Saturday, 31 December 2011

Karen writes: New Year, Nightmare, and Knees

Tomorrow it is 2012.  The year of Ironman.   Eek.

I had a nightmare last night, it was one of those nasty ones where the silly detail is horribly clear.   It went like this....it was the morning of the 3rd of March but the fridge needed cleaning so I couldn’t be dropped off to do the Ironman until after the ice (?) had all been scraped out.  The race was due to start at 8.30, my anxiety grew and when it was 5 minutes before the gun I got sick of waiting for transport and decided to run down the road to the start (I did worry that I was burning unnecessary energy).  There were only a few people left, and I didn’t have my race number, so they gave me a new one and a pen (which didn't work) to write my name down.  Then I realised I didn’t have my bike, wasn’t wearing sports gear, and my children were still with me.  Then I woke up, so I don’t know how well I did!   Doesn’t take a whole lot of imagination to figure out what that says about my subconscious activity.

Back in the real world (fortunately), my right knee was sore after the Thursday run up Manaia.  I've done this track 4 times in 7 days, it is a good climb, going up around 400m over the distance of about 3.5km, and has 1000+ steps, plus there was the 4 hour effort on Tuesday over the Lion.  I cant really say it was a surprise that it hurt when I poked the muscles on the inner-above knee aspect of each leg (but especially the right).  As a result, yesterday I plastered on the antiflam, strapped the sore joint and did the same route but walking instead of running.  I was lucky to walk with visiting cousin Glenn, and it reminded me of how nice it is to take some time, have a look around and talk for a change, rather than concentrating on pushing pushing pushing.  Today the knee is still sore, so just a walk with my girls, no strenuous uphill work.

Home tomorrow, then I will get serious about following the programme. I've been working really hard running, and doing the hill work but no bike here, and swimming hasn't been practical.  And I see Kate has been doing the hard yards with the swimming too...helloooo down there on the wild West Coast...you go girl!   

Friday, 30 December 2011

Kate Writes: swimming

Its been blowing a gale here at the Manukau Harbour. I have swum twice this week in the rough sea and feel more confident. But I decided I should do some proper training and push myself, so up to the school pool I went. But the key did not work :( . Borrowed a friends key and that worked, it needed a bit of twiddling. I always worry about swimming on my own, what happens if I knock my head and drown? No one to save me!  But then again I can swim better now and really just have to get over myself. The training this week was 2650m endurance. Wow do I feel tired. Had to come home and have a sleep. I wonder if I can have a sleep on the day of Ironman - He He He!

Its still blowing a gale, hope to get out on bike tomorrow and check those gears.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Karen writes: still playing mountain climbing

Tuesday was the high point of my fitness year.   Up early, big breakfast, then I got dropped off at Ocean beach for my favourite Christmas tramp/run.    Every year I attack the Lion range at the tip of the Whangarei Heads, starting with the steep trail up from the beach at Bream Head, where I pause near the top to say hello to my Grandfather Hill who worked on the 2nd World War radar station there, then it is some serious up and down till I come out 3 hours later at Urquharts bay and run home (another hour). 

I love this route, but there is one part which always reminds me how easy it is to make mistakes, especially when you are by yourself.  An hour into the Lion tramp you get to the top of a steep bush slope and there is the choice of a left turn or a right turn.  The direction you instinctively go in is left, however following that way brings you onto a really skinny track with a drop on either side, then there is a big, but scale-able rock in the way.  The first year I did this I was sure I was going in the right direction, and climbed this rock, then there was another rock.  My anxiety levels were growing at this point, I couldn’t see the trail ahead, just more steep rock masses with these enormous drops to the sea.   My courage gave out (or I got sensible?) and I finally retraced my steps, coming back to the fork where I now took the trail to the right. This seemed to head back the way I had come, but then after a while it turned and became the main trail again.   I realised that the left fork had led only to a lookout, those rocks weren’t meant to be passed.   I have since visited the lookout every year, it has a spectacular view down the coast, but it always makes me think about how close I came to making a big mistake.   
Lookout view - the white dots are boats...
Went up Mt Manaia again this morning, the weather forecast was miserable, and it was drizzling when I left, but if I didn’t go I wouldn’t get any exercise.  I love working through the ‘layers’ of bush, at the bottom there are cabbage trees and it is quite overgrown, further up is a patch where there are ferns and moss and if you bump into a branch you get doused with water, and as you go up the foliage changes again, sometimes open, sometimes overgrown, sometimes dry and windblown.   Today the track was  universally wet and muddy, with the wind getting wilder the higher I got. I was casting a nervous eye above me thinking about how much risk there was of debris falling, then I got nearly to the top and the wind was suddenly just gone.  I was above the howling wind, in the clouds, what a strange place to be.    I didn’t linger at the top though, that fluffy grey white cloud is COLD, and I didn’t trust the wind, sure enough, as I came down the steps from the lookout a huge gust blasted across the rock and I was glad I wasn’t still standing up there daydreaming.

I realise that I feel fit!   It will be interesting next week to get on the bike and see how that feels after what will be 2 weeks off cycling.  Not long to go now...

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Kate Writes:resting?

I was supposed to be off resting for 2 days! But on Christmas day my brother in law took the boat out and I just had to have a go on the sea biscuit. Then I had to have a swim. The water was so still and clear, which is unusual for the Manukau Harbour. The next day the same. I jumped off the boat out in the estuary, very brave I was, I mean to say there are sharks out there, and swam to shore against an out going tide. Today I went for my 1 hour ride and had problems with my gears again, but as my coach says get over it and move on. So I just did a different ride, with hills in it. I went to see a neighbour to get some help and he said there was nothing wrong with the gears, I still think there is so will have to get out and do some more riding.
The tide today was at 1pm so ideal swimming. But there were big waves, just good practise. Rach and myself had a good swim, shes a great encourager and gets me doing more. We tried doing tumble turns in the waves but I just ended upside down swimming the wrong way.  So now its back to resting and I've just made a chocolate cheese cake, so no problems with the carbs.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Karen writes: Giant Christmas present

First thing this morning it was time for a quick trot up my favourite small mountain, then home for a second breakfast, keeping in mind my need for increased carbohydrates!    It was a white gift wrapped mountain today, I walk/ran up in about 35 minutes, paused on the rock platform at its top while the shreds of cold cloud blew past me, and then took 20 minutes to scoot down to the bottom again.   Then off for a walk to get my un-energised children moving, they would much prefer to watch TV.     I kept thinking “this time last week I had finished the half IM swim”, or “this time last week I was half way through the ride”, it seems like it was forever ago though. 

Tomorrow morning is the 25th, I plan on another trip up the mountain. It is my ritual on Christmas morning, I sit at the top for a while and look around, at Whangarei to the East, the Heads just below me, Ocean Beach on the other side, Auckland to the South, then I stand up, close my eyes and spin slowly around, and appreciate just how very lucky I am. 

KateWrites: School pool

I had a txt message from Jacky, that she and Barbara were swimming 8am at school pool. I set the alarm and off I went. I was not looking forward to it, it will be cold, its only 20 meters long its early on my first day of the holidays. Well it was great. The water was not cold, it was clean and wonderful. 2k later i was shattered and ready for a sleep. I'm very lucky to have the facilities around to help. I can see some early morning swimming sessions booked for the holidays. Mind you this morning the sun is shining and the tide is in, so I must go for a swim in the sea. Happy Christmas Eve to all who read this blog today. lol Kate 

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Karen writes: Resting

I am resting.  Unusually, I am not feeling in the remotest bit guilty about that, I am not worried about losing my hard-won fitness, I am vaguely worried that my food consumption hasn't dropped to reflect my lack of energy expenditure (party time of course)...but a few days isn't going hurt really...I think...

Anyway, I have in front of me my eating planning from Cate the nutritionist, and it is all terribly sensible. She wants a lot more energy in on heavy training days, particularly high quality carbohydrates and some protein, I'm to be more strategic about eating overall to keep energy levels up, and should be testing new combinations and ramping up what I eat during exercise to get 60-70g carbohydrate in per hour (that is the hard one for me).   That will start, let me see, after Christmas probably!   But this is really scary, there are officially only 9 weeks to go till Ironman, that is probably only SEVEN weeks of real training!

Tomorrow is the trip north to join the children with their grandparents, and my Christmas day treat will be a quick trot up my favorite Mt Manaia, perhaps while everyone else is digesting celebratory lunches in the afternoon.  On the top of that wee mountain is a flat rock, perhaps the size of a small room, and you can stand on that rock and spin slowly around to look at the land spread out below you (or into the clouds on a rainy day) and it makes you feel all is well with the world.   Then a race down to the bottom, gravel paths and steep steps, through flax and native bush tracks with glimpses of sea, back home...for more to eat!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Kate Writes: Bike

After the gear failure on Saturday I thought I better go back to the bike shop. I'm well known in Cycle city, and they are always helpful and a nice cup of coffee is on hand while I wait. Whats wrong with the bike, he said, gear broken, No he said looks OK to me? OH. Then I explained the big bang and crunch and not working. So poor bike was put up on the stand and he managed to get it to jam. There is a fault with the gears. They were made for 3 gear wheels and I only have two. Do I want to ride over Christmas he said? My face dropped, I'm doing Ironman, need to train. Deep breath, I can cope.... The Gear paddle on the handle is being sent back to see if we can get it replaced and I have a second hand one to replace it so I can carry on training.. $140 later I'm out of the shop and off to work. Very relieved that I can train. Its good to have good people around to help and support. 

Monday, 19 December 2011

Karen writes: Equipment neglect

This morning I finally felt guilty enough to look after my equipment after Saturday's soaking wet half Ironman event.  The bike workings were liberally sprayed with WD40, the wetsuit got turned properly inside out and the leaves and mud rinsed off it (I figured it was a fresh water swim so I wasn’t too worried), the running shoes are in the shower full of soap and will probably take a couple of days to change back to a mostly white colour, and the sodden clothing migrated from the smelly bag in the boot of the car to the washing machine.  Oh I loathe that bit!   

Kate Writes Half Ironman

Friday we packed up the car with double equipment. Left the daughter home alone for a Christmas party of 18 year olds! Not sure whats most worrying, ironman or teenage daughter! Any way off we went. The sun was shining but that was a pretence.

Registration had moved to the Avanti shop in Rotorua. We took our wetsuits to get them dipped in sunlight washing up liquid. Probably the cleanest its ever been. Met up with Greg, who I swim with and also doing Ironman, swapped a few stories and off home.

5am the alarm went and I forced breakfast down, running late into the car and it was raining. Into wetsuit, could not find my transponder, searched everywhere, do not PANIC. I had put it with my goggles, deep breath and down to the waters edge. I do love my red toe nails, they stood out in the sand.  The horn went and we were off. Loads of people all trying to start together, legs and arms everywhere. I took a deep breath and started. It felt OK, water was clear, no waves. This should be a nice swim. I do find sighting was difficult and kept having to look where I was going. I got to the first lap and the teams had just started that was a good feeling. Round the buoy and off for another lap. I thought I was going slow but as I was coming into the  beach I heard over the speaker " we've been going for 47mins" wow I was coming in at the time I wanted.  My official time was 47mins , 11 Min's faster than last year and I beat my coach Jarrad, he was in the team and started 23 Min's after me, but still I was expecting him to pass me.

By now the rain had started but not too bad. Karen was in transition and off I went. It was great to be out on the bike. Had I put enough clothing on? Not sure but too late to go back. You are not allowed to draft in Ironman, so I tried to keep a distance but its really annoying when people overtake you and then go slower than you. This is something I am going to have to work on. The most interesting thing that happened out on the road was the farmer that thought it was a good idea to take 300 cows across a busy road in the middle of a bike race! I looked on it as a good time to stop and get some food and water in. But there was an accident on the other side of the road, one poor girl was off her bike and on the ground. The cows were all over the place trying to climb over fences. There was a gap in the stream of cows and off we went leaving the carnage behind. Halfway home the rain came down and down, drowned rats we were. I saw my friend Sara, well I saw a car beeping its horn, but the rain was coming down. There are only 2 hills to worry about. The one by Hell's Gate, well named,  is very steep and there was a river coming down it at the same time. I sang Ten green bottles as I went up, not inspiring but it keeps you concentrating. Over the other side I went and a crunch of gears. Thought I would be off the bike, but no it all still worked. The second hill is the last bit to the lake. 5k of uphill. I did not make it last year and had to walk. But this year I knew I would make it. Changed gear down to a low one and nothing happened! I looked and could not see any problem. Stopped and got off. Front gear would not change. What was I to do? There was no way I could get up the hill in top gear. Simple! I leaned over the bike picked up the chain and put it on the lower gear. That worked and off home I went. Later I looked to see the cable had snapped. I finished in 3hours 58mins, 22 min's faster than last year.

I decided to change my clothing. It was only psychological as it was raining hard, but dry socks feel so good. But within 200 meters I was wading through mud and water. The first part of the run is around the lake. I stuck to my plan, walk, but there was some dry areas and so I did a little run and it felt OK, the ankle did not hurt. Got to the road and ran the next 8 k, still felt OK.Very wet. Ran/walked home in a time of 2 hours 44 Min's, 22 Min's faster than last year.

WOW, I finished in 7hours 29minutes    56minutes faster than last year. This training and trainers work is working. Thank you to my trainer Mr Smith and also swim coach Jarrad.  There were a number of great supporters out there, many had come down from the swim club, especially Fiona for running up and giving me a hug. Thank you to Greg who ran along the lake front with me on my last lap as he thought I looked a little lonely. All my friends and Family you lot are assume supporting me.

I am a little stiff today and have just been for a little swim, but I am excited about Ironman.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Karen writes: rain, rain, and did I say rain?

Saturday for the Rotorua Half Ironman was predicted to be rainy, not just 'showers', that forecast stubbornly stuck to 'rain', and for a change the weather boffins were spot-on. The day dawned saturated, we swam in the lake in drizzle, and that was as dry as we were all day. But in spite of constant rain, often torrential, it was a really GOOD day.   I didn't think it was going to be however, I was running late for the start, got stuck in a queue at the 2 stall toilet, and eventually raced to get into my wetsuit just in time.  I'd never worn the replacement secondhand wetsuit in the water, didn't know how it was going to work, but at least Kate managed to get me zipped in so I was fairly optimistic when standing with my toenails digging into the sand, not cheery red like Kates, mine were pretty tame in comparison... then we were away swimming.

I thought I was going to have to give up in the first stretch of the swim.   Every time I put my face in the water I struggled with panic, for no good reason I could think of, except that it was colder than I expected and the worry fed the worry.  I told myself that calling one of the boats over would finish it for me, and I couldn't face coming home and admitting to giving up a few minutes in.   I did breast stroke, thinking even if it took forever, at least there would be the bike and run, but then I got sick of that and tried swimming taking a breath with every second stroke instead of every four or six.   I did that for 1500 metres, which for me is an inefficient way of swimming, but every time I tried to swim normally the panic came back, but then with that last 500 to go I got into my usual rhythm and off I went, coming in at 49 minutes which was the same time as I had last year, so if I had swum normally I would have made a good time which is reassuring.  I really need more practice in the deep water!

The bikeride, wow, that was WET.   3 hours 52 with the rain channeling through the holes in the helmet, barely seeing through the glasses to watch the white lines, and squishing the marmite sandwiches into soggy balls to get them out of the bags.  There are only two hills of consequence in that ride, my feeling is they are worse than Hatepe at Taupo, shorter, but harder.   It was really cool to see Sara on the road as she drove to Rotoiti, it was strangely isolating to be stuck in your own little wet world, and triathlon cycling reinforces that, you arent allowed within 10 metres of someone else unless overtaking on this ride.  Got back and I was really happy to be10 minutes faster than the last time.

Running.   Mud and MUD.   The bush was beautiful, but it was hard to appreciate it when the paths were a thick slurry with puddles deep enough to threaten pulling off a shoe, and there were torrents running down the hills through the trees.  The trot up a gravel sideroad was lovely though, and I couldn't help but run with a smile.  There were other people whose faces lit up in reply, they were obviously those who enjoy the fresh feeling and smell of running in the rain as much as me, perhaps secret puddle splashers too...though I have to admit I usually like to have more clothing on than tri shorts and a singlet!   It was wonderfully encouraging to see the whanau turning up at odd places on the course, the girls hanging out the car window to try to take photographs, it did make me reluctant to stop and walk up any of the hills though in case they caught me slacking off which probably helped my pace.  It turned out that we were lucky to get finished, some people missed their second lap because the track was closed off.  That would have been so disappointing.   I did the run in 2 hours 31, taking 12 minutes off last year.

What an amazing experience, so worth it because it is such a beautiful course, and beating that weather was a real challenge.    The nutrition worked, I didn't fall off the bike exchanging my drink bottles on the move, clothes all fine.  The only problem I had was a chafe under one arm, but that wasn't bad for effectively marinating for 7 hours and 13 minutes... and it was great to get a nearly 30 minute time improvement (Kates improvement was MUCH bigger but that is her story).   Next time we do something like this it will be Ironman, twice the distance, I dont really want to think about that right now because yesterday was really good, but really HARD!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Karen writes: Another event

It's Thursday evening, older daughter is hanging over my shoulder reading out loud as I type.   Another event has arrived, this is the last formal endurance activity before IM.  Tomorrow the dog goes to the kennel (she will be grumpy when she gets home), I shall have to finish off the bags I have half packed, one for the girls, one for the adults, four for sports gear, the chiller with food (mostly for me!), and lastly there is a small Christmas tree which temporarily transplants Christmas from Auckland to Rotorua.

I tell myself as my anxiety goes up that Rotorua has useful things called 'shops', if I forget something, it ISNT a disaster, I can pick up forgotten sunscreen or panadol or anti-chafe or supplements or socks...or perhaps a life-jacket the way the weather is shaping up.
Funny, last week I was fervently hoping that the weather would be fine for Saturday's event, after looking at the dreadful forecasts I now hope for 'just' wind and rain rather than the predicted thunderstorms.   The news is full of the terrible storm damage in Nelson...and I am selfishly thinking about getting chafed on the bike and my marmite sandwiches turning to soup.   However, I have clothing combinations picked out for almost any eventuality, lots of skin stuff, and I shall be so disappointed if the event is cancelled, it's a head thing, if I can do well at this, I shall be fine in 9 or so weeks time for the real thing.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Karen writes: Seem to have run out of time to do things right.

No training tonight AGAIN.  The annual Christmas carols at the beach became Christmas carols in the Hall at another beach because of the awaited heavy rain.   It was an exhausting exercise, probably more so but in a different way from what I was meant to be doing, a 500m swim, a 20km bikeride and a 5km run.  Oops.   So spent the evening sitting on the floor in the gym at Te Puru park with hundreds (it felt like thousands) of sugar fueled primary school children racing and dodging and ducking and diving like some swirling juvenile maelstrom...the band and singers bravely (and sometimes successfully) out-noising the yelling children. Oh joy.  

Anyway, home at last, tired small bodies packed off to bed, and I am contemplating the spin bike as a token gesture towards training.   It is watching me contemplate it, not saying much.  I really don't know that I can face it though!    I seem to have destroyed my wetsuit too, the flexible arm panels have started disintegrating, so that is the excuse for not going for a late evening dip in the tide (yes, pretty poor excuse), actually, its more that I'm worried about the things with teeth which I am told come out at night to eat.

Today was not a nutritional success either, call it the peril of tempting leftovers...not helped of course by the chocolate santas which kept turning up on my desk surreptitiously...not my fault, I suspect sabotage by Kate.

However, I may yet get my revenge, Sara has promised me that she will leave sports bottles filled with wine in her Rotoiti letterbox on the weekend for Kate on her half IM bikeride.  I understand however that she may also have promised Kate to leave chocolate and fruit mince pies for me.  Imagining what a sipper bottle of warm wine might do to a racing Kate is one thing, quite another vision is me pedaling past at a furious wobble, one hand on the handlebars, ripping the pie packet open with my teeth and leaving a trail of little baked products up the road?

Kate writes: out door pool

Monday night was my last training session. We went to the out door pool. I was determined to prove myself as good as the others and pushed myself too hard. I felt out of breath and a tight chest. My coach slowed me down and got me to do 5 strokes to one breath and to empty my lungs, this worked well and I felt much better. I must remember that its my race and not any one's else.
Saturday is looming and only 3 sleeps. The weather forecast shows a big black cloud and lightening. It should be fun! 

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Karen writes: 'C' foods

Went to see the nutrition person Cate yesterday.   I carried my little food diary in with trepidation, there were too many items starting with 'c', like chocolate, cake, cookie, cheese and croissant...sadly it is the worst time of the year to watch what you are eating.  Like today was the office party, beautiful healthy food choices (thanks Kates daughter and friends), but it is very hard to say STOP.  I don't do self control very well and it does seem soooo unfair that I burn off so much energy with all the exercise, and cant just replace what I've used with whatever I like.

Anyway, Cate was very helpful, she had obviously thought hard since she first met me ("I'm tired...I don't like vegetables... I want chocolate...and I want to do Ironman").  She had practical suggestions and understood that I wasn't going to turn into a model client overnight...probably not ever.   A permanent ban on the 'c' foods wasn't even mentioned, but the fact that the kinds of fat I was eating weren't a useful fuel was tactfully supplied, and that it looked like I needed more carbohydrates during exercise  More protein was recommended generally, more other essential nutrients which I wasn't getting enough of, and importantly...calcium for those middleaged bones I keep expecting to take the ever-increasing pressure.  Some recommendations were made for supplements, I always live in hope that one day one of these will be the promised nutrition holy grail leaving me zinging with energy and in objectionably robust health.

Keeping the food record has helped already though. I KNOW that if I write down what I am eating I do actually eat more sensibly, and if I avoid writing, then I am avoiding for a reason!   This is a good link for a nutrition/exercise diary,  seems to have lots of common kiwi foods, but I think the calorie consumption rates for the exercise might be a bit high, and some of the user loaded foods may be short on micronutrients, but it is the easiest I have used...and it's free.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Kate Writes: weekend

Rachel and Mazie West coast Beach 
I know its the last week end before the half ironman but I have taken it a little easy.Firstly the long walk turned out to be 2 short walks on west coast beach. But it was beautiful and the dogs enjoyed themselves. I did not huff and puff as I tell my patients it was more of a gentle stroll and a climb over a few rocks. It was a good place to talk and gossip about the world.


The next bit of exercise I did was to go to the beautician, have a pedicure and my eye brows waxed. There was a ton of black sand between the nails, but they look so much better now , painted red ready for the event next week. I mean to say its all about the look. I do not think that Norma, Beautician, was that impressed that I was in a rush to make the mid day tide and a little swim in the sea.

Swimming into the waves with rescue boat
The dead sting ray which I saw yesterday was rotting away nicely. The waves were big and Rachel was surfing well on the waves. I think I need a facial now. Its good training really!


Swimming to Auckland

Karen writes: Too much looking around...not enough cycling

I'm sure you know the tune.

On the tenth day of training, my cycling gave to me...
Ten black clad cyclists
Nine thundering cows
Eight crazy runners
Seven menacing motorists
Six mowers mowing
Five pukeko
Four berry pickers
Three sets of roadworks
Two tired legs,
And a roadcone roosting in a pine tree

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Kate writes: competition

There really isn't any competition between me and Karen. She always blitz me, Taupo lake was a one off. I felt good on the ride and Karen did not. Very simple. I had a great ride yesterday. I went to swim school first and had a hard work out for an hour then lunch with the girls and boy! Then Barbara and me went off for a ride. She was ready for a 2 hour ride I said I wanted to do 4 hours or 90 k, so off we went. We rode the back route to Waiuku and 42k later we were at the shell garage, top up the water but it also has the best toilets in the area. Home we went and finished 84km in 3hours 20mins. I was pleased, Barbara thought it was a bit slow.  24k an hour is really good for me. Felt tired though.
Today the tide is right and Rachael said she would be the rescue boat. The wind is blowing a gale but I need to go out and swim, after all you never know what the conditions will be like on the day. The water was churned up and when I had my face in the water I could not see anything. Very strange feeling swimming blind.Rachael was surfing the waves on the boat, I was trying not to drink too much sea water. Swam for about 20 mins. Better than not doing it. Got out and thanked Rachael as I am a woos, I think that a shark or sting ray will get me. HaHaha, they really are not there!
Walking down the beach there was this huge , I mean at least 2 foot wide sting ray dead on the beach. I KNEW I WAS RIGHT!
   

Friday, 9 December 2011

Karen writes: Left behind!

I had a swim, admittedly in the fairly energetic swell down at the beach, and a 2km run afterwards to try to get my reluctant legs to work when back in the vertical position.   Thought I had done ok until I got a text from Kate to say she had had a big ride…fast…and a big swim.  Sigh.   

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Karen writes: Sea swim

Good wetsuit swim tonight.   Had been to the end of year school prizegiving for the girls, being a bad mum I turned them over to afterschool care afterwards and selfishly went off to swim (my daughter has since said she doesn't think I'm a 'bad mum').   The tide was half in, the sea flat, my body felt ok and I swam most of the 2.25km without the usual stops to have a rest and muck about.  The local wharf is a bit tricky sometimes though, fishermen cast off the end and not wanting to get tangled up in line with hooks I swim between the poles underneath to avoid them.  It gets a bit scary with the young ones jumping off the wharf and I splash hurriedly through with visions of something heavy landing on me as I emerge on the other side.

I got out of the water and tried to run the 200 metres over the road and back to the house.  It's hard to run in a tight wetsuit in the sun after an hour of horizontal exercise, I was puffing and my legs were so heavy they didn’t want to move, then my arms didn’t want to work to get my wetsuit off.   More practice obviously needed.

Now the girls are down at the roadside waiting for Santa to arrive on the local fire engine, I can hear the siren getting closer. The anticipation will be building up, all the children pour out of the houses and line the roads for the showers of lollies thrown by a volunteer fireman and the bearded man himself complete with the obligatory red outfit, loud speaker, and buckets of sugary junk.  With my focus on food at the moment, I allow myself to wonder what it would be like to have no worries at all about that topic, the more lollies you can eat before mum catches up the better.

Kate writes: Hot Yoga

I do not stretch very much and have an injury. So when there was an offer of a hot yoga session free to the sports club, off I went. There was about 20 of us in a small room and the heat was amazing. The sweat just poured off us. 40degrees someone said. It was an interesting experience. Not sure if I will go back but it did make me stretch for an hour and half.

Karen writes: Training brain...

The recipe to fix tiredness was...get plenty of rest and eat well.   Last night however, was the graduation of a fabulous young woman I have been mentoring (theoretically, I've probably learned more off her truth be known) for the last four years as part of the YWCA Future Leaders Programme.  It involved a trip into town, buffet dinner, of course dessert, and a late night for me, but very worth it to see S graduate from the programme and get a prize for her volunteering work.

She did make me laugh in her thankyou speech, she had to make the comment in front of the nearly 300 strong audience that she thought her mentor was “mad…but in a good way”, making reference to Ironman.   

Things ran late, I was shattered, and I had a long drive home so I left before the finish at about 9.30pm.   I picked up my keys, phone, the bunch of flowers given to mentors, and hung my coat over my arm and left.   I got to the carpark and looked at what I was holding and found I had picked up a fork, how on earth didn't I notice that?  With visions of this just-retired mentor being arrested for 'cutlery theft', I took the fork back to someone in the venue who had a good laugh about it.  I wasn’t so ready to laugh though, my brain wasn’t working, this is usually hidden because I can just crawl off to bed at home when I start to wilt.  Anyway, a drink of coke (I'm meant to be avoiding fizzy and caffeine) got me alert enough to be safe on the road.    Only another 2 months...did I just say that...only TWO months of this left!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Kate writes: out door pool

 I don't usually swim with the squad on Monday nights as it starts at 7pm and I do try to go home and spend time with the family. But it was too tempting to swim in the large 50m out door pool with wet suit on. The Jubilee pool  is 50m long and not open to the public yet, but Jarrad had a key and a trained life guard, so about 15 of us met up on Monday evening and had an assume swim session. Its great having the length and with no lanes we all swam together , with lots of splashes and kicking. I do tend to hold back a little but still got there in the end. It was a good experience in the wet suit too. Mind you I think the wet suit is too large as water seeped in the neck and up the legs. I,m going to try my friends at the week end to see if that is any better. There are disadvantages in losing weight :)

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Karen writes: Nutrition

I had a 2km wetsuit swim in the good-sized waves down at the beach last Friday,  had a reasonable 70km bike ride on Saturday, and the 19km run on Sunday was OK if uninspiring.  In fact, I almost did the half IM over the 3 days, there is no doubt that I am fit enough, it's just that I don’t feel good right now.   After a discussion with trainer Grant I can be a bit flexible with this week's programme, it asked for 2 training sessions most days but I will be building in a little more rest.  The other thing is to take care of two other neglected areas, the hypothyroid and the food.

So I had the blood tests to make sure that the thyroid thing wasn’t an obvious cause, the levels are not far off where they usually are, and then I asked for help with nutrition.   It turns out the rules we teach in health education-land  aren't always that easy to apply to endurance activity.  It doesn't seem to just be a matter of increasing everything across the board, or if you use the formula 'energy in=energy out', if you burn off 2000 Calories on a ride, you cant simply replace it with the equivalent in cake.

Anyway, after Taupo's poor showing, any solution would do, and I figure it makes sense that I can’t keep my body working as hard as it is without decent fuel (plus I am piling on weight in spite of running huge energy deficits), so I booked time with a nutritionist/naturopath with a sports interest called Cate.  Even before I met up with her though, I wrote down what I ate on a weekend day and realised how bad it must look to someone else, which was a wakeup call.   So this week I am keeping a proper food diary to submit at our next meeting, and if I don't want to have to lie to prevent further embarrassment I had better make some changes!  Starting tomorrow of course, after I have eaten the evidence.

Kate writes: training with good friends

I'm still not really running , so the coach said a 2 hour walk. It had to be undulating and not a granny walk. Sunday morning I had Husbear, Rachael and Audrey come with me and the 2 dogs to West coast beach.
It was only drizzling a little and off we went. We were sandblasted by the sand and all the hairs on our legs were stripped off, we went climbing over the rocks so it was undulating. Had a shower as the waves crashed over us and the rain started pouring down. It was not a granny walk. Its good to have good friends that will encourage you to train. Thanks Guys.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Kate Writes: There are nice people out there!

Friday is my day off work. I had planned to swim and bike. The sun was shining and I was hoping to go for a ride with my friend Barbara. I was feeling a little low and contemplated just going home, but no I'm going to be an Iron man! I do not give up. So off for a swim I went. Barbara was not there so I was going to have to motivate myself. The Swim was good, as long as I concentrated and did not hit the wall at either end. Garrard works us hard and then has a good word for each of us. Fiona had just had a hand op and so filmed us. I thought I was doing ok until I saw the film. Who was that large fat girl with the orange hat on. Oh that's me! I quickly turned it off. Its much better to have an image of your self that's better than real life.  
We go for lunch and coffee after the swim and its a good time to catch up with friends. It started to rain! I hate the rain,but I was in my bike kit and had my new hat, which goes under my bike hat to keep the sun off. I bought it to keep the hair in order. Today it kept my head dry.
I had a great ride. I put the whole worlds problems straight and felt much happier. On my way home, I saw a car turning on to the main road and I thought to myself , he has not seen me! I was right! I think he got a bigger shock than me as he did a big swerve. Well I was ok and he did not hit me so off round the corner I went. There was the truck and a gentleman was standing next to it asking me to stop. He was so apologetic, I felt cared for. There are a few nice people in this world and I would like to thank them for stopping and taking the time to be appreciated.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Karen writes: Playtime is over

Oh boy, I was so wishing for my next training plan to arrive, Kate has got hers and it shows that she has Christmas eve and Christmas day off!  Now I wish my plan hadn’t arrived, nine sessions scheduled during this week and I have already screwed up, it’s Wednesday and only three have been done…two of those weren’t even according to the programme.

I also feel a bit like someone has taken my icecream away, having always enjoyed the luxury of expecting that if I did a big event, I then DESERVED to spend a month (even a week...a day?) eating too much and taking it easy… not this time!   

Actually, its not that bad. I have this little bubble of anticipation growing, this continues to be new territory, with every different challenge teaching something new about how the body copes and bringing its own satisfaction and sense of achievement.  It's a pretty cool feeling to be pushing past all previous limits...or it will be, after I have had another sleep...or three!