Running a trail = Freedom

This week I have been indecision central. I was almost 99% committed to doing Challenge Wanaka, then I swang 180 degrees and I was going for the longest day. Than I hit myself on the head and told myself, I can’t run the run fast enough yet.

After reading Catherine’s report on the tussock traverse, I just thought that would be cool…. What I think I could love would be traveling the country and doing these little off road running races that let you see that part of the country. There is something freeing about being able to go the back of the beyond, with just your running shoes and a backpack. Now the only trouble is I am a terrible runner… how can my worse discipline be what I get most excited about. And no I don’t have a remote feeling of excitement about doing the Christchurch half marathon again… all that tarmac, so there is a constraint to this joy of running.

I was drafting (in my head) a email to potential coaches, and one thing that came up was I don’t want to be mediocre anymore… If I do a iron distance I want to achieve better than I ever thought possible, otherwise I see no point in doing it. Plus I had something in there about my “complete indecision of what I want to do, but oh I am going to do the Kepler, and have most improved time…  though that would be a bit close to Challenge Wanaka ”

OK… so I am back to just doing the half and seeing where I want to go after that…. but will look at coaches, because I no longer want to be medicore… but what I decide to do might effect the type of coach I want to use… oh the indecision.

Not so bad

Note: Something went scerry wit the Internet lat night, and drafts got lost and this never go published, this is the original draft, and I can’t be bothered changing it, so live with it 🙂

Timaru Triathlon now has the honour of the only event I have competed in 3x’s. Normally I get bored with a event and find something else to do. But Timaru has drawn me 3x’s once using the kayak the other times doing a swim.

Yesterday, I went for a ride first thing in the morning, it was planned to be short bays, but because I had been sick most of the week, I decided to change that to a flat ride, and not only was the ride flat, I felt flat too. I had no energy, and no way to shrug it off. It didn’t bode well for the triathlon, but tried to keep positive thoughts in my head, as if I believed I couldn’t do it I wouldn’t.

Me and Nades drove down to Timaru Mid afternoon Saturday. I was feeling slightly tired but hopefully a good night sleep and all would be well. In the middle of the night, I woke up and my lungs felt really bad, it was a little bit weird to tell you the truth, but I and really overly precious when it comes to my lungs, if they had felt like that when I woke in the morning, I just would not have started the tri, but thankfully the lungs felt fine.In fact all of me was feeling ok.

The Swim

I was a little bit worried about the swim, it hasn’t been that long since I have started swimming again. Especially after the race previous weekend in Wanaka. That had only been 300m and I felt whacked at the end. Well nothing like that happened to day, I had a bit of a weak entry to the water while everyone was duck diving I was walking through the water, till it was deep enough to swim. The honest truth, I don’t think unless you are a elite competitor, you’ll get much advantage by such activity and all it does for me is send my HR through the roof and then take me half the swim to steady back down.

Anyway, once I got started I got into a nice relaxed rhythm, and I was really happy to in the water and not struggling at all, I think I slowed down in the last lap a bit, so my strength endurance still needs a bit of work in the swim. I haven’t got my times yet, so not sure how well I did in the swim, but think I was probably middle of the pack.

The Bike

It started ok, but and 1/4 of the way through I found myself peddaling along like in was a Sunday spin. I gave myself a good talking too, but didn’t seem to have any speed to generate. I had only 1 bottle on the bike, and I started to drink a whole lot, and was concerned I didn’t have enough to get me home. The zizzag was a killer, my legs were like “You got to be kinding, I don’t want to push that hard”. I just couldn’t seem to push myself into what I normally do. I eventually, I was starting to think about the run, should I do it? Something ain’t right…. I’ll do a lap and see how I feel…

The Run

The first 400m I was actually feeling good, my legs felt good of the bike, picking up well. Then they just got tired, it was really hot, then I was started feeling queezy and had to stop and bend over. At that point I just called it a day and walked/jogged back to the finish and pulled out. It just wasn’t worth it for me to push through it. I could have, but the recovery required would just be something stupid for the benefits.

So that was my day done. I am not unhappy with the result either., I go what I wanted out of the race.

So the honest truth

OK, I am a hopeless budgeter. Actually I used to really good, saved heaps even though I was on low salary, now I am on double the salary and can’t save anything. Yes I have a problem. The main reason for my problem is the events that I want to do. I want to do “everything” and I do not let something as minor as money to hold me back from doing it.

So the last couple of days I have been sick. Yeh get back from holiday, then 2hrs later I am throwing up. Don’t think the guys at work will be very happy with me. But this has just given me time to think about what I want to do. But I really have to behave and consider the cost of the goal when I go about it.

So here is the honest truth… the thing I want to do, to complete is the Longest Day.  Now to do this I need to be able to do the mountain run faster. Unfortunately, the training and gear cost for such activity is fairly high. Though I do have all the gear. I don’t forsee me doing this in the next couple of years.

So where does this leave me? The 2 day or aim for a Iron distance.

What I see as a advantage of doing a iron distance. It is a fairly similar distance / time and toughness as the Longest Day. Some argue what is hardest, I think it depends on the individual on what is actually tougher. Training for a iron distance will give me a endurance base required and the commitment to training.

(Maybe that seems a bit silly to have a iron distance as a training ground to Longest day, it is a goal for itself, and something I want to do in itself)

Ok lets look of cost of doing a iron distance:

Coach: I think if I was to go for it, I would want to get a good experinced coach in Irondistance training

Bike: I would love a new bike (drools a bit) , but I could probably get by with just upgrading the wheels.

Entry fee: Cheaper than c2c

Travel and accomadation: Cheaper in Wanaka to Taupo

So other than the coach, I think I can get away with it fairly cheaply, I just have to remind myself, I don’t have to keep up with the Joneses.

As oppossed to doing 2 day:

Travel costs: The constant traveling to the river and run

Entry fee

The Body Goes Where the Mind Flows

… Or something like that. I am just reading Steve Gurneys Autobiography, and that is one of his sayings. If you have doubts, don’t think you can than that is what will happen, if you think strong then you will be strong. And he is right, I have to say lately I have been having really negative thoughts, especially about running. Just running 5K at the moment seems like a monster, I have no idea why only a couple of months ago I was running (well, shuffling, stumbling, walking really) 60K.

What’s happened since then? Answer: My negative thoughts about running, this morning I went for a run thinking “strong” thoughts, and I tell you what it worked… but back to the run later.

This is a blog about a little adventure down south. The reason was to observe the Challenge, give me a understanding off what it would truly involve, if I would ever want to. Plus I just needed a “away” holiday, and camping by a lake seemed like a good idea.

Dairying in a Dessert

Left home early Thursday morning, stopped off at my parents in Tekapo to pick up a tent. On the way to lindis pass I observed the bazare activity we find our selves these days. Diary farms in the middle of the Mackensie Basin. I am fairly certain that mackensie Basin was given “Dessert” status in the last 20years or so. So what seems like a good plan? Put a farm that requires a lot of water in this dessert… of course there is a lot of water that can be grabbed out of the canals in the hydro scheme up there… there is heaps of water really… but still it seems against the laws of nature to put something that just shouldn’t be there. And where do all those cows go in winter, it would be blimin’ chilly.

.. Thats my rant for the weekend, just blows my mind

So Wheres the Swim?

So I am going to LAKE Wanaka, to observe the Ironman distance race and prehaps particpate in one the day before. So apon receiving this information, both my parents ask me, “So wheres the swim?”

So I am a sarcastic SOB… quite frankly it is a MacLaren traight, so no one is surprised at the Scarcasim that can droul out of my mouth. However, apon this question I was stumped… STUMPED, I tell you, I had no ready and unwhitty reply to that one… All that came out was “In the LAAAKE… where else in the river?”.

Ok, they were thinking that prehaps it would be in a pool, the reasoning behind it, Wanaka is glacier feed, just like the lake they look at every day, and there is no way in hell anybody would be caught dead in that lake (Ok, there are the odd insane people in the middle of summer).

Well for whatever reason, the southern glacier feed lakes are slightly warmer than the high country ones. Maybe its because they don’t have the Glacier flour that gives them that really blue color (well it makes them look very icy cold). Actually I don’t know if they are in fact colder, I decided to test that out on my way home and put my feet in Lake Pukaki, it was warmer than the last time I stood in it, back in October, but I don’t think I would be planning to dive head first into it.

Oh that brings me around to swimming in Lake Wanaka. On Friday morning, I decided to scrabble into the wetsuit and test out the waters… and blimin’ heck it was cold. Though it didn’t take long to get used to it. I also went for a longer swim this morning, after about 40min I was getting Ice cream headache, so probably double caps or neoprene would be the plan.

Oh but it was nice to swim in a lake… not getting that awful taste of salt water in your mouth, if fact you can drink it when you get thirsty … well I didn’t actually try that… You don’t have to worry about scary beasts of the deep, plus you can see the bottom, though this is a bit golish when you see the seaweed (lakeweed??) below.

I feel a bit of a fraud

So I planned to do the 3:9:3 race on the Friday, the purpose was really to “feel” back into a tri and pratice the transitions. However, earlier in the week I was looking at the race info and realised that the trophy race, instead of being a Olympic distance, was actually half of one. Well I thought I should probably do that. I didn’t enter because late fee already applied, so might as well do it on race day.

Well on the Thursday when I arrived I went for a bit of a spin on the bike. I felt like crap, I then crawled into my tent and went to sleep at about 6. I woke up still feeling lathargic. I decided to go for a swim then run and see how I felt. The swim went ok, the run was even ok, but when I finished I felt like I could sleep for a week. So I went had a nap. Still didn’t feel great. I even thought maybe I just wouldn’t do the tri… but then I thought bugger it and went and entered the 3:9:3. The race started at 2.30, so it was a unusal time to race, plus it was starting to get warm.

The swim was only 300m up the shore. It was a tough little swim, I tried to tell myself, relax take long big strokes, but didn’t work and I got out of the swim tight chested. The bike was 4 laps around a 2K course, that weaved it way through the centre of  Wanaka. There were 2 big straights, probably about 600 & 800m, the rest was tight cornering. The first lap around was fun, I just put the power down, bugger it and go I thought. By the 2nd lap we were lapping some of the slower people. It got a bit tricky around the corners, and the 3rd and 4th laps were slightly mahemic. I had blown my other women competitors out of the water by 2min… I was rather ashmatic in the last lap, I told myself gotta get my inhaler out of my tranisition bag in tranisition, of course I forgot, and was already off on the run by the time I remembered… ah well, just concentrate on breathing in and out and get a rythmn going. The first lap was a bit hard, but by the 2nd I was probably jogging it out a bit.

I have developed the habit of taking things a bit easy… any way it took me a whole 17min something to run 3k! Came in 2nd.

So the reason I feel like a fraud, this was a race for beginners, it was kinda funny being in transition with all these nervous first timers around me. I wasn’t a beginner, I should have been in the trophy race and coming mid pack…

Also the tiredness I had been feeling seemed to have disapeared after the race.

Macpac – Built to last

At the spring challenge, I remember Nathan going on about Macpac(the sponsor) and how there products last decades.. yeh yeh I thought…

For the weekend, I had borrowed my parents Macpac Olympus tent. I remember when they first got it, I couldn’t have been much older than 10, so it is about 20 years old. On Friday night, it absoultly rained buckets… I was rather worried I was going to get a bit wet… but I stayed bone dry all night.

The highest paved road in the land

On Saturday, while the challenge athletes were away on their bikes, I decided to get on mine and conqueor the crown range. The day wasn’t looking to great weather wise, so I pack my rain coat, and because I didn’t know how long I’ll be I pack enough food for a over night trip… my pockets where looking a bit full…

Anyway off I headed up the cardorna valley, after about 50 min I passed snow farm, this is where athletes go for altitude training, not sure how high it is, but must me fairly decent. It didn’t feel like I had been climbing much. There were a few undulations along the way. After cardorna township it started getting harder… then it started to rain… then it started to rain really really hard. I think I was probably about 10 – 15K away from the top. I didn’t want to be descending in the weather. I decided to play it smart…. by the time I got back I would have done a 3hr ride enough for me, so it was time to turn around. The crown range isn’t going anywhere, I can go back another day and do it.

It was fast going back down to start with, but then I hit a head wind in the valley floor… bamn, even though I was still descending I was going slower then when I had been climbing. I was working on that descent and was well pleased to see wanaka. Unfornulty to get back to my tent I had to go about 2K down part of the challeng cycle course. It was rather embrassing to have people stand up and cheer me on, I had to apologise and say I wasn’t competiting. I almost considered getting of and walking back.

The Challenge Wanaka

The Challenge started at 7am, so I wandered on down and got there 10min before the start, it was still drissly and cold.  But before long they were off… with not much to do while they were out swimming I wandered around trying to decided the best place to stand. I wanted to see the pro’s go trough tranisition, so I went and stood opposite the tranistion near the bridge. I noticded a lot of the athletes were wearing the CEP compression socks when they came out of the change room, all I could think it must be blimin’ hard getting them on while wet. Went down to the swim get out and waited for Rachel to come out and then come past on the bike.

Now I had not much to do, so headed up to the crown range. Once I got back I headed over to run. The pro’s were already well into the run, saw Gina come around the half way mark and then the first of the men to finish. I waited for Gina to finish, then I decided to go back to the tent and have a nap. I was feeling really knackered. The plan was to have a couple of hours sleep, come back and watch Rachel finish. But when I woke up it was already dark and I had been woken by the fireworks.  I was decidely pissed off at myself. I don’t know why I was constantly tired all weekend… could it have been the altitude? I think Wanaka is at 600m.

Did the weekend sway me in any direction

So do I want to do it myself? After reading Rachel’s blog, maybe not. In wathcing it, all I could think is I wouldn’t want to finish the bike after the pro’s have finished the whole thing. That is just my pride talking though. I have a inkling and after watching and getting a idea of what happens, I know I could do it if I put my mind to it. Do I want to put my mind to it? Ummm not sure.

Back to that run

So while watching the challenge, I was reading Gurneys book. This morning, I just told myself postive thoughts while I went out for that run. I felt strong and happy, it was hard at times to keep the postive thoughts going and keeping the negative away, hadn’t realised how much negative thoughts I have during a run.

I be Conqueror of Mountain

*She Beats chest*

Well maybe not a mountain, I suppose if you want to be technical, it is closer to a hill… but I still “Knocked the bastard off”. Ok, maybe using that quote is taking things a little far, that is a bit extreme for the actual accomplishment.

So really all I did was get the bike back up on the hills. For this task I decided that I Mt Pleasant would be a fitting slope for that task. Before hand I was doubting this as a good start, it isn’t as steep as some around but it does just keep on going and it never lets up. Well it was easy, I don’t remember it ever being that easy, but maybe in the past I have pushed harder because I had another goal in mind.

So the last few weeks on the flat spinning weren’t for nothing, they were conditioning my legs. If I had started out going up hills I’d probably have thrashed myself and my knees in the process. You see where all that spinning has got me… up Mt Pleasant at a easy spin 🙂

I finished the ride along the summit to the kiwi, before descending and going home. My back got a bit sore, I probably not using those core muscles.. tuttut lazy me.

Ok the ziz zag is no longer in my nightmares, it is a mere bump on the horizon.

Some kind of Awesome!

Test drived  (sp? Apparently spell checker doesn’t think that is a word) the aero bars this morning. Ok, I was a little bit unco getting up and down the first couple of times, and was a bit of a strange feeling being right on top of the steering like that, but got used to it fairly fast, and then I was off, I had a flat 2.5hr ride to do, and it just passed really quick, I was gobbling up the distances down on those aeros. I went out mcleans Island to Lincoln, then Tai Tap, over the downs and home. I was contemplating going to The Cup, up Hackthorne, but thought better of it.

Those areo bars make me work my butt a lot more. Yeh I have a lazy butt on the bike, I use the quads way to much. The aeros seem to allow me to work the butt more. So any way I didn’t know if my butt would handle the climb… OK, yes I might have been a little bit lazy, I know I got to get on those hills some time soon, but I have put it off for one more day.

Once home had a 15min run, around the block, wasn’t as good as my last run of the bike but still fairly resonable. Timaru is sneaking up on me fast, I am not sure how I’ll manage that 10K run, and the zizag could prehaps kill me. Oh well, I am sticking to the plan, its will only be a training race so I’ll just do what I can do.