63.3 Challenge Update

Wow, seems like its ages since I wrote anything about anything here. And it’s exactly two weeks to the Berlin Marathon on the 28th September! Since the last update of the Tauhara Trail Half in Taupo I have also competed the two other halves on the 63.3 series. Here is a quick recap of the two races.

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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



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


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



Skyline 160 enjoying the views



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



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.



Some of the other regulars from Wellington Running Meetup



Some of the other regulars from Wellington Running Meetup



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



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


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




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