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

Running Scared

There are times when you just want to give up, you feel empty, desperate because the balance in your life was broken, you are scared. You start running scared – you run and you run and you fall, cut your knee have no idea how you fell but still get up and keep running, blood streaming down your leg. With your lungs and legs burning everything fades to insignificance and your fears, insecurities become obsolete and you feel stronger. (Preferably try without the falling, cutting your knee and blood streaming bit).

Sometimes you run just for the heck of it to see how far you can go. Explore places you’ve never been to before but follow familiar trails to get there with mates who have been there before you. You share stories of struggles and achievements you curse as you push yourself up endless hills just to get to the top and then to come down again. You see herds of cattle along these trails and wonder if they will move out of the way, then you realise you are  wearing a red t-shirt and a red cap you think of Spanish bull fighters and the running of the bulls where people are getting gorged by Bulls. Oh Geez what were you thinking wearing red? better run around these buggers you say and jump into a stream and cross away from the trail and go around the cattle who doesn’t really give a toss (or so it seems), but you are running scared.

Running Scared

Who let these Cattle out on the trails!

You lose sight of your mates around a corner of the trail and over a hill and stare into the fog that’s around you, it’s cold you can’t see the trail.. or was there really a trail you wonder? You scream out only to hear nothing, you start running scared then you see them just ahead up on the hill you run faster to catch up and your lungs and legs are screaming, yet you run. Then you get to the top, the fog lifts, sun streams through and hits your face, it’s all worthwhile, you look around and see the views. You’ve overcome your fears by running scared.

Everything is OK! We made it to the top. Now we have to go down again.

Everything is OK! We made it to the top. Now we have to go down again.

 

I’ve completed a Marathon – now what?

Some say that immediately after you finish your first Marathon that it’s normal to say “Never doing this again!!” as you slowly crawl out of bed the next day and try to get some movement out of your legs. It hurts there is no denying that, in my case my legs hurt for a couple of days immediately afterwards but this gradually subsided as days went by. I took a full 8 days off running and pretty much gave my body a good well earned rest. Now having slowly started easing into some gradual runs I am looking at what I had initially planned for rest of the year.

I already have an event planned for September (Abel Tasman) which is almost Marathon distance at 40km but unlike a road race is entirely on trails. Long term my goal is to target another Marathon in 2014, this time however with a time goal. (most likely Rotorua Marathon in may 2014). With these goals in mind I have looked at my past training plan (based on a 16 week cycle) and is now essentially putting together a plan (28 weeks from 1 July to 28 December 2013) that will carry me through to end of this year. The last two weeks has been build up weeks with a steady build up in base mileage (building up to about 100k -120k per week) which will continue for 4-6 weeks more. During this period I have potentially two Half Marathons that I can use to tune my race pace. The first is coming up in three weeks in Taupo (4th August) and I’ll pretty much train through it without a taper. Second half marathon that I might consider doing is in September, however it’s one week before the Abel Tasman Trail Run. Based on how I am feeling I might end up skipping that and conserve my energy for Abel Tasman.

Key is to continue building up mileage through winter and then start speed work in Spring to be able to target a couple of races over summer and better my half marathon times. Would be interesting to know how others plan their yearly plans.

Happy running!

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