Friday, December 26, 2014

Taupo Half Ironman

A week and a half ago we went to Taupo and did the Taupo Half Ironman which will next year be the Taupo 70.3.
The week before we went to Tauranga for the 1st birthday celebration for Frank Lawson and did the Tinman Tauranga as a team with J-Rad swim biking and me running.  It wasn't a very good effort from either of us but we still won the mixed team division and was the third team overall - not really helped by the cheating of the first place team who started with the individual men who left 4 mins before the teams. Hmmmmm.
The weather has been a bit average but Taupo turned out a pretty good day for us which was lucky because the next day was solid rain from about 5.30am which would have been very schizer to race in.
It was pretty cold on the bike and my gamble of not wearing any extra clothes didn't really pay off because by 30km I was shivering uncontrollably and had the death grip on on my aerobars.  I saw Rob and Kellee on the way out and was having dreams of them being at the turnaround so I could get into their warm car.  Lucky they weren't there and I was forced to continue and by about 60km the sun must have come out and I warmed up so that I wasn't shivering anymore.  My feet did stay frozen until about 3km into the run though.
Starting to turn blue

Hands stuck on aerobars, can't move...
Most of my bike my thoughts were preoccupied about how cold I was and the song from Breaking Benjamin was going through my head on repeat but other than that I had a pretty good bike and passed #supermum Jess at about 70km which I wasn't expecting to happen.  But as she was having a baby cut out of her tummy a year to the day we will excuse her for not being as fit as she used to be.
I started out the run in 7th place and passed a couple of girls in the first 5km.  I then had a fully grown man from the Hawke's Bay Tri Club decide I was a good person to run with and he sat on my feet for the next 7km - imagine that, a fully grown man pacing off a small girl like me.  I got the call that I was 2.5 minutes down on 3rd and 4th just after the turnaround so kept running with a purpose and dropped the annoying sitter on my feet and caught them both with about 5km to go.
I managed to hold my pace and surprised myself and everyone by coming in as the 3rd girl.  I got interviewed at the finish and had my photo taken with the 1st and 2nd girls where I did my best impression of a stunned mullet.
Women on a mission

Shame on you for drafting off me. No wonder I ran faster, his feet aren't even off the ground

Did I just come 3rd?!

It was a pretty exciting race for me because A) I held an even pace through the whole run and didn't die in the last 7km like a usually do and B) for once I actually felt like I was in the race and was able to make up for my swimming inadequacies with a good run.  I am not fooling myself though and do realize it was a very weak field this year with no real Pro's in the women's race.  But still full credit to Ashleigh Williams who took out the race in her first Half Ironman at only 21 years old.
Feeling a bit stunned
J Hyphen Razzle had his first decent race in a while coming 10th, #supermun had a pretty impressive comeback race to come 6th women and Nick had a solid race overall.
Now for a couple of easy weeks and some Christmas festivities before some serious IMNZ training will start.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The rest of October, all of November and three days of December

So much for those more frequent updates.
I'll keep things brief by using bullet points and photos.

  • We had a fun weekend away with the Lawson's and rode up some nasty hills in Coromandel
  • We didn't eat any naughty food the whole weekend (except for an ice cream)
  • I got pretty new running shoes
  • I got a brand new PowerTap and didn't have to pay for any of it
  • PowerTap have the best customer service out of anyone I have dealt with
  • I crashed my TT bike when it slipped out of the big ring and I went catapulting forward
  • Don't worry Taddy and I were mostly ok - I had a very sore bum for a few days
  • I had an xray of my leg and I have extra bone on the back of my right tibia from my stress fracture in 2009
  • We have done 4 weekends of good biking - not so good during the week
  • I have had 6 weeks of continuous running 
  • I swam my fastest ever 100m
  • I am doing my first sea swim of the season tomorrow in my new wetsuit which I haven't worn yet
  • We are doing Taupo Half Ironman next weekend
  • I won a free entry to Ironman New Zealand by making up some clever anagrams using the letters from HORLEYS REPLACE
  • I haven't eaten a single piece of bread in almost 4 months
  • ^^ I think I have mostly solved my running tumtum/toilet problems
  • I had 4 iron injections and now I have lots of iron
  • HooverPuss pretended to be a shark last night
Top of the Coromandel to you

Captive audience
Hello new TapTap
A bit scabby but overall pretty lucky

One of my IMNZ entry winning anagrams


Sunday, October 12, 2014

September and October

I have had a sudden burst of enthusiasm after watching the Hawaii Ironman and thought it was time I updated my blog.  It has actually been on my radar for a while so I added it to my list of goals for the weekend:
- second coat of paint on the fence - check
- epilate legs - check
- weed garden - check
- wash and iron table runner - check
- update blog - check
As you can tell I've had a pretty productive (and exciting) weekend.
Kona spectating to the max

Trying to fix my Kona FOMO by wearing last year's Team Kiwi t-shirt.  I still had FOMO
The last couple of months have been a bit low key in the triathlon department, we are booked in for Taupo Half Ironman in mid December so no point in thrashing ourselves now especially when the weather is still a bit poo.
We had our first decent Sunday ride today in about 4 weeks because every Sunday recently has been pretty schizer and we have ended up doing pretty lame 1.5-2hr rides instead of our usual 3-4 hours. Taptap had a fatal issue a couple of weeks ago and is now taking a trip back to the US to be assessed (and hopefully replaced) so I have been riding without power which makes motivation levels a bit low.  The only spare wheel I have is my Zipp 404 so I am rolling round with that on the back which is not really ideal.  The perils of riding with 650c wheels and having no-one to borrow a wheel off.
Rolling to work in the Yellow Rubber Ducky
Swimming has been going pretty good with some decent threshold sets and I even lead my lane for the last 10 out of a set of 30 last week - OMG.

Running has been a bit stop-starty after I did the Legend Half Marathon a few weeks ago and ended up with a few issues which are hopefully now resolved.  I am laying a lot of blame on my shoes (ASICS DS Trainers) which I have learned to love (the previous model were great, latest model not so much) but have worn out very quickly which disappoints me.  So I have reverted back to the 2000's for the majority of my training and I am awaiting a delicious new yellow pair any day now so I can begin my running again with hopefully no interruptions.
Other issues which I have faced over the last weeks are alarmingly low iron levels despite taking twice daily iron tablets AND eating red meat 2-3 times per week.  So am now having course of iron injections to bump up my levels to make me human again.  Considering I have been feeling fine with almost no stored iron I can't imagine how great I will feel when I have a full load on board.  My doctor didn't appear to be interested in investigating why I haven't absorbed any iron in the last 3 months which doesn't do much to improve my faith in GP's.
Get in my backside
Stand by for more frequent updates coming into summer.
A little white friend came to stay, Hoover wasn't concerned  

We got a fancy new microwave that can roast a chicken

Arms out for the first time in a long time

Lost my spot in the bed

I saw a seal running home from work.  It's not just a log of wood I promise

Friday, August 22, 2014

Samoa Warrior Race

Sometimes life sucks.  Like when you are all excited about heading off overseas in two days time to race a half Ironman in the tropics and then you receive a call on your way to work to say that your little kittycat has been hit by a car and you need to go and retrieve the body.  This is what happened to me the Monday before we were due to leave for Samoa last week.
Who knows what our lovely, snuggly Sigi was even doing near the road (not even our road where about one car goes past every two hours) but luckily the people behind us were kind enough to ring me and look after her body until we could get there.  We were pretty heartbroken and buried her next to her brother who was also taken from us in a tragic accident a few months earlier.
We will miss you Sigi-Martina-Navratilova

Duff-man and Sigi Monster together again
So we set off to Samoa a few days later with very heavy hearts feeling like terrible cat parents and worrying about the remaining pussycat and her wayward habits (think crazy autistic cousin).
Not a good way to start a holiday.  I mean a race.  A race holiday...
This time we arrived in Samoa the most of a day earlier and had friends who had hired a car so actually go to see some the island which we missed out on last year.  9 people and only 5 seats in the car? No worries, just jump in the tray of the ute - island styles.  I have to say I did feel decidedly car sick after a ~1.5hr trip from one side of the island to the other watching the road from behind us.  But we went to a nice beach at Lanumanu and saw lots of the island (wildlife included).
Hello Samoa

Boys in the back

Like a postcard


The fanfare surrounding the race had been scaled down this year in an attempt to save money and I thought it was a good move - it's not a WTC race and doesn't need to try and recreate the hype surrounding one of them.  It is a grassroots race like Auckland Half Ironman or the Rarotonga Tri - no bells and whistles needed.
The race went as I predicted for me racing against two actual Professional triathletes.... The men's race was a bit more interesting with 6 of them on the start line (J-Rad and Kezzle included) and only 4 of them finishing (Kezzle being a DNF doing his usual flake out in the heat thing - was it a migraine? Was it a tummy issue? Was it a tummy issue relating to the giant piece of chocolate cake he ate for dessert the night before the race having not eaten sugar for the last month or more? We'll never know).
Two of my greatest fears for the race were 1) rain and 2) bike mechanical issues, and luckily neither of those eventuated.  I think the roads may have improved since last year and there certainly weren't as many mechanical problems and punctures as last year, or maybe we were just more prepared.  We didn't have the support of the villages that we had last year (they had a competition to see who was the most supportive with the prize being a whole heap of money) so a lot of people were just going about their daily business as we rolled through.  I was quite impressed with some of the Samoa locals improvement in bike riding - a couple of them blasted past me in the first half of the bike, although it doesn't seem like their running has improved as it didn't take long to catch them once the run began.
What was also impressive was some of the locals who were right up there in the swim - like on Graham O'Grady's feet for the whole 2km, not many people can stake claim to take.
Rodent on a bike
The run was pretty hot but the aid stations were well stocked with sponges and ice cups to keep us cool.  I started my run as Julia Grant (who was leading) came around to start her second lap.  We had a quick chat and she asked if I had punctured, I told her no that I was just slow which I found kind of funny but I think made her feel a bit awkward - sorry Julia!
Jared was having a tough time in the heat and I caught him after about 1500m (he was on his second lap). We had a bit of a chat and I assessed his mental state which seemed fine.  GOG was out already and Kezzle was walking with a medic and not looking to last so all Jared had to do was finish to be in the money.  I was feeling alright so trotted off and we crossed paths twice per lap which was made me feel better that I could see each time that he was ok, albeit very slow.  In the end he was only 4 minutes ahead of me at the finish.
Sarah Crowley put in an amazing last lap of the run to pass Julia for the win, she must have lifted her pace quite significantly because I was putting time into her at one point but she came storming past me when she had about 2km to go.
Times were pretty slow for the course, I think expediently as well - like the faster people were ~10mins slower than a normal half Ironman and slower people 20-30mins slower.  In some ways it would be better if it was a more random distance (ie.70km bike to eliminate having to ride laps through town) then it couldn't be compared to other half Ironman times.
Post race I was much better off than last year (when I had an undiagnosed femoral stress fracture and could barely walk but was trying to pretend I was ok), other than some sunburn and chaffing but sadly Jared wasn't keen on McDondalds so I had to settle for some fries and an iced chocolate at the hotel restaurant.

Prize giving was dinner and a speech by the Prime Minister (he said he had come to say hello and goodbye which is what he basically did) and some traditional Samoan dancing and throwing fire around.  The Samoan's don't seem to be big on dessert so we had to go to the restaurant down the road to get our fix of banana fritters and chocolate cake.
Meeting Miss Samoa.  Seriously.
The next morning our friends Claire and Malcolm just happened to be staying at our hotel so we met them for breakfast and in doing so assembled our Kona crew in it's entirety but in Samoa - how cool is that?!

So now we are back in the cold of NZ with the 30 degree heat of Samoa a distant memory.  A bit of a rest week first up and then I guess we need to start thinking about the NZ triathlon season which will be here before we know it.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

T minus one week....

So this time next week we will be sunning ourselves in (hopefully) sunny Samoa.  I have heard reports that there has been a bit of rain there recently which hopefully will be gone by the time we get there because I did not sign up for a race in Samoa to ride in the rain.  I have been warned not to ride through puddles because you don't know how deep the pothole underneath is...

Swimming has actually been going pretty well, I think it is because coach Haydn has mainly been replaced by coach Mitch which means that I am not being picked on and abused (being drawn on, having the back of my togs snapped and having my arse slapped - that actually sounds quite bad when I list it like that but it does happen...) and am mostly just able to blend into the lane and exist.  Or maybe it is because the dynamics of our lane has changed so it is a bit slower so I think I am swimming faster.  Who knows.  Tomorrow we will crank out the swim skins which haven't been touched since Kona (if I can find mine) in practice for next weekend.

Biking in winter sucks.  I have done some good workouts on the windtrainer but feel a bit lacking in long rides.  Last Sunday was a write off for riding so I spent 2 hours on the windtrainer which is good but I would rather have spent 3+ hours on the road.  The forecast for this weekend isn't looking too bad so hopefully we will get a decent ride in which will lift my confidence a bit because at this stage I am thinking that 90km next weekend is going to feel very very long...
I have started riding my TT bike after about 4 months on the road bike and have started to feel slightly paranoid about cars not seeing me when I have my front light on my bars because they are so low.  So I got a little Lezyne light which attaches to my helmet which I think looks super dorky but I am fairly confident that people can now see me.  And  maybe they will be extra well-behaved in daytime because it could be mistaken for a camera recording bad driving.

Running has been pretty steady, I made a gradual increase to 6 days a week total of about 55km per week which to a lot of people isn't much but it is quite a bit for me and all my bones still appear to be intact - yay. The tip of my big toe isn't particularly intact after getting a weird blister on it during my long run on Tuesday night but that's another story.
Someone call the Guiness Book of Records

I have become a runner covered in paraphernalia.  Shame.
We did a night trail run last week (two things I am terrible at - running off road and running in the dark) - it was part of a series and one just happened to be in our local running hood so we thought why not.  I borrowed a head lamp off my friend Lesbo and while it seemed to be quite bright when I did a couple of test laps around the inside of the house, it probably could have been a bit brighter.  But I didn't trip over any tree roots or get lost in the bush so it did the trick.  I ran at a sloth-like pace because I was so paranoid and nervous but did actually enjoy myself although I was quite pleased to get to the finish.  And to top it off I had my first non chicken sausage in about 15 years at the finish line, well half of it anyway before I passed it on to Jared to finish.  Tasted pretty similar to a chicken sausage if you ask me.

Hoover giving us her opinion on carpets

Fancy sunset

Caught in bed with another girl 

Our cat likes in hide in funny places

PC's approving of the new table

Auckland in the fog

Channeling our inner Frenchness

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Samoa Training Update

So after our little blip of a holiday followed by getting sick we are now on track with our Samoa training albeit a little bit late and in a bit of a rush...


I was pretty useless at swimming a couple of week ago (even more useless than usual if that is at all possible) but I seem to have found my groove again.  Our squad and lane is getting ridiculously busy which can be a bit frustrating and I got kicked in the head while doing kick yesterday while simultaneously kicking someone else in the head. Good times.
I finally cashed in my wetsuit voucher which I won at Auckland Half Ironman and splashed out with an upgrade to an Orca 3.8 suit from whatever the entry level one was that I won. For the past 6 years I have been getting custom made suits from Blue Seventy but since our contacts don't work there anymore and the new staff obviously don't love us as much, they don't work out as reasonable in price as before so it was looking like time to move on from B70 anyway.  I wasn't sure if I would fit into the Orca one since I was a bit off the size chart (in a smaller way not a fatter way) but it fits pretty good apart from a bit of bagginess around the armpits which I can get taken in.
It's a non wetsuit swim at Samoa so I won't get the chance to test out the new suit for a while since the sea is at Arctic temperatures right now but hopefully it makes me swim twice as fast...


With the unexpected and a little bit sneaky entry of our friend Kezzle into the Samoa Half we now have the A Team back for weekend riding - wooo! So we have done two weekends in a row of riding the Waitaks for the first time in a long time.  We are pretty slow but hopefully a few more weeks of it will do the trick. The weather has been a bit sub optimal the rest of the time for outdoor riding but we have been very diligent and have ridden our indoor trainers in lieu of the road each time.  I somehow managed to get a puncture partway through a session last week which was a new experience especially considering I haven't had a puncture in probably almost a year (barring puncturing with my race tyre in Kona) thanks to the trusty Gatorskins.


Running is building back up to where I was before we went on holiday with 45km last week and hopefully a bit over 50km this week.  I try to maximize my time and use running as a form of transport when I can especially at this time of year when it's hard to find motivation to go for a run when I get home at 5.45pm and it is cold and dark.  Yesterday my running home plans were foiled when my ferry to work was cancelled due to gale force winds (pfft.....) and Jared kindly lent me his car to get to work which obviously meant I had to return it at the end of the day.  Like any ultra organised person with mild obsessive compulsive tendencies I was rather pissed as it ruined all my plans and I don't like having my plans ruined especially when it comes to training.
Anyway today I will be running home from work so nothing had better get in my way...

No triathlon related photos this week so how about some random photo grids which I did on my new app when I was home sick.
Kona 2014

Waikiki 2014.  Take me back here please

Castles of France 2012

Gardens of France 2012

Les Alpes 2012

L'Alpe d'Heuz 2012 - or take me back here please

Gay Paris (pronounce it Paree and it sounds better) 2012

And of course a PC grid

Sunday, June 22, 2014

June update

So since my last update we have discovered Trainer Road which has increased biking motivation somewhat, ran a Half Marathon, did a 25km two person time trial, been on holiday and now gotten sick.


Maybe we are a bit late to the party since I discovered it has actually been around for a few years but Jared decided to try it out a few weeks ago in order to try and find some motivation for riding over winter.  I/we have never been big on wind training, I gave it a good 6 week effort leading up to Kona when I was broken and I was quite good at hitting the power targets but I would dread it all day knowing what was coming after work.  It didn't help that we had a terrible setup for it in out tiny little house and would be a PITA to set up and take down and we would practically be touching when we were on the bikes.

So spacious

I find Trainer Road way more motivating for some reason being able to see your power on the the bigger screen and trying to get a high accuracy percentage at the end of each segment.  Only problem so far is that we only have one subscription and one ANT+ stick so Jared usually gets to use it since he was the one who initiated it all (and he is even worse at windtraining than me so probably wouldn't bother if it's not on the screen in front of him) so we are currently working through that.


We had a little weekend away to stay with our Lawson friends to run the same Half Marathon that we did last year at Queen's Birthday.  Last year I was coming off IMNZ so hadn't done much in March and April and only a handful of runs over 60mins.  I wanted to run under 95mins but thought that might be a bit difficult.  I ran 93mins in one of the best paced and effortless half marathons I had ever done.  So naturally this year with far more running under my belt I of course wanted to go faster and hopefully break 90 minutes for the first time since about 2010.
I tend to find when I have any type of goal or expectation on myself that's when things go to poo and this was no exception.  Actually I wouldn't say it went to poo but I ended up running only about one minute faster than last year but it required a lot of effort and my legs hurt for about 3 days afterwards.  And my pacing was pretty shit.

Funny that I ran my best ever half marathon (in 2009 but I still try to cling to the past) with no Garmin or GPS and no time goal or pace goal, just ran to what my leggies wanted to do and wasn't even sore at the end *sigh*.  Maybe I should do a half one day without a Garmin and see what happens.
Anyhoo we had a great weekend with lot of spa time, dog time and baby time and gossip and food.


The last time I did this race was a couple of years ago when my partner pulled out on me at the eleventh hour so I called upon Uncle Roy step in.  The general idea is that you are evenly matched so that you can each share the front, obviously this wasn't going to happen with Roy so I just hang on behind him yelling out "EASE!" every now and then.
I find it hard to find a partner because ideally it needs to be someone about the same size as me otherwise there is not much point in me going to the front because they won't get any draft.
So I was just going to be spectating until our ninja friend Dr Dildo the Dentist said I should go with his 15 year old son Lachie and being the Tiger Dad that he is he told Lachie it was happening.  It was a bit long for him as school TT's are only 16km in a 4 or 5 person team so I don't think he enjoyed it much after about 12.5km but I just took the lead for most of it and had a short rest every 5 minutes or so.
I look like a real cyclist.  I think so anyway.

I got to wear my BMW skinsuit which I don't have much call for and wore my Zipp's on my road bike which was pretty exciting.


We went on an actual holiday - no bikes, no race, no training camp - WOW.  Travelling without a bike was awesome.  We just went to the Gold Coast so went to a whole heap of fun places like Dreamworld, Movieworld and Seaworld, we went for a couple of little trots on the beach and ate lots of shit.
Nice view for lunch

I found a panorama setting

Yes we are in Australia

Fudge anyone?


Jared got sick the day before we left so was a bit sad for a first couple of days and then lovingly passed it on to me on the second to last day and we are now back and I have lots of green stuff coming out of my nose and chest.  I actually don't feel too bad despite that but have not done much for the last couple of days.
We have signed up and booked flights for the Samoa Half Ironman race in August so the idea was to go on holiday and then it is a 8 week block until Samoa where we get fit and have no excuses so hopefully I am right in the next couple of days because I am sure that will creep around pretty fast

Oh and another piece of rather momentous news (in my world anyway) - after ~18 years of being a non red meat eater I have decided I am sick of relying of iron pills to give me iron (I invariably get sick of taking them and periodically end up horribly iron deficient which is what has happened recently) and I have started to attempt to eat red meat.  So far this has consisted of little tidbits usually off Jared's meals which normally take a couple of minutes of me psyching myself up to get it into my mouth.
Mainly the reason why gave up red meat was because I didn't actually like most of it so I certainly can't see myself knocking back a giant steak or rack of ribs but if I can have the occasional lamb or mince dish hopefully it will make me a healthier person.
Obligatory PC shot