It may look like I have been slacking on posting, but we have been living it up. It is starting to look like summer here! We don't have to put up with the massive amount of snow and cold weather you are getting back in the States at the moment. We are spending our time outdoors and some at the beach.
Recently, I've received my Advanced Open Water diving cert from Performance Diver in Takapuna. Consisted of 5 adventure dives that took place at Poor Knights, Taupo, and Lake Pupuke. Beth is working on hers, but the lake dive was a little too cold for her. We are going diving the weekend of the 5th as some lucky devil won a trip from Air New Zealand. Typically that person is me, but this time it was Beth. She won airfare, lodging, a sailing experience with NZ Olympic Silver Medalists, a day of diving at Poor Knights, a car hire, and a few meals for four. We would have liked to have taken our friends Shiv and Katherine, but they are heading to India. So I got to ask some of my diving friends to come with. So Helen (who is celebrating her b-day on the 4th, the first day of the trip) and James will be joining us.
I'm still training for my big race in January, but I've had a 6 week set back as I managed to pull a muscle in my butt while out on a 2 hour run. This took a long time to heal, but I still managed to get some riding in. I headed down to Taupo a couple weekends to ride the course as well as a long road ride in Tauranga. On the 2nd ride in Taupo, while riding the K2K, I had the pleasant experience of breaking a spoke and taco-ing my wheel on a fast descent. I rode to the bottom of the hill to tell my mates what happened and that I would be heading back in to Taupo for a replacement. I managed to find the only 26" wheel at the shop that luckily already had the rotor, tube, and tire installed for a reasonable price. I then drove back out to the trail head and waited for my friends to get back before joining them on the W2K track. The next day we rode part of the Huka Challenge course, a 85km mtb race I'll be doing this Thanksgiving weekend. So in preparation, I've hit a lot of places around Auckland to mtb except Woodhill. Its on my list of places to go, but I've just managed not to make it out there yet. All in preparation for the upcoming Mountain Man Race.
Last weekend, Beth and I went to Queenstown for a marathon, or what I would like to call a long training day. Once again its preparation for the upcoming race. Obviously this is my longest run since the last marathon, but its also drastically longer than any of my long runs in the past couple months. I managed to be able to run without extreme pain only a couple weeks ago. Having pulled my glute, I was unable to run basically any distance without crippling pain. So I had physio, acupuncture, and a couple massages to help rid myself of the pain. I ended up doing a lot of exercises to help strengthen the area as well. So the last couple weeks, I started off doing a couple 3ks, a 5k, a 7k, and an 11k before strapping on my pack for the 5 hours of fun. Whats in my pack you ask? Just the compulsory gear: full thermals, hat, gloves, first aid kit, emergency blanket, head lamp, rain jacket, 2 litters of water, 8 oz flask of Perpetuem, 6 gels, 3 sachets of baby food, a pill bottle of Endurolytes, a roll of quick-eze, wind vest, and wool arm sleeves, cycle cap, and sunglasses, and my phone. I might have left something out, but regardless my pack wasn't light. Beth has been having some sciatic nerve pain in the last couple weeks and tried to change her event to a shorter distance, but no luck. So she started with me knowing that she would drop at some point and get picked up by the SAG wagon. We got out to the start line early as we were shuttled out of Queenstown by the event organizers between 5:45 and 6:45 for an 8:15 start. It was also a chilly and wet morning. The rain drizzled down and left us chilled before even toeing the line. We both had our rain jackets as we both had packs. Beth planned on doing a half with walking and would wear her jacket to keep her warm. We queued up in the 5hr group and crossed the mat a couple minutes after the initial horn sounded. Beth made it about 5km and then experienced a very sharp and localized pain above her ankle. This was an acute pain that wasn't caused by trauma, but it forced us to walk. (Still don't know what happened, even though we sat in the ER for about 5 hrs on Sunday.) We walked to the next aid station, roughly 2kms away, where she was able to grab a van ride back to Queenstown. I continued on working on my strategy of running 15, walking 1 where I would eat some food and drink some water each time. I would then consume 2 endurolyte pills every hr. I wasn't looking to break my old time, I was concentrating on finishing the race with a lot of energy still in the tank knowing that my next big run will be a 50km trail run with 900m of elevation gain. At the 33km mark I was extremely glad I had the extra gear I had been shuttling around. A strong wind popped up over the lake and smacked you in the face with a bitter chill and a few minutes later the skies opened up for a 2nd time. I managed to be fairly comfortable with my rain jacket, gloves, and sleeves on, but I kind of felt sorry for the people running in tank tops. I could tell they were cold as their skin was bright pink with exposure. I did see a few people who opted for the the trash bag poncho to keep a little warm. Oh well, I find it better to be over prepared rather than not prepared at all. After the race, I quickly showered and we caught a flight back home. I was greeted with 2 text messages and a voice mail. I had the feeling that my time wasn't recorded and they were checking to see if I was ok.
Yup, I was correct. This happened to us a few weeks prior at the 1st race of the State Beach Swim Series. Beth and I are both doing the 1.5km race at Takapuna again this year, but we opted for the permanent timing chips as we'll be doing at least 12 races this season. Being the first race of the year, some of the kinks weren't worked out and we were recorded entering the water, but not exiting. So we got an email asking if we remember our times. Needless to say, both weeks so far someone has been faster than the other.
The weekend before Queenstown, I happened to find a local 6 hour adventure race and managed to put together a team, the ninja tortoises. This comprised of a former co-worker and 2 people I met from 2 different meetup groups. First is Banu, former co-worker who had never ridden a mountain bike. Next is Paula, a kiwi lass who I met mtb at the RAT. Then there is Peter, who I met at a 10k run who happens to be from Massachusetts. None of us have ever done one of these before, but I know a guy from my days at TCDC that has done heaps of them. So I asked if he wouldn't mind getting together and just giving us some ideas as what to expect. So we met up at a little tapas bar and chatted for a couple hours. We left the bar both excited and nervous. We were told the race location the week of the race, so there was little chance to explore the area, so hello GoogleMaps. We weren't given the format until an hour before, we knew there was going to be a water activity, mountain biking, and run/walking while doing both check points and mystery activities. With Rod's guidance, we took roles that would divide the work out amongst ourselves. Banu and Peter were navigation, route planning. Peter and I did spotting for check points. I also mothered the group asking about feelings, ensured food and water consumption ( I like to eat, ok) as well as keeping our answers/score card. Paula was keeper of the check point descriptions and Banu was the keeper of the mystery activities. We had a lot of fun running around both Omana and Duder Regional Parks and we got a heap of take aways. We won 2 spot prizes and took 1st for our division. We are looking forward to entering our next event and already started talking what we could do to improve. This day alone could be an entire post and it might. I just have to find time to do it.