it's been a while since my last blog (as my winter-ridden family have pointed out) and if i'm perfectly honest the reason for that is that i just haven't been feeling much like "sharing" recently. Post race blues affect everyone, combine that with a reasonably high level of fatigue playing with my nervous system, the massive disappointment of the cancelation of Epic Camp 2011, being broke and a long way from home.... i've been suffering a bit of a low spell. It's off and on and, since we're basically here in New Zealand for a 5 month training camp, hugely influenced by how i'm doing with regards to my training. I don't train so well when i'm feeling psychologically low, so it's easy to get drawn into a negative cycle.
So, to break this spell I've been planning some cool trips and activities - the sort of thing that makes training fun, makes it worth while being in a cool country away from home and enables us to hang out with and get to know other triathletes in the area.
Trips have included a ride up to Hamner Springs and then, with the generous loan of a car for the weekend from our Scotty Brown team-mate, Dave, we were able to ride the old route from Hamner to Kaikora - a brilliant bit fo riding with virtually zero traffic on it. I drove the 120km from Hamner to Kaikora, parked up there and set off back in the direction i'd come, to meet Steven who was riding from Hamner toward me. when we met on the road, i gave him the key so he could go collect the car and meet me in Waiau a couple of hours later. The weather for the weekend was perfect and this trip enabled us both to do some good training, spend some time together and see some more of the beautiful landscape of this country.
The following weekend (which was the weekend just passed) it was a trip to lake Hood for the South Island Half Ironman. This event, which also includes a half marathon race, is organized by Pete and CISport who put on teh 5 passes Tour. I'd been deliberating whether i wanted to do a half ironman 2 weeks out from Ironman, or just run the half marathon (or neither!) when Dave suggested a team entry. He has a British mate, James who's a hot cyclist - has just returned from the Tour of Southlands, keen for a 90km time trial.We got Steven to swim and i'd pitch in for the run. The race was on Saturday, so Friday morning, after my squad swim session, we set off on our bikes to ride an extended route that would take us there via the Rakaia Gorge. Another awesome sunny day and new roads for me. We rode fairly solid but with plenty of stops making it a leisurely day, and covered the 105 miles in just under 6 1/2hrs. Moira, who we'd met on The 5 Passes welcomed us into her lakeside home with a very good coffee, before we reported in for duty helping Pete set up the race. It was really good fun to be involved in, and see behind the scenes of, the organization of such an event. Pete has a very laid back "kiwi" attitude and a great team around him and pulled off a really good event from apparent chaos!
The next day i woke early and headed over to give a hand with body marking - it was really good fun to be involved in the pre -race buzz, have a joke with the competitors, without the pressure of the imminent race start on a very grey day. James, fully kitted out in skin suit, pointy hat, booties, 1080 and disk combo has brought a warm up bike and is already working up a lather an hour before the event! Steven leads the 1.9km swim from the start and leads the first female swimmer ( also in a team) to the exit ramp in 23minutes. she then proceeds to run past him into transition, provoking jokes about his being 'chicked'. He hands over to James who totally dominates the bike course 2hrs and 17min for a 90km - flat but windy and with numerous dead turns. It's bloody cold and i'm wearing as much clothing as i think i can throw off in 10 seconds and jumping around a lot in transition. none of the other team runners are in transition and probably wont need to be there for a good half an hour! James is the first off the bike of course and I fly out onto the run. An 11am start is rather late and its been a long morning, but i'm up for it and with a flat 3 lap course expecting a good run. Wearing my Garmin i can see that my pace is good as i make my way around the first lap at about 4min/km pace i feel fast and pretty comfortable. the surface is varied, which suits me - i like to run on rough ground - but did slow up certain sections of the course. At the first lap i'm still n godo pace and feeling strong, the crowds really giving me a big encouragement to maintain that pace. I'm still feeling good heading back out onto teh second lap, but splits are beginning to get a bit longer. 10km in 41 min seems ok and i'm reckoning on a decent time. My PB is 1:24 and that was definitely on a "sporting" course so this should be at least as quick. In the 3rd lap i could see the leading male half ironman athletes a couple of minutes down. could i hold them off? i knew i had had a 10 min start on them, and Andrew has run a 73min straight out half - assume he does a 1:20-ish run, i should be able to. Bt it was not to be. My pace had dropped more than i'd realized - the back of the course was a combination of rough ground and strong headwinds and i guess i'd not compensated enough for those slower kms to keep the average up. Or perhaps it was the lack of competitors to run with ...anyway i was overtaken by the leader, who I was pleased to see was our housemate/landlord Andrew and second place runner with about 2.5km to go. Slightly disappointing for The British Team as well as posting 1:29 run - a long way off my best, but a good bit of fun.
steven then rode back home. I was cooked....
Despite a very easy day yesterday, am feeling pretty screwed still today. not sore, just damn tired. And hungry and ...well a bit apprehensive to get recovered enough for my last few pre race sessions before we leave for Busselton. Perhaps all this fun and games is really not good for me when trying to get myself ready to race quite soon after Kona, but on the other hand - i feel that it's necessary to keep myself motivated through what i seem to be finding a difficult period.
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