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.