4 June 2015: A personal update - it's getting close!

Its getting really really close!

I am around a week or so away from my due date, and unlike the first time around I am hoping that I get all of that time. I still feel as though I have so much to get done before the arrival, but I also feel as though I need to get some important rest in before then too. I don’t tend to blog much about my daughter and if you are a new reader to the blog, then don’t expect to see family updates or pictures (it’s a personal choice but I feel as though when they are old enough they can make up their own minds about their presence on social media. It’s not my decision to make for them). But I will say that as a willful, energetic and dare I say it, intelligent, little girl of 2 and a little bit – she has been exhausting as of late. Never a great night time sleeper, she has always been relied upon for some decent day time sleeps. Until recently. Now, even though she gets ridiculously tired by midday she absolutely refuses to sleep. And especially as she is now in a bed, she has the ability to get out. Multiple times. Even when she does sleep well through the night, the lack of a nap during the day usually makes for a very grumpy afternoon. And that’s just me – she is also cranky and not herself. Which I have to admit is utterly exhausting. And leaves little time to get much done. Plus by the time her evening bed time eventually rolls around I too am so exhausted that I am useless for almost everything – and so the to-do list grows. To top this off because I am nearing the start line of baby number 2, I frequently find that I am awake at night regardless (in fact as I write it is not even yet 4am). I keep getting told that this is simply good training for when the baby arrives. Maybe, but I still wouldn’t mind an actual proper nights sleep first!!

But fingers crossed this settles down and who knows #2 might be a dream sleeper??!! (I wish) 

11 May 2015: 4 weeks to go (give or take)

It’s hard to believe but in around 4 weeks I will become a mother for the second time. My little girl has just turned two and is so action packed that my pregnancy seems to have flown by. In fact a lot of the time it has taken a back seat – something I feel I have to apologise to this new special baby for! Yes I admit I forgot to book the hospital and certainly am hoping that I have the full 4 weeks ahead of me as I feel in no way ready yet for the arrival! There is a lot I still need to do in that time. I have also been hoping that I might have actually got some sleep before then, but my 2 year old has decided that she quite likes waking up several times a night and must beat the sun up each day. So yes, a little scared at the thought of being up with two in just a few weeks time. And of course apologies in advance for those I come in contact with after that as I am sure that I will be less than optimally functional for some time. Complaints aside though I am really looking forward to our little family of three becoming four – becoming a mum has been the hardest, most rewarding and special thing I have done and while it is awesome to see my little girl growing up I must admit it will be nice to have a tiny little dependent snuggling baby again – that time is really so short.

In the meantime I have been kept busy by my work (and mostly my new book) as well as staying fit. Although I have not been following any structured training I feel as though I have maintained some good fitness and still have the intention of returning to racing later this year. I also feel that I might be better prepared this time around to deal with the many challenges post baby associated with getting back to race shape. I certainly learnt a lot of lessons last time around – some of which were learnt the hard way but will be put to good use this time around.

The absolute most challenging thing is time. Without a doubt. Regaining fitness is actually not that hard, but juggling time, and especially with lack of sleep is a huge challenge. Especially as for me my priority is spending time with my children. My training needs to be done in the time they are asleep and not needing me, which means it needs to be time efficient. This is something I have learnt though is not only possible but very effective. Having the basics in place is essential – in terms of body maintenance and strength. This is something that I have worked on throughout my pregnancy and also plan on having some good structure surrounding my return to racing. I view this as such a critical area of building a strong foundation without which I can not add any amount of work to.

I have also learnt about prioritising training. For me, I know I can swim and that with a couple of weeks of getting back in the water I can swim at an adequate level. It might not be the fastest I can swim but it is certainly enough to be near the front of the swim in races and my training time is best spent in other areas for more gain.

I know that I have to be careful with run volume – last time I suffered two stress fractures on my return largely due to the effects of breastfeeding. Just one other obstacle that mum athletes have to consider. Again having a good strong structural base will be key. The bike will also be a priority. Much of my training is done on the Computrainer for efficiency and so that I can be at home as needed (even small snatches of time while babies are sleeping can be worthwhile). I used this method to good effect last time but I think I also learnt in the process how to do things even better this time.

As to racing, while I have plans I am not locking down any specific races just yet. Much of that will depend on the new baby and my little girl. One thing is for certain I will not be travelling without them nor will race plans interfere with their needs. And I believe you can never really know this until after the baby arrives – they all seem to have their own personalities, requirements and ability to cope with different scenarios. So it is very much a wait and see approach. But I will race again for sure. I don’t think I can stay away!!

 

7 May 2015: The Athletes Fix - book extract now available

It's finally here!! I am really excited and proud that my book that I have been working on for quite some time (read: ages!) will finally be out in the coming weeks. Published by Velopress it has been quite a process - certainly challenging but the end result is something that I think many people will find enjoyable as well as helpful. And a sneak peak is available NOW via the link below. Right now I am having a couple of quiet days in a farm stay with my family - forced to be even quieter as there has been virtually no reception! But I will also have this PDF available here on my website and blog in the next day along with some other info and even some specials for purchasing coming soon. http://www.velopress.com/books/athletes-fix/

3 May 2015: AIS musings

I am currently down at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) getting the low down on the latest in the sports nutrition research space. It has been a strange few days on a couple of fronts – good, challenging and also a little weird.

First the good – there are some great minds here and it has been a fantastic opportunity to see some of the research, interventions and protocols being used in some of the elite programs and individual athletes currently. It has also highlighted how many different niches there when it comes to nutrition and performance and also how many questions that remain unanswered and how much we are yet to fully understand. In particular, and perhaps of particular interest to me one such area is that of gut health, microbiota and how this plays into athletic performance. As well as how these implications then might affect dietary goals and interventions. This is an important area that I would love to explore more but really we are just starting to scratch the surface (both in terms of health as well as in a sporting context).

Aside form the course presenters themselves there are also some great people here with extremely varied backgrounds. While I may not agree with or practice many of the usual dietetic or even sports dietetic recommendations, it is always beneficial and interesting to appreciate individual perspectives and background and what they can bring to the table of understanding. Especially as nutrition is an area that we have much to learn, I think anytime there can be collaboration and sharing of ideas, especially if they are disparate and diverse according to backgrounds and beliefs then I think progress can be made.

The challenging – this will be the longest I have been away from my little girl. She turned 2 just weeks ago and previous to this I had been away from her for just over 48 hours. However the challenge does not seem to be so much of a two way street. Judging by my FaceTime calls she is barely missing me at all and is having so much fun staying with my parents (and her daddy) with a packed social schedule of activities, that there is probably no time to consider my absence! While it is nice to be missed, I am actually happy that she doesn’t seem to miss me – it makes being away easier for me but also makes me confident that I have helped her be an independent well adjusted little being who has no doubt that I will in fact return soon.

The weird – being back at the AIS in Canberra and staying in the athletes ‘resi’ block. Never a fan as an athlete here on camp, it is even stranger returning to the cell like rooms with the bathrooms outside for a course and being heavily pregnant too. It is a bit nostalgic though – back then my days were filled with hard training session and lots of testing. Now my days are filled with long days of sitting, including learning about some of those tests that I have so frequently undergone as an athletes. Only now the tables are turned. There have been some changes to the facilities and campus, but much is the same. The old ‘resi’ rooms are the same. The sheets are the same (ie bad), the doors are the same (heavy and noisy) and the key cards the same. Yep the doors still shut behind you and if you have forgotten to take your key when ducking out to the bathroom then a call to security is necessary to get back in.  And of course this always happens when in a hurry. I also don’t think (scarily) that much has changed in the dining hall. The location has changed but the food seems remarkably the same. And disappointingly seems to be focused around low fat as a focus. Who makes scrambled eggs with skim milk????? Please add in some butter and cream. 

13 January 2015: Bone health, diet and exercise

As an athlete who relies on my body's ability to handle training loads without breaking down, bone health has long been a subject that fascinates and intrigues me. I certainly have had my fair share of stress related bone issues over the years - starting when I was growing rapidly as an teenager and yet not running all that much at all - and right through to present day where post-baby breastfeeding has taken its toll on my bone strength. And I know I am not alone. So I found this article really interesting, comparing our bones and their loading strength to those of our hunter gatherer ancestors. Our bones in comparison are like fragile twigs. The research points to changes in our activity levels as we became more domesticated agricultural societies, rather than directly related to diet so much. I think its really interesting research and adds weight to the need for us all to get up and move more, and especially children and teens as this is when we are accruing peak bone mass. I think that diet is still hugely important and is what allows us to maximise those strength gains.Anyway, enjoy the read.

"Hunter-gatherer past shows our fragile bones result from inactivity since invention of farming"

6 January 2015: New Year, new plans

It's hard to believe we are already 6 days into 2015! I always love this time of year - long summer days, warm evenings, the feeling of forever salty hair after a swim at the beach and the fact that more people are on holidays and seemingly in a more relaxed frame of mind. Of course the downside is that our smallish village becomes very busy - so busy in fact that yesterday I was unable to buy bananas as there had been a tourist rush! But this is also about the week where things start to settle back into more of a routine and feel less 'holidayish'. Which can be a good thing when it comes to health and fitness.For most people the holidays can be treacherous with lots of Christmas parties, family gatherings and the tempting beckoning of all the treats of the season. I know I definitely made the most of the fantastic cherry season and have probably eaten half my body weight in cherries over the last few weeks. Even exercise or training regimes seems to loosen just a little as routines are thrown out by travel, extra guests in the house or more social catch ups. I do love changing up my training a little routine when travelling but In have to say if I can't start my day with a run, swim, ride or gym session then something just doesn't feel right all day. I find just the simple act of beginning the day well puts me in a good mood and makes me feel more 'settled' all day. It also for whatever reason makes choosing healthy foods easier at each meal. Try it and see if it works for you! I don't make New Years resolutions - never have. I find it just to be a bit contrived - although maybe thats just my excuse for never getting round to it. I do however always have goals and plans - they are always evolving, being added to or ticked off. Here are some of my current goals for the days, weeks, months and years ahead: 1. Make the farmers markets EVERY week. This used to be an absolute given but I have to admit after my daughter was born things got a bit more frantic time-wise. I do love the fact that I can get local organic produce delivered to my door (and intend on still using this service as needed) however I do love getting to the markets. It's just such a different experience and always makes cooking and prep so easy after the fridge is restocked. Plus I really like the fact that my little girl enjoys going as well as seeing and tasting new foods - I think this is an essential part of connecting with food and fostering good food and nutrition relationships. 2. Attempt to grow some herbs again. I do not have a green thumb. At all. I can pretty much kill any plant - especially if its one that isn't directly giving back to me (ie in the edibility stakes). We also don't have the most easily accessible (from the kitchen anyway) garden which makes it less naturally appealing to go out and pick something during cooking time. And agin there is the excuse of 'time'. However excuses aside, we do have a big deck area off the kitchen that I should be using to grow some basic herbs and pot friendly veggies. My daughter has also provided the inspiration for this as well - her love of flowers, getting dirty and getting outside has given me good reason. 3. Get to swim squad. I have to admit becoming pregnant again has sapped all my motivation for solo swims (something I never have a problem with when I have specific training and race goals). Consequently I have not made it to the pool (I have though done some good riding, running and gym time), knowing that my swimming ability means that pool time is lower down the time crunched priority list. However I know it is time and I need to dive back in. As painful and slow as that is going to be initially! 4. Make better use of time but this also includes time to relax and do nothing. I seem to always feel guilty if I am not super busy all the time - although I do actually like being busy with lists of things to get done (and tick off). But i sometimes lose sight of the fact that doing nothing is also doing something and is often just as, if not more important. 5. Blog more! More writing, more photos, more blogs - its all coming so watch out. 6. Lots more but not for sharing here!!

25 September 2013: Almost back on the start line...

Its under a month until I toe the line at a race again. I'm already feeling a bit nervous! But also excited. It is going to be a really different experience for me racing for the first time as a mum - and so much more to think about too. Just packing for this race and weekend away will be tricky, and if I manage to actually remember everything then that will be my first goal ticked for the weekend. Other main goals are to finish the race, not get injured, and really enjoy the day and the weekend - just getting a taste of race environments again and also catching up with some friends. My prep for this race has also been like no other so I really dont know what to expect - apart from that I wont be setting any records that for sure. There have been quite a few bumps along the way the last few weeks and some big learning curves in new areas. (more on this in my next update over at www.witsup.com).

In the meantime you can read my latest contribution over at www.ironman.com. I will be writing here regulalry so keep an eye out!

http://ap.ironman.com/triathlon/news/articles/09/5-superfoods-for-triathletes.aspx#axzz2fsauEUAs

12 August 2013: New suit for a new season

Oops time seems to have got away from me the last few weeks. I really did think it was only last week that I posted a new blog update here but it appears that time has flown by faster than I thought. Elsie is now 4 months - not sure when that happened - but it is such a fun age! She is really responsive and playful and we are certainly getting to know her unique personality better each day. On the downside she has decided that she prefers to eat at night so I am getting less sleep again right now. But I really dont want that to sound like a complaint - I think you just have to go with the flow and know that things change so quickly, and I just want to enjoy every stage for what  it is. Yes extra sleep might be nice, but really if this is the biggest of my complaints then happy days! In many ways its actually quite nice sitting with her at night - a quiet and special time (although only once or twice a night would be enough I think). Before long she will be grown up and I will be wishing for those nights up with her again! Traning wise and fitness wise things are on track I think. It is certainly challenging juggling things especially with Justin working full time, no close family and getting less sleep. As soon as Elsie sleeps during the day I have to weigh up whether I aim to squeeze in a traning session; get some much needed sleep; clean up the house a little and do those essentials like cooking dinner; or work - either with my nutrition clients or on my writing jobs. Busy days. When she is awake I really like everything to be about her - and this is not something that I would change for the world! The reality is that getting fit post baby is the easy part! The hard part is just the time management. I am really looking forward to having my mum in town this week to lend a hand and hopefully allowing me to get a few extra things done during the day.

So plans are firming up for my return to racing. I am starting to get organised equipment wise as well and will hopefully be making some more decisions and announcements on those fronts soon. I did do a lot of research into wetsuits as there are a lot of new players on the market as well as a lot of new suits. Coming from a swimming background I have always been pretty picky about wetusits and it is great to see the technology and manufacturing process continue to move forward. I can't say I have ever particularly look forward to wetsuits swims, however that seems to have changed! Roka are doing an amazing job and I can honestly say that I enjoy swimming in their suits. I opted to swim in a wetsuit as opposed to go chilly on many occasions over the last few weeks and that in itself says a lot. The suits are flexible enough so that I dont feel any restriction through my shoulders at all. I think this comes down to the fact that the suit is structutred to allow for trunk rotation - meaning that you dont feel as though you are lying flat as a board in the water and all of your roation having to come through the shoulders. Normally I can feel extremely heavy and fatigued through the arms after only a very short swim and the day after feel sore and heavy still. In the Roka Maverick Pro Suit my arms feel free - I feel just like I do swimming without a suit, only faster!! Needless to say I am very happy and will now actually look forward to a wetsuit swim in a race! And just in case you are wondering - no I am not paid to say any of that.

For more of an update too check out the latest blog I wrote for WITSUP here: http://www.witsup.com/author/pip-taylor/

Roka1

Roka4

3 May 2013: 3 plus weeks later.......

I can not believe that my little girl is already more than 3 weeks old! It has ben the most amazing couple of weeks and little Elsie Mae has all of us completley smitten and is already shwoing off her own little personality. Its funny how such a tiny little being has the ability to stop everyone and really dictate how, what and when things happen. Without sharing all the details, the birth went very well for all three of us (Elsie, myself and my husband - who was an amazing support throughout). No drugs taken, no swear words, no interventions and no complications - but bloody hard work. Respect to ALL mothers.

I have also enjoyed getting back into some training. Its been hard to make the pool - right now I dont want to leave my baby girl stranded without her food! - but that will come over the next few weeks as she develops a more reliable pattern that I can time some things around. Getting on the bike and even hitting some hard trainer sessions though has been fun as has a return to some short runs. But most of all I am enjoying just sitting with her - it is a pretty magical way to let a few hours slide as she sleeps on my chest. It has also been interesting to see various family members slow down and relax under her spell - happy to just sit in the one spot, hold and look.

More updates coming soon. In the meantime a link to a blog/article I wrote for WITSUP (www.witsup.com) just a few days prior to Elsie's birth on my thoughts and experiences as a pregnant professional athlete and what this means. http://www.witsup.com/pregnancy-and-the-triathlete-tapering-for-the-most-important-race-of-my-life/. I will be writing more updates for this fantastic website which champions women in sport (and particulalry triathlon) on my journey back to racing.

 

 

26 March 2013: Getting antsy

Funny how slowly the days seem to go when you are just waiting. I am probably not best known for my patience and right now is not one of those times where if you just apply yourself and work a little harder then results will follow. I am now just a week away from my official due date so really any time something could happen, or it might not! I told a friend yesterday that its kind of like being ready and tapered for a big important race but not knowing when you will get the call up to the start line - could be any minute or could be anytime over about a 5 week period. The only thing I know is that the time frame gets shorter every day. Apart from the frustration of just waiting though I am feeling good. Thankfully I never really got a big belly - the baby just seems to be packed in there - so haven't had any issues with discomfort or any other issues (touch wood for the next week or so!). And I have to say that I have enjoyed being pregnant and am now quite used to having a little pot belly that moves! Will actually miss all of those kicks and punches even if sometimes I do wonder if it is actually a little baby in there or a small horse. I am asked all the time if I am 'over it'. The answer is both no and yes. No because it has been pretty cruisy (not smooth sailing but comparatively cruisy) and yes because I just want to meet this tiny person! I am also getting antsy about getting back to racing. The last year has done alot to re-motivate me and rekindle the passion that I have for the sport and for competing and funnily enough I have learnt alot about myself as an athlete in this time away. So cant wait for that either!

Hope to have more eventful news soon! And thanks for indulging me in the baby talk - I know one of the most boring things can be hearing about other peoples kids even if you do really really like them! There's just not too much else happening here to report on right now!

 

 

6 March 2013: New race plans

Just to be clear, seeing as I have been asked this several times including just this week.......no I am not retiring from triathlon. Nor do I have any plans to do so. Yes I am expecting a new baby to arrive any time from now up to 4 or so weeks away and could not be more excited about this new arrival and all the changes that will mean. However I am also excited about getting back into training and racing. In fact my body and mind feel refreshed and my self confidence in athletic ability and love of the sport is actually stronger now than probably any time over the last 4 or 5 years. I think this time out has been a great eye opener to the fact that my body (and mind) were not in optimal condition and have not been for a while. In short I am someone very guilty of over doing things - of not being able to listen to the cues of my body, of loving training and that feeling of pain too much so that too often I was trying to play catch up, trying to nurse my body and spirit back to some semblance of fitness and dragging myself to the start lines. I knew that I was under-performing and this made me want to chase things harder rather than listen to myself and those close to me that I trust that instead I needed to take a step back, or two. So yes I am excited to race again. To be clear, I am under no illusions that it will be easy - I am sure that I will be lacking sleep, I know that I wont be able to be selfish in taking day time naps or training as and when it suits me. I know that I have not 'trained' specifically for about a year now. And yet I feel fit, I feel like I am in good shape physically and mentally and I actually think that having to fit in and around another precious little dependent person is not only something that I am looking forward to but may be the only thing that protect me from myself! - that stops me from over doing things, from over thinking and instead just doing exactly what needs doing and enjoying it at the same time.

So bring on 2013! Cant wait to see you at the races and to introduce you to the new addition who right now is squirming around and kicking so hard like he/she just wants to come out and play and maybe have a little bit more space!!

8 December 2012: Racing inside...(slowly)

With road riding not on the radar for a while, I have been pretty thankful that I have had a great bike and Computrainer set-up. In fact this has always been a big part of my training – I find it just effective from both a fitness and time perspective to be able to head to the garage, get in tough session and be done. The advantages of being able to go as hard as you like without worrying about cars, dogs, other riders etc for me, is priceless. Plus the numbers just never lie. Recently though my time on the Computrainer has become my only bike time, since for me at the moment riding on the road is just not worth the risk nor would I think it would be much fun - and I decided to upgrade from the garage to the lounge room where the Kestrel 4000 bike now takes up prime position. And I think it will be staying there for some time yet! The aerobars are not getting much use – apart from a place to hang the sweat towel and tv remote and right now the wattage numbers are dropping while the numbers on the scales are climbing. A little depressing but I will look forward to the time in a few months where those numbers start to reverse, and hopefully at a much faster rate. Til then though I am enjoying the time on the trainer – rather than the intense suffer-fests that a workout on the computrainer usually entails, these are more about keeping the legs moving and catching up on some good sports, food and nutrition docos.

1 December 2012: Back into it

Its time to get this blog up and running again! Its summer and while racing has not been on the cards this year (or for a few months yet) there has been plenty going on here. I have just finished up exams for the year as part of my Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics – being back on campus and in assignment and exam mode has certainly been a change of pace – more so with the travel it has involved from my home town up to where the university is based. I still have more study to go including clinical placements, but am really glad that period of travelling to campus every day is over. Actually if I am honest I cant say that I went everyday – a few classes were missed when I just couldn’t face getting in the car again or when the weather just too good……..As many people know already there is also a new addition on the way – due early next year – something I am really excited about and looking forward to meeting this little person who is currently getting in some football practice by kicking me in the guts! (and no for those who have asked we don’t know if it is a boy or a girl – we chose to save that as a surprise). So between these things training has certainly been taking a more relaxed approach. I do intend on racing again from mid next year but my training has been driven more by what ‘feels right’. If that means I get in a couple of hours in a day of relatively easy, mixed ‘training’ (I would actually describe it more as movement) then great – if I do nothing or go for a 30 min walk then that’s great too. It has been more about what makes me feel good – which as for most active and athletic people – is to continue moving and feeling at least somewhat fit. What it has not been is planned, or trying to reach any targets or goals. This has been a choice made not only on being pregnant and feeling responsible for someone else (far more important than me) but also on the fact that I have been racing professionally for 13 years and to be honest, my body could do with a break. But now with my website back up and functioning (there were a few issues that had to be sorted out and unfortunately took WAY longer than I had hoped or planned for) expect to see more updates, recipes, news and links on here. The website will see more of a clear division between my two jobs – athlete and nutritionist to make navigating easier. The blog will really cross the line between the two with more of a focus on food, health and nutrition – because lets be honest everyone loves food and not everyone loves to hear about the often self-indulgent day-to-day details of an athletes life. Right now I am excited about summer and what that means in the kitchen and on my plate!! It’s the kind of food that doesn’t need much prep or cooking and just lets the ingredients speak for themselves. Will have some recipes and photos coming soon. I am also keen to answer some of the questions I get to my website on the blog (with permission of course) – so hit me up!

4 January 2012: New year, new workouts

OK I know it is a little late but ......Happy New Year! The last couple of weeks have been pretty busy - with some travel, family and plenty of visitors. In between the eating and sleeping I did manage to get in a little work (aka training). Plus my Dad has been teaching me some new skills. I am a big believer in developing skills outside of the swim, bike, run - hence some of the dynamic training I have been incorporating over the last year including the boxing, yoga, plyometric drills, gym etc. The latest has been rowing. My parents are both actually World and National Champions in Masters rowing and train extremely hard. Despite this I have only been out in the boats (and reluctantly too) a handful of times in my life. The last of which was probably 5 years ago. However Boxing Day morning in Sydney seemed like a good opportunity to hit the water - if for no other reason than it was a stunning day on the harbour. Some poor unsuspecting friend of my parents was roped into joining us and we headed out in a 'quad'. It certainly was beautiful and despite the fact that my lack of skills meant that no one actually got a decent workout in, I did not embarrass everyone entirely and also did not tip the boat. Whilst I surprised myself by thoroughly enjoying it I had a feeling though that everyone was being kinder than was warranted in regards to my skill and so for the last week I have cornered dad into giving me some more tips (at least on the indoor erg). So the new off-season sport for the week has been rowing. And I have really enjoyed it - it is extremely satisfying to try and learn new skill sets and funnily enough it was also proven to be of benefit in strengthening some areas that I need to improve on and which I think ultimately will help me recover completely from the current injury issues. I might not be a rower just yet but it has been fun and I am looking forward to jumping in a boat again on the next trip to Sydney!

 

2 December 2011: Come back summer!

Summer seems to be on leave for a couple of days here. Although I know the definition of what constitutes cold might well be up for argument - in this part of the world cold is when you actually consider putting on a jumper or even comtemplate wearing shoes. So sitting here in a jumper (but no shoes) yes, its cold. (In fact I just checked and it is only 20 degrees C......68 F). Summer should end its holiday and return promptly before a state of panic sets in here. (I think you can also probably guess why I spend the USA winters back home in Australia - not sure I would survive through those months. We are obviously bred soft down here.) Due to the unsavoury cold weather there will also be no lake swimming today (and as an official black-line-free-day the pool is also off limits). Lake Ainsworth here in Lennox Head is a tea tree lake, and if you have never swum in tea tree water before you would not believe how black the water is. I actually really enjoy swimming in this lake - although right beside the ocean, it is fresh water and black as the night. When you swim you can not see your arms underneath you and it is only when you bring your hand close that it appears eery and orange coloured. I have always been told to never dive down too deep either in case of getting disoriented and not being able to tell which way is up and which is down due to the lack of light. To be honest I don't even know if this is true but in all the years I have never tried it. So if you can get over the slightly disconcerting feeling, swimming in here is actually incredibly peaceful - it almost feels as though you are swimming in your own world or with you eyes closed and in fact is very conducive to letting your thoughts wander. It is also beautiful to stop somewhere in the lake and take stock of where you are - the lake is surrounded by trees (tea trees obviously as well as other natives) and then the ocean on one side, separated by a sand dune and quiet road. And very often you have the entire lake to yourself. I have to admit its pretty hard to not think I have the best job in the world! One very lucky girl.

 

 

1 December 2011: December already???

Is it just me or does it feel wrong to be including December in the date already?? This year has just gone so fast! In fact each day seems to go quickly at the moment. Often when you are not in full training, it feels as though all of a sudden there are many more hours in the day. But I am finding that my days are quite busy and a large part of that has been the catching up on news, reviews and articles from throughout the year. Mostly nutrition, health and sports nutrition related they make for some interesting reading. I will also start to share some of these findings here as well as some more personal nutrition content - and also attempt to do so more regularly. So stay tuned for more recipes, tidbits, articles, ramblings, photos, interviews, perhaps even a guest blog or two.....

21 October 2011: Bit of a story on my new bike...

Scores of people flocked to the ASI/Kestrel Interbike booth to catch a glimpse of the bike everyone was talking about, the bike so striking photographers couldn't stay away: Pip Taylor's custom-painted Kestrel 4000.

Embellished with glimmering gold graffiti paint strokes atop an iridescent black base coat that, in the light, refracts every color in the spectrum, Pip's 4000 is a true work of art.

Earlier in the season, Kestrel Brand Manager Steve Harad approached sponsored triathlete Pip Taylor about pursuing a "different" project and using the 4000 - Kestrel's flagship, A2 Wind Tunnel-designed, all-carbon aero bike, as a canvas.

"As a professional athlete, you get to do some pretty cool things - and the opportunity to have a custom-painted bike is not something I'm going to turn down!" joked Pip. "Working with Kestrel and Steve is great. If we can leverage exposure for the brand and have some fun with it at the same time, I am all for it. Plus, I like bringing something new to the sport, something that breaks with the stereotypical view of triathlon yet stays true to the sport always being forward-thinking."

Pip and her team got to work on a concept.

"We wanted to take a new approach to traditional 'custom' paint jobs, bringing both an element of fun, as well as modern urban elements to what is a high-tech canvas," explained Pip of her vision for the project.

Then began the research. Where could they find someone who could bring the unique urban style to the table but also have experience with bikes?

Enter Ube Urban, the creative genius behind Ube's Icecream Shop, a San Francisco-based international design firm specializing in custom paint jobs - especially bike frames.

"I'll give anything that has a surface a try," explained Ube. "I customize my client's passion. And it's not the obvious that I'm interested in. It's what's below the surface. I capture my client's mannerisms. I listen to the music they like."

It was Ube's distinctive graffiti style that caught the eye of Pip. She reached out to him, communicated her vision, and the rest is history.

"It was clear that Ube had the skills we needed. What was fun was convincing him he could absolutely go to town on this project and take the graffiti element further than he had on any other bike," explained Pip.

It started with multiple concept sketches and feedback strings regarding colors, effects, and graffiti styles. Ultimately, the parties decided on a black background with gold graffiti.

"It's a strong contrast, and it also allowed Ube to bring in the multi-color effect to the base color and clear coat, which is really what sets everything off. Strangely, we also settled on the gold with black in that it remained restrained in some aspects, matching the rest of the build kit and serving as a contrast to my bright race suits," said Pip.

"An extremely flamboyant design doesn't make sense when it's always in motion," Ube explained of the bike he knew Pip would race. "So we went with the simplicity of black and gold. But I said to myself, 'I'll make the best black that I can.' When it's at rest, it's pure beauty and awe-inspiring."

It took approximately three 2-hour grafitti sessions - meticulous sessions devoted to a different region of the frame each time - to complete the work of art because as Ube explains, "I took it to the next level, canvassing every nook and cranny."

Pip couldn't be happier with the final product. "I love the way it balances being over-the-top glam and industrial/urban at the same time."

"I'm ecstatic about how it turned out," said Ube. "The public response has been that they really appreciate the amount of work and effort that went into it."

Based on the number of people surrounding the glimmering gold 4000 at Interbike, they surely do.

Watch Ube at work on Pip's 4000 at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLltPQbahr4

 

 

8 September 2011: The update.....

This update has been a long time coming. Often its hard to want to write anything when things are really not going to plan but I figure now is as good a time as any to fill in some gaps. On the weekend I 'raced' the HyVee 5150 Champs in Des Moines. Although closer to the truth is that I got on the startline and I also crossed the finish line. In between was not racing. More on that in a minute. First of all though a big big thank you and congratulations to HyVee and the organisers of the race weekend. It is without doubt one of the best events on the circuit and as a professional athlete who has been racing for well over a decade that is saying something. HyVee has brought incredible vision and passion to the sport and also given respect to the term 'professional triathlete' by providing a prize purse to match. Amazing. Also huge congrats to the guys and girls that fought it out. It was a day of impressive racing and one that I am glad I was there to see at least.

I only wish I could have been in form to pay the same respect to the race. I must admit I have had a bike escort on the run before but only when I was in the lead - never before have I been the last on course and not only last but well, well behind. Sadly that was what I had expected going into the race, and indeed had it not been this one race in particular I wuld never have even comtemplated starting. The fact though was that If I somehow manage to finish - even if I had to walk/crawl (I think I came close actually) then I would still be getting a pay check. Was the humilation worth it though? Unfortunatley in this sport, where prizemoney is generally small and after following a year of injury, the answer has to be yes.

So what happened? An unwelcome return of my earlier injury. The one that saw me out for 5 months and in pretty much constant pain. Great timing. I guess that was the risk I took – that by increasing my training and trying to get in shape to race, that I pushed things too much. Not that I really had a choice though – when it is your job to race then you just don’t have the option of time – you have to at least take the chance. Instead of getting ready to race though I spent the week before the race alternating between bed and the lounge – resting up after having to get a cortisone injection one week prior (I am not silly enough to do that to race, it was just for pain relief). The shot did help some of the acute pain but it was now almost 3 weeks since I had done anything that could be called training. The reality was that the race was over before it even started.

Fortunately this re-occurence is more of a backwards step than completely back to square one. Now the plan is to get things right completely. And I know I am in good hands - Dr Tony Philips and his team at Inside Sports Clinic in Overland Park have done an increible job of getting me this far. Not sure when the next race will be but I will definitely be waiting until things have settled down and my body is healthy and ready to take on the training.

Thank you so much to all the support I had on the weekend at the race. Honestly I really appreciated it and it also helped me get through to the end. Even when you feel like a failure and as though you are letting yourself and others down, it amazes me that people are still supportive. Thank you.