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!