Aoraki/Mount Cook Inaugural Marathon (calm down, I only did the 10km)

My weekend started one of the best possible ways it could… ROAD TRIP!!!

I went away for the weekend to Aoraki/Mount Cook for a race. A couple of Pumped ladies had won entries for the Inaugural marathon (they did the half, I did the 10km) and had asked if anyone else wanted to join them. It’s a bit of a journey I still hadn’t been to Mt Cook before so I jumped at the chance and the bonus was that I was offered a free entry to the race.

I drove to Emily’s place and the two of us car pooled from there. A quick coffee stop in Geraldine (about 1.5 hours in) and then we kept driving to Tekapo for lunch.

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Another hour or so later and we got to Aoraki/Mount Cook. Driving in we worked out where each race started (It seems like a very long distance when you’re in a car!) and the hills didn’t seem quite that bad in the car (I’ve been told since that some of those hills were pretty tough!). We checked in to the hotel and went to find our Kennel Chalet before meeting up with Simone & Mark.

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This race worked slightly different than others I’ve been to, we had the pre-race briefing at dinner the evening before as opposed to in the morning just before the race started. There was a HUGE line for the buffet; I hope that next year they might spread it out a bit/put more food out at a time. I don’t think the hotel realised how much runners eat before a race (some people’s plates were piled insanely high!). This lead to the veges being brought out a little bit before they were ready, crunchy kumara (sweet potato) is not one of my favourite foods I’ll admit.

RACE DAY!!

Sunday morning was a little strange. Normally I have to travel somewhere for a race but as I was doing an out and back course and there was no race briefing on the morning I didn’t have to leave the kennel until 15mins before the race started. So as Emily was getting up and ready I was sitting on my bed not really knowing what to do with myself haha! Emily & Simone had to catch a bus out to the start line at 7:30am ready for 9am start. I got ready earlier than I needed to and used a bit of time to keep moving once I got outside in the cold.

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About 8:50am we were walked out past the finish line and onto the road where we were starting from. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 GO! Everyone seemed to be going at quite a pace, the start was downhill but I noticed I was definitely going faster than normal. My first two km were well under 6mins so I made myself slow just a little. I knew the first half of the race would be faster as it was sloping down and I wanted to make sure I had enough to get back up – especially the last 400m as this was the steepest part of the course… These stairs were just before the finish chute… I know they don’t look like much but trust me they are horrible after a run!

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My hands were super cold and my body instantly noticed the slight incline at the 5km turnaround, in fact it seemed like quite a few runners had only trained on the flat because a lot of them stopped and walked a wee bit at the turnaround point. I managed to keep a pretty steady pace with those around me, once we got into our rhythms no one passed me (for me this is an awesome feeling) and as my running app clicked over 10km I realised it was a PB for me (YES!!). The course ended up being 10.4km but the best feeling for me was managing to keep running up the last hill and in doing so passing 4 runners who either slowed considerably or who stopped to walk it – I think that feeling was even better than crossing the finish line haha. I also got my first ever finishers medal at this race too, a lot of our races are quite small in comparison with other countries so it’s not often we get medals.

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Being so close to the accommodation I knew I had an hour to kill before Emily & Simone were due to finish so I walked back down to the kennel chalet to for a hot shower, some warm clothes and a snack. After lunch Emily & I decided to go for a wander, there were some 30-60min walks quite close to the village and we thought we had around 3 hours before prize giving (turns out it got moved forward two hours so we missed it – I better not have missed out on a spot prize!!). We decided to try one of the longer tracks first which ended up taking us close to a little bridge – so detour we must!

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On the way back we spotted another very short walk so we headed in there before getting back to the chalet. Not knowing that prize giving had already happened we got ready and met Simone up at the café. This is when I found the post on Facebook, so feeling a bit sad we headed to the bar downstairs with the cosy fire which became our home for the next few hours…

Monday morning was supposed to be a sleep in but both Emily & I were wide awake before 7am (sigh). We wanted to go see one other small walk behind the hotel so we checked out and headed up there quickly.

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Then we finally found an entrance into the memorial garden we spotted earlier in the trip:

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Emily did some research and decided on our way out we could stop and do a walk/hike up to see the Tasmin Glacier. This was the best walk we did (in my opinion) just look at the scenery!!

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We headed back home, stopping again in Tekapo for lunch.

I was hoping the weather would clear a bit more than it did, I never seen all of Aoraki/Mount Cook, I’ve decided it’s not worth playing hide & seek with a mountain – you will not win, ever… However I did manage to see the tip of the mountain for about 5mins on my race, I really wanted to stop and take a picture but my time was going really well so I didn’t want to stop!! So this was the best picture I got… Still breathtaking!

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And this is what it looks like minus clouds (apparently)

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Did you race over the weekend?

Hot running weather and way too many burpees…

Sleep wasn’t my friend Monday night and so I was slightly dreading an early morning workout with The Boss knowing I was already a little sore from her ‘burpee’ circuit yesterday. We started with the monthly challenge. Normally it’s something fitness related but this month we have a time limit to throw little hoops and see how many we get on the holder. Last week I got a big fat zero but I managed to get two this time around – one being my first throw! Next was a warm-up, well I say warm up but it took quite a long time… We normally do some boxing to warm up but this time I did a mixture of boxing and reps. 100 left right punches, 10 burpees then 90 hooks, 20 press ups. You get the idea? We went from 100 to 10 (with the reps getting higher as the punches got lower). Finished off the session with some strength work which felt harder than normal but I did get through all my reps J

I mentioned in my last post that I’ve had a mare on the food front over the last couple of weeks so I had a chat with Kate yesterday morning about being held accountable daily for few weeks while I get myself back into a healthy food routine.  She is going to randomly check my online diary/calorie intake and if it’s not up to date or I have gone over my calorie goal for the day I lose money. I don’t always follow a calorie diary but I do find that’s a very helpful way to get back on track if I’ve gone off the rails a little.

After that workout I was feeling my body I still had a run later in the day. We missed our long run on Sunday due to sports games: Liam thought the NRL Nines would finish around 6pm like it had the day before but it ended up finishing just after 8pm and I fell asleep (very unlike me).

Tuesday night’s run was hard but I actually enjoyed it at the same time?! Is that a thing?! It was one of the hottest days we’ve had here this summer, come 5pm it was still around 31⁰C. Normally I would hold off until it cooled before going out but I had a hair appointment. This run was my 3rd 10km run ever but I felt like I could have easily kept going (if I didn’t have other places to be) and I started to feel confident that I can actually do this half marathon in a good time. The first 4-5kms my legs were pretty stiff, it was flippin’ hot but I noticed I wasn’t having to coach myself on as much as I normally do to keep going, especially in the last half which is normally where I struggle the most.

Fuelling for longer runs: I’ve done a little research on this over the past couple of weeks and I think I need to start trying out little amounts on my weekend runs. I really dislike having to carry things whilst running though. Last night was the first time I’d carried a drink bottle with me because it was so hot and I didn’t want to have to stop for a drinking fountain but I was cursing it the whole way around. I do have a hydration pack at home that I will probably start using for my weekend running, that way I can carry some magical energy goodness with me and still keep my hands free (and look hard core at the same time because I’m wearing the pack in the first place…). I haven’t had much luck with any sort of gel, my stomach can only handle a tiny amount at a time and with most gels having a rip of top you can’t really save some for later without getting it everywhere. I quite like the sports beans though as I can take one or two (while the body gets used to it) and put the rest away for later and it actually feels like I’m eating something. Problem is most places only stock the lemon/lime or orange flavours when I know there are more delicious sounding ones around… I ordered some online yesterday, along with some Em’s Power Bites to test out too – looking forward to that package turning up 😉

Wednesday morning was dark, I wasn’t impressed! I met up with Dee for a circuit at the netball courts in Hagley: round two of the homework. She was running a little late and we did a pretty decent warm up so only got through half of each circuit in the end. Darkness is creeping in which is the one thing I dislike about the colder months: exercising in the dark! Circuit tonight consisted of WAY to many squats and burpees for my liking, legs hadn’t recovered from doing them over the last two days.

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My time trial run yesterday (Thursday) was tough. I may have started out way too fast; I was panting, struggling to get my breath and felt like I wouldn’t be able to keep going.  I slowed considerably during the last half of the km and got a time of 6:03. I managed negative splits for the entire run (last km finishing 5:30) but missed my PB by 8 seconds.

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Today is ‘rest day’ but I set a goal at the beginning of the week that I would complete a minimum of 20mins exercise each day. We went to the first Crusaders game tonight so I told Liam we will be parking further away and walking in, a 15min brisk walk to the stadium.

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I’m looking forward to the weekend it’s going to be busy though! I’m doing two events: 
Saturday – A Run to Remember (12km trail/road course) 
Sunday – The Color Run

 

 Are you entered in any races this weekend?

How do you feel when you just miss out on a PB?

Morning routines, smashing PB’s and a Labrador wanting to help with my reps…

 I finally got into some early morning workouts this week. Dee, one of the lovely Pumped ladies had asked for some motivation to do a workout Wednesday mornings and I jumped at the chance as I was also needing a bit of a accountability with my mornings. This week we decided to meet at Hagley Park and do Kate’s homework circuit:

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I must admit we only got through half of it by the time we had to pack up and head to work (think we were chatting too much…) but it was still a good start to the morning.

After work I had circuit class with Kate which was a little different than the usual inside circuit. We’ve been lucky with the weather lately and being able to do outdoor classes but it wasn’t too flash this particular evening. Usually we would do something along the lines of one round of the circuit, do a few different exercises and sprints to break it up followed by another shorter round to finish. This time we did 45 sec on a station, a few reps or sprints and then 30 sec on the same station before moving on. Made it a little more like interval training which was a nice change – I like my variety 🙂

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve found I’m able to push myself more than I could over the last few months. I’ve had a couple of injuries that would be niggly off and on and I’ve had to be careful with sprinting and jumping type exercises because that was what was setting it off – I REALLY didn’t want to go backwards again with it! Currently it’s looking good, I’ve been doing all these things with no niggles or pain and bonus – I feel like I’ve got more out of my workouts 🙂

Thursday = time trial day. I had looked up my PB from a couple of weeks ago and mentioned to Liam that I really wanted to beat it this time. As we started off I actually felt like I was going well, 1km mark came along and my app told me I’d been running for 6:03 (includes a few seconds from the 2nd km). By this time Liam was a few steps in front of me, I was pretty happy and said “Woah babe, 6mins!” (secretly hoping I hadn’t started out too fast and could keep it up). 2nd km I was faster still and when the 3rd km mark came around the voice told me my average was sitting at 5:34 – Woah, I couldn’t believe it! I had been worried because I felt like I had slowed up yet it was my fastest km. I did slow a little towards the end of the run but managed to keep every km under 6mins and finished in 29:05. I took a total of 2mins 14sec off my PB (31:19) WOOHOO!!!

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Needless to say I was feeling pretty proud! I have noticed though that I am really bad with inconsistent lap times. My splits usually differ considerably and I struggle to know how I’m going only knowing my time at each km because sometimes if I’ve slowed sometimes I don’t have enough time left to bring it back as much as I would like too. For this reason I’m looking into what GPS watches are around, not that I will look at it the whole run but I think it will help me get a feel for my pace and know when I need to step it up, especially for time trials!

This morning was an odd feeling for me: a few of the Pumped girls ran Buller Marathon/Half today which was supposed to be my first Half Marathon. Unfortunately I had to pull out late last year due to the above mentioned injuries. I was really excited for them (especially Hayley as she completed her first marathon!) but was a little sad I wasn’t joining them. On the bright side though, I’m in a better position right now for St Clair than I was for Buller so here’s hoping nothing major comes my way in the next couple of months… 

To keep on track I decided to incorporate the homework circuit into a stairs session this morning and Dee offered to join me. Besides getting eaten alive by mosquitoes it was a good workout, I even found a buddy who wanted to help with my press ups! I didn’t catch a picture of him but a gorgeous chocolate labrador was playing on the stairs and followed us around for a while. As people went past we asked if they knew where he lived but it wasn’t until the end of our workout we found out where his home was. Every time I got down to do reps he would come over and try to play – it kept the workout fun haha!

Instead of the step ups/2 feet jumps in between the sets of 20, 15, 10 & 5 reps mentioned from Wednesday we would run down & back up the stairs (all 219 of them). There is a nice flat area at the top of the stairs to do reps and it’s away from the nasty mosquitoes which was a big bonus!

 

Would you recommend/not recommend any particular brand of GPS watch?

How do you feel when you smash a previous personal best?