Sunday, 31 July 2011

Karen writes: waxing lyrical...

Visualise running comfortably along the centre of a narrow country road in Northland, there is a nice track in the middle where the car tyres have pushed the gravel to one side, the dirt is hard packed and level and ever-so slightly damp so there is no troublesome dust, it is a perfect surface for running on.   You run on with the dense native bush crowding in on one side of the road, farmland stretching away on the other, and admire too the sky which is a beautiful clear winter blue.  The distance is measured by mouldering wooden fenceposts, its a perfectly picturesque setting for running.   And it feels fabulous, the air is cool and fresh, there is the lightest of mild breezes, and with the only sounds being the birds and your feet scuffling the road surface, how peaceful.   In 70 minutes, no cars go past while you enjoy the rolling terrain, and each new and spectacular view as you top each rise.  How can you resist turning up a road called “blue horizon” into a steep and challenging climb upwards for what seems like forever until you arrive at the top sweating and exultant where you look out to uninterrupted sea, the blue horizon.   Bliss. 

Of course having used all your energy on that last climb you then have to turn around and slog home again up all those hills which are no longer ‘rolling’ but apparently vertical, the views aren’t a novelty anymore, the lovely cool weather means you dare not stop or you will chill, and the lack of traffic now simply means you aren’t going to be able to hitch a lift home, but really, what a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Karen writes: multi-tasking

To add lots of endurance training to your life you end up multitasking for everything.  I get asked how I fit children, work, home, study, training, etc in, well, the first answer is 'badly', things drop off like the housework, but the other answer is never do one thing at a time.  This has its disadvantages when it comes to ever taking time to slow down, I find that impossible to do.  Anyway, an example is driving to work, this is my opportunity to catch up on the news on the radio and think.   This morning there was a live report from a reporter walking around snowy Christchurch streets and she commented on a lone brave jogger, wondering how they were managing not to slip over in the ice.    I reflected that I complain about a bit of wind and rain, at least I don’t have to worry about whether anyone should invent chains for running shoes or freezing to death in a snowdrift.  Yet one more problem for poor old Christchurch, and one more reminder that we don’t know how lucky we are when we find excuse after excuse for not getting out.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

kate writes: underwire bra or not!

This might seems a strange question but when you have a bust that is a double d it is a question I keep asking. Where can I get a bra that gives me support, stops them jumping up and down and stops the sores. I was shopping in Botany yesterday and went in the Nike shop. I usually stay clear of it as I,m not an athlete  and it looks expensive. But the lady in there was lovely. Firstly we looked at socks. I now have a pair of socks with L and R on them. Being dyslexic this could be a challenge. We then went on to try some new bras. They were all large, some fitted , some were too large and some too small. One was just right. But it squashes me all up and I have fat in some very strange places. I went running last night, in the hail, and feet and boobs felt good. Will have to see how they go after a longer run. Thanks to the nice lady in the NIKE shop.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Karen writes: Monday gym at home

Home gym routine tonight using the exercises I learned last week (well I hope I got them right, might have forgotten some).   30 minutes of light cycling was prescribed to sort out my tired legs, and after that, I alternated high resistance on the spin bike, with doing a specific exercise, aided by the kitten who was all wound up for some reason.   It is bad enough when you are doing a press-up and something small a fluffy runs underneath you and out the other side, it is even worse if it stops underneath however.  

I made myself up some flash card things with pictures of the exercises so I can work my way through the pile, otherwise I would lose track,  get bored and wander off or at the very least skip the ones I didn't like.  It seemed to work ok, it became a bit of a game to shuffle them and promise myself I would definitely do them in the order they turned up.   I did them all but I admit I did cheat and rearrange the order.
But I feel surprisingly good today, I had no muscle discomfort from yesterdays big run, and the light go on the spin bike seemed to help too.   I definitely feel like I am stronger, will all this extra work translate into less time on the road in 5 weeks, or will it just mean it will be easier I wonder.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Karen writes: 30km...just

The 30 km this morning was hard work.   In spite of catching a few hours of perfect Auckland winter weather I wasn’t feeling all that great to start with so getting to 20km was just ok.  Fortunately the company was good and I was pleased to catch up on some ancient history about people I had been to primary school with over in Beachlands.  25 km was bearable, but the last 5 km where I actually had to turn back and re-cover some ground to get the full distance was really hard.  Nothing hurt particularly, the camelpak was nearly empty and it jiggles around and chafes when the weight of water isn’t holding it steady, my legs felt heavy and sluggish too and I felt towards the end like I was running with a gait like I had just climbed off a horse.  I just wanted to go home by that stage.   I finally got there and hobbled up the driveway, it is one seriously steep slope which does stretch out the tendons and calves but covering that last 30 metres can seem the longest part of the whole thing.  Milk drink, shower, compression leggings on, lunch and then I went for a short lie down and woke up 2 hours later feeling thirsty and reluctant to move.   Seems to be becoming a bit of a habit this nap after the long run!   It will stop next weekend I am sure though, the girls will be home in all their glorious boisterousness and mum behaving like a tired old thing wont figure in their calculations.

Not sure about 35km next week.   Will have to see how much impact today’s efforts has on me over the next few days, I feel like I already ran that marathon.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Karen writes: Big run tomorrow

So Kate sent me a text this afternoon to say she had run 25km and afterwards was doing housework, I was impressed, she still had the energy to do the domestic stuff after 25km.   I felt a bit guilty, I was doing nothing…but then I am on an exercise day off, and I tell myself that’s pretty important because tomorrow I have to run that 30km.   So to make sure tomorrows effort  (which I expect to take over 3hours) doesn’t do me any harm and mean I have to have recovery time interrupting the rest of my training, there is some preparation.   First is taking today completely off exercise and second is having a good dinner tonight with quality carbohydrate and vegetables just like I would before a big event.  Third, I will have a bit more for breakfast at an earlier time (weetbix and milk 2 hours before running instead of just 1 ½) and fourth I will be wearing only well tested gear, applying antichafe in all the risk places (especially important if it is raining), and taking the bigger 1.5 litre camelpak with some extra energy gels.  Lastly I will tell everyone within earshot that I HAVE to do 30km so I don’t pike out and come home early!    I am sure Kate will send me a text to check up in the afternoon, now to have to answer a text like that with a "no" if I didn't have the excuse of at least a broken leg or typhoid fever would just be too embarrassing.

Kate writes:no longer an athena

You might ask what is an Athena? It's when your weight is more than 75KG. This morning the scales read 74.6kg. I had to try it again to check. Not been this wt for 10 years. I lie in the bath and the stomach is in 2 rolls now not 1. Paranoia checks in, I must be ill! I mean I'm not doing anything different! I'm just doing what I tell my patients, eat less, drink less and do more exercise. Well it works but I think its extreme. Just ran/walked 24 km it is feeling much easier. Just need to keep it up.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Karen writes: 36 days to go to Perth

As I write this the Perth marathon website records "036 days, 10 hours and 32 minutes" to go.  That's only just over a month.

But things are going fine, I did my hill repeats successfully last night, eight times I ran up the big hill on Maraetai drive, a 300 metre distance with the elevation going up 12 metres. 8 times I ran down it again (yes, obviously), the lady watching out of her house window further up the road looked a bit anxious seeing me go back and forth,  perhaps she thought I was casing the place.  A shocking pink polyprop clad burglar gasping for breath.

Tonight I spent 60 minutes on the road, with some satisfaction I think I burned off the cake from morning tea.  I now carry in my head what is on the training programme for the whole of the next week and my focus is on getting it done, I am…shockingly…organising my whole LIFE around  achieving what is on that piece of paper, that's an obsession!  This is how you get close to an event though, but I know the compulsion goes away afterwards….fortunately…or it could be unfortunately.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Kate Writes: Running with Charl

Wednesday evenings I run with my friend Charl. I tend to txt her to check. It went like this : Run Wednesday? Yes please so fat and unfit. Me skiny lost wt.Oh god help me ill b dead at the waste station, It will be ok Ill call an ambulance! Well we met and Charl ran 5k with only a few huffs and puffs. Its nice to run with friends and a good time to catch up. I never thought I could run and talk at the same time, but most of the time I can. It maybe that I need to put more effort into it, but its got to be fun.

Karen writes: The positive and the negative

I am very pleased to report that I found a hipbone this morning!  A tiny bony prominence rising above a sea of me, and it turned out to be a hip…it’s been a few years since I had one of those.  Of course it disappeared when I stood up, probably won’t be there tomorrow, but hey…that’s progress!

I have also found a cold.   Not so pleased with that.

Tonight the task is hill repeats x 8.   Already looking for excuses where none exist, hill repeats are just plain hard work.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Karen writes: Different routes to the same thing

In case anyone hasn’t noticed yet, Kate and I have very different ways of approaching our training.   We could be training for completely different events if you compared what we are doing, what we prioritise and focus on.  And this is the thing, we actually spend quite a bit of time talking about what we have done, running ideas past each other, planning and trying to figure things out, and still we end up going completely our own ways to suit our very different lives.   

Kate is finding swim club, spin sessions, and her running group provides the impetus to get out and get fitter, it’s working well for her.   I need more time flexibility, finding it impossible to commit to more than one activity planned at a specific time in a week, if that.   I also am a creature who when they enjoy something they like to do it again…and again…and again. Currently that thing is running, I don’t want to cycle or swim right now so I am going to have to work hard to catch up to where Kate is with the other disciplines. For me, my running is a treat in itself and this has taken quite a mind-shift, to go from running being a chore with the endpoint of better health, to the enjoyment of running being the endpoint with the better health a fabulous side-effect.  Not that it is always pleasurable while I am doing it I have to admit.   At about 23km on Sunday with a couple more km to go my brain was saying “if you were running your marathon you are only half way and you feel like this already?”, but I know for a fact that I will be well rested for the marathon, the adrenalin will kick in, and I am very unlikely to feel bad at 23km. 

This Sunday I have 30km to do.  Now that is scary, the following week it is 35km, then back to 30km and then down to a more routine 25km (did I say that?).  I have NEVER done this much mileage in my lead-up to anything, it will be a challenge to see if I can firstly do it mentally (“oh I am nearly at 3 hours, I’m sure that’s enough…home for a croissant”), and secondly can I cope physically (“is that a twinge to worry about or a twinge to run through?”).  I think the mental bit will be the tough one.  We have just over 5 weeks to go till the next marathon which is only actually 3 weeks more of serious training…I am sure both me and Kate will learn a lot from our lead-up to this one.

Kate writes: Tour De France

Tuesday night is spin night. I have missed it the last week due to ... well life getting in the way. So last night I was going for it. I was a little stiff from the run the night before so I thought I would get there early to warm up. Terry was already going for it and the screen was showing the bike race. They were going up mountains. We watched the riders going over a very old bridge and the commentator said and you can see where they have to go. It was a huge mountain behind them. So we got into the swing and started peddling with the riders, out of our seats trying to get up hill with them. They were going so fast and up 45degree slopes. we huffed and puffed but could not catch them. It was great fun watching these amazing men with thighs the size of tree stumps. I must work harder at my hills.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Karen writes: Gym

Well I continue to get deeper into this ‘taking exercise seriously’ thing.  I went for a strength training session last night at an excellent little gym setup in Clevedon. I got there a bit early and enjoyed watching people support each other doing a circuit of different activities, for example, the person on the treadmill was timing 1 minute intervals for the others then they all moved around.   It had a really nice atmosphere and I spent the briefest of moments reflecting about the days long ago when I used have ‘evenings’ (rather than ‘routines’) and I sure didn’t use all that time for something useful like these people were.

Anyway, then it was my turn.   Warmup on the recumbent stationary bike, felt like I was sitting in a chair which was a very appealing way of exercising, nothing to interfere with reading a book on that one!   Then 1 minute harder work on the bike, 1 minute doing an exercise and this went on alternating for what seemed like ages.  I learned that my arms are WEAK.   The exercises I most struggled with were to do with upper arms, and this must surely be telling me something I need to know before I start swim training again.   So I came out sweating profusely, and feeling like I had actually done some exercise.  Trainer Grant has promised to send me detailed written instructions, I have no recollection of what exercises I actually did apart from a few which stood out for negative reasons, the ‘plank’ for a minute, a minute of press-ups in particular.  
The dreaded plank...looks simple doesn't it?
So that is what my Mondays evenings after the children are in bed will look like for the foreseeable future, I shall be at home slogging through my list!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Kate Writes: lung buster

It has been a hard week with a night in Middlemore with a friend, I was tired, but Friday came and it was swim club. The last session was doing a fast back stroke with no arms but using flippers. Then a 25 meter lung buster. Now a lung buster is swimming the whole length without a breath. Arms stretched out and clasped, chin  tucked in and flippers on. You dive down to the bottom of the pool and stick to the floor and go as fast as you can. I have not managed to do this until this week. A whole length under water, what an achievement. Yep I must be improving.

Karen writes: Fairies and naps

I have just had a nap after lunch.  This does not normally happen in our house, so why did I feel the need to curl up and give in to postprandial oblivion?  Some of it was opportunity, with the children away at their Grandparents for the school holiday... children and naps don't normally go together.  Part of it however was having had a lunch fit for...a fairy (more about that later)... end result of a trip to the Clevedon Cafe to meet my urgent and justifiable need for eggs benedict and hot chocolate.

The day didn't start out all that well, I got up extra early to get a few kilometers in before meeting up with the Te Puru runners, but as I headed down the driveway I managed to slip and fall heavily on the cobbles.  An advantage of tri-shorts and the habit of wearing extra layers (jackets) around my waist is the presence of some extra padding so the attitude was never mind, see how the first part of the run goes.  It was fine, as long as I didn't stop, stopping meant starting again and that wasn't pleasant.    But in spite of the awful hour, the coast road from Maraetai put on a spectacular show as the day woke up, with spirals of mist rising off the water, not a cloud to be seen, and as my Nana would have put it, "a good to be alive day".

The run with the group went fine, round the outside of Beachlands, through Pine Harbour, and into the bush trails back to Maraetai, a fabulous 19 or so km, lots of talking, and lots to see, like the gorse with its myriad spider webs with dew on them lining the paths.  Cold though, stopping wasn't an option in the bush, you could just feel the chill if you slowed down.

What your non-hairy fairy wears for winter
swimming after running 25km 
Then...(who talked us into this madness?), into fairy costumes, and the Te Puru runners became (some of them anyway) 'hairy fairies', and actually handed over money to go for a masochistic midwinter dip at Maraetai Beach.  This was the annual Rotary fundraiser, and I understand it was for the local volunteer coastguard, an excellent cause.    I wasn't your haute couture fairy I'm afraid, just borrowed the daughters tutu and old wings (I may be in trouble here, the wings didn't do well in the sea) and put them on over my running gear, leaving on my merino beanie and shoes.  Note to self: this gets the shoes clean of all the mud but is also a handy hint to remember for future (YEAH right, Tui moment there) midwinter swims, you can just charge right into (and out of) the water at high speed shod thus!
The water got surprisingly deep given the tide was out, you had to swim around the coastguard boat and the shock of the cold got to my lungs in the deep water on the way back, but what a fabulous feeling to run straight out of that water, up the beach, ready for hot shower and well deserved treat lunch time!

And of course the nap.   I may plan on being otherwise occupied this time next year.

Friday, 15 July 2011

kate writes: how to make a grown women cry!

I have been thinking about adding in a massage to my training routine. I mean to say my shoulder hurts my hip hurts my knee hurts. So I booked in on Wednesday for a sports massage. A lovely lady called Jodi took a history from me, said I was very stiff and the session started. The tears ran down my face, but as I had my head in  a hole on the bed no one could see. Is this the pain you feel she said, no I said , is this it, YES!! I'm sure she had both hands under my scapular. An hour later I felt that I had a really good work out. I will be back for more but have been told to stretch. I'm not good at that but lets have a go and see.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Karen writes: Fartlek, F for failure!

The plan today said ‘fartlek’ which was described thus... “for the duration of the session you will alternate between a run at 80% of your own personal 5km race pace for 1 minute and then jog for a 2 minute recovery”.  First consideration was this 5km race pace thing, as I have said before, I only have one speed normally.   Next, figuring out the 1 and 2 minute ratio.  In 45 minutes that’s a lot of watch checking but Grant had thought of that one, his suggestion was to use lamp posts, 3 posts for the fast pace, 4 posts for the slow.    Now that I am looking I have discovered that we don’t have reliably spaced lampposts around much of Maraetai, so I ended up counting footsteps.   I did really well in the first 20 minutes, faster…slower… faster… raincoat off…sort-of slower… faster….raincoat on… lots slower…raincoat off…. faster….faster… raincoat on…  slowslowslowslow…. comfy pace autopilot home.  I forgot what was fast and what was slow, I forgot to count, I ran too fast and got tired and couldn’t be bothered speeding up after the slow, then I got clicked into a good pace because I had finally warmed up and didn’t want to alter it because it felt nice.   Hmmm…I think I need to have another go at that one!    Anyway, heading north to Whangarei tomorrow, the plan says 'FRIDAY 50 minutes recovery run', but how can I ignore the opportunity to have a play on Mt Manaia up the road?  The best raincoat, my filthy shoes, Chafe-ease, and 2nd favorite pair of stay dry socks are packed given the current weather forecast.
Mt Manaia, Whangarei Heads

Karen writes: Jayne does Xterra

Congratulations Jayne from the DPT on completing your first Xterra off-road event out at Waiuku forest.  I am most impressed, especially because you are planning on booking in for another one for an even longer distance!  Jayne says she was really impressed with the fact that all sorts of ages were there, including children, getting out and enjoying themselves.  Jayne laughingly says the main thing she learned was that she hadn't trained enough (the children were passing her), and the terrain was rougher than she expected, but she now knows what to plan for next time. 

For anyone who hasn’t done one of these amazing winter series events, they are a serious challenge through some of the most beautiful wild(ish) venues Auckland has to offer.  If you are the sort to whom running up a riverbank as the sun comes up in front of you appeals, or to whom bliss would be pounding along ever changing bush trails through gravel, mud, sand and everything in between, or cruising along gorgeous cliftops with the sea below, then have a look at these events, more info at http://www.trailrun.co.nz/.   I strongly recommend them, I mean who would pass up the pure pleasure of feeling like you haven't got any legs left at the end of the race, (hot sausages and low alcohol beer they provide afterwards is a sure cure) but sadly I dare not take on one of these this year, it would burn up all the energy I need for distance training, and I am too petrified of getting an injury in that tough terrain (I may yet be convinced), but you go JAYNE!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Karen writes: strength training

Another first.  I did ‘strength training’ last night, not a run!    I had a vague sense of discomfort that I wasn’t off clocking up more kilometres when I had no real excuses not to… I felt fine, I was rested because I had yesterday off, nothing hurt, so why wasn’t I out running? 

The plan again.  That dratted plan which I have committed to do my utmost to follow.   So I did…lunges and sit-ups and press-ups and then some high resistance spin…until I broke the spin bike.   I felt like I hadn’t done enough, must have been doing it wrong!

Back running tonight, there is a 70 minute 'medium' run, and given the current ongoing bad weather, I suspect it will be like Kate's experience last night.   Something to look forward to.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Kate writes: thunder and lightening

Monday night run with Waiuku running group. It started to rain. Thats ok I thought! then large flashes of lightening, counted to 16 before the thunder came. We will be ok and get home before the storm. We were exactly half way round when the wind and hail came. I could not see and I had to shield my eyes from the hail, the rain was sticking to my eye lashes. I huffed and puffed eventually having to walk to catch my breath. Then run as fast as we could back to the car. I have never been that wet , except when I swim. It was a different experience. Not one I would like to do again, I did think we were going to die with a tornado hitting us or get electrocuted with the lightening. When we got back to the cars, we were all taking off clothing, pants and bras were on view but no one cared. Except the passerbys off to theoffice next door. I had to drive home with my tri shorts on, that I love but the pad was very wet and I sat on a towel but the seat still got wet. But we were ok and now I'm home and dry it seems like a distant memory! Hehehe. 

Karen writes: At last, a reason I'm not losing weight

This is one of those little gems which come around by email occasionally, clever author unknown.   It fits very well with my current obsessive mindset, trying to maximise the likelihood of a good performance in a race, one of  the ways is to ensure you are not carrying too many kilograms of extra baggage:    
"What is a calorie?
Calories are the little sods that get into your wardrobe at night and sew your clothes tighter. 
MY CLOSET IS INFESTED WITH THEM!"

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Kate writes: getting sick

Well I tried my best not to get sick. But Thursday down I went with a head cold. The worse thing happened I could not talk. For those of you who know me that was very difficult. All that came out was a little whisper. All the cold medicine was in good use. That has put my running  and training to pot. I am inside keeping warm and begining to feel better. The question now is "do I go to work tomorrow or stay at home and go for that long run?" Guilt will take the better part of me and I will go to work, but its Monday tomorrow and a run with the club will be on the menu.   

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Karen writes: Saturday excuses almost won

Sometimes things just don’t go right.  The excuses to not run today were stacked up, with sick children (now improving...just at the grumpy stage),  the kitten still sneezing  (recovering from catflu enough to become a hazard to itself again...leaving the toilet lid down is the new habit in the house), then this afternoon the water pump got a leak and drained most of the watertank before it was spotted.   I wasn’t going for a run if I couldn’t come home and have any water, but the pump-man up the road had a spare, and some very very careful water use should hopefully keep us going until the promised heavy rain (please let the rotten weather forecast be right!) arrives.
Jax the SPCA kitten, well again
Anyway, I went out for a 20km slow run and  enjoyed the effects of the windy weather.  I felt like my lungs had too much air when running into the strong wind, it’s the strangest feeling, and when I ended up in a dip or gulley with the wind roaring over the top it felt like the air was really thin as though it had been sucked out.  I love leaning into the wind and feeling it almost hold me up too.   It rained a few times over the 2 hours, but as soon as I had struggled into my raincoat it stopped, so it was easier to leave it off after a while, I dried out fast enough.   It was a different experience from my usual bush running as it got dark quite quickly at only 5pm because of the deteriorating weather.    I was glad to come up the top of the hill and look down at Maraetai and see the curtains of rain heading my way across the water.

So I have done my quota this week in spite of a few glitches, next week things step up quite a lot, 50km to do according to the plan with the longest run 25km.

Friday, 8 July 2011

kate writes: running with new friends

I went to diabetes conference this week. Looked up the hotel I was staying at and found they had a gym. Planned to have a run on the running machine. Whilst discussing this over morning tea we actually planned to run around the lake. One of the reps, Nisha lives in Takapuna and knew the way. By 5 pm we had 2 more runners from Tauranga. Off we went and the heavens opened, wet in 2 minutes, but my new yellow jacket kept me dry. We did see the lake for about 30 seconds, otherwise it was a road run. That was fine but I had no idea where we went. Just tried to do Mapmyrun and I think it was about 8 km. Thankyou all it was great. We had a nice meal in and then a few wines and I met up with some of the nurses from Christshurch Diabetes Clinic. It reminded me how lucky we are not to have the issues they have. Many have poor housing due to the earthquake and then go to work and support their patients. I took this photo whilst there and wish them all well.  We will be looking at the fund raising soon.

Karen writes: Challenge to the Eye Clinic team

Hey...team at Mangere Community Health Trust Diabetes Eye clinic...don't think the team at the Diabetes Projects Trust have forgotten we were going to challenge you to the Feetbeat workplace challenge this year  (actually Raukura reminded us!).  Starts 12 September 2011 with workplace teams registering to compete against each other over how much walking activity members can do in 8 weeks.   Anyone else up for the challenge in their workplace?

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Karen writes: my first 'hill repeats'

I managed 6 of the hill repeats last night before I got bored and came home.   I mostly followed the instruction to warm up and warm down, then pushed my pace up the 250 meter hill (10m elevation), taking it easier on the way down with my huffing and puffing gone by the time I was halfway back to start.  Be interesting to see if that gets any easier with being repeated and next time I will remember to dig out the heart monitor to see what the exertion is doing to the heart rate.    It feels really strange to only go out to do what seems like such a small amount of work, I felt like I should be off clocking up kilometer after kilometer...but this is quality rather than quantity time now.    This morning I felt quite happy though,  I looked online at the elevations for the Perth Marathon and saw that the worst hill is at about halfway through and rises approximately 60 meters over the distance of 3km.  In the Rotorua Marathon the nastiest hill (which wasn't that bad really) rose by around 40 meters in under a kilometer, those sorts of comparisons make this new 'hill repeat' thing seem worthwhile, and of course the hills in the upcoming event appear a lot less of a worry.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Karen writes: Getting OUT the door

Last night it was so cold outside!  Well, cold for Auckland anyway, I will be accused of being a wimp by those from other parts of the country where they have ‘real cold’, but this wimp had to go outside for a run, in the dark, when the children were asleep and the cat was curled up in front of the heater.  I so wanted to stay inside and read my book.   I so didn’t want to get those clammy feeling running clothes on, which included damp shoes, having been washed after the weekends mudbath.  Even doing housework had more appeal.  But you know what, as I could have predicted but never want to believe when I am trying to get the motivation up to leave the house, I warmed up, got to the top of the hill and started running along the road which looks out to the lights of Auckland city, said hello to the sky tower in the distance, admired clouds making patterns on the moon, followed the little pool of light from my headlight (thanks Cheriemc, straps over the beanie does work well) and got into my own world warm and cocooned in my jacket…I didn’t want to come home.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

kate writes: fashion statement


Spin class tonight. Got changed into bike gear at work. But I wore my boots to work, whats wrong with that? Shorts and boots a very interesting look. The boys thought I should put cleats on the boots. My daughter said it was not a good look. The spin class was good though. Hill climbs for 40 mins. I have a problem with Hatape Hill at Taupo, I fall off most years as Im not going fast enough. This year will be different I will be up that hill so fast I will think Ive missed it. so thanks guys a good session.
Hatepe Hill 2009

kate writes: no mates

I've joined a running group on monday evenings in Waiuku. I arrived 10 minutes early and waited for the group to arrive. After 15 minutes I thought no one was coming. No mates Kate! I talked myself into running anyway on a cold evening. I got out of the car and started to get ready. Very proud of myself it would have been too easy to just go home. Then Adrian , one of the runners arvived and then 2 others. Apparently they are often late. So I had good company on the run including the dog. I am looking forward to next week now.

Karen writes: So as not to make a cupcake out of a marathon

I am now officially committed to a training programme.    Thanks Grant.   It’s here in front of me, in pretty shades of yellow carefully labelled with days of the week, and numbers of weeks and what is expected each day. It has 16 days off, yes I counted those first, it has 5 runs of over 25km, and actually, it looks very reasonable, for a reasonable athlete.  Am I one, I'm not sure on that.   I have already had the discussion about shifting the long run to another day…and because of this the day off had to shift to still have enough benefit…then the nasty thing with the running up and down the same hill 8 x shifted to accommodate the changed day off…and I cant commit to gym attendance...and this week I cant do the long run on Sunday so I mess everything up again to fit it in earlier, all was very patiently dealt with and it was made clear it had to fit around my life.   To top it all off though, I caught myself building in some excuses early “I will have to be flexible for…childcare … meetings…if I’m feeling too lazy…if someone has birthday cake at work…etc”.  

But I look more closely at what has suddenly become an important little collection of lines and words and think that while it is actually only 8 weeks of work, it should hopefully make this upcoming marathon go well if I stick to it, plus it is setting the groundwork for the big ‘IM’ which according to a recent email was only 250 days away...EEK.  I figure before I try to bargain any more changes I should perhaps think about it more like a recipe, like a cake, and I sadly reflect on my own most recent 'fiddling with the recipe' cooking experience – the late night cupcake disaster (anyone else ever had to make several batches of cupcakes because the first lot were too embarrassing to send to school for the 5 year olds fundraiser even with a heap of icing?).  By now, I should understand that if I muck around with the recipe (oh, wholemeal flour here will be fine, not enough butter, that’s alright, I’m sure this will do) I get…hmmm…what I deserve.  This time, actually this time I really want icing and a cherry on my marathon so perhaps I WILL follow the recipe.     Starting tomorrow with the first of the Tuesday 'medium' 60-80 minute runs.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Karen writes: Overdoing it

Today I am regretting the impulse which saw me run for an unplanned 4 hours yesterday, much of it hilly bush work.   I had a wonderful time exploring a different patch of bush at Whitford with the Te Puru running group, there was mud, leg challenging uphills and great downhills, zigzags along mountain bike tracks through pine forests and it seemed there were amazing things like hidden ponds or wonderful pockets of native trees to look at around every corner.  Then I thought I needed some more kilometers so I decided to run home by the main road, however as I was about to run past the turnoff to my now favorite bush trail in the hills behind Maraetai beach, I thought “nothing hurts, why don’t I go down there” and I foolishly turned off.   I quite quickly went from feeling fine, to my brain telling me to give up and walk.  If the family hadn’t been off doing a mercy dash to the vet with a sick kitten I would have phoned to say “come rescue me”.   I fought my lazy brain half heartedly, eventually walking up the hills was the compromise.  Trying to figure out why I was feeling so lousy I then realised that I had forgotten somewhere along the line to keep up with the half hourly gels and I still had more than half the camelpak of water on my back, so I made myself have some of those.    By the time I came out in the hills above Maraetai I was feeling brighter, I got home and was strict about recovery...protein drink (yuck), followed by substantial lunch which I didn’t feel like at all by this stage, shower, put the compression tights on, feet up for 1 minute for every kilometre, and tried to drink plenty of water for the rest of the day.    End result, its Monday morning, I am feeling a little washed out but nothing hurts particularly, no run today and possibly tomorrow, and next weekend I MUST take it easy.  But it’s so hard, I really want to play! 

And of course Kate has lost weight and looks fabulous…

Sunday, 3 July 2011

kate writes: long pants

It must be the right topic of conversation to talk about equipment. Last week was a difficult week to run. There were loads of excuses. The main one was the weather and it was cold. So on Friday I went to rebel sports to look at what they had in the sale. I came away with some long running tights. Sunday morning I knew I had to run. The long run was needed. It was cold. Put the long pants on and off I went, what a difference they made, no longer cold. They have been washed and ready for tomorrow nights run. By the way, my weight reached 76.6kg today, the lowest its been for 10 years. I may not be an Athena when I do the half iron man!  

Friday, 1 July 2011

Karen writes: about lucky socks, and lucky handkerchiefs, and lucky shorts

I strongly relate to Kate's worries about catching things.  You can't help it when you work so hard towards your goal over such a long time.  So to me every sniffle or snuffle I develop suggests pneumonia (probably of the super-bug variety), and I am absolutely sure I will fall over a week out from an event while walking out to the letterbox and end up with a compound fracture of something important.  But does anyone else get a bit pathalogical about having favorite items of clothing or equipment?  I went into a spin because I could only find one of my lucky socks, and DONT get me started on not being able to find my favorite running bra, that brings the world to a crashing halt.   I loved Kerre Woodhams descriptions of trying to sort that particular problem out, finding the solution only in the hands of a french lingerie fitter before her Paris marathon.  Her books (Short fat chick to Marathon runner, Short fat chick in Paris) are worth a look at, she and her coach take an approach which is refreshingly different from some of the marathon tomes written by super athletes who tend to skim over the important topics such as chafing, recalcitrant underwear, and having a 'life'.


But I think there is a serious side to this topic, getting bugs, like getting equipment things wrong leads to real  misery...and the risk that things will go wrong on the day, if you can even (horror) turn up.  Bugs you don't have much control over, the equipment you do.  Take something as trivial as socks for example, to get that sorted that right you might need to explore fat socks, thin socks, water wicking socks, padded socks, socks with compression, anatomically accurate socks, sanitised and deoderised socks, socks which give you blisters, short socks, long socks, trail socks, socks which trap every bit of dirt and stone, branded socks, socks advertised to be miracle socks, socks for big shoes, cooling socks (?), socks with go-fast racing stripes...oh and I used to think a SOCK was a SOCK?    


Or running shorts ...get them wrong and there is a tiny problem for the non petite athlete when running for hours at a time which could be solved probably by thinner legs (ha ha...that's not going to happen in a hurry...), but for me, tri-shorts have to be the solution, even if not the most aesthetically pleasing.


Last but not least I need my lucky handkerchief, my favorite is so worn with washing it has holes in it, but it's an old friend which has reached almost talisman status.    There is a practical thing around this bit of idiocy,  tissues turn to a handful of damp fluff, and does anyone else get a case of the yuck with those runners or cyclists who block one nostril off and aim for the person behind them? GET A HANKIE!


So having the right gear is an all consuming interest for me right now, given it  can make all the difference when it comes to walking like a normal person (or sniffing annoyingly for hours).  Add a fixation with the peculiar nutrition unique in this territory (who would have thought swallowing almost unlimited chocolate flavoured sweet stuff could become a chore?), various biological aspects, and it does rather make me death on conversation at the moment with non-runners!

kate writes: avoiding sick people

Well I did not manage to run this week. Family commitments got in the way. But I did get to watch Sophies hockey game which was great fun. I have become paranoid though about catching the flu. I do a clinic in a GP's surgery once a week and this week the waiting room was full of sick people. I left early and breathed deeply as I walked back to the office.  I popped into the Chemist and bought panadol, lemsip and vitamins. I have no signs of a cold but it would interfere too much with the training.