After the Berlin marathon in September 2014, I have been in Europe for the most part. This meant that I left the southern hemisphere to the northern hemisphere just about when winter was about to start. In Wellington (NZ) winters are not that bad compared to some other places but still the effect of darkness, rain and cold inevitably has an effect. Add another winter in the northern hemisphere to that and it becomes pretty demoralising overall. The time spent in Galicia from September to January 2015 was broken up by a few short visits to Portugal where it was comparatively sunny and warm. Then I was in NZ to get a little taste of summer for about 16 days in January before heading back to Europe to base myself in Amsterdam from February.
So yes, it’s been actually a month since running Berlin (28th September) and yes I’ve been a bit slack in updating the blog lately and I’ve also been travelling but that is not an excuse.
To get to Berlin from Wellington, NZ is a fair bit of travel. Door to door I think it took me about 40hrs until I slumped on the bed in a Berlin hotel room completely exhausted. Not the best way to run a marathon in a few days with that kind of travelling.
Bit of a delayed recap of the Tauhara trail half marathon which was held on 6th of July 2014 in Taupo. I ran this race once in 2011 just as I was starting to run and didn’t do particularly well as I remember back then.
This event being in winter was essentially added on as a training run and also I have been wanting to complete the 63.3 Run Taupo series. Basically 3 half marathon in 3 months of July, August and September.
Race day was a pretty decent winter morning with the sun coming out with a few clouds but nevertheless a bit chilly. This was the first year Hoka One One has come aboard as a sponsor and they had a good selection for shoes and gear on display at the start/finish area.
The race started off with everyone kind of standing by a side of a grassy field and a countdown. The start was a bit congested and I got into a slow start but made my way steadily through and kept a good pace. Being a typical mid pack runner I was not ever going to be at the pointy end anyway.
The Tauhara course is actually a pretty decent trail run where all of the course is runnable. There are really not many ‘hill’s however the course is quite undulating with a total elevation gain of 700 meters. Around the 5th km marker to 9 km marker is uphill but nothing too serious, which incidentally is also a bit of an out and back so the climb soon becomes a downhill. You also get to see some of the other runners go past you. I was running with a group of runners up the hill so was sharing the work so to speak. After this you turn into the bush around the half way point onto some sweet single trail and a last grunt for about 3 kms through 18, 19, 20kms and then a screaming 1 km downhill on a grassy paddock filled with cow poo to the finish.
I totally enjoyed this race and managed to run this in a decent 1:49:52 (official) and was the 22nd runner. In my age group M40-44 I was 5th.
Some photos thanks to Photos4Sale.
If you are looking for an entertaining recap of this race STOP right now and head over here to see what my yellow fancy pants wearing friend has to say. If you want something boring then read on – I have warned you.
Right – it’s been 7ish weeks since running the Rotorua Marathon. That was after a pretty good block of training and life circumstances. I was riding a wave of highs then. Also after Rotorua I dropped my mileage right back. Bought a mountain bike (did a total 3 grand rides) – probably not the best investment but nevertheless. Wellington Half was always on the plan but I was pretty much taking a break form high intensity and high mileage. Leading up to the event my base mileage had dropped to about 65kms per week average from a usual 85-100km average. So in fact I was well rested if anything. I had no expectations and mentally I was also at a low point probably because of the reduced mileage and some other life stuff that happened.
Anyways I went into this race with no expectations and decided I might as well get among the crowd and see what happens. I got to the race start at WestPac stadium in Central Wellington about 45mins before the start. I don’t usually bother with too much warm up other than walking jogging to the loo or talking with others whom I bump into. Then maybe a couple of strides at a minimum. This time I did no warm up apart from the usual last minute business. A stiff southerly breeze was blowing that pretty much chilled you to the bone. Before the race I had a couple of Icebreaker tops on to keep me warm. Underneath I had my Wellington Scottish singlet on and arm warmers and running gloves. Just before race start at 9am I ditched the Icebreaker tops with a mate and made my way to the start line. There was a bit of a jam going into the start area through the stadium doors. Eventually I made my way to where the 1hrs 30min pacer Huw another club/running mate was doing pacing duties. Since this was also doubling up as the NZ Half Marathon Champs the leading men’s and women’s runners were right at the front. Then I spotted my yellow fancy pants wearing friend Amanda. Since I had no particular interest in racing my guts out today I just though hmm I’ll just take it easy and hang with her. After the usual pre-race announcements, the gun/hooter can’t remember which exactly went, everyone surged off. The elites bolted.
Me and Amanda got into an easy rhythm to stick to about 4.15mins/km. In actual fact we were a tad faster but pretty well in control and just taking it easy. It was easy running with not much effort. Pretty soon we were just ticking away the Kms as we passed familiar surroundings around the Wellington Bays.
We also strategically shielded ourselves from the wind by using others as wind blockers and also did our own part by putting on a few surges just to keep a group going. Eventually we settled with another guy who seemed to be happy to stick with us. Just before we went through the half way point we saw all the 70min (fast) runners already heading back. We hit the half way point and started to up the tempo a little bit. We were hitting 4min K’s quite easily and kept on a good steady rhythm. The last 5km for me was a pretty good effort in hitting sub 4min kms to the finish (Felt great and didn’t blow up). Amanda did an amazing time – go read her race report. My net time was 1:27:37 which is a PB by about 3 mins with the least amount of build up I’ve had. Unexpected and pretty happy in the end.
Till later.. keep running.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.