Thursday, October 31, 2013

Highlands Race Photos...

Photos from the race, surprisingly un-watermarked.

Definitely have a "Fuck my life" face for the entirety of the bike. Can't seem to find any run pictures, though. In case you couldn't tell, it was raining a wee bit!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Highlands Sprint triathlon race report, I won!

First triathlon of the season, done and dusted. In cold, pouring-rain-all-day conditions. Awesome!! Actually, I was dreading the start so badly, considering dying while eating breakfast.

I wanted to do this very early season race because it's set on the newly built motorsport RACE COURSE in Cromwell. I want to go fast, zoooom! Only problem with such an early season race is that spring brings highly variable weather. It was snowing on the nearby hills and mountains and pouring at town level.

In short, I walked around in the hours before the race start in winter socks, ugg boots and my wetsuit on in full. Oh, and my winter jacket!
As all the girls crept into the water to warm up, I was the girl shaking and crying at the edge of the water saying "Oh no, I really can't do this". Ice cream headache, frozen feet, I am not enjoying this at all!! But all of a sudden the race director yelled GOOOOOOOO and my brain went into full on race mode.

I dropped everyone but one girl who races for Southland Tri Club, she pulled away a tiny bit more with each buoy. I came out of the water behind her by about 10" or so?? She was just about to leave her nearby bike as I arrived at mine, talking aloud to myself "Oh fuck, oh fuck, it's cold". I spent my time putting on a jacket (ironman transition, yikes), but did finally get going soon enough. She was long gone! I never saw her once on the bike course! I cycled back and forth with another girl for the first lap of 5 on the race course, but then really told myself to start racing like a mofo, and so dropped her after that. In the third lap, I was told I was 1:30 down on 1st and didn't hear the split on lap 4 (it was now down to 1:00, as I found out later). I arrived into T2, got my jacket stuck on the zip somehow, had to step out of it like a monkey, was asked by the race director: "Are you going to leave any clothes ON for the run??" (I was in a sports bra underneath so as not to ride in a soaking wet tri top -- good way to stay warm!!). Onto the run, and I thought, well she's gone, haven't seen her all day... but after the 2 mini laps around the mini-lake, I saw her running out, told her she was running well, but then 50 meters later hit a turnaround. Holy shit! She's only like 100+m ahead of me. Time to nail this chick!! I hadn't been able to feel my frozen feet since before the race start, so had to run at a crazy 100rpm cadence, but legs were working so I just ran fast. Passed her quickly, and dropped her by a lot, to win by a very comfortable margin. Yahoo!

Not many racers for a number of reasons: very early season, it was bloody pouring and freezing, and the cost of the sprint was too high (70$ compared to the usual 30-40$ from other events in the area). It's a great course, really fun, and I can only hope that the event continues to grow (and is staged in prime summer months, e.g. February).

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

GOOD QUALITY girlie training clothing!

Okay, so, I'm not exactly a heels-and-handbag type of girl. I don't spend money on new clothes. I go to Wastebusters (local 2nd hand shop), get the job done for 10$, and am happy. What I do like to spend money on is: really fucking awesome training clothing (and bike gear).
Here's my list, so help me, give me some more options!!!! I'm always looking for more options!

1. Betty Designs: Really sick kits for cycling, running, triathlon, surfing, swimming, etc. The skull and crossbones look isn't necessarily always for me, nor is the snakeskin one, but most of it is really beautiful, like woah!
2. Smashfest Queen: Similar to Betty Designs, and I do believe they use the same kit (Squadra), but their designs are unique and really pop. I own 1 tri kit (and a cycling kit when the company was Michele Landry Designs) and they are AMAZING.
3. Team Estrogen: This is an online shop for all things sporty and girly. They've got a huge selection of brands, including SkirtSports (their tri tops run large, order one size down, but are THE BEST I've ever owned, I still race in mine to this day, even though I've got newer ones). Have not ordered from Team Estrogen yet, but I think it's coming soon...
4. lululemon athletica: This is where it all started. I worked at a lululemon back home in Canada in 2007-8 when I practiced yoga 6x/wk (this is pre-triathlon). Beautiful clothing. Their sports bras are the only ones I use. I've heard the quality of the clothing has deteriorated and given what I've seen in the shops, I'd say that is the case for SOME ITEMS but if you are getting an item in standard luon material, it'll still last forever. Two pairs of my go-to run crops are from bloody 2008, and I wear them 1-2x/wk EVERY WEEK. They are still perfect.
5. Oiselle: Primarily ladies running clothing. I really really want to order from Oiselle but I'm pretty sure shipping to NZ isn't happening yet.

Okay who/what company am I missing???

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Abel Tasman Coastal Classic 36k race

In short: I placed 8th F (out of approx 130), 4th FU40. Stoked! The coastal track from Totaranui to Marahau in Abel Tasman National Park is stunning! Meant to be a 36k race, but due to recent rebuilding of the track, it was 41k. I think everyone knew this fact but me. I was DONE by 36k mark, but no finish line in sight. At the time, any additional km's were seriously unwanted. But I passed 2 girls in the last 1-2k, so maybe it was worth it?

The nitty gritty: Family road trip! My partner and I drove up with our two dogs, fully loaded the car with gear, tent, food etc, and made our way up past Nelson to Marahau. All the driving reminded me of when I lived out of my car for 3 months traveling throughout the US of A two years ago. Except, in stark contrast, I was 100% on my own solo, which presented its own unique challenges. Both enjoyable in very different ways.
Obligatory photos of the Zeus-meister...

Race day rolled out like this: wake up, eat breakfast and change, make sure gear is all sorted, register at race HQ (about 80m walk from where we were camping), grab a bus to Kaiteriteri, grab a boat taxi to Totaranui -- all went smoothly, couldn't have asked for better race organization.

Once in Totaranui, I held on to my winter jacket for as long as I could; I get cold easily. The wind was blowing like crazy, sort of but not really raining (blue skies but still drizzling, I don't understand). At the race start, every single person's gear was checked to make sure all had their required gear (polypro LS top, hat, gloves, seam-sealed waterproof jacket, survival blanket, whistle, bladder filled with water). Out of 300+, only 3 fucked up. That's pretty good! Race brief, and we were off. In speaking with my coach, I made a comment about how I very rarely go out too hard in a race, in fact I'd say I'm rather conservative. She suggested that I go out slightly (SLIGHTLY) harder than I normally would and try to hang onto that. In the last couple weeks, it has been what I've been practicing as well. Getting comfortable being uncomfortable right from the get go, not 20k into the IM marathon.

Well, we were off, running comfortably with everyone all bunched up at the beginning, only to spread out in the first climb less than 1k into it! Did my job: went out harder than I usually would. How did this pan out? Well, I seriously seriously regretted my decision to go out and attempt to stick to such an effort from the 13-18k mark. Not even halfway, and I'm tired already. I did have a wee cooldown (water to my hips in places, yes!) crossing the Awaroa Inlet, so that was a nice break from the head-pumping, calves screaming beach running or single track hills!

And from there the pictures stop... which pretty much means: feeling progressively more fucked but trying to control it, staying on top of nutrition (100cals every 25min), avoiding rolling an ankle, etc. Once the race had spread out, I had this tiny voice in the back of my head saying: "Ease up, there's no one around you, you can take your foot off the pedal and just trot it in". Only, I would see someone every couple of minutes and race mode couldn't really switch off: I NEEDED TO PASS THEM! So the burners stayed on, my legs were fucked, I power-hiked some of the steeper hills, but in general I tried to run run run. Finally, as I approached the 36k mark (and the official race distance), I realized there was no finish line in sight. 36k's came and went. I had prepared and perfectly meted out my energy to be 100% DONE by 36k's, so where was this fucking finish line???? 5k's later... I'm still running... sort of hallucinating, grimacing like crazy, still passing people left and right in my "100 rpm-you-can-do-it" leg turnover mode, but in so much pain I could die. FINALLY, finally, we dropped down, hit the boardwalk and ran the last 500m to the finish line. Oh my god, my legs have never been so fucked. I was hissing and wheezing and panting/crying. I think my partner was smiling and simply saying: "This is why you sign up for these things, to feel this sort of pain". I was also 8th F, TOTALLY AWESOME, not expected. I wanted to be somewhere up there, but top 10 is choice. Out of like 130 or so? Neat!

Officially: Fucked.
4:22:13 (1st F was 3:57:xx), 8th F, 4th FU40, 64/314 OA. 
End of race day rainbow.

Did some post-race exploring but the end of the road trip can seriously be categorized by this:
Halfway down the West Coast on our way home, we got news that the Haast Pass had indeed been closed again (it had closed due to a major slip taking out the road, but had been reopened again during daylight hours last time I had checked). Well, a 600km detour later to return home by the East coast and Lindis Pass, we were back home in Wanaka. Ouch!

Extra pics:
Sunrise in Marahau the next morning.
Top of Takaka hill somewhere.

The white one
In the mystical faerie forest, West Coast