>Racing>2023 The Waltons: Racing & Training Thread
Picked another 10lbs of grapes today and made grape juice concentrate. That's 26lbs and lots still left. I need to come up with some sort of purple cocktail for football season, it will be really easy to get rid of it (Baltimore Ravens, American football team, colors are purple & black).
Monday 2 miles easy + strength training
Tuesday am 4 x 5 min tempo + 6 x 200
Wednesday am 5 eassy pm strength training
Thursday 20 minutes easy
Friday am 6 with 3 tempo + 6 strides pm strength training
Sunday 4.8 with 1 x600+ 2 x400 + 4x200
MJ, a swim with 9000 people, yikes.
MJ& JW, these grapes have big seeds, so raisins wouldn't be an option.
JamesD, we had much cooler weather Thursday & Friday morning, followed by a record high today of 97 and more of that through Thursday. Grumble, so summer is not over.
Steve, nice week.
Mark, congrats on the final race in the series. lol that your DD wants to do it after hearing about the mud.
Fred, nice job on the HM! If more races get added, do you add those to the list (even the really flaky ones)?
Race report, Xterra Riverhead, 3 Sept 2023
This was the last race of the Xterra series. For the most part, I wasn't really "racing" these... this was just going to be something to keep me focused and add a bit of variety over winter. Except for Waiuku, when I moved into first place about halfway through the race, I definitely started racing that one. But what the hey, why not do a RR. This has been a super-fun series after all.
Anyway, every race so far has had its own unique features for a good chunk of the race...
Waitawa - clay ice-skating (no really)
Hunua - super-technical (i.e. good luck actually running it)
Shakespear - rocky coastline (good luck actually running on that too)
Totara Park - steps. Also cows that sometimes get a bit chasey.
Waiuku - sand.
This one was in Riverhead forest, where I do go running from time to time. The trails there fall into two categories - the main forestry roads which are gravel and well-maintained, and then there's the trails which are generally used by mountain bikers and range from well-maintained to practically overgrown.
The race was a mix of all of the above, 17.5km all up. Also mud, a lot of mud. Splashy mud, squelchy mud, dark mud, light mud, surprise mud. All kinds of mud. I lost count of the number of times I thought to myself "my 6 year old daughter would love this".
Anyway the race starts on the western edge of the forest and there's a brief stretch on Barlow Road (one of the main roads) before turning onto a secondary road which is still pretty decent quality trail. The long course (which I'm running) and super long course start at the same time and run together until the first course split so you don't really know who you're up against. I start pretty conservatively because if you don't, the trail monsters will eat you alive. The first big hill, and the first nasty race director trick is 2km in. Having looked at the map, I figured this hill was Murder Hill. OK, Jones Road, but it's more fun calling it Murder Hill. Actually it is the muddy mountain bike trail that runs parallel to Jones Road. It didn't seem as bad as I thought at the time but it did catch up with me at one point later.
There is some technical-ish stuff going down the other side (also quite muddy) and luckily there's a runner about 20m ahead of me which is perfect for trying to spot the most efficient / least muddy path. Couple of entertaining collisions down here - one with a small dead tree which I barely noticed at the time but discovered later had left a decent scratch, the second with another runner who decided to try and pass me on a narrow section without saying anything to let me know he was there. This is basically the trail running equivalent of walking in lane one so I let rip at him ("FFS it's "on your right" dude!) but no (actual) harm done, luckily. He has a man bun so you know it was all his fault (not my words, my wife said that after the race, probably true though).
Anyway over a stream crossing and the next hill was entertaining because there was a guy who had clearly mastered the very slow jog up the long, steep hill, whereas I tend to run / walk the tougher hills, particularly when its muddy or soft underfoot, and we played a funny yo-yo game for five minutes or so. After that we're on Longbush Road which is one of the main forest roads and there's a nice long easy downhill stretch to rest the legs. The first aid station is around 5km in and I notice a guy stopped there who I had a good chat to during the first race, hopefully that's not the end of his day.
Next up is another technical trail section, actually a mountain bike trail called "Not For You", so of course I had Pearl Jam stuck in my head for the next ten minutes ("Restless soooooooul... enjoy your youth"), then the first course split has the super long course runners going one way and me going the other. I figure I am probably in second behind the guy that has smashed everyone in every race all series except the last one where I somehow beat him, but that's a total guess. There's a nice easy stretch on gravel road through here on to Whakatahi Road, at which point we've crossed over to the eastern edge of the forest (where I normally start my runs throguh here).
Quite a long climb up here back to Longbush, normally I'd run the whole thing but my legs are a bit munted after the alternate route up Murder Hill, so I walked for a minute or so to recharge through the middle. After the second aid station (I think 10km?) it's into some more technical trails, which after a tricky downhill section leads to probably my favourite part of the whole race. The track widens out a bit, some gentle contours but nothing too tough aside from the odd large mud puddle, and yet its very much in the heart of the forest. Its blissfully quiet apart from bird noise and feels totally off the grid. 2 or 3km of just... fun. I think that's the best thing about trail racing. You get moments like this where you're just out in nature enjoying the ride. Not thinking about pace, or anything, just enjoying the ride. I looked at a map later and discovered the trails through here were MRGA and Blackwoods so I'll maybe have to venture back sometime.
We've drifted NW at this point so I'm starting to wonder what's in store. The northern part of the forest is very different to the south where there is active commercial logging in places. It's like they planted the forest and then just decided never to do any of the maintenance you generally do in commercial forests and basically just left it. The top end of ANZAC Road is actually really fun but I've no doubt there are some really rough trails here too and I recall from the course map that there's one really tough hill to go.
There's a short stretch on Campbell Road which I recognise from the main loop I normally run and then yep, sure enough, they've saved something special for the last few km of the last race of the series. The hill is "only" 1km long but its around a 10% grade and very muddy in places. Well played, race director.
It was actually almost worth it for the descent which was a really neat forest trail. Lots of turns and a little steep in places so you couldn't really go fast but it was good fun and quite forgiving underfoot. You did have to stay alert as there were a few obstacles and the trail markings here weren't always super obvious. But it made for a bit of the other great thing about trail racing which is adventure and exploration, but not quite so much that you are in fear for your wellbeing.
It levelled out just before the last turn with a sign that indicated 1.5km to go. Around this point I got passed by the lead super-long runner (he did say "on your right" even though the trail was quite wide here too so man-bun was definitely in the wrong). He is flying along so good on him. There are some enormous mud puddles through here, most of which I don't make much effort to avoid because it's not far to go and a straight line is the fastest route. Also I think my wife and daughters are coming to watch the finish and Miss 6 will be disappointed if I do not demonstrate a suitable level of muddiness (Miss 0.25 will have no clue what is going on). This series has been one big, crazy adventure and its a little nostalgic, almost sad, that the last finish line is soon approaching.
Soon enough I can hear the PA and its a short (but slightly tired) climb up to the finish line. I hear my wife before I see her (pretty much as usual) and it's a great buzz to know they are there at the finish, as this is the first race they've been able to make it along to in quite a while. Plus I got second, and even bigger plus I get the series medal which is one of the harder-earned medals going around (finish all 6 series races, no exceptions) and one of the sweeter pieces of race bling I've seen. Also then the family gets to share another great thing about this series... free hot chips and drinks at the finish (and free beer if you're that way inclined)!
3,000m: 9:07.7 (Nov-21) | 5,000m: 15:39 (Dec-19) | 10,000m: 32:34 (Mar-20)
10km: 33:15 (Sep-19) | HM: 1:09:41 (May-21)* | FM: 2:41:41 (Oct-20)
* Net downhill course
Last race: Omaha HM, 3 Dec, pushed the limits.
Up next: The Goat, 20 Jan, don't die.
"CONSISTENCY IS KING"
Congratulations, Fred! What's your next challenge? You could try to beat your best times at each of the (still-existing) halfs on your list.
Wow he did 27 of those James! Congrats on that fantastic 5k time, I envy you for that!
Fred - great week & race in those conditions, that is really super mileage right there. Now give your legs a bit of rest before you get back at it.
Half - I just wonder, is there a conversion like 1 pound of grape harvesting equals 3 miles of hard running? I would try and do grape soda that can be mixed with anything? Sounds like a lot of grapes, maybe you can trade them in with a neighbor for other produce? Hm, tough one. You are still finding time to go running, so that's great.
Mark - great performance there, even on the more technical terrain you are getting closer to the wins. Glad to hear you really enjoyed it. I saw the picture and thought to myself: is that a unicorn headband -thats really cool. And: beautiful medal, really nice. Hope you do it again next year! They have a few smaller trail races here in Europe and maybe you can be the first NZ athlete to win UTMB after it went to the US for the mens for the first time
Steve - great week - your workout was longer than your long run Sounds like a monster workout btw. and I learned what AeT is. Have a hardtime hitting my paces for I and T, and for me that is anyhow a blurr of what HM pace is. But I guess that comes with practice and speed
Darkwave is missing in action - I assume she is stuck in the mud at burning man.
My week was solid, but had to put together a few Ikea cabinets so had less time to do cross training. But I guess 1 Ikea Cabinet = 2k so I almost hit 60 miles for the week
Wow he did 27 of those James!
Wow he did 27 of those James!
Yeah, and at Fred's rate, he should be able to do them in about two years, or sooner if some of the races don't exist any more. I'm seriously impressed by how often he races. I've run 31 races in the last 10+ years. That's not much more than. a year's worth for him.
Post-1987 PRs: Half 1:30:14 (2019); 10K 39:35 (2019); 5K 19:12 (2017); Mile 5:37.3 (2020)
'23 Goals: health; consistency; age-graded PRs; half < 1:30
Sorry I've been AWOL, I've been very busy, I'll update in the weekend.Mark - congrats on the win. I don't know if you saw this? Right now, the race shoes for Nike are not available in store, so I wonder if that will change? Otherwise, it's going to be a new race shoe brand for you, or overseas holidays!https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/132896126/nike-cancels-app-and-axes-online-shopping-in-new-zealand
PRs: 5km 18:43 (Dec 2015), 10km 39:59 (Sep 2020), half 1:26:16 (Sep 2016), full 3:09:28 (Jun 2015)
40+ PRs: 5km 19:31 (Oct 2020), 10km 39:59 (Sep 2020), half 1:29:39 (Jun 2018), full 3:13:55 (Sep 2022)
Watson - yeah it seems pretty crazy to be honest. The flagship store on Queen St does stock VFs so it’s not the end of the world, but it just seems like a really odd thing to do. I’m not against trying something different though as the Saucony Endorphin Elite looks interesting and I’ve liked their other shoes.
Hawkes Bay Marathon Race Report - August 26, 2023
Race Time: 3:21:05Overall Placement: 50 out of 450
After achieving a 3:13 finish at the Rotorua Marathon last year, my eagerness for another marathon in 2023 was undeniable. The decision came down to two options: Hawkes Bay in May and Wellington in June. Despite the convenience of the local Wellington race, the notorious wind risk led me to choose Hawkes Bay.
However, a twist of fate occurred in February when a cyclone caused substantial damage in the area. Consequently, the race was rescheduled to August 26th, with a modified course. I also had to contend with a bout of Covid-19 in March, which took a toll on my training. Had the race been in May, I might have had to downgrade to the half marathon.
My training cycle from June to August was solid, mirroring the volume of my previous year's marathon preparation, which admittedly was considered low volume for a marathon.
During my preparation, I incorporated three predictor workouts/races. One workout went well in terms of pace, but the other workout (a steady long run) and a 10km race a week before the marathon were about 8 seconds per kilometer slower than expected.
Race Conditions and Course:
The Hawkes Bay Marathon course was primarily flat but consisted of roughly 50% hard-packed trails. In the lead-up, I had assumed these trails wouldn't significantly affect my pace, but in reality, they did slow me down.
I arrived at Hawkes Bay on Thursday for the Saturday race. Friday was relatively calm, with race packet pickup and a chance to unwind. Fortunately, Friday night's sleep was restful.
Race morning came, and there were buses available from two locations to transport us to the start. I was fortunate that my accommodation was only 500 meters from one of the bus stops. We departed at 7 am and arrived at the start around 7:10 am.
The race was scheduled to begin at 7:45 am, and I quickly realized there were limited toilet facilities with a long queue. Once I was done, I had only a brief window for a quick warm-up, some drills, half a banana, a hydration drink, and dropping off my bag.
Although there may have been some late starters, the official race times were recorded only at the mats (though the prizes for Men and Women open 1st, 2nd, and 3rd were based on the finish line).
I positioned myself in the start corral, which was located on a grassy area. Before the race, I briefly chatted with a colleague who is one of the better women's masters in my region (she finished 3rd with a time of 3:01).
And then, the race began.
Many participants started at an incredibly fast pace, so my initial kilometers involved overtaking quite a few of them. The early part of the race took us west, where I encountered a stronger westerly wind than anticipated.
The first 3.5 kilometers were on the road before transitioning to the hard trail. I completed the first 10 kilometers in approximately 45 minutes. Officially, my pace was faster, but this year the course was slightly short, with markers indicating distances like "40 kilometers to go" working out to 42 kilometers in total, not the standard 42.2 kilometers.
Despite the challenging conditions, I felt pretty good. I passed the 11-kilometer mark, went through the drinks station, and consumed a significant amount of water. Unlike previous marathons, I had prepared meticulously for hydration and fueling, and I executed this aspect of my race plan well.
One other highlight was my Adios Pro 2 running shoes, which had sustained some damage from previous races. I had hoped they would hold up, and thankfully, they did.
During the race, I struck up a conversation with a fellow runner who was tackling his first marathon. He was aiming for around 3:15 but had a background in ultras and a half marathon time of 1:16. He mentioned he had been unwell, so he was taking a cautious approach (he ultimately finished around 3:11).
Around the 19-kilometer mark, I began to notice a slight slowdown as we approached the port area. Surprisingly, the wind was even stronger there, coming from the southwest, which was concerning given that the second half of the race was almost directly south. I held onto the hope that the small hill around the port might influence the wind direction.
The next kilometer led me out of the port area, but the wind persisted. Additionally, the temperature was rising, so I removed my gloves and stashed them in my back pocket.
Kilometers 24 and 25 were both completed in 4:41, confirming my suspicion that my pace was slipping. At approximately 29 kilometers, the course became more challenging, with more trail running, turns, and slight inclines and declines as we passed under and around bridges.
As the race progressed, I felt like my race shoes had gone flat, which is never a good sign. I could only imagine how much worse it would feel in regular shoes.
By my calculations, going sub 3:20 seemed unlikely. I was grateful that I wasn't on a personal record pace because it became increasingly clear that the course was short.
I passed numerous half marathon walkers and a few marathoners who were struggling more than I was. However, a few marathoners also overtook me, including a couple of women who appeared to have paced themselves exceptionally well.
The finish area was well-organized, with a branded final stretch of about 100 meters. I crossed the finish line, grabbed some hydration cups, removed my shoes, and began walking on a stony path for about 20 meters, which was slightly painful.
In hindsight, I wouldn't choose to run this race again, despite its excellent organization and the beautiful location of Hawkes Bay. The slower trail sections, coupled with the frustratingly short course (compared to what Strava data from 2022 indicated), left me with mixed feelings about the event.
Watson - Thanks for the race report and congratulations on the race. I also find trails slow me down, even crushed limestone. Maybe it's not that they slow me down, but modern shoes get a lot more bounce/energy off of asphalt than they do softer surfaces. I share your frustration with short courses. I was on PR pace for an HM that was coming up short and I kept running hard through the finish, past the people handing out medals. In retrospect, it was poor form, but by the end of a half I'm not always rational.
James, Mick - I do like to race. I've actually done 44 halves in the past eight years, plus assorted shorter races and three marathons. I enjoy the event; mixing with other runners before, during, and after; running with other people; the atmosphere of the whole thing. Might I have faster times if I focused on fewer races? Maybe, but I would not have as much fun. No new challenges - now I get to run the halves I want to run, not the ones I need to cross off my list.
Mark - Congratulations on the podium and the series medal. Thanks for the RR. I got a smile from the part about hearing your wife before you saw her.
Kathi - You are certainly determined to use up those grapes! Good job. No, if new races show up I don't feel obligated to run them. I may do so out of curiosity if they look good, but the quest is over.
Thanks to all for their words of congratulations and support on ending my HM quest. The last race was tough even if run slowly. It was so warm by the end (pushing 80º / 27C in the shade, of which there was little over the last three miles) that the ambulance stationed at the finish line had to leave twice to tend to runners. I drained my 16oz water bottle three times during the race and twice at the finish and was still dehydrated. Happily, I won the 2023 in 2023 HM race point by 25 seconds.
5k 23:48.45 (3/22); 4M 31:26 (2/22); 5M 38:55 (11/23); 10k 49:24 (10/22); Half 1:48:32 (10/22); Marathon 4:29:58 (11/23)Upcoming race(s): Turkey Trot, 11/25; Hangover 5k, 1/1
Watson - Enjoyed your race report. Sorry it wasn’t a great experience (short courses in goal races are really frustrating), but it’s good that there were some positives. What was the “branded final stretch of about 100 meters” in the finishing area? Were there lots of signs advertising the race sponsors?
Fred - You mentioned an ambulance stationed at the finish line of your quest-ending half. I don’t know if this is common, but when we lived in Mozambique and DW ran her first race, a New Year’s Day (so midsummer there and hot) 15K, the ambulance followed the last runner. She said that reassured her that nothing too bad could happen, as the ambulance driver could see her the whole way.
I accompanied DW today to cheer for and give water to some of her workout friends doing a small local 5K and 10-miler sponsored by the Y three blocks from our home. We saw the friends off at the start, then walked back home and went to the riverwalk just below our apartment building to wait at the 1.5- and 5-mile marks of the respective runs. She had decided this morning that she wanted to set up a card table and give water to friends and any leftover water to others, but I convinced her that the other runners who didn’t get anything would be unhappy and that the race director (who directs nearly all of the races in town) wouldn’t appreciate a surprise water table that people might think was official. Instead, we just sat on our cooler and handed her friends bottles as they came by. It was getting warm by the time they got to us, and they really appreciated it, especially since she had only told one of them. One of the ones who hadn’t known about it screamed, “Best! Friend! Ever!” when she saw us holding out bottles, and another praised her on Facebook. The races were small enough that there weren’t other runners nearby when her various friends came, so nobody got upset.
Sun - 7.5 miles very slow treadmill (30:25 AM/60 PM) + 0:40 walk breaks/6 mins
Mon - 8.3 miles in park @ 8:45, temp 89/32, TDP 151
Tues - 48 minutes swimming
Weds - 6.4 miles in park including 2.5 @ 7:15, temp 87/31, TDP 155
Thurs - 7.5 miles very slow treadmill (60:25 AM/30 PM) + 0:40 walk breaks/6 mins
Fri - 8.3 miles in park @ 8:46, temp 89/32, TDP 145
Sat - ~51 minutes swimming
Total - 38 miles
YTD Average - 36.5 mpw
Hot Weather Complainer
watson - Really enjoyed the race report. How hard is it to get the course length right??? So annoying. Glad you hung in there. Maybe Christchurch next time?
Fred - That really is an impressive number of races!
James - I can see how much that would be appreciated in the warm weather, great stuff.
My week - Pretty solid with 2 workouts. Felt a bit flat on Wednesday and couldn't really get the legs turning over. I wasn't close to the line or anything just couldn't get the pace up. Yesterday was much better, 6km of tempo into the wind around 4:15-20 then 6km with the wind around 4:07-10. My goal pace is 4:07-08 but I wasn't too worried about hitting that, especially into the wind. It will be much easier when I'm a bit fresher. My HR got a bit too high into the wind and stayed up there, but it felt pretty comfortable with the wind. I even put the brakes on a few times. Should be a slightly lighter week with a threshold workout on Wednesday and Park Run on Saturday which my coach has titled "Vo2 booster".
5km: 18:34 11/23 │ 10km: 39:10 8/23 │ HM: 1:26:48 9/23 │ M: 3:34:49 6/23
Motorway Half Marathon February 25, 2024
Christchurch Marathon April 21, 2024
Continuing the theme of NZ races completely f**king things up, this happened today at the Dunedin marathon. The course is certified but perhaps the lead car driver isn't. My coach planned to run it as a tempo type race as he wasn't tapered or fully trained. It's a small race so a tempo for him still had him in the lead:Hey team. A bit of an update for those who are interested & wondering how coaches day went Running nice and comfortable today up the front. Following the lead vehicle as you do. Unfortunately after about 18km the driver pulled over and let me know I’d run well past the turn around point and he’d made bit of a booboo. (I ran an extra 4.6km) They then suggested I get in the car and they drop me back at the front of the race . Obviously I wasn’t ok with that idea, so just decided to run to where Sarah was waiting with a bottle, called it a good tempo for the day. Considered running to 42.2 on my watch, but figured I can’t call that a pb anyway, so not worth the cost on the body. A little gutted just because I felt like I was having a really effortless run, but wasn’t really all that keen to run the Dunedin ultra today They race director and staff were and are incredibly embarrassed about it all. One of them even cried Anyway. Shit happens, felt nice to move well atleast!
Ended up juggling my week a bit as I was expecting the weekend to be a sick kid scenario but thankfully things panned out better than expected. This was a lighter week anyways but the Wednesday and Friday workouts both came out quicker than expected.
That's a shocker, and sounds like a genuine fault by the lead driver given they went to some effort to get the course certified. Super frustrating though. Something similar happened in the Devonport HM a few years ago where the lead bike took the lead group in the wrong direction for 500m or so, which ended up impacting the race result.
Steve - great week and I had a good laugh there. OMG, quite incredible. He does seem to be in good shape though.
Mark - good to hear that the kids are better and your workouts faster than expected!!!
Watson - really enjoyed the read. Tough conditions with the gravel and the wind...that makes a huge difference of course...
My week was solid - I did have to travel a bit for work, so it was lighter than expected. I am now in Southern France and it is humid and warm - so tough when you are not used to it. 5 runs, 1 bike session.
Mark - I'm glad the sick kid scenario didn't play out. Nice week.
Steve - I had a lead biker take an early turn on a 5k (which was already well short thanks to the RD's inability to read a map), but what happened to your coach seems orders of magnitude worse.
Mick - Good job on the solid week.
I took a few days off to stay at the shore (i.e. where there's no shade) only to arrive in what turned out to be the hottest week of the year. After a soaking wet easy run on Monday I opted to abandon the scheduled speed workout on Tuesday and enjoy my vacation instead of spending the day trying to rehydrate. With that, my week was a little lighter than planned at 43.1 miles / 69.3km / 7:59:39. Next week's weather looks a little better, so I hope to be back over 50 miles again.