Training again

Going to run the Wellington marathon again this year. Have been quiet on the running since our second son arrived in August; and quiet on the blogging since I got a Garmin GPS watch. So it’s all logged and graphed and mapped to death over here.

Ran a half recently around the Wellington bays in 1:39:30. A slight improvement on the last half, and not bad given the lack of focused training. Should be able to go under 3:30 for the full marathon if I can stick to the training and avoid injury. Using Matt Fitzgerald’s beginners programme on top of regular commute runs into work. (It’s about 7k one way and I’m trying to do it five or six times a week.)

Marton half

Ran my second half-marathon at the weekend in Marton. It was a small field, but a good local run around the gentle hills of Rangitikei. The results are available here (though I timed myself at a minute slower than the official time, as did the runner who came in first).

My plan was to run 4:45 minute kilometres on the way out and aim for a negative split on the way back to come in under 1:40:00. I stuck fairly close to a guy from Palmerston North, chatting a bit on the way out and then managing to keep him in view on the way back in. The lack of km markers made pacing a bit tricky and the sun was pretty high in the sky so more water stops would have helped.

The heat wasn’t such a problem on the way out thanks to a northerly breeze (pretty stiff at times), but the wind meant a slightly slower first half than I’d planned. That said, it was slower by seconds rather than minutes and with the breeze behind me and a gentle incline back to town, I ran the second half around 2 minutes quicker.

Official time: 1:38:56 (my time: 1:39:53)

More routes coming up

Been thinking about what else to run in the lead up to the Rotorua marathon (if I do it). I’ve also been advised by a friend to do some shorter runs and concentrate on speed before starting to train for Rotorua. So here are a few local events:

Both offer 10km and half-marathon options, as well as the marathon. Thinking that Wairarapa would be a good 10km and either a 10km or a half at the Great Forest.

What next?

So it’s been a while since I ran the half and am now wondering what next. For starters I’m probably joining a friend for another half in Marton at the end of August, part of his training for the full Berlin marathon in September. I best get back to some training for the next half, and less biscuits and lala-runs round the waterfront. That said I’ve been running fairly regularly with a good long run every weekend somewhere between 1:30 and 1:55, and some shorter faster runs during the week (an 8km in 36:30mins is my best pace to date).

But it begs the question of when I’ll be running that marathon, how I’ll prepare for it, and what I’m aiming for. The last question’s the easiest one: 3:30. It should be possiblem but I’ve got to take it seriously and allow enough time to get properly in shape – physically but probably more importantly mentally.

The Auckland one sounds a bit full on and in any case is sold out (and is too soon – November). I’ve heard there’s one in Wellington over the summer, and keeping local would be good, though I wonder if that’s enough time to prepare. For that Rotorua looks like a good option in May 2010, with plenty of time. So maybe that’ll be the one…

Meantime I’m reading Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running and so far it’s really good take on what drives some people to spend hours alone running.

One-four-oh

Surprised myself, as well as family and friends who turned out to cheer me over the finish line: planned on a 1:45 and ended up coming in around 1:40. Still waiting for the site to update with official times but the clock was reading 1:40:20-odd when I went over the line. Surprised and elated, and surprised some more.*

I started out ahead of the 1:40 and 1:45 pacesetters at the start line and can’t remember seeing either of them the entire race. Hit the turn point at pretty much exactly 50 minutes and knew then I was in with a chance of somewhere around 1:40. By the 16 km mark though I wasn’t feeling so confident. I had to take my polyprop off and lost my stride for a bit and was wondering if I’d blown the whole thing.

A few people were starting to drop off. Focused on the 17 km mark, knowing it’d only be 4 kilometres or so to go at that point, and with drinks not too far off. Energy drink at Oriental Bay then picked up the pace a bit for the penultimate kilometre, then some more for the last kick along Aotea Quay and up the ramp to the stadium walkway. Partner and son, mother-in-law, and a friend, all waving madly and cheering me on. So pleased to them.

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Really well organised event – pretty much everything taken care of at the start/finish point, good drinks along the way, and great support from the marshals and other people en route. True we were lucky with the weather (cool breeze but no rain and no sign of the Wellington gales), but I can’t recommend the race highly enough.

*Half marathon: 1:40:22 (unofficial)