Tuesday, December 11, 2012


For those that want an update on the Zeus-meister, here it is. He's now 6 months old and the size of a big dog already. I can't imagine how big and fluffy he'll be when he's actually an adult... the size of a piano, perhaps? Still looks like a wee wolf, though...

On the plus side, he very rarely eats his own shit anymore (apparently a very German Shepherd thing to do), swims a whole lot, is very smart and responsive, I can run with him on short runs and we stop and sit at all crosswalks before crossing. He's a good wee fart.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Southland "Summer" Challenge 1/3 Ironman

Six days after placing 3rd in the Wooing Tree Sprint Triathlon, I was at the start line of another race: a ~1/3 Ironman (1500m swim, 60k bike, 15k run). This time, no 55km cycle warm up, no 55km cycle cool down. Drive down to Gore, show up, and race!

It is apparently summer, too, in Southland but you'd have no idea with an air temp of 7C for race day. I don't know how the Southland girls do it, must be used to it, but I pretty much put on a snowsuit in T1 to deal with being soaking wet and now cycling in the cold.

Swim: 29:08, 1500m.

I had such an epic swim!! The official time is 29:08, but here's what really went down: 2 loop course, at 760m each (just over 1500m total). I swam hard, the wetsuit kept me warm, and I felt like I was really motoring. By the time I had gotten out of the water, run up the hill, across the paddock to transition, the clock read 25:08. So I must have swam, given how long I'd been running, a high-23 to low-24 minute swim. Awesome!!! I then spent 4 minutes, quite literally, putting on clothes. I was shivering badly, and knew it'd get worse on the bike given I weigh 47kg. Bruuuutal to lose all that time, but it was the right choice. I maybe could have done with just the vest, gloves and socks (no arm warmers or headband thingy).
Coming out of the water, 5th F, with everyone behind those reeds on the right.

Walk/running up the steep hill to transition.

Putting on the snow suit

FINALLY leaving!!!!

Bike: 2:09:14, 60k.
Oi! What a day!  I got onto the bike, was cold for a bit but then all my clothes did the job. I was warm and could work hard. Given my low iron levels, small stature and low blood pressure, I NEED to keep warm otherwise I struggle badly. The course was 6 loops. You'd think that would be bad, but it was pretty epic. The first section was false flat up, so I was in my little ring, keeping things under control, then we turn and go up some pretty mean uphills, like 40rpm in the littlest gear ratio. Finally, at the top, we have some sweet sweet downhills in which to big ring it and GOOOOO... I went to switch into big ring, and holy BATMAN my front derailleur cable just exploded. I was stuck in the little chain ring... and this was an epic downhill to gain some serious speed. I cross-chained, I spun at 120rpm, but nothing doing, I was pretty much coasting for half of each loop. At first, I was pissed off, like really pissed off. Then, getting that out of my system, I just did what I could, worked like hell on the ups and spun down, minimizing my losses as those that I passed on the climbs passed me again on the downs. Frustrating? YES! But I'll be back next year for some serious vengeance on a pretty epic course.

Run: 1:12:30, 15k.
A 3-loop course, my favorite! I headed out onto the run having thrown off all my warm weather gear. The first section is on road and heading up up up. Once at the top, we turn into a headwind for a while. Finally, we turn again, head into farmland and run on the 4WD tracks on someone's farm property. The downhill is STEEP, quad-busting. Then, there's just some pretty flat cruising within the farm, including an out-and-back to check out how everyone else is doing and to place bulls-eyes on fellow racers' backs. First lap, everything in control. On the second lap, heading down that steep downhill, I got massive sidestitches. Like, really bad, as bad as the ones I got when I ran the Mt Haig trail half marathon (race report). So I managed, I managed, I tried to breathe into it, as well as push my hand into the really tense and taut diaphragm muscle to try to get it to release. I did slow down, running aerobically, trying to limit my losses to the 2 girls ahead. I finally got relief heading out onto the 3rd loop's uphill section. I caught up with the girls, managed that steep downhill again, and then decided to sprint the last 3k. I was flying, quite literally sprinting for 3km straight. Thank you, 8 servings of caffeine!! Some run photos below...

Cruising along first lap
Managing the pain and yelling to my partner "my gear cable broke, I had to little ring the shit out of 60k!"
Sprinting 3rd lap
I love my Saucony's but seriously, every pair I've ever owned have ripped where that bandage is. They got a little bloody, too...
Ah "summer" in Southland. Camping in The Catlins after the race.
Okay, nice, but still cooooold.
So, in the end, 10th F on a bit of a weird day. It has been a bit topsy-turvy lately. Last weekend, I got 3rd place (yay!) but my garmin died and so had to send it off for repair. This weekend, my bike failed me, but I won the major spot prize of a 400$ blueseventy wetsuit! Yayyyyy!!
No, seriously, I adored this course when I thought I would dread it (so many loops). It's challenging as heck, weeds out the weaklings and the big gear mashing flatlanders, and it is fun fun fun! I am already giddy about next year's event just to see what I can actually do without putting on 10 thousand layers of clothing in T1 and the use of the big ring on the bike. I am seriously happy with how I handled this weekend, and really content with my effort, all things considering.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Wooing Tree Sprint Triathlon Race Report

Finally, the summer season has officially begun!! In the last few weeks, under the guidance of Andi Ramer (a phenomenal ultra-endurance athlete herself), I'd been putting in some serious training time. 17-20 hour weeks, and this race would be at the back end of a 20-hr week. I was tired, and had very low expectations. This was compounded by the fact that I was riding to the race (56kms) and riding back (56kms). 

The ride down was pleasant, light tailwind, but I felt fatigued. If I put in any big efforts, I was puffed within a minute or two. Does not bode well!!! We made it down there in good time (easy spin effort, 29kph avg).  

The race itself is incredibly well organized, if not a bit odd. It is set within the Wooing Tree vineyard in Cromwell. The swim is 4 1/2 circular laps around a pond, the bike is an out and back on our classically rough NZ roads and the run is 2 laps on grass all within the vineyard. Quite odd, each race segment different and intriguing. 

Getting ready.
Being a bit of a creeper...
I knew, to make it out of this alive and not come dead last (which I thought was a high possibility), I needed a high dose of caffeine injected into my veins! Har, no joke, I took a 2x caffeine gel 15' before race start, a 2x caff gel once on the bike, and a 1x caff gel at the end of the bike. 

Swim: Onto the swim, I recognized 2 of the girls as super-swimmers; I'd seen them swimming at the pool a couple days ago while I worked there. Sure enough, right at the start, they pulled away instantly. Within 50m, they had 10m on me. What amazed me, though, is that I was the leader of the rest of the entire girl's swim! And I held it throughout. I remember thinking to myself: "WOAH HOW COOL IS THIS!!! This is going to be the highlight of my day, for sure... it's all downhill from here, no doubt". 
Bike: Onto the bike, and I quickly saw girls pass me. I was fucked, my legs were tired, but I so wanted to push hard. Didn't really manage it (143W avg for the ride, about a very hard half ironman up to Olympic effort). Jo Williams passed me, and would go on to take the win, a massive girl that big gear mashed passed me like I was standing still. I told myself I would get her on the run. A girl all decked out in sponsored K-Swiss gear passed me, and a woman with a tiger-striped tri suit passed me. I passed some people, but I'm pretty sure they were doing a different race (duathlon, super sprint, etc). I did finally pass a girl just before the end of the bike course, and she stuck with me onto the run. 
Run: I'll confess, I'm a shitty short-course athlete. Throughout a sprint or even an Olympic, I am constantly telling myself that I hate this burning feeling, this super hard effort, I back off, it still hurts. I'm mentally not tough enough for sprints, is what I thought. Here's where I got a bit of a confidence booster. I was so fatigued going into the race, and now so high on caffeine and adrenaline, that I had completely turned off my brain by the time the race started. Once on the run, with a girl right up my butt breathing hard, I built up a "tough girl" mental approach of telling myself I'd break her and drop her. Indeed, the elastic snapped by the end of the first lap, and she was long gone behind me on the second lap. 
Start of the 2nd lap
It was on the second lap that I passed big gear mashing girl, other ladies as well, and -- to my sheer delight -- the K-Swiss girl that looked all pro. Crushed her!! Later did I find out that she was in the duathlon (and won it). 

In the end, I came in 3rd, behind Jo Williams (who I cycled to Cromwell with, and would cycle back with). She's a phenomenal multisport athlete and adventure racer. I admire her greatly. Second place lady was the tiger-striped suit, and then I showed up: 1:14:53 minutes after I started, hissing and grunting and panting hysterically, to take third place.

I'm fucked -- and the clock is from the start of the kids tri/du.
Some of the Wanaka gang, representin'!

The girls riding back, yes I took off those arm warmers.
The boys I swim with: Simon (5th today!) and my partner Christian.
The ride back was brutal. The Northwesterly winds had picked up to 70-80kph, massive headwind, and the riding was slow. 23kph slow. Very gusty, very loud, and just a rough rough time. I was glad to be home, but now so high on caffeine to come out of this blustery day alive that I knew I'd come crashing down soon. In the end, proud of my 3rd place effort and training through, utterly fucked.

Onto the next one: This Saturday, there is a 1/3 Ironman in Gore (1500m swim, 60k bike, 15k run). Redneck central, but good lead up to Challenge Wanaka half-iron in January.