THE T:ZERO BLOG
Free advice, content and media for all. It's our way of giving back to the tri community who have given so much to us. Enjoy!
PUSHING BARRIERS - RUNNING YOUR FIRST ULTRAMARATHON AT 19 TO HELP YOUNG REFUGEES GET INTO SPORT
Hi guys, I’m Annabelle Carey a 19-year-old starting out in the endurance/multisport world. I was lucky enough to be put in contact with coach Rich at the beginning of this year to help me on my journey. Thanks to COVID it has been an interesting year competition wise. But I finally entered the Blackall 50 and set my eyes on training for my first ultramarathon in mid-October (now the race is this weekend!!)
At about 8 weeks out from racing I was sitting down with Tracey Tucker a good friend and founder of a Brisbane based charity, Pushing Barriers which help refugee youth be included in club sport. I have volunteered with the charity since the beginning of 2020 and have seen firsthand the impact that sports can have in the lives of these children. It was during this conversation that we spoke about the difficulties they have had raising funds due to COVID 19 and the impact it had on them being able to continue running the program. It was at this point I suggested that I could do Blackall as a charity run, it would be the perfect opportunity to raise awareness and funds.
Running 50k on your own, out on the trails is no easy feat it is both mentally and physically demanding, but it is the ultra-running community that surrounds you that makes you feel apart of something greater and pushes you to keep going. These youth have been through so much in their lives often all alone and have constantly continued to push on. It is for this reason that involving them in club sport is so much more than just being active. It provides them with a community where they are considered an equal, and an opportunity for them to be free and express their emotions.
A little more about Pushing Barriers (PB) and what exactly they provide…
Pushing Barriers is a Brisbane based non for profit organisation with the primary objective being to improve the lives and welfare of refugee youth by providing them with opportunities to be included and welcomed into Australian culture through club sport. These youth do not have families with the capacity to support them to play sport therefore PB assists with club registrations and fees as well transporting them to and from training and games. These volunteer drivers become role models to these young people.
For further information about Pushing Barriers watch this short video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rf7tHjlV5Ak or check out their website here http://www.pushingbarriers.org/about-us.html you can also find them on Facebook and Instagram @Pushing Barriers.
It would be devastating to think that as a result of COVID 19 many of these refugees would be unable to play sport next year considering the huge impact it is having on their lives, helping them to feel connected in their new country. So, if you can contribute a small amount towards a great cause it would be much appreciated. Let’s make a difference together and help assist refugee youth be included in Australian club sport for many years to come. And who knows we may just see them out on the trails, in the pool or on the road riding beside us in the future.
Thanks again, happy training and racing!
The T-Zero camp in Bright – as an outsider coming in, it was not just a camp but a awesome week of learning, training and making new friends.
Why did I sign up for a Triathlon camp as a complete outsider to a T-Zero camp?
The motto I have lived by for a while is -“just say yes”. Complimentary to my nature of being a serial experimenter with training, this ethos has launched me into some quite amazing adventures and often had me receiving race and event confirmations seemingly minutes after just saying “yes”.
So, when I became aware of a week long training camp in Bright, a beautiful town in Alpine Victoria, and a central location to amazing bike rides and training opportunities – well, it was a no brainer, and before I knew it I had signed up.
I have spent more than a few years on the triathlon scene and its fair to say I know quite a few people in the triathlon world and in Queensland particularly. I am pretty familiar with the major coaching groups and a lot of the coaches.
But T-Zero? This coaching group was an enigma to me. When I signed up to camp, my sum knowledge of T-Zero was that they were based on the Sunny Coast, did individual, online coaching and had seriously cool kit. That was pretty much it.
Having attended quite a few training camps over the years, I psyched myself up for a challenging week of physical training in beautiful Bright. More importantly, I mentally prepared myself to embrace the usual training camp scene of athletes jostling for attention, variable coaching levels and training turning into athletes racing each other…. all of the unknown plus the fact that I was a T-Zero outsider. I expected it to be challenging.
So what completely surprised me about the T-Zero camp was that it was unlike any camp I had ever been on. On day one, our coaches, Rich and Scotty, set the scene for camp week and a request to leave our egos at the door. And what followed was quite simply one of the most enjoyable weeks of training I have ever experienced -with a group of seriously awesome individuals. I met athletes from all over Australia who had varied goals including endurance bike rides, ocean swims, triathlons, ultraruns and swim runs – athletes training for their own goals and coaches who were just as excited about these goals with as the athletes themselves.
The camp base, T-Zero headquarters, was a brilliant concept. Athletes were welcome at the coaches’ residence at any reasonable hour to chat with coaches, other athletes and relax whilst using the Normatecs. In addition to team dinners, we chilled here during education sessions including nutrition, goal setting, teamwork and an invaluable sports psychology session by legendary Grant Giles. We are all now familiar with the “I am the sky, that is just a cloud” theory thanks Grant. Now to put it into action!
The cycling opportunities were the obvious lure to Bright. Some serious km were covered with plenty of opportunity to enjoy the scenery and chat with other athletes. As far as the individual sessions went, my favourite was Mt Hotham - mainly because it felt kind of epic cycling up there above the tree line for as long as we did and having a few challenging, but achievable gradients, at the end. For a group ride, I loved Falls Creek rolling along with banter all the way. And just to top it off, having the opportunity to have another crack at Mt Buffalo at the end of a long week and long ride was pretty cool too - a bit of freedom to test some limits outside of a normally structured training week.
There were run sessions both in Bright and at altitude, swim sessions in nearby Myrtleford and open water swims in alpine lakes. The strength session and yoga at the Bright Fitness centre were an added bonus too and we connected with our inner zen.
Falls Creek training day was super inspiring with our awesome guest coach Annabel Luxford leading a run and swim at altitude – I don’t think we noticed the lack of oxygen as we chatted with her, listened to her training tips and enjoyed the scenery.
The local coffee haunts, restaurants and ice cream shops took a bashing by the team and the calorie consumption would have astounded any member of the general public. Myself? Well, I left a fairly decent mark on the Lindt chocolate stocks in town!
A lot was achieved overall in one small week – swim, bike, run, education, socialising and great conversation.
But, more than anything on camp, the one thing that absolutely stood out was the T-Zero culture. Everyone was treated equally and that everyone’s goals were considered equally important. That leave your ego at the door comment coming to fruition. That success on a session was more about turning up and giving your best rather than being compared to anyone else on camp. And that everyone was there supporting each other to get the sessions done. Lots of teamwork in such an individual sport.
So did my “just say yes” ethos serve me well? It is completely obvious that it did – not only do I now know a whole new bunch of amazing people but T-Zero is no longer the enigma it once was. Thanks for an amazing week!
"An awesome all inclusive and professionally run training camp - great location and sensational athletes and coaches to train with - you know you have had a great 8 day camp when you want just a little bit more - booked again for next year - cant wait."
An amazing collection of training and racing advice from the T:Zero Multisport coaches- with the occasional guest blogger! Read this blog to help you live your potential!