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.