Hagley Park; sun, rain, hail, or even snow is perhaps Christchurch’s best asset. Back in June we experienced two weeks of brutally cold weather, Christchurch had definitely turned down the temperature gauge. For me and many others,or passion for sport don’t stop even in the worst conditions. You might think it’s madness, i think it’s just plain fun.
So here’s a quick video I made, showing off Hagley Park in its wintery glory.
It’s here, the moment 2433kms, 186:54 hours, 4.5 months of training goes toward; the Christchurch Marathon.
It’s mid afternoon, on the 2nd of June, the day before the race, which so happens to be my 24th Birthday also. I feel relaxed, rested and ready for the big race tomorrow morning. The fields for all the events are some of the best they’ve ever been at any NZ Marathon event. And as a result, I’m expecting a fast pace from the gun as the packs will be surging and jostling for position. Overall, it will no-doubt be a fantastic event, with such classy runners about.
My game plan is relatively simple; I’ll aim to run 1:13:00-1:14:00 through half way, and hopefully (fingers crossed here), my niggly Hip Flexor and cold don’t hold me back and I can push on to run a negative split and get close to my personal goal of running 2:24:59. My coach and I both agree on this plan, as Christchurch will be my first marathon, so I’ll be learning and feeling my way though most of the race and have no real idea regarding what to expect.
I’ve been around the course today and if the conditions are fine, the flat roads will pay dividends to fast times all round.
So, until next time – who knows what will happen… game on!
For the second year in a row, the annual New Balance 15km road race was held out at Greenpark – Tai Tapu, on a two-lap flat course.
Going into this race I was confident I’d run well, with the past 18 weeks of training going smoothly with no real hiccups. I did however have a slight niggle, where on the Saturday (day before the race) my glut stopped firing and I was getting shooting pain through my Hip flexor. Obviously, I chose to ignore this, and turned up to the start line regardless.
Racing in New Zealand is often a weird phenomenon, as you have no real idea regarding who’s going to turn up on race day – how much better could it be if we arranged for top athletes to compete at the same races? Anyway, it was a good surprise to see Sam Wreford warming up. He’d been away in Kenya for the last 6-7 Months training at Iten, which is at about 10,000ft. Sam had been training specifically for the Marathon, so I knew he’d be in fantastic shape and would provide me with the perfect opportunity to run a quick time.
As the gun went off, I quickly learned that the first few kms were going to be fast. According to my GPS I ran 3:56 through the first 1km, and 8:58 through 3km. At this point there was a tight group of four runners: Sam Wreford, Blair McWhirter, Nick Rennie and Myself, and about 20-30m back Matt Ingram and Luke Hurring.
At about the 4km mark I knew I needed to consolidate and slow down as not to pop too early, as going out at 44:50 pace was a bit stupid. However, this turned out to be a stupid mistake, as I was about to find out… At about 6-7km Nick Rennie had popped and was going backward fast. As I ran past Nick I could see Blair 200m in front dropping off Sam, and indicated to Nick that I wanted to try and catch back up to Blair. Nick, however, was too far-gone, which left me in no-mans land, running directly into a headwind… At this point I turned off mentally. I was feeling great, strong with energy in my legs, but I didn’t have the confidence to try at catch Blair and risk my current 3rd position. So, for the final 7km I essentially tempoed, making sure Luke, who was now in 4th wouldn’t catch me.
I ended up in third running 49:31, which was 10sec slower that last year. But I honestly only run at 85% of my max. I’m frustrated I wasn’t able to push harder, and was too risk adverse to risk popping. As an athlete, the feeling you get from pushing through the impossible, gives you an addictive buzz. So coming out of this race, I had nothing. I’d essentially wasted a good opportunity to run fast, all for 3rd and $100 in prize money… Stupid.
Looking at the positive side, I’m certain I could have run much faster, and I’m glad it was this race I was soft in, not the Christchurch Marathon in a months time. I’ve learnt that to be satisfied from racing, It doesn’t matter what place I ultimately get, but if I’ve run as hard as I physically can, I’ll ultimately be stoked.
I need to risk more, to be more!
The last week’s training was big! – Easily over 110 miles combined with my best ever workout.
Don scheduled a 10 x 1km workout on Tuesday with a 2min recovery between each rep. Warming up for the workout I wasn’t feeling fresh, and overall a bit sluggish. But it’s weird sometimes before workouts and races, when you’re feeling a bit off; sometimes you do your best workouts.
So as the first few reps flew by, I became more and more relaxed. I was running about 3:06 per km for the first reps. At this point I vividly remember smiling to myself and chuckling as I knew I was floating and managing to run the speed easily.
As it’s winter now in NZ, it becomes dark early and very quickly. But weirdly, as it became pitch black on the course I was running, I started to run faster, finishing the last rep off in 2:56.
The best thing about the work out was Don’s response; “you’re not a pussy anymore.” To give some context, in the 80s Don ran numerous sub 2:15 marathons, and achieved a PR of 2:13. So obviously hearing Don’s classic feedback has given me definite confidence going forward for the final few weeks before the marathon.
The rest of the week was good too, as I travelled over to the West Coast primarily to run some large k’s but also to catch up with my sister too. I ran around 60km in 2 days, with two staggering runs. The first was a 20km tempo next to the Paparoa River, over a ridge and back out down the Punakaiki River. The trail was off road, but I used it as a ‘light(ish)’ tempo.
The second run was my Sunday morning run, which took me up to Hokitika’s Trigg station, with an elevation of about 400m and complete 360degree views; beautiful!
All in all, a very good week, both in-terms of workouts and long runs. Over the next few weeks, I’ll compete at the New Balance 15km race, and will continue to build my kms per week too
With seven weeks until the Christchurch Marathon I’m starting to turn up the heat with my training. This last week was focused toward recovering from the 180km the week prior, smashing a session of 800s, maintaining another 150km+ week, and racing well at the annual Hagley Relays… too much? Surprisingly, I’m still able to walk and although the legs are completely shattered, I’m getting by.
The advice from coach Don, was to keep the miles high, but to ease back on the pace as to recover further, with the intention of trying to hit quality times in my 800reps and running a good race at Hagley.
Overall, I’m happy with how the week panned out, achieving all of the above! Both the workout and race are the shortest workouts I’ll complete in this build-up. Hopefully, the injection of speed will help to wake up and speed up the legs.
I’m looking to wind the miles back up to 160km + next week with two steady state aerobic capacity workouts to help with the base…. Should be interesting!