March Blog - Moon Boots and Phuket Sunsets
Written for trainingtilt: The only all-in-one solution for triathlon and endurance coaches.
A monthly update from Amelia Rose Watkinson on aspects of pro triathlete life - March 2018
The whole of March was nicely spent in Phuket, Thailand. It started kind of spiritually, with Makha Bucha day on the first full moon of the 3rd lunar month. It's about celebrating the day 9 months after the Buddhas enlightenment and commemorating the Buddhas teachings. If I flash carded the rest of the month it would include a yellow pull buoy, a sweaty moon boot, an americano frappe with a giant orange straw and a dung bell. An excellent month to take note of the Buddhas wise words on life. Or from Andre Loomis “art without colour would lose much of its purpose”. Because there were no bicycle or running flash cards. But I am in Thailand so there are plenty of other antics amongst it all.
Week 1 - Foreign Hospitals
Post Bangsaen race I required a few piggybacks from Alex. I went through the tedious process of dealing with an injury in a foreign hospital (my own fault that my Thai isn’t up to scratch. The team worked out I have a stress fracture of the second metatarsal. Crutches for 1 week and a moon boot for 8 weeks. If this scene had backing music it would be some sort of dramatic sorrowful classical piano.
I’m big on ‘everything happens for a reason’ and more into upbeat house so made a game plan: Swim and gym as much as possible. Worked out I had to use a pull buoy or a baby butterfly kick, tumble turn at the T and diverse my normal gym moves to only arms and core (like most guys in the gym anyway).
There is some controversy over publicising your injury as an athlete, its a bad rep for your sponsors and in the community is seen as not taking care of yourself. However, everyone's body is different and learning yours is a part of navigating the sport and reaching to rewards.
Week 2 - Indulging in a Single Discipline
Loving being fully indulged in just one discipline, though prior to week 1 I was swimming 15-20km a week. So I knew I had to be somewhat conservative (beating my PB of 50km in a week was still the goal). I aced the pre-swim dynamic stretching and I quickly learnt that training as a swimmer allowed for seriously polarised training; easy means very easy because if you're not hyperventilating after the max set on a quality day then the whole squad does it again. As triathletes, we don’t do enough km's to warrant the super easy km's. One of my fav main sets with Miguel's Thanyapura Squad:
12x50 pull buoy on 1 alt first 15 fast/ last 25 fast
4x (300 steady
250 as 200 easy 50 hard
150 as 100 easy 50 hard) alt swim / pull buoy
12x50 on 1 alt fist 15 fly /last 25 fly
My quantity of walking was pretty much; apartment to scooter and scooter to pool slash gym. Yet the imbalance of boot height and running shoe height seemed to be killing my hip flexors and lower back. Sharing the love is not necessary in this instance. I set out on a mission to find a thick-soled shoe. The Thais actually love their platform sandals, however, my feet came in a size 43 and the women’s sandals in Thailand do not. I ended up super glueing 3 jandals one on top of each other. My DIY work was well received, though the Thais all pointed at my boot inquisitively asking “scooter accident”. As always I should’ve made up a more exciting story.
Week 3 - Scooter Puzzle Solving
I had fully warmed into the 4.30am starts for the squad now and watching the sunrise over the pool is very rewarding. It’s also fun when you haven’t used your scooter the afternoon before and with 200 apartments in our block, getting it out before anyone else is like playing a puzzle game of rush hour.
However, my arm muscles weren’t keeping up with my mental keenness for swimming. I was also getting a little jealous of Alex coming home from 5-hour rides and complaining of having sore legs. I decided that my foot was progressing quickly and tested out some kicking and gym work on the legs without putting any weight on the ball of my foot. It swelled up like a baboon bum the next day, so I took peoples advice not to keep poking at it with a stick.
Despite Phuket being small and having been here for a while mini adventures are always possible and crucial for mental clarity. This week we discovered a cool art village, some new markets featuring a didgeridoo player and a very Melbourne like bar because I needed a sit-down and an occasional beer is okay.
Week 4 - Moving on?
My swim millage didn’t climb too high over the month but I did manage to get over 200km! 55km ish per week seemed to be my equilibrium of being able to push on solid sets yet still be tired from the volume. I also thought that I would have heaps more spare time, but the commute, changing, chatting and stretching makes one swim session 3.30hrs.
Last minute we were having second doubts on our moving idea. So naturally did an Instagram poll to assist with the decision making process. a) go to northern Italy. b) was stick with Noosa. My followers were more out there and won over on ‘a’ but Alex is a loyal Aussie and our combined totals leaned to ‘b’. So we stuck with our guns booked our flights.
We had to extend our visa a couple days, normally super easy. Given the climate, I was wearing shorts and a singlet. However today there was a dress code (covered shoulders and knees) and the French lady wasn’t budging on it. My singlet turned into a knee-length skirt and Alex took turns with his T-shirt.
We cumulated our Phuket stay how we started; with a sunset, an ocean swim followed by a beer and chips on the beach - even though she came back with 3 beers and the wrong colour chips. Salted fish and papaya salad from the market and some involuntary live karaoke listening. Also worth noting is my boot did me a favour; priority check-in, scanners and boarding. (Everything happens for a reason ;)
Flying into Melbourne (to collect a car, road bikes, surf boards and probably a whole other wardrobe) and road tripping up to Noosa with a tent along the coast.