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

Friday, April 10, 2009

So Whats Next

So whats next???

Thats a really good question and I have a few idea's floating around in my head to answer that question. Next weekend's all sorted as I've entered the King of the Bays a 2.8k ocean swim.

But then what?

The broad plan at the moment is to try and recapture a bit of speed with the aim of lowering my half marathon PB in at the North Shore City Half Marathon in July (a race I've done for the last two years and in which I've lowered my time each year). So that gives me a focus for the winter. Then building into summer I thought I might give the Auckland Marathon a miss this year. The thought of paying $120 to run a crowded race just isn't appealling to me this year. So as I do want to run another marathon this year I'm eyeing up one of two possibilities.

The Legend(probably New Zealand's toughest road marathon)

Or the Macs West Coaster (New Zealands toughest marathon with an average finishing time of around 6.5 hours!)

Or maybe both ...

Which now just leaves the big hairy 12 month goal. At the moment its a bit of a toss up between doing an offroad 50 miler, or giving the 100k ultra another nudge. I have to say that at the moment I'm tending towards the 100k, as I really didn't run it very well this year, although I did learn an aweful lot, plus a good time there would qualify me for Western States (unlikely that I'd go there, but you never know).

I'll be pondering that one for a little longer...