What a weekend!

WP_20160120_06_01_17_Pro_LIWhat a weekend!  I watched the live stream and GPS tracking of this years Coast to Coast competitors with a mixture of fear and awe.  The winners of each of the respective races and sections were extremely humbling, the sheer pace they set absolutely staggered me – I’m not sure I’ve ever been able to run/bike that fast let alone do it now, it was truly inspirational to watch. Full details of the winners etc is available on the Coast to Coast website.

It would be easy to get discouraged by these seemingly inhuman feats of speed and endurance, but what really inspired me this weekend was the photos of the rest of the competitors, the average men and women who had decided that this was the year that they were going to test themselves like they’ve never tested themselves before.  Their photos, looking tired but happy along the course, really reaffirmed my decision to compete next year.  The oldest competitor this year has nearly 30 years on me, if he can do it then so can I.  So to all the athletes who competed this year, I salute you and thank you for the inspiration to keep going.  I’ll be going back to look over those photos again and again as the next 12 months roll past to give me a shot of inspiration and keep me on track.

This week training was a little sporadic – there’s no real excuse other than I just didn’t feel up to it.  I was originally planning on a combination of cycling and running but after Wednesday’s run I flagged the run for the rest of the week because my Achilles are still not 100% and I want to nip this in the bud before it sidelines me later in the year.  I did manage a new cycle route on Saturday, the weather was pretty warm but I decided to alter my normal route and go up Te Miro hill.  Te Miro is a slow steady climb over 4.5 kilometers with an elevation gain of 150m and its a long slow (well mine was) grind.  This was my first attempt at this route and I was happy to reach the top/school without stopping.  I did stop at the school and have something to drink and eat, and a well earned rest.

From there I carried on across the top to the hill that I normally run up and came down that hill (which is much steeper than Te Miro)  All in all I climbed a total of 350m on my ride that day and my legs were having a bit of a moan by the end of it, but the euphoria of actually riding a route that I had once thought of as unachieveable was pretty damn good and a great way to finish up a week that had felt a bit hum drum in the training stakes.

Tuesday – Ride 16k

Wednesday – Run 6k

Saturday – Ride 23k

 

Watching the progress live

SetWidth208-CoastToCoast-logo-2016-web

Just a quick post to let everyone know that the Coast to Coast live tracking site is up today and you can watch the progress of this years athletes as they complete the course.  Today its the two day competitors and tomorrow it will be both one and two day events.  Check it out here, you’ll want to make sure it works on your computer because next year you can follow ME!

http://www.coasttocoast.co.nz/2016-race-day/gps-tracking/

 

One Year Today

coast to coast

By the time you read this the 2016 Coast to Coast 2 day race competitors will have started on their 243Km epic journey from the west coast of the South Island of New Zealand to the East Coast, finishing at Sumner Beach in Christchurch.  This is the event that I’m training for and this means that there is only 12 months to get me from couch potato to competitor.

I’ve not said much about the Coast to Coast in the past on this blog for a couple of reasons, firstly when I first started it seemed so far away that it wasn’t that important; and secondly because its actually a bit scary.  But with 12 months to go its probably time to five you a quick overview of what the Coast to Coast actually entails…

SetWidth208-CoastToCoast-logo-2016-web

The Coast to Coast (C2C) started in 1982, Robin Judkins and 11 mates decided to “race” from the west coast to the east coast, combining running, cycling and kayaking to cover the 243Km, this first race was a pretty low key affair and was run over two days.  The first official race was the next year 1983 and 79 competitors turned up, far surpassing the 35 that were expected.  The next two years saw the race grow in size with 130 then 320 entries in 1985, by now the event had become a bit of a global phenomenon.

If the two day race wasn’t difficult enough, in 1987 the one day event “The Longest Day” was introduced, which follows the same course but without the overnight stop half way.  Needless to say I won’t be competing in this category next year.

The race today attracts around 800 competitors, from all around the globe and is a bit of a rite of passage among a certain type of person in New Zealand.  While none of the disciplines and distances in and of themselves are super difficult, chained together they make this a fearsome beast of a race that demands more than just strength and endurance but also determination and a willingness to compete regardless of how your body is feeling.

There are a number of different categories these days including teams, tandems and even corporate and school teams.  I will be competing in the classic two day race with my family as support crew to ensure that all my gear is ready and waiting for me at the transitions and to give me a pep talk to keep me going.

The total race is as follows

ResizedImage794269-C2C-map-basic

Day one finishes at the end of the mountain run.

Good luck to all those competing this weekend and to the organisers, I’ll see you next year.

 

Shawn

It’s all a flutter

WP_20160120_06_00_45_Pro_LI

I’ve been on this little get fit trip since the 13th of September, just after my 44th birthday.  I had been thinking about doing the Coast to Coast for some time, mainly for an excuse to actually get off my butt and do some exercise but also as its always been a race that I’ve looked at and thought that it would be great to do.  It involves a kayak – that pretty much sold it to me.

The getting fit and losing weight though that was really prompted by my cardiologist who said I needed to lose at least 10kg as there had appears to be a correlation between BMI > 28 and Atrial Fibrillation which is something that I have lived with for the last 12 years.  All has been going really well and I’ve not had an episode of arrhythmia since just before my birthday and I have been slowly but steadily losing weight, heading back into the “normal” zone of BMI and back to the weight that I remember myself being.

Well last week that all came crashing down, and my heart once more had an arrhythmia, worse it was brought on by a combination of forgetting to take my medication before my run and (probably) dehydration…

After the previous week of cycling to give my Achilles a rest and my big walk on the Saturday, I decided that as we had the Monday off that I would do a bike ride then a run, which would be the first time I trained two disciplines in one day, back to back.  I started out a little later than I would have liked, hey it was a lovely long weekend Monday, I felt I deserved a rest.  So heading out for the ride at at 9:30 I put in a reasonable time for my usual 17k loop ride, then got home, changed and drank a good litre of water before heading out for a 10k run.  Halfway through the run I noticed that my heart rate was not behaving like it usually did and when I returned home I realised that it was indeed out of normal sinus rhythm.

I’ve been dealing with this for over a decade, it should probably be scary, but its not, its annoying and I will do anything I can to avoid going to the hospital again… So I did my normal routine of things that will put it back into normal rhythm.  THEY ALL FAILED… Ugh…..

So Tuesday morning I headed to the emergency room where eventually I was rebooted and headed home to get on with living again. Now when I say rebooted, I mean just that.  Like a computer, if you turn the heart off momentarily it will restart itself back in a normal rhythm – this is done under light sedation so I don’t actually see myself jump the way they do on TV, its quick effective and I can then get on with normalcy.

Needless to say I didn’t run/ride on the Tuesday or Wednesday, I did get a good hill day in on the Thursday which kept a really good eye on my HR during my run.  On Saturday though I headed out for another run and just crumpled, the couple of niggles that I’ve been working through seemed to have flared up and I just couldn’t seem to make any headway, every time I’d start to run it just seemed like my body was slamming on the brakes.  I headed back home without really even getting a sweat up.

All in all it was a bit of a rubbish week training wise, the heart thing obviously had more of an effect than I thought – both physically but also mentally, but there is only one thing for it and that’s to get back on the horse that threw me, albeit with a renewed sense of caution.  The rest has actually done my aches and pains well though as they’ve had time to heal themselves.

Training last week:

Monday – Bike 16km, Run 10k

Thursday – Run 6k

 

Shawn

 

Ouch, that hurt…

WP_20160121_06_18_17_Pro_LI.jpg

Last week I had a nice reminder that I’m getting on a bit, don’t get me wrong, I’m not old, but the halcyon days of my youth have become a gilded memory and my body is starting to remind me in subtle and not so subtle ways that I can’t quite perform at the levels I remember.

I was really happy with my 10k effort last Saturday and I felt good all things considered so on Monday I went for my normal 40 minute run, but I thought it was time to add the hill back into at least one of my weekly runs.  After all the Coast to Coast mountain run is 33k’s long but involves 800+m of elevation gain, so it makes sense to me to make sure I train on hills to get myself ready for the actual event.

Monday morning I woke up still a little stiff from the weekends long run and my Achilles were still a little tight, but I walked them loose before I began my slow run – 25 minutes up and 15 down – I actually had a good run, although it was well off my flat pace but I was definitely fitter and it was easier than the last time I had tackled the hill. (10 weeks ago just before I started the couch to 5k series – time really does fly when you’re pounding pavements) However on Tuesday morning my Achilles were really stiff and I was not as mobile as I should be.  Luckily I had an appointment with Laura my physio who had already been treating my stiff Achilles.

Laura took one look at me hobbling into her office and pretty much said “no more running for the rest of the week” To be honest, that was the best news out as it had gone beyond stiff and was fast approaching quite sore, I could ride my bike though so that meant that I could still get some training in.  Laura worked some of the tightness out of my calves and Achilles and sent me off with some more exercises to help with my underdeveloped calf muscles. (That’s what happens when you stop walking everywhere and only drive)

So for the rest of the week I had a welcome change of cycling instead of running, I cycled for the same duration as I normally run, and we’re lucky enough to have a 17k loop that takes me just on 40 minutes.  The riding and exercises to work my calves definitely helped my Achilles and by the weekend I had no pain and could blast out the exercises I had been given a lot easier than in the previous weeks.

Finally on Saturday I decided that even if I couldn’t run I was going to get some K’s in, so the dog and I walked up the hill and then continued on for a few more K’s enjoying the views and the sun from the top of Maungakawa.  We walked the majority of it but there was some running once we were on the top and everything was limber and pain free, it felt good to run a few K’s and Zoe (the dog) really enjoyed it as well – I’m going to have to take her out on a few of my morning runs as well.

All in all a good week, even though I was not running for all of it.  The biking was a nice change and a reminder that I also have two other disciplines that I need to work on.

The week that was:

  • Monday – Run 6k
  • Wednesday – Ride 17k
  • Thursday – Ride 17k
  • Saturday – Walk 14k