Tuesday, 30 August 2011

kate writes: Pain

Well its 2 days after the marathon. I feel great until I move. sharp pain down both legs. I also do not think that those muscles belong to me as they want to move the legs in a different direction to the way I want to go. We went out on a bus trip yesterday to look at the city. As you can see from the photo I had to have priority seating and walking down the stairs was painful. Still I am very pleased with my time and I know tomorrow my legs will feel better.

Karen writes: The ultimate recovery run...

Just proving, anywhere, anytime, wearing anything is good for a run!   Today I had a recovery run by the Indian Ocean, we saw a glimpse of it when we finished our marathon on Sunday, but today got a chance to get our feet (and in my case my jeans too) wet!  Just fabulous.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Karen writes: Perth likes and dislikes

It is 5am, we have both been awake for a while, and we have just had the first of probably several breakfasts and had a good discussion about yesterday.  Both of us have been thinking about the 30 year old man who went out to run a marathon and never came home again, we know these things happen very very rarely, but it still makes you think about the nature of the event, and of course feel very sad that something which had been entered into with excitement and anticipation ended in such a way.

I don’t feel like I ran a marathon yesterday.  Today, not a chafe, or a blister or even a sore bit.  I am still tired, but that is probably as much a left-over from mixed up sleeping hours and the last traces of my cold.   

Things to be liked:
  • Beautiful route with interesting scenery
  • The chance to experience a perfect early morning in a strange city
  • Friendly volunteers, some stood out, especially the children.
  • The talkers, there weren’t that many, most seemed to be ex-pat Kiwi’s or South Africans
  • These same talkers, telling the stories of the things they overcome
  • Just being a marathoner, lots of people called out encouragement with “go marathoner”, we were the rarer breed, we think less than 3% of the field!
  • Being part of something with so many people in it…

 Things not to be liked
  • The indiscriminate nose blowers…it got to the point you watched the person in front warily and were ready to jump out of the spray
  • The litterers…extraordinary how easy it was for people to rip the top off an energy gel and just drop it as they ran
  • The superfasts were frightening, but they were interesting to watch as they disappeared off into the distance.
  • This sounds really daft...but men wearing really really strong cologne.  Terry Pratchett writes about 'Foul Ol Ron' who smells so bad the smell can wander off by itself.   It was a bit like that when you ran into a cloud of perfume which had been metamorphosed by hours of its owner running in the heat...and you kept running into it after its owner had left!
  • Being part of something with so many people in it…

Recovery now means going for a relaxing walk to work out the muscles, and of course find FOOD.   Hot baths, stretching, and lots of sleep.

And consider the rather daunting thought that the next marathon we do will be part of the Ironman!

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Karen writes: Caffeine

I cut my caffeine back a couple of weeks ago, and then last week stopped it. It was a big thing for me.  There were two reasons for cutting it, one was to be in relatively good shape nutritionally before the marathon, but the other reason was so that the caffeinated supplements I was planning on using would work better on the day.

I have just read the labels on the Gu gels I was swigging at regular intervals throughout the marathon.  They had no caffeine in them.   I haven't run a run longer than 15km without caffeine since...well, I cant remember when.   I feel rather silly.   But that might explain why I came close to losing it from a head point of view towards the end.

Below a pic, get a look at the rubbish, there were powerade bottle lids literally carpeting the ground.   Considering Perth is such a clean city, people were just dropping stuff everywhere, empty gel packets, the little tear off tops, drink containers.  Some of those hard working volunteers who are the heart of this sort of event will be doing some serious cleaning up.

kate writes: Perth

My legs hurt, my feet are sore, but I did it! 4hours 46 minutes, wow 33minutes faster than the last Marathon. It seems a long time since we got up at 3:45 am. breakfast and a careful time getting dressed and off for the big race. There were not a huge number of us but we were all very excited. It was Dark when we started off, quite fast and down hill. I soon got into my own stride and Karen went off. I soon got talking to 2 people who had arrived the night before from South Africa. The All Blacks had lost the rugby, but that's ok we can still win the world cup. Any way we got talking about Marathons that we had done. They had been to the great wall of China to do one, also New York and Paris. Karen and I plan to do the Paris one, but China, not thought of that one.
I was having a great run and was enjoying myself. next person I ran with was a solider who was running in full gear. I do not usually go up to strangers and start talking, but as I got closer to him I realized he was running for WA Diabetes. We had something in common. His Grandfather had diabetes and that was why he was fundraising. I soon left him behind as he was a little slow and ran with another man who was struggling. He had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and was trying to get fit and lose wt. Left him behind too. I started to get close to the half way sign. loads of people around by now. They were getting ready to start their 1/2 marathon. The cheers for me as i ran by were very encouraging. I ran the 1/2 in 2hours 10mins. very fast. Then came the one and only big hill. just too much and I had to walk up the hill. We then turned into the Park. it was great, loads of trees. The next moment a bike went past and a thunder of feet as the first 1/2 marathon runners came by. Next thousands of runners, I was over come! how was I going to manage all these people. But it just spurred me on. Actually I could not stop as there was no where to stop. As the runners went by they cheered me on. well done u go marathon runner. It was great. All the way to the sea I was encouraged. It was the Indian Ocean. I do not think I have seen it before so a new one for me. I ran over the finish line very excited. I had done what I had set out to do. Get over the line in under 5hours. Thanks Perth it was great.

Karen writes: Marathon dissection

I am sitting on a sofa with my feet up, the sun is shining, there are alien (to a kiwi) bird noises outside and there is pizza from the supermarket heating up in the oven.

The Perth marathon over…all the hype and worrying and decision making is behind us.  I think you get to a point where you aren’t having paroxysms of terror when you line up at a start line, more anxiety about what you have forgotten and a vague memory of discomfort your brain has suppressed from the last time.

Anyway, it started early in the morning, it was still dark and we walked through the city streets with occasional other ‘runner’ looking people popping out of doors and heading to the assembly area.  It was a huge field, but it didn’t have a huge number of people on it (heard later that about 800 of the 42000 participants were marathon runners).   The tall buildings had lights and impressive electronic billboards, and some bright spark had decreed that marathon runners needed to warm up with energetic things like star jumps…not us…we conserve our energy, just a few stretches.  Then we had to walk up a sideroad to the startline, and we were off and running, it was neat running down the main road with no cars, the high rises above us.

There was a bit of winding around various city streets, it was fabulous as the sky lightened and then we got to run by the Swan river for quite a while with the sun coming up, the water was completely flat and dotted with fancy boats.  Then we headed uphill for Kings park and more winding around, this time with bush on either side of the road.    The smell of the leaves was lovely as the day heated up.   And it did get HOT.   I had looked at the maximum temperatures for previous runs and made the assumption that it was the same sort of hot as we get at home, but it wasn’t.   I had done a lot of talking up to this point, which is one of the advantages of being a back of the pack runner, but I ran out of interest in talking and had to think about breathing more.

Ok, since I wrote that last bit, had the pizza, stole half a glass of wine off Kate, and had been to bed for 2 hours, just been driven out though by hunger and the shivers, so eaten peanuts, cherries, rum and raisin chocolate with orange juice in the sun on the little deck.

Back to the marathon.   There weren’t a lot of marathoners, but 2 hours in a cyclist came along calling out that the half marathoners were on their way, and they were.  Like a herd of high speed something-or-others, they left mere mortals spinning in their wake.  I literally ended up in a sea of them, parting to race round me, quite scary actually. From then on whatever position you ran on the road someone was passing on the left or the right at greater speed.   Outside the city using the other side of the closed road the 12km walk/runners also appeared, then I got an idea of how really big the event actually was, there were thousands and thousands of people moving in a colourful stream towards the coast.

I felt like I was doing really well for most of the run, even had a little surge of speed at about 30km. I felt optimistic that I was on track to come in under 4 hours 30 but while my body felt great, my mind started protesting and the last 12 km became a hot, hard struggle.  2km out I walked up a hill and didn’t want to start running again, but I did and eventually got some sort of rhythm going and came into the finish line at around 4 hours 33... I think, I need to confirm that.   It was sobering that we had to go around the medics working on some poor soul on the ground, there were quickfire orders being issued about ‘stat’ this, and that, but worse was to come after the finish line with someone having CPR performed on them, you head down the chute to the tents for food and drink reminded that it isn't a light undertaking.

So analysis, the choices of food went fine, the clothes were fine, used 4 gu gels (half every half hour) and a couple of powerbar chewy things at the end, back to the apartment asap for shower, food and compression pants.   Feeling great!

Kate can tell her story, it’s a pretty cool one.   She is asleep on the sofa right now with her feet in the sun, well earned rest! 

Karen writes: 3am Marathon morning (the capital letter and exclamation mark version)

We arrived in Perth on Friday evening after a delayed but uneventful flight from Auckland.   Flying sure has changed, I got all excited to have my own screen in the back of the chair in front, with movies (nah…nothing I wanted to watch there), television programme reruns (only fools and horses was a trip through history), and games.  I did think I had destroyed the planes computer system when I was trying to have a game of solitaire, the black screen of death complete with rolling error messages had me looking furtively round to check if anyone had seen what I had done.  The cabin staff kindly reset it for me, just the games, not the planes navigation computer thankfully.

Saturday was time for registering for the marathon at the Perth convention centre, the city seemed surprisingly quiet but that may have had something to do with the fact that our bodies were still operating on Auckland time which was 4 hours earlier than the local time.    Then we had to find FOOD, being absolutely famished (as usual), and nothing seemed to be open except the ubiquitous Mcdonalds, but we kept walking looking for eggs Benedict and hot chocolate, which was eventually found down an alley in a strange little scruffy place run by slightly scary youth channelling the 1960’s. 

We then walked around a bit more, finally finding a supermarket hidden down another long alleyway, and lugged the essentials (bananas, chocolate), the necessaries (carbohydrates, high GI), the preferred (everything else).  There was also my list of ‘forgots’, things like sunscreen.   I also forgot my rain jacket, I hope I dont need it.

Skip this paragraph anyone who has warned about getting plenty of rest before a big event, we walked for nearly THREE hours.   Not planned, but I put this in the category of ‘live and learn’, being in a strange city you need things and with a very long day spanning two timezones, the walk just happened.   I wanted to follow that path to see where it went, or go over that motorway bridge, or there must be another food shop somewhere...
Cant resist bridges, going over or under them
So now it is about 3am, its dark.   Yesterday first thing was bitterly cold but I havent put my nose outside to find out what today is like.  I have a hot drink in front of me, weetbix with milk is on the menu, then have to decide finally (again) what clothes to wear.  I made the mistake of bringing 2 pairs of socks, one pair I have already run a marathon in with no ill effects so that pair is ‘known’, and one pair which I have run a few 20km’s in and they felt really nice, but they are ‘unknown’.   Hmmm…decisions decisions.  Next what gels to take, they have Gu on the course, I have trained with other varieties but used the solid Gu…do I take the risk and use theirs and enjoy the luxury of carrying less weight or stick to the tried and true?       Do I want 3 weetbix or should I have 4?   Yes, this is getting ridiculous, call it 'pre-race idiocy'.   

Oh well, next time you hear from us we will know whether or not we got the answers to the TERRIBLY IMPORTANT early morning questions right.   Yayyyyyyyy we are offfffffff!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Karen writes: Fundraising link

Finally sorted out the fundraising link, its on the right hand side of the page near the top.   Funds raised will be held by the Diabetes Projects Trust in a separate account for Christchurch, and the only deduction is the fee from the FundraiseOnline people which is about 5% for the transactions which goes directly to them...more about that on their website if you want to know more.

Anyway, 6 months out from Ironman, some big challenges ahead of us before then, hopefully we can raise something to help out our friends and colleagues down in Christchurch.   And to the dear soul who suggested 1cent per km sponsorship for the marathon this weekend, we will very gladly have your 84c!

Nearly time to go, the time came round very quickly.  My cold is going away, Kate is now not feeling the need to sit out in the passage to talk to me since I am not coughing and sneezing everywhere. Anyway, tomorrow at this time we will be in the air, headed for warmer weather and strange bush tracks and many miles of unknown tarseal.   Wish us luck!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Kate Writes: Thighs

You might ask Thighs!. Well its a question I need to ask? Last night at spin we did an exercise where your thigh had to touch the top bar of your bike. It was quite a hard exercise and I had to really concentrate to move different muscles. But the question is why did we do it?. The class was a long hard class and the AGM meeting was following so I did not have time to ask. It is one of those questions I will have to remember next time.
I was supposed to take it easy last night. I am on the run down for the Marathon on Sunday. But it was a good class and the boys had moved my bike, again, so I am now at the front of the class. It is really hard to slack off when everyone can see what you are doing. The session lasted 70 Min's and I was shattered when I came off my bike. 27 ks of long hard slog. Got home to supper and sat in a stupor for a couple of hours before bed. Well that has got to be the last exercise. I need to rest and get ready for Sunday. Looking at the weather its going to be 23degrees by mid day, roll on the summer.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Karen writes: Sick

Halfway through yesterday I developed a sore throat and got progressively more headachy  and miserable. After a night of tossing and turning and sucking on strepsils, I woke up this morning knowing it wasn’t a good day to go to work and share my bugs around.   I got the girls off to school, and went back to bed and pretty much didn’t move for the rest of the day until I had to pick the girls up again.

When you are in fit condition you rarely catch bugs, or if you do they often aren't too bad and go away quickly.  But when you build your fitness up to another higher level its quite common to go from one infection to another while your body copes with the stress of doing so much more than it is used to.   I've pushed things harder than I ever have in recent months, I guess its not a surprise that I should succumb, what BAD timing though, why couldn't it have happened last weekend?   The important thing now is to get over it...and soon.

But, its not just that being sick can impact on turning up for and finishing the marathon, its also about getting ready to be away from home and work for a whole 8 days (we attend the Australian diabetes conference after the run). I sure hope this is one of those lightening fast bugs which disappears as quickly as it arrives!  So it was no run yesterday, absolutely no possibility of a run today, and my fingers are crossed that the day of sleep, an early night tonight and the bucket load of Echinacea and vitamin C does the trick.

Monday, 22 August 2011

kate writes: squeezy bottles

Last week I went out and bought a bottle of lepin with a reusable bottle. This seemed like a good idea. On Saturday before my last long run I filled it up, put it into my fuel belt and off I went on my run. First stop out the bottle came and I squeezed, but no lepin came out. Squeezed again and then it came out around the lid and all over my fingers... sticky horrid stuff, I hate having sticky fingers. What was wrong with the bottle, I opened up the lid and there was a silver lining in the lid that I had not removed. Little things come to try us! Good job I have tried all my equipment out now so I should not have any of these issues on Sunday at the Marathon. OMG its this Sunday, am I ready? Not sure but have followed a plan, well almost, so it will be interesting to see. But no sticky fingers, I hope.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Karen writes: Running by rules

I went for my last ‘real’ run this morning, 20km along the Maraetai waterfront to Duders beach with the Tepuru runners, I wont see them for a couple of weeks now and then I will be recovering, doing much less mileage.    It started out frosty when I left home, I found some grass covered in the pristine white stuff and couldn’t resist vandalising it with patterns of footsteps.  It was another perfect running morning, clear, sun reflecting on the sea, and I felt really good.

My time alone running is my thinking time, and even being part of the running group I get plenty of that because I often need more distance and keep going a bit further by myself.   This time I was thinking about ‘rules’.    What started me off were the words of a woman I got a pair of offroad shoes from, she said she “brought them and then got into the barefoot running craze”.   It got me imagining how nice it would be to strip things back to the basics, break all the rules and 'run freeeee'.   I thought about how many running conventions and layers of regulations we surround ourselves with, rules we develop over time or adopt from the wisdom of others in order to protect ourselves and make running easier.  I must have hundreds of these if I break down all the stuff I have learned from experience and wiser heads (and feet) than me.   Some of these rules are useful for being a better runner, others are good for preventing the things which would put you off running entirely if you couldn’t figure out how to avoid them.  Rules like…got over-pronating feet, don’t wear neutral shoes…don’t eat a huge steak dinner the night before an early run…never ever forget anti-chafe on a run more than 2 hours long…tri-shorts can be your best friend...take off rings for big runs because fingers can swell…drink…drink…drink….but don’t drink too much...     So like polypharmacy when you have too many medications, this could be polyrulacy…too many rules.

But I broke a whole heap of my rules by accident over the last week, and I have been very cross with myself for being so foolish.   It happened like this, I went away last weekend, and ran on Saturday.   On Monday, back home, I looked at the 2 pairs of running shoes by the door, and picked up the clean ones…my clean new shoes.   The others were the filthy, but not very old shoes which I’ve used for training but don’t plan to wear for the upcoming marathon.    I had calculated the new shoes were on track to be perfectly run-in for Perth, it takes at least 50km to settle the laces and make them comfortable, so after a run on Monday, another on Tuesday, one more on Thursday, they should have been super comfortable... they weren't.   On Saturday I put these purple shoes out ready for the Sunday run, and on Sunday at about 3am I thought, “my new shoes aren’t purple, they are pink, OH NO, I’ve been running in the pair I retired months ago with over 900km on them…how STUPID!”.  The worst of it was that I nearly put these shoes in my bag for Australia…that will teach me for being unusually organised and doing a bit of advance packing.   

So I seem to have escaped consequences on this occasion, fortunately the kilometres have dropped right down now its taper time, and I do have time to break the real new shoes in properly.    I figure I am not going push my luck and  join the barefoot craze though, I might wistfully think about being a fit young thing who can leave all the trappings behind and race off like the wind…but hopefully I shall still be running when the fit young thing has a few more years on their own clock, and is piling up their own compendium of rules for running survival.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Kate Writes: Why we are running!

Today I was at uni. Doing a paper on Pharmacology. It was good, lots to learn, particularly when to take my anti inflammatory drugs before I start to run. But I got talking to a girl called Heather from Christchurch. She is struggling to do her studies as the earth quake has caused her great grief.  Her House is OK and in the green zone, but all the other houses around her are in the red Zone. She has no chimney and the snow has fallen and caused more leaks in the roof. She lost a friend in the CTV building and is grieving.  This made me run hard tonight. There is a good reason to fund raise and give something to the nurses at the diabetes unit in Christchurch. It makes me realize how lucky we are. Good Luck to all who live in Christchurch and I hope the weather improves soon.

Karen writes: I cant control my time!

So close to the end of the training programme, I have hit a couple of weeks of not seeming to be in control of my time.   Co-ordinating treatment for the damaged calf muscles meant some extra days off, you can’t run on the day you have treatment, and if it was intensive, the following day might need to be taken off too.  Its also not just a matter of clumping together all the runs you have missed, a balance of working hard and resting is still essential, especially taking time off before and after the weekly long run.  The need to travel for important family commitments has also modified my plans, there is of course no question about such things taking priority.   Then there are the unpredictable glitches, like last night I couldn’t leave home until after 8.30pm, and I can tell you it is really hard to leave a warm house that late on a winter evening, actually, I’ve been tired enough lately that I have been thinking about bed at that hour!

So I had an early dinner with the girls, got them to bed, and I was ready to disappear out the door the minute I could.  But in spite of getting over what can be the biggest barrier of all to training...that of actually putting on your shoes...getting on the road didn't bring its usual pleasures and I admit the 90 minute planned run became a reluctant 45, I just didn't want to be outside.  Silly though it seems, things do seem scarier at night when you are already reluctant. The flickering lights through household curtains become more eerie than cheerful, and it's a misty, mysterious, chilly and damp sort of atmosphere by then.   I don’t know who got the bigger frights, me, or the assorted people putting their rubbish bags out for tomorrows collection, I must have appeared behind them like a spectre out of the gloom. And there was the old spaniel who wanted to run along, he spooked me with his eyes glowing fiendishly in the glow of my headlamp and I nearly fell off the curb when he trotted up ready to be friendly.

Today I also have to figure out how to get a run in after another unplanned glitch, it might take some creative thinking to find the opportunity for at least a short stretch of my increasingly twitchy legs.  But the reason today is a good one, a new baby has just arrived, another wee nephew for my girls.  So congratulations to mum, dad, and big brother, welcome healthy baby boy, couldn’t be happier about your safe arrival being the reason for my running schedule being interrupted!  

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Karen writes: Active team

Any organisation which wants to do a small thing to contribute to the physical activity levels of their staff could consider what the DPT does.  DPT, among other things, set up a ‘sports club’ which matches staff member contributions of $1-2 per week.  This money can accumulate and be spent on such things as sports equipment, event registrations, gym memberships etc.   It doesn’t sound like a whole lot, but it does build up over time, and certainly helps reduce the financial barriers to exercise.  Its helpful too to have an environment supportive of physical activity, from the Board members to the team on the ground.  While I vaguely remember that there might have been a concerned suggestion that Kate and myself might not finish our first full round Taupo 160km cycle (after barely managing 60km in training, but that’s another story), usually the support is whole hearted and tremendously inspiring…which brings its own obligations…who would dare not complete something if the team at the office is demonstrating such faith that you will?

So we are proud of our active team, most walk regularly and pretty much everyone has at some point in recent years gone out of their own comfort zones and challenged themselves with something. Jayne from Gardens4Health did another Xterra run on the weekend just gone, this one was out at Whitford. She apparently had a wonderful time in the mud, describing scenes reminiscent of slap-stick, descending slopes sitting down, slithering across a bridge, and ending up with huge mud caked shoes… she loved it and joked with a friend that she may not turn up at the Hunua event because the organisers have promised it wont be anywhere near as muddy.   Richard, who heads the Gardens4Health team, has his own amazing challenge happening early next year as well, he is doing a 'Mountains To The Sea' challenge of his own devising in rugged country in the South Island, read about it here.
Mt Cook and Glacier lake - where Richard is heading
 And of course, everyone is winding up for the annual Feetbeat challenge, we have 2 teams sorted out, yet to be named, and we understand the Mangere Eye Clinic people are raring to go!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Karen writes: Food as well!

Kate has been thinking about food, so have I, but its not really a surprise we have both coincidentally written about the same thing at the same time, you cant help it when you have a case of the exercise induced screaming hungries all the time.  But it is less than 2 weeks to go to M day and what is really the official start of our Ironman preparation, so I realise it is time I took a look at what I am eating.   Of course I should have been paying attention all through my training but I have to admit I haven’t been particularly wise with my nutrition, but what stands out is taking in too much caffeine.  The main source is energy drinks which tend to creep up on you, occasional use goes to daily use when it is report writing time, goes to maximum recommended to help get through assignment writing or exam time, and just fails to drop off again when the pressure goes down.  I don’t drink tea or coffee, but if you add some dark chocolate into the mix, then some caffeine energy gels for the weekly big run then it’s obvious I am getting more than my share of stimulants.  This doesn’t help keep energy levels stable in someone training hard with no functioning thyroid, time to knock the fizzy go-juice off (this is something most who know me hear at least twice a year, they just nod knowingly now).   So to be sensible about it, I shall reduce my caffeine intake over this week, I am looking at a small tin of sugar free V on my desk, thinking about whether I will succumb and have it now, or wait until after lunch. 

The next job is to dig out my favourite software and put a prominent link to it on my computer desktop so I can record what I am eating and hopefully get an idea of what other changes I need to make (yet again) to make sure that there is enough protein, quality carbohydrate, iron, energy and other essentials in my diet so I am in the best shape for Perth (optimistic thinking!).  Now, what else have I got to eat in my handbag?

Kate Writes: Food

Last night I went to spin. It was a nice session with lots of short sharp exertions. Stopped for a chat and a glass of water and a few chips, but I was starving hungry. I had a pony club meeting booked at the local Thai so off I went, still hungry! I had to pinch some of the kids food as theirs came first, then I eat all my dish and the rice then finished off my friends dish. I could not get enough food. Eventually I was satisfied. Wow this exercise is good! 

Monday, 15 August 2011

Karen writes: Snow

I didn’t want to go out to do 60 minutes, it was cold and dark, raining and there was hail on and off.  There had also been snow in Auckland earlier in the day. 

Hey, there was SNOW in Auckland, I had to go out! My children can tell their grandchildren when it next snows (in another 70 or so years) that old Great Nana Ka had been mad enough to go for a run last time it happened (slight twist of the facts, I didn’t run IN the snow).   I can hear the sighs from the South Island, sad Aucklander, I can even pick up sniggers from Palmerston North (yes, R, I hear you), but it is all relative.   It’s an event, and on this occasion, an Event with a capital E, and events are a useful part of the mental games you play to make yourself go outside when you really don’t want to go outside.   For example, I have run when I flipped a coin 7 times and most were heads, I have run when the phone didn’t ring by 6.30pm, I  have run when it refused to rain heavily enough not to, I have run if I knew most of the words of the last song I heard on the car radio when I got home, see a pattern?

So mythical mokopuna, I ran on the day the snow came to Auckland.   It was a very nice run too.

Kate Writes: will I be ready

It is an interesting fact that both Karen and myself are lacking confidence. My running has slowed up, its too cold wet and snowing today to do anything. I planned to do 20 k yesterday but, shopping and daughter got in the way. Then it started raining. I managed to do a good 7 k which I felt good after but its not the 20 I wanted to do. Today I went to the dentist and spent a small fortune on a cracked tooth. I am nursing a sore mouth and no food , so running is out of the question. Im feeling sorry for myself. no run today. I will be back tomorrow and really looking forward to some warmth in Perth. But will I be ready? 

Karen writes: Penalty for neglecting maintenance

Lower leg problems at the end of last week (tight calves putting pressure on the Archilles tendons) meant I strayed seriously from the training programme.   I’m a bit sad about that, having worked so hard and passed through the heaviest weeks it would have been nice to finish the programme off successfully.  Lesson learned, don’t muck around with ongoing injury, get it sorted early. The trip to the sports massage people left me regretting my inattention, I had let my calves get very ‘knotted up’, and the treatment was long, uncomfortable, and required some days off, which were also long and uncomfortable (whoever thinks massage is a treat, think again).  On the weekend I had a 23km run around my favourite country roads on the Whangarei heads, but was unable to enjoy even that as much as I usually would, for while I didn’t have any of the normal pain, I was tired and grumpy and feeling out of sorts, and of course worried.  What happens if I lose my fitness (the brain says “don’t be daft” but you cant help but visualise your fitness draining away), what happens if the problem doesn’t go away in the next 13 (YES, THIRTEEN) days, what happens if I crash out now…will I ever be able to be fit enough for Ironman?  Arrrrghhhhhh!  

But Monday brings relaxed feeling legs, no Archilles pain, and hopefully tomorrows followup massage appointment will have me in top shape at a time when the planned distances are dropping away to next to nothing in preparation for the event.  I managed to try out my new blue singlet, hard to tell if it was going to cause any problems as it was under the camelpac, but there weren’t any obvious chafes or sore bits in the 2 ½ hours I was on the road, the newest new shoes are broken in, the newest new socks seem to be ok (no hot feet, blisters or pressure points), and I tried out some powerbar chew things in cola flavour which were very pleasant (anything is pleasant if you haven't had to use it for hours and hours and hours on the road) and didn’t cause any stomach upsets.  Roll on the 28th I think I am almost ready! 

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Kate Writes: running home

Wednesday is my run night. I try and do it with my friend Charl. But her husband went AWOL and she had 5 kids to look after! not sure who's kids but still a good enough reason to have the night off. Elizabeth had arrived back from her big holiday with the thought of doing a marathon. So I asked her to run with me. She is a natural runner and with no training ran much faster than me. But still its good to have friends to run with. Elizabeth had been away for 2 months but knew more gossip than me so we chatted all the way home. It seemed like we had flown home much faster than usually. I must get a watch and time the run.

Karen writes: Clothes shopping

Kate and me went shopping for running singlets to take to Australia, our old red ones are past their best after several years of waving the Diabetes Projects Trust (DPT) flag.  Strangely we had a moment of disquiet when we briefly glanced at the Adidas stand, kept walking and eventually after much trying on and critiquing in the mirror ended up with bright blue Nike singlets, which the nice man let us have at a reduced price (it pays to be cheeky and ask).  The singlets met our criteria of – quick-dry fabric, no sticking out bits under the arm, cover straps underneath, a little bit of space around the tummy so as not to look like a sausage stuffed into a skin, long enough to cover the top of the tri-shorts a bit, price, and of course a cute colour.   Now we have to decide what writing and branding to put on them.   We want them to say what we are doing to see if we can get some support from over the Tasman, plus thank our sponsors/supporters…at this point they are Novo Nordisk and our own DPT.    I was very happy to find running shoes on special too, when the ever sensible members of the Te Puru running team expressed concern that I was training with just the one pair of shoes, which would have something like 500km of road-pounding on them by the time I ran the marathon, I had joked (almost) that I would have to negotiate with the kids which week they wanted to go without food. This pair however was last seasons stock and on special with $100 off so I couldn’t walk (run?) past them…yay I feel like a real runner, I have TWO pairs of shoes!

Monday, 8 August 2011

Karen writes: Go the Eye clinic...and last 30km down

First bit of good news, the Mangere Eye Clinic people have risen to the challenge and are going to take us on in the ARPHS Feetbeat challenge….go Raukura for organising that!  We of course responded with some sabotage by locking their volunteer (read ‘conscripted’) walking team leader in our offices and setting the alarm off on him on Thursday.  Actually, that was an accident, please come back Dale we promise we wont do it again.  I am glad also that our special trophy, gold painted croc shoe on a small piece of 3x2 timber…also gold painted...will be suitably aspired towards.
Anyway, the second piece of good news is I managed my last 'long run' on the current programme with a 30km run yesterday. After feeling thoroughly demoralised and worried that I was going to actually end up with a genuine excuse to cut back on the training because of tendon problems, it would seem that my main issue is having tight calf muscles and the stretching, ice and panadol are making the world of difference…long may it continue.   But overall the 30km was good, I felt heavy legged and uninspired for the first hour, just as well there was the motivation of the Te Puru running group, and the next couple of hours were loooong but ok.     And I have to say congrats to Lucy from the Te Puru group who was originally training for the Auckland half marathon but has now signed up for the WHOLE Marathon which is fabulous news, you have an amazing journey ahead of you.

So the next job on my list is to sort out what clothes I am going to wear for the Perth marathon, some urgent shopping for a new running top might be in order to fit the changing shape, and maybe I should be sensible and invest in another pair of shoes.  It is a no-no, actually a NO-NO, to wear untested gear, or use energy gels or drinks for the first time during an important event, it is essential to thoroughly try them beforehand by using them on a good long run, preferably under similar conditions to what you expect on the day.  It is amazing how far away the finish-line can seem to be when you have a stomachache, and also what worked for a run of 2 hours, might be a source of misery at 3 hours, and pure desperation by 4.  Agony often comes from small things like the seam under your arm sticking out a bit and causing a minuscule little rub each time your arm moves, or suddenly remembering you should have cut your toenails before you started, or this pair of sunglasses digs in above your ear when you wear a hat over top.  Always there is  temptation to be resisted at the expo before an event, the desire to pick something up because it's on special, its a flattering shape, nice colour, it's guaranteed to make you go faster, has more bells and whistles, or the salesperson was really lovely.

Kate Writes : sunday run

I booked in to have my feet done at Norma's on Sunday, but I also needed to run. I mapped out the route  from Grahams beach to home and it was 17k. not as long as I wanted but it would be testing as there are a few hills! Actually they are gullies. So I had a very relaxing podiatry session and a painful eye brow plucking and off I went for my run. The wind was blowing a gale, new experience, but it was dry. The hills were not too bad and I did try running up a little way. But then about half way home the big black clouds came. I thought I would be OK but the wind blow, the rain came down very hard. I rang home for the Taxi. It was disappointing not to finish but it was good to get home to a hot bath and an afternoon sleep.

Friday, 5 August 2011

kate writes: swimming

I have had 2 weeks off swimming,not good, I arrived early for my session and warmed up with 8 lengths. Good job I did. Jarad had us swimming lots of lengths,butterfly, back, breast and free style. After 60 minutes i was spent, no more energy and off to the coffee shop for chocolate cake. The swimming is great 5 women in one section, kicking each other and hitting hands, I will be OK by the time Iron man arrives I will be ready! the arms are now pulsating and i can not move but it was good. roll on next week.

Karen writes: Archilles again

I have just got in from a 60 minute 'recovery' type of run.  I went out thinking I would just do half an hour but it is lovely out there, and it is hard to stop even if you know it is the sensible thing to do.  I ran twice along the waterfront, with the few lights reflecting off the dark water on a still night the view is gorgeous.   But I have what I suspect is an evolving archilles injury, it's been grumbling on and off, and now I cant ignore it.  Every time I tried to run up one of my favorite hills it hurt, so I ended up sticking to the flat for a change.   I am sitting with icepacks in my socks, feet up, taken the anti-inflammatories, applied the antiflam, and hoping against hope that it is alright for Sunday's planned 30km.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Karen writes: Old boot

Spending hours outside sweating has wonderful benefits for the body, but does mess your skin up, I mean you expect wrinkles to come as part of the territory in your fabulous 40's, but spots should have been left behind long ago, and those caused by exercise are not confined to your face.   Now that I am a ‘mature’ person, I reckon I have earned a few things, one of them is the occasional bit of pampering in the form of a nice facial over at a great little place in Takanini.   Of course I know these sorts of things will never turn an old boot into a strappy little high heeled sandal, but perhaps the aim might be for smart little dress boot version rather than one of the agricultural variety.   But the reality is that upset skin is one of the hazards of exercise, the result of all that sun and wind exposure and being sand-blasted by road dirt has the potential to make me want to cover all reflective surfaces in the house, and could reduce the average beautician to a paroxysm of frustration.  Not mine of course, she takes it in her stride, when she sees me coming she gets out the industrial quality cleaning equipment and rhinoceros strength moisturiser, checks I am still wearing sunscreen (70+!), and kindly refrains from telling me off.

kate Writes: out of the seat in spin

I missed my spin classes last week as it was school holidays. Last night we had spin. It was a hard one. We warmed up and then spent 1 minute in what ever gear you wanted but out of your seat and cadence at 90. Hahaha. I got to 76. We did this 8 times. That was good for me, I usually do not get out of my seat. It will be interesting when I get back out onto the road how this training correlates to the Hills. The other interesting thing is how much you sweat. It is vital to get the fluids in all the time.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Karen writes: Halfway to marathon

Over halfway through the 8 week training programme to get marathon ready.   That means, with 34km run  (meant to be 35 but I miscalculated) on Sunday, I have had my hardest training week ever, and the hardest for the programme.   Over the next 4 weeks the amount of effort drops off steadily, how did that happen so quick?   Last night there was strength training planned, and my mind told me all day I really couldn’t  be bothered.  What about a REST my mind was telling my body, you nearly ran a marathon  (only 8km short) 24 hours ago, take the day OFF…go on, you deserve it.     Sigh.    

Actually I didn’t take the day off yesterday.   I’m doing that today...a halfway there day off!

Kate writes: being tired

Monday night run. There were just 3 of us at the meeting point. I was a little worried as i am a slow runner, but it was not a problem and off we went. The other two were talking away happily and I was huffing and puffing. It took about 3 k before my breathing settled and I could talk again. We got back to the cars and the others went on to run another loop but I had done my allocated 6k on my training plan so off I went to pick the daughter up. So why was i so tired when I got home. I looked at my diet for the day: Chicken rice for lunch, orange cake for afternoon tea, a can of v on the way to running, a piece of cheese cake at the daughters boyfriends house and beef curry at home , which I could not finish. Then I had to go to bed as i was so tired. A bit like a toddler when they have to go to bed as their behaviour has deteriorated. I think my blood sugars must have been doing a dance. Lessons learnt, if I want to run I must eat sensibly.