Sunday, July 25, 2010

A (very good) weekend in the life: Sunday

The original plan was to do the Okoroire Fun Ride today. It's a great event, great course, and I had some serious redemption to do after last year's disaster!

But I was sick earlier this week, busy at work (not big hours in comparison to my old job, but still pretty frantic) and I didn't want a repeat of last year's two-in-a-row while sick race debacle. So we decided to pull the plug, and get some good training instead. And we sure did!

After yesterday's "long" run, we decided to tackle the Maungatautari loop again. This loop makes up most of the Karapiro half ironman course and, in short, it's an absolute b*tch. None of the climbs are that bad, but some are pretty steep, and they gradually eat away at your legs until they're totally dead. The road is pretty lumpy in places, and there's sure to be a headwind somewhere. It's not all bad- there's a couple of places where you get to go nuts for a few k, it's pretty quiet (vehicle) traffic wise and it's pretty damn stunning!

I was pretty stuffed by the end (and STARVING, despite consuming a peanut butter and raisin sandwich during the ride, and oatmeal and peanut butter toast for breakfast), so we chilled for a little bit before we headed out. I ate some apple and yoghurt, and a few dates, and planned our meals (and BAKING) for the week. Then it was more house visiting, a sunny wander around Cambridge, and more errands (vege market and supermarket).

I baked this when we got home. It smells lovely! (it will be awhile before I try it, as we have another pudding planned... oops!) Now I'm blogging while Phil makes penne with savoury lentils (it's SOOOO good). Then we'll watch Family Guy, and go to bed- ready for another week of training and lawyering.

So, there you go! A weekend in the life of Hotpotato and husband.

Hope your weekends, whether exciting or ordinary, were equally fabulous!

A (very good) weekend in the life: Saturday

The alarm was set for 7:30am so we could get a good "long" run in. I was feeling pretty groggy, despite a pretty name (and totally booze-free) Friday night, but I eventually dragged myself up for breakfast: instant coffee and a yoghurt mash, with homemade applesauce, plain oats, a sprinkling of muesli and some naturlea.

We moved a bit slowly, and it was about 8:20 by the time we got going. And since our first house appointment (we're sort of looking, but not with a capital L) was at 10:30, I didn't quite have time to do the full Kairangi loop (about 15- fairly hilly- km). I did an out and back along the gorgeous country roads (for pictures, see here), finishing with 1:23 on the clock.

We visited two houses, then popped into the farmers market (for grapefruits, Cloudy Mountain cheese, a brioche to share and Vitality manuka honey), Rata cafe (for my flat white), the deli (for agave and parbaked Marlborough baguette), Simplifood (for looking only) and the supermarket (oats and more oats).

We returned home for lunch (totally indulgent- toasted baguette with cheese and salami) and some chores, before Phil drove me out to Karapiro for a training day for the World Rowing Champs volunteers. I'm a "Spectator Services Ambassador" and I think it's going to be pretty fantastic. The day was slow at times, but definitely inpsiring. Can't wait to be around when NZ dominates in November! I'm confident that it's going to be a pretty epic event- NZ's biggest international sporting event since 1990 (... guess it won't be holding that honour for long...) - so get in quick to get your tickets!

It was an absolutely stunning day in Cambridge, so I wandered towards home from Karapiro while Phil made his way out to pick me up. We had a brief afternoon tea at home, reading and doing some internetting, before getting prettied up for date night.

We spent a fair while trying to come up with the perfect place to eat. Where could we find good beer and wine, choose between tapas and good quality restaurant fare, and feel at home in jeans? Then it hit us: House on Hood. Simply the best place in Hamilton- even NZ? We chatted about life, the universe, the future and everything while Phil enjoyed a Yeastie Boys Pot Kettle Black and I indulged in a TW Chardonnay- one of the best wines I've ever had. Then we ordered dinner- a lovely tapas plate of chorizo, peas and feta to start followed by beef (eye fillet cooked blue, oxtail lasagne and chunky fries) for Phil and lamb (with potato and tomatoes- lovely but a bit boring) for me. We may have also ordered more drinks- Phil had a Brew Moon and I stuck with the TW.. Yum!

We'd had enough fun for one night (facebook was right when it said I act 82...) so we headed home to watch Parenthood (the TV show, not the Steve Martin movie) and have an early night.

A boring, ordinary day but a perfect one. And the weekend just got boringly, ordinarily, better....

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A (photoless) day in the country

My day in the country started early- for us- when the alarm went off at 7am, and I got up to eat my morning-after oats (the lazy girl's version of "overnight oats" 1/4c scotch oats, 1/4c organic whole oats, 1/2 c Naturlea plain yoghurt, 1 grated apple, some cinnamon, LSA, agave, and a carefully measured teaspoon of Ceres organic almond butter (at $15 a jar, and a fair few calories too, I can't let my teaspoons grow into tablespoons...)) and hot (instant) coffee.

Then we headed out for a 2 hour hilly bike ride. It was still frosty when I looked outside a little after 8, so I knew it was much colder than usual (the frost has usually gone by the time we leave at about 7:40am). But I didn't realise quite HOW cold it was... the lawn outside our house was quite sunny, and I'm used to mild Auckland winters, where you're almost always overdressed in anything more than knee warmers, so when I felt the rays of sun, I swapped my winter gloves for my normal summer gloves and took off. I knew before we got out of our culdesac that it was a mistake- the Southerly bit as soon as we started moving, but I decided to be staunch, and told myself I'd warm up once we got up the first wee hill. I was wrong. Before we were even 1km in, I was practically crying in pain, and had to tuck my tail between my legs and ask Phil to turn around to go and get the winter gloves. Staunchness Fail. I picked up another layer while I was there- I wasn't dressed up that much, but more than I'm used to (knee and arm warmers, jersey, bibs, booties, winter gloves with polyprop Kathmandu liners, thermal headband and a windproof vest). My hands were still throbbing so I warmed them up a bit before we got going.

We had decided to take on the challenge of Sanitorium hill- it was always in the pipeline, and after telling a judge it was on the agenda, we had to follow through! I've run partway up before (I was interrupted by Phil crashing his bike...) but neither of us had ever ridden it. It's about a 3k climb, starting off quite steep then levelling out for a bit, then getting steeper and steeper and steeper as it winds its way up. I was strong but slow for the first 10 mins or so of climbing, then started really feeling the steep grade- you know, the feeling that if you take a breath your bike will roll backwards out from under you and down the hill. I nearly gave up at 11 minutes, and 12, and 13, and then at 14...

...I stopped.

I pulled over to the side of the road, huffing and puffing, and stood there for 30 seconds or so to collect myself. Then I hardened the f*** up and got back on- I had to remind myself of all the heinous hill starts we did in Auckland to convince myself to get back on! I felt pretty poos about it, but when the next 2-3 corners were equally insane-o steep I knew I'd done the right thing. It's been a long, LONG time since I wussed out on a climb, so I should be able to trust my judgment. I reached the top with a sigh of relief after about 17 minutes (..i.e, slower than I run!)

My relief was mingled with trepidation. What goes up must also go down. *gulp* I tested my brakes, lost a layer of gloves (Phil's fingertips were still tingling) and got on my way.

The short story is that descent was the longest THIRTEEN minutes of my life. Yes- you read right, it took me nearly as long to get down the damn hill as it did to get up. I was shaking with fear the whole way, and I'm getting a bit of tickle belly just writing about it now! It wasn't just steep, it was windy as heck and it didn't help that in places the road was pretty gravelly. I know I'm a descending wimp, but it was seriously hideous. Phil agrees and he's hard.

We spent the rest of our 2 hour ride exploring country roads. It was still cold- neither of us ever felt overdressed, and I started regretting giving Phil the gloves, but it was absolutely stunning out there.

We changed quickly at home and headed to the Cambridge farmers' market for one of Mavis's cinnamon buns, a loaf of pumpkin sourdough, Pirongia cheese (if you ever get the opportunity to buy this, TAKE IT) and a random selection of veges, including celeriac, fennel and white-y yellow baby carrots. Phil headed off to the football (his team was playing in Hamilton), and I pottered around the house, doing chores, and googling recipes for the weird ingredients.

At about 3:00, I headed out with Eric again. I rode the 16k or so to our friends' farm, where I changed into jeans and gumboots for a jump in the woodchips, a walk through the paddocks and a visit to their neighbours 30 adorable new jersey calves (the oldest were 5 days old and the youngest were born this morning).

Now we're topping off a perfect country day with English style ale, (low fat) beef sausages, roasted fennel, mustardy celeriac mash, and steamed yellow carrots... oh- and the All Blacks!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

I heart 200s

Last night I got to do 200s- a distance I’d never really trained with before (normally my "speedwork" has been more about the 400s and 800s than sprints and 200s). This is part of Coach Paul’s “build up my strength by killing me now” programme.

The 200s were great because I got to go FAST (my average paces were around 3:30/km), but I never totally wanted to die the way you do with a 400 (sorry 400s, I love you too, y'know). I'd the first 75m or so building into my rhythm, the next 75 huffing and puffing and pushing, and the last 50 focussed on our finish marker and straining to get there.

Anyway, the cool thing is that I was able to hit all of my (ten) 200s between 43 and 46 seconds- despite being on a cobbled path instead of a track, but with the benefit of a tailwind to cancel that out! (and according to Garmin they were definitely on the long side rather than the short side) This isn't particularly fast or anything, but it IS faster than my VDOT formula says I should be (it says 51s, based on my recent 10k time). Now, normally, I do not advocate trying to beat the VDOT numbers, but when the goal is to go all out, I think it’s OK to do it, and to be pleased.