Thursday, December 29, 2011

10 km Training Walk

I wanted to get my walk in early today so that there would be some time to do work around the house later in the day. I decided to start measuring the 10 km right from our place even though this meant race walking up some reasonably challenging slopes as well as the steep downhill into town. I decided to complete the 10 km on the flat and not to measure the uphill walk home.

My speed was up and down but not as slow as my last walk. It was cooler today with a watery sun trying to poke through the clouds. My average speed was 6:54/km with average HR of 143 bpm.

10 km Training Walk

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

10 km Training Walk

I was dressed and ready to do this walk yesterday. We dropped Philip's mother at the airport around 1:00 pm but I didn't feel like training in the heat of the day so we did some shopping then went and had a late lunch. I really didn't feel like walking after that so we didn't bother.

This morning I got up and made some blueberry pancakes. The plan was to walk leisurely the first few km down the hill towards Wellington and to start measuring the 10 km once we got onto the flat. I left it about 300 m or so before I turned my watch on because I was struggling to get up any speed. It was hot with a moderate northerly wind that was behind us most of the way. I never really found any speed or rhythm today and managed to average only 7:40 per km even though I was trying to do much better. My left ankle is feeling quite sore so I may try to see the doctor this week to see if I can have it scanned.

We ended up walking (not race-walking) back to town again before getting a bus home so probably walked around 18 km in total.

10 km Training Walk

Saturday 24 December - 3 x 2 km with 3 min rest, 2 x 1 km with 2 min rest

We dropped our friends off at the airport at 10:30 am then headed to the track for this workout. Philip was set to film me whilst I did all the hard work. I was surprised to find the track quite busy but the other users were happy to share. I started with a few laps in lane 8 to warm up and wondered if I would have a worthwhile session given how stiff I was at the start.

I was pleasantly surprised to complete my first 2 km in 11:41 but I was slow to get started again after the rest period. My next 2 km was 12:06 and the final one 12:14. I was a hot day and I found this session pretty hard. The first 1 km was 6:06 and the second 1 km 6:01 for a total of 48:08 for 8 km. I was pleased to have that one under my belt. I am sure these sessions are very beneficial but they call for a big effort!

I will add some photos and video clips here shortly.

3 X 2 km with 3 min rest + 2 x 1 km with 2 min rest

Thursday, December 22, 2011

15 km Training Walk

I was feeling pretty stiff and not very motivated about doing a long walk today. It was sunny but there was a strong southerly wind. I decided to relax and concentrate on pushing off my toe and not to worry too much about pace. I was also trying to keep my core strong and lifted. To my surprise I was managing to keep under 7 min/km. I expected this would slow down over the last few km so I tried to lift my effort a little in the return half with the tail wind. I was even more surprised to be able to increase my speed right to the end and to finish with an average pace of 6:55. I had told my colleague before I went out that I should do 15 km in 1:45 but would be likely to go closer to 2 hours. It was pleasing to be wrong on that count and to finish in 1:43:55.

15 km Training Walk

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

12 km Training Walk

I did try to include 2 x 5 min @ 10 km pace in this walk but I was pretty much unsuccessful. My legs and the strong wind just didn't allow it to happen. I did a pretty good race the night before so I shouldn't be too disappointed.

12 km Training Walk

Tuesday 20 December - 5 km Waterfront Race

I struggled to get to the race on time so did not get any warm up. It showed in a slow first lap, also contributed to by a strong head wind. I was pleasantly surprised at my second lap and my overall pace to finish the 5 km in 30:01.

5 km Waterfront Race

Sunday, December 18, 2011

15 km Training Walk

Today was the Christmas lunch for the Scottish walkers. The arrangement was to meet at 9:00 am for a walk and to head to David Lonsdale's place for a barbeque after 11:00 am. I knew there would only be time for 15 km and my idea of arriving in time to do 5 km prior to meeting up with the others was not likely to happen. Sure enough, Philip and I only just managed to get to the starting point in Island Bay at 9:00 am. Five of us headed round to the back of the airport whilst a larger group headed in the opposite direction for a short walk followed by a long coffee stop at a cafe called 'The Bach'.

There was a strong cool southerly wind blowing which was largely helpful on the way out and slowed us down on the way back. I managed to catch my foot on some flax and trip over but fortunately only slightly grazed my hands. I managed an average pace of 7:23 which was not bad.

At David's some of the walking prizes were presented to those who missed the Scottish Athletics prize giving in November. I got the silver medal for the club walking championship for the third year - watch out Robyn - I'm aiming for the gold medal next season. I also got the trophy for the club 'All-rounder' competition in the winter. There were 12 races in this competition and the best 9 results were counted. Two other awards were a surprise - a gold medal for the club half marathon champs. I knew I won the Wellington Half Marathon but I didn't know the club awarded a medal for this event. I also got a trophy for contribution to walking for the past season, apparently because I entered all the races held over the season. I like to support the club as much as possible and it is nice to have this recognised.

15 km Training Walk

Saturday 17 December - Scottish Night of Miles

This is an annual event with the $10 per family entry fee going to the Mary Potter Hospice. Philip and I arrived just before 3:00 pm to help with registration and any other chores needed. The one mile walk was scheduled for 7:00 pm. It was cold and windy so I knew a good warm up was needed. It was great to see Quentin arrive to race and to see some young runners decide to give the walk a go. This race was a handicap on our club calendar. I usually do badly in such events - one previously good result can mean you get impossible handicaps forever more. I enjoy races with young Stuart and Andrew entered since they are faster than me but close enough for me to strive to catch them up. I came close to passing Andrew on the last lap but he narrowly held me out. I was please with my time of 9:11 for the mile. In the hurry to get to the track I forgot to take my Garmin.

I decided to also enter the handicap spiral race as a walker. Kevin and I started at the same time as 80+ runner Michael Browne. We completed one lap before the first runner started and were on about lap 5 when the last runner started. In this race competitors start in lane 8 and move over to the next lane each time they pass the start/finish lane. Most runners passed me in the last few laps but I did manage to finish ahead of a few people to finish the 3.4 km in 20:17. I felt good during that walk and not at all hampered by the previous race.

Friday, December 16, 2011

12 km Training Walk

I had planned to do this walk yesterday but the weather and a busy schedule deterred me. There were no speed bursts specified in my programme but I decided to try a put in some faster efforts to give me a better average rate. I was lucky with the traffic lights at the start but not on the way back. It was quite hot out despite a reasonably strong southerly wind and I felt pretty comfortable throughout the walk. I managed an average pace of 6:38 for the first 11 km but those intersections and the hill on the last 500 m lowered the overall rate to 6:43.

12 km Training Walk

Tuesday 13 December - 5 km Waterfront Race

I was a bit delayed getting away from work so my hurried walk to the waterfront was quite a good warm up. As there were no walkers in front for me to chase, I set myself the target of passing some of the slower runners. I did pass some and managed to keep close behind one runner until 1 km from the end. I felt comfortable throughout the race and was happy with my time of 30:20 considering this was my 6th consecutive day of walking.

5 km Waterfront Race

Monday, December 12, 2011

5 x 1 km (2 min rec)

I was glad to have a short session after the long walk yesterday, even if it was intense. Ideally I would have liked to do 5:45 per km but anything around the 6 min mark would be good. I forgot my heartrate monitor strap today but that was not a problem. The weather was calm and slightly drizzly - perfect for walking. My first 500m was 3:10 so I tried to increase my speed for the second 500m to finish the first km in 6:08. The next 4 km were 5:55, 5:48, 5:55 and 6:07 for an average pace 0f 5:58. I was sweaty and tired afterwards having put in a good effort.

5 x 1 km with 2 min recovery

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Catching Up

Sunday 11 December - 20 km Training Walk

Philip got me to drop him at the track at 8:30 am where he was officiating at the national Secondary School champs so I got an early start to my walk today. I parked near the French cafe at the bottom of the Ngaio Gorge thed walked out to the Ngauranga Gorge before turning to walk into town and around the bays. This out and back route would allow me to do 20 km with only a couple of road crossings. It was a perfect day for walking - overcast and calm. I wore a camelback today which is easier to walk with than my backpack and easier to drink from than grabbing the drink bottle. I got back to my starting point after 4.5 km and mentally calculated that with 15.5 km left to go, I should turn around after 12.75 km. That was wrong. Considering I have a honours degree in maths, my mental arithmetic should be better! I should have turned around at 12.25 so I ended up walking 21 km this morning. It wasn't as hard out there today as it was last Sunday but I was still feeling pretty fatigued for the last few km. I was pleased to average 7:28/km for the 21 km - that's much better than last week but still way below my capability. I have managed this pace for a whole marathon a number of times but that was before I got my glutes doing any of the work!

21km training walk

Saturday 10 December - 3 x 2 km with 3 min rest

My daughter had asked me to take her shopping this morning but I ended up buying more than she did. The one-hour of shopping extended to around 3 hours so it was 2 pm when I got home. I hadn't eaten since breakfast since I don't like to sprint on a full stomach so I was hoping that my late morning latte would be enough to keep me going. I didn't want to drive to a flat spot so I decided to do some laps outside a large resthome complex not too far from home. This is relatively flat and does not involve crossing roads. I was pleased to discover that it was around 600 m in length. It was very hot and sunny and I had decided not to carry water with me. I expected this workout to be difficult but wanted to give it a good go. I was pleased to see that I managed 12:22 for the first 2 km and even more pleased to manage 12:09 for the second 2 km. I was pretty drained after the second sprint so managed only 13:12 for the third 2 km. This made a total of 58 km for the past week - not a bad effort!

3 x 2 km with 30 sec rests

Friday 9 December - 12 km with 2 x 5 min @ 10 km pace

I had put in a good effort for the 15 km on Thursday and wasn't sure if I could manage the 12 km today. 2 km sprints didn't seem that much easier and I felt I would manage Sunday's 20 km better if I did only 6 km on Saturday rather than 12 km. The weather was good and I managed a better pace a the start than I had done the previous day. I decided to do my fast efforts early on - at the start of 3 km and 5 km, aiming for 6 min/km pace over these. I was pleased to maintain a pace of 6:40 over the first 10 km and delighted to average 6:45 for the full 12 km.

12 km with 2 x 5 min @ 10 km pace

Thursday, December 8, 2011

15 km Training Walk

We had our team Christmas lunch today so I was feeling pretty full when I headed out a few hours later, despite being restrained at the restaurant. I had a slight stitch for the first km or so but I was able to settle into a rhythm after that. The weather was cool with a light southerly wind with the threat of rain that didn't eventuate. I was pleased to see my average pace dropping down as I continued the walk and finished the 15 km in 1:49 for an average pace of 7:15. I am feeling a bit stiff afterwards and my left ankle is quite tender.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

5 km Waterfront Race - Tuesday

I was still feeling the effects of the 20 km on Sunday so I knew I would not achieve a sub-30 minute time this night. It had been pretty wet for most of the day but cleared up before the race. Unfortunately the heavens opened up as we were standing on the start line so it was pretty wet for the first 500 m or so. I wasn't able to keep up with John but I tried to keep him in my sights and did manage to close the distance a bit in the second half. I reached half way at 15:16 so was pleased to capitalise on the southerly wind and finish in 30:27.

Monday, December 5, 2011

20 km Training Walk - Sunday

The plan was to start out reasonably early in the day so that we would have most of the afternoon to do other things. We didn't get up until around 9:00 am so it was 10:30 before we finally got out the door and immediately we had to stop and put our raincoats on.

We live on a hill so there is a downhill at the start then undulations before we get to the big downhill to the Hutt Road. I had expected to get off to a slow start but to pick up speed once we got to the downhill. That didn't happen unfortunately.

As we were getting close to the city along the Hutt Road we saw a race walker coming towards us. We rarely come across other race walkers out training and were pleased to say 'Hello' to Alana Barber as she sped past us looking fresh and strong. By then the rain had stopped and I was able to put my coat in my backpack. I don't like training with a backpack on but I needed to carry water and a change of clothes in case we got drenched since we planned to catch a bus back home after the walk.

This was the first time I had walked from home to town wearing my GPS watch and I was surprised to find that the distance to my office was only around 7 km - I had previously estimated it to be 1 km further than that which means my speed had been less than I imagined when walking in over the years.

My legs felt stiff and heavy and I was struggling to get them moving. It was a good thing that Philip was with me because I felt tempted to cut the session short today. I needed to complete the 20 km to prove to myself that I can hold my core strong for all that time but I could not get any speed on this session. My heart rate remained very low throughout even though it was taking a huge effort for me to keep walking. Philip picked me up on my technique with about 3 km to go, showing I wasn't able to hold my shape as well as I intended. We finished the walk at the Maranui Surf Club which has a cafe with great food and a wonderful outlook over the sea. After a tasty lunch we walked a few km to Newtown from where we could catch our bus back to Khandallah.

The 20 km took 2:43 but I did do 4 races including 2 pb times in the previous 8 days so I guess I can be excused. I have 20 km to do each week for a while so I'm hoping that all the rest will be considerably better than this one.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


I must have played the worst tennis ever in my interclub matches this morning. My head just wasn't in it, my timing off, first few steps to the ball at a snail's pace and the number of errors astronomical. To make matters worse my opponent was a good player who was quick around the court and made few unforced mistakes. The only good thing was that my singles and doubles were completed by just after 10:30 am so I was able to get to the race without a mad panic.

It turned out to be hot and sunny despite the brief shower that came over just as our tennis was starting. During the warm up it felt like the heat would take its toll and I would not do a good time. There were three walkers who were likely to finish ahead of me - Natasha Murrihi, Allanah Parker and Kevin Watson. I wanted to try and beat Kevin who is likely to be a close rival in our club's summer competition. I settled into third pace behind Kevin at the start but decided to pass him before I reached the start/finish line for the first time since I felt I could manage a quicker pace. My aim was for 2:24 laps so it was great to do the first 200 m in 1:11, the first 400 m in 2:16 and the first 1 km in 5:46. Unfortunately I missed hitting the lap button for three of the laps so I don't have a full break down. Allanah passed me after 1.5 laps and she passed Natasha a couple of laps after that to finish in first place.

I got a caution from Peter in my second lap which suggests that I was not walking well in the first 200 m and I received two more cautions within in the next two laps. With three laps to go I had one red card and a second one the next lap. I finished in third place in a time of 17:31 which was a 17 sec pb. I knew there was a good chance that a third card would come in and sure enough about 5 min after I finished, David informed me that I was disqualified.

It is clear that combining walking and tennis on the same day (or even on successive days) does not make for a good result for either sport. Tennis is a team sport and there are times I have to make myself available if other team members can't make it.

I may have got through the race without disqualification if I went a bit slower but I didn't feel strained at the speed I was doing and I don't want to always play safe. I won't know what I can achieve if I don't push the boundaries. I think today's issues were more in my head than anywhere else. I wan't concentrating as well as I needed to and I paid for it. I was pleased with the speed I achieved and feel that even better results will be possible in the future.

I will be put as the last finisher in our club competition as I was the only walker who was disqualified. I finished more than 30 sec ahead of Kevin but that counts for nothing. C'est la vie.

Friday, December 2, 2011

20 min With Stride Outs

I just wanted a gentle walk today since I have tennis in the morning followed by a 3 km race if I can get there. I really need to leave at around 11:00 am to get to the race in plenty of time (the race is scheduled for 12:20) but my tennis sometimes doesn't finish until 1 pm. Let's hope our matches are short tomorrow and that I'm able to go on first to play my singles otherwise I may not make the race. It's part of a regional series and included in our club's summer series so I'd like to get there if possible.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

10 km Training Walk

The weather today was fine and sunny with a moderate northerly wind. I was feeling pretty good - not too stiff in the legs after a fast 5 km on Tuesday but a little sore in the ankles after tennis practice last night.

I had planned to aim for 7 min kms and to concentrate on technique today. At the start it seemed like I may only manage 7:30 min/km and I thought that was okay given how I had struggled to go under 8 min when I was training in Motueka. I stopped at the 1.5 km mark to turn on the auto-lap function which I had turned off for the weekend's races. I was walking at a comfortable pace and realised that I was going to average well under 7 min/km. I was pleased to be able to maintain my pace into the head wind. The last km is always slow with 4 road crossings and an uphill at the end but I did achieve my adjusted goal of 6:45 /km.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A new PB for 5 km

The day started out a bit drizzly but by the time the race was due to start it was sunny with a moderate southerly wind. All my PB times for this event have been achieved when the wind is a southerly - probably due to the extra help that provides for most of the last km of the race. My hamstrings were a little stiff when walking from work to the race venue but over all I felt pretty good. At the start of the race I was keeping close behind John who often finishes around a minute ahead of me. I passed one of the slower runners in the first two hundred metres that I wouldn't normally pass until the 1 km mark. I was feeling so good in the first half that I was able to catch up with John and to walk beside or slightly ahead of him for some of the way. I was pleased to reach halfway in 14:33 - this was probably at least 15 seconds faster than I have managed previously.

John pulled away from me after the halfway point but I was able to stay in touch and to narrow his lead when I picked up the tail wind for the last km. I knew it was likely to be a pb time and was very happy to break my old time by 20 seconds to finish in 29:10. I wouldn't have thought this was possible 6 months ago. Even though the event is not judged I felt my technique was pretty good and will work towards a judged sub-30 minute time the next occasion there is a 5 km race at the track. My heart rate was reasonably steady and rose a bit with the extra effort in the second half to average 162 bpm.

A couple of hours after the race my legs feel really good but my toes remain sore. I would really struggle to stand on tip toes at the moment. I am hoping it is because I am now getting push of the toes that wasn't happening before and that it will settle down as this part of my body becomes conditioned.

Monday 28 November - 5 km stretch out

I was keen to get out today to check out how my legs would go after yesterday's race. The weather was forecast to deteriorate so I decided to go out at midday whilst it was still fine, albeit with a strong gusty wind. I forgot that I had taken the autolap off for my races at the weekend so I don't have any lap breakdown. I didn't push myself and was happy to average under 7:30 min/km which was my goal for the session. I completed 5 km in 36:52 at an average pace of 7:22 with an average HR of 117 bpm.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

NI Masters - 10 km Road Race

My glutes were feeling sore before the race started. This could be due to Friday's race, my 5 sets of tennis yesterday or standing for a few hours at a party last night using my core to stand up straight rather than slouch as I am often tempted to do. I guess it was a combination of all three things.

The course was 8 x 1.25 km laps on a lumpy course with a small rise at the top end. The weather was hot with a light breeze for which gave some welcome cooling. I was happy with my pace at the start. I went through the first two laps in the same times at around 6:11 pace. I was in second place for the first half of the race and passed the half way mark in 31:16. My glutes were really starting to hurt. It goes to show that there is still plenty of training needed to get them into condition but I was pleased to be aware that they were being engaged! I received my first warning in the 4th or 5th lap and another warning in the following lap. At the end of the 6th lap I saw that I had 2 penalties on the board and so slowed up to an easy pace to concentrate on keeping myself upright through the core. I hadn't seen any other warnings so I was pretty confident that I could get through without receiving any more cards. I lapped Philip (my husband) about 20 m before the finish and completed the race in 5th place in 64:20. It was not a great time (my PB is 61:00) but at least I was not disqualified.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

North Island Masters - 3 km Track Race

Friday 25 November

The race was scheduled to start at 6:30 pm so I left work at around 4:45 to make sure I arrived at the track in plenty of time. My legs were feeling very stiff and I knew it would take around 2 km for me to warm up. The forecast was for gale force winds but fortunately they didn't seem any worse than usual and the weather was fine and sunny but not too hot.

My goal was to get through without any penalties. Time was not that important but I was hoping to go under 18:30. I was the only competitor in my age group. I was happy with my start and settled into 2nd place for the first 200 m. I tried to maintain 2:24 lap pace (6 min/km). Vanessa (W45) passed me at the start/finish line but never got more than 20 m in front of me. I could hear a walker close behind me and David finally passed me after 3.5 laps. I received a warning with just over two laps to go but did not see my number on the board at all. I crossed the line in 18:01. I was pleased with the consistent lap times showing on the recording sheet. We had visitors at home so I wasn't able to stay for official results or a final check of the judging sheet but the chief judge did tell me 'You were fine'. Yay!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

8 km Training Walk

It was pouring with rain with strong gusty winds so I was tempted to give training a miss today. This was my last real training session before the NI Masters and I hadn't race walked for a week so staying inside actually wasn't an option. My first 4 km was pretty much into the wind so I was pleased to have averaged 7 min/km for those first 4 km. With the benefit of the wind behind me I managed 30 sec per km faster for the second half to average 6:44 per km over all. This was encouraging after my slow sessions in Motueka last week.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

End of holiday

Sunday 20 November - Murray's Creek Reefton

We spent a couple of hours in the Blacks Point Museum in the morning and then headed out on a walk that was to take us past sites of a number of different disused gold mines where towns had sprung up in the 1870s and a previous open cast coal mine. The track started out very steep and became easier after an hour or so. We enjoyed the native bush, the friendly bush robins and bell birds and were fascinated by the various remnants of machinery that had been abandoned at the sites. We walked for around 5 hours in total for a thoroughly enjoyable day. I hadn't had an opportunity to recharge my GPS so didn't bother to wear it today.

Our quads are feeling pretty sore after two days with steep climbs. I guess that makes a change from sore hamstrings.

Saturday 19 November - Foley's Track and Mt Travers

Today we decided to climb one of the peaks in the Lewis Pass to give us a good view over all the hills in the area. Fresh snow fell on Thursday night and was still around on Saturday so we weren't sure what it would be like on the tops. We got to the tree line in half the time that the track information suggested. We were really only climbing at a steady rate so I hadn't expected to be that far ahead of schedule. The weather was fine with a cold but moderate wind so we had to put on coat, hat and gloves to continue our climb. We did have to cross some snow in our running shoes but all that went without incident and we got to the top in another hour. It was like being in the mountains with all the snow topped peaks around. It certainly was a good idea to base ourselves in the Lewis Pass for a couple of days to try some of the tracks that we have driven by so many times in the past.

Friday 18 November - Lake Daniels

This was a fairly flat, easy walk of 8 km each way to the hut then another km each way along a disused track to the head of the lake which was quite slow due to difficulty in finding the way. The scenery was beautiful and there was lots of bird life. We stopped frequently to admire the views and I didn't bother to stop the watch so the speed means nothing.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Holiday Walking

Wednesday 15 November

The aim was to walk 15 or 20 km today but I was pushed for time and knew I wasn't going to get that far. It was hot and for the second time I was struggling to go under 8 min/km. I didn't know I could walk that slow! I hadn't downloaded my last couple of training walks from the Garmin and it finally told me it had run out of space for lap recording. Unfortunately it beeped continuously after that so I had to turn it off so I'm not sure just how far I walked today. It was probably around 10 - 12 km.

Tuesday 14 November

We woke up earlier this morning so went for a walk around the estuary. I was trying to walk correctly but was making no effort to walk at speed. I hadn't worn my GPS since I planned to do a real training session later in the day. We walked sedately for about an hour - probably not more than 5 km. We met up with Nyle in Nelson for lunch then tried out some electric bikes. By the time we caught up with friends on the way back to Motueka it was time to go to my sister's place for dinner so the real walk didn't happen.

Sunday 13 November

I set out to do a 20 km walk but I was slow in the Motueka heat, averaging around 7:40/km. I stopped off to grab a drink of water from a friend and ended up chatting for over half an hour. I did walk 15 km but in three stints.

15 km training walk

Friday 11 November - 12 km with 2 x 6 min @ 20 km pace

I went out after work to fit this training session in before going out to dinner. That gave me a good incentive to move it along and fortunately I was able to do that. I averaged 6:54/km.

12 km training walk

Thursday, November 10, 2011

15 km Training Walk

I headed out after work wearing hat, gloves and a light jacket over my training gear since I had been warned it was cold outside. There was a strong southerly wind and it was threatening to rain but fortunately that held off. The wind direction meant that it was harder on the way out and the wind was behind me on the way back. I felt good today although my right Achilles was burning for the last few km. I was pleased to average 6:59/km which is the best time I have recorded for this distance in training. I felt more secure in my technique today which make the walk more enjoyable.

Monday, November 7, 2011

2 x 2 km + 4 x 500 m with 2 min recovery

Oh no! Each time I turned my GPS watch on it immediately turned off. I had uploaded from it last night and probably didn't check it was fully charged before disconnecting as I assumed it would have had plenty of time to charge up. I considered leaving my walk until after my tennis practice but I knew it would be difficult for me to get out at that time so I decided to do the workout using my stop watch and the 500 m markers on the waterfront. These are known to be not particularly accurate but were better than nothing.

The weather was good and I felt pretty good despite walking quite a bit recently. My times were: 12:08, 12:10. 2:45, 2:52, 3:01, 3:15 for an average speed of 6:02 min/km. That's a pretty good pace for a training session. It's a pity I didn't have a heart rate reading since it felt like my cardios were working pretty hard today.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

15 km Training Walk

One of our club members put out an email inviting walkers to meet at 8:30 am today for a 2 hour walk followed by a stop at a cafe. That suited me perfectly so three of us headed out with that in mind. I was still pretty stiff from my efforts yesterday so was actually finding it quite difficult to keep up with the other two. It was good to have other people to keep me going otherwise I may have been tempted to resort to ordinary walking before the end. I did try to concentrate on maintaining a good technique. It was lovely weather and I enjoyed the views of the Kaikora mountains in the distance during our coastal walk. Our average pace was 7:34 /km and my average HR was 120 bpm.

The other four walkers choose a shorter route with a hill and were waiting for us when we got back to the cafe.

Saturday 5 November - 12 km (including 3 km track race)

I needed to walk 12 km today to complete my programme for the week. There was a 3 km track race at 1:50 that was part of the club's summer walking competition. I planned to do 1.5 - 2 km as a warm up then complete the 12 km at the end of the race. I had a hard singles in tennis in the morning so did not want to walk too hard and risk being disqualified during the race. I decided a time of 19:30 or better would be okay. I

My lap times were: 1:11, 2:28, 2:29, 4:59 (2 laps), 2:30, 2:31, 2:35. I was not shown any warnings during the race but I was given a card for lifting in the last 50 m - I was concentrating on my knees and hadn't expected this. I actually did get one caution and one penalty for knees, both from the same judge but it was pleasing that the other 5 judges thought my knees were okay. My total time was 18:37:41 with average heart rate 157 bpm. I was the second walker from the club to finish so that gives me 18 points towards the all-rounder competition.

I did a 1.5 km warm up so had 7.5 km to do after the race. Philip and I walked together down to Island Bay and back. I walked 1 km further since it is too steep to race walk all the way back. We stopped at a cafe at around the 6.5 km mark to have a drink and a very late lunch and resumed race walker for another 1 km after a longish break. The average pace was 8:00 /km and average HR 118 bpm.

Friday, November 4, 2011

6 x 1 km with 2 min recovery

It was still quite windy today so I chose a course that was sheltered to some extent by buildings along the side. The times do reflect the fact that the odd numbered laps were into the wind and the other laps had a tail wind. I am still not a strong in my new technique as I would like (and thus not as fast) but I'm confident that my training efforts will eventually be rewarded with a increase in speed. I was happy with this workout.

The lap times were 6:26, 5:59, 6:17, 6:21, 6:39, 6:24 for an average speed of 6:20 and average HR of 152 bpm.

Thursday 3 November - 12 km with 2 x 6 min @ 20 km pace

The forecast was for rain later in the day so I headed out to walk early so that I could get back for a 1 pm team meeting. I knew it would be extremely windy but I decided to brave the waterfront anyway. 20 km pace for me is around 6:30 per km. I knew I would have to do this on the way out with the wind behind me as there was no chance of going this fast into the gale force winds. I figured 2 x 6 min was close enough to 2 x 1 km. Once I turned to head back I felt the full force of the wind which stopped me in my tracks at times. I struggled to stand tall and retain form under such an onslaught.

My lap times were: 7:42, 6:42, 6:32, 6:53, 6:41, 7:15, 8:23, 7:37, 7:43, 7:15, 7:47, 7:45

Average pace 7:21, HR 133 bpm

There are a number of road crossings in the first and last lap. My 8:23 lap was hard fought into the wind. I figure there 3-4 laps that roughly equated to 20 km pace. I was feeling stiff from the 5 km on Tuesday and didn't have any more speed in me.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

5 km Waterfront Race

My legs had been feeling really tight and I had a big lunch so I wasn't planning to go out hard today. I thought that a time under 32:30 would be okay and to go under 31:30 would be good. I felt comfortable once the race started and tried hard to keep my left arm in close to my body to prevent it coming across my chest. I did push myself reasonably well as was shown by my heart rate and I was pleased with my time of 31:08.

Sunday 30 October - Long Distance Championships

I set the alarm for 5:45 am and got up to make porridge for breakfast. I was glad of the 9:00 am start since I like to have around 3 hours between a meal and a race. (I'm sure the race started at 8:00 am the last three years). I did a good warm up and felt okay about the event but not confident since my left calf was still very tight even after the great massage that Nyle gave it the night before.

There was only a narrow space on the start line that had the mat for the transponders and that was reserved for Graeme who was walking the 50 km. I decided to hang back even though the seconds to the start would be lost since the outcome for me would not come down to seconds. My plan was to race conservatively and to cover the first 10 km in around 65 min. My first lap was 6:12 - a little faster than planned but a comfortable pace. I was trying hard to stand upright and walk as we had practised the night before. The first penalties when on the board at around the 4 km mark and I was pleased to see that my number was not among them. I did not receive any warnings or penalties in the first 7 km and I lapped the only other walker in my age group in around the 8th lap. I was aware that my pace was starting to slow considerably and my legs felt like they were tying up. I received 3 or 4 warnings in that 8th lap. At the start of the 10th lap I saw that I had 2 bent knee penalties. As I was already tightening up I knew that it would be a big ask for me to complete the 20 km so I tried to slow my pace a little more and to concentrate on my technique. Unfortunately the damage had already been done and I was pulled off the course opposite the start/finish line at about 9.7 km. I was almost glad that I was not allowed to continue for the full 20 km although I would have done so if permitted. The non-championship walkers were allowed to continue whilst disqualified but I did know this would not be the case for those entered in the championship. I have pointed out that this is the reason I did not enter the nationals in Dunedin in March since I was not prepared to pay considerable cost to travel to an event I may not be allowed to complete. I'm hoping the rule might be relaxed as it is in our local events where DQ'd walkers continue and receive a result in the non-championship category.

I am encouraged that my first 7 km did not attract the judges attention and hopeful that as I become stronger in my improved technique that I will be able to get through a 20 km event. I am seriously considering going to nationals in Auckland next year in order to get before the judges for another 20 km event.

Although disappointed for myself I was happy to see Nyle achieve a PB of almost a minute and automatic selection in the New Zealand team. Her achievements are an inspiration. I liked the Palmerston North course and would definitely like to enter the event again next year.

I didn't think to turn off my watch for 5 or more minutes after I was pulled off so the last lap doesn't give a proper indication of my pace. I chose not to wear my heart rate monitor strap as this sometimes chaffs and is inclined to slip down. I considered that the possible distraction was a risk.

Saturday 29 October - easy walk with stride outs

Sue, Nyle and I went down to the track on Saturday evening before dinner for a brief walk. Philip came too so that he could take some video footage. I asked Nyle to check my technique as Jim had told me. We began with 2 or 3 easy laps before turning on the watches. Nyle gave me a few pointers and Philip noticed an immediate improvement. I am hoping it can be seen in these video clips. We then did 3 laps with a 100 m stride out in each and then I continued to do do another 3 or 4 easy laps after that.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

4 x 1 Km

This was the last training session before Sunday's race. My legs had been feeling a little stiff today and my ankle a little sore following the tennis I played on Tuesday night. I had a 1 pm meeting scheduled so I couldn't walk until after walk. The wind has been really strong this week but fortunately it had abated today and conditions were very pleasant. I figured that 85% effort was around 6:45 min/km but perhaps I should have been trying to judge that by heart rate. I was feeling pretty comfortable so was very surprised to see the HR recorded in the first 500m. I certainly didn't feeling under any cardio stress and can't explain the high readings.

I keep walking slowly during the rest periods which I reduced to 2 min as I didn't feel I needed a longer break.

km 1 6:29
km 2 6:36
km 3 6:27
km 4 6:31

Avg pace 6:30/km, avg HR 155 bpm

Tuesday 25 October, 5 km Kickdown

I agreed to fill in for tennis doubles interclub on Tuesday night so I couldn't do the regular waterfront race. I decided to do a 5 km walk at lunchtime and to try to increase the speed over each km. The wind was strong and my start was very slow but my increase for the 2nd km was a bit too much. I managed another small increase in the 3rd km but dropped back for the next one. I went hard for the last km and achieved a good pace.

km 1 7:15
km 2 6:24
km 3 6:22
km 4 6:30
km 5 6:04

Avg pace 6:31/km, avg HR 148 bpm

Tennis was enjoyable despite (or maybe because of) the unpredictable gale-force winds. I had one narrow loss and one win.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sunday 24 - 15 km Training Walk

We had planned to walk at around 10:00 am on Sunday but when I opened the front door I discovered it had started raining. The forecast was for the rain to clear later in the day so we did some chores and headed out at around 2:30 pm. We drove down to Petone for a walk down the esplanade and along the Hutt river. We had quite a few interruptions in the first 5 km, to go back to the car to grab the camera, to give Philip a few opportunities to film me and to chat to a couple of other club members we came across on the way. I was not able to get into a rhythm and was very slow as a result. I was able to speed up on the way back to complete the 15 km in 1:53:21 for an average speed of 7:33/km and average HR of 126 bpm.

Friday, October 21, 2011

10 km Fartlek

I can't blame the weather for today's results. It was fine and not too windy. I was happy to go under 6 min for the first km but my first slower lap was too fast and I struggled to maintain that kind of pace. I was getting slow in kms 8 and 9 but I was determined to come in under 65 min so I started the last sprint 100 m early and managed to achieve that. Overall 1:04:52 for 6:29/km average.

1 km 5:51
2 km 3:10 + 3:07 = 6:17
3 km 3:27 + 3:06 = 6:33
4 km 3:23 + 3:04 = 6:27
5 km 3:23 + 3:03 = 6:26
6 km 3:22 + 3:07 = 6:29
7 km 3:24 + 3:09 = 6:33
8 km 3:37 + 3:11 = 6:48
9 km 3:50+ 3:20 = 7:10
10 km 3:23 + 3:00 = 6:23

Wednesday 19 October - 6 km Training Walk

I have yoga from 11 - 12 on Wednesdays and although I was tempted to walk after that, I decided I'd better go back to work. I ended up going out after work, thinking I might do the 800/200 workout I missed out last week. It was starting to rain when I got outside and there was a cold southerly wind. I didn't fancy the rest periods in this weather and I was struggling to get any speed up so I settled for a 6 km walk with a couple of 10 min pace sessions.

Total distance 6:28, total time 45:42 average pace 7:16

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

5 km Waterfront Race

I felt good during the walk today and pleased to see that I was able to speed up after the first km since I often go very fast at the start and don't have anything in reserve. My overall time of 30:07 is possibly the fastest I've done in a reasonably strong northerly wind. All my sub-30 minute times have been achieved in a light southerly wind. David Lonsdale (A grade judge) remarked that my technique looked good at the end which was encouraging.

I wore my new shoes and my orthotics so I should have been pretty stable in my feet today.

Monday, October 17, 2011

8 km Kickdown

Officially it was an optional day for training today but seeing as I have had very little racewalking in the past 9 days I chose to do the kickdown. I wanted to work up to some speed and thought this would be the ideal workout. I was also walking in my new orthotics for the first time.

I decided that 7 min/km pace would be an okay starting point but I was able to average 6:43/km for the first 2 km. I made a real effort to increase this for the next 2 km and achieved 6:25/km. My inexperience in this type of training session showed and I was not able to increase my speed for the next set, despite turning around to the wind behind me. I actually slipped back to 6:28/km.

I put on a sprint for the last set and averaged 6:20/km for an overall time of 51:53 and average speed of 6:28. I was happy with that.

set 1 6:43
set 2 6:25
set 3 6:28
set 4 6:20

Sunday 16 October - 2 Hour Training Walk

I had two hours to fill in Christchurch whilst Philip was in a meeting. It was immediately after lunch so I had no intention of walking fast. I started out walking around Hagley Park which was in good shape although the path had a few earthquake humps to watch out for. After a while I couldn't resist the urge to get as close to the centre of the city as possible. I was saddened to see the flowers and photographs of lost loved ones pinned to the barricade on the Bridge of Rememberance. A hotel that I stayed in a couple of years ago on business is in the process of being demolished. The Regional Council (ECAN) buildings I visited on that trip were fenced off so I wonder if they will survive. I was able to walk along Kilmore Street where the marathon used to start and finish and was pleased to see that the Town Hall and Conference Centre appeared to be not too badly damaged. Appearances can be deceiving though - I was told that a number of the buildings that seem to be okay from a distance are due to be demolished.

The backpackers hostel that we stayed in when we came down for nationals last year has been partly demolished but I was delighted that the lovely pub where we enjoyed a meal that trip survived. It appeared to be brick but I suspect now it may be veneer. There are three vacant lots full of bricks beside it where other buildings did not fare as well. It was sobering to see houses broken in the middle and the many vacant lots where demolitions have already occurred but great to see the resilience of Christchurch people.

My concentration was not on style or speed but I did complete 2 hours of racewalking which was well overdue.

Thursday 13 October - 17 km high country walk around the Clay Range

We had to drive up towards the skifield for this walk and then park the car. After only about 50m we had to take off our shoes and cross the Ryton River. It was not deep or wide but it was very cold. The walk was on a 4 wheel drive track in the hills and along a river valley. It was a lovely sunny day and I came back with traces of sunburn on my neck and arms. The highlight for me was Mystery Lake - a picturesque tarn that I could have been tempted to swim in if it had been summer. I was struck by the peace and the grandeur of the high country I would recommend these walks to others.

Wednesday 12 October - Peak Hill

This was an excellent walk to do to appreciate this district. The more you climbed up the more you could see of Lake Colleridge on one side and the Rakiaia River on the other. As you got even higher the sea became visible in the distance and of course there were the ever present snow capped mountains. The path was narrow and not easy to follow so progress was slow. We found a small rock to shelter behind out of the wind to enjoy our lunch and the excellent views. I will try to find a photograph taken from the top. The views were truly magnificent and I was so glad to have stumbled across such a great place to visit.

Tuesday 11 October - Round Hill valley walk

I had booked for us to stay at a high country station on the shores of Lake Colleridge. I found this through Google when searching for Canterbury walks. The situation was stunning with a large lake below and snow capped mountains around. The accommodation was basic and there was no television or radio reception.

We settled in then did a 1.5 hour walk around a small hill not far from our cabin. It was boggy in places and I managed to drench and dirty my brand new running shoes. The track was documented as taking 2.5 hours so it was good to know we could do it in 60% of that time. I particularly like the landscape around the back of the hill which was a delicate cover of mosses like tiny vegetable sheep.

Monday 10 October - Stony Bay - Akaroa

We started the day with a short walk to the seal colony. This was only 2.1 km but involved walking across a steep slope in a strong wind which was a challenge. I was glad of my walking pole. We saw a mother seal with two pups up on a ledge and another seal trying to get up to them. After I turned away Philip witnessed a small drama where another seal appeared to chase the would be interloper away.

We then picked up our packs and headed up the valley. This part of the walk was through a reserve and it was great to see the native bush regenerating through the gorse. The highlight was coming across a mug hanging from a branch above a stream inviting us to partake in the pure water. It tasted wonderful and even came chilled! Once again we had to climb to the top of the hill before descending back into Akaroa. I was pleased to get back to the car and head to visit my brother for dinner and a good sleep. The walk with the pack was 15.5 km in 4:53.

Sunday 9 October - Akaroa - Stony Bay

This is the first time I have walked with a pack on my back in over 20 years and it was a lot harder than I remembered. The walk began with a climb of about 500m. I wore my Garmin to get an idea of pace and heart rate but all it showed was that the pace was extremely slow (around 3 km per hour) and the heart rate never really got going (avg 92 bpm). We walked 17.5 km in around 6:23. I didn't stop the watch when we had photo stops or admired the view (they were fantastic) but did when we actually sat down. I was very pleased when we reached our cabin at the end of the day and we had the added bonus of an outdoor hot bath heated by a wood fire underneath. It did wonders for my tired limbs. There was no electricity in the hut and, together with other trampers, we listened to the rugby world cup quarter final between NZ and Argentina on Philip's small transistor radio.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Tuesday - Friday

Friday Podiatrist

I made an appointment to see John to pick up some orthotics. When I showed him my new shoes he was surprised at the lack of support in them and not surprised to hear about my aggravated Achilles. I had depended on the advice of the assistant at the shoe shop who sounded knowledgeable but who actually wasn't. He told me he had given me their most stable shoe but John thought it was probably worse than the New Balance walking shoes I was replacing.

I went back to the shop and talked to the manager and now have a pair of Brookes shoes that are a lot firmer. My Achilles felt better in the walk back to the train so let's hope these shoes do the trick. After my experience with the New Balance shoes I decided to buy from the Shoe Clinic who give a 30 day guarantee, even if you have worn the shoes out and about.

I am off to Canterbury tomorrow for 8 days so I may not have a chance to add to this blog for a while. Philip and I will walk the Banks Peninsular walkway on Sunday and Monday then we will head to a high country farm on Tuesday for a few days. We will be walking but are unlikely to get much race walking in.

Thursday 15 km

Sunday was meant to be 20 km but I only did 12 km so my aim today was to do the 20 km. I went to work early and headed out at about 4:30 pm. The cold southerly wind was there again so I decided to repeat a 2 km out and back loop along Oriental Parade and thus avoid walking directly into the wind. It was just as well I did this since when I got to 12 km I realised that my Achilles tendon was becoming too sore to walk much more on. I turned around and completed the 3 km back to work, giving me the 15 km total. I averaged 7:05 per km and would have been under 7 min if the sore ankle had not slowed me down. At least that was quite a bit better than on Monday.


I have a regular 45 min yoga class on Wednesday's now which I believe is very beneficial. It was my son's 19th birthday and I had invited people for dinner so there was not time for me to fit in a walk.

Tuesday 5km Waterfront Race

There was a strong cold southerly blowing and I was tired from the 27 km walked in the previous two days. I knew I would have a slow time and thought anything under 32 min would be okay. It was disappointing to hear from David Lonsdale (an A grade judge) that I was lifting at the start of the race. The event is not judged but I have been making a real effort to have good technique and I will go for a much slower start in future.

Monday, October 3, 2011

15 km Training Walk

I decided to do a walk after work today despite the wind and rain. When I went to get changed I found I had left my Garmin watch at home today. That wasn't too much of a problem since the waterfront walk goes for 6.5 km and starts just under 1 km from my workplace. I maintained 7.5 min per km for most of the walk but tailed off in the last couple of km. I was happy enough with that effort given the race yesterday. I was very wet when I got back to work, despite walking with my raincoat on. Just as well I had a hot shower and dry clothes waiting for me.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Wellington Masters 10 km

I hadn't planned to race today but Masters Athletics struggles for support in Wellington and I like to turn up to races if I can. It was 20 km on my programme so I did another couple of very slow km after the race with the thought that I might do another 8 km later. With the All Blacks v Canada match and then the Warriers final this afternoon there really wasn't much chance I would get out again.

I found the race quite hard. My glutes were feel sore - I'm not sure if it was the unaccustomed tennis yesterday or just that I've finally found how to get these to do some work. They are even sorer now so I did have them working! The wind was strong on the way out and the times noticeably quicker on the way back. My time for the 10 km race was 64:17 with 32:16 for the first 5 km. I lost a bit of time on the way back when I told the leader he was going the wrong way and he convinced me he was right until we both had to turn back after 100 m or so.

Friday, September 30, 2011

3 x 2 km, 1 x 1 km, 2 x 500 m

I had planned to do this session tomorrow but then I found out I have interclub tennis tomorrow and decided not to do both on the same day. I went into town early and did the workout before work and before breakfast. I did better than I expected considering I was so slow yesterday on the 12 km.

2 km 13:08
2 km 12:53
2 km 12:49
1 km 6:17
500 m 3:09
500 m 3:06

Average pace 6:25
Average HR 141 bpm

Thursday, September 29, 2011

12 km Training Walk

It was a sunny day with a reasonably strong wind. I wasn't feeling particularly strong and that was reflected in my times. I tried hard to stay upright and could definitely feel my glutes. With the world cup rugby and the navy ships in town the waterfront was humming which made speed walking a real challenge. My right archilles was an issue in the last few km. I have been making an effort to do 40 heal drops at least 3 times a day in the hope that this issue will get better. I know it takes a while so I will persevere.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

10 km Fartlek

I had a yoga class earlier in the day so I had to wait until after work before heading out. I headed down to the waterfront since the opposite direction is only 4.5 km and I didn't feel like putting in an extra lap. It was busy on the waterfront but I managed to avoid getting slowed down. I felt pretty good out there apart from a sore right hamstring. I could feel my glutes a lot and was aware of my core muscles kicking in a bit. The speed was not as good as I'd like but it wasn't bad.

1 km 6:03
2 km 3:09 + 3:08 = 6:17
3 km 3:20 + 3:06 = 6:26
4 km 3:34 + 3:17 = 6:51
5 km 3:25 + 3:07 = 6:32
6 km 3:22 + 3:10 = 6:32
7 km 3:28 + 3:07 = 6:35
8 km 3:30 + 3:09 = 6:39
9 km 3:24 + 3:07 = 6:31
10 km 3:35 + 3:11 = 6:46

Average pace 6:31/km Average HR 144 bpm

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

5 km Waterfront Race

I was feeling pretty stiff before this rate and expected to struggle to make 32 minutes. I offered to pace for Jackie who wanted to achieve 32:24. She started off fast so I had to work hard to keep up with her. She stuck with me for the first 400 m or so but she was not able to keep that pace and dropped back whilst I was negotiating through the crowds on the walkway. I couldn't see her when I looked around so decided to keep going at a constant pace. I finished in 30:53 but forgot to turn off my watch for a while. Almost exactly the same result as last week.

I have joined up for a yoga class tomorrow. I'm hoping this will give me lots of stretching and will improve my flexibility.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

20 km Training Walk

Daylight saving started today so it was 10:00 am before we were ready to even talk about going out for a walk. The rain started before we got out the door and Philip thought we would be able to head to the pool and do some cross training. He took it well when I said I would be doing the 20 km walk that was on my programme regardless of the weather.

I found today's walk very hard and I was slow. It was wet and cold and I was trying some new things as explained below. I had done some core and glute exercises as my cross training on Friday and my muscles were a bit fatigued from that. A few km from the end my calf muscles felt like they were going to cramp up but they did actually hold together. It was a relief to see the 20 km tick over. If Philip hadn't been walking with me I may have been even slower or may have stopped racewalking before completing the planned distance. My glutes were feeling it over the last few km which is a good sign.

I went to see John Sloane, the podiatrist, on Friday to hear his feedback from the filming at the track last weekend. It was a bit of a shock to see how much my foot collapsed in my walking shoes but good to know that my running shoes do a much better job. I will be walking in those from now on and may end up buying another pair. It's disappointing that New Balance market racewalking shoes that do not incorporate sufficient support into their design. I will have to buy from Shoe Clinic in the future so that I can see a video of myself in the shoe before I buy it.

John has taped a temporary orthotic to my left foot for me to see how it goes. It certainly felt different with more of my weight falling on the outside of my foot. John also encouraged me to try a shorter step to help resolve some of the issues that he saw in my walking. All this seemed to contribute to a slow time today but I am optimistic that a few steps backwards now will bring about improvement in the long run.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

10 km Training Walk

My left leg was still feeling slightly numb so I wasn't sure if I should be walking today. My aim was to average around 6:45 min per km. The first and last km involve quite a few road crossings so the speed is up and down on those. I tried to make sure I was tucking my butt under - it still takes a lot of concentration to make that happen. I could feel tiredness in my glutes after the walk so it worked to some extent. My average was actually 6:49 so I didn't quite achieve what I set out to do.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

5 km Waterfront Race

It wouldn't have taken much for me to decide to give today's race a miss but I didn't have a good reason not to turn up. There was a cold southerly wind blowing and I decided to wear a long sleeved compression top. I don't like getting hot so that was a risk.

I maintained a steady pace without going hard out, aiming to catch some of the slower runners that I usually beat. I figured my time was likely to be around 31:30 and was pleasantly surprised to come in at about 30:53. I haven't yet gone over 31 minutes this season. The top of my foot was a bit sore at the end of the race. The podiatrist checked this last week and I will ask him about it again when I see him on Friday to discuss the video footage he took at the track on Saturday.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pelorus Trust Half Marathon

It was raining heavily through the night but had stopped when I got up at 5:30 am to get some breakfast and get ready for my 8:00 am start. My legs had stiffened up this week so I wasn't feeling confident of getting a good time but after seeing the entry list, I wasn't expecting any competition in the women's race. I never really felt comfortable throughout the race but managed to maintain a steady effort and finished in 2:22:19, about 8 minutes ahead of the second placed woman. It rained for about the last 3 km but apart from that race conditions were very good. It's a pity I wasn't able to take advantage of them. It's not a fast course but I did manage 2:20 two years ago and really should have been able to do better than today's result. I was happy with my time today though, given the way I was feeling.

Friday, September 16, 2011

6 km Fartlek

My programme included an 8 km fartlek for this week. I had planned to do that yesterday but my left leg was feeling quite numb and I didn't feel it was a good idea to train at all that day. I did some stretches and core exercises instead. My leg was still not feeling great today so I decided to cut my distance down form 8 km to 6 km.

I was quite stiff for the first km but did manage to find some better speed in some of the later fast sections. The first 3 km were into a strong wind so it's not surprising that the fast sections were better coming back (the slow sections were slower though).

I'm meeting the podiatrist at the track at 12:30 pm tomorrow so I will do my 20 mins easy training then.

My times for today:
1 km 6:10
2 km 3:23 + 3:03 = 6:26
3 km 3:22 + 2:59 = 6:21
4 km 3:26 + 2:55 = 6:21
5 km 3:25 + 3:05 = 6:30
6 km 3:33 + 2:48 = 6:21

Thursday, September 15, 2011

12 km with 2 x 10 min at half marathon pace

Wednesday 14 September

I am not yet fully recovered from the weekend so my fast sessions were more like 6:20 and 6:30 pace than the 6:10 I was looking for. I felt reasonably comfortable in my walk especially as I warmed up. It was good to be able to finish with a bit of energy.

I went to see a podiatrist this morning and I wish I had seen this man (John Sloane) a couple of years ago. He has knowledge of race walking and very quickly identified a number of issues for me to work on. I have very inflexible toes - they don't really want to bend from the lower joint at all. My big toes have no strength and my glutes have almost no strength. Whilst it is daunting to have a large number of things to work on it is also encouraging. If I can get reasonable results with all these issues just imagine what might be possible if I can improve on these things!

We are meeting this Saturday so he can see me walking (and video me I think) and then he will decide what orthotic he will give me and most likely there will be more exercises to. Currently he has me working on bending my toes, strengthening my Achilles tendon before it causes a major issue and strengthening my glute. He reinforced to me the importance of stretching and suggested I would benefit from shortening my training sessions by 10 mins and using the time to stretch. I know this is an area I never give much attention and I will try to follow this advice.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

5 km Waterfront Race

Tuesday 13 September

There had been an amazing hail storm earlier in the day so I wasn't sure I would be doing the race. Fortunately the weather cleared and the race conditions were good. I definitely haven't fully recovered from my efforts on the weekend. My legs felt stiff and heavy and I wanted to keep something in reserve for the half marathon on Sunday so I didn't push too hard. I decided a time of around 31 minutes would be good since that is the kind of pace I'm hoping to sustain on Sunday. I finished in 30:57. There were times when I felt I was getting the style I found on Saturday but I didn't have the concentration required to maintain it throughout the race.

Monday, September 12, 2011

15 km Training Walk

Sunday 11 September

The weather forecast for Sunday wasn't good. I was half hoping it would be correct since I had put my name down to play in a tennis tournament and wasn't feeling all that keen. The morning was overcast but fine so I headed out to play tennis. The tennis was actually fun even if I was very rusty. We won our first match, narrowly lost the second in a tie breaker and were completely trounced in the third match. The rain came in just as we finished our tennis so I went home to do a few chores.

It was around 4:30 pm when I was ready to start my walk. I drove to the edge of town and walked to the waterfront and around the bays. I wore a backpack to carry my raincoat and some water. My coat went on a off a couple of times and I walked about a km before I realised my watch had clicked off sometime during the process. I turned it back on and decided to turn when it read 6.5 km. My speed was very slow from the start but it went from bad to worse. If it had not been an out and back walk, I'd have given up well before completing the full distance. I had real trouble staying upright, partly due to the gale force wind blowing in some parts of the walk but also due to tiredness after the race the previous day. I was glad of the coat and polyprop gloves I had carried with me because the weather deteriorated into cold, wet and windy conditions. At one point I was doused by a wave lapping over the sea wall.

This training really hurt but at least I now seem to be a bit more aware of whether I am straight or not. It was a relief to get back to my car and galling to find I had walked a few hundred meters too far. I'm glad the Garmin was mucked up because the information it would show was an embarrassment. (We could be talking 10 min per km at the end). It was interesting to walk through town just prior to the world cup rugby match between South Africa and Wales.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Marton - Whanganui Relay

Saturday 10 September

I was in the team that won this event last year but two of our best walkers were not available this year so we were not expected to repeat that feat. We stayed the night with friends at Te Horo, about an hour north of Wellington and got up at 5:30 am to drive up to Marton. Philip was walking the 2nd and 7th legs and I was doing the 3rd and 6th legs as well as doing the 10th leg for another Scottish Harriers team.

Philip did a great walk, finishing 4 min ahead of the time our team organiser Kevin predicted for him and moving our team from 5th to 2nd place. My first leg started out with a steep down hill then was undulating. I have been only walking on the flat the past few months so was slowed on the uphill stretches but made up some time on the downhill. I finished the 7 km leg around 45 seconds slower than Kevin's prediction but had been unable to prevent the Taranaki team extending their lead to a few minutes.

Our team was still in second place when I started the 6th leg which was a largely flat 8 km stretch. I knew that the Trentham team could be close behind since they had brought two young boys to walk for them who were capable of speeds I had not achieved. After about 2 km I was passed by Stuart from Trentham. I managed to stay within 20 m of him until the last 500m but I didn't have any sprint left in me at the end as he did. (This was the only leg he did). It was very hot during this leg and I found it quite difficult. We were a bit behind Trentham when Philip took over but he soon put us back in front. Unfortunately we couldn't could them off in the last two legs so finished third overall. 66 km in 7:10.

One of our club members dropped something heavy onto his foot during the week and was unable to walk his designated leg. I agreed to do a third leg for their team that was more than an hour behind my own team. That meant waiting around a bit and seeing more of the other walking and running teams than I have seen in other years. I enjoyed that. It is a friendly, fun event through scenic valleys. I really wasn't looking forward to walking that third time. I imagined my legs would lock up and prevent me going any better than 7 min/km.

I tried to make sure I was upright and walking in an easy steady rhythm. I was feeling very relaxed and there was a gentle side breeze to keep me cool. I found I was feeling much looser than anticipated and I actually enjoyed that last 5.7 km. Philip took a couple of video clips of me during the leg using his cell phone. The quality of the clips was not great but I looked noticeably different to my other clips. My style looked a bit like John Leonard, one of our club members who has a great style and who never has warnings or penalties from judges. This was another illustration to me of the dangers of trying hard. Once there was no pressure on me in this leg I relaxed into a great technique. It is very heartening to know that I was able to put in to practice some of the things my pilates tutor and coach have been telling me.

I have an appointment to see a podiatrist on Wednesday to work on some issues with my feet that may be contributing to my style issues. I am feeling very positive about seeing some real improvement in the near future.

My overall result for the day was to walk 20.65 km in 2:11:47. That would give me a pb for half a marathon, even if the last 350 m took 2:30 min.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

9 km Fartlek

There was a 10 km fartlek on my programme today but I already did an hour of pilates this morning, I was stiff after my 20 km walk yesterday and there was a strong wind blowing. I had quite a debate with myself - to train or not to train - that is the question. I know there are times when I should listen to my body rather than my coach but I wasn't sure if today was one of those. I decided not to risk getting into the habit of being lazy and went out, fully expecting to be quite slow.

During the first km I was quite tight in the groin but this loosened up after that. I thought I was walking into the wind for the first half but when I turned around I realised the wind was swirling a bit and was still from the side and in front at times. My heart rate showed the effort I put in. My overall result was not bad. I ran out of footpath at 4.5 km and didn't have the motivation or energy to do an extra km lap at some point so I cut the session back to 9 km.

I felt a bit nauseous for a few hours after this session. That could be a good thing since I couldn't face eating the chocolate bar I fancied.

1 km 6:15
2 km 3:12 + 3:05 = 6:17
3 km 3:18 + 2:59 = 6:17
4 km 3:17 + 3:04 = 6:21
5 km 3:22 + 3:10 = 6:32
6 km 3:29 + 3:02 = 6:31
7 km 3:26 + 3:12 = 6:38
8 km 3:36 + 3:02 = 6:38
9 km 3:37 + 2:55 = 6:32

Total time 58:05
Average HR 154

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

20 km Training Walk

This was a difficult walk in a strong cold northerly wind. I attempted to concentrate on technique and was glad to achieve a time that was only a couple of minutes slower than my walk on Saturday.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

5 km Waterfront Race

This event is the second to last race on our club winter programme. I suspect I may be the only person who has completed each event in that programme so that could put me well into the lead. I didn't score well on the events when the winner is closest to the estimated time so I wanted a good result today.

I tried to concentrate on standing upright as discussed with Jim last night. I was happy with my time considering the moderate breeze that was blowing.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

12 km with 2 x 10 min at 2:10 half marathon pace

I didn't feel that I would do a good job of 20 km today so I decided to swap with Wednesday's session. Philip wanted to take more videos of me so we went to the track. Luckily it was open and there was only one sprinter training there. I set my watch to sound an alarm every ten minutes and did my fast sessions after 20 mins and again after 50 mins. I felt I was walking quite well although I definitely tired after the second sprint.

Unfortunately the videos show there is still plenty of room for improvement but I do think my style is looking a little better.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

20 km training walk

It was a sunny spring day with a cool light breeze. I managed to convince Philip to walk with me by promising to walk 7:30/km but found that around 7 min was a more comfortable pace after the first km (we didn't warm up before starting the watch). After a few km I was starting to leave Philip behind me but figured I would pick him up on the way back. We parked the car near a cafe overlooking the ocean near Island Bay and headed around the bays. I estimated that I should turn around after about 9 km which would be roughly at the bottom of the Ataturk memorial.

The scenery was stunning with the South Island mountains visible in the distance and the white capped waves crashing on the rugged rocky coastline. The footpath ran out after 7 km and I walked most of one lap on a very uneven track, opting for the road after nearly going over on my ankle. The road was narrow and I didn't feel safe so I turned back after 8 km. One of the laps was into a strong wind and I made an effort to really push into my feet. This turned out to be my fastest lap. My pilates tutor has been saying 'Less is more' and I keep reminding myself of this. Sometimes reducing my cadence and relaxing into a better technique is giving me a good speed for much less effort. By the time 15 km came around I was really starting to tire - my glutes aren't used to this effort.

My best result in a judged 20 km event is 2:14. I was very happy with completing today's walk in 2:23. I concentrated on technique and managed a pretty good pace at the same time.

Tomorrow I have another 20 km walk. I am sure Jim didn't intend me to do two long walks in a row but the one hour race last Sunday meant I didn't get the 20 km in last weekend. I'm off for a long hot bath in the hope of loosening up for tomorrow's effort.

Friday, September 2, 2011

6 km Fartlek

The forecast was for rain today and I wasn't looking forward to a hard session in the wet. Luckily it was cool and sunny with a reasonably strong southerly wind. I did a 1 km warm up before starting the sprint but struggled to keep the pace up for the second 500 m of the first lap. My second lap was actually faster than my first. When I relaxed on the slower lap and thought more about my technique I went almost as fast as during the sprint. I made an effort to slow down a bit more on the slower lap to try and ensure I could go the whole 6 km. I was a little slower on the last 2 km but pleased with my session overall.

My splits:

3:09 + 2:58 = 6:07
3:21 + 2:55 = 6:16
3:16 + 2:58 = 6:14
3:22 + 3:05 = 6:27
3:24 + 2:58 = 6:22

Average speed 6:16
Average HR 150 bpm

6 km

I had a pilates session from 8:00 - 9:00 am yesterday. The movements are subtle but they do seem to be waking up my postural muscles.

I didn't feel up to the effort required for the fartlek so I swapped with today's session, opting for a more gentle walk. My first km was slow but after that I got into an easy rhythm and found myself going faster than the previous day with far less effort. Let's hope I feel that good in my fartlek session today!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

8 km

I had mistakenly thought I was going to do 12 km today so I rushed off to get an early train and forgot to pick up half my training gear. Fortunately Philip was coming into town today and was able to drop it off for me.

I have noticed that my heart rate is very high for the first 500 - 1000 m so I try to walk a km or so before starting my watch. That didn't seem to make any difference and I was still very slow over the first km whilst I tried hard to get my technique right. I did manage to get some speed up and felt my core was staying pretty tight without me thinking about it all the time. When I remembered to lean forward from my feet I started to feel I was walking quite well. I originally planned 7:30 / km but revised that to 7:15 then 7:00 as I realised I was going faster than expected. I pushed the last km along and managed to get the average rate down to 7:01.

My posture is at the root of my problems and I have been trying hard to stand upright and tuck things in at all times. I am even sitting more upright at work but I was starting to get a sore back by the end of the day.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

5 km Waterfront Race

There was a fairly strong northerly wind blowing tonight. My left hamstring/glute was still feeling a little sore but it seemed to warm up pretty well. I tried hard to concentrate on technique during the event and did not push hard. John, who usually finishes ahead of me, was also working on his style and dropped behind me after about 600 m. I was happy with my result of 30:48 and felt quite loose after the race.

The video below was taken at the one-hour race in Palmerston North on Sunday. The other walker is Robyn who has beaten me to take out the club champion title for the past three years.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

One-hour track race

My left leg has been feeling stiff and sore and I was tempted not to go to this event. The race walking fraternity in NZ is not high in numbers so I like to support as many events as possible. After sitting in the car for almost two hours from home to the track in Palmerston North I could barely walk at all. I did a few laps but seemed to be on about 7:30 pace or worse. We got there well before the event so I rubbed some of my magic emu oil ointment into my legs and got myself prepared then went out and id another three laps.

When the race started I was surprised to find myself able to keep 2:24 lap pace for the first 4 laps and the first 2 km in under 12 minutes. My pace then dropped back to 2:30 laps and then to 2:35 but I was pretty consistent in pace. I had a few warning in laps 3 - 6 but felt I was walking well so I wasn't too concerned. Sometime after the 5 km mark I noticed I had one penalty but I concentrated on my style and thought I was doing okay. There was no change for 4 or 5 laps then at about 7.5 km I noticed two more cards had gone up. I decided that I may as well go for my time goal since I could not say I slowed down to get past the judges. I thought the gold standard for my age group was 9.6 km and with 10 minutes to go I completed 8 km. That meant I had to do 2:30 laps for the next four laps, 5 seconds a lap faster than my current pace. I dug it in and achieved a final distance of 9.65 km. This turned out not to be the gold standard but it was of no consequence - I had achieved the 9.6 km I was aiming for.

The laps are a little odd since I set the watch to auto-lap each pass of the start/finish. It showed that the watch was not that accurate and pressing the lap button myself would have been better.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

6 km

My focus this week is on technique but I did want to keep a reasonable pace. My aim was to average 6:45/km. I had a pilates consultation before my walk and that confirmed that there is a lot of work to do to get my 'postural muscles' firing. The pilates session involved a lot of deep breathing which I tried to apply in my walk. The cold wintry air was almost stinging my nose, making me realise that I normally breathe shallowly through my mouth. Just one more thing to try and change over time.

The wind was quite strong on my way out and also on the last km or so. I do think that my style is improving and there are some muscles in my butt that are working more than they used to. My watch didn't cope well with the turn around today and has created a couple of extra laps that didn't happen.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

5 km fartlek

My aim for today was 6:00 /km on the sprint sections and around 6:40 /km for the slower sections. I more or less managed that. The first 2 km were into a strong northerly wind so they were hard work. I was sweating a lot when I got back to work and my hamstrings are a bit sore tonight. I did try to think about tucking my butt in throughout the walk.

The times were:

3:20 + 3:04 = 6:24
3:15 + 3:00 = 6:15 - downwind now
3:20 + 2:59 = 6:19
3:19 + 3:02 = 6:21

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

6 km

The aim for today's walk was to concentrate on technique but I also wanted a reasonable pace not slower than 6:45 per km. I felt I was working quite hard for the first 3 km but seemed to settle into an easier rhythm after that. I was happy with my technique and felt that my back foot was staying down a bit longer. I kept my butt as tight as I could the whole walk - it seems to be getting conditioned.

I let the watch run on after the 6 km whilst I walked back to work across several busy roads.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Recovery walk

Jim told me yesterday that I could have a couple of days off after the race and he would give me a new programme early next week. My experience is that a walk the day after an event helps me to loosen up and I generally feel much better for walking than if I take the day off. I was also keen to start working on my technique which was not as secure as I had hoped for yesterday.

My first km was a warm up - I was not in a hurry. When I saw it was over 8 minutes I decided to work a bit harder to achieve an average pace better than 7:30 per km. It was a lovely winter's day and many people were out enjoying it so it was a challenge to dodge everyone on my way. I decided to turn around at the 5.5 km marker after almost 40 min. My plan was to stop at a favourite cafe about 1.5 km from my work where my car was parked.

I felt I was walking pretty well even though the speed was not great.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

National Road Champs - 10 km

I set my alarm for 6:00 am to make sure I would be ready to leave to pick Nyle up at the airport at 8:00 am. We had a quiet morning watching the running races from my work place across the road from the race and wandered over about 45 min before the race. Nyle showed me how to change the settings on the Garmin which are not mentioned anywhere in the instruction booklet. We decided perhaps it would be better for me to go with auto-laps since I had not practised doing manual laps in a race before.

My race plan was a good warm up, a conservative start and then to try and pick up speed later on if I was close enough to my opponent and doing okay with the judges. My husband phoned about 25 mins before the start so my warm up was not the quality I had planned. (He's out of town and we hadn't spoken for a couple of days).

Shortly into the race I got caught behind two other walkers at about the pace I wanted to walk but decided to pass them on the second lap. One of them stayed with me and proceeded to direct me in how to walk the race for the next 4-5 km. It was very annoying and distracting since it prevented me from settling into the race and finding my own rhythm. I eventually let him go ahead and felt much better for it.

At the 8 km mark I saw I had 2 bent knee penalties so I cut back my speed and concentrated on standing tall and tucking my butt. I was pleased to finish the race with nor further penalites but disappointed in my time (1:02:38). I was looking for a pb of under 61 mins but wasn't close today. The only other competitor in my age group was over 3 minutes ahead and I didn't have it in me today to try and chase that.

For what it was worth here is a link to the data from my Garmin - as Nyle predicted it was way off.