Sunday, May 06, 2007

Warning - Angsty Training Report

What a weird week it's been. Nic and Leonie left on Tuesday, then Deborah arrived on Thursday and Mum and Dad arrived on Saturday. Five people in the house! Work was flat out, and the pressure went on. My training, which has always been constant and structured, suffered and became a bit random. My stress levels sky rocketed and some of my old Angsty Pip tendencies started to resurface, which of course only made me more uptight.

I didn't run with the Squad on Monday, choosing instead to spend the evening with our departing guests. I had a session with Duck in the morning, and we worked my upper body again. This week we are getting back into circuit training, which I'm looking forward to.

At lunch time I ducked out and ran for 45 minutes along the Bays. From my desk the outdoors looked grey and uninviting, but outside it was mild and still. The harbour was perfectly calm and I had another of those days where I was able to escape from my mind and enjoy being outdoors. The run wasn't that bad either! I ran the first 20 minutes at a fast pace, and the last 25 at a medium pace.

On Tuesday I was too busy to go to Balance, and rushed home after work to drop Nic and Leonie at the airport, so Tuesday ended up being a reluctant rest day. On Wednesday I made it out of bed to do a lower body weights workout, and that night I ran with the squad. We ran North along the waterfront and down Thorndon Quay. The idea was to run for 20 minutes at a fast pace, then if we felt ok we were to continue for another 10 minutes before turning around.

I kept up with the speedies, but got unaccountably nervous about my ability to keep up at 22 minutes, and turned around. I made it back to the gym in 29 minutes and, feeling ok, decided to run around the block, getting back to the gym right on 40 minutes. It seems that I'm out of practice when it comes to running with a group. I've been running on my own so often lately.

With Deborah arriving on Thursday, I ended up having another rest day. Hamish and I had been toying with the idea of going to a dance party at Sandwiches on Thursday night, so I had cancelled my RPM booking on Friday morning, which I later regretted. Instead I ran for 50 minutes at lunch time. As it turned out a run was by far the better option. Finally, a Wellington-on-a-good-day run! To celebrate the sun, calm air and mild temperatures I challenged myself to a repeat of Sarah's challenge of a couple of months back.

From the Terrace gym I ran up Bowen Street, then turned up Tinakori and ran up past the Botanical Gardens. From there it was a right turn up the dreaded Garden Rd. Knowing the extent of the challenge ahead of me was in this case a good thing, and I ran slowly but doggedly and steadily up the hill. I made it to the top in one piece! From there I ran easily back down The Rigi, back onto Glenmore and into the Botanical Gardens. I ran over to the Rose Gardens, then up the Serpentine Walk, back up into the Herb Gardens, and from the Rose Gardens down through the cemetary, up and down the Terrace a couple of times, and back to the gym for a total of 50 minutes. I felt strong and confident, and my knee caused me no problems whatsoever. I did have a few issues with downhill stitch. That still puzzles me. I figure I must tense everything up on the uphill then loosen it all up on the downhill, thus leading to the stitch. I can get rid of it by breathing out hard and digging my finger into my side, so it's not too much of a problem.

I did a Balance class on Saturday, and everything felt stiff and awkward. I could tell I haven't been doing enough yoga of late! My right glute was still causing me problems, but has eased off a bit over the last couple of weeks. Clare corrected one of my warrior poses from the front of the class, reminding me to breathe and telling me to extend my arm out a little further over my head. To my surprise I tried stretching my arm and it moved quite significantly further than I thought it would!

So that was my week of training - random, abbreviated, and punctuated by way too much time running around, and not enough time running. Almost time for stillness or calm, no time to myself. Not a good way to lead up to the duathlon today. I should have known better! Life kinda got away on me ...

Deborah and I went to the Hurricanes game at the Stadium last night. It was my first time at Westpac and I was rather excited, but in the end it reminded me of how much I dislike large crowds, and confirmed for me that I'm a league girl rather than a Union fan. The game seemed broken and ungraceful, and frankly a little boring. The Hurricanes lost badly and the crowd lost interest rather early on. The obnoxious women behind us bellowed obscenities in our ears and one of them spilt beer down my back ten minutes into the first half. The highlight was a car giveaway that went wrong. Five people were given a key to a new Ford, one of which was supposed to open the car. Unfortunately none of the keys did... Hilarious!

I got home, jumped in the shower to wash the brewery smell off myself, managed to drop my glasses on the floor and break them, groped around getting my bag packed for this morning, and spent the night running to the bathroom with a worsening UTI. Hamish got home around 1.30a.m, unloaded his car (it was the last night of Bright Room and he'd packed out all of his AV gear), then left to go to the crew afterparty. He finally got home at around 1oam this morning, and spent all day in bed sleeping.

After my broken sleep I finally woke at around 5.20 and lay there until 6a.m, when I got up and went through my standard pre-race routine, right down to putting on the standard number of layers and eating my usual Special K with tinned fruit. I took a few sips of a Horleys sports drink, and then the family convoyed in two cars down to Waitangi Park.

The signs were not terribly auspicious. Apart from the UTI and general tiredness the weather was rather nasty, with a stiff Northerly and threatening rain. Poor Jane, the series organiser must wonder what to do about Wellington. Last year the weather the day before was perfect, and this year the perfect day was two days' prior!

I must say I was very proud about how Mum conducted herself throughout the whole thing. She never showed any real signs of nervousness and took everything in her stride. She's looking fantastic, and has clearly developed some real muscle in the last few months. Dad says she spends around two hours every day exercising - walking, cycling and doing weights or classes at the gym. My mother is an inspiration.

Sarah found us and I spotted a couple of other jog squad and women's multis girls before the event started. We all lined up in Wave 12, and before too long we were off. I got separated from Sarah early on by a group of slow women, but she stayed around 20 metres or so ahead of me most of the way, and I could always see her head scarf bobbing away in front of me.

I wish I could say the 3.5km went well, but the run felt dreadful! I was regretting wearing my polyprop under my race shirt, and I was rather hot by the time I made it to the turn around. All the same, I steadily overtook a stream of women, and hardly anyone overtook me. Unfortunately I forgot to press my stop watch at the start of the event, so had no idea what my splits were like, but I think they would have been somewhere between 5 and 5 and a half minutes.

Before long it was on the bike. I think I could have pushed the cycle harder, but it was by far the best part of the race. The road was closed this year (a necessity after last year saw a woman getting knocked off her bike), and I spent most of the time sitting on the centre line flying past slower riders. A group of road bikers ended up pacing off each other for most of the distance. One woman was faster than me in the wind, but every time we hit shelter I would fly past her again. I obviously need to work on my wind cycling. A few super-fit looking girls on very fancy road bikes overtook me, but generally I held my own.

Back to transition, and I ran as quickly as I could in my cycle shoes back to rack Lola. I was regretting not having put my elastic laces on my running shoes, and I think I probably lost a good 3 minutes in transition that Sarah gained on me. Having said that, Sarah did have a problem with someone having racked their bike so one of their pedals went through her spokes, and she told me that lost her a couple of minutes.

I still had no idea how I was doing time-wise. I had forgotten to spin my legs out and I had serious off-the-bike issues. Never has 1.5km felt so long! So much for sprinting. It was a hard job just to keep moving. Soon after the turn around I had a real problem with needing to vomit, to the extent that I actually had to stop for 30 seconds or so to stoop over and spit out a heap of bile. A very concerned woman stopped to ask how I was, and I replied that it was just a bit of nausea, stood up, wiped my mouth and started running again. How hard am I!!

So I made it over the finish line five or so minutes behind Sarah, but with no real idea of how I'd gone. In the final analysis I came in at 57 minutes, so only 2 minutes faster than last year, or around 5 minutes if I allow time for shoe changing. Not good! I was really bitterly disappointed, but then I started doing a little analysis.

Last year I came in at around 360, this year at around 120. Sarah came in at around 45, which is where Bronwyn placed last year in under 50 minutes. It seems that everyone did a slower time this year, with the wind the most likely culprit. I managed to finish significantly further forward in the field, and that's probably the best indication of my improvement. I guess I would feel better if I didn't know I was capable of going faster, but for the stupid leg and nausea issues. On a good day I would have kept pace with Sarah. She didn't blitz me as much on the initial run as I'd expected, and I should have been able to blitz her on the bike.

So what's the next step? I need to perservere. It would be easy to start thinking that this eventing stuff is all too much of a hassle. But that would be giving up. Onwards and upwards.

Besides, the proof of what is possible was shown to me today in the form of Mum, who came home in 1 hour 20, looking like she'd just gone out for nothing more than a gentle stroll, and with a huge grin on her face. I'm so incredibly proud!

The plan for this week is to reintroduce the consistency and focus on my training. I'm going to do an upper body workout in the morning and run with the squad tomorrow night. After that it will be a week of homework runs, another Jog Squad run, a Duck session, a lower body session, an RPM class and as many Body Balance classes as I can squeeze in. I'm looking forward to it. It's time to get serious again!

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