Monday, April 06, 2009

On Holiday ...

So it seems that it's not a good idea to go on holiday at the business end of a marathon training programme. Who would have thought?

As I commented in my last post, after Tuesday's run when everything started to hurt I decided not to run again until after the Grape Ride. Well, that strategy appeared to work well for the race. We caught the ferry down on Friday afternoon, spent a quiet night in our cottage in Renwick, and then the next morning Hamish dropped me off at the start line.

The morning dawned clear but cold and I amused everyone around me by shaking uncontrollably while waiting to start. It was a relief to get moving, but we turned straight into a frigid wind and it took forever to start to warm up. However almost straight away I latched onto a team of women who were heading northwards at around 35kmph. I greedily sat on their wheel most of the way to Picton, though around halfway we hit a monster headwind and I started to take my fair turn at pulling.

Somewhere on the hill up to Picton I lost them all, but I wasn't too worried because I knew that Queen Charlotte Drive would be a bit of a solo effort anyway. The headwind was a real feature of the last 10km or so up to Picton and really did slow everyone down. Queen Charlotte was thankfully more sheltered. Mahikipawa Hill felt much easier than last year and I spun up at a satisfyingly high cadence.

Once on the flat again we hit the headwind at its strongest and it became clear that a bunch needed to be formed. I jumped on the wheel of a woman around my age, another woman jumped in behind me, and soon we had a collection of riders all sharing the lead. It took a bit to get the bunch dynamics sorted, but we were soon working together quite well. We were all used to using different hand signals, so there was a bit of discussion back and forth to get everything organised.

Once we got to Havelock we turned in towards Renwick and the fun began. Finally we had a bit of a tail wind. For the last 15km or so I was sitting on between 38 to 42kmph. Once I knew I was close to the finish line I got the bit between my teeth and just went for it. I was seeing speeds on my cycle computer I would never have thought possible.

It seemed like no time at all before I was at the finish line. In the end I cut half an hour off last year's time. On one ride a week of training and a dodgy hip I would call that a success! A lot went well with this ride. I found good people to ride with, I ate constantly (I got through three Power Bars over the 101km ride), and I hydrated well. I had a huge amount of fun as well, and I felt great afterwards. It was wonderful to arrive at the end and have Hamish hand me a chilli bin with a bottle of cider inside it. There are times when I really love that man!

I felt pretty lethargic the next day, but that was partly a lack of sleep catching up with me. I was supposed to run 23km and I should have woken up early and fitted it in before we left Renwick. Instead it was already quite late by the time we set up camp at a DOC campsite near Springs Junction. As a compromise, because it was a beautiful evening and the surroundings were stunning, I ran 7km along the side of the main road. When I got back we headed off to Maruia Springs, which I can highly recommend. We spent some time in the attractive main pools outside by the river, and some time in a private bath house. Afterwards we sat in the bar drinking beer and cider and eating hot chocolate cake with ice cream.

Up again today, and another day of driving. We made it as far as Methven today. We were going to go down the West Coast but the forecast was for heavy rain and thunderstorms, so we chose East. Today I haven't run at all. I just felt it would have been selfish to have headed out on my own and left Hamish at the campsite again and, besides, there's the worst Northwester blowing. I intend to get up and run long tomorrow morning, after which we're off to Lake Tekapo. We're going to go kayaking on the lake, right up to a glacier.

It will be easier to fit in the running once I'm in Central Otago. Right now I have to accept that there are times when I have to have a life outside of running. I'm still going to get round this marathon ... I hope. In the meantime I'm having the best holiday ever.


Kate said...

You really will get round the marathon. Missing a half the day after a century will not hurt at all- all it really is is fitness training.

There are only a few super-key-important runs in marathon training, and those are the LONG runs and some marathon-pace efforts at the business end. Everything else is fitness and endurance, and cycling can definitely assist with that.

I went on holiday in September 07 and ran Auckland in October. Now, it turns out that I didn't have the best day there, but that wasn't because of the holiday- it was because I worked something like 90 hours in the week leading up to the race!

Pip said...

Argh - I just posted a big comment and Blogger lost it. I managed 15km today - all on trails round Lake Tekapo. I was dehydrated, had eaten a grand sum of a bagel and a biscuit all day (I ran in the afternoon) and there was a strong cold wind blowing. Needless to say it wasn't the easiest run, and I'm sure the altitude made a difference! I spied a side trail I want to explore before we head out of here tomorrow morning.