More photos...

The official race photos from BSLT are up:

Pics of me

Pics of Gordon

One of my favourites is the one at the turnaround point where I am smiling and holding two cups in my hand. I was so relieved to hit the turnaround point (6.5mi mark on the run) and be on the home stretch. However, I'm not looking quite so fresh and happy when I cross the finish line... I'm still digging around to find some photos coming out of the swim, so stay tuned :)


Trails and Blues...

So last night I met up with Nedra for a 4 mile trail run on the Greenbelt. It was really shaded, quiet, pretty rocky (I nearly fell a couple of times, but didn't pull a Gordon this week ;)) and just a lot of fun. In fact, it was so much fun that Nedra, Gordon and I are going to start making this a weekly event. I felt pretty good out there, considering that I'm still recovering from BSLT on Sunday. We splashed around in Barton Springs for a while afterwards, just to cool down. Gordon met us at the pool and we walked over to Zilker park afterwards and met up with Marla and Kent, and listened to some Blues on the Green. It was a gorgeous evening, great company, and we had an awesome spread of food and wine. The music was good, but kind of incidental because we were all talking and laughing so much! Last night is what makes living in Austin so great - fantastic friends, Barton Springs / Greenbelt, and events like Blues on the Green...


BSLT 70.3 ... check!

Well, I can now say that I have two of the 70.3 triathlon races under my belt. First was the Vineman 70.3 race in California last July, my second was BSLT 70.3 yesterday in Lubbock! I have to say that BSLT was definitely a harder race than Vineman, and I feel such a great sense of achievement for having finished the race yesterday and thank goodness it only reached a high of 90 degrees and 10mph winds. It could have been a lot hotter, so I'm very happy that the temperature stayed relatively cool.

We arrived in Lubbock Friday evening and stayed with Nedra's parents, who were wonderful hosts. Our friends Chris and Ralph, also doing the 70.3 race, stayed with us as well so it was one big happy family of triathletes :) Saturday we had a nice sleep in then assembled our bikes and went for a short bike ride and run. Then we headed over to the race expo to check-in and pick up our race packets and timing chips. After that we headed out to the race site and drove the run and bike course... and got a few surprises. I got a little nervous seeing some of the hills on the run and the bike but was happy to see that most of the bike was flat... which was actually not so great for reasons I will go into later! After driving the course we met up with Nedra's parents, granny and some of her friends, for a pasta dinner. Then home to pack our gear for the next day, set the alarm for 4am the next morning, and jump into bed for an early night.

I had a little bit of trouble getting to sleep, then I woke up at 2am and then 3:15am. Well, after the 3:15am wake-up I just lied in bed thinking about the race to come. We got up at 4am, sun-screened up, had some coffee and breakfast then made our way to the race site and saw some spectacular lightning on the way there. It was pretty cool to see lightning over flat land, but of course we were both a little bit worried about how that might impact the race! When we got inside the park (where the race was being held) we got in line for parking and then heard a thud from the roof of my car, then saw someone running up from the car behind us, who then told me that my bike was about to fall off the roof of my car... eek! So we jumped out and fixed it. Phew, that was lucky. I nearly didn't have a bike to do the race on! We parked the car then made our way down to the transition area. I went off to setup my gear (bike, shoes, etc.) and then the wind started... it was howling! I was chatting to a few of the girls around me, and we were all wondering what might happen to the race, but then we heard that the storm was moving through pretty quickly and that the race was scheduled to start on time. At least the storm brought the temperature down a little bit.

Before I knew it I was putting my wetsuit on and heading down to the swim start. I did a few warm-up strokes, chatted to a few other friends that were doing the race, got a good luck kiss from Gordon, and then our wave (women 39 and under) was called. The first wave was the professionals - they started at 6:30am. We started in wave 7, so that put us at a start time of 7am. The swim start was staged on the beach, and when your wave got called up you started in a couple of feet of water and then ran into the lake for your swim. I hadn't done that type of start before so that was fun. The swim was a little busy and I got a kick to the face early on which sent my goggles slighty askew so I took a few seconds to fix them. I did find it tough to carve out my own spot in the swim, it seemed like there were people everywhere. It was a little rough'n'tumble. But I was able to get into a good stroke and I focused on the swim technique I learned from the swim clinic I've been taking for the past 6 weeks (my coaches Maurice and Chrissie were also doing the BSLT race). I was a little worried going into the swim that I hadn't swum enough distance for the race. I'd been focusing on a lot of drill work but not a lot of long continuous swimming so I was a little worried about having the endurance to swim 1.2 miles. You can image my surprise when I finished feeling strong and with a time of 32:03 (1:40 per 100m)!!! That's over 3 minutes faster than my Vineman time from last year. I was pretty stoked about that.

I ran up from the swim finish to my bike, got my bike gear on, grabbed my bike and headed out onto the bike course. I was feeling slightly nervous about the bike, but for the wrong reasons. For some reason I was really concerned about the first switchback on the bike course. This switchback (a winding uphill) came at about mile 20 and from driving the course the day before it looked pretty tough. Anyway, let's go back to the start of the bike. The first climb out of transition wasn't too bad, and the next hill was pretty easy too. 2 out of 8 hills done! Then we made our way out of the park and onto the rest of the bike course. My main focus for the bike was to keep the pace easy and save my legs for the run. I got passed a lot and was a little disappointed about that, but it didn't change my strategy, I still kept the pace easy and spun my legs a lot. While I got passed on the flats, I was easily passing people on the hills. Oh, and that switchback I was worried about? Piece of cake. Unfortunately there just weren't enough hills (I can't believe I'm saying that!). The first hour of the bike I felt great and averaged about 17.5mph. Going into the second hour of the bike I started feeling tired. I was getting sick of pedalling. The problem with a flat bike course is that you get no chance to give your legs a break, you have to pedal constantly and that is pretty wearing if you haven't been training on that type of course. Training in Austin you get a lot of hills and not so much flat. We'd done some flatter rides but not enough, and you could tell. I'm normally a strong biker but I didn't feel that way during the race. Because my wave started so late and I got passed so much on the bike I started to feel like I was right near the back of the pack, not a feeling I'm used to. I also started getting a bit of a sore stomach and had to stop for a bathroom break along the course. By mile 50 I was sick of the bike ride and just wanted to be done. I had a bit of an emotional meltdown and I could not even comprehend how I was going to run a half marathon after this. I definitely did not feel like I did at the end of the Vineman bike course last year. I had such a great ride at Vineman last year, and at BSLT this year it was a lot tougher. But I kept going and arrived back in transition with a bike time of 3:28:48 which gave me an average of 16mph. I was aiming for 16-17mph, so I met my goal but I just felt slow compared to everyone else (and I was). I saw Gordon as I rode back into transition and that cheered me up immensely and also being back in the crowd was great too. It got lonely out there on the bike.

I racked my bike, put my running shoes on and headed out to the run course, again I saw Gordon on the way out and Nedra and Trey cheered me on as well. I still had no idea how I was going to run a half marathon. I just wanted to be done. I did not have this feeling last year at Vineman. The only reason I didn't quit was because I couldn't face the idea of telling all my friends and family that I quit the race when I had no real reason for quitting! But after the first mile my legs started to feel better and I started passing people. I was feeling pretty good. I had a good run pace going on and I felt strong. There was an aid station every mile with water, gatorade, ice and food so I would grab water and gatorade every mile, put some ice down the front and back of my top and in my hat, and walk for about 30s. I gave myself permission to have a short break at the water stop (i.e. each mile). I had also decided to walk the 3 steep hills on the course to conserve some energy. That tactic paid off. Apart from the hills and the water stop I ran continuously up to the turnaround point. Before the turnaround point you had to run an out and back section along a straight, bitumen road by the power plant. Hot and seemingly endless! At this point I saw Chris, then Ralph, so that cheered me up, as did the fact that I kept passing people on the run course. That felt so good and made up for getting passed on the bike. I started having some stomach issues again so another stop at the port-a-loo at the turnaround point (there was a short line so unfortunately that added about 4 minutes to my run time!). Then I started the second half of the run course. By this time I felt happier and knew that I was going to finish the race. I kept running and then walking through the aid stations. When I got back inside the park, with about 3 miles to go, again I struggled. This was similar to Vineman last year when I got tired on the last 3 miles. I would run at a decent pace and then for some crazy reason just decide I was tired and start walking. I just couldn't run at a slow pace, it was either a decent pace or a walk, I couldn't find a middle ground, and I also couldn't convince myself to just run the last 3 miles continuously. Argh! Then with one mile left I decided that I had to just run it in, being so close to the finish line. Then at about .5mi to go I saw Gordon with his camera. I was pretty focused at this time, head down just trying to stay focused and finish, so I didn't have any big grins for the camera. But it really lifted my spirits to see him there and especially when he told me it's only 800m to go! I managed to run it in, and even better, I had a kick at the end and finished strong with the crowd cheering me on. It was so unbelievably fantastic to cross that finish line and be able to stop!!! My run time was 2:11:19 so an average pace of 10 min/mi. I did roughly 2:04:00 at Vineman last year so I wasn't far off that pace on a tougher run course.

My total finish time was 6:16:40. I was aiming for under 6:30 so I was really happy with my time and just so pleased with myself for coming through a tough patch during the bike and being able to turn that around and finish. The big takeaway from this race was that my bike training was all wrong for this type of course. To really do well at Buffalo Springs I should have been doing long training rides on flat courses. I had been doing some flatter rides, but not enough. I felt strong on the hills, but weak on the flats. Last year for Vineman training we did a lot of course simulation and a lot of hills in preparation (Vineman was a lot of rolling hills). I didn't have the right kind of bike preparation for Buffalo. It was definitely the hardest half ironman that I've done so far, but a fantastic race. It was well-organised and supported and the crowd was fantastic. I would definitely do this race again. In fact, Nedra's parents have already invited us to stay with them again next year!

Congratulations to Gordon as well. He did the sprint race on the same day, and had a great race (11th in his age group!) !!! He was wonderful and took some great photos (www.pbase.com/gordonmcgregor/bslt06)
of us (me, Ralph, Chris) after he'd finished the race.

Now it's rest and recovery for a few days, then a trip out to Carmel, California this weekend for some more R&R. Then back into training next week!


Ready and raring to go!

So the car is loaded with bikes and gear and we're just about ready to set off on our journey to Lubbock! We were just able to fit all our gear into my little Ford Focus, unfortunately there's no backseat room for a nap post-race during the drive home... oh well!

We've got a long drive ahead of us, 7+ hours, but we have music, food and no doubt it's going to be a fun road trip. Neither of us have seen this part of Texas before so it will definitely be an adventure!

I hope to be able to update my blog while in Lubbock, if I can get a signal on my Blackberry... so stay tuned! If not, full race report and photos to be posted early next week.

Wish us both luck - me for the 70.3 and Gordon for the Tri-Raider!

Amanda xxx


Getting nervous...

So I've still been feeling a bit tired this week, but after two espresso's this morning I'm feeling nervous and excited about this weekend! I did a short run workout yesterday morning with some hard 200's thrown in and boy I felt tired. I guess my body is still in the "feeling tired" part of tapering. Last night I slept 8 hours and still had trouble dragging myself out of bed this morning! But like I said, a couple of espresso's later and my heart is pounding a little - either I've had too much coffee or it's the ball of nerves that has mysteriously appeared in the pit of my stomach...

If I compare how I feel today to how I felt a few days before my first half ironman last year (Vineman in California) I would have to say that I feel completely different. Physically I feel stronger this year and I'm even a few pounds lighter than I was prior to Vineman last year. Mentally I feel tough, because I know that I've done a half ironman before. But I don't quite have the same "this is a huge big deal" that I had last year and to be honest for some reason I don't feel quite as prepared. I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that (a) I've done a half ironman before so it doesn't carry the same awe and excitement as the first time you do something, (b) The training group hasn't been as cohesive this year, there's only a few of us going to this race compared with more than 10 of us that went to Vineman last year so not as much nervous energy to feed from, and (c) No flights to worry about, no shipping bikes, and it's just a short weekend trip away rather than the 5+ days we spent in California last year. Instead, it's an 8hr road trip to Lubbock. A bit of a different kettle of fish!

Although my goal for this race is truly just to finish (and I mean that), I'll be aiming for a sub 6hr:30min finish. I did 5hr:47min at Vineman last year on a much easier course, so I think it's reasonable to give myself an extra 45min at Lubbock. Lubbock is going to throw heat at me (current forecast is around 95 degrees, so hot hot hot), wind (16-17mph), a bit of altitude (3000ft compared to 600ft in Austin), and some drier air (now this, I think I will like!). Apart from my time goal, I have a few other things I'd like to accomplish at this race:

1. Finish
2. Sub 6hr:30min
3. Focus on swimming efficiently. I've spent the last 6 weeks learning how to swim more efficiently. I haven't been swimming as much yardage as last season, but I'm been doing a lot of drill work and my swim stroke is feeling really good right now. But the real question is how well my stroke holds up over 1.2 miles of swimming.
4. Try and maintain around 95rpm on the bike. Don't push any really big gears. Keep the effort easy and save my legs for the run. Don't be too concerned about my speed here and don't try and chase anyone down :) Oh, and try not to lose my bottle cage and bottles this year!
5. Have a good solid run. Be strong on the last few miles. I struggled during the last few miles at Vineman last year and I want to try and improve this part of my race at Lubbock. My running has been feeling really strong this year and I've been running well off the bike, I just have to keep my mental focus during the run.

It's going to be fun.


Great weekend

This weekend was really great. Friday night we went out to Uchi for sushi - had about a one hour wait so we sat outside with a drink and relaxed and caught up with each other. It had been a busy week and we hadn't seen each other that much! Then we had awesome sushi. Yum. Saturday morning we were supposed to get up and go for a run, but when our alarm went off at 5am it was bucketing down with rain and there was lightning and thunder, so we switched our alarm off and went back to sleep. It was great!!! Saturday afternoon was my day out at Lake Austin Spa and that was just brilliant. I got scrubbed and steamed and rinsed and pedicured. Felt so relaxed afterwards. Then I got home and Gordon had finished all the chores around the house and prepared a 3-course dinner for me - complete with a printed menu at the beautifully set table and some red wine breathing in the decanter. It was amazing!!! He is amazing :) So we had a great dinner and watched a cheesie movie (Casanova).

Sunday morning we got another lie in - this was just great and really appreciated because with all the training we've been doing we never get to sleep in on the weekend. So two days in a row was just too good to be true. Then we got up, had a lazy breakfast and met some friends downtown to watch the Australia vs. Brasil world cup soccer game. Now, although Australia lost, it was a really good game and I was proud of how well our boys played. Hopefully they will beat Croatia on Thursday and will make it through to the next round! Post-soccer we went out for lunch to a great little Italian restaurant in the new 2nd street district. Then we came home and went for a bike ride in the 100 degree heat, it was very hot! Now we're just chilling out at home, relaxing before the start of the week. We're off to Lubbock on Friday, so it's going to be a short week and probably a bit of a nervous week for me!


I have the most awesome husband in the world!

I couldn't resist posting this to my blog. I've been having a tough week - very busy at work, lots of things going on in the evening, and I'm just feeling really tired and burned out. Big reason is because I've started tapering for my race on June 25th so my body is going into super-recovery mode and is hating me :) Plus it's been hot hot hot this week. Then I get to work this morning and there's this amazing evite email in my inbox. Nearly brought tears to my eyes!

Amanda's Day Off
Host: Gordon McGregor
Location: Home
9305 Manipari Lane, Austin, TX
When: Saturday, June 17, 1:00pm
So here's the deal. You still have to do your run on the Saturday morning. Then you are booking yourself in to Lake Austin Spa for the half day package. Off you go, get pampered, have fun. You've earned it.

I'll do the washing and clear the laundry pile out. Take my car. I'll wash yours while you are out.

Come home, I'm making you a healthy, slap up 3 course dinner. Relax. Chill out. Enjoy. Sink in to the fresh sheets. Then wake up late, stroll down to Fado's and watch Australia beat Brazil.


Blues on the Green

So this morning Gordon and I were supposed to do a bike ride plus run before going to work... but after yesterday's sprint run workout in the morning and sprint swim workout in the evening we were both (understandably) feeling a little tired and decided to take the morning off. So we made espresso with our new espresso machine and had breakfast instead.

Tonight is the season kick-off of Blues on the Green in Zilker Park. We're going to bring a picnic and a rug and hang out with some friends and listen to some blues. Should be great! It's another hot day in Austin which means it should be a gorgeous evening for laying out and relaxing to some music.


Eeek, I'm 30!

So I turned 30 yesterday. I'm really excited about it! At least, I'm excited right now. Maybe the shock still needs to wear off? Anyway, so it was a really great weekend. Because of the time zone difference, I tend to have an extended birthday. So the celebrations started on Saturday and Gordon took me out for dinner to
. We did the 5 course chef tasting menu with wine pairings. It was delicious! Highly, highly recommend it, and we'll definitely be going back again. Sunday it was an early start followed by a short (30mi) bike ride, which consisted of some hill sprint races between Gordon and myself. Now that was fun! Then we went home, chilled out, had lunch, and headed out to Opal Divine's for some birthday drinks with friends. It was a great turnout. I feel very lucky to have so many good friends here in Austin. It was a great afternoon to sit back and have a few drinks and enjoy the warm (hot!) Austin weather. Sunday night I got to chat to Mum & Dad, and Kate, and that just topped off my day perfectly! Gordon took a few photos.

Amanda xxx


No rain in Seattle

Well, I'm currently in Seattle on a business trip. It's not raining! Although it is quite cool and is only in the low 70's. I'm feeling a bit cold, coming from the heat of Texas! I didn't manage to run this morning due to work commitments, but I'm hoping to get a run in tomorrow morning. Apparently there's a really nice trail just by the hotel that extends for several miles so I should be able to get a decent run in.

The funniest thing happened at Austin airport yesterday. I was sitting in the departure lounge waiting for my flight to Dallas. I noticed someone sit down next to me, but didn't look up at them (I was happy just reading my book and ignoring the world). About half an hour later I hear "Amanda!". I turned next to me and saw that I had been sitting next to Marla for the past 30 minutes and neither of us had realised until just now. Hilarious!

Time to sign off and enjoy my hot chocolate and read my book...


Well, it has been quite a weekend! Busy, but really really good. We did a couple of hard workouts - 13 mile long run Saturday morning with some easy swimming at Barton Springs afterwards, 3hr ride plus 30min transition run on Sunday morning. The workouts went great. The long run was tough for the last mile, but other than that felt good. The brick today felt great!!! So now I feel all psyched and ready to do Buffalo Springs... and now I get to start tapering! We also did a few other fun things on the weekend - saw XMEN-3 yesterday afternoon, went out for sushi, did a bit of furniture shopping, went out for lunch today, and Gordon topped off the weekend by cooking a delicious shrimp risotto, yum!

I start off my taper with a business trip to Seattle for the next couple of days. Should be a good trip! Then I'm back on Wednesday night ready for an easy couple of days before my birthday weekend :)

Oh, and I got my first birthday present from Gordon yesterday - a carbon fiber wallet. It is SO cool!!!