Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Very Hot Run

After lunch at the Chocolate Fish cafe ...

A very hot 50 minute flat run around the southern coast.

I feel heavy and slow, but it was good to have rested legs. I'm off down to the Marlborough Sounds for four days and, although I have vague aims of trail running at least once while I'm there, I'm not going to force myself if I don't feel the love.

Wherever you are I hope you're having a great break!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day in Mornington

Gaffer sleeps in the sun, I go for a 40k cruise round the Bays. Stunning day here in Wellington! Merry Christmas to you all.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas 2010

Santa Duck - last Jog Squad run for the year

As Christmas approaches I've felt increasingly calm. Once our project went live at the end of November work pretty much wound down and there's been very little to do the last couple of weeks. I've been continuing with the post-Lake Taupo rest-without-a-rest. In other words, I've been running with the Squad two to three times a week, participating in Duck's small group training on Tuesday mornings, training with her individually on Thursday mornings, fitting in a few more upper body weights on my own(back into the pull-ups), and throwing in the odd RPM class for good measure. I haven't been back on my bike however, which is a bit of a worry given the 150k ride I have lined up for the end of January (the Taranaki Cycle Challenge).

I've been feeling, to be honest, worn out, if in a good way. I've been working my body hard and it's telling me all about it. This round of the Squad has been more fitness based, with lots of hill repeats and interval training. I know that I've gotten fitter and stronger, but I've also felt slower. My legs really need a bit of a rest. It's been a fairly monumental year and it's time to stop and reflect on it.

Torrential rain in Stratford, Sunday before Christmas

I spent last weekend in Taranaki with the family doing an early Christmas. Hamish had to pull out at the last moment due to work commitments. I always forget how busy he gets at this time of year as everyone wants their home theatres installed before the break. I didn't mind as it was nice to just hang out with my parents, eat lots, drink wine and sit around doing nothing much. I fitted in an 8.5k flat run on Saturday morning before jumping in the car and heading north. Mum cooked a full Christmas meal, with turkey, ham, a pork roast, loads of roast vegetables, and green veges with cheese sauce. Dessert included chocolate log, trifle, fruit salad, pavlova and steam pudding. I brought home a ton of leftovers for H.

The weather was pretty awful so Mum and I didn't get out for our usual long walks, though we did fit in a couple of short ones. By Sunday morning there was a rain warning in place right down the country and Dad and Hamish pretty much decided for me that I wasn't driving back to Wellington that day.

Jess, the neighbours' kitten, in Stratford

Staying in Taranaki for another night wasn't exactly a hardship, not when there was kitten cuteness to play with. Jess's owners were away so she spent a lot of time yowling at us. I got up early on Monday morning, drove south and was back at my desk before 1.

I think I'm succeeding in my aim to make up for the summer lost post-surgery by fully engaging in this one. We've had some gorgeous weather, and some wet and windy weather. I've loved all of it. I have a roast duck planned for dinner tomorrow, and a bike ride. My goal was to have a quite day at home with Hamish and the cats, so I'm thrilled.

Hamish and I are heading to Marlborough for New Years with Nic and Leonie, who have been staying with us on their New Zealand summer holiday. It's going to be four days of total escapism, starting with the flight out there in a sea plane and I'm beside myself with excitement.

I have goals for next year, and I will write more about them soon. For now though I'm just sitting here, finished work for the year, nothing to do, feeling relaxed and quietly happy.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

I love my city!

Nearly 90 minutes of running/walking around the trails of Te Ahumairangi hill, followed by a Balance class. It was already scorching at 8.30. I'm not sure I'm still in the same city!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

How not to do a recovery week

Lunching in the Bolton Street cemetery

After driving home from Taupo on Sunday (or rather, sitting in the car while Hamish drove) I was feeling a little stiff. I still planned on running with the Squad on Monday night, but I didn't expect it to feel good. I was in for a bit of a surprise.

I met the rest of the Squad at Te Papa at six as usual but Duck's planned run had me seriously doubting my sanity. We were told to run up Taranaki Street then along Karo Drive to Aro Street. We were then to run up Raroa Rd and down Plunket, down past the university and Salamanca Rd, then right on to the Terrace. From there we were to do two repeats of the Dixon Street steps before running back to Te Papa again.

I think my low expectations of my running abilities served me well. I started off slow and wasn't worried about falling behind slightly. However to my surprise my legs felt quite powerful. By the time we were running up Aro Street I'd changed my game plan from giving myself permission to walk bits of the hill to aiming to run the whole thing.

One of the other runners stopped at the Aro Street Park toilets, and Duck waited for her. I quickly overtook another as she stopped to walk not long after we started climbing. After that I just took it easy and kept putting one foot in front of the other. I ended up running in a little space on my own with the others disappearing off ahead.

Once I ran down Plunket Street I knew I was going to be fine, and I was able to pick up the pace. I didn't manage to catch the others on Salamanca, but found them on the steps. Earlier I'd told Duck that I might play the Taupo card and not do the stair repeats, but seeing as I was feeling good I thought well, why not? They weren't very successful though as it was at this point that my quads showed signs of post-race fatigue. I ended up barely running the second half of each repeat. All the same I couldn't believe how well the run had gone.

By mutual agreement I didn't do Duck's 6.15am workout in Frank Kitts, but I did do a lunchtime RPM class. It was extremely hot and my legs, while not wiped out, were a little stiff so I kept the dial light. It was good to feel like I'd done something though.

Today was a busy day. I was at the Extreme gym by 6.45 for a light upper body workout. A quick shower later and I was dropping a bike off for a service at Penny's. I stopped off at the supermarket for fruit, vegetables and yogurt then spent the day working before heading off to Te Papa for another squad run.

Duck's prescription for the evening was a short sharp run. This meant running to the base of the zigzag between Oriental Terrace and the Monastery at the top of Hawker Street. We then did suicide sprints up the path. We started out running up the initial stairs and then to the top of the first zig, then we ran back down, then back up to the second zag, back down, third zig, etc. Those of you not from Wellington won't understand the true horror of the exercise. I think all up we sent up and down somewhere between 7 to 9 times. I lost count, but I can assure you that it was very steep and unpleasant. I can also assure you that I ran every last bit, even though running meant shuffling a lot of the time. We were watched by a procession of walkers, runners, and one very friendly young grey cat.

Collapsing at the top I couldn't believe what I'd just done. Running uphill is my weakness, and my legs were fatigued, and yet I'd just slogged away, gone at my own pace, set a goal and got it done.

Before the run was over we walked to the top of Hawker than did two sets of suicide sprints using lamp posts on the side of the road - down to the first lamp post, back up, second lamp post, back up, third lamp post, back up. We rested and then we repeated that one more time. Although I was being overtaken by everyone I was running the uphills with strong technique and feeling remarkably good all things considered.

We warmed down by running down an unfamiliar little path round the side of the monastery and back down the Hood Street steps. By the time I got home I was starving but still moving.

I have a workout with Duck tomorrow and that will probably be it until Saturday. It's been a great week. After the fatty carb-fest that was the Taupo weekend I've been eating clean since Monday. I've been slugging back the fruit and veg and eating lots of salads and lean protein. I've been wanting red meat, which is usually a sign that my digestive system is righting itself as I can't stomach it properly otherwise. This afternoon my rings suddenly started feeling loose again so I think I may have lost a certain amount of water weight, some of which was probably retained from Saturday's race. In any case, it's nice to think that I'm doing the best I can to drop that five or so extra kilos.

This weekend's plan includes a run in the hills with some of the girls followed by a Balance class, and a ride on Sunday. I'm into the 'fun' part of the year now and although I need to keep the riding up if I want to do Taranaki at the end of July, I want my runs to be unpressured and aventuresome.

Keep tuned for the continuing adventures!