Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Kate writes: packing

I wrote a list of stuff I need to take to Taupo. All I really need to do is pack everything i own. Its going to be wet on Saturday, now I'm worried incase its too windy and they cancel the swim! I have every rain coat I own and all my thermals. I have my Visa card to buy the small bottle that I use for my gels that I have lost and more chamie cream. The dog has gone to the farm and the cat is out side with pleanty of food. I'm ready, I think!

Karen writes: Heading to Taupo tomorrow

I sat in class at Uni today trying to concentrate on such interesting concepts as 'economic evaluation', 'cost-benefit analysis', 'cost-utility analysis' and other equally baffling ideas.   It probably wasn't a good day to be concentrating, I am twitchy, headachey, grumpy and out of sorts and I want Saturday to arrive before I go into a dramatic meltdown caused by going from 16 hour weeks of exercise to less than 2 hours this week so far.

Right now I am taking a brief break from packing.what seems to be an enormous quantity of stuff, the family away stuff is ok, but the sheer quantity of sports gear is staggering, so far 3 large plastic bags with things from the various transition lists (swim, swim to cycle, cycle to run), 1 large box with bike things/helmet/pump/cleaning equipment/spare sports gear for tomorrows swim and run and various other bits and pieces.   I told the children I might have to leave them behind if I run out of room with all the sports equipment.  They didn't believe me.

The forecast for Saturday in Taupo still says 'rain, heavy at times', ah well, at least it is a weather condition we are very familiar with!

I just want to say thanks for all the messages of support, it is fabulous knowing so many people are behind us,  I am sure the thought of all that goodwill will help us out if things get tough on the day!  We have also received a lot of support and encouragement through the whole of this long and challenging process, whether it was a "you can do it" when we expressed some sort of disillusionment,  an allowance being made because of tiredness from a hard session, rearranged hours to fit something in, or letting us claim an extra slice of cake!  So to family, the team at the office, our friends, colleagues and the DPT Board, getting this far wouldn't have been possible without you.

Kate writes: last few days

It seems strange that we are almost there. The last year has gone by very quickly, I wonder have I done enough training? Then a friend of mine turned around and commented on my lovely legs and how muscular they were! Wow i must have done some training then. My niece, who is 16 also said what an amazing job I had done and what a great body I had. Well that was a truly amazing comment from her.  So I must be ready. No more training, just eating. The weather looks dreadful, but then I have been training in the rain all year so I am prepared. If it was hot I would have found it hard. Just looking at what to take, so I will probably take all my fitness stuff just in case. Including the Visa card to buy anything that I have forgotten.

If you would like to donate to the Christchurch diabetes fund please do. Just think what I will be out on Saturday for, hopefully 15 hours and 45 minutes, wet cold and hurting. It will be all worth while in the end.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Karen writes: Tidying up bits and pieces with 3 days to go

It's raining heavily.  The forecast (from several sources) says rain for Saturday, but that is ok, we are USED to rain.  At least there are no thunderstorms predicted and hopefully rain will flatten off and warm up the lake?

Lots to organise, I'm at university tomorrow so that cuts the preparation time down a bit, will I really be concentrating on 'health economics' though?  I guess since the first assignment is due in 2 weeks I can spend that 8 hours on the bike thinking about assignment topics...yeah moment!  So on the to-do list is... paperwork, event equipment, linen, clothing, food, supplements, spares, other bits and pieces, and safely transporting and keeping the whanau fed/clothed and entertained for several days in rainy Taupo.  Dog to kennel.

Apparently there is live screening of parts of the course available at, we wont have internet access in Taupo so that might not be so useful for the family on the day, but I can sign them up for the text alerts to be sent when I pass ten different points around the course. This will be handy so if the kids have to go out in the rain to see their mum they can at least pick times I am likely to be in the vicinity.  Anyone who does want to check up on us, my race number is 1226, Kate's is 1445.

Kate has brought in the newly branded cycle shirt, it looks terrific.  She has also got supporter shirts for the girls (pink) which look pretty cool.
Well, is only 3 days to survive without falling off my high heels, running over some essential piece of equipment with the car, catching the dreaded lurgy, or having an acute attack of paralysing anxiety!  And please don't forget that one of our reasons for doing this is to raise funds for the care of people with diabetes in earthquake recovering Christchurch.  Donations can be made at this link, and it sure will be a motivation to keep putting one foot in front of another to know that our efforts are going to help our friends and colleagues down there.  Thanks hugely to those who already have!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Karen writes: Counting down

Final catchup with trainer Grant.  He assures me that I am ready for Ironman, and that the tiredness will drop away as the week goes on, and the excitement on the day will help carry me through anyway.  I admitted to wanting to change bits of my plan, like I would love to try a new apricot and chocolate energy bar (its got oats in it, must be good for you), but I haven't tested it, so Grant didnt think that was smart... I knew that, but the temptation was there. Better leave the purse at home when we visit the expo down in Taupo methinks!

I'm fishing things out of the washing pile and putting them to one side in readiness for the trip, at the moment its very much...1 blue running sock, 1 white cycle sock, 2 gloves (but not a pair), 4 pairs of tri shorts (which pair do I want?).  I couldn't find the running shirt with the branding on it anywhere, turned the house upside down before it was discovered tucked away in a shelf where toys live.  Whew.   This I think was an example of the common household phenomenon whereby things migrate into unlikely places in the presence of children, mysteriously without their knowledge.

Still no news on the ongoing helmet saga, the two offending items sit in front of me but I am not too worried, the old one which had discolored to a horrible grey/yellow has faded more in the sun over the last couple of days and is now a goldy color, if you don't look at the bits which were not exposed (grey) it looks rather nice.  Kate has fine red toenails, perhaps I should paint mine gold to match my helmet?

However, such minor equipment considerations may pale in comparison with a new (but not unknown) worry emerging...take a look at this weather forecast and tell me with confidence that Saturday will be FINE!  Hmm, where did I put the merino base layers, the raincoat, the winter arm-covers, the best wet weather socks...

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Karen writes: 6 days

Kate made a comment the other day which I didn't think too much about at the time, she said "don't wait around for me", when talking about the predicted late night conclusion of our IM mission.  She was making the assumption that I would come in ahead of her... this is the lady who can knock my socks off in the water, thrashed me at Taupo, and is doing major high speed work on the bike.   Well, it seems to me that this game is entirely open my friend, I should be saying to you "don't wait around for ME".

Like Kate, I had my priorities this week, getting the hair done was essential, and strangely enough I felt the need to update my will, both items normally very neglected.  So number 1, a visit to the lady out the back of Manukau and I now have spiky, streaky hair, short enough to defeat the toughest helmet, and number 2, a trip to the Public Trust and I am no longer leaving my worldly goods to people I haven't spoken to for decades.  I can now say I am almost fully prepared!

Anyway, as far as training goes, this past week I put in half the effort of the hardest training week which was earlier in the month.  On my last real cycle ride yesterday, I shortened the plan and did 70 frustratingly slow kilometers and then got home for a very short run.   The 18km run today was only 2km short of the plan, but it was through the much loved and marginally challenging hills behind Maraetai, and a little faster than usual because I was running with someone who set a steady pace.  Of course I couldn't back off on the pace, I'm meant to be ready for Ironman and Ironmen don't walk up hills, in public, if they can help it!  Tired now, legs twitchy...I ask why?   I am theoretically fitter that I have ever been (or am ever likely to be) but it sure doesn't feel like it sitting here with my feet up, compression tights on, and a brain full of fluff.

On the home front, the youngest daughter has a cold.  I can only hope not catch this one, and while I tell myself that that is the most likely scenario as I don't usually succumb to everything my dear little bug catchers bring home, the hint of anxiety is there when I have one of many smoochy cuddles.  I DONT want a cold.

But...focusing 6 days time (144 hours), at this particular time (7pm), I will hopefully be on the road running (ha ha) with only 3 hours left to go...

Kate writes: hard work

Well its the week end before IM. Supposed to be tapering. I had the day off yesterday and today I have spent it at Normas. I've had my feet done. New red paint on the toe nails, they are sure to make me go faster! Then I had my eyebrows waxed. Waxed you might say! They are very bushy and I'm a woos and it hurts, so waxing is done quickly. I know if you remove body hair you will be sleeker in the water and go faster! Then I had a back massage to get rid of all the knots. I'm now ready! I think!

Friday, 24 February 2012

Karen writes: Official bike and helmet(s)

The bike has a sticker, it is officially an Ironman bike now.   The kind men at the bike shop also inspected and put a sticker on both of my helmets, the flash one with the non-approved safety label, and the grotty old one with the approved label (still playing email tag trying to sort that one out).

It was a bit of a trip down memory lane digging out the old Bell helmet.  My brother kindly gave it to me before that first ever triathlon, the Kellogg's Special K, for some reason he placed enough value on the contents of his sister's head to provide me with good quality protective headgear.  Back then I didn't have any of what I now consider necessary equipment...that was....mutter mutter...back in 2005, now I have a heap of the stuff, begged, borrowed and purchased, so much that I wonder what I will do with it all when I am no longer training twice a day and 6 days a week.  Anyway, this poor helmet had plenty of use in it's day, as is evidenced by the faded and curling straps and tacky stuff left behind from multiple stickers. I had to give it a good scrub before I was even going to let it in the house, it having lived in rather ignoble retirement in the shed.  The washing just made the grey gone to mottled yellow/grey more obvious, and evicted a few things with more than their reasonable share of legs.   So fingers crossed for good news about the other helmet, but apart from being ugly, I have no real excuse to spend money replacing the old Bell, no matter how tempting that cute one with the go-fast patterns and crazy number of vents in it.  One thing I have learned is that (at this level) you don't need the best of everything to do Ironman, and you don't need to spend heaps of money when the basic model, or second hand will do.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Kate Writes: late for work

The worse thing I find when on the way to work is a news flash on the radio saying that there is an accident on the Northern motorway. Do I turn around and go home, join the traffic jam or do something different. Well yesterday I did something different. I went to Pukekhoe swimming pool and swam 3k. What a difference it made me feel good. The road was clear when I finally got on the motorway. But I was late for work. I then eat everything I could get my hands on, left over rice, left over cake and fruit. The body is definitely eating loads. Storing it up for next week.

Karen writes: Last pool swim before IM

Went for a swim this morning at the Otara pool.  Both swim lanes were vacant, it was raining outside, and I didn’t feel under any obligation to work too hard, or for too long…bliss.   I still wonder why I don’t cruise effortlessly through the water like  the sleek and streamlined water creature of my imagination, but remind myself that wearing a wetsuit on the day will help immensely, the neoprene pretty much holding me up so that all I need to do is turn the arms, kick minimally to conserve the legs, and breathe of course.  It is, I reflect ruefully, too late to change anything now even if I knew what to change, that was probably my last pool training swim.

So I splashed out a kilometre, listened with secret enjoyment to the same music I used to listen to on the radio nearly 40 years ago (my mother used to leave the transistor on all day to keep her budgie company), and then indulged in a relaxed shower and came to work.   

Where I have just not stopped eating.  I may not fit into my wetsuit at this rate.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Karen writes: Next week.

It's next week.   Ironman is NEXT week!  Saying 9 days sounds slightly better, but reality hits home, it's not 8 weeks away, 5 weeks away, two weeks away, it's just next week.

I'm working on the nit-picky things now.   Like, I've emailed the organisers, my lovely cycle helmet has a sticker for an American standard which isn't on the list of accepted standards put out by IM.  It would be an awful shame if I had to go and buy a cheap helmet which did have the approved sticker to replace the fancy helmet brought last year because I thought my head deserved some better protection (and it was on special of course).

I have been collecting water bottles, my carefully crafted plan gets down to the number of drinks I need to have access to.  I calculate the need for a spare bottle of water and one of electrolyte solution in each of the three transition bags, plus 2 on the bike.  These bike bottles will be swapped at support stations so they cant be bottles I am sentimentally attached to (like the one I got first time round lake Taupo).  Have you noticed how many different standard sports drink bottles there are?   Different lids in particular, you can have a row of bottles and each has a different lid size.

Speaking of plans, got the nutrition component approved by Cate the nutrition lady at IBOD.  The carbohydrates and sodium have been calculated...what it comes down to is I shall be carrying a LOT of honey sandwiches, drinking quantities of electrolyte solution and will have to concentrate really hard on eating every half hour...I can just imagine a conversation with myself..."is this a honey sandwich half hour, or a banana one, or was I meant to have a caffeine gel, do I need a drink and will it be water or electrolytes?".   I shall have to make myself eat over 3500 Calories over the planned 16 hours not counting the huge breakfast at 4am.  That's probably 2 days worth for some people!    I usually run out of interest in food after a few hours of exercising, being strict about it will be a bit of a mission, especially important though on the bikeride which is where you store up energy for the marathon.

Also on the plan are lists of 'things', ranging from spare handkerchiefs, to don't forget the bike.  What goes into each bag, what will be in the cycle shirt pockets, what to wear under the wetsuit, have I checked the two spare innertubes which have rattled around in the underseat toolkit since I brought them years ago, how am I going to get home at potentially midnight after being checked over in the medical tent when the whanau should be long since asleep?

I guess at least with the training hours having dropped off a bit it means I now have time to think about this stuff.  And time to try not to worry!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Karen writes: Lightning

Its a beautiful day.   The dog is lying on the deck panting, the sea is turquoise (a bit bumpy), the sky is clear, its warm... oh its just a gorgeous Auckland summer day, and I'm not training.  What I am doing is researching that question which had me hot and bothered in the middle of a thunderstorm a couple of days ago.   Do the bicycle tyres protect in the event of lightening seems not.  In fact, reading has made me a bit nervous of going out in wet weather, all sorts of dire predictions including this one I would rather not have known, "sunshiny weather may not mean you are safe from lightning strike if you have ridden out of a stormy patch".   There are lots of suggestions, don't go out being the first one, separate if you are in a group, squat in a ditch, stay away from trees, find a solid building...and "ride really fast outa there".  One which would have been really helpful on friday was "stay out of water", yep, that works for me out the back of Takanini in the pouring rain.  I didn't know that there was something called a 'lightning safe position'.   This is a bit more than just squatting in a ditch, it includes "crouch on the ground with your weight on the balls of the feet, your feet together, your head lowered and ears covered. Some experts recommend placing your hands on your forehead and your elbows on your knees to create a path for lightning to travel to the ground through your extremities rather than through your core (heart)" (  Wonder how long you have to crouch in the rain in a paddock in that position?

See, you learn something every day.

Kate Writes : Good friends

Its Monday morning. I am a lucky person as I have such good friends. This morning I have had e-mails, phone calls and TXT. All checking that I'm ok. The cold got the better of me over the week end and made me feel down and tearful. The daughter is doing fine in Dunedin and loving it. I have cleared out some of her rubbish and done the washing.

I went out for a ride with the cycle group yesterday and they were all very supportive. By the time I had had enough and wanting to go home we had ridden 22 k at 27k an hour. Wow that was impressive. I turned around and went home still averaging 25k. There cant be much wrong with me. 

Today I'm back on track. Will have a short run this evening before swim squad.
Thanks everyone. LOL Kate

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Karen writes: Colds and paranoia

Kate has a cold.   I tell her she is lucky, she will have recovered from hers and be rested and raring to go in two weeks, I will catch one in a weeks time and hit Taupo in a flurry of self pity and damp tissues.  

But I feel for her, we are SO CLOSE to the big day, and this is where the paranoia starts stepping up...have we swumriddenrun enough...will we have rested enough?   Will that missed or shortened or lengthened swimriderun make the difference on the day?   Will not having tested this piece of equipment with that piece of equipment in combination with this supplement under that condition mean it all falls apart?   Will my bike have a catastrophic I an idiot to be riding my poor old Scott with its funny noises?   Are my shoes broken in enough?   Are my socks too broken in?  Will my clothes fit...I cant stop eating!!!

ENOUGH.  We have done the hard work and trained and trained for nearly a year.  We have run marathons, ridden almost the distance, and drunk whole swimming pools in our quest.  We have tested and trialed our poor bodies and our equipment in rain and heat and wind and more rain and more wind, even gale force!  Now we have 2 measly weeks to get through, 14...hang on...its only 13 days now and I have seen it written in a number of places that the biggest mistake a first time Ironman can make is to keep trying to get fitter and fitter too close to the event by not resting enough in the taper. irrational brain asks...what IF????  

kate Writes: A cold

Two weeks out from ironman and I have a cold. I have taken 2 days off training and hope to ride out tomorrow. But I'm sitting here sweating. Now is it the cold or is it just real hot and humid? I'm feeling very sorry for my self, also my lovely daughter has left home. We put her on a plan to Dunedin in the early hours of this morning. I have had 2 txt to say she loves it already. But it is a big change in my life. This is what we want for our children but having only one beautiful angel its hard to let go. Its a shame I'm not training today because that is what would do me alot of good. I long ride or better than that a long run. I was given a portrait of her for my 50th birthday and it arrived on Thursday , so I can sit here and look at her. But she does not talk or answer back. I have set up skype, but can not get the sound to work. I need an external mic and ear phones. so tonight I can call her and hear her but not speak to her. This I will sort out on Monday. 
Anyway to remedy the cold , I'm taking sudafed, vit c, echinacea, garlic, evening primrose oil and fish oil. Also loads of sleep.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Karen writes: Wimpy.

The programme said cycle 140km, I only had 4 hours so that wasn't a goer.  I was also feeling lethargic and wimpy.  All I needed was to get caught in a thunderstorm over Alfriston.   I pedaled in the heavy rain for a bit while I thought about whether my tyres would protect me from lightning strike, really must find out the answer to that one but at the time, given how wet I was, I wasn't keen to test the idea out.  I turned round, and headed towards home, trying to follow the brief patches of clear sky and stay away from the thunder.  The rain caught me again on the coast road and torrents poured through my helmet and I was cold and dispirited by the time I dragged up the driveway. Only 70km.  I could then have gone for the required 40 minute run in the rain, instead I had a shower and got into bed to warm up for half an hour before putting my 'mum' hat on and heading up the road to collect the children from after-school care.  May have some explaining to do when I report in to trainer Grant on the week's training, it hasn't been what you might call one of my better weeks.

Anyway, 2 weeks to go till we see if the effort for the last year has been worth it, the main job now is to avoid injuring anything or catching a bug.  And start sorting out equipment to take away.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Kate writes: encouragement

I was at the pool waiting to start my session when I bumped into Soul, a man I went to IM camp with. He was tired and lacking in motivation. We had a good chat and I talked about my Race plan that I had spent the day writing (I had done my work). It had made me focus on the week and the event and plan what I want to do. It is also very encouraging to see how far we have come. I still have that little voice in my head that says "you can't do it" but it is drowned out by the larger voice saying " of course you can do it". So much of this training is head space.

Emma, one of the swimmers, said how inspired she was by me and when she felt low enthusiasm she read my blog. Its great getting feed back from people and encouraging for me that others are getting support from this  too.

The swim went well. I talked to myself about going at my speed, so I was several lengths behind the rest of the group. 32 lengths later , 1600m, we had a breather. There were 3 of us swimming a little slower. The man on the outside called Pete, I think, was swimming at the same speed. Jarrad said I want you to swim at the same speed as the rest. So 100 meter sprints were on. I went as fast as I could, but by 50 meters I lost all my breath and floundered. I breast stroked back. I thought Jarrad had forgotten me but no he said 2 minutes Kate. Oh, I better get myself sorted. Next 100m I took it at my speed and came in 59 seconds, better he said, next one at 45 seconds and then last one 34seconds. The whole group cheered. Peter shook my hand and said I was really steam down the lane. I could not talk and breathing was difficult, but I had made it.  
The support I get from everyone around is great. Its what keeps me going. Also the word of failure does not come into my vocabulary. Roll on 3rd March. 

Monday, 13 February 2012

Karen writes: To train or not to train

I did run that 30km (actually it was only 29) on Sunday after claiming to be "exhausted" on Saturday.  And it was everything I expected it to be, my legs were stuffed with straw and refused to move very fast at all, and my mantra with every few steps was "I wanna go home...wanna go home".  The first 10km were with the Te Puru runners, taking it easy, talking, enjoying the company so that was OK.  The next 19km were by myself, along the coast towards Clevedon.  The beside-the-sea bit was lovely when I stopped long sulking enough to pay attention, it was still before 9am, and there was a slight breeze, few people around.  When I turned inland it got hotter, the tar was soaking up the sun and the heat was coming back to me through my shoes, my newest pair of shoes I should say...I'm going through those so regularly I don't have them long enough to get sentimentally attached to them like I used to. 

As I ran I saw beginner triathletes trying out transition from sea to bike, "go triathlete" I called.  I saw a few children on bikes being shepherded along by parents too.  One man and his boy were headed towards Maraetai as I ran away from it, when they returned and saw me still on the road they called out "well done runner, how far you going?".  I yelled back it was "30km" and that it was for Ironman and got plenty of friendly encouragement which gave me a burst of enthusiasm.   As they rode away I heard the father say in response to something the boy had said "no son, I think we will wait a few years before you think of Ironman".  It made me laugh.

Emailed trainer Grant with the weekly catchup and to say I was "had-it" and planning to take the day off, he wasn't keen, his answer was "this is the week you should feel very lethargic with heavy and slow running legs… right on track".   Ohhhh, I am meant to feel like this...but I still don't feel up to training today...I should...shouldn't...should...shouldn't.   However rescue from uncertainty has come from the best of possible sources, my Mum has just called, she says I sound tired and I MUST take the day off training..."mum knows best" she says.  Today, unlike many previous times, I am more than happy to do as Mum tells me!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Kate Writes: riding off into the sunshine

Friday was my long ride, not as long as Karen's, but it was after an hour swim. So off i went into the sunshine. I went on my usual route but got lost and ended back at the beginning. I could see the Tuakau bridge and thought why not, so off to Tuakau I went. It seemed very surreal, and as if I could just carry on into the sunshine. Over the bridge and off to Port Waikato. I felt I could ride forever, but I thought I better go home. The wind was bad going to the Port , but once I turned around I flew home. I did have to stop and get some sun block, this was my first day riding that I needed extra.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Karen writes: Tired or lazy

I got to put that trail across the perfectly flat sea surface today, swam the length of Maraetai Beach and back twice and my arms feel every stroke.   I'm trying to remember the significant things rather than how much of a slog it looking up at the far end of the beach and seeing a cyclist perfectly silhouetted against the rising sun, looking at the milky silvered underside of the water surface as I swam, and keeping an eye out for that dratted surfcaster who insisted on pulling his line in before I went past, and casting it back over my head while I was directly off the beach from him.

I'm really really tired.   That's not a surprise, yesterday's effort took nearly 8 hours and that is going to take some sort of toll on the body, hence my thighs feel prickly inside, my brain is dull, and I want to lie down and just sleep.  I've deliberately not recorded what I have been eating today, and went out for a substantial steak dinner, steak isn't something I cook usually, being stuck in the 'food for kids' mould still.  It was beautiful down at the Jolly Roger at Pine Harbour, a bit like a tropical resort with its palms, and lots of children on their scooters or running around the paved area in front of the restaurant.  

Getting up for tomorrow's 30km run may be a problem, so my running gear is set out on the table, the alarm is already set, and I'm having a very strict talk with myself before I go to bed...however I not sure which side of the argument I am going to take...should I tell myself I am lazy and just get on with it...or should I say my body is trying to tell me something, be sensible and take a rest?

Friday, 10 February 2012

Karen writes: Nearly finished the toughest week of training!

Took Annual leave today to do my longest ever training ride…160km on what seemed to be our first real summer day this season.  The cicadas were out in full force singing in the hedges, and after lunch I wondered what the popping noises were and it turned out to be the tyres running over little bubbles of melted tar.   It was nearly 7 hours on the road, then there was a 50 minute run afterwards.

Because I go round and round large blocks on the bike I got to see the same roadworkers more than once, the stop-go people were getting quite friendly by the 4th time through the same stretch.  After I had ridden past a few time I got some suspicious looks from groups (flocks, herds?) of police in their cars down various sideroads in Takanini as they waited for something.  I kept both hands on the handlebars when I passed them, they looked far too serious to worry about my high speed one and no handed sandwich extraction and eating contortions but I wasn't taking any chances.

Food for the ride – rice porridge with yogurt and fruit for early breakfast, 1 x gel with caffeine before leaving.    During the ride I ate 7 slices of bread with honey, another caffeinated gel, a packet of solid gels, a banana, and drank 4 bottles of electrolyte drink.  Thanks heaps to Gemma of Gu Energy for your kind donation of  some product towards our efforts!

Food for the run – screwed up here, didn’t even think of that, or water, so the last 20 minutes was a bit miserable in the heat, especially since I was still wearing the bike shirt and arm covers.

The bike has started talking to me again, not sure what the noise is, but it hasn’t self destructed yet.   Just been reading the IM manual and the extra rules on the website... my bike and helmet have to be inspected and get stickers on them so will have to take them in next week for that.  There are lots of interesting rules in the manual, like crawling is not an acceptable form of locomotion in the run, and no hanging on to fences, poles or other objects for maneuvering?  Will have to study it in more detail, wouldn’t want to accidentally break any rules like having illegal items on the bike like glass (I only drink my electrolyte drink out of champagne flutes), using 'depressants' (why?), or drafting off a motorcycle or other vehicle (tell me how!).

Swim tomorrow (if I can move), and 30km run on Sunday (ditto).

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Kate Write: Karen was right

I agree with Karen today the weather looked too good to go to work!. My daughter is off to uni next week and it was time for the horse to go. I had to wait for the horse transporter to arrive and I stood in a paddock looking at the blue sky and the sea looked lovely. Would anyone miss me at work I thought?
Yes they would, and my desk is a mess so off to work I went. Never mind, another day will come.

Karen writes: Disappointment

What a beautiful morning.  Feels Autumn fresh, the sun washing across the damp grass down at the beach making bright contrast with the shadows, and oh the water.  The sea was absolutely gorgeous, so flat and smooth that a swimmer would leave a track across it.  I was tempted to call in to work that I would take a couple of hours leave and go for a perfect morning swim.

But I had other plans, this morning I had promised myself a rare breakfast treat.  Having behaved myself food-wise (sort-of), what I desired most was a sausage roll from the Whitford bakery.   It sat on my seat, wafting warm fumes in the car, grease embossing the brown paper bag, and as I drove I just soaked up the pleasure and anticipation of finally nibbling on that crisp flaky pastry and rich filling.

You know what?   I’m so hung up on this dratted ‘fuel the body’ stuff I didn’t even enjoy it!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Karen writes: Pool bullies

Went for a swim at the Otara pool after work.  There were heaps of people, lots of families playing, lots of noise and fun, but the two lanes designated for swimmers were kept clear.  The first km I had a lane to myself, luxury, I was practicing breathing on both sides, and trying out some of the hints for better swimming I got off the internet.

The second km I was joined by a large lady who walked and swam very slowly. We got on fine, going up one side of the lane, and back down the other.  I would catch up with her every so often and we would do a bit of a dance around each other, smile and keep working away at our own pace.

The third km, we were joined by two ladies who had initially tried to take on the lane next to us which had two men swimming steadily up and down at a good pace.   Next thing these ladies were having a conversation in the middle of our lane, one on each side of the lane, and expressing fury when we dared approach them.  They did intermittent breast stroke with their legs across the entire lane, or walked in the water or lolled.  One 'shoo-ed' me away when I caught up with her at the end of the lane and got into her space! It was a hostile takeover of the 'medium' speed swimlane...

I got out and went home to do the planned 70 minute run.  No-one wins arguing with angry little white haired old ladies.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Kate Writes: Helpful riders

It always worries me that I'm not a fast rider. I go out with the group and worry that I'm slowing people down. I went out for a Sunday morning ride with the cycle group and was at the back again. We started drafting down on the flats, up to 30k an hour, I huffed and puffed and tried really hard to keep up with the tyre in front, Annette asked if I was OK and I said yes but that I could not keep this up for long. The pack slowed down and I could breath again. There is a long hill up to Puni School and we were going to re group up there. I pushed hard but was still miles behind the group. Pete came back and helped me draft up the last bit, it was very good of him. Off to Patamahoe we went, again behind, this time Terry came back and helped me draft. We got back onto the main road back to Waiuku and I was behind Terry. He said the rest of the group was being slow so off we went, he pulled me along the road and up the hills, my thighs were hurting and I was huffing and puffing. But we got back to the cafe and had done 70 k at 24k an hour. That was good for me. I know I can not draft in IM but the hard peddling is a good work out. And its fun! The problem being is that I got to the cafe and saw all the lovely food and all I could manage was a bowl of fruit salad, mind you that was great.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Karen writes: Wild water

Waiting for the tide to come in enough to allow a decent sort of swim...I don't like paddling with the crabs and stingrays...I watched the wind come up with concern.  By mid afternoon I didn't dare wait any longer, and got into the wetsuit and headed over the road.   There weren't many people on the beach, for a summer Saturday that is saying something about the weather.   In the water, the waves were hitting me straight in the face, I couldn't see past the walls of water, and it felt like I was swimming twice as hard to get anywhere at all.  I wanted to get out, and promised myself...just to the trig, just to the wharf, just to the rock, just to the trees...then I can walk back along the beach.  But I got to the end of the beach, and turned around and the waves washed me home, that's what swimming should be like!   It was still only half of what I should have done, but it wasn't pleasant, and if there isnt any pleasure in training at all, where is the point to it? 

Kate Writes: Girls and Boys

There is a difference between the two sexes.
On Tuesday my usual spin day there was just Rach and Jill and me spinning. We had a good work out and gossiped all the way through it. Mind you we did stop talking when we went hard out! We then had a glass of wine and more gossip.
On Thursday, ride out, but it was only me and Terry. So the fastest and the slowest of the group. As we got going two more boys turned up. 63k later I was splattered with cow poo and sweaty. It had been a good hard ride out the back of Waiuku.
I enjoyed both evenings but they were very different.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Karen writes: Friday's big ride

I was in a hurry to get out the door this morning. With a planned worse case scenario of 7 hours on the bike, and a run afterwards I wanted to get going.   Cue...youngest daughter has a meltdown just before it is time to go, she doesn't want to use toothpaste.   Older daughter has organised a sleepover in a tent at short notice for tonight, where is...sleeping bag, hairbrush, insect spray...

Out the door at last, a little late, but fortunately the day doesnt look like being hot, it's overcast, just a bit windy.   140km seems like such a long way to go when you are at the wrong end of the ride, but the bike is beautiful, it whispers along underneath me, no strange rattles, squeaks, creaks and pinking noises, and while the gear changing still isn't perfect, its not as bad as it was either.  Amazing what a bit of expert attention can achieve.

One lap, feeling good but unenthusiastic.   The big truck and trailer units are out on the backroads in force, they feel like they are going to suck you into their wheels as they charge past.  A few drivers are very courteous, sometimes worryingly so, they go right over the other side of the road to give you room, others are just plain scary, I tense up as each truck goes past, just waiting for that trailer to follow, these can come very close.   Second lap, eating well, the honey sandwiches are going down ok, the electrolyte drink doesn't seem to be upsetting me, seat getting a bit sore probably not helped by wearing a belt with the extra drink bottles in it adding extra weight.   Third lap, run out of sandwiches and sick of sweet stuff.  Getting tired, getting bored, getting blown about, getting worried thinking that this is only 140km, and on the day I will have 40 more cycling km to go, and that's after already swum nearly 4km, then still have a marathon to run.

Home, legs work fine pushing the bike up the hill which is a real sign of improvement.  In the door, running shoes, hat, big drink and out the door for...hey, it was a really easy feeling 45 minute run. I could have kept going just plodding slowly away, got sensible though and headed for home, Sunday there is a 26km run planned.

Here is my new favorite recovery food.   1 x large dollop of vanilla yogurt, 1 x serve of banana flavoured sculpt protein drink powder, half a tin of fruit salad in juice.   Mix together and it is like pudding.   Who says recovery food has to taste nasty!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Karen writes: Tired

Yesterday, there were two sessions on the training plan, a swim and a run...but I took the day OFF.  I sat in my chair after the children were settled and just couldn't be bothered, wasn't interested, didn't give the proverbial whatever for training and Ironman anymore, Kate could just do it by herself!  Of course there are lots of things you can't take a day off from, even when you are tired and grumpy, like feeding and clothing and sorting out and loving the whanau, and yes, work too, but training can just go away... temporarily.

Today I was still tired, but a swim first thing put me almost back on track, and tonight I made myself sit on the spin bike for 70 minutes.  I admit however that the spinnervals DVD stayed in its case and I slipped back to the days (it seems so long ago) when I put my book on the handlebars and my feet turned the pedals by themselves without the intervention of the brain, ignoring the invisible coach over my shoulder saying "faster...harder...put some effort into it".

Tomorrow is this weeks official day off training.  In spite of already having had an unofficial day off I plan to indulge it fully, and hopefully will be feeling energetic for the 140km ride plus run on Friday, swim and run on Saturday, and 26km run on Sunday.  That is the  second longest and hardest stretch in my whole training ever...the hardest comes along the following week, then it is all downhill from there.

Karen writes: Bike hospital

The faithful road bike went into the bike hospital this morning.  I dropped it off, feeling marginally chagrined as the mechanic visibly restrained himself and just commented that the chain was “a bit grubby isn’t it”.   Um yep.  And that was after I had religiously been using the ‘self cleaning’ lubricant, AND done a job with an old piece of towelling and the WD40 just before loading it onto the bikerack...actually I was kinda hoping the chain would just be replaced.

As I exited the store I did cast a wistful glance over my shoulder at the brand new updated and super go-fast younger relatives of the poor old Scott, but no, I’m not really tempted, partly because everything I read suggests that operating at my level and pace there aren’t really any benefits to be gained from flasher equipment, but also, my bike and me share a HISTORY, all those km of training, clocking up all those 100 milers around Taupo, more training, the triathlons, more training…

Plus, for me, there is another good reason for not yearning after something pristine and new (and hideously expensive). Then I would feel honour bound to be a bit pathological about looking after it, no greasy fingerprints left, no sentimental coke splatters from Hatepe Hill still there months later, no dried possum guts lurking underneath, no jamming it into the rack with the kids bikes, no not worrying about the various assorted dents and scrapes which come from a busy riding life on back country roads (and a clumsy owner).

So the old faithful has had the full treatment, the drivetrain pulled apart, washed in kerosene (mechanical equivalent of bubble bath I am assured), inspected, lubed and adjusted and some rusting cables replaced…hopefully the gears will change reliably now, and nothing will drop off for the next 5 weeks, getting us safely through our biggest challenge ever...

Kate Writes: life after Ironman

The question is what happens after Ironman? My friend Fiona said to me that we need to have a party after Ironman. What about the Saturday after? I went into shock. What am I going to be doing the week after Ironman? I do not know.