Sunday, June 24, 2007

A B-? Well, maybe a B+...

Weather conditions looked perfect for this morning's race- fine, chilly. I woke around 7, and was glad of the sleep in. Usually I hate late race starts (I really am a born triathlete), but after wasting too much time reading and mucking around last night, and a few nights in a row of frequent waking, I liked it today!

I had porridge with dates and brown sugar and a cup of coffee, and read a little and checked out some blogs before getting ready. Decided I'd probably be warm, despite the antarctic chill, so wore a new singlet and a thin poly with my snazzy new tights (which I am completely in love with- thank you my wonderful honey!!) This was definitely the right plan - in the end I lined up and raced in the singlet, and didn't once regret it.

P dropped me at the station, and I jogged up to the start. I soon realised that the chilly sunniness was hiding a deceptively strong wind. Crazy strong! (a little stronger than the wind that stopped my plane landing on Friday!) I arrived at the event at about 8:45 (I think?), and soon managed to find my sister (and squeeze behind her in the bag check queue- sorry gods of queueing karma). Went to the bathroom (again...) and then headed outside. I realised I was quite far back, so pushed up to what I thought was a reasonable place (it was- it took me 25 seconds to cross, which should be right for someone finishing near me in a medium sized race. But of course I'd underestimated the sheer IDIOCY of racers. I don't know how many times I've seen posts like this, but if you are going to WALK or PLOD or SHUFFLE the first k of a race then you start at the BACK! It's not rocket science, just common courtesy. And I think race organisers should be more emphatic bout this- even if it's "only" a 10k, there should be some staggering, even if it's just corraling the walkers to the back (they did this in my last half, which was great, even though not 100% effective).

The first k was a little slow, at 4:50 (about right really, given the stupid start, but it's a short k- I always hit it way ahead of pace and freak out, so was expecting a bit faster). I really should have had a decent warm up- definitely getting more reliant on the warm up now that I'm getting more experienced, as I just couldn't make my legs move for the next wee while. Was shocked and appalled to hit 2k in 10:07, but then hit 2.2 in 10:27, so something was screwy there- I did not run 200m in 20s! (the 2k was ours, the 2.2 was the marathoners' 40k mark). From that point on I picked up a bit, and although I was struggling, I started to hit each k marker at under 8:00/pace target time (just that every marker was +0.2, so I hit 4.2 in a little under 20, I think- maybe it was 19:40). I started catching up to and passing some of my "marks", and my legs gradually settled in (I'm jumping ahead, but it wasn't untik 7kish that I actually felt like I was really running!)

I was still under 20mins when I saw the top women returning- I was surprised to see how slowly they were moving and was pretty confused. They didn't look like they should be so far ahead of me- but hey, who am I to judge on appearances? Then I saw a local elite coming up behind them, and realised that there was no way they were in the lead. We figure they probably started with the half, 15 minutes before us! It was heartening to see some seriously fast people ahead of me, and although there were LOTS of ladies (and I knew I'd get a somber look for C who was counting for me and who knew I had top-20 aspirations...), most of them looked like they belonged there. The tail wind swept me around the turn around (23:37!), and before I knew it I'd sailed past the girl I'd had my eye on for the last 10 minutes or so. And the one who'd snuck past us both a little earlier.

Then I ran straight, smack bang into an impenetrable forcefield! I bitch about the wind a lot, but this was something else. My earbuds came out, my eyes watered and my peripheral vision was screwed (fortunately none of the people I was looking out for passed me during that time- I had no waves in me). In hindsight I pushed a bit too hard- I was tireder just after that bit than I was at the end of the race! I saw my sister, who was looking great and gave her a big wave, then a bit later saw C and J. C made exactly the face I'd expected- she'd counted THIRTY FIVE ladies ahead of me!!

I was still making ok time- can't remember when I hit each marker but I knew I was still sub-8:00 pace, and thought I was looking towards a high 47s/low 48s finish. I felt pretty strong, and I was passing a lot more than I was being passed. From 1k to go I ran alongside two speedy women and we took turns edging in front (one of them beat me to the end (just), but my time was a fraction quicker ;-)). My playlist was just perfect- I skipped the third to last song, and when Don't Stop Me Now played, I really was having a ball, and this time I WAS like a rocket ship! We ran up into the stadium (Final Countdown started..) and I was chuffed to see that the course had changed, and the mind-f*ck last 100m had gone, so all I had to do was round the corner and start my finishing sprint. My watch read 46:xx, and I knew I was cutting it fine to finish sub-48. As I neared the end, I saw 47:41, and I kicked into my real sprint, edging out the old dude next to me.

I didn't quite make it. The final sprint took 30s, and I crossed in 48:11 by me, 48:12 by them. Ah well- a 1-minute PR is ok, given my sketchy training, the awful start and the awful wind (I'm sure those two things are worth at least 15s each!!) I didn't quite make my place goals either- had hoped for top 10 F18-34 and top 20 o/all female, and was 13/235(ish) F18-34 (runners) and 22/460(ish) o/all women. So, I beat 95% of people. Not bad :-)

I watched finishers and chatted to mates for aaages. I'd forgotten how much fun this race is, and I love my buds on the Welly-town running scene. My sister came in a little over an hour and I screamed for her to sprint. Well- it's clear that that girl takes after her big sis (or, rather, we both take after our Dad). When I said sprint, she really did- I was chasing her on the other side of the spectators, and she beat me in (she did have a head start, and didn't have spectators to deal with, but WOW!). Talking to her later, I found out she'd really motored up the wee *hill* and had passed everyone in sight. Just like me :-)

Waited around for A who came 9th overall and 6th in her AG in the full, in a smashing time of 3:43. GO A!! We went out for brunch, then I met C (oh crap, I have two Cs now.. )for a quick swim, before dawdling up the hill to write this race report, do laundry and watch Gilmore Girls. I'm feeling a bit more like the old me. I think I might like racing after all :-)

Oh- and guess what else? I counted back to figure out when to start my Akl Marathon sub-4 training plan, and it's LAST week. So will ease into it this week, and start for real next week- yay! But I'll have to base the paces around a 48 10k- that sounds hard!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Seednee, Orstrahlia (and a few others bits and bobs)

Haven't had a lot to say recently- busy, it's winter, training has been waaay less than ideal.. yada yada. I guess we all go through these funks some time, and I can assure you that I'm about 90% happy, it's just that the extra 10% is talking loudly right now. Also, have found myself wasting far too much time on bebo and facebook and neglecting my blog- so pointless, yet so addictive. Tsk tsk!

I spent two days working in Sydney last week, which was great, but has left me a bit drained, especially since it was too bloody windy to land in Welly last night, so we detoured to Auckland, where I stayed "overnight" (does 2-6am count as overnight?) before flying back home on the first flight out. No biggie, but still a pain. Luckily the job I was doing over there wasn't too stressful, or else I'd be wiped.

Anyway, Sydney was my first o/seas business trip as well as my first solo international trip (that realisation surprised me- was sure I'd done it before). I found the first day a bit stressful, getting from airport to hotel to work and back into town, when I basically had no idea where I was. I managed to find the pub to have a drink with fellow blogger Ellie- my first ever official blog-meet (seeing Mike after Rotorua doesn't count, as I'm such a woos I didn't say hi). A glass of wine with a friendly face was exactly what the doctor ordered!

After that I felt a lot more comfortable, and made my way back to the hotel easily (no mean feat- my sense of direction is appalling!). After some room service and a late swim in the gorgeous 15m (so they said, I'm thinking 10, or else I've grown gills...), I went to sleep feeling much more positive about the day ahead.

Unfortunately, I slept in, which started things off not quite on the right foot, but decided "b*gger it, I want a run!" I knew I wouldn't really have time for the 9k route suggested by the hotel (awesome jogging map!), which incorporated some of Ellie's tips, and to top it off, couldn't find my watch, but decided I'd sneak out, explore the waterfront and see what happened. The city was beautiful (though I wish I hadn't missed the sunrise), and I would love to go back to explore properly- my 40ish minute run around the Opera House and through part of the gardens wasn't quite enough! Got ready and checked out in record time, and decided to walk across the bridge to work. Cool! I was a complete nerd and took pics on both the run and the walk- have mislaid camera, so can't post them. Maybe later (but really, they just go "bridge, opera house, bridge, opera house, opera house, bridge, tree, bridge...") After work, I wandered down to catch the ferry back into town- ended up being a bit of a mad rush (had my check in time wrong), but the ferry ride was nice, exploring the North Sydney area a bit was great, and I made it to the airport *in time*.

In training news, the 10k "A" race is tomorrow, but it's been demoted to a "C", or maybe a "B-"! My training has been haphazard for the past few weeks, and although I might scrape a PB (and have programmed a fast n fun playlist), tomorrow's not feeling fast! Still, it should be a fun day, and am having brunch with Speedy A afterwards- her second mary and she's out for a big-PB and hopefully sub-3:40. So, send the vibes to her, not me!

Actually, send them to Jodi (and Susan) at Ironman CdA! Jodi is amazing, and a complete inspiration. She managed to keep up with her training while finishing her thesis and becoming Doctor JT, and seeing how strong she was through stressful times has really reminded me that we can keep working, training and living when maintaining that balance gets tougher. Have an amazing day Jodi!!

Monday, June 11, 2007

So. Very. Tired

I'm worn out. I don't really know why, but I am fairly confident it's exhaustion, not just winter lethargy. How do I know?

Well- I don't feel like running.
I slept the whole weekend. Seriously.
I get puffed walking up stairs.
And this morning I got up at 5:15 to head out for my speedwork, made coffee, started putting my skins on, stopped, turned around and went back to bed. Repeated an hour later (minus the skins and coffee). Eventually got up at about 8:30, and didn't make it to work until 10. Oops!

I'm meant to be racing the weekend after next, and I'm still planning to. Instead of running tonight, I'm going to play on my trainer, and hopefully I'll have more energy later in the week.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Of trials and tribulations...

Well, it's finally here.

The training is over- from the base phase (easing into it), through the build (with the increase in faster-paced, higher stress days) and then into the high volume stuff (where I learnt just to keep going, regardless of how tired or bored I was).

The lead up races are out of the way- the skirmishes, the mini-competitions, the warm-up rounds.

I am now in taper mode. The preparation is by no means over, there's still heaps to be done, but the focus has shifted from the "go Go GO" of the previous two weeks. What's done is done- we have to trust our training and preparation, and being in good shape on D-day is more important that squeezing that last hour of work in. So I had a full rest day yesterday, and I'm taking this evening easy.

Yes indeedy folks- I am heading into my second "A" event of the year. The first marathon of my legal career- it's my first ever trial (yup, with like witnesses and everything!)

In my area, although we spend a bit of time in Court, we don't get to trial that much. This is mostly because our cases are big, and take years of prep. They also tend to take weeks of court time, so actually getting a fixture is as much work as the fixture itself! You can spend years in lit working only on interlocutories (where the evidence is generally all on paper and the decisions are only on discrete issues), and never get to the *real thing.*

So it's exciting, but it's been tiring, as you're all aware. Obviously, I can't say much about it, so I won't tell you how we're feeling the night before it starts, and I won't really be able to tell you how I feel after it's over. But wow- it's been an experience. I think the marathon analogy is apt, and am amazed I didn't think of it until I realised I'd written the second sentence of this post. So, to continue the analogy, what I can say is that I feel like I've gone from a 5k to a marathon over the last few weeks, and although there have been some bumps in the road, I'm ready for the big day. Bring it on.