Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Karen writes: And the time goes by...and by

Anyone could be excused for thinking that the lack of activity on the blog means lack of activity full stop.  Well, no actually, quite the opposite.  Whangarei half marathon came and went, notable because of wet weather and the prevalence of cold induced 'goose bumps' on a large proportion of the under-dressed field. Hamilton half marathon was a day-trip with Kate and her dog on a lovely mild, overcast day where we pottered along on a pleasant undulating back-road course. Finally weekly training has gone from around 5 hours of running, up to a rather surprising 12 hours last week, but once you start putting in swimming and ever-increasing cycling miles the time mounts up quickly. Not that I am planning to stay at that level, even for Ironman, the complicating factor this time is that extra marathon right in the middle of preparation for the 160 km round Taupo cycle challenge then Rotorua half Ironman, usually at this point those events would be my main focus and I certainly wouldn't be logging all the extra running hours.

Something I have really enjoyed recently has been a set of six 'run clinics' organised by local triathlon coach Lawrence Oldershaw.  I'm part of a group  made up of women who are family members or crew for the local volunteer Coastguard and we are taking part in a women's only triathlon at Maraetai beach in November. There is nothing like being part of a group like this, you can have tremendous fun learning off each other and...ha ha... suffering together.   Anyway, Lawrence's run clinic on a Saturday morning has involved such tortures as running backwards up short slopes, 200 m lengths in soft sand, and inelegant drills where you run while flicking your heels up to your back-side or bring your knees up high in an exaggerated sort of skip stride. Oh, and time trials.   Anyway, he achieved the impossible and all of our time-trial times improved. My brief spurt of extra speed hasn't obviously translated into my normal training distances yet but there must be a benefit in there somewhere waiting to come out. Especially when I add the intervals and strength exercises personal trainer Garyth is encouraging me to persist with, which I am doing, but admittedly not very persistently! Otherwise training has gone as usual.  Longest distance on the bike is 86km so far and I have six weeks to get up to at least 120km, but when that will happen I'm not sure with being in taper for Auckland marathon now.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my long runs recently, with some impressive local runners coming along to get long slow distance before their big first-time events, they jog along beside me on a Sunday morning like hobbled race-horses as I do my usual cart horse impersonation.  Sunday just gone saw me heading out with a very experienced half-marathoner J for our last long runs before Auckland and we headed into the Whitford forest.  So far, so good.  Well I with my usual sense of direction suggested we try a trail we hadn't tried before, on the assumption that surely if it went to the left we would go in a circle and end up on another trail back the way we came.  Um, no.   It was a beautiful and slightly strenuous run/walk, but it soon became clear that we were headed away from where we wanted to be and eventually we ended up on a main track, goodness knows where, by now we were entirely disorientated.  We were never in any danger, but home was getting further away and we were covering way more kilometers than we had planned. Thank goodness for GPS, and some friendly mountain bikers, the right direction was confirmed and we headed home. I laughingly told J that she was ready for the full marathon, I'm not sure she realised that I wasn't really joking, hope she is still talking to me next weekend!

So this week, how to taper for a marathon, but keep on building up for both a big bike-ride and a half Ironman. That is the question and whether I have the right answer will be only apparent in 11 days time when I turn up at the start line.  And what a start line, I am booked to catch the 4.50 am ferry from Pine Harbour to the North Shore, I think I'm looking forward to that trip at least as much as the run.