Saturday, February 10, 2007

Summer Running

Poor Lola. My beautiful red road bike has suffered the indignity of being left in the car, then being carted back down the steps to our house, twice this week. She's in danger of becoming a Cinderella.

It's not that I didn't intend to leave One Love to cycle around the Bays to the Women's Multis session on Tuesday, but I was having a fabulous time in the scorching sun dancing to some good New Zealand roots music. After a couple of ciders and a Margharita slushy (thanks to the lovely people sitting next to us), and permission from Duck to skip training, I realised that my cycle helmet was, in any case, in our other car at home.

I made up for things somewhat on Wednesday, when Allie and I got changed at her flat in Hawker Street and went for a run to Greta Point and back. It was a close thing, and we nearly ended up drinking wine in the sun instead. Wellington had put on another perfect summer scorcher of a day, and we had to walk past a number of people drinking outside waterfront bars in the sun. By the time we got to Hawker Street we were already hot and sweaty.

The idea of a swim after the run got us out of the house, although not before I had run up and down her hallway in my togs and running tights a couple of times to ensure that I wasn't going to make too much of a spectacle of myself. In the end there was a Splash and Dash event on, and therefore I wasn't the only woman running in my swimming gear. The only time I felt a little self-conscious was when running past a group of slightly leery fishermen.

It was a rather hot evening for a run, and we stopped at Balaena Bay for water, and walked a short section. However once around Pt Jerningham we were in the shade, and what breeze there was trended Southerly. We made it to Greta Point before running out into the sun again, at which point I turned tail and headed straight back the way we'd come.

Allie insisted I go on ahead and, feeling better than I had any right to, I pushed on towards Oriental Bay on my own. I found a good steady pace, and occupied my head with thoughts of how beautiful the evening was so that I was less inclined to stop. All the same, it was a relief to make it back to Oriental Bay. By the time Allie rounded the corner I was already floating in the sea.

I can honestly say that the swim that night will go down as one of the most enjoyable in history. Allie was eventually convinced to join me, and we hung out in the surprisingly warm water for quite a while. Little Oriental Bay resembled the Riviera, there were so many people out and about. On a night like that being a runner, a Wellingtonian, and a swimmer, equated to being the luckiest person on the planet.

On Thursday Duck ran through my new programme with me. From now on I will have one core and upper body session and one leg session a week, on top of our personal training session. Both workouts were extremely challenging, and by the end of it all I was a sweaty, slightly queasy heap. After a few sets of burpees I was seriously questioning how fit I really was.

That, and five hours sleep the night before (I woke at 4am and couldn't get back to sleep again), meant that I was really flagging by the evening and was questioning whether I really wanted to do a Women's Multis session. When I got to Freyberg there were more people out and about than ever, as the fine weather continued. I was really hoping for a nice flat ride around the Bays, a quick run and a swim. However I should know by now that with Women's Multis it's never as simple as getting what I want, even if I usually get what I need.

Poor Lola got put back in the Mazda, and Duck sent us off around the Bays on exactly the same run Allie and I had completed the night before. We were split into small groups according to how fast she thought we could run, and she made me run with the fastest girls. That included a girl from the last Jog Squad who blitzes me at the best of times. My legs were suffering, and I knew I wouldn't be able to keep up. Sure enough, as Duck's cycle computer read 12kmph, I kept up for around 10 minutes before having to drop back and plod my way around to Hataitai Beach.

Once at Hataitai Beach we jumped in the water. Duck made me swim out over my head, which I accomplished without too much difficulty. Being in the water was, as it had been the night before, like swimming through silk while on really good drugs. In other words, it was pretty wonderful. The only bad part about it was having to get out and run back to Freyberg again. But I managed that ok, and even managed to get home again without falling asleep at the wheel.

I'm not quite sure how I got through RPM on Friday morning, but I think it involved not using a lot of dial and a fair bit of grim determination. Leonie turning up to meet Nic and I for breakfast was a lovely surprise, and we all sat outside at Rise drinking yet more Kawakawa tea.

At lunchtime I escaped for another Body Balance class, this time enjoying the strength through my arms as I dropped down from the plank into a hover, then an upward dog. My hamstrings were really aching by this point, as were my quads. In contrast I could tell that I have really improved significantly in the balance poses. The moves on my left leg are almost easy now, and even on my weaker right side I was able to hold the tree and dancer poses without too much difficulty. Actually having some glute activation works wonders!

Leonie and I are planning on doing a mini-triathlon tomorrow morning, as the $40 entry fee for the Scorching duathlon and triathlon was a bit too steep for my liking. So I've taken today off, and it has been sorely needed. I clocked up nearly 30km this week, from almost nothing, and my legs are a little annoyed with me. Surprisingly though my right knee has fared rather well. In fact it has been my left knee that has ached a bit, and I suspect I'm now overcompensating. I want to start working on my speed again, but not until I'm satisfied my technique has improved enough that I don't shatter my IT band and knees the second I crank things up.

Jog Squad starts again on the 19th, and we're training for a 10km trail run. I'm already running 10km with no problems, so working on speed doesn't seem out of the question. It would be silly to think I could work up to a half marathon in such a short timeframe (only 7 weeks), so I'm going to have to be sensible and restrict myself for the time being. My focus HAS to be on not overtraining.


Michelle Fry said...

Wow, I'm impressed with your workouts. Sounds like the body balance stuff is helping the IT band and knee.

Catherine said...

I'm just catching up - loved your "changes" poem a few posts down.