Thursday, July 24, 2008

"You need to watch that middle age spread..."

Comments from my wife over breakfast. Hmmmmmmmm.

Well its true I haven't been running this week - it's been crappy weather - but I thought it was a bit on the harsh side.

One of my goals was to drop a little weight so perhaps this wasn't unexpected feedback.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Glory Shot

As promised in my post on the North Shore City half here is the photo of me coming in to finish. Glory shot might be a bit much it's more the normal "just don't stop" face. is a pretty cool site. Since we weren't wearing numbers for this race I had to sift through a number of people also wearing red tops. That was interesting in itself seeing the expressions of people coming in to finish.

I don't think I'll buy this photo (you pay for a non watermarked one) maybe save my money for the Auckland half later this year. Larger events seem to have a number of photos you can choose from.

Talking of photos I saw this gem on a training run a while back and had to go back the same day to record it. Incidentally my home town of Auckland is known as the city of sails (because of the twin harbours and the multitude of sail boats).

The sign made me laugh though - clearly someone wasn't paying attention at school or maybe they had their mind on going fishing ;)

Also I managed to get past Week 3/Day 3 of the Hundred Pushup challenge. This called for 30/22/22/20/max(min 27) with 120 seconds in between sets. Managed 31 on the last. Bring on Week 4...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Better, stronger, faster...

Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster...

After taking a rest for the last couple of days its time to take stock and set some new goals.

1. Have fun running - and getting fit(ter) in general!

2. This year I'm going to enter the Auckland Half Marathon (2 November 2008). My goal for this is going to be 1:35:00. Ambitious but you only live once eh?
To knock more than three minutes off my PB time is going to take some good smart training with proper intervals. However I've reflected on how I faded significantly at the end of the last race so I reckon there is some definitely room for improvement.

3. Next year I'm going to enter the Run Auckland series again. That was a lot of fun and serves as motivation to exercise during the winter months. I think it will help improve my 10km times. My best 10km time this year was just under 43 minutes. A sub 42 would be a good goal.

There is also the North Shore City Half mid winter (July).

The Huntly Half is also a possibility (May).

4. The longer term goal is to have a crack at a full marathon in 2009. The Auckland Marathon at the end of 2009 is probably the best best. I'll have a year and half of base fitness to leverage and so be well prepared. Running a full marathon would have been an impossible dream a few years ago but I can now see it is an attainable goal with proper training.

5. Incorporate some cross training. I think swimming is a good no impact option on non-running days. I used to swim as a kid but haven't donned speedos and goggles for years. Swimming 1km was a goal of mine years ago - perhaps I should aim for that.

The tepid baths are pretty close to work and that could be a good option.

Also a few months ago bought some dumb-bells on trademe and have used them only sporadically for resistance training. Maybe writing down a strength program will help - I'll save that for another post.

6. Lose a little weight. I've been plateauing at between 86-87kg for a while now. A couple of years ago - before my "pre-midlife" crisis - I was touching on 100kg, podgy and lethargic, and exercise really helped bring that down to the normal range. One day I need to post an unflattering "before" shot. However back in my early twenties I was more around the 80kg mark. So dropping two or three kilos is a good goal. I think in my case its diet that needs some attention - well limiting the "treat" foods a bit. Training for the Auckland half and watching my diet should see my good for this one.

We can rebuild him. We have the technology. (can you pick the movie reference?)

P.S. Week 3/Day 2 (the sequel) of Hundred Pushups Done done and dusted. 27/19/19/15/30. 90 seconds rest in between sets and I beat the min criteria on the last set (25) by 5. :)

Sunday, July 13, 2008


North Shore City Half Marathon (Run Auckland Race 6) - DONE!

First things first totally wrapped to have snuck under 1:40:00 on my first half marathon. The course kicked my ass a bit near the end though. Pleased to beat the running calculator prediction of 1:39:39 by a good margin.

The race was scheduled to start at 7:30 a.m. and there was the biggest turnout I had seen all season. I think the sheer numbers overwhelmed the organisers a bit - the actual start was probably closer to 7:45 and the drink stations were a bit random (only went through 2).

The actual start was a bit sudden didn't see a countdown we were all just off.

The course itself was great - pretty tough - and was an interesting mix. Some roads, some sand, some grass. Running on sand is pretty tough.

0-7km: This was essentially flat around suburban streets a loop around Lake Pupuke but I never got to see the lake! Lots of people running in this section it reminded me a lot of the volume at the Auckland Quarter Marathon 2007. I overtook a reasonable number of people at this phase having started slowish due to congestion and settled into what "felt" like 4:30 min/km pace. I'm coming off a cold from last week (no pushups or running) so that feeling may have been a bit out.

7-14km: This took in a roughly 1km stretch along Takapuna beach running on the sand. I found the sand quite tough to run. Around 10km I was being tailed quite close by another runner. Not sure if he was trying to slip stream or what. Round the 10km mark we struck up a bit of a conversation - he reckoned we were on time for a 1:40 and hoped he didn't mind using me as a pacer! Apparently I was looking "quite comfortable" - ha thats probably because doing 14km is a distance I had done a fair amount of training runs at. The hard yards were yet to come.

Figured since we could talk just a little it was about right. The hill at North head was tough though. North head is a pretty interesting place in its own right - there are tunnels and a Cannon or two from World War 2 when the country was worried about invasion by the Japanese. Absolutely brilliant view.

The far point of the run skirted this cannon.

14km-21km: Back down North-head and the way we came. Business time. 17 through 20 were pretty slow on the uphills and flats. Cardio wasn't too bad what was starting to tell were tired legs and calves. My pacer friend started to break away at around 19.5km but I didn't have that much gas left to stay with them.

20 to 21km was back along Takapuna beach (damn sand again!) and the finish. Got passed by 3 people on the beach which in hindsight wasn't as bad as it could be. The last 100m was on grass and down the chute. After the sand I felt I finished relatively strong - noticed a camera set up but I think that photo is going to be a shocker! Still will post the moment of glory if I can get a copy.

It felt really great to have finished the distance.

Got a handshake and pat on the back from the pacer - turns out he came in around 30s ahead of me. It was quite good having some company on the run in the middle to end stages.

A lesson I'll take away from today is to be better prepared for the last 2-3 tough kms. Part of this is experience and having my body now know what the distance is like.

Now for a few days off and then back into it. Finishing a half was a fitness goal for me at the start of the year. Have to reassess where to from here. A full marathon one day might be a long-term plan but more short-term I'm thinking another half towards the end of the year might be something. Now I have a target time to beat...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Trucks: 0, Walking Bus: 1

Yesterday (Friday) in Auckland saw a big protest by truckers against rising road user charges. It was quite a sight with lots of chaos, horns blaring etc.

Photo: JOHN SELKIRK/Dominion Post. Traffic on Auckland's Queen St comes to a halt during the truckie's protest. As fuel prices rise, some people are getting angry but others are finding ways to cope.

Rather than getting angry - getting angry is for push-ups - I have been taking the 'walking bus' a bit. That is put simply commuting to work by walking. I live it Mt. Eden and door-to-door to work it is 6.1km one way - thats about an hour at a brisk walking pace.

In Auckland though taking a raincoat or umbrella is recommended. Walking is good exercise but it gets pretty easy once your body gets used to it.

Quite a few people today taking the 'bus'.

The trucks in a line and chaos reminded me of a scene in Die Hard 3 where the bad guys were stealing gold :)

Week 3/Day 3 got the better of me with the pushups though. The program was 30/22/22/20/max(min of 27) with 120 seconds rest in each set. I only made 14 good form pushups on the last. I'm going to repeat week 3 next week and hopefully get it nailed before moving on. It wasn't really that much more than day 2 which wasn't too bad. Oh well...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Reise, Reise

German for "Journey, Journey" or "Travel, Travel". A useful phrase to know when you are doing the hundred pushup challenge or any fitness by the way. Also a song by the band Rammstein. To be honest you wouldn't run to this stuff but it is pretty good for pushups :)

Incidentally an explanation for the little bit of German you see in my posts. I'm trying to self teach myself German in my spare time - my dad's family are from Austria and I'd like to be fluent one day. I can speak and read a little now but not enough to carry a conversation.


Anyway. Week 3 of the pushup challenge is HARD!!! That probably means its more at the right level for me and the first two weeks too easy.

Day 1 (Monday) was 25/17/17/15/max(min 25). With 60 seconds rest in between. Set 3 I could start feeling it - in contrast to the first two weeks where set 3 was still pretty easy.

Had only just managed to get to the minimum of the last set. The last three were very slow and wobbly, and in my head I had marked this down as provisional. Still being hard it's pushing me along and this is where improvement will come.

Day 2 (Today) was 27/19/19/15/max(min 25). With 90 seconds rest in between. Found this slightly easier than Day 1 and the extra rest really helped. I did 26 on the last set.

Hope everyone else is having fun with the push-ups.

Running Calculator

I chanced across the McMillan Running Calculator. Apparently:
Ever wonder what pace you should be running in workouts? How 'bout when you run a 5K and want to know what you could run for 10K? Well, wonder no more. Since the mid-1990's, I've been working on a method that estimates your equivalent race performances using a current race time at any distance as well as giving the appropriate pace range for all the different types of workouts that you perform.

Interesting but I think there are lots of variables in play - like variations in course, conditions, what side of the bed you got up on, and of course training over the distance. Still of course I plugged in my last 10km time (44:47)...and my projected half time is 1:39:39. Only one way to find out how accurate this projection is...