Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Yes. I ordered all thirteen digital files!

(yes, there are some there I would not willingly pay for. But at a fixed price of $60ish, when ONE print costs around $20, it was hard to resist these!)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Auckland Marathon Race Report Part 4: The aftermath- She can't walk but she's trying

Part 1

Part 3

If anyone's in need of explanation, all of my report titles relate to songs in my playlist. Parts 1 and 2 are titles, and 3 and 4 are lines (Run, by Collective Soul and Another Day in Paradise by Phil Collins).

As I sat, my sister came over to the fence. We couldn't see a way for her to reach me, but I wanted her and let her know that, so she snuck through a gap. Thank you sis. I needed it! I hugged her, told her it was the hardest thing ever and (I think) managed to find the decency to ask her how she did and, most importantly, whether she had run over the Bridge. Hmm. Rather late in the piece, I should say that running over the Bridge is particularly special, because it's only 2 hours a year that people can! She did. SHE was there and over by 8:30. GO J!!!! Then Ed came over and gave me a massive high 5. I was excited that he'd managed a sub 4 GUN time. YAY Ed. That's got to be my next goal 3:xx on the CLOCK (as Phil said in a comment on my mini report post).

Jenn shared some powerade with me (from a bottle she'd been given), and eventually I got up to wander through the finishing formalities. I couldn't believe they were out of powerade in cups. It was fine with me, I just wanted some water. This wasn't a big deal, but combined with a couple of other things, it was annoying. Got my chip taken, thankfully I know it worked (mine didn't work last Auckland, and have no official half PB!!!), got a big clunky medal. I like marathoners only medals, and things that make us feel more special than those doing other events :-) Unfortunately, by the time we got to where the powerade truck had been, it had gone. Great. So, the 5k walkers drank it all. Poor things must have been parched. This annoyed me. It's the Auckland MARATHON, and has some easier options. It's NOT the Auckland Half, or Quarter, or 5k with a super-extended option for insance people. Again, no big deal, but it doesn't feel very good when the race feels "over" when a sub-4 marathoner finished. In Rotorua I felt amazing. I was a leader, and I was royalty. Here I felt superfluous. The gear bags were no longer lined up, and the worst thing was that the firm's corporate tent was PACKED UP when I got there!!!!

We saw an army tent, with a whiteboard displaying a press up competition. Ed (or his Mum?) wondered what sort of masochist would run a marathon and then do push ups. That's a challenge if I ever heard one! I dropped (by "dropped" I mean inched, wincing) and gave them 5 (full- could have gone on, didn't particularly want to though). Then Ed had to drop and give us 6, or 5 1/2 as his mum said! Getting up was interesting. Very strategic, and I tried a few different ways of getting there. Talked to my honey briefly, told some stories, texted some peeps, heard about my sister's day (my poor girl had no-one at the end.. i hated doing that to her. I wish I'd given her a full days cheer squad, as by the time I was there, it was my turn to be centre of attention).

Found A eventually, and decided the joint was dead and not worth staying around. We needed a pub, as J and I wanted (hot) chips and beer and A wanted bubbly and chocolate cake. Hehe- we have such different post marathon cravings!! After walking in the vague direction of home for awhile we happened upon a Denny's! AWESOME!!! I am absolutely addicted to Denny's grilled cheese. It's just not kiwi food and it reminds me of growing up CO. Sandwiches, fries, beer and bubbly (11am...), followed by oreo sundaes for me and A and pancakes a la mode for J. OMG so perfect.

My urge to nap returned as we made our way back up goddamned Queen Street to the hostel. I swear, they stretched that street overnight. Just like the stretch the k markers after 25k... Our cousin picked me and J up to meet the family for afternoon tea, we had a nice afternoon with family, then rushed to the airport to go home.

Plane ride was painful, but we made it. Showered and met baby sister and her man for mexican. Best meal ever. And plenty of frozen margaritas. Party time.. Excellent. Everyone came back to ours for donuts and singstar ROCK BALLADS. So fun! We love us our singstar, and rock ballads is like K&P's dream compilation (minus all the stuff that's already been put on 80s or Legends...) Meatloaf, Cutting Crew, Duran Duran, Mr Mister. What a game! Girls kicked Boys butt in a party game, and all of a sudden it was quarter to 12, and J and I had been up for 20 hours!! And I'd spent 1/5 of them running!

So, now I'm all up to date, I might peel myself off the couch and go to work. It's taken me all morning!

Auckland Marathon Race Report Part 3: Yeah, I run (have I got a long way to run)

Part 1
Part 2

Leaving Ed helped me to focus. This was MY race, and if tiredness was the problem, I wans't going to let my job, my job I love, get in the way of the race I love. I opted for the magic music box to pull me through again, which was the best thing for me. I've really liked starting with company, then using music when it comes time for me to stop chattering. I'm not great at running in silence- like the sound of my own voice too darn much, and can never resist the chance to point out silly t-shirts (my fave: "42,195 metres to the next real drink station"; J's face: "you're the run that I want")

The first song on today was Sweet Caroline. Cheese is what works best for me. It makes me happy, swells my heart and that's what I need more than any beat, any tempo. Neil never fails. How can you not feel happy when the strings swell, the beat crescendos and "Reaching out, touching me, touching you" builds to "boom, boom, boom SWEEEEET Caroline"?? LOL. I can't believe I'm sharing my appalling taste with the internet at large. Please don't stop liking me!!! I really am very nice! I kept on at my slowish pace, pottering along slowly, but surely. Ed was a yellow blob in the distance, moving further and further away, but I was keeping up with my own new group. The problem with huge starts is you can never be quite sure whether people "should" be passing or not. I hurt quite a lot already, but I was smiling again.

The support was great along this part- you run around the bays to St Heliers, and by this time it was getting towards 9. People are up, having breakfast, enjoying coffees. [Actually, Auckland did well with crowd support this year- from the blearly eyed dressing-gowners on the Shore, to the capris and lattes crowd of Mission Bay, and then the exhausted but elated finishers and supporters who cheer us in as we complete the last 1-2ks.] hey're non-discrimination cheerers, everyone gets a clap, everyone gets a smile. My mind was fixed now. I felt like me again, even if a slow, sore, somewhat shuffly version of me.

Watching the male leaders coming to the end of their race when I wasn't even at 25k was awesome (in the literal sense ("awe inspiring"), and the more modern sense ("cool") too). Then seeing the female winner, who did not look like a marathoner, beaming behind her motorbike escort. It was disheartening to see the people in front of me without seeing the people behind me. I felt close to last, even though logically I knew I wasn't (even on gun time, I placed 48/118 in my grade, 108/? female, and 554/1000ish? overall- only preliminary results are up at the moment, so I can only see me, not the whole field). Fortunately, although I'd come off pace, I knew I was still running along nicely and was keeping under 6:00/k, which was the only maths I could handle at that point. Saw A when I was at 2:40, I guess 2.5kish from the turn around, so at 29-30k for me and 34-35k for her, and knew she was kicking butt. By my calculations she had an hour to do 7-8k and come in in a BQ time!* She looked happy and relieved to see me- I can't have been that far behind Ed, but she definitely expected me to have pulled ahead, not vice versa (Ed had a couple of bad-luck marathon attempts before today, and although he's a 21-22 5ker, his marathon pb was 4:23 or so, on the Auckland course). I also saw a colleague and waved at him excitedly (he was before A, actually, and did around 3:30).

Saw Ed on his way back and gave a big wave. He looked focussed. Or grumpy. I couldn't tell which at the time, and hoped he was not struggling. I know now it was focus, as if anything, he picked up pace on the way back. He couldn't have been more than a couple of minutes ahead of me at halfway, and he finished 5 minutes ahead. I am SOOOO pleased for him- he earned it! I got smily and tearyish as I crossed the turnaround. On the way home. I think Auckland is VERY well designed in this regard. The best way to conquer the 20-mile blues has got to be to put a turn around there. It turns it from the scary site of the ever-feared wall to the marker of the home stretch. Only 10k to go (it was actually a bit before 20- I hit it in 2:55, hit 32k in 2:58- fastest ever, just barely).

The last 10k is best described as "k-counting pain and trying not to pee my pants, deciding whether to take a pit stop, and considering peeing my pants.. would the tri shammy be like a nappy?". Oh, and hunger. I plodded along, trying to make sure I could go sub-4 even with 6 minute ks. At most markers I had 1-2 minutes fat, and I wanted to keep it that way. The soreness had long since moved from my calves and shins to my quads, glutes and hips. I was really "pleased" about this, as calf pain says "scary scary danger injury territory" to me, while quads say "running". J and I had Womens Refuge labels (like race numbers, but numberless- what would you use to describe these??) on our backs, and only one person commented in the whole race. It was an old dude, 60s-70s, wearing marathoner-speedos, with a matching singlet top, frizzy haired and toothless, but obviously pretty durn good. I passed him on the way back, and he said "hurh hurh, women's refuge- does that mean you're a refugee". I wasn't particularly impressed by this, but couldn't tell if it was a dumb joke, or a sexist anti-refuge comment, so I just said "just a fundraiser" and tuned back in. I ate some clif bar (OMG, I love clif bars), some jelly beans, and took in some powerade. I was hungry at halfway, which suggests I should have worked harder on eating the second bagel half. Or had lunch on Sat, or something.

I also passed my old friend Mr 4:15, walking on the way back. Would you believe he had no-one with him? Who'd a thought? (hmm.. is my sarcasm glaringly obvious enough to span the seven seas of the internet?). OOOH that man made me MAD.

Eventually, I plodded back into town, for the last 2ks. I knew I had it kinda in the bag, but that I couldn't relax. So I plodded on. There was no 42k marker, which is fine, but I was kinda expecting one, and it's nice to know when there really is 200m to go. As I mentioned, the support was great, so part way through Air Supply's "Every woman in the world" (both that song and Neil come from my days in department store retail... We weren't big on top 40...), I took my earplugs out and tried to get them into my pocket as I finally approached the finish! I saw my sister screaming for me and waved and smiled. Then a few paces along Ed called out. I was SO happy. I gave him a massive wave, then realised it was time to smile for the camera, and crossed the line. I stopped my watch (hopefully after the photographers had got me) and was relieved to be sub 3:59. That's a truly sub-4 time!

I walked over to the ambulance area, the only place I could see to sit and I sat.

**the oddest thing, she didn't- she came it at around 3:42, but said she'd had the best last 10k ever. I do not get it- I specifically remember it being 2:40, and even if I'm about where it was, which is not super likely, she MUST have been past 32k, so she can't have had more than 10k to go. That would make her final 10k slower than mine. SO weird....)

Auckland Marathon Race Report Part 2: Golden Slumbers

Part 1: The Final Countdown

The first half of the marathon course is hilly. Slightly hillier than I remembered, but nothing like the training I do here. Ed and I navigated a slow course through the throngs of ill-seeded people. SERIOUSLY LADY- THERE ARE 7500 PEOPLE IN THIS RACE. Did you REALLY think you were in the top 20% or so????? (this rant seems to be a fact of marathoning life, but it never ceases to amaze me). I m was surprised to see Mr 4:15 sticking with us. Uhh hello dude- we're on 3:50 pace here...? (we were pretty much on pace from about the third k). We overheard him saying he wanted to come in halfway at 2:00, which I didn't think was a sensible strategy for a hilly first half! Pacer Liz/experts out there.. any comments before I defame the pacers yesterday throughout the remainder of this report?? Also, if this guy was going for 4:15 GUN time, I think he needed to make that clear, as he would have crossed the line at 5+ minutes. What's the normal rule for such things??

The course was pretty congested to 10kish, and wasn't exactly sparse after that, as we ran to nearly 21k with the halfers. After one drinks station the guy in front of me completely cut me off and I nearly crashed into a van. I was pretty frustrated, and semi-jokingly shook my cup at him. Unfortunately, I misjudged the amount of pressure needed to make a joke, and ended up chucking a cup of water over his back. Not deliberate, but not entirely accidental either. Feel pretty bratty and embarrassed, though it was quite funny, and he laughed too. He was with Mr 4:15, which irritated me, as he should not have been in front of me. As I type this, I realise how irritable I was. I really was having a good time, commenting to Ed that it was so much more fun to be marathoning instead of half-marathoning. But the fact that I was getting so irritable suggests that my hypothesis may be correct. I was not well rested enough to do my best.

I was feeling OK over the hills, even if they were bigger than I thought! I worried about J, even though I knew her H***-power legs would see her through. She needed to get to the Bridge by 8:30 to avoid being bussed, and although we knew she would, I wasn't sure how long it took her to cross the start line, so I kept her in my mind a lot. I knew I wasn't feeling as good as Ed though, and tried to remember this time in Rotorua. I think it felt easy there, but it was hard to imagine speeding up at all, if that makes sense. So, I think my effort levels were roughly equivalent, though I may have worked a little harder, since the first half of Auckland is on balance harder- if only because the hills go down a lot more.

The Bridge was also harder than last time. I think the reason for this is that last time, a half in 2005, I was powering up hills. I expected to be tired, and I got to pass others who are less strong on hills than I am. This time, I'm trying to keep it conservative, trying not to power, so it feels harder, because when we try to pull back, we expect to feel easy. But hills rarely feel easy. They're hills.

After the Bridge, there's some random corner turning to make up distance. Also some overlap, so you can see those who are a bit in front of you. Mr 4:15 was there, sure enough. And, rather surprisingly, Ms 2:20 half. WTF????????? I'll tell you know, we ran into her at 18km, and passed her there. This would have been at about 1:40ish. So 1:45ish, gun time, to be fair. 3k left, and 35 minutes. Hmmm. We said something to her at 18, and she seemed PLEASED to be 15 minutes ahead of schedule. Umm. RIGHT! This woman was supposed to be MY BABY SISTER'S PACER! I was SO glad J didn't find her, because she could have completely ruined her race!

Around 18-19, I started fading. E saw it immediately, and started giving me a pep talk. Technique, shoulders back, watch your gait etc. I know he meant well, but it just upset me. I didn't WANT a pep talk at halfway. I wanted my pep talk to be getting me over the finish line in 3:54:xx, or 3:49.xx, or talking me through the tough ks from 28-33 (those are my worst- bored and sore, but nowehere near done)! But all I wanted at 18k was to nap. My calf was a little tight, and my foot a little uncertain, but if I';d felt strong they'd have been mere niggles. But the thought of turning off the half-M finish, running through, catnapping for half an hour, then cheering my sister in was pulling me strong. I bitched inside. Goddamn work. Goddamnit. Goddamn tired. Too much goddamn walking yesterday. Then I reminded myself that this is a mental game- I remembered one of my super readers (Lana? was it you?) feeling she's lost the mental fight when she first saw a sub-4 hour goal disappear, and I knew I didn't need to lose sub-4, just because I didn't have enough juice to haul way-too-many-pounds of me around 13 more miles at sub-9 pace (sorry for the km/mile changes.. I change the way I think at different times, since I'm basically bilingual now!). And I decided to flip a mental switch. I told Ed, "I was home by 7 every night last week, where I ate sensible, nutritious dinners. I'm not tired, I'm well rested. I slept well last night, and I've had a textbook taper." It didn't work. I was amazed by what a conscious process "mental strength" was for me. I've never called on it before, not in the way I did yesterday. Usually I either go, or give up.

So at half way, when Ed suggested trying to get to 25k by 2:xx (I don't think I ever heard or computed the goal), I told him it was time for him to leave. I knew the only way I could turn myself around was to be with myself, and think only of me. It was hard, and hard for him to do it guilt free, but that was the deal. He looked sceptical when I told him I was still going to be coming under 3:59:59, and said "well, this is pace!" and bounded off. I was irritated (I know he didn't mean it badly, but I didn't need him to lose faith in me too!), and decided I would stick to myself and prove him wrong!

OMG- my computer just CRASHED 2 minutes before pre-sales to BON JOVI went on sale!!! But a frantic call to P and we were in. Thankfully, as by the time I got my baby up and running again, the site was pretty much closed! I'm LIVING ON A PRAYER BABY!

Auckland Marathon Race Report Part 1: The Final Countdown

I'm typing this one-handed, propped up in bed after telling work I wouldn't be in til lunchtime. Ahhhh. I need this morning off SO bad!!

To start from the very beginning (a very good place to start), I feel like I need to go back in time to last Monday, which was labour day in NZ. As I've said, briefly, P and I spent the long weekend chilling and visiting rellies in Nelson, which was fantastic.

The only problem was that we caught a ferry home which left the South Island at 10pm, to arrive in Wellington at 1:00am. A ferry which was delayed by half an hour. A ferry which let us drive on LAST, despite the fact that we were one of the first cars to arrive, so our choices of seats were pretty limited. It was by no means the worst experience, but I was annoyed that they didn't tell us about the delay until after we'd checked our car in. We ended up "sleeping" on the floor under a row of seats, and managed to actually gets some zzzs in before docking in Welly, driving home, and crashing into bed a little before 2.

The plan was to use the following four days of work to chill a bit, and catch up on sleep. I knew we'd have a busy weekend, what with flying up on Saturday, a 3:45 wake-up call on Sunday, and flying down on Sunday, and I knew since I couldn't have the actual rest I had before Rotorua (we had a public holiday the Wednesday before the race, so I took the Thursday and Friday off as well, and raced Saturday), I'd have to try to use my taper to arrive on the start line rested and raring to go, not bleary eyed and exhausted.

Unfortunately, that was not to be. I had a tough week at work. The hours weren't the worst. Finishing at 9 or 10 is not my favourite thing to do, but it's better than finishing at 4, and it's not like that's never happened. But finishing at 9 or 10 after a stressful and mind-numbingly boring day, when you're already tired, and not eating til late because you want the delicious meal your precious has cooked you and not more spaghetti and meatballs from the service station (actually, those meatballs are pretty darn good, healthy, fresh and yummy!! and only $9), then falling into bed, then doing it all again, now that gets old fast. Especially when your brain is saying "Stop! Rest! Sleep!" and you're getting stressed about what needs to be done and planned and sorted for a fairly important little race...

I then woke up earlier than planned on Saturday (6:30..), and eventually J and I got up and got coffee, followed eventually by brakfast (9:30/10ish). Mmmm. Coffee. I struggled to eat my oatmeal, and eventually abandoned it, knowing I'd make up for it with some more food later in the day. We got some food sorted out for dinner and breakfast in Auckland, packed, and headed out to our flight at about 12, and landed in Auckland at 2. A dunkin donut at the airport, then got our shuttle into town and arrived a littl after 3. We wandered down Queen Street, passing bunches of protestors (our favourite sign was "down with this sort of thing"!!), tried to figure out somewhere good for lunch and made our way slowly to registration. It's funny how much time you can spend wandering when you're not too far from somewhere (but not "close"), vaguely familiar with a city, and vaguely aware where the somewhere is. By the time we got most of the way home, it was nearly 5, we were exhausted, still hadn't eaten "lunch" and the soles of our feet were sore. So we stopped at a semi fast food chicken place- y'know, mostly grilled not fried and a slightly healthier selection of wraps and burgers- for a snack before heading to the hostel for dinner. I ordered chicken nuggets (fresh, real meat- not fast food styles). After mopping some of the grease off with a napkin, I took a tentative bite of the still hot nugget. And found

Completely Raw Chicken

inside. We're not talking white with a trace of pink juice. Or dark thigh meat, with just a hint of uncertainty. Nope, fleshy pink, raw, RAW, chicken, surrounded by 2-3mm of white, and a layer of greasy crumb. Quick smart I was up at the counter, demanding a refund. No way was I going to let them make me a new meal!! Obviously, I didn't eat the raw chicken, but it freaked me out. I felt sorry for J, who had to persevere with her wrap, keenly examining it at every bite! We found me a bumper bar (361 calories packed into one tiny muesli bar- no wonder i never normally eat em!) and a banana and headed back home.

Now, the one complication with dinner was that our backpackers/hostel had pretensions of being a hotel and had NO kitchen facilities. So we had pasta and sauce to cook but nowhere to cook them, no desire to walk downtown again for eats, and no desire to eat oil laden restaurant pasta anyway, especially not for twenty bucks. So we got creative. We boiled the jug (we DID have coffee making facilities), added pasta, and waited. For about 30 seconds, when the jug overflowed at exactly the same time as someone (it was A) knocked on the door, and P called to tell me he'd had a bike crash. Argh! Fortunately, our plan did work, though we couldn't stop laughing at our kettle pasta, which we then tipped back into its packet, added sauce and ate with plastic teaspoons. I went downstairs for a quiet drink with A, then came back up, got ready and got into bed a bit after 8. J and I talked for awhile, about nerves and why racing makes us nervous, when nothing really matters, then decided we had to go to sleep. Easier said than done, of course. That's what marathon eve is about, especially with the 3:45 alarm set. I tossed and turned and occasionally dozed, and may have slept from about 12-2 and about 2:30-3:45. I was not up and at 'em and ready to go when the alarm started beeping, that's for sure!

Forced down some creamed rice, managed half a bagel and some coffee, then headed down to the ferry. We got on fairly quickly, found Ed at the other end, and headed to the bathroom queue. After waiting for ages, we were suddenly started to get nervous, and still needed to drop our gearbags off. EEK!!

We made it to the start line, although we couldn't find the 4:00 pacer. We were near the 4:15, but knew we'd be leaving him soon. Then the gun went off, and we inched towards the start line, granny stepping for a little over 5 minutes. Time to go!!

Sunday, October 28, 2007


A 6ish minute PB and sub 4, sort of safely. But a pretty crap race. I had to let Ed run on (to a smashing PB of 3:53!!!! from 4:2x!!!!) at half way because all I wanted to do was nap. I honestly do think a horrid week of lead up made a difference, but I can't solely blame it.

It took a lot of mental strength to keep going, and I'm pretty pleased with myself for running a 2:02 half on legs that were already half cooked. More to come. Maybe.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Marathon Eve

It's marathon eve again, and I'm trying hard to focus on the positives:

- I am flying to Auckland this afternoon to toe the line at marathon #2
- My race number is 1461, which was not very exciting, until I realised that my number for Rotorua was 461!!! Neat-o.
- I am not sick
- I am not injured
- The forecast for tomorrow is OK. Fine with southwesterlies dying out, high 17, low 8 (celsius guys- seriously). I think I can hack an Auckland sou'wester.
- By 6pm last night I was enjoying a cool Chardy, and planning steak and baked potatoes with my awesome sister
- We'll almost certainly manage to raise over $1500 for the women's refuge.
- I have a great running bud for the first half, a brand spanking new (well, slightly tweaked) playlist for the second half, and plenty of support-types/fellow racers.
- The race has an early (6:30 start), so in 16 hours time I will very likely be all done.
- Monday was a public holiday so I spent the weekend with P in Nelson hanging with my extended family- beautiful weather, good food, gorgeous scenery
- Tomorrow night is mexican and singstar (ROOOOOCK BALLADS) with all my favourite peeps.
- I don't have to work this weekend.

The negatives aren't that negative, but:

- I'm awake. I didn't want to be awake at 6:20 on marathon eve.
- I'm tired. I've worked past 9 every night this week, apart from Friday
- Since Monday was a public holiday, we came back from Nelson on a ferry that arrived in town at 1:05am. It was running late, so make that 1:45am. The plan was to catch up on sleep by chilling out during the week, but see above bullet...
- My back still hasn't quite adjusted to 3 hours of sleeping on the ferry floor.
- On Friday I somehow squished some urgent deadlines into 6 hours of meetings, and had to miss a seminar workshop (about flexibility in work/life, of all things) that I'd been looking forward to.
- I had achilles/calf issues last week, and my training during taper was a mess.
- I've forgotten that girl who was charging up Makara hill and crushing 20-milers a few short weeks ago.

So yeah, not ideal, but I'll live.

Stay tuned for a race report, hopefully a swish PR and some pics of our trip to Nelson last week!

Well now, THAT was an exercise in brattiness. Have just visited the awesome Rachel and reminded myself that a little perspective and positive attitude will go a long way... Sorry for whinging!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Phedippidations World Wide Half race report

Today I ran the Phedippidations World Wide Half along with people all over the world!

My programme had a 13 mile PMP run on schedule for this weekend, so it was perfect timing! I have done a few PMP tests now, so was interested in pushing a teeny bit harder, and trying to come in under 1:55.

I planned to do a coastal half marathon loop, which I've done 3 times as a race (1:50, 1:49 and 2:07 pacing C) and dozens of times in training (sometimes 13.1, sometimes longer). It's flat, picturesque, and you're bound to run into a few other runners and cyclists out there. The only problem with picturesque coastal routes? You guessed it- the wild wet Wellington wind (reference to a poem I remember from primary school, fortunately I mostly missed out on the "wet" bit today). Ahh wind. My mortal enemy. I really should start tagging wind posts and counting the times I bitch about it (or applaud myself for rocking on through it!)

Not long after I started, I decided to change my route a bit, and to do an out and back to the half way point. That's the good thing about a race with a field of one. If you feel like an out and back insetad of a loop, then out and back it is! My rationale was a bit flawed, in hindsight, but those damn headwinds were so strong I decided I was entitled to some respite on the way back! I didn't really have any idea of splits, but I thought I was roughly on track (a little ahead of pace, actually) at Scorching Bay (about 5 miles in), and I reached half way right on time, at 57:31. I was pretty tired, and more than a little wind worn, and I was starting to see the error of my ways.

See, the route was very windy, as well as being very exposed and thus very windy (*pause* while you reread that sentence). So, on the "way out" you have a mixture of things- strong headwinds, strong tail winds, and oddly quiet bits where there's a bit of shelter for a few hundred metres. Which means that on the "way back" there's actually still a fair bit of headwind. So much for cruising back! The worst thing? It was the first mile or so of the way back and the last mile or so that were the worst. I struggled along. Mostly OK, but a bit tired, and my right calf was a little bit tight (will be giving that guy the stick!!).

The last mile was pretty hard, and I was a bit worried that I wouldn't break 1:55, but I pushed on, one landmark at a time, and got to the finish at 1:54.19, just a few seconds faster than my first half, back in 2004!

I was/am feeling a bit concerned by this. Yes, I made pace (and, if mapmyrun is to be trusted at all, I think the halfway point may have actually been a little off- I may have done 13.5, which is rather different, and would mean my pace was 8:28, not 8:43!), but it was quite tough. Not race pace tough. But not "I could do this twice" either! So send some reassurance this way!! Anyone who's ever said "marathon pace is easy on race day, even if it feels hard in a solo training run in the wind two weeks out", now is the time to say it again!!!

(Other runs this week- I've been slack:
13ish mile hill run with Ed on Tuesday evening (sloow, 2:25)
5 mile tempo treadmill run on Saturday (39:19, and man I hate that evil mill

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Yup, I really am going for the record- and I'm dating a mountain goat!

This is what, post number 4 in three days?! But I NEEED to!!

Today we earned another $15 for the Women's Refuge, bringing our total to $1030 (the last $15 won't be online yet, as it's a reward for a challenge from my sister). We're pretty pleased to be over our goal of $1000, and we're amazed at how generous people have been, but we hope that the fact that we've met our unambitious and arbitrary goal won't deter others from donating!

So this morning after watching the Game That Shall Not be Named*, P and I braved the winds (up to 130kph today.. SHITE) and headed out to Eastbourne to hunt down the Pencarrow lighthouse. I always gaze across the harbour at the lighthouses when I'm running round Breaker Bay/Moa point and think "I've got to run there one day", so my sister is sponsoring me $15 for each of this run and another challenge I've always wanted to do.

Today's run was complicated by the fact that I could not find any reliable map- so although I knew roughly where we were going, I had no idea how long it would take to get there. The trail's long, and my googling just couldn't quite assure me that the lighthouse was close enough to make it a doable "recovery" run.

So there we were, pissed off and uncertain, with tired legs after the 20-mile run (me) and 120k ride (P) yesterday, wondering whether we'd be out for an hour, or two, or more and worrying that the downpour that hit us on the motorway would return. We decided to run for awhile, and just go with the flow. If we didn't make it, we knew we had next weekend (but only next weekend). We set out along the flat 4WD track, with the wind mostly at our backs, but the waves wild to our west (?). Every few metres, we'd spot a lamb or a kid on the trail or off to the side. Cute! Despite some leg stiffness, I felt good and when I asked P how the pace felt, he said it was "comfortable-to-effort" rather than "so easy I can't believe you're actually running", which is what I'm always scared he's thinking!

It was one of those great runs- it hurts, but it feels invigorating, and you feel staunch and adventurous. I love those runs! We knew it was going to be tough on the way back, but after the first, slow, ten minutes, we were plodding along happily and the minutes were flying by. I haven't run with P for ages (actually, it was September. well, it feels like ages!) and we have a lot of fun together. Especially with a blind, unfair-sinbinning, blatant forward-pass ignoring, pommie ref to bag!

At about 27 minutes, we saw a sign in the distance, and decided to see if it told us anything useful. We were having fun, but we weren't that keen to be out for more than an hour with no lighthouse and, therefore, no bucks! The first thing it told us was something to do with sewage. Right- not interesting. It then seemed to show that we were less than half way there. Ouch! I didn't want to do 2+ hours out and back, and I certainly wasn't going to do that to my boy! But then I noticed that the map was "incomplete"- it started from a point I thought was quite a lot further along, rather than from the beginning. Given that this was the second sign on the walkway, I think a slightly better indictator of proportion would have helped. So we decided to walk up to the next corner and to see what lay ahead. We trotted forward, pushed along by the insane winds, and when we reached the corner, we saw the lighthouses, only a few hundred metres away!

This really spurred us on- I was elated, so pleased we'd checked the next corner instead of turning back in a grump. We had planned to walk the steep path up to the top lighthouse (there are two, but the top one is the historically significant one), but when we got there I knew I wanted to run, at least for awhile. Of course this made P run too, and I trailed behind him up the first leg of the hill before telling him when the trail widened that he'd become a real little mountain goat. Oops- that only encouraged him, and all of a sudden I'm struggling to keep him in sight up a steep, rocky hill in the 130kph winds! He stopped at the top, but before the lighthouse, and I decided I just had to keep running until I got to him, but then as soon as I neared him, the little brat dashed up to the lighthouse and I had to follow. Could barely catch my breath at the top, as it was really REALLY exposed and I had to put most of my effort into sitting upright. After sitting with P for awhile, we made our way around the lighthouse, and I was very relieved to get to the other side in time to grab the door handles and not get blown away. P was trying to talk to me from about 1m away, and I could only see his mouth moving. AWESOME!

We ran/walked the way home- nothing much to prove, and the soul destroying wind made the pain of running outweigh the desire to reach our car. 38 minutes out, 52 back!

Then it was fish and chips in the car in Days Bay, and home for a hot bathng, then chilling out here while the rain beats down outside! The storm is pretty crazy out there- and although I'm usually really into sitting inside watching lightning and waiting for thunder, the two got a little close for comfort, and I don't like to think of my man out in his wee car picking up dinner and movies!

What a great day (apart from the aforementioned Game...), and what a lucky girl I am!

*Interestingly, patriotic rugby fervour is reasonably new to me. I used to follow Pip's school of thought, and reserved a certain satisfaction when we choked in 99. Through uni I started trying too hard to be into sports, thinking it would make me less unpopular with the lads, then after starting work and, well, having clients, I realised how much more enjoyable it is to actually enjoy sports in NZ. Drinking beer and watching cricket in the sun; listening to cricket on the car radio during summer road trips; jumping on the couch and screaming as a group of fabulously built guys in short shorts and gun-hugging black jerseys push the egg-shaped ball over the white paint line. Yum!



Saturday, October 06, 2007

LAST 20-miler

My final 20-miler for the programme is in the bank now, and it's all downhill from here! I was aiming for sub-3 and finished just over (somewhere between 2:59:30 and 3:00:30- not sure exactly), about 10 minutes faster than last time I did this route (just before marathon 1). 10 minutes didn't feel like much, but then I realised it was euivalent to 30s/mile, which is exactly what I'm hoping to lose in the marathon (9:20 pace in my first, am aiming for 8:50s this time).

I'm still only feeling like 3:50 is a possibility, rather than a probability, but unless something drastic changes between now and then, I'm going to run as if 3:50 is the goal and just see where that takes me.

Update: just measured my route more carefully and it's *just* over 20 miles (20.14), which means I ran *just* sub-9. Awesome

Friday, October 05, 2007

Three weeks to go...*

Wow. It's getting close all of a sudden. Kinda scary.

I've been feeling pretty aimless this past week. I blame daylight savings. And work. And spring. And the whole "three weeks to go" thing. Basically, I want this marathon to be over. I'm looking forward to it- I really am, but part of me just wants it to be done. The silly thing is, though, I haven't been training hard. In fact, I've been slack, in what should have been a last build week. Key runs and not much more. Blah.

Anyhoo, despite that, I would say that training's going well. Apart from my awful long run last week, that is. Only 15 miles, and it should have been easy, but I was tired, bored, grouchy and Not Having Fun. I ran most of it with A, then we split up and I went into work, where I was hopelessly unproductive. Pointless really.

I've spent a lot of time on the treadmill this week. Well, not a lot of time, really. But a large proportion of my workout time has been on the treadmill, and I've done both key runs so far on it. Ewie. I've also done too much of my working out at night and, coupled with daylight savings, have been too lazy/tired/lazy to get up early.

Monday was 10 x 400, and they were fine. Boring and sweaty, but OK. Done in the evening, as I couldn't pull myself out of bed in the morning. I came home to a yummy meal made by P and chilled out for awhile. Decided to be good and get up early in the morning for a workout. Set alarm. Woke up. Decided to stay in bed. Dozed. Tossed. Turned. Finally got up late and tired.

Tuesday P and I hit the gym lateish after work. Had a great session on the rowing machine (was regularly going - hitting, not averaging- under 2:00/500m which is very good for me) then messed around with some mat work, rather than doing free weights. Came home, ate frozen meals. Decided not to set alarm, but P decided to get up and ride, so woke up early, stayed in bed. Dozed. Tossed. Turned. Finally got up (actually quite early) and went to work.

I ended up working late on Wednesday, and being too butt lazy to go out for a run. I managed to eat cookies for dinner, then ate some grilled cheese when I got home at about 9:30. P wanted to do yoga. I hesitated, saying I didn't want to repeat the cycle yet again, but didn't want to make him feel bad, so packed a bag and prepared to go. Alarm went off at 5:15. Rolled over. Groaned Stayed in bed. Dozed. Tossed. Turned and eventually got up and dragged ourselves to work.

Made it to the gym a little after 6 on Thursday. Gusts up to 120kph (that's, uhh, above the speed limit...), and steady galeforce winds. Not ideal for 8 PMP miles around the bays. So, chose boredom torture over sand spray torture and stayed inside. I got through my 13ks at PMP in 1:09:57 (8:39 pace), which felt about right to me. I was so bored when I finally got to 12k that I cranked up the mill and did the last k in 4:37 (7:26 pace). P picked me up and we had a nice "date" at a small, nice restaurant. Lovely.

Tomorrow's the last 20-miler, and I have another couple of fun runs for the following few days. Then taper time begins. YAY!

*from Sunday...