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.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


More sunny weather today - it's great and a good chance to get out and excercise.

Maungawhau is the Maori name for Mt. Eden. It means "Mountain of the Whau tree" in Maori. At 196m above sea level it isn't the biggest mountain in the world but it is the highest natural point in the whole of Auckland.

Since I live in Mount Eden (the suburb) it is the obvious place to go hill running. I guess it's my local.

Photo by Matt & Becky. I can't see my house from here though I can see the office.

It's a tough grinding gradual climb that goes round and up the hill in a big loop. There were a few other hilly streets as well.

I tried to keep my stride rate constant over the whole route and take shorter steps up the hill. The overall ascent from my house is apparently 93m according to mapmyrun.com. Seemed to work OK - the run itself was good but hard - backing up the long run of yesterday but I can feel my endurance improving which is good.

The stats - 11.18km in 55:12 for an average pace of 4:55 min/km. Not exactly burning up the pavement but hills are never easy - that's why they are called hills!

Rest day tomorrow - but I've got an early morning round the block tempo pencilled in for Tuesday.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A slightly speedier long run

A gorgeous sunny day today in Auckland. A good morning for tackling the 18.8km Long Run to the Domain from last week.

A bit speedier today...pleased with the progress.

Today: 18.80km in 1:29:39 for a average pace of 4:46min/km.
(Last week I did the same course in 1:33:18).

The effort level was a touch higher today but tried to keep the pace consistent over the whole distance.

I didn't see any rubber ducks although at around the 6km mark the path passes by a small lake with a few friendly geese...

Photo by Velvet Android.

Felt great afterwards!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Building Endurance

I've been doing some longish runs (for me that is 15km+) recently and have noticed my average pace is quite similar (4:55-5:05min/km). That's a pretty comfortable pace and I'm noticed a couple of things:

i) My calves aren't as tight as if I'm running "fast" as in a 10km race. Rather I'm feeling it more in the quadriceps - however I feel pretty good as in could run again tomorrow.
ii) Not fading near the end I did in my first half marathon so the pace is more consistent throughout.

However I probably need to mix it up a bit - i.e. a shorter tempo run here and there - to also work on speed.

Today I had the day off work - attending a few personal errands - and fit in a 16.4km run (1:23:30, 5:05min/km) which I call Long One Tree Hill Expedition. One Tree Hill has some of the best open spaces to run in round Auckland - it's brilliant. The hill is tough work but its good to get to the top!

Photo by Seamoor. This shot doesn't do it justice - already about 1/3 the way up!

I enjoyed today's run as a stress release - work has been a bit tense recently so a great opportunity to zone out. That's probably one of the things I like most about running. I know its a cliche but hey it works!

Still waiting on the endorphins (aka "runner's high") to kick in though ;)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Long Run Redux

Another sunny day - another longish run. This one 18.8km in 1:33:18 (4:58min/km) - takes in some of the Auckland Domain and Cornwall Park/One Tree Hill. I call this one Long Run to the Domain and adapted it from a similar route I had found on mapmyrun.com. Shades of yesterday as the route skirted the bottom of khyber pass.

Quite warm and starting to dehydrate towards the end but good stuff. Pleased I got through it.

Rest day tomorrow - I need it!

Going to start including a tempo run into the mix during the week - maybe on Wednesday.

Managed to fit in the track along side Twin Oak Drive (photo by OceanBlue-AU) - a great place to go running.

Weigh In - 14 September 2008

A slight increase this week. I'm blaming the two work functions (and the shiraz!). Still I've entered the ADRA half which is in 10 weeks time - and expect some improvement over the course of training.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Running the Khyber Pass

I ran the length of Khyber Pass this morning. Impressed?

Well I'm not referring to the mountain pass between Afganistan and Pakistan but rather Khyber Pass Road linking the Auckland suburbs of Newmarket with Newton. :)

A weird mix along Khyber Pass Road - the Newmarket end has some restaurants and the Lion Nathan brewery, the middle section has Mt Eden Prison on the left along with a motorway entrance/exit, and the top section more commercial.

The first half of the run was the most enjoyable though. Nice and cool through the leafy suburbs.

The big lion brewery sign in Newmarket. Photo by jremigio. Scary looking beast - my theory why the Kenyans are fast runners is that they need to avoid the real thing!

Here is the route which not suprisingly I've called Khyber Pass.

I did the 16.9km in 1:23:22 (4:55min/km). Wasn't that speedy but a good run considering last night we went out for a work function and I got to indulge in some nice Aussie Shiraz. Yum!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Weigh In - 7 September 2008

I've decided to use physicsdiet to keep me on track for getting down to around 80kg. Physics Diet is an interesting concept - the premise is you weigh yourself at the same time every day. You can then obtain trend information to see how you are going.

The blue line shows the moving average of all your weight entries. The black line is a best fit.

The points on the tips of the green and red shaded areas are your daily weight entries. The red area means that for that day, or period of days, your daily weight entries were above the blue trend line. The green area means that for that day, or period of days, your daily weight entries were below the blue trend line. If you are trying to lose weight then you will want to keep most of your daily weight entries in the green shaded area.

So today even though I weighed in @ 86.8kg my physicsdiet weight is 87.25kg.

So moving forward and to keep me on the straight and narrow I'll be posting on this weekly. I think training in earnest - and increasing the number of kms run a week (gradually) will help.

In saying that have just done another run this morning since the weather is warm and sunny. Did this one, which I call the Balmoral Loop. 11.18km in 51:43 (4:37min/km). Legs getting tired toward the end but I feel the fitness levels coming back which is great.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Beautiful Day

A beautiful spring day here in Auckland, New Zealand. Did a 'medium' length run today at a fairly comfortable pace. Good to get some vitamin D from the sun.

13.68km in 1:05:02 (4:45min/km pace).

I call this route "City Fringe Loop 2". Some flat sections but generally rolling terrain - especially along the city end of Mt. Eden Road. However the most interesting part of the run is probably the stretch along Dominion Road. There are some really interesting shops and cafes along this section.

This arty photo by "wasabicube" which is on the Dominion road stretch. An Irish pub - the Clare Inn - is right next to a Chinese restaurant called "Splendid Restaurant". Quite strange but this juxtaposition is normal for Dominion Road. Another interesting point of trivia is that it is apparently the longest straight road in Auckland.

Much as I like running in the sun this route is probably best done when traffic is at a minimum (early morning would be good).

Friday, September 5, 2008

Alternative Fuels

A work colleague, N, brought the latest copy of Runner's World in to the office. A good piece about oatmeal (aka porridge) as a breakfast suitable for runner's (slow release energy etc). The article suggested ditching the sugar and milk and going for almonds, strawberries and yogurt. Interesting eh?

No strawberries and yogurt in the kitchen so in true kiwi fashion I gave it a nudge with alternatives! Went with almonds and banana (and milk). Suprisingly the almonds went quite well with it all nice and crunchy.
My chef chopping skills need work!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

ADRA Charity Run Half - Nov 30 2008

In my last post mentioned doing the ADRA charity run half instead of the Auckland Half Marathon. Well as I've found out thats now a no brainer of a decision (Thanks Andrew!) as the Auckland Marathon event is now sold out on the half and full options. That's pretty impressive 2 months before the event.

I want to go under my first half time (1:38:10) and a flat course like this will help. Just quietly my secret goal is 1:35:00. That's going to take some dedicated training over the next 3 months. Nothing like a good goal to keep focused.

Rest day tomorrow.

P.S. I will enter the Auckland Full Marathon in 2009. This is my long term running goal.

Early Bird

Went running round the block this morning. 5:45am nice and cool and as my Grandmother likes to say the dawn chorus was in good form. Very nice and so I ran "unplugged". When its nice and quiet running without music is best at least for me.

Tui photo courtesy of Brenda Anderson. We do have Tui's in my suburb but probably not this particular one :)

Start of spring in New Zealand and the weather is relatively great. At least its not pouring down every second day.

The running is getting better after my "slackness hiatus" in August. Today I did : 7.53km in 34:30 (4:34 min/km). Felt pretty comfortable but towards the end my legs where telling me I haven't been doing too much running.

Getting better on the weight front - 86.6kg before I headed out this morning which is nice and encouraging - next stop 85. I think might start posting weekly progress with a graph from http://www.physicsdiet.com.

Andrew E asked in my last post if I was planning on doing the Waitakere Half. Unfortunately not this year - two fold: my base line fitness isn't where I want to be to do a good run but the main reason is my personal accountant (i.e. wife) gives me a budget of sorts for running. Given that I need to start thinking about another pair of shoes in a couple of months need to factor it in.

My little sister T is wanting to do the ADRA charity run this year with the half option. My current thinking given where I am with fitness is to do this (instead of Auckland) both as support for her but also it is 3.5 weeks later than Auckland. Still thinking it through.