Taupo 70.3 (Half Ironman) seems so long ago now! I’ve already forgotten all the pain! This has probably been helped by a little indulgence over the Christmas period as well as an opportunity to take a break from work and relax and rest.
However, that did not mean a break from training. In fact, the last three weeks has seen many hours of training. This last week I have done:
Over 18 hours of training;
289km in biking; and
Over 2500m in elevation.
But without the stresses of working it is much more manageable. It is times like these that I could see myself as a professional athlete – for the lifestyle obviously. I just need to work on some sponsorship as I have become accustomed to a certain standard of living.
I have also ticked off the 5km Epic Swim in Taupo for another year. This race is becoming a normal part of my build up to Ironman as I like the fact that I never have to swim any further than 5km and it makes the 3.8km of the swim leg in IM seem much easier.
More bashing than I expected from this start.
There was a last minute course change the night before to Acacia Bay instead of along the Taupo town waterfront. I had never been to Acacia Bay before so was not sure what to expect. It turns out that I needed to expect a long walk to the start from the car as parking was quite difficult and as the Bay itself is quite small we would be doing 4 laps of the course.
Everyone was squeezed onto the shoreline for the race briefing and then told to get into the water – waist deep – for the start. But before we knew it the gun had gone off and we were meant to be swimming. Because of the size of the Bay, the start was actually quite cramped and there was lots of punching. I nearly lost by Garmin watch when it got knocked. That is something that I would have definitely dived to the bottom to get!
I had such a bad race for sighting – I zigged and zagged all over the place. The buoys seemed to blend in with the tent colours on the shoreline and the wind wanted to push me off course. Then any time I tried to correct this I over corrected. But never mind, got me some extra distance in. I finished in about 95mins and was happy with than given the conditions.
I then spent the rest of the day cycling and running. I went out with a friend and we biked a lap of the Ironman course. I was soon eating her dust, even though I was making excellent time with the tail wind out to Reparoa. However, the constant head wind on the way back destroyed me! I lost power and speed. My feet started to hurt and I couldn’t push down on my peddles with any great force. I decided that I would need to start using my proper road cycling shoes again as my tri shoes did not seem to be able to handle the longer distances.
After a break and some coke, things were much better. We also headed south around Lake Taupo which meant no more grueling head winds.
Then after a quick transition it was off for a 45min run. By that stage it had gotten really hot, particularly by Wellington standards! I was meant to run 10mins at 4:30min/km pace, then 10mins at 4:15 and a final 10mins at 4min/km pace. I managed the first 10mins ok but that was my limit for that day. Nevertheless, my goal race pace is around 5min/km pace and I still managed that.
By the time we had finished the day’s training it was close to 5pm! I was exhausted but found it hard to eat actual food. This is my I love chocolate milk! The funny thing was that this was only day 1 of my “holiday”/big away training week.
The rest of the week’s training came much easier. Although there were some challenging times – mainly heat related and trying to get used to running in the afternoon – I made sure to rest up and relax where I could.
Escaping the heat
Waterslides are great cross training
I also did some running along the Ironman course. This was a chance to practice my race pace and see what that pace actually feels like on the undulations around the course. When I was able to hold sub-5min/kms for the run it was also a real confidence boost.
I really enjoyed my time up in Motuoapa/Taupo. This only thing I was sick of was the sandflies. They love my sugary blood! So coming back to Wellington was meet with feelings of happiness – no bitty bugs and comfortable sleeping temperatures – but it is now drizzly and windy as I am writing this. In fact I have switched my training days around to accommodate the weather.
The good news is that after changing back to my road bike shoes and doing a long 150km ride over the weekend, my feet didn’t hurt. The bad news is that my watch is having another fail. This is my fourth watch so I really hope I don’t have to send it back again.
The other change that I have made is that I went and had a bike fit at Kiwivelo Wellington. They video you cycling and then use the footage to calculate the angles of your legs and heels and then adjust the bike so that these angles are optimal. But the really good thing is that there is a screen in front of you so you can also see how you are cycling rather than just being told. I learnt that my heels come up too high at the top of the peddle stroke, like I am going on my tippy toes. This also means that I hit my elbows in the aero position and is one of the reasons why my quads do all the work. Since seeing that I have been working on keeping my heels down – I’m looking forward to reduced quad size!
So here is to 2016 and 7 weeks until Ironman Taupo!