Monday, December 31, 2007

Volcanoes: Mt. St. John, Mt. Hobson (14.93km)

Scorcher! There is a reason why most people aren't stupid enough to go running in the middle of a sunny day. It started off with a gentle breeze but that died away fairly quickly and then it got hot. Still what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Overall pace was on the slow and easy side 01:16:20 (5.06min/km) - still this distance is very much long run territory for me right now.

In keeping in line with the last posts (that is 'Laufen bis der Vulkane') the mission today was to pick a route that took in two small volcanic cones in Auckland that I hadn't visited - Mt. St. John and Mt. Hobson.

The first stage of my run took me through the now familiar Grand Drive a gradual climb through one of the entrances of One Tree Hill. You can run on grass up here which is good for some variation. This leads into Twin Oak Drive which has trail adjacent. Running through the park is great for fresh air. Here is a picture looking back on Twin Oak Drive with the trial to the right.

Around the 6km mark the summit climb to Mt. St. John. This wasn't too bad (it isn't very much of a volcanoe!) and included some steps. Good view. Here is the crater itself from the summit ridge.

Around 8km hit Mt. Hobson this climb had a bit of a rural feel to it following what looked like tractor tracks - a few walkers around probably thinking I was mad running in the heat. The way down was a better track and made me think it was the official route. View from the top to the suburb of Newmarket. The iconic skytower can be seen in the city centre.

The remainder of the run took in suburban streets through Remuera, Epsom, and One Tree Hill. Cut through the park in the other direction from Atarangi Rd.

Legs getting sore in the homeward straight which was a reminder to me about doing too much too soon (i.e. I did the Big King run just 2 days prior). Might take a 2 or 3 day break...

Here is the route:

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Volcanoes: The Hit List

After recent hill runs up three small Auckland volcanoes (e.g. Mt. Eden, One Tree Hill, Big King) I thought it might be interesting to knock a few more of the bastards off - perhaps one a week. Having lived in Auckland most by life I hadn't actually climbed to the top of most of these.

In some ways this is inspired by the Auckland City Volcanoes Challenge . This might be a fun thing to enter in 2008 if it is around the same time.

Anyway here is a hit list of volcanoes:

One Tree Hill (Maungakiekie)
- 23 December 2007
Mt Eden (Maungawhau) - 23 December 2007
Three Kings - Big King Reserve (Te Tatua a Riukiuta) - 28 December 2007

* Mt Hobson (Remuwera)
* Mt St John (Titikopuke or Ohinerau)
* Mt Roskill (Puketapapa)
* Mt Albert (Owairaka)
* Mt Smart (Rarotonga)
* Mt Wellington (Maungarei)
* Auckland Domain (Pukekaroa)

This one is not on the volcano challenge (it is on the other side of the harbour and accessible by bridge). I'm still going to climb it though...
* Mt Mangere

Friday, December 28, 2007

Volcanoes: Big King (10.35km)

Today was a nice sunny day so I figured a new route including another volcano climb. This time it was "Big King" an iconic site in the area with a big water tank at the top.

The run itself was a little over 10.35km in 48:37 a pace of 4:41 min/kms.

Here is the view from the top looking towards Mt. Eden (climbed on 23-Dec-07). The path at the bottom of the photo shows the track on the way up to the top.

Around the 6km mark the track had a gravel section far about 500m before existing at the back of the Three Kings shopping centre.

The Three Kings area has been drastically quarried over the years for the red scoria it contains, and only one of the three large peaks (Big King) remains today, largely because of the water tank that was built on its summit at the beginning of the 20th century

And here is the route itself...aside from the Big King the rest was padding for the 10km :)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Run 2007

Got up pretty early today at 6am and went for a half hour run (6.44km @ 4:41 min/km). Streets were deserted - hardly suprising for Christmas Day.

Felt pretty good too. Now not to overeat at Christmas lunch later today.

Merry Christmas to all.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Volcanoes: One Tree Hill, Mt. Eden (20.5km)

Yesterday saw me do 20.5 km in 1:48:21 (5:16 min/km). Went at a slowish pace because this distance was new territory for me and the hill climbs were a bit fierce. In hindsight I think this distance was a bit much considering my previous "long run" was pitched at the 13km mark.

The run included summit climbs of both One Tree Hill (steepish):

and Mt. Eden (not so steep but a longer climb). Great view of downtown Auckland btw:

Towards the end my calves were getting quite tight, after the 10km mark, and a little dehydrated near the end. Guess I'm just not used to the distance (yet).

Before the run I was interested to see how my knees would handle it - wasn't too bad at all. I think the new shoes are doing the trick but perhaps still recovering a little from running in the old ones.

Total distance this week ending 22 Dec 07 = 34.74km.

Mapping My Runs

Recently I came across an interesting website called

This is a google maps "mash-up" allowing you to mark waypoints on a running route either following roads, satellite, or hybrid view.

An elevation graph is estimated from the route data. Obviously good for putting the hill climbs in perspective.

A shoe tracker lets you see how many kms you have done on a pair and when they should be replaced.

Perhaps the most useful part is the training log. Given a particular route and time data on speed, min/km pace, and calories burnt can be generated. I'll be using this going forward - in fact some of my runs can be found on-line here

Sunday, December 16, 2007

New Shoes - Brooks Adrenaline GTS 8

The last few runs I have been starting to get a slight pain in the sides of my knees after about the 5km mark so a sign my New Balance 855s are kaput.

So yesterday went and bought a new pair of running shoes. The local Shoe Science did a video analysis and I got fitted up for a pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 8

I have a mild-moderate case of over-pronation according to the video so these are geared to stability. Planning to go out for a light 5km tomorrow morning before work to break them in.

In the interests of science (and no injuries!) will track the km's on these shoes using a training log.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Auckland Quarter Marathon Race Report

46:14, 41st place, 26th place in category

This was way better than my target time (50:00) and so I was really stoked with this result :)


So was too late to enter the half event (it had sold out and there is a limit of 7500 to run over the bridge). This was probably just as well because over a three month period I had worked up to the point of running for an hour remembering to just don't stop.

So I ended up going for the Auckland Quarter Marathon event. The Quarter is apparently not that common and is a total distance of 10.549km.

Most of my training runs were in the vacinity of One Tree Hill (made famous by the U2 song) and has a few hills. In training I was getting close to 5min/kms - in itself an achievement - and was hoping to sneak under 50:00 in the event.

My thinking was two fold:
  • The actual course was quite flat whereas my training had some hills.
  • A race environment would carry me through
These two factors helped in getting a better than expected time.

Race Report

The race itself was scheduled for a 7:00am start on the 28 October. It had rained the night before and the weather was looking a bit iffy but in the end it was quite cool and dry with no wind. We did get a small shower about half way through but nothing major.

The start was hectic - there were probably close to 2000 entries lined up.

Met up with my Irish friend D and his girlfriend J - he was supporting her trying to get under 60:00. After stowing the gear bags we ended up about a third of the way back from the start. The first couple of minutes or so was a matter of ducking and dodging between people walking the event and having lined up at the front. Madness. Passing people is on one hand good for the confidence but on the other hand distracting.

I managed to tag along with a small group of four people to around the half way mark. I was starting to feel the pace at that point (faster than training and my body was wising up to this) and the second half was more about just not stopping and trying to hold the pace as best I could.

It was definitely a positive split run though.

I remember the bloke in the adidas blue shirt zooming past me near the end but had no legs to sprint at this point.

Post race was good. There was complimentary powerade (lesson: the blue "flavour" is passable but the red is to be avoided) and more bananas than I had seen in one place before. Had a chat to Mr. blue shirt who was evidently in an athletics club and a regular runner so didn't feel too bad about being run down at the end. Ate a couple of bananas and waited for D and J to come in. J made it in 57:58 and was very pleased about that so a good day out.

A really enjoyable morning and the atmosphere was great.

On the way home time to reflect I quite like running after all especially having hated it at school. Not so bad if you don't stop before the end.

Just Don't Stop...

I was never very good at running at school - finding it hard work and getting out of breath. Mind you being a bit on the overweight side didn't help.

Fast forward to June this year and the general interest in the 2007 Auckland Marathon event which was going to be held in October. This thing is pretty big a lot of people enter just for the opportunity to run over the Auckland harbour bridge. It is the only time in the year that you can cross the bridge on foot.

I figured why not enter, say the half or the quarter, and see how I go.

That an Irish work colleague entered it the year before and reckoned he did it after no training and a night on the town. Not sure if he carried a pig under his arm but it sounded good :)

It would be a challenge and help shed a few extra kilos. I mentioned this goal on a web forum and got the following advice from a friend who is very much in shape.

"Try running for an hour, it doesn't matter how fast you go, but just don't stop..."

I figured that doesn't sound too hard...