Like last time this is another product of a long tedious taper which leaves me with excessive free time and an almost constant caffeine buzz. The third week of my taper and now the training hours are as near to non-existent as I get. I would love to say I’m getting loads of rest, but I’m being pretty bad at that. Tomorrow is a complete rest day though so I will reward myself with a lie in! The rest of the day will be spent indulging in long conversations about training over numerous coffees.
Far more interesting than that though is some of the events of the current week. It’s a good job Ironman Expos open in the week before the event because by this point you really are losing your mind to the taper. Finally there’s another distraction to occupy your time with. Well, especially if you’re sponsored by one of the companies at the expo. For those who are sensitive to people promoting their sponsors, skip to the end…
As part of the Jaggad Technical Development Team racing in Busselton I was asked to take part in a photo shoot and also to help out at the expo. Seems fair enough given they’re supporting me. Not considering myself model material though I have to admit I wasn’t entirely sure of their wisdom! However I put in the effort to shave (face and legs of course) and clean myself up before turning up at the Expo tent on Wednesday morning. Being new to the Team I’d not actually met anyone from Jaggad so it was good to meet Graeme and Paulette who run the company. They’re both friendly and encouraging and clearly put a lot of energy into their company. They’re also really supportive of people committing themselves to their athletic goals.
The Jetty and ocean at Busselton provide a perfect backdrop for photography so it was off to the beach front to model some kit. I was there with Greg Close another member of the team. We took it in turns to do short Runner’s World style runs up and down the bike path whilst our picture was taken. You can’t run like normal you have to overemphasise the leg lift and keep your elbow in to get the right energetic look. I think if you take one thing away from this particular blog post it should be that apparently I’m quite photogenic! Yes, that’s right I need no longer worry about what happens when funds run low, I shall instead chase my dream of being a male fitness model! Hmmm, perhaps.
Along with running in weird ways in a bunch of new Jaggad kit. I got to stand on the beach looking moodily into the distance in a variety of stances. I’m sure many people who’ve worked with me will know I’m pretty good at looking moody and all the years of practice paid off. I can easily pull off cross-armed and moody to the left, or hands on hips and moody to the right. Though my favourite is probably the the hands on hips looking into the camera with attitude pose. If I had photos I would put them here just for you all to see my poses, sure there’s no Blue Steel in there, but I’m just a beginner.
It was a fun couple of hours I got to do something I never imagined I’d be doing. There’s a good chance you’ll see some of those photos on the Jaggad site in the future. If that’s not enough there’s some video of me running and riding in their kit too! Which is an opportunity to see how the kit looks in motion or alternately critique my technique. I also got to try out a whole bunch of the Jaggad range which I might not normally see. Getting to handle kit always beats looking online and there’s a few items I’ll be picking up in the future. A set of their bibshorts are on the shopping list for Epic Camp next year for sure.
My next job as a Team member is to work the stand at the Expo for a couple of hours tomorrow. Essentially this is a chance to chat with lots of different athletes as they look at the products and encourage them to buy. Modelling and working in sales in one week, yep wasn’t in the plans when I headed out to Oz!
So all the Jaggad business aside I’m not joking when I say I’ve been hitting the coffee hard. Fortunately I’ve met up with another Brit (a Scot to be precise), Martin Goodlad. He raced Busso last year too and we met at the World Long Course back in August. Being equally frustrated by the final days of the taper we have spent many an hour debating the fine points of training to get to the top of your age group and the pro ranks. Along with the difficulties of finding sponsors and supporters, the finances involved in training, how hard it is to find good information about training at the level we aspire to… The list goes on. Martin’s been good company and given he’s a similar speed to me I’m very glad to say he aged up this year!
I have another new pair of trainers too! The Asics Gel-Busseltons were being sold off for next to nothing and whilst I’m not sure I actually need an after race comfort shoe at $50 for the pair it was a no brainer. I’ll admit the colours won’t be to most people’s tastes, but anyone who’s seen the bright red Salomon runners I’m wearing will know I won’t have many issues with them!
To make matters worse a K-Swiss athlete is working hard to persuade me I want to try a pair of their race shoes. Sure the price isn’t bad and once stocks go with the exchange rate they’ll go up. Despite my pleadings of poverty she won’t bend on price. I tried them on and they are impressively light and feel very comfortable. There’s just one issue: the design is an Aussie flag, but I figure with a blue marker pen I can fix that! Not being happy with the Zoot shoes for racing I am genuinely tempted. Getting a pair may prove tricky, they weren’t officially part of the Expo and got told to move on. Should I change my mind she’ll be about or I can ask pro-Ironman Luke McKenzie as he’s sponsored by them too. It’s all a little weird, they’re like contraband, got hold of by word of mouth and cash sales from hotel rooms.
Race plan and less nonsense on Saturday.