Monday, January 28, 2008


I went to bed last night still feeling rather manky, but woke up this morning feel pretty much back to normal.

Looking at the schedule for this week it happily starts off with an ocean swim today, which I’ll do this afternoon. In the mean time I’ll be downing lots of liquids, although as mentioned in my last post I only lost 1 kg (1.3% of my body weight – I weigh around 72 kg, but that tends vary a bit) which isn’t a big concern in and of itself, although I’ll need to slow that rate of loss down for IMNZ – but that’s one of the reasons why we do these big training days.

I the mean time my weights back to where it should be, I’m eating like a horse again and the world is once again a happy place!

Sunday, January 27, 2008


38.1! That was my temperature one and a half hours after today’s workout. I’m currently not in my happy place! Let me tell you the story.

The day started well enough, with not a breath of wind and not a cloud in the sky. It was shaping up to be a scorcher! However due to some organisational issues and my Sunday obligations (which me and Eve were typically late for) it wasn’t until just before 9.30am that I ended up getting away. Given the rapidly rising temperature I decided to ditch the 2k swim as that would have meant I would have been riding and more importantly running, well into the early afternoon – the hottest part of the day.

The ride went well enough. The route that I rode heads up Albany Hill after just 2k’s of riding, so its straight into it (according to the road sign the road grade gets as high as 10%, I’d always thought it was a little lower). The climb itself is a 3k grind with no let up until you get to the top. As I started the climb I spied a roadie up ahead. He was far enough away that it was going to be hard to catch him, but I’m the kind of guy who just loves to chase stuff down and I caught him just as we were cresting the hill.

Like every good roadie he jumped on my wheel and stuck like glue for the next half an hour (one of the longest “turns” I’ve every taken). To be fair he did come up and ask if it was ok if he stayed on the wheel for a while, and it was nice having someone right behind to keep me honest and make sure I kept the pace up (which I did). After hammering away for half an hour he peeled off and I was on my own.

The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful. I had a good tail wind for a while (for a change) and saw Cameron Brown out with a couple of train hacks heading in the opposite direction to me. All the top guys seem to train out my way – must be because it’s awesome!

As I cruised along my bike computer was telling me that the temperature was creeping up and was peaking at 35 degrees in places (average seemed to be around 30 degrees towards the end of the ride). In the end the ride was knocked off in 2 hrs 59 minutes (but it was only 85 k’s and not 90).

It was then onto the run. This is where I really started running into problems. I’d decided to do a course which loops around my house just in case my thigh played up. That way I could pull the pin and not wreck myself. As it turned out I ended up cutting things short for another reason. By 13k’s I was starting to struggle, and by 15k’s my vision was narrowing … so time to get home. When I got home was the only one there (the family was out somewhere) so I flopped onto the couch and shortly after that started shaking – not a good thing.

I felt freezing cold but my skin was scorching hot. So I peeled myself up off the couch, got some protein down me and headed to the shower to try and slowly cool myself down (the plan was to start the shower warm and slowly get it to cold, I seem to recall that going straight to cold is a good way to bring on shock). This went well to start with until the family came home and the kids were thrown into the bath, suddenly my shower went from warm to freezing cold – again, not good.

By the time I got myself out of the shower I was shaking with my teeth chattering and quickly curled up under a blanket.

A bit later my lovely wife thought it might be a good idea to take my temp which at that point was 38.1 degrees Celsius. Far to hot and I was officially not in a happy place.

Being self inflicted there’s not much sympathy for me around here (apart from my two year old girl who is taking good care of me) and as we all know blokes like nothing more than sympathy.

So what are the positive? Well the ride was good with a steady average speed over a hilly course. And I found out that I can push myself if I really need to (and hopefully I won’t). On the down side I haven’t felt much like eating, although I have forced some grub down. In saying that I lost 1kg during the days activities which actually isn’t to bad considering the conditions, and m stomach held together until right at the end of the run , so I was able to get gels and food down throughout the day (something I’ve been struggling with lately).

So what am I doing tomorrow? Hopefully lots and lots of sleeping! And rediscovering my happy place.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Much Improved

This week has been so much better. My strained thigh has been feeling progressively better each day as the week went on, and my training efforts have been much much better this week.

The training program has had a bit of a re-jig as a result of the thigh problem and so the first half of the week was spent swimming. This was actually a good thing as my swim sessions had dropped down to two a week and so I took the opportunity to back up some good distance and focus a bit on technique (that sounds a lot loftier than what my swimming actually is – generally when I use the term “technique” to refer to my swimming the word “bad” more often than not comes first).

On a bit of a side note I saw Kieran Doe out training during the week, he was smashing up a hill with a training hack and going awfully fast considering how steep the hill was. He must live somewhere close as I tend to see him out and about every now and again, usually going in the opposite direction to me which is probably a good thing as having people fly past me doesn’t do my ego any good at all.

By Wednesday the thigh, while still a little tender was definitely on the mend so it got a little, gentle, workout on the indoor bike and came through really well. As a result Thursday and Friday saw the biking come back into the program with a couple of heavy hill workouts over the two days. I’ve stayed away from running so far this week as that’s what triggered the problem initially. Basically your thigh works in an opposite way when you compare biking to running (when running acts as a break – stops you from falling over – in cycling it works the other way around. That’s why cyclists have big thighs and runners don’t, even though they do the same amount of work – its also why pure cyclists are usually poor runners and vice versa).

Today I had a good two and a half hour ride, I kept it low key as tomorrow I’ll be doing a half ironman simulation. I felt pretty strong for the first hour of the ride and smoked it up all the hills, including Albany hill – which is a bit of a grind – where I caught and dropped two other guys preparing for ironman as well as a roadie a bit further up.

On the way back I felt a bit low on power, but the speed seemed to still be there so it can’t have been to bad.

This afternoon I have my support crew coming over to plan for race week, the crew chief is hyper-organised so there won’t be a repeat of the Rotorua Half fiasco.

Only three more big work outs to go, one of which is happening tomorrow, and then I’ll start t ease things off before the big day. I can hardly wait, I think at the moment I could probably do an Ironman, however I think that I’ll be able to do one much more comfortably in five weeks time!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Poor Week

I'm feeling a bit low at the moment. This week has been very poor training wise, in fact its been a complete non-event. I can't help but feel that its a week thats gone and valuable time that this close to Ironman I can't get back. And thats more than frustrating for me.

To compound matters I've picked up a thigh strain thanks largely (I believe) to a ridiculous team building activity that I had to do for work - which also used up what would have otherwise been training time. I managed to get in a 20k run this week, but was left with a weekend where I couldn't bike or run and due to events conspiring against me, also couldn't get away to go for a swim.

I'm really tired as the work thing I had to do was an overnighter and I got a lously sleep, and as I was bone tired before hand it just made things that much worse, I'm actually quite upset about the whole thing, its really thrown a spanner in the works.

So how did the week go? Well I'm tired, sore, frustrated and in a pretty bad mood. I've had a very poor week training wise, normally the bright light would be that I'd be well recovered, but sadly thats not the case this week.

But trying to be positive I'm replanning next week. I'm going to have to be a bit more selfish with my time, unfortunately there's no way around that as I just have to get the workouts in or else Ironman will be one of the worst days of my life. To help with my leg I'm planning on hitting the pool pretty hard for Monday and Tuesday, hopefully by then I'll have the strain sorted out and can build to next weekends key workout - a half(ish) ironman simulation.

Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Active Rest

Yesterday was an "active rest" day folowing Sundays ride. I spent the afternoon helping the in-laws move into a new house. Today its bac into it, in an easy kind of way. I think its really important not to smack your body around to much but rather to take a measured approach to things. Key is to give your body a chance to take on board the training that its done, recover and repair, before loading it up with more. For that reason a lot of my weeks now are starting off easy (following a hard weekend) and building up as the week goes.

Things I'm watching out for is a rising heart rate (I need to see it steady at normal resting levels so I know that I've got the recovery right) and staying free of injury (your much more likely to pick up an injury when you haven't reoered properly from a big session).

All in all the plans on track

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Big Ride

Seems to be the day for big rides. I reckon I saw at least 100 other roadies in various bunches out and about today. Plus a scattering of, I presume (based in the TT bikes loaded with up with drink bottles behind the seats in on the frames). And no wonder as it was an absolutely perfect day for a ride. I don’t think there was a breath of wind for the first 110k, and there was hardly a cloud in the sky.

The course I road today took me up Albany Hill (there’s just no avoiding it, although I did notice that there were a bunch of cars with bike rakes – presumably belonging to one of the bunches – parked safely up the top of the hill … weak!), then out into Rodney for a 100k loop. This took me back home where I refilled my bottles and topped up my food before heading back out for a slightly shorter 70k loop.

The first 120k’s went really well, in fact I’d have to say that the first 100k’s was some of the best solo riding of my life. It felt really good and I felt really fresh throughout. The average speed for that initial loop was 29.7kph which isn’t bad given that there’s just no getting away from hilly riding in Rodney, in fact its one of the things that I’m looking forward to in Taupo – a largely flat course for a change.

The second loop was harder. I had some stomach problems from about 120k’s into the ride. I’m not sure if it was my electrolyte drink as I’d run out of my usual powder and had to pick up some Powerade (which isn’t ideal), or if I just wasn’t taking enough water with my gels. Fortunately it settled down however I did have to miss a couple of scheduled feeds. All in all the second (shorter) loop was a bit slower (there were a couple of extra hills and I was starting to feel pretty tired) and the average speed for the whole ride came back to 28.8kph.

The ride itself was 10k’s shorter than I’d planned (must have taken a wrong turn somewhere), but I’ve got to say that I was plenty happy to be done with it. My butt was getting sore, my neck was starting to get sore (I stayed aero for probably 90% of ride, not that you have much choice on my bike) and oddly enough, my wrists were getting sore (stupid big chip seal in the road means loads of vibration shaking its way up the front fork to the handle bars, it starts to add up after a while).

At 160k’s into the ride was the last big climb of the day, it’s a nasty little climb that touches 11% gradient, I find it challenging at the best of times, and I was particularly unhappy today. I used a running trick to get me up. What you do is this:

Pretend you have a big plate of (strangely light) iron attached to your chest and at the top of the climb is a huge magnet which is strong enough to pull you up. The catch is if you think negatively the magnet gets smaller, whereas if you think positively the magnet gets bigger, making it easier!

For those of you who are into stats here’s the numbers:

The total ride time was 5 hours 54 minutes with an average speed of 28.8kph. Mapmyrun estimates calories burnt at approximately 5000. In return I ate the following:

- 2 x One Square Meal Bars (700 calories)
- 6 x Balance Elite Fuel Supply Squeeziepack (gel) (630 calories)
- 1.5 L of Powerade (470 calories)
- 1 x Banana (100 calories)
- 1 Balance Protein Bar – immediately post ride (235 calories)

So 5000 calories out and 2135 calories in. That kind of ratio is probably enough to stop me from bonking on Ironman day, even better if I can get my stomach problems sorted out and keep eating throughout.

Picture of a perfect bike riding day - about 65 k's into the ride.

That’s another thing ticked off the list of things to do before Ironman. The list is starting to get rather short. Only 3 more bi workouts to do, another big ride, a half ironman simulation and a 3.8k swim and then I’m set

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Rest Days

This weeks been a lot more laid back than last week. I even had a complete days rest on Monday. This is a little unusual for me, I normally only have days of complete rest after actual events, but wit getting closer to the big one the plan is now for more intense workouts followed by periods of complete rest.

I’ve had people ask me about this before, and basically my rest days are normally structured in one of two ways. I’m a proponent of “active rest” especially given that I generally work on limited time and so the actually volume isn’t as huge as it could be. So in short “active rest” is basically exactly as it sounds, taking time off training but still staying active. The goal is to use the same muscles, but in a different way. For instance on an active rest day you might play a game of basketball or tennis. Or you might just go and chase the kids around the park, pick them up and carry them, run after the ball – it really doesn’t matter as long as you are being active but in a less intense way than in formal training, and in a way that uses your muscle groups in a different manner. These days are a great chance to have fun and be active with other people for a change.

The other method I use is one of timing, this is actually a surprisingly common approach as I know of at least a couple of other people who are independently doing the same thing. Essentially you structure your program so that once a week you have a workout session early in the morning, with the next session not being until the following evening, meaning you can effectively get in a rest period of around 36 hours without actually forfeiting a valuable day.

But this week was different and I actually took a whole day off and have tried to get to bed earlier to catch up on missing sleep. The kids haven’t completely corporated with a couple of disturbed nights this week, but I certainly do feel fresher now that I did at the start of the week.

That being said tomorrows session is a 180k + long ride. While this won’t be the biggest ride I’ve ever done, it will be the biggest ride done solo, so another milestone of sorts is almost in the bag – not many to go,

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Hard Week

I’ve been tired this week, staying up for New Years, plus getting up a couple of times in the wee smalls to settle kids (bless them).

This week has been all about intensity for me. The volume has increased as well but the biggest change is in the intensity of the workouts. In a nutshell, the swimming has involved sticking on the feet of people who are much better than me to increase the intensity of those workouts, and running and riding loads of hills, doing repeats, hill sprints and trying to catch any roadie that I catch sight of (and there’s plenty of them about at the moment).

The end result is … my legs hurt! Its been a great training week, tomorrows a rest day, which I’m really looking forward to, followed by a marginally easier week (similar volume but lower intensity) but building to 180k long ride on Sunday, which will easily be my longest so far in my buildup. I’ve been conditioning my butt this week by having several bike workouts in the schedule (two long ones) so hopefully it’ll go well.

Saturday’s ride was unusually hard, it was frustrated by a sneaky and steady wind which conspired to be continuously in front of me. So while I was slogging it out riding over massive chip, slightly uphill, into the conniving wind and unhappily watching my speed creep down to a lousily 20kph, it appeared as if the whole cycling world was merrily whizzing by in the other direction (yes down hill, with a tailwind, and I’m sure that road was smoother in the otherside!). It broke my heart. In the end my 110k ride got cut down to 90k’s and I got home absolutely drained (weak isn’t it, but to be fair my time allowance was running out and I had to totally flog myself to get back in time as it was – as much as I like training, and I do like it, I have a family to attend to as well, and I like them even more!).

Today’s workout was a swim, bike, run brick with a big emphasis on getting the transitions running smoothly. It started with a 1500 m (ish) ocean swim at Long Bay. A mill pond it was not! There was a petty good, mostly wind blown swell coming in which was really mushy. I was the only idiot out in a wetsuit trying to do anything other than body surf today and it was hard work. On the bright side coming back into the beach was good fun as I caught a couple of good waves to speed things up.

T1 went much much better than it did in Rotorua, so some lessons were happily learnt. I was in and out of my makeshift T1 in just over 2 minutes and didn’t forget anything yay!

The bike was a 20 k effort over a very hilly course and (once again) into a stiff headwind, with the layout of the course such that I didn’t really get a tail wind.

After that it was into T2 (1 minute 30 sec) and out for a 14 k run (again into a head wind and up a long stead hill). It was hot and hard – but oddly good, with a negative split (on account of the hill unfortunately).

So a good week down, and a slightly easier one planned for next week. I’ve got a bunch of key workouts to get in before now and mid February (where things will be eased somewhat), including a half ironman simulation, another 180k ride and a 3.8k swim – fortunately there are some public holidays coming up so I should be able to log them all in time.

It’s getting close!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Year

Well its now the second day of January and a whole new year is underway. This time round I greeted the new year with a combination of a great big bonfire, a bunch of friends, loads of excited kids who couldn't believe their luck in staying up so late, with absolutely no alchole and was promptly to bed shortly after midnight. Our new years celebrations were held at a riends place who lives out in the county, so of course, making the most of every opportunity I biked and met the family there (the long way) - my wife was a little amused that I was going to show up well after most other people and would most likely be the only one clad in lycra ... to her credit she didn't duck and hide when I finally rolled up.

On New Years Day I had loosely planned on going for a long ride in the morning, figuring that the roads would be empty as half of the country would be nursing hangovers. But as it turned out there were much MUCH more important things to do. For the last few weeks there has been a mysterious box in our garage, inside of which was a trampoline for the kids. We hadn't put it up earlier as if we had the kids wouldn't have wanted to leave for our trip down to Christchurch. So in the morning, up it went.

And once up it wasn't long before the neighbourhood kids started arriving.

So my ride got postponed till the afternoon. By the time the afternoon came along it was stinking hot and the wind (a good sea breeze) had picked up. We were all invited out to my sister-in-laws place for afternoon tea, she lives in Gulf Harbour (Whangaparaoa) so I started my ride from there. For those of you who don't know, Whangaparaoa is really hilly and exposed to the wind, meaning the first 15 k's was basicaly a series of short sharp climbs. All in all with the wind thrown it the ride was actually quite tough, and I loved it!

Here's a profile of yesterdays ride:

This morning I got up at 6am (which is very unusual for me) and headed out to Long Bay for an early morning ocean swim. It was the first time for a while that I'd been there and the beah was largely empty. There was a small swell rolling in so it wasn't quite the mill pond that I'd hoped for, still a good way to start the day. And I managed to get back before the kids were up, so my wife wasn't left sorting out breakfast for them all. This afternoon there's a 15k run scheduled in so its all good.

Here's hoping the year continues down a similar line.