Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Corporate multisport challenge

On Saturday 13 October I competed in a team with four work colleagues in the corporate multisport challenge. This race consisted of (originally) a 7 km kayak, a 25 km mountain bike, a 29km road bike (me) and a 7km mountain run.

My team was Gari Bickers (Kayak, and coast to coaster), Bruce Smith (mountain bike and head of our modelling and forecasting section at work), myself and Karen Bradley (run and from our transmission team). We are all on the 9th floor. We were up against a 7th floor work team as well. This team was: Michael (Ruth's partner for the kayak), Ruth Murphy (mountain bike and finance manager), Richard Norris (road bike and head of electricity effiociency section) and Kevin Lampen Smith (run, CFO and my boss).

The day didn't start so well as the weather meant that the kayak was changed to a four lap course of Days Bay with a LeMans start. The mountain bike leg was shortened as the river crossing was flooded, this shortened the road bike as well (but only the down wind leg and not the hard leg into the wind). We were faced with 140kmh gusty north westerlies (hmmm sounding familiar to other posts on my blog).

As the mountain bike course was shortened we didn't have much time to get to the transition and I was frantically getting changed in the back seat of the car in preparation. This meant no warm up for my cycle.

The road bike started with about 2km South on the Wainui coast rd. You know you're in trouble when you're hitting 60kph+ on the bike with a tailwind one way and you're barely pedalling. Definitely bodes badly for the return leg into the wind. The 25km took me 55 minutes (which is a slow time but I still managed to get the fastest women's cycle time and the 5th fastest cycle time overall. I carrried on afterwards for another 2 hours of cycling while my team finished the race. As a prize for the fastest cycle of the day I got an initial programme of simulated altitude training (, which I have done before and had been meaning to do again which was awesome.

Offical results:
It was a close thing - we only just missed out on the placings.

4th place - 9th floor Ninjas 2:52:54
5th place - 7th floor Assassins 2:55:02

There were 33 teams in the mixed category. Strangely enough we would have come 2nd and 3rd if we had been in the open (i.e. all male) category.

Individual results:
Gari - 29:23 - 6th out of 50
Michael (Ruth's partner) - 33:58 - 22nd

Mountain Biking:
Bruce - 39:48 - 6th out of 75
Ruth - 44:13 - 41st - and 2nd woman (half a minute away from first)

Road biking:
Jacinda - 55:14 - 5th out of 81 and 1st woman
Richard - 1:03:01 - 21st

Karen - 48:29 - 65th out of 81 and 18th woman
Kevin - 33:50 - 9th

Here are two photos of my cycle:

Training camp

I took a day's annual leave over labour weekend to attend a 4 day training camp in the wairarapa with Vicki and Kevin of Trigoals (Kevin is my Coach). The weekend consisted of:


1. 3km swim (including 4 * 50 kick with no fins and 18 * 100s to "warm" us up for the hills ride)

2. 3 hr hilly bike ride (including Admirals Hill). The photos below show us on our way out and near the top of the admiral hill climb.

3. 60 min run. Later in the day we went out for an easy 60 min run. I found the run loosened up my legs somewhat.
We started with a 5 hour bike ride, this ride was not as hilly as Fridays ride. However we did encounter some of the strongest cross winds that I have ever cycled into. It was horrendous!!! I was blown nearly 5 m across the road in one gust and nearly blown off the actual road several times. Two of our riders actually walked their bikes through the windiest section. I was pretty scared actually. We got to stop after 100km for a nice lunch break and then carried on back to Masterton for another 50km to the end of the ride.

Later in the day we headed back to the pool for a 3km recovery swim. It always feel so great to swim after a long ride! I loved it!


We started with a 3 km swim and then did a 90 min run. It was really hot during our run and I managed to get pretty sunburnt (this was on top of the wind burn from the previous two days of riding).

Later in the afternoon we did a 90 min recovery ride. I wasn't allowed at the front of the cycle bunch at all!!! It was nice to spin the legs though and we finished this leisurely ride with a cafe stop for coffees and diet cokes.


We planned to do a 3 hour ride on Sunday and as we left Masterton it was brilliant sunshine. But as we got closer and closer to Martinborough the weather started really packing it in. Once it started hailing we turned around and did a time trial back to Lake Henley in Masterton. Here is a photo of that ride back....
It was pretty cold but I had a primo ride, there is nothing like riding at 50kmh+ with the wind behind you. I totally forgot how cold and wet I was. This ride (unlike all the previous ride) was a solo effort, no group riding at all. I loved it. There is nothing like riding fast!!!!
When we arrived at Lake Henley we jumped off our bikes, urged our numb fingers to tie running shoe laces and went for a 30 min run off the bike. I did this run as a tempo run, aiming to run each successive 10 minutes faster than the previous 10 min. It was great and an awesome way to finish a hard training camp- knowing that you can really push yourself after 4 hard days is an awesome feeling!!!

So all in all a great time was had by all (with a few highs and lows throughout the weekend). Here is a picture of the whole group:

I really wish I could do this sort of training camp more often!!!
This is me re-fueling after one of the rides... food always tastes so good after a long ride.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

What makes me keep carrying on...

Last Thursday I had to do a 90 min hills ride after work which I really didn't feel like doing what so ever, especially as I had been up since 5 that morning (for swim squad). The couch and TV was SOOOOO appealing but I got out there and did the session. This prompted me to ask myself what makes me tick, how do I motivate myself when times are tough and why do I keep carrying on with the training when motivation is low.

I have found that I need to go into auto pilot mode when I don't want to train and just get started, often half the battle is just getting the running shoes on, arriving at the swimming pool or getting into my cycling kit. Once that first step is made the rest is easy (generally).

Contrary to what most of you see, there are days where I just do not want to train at all, I have to fight the mental battle to get out there, fortunately for me, these days are not that regular and I know deep down that its those people who get out there and train in the crap weather or when they really can't be bothered that succeed the highest. Plus it helps in races, if you've put in the hard yards, both mentally and physically, in training then it is so much easier to carry on when the going gets tough in races.

Some days I ponder about what it would be like to be normal, but really what is normal? What am I missing out on? For me, normal is training everyday, I have done this pretty much since I was 15...apart from a break during my university years when I ended up drinking lots and getting fat :-) So if I gave up the training it would be like giving up one of the biggest things in my life.

Many people ask what motivates me to keep training... and sometimes its hard to define. I totally love training, I love the planning around it and I just love the feeling that you get when you have done it. Sometimes you finish a session that has gone so well that you have the natural endorphin rush going on that keeps you buzzing for hours, in other sessions you have pushed yourself so far to the boundaries that you are totally physically and mentally spent, I love this feeling too, knowing that you can push yourself this far and then do it all agian the next day.

I also LOVE to race and as a triathlete we are all in the enternal search for the perfect race, and when you have a great race you always hope that that one is not the "race of our lives".

So as I sit here, pretty much spent from doing a long hills and tempo run before work I am pondering on why I do it and it always pretty much comes back to how much I truly do love what I am doing. There are the hard sessions but generally I love swimming, cycling and running, I love racing, I love travelling around and competing in different races, I love the people you meet and the friends you make, I love the discipline and committment that it takes to achieve.... hmmm probably no need to carry on with this theme, I guess that you get the picture.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Wind, wind, wind ... hills, hills, hills

My week consisted of two things pretty much... wind and hills!!!!

Firstly the wind... we are being hit by some awful windy weather in Wellington at the moment. Really gusty northerlies! I was pretty scared on both Tuesday's and Wednesday's bike rides. I couldn't even go near my aero bars on these rides it was just way too dangerous. I was nearly blown into traffic three or four times!

Secondly, Kevin put in 8 solid hours of hill riding during the week just been. 3 hours on Tuesday's session and 5 hours on Saturday's session. I think that i have climbed just about every hill in wellington right now. But I am feeling really good for it and starting to notice the difference on the bike.

Some of the hills visited this week: Makara, Wrights Hill, Wind Turbine, Ohiro Rd, Happy Valley rd, Severn St, Hungerford Rd, Houghton Bay rd (to Mt Albert), Mt Victoria, Wadestown Hill, Tinakori Hill, Horokiwi, Korokoro, Normandale, Kelson, Liverton Rd, Blue Mountains... and the list goes on!!!

After Saturday's session (which I actually got sun burnt in) I cleaned my bike as well as a reward for getting me up some of the hills we traversed!

Sunday saw the worst, windiest weather of the week so I did my ride on the indoor trainer. It was just too dangerous to get out on the road. So I got to watch the rugby.... hmmm that's all i will say about that.

Jason's parents and sister are off in rarotonga for the week (lucky them) for Leza's birthday. I wish we could have gone, a week in the sun sounds like heaven right now.

Jason and I are both on a light week of training with Sunday off (the first weekend day off in AGES). I think a sleep in will be the first order of the day!

This week I have the corporate multisport challenge to look forward too. I am doing the 3okm road cycle. Fingers crossed that the Northerlies are not as bad that day as the course is a toughie in that wind!!!! Either way it will be pretty good strength training for me!

Eeek, only:
10 days till my 4 day training camp in the Wairarapa
18 days till the K2 race (double eek)
33 day's till I hit 30 (not even thinking about that one right now)

Friday, October 5, 2007

Caffeine rocks...

So last weekend I had a pretty big training weekend with a 3km swim, 2 hour ride (with intervals) and a 1 hour hills run off the bike on Saturday. The hills run saw us head straight up to the top of Mt Vic (tough at the best of times, let alone straight after a swim and bike!). Sunday was a 6 hour bike ride.

The weather forecast for last Sunday was not favourable to say the least so I wasn't really looking forward to the potential of sitting on a bike for 6 hours in the gale force winds and the rain. I am pleased to say that it only rained for about an hour all up (mind you the wind did not abate much at all).

The first two hours of my ride were pretty wretched to say the least and I wasn't even sure how I was going to get through the full day. I was really diligent with my nutrition and fluid knowing that there was a potential to blow up.
During the ride I had:
3 muesli bars
1 power bar
6 mini pikelets
2.5 * 500ml bottles of water
2.5 * 500ml bottles of replace (2 scoops per 500ml bottle)

I work my fluid and nutrition on a 20 minute cycle i.e. at 20 minutes I take a swig of replace, 40 minutes some food washed down with water, 60 minutes a swig of replace, 80 minutes some more food washed down with water.... I'm sure you get the picture. I do this right from the start of the ride and it really helps. It still doesn't seem like much for a period of 6 hours!!!

We started the ride at Freyberg pool, went round the bays, over brooklyn, up Aro St, round Makara, out to Porirua, around the inlet, over Moonshine, out to Te Marua, around Maymorn, back over wallaceville hill and back along the motorway to the pool to finish. We stopped at Caltex Rimutaka (I don't think I have ever been on a ride out this way that I haven't stopped here) and by this stage I was feeling a little tired (approx 4.40 into the ride). Kevin (my coach) bought me a can of sugar free V and after that all my pains and troubles went away. I love caffeine! It rocks. It gives such a boost. So I ended up finishing the ride and feeling pretty good (probably helped by the tail wind at that stage).

Also last weekend (while I was off cycling through almost every suburb in Wellington) Jason played at the New Zealand Inter Regional Canoe Polo Championships in the Central region senior men's team... AND the WON! This was totally unexpected and they are stoked. Its the first time in about 5 years that they have won this competition!! So he was stoked with the result!!!!

Jason's swimming is going well, he is up to 43km of swimming this week, and back to a light week next week. I have a light week of training next week as well and we both have Sunday off training... WOOHOO its not often we get weekend days off, and even less a day off together!

This weekend I have a 5 hour ride tomorrow with a 20 minute run of the bike and a 2km swim, 2 hour ride and 1 hour hills run off the bike on Sunday. Jason has a 5.5km swim this afternoon, a 5.5km swim tomorrow and a 7.5 km swim on Sunday (this is 75 * 100s on 1.30!). Those of you that swim will realise what a feat this will be.

That's all for now. Catch you next time.