We're still hacking out our trainings from across the Tasman ocean from each other. It's coming up to that time of the year where it seems every sports event we're involved in happens all at the same time. We're training harder than even and pushing ourselves and our fitness which is otherwise amazing and exhausting.
We have a wild few weeks coming up involving half marathons, half iron mans, off-road duathlons, rowing nationals, not to mention other fun things like the start of the new uni semester, new employment opportunities, and moving houses.
With all this going on we're realising the importance of self love, self care, and REST.
Bills probably learnt this the hard way!:
The last two months in Billlie land have consisted of four things; sleep, eat, work and train this allowed me a new sense of respect for the sleep and eat aspect as I have been living off 4-5 hours sleep a night to fit in morning and evening trainings and eating my body weight 5 times over a day (yum!) The mornings have consisted of either; cycling, rowing or swimming whilst the night sessions have been dedicated to getting those sweet gains in the gym and again on the bike! A huge learning curve has been the discovery of a simple thing called "the rest day" and the pretty average crappy consequences of what happens if you ignore this wee gem! Good old Bills found out the hard way and ended up feeling and looking pretty dusty and bedraggled at a rowing carnival after an intense 2 day multi sport race in the mountains in Wanaka and then rolling straight into a week of training...key learning from this...when the quads are gone they are gone and the only way to get them back into your good books is to give them that crucial rest day they deserve! So learnings aside the last 2 months have seen huge improvements in strength, cycle and run fitness and of course and most importantly my ability to shovel down 5 courses in 25 seconds. So looking forward to the last 6 week push which I am sure will be filled with awesome laughs, tight quads, scoarched shoulders, full bellies and of course good times with awesome teammates!
Over the past month or two training has been on an all time high… WHICH I LOVE!! I’ve found that every training or prep I have done for this event has been pushing me further and further outside my little bubble that I tend to stuck in.
Firsts things first, Biking.
I went on my first proper mountain biking adventure a few weeks ago in Woodhill Forest, and I have a newfound respect for pro mountain bikers, or any in general. By the end I was sweating like no tomorrow, my quads were on fire, and I was VERY hungry. I also learnt that its all fun and games until the hill you just came zooming down you must somehow get back up… hence ‘quads on fire’. But overall I’m one very happy girl.
Along with my mountain biking adventures I have taken up training to be Les Mills SPRINT instructor, which is on a stationary bike. This has pushed my training to a whole new level physically, mentally and emotionally. Its pushed me to go harder for longer, encouraged me to push that little bit more and motivated me to keep trying. Plus my mentor knows a thing or two about bikes so she is giving me pointers for great technique, which will help after 10+ hours of adventure racing!
Last but not least, rowing. It has been insane with numerous 5am trainings, ergs (rowing machine) and every weekend travelling to awesome beaches around New Zealand racing against amazing athletes. This has lead me to push myself beyond my limits in all aspects of my training, this might be a bit of my competitive nature coming through.
I've been learning that preparation is definitely my biggest downfall. I wake up and say to myself “yeah sweet I'll go for a big bike ride today,” and roll out the door. Two hours later Im 40kms away from my house trying to read the map on my phone and counting the coins in the bottom of my backpack to see if I have amount money to buy a snack. Do not recommend. I'm still learning that apparently you have to plan for things and also if you travel in one direction - at some point you do have to account for making your way home. I'm also terrible at eating before I train. I hate it! I feel sludgy and weighed down and slow! So I have been working on timing my meals more productively and also inventing recipes for food that is going to burn off slowly over the day without making me feel full. Eggs, oats, and coconut yoghurt have been my go to staples the last wee while. I'm still not too skilled on the map reading front, and stupidly forgot to get my flat mate who has a degree in geography to teach me a thing or two before he moved out. Oops. The amount my running fitness has improved in the last few months is awesome considering I've been a tad half hearted on the training front and a tad while hearted on the ice cream front. I'm starting to incorporate intervals into my longer runs, as Melbourne doesn't actually have any hills, so you don't get the same spikes in heart rate and changes in muscle use that you do when in Auckland. I'm looking forward to coming home and having my old playground back and really smashing out my fitness til then.
Has been training hard too, however between work, study and training hasn't had a chance to sit down and breathe, let alone write. She's on the water almost every day enjoying the sun and getting mad fit and skilled on the paddle boarding front. We're excited for her to teach us a thing or two about how to make our stand up paddling too notch when she has a chance. The last couple of months have been some of the most challenging months for myself EVER in fitness, not as much physically but mentally I have been on struggle street. It’s that sucker called motivation that’s disappeared into sweet thin air and taken away my drive to do the things that I know I love, I love to train and I love to train hard, there’s something so rewarding about bettering yourself every day, whether that means you eat one less choc thin than usual or can finally touch your toes haha. I have since returning to the motherland NZ gotten some of that back, every time I go away I forget how amazing NZ is! She is so beautiful and we have so many playgrounds in every direction. One of my favourite trainings at the moment is taking the dog for a run along the beach and around the rocks trying to get some more off road training in, whilst also getting in those K’s on the road bike. This next 4 week push is going to be a hard and good one! I cant wait to keep getting out in the sunshine, or rain haha and just smash it!
Overall our training is constantly pushing us outside our comfort zones. We all are working on finding a balance between pushing ourselves, and pushing too hard, resting, and slacking, and making sure we have the fuel in us to keep us at our best.
Over the next few weeks we'll be working on sussing out the very important technical aspects of our team approach. This will include figuring out our nutrition for race weekend, considering what tools or other things well need to carry with us, sourcing all our gear, and sussing our transport down to the event.
Thanks for reading and we’ll check in with y'all in a month.
The Alterno Adventure Squad