Sunday, October 31, 2010

O for Oarsome October: Stats

(see my September stats post here)

Swim: 5:15 (September- 5:45)
Bike: 22:00 (September- 11:00)
Run: 19:15 (September- 19:05)

And some more randoms:

Total calories burned: 26,600 (September- 21,617)
Days of training: 30 /31 (Nice!)
Number of workouts: 46
Average training time per day: 1.30 (September- 1:12)
Average run pace: 9:41/mile (September- 10:08/mile)
Average run AHR: 152.89 (September- 154.08)

And some highlights:

It really was O for Oarsome! Now stay tuned for a Gnarly November, with volunteering adventures, a Half Ironman, and more!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mafia Mini Tri: Mini Report

Swim: Slow. Barely caught up to Phil. About 10 mins for 600m (downstream) + T1?

Bike: Slow. Passed by pretty much everyone. First fast dudes. Then a normal chick. Then fat dudes. Then a duathlete chick. Gave it everything I had (not much) to pass her back, but she overtook me in T2 and creamed me on the run. 16km in 36 mins. Ghastly.

Run: Slow. EVERY SINGLE k was over 5:00. Had no hope of catching my rival so just soldiered on. Didn't see ANYONE on the way back. DFL. 4km in 21:00ish.

(seriously though- this was NOT my best work, but it simply was not DFL material. Ridiculous.)

Monday, October 25, 2010

New Zealand Sucks: A photostory in opposites

New Zealand.

The camping sucks.

The mountain biking sucks.

The views suck.

Getting to halfway sucks.

The mountains suck.

The markets suck. I mean really, who wants to see a market half way through a day of riding?

The Mr Whippy sucks.The views on the return trip suck even more.

The post ride relaxation sucks. Standing in a cool, calm lake looking out at the mountains, then lying with your feet up on the picnic table (beer not far).

Just sucky.

Some other, unphotographed things that suck:
  • organic craft beer
  • hot pools and hydroslides
  • picnics
  • chicken burgers
And, to top it all off, the sunsets suck too.

New Zealand. Who'd live here??

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Eastside 5k: Race 3

I have found myself annoyed recently by the absence of race reports for various minor (...and a few more major...) races, so from now on I'll be trying REAL hard to blog each one, no matter how inconsequential it seems at the time. With that in mind, I present to you a very boring race report about race 3 (for me, 4 for others) of the Eastside 5k series.

Conditions: were OK. Phil thought it was a bit humid and a bit windy. I can't say I noticed either.
Numbers: were down on last week, probably up on the week before.
Key competition: Turquoise Hat (beat me in Race 1)
Feeling before: odd. We had just learned of the death of an acquaintance, and I was nervous about a big court hearing the next day. I told Phil a couple of times "I don't WANNA run fast".
Feeling during: Relaxed. Steady. Consistent. Semi strong.
Feeling after: Much better!
Time: 23:19 (18s down from week 2, 1:37 down from week 1)
AHR: 180 (up from week 2, down from week 1)
Splits: 4:40 (167) 4:42 (179) 4:48 (184) 4:52 (184) 4:18 (187) (the last k is always a teeny bit short, because I'm not too bad at running this course fairly tightly)
Comments: Turquoise Hat was there, but seems not to have raced. Darn her!
Place: 7th lady
Overall grade: A

Monday, October 18, 2010

O for Oarsome October: Week 3

3 swims, including Wednesday's mini tri; total time 1:27

A bit of a blah swimming week- squad on Monday was slow and boring, then the "bonus" swim I planned for Wednesday became a pretty pathetic 25 minute session due to bus delays. We were all set to make up for it yesterday, but when we arrived at the pool there was another "contamination". Argh!

2 rides, including Wednesday's mini tri; total time 3:08

Saturday's bike session was pretty good, but my back/shoulders are still bothering me (despite Friday's massage). I'm going to need to start wearing my contacts and working harder on my posture. Maybe a new fit?

I rode out to Te Miro (about an hour), then did my "half IM effort" as an out and back on a good bunch of rolling hills. I didn't get my heart rate up as high as I would have liked, but I'm happy with the effort, given that I haven't been riding hard at all recently. My speed for the interval was about 27.5km/h, which isn't quite what it should be, but it could be worse!

6 runs, including Tuesday's 5k and Wednesday's mini tri; total time 3:49

I snuck in a cheeky 40 minutes while Phil was doing his long run on Friday night. It was the perfect evening for a run, and it meant I enjoyed my wine with dinner even more :) Saturday was a 10 minute run off the bike, and it was fine. Well, it was hard, but it was meant to be! Pace was a little over 5:00, including the horrid little steep hill by our house.

My long run on Sunday was a CHORE. I did a few chores (and a lot of mucking around) in the morning, and headed out late (about 11:30). By that time, the drizzle had come, and it pretty much didn't leave for the next 2 hours. I headed out along the new bike path, which opened on Saturday, but sadly it's still not quite finished, so I ended up back in Leamington with 45 minutes to spare. The drizzle eased, but was replaced with stifling humidity, so I basically plodded around in a snotty mood for 45 depressing minutes. I was bloody glad to get home! My AHR for the run was 141, super low for me (probably a mixture of fatigue, a general lack of motivation, and maybe- hopefully- a wee increase in fitness??)

Total time: 8:25(ish) (plan said 10:25... Coach can't add, but it took me until Friday to twig!)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Two days; two races

I love after work race season. It's crazy and full-on, but, oh how fantastic it is to be able to experience the adrenaline and thrill of racing, for a fraction of the cost and with a fraction of the pressure! We're very lucky in Hamilton to have two high quality races right on our doorsteps, with the Hawks Eastside 5k on Tuesday nights, and the Mafia Tri Club's Twilight Mini Tri fortnightly on Wednesdays. This week, Coach Paul generously allowed us to capitalise on that luck by racing both!

Eastside 5k

You may recall that last week's 5k was satisfying, but pretty ghastly. I had hoped to take off a good bit of time this week (I was thinking a minute or so, if I was lucky), but watching the poor ducks flailing in the headwind on the way over made me pretty sceptical of my chances!

I tried to make sure I held back for the first wee while- there's some good little hills early on, and last time I was a heaving burnt out mess 1k in. As it happened, I still hit 1k at about the same time as last week, but feeling a lot less shattered. It's hard to tell if my splits were "even" or not, given the hills and the wind, but I felt as if I was "about right" most of the time (although I got passed more than I'd have liked!). I only had lap pace/time most of the way, so very little sense of how I was doing overall, apart from "OK" (I know that 5 x 5 = 25, and 4.5 x 5 = 22.5, but in between I'm just guessing). At about 4km, I checked my watch and realised for the first time that taking a minute or so off last week's 24:56 was actually going to be possible! I tried to pick up the pace a bit, and ran the final k at 4:37/km pace, for a finish time of 23:37, a 1:19 improvement on last week's time!

Although I'm still a good way off my best times, that was just what I needed to start feeling a bit more confident. I'm not going to see any more improvements like that, but at least now I am pretty sure that the 24:56 was a product of humidity and the weekend's adventure, not just plumb lack of fitness. ONE day, Runner Kate will be back.

Mafia Mini Tri

I had hoped to return to this event a couple of weeks ago, but was briefly and bizarrely sidelined with food poisoning-like symptoms as I got changed into my tri kit after work. Luckily, nothing like that this week!

I dilly dallied about whether to swim- the river's still a bit high and quite fast, and the weather wasn't great. But when I saw a 12 year old girl preparing to get in, I (wet)suited up, and joined the hardcore crew, instead of the woossy duathletes. Definitely the right decision- the water was freezing, but exhilarating, and we were carried downstream in currents of something like 6.5km/h! I overshot my exit a bit (again) and had to do mad panicky windmill arms for a few seconds to get out. The lead male swimmer waited for the 12 year old (and me, but I think I was just a bonus) and we all jogged up the giant hill to T1 together.

I whizzed through T1, and was second out on the bike course overall. Now, this was only because:
  • 12 year old had to put shorts and a jersey over her togs
  • a few other hardy swimmers had missed the start and jumped in late
  • everyone else was running, which takes a fair bit longer
...but it was still awesome. Probably the only time I will EVER experience the feeling of being first lady :)

I rode pretty well, with an AHR of 172, and average cadence of about 93. By the first roundabout (a little less than 1/4 of the way in), I could still (sometimes) see fast dude, and the late-starting swimmers were still a good distance behind me. It was pretty choice being in front of Phil! However, sooner or later, they all started to catch me. First the swimmers, then Phil and his arch rival. I managed to stay fairly close to them for most of the second lap, but then they got away from me. My secret dream was to get into T2 ahead of the actual female leader, but I knew the second time I hit the roundabout that that was a bit of a pipe dream. To be fair, she represented NZ at AG Long Distance Worlds this year, and is about to head off to Xterra Worlds too... She passed me towards the end of the second lap, and swiftly passed the two guys I was trying to keep in sight too. However, it can't have been by THAT much, as she was just leaving T2 as I pulled in.

My time for the bike was around 34ish minutes, I think, for around 16km. I always feel bad for not being able to average 30 on this course, but Phil told me today that he normally doesn't either- today was his first time, so I don't quite feel so bad!

The run. Oh the run. It's been a LONG time since I ran off the bike. Since last time I did this tri, in fact (but I didn't blog about it, or even buckeye... so I don't know what my time was). So, fittingly, my legs felt like bricks. Ow. The run starts downhill, so I was very much doing the awkward triathlete shuffle. I started at around 4:45/k, but couldn't hold it, and ended up running each of the 4 ks at about 4:55- 4:59/km. I don't think I got passed on the run, though a couple of women behind me would have been ahead of me if we'd all done the same event. I didn't do much passing either- maybe one guy who was walking, and a little leapfrogging. But I felt good, and I was working hard, and that was enough for me. I honestly feel like it was one of my best, most consistent triathlon efforts ever.

...Oh, and since I was the only female who did the medium course tri, I won!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Training "performance"- a contradiction in terms

Most weekend warrior endurance athletes are fall somewhere right of centre on the "Type A" spectrum. We tend to be all-rounders, A-students, high achievers. We miss the simple days of school where success was measured by how well we memorised our multiplication tables or how many words we spelt correctly.

Don't deny it- you wish your boss could give you As!

It's not surprising that we turn to swimming, biking, running and competing to satisfy our Type-A urges. It's not the reason I do what I do (lots more on that here, here, and here, and on pretty much every other page of this blog) but it would be a lie to say I didn't get a buzz from going further or faster or higher or harder or just plain BETTER than before. I mostly compete with me, but I'll freely admit that going further or faster or higher or harder than other people is a motivating factor too.

PBs replace As as the new markers of success. We crave age group awards [not that there's any bloody chance of me winning one of those in NZ any time soon....] instead of the flash principal's awards they used to give out at assembly.

But we don't race enough to keep our Type A urges satisfied. Soon it's infecting our training too. And THAT, my friends, is the point of today's post. Don't you love how I took 5 paragraphs to get there?

Recently, I've observed an increasingly high number of posts dealing with people's disappointment with specific training sessions [No doubt you wouldn't need to look hard at all at this blog or my buckeye to find a fair few from me]. They tend to end with some sort of comment along these lines:

"I'm really disappointed in my performance on my long run today. I feel like a failure."

Usually, this is not because the gorilla [see this post] in question threw a giant tanty or canned their bike ride because it was a little bit windy (this happened... more than once. It seems I may have been too ashamed to blog it) or cut their 20k run down to 3 because they got scared of a big barky dog. Nope. Usually it's because they ran until they fell down but missed their goal pace. Or biked until their legs fell off but got dropped. Or swam a minute slower on this month's time trial than last month's. I do this all the time, so I'm not admonishing anyone- just examining.
I think the problem stems from treating training as something that requires "performance". It doesn't. Races require performance.

Training is the studying, racing is the exam.

The purpose of training is to GET better, not to BE better.

(image credit)

You might have mini-tests on the way- MAF tests, 5k races, Yassos. Just like the practice exams at school. But the purpose of these still isn't to perform- it's to LEARN. Is the studying/training working? Will the studying/training help my performance on the day that counts? Should I study/train more/less/differently?

I think that by keeping this in mind, I'm going to be a lot better at dealing with difficult training sessions.

I'll remind myself that that stink run is like that time I read that frustrating House of Lords decision over and over again and just couldn't grasp it. But, in the back of my brain, SOME of it's still sinking in and that ghastly run is the same. Maybe it's time for a mini break from the case/run to look out the window /sit on a park bench and watch ducklings.

"Failing" a MAF test has almost undone me twice this year. But next time, I'll remind myself (as Coach Paul has told me all along) it's like trying a practice exam and finding it difficult- you pause, make a coffee, listen to some music, and then you figure out how to tweak your study plan. It's exactly the same with the run.

I know this isn't exactly groundbreaking stuff, but I think remembering this will help me to adjust my attitude, and it might work for someone else too.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Eastside 5k- short race, short report

I went in with a goal of 25:00, conservative I thought, to reflect the hilly course and the decent training my legs have been doing over the past few weeks. As it happened, it wasn't so conservative! I started well, but just didn't have enough in me to keep getting up the steep wee hills along the river trail. With 1k to go, I was running close to the wire, but gritted my teeth and crossed the line at 24:56.

I'm actually happy with this- although I've run on the river path before, I've never tried to run FAST. I found that the steep and frequent climbs made getting into a rhythm very difficult, and I didn't have anything in my legs to push the downhills- I was getting passed uphill AND losing ground downhill! I think familiarity with the course, and a better idea of who my "competition" is will help to gradually bring this time down over the coming weeks.

Elevation profile

(obviously this exaggerates the elevation a LOT, due to the small scale, but believe me- enough steep wee hills can really break you!)

So THIS is happening.

13 February 2011

Oh yeah.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

O for Oarsome October: Week(end) 1

What a weekend! Phew! I think this is going to be a two-parter!

On Saturday morning, Phil and I woke up early (6am) to drive to Tauranga to meet Mike for a long ride adventure (Mike, like many others, knows that I'm pretty much up for any ridiculous workout if it comes packaged as an adventure).

We'd dabbled with the idea of riding a (n imperial) century, but each decided it was probably a bit much of an undertaking at this stage in the training (also, since I hadn't cleared ANY long ride with the coach, I thought 100 miles was pushing it....) so I started researching metric century-ish rides in the Bay of Plenty. The full 160 will have to come later (Mike, how about a post- Tauranga Half summer adventure?)

After weighing up various options (actually, I made a "short list" which repeated the same loop three times) we settled upon a Bay of Plenty standard, the Tauranga / Rotorua loop, going out through the Oropi Gorge, and coming back through Paengaroa and Te Puke, finishing along Welcome Bay Road.

It may not have been 100 miles, but it was 120ks of awesome, as illustrated by this elevation chart.

I hadn't appreciated quite how hilly the first half was, and since it was quite a gradual climb (a good 30-odd ks), I found my slow pace very frustrating, especially since I was aware that I was slowing the others down too. I really don't know why I'm so slow!! As we rode on, I stopped letting it bother me- I wanted to get to the end in one piece more than I wanted to show off for the boys!

After the long climb, steep climb up the gorge, and nail biting descent, we rode around Lake Rotorua, following the iconic marathon course for a few ks. We had our first proper stop at a local dairy, and cruised around the lake, enjoying a break from climbing and head winds! We picked up our pace enough over the next 15 or so ks to bring our average to a pathetic 20km/h for the first half. If my AHR hadn't been 160 at that point, I'd have been feeling pretty rubbish- but I knew I was working about the right amount, and feeling OK, so I felt confident in blaming the terrain, at least partly.

Riding around the marathon course was great. Mike and I both ran it in 2007- it was the first time I'd *met* him - though I'm not sure spotting someone at the finishing line and giving him a whoop really counts as meeting - and it was amazing how vividly I remembered it having only ever been there once. It didn't hurt that it was a gorgeous day and the lake was glistening, unlike race day '07, when it was pissing down.

Then the downhill back to Tauranga (sea level) from Rotorua (one of the higher NZ cities) began. As the profile shows, it was pretty much downhill all the way home- but with an awful lot of wee, and not so wee, rollers. At one point it was just hang on and cruise for 5k- such bliss, and after the grueling climb it didn't even feel like cheating ;) The downhills gave us some time in the bank if we wanted to maintain our first half average (... we HOPED we wouldn't be slower than that overall!) By 4:00 we had 15 minutes in the bank, and by 5:00, it was 30.

We had another longish stop in Te Puke at about 4:15. By this time I'd ridden further (and for longer) than I had since last year's half ironman, and although my legs and heart were still doing OK, my shoulders and nether regions were starting to feel it. The time from 3:40 (when I suggested a break at 4:00) and 4:15 (when we found a good place to stop) seemed like forever. I was well dropped, but I was happy enough with my own exertion and pace, so I ignored it.

It wasn't long before I reached my personal distance record of 100.31km, reached a VERY long time ago in the Taranaki. I think passing that gave me enough oomph to get through the next 20ks. Riding Welcome Bay Rd and back through Tauranga also helped- great varied terrain, and the scenery's OK too. I did let the men go on ahead- I felt much better being proud of my own pace than feeling frustrated at being so far behind.

We arrived back at Mike's at 3:20pm or so, with a total ride time of 5:35ish. Our average speed for the second half was about 24 km/h (.... or 2:30/k!), which is actually faster than I often average for a weekend ride. Not too shabby for my longest ride ever!

Nutrition note:

I followed my normal nutrition approach to long training rides- plenty, and random. Closer to race day, I'll practice a more sensible nutrition strategy, but for a long, slow ride, with no goals other than surviving, I prefer to just eat what I have to hand and what I feel like. As it turned out, I think our food served us well- I was never hungry, and my energy levels were mostly OK (in the overall context of my longest ride ever.... I can't say I was a box of birds the whole way!)

So, here's what I had:

1.5 bottles of Lemon /Lime "Red 8: Sports Hydrate"
A few Natural Confectionery Company dinosaurs (Don't chop the dinosaur, Daddy!)
A peanut butter sandwich on Molenberg (with Pic's, of course)
A piece of banana and date loaf (left over from our week's lunchbox baking)
A sausage in a piece of white bread (how could I not- they were selling them for $1)
Part of a curly wurly
Half a bottle of Raspberry Lo-carb Mizone Isotonic (I wasn't being carb conscious on a long ride. I have loved this for ages, and hate it's rebranding as lo-carb...)