Saturday, October 30, 2010

Anyone want to buy a bike?

Cleo is up for sale. I feel more than a little sad ...

Today's ride was good - round the Bays to the cutting then up Awa Rd, back down to the coast, up Happy Valley to Brooklyn then up to the wind turbine. The climb up to the bottom of Ashton Fitchett was easier than I remembered, the climb up to the turbine just as bad. The first 100m or so is stupidly steep and I was probably one of the few riders who didn't stop at all during the climb. One even fell over after failing to unclip.

There was a fairly strong and very cold southerly wind blowing today. After coming back down off the hill I was shivering badly, even with arm warmers. We climbed up Aro Valley then through Wilton, Churton Park etc to Ngaio where some of us called it quits and the others continued on to Johnsonville to do Makara. I did around 50k today, which was still not enough, however tomorrow is the Martinborough race which, at 115k, should put me through my paces.

Still not feeling over confident about my cycle fitness. We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Another week, another quick update

So, that big ride that was supposed to happen on Labour Monday? Never happened. I spent the whole day feeling absolutely shattered. In retrospect, and judging by the phlegmy cough I've had the last few days, I really was brewing some low level virus, but because it was sitting in my chest and not my head I hadn't realised how much it was affecting me.

Having said that, I may not have been able to summon the energy to get on my bike, but I did run (very slowly and without much enthusiasm) for nearly 30 minutes before meeting Duck's small group training squad for a workout. By the end of the workout I was even feeling a bit more myself.

Unfortunately on Tuesday I felt pretty shattered again. To add to that I was suffering some serious glute pain, I think from the Monday workout, but also the accumulation of lots of hilly running, cycling and RPM. I did an RPM class at lunchtime but my legs felt very heavy. After work the weather was perfect for riding - sunny and still. However I just couldn't get myself out there.

I made up for it somewhat by getting up on Wednesday morning and taking the scenic route to work around the Bays.By that point there was a bit of a Northerly blowing, which meant I was riding into a headwind for a lot of the way. I also cycled most of the way on my own, though lots of cyclists (including a few packs) cycled by in the other direction. I was still getting used to the new bike and still feeling too tired to do much other than cruise along, however once I got near Shelley Bay I found myself in a bit of a race with three different guys on hybrids. They'd overtake me, slow down, I'd overtake them, they'd either overtake me or draft off me. It was all rather amusing but if I'd not been feeling so dead I would gladly have left them in my dust.

All up (including the stopping at lights once in town) I was out there for around 75 minutes and still made it into work by 8.15 - plenty of time to shower and get back to my desk. I left my new bike at the empty desk next to me because I couldn't bring myself to hang it in the cycle locker. That meant I had a constant trickle of admirers stopping by, which was a nice distraction.

After work I rode down to Frank Kitts and had another Duck session, including more glute exercises. Given that standing and moving into a walk had been an extremely painful exercise all day I wasn't that enthusiastic. I made it through though and felt ok once I was warmed up. I even managed to bike back home up Brooklyn Hill and Mornington Rd. It was the first opportunity to really test the bike on a decent hill, and she performed very nicely. I'll keep her!

I definitely felt like I'd done enough for the day and slept extremely soundly last night. This morning I met with Duck again for yet more glute punishment, together with some core and upper body work. I am too busy at work at the moment to run at lunchtime and I had a hair appointment after work so didn't get a chance to slip in another run. Surprisingly my glutes have actually felt a lot better today and I'm now hoping that if I rest tomorrow I'll be in a fairly good state for my big weekend of cycling. However I do still have an annoying and persistent wet cough. I have no idea what's up with that.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Cats Evidently Know Best

I went out with the Gearshifters yesterday and took a whopping three minutes off my last time trial time. The new bike rides like a dream! However with a sore throat, and conscious that I was supposed to ride 100k this morning, I headed off after the TT and waived the extra hills.

At 5.30a.m. this morning I had a minor freakout and decided that driving for two hours to Hunterville to ride a challenging course with a cut off time was not for me. Instead I had a little lie-in, ate breakfast, and headed out intending to ride Makara and the Bays.

Once on the Ridgeway it was evident it was windier than I'd thought. I decided to try the Bays first and headed down towards Owhiro Bay. The bike continued its seduction as I absolutely flew down Happy Valley, praying and loving at the same time! The fun ended when I turned the corner towards Island Bay and got slapped with a truly terrifying head wind that began to blow me all over the road.

At Island Bay I toyed with the idea of continuing but I just didn't feel safe. To add to my woes it started to rain. I turned around and stopped at Bata Street to call Hamish to ask him to come and get me but he didn't answer his phone. I nervously got on the bike and slogged it back up the hill to home. So much for 100k - I managed around 20.

So now I'm home frustrated and kicking myself. I really need to get a big ride in tomorrow or I'll be starting to feel nervous about my Taupo prep.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

It started with a dangerous little idea

I did something really selfish this week. I've been justifying it in a thousand little ways, but since I brought her home from the store yesterday I've been feeling less of the guilt and more of the love for the pure sexiness!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How Much More Awesome Can Today Get?

  • Tea with Jo at Liquidate before work
  • A good weights workout
  • Wellington elects a green mayor
  • The Chilean miners are finally being rescued
  • The sun shone all day
  • I had the most awesome run ever in the Tinakori Hills
  • When I got home there was cider and curry waiting
Yes, today was one of those runs. I haven't run up in the Hills for months so didn't know how it would feel. I left my Garmin behind and decided that my main objective was simply to not walk the hills. However walking was never on the cards. I drifted up Wadestown Rd and into the town belt with my heartrate never even spiking. By the time I got onto the walkway I knew I was more trail fit than I'd realised so I bounced blissfully round my old loop, regretfully coming back out at Glenmore Rd and ducking back down through the Gardens to the office.

The weather was perfect tonight for a trail run - just cool enough and wind free. It reminded me again of the kind of running I really enjoy, the kind of running I want to do more of. I had a smile all afternoon after Hamish sent me a text to tell me Celia had been elected. I had an even bigger smile and a good dose of runner's high after that workout.

Friday, October 08, 2010

This week in review

Saturday: Three hour bike ride round the Makara loop via Old Porirua Rd and Johnsonville.
Sunday: 80k cycle race in Featherston
Monday: 10k, hilly one hour run
Tuesday: 90 minutes of RPM (two classes)
Wednesday: Flat medium pace 5k run
Thursday: One hour session with Duck (sprint intervals from a lying position, lunges, squats, pressups, core work and upper body stuff with the TPR ropes), and a total of around 1.5 hours cycling
Friday: Rest and a massage!

Over 11 hours in total and boy did it feel good. At times it hurt and boy have I slept heavily each night. However I'm happy to see I can sustain this kind of training load again without blowing up. Tomorrow's a rest day as well ahead of a half marathon in Masterton on Sunday, then probably another rest day or two before I properly turn my attention to the Taupo Cycle Challenge.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Feel Free to Hate Me

I love it when I get to work out in Frank Kitts on mornings like this.

Duck's early morning group training stretching at the end of their workout before my session.

I took these photos after cycling into town to meet Duck for our workout.

Such a hardship! I worked for four hours then cycled back home again via the Southern Coast. By that point a sneaky southerly wind had crept in so I gutted it out on exhausted legs. Rest tomorrow - phew!

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Dinner and a Ride

I've been hanging out for the first of the new season's asparagus. Usually I would make an asparagus risotto, but this year I saw a recipe in the Sunday Star Times I just had to try. It was amazing, if I do say so myself, so here it is:

Spaghetti with Asparagus Pesto and Smoked Chicken
2 bunches asparagus, woody ends trimmed
125g (1/2 cup) low fat ricotta
45g unsalted raw cashews
50g baby spinach leaves
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1t finely grated lemon rind
1/2 cup firmly packed fresh basil leaves
Salt and pepper to season
2T fresh lemon juice
250g dried spaghetti pasta
A little olive oil
175g smoked chicken breast, skin removed, shredded

Cook the asparagus in a large saucepan of boiling water for 1-2 minutes or until bright green, tender and crisp. Rinse under cold, running water. Drain. Cut half the asparagus into 3cm pieces and reserve.

Process the remaining asparagus, ricotta, cashews, spinach, garlic, lemon rind and half the basil in a food processor until smooth. Season with pepper and stir in half the lemon juice.

Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling water until al dente. Drain and return to the pan. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Add the asparagus pesto, chicken, reserved asparagus, remaining lemon juice and basil to the pasta. Toss until well combined. Divide among serving bowls.

I used a little more smoked chicken (periperi, because I didn't have ordinary) than the recipe called for and forgot the olive oil. The lemon really made the dish and I added plenty of cracked pepper and a scattering of salt. This stretched to three large servings.

I had a great ride today. It was a stunning morning and therefore no surprise when we ended up riding the Makara loop. Dee decided to ride from the Johnsonville end, which is my less preferred direction. However it did give us the opportunity to ride up Old Porirua Rd, one of the more heinous climbs in Wellington. It maxes out at an 18% gradient and seems to go on forever.

I had a little trouble at the start when my gears decided to skip at the steep start of the climb, but eventually got to the top. I rode in the second of the three groups and only a small handful of us went with the Old Porirua Rd option, most going up Ngaio Gorge. I was the last of those brave enough to take the hard option.

In general I felt my hill legs weren't quite there today. I climbed easily enough but for some reason I was slow. I'm not necessarily complaining about that fact, it just puzzles me. I don't know what I can do to put on more pace and it feels bizarre to have other riders go flying past me. I tried to remember Dusty's advice that being slow means being able to enjoy being out there longer, and that helped!

After Old Porirua Rd it was on to the interminable rollers up to Johnsonville, with the always surprisingly long Cortina Rd at the end. We didn't stop for long at the top and it was nice to actually be able to overtake a few riders on the descent into Takarau Gorge. My downhill skills at least seem to have improved.

It rained here extremely heavily all day on Thursday and the whole area was still a watershed. In several places on the descent the road had been transformed into a shallow stream, and I wasn't quite sure whether it was possible to aquaplane on a road bike or not so I took it easy on those stretches. There were a lot of slips on the side of the road and there was gravel everywhere as a result. I've never seen so much water in the stream through the gorge either.

I had only intermittent company through the valley but was in a good mood and quite happy to be on my own. I was sitting on an ok pace but was just fractionally slower than the main pack. I was feeling good though and was actually happy to be at the bottom of the climb back up to the top of Makara Hill.

It was at about this point that my hill climbing legs started to wake up. In contrast to the last time I went this way (shortly before my surgery), when I'd felt weak and queasy, this time I cruised up the hill comfortably, overtaking three other riders on the way up.

From there it was down into Karori, up and over into Aro Valley, and back through the city to Parade. If someone had suggested a little ride around the Bays to finish I might have said yes.

Given that I have an 80k race in Featherston tomorrow all of the above is very encouraging. I will check in tomorrow to let people know how it goes. The weather is again looking good so cross fingers for a result.

The Perfect Protest

Thanks so much to Brene for her wonderful project!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Sun Clear Through to Next Thursday!

After work today I spent an hour wandering through the Botanical Gardens on a classic Wellington-on-a-good-day. The forecast is for sun and light winds clear through to Thursday, one day of rain, then several more days of sun. I have a ride with the Gearshifters tomorrow and then an 80k race round the Wairarapa on Sunday. I am a very, very happy girl. I will let these photos speak for themselves!

As a footnote, in case you're still reading - I have had two great runs this week - intervals training round the trails of Mt Vic on Monday night, and nearly 9k up to Kelburn and back via Aro Valley on Wednesday night. I also did two and a half RPM classes on Tuesday night (I lost motivation to complete the second), and had a very very wet workout in Frank Kitts on Thursday morning. The jury is still out as to whether I'll be running a half marathon or a 10k next Sunday. I am undercooked, to borrow the phrase, for the half. Sanity will probably win the day.