Getting started – Setting team goals, improving key fitness skills and planning structured trainings.
Having Mother Nature right outside our back doors makes training exciting, fun, and ever changing. All of us have grown up in the Rodney District, on the Wild West coast of Auckland. The winding gravel roads, steep black sand dunes, pounding waves and swaying kauri trees have been our playground as much as any swing set, or patch of grass.
We've had loads of fun the last few weeks training on our home turf, running the infamous Muriwai stairs, surfing, kiting, and doing some longer distance runs and bikes.
Our biggest area we need to work on as a team is developing our navigation skills. Billie and Dani have some knowledge from orienteering in high school, but that's a bit of a distant memory and Andy and Lucy are absolutely clueless when it comes to map reading. We've got some fun ideas for developing our skills and building our confidence when it comes to orientation. Once we've taught ourselves the basics we're amped to put our skills to the test by setting up some treasure hunts and mini navigation races in teams of two in and around woodhilland riverhead Forests.
Training as a team has been a tricky task given how busy we all are in such varied areas of life, work, and location. What makes a huge difference is that we are all members of the same gym, that has a huge range of facilities and locations. It means we can jump into a group fitness class together if we're feeling uninspired, and meet up in whichever place is easiest.
We have some epic plans to do some cool runs together. One of our favourite runs is from Muriwai to Bethells, tricky off-road trails with incredible views of the coast the whole way. We're also very keen to run the pinnacles and the Tongariro crossing together. The challenge will be that Dani and Lucy are living in Melbourne for a few months over summer, so the team will be split in two for a wee while. The great thing about having a team that is so motivated and amped about being fit and achieving goals is we trust each other to stay on track and train hard no matter where in the world we are.
A challenge that Dani and Lucy are facing is learning to run off-road again after injury. Lucy had reconstructive ankle surgery 6 months ago, while Dani has herniated a disc in her lumbar spine.
Lucy: Recovering from surgery has been long, slow, and at times frustrating. Prior to surgery I had fractured my left ankle three times and ruptured all the ligaments six times. Running has always been such an innate part of my existence I could barely imagine surviving 4 months without it. I have spent a lot of time in physio, a lot of time jumping on bosu balls, cushions, and trampolines to develop my propreoception which is the biggest thing I lost with this injury. I am just starting to build up to longer road runs and small off road runs. What has made my recovery a thousand times easier is an amazing physio who understands the dynamics of running, and the science of foot landing and running shoes, as well as helpful and patient training partners.
Andy: RUNNING! GAH! With always having a love/hate relationship with it, this is going to be a challenge to stay motivated to run often to be able to achieve the distance needed. This is frustrating as I enjoy pushing myself outside of my comfort zone, but continue to choose other exercise options. During my own training for this adventure race I will be focusing on running twice a week on flat and off road to gain endurance, I know that the thought of possibly letting my wonderful team down in this area will keep me motivated!
Another area I know will be a challenge is learning SUPing, I have 100% confidence when it comes to water activities and my fitness ability. However learning the techniques to be able to go the distance will be my main challenge. I am super excited to add this onto my weekly trainings and by Dani and Lucy knowing how to help me overcome this challenge will only boost confidence and team unity.
Billie: Ultimately we would have all the hours in the world to train and get out amongst nature unfortunately with work and university this is not the case, I feel that this will be the hardest challenge of all. Learning how to get the balance between work, life and training without overtraining. Fatigue and burnout when training for a sport that involves multidisciplines is all too real, especially when you have a team of extremely gutsy individuals. I have learnt this personally and it truly rears its ugly head at the most inconvenient times. I made this mistake when training for an ironman, rowing and working full time. I can safely say my goal is to embrace the training and all its ugliness, excitement and justenjoy getting out with three extraordinary humans - at the end of the day if we are tired then maybe we do some map reading practice instead of going for that 4th extra mountain bike training for the day.
Dani: At the moment I'm just excited to be training when I can get the chance, it's awesome being able to slowly be getting back into that. I recently hurt my back and from that have been taking things really easy. It's nice to still find a way of maintaining some fitness, starting with some aqua jogging it's good just to try keep the back mobile haha. Training with these ladies is truely inspiring, each an incredible athlete in one way or another its awesome that we get to learn off each other. I'm excited to do some orienteering again should be fun I like treasure hunts. One of my goals will be to get on the mountain bike over summer, I haven't done much and it'll be fun to get out in Melbourne and see some different scenery. It's an adventure and exercise.