Monday, 31 December 2012

01.01.13 Happy New Year!

4 days to go

Sorry for no blog posts over the last couple of days but nothing much has been happening except for a run yesterday.  Of course it was New Years Eve last night and while most of you may have been partying and enjoying yourselves, I was one of those people who was in bed before midnight, completely sober of course.

I wanted to do a light run the other day but unfortunately my GPS device no longer works after my crash the other week.  Due to that, I wanted to know how far I was going to go so decided to do the same run that I did the other day.  I knew that it was a 12.9km run so would see if there were any major increases in performance.  I woke up and was ready to rugby 7:30am.  While I was getting ready I looked at my running gear and decided to opt for my racing suit instead.  I saw it as another opportunity to get used to the suit and know if I needed to make any adjustments to it before race day.  I put it on, filled up one drink bottle and grabbed a gel on the way out.

As I started to run I was feeling quite good and managed to get into a good rhythm early.  I was on a Americas cup yacht about a month ago and was one of the grinders in a race against another boat.  You rotated your arms around Ian circular motion to grind the sail up and the rhythm and motion I was performing felt very comfortable.  When I felt like my cadence was slowing I focused on my arm rotation and my legs would speed up.

 It was hot already and I was looking forward to seeing how I would go in the heat.  I ran to the turnaround point and was feeling amazingly good.  I was going to take the gel to see how it would impact me for the return 6km but was feeling so god so decided not to use it.  I looked down at my watch and I was flying.  I hit the bottom of the street and was 15 minutes ahead of my time the other day with only a couple of kilometres to go.  I was pushing the last couple of hills and hit the house 3 minutes ahead of my time.  3 minutes doesn't sound like a lot but at my speed, that is about 3/4 of a kilometer in distance which ends up a lot.  Anyway, at the end of it all I felt good.  It also felt good that there was no more exercise to take place until race day.  The preparation had been done and now it was time to relax and get ready with the other elements of the race including a last check of the bike and my nutritional needs.  More about that tomorrow though...

Saturday, 29 December 2012

29.12.12 Morning Swim

7 days to go

This morning I woke to the sun shining through my bedroom window and an absolute cracker of a day. My wish to have a swim this morning was looking good.  I had a light breakfast and then got changed into my racing suit that Santa had given me as I did not want to be wearing it for the first time in the race.  It was looking warm outside but I knew that I had to wear my wetsuit to get used to it for the race. I made sure to grab some Vaseline to stop chaffing around my neck as this has been my issue in the past leaving a sore red rash around the side of my neck that resembles a large hickey...not the best thing to have on your neck whilst at work.

We go down to the beach and I put on the wetsuit.  It is hot and I really don't need it but as mentioned, it is something that I need to prepare for.  I look at the swim cap and decide that it is way too hot to wear that as well.  I put on my goggles after being zipped up and head into the water.  My plan is to swim to the boat ramp, then head to the other end of the beach and back to the ramp and then back to the jetty were my support crew (Victoria, Mum and Lachlan) are waiting on the beach.  I head out and to the boat ramp and I am already warm in the wetsuit.  I am feeling tired in my arms but that is me just warming up.  I hit the boat ramp and then turn around and head towards the rocks at the other end of the beach, an 850 metre swim.  I start heading out and am feeling okay.  My arms have warmed up and I am feeling comfortable.  I continue to swim for what seems like forever and the tree sitting on the edge of the water above the rocks looks no closer.  Eventually I get there and turn around for the return 850 metre swim.  As I start to head back I see a tent on the beach and decide to judge my speed on how quickly I pass it.  I am swimming and don't seem to be getting any closer or looking like I am going to pass the tent.  I keep going and realise that I am in some kind of rip.  I stop swimming swim closer to the beach and then keep going.  I am soon passing the blue tent.  I am now heading to the jetty and feeling quite good.

I eventually hit the jetty and go past it with 200 metres to go to the boat ramp and back.  I start to pick up the pace, I am feeling quite good although the arms are now tired.  I hit the boat ramp and turn around with 200 metres to go until the finish.  I have a big kick going now and have the arm cadence high.  I hit the jetty, turn right towards the beach and before I know it I can see the sand below me.  I make it to the beach and onto the sand.  I quickly remove the wetsuit, head into the water to cool off before heading for a well deserved coffee and a relaxing afternoon in the sun.

Friday, 28 December 2012

28.12.12 Morning Ride

8 days to go

There was no post yesterday as nothing much happened apart from me having a relaxing day and then ging on a date with my wife to go and have a nice steak dinner followed by a broadway show (Mary Poppins).  We got home reasonably late and I was shattered but knew that I had to get to bed as a morning ride was in order.

The alarm had not gone off but Lachlan was stirring, the cord on the blinds was smacking against the wall and and a fly was flying around the rooms, all the things that could possibly annoy you and make you want to get I did.  I got dressed and headed out.  The weather was overcast and not looking too bad.  At the last minute I grabbed a Glad Sandwich bag to put my phone in, just in case there was a bit of rain...something I would be thankful later on.

I decided that I would do a shortish ride, around the 50km mark followed by a light jog to warm down.  The start of the ride felt good.  It was nice to be back on the bike again however I was conscious of the fact that this possibly could be another ride riddled with flat tyres as had happened in previous weeks and was hoping that it would not be the case.  The ride was relatively flat to a little town called Clevedon.  I knew it was around 15km from the house to Clevedon, another 10km inland to a place called Whitford followed by another 10km ride back home.  Due to that being a short ride I decided to go past Clevedon by 10km and then turn around so that I could extend the ride by another 20km.  I made it to Clevedon and was feeling good and continued on for another 10km.  I hit a little township and turned around and no sooner had I done so, the weather turned.  It was pouring down, so much so that I had to tilt my head as the rain was hedging straight for my face.  At first I was thinking that this weather sucked but then I realised that it wasn't cold, it wasn't that windy and it was only water so why was I worried.  According to the weather report, these will be the race conditions on the 5th so might as well get used to them.

I was heading into Clevedon and saw the inland road turnoff to Whitford.  I took the road and realised that at least the next 5km was going to be straight up.  As I was pushing up the hills the road that was well used by Dairy Farmers and wet was not allowing my rear tyre to grip as I was coming out of the saddle.  It was happening to the point that I had to slow down my cadence I fear of the rear wheel slipping out and me coming off the bike.  I soon came over the crest of the hill however I remembered the conditions going up so was careful coming back down the other side.  I made it to Whitford and then continued the undulating road back to the house.  I made it home with a ride of 59 km under the belt.  I dropped off the bike and put on the Vibram's and headed out for a jog around the block.  My legs felt good and the 1.5km loop ended fairly quickly.  I probably won't be doing another ride until the race.  The focus will be on the swimming and the running over the next week, particularly an ocean swim tomorrow if the weather is nice.  Below is the link to today's ride and run.
Clevedon Ride

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

26.12.12 Extreme weather

10 days to go

So I woke up this morning with what felt like a hangover.  A monstrous headache.  Of course a hangover is impossible unless the Christmas cake had more brandy in it than I thought! I felt quite lethargic also so the last thing I wanted to do was go for a run.  Looking outside the weather looked worse than yesterday so agin no real motivation to run.  But I got changed, had a glass of juice and off I went.  I was prepared to do a casual 10km run along the beach front but as I got past the 3km mark, I started to feel a lot better.  It was about at time that the weather turned up a notch and the rain came pouring down.  It was warm and humid and was not cold so it didn't bother me.  There was a strong breeze and looking at the weather forecast for Tauranga in ten days time, it made me think that these could be the conditions that I will be running in during the race.  Not much different from Wellington so maybe all those training sessions in Wellington will pay off!  I hit the turnaround point and continued back towards home.  I realised why I had been feeling so much better on the first half of the run, I had been running with a tailwind.  I was now running straight into a head wind and I knew it was going to be a hard slog home.  But it wasn't.  I was feeling quite good despite me being soaked and the wind, to the point where I decided to extend my run a little further.  I got home and 12.8km was complete.

After a nice breakfast I decided to try and figure out how I could upload my training session online.  I have tried a couple of times in the past and had various problems but tried it again using my new work laptop.  After a bit of fiddling around it finally decided to work.  I can now upload my excercise so that you can view what I have been doing.  It also means that I can store the info online rather than on a hard drive meaning I have less chance of losing them as has happened in the past.  Anyway, here is my run this morning for you to view.  Enjoy!

Beachlands Run

25.12.12 Christmas Celebrations

11 days to go

Well if I was worried about the heat on race day in either Tauranga or Auckland, it seems I have little to worry about.  The temperature today was a mild 21 degrees however completely overcast and raining and predicted to stay like that much of the following week.  Of course I looked at the weather in Wellington and it is a stunning day...very frustrating.

It was Christmas Day today and probably the first Christmas that I have not had a drink.  The closest I came was eating some Tiramisu and when I poured the flaming brandy over the Christmas pudding.  I was offered many a sip of wine today and you know what I probably should have at least had a sip as it will hardly do any harm but that is not the point.  What started out as a test for me to lose some wait turned into a battle of will power to make it through to the 5th of January.  That has since been extended with the Auckland race now on the 20th however I am so close to the end now that I can literally taste it!

Christmas was awesome today though and was a really chilled out day which is just what I needed.  I did feel a little lazy eating copious amounts of food and doing no exercise however that is what the next 11 days are going to be about.  Excercise and a focus in my diet.  Plenty of protein and starting to reduce the fibre.  Nothing worse than needing to go to the toilet halfway through a race!  So regardless of weather it was a pleasure to spend this time with my family.  Santa was also good to me this year bringing me a 2xu triathlon racing suit for me to wear for the race.

Time to go and relax with thoe family before heading off to bed as I am getting up for a 10km run before breakfast.  Merry Christmas everybody and see you tomorrow.

Monday, 24 December 2012

24.12.12 Holiday Time

12 days to go

After a busy day at work it was time to go home and finish my packing for my trip to Auckland.  The bike had been packed and it was some last minute things that had to be thrown into the bike box before it was taped up ready to be transported.  Not only was the bike going but anything associated with the bike and from a nutritional perspective so there was nuts, fruits, drink bottles and Gatorade not to mention a bike pump that needed to be included in the box.

I eventually made it to Auckland straight into the festive cheer with bottles of wine opened, beers being offered around and me thinking to myself that not drinking over this period was going to suck!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

23.12.12 Mt Kaukau Run

13 days to go

I had a great sleep last night and woke to the sun rising.  Feeling refreshed after no alarm going off I got dressed into my running gear ready for a run to Mt Kaukau.  Something that I have not done for a while so bring on 14km of hills and awesome views.  As I was filling my drink bottles I thought about taking a gel wi me as it was looking hot outside and I need to get my body used to taking them as you don't want to be heading into a race playing with your nutrition especially taking gels when you have not taken them in your training.  As I am thinking about them a mild panic sets in as I don't recall seeing the gels that I bought when I took my bike in for a service the other week.  Not only that, the spare tyres that I purchased are also missing.  I start looking around the house and can't recall even brining the bag with the items in from the bike shop.  Before I think about calling the bike shop to see if a week ago someone left their purchases on the counter, I decide to check the car.  The car yields no expensive magic shopping bag of goodies.  I am in the back seat and I lean over and check the boot.  There is the bag in the back.  I had put a case in there the other day and did not see it so it must have been covered up in some way but has miraculously uncovered itself.  I grab the bag, decide not to take a gel out and head out for the run.

I start my run and it is warm.  The sun is out and I am thinking to myself that this time in a couple of weeks I will probably be just about to start the run leg.  I run to the bottom of Mt Kaukau and where I would normally stop, I keep running.  It is weird how you can judge your fitness when you do the same routes you used to do but can do the father or with much more ease than in the past.  Based on how I am feeling, I will be running all the way to the top.  I hit the bottom of the winding stairs that means that you are near the top and my lungs are burning.  I keep going knowing I have only a little way to go and finally reach the top.  I am shattered and my heart rate is maxing out.  As much as it hurts it is good to be putting my body through that pain as it will be similar to that in a couple of weeks for around 5.5 hours straight.  I stop and have a short rest before continuing to walk up the track before running again. I am hurting from the run up the stairs it its is more than that and I am starting to realise that the heat is taking its toll.  I am sweating big time and can feel the sun on me.  It is around 21 degrees and no wind, it is only going to be hotter on race day.  As I make it to the top, enjoy the view and the start heading back down home, I begin to wonder if the training that has been completed in the  wind and the hills of Wellington will out way the heat and humidity of Tauranga and Auckland in a months time.  I head home and by the time the 14km and 1:40 minutes is up, I am exhausted.  My calfs are killing me and I am hot.  I cool down with some water and contemplate why I am feeling so rubbish.  I decide that the trip to Auckland will not be as relaxing as I once thought.  Instead it is going to turn into a climatisation camp.  I am going to have to get used to the heat and how it is going to effect me and I only have 13 days to do it.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

22.12.12 Starting the pack

14 days to go

Well today was the start of the great trip north with my wife, my son and the cats making their way up to Auckland for our annual holiday.  I am leaving later in the week to avoid the stress that comes with 3 people travelelling with cases, bike boxes, prams, car seats and well as I need to finish a couple of little things at work.  So I thought I would take advantage of the afternoon by cooking a nice dinner followed by packing the bike away in the bike box.  I was thinking of going for a ride tomorrow but I have decided that I will take up what I said the other day and enjoy a nice cross country run tomorrow morning instead.

So the mission to put the bike in the box began and what a mission that turned out to be.  Of course the spanner that was required to take the pedals could not be found and the neighbours where missing the exact same spanner.  I head on down to the Warehouse and pick up a set that should match the pedals however when I come home and try, the set does not have the right spanner.  I am almost defeated.  Do I put the bike in the car and take it to the bike shop for assistance tomorrow or do I head back down to the shops and spend another $14.99 on another spanner set.  I decide I want the bike in the box tonight so head back down and return.  The spanner fits and I eventually get the pedals off and the bike in the box.  I finally sit down to relax and it is much for that relaxing afternoon.

Tomorrow is meant to be nice so I am looking forward to a mini sleep in and my run tomorrow.  Most of all though, I am looking forward to this break, it is long overdue and well deserved!

Friday, 21 December 2012

21.12.12 End of the World

15 Days to go

Well the world is meant to end tonight or early tomorrow morning and let's hope for my sake that doesn't happen.  118 days with no alcohol, working and training my ass off and it all ends with a fiery ball or massive wave and I have not had a vesper martini, I am not going to be impressed.

I am really looking forward to the break from work.  The last month has been hell and when I was having this conversation with someone today they said that it sounds like I just want to enjoy training again.  I had a think about it and that is exactly what the issue is.  I just want to wake up and go for a run without having to get up ridiculously dry just so I can complete the run or ride before work and then at the end of the day make sure I am not leaving too late so that I get home to spend time with my family.  The fact that I get to have a mini break before the race is a blessing in disguise.  Not only will I get the chance to enjoy the training again but will feel relaxed going into the race.

So bring on the weekend and one more day of work.  Hopefully we all get through tonight so that the I can enjoy that long awaited break.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

20.12.12 99%

16 days to go

When the alarm went off for the third time this morning I really thought about sleeping in rather than swimming.  I was really tired this morning but lying there in bed was only going to make me late for swimming and no more relaxed.  I got on the motorbike and headed to the pool.  When I got there I was told that we would be doing a group set of lays.  To be randomly be picked and put in a lane one person less than the other lanes meant that one of the 4 of us would constantly be doing one more leg than the other teams...not a good start for someone that was tired.  Anyway, we did a bunch of different relays one of which was a breath hold relay whereby I saw the 65 year old women that was in my lane go nearly fifty metres under water and win that particular relay for us.  The rest of the relays where sprints and although it was hard, I am glad that I got up to do it.

As I was getting dressed to head home a mate of mine was walking in to start his session.  We were having a chat about our upcoming races, work and what we were doing over the break.  We were finally talking about my race and how I was not sure how I was going to go when he said to me, "remember that 99% people on the planet can't do what your doing" and walked off for his swim.  Now I am not sure where Brad was getting his statistics from but it did make me think that what I was about to do was something that most people I know had never done or intended to do.  Regardless of the actual statistics, the fact of the matter is that this experience, this 5 months of training, this race is something that not everyone can do and to be able to line up on that start line on the 5th January is going to be a privilege no matter how tired I may be.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

19.12.12 The Movie, Big.

I am not sure if you have seen the movie called Big, where Tom Hanks wants to be big as he is not allowed on a carnival ride.  Well anyway at the end of the movie there is a scene where he is walking back home as a child and his adult clothes are now to big for him.  Well for some reason that is how I have been feeling lately and especially today.  My suit that used to perfectly fit me now is way to big for me.  My shirts also feel way to big and to be honest I feel a little scruffy.  I have not lost anymore weight recently so not sure why I am feeling this way at the moment but only a couple more suit wearing days to go so I will get over it.  The problem then lies with my normal clothes, unfortunately I am having the same issues and having to wear a belt with everything is a little frustrating especially when the belt is on the last notch.

Anyway, my chest is very sore today.  I definitely feel like I gave my whole upper body a work out even to the point where I feel like I have blisters on my palms from the constant pulling of my body out of the water.  I am tired today.  Normally I would have done at least three exercises this week but swimming has been the only exercise so far.  I have probably gone a little early but the tapering has begun.  I am looking forward to a break in a couple of days, being able to run or swim when I like and just enjoying the exercise in the lead up to the race.  It is swimming tomorrow and it is going to be a tough set so early night tonight.  Hopefully the energy levels are back by tomorrow and the swim is a good one.

Monday, 17 December 2012

18.12.12 Power Set

18 days to go
75.7 kilos

When you are about to jump I the pool and you are looking at your set and your coach says that you are going to be stuffed later on and hurting the following day, the motivation slips away...

I woke up this morning and the weekend was taking its toll as I was stuffed.  The alarm went off a couple of times and just when I was about to reset it to a later time, Lachlan woke up.  Then the cats wanted their breakfast and before I knew it I was up.  I had decided that I would have a mini rest day today and take the motorbike rather than ride in.  Lucky I did as the energy levels where very low and my calfs are toight like a toiger.  I got to the pool and was confronted with the following:

Power Set 400 in/out of pool/ 25 fly fins/press ups and sprint etc.

Basically the set involved 400 meters in a 25 minute pool and getting out at each end which meant pulling yourself out of the pool, running around the diving platform, diving in and doing it again at the other end.  400 meters=16 times.  By the end of it, your arms are stuffed and you are still trying to sprint.  Next was fly for 25 minutes and then turning around and sprinting freestyle back.  That was done 6 times.  Last was 50 metre sprints which involved staring on the pool deck, doing 5 press ups and then diving in and sprinting for 50 metres.  Once you had completed the above it was time to do it all again.  Once that was complete, a nice 200 Backstroke warm down.  Needless to say that I was tired today and am not looking forward to how my chest is going to feel tomorrow...

17.12.12 Nineteen days until race day

114 days no alcohol (no not even a sip)
18 days to go until race day
76kg (after dinner and a bottle of water)

I know that I said that I would be more regular with my posts but work continued to be full on for the month of November and to be fair, I don't think I have ever worked so hard in my life.  Add to that me trying to spend time with my family and throw in the hardest month of training so far and you have a pretty busy period.

I am determined though to do a countdown for the last nineteen days before race day so be sure to tune in on a nightly basis.  Here is a quick catchup on what has been going on for the month:

- Bog Challenge:  At the start of November I competed in the bog challenge.  Now if you remember correctly, the bog challenge that I completed in July was when I fractured my foot so I had nervous feelings about this race.  I finished with no injuries except for the normal scrapes and cuts and 14 minutes faster than I have ever completed it.

- 2km swim time trial: About three weeks ago I completed a 2km time trial.  I hate time trials as I seem to always go to hard in them but I was determined on this one to take my time an really see how  I was feeling and the relaxed state seemed to work as I completed it in just over 35 minutes, a new personal best.

- Ocean Swim: As the weather has warmed up slightly we have begun doing our ocean swims again.  This was the first time that I had been back in the sea with my wetsuit on and the 1.5km swim felt good.  Looks like all that training I have been doing is starting to show itself!

- Bike Crash:  Last weekend I wanted to complete a mini half ironman by completing a 3 hour bike ride and then complete a 21km run.  All was going to plan when I got up at 5:00am last Sunday and left home on the bike by 6am.  I would hopefully be back and finish the run by 11:00am and spend the rest of the day with the family.  23 kilometres into the ride I eat a banana and to wash it down I pull my drink bottle out of my drink holder whilst sitting up on the bike with my hands on the top of my tri bars.  As I yank the drink bottle out of the holder it hits the top of one of my tri bars knocking the handlebars.  I lose control of the handlebars, and try to regain but to no avail.  All of a sudden I know that I am going down and before I know it I am slapped on the ground on my back.  I open my eyes and my back is killing me.  As I gather myself, whilst lying on the road, two good Samaritans pull over to assist after seeing me crash.  They help me lift up my bike and check I am okay before heading off.  As I sit on the side of the road I assess the damage.  The bike is fine except for a little bit of damage to tape on the handlebars.  My back is killing me, in fact I have landed square on my tailbone and feel like I have badly bruised my lower back.  I check the rest of my body and find no other damage apart from some damaged equipment including my smashed glasses, broken GPS and a helmet with a big dent in the back of it.  The worst however is the fact that I am 24 kilometres into a 80km ride.  Do I ride home or do I keep going and finish.  I decide to complete the ride with my back killing me.  I make it home and tell my wife what has happened.  I go upstairs and pull back my bike top and find out why my back was hurting so much as shown below.

Unbelievably, that was my only injury and although it actually does not look that bad, the internal pain is still aching as I write this blog.

- Bike and Run (2nd attempt):  Yesterday the long awaited long ride and run that I wanted to do last weekend was planned again.  This time there was no bike crash however there were two flat tyres.  I made it home though feeling pretty good and begun my run into town.  Due to the delay that the two flats had given me I was running a little late so only managed 16 kilometers before finishing up.  I was starting to hurt near the end of the run but on race day including the swim, there would only be an extra hour of pain before it was all over.  I have certainly gone longer than that before so I am not too concerned about what will happen.

Last thing.  I picked up my race suit on the weekend so the last of my kit has been purchased.  Taurange, look out cos here I come.