Rotorua marathon and a long overdue update

It’s been quite a while since I last updated what I’ve been up to since running the Wellington Round the Bays half marathon in February. So here is a quick summary of what I’ve been up to in terms of my training preparation for the 50th Rotorua Marathon since that event. Rotorua Marathon is actually only 6 sleeps away on 3rd May 2014.

March and April 2014

After Wellington Round the Bays I was straight back into full training mode with some solid back to back weeks of 100kms plus of running. This meant a total of 10 weeks to do some strength endurance based work as well as targeted speed work to be marathon ready. The highlight of March was a solid team effort at the Tarawera Ultramarathon in Rotorua where my team placed 12th in the relay of 70km. My buddies Nick, Aaron and Daniel who are part of my club did really great in tough conditions on the day. The course was altered at the last minute due to a tropical cyclone that was coming towards the forest where the original trail went through. In the end everyone who participated had a great time. This is certainly a great event to be part of in the New Zealand trail running calendar. I got to meet Vera (aka Supergeneric girl!) BONUS!

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Team Lost in the Woods charging through the trails of Tarawera.

The weekend was spent running in some of the best trails in and around Rotorua. I also got to meet Sage Canaday (DOUBLE BONUS) who is now the two time winner of the Tarawera Ultra marathon.

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Meeting Sage Canaday in the Redwoods

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Great times with great running buddies

My friends who did the Ultra Distance kicked ass with some of them being in the top 10 of both the long and short courses.

After Tarawera it was pretty much back to a lot of training involving some solid mileage and tempo and interval work. I also included a 6 week block of strength conditioning twice a week.

10 km Personal Best (Road Race)

On 5th of April (incidentally also my 40th birthday) I ran a 10km club race for our running club Wellington Scottish Athletics. My aim was to run a steady conservative effort and I was not aiming to go all out. Somehow this day I felt really good and strong and my conservative effort actually felt pretty steady and easy which resulted in me shaving off a full 2 mins off my previous 10km race time and running a 40:22 – 10km race. This was a great indication that my marathon training was paying off. Not only could I maintain avg 4min per/km pace I felt really good afterwards and didn’t need a long time for recovery.

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Racing in Wellington Scottish colors. Waterfront 10km club race in April.

Overall I feel I have done a pretty good chunk of training and my average mileage has significantly increased from last year. If any of you are on Strava check out my profile and connect.

Easter/Anzac Weekend

Last week was a long weekend (Easter and Anzac) which provided a great opportunity to travel and explore some great trails. Although I should have actually cut back on mileage and gone into a taper I ended up running in some great trails in Tongariro National Park and Kinloch in Taupo. This included the following trails.

  • Old Coach Road from Horopito to Ohakune and back (25kms)
  • Whakapapaiti Trails in National Park (14kms)
  • Tongariro Northern Circuit (46kms) – one of the Great Walks of New Zealand
  • Huka Falls to Aratiatia trail (10kms)
  • Kinloch W2K Trail out and back (22kms)

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With this amount of running I am taking this week before Rotorua very easy and resting for the Rotorua Marathon. As usual watch out for the post race update next week and I am hoping that it will be a positive one – but it’s a Marathon and no matter what you have done what you feel on the day and during a marathon is what makes the difference. I am staying positive that I will be able to run a great marathon. The place is going to be buzzing with over 9000 people participating in the full and half marathon distances.

 

 

 

The Skyline 160 – Post Event Update

160kms (100mile) relay on one of Wellington’s iconic trails – don’t mind if I help myself to a lap or two of that awesomeness with an even awesomer group of runners!

The idea was conceived by local runner/web stocker Mike Brown whilst.. wait for it running! Mike is part of Wellington Running Meetup who hold regular running events and help get like minded folk come together and run some of Wellington’s sweet trails. The Skyline trail runs along the ridge line starting from Karori (Makara hill) then connects to Mt Kaukau (the one with the tall radio mast overlooking Wellington).

One way is roughly about 10kms and a return is 20kms or so. So the idea was simply start at 10am (officially) then run there (1 lap) and back (2laps) in a continuous relay where runners can run a single lap or two laps (out and back) till 160kms was completed in 24hrs ending at 10am the next day. Officially there was 16 legs since each leg was  10kms to complete the 160kms.

From Saturday 1st Feb morning there was a stream of runners who started from 10am  and ran multiple laps so they could just be part of it. I signed up to do the final leg which started at 7am on Sunday 2nd February. I was joined by Amanda (celebrity runner), Gemma and Alastair. In fact Alastair had already done 2 laps (20ks) and he was doing another 2 to make it 40km in total. Amanda had already done 1 since she started at the Kaukau end and Gemma had done 2 the day before so I was in some serious running company.

We headed off at 7am on the last two legs – Leg 15 to Kaukau and Leg 16 final leg back to Makara start. It was a stunning Wellington morning with a slight southerly breeze coming off the tops and perfect weather for an early morning jaunt on the hills. We hit Kaukau in about an hour and a bit and picked up another runner Clinton who joined us at Kaukau. After a quick stop and some drinks we headed back, Amanda bid adieu at Kaukau so it was me, Alastair, Clinton and Gemma who were on the final leg back. Here are some photos from throughout the day and all those wonderful runners who were part of this great event. I think that this will be a keeper and we’ll do the same next year!

Ewa not enjoying the early morning shift being on support watch at top of Makara Hill - apparently sleeping in a car is not that fun whilst people are out running through the night

Ewa not enjoying the early morning shift being on support watch at top of Makara Hill – apparently sleeping in a car is not that fun whilst people are out running through the night

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All set for the last two legs of the Skyline 160 – Alastair, Amanda (in her trademark yellow fancy pants), Gemma and Me.

 

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Skyline 160 enjoying the views

 

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Looking towards Kaukau in the distance and some company heading our way

 

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At top of Kaukau Leg 15 complete only 1 to go!

 

Mark and Ash who started it the day before doing the first two legs.

 

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Some of the other regulars from Wellington Running Meetup

 

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Some of the other regulars from Wellington Running Meetup

 

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Mike who tricked Mark to run with him in the middle of the night! They both seem happy enough.

 

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Squeaky the Pig is transitioned from Ewa to Mike in the middle of the night.

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We are officially done! 16th leg completed! Gemma, Clinton and Alastair.

 

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So many hills, so little time…

Collectively I think we ran more than 160kms and vertical ascent would be close to 120,000 or more easily! Two laps is about 850meters or so according to my Garmin. Here is the elevation profile from my two laps.

Makara to Kaukau and Back Elevation

Happy trails and if you are in Wellington come join Wellington Running Meetup! More awesome photos are here on Meetup Event page.

My first 120km week

Yes, that’s 120 kilometers (75miles) of running, not in one go of course but a full week with no rest days. This is the first time I have ever attempted to run this much and it went really well and my body surprisingly held up well. I was feeling a bit sluggish towards the end of day 6 but still managed to complete my goal. Here is how the week went.

2014 Jan 120km Week

2014 Jan 120km Week

Monday – 25kms

Monday was a fantastic sunny day, and it was such a contrast from Sunday where I managed a very wet 18km run. So I took advantage of the great sunny weather and headed out thinking I’ll do about 16kms but ended up doing an even paced 25km in 2hrs.

Monday Run Along the Bays

Monday Run Along the Bays with a dip in the sea at the end

Tuesday – Easy 10km

I was a little bit stiff on Tuesday so I did a very slow paced 60min run and completed 10kms followed by some easy stretching. Felt really good by the afternoon so I knew I was recovered well.

Wednesday – Moderate 12km plus Stairs and Speed = 22.5km

Managed to do a nice and easy but steady 12km run with a another 1km to cool down early morning. In the evening I was scheduled to go and run with the training group I am hosting as part of Wellington Running Meetup. I have been helping a group with their half marathon preparations for a few weeks and we all meet every Wednesday at 6:15. We did 3 x 360 stairs on one of the steepest paths in Wellington (on Maida Vale Road). After that we all did 2 x 1.5km laps at tempo speed. So a total of 22kms for Wednesday.

Wednesday Running Meetup Group

Wednesday Running Meetup Group

Thursday – 11km trails

I was surprised at how well my body was holding up given all the running till now. I decided to head to one of my favorite trails near where I live and did an easy 11km loop. This is Korokoro trail near Petone, its a gentle trail that runs along the stream and is one of the best trails near where I live.

Korokoro Stream Trail

Korokoro Stream Trail

Friday – 10kms

An easy run to loosen up and some stretching. I was felling a bit sluggish but managed to get in 10kms relatively easily.

Saturday 18km – Mt Climie (Long Hill)

This was a pretty hard one – Mt Climie is North East of Upper Hutt – with a total elevation gain of 850m from start to finish it is one of the best ‘hill’ runs of the area. The views from the top is pretty spectacular (on a good day). And as it was Saturday was a fantastic day with no wind and blue skies.

 

This run is also on Page 62 of Runners Guide to Wellington. I organised this run with the Running Meetup Group and there were 12 of us who went up Climie.

Mt Climie (aka Climbie)

Mt Climie (aka Climbie)

 Sunday – 23kms

My legs were a bit stiff after Saturday’s run but I still wanted to get in an even paced 2hr run. So I headed into town and went past the bays and did a nice circuit loop past Miramar for 23kms and bringing my week to a finish with 121kilometers!

120km done in 7days

120km done in 7days

A few things to note.. I didn’t randomly decide to run 120kms, I was building up gradually and over the last 3months I have done 90+ Km weeks and a few 100km weeks. This was the peak at week 8 of of a 16 week training cycle. This week I will keep my mileage at around 85km + range the gradually taper off to about 60km closer to the end of the cycle. I have mentioned previously about how I have built up distance over a period of time. The next 6-8 weeks my training will include some key speed sessions to get ready for my next half marathon on 23rd February.

What’s the most you have run in a week?

Abel Tasman – the run that didnt go to plan

I’ve been a bit quite for a while after the Abel Tasman Coastal Classic 40km trail run that was held on 28th September. Usually I am quick to update the blog after an event with how it all went. It was also supposed to be one of the key events for me this year. Anyways I was a bit disappointed with myself after this event however now that I’ve had some time to reflect on it I am glad that I was able to be part of the event.

After the Wellington Marathon this was the next big event for me and all the training I put in after July was targeted towards completing Abel Tasman coastal classic. In my mind I wanted to finish this in about 4hrs or 4hr30 mark, based on my training that I’d put in I knew that this was a realistic target. However things didn’t go according to plan and my net time was a rather slow/painful 5hrs 06minutes for the 40km course.

The event is one of the best in New Zealand’s trail running calendar and is run along the Abel Tasman Coastal Track – it’s a stunning track along the sea and bays. The event start is (in this year’s 20th Anniversary event) was from Totaranui ending in Marahau. Event day was fresh and sunny, all participants were transferred via boats to the race start. After everyone arrived at the start compulsory gear checks were done. It was a stunning day with no sign of rain but everyone had to carry water, wind jacket, polyprop and survival blanket as part of the race gear. After the race briefing we were off!

The first 5-8km was pretty good and I got into a good rhythm with a few others. At around 6kms is the first ‘obstacle’ where you have to cross the Awaroa estuary. Basically you get about waist deep in sea to cross the Awaroa inlet to get to the other side. There is no avoiding this so you get a nice soak in pretty cold sea water. Then you carry along the trail. I was doing pretty good and was on good pace upto around 15km when my left knee started bothering me and got considerably worse by each passing Km. From this point onwards it was pretty much a slow run/jog/walk which slowed me down considerably. I contemplated pulling out at the halfway point but decided that I wanted to finish it. Eventually I got used to the pain but due to the awkward style of stepping my ITB was hurting so it was pretty hard going in the last 10km or so. Despite all this I am glad I was part of this great event and finished the 40km run. Here are some photos from the day. There were a few of my friends from Wellington Running Meetup.

highres_290273842highres_290274942highres_290275332600_290278572highres_288921052600_290277732Next year’s event is 27th of September 2014 – go check out the event web site – http://www.nelsonevents.co.nz/content/abel-tasman-coastal-classic

My favourite runs in Wellington

I’ve mentioned before that Wellington has so many options for running on and off road. Also if you haven’t got a copy of “Runners Guide to Wellington” you should! It’s got the best of the best running routes for Wellington. I’m going to share three of my favourite routes that are easily accessible from Wellington CBD.

Karori Trails

This one is not directly in the CBD but a short drive to Karori and you have access to some sweet trails that is part of the Makara peak mountain bike park.

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The start of this run can be from anywhere in Karori. I usually start from near the Karori supermarket or the Post shop. Run towards Makara and turn left into Burrows Avenue to head into Wright’s hill reserve and follow the trails up to Wright’s hill this is your first climb. Then you pop out into Hazelwood Avenue and connect to the main Makara mountain bike park. Follow the trails all the way up to Makara peak and start dropping down towards Makara hill road connecting to the start of Skyline track. Then down to Karori park and back to start along Karori road. All about 18kms with some decent climbs and sweet trails.

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Tinakori > Wadestown > Aro Loop

This one’s easily done from CBD and I usually start from under the sails in Queens wharf or from Ferg’s when meeting with others for the run. A mix of road and trails with a hill.

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Head towards Thorndon from the CBD taking Hill Street past the Beehive and onto Tinakori road. Tinakori hill is pretty easy to spot and it’s a mean climb to the top. Once you get to the top follow the Northern walkway towards Wadestown and start climbing down via Weld Street. Follow Wadestown road to Blackbridge road and connect to Otari Wilton’s lower car park. You can either stick to the road or take the lower trails of Wilton’s bush and connect back to Curtis Street via Old Karori road and take Chaytor street to Zealandia. Follow the Zealandia fenceline (on the outside) towards George Denton Park and head down via Polhill (Aro) back to town. Roughly about 18kms.

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Thorndon > Wadestown > Northland > Kelburn > Aro Easy Loop

This one’s all road and is a great option when it’s howling a northerly or southerly on the waterfront and you want to get in a decent run. Again starting from the CBD head towards Wadestown via Mulgrave street onto Aitken, Hill street and then right onto Tinakori road and connect to Grant, Barnard which turn to Lennel and onto Wadestown and follow the road all the way to Wilton road, past Wilton’s Bush connecting to Curtis street. Take Upland road to Kelburn and here you can choose to cut back down to CBD or continue on to Aro valley via Plunket street, Raroa road and onto Aro street. Back to CBD from any route you choose. An easy 14kms all up. You can do this loop the other way as well.

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There are so many more options in Wellington and I always try and change my routes to keep it interesting, what are some of your favourite runs?