Tauhara Trail Half Marathon recap

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.

View of race start - with Ben and the guys from Wellington Running Meetup

View of race start – Me with Ben and the guys from Wellington Running Meetup (Orsi, Alan and Barry)

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.

Tauhara 2014 Profile and run data

Tauhara 2014 Profile and run data

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.

Tauhara Trail Half Marathon

Tauhara Trail Half Marathon 2014

Tauhara Trail Half Marathon

 

 

September update and a Half marathon PB

Haven’t been able to update on what’s been happening so here is a bit of a recap on August and September. August was about maintaining a steady base with some good runs. Through a three week period I was able to maintain 3 weeks of 85+Kms per week. This was a pretty good period with some good hill runs and some speed work done at the local track with some of my buddies. This resulted in a personal best half marathon time of 1:32:06 on the 15th of September at the Pelorus Trust Half Marathon. Previous half marathon PB was 1:33:56 which I ran in February this year.

September Mileage - 3 weeks of 85+ Kms

September Mileage – 3 weeks of 85+ Kms

The Pelorus race course was not an easy course as it ran along some streets and over a railway bridge and on a side of the Hutt river trail out and  back. The back leg was exposed to a southerly head wind which slowed some of the runners including me. My run was pretty good with an average pace of about 4:20min per Kms. This is a pretty good indication that I can push for a sub 1:30 in the coming months and aim to run 4:15min splits.

Coming weekend (Saturday 28th September) is the 40km Abel Tasman coastal classic trail run which is a tough run with some undulating off road terrain in the Abel Tasman national park. My aim is to finish and take it easy through this run. There are a number of people from Wellington Running Meetup who is heading down for this so it will be a fun event. After the Abel Tasman my longer term aim is the 50th Rotorua Marathon in May 2014. I’ll post my training plan for the Rotorua marathon (my second) in the coming months. Since this is my second marathon my aim would be to run a personal best time. Based on my last (first marathon) effort I’m confident that I can aim for a reasonable time. Between now and then I will aim to do some half marathons to keep myself motivated.

In November this year (2013) I am planning to run the Tongariro Northern circuit with a local trail runner Julian Bee who is raising funds for CureKids by running all of the great walks of NZ. The Tongariro Circuit is about 43kms.

 

Lessons from Running and PB week

No matter how good you are at something, there’s always a million people better than you
– Homer Simpson

HomerS

Saturday 17th August was a good day, I ran a PB in a local club 10km event. I was a whole 2 minutes faster than my previous 10k time. Then again I was pretty slow compared to all the others in my age group. Just to put this into perspective, the current world record for a 10km road race is currently 26:44 (Yes that’s 26mins). British Athlete Mo Farah (aka MObot) runs the same distance on track (10,000m) in 26:46, the track world record is held by Ethiopian runner named Kenenisa Bekele. Previous record holder for 10,000m and still number two is the great Haile Gebrselassie in 26:22. The New Zealand Record holder for 10,000m is Dick Quax in 27:41 with Jonathan Wyatt holding the 10km road title in 28:04. (Source Athletics NZ – http://www.anzrankings.org.nz/site/records_con ).

In the senior men category in which I ran there were 40 Wellington club affiliated runners (There were also other age group runners, Senior men, Masters etc which made the whole field to be about 120 runners). Evan Cooper from Wellington Harriers won the race in a time of 31:39. Glen Hughes from Wellington Scottish came second in 31:46. I was 36th in the senior field and 77th overall with my PB time of 42:00 (yes I was bang on 42:00) – my previous 10km time was around 44 or close to 45mins (which I ran in London this year) so being able getting it down to 42mins was a bonus. The race itself was run on a 2km lap course which made it somewhat easier to pace myself. I wanted to run as close to 4:00min per Km as possible. I had two club mates who was around my pace so we had a great race between the three of us and I was able to hold off both of them and take my “PB win”.

10 km Splits

Above are my 1 Km splits, note that odd laps were slightly uphill gradient hence the time being a tad slow and the even laps of course coming down and being faster. This had a pretty tiring effect on the legs overall. I made my move at the 8km mark and ran up the hill fast and let go on the down. Net result an even average of 4:05min Per Km. This is one the great things about being part of a club, it gives you an opportunity to compete in regional events also if you become a racing member you get your own timing tag! If you want to know more about joining a club check out Wellington Scottish or come around to the Wellington Waterfront on a Tuesday at 5:30 to take part in the Waterfront 5k run and a chat.

10kmPB

Until next time! happy running..

 

Taupo Half Marathon 2013 Recap

This was my 8th half marathon since starting my running reboot in 2011. Just to recap the previous halves that I have completed are:

  1. 2011 Wellington Round the Bays My first Half Marathon – 2:02:08 (February 2011)
  2. 2011 Omagh Harriers – Half Marathon (Northern Ireland) – 21.1k – 1:57:33 (April 2011)
  3. 2011 Wellington Half Marathon – 21.1k – 1:54.46 (June 2011)
  4. 2012 Wellington Round The Bays – 1:37:22 (February 2012)
  5. 2012 Taupo Half Marathon – 1:38:50 (August 2012)
  6. 2013 Wellington Round the Bays 1:33:54 (February 2013) – current PB!
  7. 2013 Rotorua Half Marathon – 1:37:47 (May 2013)
  8. 2013 Taupo Half Marathon – 1:34:39 (August 2013) <- Latest

Taupo is a great destination for running events with the lakefront course being pretty flat. Having done the Taupo Half Marathon in 2012 I wanted to come back and have a go at this race again. The goal for this race was twofold. One was to run at around 4:30min per km, second to run under 1:35 which of course depended on the first goal. I wasn’t necessarily going for a PB on this race having just come off a Marathon in June I was just getting back into my second phase of training. Most my work has been on building mileage as I eluded to in my previous post.

We left Wellington after work on Friday and arrived in Taupo pretty late Friday evening. After a sleep in Saturday was spent just chilling out in Taupo with a brunch at L’arte cafe in Acacia Bay – highly recommend it if you end up in Taupo. Then we walked around the Saturday market in Taupo. By the way if you are a girl and want some awesome running gear check out Kori Kita – http://www.korikita.co.nz/ NZ made by Kate and she’s at the Taupo market every Saturday. After nosing around the market went to the registration and race pack collection at the Great Lake centre. This was the 20th Anniversary of the Mizuno (main sponsor) Half Marathon. The race pack included some goodies as well as a running shirt by Mizuno. One of the other cool things was the Race number included an electronic chip already embedded so there was no plastic chip thingy you had to tie down on your shoe. This was pretty convenient and it’s becoming more popular in races I am told.

Taupo Half 2013 - A T-Shirt and Chocolate

Taupo Half 2013 – A T-Shirt and Chocolate

Anyways rest of Saturday was spent just chilling out and went to bed early. Sunday was forecast for rain but the morning arrived with no sign of rain and or wind. I got to the race start by about 8:30am for the 9:00am start. I got around to the start with a race announcer going through the usual speech of thanking sponsors etc and also recognizing runners and walkers who have run all 20 events since 1994 when the race first began. The race started right on time (actually 8:59 according to my Garmin). I was in the first wave and got into a bit of a fast start for the first Km and joined a bunch of runners who seem to be content with running around 4:25-4:30 pace and got into an easy rhythm. I wasn’t pushing for pace so got into a chat with a gent who was doing his 20th race! Judging by the cheers he got along the way it was apparent he was a bit of a local runner celebrity and it was good to run along with him for a while. Around the 8km mark is a slight rise (not a hill) and a few people were slowing down who’d gone out a bit fast. Around here I caught up to another celebrity runner, Victoria Taylor. She’s run the length of New Zealand to raise awareness for Child Cancer NZ. It was nice to meet her in person and whilst she was also running! So I chatted with her for a bit and kept on with my original pace plan of sticking to 4:30min per Km.

At the halfway point was a drinks station so I slowed a bit and had two cups of water and half a Gu gel and then got back into my rhythm. From this point on the course follows the edge of the lake along a paved path. I was still within my time of being on target for 1:35. The last few Kms hurt a bit and ended up finishing in 1:34 with average of 4.28min per km, which was pretty bang on what I wanted to pace myself for this race.

After the race everyone got a shiny big 20th Anniversary finishers medal and a chocolate fish! I went straight to the coffee cart – maybe I should have had “Speeding Beans” coffee before the race!

Taupo Half Finish 2013

Taupo Half Finish 2013 – That’s me in the yellow top

Taupo Half Marathon Medal

2013 Taupo Half Marathon 20th Anniversary Medal

Speeding Bean - Coffee with Speed

Speeding Bean – Coffee with Speed

Half Marathon course.

Taupo Half Marathon 2013 Course

Taupo Half Marathon 2013 Course

Now I am back into my regular training schedule leading up to the 40km Abel Tasman Trail race in September 28th!

Xterra Event 2 – The Orongorongos

Last weekend Sunday was the second of the Xterra trail running events in Wellington. The second race was held over in the Catchpool valley and Oronogorongo river located in the Rimutaka Forest Park just about 15kms from Wellington city. The park has some great trails and naturally was a great setting for race 2 of the Xterra event. To make things even better the day was just picture perfect. Just have a look at the photo below courtesy of Logan Ackers of the race start.

Xterra Race 2 Orongorongo

Xterra Race 2 Orongorongo – Photo Credit Xterra – Logan Ackers

Check out the Xterra Facebook page for more race day photos.

Anyways there is a great post over at Backcountry runner of how things went from the point of view from front of the pack.

After the “horn” went off (there was no gun) – I settled into mid pack with a couple of others from my club and we ran the first 5km or so at a steady pace. The trail was easy and undulating and after 5kms it was into a climb up an old 4WD track to the topmost point. I ran/walked parts of it and kept getting passed by a few people. Then it was some steady running along the ridge line. After the ridge line bit I got into my “downhill” mode and flew past a few people who overtook me on the climb. The next bit was technical and there were some roots to deal with and going got a bit slower then another 2km of look out for roots and protect your ankle. At the 15km point the trail became fairly even with a bit of slushy mud from the few days of rain we had the last few days. I ran this bit as fast as I could without getting too carried away. The total distance ended up being roughly about 19.6kms in 2hours 17mins according to my Garmin.

As it happened there was a ‘technical glitch’ and some of the timing chips had failed for about more than half of the runners who took part. The organising team worked really hard to figure out and hopefully fix this but in the end they could only officially provide only a handful of timings. In any case no one really cared – I didn’t anyways. I enjoyed the great day and the company of my fellow trail runners. Looking forward to the next event which will be a night run in a weeks time.

Enjoying a post race recap with fellow trail runners

Enjoying a post race recap with fellow trail runners