Making adjustments and staying positive

It’s exactly another 8 sleeps to my first Marathon on 23rd of June (in case you didn’t know that already since most of my previous posts have been on that subject). It had been a good stint of solid training runs up until Saturday 8th June when I pulled a thigh muscle in the first lap of a club cross country race. Yes, I do occasionally (read very rarely decide to show up) participate in races with Wellington Scottish Athletics club. Anyways it happened about 2kms in to a 8km cross country race. I had to stop with a rather painful strain on my left thigh. Incidentally the same leg had a bit of discomfort just under my left knee after one of my longer runs the week before. I wasn’t too concerned about that since I get all sorts of pain after long runs. So whatever this new strain was it was rather painful and bit of a shock to the system that I may not be able to start my first Marathon. I was pretty gutted and it was hurting even to jog so I expected the worse. However after coming home and a self massage with the foam roller and some ice the pain went away. I decided not to run the final Xterra trail run on Sunday 9th and give it time to settle. As it turns out the last Xterra race was made tough with lots of mud and some tough hills. I was sorry I missed the fun of Xterra it but I knew that I had to be sensible and be focused on my goal and stay on track to completing my first Marathon goal.

One of the best pieces of advise I’ve had about injuries and running is that if you are injured STOP RUNNING! I am the worst person to take advice that I give. This time however I didn’t run on Sunday even though the pain had gone away and just rested and massaged my legs with the foam roller like a mad man.

The next day (Monday 10th) I decided to go for an easy run, I started slowly and there was no discomfort so I gradually increased my pace until I was running steady and ran 8k without any hint of pain. Yeai I’m all good – I thought and was in good spirits again. Did more foam rolling.

Next day Tuesday 11th I wanted to see if I could add a bit of pace and went for a steady 10km run and added a bit of pace at the end of the run which got me to the pace about where I wanted to run my Marathon in. I could feel a slight twinge building after I had finished the run. Hmm not so good, that was just a 10k. So more foam rolling and massaging.I took Wednesday 12th off and did no running. Made sure I kept off my feet and more foam rolling ensued. There was no pain as such and I was back in good spirits.

Thursday 13th I decided I will push it a bit to see if it will start hurting. It was also my regular morning group run which is usually a 14-15km run around the bays. Since I was running with the group I kept up steady pace and around the 11km mark my leg thigh strain started again! Yup it was back and it was back with more pain. I stopped immediately and I was about 3km from where I usually stop so had to slowly jog/walk back. The pain eventually went away after walking. So guess what? more foam rolling!

Anyways that was Thursday 13th and today is Sunday the 16th and I have not run for the last 3 days. I went for a walk on Saturday morning and rest of the time I’ve either being resting or foam rolling! Not running is the hardest thing to do when you are getting ready for an event. I resisted even going for an easy jog. I am going to attempt an easy run tomorrow (Monday 17th) (Last week of training before Marathon).

In any case I have nothing to really be concerned about (yet) although it can be demoralizing to know that you may be not 100% to start the marathon (or may not be able to start) after 15 weeks of training I am pretty much into my taper phase of 2 weeks, so maybe it was my body’s way of stopping me from going too far. I had done all my long runs that I had scheduled that were over 30kms (3 runs in total) in the previous weeks in training. My regular 10milers (16km) tempos were getting faster. Looking back at my training log I know that I’ve got a good endurance base come next Sunday to finish the Marathon. I have nothing to gain in this final week so I’m going to stay positive and take it easy, eat well, rest and be ready to tackle 42.2kms come Sunday 23rd!

With that – if you are still not entered go and enter my Marathon giveaway! Look forward to updating you all on how it all went post Marathon!

“Life requires us to make adjustments, less is still something”

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

Xterra Beautiful Mad Muddy Makara Race 1 recap

It’s a beautiful day – Sky falls, you feel like
It’s a beautiful day – Don’t let it get away

You’re on the road – But you’ve got no destination
You’re in the mud – In the maze of her imagination

You love this town – Even if that doesn’t ring true
You’ve been all over – And it’s been all over you

It’s a beautiful day – Don’t let it get away – It’s a beautiful day

So why am I quoting a U2 song on a race recap? Well let me tell you that Xterra Race 1 was absolutely amazing! Yes regardless of the rain, the mud and the hard graft climbs it was beautiful!

This was my first Xterra Trail Race of the series. The series consists of four trail races with options of a short, medium and long course options. This is great since anyone can have a go by choosing a distance that they are comfortable in. I signed up for the Long course over the series. The first race was in quite familiar territory for me in the Makara Peak mountain bike park. A haven for mountain bikers and the occasional runners who are brave enough to venture into run the trails now and then. Essentially the total length of all tracks combined is about 50kms give or take a few! The park is only about 20mins drive from central Wellington where I live and I have ridden my Mountain Bike on some of these tracks so I was somewhat prepared for what I was in for.

Another side note that I should add before I continue on this recap is that I’d just gotten back from a week in London. I’d been inside a plane for about 20-30hrs and Saturday was mostly spent recovering! Essentially a week of what was mostly running on the flat roads of London. The last “hill” run that I had run was the Porirua Grand Traverse. In any case I wasn’t out there to “race” but run on some awesome trails with a whole bunch of others and enjoy it!

Sunday 21st April morning started pretty much with a downpour and driving to the start I knew this run was going to be pretty much a wet and muddy affair. However it wasn’t that cold since there was hardly any wind which was a bonus some might say in Wellington.

There was a long queue at registration since essentially the first race was a sell out with over 500 people taking part in across all of different event options! After picking up my registration number and timing chip and getting my gear all sorted I headed to the start of the race and met up with some of the others from the Wellington Running Meetup Group. Most were doing the short and medium course.

Xterra Wellington Running Meetup

Xterra Wellington – with Friends from Running Meetup

The Long Course runners (which included me) was waved off after a race briefing around 9:15am from up the road from the ‘official’ start gate. This was to allow everyone to get into multiple groups for the first part which was a gradual uphill on some single track where passing wasn’t that easy. I was kind of in the ‘middle’ group averaging about 6min/7min km pace for the first part of the run. The first part is on two well maintained trails (which was soggy not muddy) named Koru and up Sally Alley. Then heading down via Missing Link to Nikau Valley with a climb up via Possum Track and then all the way up Leaping Lizard and onto Aratihi to Makara Peak (highest point at around 410m).  Then it’s a downhill via Vertigo! Yup Vertigo! as the name suggest was pretty vertically downhill, it was pretty technical and classed as an “Expert” downhill track in MTB terms! And going down that on a rainy and muddy day was pretty much interesting to say the least! It was part mud skidding and sliding all the way down! And just when you thought things can’t be that bad after this, you headed UP in to Trickle Falls aka “Tricky Falls” – I have no idea how any one would ever use this as a downhill or an uphill mountain bike trail. Trickle falls is steep, rocky and goes over 1km back up to Makara Peak, pretty much I was walking and clambering up the steep rocky slopes at this stage. Some others in front of me was having difficulty and was sliding backwards for each couple of steps! It was slow going but eventually made it back up to Makara Peak with about 15kms into the race! After that climb it’s a pretty good run along Ridgeline and then onto Big Tom’s wheelie and onto Lazy Fern where it was a smooth & fast run back to the Finish! Total time without any major mishaps apart from falling back on my arse a couple of times on mud 2hrs 23! Out of the Men’s open field smack bang in the middle again!

Xterra Makara Long Course Profile

Xterra Makara Long Course Profile Total ascent ~900m over 19.5km total distance on my Garmin

Xterra Trail Map of Makara Run

Xterra Trail Map of Makara Run

I had fun! I was completely covered in Mud! I was wet, cold but I didn’t care! I was smiling and wanted more! It was just what I needed on a Sunday! After the race I chatted with a few people and grabbed a coffee from the cart and headed back to my car.

Xterra Fun!

Xterra Fun!

XterraWLG1

I’m already looking forward to the Second Xterra Race on the 12th of May! Until then I have the Rotorua Half Marathon next weekend on Saturday 4th May! I’ll update how I went in that next week!

Happy muddy trails!