Saturday, 28 January 2012

Karen writes: Hot and cold

Woke up this morning at 5.45am to the alarm telling me it was time for a quick breakfast before getting on the road.  These long bike rides have to start early, or the whole day just disappears under the tyres.  Anyway, I must have dozed off, but fortunately the amount of noise being made over the road at the beach by a gaggle of hardy swimmers getting into their wetsuits dragged me out of bed.   

On the road, the air could have been described as being ‘fresh’, or ‘invigorating’, you know…the sorts of words you use when it’s actually cold and you are trying to convince yourself you really wouldn’t rather have more clothes on, or alternatively be in bed where sensible people still are.

But I soon warmed up, and it was beautiful being out there before the rest of the world (except the mad swimmers), woke up.  The only sounds were a few birds and the wind rushing through my helmet, the sea was mirror smooth, and the sun coming up behind the point at the end of Umupuia beach was spectacular.   I am pretty sure it was still beautiful 4 ½ hours later, but I was a tad less enthusiastic about it by then. I finally got home, now complaining about the heat and went for a half hour run.  I have gotten into the habit of hopping off the bike and running through the bush so as not to be seen doing the wobbly leg thing on the main road...pride, I'm sure I wont have any on the day.

Today finally remembered to test out wearing the tri-shorts underneath a pair of padded cycle shorts.  The idea is to wear the tri-shorts in the water under the wetsuit, finish the swim, put the cycle shorts on over the tri-shorts for the ride, then for the run strip off the cycle shorts leaving the tri-shorts.   It seemed to work ok, not sure about how it will go for 15 hours though, and at least part of that time soaking wet.

22km run tomorrow.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Kate writes: Cunning plan

Today I got up feeling very tired, no motivation, do I have to go out, cant I stay in bed? Well basically no, I had arranged to swim with Barbara and then bike. Planning exercise is always good for me as I cannot back out. The swim was in Waiuku at the open air pool. A little cool, but in I went and 1km later felt a lot better. Off for morning tea and coffee felt even better. The rain started, not just a drizzle but  torrential rain with wind and going sideways. I'm sure it will stop. And stop it did. Off riding we went. It was not long before the rain started, but it was not bad. So we decided to go to the mine entrance, its a nice ride with great views. When we got there we could not see the views as it was raining. On our way back the rain fell hard and the wind blow. I'm sure it was hailstones as it really hurt. The rain was coming in my sunglasses at an angle and one eye stopped  working so I was riding with one eye shut. It's all good training I kept saying to myself, I can deal with anything. The only weather I have not been training in is sunshine! That will be a shock if on the day its really hot! Anyway the cunning plan is that I have done all my training this week and I plan to have 2 days off.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Karen writes: Spin, homestyle

Yesterday had a spin bike session according to the programme.  I got dressed in my version of 'spin clothes', (worn out cycle shorts and singlet) earlier in the evening so that I wouldn’t just sink into the sofa once the girls were in bed.  Ah, all quiet at last, water bottles lined up, spinning DVD in the player, remote in reach, towel, bike positioned to catch the evening breeze… and 80 minutes with nothing to do but pedal according to the instructions from the man in the TV.  

1 trip each to the toilet by the two girls.
Phonecall from people offering a cheap newspaper deal
1 x “Muuuum, I’m worried that stick insect I saw down on the trampoline is going to get me”
1 x “My room is full of mosquito’s and I can’t sleep”
1 more trip to the toilet each for the two girls.
1 x “Can I wear a dress to holiday club tomorrow, we aren’t doing sports…”
1 x “I’m just going to feed the cat”

I did finish the DVD, during which I had plenty of time to reflect on the grinning instructor's assertion, “this is aerobic conditioning to do in your off season, it feels easy but it is doing you good”.  I’m sure it was doing me good, but it sure didn’t feel easy to me!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Karen writes: Head overload

Ohhh…sleep is no escape from the IM spectre!   The alarm went this morning and I woke in a state of panic, I was dreaming that I was in the process of doing another bad job of the upcoming Ironman and I really, really wanted to finish the story.   In the dream, I had just cleared transition, but instead of going from a swim to the cycle, in some bizarre way it was office to cycle, and the brakes on the bike had fallen apart.  These broken brakes in no way resembled what is actually on my bike, but after briefly considering finishing the ride without brakes and discarding that idea, I dismantled and repaired them, then found that there was something wrong my helmet (could only find half of it?), and that I had left my shoes on the side of the road.  I was just back on the bike, ready to try to catch Kate, and beep beep beep went the alarm…NO, let me sleep, I promise I will hurry if I can just find out what happens next!

My head is a bit overloaded at the moment, I am getting back into my most important role, that of ‘mum’ however haven’t quite regained my usual efficiency after a few weeks of the girls being away.  While getting children off to the holiday programme is certainly less complicated than getting ready for a school day (“you put your dirty uniform back in your drawer?”, “what do you mean you need cupcakes for 30 this morning??”), we still haven’t managed to get to peak performance.  Like yesterday, finally got out the door, then there were several trips back into the house for sunhats, fix a leaking water bottle, jackets, and when we were all at last strapped in the car, someone realised they hadn’t fed the cats…   On the road, dropped the girls off at the holiday programme, I was all prepared for a quick trip to the Otara pool, having efficiently worn my swimming togs under my clothes and oh, got to Whitford and realised I had forgotten my towel.  No matter, after rejecting the idea of using the blanket off the back seat, one of the jackets the girls had still forgotten to take with them sort of did the trick and I did manage to get to work, somewhat damp, smelling a bit eau de swimming pool but mission achieved…in time for another day in the office.

Another mum morning.  Another office day.  And another day with more training.  80 minutes on the spin bike tonight.  I have brought some pedals off Trademe so I can wear my cycle shoes with the cleats on to spin, pedaling in fluffy slippers isn't quite the thing for an Ironman pretender 5 weeks out.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Kate Writes: Camp

I had been looking forward to camp for ages. The day had arrived, I drove to Taupo and arrived at the house full of people I did not know. It was scary. I unpacked the car and put my bike in the garage with all these amazing looking bikes. The little voice in my head started talking to me: Your'e not good enough, what you doing here! Go home. Big deep breath and unpacked my bags. I scored the single room, yep that was a good move. Or was it because I was the old lady!

First day we just had a 30 minute run. Managed that, no problems. 5:30 the next day out of bed and off for breakfast before a swim. I was the only one eating, maybe this is a mistake. Down to the lake and into our wet suits. Lets swim down to the first float and back. In we went, and the waves rocked me. Not sure about this but a few more strokes, out of my dept, sun rising and I could not see. The group had gone, but Garrad my coach swam next to me and off we went getting to the Buoy and round we went. Lesson learnt, need to do more sea swimming.

Back to the house and breakfast. I ate too close to the swim and felt bloated. I will remember not to do that again. Alisha was supporting her partner at the weekend and she was off for a bike ride. Hatape Hill was her problem. She was going to conquer it today. And she did.  The rest of us went off for a look at the course. This was great. It made so much more sense than looking at the map. We rode the hills, well they are slopes rather than hills. They are a slog up though, especially if you have a head wind.

Back to the house for lunch. In the afternoon we tried out  transition and what to put in our bags and our special needs bag. I was not going to have one but now it will have loads in it. Including a pair of shorts, just in case.   Another run that evening to look at the top end of the run course. Unfortunately my ankle started hurting again, so I walked back. But walking is good just have to walk fast.

Sunday we went out for the big ride early as the weather was going to change. Down to the start we went. Just got ready to ride off, turned my handles too quick and the ground came up to meet me. Not a good look. Nice group of people they came over and picked me up. My pump fell off and broke the strap. I had it taped back on, but by the time I got around the corner the pump was catching so I had to stop and take it off.
By this time everyone had gone. So off I went. I needed to get my head in a good place as it was not where it should be, self doubt is a bad thing. Anyway a good ride back to town and met up with Tina. Tina felt the same way as me. I was only going to ride around town and then back to the house, but Tina said lets go to Repora and Wayne will pick us up. Wow, I was so much Happier. We had a great ride back and the areo bars are my friend. We rode 140k, its only 16k less than around Taupo. I felt good. Went for another swim and felt better. That evening we went out to dinner. I managed to stay awake.

By now I know everyone's name and will see them all at ironman. It has been a great weekend and well worth it.    Monday morning is run day. With my ankle being sore I decided to walk  the course. 2 hours 11minutes to walk 14k. I can walk the marathon in 6 hours 30 minutes. Hopefully I will be running by then, but its good to have a plan.

The camp was everything I wanted. I need to think positively and run my own race. I'm now tired and need to rest, but roll on the next few weeks.

Monday, 23 January 2012

kate Writes:Home

Just arrived home from Camp. I'm tired. What have you done today was the cry from the daughter... Got up at 5:30 for a swim in the lake, and a 14k walk I said and then 4 hours home. Not much! Will write more tomorrow.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Karen writes: Of pigs and optical illusions

Just home after 5 hours 40 and almost 130km on the bike, and a 20 minute run which felt surprisingly good, could have kept going but there were children I needed to say goodnight to, and visitors, at home.

The ride was just plain long, and while I might complain about boredom (inevitable when choosing a route where the same 20km circuit from Clevedon to Takanini is done over and over and over again), I do wonder how all those people cope who live in places where there aren't easily accessible roads for distance riding.  How do city people train for example?

Anyway, it is a long time today just pedaling and pedaling.   You take what entertainment you find, and I still think the Ardmore Airport is the best entertainment around on a long ride, provided you are a bit careful about avoiding lingering directly under where the planes fly in to land, unless you want to do some serious rocking and rolling on your bike.   I rode round and round that block for a while because there was an optical illusion at the far end of the runway which fascinated me.  There were these oval green blobs which appeared to just float, and it turned out it was the trees, I'm guessing distorted by some effect of the heat and the tarseal when viewed from a distance.   Small things amuse small minds they say...

Speaking of small things, I'm not sure if I should be in mourning.   I used to get dropped off at Clevedon to run home the 15km or so, and when I did that I would inevitably run past a small, fat pig, who resided in his paddock, smorg-like, on a pile of apples.  I called this pig...you guessed it, "Apple", and we would communicate when I ran past. Actually it was more a case of I would say hello, Apple would perhaps twitch, or blink, or maybe do nothing.  Anyway, riding further along that road today I saw a pigskin on a fence, whitish, with black spots, just like my old friend Apple.  Ah well, I guess we weren't really that close!

So I wonder how Kate is doing at Ironman camp now?  Have the others discovered that crate of beer she was threatening to take yet?   Or the 2kg of potato crisps packed for an emergency junk-food stash?    Nah, Kate is taking these things worryingly seriously now... it will be high quality carbohydrates, fruit, vegetables, good protein and shakes with interesting sounding special ingredients, and definitely no alcohol to upset delicate energy balances!  I might just have another plate of icecream...

Kate Writes: Ironman Camp

I am very excited. I'm off to camp this morning. 3 days all to myself and training in Taupo. My coach has arranged the camp and i think there are 9 of us going. We are going to be running, swimming biking, swimming, biking, swimming running. I have packed all my sports gear in different bags for different days. I have all my pills and potions. I have a change of clothes for the social events. 
I am leaving behind the messy kitchen, that is having a new roof put on today and a grumpy teenager. Hurray for training.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Karen writes: Ride, eat, ride...

2 hour ride tonight, experimented with Kate's protein drink beforehand hoping for a more convenient way of getting enough nutrients in, but nope, that one isn't for me.  It wasn't bad out there on the road, started off quite hot however quite quickly became overcast and rain threatened but fortunately didn't fall, just as well, I wasn't dressed for the wet.

Poor bike is making some strange noises at the moment, but I only remember when I am actually cycling, not when I get home.  Something about pushing the thing up the long steep driveway sends all the smaller annoyances out of my head.   Must give it a clean and book it in for service next week.

I'm feeling tired today, started running out of energy this afternoon, that happens sometimes, certainly not as often as it used to, but it's time for a rest.  Fortunately tomorrow is a planned day off exercise before a big ride on the weekend.   I feel like a food processing machine at the moment, all I do is put food in and burn it off.   The girls are home tomorrow from their holiday up north though, then I will feel like a busy food processor!   Yay, my girls are home!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Karen writes: New interesting IM website

Swim 2.2km, and run 11km today, the run went well, so well that I happily pounded the road harder than usual and got a blister in a new place for me, on the ball of my foot.   Been feeling a bit (well a lot) fragile about swimming though, and the fact that I am at this advanced stage of training and not racing through the water with effortless ease worries me enough to keep looking for online material to say that this is...well...normal.  There was some helpful stuff in the Ironstruck website, reinforcing the fact that thousands of ordinary people do IM successfully every year, but many more are put off because of what they see as their lack of swimming ability, the difference is that those who become IM are more determined and just keep on working and working at it.  Ah, that's me, nothing if not determined...inept, but determined.

Lots of interesting things in this website actually, one page I particularly liked talks about after the ironman.  You don't usually give much thought to 'after' when actually getting through it at all still seems such a distant thing (was going to say 'unlikely' thing, but I don't actually believe that).  Anyway, there were lots of practical things about how you are likely to feel (sore), what to do (rest and eat)...and what next (another IM).  Importantly, it reminded the reader that there will never be another 'first' and to treasure this achievement.

So, on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being 'cant leave the couch', and 10 being 'ready to race', today I feel like I am a 7 in terms of readiness, that's a pretty good place to be!

Kate Writes: Monday nights

Monday nights use to be a nice run with the pack and a pint in the Kentish. No more! I go to swim club. The pool is 50 meters long and at 25 degrees temp was very nice. But Jarrad made us work. I complained about a sore shoulder and he said its a pulled muscel get over it! swim harder and it will go away. Its good to have sympathetic people around you! 12 lengths warm up and then into sets of (100m x 4) x4. It was timed and I had to go faster. I could not breath , huffed and puffed wanted to give up, but Jarrad just kept on going. I will give you an extra break here he said, as I pulled my paddles off and goggles. Deep breath and off i went and faster I went. Its got to be good for me. I slept well. 

Monday, 16 January 2012

Karen writes: Sad

I just had a feed of newly caught NZ Snapper, freshly hot smoked with salt and brown sugar.  With I might add, hot, chunky cut chips out of the traditional, wonderfully grease soaked newspaper packet.  Not a vegetable to be seen.   Once I would have eaten such a meal with delight, demanded the other half of the fish straight out of the smoker, more chips and probably topped it off with cola.   This is the double penalty of not only working in health promotion, but also training for IM, instead of just enjoying such rare kiwi bounty, before I realised it I had calculated the amount of energy, protein, carbohydrate, speculated what sort of oil the chips were cooked in, and monitored my portion size!   When did I lose my capacity to just enjoy the occasional treat...that is SO sad!

Kate writes: Aero bars

I lov my new aero bars!  I went up this really long hill, with the wind blowing and got to the top and thought aero bars I can have a rest. Ha HA Ha.  I do not think they are meant for that but whatever!  I had to do a 1 hour ride yesterday so rode over to see Norma my Beautician. It took exactly an hour, very hilly, one of the hills is called Tram gully and you know you've done it. Anyway felt good about it and then had 2 hours of pampering. Feet done eye brows waxed, painful, and then a massage to help with the sore shoulder from swimming. Got a lift home afterwards, I mean you cannot smudge the red nail paint!  It is all about the look.


I'm getting very excited! I'm off to Ironman camp on Friday in Taupo. 3 days of self indulgence and it will all be about me!

Karen writes: Inventory 6+ weeks out

Food - generally been good with that, choices seem to be making themselves most of the time with a tendency towards the healthy option...all the bad C words...cake, cream, cookies, cola, croissants have disappeared except...of course...chocolate and cheese.  During exercise, the electrolyte drink seems to be working out reasonably well, it's the same sort which will be available on course during the IM so that is good, and it didn't seem to react with the solid gels and sandwiches which make up the rest of my exercise nutrition.

Equipment - Bike needs a clean and another service, probably a new chain.  I'm also feeling overstretched, its possible when the bike was set up I was a bit fatter and I am now further away from the handlebars. The new mini-panniers hold plenty of food in a convenient place, but bash my knees if I stand up to pedal, need to also make a decision about whether to put on more bottle holders as two just aren't enough for training rides more than a couple of hours long, and do I want convenience of plenty of drink versus extra weight during IM?  Need new running shoes...but I do LIKE these ones, they are pink and have carried me through the Perth Marathon, and the half IM...yes...that absolutely means they have done too much!   Need new tri-shorts and cycle shorts, and to figure out whether to swap pants in transition, or wear one pair over the top of the other.  Need the cycle shirt and run shirt for the big day too.   Wetsuit needs fingernail holes repaired.

Training - close to plan, even the 9+ hours over the last 3 days completed in spite of badly wanting to turn around and come back early during the 19km slog on the hot tarseal out towards Duders park yesterday.

Body - sore bits.   Always the worry, are they sore because the muscles and connected bits have been pushed temporarily past their usual limits, so it is expected that they will be sore, or are there evolving injuries....oh my shoulders, neck, knees, back. Lesson for the poor fool who gets up in the semi dark, half asleep, and lavishly applies antichafe from the first pot they pick up, it's preferable to always check the label first, I felt rather warm having comprehensively antiflammed myself...

Mind - I'm onto this...feel like I could do a really bad job of IM next week if I had to...but in just over 6 weeks I will be perfectly prepared!  There's optimism for you.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Karen writes: Good swim at last

Whew, at last had a good swim this morning!   The water started out flat and I struck out for the eastern end of the beach, about 850m, feeling optimistic. I had to cut across a stream of other swimmers coming in from further out in the harbour, they were braver than me, I hugged the shore.   There were people netting off the beach, I was pleased (for me) to see that there wasn't anything in their nets.  I turned round to come back and the wind came up, then there were stiff little waves washing straight into my face.   I could see people running to secure their tents and towels and beach paraphernalia in the wind.   It was a hard slog on the return, then as fast as it arrived, the wind went away and the sea was perfectly  flat again.  Back to the starting point, and turn around and up the beach one more time.  I tried different strokes, the more frequent breathing but more tiring stroke which got me through the Rotorua Tikitapu 1/2 IM lake swim when I ended up in a state of panic, then as I relaxed into the swim I found myself rolling from side to side and feeling like I was racing, will have to play with that style more, it felt really nice.  Trouble is, I have to swim for an hour before I feel good!  Anyway, managed 3.4km, the most I have ever done, and feel more confident that the 4km might actually be manageable.

Run with the Te Puru runners tomorrow morning.   The weather forecast for Sunday actually looks quite pleasant...at this point!

Kate Writes: It was all my fault

Well, I got on my bike and changed gear as I had been shown and it worked! Benny was right it was all my fault. I went out with my spin group and had a great ride. No problems. I also had new aero bars. My coach said get aero bars and even though I was anxous, I believe in my coach. After all I had knocked 56 minutes off my half iron man time. So I tried out these new handle bars. They seem ok.
Today I had to do a 30 minute swim, 3 hour bike and 30 min run. It was very windy and wet, but you just have to do it. The swim was fine, morning tea at the cafe always helps. My friend Bret who swims with us is a very good bike rider and I asked him loads of questions about the aero bars. Yes I am ready to give them a go. Barbara was riding too so off we went. It was very windy. Down to the Otau flats we went and down onto the aero bars. I stayed on the bike and just have to be careful about my back and neck. Yes I think I'm going to like them. We were going up a steep hill the wind was coming straight down on us and it started to rain. Well I think it was hail or snow!We got up to Puni School and the rain stopped and the sun came out. We rode back to Waiuku with 48k under our belt and I went for a quick run around the block.
Yes it was a great day, I'm a little sunburnt in the places I missed with the sunblock, but feeling good. I mean to say ,I almost did a quarter Ironman and still had the energy to go out partying. Tomorrows a rest day, I am off shopping with the daughter, who just passed all her NCEA year 13 exams and is off to Uni. She has no clothes!

Friday, 13 January 2012

Karen writes: Windy riding, grumbling about food for a good reason...

Just home from a 5hour+ bikeride in the wind, and it was very, very windy, I could really feel my legs working hard on some roads, and I just flew on others.  The ride was followed by a 25 minute run which went fine once my legs had decided they were going to go in the direction I was telling them to.   I am now home on the sofa, with legs up and icepacks on my knees alternately eating and typing and moving the icepacks about.

Here is something really unusual to hear me complaining about.  I logged my eating today and I observe that firstly it was pretty healthy, following most of the rules (except for some lollies out of Jennies jar), and secondly that I ended up in a big negative energy balance for the day.   Apparently I burned off an estimated 3400 calories worth of energy with all that exercise (5 1/2 hours), add on my daily expected expenditure of about 1800 calories and my total daily energy out was theoretically about 5200.  I took in a whopping 3200 calories so was still 2000 short...and I have eaten so much I feel sick!  Now, I note that I just wouldn't have this problem if I could rely on things like fizzy and cake and chocolate, they don't take up anywhere near as much room as the healthy stuff...but I am trying hard to be good now so close to the big event.  It feels really strange though, eating just to burn it off, we usually spend so much time trying not to eat too much!

But in spite of that, given the problems I have had with fueling for exercise I am really happy that the food for today worked so well.  This afternoon before the bikeride I had what is basically my pre-exercise 'breakfast', 2 serves of rice porridge made with milk and yogurt with some raisins.  Every half hour for the first 3 1/2 hours I had half a honey or marmite sandwich (white bread) and a swig of an electrolyte drink I'm trying, and for the last 1 1/2 hours on the bike I had half hourly solid gels and water.   Didn't take enough to drink, and was too lazy to stop for more, that wasn't smart.   But overall, I am surprised how well the session, both run and bike went, roll on next weekend where the cycle distance is up to 130km.

Tomorrow I have to get in the tide and tackle my swimming aversion.   Hopefully the wind will have died down and there will be a perfectly flat sea to play in, then I can get some serious kilometers happening.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Karen writes: Tri-bar envy

I'm about to develop a bad case of tri-bar envy.   Kate has new tri-bars and it seems that every other cyclist I see on the road has their bike gloriously flaunting a set of the things too.  They all look like...triathletes!

I actually have tri-bars myself, sitting on the desk at work.   They were once on my bike, I hated them.   I couldn't go in a straight line, and felt like I had to ride in the middle of the road so as not to wobble off the edge. I was a menace to myself and the rest of the travelling public, yes, even more than usual.   Then I gave up (I know, pathetic) and there is now a whole lot of essential other stuff on my handlebars...like the pink bell, another pair of brake levers (can never have too many of those), and the cycle computer...couldn't possibly give any of that up.

So I may be the only person fronting up at the IM with a bike without tri-bars.  My bike will be ridiculed, other bikes will snigger at it, and it most definitely wont make the cover of tri-bike fashion weekly.  The poor thing will probably develop a complex because all the other riders will be in exquisitely aerodynamic tri-bar racing positions going at twice the speed we are, and they will arrive rested and refreshed at the end of their 180km rides.  I shall tell my bike "never mind, tri-bars don't the bike make" and ignore any snide reply from it along the lines of "yeah, its the d#*n rider.   Maybe next time....did I just say that?

Kate writes: Rider error

I've been having a few problems with my gears. Had to have the front one replaced. So of course its not working and its the bikes fault! So back to Cycle City to see Benny. Nothing wrong with it he says! But, its not working. He had it on a stand and I was watching him change gear. A penny dropped, he held the gear lever over much longer than I do, so maybe that's the problem. 30 minutes later I have learnt a lot more about the bike. Benny kept the bike for the day and also put aero bars onto it for me. I arrived back that afternoon to have the bike fitted for me with the new aero bars. Its a bit scary but my coach Mr Smith says give it a go. As I have improved so much already I just believe him. The mind plays a lot of games with us and the main thing I know is about believing in what you are doing and knowing that you can do it!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Kate Writes: Swimming

First day back at work. I got up at 6:15 and went for a run. Not bad I thought. Leg feeling better. Monday evening went to swim at the big pool. Got there early to get a few lengths in before the others arrived. Jarrad planned a long swim. 3k!  we were to start off with 1500m free style and then 1500m with buoy, band and paddles. Both lengths to be timed the second lap to be faster. The first 1500m i did in 37 minutes. Not bad I thought. The second lap I felt as though I was drowning. At each end I missed my footing could not catch the edge with my hands as the paddles were in the way. I do believe that Jarrad would jump in and save me if he thought I was drowning, well as long as he was watching and not talking! Anyway I finished the last lap in 34 minutes. I could hardly stand, in all I swam 3300m. Not far off the 3800m for IM. But I was very tired , went home ate more food a glass of wine and slept soundly for 8 hours. Today the shoulder feels a little stiff. I will swim again tomorrow and see how far I can go.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Karen writes: I'm Athena

I have put 4kg in weight on in the last couple of months.   I don't know where the weight has stashed itself away because I still feel ok in my clothes, but I do worry that it puts extra strain on my joints.   It also means that I can now officially race in the Athena category, which is a 75kg plus grouping for woman triathletes (men are clydesdales) and as Kate is now lighter than me she is laughing her head off!

But it is the absolute wrong time to try to lose weight 8 weeks out from IM, and given that I am running a large daily calorie deficit what with all the energy I am burning off, cutting calories, or exercising more isn't going to be the answer.

So back to focusing on the training, back to trying to follow the programme, back to this sensible eating plan which asks that I eat more not less(!), and this week there are no excuses about not finding time as the girls are away on holiday. Speaking of which, they wont be in any hurry to come home, they are being serenaded at night by a busy boy kiwi (bird variety) who lives in the toitoi below my parents house where the girls are staying.   He successfully hatched his first egg late last year, the process of which we all followed with delight thanks to Tod at 'Backyard Kiwi'.   While I was out running in the Whangarei heads area at Christmas it was wonderful to see the beautiful little line drawing 'kiwi' signs along the roadsides, and also know that there were sleeping kiwi all around me when I was in the bush. Go you guys...the work you do is AWESOME!'
Northland Kiwi chick Dallson age 20 days - picture Backyard Kiwi

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Kate Writes: rain

Saturday was pony club ribbon day it was also my day off. I worked really hard in the rain and luckily we raised a little bit of money and there were no accidents and the place all cleared up. Today I was supposed to go for a 4.5 hour Bike. But the wind was howling and the rain coming down in sheets. I got a txt from Terry, Spin, great I thought. Turned up for our usual 1 hour spin to find the boys had planed a 2 hour session called "beg for mercy". Sounds like I will be doing my long bike after all. It was a lot of intense short spurts and then long 5 minute endurance going up hills. We finished exhausted and off to a new cafe in Waiuku called Nicks. The best ever eggs Benedict for $12 and I could not eat it all. I'm now home contemplating a 30 minute run. I mean I'm hot and sweaty so why not? I do think I'm mad sometimes, but then it does help!

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Karen writes: Rainy exercise

My longest swim ever, the beach was full of people when I got there, I wove between the bobbing heads, but by the time I finished most people had rolled up their rain wet belongings and abandoned the sand.  The swim was 2.6km, I did think it was longer (it FELT longer), but when I checked the map, ah well.   I especially practiced what I am now calling my 'panic stroke', so that if I get into trouble like I did at the half IM, I can swim inefficiently...more efficiently.   Have also figured out that I am better shutting my eyes while my face is in the water, turn head, open eyes, head down...shut them.  Be a bit rough if I am superfit, the body says 'GO', but the head says 'no can do' in the water so strategy is in order as well as getting fit.

Looking forward to a rainy run tomorrow morning with the Te Puru runners.   I need 20km, so hope for my favorite bush run.  If I don't run it for a few weeks things can change hugely, the gorse blooms, then the flowers are gone, purple foxglove takes over, then disappears, the native Clematis appears in the bush canopy and mountain bike tracks and ramps and things change and grow like something organic too.  New eucalypts were just peeking over the scrub last time I was there 3 weeks ago (how did that go so fast?), I wonder what will be different this time.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Karen writes: Friday gets a 'satisfactory'

107km bike ride, followed by a 5km run.  I was 3km short on the bikeride, but am sure that will be forgiven.   That was 5 hours on the road in total but I feel ok, it will probably be an early night tonight though, I'm yawning while typing.

I feel like I know the roads around South/East Auckland intimately, but things (well, people actually) still surprise me, sometimes making me feel great, sometimes not so great.   Today was a not so great day, wherever I rode there was rubbish, I'm guessing that services just haven't caught up during the holiday.  Along one road behind Ardmore airport there were piles at regular intervals made up of household rubbish tied into blankets and old sheets, and along the whole route was a trail of bits of plastic toys.  I thought idly about assembling a barbie doll, but if I was collecting the bits I saw I would have 2 left legs (round the coast at Maraetai), and a head (Takanini).   A supermarket trolley in a drain, a pile of ventilation pipe, and a camera.  Hey, that was a camera, shall I go back for it?  I did, and picked up a battered but working Samsung filled with what I would call important pictures, the beach, graduation, the zoo, and family shots so a visit to the Beachlands police station was in order.   People who visit the beach do put things on the top of their cars, usually things like sunglasses, and a way up the road they fall off into the drain, where someone like me who is more interested in doodling along looking around than working sees them.  But there are more uncomfortable things on the roadside too, like there is a new site just outside of Clevedon where heaps of withered flowers show that someone lost their life in the corner of someones field, sobering at the best of times, but as a cyclist you are very aware of human frailty.   Just up the road is a memorial in the shape of an intricate cross made entirely out of alcohol miniatures from an earlier tragedy, that one always leaves me perplexed.   Recently I was coming back via the coast road and as I came round the corner to Maraetai Beach there was a body hanging high in a big old pohutukawa.  My heart nearly stopped, but as I got closer I saw it was clothing stuffed to look like a body.  It nearly made me ill though, especially since on the other side of the road is a memorial to a boy who committed suicide some years ago.  I was angry at the fools who perpetrated that piece of nastiness.

I was obviously feeling a bit 'dark' on my ride today.   After something to eat and a rest I now feel some satisfaction from having ticked off day 5 of this plan, even if it wasn't the usual light and bright experience.

KateWrites: time

I am on holiday, so I should have plenty of time, but life is busy. We have a ribbon day for pony club tomorrow and I am supposed to be setting it up today, but there are cows in the field! so I have to change the order of my day.Swim in Waiuku at 11, then shopping and then I could run/walk over to Te toro to help set up. Yes I think that will work. Tomorrow is my day off. Ha Ha Ha, I have the Ribbon day, I will get a huge amount of exercise doing all the jobs. Especially if anyone falls off their horse. I'm first aid and have to run over to see a child crying and trying to work out if they are hurt or just in shock. At least I can run now. I have my big ride on Sunday so fingers crossed its not raining too much. 

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Karen writes: Big ride Friday

The long bikeride of the week has to move from Saturday to Friday this week, that's how it goes sometimes (actually, often).   But finding over 4 hours for a ride, then another 1/2 hour or so for a run straight after, add plenty of extra minutes for preparation, changing and extra eating and a quick rest (she hopes) onto that and its quite a big ask of the whanau time-wise.   So tomorrow it is, the plan is to be up early, on the bike, and off charging around the countryside on two wheels as soon as it is light enough to see.

To make sure it happens, tonight I have put the bike outside, done the checks, loaded the water bottles, laid out the cycle clothes, and I will have my marmite sandwiches ready packed to go.   That last will take some thought, my plastic zip bags aren't working that well, and I keep forgetting that the flash little box which sits on the bar behind the handlebars has velcro on the flap, this catches my gloves every time I stick my hand in, very annoying but I only remember when I am riding.  There must be a more efficient way to either cut or pack the sammies so that I can get them out, one at a time, without nearly riding off the road when I do it.

Leanne from the Te Puru runners has just emailed to say she has signed on for the Rotorua half marathon...way to go Leanne, I feel a bit disorientated, I should be marathon training right now!  Oh, hang on, I am, sort of.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Karen writes: On track...somewhere

I am home from a 40 minute swim in the quite decent waves down at the local beach, which didn't go that well, I do struggle with the swim sometimes.   It was followed by an 80 minute run out to Duders park which went better.  Training can sometimes be tougher on the body than a much longer event, that's because you take events seriously, whereas training tends to be just clothes on and out the door.   I also got a few km down the road and remembered the instruction that I should take every opportunity to practice race nutrition.   Ok, not this time.

I did however have the pleasure of filling in day three of this weeks training plan, and while the order is a  little mixed, and some of the back-to-back session proportions aren't quite right, I have actually followed most of it for a change!   That is 5 hours I have found to exercise in the 3 days, but I cant feel too pleased with myself, tomorrow is the day off, then there are 3 heavy days, Friday has a swim/run like today, Saturday has a 110km bikeride followed by a run, and Sunday is a 20km run.  

Kate Writes: early mornings

I had planned to meet my friend Jackie at 7 am to swim. This is dedication as I'm not a morning person. Pool was cold but we got off to a good start and did about 2k. We had to do an individual Medley. I can do butterfly but is very funny. I finished my length and looked up to see a group of teenage boys watching. They must have thought I was very funny. Any way finished off my set and home for a quick cup of tea before my bike ride. 1 hour ride, supposed to be doing something, but I could not understand what the coach wanted me to do so did a hilly ride. i'm now home thinking an afternoon kip is in order.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Karen writes: Messing up my programme again

Today the programme said "50 minutes swim, 70 minute tempo run".   Um, yep, so I went for a bikeride instead.

Why? I was lazy and the tide was too far out for enjoyable swimming by the time I crawled out of bed this morning.   I couldn't face committing to a swim and run  in the late afternoon, the main reason for this is that if I have the day at home with my holidaying girls I spend an awful lot of the day focusing on food, it gets complicated to not eat what and when they do and I don't like things complicated.  So I swapped tomorrows training with what I was meant to do today.

I enjoyed my brisk 2 hour bike-ride, it's the first time I have been on two wheels since the half IM. Nothing fell off the bike, it was pleasantly overcast and the rain held off till I got home, there was no drama, just nice riding. Tomorrow I shall get up early enough to catch the tide though.  Ugh.  Cold feet.

Kate Writes: weather!

Two weeks holiday and loads of fine weather is what I ordered. Instead its rained. Training has gone a little haywire. I was supposed to go for a long bike ride yesterday but spent most of the day at the airport seeing little bro off to the UK. It was too late to ride. Still I will do it tomorrow? Today I have been into Waiuku and swam with a group of friends, Jackie, Fiona and Sue. It was a little cold but still it was a good swim. Fiona filmed the Rotorua Half Ironman. So I went back to her place and had a cup of tea and watched the DVD. It was great footage. All I could see of myself was the large breasts bouncing up and down. Its a good job I have a good bra to hold them in place. Its interesting seeing people come running in exhausted. I never do, so I know I have more to give.


I ran last night, first time in ages. Leg gave a few twinges but I am hoping that its all good. I will take it slowly over next few weeks. Mind you its only 8 weeks to go! 

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Karen writes: Home and the hard work starts

I’m home, and didn’t feel like running with my dodgy knee, so squished into the wetsuit for a good swim up and down Maraetai beach (about 1.8km).   The swell was fairly stiff, and I could feel my right arm working harder than the left as it had to lift me up to miss the waves as they tried to break in my face with each breath, but it went ok until I was on the way back.   There weren’t as many people down the eastern end of the beach, and I had at last gotten into my stroke so wasn’t thinking of much at all…until my hand, the hand on the side away from the beach, hit something solid and glanced off.   I now know that you can scream underwater!   I floundered for the beach, thinking there was no way I was going to get back in the water again…but I did, however I was very relieved when I got further down the beach and there were more people around.  I probably spooked a few by swimming between them and the beach but I figured it was worth it for the reassurance that they would get sampled before me in the unlikely event that there was something out there with ‘swimmer’ on the menu.   I have just counted up the swims in the programme for the next 4 weeks…sigh…there are 8 of them, still plenty of opportunity to be dinner for something (I am joking...I think).

Here at the pointy end of the training I look at this 5 week block of the programme and think there is nothing in there I can’t cope with.  The longest ride is 130km, the longest run 24km, and there is a lot more ‘brick’ or ‘back-to-back’ work.  I have however found myself thinking that I had expected I would be so much fitter (and skinnier but that is another story) by now.  I am going to be an Ironman, shouldn’t I be able to do almost anything with ease?   But I cant, I still have heavy legs sometimes, bits hurt, getting out of bed doesn't get any easier, and I continue to loathe the first half hour of any exercise.

There was obvious evidence of benefit though, like being able to run up the sand-dunes at Ocean beach and outpace my children with ease...I now don't need to have a nap and spend the rest of the day semi-catatonic after doing some exercise...AND I can eat another slice (or two) of Christmas cake without guilt...these are pretty cool things!