Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Geraldton Olympic Distance Race Report/Glorious return to racing report

Greetings and Salutations

Wow-wee a race report, this is a novel experience! Time to dust of the olldddd joke book and see what hilarious buffoonery, mummery, tomfoolery and drollery I can bust out for what promises to be a lack luster at best "race report" (I am a little rusty)

It was time, time for me to make the jump and get back into the racing scene. I had three choices, Karri Valley where I would be facing the likes of Guy "it's not a perm, it's real" Crawford (may have used that joke before...), James "I could actually survival backstroke on land faster than you could run" Lewin and Andrew "our house doesn't actually have carpet it's my loose chest hair" Tyack, not a good first option.

Then there was Hillary's the next day. "Hrm" I thought. "Series final, triathletes vying for the win, actual talent...I AM STEERING THE HELL AWAY FROM THAT RACE"

There had to be something else, something. Total Tri to the rescue. It just so happened my good mates Dan and Chad were heading up to the port city of Geraldton for the annual Olympic Distance Tri. Excellent I thought to myself, I'll sneak up there and with a little luck possibly even grab a cheeky podium in my glorious return to racing!!

My lovely girlfriend Paige and I reached Geraldton around 7pm after attending the wedding of the century a few hours earlier (congrats again Luke and Rachael). A quick feed and we checked into the sweet digs the guys had organised. This gave me a chance to spend about 4 hours looking at this pretty, bad boy, tonight Paige was sleeping on the couch. 

After a night filled with dreams everything Slice related I was up early and prepping to race! It was around this time that my dreams of victory were CRUSHED. Why Mark tell us more!! Well ardent reader let me drop 3 names for you. Courtney Ogden, Brad Wall and Ben Lyons, feck. This was going to be a killer race

Before I knew it we were lined up on the beach for a 2 lap, calm beach swim. The horn went and Ben had actually already finished the swim, seriously that guy is an axe in the water. I attempted to jump on Courtney's feet however I'd missed the boat trying to get Ben to drag me clear of the pack. As a result I settled in on a mate Dougals feet for the rest of the swim. As we excited the water he was nice enough to give me a tap on the back and a good luck. I ran up ripped the wetty off and mounted my trusty new steed for my first ride ever on her!! (yet to be named)

I was onto the bike in 5th behind Ben, Courtney, Brad Wall and 4th-y. I was flying on the way out and feeling GOOD!! Until the turn around. "Sweet baby Jebus" I exclaimed to myself, there was quite a headwind heading back into town. I pushed through and unfortunately passed Ben Lyons on the side of the road at about 19k. He had a flat, I was genuinely disappointed for him and/or anyone who had made the trip to only get a flat that couldn't be repaired. Through the town a quick wave to my fans and I was heading out again, engaging warp speed!!

Again happy to have the tail wind behind me I hit up my super secret caffeine recipe for the return trip home into the wind tunnel. The slice was handling beautifully and for my first ride I was stoked. The ride was pretty uneventful and I was just focusing on limiting my losses (fairly unsuccessfully). Finally I reached T2 after a nothing unsuccessful battle with mother headwind and with a quick transition and a cheer I was off seeing who, if anyone I could run down.

Fortunately for me my running legs were at least with me. Hurrah!! I went out at what seemed like a sustainable pace and felt good. Just past the aid station about 3k in I moved into 5th passing young uber bike mc wilson. The gap to 4th was still fairly reasonable so I continued to push.....can't think of another joke so INSERT PICTURE!!

With a couple of k to go on the run it was pretty clear I wasn't going to catch 4th, so I eased up a little and enjoyed the run home clocking up the second fastest run behind Courtney. I crossed the finish line in 5th overall behind some quality competition. Geraldton Tri Club really did a great job with this race, great organisation, set up and volunteers. I will be back next year fo sho!!

Next up for me I am heading to Kalgoorlie Olympic Distance for a final little tune up before the Busso Half. Thanks for checking in!!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Motivation baby!

Good morning, evening or night avid reader

It's been a while, a while since I've written something in this blog. Funnily enough that leads me to the theme of this post


When thinking the other day "wow that one guy from Mexico who thinks I am actually Marky Mark from the Funky Bunch keeps bugging me to write something new" I thought to myself, why haven't I been writing lately?? Truth be told because I haven't had a lot to write about, why? WHY MARK WHY? AND WHY AM I YELLING AT MYSELF!?

I digress, so let me pre empt the above with a little story.

Pre Vegas 70.3 World Champs I was on top of the world. I was the fittest I'd ever been, I was swimming riding and running faster than I ever had. I was confident and ready to race. I was ready for a big result.

It didn't come, I had a terrible day at Vegas and from that race haven't been the same up until very recently. One thing I've noticed about Triathletes is that most of us are obsessive compulsive type personalities. We get introduced to the sport, get addicted and commit ourselves to the sport completely (not everyone but certainly the competitive group of triathletes)

This is great, it gets us fit, healthy, more attractive to the opposite sex exceptwheninlycra or ifwepeeourpantsontherun (ladiessss) and (after parties exempt) it saves our cash going towards expensive nights out. But what do we get when things don't go our way, when we spend the whole winter preparing for one race and we don't get the result.

Some people get annoyed, depressed and unmotivated. It happened to me and I did NOT see it coming. It's been a long road back for me so I thought why not share my experience as an age grouper. I read a lot of articles from professionals but I find it easier to relate to age group friends going through the same thing.

So I present below

Lucky's top 10 super happy awesome fun helpful tips to get you back in the pool on the bike running again and looking super fit for the ladies or men and getting super awesome finisher medals again
(pretty good title eh?)

Tip 1:
I got back from Vegas, got food poisoning and tried to race Mandurah 70.3 this was the start of a few month long spiral for me. The best advice I can give to an age grouper post a big race that DOES or DOESN'T go your way is take a break! Let your body absorb all of that training, let it recover, let your mind recover!
Have a drink, remember those friends that don't race? Catch an appletini with them (whatttt I don't drink appletini's...)

Tip 2:
When you are ready to return eassseeee in. Hot tip, you probably won't set a new FTP test max you first ride back, or your second ride....

Tip 3:
I wish I'd started doing this earlier, when my coach told me to take a break and I didn't I suffered, they know best, would you pay for service and not use it? In essence it's the same as a coach

Tip 4:
When you start back up again, do the sessions that you really enjoy doing, love riding? Easy runs along the coast, always the easiest to get back too

Tip 5:
Don't push it!! It's taken me a lot longer to get back and really motivated but that's ok. I tried to push myself into it earlier and it did NOT happen for me.
A lot of talk revolves around listening to your body, but listen to your mind also, if your not enjoying it maybe you need a couple more sleep ins

Tip 6:
Totally works for me all the time, seriously, nothing more motivating than a new piece of kit to try out, whether it's a sweet new pair of runners or a brand new bike. I know a really great bunch of guys at Total Tri that might be able to help you out with that ;)

Tip 7:
Remember why you are doing this.
I don't think I've ever met anyone who after their first Triathlon said "I'm doing this to be world champion" that comes over time for some, but for most of us it's the enjoyment, being fit and the social scene, base some sessions around that.
I love my coffee rides :)

I don't claim to be an expert on this whole process but these few pointers have certainly helped me now I am back training properly again. Also I apologise for the fact that there are only 7 tips, feel free to email me more

Next up for me, Geraldton Olympic Distance!! Lucky is back racing!!!

Cheers :)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Where's Lucky??

Where has Lucky been?

Great question reader who accidentally googled 'Mark Luckin' instead of 'mark luck in'

Firstly, unlucky! Just press back and you can be on your merry way, or perhaps you'd like to read on? I guess the most simple answer would be work, a little break and life in general. After Vegas 70.3 worlds, simply and honestly I was a damaged man.

Racing in 42 degree heat, having a day go not nearly as well as planned and putting so much into the race for the previous 5 months hit me pretty hard! I raced Mandurah 70.3, but for fun, I raced in speedos with a couple of friends and had a great time.

Post this race I took time off. It was time for a break! Plenty of catching up with friends, a few parties and a lot of work. Post Chrissy training was sporadic at best.
Then I got the call up that every under trained triathlete dreads... "lucky! can you run in our team for the Albany Half?!" It was the Total Tri boys and I couldn't say no. 'I better head out for a run on Thursday' I thought to my self. It was a shock to the system to say the least
What a mess....we'd managed to put a QUALITY team, well 2 out of 3. NJ swimming and professional Johan riding I was fricken' stressing out. I did NOT want to let the team down!
NJ managed the fourth fastest swim time over all, and Johan had held his spot of an impressive time. Pressure was on and as I saw Johan ride in, after a super quick transition, I was off
'I FEEL GOOD!!', I thought to my self. 'World record?!' I thought to my self. I went through the first 10.5k somewhere around my usual half pace. One more lap to go, here we go! And then.....BLAMO! I detonated. DET-O-NATED, and then, with about 5k to go I actually started walking. It was humbling to say the least! At least I managed to hold onto 4th for the team, we were happy with the day.
What a fricken beautiful bike

Albany was a good wake up call for me. But I needed one more thing to get the blood pumping so I went to the Total Tri Australia Day Triathlon. Seeing some of the top boys duke it out, was the final piece of the puzzle (also I got to do a little commentary, it was awesome fun)
So I'm back! Next up for me? Well I'm just confirming that but I can't wait to race again, after getting a little fitter first perhaps. Chrissie is at the shop with the Total Tri boys currently getting a tune up so lets dance!
Thanks for you interest if you are having a read and I hope to bring some good news soon, lets get training!
Cheers :)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Vegas 70.3 World Championships

As I sit in LA airport waiting for my flight (a tidy 3 hour wait) back to Aus, I've come to the conclusion that it is finally time to write a little race report on my first experience racing the 70.3 World Championships. Emotions are a little less raw and I've had time to think. So here we go, time for some terrible terrible terrible jokes (just to run with the same theme as previous posts)

Let me preface blog by saying it's hard to put in words how difficult this course is and how difficult this race is/was. The swim is hard (explanation coming), the bike is tough, hot, undulating and unforgiving and the run is....pain.

I can't wait to come back (seriously)

I woke up race morning after a good sleep (rare), and a great last few weeks prep under myself thanks to Guy and Kate. Seano and I prepared (think testosterone fueled push ups, boxing and burpies) in the room, then met up with Lisa and Andy (next door) and grabbed a lift down thanks to Dad.

As check in was the day before (see above), all we had to do in transition was check and pump up the tyres and ummm, re check that. After completing this we all met up again and found a quiet spot. We all were due to start approximately 1.30 hours after the pro start so we had some time to wait around, get nervous/calm/drink lots and pee lots.

Finally after sending Lisa and Sean off Andy and I made our way down to the start. Our wave was the last, 18 - 29 males. Actually sorry it was the 18 - 29 college wrestling scholarship holders wave.

We all entered the water single file and after a quick warm up I headed to the front row of the field, I wanted a quick swim and I wasn't going to get caught up behind. As soon as I lined up I knew this was going to be a tough swim. Firstly it's in Lake Las Vegas, fresh water. This means no floatation as you'd normally expected and let me tell you, sculling there for 15 minutes is tiring!

Secondly I noticed as soon as I got to the front row, hitting and kicking was on, 10 minutes before race start. It was fricken rough and I honestly felt bruised before starting, but there is no escaping this and you would be stupid to sit at the back. Finally we got the 30 seconds call and the inevitable creep forward started. Then BOOM then gun went.

UFC #112 is the most apt description I could use to describe this swim. Now I'm a pretty big guy (sarcasm) but I was absolutely pummeled at the start of this swim. Swum over, punched, kicked and touched inappropriately! I tried dishing out my own, but I was simply over powered. This set me up for a difficult swim but I carried on as best I could. To be honest I thought I was swimming terribly until with about 400 to go I noticed I was swimming next to a yellow cap...(my colour)

Those goggles look familiar I thought...a couple of strokes later. Haha that's Andy! Immediately I laughed to myself, however I almost came close to drowning when about 100 meters later Andy stuck his head out of the water mid stroke and said "hey man!"

Upon exiting the water I managed to get up the ramp before Big T. I tried not to act to excited but couldn't help turning around and having a laugh with him. There was a little run into T1 and after a fairly uneventful T1 I was running up the ramp and mounting my bike.

Straight out of T1 and I knew my bike legs weren't with me today. This really hit me hard as the people who have been training close to me know how much effort and the massive gains I have been making this winter re the biking. Immediately I tried to overcome it and stay positive however the further I rode the worse I felt. What was more demoralising was how many people I was getting past by. It felt like 100's and it was destroying me.

The bike was pain, I was shattered and mid way through I developed some really bad back pain. I soldered on but I was not in a good place. Mentally I kept trying to get my self back in the game but it wasn't happening. It was hot, hilly, a little windy and unforgiving. There was no hiding out there. I was however stoked for Lisa, who when I passed her was riding really strong. I was a proud twinny.

Finally I reached T2 some 2 hours 40 mins and change later. I entered T2, sat down, but my shoes on, took a breath and ran out of transition....

I felt good :) immediately I thought, wow, at least my running legs are here. However I got a good reality check about half a mile in when I passed a guy who was literally breaking down right in front of me. I checked by Garmin, it was 42 degrees. Straight away I threw my race pace plan out of the window and entered survival mode.

As I entered the first aid station I grabbed everything they had to offer. I was drenched for maybe a minute, honestly it was fricken brutal. About 2 miles in I passed Andy, it was genuinely shattered for him as he was having a bad day. As I ran past I gave him the last couple of pieces of ice I had in my hand and tried to say something inspiring and motivating. I'm almost certain it came out as "do run lots of good, I believe you, go friend". Oh dear...

About half a mile later I passed my mate Scotty who was also not having the day he wanted, my words would have been just as inspiring I'm sure :/ about a further half mile a passed Seano, he was looking strong, so I patted his bum (hey, I'm only human).

The run was 3 laps, 3 laps of heat, water water ice perform (the sports drink) water coke coke water ice!!! (my aid station yelling ritual) Oh I'm dry... only one mile to the next aid station... I was happy to be running well, and loved the support. But it was still, really really brutal.

With about 4k to go I really really hit the wall, hard. Up until that point I hadn't been passed on the run but things were getting desperate. It's probably fairly well summarised by Andys comments post race when he saw me with about 2k to go and said I looked f*cking really bad haha. However I didn't stop running.

Finally I reached the finish line to see Mum and Dad waiting holding out an Australian flag. I was no where near close to my wanted result but there was no way I wasn't going to grab that flag. As I crossed the finish line I felt pure elation.

(please note not actual finishing time)

All I wanted after was the med tent, however after having a quick look in there, I steered clear. There were a lot more people in trouble. My highlight of the day was running (read walking slowly) back to the finish line to see Sean, Andy and Lisa cross the finish line. We've all spend the winter together prepping for this so it was nice to be there over the line.

Thank you to Mum and Dad, Mandy and Gilbert and Matt Illingworth for the cheering on the day. It was so uplifting every time we saw you. Thanks Kate, Jono, Paul and others for watching at home :) Also a massive massive thanks to Total Tri, the boys there have been there for me at every step over the winter and their assistance has been invaluable. Ryders Eyewear, still hold the title for me as the only pair of sunnies I have ever completed a full race in, they are amazing. My On runners, I was running on Clouds, all be it hot clouds ;) SiS, no nutritional problems for me, no cramps no nothing! Also a massive thank you to Jarman McKenna, thank you so much for your assistance.

Finally thank you Sean, Lisa, Andy for all those cold mornings spent together on the winter, we may have not had the results we were after but all you showed massive character out there. Sean, you are the man. Jono my house mate for putting up with my early starts EVERY morning, and the pushes on the bike. Brian for putting up with my moods at training. Guy and Kate, your help was invaluable and thank you greatly. Finally Paige, who had to put up with all of the above and more, thank you and I love you :) (lucky girl).

It seems a bit silly writing such a detailed report and having such a long list to thank, but for an age grouper, these kind of races are a massive journey, or at least it certainly was for me. To be honest, I didn't race the kind of race I was after, what I knew I was capable of. I finished 20th, 10 to 15 places lower than I honestly expected, however what I learnt from this race was invaluable, and I will be back next year. I know what to fix and I am looking forward to the upcoming challenges.

Up next for me Mandurah 70.3 where I hope to validate for next year. Until then, I have a plane to catch! Thanks for reading!


Monday, September 3, 2012

A Hed wheel review

Before leaving for Vegas 70.3 I was in a predicament. No race wheels. I didn’t want to take my disc over to the hilly course that is Vegas. I needed something light, aero and fast. Total Tri had me covered.

Enter the Hed Stinger (6 and 7)

I’ve been using a variety of wheels for races over the last 4-5 years, but these new Heds are something else. They are far and away the best wheels I’ve used, why? Read away!

I’ve been riding these wheels for almost 2 weeks now, in training and in a prep Olympic distance triathlon for Vegas 70.3 worlds. The rolling resistance in these wheels are incredible. I honestly feel as though these wheels are giving me a much larger amount of free speed than I have ever experienced from a set of race wheels. Smooth fast and confidence inspiring, exactly what a light guy like me is after in a set of wheels.

The R & D put into these new wheels in prevalent as at speed I feel like I’m putting out less watts. Actually all I have to do is look at the data, I am putting out less watts. In fact last weekend I had one of my quickest bike times over an Olympic distance race. I raced an unknown course, a couple of days after 30 hours of travel and out rode everyone on the course, love it.

I’d love to say this is all due to my fitness, but that would be a lie, I have to thank Hed for that increased in speed.

Like I touched on before, being a smaller guy I have suffered in the past from being thrown around by a set of race wheels. I was absolutely stoked when I rode this set for the first time and on subsequent rides after and did not suffer like usual. I’m confident in the wind in the aero position, a refreshing change (that said I’m sure these wheels would be a superior ride for all weights).

As well as them being incredibly fast in a race environment, for a race wheel they have been bullet proof to train on an extremely comfortable ride. Climbing, rough roads, aero position, descending you name it, I’ve been comfortable on these, a complete package I have found to be very rare on a set of race wheels.

Simply if you are after a comfortable, smooth, confidence inspiring and fast ride. Look no further. Oh and boy they look good ;)

Great wheels.. Thank you Total Tri and Hed for the opportunity.