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Breakthrough week on many levels

It is almost hard to believe that there is less than 5 weeks now until the New Zealand Ironman in Taupo! At the moment I am still very much focused on getting through training and being a “weekend warrior”. Still only a few more of those before the taper begins.

This week has been a fantastic week for me. I have completed over 20 hours of training and have hit all my numbers and training targets. I couldn’t be happier! Just goes to show what happens when the fourth discipline (nutrition) is worked on.

Monday was a day off of work for me and was meant to be a rest day. However, I knew Tuesday was going to be a busy day at work and my coach had planned quite a full training day for Tuesday as well. I decided to swap the days around and use my day off to get some hard training in knowing that I could rest afterwards (long pool swim set and lots of hill reps on the bike). I was still very tired from the weekend and needed to have a bit of a binge on Em’s Power Bars, but when I turned up at work on Tuesday I knew I had made the right choice.

On Wednesday I had the luxury of a sleep in – because I was entered in the Splash & Dash that evening. I was doing the 1300m swim and 5km run with instructions to run at 4min/km pace. Challenge accepted. Normally I get a bit worried when I see these sort of instructions in my training programme as I have only done a sub-20 minute 5km once. I try and try to run 4min kms but it often doesn’t work out for me. However, with the New Year came a new mind set and I was ready to start challenging myself again and seeing what I could do.

Of course the Wellington weather did not want to play ball. There was a decent southerly and it was raining. This was good for the swim and it made the water seem warm in comparison with the air temperature. As I lined up on the start line, I checked out who else was participating, I spotted a few people I knew and knew would be quicker than me out of the water and would give me an incentive to run fast. It did work, but it turns out the people I was eyeing up were doing different length races! I didn’t manage to get down to 4min/km, but I was pretty pleased with my run time given the conditions, and I did manage to sneak away with 1st in the 30-39W age group.

On Thursday I smashed my legs again with some intervals on the bike. The positive note was that at least the bike was on the flat. After my strength session at the gym I was really looking forward to rest day Friday.

On Saturday I headed over to the Wairarapa with my friend Nat Gaskin to do a long ride and run. Nat had something similar planned and I just hoping that I could keep up with her this time! I had to do 6 hours with 4 x 40mins race efforts with 20 mins steady after each one. Nat suggested that we do the first hour of the ride easy as the ride would be harder on the way back so we shouldn’t over do things too early on. These turned out to be very wise words as the southerly wind picked up on our way back and made things a little more difficult, plus the terrain is more uphill on the way back.

I was really pleased with my race efforts and I got good power output, more importantly, consistent power output. The last one was particularly challenging as it was back into the strengthening southerly on some more exposed road. Interestingly, once we had finished the hard stuff and were just riding easy-ish back to Martinborough, I didn’t notice the wind anymore.

Still, I like riding out around the Wairarapa. There is much less traffic, intersections, and traffic lights to interrupt the ride.

I had been testing my legs during the ride and they still had some fight left in them so I was actually looking forward to the run. For the second time this week the 4min/km were in the programme. I was meant to find my stride in the first 15mins and then get down to 4-4:15min/km for 2km and then the remainder of the run at 4:45min/km. A bit of an ask, but I was going to give it a good go – mainly so that I could said I earned my chocolate milk I had stashed in a cooler bag in the car.

Nat and I ran together for the first 15mins – again, she was keeping me in check. When I start talking about 4min/km pace I have a tendency to start running faster! After 15mins it was then choc milk earning time and if I couldn’t run 4min/kms on the flat road out there then were could I? I took off and just ran – 1km further down the road, turn, and sprinted back just hoping I was running fast enough. And I was – 4:12min for the first km and 3:59min for the second. I was so pleased, but even more pleased when I held an average pace of about 4:40min/km for the rest of the run. It was hard work, but worth it.

We finished with a cool and refreshing dip in the local outdoor pool and a bit of a waterslide (becoming a common theme with me).

Sunday was another massive day. I had entered the Capital Classic Ocean Swim (3.3km) and was really hoping that this would be a confidence boosting swim for me. I woke up exhausted and needing to sleep more, but that would have to wait until the afternoon. I got down to the start and it was perfect conditions – a light southerly, fine and calm seas. Last year my time was 1:01:26 and so I really wanted to get in under an hour.

I got a good start and worked on swimming in a straight line and trusting my sighting. Today, it worked as I only seemed to swim about 200m more than what the course was meant to be. As I came around the fountain I took a sneaky look at my watch and saw that I could make the finish in under an hour as long as I kept pushing. My official time was 58:48 and needless to say I was stoked. I finally had a race that had shown to me that my swimming had improved.

The swim was followed by my longest run yet of 2 hours 40 minutes and sunburn. But what better way to finish off the week than with a massage then working on getting rid of my tri tan lines and enjoying some healthy treats in my new backyard.



I did survive this week – because I am a Tough Gal

As I said at the start I had been working on my nutrition. This included making sure I was fuelling myself properly during long rides and runs so that I could get the most out of my training. So I had to spend a bit of time with the calculator crunching some numbers. But when I did this properly, I found I trained better and was also able to better control what I ate during the other meal times.

As a result, I now feel much more in control, positive, and ready to train. Lucky, because next week is even harder!

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