Sunday, July 26, 2009

Okoroire Fun Ride Report (plus weekly wrap)

Kate and I headed down to the Okoroire Fun Ride (starts about 6 km from Tirau), which is a 70km ride around the South Waikato area. I know the weather has been bad for previous iterations, but yesterday was gorgeous, the scenery fantastic, the organisation excellent. This is a great little race (which must have had somewhere between 500 and 600 competitors).

I decided I ride with Kate. I think we started a little bit far back, so we lost anyone who'd be riding at our pace, and spend the first half of the ride passing people pretty consistently (or in my case, dragging large groups along).

The first half was great - but as Kate details on her blog, she started fading pretty badly (unsurprisingly, given the couple of weeks she's had at work, and not being able to ride at all during the last two weeks). So she was grumpy with me, and I in turn got a little grumpy.

But we made it through; 72.8 km (based on GPS measurement), in 2:45. Not super fast, but not too bad (given we didn't have the benefit of bunches at all - indeed, the only time we were in any sort of bunch, it's because we were on a busy road, and I wasn't keen to pass an 8 or so rider pace line, so we were significantly slowed down).

I didn't have HR, but I felt very comfortable the whole way, and apart from the one big climb, and when I was purposely trying to slow down on hills, rode most of the way in the big ring (one of the beauties of the compact). While I've previously gotten quite fit on the bike, and could comfortably spin at 100 RPM + for an extended period, I've never felt like I have been that strong. It seems like this is starting (albeit slowly) to change.

Great ride, and Kate and I will definitely be back.

Otherwise, a very good week's training:

M - 1 hour trainer ride (felt pretty good).
T - good 30 min run, 5.74 km, 5:13 min/km, plus 5 x 30 second "pick ups" - felt pretty good; and 45 minute swim, 1.25 km (pretty pathetic I know, but first swim for 5 weeks or so, so felt gammy, and shoulder not 100% yet).
W - great 1:31.57 ride, 39.79 km, changed my loop slightly to add what I thought would be one biggish climb (instead, added five or six - great loop though) - felt really good.
T - okish 30 minute run, felt a but flat, 5.62 km, 5:20 min/km, technique felt good though).
F - 1 hour aerobic intervals on trainer, felt pretty good; and 45 minute swim, 1400 metres, shoulder feeling a bit better.
S - 25 minute race prep ride (the hard ride up College Hill was hard - I haven't pushed like that for a while).
S - Okoroire Fun Ride (detailed above).

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The week just been (and a weekend in Wellington)

Ok, so this post will include a rather boring run down of the week's training.

But first I want to say how bl**dy brilliant Wellington was this weekend. I know it's not always amazing on the weather front, but this weekend was. Light southerlies; crisp clear days, amazing views of the snow capped Kaikoura Ranges. Brilliant. And I realised how much I miss hills, real hills that is, particularly for running!

The weather in the 'Tron is generally better: certainly warmer and with much less wind, but there's nothing magical about it, nowhere around here that I'd call breathtaking. Then again, lots of pretty sweet places nearby.

Also great to catch up with friends, even though poor Kate was working like a dog (until 12:30 on Friday night, 11 last night!).

As an aside, my wound is nearly healed, so I'll be back swimming this week - which is good!

M - easy 20 minute run, 149 AHR.
T - great 30 minute run, 151 AHR.
W - 1 hour "aerobic intervals" on the trainer - 147 AHR, felt really good.
T - 1.14.17 ride, same 34.3 km loop, but this time over 5 minutes faster; 154 AHR, so working harder than previous attempts.
S - Great 1 hour run in Wellington, 9.87 km (but included running for over 5 minutes straight up some stairs), AHR 151, but did a faster 20 min interval with Kate, ran 5.11 k's with AHR of 161, so right in the middle of my aerobic zone - I think that's a fairly good pace, and I was about 10 - 15 seconds a k faster at the same HR in November last year, so not long before the Half IM, when I had done a lot more training.
S - fun but odd 1:15 ride, 22.26 km, 128 AHR - rode a too small road bike with annoying toe clips (worse than just flats, because you end up pedaling with your toes!), while Kate rode a hybrid. Did some fun hills and exploring though, and the weather was great.

A good week's training. I definitely feel like I'm getting fitter/stronger/more efficient, all of which I understand to be good things.

Monday, July 13, 2009

A fun day's mountain biking at Woodhill

I've been keen to head out to Woodhill and check it out, and a day mountain biking is a good way to get base miles in.

Woodhill is about 30 minutes north of Auckland, just south of Helensville.

Saturday was wet and windy - perfect weather for mountain biking (particularly compared to road riding). Plus Woodhill is very sandy (and relatively sheltered), so it's a great place to ride when it's wet.

We headed out and did what was supposed to be a 6km beginner's course (Nature's Valley) - not only was it a reasonably difficult introduction, but we must have taken a wrong turn, and took a while to get back. After getting back we had a break and had mountain bike lunch (always rolls, cheese slices and chips).

The we headed out and did the Auckland Eye course, which is 10km. It rocked! Loved it, particularly Spaghetti. Woodhill doesn't have massive climbs, but quite a few short, sharp ones, and lots of fun downhills. I appear to have learnt something at the MTB skills course, because I was heaps better doing downhill, and was gliding over bumps. And I was going over steps and rollovers with ease. I did crash once, but that was on the flat...

Ended up doing about 22km. Kate got heps better, and was never too far behind me.

After cleaning our bikes (and ourselves) and packing up the car, we headed to the Hallertau Brewery, had some fries and a tasting tray (samples of all five of their micro brewed beers) - fantastic end to the day. The weather closed in, so it seems we finished at the right time.

I think I like this mountain biking thing. Once we both live in the Waikato, I can imagine semi-regular trips to Rotorua (particularly if I want to get good enough to qualify for Xterra Worlds one day).

A good week's training

Yes, another boring wrap of the week's training, but I'll post it here for posterity nonetheless.

M - good 40 minute run along the river, 6.95km, 147AHR;
T - easy 20 minute run down to the lake, 3.46 km, 164 AHR; and 45 minute trainer ride, 141 AHR;
W - great outdoor ride after work, same route as last week, 34.3km, 139 AHR;
T - 40 minute run around the lake, 7.16km, 157AHR;
S - 2:30 (or so) worth of mountain biking at Woodhill (see subsequent post); and
S - 52 minute run, 8.08 km, 146 AHR.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Weekly wrap

No swimming this week (for obvious reasons), but it was a good week training. I took a complete week off after the crash, and eased back into the following week. Back into it properly this week, and felt pretty good.

My running technique is coming along nicely, and I definitely feel like I've got a lighter/quicker stride - I'm trying to focus on a mid-foot landing, and also keeping my feet on the ground for as short a period of time as possible, with a high cadence. Thus far it feels pretty good. And I'm liking the new shoes, which seems to be helping with said running technique.

M - 30 min run (9 mins running, 1 min walking), 4.96 km, 160 AHR (a little bit tough - unsurprising given the time off);

T - 20 min run, 3.49 km, 149 AHR (felt better than Monday's run, included 3 x 1 minute walk breaks)/50 minute trainer ride (getting used to new position), 147 AHR;

W - outdoor ride after work - using my new mountain bike lights (from Ayup), which rocked, 1 hr 22 mins, 34.49 km, 150 AHR (felt great, and was good to ride outdoors);

T - 40 min run (9 mins running/1 min walking, felt good), 6.44 km, 147 AHR;

S - 40 min hillyish run with Kate (continuous), 6.14 km, 149 AHR; and

S - 2 hr 20 min ride up the Waitakere ranges (was quite wet in parts, which made the descent a bit slower than it would normally have been), 52.71 km, 143 AHR.

Still no swimming this week, but I might be able to get back into it the following week.