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Anna Meares

225 kilograms on one leg in the leg press...

Countdown starts in the pain box

Cycling News
June 10, 2008, 0:00 BST,
April 22, 2009, 20:34 BST

I began training for the Beijing Olympic Games in May of 2007. I was well on my way 'till I...

June 10, 2008

I began training for the Beijing Olympic Games in May of 2007. I was well on my way 'till I experienced a major hurdle, which has since seen me face many ups and downs in every aspect a person could: mentally, emotionally and physically. I have worked so hard in making sure I can be back to my game in time to fill the position I managed to qualify for the Games. Now there is just one more stepping stone to having my name written in ink on that plane ticket and on the start list.

I am now only days away from my fitness trial in Melbourne on June 12, at about 7 PM where it has all come down to 200 metres and a time of 11.77 seconds.

This past month has definitely been a challenge. The training has been hard and draining yet it is making me fit and strong. I have felt tired and flat, yet I have gone to training and worked through it and put in good, hard sessions. I have pushed myself so hard that it has taken up to two weeks for my body to recover to a point I can perform at the same level.

In the lead up to my trial since June 1 I have done the following:

Three track sessions, three gym sessions - which have seem some new personal best lifts including squatting 140kg x four, single leg press at 225kg, dead lift at 100 kg plus the usual abs and arm workouts. Two recovery sessions - which include hot/cold showers, a balmy 38 degree spa and a -8 degree ice bath. Yes you read correctly -8 degrees. We sit in the spa for one minute followed by one minute in the ice bath and we do that five times.

I have also done four road rides, one activation (plyometric stair running) session and one mega ergo session! By mega ergo session I mean everyone knew it was going to be a painful one. Six x 30 second efforts with seven minutes rest between. We have only done up to four efforts with 10 minutes rest so today was going to hurt and yes it meant people were going to spew. I haven't yet spewed, so I was planning on keeping my track record... Marv on the other hand was very eager to see me spew.

I had a tough time trying to get the load on my ergo right. Effort one was too hard and effort two was too small. From effort three I got it pretty right and boy did the pain begin after effort three. Effort four was tough, effort five saw me feeling very close to spewing and my legs were burning so horrendously from lactic acid.

To add to my woos I am a sympathetic spewer and the boys who have tendencies to spew - Frenchy, Scott and Nibbo - all put their ergos next to me. So they were spewing from effort two and I had to block my ears and think happy thoughts... a difficult task to do when you are gasping for air, fatigued to the max and legs burning from lactic acid and effort.

After the last effort I was so close to spewing it wasn't funny. I had to get off the bike quick because I knew if the boys were about to spew - which they were - I was going to follow suit and I didn't want to. So I was off to the other end of the gym.

Because I didn't roll out my legs they burnt even more to the point I found it hard to walk properly and it took longer for me to feel better because I wasn't doing anything to help remove the lactate. I firstly laid on the floor then tried to walk to the closest bin...just incase. About 15 minutes later I finally felt okay enough to walk back to my bike.

I was in the [pain - Ed.] box. I was in so much pain. I could barely stand or keep my eyes open. I had given it everything I had in me and as bad as I was feeling, I felt happy because I knew I'd worked hard.

I rode home with Kaarle at about 10 km/h. I showered and then assumed the position on the couch where I stayed for the rest of the night.

I now have light road rides and days off up until my trial, so as to freshen up a little bit - but not too much, because there is the bigger picture to worry about. Two more months of absolutely busting my butt to make sure I can go into Beijing in the best possible condition.

So with that I will leave you and I hope that in a week when I write again, it will be an entry of success, happiness, and eagerness to move forward.


Me in the Aussie Olympic Games cycling team's uniform,

Lookin' pretty good

Cycling News
May 06, 2008, 0:00 BST,
April 22, 2009, 20:34 BST

The last time I wrote I was over run with emotion after learning that I made it into the top nine...

May 6, 2008

The last time I wrote I was over run with emotion after learning that I made it into the top nine and subsequently remained qualified for the Beijing Olympic Games. That was almost one month ago now and this past month has seen improvements in leaps and bounds in many areas.

For the past three weeks I have officially been declared 'normal'. This means I can do any and all exercises necessary to get myself fit and strong again. Woohoo!

So I'm into the gym and into the weights, as well as high-intensity workout on the velodrome. After doing five weeks of only standing starts and rolling accelerations on the track, a change in training exercises was a sight for my sore eyes. And it was rather nice having people to talk to and intermingle with again at sessions.

When I started back into the gym I was single leg pressing 50 kilograms, I am currently lifting with one leg 215kg. I started at 20-40kg for squats and I am currently lifting 120kg x 6! This was a huge personal best for me, as I had only ever lifted 120 kg for three repetitions not six.

I have done intense work on my arms and abs and I am happy to say that the old tuckshop arms are lookin' pretty good. I have put on four kilograms, much to Marv's delight, as I lost three kilograms after the fall.

On the track I have also ridden a personal best since coming back. Standing quarter lap my previous best was 7.3 seconds and last week I rode 7.1 seconds. The boys were not too impressed as they had to put in to stay ahead of me but Marv was very happy.

Needless to say that with all of this high intensity work the fatigue has finally caught up with me this week. My body is cashing in for sleep. After a productive two weeks this week has been a struggle, but good none the less.

My neck has been going so much better then we anticipated. Once the intensity stepped up my neck tightened up as it has done in the past but in the last week it has remained 'normal' and not hindered me in any way. This is very good news and has kept everyone who has worked day-in and day-out on me in the last three to four months some time to breathe easy.

As you could imagine I am feeling very strong at the moment, thanks to the hard work in the gym, and this is coming out on the bike. However, when it comes to speed work, when I need to pedal quickly and smoothly, it is nearly non-existent. Well, not quite that bad, but it is something we need to work on but are not yet panicking as we have four months to get that happening. Strength takes longer and so is the focus for now.

I have also done a few exciting things like model the Olympic cycling uniform at the official launch of the Olympic uniforms in Sydney. This was very exciting and a good experience and I had a lot of fun!

I also have a new pair of shoes set up for the track, thanks to Nike who did some customizing on them to recognise a significant achievement in my career. My world record on one and the world champion stripes on the other. Plus, they are bloody nice shoes!

So all-in-all it has been very positive and productive.

I have a fitness trial at a race in Melbourne on June 12. This is at the request of selectors. Although I am pre-selected in the Australian Olympic team they want me to prove I can ride the team time of 11.77 seconds over 200m, as I have not raced since I fell in January, which is fair enough.

Once that is done we are heading overseas from June 21 until the completion of the Olympic Games at the end of August. I'll go into depth on that a bit later.

Hope you've enjoyed the read and I'll keep you updated on how things are going in a few more weeks.


Anna and Mark celebrate nine years

Moment of truth

Cycling News
March 25, 2008, 0:00 GMT,
April 22, 2009, 20:34 BST

Hi everyone, Today marks exactly nine weeks since my fall and I am happy to say that I feel as close...

March 25, 2008

Hi everyone,

Today marks exactly nine weeks since my fall and I am happy to say that I feel as close to normal as I have since I fell. Things have been progressing very well and the tough times have certainly begun, although I am told the worst is past me.

I have begun a more routine-like training program, primarily focused on the gym to build back some strength and muscle mass. I'm still not able to train at high intensity (heavy weights in the gym), so I am doing a program that has a very high volume. One gym session contains 15 exercises and each at sets of three varying between 10 and 12 repetitions for legs and arms and reps of 20 for abs.

Needless to say that my first session was certainly a rude shock to the body. I was sweating profusely, gasping for air and shaking from fatigue. I walked out of gym absolutely shattered and found myself extremely sore. A good thing of course.

This was much the result of gym all week and soreness was something that was just normal. I am happy to say I have now gotten used to the load and exercises and so no longer pull up sore.

I am also back on the track, but I am restricted with what I can do. I do two track sessions a week rotating between standing starts and rolling accelerations; all individual work. The plan being that these two exercises combined with the heavy gym will see me fit to begin training with the team when they return from the world titles, all going well, of course.

As you can imagine this work load had a very big affect on me and I found myself extremely fatigued after one and a half-two weeks. Marv lightened the plan for a few days to help me recover so I can get back into it again. It made for a pleasant Easter.

The Australian team is now in Manchester, only days away from the World Championships beginning. I have been in touch with many of them, checking on how they are doing and vice-versa. I have begun to stress out quite a bit, with anxiety over my situation hard to control. I just hope that things work out and I stay top nine by the conclusion of the women's sprint.

For those of you following at home the two girls to watch are Svetlana Grankovsky of Russia, who needs Silver to bump me out, and Lulu Zheng of China, who needs fifth to bump me out. If either girl achieves this I am out, if not I am in. We are confident I will remain in, but like everything you just never know.

Since the team has left I have found it very difficult to train on my own. I find myself feeling lonely and bored when I train, particularly at the track. The gym isn't too bad as I have to focus so much on getting through I don't care to think of anything else. It has been tough mentally for this reason to push myself and work hard, but I think I am doing well. I am doing the best I can anyway.

These past few weeks have seen a few points of highlight worth mentioning. My husband Mark and I celebrated our nine year anniversary, almost two of those married. I also was announced the joint Australian Institute of Sport Athlete of the Year with Nathan Deaks, the walker. A very big achievement and one I am very proud and honoured to accept.

Easter has now come and gone and it remains less then two days untill the beginning of the world championships. By Sunday morning Australian time I will know exactly where I stand in terms of Beijing Olympic Game qualification and I hope everyone has their fingers crossed that I will still be standing in the top nine and be on my way to Beijing.

I don't have many photos for you this time around, other then one of Mark and I on our nine year anniversary and some of the AIS awards in Canberra. The lighting was dark and so are the photos.


My first time back

Back on track

Cycling News
March 10, 2008, 0:00 GMT,
April 22, 2009, 20:34 BST

Hi everyone, It has now been seven weeks since the crash and things are moving along nicely. I...

March 10, 2008

Hi everyone,

It has now been seven weeks since the crash and things are moving along nicely. I haven't written in a few weeks so I will just tell of a few things that have been happening.

On Monday, March 3, I had my six week scan. A written report was sent to my doctor and that night he called me to tell me that it said the fracture couldn't be seen. I had to wait until Thursday to see the doctor and get more information so he could look over the scans himself. I got Marv to talk to the doctor to see if I could do some track in the mean time, because I am getting over doing ergo work, which he agreed I could do a little bit.

I did track for the first time on Tuesday and just did some rolling work getting comfortable on the track again. At first I was pretty tentative, but by the end I felt my old self out on the boards.

Wednesday was a big day. I had 500 metre raisers that hurt like you wouldn't believe. I thought I was going to go pretty horribly, but I actually went really well, I surprised myself and Marv. My last effort was almost one of the best I have ever done. We figure it was from doing all that ergo for the past four weeks. I can't remember how many 30 second efforts I have done so it was nice to see it was worth the pain. I definitely slept well that night. My legs and my butt were not impressed with today's efforts either.

Thursday was my medical with the doctor. He said the scans showed the fracture to be 90 percent healed. There was still an area that was questionable, but this was good I thought. He went through and checked my range of movement. I can look better left then right which for me riding the sprint isn't good and I also can't turn my head quickly without discomfort. Because of these two points and the fact that the fracture is only 90 percent healed, he said he wouldn't be able to medically clear me to ride the World Track Championships. However, if necessary, he would let me ride to 200 qualifying so our plan is as follows:

I have a flight booked on March 25 incase any unforeseen points get added, otherwise I am staying home. If I go, I will only ride the 200 metre sprint and fly home again after to return to treatment and training.

On Thursday I did a shoot for a Toshiba advertisement at the velodrome. Oh my god! It was a long day. I began at 9:30 AM and left at 5:30 PM. I had to say that was it in the end because I hadn't lent over the bike for that long and I was getting a headache in the 42 degree heat. I was getting so very fatigued from all the riding and little sprints they wanted me to do. They were very good though and I had a lot of fun. I met the head of Toshiba Japan, Harito, who flew over just for the day. Mariana from Toshiba Australia also flew over to meet up with Harito.

The team left for World Championships on Sunday, March 9. I am feeling pretty down at the moment and for the past day or so. It's not nice to wave goodbye when you want to be going with them. I'll be training here on my own for the next month, so that will be a challenge.

Other then that I am doing really well.

This past few weeks since has again seen a lot of firsts. My first roller session, first track session, first sneeze, cough or cold shiver without pain, first sleep without waking up from moving, first trip to the hair dresser, first time driving my car and many more.

Training wise I have been doing very well in the gym getting stronger and I have began to put back on the weight that I have lost. I am currently at 69 kilograms with my final goal by Beijing being 72kg. After my crash I was down to 66-67kg.

I will be gearing up on the track while the team is away. My week will include three gym sessions, two track sessions and a number of roller sessions. I still am not allowed to ride on the road for another week, but that will start again soon.

Well I hope you have enjoyed this update. I will be in touch again soon.


Anna Meares