Wine, cheese and social disjointment

Disclaimer sorry this is a personal ramble as a carthodic remedy. Wouldn’t really recommend you read it unless extermly bored, plus I am having a bad spelling day.

Now,  I normally quite happy to be with myself and just as happy to accept that I don’t get along well with others at times. But tonight I had a feeling of being slightly off disjointed. Man it hard to explain, kinda like, when you have a shadowing picture on the TV, like I am a person behind the person in front.

I had a canoe polo game, and I have come to the realisation that I am quite hopeless, afterwards, in the team meeting, I just felt separated, and for some reason that upset me on the way home. I just don’t click with people sometimes, well more often than not, but I just don’t think I am clicking in the team at all, and it upsets me that I don’t have the “social skills” to make the click.

Oh well, enough of that, I’m over it now, good to write it down though. Lets get onto the wine and cheese. Now there is one thing that I like 2nd best to chocolate and that is cheese. Oh my god, I could just eat and eat cheese all the time, though not boring old chedar, not that thrilled with that. Last night was Eamon’s Mothers 60th birthday. So we went over there, and it was a quite family affair, started with some bubbles and a roast with a nice lemon cheese cake. By this time I had already eaten way to much.

But then Pete brings out the cheese, and suggests we open the 11 year old bottle of vintage red. Now one thing about Pete, he loves cheese and wine and he doesn’t skimp on any of it. I have tried a few aged wines, and quite frankly I would much prefer a $20 bottle from the supermarket. But this one was just delious. Now the cheeses, there was a perfectly ripe gooey bree, a aged Gouda and the bestest cheese ever a Stilton. No way I could say no to this sumptuous feast. And is not very often that I get the chance to eat Stilton, and $90 a Kg it isn’t on my shopping list. So that kind of opportunity I just can’t turn down. So a little too much wine and cheese was consumed.

So I have discovered in the last couple of weeks, if I have acahol the night before a run, the first 20min of a run I feel like I am going to be sick. So today at lunch time I had a run, it was a easy one, 1 hr flat, so decided to go around Burward plantation 10K track. Plus its nice and sheltered. But it wasn’t a great run, 20 min of queazyness, and then  the final 20min my legs felt really heavy.

I know nutrition is very important to the outcome of the enjoyment of any run that I have. I seem to be reacting more to a change in my diet, especially when theres acholol involved.


Strengths and weaknesses part 2

I was just listening to Forever fitness podcast this morning, and Ish was talking about strengths and weakenesses. I thought that was rather timely of him. He was saying identify your strenghts and weaknesses, as I have done. But then concentrate on improving the strengths, not the weaknesses. Which I thought was a interesting point. Basically, if you work on a strength, you are more likely to improve by 15% whereas a weakness you might only improve by 5%.

Of course if it is a weakness that is truly holding you back, than you might have to work on it. But you could look at your strengths and see if somehow by improving them you can circumnavigate the weakness.

Interesting point, I have always been very weakness focused. Take this year, it is all about improving my weakest discipline, running. Well it is something I may ponder in fuller detail later.

Strengths and Weaknesses

I did a little shopping with the marvelous plastic card the other day. I was browsing through Amazon and saw heaps of interesting books (they were all only about $12 US). I added heaps to the cart but in the end got it down to 3 (cost kinda builds up). Anyway the books finally arrived today (Amazon ain’t fast, took like 2.5 weeks). Book 1 is Friels training bible, Book 2 Running through the wall, a bunch of ultra marathon stories, that will hopefully inform and inspire. Book3, Mental training for peak performance. I was reading the forward to book 3 and the way they describe a successful athlete reminded me of me, unfortunately not talking about the physical, they were talking about the psychological. The successful athlete has the prefect poker face in face of adversity…. Ok, I am probably going a bit far to say that I am great at it, but I always hold my mental strength as my most important asset.

Anyway, this lead to retrospection, which lead me to generate a list of my strengths and weaknesses (Plus slightly bored, its recovery week… there might be a few of these blogs coming this week).


  • Focused
  • Committed to achieving a goal, no matter what
  • Never give up
  • Argumentative, I love a good argument, love to challenge an idea
  • Able to keep going
  • Physically Strong
  • Face my fears and work really hard to overcome them


  • Slow runner
  • Over think things
  • Argumentative, I can take opposing an idea for the sake of a argument too far
  • Uncoordinated
  • Lazy, at anything that isn’t in the primary goal
  • Have no willpower when it comes to food (I can never understand, how I can run for hours through pain and on will power alone, Which I’ll put as my greatest strength, but can never achieve the same willpower when it comes to a chocolate muffin)
  • Scared of almost everything, outside my comfort zone. Its a good thing that I am able to expand mt comfort zone

Well finally… A Brass Monkey Race

I have finally partaken in a Brass Monkey race this winter. Race 1 I was sick, race 2 was canceled. I was kind of itching to get down the course finally. But as more time stretched between having gone down and the race I started to get more and more nervous. The river today was a about 100 Cumics, which is a lot higher than the last time I went down (was about 30 -40 cumics).

So whats the difference between the flow levels? In High flow, the flow is a lot stronger, there is more wave trains (well I don’t think you would call waves in this stretch of the water as a wave train), but you don’t have to worry about willows as much and easier to pick your line. But I was slightly worried because never experinced Tomsk in a high flow.

The weather forecast this morning, was not very good, a nice “warm” southerly was forecast. But when I looked out the window this morning it was overcast and drizzly, but in comparison to what it could have been, it seemed like a great day for a paddle.

brrr.... crossing flows to get to start

brrr.... crossing flows to get to start

The river was right up to the bank, so we had to park on the road (normally we can park on the river bead). But the water that was flowing at that point was rather shallow, so they sent us to middle of the river to start the race. That was a experience, carrying the kayaks through a couple of flows, feet turned to icicles, and I chilled down really fast. I was number 83, they send you off in order (with on the days entry’s first) with 3 in a group 30secs a part. So I probably standing (well sitting in my kayak actually, its warmer) around on the river bed for about 20min, I was so cold I was actually shivering (I don’t normally shiver, think its all the fat layers that insulate me).

But once I got going I warmed up, and it wasn’t long before I was feeling way to hot. I started fairly well, felt strong. But about 10min down, in a innocuous bit of water, I put in a bad paddle stroke, and almost fell out. After that I was really cautious, so I probably slowed down a lot. There was one section of the river where it was quite “wavy”. I was slightly cautious going into it, but Tomsk performed so well! Barney would have bobbed up and down, whereas Tomsk just went straight as a arrow through the waves. I actually felt more stable in that part of the river, than I did in other parts.

One part of the river I was not paying much attention, and just following the person in front, and end up in a shingle bit. It took me a couple of minutes to scrabble out of that mess.

The last couple of K’s the river flattens out a bit, and is just a big slog to the finish line. At this point I finally got my technique back, and got a good rthymn going, I managed to over take a couple of people (who had overtakken me) at this point.

I don’t know what my time was a the moment, I don’t think it will be that great. But today was about gaining more confidence in Tomsk , and I think I have done that. And also learning his reactions to situations, sometimes I except him to react a certain way, and maybe rail to much or do something, which causes me to get the wobbles going more. So hopefully, I will be able to put a bit more time into the next race.

If any one has wondered where the pylons is, I have mapped the route here. Obviously thats just a line down the middle of the river, we do a few corners to get there.



I was supposed to have a spin this afternoon, but its drissly, and I am still not liking team Nad-ya that much, so I’ll miss the spin.

So todays the last day of my build phase. The last week was pretty big, but I have got through it rather well, I only missed one session (the final spin) so proud of that. I think that I have managed my recovery really well this week.

So next week, easy week.. yah! I’ve been waiting for the easy, its almost like a holiday to me these weeks, well not quite. But I get to sleep in 🙂

I often wonder if I am too concerned with my recovery. But I know we are all different, some people can manage a higher workload and less recovery, but I am not one of them. I need to recover a lot, so I often get pre-occupied by it.

Author comment 28 July : Got results, didn’t do that great, as expected. 10th in category, 54:48min.

Added all the photo’s of me and tanya here

Blowing Bubbles With My Nose

Looking back at Godley Head from Talors Mistake

Looking back at Godley Head from Taylors Mistake

So todays run was pretty much the opposite to last weekends, except stuck to the trails, not the road. They were slippery and boggy at times.

I told Nades I’ll do the Plantation with her if it was raining, but it wasn’t. Surprisingly the sun was shining so I was off towards Godley Head. I Txt’d Nades to tell her, and she said something about snow. I didn’t quite understand her… that is until I saw the hills. I can’t see the hills from my place, but when I saw the hills, I realised it must have snowed overnight and there was a icing sugar sprinkle on the top. Well, that just increased my enthusiasm for a run on the hills, unfortunately Godley head is lower, and doesn’t normally get much snow, and that prooved true today as well. Tanya joined me again.

So off we went, up Capt Thomas track, and then along the Moutain bike tracks on the way. We saw 2 dead sheep. and unfortunaltly one that looked like it was going to die. I am queezy city girl, I don’t look and take a off trail route to get around. I thought the sheep was dead and took that strategy. But Tanya is a farm girl, so she isn’t so quessy and realised that the sheep was still alive and had a dead lamb inside and there was a alive little lamb as well. She tried to help the mother sheep but not much else we could do, so just hope mister farmer will be along at some stage soon to help.

It was still cold up there, even though the sun was out, and when its cold, my nose has a tendency to blow bubbles all the time. It doesn’t run, just blows bubbles. Quite annoying.

Run Summar

Max HR 179

Avg HR 143

Total Time 2hr 50min

Route heree

Caffeine, Caffeine… Caffeine

I was reading a friends (I’ll keep her nameless, but if she’s reading this she will know who she is, and I hope she takes no offense by what I am going to say.) blog the other day, and she mentioned that she had a caffeine tablet before her run because she was feeling tired, it perked her right up and she had a great run. My first reaction to this was that I was actually angry at her. I didn’t think she was a idiot, but to do something like that.. well I was beyond words. I was going to write her a strong comment suggesting that this was a idiotic thing to do. But in my writing of the comment, I realised I was using a lot of hersay and I didn’t actually know what caffeine does to the body, and the effect that this has on ones abilty to train. I am addicted to caffeine, where I think my friend isn’t so maybe I am doing my self more damage because I need a regular hit every morning, then she is by taking the odd tablet.

So here are my orginal arguments, I don’t know if they have any substance to them:

  • Listen to the body, if its tired don’t do activity, you need to recover. Caffeine only masks the feeling
  • It is designed to increase HR, and gets your muscles firing more. Thus the effort of the run will be different than without.
  • Lastly, but the most important, if you train with caffeine than you will not get the added benefits out of it on race day.

So I have done a little research and this is what I have come up with.

What Does Caffeine actually do?

Caffeine works on your brain chemistry. That is all it actually does. The change in brain chemistry has the phisological effects on the body, not the caffeine itself.

Caffeine works in two ways, increases dopemin levels, this makes you feel good, and is the addictive part of caffeine. The 2nd is to make you more alert. This is the important part that you need to understand. A brain nerve cell has adenosine receptors, when adensine is bound to the receptor, this causes drowiness by slowing down the nerve cell activity. Caffeine, is the same shape as adenosine and attaches itself to the adenosine receptor, this means that there is no where for the actual adenosine to attach to. So instead on slowing down, the nerve cells speed up. The pituitary gland sees all of the activity and thinks some sort of emergency must be occurring, so it releases hormones that tell the adrenal glands to produce adrenaline (epinephrine). Adrenaline is the “fight or flight” hormone, and it has a number of effects on your body:

  • Your pupils dilate.
  • Your breathing tubes open up (this is why people suffering from severe asthma attacks are sometimes injected with epinephrine).
  • Your heart beats faster.
  • Blood vessels on the surface constrict to slow blood flow from cuts and also to increase blood flow to muscles. Blood pressure rises.
  • Blood flow to the stomach slows.
  • The liver releases sugar into the bloodstream for extra energy.
  • Muscles tighten up, ready for action.

Caffeine has a half life of 6 hours, If you drink a big cup of coffee with 200 mg of caffeine at 4PM, at 10PM you still have about 100mg in your body. By 4AM, you still have 50mg floating in your system. Excerise has no effect on this life span. Caffeine will exist for this long no matter what you are doing.

So what does this mean to exercise ?

Studies have shown that caffeine is benefical, for endurance exercise up 2 hrs (sorry the ain’t tested 8+ hours so the jury is out on that one).  But you can’t take that caffeine in a expresso or 2 before the race. Sorry coffee lovers, but coffee has other elements that actual prohibit performance. The theory that caffeine may help the burning of fat as a fuel is bogus (and I was so hopeful that I had found a solution to increase my fat burning potential). The most interesting statement I came across is “The limited information available suggests that caffeine non-users and users respond similarly and that withdrawal from caffeine may not be important.”.

Now that statement is important, as information I have read, suggests that withdrawal of caffeine 1-2 weeks out from a big race is needed, to get the benefits on race day. But from this statement we can learn that might not be the case. And that means, those of us who are addicted, do not have to worry about go into withdrawal symptoms a few weeks out from a big race.


But lets look at this logically, for us caffeine addicts, it is not healthy to always be putting our body through the “flight and fight” response. It plays havoc with our hormones and will tire us out more. So in reality to stop the addiction would be the most advantageous to us, and will hopefully help and training and overall well being. Unfortunatly, caffeines dopemin effects have a strangle hold on me. I don’t know if I can beat them.

But lets get away form me, and back to the orginal issue. Should we use caffine in training? Well here’s Chuckie V’s opinion (referring to Peter Reid)

“Don’t rely on coffee or caffeine to get you through your workouts, particularly the last three weeks of your Ironman preparation. It masks your fatigue too much and ideally you want to head into the event fully rested.” Peter would wean himself from caffeine three weeks out of Hawaii so he could be more in tuned with the signals his body was sending. He didn’t want to grind his way through another hard workout when he should’ve been resting.

I think this is the important point I take from this article. As athletes we have to “know” our bodys. If we are masking any of the body’s responses, than we will not know when to take it easy, or understand when we need to recover first.

But if we plan to race on a caffeine, than we need to practice on caffeine, as I pointed out earlier, we don’t need to ween ourselves of it, to get the response required. But I would suggest that you train on caffeine, only when you feel awake and alert, and as a simulation to race day.

My Random thought on the issue

This is purely subjugation, and without any proof to back me, caffeine only triggers the body response from changing the brain chemistry, the body is capable of generating the same response itself, so maybe caffeine is a lazy way for us to get our body’s to respond to what we need, rather than training our body to actually generate the response properly. Maybe the study’s done didn’t test the really top athletes that might be be able to manage there body’s responses without resorting to caffeine.

Caffeine is a drug, we dislike athletes that have used performance enhancing drugs and call them cheats. Caffeine used to be a perfomance enhancing drug, but because of the common use in society, it was dropped from the banned list (though think it is still there, but at really really high quanties). Maybe we shouldn’t judge these athletes so harshly when we ourselves are trying hard to find the “legal” drugs available to enhance our performance.


As always, I have formed my opinion from these sources. If you want to form your own, read them yourself.

Wet and good but uneventful run

Not really much to say on todays run. Felt really good again, went up Rapaki and down Huntsbury. Felt really good running up Rapaki, felt strong and easy on the “easier” slopes. I pushed it a bit hard on the last tough climb. But felt good. I was a little naughty, and ran along the mountain bike tracks, even though the sign said track closed. But assumed that was more for Mountain bikers and by light little footsies wouldn’t effect the track to much.

The new shoes felt nice. But am worried they might not be wide enough as my toes started to get numb near the top of the climb. But it probably not the wisest decision, to take new orthodics and shoes out together. (I know you don’t need to lecture me, but they are so cool looking and I wanted to give them a go). I’ll stick to the old shoes and new orthodics for the next couple of weeks from now on.

Here’s a couple of pictures I took on the way back down Huntsbury (they aren’t very clear) But you can see Rapaki in the background, and the closer one (and steeper) is the Vernon farm track.

Mt Vernon Farm Track
Mt Vernon Farm Track
Rapaki Track in the Background

Rapaki Track in the Background

Run Summary

Max HR : 172

Avg HR : 152

Route Here