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.


Andrew(ajh) said...

That looks like a delightful run!

Well done on all that green in the diet graph!

Andrew is getting fit said...

200 steps eh! Jelly legs indeed.

I'm going to have to go for a run down there now. Hmm...maybe after the half.