Sunday, August 26, 2007

So hard I feel queasy!

I love taking my phone on long runs and sending texts to unsuspecting victims. I tell myself and P I've got my phone for sensible reasons (like arranging to meet him in Island Bay for a big feed of fish and chips after my run, and making sure that if I get raped and/or murdered I will anyone who finds me will at least know who to call) but really? Really I use it to send gloating and rambling texts to my mum, sisters and to P.

Today's run was good, then fun, then shite, then bloody freakin brilliant! It's a clear, sunny day, with a nice breeze but no blow me down and pick me up winds and best of all, I got to share a large chunk of my long run with my widdle sis :-) I really liked running long with J for a number of reasons, not least because she's great compnay and an awesome runner. We didn't run fast for me, but we ran strong. It was her longest run in time and distance today, and ten minutes from the end she was singing along with me. Five minutes from the end she was picking up the pace and dancing along. I also loved running one of *my* routes with my little sister. The Kaikouras were amazing today- they looked as if I could swim over the straight to them- and I just love love lOVE showing off the South Coast. Seriously everyone, come to visit me in Welly (on a clear, not too windy day) and I will give you a tour of my playground ;-) I love it.

I left J at Scorching Bay with D and trudged out to finish my 20 miles. I figured that 2 hours on my own in total, plus the 8.5ish miles with J would end up being around 20 miles, or a little more (assuming around 6min/k for my *own* bit). I was fading a bit at this point, having been out for a little over 2 hours already. I'd only had a PB sandwich for brekky, and although I'd eaten a granola bar and some sports beans I was definitely low on energy and a bit dehydrated. I struggled over Awa Rd (not a bad hill, but not so fun on stuffed legs), and convinced myself that I could and should buy a powerade in Miramar. It didn't kick in for awhile, and I was counting down the 1:15 I had left to do (yuss! only 1 hr to go! I can always go another hour!).

Fortunately the powerade seriously kicked in around Kilbirnie (running along Queens drive) and I was loving it. I loved that I was at around 3:00 and my second wind was kicking in! WTF? I loved it so much that I suddenly found myself going up Hungerford Rd without even realising it (well, I realised- hard not to notice yourself climbing up a billion percent grade after 3 hours). Then found myself continuing up to the top of Houghton Bay road (well, it was just there ASKING to be climbed) and up Buckley Road.

Then I figured out what had been pulling me up. I was many many feet above the sea, looking down over Lyall Bay on on side, to the South and the Kaikouras in front of me, and over to Brooklyn on the other side. I wish I was a poet, or that I'd had my camera. There are a lot of wonderful views in the world, but not like this. All you not living in Wellington people YOU ARE MISSING OUT!!!

Anyway, back to my first paragraph and the bit where I tie it all together. At the top of Buckley Rd, I texted my boy. "I f***ing rock so hard I'm giving myself motion sickness"!! Yeah- you know it. I really do.

All up 22.76 in about 3:50 for a 10:06ish pace. The bits by myself were about 9:30s, which I'm waay good with (it's consistent with PMP + 45-60).

Here's my map. I don't trust this elevation, but ah well. The hills were big. Trust me.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Manawatu Striders 10k (subtitle: just not that fast)

Today was perfect (apart from the no milk- but at least I had all night to adjust). The drive up to Palmy was cruisy. The weather played ball- sunny but too not hot, no wind. Gorgeous, perfect race weather. My belly played ball, and so did my hormones.

I ran strong for 6.2 miles. At some points I felt slightly less strong and at others slightly more so, but there were no dramas. Sometimes I found myself slightly irritated by slow walkers and trudging half marathoners (like you two who cut me off at the turn around- cheers...) but there was no congestion. No dastardly headwinds, no bullets of hail. No grinding hills (though the rise at the end was harder than expected). This was a textbook race. So why did I just barely break 48? (47:54 give or take a few seconds) Why did I positively split by nearly a minute (23:35, 24:19)? What am I even doing running over TWENTY FOUR minutes in the second half of a 10k? Take away the horrible headwinds and I gain EIGHTEEN measly seconds??

I know, I know. 47:54 is nothing to sneeze at. It's a solid PB. It's sub-48, just like I wanted. A twenty four minute 5k would be a dream for lots of people (and the straving kids in Africa would appreciate that gross casserole...)

BUT ALL THE OTHER GIRLS ARE FASTER THAN ME AND IT AINT FAIR. Even the ones who used to be slower.

Forgive the self-indulgence. It's my blog and I can whine if I want to. Don't think for a second that I'm not glad to have been running a PB on this glorious Palmy day. That I'm glad PF hasn't sidelined me. That I get to run marathon number 2 in just over two months. That I've just come back from practically a paid vacation (give or take 8 hours a day). I know there's lots to be grateful for, and plenty to be proud of. I know I'm moving in a consistent forwards direction (apart from my last 5k, which was a tad slower than the one before, but they're just glorified training sessions, all of my races have been faster than the last), and that I can't expect to get back to where I once belonged instantly. But I saw it coming, and I got greedy.

And today, well I just needed to b*tch!

PS: my super little sister raced today too. She looked verty strong coming up the last hill, so I told her so and made her run. We sprinted towards the finish until we got stuck behind some walkers (nice ones, who very graciously moved out of our way), and the moment was lost. But once she gets her long runs up and her endurance down, that sis is gonna be a force to be reckoned with!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

[for]Got Milk?

I like milk.

It makes porridge nice and creamy.
It is good with cereal, like muesli and Cheerios.
It makes coffee nice and creamy.
It goes well with peanut butter.

Before I race, I like to eat porridge or cereal, like muesli or Cheerios.
Sometimes I follow that with a piece of toast with peanut butter.
I always enjoy a cup of coffee.

I have a race tomorrow.
I forgot to get milk.

Not a good omen.

("get milk", you say? Not so easy. I am vehicle-less and the nearest, open at night, milk selling place is at least a 30 minute walk away. I know, I know. A truly committed athlete would get the milk. But this athlete wants to go sleepy byes.

Friday, August 17, 2007

"Those" sorts of runs

I've been MIA for the last few days, as I spent some a few days in Singapore for work. That's a post unto itself, but before I get into a detailed work/holiday post, I wanted to write about two runs I've done recently, that were epic in a quite different way to some of the other runs I've blogged about recently.

The first of these two runs was last Saturday, a day all Welly runners will remember (at least those who ventured out, instead of hiding inside and keeping the long runs for Sunday). A strong steady wind, with gusts of over 120 kph. I've moaned about the wind here before, I know. This was SERIOUS wind. And accompanied by sand, sharp cold rain showers, and the ever present threat of a decent storm. Y'know, that ominous storm feeling. I was running with my phone, since I was alone, P was riding and I wasn't sure how long I'd be out for, and a look through some texts I sent along the way showed considerable profanity, and frequent resort to the phrase "mother f---". I had to constantly work at ensuring I was travelling in a straight line, and not hitting bollards, falling off curbs or running into traffic. I had to stop a couple of times on Cobham Drive to steady myself. Anyhoo, it was windy. I explored a great new trail and had a blast for an hour, then got tired and sore, sick of the wind, sick of the rain, sick of climbing hills (with no respite from the wind- it got everywhere). I kept going for 2 hours and eight minutes after the first thought of wanting to die, and it never got better. Sure- I was slow (veeery slow), but I kept at it, and even added a fairly decent climb. Score one for perseverance and mental toughness.

The next run was the opposite of the first. Singapore. Hot, humid, flat (not necessarily by, say Tennessee standards, but for ME). No shelter in the shade- the humidity follows you everywhere (here I find it's usually the glare of the sun that's worst). I set out for 2 hours and as soon as I started, felt like I was at the halfway point of a marathon. My legs were stuffed from 3 days of walking every moment I wasn't in the office, and my belly was stuffed from 3 days of sub standard hydration and horrific "holiday" eating. I only ended up doing 1:40, and I'm fine with that. It was taking advantage of a convenient moment, rather than giving in, and it was one of my tougher, slower, more depressing 1:40s I've ever done. When I stopped, I felt about the same way as I felt after the epic 20+ miler with A the other week. After deciding to throw myself into traffic at 35 minutes, I kept at it for another hour. Man I was slimy when I got back!

The point of these is not so much to show mental toughness or my preparedness for the next marathon, but to remind us that these slow, tedious, horrible runs are as important for our endurance training as those awesome, everything-comes-together, hurts-but-in-a-good way, runs we love. At mile 22 when I want to die, I'll remember these two runs. I actually do not think that the last 4 miles in Auckland will be as sucky as the overwhelming humidity or having sand blown into me for miles on end. And if it is? Been there, done that.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

I've had better.

I'm sorry. I know someone else in blogland has used this in a post recently, but I can't think who, so I can't give proper credit.

That's my summary of tonight's race. Race 1 in the Loaded Hog 5k event series. The series includes around 9 races (I think) and goes through til October (then a new series starts). It's casual, well run, fun. Plus $6 entry gets you a free beer and the chance to win spot prizes. I'm really hoping to race every time I'm in Wellington this series, but we'll see how that goes. I'm missing two for travel already!

My goal for tonight was to run smart, to run fast and to run hard. Of course! But the focus for me was on seeing where I am at, and not seeing where I can push myself to. I hoped to record a solid time (hopefully 22.xx), not to set a PB (which would pretty much need to be 21.xx- argh!) My speedwork's not been up to scratch recently, even before the PF, so I was not feeling super duper confident. But pretty confident that I had a strong race in me.

There's not much to say really. No story. Arrived. Registered. Chatted. Warmed up. Chatted. Shivered. Waited. Poised. Listened. Started. Ran. Ran some more. Passed. Got passed. Turned. Puffed. Waved. Ran. Pushed. Finished.

I was pretty much alone for the second half, chasing two rabbits I should have been able to catch, but whose dust I was well eating the whole way. I just don't think it's fair that I can lead these dudes up a hard hilly run (see Saturday's post), and then get so royally smoked. Watch your backs boys ;-)

Finished in 22.45, an OK time (my 5ks over the past year or so go 22:35, 22:06, 23:xx, 24:56 (!!), 22:21 and no 22:45). Some 500m splits were wiped off, but I have some:

1.5k- 6.36 (500m average 2.12)
2k- 8:50 (500m average 2.12-13)
2.5k- 11:07(500m 2.17)
3k- 13:26 (500m 2.19)
3.5k- 15:50 (500m 2.24)
5k- 22:45 (500m average 2.20)

Hmm- maybe not the most well executed race! But a 30s positive split over 5k is not too bad for the first 5k in several months. I felt much better and stronger for the second half, which is something I've been noticing recently. I'm starting to think it's just because I'm not going so fast, and not because I'm better warmed up. Hmm.

The lack of an attainable prize meant I don't think I pushed quite hard enough on the way back. But it's doing me and everyone else a disservice to make it look like I was slacking, or not having an "on" day. I ran quite hard, quite fast, and quite well. And I am pretty stoked to be in a place where an average pace of 4.33/k or around 7.20/mile is "ok".

My goal for the rest of the series is to FINALLY get that 21.xx when I stop my watch.* I'm pretty sure I can do it, I just need to be perseverent, and I need to turn up to race every Tuesday.

(oh yeah, and to beat Ed and Paul)

Update: Blimey- what a competitive field (though it's a very friendly uncompetitive race)!! Out of 70 runners, I came 53rd. There were 54 runners under 23.00. 62 runners (88%) finished under 25 minutes. The top 4 women were all under 20.00 and the top 11 men were all under 18! Wow!

Update II: 3 wines and too much curry is not the best way to recover from a race. Made my run this morning interesting, in any case!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Onwards and upwards (and upwards..and then upwards some more)

That last post is making me uncomfortable, so I feel the need to take it off the top. But you should read it, and then go here.

I have a follow up podiatrist appointment tomorrow, including a proper biomechanical analysis. I'll finally be able to find out for certain that I am a bad BAD pronator :-) Nah, sarcasm aside, I am looking forward to the appointment, to finding out whether this dastardly PF is going to ruin my Road to Boston plans, and to finding out how I can take better care of myself from now on.

I'm feeling reasonably upbeat and optimistic. I spent the first part of last week taped up, and off running (and swimming, and all things fun, and in the end I thought "Blow it. I'm going to be Bloody Lazy this week" and so I was), but ran with no heel pain on Thursday morning, and felt good. I wasn't sure what to do about my long run yesterday, and ended up riding the trainer for an hour, then jogging out to Miramar to run with my club.

Best decision ever. I owned the uphills, flew down the downhills, whooped on the muddy trails and laughed the whole way. I even kept running all the way up the Goat Track (Pedestrian Access) that takes you from the Chocolate Fish back up to Miramar. Ouch. After 50-odd minutes of uphill slogs and technical downhills, that really freakin' hurt! It was awesome, and reminded me how much I love club runs, especially when we go on adventures. They're not so fun on your own, without anyone there to laugh at you when you slip in the mud, or to keep you puffing up the hills. I find it hard to fit them in when I'm marathon training, being a fan of the Saturday long run, but I really will make more of an effort from now on.

So, if I have to take it easier on the heels for a few weeks, I will try to maintain my fitness by mixing cycling and medium-long runs. All up yesterday was 1hr cycle, 40 minute run to the club and 60 minutes out on the hills. It's not the same as an 18-miler or a 20-miler, but I think it will be enough to keep me on the marathon path, provided I can get back into it properly by the time we come back from the Gold Coast. The gains I've felt in the past 4 weeks are enough that I am confident of a PB in Auckland, even if training doesn't quite go according to plan (so long as it goes according to Plan B!) and I can't reach my super-secret "A" goal.

Saturday, August 04, 2007


A number of issues in New Zealand in the past week have made me really sad. I love my country, and it hurts me to see it as a place where children are not safe and also where racism and intolerance seems to be on the increase again. Children being tortured, immigrants being beaten in their own homes and people still have the energy to complain when the newsreaders introduce themselves with "kia ora" instead of "hello."

Last week, a toddler was admitted to the hospital after being tortured by a number of adults in her extended family. The details of the abuse have been hugely publicised, and include the baby being pegged to a clothesline and spun around, as well as being put in the drier. It's hard to type those words, and it became even harder to think about when her photo was published- not just because she was one of the most adorable babies I've seen, but because it made the images even harder to get out of our heads. The baby stayed in a stable but critical condition for a week or so, but died last night.

I'm not going to get into the politics of all of this (it's emphasised much deeper issues in our society here), but I did want to tell the story. This sort of child abuse may be the most hideous, but unfortunately, it's not the only sort. Domestic abuse is a problem across all of NZ society, but we ignore it or blame "them" or we blame the victims.

Nearly 30,000 women and children used women's refuge services in 2006. Whether the sharp increases in use over the past five years are due to increased abuse or increased acceptance of help, I don't know, but I am fairly certain that those 30,000 women and children are a fraction of those who are living in fear. I also know that even 30,000 out of 4 million kiwis is too many. I also recognise that men are not the only problem- women are abusers too.

So, for marathon 2, as you may have noticed from my sidebar, I'm racing for the women's refuge. My sister is running her first half, and we've decided to fundraise together. If you would like to donate, please visit our Fundraise Online site.