Karioi Classic Run – 44km off road

 

In our buildup towards the Tarawera (I still get sleepless nights every now and again just at the thought that we’ve actually entered for this mammoth event), we opted to do the inaugural Karioi Classic trail run (a 44km run around Mt Karioi) which is luckily mostly just off-road and not very technical. The cycling event has been going for a few years, but this would mark the first running of the Karioi. Initially I was a little reluctant to enter, due to me maybe not being fit enough, Raglan being too far from Palmy and the event probably being to soon after our previous marathon. However, the race sounded so nice that we decided to do it anyway notwithstanding my trepidation – we desperately need time on the trails, and what better way to spent it than with like minded folk (although we were for the most part by ourselves on the trail). And there’s just something about an inaugural, isn’t there? Continue reading

Fun on the fifteen – Manawatu Striders winter series (15km)

It’s that time of the year again; freezing nights, frosty mornings and the garlic shoots just starting to poke their heads out of the ground in your vege patch.

It is also time for the Manawatu Striders Winter Series. I will never forget our previous running of these events in 2011 when the windscreen of the car was so frozen, that it took several buckets of water to clear a patch. As soon as the water hit the windscreen, it would just freeze again. That was on the 10km event earlier in July. The 15km was a fair bit warmer at about the same time of the month than this time around, if my memory serves me well. Winter arrived late this year and to top it off, it has been unseasonably warm. Grass was growing in full force, my asparagus still hasn’t died down to recuperate for next years season and our olive grove is full of new growth.

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GPS running

A few months ago, at the Rotorua Marathon, Wouna was the lucky winner of a Timex watch (as one of the major spot prizes). Given, however, that she never wears a watch, and that we have been forever thinking about getting a GPS watch, we decided to try and trade in the watch for a GPS enabled model. I initially didn’t have high hopes that we would be able to do this, but when I contacted GMB Watches, the NZ agents for Timex, they were extremely friendly and helpful, and without any quibbles arrangements were made for us to exchange the watch for a GPS model, simply paying in the difference in cost, during our next visit to Auckland.

The watch we decided on was the Timex Ironman Run Trainer 2.0 GPS (quite a mouthful!), a sleek and functional GPS device that doesn’t set you back an arm and a leg, like some of the other high-end, very sophisticated GPS watches on the market. To keep things simple and to further keep costs in check, we opted for the version without a heart rate monitor.

I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the new toy, and my excitement knew no bounds when we finally picked up the watch in early June. Unfortunately our visit to Auckland coincided with one of the most dreadfully stormy weeks the city has seen in a long time, so it was only after we arrived back in Palmy a few days later that I finally had a chance to try the watch on the run.

My Timex Ironman Run Trainer 2.0 GPS. A treasure trove of useful, realtime running info.

My Timex Ironman Run Trainer 2.0 GPS. A treasure trove of useful, realtime running info.

I had a lot of fun comparing the kilometer distances of our regular training route with the distances we had figured out before by driving the route. I’m happy to report our earlier measurements were pretty spot on – I would have been really gutted had I discovered that our 8km training route was only 7km long, or some similar horror story.

For the past month or so, I’ve been using my GPS watch non-stop to clock all our runs, including the recent Wellington Marathon, and it really does add a new dimension to running, especially if you download the run data onto one of the many web-based sporting platforms out there. I’m finding the Strava platform particularly enjoyable – not only can you log your training history (complete with detail about the shoes you were wearing etc), but you can share your runs via social media (Facebook, Twitter etc), follow the training of other runners, and explore routes in a specific region. To spice things up further you can subscribe to various challenges (personal or public), and compare your performance to others.

Interestingly enough, the added awareness and knowledge gained by running with a device providing realtime feedback on your distance, speed etc can have an interesting impact on your performance. If you feel like you’re running at a snappy pace, but find your watch telling you you’re not really speeding along, it can be disheartening. Conversely, you may think you’re running comfortably within yourself, only to have your trusty GPS tell you you’re running faster than you thought, which can result in one of two reactions – you can either be boosted by the fact that you are performing beyond your expectations, or you may suddenly, on the spot, feel tired as a result of the realisation that you’re running faster than you thought.

We experienced the latter first-hand during the recent Wellington marathon – by around the 24 km mark we were happily jogging along, chatting away, going at a merry pace of about 6:08 mins/km, which is a fair bit faster than our usual marathon pace. I’d made no mention of the speed we were going, but when Wouna asked I couldn’t lie, so I broke the news of our pace. And lo and behold, almost immediately our pace started dropping. OK, so perhaps it wasn’t a case of suddenly feeling over-exerted, but rather just a subconscious decision to preserve ourselves a little better for the latter part of the course, but we definitely slowed down from that point onwards, and I am very curious to know how we would have performed had we not been aware of the exact pace we were running at.

The Strava GPS overview of our Wellington Marathon performance.

Whatever the case might be, the genie is out of the bottle, and I for one definitely prefer the added info gained during and after every run. We hope to use the GPS on a few trail runs in the near future, where kilometer markings are often lacking, and look forward to experiencing the extra GPS input during our run. More on this soon!

Norsewood to Takapau – 21.1km

Since the Wellington marathon three weeks ago, we ran an average of four times per week. Not too bad, I guess, but not as much as I hoped. There were too many days of foul weather and laziness. We also did a trail run, the first of many more to come leading up to the Tarawera 100. Yep, we took the plunge and entered for the beast – something I’ve been wanting to do for the past few years. (Am I repeating myself?)

As is always the case (at least for me) with your weekly long-run training, it is so much nicer to cover the distance with other people. Knowing you’ve got company out there, even if you don’t utter a single word to anyone else, is enough to make the run easier. The joys of running for most people might be that they get alone time. Time to switch off and have only their own thoughts to keep them company. I get that. I do that too! But I still prefer to have other people around, just to see them even if I am caught up in my own thoughts and pretty much ignoring everybody else. Continue reading