Sunday, October 29, 2006

Week in review..

FIRST.. a huge congratulations to my buddy and training partner A who finished the Auckland marathon in 3:50. It's her first, has a hilly first half and the weather in Auckland today includes the huge gusts that have been all too common across the country.

I'm so proud and jealous. I wish I'd been there with her as we planned! I definitely know I'll be doing a full one day. It may not be able to be Rotorua, as I want to do my first Oly about a month before, and I may not do it til 2008, but I will do it!

On to me- this week in review:

Wednesday: So much for "no excuses." I slept in soo late! But then I did something right. I knew I couldn't work out at lunch time (too busy) and that I had to get to Dad's after work. Then it hit me! I worked out a route to Dad's (very hilly) and arranged to meet a friend to run part of the way with me. Then I begged my wonderful boy to carry my stuff to the car for me. Poor guy was completely laden! I did about 3 hilly miles before meeting C (some fabulous downhills as I was running late) and we then jogged (yup, definitely jogging..) about 4.5 miles to her place. Dad's is another 2.5(ish) miles from there, so I picked up the pace as much as I could. I was shattered by the end- so many hills and the last fifteen minutes or so was a long uphill slog. Anyway, felt great!

Thursday: Did an easy weights workout and some indoor cycling. Was taking it easy on the legs after the bigger than planned run on Weds. I had to work late, but knocked off at 8 so I could spend some time with P before he left. We got Nando's (yummy healthy chicken) and then went to Wendy's (not the burger place) for ice cream. I ordered green salad with my pita (though I didn't hold the mayo..) and got a small chocollo (89 cals) instead of a big yummy sundae. I feel like I am gradually starting to find my right mindset again (though the weekend puts paid to that...)

Fri- P left early on Friday morning, and when the alarm went off at 5:25, I rolled straight back over and went to sleep. Oops! I don't know why I have been so tired this week! I worked late (again), and then caught the train out to the Hutt valley where I was house (and cat) sitting over the weekend. The house is about a fifteen minute walk up the hill from the train station, so I hoped to be home by 10. Unfortunately, I completely missed their driveway and ended up adding an extra 40 minute loop. I was actually pretty exhausted by the time I got in! I played with the cats for a little while, read some of a trashy magazine, then marked a few exam papers before bed.

Saturday- alarm went off at 5:45 so I got up and got my swimming stuff on. I managed to do some more marking on the train, and while waiting for the bus and made it to my lesson a little over half an hour early, so did some easy laps to fill the time in. My lesson went well- my bilateral breathing is improving SO much, and I think my stroke is getting longer too! I am finding that breathing every stroke (I mean every) is a really helpful drill for me, even if it is incredibly dorky looking. I then came home (to my real home) to sort out the stuff I needed for the next day's du. I needed to get new screws for my cleats which of course no bike shops sell. So I had a cup of coffee, put some laundry on and looked up this hardware shop that would apparently have what I needed. I was thinking I'd finish marking one box of papers, then pick up the next bunch and head back to the Hutt. BUT the stupid hardware place closed at 1pm which wrecked that plan. So, put laundry out and stuck what I needed for the next day (clean sports bra etc!) in the drier, packed everything up and headed downtown where I got the screws, bought some hardware (!!), did some marking, popped into work and got some food for the evening. It doesn't sound like a busy day when I set it out, but it really was! I found it really hard to walk everywhere again, especially carrying probably 20lb worth of stuff! I've really been spoiled by P's car. I finally got back to the house at about 3:30, I think. I did some more marking, hung out with the cats, then went for a great little run before dinner. I wanted to explore the area as on my unplanned detour the night before I had seen heaps of trails coming off the road. I stopped and played in a playground for awhile, did some chin ups on the bars (I'm improving!!) and played on the swings. I love swings! I did a few pick-ups and fast hills and then raced up the driveway when I got back to the house (it's a real b*tch!). Was super excited to find Love Actually on TV, so kept it on in the background while I finished off this set of marking (I've done 120 of about 320). I made it to bed pretty early (10:30ish I think) and fell asleep not much later! It was a rough night, and I woke up quite a few times. Luckily one of those times I was able to wish A luck for the marathon! It did mean that I read some texts without digesting them including one from P telling me that he had won the auction on the bike he likes! It's the one that's better than mine but about the same colour, so we really will be twinnies! YAY! He got a great bargain too!

Sunday- I got up early to get ready for the du. My friend's mother came over at 7 to bring me home. I woke up feeling uncertain, and thought (not for the first time) about whether I should call to cancel my ride. A run around the Petone foreshore was sounding great! But I decided I should stick with it. Until I got home and in bucketed down. I was not excited about racing, when all I really wanted was a decent brick, but most of all, I was not excited about riding there and back! I am still nervy about the big downhills and I knew that riding back up in the rain after racing for 90 mins plus would not be fun. So I called Mum, got her to justify my behaviour and piked. It really made me aware of how reliant I am on P, both for motivation and for transport (again, it's time to drive). Also, it's reminding me how I need more tri friends! If I'd known people I knew would be at the race, I would have been more inclined to go. I really need to shift my attitude. But then again, this season is about fun! And I had LOTS of fun doing my own du. I ran into a woman from my club on the first run, so she kept the pace moving (although we were chatting). I then rode for an hour on the trainer (first time I've ever actually done an hour nonstop- usually get bored or have "core" stops), while watching the Lion King. I dashed out for the second run with just cycle shorts and a singlet. Rather cold, but enjoyed it.
I then caught up on some of my weekend chores, hung out with my sisters, and went into work where I found that SEVEN pages of a twelve page document I'd been drafting until 9:30 Friday night had disappeared!! We never got them back, so instead of doing what I intended to do on Sunday, I stayed until 11pm redoing it!

Monday- I decided to make this a week of evening workouts, as work will stay crazy- a couple of biggish cases at critical stages. If I can't get home til after 10 or 11, I'm not going to do what it takes to get ready for morning workouts away from home (breakfast, lunch, dinner, shower stuff, work clothes...generally half an hour to an hour of prep time all up), so it's better for me to take an hour out during the evening to do something. On Monday I went to the outdoor pool for a short swim. It was fantastic! I was only sharing the (33yd) lane with one other girl, and I just did one of their easy suggested workouts (mostly OK, apart from one armed freestyle.. how?) I went back to work with a real bounce back in my step. Had some delicious strawberries for dessert and got to look good when my boss came back in quite late to finish some things off. Left at 11, which meant I was only barely asleep when P got back from Melbourne.

Tues- finished work early and ran home with my friend, then back downtown where I met P. We had burgers and kumara chips by the beach (in the car as it was freezing)- a great welcome back date. Now I'm finishing this off and deciding what to do in the morning. I'm hankering for another run, but may cycle instead. We're picking up P's bike after work. Yay!

Speaking of the trainer, I'm thinking about getting a CTS dvd- not all of them are available here but should be able to find something online. Any suggestions?

Weight loss is going OK. My average weight has gone down over the past two weeks, and the downwards trend has been consistent. Lowest weight so far, 134.8! I'm getting used to counting cals- now the plan is to try to make those cals better ones!!

Anyway, better get to bed. I'm alive, and stressed but happy. I'm grateful to be able to fit even 30-40 minute workouts in!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


The weekend stayed wet and gross (understatement- it's winds of over 100kph and severe weather warnings all over the place...trees down all over the show too). Yesterday we went to a spin class (good workout, but I think she spent waaay too much time out of the saddle) and checked out some bikes for P. The one he likes is lots like mine (but better), so if he ends up with that we'll be twins!

I then remembered what it feels like to be bored. In a "nothing to do" as opposed to a "doing something boring" way. It was cold and wet. P was out nerding it up with his friends. The house was (mostly) clean and I didn't need to start dinner for a couple of hours. I was banned from my trainer (meanie boy.. oh, ok, thanks hon!) and I felt like slapping Mari Winsor even more than I usually do (sorry Mari.. I do like your workout!) I had no books to read and there was nothing on TV.

It was so strange! I am so used to cramming everything into two days and being go go go all day. It wasn't just the extra day this weekend- I also had far less on (no races, no "long" workouts thanks to the weather, no scheduled workouts with friends/groups...) and the weather really did make a difference. Anyway, it was kind of worrying to feel like I'd lost the ability to amuse myself, but on the other hand, exciting to realise that my inner couch potato is well and truly gone. I can still relax, but I don't think I'll be "lazy" again. In the end I got up and started dinner and lunches for today a bit earlier than planned. That led to some fun extra cooking (divine pumpkin fritters which I can't wait to make again and some squid rings). It was nice making dinner in a relaxed, non-hurried way and to be able to feel like I'm a good live-in girlfriend, feeding my man! Silly, yes, but although we usually eat proper meals, it's nice to have three courses all truly home-prepared. Tonight I'm continuing in this vein of domesticity by making P's favourite mac n cheese.

I've been thinking about my results from last week. On the whole I'm not best pleased. I'm happy with the weekend, where I think my blowouts were quite controlled, but not the rest of the week. I ate way too much JUNK, succumbed to far too many temptations. In fact, I didn't really resist anything. I have forgotten how to behave like a motivated person, and I'm eating like someone eating normally, not someone watching her weight. I'm not saying I should be denying myself everything, but one treat a day should be enough! Workouts are the same- I'm just not pushing enough! I'm taking it easy, having fun and I want to push it up a little. Take this weekend. It rained, and what did I do? I switched to indoor workouts (shorter in duration and overall "burn") and hid inside like a little girl. The old Kate? She would have been out running in wet weather gear and loving it! I need a more structured programme and no more excuses. So, tonight while P eats his mac n cheese, I'm having pasta with tuna and a little grated cheese (and a lot of tasty greens). I need to not eat like a man!

Tomorrow's a trainer workout/run in the morning- no matter what!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

I hate boys.

Why, you ask?

Because they're stronger. Faster. Better. And it drives me mad.

Today I went to the gym with P. I jumped on the erg and was stoked to watch my time per 500 quickly dive below 2:00, to 1:59 and then 1:58. I really feel like my rowing's progressing. P decided he'd like to give it a go too (his second time, ever). Gave him some pointers on technique and he was off. 2:10. 1:58. 1:51. 1:48. NO Fair! I finished my first 1000 in 4:10 and was so chuffed! P, barely working, finished his in 3:54. I just hate being a girl sometimes. I realise it's all about power and that women just aren't as powerful or as fast as men, but I do hate that I can't outrun or outrow him (well, maybe in a marathon). I know it's actually great. I have this wonderful guy who helps me in my training, and who inspires me to work harder (there's no way I would have *sprinted* the last 500m of our run on Friday if I'd been alone. And today I broke my rowing mile record by 15 seconds. Sah-weet! But still. It's hard when I do all this training, and then he can do the things I've achieved without even trying :-(

To continue on this slightly negative note, labour weekend has really let us down. It's supposed to mark the beginning of summer (the outdoor pools open!!) I had hoped that this weekend would include a long easy bike, a medium distance (8-10m) run and an open water swim, to break in the new wetsuit (the evo. Yup, I'm cheap, and may regret it, but I can't afford to spend any more on tri than is absolutely necessary!) Lots of gelato, sun and chilled out glasses of wine. What it has (and will continue to) involve? Rain. Storms and wind. Heaters on inside. Warming up fast to stop from freezing at the gym. Indoor workouts. Elliptical training. YUCK! Admittedly, tomorrow should be better- we're planning a spin class and I'm hoping to have a quick swim in the outdoor pool (which opened today!) afterwards. The weather may be awful, but I love swimming outside in the rain and the weather means there will be far fewer kids around.

Oh well- every cloud has a silver lining. I had a nice evening out last night. Dinner at a vegetarian cafe followed by a chick flick and a hot chocolate. The nasty weather has meant more time relaxing with P in front of the heater, and it's made it MUCH easier to finish our chores. It's made it easier for me to track my meals in fitday and to track a woman I know as well as the Kiwi Pros at Kona. Sad to see Cameron Brown falling to 8th but pleased to see Jo Lawn at 7th. A woman from my club is competing in the 50-54 group. Solid enough swim and bike, and she's running 8:12s so far. Go Michelle!

Friday, October 20, 2006

The numbers...

The numbers from Naenae are in:

Time: 1:12:33 (crikey- I've never been so far out before, given I started timing at the gun!); no splits available
Place: Category (F U35) 9/22; Gender (F) 19/70; Overall 93/184

These aren't great results. It's probably the first race where I haven't placed in the top 50% overall (ok, ok, it's close..), and to only just be in the top half of my category is a worry. I'm used to running, where I've always placed reasonably well. Ah well. Anyway, I'm not pleased but hey- this wasn't about winning, or even doing well. If it was, I would not have killed my legs on Saturday, I would have warmed up properly, yadda yadda.

I was very good this week and took 1 1/2 rest days- no workouts between the race and Tuesday night, when I just had to run. Work was crazy, I was late to an appointment, and when I finally got there I just didn’t have a clue what to do. I volunteer at the Community Law Centre, where I give advice to refugees and other immigrants about their immigration issues. Mostly we are helping people to get other members of their families over to NZ to be with them. It can be pretty emotionally draining, and I always feel a little out of my depth away my normal life in a big, safe, corporate law firm. I grabbed a protein bar on the way home, then dashed in, laced up and headed out. Ten minutes jog, 3 X hill reps (picked a too short hill and hated it…), jog down to the waterfront and around the bays (slooowly) for about 2 miles. Then braced myself and dragged myself up the hill back home. I did OK. I didn't feel as strong on that hill as I used to, but I only stopped once, and I wanted to at least 10 more times! I am so glad that running is becoming my stress relief of choice again. Though the beer we shared while cooking dinner helped too!

I spent the run planning my training programme for the standard distance. I accept that I have to keep taking it easy between now and then (boo), but it helps to know that some good training, especially for running, is on the horizon.

On some other numbers, I am using fitday again, and weighing in daily. I know why weighing in daily is "bad", but I like being able to see trends, rather than just my arbitrary weekly weights. I just want to lose 5lb- all of it fat! My body is so mushy at the moment. I liked it firm! Summer's coming! Today's weight is 138.2. I want to be 133 by Xmas.

Oh- and the last lot of numbers..

Orca Evo: $289 - 15%
Orca Sonar: $439 - 15%
How much I sold the cellphone I won on Tuesday for: $185

Which wetsuit? I can sorta afford either, but money is tight and I can't really afford a wetsuit at all. I still need a new bike computer and various other stuff too. Should I use the bonus money from the cellphone to justify an upgrade, or should I just be glad that it'll now be easy to pay for my wetsuit?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Naenae Triathlon- race report

Today was a whole heap of fun. I think I could learn to like this triathon business! Got up at 6:20 this morning, and forced a bowl of oatmeal (with strawberries, almonds and canned peaches) down. My appetite has been so screwy recently- not at all like me- but I managed to finish it. I did some stretching, took my bike out for a couple of minutes then woke P.

I b*tched and moaned most of the way to the race. We forgot to take good tunes with us. I was tired, my tummy felt funny. The weather was pants, I wasn't in the mood. Poor P, it must have been like travelling with a 3 year old. Arrived out at Naenae and queued to register, still not in the mood. Definitely the closest I've ever been to flagging a race, but I didn't stay at home last night, wake P up or pay thirty bucks to chuck it in! Race briefing was uneventful. I couldn't hear much, but it didn't seem like I missed anything important.

Run was OK. I wasn't running strong, and was passed by some people I shouldn't have been passed by. But felt like I was in about the part of the pack where I belong (near the back of the men, middle/front of the women). I spend so much of my training and racing with men in their early 50s! But they're great, and always so helpful, friendly and wise! The first mile or so was an eternity. I must have looked at my watch about 4 times before I'd been out ten minutes! Was happy to see P and a couple from Harriers at about 14 minutes and hoped this meant I was not too far from transition. By this time, I was happy. My pace felt good, although my legs were struggling too much for a 4k! Did a big, happy, two-handed wave but P didn't catch that. Transition was just over 5 minutes from that point, and I was pleased to hit the cones at 19:37 and to be well at my bike by 20:00. Yay! That's sub-8. Not much sub-8, and not the time I should be getting but you know, I'll take it! Lesson learned: Don't kill legs the day before. Push hard!

T 1 was quite good! I clipped in fairly quickly and rode off. My speed til the first turn around was between 28 and 31 kph. Not spectacular, but passed the mountain bikes and a few of the faster ones. Was fun having a semi-decent bike and being able to pass people who'd passed me on the run :-) After the first turn it got windy and my speed slowed by about 5kph. Yuck. We rode back past the swimming pool/transition area and I gave P another big wave, but a big car passed me so no pic. I was feeling really happy. Thanking marshalls, shouting out thanks to my supporters. It was fun! Seeing P and my harriers friends gave me a short burst of speed, but that didn't last long, as I was about to hit the real wind. I'm not sure what the speeds were like, but it wasn't fun. The side wind was the worst- still adjusting to the lighter bike and I hate that feeling where I think it's going to blow over. I rode slowly into the wind, and it seemed that every time I got to shift my gears up, I'd hit another gust. I got passed a couple of times, but apart from one couple I passed everyone back. I'll never know, but I felt like I definitely passed more than passed me on the bike. Finally, we hit the tail wind. Sailed over the overpass (a little nervous, so slowed on the turn) and enjoyed watching the (now fixed) computer edging up a bit as I rode along the next flat. Before I knew it, I was coming back towards T2, so I started unclipping, but try as I might, my left (normal unclipping) foot would not budge. As I turned towards the cones, I gave up and took my right foot off. I stopped in the dismount area, and pulled to the edge, but couldn't for the life of me get unclipped. Eventually I realised that the shoe was coming away from the cleat, and that I was going to have to take the foot out of the shoe instead. Oops! Unfortunately, I didn't pick the smoothest way of doing this, so I kinda capsized. I guess the marshalls weren't allowed to help, but it would have been easier for him, me and the panicked ambulance officer if he'd just undone that velcro. Anyway, I unvelcroed, picked myself up and headed into t2. I wasn't happy with my bike time. I could have gained a minute or so by being less timid, and a few minutes by riding stronger and better. It'll come! Lessons learned: work on dismounts, buy new computer that measures cadence.

In T2, I realised I might have missed something in the briefing when I started running towards the pool and the crowd of spectators started yelling "wrong way!!" Ooops. I felt a bit stupid, and I'm sure it was obvious enough that no-one else stuffed up, but I sort of think it might be smart to actually include this sort of info in race instructions. Like: "After dismounting, run through T2 and then instead of going through the main pool door, run through the carpark, along a path and through the back door you've probably never seen.." Maybe? Anyway, bare feet and brick legs made the short run harder than I expected. We all climbed in at the shallow end and headed off. There was a bit of awkward politeness in the swim. People sort of waited at the end of the lanes (we basically zigzagged across the 6 lanes, so no flip turns etc) and it was a bit of a mess. I was quite zapped. I breathed a LOT and couldn't really manage to use anything in the way of smart technique. The pics show my legs trailing behind me, which is what it felt like. Ah well! I stuck with freestyle and did OK. I saw P as I swam, and tried to wave. He didn't see, but I loved being able to give him a big happy wave even though I was swimming. Got passed by a couple of people but couldn't be bothered swimming any more aggressively, though I worked quite hard and when I finished, I was stuffed. Lessons learned: I was glad for my "endurance" training in the pool. It's hard to swim fast when you're tired and there are people everywhere.

My finish time was 1:12:04. Quite a long time between entering T2 and getting out of the pool! But well within my vague goal. Yay! No official results yet. I suspect I'll be somewhere in the middle of my age group. It wasn't a great race, and I didn't win the bike spot prize, though I did get a voucher for 15% off wetsuits in my race pack! 15% is a decent amount off a wetsuit, and I'm in the market (need one before my tri in November).

Overall lessons learned:

1- The things that make me nervous about triathlon (transitions, looking like a dork) are not a big deal. I know I learnt this at that du, but I'm feeling it so much more now! It's OK. I've got so much time to get good at transitions, and who cares if I make a dork of myself when I can't unclip? Sure, it would be better not to, but it WILL be OK...

2- It's fun to race! I'm definitely taking it less seriously than I took running races. I know I'll be more focussed as I improve, and I know I'll be disappointed if I don't do well in my next sprint, or in my first Oly, but I am loving just having fun.

I spent the rest of my day shopping with my sisters, and buying things I can't afford. It was great.

Cool- P just flicked on the TV and the women's ITU World Cup race (in Hungary) is on ESPN (yes, it was awhile ago). Nice timing! I'm really looking forward to watching it LIVE in a few weeks. They've come off the bike, and man they're looking fast coming into that run! Such amazing bodies...

Anyway, I'm off for a massage and then to sleep. YAY. Not in the mood for work tomorrow, but ah well!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Gale force northerlies??

Weather forecast for tomorrow (Naenae) is not looking great. Gusty? Gale force? Nothing funner than biking into gale force head winds! Ah well, it happens.

Am not particularly enthusiastic about tomorrow at the moment. Last week was a reasonably hard week at work, and although I did take that rest day, and another, I'm fairly wiped. I've also had some stomach issues which has made getting in calories more of a chore than usual! Running for two hours today may not have been the best move, but I had good reasons, and I won't regret it even if my performance is impaired tomorrow.

I joined a friend for the last 6 or 7 miles of the 24(ish) miler she did today. When I met her she'd been out for 3 hours or so, with at least half of that runnning into impossible winds. She was amazing. Absolutely knackered when we met, she was strong up the hills and finished sooo weell! She's absolutely going to rock that marathon! Anyway, she said at the end and on the way that the company made all the difference, and I'm so happy to have done that. Then I joined the Scottish Harriers for the last group run of the season. It was good to be back with the club, though I did run with a pack down (I'm not sure what pace they train at, but most of these women would race about a 25 in a 5k, maybe a 1:55-2hr half..) I talked to a lot of people about my overtraining experience etc and am looking forward to next year with the club. It was hard to balance training with A with training with the club, but I really have missed the support, as well as the pack runs!

The main reason I went to this run today was because of the mini prizegiving to celebrate our exercise challenge (their real prizegiving is tonight). Got a bottle of wine for a spot prize and a cute certificate the organiser had made for us. She'd scrapbooked them personally for each of us, trying to incorporate bits of us into them. Really sweet :-)

I also had my first swimming lesson this morning. I felt incredibly uncoordinated, but I did feel like my roll and my stroke speed had improved by the end of the lesson. I also learned a few things about swimming that I didn't already know, despite way too much time spent reading about stroke and technique and so on. I really hope the lessons will help me!

Anyway, tonight I'm taking it easy. P's out, and I've got grilled cheese, popcorn, chick flicks and strawberries. Will stretch and get a good night's sleep! Look forward to posting race report and pics tomorrow!

Monday, October 09, 2006

It's not my fault (aka "rest day")

It's not my fault that the evening of my rest day was sunny, clear and still after a day of cold fog.

It's not my fault that I finished work on time.

It's not my fault that I was cold all day and ate to warm up, and thus, was buzzing with energy to burn.

It's not my fault that dinner was over by 7:15 and that it was still light when P left at 7:30.

It's not my fault our bus passed someone running up *my* hill.

It's not my fault that there was nothing on TV.

It's not my fault that my ipod was fully charged.

It's not my fault that my legs, completely unbidden, carried me off the couch and into my room; got me changed from trackies into polypro tights, black running shorts, sports bra, singlet, polypro top and cap.

It's not my fault that my feet snuck into my (detested) adidas running shoes, laced up and headed out.

And it's CERTAINLY not my fault that the random route I took around the suburb led to an enticing little hill, perfect for running up and down...

So much for my rest day. But, I figure I don't get that URGE to run as often as I used to, and I want to indulge it, in case it runs away again. And, I can take a rest day later this week, right? I also compromised, by jogging to cool down and then doing some walking after I'd warmed up and done 4 hill reps (2:09, 2:06; 2:06; 2:05) Oh my god. My spaghetti bolognese was not sitting well. It's an evil wee hill. Starts flattish, then gets steeper and steeper as you climb. My first rep was a mess- started fast and strong, then had to gasp the whole second half. It's deceiving, running up short hills! Looks like you're nearly there, but only because of the absurd gradient!

My ipod made good company, and I played my power songs for the last rep. I love having such a random selection of music on my runs! (Eminem, N'sync, Live, Songs from Les Mis and West Side Story, Gwen Stefani, Offspring (woah, nostalgia trip), Fat Boy Slim, S Club 7, The Finn Brothers, Queen.)

It reminded me about my theme song for this season- Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now." The song is perfect for my first season. Although what it's actually about is far less wholesome than triathlon, it's all about speeding along (I'm a shooting star leaping through the sky/ like a tiger defying the laws of gravity/ I'm a racing car passing by like Lady Godiva/ I'm gonna go go go there's no stopping me) and (duh) not stopping. Most importantly, it's about letting go, rocking out, and having fun (Don't stop me now/ I'm having such a good time/ I'm having a ball), and I think that's the MOST important thing about this season for me. For too long exercise has been about losing weight, about training and improving, and although the fun has always/mostly been there, it's never been number one.

Speaking of "don't stop me", I did get back on the bike yesterday. It was a perfect day, and I'm not going to let my stupidity and complete uselessness waste a perfectly good day! So did a "brick". Not a proper brick, but a run/bike, since that's what I'm doing this Sunday. I was nervous on the bike, did a lot of braking round corners, and was superduper prepared for every traffic light. I spent a fair bit of time unclipped and just riding along with my foot on top of the pedal. Oh well. I also have tried to do some positive visualisation, so now I see myself riding around that evil corner well. Thanks for all the comments. I knew I would be back on, and I recognised the vicious "lack of confidence" cycle. And I've remembered other goals of mine over the past couple of years- relinquishing control (occasionally) and learning to keep at things I'm not good at (not a favourite.. I've always been good at enough things that I haven't had to!) So, this time next year, I'll be screaming downhill at speed. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

How the mighty have fallen

(literally and figuratively)
So, yesterday I was buzzing over the awesome spin class, and the crazy speedy(by my "now" standards) run off. I was ready to smoke this tri! Today, I am not.
My easy bike ride with P turned into a ride with the Bike Expert Friends when they texted us at "An Inconvenient Truth" (good movie) last night. I was pretty amped about riding with them again, and was glad that P would have some people who actually know what they're doing. But it all went (literally) downhill from there.
P and I rode down the hill to the swim shop to check out wetsuits. I haven't ridden the new bike (man it needs a name, but right now, if you can't say something nice...) "seriously" downhill before and I was a little nervous. I was agitated the whole way down. Uncomfortable, riding brakes, etc etc. Just not feeling it. We then met up with Bike Expert Friends, who suggested we ride back up the hill and down the other side. I was a little nervous- last time I rode uphill with one of them, I really sucked, but the uphill was OK. I was too nervous to get out of the saddle though, so stayed in the whole way up. Then came downhill. I hate it. I'm so nervous. I just hate it, though I thought I was improving. Seriously, I even hate RUNNING downhill, I'm that much of a freakin' control freak. I let everyone go ahead and worked on gradually easing off the brakes. Apart from some w*nker accelerating up the hill on my side of the centre line, it was OK, most of the way. Then we neared the bottom. I ended up leading, but asking Bike Expert #1 to take over, as I don't like traffic much either. The bottom of this hill requires a sharp left turn (we drive on the left) at a somewhat busyish intersection- you keep going down and hit another intersection, then a roundabout in reasonably quick succession. It's a lot of fun for someone who's not me! So, Bike Expert #1 was leading, and I was following her. And then I realised I wasn't "following" her, so much as rapidly gaining on her as I sped up coming towards the corner. I gripped my brakes a bit more and then screamed, "I can't stop!!"
Then I lost control, crossed two lanes of traffic (in front of a car going the other way to that I intended) and rammed my front wheel on the kerb.

Then I fell.

It wasn't a bad fall. The bike's fine (ish) and I'm fine apart from a couple of minor bruises and shattered confidence. I don't know why it's affected me so badly. I've fallen before, though not for awhile, and not clipped in (not that that makes a difference, by the time I hit the ground, I was unclipped- I think "panic" mode includes unclipping for me) and more importantly, not in traffic or going fast downhill. My falls have never involved a severe loss of control, and have never involved doing things I'm nervous about. We walked to the local bike shop to by a new tire (could have done a temporary fix, but I needed a new one and it's not far off) and then continued on our way. P and I stayed on the (windy as all heck) flats and it was fine. Gears were a little bit dodgy, but so long as I stayed in my big ring, I felt OK! Then we headed up a small rise. I rode up well, stayed strong and got my gears sorted in time to get down the other side with minimum panicking. Until I heard my front tire start chugga chugging. I decided to pull over at the top, but as I neared the top of the rise, my tire made my mind up for me, and I heard a loud PSSSSHT. I expleted, not for the first time and stopped. No biggie, we changed the tire and started to laugh about the day we'd had (there'd been another drama when we lost one of our party for ten minutes or so). Then, clipped in and started heading down the other side.

Except I didn't. My legs didn't pedal and I toppled. The typical topple, that I somehow managed to avoid my first and second times with the clips. Picked up, decided I was walking (again) and headed on.

All I can say is that I made it home in one piece. But I had minor panic attacks and dribbles of tears at most of the traffic lights. My HR was elevated and I couldn't be bothered moving my bike, so I cruised along at an embarrassingly low cadence in a stupidly high gear. P and I walked the hill home (he was riding a beast of a slow bike and, having grown up somewhere very flat, had never ridden uphill on a road bike until today- legend for getting UP our hill the first time!!) where we replenished our blood sugar with tea and chocolate biscuits. 4 hours since we'd left, and we'd done under 40k of actual riding!

At this point, I have some thanks (I'd like to thank the academy...) The woman with the station wagon who offered to drive me home, post crash. P and the experts were great. They were encouraging, and made sure I didn't feel stupid. They told me I handled the crash well, and repeatedly reinforced how proud they were of me for getting back on (etc etc).. Platitudes, maybe. I'm still embarrassed, but grateful.
No thanks to the dude in the white car who freaked me out pre-crash, and to the woman in the bike shop who reluctantly changed the tire and did it wrong (pinch flat).

But here's the problem. I'm still shaken. P and I drove out to Naenae to drive the bike and run courses for next week. Every time we rounded a tight corner, I felt my chest tighten and my HR quicken. Every time we neared traffic lights, I worried about stopping on time and not falling. In a car! I could feel myself riding, and I was freaked. I flashback to the first crash all the time, and worry.

Unlike my other crashes, I can't take a lesson from it. The first crash (a couple of years ago- first ride since I was about 8) I learnt "don't try to ride up proper kerbs, even if they look like driveways". This crash? I learned "yeah, I don't ride well downhill" and "don't ride nervous." Great. But somehow, don't ride up the kerb is an easier rule to apply to my rides than don't ride nervous.

I'm deliberately posting now, while I'm still feeling it. I'm hoping that tomorrow will be a new day. I probably won't ride. Maybe inside. But I kinda want to run. I will be back in the saddle. I'm glad to have had another crash to remind me that sh*t happens, crashes happen, and I can get back up, with just a bruised elbow and a dented ego. But I'm kinda scared, and yesterday I wasn't and I wish I could go back.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Speedy gonzales??

Today was my long awaited BONUS day off work (bonus meaning it wasn't leave or a weekend and I just got to do what I wanted all day). The day looked pretty horrible- windy, cold and rainy, so decided to opt for the gym plan, rather than the long bike ride (fingers crossed for tomorrow). I slept in, had breakfast and then headed to the gym, where I did a relatively hard spin class (well, it was called "Challenge") and then rode for awhile on a horrible stationary bike (yuck yuck YUCK) before I got completely bored (only about 25 minutes). Decided to do a 1m run off, so hopped on the treadmill, thinking I'd hopefully do about 7:40/7:50. Started on 13.0km/h (a bit over 8mph) and gradually increased the speed, as I got bored. Ended up hitting the treadmill's limits at about 6 minutes- I'd chosen an old one (which I now know top out at 16km/h/10mph) rather than the good ones (which go up to 20km/h/12.5mph). Anyway, the short version is, I hit the mile in 6:40! AND when I got off, my HR was 150??!? AND I know I could go faster, but for the dumb machine AND I definitely could have gone further. So, I don't know if I'm speaking too soon, or if it's just a function of doing an afternoon workout on a good night's sleep, or what, but maybe, just maybe my fitness is coming back?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

ITU World Champs

(No, I'm not out-Jessi-ing Jessi!!)

My first "proper" tri (right order, sea swim) was listed as being the starter tri run by the Wellington tri club on 19 November. BUT when pottering around the Tri NZ site, I noticed that the "World Triathlon Festival" starts in NZ in November, continuing through to the Oly champs in March (typically, the Oly distance race that's in Wellington is the NZ Champs, so it's not really feasible to switch to that one. even though the race vest is REALLY hot) The opening weekend, in New Plymouth (5 hours up the island from here) is 11-12 November and includes a "tri-my-sport sprint" (700/20/5) and the World Cup New Plymouth race. Tempting, huh? But of course, there are so many reasons not to do it:

1- My du (already paid for) on the 29th
2- The 50k ride (3 hours from home) on the 5th
3- The 17k walk/run/hike (hard course) on the 18th
4- The starter on the 19th.
5- The soonness of it and the spontaneity required (yes. In my world 1 month is spontaneous!)

Ha! Once I wrote all those things down, I realised what terrible excuses they are. I have been so disappointed about missing out on my marathon holiday, so we're taking a long weekend to go up to New Plymouth for me to try a tri! Yay! I am so excited to be part of a big weekend, to do an ocean swim in a DIFFERENT place (Wellington's triathlons may be numerous, but locations are not so varied). Once again, big props to P. He is actually planning his life around my races, and they seem to be piling up. He doesn't complain, not even wake I drag his (rarely) hungover body out of bed to take me to transition. And then leave him to wait around for hours before he sees me again.

I ran last night for 12-13k (ish. I don't trust the map distance- it can't have been 13, though it said 13.3). Pace between (about) 5:20 and 5:40 ks (depends on distance, includes rest and subject to high level of stopwatch idiocy). It was a horrible day (gusty winds- 76 kph, rain, cold.. What happened to spring? And daylight saving?) but we picked a somewhat sheltered route (painful wind only 10-20% of the way) and I mostly felt good. AND my knees and legs don't hurt. I did a recovery swim this morning (only 1500m), and was really tired today. I think it's the weather, daylight savings, the slightly earlier wake-up for swims and a myriad of other things, but will watch it, and will get some good rest (and a good long bike ride if the wind eases up) tomorrow (day off. YAY). Once we'd been to the gym and had some delicious Thai and a sneaky glass of wine (not a very common occurrence..)

Nothing big planned for the weekend- that's why I really want to get the long bike out of the way. This is pretty much the only weekend for quite some time that I/we are not travelling/racing/etc etc. We're planning a trip out to check out next week's tri course, and I'm hopefully going to get a gentle ride with P in. Gentle? Yeah right! He'll be pushing me the whole way, even though my bike's faster…

Monday, October 02, 2006

Why I wish AG prizes were more popular in NZ....

Official results from yesterday came out today:

Total time: 57.24 (I think this is the first time my stopwatch time has ever actually been identical to my chip time)

Run 1: 12:53
T1 and Bike: 28:58 (I think T1 would have been about 1 1/2 mins)
T2 and Run 2: 15:33 (T2- a bit longer than T1; 1 1/2 to 2 minutes?)

Place (individual short course): Overall: 18/40 F: 8/24 F: 20-24 1/2

It doesn't say where the transition times are added in, but I had enough of an eye on my watch to have some idea. There's no way my last run was 15:33!! I think I left T1 a bit after 43:00 on the clock, so it was about 14 mins or a little under.

Nothing to be proud of, sadly. I was beaten by lots of women from different AGs, most of whom I couldashouldawoulda beaten if I'd been racing properly or in the shape I used to be in. But still, I came FIRST in my AG! Sooo.. if there were prizes for winners of AGs, that would have been me! Yeeah.

All I can say is that Sunday the 15th can't come soon enough!!

I have added another du to my event schedule (I'd been planning on doing it, but had forgotten to add it). I've chosen the short course, but the run on the medium course looks much more fun. Which should I do? Hmmm.. It's starting to look like it would be very economical to join the tri club here! (I'd have saved $20 on entry fees already)

Sunday, October 01, 2006


Yes, yes. I'm a regular posting machine today. We've been very lazy. Hopefully I will get home at a reasonable hour tomorrow, as I have HEAPS of housework to catch up on. But I hate doing housework at 9:30pm, so I won't.

Anyway, went to Sunday swimming. I was really tired and didn't know if anyone would be there, so planned myself a 1k workout and decided I could do some pool running or just have a sauna if I got sick of it. But no- I did 3k, for the first time EVER! And it was just sooo easy to keep going back and forth, back and forth. I really like basing my workouts on sets of 300- it flies by. That's where swimnesia comes in. I know what I did for the first 1200m, and I remember counting from 1200-1500, and from 1500-2000 (300 + 200 recovery). I remember that somewhere along the way I did some 100s (on the 2:20... an improvement for me, embarrassingly enough) and that I did some speedwork of 1 x breast, 1 x fast (or slow, which I was today). I know that I kept on pinching myself and counting back the sets to see if I'd really done what I thought I'd done. I know that I didn't need anywhere near as many breaths to finish a lap. But as soon as I got out of the water, I couldn't for the life of me trace my workout backwards. This happens to me all the time- I keep careful count during the workout, and then it all just leaves when I go out. That's ok when I'm counting lap by lap (like I sort of used to sometimes), but when almost all my sets are 300s? Ah well. I trust myself, and I know I did 3k.

I'm feeling very happy about that workout. It wasn't fast, but it was consistent, and the duration was entirely doable. I felt strong, not sluggish and it was a great way to relax after the non-race this morning.

This week, Sat-Fri, is the last week of the Scottish Harriers women's exercise challenge. I wasn't as involved in Scottish this year as I was last year, but I am planning to get involved again- either over summer or next year. Anyway, my goal for the challenge was to get over 7-days (as in 168 hours) of exercise in over the season (we had a choice of 3-days or 7-days). It's only a 7-hour week average, but with vacations, and overtraining, and moving, and massive work weeks, I am happy to have met my goal. I met it last week, or the week before, so everything since then has been bonus. Yay!

AND I (probably) have Friday off work for NO reason (well, we're moving offices) YAY. Bring on the spa at the gym, a relaxed lifting session, a loong WEEKDAY bike ride. Hopefully I won't be working 14 hour days to make up for it! (knock wood!)
Completely off topic, but on my mind - some bad news for my Church:

Scorching Duathlon "Dawn Breaker" Race Report

The last in the Scorching duathlon series was called the dawn breaker because daylight savings started today in NZ. After a restless night's sleep (P got home at about 1, I think, then I kept pre-empting my alarm for the next six hours!), I woke up, exhausted, to a foggy, damp and windy morning. None of the usual pre-race excitement I'm used to, and it was hard to force down my coffee and oatmeal. I was glad I had made the decision to treat the event as a practice race- not only not to worry about time, but to consciously pull back. To assist in achieving this goal, I'd done 5 miles of A's 22-miler with her yesterday, at about an 8:45 pace. An easy workout, yes, but it's been quite awhile since I ran for more than about 30 minutes!

Anyway, I finished my breakfast, woke up a reluctant P and we were off. Racked my bike (in the wrong place- the "short"/"medium"/"long" signs were at the other end of transition- shame!) and waited around for my start.

I started a bit fast on the run, but remebered to pull back, and finished the 2.5k in a little under 13:00.

Took my time drinking and changing shoes, and headed out on the bike. I had a little trouble clipping in (it took about 400m to get my left foot in) and felt quite stupid as people from the longer races started whizzing by on their tri-bikes, but eventually sorted myself and was off.

I should have pushed harder on the bike. I am a nervous passer and was terrified of accidentally drafting, so ended up missing out lots of opportunities to push ahead. Lessons learned. And better than getting myself into trouble! I also had issues with one woman who I was leapfrogging with. Kept getting stuck behind her on corners and roundabouts, then struggling to pass her on the straights. Again, I need to get more confident and become more assertive. It was OK not having a computer- I probably would have worked harder if I'd had numbers, but that wasn't the plan. I had some good moments (cruising down the hills and round the corners), and am definitely loving the clips and feeling far more confident on the bike! I repeated my mounting issues on the dismount, nearly taking out the race director as I struggled to deal with curb, unclipping and slowing down all at the same time. Fortunately I didn't get in the way of any of the speedsters doing the longer races! Total bike time was a bit less than 30 mins- between 24 and 28 somewhere!

T2 was a mess. Fumbled with both laces, twice. But eventually got out onto the second run, and legs weren't too jelly like (it was a short cycle!). Passed a few people who had passed me on the bike, and saw just how many people had snuck ahead of me without me knowing! Pressed on, keeping it easyish. My sisters passed me at the turn around, and I headed back to finish. I was planning to pass an overweight man in his mid-50s or so in the last 500m or so (the men started 5 or so minutes before us), but when he slowed to high-five his son just out of the finishing "shute", I decided to hold my pace for an easy finish. My right knee and ITB have been a little tender, and I wasn't about to risk anything just to steal this awesome guy's thunder! Second run- closer to 14...

Total time: 57:24. I'm OK with it. I need to remember to be OK with my "not racing" times (a 24:50 in a "not racing" 5k a few months ago almost had me in tears). It's hard to strike the balance- I was working hard, and my result seems slow for the effort. But I was trying not to race, and I always felt that my ideal racing effort level would have been a bit higher. I know what I did wrong, and I also know I could have chopped a fair bit off just by running properly and transitioning smoothly. However, the real, important lessons I learned are:

1- I want to go longer! I hated having to get off the bike soon, and hated my runs ending just as I got warmed up; and
2- I can't wait to add the swim!
3- Looking like a knob isn't that bad. You look like a dweeb for ten seconds if you can't clip in, or if you try to take out the RD, but then that ten seconds is over, and you're running again.
4- It's going to be a long time before I become part of the Wgtn tri-scene, and I really need some cool new gear!

I've decided to cut my time down to sub-50 by the end of next season (i.e. by next October). I'll do all (or most of) the 5 races over the winter season, and hopefully get some OK times on the medium and long courses too. P may even join in. I'm feeling so lucky to have had his support today, and I can't wait to see if he enjoys racing too!

Last of all- the best thing about "not-racing"? Guilt free Sunday Swimmin'! Can't wait...