Monday, 30 July 2012

Kate writes: condoms!

Condoms! well what a topic to discuss. They are actually little tubes that go over two of my toes to try and stop the nails from falling off at the Marathon. They are silicon and just protect the toes and move the little toes out slightly to stop pressure on them. Do they work? well I'm going to give them a try this week and see if i can wear them with out doing any harm.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Karen writes: Good long run...sorry...walk

It's cold, still raining outside, it's been raining all day.  I'm sitting wrapped in a blanket with ice on my knee for the second time today, more of a precautionary measure than an "oops, done damage" thing fortunately.

This morning was a sort-of success, I'm happy I covered the planned distance, even if it was with dismal slowness.  Halfway through the session the twinges round the knee started, managed those by alternating between the slower walk and a walk/run and stretching, things got more uncomfortable for the last few km, but still manageable.  I got home, no obvious limping, and unlike when I fully 'run' a long run I didn't feel completely knackered afterwards.  I think...I think....I can hold out to complete the 42km in 3 weeks time, but it is always in my head...would I have the courage to pull out of the event if I got really sore?   Probably not, then Kate would have more medals than me!  Actually, I wouldn't be too silly about it and would stop if I had to, all I need to do is remember that the important event is the one in 7 months time (yes, Ironman is only 7 months away!), I wouldn't want to push so hard that it would take months longer to get over this pesky, and persistent injury.

The walking is interesting, I feel like I could walk forever at a brisk pace, but that achieves about a 8-9 minute km which wont get me to the finish in the 6 hour cutoff, and do I really want to be on the road that long anyway?  When I do the arm swinging, hip rotation, feet in a line thing I can get the speed up to 6.5-7.5 minute km but it is still really hard work (on the legs, not the cardiovascular system) doing that for more than a short time, a lot more practice is needed.

So this race-walker in training needs to put the icepack back in the freezer, put on another slathering of antiflam, get the dreaded roller out again and do the stretching thing and then have an early night.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Karen writes: Olympic opening ceremony

No training today, it has taken a bit of mental arguing with myself because I did two of my best (minimal pain) recent walk/run training sessions on Wednesday and Thursday.  I took yesterday completely off training, and the sensible part of me says today off too.  The trouble is I want to get out again to confirm that I am really back on track and that it is alright to start building up again...for the less than 4 weeks left.

Fortunately there is a good excuse not to be off being madly energetic today.   The opening ceremony for the Olympic games is on so me and the girls are on the sofa in front of the TV, watching avidly, eating waffles with butter and golden syrup.  Bit of a worry being able to explain so many of the historical allusions (when did the things in my past become 'historical'?) to the young things.   Nodding along to the elder statesmen of the music industry...I thought...tubular bells...how many decades ago did I last hear that, what was I doing last time I heard that?!  If there is one bit we are likely to remember from the ceremony though, it has to be Rowan Atkinson and his alter ego, Mr Bean, and his stint with the orchestra.   


Oops, better pay attention, the athletes cant be too far away and I wouldn't dare miss New Zealand.   At a much smaller (minuscule) level...wish me luck tomorrow morning, after weeks of stretching and rolling and resting and strength training I'm hoping for my best session in ages.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Karen writes: Different ways of seeing things

Looking for answers to injury other than "rest and anti-inflammatories" leads to some interesting findings.    I have seen 3 professionals in recent weeks who I would describe as knowing what they are doing (they have succeeded in fixing things for me and people I know in the past).   There are significant similarities between them, all are very professional and do thorough assessments.  They seem knowledgeable and use lots of good words, explaining in detail as they go, what they say makes sense at the time.  They are all wonderfully positive and optimistic and all promote healthy eating, resting, and building balanced muscle strength.  There are some very significant differences of approach though, and who can say which is right, or if they all are?

Take the physio, who looks at the bio-mechanics, stretches and tests the range of motion and flexibility and points out that certain muscles are weak...strengthening exercises recommended, and a bit of acupuncture administered.   Then the chiropractor, "tightness" in the spine impacting on nerves impacting on muscles... manipulation delivered.   And the sports massage therapist..."congestion and knots in the muscles"... fix by massage, stretch lots.


With the problem still there, it does have me wondering if it is a case of being patient and keeping on listening to all three on the theory that more input is better?  Or is it too many 'cooks'?  Or are they all wrong? Or is it me!


Anyway, the 4th professional...Trainer Grant...now says walk (for the next couple of weeks).  So I'm walking, with intent.  I have done the calculations...I need to be walking at less than 8minute 30seconds per km (7km/hour) to finish the 42km inside the cutoff time of 6 hours (that is a LONG time on the road).  Walk, walk, walk.  

kate writes: Auckland running

I stayed the night in Auckland as I had two days at uni. I went for a run in the evening. It was drizzling! I hate running in the rain, but I was all on my own, no responsibility so why not. I was staying on Hobson Street at a quest apartment. It was a special on what if! So I ran down Hobson Street and onto the harbour.  It was getting dark and the lights were reflecting on the water. The tower blocks were alight. There were so many traffic lights it was difficult to run for long. There were people everywhere! I ran back up Queen Street looking at the shops. People looked at me but no one said anything until I met another runner who said hello. Its nice to run somewhere different but it will be good to run back at the beach.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Karen writes: Another week of non-training

Training wise, the last couple of weeks have been hopeless.  I found that I definitely can’t go for a run straight after having a physio session (ow), and was reminded of why running two days in a run (even short runs) is not a good idea when you have an ITB injury.   Last week’s training did not in any way resemble marathon training, it went like this …strength ….light spin/strength ….swim/physio/short run ….short run… light spin/strength… OFF… Sunday long-mostly walk.   I have rolled using a roller on the floor, stretched and done the exercises, and mostly followed instructions from the professionals.  So am I ready to run/walk a marathon taking less than 6 hours to do it?   Not sure, I had more leg pain while I was walking yesterday than I had previously had and there was no choice but to slow down.  

Each time my leg hurt I changed my gait/stride/pace and I hadn’t realised there were so many different ways of walking, each way using different sets of previously under-utilised muscles, some walking styles faster, some slower.   It’s only walking I can hear the runners say?  Go on try it, go out and WALK your long run as fast as you can!  Actually, don’t try that, it’s probably as good a way to get an injury there is…just don’t underestimate the fast walker!

Less than 5 weeks until the marathon, that is still a whole month of getting better. 

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Kate writes: reasons for running

I would like to say that I run for pleasure, but usually its because its on the plan and if I do not run I will not finish the marathon. well last week I had to run before spin so I ran in Waiuku, not my usual place for running. I planed the route, it was only a 20 min run. Off I went and had a good run, but on the way back to the car I ran along the main road and someone tooted their car horn at me. It was Sara my sister! wow I had been seen. A few minutes later again it happened and this time it was my friend Elizabeth. Now I know why I run and that is too be seen.
Yesterday, Saturday I had my long run of the week. It is great fun running around home as it is very quiet and I can go into my own little world with out having to think. At one point I run along a beach called Brooks beach. The tide was in and the waves were crashing at my feet. On the other side of the harbour I can see the sky tower, but I am all alone singing to my hearts content.
Yep I have loads of different reasons for running, the main one is to have fun.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Karen writes: Good old Otara pool

I left home early while the whanau were still asleep and went to the Otara pool for a swim this morning.  The pool was quite dark when I got there, with the lights on in the foyer and changing rooms being the only real illumination.   There were plenty of people, and looking from one end of the pool to the windows at the other end as the sun started shining through the glass, it was quite stunning, with the light haloing behind the heads of swimmers and water-walkers.   

Swim number 3 since Ironman back in March and I did 900meters of mixed freestyle and backstroke before deciding it was time for work.  Funny how for years my main swimming style was breaststroke, now I cant remember when I last did that stroke, and that has been because of the practice and getting confident with the faster strokes...and sorting out the breathing.  This morning I battled a bit with trying to not put too much pressure on the recently recovered shoulder, versus the desire to make the swim an even 1000m.  My mind was made up when a man swimming in the same lane as me asked if I “was tired”.  I thought, am I swimming that slow, do I look that bad?  I thought I was swimming ok, but yes, I was probably looking a bit uninspired by that point, if you want to show your best face you might want to stay out of the pool, plus those cute red rings around your eyes from the goggles are just the icing on the cake.

A hot shower, even if you have to keep pushing the button to prevent the water from going cold and stopping is an absolute treat after a good swim.  I felt fabulous and wondered why I didn’t do it more often than my current once a week…actually I do know why, I have to actually do the swim part to get to the feel-good shower. It was an excellent start to a Wednesday.

kate writes: knickers

Is 'knickers' a rude word?   Well not if you actually mean pants, but it does depend in what language you are speaking. I'm talking about underwear! I'm into my training and concentrating hard, so yesterday I was at the uni teaching (big head or what) and rushed back to Waiuku to do a quick run before spin. I had to change in the car which meant I left my knickers on under my running shorts. No real problem until.... I was desperate to have a wee and rushed into the toilet and down went my shorts and onto the loo I went, forgot I had knickers on.  Well no real problem but it made me laugh. You get so caught up in what you are doing and wearing, that some times you forget!

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Karen writes: Brainstorm in the rain

Saw the magic physio last week.   My kneecap was apparently wandering off to one side, the impression I got was wimpy muscles holding it in place apparently contributing to the stress on the ITB.   More work on muscles needed, keep doing the stretching and rolling and working within limits.  He did lots of bending of the legs into impossible positions before prescribing some  particular sets of exercises. There was some nasty ouch stuff over the offending thigh, and afterwards I was sore in muscles I didn't realise I had.  On the way back to the car, and whenever else I remembered, I practiced walking, consciously trying to stop my leg turning inwards, tricky. As usual he was optimistic, "go for a run on the weekend and see how it goes".

This morning I ran round to Te Puru to meet up with the runners, and the pain was lurking but not flaring up, but it made me anxious.   At about 8km I decided I wasn't going to get to last weeks peak of 12km, and decided to walk home.  In the rain, inside my orange hood, I had my own pessimistic thoughts about the impossibility of that dratted marathon in less than 6 weeks to keep me company. I know that I am stubborn enough to do the distance, but also understand that if there is any risk of doing more damage, I should be prepared to pull out...do I have the courage, on the day, with Kate ready to race, to actually do that?   I wasn't feeling that happy.

But, brainstorm as I dawdled along...why...why don't I learn how to race-walk?  I'm fit, walking doesn't hurt, so instead of running wounded until its impossible to run anymore then being forced to walk, why not practice walking REALLY fast right now...then I can walk the race and still run over the finish line!

So no better time to start than right now. After that initial 8km run I added on another 11km of somewhat inefficient race-ish-walking, total 2 1/2 hours.  I always thought it looked really  hard (as race-walkers passed me while I was running), and it became clear that while I have the cardio-vascular fitness, there was plenty of stress on hips/back and leg muscles from the different movement so I feel like I have lots to learn about this new sport.   I'm pretty sure other runners will go "awww noooo", and tri-athletes will go "CHEAT", but I'm now aiming for a 5 1/2 hour race-walk/jog marathon... it isn't officially a 'walking' event, but I figure I can definitely do a few short jogs and should be more than able to meet the cutoff  times:

2.5km – 6:22am; run past finish line north bound 1st time
12.2km – 7:40am; run past finish line (complete lap 1)
22.2km – 9:00am; run past finish line (complete lap 2)
32.2km – 10:20am; run past finish line (complete lap 3)
42.2km – 12:00pm; 


This marathon is likely to be my slowest, but I feel much more positive about finishing it and I bet when I do it will feel like one of my most memorable achievements.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Kate writes: AGM

Last night we had the Waiuku multisports AGM. The group have been very supportive of me over the last year. I mean to say that I am the slowest bike rider and runner but someone always stays with me and helps me along. So when Clive suggested I joined the committee, I thought Why not. Give back something to the club, after all they give me huge amount of support. 
So we met up at 5:30 for a quick run before the meeting. 10k later we were back. I'm beginning to enjoy the night runs. I never know where we are going but its always exciting. We ran down around sand spit reserve. The reflection of the Mill on the water was magical. The water was very inviting and almost felt like a swim! HaHaHa.
The main speaker was a lady called Emma Mc Cosh. She is a physiotherapist and a sports women. She talked about her latest event which was a 10 day adventure race in Chile. 4 hours sleep a night, walking, mtb , kayaking. I thought Ironman was hard but this was really hard. I liked her ideas about goals, 1) to finish 2) have fun.  They are very much like mine. Its always to finish and to have fun. She also talked about injury and recovery. Some very good ideas. Might try her out.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Karen writes: What marathon training?

Ooops, I have a marathon in 6 weeks and I have barely done any training!  11 weeks ago we did the Rotorua Marathon, I trained for that, and as usual felt (knew) I hadn't done enough, but I had done the minimum, following the programme, running 5-6 days a week, with the weekly increasing long run up to 33km.  Since that marathon the maximum I have gotten up to is 23km and that was about 5 weeks ago before the ITB injury.  Unfortunately I haven't done more than 10km at a time since... last week I did a grand total of 15km over several runs, trying to run within the pain, build tolerance in minuscule increments and not run on consecutive days, this has to be the worst marathon training effort ever.

So this weekend the decision is, do I run with the Te Puru runners for a short distance to keep the 'running legs' ticking over, or do I go for a long bike-ride to keep the cardiovascular fitness up?  Do I try out a walk/run pattern to see if I can cover a long distance without pain and plan on that as my marathon strategy, or do I rest and hope next week will be better?  Today my leg aches, not sure if it a normal muscle reaction to the unaccustomed strength training/stretching, or I have caused more inflammation... so off to the physio for an expert opinion and tweaking of the recovery plan.   This is such a tricky injury, I am very glad it has happened now and not in the middle of Ironman training, it has taught me valuable lessons about strength training and stretching.  I would say that even if you have been lucky enough not to have this problem, it is disabling enough that every runner should check whether they are doing enough to prevent it.

The good news is that I have now had 2 short swims, the first of 300m, and one yesterday before work of 500m.   I came out feeling fabulous, the shoulder seems to be pretty much fully recovered, and even more importantly, I haven't forgotten how to swim!

Anyway, heading north this afternoon to pick up the girls, it has been the ultimate in irony that I have been unable to train at the very time there has been the most opportunity, not having 'mum' duties during the school holidays.  Big daughter has apparently discovered tennis, after 10 days I cant wait to see them.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Karen writes: Living Ironman for over a YEAR

We have been writing our blog for just over a year now.  Wow, who would have thought we would have so much to say, so much to say about things to do with training that is.

So recently I spent hours editing the 340 plus blog entries, getting them in the right reading order so things made chronological sense and then I killed a few trees printing the whole blog off.  I sat down and read this rather thick book from start to now, and was amazed at how much has happened, just how far we have come. It was like reading a story about some other people though.  When we started writing, and training of course, I don’t think we could have possibly imagined the ups and the downs, the rain, the interesting people, the rain, the equipment conundrums, the rain, the nutrition anguish, and of course the rain, all culminating in that dreadful weekend in Taupo when the goal of all our work was cancelled (I'd like to say because of rain, but it was actually wind).   Could we have ever imagined starting on the road to Ironman all over again…and being happy about it? Thank goodness we had no clue back then, but with the experience has come a heap of learning (often by mistake) and with that more confidence, and so much enjoyment to leaven the hard slog.  Looking back after a year, was it as bad as everyone predicted…I really don’t think so, certainly not frightening enough to not be ready to do it all once more. 

Anyway, reading the ancient history lifted my mood, I laughed at our mistakes and mishaps, remembered poignant moments, and caught my breath at the near disasters and various dramas.  I alternately felt proud and plain daft but it also left me feeling quite enthusiastic, so on Saturday I got up early to cycle to Clevedon to catch up with Grant the Ironman trainer, with my running shoes in my little backpack.  It was a beautiful, frosty, still morning and my legs felt like they were flying, the bike seemed happy to be out even if it still had traces of 4 month old Ironman dirt on it (otherwise called 'neglect').   When I got to the gym at IBOD I took my life in my hands clattering across the icy cobbles in my cycle shoes, being too much of a wimp to change in the cold outside for a run. The treadmill...how I loathe those things, I always feel like I am about to crash off them forwards, backwards or sideways if I lose a moment of concentration, no drifting off into another world for me like I normally do while running.  No problems were identified in my running gait which was a relief, perhaps a slight weakness on the left side which isn’t a surprise given that is where the leg injury is.  Then there was a new batch of strength exercises to be worked through, core, leg, and some especially for the weak shoulder, I felt quite chuffed that I managed to do them ok.  I demonstrated my proficiency on the dreaded roller before I got back on the bike, "good technique" was the observation, well, it should be good, I have spent an awful lot of time on the horrible thing in recent weeks.  Given the rash of ‘weakness’ or ‘muscle imbalance’ type injuries, I am now newly sold on strength training, I have even done the exercises again already, and it is only Monday!     

But I badly want to run, when and where and for however long I want to.  Sunday’s short run went really well, and I wanted to go further but sensibly came home…no pain from the dreaded ITB band which is cause for optimism.   Hopefully a couple of short runs this week, and I can build a little more next weekend…Grant said he wanted me up to 25km before the marathon (usually it is 35km), I now think that might almost be do-able. 

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Kate writes: the tale of two tyres

I have not had a flat tyre on my car for years and then a month ago I got to work and had a flat. One of my nice staff changed the tyre for me. But it was expensive, two new tyres and also the fact that I needed another two within the next month. Well I was trying to last another pay packet, but on my way home on Wednesday a car turned right rather late and I had to pull into the hard shoulder. Bang, a stone or something hit my car. I was 20 mins from home so just carried on. Well the steering got a bit strange but the car was upright and I just carried on. I got to Pollok and found it very slow going up hill. I thought I better stop. One very flat and holey tyre. Had to ring for help as there was plastic wires holding the hub caps on and I could not remove them. So two more tyres, lucky it was the old ones. 


Well, you might be saying what has this got to do with training. I was out today having the most glorious ride. It was very cold and frost on the ground, but the sun was shining. We were riding around the back of Waiuku. Going backwards on the Iron Maiden/Steel Man ride.  I had just been told that the next hill was a hard one and at one point is 1:1. I thought I might walk this one rather than fall off. I was looking towards the gun club and thinking that road is not too bad, when I went around the corner much too fast, missed the road and ended up on the hard shoulder, managed to stay on the bike and back onto the road. I looked up to see Johnny walking up the hill and thought great its not just me, and realised that my front tyre was flat. I jumped off the bike and had to walk up the hill to meet the group. Well, we changed the tyre, tried the new gas bottle and pop went the tube, I had got it caught in the tyre. Annette had another tube, second time lucky. It got me home, but that is the tale of the two tyres. 

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Kate writes: A kind friend

Monday night is running with the group from the Kentish, usually 5-8k run around the roads or the golf club. But last night Steve was in charge and he said Honey Hill! Well that ment nothing to me, except it's a hill and I do not do hills. So off we went. I was tail-end Charlie, as usual. The others disappeared into the night, it was dark. Steve came back for me then ran up ahead and then back to me. It made me run faster as I did not want to look as if I was not trying. It was a lovely night for running. I could not see where we were going so it was almost what hill where! We were on our way home and a car stopped, a man got out and gave me a reflective jacket. He said "here's a present for you", his daughter was killed out running on the roads, he said "look after yourself". I was very touched by his kind gesture. There are nice people around who give without wanting anything back. It did make us all think that we need to be better prepared for our runs and wear the right equipment. Thankyou to the kind gentleman out in Waiuku.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Karen writes: Update on the ITB injury

I have been following my plan for ITB recovery religiously, and on Sunday morning I went for a run...with trepidation...if the plan didn't work, I would be off to the experts and I was pretty sure I would be told the Sunshine Coast marathon in 8 weeks was not going to happen for me.  Before I left home, strapping tape was applied down and across the thigh per instructions, I am sure the excellent orange colour has something to do with the likely success of the treatment.  The dreaded roller thing to loosen the muscles and tendons on the thigh was done (it is getting much more comfortable and I dont look like I am trying to turn myself inside out anymore), some stretches, and a gentle trot around the Te Puru sports fields as a warmup in the brand-new shoes.


Then it was time to be off running with other Te Puru runners, through the Omana bush and down the beach to the end of Maraetai where we turned around to come back.  There was not a twinge of that dreaded ITB for that whole 5km.  I said to the other runners when I got part-way back at 7km that I would have been happy to have to stop then, it was just such an improvement, but on I went, 8km.  Then came some small twinges, I stopped for a stretch and restarted with a shortened stride, posture changes, and more focus on 'toe-push'.  Another km brought us to the only real hill, at the top of that hill there came tightness above the knee and that familiar ache halfway up the outside of the thigh, stop and stretch.   Flat and gradual downhill for another 700 meters, and it was time to be sensible stop and walk for the last bit back to the carpark.

I got to the car and had a drink of water and a banana, I was hungry having deliberately not had an early breakfast as I would normally before a Sunday 'long' run, just in case I couldn't resist the temptation to keep going.  At home with a preventive icepack on my knee, I felt really positive.  I wrote in my training diary the first good news for what seems like AGES.  "Successful 10km run, twinges towards the end, plan seems to be working".

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Kate writes: I must follow instructions!

This week is a hard week of training. My coach sets me up for a slow week then harder then harder and then back to slow. I pushed myself yesterday with a 3 hour run , which my coach siad should be 2 hours. So to day when I went out on the bike I had no strength in my legs. What did I expect! should do what I'm told. I found it hard keeping up with the group and turned left at Puni rather than carry on with them. I still did 40k and at 22k per hour that was not bad. But again my coach said 1h, 30 mins. I did 2 hours. I'm now very tired. I've had a bath, lunch and a good book on the bed sounds good. lesson of the day.... Follow instructions
Its just so hard when the sun is shining and theres no wind or rain and no rush to go any where else. But then this is why I have a coach.