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...)

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