Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Not much going on....

So there's not much to update from the past week... I spent most of the week getting over the Captain Cooks race! It was a toughie and I had a severe amount of muscle pain (in my left calf and right glute... all compensating for the sore ankle during the run).

I can run now but can not kick while swimming which is a pain! Still going to the physio and I still have an ugly FAT ankle!!! But the good thing is I can definitely notice the improvement.

On the weekend Jason and I bought a nice new duvet inner and cover, new sheets, a new jug and a heater. Now that it is getting warmer we really don't need the fire on all the time. A heater for a half hour or so is sufficient. We have moved away from white duvet covers to a nice mushroom colour one, similar in tone to the walls in our bedroom! Hmmm rievting blog today I know... is anyone still reading?

OH MY GOODNESS... Jason (who used to weigh over 100kg) weighed in at 79.7kg on Monday! How scary is that!! I am going to have to substitute some full fat products back in to his diet I think. He is seeing the nutritionist on Friday and I feel that she may ask him to put some body fat on. I think he is way too lean to do the amount of swimming as he is! That is pretty much the big news of the week!

So the week ahead for us... Jason's swimming is going up in volume from 15 km per week to 23 km per week and I am trying to quickly regain my running fitness after the injury, this is for the Wellington 10km Champs in 3 weeks time.

Over and out for today, I promise that I will have some more interesting news next week.... I hope!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Captain Cooks Landing Run

So I ended up racing the Captain Cooks Landing Run on the weekend with a heavily strapped ankle and no running the whole week before the race.

The run itself was awesome and really challenging. It starts with a 14 min climb (really muddy, clay surface). This is followed by a long steady downhill. The gradient down this hill is really similar so it is quite jarring on the body. After this downhill we headed straight back uphill again (this climb was longer than the first climb). Again we were treated to a really long downhill, then a flat/undulating track into Furneax lodge (and approx. half way). At Furneax there was lollies and extra water (if needed) and cones to show us the way. I mustn't of been concentrating here as I wnet the wrong way twice and lost some time which was a bummer. The second half of the run is undulating around the coast line to Camp Bay.

The run was good, I really enjoyed it. I was good for the first hour and 40 minutes but after that I went downhill a bit (and the last 10 - 15 minutes were a pure grovel for me. Doing virtually nothing for a week and then trying for a 27km tough run really took it out of me to be honest, my ankle only started to hurt in the last 20 minutes which was good though.

I led the race for the first 22km, Robyn Holland (swim squad member and Scottish buddy) passed me with 5km to go (she came 1st), Elenore Robertson (triathlete from New Plymouth) passed me with 2 km to go (2nd overall) and Aubrey Begley (Scottish runner) caught me with 500m to go. For me the last 500m was the toughest downhill of the lot as there was so much mud so I didn't even try to race Aubrey here as she is so good on the down hill and I really didn't want to risk it, plus I was pretty tired at this stage.

The top ten times were:

Robyn: 2.25.42
Eleanor: 2.28.25
Aubrey: 2.29.25
Me: 2.30.11
5th: 2.35.07
6th: 2.38.39
7th: 2.42.58
8th: 2.46:00
9th: 2.47.38
10th 2.48.28

I finished the run and went to the water immediately to soak my ankle in the cold (very cold!!) water. After this we were treated to really nice warm showers for a $2 donation at Punga Cove resort! This shower was heaven.

Post race injury assessment:
My ankle only started to hurt with about 20 minutes to go and there was no additional swelling and/or bruising which was a good sign. I did, however, get a few blisters where there were creases in the taping! I also have three new black toenails from the constant downhill pounding, two blood blisters and same very sore/tight glutes, quads and hamstrings. To be honest I don't think I have ever been this sore after a race before.

After my shower I picked up my post race lunch pack which was devoured in about 5 mins flat (homemade meusli bar, muffin and yummy bread roll). We got to lounge around in the sun at Punga Cove for a while (I was in board shorts and a singelt- how cool is that).

We then caught the ferry back to Furneax and had our post race meal and the prizegiving. The meal was REALLY good... we had:
Bread rolls and butter
Baked potato
Roast mixed vegies (pumpkin, carrots, onion and kumara)
Steamed vegies (broc/ cauli etc)
Pork on a spit
Roast beef
BBQ chicken
Lots of condiments

Then: Sticky date pudding with butterscotch sauce and cream

This was perhaps the best post race meal I have ever had as part of a race entry fee. Awesome stuff! Which is why I had to list the entire meal hehehe.

The post race beverages included numerous glasses of wine and the post race activities included organising a sweepstake for the rugby game (managed to talk to everyone in the bar), watching the rugby, and going for a swim at 10pm in the Marlborough Sounds (this swim was punctuated by numerous squeals from the girls as it was very chilly).

On Sunday we caught the water taxi back to picton, straight onto the ferry back to Wellington. We were treated to a 7m swell and as we entered the Cook Straight we were warned that we were going to experience some "undesirable conditions". I didn't get sick though thank goodness!

So all in all it was a good weekend but to be honest I would have loved to have run the race at full fitness and strength! But as my coach said before the race "There is a risk of course with running but sometimes those who never venture never gain. Sometimes a real champion is someone who can overcome these obstacles and achieve what they set out to do, and this may not necessarily mean winning or racing to your potential".

SO I didn't win (or race to my potential) but I did try as hard as I could given the circumstances, complete the race, come 4th against some very good competition and had a great weekend.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

What to do... what to do...

Hi all I need your help so you should all post comments to this with your thoughts. What should I do this weekend... I have the Captain Cooks Landing race (25km trail run on the queen charlotte walkway). I have been really looking forward to this race. My physio says that I should be ok to run (as the swelling as pretty much subsided). I ran (ok well I jogged) at lunchtime today for 30 minutes and it didn't hurt while I was out, I jogged easily but tried a variety of terrains to see if anything irritated it: up stairs, down stairs, flat, up/down hills. It feels a little fatigued right now though.

I have been thinking a lot about that this week and I have accepted the fact that my focus has changed for this race... its not like I am going out to try and win it anymore. The first few days of the injury were really hard but I think that I will be ok with running less than full fitness if I had to. I will probably just need a gentle reminder not to start on the "If onlys" after the race. Jason and I have talked lots this week and we have decided that if worse comes to worse then I can stop running at Furneax which is about half way. I guess the only question I have right now is whether it is worth the risk?

I am definitely going down but need to tell the race organiser if I am running or supporting. If I am supporting then I need to go on a different boat in the morning on the way to the race start.

Argggggggggggghhhhhhh all these questions are going through my head right now:

Is it worth the risk to run?
If I do run am I going to be satisfied with a slower time than originally anticipated?
Would I be satisfied with not running?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Oh what a weekend....

So where do I start on the weekend that has just been.
Here are two very different images of what my weekend was like, the two images are not linked in any way... On the left I am dressed in a bridal gown made from toilet paper and ribbons from the hen's party I was at and on the right is my very sexy ankle after a fall while I was out running on Sunday (no it wasn't a party injury from Saturday night)... BTW my gown won the toilet paper wedding dress competition...

The hen's party was great, Nicole (the bride) was in fine form, but she is still seedy today apparantly. We started the hen's party at 2pm at Megan's house with lots of snacks and a spartie (which is where the girls had pampering treats i.e. manicure, pedicure and/or facials)... after that we headed into town, followed by dinner and then dancing at Boogie Wonderland. I lasted until 9.45pm (which is a real late night for me) !

Then on to Sunday..... hmmmm a lot of "if onlys" here. I went for my usual Sunday morning training run, yesterday I started at Kilbirnie Pool and was planning on running up to the Ataturk Memorial then along the Eastern Walkway to the Mt Crawford Prison and back to the pool. I planned to stop of at John's house on the way so he could run some of it with me.
I was half an hour into the run when disaster struck (in the form of a very helpless slightly raised rock). I stood on the rock awkwardly and fell even more awkwardly. As I flew through the air I heard a nasty "pop". This is what scared me the most, more so than the fact that I was sprawled out in the middle of the track a while from any help.... All I could think of was my race coming up this weekend... yip that's right, the one that I have been really focussing on!
So as I wailed (cried is too mild a term for it) I started heading back to the car... it took me 45 minutes to get back to the car and I spent the afternoon crying and feeling a bit sorry for myself...
DIAGNOSIS: I have just been to the physio and I have torn one of my ligaments part of the way through (the fan shaped one just above my ankle). The good news is it is only a grade 2 (out of 3) injury- this is a partial tearing of the fibres without a complete rupture. Unfortunately the swelling (which gives me a beautiful cankle) is compressing some of my nerves which is causing a bit of discomfort….

My ankle is strapped and I have a compression bandage on it as well… he is reluctant to give me a prognosis for this weekend at this stage. I have another appointment tomorrow… he said that sitting on my wind trainer should be fine as with swimming (no kicking or pushing off the wall)….

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

New racing shoes...

Yay! These are my new racing flats! I just used my prize winnings from the Wellington 10km race to buy my first ever pair of lightweight racing flats!
The shoes match the Scottish singlet as well (a very important feature you know!). So watch out everyone now, I should be running faster than ever!
This shoe is the optimal shoe for optimum performance. Speed and control come together in a lightweight package!

Monday, July 9, 2007

On Saturday evening I was absolutely, totally shattered... its not often that it happens like this but I felt that I had used every ounce of energy that I had available in the previous week. Poor Jason bore the brunt of this as well. I literally did not have the energy to even shop for food... I was walking around the supermarket like a zombie. I couldn't even think what to cook for dinner let alone what I needed to buy. Its a sure sign that I am exhausted when I can't even think about food! Surprisingly enough though, as soon as I ate I felt so much better again and after a good night sleep I woke up on Sunday rearing to go again. Kevin and I had a great 90 min hills run on Sunday as well so it is a good sign that I am recovering well.

Hmmm what contributed to this tiredness?? After the mammoth run last weekend up in the Tararua's the training did not let up, I had:
Monday: 45 min wind trainer and 3 km swim
Tuesday: Swim squad and 60 min run (with 800m intervals)
Wednesday: 90 min ride
Thursday: Swim squad and 80 min hills run with 20 min up tempo
Friday: 40 min run, including drills
Saturday: 2 hour ride and a 9km club handicap race
Sunday: 90 min hills run

This was on top of a full on week of work as well. No wonder I was tired. The awesome thing about the human body is its amazing ability to go far beyond what you can ever think that you can achieve. There have been days when I am absolutely shattered yet once I start training I have the best session ever. My swimming coach says that it is the people that can constantly push past the boundaries that achieve the highest and I fully agree. It reminds me of a quate that I read in a magazine once: "Once all is said and done, victory is there for those that can push themselves the most". I agree wholeheartedly with this.

I had to race on Saturday afternoon (was meant to be 8km but was actually 9km) and it was interesting racing when I was feeling really flat beforehand. It was only a club handicap race (where we all start at different intervals and try to all finish on the line together basically) so I wasn't too concerned about the result. I started 18 minutes and 20 seconds after the first runners set out and although I did not feel like running I actually ran well. I started with about 6 other runners who had the same handicap as me and Tina Harris and I set a reasonably fast pace to begin with. The race started with 1km into the southerly and Tina and I were working with each other to take the lead and draft off each other which was nice! It probably made the race easier in the later stages as well. I ran pretty evenly through the whole 9km (over varied terrain- mud, gravel, concrete, grass...) and finished in 35.59. So essentially dead on 4 min kms. I am really pleased with that average over that terrain.

This week my load starts to drop off as the Captain Cooks landing race is jsut two weeks away! Yay, so looking forward to this race!!!

Jason has just finished his first week of training on the new programme and he really enjoyed it. This week he did:

2 swim squad sessions (3km each)
1 * 2km swim (technique focus)
1 * 3km swim; and
1 * 60 min continuous swim. He swum over 4 km during this swim. What a fish!

Jason also had a biomechanical assessment to see what he needs to fix to be in tip top shape to swim all these kms that Ali has planned for him!

I have a hen's night on Saturday night to look forward to, so maybe next week's update might be more than just training :-)

Monday, July 2, 2007

Mission mountain run

Well what an adventure I had on the weekend, John and I ran the Jumbo-Holdsworth loop in the Tararua Ranges on Sunday in pretty dismal conditions. Tramping websites state that this loop "can be done in a weekend but is best spread over three days" and we ran it in under 4 hours.

The weather forecast was for occasional rain and north westerly winds, but it should have been solid rain and north westerly gales!!! But anyone that knows me would know that I love a challenge and that adverse conditions suit me. We were well prepared for the conditions with emergency blankets, spare polyprops, woollen hats and gloves as well as lots of food and water.

Stage 1: Holdsworth carpark to atiwhakatu hut: The first stage was a nice easy lead in to the run along a flat well graded track. The biggest thing for me here was getting used to my new camelbak! John and I were careful here to dodge the mud and puddles (hmmm if only we knew what was to come and we wouldn't have bothered hehehe).

Stage 2: Atiwhakatu Hut to Jumbo Hut (via rain guage spur): This is where the hard work started, essentially you head straight up from the hut. I uttered halfway up this part of the "run" that I thought I was fit before we started this climb! I was really struggling through this section and I wasn't sure how I was going to complete the whole run. It was a solid 45 minute climb to Jumbo Hut and my body felt like I had been steamrolled. We got to Jumbo Hut and took a well deserved food break. I decided to give my body a bit of a lift and drank a can of V here. For those of you that don't know, I am a caffeine responder and the effect was almost instantaneous, essentially the caffeine gave me the lift I needed and meant that I could carry on. Yay for caffeine! It rocks!

Stage 3: Jumbo Hut to Mt Holdsworth summit: So from Jumbo Hut the climbing continues... only this time we were wearing our woollen hats and gloves as it was here that the weather packed it in. I thought that the last stage was challenging but this next section was way more challenging. We were subjected to (in no particular order):
  • gale force winds whipping rain onto us that felt like thousands of tiny, painful pin pricks;
  • ankle deep mud;
  • ankle deep snow;
  • streams of water along the track;
  • winds so strong that I had to stop and hold on to the reeds to keep from being blown off the track;
  • totally numb hands and legs;
  • extremely challenging terrain i.e. loose rocks/shingle, swamps etc (John must have been a mountain goat in his past life I think).

It sounds horrendous but I totally loved it! what a challenge it was and it is things like this that make us tough! Both John and I took tumbles during this stage. John landed on rocks and I face planted in the middle of a swamp, but landed on soem nice soft reeds. I tried to throw a snow ball at John but its been a while since I have played polo and my aim was way off!

Stage 4: Mt Holdsworth Summit to Powell Hut: we finally got to head downhill (after an abortive attempt to take a photo of us at the summit with the snow in the background). The terrain is still pretty tricky with rocks etc so still reasonably slow going but we were running. Powell Hut was a welcome sight! We tried to light the gas heater once we got there but no luck. I changed out of my sodden polypro into a fresh dry top which was heaven. We ate some more and John had his red bull.

Stage 5: Powell Hut to Holdsworth carpark (via gentle annie track): From here on down it is all down hill, but it is again pretty challenging terrain and you need to keep your wits about you. There are lots of tree roots and loose rocks. But once we started our descent we warmed up pretty quickly.

So 3 hours 50 minutes after we started out we arrived back at the car to..... HOT SOUP AND SWEET TEA from the thermos! What a treat that was and boy did it make us feel fantastic.

We sat in the carpark with our tea and soup and reflected on the run for quite a while! For me it was the longest run I have ever done but it was fantastic experience! Bring on the next mission I say!