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!
http://www.aucklandmarathon.co.nz/ (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
(me)
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.

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