Tuesday, April 30, 2013

My Running Watch Died, And Now I'm Lost

I went for my run on Wednesday night and it rained and rained, and I got wet.  So did my Nike+ SportWatch.  I uploaded my run and everything was normal.

Thursday am - went for a bush walk and the watch was operating normally, but it did have moisture inside the screen which cannot be a good thing.

Thursday pm - went for a run and SportWatch was not showing my pace, but it did record the first 25 mins of my run before indicating low battery, even though I had tried recharging it.  After uploading, Nike+ reckons I had an average pace of --, burned 0 calories, and ran 0.0 km for 25 mins!

The screen went blank shortly after, and charging it overnight has done nothing.  I think it is dead :(

I rechecked the water resistance of the watch, which is 5 ATM, or 50m.  According to this site 30mWR should withstand getting caught in rain, and 50mWR should withstand swimming in shallow water:

I've never used my watch for anything other than running or bush walking, so I'm a bit disappointed it leaked the first time it was exposed to rain.  Maybe mine has a faulty seal or something.  I will probably try to return it as it is still under guarantee, but it is 8 months old and they might try and insist that I went scuba diving in it.

But you know what the worst thing is?  I'm totally lost when I'm running.  Nothing to do with GPS - I mean the distance, time and pace type of lost.  I know I checked my watch often to rein myself in at the beginning of my easy runs, but I didn't realise it was that often!  The biggest problem will be tempo runs and speedwork where I am useless at running consistently at a faster pace. And running my next race is going to be complete guesswork, how am I going to know if I start out too fast?  I like the security of numbers, and I really miss my watch!

Has your running watch ever failed on you?
Shall I just take my phone every time I run?  I did try that tonight, not a great experience.
Is this my cue to invest in a better model?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Off-Road Skills Session I Forgot To Tell You About

A few weekends ago I took part in an off-road skills training session that I haven't told you about yet!  I didn't take any photos on the day - and a blog post needs photos, no?  So when I was running in the same location the other day I snapped a few shots to have a breather speak alongside my words.

The skills session was organised by TotalSport, the company that produces most of the running events that I enter.  A group of us met in the Auckland Domain one Sunday morning and spent an hour and a half running around it's trails, first learning, and then practising trail running techniques under the guidance of running coach Claire Smith.

We covered things like running posture, cadence, leg action, arm action, balance, and avoiding obstacles - something I found particularly interesting after my trip over a tree root during the Tussock Traverse!  Claire showed us the secret to running quickly and safely over bumpy surfaces like these:

 - without tripping!

There were loads of other tips to be had, the sort of details that don't usually get a mention in books.  This alone is a great reason to turn up.  One thing we didn't focus on was uphills and downhills, but this is covered in an additional 1.5 hour session - I plan on doing that next!

Have you ever participated in a running skills session?  How did it go?

Monday, April 22, 2013

My New Training Paces Are Fast!

The result of my 1 mile time trial this week means I have adjusted my training paces accordingly, and they are about 20 seconds faster than before - which is quite a jump when you have to run them!

my paces are in kilometres, not miles!

This week I had an 8km steady "only just conversational" run scheduled, and I wondered I would manage to run that far at 5:45 - 6:00 pace.  As it turns out I ran a hilly route and my pace was all over the place - from 5:30 to 7:00 - and averaged 6:16.  Next time I will try it on flatter terrain!  My long run on Sunday went a little better and was just within my target pace.

Keep in mind that when I say fast, that means fast for me!  My mile time of 7:45 was repeated 26.2 times over by Skinny Runner who averaged 7:42 in the Boston Marathon.  This really puts into perspective how fast some of you run - I can't imagine running 26 miles at that speed!

Nevertheless, I managed to break another record of mine on my steady run - my fastest 5k is now 30:40.  As usual Nike+ does not let these things go unnoticed:

And to put things into perspective again, Kimberley Smith's winning 5km time at Boston this week was 15:16 - more than twice as fast!  She's amazing.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Peace Mile

My training plan had a 1 mile time trial scheduled for today.  Well yesterday actually, but I put it off because it was raining when I got home from work, and I thought I'd do it today because I had the day free.  (That was yesterday, as I'm now publishing a day later!)

I ran slow for the 2.5km along to the Domain, where there is a measured mile course - the Sri Chinmoy Peace Mile:

When I read the sign, I thought how appropriate to be running this mile promoting world peace, the day after the Boston Marathon bombings.

Although world peace isn't going to be achieved with a simple mile run, indirectly it helps.  Running contributes to a healthy, balanced mind, and a healthy balanced mind does not plant bombs in public.  Maybe if everyone was a runner...

Anyway, I achieved peace with myself when I ran my fastest mile!  I did it in 7:45 mins, an improvement of 29 seconds from my last time trial in December.  My fastest kilometre is now 4:44, an improvement of 21 seconds.

This means I need to adjust my training paces and run a bit faster!  I'm glad I have the go-ahead to speed up as my old training paces were starting to feel easier.  And running faster should be more bearable now the summer humidity is gone and autumn is here:

Do you run time trials?
Do you train at certain paces?  (I'm using the McMillan Calculator for mine)
Do you have dirty running shoes too?!  (My R shoe was stained by a muddy orange puddle on the Tussock Traverse.  I overtook 3 girls running around it by taking a shortcut right through it, hehe!)

Monday, April 8, 2013

My #BestRun

Today I'm linking up with Miss Zippy who shares the story of her recent #bestrun on holiday in Austin, and she is kindly inviting others to link up and share their stories on her blog too.

Even if you have only been running for 18 months like myself, it can be hard to decide on a single best run.  But last weekend's long run is one that stands out for several reasons for me.
  • I climbed 3 of the volcanoes that are dotted around Auckland city, and the awesome views at the top of each was well worth the climb.
  • It was my longest run ever, in both distance and time - I ran (and walked some of those uphills!) over 15 km in 2 hours. 
  • I had been feeling a bit down for a couple of weeks prior, and this run made me happy once again!  The challenge and rewards of each climb, the freedom of exploring new routes, and blissfully running at my forever pace, was all it took to come alive again.  The jelly beans may have helped too.

For pictures and more, click here to visit this post that I wrote shortly afterwards while still on my runner's high. And pop on over to Miss Zippy's for more Best Run stories - or even better share your own!
Thanks Miss Zippy!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

My First Half

It's official - I have just entered my first half marathon!

Entries went on sale at midnight for the adidas Auckland Marathon, so the first thing I did this morning was log on and enter.  The half marathon is limited to 7500 and usually sells out within a few days, so I wasn't taking any chances!

I know it says on screen "Congratulations on entering the 2013 adidas Auckland Marathon", but I did double-check (as it was so early) and I have entered the half marathon as intended!

I'm quite excited!  My first thoughts are that I must take care of myself and not get injured.  I think that is the only thing that will get in my way.  So I promise I'm going to be more diligent about stretching and strengthening - i.e, start a regular routine rather than the haphazard way I have been doing it so far.

So I'm in!
Are you running in the event too?  What distance?
Do you remember the first time you ran a half marathon - how did it go?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Three Volcanoes Run

Today I had an awesome long run - I summitted three volcanoes!

Auckland CBD from Mt Eden summit

First I ran up Mt Eden which is one of my regular routes, but it is only 7km return from my house so it isn't a long one.  There is a long spiral road that gradually ascends the mountain so you can get a real consistent pace going up.  I usually come down via one of the trails that wind their way down through the grassy tree-lined slopes.

Always at the top I play tourist and stop to take in the 360* view, and lately I've found myself thinking about knocking another volcano or two off.  It must have been the runner's high you get after a climb, because today I did!  I headed east toward two of the volcanoes in the photo below.

Mt Hobson on the left, and Mt St John on the right (the small tree covered mount, not the one in the far centre which is miles off!)
I weaved my way through Epsom streets to Mt St John Ave, where I asked another runner how to access the top.  I'm glad I did because I wouldn't have found it otherwise!  At the end of Belvedere Street lies these steep pitted old steps:

... which gradually taper off to a gate, with a rewarding view of the crater - and look, a crater rim track waiting just for people like us!

I loved running along this little track - even though Mt St John isn't that high, the views are awesome.  A kind lady at the top offered to take my photo with the crater in the background, and you can just see the gate at my elbow:

There were views back to Mt Eden where I had come from, great views of One Tree Hill, and Mt Hobson loomed so close that I decided I had to run up there too!

Mt Eden from Mt St John

Mt Hobson from Mt St John
Although it looked close, I had to practically circumnavigate Mt Hobson to find an access track!  I finally found one off Remuera Road, and guess what - it went up:

and up:

and up:

and up:

You get that many photos because that's about how many times I stopped to walk!

Puffing proof I made it to the trig station at the top!
I zig-zagged down a grassy slope among quite a few cows (and cowpats!) towards Remuera Road and Newmarket, where I realised that I could actually add another volcano to the day's tally if I ran through the Domain.  So of course I did:

It would be cheating to claim I ascended this fourth volcano too, as the elevation of the crater rim is only a few metres! But it is still technically a volcano, and I snapped this pic down in the crater which is currently a cricket ground.

I carried a small water bottle on this run hoping to refill it at some water fountains along the way, but found none!  Luckily I had tucked $5 into my skirt before I left, so at the Domain I bought some lovely ice cold water from a cafe and ran home with new found energy along the city streets.  I had been running for over 2 hours, my longest run ever, but I had been taking it easy and was amazed how good I felt towards the end - I definitely could have gone further.  One day I will!

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