Saturday, August 14, 2010

New Blog

That's right, for those interested you'll find me banging away at a new blog over here

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Am I Back?

Well its been a while, and to be honest I'm not to sure if I really am back. What I do know is that I've spent the last six months sitting around getting my energy and motivation back and importantly healing up from a couple of consistantly niggling aches and pains.

So "where are things at?" I hear you say.

I have no plans beyond getting out and slowly getting some fitness back. Next year may see a half marathon and potentially a 50k off road ultra but nothing to serious I'm afraid on account of an expanding family. As for right now, I'm simply turning the legs over and stretching things out. Without boring you with the details I started running at a 5 min 30 sec per k pace at the start of the week, and have dropped that down to a 5 min flat per k pace now that we're almost at the end of the week. My heart rate, however is way to high and its all just that little bit harder than it was six months ago (no 40k training runs happening this weekend!!).

So am I back? ... We'll have to wait and see ...

Saturday, May 23, 2009


I think I've come to a bit of a crossroads in my life (this happens every now and again). The problem is one of motivation, specifically I'm not sure that I have enough of it anymore.

You see as far as running goes the short stuff doesn't really do it for me anymore, especially given that I run a half marathon in training most weekends and could easily pump out a marathon with only little or no notice. The challenge for me has always been one of completing the event. Winning hasn't really been on the radar so for me, along with the mass of other people who do this kind of thing, its all about the personal challenge - and a big chunk of that has now faded away for me.

So that leaves the long stuff ... trouble is that in going ultra you enter into a whole new level of pain and suffering, and you'd better believe that you need to be highly motivated before ever toeing the line. Which brings me back to the question "do I have the motivation?"

The thing that's really bought this to a head for me today is a niggling injury that I have on the top of my left foot. It feels like a bone or tendon problem. Its doesn't stop me from running but it does cause me a bit of pain if I'm not careful while kicking a ball around with my son. This has made me reflect on the last three years.

In late 2006 I started running in order get some fitness back. I had planned to run a half marathon in May 2007 and maybe try a marathon at some point. Anyway in typical fashion my time frame got accelerated and entered my first race (a 22k offroad run) in March 2007. It was hard but I loved it!

Next thing I knew I'd entered the Rotorua Marathon which was being run the last week of April. I grossly underestimated how tough a marathon would be (or maybe I just overestimated my ability - confused "ambition with ability" as the saying goes). The first half went well but after about 25k's the wheels started to fall off and I blew to pieces ... but I finished it!! The day after my legs hurt to move, I had no energy and I was sore all over - but I was also over the moon and hooked!

Then came my chance to do Ironman and the rest is history (as this blog will attest to).

So in the last two years I've become a marathon runner and over the course of several marathon's have knocked almost an hour off my first marathon time. I've learnt how to swim (in fact this time two years ago I couldn't swim), and have surprise (and delighted) myself by having completed several open water swims including the 3.8k's of Ironman. Not so long ago I would have never thought that would be possible.

I completed my first ever triathlon, being the Rotorua Half Ironman in December 2007, and almost snuck under 6 hours. I probably would have gone sub6 if I'd actually been at the start line on time (yes I missed the start! It's a long story ...), and hadn't spent so long mucking around in transition.

I became an Ironman in 2008 and an Ultrarunner in 2009, by far my toughest and proudest personal achievement ever (excluding the raising of my kids and nurturing of my family, which is an ongoing work).

I've achieved far more than I ever thought I would, in quite a short space of time and on quite a challenging training budget (time wise - no 15 + hour training weeks for me ...). Now I think I'm just a bit tired. I also have a number of other things I want to achieve.

For instance I want to get back to study. I've spent the best part of 10 years getting a couple of degrees, not so much because I enjoyed the topic's, but rather because I thought they were the right thing to do. And do be fair, as a result I have a good and successful career. But now I want to extend myself intellectually in an area which is actually of personal interest to me. I tried starting some study at the start of the year, but in the end had to withdraw as I just couldn't find the time to fit everything in.

So what am I to do? Take a break and do something completely different? Take it easy over winter and then pick some event to target in the summer? Who knows? But I really do feel as though I'm standing at the crossroads, I could go left, or I could go right. Either path would take me to a different place. Maybe things will converge again in the future ...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Random Questions

Just a quick post today to answer some random questions. Over the coming weeks I'll expand on these a fair bit, but for now here's the short answers.

Question Number One
Do you think the 24 hour race will mess you up as much as Ironman?

The short answer is "no". Slightly longer answer is that I suspect it will mess me up a whole lot more than Ironman did. In my experience of ultrarunning (being all of one race so far), running an ultra (or at least running 100k) is far, far, tougher than Ironman. After Ironman I was excited about doing another, whereas after my 100k ultra I was convinced that I would never want to run again, my feet hurt, my legs hurt, my back hurt, my stomach was messed up, my "weeing" (specifically the colour) was of concern, my shoulders hurt and my arms hurt. Things were a little fuzzy and after "only" 65k I was really not in a very happy place. By the time I had gone past my second marathon and still had another 16k's to go I had been right through Hurtsville and was in some strange land I'd never been to before.

Ironman is easy! (I should qualify that by saying that "finishing" Ironman is easy in comparison to finishing an ultra, "racing" is no doubt quite hard judging by the number of pro's who end up in the medical tent).

Question Number Two
Will you run all the time, or do you have a run / walk strategy?

I suspect that if I were to try to run for 24 hours there would be a big crater in the track after 12 hours or so. My plan at this point is to seriously stick to a very strict 25 min run / 5 minute walk strategy. Given that its on a flat track there will be no natural obstacles to break things up (like hills), and I think that a mix of run / walking gives me the best chance of actually lasting the full 24 hours. I think that a big issue for me will be based around the fact that its 24 hours on 400m track as opposed being a race of a set distance. As while I'm probably to stubborn to drop out of a 150k race (which by its nature has a definite finish line), I think it will be a lot tougher mentally to keep plodding around a track where the finish line is determined by a clock.

Regardless of how the run / walk plan works out, my main goal is to just keep moving forward. To keep me sane I'll be breaking the distance down into marathon, 50k, 50miles, 100k, 150k, and 100 miles (the ultimate goal!). At this stage I reckon that I could pull out 150k in 24 hours - which on last years results would be enough to get me 3rd place (that in itself may be an indication that its actually going to be tougher than I anticipate ...)

More musings later, I got to go run somewhere ...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Another Day Another Race - King of the Bays

The weather forecast for today wasn't all that great. And in the end the weather was, well, pretty ordinary really. The King of the Bay's is a 2.8k open water ocean swim between Milford Beach on the North Shore of Auckland, and Takapuna Beach, meaning that land is to your right and ocean to your left as you swim. There was a 15 knot easterly blowing (meaning that the swell and chop was coming from the ocean, with the wind blowing over your left hand shoulder. This suited me fine as I prefer to breath on my right hand side which I was hoping would lower the amount of water I was going to swallow.

At the start with the kids

1000 people lined up for today's race with the race starting in 3 "waves". I was in the middle wave with an estimated finish time of just under 1 hour.

The race itself was rough, in every way possible. The start was a surprising free for all. Surprising as I figured being in the middle "wave" there wouldn't be so much hard core competition, but nevertheless there was a lot of jostling and people trying to swim over other people (and then stopping to have a look around!). The race from start to finish was probably rougher than Ironman! I had someone try to break my toes. Someone stop in front of me, just as someone else tried to swim over the top of me (and this at around 2k into the swim). And I got hit in the face three times! I loved it!!!

The sea was really rough with big swells and chop right from the start. At the pre race briefing they were encouraging people to pull out if they were having second thoughts. The rough seas made swimming difficult and sighting really hard. I found that quite a few times, as I was taking a stroke, my arm would only just break the water, meaning my hand was dragging through (this would generally happen was a wave was going over). The end result being that I was swimming with a much high chest and should position than normal (meaning a lower hip and leg position - not ideal.

There were no race records set today, by anyone! I ended up finishing in 1 hour 18 minutes for my slowest swim ever. Interestingly enough I felt really strong and comfortable for the whole swim, so I'll put the slow time squarely down to the weather. (As a comparison, my last 2.8k Ocean Swim was the Harbour Crossing in 2007, I swam that in 1 hour 7 minutes and it just about killed me!).

All done, have just spotted the kids as I'm down the finishing shoot, what's an extra 30 seconds really worth aye?? Not as much as their happy faces!

So all in all I'm pretty pleased with my race. My lead up was pretty poor (I've been quite sick all week, and haven't been swimming a lot at all since Ironman). I'm just so stoked that I can actually swim something like this (I only learnt how to swim in 2007).

Now back to the run training ....

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Ours is a Dangerous Sport

As my little sister has discovered, the life of a budding triathlete isn't without its risks. These come in many shapes and sizes but, in my experience, are most often focused around biking. My little sister is starting to get quite serious about our sport with her focus being on dominating the half ironman distance at this stage (her first serious crack at a triathlon was the Rotorua Half in which (to my shame) she snuck past my previous time and notched up a smoking 6hr 1min 5sec - I'm expecting big things for her this year!).

Over winter she's giving a big focus to becoming a good biker so has been notching up the k's ... until I got a message from her saying she was in hospital getting stitches etc.

There are two versions of the story:

Version 1
"I was riding along the south coast of Makara when I saw a cute little puppy/small child being mauled by a huge pitball I scooped up the puppy/small child and the pitball bite me I then kicked the pitball in the head and killed it."

Version 2
"Was going for a road bike heading towards Karori I stopped for traffic got my left foot out of the pedal gust of wind pushed me over to the right couldn’t get my right foot out bike went out from under me and I sliced the back of my ankle on the front cog of the bike."

I'll let you decide which is the true version ... Everyone I know, including me, has done it!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

And then I saw this

Yes this little event this looks very interesting to this budding Ultra Runner, which is kind of odd as just a few months ago I would have laughed at the suggestion of running around a track for several hours, now I'm thinking maybe its not such a bad idea!

The only question is, do I target 12 hours (given that I now know I can "run" (term used fairly loosely there) for 14 hours plus, or to I front up for 24 hours of running and see just how far I can go???

Decisions decisions, I'll ponder that one on my long run tomorrow morning