Tag Archives: running

onward & upward

I’ve umm-ed and aah-ed and planned for a while, but now really need to get stuck into training again. I don’t have to start afresh since I’ve run most weeks since November, but there has been a lot of excuses and a lot of walking and/or stop-starting in my runs. Starting afresh with simply trying to get three runs in a week – two short, one long – has been good so far. Kicking chocolate out of my life for the month of June, another good start (too chicken to attempt Junk Free June – and my eating isn’t too bad overall!).

Onward and Upward

From here I’m looking to my calendar of running events and have set some myself some time goals for the coming months and events. I’m entered into the two-lap series for the lead up to Auckland Half and am looking forward to improving on last years times (and perhaps completing the actual distance I’m entered into!).

2015 Running Goals:

  • Sub-24 minutes for 5km
  • Sub-54 minutes for 10km
  • Sub-2 hours for half marathon

I ran 24.26 at the Unitec Series Race One (5km) last year and am looking to improve on that. I am on the hunt for a reasonable 10km as the Unitec 10km event is a little tough from memory – hills and gravel on the racetrack – but will be avoiding the various trail and ‘Tough Mudder’ type events popping up as we head into Spring. This girl doesn’t do mud.

Ready for another week. Simply three runs. Totally do-able. Ideally I’d be using my bike trainer and doing some yoga/core work but let’s not ask for too much just yet!

Onward and upward. I can do this!

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150 days to go…

Well, a scary item popped up in my Facebook feed – it’s just 150 days to the Auckland Marathon! Thankfully I am only entered in the half marathon, but I’m not quite at the point I hoped to be.

150 days to go

I’ve managed to keep injuries at bay (good luck rather than good management) but motivation has been lacking a little. I was hearing the same from my runner friends, so decided to kick-start us by organising some evening and weekend runs. This has helped me by forcing me to commit to running up to three times a week with others, which makes it a lot harder to laze on the couch instead. Solid after work runs and longer runs on the weekend are much easier when chatting away with friends.

The weather “bombs” that have hit Auckland in late May and early June have had me reaching for long sleeves, tights and warm socks. I don’t remember being this cold this early last year, but it is keeping the tomato face slightly at bay! It has been a balancing act though, I start off freezing so put on a warm layer or jacket, then need to take it off after about 10 minutes. Not sure whether it would be better to just be frozen for the first bit?!

Any winter running tips for me? I’m sure I’m just being a soft Aucklander, but I feel like it should still be summer!

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catching up

A long time between posts, but not between runs.

For once, I’ve managed to keep consistently running. Through the holiday season, through summer and into the start of Autumn. I’ve kept the injuries at bay so far and improved a lot more since the Auckland Half Marathon.

A quick recap of active events:

– walked the Skechers 6km event with my Mum in mid-November. This has become a yearly tradition now and we enjoyed the new course out and back along with waterfront. I set her a goal for us to finish in under an hour and revised this to 55 minutes as we turned at the halfway mark. We finished right on 55 minutes!

– we enjoyed a New Years’ holiday at a bach with friends overlooking Lake Tarawera. A perfect kiwi summer trip away with walking, kayaking, sunbathing, reading and swimming (along with copious amounts of wine and cheese!). We also walked the relatively new Lake Tarawera Trail. The 15km hike took us about four hours through ever-changing scenery. Once we hit Hot Water Beach we relaxed in the geothermal waters then took a speedboat back to the start!

Our view of Lake Tarawera 11139527_10153752773398574_481446992_n

– solo runs dominated with no TempoFit over summer. I’ve now nailed the art of the “runch” and can now get out for a 40 minute run and be back at my desk in just over an hour. This does leave me with a tomato face for an hour, even cold showers can’t defeat the heat of an Auckland summer!

– walked the Sculpture on the Gulf exhibition on Waiheke. We enjoyed a lovely day on the island and the walk in the sunshine to view the artists work. My favourite piece was the field of mirrors. This was then moved to a temporary spot near my work which was good to see in a different environment!

Field of mirrorsWaiheke walking

– watched the ASB Classic quarter finals, including a game with Marina Erakovic. It was the noisiest game of tennis I have attended – so much crowd support for her! We also spectated at a couple of triathlons – the WTS Auckland event, and the Panasonic People’s Triathlon at Mission Bay. I purchased a road bike in late 2014 and have started riding, I tossed up a triathlon this summer but decided to focus on running events for now.

Auckland 70.3ASB Classic

– completed the Albany Lakes Series (2x10km, 1x5km) and achieved a new PB of 55.08. Once again, they had stunning weather for the series and the events ran smoothly. I love the team from Running Events, as always it was a brilliant day out. Their tagline is “We’re Runners Too” and it shows.

Albany Lakes

– walked the Botany Fun Run & Walk with my Mum. We got her an entry as part of her Christmas present, and at the last minute I decided to enter and surprise her on the day. When she went to collect her pack she spotted my name too and I got an excited text from her – not quite the surprise before the start that I had expected! We finished the walk and enjoyed a nice chat on a sunny Sunday morning.

All in all, an awesome active summer and I’m getting stuck into training ahead before winter hits.

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not the run that i wanted


Unfortunately the Auckland Half Marathon on Sunday didn’t quite end up as the day I had wanted!

Although I wasn’t that keen to get up at 4.30am when my alarm went off, I quickly got ready and we were on the road to the city. I ate breakfast in the car, then we caught the ferry across to Devonport with lots of other runners. I was pleased to have the  triathlete along with me for company, and also to carry my gear for afterwards!

#flatrunner is ready

Being in Devonport nice and early meant we were able to spot a short portaloo queue and even take a few photos. Although it was still dark when we arrived at Devonport, the sun quickly rose although thankfully with a reasonable amount of cloud cover. Last year was really hot and I was expecting another hot day.

And the real runner ready!

I placed myself between the 1:50 and 2:00 pacers and was all set to go. With five minutes to go, my watch was connected to satellites. When the start hooter went off, it was no longer connected! I panicked a little then decided I had no choice but to start. I left it trying to connect for the first two kilometres, but with no success I turned the GPS off and started a normal timer (one flaw to this watch is that you can only start it with GPS – or then once you have changed settings!).

Training on the course really helped in the first 5km, I knew the hills and had no trouble running them. I was uncertain about pace but felt I was keeping calm and steady. Due to the heat I took water at each of the aid stations and slowed down to a walk to make sure I got enough water in! It felt like no time before we hit the motorway and started the hot slog to town. I still felt good at this point, taking a gel and plenty of water but was struggling to do the maths to guess at my pace.

Just like last year I was determined to make it up the bridge and I did! Another runner fell into step beside me, at the top I turned and smiled, thanking him for keeping me going. After the bridge my day literally went downhill. Every step was sending shooting pain through my feet, which hadn’t occurred at all during training, and the heat also started to get to me. It was about this point that the 2:00 hour pacer passed me and ran off into the distance. I took plenty of water at the 16km mark and knew I would be run-walking the rest. While I was far more prepared this time than in the past, I felt relatively at peace knowing I wasn’t going to get my goal. I decided to just suck it up get through the rest, knowing I have put in the work this year and will be able to keep it going until I get my goal.

There was plenty of supporters around the Westhaven area, including my wonderful TempoFit buddies! It was such a boost having them cheer, and I gave a big wave as I passed. I heard a few other runners say “which one is Michelle?” as the cheering started, so I threw my arms up for a big air pump. Between the cheering station and the finish I saw four different runners being helped, who were all looking in quite bad states. The triathlete ended up helping with two different runners which meant I was left at the finish for a bit!

My final time was 2:08 – five minutes slower than last year, and 6 minutes slower than Rotorua in May. I didn’t feel like this was a fair reflection of what I was trained and ready for, and was pretty gutted to go into work on Monday knowing I would have to tell everyone I hadn’t achieved my goal.

But, after enjoying my Snickers bar on the couch at home, I started googling for my next attempt. Whenuapai in late March or Huntly in late May is the next decision!

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three months on

Well, I did manage to mix things up a bit during Winter, then got stuck into Spring training and the Unitec Run & Walk Series.

A quick recap, over the last three months I:

  • replaced my Garmin FR70 with a FR220, which is amazing! Especially love the mapping feature. Did have a slight battle with NZ Customs who were trying to incorrectly charge me, but I got it eventually.
  • dropped my 5km time down to 24.20 from 25.26, then six weeks later down to 24.16. I missed a few speed sessions this TempoFit season so was thrilled to smash my previous time. Definitely started to feel the heat at the end of the season. Time for shorts I think.

Waiheke Weekend

  • made it to the start line of the four remaining Unitec Run & Walk Series (even if I dropped down to the one-lap event most times). They had a tough run with the weather this year but the events were well run as per usual. I’m not sure where the fast ladies were this series as I managed a few high placings.
  • trained on the Auckland Half Marathon course and enjoyed some of the North Shore beaches.

Narrowneck Beach

  • attended a Nike Training Club event. Wow, was such a good workout but very, very tough.

Nike Training Club @ Britomart

  • improved my Sir Barry Curtis Park 16km time by fifteen minutes from last year. Such a confidence boost, I was able to run the 16km strong despite awful weather (half the course in biting wind and rain, the other half in sun and too hot!) and still feel good at the finish.
  • trained hard and am all set for the Auckland Half Marathon next weekend!
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twelve and up

Well. #50daysofwinterrunning has felt like it has become 50 days of trying to avoid the awful weather (since when is Auckland crazy windy?!) and keep all the cold germs at bay. I did take the opportunity to pop outside from work and get some sun and fresh air the other day but nearly froze in the wind!

freezing in the wind

So, there may not have been too much planned running actually being completed but recently I have…

… finished the Run Auckland 10km at Western Springs. Turned out it was actually only 9.5km, but I still ran it much faster than my usual pace which gave me some confidence. Each of my four laps was quicker than the previous so for once my pacing was spot on! I started alongside the 5:30min/km pacer but quickly decided I could push it a bit more and I am glad I did. Also learnt a good lesson that no matter how chilly I think it is, Auckland only requires a singlet or t-shirt in a race.

… completed an awesome long run through the suburbs to the west of the city. It was nice to mix things up a bit, although we ended up running 1.5km more than expected. Not quite sure what happens but on my long slow runs my garmin often understates the distance (it measured 18km).

the long run that was longer than expected…

… started the Run Auckland Half Marathon in Orewa, and pulled out halfway through. I went along with my running buddy and she beat our 2 hour goal by a couple of minutes which was awesome. We turned up to find that there were no portaloos (really?!) and the only bathrooms were at the 5km mark. With race morning for once ‘going to plan’ I was very disappointed by this. I started a bit too fast to try get ahead to the bathrooms and remain on track, but this wash’t very successful. With the two weeks off previous due to a cold and my hip/IT band aching I decided it was smart to stop after one lap of the two lap course. It was the right decision and I enjoyed cheering on my various TempoFit buddies as they came through!

… ran the first event in the Unitec Run & Walk series at Mt Albert. I have signed up for the two lap series, and this weekend it was the 5km event. With only my parkrun times to go off, I had a goal in mind of 25 minutes. I didn’t quite get this, but finished in just under 25 1/2 minutes – which is still about 2 minutes faster than my parkrun times! I’m looking forward to getting back to TempoFit and doing some speed work to keep improving. I actually ended up as 3rd female out of 135 runners and walkers, which was a nice surprise when I checked the results yesterday afternoon.

#nicedayfora5k

a not so fast placing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m now looking forward to the next four events in the Unitec Series and starting back at TempoFit next week. Motivation to run alone in the cold has been almost completely lacking!

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like a farm in the city: cornwall park

I knew about Cornwall Park and about One Tree Hill, but what I didn’t know was just how awesome it is. Such big fields, great paved paths and dirt tracks, sheep, cows, playgrounds and bathrooms!

Cornwall Park

I visited Cornwall Park on a sunny Saturday morning for a run with TempoFit people. We had an 8km route planned out, and I was pleased some of the girls around my pace were there – making it to 12km was feeling like it would be a big challenge. This is an approximation of what was going through my mind over this run:

KM 1: Oh, pretty trees! Eeek, watch out for the little kids playing cricket! A hill? Really?!

KM 2-3: Ouch ouch ouch. Who puts steps over a fence at the top of the hill? Ooo, some nice downhill. Where are the leaders? Do we know where to go? And sheep! Sheep! And a cow with a little calf!

KM 4-5: Big hill. Still going up the big hill. And, now I’m walking up the hill. Ugh.

End of KM 5. Nice clean bathrooms? Win! Right, onto the next part of the loop.

KM 5-8: Distracted by chatting with a new running friend. Jealous of the sprinting teenagers. Realise I am likely 10+ years older than them…

End of KM 8: Bye running girls! Need water. Need to stretch.

KM 8-12: Pick shady route. Run up, and down, and up and down. Decide I need to pop iPod in. Tackle the “big hill” again. Make it half way down, then turn around to slog back up. Melting… This is nice and cool. And shady. 11km done? Just one more. Just one more….

 

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I completed this in just over 6min/km pace which is ideally what I wanted to (for a long, slow run). I may have needed some couch recovery time afterwards but I got through it! And today? Today I can still move without any pain! Success!

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‘sleepless in auckland’ – a world record attempt

I visited the Auckland Domain on Saturday where Kim Allan was attempting to break a world record all in the name of charity, raising funds for the NZ  I had seen this shared on Facebook by Super Generic Girl and on our local news sites and decided to make it part of my day.

I headed there in my running gear and visited the support tent. It felt a bit weird to walk up to Kim and her support crew, but at the same time I felt privileged to be a tiny part of her journey. I went through three laps (following the Sri Chimnoy Peace Mile) with Kim and her team, just as One News arrived to do an interview.

I struggle to put together a sentence when tired, let alone put one foot in front of the other for hours on end! Her support crew described her as tough and tenacious, and she really was. Despite the pain and discomfort she must have been in, she even checked that I had sunscreen on.

This evening she not only broke the record, but made it to 500km.

I made a donation before I left, if you would like to do so you can visit her fundraising site for the NZ Spinal Trust.

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beat the ten

Since the Auckland Half, I’ve struggled a bit to keep motivated. This probably also has a bit to do with having spent six weeks in a training group, and now being back on my own. I’m still happy with my call not to do TempoFit this side of Christmas and with various events and things happening with work it would have meant a very stressed Michelle all December had I done so!

They have also increased ‘Earlybird Parking’ near my work to almost $18, which is ridiculous and makes it harder to plan getting places post-work if I need to drive there. It is also practically daylight robbery…

I had seen the Nike Run Club around town and have followed Nike Britomart on Facebook for some time, but had never attended an event. I finally decided to be brave (current trend for me obviously) and go along one night. They are doing a four week program in the lead up to Christmas, culminating in a a 10km time trial on 18th December. The focus is either ‘Break the Ten’ or ‘Beat the Ten’ – I’m aiming to break my current 10km time of 57min 48sec on a run earlier this year. I’m sure I did the first 10km of the Auckland Half in under this time, but as I don’t have that on record my goal is to beat 57 minutes!

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In the first week the Wednesday session was speed work. I thought it would be okay, boy was I wrong! I joined the easy/fun group but we took off at a fast pace from Britomart to Western Park in Ponsonby. There we did stair, hill and park run drills. It was tough! It was also raining, but thankfully quite warm. Last time (and the only times prior) I had been to Western Park was for Art in the Dark, so it was good to see my huffing and puffing up the hills on those nights was justified! My legs really struggled with the hills and steps, I was even cramping up on the last few drills. We still had to run all the way back to Britomart and when I plotted it on mapometer.com I think the evening would have been about 10km.

I’m heading along tomorrow night for an injury prevention session and either a 6 or 11km run. Hopefully this won’t be quite as hard and I won’t be sore for three days like last week!

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november project

I came across November Project this weekend. I read this article at Runner’s World. I watched this video. I checked out their website.

And now I really wish we had it here in Auckland!

Not 100% sure how I feel about hugging sweaty strangers, and it would have to be even earlier for me to fit it in around work… But really, this might actually be enough to get me to run before work (that, and the birds outside my window chirping at 5AM EVERY SINGLE DAY).

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