Sunday, 30 October 2011

Karen writes: Go Auckland Marathoners (and quarter and half!)

Well, this week has been ‘up there’ with my most strenuous ever, having done what has seemed like a lot of hours of, for me, pretty serious exercise.   I am uncomfortably aware that this is the start of a process, so things will get tougher, as I ponder what to do with my heavy legs and upset insides and a slight dose of the after-exercise shakes.   Anyway, while most of the Te Puru runners were off doing other things today, most notably those participating in the Auckland quarter, half or full Marathon, I was running running running myself.   Running and thinking how much more motivating it would have been to be part of the buzz of an event, rather than plodding one leg after another by myself (I did have company for the first few km, thanks for that).  I took some comfort from the fact that I was in my beloved forest, often on shady track rather than on unforgiving tarseal, and I suspect it would have been a hot sticky road by the end of a marathon effort in Auckland city today.    Going across the harbour bridge would have been pretty cool though, it is on my list, along with lots of other things for ‘after the ironman’.

Except I am kidding myself really about being part of an event, it would have killed me if I had to do anything more than wander along, which was exactly what I did today…

Well done everyone, hope it was a fabulous day, cant wait to hear how you all did! 

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Kate Writes:wet cold and miserable

Its Saturday and I should be doing 4 hours biking today, got ready and the heavens opened. It was not supposed to rain today. I looked up on the web and it said the odd shower. Well it stopped raining and off I went. Got to the top of my hill and the drizzle started. not rain but low cloud. I thought I would do my loop. its not long but all hills. I steadily got wetter and wetter and off home I went. I passed the school where they were doing Calf club with all the children, adults and animals looking very wet. Got home, hot bath and guess what .... The sun is out! It better be fine tomorrow I have to do the 4 hours tomorrow now. Still the training is good and every little helps.

Karen writes: 101 kilometers

Busy day yesterday.  Kids to school, me off to work, then I took annual leave from lunchtime, dropped the spin bike off for repair, went home, and got on the road-bike with 4 hours before I needed to collect the kids again in time to begin their evening routine.  It could have been worse, poor Kate was sitting an exam.

So I headed off towards Clevedon, my new tyres felt good, and the worrying noises had disappeared, just like the nice people at Avanti Plus in Botany said they would.  I entertained myself doing loops of various roads out the back of Manurewa, Takanini and Papakura, the km clicked up slowly.    I wasn't too bored most of the time, even though 4 hours is a long time by yourself on the road,  I struck several sets of roadworks, chased small planes and had a sheep slalom.   The Ardmore airport is worth a few circuits to watch the planes go in and out, and if you time it right you can cycle underneath (briefly) as they fly along some roads.   One came in to land when I was riding perpendicular to the runway, it sounded like it was almost on top of my head and I had to hang on as the bike rocked in it's wake.  I wouldn't let that happen with a bigger plane!

The sheep...by 93km I was tired and grumpy, craving for water instead of powerade, and thinking about the last hill of any significance which is about 8 km from home.   A sign for 'livestock' by the side of the road made me groan, with my luck it was likely to be cattle and they are really scary when you are on a bike.  I have visions of being accidentally sandwiched between two big beasts, I usually stop and wait for a car and tuck in close behind it, warily eyeing huge heads and powerful legs and heavy swaying bodies.  But no, I came round the corner and the road was blocked with sheep.  The farmer signaled me to just go ahead so I slowly made my way up the hill weaving across the whole road, going round skinny flanked ewes and their fat energetic lambs, it was neat, I was smiling by the time I got to the top of the hill.

Next week the programme says 110km, that's going to be hard, I might have to slow the pace down a bit because yesterday's effort left me feeling pretty stiff and tired, I slept for ten hours last night.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Karen writes: Spin bike gone, back on the road bike

I have taken my poor spin bike back to the shop, it was sent straight off to spin-bike hospital for repair.  It turns out it wasn’t something I had done to it (whew!), the bearing for some reason might not have had enough grease (or lost it in transit) so had probably given up the ghost after my bit of use.   I am assured it should be as good as new when it comes back, and in the mean-time I have the old hire-bike back, thanks for that to the team at Manukau Elite Fitness, I would have been in big trouble keeping up with my programme with no way of indoor cycle training.   

I guess going back and forward to the shop does also make sure I get plenty of ‘strengthening’ exercise lugging the various bikes up and down the stairs at home.

Anyway, with that busy life thing cropping up again, I am taking some annual leave to get bike things done, but especially so I can get in the long road-bike ride of the week.   I just can’t fit that ride in on the usual day, Saturday, so this is where being a bit flexible with the training programme comes in, and an understanding workplace.   I have mapped myself a 90km route, chances are I shall deviate from it of course, but on a weekday I like to have a vague idea of where I need to go to get that sort of distance in and still not be too far from home in case I get a call from the school the children are at, its not a good look to say “sorry, cant pick my child up (for whatever childhood emergency), I’m 2 hours away”.   

Question of the week... I wonder if my flash new tread-less tyres will make me go faster?

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Karen writes: Sick spin bike!

I am upset.   My brand new, perfect spin bike, has to go back to the shop.  There is a horrible grinding noise coming out of the pedal area, I have had the chain cover off, poked around in the dark bits behind the pedals with a torch, tried it at different resistance and in different settings, pedaled fast, pedaled slow, and cant get away from the diagnosis...my new bike is SICK!   In fact, this is almost panic material, I cant get the hours of cycling in I need if I don't have that dratted bike.

What did I do to kill the thing so quick?   I don't know, I didn't think I had worked it that hard in the week since I got it (am I tougher than I think I am?), hopefully this is just a bit of bad luck, it can be fixed ASAP, and I can get back to boring myself stupid 4 nights a week pedaling away towards nothing .

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Karen writes: Serious

I must be getting serious about this training lark.   I have followed the new plan almost to the letter  in its first week, spin, gym and spin so far and it is only Wednesday.  This morning I had planned on a swim before work, I struggled to get organised enough to get out the door, "mum...where is my...", "mum...can you fix...", "mum...can I have...?".  The traffic was heavy, but I resisted the temptation to turn off and go straight to work and eventually got to the pool.  Raced in, the pool was strangely quiet, yaaay, I would get a lane to myself.

Quick change, slip into the pool...oooooh...COLD!   That's right, the piped gas has been off for most of Auckland since yesterday, and what do you know, heated indoor public pools rely on gas.  But it was a good swim once I stopped wishing for my wetsuit, I did get mildly distracted at one point thinking about whether the shower water was also heated by gas....

And it was.

Kate Writes: turning 50

People say, well actually my good friend Jenny, that when you turn 50 its all down hill. I went to spin last night and we were doing a time trial, I was actually sweating so much that there were 3 spots of water on the floor. That must be my hormones I said to myself, the lack of them I thought. It had nothing to do with it being hot and working very hard. I Love my friends, they are all sooo good to me.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Karen writes: Bike fixed, new tyres, and new programme

Picked my road-bike up from the shop on Saturday, something in the front axle had packed up apparently which explains the nasty noises, so that was replaced and greased.  Various other neglected bits were tightened up, and I am now the proud owner of two new bald tyres.  I have resisted getting those tyres without tread up till now, I had it in my head that the speed loss from the wee bit of extra grip was made up for by being safer in the sorts of places and conditions I ride in.  But I have, as they say, 'bitten the bullet'.   Does that make me a real cyclist now?   I haven't had the courage to get on and try it out yet!
A very pleasant run yesterday morning with the Te Puru runners, this was the occasional 'away' run and we met up at Kawakawa bay, a glorious spot about 45 minutes further round the coast from Maraetai.   A relaxed run along the narrow winding roads with the beautiful sea down the cliff on one side, the bush on the other, and at the end of the road some beach and rock running then a trail up a steep hill then down through the bush to a perfect and isolated beach.   Then back for icecream.  The whanau got to play on the beach and fish in the rockpools while I ran, they eventually agreed that it was a nice change from being parked in front of the electronic babysitter while I go out to run as usually happens.

This week is the start of another 5 week programme which takes me up to the 160km Taupo cycle.  It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, peaking at a 120km ride, which will still take me around 5 hours one Saturday, but that wasn't as bad as the previously threatened 150km peak!   I missed this week's long ride, I cant afford to miss any more as the focus has to now be on cycling, but I also still feel like I am lagging behind with the swimming, unlike Kate who seems to be thriving in the pool.   I don't aim to be fast, but in 7 weeks time at the Rotorua half Ironman I need to be coming out of the water after that 2km swim feeling fresh.   When this programme is finished it will be only a few weeks to Christmas...that's a worry too!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Karen writes: Grown-up

I used to worry about being embarrassed, there are plenty of opportunities for this as you wrestle with lycra, push your body to extremes, or try to operate equipment requiring some degree of coordination while zombie like with tiredness. Eventually you just get to the point where one embarrassment is much like another and you stop worrying too much!   I didn’t see yesterday's incident coming though and it was a salutary lesson in using your car as a wardrobe.

You see, I have everything in my car, there is cycling, swimming and running gear, there are supplements and potions and spare food and drink and clothes.  Anyway,  yesterday I went to visit some people I haven’t seen in... decades... probably not since I was a kid actually.  It was an important visit, and as I am all grown up now (mostly), I like to think I did relatively well on the maturity front, until I was backing out of the driveway someone noticed a small scrap of black fabric where the car had been parked.  I was handed my little item of lacy clothing which must have fallen out of the car when one of my girls opened their door… it seems that after my swim the day before I had just dumped my clothes in the backseat and wouldn’t you know it, that had to be what fell out on the driveway.  I tell myself it could have been worse, it could have been the monstrously ugly, skin coloured, expensive, highly scientific and reinforced sports version I bought at a running expo in Rotorua last year and am terrified to wear in case I should end up in a hospital and someone should see it!   Hey, they do say laughter is good for you...

Kate Writes: Birthday celebrations

Thursday was my 50th birthday. You do need to celebrate birthdays so a bottle of bubbles went down well. Unfortunately it meant no training today. I then had University on Friday with an exam so I had to be ready for that, but once home party time. Again no training. Saturday morning found me a little hungover, but I had to go out for a bike ride. 60k later I felt much better. I met a friend whilst out biking. She rides much faster than me so the last 10k was fast. It is good to ride with others, but I am now tired and I can feel an afternoon sleep coming on. I had a fantastic birthday which I celebrated with so many of my awesome friends. Lets hope we can finish the week end off with the ABs winning. Go The ABs.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Karen writes: Shoe glue

Packed my running shoes for a trip away and checking out the soles I saw signs of wear, it seems to happen so quickly!  I recalled that I said to a much younger runner recently,  “I remember when you used to use special glue to build up the worn-down bits on the soles of your running shoes”.   I didn’t say I thought the glue was pretty sophisticated when it came along.  

I feel kinda old all of a sudden.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Karen writes: Spin bike arrived...

My very own spin bike has arrived apparently all the way from the US and the hire one has been returned.   The new one is in a box because I am a cheapskate and wouldn’t pay extra to have it assembled.    I had a play with the one in the shop and pronounced myself satisfied, with my brief test it coped with me standing up and notching up the resistance without funny noises or any hint of a smell of burning.  I shall spread it out on the lounge floor and treat it like a big jigsaw and the kids can play in the box.

There was also an amazing machine I had a look at, at first glance it looked like a recumbent exercycle, then you realise that instead of pedals, it has steps...as in a 'stepper'.  But stepper PLUS, there were poles in odd places, extra foot pegs, a display the size of a laptop, lounge suite quality seat, and it apparently modified resistance according to heartrate and gave instructions when to shift which bit of you to which bit of the machine, amazing.   Who would ever need to go out the door to exercise with all that messy running, cycling and swimming with something like that at home? Amazing price too, at around $7000 it could end up a supremely expensive thing to pile spare clothes on.

I have also…shock horror… cleaned my road bike.   Because I do it so infrequently, I had forgotten some important points.  Like don’t use the car cleaning brush to do the chain, and after giving the chain a going over, don’t use the same brush on the white paintwork.  But some fierce work with a rag to get the grease off fixed that problem, come to think of it, I must remember to retrieve the greasy brush out of the carwash things.  Then some super strength spray to remove the possum guts which had been liberally applied to the underneath bits of the bike on Saturday (I hadn’t been paying attention to what was on the road ahead, Kate avoided it, I didn’t…yuck).   Now I can drop my poor machine into the shop, pretending that it is always in this well looked after state.

Kate Writes: The tortoise and the Hare

Monday night is running night. Got warmed up and ready to go and only one other person turned up. A very fit young man. He is probably the fastest in the group and I'm the slowest. He very kindly ran with me. It does my running so much good because I have to run and cannot stop. Also I run faster. The conversation can be a little difficult as I am trying to catch my breath and talk and run. Anyway thanks for your support and roll on next run. My Achilles tendon is still sore and I am trying very hard to stretch it, it is stiff, could hardly get down the stairs today but now is feeling better. Hope it gets better soon.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Karen writes: Nuts

Apparently we need lots of the important nutrients found in nuts.  Nuts I am assured form part of a healthy diet for the athletic pretender.  Nuts however are far too easy to eat in large quantities so I am dispensing the days nuts into a portion sized container...small handful size I am told.
Personally I prefer them to look more like this:
I have also found that nut looks just as bad between your teeth as parsley.  Note to self…eat nuts, but check the mirror before inflicting big smiles on anyone.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

kate writes: Orca whales

 You might ask what Orca whales have do with ironman? Well, We had been out on this amazing ride which took us to area that I've not been before. Actually we got lost, well I knew roughly where we were but when we got to the motorway I knew we had to turn around and go back. The hill we came down was not as bad as I thought and at one stage Karen asked were we going up or down hill. Any way we got back to the car, had a lovely lunch at the library in Pukekohe, Karen had a flat tire on her car and the AA were called. I drove carefully home to find that Orca Whales had been seen in the Harbour. I have seen them twice since we have lived here, but is always an exciting time. We ran up the hill and looked out into the Manukau Harbour and there they were. Big ones and little ones chasing the sting ray. It was a lovely sight. It reminded me why we live here and how lucky we are.  

Karen writes: Running with tired legs

I am starting to understand the concept of "running on tired legs".  Trainer Grant has said this a couple of times, he wants me to practice with "tired legs".   Yesterday I had a lovely bike-ride with Kate.  I needed 80km according to the programme, and at about 50km I thought we would have to give up and head for cover, it was that wet and miserable out the back of Pukekohe.  But then the weather cleared up, and we kept going and did a total of 95km…actually, my bike said 93.5km, but Kates bike computer had the more positive distance so we took hers as being accurate.   

Today I planned on a nice flat run with the Te Puru runners, some of them are about to taper for the Auckland half or full marathon so I didn't expect anything onerous, I got sidetracked though and gave up being sensible to try a variation on another route with them and 2 1/2 hours later I got home...and hey, I managed to get genuinely tired legs!   Now I don't know what to do with them.   

I did have an unusual moment of self-doubt while I was out on the road willing my legs to keep moving, thinking that we only have 4 months to go until Ironman. That doesn't equate to a whole lot of weeks once you build in a bit of recovery from the two events in the leadup, Christmas (sorry, I have other things to do apart from train at Christmas!) and a taper, and here I am feeling knackered after only half the ride/run distance, and even that was spread out over 2 days.

A note for the cyclists, I got a real fright on yesterday’s ride, a hazard I hadn’t thought about before.  I know about trucks which blast past and make you rock, or vehicles with trailers cutting corners, or inattentive or uncaring or even vindictive car drivers, but the danger came from a van with an oversized wing mirror sticking out on the passenger side.  I felt that mirror whistle past my ear, I don’t think the driver realised that a couple of millimetres closer would have taken off my head because the vehicle itself was a little way away from me.   Something else to look out for out there.

Now I need to eat again, something sensible, I've just started experimenting with taking in a bit more chromium to see if I can cut the cravings for sweet stuff.   Here's hoping.  Then I must clean my poor bike before I take it into the shop for a service, and to see if they can figure out the strange rattling noise which I was sure meant it was going to catastrophically self destruct on the road yesterday.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Karen writes: Preventive maintenance

My  body is feeling a bit like it has been rolled out with a rolling pin and re-shaped and I am now sitting on the sofa after dinner wondering what to do with myself.  I’ve got no children to run around after, no training to do, cant be bothered studying…and I am under strict instruction to rest.  My day started quite differently with getting out the door for an early swim before work.   I have to admit swimming is feeling better, the stretching forwards of each arm…reach and pullllllll, isnt anywhere near as difficult as it was, and I could bend in the middle without wincing afterwards.   It is still boring however, but not as boring as the spin.   

I was really surprised that the Otara pool was full of people at that early hour though, walkers, swimmers, and loungers.  I had to share a lane with several swimmers, one of whom insisted on doing a butterfly stroke every so often which took the whole lane, it must have looked cleverly choreographed from above as everyone else ducked round him.

Then…after work today I went for a maintenance ‘deep tissue massage’.  Now the place I go (Kate goes to the same place), has different therapists, I have tried 3 of them, Kate has tried 2.    They are all excellent, but it amazes me how they each take a different approach, and they prioritise such different things that you can come out thinking “hey, I didn’t realise that bit was a problem” because the last person focused on a different bit.

Today I had Tanya, the last time I went to her she did a great job, stirred up muscles I didn’t know I had and I remember that after a few days of recovery I felt amazing.    This time, I think my muscles have gotten more used to being worked on, and I didn’t attempt to levitate when for example my hamstrings were ‘cleansed’, I just asked the question “what bit have you got there?”, took a deep breath and privately thought I would be sure to stretch them lots so I didn’t have to go through that again in a hurry, now that I knew where they were of course!

She worked on my tricky calf muscles which have been cramping up if I kick too vigorously with the flippers, then she worked on my back and sorted out my problematic neck which is still struggling to get used to the  hours spent in a crouched position on the road bike.  The only time I really reacted was when she poked the little muscles between my ribs.

So I am all loosened up, reminded of the importance of stretching (again), and will treat myself to another session of self-inflicted-misery, sorry, preventive maintenance before the next event some time in November.

Karen writes: Reflections on bike gears

Just been for a bikeride to Clevedon and back.  I was meant to do 75 minutes of strength work on the spin bike, but as it wasn’t pouring with rain, and I still had a bit of daylight, I couldn’t resist a real ride in the open air.   It was very nice, apart from embarrassing myself thoroughly by greeting the only other cyclist I saw with a cheery “good morning”…it was 6pm, I wonder if she noticed?   My 'brain-in-neutral' thinking topic however, was actually about gears this time, mine were making alarming noises when I changed going uphill and at such times you remember you haven't been very good with the maintenance.

My granddad and bike and dog
When I was young…(I wave my walking stick for emphasis here), you had 3, no actually, you had 4 speeds on your bike.   Pedal slow, pedal fast, stand-up pedal, and get off and push.   At some point, some of my more up-to-date contemporaries acquired Raleigh 20’s which were magical things with a couple of gears if I remember rightly.   By the time the 10-speed came along, I had already given up on two wheels, and didn’t get reacquainted with them for a long time, by which time gears, the more the better, had become the norm.

The end result was I never actually got taught how to use gears properly, and as a consequence transferred my self-taught bad habits through a succession of increasingly sophisticated (and underused) bikes over the years.   I only ever brought one bike from a shop, which might have been the ideal chance to learn something, but they didn’t check if I knew how the work something like the gears, and I wasn’t going to ask.  I do remember that I cursed that bike as being a piece of rubbish for over a year until I figured out that if I did a half click with that lever-thingy on the left handlebar it got rid of the awful clattery noises in certain gears.   I also had to go through several bikes to figure out that it wasn’t that I was having an abnormally bad run of luck with faulty bikes whose chains fell off frequently at the bottom of every important hill, it was actually my gear changing technique.

So I have learned (not to be taken as technical advice)  
1)      Your chain and the spiky round bits shouldn’t be so crusted up with grease and road-grime that you cant see what they are made out of.   They also ideally shouldn’t be rusty, have bits of grass stuck in them, droop excessively, make really nasty noises, allow gears to be missed, or be completely devoid of lubricant. 
2)      There is a really cool chain lubricant which promises to ‘self clean’.   I like this, but find it only works if I use it.
3)      Sometimes things like chains, spiky round bits, wires, etc, need replacing, especially if you got a bargain deal buying your bike 2nd (3rd, 4th) hand off someone else.   Find a nice person at the bike shop and make sure they understand you aren’t just interested in high speed (unless you are), but in them checking that nothing important will fall off when you least want it to.  I get a service before important races.
4)      It is a good idea not to click all the way down to the lowest gear on the rear cogs (right handlebar lever) at the bottom of a hill, then suddenly try to click over to the lowest gear on the front chainring (left lever)…your legs end up going round really fast and you slow right down and look like an idiot.
5)      If your chain repeatedly falls off, check out doing things differently, like try being in a different (higher) gear on the rear cog before shifting the chain on the front chainring.   Try moving the lever more slowly, make sure you are actually pedaling at a reasonable speed when you change (not under pressure though), change slightly earlier than you need to on hills, check points at 1) and finally blame the bikeshop.  Sometimes your derailleur (the bit which moves the chain) can be at fault, especially if like me you have fallen off and bent it regularly.
6)      When you put your chain back on, take a moment to turn the pedal a few times to make sure it is going to stay on.   It’s not fun to hop back on the bike, push down hard to take off and find there is no resistance because the chain isn’t on properly.  You guessed it...you fall off.
7)      Bikes are all different.   The more you use your gears, the more you develop an instinctive relationship with them.   Sometimes it can help to have someone follow you and yell at you to “change up” while you are figuring out a new bike, especially those ones (most road bikes) which don't have convenient little indicators telling you what 'number' gear you are in.
8)   Not a good idea to try to change gears while you are pedaling standing up...
9)      Gears are your friends if you learn how to use them, but they can only do so much.  If you are in the lowest gear on the bike and you are part way up a big hill…pedal hard no matter how much it hurts!  You do NOT want to walk (especially in cycle shoes), this is guaranteed to be more painful than any amount of pedaling.
10) Technical people say try to avoid something called crossover, ie, don't be in the highest gear on one cog and the lowest on the other or vise versa to avoid damaging your bike.  Don't know why they built bikes with however many gears they claim to have then say you cant use 2 of them?

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Karen writes: New gym exercises

Hmmm…had a session being shown the correct way to do a bunch of new exercises for the Monday home gym workout.   There was some good news, like the dreaded plank now involves some leg activity which actually makes it less of a pain, and some bad news in that there is now a whole lot of ‘core’ stuff.    It was also apparent that I had modified a couple of the earlier exercises myself, I could blame my faulty memory, but I suspect it was actually more about me 'accidentally' morphing them into something which was easier to do. So for example, a sit-up becomes...
Ok, I know my arms are wimpy as is being shown by recent swim efforts, and as for this mysterious core thing (do I have one?), I am assured that a strong core will miraculously help with all sorts of things, so I promise I will now concentrate on firstly…doing the exercises, and secondly, doing them as they are intended.  

Kate Writes: Monday nights

Monday night has become my running night. But I had an injury to my calf and have not run for almost 4 weeks. I was getting withdrawal symptoms. My coach and Physio said I could run this week so on Saturday I carefully ran with my daughter for 15 minutes. It felt fine. So Monday night came and off to running in Waiuku I went. I ran with a new lady  who usually runs with friends but was persuaded to run tonight by her husband. So we had a good chin wag as we went. The black clouds came and the heavens opened. We ran faster and into the Kentish for refreshments and dry clothes. The calf seemed to be OK, a little sore now but I will be looking after it and be ready for my next run.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Karen writes: The three disciplines kick in

Friday went for a swim.  I have had a total of 3 training swims this year and it is 10 weeks to the Rotorua Half Ironman so I have probably only 8 weeks to stretch the current 1km swim ‘any-old-way’ out to 2km of efficient freestyle.   I might (will) have to figure out how to fit in more than one swim a week!    On the plus side, the 70km cycle on Saturday went really well, my average speed is as fast as I have ever managed, I should point out however that it is still well below what others do, and I am regularly passed by cylists looking like they aren’t working at all, while I pedal furiously and appear to be barely moving.  I also had an enjoyable run on Sunday, the usual Beachlands to bush trail, a hilly 19km.  Definitely noticed the heat picking up on Sunday, earlier starts might be required as summer kicks in.

Some reflections from the week.  1) I will always take a jacket with me when I am on a long run or bike ride, the only days I forget are the days when it is guaranteed to start raining heavily at about 30 km from home.   2) It is the school holidays, not having the children to organise makes me less efficient not more? 3) Some hills are made steeper by my head, there is nothing to justify always wanting to walk up that little hill on Rewa road by the Community Hall.  4) I am sure my feet have grown with all the running.   Either that or my cycle shoes have shrunk?

Go all you people working towards the Auckland full or half marathon...counting down now!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Kate Writes: Swim Squad

Went to swim squad this morning and Greg, whos also doing Ironman was very cross with me because he could not write any rude comments on our blog. So I said I would write them for him... We meet every Friday morning for a fabulous swim. Our Coach Jarrad, is great, He has 10-20 people looking up to him in the swimming pool waiting for the next instructions. We eagally await his next instructions moan about it and then off we go. He watchs each of us and gives constructive advise and motivation +++. Today we were swimming with flutter boards and kicking. Well I can not do this. But Jarrad shouted at me all the way down the pool, straight legs , soft feet, bring your legs higher. I got to the other end. Afterwards Jarrad said its all in your head you need to believe in yourself. Hes a great coach. Thanks Jarrad.
The group of swimmers are a group of new friends. I swim in the slowest group. Last week a new person started and she is slower than me, I was so pleased, I told her how excited I was that there was someone slower than me. She did not come this week. I must be nice to her next time.
We go for coffee and carbs after the swim and put the world to right.  Trainning is hard! HeHeHe.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Karen writes: Spin cycling at home is not Ab-fab

I've struggled to keep up with the training programme this week.   Gym exercises at home on Monday didn't go well, I found myself at one point lying facedown on the floor after doing the 'down' bit of a press-up and not wanting to do the 'up' bit and the dreaded plank lasted all of 10 seconds.  Then I missed the swim on Tuesday because I wasn't ready to take my cold-bug into the pool, but I did persist with the spin, 60 minutes on Wednesday,  70 minutes spinning Thursday night.  After the first 5 minutes though on that dratted bike last night I had to argue vigorously with myself so as to not just climb off and go and do something else…like nothing.   I eventually dug out the portable DVD player and balanced it on the handlebars, found an Ab Fab DVD I hadn’t watched…hmmm… probably since pre-children days actually, and FORCED myself to pedal through two episodes.   The cringe bits made me pedal faster, so it was quite an active session and I ended up feeling pretty energised afterwards!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

kate Writes: clean bike

I have read that a clean bike goes faster? Well I cleaned mine for the first time... in a long time. It looks a lot better, not sure if it goes faster though. I got my old bike out of the shed and cleaned that too. I decided to take the old one to spin, where I can leave it set up and ready to go. No problems. I got to spin, set up the wind trainer and found that the quick release thingy bobby was flat and not round and did not fit into the wind trainer. Luckily there were 4 or 5 men eager to get the tools out change the spoke and put a different one in and that solved the problem. It is really nice to have support and help, I'm not a real girl that cannot manage but it does make life easier.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Karen writes: Sunday run inventory

I have been fighting a nasty cough, and yesterday I made the decision that I would run with the Te Puru Sunday runners and promised myself that if I didnt feel ok I would stop.    Yeah right, the run was along the main road and into the Whitford forest, down gulleys, up hills, along ridges, then across into the Maraetai forest.  Hmmm, not exactly the sort of territory you can stop and call for someone to pick you up, unless they have access to a helicopter with a winch.  But apart from the occasional need to pause and have a good cough and catch my breath, I felt pretty good.   Even my legs felt fine considering the big cycle ride in the wind on Friday, just got a bit heavy towards the end.

It turned out to be a total of more than 3 hours by the time we had finished running.  I had to walk up the tougher hills, I felt like I didnt have as much lung space as I usually do, truth be known though, I probably would have walked plenty anyway, some of that stuff was STEEP, the cough was just a good excuse.   Thanks to Mark who was loping along at an obviously slow pace (for him) so he didnt leave the rest of us behind to get lost in the myriad of similar looking tracks branching out in different directions miles from anywhere.

We ran through yellow flowered gorse,  native bush, ti tree, stands of pine, said hello to Kauri, past ponds in different colours, through small mud-baths, on gravel, pine needles and clay, and up onto high ridges surrounded by low cloud making you feel like you were in a different world.   Then finally down, down, down that steep gravel track back into Maraetai, a tiny feeling of regret that it is all finished fights its way through the relief that you are nearly home. I'd earned a rest afterwards.

Today I do an inventory of how I feel.  Cough, still there but no worse.   Miscellaneous leg aches, nothing worrying.  Toenails...they hurt from banging into the end of the shoes on the downhills...does anyone else find that they grow more the more exercise you do?   Sore muscles around the waist, probably due to the unaccustomed cycling posture.   Took in 3 energy gels and drank most of the 1.5 litres of water on the run, which was a good effort for me on the nutrition/hydration front.  The trail shoes worked well as they had a good grip, they are now caked with mud and I might look at replacing the super thin laces with something else as it was hard to get rid of pressure points over the top of my feet, and new wicking socks kept my saturated feet free from blisters so I can put them on the good gear list for wet running now.

Gym tonight at home with the spin bike, the big blue ball, and the elastic band thingys.   Oh Joy.

Kate Writes: wind

Saturday I decided that it was not raining so I had no excuse not to ride. Off on my bike up the hill and turned left, 33 k to Waiuku. Very Hilly. No worry I though, I can do hills. But I forgot about the wind. The road winds along the Peninsular and at times you can see the Harbour and West coast. The wind blows, so much I thought I would be blown off my bike. I rang the husband and suggested lunch at Cafe Alba and a ride home. I did ride 50k before I gave up, but its better to be safe than sorry. Next week i do not think I will ride that way, maybe a drive and then a ride.