Saturday, February 21, 2009

A short midday run and a weigh-in

Thursday saw me go for a run at lunchtime. A bit tight in the calves from Tuesday so didn't go out too hard. Conditions were overcast. From the office I looped around the tank farm, up Jacob's ladder (one step at a time running style - phew!) and then down College Hill and back along Albert Street.

6.44km / 31:11 (4:49min/km)

Half an hour is about the most I can get away with at lunchtime to allow for a shower and change.

Here is a view from the end of the tank farm:

and the route:

In terms of weight here is the last 30 days out of It's going ok now that i'm back in the swing of excercising regularly:

5kg away from my "before marriage" weight of 10 years ago.

Away from home for a week which will be a challenge in terms of healthy eating options. I think the hotel has a gym so hopefully that will help. That and the big hill run I've got planned in Hong Kong :)

I haven't been to Shanghai before and am looking forward to it. Getting the maglev train from the airport to the hotel which is going to be something special.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Virtual Recon and a Short Hill Run

So I'm off to China next week for work. 5 days in Shanghai and then a day in Hong Kong on the return. Looking on the net going for somewhere nice to run in Shanghai is going to be a challenge although I did hear mention of a park with a 5km loop - guess just a matter of getting there from the hotel.

Hong Kong is a different matter. Victoria Peak has really sparked my interest. It's 500m asl. I've been here before but up the cable tram a number of years ago.

Some of the views look absolutely amazing and it does really put my local hill climbs right in the shade. Can't wait!

Tuesday evening after doing my virtual recon got inspired and did a little hill run. Ran my Landscape hill climb route pretty hard (6.49km / 29:14 (4:30min/km)). Obviously the hill part is tough - past some walkers at the top and one said "thats impressive" although I think she meant mad.

View looking down the hill parallel to the road - you can appreciate the gradient by the flat level on the bottom. Reasonably short sharp climb great for a hill workout.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A crisp morning, a hill climb, and some kiwi music

Today I decided to do a 10km run but not go too crazy on pace because I am still feeling the effects of the long midweek 21km on Thursday. Glorious morning quite crisp even at 8:30 when I headed out.

10.27km in 49:06 (4:46min/km).

The route itself includes some decent climbs. The view from the top of Mt. Eden never ceases to amaze me. Some tourists from the US at the top - the view was apparently "bootiful" :)

Looking back in my running history I ran the same route back in April 2008 and my time was 52:15. A good sign of some improvement in fitness and running strength. The hills don't kick my butt quite so much now. Could also be keeping a more consistent pace helps. This is probably my favourite hill route.

Did the run listing to pretty much the album "Riverhead" by New Zealand group "Goldenhorse". This sort of feel-good kiwi music is a nice backdrop to a run.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Long Riverside Run

Just got back from Hamilton where I had spent Thursday and Friday for work. Hamilton is largely built around the Waikato river and there is a riverside walk on both sides - so I mapped out a course from the hotel:

Rained quite heavily from the 11km mark and my calves started complaining a bit largely from the forbidden stair climb of the day before. Kept a nice easy pace but towards the end I found that wet shorts is a bad recipe for chaffing - ow!

21.29 km in 1:48:25 (5:05min/km).

The course and views along the route were magic. It's all reasonably flat and when it was raining it felt like running through a rain forest at times. If you are ever in Hamilton I would recommend it. Some photos:

A view of the river at around 2km

Memorial Park - 5.5km before it started raining.

The ducks loved the rain - I saw one do a kind of slide/waddle over the track and into the river. Passed a couple of other mental people "enjoying" the conditions.

Footbridge over the river at 14km.

16km? and soaked through. Not in a happy place due to chaffing issues...

19km saw the Waipa Delta (paddle boat) cruise past.

Worst moment was getting back into the hotel looking like something the cat had dragged in. Needless to say got some strange looks from the hotel staff at the front desk!

The hotel has a small gym and so the next morning had a go at a few weight machines. Bit sore now though so a rest day today!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A run up Jacob's Ladder at Lunchtime

I first heard about Jacob's ladder - well the Auckland version - from Andrew's blog last year. It sounded suitable scary for me to want to run it sometime.

Wikipedia tells me that its the:
Jacob's Ladder is a ladder to heaven, described in the Book of Genesis, which the biblical patriarch Jacob envisions during his flight from his brother Esau.

The Auckland one is really the ladder to Waitemata Street which was OK not exactly heaven though. I didn't see any angels there. (too hot and humid - 27 deg near 100% humidity)

The view from the top.

Run up them ok bit weird being able to see through the stairs at the ground behind - bit of vertigo there. At the top got told off!

Well it did say "Excercise Extreme" ;)

Certainly the steepest ladder I've seen but I think the one in Waikowhai park is worse - longer.

Thereafter the run turned me into a sweaty mess - literally broke out in perspiration after the ascent. Lovely.
The run wasn't done though took in the top section of College Hill, a stretch of Ponsonby Road, and another uphill in Western Park before heading down Myers Park and back to work. At around 4km I thought "who's stupid idea was this?" :). Felt the climb up the side of Western Park was tougher than the ladder though.

The park sections were the best - the bits along Ponsonby and K-Road were quite good for practicing your race passing skills with all the people out walking.
Haven't had one of these for a while:

in 32:42 (4:43min/km).

Moral of the story - hills and stairs are good for you!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Running is useful

My wife's car is in for repairs today so I offered to combine a run with collecting her work mail from the post office. Talk about useful - although running with a set of keys in one hand and a fist full of mail in the other is a bit different.

Not bad though 6.98km / 31:52 (4:34min/km).

Hot and humid today - 25 deg with 95% humidity in Auckland. A bit yuck but the run itself was quite good. Reckon I'll be in good shape when Run Auckland starts at the end of March. Need to incorporate some proper speed work though...

I've got some off-site running opportunities coming up - thanks work! In Hamilton later this week and looks like three days in China near the end of Feb. If I'm lucky I might be able to sneak in a run in Hong Kong. Will need to do some research though about routes - likely will only have half a day so can't afford to get lost :)

Went to Hong Kong nine years ago but can't remember much of the geography...

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Fighting the Hedge

Hit 26 degrees in Auckland today. Not as bad as Melbourne, Australia where it was over 46 but still warm all the same.

My wife has been on my case to trim our hedge. We moved in March 2008 and well its grown out of control.

I spent a good couple of hours in the sun - with my trusty hedge clippers - attacking the monster. Here's a photo:

You can see the height on the neighbours side - its a good indication on the before. The after-height is still over 3m! A different sort of cross-training indeed!

Went for a short run at 5pm before washing up. Still very warm - 25 degrees. 5.5km / 24:30 / 4:25 min/km. The banana smoothee I had on returning hit the spot.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Sweating Buckets

Was going to go running at 5am this morning but slept in. Ended up going at at around 12:30pm instead which was hot. Picked a route I had done last year through One Tree Hill (and up it). However there are plenty of water taps around in the park which I made good use of. The hill was fierce! Mind you the downhill was quite nice.

16.4km / 1:23:31 / 5:05min/km (last year was 1:23:30 - pretty much the same - but conditions today were hot and humid).

Had 2 water drink breaks the first at 6km and then again at 10.5km.

Best part of the run? Right at the end grabbing the garden hose, turning the water on full and cooling off.

Prefer the 5am stuff to be honest. That'll teach me for sleeping in....

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Becoming a 5am runner

Today I went for a 7km run at 5am in the morning. Did my View Road loop route. 6.98km / 32:33 / 4:40 min/km and that was a comfortable pace.

I usually watch how I'm breathing on a run and how I feel immediately afterwards although have been thinking about getting a heart rate monitor and being a bit more scientific about it. Any recommendations?

On reflection there are number of clear advantages of early morning running:

- it's not too hot
- hardly any cars so intersections less of an issue, also air quality is a lot better along main roads
- pretty quiet, along the suburban streets in Mt Eden hear you can hear the birds waking up which is nice
- a great start to the day with the reward of a shower and breakfast when you get home.

Now in answer to a couple of questions on my last post:

Yep I'll probably will do round the bays this year just for the experience of being in such a big iconic fun run. I've actually never run it although I have heard it is pretty hard to race it because of so many people.

In terms of running with a water bottle or fuel belt actually no I've haven't done this. Probably my longer runs suffer accordingly. I have started doing a few runs where I know there are water taps available. For instance in Auckland viaduct harbour there is a water fountain directly east of the intersection of Gaunt and Haslett Street. There is another in One Tree Hill near the kids playgound.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


After work 7.30pm run 7.53km in 34:11 (4:32min/km). Still quite warm and sweating buckets but it was good After a few lethargic runs recently getting back to my "normal" pace. The first race for Run Auckland is towards the end of March so a way off yet.

Thinking of taking my running gear to work and trying a 30min lunchtime tempo run. Should give me enough time to shower and change. Maybe Thursday for that.

I was going to post separately on weight but for January have been stuck on a physicsdiet average of around 86.4kg. Eating a bit more over the holiday season so I expect that will track back a bit over Feb. It all comes down to eating less and moving more. My goal is to get down towards 80kg - my BM weight. BM = Before Marriage!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Run Everywhere

That's what my four year old son likes doing. He's setting me a good example ;)

In terms of my own running its been OK but hot! Longest run in January was a 20.5km run - left at 6:45 but it warmed up and hit the wall pretty bad around the 14km mark. Quite a weird feeling everything got really heavy. Saturday's effort was a bit better - 12.47km in 57:55 (4:49min/km).

For January:
10 runs - 104.49km.
2 swims in the pool - 1.73km

Not a lot but something to improve on in February.