Action packed 3 weeks that’s for sure…where to begin…
I’d always heard about the infamous Auckland to Coromandel ferry ride that is about 200km and the various stories involved i.e. people missing the ferry and having to stay in the Coromandel for 3 days until the next ferry, pies and chelsea buns in Thames etc. So three weeks ago, when the weekend weather actually looked fairly reasonable I organised a bunch of us to head out. There were about 11 of us in total (an early bunch and a late bunch) and it was an awesome ride and definitely lived up to expection! First stop was coffee at Clevedon and then after time trialling our way to Thames (thanks Mike for the drag!) we had lunch at a bakery…hmmm delicious bakery food – ginger crunch is the ticket. Weather got pretty cold so after a quick stop at Farmers to pick up cheap-as thermas we were on our way to the Coromandel. I’d heard a lot about the last 3 hills that lead into Coromandel, they were great actually, long, windy and steep, just the way I like it (yes I am slightly crazy!). All of us met up at a great cafe in Coromandel and the last snacks before jumping on the 2hr ferry back to the city…learning of the day, after spending the ferry ride napping and eating, probably not the best to head out for a run, a few ‘head-spinning’ stops later and i was walking home to eat dinner and go to bed
So the training doesn’t stop with a 200km epic ride to Coromandel, the weekend after it was off for a tour of Northland for Auckland Anniversary. Michelle was back in town (after her fantastic Ironman WA performance) and we’d planned a trip that started in Omapere, stopped off in Kai Iwi Lakes and then ended on Steve’s lawn at Mangawhai Heads. Another great trip and such a good way to mix up the long training hours, accidentally had some of the girls come on a 3hr hilly ride when i’d promised them an easy 90min effort…whoops! The ride from Omapere through the Kauri Forest into Kai Iwi is still my favourite ride in New Zealand, especially with a stop off to see Tane Mahuta, god of the forest. Of course food was a highlight of the trip and the fish and chips at Kai Iwi was primo! After a brief stop at cafe ‘blah blah blah’ in Dargaville for eggs on toast, Michelle, Leon and I rode the 6hr trip into Mangawhai Heads. Weather became beautiful on Monday morning which was perfect for our trail run to the top of Mangawhai heads and our swim around the heads – was like swimming in a fish tank…so clear! Dave brought out the skim board and long boards and we spent the rest of the afternoon lazing on the beach and, in my case, getting really really burnt (I swear my whole back has now peeled off).
And finally, to top off the last awesome 3 weeks, I had my Ironman Training Camp down in Taupo over this last weekend. It was fantastic! Admittedly I was pretty shattered most of the time but the people who were there were really inspirational and motivating, including coach Farrell of course. Sue did a great job with the cooking and wrote out the whole menu (breakfasts, lunches and dinners) on the first night…bliss…so much to look forward to. We all arrived Friday night and introduced ourselves, had some great choco-caramel slice and rasberry coconut slice (cooked by my roomie Sam) and then went to bed pretty early to get ready for our first big day Saturday. We got up at the gentlemens hours of 7am and then of course went and got coffee from BodyFuel (best cafe in Taupo) and headed out for our 6hr ride. I was under strict instructions to ride easy and with 200+ other Ironmen athletes out on the course, it was hard not to get carried away and pretend you were racing. But I behaved and rewarded myself by smashing the run afterwards and trying to ‘break’ my coach…don’t think that is possible though, won’t be trying that again!
I was quite nervous about Day2 which was getting up at 5am and doing my longest run ever…3hrs! It actually turned out to be pretty good, a few of us got into a great debate about milk pricing for about an hour which definitely made the time pass pretty quick. After the run it was off into Kinloch to watch the elite sprint racing…was pretty smashed so most of the time was spent under a tree by the chilly bin eating! Thanks for the choco coated jelly beans Indy, they were gold! If a 3hr run and 1hr ride wasn’t enough, we then went out for an ocean swim when we got back to Taupo…was definitely a challenge to get the motivation to keep swimming in chop for an hour, the fun trampoline at Acacia Bay made up for it though :)
Monday was a ‘chilled’ out day and we did lots of fun stuff like floating down from Cherry Park down to the hot pools near the Huka Falls. Floating down a river was awesome and made you feel like such a quick swimmer, we even saw some trout and a fresh water lobster, wicked! That chilled out day was totally needed for what was going to happen the next day…race simulation for 7.5hrs! I felt pretty nervous but once we started it was AWESOME!!! The swim was great, swimming in the lake at sunrise was beautiful, especially being able to see the bottom the whole way out to turnaround. Five hour bike was next and the weather was stunning, perfect for working on the cycling tan lines, have to say that I am getting pretty sick of ensure now though! Finished it all off with a run on the course and I did a little finish chute visualisation…think the girl sitting in the park might have thought I was a bit crazy! Ended the weekend at Bodyfuel eating and eating and eating and drinking some coffee…perfect end to the weekend. Bring on Ironman!!!!!! Big thanks to the Mongrel Squad too (Steve, Sam, Graham, Pauly, Rick, Johnny and Wayne!) and also Sue the great cook – made the weekend
A couple more weeks of massive training and then it’s game time! Getting excited!