Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A lake and two bridges

Working down in our Hamilton office until Wednesday this week.

Went for a different run before work - this one went around Lake Rotoroa, crossed the Waikato river over one bridge and then came back again down another bridge. This sounds like quite an epic adventure but it was only 8.25km.

I didn't get this close to the water but its quite a pleasant spot.

Weather was pretty humid and misty, sedate pace (38:59 for 4:49min/km), but quite a nice run.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Boxing Day Hill Climb

Boxing day yesterday and went for a hill climb up Mt. Eden. Have to say it was pretty tough up the summit road - conditions were getting hot at around 10.30. Saw a few other runners out and about certainly a good day for it.

At the summit, while recovering from jelly legs, had a chat to a couple of Canadian tourists. Played tour guide pointing out all the (extinct) volcanoes - think that scared them a bit.

All in all 11.64 km in 54:52 (4:43min/km) - the route is great for developing running strength. It's tough!

Weighed in this morning - getting back into the physicsdiet daily recording - 85.6kg.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

If the shoe fits...

First run in the new shoes today. Felt quite a bit different to the old pair - quite a bit more cushioning, the support seems about the same.

Started off at a normal pace but felt pretty good so upped the tempo a bit. 5.55km in 23:48 (4:16min/km). Yes running fast was a bit rash for a first outing but I put it down to the excuberance of new shoes. They fit very well "out of the box" I have to say.

I plan to do two or three shorter (and probably slower) 'fun runs' just to break these shoes in properly before the end of the year by which time it'll be 2009 when training begins in earnest.

I call the route Mt Eden South Short Straights. Gentle rolling terrain - and best of all no traffic lights!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

New Shoes : Asics GT-2130

Reading the local paper and saw that Smiths Sports Shoes in Dominion Road, Mt Eden were having a pre Christmas sale and the prices looked good on the specials.

So I headed in and looked for something comparable to my soon to be retired pair - Brooks Adrenaline GTS 8's. The Brooks had served me pretty well logging just over 900km's including a number of races. However I think knee niggles and other aches and pains are a pretty clear sign they are dead.

Thinking about it now I probably should got new shoes a month or so ago - but was a bit weary of breaking them in so close to the ADRA half. Lesson learned though - will start to keep better track of how things are going.

My feet are quite wide and I have moderate over-pronation (apparently normal?) so go for stability shoes.

In the end after trying a couple of comparable pairs on I settled on a pair of Asics GT-2130 on special for $169. Wearing them now in the house and plan to go for a short 5km 'try-them-out' run in the morning. Looking forward to get back into the running! Haven't done a lot this month.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Race Photos (and some answers)

Race photos from the half of two weeks ago.

First photo was at around the 13km mark or something. Quite possibly the worst sprint finish ever - not smiling at the end - it was more HTFU to get over the line.

Haven't run much since the race. 4 shorter runs in December so far total of 27.44km - the knee is OK but I think it might be time to retire my current shoes soon. My normal running pace is averaging on 4:30min/km at the moment. I think I might need to start doing some intervals to improve. My next race is the 10km for Run Auckland - 29 March 09 - although Round the Bays might be something to do this year (a very crowded 8km fun run) on 15 March 09.

Christmas function season but the damage hasn't been too bad - weighed in this morning at 85.9kg. But I think its time to start logging daily again on physicsdiet.

Some answers to comments of past posts:

- The Tiger Beer, that is good after a training, is definitely the one from Singapore. We do have some good beers in New Zealand.
- I work for MRP as an engineer. I was quite often down in Kawerau earlier this year for the new power station there. Got in some good runs after work in nearby Whakatane. The current project is near Taupo so we'll see if I can get some lakeside training in.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Short Hot Run

Day off work today so went for a short run at around 4pm. 6.49km in 29:59 (4:37min/km) - no problems with the knee but it was warm, 23 degrees today, in Auckland. I wanted a freshup when I got home but settled for a Tiger beer instead. Fresh up is a fruit drink sold in New Zealand.


ADRA Charity Run 2008 - Race Report

The ADRA charity run was run along Auckland's eastern bays. While being one of the most popular areas of Auckland to go running I've never actually run along here before. Running by the harbour is a novelty for me and it was great!

Interesting to note that this takes in some of the second part of the Auckland marathon course (my big goal for 2009).

Aside from a moderate hill in St. Heliers in the first third the rest of the course was pretty flat.

The Run

First things first - the weather was absolutely stunning. Even though my run finished just after 8:30am in the morning it had started to really warm up. Here is a photo I snapped on the way home of the start area. The weather was like this the entire time!

I started in the back third of the start area to make sure the start was conservative and was warming up properly before getting into a comfortable pace. My right knee had been given me problems in the week up to the run so it was an interesting mindset to race with. Trying to do your best but being a bit conservative and really watching for any pain or soreness.

The first km I passed quite a few people - clearly I was a bit too far back in the pack! - and passed the 1km marked in something like 4:45. The course had km markers which was really good. Going OK and no niggles.

At around the 3km mark I heard my name called out and saw my Irish friend D. He had turned up late and missed me at the start - not suprising given he had just done the round lake taupo bike ride the day before! Good to have some company and we chatted a bit about the ride (160km) and todays run. I think the pace was just about right as we could just about carry a conversation with difficulty. Before I knew it we had hit the 8km marker and the flat part of the course. Unfortunately for D his legs were fading and I went on alone (he went on to finish in a 1:52 which I thought was a great effort after the monster ride the day before).

From around 8km through to 13km I started passing a few people that had faded a bit from taking off too hard at the beginning. Chatted to a couple of blokes that were clearly having fun - they had been singing football songs earlier in the course.

Around the 13km mark my knee started to get a little bit tight which started to worry me - did my best to put it out of my mind and concentrate on keeping good form and distracting myself with the scenery.

However I ended up distracting myself too much - grabbed a powerade cup at the 15km aid station instead of water. Turns out that powerade is very sticky especially if you splash it all over your face in an effort to cool down. In fact you end up holding for the next aid station to wash it all off. Haha - lesson learnt I guess.

After the turnaround just after the strand it was 5 or so km back to the start. The knee wasn't getting any worse - just a bit tight - so it was all about keeping everything consistent. I think I was on about 4:30 pace or just under at this stretch. Tried to run the last km or so hard but not much left in the tank at this point - I think the "sprint" finish photo will be somewhat interesting when its available.

Great feeling to finish and get handed a goody bag and medal. All the half finishers got a medal while the goody bag had a blanket(!?!), chewing gum and the usual collection of brochures and stuff.

The Time

My net time was 1:35:13 which is a new PB! The gun time was 1:37:48 - took me over two and a half minutes to cross the start line but that's what you get for starting way back in the field! 13 seconds outside of my training "A" goal but given a niggly knee in the lead-up I'm more than happy with the outcome :)

The gun time was good enough for 57th out of 606, 50th of 285 males, and 19th of 104 in M30-39. ADRA used championchip to track results - here is the summary of mine.

ADRA is a great event and was well organised. The fact it was for charity was good too. I think I'll be back in the future! My knee is still a bit sore but I'm giving it a rest in the lead up to Christmas with just some gentle shorter recovery runs and excercises.

Monday, December 1, 2008

ADRA Charity Run 2008 - Pre Race Report

The results and photos are not yet out but I'm pleased to say I managed to complete the ADRA charity run half marathon with a niggly knee. It did get a bit "tight" at around the 13km mark - that's quite scary with 8km to go! - but I got through it in the end.

Felt very elated to have got through it after a weeks worth of worry over it.Starting off towards the back of the pack and easing into the run no doubt helped.

A full race report to follow. Hopefully the results are out tomorrow.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Touch and Go

My right knee has been niggling a bit since the weekend. I first felt it climbing a ladder to change a light bulb on Sunday. It's the same knee that gave me grief a couple of months ago. Very frustrating - A worry given I've got ADRA scheduled on Sunday!!!

Went for a careful 6km yesterday and a 6km this morning which were pain and niggle free. That was the acid-test whether to pull out of Sunday - although that said I don't think its 100%.

My strategy at present will be to run very conservatively with an aim to just finish the course.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Run to Work via Westhaven

I liked the last long run around westhaven marina I decided to run to work this way on Friday morning. Mapped it up in mapmyrun and it works out to be bang on 12km.

First 8km rolling terrain and the last 4 flat around westhaven marina. Passed two runners on the flat which I guess that's race craft. Westhaven marina is a nice stretch to run through.

12km in 52:44 (4:22min/km) - trying to keep on PHMP (projected half marathon pace) or just under. ADRA is largely along the coast so put the waterfront runs down to getting used to the conditions.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


My number for the ADRA half came in the post today. 3016 as per the below - cool :)

Run home from work on Wednesday - but seemed to catch a lot of traffic lights. So the run was quite stop/start intervals. Did the 6.66km in 28:44 (4:19min/km) running it pretty hard indeed.

I'm going to try an alternative run to work tomorrow morning - 12km so longer but more scenic through Westhaven. Should be something a bit different as the sun is coming up.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A long run

Summer has really hit Auckland this weekend. Lovely weather.

Before it warmed up too much I went for a long run (started at 8:15am) - I planned to run a Half Marathon distance at a "comfortably hard" training pace and as an excuse to take in some areas of Auckland I hadn't run to before. Aiming for endurance rather than speed.

I called this run "Waterfront Expedition" - because it was a trip to part of Auckland's harbour. Here is an lovely photo from Chris Gin of the Westhaven Marina (around 8.5km into the run).

Did the 21.14km in 1:39:46 for a 4:43min/km pace. It was harder than I thought toward the end - tough work with no aid stations although I did chance upon a water fountain near the viaduct harbour (America's cup base when it was hosted in Auckland). Did I mention it was warm?

Marked a few points on interest on the elevation map:

Some highlights for future reference

- At 3.6km crossed the North Western motorway on a foot bridge off Haslett Street.
- At 4.8km went through Western Park off the Eastern side of Ponsonby Road.- hadn't been through here before - quite nice under the trees.
- At 6-7km went through cafe and restaurant strip of Ponsonby. No time for latte today though.
- 7-8km was a long downhill towards Westhaven Marina and the start of the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Running alongside the water was nice (and different). Most of my routes are in suburban streets. Stunning views.
- 8-10km. Went under the bridge and along Westhaven drive. Dead flat and lots of boats to look at.
- 10-12km went along the Western Reclamation better known as the "Tank Farm". Something a bit different with the industrial setting.
- The intersection of Gaunt Street and Hasley street brought back memories. This was the start line of the Auckland Quarter Marathon which I did in 2007.
Felt quite thirsty about that point and lucked out with a drinking fountain down the road! I'll have to remember that for the future!
- The run then started to head uphill proving that what comes down must go up again. Started up Albert street and passed my work building on the right.
- 15km hit the bottom of Myers park and the stairs alluded to in my last post. After the stairs the rest of the run my pace dropped quite a bit - could feel it.
- 16 through to 21km was fairly familiar territory up past Mt Eden and back towards home. The up hill section was pretty tough but a second wind of sorts on the downhills.

Felt good afterwards and pretty pleased to clock a sub 1:40 for the training run. Have to admit I was pushing hard towards home to come in under 100 mins.

Rest day tomorrow! ADRA half in 2 weeks so am going to wind back the running distances a bit (i.e. taper)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Run to/from Work

Last week I tried something new. Thursday morning I took a spare change of clothes to work and my running gear. Work has lockers and showers so there is really no excuse to give it a go.

The plan was to run home Thursday and then run back in Friday morning. The route is 6.69km - slightly detoured from the most direct way to take in two parks. Centennial Park very near home and Myer's Park in the city. I find running through parks is a good way to break up a running route with a little nature diversion.

The most interesting part was a run through Myer's Park. Very pleasant to run through during the day - although I certainly wouldn't venture in after hours. This page has plenty of historical information which is quite interesting. The

The top end of the park has a number of flights of stairs - I counted 141! - continuing up into St. Kevin's arcade up to Karangahape Road.

Here is a photo from the other direction coming into work this time - nice stained glass sign:

The stairs really took the starch out but must be good training.

Run home: Thursday 13 November - 29:47 - 4:28min/km pace. Had to wait at a couple of traffic intersections to avoid cars.

Run in: Friday 14 November - 28:57 - 4:19min/km pace. Not sure the faster time was just the downhill stairs but also running in the morning is a better time to go running.

This might become a regular Thursday/Friday thing - well semi-regular as I'm sometimes off site for work.

Elevation graph:

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Electing to Run

Our New Zealand elections were this Saturday. I voted early in the morning (9am) at Maungawhau Primary and then went for a 5km hill climb run at around 11 in the morning. It was hot!

Saturday : 5km in 23:30 for 4:42min/km.

Then I did two hills on Sunday. I call this route "Two Ticks" as a nod to our Mixed Member Proportional system here in NZ.

Sunday : 17.1km in 1:25:36 for 4:58min/km.

Here is the elevation - not getting tired of the nerdy graphs (yet). Mt Eden is still the toughest hill around these parts - the view is magic once you get to the top. "Big" King is a baby in comparison.

I kept it slowish on purpose. Got a small cut just under my big toe on my right foot that niggles a bit. I think it made me favour my left foot ever so slightly. I might have to tape it up to help it heal.

3 Weeks until ADRA (i.e. 2 weeks of more focused training to peak for it and then one week of tapering). Feeling pretty comfortable about it.

In other running news:

I've entered Run Auckland 2009 (5 x 10km and one half marathon). They are doing an early bird special where you get a free 2XU running shirt. The price is pretty good too $90NZ for the 6 races. Thoroughly enjoyed Run Auckland 2008 this year. My little sister T has entered as well.

Also nearly finished a book called "Through the Wall" which I'll be posting a review on shortly.

Weigh In - 9 November 2008 (Sub 85!)

Better progress this week - my average weight sneaking under 85. Diet has been pretty good.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Training Montage

OK so its 1980's cheesy flag waving type stuff but I always thought the run up the mountain was pretty cool. He lost some time stopping to cut trees down...needs to work on race craft.

At the end of any hill climb its perfectly acceptable to punch the air like Rocky (as long as no one catches you doing it)


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunday Morning - Weigh In and Run

Weigh In - 2 November 2008

Too much red this week. No doubt eating too much for the level of exercise I'm doing. Pretty simple really

Tiki Tour

A good day to go running. Nice and cool in the morning - congratulations to all those running in the Auckland Marathon today. That'll be me next year...

Around 8:30am I went for a relatively flat course of approx 14.5km - I call this the 14km Tiki-Tour. It takes in Mt. Eden, Sandringham, Three Kings, Royal Oak, and Epsom South.

Did this in 1:03:30 (4:22 min/km pace). If runs were curry that would be mild/hot but still edible :) I ran the same course back in June in 1:05:41 (4:32 min/km) so definitely some improvement there.

Nerdy elevation graph:

It was a good blow-out of a run. Felt great afterwards!

4 weeks to go until the ADRA half. Really looking forward to the race!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Finding the Time

Struggling to find the time to get some decent running in. Work and life getting in the way. Does anyone else have that problem?

Finding after work is not that good - gets me into trouble with the family. Think I have to get back into the early morning 5am running - a struggle to get up that early but its all about routine. Gets easier after a while.

Today I got back home early from a work trip to Kawerau. Had a 15km run all planned out but what can only be described as internal rumblings saw me cut the run short at just over 5km - lucky it was a loop course and I could detour at an awkward sprint back home. Made it back though so all is well that ends well as they say.

Did 5.36km in 23:40 (4:25 min/km pace) - not too bad considering.

Good news is I'm over the cold :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Step away, turn around. Let my feet hit the ground.

Great day today - I could get quite used to holiday Mondays! I went for a similar length run as Saturday's effort - still a little blocked up to be honest so didn't want to run any longer than 30-35 minutes.

I call this route "Along the Grange" because, well, it goes up Grange Road. Feel like I'm handling the hills reasonably well at the moment - not racing up them but keeping an even pace.

Overall 7.63km in 33:36 (4:24min/km pace). Quite pleased with that given still a bit "sniffly" - and yes in hindsight a recovery run should have been quite a bit slower.

I want to crack 1:35 in my next half - for that need to pace for 4:30 min/km's over the entire race. I think should be achievable if I train smart over the next 4 weeks.

Here is the flash-harry elevation graph courtesy of mapmyrun.com.

Since its a nice day, and you've read this far here is a treat... another great New Zealand song with a running theme. "Running" from Evermore. Good stuff!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Weigh In - 26 October 2008

Weight a bit up and down this week. Had a (man) cold and consequently didn't exercise all that much. Next week will be better!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Recovery Run

As mentioned last post I've been slowed down with man-flu this week (aka man-cold, aka dreaded lurgy):

This video cracks me up. I didn't have a bell like that here - just as well my wife would have clocked me over the head with it ;). Anyhow I'm on the tail end of the cold now which is just as well. My diet hasn't been the best the last few days. Thanks everyone for the get well soon comments on my last post.

This weekend is Labour weekend in New Zealand. Monday is a public holiday celebrating the advent of the 40 hour working week in 1840. A good weekend for a run or two. The weather has been pretty variable so far so its a matter of trying to find a time in between rain showers.

Today was a shortish recovery run round the block. The weather was a bit windy with slight showers but nothing too bad. I did my tempo run course (7.53km) at a slower than normal time of 33:52 (4:29min/km).

It was a bit suprising the run was quicker than it felt. My breathing was a bit ragged at the end though just to remind me not probably not totally over the cold.

Looks like mapmyrun.com has an interesting looking elevation chart - here is the one for today's run:

The hills are pretty tame on this run only 3% uphill gradient.

Here is the route in 3D google earth glory:

The big brown area in the bottom right is actually a scoria quarry. Due to the quarry activity there is only one "king" (volcano) left of the Three Kings. There is talk when it closes over the next few years the council will move to turn it into park land - that would be a good move in my opinion.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Monday afternoon I started to get the "I'm coming down with a bug" feeling. Woke up this morning with dry eyes, sore throat and achy shoulders. Not that flash.

So being sensible that means no running today. I did go for a short walk to try and clear my head with limited results. Will be taking it very easy and hopefully be a box of fluffies real soon now.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Morningside For Life!

Today the sun was out so I went for a run in a new route! This one went through the Auckland suburb of Morningside. Nothing special in that but it is the setting for New Zealand's first adult-targeted animated series - bro'Town. Apparently our answer to the Simpson's but with polynesians. Likely if you live outside of Auckland you won't understand the references but pretty funny if a bit crass. The below shows a few good clips in the guise of an episode of mastermind :)

Anyhow the run itself was OK - 13.7km in 1:03:22 (4:37min/km). The route details here. A couple a hills in this including the one from Run Auckland Race 5. Good it wasn't raining today remember the race earlier in the year it was bucketing down.

Did it pretty hard towards the end but all in all a good weekend's running.

Weigh In - 19 October 2008

Still going in the right direction. A bit slower this week though but slow and gradual progress is a good idea for weight loss. Feeling pretty good with how its going!

Made a big effort this week to watch portion sizes and by and large this went well. Just over 5kg to go to get to my goal weight (80kg). Would like to make it by the end of the year. Should be a realistic goal.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Run to Waikowhai Park

I hadn't done any running since the world wide half last Sunday. Usually after a long run/race my calf muscles are quite tight but overall I felt pretty good on Monday. Did a few walk commutes to work this week which I think were OK in terms of a recovery activity. Work is about 6km away from home - takes just under an hour.

Anyhow at Friday lunchtime I was having a look on the Auckland City Council site for some new places to go running. The Running In The Inner City page is quite good but for today I wanted to do something a bit different - this page on Manukau coastal walks caught my eye.
Step away from urban sprawl - embrace the serenity, beauty and natural rhythms of the Manukau Harbour. Discover nature in the city.

That sounded rather good. In fact Waikowhai park was all that and more. A lovely spot very much a hidden gem which I had never been to before. Further down the page:
Take the concrete path that drops down to the west. Take the right fork, cross the wooden bridge and climb the steep staircase up to Cape Horn Road (200 plus steps). Take a breather and consider the fine outlook from the site where a Maori pa once stood.

Steep staircase? How hard could it be? Taking a breather is an understatement as I found out. Running up this thing is a recipe for jelly legs and being out of breath!

So this morning I set of at a "regular run" pace.

Here is the route which is approximately 16km. The obligatory google earth image:

At around 3km the route passed Mt. Roskill - how can you run past a volcano, even a small one, without running up and down it?

Image from the Wikipedia entry for Mt Roskill.

Hill climb was Ok nice comfortable pace up and down. Started raining and got a little windy at around 4km. Nothing too serious though.

At around 6 km the route headed along Cape Horn Road. A few 20kV transmission towers over this area - in the rain making quite a loud hissing noise. I'd hate to live near one. Towards the end of Cape Horn Road the run hit bush and an absolutely brilliant view of the Manukau harbour.

Hit the steps then - going down. These things were steep all-right and with the rain were quite slippery. Took my time down them while thinking it was going to be tough getting back up. At the bottom hit Waikowhai Park - here is a photo from the Auckland City Council site:

Very quiet aside from the sound of the harbour and birdlife. Hard to believe it is so close to the city.

Climbing back up the stairs was tough. Fairly even pace until about three quarters back up and then it was hard not to give up. Got a case of jelly legs at the top and toasted me a bit for the rest of the run.

8km through to 11km were fairly slow recovering a bit from the hill. The rain had stopped by then which was good and nice views provided along Hillsborough Road.

At around 11km went along the edge of Keith Hay Park. Thankfully it was nice and flat. Got to run over a neat little foot/bike bridge across the path of the motorway under construction. Here is a photo from the transit website:

This picture shows the footbridge in the foreground, Keith Hay park to the left, and the road bridge crossed at about the 2.5km in the background.

The rest of run was fairly sedate. The run was definitely slower in the second half. Those steps took the starch right out of me! Overall 15.98km in 1:21:40 (5:06min/km).

Waikowhai Park was very nice. It would be a good spot for a picnic.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Weigh In - 12 October 2008

I weighed in before the world wide half yesterday:

We visited my parents for Sunday lunch later in the day. It was great. A lovely beef dish and berry crumble for desert which went down a treat.

Still going in the right direction with the weight loss. On the topic of lunch I've been good taking food with me to work rather than going and buying something. That's working out quite well (and saving money while I'm at it).

On a side note am finding tracking weight, and posting weekly, using physicsdiet a good way to keep focused.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

World Wide Half - Race Report

After entering this virtual event yesterday I was quite nervous and found it hard to sleep. It really did feel like a proper race. Weird eh? I think it was partly because I had annouced the entry on this blog and hence some pressure to put in a good effort.

Before the race I checked out the course from space (thanks Google Earth):

Headed out to the start line at quarter past 6 just before dawn here in Auckland on a cool but fine morning. No queues for the toilets and got a great pole position at the start (my driveway!). No start gun though this race so just pushed the start button on my G-Shock stopwatch and headed out.

On a serious note the early start was also so I could get the run finished while it was still cool. Running a half marathon with no planned drink breaks I needed to minimise dehydration. I had hydrated well the night before and had a glass of water after I had woken up.

The first 3km or so where along pretty flat suburban streets in Mt. Eden and Sandringham - Halesowen, Calgary, and Shackleton. This was the extra I had tacked on to my long training run to bring it up to half distance. Used that to ease into the run. Actually the start was great - there was no congestion with other runners! Usually a race there is a bit of congestion in the first part. I guess countering that there are no people to pace against later on and no crowd support. Have to say the atmosphere with a whole lot of other runners is something else (and what makes races fun).

The course wasn't too bad...

The 3km through 8km is rolling terrain up through Mt. Eden Village and into Grafton. Saw a few other runners out training and got a wave or two. They were probably wondering what the hell I was doing running pretty hard out early on a Sunday morning.

The domain was nice and pleasant - at around 9km the sun was coming up through the trees and it felt pretty good to be honest. I had started to feel fatigue round about here and the sunshine from down was a bit of a lift.

The section from 10km through 13km was pretty flat aside from a nasty little hill just into Gillies Ave. The sun was starting to come up now which was good.

13km through 17km was through Cornwall Park. Along this part of the run I tried to run on the trail and grass a bit - the uphill sections were a matter of just maintaining stride rate (albeit with a shorter step). In contrast really attacked the downhill sections felt like I absolutely screamed down the hill.

The last 4km of the run was tough. My feet, quads, lungs were starting to feel it. On the plus side not a peep from the knees and calves. Not much left for a sprint finish but certainly finished in better shape than my first half back in July. Still running reasonably strong. Absolutely stuffed though.

The face of victory! Well I am wearing a nike top and she is the greek goddess of victory. I'm shattered right about now.

I then took a photo of the time for the permanent record. Out of focus shot due to post race exhaustion.

1:35:47 which is a new PB! According to mapmyrun.com the route was 21.4km so average pace is 4:28min/km.

Doing the world wide half was great. As I said earlier it really did feel like a race! Even got a virtual certificate...

Absolutely brilliant and now I'm buzzed for the rest of the day. Hope everyone else had fun racing it.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Phedipidations World Wide Half Marathon - I'm in!

Today I read an interesting race report on Mike's Sub6 blog he had just run in the virtual half marathon with over 1000 people in over 40 countries. That sounded pretty interesting so I checked out in further details - from the website http://www.worldwidehalf.com:
On the weekend of 11-12 October 2008 runners from around the world will 'virtually' come together to celebrate their passion for the sport they love by running The Worldwide Festival of Races Half Marathon, 10K and 5K distances. This race is a free, non-commercial event for runners of all abilities, where everyone is invited to register, train and run with us in the spirit of friendship. The only requirement is that you sign-up to run an official road race or a route of your choosing on the weekend of 11-12 October 2008, and report the results on this website. Participation in the race will also include a 'virtual' race bib, goody bag and completion certificate as well as a community forum and final results listing.

Free is always good so I figured why not stretch out my planned 18km long run to a half marathon distance. Hard to "race" on my own but it should be a good fun run. It'll be a route of my choosing of course.

Here is my "virtual" race bib - what do you know lucky number 1142 :)

Here is the "course" I'm planning on doing...something like 21.4km but its hard to get it exact when you are just clicking points on a map.

Going to try for an early start...

Ever Increasing Circles

Yesterday morning on the way to work I was thinking about a comment AndrewE made on my last post.
I dream of that kind of speed! One day!

That's a nice comment however I'll add the disclaimer that for me any pace under 4:30min/km is high intensity so at the end of even a short run like that I'm blowing hard and a bit of a sweaty mess.

This is going to be a pretty obvious statement but progress is relative to where you currently are. One day I'd like to go under 40 minutes for a 10km - and under 20minutes for a 5km. Perhaps even dreaming about it on occasion ;). An ambitious goal but progress should be thought of as a series of ever increasing circles.

In Jon Ackland's book Complete or Compete there was a illustration about this. It struck a chord with me - it was something like the following:

Essentially it shows that wherever you are, that is current limits, can be expanded with adequate training to new limits. Additional training will expand the limits further and so on. Obviously there is a physical limit to this that elite athletes will approach but for mere mortals like myself I don't think thats the limiting aspect.

I think its good to keep in mind though that metrics on performance - whether how fast you can run, how long you can run, aerobic capacity, or getting to a certain weight are essentially "carrots". The journey of getting there, that is getting fitter, is really the main goal. I think that running long distances can also be mentally fulfilling as overcoming a challenge as well.

When I started running 2 years ago my initial circle was very small. Weight had stretched to 98kg which triggered a "pre-mid life crisis". Initially anything more than a couple of hundred metres was hard. Running was slow.
In hindsight it was a shame I hadn't found the 'Couch-to-5K' program it would have made things easier.

Initial goals were fairly modest - Remember one milestone after a couple of months was being able to do the 3km loop around One Tree Hill. Slowly, very slowly, but non-stop. 3km become 5km and then 8km and eventually a work colleague had convinced me to enter the Auckland Quarter Marathon with him last year. Training for a race was just the thing to keep me focused.

A few more months of training - largely on rolling terrain or hills - I managed a good time on what was a dead flat course.

Shame I didn't blog those early days but I have been recording progress ever since. Onwards and upwards. The big carrot for me now is a full marathon next year.

Weather looks good today so might be good to lace those shoes up and head outside :) All this talk about circles has got me motivated...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Midweek Tempo

Rain and wind hit Auckland yesterday (Tuesday) so my tempo run got postponed until today.

7.53km in 32:15 (4:17 min/km pace) - according to mapmyrun.com that's 14.01km/hr which is quick (for me).

Good honest hard effort throughout.

This article at runner's world is quite a good read on the virtues of tempo-running. Good to do once a week. I've been reading a bit about intervals as well.

I don't have a picture for today's run but here is another good kiwi band, Goldenhorse, for your viewing pleasure. Lead singer Kirsten Morelle is singing about running so it must be good:

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Weigh In - 5 October 2008

Been going the right direction this week - largely watching what I eat.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A Great Hill Run

This morning I did my Maungawhau/Mt. Eden hill run and it was great! Probably one of the best training runs all year. No niggles and felt strong on the uphills and kept the pace consistent as opposed to shuffling near the top. I guess just one of those days when training feels great - wish they all feel this good.

Diet has been quite good this week (baby spinach sandwiches for lunch anyone?) and that may be helping.

Photo by Pat Leahy. A cow's eye view of the road to the top. The island out in the harbour is actually an extinct volcano as is the hill (Mt. Eden) of today's climb.

Half way up the climb I caught up with a group of runners also talking the road to the top. Even passed three of them :). Tough hill climbs are really helping with running strength and should pay dividends when racing a flat course.

Today was 11.18km in 51:00 (pace 4:34 min/km).

Progression on this route:

21 Sep - 55:12 - 4:55 min/km
28 Sep - 54:02 - 4:49 min/km
4 Oct - 51:00 - 4:34 min/km

Time for a banana :)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My run is in a music video...

... well my route is as you shall see below.

My planned tempo run before work didn't happen due to sleeping in issues. In the past I would have flagged it away but decided to go running after dinner but not before it became too dark.

With daylight savings in effect in New Zealand that meant about 7:30pm.

I don't normally go running then - prefer the morning or say early afternoon - so it was all a bit different.

Randomness that came into my head while running:

- No niggles today - yay! I guess the weird experience on Sunday was just a note that I'm 33 not 23!
- When my body starts digesting food it seems to make running more of an effort. I wonder if thats normal? Normally in the morning I don't eat before running. The planned tempo soon got downgraded into a "regular".
- 7.53km in 34:58 (4:38 min/km) on my round the block route.
- Comfortable pace but getting a sweat going
- Eiffel en Eden looks like an interesting place to eat. My wife would like it.
- If you run without music listening to your foot steps is a bit hypnotic.
- I need to take my library books back.
- 140.7km for September which is more than normal for me. Pleased to get get some km's under the belt.
- Dominion road really does bend under its own weight. It's pretty cool running along a road made famous by the Mutton Bird's song. The first km or so is along this iconic road.

For people unfamiliar with the Mutton Birds they are quite underrated in my opinion - great kiwi music.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hills and niggles

Sunday afternoon in Auckland was good so started to head off on an upbeat long run. My right knee started to feel a little "niggly" a minute or so into it. I headed back home and did a little stretching and decided to change plans and go for a shorter run.

Decided to tackle the hill climb from last week. Made a big effort to start very slowly and make sure the knee didn't start complaining at me - if it did I was going to can out.

Felt pretty good actually after I had started warming up.

Again made an effort to work on stride throughput especially on the Mt. Eden climb. Time was better than last week - which was pretty interesting given the quite sedate start - 54:02 for 11.18km @ 4:49min/km pace.

Need to listen to my body and make sure get the rest days in - like tomorrow.

Weigh In - 28 September 2008 (In the Green)

Going in the right direction this week - maybe adding Tempo Tuesday into the mix helped?

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Been paying a bit of attention to diet as part of the pre-mid life crises (aka getting in shape). One thing that caught my attention is the term Superfood. The concept is:

Superfood is a term sometimes used to describe food with high phytonutrient content that some may believe confers health benefits as a result. For example, blueberries are often considered a superfood (or superfruit) because they contain significant amounts of antioxidants, anthocyanins, vitamin C, manganese and dietary fibre

Of course with anything like this you need to be careful of the marketing hype. Who doesn't like blueberries though!

The book "Superfoods" by Steven Pratt and Kathy Matthews is good read which covers 14 types of food. The fruit and vegetables didn't suprise too much. What it did stress is eating whole foods rather than processed for the most part - however apparently a cooked tomato is better for you than a raw one. We are going to try to include some of the foods they listed and cut down the processed.

Let's see if it helps my running times...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tempo Tuesday!

5:30 am - light drizzle and time for a tempo run. Legs felt a little heavy from running this weekend just gone. Time to leave that excuse at the door on the way out...

Tried to concentrate of faster turnaround of feet - I think thats a good strategy for tempo running (as opposed to the plodding pace I feel I have on a long run).

7.53km in 33:00 for a 4:23 min/km pace.

Certainly a harder run than normal and a great way to wake up!

Running fast is good on occaision to avoid being a (fit) single speed runner. Put in in 5th and go....(photo by bashed)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Weigh In - 21 September 2008

Running more and likely eating more. Net effect is a plateau.

Lets see if some short sharp tempo runs this week can make a difference along with some better diet choices.