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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