Friends for life…

During global sarcoma awareness month we are running a series of stories to shine a spotlight on not just the cancer itself, but to highlight the remarkable individuals whose lives have been touched along the way.

I was contacted several months ago by a concerned mother and friend, Annette Supple, whose life had been deeply affected by sarcoma through her daughter Georgia’s best friend, Ashley Thomas, diagnosis with osteosarcoma at the age of 14.

Georgia had expressed to her mum she would like to cut her very long, beautiful hair to donate to a charity so it may be used to potentially lift a cancer patient’s spirits, and to raise money for sarcoma research in the process.

At 14 a cancer diagnosis represents the unthinkable. For the family and particularly and close friends of these young patients, growing up quickly is part of the process whilst providing support throughout diagnosis and treatment. For most 14 year olds, the biggest question of the day is what to wear? Yet Ashley and Georgia live amidst an unspeakably difficult process not many could ever begin to imagine. For this reason Georgia’s gesture was as unexpected as it was humbling.

Whilst Ashley is now fully recovered from surgery, Georgia will remain by her side to provide support and strength to her friend, throughout the months of chemotherapy which lie ahead.

Georgie Supple – In her own words…

When Ashley was diagnosed with osteosarcoma just after Christmas last year I felt helpless and confused. We had been friends since the day she was born, had all our first days of school together since preschool, and I was devastated to not be able to continue that tradition.

A few weeks into Ashley’s chemo, her hair started falling out, first a few strands, then small chunks, then what looked like a whole head of hair. It was hard to watch as she had always loved her hair and it was a part of her. My mum shaved Ashley’s head in hospital one Friday night. It was very hard for me to watch. I felt as though I needed to show her that losing her hair wouldn’t change who she was.

I considered shaving my head for a while, but then decided it would be best to cut off enough to donate to a wig making company. It will be made into a wig for someone, probably another child, who has lost their hair too. I looked around and found one where I could donate anywhere above 25 cm of hair. Through doing this I raised $350 and gave Ashley the confidence to feel beautiful even without her hair.

She is beautiful, she is my best friend, and she is a fighter.

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Jack v Sarcoma Ironman Blog – Week 21 (01/07/19 – 07/07/19)

Monday – Strength Session

Another great legs and core session. Apart from my calves, I felt pretty good after yesterday’s 22.5km run. The 3 x 30reps calf raises were particularly sting-y today…

Tuesday – 2.5km Swim, 10km Run @ 5:20 Pace

As per Rebecca’s (nutritionist’s) suggestions last week, I had a bottle of Gatorade at the end of the pool this week along with my water to help keep my energy/interest levels up during the swim. This would also hopefully help with the run immediately after. I also extended the swim distances for this week.

Whilst I didn’t swim as efficiently as I have previously, today was a good indication that my body is able to keep swimming for longer distances. I broke the mileage up into 3 x 500m swims, followed by a final 1km effort and felt fine to keep going after each of the sets which was extremely positive. The 3.8km (race distance) isn’t too far away with 20 weeks training still to go.

The run was my easy one for the week. My legs seems particularly sore from yesterday’s weights session, likely in conjunction with my big Sunday run. Energy levels were steady throughout, so I was happy with the Gatorade/water/banana consumption beforehand and during this day’s effort.

Wednesday – 1:20 Indoor Cycle, 8km Run @ 4:30 Pace

Ended up doing this in reverse order (Run first, into the bike) which made for a noticeably tougher workout. Ran really hard during the run and made some great time, but coming onto the bike it took about 25 or so minutes to finally get settled.

Nutrition-wise, I destroyed a banana after the run and took a water and Gatorade on the bike with me to sip on throughout.

Once I’d settled and found a couple of long YouTube vids to watch, the indoor cycle went well. I knocked over 2 x 20min hard intervals again at 155-160bpm. Big meal afterwards…

Thursday – 2.5km Swim, 1:30 Indoor Cycle

Hit a wall early with the swim. Really need to get into a squad. Was swimming well for the brief time I swam but just felt like I couldn’t be bothered.

Once again, took me ages for my legs to get suited on the indoor bike. They came to the party at about the 30 mins and rode well for the remaining hour.

Friday – 11km Run @ 5:10 Pace, Strength Session

Nice solid, steady run to end off the week. Ended up going pretty fast but feeling good throughout. Following the run my watch was telling me my V02 max had jumped up a bit (up from 52 to 53). Not sure what that means but solid bit of feedback and I definitely feel faster during each passing run.

Followed that run up with a gym session which was tough but struggled through it. The calf raises are killing me, they seem to be in a constant state of pain at the moment.

Saturday – 3:00 Cycle

Didn’t go as long as I wanted. Ideally I want to start hitting 4 hours week in, week out going forward, but woke up too late today and had a meeting with a cycling store at 11am to get to. As it turned out, the cycling shop had to cancel as I was on my way over disappointingly.

I’m looking forward to getting out the longer and longer times on the bike, I’m enjoying it more now.

Sunday – 2:00 Run

Ran for nearly exactly 2 hours, doing 24km this time, so getting up there distance-wise. This track had far less red lights which often disrupts my runs which was great. Still hitting that same 5mins/km pace I’ve been hitting the previous weekends which I was really happy about. Again had issues with getting fluids on board, with the running track this time taking me down near the airport which offered no taps or bubblers during the key 40-80min period of the run. Took two gu’s which really helped, but I think once I’m getting the necessary fluids on board during the run as well, I’ll start hitting some great times.

Next week I’ll look to hit the 27km mark, before backing off the following week as a rest week. Keen for that!

 

20 weeks down, 20 weeks until game day! I feel like on the whole, my rate of improvement is going at an exponential rate itself. Running in particular, I’m really happy with the progress I’ve made. The training sessions are only going to get longer but so far so good. I’m not injured, I’m happy with the exercise and I’m still able to keep up with everything at work. Let’s keep it going!

 

As always, if you have any suggestions or ideas to help raise awareness for sarcoma research and/or the work CRBF do, please shoot me a message on social media or via email (jack.racklyeft@gmail.com). Please share this, or any information from my donation page below to anyone and everyone you can. I have no doubt that slowly but surely, we will start to raise awareness and to make a truly positive change:

https://donorbox.org/jack-s-ironman-for-sarcoma

Jack v Sarcoma Ironman Blog – Week 20 (24/06/19 – 30/06/19)

Monday – 1:40 Run, Strength Session

Following up from last week’s post where I didn’t do the Sunday run, I shifted it on to today to start a massive week of work. The route took me west, out to near Strathfield, then back in a loop home.

Felt really good during this, despite my headphones running out of battery at the halfway mark. It wasn’t the end of the world, especially considering I can’t use them in the actual race, but it definitely dinted my momentum a bit. I found myself at around the 13km mark utterly convinced that my good performance on this run was going to mean success on December 1st. The loss of music pulled me back into line, but still finished the 21km run having gone at 4:55 pace which was great.

Tuesday – 1:00 Swim, 10km Run @ 5:20 Pace

Swim felt good today for some reason. I was heaps less bored than I was last week which was a pleasant surprise.

The run was slow and steady to help recover from yesterday’s big run. Despite the big one yesterday, I wasn’t really sore or in any pain which is awesome. If nothing else, I’m getting better at backing up from session to session.

Wednesday – 1:15 Indoor Cycle, 10km Run @ 4:50 Pace

Big session

The indoor cycle really took it out of me, but managed to complete a couple of long interval periods during (2 x 20mins @155bpm) which Hamish recommended.

Going into the run, my legs didn’t feel too back, but I just found it frustrating hauling my work bag around with all my gear which makes my shoulders and neck really tight. Dumped the bag at home and finished off the remaining 30mins at 4:45 pace. Had a yoghurt before starting this one which didn’t sit amazingly…

Thursday – 1:00 Swim, 1:15 Indoor Cycle

Had my pre-workout before doing the swim which made a massive difference. For those who haven’t had any before, it kind of just makes your body feel quite tingly and hot, which meant that during the swim I had a lot of energy and mainly just something to help tick my mind over. I did 2 x 1000m sets which went really well.

Having finished at work late before doing the swim, I decided to do my cycle on the indoor bike to save time. I polished off a banana immediately after my swim, before hopping on the bike which make a world of difference. Coming into the final 25 minutes, I felt extremely motivated and ready to push on which was a great sign that the banana was working its magic. I also don’t think I have ever sweated as much in my life as I did in this one session. It was truly heinous.

Friday – Nutritionist Follow-up, Strength Session,

Met with Rebecca again to revaluate the nutrition plan with Hamish’s new conditioning plan. The major takeaways from today’s meeting were:

  • On long cycles, from the 45min mark, I need to be consuming 45-60 grams of carbs every hour (incrementally over that time). In terms of food that this equates to, it’s like having 1.5-2 peanut butter sandwiches every hour.
  • Between sessions where I jump from a swim for example, straight into a bike or run, I need to ensure I’m getting something on board
  • During the swim, I should try to have a couple of bottles at the end of the pool. An energy drink and water, sipping on the energy drink every 10-15 minutes to keep me focussed and chugging along.

With the fundraiser planned for this evening, I only had time for the one session today. Despite the big indoor cycles the past two days, my legs were still feeling fine. The leg workouts are progressing each time and are one of my favourite sessions, despite taking an age to do.

The fundraiser went amazingly. Through the generosity of my friends, CRBF and family, we were able to raise over $600 through raffle tickets alone. This was an amazing achievement and will take the total Ironman fundraising total to approximately $7,400 now! Big thanks to everyone who came, in particular Georgia and Kirsten who helped assemble the incredible food platter, and my housemates for taking time out of their week to fully set the house up for the event.

Saturday – 3:40 Cycle

Easily my best cycle of the training so far.

Initially went out to Iron Cove and did 5-6 laps of the waterfront there until I got bored. At around the 1hr 15min mark I moved on and cycled out to Olympic Park to continue doing loops. Similar to the Iron Cove loop, the nice wide, open spaces reduce the stress levels tenfold.

Nutrition-wise is where I need to improve. I had two slices of peanut butter toast and I only brought one gel which I had at the 50 minute mark. Whilst this definitely helped, at around the 2hr 30min mark I was absolutely starving. I eat so much normally, but I genuinely cannot remember being this hungry in a long time. A stop at the Olympic Park Ice Rock Deli at 9:30am was certainly not out of the question…

Despite that, I still make good time and felt strong. I feel that sitting at 30km/h for the majority of the cycle, given it’s on flat with no cars or buses at traffic lights to kill me, is certainly a possibility. This would mean I’d only be cycling for 6 hours straight…

Sunday – 1:50 Run

Big run with heaps more elevation than last week (300m vs 180 last week). Today’s route took me East, out around to Rose Bay and back along Cleveland St. Despite the far greater elevation rise, I still ran at approximately the same pace (4:55min/km) which I was really happy with, despite going another 2km further. Similar to the above cycle though, I struck issues at about the 1hr 30min mark when I hadn’t had any water for the whole run and started feeling dizzy.

Thankfully I was able to stop at a Moore Park bubbler next to some horse crap to get my fluids topped up, but it was certainly a lesson that I need to plan where my drink stops will be moving forward.

 

21 weeks until game day!

Plan for this coming week is to really hit some big distances, before backing it down a little next week for a recovery week.

 

As always, if you have any suggestions or ideas to help raise awareness for sarcoma research and/or the work CRBF do, please shoot me a message on social media or via email (jack.racklyeft@gmail.com). Please share this, or any information from my donation page below to anyone and everyone you can. I have no doubt that slowly but surely, we will start to raise awareness and to make a truly positive change:

https://donorbox.org/jack-s-ironman-for-sarcoma