Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas Training

Christmas week was always going to be an interesting affair. How do you squeeze in training when one has so many family commitments to keep. To complicate things for me was the small matter of a plane trip to Christchurch and an uncomfortable few sleeps in a cabin in the same room as two rather excited kids both under the age of 5.

I’ve had a little bit of feedback regarding one of my previous blog entries (basically around the length), so for those of you who are pressed for time here’s the short version of my Christmas training experience.

My family and I arrived in Christchurch. I put on a kilo, got sick and only managed a total of two hours training over the course of six days.

Actually that pretty much sums things up. Training wise it wasn’t a great week. I went off for a run on Monday past the Christchurch airport and down to my brother’s place in Russley. There was a nor-wester blowing and it was stinking hot. My heart rate was unusually high and I was starting to suffer by the end of it. I had a fairly bad sleep that night and right on queue I woke up with what was either a cold of really bad hay fervour. Given that I felt like rubbish for most of both Christmas and Boxing day and the hay fervour pills didn’t seem to do anything, I guess I was actually sick. By the 27th I was starting to feel better, which was just as well as it was my birthday (yay to me, 32 years old!). I went for a nice easy run on a mix of road and off road around a near by lake, and felt really good for it. That afternoon I went for a half hour ride with my brother. It was an interesting affair. My brother is a top kayaker, having represented New Zealand for several years. He also has 5 kids with another one on the way, so time for him is even more precious than it is for me. As a result he uses a hand bike so that he can get in extra upper body workouts (it also means that people give him heaps of room on the road as no one wants to hit a cripple (which is what he looks like on his hand bike)). So off we went, him on his hand bike, and me on his mountain bike complete with his wife’s pink helmet – cool! It was a bit slower than I’m use to but it was still good to turn the legs over.

Aside from the training though things were really good. I got to hang out with my whole family which doesn’t happen very often, my kids had a very exciting time and really enjoyed hanging out with their cousins, plus there was a reasonable haul of presents to both take down and bring back. Plus there was the pervading joy of celebrating the birth of Jesus which, after all, is the whole point of Christmas in the first place.

I’m back in Auckland now and feeling much better. I got in an ocean swim of around 2.5k’s at Long Bay. The beach was packed as it was a beautiful day. The sea was calm and quite warm, meaning I had a lovely swim. And this afternoon I also managed to get an easy half hour run done.

As of next week the in-laws (bless them) are going to help out where the can to allow me to get in some bigger training days. This will be really great as my wife works on a Saturday so doing a long ride, run or brick is very difficult and as a result my training load at the moment is probably only just adequate. So hopefully the next two months will see a final “rush” of quality training that will really build on what I’ve done already and see me in good stead for 1st March.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Post race week

This week has been fairly laid back with recovery being the name of the game for the first half of the week.

After the long drive home on Saturday it was straight into playing with the kids as my wife had to go out that evening and was working on Sunday. One endurance event finishes and another one starts, but thats my life and I love it. All the running around after them ment that my legs didn't have a chance to stiffen up and I actually felt pretty good.

Sunday evening sore me back on the bike for an easy and short ride just to get the legs turning over. Mondays session was a 2k swim in the pool followed by a 40 minute ocean swim on Tuesday (I'm guessing that was around two k's as well). By and large the workouts have all been fairly easy with the hardest being a 40 minute run up a hill (The Avenue) on Thursday. Today's plan is to get in a short bike (I have time working against me today as I have to be back by 9.30ish and won't be able to get going until around 8ish - but its all good - and tomorrow I'll be trying for a run (in saying that we're all off to Christchurch tomorrow night so I think it will be a bit manic with packing and excited kids etc).

Next week is planned as being and "unstructured" week, where basically I'll train whenever I can as we'll all be down in Christchurch with the rest of my family enjoying Christmas. My birthdays actually on the 27th December so I as a present I told my brother he could go for a run with me - I'll be nice to have the company, although he normlly leaves me really suffering over any distance up to 10k, so it'll be interesting. My sister who has recently discovered triathlon is also coming down so I'm pretty confident that it will be a reasonably active Christmas.

Below is my one and only photo of the Rotorua Half Ironman. I obviously wasn't too stuffed as being the true professional (at heart anyway) I remembered to zip up the top to show off the sponsors product.

Have a great Christmas!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

1st Triathlon - Rotorua Half Ironman

Yesterday I was down in Rotorua putting myself through a reasonable amount of pain and suffering in the Rotorua Half Ironman. The motto for this event is “The Pain is Never Far Away” and is pretty apt as its raced over a tough course. The bike has two particularly sharp climbs, the last and longest being, cruelly, right at the end, and the run starts off on a trail through the bush around the Blue Lake. The run is beautiful but tough, and includes a stairway to no where – I’ll explain later.

For those of you who don’t know (and I suspect that most people who follow this blog probably do know) a half Ironman, as the name suggests is exactly half the distance of a full Ironman (actually that’s not quite right as the swim is 2k’s not 1.9k’s which would be half the Ironman swim), so it was a 2k swim, followed by a 90k cycle and finished off with a 21k run.

This was actually my first triathlon and so was very much a step into the unknown. I have done some multi-sport events in the past but this was significantly different as you have no support crew sorting you out in the transitions. And in this case I had no support crew at all as unfortunately Helen and the kids couldn’t make it down with me, which meant that I had to sort everything out and get myself ready by myself. Doesn’t sound to hard I hear you say… unfortunately being a first time triathlon for me there was an awful lot of stuff going on in my head, and a lot of it I was working out as I went along. This, predictably, lead to some issues on race day.

Anyway I got to Rotorua on Friday afternoon and after only one wrong turn I managed to find the registration venue. I always get nervous that my name will somehow have been left off the list when I et to registration time, but thankfully, once again, everything was where it should have been and I registered without a hitch. It was then off to the Blue Lake to check out the course and get my tent sorted (I was staying at the Blue Lake Camping ground which was very convenient). I got my first look at the big climb (bike) it didn’t actually look to bad as I regularly train on tougher climbs at home, the difference of course being that I’d be running a half marathon immediately after this climb (literally, as you basically come up over this climb, and then have a short decent into transition). My first real challenge was setting up the tent (by the way thanks Rice’s for the use of your tent). It took me a wee while and a sneaky look at someone else’s tent which was the same kind as what I was using, but I got there in the end (hopefully) without looking like to much of a clueless idiot. The camp ground was a strange mix of bemused looking German Tourists and super fit triathletes, it was quite strange, you could almost feel the pent up energy. I then set about checking out the swim course and transition area, before setting up my bike and going for a short ride to make sure it all worked properly and to stretch my legs after the long drive.

Dinner was the endurance athletes staple of pasta (tasty little chicken parcels in my case) chased down with some creamed rice. When I was making it in the kitchen I was chatting to another guy who was doing the team option (ride). He said that I looked as if I had been doing this for a while, which is the perfect kind of complement for my fragile ego. Walking around the camp ground it was funny seeing everyone checking out each others legs, you get that a bit when you hang around the cycling scene, so I guess triathletes are no different. I eventually called it a day and went to bed at around 9ish and actually had a reasonable sleep.

5am I was up again and munching on breakfast before taking my bike and gear up to transition and then picking up my timing chip. It was amazing how fast time flew past and I found myself running a bit short while I was busily pulling down the tent and getting the rest of my camping gear packed away (and I use “packed” in a very very loose sense). While I was doing this I noticed that I’d left a gel bottle that I was going to be using on the run behind, as well as the spare car keys which I’d planned to leave in my running belt (so I could actually get back into the car afterwards – things will be so much easier with a support crew). After a quick look at the watch I reckoned I had enough time to whip back into transition to drop it off while I drove the car to the car park (unfortunately I couldn’t leave it in the camp ground). So after dropping off the gel bottle and car keys it was quickly off to the car park to change into my wetsuit and then hurry on down to the swim start.

I was just about at the swim start when I looked down at my ankle and realise that I had left my timing chip in the car! I had 8 minutes to o until the start (3 minutes before the final briefing) and had to decide if I really needed it or not – I decided that I probably did and so ran to transition (again!) got the car key, ran to the car park, grabbed the timing chip and some sun block (which I’d also forgotten), and then ran back to transition to put the key back in the running belt and throw the sun block into my transition bin. After that I ran (some more) down to the swim start. On the way I ran in Steve Guy from and gave him my goggles and swim cap while I put the timing chip on. As I was doing this the race got underway, so while everyone else was in the water ready for the start, I was still on the beach fumbling around – better later than never I guess! I threw on my swim cap and goggles and sprinted into the water (slightly off course) and got underway. In my rush I hadn’t put my goggles on properly and had to stop after a 150m or so to empty the water out and put them on correctly. Not the ideal start, I was puffed, late and flustered.

It didn’t take to long before I got into a rhythm, it also didn’t take to long before the women (who started 5 minutes after the guys – but only a couple of minutes after me …) started passing me. Predictably I was smoked in the swim by the bulk of the field, I came out of the swim with 49 minutes showing on the clock, one leg down. The first transition was SLOOOWWW, something I’ll defiantly need to practice, it probably took me close to 10 minutes to get going. Once on the bike though I started doing some smoking of my own, passing a lot of people going up the first hill, going down the hill (where I hit 80kph) and onto the flat section pass the airport. I passed Kathy Miller ( ) going out pass the airport, I gather she had a bit of bad luck with punctures, check out her blog to catch up on her day). Speaking of bad luck, on the way back I past a guy walking he rather flash looking bike up hill. He didn’t seem to have a flat, and normally anyone who spends that much on a bike knows how to ride it, I was talking to a team rider after the race who said that that chap had lost his pedal and ended up biking the course (apart from the hills) with only one leg! Throughout the ride I was super conscious of not over doing it and making sure that I’d have enough left in my legs to put in an ok run. My main was of doing this was to keep my heart rate in check and staying fuelled. The eating plan was to have two “One Square Meal” bars (one at the start of the ride and the other two thirds into it) and a gel every half hour. This all worked out well and over the course I averaged just over 30 kph to give me a three hour ride.

The transition into the run went much more smoothly and I was quickly onto the run course. The run was a mix of single track through native bush (which was tough but beautiful), dirt road and sealed road. It consisted of a lap around the lake, followed by an out and back past the “buried village” with a 4 k detour down a dirt road to the Rotorua Gun Club, followed by another lap around the lake. There were a couple of hard parts to this run, including the bush track (ran twice), the stairway to nowhere, and a long sharp climb coming back from the buried village it was heading down this climb that I passed Graeme MacDonald ( ) going the other way, he must have been a good hour ahead of me and was looking really strong.

The stairway to nowhere needs some explaining. At the top end of the lake is a lookout, and the run course goes up to this across the lookout and down the other side. You could very easily simply stroll around it but no! You have to go up a bunch of steps (trying not to use the hand rail) take the 4 – 5 steps across the lookout platform and then down the other side, so basically a stairway that goes nowhere and is simply there to course you more pain!

The run itself was reasonably slow for me, I took 2 hours 5ish minutes, but kept a steady pace throughout which was always the goal. Unfortunately for me I ad some “gastro intestinal” problems for most of the run, and was constantly trying not to throw up (I think I may not have had enough water with my gels thus messing up my stomach) as a result I ended up doing most of it with just taking on board water – not ideal. So that’s something else to sort out before Ironman.

End result was 6 hours 9 minutes. I had hoped to go sub 6, and probably would have if it wasn’t my first triathlon (i.e if I had started the swim on time and did a half decent transition) and if my stomach behaved itself. Nevermind all in all it was a good outing and I learnt plenty from it.

I’ve found that I tend to get quite emotional doing stuff like this, it’s a mix of the effort and the corresponding endorphins floating around. In my first marathon I spend a lot of time after the 30k mark thinking about my kids and having to choke back the tears, in my second marathon it was my lovely wife who took my attention. This time round I found myself thinking about the pain and suffering I was putting myself through and the general pointlessness of it. This was followed closely by the pain and suffering that Jesus went through and the total worth of that and then I realise, like Paul did, that there’s redemption in suffering, at which point I got teary again (its funny how your mind works when you’ve been going hard for several hours).

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and thanks for your prayers and best wishes. I’m now about to head around the bend and get on the home stretch towards Ironman – not much longer to go.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Mountain Biking

or something a little different I went out mountain biking yesterday evenin with a mate. It was a really refreashing change and just great to get away form sealed roads and do something different.

The forest that we went to (Riverhead for those in the area) was a mix of single track and forestry road. The forestry road a fairly dry with loads of good solid uphill and nice long downhill, but the single track was muddy and slippery due to the better part of a weeks worth of rain.

I took it pretty easy as I was a bit worried of crashing and breaking myself with only a couple of days until the Rotorua Half Ironman (I have a habit of crashing when I go mountain biking). It was great, I didn't crash (which was more than I could say for my mate) and had a blast, I'll diffently be putting in some more mountain bike sessons in the near future (its acually quite good for your riding technique according to some studies I've seen).

Next up is the half ironman, I'm a bit nervious about this as it will be my first actual tri. I've done some multisport stuff before, but in multisport you have someone else (your support crew) taking care of the transitions for you. Plus I've never run a half marathon off a 90k ride before - so I guess I'll see how I go.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Another week down!

Another week down and now my countdown clock tells me that its less than 90 days to go! With December and summer here the training load is finally going to start to build up. To date most of my weeks have maxed out at 10 hours of specific training (I can't really count running around after the kids, running them to the shops / park / grandparents) or biking to the shops / church etc, although I'm sure it all helps!). That's all about to change as somehow I'm going to have to find time to get in around 15 hours of training a week and still put in the time as a father and husband.

I had a little bit of a taste of what things would be like if all I had to organise or be responsile for was myself, earlier on this week as my wife and kids went off to Taupo to spend a couple of days with a very pregnant friend (she's since had her baby by the way). They were away during the week (otherwise I would have gone) and in the space of a couple of days I managed to cram in 6 hours of training after work including one really great swim / bike / run brick session. If left solely to myself I'd be training like a manic all the time - but my life would be very empty and one dimensional.

Yesterdays ride was sensational and signifiantly better than last weekends for several reasons.

a. I'm off my antibiotics so the powers coming back
b. It was hot and sunny - which is exactly how I like it
c. I just generally had a better frame of mind
d. I had my race wheels on! (see picture of deliriously happy looking Kieran)

The ride felt great. There was a strong wind blowing and it was a very hilly course, so it was a real power workout, and I loved it. I have no idea of top or average speeds etc as I'm still trying to work out the best way of getting my bike computer wheel sensor attached to the tri-spokes (it normally clamps onto a wheels spokes), I think duc tape will be the best solution. I normally just motor on without knowing but I think, given that I'll be running after the ride, it would be best to know what I'm dong so I can work to my plan better. Anyway I did an 80k hilly ride in 2 hours 40 min which isn't bad at all.

The Rotorua Half Ironman is now under a week away, its a "C" race for me as its going to be my first actual triathlon and I have a bunch of things I'll be trying out (including a slightly new nutrition strategy - following yesterdays ride I've had to re-think things and don't have ime for a practice run). I'm a little apprehensive about how the run will go as I haven't done a lot of brick workouts due to being to worried about straining my ITB band again, so that part will be interesting (especially given as I'm inclinded to go pretty hard on the bike). I'm really looking forward to it though and it sounds like the course is going to play to my natural strengths. Watch this space for the race report next week.

In the meantime here's some more photo's of a happy rider!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Rubbish Ride

Ever had a day where your training just wouldn't work? Yesterday's "long ride" was like that.

I had planned to do a 110k ride but it got slashed to just 75k's as I felt like rubbish. The legs just wouldn't fire, it felt like I was constantly bashing into a head wind and I got rained on several times! I suspect that it was probably the antibiotic's messing up my energy system (they do that) but knowing that didn't make me feel any better about things.

I eventually got home in a bit of a grump after 2 hrs 20 min on the bike. So to make myself feel better I dusted off my tri-spoke race wheels put them on and tuned them into the bike. They're beautiful and I felt better just looking at them. I took the bike for a quick spin in the afternoon to make sure that I had tuned in the cluster correctly and that all the gears fired where they should, and came home with a big grin on my face. The wheels are FAST and make a cool wop wop wop noise when they start spinning.

I had my last antbiotic last night and am ow largely well again. So with the flash wheels on the bike I'm all set for the half ironman in two weeks time. My first propery triathalon, I'm so excited

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Feeling Better!

I woke up this morning feeling MUCH better, in fact it's probably the first time in over a week that I've actually felt good. I still have a bit of a "rattle" in my chest but the antibiotic's ought to deal with that in due course.

I've been eyeing up a new run run lately and today was a good day to try it out. Its 17k's long and takes just over an hour and a half on account of the fact that it has a couple of pretty decent hills along the way and is "undulating" in between. As a special treat the family showed up about an hour into the run to cheer me on and snap some pic's. There really is nothing like the voice of a 2 year saying "go daddy go" or the beaming face of a four year old to push you along.

It was a really good run and I was just so thankful to be out doing stuff again. It's a great course that see's you out into the country within 15 minutes, and I had a fanastic time. The four days resting must have been worthwhile as I felt super fresh throughout the run and wasn't particuarly tired at the end.

I had a good mix of music in the MP3 player, including some good old "crunch crunch" rock from Skillet as well as some deeper more searching stuff from Shawn MacDonald which got me thinking. One of his songs asks the particuarly deep question of God "what am I?" (as in "what am I that the creator of all this should go to the trouble of redeeming a broken soul?"). The answer of course is a love given without condition - it was at that point that my family turned up and it all made sense to me. Its amazing the revelations you get in this sport.

Alright that's my deep and meaningful for this week, I've got a bunch of things to do today (including mowin the lawns and cleaning the toliets - life doesn't stop for an Ironman wanabe). Tomorrow I've got a long ride (110k) booked in for the morning, and in the afternoon there's talk of my wife and kids heading down to Taupo to catch up with a pregnant friend who's due any day now ... which means that I can train selfishly, so there will probably be a swim at the beach followed by another long run - When you have a busy family you have to make the most of the opportunities which present themselves, even if it does mean throwing the plan away.

The only other things that have happened this week (its been quite as I've been sitting around feeling sorr for myself - as only blokes can I'm told) is that I've booked a tent site at the Blue Lake for the 14th Dec, so as soon as I find a tent I'm all set for the Half Ironman on the 15th. (Due to ciricumstance I'll be heading down alone and the family will be staying up here - hence I can be a cheapskate and get away with a tent ... assuming I can find one that is!)

Also being the first of the month I need to finish off my regular journal entry for Steve at to keep to my side of the rather generious sponsorship agreement (thanks Steve by the way).

It's good to be (mostly) well again.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Grrrr Stupid Illness

Sure its only been a couple of days (actually three, four if you count Saturday as I didn't do anything then either cause I was feeling a touch manky), but I'm staring to get grumpy and jumpy. The last couple of days have been beautiful in my part of the world and I've been forced to sit around and watch the sun transverse the sky rather than get out there and sweat in it.

It's driving me nuts! I'm still not quite right, but I'm much improved from where I was which is good.

Our family was heading out to a friends place, which is out in the country, this evening, so naturally I suggested "hey I could bike out and meet you there!" Sensibly this idea was met with a dissaproving look and a firm "NO" (which was of course the smart thing to do - wife always knows best).

So I'm havng one more days rest and tomorrow I'm going to run into work (which is now only 3.5 k's away), hopefully that will relieve some of my grumpiness!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Health and Wellbeing

Anyone paying attention may wonder how it is that I'm doing a blog entry at 3.30pm on a work day. The simple reason is ... I'm not at work.

The bug that's been doing the rounds of our family has fnally gotten the better of me and after getting up to settle down the kids a few times during the night I found that by the time morning came around I just couldn't make myself get out of bed. So I'm home sick.

My lovely wife, bless her eternally, made me go to the doctor. This is quite an achievement as I almost never go to the doctor (last time was around three years ago and I only went after I had fainted in the kitchen, and the doctor rather promptly sent me on to the hospital to get put on a drip!). The doctor was rather surprised that I'd managed to start the swim yesterday, let alone finish it. It turns out that I have something which I can't pernounce but involves a rather enlarged lympth node in the back of my mouth. My wife asked what would have happened if I had just left it and he said I would have got sicker and sicker to the point where my tonsiles may have needed to come out due to the likehood of an absess developing behind the lympth node. Needless to say that would have been really REALLY bad news as far as Ironman preperation goes.

As it is, I simply have a course of antibiotics to take and have been told to take a couple of days off work. I asked when I could start training again, the doctor said I was mad, but reckoned I should be right for a bit of training again by the end of the week.

So lucky me, I think I dodged a bullet thanks to my ever caring wife!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Harbour Crossing

This week hasn’t been the best week by a long shot. The whole family, bar me, have been sick all week (actually longer in my poor wife’s case). This has resulted in me slimming down a number of my training sessions so that I could help out more (breakast’s, dinners kids to bed etc), which is cool as on my list of priorities family comes first.

What was more of a concern was that despite holding out all week, on Friday I woke up with a sore throat and croaky voice. That didn’t bode well for the Harbour Crossing on Sunday, so I spent all day Saturday eating fruit, thinking healthy thoughts, and praying that the sore throat wouldn’t be followed by a runny nose and a chest infection.

So when I woke up on Sunday the first thing I checked was whether or not I could breath through my nose. It was OK. I certainly wasn’t 100% but good enough.

The day was beautiful and the water warm. This was my first mass start swim and it was quite an experience. There were over 1200 people entered so the field was pretty close to what there will be at IMNZ. I seeded myself safely towards the rear as I’m under no illusions as to my swimming abilities, even so the traffic was pretty heavy going for the first half of the swim. I had planned to it on peoples feet as much as possible and had some success in doing so, but the water was pretty murky and I gave up trying after a while.

I think in the end I must have swum well over 2.8 k’s as I kept verring to the right and had to repeatedly come back on course. In the end I finished in 1 hour 7 minutes, but most importantly I beat Rodney Hide! It was a really good day, I got to start next to Ian Johns (ex-All Black) and survived my first mass start open water swim.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Short Ride - Max Effort!

This week has been better than last training wise. Still not where it needs to be, but better neither the less. The highlight during the week was a good swim on Wednesday. I managed to get in 2.1k’s in around 40 minutes which is a blistering pace for me! So that gives me some confidence around next weeks harbour crossing.

I managed to get my runs finished before 10pm this week, mind you they were all short. At this point I’m planning on cutting down on the volume a bit, mostly to avoid injury, and basically just do maintenance workouts. Once a month I’ll do a run up to 20 k’s but not much more than that (unless I can find some good off road trails nearby – easier on the joints). I’m being pretty cautious as my ITB still feels a little tight every now and again and I really don’t want to have a reoccurrence at this stage of the game.

For the same reason I’m not doing much in the way of brick workouts (running off the bike). Mainly because I’ve heard somewhere that biking can tighten up the ITB. It makes sense as running essentially reverses the loading on that particular muscle when compared to biking. The Rotorua Half Ironman should show up how much of an impact that this has (in saying that I am doing the odd short run off the bike just to get use to how the legs feel).

Today’s workout was a bit of a rejig of what I had planned. My beautiful wife has been a bit sick lately so today she got a sleep in before starting work at 10am. This meant that my 6.30am ride got canned in favour of a short hour long ride in the afternoon.

Me and the kids had a good day by the way, we mowed the lawns, hanged out some washing, biked (well they biked and I jogged) around to the in-laws for morning tea. Then it was off to the Santa parade in Orewa, then back home to help dad fix his mountain bike (I mate of mine has just picked up a new mountain bike so some alternative bike training is likely to be happening soon – mountain biking is great, its different, fun, and really improves your climbing technique (actually there are plenty of studies to show that mountain bikers have much better technique than roadies, interestingly enough)), tidy the garage and house – phewww, it was a very full day!

As this afternoons ride was going to be short I decided to pick a fairly tough route and ride it as hard as I possibly could. By the afternoon the wind had picked up (which is typical – every time I think about riding the wind picks up!) and was blowing a pretty steady north easterly. I’ll walk you through the ride (so stop here if kph details bore you!)

The ride starts with a gentle climb up out of my street and onto Albany Highway, pass Massey University (old campus) and into Albany Village. This part is flat to undulating so makes for a good warm up before things get going. My average speed through this section was 34kph. Once you get through Albany Village you hit the first of three “honest” climbs on this route. This is up “Albany Hill.” I’m not sure of the length of this climb, I think it’s around 3k – 4k, but I have it on good authority (namely a roadie friend of mine – who’s a machine on the bike – and who’s also a surveyor) that the gradient varies between 7 – 8 percent. So its generally a long, steady grind. It’s a good test on a time trial bike like mine as these bikes are not made for climbing (the seat tube’s the wrong angle, and you tend to sit to far forward). My speed up this climb varied between 14kph and 15kph and saw the average fall to 24kph.

Next is a bit of a downhill, today it was directly into the head wind resulting in a top speed of only 55kph, which is a bit rough considering the effort it took to get up. After the downhill the road veers north and the wind eases to not as much of a head wind (still enough though). On this bit the route is generally flat (with a very slight rise). My speed through here varied between 33kph and 46kph with the average somewhere near 38kph. This part pushed my overall average up to 27kph.

The flatish part finishes with a short but sharp climb at the top of which you turn off Albany Highway and head towards the North Shore Aero Club, east, again somewhat into the wind. This bit starts off undulating before veering north (so that I was then travelling north east, directly into the wind) and starts to gently, but steadily, climb. This bit of the route hurt. If pain is weakness coming out then I lost a lot of weakness on this bit. My speed got down to 25kph and my average dropped to 26kph.

Once pass the aero club you turn right, cross over the motorway, and head up to East Coast Bays Road. This is the second “honest” climb, and gets very sharp around a couple of bends. I really wanted to attack this so clicked up a gear and climbed out of the seat towards the end of it for a hill sprint. That predictably saw me shot over my lactic threshold and had my legs hurting real good. I also almost threw up, which for me means I’m not holding back.

After this hill it’s right onto East Coast Bays Road and you start heading south again, meaning that I at last got rid of a bit of the headwind (the road does swing around to the east at a couple of points so the wind still got to tug at me. This bit of road starts with a short downhill on which I got up to 71kph (my top speed ever on a bike was 89kph – that was on a tandem, very unaero, but you have weight working you favour going down hill, of course it sure works against you going uphill!). From there its undulating with a series of ups and downs, my average speed came up to 27.5kph through this part.

At the end of this section are three steep climbs, the first one being called STEEEEEPPP! My speed over this first hill dropped down to between 10kph and 11kph, so that was tough, and I almost threw up for the second time.

Once those climbs are out of the way you’re home free. It’s a quick downhill back into the metropolis to a set of lights (I hate lights), then onto my favourite bit of road, a smooth, initially down sloping then flat stretch of tar seal. The speed limit through here is 50kph, I started off at 56kph before settling down to 48kph for the duration. It’s Oteha Valley Road and runs down through a couple of roundabouts, under the motorway and past the new Westfeild mall, Mega Centre and North Shore Stadium. From there it’s back past the university and home.

So total distance was 31k’s with a time of 1 hour 5 minutes (there were a couple of stops for lights and I had to slow down twice for cars). Meaning the overall average speed was 28.9kph. It’s a great workout and to put it into perspective, last week I road 110k’s with an average speed of 31kph. Today’s ride was shorted and I was at max effort for much longer, but only averaged 28.9kph.

Tomorrow I have an ocean swim booked in followed up with another shortish bike.

Now I’m off to bed!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Night Time Running

Alrighty, back from my run. It's now 10.24pm and I'm eating a bowl of Movenpick Icecream (yummy and only 154 cals ...).

I think I almost got Maced by a couple of chic's walking on the footpath. I guess I can understand why. It's dark and suddenly you hear heavy footsteps and heavy breathing and see some guy rushing up on you ...

Night time running's full of damgers!

Have a great week all.

Sunday 11 November 07

Well Sunday has been another lovely day. It's been mostly spent with family and friends which is definitely a good thing. My wife's out at the moment so I've just got the kids to bed (although by the sounds of it they're not sleeping yet). She should be back soon and at some point I'll head out for a short 6 k run (hopefully before 10pm this time!).

This afternoon I also managed to get down to the beach for another swim. It was actually quite choppy which made things interesting (lots of up and downs and waves splashing in my face as I was trying to breath). But it was all good, coming back into the beach was fun as I caught a couple of waves and got a bit of a ride. I'm still loving the wetsuit. The swim was about 40 minutes and I'm guessing around 1.7 - 2 k's. Every now and again I'd try and count my strokes to get an dea of how far I was going, seems to be a lot easier without all the turning around that you do in a pool.

Loving it! Roll on Harbour Crossing!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Rubbish Week – But it’s not all bad!

It’s been a bit of a rubbish week training wise this week. On account of the new job my schedule has been thrown out of wack resulting in a bit of a waste of a week. I did manage to sneak in a short swim on Monday and also got in a pretty solid run on Wednesday (although I didn’t actually get away until 10pm! – I made it back before midnight and managed to get a solid 6 hours of “recovery” sleep, whippee! But it was a good run, I was feeling fairly fresh so thought I’d test my limits and smacked out 10 k’s in 42 minutes, which is easily a record for me. I’ve heard about “reverse periodisation” and I’m toying with the idea of tying it out, I don’t think I have enough time though to do it properly though, still a bit of speed work isn’t going to hurt – makes you tough).

The week hasn’t been a total waste though. I went for my first open water swim in a wetsuit on Friday evening. It was a short swim and really just to see what it all felt like, and I’ve got to say … I like it! At first it was kind of weird as I waded out into the water and felt like I was bobbing around. Then once I started swimming something quite surprising happened. My normal horrible body position (I drag my hips to much) suddenly came right and I was much flatter through the water, resulting in a good pickup in speed. It’s awesome I love it! Following that short swim I’m now a lot happier about doing the Harbour Crossing in two weeks time, I just need to find the time to get a little bit more pool time somewhere and I’ll be set.

Today was a real ray of light as well. Both figuratively speaking, in that I had a great ride, and actually speaking in that it was a really nice sunny day (at last!).

Today’s ride was actually a bit of a treat. My wife was working today, which would normally mean I could perhaps sneak in a 1.5 – 2 hour tops ride if I was lucky, before she started. However today was different. My wonderful in-laws offered to look after the kids this morning, meaning I had the chance to do my first proper long ride (with summer just about here there should be more to come).

It’s been a hectic week so I wasn’t really prepared for a long ride food wise, but when the opportunity comes you make do. There’s a big “undulating” course that I’ve ridden in my roadie days which normally takes around four hours so that was the plan for today. I managed to scrounge up a fist full of squeezies and one of my kids “fruit bars”, plus the normal two bottles of Enduro Boost and a bottle of water and of I went.

The ride was sensational. The weather was near perfect with very little wind and lots of sun. There were loads of roadies out plus a couple of fellow trigeeks. I felt pretty strong for most of the ride but the inadequate nutrition took its toll towards the end. Three squeezies and a “fruit bar” just don’t cut it for a 3 and a half hour ride. Still it’s good for eating up your fat stores as well as improving mental toughness. Just for the record I lost 2 kgs (from 73kgs this morning to 71kgs by the end of the ride) on today’s ride, but I reckon I’ve pulled some of that back again now (he says while munching on some Pringles). I was starting to suffer by the end. Just to prove how tough I am I ran off the bike to the in-laws to collect the kids … Did I mention they’re only two k’s away? (Weak, I know).

I had a couple of roadies in a pace line pass me 80k’s into the ride. Normally I don’t mind that, I figure good on them if they can, but this time the buggers rode up, drafted off me for a minute or so before taking off! Now that’s just bad manners! I kept in touch with them and smoked them o a hill though, so that cheered me up no end.

The actual ride itself was 110k’s and took me 3 hours 30 minutes (and a few seconds) for an average speed of 31 kph. That’s good enough for me, but what was really encouraging was my average speed of 35kph along a longish flat part of the course (with horribly huge chip) which was 50k’s into the course. That particular bit of road was a lot like the road on the Taupo Ironman course so that bodes well for a good Ironman ride.

So what’s on the agenda? With a bit of luck I’ll get in both a run and another open water swim tomorrow. Then next week will hopefully be more settled and I can get some solid work (by that I mean training) done. I’d like to do at least two swims, but I still need to sort out a pool and find a good time to actually go, plus four solid runs (with one long run of 20k’s) some indoor biking and a long bike next weekend (that might be replaced by a long swim session depending on how things pan out – Harbour Crossing is on the 25th November!).

Train Smart!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Post Marathon Week

It’s now been a week since the Auckland Marathon. I was a bit stiff and sore for the first couple of days following the race, which was to be expected. I was also really tired for a couple of days, putting the kids to bed was a struggle as I found myself falling asleep with them (or before them on at least one occasion).

However the soreness was gone by Wednesday and the tiredness was largely gone Thursday (actually it would be more correct to say that I was back to my normal state of tiredness – I have kids …). So training started again on Thursday after a whopping three days rest! Unfortunately I had to fly down to Wellington for some training as part of my new job. As a result Thursday’s training was done in a hotel gym. It was brick session using a treadmill and a stationary bike, not the best quality workout but I’ll take it.

Friday was a bit better. My work training finished really early as I already knew a bunch of the stuff that I was going to go over. This meant that I got a bit of a treat. I had plenty of time before my flight (which I couldn’t bring forward) to get in a really good swim session. I headed down to Freyberg pool which is a 33 meter pool. It was the length of the pool which was the real treat. I’m use to swimming in a 25 meter pool and I found swimming an endurance set in the longer pool a heap easier, as I got a better grove going and didn’t have o worry about turning around as often.

This weekend’s training was scheduled as being fairly light and was based squarely on the bike. The plan for the next few weeks is to build towards the Rotorua Half Ironman so that I can get the most out of it on the day. So I’m going to be doing a lot of bike work to build both my endurance and speed. The bike is where I believe I can make the biggest impact in both the half ironman and ultimately the full Ironman race, so I really want to make sure I can maximise this strength. The bike has really been taking a back seat all year, so I’m quite excited to how the speed builds up between now and December. I’m also aware that I’m going to be inclined to go too hard on the bike if I’m not careful and suffer on the run, so endurance and pacing is also going to be a big focus along with some runs off the bike.

Saturday’s ride was a shortish two hour 62 k ride over a fairly hilly course. Due to a range of circumstances (and the fact that my lovely wife needed a well deserved sleepin) I didn’t go for the ride until the afternoon, which turned out to be a real stunner after a gloomy morning. The ride went really well, it was largely into a building headwind and I managed to keep an average speed of just over 30 kph throughout. (To put that into perspective when I was riding the same course in my roadie days my average speed was around 26 – 27 kph just before I rode the old Rotorua – Taupo Flyer course (which included a big chunk of the Ironman course) in 3 hours. It’s unrelentingly hilly which drags the average speed down a fair bit. I reckon if you try to translate the speed from there to a flat course you should add around 4 kph – I’ll be testing that theory later in the year, but for the mean time it works for me).

There’s one really nice flat section about 5k out from home that I really enjoy. It’s one the few truly flat bits and it have a really nice smooth tar seal with a slight downhill leading up to it and goes for about 2.5 k’s, so I can really wind it up and give it everything knowing that I’m really close to home and blowing up isn’t going to be a problem. On Saturday I was rally looking forward to this bit of the ride as always, and once again it proved a highlight. I managed to jump in behind a 4WD with a somewhat surprised driver, and with the benefit of the draft got up to 65kph and held it for most of the way (the speed limit is 50kph and I think the driver was trying to get away, don’t worry mum I was being careful …).

I love my bike!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Auckland Marathon

This week has been the week of the Auckland Marathon and has been a pretty busy week for me. While I definitely had targets to achieve in the marathon, this diffidently was not an “A” race for me. It still seems kind of weird to me to see a marathon slotted into my training schedule as a “long run”, but there you go.

There were a few goals that I wanted to achieve and a number of things that I wanted to practice with, so doing this run was very important to my overall Ironman plan. The marathon itself is held at a really convenient time. It’s at the start of the season, and gives plenty of time for recovery. Plus if I’d picked up an injury then I’d still (probably) have enough time to recover before March. This will be the last time that I run this distance before the Ironman.

So what did I want to achieve?

Firstly, a big reason for doing the run was to remind myself of what running a marathon feels like, especially as the first one I ran ended up being such a suffer fest for me. And in case you’re wondering, finishing a marathon feels good, running one doesn’t.

Secondly I wanted to experience the distance again in order to work on my pacing. While I can run a half marathon fairly well, I simply haven’t had the experience of the full distance to know what my body should like at each part of the 42 km course. That poses some pretty obvious problems when it comes to judging the correct pace (or effort). I know that it will be a bit different during the Ironman as there’s the small matter of a 180k bike to factor in, but that’s why I’m doing a half ironman in December and a half ironman simulation in January. I’ll come back to how my pacing went later on.

Thirdly I wanted to make sure that my nutrition plan was going to work for the run. Primarily because I bonked in a big way during my last marathon. So today I carried 20 oz of Leppin Enduro Boost and 5 Leppin Squeezies in my Nutrition Pack, plus a Leppin Slingshot (which holds another 3 serves of gel) in my hand. I also picked up 5 (I think) flat cokes on the way – this was the first time that I’d tried drinking coke on a run and went fairly well. The last couple weren’t completely flat and I almost threw them back up. But on the plus side they certainly do give you a lift. Immediately post race I had a banana, two OSM bars and a free bee “brunch bar” sample as well as some more Enduro Boost. Once I got home (about an hour later so the “window” was well on its way to closing) I had some “Endurance Athlete” (which is a protein, carbohydrate and creatine blend) and a Subway foot long Italian sub (yummy!). I still managed to loose two kilo’s, so there’s obviously some work to be done. But I didn’t bonk and I ran the whole race (aside from walking the aid stations on the second half of the course.

So that all said how did marathon week shape up?

It’s been a bit of an odd week, with labour weekend on Monday and my last day at my old job on Thursday (I start my new job on Monday – so depending on how I’m walking tomorrow – if at all – will determine just what kind of impression I make).

On Monday I went for a long swim, which for me mean’s anything over 2k’s, in this case it was 2.5k’s which is a new record for me. On Tuesday I went for 13k run, this was planned as my last substantial run before the marathon and meant that I had a (running) build up exactly four weeks (whippiee) for this marathon. On Friday, seeing as I wasn’t at work, I made the most of my being unemployed and went for a 70k ride. I had planned for it to be longer but it was unrelentingly windy and I didn’t want to smack myself to much before the marathon (weak I know).

And the actual marathon?

Sunday was suppose to be fine and sunny. It wasn’t though, which was just as well because I’d forgotten to put sunbock on in the morning, I’m a little surprised that that was the only thing that I’d forgotten as I had to get up at 4.30am to catch a bus leaving Albany at 5am in order to get down to Devonport for the 6.30am start. The morning was freezing cold and I put off getting changed for as long as possible.

Once the run started it didn’t take very long to get warmed up, which was good because it lightly rained on and off throughout the day. I prefer the heat myself but I think that most people quite liked the cooler conditions. It was a little surprising how many people were out to watch. The first part of the marathon course, on the North Shore, goes through residential suburbs, and there were loads of kids in their pj’s who had obviously dragged their parents out to watch.

Running over the harbour bridge was a novelty, it’s a long way up and a long way down, but didn’t feel as step as I’d expected.

The half marathoners run at the same time as the full course runners, meaning that it felt really crowded for the first 21k’s. It’s actually a little rough as you can see the finish where the half marathoners turn off, and you know that you are only half way there!

I was conscious of not running to fast, and tried to keep my pace down for the first half. In the end I ran the first 21k’s in 1 hour 50. Given that my best half marathon time so far is 1 hour 45 min I don’t think I did a very good job at controlling my pace. A good lesson to learn.

A couple of k’s into the second leg of the course and Steve Guy from road up to me on his bike. It was cool, we had a little chat and he shadowed me for a big chunk of the course snapping away with his camera, I’ll have to try and get some photo’s off him.

While the first 21k’s were easy and I think I could have got a great time if I was doing the half marathon, during the second 21.195 k’s I definitely suffered more. My pace slowed down, but I didn’t walk at all this time (excluding the aid stations) which was good. In the end I came in at 4 hours 1 minute (by my watch – 4 hours 3 minutes by the official course clock). My goal was 4 hours or less so I’m a bit disappointed. If I’d been a little tougher and knew the distance a bit better I could have easily got in under 4 hours. Maybe next time.

So anyway, that’s probably enough for now. I’m off to put my feet up.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Gear Failure - 21st October 2007

The countdown is to the Auckland Marathon is now well and truly on. If you have any doubt that there’s going to be a bunch of people doing it then just have a look along the waterfront near the Auckland CBD and you will see increasing numbers of people with shiny new running shoes and last years “finishers” shirts on. Interestingly enough I’ve meet loads of people who are going to do the half marathon or quarter marathon (11k’s? come on that’s lame, might as well just make it a regular 10k run and call it what it actually is!). But I haven’t actually met anyone else doing the full marathon yet.

I’m a little nervous as I’ve only really had a two week build up as far as specifically preparing for the marathon goes (thanks largely to my ITB problem). So cardiovascully I feel like I’m better than I’ve ever been (and I have the stats to show it), but I simply haven’t logged the k’s that I had planned on. I’m running faster than I have before, today I ran an 8k course at 4 min’s per k, and still felt like I had plenty left, but there’s a big difference between 8 k’s and 42k’s. My longest run recently has been 20k’s and that went fairly well, so I guess we’ll see. I’ll either have a great run and log a good time, or (and I think this is reasonably likely) I’ll run a good half marathon and then blow to pieces at the tail end. Either way it should be exciting.

The basic plan, for those who are interested is to sit at around 155bpm (I haven’t actually done a maximal heart rate test for years, but I know my max heart rate is currently above 190 and I know from experience that I can hold an effort of between 150 – 165 for hours, I don’t get anaerobic until I move up to 170+ bpm. My resting heart rate is currently around 45bpm, it’s kind of hard to tell though as I generally can’t check it in the mornings on account of he fact that I’m normally woken by my high energy kids, doing high energy things, which doesn’t help you find a resting heart rate! I can’t remember the figure, but the last time I did a lactic test I was comfortably above average – I also threw up but that’s another story. But I digress, and apologise for the boring technogeek rant). I’ll also carry my Nutrition Pack (like a fuel belt) this time and throw back a squeezie every 30 minutes. I’m using this as a bit of a test for my Ironman nutrition plan, especially as I messed up that part of my last marathon so badly. So it’s exciting time’s I’ll try and post a report next week.

My long ride yesterday didn’t quite go according to plan. I was about 25 minutes into it. It was a beautiful sunny, calm (but really cold) morning and I had only really just started to get into my grove when I hit a bump as I was flying down a hill trying to catch a roadie who had just humbled me going up the same hill. I heard a bit of a clang which was the sound of my bottle coming out of the cage behind my seat. So I got off the aero bars and turned around to retrieve it, thinking how lucky it was that I wasn’t using my race wheels, when I heard another clang and almost ran over something. I didn’t think much of it until I’d picked up my bottle and started off again. It was as I was about to settle back into the areobars that I noticed that one on the forearm pads wasn’t there anymore!

I went back and found it, so that was OK. Unbelievably the bolt holding the armrest onto the bars had sheared off! Now given that it cut my ride short (as being soft I turned around to came back home and change my long ride into a brick session), you might think that it was a bit of bad luck. But in actual fact I think it was a stroke of incredibly good luck, providence you might even say! Just imagine for a moment if it had snapped half an hour into another ride, say one scheduled in five months time. Just imagine if it had snapped 15k’s into a 180k ride where I could simply turn around and go home!

So I reckon that I had some really providential gear failure. I’m so glad that bolt snapped now and not during something that really mattered. So one trip to the hardware store later and I now have a bunch of shinny new bolts to put in. I’m going to replace the bolts on the other aerobar as well just to be on the safe side. Unfortunately they aren’t as sleek as the old ones, but at least I’m confident that they will actually hold together.

So what’s up for the coming week?

Not a whole lot actually. I’ll have my last long run tomorrow of approximately 2 hours duration, and then largely take the rest of the week fairly easy with a couple of swims planned, a shortish bike (either on the road or inside depending on how time goes), a short speed run and an easy run.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Running Legs Are Back!

It’s happy times in Kieranland. With whooping two weeks to go to the Auckland Marathon my running is firmly back on track again without the faintest sign of ITB tightness and with the pace and endurance as good as it’s ever been! Needless to say I’m very relieved.

Since my last blog I’ve done two long runs of half marathon distance (actually that’s not quite true, one was a shade over 20k and the other a shade under 20k, but hay, what’s a k and a bit between friends …?). On both runs I had the pace locked in at a smidge above 4 min 30 sec’s per k, that’s a little faster than I’ll be targeting for the marathon but it certainly gives me confidence.

Aside from that the middle of the week’s been reasonably low key. In fact I felt completely shelled Thursday and Friday with one of my workmates commenting on the way I looked on Thursday. But that’s OK, and easy day on Friday, a scheduled day off on Saturday (it was my wife’s birthday, and although it was bright and sunny in the morning I don’t believe swanning off for a 3 hour ride in the morning would have been a good idea – correct me if I’m wrong), and a good part of Sunday watching Kona has seen me right.

I also finally hit the submit button for the Harbour Crossing in November. At 2.8k’s it fits in quite well with the grand plan. Also it’ll be good to do a mass start swim before the Rotorua Half Ironman in December.

The kids made me do some skipping on Saturday. Let me tell you, skipping’s a hard workout. I seem to remember reading somewhere that 10 minutes skipping is a really beneficial thing to do, and something which is pretty easy to fit in to a busy schedule, so I might look doing more of it – after all every little bit helps when time is precious.

So what’s on the agenda for next week?

The main thing is that I’ll start biking into work (as soon as there’s a nice day). I live in Albany now and work in Auckland CBD. I’m not entirely sure on the distance but it should be a fairly good workout as I’ll need to ride into Devonport to catch a ferry across the harbour. Apart from that I’ll also be swapping one swim session for a run session (this week only) before easing off for the week before the marathon.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Me and the Kids

Its been a steady week this week. No mishaps, or glitches apart from a couple of thunder storms causing me to can some runs - weak I know ...

So what have I been up to?

I've spent a fair bit of time stairing at the black line at the bottom of the pool (on account of me beig afraid that the torrential rain outside would melt me) and feeling genuinely amazed that I can now quite happily splash my way through lap after lap after lap after lap after lap ..... I've pretty much decided to enter into the Harbour Crossing in November. It's a 2.8k mass start swim and is timed pretty well with regards to my build up to the Rotorua Half Ironman in December. I've told a couple of people that I'm going to do it, so now I just need to part with my cash and hit that submit button to make it real.

I've also lowered my aero bars again. It's been progressive and I've been concious of ensuring that I have the flexability in my back to make it worth the effort. For those cycle geeks out there (you know who you are) I've now got approximately 15cm - 17cm seperation between my seat and my bars, which makes my back fairly flat. As for the difference that it makes, I've only had a couple of rides 1.5hrs plus, but I'd say its about 1 - 2 kph quicker.

And lastly I've acknowledged that I'm 31 and not 21 so have taken some advice and got myself some Glycosaminoglycans (google that!) in the form of Leppin's "Ultimate Joint Formula" which will hopefully help to keep the knees going.

Which brings me to this weeks title.

My lovely wife has finally taken some time for herself and has gone away for three days with a friend of hers for some girly pampering (I gather it involves facials, hair, something called a Vinchy Shower blah blah blah) so me and the kids have been hanging out and having a blast.

Todays training was a little shorter than usual and involved my 4 year old riding his trike saying "you can't catch me!" and my two year old sitting in the pram yelling "faster daddy faster" as I ran along pushing it. It was very cool. They also helped me with some strength and speed work at the park (which involves them seeing how many pullups their dad can do with a two year old and then a four year old hanging onto his back, and sprinting around the playground chasing them). They're great training aids. For the last couple of days if ever we've had to go somewhere, Sam's run to his trike and Eve has popped herself in the pram, how much more motivation do you need! And as an extra bonus they've both gone to sleep earlier than usual and quicker than usual!

Life is good.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Stupid Lane Ropes!

I used to believe that swimming was low impact. That was until I started repeatedly scraping my left hand against the lane ropes in consecutive swim sessions. I tell you what, it starts to hurt after a couple of goes. And of course as I’ve been doing it day after day, the sore on my hand doesn’t get any better. I think I’m finally getting on top of it now though, and have worked out that lane ropes are bad!

Training wise this week has been a maintenance week. Last week I worked on building up the training volume a bit, this week has been focused on keeping at the same level, with next week planned as a big week and another volume build.

I’ve started running in to the Albany Park n Ride to catch my bus into town, rather than catching the bus that stops at the end of the street. The bus from the Park n Ride is a good 15 minutes quicker (as it’s an express bus that goes down the motorway bus lane) so I get to work in an extra 40 minute run without actually adding a lot of time to my day, its all good. As is my knee still, so fingers crossed that I’m well and truly on top of it. Tomorrow I have a 1.5 – 2 our run scheduled in so hopefully that goes without a hitch, and I can start counting down to the Auckland Marathon with confidence.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Back on Track!!

What a mixed week! The kids have been sick, as a result they’ve been waking up in the night, and generally been pretty grumpy. That means that I haven’t been sleeping well (or rather I have no problem sleeping, its staying asleep for longer than 4 hours without having to settle down a sick upset child which has been challenging). However they’re all on the mend now, and just as importantly (although I can’t help but think that it sounds somewhat selfish), I didn’t catch what they had!

But of course there’s still the small problem of no proper recovery sleep resulting in generally feeling SHELLED all week. But its not all bad, because this week has been significant for two very big (for me) reasons.

1. I can swim! I went over 1.5k’s continuous this week, which is pretty fantastic for me. I still find it somewhat strange to think that only three months ago I could barely swim to save myself, and now I can quite happily splash along for length after length. It’s still not pretty or fast, but I’m happy and I can see the improvements happening all the time.

2. My knee, or more correctly my ITB band, after weeks of stretching, massage, new shoes and more than a few prayers (mostly by my kids) is now officially 100% again – completely fixed! So the full program’s coming back into play again.

Coming from a period of essentially no running its interesting to see how the body copes. The fitness is certainly there, in fact my heart rate is couple of BPM lower than it was when I was running, but the muscle conditioning isn’t. My calves have been telling me to take it easy, and my lovely wife has been working overtime to ease the knots away.

But its all good, things have come right in time for the final run up to the Auckland Marathon. I still find it odd to look at my training schedule and see that I have a Marathon marked down as a “long training run”. Not so long ago something like that would have been my pinnacle event. Providing I can get a few more trouble free k’s under my belt before the end of October, I’m really looking forward to it. It’s going to be a test for the nutrition plan that I’ll use in the IMNZ run, and I also want to confirm that I have the pacing nailed down over a full marathon distance before the big day. I just don’t believe that you can probably prepare for those two area’s without having trialled it by going the distance – something I learnt in the Rotorua marathon where I basically added an hour to my time by getting both the pacing and nutrition wrong.

So now with the ITB Band problem hopefully sorted, combined with a new found stretching compulsion, the grand plan is about to get back on track. For the time being that means that a lot of the evening wind trainer sessions have been replaced by evening runs and instead I’ve reassembled my mountain bike (long story) and 20 minutes to a park and ride to catch the bus (rather than getting it at the stop just around the corner). Once day light savings kicks in (in a couple of weeks) I’ll start biking the 40 – 50 k’s (I haven’t measured it yet) to Devonport and catch the ferry across the harbour to work.

Things are certainly gathering pace, and training volumes are heading up, so the trick now really is making sure that the family doesn’t miss out.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

16th September 2007

This week is now officially the lightest week I’ve had yet. The schedule had factored in a slight decrease in training volume for this week on account of us moving house. But still my actual figures were well below target. And yet I feel really tired. Still the week wasn’t a complete loss and there were some good points along with the bad.

So what went right and what went wrong? I’ll start with what went wrong (because its always best to end on a positive note).

The week started with me getting up at 5am in the morning to drive for two hours to get to Auckland airport (which interestingly enough involves me driving through three cities to get there – North Shore City, Auckland City and Manukau City – who would live in Auckland?). I then caught a flight down to Wellington to spend two rather full on days relearning the art of “selling”. It was then back up to Auckland for one day in the office clearing emails, before taking a further two days off to shift houses from Whangaparaoa to Albany. The weekend has been largely spent unpacking. Needless to say this hasn’t left a lot of time for training. While I did think about asking my understanding and saintly wife if it would be OK to duck out for a few hours on Saturday, happily sanity prevailed and I kept my mouth shut (love you honey).

On the plus side, the workouts that I did get in were all really good. On Tuesday morning I managed to prize myself out of bed bright and early and got out for a run along the Wellington waterfront on what turned out to be a stunning Wellington day. The change of scenery was inspiring and the numbers of other people out running was great as well. Always having someone out ahead of you to aim for, catch and drop is very motivating for someone like me (who is pathologically competitive). My swim lesson with Hayden Woolly was really good and I’m making some definite progress, particularly in technique and efficiency. I also managed a couple of short runs (1/2 hour) and had no problems with my ITB, which is very encouraging with the Auckland Marathon just around the corner, also, even though the runs were short, I felt really strong (probably a reflection of the rest). Still early days, but it looks like the rest, stretching and massage is paying off. Hopefully I’ll be able to stretch out the distance and running time of the next few weeks.

The other positive thing is that now I’ve had a number of fairly easy weeks (unintentional, but sometimes even the best laid plans don’t work out) I’m super motivated to have a big, positive week next week. Happily next week just happens to be scheduled in as a big week, so being super motivated and super rested I’m confident that its going to be a cracker! Watch this space.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

12th September 2007

I started September with big plans of a fast building schedule that would peak with the Auckland Marathon in October, carry through and reach another peak at the Rotorua Half Ironman in December.

So far the plan hasn’t quite worked out. Last week was a bit disappointing as I lost two days due to work commitments, and this week is going to be a bit light as well because we’re shifting from Whangaparaoa to Albany tomorrow, which will take another couple of days out. Nevermind, its all good, I’ll just be a little more rested than I’d planned.

Monday and Tuesday this week saw me in Wellington learning how to “sell” Trusts (in a strictly ethical, needs based way of course). It was actually quite good as I had a big chat with the facilitator about sport psychology, which is something that I’m quite big on. For instance, despite any doubts I’ll never speak them out loud, and I make a conscious effort to phrase things in a positive way. Eventually you believe your own hype and its amazing what you can do.

I’m also big on visualization. When I was doing a lot of competitive white water kayaking, I would visualise every move that would be needed at each point on the river for any given event. I try to do the same kind of thing now by visualizing specific techniques and the things I need to be doing to get the most efficiency.

Wellington was nice, the weather was great and I managed to get out for a run on Tuesday morning. The sun was just coming up and I couldn’t believe how many people there were going for a jog along the waterfront at 6.30am in the morning. I don’t blame them as it was stunning. I ended up making my way up to Mount Victoria lookout which was well worth the effort. Coming down was a bit of a worry though as my ITB is still not quite right. The run lasted for 1 hour and by the end I could certainly feel the ITB again. So more stretching, more massage and more taking it easy. I really want to get it right in time for Auckland Marathon, as doing that distance again before Ironman forms a linchpin in my training plan. But there’s no point in blowing my leg to pieces, so if it’s not right I’m prepared to either not start or drop out.

The highlight of the week was catching up with the other athletes on Saturday. It was so good being able to put an actual person to the photo and blog entries. And hearing what everyone’s up to was very motivating.

Anyway the boxes aren’t going to pack themselves …

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Easy Week:- 1st September 2007

This week has been a very light week for me, which was quite nicely time in hindsight as it means that I’m now well rested to get into some serious training for the start of Spring (it would have been nice to think that I’d thought of that when I drafted my training schedule … but I didn’t and its just coincidence).

I started the week feeling stiff and sore, so have given myself a good telling off and committed to getting into a proper stretching regime. One thing I have been stretching though is my ITB Band. This week (on Tuesday) was the end of my three week running break that was forced on me to try and get my ITB Band right. Anyway I went for a light and short run and things seemed to be OK (although I was pretty stiff afterwards – again not enough stretching and the result of three weeks of no running).

Today I picked up some new Mizuno Wave Inspire running shoes, they’re the same as my old pair so I know that they work (when they’re not worn out that is), I got my stride re-checked anyway just to be sure. The good news was that Mizuno have upgraded their Wave range, so my shoes (being the old stock) were going cheap. The guy at the shop told me that the only real change was the colour (changed from blue to red) and the price tag. Luckily they had one pair of the old stock left in my size, so I picked up a nice new pair of shoes for $120 which is fantastic!

I’ve had a few people (mostly cycling geeks from the office next to where I work) ask me what kind of bike I use and what setup I have, questions which only a true cycling geek or trigeek would ask. The bike is basically a built up XLab time trial bike, which most people haven’t heard of, in fact I’m reasonably sure that it’s the only one like it in New Zealand. Anyway I’ve recently had cause to take a photo of my stead, so for your gear geeks, here it is and here’s the setup list.

Built up Xlab Time Trial bike
· Aero tubing (with rear wheel cutout) and 76 degree seat tube
· Specialized Carbon Tri Spoke Wheels
· A Class ALX280 rear training wheel
· Campagnolo front training wheel
· Cavello Carbon Seatpost
· 175 mm Carbon cranks with Wellego pedals
· Dura Ace Front Chainrings
· Greg Lemond Carbon Time Trial Forks
· Profile Carbon X Aero Bars with Dura Ace Shifters
· Ultegra front and rear derailer
· Sella Italia seat
· Dia Compe brake levers and Xlab brakes
· Shimano 105 bottom bracket
· Campagnolo Chorus head set
· Specialized bottle holder (on down tube), Probike Kit bottle holders behind seat
· Wireless bike computer
· Shimano Carbon tri shoes
· Full range of Alpe d’Huez cycling gear

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Break Through! 26th August 2007

I finally cracked it this week. At last the swimming thing seems achievable. On Monday I swam a non-stop 1000m, and really the only reason I stopped was because I had to get back to work. This is pretty big for me, as I was starting to get down about not being able to get any real distance. Now its not hard to picture myself going the full 3.8k’s, whereas previously I had a private fear of my whole Ironman experience falling over at the swim.

My knee is now much better, and I only have a few days to go before I can start running again. I’ve been resting it and doing my stretches (something which I’ve always been pretty slack at – which I have no excuse for considering my background). Its been frustrating not getting out for a run for the last week so I can hardly wait. I’ve canned my planned entry into “The Legend” run in September as it’s not very far away and my build up has been terrible.

So the next big event is the Auckland Marathon in October. This is going to be a really important test, as I messed up my nutrition fairly badly in my last marathon, and I really need to get this right before Ironman. My only real concerns at the moment are my lack of running and the possibility of my knee problem reoccurring (however I have a plan in place to stop that from happening). I’m also now planning on doing some of the “Stroke and Stride” races and the Harbour Crossing to get use to swimming in the open water with a pack of other swimmers.

This week has also been notable for the fact that I’ve finally seen some sunlight. It’s still been pretty cold, but I seems so much easier when the sun’s shinning. On Saturday I got early for a ride as the family had to be in Albany by 8.30am. The ride was a real struggle and I couldn’t understand why. I wasn’t terribly windy but I just found it really hard to get moving, to the point where I was going around 5 kph slower than my normal cruising pace! I thought that I must have just woken up weak for some reason. Anyway after about half an hour I finally heard the rubbing noise (I was going through a sheltered area with a slight tail wind so there wasn’t much air rushing past my ears). It turned out that my rear break must have got knocked or something because it was rubbing, quite solidly, against the wheel. Once that was fixed things went much better!

Today’s ride went much better (apart from the squeezie incident and sticky Leppin all over me and my bike). I past several roadies again, which always makes me feel good, but had a good dose of reality when some guy, decked out in full aero gear, including race wheels and helmet came screaming past me. I paced behind him for a while at mean 47 kph, which is a much hotter pace than I can keep up for any length of time, especially at the end of a long training ride. Common sense took over after a couple of minutes and I eased off and watched him disappear around a corner. Maybe next time I’ll get him …

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Life Without Running - 19th August 2007

So I’ve just finished my first whole week without running (11 days down, 10 days to go – so over halfway there). Out of interests sake my knee now feels fine, but I’m going to be good and do my time as recommended.

So now that I’m not running I’ve found myself with loads of time on my hands. I’ve managed to fill up a lot of that time with swimming, which is now finally starting to click. But in saying that I’m still struggling to get my target training hours. Never mind I’ve still got lots of time before Ironman.

Speaking of swimming I had my best session yet on Friday. As I’ve mentioned before, swimming is something pretty new for me, and is really going to be something to be gotten through more than anything else. I’ve been told however that I can string together 250m of swimming I’ll notice a quantum leap in performance and distance. And sure enough that’s what I got on Friday. I swam 250m and the only reason why I stopped was because I had to get back to work. Previously after doing a couple of laps I’ve been left feeling absolutely buggered and in fact quite down about the whole thing. But that’s changed now. For the first time I’m really confident that 3.8k’s is going to be quite doable. And with just over week of no running to distract me I’ll hopefully be able to really push the distance out.

My ride today was really good. The route I took lead me into a stiff headwind for most of the way, so while the average speed was a bit lower than usual, the work out was fantastic, and, for the first time in a long time it was actually sunny! I caught and dropped a bunch of roadies again on some hills again and I reckon I’ve got my bike setup petty much nailed (although I’m aiming to lower the aero bars down another ½ - 1 inch over the next month). One of today’s goals was to try out some new food while on the bike, so I planned the ride to climax with a series of nasty hill climbs (up Wright Road and on to Albany Heights Road for those who hang around Rodney or the North Shore). It’s basically a good 25 minutes of really solid climbing with next to no respite. I’m normally a fan staying in my saddle as much as possible (unless I’m trying to drop someone), but this certainly sees me up in on the pedals hanging on for dear life at least a couple of times.

I’ve been toying with the idea of using “One Square Meal” bars as they are packed full of carbs, protein and fats and seem like a convenient way of getting these things on board. The big question of course being “will it stay down?”

The answer, happily, is yes! So I’ll try them out some more, but with a bit of luck I’ll be adding them to my nutrition plan.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Gammy Knee

In some ways I guess that its not actually all that surprising. During the last three runs (all of them 10 k’s plus) I’ve noticed that my right knee has been feeling a little sore (or rather the outside of the knee, right on top of the femur as it runs down to the knee). I pretty much ignored it the first time, as it wasn’t really all that bad and generally little aches and pains go away as I warm up. The second time was a bigger run and the knee got quite sore, to the point where it still hurt to walk the next day. So I took a week off running before going for another big(ish) run last Tuesday (I was in Christchurch for work, so ran out to see my brother and his family one night). The run started off really well and I felt really strong (as a result of a weeks running rest), then after about 2 – 3 k’s the knee started hurting again. It got a little better as I warmed up, but was pretty sore by the time I got to my brothers house.

After I’d had dinner it was down right painful to walk. It was much better by the next morning, and back to normal the following day. Anyway it turns out I’ve managed to develop Iliotibial Band Syndrome.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome is basically pain and inflammation on the outside of the knee, where the iliotibial band (a muscle on the outside of the thigh) becomes tendinous, and results in a friction syndrome by rubbing against the femur (thigh bone) as it runs alongside the knee joint. My old exercise physiology notes tell me that it’s usually caused by overtraining, worn out shoes, excessive hill running and running on a cambered surface. I’m guilty of a lot of these things. I run a lot on hills (as it gives you the best bang for your buck time wise), and I generally just run a lot (as the cardiovascular work out of running is far superior to just about everything else – again giving more bang for your buck time wise), meaning that my shoes have logged a lot of k’s and are no doubt a bit worn.

So its at least three weeks off running for me. Which actually isn’t too inconvenient at the moment, as it gives me the incentive to really focus on my swimming and log in some more rides in place of my weekend long runs (which will mean 1.5 – 2 hour TT or hill rides rather than the usually run). In some ways it’s probably better that this as happened now rather than two months down the track – which would have put a major spanner in the works and messed up my schedules.

In saying that, if anyone has a magic cure, let me know!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

5th August 2008

This week has been pretty good on the training front. For the first time in a while I’ve gone an entire week without being sick or tied up with work. As a result I’ve managed to get in a number of solid sessions.

In some ways this week has been targeted as a bit of a “rest” week in that for the first time in about 10 months I haven’t been for a run. Those normal run slots have been replaced by swim and bike sessions. There are a couple of reasons for this.

1. My running has really come on lately, and I’ve experienced some great gains, but it’s been 10 months and my “running legs” are well due a rest.
2. My bike’s been fairly neglected and I really needed spend some time on it especially as I’ve recently picked up some new gear, lowered the aero bars, and I need to nail down the setup.

So no running this week. I did however participate in a sack race. Yes that’s right, a sack race. It was all part of a “professional development day”, don’t ask me how sack racing fits in with professional development, cause I’m just not sure. However, never being one to miss a training opportunity I gave it my all. And I have to say that its actually not a bad workout, I’m kind of surprised that I hadn’t come across it in any of my sports coaching textbooks from when I was studying exercise physiology. I haven’t added it to my training log but maybe I should?

The week was finally capped off by an 80k ride today. We finally had some sun, and the ride was awesome. I felt really strong throughout and wasn’t overly tired at the end, I could have easily kept on going but time’s always my enemy as I have kids to entertain!

I picked up a couple of roadies about 20k’s into the ride. We had a good chat and they asked it they could jump on, so I ended up towing them along for 25 – 30 k’s. I dropped them twice going up hills (I waited once, cause it’s nice having the company). My average speed for the whole ride was 29.7kph, and my average for the flat(ish) section (about 20’ks) was 33kph, which is pretty much where I want things to be for NZIM, there’s still plenty of time so I’m pretty comfortable that I should be able to nail that down.

It’s also been a busy week on a none training, but Ironman focused front. I’ve entered the Auckland Marathon, which is a key event for me. I think that it’s really important to go into an event like NZIM knowing that you can go the distance, and do it well. So Auckland Marathon will be my second marathon. I’m not to thrilled with the idea of running with several thousand other people, but it’s the best marathon at the best time for my needs.

I’ve also entered the Rotorua Half Ironman, which again is another key event in the lead up to NZIM. I want to get in at least two half ironman distance events before NZIM. This is so that I get to go through the motions but at a slightly reduced stress level (and therefore reduce recovery time).

And lastly I got fitted for a wetsuit.

So providing I get this swimming thing sorted, everything’s on track for a great 1st March.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

29th July 2007

The week got off to a slow start thanks to the lingering effects of last weeks dodgy buttered chicken. But came along quite nicely in the end. My fitness has definitely moved up a notch. This is pretty common for me, I find that I plateau at a fairly well defined level, before having a sudden clear jump in fitness to a new point where I plateau again for a time. I’ve found over the years that for me, what causes the jump up to the new level is a combination of steady training climaxing in a big event or training day. And for this reason the events that I’ve got pencilled in over the next few months are really important for my overall plan. I don’t have the time to log huge k’s or big training hours, which makes getting in the events key for me.

The swimming is slowing getting better, I don’t quite get the same slow drowning feeling that I was enjoying last week, so that’s good. I also had my second lesson this week, and have been given a bunch new drills to work on. I’m a bit more confident now that I’ll get there in the end.

This weekend has been good. I have a great hilly ride on Saturday. What was really cool was that it was in the sun!! Anyway after a good warm up I rode an old 30k loop that I use to do a lot when I was road racing. It’s basically a series of steady hill climbs with one flat section about two thirds of the way through (followed by another long hill). I’ve just put my bike computer back on as I was quite curious to see how the figures would stack up. I ended up averaging 28kph for the loop which I was pretty pleased with given the constant climbing.

Sunday I had another ride planned, this time with a mate who’s also doing NZIM. Unfortunately the torrential downpour which lasted all morning put an end to that (yes I know I’m soft). It cleared up in the afternoon though, so me and the kids headed down to the park. It was cool, I spent about 30 – 45 minutes chasing my kids, as well as half the neighbourhood kids around. Really, who needs structured speed training when you have children! To make it even better I had to pick up and carry my little girl around after a while as she was getting tired and left behind, but still wanted to play. So not only did I get a speed / sprint workout, but I also got some resistance work thrown in, and my wife got to have some quite time to relax at home (as well as a couple of other parents who seemed quite happy to sit back and let me do all the work!). We certainly had some tired kids tonight, who both went to sleep very easily.

I also managed to squeeze in a more sedate 16k run later on in the afternoon, down and along the beach front. So all in all very good.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Campylobacter: 22nd July 2007

Campylowhat? I’ll spare you the details suffice to say that it involves a dodgy buttered chicken and a fair amount of time in the bathroom.

The week was largely OK training wise. I’m starting to plunge into the whole swimming thing (did you spot the pun?) and got three lunch time sessions in this week. I’m still pretty bad, but feeling more optimistic that I’ll get the hang of it reasonably quickly. I also got in a run on Wednesday, although I was still a bit smoked from the half marathon last Sunday and as a result it was slower and shorter than normal. And to round things off I had the usual late nights on the indoor bike.

So all was looking good leading up to the weekend … that is until I met my wife and kids up at our local mall after work for a quick and easy dinner. That’s when the buttered chicken happened, and I only had a very little bit of it. The weekend was largely a right off with both my wife and I not great (on the plus side the kids were fine). On Saturday afternoon the in-laws offered to looked after the kids, and not being one to ever let an opportunity pass I convinced myself that I was feeling much better and headed off for a “gentle” run up the local hill.

It actually wasn’t to bad (that’s if I ignored the urge to vomit – which I managed to do). It was a fairly short run as I was feeling pretty wasted energy wise (two dry toast a cup of coffee and a sausage roll just don’t power you very far), but interestingly I ran to the top of the hill about 2 – 3 minutes quicker than normal and my heart rate was 5 – 8 BPM lower than normal, so go figure.

I’ve had of being sick, and can’t wait for summer to come around (I like the heat so much more than the cold) this week was disappointing, still there’s always next week. On the plus side I did have a bit more time than usual on my hands and finally managed to find myself a rear training wheel for my bike so I can stop stressing about wrecking my race wheels. I also had the time to replace and glue up some new tubular’s, so I’m also set for some worry free training rides.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

North Shore City Half Marathon 15-07-07

Just a short post to report on how the North Shore City Half Marathon went.

I have to say that I’m absolutely over the moon with how the race went. I tend to set myself three goals whenever I race, or compete in an event. The first is a basic achievement goal (say finish the race, or in this case finish in under two hours) the next is a bit more of a challenge (finish in under 1 hour 50 min) and the third is the real challenge goal (which today was to finish in under 1 hour 45 min). Lately I’ve been pretty solidly running 5min or slightly under 5 min k’s, but not for any longer 15k’s.

Anyway I was really pleased with how I’d controlled my race. I’d stayed within my target heart rate zone and the few time I went over (mostly going up hill) I picked up on it fairly quickly and managed to being the heart rate back under control. Normally (like lots of guys) I have a tendency to go out to fast and fade towards the end of an event, today was different. I ran I slightly negative split (I think, I lost track of the k’s at the start and the half way point wasn’t very clear). But the real buzz was when I got to the 1 k to go marker.

Looking down at my watch it said 1.40.20 making 1.45 possible. However the last k was over a beach front (with pretty soft sand) so it was going to be close. So with renewed focused I sucked it up and largely maxed out my heart rate. I stopped my watch at 1.45.05, close enough for me.

So I’m pretty stoked, all in all a good training day.

Swimming 14-07-07

This weeks been better training wise. I’m starting to feel much better after being sick for the better part of two weeks and got in a couple of good runs during the week.

The week also saw me having my first swimming lesson. While I swim to save myself, I currently can’t do much more than that, so I figured its going to be a good idea getting some proper instruction.

I have Hayden Woolly as a swim coach and told him that I’m a blank canvas. My technique is none existent, and in general my swimming can be summed up as being terrible, so he’s got his work cut out for him. On the plus side I’m really competitive and have no doubt that I’ll get the hang of this swimming thing in no time. Also I’m old enough now that I’m largely over the fear of looking like an idiot while getting the basics right.

It was surprisingly hard and I was absolutely knackered by the end of the 50 minute session. I got filmed about half way through and Hayden asked me to do 8 lengths while he videoed me … anyway thanks largely to the worlds must inefficient stroke I just made it 6. On the plus side the major flaws are clearly obvious on the video, so hopefully I’ll be able to correct those sooner rather than later. (And no Gemma, I will not be posting that up on Youtube – it’s not pretty).

While it can only get better I have to say that the swim is the one part of the Ironman that worries me the most. In saying that I had a good chat with a guy at church today who did Ironman last year. He pointed out that you have to put tings in perspective. The swim will last between 1 hour to 1.5 hours, whereas the bike will last around 6 hours and the run between 4 to 5 hours, so really it is only a small part of the whole thing.

Still I’d better figure out how to do it.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

7th July 2007 - The trouble with getting sick

Well it’s been a bit of a rubbish week for training this past week. The trouble is that when you're sick, its usually a goo sign that you need to ease up (that and it just makes it down right hard to actually doing any training). I eventually managed to get out for a run on Wednesday as I was feeling much better by then. I tried to take it easy and left the heart rate monitor behind (I’m way to competitive, when I take stuff like that with me I keep trying to up the intensity), but even that easy run was a bit of a struggle – meaning that should have probably left it and instead spend another day getting better. And just to comound things work committments meant that I couldn't do anything on Thursday or Friday.

This weekend’s shaping up better. I still have a bit of a cough, but I feel 98% there. I was also lucky enough to have my sister-in-law offer to look after the kids this afternoon (my wife works on a Saturday). Meaning I had the best part of the afternoon to get some training done!

The weather wasn’t great, it wasn’t raining, but it was cold and windy. As mentioned in a previous post I’d sold a bunch of cycling gear a couple of years ago so I’m a bit short on winter gear. That’s not so bad as I can tough it out, but what is a bit of a pain is that I only have racing wheels now for my bike. They’re Specialized Carbon Tri Spokes, which are awesome wheels and super fast, but I’m paranoid that I’m going to wreck them, and on a windy day they catch the wind where there’s a cross breeze blowing. Meaning that today my plan of having a good 2 ½ hour ride was revised down to a one hour ride backed up by a one hour run.

Also as a side note I’m desperately trying to get hold of some training wheels. I’ve managed to pick up a pretty good front wheel, so just need to track down a rear wheel, I know it’s out there somewhere.

So while I haven’t been doing much training this week, I have been doing lots of entering. My grand plan involves doing a bunch of events prior to Ironman, the first one’s the North Shore half marathon next week, so I’ve entered that and I’m really looking forward to doing it – watch out for the race report next Sunday.

Entries for New Zealand Ironman itself opened on Monday, so that was the other, somewhat more exciting thing that I entered this week, things are definitely getting serious now.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

30th June 2007

Its been another week with highs and lows. The week started off well with a bit of light hearted competition thanks to my sisters little challenge (see previous post). I managed to get in a number of good running and bike sessions early on in the week. However I've been feeling like I was on the verge of getting sick for a couple of weeks now, and I think with the colder weather and increased training load it tipped me over and I started feeling run down and developed a sore throat by Thursday.

From experence I know that this is a pretty good sign that I need to ease up (given that I do a number of my bike sessions fairly late at night after the kids have gone to sleep and all the good TV programs have finished, meaning I often don't finish until 11pm(ish) and I'm not in bed until just before midnight, coupled with the kids not sleeping all that well lately - I've been quite tired. Yes I can hear the violins playing ...) So a couple of days off and 1 and a half good sleepin's and I'm feeling much better.

On a more amusing note my wife Helen and I went out for a "date night" on Tuesday. Helen was talking to a friend before we headed off and mentioned that we were going on a "date night". "Where are you going?" was the natural question .... "to the gym" (I take Helen to all the best places. To be fair we did go out for a nice dinner afterwards).

The gym class we went to was a "body balance" class which combines ti che, pilates, and yoga. This focused on core strength and flexibility both areas which I tend to neglect (I've spent some time as an exercise physiologist so I really have no excuse - I'm just being lazy).

So apart from getting sick tings are still going well and generally according to plan.