Sunday, March 22, 2009

Shore 2 Shore

Today I ran the best race of my life, not so much in terms of speed (51 min 42 sec of a 5k is probably a tad slower than I could possibly push for), but definitely in terms of quality.

Today was the annual Shore 2 Shore fun run which is a fundraiser for local schools. You enter through the school that your kids go to with a large portion of the entry fee going straight back to the school in the form of new sports gear! An absolutely fantastic idea! This year there were just over 6,500 people doing the race making it second only to the Auckland Marathon in terms of single event participation.

I did the race with my five year old son Sam. We'd been training for it over the last few weeks by slowly building the distance up, however today was still going to be the farthest that he'd ever run.

Sam did great! He managed to run most of the race, although perhaps he went out a little to quick at the start (1st race nerves - we've all been there!). Sam was very stoked at the 2.5k drink station where he was able to pick up his cup while running like a pro, a couple of mouthfuls and the rest dumped on his head to help him cool off.

My wife and my daughter Eve were at the finish shoot cheering us on, Sam was very focused but remembered to raise his arms in glory as he crossed the finish line (m wife got a photo of the but unfortunately someone just got in the way - however the guy with the mic noticed and made of point of pointing Sam out, you can kind of see it in one of the pictures.

It was a great day and Sam is already asking when the next race will be! Enough words from me, here's the pictures ...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Trip to the Beach

What a great day today was! The sun was shining yet there was a nice cool breeze blowing so it didn't get to hot. To make the most of this fantastic weather I went for a run down to the beach. From my front door to the beach is exactly 10k, its then exactly 1k each way along the beach so I get a nice (and typically hilly - that's the problem with beach's - they're generally surrounded by steep hills!) just over half marathon run.

Today was all about enjoying myself and just running cause I love running, so I simply ran at an easy and comfortable, effort wise it was probably close to my "marathon pace". When I looked at my watch when I got home I was very pleased (and a little surprised) to see that I had cruised the 22k in a sub2 hour pace. I didn't feel particularly taxed and I suspect I could have turned around and done it all over again!

Of course I didn't because there's more important things than running (believe it or not!), I have a wife to love and kids to play with, so 2 hours was all the running I was going to be doing this morning. But, I can honestly say, it was the best 2 hours ever.

Which brings me to one of the many answers to the question "why do you run?" Part of the answer is that "running makes me a better person". I have more energy (which surprises some people), I'm a nicer person to be around after I've been running, I'm healthier, and, in this Xbox / Playstation world that we're building for our kids, I believe I set a good example to my kids about life being an adventure that you need to actually get out and "live!"

On that note, this afternoon I git in my second run of the day (well more of a jog actually, but its all k's in the bank right?). It was trip to the local school grounds to do some run training with Sam (my 5 year old son, we're doing a 5k fun run in a couple of weeks) and we were also taking the training wheels off my (almost) four year old daughter Eve's bike!!! The kids biked there and I ran, then ran some more around the field with Sam, then ran some more chasing the kids around the play ground, then ran home why they biked. Best run EVER!!! I love being a Dad!

Not sure what's on the agenda for this week. I'll probably aim for a couple of speed sessions during the week and then try and get off road and long in the weekend.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Getting lost ... and loving it!

As I've mentioned before I'm trying to freshen up my running by getting offroad as much as possible. The only problem is ... there's no sign posts offroad!

Todays long run was in Riverhead Forest, a local network of logging roads and tracks, with the tracks being largely built by a couple of the local mountain bike clubs. To give you an idea of just how extensive the track network is I was out for about 1 and a half hours and I saw one mountain biker, one lady on a horse, and one random guy walking along a remote logging access road tossing a rugby ball!!!! Given that the car park was full and I saw plenty of people both as I arrived and as I left this was a bit of a surprise - I thought I'd be spending all day dodging mountain bikers.

The run started with a steady 25 minute climb up an access road to a trig station with a pretty cool view (once I'd stopped panting and got a chance to look up and enjoy it).

Trig Station

View out to Auckland City, the loggers had thoughtful cut a few trees down to improve the view ...

After this it was just under an hour of getting lost on the network of single track which criss crosses the forest. Here's some pictures for those who need visuals.

In more general running news I've started some (kind of) structured training again, with a focus on picking up some speed once more. I surprised myself on Saturday night by running one of my regular 6.2k runs near my house a full 2 minutes faster than I'd ever run it before! Who ever said running ultra's makes you slow!

So after swearing off running at the 70k point in my 100k ultra, normality has now resumed and I'm eyeing up races again. There's a mid year half marathon that I've done for the last couple of years and I'd like to give that another nudge. I've also stumbled across a 50k off road ultra thats run around Riverhead somewhere in April that migt be worth checking out. Plus there's a (growing) chance that I'll run in the Wellington Marathon in June. So plenty to keep me interested!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Back on your feet!

Just how long does it take to recover from an Ultra?

I have no idea, having only done one its something that I'm still working out. Still I'm not one to sit around and get fat, so it was unsurprising that by Wednesday (after the pain had started to subside) I started getting itchy feet again. This week I've managed to get out for a couple of walks, a jog, and finally ... a run!

Running just feels so good, however at the moment I'm weary of not overdoing it and making sure that I give my poor old body the best chance possible to bounce back. In addition I see this as a great opportunity to bounce back stronger and better than before by really listening to my body and my treating it supremely well.

Happily enough this Wednesday marked the start of lent which is traditionally 40 days of sacrifice, fasting and generally going without in preparation for Easter. SO I've decided to (as much as possible) cut out all refined sugars, flour, processed food etc from my diet and basically eat "like a caveman" (meaning that if a caveman could lay his hands on a particular type of food then I'll eat it, if not, then I won't - in particular if I pick something up and can't pronounce any of the ingredients on the back of the packet, then I'll put it back). So far this has resulted in much better eating (and a few trips to the local fruit and veggie shop). As a result - I think - I'm feeling like I actually have a lot more energy than usual, plus I get to have a certain smugness from knowing that I'm eating well ...

Anyway today's run was my first real run since the ultra. It was a short 8.6k beach / offroad run along a coastal track. One of the things that I really want to do more of is offroad running, so this was a step in that direction.

We had a storm yesterday, however today the sun was out, and combined with a hot wind it was really muggy! The first 5k of the run went pretty well and I felt quite good, however towards the end I was getting tired and I was pretty pleased to see my car after just under an hours running, so obviously still not over the ultra!

I obviously chose a good route as I ended up running the same track as my pro triathlete namesake Kieran Doe (apparently not updating his website at the moment ...) and saw him wizz past looking a whole lot stronger and fitter than me at the moment (or at any other moment for that matter).

Finally I've been giving a bit of thought to my next running goals. While I'm still not going to commit to any more races this year I am starting to fix my sites on a couple for next year. The first one is an 8 hour trail run in Riverhead Forest (just down the road from me), this is generally done as a relay but they're open to individuals, so I should be able to get an ultra distance done in 8 hours. Then there's a 50 miler in Rotorua a month later which is looking really interesting.

And I've just found out about a 100 miler down south which is worth giving some thought to (maybe for my 35th birthday ...).

Here's some photo's from today's run: