Thursday, 31 January 2013

Karen writes: Still going...

The cough still lurks, but it sounds worse than it is, it's not interfering with work, life, or training, but does garner a few nervous looks from other people so I'm pretty much staying in isolation.

Yesterday I had a good ride, 100 minutes playing with the aerobars, probably not going any faster than usual and I'm not familiar enough with them to tell if the promised 'less energy usage' is true, but I'm progressing, and most importantly, enjoying.  Managed a 30 minute run afterwards, I'm short on the off-the-bike runs, so I will do another of those this week.  What with the aerobars, and a set of brand new very pretty wheels (not tried yet), I'm sure I shall leap off the bike saddle and run like the wind after the planned 7 hour cycling effort later in the week.  Yeah right.

The new wheels came about when the mechanic who was replacing my wrecked tyre from a couple of weeks ago spun the rear wheel and looking serious pointed out that there was a noise and a vibration that shouldn't have been there.  A new wheel was going to be some point...I wasn't excited by the prospect...but on the last long ride the noise became more apparent and I found a set of the recommended shimano wheels at a very fortuitous sale at torpedo 7, half the price sold elsewhere, so my hard used and old technology versions have been replaced.  And the poor old bike looks very nice with them on too.

Tonight I went for a good 12km run.  It was a bit of an anxious effort though, starting running down Okaroro road with the dry yellow fields on either side of the road heading towards the forestry.  I could see what I thought was smoke in the distance and I wondered about the fact that there was a total fire-ban on...should I ring the fire brigade, should I turn around and run home if there was a chance of fire in the dry bush?  There was no smell, and the closer I got the haze seemed to disappear, I guessed eventually that it might have been dust so I stopped worrying.

I got into the bush trails, wandering off the main trail with it's gorse and eucalyptus and onto the little side trails through the tall pine stands.  I often hear cracking noises on these trails, see a small branch or pinecone fall, but today there was lots of noise, and around one corner a big tree had broken at its base and fallen across the track, this was new since I was last there a few days ago.  What with fear of fire, then fear of being hit on the head by a tree, I didn't enjoy my solitary pottering in the shady bush as much as I might normally.  I went home.

This week my training hours are still a bit down, but hopefully I will get my longest bike-ride done, plus the 2nd longest run, then next week I can concentrate on the longest swim and longest run...then we only have a few weeks to go.  Eek!

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

kate writes: what would we do without friends?

Sunday morning I was going out ridding with Barbara, who is doing Ironman too. Her Husband, wonderful man , was dropping us at Karaka and we were going to ride home, about 80-90 k. We got the bikes out of the car to find that Barbara had left her front wheel at home! We sent the men off on their way to their event and started phoning for help. First call was to the daughter but she did not answer. The second to a swimming mate of ours who lives close by and is also a cyclist. Yes he had a spare wheel and yes he could deliver it to us. Wow what great friends we have. Bret then came and cycled with us for the next 3 hours giving us hints and tips on what we could do to ride better. Not only did he come to our rescue but a coaching session too. We were blessed .  

Monday, 28 January 2013

Kate writes: listen to your coach

I had had an  amazing camp and the coach had said to take it easy this week. Well a small swim and run was ok? So I signed up to do the stroke and stride on Wednesday evening. I mean to say it was only  1000m swim what could go wrong!

Well to start with it was really rough with big waves. Not as big as last week, that stopped me going for a swim but still big ones. I warmed up and got ready for the swim. I knew I was in trouble straight away. It was hard work, but I knew I had to go on. A lovely lifeguard on a surfboard came up and asked if  I was ok, I replied Yes but a few minutes later she asked if I wanted a rest. So I hung onto the side and we had a chat. I felt better and off we went again. I had 2 more stops before heading for home. Yes I managed to swim but wow I was tired. I came out exhausted. 4 bananas later I stopped shaking. The training weekend had taken a lot out of me. I took the next day off but will be back to the sea next week.  

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Karen writes: Write off last week

I've been sick.  It's a head-cold and while I've tried to be sort-of sensible about taking it a bit easy (except for last weekend), the cold wasn't shifting after more than a week. I'd had a day in bed and a total of 4 days off training.  How can I be an Ironman if I am incapacitated by a cold?

Today I finally got back to training, it was a decision that was kind of "should I...shouldn't I", but there comes a point where doing nothing stops being an option.  The 130km long ride was actually planned for an annual leave day yesterday, Friday, but I wasn't feeling too good, so this morning I was out the door before I could second guess myself.  I had my new aerobars with a flash big waterbottle thing (I'm copying Kate) mounted on them to try out so I headed to Clevedon then out to Kawakawa bay into the beautiful morning.

The new flash water bottle
I think being out on the road training sends me a little bit loopy.  Down on my aerobars was pretty good, much better than my previous experience and I quickly found I wasn't concentrating on them so hard but could let the mind roam a bit.  Not very far in this instance, the first thing I noticed was the musical notes coming from the front of the bike depending on which direction the wind was coming from.   I experimented with blowing across the top of the waterbottle and straw to see if I could play a tune, but the noise came from somewhere else, two distinct notes.  Took a while to figure out that the source was a series of holes on the underside of the aerobars and the noise got stronger as the inevitable wind came up.  Cool huh, musical cycling!

The next thing requiring thought was the proximity of the stiff drinking straw to my face.  I wondered if anyone had died of trans-nasal brain puncture using one of the things but figured out eventually that any event traumatic enough to send the straw up the nose with that much force that would be likely to be fatal for other reasons.  Note to self, shorten straw.

So I learned a bit about my new equipment, like the water bottle has a small removable compartment which you can freeze, this was fantastic, kept the 1 litre of water really pleasant for the first couple of hours.  I could refill the big bottle really easily by just pouring in a smaller bottle from the top, that will be handy for Ironman.  I learned you cant drink when not down on the aerobars, the angle is all wrong so if I took in a gel for example, it had to be in a place on the road I could safely change to aerobar position.  I figured out that water sploshing out from the drink bottle was just as bad for my old bike computer as rain so that needs sorting out. After a couple of thoughtless near misses I learned that I can get away with some things on my bike sitting up normally, things like shifting position, taking a foot out of the cleat to stretch, CANT do those sorts of things while using aerobars.

All in all I had a good morning, tried out salt capsules instead of electrolyte drinks which seemed to be easier on my stomach, stopping for a flavoured milk drink at 60km works magic for energy levels but I'm still bothered that milk is only described as being suitable for recovery, not during training, cant help but wonder if there is something I am missing about this.  Didn't take enough gels but made it home feeling pretty good. All on for a big run tomorrow, hopefully I'm back on track again.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Kate writes: ironman Camp

This was going to be my 3rd Camp. So nothing was new! I knew the routine, did I have my own room, yes I did. A little celebration and a little dance. There is nothing like a room to yourself when you are tired. There were 14 of us in one house. A bit of a squeeze but it makes it cheaper for us all, and we were all very good to each other. No long showers and a list of jobs all helped out.

Friday evening we went for a run around the top end of the course at Taupo. 8k gentle run and a quick catch up with one of the girls. You know you are not going fast enough if you can talk. We had a lovely pasta supper and off to bed. Woken at 3:30 in the morning with someone letting off fireworks.

Saturday at 5:45 to be out of the house at 6am and swimming at 6:30. Last year I had a wobbly at the swim but no problem this year . Straight into the water and off we went. The sun was just beginning to rise, there was a mist on the water and you could not see the golf platform that we were aiming for. But I kept sighting the mountain in front and kept it on the right hand side. Wow it was a beautiful swim. I swam about 35 minutes and then turned around. It felt so good. There was a man on a paddle board next to me at one point and I thought how lucky I was to be there. I did see crocodiles in the water though but they did not move.

Back to the house for breakfast and then out on the bike. 3 hours riding around the course around town. It was good to look at hills and turns. The wind was behind me as I went down to the bottom of the long hill and I clocked up 60k, it was a good job that I did not see how fast I was going at the time.

Back to the house for Lunch. Food becomes so important. We then talked about transitions and nutrition. A little sleep was had and then out for another run. This time doing the middle part of the run. This was from the house to the Mobil garage. Taupo is having new water mains so there is a lot of road works. hope they are better in 6 weeks time!
Sunday 5:45 wake up time, quick breakfast and out to the swim by 7am. We were doing a swim/bike transition.  Ricky said he would swim with me which was very kind, as its very reassuring to have someone close by, mind you he cannot swim in a straight line. I would stop and look for him on one side only to find him on the other. But a big Thank you as it was a great help.

We were last in from the swim and straight onto the bikes. We were off on a 180km ride. It was actually good to be last as I could not see anyone and could go at my own speed. It was a slow ride out to Reparoa. I always ask myself Why? I even had to ask my coach, was there a head wind, and yes there was. Rode back well and came in the first lap 3hours 50mins, not bad! Tried some boiled potatoes as a snack and a banana and thought that would keep me going for the next few hours. By now the sun had come out and the temp was up to 30 degrees. A fast ride out this time. The wind had moved. But that meant a slow ride home. It was very hot. I like my new water bottle on the areobars. But I do not think I was drinking enough. I thought my friend Alisa was coming, she drives a large Ute and when the car arrived it was a Mini! At this point  I knew I needed to pull over in the shade and have a drink and more food.   Another 10k I can do that. It came to that point that I had to break everything down. I knew I could get to 150k, then 157k as that's as far as I have ridden. All I could think of was that Coach had said finish the ride, you can walk tomorrow. Then what next! Tina arrived with an ice block and cold water. It was the best thing ever. I could finish. Off I went again up the hill, could see the yellow sign next to the race track, turned again and into the last section. It was a great feeling coming into town. I had finished. But even better there was the Ute and friends waiting to pick me up with cold drinks. Back to the house a shower and then out to dinner.

Monday 5:45 wake up again and off for a run at 7am. We could run for 3 hours, that was the plan. Well I managed 3k and felt tired so decided to walk. It was hot and I was tired. But I managed 16k. Back to the house and a clear up, car packed and a sad goodbye to all my new friends. A long drive home with a couple of stops to refuel. Yes it was a great weekend, now more training is needed.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Karen writes: Stay in bed or run or stay in bed or...

Saturday night I set the alarm for 5am to have an early breakfast before the Sunday long run.  I was awake long before this, coughing, sneezing, swigging water for my sore throat.  It's a head-cold, just a minor bug, but...what happens if it is really my body trying to tell me to take a rest...what happens if I make it worse and have to stop training for DAYS...what happens if I am really just being a wimp and trying to get out of training...what if...

The old 'above the neck' rule is the test, quick assessment, yep, thoroughly miserable but all symptoms above the neck, no temperature, so I got up and had breakfast, cleaned my teeth, reset the alarm for 7, and went back to bed.  7.30am, no new and more convincing excuses have arisen, out the door, thinking that if I felt really awful I could come home, the first half hour to get to Tepuru only felt moderately awful, in fact the further I ran the better I felt.  My throat had gone numb, my hanky was suffering from overuse, but running itself felt pretty good.  After the hard workout on the cycle the previous day I had expected protests from the legs, not a whimper. With two other runners I ended up doing a short version of the Maraetai forest route, it was lovely, we had to take it easy because one of the runners was stretching out her distances and that was probably a good thing for me, the forest trails were cool after the hot tarseal and when we got out of the forest I kept going quite happily to finish up around 20km.

Home, shower, off to the nephew's 5th birthday party, ate all the wrong foods and didn't drink enough water, and with 20/20 hindsight came to thinking that probably that run wasn't the most sensible thing I've done recently. I drooped home, and spent the afternoon feeling sorry for myself, not quite able to sleep, not feeling alert enough to do anything, yuck. Thank goodness the girls are old enough to entertain themselves a bit more these days if their mum's brain goes on holiday occasionally.

Monday the bike goes to the shop for the aerobars.  I should say 'perhaps', I have planned to do this a number of times and always had legitimate reasons (excuses) for coming out of the shop without the things in place.  I tell myself that it will really happen this time, I'm ready to grow up and be a proper triathlete, and of course if I hate them I can always take them off again before Ironman and hide them under the desk or something before anyone notices.  I sigh as I look at the mess from Saturdays race on the poor old bike, road grime, dirty chain, drink spatters, most of that is explainable.  What might not be so explainable is the series of bits of sandwich crust jammed under one of the auxiliary brake levers, now I remember what happened, the bit of rubber holding it fell out on the bumpy roads at Hunua and the thing rattled and rattled and all I had was sandwich to silence it...better clean that up before it gets to the shop!

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Karen writes: SRAM Tour de Ranges

I headed off with a dose of lemsip and extra hankies this morning, the cold I caught on Thursday is having it's effect, but I'm tough...aren't I?  Got to Clevedon, people everywhere, the event was much bigger than I had anticipated and I was glad I was there a little early to get good parking.  I got all ready, hopped on my bike in the parking area to test the gears and promptly fell off onto the grass. No harm done, just the pride as I lay like an upturned bug under my bike.

At the start I lurked at the back of the group, not wanting to be overtaken by every man and his bike, but came adrift with this when we hit the first big hill 5km out.  There was a bottleneck of people who had raced along the flats but were still getting into their hill-climbing stride so to speak, it was a bit tricky there for a bit going round people uphill who would pass me again on the downhill, and they did.

The field thinned out soon enough, well, left me behind actually, and I enjoyed wandering along at what was for me a fast clip towards Hunua.  I got a fright when there was a whoosh and a big group came chugging past me, "hop on" they said and I said "no thanks", "HOP on pinky" more of them said (my pink leg warmers got lots of attention again), "no thanks, I don't want to draft, I'm triathlon training" as I resisted being pulled along in their wake...I looked longingly at the tail end and the only thing I could do was slow a bit so as not to be towed along until the group started to break up on the hills and the fast ones took off.

Wow, what wonderful weather, sunny, mild, no wind most of the way, well actually, I didn't think there was any real wind but I did see someone complaining about a slow time because of the wind on the Facebook page, goodness knows where they were training if they thought that was wind...indoors?  All pretty uneventful, just pedalling pedalling pedalling, the marmite and honey sandwiches being eaten, the frozen milk drink had thawed enough to drink at 50km, and the road just kept disappearing under my tyres.  The only thing of note was on the first set of big hills before Kawakawa bay, coming down one of those wonderful narrow, winding, steep roads hanging on to my brakes for dear life, there were people frantically signalling to slow down and it turned out someone had had a nasty accident, puts a damper on things for a bit as you ponder the frailty of the two wheeled human. There was other evidence of strife in other places too so for some people the day obviously wasn't so good.

Ten points off for that nasty man in his white mitsubishi who came up behind me on the road at Kawakawa bay and hooted and yelled abuse because HE had to slow down behind me in the face on oncoming traffic.  No I wont get right off into the b&&&&y gravel for impatient motorists!

Back to Clevedon, feeling pretty pleased with myself and overtaking lots of people over the last 5km, I wasn't going faster, so much as they seemed to have slowed down after over 100km of hard road.  Anyway, the whanau were there cheering which was so nice, and I managed 4 hours 46, had been planning on 5.  I was 86th out of 97 women, I wasn't last!  Ever notice that the imbalance between men and women is HUGE in these events, I mean, less than 100 women, and over 500 men, what is that about?

I didn't go for my run off-the-bike though, and I have spent the afternoon moping around barely functional.  Right now I'm trying to stay awake a bit longer because it seems a bit wimpy to want to be in bed at 8pm.  Tomorrow is the test though...long run, on properly tired legs at last.

Wonder how Kate is going at Ironman camp?

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Kate writes: more yoga

Yesterday the wind was blowing and there was a large party going on outside the office and it was decided to do exercise inside. Well It was yoga! The last lot of yoga I did, that was obviously old lady yoga as I could not feel any difference with it. But this yoga was led by one of the staff and I was exhausted by the end of it.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Kate writes: how to have a good time?

A girl has got to have a good time Yep! Well the running group just know how to show me a good time by taking me on a new run. Fun you might say, but the problem comes when male ego takes over. We run on a Monday night in Waiuku. Anyone is able to join us if you want. It was raining, not hard but enough to cool us down. Off across the road and around the estuary we went. There are some new side walks and bridges that have been built. No problem with those. The problem arose when the boys decided to carry on around where the mangroves grow. It was muddy and by the time they decided that we could not get through I was knee deep in mud. The clean running shoes were covered in mud and leaves and grass and who knows what else.  It was fun but we did look a sight. I was amazed that we were allowed in the pub after our run.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Karen writes: The essential Tube Scarf

I've mentioned my 'Buff' tube scarf a few times, well that's a brandname, there are other versions as well. They are also advertised as "multi-functional head(or neck)wear" which is a bit more of a mouthful. Basically a tube scarf is just what it sounds like, a tube of light knit ("seamless microfibre") fabric, if you believe Buffwear's advertising they are quick dry and fluid wicking, keep you warm, sun protect, in fact do almost anything except cook and clean.

I LOVE my tube scarf, and am most often found to be wearing one when out training.  Under the cycle helmet they don't seem to overheat but do keep the sun away from ears and the back of your neck, and in the rain and wind they help keep your head warm.  I use an ordinary tube scarf under a sunhat for running in the cold and wet, but have one which has a cool little visor sewn into it which I use by itself for running in the heat. They go through the washing machine a lot better than your usual sunhat which is an advantage, you spend money on a hi-tec go fast sunhat and the thing gets grotty pretty quick because they dont stand up well to a good scrub.

Of course it seems there are lots of ways to wear a tube scarf, I'm a bit boring, choosing only Sahariane, Do Rag or cap usually, but some people are apparently endlessly inventive.

It should be mentioned that in addition to wearing the things I also find they are handy for cleaning sunglasses, wiping sunscreen out of the eyes, and occasionally as an emergency handkerchief...preferably only in that order.   The pretty ones don't tend to stand up well to wiping grease off your hands when your chain falls off though.

kate writes: I was not the slowest!

 The bike group sent out a message for a group ride on Sunday. Yes I'm up for that. I needed to do a 3 hour ride and thought I could add in extra if necessary. Usually with the group ride i'm left behind and they come back to check on me. But Sunday I was not the slowest :) . It was a good ride out 2hrs 40 mins and 70 k later I felt good.  I had to work hard at the ride but it was well worth it. Thanks boys for your help and support. 

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Karen writes: Training, the luxury of time

This weekend all I have had to worry about is what my next training session is, and what to eat either to prepare for or recover from it.  Until tomorrow of course, back at work, and then the whanau come home again and training gets squashed in and around that thing called 'life'.  It's good timing having some space to focus with about 4 weeks of real training (plus 2 weeks of taper) left before the Ironman.

Anyway, Friday I took a few hours annual leave to go for a bikeride.  Friday was pretty hot, I left work at lunchtime and went home to get ready for a hard slog, organised layers of sun block clothing, sunscreen, food, water, money, and headed for Whitford on the bike.  As I was riding along one road I wondered what the sweet smell was, that was answered when I came upon a truck loaded with honey supers, mmmm, the aroma of warm honey and wax heating up in the hive on a hot day, when the truck took off again I could just about have followed it on it's wandery way from the trail of smell alone.  I screwed up my eating on this ride, the sandwiches and gels and electrolyte drink left me feeling slightly ill, and lacking in energy.  4 hours in I stopped at a fruit shop and bought 500mls of really cold flavoured milk, an iced tea, and strangely enough felt much better.  Not sure how I could duplicate that in an event.  More work on nutrition needed.

This year instead of choosing the flattest route for the long rides, I'm choosing enjoyable routes, these are often hilly and the penalty is that the legs work a bit harder and I'm longer on the road.  My theory is that I might be doing the distance on the plan, but I'm doing it harder than last year, so nearly 6 hours later I was home after having done 130 slow and challenging km's.  I staggered up the driveway, struggled into running shorts and shoes and looking like a moron because I couldn't be bothered taking my cycling shirt, buff scarf and arm warmers off, I trotted off for 30 minutes of dodging people and cars alongside the packed beach. And the run went ok, it only takes a few times practising running 'off-the-bike' to reduce the wobbly leg thing and improve your breathing.  If you are doing triathlon, do even a short run after long rides, it will help heaps.  The trick...leave your running gear at the door ready to go so there is no excuse to collapse on the sofa after the ride.

Saturday was OFF.  Of course.  I did housework.

Sunday morning I was awake at 4am, so decided to have my breakfast then in the hopes I would go back to sleep uninterrupted until 7. It was shaping up to be hot...the decision was to take one bottle of water and run by known water-stops/shops, or take a Camelpak in case I got tempted by the bush trails.  Camelpak it was, and it was just as well, I ran in both Whitford forest and the Maraetai forest and I drank 2 litres of water in that 3 hour run and came home thirsty.  I ran through the Omana camp ground to start, there were lots of people camping, it amazes me how people interpret the camping experience so differently.  Those doing it hard with the bare essentials, to those with tables and chairs, portable cupboards, and bbq's with more knobs and dials than my stove. I passed one lady walking along a path and wondered what sort of activities she was doing on her camping experience which were ok for wearing white trousers with perfectly ironed creases.  Wish I could manage being that immaculate when I'm dressed up, let alone when camping.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Kate writes : I can fly!

Well that's what the man said in the shop. He said that I will go like a rocket when he had finished setting my bike up. I was like a kid in a toy shop yesterday. I went to have my bike set up and new bike shoes. My feet have actually grown! I am now running in a size 43 instead of a 40 when I first started running. Consequently my bike shoes have been a bit tight for some time. I had to wait for the visa bill to go down before I could add more. There were some nice shoes in the shop at a bargain price, but only one pair of specialized white carbon fibre soled ones in a size 42 and they fitted just like Cinderella. It took over an hour to have the bike set up. Seat post 2 cm higher, aero bars lower , cleats moved several times. I also had a water bottle fitted on the aero bars.

So last night off I went to see how it felt and yes it felt better, but no I do not go any faster, but maybe I will just feel better on the long rides. What was an interesting exercise was the water bottle! I am very stiff and trying to bend more to get my mouth down to the straw was definitely an experience. Good job there was no one following or else they might have thought I had Vodka in the bottle the way I wandered all over the road.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Kate writes: I really did try!

What you might ask did I try to do. Well it was a simple thing to go swimming last night. I worked hard all day and thought I would swim in Otara pool after work. It was a nice day and I though everyone would be outside. But no the indoor pool was full including the swimming lanes with people and children walking. So home I went. But on the way home I thought lets go to Waiuku pool, the outside pool, it closes at 6 so should just about get the swim in. But No it was closed at 5pm!  Grump grump! New World beckoned and a bottle of wine and sausages for tea. So you can see I was trying!! Yes I know, very trying :)

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Karen writes: Nagging Voice in the Brain - NVB

I'm doing a lot of “what was I doing this time last year?”,  “am I in better or worse shape than I was then?” type of thinking.

The answer is, who can tell?   That doesn't help really, because we never really tested ourselves at the full IM distance when the 2012 IM was downgraded, there is a definite psychological advantage to be had in being able to at least fool ourselves into thinking that we are marginally fitter than we were a year ago.  Last week I did an hour more training than the equivalent week in 2012…but then the Nagging Voice in the Brain (NVB) says “but you didn’t do as much swimming and you are weak at that”.  I reminded myself that I swam my best time in the Rotorua Half IM swim in December…NVB says “that was AGES ago”.  Likewise, the ‘off-the-bike’ run on Friday felt pretty good and I had a good long run (24km) on Sunday…NVB says “ah but you took a whole day off before doing the Friday ride/run, and the Saturday after it off as well…what happened to running on ‘tired legs’, you must be in worse shape”.  My NVB really doesn't like me.

This morning I left home early to try to silence the swimming NVB.  I even persevered after forgetting my laptop and having to turn around and drive back for it (I normally carry 2 bags in the morning, this time it was handbag and swimbag). I got to the pool, squashed my way into a lane predominated by a surplus of stately male walkers, and splashed out 50 frustrating minutes worth of paddle and flipper training.  50 minutes was exactly what the plan says so please be quiet NVB!

Tonight I will go for a run, the plan says 70 minutes tempo (meant to be a little faster than ‘usual pace’…ha ha), but LAST year I did 80 minutes at this time!   The NVB says “do 100 minutes, at much faster than usual pace”…um…no.

Kate Writes: running group

Monday nights is running night. We have not meet up for a few weeks as Christmas and New Year has got in the way. So last night I meet up with a couple of the lads and poppy the dog.  It was blowing a gale and we had a good head wind to start with. Hats were being blown every where. It was great when we turned the corner and had a tail wind. I'm a little stiff today and I think its because I am running faster. It was a good run and I ran the whole way, up two hills and all the way back to the pub! The running group makes me run faster and stay true to the run other wise I tend to give up too easily.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Karen writes: Video clip IM 2012

What is the Ironman event like? This is a YouTube clip showing the 2012 Taupo Ironman, it gives a very very tiny and of course slightly sanitised glimpse of how things happen in the event, starting with the leadup in the days before, the early morning marking and getting ready, the transitions and aid stops, but most particularly it shows how much hard work the amazing volunteers do.  We will be there in a few weeks again to hit the Ironman trail again...properly this time...not sure whether to go 'eek' or 'yahoo'!

Karen writes: SRAM cycle

I've signed up for the 2013 SRAM Tour de ranges cycle ride round the Hunua Ranges, it's advertised as 'the most beautiful ride of the year'.  Kate is busy that weekend so she wont be coming but we did this route in November and we reported that it was spectacular but all HILLS and more hills.  This ride distance doesn't really fit with my training plan, which asks for a 130km long ride that week not 110, but using the power of justification, I figure since hills are so much harder than flat riding the 15% shorter ride will be just fine.
The thing with long rides is that they are by definition...long.  It is also now summer so rides are usually hot and with Auckland weather you can often expect windy conditions at some point on most routes, especially coastal ones. For a slow cyclist like me getting any sort of distance is also extremely time consuming and its hard to be cheerful getting in the saddle knowing you have 5, 6 or 7 hours ahead of you of just pedal eat pedal eat pedal eat.  So by entering this event one of those long rides has suddenly become much more appealing, I get to participate in a bit of hype, see some top cyclists line up, the gun will go off delivering a shot of adrenalin at the start and then I can then bumble along for 5 or so hours, free of responsibility knowing I'm not out by myself being the only mad rider on the road.  Hopefully I can talk to other back of the pack riders and best of all there will be water-stops so I don't have to lever myself off the bike and clip clop into a shop with the shopkeepers looking at me like I am going to rob the place or sweat unnecessarily on the clean floor.

This will also be a chance to test Ironman nutrition, because being in an event does something to your insides that just pottering around training by yourself doesn't, perhaps its being in a state of natural anxiety before a 'race' or perhaps its the inclination to push a tiny bit harder when there are other people around who look like they are struggling and should be slower than you (but usually aren't). There can also be a physical stress from being out in a more adverse situation than usual because when you pay money you turn up whatever the conditions, whereas on a normal session you minimise discomfort, like go early if it's hot weather, shift to another day if it's windy or rainy.  Whatever the reason, if I get a stomach ache or run out of energy it is usually in an actual event, not when I'm dawdling around the backroads of Clevedon with the option of heading for home the minute things get a bit hard.

So here are my long cycle distances over the next 7 weeks and 4 days - 120km, SRAM 110km, 140km, 160km, 110km, 140km, and 100km. To tell the truth though, I suspect I wont be doing that last 100km before Ironman. Hey, I just said '7 WEEKS', that means only 5 more weeks of real training, getting fitter and staying uninjured.  Wow, last time I looked we were still in double figures!

Friday, 4 January 2013

Karen writes: Feels like Ironman training

All these double sessions, and now a long ride followed by an 'off-the-bike' run today, I'm tired, but I'm feeling at last like I am getting into proper Ironman training.  This morning I headed out early on the bike to ride 110km, unlike last year this included just one loop of those boring and grubby roads around Takanini, most of the time was in much nicer places like on my new route out to Kawakawa bay.  I also revisited a place with some good memories, hey Kate, you remember that Whitford loop...about 6km long?  We rather mistakenly thought that by doing this particular loop three times we were trained enough for our first 160km Taupo cycle challenge, that was back in the days when we had our first cleated shoes and stopping more often than not involved lining up a convenient post or powerpole to hang onto.  There was one bright spot in Takanini though, I queued up on a narrow road with the cars at a police checkpoint, and had to laugh when the earnest young policeman declined to breath test me.  I mean, why should I miss out, quite apart from being bleary eyed, windblown, and unco-ordinated, my fashion sense alone should have been enough of a red-flag (lots of fluoro, pink shoes, blue buff scarf).

So after over 5 hours of cycling on an increasingly windy day, I came to the conclusion I was slow, slower than I needed to be for the IM ride, but I let myself off that as the ride was much hillier. I dawdled home telling myself that I didn't need to go for the planned run because the ride was more than tough enough, but when I got home I convinced myself that even 5 minutes of running would be better than nothing, so got my shoes on and after a lot of mental game playing ("I will just run to the next to the point...the public toilet") and I ended up doing nearly the required half hour.  Can't underestimate the value of those mind games.

The bike needs to go to the shop, the rear gears are slipping rather badly and the horrible noise when that happens makes me worried that damage is being done to my new cogs.  And there is that unresolved matter of the tri-bars, wonder where I put them?  I need maintenance too, everything hurts!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

kate writes: Cannot read

I just read Karen's last blog. I could not understand where the starfish came in! Then I realised it said selfish! Hahaha. Well my good intentions went out the window on Monday. Do I go for a swim or New years eve party early. It was a hard decision and the party won. A short swim was had. On New Years day, a very short swim. No or at least little sleep did not help the training. So the next day I got back on my bike and did some training. Yippee yes I was back on track. Today Swimming and Yoga. I'm very impressed with myself. But as you can see from the title of the blog I cannot read and now need an afternoon sleep!

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Karen writes: Selfish

To train for Ironman you have to be a bit selfish.  But also realistic, there are some things in life that trump training, you have to be flexible but it doesn't mean it's easy to be entirely grown up about it all the time.

I had planned a long bikeride this morning, got up early for a big breakfast of rice porridge, sorted the bike out, put the water bottles in their cages, sandwiches were packed and I was standing at the door dressed and ready to go when then the Coastguard locator went off, W had an urgent call-out.  Ok, I'm never-ever-ever going to say "let them drown" but after I stood on the deck watching that little rescue boat go racing off for who knows what and who knows how long, I selfishly couldn't help but think about how HARD it was to get out of bed early on this holiday morning, and how much trickier training was if you couldn't do it when and how you wanted.  All that and of course the fact that I had eaten twice my normal calories for breakfast and now wasn't going to use them.  On this beautiful clear, still morning, I put the bike back in the shed, took off my cycling gear, made breakfast for the girls, and finally remembered that I was lucky enough to have choices and faced the spin-bike or nothing dilemma.

I looked at my training plan, aha, there was a 90 minutes spin on another day, so I substituted that for today's planned long ride and moved the long ride to Friday. I just do not do strenuous spin sessions at home so I figured that I could also tuck the run I missed yesterday in this afternoon...if I was careful about what I ate for, no bacon and egg croissants.  YES, this would work out alright!  I sound a bit blasé when I talk about mucking around with my training plan, I'm not really, you have to be very careful not to 'stack' the tougher sessions so they are too close to each other, this is really important for me because if I tire myself out  too much I can take a week to recover with the hypothyroid thing, I make sure I'm not doing excessive amounts of one discipline one day after another to reduce injury risk and I always try to keep the rest day (or days!) where most useful.

So spin was spent sort-of concentrating on low resistance, high cadence, and of course reading my book at the same time. Then I took the girls swimming and I tried not to be too energetic, much to their disappointment, they usually like to be towed along on their boogie boards...I call it strength training.  At 3pm I went for an 80 minute run in the bush, that was difficult in the heat but it's good to practice in all conditions.  So after my little sulk I'm actually doing ok this week with the training plan, well, I'm ticking things off, not necessarily as intended but that's life. Happily no-one did drown this morning out at Kawakawa bay, but I just hope the weather is ok for the now Friday long ride, and of course there aren't any more urgent interruptions.