Monday, October 11, 2010


My good idea on Sunday was to incorporate (the infamous) French Pass into my 90km ride, on the basis that I have to do it as part of the Hamilton Charity Chopper ride 100km on labour weekend so wanted to have a go at it first. My second good idea was to plan the route so that I'd already done Tahuroa and Scotsman's Valley before getting anywhere near French Pass. Are you beginning to hear the sound of a good idea unravelling..... So apart from the fact that I was already tired by the time I got to FP it was also the most evil thing ever encountered. By the time we got to the last stretch of the climb I was at the back of the group (and my 2 cycling buddies were barely speaking to me due to me being in charge of the route!) and all I could hear from the front as I creaked up one more bit of hill was "I'm round the corner, there's more hill". Eventually with the end in sight I piked, managing to unclip both feet (see I do learn some lessons) I ground to a halt and got off intending to walk up the last bit. Only it was just too much, I was too tired, and the grass verge looked so much more inviting so I sat down. Ok I might actually have lain down, just to check I wasn't actually having a heart attack and that neither of my lungs was poking out of my chest or exploding or anything. Eventually I thought I'd better get up in case someone wondered where I was and I dragged myself to the top, where one of my group was indeed waiting (the other is a total slow-mo going downhill so had gone on assuming we'd pass him as usual - ha!) I decided to have another sit down. I wish I could say the ride got better after that, unfortunately whoever designed the Waikato does seem awfully fond of hills. The best thing about finishing the ride was that it was done, the worst thing was thinking about having to do FP again in 2 weeks time. Turns out the route goes the other way through, apparently that is easier. Hmph.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Versatile Blogger Award

The lovely Selina of the  Pretty Clever blog has tagged me for the Versatile Blogger Award, and as I currently have nothing to do other than lie on the sofa groaning (see my next cycling blog for more details when I can summon up the energy to write it) I thought I'd get on to it.
The Rules: Tell us seven things about you then tag 12 other blogs for this award.
I will totally fail at the 12 tags as there are only 3 blogs on comment on regularly (and on of them is Pretty Clever....), but in the spirit of things here goes:
1: I'm Welsh, and very happy to be so, although having lived in NZ for over 10 years I'm also a little bit kiwi.
2: I have a habit of setting myself ludicrous sporting challenges which seem quite reasonable at the time but increasingly less so as the actual event gets closer and closer - having said that I have completed and survived 3 half marathons so I usually get there in the end.
3: At one time I made my living as a professional singer and actress, and have performed at the Belfast Opera house. This sounds posher than it actually was, it was a touring children's production of the Owl and the Pussycat. I played the cat's mother....
4: I completed my Computer Science PhD 2 years ago and am still unnecessarily excited when I receive mail addressed to Dr Bowen. The day my name plate went up on my office door I took a photo of it!
5: My household is run by two small white dogs and 2 unnecessarily large cats, this often leads to vermin-related incidents.
6: I think beetroot and honey are both the work of the devil
7: 7 is a great number because it reminds me of Blake's 7 which was my favourite tv show when I was growing up. Of course I'm grown up now, so that has been replaced by something far more sensible. Dr Who.

And I now hereby tag my lovely sister at Jans cards crafts and musings and the cranky one at Feed Me I"m Cranky

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


A couple of icing sessions on my ankle, and it seems to be improving, most importantly it's not giving me any grief on the bike and so I successfully completed my interval sprints on Tues with my ankle only complaining as much as the rest of me (which was quite a lot to be honest!). Today I had a strength interval session to complete, normally I do this by cycling up Tahuroa, coming back down (the same side) and then going up again. Going up Tahuroa from this side (ie from home) is the less hard way as the climbs are longer and more gradual, coming back the other way is, well, it's just evil! So today I decided to bite the bullet and go up and over and then come back up the evil way (not because I'm a total fool but because the spectre of the infamous French Pass is looming in a few weeks time so I have to stop being such a wuss about big hills!). Anyway got up and over without too much trouble, had a great "wheeeeeee" down the other side before turning round to head back. I hadn't gone all the way to the bottom, just far enough to give myself about 15 mins of climbing. I managed the loooong first climb and despite having to stand a few times was in fairly good shape before I hit the final short sharp climb which I have given a very rude name to on more than one occasion. There is a bit of downhill before you hit it but then it's a (short) merciless climb to the top. As I hit the first part of the hill I knew I was in trouble, the bike was creaking and I was going nowhere slowly, I stood up to get some momentum, it didn't help.... then I stalled, bugger! Managed to unclip my left foot only to topple over to the right (!) ending up in a big heap of grumpiness and bike. I was sooo p'd off, apart from a nice graze on my leg I had a huge dent in my ego that I'd failed so miserably. As I got up and started wheeling my bike up the hill I looked down at my front rings and realised I was still on the big ring -- w.t.f. ! No wonder I couldn't move - grrrr. I'm not sure if I felt better that it was a gear fail rather than my legs fail  or worse because it was my own stupidity. Nothing for it, turned round and headed back down so that I could give it another go (using the right gears this time). It seemed so much easier this time around and I reached the top without incident. Hmph. Now sporting some lovely red gravel stripes down my leg and a large bump on my knee.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

At Last!

Some decent cycling weather, long ride on Sunday was a joy in the sun - very little wind and no rain! Managed my 81.5km and it definitely felt easier than last weekend, alhthough how much of that was down to the weather and how much to improved fitness I don't know. I have paid my entry for both Pukekohe and the Hamilton charity ride so that's 2 100km events coming up in a couple of weeks time - eeep! Mind you, I could have done 85 (and probably even 90) this weekend if I'd made myself, so I shouldn't be too far off getting through them (I hope). Taking advantage of another lovely day I did a recovery cycle in to work today, I have a few odd sort bits including a niggling tendon in my right ankle, but nothing major. Had a gym session with PT which wasn't too bad although I had to bail early on the final set of a couple of things. Hoping the ride home this afternoon is not too much like hard work.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Few Hints of Spring

Finally the weather has improved a little (although forecast to be rubbish again soon!). Saturday was still windy and wet in parts, but nowhere near as bad as last weekend. I managed my 80km without too much pain and although I was pretty stiff and sore for the rest of the day had more or less recovered by Sunday. Am getting set to enter a couple of 100km events in the next month to get me used to big group riding and also longer distances. One of them is local and includes the infamous French Pass - the hill that makes my personal nemesis (Tahuroa) look like a mere incline -gulp! Out today for a training ride with PT which was hard work and left me looking like a tomato (luckily I'm just banned from eating them not looking like them!), will have a nice slow recovery cycle home from work which I hope will help ease everything off again.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Just Do It

After rain (and gales) stopped play last Saturday I couldn't face the thought of trying to do 70km on the indoor trainer (an hour is about my limit) and so persuading myself that the wind had dropped on Sunday I went out then instead. Hmm, note to self, when you're zipping along at more than 40kph on the flat having a great time don't forget you have to turn around.... The slog home was very painful, very slow and very wet. The cross winds were almost as bad as the head winds as I was getting blown off the road. Actually no, the head winds were worse, uphill, then it started raining. Are you getting the picture yet - miserable! Piked at 64km but given the weather it felt like I'd done 90. Seriously sore legs all this week, not helped by a hard gym session with PT on Monday. Tuesday evening I was supposed to do sprint intervals on the way home (wind assisted -yay!) but my legs weren't having a bar of it so I had to settle for a harder base ride instead (50 mins at 85rpm). Last night was wet and windy for a change so I got the trainer indoors and did an hour of sprint intervals in front of the tv. And today is Friday, day off to recover,  which I am seriously in need of! Hoping for a little less wind this weekend as I have an 80km target to meet. GERD meds seem to be working well and most of my symptoms have reduced significantly or gone, back to the docs today for a review. Two weeks without coffee, alcohol, chocolate and a whole heap of other things, and I've managed not to go completely mad :#

Friday, September 17, 2010

Seriously? No Way!

It is Saturday and I owe my training schedule a 70km ride. The wind is gusting at 45kph with intermittent very heavy rain showers. Ummm, sorry, no. Even the supermarket shopping is looking appealing right now.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dodging the Rain

A 60km ride out with the boys last Saturday saw me getting a bit more used to the new bike, still a bit slow on the downhills as I get used to a bit less stability but apart from that all is good. We managed to stay dry for most of the ride, but foolishly I left my extra 10km until the end (instead of doing it before we all met up) which was the point the weather turned to rubbish and I had to battle it out alone in the wind and rain - hmph. On Monday I went out for a training ride with my PT, it was absolutely chucking it down until just before I headed out, and then miraculously stayed dry for the whole ride - we had a seriously hidous headwind coming back though which just about exhuasted me. The only plus was that it meant I had the same wind as a tail wind when I went home after work so had a very fast very low effort recovery ride. Tuesday I hit the gym for a core workout (which I'm still feeling two days later) and yesterday back on the bike for a hill strength endurance ride. I headed up Tahuroa, than back down, then back up again -- madness! Needless to say today's gym session I was taking it fairly easy. On the medical front one of my worst symptoms has just about gone and the other really annoying one has shown some improvement (although is still around) so hopefully this means that I am sloooowly getting better. It also turned out that my iron levels are very low (thanks so much to the nurse from the medical centre who rang to tell me and gave me the news as if she was about to tell me I had only days to live!!) so I'm now also taking iron pills which will supposedly make me feel full of energy - mmm, not noticing it yet.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Still a Bit Wobbly

A horrendously wet evening on Thursday saw me confined indoors on the trainer for my sprint session - by the time BIP got home the house was steamed up like a sauna! Friday morning I had a quick trip out on new bike as I wanted to get a feel for some hills before Saturday's ride. The biggest problem I have is on the downhills as I can't work out a good hand position for hovering over the brakes which means I worry too much and end up over braking. Saturday's 60km ride went well and didn't feel too hard (mind you I was out with the group so it did include a coffee break at the hour mark - or rather a chamomile tea break in my case, but more of that later) although I'm still a little wobbly on the bike at times and haven't solved the braking problem yet. I have a supervised ride with my PT today so hopefully we can iron out those issues. On the positive side I am still getting better speeds on the flat, and probably would be on the uphills too if I could work the gears out a bit quicker!
Meanwhile, back to the doctor again last Friday for some blood tests and finally perhaps a diagnosis. As my symptom list increased (and got even more odd!) I'd been doing what all good patients do and googling them (!) until finally about the only thing (apart from really freaky odd stuff) that pretty much fitted all of my symptoms was GERD (gastroesophegeal-reflux-disorder). Like most people I assumed this meant indigestion and heartburn (symptoms I actually don't have!) but apparently they are not always present. The doctor agreed and I am now trialling some drugs which surpress the creation of stomach acid and a diet which excludes all of the major food groups such as alcohol, coffee, citrus, tomatoes, peppermint(!?) and chocolate. Seriously, what is left?? Expecting miracles I am very surprised not to be better 3 days later, but apparently I won't start to show improvement until after a week...... tum te tum.... still waiting.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

New Wheels

Been busy busy busy since getting back from Skiing. A long ride last Saturday followed by a recovery ride indoors using the wind trainer that a friend has kindly loaned to me (it was too windy outdoors for an easy recovery ride so setting up the indoor trainer and watching tv as I rode was a good idea, plus the big pocket in my cycle shirt is the perfect size for the MySky remote!). Sunday night I was really sick again - I've been having ongoing respiratory problems since my last bout of Bronchitis which range from mildly annoying to frankly scary, so on Monday it was back to the Docs for a range of tests including exciting things such as chest xrays and ECG monitors which eliminated a whole load of possible nasty reasons but didn't get us much further in establishing a cause or solution - ho hum, I suspect this might be ongoing for a while so watch this space.
Yesterday was very exciting as I picked up the new bike I'd bought just before we went off on our hols. As you can see from the picture it is a thing of great beauty and as promised it goes faster than my old bike with the same effort - how cool is that, I never had that sort of success with a new pair of running shoes. I got it at 50% so saved a HUGE amount of money, which is a much better thing to think about than how much I spent :-)
Today was back to the gym for a PT session which was hard but not murder - although I suspect I'll be sore later in the week. Looking forward to getting back on the bike again tomorrow and hoping for some dry weather - especially this weekend when I need to start getting out for 60+ km.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Cycling and Skiing

This blog update brought to you from Turangi. Have had some amazing skiing so far, yesterday’s weather was amazing and fresh powdery snow meant we skied all day. When we arrived here last Friday I discovered something quite amazing – cycling has improved my skiing! Apart from the obvious benefit of stronger quads and calves (meaning I don’t get tired so quickly) the downhill cycling on Tahuroa has meant that my skiing speed has increased as I’m not so nervous at heading downhill at speed. Lack of speed was the major problem with my skiing so it’s improved hugely thanks to the power of the bike! Having said that speed is not always a good thing, had a major wipeout yesterday during my ski lesson – stopped paying attention to the terrain (too busy thinking about all the things I had to remember) and found myself out of control at high speed – took off over an edge – wheeeee, landed on my feet which duly flew out from under me (never a good thing to see your skis in front of my face!) and landed with a nice bump on my butt followed by my head bouncing off the snow – and that dear readers is why we wear a ski helmet. No damage apart from a large snowball down my pants. As we were leaving at the end of the day the wind whipped up and it started snowing again, unfortunately the wind has increased and the mountain was closed today. BIP gone off to play golf and I went out for a strength interval cycle on the bottom part of the mountain road. Must lie down now.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Going Bananas

One of the things my PT has advised me to do is work out what sort of food I can eat while cycling so I know what to take along on the big day to sustain me over 6 hours + of cycling. So my homework this week was to take a banana out on my ride and try and eat it without slowing down or hampering my cycling. So off I set this morning with my (already partially opened) banana tucked in the back pocket of my cycling shirt. After about 30 mins of cycling I decided now was the time and encountered my first problem - how to get the banana out of my pocket. The knobby bit at the top was caught in the elastic top of the pocket and I ended up nearly removing my shirt in order to get it out - hmm, definite loss of speed there not to mention the dangers of flashing if I wasn't wearing my thermals. The next problem was that the nice flat bit of road I had been admiring when I first attempted to get the banana out had now disappeared and as I took my second bite I found myself at the bottom of a hill - phttttwt, spit out lump of banana in order to get up hill without choking or throwing up. Then I had to go downhill on a windy bit of road trying to manage steering, braking and banana holding,  nothing like getting mashed banana all over your cycling gloves and handlebars to brighten up your day. At this point I admitted defeat and biffed the remains of the banana into the nearest bush. I think it's safe to say that bananas will not be on my list of approved cycling foods.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Supervised Training Ride

So it turns out one of the reasons I was so pathetic during my PT session last Monday was I was coming down with flu! Yes flu!! Unbelievable, I haven't had the flu since I was about 8, I guess my immune system was still down in the dumps from all the chest and sinus infections of last month and the flu bug saw an opportunity and swooped in. I also got another dose of bronchitis along with it for good measure, just what I needed. So a week of no training spent mostly in bed or sleeping. Yesterday I had a game of hockey so decided to use that as an indication of whether I was well enough to train again, and having survived it reasonably well had my PT session today which consisted of going out for a 50 min cycle with my trainer. Apparently what we did was what I should be doing for my base rides - definitely worked harder than I would have if I'd been doing a base ride by myself which is a useful indicator. Got some handy hints on a few bits and pieces which should help on group rides and also some homework which consists of things like eating a banana while cycling ! Pretty worn out when I got back but seem to be reasonably ok and haven't had to resort to a lie down yet this afternoon - maybe I am actually getting over this bug?!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Week 2, Here I Come

Torrential rain all day Saturday and the absence of the rest of my cycling group (off doing some extreme cross-country running event in Rotorua) meant that with all the will in the world I could not get myself out on the bike. Instead I set my alarm for early on Sunday with the plan of getting out first thing as I had a late hockey game so figured it should just about work out ok. Unfortunately having got out of bed I got as far as making a cup of tea and then got back into bed again! I finally managed to get myself out on the bike at about 2pm for a hard hilly ride - actually harder than anticipated due to poor route planning! Needless to say I was exhausted when I got back, and then had to go out and play a game of hockey - my poor legs were not impressed. Still very tired this morning so I was totally rubbish during my PT session. I had to do a kettle bell swing warm up interspersed with bungees on the swiss ball and by the time I'd done 3 sets each of those I was seriously ready to lie down. After the dreaded ITB roller sets and some half-hearted attempts at plank and side holds even my trainer had to concede that he wasn't going to get much out of me today! "Listen to your body" is good advice - mine is telling me to go and lie down somewhere warm and have a nice snooze.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Isn't Friday a great day, it is of course the official day of rest in my training schedule and hence my new favourite day. Having recovered from the mad exertions of Tuesday's speed intervals I was relieved to find that yesterday's strength endurance session was a little more manageable. I cycled into work in the morning at recovery pace (i.e. really slowly with minimal exertion) which was, quite frankly odd. Just before I arrived at work I got overtaken by some cyclists and had to use all of my will power to not take off after them and remain at my sendentary pace, hmph. Used the ride home for the strength endurance which is about ramping up the gears to hard and maintaining a constant cadence, the aim is that you can "feel the burn" in your legs at all times. Well that and the puffing and panting, and coughing, and spitting up bits of lung (still!), but all in all still easier than speed. Took my bike in for a service today as I thought it could do with a little tlc given all the work it is and will be doing, think I could do with the same myself!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Remind Me Again Whose Stupid Idea This Was?

Having coped with day 1 of my PT schedule (core workout) fairly easily I breezed into yesterday's challenge of a 1 hour interval ride without seriously absorbing quite how impossible it was when I read through the brief. One hour on the bike consisting of 15 min warm up then 5 x intervals of 3 mins at a cadence (pedal revolutions) of between 95-110 interspersed with 5 mins at 85. Then cool down to finish. Ok, firstly, fast cadence and me are not friends, if I need to go fast I tend to rely on power rather than leg speed so this was always going to be a challenge. Secondly, 3 minutes....! Are you frikken kidding me!!! After 2 I was just about ready to stop breathing, and then maintaining 85 as a 'recovery' ... well let's just say 85 is already fast. So after an on bike readjustment to 5 x 2 min intervals with recovery aiming at 80+ I just about made it home. The worst part was I reached the end of my road after 50 mins and had to keep on going as I still had 10 mins of cycling to go. Ugh, everything hurt when I got off the bike, I was like a quivering jelly. Clearly somewhere along the line my PT got the impression that rather than just wanting to complete the Lake Taupo Challenge I'm aiming for some sort of course record.
Thankfully today was off bike and another core workout - I never thought I'd be so happy to get back on that foam roller.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Discovering My ITBs

I had a session with my PT today (can I be the 1 billionth person to point out that personal trainer and personal torturer have the same initials?!) to go over my 16 week training schedule to get me ready to complete the Lake Taupo Challenge (eep). Actually it's quite good to have it all down on paper laid out week by week as I know from half-marathon training that you can just work through the training week by week and know that as long as you get it done you're heading towards a successful outcome. Anyway today being Monday it was my core and stretch session, the core workout didn't look too challenging on paper (although I discovered that there's a good reason the set of Catapults is only 12 as they're only easy for about the first 3). The stretching included instructions to roll my ITB with a foam roller. Apparenly the ITB does a lot of work when cycling and is prone to injury later on if not looked after early. Now personally I couldn't pick my ITB out of a line up - I had a vague idea of where it sort of was (which turned out to be wrong), but hey, that's ok, how hard can it be to roll anything on a foam roller.... famous last words. PT demonstrated by lying on aforementioned roller and gracefully gliding up and down so that it rolls from hip to knee and back in a fluid movement. I attempted the same - hmmm, firstly owwwww! Ok now I know where my ITB is, and also that it hurts like f**k to roll up and down on a foam roller on top of it. Apparently this is an indication that they are already showing signs of stress (and not, as the more sane of us might think that rolling up and down on them is a crazy thing to do). Apart from the pain the whole gracefully gliding up and down the roller thing totally eluded me, I think I looked like a large injured duck that lies miserably on the side of a road flapping various bits of wing and leg forlornly. Yup, go the ITBs !

Monday, August 2, 2010

Rev'in Up

 Bit the bullet today and went to a lunchtime rev class (spin cycle for you overseas bods). I'd been a bit apprehensive as it's been well over a year since I last did one and they are always damn hard - but I'm pleased to report I survived it, although I do have a bad case of jelly legs this afternoon. It's the next best thing to actually being out on the bike and with a crazy schedule this week which is preventing me from cycling to work I feel that at least I'm getting some hard kms under my belt.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Taupo Here I Come..?

A month or so ago in a post-half marathon mood of being totally over running I half-heartedly declared that I would quite like to do the lake Taupo challenge (160km bike ride) this year. Since then I have been variously overseas and then laid low with bronchitis, a sinus infection and a chest infection so haven't been doing much of anything (other than moaning about how sick I am). Last week as I finally realised I really was getting better and could actually get back to the gym and start doing something my thoughts returned to Taupo and I started wondering if I'd left it too late given how little I've been cycling in the past 12 months (i.e. about twice!). In one of those casual conversations that turn out to be pivotol a friend of mine directed me to a weekend cycling group which led to me taking on a 2 hour cycle to Morrinsville and back over Tahuroa (which, to give you some indication of its immense hilliness I generally refer to as the Tahuroa mountain). Against all odds I survived, and almost enjoyed myself (at least on the downhills!) and so I scheduled a meeting with a personal trainer this morning and now have a plan (or will have once he's drawn it up!) and lots of motivation for Taupo. So for the next 16 weeks I will be blogging about cycling with n'er a run in sight, which will at least give me something different to moan about. All I have to look forward to know is my first puncture.... watch this space!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

All in working order

After a few days off nursing my bruises and generally feeling sorry for myself I have managed to get myself up and at it again. Started with a fairly gentle weights session and then did a bit of interval training on the treadmill yesterday. Haven't ventured back out onto the road again yet, but the aim at the moment is to get out for a short(ish) run this afternoon after my physio appointment. Physio is for the ongoing saga of my shoulder which hadn't really got any better, but after the road acrobatics had actually got worse. This is not all bad news, I at least now have an official (ACC worthy) cause which means if this bout of physio doesn't work then I can at least get it progressed to a scan etc. to find out what will actually fix it.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

National Running Day

Yesterday was National Running Day in the US, to celebrate I went out for a run at lunch time today and did something I've never done before, tripped over and splatted myself all over the road. Ow. Luckily as I was airborne some subconscious instinct to not fracture my wrists kicked in and as my hands hit asphalt I managed to roll taking the brunt of the fall on my right hand side - hand, elbow, shoulder, knee. ow. That'll be my right shoulder, the one that's already trashed - ho hum no loss there then. Do you know how difficult it is to get up off the middle of the road when you're winded, a little bit shocked and not quite sure yet which bits hurt and which don't and how seriously? I had to settle for a crawl/shuffle to the kerb and then a sit down on the pavement for a bit while bewildered school children on their lunch break scuttled past nervously. Oh, and to the car drivers who slowed down enough to have a gawk, yes thanks, I'm fine, nothing broken. Did I mention, ow?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Cycle and Slump

The post half-marathon slump has arrived as expected and I haven't felt very inclined to do much of anything. Saturday I took advantage of the fact that I didn't have to go for a long run and went out on the bike instead. Did just under an hour with nothing challenging hillwise, and apart from the fact it kept raining on me (and was cold!) it was all good. Was a bit unsure if hockey on Sunday was going to aggrevate my muscle strain but had no problems so it must be pretty much fixed. I avoided marathon clinic last night on the basis that we'd had torrential rains and gales all day and even though it cleared up late afternoon I'd already talked myself into going home and sitting in front of the fire by then. Took a look at the hill profile map for Taupo yesterday - eek! Leg 1 is the worst (the course is split into 4 legs for the sensible people who do it as a relay) with the first 10km being a pretty much constant climb. The good news is if you survive that each leg gets progressively easier. If. I need to get in touch with the people I know who've done it and find out what sort of training they did. Still not 100% committed to doing it but very keen.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Bit of Blog and Doing the Robot

Did you miss me? Did you? Did you? At the risk of alienating my loyal crowd of readers (last count, 2) I took a break from blogging, partly due to being very busy and realising that I could run or blog but not both! And partly because whining about running was starting to bore me let alone my faithful reader(s).
Anyhoo, here I am again. Last Sunday was the Huntly half marathon and my plan to run it quicker than last year didn't quite eventuate when I strained a groin muscle at 15km, on the upside I did still finish (albeit painfully) and only 10 minutes slower than last year, and the video footage of my crossing the finish line (a lop-sided lope a la quasimodo) is hilarious, although not quite as funny as one of the on-course photos in which I appear to be doing the robot, oh go on then as you asked so nicely here is aforementioned picture along with one where I do at least appear to be running! Post-huntly I've managed a couple of 20 minute jogs before twinged muscles begin to re-twinge so I'm just hoping it all feels ok for hockey on Sunday. In other news I have moved from seriously considering doing the round Taupo cycle (160km) to checking out the date of this year's event and downloading a training schedule...eeek! Watch this space, can't be harder than running... can it?!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ada Lovelace Day

Today's blog is something different, I'm writing it to honour the pledge I made on to blog about an inspirational women in technology to help celebrate Ada Lovelace day. There are so many to choose from - this is a marvellous thing, there are so few most people will have heard of - this is a less marvellous thing. Tempted as I am to blog about all the unfamous women in technology you will never have heard of (I'm talking about people I've worked with, people who have inspired me personally, technicians and support staff who've been there when I needed, the list goes on) I decided to give my blog space to someone I think has made a positive contribution by setting up a community to support and encourage female Linux users and OSS/FOSS fans. So Deb Richardson take a bow, the LinuxChix is a great example of the positive power of supporting newbies and lending a helping hand to those who want to know more, but don't want to step out of the shadows and ask for fear of being shot down in flames. The best way to encourage more women to be part of the OSS community is by providing forums like this where 'not knowing' something is not a barrier to taking part. We were all newbies once, I wish I'd had somewhere like LinuxChix to go when I took my first steps into the world of Linux, long may they prosper. You can find LinuxChix at go take a look, even if you think it will be full of stuff you'll never need to know. I leave you with proof that Ada Lovelace is truly an icon, a picture of her immortalised in lego. Happy Ada Lovelace Day.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Lovely Lovely Run

Why so lovely, I hear you ask, well having not done a road run for about a week (Kakepuku didn't happen for me at the weekend due to not being able to get out of bed early enough, and also a great circuit workout on Friday had left me barely able to walk, let alone run as I got a bit carried away with my lunges!) and having missed mc last Tuesday I really had to force myself out to mc this week. I had to go home first as BIP is away so I needed to feed the dogs etc., and of course once home it's always harder to drag myself out again, also my stomach had been playing up a fair bit this week (self-inflicted, I have a great mental list of foods I must not eat - but still, I eat them - go figure!) and I wasn't convinced I had the wherewithal to get out there and run. But I persuaded myself to go, and once we set off I felt fine. We were out for an hour 20 (although some of that was dicking around while JB2 went to the money machine) with only a couple of walking breaks so I felt really positive about it (tho' a bit sore in places this morning). With only a couple of weeks to go before I start training for Huntly it was just what I needed to rev up my motivation. So hurray for group running, and hooray for me.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bits and Pieces

Yoo Hoo! Yes I'm still here, haven't disappeared off on holiday again (if only!) just been busy busy busy at work and barely getting enough time to exercise let alone blog about it. Hmm, so since last I blogged I planned a lovely 13km run for last weekend which was going to be a trial to see if I could do the 14km this Sunday at Kakepuku - but totally failed to get out and do it (combination of the usual factors - couldn't go out early due to stomach problems and the day just got hotter and hotter so by the time I could go out it was about 3pm and insane weather for running). Sunday I planned to get out running early as I had to be at the hockey turf for 11 for our first muster of the season - well, I got to the muster.... although as it turned out that had started at 10 and we were an hour late. How was I to know, I'm only the club secretary for heaven's sake, and just because I'd sent round the email to everyone else with the date and time doesn't mean I actually read it....... Hmph. So I had a 15 min run around on the hockey pitch, unsurprisingly my shoulder didn't take too kindly to it but it was really only sweep hitting that was painful so I carried on with my current plan of ignoring it.
Monday I had half an hour on the lovely precor machine at the gym again - I really am loving this machine, followed by some weights and abs, and yesterday I should've been running with mc but was too bleah. Rather than beating myself up at my lack of running at the moment I've decided to chill and enjoy the rest, I'll be starting my half-marathon training for Huntly again in a week or so, so until then I'll just mix up what I do and enjoy the break.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Hills are Alive ....

I'm still undecided about doing the second run in the summer series which is the Kakepuku run in Te Awamutu on Sunday 28th. Chest thing is pretty much gone now thankfully (just a little bit of wheezing today), but it's 14km and I haven't run that far for aaaaages and also it's a really really hilly course. I suspect I won't make up my mind until the day and enter on the day if I feel like it. To help make up my mind, and also just in case I do enter, I replaced my Thursday stair intervals with hill intervals! So while BIP ran up and down the stairs I ran up and down the hill - I think she had to work harder in all honesty but hill practice is more useful to me right now than fitness.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Ok so maybe that's a slight exaggeration, my chestiness is in fact clearing up (humidy induced??) and I managed Tuesday night's run with the mc crew without requiring resuscitation. I did find that steep hills were to be avoided though as once I started breathing too heavily it felt like someone was stomping on my chest while at the same time trying to squeeze my lungs out through my throat (aah asthma how I miss you!), but as long as I kept to a steady pace and reasonably flat all was well. This morning I did a circuit and have a new approach to my shoulder which is that I'll do anything that doesn't hurt - including the things that my (ex) physio told me to avoid. Will see what effect this has on things, the osteopath treatment does seem to be having an effect and it's better than it has been for a couple of month - maybe it's actually getting better!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Something Different

After my non blog about my non run yesterday I headed to the gym today to see if I could find something to do that would cheer me up a bit. They have a new piece of equipment, the Precor AMT 100i which is a combined stair climber and cross trainer. Basically you determine which sort of action you perform depending on how you step and use your arms. I started off with stair climbing which is an up and down leg movement with no arms, and then alternated 5 minute intervals between stair climbing and cross training (which uses forward striding motions and arms). I went for 30 mins and it was a pretty good workout, I was certainly sweating plenty (mmmm, nice image). My heartrate sat between 135 and 150 so not at fast running level but above jogging. Once I'd finished that I did some free weights and abs. There aren't too many free weights I can do with my (still dodgy) shoulder but enough to get by. I seem to be coming down with some sort of cough/chesty thing which is very odd as I don't feel at all unwell, just have this intermittant and very annoying cough which causes a really tight feeling in my chest. I suspect this was partly the problem yesterday. Hopefully it will amount to nothing as I generally fight most bugs off before they settle in.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Full Set of Stairs

Thursday morning = stair intervals with BIP again. This week we reintroduced the mini hill sprints between sets of stairs and finished with the full long hill, so back up to doing the full thing. Also managed to do the lap round the playing fields at a reasonable speed, so all in all a successful workout. A busy weekend ahead - Dog show at the Highland tattoo in Paeroa on Saturday and marshalling for the blueberry run on Sunday - means I probably won't have time for a run so I'm planning to try and fit one in this evening after work, I'd like to get out for at least an hour and see if I can start getting my longer distance fitness working again. Also means more wear and tear on 'those' shoes too ....

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tuesday Night's MC Run

To be honest I wasn't expecting great things on my Tuesday night run with marathon clinic after Sunday's hard and long (er than expected) run. However it wasn't too bad all in all. We set out as a fairly large group, me, JB2, LJ, Moro, Lego, USAP and a newbie who's name I didn't catch (saving me the trouble of anonymising him!). We headed off towards the Uni (great, just what I need after a hard day of work, running back to work!) and then after heading round the playing fields split up. Lego & newbie headed off one way (Lego had done the Pukekohe half on Sunday so was taking it easy). LJ, Moro and JB2 decided they wanted to head out via Ruakura for a longer run but I wasn't in the mood to make what was turning into an ok run into anything harder, so headed back to the club by myself. Took it fairly easy and had to walk a couple of blocks here and there but in general pretty good. Not sure how/when I'm going to fit in a run this weekend as we're off to Paeroa with the dogs on Saturday and on Sunday I'm on refreshment duty at the blueberry run. Oh, and the really good news of the week is that WHT are starting to wear at the heel and at this rate will need replacing sooner rather than later :-)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Too Hot, Too Far

Next weekend sees the start of the summer series, 3 set of runs organised by running groups in the area at different locations. The first, which is next Sunday, is the Blueberry Run in Ohaupo which is organised by the marathon clinic. So as we have to be on duty for the run, marshalling, running water stands etc. the tradition is to go out a week earlier and do the run ourselves. The really keen (aka crazy) runners go out at about 6am to avoid the heat of the day, which would be a sensible idea except it's 6am!!! On a Sunday!!! The slightly less deranged (me and JB2) headed out at 10am which was a much more civilised hour, but boy oh boy did it get hot! I was planning on doing 10km and JB2 was doing the full 17km. Wonky B had come out in his car to do water stops for us so I decided to run the 17km route with JB2 and then hop into WB's car after 10km. As it happened I got talked into staying after the 10km water stop for another 3km so ended up doing 13km - ugh! I can honestly say that it was a struggle - even the 10km was a struggle. This time last year I did the 17km with ease - well, maybe not with ease, but a darn sight easier than this year's efforts! Maybe by the third run in the series I'll just about manage to drag myself round the 12km! I spent the rest of Sunday seriously overheated and discovered this morning that I still had a face like a  tomato despite copious amounts of sunscreen!
For those of you following the 'shoulder saga' I was back at the physio this morning (ker-ching!) and she is now referring me to a sports physician to arrange a cortisone injection. I will in the meantime be booking in to see a hypnotherapist, witch-doctor and podiatrist (just in case it's a referred pain).

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Worth Getting Out of Bed For

Stairs intervals this morning. Despite the fact that I really really didn't want to get out of bed this morning when the alarm went off at 6am (lack of sleep due to humidity and shoulder) I managed to drag myself up and out and along with BIP managed an interval session on the management stairs. It was definitely the best time of day to do it as was relatively cool. Haven't done stairs since the really hard session just before we went on holiday and I'm pleased to report it was a lot easier today. Poor BIP was struggling though as she'd done a serious interval session yesterday morning and had hockey training last night so was too worn out to give it too much oomph. Did 5 sets of stairs (one block at double stride, one block at single) but didn't do the mini hill sprints in between. Finished with the full big hill though, and then a lap of the playing fields to 'cool down'. By the time we'd finished and showered it was already one of those days where the combination of being overheated along with the ambient temperature meant it was virtually impossible to get dry after my shower - damp and red-faced, mmmmm nice start to the working day.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

2 In a Row Don't Go

Monday was a mad venture, a speed interval run on the road. It had been a fairly cool (by recent standards) day - and not raining either, so seemed like a good opportunity for some hard work. Needless to say the minute I stepped outside in my running gear the humidity ramped up by about 90% and I was damp and exhausted before I even made it to the end of the drive! Living in a rural area means we have white road edge markers at 50m intervals all along our road which is a useful training aid for intervals. Workout consisted of a 5 min warm up jog, then 5 x intervals of fast running for 100m followed by recovery jog of 100m, then a couple of minutes recovery jogging before a second set of shorter intervals 5 x 50m fast running with 50 m recovery. Then finally another 5 mins of slow jogging to cool down (ha! not much cooling down occurred).
I definitely did some work as my quads were feeling it by Tuesday -- not a good start to mc running day. Tues evening was again very hot and humid, luckily JB2's madness saved me a little as she'd done a mountain race at the weekend and then spent Monday doing a 14 km run followed by a 90 min climb of Mt Te Aroha!! (and people think I'm crazy ...) - needless to say she wasn't in the mood for much of a hard run Tues night so the two of us stuck together and did an hour's easy run (with plenty of walking breaks) which still felt ridiculously hard. Day off training today (yay!) just trying to decide if I'm up to stairs intervals tomorrow - guess I'll see if I can get out of bed early enough first.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Return to the Road

After being confined to a treadmill for the past 10 days whilst on our holidays it was time to bite the bullet and get back out on the road. I had planned to get up and out early on Friday to avoid the hot weather, but my body had other ideas about sleeping in so that went out the window. Instead I had to go out after work when it was still HOT! I wasn't looking forward to getting back into WHT (world's heaviest trainers) - I'd been running in my Nike free runners while overseas (as they're a nice light option to pack and good for walking around in) which was ok on the treadmill but not enough support for longer road runs so it was back to my proper running shoes. Just did a short (30 min) easy run which was ok and I was glad I had been doing some training while away! Yesterday (Saturday) I went out for a long run (1 hour) which was hard work in the heat (even at 9am) and not only did I have the extra weight of WHT to contend with but also had my water belt on (no way I could go an hour in this weather without water). It was ok- ish, definately got easier as my water bottle got emptier! I had a couple of walking breaks on the second half back and it was a slooooow run, but that's ok, glad to have got out and done it before MC next Tuesday. Pouring with rain today, hope it clears up before tomorrow's public holiday when I have a short fast interval run planned - could do with it being a bit cooler though.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Holiday Work Outs

I'm back! Home from the holiday, back at work and trying to hold on to that sunny  lying around by the pool or sea feeling. Suffice it to say we had a fab time, the resort in Phuket, was, well, mad! It deserves a blog all to itself really, the funniest part is that we got it on a timeshare exchange and the week we own is in a small motel in Turangi which is great for us for skiing, but I can only imagine the shock and horror of someone who owned a week at the Phuket resort if they swapped a week and ended up in Turangi ... they probably wouldn't quite believe it! Just to summarise briefly about the resort (and then I'll shut up about it and get on with the real subject of this blog!)
- Our appartment was roughly the same size as our house (I'm not kidding...)
- The daily room service included the creation of small animals made out of towels (Thai take on origami ?) - I decided to return the favour but not sure mine were quite of the same standard....
- There were 3 swimming pools just in case you couldn't manage the 100 metre walk to the sea
- When you arrived at aforementioned pool(s) the pool staff would bring you towels and iced water, which they topped up regularly, and occasionally bowls of fruit
- The onsite gym was better equipped than the one I'm a member of here in NZ

So on that note (the gym) you'll be delighted to know that the holiday wasn't all about lying on the sun and cooling off in the sea or pool, we did actually get some workouts done too. BIP couldn't afford time off training for hockey masters and I thought it would be rude to make her train alone so we got to the gym 5 days out of our 7 in Phuket and I did a variety of treadmill runs and a few weights. They also had hot/cold plunge pools in the changing rooms which I took advantage of on the last day, but should have checked there was no one else around before jumping into the ice pool the first time as I realised halfway through some rather choice language that I was not alone....!
We also had a gym in the hotel in Bangkok so even got a workout there too. I therefore feel somewhat virtous and it's nice to get back from a holiday not totally fearful about having to get back into running from scratch. Having said that I'm sure next Tuesday's marathon clinic will still be a killer.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hay hay hay!

There's nothing like throwing a few hay bales around to get a total body workout, cardio and all sorts of muscles, some of which you may never know you had. I got home at 4 yesterday to the joyous sight of our hay being baled (weather had been up and down all week so it had been a bit nerve-wracking). BIP was due home at 5.30 and her older brother was also coming over with the car trailer to help out, so I was prepared to do nothing until they all arrived. Until I looked out of the window. Enormous black clouds were brewing and all heading straight for our paddock, uh oh! So I raced out and at 4.30 began loading up our little farm trailer and dumping bails into the hay barn. The small trailer can carry about 7 bales comfortably and our mini four wheeler can manage to tow that quite well. I was on load number 7 when BIP got home and took up position in the hay barn as stacker so I could just dump each load and head back to the paddock. By now the sky was seriously black and loud thunder was rumbling all around. After 10 load BIP's elder brother arrived with the other trailer and between us we got in the last 50 bales in record time, there were 9 left in the paddock when the heavens opened and between us BIP and I managed to balance all of these onto the small trailer and persuade the bike to tow it up to the barn - phew!! It was a realy downpour and I was drenched - as were the dogs who'd been running round their pen barking like fools at all the activity rather than staying dry in their kennel.  So all gathered in in record time, and I'm surprisingly not that sore or stiff today, I suspect it will hit me tomorrow. The good (and somewhat amazing) news is the spa pool is finally in, delivered, installed, filled and (as I'm sitting at my desk typing this) heating up. I don't care if it's not hot enough when I get home, if necessary I will put my wetsuit on to use the darn thing as I'm determined to get at least one use of it before we head off on holiday tomorrow morning! Oh yes, btw I'm off on holiday, so blog posts will be few and far between and mainly along the lines of - spent the day lying on the beach..... you have been warned.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Weekend Activities

Another beautiful sunny weekend, hard to drag myself off the sun lounger, but got a little too much sun Saturday lunch time so thought I'd better get into the shade for the rest of the weekend. Saturday arvo I wasn't feeling too energetic but managed a few free weights in the garden (the shady part!) - although there's not too much I can do with the dodgy shoulder there are still a few things I can work on, and I also gave my abs a bit of a work out too. On Sunday BIP decided she should try a longer run for her stamina training (she's usually doing shorter faster runs) so we went out together for an hour. I'd forgotton how annoying I find it running with BIP, despite not doing anything longer than 40 mins generally, it doesn't matter how much training I've been doing she always pootles alongside me without a care in the world and can generally finish faster - putting me in a really really bad mood! Hmph. I got over it. The amazing news is that the spa pool is finally being delivered this afternoon!!! So then just got to get the electrician to do the wiring and the handover person to come and show us how to do the chemicals and it will be all go. We might actually get to use it before heading off on holiday on Thursday (watch this space....) The only dilemma I have now is weather to leave it up and running for the house-sitter while we're away, which would be the nice thing to do, but only if we get to use it first!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

To Round off the Week, DBT

I've had one of those really frustrating weeks. You know the kind where everyone and everything seems out to thwart you... well that was my week. I decided to vent my frustrations on the treadmill with a lunchtime treat of death by treadmill.It did the trick, I no longer have the energy to vent or rant at anyone and have been reduced to a zen-like state of phlllrrrr-ness (if that's how you spell it). I even had to take the lift back to my office once I'd dragged myself up the hill!! Yes, the lift!! Not just any old lift, the lift of doom which is forever trapping people for hours on end in it's evil clutches. Given the week I've had I'm amazed I made it out so effortlessly. Now I just need to summon up enough energy to get over to the library and bookshop this afternoon .... this could be a long trip.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

It's Rude to Stair

At some point this week I had the great idea of resurrecting Thursday morning stair runs. BIP is on a major fitness drive prior to the start of Master's hockey next week so was keen and hence this morning I had to drag myself out of bed (and it was a drag as I'd already been up once at 4.30 to move a bellowing calf back to the right side of an electric tape - which wasn't even on!) for 40 minutes of evilness. The route is a 5 min easy jog from the gym up the hill to management buildings then 5 repetitions of jog down the hill round the corner up the slope and then up the stairs - first set big strides 2 at a time second set small fast steps, then try and recover along the flat bit and go again. Stairs are uncompromising and quick to pinpoint lack of fitness and particularly lack of strength in the legs. By the second set I was convinced my legs were made of jelly - or more probably mince pies, xmas cake and alcohol! I will leave you to imagine the state of loveliness we were both in by the end, needless to say the 10 min cool down around the playing fields involved several bouts of walking.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Taking it Easy Ain't Easy!

Lynny was back at running last night as was Stumpy, which took our running group number up to 5 which was better than last week's pitiful 3! Lynny was complaining about how little running she'd done over the xmas break and how unfit she was feeling, which in all honesty was music to my ears. However I failed to take into account that when Lynny is feeling unfit she doesn't slow down at all, just takes occasional walking breaks. I realised this after 10 minutes as Stumpy and USA Pete got further and further behind and I was in iminent danger of collapse. A new game plan was needed so I dropped back and ran mainly with Stumpy (USA Pete was still struggling this week) and after each walk break would do a few minutes with L and M. We finished the run with a killer hill, short but nasty, and with just 10 mins to go I forced myself to up the pace and finish in the front group. Ugh, the words 'tomato face' and 'dripping wet' spring to mind - isn't it lovely to run on hot sunny nights?!
Today I opted for a lunch time circuit. Actually it wasn't really a circuit as with my shoulder the way it is (don't get me started on that!) I can only use about 20% of the circuit machines, so I just alternated between seta of weights and 2 mins of cardio (5 on the spin bike, 5 on stepper and 5 on the mini-trampoline) which was quite enough for a lunch time thank you very much. Then I went to the bank and had to restrain myself from slapping the really really annoying clerk who gave me totally incorrect information yesterday and blatently lied about it today - hrmph.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sea Air & Walking = Tired!

We spent the weekend at the beach and had a great time walking, swimming (well, getting into the sea screeching at how cold it was and getting out again), lazing in the sun and generally enjoying ourselves. It was the first time our youngest dog had been to the beach and he was quite bewildered by the sea which kept creeping up on him unexpectedly and getting his feet wet! By the time we got home on Sunday night we were all exhausted, and I didn't get out of bed until gone 9 on Monday morning which is very unusual. I still felt quite wiped out and it was a major effort getting out for a run - not helped by the strong winds that were whipping around the place. At least it wasn't another scorching hot day (I had planned to run at the beach but it was really just too hot) but it was still a struggle. After about 25 mins I had to slow to a walk for the turn around before bucking myself up for the run home. Definitely no speed or distance barriers getting broken, but at least I got out and got it done.Hopefully I'll have a bit more energy this evening for marathon clinic, and hopefully a few more people will show up this week!