After my first week of the new drug I have been put on I didn’t get to do much exercise on the week days this past week as they weren’t really sure how the drug would affect my heart with the intensity of working out that I do. By Friday I was going nuts so I headed off to swim squad and did an hour of the squad at a reasonable pace but didn’t partake in any of the sprinting. I did want to get in the water because I had the Pier to Pub 1.2km Ocean swim happening on Saturday, so getting wet before then was imparitive. I had no problems with the swim so headed down to the VIS to the gym and was able to complete my entire workout without so much as a hiccup! So as far as I was concerned it was full steam ahead for the weekend.
Saturday the 33rd annual Pier to Pub swim was being held in Lorne, Victoria, a beautiful little town on the Great Ocean Road. The Pier to Pub is the largest open water swim in the world and has just been given the title of the Best Open Water swim in the world! Not bad for a swim started by a few hardy souls all those years ago who challenged each other to jump off the Pier and swim to the Pub! It is the best run swim I have ever been a part of and this was going to be my 13th year of swimming it. I always head down with my girlfriends Clare, Heather (her 20th swim!) and Rosie. But Rosie (who is usually our pack horse!) is off riding around Cuba right now so it was just the three of us until another friend Julia needed a ride. So the 4 of us headed off at 6am Saturday morning and made our way to Lorne. We like to get there early so that we can park, be first to register and then head off to breakfast before our afternoon swim.
This year was the largest swim they have had with 5000 entrants and probably about 25,000 people descending on the town of Lorne and about 15,000 people on the beach! So needless to say it was busy. But no matter how many people take part the running of the swim by the Lorne Surf Lifesaving Club is amazing. Waves of swimmers walk to the pier and go off in age group and estimated time of swim groups. Everyone is so helpful, especially if you are like me and need assistance to get down the ramp into the water. Clare was in the first heat of our 4 as she is younger and was going to be waiting for me at the finish to help me out of the water and up the beach. You see with my MS my balance isn’t great and when I try to stand up with ocean water moving that throws me off even more! Then trying to get up the beach is even harder when you have people trying to run past you to the finish line. One year I would love it to be a water finish…I would probably move up quite a few places! Heather and I were the next to get in the water and swim with Julia being the last of our little foursome to enter the water.
It was a great day for a swim especially if you are a pool swimmer primarily as it was extremely calm and there certainly wasn’t any swell, so no waves for the surf swimmers to body surf in! But unfortunately the tide was going out so it was a good swim against the tide and a nice long run up to the finish line. In the end I had my two friends Clare and Heather dragging me up the beach to the finish as Heather was bound and determined that more people were not going to pass me before the finish. I ended up with an okay time of 21:34 and I was 23rd out of 189 women in the 50-59 age group. So I guess I can’t complain too much! All in all we did have a great day and were like big kids there on the beach.
Sunday it was time to get back on the trike for my first ride, post starting this drug. I had a lovely ride, getting lost amongst the roads up in Reservoir so thank god for iPhones and their GPS maps. The one interesting thing is that even though my resting heart rate is back to its normal 46, I can’t get it up to my max! I certainly tried with a few sprints while riding but it refused to go very high! Oh well another one of those little things that make me a bit different!
So at this point I am back to my full training schedule because I haven’t had any of the side effects you can have with this drug except the low heart rate so I am very excited to see what happens over the next 3-4 months when it really kicks in. Now I focus on the first races of the National Handcycle Series, in which they have included Trikes this year, in Sydney on Feb 9-10th. It all starts there in preparation for World Champs. I’ve realised that achievement is not particularly difficult as long as you have put the hard yards in during the preparation. Obstacles such as this new drug are put there not to stop you but to make you stronger, more capable and more driven. So I plan to keep going and enjoy every bit of training as I build towards that ultimate goal day by day.