Monthly Archives: October 2013

Auckland Marathon Countdown

This makes me both excited and terrified. Somehow actually training this time leaves me with a lot more nerves. Perhaps it is knowing what I could be capable of this time, versus simply just wanting to get across the line.


A Runner's Guide

After months of training in wintery weather, of dealing with blisters and chaffing and aching muscles, and of pushing the body to new limits, finally, race week of the Auckland Marathon 2013 has arrived.

Compared to the work you’ve already done, this last bit is actually comparatively easy. Still, there are many snags to be aware of, so I’ve put together a diary of what to expect and when to expect it.

Akld Marathon Count Down

Three Days to Go

Pick up your race pack from the expo (161 Halsey Street) and go over the schedule for race day. Check you have your race bib and safety pins, the timing chip, and go over all the gear you’ll be wearing on the day (you should have practised running a long run in this gear—race day is not a time to try out a new pair of shoes). Do a light, short run today.


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race pace, race face

Saturday was my last TempoFit session. I’m sad the season has come to an end, the 6 week program has meant I am ready ready ready for the Auckland Half Marathon, so I’ve signed up for 2014! I felt I needed a bit of a break after this training period, plus heading into the silly season some less structured training might be better for me.

To finish up, we did a 2km warm-up, followed by 5x1km at race pace (continuous). I was aiming for 5.40/km here, the absolute minimum I need to crack 2 hours. Turns out my little bunch of three (including me) ran this at 5.30/km. We followed this up with a light 15 minute run.

Considering a few months ago I couldn’t run more than 20 minutes straight, I’m pretty excited to be able to say I did a 2km warm-up, then a 5km workout! I may have said this to the triathlete multiple times over the weekend. To his credit he continued to reply that he was proud of me 🙂

I felt pretty good after the 5km, and even after our additional jog. This gives me confidence for the half-marathon, but now I’m struggling to decide on my actual goals. I think the idea of having an A, B and C goal might be good for me, especially if it is hot, or things just don’t quite go to plan. A niggly hip following some furniture moving over the weekend is also causing me some concern.

With a week to go, I’m rolling, icing, resting, using voltaren. Now to just get myself mentally ready, set my goals, and sort out my iPod!

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fast(er) feet

In the first week of TempoFit, I ran the 3km grass circuit in 16:13.

Six weeks later, I ran the same 3km circuit in 14:39.

I felt both awesome and relieved. I knew I could crack 15min due to a run I’d had a few weeks earlier, but I wasn’t quite sure how I would go on the grass, after a full day at work. Turns out I’m pretty stubborn and determined, and I did well. Couldn’t wipe the smile off my sweaty face!

My plan was to start at about 5:15/km pace, then pick it up for the last lap. Turns out I managed to run most of it a bit faster than expected, and still picked up the last 250m for a strong finish.

I was also excited for my running buddies – we had some great results and most of the ladies I have been running with all broke 15min too! I’d been just behind or beside one lady for most of the run, and managed to spit out ‘we can smash 15’ as we rounded the 2.5km mark.

I had a slightly sore calf the following day – the first time in a while I’ve actually hurt (rather than just being tired) the day after a training. I think this means I was training my body well and not pushing too hard.

Based off race predictor calculations this suggests I should just be able to crack 2 hrs (literally just), I’ll be doing a ‘race pace’ 5km this weekend to see whether 5.40/km is actually realistic…

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in the long run

In the long run… Training will be worth it.

In the long run… I’ll be a much stronger runner.

In the long run… My stomach will get over it.

And while I’m actually in the ‘long run’ my mind wanders all over the show – food, work, clothes, travel… I also seem to lose the ability to do simple maths (like how many km’s to go!).

I’ve been working hard over the past couple of weeks. I’ve made it to all my TempoFit sessions. I ran an additional 5.5km after our long run last Saturday to get my distance up to 18km. I also figured out that eating banana before running is not a good breakfast choice, but that 2-3 slices of my favourite GF toast (with Vegemite) and a glass of water works.

The jelly beans have been going well and I’ve been making sure I drink water at our water station in the long runs. Sloshing water is still a weird feeling in my stomach but I should be prepared for race day. It has suddenly got quite hot and sunny here and I’m realising how important fluid is. Thankfully the half marathon starts at 7am, whereas I’ve been starting my long run about 8.30am.

After completing most of my long runs at 6.30min/km pace, I knew I needed to pick it up this weekend to try figure out my half marathon target time. I set myself the goal of running at 6min/km pace for at least the first 5km, then I could reassess. I felt good at 5km and kept my pace steady as I went solo for the next 15 minutes (I’d been running with another girl but we knew we were tackling this run differently).

I reached 45 minutes and turned to head back to town. Of course this meant running into the wind again (I swear it switched on me!) and towards some dark clouds. The dark clouds became some light drops which were welcomed, and then driving rain, which was not. I had the difficult choice of taking the shortcut back to our meeting place, or retracing our original route which would take a bit longer. Some others from our group were ahead and going the long way, I decided to suck it up and do it too – even in the rain!

I’d kept my pace well and realised I could make it back in less than 45 minutes – negative splits!! I stopped my watch on exactly 15km, I’d been running for 1hr 27mins. I felt pretty ecstatic, especially as I pushed the last couple of km’s to make sure I got there under an hour and half. Good progress and I was excited to show our coach I’d managed UNDER 6min/km pace considering my other runs had all been much slower.

Now to try and decide my race pace…!

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turning up the heat

A sunny Sunday morning.

And what am I doing? Instead of having a relaxing breakfast on the deck, I was trying to choke down some GF toast and a banana, before driving out to Sir Barry Curtis Park for the final Unitec Run and Walk event for 2013.

I had a little bit of trouble parking, but it was very quick to get my bib. Lots of porta-loos too which meant ‘happy’ runners, although with two minutes to go there was still a large line!

I quickly realised that the heat was going to impact my time, and decided to revise my expectations. Mentally, it was the right thing to amend my goal time of 1hr 30min for the 16km to 1hr 45min. This took a bit of pressure off, and when I discovered the slightly hilly nature of the course I realised I’d made a good call. No point going to hard with just a month to go until the Auckland Half Marathon. It was over a good mixture of dirt path, paved footpath, road and grass which helped break it up in my mind. It was hard to go through the start/finish line gantry when starting lap two – I can’t imagine how the four lap runners felt! At least they had started at 8am.

I was glad I’d applied a lot of sunscreen before I left home, especially on my face, as I made the mistake of leaving my cap at home. I usually run with a cap, not sunglasses, but I didn’t even have a back-up pair in the car to use. At least you can tell it is me in the event photos this time! I still managed to end up with the awkward runner tan line of a triangular elbow crease. At least this shows my arms were in the correct formation for the run.

It was a very friendly race and some kind words and a smile from two ladies (that had actually met each other in the porta-loo queue and ran the event together) helped me get through despite the heat and my aching body. I tried jelly beans in this race for a quick sugar kick, and they thankfully didn’t make my already grumpy stomach any worse.

I’m not sure I’ve ever run that far in training (even when training for my marathon…) so I felt pretty pleased to finish, even if slower than expected in 1hr 37min. My garmin also measured only 15.3km… But I’m definitely claiming this one as 16km!


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fast fifteen

Actually, just less than fifteen minutes.

We decided it would be a good idea for me to have a slow, easy run today after some hard work earlier in the week. I got a little bit caught up and ran my first kilometre much faster than expected (about four and a half minutes) so I changed my plan and decided I’d just go flat out. And I did. And it hurt.

But, I finished 3km in 14.47. I’m pretty sure this is the fastest I’ve run 3km since high school (quite some time ago) and it is about 1 and a half minutes faster than my 3km timetrial during the first week of TempoFit (although this was paved, not on grass). We are having another timetrial in two weeks, I’m pretty excited to see how I can do!

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taking the long way home

One of the benefits of working in town and living in the Eastern Bays is that our commute is actually really nice. So much so that we can’t imagine moving elsewhere, we’ll enjoy this while we can!

I decided that I’d utilise my time well and run home work on Tuesday night. I dropped my gear off to the triathlete after walking the 1km between our buildings and started jogging along the waterfront. Turns out I was running a little too fast – I’ll blame that on the sunshine following daylights savings and winding the clock back! I slowed down a bit and joined a number of others making my way out of town along the waterfront path.

I took a stretch/water break about the 4k mark, knowing I had a decision to make soon – take the earlier turn (shorter distance overall, but a slow grind up and then a killer hill), or take the later turn (longer distance but flat except for one hill to climb as my war down). My legs were feeling good, so I decided on the later turn and making it to 8km. At this point I also realised I could try and do it in 45 minutes, and I achieved this! Being that I only just managed to complete a 7km event in 40 minutes, and the 8km was after a long day at work, I felt pretty awesome, and then I felt like I needed a sleep!

This involved a bit of planning and more time co-ordination than usual, but I think it paid off. Thankfully the weather was nice – and once the triathlete drove off I had no choice but to run home (I did have a bus card and some cash ‘just in case’ but I was strong!)

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