Friday, November 18, 2011

Racing on the weekend

About 1100 weekend warriors and a few very keen athletes will be taking on the Auckland waterfront this weekend. I am one of the lucky ones that got an entry and although I am not that serious about it… it is a race, and a race is always about going from start to finish as fast as possible.

What to expect?

Expect a chilly morning, armwarmers will be a common sight. Expect a bit of trouble in the water. We are not allowed to warm up and there will be the odd diesel smell… nothing too worrying, though. A longer-than-normal bike, the course goes through la col de Shore Rd, and la Col de Bastion point. Both are short and sharp and done in less than 2 minutes…it’ll be good to see how much damage they do to the legs.

Who’s racing?

Pretty much everybody and his dog. The race is a qualifier for next year worlds.

How’s the weather?

No one can answer that about Auckland. There will be sun, and a breeze, then rain, the odd crosswind and then some showers and it will be cloudy.

My bet

2:09:45 – a good swim, a decent bike and an average run

Stay tuned for results

Friday, November 11, 2011

Race Report - Pure blonde series race I

The official start of my racing season. I was not looking forward to Tuesday evening, I told Nat I’d be using a BRAZIL race suit that my mate Ro brought from Beijing World Champs.
The suit is, let’s say, a wee to tight for me. Not quite sure if it is because I’ve grown wider or because it is just not my size, but I managed to wear it with some dignity (note, it is also a bit see through)

(photo coming soon, stay tuned)

Anyway, as for the racing itself, it was good NZ conditions, with choppy seas and grey clouds all over. Nothing too fancy, but nothing too hot either, which is what matters. 1km swim and 4km run. 
The field was small… so I knew it was going to be between three or four of us, coach Dan, a young pro German athlete and a couple of other faces. While I was thinking that the race briefing went on. 
It turns out they had changed the course from a 2 lap triangle to a 2 lap oval kind of shape. I was to pay later for it. 
Men and women started together and 50m in I was in third, behind Dan and ze german. Then I was in second and all of a sudden someone came on my right, he seemed quite strong so I took his feet. We turned around the 250mark and I was on second behind the fast feet. As I was picking the good lines to the beach I saw fast feet and the others keep going straight. I continued on my own and was the first to the beach. When I got up I heard that I was doing it wrong!!!!!!
Yeah!!! Wrong!!!
I swore a bit and saw how the other guys had over 50m advantage over me… I rounded the first buoy in 5th and got off the water in 4th, about 1min behind the leader. On my shoes I went, and tried my best to catch whoever I could. I gained a few seconds on the guy ahead, then passed him and then I could see he back of the second guy. At the turnaround (it’s two 2km laps) I was 40 and 20 seconds behind. I tried for about another 1.2km and the gap was not getting any smaller, so I went to cruise control and finished, 25 seconds behind the leader,  my mate Nick Carter, who was as surprised as everybody else of having won his first race. Congrats to him, he’s worked his a#$ off this winter, and it looks like it’s paying off. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Race Report - Auckland Marathon

As I continue with my tradition of entering races at the last minute, there was no official uncorking of the 2011/2012 racing calendar. Nat, on the other hand, had entered the Auckland Half over six months ago.

10 days out from race day my buddy Marie sent a couple of us an email that there had been people from her corporate team dropping and there were a few openings. We could not change names, but it was a good opportunity to do a marathon from the first time.

Race report
4am - waky waky... porridge, toast, coffee, look after Nat.
5am - meet mates for ride to the start.
5:45am - qeues to the portaloos are too big... better hold on.
Warm up is overrated, better to skip it as well.
6:10am - Start... thinking that it's gonna be over in less than 4 hours.
4km mark - first aid station I need a loo.
8km eat one lolly
11km mark - loo stop and aid station. packs start to form
16km mark - run over the harbour bridge, njoy the view, start chatting with pack-mates. Eat my OSM.
21km mark - I'm 10min ahead of schedule... pack mates reckon we're all good for a 3:15. Lollies
24km mark - headwind for the next 8km... hide behind packmates and do little work... they know it's my first time.
28km mark - COKE!
32km mark - turn to a light tail wind.  Run out of lollies
34km mark - packmates fading, I keep foot on. start passing lots of people
38km mark - stride changes... more coke... tired
40km mark - tri buddy Liz is on aid station, say hello, ask her how was Kona, more coke.
Finish - good form, decent sprint, gutted that I went over the :59. official time 3:11:04.

The good: perfect splits for each half marathon. good form and controlled HR. Tried running with merino top and it works really well.
The bad: it is long and boring : ), change in stride was a bit worrying. should have better nutrition plan.

I'll be stoked if I can do similar time in Taupo on March 3rd.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The triathlete cook

On today's edition I'm sharing this kick ass cookie recipe that I found somewhere.
The good: they have no butter and no flour and they taste just awesome
The bad: they don't last long... only two or three days

What do you need?
1 can of canellini or butter beans (in brine, not in oil or other condiment)
1 cup of shredded coconut
1/2 cup of nuts
1/2 cup of dried fruits
3 spoonfulls of maple syrup
1/2 cup of coffee cryrstals
3 cups of oats
vanilla essence or cinnamon or similar

How do you do them?
mash the beans
add the syrum and sugar and vanilla essence and mix
add the oats and fruits and mix again
add the nuts and mix again

Bake for 15min or until golden


As usual, once you master the basics you can add or take ingredients at your pleasure, my favourite is adding one or two eggs for a bit of protein.

Among the benefits are the good fats and minerals of coconut the good fats and minerals of nuts and the canellini beans. Although these benefits are all good, the main driver for me is that I know for sure what I am eating, because I made it myself.
The second driver is that I also know what I am not eating (a buttery cookie or a highly processed carb bar).

Finally, they are easy on the stomach, I've used them on rides and on tempo runs and so far have had no trouble.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A seamless comeback

It was a nice long break from blogging. But it was just that… the training and rest of the life keep ticking along.

A lot has happened… my mate Ro got a bronze medal at the ITU oly distance world champs in Beijing, France lost the Rugby World cup, a lot of oil from a stranded ship was washed ashore one of my favourite bodyboarding spots and I got officially one year older.

As it is tradition, I celebrated my b-day a few weeks after the event, and had a nice dinner with friends from all over. There was ham on the bone and plenty of red and white and beer.

Training wise it has been quite a long way coming and a few milestones are the completion of my first Marathon and the first sunburn marks from cycling without sunscreen. (silly boy is used to go out at 5am and back before midday, different story when you leave at 9am)

Spring is finally showing in NZ and the season kickstarted with a few cool events, one of them was the Auckland Marathon and half marathon, then there’s the Pure Blonde series nest Tuesday and the Auckland World Cup race on 20 November. I may do the last one, but under someone else’s name because the race organizers are not capable of doing a name transfer.

Which brings me to the first rant,

Why is it so hard for a race organizer to change the name of someone that entered a race to someone else that is doing it on that person’s behalf? It is understandable that they have to comply with health and safety regulations and other admin stuff, but then again, they have taken our money weeks if not months in advanced leaving us with no much choice than giving the money away in case of an unexpected incident. Adidas charges you 25 bucks to change the name of a registered athlete. Auckland doesn’t even allows that. Ironman won’t do it either. Those races can afford to be nasty, but the small guys will keep trying to get away.
Stay tuned for my power cookie recipe!