8 weeks to the Wellington Marathon

It’s been 8 weeks since I started my 16 week training plan aiming to complete the Wellington Marathon on 23rd of June 2013. So I’m exactly half way in my training schedule. On Saturday 4th of May I am running the Rotorua Half Marathon. This is essentially a time trial of sorts to see how my training has progressed. Ideally I am hoping that I can run a PB and beat my previous half marathon time of 1:33:54. The Rotorua course is known as being hilly so this might not be the case that I beat my PB. In any case I want to try and maintain even splits for the whole 21.1kms and see where I end up!

Last Sunday I ran one of my first longest runs in the 16 week plan on one of Wellington’s classic training loops. The 34km Makara Loop is the play ground of many a famous Wellington distance runners. Known for its hills and the nice flats passing through Ohariu Valley it’s regarded as a must do loop in Runners Guide to Wellington. So anyways I was joined on this loop by a few of my running buddies from Wellington Scottish Athletics club and Wellington Running Meetup Group. This was a pretty hard run I must say, although previously I had run a similar distance on trails (Rakiura Track) the Makara loop was pretty relentless. It was a steady pace all the way. By about the 28km mark coming through Johnsonville I started questioning myself! “why the hell am I doing this” and the last 5km was the hardest 5km I’ve ever run. Suffice to say I lost my confidence in myself if I’d be ever able to run a full marathon. This some say is what it’s about getting ready for a marathon and hitting the proverbial WALL! So it was first hand experience that even when you feel good at 25km and think ah it’s another 7km to go within a space of few Km’s things can change and change rapidly! I guess I should just take a teaspoon of cement and carry on with the next 8 weeks!

Here is the map & profile of the loop for those who are interested. We started from Karori Park and went over Makara hill towards Johnsonville and back to Karori Park.

MakaraLoop34k MakaraLoopProfile

Running with the group kind of helped but was also tough as trying to catchup when you dropped off pace. In any case I’m glad I was able to finish the loop. And I’m determined to run the same loop again at least once before the Marathon.

So in the last 8 weeks I’ve managed to hit 100km weekly mileage twice. Once at the start and also at in the 8th week. So it’s a classic Hard, Easy, Moderate, Hard cycle as you can see from the below training log.

8 Week Training Log

8 Week Training Log

The last 8 weeks in numbers:

Total KM run: 651km
Average Km per Week: 81km
Longest Run: 34km

The next 8 weeks my plan is to incorporate some key conditioning sessions along with some speed and strength workouts to my schedule. Then I’ll start a 2 week taper starting from week 14. The 16 week plan has changed again somewhat based on what I’ve done and it’s going to be updated soon.

Also this is the club cross country season so there are a number of club events that I am interested in doing. I am no where near fast compared to some of the other club runners but I’m going to give some events a go to at least get some experience. All going well I’ll be able to improve my time over distances like 5km and 10km.

If you are training for any running event I would like to share this documentary with you. It’s a two part series and something that will inspire you in your running goals.

If you are training for the Wellington Marathon or any Marathon for that matter leave a comment and share your thoughts! How is your training going?

Xterra Beautiful Mad Muddy Makara Race 1 recap

It’s a beautiful day – Sky falls, you feel like
It’s a beautiful day – Don’t let it get away

You’re on the road – But you’ve got no destination
You’re in the mud – In the maze of her imagination

You love this town – Even if that doesn’t ring true
You’ve been all over – And it’s been all over you

It’s a beautiful day – Don’t let it get away – It’s a beautiful day

So why am I quoting a U2 song on a race recap? Well let me tell you that Xterra Race 1 was absolutely amazing! Yes regardless of the rain, the mud and the hard graft climbs it was beautiful!

This was my first Xterra Trail Race of the series. The series consists of four trail races with options of a short, medium and long course options. This is great since anyone can have a go by choosing a distance that they are comfortable in. I signed up for the Long course over the series. The first race was in quite familiar territory for me in the Makara Peak mountain bike park. A haven for mountain bikers and the occasional runners who are brave enough to venture into run the trails now and then. Essentially the total length of all tracks combined is about 50kms give or take a few! The park is only about 20mins drive from central Wellington where I live and I have ridden my Mountain Bike on some of these tracks so I was somewhat prepared for what I was in for.

Another side note that I should add before I continue on this recap is that I’d just gotten back from a week in London. I’d been inside a plane for about 20-30hrs and Saturday was mostly spent recovering! Essentially a week of what was mostly running on the flat roads of London. The last “hill” run that I had run was the Porirua Grand Traverse. In any case I wasn’t out there to “race” but run on some awesome trails with a whole bunch of others and enjoy it!

Sunday 21st April morning started pretty much with a downpour and driving to the start I knew this run was going to be pretty much a wet and muddy affair. However it wasn’t that cold since there was hardly any wind which was a bonus some might say in Wellington.

There was a long queue at registration since essentially the first race was a sell out with over 500 people taking part in across all of different event options! After picking up my registration number and timing chip and getting my gear all sorted I headed to the start of the race and met up with some of the others from the Wellington Running Meetup Group. Most were doing the short and medium course.

Xterra Wellington Running Meetup

Xterra Wellington – with Friends from Running Meetup

The Long Course runners (which included me) was waved off after a race briefing around 9:15am from up the road from the ‘official’ start gate. This was to allow everyone to get into multiple groups for the first part which was a gradual uphill on some single track where passing wasn’t that easy. I was kind of in the ‘middle’ group averaging about 6min/7min km pace for the first part of the run. The first part is on two well maintained trails (which was soggy not muddy) named Koru and up Sally Alley. Then heading down via Missing Link to Nikau Valley with a climb up via Possum Track and then all the way up Leaping Lizard and onto Aratihi to Makara Peak (highest point at around 410m).  Then it’s a downhill via Vertigo! Yup Vertigo! as the name suggest was pretty vertically downhill, it was pretty technical and classed as an “Expert” downhill track in MTB terms! And going down that on a rainy and muddy day was pretty much interesting to say the least! It was part mud skidding and sliding all the way down! And just when you thought things can’t be that bad after this, you headed UP in to Trickle Falls aka “Tricky Falls” – I have no idea how any one would ever use this as a downhill or an uphill mountain bike trail. Trickle falls is steep, rocky and goes over 1km back up to Makara Peak, pretty much I was walking and clambering up the steep rocky slopes at this stage. Some others in front of me was having difficulty and was sliding backwards for each couple of steps! It was slow going but eventually made it back up to Makara Peak with about 15kms into the race! After that climb it’s a pretty good run along Ridgeline and then onto Big Tom’s wheelie and onto Lazy Fern where it was a smooth & fast run back to the Finish! Total time without any major mishaps apart from falling back on my arse a couple of times on mud 2hrs 23! Out of the Men’s open field smack bang in the middle again!

Xterra Makara Long Course Profile

Xterra Makara Long Course Profile Total ascent ~900m over 19.5km total distance on my Garmin

Xterra Trail Map of Makara Run

Xterra Trail Map of Makara Run

I had fun! I was completely covered in Mud! I was wet, cold but I didn’t care! I was smiling and wanted more! It was just what I needed on a Sunday! After the race I chatted with a few people and grabbed a coffee from the cart and headed back to my car.

Xterra Fun!

Xterra Fun!


I’m already looking forward to the Second Xterra Race on the 12th of May! Until then I have the Rotorua Half Marathon next weekend on Saturday 4th May! I’ll update how I went in that next week!

Happy muddy trails!


Great post on running and nutrition from Timothy Olson.

Sole to Soul Rhythm

photo (53)

I started to explore what I put in my body as I was studying massage therapy in 2009. We had a naturopathic doctor come in and talk with us about what our body needs and what might be possible irritants that lead to pathologies, sickness and discomfort. We also learned that each body is uniquely different, so what works for one might not work for another.

My wife has JRA and I wanted to help her figure out a natural way to keep her RA in remission without nasty medication. She had blood work done and found out different foods she was allergic too like gluten and dairy products. We didn’t have money to get my blood tested too, but an elimination diet revealed irritant triggers for myself. I found wheat/gluten to be very tough on my system to digest and also leading to inflammation and GI distress. I cut…

View original post 1,145 more words

The Week in London & Energizer Night Run 10k

Last Friday (12th April) I left NZ for a work trip to London. This was a very short trip (5 actual days in London) and I made sure that I packed my Running gear with me. Just before heading off on the trip I found out via @leahevansnz on Twitter about the Energizer Night Run which was being held on the Saturday night (13th) in London’s Battersea Park. Basically meant after a 32hours of traveling door to door from Wellington, NZ and within 6 hours of me arriving in London I had a 10km race scheduled! Nothing like an all out run to cure jet lag!

The International flight from Auckland to London via LAX was without any dramas but I was not able to sleep much on both legs. Arrived in London around 2pm local time on Saturday and checked into my hotel near Buckingham Gate near Victoria. Pretty close to the Conference venue where I was attending a conference and speaking at. (I won’t bore you all with my work stuff) So anyways I was feeling pretty tired by the time I got into my room and after a quick shower I decided to have a nap and set my alarm to 6:00pm. I was out for the count! If not for the alarm I would have just slept through. Getting up a little dazed I had to kind of remember where I was and that I had to go run 10k! The event start was at 8:30pm and Battersea Park was about 3kms from where I was. Looked at the weather and it was drizzling with rain and was pretty cold out. I put on my gear and headed out around 7ish. I was feeling pretty tired but a couple of cups of coffee before kind of made it OK. (not my usual choice before a race but I knew I wasn’t not in any way going to run a PB). Took a Taxi to the venue since I didn’t want to try and find my way there and get lost.

The event HQ was inside a great hall where I picked up my registration pack. There was a whole lot of people already there and they had a very efficient team to get your registration pack quickly.

Event Registration for Energizer Night Run

Event Registration for Energizer Night Run

The registration pack contained the racing number bib with some electronic timing thingy already attached to it, safety pins, a T-Shirt, an arm wrist band to gain entry the “after party” and an Energizer LED head lamp!

Energizer Gear Bag

Energizer Gear Bag

Afterwards you could head into the main hall where all runners were gathering. This was a big hall with a bar and some food stalls as well a DJ! Loads of people were in there getting ready to run! I met up with @leahevansnz at one of the stalls and said a quick hello! Great to see a whole bunch of other Kiwis joining in the run as well.

On the main stage inside the hall the crowd was greeted by Nicola Adams (Gold at Boxing in London 2012).

Warming Up Inside the Hall with Nicola Adams

Warming Up Inside the Hall with Nicola Adams

I headed outside the hall and it was pretty much raining at this time. So it was going to be wet and cold – hmm why did I sign up for this again? Well anyways I made myself to the start so I could get into a reasonable position. The only comment I have about the start was that they started all the runners in one go. Meaning 5km and 10km runners were all together so it was hard to gauge who was racing who. Anyways we were waved off by Nicole Adams and the race began. The first Km was pretty easy and although I was tired the feeling of all other runners around me got me into a good rhythm. Since this was in a park it was somewhat of a loop course where the 10k runners did two loops of the course with some sharp turns inside the park. I passed 5k around 21mins and then ran the last 5k slightly slower and resulting in a final time of 43min:13secs. Not my fastest but not bad after traveling 36hrs.

Energizer Night Run 10km in Battersea Park - London

Energizer Night Run 10km in Battersea Park – London

The event was a lot of fun and well organized. Check out some of the photos on the Energizer Night Run UK facebook page. After the run each runner was given a medal! I was pretty cold and tired by the end. So got back to my hotel pretty quick without waiting for the “after-party” and was asleep before I knew it!

On Monday afternoon I heard the news of what happened at the Boston Marathon. I was immediately concerned about a couple of runners from our Wellington Scottish Athletics club who was running in Boston. (They are safe as they finished before the explosions!)   It angered me on many levels like so many others in the running community. I’m not going to write a whole post about it – suffice to say that I was thinking of everyone who are affected by senseless acts like this all over the world and not just Boston. My Tuesday run was special because I felt that whatever the odds we can still keep going. Fellow running blogger super generic girl sums this up nicely on her post.

Rest of the week was pretty much attending the conference and doing work stuff. I managed to do some regular runs early in the morning in the nearby parks of St James, Hyde Park and along the Thames river. On a few occasions I had a few group runs with people from the conference also coming along. Hyde Park is a great place for running with so many options!

I am at Heathrow airport about to board my flight back to NZ. I land on Saturday morning (It’s Thursday here and I lose Friday in the air). Sunday is the first Xterra Trail Run in Wellington! keep running!

Porirua Grand Traverse Mountain Run recap

The Porirua Grand Traverse is a multi discipline event consisting of Multi sport triathlon (Kayak, Mountain Bike and Run) Duathlon (Mountain Bike and Run) & solo event options. I entered the solo 18km mountain run event. The day of the event (Sunday 7th April) dawned with some ominous black clouds & a southerly forecast for most of the day. I guess Wellington region has had it’s fair share of good weather & a bit of rain wasn’t going to be a show stopper. I had picked up my race pack and number earlier and got to race start around 9:30 for a 10:15 race briefing and a approximate 10:30 start. The event organizers wanted to get the Mountain run started as soon as the first multi sporters transitioned from MTB to Run. At around 10:15 the field of about 130 runners overall for the mountain run was briefed about the course. Then we all walked about 50meters onto a side road for a countdown and we were off!

Coming into this run I was a bit nervous given my recent blow out at the Mt Lowry Challenge however I was confident that after the weekend in Tongariro I should be able to tackle this 18km run better than the Mt Lowry run.

The first km was through sealed road to the start of the trail at Rangituhi park – from there on it was all trails and a climb first up (It is a mountain run after all). The first climb was about 200m straight up through some nice trails nothing bad just going up and i got into a good pace not pushing too much, then a downhill which was pretty sweet and I managed to blast past a few people! So far so good – just at the bottom there were a few people cheering us on and also a marshal. (They had altogether about 100 marshals for this event and they did an outstanding job – I must add)

Right just after that downhill bit was ‘the climb’ and this was brutal. It was all wooden stairs all the way from about 75m to 435m over roughly about 3km distance. My legs were screaming but I kept on – no big drama but slow going, reduced to walking in some bits and a few people in turn overtook me. Once you were at the top the views across out to the coast was simply stunning! Sorry I don’t have any photos and I didn’t stop. From the top it’s a downhill for about 1kms which I ran like a mad man passing a few who overtook me on that climb. Then you had to go up this little hill and that was not fun. From that little bit it was a straight downhill back to sea level around the 10km mark.

PGT Elevation Profile

PGT Elevation Profile

I was feeling pretty good and it was only a little bit windy. The trail follows the coast line for about another Km or so then starts to gradually go up. There was a camera man in the bushes just on that coastal bit and he got a shot of me running through.

Along the coast...

Along the coast…

The last hill was a bit of a struggle for many a runner, and for me it wasn’t much of a struggle and I was able to keep a easy running pace up this bit to the top and then it was a downhill! Woohoo! I looked at my watch and knew I could make it close to 2hrs! So ran down the last bit as fast as my legs would allow me and passed a few people. Then onto the last bit of road and onto the finish line in 2hrs 03mins! I am pretty happy with that time in contrast to Mt Lowry finish. In the results I placed 25th out of 50 in the Open group. (talk about middle of the pack runner) 🙂

After the run there were showers available which was great and they had a BBQ setup with a free lunch to each participant. I stayed around for the prize giving and chatted with my friends from the Wellington Running Meetup Group.

Wellington Running Meetup Group

Members of Wellington Running Meetup Group

All in all I loved this race and I will definitely give this one a go next year! The organizing team did a fantastic job and along with the volunteers/marshals (who were everywhere) made this a definite must do event.

PGT Run Course

PGT Run Course

Next event I have on my schedule is the Xterra Trail event on 21st of April. I’m heading to London on Friday this week and get back to NZ on Saturday 20th. So I’m not expecting a fast pace just after a long 36hr plane ride. Oh and also I am announcing another give away soon on my blog. Unlike the last give away this will be open to anyone who reads my blog (local and overseas). You’ll have to wait for the announcement and trust me it’s a goodie!