Friday, 30 September 2011

Karen writes: Cycle distance up to 66km...100 more to go!

I had an Annual Leave day today.   Sometimes there just isn't enough time to do everything so a day away from work is in order.   This morning I needed to be a proper Mum for a change and go to the big daughter's school assembly to watch her and her friends doing hip-hop.    Then I decided I couldn't possibly miss the opportunity to go for a bikeride, and concocted some sort of mad logic that fresh air, and generating a bit of heat through exercise would knock off my cold.    A short ride was what I promised myself.

Nearly 3 slow, blustery hours later I got home, coughed my way up the driveway, dragged through the shower and into bed.   You know you probably shouldn't be on the road when you figure out that the reason the chin strap on your helmet is uncomfortable is because of your swollen glands.   Oh yeah, of course I should have known better, but a few hours sleep, another box of tissues, don't feel too bad now.  Plus...and it is a big plus, I can have tomorrow completely off without guilt because I have done the weeks programmed long ride early!  A weekend day, a sleep in, bliss....and be nicely rested for the Sunday big run.

The cycling is more of a pleasure now, I especially enjoy being able to see so much from the bike.   Like today I saw the new re-election billboard of New Zealands top politician positioned at a T intersection out the back of Takanini.  In the car I wouldn't see that whoever put the board up has in effect pierced the nose of the famous face with a big silver screw, gave me a giggle anyway, I might be the only person to ever notice that!  The long ride distance is going up by about 10km per week and this is relatively painless, just time consuming.  By the time I get up to the threatened 150km much of  every Saturday will be disappearing under the bike wheels.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Karen writes: Still settling in

I miss trying to fit running into my life.   Actually, I don’t really miss trying to fit running in, but there is definitely a strange feeling space in my days at the moment which isn't quite filled up by sitting on the spin bike or the strength training I am doing right now.  Especially I notice that I don’t have to organise myself so rigorously around things like childcare, or think during the day about the types of food which will allow me to run later on.   For example, I don’t have to worry about having a suitable lunch (cream soups/spice/meat didn’t work), a snack can be less sensible in the afternoon, and where once I would have to have had light cereal or a protein drink for dinner (so I had some energy without my insides wanting to rebel on my evening run), I can now eat what I cook for the children at dinnertime.  Much better for my headspace I can tell you, it's pretty depressing to have weetbix when the children had something nice on a cold winter evening!  So, it is a lot easier, for now.  I am sure however it will get tougher again when I am trying to fit a cycle AND a run in when the next programme kicks in.

As far as the current programme goes, tonight I did the required 70 minutes on the spin bike, oh it is so tedious!  Perhaps it will become a habit (I hope).    I still haven’t had a swim this week, I have another cold which makes me ask myself what my body is trying to tell me (apart from the fact that the most efficient sharers of bugs are the smaller members of the whanau).  I really want to be fully well by Sunday though, the Tepuru runners have got a terrific sounding challenge through the Whitford forest, that will be a great test of how well my legs have recovered from the marathon which was a WHOLE month ago.

Kate Writes: New Coach

I have a coach. It sounds really posh. But I do think its a necessity. I followed a running plan for my last marathon, which promised me I would come in at 4h 59mins and 59sec. I actually came in 4hrs 46mins and 22 secs. so it worked. So all the better to get a coach for the Iron man. His name is Mr Smith or Gerrard to his friends. I had to fill in loads of forms , which gave me lots to think about. Then we had a long chat and then loads of info arrived in a google website. It took me ages to sort out where it all was, but then I was ready to start the Plan. I do feel sorry for Gerrard though, he has to put up with me. The first phone call started with, swimming pool closed, spin sessions cancelled this week and I can not run as my calf hurts. Not much hope there ... Well I've been swimming in different pools this week and out on my bike on the road, so we just have to work around the obstacles. I hope next week is easier.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Karen writes: Thankyou Jennie.

I have just sniffled and snuffled and coughed my way into my little office, and on the desk was a suspiciously Australian looking bag.  There is one person who has just been on holiday to Australia, and last time she went away on holiday, you could pretty much say she kick started our Ironman mission.    The story had started some time before with me muttering about Ironman, I knew it had to happen, but making it happen was another thing altogether.  Then Jennie went to Taupo in March of this year and she was coincidentally there at the time of the Ironman festivities. She came back saying “yes, you really must do this”.   She brought with her two branded drink bottles, one for me, one for Kate, and the paperwork about it.  One of those bottles sits on the bookcase over my desk, and I look at it regularly, especially when the world starts getting a bit ordinary.
So you can imagine, I did look at this package from Australia with a degree of wariness. Alas, it wasn’t about a new mad challenge in some far away place, it was something even better...chocolate! 

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Kate Writes: Biking

Saturday was the perfect day for a ride. My bike had escaped the garage where it had spent the winter spinning. First day out on the road. What was I going to wear? could I remember how to stop and take my feet out of the cleats with out falling over? Sophie had pony club working bee on at 10 am so it was an ideal time for me to ride to Te Toro. Now if anyone knows what that means its Hilly. Very hilly and big long hills. I was concerned, did the training I have done helped or am I still hopeless. Well I got out and off I went. I had an enjoyable ride. 20k in just over an hour. no problems with the hills. I even got out of my saddle going up a couple of hills.
My friends were very impressed. We cleaned up the pony club site and 2 hours later I was on my way home. I did not want to go back the way I came as there were some very steep hills, so I went down the main road. I had a very quite ride to pony club along a country lane, going down the main road was very different.Very LOUD bikes going very fast down Dickies Straight. If I could, I would have stuck both fingers in my ears as they went past, but then I would have fallen off my bike. It was 10 k longer on the way home, which made up my 50K that I wanted to do. I'm not worried about the hills now. That winter training was amazing.
Its raining now so the Sunday ride will be a spin session in the house. My calf muscle is still sore so no running again this week.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Karen writes: Sociable cycling

I have just had an extremely social 2 hours, riding, alone on my bike.   Of course it was a perfect Auckland morning, and the lead-up to the Taupo cycle challenge will have started, so I shouldn’t have been surprised that there were cyclists everywhere, some 1’s and 2’s, then quite large groups as I got closer to town.  All ages, all levels of experience, ranging from chattering flocks of obvious beginners in their rainbow of visibility gear (very smart people, they got extra big waves from me), to those in fast paced pelotons in dark colours, deigning not to see anyone else on the road as they rushed by.  Then on the Takanini straight jockeying for space on the road were runners, lots of them!   Aha, Auckland marathon is coming up, this must be the ‘long’ run on their programmes and they got a “go runner” from me as they slogged it out on the by now heating-up tarseal.    

I got a big fright at one point, a trades van decided that he could pull out in front of me from a building yard as I was scooting along at a good speed, it was slam on both sets of brakes and a little fishtail, fortunately I didn’t fall off, I wouldn’t have had a hope of getting a foot out of the cleat as it all happened so quick, even luckier I didn't crash into his drivers side door.  I don’t think he even realised how close he had come to potentially killing me.  

Then on the way home around the coast there were be-flagged camper vans which must have been heading south from the city, big windows crowded with waving overseas visitors.   I came home with a smile, not just because I managed my 50km at an average of 25km/hour, not just because it was a beautiful way to start a Saturday, but because I had ‘met’ lots of friendly people on the road and that always makes you feel good.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Karen writes: Feetbeat challenge

Raukura from the Mangere Eye Screening service reports that her team is going well with the Feetbeat challenge which has been going now for nearly 2 weeks.   I am sure there is some element of psychology going on here,  Raukura makes it sound like they are really KEEN, but I do love their team’s name, the Eye-pods.  Anyway, we have 3 teams covering all the staff at the DPT, except for Eileen who has managed to get her other workplace involved in the challenge too.  Kate and myself are doing a great job of dragging the teams we are involved with down.   You get allocated one ‘square’ for every half hour you walk in a day, and another square if you take a friend with you.  Obviously, we are doing plenty of exercise, not a lot of it has been walking, strange that.  Shame we have to follow the rules, we were speculating that if the challenge had started a few weeks earlier, we could have claimed 9 squares each for the marathon, and another 42000 squares for all the 'friends' we were out exercising with.

Anyway, it is a great challenge, encourages people in their workplaces to be more active, and we might just have to swallow the humiliation of everyone else contributing more than we are!   

As far as the training goes, yesterday I managed a swim in the morning, and got 60 minutes on the spin bike after the girls had gone to bed.   I have looked at the handlebars on the bike and it almost appears that I could possibly attach the laptop, now that would be good for those days on the plan marked “recovery ride”, I could study and cycle at the same time, now all I need to do is figure out how generate power as well.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Kate writes: Honest relatives

My sister had written to an aunt in the UK and talked about me doing a marathon. The reply came back that she was surprised that I was a runner as when she had seen me last (2 years ago) she thought I was overweight. This made me laugh a lot. My Aunt is a Carmelite Nun, I thought they had to be nice to people. I'm going to send her a photo of me finishing my marathon, a little slimmer than last visit.  

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Karen writes: The spin bike has arrived

At the moment there is an impressive looking, shiny, black and yellow monster taking up plenty of space in the minuscule lounge here.   This is the hire bike I have got until my own new one arrives, and I have just spent 40 minutes perched on it, trying to figure out how to adjust things so I can read in comfort, did I say that...sorry, I meant to say "spinning for 40 minutes at tempo pace".   Actually, in future I shall probably be putting on one of those sadistic spinning DVD's to make sure I "get a proper workout" rather than reading, but tonight we were getting to know each other.  The bike will also be moving outside into the covered in area on the deck when daylight saving arrives this Sunday, at least until mosquito season, those things don't seem to mind biting even moving legs.     I now feel like I really have moved into the next training phase, no excuses, the black spinning monster awaits, tomorrow "60 minutes interval/strength training".

Karen writes: A post for women only

I was cycling on Saturday morning, and my mind tends to take its own pathways independent of what my body is doing after a while on the road.   That can be very handy for working out a problem, or having an imaginary argument with someone, or sometimes that is where a poem or story comes from.

That morning it was something much more prosaic though.   I was thinking about how much pleasure I was getting out of booting along out the back of Clevedon, which led on to considering the reactions I get from people when I talk about that sort of thing.   There are a range of reactions these days, those who look blank, it's outside the territory they even want to think about, those whose first reaction is disbelief (YOU…run a marathon…you are kidding??), and then there are others who are curious, enthusiastic, or profess envy.  

Of the last group, the comments are often prefaced with “oh I would love to do something like that…” and I wait for a slight pause at this point, sure enough there usually follows a small and significant “but”.   “But…i have (insert injury here)…”, “but of course I work”, “but…I have children/pets/a husband”, “but I am not built for running”.  I tend to not challenge the person who chooses anything from that list, they are unassailable excuses and there is little chance of them changing their minds until they really want to.

However there is an excuse which is worth more attention, the “but…I have HAD children”.   This reason needs some teasing out and in the subtle difference in wording is the hint that it isn’t the demands of a busy child-full life that is the problem, but that woman only thing, the common and un-acknowledged faulty pelvic floor.   Depending on what you read, on average one in five women over 40 can have problems with this, more common in those who have had babies.    It is a discussion I have had with women on long events on more than one occasion, people can be scarily open with strangers in that weirdly encapsulated time and space you share when you run together, never expecting to see each other again.  These are the brave women who have found their own solutions, or if not a solution, have found a way to hide their problem (like one memorable woman who tipped water all over herself at drink stations, her theory was “who will notice a bit more water”).   My suggestion would be to women who really want to get out but think exercise is impossible because of  a problematic pelvic floor, google the topic, google variations around endurance, running, incontinence, etc, ask an expert even... it seems that there are plenty of running women in the world with practical hints about how they do what they really want to do, run.

If you still cant bounce along the road because you feel like your insides are going to fall out with every step, then consider starting off with riding a bike, a bike seat is great for holding everything in, bike shorts hide a multitude of sins, and you never know your luck, the core strengthening which occurs automatically while pedalling your heart out and doing all that balancing may even help tone necessary internal muscles as a fabulous side effect of getting fit.    My message here I guess is, a dodgy pelvic floor may be a good reason for not exercising, but it may not be a good excuse.

Monday, 19 September 2011

kate Writes: Monday morning swim

I've just had 2 days off. My calf still feels a little stiff so I'm being good and stretching, probably not enough. I got up an hour early today, to go swimming in Otara pool. Felt very pleased with myself. Got a txt from Karen to say she had a sick child and was not coming. I thought of not swimming myself but it was 7:10 and the office was not open so I might as well just go for a swim. One of my patients was in the pool so I had a quick catch up with her, and then got on with the swim. I had to do 500m free style to warm up and then 1k with pulboy and band. Also using the paddles. Not used them before so it felt like hard work to begin with. Then 500m with flippers. Wow the last few lengths felt like I was flying. I seem to suffer with blocked up nose and then an allergic reaction for the next few hours after swimming. A local GP suggested Flexinase. So I went to the chemist , its $28 or free with a prescription. I will have a chat with my doctor on Thursday. See if it works.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Karen writes: Spin bike shopping

I have been learning about spin bikes and exercise bikes.   The spin bike is meant to mimic road riding - a bit - you can get down into the crouched position, or stand up and go hard out in a way that ordinary exercycles aren’t designed for.   Since I destroyed my el-cheapo spin bike and got a refund,  I now needed a new one...fairly urgently.   

An indoor bike seems a bit of a luxury item, but my problem is being able to find time and opportunity to get out to cycle-train. Working during the day, I can get out for a run at night once the girls are settled, provided their Dad isn't on volunteer coastguard call or late home from work, but that doesn't work for cycling. Bike rides often need to be hours and hours long, and it's not smart to ride in the half dark or full dark along our twisty, narrow, country roads.  I'm also happy to run or swim in the rain, but again, while some bad weather cycling is good practice, too much is just plain risky (and nasty).

So, a bit of research and I went on a spin bike hunt... my first port of call was of course that kiwi cheapskate’s paradise, Trademe.   There were a whole lot of new, flash looking things, with exotic sounding claims, fancy paint jobs and suspiciously low start prices with no reserve, these never seemed to sell below their 'buy-now' price.    There were also quite a few of these being apparently re-sold, always a worry.   My experience with so easily finding the 'destruct point' of my first spin bike has obviously made me wary, and some of the discussions with the people trying to sell me new ones made me even warier, particularly when I learned that some spin bikes aren’t made to be ridden standing up... for goodness sake, I thought that was practically the definition of spin? 

Good quality second hand spin bikes were an option, but appeared to fall into two categories, those which were brought with good intentions and not used…and those which had been used as a spin bike should, ie, thrashed, and how to tell the difference?   Hmmm..."spin bike, only ridden to church on Sunday by one careful lady owner...".

Ok, I can't tell an underused used one from an overused used one, can’t really tell a good new one from a bad new one, and being me, I am always in danger of being seduced by a flash colour scheme and a free drink bottle holder.  Finally I realised I didn't have much choice but to rely on someone knowledgeable’s recommendation and a good warranty.  So on Monday, mercifully it's payweek, I take custody of a hire-bike from Elite Fitness in Manukau while I wait for my own new, no frills, grey painted (sigh) spin bike to arrive from overseas...Alisdair  guarantees that I can stand up pedal to my hearts content on my own new bike, however asked that I not be mean to the hire-bike though.   Then I will just have to figure out how to get over the interminable, dreadful, appalling, ghastly, horrible, horrendous, disgusting, enervating, and all-round not very nice, excruciatingly mind-slaughtering boredom which comes from sitting on a seat shoving up and down on a pair of plastic pedals, staring at the wall or the sleeping dog...and going nowhere!   

kate writes: only a calf muscle

What a relief when I went to see my massage person Jodi on Tuesday to find it was not my tendon but the muscle that was tight and not broken. I can swim and bike to my hearts content but no running for 2 weeks. I also have to do some stretches. I'm not good at doing them. I think its because I do not know why or how to do them. I asked for pictures but I still struggle to look and see what muscle am I trying to get right and how long for. So I need to write a little routine for myself and get going. I cannot let Karen beat me on an injury so I might even try Hot Yoga! Anyway had a good swim today. Jarred is good at changing it around and keeping us guessing. Had to have coffee and cake afterwards to replenish the energy levels. Decided to take the weekend off and start next week with a good swim.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Karen writes: New programme

My post marathon rest time is over.   I have had the meeting with the Trainer, discussed a detailed programme for the next 5 weeks, and the overall broad view of the strategy taking us up to the March Ironman next year.   As expected, for now the focus is cycle, cycle, and oh what a surprise, some more cycling, all to be in excellent shape of the Taupo round the lake...did I say it was a cycle challenge?.   A drop of swimming, and a trace of running barely rate a mention but that will change in the next 5 week installment when preparation for the Rotorua Half ironman will come into play. A compromise had to happen around the Sunday run however, I cant possibly replace that with....cycling!

Good trainer that he is, Grant refrained from rolling his eyes when I asked "what do you think about running the Rotorua marathon 8 weeks after the Ironman".    The answer was to take out a pencil and make yet another change to the long distance plan, "perhaps we might focus a bit more on running in the final lead-in to the ironman".  Hey, I was pleased that this latest brainstorm wasn't dismissed as total insanity, its possible!  The thing is, after finishing with Perth the list of impossible goals has shrunk, so I now have the chance to unpack another little wish I had filed away this year while running at Rotorua.   I clearly remember catching up with and admiring a few people who had the ironman M transferred onto their calves.  I want that to be me  next year, talk about getting ahead of yourself, not counting chickens before they hatch, so much as cooking them and stuffing pillows with the feathers before the eggs are laid!

Completely at odds with such an ambitious desire, somewhere in the discussion I suggested that perhaps the last marathon plan might have peaked a little too high for me at 35km, and we decided that peaking slightly lower, but probably more than once could work better... given my...um...age and general athletic decrepitude (not really, I just felt I was getting injured and catching too many bugs as the mileage got that high in one go).

So this programme starts next Monday, oh... those gym sessions, yuck, oh... 30-60-80 minutes of terminal boredom on the as yet not-acquired spin bike, (have to get a new one, the last one was returned to the shop having failed to live up to the claims of its robustness, it sadly couldn't cope with me and was declared deceased), oh...YAY Saturday and a real bikeride...100km no problems (?), and oh...YAY its Sunday again, Tepuru runners.

Now Kate.   Kate is injured.   This is NOT good.   This is a DISASTER.   How can I possibly get any satisfaction out of beating her if I end up winning by default????   Actually, we have come so far, how sad would it be not to share the delight of a new achievement with someone else doing the same thing, and of course it couldn't possibly be as much fun without her...but I would never tell her that.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Kate Writes : injury o no!

Monday night is becoming one of my favourite runs. I meet up with the boys at the Kentish and off we go. They have been talking about the golf course all winter so now spring has arrived I get to see it for the first time. It may not sound exciting but we ran down by the estuary and then off around the golf course. The sun was setting and in the middle of town we are running on a grass verge and ducks are walking in front of us. It was a great run. But my Achilles tendon was hurting, not enough to stop and I do not want to be the whinging pom, so I carried on. But today it hurts. I iced it last night, took anti flam but it still hurts. Went to the physio but they had made the wrong appointment so I have to go back tomorrow. I have only just started to enjoy my running so it must get better soon. 

Karen writes: Pool

I have just left Kate surging professionally up and down the Otara pool swim lanes.   I did half an hour (about a km) and declared myself exhausted, she was still on her warm-up which looked more energetic than my whole swim effort when I absconded to the showers.  The new facility is fantastic, and early in the day it was relatively quiet. I do recall with some degree of sentimentality the shabby old Otara pool with its intermittently functioning community showers and toe-cringe inducing slats on the floor. My fingertips remember the short and shallow indoor pool where if you dug too deep you hit the bottom...what a difference now.   I do rather miss the old glassed in roof though, my main distraction when swimming was looking at the light patterns refracted through the (sometimes suspiciously cloudy) water onto the floor of the pool, now I shall have to find some other form of entertainment while I slog out length after boring length.  Yes, indoor swimming isn't really my thing.

Anyway, today...got up with the first buzz of the alarm and got everything organised to get out the door early, thanks my darling whanau.   Got to the pool, Kate was already there looking energetic.  The warm water felt wonderful, after the first little while of huffing and puffing and trying to find a speed I could maintain forward motion at relatively comfortably (ie, not sink or gasp for breath), I got some sort of rhythm going, then I played with my flippers and hand paddles. I am glad I am not right back to where I was this time last year when I could barely cope with freestyle one length...breaststroke one length, but I have lots of ground to catch up.      So now that I have gotten over my inertia, I must do it again, some-what more regularly than I may want to I suspect.  I shall hear the worst when I catch up with Trainer Grant for the next 8 week segment of the training programme later in the week.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Karen writes: Back on two wheels

Well, maybe not war, but certainly serious preparation is underway now.   And I don’t know what Kate is worried about, while I have concentrated only on running for months to keep my measly little 20 seconds per kilometer ahead, she has been attending twice a week spin sessions, and swim training most of the year.  She has dragged me into an early morning swim tomorrow, I am sure it is to demonstrate tumble turning, superior technique, and advanced speed while I flail along in the water trying to remember how to breath and which bits to waggle or flap when.

I had my first bike-ride on the open road on Saturday, I was ashamed to see that my poor bike needs a serious clean, it still has drink stains on it from last years Taupo cycle challenge.  The story with this is that every year on that ride we have a traditional stop at the service station about 30km out of Taupo, its there I fill my empty drink bottle with coca-cola which I sip to get through that last dash to the finish line (it really works, provided you don’t start too early with it).   I did learn to my detriment one year that you never fill a bike drink bottle up with carbonated fluid and close the sipper top tightly, after riding for a while I opened the top of the bottle with my teeth and got the insides of my nasal passages cleaned out forcibly with brown fizz, not a nice thing to happen on two wheels going at speed!  I now fill the bottle and leave the lid slightly open, I don’t get the internal workings of my head pressure-washed but my legs and the bike tend to end up spattered with sticky stuff.

But after my initial trepidation (I am always nervous about getting back on the cycle if I haven’t ridden for a while), and once I had safely gotten past all the malicious car door openers and 'don't look before you back your car out' cyclist maimers at the beach, I remembered that I actually really enjoy whipping along on the old Scott bike in the fresh air. One thing is your head is so much higher than when out running or in your average car so you end up seeing a whole lot more, you smell things like flowers, grass, hay, warm tarseal, (the occasional dead possum goes past pretty quick fortunately) and actually hear the insects and birds and animals. Having the legs working smoothly without pressure on the joints feels great and I did 36km at an average of 25km/hour out around Clevedon, which was a super speed for me, I normally laze along.  Here’s hoping I can maintain that as the distance goes up in subsequent weeks, an added bonus was picking up a Rugby World Cup silver fern flag which must have blown off a car, it now flutters proudly from under my seat...litter retrieval and patriotism all at one go...Yay Allblacks!

I also had my first run with the Te Puru runners since the marathon, followed by a pancake breakfast meeting to look at where the group is going and how it can more actively encourage others in the district to run and walk, especially children.  Exciting possibilities there, I feel a bit guilty about needing to stay a bit selfish about my own training needs on Sunday’s though, but hopefully I can still help out with some things.  Unfortunately guilt is really an inescapable part of training for a serious event, whether it is feeling that you are neglecting the Whanau, the housework, your studies, work, your friends, your community, or pretty much everything else, its just part of the huge demand training puts on your time, and your energy.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Kate writes: War!

I thought Karen and myself were in recovery, taking it easy SHE said. Karen TXT me to say 36k bike ride felt good off for a run Sunday morning. I have no plans for exercise except spring cleaning. There must be some rewards for cleaning. It is wet cold and miserable here at the beach so I actually do not feel like running to-day. But tomorrow is another day. This could be WAR! I do not think I will catch Karen as she is much younger and thinner than me, but you can always dream.....

Friday, 9 September 2011

Karen writes: All's fair...

I sent Kate an email wishing her a good weekend, and telling her she should be eating plenty and taking it easy.    Having been only 13 minutes behind me in Perth (that’s less than 20 seconds per km), this puts her in striking distance of thrashing me come the next marathon.  Plus all that swimming commitment she is showing is cause for concern...of course...there is NO competition between us...none at all.

Her clever campaign actually started most obviously on the plane back to Auckland, with her generous (I thought) donation to her hungry colleague of her piece of chocolate cake.  My counter-campaign involves the jelly baby lollies from Jennies office, if I strategically position a few on the blotter on my desk and rustle a piece of stiff plastic Kate will come in and “help me out”, little does she know the cunning plotting behind that…those jelly baby’s are really meant only for her.  Actually that plan is a spectacular failure,  I am probably consuming twice as many as she is as I am still suffering from the marathon induced munchies (4 on the munchie acuity scale now instead of 10 though) however at least I am not giving up without a fight.

But it isn’t entirely non-serious.   After an event the exercise drops off to a proportionately tiny amount, and the unrestrained, absolutely indulgent consumption wants to continue well past the point you have replaced the  2000 odd extra calories burned off by the event.   It is so nice not to have to worry about energy balance while training heavily…except from the point of view of getting enough, it can become a habit.  Before I know it those hard lost kg will pile themselves back on and I shall be having to apply my running tights with a tyre lever and be back to slumping along in tent shaped mens singlets again.   Roll on being fully recovered and back to wasting enormous quantities of energy in the name of training!

KATE:Writes: Swim

I went back to my swim coach today. Very pleased with myself from the wonderful marathon. We learnt how to do tumble turns. I think the pool had a nasty dose of snot after I had finished. Yep it was not pleasant. You have to breath out of your nose as you turn. I think more water went up it than out of it but eventually I think I've got it. Well as long as nobody is watching and seeing a very strange looking flop and wriggle at the end of the pool. But wow what a difference. Instead of touching and stopping at the end of a length there is this flow.... Anyway that was the beginning of the lesson. I am still in recovery, well that's my excuse. I took a few lengths off to catch my breath ,but that is the last time I do that. Next week I have to do do 2 swims, 1k of free style and 500m of free style with a band and pulboy, and 500m with flippers. no more messing around, I will be focused and determined. after all I was only 13 minutes behind Karen at the Marathon and there is no better incentive than competition. HeHeHe.  

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Karen writes: 2010 Rotorua Half Ironman...reminiscing

Made an appointment to meet up with Trainer Grant.  Tick.   Sent a complaining email to the people I bought my spin bike off.  Tick.   Written a preliminary plan for myself for the next couple of weeks.  Tick.    Promised myself that I shall cut back the cake (again).  Sorta…maybetick.  

15 weeks to go to the Rotorua Half Ironman.   This was a huge step into unknown territory for us last year, I was petrified as it seemed like such a massive undertaking.  It turned out to be a fabulous experience, our bodies coped with swimming 2km, cycling 90km, and running 21km. 

I remember getting to Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake) outside Rotorua horribly early in the morning, excitement mounting, checking the gear, re-checking it, and hopping from one foot to the other in the cold watching the other…athletes.  They looked like ‘real’ athletes as opposed to Kate and me who felt like we were impersonators…and they seemed to be very relaxed and taking their time about getting into their wetsuits.   I didn’t want to look like a totally over-keen newbie by getting into my wetsuit too early, but the anxiety levels rose the longer the wait, it takes me AGES to get suited up, what happens if I still had one leg to go and couldn’t squish everything in enough to zip up and the starting gun went!   Finally, the cruisy lot got suited, so did we, and still time to wait.  I picked up my new goggles and went to put them on my head…and the nosepiece broke clean in half.  Panic, my heart didn’t sink, it plummeted!  Kate had a spare pair, thank goodness for Kate’s super-organisation.   Then down to the beach.  The music started, stirring orchestral music, with the mist spiralling off the water and the sounds strangely affected by the trees around the lake it was just extraordinary.  The men went first, then the women...we were off.    I got swimming and I always struggle to get into a regular stroke, I kept wanting to put my head up and see where I was, or look around to see where Jayne or Kate were.   I watched the bottom as I swam and then realised that what I was seeing was not just beneath me, but was actually probably very deep.  I had the strangest sense of vertigo and had to swim with my eyes shut for a bit, it was just too weird to see the bottom but know I couldn’t touch it.   I looked at my watch.  It was full of water…courtesy of the new battery I had had put in it, oh no, this wasn't going well on the equipment front!   Round the buoys, two laps.  And it was done, a run up the beach to transition…wetsuit off (harder than putting it on if you mess that up), quick dry, cycle shirt on, socks, cycle shoes, helmet, glasses, gloves, and run the bike to the road and OFF. 
Cycling half way up the big hill away from the lake I realised I only had tri–pants between me and my torture instrument of a little skinny seat, I  would have to ride 90km without the protection of good padded bike shorts, and I had also forgotten my raincoat and it was raining.   It RAINED.   Some of it was ‘just make everything a bit soggy’ type of rain, some of it was ‘be blinded by the water splashed up by the cars and immerse the bike wheel’ type of rain.   90km of RAIN.     Tried to eat according to plan, a square of damp marmite sandwich and a half serve of energy gel every half hour, but I lost track of that just trying to stay alert on the bike, same with drinking, Powerade was in the drink bottles, but it's hard to remember to drink when everything is wet.  12km from the cycle leg finish, something made a very loud cracking noise in the innards of the pedal workings, I was very nervous from then on, but my poor bike made it up the extremely unfair hill on the last bit back to the lake with me trying to keep the pressure off the pedals as much as possible…down the hill…transition again.   It helps to take your helmet and glasses off before trying to take your cycle shirt off.   Clean running shirt on (bliss), clean dry socks (heaven), running shoes, fuel belt (oh no,  more sweet stuff), and I couldn’t get my number off my old shirt so had to break the safety pins.  Toilet stop, and off running. 

Actually, it was hobbling…I got across the beach and into the bush realising that my legs didn’t want to work and as soon as I was out of sight I had to stop, stretch and try again, same thing, the thigh muscles cramped and wouldn’t work my legs.  That went on for a while, me thinking this is going to be a very long half marathon, but eventually they sorted themselves out, and two laps of the lake with a few sidetracks of gorgeous Rotorua bush, with the unlikely combination of cola and chocolate chippie cookies providing the last bit of energy to keep going, and then the finish line was in sight.  Then you pull yourself together and try to run in looking relaxed… I went up the red carpet and crossed the line with both of my beautiful daughters now running beside me.

And we are going to do that all again in less than 15 weeks.   Okaaaay.   Actually, I wouldn’t miss it for the world.  Firstly, it is a gorgeous venue, with fabulous people, and for a great cause, the Rotorua Hospice. Secondly, strangely enough, its having problems and overcoming them that creates the events very best memories when you look back, you then know you can cope with almost anything…and of course...this time we are very different people...um...we will actually done some seriously planned training this time!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Karen writes: The comments thingy not working...

Hearing via the grapevine that the comments section of our blog doesn't seem to be working, we just thought nobody loved us.    Had a play with the settings, hopefully that will work but please dont give up on us...we do want to hear from you!

Sigh...the comments are still not apparently working and looking at the blog help section it's not an uncommon problem...you can always email us at ironman@dpt.org.nz

Monday, 5 September 2011

Karen writes: The start of the next bit...Taupo

I'm back at home, back at work, I feel like I haven't been away, especially having had an assignment due for Uni today.   Everyone at home coped very well without me, thankyou to the whanau for pulling together to make sure I can get away to do these sorts of things, I couldn't do half as much without your support.  Like all of this sort of thing, you spend months planning, plotting and agonizing  and then before you know it, all over.   Apart from the evidence of the photographs, I can hardly believe that it was me there.

So after a week of eating anything and everything, and enjoying the luxury of not being ALLOWED to exercise, it is time to start working again.  I had a 20 minute run last night followed by 10 minutes of light spin, my legs felt pretty miserable but the rest of me wanted to keep going. Tomorrow I shall try for 30 minutes running, then another day off, then a longer run, Saturday perhaps a short bikeride to see if I can still remember how to do it, and Sunday I cant wait to run with the Tepuru runners again... I have missed my weekly 'fix'.   Time to organise another session with Trainer Grant too, cycle training for Taupo needs to start seriously, and the swimming...this I have been studiously ignoring, unlike Kate who has been working hard on it all year and will no doubt leave me floundering in her wake next time we visit the Otara pool.

Anyway, in case anyone wants to see my training plan versus what I actually did for the Perth marathon, remembering that it may only be 8 weeks worth but a lot of baseline work had gone on before it started, there were also instructions for warmup etc which I was never very good at remembering (my theory was I never got out of warm-up speed anyway) and haven't included...click on the picture below...

Kate Writes: Back to work

Monday morning and back to work. It seems strange that the Perth Marathon is all over. We had worked so hard to get there and now its back to normal. I plan to run tonight at the club but feeling tired. Will see how I feel nearer the time. But the sun is shining and its not raining so I really have no excuse. I got this picture of me and Karen with our winners T shirts on thought it would bring back memories of the event.  My biggest memory is the number of people . I think they said 43,000 had booked in. We also got great support from the runners doing the half marathon. They would run by and pat me on the back and give great encouragement. Thanks perth it was a great trip.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Karen writes: Women are from Auckland, Men are from Mars

We got plenty of exercise yesterday, trotting back and forth over the 1.8km from the apartment to the conference center.   We also went to the end of conference dinner, an enjoyable meal which had a 'rock' theme, but most importantly there was a live band performing all the favourite dance covers and a whole lot of activity, some of it even dancing, went on (Kevin, who shall we send the photos too?).  Yes, truly the secret to good training has to be having plenty of variety....
demonstrating specialty lung training exercises
But what about the men from Mars?    Kate noticed them first during the day, big men wearing serious looking suits, incongruously wedging themselves into little conference seats among all the diabetes nurses.  Two larger than life gents, drifting implacably through the conference, and then they turned up again at the dinner.  We of course couldn’t resist asking who they were, actually we asked ‘what’ they were and admittedly they coped quite well with our suggestions that they were bouncers, barristers or ballerinas.  If that wasn't suspicious enough in itself, they admitted that they were men from Mars.   At this point, risking spoiling a good story,  I should say that it was Mars popularly known for confectionery, but what they were doing infiltrating a diabetes conference we are still not entirely sure.  

Actually, the deal was that these intrepid Americans were planning on introducing to the unsuspecting Australian market a cocoa based product with too many ‘poly…something…or other…enols’ in it to be easily understood after a glass of wine.   What interested us however was that it possibly had implications for endurance athletes to help with their recovery...hang on...chocolate based product…for recovery…YES!   So we shall watch this space, we aren’t entirely convinced of the veracity of their explanation for being there, and think that any confectionery company representative(s) making a foray into a diabetes conference would have to be either very brave, very foolish, from some secret undercover acronym obsessed organisation with a very poor talent for putting together a good cover story, or quite possibly, from Mars.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Karen writes: All good in Recovery

Im feeling GOOD, rather like recovery is over (I know it isn't really).   I have walked and walked and walked today, meant to walk down to the conference venue for dinner tonight however it is pouring with rain.   I can run up the three flights of stairs here, and am itching to run properly but that will have to wait for a few more days, maybe a short run on Sunday afternoon.   Still furiously hungry, but now able to walk past a bakery (there are lots of them here) without having to impose rigid self control...if something is in the fridge however it is fair game!   

Kate Writes: Beautiful day

Today I can get up and walk about without thinking. No Pain. Its great. The legs feel like mine again. Not quite ready for a run but off to conference with a light step. If Jenny from spin is reading this I hope your half Marathon went well and I look forward to catching up with you next week. Its still dark here in Perth but warm so we better get off to the breakfast meeting.