Thursday, 30 June 2011

Karen writes: A bit about the Christchurch Diabetes Service experience...

One of our main motivations for completing our Ironman is to support our colleagues in Christchurch, so it was important for us to find out a bit about what was actually going on at a day-to-day level for them.  Back in April this year Kate and myself sat spellbound with hundreds of others at the NZSSD (New Zealand Society for the Study of Diabetes) conference as a team from the Christchurch Diabetes Service and their partner organisation Diabetes Christchurch showed a series of pictures and described the impact of a disaster of an unprecedented scale on the city of Christchurch.

They made it very real to us how staff who didn't know what was happening with their own lives and families, some having massive damage to own homes, still pulled together and kept going for each other and their patients and amazingly remained optimistic and positive. Kit Hoeben, the Diabetes Centre Manager kindly provided us with some information he and his team had put together to share with you, please read about some of their experiences in links from this post.  Lupesiliva Tuulua (Pacific Island Diabetes Nurse Educator) describes her experiences and those of her patients, reflecting on the value of the written stories emerging from the trauma.   Marianne Wilson (Nurse Specialist in the Diabetes Service) describes in detail the impact at the actual time of the February 2011 earthquake, and published in the Autumn edition of the newsletter of the NZSSD, Newsweet,  there is also an amazing distillation of the lessons learned when you go to work as you normally do and learn that among other things, you cant walk home after a natural disaster in high heels.  This is well worth reading, it contains lessons you just wouldn't even consider.

So at some point in the future we will have a link setup to an online fundraising site, with the intention of asking for financial support for our colleagues in Christchurch and their patients.  Discussions will occur at a later stage around what the Christchurch team are going to specifically spend this money on (and it will depend too on how much is raised!), right now their priorities are changing and they need a little time to think about what is going to make the most difference to them at that time.

In the meantime, our thoughts are with them as they do an amazing job, getting their own lives back in order while the aftershocks still continue, with winter upon them, and getting on with looking after people with diabetes in Canterbury.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Karen writes: Plans and coaches...time to get serious

I got in a lovely 10km run last night, it was wet but I was dressed right and thoroughly enjoyed pottering round admiring the effects on the rain from the streetlights and enjoying the noises of the water on my hood.  However, I came out feeling...well...feeling like I had run 10km and achieved nothing at all really.  If I am honest I realise I was just running distance for distance's sake.

So while that 10km was on the plan and everyone agrees you need a plan, I have reached the point where I am thinking this Ironman thing is BIGGER than my current way of doing things.  My method of adapting a variety of plans as they have suited me, and ignoring anything I didn't understand  (like the instruction to run at '10km' pace, or 'marathon' pace, or 'tempo pace'...what are these things when you only have one speed which is plod?) isn't likely to work this time.    I have been up till now asking “what is the minimum I can get away with to finish”, but now I think I need to be asking “what is the maximum I can achieve in the time I have and still have a life”.  

Another favorite approach has been hashing together other peoples generously shared experience, but I admit I have sometimes been guilty (usually to my detriment) of ignoring good advice, for example “STRETCH”, “REST”, and “chocolate and V are not classed as essential nutrients” from my inspirational Coast to Coaster friend.    I might have to start taking that good advice now that the stakes are so much higher, but also start to tie things together with some specific Ironman related support so I can be more efficient and integrated with my training, and focus on substituting quality for quantity.

So for a while now I have been thinking about an Ironman coach.   I’ve met with several people, liked them, thought “ok, probably could work with them”, but several weeks ago I had a meeting with a very knowledgeable couple, both very experienced themselves in triathlon, and both tremendously aware of the complications of having a busy life.   And I haven’t followed the meeting up!  Why?  

It makes no logical sense to me, but I figure I have been in hiding.  I suspect that if I sit down and agree to a plan  it will make the 3rd of March 2012 very real.  And if I have someone holding me to account (who isn't a friend and I cant ignore them!) there will be no more room for excuses....I am committed, I have to get on, be serious.   And things like just plodding off a distance or exchanging a planned run for a session on the spin bike at home…then peddling with the tension off and reading a book…will have to stop.     

So after I have written this, I plan to send an email saying YES PLEASE HELP.   But in the meantime, perhaps I will pop next door to the shop for a bar of chocolate (small of course), and maybe I will just change my current plan a little and pencil in a session on the spin bike tonight, and another chapter of that book.

Kate writes: motivation

I have had 2 days not running. Monday night I was going to run with the running group at waiuku. I finished work early, bought petrol and went to the post office. I still had an hour to wait for the run. It looked like it was going to rain so off home I went. Tuesday I went to parents evening, missed spin class and it was too dark to run. Tonight the daughter needs picking up from hockey 5pm so again no running. But if I change into my running gear I could run while waiting for her. Watch this space and I will let you know if I do it?

Monday, 27 June 2011

Karen writes: Te Puru runners on Sunday

I’ve discovered running with a group.  Until recently I probably couldn't have fitted it into my life anyway, but I also lacked the confidence to hang around with other runners because I am sooooo slow, I just didn’t want to make myself miserable trying to keep up, or end up feeling like I was holding people back.

About the slowness, I used to joke that I was collecting ‘lasts’ in various events, I especially remember a 100km cycle race where I was at least half an hour behind the second-to-last cyclist and everything had packed up when I finally got to the finish.  It was pouring with rain, I was tired, miserable and wondering why I had even started.   I can now say I am often more of a top seven eighths of the pack person, that’s progress...who knows, maybe one day I will get up to top three quarters...or shock horror, even equal the average!   I might laugh about it, but being slow doesn't actually bother me, I finish, and hopefully taking things easy will mean I can do this for a long time to come.

But going out with this running group is for me a terrific experience. We talk, encourage, swap ideas and advice, put the world to right, and the kilometres just disappear.   Different speeds and experience levels are supported by the group which is great, I don’t feel like I am some sort of non-performer because I lurk further back.   Before on the long runs of a marathon training programme I slogged along country roads by myself…and they were LONG and TEDIOUS and had all the appeal of medicine (if it is unpleasant it must be good for you).  I was often so unmotivated the only way I would get my planned distance covered was if the family dropped me off the required number of kilometers out in the countryside and I had to run back home, or if I had arranged to meet up with Kate then I wouldn’t dare let her down (or let her get ahead!) in spite of the call of the sofa.

So my Sunday morning treat is now to get up at 6am, grab a quick breakfast, set out my running gear so I can step into it, park the kids in front of the television, go back to bed for a bit, then off out the door to meet up with the Te Puru runners at 8am.   Apart from the company, we also go places I haven’t been familiar with in spite of spending over 40 years living in the district.  In particular I have fallen in love with the interconnecting  mountain bike trails in the forestry up behind Maraetai Beach. These are accessed through the running group or Pohutukawa Coast Bike Club, you get to admire magnificent vistas after a challenging slog up steep muddy slopes through pockets of native bush, and then have the absolute pleasure of some fabulous pine needle carpeted downhill charges.

So thanks runners from the Te Puru club, you are an inspiration, neat people to be around, and making my training on this long journey to Ironman so much more enjoyable.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Kate writes: long run

Sunday morning and the phone went. I need to get up and run, sun shining, its not raining but I turned over and went back to sleep. Phone rang again, still not raining so up I got, into my running gear. I have a new yellow running jacket from live strong, half price in the Rebel sports sale. It stops the rain and wind. I decided to run up hill from home, I hated every step. Why am I doing this? Why have I signed up to do the iron man? Got to the top of Matakawa hill 5k and off I went at a great speed, down to the fire station and off down Hatton road. Wow I felt better. The clouds were forming and I could see the rain coming. As I hate getting wet I thought I better head for home. Had a lovely run home and no rain. Rushed to the computor to map my run and did 14.5k. Very pleased. no aches or pains, cooked lunch and ready for the rest of the day. I just need to train my self to get out of bed quicker.  

Friday, 24 June 2011

Karen writes: Old runners

Old runners

We have shared so many miles
These old running shoes and me
We’ve slogged, plodded and rambled
With an occasional trotting spree

We’ve explored so many places
Towns, cities, familiar and strange
Traversed everlasting beaches
Busy roads we’ve run in the drains

Galloping across muddy paddocks
Pounding the lonely bush track
Startling the cows and the sheep
In hot, wind, wet, cold and night black

I’ve gotten greyer, but fitter
My shoes, they have just gotten old
No longer royal purple and white
No longer supportive and bold

They sit on the doorstep inertly
Tongues hanging out in despair
As the new model trots past with pride
I think they deserve more, faithful pair

So I’ve planned a funeral ceremony
They won’t retire to the black rubbish sack
But be planted by the garden wall
So thankyou old friends, and good luck


Thursday, 23 June 2011

Karen writes: Delusions, resting and stretching

My Archilles tendons mercifully feel much better today…they were so stiff when I got out of bed yesterday morning I hobbled down the stairs muttering at my stupidity, and they ached if I sat down for any length of time.   I don’t know about you, but if something goes wrong I head for the internet…and search… and search… and search until I find something which agrees with what I have already decided I want to do…which yesterday was keep running. 

Unfortunately (fortunately?) nothing I read which I could pretend was vaguely reputable agreed with me, everything I looked at said "prevent" (yes, that's useful now),  "rest", "ice" "stretch", "shoes", "rest again" etc.  In fact there was a common theme along the lines of “BEWARE the rupturetearpermanantdamageneverrunagainsurgerystopnowifitgoestocustarditsallyourfault”. Enough to frighten even delusional me into submission.  

So some applications of ice with the kids novelty icepacks (bunged down the back of the sock while cooking dinner), a bucket of antiflam later and a night off, there is now no tenderness discernible with a good prod.  However I am getting laughed at by the girls as they watch me go up the stairs,  stop suddenly, wiggle my heels back until they are hanging off the edge of the step and slowly drop them down for a gentle streeeeetch, ahhhh…ow…  

So will I be sensible tonight and take another day off…I wonder?

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Kate writes: headlamps

Last night I set out for a run home. The Husband, Glenn, dropped me at Bhanas the local shop, to run 5.5km home. The light was fading, shortest day, so I thought I would try out my new head light. It started off well but as I ran the light dropped to show off my new shoes and got in my way of running and I spent the whole run pushing it back up. Got home and the daughter, Sophie, laughed and said use a hair tie to keep it up. Tonight I will try again. Its a good job that summer is on its way and longer days.

Karen writes: The hard decision – rest or run on and SHOES

Now that we have put something on paper (so to speak) publicly, it has certainly added motivation for getting on with things (more like panic), and the Perth marathon in 10 weeks time has suddenly come into very clear focus.  But you know how it is when the importance of something ratchets up, the excuses start appearing, for example, right now everything hurts after a wonderful 23k hilly bush run on Sunday (thanks Te Puru running club) and I have to decide if it is paranoia or time for a rest.   One of the hardest decisions as a runner is do I stop and get out of sync with my programme, or do I ‘run through the pain’ and risk damage which could take a lot longer to heal.

So I ran for an easy 50 minutes last night on a beautiful cold and dark Auckland winter evening, and my archilles tendons are now telling me that the hard run on the weekend was too much on top of the fact that I delayed too long in replacing my running shoes.  Sticking with sagging old shoes means that I now have to undo the damage caused by those old faithfuls (I get quite attached to running shoes) and get used to the increased support of new ones.   Shoes are a major to figure out when you start off, and if you make a mistake when buying a new pair it can be expensive.   Some running shoe shops though offer video assessment of your running style and it can be worthwhile doing this once to limit the risk of choosing wrong (“but they were such a cool colour!”), and prevent damage which can take a while to heal.   Some shops will also offer an exchange if they have recommended shoes and they still cause problems.    Once you know what shoes work you can hold out for good deals, but getting it right early is a good, well, essential investment, and then remembering to replace before things go wrong.   Some people have more than one pair of shoes on the go at a time, I haven’t been that organised up till now, but I need to be.

So for me tonight, hard decision though it is, i need to ignore my programme, listen to the body,  take a rest in the hopes I will be OK tomorrow, apply lots of antiflam to the sore bits to allow some recovery, and think about taking out a mortgage to buy a second pair of shoes!  

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Kate writes: start as I mean to go on...

The trick to actually getting going on a cold miserable day after you have been at work for 8 hours is to get dressed in your running gear before you leave for home.  See, dressed for winter running.  A hard 8km run  (thanks guys in the Sunset Coast Multi-sports club) followed up with hot snack at the Kentish!  

Karen writes: Our aims...

We have a couple of aims for writing this blog.   As more…ah…mature…women we have re-discovered how much fun we can have being fit, and achieving the sorts of goals we wouldn’t have even looked at a short time ago.  We can now say (much to others disbelief) that we are ‘marathoners’, ‘triathletes’, ‘runners’, ‘cyclists’, and…this is really cool…walk into a sports shop and have the assistant who used to look the other way, now pretend to take us seriously, because we almost SOUND like we know what we are talking about!  We want to encourage others to take on their own impossible journey too and have as much fun (suffering?) as we are.

Our biggest aim is of course fundraising for the Christchurch Diabetes Service which is a very powerful incentive, keeping us going on the long slow buildup to this, the biggest event of our lives. The Christchurch Diabetes Service have had a very hard time since September 2010 when the first unexpected earthquake occurred causing major devastation.  They have since had to deal with ongoing aftershocks which continue to damage significant parts of Christchurch city and make the lives of many Cantabrians very hard.  The story of how the diabetes team and the local volunteer service, Diabetes NZ Christchurch, coped with keeping themselves and their people with diabetes going when their own lives were in crisis is just amazing.  

Karen and Kate at 2011 Rotorua Marathon
We also admit to other motivations though...we want, as unlikely athletes, to have a new title, that of ‘ironman’,  we want to hear the "you are an ironman" called out for us as we cross the finish line.  Kate also thinks ironman jewelry is a fitting reward, but my secret motivation is that I want the tattoo.  While running  this years Rotorua marathon I envied those who had the ironman logo transfer on their calves as they ran and I thought “I so want that to be ME”….   Then I thought, “oh hell, I shall have to swim 4km, cycle 180km, then do what I am struggling with right now, run the 42km…not possible”.   

But it is possible of course, we want to do something for our colleagues and their patients in Christchurch, there are many amazing people who have taken this journey (see our link to Heidi-Jane for example), and of course we have told too many people of our own plans to back out now!