike leg in my usual Noosa spot- by the roundabout at first! We even had our photo snapped in the process by the local paper! As time went on and on and on, I started to get a bit worried. The Runner’s progress wasn’t updating on the Subaru Athlete Tracker and we were starting to calculate that based on his swim he definitely should have come past by then. And then I remembered the call and froze.

I’m his emergency contact of course and slowly it all fell into place. I checked my voicemail and yes, you guessed it. It was The Runner calling from the medical tent. He had a crash about 50 meters into the bike leg and had to pull out of the race. I raced to the medical tent fearing the worst. There he was lying on a cot with blood pouring out of his face, thankfully nothing broken but pretty bruised nonetheless. Being a pillar of strength that I am, I immediately burst into tears when I saw him. Partly out of relief, partly out of fear of what had happened. He was more pissed off that he couldn’t compete because after falling off the bike and onto his face, he had wanted to keep racing. Ummmm, yeah you read that right. With blood pouring from his cheek, his first impulse was to get back on the bike and finish. Thankfully, the race officials said no- he had cracked his helmet in the fall so couldn’t continue. He also managed to destroy his sunglasses and twist his bike.

Although disappointed, he also realises how lucky he was not to break anything or have a more serious injury. I’m also relieved that the wedding is still 9 months away. He looks like he’s been in a bar fight at the moment but the doctor said there shouldn’t be any scarring. Personally, I would like to ban him from cycling but I know that probably won’t happen– he’s already talking about ordering a new helmet.

So that was our race this year- eventful but not in a good way. At least we’ve been enjoying the rest of the best of Noosa and having a great time with friends.