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