Friday, July 31, 2009

Some pre-race musing

Once again, my build up to this race hasn't been great. The after-midnight work days on Sunday and Thursday really hit hard after the last couple of weeks and, to be honest, I feel a bit blah right now. I've also missed two swims this week, and 40 minutes of riding which makes me sad!

I'm still going to race on Sunday, and I'm going to stick to the plan I set out earlier (first half in 55, blat the second). Keeping a 5:00ish pace was fine during my last E2 effort, and my legs are feeling pretty good, so I think this is doable. If not, there's always Auckland!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Great Lake Relay: Team Blog?

I've been thinking for awhile that we've built up a solid quorum of Kiwi running/triathlon bloggers, and it's about time we followed the example set by our North American brethren and had a big ol' meet up.

I dream of one day having a mega training camp, WIBA styles (and seriously, we have got to do something faboo to welcome Steve and Pharmie if they come), but in the meantime.... anyone keen to be part of Team Blog at the 2010 Great Lake Relay? Taupo's central enough that even the Wellingtonians can make it for the weekend, and it's a good fun event (I've done it twice). AND you can run extra and/or bring your bike if you're doing something silly like training for Ironman!

Just putting it out there.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I vow

I, Hot Potato Kate,
do hereby promise,
from this day forward,
to bite my tongue,
and stop commenting "slow down- I'm right, you know",
and I vow,
to stop telling you off
in your heads

when you run.

Unless you REALLY need to hear it ;)

More thoughts about riding

Thanks everyone for your comments and tips yesterday. Like most triathletes, eating on the bike is tricky for me. So from now on, I'm going to start making sure I follow the same pre-ride plan for every long ride. Porridge, then a banana if we leave too long after breakfast, then sports drink and a little smackerel every 10-20 minutes on the bike. It may mean I take on too many calories, so I'll have to watch the post-ride binges (!), but I think it's worth doing some experimentation.

BUT, I need to emphasise that I have bonked on the bike (hmm! sounds interesting...) even when I eat and drink relatively "well." It happened in a ride over the Haywards with Phil, Dave and Andrea. It happened in Rotorua, during the half-m, and it happened again in Rotorua when I rode the course last month. Also, although I maybe didn't have enough, I had almost exactly what Phil had for breakfast, pre-ride, and during the ride, although he had a bit more to drink during. So, that leads me to believe that there may be something more to it.

Coach Paul has made the very good point before that this will come with fitness and time. I've got some experience, but I'm still relatively new at this. Clearly, my blood sugar on the bike is something to watch out for and work on. I also have to accept that bike endurance is, for me, a whole different ballgame to run endurance. I need to consider my pacing, my nutrition, and my overall approach from scratch, and not simply to assume that because I can run a decent marathon (they haven't been that fast, but my splits were all reasonably even, and I've never had a real blowout), I can jump on the bike for the same length of time and do the same thing.

The other thing is, of course, work, eating well and rest. I had a terrible diet while I was in Wellington, barely slept, and worked late every night. Eventually, that's gotta catch up. And-oh! deja vu, it did, halfway through the Auckland marathon in 2007.... As Mike pointed out, I can't take a week off before every event, and, sadly, my timetable isn't predictable enough to plan in advance, but I CAN try to focus on eating as well as I can and resting as well as I can in the lead up to smaller events, like the ones I'm doing at the moment, and I can hedge my bets by taking a little extra leave before and after big events... Or, you know, I could just pull a "Phil" and start working civilised hours!

Anyway, that's all my thoughts for now. Thanks for the reminder to be positive. Don't worry- I generally am, and I know there are some good things to take away from Sunday, but every so often it all gets to be too much, and, well, that's what the blog's for...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Okoroire fun ride report

I am shagged (figuratively). Totally and utterly knackered.

This morning Phil and I (and Tri Saint) did the 7-km Okoroire fun ride, just out of Tirau. The course was absolutely gorgeous, though I might be somewhat blinded by the stunning weather the Waikato put on for us today!

The ride started out well- once we got through some of the crowds at the start. We passed a bunch of people, sat at the back of a somewhat poorly organised paceline for a bit, and struggled over the roadworks. As per Coach Paul's instructions, I nailed myself up the only real climb in the ride (there were LOTS of wee rollers out there though), at roughly half-way, then settled behind Phil to let the wind blow us home.

Then things went pear shaped. I hit the wall with a big bang, and all of a sudden went from happy-Kate-enjoying-the-sun and the awesomeness of riding, to Kate-zilla. I slowed down, I snapped, I yelled, I swore, and I sulked. Oh yeah- I cried too. I had no energy left, my legs were killing me, my tummy was rumbling, and I just wanted to curl up in the ditch and sleep. I death-marched it to the end, with a 15-min positive split, then snubbed the Saint, weaved my way to the car, steadied myself and crashed into the front seat.

I have lots of faboo excuses for this. I've had an exhausting and training-impaired week at work. My HR on my long-ish run was consistently 5 beats higher than it felt like it should be (I controlled it OK, it was just higher than usual at any given RPE), suggesting a bit of tiredness and/or dehydration. We didn't plan well or bring enough food- I should know by now that I really struggle with blood sugar on the bike. I decided to be awesome instead of carrying the lame-o hydration bladder. I pushed it too hard at first, and revelled too much in being able to smash people up the rollers.

But the problem is, this was Rotorua all over again. Same 1st half pace (ish); roughly the same 2nd half pace. Same wall, same sulking. So, I really do need to find a way to fix this. Because seriously- I should not find riding a bike for 2.5-3 hours harder than I find running for that long! And I should not keep being crushed on the bike by people who are eating my dust on the run- or else I'll never, ever, ever get off the bike at the kind of place I should be.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


It takes a LOT for me to post over a wedding picture, especially one from a magazine... (hint hint).. but this is so cool I must share it:

We are thrilled to announce the launch of the ORCA Karapiro Half Ironman which will be run on the 14th November 2009.

There are a number of fantastic and unique features about this event that will appeal to competitors of all abilities including -

1. Swim leg down the course for the World Rowing Championships, AWESOME! Umm- HELLS YEAH!!!!!!

2. Bike leg around Maungatautari, NZ’s largest inland native wildlife reserve( ) that is a 3400 hectare forested extinct volcano situated beside Lake Karapiro. And the bike leg finishes in the main street of Cambridge! WOW. I can just imagine rolling into Cambridge at the end!

3. Run leg over 4 laps in the township of Cambridge, 4 x up the main street that will be closed to traffic, lots of spectators, loads of atmosphere, lots of cafes and bars for the spectators to blob out in and great for post race recovery sessions!

4. Lots of event categories – winners trophies in 5 year age groups for men and women, individuals and open teams – mixed, male and female!

Phillip and I are thinking team entry... Who's with us??

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We're famous!

(from the current Bride & Groom Magazine...)

*Thanks to Team Pink for graciously sharing the bike image!

Sunday, July 19, 2009


I went for a run this evening before a late teleconference. I was a bit cold, but couldn't be bothered changing properly, so I put my jeans and a jumper on, but otherwise stayed in my running gear.

My boss (who is 50-something, gruff and something of a legend in certain circles) arrived at the end of the call, and stayed in my office for about half an hour, while we tidied up some things (yes, yes- it's 11pm now...).

He just left, and I turned around and noticed that my backpack was open on the floor with my clothes, INCLUDING MY PADDED T-SHIRT BRA, hanging out.

I'm glad it's home time now!

*If you don't know, look it up.

Slow running resources

Since I'm still on my slow-running preaching, annoying the crap out of everybody, kick, I thought I'd provide some links:

First- watch the Lazy Marathon Runner experiment with Maffetone here.

Mark Allen says it here (I particularly like that his "mile" paces are worryingly like my "km" paces ;))

Dr Maffetone himself

..and I'll re-post the Jack Daniels vdot calculator again.

In slow running news, I borrowed the husband's HRM for my run this evening, to make sure I haven't been kidding myself. I did about 4k in 24 minutes, with an average HR of 145. I'm a bit tired after a big work week, so I expected a little creep-up, and I think this suggests I'm about right. Looking forward to continuing this experiment throughout the week. Not that I'm a geek or anything!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Cautiously optimistic

Gratuitous picture of Wellington on a good day- this is from Phil's PHONE, and is one of the clearest shots of the Kaikouras I've ever seen. It is just MINT out there today! (it's seriously so gorgeous I don't MIND being at work, because I can gaze out over the flat harbour and look at the snowy Rimutakas in the distance!)

.. Anyway- onto the substance.

Last night, well- very early this morning, to be precise, I was dictating a note for my boss using the phrase "cautiously optimistic" and it's stuck in my mind.

This week has been all about the run- partly because I have a half marathon in two weeks, and partly because it's the only thing I can manage, working 12-15 hour days! I had a very chilly 30 minute run in Southgate on Monday morning, then a very satisfying aerobic intervals session around the good old bays on Tuesday evening. I'm really liking these runs- they're fun, but not hard, and being able to run "easy" and respectable paces is very gratifying! Tuesdays's was particularly fun, as I got to round the workout out with 4 minutes at TH pace (I ran about 7:33, which I guess is about right).

On Thursday, I did an old favourite loop- Thorndon Quay, Tinakori Rd, Glenmore, and down through Kelburn. It was a slow run, but still very satisfying- partly cos it's a damn fine route, and partly because I am getting better and better at running "easy" up hills. Glenmore's not steep, but it's long, and it basically gets steeper and steeper as you go. By the end, I was still running nice and steadily, and barely noticed the final wee climb.

Today's run was what left me feeling "cautiously optimistic." It was a 90 minute LSD, with a 20 minute "End 2" interval (upper end of aerobic) thrown in. Phil and I started with some rolling hills, basically along a ridge in Southgate, then headed down to Island Bay. I was feeling like absolute arse on toast when we got to the park, so wasn't expecting much from the 20 minute interval. I think I was working at the right level- I was still pretty much keeping up a conversation, just not easily, and watching my average pace gradually pick up over the length of the interval. I finished it with an average pace of 5:11/k, which I'm pretty pleased with! The fact that I held a faster pace for my 20 minute interval than I've been holding for my 4/6/8 minute intervals in my weekday sessions has made me feel very good about my running- it's really coming along again. So, I'm cautiously optimistic about the Taupo Half. I'll obviously raise this with Paul, but I'm thinking I'll try to start out at about a 5:10- 5:20 pace, hold that for the first half, and then pick it up for the way back. I'm confident in my ability to go under 1:50, and while I'd love to run 1:45, I think my ultimate goal will be for a good solid negative split.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Awesome eating

As y'all know, I like to compartmentalise, no matter how much I pretend I don't! So, I've started another wee blog to talk about food- check it out if you're interested!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Weekend training with my man

I tell you what- it's great having my weekend training partner back!

This past weekend was a goodie. We ventured out in the rain and mud for a short but good "day's" mountain biking at Woodhill (see Phil's blog for a more informative report) on Saturday. I took awhile to get going, as usual, but I'm finding that I'm getting into it more quickly as well as getting further each time- it's two steps forward, one step back rather than vice versa, and the forward steps seem to be getting longer, as the backward steps get shorter. In the end it was heaps of fun, and I managed to do a few clever-er than usual things too!

On Sunday, it was "long" run day. Last week I had an hour while Phil had 40, so we went out for 40 together and I plodded through the last 20 while Phil went home and stretched. This week, I woke up earlier than Phil and instead of pestering him out of bed, I thought "hey- I could do the FIRST 45 minutes alone and the second half with Phil." Genius.

It worked really well. I ran our Grey Lynn loop backwards and discovered that backwards kicks forwards' butt so hard that forwards runs screaming away- backwards means we climb College Hill and Richmond Rd, and go down through West End Park, and down the Cox's Bay steps. Much better! I did the first 4.34 miles in around 44 minutes, met Phil outside the apartment for a quick drink, and we headed out again. We did a bit of exploring, and our second loop was a little over 5 miles at 10:19/mile pace, which is slow, but I think about right for this run. I was impressed by how good I felt when we went past the 1:30 mark, as I haven't run "long" for a very long time! I'm not quite sure what to expect from my upcoming half marathon, but at least now I'm feeling confident that I can run the distance strong.

In Wellington for the next two weeks. It's going to be interesting from a training persepctive, but I'll do what I can. Also- it's bloody cold!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Cyclists' playground

I wanted to ride outside this morning, so I set my alarm for 5 and, after a fitful sleep (memo to self: do not read books about violent grisly murders before going to sleep alone) manged to pull myself out of bed at 5:08.

After nursing my coffee for slightly longer than necessary and enjoying a piece of homemade banana loaf (I get hangry if I ride without eating first, as Phil well knows), I dragged myself up, got my gear together and headed out.

Boy, was it ever worth it.

It was a cool, clear morning. But not too cold for my ordinary fingerless gloves. And definitely not cold enough for booties. So, in other words, perfect.

I decided to explore the Western central suburbs, so rode along Ponsonby Road and down Richmond. Richmond would be a great descent, if I could see, but this morning there were too many runners in the road, and too many corners I couldn't see properly to really let go.

I then found myself on Garnet Rd, so decided to head down Meola- just for fun. Coming back along Meola, past Motat, is always the funnest part of the Waitakeres ride- it's really easy to push a massive gear, and move along faster than the cars!

The Western-central burbs turned out to be perfect- like a playground for cyclists! The roads are wide and oh so veeery smooooooth (I'm from Wellington, ok? Wide and smooth are not in our vocabulary). Things are well-maintained; after all, rich(ish) people live there. They're well lit, and busy enough that they didn't feel deserted, but quiet enough that I didn't meet too many cars until I got back to the Marina. There's big, sweeping corners, fast fun descents, and wee grindy climbs that are just hard enough to make you work, but short enough that they're easily manageable. Well- easily manageable for me after 3 months of long standing intervals- they were pretty ghastly the first time!

I came back via Curran Street and around Westhaven. Curran St was pretty horrid- way too dark! I could barely see the marks on the speedbumps until I was just about on top of them, and it was hard to tell where the road stopped and the footpath started in places. But well worth it for the fun of swooping along Westhaven Drive in the morning- past the marina, with the light slowly rising, and over the speedbumps, which are that awesome kind that slow cars down but are roller coasters for bikes.

Got home just over an hour after I set out, though with stops and starts along the way ride time was around 50 minutes. But all in all, a nice morning's work, and getting home to a heater, a hot drink and a hearty breakfast made it a marvellous start to the day.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

I've made no secret of my political leanings...

...but occasionally the PM and I find ourselves on the same page.

Doesn't that picture just make you want to ditch work and grab the bike?

Monday, July 06, 2009

Car v cyclist

I was surprised to see that more than a quarter of bike/car accidents are caused by the cyclist.

Obviously the fact that 73% are caused by motorists is far more significant, especially considering that inconvenience and maybe a dented door for a motorist probably means death or serious disability for the cyclist. But still- 27% is quite a few.

Please, be careful out there.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

On slowing down

Slowing down. It's counter-intuitive. It's nigh on impossible for the ego of an amitious, competitive, type-A endurance athlete to handle. It's sometimes boring.


I've believed in the philosophy for quite some time, but if you look back at my old blogposts and old training data, I said I was slowing down a lot more than I did. How many times did you hear me say "I kept my long run easy- you know, about 9:00/mile". Right- so "easy" is "marathon race pace"?? I was espousing aerobic training, but most of the time I was only doing it half-assed at best- meaning I got none of the benefits of slow training AND none of the benefits of fast training!

So, since I started with Paul, I've been trying to actually do it- to let go of my ego, and the fun of running fast and just do it right. It's been hard- especially as my HR strap's conked out (I'm waiting on the new Garmin one before I replace it), so now I have to trust myself not to pick up the pace and "pretend" it's easy. Especially when I sneak my GPS on and see how slow I really go.

But let's look at the evidence:

In December 2008, when I was in tip top, post A-race, plenty of speed-endurance work, shape, I ran a standalone 5k in 23:18. Then I had 2-3 months of patchy training, wedding planning, moving, working and weight-gaining. I started training again in around March, and from 1 April to 30 June I ran a total of 162 miles, at an average pace of 10:00/mile. My average run time was 40 minutes, so it's not like I've been running "long". I did one "speed"work session (supposed to be two, but the second turned into a goss session with Anna), which is probably more aptly described as relaxed fartlekking- 45 minutes of flat aerobic intervals, with the "fast" bits run at about 8:55 min miles.

Then, at my duathlon on Sunday, I ran a "5k" at 7:29 pace, roughly equivalent to... a 23:18. I ran without music, and, instead of kicking it to the finish line, I eased off at the end so I'd have a relaxed transition. Then I got on my bike and raced for another hour.

If this doesn't prove it, I don't know what will. But wait, there's more...

My husband ran an EIGHTEEN minute 5k last year (that's 3:39/k, or 5:51 a MILE). Right now he's injured and his easy runs are around 9:20-9:45/mile pace (up to 5:50ish ks), but even when he was fit, his easy, aerobic runs were generally around 8:00/mile pace, sometimes a little over or a little under.

And we're not done yet. Check out this quote from our coach's blog:

"What stood out the most was his belief that you should never push yourself too much whether by doing hard /anaerobic training or lots of mileage. Again he advised steady aerobic training as the key to long term success in endurance sport, every session should be 'quality' so you should always train well with good technique... and without pain or "Strain"... he actually told me to slow down, me who runs slower than many agegroupers out there?? "

Paul is a pro-triathlete, who ran a 3:02 marathon in IMNZ '09. Yet he trains slower than some age-groupers out there, and people are still telling him to slow down.

The last thing is blogging. I read so many running blogs, and unsurprisingly most of my favourite bloggers (apart from my team mates) are people who are a bit like me-25-35 year old women trying to go from breaking 4:00 in the marathon to getting that elusive BQ. Trying to or going sub-6 in the half. Getting the half-marathon time from the 1:50s to the 1:40s (or even, hope beyond hope, the 1:30s...girl can dream!). I read about people's training times, and I think "my god, chick's amazing. she's gonna whip my ass next time she races." But nine times out of ten, it doesn't happen. Most of the time, we're all training too fast, so of course our races are disappointing.

Now, this may all come back to bite me. I have a couple of half marathons coming up, and maybe I won't feel as "proven right" as I do right now. But I'm willing to keep believing.

PS- Phil and I did a quick check and found that this calculator is pretty consistent with our actual training and racing paces. Give it a go- it's interesting! And make sure you read Mr Daniels' advice about training at a higher Vdot value you haven't yet achieved!

PPS- Don't think for a second that I'm against hard training. Not at all. What I'm advocating is keeping easy runs EASY, and being honest with yourself about what "easy" really is. And not trying to PB your easy runs- that's just asking for trouble.

PPPS- Every coach is different. I'm not your coach, I'm no expert. Maybe the experts who read this will differ (if so dudes, please comment!) But if you're self-coaching, don't you think the "too easy" option sounds safer than the "too hard" option??