Saturday, November 30, 2013

Race Photos and DOMS

My quads were still ouchy-ouchy five days after my race last Saturday!  I have previously experienced DOMS for a couple of days, but never that long!  Consequently Tuesday's speedwork was abandoned, and I did an easy 5km on Wednesday to try and ease back into things.

I guess my quads took a bit of a hammering on the downhills.  In training I usually run downhills quite carefully as I'm a bit scared of stressing my ITB, so maybe I should try a bit harder in future so my muscles are better prepared.

This one makes my quads twinge just looking at it!
I bought some race photos - they were only $10 for the lot, and bloggers need photos!  Plus the photographer was friendly and fun and I felt like supporting him - even if he did capture me walking!

It is also really nice to look back on your photos later and remember the event, so you know not to enter again to enter the longer event next year.

While I was waiting in the portaloo queue on Saturday, I was approached by the lady behind me who was interested in my hydration pack.  I had fun showing her all the pockets and things and how it didn't jiggle or chafe - I hope I didn't sound like a sales rep!  Anyway it got me inspired so watch out for a review of it soon!

What is the longest time you've had Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness for?
Do you make friends in the portaloo queue too?!

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Speight's Gut Buster, I mean Speight's West Coaster

On Saturday I ran the Speight's West Coaster 13km adventure run.  Ooops, I tell a lie - I ran some of it and walked an awful lot of it too!  The first three kilometres were an uphill climb, but that was just the beginning...

Nearing the top of the first climb, but still a long way to go!
Do you want to see what condition I'm in at 2.5km?  Just click play ;)

The race has a total elevation gain of 649m - most of this is in two 230m hill climbs as you can see by the pace/elevation chart below:

You can also see by this chart that I do not excel at uphill running, but I make up for it on the downhills.  This results in a continuous game of leapfrog with the more consistently paced runners out there.  I am sure they got sick of my yo-yo race tactics!

After the first major climb, we passed the drink station at 4km and then out onto Razorback Ridge - an exposed ridgeline track that winded it's way towards the Tasman Sea:

Razorback Ridge
It was hot out there, but worth it for the awesome views:

The view from Razorback Ridge down to event base
See those rocks jutting into the sea?  That's where Steven and Luke went exploring while I ran, and they took this photo with Razorback Ridge in the far distance.

Look carefully and you can see the 6km runners/walkers
 From the end of the ridge we plunged steeply downhill into a valley - I enjoyed this bit and gained on a few people with some risky fancy footwork.  Then we came to a very steep, unrunnable climb.  Even walking up was a struggle, and I stopped halfway with another girl to let my heart have a little rest!  At the top practically everyone stopped for a rest, and walked the next kilometre uphill to the 8km drink station.  For most of us, walking uphill was just as quick as running uphill, and consumed a lot less energy.

Random snap during a much needed breather
After this final big climb the course undulates along the hill top for a while.  I undulated too - running and walking depending on whether we were going up or down.  Eventually I realised we were trending downhill and my spirits lifted - finally I felt like I could get some running action in!

See that grassy meadow in the very first photo?  I took the opportunity to up my pace here and overtook about 5 runners.  I passed a few others in the forest where I somehow reacquired the ability to run uphill (albeit in small doses!)

After passing the course photographer, I suddenly found myself on my own and wondered if I had gone off trail, but the track was fairly obvious so I decided I couldn't have.  I really enjoyed this part which was several downhill switchbacks on a sandy track - it was so soft and you could bound downhill without worrying about falling and hurting yourself - that would have been like landing on a pillow.  Eventually I saw some runners ahead which made me happy because I had gained ground, and it also confirmed I wasn't off course!

We entered the forest for the final kilometre - this is where the 6km event joins our course and I remember this bit from last year, however this year it felt shorter and easier.  It is a sandy track with little traction bar a few pine needles, not really what you want at the end of a race.  But finally it turns into a winding downhill gravel road which you can speed down - as long as you watch that you don't skid on the loose gravel, or trip on the odd rock.  Although I felt like I was sprinting as fast as I could down here, my son managed to capture this shot which looks like I am jogging:

The camera never lies...
I finished in 1:43:20, which was 16/34 in my age group, and 49/108 overall.
I really am the perfect example of a mid-pack runner ;)

I think this was one of the toughest runs I've done, but I never once thought 'why the heck am I doing this' during the race.  There was a great camaraderie amongst the runners, and in some ways the periods of walking helped here as we could chat and laugh a bit together.  I will no doubt do it again next year, and hopefully by then I will have incorporated more hills into my training!

Did you race this weekend?  Tell me about it!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Post Race.....Depression?

After running my first half marathon I planned to take a week off running and have a good rest.  As much as I love running, I welcomed a rest week and thoroughly enjoyed getting home from work and pottering around home doing not-much for a change.  I think I needed it.

I felt on a real high for a couple of days after the race - telling anyone and everyone who was interested, and showing them photos (well, they seemed interested...), barely noticing my tired quads (a bit wobbly walking downstairs...), and feeling elated with my accomplishment (I ran all the way!). I was really happy with my time and know I can improve from here.

My Runner's World pace band that I got at the expo - they weren't too far off  with my time!
I wore it but covered it up until the final kilometres, then it was so stuck to my skin I couldn't read it!

On day three I got the blues.  Nothing serious - I was just tired, unmotivated, housework didn't get done, getting out of bed was hard, and working all day (not to mention teaching evening classes 2 nights per week) seemed a chore when it usually isn't.  Is this high/low feeling a common thing after a goal race?

On Saturday morning I found my running shoes still lying in the corner of the lounge where I had taken them off on race day.  On Sunday I finally put them on.  And I went out for an easy 5km.

I thought about my race, I thought about my local run-blogging friends who also raced (you awesome girls!), I thought about all the inspiration and encouragement I had from the running blog community around the world (thanks my friends!).  I even got a little emotional...

And I thought about how every run I had been on since my injury was geared towards this half marathon, and suddenly I understood the emptiness.

So I thought about some new goals.  I thought about the future trail races I wanted to do, and a little thrill ran through my body just thinking about the adventures to come.  I found myself leaving the pavement and racing off down a gravelly root-laden track towards Western Springs.  At the bottom I did a U-turn and ran back up the track, then flew down again for the sheer joy.

I missed you running, even if it was only for a week.

How do you feel after a goal race - do you get highs and lows?
Do you need another race to focus on?
Is post-race depression a thing?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Yesterday I ran my First Half!

The alarm went off at 4:00am, and I hopped out of bed promptly before I could fall asleep again.  My aim was to catch the 5:15 ferry.  If I didn't have to wash my hair I could have slept in to 4:30, but for me not washing my hair is like not brushing my teeth and I couldn't possibly have run in that condition. Worth getting up earlier for.  Even if I was going to wash it again straight afterwards.

I was hoping to meet Jody or some other runbloggers at the ferry terminal, but arrived a minute late at 5:16 and boarded the next one instead.  Fifteen mins later at Devonport I thought I'd make a quick trip to the portaloo before trying to find either my cousin or Rachel (or both) somewhere in the marathon start and wish them luck.  Well I spent the next 3/4 hour in the toilet queue listening to the marathon start countdown instead - watching an awesome sunrise over the harbour mind you...

We had gear bags to dump our overlayers and things in before the start, so I dropped my stuff off and headed to the start line with 20 mins to go.  Lining up just behind the 2:00 mark I soaked up the atmosphere, retied my shoelaces to the perfect tension, retied my ponytail to the perfect tension, velcroed my cap to the perfect tension - I suppose this must be my way of releasing tension!  A couple of minutes to go and I noticed another woman nearby with a Nike Sportwatch and as I was pondering how popular they were I saw her screen all connected and ready to go - reminding me I had better do the same!

I thought the line moved forwards really quickly, probably because it was organised by time, and I reached the actual start line in 3-4 mins. I took the advice of Mr Runner's World's at the expo to not go out too fast.  Even though you already know this and read it in every running mag/book 1000 times over, being told eyeball to eyeball by an experienced marathoner made a real impression, and his words rang in my head continuously during the first few kilometres.

It takes me a while to warm up anyway, and those first few hills do a good job of it!  I concentrated on my breathing and tried to take advantage of gravity on the downhills. At drink stations I took just water - running to the last stand and grabbing the last cup, pulling off to the side, gulping a couple of shots, and moving on. I took a GU Espresso Love gel around 8km as we approached the 9km drink station, and the Peanut Butter later somewhere around the bridge, can't remember where exactly!

 I quite enjoyed the run down the Northern Busway and then onto the motorway towards the harbour bridge (9-14km).  I settled into a rhythm and occasionally glancing at my pace I realised I was running at 5:47 which is supposedly my McMillan Calculator half marathon pace that I thought I could never do.  Although it felt good I decided to go a bit slower until the bridge to make sure I didn't burn out too soon.

I had settled in behind a lovely lady who I had chatted to a bit, she had a really consistent-effort pace and I credit her for helping me run up the bridge relatively painlessly.  We met again at Shelley Beach Road (another uphill) and then I didn't see her again, I'm not sure if she finished in front of or behind me.  (Until the photos were released - and there we are running together up that hill!)

Anyway, I kept telling myself that although the finish line looks like it is just over there, it is actually 5km away, ie only 3/4 of this race is yet done.  So I sped up!  I told myself that this is just like my regular easy 5km route and tried to forget the miles I had already done.

I had worn my little handheld Nike drink bottle just in case I felt thirsty between drink stations.  Being thirsty makes me run bad, so thought it was worth carrying as you practically don't notice it.  As it turns out I needed the occasional sip, and I tossed the empty bottle to Steven as I ran past him at 18.5km - my son captured this funny shot:

Steven gives me the thumbs up while I toss my water bottle at him!
I ran this last 5km in little surges and recoveries - running well when I felt up to it, and slowing down a bit when I thought I was pushing too hard.  I started to overtake a few people (those ones who started out too fast!) and got excited about the finish.  I felt strong and ran faster.  Eventually I turned the last corner into Fanshawe Street and I felt like I passed lots of people in the finishing straight (had to squeeze past a couple of slow-pokes!) and crossed the line in:

Apparently my camera team had a great finishing line shot lined up, but the phone ran out of battery there and then!

I've just noticed that the race photos are up now - have a look! (click 2013 photos, my bib# is 9410)
There are some goodies - shall I get some, which ones?

So I pretty much ran my A goal.  I had in mind a range of 2:10 (very happy) to 2:20 (not so happy), but being my first half I didn't really know what to expect.  So here I am afterwards looking very happy:

I thought my Powerade didn't last long, this is why...!
More things I am happy about:

  • Having a wonderful family who didn't mind getting up at 5am to drop me at the ferry terminal, waiting around the backstreets of Victoria Park for me to run past and throw a water bottle at them, and still wait at the finish line for me!
  • And then buy me champagne to celebrate my first half!
  • That I did it!
  • I ran my fastest 10km!
  • I ran my fastest 5km!
  • I felt so good at the end, I know I can attempt a faster pace next time!
  • I now have a PB to beat!  (Now, when's the next half marathon on around here...!)
(PS - excuse all the exclamation marks, I am sure there is a directly proportional relationship between the use of exclamation marks and a runner's high!!!!!)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

I Think I'm Ready

Today I headed on down to the Viaduct Events Centre to pick up my race pack - it was kind of exciting!

I entered endless competitions, and picked up endless brochures, got a copy of a Runners World that I had missed and a pace band for 2:10 which I think is a bit fast for me.  I found my name on the lead vehicle (fourth row right at the bottom) and took a photo, as you do:

The race T-shirts are quite nice this year - I will definitely wear it.

But I think my awesomeist acquisition at the expo was a pair of Dual jandals from the wonderful guys at Total Sport:

I'm really looking forward to running their Speight's West Coaster in three weeks time, and the Dual in March!

After the expo I met with four awesome local running bloggers for lunch:

Rachel from Curious Runner Girl
Michelle from Run Kiwi Run!
Vera from Super Generic Girl
Jody from Kreachr's Little Corner
It was so nice to meet all you lovely ladies - this is going to be an annual event, right?!

Afterwards I spent a lazy afternoon at home assembling my gear and trying to decide what time to aim for.  I think it is 2:15, but let's see what the morning brings.  I hope I will sleep, as there are fireworks going off all around us tonight!

 I think I'm ready.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Longest Run - Done!

Last weekend I ran the longest run in my half marathon training - 18 kilometres.  It was actually 17.75, but I backtracked and ran around a little bit more just to get this number on my watch!

Longest run EVER!
I decided to do a bit of a dress rehearsal for the race.  I wore exactly what I plan to wear on the day and all went well.  I did buy a new pair of Mizuno Wave Rider 16's and decided to break them in on my longest run ever, which may have been unwise but two weeks out from the big day they urgently needed breaking in.  They were fine, no blisters or anything, I love my Wave Riders.

My Thorlo Experia socks were a bit sweaty though.  They are great for winter running but I might keep looking for the perfect summer-humid-climate running sock.  Who ever knew socks could be so important!  Even though I don't plan on wearing it on the day, I also trialed my newest most exciting running acquisition - a hydration pack (more on that later).

Another part of my dress rehearsal was to run the first half of the course.  This involved catching the ferry over to the race start at Devonport:

See you in a couple of hours Auckland City!
I had planned to get up early to emulate race day, but after mucking around a bit and then just missing a ferry and waiting around for half an hour for the next one, I finally set off running around 9am.  Oh well, I'll make sure I get there early on race day!

We drove this part of the course the weekend prior, and I was a little nervous about the hills.  They must look bigger from a car, or maybe I had built them up into something they weren't, because they were easier to run than I expected and I felt a lot happier in my mind having conquered them.

My favourite spot was Narrow Neck Beach, where some kids were getting ready to go out sailing at one end:

and a man was walking his dog at the other, except I missed the dog from the shot...

The course winds it's way to Takapuna then through the back streets to the 9km mark where it turns onto the motorway - this is where I turned around and ran back the way I came:

I took three gels around 5km, 9km and 14km.  Not sure if I'll take that many on the day, but my stomach handled them fine so I know that I can if I need to.  Vanilla Bean was a bit sweet - nothing surpasses my faves Espresso Love and Peanut Butter!

This is only my fourth or so run over 13-14km, and one thing I notice is how in the zone you get with the repetition of running, especially on roads where your pace is more consistent.  My knees felt a bit tired for the last couple of kilometres, but I kept plodding along, knowing that if I stopped I might not get started again!

It is a big confidence builder running 18km, because now I know for sure I can run a mere 3km further and make it 21km.  Race day - bring it!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Half Marathon Nerves

My first half marathon is in 2 weeks time.  I'm starting to get nervous.  Here is a small sample of what has been crossing my mind the last week:

Can I even run that far?  My longest run so far is 16km and tomorrow I am scheduled to run 18km, so I'll see how that goes...

Will my verging-on-dodgy leg behave for that distance? I still get niggles in my IT band/vastus lateralis and foam roll regularly, but it is not getting worse. Yet.

How far apart are the water stops?  Just checked the website and they are at 4, 8, 11, 16 and 19km, and include water and Powerade.

What am I going to fuel with during the run? GU gels? (faves are Espresso Love and Peanut Butter)  Dried apricots/dates?  My stomach handles Powerade, but my head tells me that bright blue stuff is just wrong.

How often and when?  I took 2 gels last weekend, and will try 3 tomorrow merely to see if I can stomach it, no idea how many to take on the day.  What do you do?

Will those North Shore hills at the beginning tire me out?  We were over in Devonport last weekend so I made hubby drive the first part of the course - there are a few hills that made me feel not so great.  I worry.

Will I cope climbing the Auckland Harbour Bridge towards the end?  I am mentally prepared for this ('s only 33m...) but I think I'm going to be tired by then and 33 might feel like 333.

Will I be able to run all the way or will I have to stop and walk?  Depends on those hills, and my long run tomorrow - if I can run 18km, I can do 21.1km

Should I walk through the water stops? If they are uphill, probably yes!

What should I have for breakfast, and when?  Wholegrain oats and blueberries?  With the race starting at 7am, I need to eat it by 5:30am

What shall I eat for dinner the day before?  Meb K has spaghetti and meatballs, so I might try that too!

And lunch? Something healthy and carbolicious - suggestions?

What time do I have to catch the ferry to Devonport?  Just got an email this week saying get there early - a lot of runners arrived at once for the later ferries and not all could be ferried...  that would ruin the day.

What time do I have to leave home? 5am?

Or wake up? 4:30am?

Or go to bed? 6:30pm?

What am I going to wear?  I'm really fussy about what I wear - if it is uncomfortable or hot it annoys me.  So far it is my Lululemon black pace-setter skirt, Adidas blue racer back top, Nike cap, Under Armour Armour Bra, Nike SportWatch, Experia socks, Mizuno Wave Rider 16's.... - these are my faves so far.

Will it be hot or cold, dry or raining, calm or windy? Hubby happens to be a weather expert so problem solved.

What shall I take to keep me warm before the start?  We get gear bags at registration so can dump some overlayers at the start line.

Do I need new shoes? Possibly - my Wave Riders are 400km old and although they are still great some new ones would be nice :)

What is a realistic time goal?  I really don't know - 2:10 - 2:30?  Those hills are putting me off.  My recent training 10km time indicates 2:20 - so that was a good guess!

How fast shall I run? 2:20 equals 6:40 pace - sounds do-able to me.

Should I try to run faster than that?  My mile time trial and 5km time indicate times of  2:02 to 2:12 - can I do this?

Will my Nike SportWatch work on the day?  I worry about this, as it has had 'blank screen' a couple of times lately, and I've had to reboot it from my laptop.  I certainly won't have my laptop on me on the day...

Have I trained enough for this?  I don't think my endurance training has been enough.  I've had some ITB issues that prevented a good base training period.  Maybe next time.

Do I have enough endurance?  Probably enough to make it around the course, but not enough to run a fast-for-me time.

How will my family find me amongst the masses?  Yes - I'm the one in the blue shirt!  One of the most popular colours - maybe I should choose a colour that stands out.

Will my family be at the finish line?  They better be...

As I say, just a small sample...
Is your mind a flurry of erratic thoughts before race day too?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

No Speedwork Tonight!

I've been so busy the last few days that I had no idea what was on the agenda for Tuesday's usual speedwork session, plus I was feeling tired and kind of dreading doing my usual reps around the park.  I usually enjoy the challenge, but this time Real Life had caught up on me.  What a nice surprise I had when I got home from work and checked my training plan - yay, no speedwork tonight!

There was a catch however... the plan was for 10 x 1 min steep hill climbs instead.  Gulp.  Ever heard that expression that hills are speedwork in disguise?!

Pretending to be unfazed, I jogged down to the park, found a steep hill and bounded up it.  This was fun!  I even chose a track with tree roots to dodge over and daydreamed I was in a trail race:

The tree roots were really knarly towards the top!
By the third repeat, things were no longer fun.  My bounding hill climbs had turned into a short 45 sec shuffles with frequent stumbles and burnt out quads before the top.

Abandoning the mountain goat idea, I moved around to another slope covered in grass. Here the traction was better and I could run up with less effort:

My quads and lungs gradually recovered, my pace picked up, and I lost count started to enjoy it so much that I ended up doing 11 repeats.  What sort of crazy person does that?!

(guess which colour shows elevation)
I actually do know the answer to that question.  Crazy people like me, and if you are reading this maybe you too, who run because it never fails to make us us feel good.  It can take a while to warm up and get going, but I almost always finish a run feeling miles better than when I started, not just physically but mentally too. And I can confirm that a few steep hill climbs certainly do the trick!

My hill, aka Bayfield Park, from the boardwalk through Hukanui Reserve
And one day I will be doing them on that track with the tree roots.....

Do you have steep hill climbs in your routine?
Or pretend you are in a race when you're really not?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Fastest 10K

One of the benefits of being a relative beginner is that new PB's come regularly as you rapidly improve.

Even in training...

I have to say I felt awesome on this run, and I'm trying to remember what I had for lunch so I can eat that everyday!

I had a 12km run at 6:15 pace on the schedule, and at the start I was trying slow down because I caught myself zipping along at 5:15 pace.  I ran along Ponsonby and Jervois Roads, and being a Thursday night all the bars and restaurants were busy, and my ego (that I didn't realise I had) made me run a bit faster than usual.  Then it was a nice cruisy downhill to Cox's Bay, and a small climb to Westmere, followed by the long stretch of Meola Road to Point Chevalier.

There are slight elevation gains around Pt Chev and they felt minimal compared to usual. I stopped for a drink at the water fountain, then cruised downhill to Western Springs, where I started to f d e.  A guy zoomed past me, but as is often the case they slow to their normal pace once ahead - do you notice this too?!  I find it quite funny, anyway I decided to use the super-runner powers I had tonight to keep up with him.  It worked until the long trudge up Chinaman's Hill where he disappeared into the distance - still, I managed to climb it faster than usual.

I finished at 11.5km and stopped my SportWatch, which lit up  and congratulated me with a 10K PB of 1:03:23 - despite several stops at traffic lights, a few hills and a couple of water stops!  This was a 3 minute improvement on my last record, which incidentally was also earned on a training run.  I know, I really need to run a race.

I'd love to run both a 5 and 10km race soon to get some official times, but for now my emphasis is on my first 21.1km - the Auckland Half Marathon on 3 November.  For that I just want to finish in a respectable time for me - and whatever that is will be a PB too!

Have you ever done a PB in training? (it's not a 'real' PB though is it?)
Does your ego make you run a bit faster around crowds? (apparently so!)
Or run faster past other runners? (they pass me, not the other way round...)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Day in the Life of Me

Today I'm linking up with Jill and Angela with their fun idea to share a peek into our daily lives - not just the running part!  This is my day last Wednesday:

My alarm (aka my Nike SportWatch) goes off at 6am, and I'm lucky enough to live with a coffee addict who willingly springs out of bed and brings me a coffee in bed each morning!  I usually have a quick flick through some blogs before getting up and getting ready for work.  I'd like to say I have a super organised morning routine, but to be honest it is a mad rush having showers, finding clothes, and making lunches, to get all of us out the door in time!

I work as a patternmaker in the fashion industry, and it is a job I love for both its creativity and technical aspects. For every new design that is created a new pattern has to be made, and that is where I come in. Working closely with the designer and production team I spend my days creating and perfecting patterns - cutting shapes out of paper and cloth, overseeing the making of prototypes, fitting, and readying the final pattern for production.  All good fun!

I'm home by early evening and if it is a run night I head straight out the door for a run.  Currently Wednesday is a rest day for running, but it also happens to be the day I take an evening sewing class at the local school. After some speed housekeeping and an equally rapid pasta/tomato/tuna/olive dinner (with hopefully not too much garlic!) I arrive at class and spend the next couple of hours helping everyone with their sewing projects. Teaching is really satisfying as everyone discovers new things, and it is interesting how each person learns so differently.

When I get home it is my bedtime but I've found I need to wind down a bit after the night class. This often means a Milo or glass of wine and some running blog reading and writing, before lights out at 9:30pm - I need tons of sleep!

Apart from the sewing class that is a typical day for me!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Getting Faster

This week I had a 1 mile time trial on my schedule - the aim of this is to gauge progress/race/speedwork times while not exhausting yourself with a full on race.  I really didn't feel up to it, but jogged along to the Domain anyway, to run the Sri Chinmoy Peace Mile.

After a few stretches I took off around the course, aiming to stay under 4:45 pace for the whole way so I would beat my previous time.  I glanced at my watch and it was around 4:20, and I didn't think I could keep that up, but then I got to a nice bit of road and wow - I felt like superwoman!

Over halfway now... just keep moving...concentrate on breathing...

And then it hit me.  The wind.  The real reason I felt like superwoman in the second quarter was because the wind had been at my back, and as I circled the course it was now at my front - and it was strong!  I tried not to let it slow me down, but it wasn't long until I was struggling along at a snail's pace.

I felt like I recovered a bit towards the end, but that must have been all in my head because my pace doesn't look like it picked up at all!

So - a disappointing finish, but I guess the wind assisted me in the beginning and it all balances out.  I still managed to run my fastest mile!

That's an improvement of 9 seconds from my time trial back in April.  Not a huge gain, but I have been injured in that time and I think I could have run faster without that wind!  I also managed to run my fastest kilometre at 4:31.

The first thing I did when I got home was check out the McMillan Calculator for my updated training paces and target race times:

The half marathon prediction is tantalisingly close to sub 2.  I don't know how realistic that goal is - the thought of running at 5:47 pace for 21.1km seems far fetched to me, even with a couple more months of training!

Do you ever use the McMillan Calculator?  Are the race prediction times accurate for you?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Half Marathon Training Begins

Half marathon training officially started last week!  My ITB is not yet 100% but it appears to s-l-o-w-l-y be getting better rather than worse.  I'm disappointed that my endurance hasn't progressed during this time but I'm persevering onwards regardless!

My weekly schedule looks sort of like this:

Monday - Rest, Exercises
Tuesday - Speedwork, Runner's Pilates
Wednesday - Rest (or easy 40 mins)
Thursday - 6-10k steady
Friday - Rest, Exercises
Saturday - Easy or fartlek 40mins
Sunday - Long run, Yoga sometimes if I am organised enough to get up and along to Lululemon by 8:30

Tuesday's speedwork is generally a few repeats of either 400m, 800m or 1000-1200m.  I did 1200m for the first time this week and it was fun to go a bit longer.  I wasn't sure how fast to go so I ran them around 5:15 pace which is slightly faster than my 5-10k pace.

At the moment I think my body prefers training 4 days a week rather than 5, so I have been resting on Wednesdays instead of doing an easy run.  That extra recovery day seems to keep the niggles at bay. Of course this change to the plan has been helped by the fact that it was pouring with rain when I got home the last couple of Wednesdays...

This Thursday's steady 8km was run with my husband.  I intended to run around 6:15 pace, but with him out front and me trying desperately to keep up we ran more like 6:00 - and it felt pretty good.  My leg was a bit tetchy after the last hill, but it felt good after I lay down on the floor with my legs up the wall, some ice and sleeping in my compression socks!

For Saturday's fartlek session I decided to run hills, and I tackled a new route I invented called Western Springs Trails.  It serpentines up and down all the steep streets and trails around Western Springs out and back - a total of 5 climbs!  I'm going to be honest and admit I walked most of the uphills - I look forward to the day when I can run this challenging course with gusto!

I always enjoy Sunday's long run - it's a chance to extend the boundaries, explore new parts of town, and I try to stay off-road as much as possible.  Today I ran once again with hubby - over to Pt Chevalier Beach:

When the tide is out you can run right around the coast - one day I will do this!

I've been wearing my heart rate monitor on long runs to make sure I stay in the right training zone and I'm pleased to announce that 86% of yesterday's workout was under my target of 165bpm.  I can assure you that is a lot lower than it was watching the first America's Cup races!

And according to Nike+ I ran my fastest 10k while trying to run that slow.  Err - really?  I've never done an actual 10k road race (trails, yes) - so maybe I should!

What is your weekly running schedule like?
Do you give your regular running routes names?
What paces do you use for your speedwork training?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Return to Judge's Bay

Now my runs are getting longer I'm really enjoying getting back to running some of my old routes.  But there is a particular one that is real a mental obstacle - that run along the waterfront to Judges Bay overbridge, the one where my ITB yelled at me and stopped me in my tracks 3 months ago.

I have to be honest that this running route has been haunting me.  I keep planning to run along there, but inevitably put it off for another day, fearing a repeat ITB flare up.

On Sunday it was one of those beautiful gotta-run-by-the-waterfront days and the temptation was too much:

The Waitemata sparkling in the sunshine - this was the view across to Devonport, with the volcanic cones of Mt Victoria, North Head, and Rangitoto Island in the distance
But mostly I ran it again to finally extinguish the negativity this route has in my mind.  I think that has gone now:

There was a lot of concrete running, but I safely made it to the Judge's Bay overbridge, and here's the photo to prove it:

See it?  See the bridge in the top right of the photo?  There's even a tad in the top left that you can see if you squint...

I know you were wondering, the whole thing looks like this

I did feel a slight twinge in my quad running home - sometimes I wonder if my niggles, which seem to shift around the leg, are just psychosomatic!  I stopped to stretch, and took it easy on the way home, enjoying a few water and traffic light stops and walking up the Franklin Road hill instead.  I ran the remainder, and a cold blast in the shower and some elevation seemed to do the trick, as I felt 100% the next day.

The best parts of the run?
  • Running past the spot at 6km where my knee went into shutdown - without a niggle!
  • Having a laugh with another runner about how hard it was to get yourself in a phone shot.
  • Running past a very old lady in a wheelchair sitting out in the sun - her face totally lit up when she saw me and she said "I used to run!"  I responded with "It's fun isn't it?", and with the utmost enthusiasm she replied "I used to love it!"  Aww...
Are you hesitant to run where you once got injured?
What were the best moments from your runs this week?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Spot The Difference

If you can spot the difference, you'll guess what I bought myself this weekend :)

Saturday was one of those rainy days where you sit around the house getting agitated, so I went for some retail therapy at my local Shoe Clinic.  I tried on a couple of pairs of shoes....

(upon which I will write notes right here and now so I don't get them all mixed up)

  • I liked the turquoise Mizuno Wave Enigma 3 - more cushioned than my Wave Rider 16's but lighter
  • I didn't mind the Ascis Gel Nimbus - but they felt different on my foot.
  • They're getting a pair of Mizuno Ascend 8 trail shoes in for me - I have tried these on in another store (Athlete's Foot) and liked them very much - shall I buy some?
  • I was wanting to try the Mizuno Wave Sayonara's but they're not in New Zealand yet :( 
  • But I see them promoted on the Australian Mizuno site, so hopefully they are on a ship in the Tasman Sea or something...

So, back to the shopping...

I saw the Polar watches by the counter and something prompted me to ask about the Polar HRM that goes with the Nike SportWatch.  Lo and behold, it was right beside him and quite affordable too, especially with my $50 loyalty reward, so out came the plastic and I skipped home all happily retail therapied.

My long run on Sunday looked like this:

Except I did something wrong and it didn't record my distance and pace (around 12km).  When you do it right you get a cute graph of your pace, elevation, and heart rate too - fun!

That peak at the end of the graph is when I power walked up The Steep Hill, where my HR maxed for the day at 177bpm.

Right - off to work out my training zones!
What is your experience with heart rate monitors?  I had a Timex Ironman one for a while, until the watch strap fell apart due to old age.

Monday, August 5, 2013

My Quarter Half Marathon

First of all, a big thanks to all who gave their advice on half-marathon training a couple of posts back!  I have decided to keep following the book I have been all along (Fishpool), where the longest run is 11 miles.  The upcoming weeks in this plan look achievable in my post-injury condition (I still get a few niggles and don't trust my leg 100%), whereas the distances in Paula's plan were looking too high-risk too soon for me.  Decision made!

Yesterday's long run called for an easy 10km, so I decided to run part of the actual half-marathon course.  I want to get familiar with the last few kilometres so I can easily gauge how fast to run them on the day - and also so I don't end up being like a child who keeps whining are we there yet?!  It is easy to think that once you come off the Harbour Bridge it is a quick run to the finish line, but there are quite a few twists and turns that take you the long way round - but thankfully it is all flat!

I ran my way through the streets of Ponsonby to the point where the course exits the bridge.  At this point there is just over 5km or about 1/4 of the race to go.  To be honest I felt awful!  It was 3pm and I hadn't really eaten much that day, or drunk many fluids, and there were a few uphills which sucked what little energy I had.  However I survived, as you do, and felt a lot better once I got down to Curran Street and the water's edge (4km mark)

It's a nice run around under the northern end of the bridge, and alongside Westhaven Marina:

Deceptively close to the finish line you turn and run another 2.5km out past Silo Park and back alongside the Viaduct to finally reach the finish line down Fanshawe Street.  I've got to say, I felt a little rush of adrenaline running along there!

However I held back as I still had to run home.  I stopped to refill my water bottle in preparation for the climb up Franklin Road, my first major hill since my ITB flared up.  I managed to run all the way up, but it was such a struggle compared to how it used to feel.  It just goes to show how beneficial a few hills are in your training!

In total I ran 12.2km - more than planned, but it sure felt great and best of all there were no niggles.  So although I ran quarter of the half marathon course, I really ran half a half marathon didn't I?

How was your long run this weekend?
Do you like to recce your race course, or leave it as a surprise? I don't usually check out trail race courses because they are usually in such out of the way places, but the HM course is so close to home.  
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